53991746

Minutes, 12 February 1834

good advice. Bro Rich7

Probably Leonard Rich.  


was Called in question for transgressing the word of wisdom and for selling the revelations at an extortionary price while he was gone East with father Lions8

Probably Aaron C. Lyon. In the winter of 1832–1833, Lyon and Leonard Rich lived in Warsaw, Genesee County, New York, where they worked together in preaching, converting, and strengthening new church members. It is unclear whether the charges against Rich mentioned here stemmed from events that transpired during his time in Warsaw or during another time when he worked with Lyon somewhere in the East. (Holbrook, Reminiscences, 11–12.)  


which thing Bro. Rich confessed before the Council

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

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and the Council forgave him upon his promiseing to do better and reform his life.—
Council then Concluded by prayer by Bro. S. Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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Clk [p. 29]
good advice. Bro Rich7

Probably Leonard Rich.  


was Called in question for transgressing  the word of wisdom and for selling the revelations at an extortionary  price while he was gone East with father Lions8

Probably Aaron C. Lyon. In the winter of 1832–1833, Lyon and Leonard Rich lived in Warsaw, Genesee County, New York, where they worked together in preaching, converting, and strengthening new church members. It is unclear whether the charges against Rich mentioned here stemmed from events that transpired during his time in Warsaw or during another time when he worked with Lyon somewhere in the East. (Holbrook, Reminiscences, 11–12.)  


which thing Bro.  Rich confessed before the Council

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

View Glossary
and the Council forgave  him upon his promiseing to do better and reform his life.—
Council then Concluded by prayer by Bro. S. Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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Clk [p. 29]
Previous
Following instructions outlined in the “Articles and Covenants” of the church, in June 1830 JS began conducting church business with other church officials in what were called “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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.” Over time, these fairly large gatherings were supplemented by smaller conferences, or “councils,” of 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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holders and leaders.1 Those attending these meetings were instructed to seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost as they transacted the business at hand,2 and some felt they were successfully determining God’s will in the course of their deliberations.3 At a meeting held on 12 February 1834, however, JS expressed dissatisfaction with the way many attending the councils were conducting themselves. JS was particularly concerned about council members’ insufficient preparation and attentiveness during disciplinary hearings that had taken place in various councils in 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, over the preceding year.4
At this 12 February meeting JS also recounted some of the conditions and difficulties—including persecution and his own transgressions—he faced at the time he obtained and translated

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

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the Book of Mormon. The council then judged two cases. One case involved Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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, who was charged with telling Alpheus C. Russell

7 Apr. 1795–21 Oct. 1861. Farmer, teacher, justice of the peace. Born in Middlefield, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Alpheus Russell and Rebekah Clark. Married Elizabeth Conant, 28 May 1818, in Becket, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Congregationalist...

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“that Joseph drank too much liquor when he was translating the Book of Mormon” and that JS “wrestled with many men and threw them.” Harris was also charged with saying that he knew the contents of the Book of Mormon before it was translated, whereas JS did not. Harris’s conversation with Russell, who lived in 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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, probably took place after 23 March 1833, as Harris had not returned to Kirtland from a proselytizing mission by that date.5

On 23 March 1833, Sylvester Smith and Harpin Riggs were assigned to “journey eastward to Palmyra and find Martin Harris.” Harris spent at least part of this mission preaching with his brother Emer Harris. (Minutes, 23 Mar. 1833–B; Emer Harris, Springville, PA, to “Dearly Beloved Brethren,” Brownhelm, OH, 7 May 1833, Harris Family Papers, BYU.)  


After passing judgment on Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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’s case, the council considered charges against “Bro Rich”—probably Leonard Rich

1800–1868. Farmer. Born in New York. Married first Keziah. Lived at Warsaw, Genesee Co., New York, 1830. Participated in Camp of Israel expedition to Missouri, 1834. Served as a president of First Quorum of the Seventy, 1835–1837. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga...

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—who was accused of disobeying the Word of Wisdom and selling JS’s revelations at an “extortionary” price. Rich appears to have been the first person formally charged with disobeying the Word of Wisdom, several facets of which had been in question since JS dictated it a year earlier.6

See Revelation, 27 Feb. 1833 [D&C 89].  


In what way Rich disobeyed the Word of Wisdom is unclear, and the second charge against Rich is also somewhat ambiguous as it is not clear which revelations Rich was selling. In 1833, the Book of Commandments—a compilation of JS revelations—had been printed in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, some pages of which survived the mobbing of the print office

JS revelations, dated 20 July and 1 Aug. 1831, directed establishment of LDS church’s first printing office in Independence, Missouri. Dedicated by Bishop Edward Partridge, 29 May 1832. Located on Lot 76, on Liberty Street just south of courthouse square....

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and were later bound into books and sold by John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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for twenty-five cents each.7

Whitmer, Daybook, 6 and 13 July 1834; 3 and 12 Aug. 1834; 16 Sept. 1834.  


Rich may have been selling copies of the Book of Commandments at higher prices, or he may have been selling copies of revelations that he had personally made before going east. Another possibility is that Rich was selling copies of a revelation dated 16–17 December 1833 that 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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printing office

Following destruction of church printing office in Independence, Missouri, July 1833, JS and other church leaders determined to set up new printing office in Kirtland under firm name F. G. Williams & Co. Oliver Cowdery purchased new printing press in New ...

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had printed as a broadsheet.8

See Historical Introduction to Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101].  


According to Eber D. Howe

9 June 1798–10 Nov. 1885. Newspaper editor and publisher, farmer, wool manufacturer. Born at Clifton Park, Saratoga Co., New York. Son of Samuel William Howe and Mabel Dudley. Moved with family to Ovid, Seneca Co., New York, 1804. Located at Niagara District...

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’s 1834 statement, after this broadsheet was printed, “it was taken up by all their priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. In the Book of Mormon, priests were described as those who baptized, administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church,” and taught “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” A June 1829 revelation directed...

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and carried to all their congregations, some of which were actually sold for one dollar per copy.”9

Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 155.  


Facts