On Saturday, 16 January 1836, JS, , and met in , Ohio, with the , who had requested a conference to air their grievances to the ’s . , the clerk at the gathering, wrote that , the president of the Twelve, “arose and requested the privilege in behalf of his colleagues of speaking, each in his turn without being interrupted.” Marsh presented three issues that were particularly troubling the Twelve. First, notwithstanding earlier attempts to resolve the matter, they remained disturbed by a letter of reprimand that had been sent to them by church leaders while they were in proselytizing in August 1835. Second, despite normally being placed next to the presidency in voting at council meetings, they had voted after the of both and Kirtland at the grand council held the previous day. Finally, Marsh was doubly upset about the Kirtland high council’s recent trial of , who had been accused of “advancing heretical doctrines.” Marsh felt that had wronged the Twelve at the trial by speaking against them, and the fact that the trial had occurred at all, after Bishop had already been tried and disciplined by the Twelve, further incensed Marsh.
Despite confessions and expressions of forgiveness at a September 1835 meeting between the Twelve and the presidency, problems continued to surface, and JS had disagreements with individual members of the Twelve, including his brother . At the 16 January meeting, the church presidency granted each of the Twelve, starting with , the opportunity to be heard. JS’s journal notes that Marsh preferred charges against for making false accusations against the Twelve and for unchristian conduct. Marsh also singled out for using language “to one of the twelve that was unchristian and unbecoming [of] any man, and that they would not submit to such treatment.” After Marsh finished his remarks, each of the other apostles spoke.
After each member of the Twelve spoke, JS responded and gave the instruction found in the first-person voice in the minutes featured here. JS explained that the authority of the Twelve “is next to the present presidency,” and he renounced ’s “harsh language” and moved toward a reconciliation between the presidency and the Twelve. He sought forgiveness from the Twelve and informed them that he had “unlimited confidence” in them and their word. The Twelve accepted JS’s words and those of and ; all “the difficulties that were on their minds” were satisfactorily settled. Reflecting on this meeting, JS’s 17 January journal entry recounts that “some of our hearts were too big for utterance . . . and my soul was filled with the glory of God.” Six days later, the Twelve received their , preparatory to the and the anticipated of power in the in .
Oliver Cowdery was not present for the meeting, though he was in Kirtland on this date. He was evidently informed of the meeting’s discussion and outcome that evening when he met in the House of the Lord with JS and others. Cowdery’s diary notes that he “wrote a letter to my brother Warren on the subject of a difficulty which exists between him and the Twelve,” a subject that was addressed at the meeting. (Cowdery, Diary, 16 Jan. 1836.)