Minutes, 19 February 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Feb. 19. 1834,
The assembled pursuant to adjournment. Joseph Smith Jnr. opened the council by reading the 3rd. Chap of of Joel’s prophecy, and prayer. After which he arose before the Council, and said, that he had laboured the day before with all the strength and wisdom that he had given him in makeing the corrections necessary in the last council minutes which he would now read before this Council. He asked the council for their attention, that they might rightly judge upon the truth and propriety of these minutes, as all were equally interested in them &c. He als[o] urged the necessity of prayer, that the spirit might be given, that the things of the spirit might be judged thereby; because the carnal mind cannot discern the things of God &c. He then proceeded to read the minutes and afterwards made some remarks, when it was decided by the members of the council present, that it might be read a second time. then proceeded to read the minutes or Constitution of the high Council the second time, remarking at the time, that it could not be justly urged to be read at this time, as the hour was passed which was appointed for the Council to assemble. An impropriety by some was discovered in the commencement of the minutes, as it says, a council of , and afterwards says, that , and private members acted in said council. Said objections were corrected, and the minutes read the third time by . The questions were then asked, whether the present Council acknowledged the same, and receive them for a form, and constitution of the high Council of the hereafter: The document was received by the unanimous voice of the Council, with this provision, that, if the president should hereafter discover any lack in the same he should be privileged to fill it up.
The number present who received the above named document, was twenty six high priests, eighteen Elders, three priests, one and fourteen private members, makeing in all, sixty two
After much good instruction, Joseph, the president, [p. 36] upon the heads of the two assistant presidents and pronounced a blessing upon them, that they might have wisdom to magnify their office, and power over all the power of the adversary. He also upon the twelve counsellors and commanded a blessing to rest upon them, that they might have wisdom and power to counsel in righteousness upon all subjects that might be laid before them. He also prayed that they might be delivered from those evils to which they were most exposed, and that their lives might be prolonged on the earth.
then laid his hands upon the head of his son, Joseph, and said: Joseph, I lay my hands upon thy head, and pronounc[e] the blessings of thy progenitors upon thee, that thou mayest hold the of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven until the coming of the Lord, Amen. He, also, laid his hands upon the head of his son and said. , I lay my hands upon thy head and pronounce the blessing of thy progenitors upon thee, that thou mayest remain a of the most high God, and like Samuel of old, hear his voice, saying, Samuel, Samuel, Amen.
, also, laid his hands upon the head of his son and said, my Father in Heaven, I ask thee to bless this my son according to the blessings of his forefathers, that he may be strengthened in his ministry according to his holy calling, Amen.
The president then gave the assistant presidents a Solem charge to do their duty in righteousness and in the fear of God. He also charged the twelve Counsellors in a similar manner, all in the name of Jesus Christ. We then, all raised our hands to heaven in token of the , and the Lord blessed us with his spirit. He then said the was organized according to the ancient order, and also according to the mind of the Lord
The Case of , a , against Curtis Hodges Sen., and in the , was laid before the council [p. 37] as contained in the following declaration.
Feb 19. 1834.
To the president of the of the : The following charges, I prefer against brother Curtis Hodges Sen. an in of this Church.
First, an error in Spirit, and secondly an error in address, or communication: which was in loud speaking, and a want of clearness in articulation, which was calculated to do injury to the cause of God; and also of contending or persisting that that was a good, or propper spirit which actuated him to thus speak: all of which, I consider unbecomeing an elder in this Church and request a hearing before the high council
Signd .
Bro. Hodges plead not quilty [guilty] of the above charges.—
Father Lions was called on for evidence to substantiate the above Charges, and his testimony was pointed against bro. Hodges. Bro. Story was then called on to tell what he knew about the case, and he said that bro. H. talked so loud, at a prayer meeting, that the neighbours came out to see if some one was not hurt. At another meeting, he said that rebuked him for his error, but he did not receive the rebuke; he said also that he raised his voice so high that he could not articulate so as to be understood, and that his teaching brought a damper on the meeting, and was not edifying.
Bro. E. Babbit was then called upon, and he said that bro. Hodges was guilty of hollowing so loud that he, in a measure, lost his voice, and uttered but little else distinctly, than Glory to heavens King”, and in fine, his testimony was pointed against bro. H. Bro. was then called upon and he testified about the same things.— closed the examination of witnesses and bro. stood up on the part of the accuser and laid open the case handsomely and clearly. Bro stood up on the part of the accused, but could say but few words. [p. 38]
The accuser and the accused then spoke for themselves, after which, the president arose and laid open the case still more plain and gave his decision; which was, that the charges in the declaration had been fairly sustained by good witnesses, also, that bro. H. ought to have confessed when rebuked by also that if he had the spirit of the Lord at the meetings where he hollowed, he must have abused it, and grieved it away. all the agreed with the decision. Bro. Hodges then rose and said, that he then saw his wrong, but never saw it before and appeared to feel thankful that he saw it, he said he had learned more during this trial, than he had since he came into the , Confessed freely his error, and said he would attend to overcomeing that evil, the Lord being his helper
The Council then adjournd to meet again tomorrow evening 20th Inst.
<​ d[itt]o​>) [p. 39]


  1. 1

    On 17 February 1834, the council adjourned until ten o’clock Wednesday morning, 19 February. (Minutes, 17 Feb. 1834.)  

