Nauvoo high council, Minutes, , Hancock Co., IL, 17 Aug. . Featured version copied [between 14 Feb. 1842 and 1 Jan. 1843] in Nauvoo High Council Minutes, fair copy, pp. 70–74; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minutes, 27 Oct. 1839.
On 17 August 1840, the of the met with the and the high council to consider a dispute between and , both of whom had been appointed to the Iowa high council in October 1839. The difficulties between Fordham and Patten extended back to February 1840, when Fordham and “expressed some dissatisfaction with J. Patten for some of his teaching at a meeting on the preceding Sabath” in , Iowa Territory. When the Iowa high council discussed the issue in a meeting on 6 March 1840 (which JS attended), “an unpleasant scene” unfolded, and Patten, Snow, and Fordham were all removed from the high council “till the affair was Settled.” According to these 17 August minutes, the situation between Patten and Fordham had escalated to encompass issues relating to Patten’s land claims in Iowa Territory and the actions of a Rogers, who was likely . Patten accused Fordham, among other offenses, of sanctioning the destruction of Patten’s garden, perjuring himself in court over the matter, and preventing Rogers from paying off his debts. The Iowa high council assigned a committee to investigate the difficulties. At a 1 August 1840 high council meeting, this committee reported that conflict between Patten and Fordham continued, leading to the convening of this 17 August meeting at JS’s office in Nauvoo, Illinois. After JS admonished Fordham and Patten, the two men reconciled.
As clerk pro tempore, took the minutes of the meeting. Sometime after 14 February 1842—but likely still in 1842—he entered the minutes into the high council record book.
Stout indicated that he had recorded minutes of earlier meetings on 14 February 1842. He misdated these minutes as 17 August 1842, suggesting that he was recording the minutes sometime in 1842. A rough draft of the minutes has the correct date of 17 August 1840. (Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 19 Apr. 1840, 56; Nauvoo High Council Minutes, draft, 17 Aug. 1840, 14.)
Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.
Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. Draft. CHL.
in the absence of the other to two , which was contended was not so: and I was charged with weakening or deminishing the influence of the (of ) by speaking in publick against the proceedings of that , which was the first charge made against me to drive me from the Council, and was followed by others, such as playing the violin for a negro ball; Suffering my daughter to go to balls; and then followed the slanderous & vile <charges first mentioned in this> catalogue of crimes and misdemeanours & when told him it was his duty to take up a labor with me he replied, I was not worthy of his notice, of which I wish to convince him to the contrary.
After the evidences were heard, Presidents , , spoke on the subject— President Joseph Smith jr then spok[e] at some length showing the situation of the contending parties— that there was in reality no cause of difference— that they had better be reconciled without an action [p. 73]
In December 1839, Lyman Wight—a counselor to John Smith, president of the Iowastake—advocated that church members in Montrose relieve the distress of the poor by living the law of consecration, a law outlined in an 1831 revelation whereby individuals would consecrate their property to the church and receive an inheritance, or a plot of land, back in return. Bishops would then use surplus property to provide for the poor. After Wight made his statement, the Iowa high council voted to live the law in Montrose. At the time, Hyrum Smith was the only member of the First Presidency in Nauvoo because JS and Sidney Rigdon were in Washington DC. Smith and Oliver Granger objected to this course of action, stating that it was not necessary to live the law because of the general poverty of the Saints, but the Iowa high council refused to rescind its resolution. Finally, in March 1840, JS told the Iowa high council “that it was the will of the Lord” that those in Montrose “should desist from trying to keep” the law and that if they persisted “it would produce a perfect abortion.” (Iowa Stake Record, 6 Dec. 1839, 10; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–36]; Iowa Stake Record, 4 Jan. 1840, 15–16; John Smith, Journal, 1836–1840, 6 and 14–15 Dec. 1839; 3 and 7 Jan. 1840, –, –; Minutes and Discourse, 6 Mar. 1840.)
Likely Polly Angerona Patten, who was twenty-two years old at this time. John Patten also had two other daughters: Deborah, who was ten, and Edith, who was eight. (“John Pattens Sen Familey Record,” .)
“John Pattens Sen Familey Reccord Copeyed from the Orriginal by John Patten Jr,” 16 Feb. 1869. John Patten Sr. and John Patten Jr., Papers, 1827–1900. BYU.