Minutes, 8 September 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

, Ohio Sept 8th. 1834
Minutes of a of the of the , held at Ohio. September 8th 1834, After prayer by brother Joseph Smith Junr. he, brother Joseph and , united in and , who said she was healed, and requested us to pray that her faith fail not, saying, if she did not doubt, she should not be afflicted any more.
Brother Joseph then made a few introductory remarks upon the subject of false spirits and other items.
Brother made a few observations, and proceeded to present a case which had previously occasioned some difficulty in the church. It was that a certain brother Carpenter had been tried for a fault before the church, when the Church gave him a certain time to reflect whether he would acknowledge or not. Brother Gordon at the time, spake in tongues and declared that brother Carpenter should not have any lenity. He, , wished instruction on this point, whether they had proceeded right or not, as brother Carpenter was dissatisfied &c.
Brother Joseph then proceeded to give an explanation of the gift of tongues: that it was particularly instituted for the preaching of the Gospel to other nations and languages, but it was not given for the government of the Church. He further said, if brother Gordon introduced the Gift of tongues, as a testimony against [p. 49] brother Carpenter, that it was contrary to the rules and regulations of the , because, in all our decisions we must judge from actual testimony. Brother Gordon said the testimony was had and the decision given before the gift of tongues was manifested. Brother Joseph advised that <​we​> speak in our own language in all such matters, and then the adversary cannot lead our minds astray. then gave a relation of a certain difficulty which took place in a . He, presided, when several of the brethren spake out of order, and brother refused to submit to to order according to his (’s) request. He now wished instruction on this point, whether he, or some one else should preside over this of the , and also whether such conduct could be approbated in conferences. Brother Gordon then made some remarks on the subject which was at the time before the .
Brother Joseph said, relative to the first question, that brother Gordon’s tongues in the end, did operate as testimony, as, by his remarks in tongues, the former decision was set aside, and his taken. That it was his decision that brother Gordon’s manifestation was incorrect, and from a suspicious heart. He approved the first decision, but discarded the second. Brother Joseph Keeler said that in the former decision he had acted hastily himself in urging brother Carpenter to make acknowledgement without [p. 50] having time to reflect. He asked forgiveness wherein he had erred. Brother Gordon said he discovered that he was in an error, and was satisfied with this council, & was willing to ask forgiveness of the brethren and of the Lord. Decision was then given on the second question that brother was out of his place in opposing , when he () ordered the . A vote was then taken whether the was satisfied with the two decisions. Passed by unanimous vote, A. motion was then made and passed by unanimous vote, that a letter be written to brother informing him of the last decision. That he has acted out of place in opposing in a former council, when requested to take his seat, that the business might proceed according to order, and that such letter be signed by the of this conference, by the direction of the same. The case of brother Milton Stow was then brought up, when it was proven that he had delivered prophecies at two different times, which were not true— at one time in saying that was redeemed, and at another in saying, that brother Carpenter was cut off forever, and also in saying, that sister Carpenter was dead. When it was decided by vote that brother Milton Stow be, and by the decision of this conference is, suspended from the priveleges of the , and from acting in the authority of an in said Church of the Latter-Day-Saints till he appear before the at and make proper satisfaction. Conference closed by prayer of the .
Clerk of Conference [p. 51]
N.B. The following decision was given at Sept. 8th 1834 and should have been recorded on the 52d Page immediately following the trial to which it belongs
Dear Brother ,
By a decision of this I am directed to inform you that a previous difficulty has been presented to this body, which arose [p. 73]
in a former , between yourself & brother , informing us, that in a council where brother presided, according to the office of his appointment, as of this of the . You, when requested by him to be seated refused to submit to his decision, but spoke disrespectfully of our brother, while acting in his calling, which has occasioned a wound in this . It is the decision of this conference that you come before the church (as you are not present to do it at this conference) and make the proper confession required in the . Why I say, disrespectfully, is because, when you were requested to be seated and desist speaking, you said that you had as much right to speak as he () had)
clerk of conference
To )
a in the )
of the Latter Day-Saints)
Ohio Sept 8th 1834 [p. 74]


  1. 1

    JS had given previous instruction regarding the misuse of the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. In July 1833, he and others wrote to church leaders in Jackson County, Missouri, warning them that the gift of tongues could be used as a tool of Satan and that members needed to be careful lest the gift deceive them. (Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 2 July 1833.)  

  2. 2

    The letter, from conference clerk Oliver Cowdery to Joseph Bosworth, is reproduced at the end of the minutes. While notices were sometimes printed in The Evening and the Morning Star to inform individuals of action taken against them, this letter was not included in the final September 1834 issue of the Star, even though that issue was printed late enough for a notice to have been published in it. The original letter has not been located. (See, for example, “To Whom It May Concern,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 116; and “To Whom It May Concern,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Feb. 1834, 134.)  

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

  3. 3

    Milton Stow, who, according to the 1830 census, lived in Westfield, Ohio, was instrumental in building up the branch of the church in New Portage. In a January 1835 letter, Ambrose Palmer wrote that Stow “baptized a number of persons” in the area in 1833, “some of whom belonged to the Methodist church.” (1830 U.S. Census, Westfield, Medina Co., OH, 195; Ambrose Palmer to Oliver Cowdery, 28 Jan. 1835, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Jan. 1835, 1:62.)  

    Census (U.S.) / U.S. Bureau of the Census. Population Schedules. Microfilm. FHL.

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  4. 4

    An earlier JS revelation states that the bishop was responsible to “sit in Judgement upon transgressors” with the “assistance of his councillors.” A February 1834 letter from JS and others, however, states that members of any branch had authority to try high priests and excommunicate them, after which individuals could appeal the case to the bishop’s council. Stow’s case here suggests that the bishop’s council in Kirtland had to be satisfied of the individual’s repentance before his “priveleges” in the church could be restored. Stow apparently met this requirement at some point because an 1836 list of elders whose licenses were recorded in Kirtland includes Stow’s name. (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:72]; Letter to J. G. Fosdick, 3 Feb. 1834; List of Priesthood Licenses, LDS Messenger and Advocate, June 1836, 2:336.)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

  5. 5

    A February 1831 revelation containing “the rules and regulations of the Law” of the church explained how one should proceed if offended by another church member: The two parties were to meet in private and seek reconciliation. If the offending party did not confess to the grievance, he or she was first to be brought before “the Church not to the members but to the Elders and it shall be done in a meeting and that not before the world.” At that point, if the offense had been committed openly before a body of the church, as in this case, the offender was to “be rebuked openly” as well, “that he may be ashamed.” A September 1831 revelation reiterated these instructions, but it also declared that those who did not repent and confess their sins should be brought “before the church” to be dealt with “as the Scriptures Saith unto you.” (Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:88–89, 91]; Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:12].)