Minutes, 28 December 1835

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

At a meeting of the of the held in December 28th 1835
Prayer by . [p. 131]
The following complaint was presented by J. Smith Junr.
To the of the ,
Brethren, has been misrepresenting me to certain of the brethren. I therefore prefer a complaint to the council that the subject may be investigated, that my character and influence may be preserved as far as it can in righteousness.
Yours in the bonds of the
Joseph Smith Junr.
It was decided that three should speak on each side. was called and stated what led to the affair was a difference in opinion respecting keeping their meeting. said J. Smith Junr. got mad because he got overpowered in argumint as had remarked before[.] , said men would get over the mark, in advocating error. said a man must be a very weak man if he could not argue aginst the truth without being swerved said he (Smith) got mad because he was overpowered in argument. There would have been no disturbance if he had not got mad. agreed with what had stated. Dont know whether the conversation was heard by any one else. said he could read Tho. Paine or any other work without being swerved. Said this by the door of the House, and appeared dissatisfied with J. Smith’s bad spirit. Elder thought showed a bad spirit against J. Smith.
Elder called. Has not heard say any thing against J. Smith Junr Council asked if he had seen exhibit a restless or dissatisfied spirit Says, that on one or two days after the transaction at the debate, said of his party. If it was not able one way, it was another, by knocking down. understood, that if they could not [p. 132] overpower by arguement, they would by knocking down, but said in a jesting way. said we would not have had any difficulty, if J. Smith had not have got mad. has a singular Spirit. gave him an idea that he had a difficulty with J. Smith. called said <​he​> thought J. Smith was riled and was mad. called. said that agreed with Bishop, respecting being swerved when debating questions, must be weak minded. said [Joseph] Smith would not have wanted the school broke up, if they had not got defeated did not hear any thing from Smith at school that was calculated to hurt feelings and character, he also thinks he cast reflections on the whole , as well as J. Smith Junr. and that what said was calculated to hurt J. Smith. said that Smith was against the school.
Elder knows wants the school to continue and said Smith had tended school till the disturbance & had it not been for this circumstance he (Smith) would have been willing for it to continue heard this statement from Eld. Bishop and not from respecting reading Tho. Paine without having his faith shaken.
thinks if means all he says he is a singular man & said if it had not been for J. Smith’s getting mad there would have been no difficulty Eld. Rich called stated that from what he heard from , he thought he had nothing against J. Smith Junr. stated that said the school would have continued if J. Smith Junr. had not got mad. He also thought that and Bishop had the spirit of the debating school.
Counsellors spoke to the case
addressed the council [p. 133]
then addressed the council
President then rose and delivered the decision. That shall confess that for the want of conformity to the spirit of God he has let the adversary get the possession of his heart, in consequence of which, he has spoken things falsely to the injury of J. Smith Junr, and by injuring him he has insulted the feelings of the and that he shall confess publicly to the satisfaction of his brethren.
This decision was confirmed by the whole council. rose and confessed that he was to blame, for speaking about Brother Smith as he did, & that he said him them in anger, And that he never meant to rise up in rebelliong against the church government of the church. And that in a bad spirit he said what was proved and sees it. was wrong to talk as he did about brother J. Smith, and that he thought he would give B. J. Smith as good as he sent, as he did.
confesses that he has injured J. S. character and is sorry for it, but is not willing to confess that he lied, and cannot confess all that has said in his speech Says he knows this council says he has done wrong and is willing to confess it. The decision is correct, confessed to all present, the charges above stated to the satisfaction of most of the brethren present, [p. 134]


  1. 1

    Of the twelve counselors present at this meeting, six were members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and six were members of the Kirtland high council.  

  2. 2

    In other words, JS and William Smith disagreed about the propriety of continuing the debates that were hosted in William’s home.  

  3. 3

    Thomas Paine authored several works, including the influential Age of Reason (1795), in which he was critical of revealed religion, the Bible, and churches generally.  

  4. 4

    The “Flats” refers to the lowland area on the northern side of Kirtland through which the east branch of the Chagrin River flowed.  

  5. 5

    Likely Francis Gladden Bishop.