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Prince’s Research Excerpts: Priesthood & Mormonism – 1834

Below you will find Prince’s research excerpts titled, “Priesthood, 1834.” You can view other years here.

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1834:  22 Jan.:  The Ancients had all the ordinances.

“We all admit that the Gospel has ordinances, and if so, had it not always ordinances, and were not its ordinances always the same?  Perhaps our friends will say that the Gospel and its ordinances were not known till the days of John, the son of Zacharias, in the days of Herod, the king of Judea.  But we will here look at this point:  For our own part we cannot believe that the ancients in all ages were so ignorant of the system of heaven as many suppose, since all that were ever saved, were saved through the power of this great plan of redemption, as much before the coming of Christ as since; if not, God has had different plans in operation (if we may so express it), to being men back to dwell with Himself; and this we cannot believe, since there has been no change in the constitution of man since he fell.”  (Epistle of the Presidency of the High Priesthood from Kirtland to their Brethren Abroad, 22 Jan., 1834, HC 2:4-24)

3 & 4 Feb.:  Council Court in Kirtland (Elders & HP).

3 Feb., 1834:  Joseph Smith & Orson Hyde of the Council (Kirtland) to J. G. Fosdick (Pontiac, Mich.)

“Dear Bro. Fosdick:

Your letter of the 10th Jan. last is just recd. and this day there has been a regular Council of H. Priests & Elders in this place, and the subject spoken of in your letter was, we believe, taken into due consideration.  We were very sorry to learn that Bro. J. Wood had gone so far astray and offered such violence to the pure principles of the Gospel of Christ.  But, alas!  Such is the depravity of man when lost to a sense of the fear of God and of the ties which bind every virtuous man to the interest and happiness of his fellow man.

Every principle inculcated among you which is contrary to virtue, to industry, to wisdom, to good order, to propriety, and in fine, to the pure principles of godliness as contained in the scriptures of the old and new Testaments, the Book of Mormon and the revelations and commandments of Jesus Christ, which have been given to his Church in these last days, is entirely foreign from the feelings of our breasts, and is that upon which we look down with feelings of the utmost disapprobation; and as consciencious men who expect to render an impartial account, before the searchers of hearts, of all our transactions here, we cannot look upon any principle contrary to the above with any degree of allowance.

After some investigation of the case of Bro. Wood, in council, it was decided that he should be cut off from the Church.  Accordingly the Council lifted their hands against him and he was excluded from the church on this 3d. day of Feb. 1834, [for] indulging an idle, partial, overbearing and lustful spirit, and [not] magnifying his holy calling whereunto he had been ordained.  These things were plainly manifest to the satisfaction of all the council, and the spirit constrained us to separate him from the church.  Should bro. Joseph Wood, after learning the decission of this council, truly repent of all his sins and bring forth fruit meet to the satisfaction of that branch of the Church where he has committed the offences, he can be rebaptized and come into the Church again if he desire so to do.  The instructions which you desire relative to Church gov[ernment]. &c. the extent of the power of a high Priest over any branch of the church, are subjects which will be investigated in the next no. of the Star.  Time will not allow us to write the subjects at full length now; suffice it, therefore, to say that there is no office in this Church which can be placed upon the head of any man that will place him beyond the power & control of any branch of the church where he may be guilty of transgression, even if there is not another ordained member in the church, let the church appoint some brother to preside and let them do as one church did in ancient days ‘try them who say they are apostles and are not, but are liars,’ then let them demand their license, raise their hands against them and thus they are expelled from the communion of the church.  It requires all the members of the Church to constitute the body of Christ.  One man is not the body, nor are the children of the Kingdom to be tantalized by men who may hold licenses and have authority to preach the gospel; such have the more need to be discreet and humble.  Should the individual, after being thus dealt with be dissatisfied with the decission of the Church, he can appeal to a Bishop’s Court, and should he there be judged guilty, he can yet appeal to a court of high priests, and this is an end of all disputes and controversies in the Church of God on earth.

Brethren in the new covenant, Farewell.


Joseph Smith Jr. (Moderator)

Orson Hyde (Clerk of Council)

Copied by direction of the Council, by Oliver Cowdery.”

