Volume 2 Chapter 17
Sundry Council Meetings in Vermont Ohio, and New York.
Minutes of the Vermont Conference.
July 17th.—The Twelve met in conference, agreeably to previous appointment, at St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
Resolved:—That this State be within the limits of this conference, and include the branches in Littleton, Dalton, and Landaff, in New Hampshire, to be called the Vermont Conference.
The St. Johnsbury branch numbered forty-one members; Danville, twenty-three; Charlton, twenty-one; Jay, eleven; Dalton, fifteen; Landaff, four; Littleton, ten; Andover, Vermont, fifteen; Beneeon, seven; and Lewis, New York, seventeen.
Six of the council addressed the conference on principles of faith and action.
Adjourned to the 18th, when the remaining six members of the council enforced the necessity of sending up wise men, and purchasing lands, according to the commandments—which the Saints readily agreed to do.
Sunday, 19th.—Our public meeting was attended by more than a thousand people, and during our conference nine were baptized.
Wm. E. M'Lellin, Clerks.
The Prophet at work on the Book of Abraham.
The remainder of this month, I was continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients.
August 2nd, being the Sabbath, I preached a part of the day.
Minutes of the High Council at Kirtland.
Kirtland, August 4th, 1835, a High Council of the Church of Christ of Latter day Saints assembled in conference, consisting of Presidents Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and W. W. Phelps, and others, to take into consideration certain items contained in letters from abroad—one from Warren A. Cowdery, Presiding Elder of the Freedom Conference, and one from Elder William E. M'Lellin. The first reads as follows:
Freedom, July 29th, 1835.
"Dear Brother:—Elder Jared Carter called on this church last Thursday, on his way east, soliciting donations and subscriptions for finishing the house in your place. Although the subject of such a mission, in connection with his name, had been mentioned in the Messenger and Advocate, still, as no other method had been taken to impress the subject on our minds, it had measurably passed out, or ceased to make any impression—therefore, we were in some degree taken on surprise. To the recollection of any of the church, neither the Twelve, the Bishop, nor any others clothed with authority have ever mentioned this subject to us, except incidentally. It surely was never made a subject of public instruction—as Brother Carter had just reasons to expect it had been, he felt an embarrassment peculiar to such a situation. He undertook to preach to us yesterday, but from the aforesaid embarrassment, or the deadness, or the covetousness of the church, he could get none of the Spirit of the Lord to assist him. I am free to say that I attributed more to the latter cause than the former; yet notwithstanding, we made out in donations and subscriptions which I trust will realize $341.37 1/2. May the Lord bless and prosper him, and all His faithful servants; and may they find favor in the sight of God and man, is the prayer of your unworthy brother,
Warren A. Cowdery.
"To Oliver Cowdery."
From this short letter we discover that the Elders failed in the outset to fill their great and important mission, as they know the Lord has commanded us to build a house, in which to receive an endowment, previous to the redemption of Zion; and that Zion could not be redeemed until this takes place. Knowing that the committee were to journey for the express purpose of soliciting donations, they have failed to hold them up and set forth this first important thing; and in consequence God has not blessed them as He otherwise would. We remind you of these things in the name of the Lord, and refer you to the Book of Covenants, 2nd section, 2nd part, and 12th paragraph, and ask, did we not instruct you to remember first the house, secondly the cause of Zion, and then the publishing of the word to the nations?
The other item referred to is an extract from Elder William E, M'Lellin's letter to his wife, as follows:—
"You say that it will not be in your power to go to school this summer. I am glad that it is not, since Elder Hyde has returned and given me a description of the manner in which it is conducted; though we do not wish to cast any reflections."
This the Council considered to be a libel on the face of it. Elder M'Lellin says, "We do not wish to cast any reflections," when the highest insult and reflections are cast by it upon the Church, the Presidency, and those who are held in much higher estimation in the sight of God and this Church than themselves.
The vote of the Council was: We hereby inform Elders M'Lellin and Hyde that we withdraw our fellowship from them until they return and make satisfaction face to face.
