30481

Letter to Church Leaders in Eugene, Indiana, 2 July 1833

seams he has made use of it to impose upon you—10

John purported to be an active priesthood holder in the early months of 1833. (See, for example, Vermillion Branch, Conference Minutes, 1 Jan. and 23 Feb. 1833.)  


as to the two sisters you spoke of in your last. if there is no testamony on either side all you can do is to forbid them to partake of the Sacrament

Primarily referred to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, as opposed to other religious sacraments. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed “that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord...

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unworthyly11

See Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:4]; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 537–538 [Mormon 9:29].  


and pray much and God will bring all thing to light
N.K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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Bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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[p. 56]
seams he has made use of it to impose  upon you—10

John purported to be an active priesthood holder in the early months of 1833. (See, for example, Vermillion Branch, Conference Minutes, 1 Jan. and 23 Feb. 1833.)  


as to the two sisters you spoke  of in your last. if there is no testamony on  either side all you can do is to forbid them  to partake of the Sacrament

Primarily referred to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, as opposed to other religious sacraments. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed “that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord...

View Glossary
unworthyly11

See Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:4]; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 537–538 [Mormon 9:29].  


and  pray much and God will bring all thing  to light
N.K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

View Full Bio
Bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

View Glossary
[p. 56]
Previous
Like the preceding letter of the same date, the 2 July 1833 letter featured here pertains to disciplinary action taken against John Smith and his son Eden

1806–7 Dec. 1851. Laborer. Born in Indiana. Son of John Smith. Baptized into LDS church. Served mission to Ohio, Dec. 1831, 1832. Married first Elizabeth. Rebaptized into LDS church by William E. McLellin, 27 Aug. 1834, in Eugene, Vermillion Co., Indiana....

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in Eugene

Located in west central part of state, about three miles from Illinois border and about seventy miles west of Indianapolis. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Population in 1850 about 1,700. Included Eugene village; population in 1840 about 400. Branch of LDS...

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, Indiana. The Eugene branch

An ecclesiastical organization of church members in a particular locale. A branch was generally smaller than a stake or a conference. Branches were also referred to as churches, as in “the Church of Shalersville.” In general, a branch was led by a presiding...

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of the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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was established in May 1832 in Vermillion County1

The branch of the church in Eugene was also called the “Vermillion Church of Christ.” (Vermillion Branch, Record of Members, [1].)  


and consisted of approximately ninety members. In Eugene, a council, typically consisting of four to six elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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, routinely held conferences

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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to instruct one another and, when necessary, to deliver disciplinary measures to those in their congregation. John Smith arrived in Eugene no later than 15 December 1832, joining his son Eden, who had been a member of the branch since at least 3 November 1832.2

Vermillion Branch, Conference Minutes, 3 Nov. and 15 Dec. 1832; Vermillion Branch, Record of Members, [4].  


John and Eden Smith took on positions of authority within the branch and soon encountered criticism for making unfounded accusations against church leaders.3

Vermillion Branch, Conference Minutes, 13 July 1833.  


The letter featured below instructed the elders in Eugene concerning disciplinary measures against the Smiths.
Church leaders in both Eugene

Located in west central part of state, about three miles from Illinois border and about seventy miles west of Indianapolis. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Population in 1850 about 1,700. Included Eugene village; population in 1840 about 400. Branch of LDS...

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and Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio, apparently felt that John and Eden

1806–7 Dec. 1851. Laborer. Born in Indiana. Son of John Smith. Baptized into LDS church. Served mission to Ohio, Dec. 1831, 1832. Married first Elizabeth. Rebaptized into LDS church by William E. McLellin, 27 Aug. 1834, in Eugene, Vermillion Co., Indiana....

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needed to repent together “in all humility” before they could be held “in fellowship.” In a letter that has not been located, Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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reported to the elders in Vermillion County that he and his counselors in Kirtland had stripped John Smith of his priesthood

Power or authority of God. The priesthood was conferred through the laying on of hands upon adult male members of the church in good standing; no specialized training was required. Priesthood officers held responsibility for administering the sacrament of...

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authority. On 3 June 1833, the elders of the Eugene branch wrote to Bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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regarding John Smith’s status in the church and apparently reported alleged infractions committed by Eden Smith. Five days later, John Smith wrote to JS regarding his own situation. JS and Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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wrote to John on 2 July, the same day the letter featured here was written, requiring him and Eden to repent or be disciplined. They declared that John had no priesthood authority and that Eden was “confederate” with John in committing the transgressions.4
In the 2 July letter featured here, JS and his counselors in the presidency of the high priesthood

Both the office of the president of the high priesthood and the body comprising the president and his counselors; the presiding body of the church. In November 1831, a revelation directed the appointment of a president of the high priesthood. The individual...

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sanctioned the prior disciplinary action of the Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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bishop’s council

A governing body comprising a bishop and his counselors. The bishop’s council was charged with overseeing the temporal affairs of the church, administering goods under the law of consecration, and assisting the poor. The bishop’s council had authority to ...

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. They again emphasized that John Smith had transgressed and that he had no priesthood authority, and they also authorized the elders to convene a disciplinary hearing for Eden Smith

1806–7 Dec. 1851. Laborer. Born in Indiana. Son of John Smith. Baptized into LDS church. Served mission to Ohio, Dec. 1831, 1832. Married first Elizabeth. Rebaptized into LDS church by William E. McLellin, 27 Aug. 1834, in Eugene, Vermillion Co., Indiana....

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. In a postscript to the letter, Bishop Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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called for the elders to hold disciplinary councils for both Smiths, perhaps reiterating the counsel he had given in his earlier letter to them.
The presidency’s letter featured here, as well as their letter to John Smith, was apparently received before 13 July 1833, when the Eugene

Located in west central part of state, about three miles from Illinois border and about seventy miles west of Indianapolis. Population in 1840 about 1,000. Population in 1850 about 1,700. Included Eugene village; population in 1840 about 400. Branch of LDS...

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elders held a council regarding the membership of the Smiths, and it is probable that the council was held in response to this letter. At the meeting, the president of the council read aloud a letter from Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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concerning John and Eden Smith

1806–7 Dec. 1851. Laborer. Born in Indiana. Son of John Smith. Baptized into LDS church. Served mission to Ohio, Dec. 1831, 1832. Married first Elizabeth. Rebaptized into LDS church by William E. McLellin, 27 Aug. 1834, in Eugene, Vermillion Co., Indiana....

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, which may have been either Whitney’s postscript to the letter featured here or his earlier letter to Eugene regarding the Smiths. After the church voted to “cut off” John Smith, Eden appealed “to the high priest

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

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Court Conserning his trial.”5

Vermillion Branch, Conference Minutes, 13 July 1833; see also Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:72, 78–80].  


Branch records suggest, however, there were an insufficient number of high priests to hold a court in Eugene. The Eugene elders apparently forwent the appeal to the “high priest Court” and voted to cut off Eden as well. Eden was rebaptized on 27 August 1834 in Eugene by William E. McLellin

18 Jan. 1806–14 Mar. 1883. Schoolteacher, physician, publisher. Born at Smith Co., Tennessee. Son of Charles McLellin and Sarah (a Cherokee Indian). Married first Cynthia Ann, 30 July 1829. Wife died, by summer 1831. Baptized into LDS church by Hyrum Smith...

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.6

McLellin, Journal, 10 and 27 Aug. 1834.  


It is unknown if John Smith ever reconciled with the church.

Facts