Letter from Thomas B. Marsh, 15 February 1838

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

The following are the minutes of the proceedings of a of the , assembled at the following places, to transact the business of said Church.
1st. At , Feb. 5, 1838; was chosen Moderator, and Clerk.
The addressed the throne of grace in prayer, after which he laid before the assembly the object of the meeting, giving a relation of the recent organization of the Church here, and in . He also read a certain revelation given in , Sept. 4, 1837; which made known that and were in transgression, and that if they repented not, they should be removed out of their places.— Also, read a certain clause contained in the appeal, published in the old Star, under the 183rd page, as follows:— “And to sell our lands would amount to a denial of our faith, as that is the place where of God shall stand according to our faith and belief in the revelations of God.”
then took the stand, and showed to the congregation why the proceeded thus, was, that the Church might have a voice in the matter; and that he considered it perfectly legal, according to the instructions of President Joseph Smith jr.
Elder then set forth the way in which the of had been labored with, that a committee of three, of whom he was one, had labored with them.— He then read a written document containing a number of accusations against the three presidents. He spake many things against them, setting forth in a plain and energetic manner, the iniquity of and , in using the monies which were loaned for the Church. Also ’s wrong, in persisting in the use of tea, coffee, and tobacco.
then arose, and endeavored to rectify some mistakes of minor importance made by . Also, the spake against the proceedings of the meeting, as being hasty and illegal, for he thought they ought to be had before the common council; and said, that he could not lift his hand against the presidency at present; he then read a letter from President Joseph Smith jr.
A letter was then read by from , who made some comments on the same, and also on the letter read by .
Elder , who was one of the committee sent to labor with the Presidency, then spake, setting forth in a very energetic manner, the proceedings of the presidency, as being iniquitous.
also, being one of the committee, spake against the conduct of the presidency and , on their visit to labor with them.
Elder , then spake with much zeal against this presidency, and in favor of brother Joseph Smith jr. and that the wolf alluded to in his letter, were the dissenters in .
Elder next stated that he considered that all other accusations were of minor importance compared to their selling their lands in , that they ( and ) had set an example which all the members were liable to follow; he said that it was a hellish principle, and that they had flatly denied the faith in so doing. Elder then sanctioned what had been done by the council, speaking against the presidency.
again took the stand, and stated that sufficient had been said to substantiate the accusations against them.
Elder plead in favor of the presidency, stating that he could not raise his hand against them.
Elder then spake against the High Council in regard to their proceedings, and labored hard to show that the meeting was illegal, and that the presidency ought to be had before a proper tribunal, which he considered to be a and twelve ; he labored in favor of the presidency, and said that he should not raise his hands against them at present, although he did not uphold the presidents in their iniquity.
Elder , next arose and spake against the meeting as being hasty. followed , in like observations and of like nature. again took the stand in vindidcation of the cause of the meeting.
then spake against the presidency, at the same time pleading mercy. said that he could not vote until they had a hearing in the common council.
said that the meeting was according to the direction of br. Joseph, he, therefore, considered it legal.
Elder then took the stand, and with great energy spake in favor of the legality of the meeting, and against the conduct of the presidency of , alledging that the present corruptions of the church here, were owing to the wickedness and mismanagement of her leaders.
The then called the vote in favor of the present presidency. The negative was then called, and the vote against , , and was unanimous, excepting 8 or 10 and [p. 44] this minority only wished them to continue in offioe [office] little longer, or until Joseph Smith jr. came up.
In ’s settlement, the saints assembled, agreeable to appointment, on the 6th inst. when they unanimously rejected the three above named .
Also, on the 7th, the saints assembled at agreable to appointment, where the above named presidents were unanimously rejected.
Also, on the 8th, at Nahom Curts’ [Nahum Curtis’s] dwelling house, they were unanimously rejected by the assembly.
Also, at , on the 9th, the Saints unanimously rejected them.
