Return of The Prophet To Kirtland—Sundry Events in Missouri.
The Prophet Returns to Kirtland.
On the 8th of July I went to the eastern part of Clay county, and held a meeting in the evening at the house of Thomas B. Marsh. Those present were chiefly High Priests and Elders. On the 9th I started for Kirtland, in company with my brother Hyrum, Frederick G. Williams, William E. M’Lellin and others, in a wagon.
July 10.—Elder Corrill wrote as follows:
Samuel C. Owens, Esq.:
Sir—The last time I saw you in Liberty you said that an answer to our proposals, you thought, would be forwarded soon; but it has not been done. We are anxiously waiting to have a compromise effected, if possible. Respecting our wheat in Jackson county, can it be secured so that we can receive the avails of it, or not, seeing that we are at present prohibited the privilege [of harvesting it]?
P. S.—Please hand the following to Colonel Pitcher.
Liberty, July 10, 1834.
Colonel Thomas Pitcher:
Sir—The following is a true copy of an order from the governor for our arms. Have the goodness to return an answer as soon as possible, that we may know whether we can have the arms upon said order or not; also, when. Send word when we can receive them, and we will appoint an agent to receive and receipt the same. Be assured we do not wish to obtain them from any hostile intentions, but merely because the right of property is ours. If I remember right, there is one gun and a sword more than the order calls for.
[Page 136] [Here followed a copy of the Governor’s order of May 2, to Colonel Lucas.] 1
Assembling of the High Council in Missouri.
On the 12th the High Council of Zion assembled in Clay county, and appointed Edward Partridge, Orson Pratt, Isaac Morley and Zebedee Coltrin to visit the scattered and afflicted brethren in that region, and teach them the ways of truth and holiness, and set them in order according as the Lord shall direct; but it was decided that it was not wisdom for the Elders generally to hold public meetings in that region.
It was also decided that Amasa Lyman assist Lyman Wight in his mission of gathering the strength of the Lord’s house, to which labor I had appointed him.
July 31.—The High Council of Zion assembled, and heard the report of Edward Partridge, Orson Pratt, Zebedee Coltrin, and Isaac Morley, concerning the mission appointed them at the previous council.
The Counsel of David Whitmer.
President David Whitmer gave the council some good instructions, to the effect that it was their duty to transact all business in order, and when any case is brought forward for investigation, every member should be attentive and patient to what is passing in all cases, and avoid confusion and contention, which are offensive in the sight of the Lord. He also addressed the Elders, and said it was not pleasing in the sight of the Lord for any man to go forth and preach the Gospel of peace, unless he is qualified to set forth its principles in plainness to those whom he endeavors to instruct; and also he should be informed as to the rules and regulations of the Church of the Latter-day Saints; for just as a man is, and as he teaches and acts, so will his followers be, let them be ever so full of notions and whims. He also addressed the congregation, and told them it was not wisdom for the brethren to vote at the approaching election; and the council acquiesced in the instructions of the president.
Proposition of W. W. Phelps.
William W. Phelps proposed to the council to appoint a certain number of Elders to hold public meetings in that section of country [Clay county], as often as should be deemed necessary, to teach the disciples how to escape the indignation of their enemies, and keep in favor with those who were friendly disposed. Simeon Carter, John Corrill, Parley P. Pratt and Orson Pratt were appointed by the unanimous voice of the council and congregation to fill the mission.
Charges Against Samuel Brown.
Elder Nathan West preferred charges against Samuel Brown, Higg Priest, for teaching contrary to counsel, namely, encouraging the brethren in practicing gifts (speaking in tongues,) in ordaining Sylvester Hulet a High Priest (without counsel) in a clandestine manner; asserting that he had obtained a witness of the Lord, which was a command to perform the same on receiving the gift of tongues, which gift he had never before received, but afterwards said that he had been in possession of that gift for the space of a year; and in undervaluing the authority and righteousness of the High Council by charging Elder West not to say anything that would tend to prejudice their minds, lest they might not judge righteously.
The charges were sustained by the testimony of Leonard Rich, Charles English, Brother Bruce, Edward Partridge, Hiram Page, Roxa Slade, Caleb Baldwin, and Sylvester Hulet. President David Whitmer gave the following decision, which was sanctioned by the council:
“According to testimony and the voice of the Holy Spirit, which is in us, we say unto you, that God, in His infinite mercy, doth yet grant you a space for repentance; therefore, if you confess all the charges which have been alleged against you to be just, and in a spirit that we can receive it, then you [Samuel Brown] can stand as a private member in this Church, otherwise we have no fellowship for you; and also, that the ordination or Sylvester Hulet, by Samuel Brown, is illegal and not acknowledged by us to be of God, and therefore it is void.
Brother Brown confessed the charges, and gave up his license, but retained his membership. 2
Letter of Appointment to the Elders.
Council adjourned on the evening of the first of August; but previous to adjourning, the Council gave the following letter to the Elders appointed to visit the churches in Clay county:
To the Latter-day Saints who have been driven from the land of their inheritance, and also those who are gathering in the regions round about, in the western boundaries of Missouri. The High Council established according to the pattern given by our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, send greeting:
Dear Brethren—We have appointed our beloved brother and companion in tribulation, John Corrill, to meet you in the name of the Lord Jesus. He, in connection with others also duly appointed, will visit you alternately for the purpose of instructing you in the necessary qualifications of the Latter-day Saints; that they may be perfected, that the officers and members of the body of Christ may become very prayerful and very faithful, strictly keeping all the commandments, and walking in holiness before the Lord continually; that all that mean to have the destroyer pass over them. as the children of Israel, and not slay them, may live according to the “word of wisdom;” that the Saints, by industry, diligence, faithfulness, and the prayer of faith, may become purified, and enter upon their inheritance, to build up Zion, according to the word of the Lord.
