Minutes, 11 August 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

August 11th 1834
This day a number of and of the assembled in the new in this place, for the purpose of investigating a matter of difficulty growing out of certain reports or statements made by brother ; one of the of this Church, accusing brother Joseph Smith Junr. with criminal conduct during his journey to and from this Spring & Summer. After coming to order, brother Joseph commenced and spake to a considerable length upon the circumstances of their journey to and from , and very minutely laid open the causes out of which those jealousies of s and others had grown. He made a satisfactory statement concerning his rebukes and chastisements upon & others, and also concerning the distribution of monies and other properties, calling on brethren present who accompanied him to attest to the same. All of which, was satisfactory to the brethren present as appeared by their own remarks afterward. After brother Joseph had closed his lengthy remarks, brother made some observations relative to the subject of their difficulties, and begun to make a partial confession for his previous conduct, asking forgiveness for accusing brother Joseph publicly on the Saturday previous, of proph[e]sying lies in the name of the Lord, and for abusing (as he had said) his (’s) character, before the brethern while journeying to the West. Brother made some remarks by way of reproff upon the conduct of , [spoke], and others, followed by the , after which by motion of brother the assembly arranged itself into a council, brother presiding, and proceeded to discuss how this [p. 52] difficulty should be disposed of. Brother thought that for , to make a public confession in the Star would be the way to heal the wound. followed with nearly the same remarks Brother , thought it ought to be quashed here, and go no farther. followed with the same from brother I[saac] Bishop. Brother said that it was his opinion, that ought to make a more public confession, and send by letter to those who are in the same transgression, with himself and inform them of this decision, and then if necessary make it public in the Star. Brother thought that the confession ought to be as liberal as the accusation, or that it ought to be written and published Brother , said that if would view this thing in its proper light, he would be willing to make a public confession and send forth; and he advised him to do this for the salvation of the abroad. Brother Isaac Story, said that it was his opinion the plaster ought to be as large as the wound, that a proper statement ought to be published abroad. The then proposed that this council send a certificate or resolution, informing the churches abroad, that the conduct of brother Joseph, has been investigated, and that he has acted in a proper manner and in every respect has conducted himself to the satisfaction of the church in , and also let make a proper confession following the same minutes. Brother , P[eter] Shirts, , R[oswell] Evans. and , made remarks to the same effect. Brother , made a few remarks upon the attitude in which, he, now stands before the world, in endeavoring to preach the gospel. [p. 53]
Brother moved for a decision, relative to the first question, (viz.) What is to be done to arrest the evil? The then proceeded, after a few remarks, to give a decision according, to a motion previously made, (viz.) that an article be published in the Evening & the morning Star, by the direction of the , that the in has investigated the conduct of brother Joseph Smith Junr. while journeying to the West and returning, and that we find that he has acted in every respect in the an honorable and proper Manner, with all monies and other properties entrusted to his charge. After which a vote was taken and carried. A. motion was then made by brother and seconded by brother , that a committee of three, be appointed to write the article for the Star agreeably to the decision.
Brethren, The , and were nominated and appointed by unanimous vote.
, then made said that he was willing to publish a confession in the Star. A motion was then made by brother , and seconded by the , that the above named committe, be appointed to write letters in the name of the council to bro— , & .
Prayer by brother .
)
Clerk of Council) [p. 54]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    The “new school-house” was a two-story building with an attic on a lot west of where the House of the Lord was being constructed. The church’s printing office was on the second floor, while school was held on the lower level. A later JS history suggests that the building may not have been completed by August 1834. (“Portion of Kirtland Township, Ohio, 12 January 1838”; Cowdery, Diary, 24 Jan. 1836; 7 Feb. 1836; 5 Mar. 1836; JS History, vol. B-1, 558.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Diary, Jan.–Mar. 1836. CHL. MS 3429. Also available as Leonard J. Arrington, “Oliver Cowdery’s Kirtland, Ohio, ‘Sketch Book,’BYU Studies 12 (Summer 1972): 410–426.

    JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca. 1882. CHL. CR 100 102, boxes 1–7. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

  2. 2

    Sylvester Smith was appointed a member of the Kirtland high council when it was organized in February 1834. (Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834 [D&C 102:3].)  