(Oliver Cowdery letterbook, pp. 23-24)

4 Feb., 1834:  Oliver Cowdery (Kirtland) to J. G. Fosdick (Pontiac, Michigan)

“Dear Brother:

It becomes my painful duty to inform you that at a council of high priests & Elders assembled yesterday, brother Joseph Wood was expelled from this Church.  Brother Samuel Bent wrote me a letter some time since, requesting me to obtain the consent of the brethren in this place for br[ingin?]g. J. Wood to tarry in your country a season.  Accordingly I made the necessary inquiry, and returned him the answer in mine to him, of the 7th of January last.  The brethren here consented to have bro. W. tarry with you for the express purpose of preaching the gospel, and not to spend his time in idleness or pretended study.  God has appointed a school for his faithful Elders:  In it they are to be taught all things necessary to qualify them for their ministry:  In it they are to learn:  In it they are to be endowed with power from on high: but when entrusted with the great office and authority to preach and are sent out, it is with the expectation and consideration they will do so:  If not they lost the Spirit and fall into diverse sins and hurtful lust which if not speedily repented of, drown them in perdition and sorrow.  It was a solemn time in the Council:  none but those who consider the worth of souls can imagine the feelings of our hearts:  Our sympathies [w]ould have said spare him! had it not been for the conviction of every mind that he could not in justice stand.  These are days of trial!  God has spoken from the midst of Eternity, and committed his everlasting gospel to men on earth!  [The?]y have heard his voice!  Shall we hold fellowship and communion with those who will dishonor the holy cause and bring a [re?]proach upon the Church of Christ, and wound the pure in heart!  No!  God forbid!  Talents or no talents, science or no science, intelligence or no intelligence, we know that whatever is good is from God, & [part of page missing] of his hand: consequently, then, it can be recalled when he will, and the man is left as naked as that one was who met Christ, coming out of the tomb.  The Lord calls for laborers, and if one will not be faithful he calls another; his elect will be gathered, they will hear his voice, they will follow him; and blessed is he in that day whose garments have not been spotted with sin!

I subjoin the letter from the council to you and that Church, which you are at liberty to read in your meetings before the Church, if you deem it of any benefit, before the unbelievers also, as well as these few lines from your unworthy brother in the bonds of the new covenant.

Oliver Cowdery.”

(Oliver Cowdery letterbook, pp. 25-26; Huntington Library)

12 Feb.:  Courts:  Nobody to speak for defense?

“It was not the order of heaven in ancient councils to plead for and against the guilty as in our judicial courts (so called) but that every counsellor when he arose to speak, should speak precisely according to evidence and according to the teaching of the Spirit of the Lord, that no counsellor should attempt to screen the guilty when his guilt was manifest.”  (Kirtland Council Minute Book, p. 30.  In Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 207)

12 Feb.:  Preparations for organizing High Council.

“This evening the high priests and Elders of the Church in Kirtland at the house of bro. Joseph Smith Jun. in council for church business.  The council was organized, and opened by bro. Joseph Smith Jun. in prayer.  Bro. Joseph then rose and said:  I shall now endeavour to set forth before this council, the dignity of the office which has been conferred upon me by the ministering of the Angel of God, by his own voice and by the voice of this Church.  I have never set before any council in all the order in which a council ought to be conducted, which, perhaps, has deprived the councils of some, or many blessings.

He said, that no man was capable of judging a matter in council without his own heart was pure; and that we frequently, are so filled with prejudice, or have a beam in our own eye, that we are not capable of passing right decissions, &C.

But to return to the subject of the order:  In ancient days councils were conducted with such strict propriety, that no one was allowed to whisper, be weary, leave the room, or get uneasy in the least, until the voice of the Lord, by revelation, or by the voice of the council by the spirit was obtained; which has not been observed in this church to the present.  It was understood in ancient days, that if one man could stay in council another could, and if the president could spend his time, the members could also.  But in our councils, generally, one would be uneasy; another asleep, one praying another not; one’s mind on the business of the council and another thinking on something else &c.  Our acts are recorded, and at a future day they  will be laid before us, and if we should fail to judge right and injure our fellow beings, they may there perhaps condemn us; thus, they are of great consequence: and to me the consequence appears to be of force beyond any thing which I am able to example [?].  Ask yourselves, brethren, how much you have exercised yourselves in prayer since you heard of this council; and if you are now prepared to sit in judgment upon the soul of your brother. . . .”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 12 Feb., 1834)