We are sure if the Saints are very humble, very watchful, and very prayerful, that few will be deceived by those who have not authority to teach, or who have not the spirit to teach according to the power of the Holy Ghost, and the scriptures. Lest any man’s blood be required at your hands, we beseech you, as you value the salvation of souls, who are within, to set an example worthy to be followed by those who are without the kingdom of our God and His Christ, that peace by grace, and blessings by righteousness, may attend you, until you are sanctified and redeemed.
Dated, Clay county, August 1, 1834.
Arrival of the Prophet in Kirtland.
About this time I arrived in Kirtland, after a tedious journey from the midst of enemies; mobs, cholera, and excessively hot weather, having parted from those whom I started with on the 9th ultimo, at different points of the journey.
August 4.—Kirtland. A council of Elders ordained Thomas Colburn, Elder; and resolved to send Elder Zerubbabel Snow to Canada, to labor in the ministry.
Charges Against the Hulet Branch.
August 6.—The High Council of Zion assembled in Clay county, and resolved that Leonard Rich act in the place of Parley P. Pratt, who was absent, and Amasa Lyman in place of William E. M’Lellin, absent.
The following charge was then preferred:
This may certify, that whereas, the brethren and sisters comprising that part of the Church known by the name of the Hulet Branch, have imbibed certain principles concerning the gifts that are not thought to be correct by the remainder of the Church; which principles seem to have a tendency to cause disunion in the Church.
I, therefore, as a well wisher in the cause of Christ, and for the peace, and love, and upholding of the great cause of God, do hereby pray that the High Council will take into consideration the above report, that we all may come to understanding and grow until we all come unto the perfect stature of men and women in Christ Jesus.
(Signed) Nathan West.
Testimony Against the Hulet Branch.
Charles English testified that the Hulet Branch believed that they received the word of the Lord by the gift of tongues, and would not proceed to their temporal business without receiving the word of the Lord. Sylvester Hulet would speak, and Sally Crandall interpret. Said they would not receive the teachings of ordained members, even Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., himself, unless it agreed with their gifts. Said they received the word of the Lord while they were in Jackson county, that they were to be persecuted by their brethren in Clay county, and now it had come. Also said that the heads of the Church would have to come down and receive the gifts as they did. Said that they, the Hulet Branch, had come up to their privileges more than the rest of the Church. They thought they were right; but if they could be convinced that they were wrong, they would retract. Sister Crandall professed to know and see men’s hearts.
Philo Dibble concurred in the foregoing testimony, and also testified that Sister Crandall saw the hearts of King Follett and Hiram Page, and they were not right.
Hiram Page testified that Lyman Leonard said, if it was necessary to lay aside the gifts for a season, they would receive a knowledge of it through the gifts.
Nathan West concurred in the foregoing testimony, also testified that Sally Crandall saw his heart, that it was full of eyes; also eyes in others’ hearts, some few, some many eyes.
Daniel Stanton testified that Sally Crandall said she saw his heart and saw two books in it, and that there was a Nephite standing behind him to push him into his duty; also that Sylvester Hulet spoke in tongues in meeting, and Sally Crandall interpreted thus: Verily, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, little band, ye must beware, for there are many who are seeking to pry into your privileges.
Absalom Crichfield testified that when he was in Jackson county last spring, the Hulet Branch said, in tongues, that they would be safe, during the night, from any interruption by the mob; but, before morning, Lyman Leonard and Josiah Sumner were whipped; they also said that they saw my heart, and three young women in it.
Brother Batson and Alpheus Gifford concurred in much of the foregoing testimony, and also other similar circumstances in addition.
After an adjournment of three-quarters of an hour, the president instructed the speakers not to seek to excel, but speak according to truth and equity; and that they ought to chase darkness from their minds, and be exercised on the subject upon which they were to speak, in order that they might touch upon points of doctrine, bring hidden things to light, and make dark things, clear, etc.
Decision of the Council in the Hulet Branch Case.
After councilors had spoken, the president said: “As for the gift of tongues in the manner it was used in the Hulet Branch, the devil deceived them, and they obtained not the word of the Lord, as they supposed, but were deceived; and as for the gift of “seeing,” as held by the Hulet Branch, it is of the devil, saith the Lord God.”
The council were unanimous in sanctioning the decision, and appointed Amasa Lyman and Simeon Carter to go and labor with Brother Hulet and Sister Crandall, and others of like faith, and set the truth in order before them.
I have been thus particular in giving the history of this council, as the gift of tongues is so often made use of by Satan to deceive the Saints.
Elders Sent Forth to Preach.
The council adjourned to the 7th, when about twenty Elders were sent forth to preach the Gospel to the world, but not in Jackson or Clay counties or their vicinity.
The Case of William Batson.
President David Whitmer testified to the council that William Batson was not capable of filling his office of Elder, because he had not discretion and understanding sufficient to act wisely in that capacity, whereupon the council voted unanimously, that his office and license be taken from him; to which he consented, and gave up his license.
Elias and Isaac Higbee, and Jesse Hitchcock, were ordained to the High Priesthood, and council adjourned to the 21st of August.
2. The closing words in the decision signed by David Whitmer and W. W. Phelps as moderators and John Whitmer, clerk, are: “Therefore Brother Brown stands as a private member in this Church—all this by the voice of the councilors.” (Far west Record of High council (Ms.), p. 57.)