At a meeting of the , the and his , Feb. 10, 1838, it was moved, seconded and carried, that , and , stand no longer as Chairmen and Clerk, to sign and record .
Also, voted that and be authorized to attend to said business for the time being.
Also, voted that and be Presidents, pro tempore, of the in , or until Presidents J. Smith Jr. and arrives in the land of .
, Moderator.
, Clerk
Beloved Brother Joseph:
You will see by the above, that quite a change has taken place among us, of late, and we hope it is for the better; and we rejoice that we have a prospect of having things in a good degree straightened by the time you arrive here. We saw plainly, from the movement of things that the church was about to go to pieces, in consequence of the wickedness of those men, we therefore have done what we have; which thing has given the church general satisfaction, they also appear to be well united, and determined to cleave to the , that is, the three first.
Had we not taken the above measures, we think that nothing could have prevented a rebellion against the whole high council and bishop; so great was the disaffection against the presidents, that the people began to be jealous, that the whole authorities were inclined to uphold these men in wickedness, and in a little time the church, undoubtedly, would have gone, every man to his own way, like sheep without a shepherd.
We concluded, that as you were coming up soon, it would be well to not appoint regular presidents of this ; as probably more satisfaction would be had among the people, to have none but the three first.
The High Council are well united together, and with yourself. The and his council are united with us now, and all misunderstanding removed. We believe that intends to be with you and us; although he was not with us in the meetings.
We hear that the above men intend to call the church together again, for a rehearing; but as they have no authority now, we think that their influence will not be sufficient to bring the people together. We know that such an attempt would be to divide and scatter the flock; and we intend to be faithful to warn the people of this thing. The people seem to wish to have the whole law of God lived up to; and we think that the church will rejoice to come up to the , as soon as their leaders shall say the word, or show them how to do it. In a word, we are persuaded that the most part of the people wish to become sanctified by the law of God. Dear Brother, may our God speedily open the way for you and your ’s family, with our beloved brother , to come among us. Your presence is absolutely necessary for the salvation of this church: Do hasten therefore, to our relief, our enemies are bitter against us, and will do all the injury they can to you, to us, and to the church.
In the name of the church, we say hold us by your faith, until you get here. We flatter ourselves that you will have the church in , in a situation to leave them as soon as the rivers open. Although these men speak against your proceedings, they are mute when you are present, and the great body is determined to follow you.
Agreable to your request, and wrote, and sent to you our testimony, relative to what said about the , and mailed it on the 4th inst. but lest that letter should not reach you through the iniquity of men, I here send you the same, with the addition of ’s testimony. They may not be the same words as the other, for we have not a copy of the former letter, however, this is the same in substance, with some addition.
This may certify, that I heard say to Joseph Smith Jr., while at ’ house, in , that he (Joseph) never confessed to him, () that he was guilty of the crime alledged to him. And gave me to understand that Joseph Smith Jr. never acknowledged to him, that he ever confessed to any one, that he was guilty of the above crime.
This may certify, that I heard say, in my house, that Joseph Smith Jr. never confessed to him, that he was guilty of the crime alledged against him, and Joseph asked if he ever said to him, () that he confessed to any one that he, (Joseph) was guilty of the above crime, and , after some hesitation, answered, no.
This may certify, that having heard the report about the crime above referred to, I asked , last fall, when Joseph Smith was in the , if the report was true, for said I, if it is, as he is to be presented before the church, I wish to know of the truth of this matter before hand. And he gave me to understand, either in plain words or implications, that it was false. I bear this testimony for the good of the honest hearted in the east, and else where, and for the good of brother Joseph Smith Jr. will please copy this in the letter to the east, and keep the original here.
, Feb. 15, 1838.
Dear Brother, we lament that such foul and false reports should be circulated in concerning yourself. We are persuaded that none but those who wish your overthrow, will believe them, and we presume that the above [p. 45] testimonies will be sufficient to stay the tongue of the slanderer.
Yours, in the bonds of
the ,
Joseph Smith Jr.
, Feb. 15, 1838. [p. 46]