12 Feb.:  Office conferred upon me by the Angel.

“Thursday Evening, February 12, 1834.  This evening the high Priests and Elders of the Church in Kirtland at the house of bro. Joseph Smith Jun. in Council for Church business.  The Council was organized and opened by bro. Joseph Smith Jn in prayer.  Bro. Joseph then rose and said: I shall now endeavor to set forth before this Council, the dignity of the office which has been conferred upon me by the ministering of the Angel of God, by his own voice and by the voice of the Church.”  (Kirtland Council Minutes, 12 Feb., 1834; Barney)

17 Feb.: Kirtland High Council organized.

“This day, Feb. 17 1834. a conference of High Priests assembled in Kirtland at the House of bro. Joseph Smith Jun.  They proceeded to organize the Presidents church council, consisting of twelve high priests, and this according to the law of God.  The names of those who were chosen were Joseph Smith Jun. Sidney Rigdon and F. G. Williams Presidents.  Joseph Smith Seign., John Smith, Joseph Coe, John Johnson, Martin Harris, John S. Carter, Jared Carter, Oliver Cowdery, Saml H. Smith, Orson Hyde, Sylvester Smith and Luke Johnson, counsellors.  Bro. Joseph opened the council by solem prayer.  He then arose and called upon the high priests, Elders, priests, teachers and deacons that were present who had not been nominated as counsellors to pass their vote whether they wee satisfied with the appointment or nomination of the twelve to compose the Church council.  It was the unanimous voice of all present that those who had been nominated, as above, should compose a standing council in Kirtland.  It was also voted that when any one or more of the standing counsellors were absent, their vacancy should be filled by any high priest, whom the majority of the council should nominate or choose, providing that no council shall be held unless seven of the above named counsellors are present, or their successors.  The above named counsellors all manifested a willingness to act according to their appointment, the Lord being their helper.  Bro. Hyrum Smith acted in the place of John Smith.  There were nine high priests present and acted in the appointment of the above named counsellors, also seventeen Elders, and four priests with thirteen private members.  Bro. Joseph then said he would show the order of councils in ancient days (see 27 & 28 pages) as shown to him by vision.  The law by which to govern the council in the Church of Christ.  Jerusalem was the seat of the Church council in ancient days.  The apostle, Peter, was the president of the council and held the keys of the kingdom of God on the earth, was appointed to this office by the voice of the Saviour and acknowledged in it by the voice of the Church.  He had two men appointed as counsellors with him, and in case Peter was absent, his counsellors could transact business or either one of them.  The president could also transact business alone.  It was not the order of heaven in ancient councils to plead for and against the guilty as in our judicial courts (so called) but that every counsellor when he arose to speak, should speak precisely according to evidence and according to the teaching of the spirit of the Lord, that no counsellor should attempt to screen the guilty when his guilt was manifest.  That the person ackused before the high council had a right to one half the members of the council to plead his cause, in order that his case might be fairly presented before the President that a decission might be rendered according to truth and righteousness.  If the case was not a very difficult one to investigate, two of the counsellors, only, spoke, one on one side and one on the other, according to evidence.  If the case was more dificult, according to the judgments of the council, two were to speak on each side, and if more difficult, three might speak on each side, and three only.  Those who spoke in council were chosen by the council and that too by casting lots.  Those who were thus chosen to speak, took their regular turn, in speaking.  Bro Joseph said that this organization was an ensample to the high priests in their councils abroad, and a copy of their proceedings be transmitted to the seat of the goverment of the church to be recorded on the general record.  In all cases, the accuser and the acused have a perfect right to speak for themselves before the council.  The councils abroad, have a right and it s their duty to appoint a president for the time being for themselves.  If in case the parties are not satisfied with the decission of the council abroad, they have a right to an appeal to the Bishops Court, and from there to the presidents council which is an end of all strife.

The remaining six counsellors who do not speak in council, are to hear patiently the reasoning of the other and correct all errors, which they may discover, and after decission is rendered by the president, if these remaining counsellors can throw any farther light upon the subject, so as to correct the decission of the president, they have the liberty so to do, otherwise it stands and the majority of the council must rule.  It was then voted by all present that they desired to come under the present order of things which they all considered to be the will of God.  Many questions have been asked during the time of the organization of this council and doubtless some errors have been committed, it was, therefore, voted by all present that Bro Joseph should make all necessary corrections by the spirit of inspiration hereafter. . . .