  3. 3

    Cyrus Smalling may have been another who had “jealousies” toward JS. According to George A. Smith, on the way back from Missouri, Smalling “became offended with some of the brethren at the table, on which Joseph reproved him and showed the brethren the necessity of each one controlling himself and preserving peace with each other.” (George A. Smith, Autobiography, 53–54.)  

    Smith, George A. Autobiography, ca. 1860–1882. George Albert Smith, Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322, box 1, fd. 2.

  4. 4

    Before the Camp of Israel left New Portage, Ohio, for Missouri, participants put “all the money [they] had” into a general fund, out of which expenses were paid. Frederick G. Williams was appointed treasurer of the camp and kept the record of contributions and disbursements from this fund. Because Sylvester Smith charged JS of improprieties in “the distribution of monies and other properties,” Orson Hyde put together two accounts based on Williams’s records: one showing JS’s personal expenses and contributions while on the expedition and one showing the general expenses and contributions of the Camp of Israel. (McBride, Reminiscence, 2; Kimball, “Journal and Record,” 8; Minutes, 28–29 Aug. 1834; Account with the Camp of Israel, ca. 11–29 Aug. 1834; Account with the Church of Christ, ca. 11–29 Aug. 1834.)  

    McBride, Reuben, Sr. Reminiscence, no date. CHL. MS 8197.

    Kimball, Heber C. “The Journal and Record of Heber Chase Kimball an Apostle of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” ca. 1842–1858. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box 1.

  5. 5

    Bracketed correction based on a later JS history containing a copy of these minutes, which clarifies that Rigdon was reproving only Sylvester Smith and not Greene and others: “Elder Rigdon made some remarks, by way of reproof upon the conduct of Sylvester Smith. Elder John P. Green[e] spoke, others also, followed by the clerk.” (JS History, vol. A-1, 531–532.)  

    JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca. 1882. CHL. CR 100 102, boxes 1–7. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

  6. 6

    The church periodical The Evening and the Morning Star.  

  7. 7

    Likely Isaac Gates Bishop, although it could also have been his son, Isaac Hyde Bishop. (Backman, Profile, 6–7.)  

    Backman, Milton V., Jr., comp. A Profile of Latter-day Saints of Kirtland, Ohio, and Members of Zion’s Camp, 1830–1839: Vital Statistics and Sources. 2nd ed. Provo, UT: Department of Church History and Doctrine and Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1983.

  8. 8

    The copy of these minutes in a later JS history identifies this individual as Amasa Lyman. However, Amasa Lyman was in Missouri in early August 1834. The individual referenced here was more likely Asa Lyman, who signed a statement published in The Evening and the Morning Star declaring that JS was not guilty of any wrongdoing on the Missouri expedition. (JS History, vol. A-1, 532; Minute Book 2, 6–7 Aug. 1834; “Conference Minutes,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Aug. 1834, 182.)  

    JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca. 1882. CHL. CR 100 102, boxes 1–7. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  9. 9

    Bracketed clarifications based on a later JS history. Evans signed a statement published in The Evening and the Morning Star asserting that JS was not guilty of any wrongdoing on the Missouri expedition. (JS History, vol. A-1, 532; “Conference Minutes,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Aug. 1834, 182.)  

    JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca. 1882. CHL. CR 100 102, boxes 1–7. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  10. 10

    Newel K. Whitney.  

  11. 11

    The purpose of these letters is not clear, although it may have been to fulfill Samuel Smith’s suggestion that a letter be sent “to those who are in the same transgression, with” Sylvester Smith. All three of these individuals had traveled with the Camp of Israel, and Cyrus Smalling had also had a confrontation with JS on the expedition. Smalling likely arrived back in Kirtland around 4 August, but it is unclear when Parker and Snow returned. Snow was called to preach in Canada on 4 August 1834 and may have already departed by this time. Parker’s location at the time is not clear. (Account with the Church of Christ, ca. 11–29 Aug. 1834; George A. Smith, Autobiography, 53–54; Minute Book 1, 4 Aug. 1834.)  

    Smith, George A. Autobiography, ca. 1860–1882. George Albert Smith, Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322, box 1, fd. 2.