53991748

Minutes, 17 February 1834

him by vision. The law by which to govern the Council in 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...

View Glossary
. Jerusalem was the seat of the Church Council in ancient days. The apostle, Peter, was the president of the Council

A governing body of twelve high priests. The first high council was organized in Kirtland, Ohio, on 17 February 1834 “for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church, or the bishop...

View Glossary
and held the Keys

Authority or knowledge of God given to humankind. In the earliest records, the term keys primarily referred to JS’s authority to unlock the “mysteries of the kingdom.” Early revelations declared that both JS and Oliver Cowdery held the keys to bring forth...

View Glossary
of the Kingdom of God, on the Earth was appointed to this office by the voice of the Saviour and acknowledged in it by the voice of the Church. He had two men appointed as Counsellors with him, and in case Peter was absent, his Counsellors Could transact business. or either one of them. The President could also transact business alone. It was not the order of heaven in ancient Councils to plead for and against the guilty as in our judicial Courts (so called) but that every Counsellor when he arose to speak, should speak precisely according to evidence and according to the teaching of the spirit of the Lord, that no Counsellor should attempt to screen the guilty when his guilt was manifest That the person acused before the high council had a right to one half the members of the council to plead his cause, in order that his case might be fairly presented before the President that a descission might be rendered according to truth and righteousness. If the case was not a very difficult one to investigate, two of the Counsellors only, spoke, one on one side and one on the other according to evidence. If the case was more difficult, according to the judgment of the Council, two were to speak on each side, and if more difficult, three might speak on each side, and three only. Those who spoke in Council were chosen by the council and that too by casting lots. Those who were thus chosen to speak, took their regular turn, in speaking. Bro Joseph said that this organization was an ensample to the high priests

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...

View Glossary
in their Councils abroad, and a copy of their proceedings be transmitted to the seat of the goverment of the Church to be recorded on the general record. In all cases, the accuser and the acused have a perfect right to speak for themselves before the Council. The Councils abroad, have a right and it is their duty to appoint a president for the time being for themselves. If in case the parties are not satisfied with the decission of the Council abroad, they have a right to an appeal to the Bishops Court

Official church proceedings convened to handle disputes or allegations of misconduct. The officers of the court were a bishop, his assistants or counselors, and additional high priests or elders assembled on an ad hoc basis. Until high councils were established...

View Glossary
, and from thence to the presidents Council

A governing body of twelve high priests. The first high council was organized in Kirtland, Ohio, on 17 February 1834 “for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church, or the bishop...

View Glossary
which is an end of all strife5

When JS revised these minutes over the following two days, he omitted this specific explanation of an appeals process. An earlier revelation provided for a “Court of the high priesthood,” composed of the president of the high priesthood and twelve other high priests, whose “desision upon controvers[i]es” was final. Subsequent records indicate that by the end of April 1843, individuals dissatisfied with the decision of a high council with appellate authority were still able to appeal their case to the First Presidency. (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:79–80]; JS, Journal, 30 Apr. 1843; “Trial before the First Presidency,” 30 Apr. 1843, JS Collection, CHL.)  


[p. 30]
him by vision. The law and by which to govern the Council  in 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...

View Glossary
. Jerusalem was the seat of the Church  Council in ancient days. The apostle, Peter, was the president  of the Council

A governing body of twelve high priests. The first high council was organized in Kirtland, Ohio, on 17 February 1834 “for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church, or the bishop...

View Glossary
in ancient days and held the Keys

Authority or knowledge of God given to humankind. In the earliest records, the term keys primarily referred to JS’s authority to unlock the “mysteries of the kingdom.” Early revelations declared that both JS and Oliver Cowdery held the keys to bring forth...

View Glossary
of the Kingdom  of God, <on the Earth> was appointed to this office by the voice of the Saviour  and confirmed <acknowledgement acknowledged> in it by the voice of the Church. He had two  men appointed as Counsellors with him, and in case Peter was  absent, his Counsellors Could transact business. <or either one of them. The President  could also transact business alone.> It was not the order  of heaven in ancient Councils to plead for and against the guilty as  in our judicial Courts (so called) but that if every Counsellor when  he arose to speak, should speak precisely according to evidence and  according to the teaching of the spirit of the Lord, that no Counsellor  should attempt to screen the guilty when his guilt was manifest  That the person acused before the high council had a right to one  half the memb[e]rs of the council to plead his cause, that is six, in order  that his case might be fairly presented before the President that a  descission might be rendered according to truth and righteousness.  If the case was not a very difficult one to investigate, two of the Counsellors  only, spoke, one for the accused and one against <on one side and one on the other> according to evidence.  If the case was more difficult, according to the judgment of the Council,  two were to speak on each side, and if more difficult, three might  speak on each side, and three only. Those who spoke in Council were  chosen by the council and that too by casting lots. Those who were thus  chosen to speak, took their regular turn, in speaking. Bro Joseph said  that this organization was an ensample to the high priests

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...