The above items have been corrected according to the resolution passed in the same, and the following is the correction– 

This day a general council of 24 high Priests assembled at the house of Joseph Smith Jun. by revelation and proceeded to organize the high council of the Church of Christ, which was to consist of twelve high priests, and one, or three presidents, as the case might require.  This high council was appointed by revelation, for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the Church, which could not be settled by the Church, or the bishop’s council to the satisfaction of the parties.

Joseph Smith Jun.

Sidney Rigdon and

Frederick G. Williams were acknowledged presidents, by the voice of the council; and

Joseph Smith Seign.      Jared Carter

John Smith               Oliver Cowdery

Joseph Coe               Saml. H Smith

John Johnson             Orson Hyde

Martin Harris            Sylvester Smith and

John S Carter            Luke Johnson,

high priests, were chosen to be a standing council for the Church, by the unanimous voice of the council.

The above named counsellors were then asked whether they accepted their appointment, and whether they would act in that office according to the law of Heaven: to which they all answered, that they accepted their several appointments, and would fill their offices according to the grace of God bestowed upon them.

The number composeing the council, who voted in the name, and for the church in appointing the above named counsellors, were forty three:  As follows:  Nine high priests, Seventeen elders, four priests, and thirteen members.

Voted, that the high council cannot have power to act without seven of the above named counsellors, or their regularly appointed successors, are present; these seven shall have power to appoint other high priests whom they may consider worthy and capable to act in the place of absent counsellors.

Voted, that whenever any vacancy shall occur by the death, removeal from office for transgression, or removal from the Council of this Church government of any one of the above named counsellors, it shall be filled by the nomination of the president, or presidents and sanctioned by the voice of a general council of high priests convened for that purpose to act in the name of the Church.

The president of the church, who is also the president of the council, is appointed by the voice of the Saviour, and acknowledged in his administration, by the voice of the Church, and it is according to the dignity of his office that he should preside over the high council of the church; and it is his privilege to be assisted by two other presidents, appointed after the same manner that he himself was appointed; and in case of the absence of one or both of those who are appointed to assist him, he has power to preside over the council without an assistant: and in case that he himself is absent, the other presidents have power to preside in his stead, both or either of them.

Whenever a high council of the Church of Christ is regularly organized according to the foregoing pattern, it shall be the duty of the twelve counsellors to cast lots by numbers and thereby ascertain who of the twelve shall speak first, commencing with number one, and so in succession to number twelve.

Whenever this council convenes to act upon any case, the twelve counsellors shall consider whether it is  a difficult one or not; If it is not, two only of the counsellors shall speak upon it according to the form above written; but if it is thought to be difficult, four shall be appointed, and if more difficult, six: but in no case shall more than six be appointed to speak.  The accused in all cases has a right to one half of the council to prevent insult or injustice; and the counsellors appointed to speak before the council, are to present the case after the evidence is examined, in its true light before the council and every man is to speak according to equity and justice.  

Those counsellors who draw even numbers, tht is, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12, are the individuals who are to stand up in the behalf of the accused and prevent insult or injustice.

In all cases the accusor and the accused shall have a privilege of speaking for themselves before the council, after the evidences are heard, and the counsellors who are appointed to speak on the case, have finished their remarks.

After the evidences are heard; the counsellors, accusor and the accused, have spoken, the president shall give a decision according to the understanding which he shall have of the case, and call upon the twelve counsellors to sanction the same by their voices.

But should the remaining counsellors who have not spoken or any one of them, after hearing the evidences and pleadings impartially, discover an error in the decision of the president, they can manifest it, and the case shall have a re-hearing; and if after a careul rehearing, any additional light is thrown upon the case, the decision shall be altered accordingly; but in case no additional light is given, the first decision shall stand; the majority of the council having power to determine the same.    

In cases of difficulty respecting doctrine, or principle, if there is not a sufficiency written to make the case clear to the mind of the council, the president may inquire and obtain the mind of the Lord by revelation.

The high priests, when abroad, have power to call and organize a council after the manner of the foregoing, to settle difficulties when the parties, or either of them shall request it, and the said council of high priests shall have power to appoint one of their own number to preside over such council for the time being.

It shall be the duty of said council to transmit, immediatly, a copy of their proceedings, with a full statement oif the testimony accompanying their decision, to the high council at the seat of the government of the Church.

