53991746

Minutes, 12 February 1834

observed in this church

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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to the present. It was understood in ancient days, that if one man could stay in 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
another Could, and if the president could spend his time, the members could also. But in our Councils, generally, one would be uneasy, another asleep, one praying another not; one’s mind on the business of the Council and another thinking on something else &c. Our acts are recorded, and at a future day they will be laid before us, and if we should fail to judge right and injure our fellow beings, they may there prehaps condemn us; then, they are of great Consequence: and to me the Consequence appears to be of force beyond any thing which I am able to express &c. Ask yourselves, brethrn, how much you have exercised yourselves in prayer since you heard of this Council; and if you are now prepared to sit in judgment upon the soul of your brother.— Bro Joseph then went on to give us a relation of his situation at the time he obtained the record,4

JS obtained the Book of Mormon plates on 22 September 1827, eight months after marrying Emma Hale. At the time, he and Emma lived with his parents in Manchester Township, Ontario County, New York, where JS was farming with his father, Joseph Smith Sr. (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 4–5; JS History, vol. A-1, 8.)  


the persecution he met with &C.5

According to JS’s 1838 history, “no sooner was it known” that he had the plates “than the most strenious exertions were used” to attempt to take them from him. “The persecution became more bitter and severe than before,” the history continues, with “multitudes . . . on the alert continualy to get them [the plates].” At the same time, “rumour with her thousand tongues was all the time employed in circulating tales” about JS and his family. JS’s history reports that the persecution eventually “became so intolerable” that he and Emma were “under the necessity of leaving Manchester” for Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where they arrived in December 1827. (JS History, vol. A-1, 8–9.  


He also told us of his transgressing at the time he was translateing

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...

View Glossary
the Book of Mormon.6

This sentence probably refers to JS’s role in the events that led to Martin Harris, who had served as JS’s scribe, losing the part of the Book of Mormon manuscript known as the Book of Lehi in the summer of 1828. According to his 1832 history, JS, at Harris’s request, asked the Lord to permit Harris to take and read the manuscript pages to some of his friends and family “that peradventur he might convince them of the truth.” The Lord denied the request twice but granted conditional permission when JS asked a third time. Harris subsequently took the manuscript and lost it. JS’s history reads, “I . . . was chastened for my transgression for asking the Lord the third time wherefore the Plates was taken from me by the power of God and I was not able to obtain them for a season.” (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 5–[6]; see also Preface to Book of Mormon, ca. Aug. 1829; Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3]; and Revelation, Spring 1829 [D&C 10].)  


He also prophecied that he should stand and shine like the sun in the firmament when his enemies and the gainsayers of his testimony should be put down and Cut off and their names blotted out from among men. After the Council had received much good instruction from Bro. Joseph. The Case of Bro. 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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against whom certain Charges were preferred by bro. Sidney 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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. One was that he told Esqr 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 he wrestled with many men and threw them &c. Another charge was, that he exalted himself above bro. Joseph, in that he said bro. Joseph knew not the contents of the book of Mormon until it was translated.

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...

View Full Bio
but that he himself knew all about it before it was translated. Bro. Martin

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...

View Full Bio
said he did not tell Esqr 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...

View Full Bio
that bro. Joseph drank too much liquor while translateing the book of Mormon, but this thing took place before the book of Mormon was translated. He confessed that his mind was darkend and that he had said many things inadvertently calculateid to wound the feelings of his bretheren and promised to do better. The Council forgave him and gave him much [p. 28]
observed in this church

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...

View Glossary
to the present. It was understood in ancient  days, that if one man could stay in 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
another Could, and if  the president could spend his time, the members could also. But in our  Councils, generally, one would be uneasy, another asleep, one praying  another not; one’s mind on the business of the Council and another think ing on something else &c. Our acts are recorded, and at a future  day they will be laid before us, and if we should fail to judge right  and injure our fellow beings, they may there prehaps condemn us; then,  they are of great Consequence: and to me the Consequence appears to  be of force beyond any thing which I am able to express &c. Ask  yourselves, brethrn, how much you have exercised yourselves in prayer  since you heard of this Council; and if you are now prepared to  sit in judgment upon the soul of your brother.— Bro Joseph then  went on to give us a relation of his situation at the time he obtained  the record,4

JS obtained the Book of Mormon plates on 22 September 1827, eight months after marrying Emma Hale. At the time, he and Emma lived with his parents in Manchester Township, Ontario County, New York, where JS was farming with his father, Joseph Smith Sr. (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 4–5; JS History, vol. A-1, 8.)  


the persecution he met with &C.5

According to JS’s 1838 history, “no sooner was it known” that he had the plates “than the most strenious exertions were used” to attempt to take them from him. “The persecution became more bitter and severe than before,” the history continues, with “multitudes . . . on the alert continualy to get them [the plates].” At the same time, “rumour with her thousand tongues was all the time employed in circulating tales” about JS and his family. JS’s history reports that the persecution eventually “became so intolerable” that he and Emma were “under the necessity of leaving Manchester” for Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where they arrived in December 1827. (JS History, vol. A-1, 8–9.  


He also told us of his transgressing  at the time he was translateing

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...

View Glossary
the Book of Mormon.6

This sentence probably refers to JS’s role in the events that led to Martin Harris, who had served as JS’s scribe, losing the part of the Book of Mormon manuscript known as the Book of Lehi in the summer of 1828. According to his 1832 history, JS, at Harris’s request, asked the Lord to permit Harris to take and read the manuscript pages to some of his friends and family “that peradventur he might convince them of the truth.” The Lord denied the request twice but granted conditional permission when JS asked a third time. Harris subsequently took the manuscript and lost it. JS’s history reads, “I . . . was chastened for my transgression for asking the Lord the third time wherefore the Plates was taken from me by the power of God and I was not able to obtain them for a season.” (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 5–[6]; see also Preface to Book of Mormon, ca. Aug. 1829; Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3]; and Revelation, Spring 1829 [D&C 10].)  


He also proph ecied that he should stand and shine like the sun in the firmament  when his enemies and the gainsayers of his testimony should be put  down and Cut off and their names blotted out from among men.  After the Council had rec[e]ived much good instruction from Bro.  Joseph. The Case of Bro. 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...

View Full Bio
against whom certain  Charges were preferred by bro. Sidney 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...

View Full Bio
. One was that he told Esqr  A[lpheus] 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...

View Full Bio
that Joseph drank too much liquor when he was translating  the Book of Mormon and that he wrestled with many men and  threw them &c. Another charge was, that he exalted himself above  bro. Joseph, in that he said bro. Joseph knew not the contents of the  book of Mormon until it was translated. Bro. Martin

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...

View Full Bio
but that he  himself knew all about it before it was translated. Bro. Martin

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...

View Full Bio
said  he did not tell Esqr 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...

View Full Bio
that bro. Joseph drank too much liquor  while translateing the book of Mormon, but this thing took place  before the book of Mormon was translated. He confessed that  his mind was darkend and that he had said many things inad vertently calculateing calculateid to wound the feelings of his bretheren and  promised to do better. The Council forgave him and gave him much [p. 28]
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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...

View Glossary
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...

View Full Bio
, 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...

View Full Bio
“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...

View Full Bio
’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.  


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