Kirtland high council, Minutes, , Geauga Co., OH, 3 Oct. 1835. Featured version copied [between ca. 4 Apr. and ca. 16 May 1836] in Minute Book 1, p. 126; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
On 2 October 1835, , counselor to in , Ohio, preferred ecclesiastical charges against and (no apparent relation to each other). In the charges, which Cahoon sent to JS, he accused John Gould of “making expressions . . . calculated to do injury to the great cause which we have espoused” and demonstrating “strong dissatisfaction against the teachings of the Presidency of the church.” Cahoon accused Dean Gould of “using wrong expressions and threatning the Elders of the Church.” Both men were called before the Kirtland high council the following day. The minutes of that council, which include the text of Cahoon’s charges, are presented here.
Formerly a Free Will Baptist minister, joined the church in western in 1832. He and his wife, Oliva, were baptized by , who had joined the church in two years earlier. Gould purchased forty-nine acres of property in , Ohio, sometime in fall 1833, but it appears that a steady stream of church assignments gave him little time to spend on the property in subsequent years. In late August or early September 1833, JS dispatched Gould and to with special instructions for the church members there, who, when confronted with mob violence, had signed an agreement to leave by April of the next year. By March 1834, Gould was in western New York, accompanying JS and as they recruited men and raised money to reinstate the Saints to their land in Missouri. During winter and spring 1835, he presided over congregations in western New York, including the areas around and . By August 1835, Gould had returned to , where on 10 August he participated in a disciplinary meeting at which Cahoon was accused of failing to correct and instruct his children. A week later, Gould attended a conference in which the church accepted the Doctrine and Covenants as scripture. During the meeting, where he was listed as “President of the Elders,” Gould declared that “he knew it was true and also the Book of Mormon, because he had received the testimony of the Spirit in favor of them.”
It is unclear when, where, or how became aware of ’s alleged dissatisfaction with the teachings of the First Presidency. As presiding elder in the area, Gould appeared to be living—or at the least spending most of his time—in western during the winter and spring of 1835. Cahoon, meanwhile, lived in , and there is no indication that he visited western New York during this time. It is possible that Cahoon overheard comments Gould made during his stay in Kirtland in August.
Little is known about the other defendant, . Census records indicate that he was in his teens in 1835. Though not a member of the church at the time he left, Dean Gould accompanied JS and others on the expedition to ; during the expedition he was baptized by on 15 June 1834.
The minutes of the 3 October disciplinary council indicate that, following discussions, the matters involving both and were amicably resolved. The original letter, in which first presented the charges directly to JS, is no longer extant, but its contents were later copied into Minute Book 1.
Stewart, History of the Freewill Baptists, 323–327, 475; Burgess and Ward, Free Baptist Cyclopaedia, 236, 473–474; Patten, Journal,  and 17 Dec. 1832; Obituary for Reynolds Cahoon, Deseret News, 1 May 1861, 72.
Stewart, I. D. The History of the Freewill Baptists, for Half a Century, with an Introductory Chapter. Vol. 1, From the Year 1780 to 1830. Dover, NH: Freewill Baptist Printing, 1862.
Burgess, G. A., and J. T. Ward. Free Baptist Cyclopedia. Historical and Biographical: The Rise of the Freewill Baptist Connection and of Those General and Open Communion Baptist which, Merging Together, Form One People. . . . Chicago: Free Baptist Cyclopedia, 1889.
Geauga Co., OH, Deed Records, 1795–1921, vol. 17, p. 453, microfilm 20,237, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; see also Geauga Co., OH, Deed Records, 1795–1921, vol. 26, pp. 178–179, 185, microfilm 20,241, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.
John Gould attended and chaired a regional church conference in Freedom, New York, on 24–25 January 1835; he was also listed as the presiding elder at a conference in Westfield the following May, though he did not in fact attend that conference. The History of Cattaraugus County confirms that he preached with JS, Sidney Rigdon, and Parley P. Pratt in the area around Fish Lake in about 1835, converting some thirty men and women. (“A Summary,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Feb. 1835, 75–77; Record of the Twelve, 4–9 May 1835; History of Cattaraugus Co., New York, 398.)
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.
History of Cattaraugus Co., New York, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts, 1879.
Whether John Gould spent much time in Kirtland in 1834 or 1835 is unclear. JS’s journal entry for 3 March 1834 indicates that Gould was still living in western New York. While preaching in Westfield, New York, JS noted that “John Gould payed me on papers—$1.50.” JS was likely referring to a subscription to The Evening and the Morning Star, which may indicate that Gould was not in Kirtland frequently enough to pay the subscription in person. (JS, Journal, 3 Mar. 1834.)
Joseph Smith Junr. President of the church of the Latter Day Saints, Greeting
Sir, I prefer certain charges against Elder . (Viz.) of making expressions which is calculated to do injury to the great cause which we have espoused and manifesting a very strong dissatisfaction against the teachings of the Presidency of the church.
Also for using wrong expressions and threatning the Elders of the Church.
Oct. 2d 1835
After conversing on this subject, it was agreed by & , that the matter should be talked over, and no doubt entertained, but an amicable adjustment of this matter could be effected: After digesting this matter; all difference of feelings was allayed and the wound was healed, Charge preferred against . That he spoke unadvisedly against . acknowledged his wrongs &, was forgiven.