Should the parties, or either of them, be dissatisfied with the decision of said council, they may appeal to the high council at the seat of the general government of the church, and have a re-hearing, which case shall there be conducted according to the former pattern written, as though no such decision had been made.

This council of high priests aborad, is only to be called on the most difficult cases of church matters; and no common or ordinary case is to be sufficient to call such councils.  The travelling or located high priests abroad, have the power to say whether it is necessary to call such a council or not. . . .

Resolved, that the president or presidents at the seat of general church government, shall have power to determine whether any such case as may be appealed, is justly entitled to a re-hearing after examineing the appeal and the evidences and statements accompanying it.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 17 Feb., 1834)

“No very definite or fixed form of government for the Mormon Church had as yet been adopted, affairs, spiritual and ecclesiastical, being largely left to the Prophet and his immediate advisers.  The time had now arrived when even Smith could see that something more adhesive and restrictive than his personal authority was needed, to control and hold in check the many and diverse elements now composing the Mormon Church.  In accordance with that conclusion the leading men of the church were commanded to assemble at Kirtland, on February 17, 1834.  The meeting was held in the house of the Prophet, and its result was the organization of ‘The High Council of the Church of Christ.’  This body was to consist of twelve high-priests, and one or three presidents, as the case might require.  As we are told by the Mormon record, ‘the High Council was appointed by revelation, for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church or the Bishops’ Council to the satisfaction of the parties.’

As early as March of 1832, Smith had been acknowledged President of the High-Priests, while one year later the Quorum of three High-Priests, consisting of Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, was organized as a presidency of the church.  These three were chosen also to be presidents of the new High Council, while the Council itself consisted of Joseph Smith, Sr., John Smith, Joseph Coe, John Johnson, Martin Harris, John S. Carter, Jared Carter, Oliver Cowdery, Samuel H. Smith, Orson Hyde, Sylvester Smith, and Luke Johnson, all High-Priests.  As the first President of the Council and also of the church, Smith saw no abridgment of his power, nor any portion of it delegated to other hands.  He had simply added the force of organization to the authority already held by a supposed commission from on high.”  (J. H. Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, pp. 143-144)

“I remember very well the organization of the High Council at Kirtland as a permanent institution, there had been several Councils of twelve High Priests called for special cases, but they organized it permanently on 17th Feb. 1834.”  (George A. Smith, JD 11:7, 15 Nov., 1864)

19 Feb.: Further instructions to High Council.

“The council assembled pursuant to adjournment.  Joseph Smith Jun. opened the council by reading the 3rd Chap of Joel’s prophecy, and prayer.  After which he arose before the council, and said that he had laboured the day before with all the strength and wisdom that he had given him in makeing the corrections necessary in the last council minutes, which he would now read before this council.  He asked the council for their attention, that they might rightly judge upon the truth and propriety of these minutes, as all were equally interested in them &c.  He als[o] urged the necessity of prayer; that the Spirit might be given, that the tings of the spirit might be judged thereby; because the carnal mind cannot discern the things of God &c.  He then proceeded to read the minutes and afterward made some remarks, when it was decided by the members of the council present, that it might be read a second time.  Sidney Rigdon then proceeded to read the minutes or constitution of the high council the second time, remarking at the time, that it could not be justly urged to be read at this time, as the hour was passed which was appointed for the council to assemble.  An impropriety by some was discovered in the commencement of the minutes, as it says, a council of high priests, and afterwards says, that elders, priests and private members acted in said council.  Said objections were corrected, and the minutes read the third time by Oliver Cowdry.  The questions were then asked, whether the present council acknowledged the same, and receive them for a form, or constitution of the high council of the Church of Christ hereafter.  The document was received by the unanimous voice of the council, with this privision, that, if the president should hereafter discover any lack in the same he should be privileged to fill it up.

The number present who received  the above named document was twenty six high priests, eighteen Elders, three priests, one teacher and fourteen private members, making in all, sixty two.  

After much good instruction, Joseph, the president, laid his [hands] upon the heads of the two assistant presidents and pronounced a blessing upon them, that they might have wisdom to magnify their office, and power over all the power of the adversary.  He also laid his hands upon the twelve counsellors and commanded a blessing to rest upon them, that they might have wisdom and power to counsel in righteousness upon all subjects that might be laid before them.  He also prayed that they might be delivered from those evils to which they were most exposed, and that their lives might be prolonged on the earth.