View Glossary
in their  Councils abroad, and a copy of their proceedings be transmitted to  the seat of the goverment of the Church to be recorded on the general  record. In all cases, the accuser and the acused have a perfect  right to speak for themselves before the Council. The Councils  abroad, have a right and it is their duty to appoint a  president for the time being for themselves. If in case the parties are  not satisfied with the decission of the Council abroad, they have  a right to an appeal to the Bishops Court

Official church proceedings convened to handle disputes or allegations of misconduct. The officers of the court were a bishop, his assistants or counselors, and additional high priests or elders assembled on an ad hoc basis. Until high councils were established...

View Glossary
, and from thence  to the presidents Council

A governing body of twelve high priests. The first high council was organized in Kirtland, Ohio, on 17 February 1834 “for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church, or the bishop...

View Glossary
which is and end of all strife5

When JS revised these minutes over the following two days, he omitted this specific explanation of an appeals process. An earlier revelation provided for a “Court of the high priesthood,” composed of the president of the high priesthood and twelve other high priests, whose “desision upon controvers[i]es” was final. Subsequent records indicate that by the end of April 1843, individuals dissatisfied with the decision of a high council with appellate authority were still able to appeal their case to the First Presidency. (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:79–80]; JS, Journal, 30 Apr. 1843; “Trial before the First Presidency,” 30 Apr. 1843, JS Collection, CHL.)  


[p. 30]
PreviousNext
The following minutes of a 17 February 1834 meeting record the initial organization of a standing “Presidents Church Council” 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...

More Info
, Ohio—later known as the “high Council

A governing body of twelve high priests. The first high council was organized in Kirtland, Ohio, on 17 February 1834 “for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church, or the bishop...

View Glossary
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...

View Glossary
,” or the Kirtland high council. The minutes also document the rules the council should follow when judging a church member accused of a transgression.1 Before 17 February, such issues had been judged by “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...

View Glossary
” or “councils” of priesthood holders (with other church members often in attendance). Who composed these conferences and councils varied with location and the availability of potential attendees. Revelations dictated by JS in August and November 1831 also provided for a bishop’s court

Official church proceedings convened to handle disputes or allegations of misconduct. The officers of the court were a bishop, his assistants or counselors, and additional high priests or elders assembled on an ad hoc basis. Until high councils were established...

View Glossary
to hear such cases, as well as for an appellate “court of the church before the president 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...

View Glossary
.” The November revelation also empowered the president to call twelve available high priests

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...

View Glossary
to assist in adjudicating a case.2

Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:14–18]; Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:72, 78–80].  


The new standing council in Kirtland was to serve as “an ensample” for similar, temporary councils organized as occasions demanded in outlying areas and also as an appellate court placed between lower disciplinary councils and the presidency of the high priesthood.
According to the minutes featured here, JS stated that he organized 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...

More Info
high council on the same principles that governed the “order of Councils in ancient days.” Five days earlier JS had discussed this ancient order in a council of 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...

View Glossary
and high priests, where he focused his remarks on the qualifications and conduct required of individual members of such councils.3 An earlier reference in Minute Book 1 to educating elders on “the ancient manner of conducting meetings” indicates the topic had been on JS’s mind as early as 1831 and suggests that the 17 February 1834 meeting represents an important milestone in JS’s ongoing effort to restore the ancient gospel, as he understood it, to the earth.4
Pursuant to the instructions recorded near the end of the document featured here, JS “laboured . . . with all the strength and wisdom that he had” the following day to correct these minutes. On 19 February, JS presented the corrected minutes to the council, which, after hearing the revised minutes read three times and suggesting at least one additional correction, unanimously voted to accept them “for a form, and constitution of the high Council of the Church of Christ hereafter.” JS then reported that “the Council was organized according to the ancient order, and also according to the mind of the Lord.”5

Facts