Minutes, , Geauga Co., OH, 26 Sept. 1835. Featured version copied [not before 25 Feb. 1836] in Minute Book 1, p. 119; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
On the evening of 26 September 1835, JS and other members of the church presidency met with the , who had just returned from their mission to the eastern and , to resolve some outstanding difficulties. The issues they discussed had first been raised in a 4 August 1835 letter, penned by a council of the church’s presidencies consisting of JS, , , , , , and . The letter was sent to the Twelve on their mission and included a report from , Oliver’s brother, who was the in the , New York, branch. Warren charged that in a held at Freedom in May 1835, the Twelve did not sufficiently emphasize the need for church members to donate money for the construction of the . Based on this information, the church presidency concluded that the Twelve had “failed in out set, to fill their great and important mission” of obtaining donations for “the house,” “the cause of ,” and the publication of the Doctrine and Covenants. The letter to the Twelve also noted that had insulted the church and its presidency by writing his wife, Emeline Miller McLellin, about a negative report had made of the school was operating in , Ohio. The council thus withdrew its fellowship from Hyde and McLellin “until they return and make satisfaction face to face.” These 26 September minutes record the meeting at which the Twelve, JS, and others tried to resolve these issues.
After hearing the Twelve’s explanations of the situation and and ’s expressions of contrition for their criticism of the school, “all things were settled satisfactorily” in the meeting, according to JS’s journal. However, problems and misunderstandings between the Twelve Apostles and other church leaders continued to fester for the next several months; additional meetings were held, and church leaders and the Twelve charged with “unchristian conduct” because of his accusations against them in his letter. Cowdery eventually “confessed his mistake” in making the charges, after which the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate published a statement from Cowdery to that effect.
It is not clear who took the original minutes of the 26 September 1835 meeting, but entered them into Minute Book 1 sometime in 1836. JS’s 1835–1836 journal also provides a brief summary of the meeting.
According to JS’s journal, the Twelve returned on the morning of 26 September. Other sources, however, indicate that the Twelve arrived on 25 September. (JS, Journal, 26 Sept. 1835; Esplin and Nielsen, “Record of the Twelve,” 50.)
The council of the Presidency of the . consisting of Joseph Smith Junr , , , , & met to take into consideration, the case of the who had been previously reproved in consequence of certain letters and reports coming to the ears of the council.
First: The items contained in ’s letter in connexion with certain other reports derogatory to the character and teaching of the twelve, were taken up From the testimony of several witnesses (the twelve) it was proven before the council that said complaints originated in the minds of persons whose minds were dark[e]ned in consequence of covetousness or some other cause other than the spirit of truth.
Secondly: An item contained in Elder ’s letter to his wife expressing dissatisfaction with ’s school. Elder was also designated with , or blamed with him in the matter:
In the same they were found to be in the fault, which they frankly confessed and were forgiven. [p. 119]
The 4 August 1835 letter also concluded that “as far as we [the council] can learn from the churches through which you have traveled, . . . you have set yourselves up as an independant counsel subject to no authority of the church–a kind of out laws.” (Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 4 Aug. 1835.)
For more information about the school, see Historical Introduction to Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 4 Aug. 1835. The letter may have been one McLellin wrote to his wife, Emeline Miller McLellin, on 4 July 1835. An “Elder Wood” carried that letter to Kirtland and may have informed church leaders of its contents. (McLellin, Journal, 4 July 1835.)
McLellin, William E. Journal, May–Sept. 1835. William E. McLellin, Papers, 1831–1836, 1877–1878. CHL. MS 13538, box 1, fd. 5. 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).