Resolutions, circa 23 August 1834
Resolutions, , Geauga Co., OH, ca. 23 Aug. 1834. Featured version copied [not before 25 Feb. 1836] in Minute Book 1, pp. 55–58; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
At a council held on 23 August 1834, this document, which clears JS of any charges of wrongdoing on the expedition to , was approved and ordered to be printed in The Evening and the Morning Star. Although the document is designated as the “conference minutes” of the council, it provides an account of only part of the proceedings; the actual minutes of the council are recorded as a separate entry in Minute Book 1. This document instead includes a preamble, three resolutions, and two statements showing support of JS and his conduct while leading the Camp of Israel.On 11 August 1834, a council investigated ’s charges that JS was guilty of “criminal conduct” while on the expedition. The council then assigned a committee, consisting of , , and , to prepare “an article” stating “that the church in , [Ohio,] ha[d] investigated the conduct of brother Joseph Smith Junr. while journeying to the West and returning” and that it found JS had “acted in every respect in an honorable and proper Manner.” Sometime after the 11 August council, the committee prepared these three resolutions and a preamble to them and then presented them to the 23 August council for approval. In addition to ordering the resolutions to be published in the Star, the council directed that they be sent as a circular to the churches abroad, meaning those congregations of the church not in the vicinity of Kirtland.Along with the preamble and the three resolutions, this document contains a brief mention of the council’s approval of these resolutions. Perhaps to assuage concerns of church members outside of who had learned of ’s accusations, the document also includes a statement from fifteen individuals indicating that they were present during the investigation of JS’s conduct and were satisfied with the outcome. The document notes that some of these men were from while others were from eastern states. No reasons are given for the selection of these specific men, and none of them appear to have accompanied JS on the Camp of Israel expedition. Although many of the fifteen had moved to Kirtland prior to August 1834, the inclusion of their towns of origin may have been a way of showing the diversity of their backgrounds while also giving the statement added credibility in the eyes of church members not living in Kirtland. Immediately after this statement is another statement by and , both Camp of Israel participants, declaring that the resolutions correctly portray JS’s conduct on the expedition. It is not clear whether these two statements were prepared before, during, or after the council.At some point, entered the preamble, resolutions, and two statements into Minute Book 1. As directed by the council, a more polished version was published in the August 1834 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star under the title “Conference Minutes.” The effects of the publication of these resolutions are uncertain, but they may have mitigated whatever damage ’s charges had done. In the December 1834 issue of the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, reports of the status of churches in the eastern show general prosperity of those branches, without noting any lingering difficulties as a result of ’s accusations.
Minutes, 11 Aug. 1834. For the background behind the council and for more on Smith’s charges, see Historical Introduction to Minutes, 11 Aug. 1834.
No such circular has been located, nor is there any evidence that a circular was sent.
For example, Jacob Bump, who is listed as being from Silver Creek, New York, had apparently relocated to Kirtland by July 1833, and Isaac Story from Warsaw, New York, appears to have been present at a few councils in Kirtland in late 1833 and early 1834. (History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio, 248; Minutes, 26 Dec. 1833; Minutes, 19 Feb. 1834.)
History of Geauga and Lake Counties, Ohio, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Its Pioneers and Most Prominent Men. Philadelphia: Williams Brothers, 1878.
“Conference Minutes,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Aug. 1834, 182. Although Cowdery created the copy in Minute Book 1 after the document was published, he did not copy directly from the published version, as indicated by minor textual differences identified herein. He may have been copying directly from the draft that the committee submitted to the council. In any case, the textual differences indicate that the document was reworked slightly before publication.
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
“A Summary,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1834, 1:44–46. This newspaper is the church periodical that replaced The Evening and the Morning Star.
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.