  2. 2

    TEXT: Possibly “afterward,”.  

  3. 3

    This action possibly hearkens to nineteenth-century parliamentary procedure, which held that the minutes of the previous meeting were to be read and approved (or corrected) at the opening of a meeting. (Robert, Pocket Manual of Rules of Order, 132–133.)  

    Robert, Henry M. Pocket Manual of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies. Chicago: S. C. Griggs, 1885.

  4. 4

    JS’s draft of the revised minutes evidently conflated the council of twenty-four high priests, from which the fifteen-man high council and its presidency were drawn on 17 February, with the larger, more inclusive council of priesthood holders and private members that “voted in the name, and for the church” in actually appointing the high council. The corrected minutes, copied into the Kirtland minute book, clearly distinguish between the two. (Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834 [D&C 102:5].)  

  5. 5

    Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams. (Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834 [D&C 102:3]; see also “Ecclesiastical Organizational Charts.”)  

  6. 6

    Jared Carter, John S. Carter, Joseph Coe, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, Orson Hyde, John Johnson, Luke Johnson, John Smith, Joseph Smith Sr., Samuel Smith, and Sylvester Smith. (Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834 [D&C 102:3].)  

  7. 7

    Even though the minutes being approved at this 19 February meeting focused exclusively on the procedure that the high council should follow in hearing appeals on disciplinary cases, the wording here suggests that JS understood that the council’s responsibilities would be more extensive. (See Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834 [D&C 102].)  

  8. 8

    See 1 Samuel 3:10.  

  9. 9

    This act of raising hands “in token of the everlasting Covenant” was similar to the action that those who participated in the Kirtland School of the Prophets were instructed to perform when entering the school. (See Revelation, 3 Jan. 1833 [D&C 88:132–135].)  

  10. 10

    Minutes of earlier meetings during which the high council was initially organized, including a council held on 12 February 1834 and one on 17 February 1834, record JS’s teachings on the ancient order of councils. (Minutes, 12 Feb. 1834; Minutes, 17 Feb. 1834.)  

  11. 11

    Hodges had originally been a member of the Methodist church. Along with his wife, Lucy, he was baptized in 1832 in Kirtland. Hodges or one of his sons had testified against Doctor Philastus Hurlbut in a preliminary hearing held in January 1834 that tried Hurlbut on charges that he had threatened to kill JS. (Shepard, “Notorious Hodges Brothers,” 281–282.)  

    Shepard, Bill. “The Notorious Hodges Brothers: Solving the Mystery of Their Destruction at Nauvoo.” The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 26 (2006): 260–286.

  12. 12

    Probably Aaron C. Lyon.  

  13. 13

    Possibly Isaac Storey. (Minute Book 1, 11 and 23 Aug. 1834.)  

  14. 14

    In 1864, George A. Smith provided more information on what Hodges had done. According to Smith, “While speaking in meeting [Hodges] had gone into Methodist spasm shouting and screams in such a manner as caused one of the elders to rebuke him.” (George A. Smith, Discourse, 15 Nov. 1864, in George D. Watt, Discourse Shorthand Notes, 15 Nov. 1864, Pitman Shorthand Transcriptions, CHL; Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 597.)  

    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.

  15. 15

    Probably Erastus Babbitt. (Minute Book 1, 7–8 Mar. and 17 Aug. 1835.)  

  16. 16

    Truman Wait was married to Hodges’s daughter Sarah.  

  17. 17

    According to the revised minutes of the 17 February 1834 meeting that outlined the procedure the council was to follow when hearing a case, the counselors were to “cast lots by numbers and thereby ascertain who of the twelve shall speak first.” Those who drew even numbers were to “stand up in the behalf of the accused and prevent insult or injustice.” Those who drew odd numbers were to speak on behalf of the accuser. If the case was considered to be a simple one, only two counselors, one to represent the accused and one to represent the accuser, would be asked to speak. Cowdery and Coe had drawn numbers 1 and 2, respectively, at the initial organization of the council on 17 February 1834. (Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834 [D&C 102:12–13, 17]; Minutes, 17 Feb. 1834.)  

  18. 18

    According to the revised minutes of the 17 February 1834 meeting, the president’s decision needed to be ratified by a majority of the council in order for it to stand. (Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834 [D&C 102:19–22].)