Joseph Smith Sen. then laid his hands upon the head of his Son, Joseph, and said:  Joseph, I lay my hands upon thy head, and pronounce the blessings of thy progenitors upon thee, that thou mayest hold the keys of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven until the coming of the Lord, Amen.  He, also, laid his hands upon the head of his sone Samuel and said. Saml., I lay my hands upon thy head and pronounce the blessing of thy progenitors upon thee, that thou mayest remain a priest of the most high God, and like Samuel of old, hear his voice, saying, Samuel, Samuel, Amen.

John Johnson, also, laid his hands upon the head of his Son Luke and said, my Father in Heaven, I ask thee to bless this my son according to the blessings of his forefathers, that he may be strengthened in his ministry according to his holy calling, Amen

The president then gave the assistant presidents a solem charge to do their duty in righteousness and in the fear of God.  He also charged the twelve counsellors in a similar manner, all in the name of Jesus Christ.  We then, all raised our hands to heaven in token of the everlasting covenant, and the Lord blessed us with his spirit.  He then said the council was organized according to the ancient order, and also according to the mind of the Lord.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 19 Feb., 1834)

20 Feb.: Question of worthiness of officiator.

“At a church meeting held in Pennsylvania, Erie Co. and Springfield Township by Orson Pratt & Lyman Johnson, high priests, Some of the members of that church refused to partake of the sacrament because the Elder administering it did not observe the words of wisdom to obey them.  Lyman argued that they were justified in so doing because the Elder was in transgression.  Orson argued that the Church was bound to receive the supper under the administration of an Elder so long as he retained his office or licence.  Voted that six counsellors should speak upon the subject, or case.

The council then proceeded to try the question, whether disobedience to the word of wisdom was a transgression suficient to deprive an official member from holding an office in the church, after haveing it sufficiently taught him.  Samuel H. Smith, Luke Johnson, John S Carter, Sylvester Smith, John Johnson and Olson Hyde were called to speak upon the case then before the council.  After the counsellors had spoken, the President proceeded to give a decision:  ‘That no official member in this church is worthy to hold an office after haveing the words of wisdom properly taught to him, and he, the official member, neglecting to comply with, or obey them; after which the counsellors voted according to the same.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 20 Feb., 1834)

27 Feb.-21 Mar.:  Washed feet as testimony against them.

“Feb. 27th.  We left Painesville and came to Thompson.  On the way we endeavored to obtain some assistance from the world for the relief of our suffering brethren in Zion, but they refused to render any assistance.  We therefore washed our feet against them.

. . . .

Mar. 20th.  Brother John Murdock and I left Geneseo and came to the village of Dansville.  About dark we called upon the family of a man by the name of Parkman for lodging during the night, but they refused to keep us.  Therefore we washed our feet as a testimony against them.

Mar. 21st.  We called at a house in Arkport village for the purpose of obtaining a meeting in that place, but the woman of the house rejected our testimony, and said that if the Book of Mormon was good she could not receive it.  Therefore we washed our feet as a testimony against her.”  (Orson Pratt diary, 27 Feb.-21 Mar., 1834; UGHM 28:92-93, Apr., 1937)

4 Mar.:  Disfellowshipment by vote of the body of Church.

“on the case of Charles Avery it was witnessed against him that he waked disorderly and made too free a use of strong drink.  And the church lifted their hands against him and he was disfellowshipped.”  (John Murdock journal, 4 Mar., 1834; LDS Archives, Ouellette)

19 Apr.:  Church yet to be organized by will of heaven.

“Next morning, 19 [April 1834] started and arrived at Brother Joseph Bozworth’s in Copley, Medina County, [Ohio?] where we took dinner.  Bro J Bozworth was strong in the faith.  He is a good man and may, if faithful, do much good.  After resting awhile, we left, and soon arrived at Brother Johnathan Tayler’s, in Norton, where we were received with kindness.

We soon retired to the wilderness where we united in prayer and sup[p]lication for the blessings of the Lord to be given unto his Church.  We called upon the Father in the name of Jesus to go with the breth[r]en who were going up to the land of Zion.  To give Brother Joseph strength and wisdom, and understanding sufficient to lead the people of the Lord, and to gather back and establish the Saints upon the land of their inheritances, and [to] organize them according to the will of heaven, that they be no more cast down forever.

