Minutes, 28 April 1838, as Reported by George W. Robinson

Document Transcript

Saturday 28th This morning Prests Smith & & , were invited into attend the ; and accordingly attended, the buisness before the high council, was the trial of an case appealed, from the of the , near ; Whereas [blank] Jackson was plantiff, and defendant. Council called to order. &. , Presiding, It appeared in calling the council to order, that some of the seats were vacated; the council then proceeded to fill those seats: &c. And as there appeared to be no persons to fill Said Seats, Eligible to that office; Presidents Smith & , were strongly solisited to act as councilors, or to Preside, and let the then presiding officers sit on the council; &c. They accepted of the former proposal, and accordingly Prest. Smith was choosen to act on the part of the defence, and to speak upon the case, togeth[er] with . and , was chosen to act on the part of the prossecution, and to speak upon the case together with , after the council was organized, and op[e]ned by prayer; the notorious case of , was called in question; after some arbitrarious speeches, to know whether witnesses should be admitted, to testify against , or whether he should have the privilege of confessing his own Sins, It was desided; that witnesses Should be admited, and also the writen testimo [p. 34]ny of the said of Said Jackson. Naw as to this man , it is a well known <​fact,​> and without contradiction, that he has been in transgression <​ever​> Since he first came into , which is some four, or five years since, as appeared this day, by different witnesses, which are unimpeacible [unimpeachable]. Witnesses against the <​this​> man , were these 1,st , wife of said plantiff, Jackson. one <​an​> Br. Best: also . Br : also Br. ; also Br Benjamin, and the plantiff; Which testimony says, Whereas, the plantiff, had some time last season, sent his from , Illinois, to this country as he himself could not come, at that time, accordingly his wife , came and settled in the first above mentioned, Now the <​this​> man had settled in this branch also, and was their presiding , and had gained to himself great influence in and on over that branch, and it also appears that the this man had great possessions, and (if we may judge from testimony given this day) calculates to keep them let the saints of God’s necessity necessities be what they may, and it also appears that this man was in want of a wife (if actions bespeak the desires of any man) consequently set his wits to work to get one, he commences by getting (as he said,) revelations from God, that he must marry , or that she was the woman for to make his wife, and it appeared that these revilations were frequently received by him, and shortly introdused them to , It also was manifested that the old man had sagasity enough to know; that unless he used his priestly office, he to assist him in accomplishing his designs, <​he would fail in the attempt;​> he therefore told that he had a had a revelation from god that her husband was dead &c. and that She must concent to marry him, or she would be forever miserable; for he had seen her future state of existance, and that she must remember, that whoom soever he blessed, would be blessed, and whom soever he cursed, would be cursed, [p. 35] influencing her mind if possible, to believe his power was sufficient, to make her forever miserable; provided she complied not with his request. &c. Accordingly, they came to an agreement, and were soon to be married, but fortunately or unfortunately for both parties previous to the nuptial arrival of the nuptial day, Behold!! to the asstonishment of our defendant, the husband of arrived at home, and consequently, disanuled the proceedings of the above alluded parties, the old gentleman , at this time (if not before,) knew verry well, that his god who gave his these revelations, (if any revelations he had,) must of course be no less than the devil, and in order to paliate the justice of his crime, sadled the whole burden upon the devil, that in scourging the person, who had previously befriended him, and counseled him in his former days; peradventure he might extricate himself from the Snare, of his own setting, and dictation. But, alass!! to[o] late for the old man, the testimony, being closed, and the Sword of Justice, began to be unsheathed, which fell upon the old man like a scourge of ten thousand lashes, wielded by the hand of & , inspired by the spirit of justice, accompanied with a flow of elequence, which searched for the feelings, like the sting of so many scorpions, which served to atone for past iniquity. there were no feelings that were not felt after, there were no sores that were not probed, there were no excuses rend[e]red that were not exceptionable. After Justice had ceased to weild his <​its​> sword, Mercy then advanced to rescue its victom, which inspired the heart of President J. Smith Jr, & who, with profound elequence <​&​> with <​a​> deep & sublime thought, with clemency of feeling, spoke in faivour of mercy the , but in length of time, while mercy appeared to be doing her utmost, in contending against justice, the latter at last gained the ascendency, and took full power over <​possession of​> the mind of [p. 36] the speaker, who leveled a voley of darts, which came upon the old man, like <​a​> huricanes upon the mountain tops, which seemingly, was about to sweep the victom entirely out of the reach of mercy, but amidst the clashing of the sword of Justice, mercy still claimed the victom, and saved him still in the , and in this last kingdom Happy is it for those whose sins (like this mans) goes before them to Judgement, that they may yet repent and be saved in the Kingdom of our God. desided, that inasmuch as this man, had confessed his sins, and asked for, forgiveness, and promised to mark well the path of his feet, and do, (inasmuch as lay in his power.) what God, Should required at his hand<​s​>. accordingly, it was decided, that he give up his as , and stand as a member in the Church, this in consequence of his being concidered not capable of dignifying that office, &c Council Adjourned
, Scribe [p. 37]


