Minutes and Discourse, 6 March 1840

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

March 6th, 1840.
The met at ’s at persuent to adjournment.
Present, & . In organizing the Council the matter between , & was enquired into by in order to ascertain if the affair was settled, so that they could act together in union in the council. The inquiry produced an unpleasant scene, & the Councillors by vote rejected , & from the Council till the affair was Settled, & the council was organized by appointing Elders , & in their places pro. tem. & & in place of Richard Howard & , absent.
The Council was opened by si[n]ging & prayer.
The minutes of the last council were read.
was present, liquise [likewise] Pr. Joseph Smith & .
made explanation of the things the council requested of him:
With regard to the first item he said, that he had been advised & counseled not to not to comply with his own proposition: & that in the other his intention in making the [p. 88] expression was to support ’s title to the , & his right to deed described portions thereof.
Joseph Smith Jun. then addressed the on various subjects, &, in particular, the ; Stating, that the affair now before Congress was the only thing that ought to interest the saints at present. & till it was ascertained how it would terminate no person ought to be brought to account before the constituted authorities of the for any offence whatever, & was determined that no man should be brought before the Council in till that time &c. &c.
He said that the Law of consecration could not be kept here, & that it was the will of the Lord that we should desist from trying to keep it, & if persisted in it would produce a perfect abortion, & that he assumed the whole responsibility of not keeping it untill proposed by himself. He requested every exertion to be made to forward affidavits to , & also letters to members of Congress.
The following votes were then passed.
1st. that this Council will coincide with Pr. Joseph Smith jr. decission concerning the consecration Law, on the principle of its being the will of the Lord, & of Pr. Smith’s taking the responsibility on himself.
2nd. that a committee of three be appointed Consisting of & Abra[ha]m O. Smoot to obtains affid[a]vits & [p. 89] other documents to be forwarded to the City of .
3rd. That the Clerk. of this be dire[c]ted to inform , that it is the wishes of this council that he should not upon any consideration consent to accept of any thing of Congress Short of our just rights & demands for our losses & damages in .
4th. That the minutes of the Council be published in the times & Seasons. Adjourned to Saturday 21 inst. at 10. O.Clock A.M. at .
Closed by prayer by J. Smith jr.
C. [p. 90]


  1. 1

    According to the 1840 United States Census, Fordham resided in Township 66 North, Range 5 West, in the Half-Breed Tract in Iowa Territory. (1840 U.S. Census, Township 66, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, 199.)  

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

  2. 2

    John Smith, who presided over the high council and church in Iowa Territory.  

  3. 3

    At the 21 February 1840 meeting of the Iowa high council, Snow and Fordham “expressed some dissatisfaction with Elder J. Patten for some of his teaching at a meeting on the preceding Sabath in Montrose.” The high council then voted to table the matter until this 6 March meeting. (Iowa Stake Record, 21 Feb. 1840, 87.)  

    Iowa Stake, Record. / Iowa Stake. “Church Record,” 1840–1841. CHL. LR 7817 21.

  4. 4

    Noble was appointed to the Seventy in 1835. Carter had previously served on high councils in Clay County and Far West, Missouri. Avery was appointed to preside over the elders quorum in Lee County, Iowa Territory, in January 1840. Although Carter had been ordained a high priest in 1831, it is unclear if Avery or Noble were high priests, the usual priesthood office for high counselors. (Minutes and Blessings, 28 Feb.–1 Mar. 1835; Obituary for Simeon Carter, Deseret News [Salt Lake City], 17 Feb. 1869, [1]; Minutes, 3 July 1834; Minute Book 2, 11 June 1837; “Notice,” Times and Seasons, July 1840, 1:143–144; JS History, vol. C-1, 1008; Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.)  

    Deseret News. Salt Lake City. 1850–.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  5. 5

    Baldwin, who was ordained a high priest in June 1831, was the presiding elder of a branch at the Big Blue River, Kaw Township, in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1832. Newberry was ordained an elder in April 1839 but was not ordained a high priest until July 1840. Howard and Smith were designated members of the Iowa high council by the October 1839 general conference of the church. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; W. W. Blair, “Personal Reminiscence,” Saints’ Herald, 1 June 1879, 165; JS History, vol. C-1, 918; Iowa Stake Record, 18 July 1840, 91; Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839.)  

    Saints’ Herald. Independence, MO. 1860–.

    Iowa Stake, Record. / Iowa Stake. “Church Record,” 1840–1841. CHL. LR 7817 21.

  6. 6

    Acting on behalf of the church in May and June 1839, Knight and Oliver Granger purchased nearly eighteen thousand acres from Galland in what was known as the Half-Breed Tract. At a 6 December 1839 high council meeting, Knight wondered whether the lands that he held in Lee County should be transferred to Alanson Ripley, the bishop in Iowa. The following day, the high council accepted Knight’s proposal to transfer the lands. By 21 February 1840, however, no transfer had occurred, leading the high council to request that Knight attend the next meeting and explain why he still held the lands. The council also wanted Knight to explain an ambiguous statement he had made about ownership of the Half-Breed Tract. (Lee Co., IA, Land Records, 1836–1961, Deeds [South, Keokuk], vol. 1, pp. 507–509, microfilm 959,238; vol. 2, pp. 3–6, 13–16, microfilm 959,239, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Iowa Stake Record, 6–7 Dec. 1839 and 21 Feb. 1840, 9–10, 13, 86–88.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Iowa Stake, Record. / Iowa Stake. “Church Record,” 1840–1841. CHL. LR 7817 21.

  7. 7

    That is, the Saints’ memorial to Congress seeking redress for the church’s expulsion from and losses of property in Missouri. (Memorial to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, ca. 30 Oct. 1839–27 Jan. 1840.)  

  8. 8

    When JS left Washington DC for the Commerce area, the church’s memorial was still being considered by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. On 26 February 1840, Elias Higbee wrote a letter to JS stating the committee had decided that the Saints needed to seek redress in Missouri, not from Congress. JS had evidently not yet received Higbee’s letter. (Letter from Elias Higbee, 26 Feb. 1840.)  

  9. 9

    On 7 December 1839, JS and Higbee instructed the Nauvoo high council to send to them affidavits “specifying the particulars” of the actions of non-Mormons against Mormons in 1838 and 1839. (Letter to Seymour Brunson and Nauvoo High Council, 7 Dec. 1839.)  

  10. 10

    Smoot was designated as a member of the Iowa high council at the October 1839 general conference of the church. (Minutes and Discourses, 5–7 Oct. 1839.)  

  11. 11

    In the church’s memorial to Congress, JS, Sidney Rigdon, and Higbee had suggested $2 million as an appropriate amount for redress. On 7 March 1840, Elias Smith wrote in a letter to Higbee that the Saints in Iowa Territory did not want him “to give an inch in any position that has been taken; especially in relation to our damages, the amount of which we think has been estimated full low.” JS added a postscript to the letter, stating that he “heartily concur[red]” with what Elias Smith said. (Memorial to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, ca. 30 Oct. 1839–27 Jan. 1840; Letter to Elias Higbee, 7 Mar. 1840.)  

  12. 12

    There is no record of the minutes ever appearing in the Times and Seasons.