We then united and laid on hands.  Brothers Sidney, Oliver, and Zebedee laid hands upon Bro Joseph and confirmed upon him all the blessings necessary to qualify him to stand before the Lord in his high calling.  He return[ed] again in peace and triumph to enjoy the society of his breth[r]en.”  (Joseph Smith 1832-34 diary; Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 27)

21 Apr.: Joseph relates restoration of priesthoods.

“Bro. Joseph Smith Jun. read the 2nd chapter of the prophecy of Joel & took the lead in prayer; after which,  he commenced addressing the congregation, as follows.  It is very difficult for us to communicate to the church all that God has revealed to us, in consequence of tradition, for we are differently situated from any other people that ever existed upon this earth.  Consequently those former revelations cannot be suited to our condition, because they were given to other people who were before us; but in the last days, God was to call a remnant, in which was to be deliverance, as well as in Jerusalem, and Zion.  Now, if God should give no more revelations, where will we find Zion and this remnant.  He said that the time was near when desolation was to cover the Earth, and then God would have a place of deliverance in his remnant, and in Zion, &c.  He then gave a relation of obtaining and translating the Book of Mormon, the revelation of the priesthood of Aaron, the organization of the Church in the year 1830, the revelation of the high priesthood, and the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Church, &c.  Take away the Book of Mormon, and the revelations and where is our religion?  We have none.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 21 Apr., 1834)

23 Jun.:  Men chosen for subsequent Kirtland endowment.

“A Council of High Priests met according to revelation in order to choose some of the first Elders to receive their endowments being appointed by the voice of the Spirit through Br. Joseph Smith, jr. President of the Church of Christ.

Proceeded First:

Edward Partridge–Is called & chosen and is to go to Kirtland to receive his endowment with power from on high–And also stand in his office as Bishop to purchase lands in the land of Missouri.

William W. Phelps–Is called and chosen and it is appointed unto him to receive his endowment with power from on high . . .”

[15 men are designated in this meeting to receive their endowment in Kirtland:  Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, John Whitmer, David Whitmer, A. S. Gilbert, Peter Whitmer, Jr., Simeon Carter, Newel Knight, Thomas B. Marsh, Lyman Wight, Parley P. Pratt, Christian Whitmer, and Solomon Hancock.]  (Far West Record, 23 Jun., 1834)

3 Jul.:  Organization of High Council in Missouri.

“The High Priests of Zion assembled for the purpose of organizing a general Council of High Priests, agreeable to the revelation for the purpose of settling important business that might come before them which could not be settled by the Bishop and his council.  

Proceeded to make choice of the President.  It was agreed that David Whitmer should be the first President and to be assisted by William W. Phelps and John Whitmer. — and the following High Priests as Councilors:

Christian Whitmer        Thomas B. Marsh.

Newel Knight             Simeon Carter.     

Lyman Wight              Parley P. Pratt.

Calvin Bebee             Orson Pratt.

William E. Mc.lellin     John Murdock.

Solomon Hancock          Levi Jackman.”

(Far West Record, 3 Jul., 1834)

“On the third of July, the High Priests of Zion assembled in the yard of Col. Arthurs, where Lyman Wight lived, in Clay county, and I proceeded to organize a High Council, agreeable to the revelation and pattern given at Kirtland, for the purpose of settling important business that might come before them, which could not be settled by the Bishop and his council.  David Whitmer was elected president, and William W. Phelps and John Whitmer assistant presidents.  The following High Priests, viz.: Christiam Whitmer, Newel Knight, Lyman Wight, Calvin Beebe, Wm. E. M’Lellin, Solomon Hancock, Thomas B. Marsh, Simeon Carter, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, John Murdock, and Levi Jackman, were appointed councillors; and the Council adjourned to Monday.  Frederick G. Williams was clerk of the meeting.”  (HC 2:122-123)

“I found many great and glorious privileges here as it was the place appointed for the meeting of the high Council & also the Elders council and Courts to transact all their business.  This high council of high priests was esstablished according to the will of God by his Servent Joseph on the 3d of July 1834 organized the High Council before his return to the east.

And it is a great benefit to the inquireing mind to be privileged of attending those counsels as it is the privilege of the Council to recieve the word of the Lord concerning all subjects that are brought before them to be decided or investigated that immediately Concern the Church On points of the Gospel.  And in fine those councils which God hath appointed in these last days are in the first degree the most instructive and interesting to the honest enquirer after truth light and intelligence that this generation of the human family hath access to.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, June-July, 1834.  Vol. 1 p. 13 of typescript.) 

