On 26 July 1838, JS met with several other church leaders to determine how to manage property that in , Missouri, had recently donated to the church. Earlier in the month, on 8 July, JS dictated a revelation calling for the Latter-day Saints to donate all of their surplus property to the church and thereafter to donate “one tenth of all their interest annually.” Later that day, JS dictated another revelation, directing that donated property be managed by a council consisting of the and the and , acting together under the inspiration of God. In response to the revelation about making donations, the Saints began donating property of various kinds. On 26 July, the council of church leaders that was called for in the latter revelation met to determine how to manage these donations. The council likely convened in , where JS and other church leaders were living at the time. The council members agreed on several resolutions, most of which clarified the relationship between the First Presidency and the in financial matters.
The minutes do not identify an appointed clerk for the council but contain the specificity of and are written in the style of formal minutes. may have taken minutes at the meeting, which would explain why he inscribed them in JS’s journal and why the minutes do not appear in Minute Book 2, where clerks typically recorded the minutes of high council and other meetings. Robinson inscribed the minutes in JS’s journal likely on the day of or within a few days after the meeting, as they appear immediately before a series of daily journal entries, the first of which is dated 27 July 1838.
3rd. Mooved seconded & carried unanymously That the be authorized to pay orders coming from the east inasmuch as they will liberally, but this to be done under the inspection of the
4th That the first presidency shall have the prerogative to say to the Bishop whose orders, shall or may be paid by him in this place or in his Jurisdiction. carried unanymously
5th. Mooved seconded and carried That the receive all consecrations, east, west, & south, who are not in the Jurisdiction of a Bishop of any other .
6th Mooved & carried, that we use our influence to put a stop to the selling of Liquior in the City or in our midst, That our streets may not be filled with drunkeness and that we use our influence to bring down the price of provisions.—
7th. Mooved, seconded & carried unanymously that br. , be requested to draw up a petition to remove the county seat to [p. 60]
The “Word of Wisdom,” the church’s revealed dietary code, proscribed “strong drink.” In the reorganization conference held in Far West in November 1837, the congregation voted that they would not support “Stores and Shops selling spirituous liquors, Tea, Coffee or Tobacco.” On 23 June 1838, the high council in Far West appointed a committee to visit local tavern keepers to ensure that they were keeping “good orderly houses, and have no drinking, swearing, gambling, and debauchery carried on therein.” (Revelation, 27 Feb. 1833 [D&C 89:5]; Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837; Minute Book 2, 23 June 1838.)
The church’s original communitarian plans in Missouri included a store that also functioned as a storehouse to help provision the Latter-day Saints.a Prices on the frontier could be significantly higher than elsewhere in the United States. In Missouri, according to historian Jeff Bremer, “almost all goods [were] sold at two to three times eastern prices.”b Three days before this meeting, Reynolds Cahoon wrote from Far West to Newel K. Whitney in Kirtland with suggestions of what kinds of goods Whitney should bring to Missouri since it was possible to “transport them much Cheaper than you can git them hear.” Cahoon’s list included furniture, stoves, livestock, and plows, among other items.c
This decision was reaffirmed within two weeks.a The legislation that organized Caldwell County in December 1836 included measures for establishing a seat of justice in April 1837.b It is not known whether these measures were followed. However, Far West served as the county’s de facto if not official seat of justice because the town was the place where county justices Elias Higbee and William W. Phelps operated, where the office of county clerk John Cleminson was located, and where the circuit court was held a few days after this 26 July meeting.c The Latter-day Saints in Caldwell County, and apparently other Missourians as well, considered Far West the county seat.d
(aJS, Journal, 6 Aug. 1838. bAn Act to Organize the Counties of Caldwell and Daviess [29 Dec. 1836], Laws of the State of Missouri [1836–1837], pp. 46–47, sec. 3; see also An Act for Organizing Counties Hereafter Established [9 Dec. 1836], Laws of the State of Missouri [1836–1837], pp. 38–39, secs. 1–4; and An Act to Establish Judicial Circuits, and to Prescribe the Times and Places of Holding Courts [21 Jan. 1837], Laws of the State of Missouri [1836–1837], p. 57, sec. 23. cPetitions for Habeas Corpus to Elias Higbee, Aug. 1838, George W. Robinson, Papers, CHL; Certificate of William W. Phelps’s Oath of Office, 4 Apr. 1838, William W. Phelps Commissions, CHL; JS, Journal, 30–31 July 1838. dEditorial, Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 33; see also Greene, Facts relative to the Expulsion, 18; Illustrated Historical Atlas of Caldwell County, Missouri, 8, 10; and History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri, 121, 259.)
Laws of the State of Missouri, Passed at the First Session of the Ninth General Assembly, Begun and Held at the City of Jefferson, on Monday, the Twenty-First Day of November, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Six. 2nd ed. St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1841.
Robinson, George W. Papers, 1838. CHL.
Phelps, William W. Commissions, 1837–1838. CHL.
Greene, John P. Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, from the State of Missouri, under the “Exterminating Order.” By John P. Greene, an Authorized Representative of the Mormons. Cincinnati: R. P. Brooks, 1839.
An Illustrated Historical Atlas of Caldwell County, Missouri. Compiled, Drawn and Published from Personal Examinations and Surveys. Philadelphia: Edwards Brothers, 1876.
History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri, Written and Compiled from the Most Authentic Official and Private Sources. . . . St. Louis: National Historical Co., 1886.