Minutes, , Geauga Co., OH, 19 Feb. 1834. Featured version copied [ca. 19 Feb. 1834] in Minute Book 1, pp. 36–39; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
These minutes of a 19 February 1834 meeting detail the final steps in organizing the “ of the ”—later known as the high council—and the proceedings of the first case adjudicated by the council. Two days earlier, on 17 February 1834, a council of fifty-eight holders and church members initially organized the new council. Believing the minutes contained some errors, the organizing council charged JS with making “all necessary corrections” to the minutes of the meeting, which delineated the procedures the new council should follow when dealing with church members accused of transgression. Included in the minutes presented here is the council’s discussion and acceptance of the corrected 17 February minutes as well as JS’s declaration that the high council was “organized according to the ancient order, and also according to the mind of the Lord.” The newly organized high council then heard its first case, which concerned charges against Curtis Hodges Sr. for “loud speaking, and a want of clearness in articulation” at various meetings. Several witnesses supported the charges, though no extant contemporary record identifies the precise circumstances, locations, or dates of Hodges’s offenses.
The assembled pursuant to adjournment. Joseph Smith Jnr. opened the council by reading the 3rd. Chap of of Joel’s prophecy, and prayer. After which he arose before the Council, and said, that he had laboured the day before with all the strength and wisdom that he had given him in makeing the corrections necessary in the last council minutes which he would now read before this Council. He asked the council for their attention, that they might rightly judge upon the truth and propriety of these minutes, as all were equally interested in them &c. He als[o] urged the necessity of prayer, that the spirit might be given, that the things of the spirit might be judged thereby; because the carnal mind cannot discern the things of God &c. He then proceeded to read the minutes and afterwards made some remarks, when it was decided by the members of the council present, that it might be read a second time. then proceeded to read the minutes or Constitution of the high Council the second time, remarking at the time, that it could not be justly urged to be read at this time, as the hour was passed which was appointed for the Council to assemble. An impropriety by some was discovered in the commencement of the minutes, as it says, a council of , and afterwards says, that , and private members acted in said council. Said objections were corrected, and the minutes read the third time by . The questions were then asked, whether the present Council acknowledged the same, and receive them for a form, and constitution of the high Council of the hereafter: The document was received by the unanimous voice of the Council, with this provision, that, if the president should hereafter discover any lack in the same he should be privileged to fill it up.
The number present who received the above named document, was twenty six high priests, eighteen Elders, three priests, one and fourteen private members, makeing in all, sixty two
After much good instruction, Joseph, the president, [p. 36]
This action possibly hearkens to nineteenth-century parliamentary procedure, which held that the minutes of the previous meeting were to be read and approved (or corrected) at the opening of a meeting. (Robert, Pocket Manual of Rules of Order, 132–133.)
Robert, Henry M. Pocket Manual of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies. Chicago: S. C. Griggs, 1885.
JS’s draft of the revised minutes evidently conflated the council of twenty-four high priests, from which the fifteen-man high council and its presidency were drawn on 17 February, with the larger, more inclusive council of priesthood holders and private members that “voted in the name, and for the church” in actually appointing the high council. The corrected minutes, copied into the Kirtlandminute book, clearly distinguish between the two. (Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834 [D&C 102:5].)