Minutes, 12 February 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Thursday Evening, February 12. 1834. This evening the and of the in at the house of bro. Joseph Smith Jun. in for Church business. The Council was opened organized, and opened by bro. Joseph Smith Ju[nior] in prayer. Bro. Joseph then rose and said: I shall now endeavour to set forth before this Council, the dignity of the office which has been conferred upon me by the ministering of the Angel of God, by his own voice and by the voice of this Church. I have never set before any council in all the order in which a Council ought to be conducted, which, prehaps, has deprived the Councils of some, or many blessings.
He said, that no man was capable of judging a matter in council without his own heart was pure; and that we frequently, are so filled with prejudice, or have a beam in our own eye, that we are not capable of passing right descissions, &c.
But to return to the subject of the order: In ancient days councils were conducted with such strict propriety, that no one was allowed to whisper, be weary, leave the room, or get uneasy in the least, until the voice of the Lord, by revelation, or by the voice of the Council by the spirit was obtained: which has not been [p. 27] observed in this to the present. It was understood in ancient days, that if one man could stay in another Could, and if the president could spend his time, the members could also. But in our Councils, generally, one would be uneasy, another asleep, one praying another not; one’s mind on the business of the Council and another thinking on something else &c. Our acts are recorded, and at a future day they will be laid before us, and if we should fail to judge right and injure our fellow beings, they may there prehaps condemn us; then, they are of great Consequence: and to me the Consequence appears to be of force beyond any thing which I am able to express &c. Ask yourselves, brethrn, how much you have exercised yourselves in prayer since you heard of this Council; and if you are now prepared to sit in judgment upon the soul of your brother.— Bro Joseph then went on to give us a relation of his situation at the time he obtained the record, the persecution he met with &C. He also told us of his transgressing at the time he was the Book of Mormon. He also prophecied that he should stand and shine like the sun in the firmament when his enemies and the gainsayers of his testimony should be put down and Cut off and their names blotted out from among men. After the Council had rec[e]ived much good instruction from Bro. Joseph. The Case of Bro. against whom certain Charges were preferred by bro. . One was that he told Esqr that Joseph drank too much liquor when he was translating the Book of Mormon and that he wrestled with many men and threw them &c. Another charge was, that he exalted himself above bro. Joseph, in that he said bro. Joseph knew not the contents of the book of Mormon until it was translated. but that he himself knew all about it before it was translated. said he did not tell that bro. Joseph drank too much liquor while translateing the book of Mormon, but this thing took place before the book of Mormon was translated. He confessed that his mind was darkend and that he had said many things inadvertently calculateing calculateid to wound the feelings of his bretheren and promised to do better. The Council forgave him and gave him much [p. 28] good advice. Bro Rich was Called in question for transgressing the word of wisdom and for selling the revelations at an extortionary price while he was gone East with father Lions which thing Bro. Rich confessed before the and the Council forgave him upon his promiseing to do better and reform his life.—
Council then Concluded by prayer by Bro.
Clk [p. 29]


  1. 1

    JS was ordained and sustained as “President of the High Priesthood” in early 1832. He had previously been upheld by vote, or designated and accepted, as the “first Elder” in the church. In addition to referring to JS as an elder in the church, a revelation dated 6 April 1830—the day the church was organized—also identified him as a seer, translator, prophet, and apostle of Jesus Christ. In a brief history of his ministry written in the summer of 1832, JS referred to his receiving “the holy Priesthood by the ministring of— Aangels to adminster the letter of the Gospel” and the “confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God . . . in the administration and demonstration of the spirit the Kees of the Kingdom of God.” Later records, including a revelation published in 1835, identify John the Baptist; New Testament apostles Peter, James, and John; and other “divers angels, from Michael or Adam, down to the present time” as angels involved in restoring to the earth various “rights,” “keys,” “honors,” and priesthood powers. (Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832; Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830 [D&C 21:1]; JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 1; Revelation, ca. Aug. 1830, in Doctrine and Covenants 50:2–3, 1835 ed. [D&C 27:8–13]; JS to “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” 7 Sept. 1842 [D&C 128:20–21].)  

  2. 2

    According to known records, earlier instructions about conducting meetings focused on faith, unity, and the importance of following the guidance of the Holy Ghost. (See, for example, Minutes, 11 Oct. 1831; Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; and Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:2].)  

  3. 3

    See Matthew 7:3–5.  

  4. 4

    JS obtained the Book of Mormon plates on 22 September 1827, eight months after marrying Emma Hale. At the time, he and Emma lived with his parents in Manchester Township, Ontario County, New York, where JS was farming with his father, Joseph Smith Sr. (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 4–5; JS History, vol. A-1, 8.)  

  5. 5

    According to JS’s 1838 history, “no sooner was it known” that he had the plates “than the most strenious exertions were used” to attempt to take them from him. “The persecution became more bitter and severe than before,” the history continues, with “multitudes . . . on the alert continualy to get them [the plates].” At the same time, “rumour with her thousand tongues was all the time employed in circulating tales” about JS and his family. JS’s history reports that the persecution eventually “became so intolerable” that he and Emma were “under the necessity of leaving Manchester” for Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where they arrived in December 1827. (JS History, vol. A-1, 8–9.  

  6. 6

    This sentence probably refers to JS’s role in the events that led to Martin Harris, who had served as JS’s scribe, losing the part of the Book of Mormon manuscript known as the Book of Lehi in the summer of 1828. According to his 1832 history, JS, at Harris’s request, asked the Lord to permit Harris to take and read the manuscript pages to some of his friends and family “that peradventur he might convince them of the truth.” The Lord denied the request twice but granted conditional permission when JS asked a third time. Harris subsequently took the manuscript and lost it. JS’s history reads, “I . . . was chastened for my transgression for asking the Lord the third time wherefore the Plates was taken from me by the power of God and I was not able to obtain them for a season.” (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 5–[6]; see also Preface to Book of Mormon, ca. Aug. 1829; Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3]; and Revelation, Spring 1829 [D&C 10].)  

  7. 7

    Probably Leonard Rich.  

  8. 8

    Probably Aaron C. Lyon. In the winter of 1832–1833, Lyon and Leonard Rich lived in Warsaw, Genesee County, New York, where they worked together in preaching, converting, and strengthening new church members. It is unclear whether the charges against Rich mentioned here stemmed from events that transpired during his time in Warsaw or during another time when he worked with Lyon somewhere in the East. (Holbrook, Reminiscences, 11–12.)  

    Holbrook, Joseph. Autobiography and Journal, not before 1871. Photocopy. CHL. MS 5004. Original in private possession.