Minutes, , Geauga Co., OH, 22 Nov. 1835. Featured version copied [between ca. 4 Apr. and ca. 16 May 1836] in Minute Book 1, pp. 130–131; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
On the evening of 22 November 1835, JS attended a meeting that examined the standing of , a former “who had withdrawn from the ” but who had recently appealed to return and be restored to his previous office. Squires had been an energetic missionary for the Church of the Latter Day Saints. The minutes of the proceedings of a 24–25 January 1835 conference held in , New York, stated that Squires had recently established a branch of the church with nineteen members in good standing in Portage, Allegany County, New York. A little more than two months later, minutes of another conference in Freedom recorded the creation of a church branch in Burns, Allegany County, and noted that it had been “raised and established almost wholly by the instrumentality of Elder A. J. Squires.” The same minutes also indicated that Squires had “been the instrument in the hands of the Lord” in organizing the branch, also in Allegany County, on 23 March 1835 and that it had twenty-six members.
Despite his proselytizing success, sometime between that April 1835 conference and this 22 November meeting, mailed his priesthood back to JS and joined the Methodists. At the time, Methodism constituted the largest Protestant denomination in the , and it was particularly prevalent in the areas where Squires preached. Whatever attracted Squires to Methodism was apparently short lived—within months he journeyed to , Ohio, to apologize to church leaders and to seek the restoration of his elder’s license in order to recommence his missionary labors. After JS and gave Squires “a severe chastisment” and a “keen rebuke” at the meeting featured here, the church and council voted to restore Squires to his office. In the months following this 22 November 1835 meeting, Squires resumed proselytizing for the Latter-day Saints.
Many early converts to the Church of the Latter Day Saints, including Brigham Young’s family and Emma Smith, came from Methodist backgrounds. Several studies have examined the connections between and the parallel histories of Mormons and Methodists in the 1830s. (See Jones, “We Latter-day Saints Are Methodists,” 3–20; Yorgason, “Some Demographic Aspects of One Hundred Early Mormon Converts,” 42–43; Grandstaff and Backman, “Social Origins of the Kirtland Mormons,” 56; Underwood, Millenarian World of Early Mormonism, 129–131; Underwood, “Millenarianism and Popular Methodism,” 81–91; Jones, “Mormonism in the Methodist Marketplace,” 83–90; and Hatch, “Mormon and Methodist,” 24–44.)
Jones, Christopher C. “‘We Latter-day Saints Are Methodists’: The Influence of Methodism on Early Mormon Religiosity.” Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 2009.
Yorgason, Laurence Milton. “Some Demographic Aspects of One Hundred Early Mormon Converts, 1830–1837. Master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1974.
so as to go and join the Methodists, yet says he was not in faith with their doctrine. He now says he desires to return to the fellowship of the church and asks forgiveness of the brethren and a restoration of his license. President Smith arose & spoke at considerable length on the impropriety of turning away from the truth and going after a people so destitute, of the spirit of righteousness as the Methodists. also labored quite lengthy to show the folly of fellowshiping any doctrine or spirit aside from that of Christ. After which arose & said he felt firm in determination of doing the will of God in all things, or as far as in him lies, is sorry for his faults and by the grace of God will forsake them in future. then called for the vote of the Church & received it in favor of restoring him to fellowship, and the office of Elder also, and that the clerk give him a License.
This certifies that the above named received his License agreeably to the decision of the conference on the 22d of Nov. 1835
JS’s thoughts on Methodism fluctuated. As a youth, his history stated, he was “somewhat partial to the Methodist sect.” However, by the mid-1830s, his attitude toward Methodism became more negative. According to William E. McLellin, JS gave a sermon in 1834 in which he “exposed the Methodist Dicipline in its black deformity.” (JS History, 1834–1836, 59; JS History, vol. A-1, 2; McLellin, Journal, 5 Dec. 1834; see also JS, Journal, 30 Oct. and 15 Nov. 1835.)
McLellin, William E. Journal, 18 July–20 Nov. 1831. William E. McLellin, Papers, 1831–1836, 1877–1878. CHL. MS 13538, box 1, fd. 1. Also available as Jan Shipps and John W. Welch, eds., The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831–1836 (Provo, UT: BYU Studies; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994).
An addition to the church’s governing Articles and Covenants, as published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, instructed that “the elders are to receive their licences from other elders by vote of the church to which they belong, or from the conferences.” The action taken at this meeting, calling for the church to vote on restoring Squires’s elder’s license, appears to be in adherence to that administrative policy. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Doctrine and Covenants 2:14, 1835 ed. [D&C 20:63].)