Minutes, , Geauga Co., OH, 4 Apr. 1834. Featured version copied [between ca. late Apr. and 5 May 1834] in Minute Book 1, p. 48; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information on Minute Book 1, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
On the evening of 4 April 1834, JS presided over a council of who met in his home to consider the church standing of of Brownhelm, Ohio. In a July 1833 letter, JS, , and asked James, who may have been functioning as the presiding in Brownhelm, to come to , Ohio, and “take a tower [tour]” with JS, likely to preach. Sometime between July 1833, when the letter was written, and 4 April 1834, James was apparently disciplined for not accompanying JS on the tour, for neglecting to attend his meetings, and for treating “lightly some of the weak” among his “brethren.” The minutes do not indicate what governing body originally heard James’s case or who was part of this 4 April council. Nor do they explain why the standing high council, formed in February 1834 in part to act as an appellate court for “important difficulties which might arise in the church,” did not conduct the rehearing. There may have been a need to act quickly, while both James and JS were in , and it is possible that seven members of the standing high council—the required minimum to act—were not able to convene quickly enough to conduct this business.
During the first week of April, JS was in for only a few days. On 2 and 3 April, he attended the trial of before the Court of Common Pleas in , Ohio. The court was considering JS’s complaint that he “had ground to fear” that Hurlbut “would wound, beat or kill him, or destroy his property.” After the trial adjourned for the weekend on Friday, 4 April, JS returned to his home in Kirtland, where he presided over this council. He left for Chardon again on the morning of 5 April.
As clerk of the council, took the minutes of the meeting. later copied the minutes into Minute Book 1.
A 7 May 1833 letter from Emer Harris for the Brownhelm congregation was addressed to James, possibly indicating he was a leader over the church there. (Emer Harris, Springville, PA, to “Dearly Beloved Brethern,” Brownhelm, OH, 7 May 1833, Harris Family Papers, BYU.)
JS, Journal, 2–5 Apr. 1834. It is not clear how James reacted to the decision of this conference. In November 1834, JS and Sidney Rigdon wrote James a letter requesting that he come to Kirtland to answer “serious complaints” that had been made against him. Until then, the letter states, he was “suspended from acting in the authority” of his office in the church. It is unclear whether James ever came to Kirtland for this purpose, but in March 1836, he was one of a group of eldersanointed in the House of the Lord. (Letter to George James, 10 Nov. 1834; Kirtland Elders Quorum, “Record,” 26 Mar. 1836.)
Kirtland Elders Quorum. “A Record of the First Quorurum of Elders Belonging to the Church of Christ: In Kirtland Geauga Co. Ohio,” 1836–1838, 1840–1841. CCLA.
This evening a of assembled at the house of Bro. Joseph Smith Junr’s. to re-consider the case of Bro. . Bro. Joseph Smith Junr. presideing: then said, that he had often promised to take up his cross & magnify his calling, but had failed, and ought to have written to bro. Joseph ere this time and given him the information that his pecuniary affairs called his attention at home which prevented his fulfilling the promise he made to Bro. Joseph in going out to proclaim the Gospel, and he sincerely asked pardon of the Lord and of his brethren, and particularly bro. Joseph. He also said he was willing to ask the forgiveness of this . He said, that relative to certain charges, which were, that he had not attended meetings, and had treated lightly some of the weak &c. That he had attended meetings, generally, and as for speaking or treating lightly any brother because of of his weakness, was foreign from his mind and was that which he had never done, nor could ever find such principles in his bosome. Bro. Joseph said, he had no hardness, he only wished to consider this as a chastisement, and that the council were bound to notice his conduct heretofore; but now, if he, -[,]- was willing to walk according to the , he should have his hand of fellowship. The council then expressed their satisfaction with ’s confession.