  1. 1

    The minutes of the 3 September 1837 conference held in Kirtland began with similar language, explaining that they were “minutes of a conference assembled in the house of the Lord, in committee of the whole.” Furthermore, when JS sent a copy of the minutes to Missouri, his cover letter referred to the conference as “the comittee, of the whole Church of Kirtland the authorities &.c.” The 3 September 1837 and 5 February 1838 meetings may have followed the conventional parliamentary procedure for resolving to form a committee of the whole, in which business ordinarily delegated to a committee was opened to the general body, the regular chairman turned his duties over to a committee chair, and all members could speak as often as they liked. Or the phrase “committee of the whole” may have been used merely to signify the attendance of priesthood holders from all the councils and quorums, as well as other church members. (Minutes, 3 Sept. 1837; Letter to John Corrill and the Church in Missouri, 4 Sept. 1837; Jefferson, Manual of Parliamentary Practice, sec. 12.)  

    Jefferson, Thomas. A Manual of Parliamentary Practice. For the Use of the Senate of the United States. Washington DC: Samuel Harrison Smith, 1801.

  2. 2

    When JS organized the church on 6 April 1830, it was named the Church of Christ. In 1834, church leaders changed the name of the church to the Church of the Latter Day Saints. After that time, various combinations of the two names were occasionally used. On 26 April 1838, JS dictated a revelation announcing that the church would be called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The name of the church used at the beginning of Marsh’s letter as published in the July issue of the Elders’ Journal and as recorded in Minute Book 2 may be a combination of the first two names of the church or may be an emendation made after the new name of the church was revealed. (Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830 [D&C 21:3, 11]; Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:1]; Minutes, 3 May 1834; Revelation, 26 Apr. 1838 [D&C 115:4]; Minute Book 2, 5–9 Feb. 1838; see also Anderson, “What Changes Have Been Made in the Name of the Church?,” 13–14.)  

    Anderson, Richard Lloyd. “What Changes Have Been Made in the Name of the Church?Ensign, Jan. 1979, 13–14.

  3. 3

    Section 3 in part 2 of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants instructed that an unrighteous decision made by any governing quorum in the church, including a “quorum of three presidents,” could be “brought before a general assembly of the several quorums, which constitute the spiritual authorities of the church.” (Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:29, 32].)  

  4. 4

    This general assembly of church officers may have met in a schoolhouse. Other meetings were held in one or more schoolhouses in Far West in 1837 and 1838. (Minute Book 2, 29 July and 5 Aug. 1837; 24 Feb. and 17 Mar. 1838; JS, Journal, 6 Aug. 1838.)  

  5. 5

    Seven members of the high council, including Elias Higbee, were originally designated to conduct the sessions of the general assembly. At a 26 January 1838 meeting, Marsh, who was not a member of the high council, was chosen to replace Higbee in the upcoming series of meetings. During the 5 February session, Marsh stated that he had recently received directions from JS. It is possible that those instructions were relevant to the discipline of the presidency or the regulation of the church, which might explain why Marsh was chosen as Higbee’s replacement. (Minute Book 2, 26 Jan. 1838.)  

  6. 6

    See Hebrews 4:16.  

  7. 7

    At the reorganization conference held in Kirtland on 3 September 1837, several members of the Kirtland high council and of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were removed from their positions. When a reorganization conference was held in Far West on 7 November, Hyrum Smith was appointed to replace Frederick G. Williams in the First Presidency of the church. (Minutes, 3 Sept. 1837; Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837.)  

  8. 8

    Revelation, 4 Sept. 1837.  

  9. 9

    The appeal regarded the lands the Saints owned in Jackson County, from which they had been driven. In 1833, after the Saints were driven out of the county, a revelation indicated that rather than selling their land in Jackson County, the Saints should continue to purchase land there. An 1834 revelation directed the Saints to purchase additional land in Jackson County and to “make proposals for peace unto those who have smitten you.” In response to this revelation, church leaders in Missouri apparently wrote an appeal to “the people” of the nation, requesting that the Saints be allowed to possess their lands in peace. (“An Appeal,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Aug. 1834, 183; Revelation, 16–17 Dec. 1833 [D&C 101:17–20, 67–75]; Revelation, 22 June 1834 [D&C 105:26–29, 40].)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  10. 10

    Murdock probably spoke first and on behalf of the high council as a leader in that group.  

  11. 11

    Canonized instruction indicated that charges against a president of the high priesthood would be heard by a bishop who was counseled by twelve high priests. However, JS dictated a revelation on 12 January 1838 that instituted a new procedure, whereby “the presidency of said Church may be tried by the voice of the whole body of the Church of Zion, and the voice of a majority of all her stakes.” It is possible that this revelation, perhaps with related instructions from JS to Marsh or Murdock, had reached the high council by this time, as had the 7 January letter for Edward Partridge, although Marsh apparently did not yet know that JS had left Kirtland for Far West on the night of 12 January. (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:82–84]; Revelation, 12 Jan. 1838–A.)  

  12. 12

    Hinkle, Thomas Grover, and George Morey were appointed to visit the Missouri presidency by Marsh, Patten, and several members of the Missouri high council who met for a “social meeting” in Marsh’s home in Far West on 20 January 1838. (Minute Book 2, 20 Jan. 1838.)  

