Minutes, [, Geauga Co., OH], 23 Aug. 1834. Featured version copied [not before 25 Feb. 1836] in Minute Book 1, pp. 54–55; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
On 23 August 1834, a council was held in , Ohio, to review a document prepared at the direction of a general council of and who met on 11 August 1834. The document, which was titled “Conference minutes,” included three resolutions absolving JS of charges of misconduct while leading the to and from in summer 1834. , one of the camp participants, had accused JS of various misdeeds, resulting in the 11 August council being called to investigate the matter. At that meeting, the council accepted JS’s explanations of the difficulties and directed , , and to write an article for The Evening and the Morning Star stating that the council found that JS had “acted in every respect in an honorable and proper Manner” on the expedition. At this 23 August meeting, Cowdery, Burdick, and Hyde presented the document they had prepared, and the council ordered it to be printed.
At the 11 August council, had asked for forgiveness for his accusations against JS and stated he would “publish a confession in the Star.” However, he afterward objected to the original decisions made at that meeting, stating that he was justified in making his charges. Accordingly, this 23 August council voted to prevent Smith from acting in his office in the church until he either confessed his misdeeds or was tried before a ’s .
The body that approved this document and disciplined Smith appears to be a council similar to the council that held the 11 August meeting, although the published minutes of that meeting refer to the council as a “conference” of the church. , bishop in , presided over the 11 August meeting, while , one of Whitney’s counselors, presided over the 23 August meeting since Whitney was absent. The 11 August council consisted of both high priests and elders, but it is not clear from the minutes who attended the 23 August meeting. The minutes do not explicitly state that JS was in attendance, but since this council was dealing with the difficulty between him and , it is likely he was there.
As clerk of the council, took the minutes. later copied them into Minute Book 1.
the resolutions, after making a short Stat[e]ment of the proceedings of the council on the 11th. which was sanctioned by vote. The preamble and resolutions were adopted and ordered to be printed. objected against abiding by the decision of the former council, and proceeded to Justify himself in his former conduct, after which, and much discussion the following resolution was offered by the and passed by unanimous vote. Resolved that in consequence of the stand our brother has taken against the former decision of this council, that we judge him guilty of a misdemeanor unbecoming a man in his high station, and except a humble confession be made, to this , he stands rebuked and disqualified to act further in his office in the , until he make proper satisfaction, or till a trial before the assisted by twelve high priests can be had. Carried by unanimous vote.
According to a November 1831 revelation, the bishop was authorized to “to sit in Judgement upon transgressors” with the “assistance of his councillors whom he hath chosen or will choose among the Elders of the church.” (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:72].)