  1. 1

    Noah Webster’s dictionary of early American English lists one definition of arbitrary as “not governed by any fixed rules.” (“Arbitrary,” in American Dictionary.)  

    An American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. the Origin, Affinities and Primary Signification of English Words, as far as They Have Been Ascertained. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

  2. 2

    It is unclear when Lyon moved from Warsaw, New York, to Kirtland, but by summer 1833 he was planning to make the move. (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 6 Aug. 1833.)  

  3. 3

    TEXT: Possibly “and”.  

  4. 4

    Best housed Jackson while she lived in the settlement at Guymon’s mill. The other men were prominent members of the community: Roundy was a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, Barnard was a local landholder, and Guymon was the owner of the local mill. (Quorums of the Seventy, “Book of Records,” 6; Foote, Autobiography, 15 Sept. and 7 Oct. 1838, 29.)  

    Record of Seventies / First Council of the Seventy. “Book of Records,” 1837–1843. Bk. A. In First Council of the Seventy, Records, 1837–1885. CHL. CR 3 51, box 1, fd. 1.

    Foote, Warren. Autobiography, not before 1903. Warren Foote, Papers, 1837–1941. CHL. MS 1123, fd. 1.

  5. 5

    See Matthew 16:19; 18:18; see also Revelation, 24 Feb. 1834 [D&C 103:25].  

  6. 6

    JS had previously taught that “the order of the High priesthood is that they have power given them to seal up the Saints unto eternal life.” This teaching was based on passages in the gospel of Matthew regarding the apostles’ authority to bind things on earth and in heaven, as well as in JS revelations indicating that this authority included the power to bind or “seal” salvation or damnation—to bless or to curse. (Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; see Matthew 18:18; 16:19; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 435 [Helaman 10:7]; Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–A [D&C 68:12]; Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 1:8]; and Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841, in Book of the Law of the Lord, 10 [D&C 124:93].)  

  7. 7

    Sarah Jackson’s husband arrived in the area sometime in November, about five months after Sarah settled there.  

  8. 8

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 397–398, 441 [Alma 60:29; Helaman 13:5].  

  9. 9

    See 1 Kings 12:14; and 2 Chronicles 10:14.  

  10. 10

    Ebenezer Robinson’s minutes state that Lyon “made confession to the satisfaction of the Council” after “some lengthy remarks by the Councellors, and very good instruction given by Councellor Smith,” suggesting that JS may be “the speaker” referred to here.  

  11. 11

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 339, 340 [Alma 42:23–24, 31].  

  12. 12

    JS’s revelations framed the work of the Latter-day Saints as a final dispensation of the gospel in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ and a transition into the millennial kingdom of God. (See, for example, Revelation, 23 July 1837 [D&C 112:30–32].)  

  13. 13

    See 1 Timothy 5:24.  

  14. 14

    See Proverbs 4:26; and Hebrews 12:13.  

  15. 15

    Ebenezer Robinson’s minutes indicate that the high council concurred in the decision, which, according to established practice, was likely presented by Marsh or by Marsh and Patten.