  13. 13

    This document was apparently presented or summarized in a meeting held 26 January 1838. The minutes of that meeting include a transcript or summary of the committee’s report. (Minute Book 2, 26 Jan. 1838.)  

  14. 14

    In 1833, JS dictated a revelation proscribing the use of tobacco, wine, “strong drinks,” and “hot drinks.” “Strong drinks” were understood to be distilled liquors, and “hot drinks” were identified as tea and coffee. In the conference held in Far West on 7 November 1837, the members of the congregation voted that they would not support “Stores and Shops selling spirituous liquors, Tea, Coffee or Tobacco.” The committee appointed by the high council to labor with the Missouri presidency reported in the council meeting held 26 January 1838 that “David and John Whitmer said they did use tea and coffee but they did not consider them to come under the head of hot drinks.” (Revelation, 27 Feb. 1833 [D&C 89:1–3, 5–9]; Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837; Minute Book 2, 26 Jan. 1838.)  

  15. 15

    As the bishop, Partridge oversaw a “common council.” In 1835 JS provided instruction on the priesthood, stating that “inasmuch as a president of the high priesthood shall transgress, he shall be had in remembrance before the common council of the church.” In May 1837, Sidney Rigdon presided over a high council meeting to try Frederick G. Williams and David Whitmer, both of whom appealed to the 1835 regulation and held that they should be tried in a bishop’s court. After much debate on this issue, the council “dispersed in confusion.” (Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:68–84]; Minute Book 1, 29 May 1837.)  

  16. 16

    The 7 January 1838 letter from JS to Partridge included words of a revelation: “And again thus saith the Lord, let my people be aware of dissensions among them lest the enemy have power over them, Awake my shepherds and warn my people! for behold the wolf cometh to destroy them! receive him not.” (Letter and Revelation to Edward Partridge, 7 Jan. 1838.)  

  17. 17

    William Smith was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, with Marsh serving as president of the quorum. The previous year, apostles Marsh, Patten, and Smith traveled together from Far West to Kirtland, where they participated in the September 1837 reorganization of the church there, and then all returned to Missouri to attend the November 1837 reorganization of the church in Far West. (Letter to Wilford Woodruff, ca. 18 June 1838; Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837.)  

  18. 18

    Marsh commented on the letter from William Smith, who was still living in Kirtland and would not move to Far West until later in the year. (Letter from Don Carlos Smith, ca. Late May 1838; see also Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 15, [3]–[6].)  

  19. 19

    Two months earlier, Cowdery was appointed clerk of the Missouri high council. (Minute Book 2, 6–7 Dec. 1837.)  

  20. 20

    Patten was second in seniority in the quorum and therefore likely had a close relationship with Marsh, who was the most senior apostle and was leading the charge against the Zion presidency. (Minutes and Discourse, 2 May 1835.)  

  21. 21

    See Letter and Revelation to Edward Partridge, 7 Jan. 1838; John 10:12; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 484 [3 Nephi 14:15].  

  22. 22

    Corrill referred to the same revelation that Partridge had. Corrill had served as a counselor to Partridge for several years but had recently been released as a counselor in the bishopric and appointed as “an agent to the Church and Keeper of the Lord’s store House”—an appointment in which he probably worked closely with Partridge. (Minute Book 2, 22 May and 1 Aug. 1837.)  

  23. 23

    Billings, who served as a counselor to Partridge, repeated Partridge’s argument and presumably would have participated with Partridge in this “common council.” (Minute Book 2, 1 and 5 Aug. 1837; 24 Feb. 1838; Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837; Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:82].)  

  24. 24

    On 26 January 1838, the high council decided to send notice of the appointed meeting times to this and other outlying settlements. The council members appointed Murdock, Carter, Marsh, Grover, Hinkle, Morey, and Wight to conduct the meetings. The meeting in “S. Carter’s settlement” may have been held in the home of Simeon Carter, who owned 160 acres in the area of the Carter settlement, which was along Goose Creek a few miles southwest of Far West. (Minute Book 2, 26 Jan. 1838; Hamer, Northeast of Eden, 26, 56, 64, 82; Caldwell Co., MO, Original Land Entries, 1835–1859, pp. 10–11, microfilm 2,438,695, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    Hamer, John. Northeast of Eden: A Historical Atlas of Missouri’s Mormon County. [Mirabile, MO]: Far West Cultural Center, 2004.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  25. 25

    Edmond Durfee may have lived on or near land owned by James and Perry Durfee in the Durfee settlement, which was located along Goose Creek between Far West and the Carter settlement. (Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:298–299; Hamer, Northeast of Eden, 26, 30, 56–57, 84, 93.)  

