Minutes, [, Geauga Co., OH], 23 June 1833. Featured version copied [ca. 23 June 1833] in Minute Book 1, p. 22; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
These minutes contain the final decision regarding the church membership of , who was cut off from the church on 1 June 1833 for alleged indiscretions with women while serving a mission in . Hurlbut appealed to JS and the ’s court on 21 June, requesting they reconsider the decision to excommunicate him. Though the court ruled that his excommunication had been warranted and that the had ruled correctly against him, it ultimately determined that Hurlbut “should be forgiven because of the liberal confession which he made.” Hurlbut apparently departed immediately again for Pennsylvania but stopped en route in , Ohio, where he publicly flaunted his reinstatement in the church. , who was present at the council on 21 June, later explained, “Hurlbut stated to the in Thompson, Ohio that he had deceived Joseph Smith’s God or the spirit by which he is actuated, I have proved that Council has no wisdom, I told them I was sorry I confessed and they believed it to be an honest confession. I deceived the whole of them and made them restore me to the Church.”
A later entry in JS’s journal indicates that “was finally cut off from the church a few days after having his restored, on the 21st of June. and then saught the distruction of the sainst [Saints] in this place and more particularly myself and family.” Hurlbut was likely absent for this second excommunication hearing and his initial response to the verdict is not known, but he soon traveled to the region of , New York, and elsewhere in an effort to collect damaging information, including affidavits, about JS. By mid-August 1833 JS wrote to church leaders in that members of the church were “suffering great persicution on account of one man by the name of Docter Hurlburt who has been expeled from the chirch for lude and adulterous conduct and to spite us he is lieing in a wonderful manner and the peapl [people] are running after him and giveing him mony to b[r]ake down mormanism which much endangers our lives at preasnt [present].” By January 1834, JS had filed a suit against Hurlbut because “he became afraid of bodily injury from the defendant.” A judge ruled in JS’s favor, and Hurlbut was ordered to post a $200 bond ensuring that he would keep the peace for the next six months. Many of the affidavits Hurlbut collected, along with other accusations against JS and the , were eventually published by in his exposé, Mormonism Unvailed, in 1834.
George A. Smith, in Journal of Discourses, 15 Nov. 1864, 11:8; see also George A. Smith, Discourse, 15 Nov. 1864, in George D. Watt, Discourse Shorthand Notes, 15 Nov. 1864, Pitman Shorthand Transcriptions, CHL; and Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 597. Benjamin Winchester, in a pamphlet designed to discredit Hurlbut’s accusations against the church, claimed, “In returning into Pennsylvania, he stopped at Thompson, Geauga county, Ohio, and immediately commenced his old practices, in attempting to seduce a young female, but Providence interposing, frustrated his diabolical designs. For this crime he was immediately expelled from the church, and his license was called for, but he refused to give it up. On discovering he had irretrievably ruined himself with the church, his tactics were changed, and he now determined to demolish, as far as practicable, what he had once endeavoured to build up.” (Winchester, Plain Facts, 6.)
Journal of Discourses. 26 vols. Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1855–1886.
Pitman Shorthand Transcriptions, 1998–2013. CHL.
Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.
Winchester, Benjamin. Plain Facts, Shewing the Origin of the Spaulding Story, concerning the Manuscript Found, and Its Being Transformed into the Book of Mormon; with a Short History of Dr. P. Hulbert, the Author of the Said Story . . . Re-published by George J. Adams, Minister of the Gospel, Bedford, England. To Which Is Added, a Letter from Elder S. Rigdon, Also, One from Elder O. Hyde, on the Above Subject. Bedford, England: C. B. Merry, 1841.
“Mormon Trial,” Chardon (OH) Spectator and Geauga Gazette, 12 Apr. 1834, ; Geauga Co., OH, Court of Common Pleas, Court Records, 1807–1904, Final Record Book P, pp. 431–432, 31 Mar. 1834, microfilm 20,278, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.
Chardon Spectator and Geauga Gazette. Chardon, OH. 1833–1835.
Bro case was called in question this day befor a general and upon the testimony of Bro Gee of , who testified that Bro said that he had deceived Joseph Smith’s God, or the Spirit by which he is actuated &c &c The council proceeded to cut him off from the Church; There was also corrobberating testimony brought against him by Bro. Hodges 23 June 1833—— [p. 22]
Probably Curtis Hodges Sr., a resident of Girard Township, Pennsylvania. Mormon missionaries in Pennsylvania stayed at Hodges’s home several times in 1833, and Hurlbut may have been among them. (Hyrum Smith, Diary, 4 and 5 Apr. 1833, –; Coltrin, Diary and Notebook, 4 Apr. 1833.)
Smith, Hyrum. Diary, Mar.–Apr. 1839, Oct. 1840. CHL. MS 2945.
Coltrin, Zebedee. Diary and Notebook, 1832–1833. Zebedee Coltrin, Diaries, 1832–1834. CHL. MS 1443, fd. 2.