Revised Minutes, , Geauga Co., OH, 18–19 Feb. 1834. Featured version copied [ca. 19 Feb. 1834] in Minute Book 1, pp. 31–35; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Minute Book 1.
On 17 February 1834, at a meeting that included holders and other members of the church, JS oversaw the initial organization of a standing “Presidents Church Council” in , Ohio. , the clerk of the meeting, noted in the minutes of that meeting that “many questions have been asked during the time of the organization of this Council and doubtless some errors have been committed, it was, therefore, voted by all present that Bro Joseph should make all necessary corrections by the spirit of inspiration hereafter.” JS worked on amending the minutes the following day “with all the strength and wisdom that he had” and presented the revised minutes—featured here—to a council of sixty-two priesthood holders and church members on 19 February. JS’s revisions were significant and both added and deleted material from the original minutes. After hearing the revised minutes read three times and making at least one correction, the council unanimously voted to accept the revised minutes as “a form, and constitution of the of the hereafter,” with the proviso that “if the president should hereafter discover any lack in the same he should be privileged to fill it up.” At the 19 February meeting, after giving several blessings and items of instruction to members of the new council, JS reported that “the Council was organized according to the ancient order, and also according to the mind of the Lord.” Conducting itself according to procedures outlined in the minutes featured here, the council, later known as the Kirtland high council, then heard its first case.
These minutes also authorized at remote locations to, when necessary, organize similar, temporary disciplinary councils, the decisions of which could be appealed to the standing “high Council at the seat of the general government of the Church,” then in . In addition, though these minutes contained no provision for doing so, JS organized another standing high council following the same pattern outlined in the minutes featured here in , Missouri, the following July. After the main body of church members in moved from Clay County to in 1836–1837, this second standing high council conducted its meetings at , Caldwell County. Following JS’s move to Far West in March 1838, this Missouri council replaced the Kirtland high council as the “high Council at the seat of the general government of the Church” and, therefore, became the council to which appeals resulting from other church councils were made. Similar standing high councils were later organized in and , with the high council assuming appellate authority after its organization in October 1839. In the meantime, the revised minutes of the 17 February 1834 meeting were included as section 5 in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
That the high council with appellate authority was identified as the “high Council at the seat of the general government of the Church” (rather than this newly organized Kirtland high council) suggests that JS anticipated a time when the seat of church government would not be at Kirtland.
Should the parties, or either of them, be dissatisfied with the decision of said , they may appeal to the at the seat of the general government of the Church, and have a re-hearing, which case shall there be conducted according to the former pattern written, as though no such descision had been passed <made>.
This Council of abroad, is only to be called on the most difficult cases of Church matters; and no common or ordinary case is to be sufficient to call such Councils. The travelling or located high priests abroad, have the power to say whether it is necessary to call such a Council or not.
*The twelve counsellors then proceeded to cast lots or ballot, to ascertain who should speak first, and the following was the result, viz:
drew No. 1
drew No 7
" " 2
" " 8
" " 3
" " 9
" " 4
" " 5
" " 11
" " 6
" " 12
Council then adjourned to meet on wednesday the 19th. Inst. at 10 Oclk A.M.
*Resolved, that the presidents or presidents at the seat of general church government, shall have power to determine whether any such case as may be appealed, is justly entitled to a re-hearing after examineing the appeal and the evidences and statements accompanying it. [p. 35]
Although it is not clear why the first asterisk in this document (located on manuscript page 34) was inserted, the asterisk here apparently indicated a desire to move the final paragraph, also marked by an asterisk, to this point. When this document was published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the final paragraph was moved to the location of this asterisk. (Revised Minutes, 18–19 Feb. 1834, in Doctrine and Covenants 5:14, 1835 ed. [D&C 102:33].)