    Berrett, LaMar C., ed. Sacred Places: A Comprehensive Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. 6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999–2007.

    Hamer, John. Northeast of Eden: A Historical Atlas of Missouri’s Mormon County. [Mirabile, MO]: Far West Cultural Center, 2004.

  26. 26

    Nahum Curtis may have lived on or near land owned by Charles, Jeremiah, or Philip Curtis in the Curtis settlement, which was located along Log Creek about five miles south of Far West. (Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:292; Hamer, Northeast of Eden, 26, 30, 65, 83–84.)  

    Berrett, LaMar C., ed. Sacred Places: A Comprehensive Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. 6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999–2007.

    Hamer, John. Northeast of Eden: A Historical Atlas of Missouri’s Mormon County. [Mirabile, MO]: Far West Cultural Center, 2004.

  27. 27

    Hawn’s Mill was a hamlet named for Jacob Hawn’s gristmill along Shoal Creek, about twenty miles downstream from Far West. Hawn had settled the area before the Latter-day Saints moved into the county, and he apparently never joined the church. The meeting may have been hosted by David Evans, as he was the president of the branch. (Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:337; Baugh, “Jacob Hawn and the Hawn’s Mill Massacre,” 4–5, 9; McBride, Autobiography, 25.)  

    Berrett, LaMar C., ed. Sacred Places: A Comprehensive Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. 6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999–2007.

    Baugh, Alexander L. “Jacob Hawn and the Hawn’s Mill Massacre: Missouri Millwright and Oregon Pioneer.” Mormon Historical Studies 11 (Spring 2010): 1–25.

    McBride, James. Autobiography, 1874–1876. Microfilm. CHL. MS 8201.

  28. 28

    About two months earlier, David Whitmer and William W. Phelps were appointed to sign licenses for priesthood officers—Whitmer as chairman and Phelps as clerk. John Whitmer was appointed to sign licenses as clerk pro tempore in the absence of Phelps. Oliver Cowdery was appointed as “Recording Clerk.” Those at the 10 February council meeting may have reviewed the voting results of the church branches participating in the general assembly. (Minute Book 2, 6–7 Dec. 1837.)  

  29. 29

    It appears that Marsh had received word from JS that JS and Rigdon intended to come to Missouri as soon as feasible. Hyrum Smith did not come to Missouri until later, perhaps according to plan.  

  30. 30

    On the rare occasions when the council met without the Zion church presidency, the oldest member of the council served as “moderator.” In accordance with that arrangement, Murdock was designated president of the Zion high council in 1836, while the Zion presidency continued to preside over the high council when the presidency members were present. In 1837, in a unique instance of listing a moderator, the high council minutes named Murdock in this role. (Murdock, Journal, 3 Mar. 1836, 81; Murdock, Autobiography, 34, 36; Minute Book 2, 3 Apr. 1837; 10 Feb. and 26 Jan. 1838.)  

    Murdock, John. Journal, ca. 1830–1859. John Murdock, Journal and Autobiography, ca. 1830–1867. CHL. MS 1194, fd. 2.

    Murdock, John. Autobiography, ca. 1859–1867. John Murdock, Journal and Autobiography, ca. 1830–1867. CHL. MS 1194, fd. 4.

  31. 31

    In the September 1837 reorganization meeting held in Kirtland, JS, Rigdon, and Williams were upheld as “the three first presidents of the church,” and Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith Sr., Hyrum Smith, and John Smith were upheld as “assistant councillors,” with the entire group “to be concidered the heads of the Church.” In the November 1837 reorganization meeting held in Far West, Williams was replaced by Hyrum Smith. Marsh’s clarification that the church in Zion upheld the “three first” members of the general church presidency may have consciously avoided expressing support for the assistant counselors. Cowdery, one of the assistant counselors, was considered to be in league with the recently deposed Zion presidency. (Minutes, 3 Sept. 1837; Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837.)  

  32. 32

    See Isaiah 53:6.  

