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.)
fill the several in ; not beca[u]se they were first in office, and that the arangement was most Judicious that could be made on the occassion also the , are not subject to any other than the ; viz. myself and — I also stated to the 12, that I do not continue countinance the harsh language of to them neither in myself nor any other man, although I have sometimes spoken to[o] harsh from the impulse of the moment and inasmuch as I have wounded your feelings brethren I ask your forgivness, for I love you and will hold you up with all my heart in all righteousness before the Lord, and before all men, for be assured brethren I am willing to stem the torrent of all opposition; in storms in tempests in thunders and lightning by sea and by land in the wilderness or among fals brethren, or mobs or wherever God in his providence may call us and I am determined that neither hights nor depths principalities nor powers things present or to come nor any other creature shall separate me from you; and I will now covenant with you before God that I will not listen too nor credit, any derogatory report against any of you nor condemn you upon any testimony beneath the heavens, short of that testimony which is infalible, untill I can see you face to face and know of a surity [p. 123]