Minutes, 14 April 1838

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

The of met agreeable to adjournment on Saturday the 14th of April 1838.
Being organized as follows:
Joseph Smith jr and Presiding.
No 1 No. 2
" 3 " 4
" 5 " 6
" 7 " 8
" 9 " 10
" 11 " 12
Council opened in prayer by .
An appealed case was then presented to the Council, pending between Elders and , from the Elders , when the proceedings of the Elders quorum were read also the charges which reads as [p. 133] follows:
March 27th 1838.
To the ,
I, in appealing the case between me and , to the High Council, prefer the first charge contained in the original charges, namely; A spirit of dissension, in that he declared publickly that he did not believe in the vote of the General Assembly, last Nov 7th, “not to support stores and shops selling spiritous liquors, tea, coffee, and tobacco.” And also I shall bring any testimony I can find to the same effect and connect it with the foregoing charge.
And also, the first item of the second charge contained in the original, namely; Teaching incorrect doctrine in that he said the did not concern our Spiritual Salvation.
, Complainant”
The case was not considered difficult, therefore, two Councellors were to speak on the case, viz: , on the part of the , and , on the part of the part of the defendant.
Some remarks were made by the , in which he acknowledged a part of the first charge.
, testifies that he heard say that he would not believe the decision of the High Council if it did not coincide with the Book of Covenants.
Also, he heard say that he did not covenant to not uphold stores and shops, which sold liquor, tea, coffee and tobacco, because he had already made as many covenants as he kept &c but if any persons had made any such covenants, he would say to them ‘for God’s sake to keep them.’
William Hulet, testifies that he heard say that if he had his mind made up on any <​a​> certain item of Revelation and the High Council should decide contrary to his mind upon that item, he would not believe the decision except they would bring proof to substantiate it. Also that he never did hear say any thing against [p. 134] Joseph Smith jr but heard him say that he considered him the Prophet as much as ever.
The adjourned one hour.
Council convend according to adjournment.
Silas Maynard, testifies, that he heard say one evening last winter that he did not acquiesce in the proceedings of the High Council and in cutting off & from the office.
, testifies, that at the General Confference last winter, when the case of & was investigated, voted to have them continue in the office of Presidents.
confesses, that at the time of the Conference above refered to, he did think the move too too hasty and did not coincide with the proceedings of the Council at the time, but now saw the matter different and does coincide with them &c.
, testifies that said in a Conference of that he did not consider the given by Commandment or Constraint.
After a few remarks by the Councellors and parties it was decided by the President, that considering the case, had erred in spirit, therefore, feel to admonish him, but do not find any thing in him worthy of death or bonds.
Council adjourned untill next Saturday at 9 o’clock.
Closed in prayer by President .
Clerk [p. 135]


  1. 1

    At the close of the meeting held the previous day, the high council “adjourned untill tomorrow morning 9 o’clock.” (Minutes, 13 Apr. 1838.)  

  2. 2

    Isaac Higbee was apparently standing in for John P. Greene. (See Minutes, 7–8 Apr. 1838; Minutes, 13 Apr. 1838; and Minute Book 2, 12 May 1838.)  

  3. 3

    When a bishop or another officer acted as a judge in a church trial, the decision could be appealed to a council consisting of the presidency of the high priesthood and twelve high priests acting as counselors. After JS moved to Missouri, the high council there regularly served as the twelve counselors to the First Presidency in these church courts, including in this case. (Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:78–80]; Minutes, 15 Mar. 1838; Minutes, 24 Mar. 1838; see also Minutes, 21 Apr. 1838.)  

  4. 4

    That is, the Doctrine and Covenants.  

  5. 5

    Hulet may have objected to West’s lack of respect for high council decisions, perhaps based on an understanding that high council decisions were inspired by God. (See Darowski, “Seeking After the Ancient Order,” 102–104.)  

    Darowski, Joseph F. “Seeking After the Ancient Order: Conferences and Councils in Early Church Governance, 1830–34.” In Brigham Young University Church History Symposium; A Firm Foundation: Church Organization and Administration, edited by David J. Whittaker and Arnold K. Garr, 97–113. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2011.

  6. 6

    See Letter from Thomas B. Marsh, 15 Feb. 1838.  

  7. 7

    In the “general assembly” meeting held in Far West, “the vote against David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and William W. Phelps was unanimous, excepting 8 or 10 and this minority only wished them to continue in offioe [office] little longer, or until Joseph Smith jr. came up.” (Letter from Thomas B. Marsh, 15 Feb. 1838.)  

  8. 8

    When Phelps and Whitmer were tried for transgression in February 1838, the Zion bishopric and others believed that the proceedings were “hasty.” (Letter from Thomas B. Marsh, 15 Feb. 1838.)  

  9. 9

    The dietary code was presented to the Latter-day Saints “not by commandment or Constraint, but by Revelation & the word of wisdom shewing forth the order & will of God in the temporal salvation of all Saints.” (Revelation, 27 Feb. 1833 [D&C 89:2].)  

  10. 10

    See Isaiah 29:24.  

  11. 11

    See Acts 23:29; 26:31.