  33. 33

    Marsh was apparently alluding to JS’s 7 January letter to Edward Partridge, which included words of revelation warning about dissension. (Letter and Revelation to Edward Partridge, 7 Jan. 1838.)  

  34. 34

    The law of consecration was one of the revealed “Laws of the Church of Christ” that JS dictated in 1831 and was the subject of several subsequent revelations. In December, the Zion high council and bishopric held meetings to solve financial problems and work out a plan for the Saints to consecrate part of their assets to the church. The committee sent to talk to the members of the Zion presidency expressed dissatisfaction with them for not teaching the law of consecration. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–39]; Minute Book 2, 6–7 and 23 Dec. 1837; Oliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery and Lyman Cowdery, [Kirtland, OH], 4 Feb. 1838, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 84; see also Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:7–9].)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

  35. 35

    JS’s revelations stated that the Saints would be sanctified by adhering to the laws of God. (Revelation, Feb. 1831–A [D&C 43:9]; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:21, 34–35].)  

  36. 36

    According to an early American steamboat directory, ice on the Ohio River usually broke up in February, rendering the river “open for navigation.” In March 1838, the chief engineer of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad reported that “the navigation of the Ohio River opens always by the 1st of March, and generally by the middle of February.” The Missouri River usually opened for navigation between mid-February and early March. (Lloyd, Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, 50–51; Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, 12; Lass, Navigating the Missouri, 89; see also Roberts, Improvement of the Ohio River, 14, 25.)  

    Lloyd, James T. Lloyd’s Steamboat Directory, and Disasters on the Western Waters, Containing the History of the First Application of Steam, as a Motive Power. . . . Cincinnati: James T. Lloyd, 1856.

    Documents Submitted by the Baltimore and Ohio Rail Road Company, in Behalf of Their Application to the Legislature of Virginia. Richmond, VA: Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company, 1838.

    Lass, William E. Navigating the Missouri: Steamboating on Nature’s Highway, 1819–1835. Norman, OK: Arthur H. Clark, 2008.

    Roberts, William Milnor. Improvement of the Ohio River. Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh Board of Trade, 1856.

  37. 37

    The minutes of the November 1837 reorganization meeting contain no mention of dissent against JS. (See Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837.)  

  38. 38

    Cowdery had alleged an immoral relationship between JS and Fanny Alger. In the 1840s, JS taught the doctrine of plural marriage to an inner circle of followers, but he never publicized the doctrine. JS’s earlier polygamous marriage to Alger was apparently even more secret. In late 1837 and early 1838, JS was apparently attempting to stop the rumors regarding the relationship. (Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 323–327, 437–446; Leonard, Nauvoo, 343–356; see also Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 25–42.)  

    Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. With the assistance of Jed Woodworth. New York: Knopf, 2005.

    Leonard, Glen M. Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book; Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 2002.

    Compton, Todd. In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001.

  39. 39

    Harris later recounted that this conversation took place “one evening last fall,” which would have been during JS’s late 1837 visit to Far West. During the evening council meeting held on 6 November, the council resolved that “all difficulties were satisfactorily settled except a matter between J. Smith jr. Oliver Cowdery and T. B. Marsh, which was refered to themselves with the agreement that their settlement of the affair should be sufficient for the Council.” JS was apparently staying with Harris during this visit, as JS did again when he returned to Caldwell County in March 1838. Harris owned property along Shoal Creek near Far West. (Minutes, 12 Apr. 1838; Minutes, 6 Nov. 1837; JS History, vol. B-1, 775–778; JS, Journal, Mar.–Sept. 1838, p. 16; Hamer, Northeast of Eden, 49, 85.)  

    Hamer, John. Northeast of Eden: A Historical Atlas of Missouri’s Mormon County. [Mirabile, MO]: Far West Cultural Center, 2004.

  40. 40

    Marsh later recounted that Cowdery made this statement “after a considerable winking &c.” (Minutes, 12 Apr. 1838.)  

  41. 41

    Patten later recounted that Cowdery said, “Joseph told him, he had confessed to Emma.” (Minutes, 12 Apr. 1838.)  

  42. 42

    This conversation apparently occurred after JS’s arrival in Far West in late October or early November and before the reorganization meeting held on 7 November. (JS History, vol. B-1, 775; Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837.)  

  43. 43

    See Philemon 1:13; Jeremiah 31:31; Ezekiel 20:37; and Hebrews 12:24.