We further inform the Twelve, that as far as we can learn from the churches through which we have traveled, you have set yourselves up as an independent council, subject to no authority of the Church, a kind of outlaws! This impression is wrong, and will, if persisted in, bring down the wrath and indignation of heaven upon your heads. The other ten are directed to proceed on and finish the conferences, and the two may act upon their own judgment whether to proceed or return.
President Joseph Smith, Jun., read to the Council a letter from Elder William Smith, which was approved, and filled our hearts with joy.
A letter was presented from Elder Thomas B. Marsh. The Council referred him to the commandment, which requires none to leave or bring his family without revelation or decision of the High Council.
We discover an error in Elder Marsh's letter—he says, "to the able preaching of William E. M'Lellin and Parley P. Pratt." We conclude that if it had been the preaching of the Lord, as it should have been, He would have had the honor, and not these men. To close, we add that unless this epistle is heeded in all its parts, in its full force, those who rebel against it shall be dealt with by the Lord accordingly, for we ask this, being agreed as touching this thing. We wish you to understand that your duty requires you to seek first the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness; that is, attend to the first things first, and then all things will be added, and that complaint about your families will be less frequent. Don't preach yourselves crucified for your wives' sake, but remember that Christ was crucified, and you are sent out to be special witnesses of this thing. Men do not wish to hear these little things, for there is no salvation in them, but there is in the other.
Let the hands of the ten be strengthened, and let them go forth in the name of the Lord, in the power of their mission, giving diligent heed to the direction of the Holy Spirit. We say, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might; for great things await you, and great blessings are in store for you. Let the power of the two be upon the Seventy until the two make full satisfaction; for the Seventy shall be blessed, and are blessed. The man who presumes to speak evil of the dignities which God has set in His Church, to his family, or to anybody else, shall be cursed in his generation. Remember the 109th Psalm. His bishopric shall be taken from him unless he speedily repents. Be it known that God is God, and when He speaks, let all the congregation say, Amen. We have evil insinuations enough in Kirtland to grapple with that are suggested by the father of lies, without having them from those who are sent out to put down insinuations. May God bless you to be more wise in the future. Amen. 1
Oliver Cowdery, Clerk.
Minutes of the Massachusetts Conference.
Bradford, Massachusetts, August 7th. Nine of the traveling High Council met and decided that the limits of the conference embrace the State of Massachusetts, to be called the Massachusetts Conference.
Elder Chase had his license and membership taken from him because of gambling for money, and then breaking bread to the Saints before he confessed his sins.
Elder Holmes' license was taken from him in consequence of a disagreement between him and his wife, which was of long standing. It was therefore considered that if a man cannot preserve peace in his own family, he is not qualified to rule the Church of God.
A letter of complaint was written to Kirtland by Elder Gibson Smith, of Norfolk, Connecticut, against Elder Gladden Bishop, upon which he was suspended, and referred to the conference at Bradford for trial. No one appeared to substantiate the complaint against Elder Bishop who was, therefore, acquitted on that point; but upon further inquiry, it was proved that he had erred in spirit and in doctrine, and was considerably inclined to [excessive] enthusiasm, and much lifted up. The council therefore took his license from him, until he became more instructed, and also get his spirit and feelings more amalgamated with his brethren.
Elder James Patten of North Providence, Rhode Island, was excommunicated for improper conduct, and refusing to give up his license. This action was ordered to be published in the Messenger and Advocate.
The people in this region were generally hard and unbelieving, and but little preaching called for, except by the Church.
The appointment for our conference at Dover, New Hampshire, was recalled on account of the small number of disciples in that place, and no business of importance to be transacted. Also the conferences at Saco and Farmington were altered so as to close at Farmington one month earlier than the former appointment, and notices accordingly were forwarded by mail.
Orson Hyde, Clerk.
Blessing the "Sons of Zion."
August 8th, a council was held in Kirtland, for the purpose of laying hands on Father Duncan and others of the sons of Zion.
Minutes of the High Council.
The High Council of Kirtland assembled, August 10th, to hear complaint of President Joseph Smith, Jun., against Elder Reynolds Cahoon, in that the latter had failed to do his duty in correcting his children, and instructing them in the way of truth and righteousness; which was proved and decision given accordingly. Elder Cahoon confessed the correctness of the decision and promised to make public acknowledgment before the Church.
Oliver Cowdery, Clerk.