7 Jul.:  Joseph’s work completed.

“Br. Joseph Smith, Jun. proceeded to give the [high] council such instruction (relative to their high calling) as would enable them to proceed and minister in their office–agreeable to the pattern given heretofore–also read to them the Revelation speaking on the subject–He also informed them if he should now be taken away that he had accomplished the great work which the Lord had laid before him, and that which he had desired of the Lord, and that he now had done his duty in organizing the High Council, through which Council the will of the Lord might be known on all important occasions in the building up of Zion, and establishing truth in the earth.”  (Far West Record, 7 Jul., 1834)

“Our next business was to organize a council for the benefit of the church; and accordingly, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and W. W. Phelps were set apart and ordained to preside over the council, and the following named persons were chosen as councilors: Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Christian Whitmer, Newel Knight, Simeon Carter, John Murdock, Thomas B. Marsh, Solomon Hancock, Calvin Beebe, Levi Jackman, William E. McLellin, and myself.  We then organized and ordained several according to our calling.  Brother Joseph Smith then arose and addressed us at some length upon the all-important obligations which we were under to execute justice to our brethren according to the law of God, saying that he had lived to see the Church of Jesus Christ established on earth according to the order of heaven; and should ne now be taken from this body of people, the work of the Lord would roll on, and the gathering of the house of Israel take place in spite of earth and hell.  And he further said that he was not willing to return home, that he was fully satisfied that he had done the will of God, and that the Lord had accepted our sacrifice and offering, even as he had Abraham’s when he offered his son Isaac; and in his benediction asked the heavenly Father to bless us with eternal life and salvation.  The day passed off with gratitude to our heavenly Father who so kindly bestows his Holy Spirit upon all who seek him with an honest heart.”  (Lyman Wight diary, quoted in Heman C. Smith, The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 1:515-516)

7 Jul.:  David Whitmer “President of Church in Zion”.

“Proposed by br. W. W. Phelps that br. David Whitmer the President of the Church in Zion should go to Kirtland as being one of the three witnesses and assist in promoting the cause of Christ. . . .

After all this was done the afore mentioned High Priests, Elders, Priests, Teachers, Deacons & members covenanted with uplifted hands to heaven that they would uphold Brother David Whitmer as President, head and leader in Zion (in the absence of br. Joseph Smith jr.) [Note:  Check to see if the parens. are in the original.] & John Whitmer & W. W. Phelps as assistant Presidents and Counsillors also covenanted to uphold 

him and one another at the throne of grace.”  (Far West Record, 7 Jul., 1834)  

12 Jul.:  Traveling ministers appointed.

“Shall we appoint two four or six to visit our scattered and afflicted brethren in this region, and lay before them their duty &c. or shall we appoint more or how many shall we appoint. . . . 

It was deemed necessary that four should be appointed to go and visit the scattered brethren and teach them in the ways of truth and holiness, &c.”  (Far West Record, 12 Jul., 1834)

31 Jul.:  Reprimand for ordaining w/o permission.

“Know ye that, were as, Br. Brown an high priest of this Church of Christ did on the last week come into this Branch and taught certain of the brethren & sisters things much the reverse of what we had by encouraging them in practising gifts.  And where as said Brown did in an underhanded, (and as we conceive) clandestine manner ordain Sylvester Hulett to the office of high priest; insisting that he had obtained a witness from the Lord for the same, which witness he said was the promise of performing the ordination on receiving the gift of tongues: which gift he said he had never received before but afterwards said that he had been in possession of the same gift for the space of a year. . . . I therefore, as an Elder of the Church of Christ do earnestly solicit the attention of the council in considering the same.  Nathan West”

“Br. Brace, testifies that my wife says that Brown says that he had an impression of the Spirit to ordain Silvester to the high priesthood.  Then proceeded and ordained him in the presence of my family.  he told Silvester that it was not necessary to say any thing about his ordination at present.  Brown said that he had better tell the Bishop, Partridge or David the President concerning the matter or he himself would, as there was some considerable excitement at present. . . . 

I told him that Sylvester had applied to a Council of Highpriests not a great while since to be ordained but was rejected,–and that one of three things must be true,–either the Sprit the Council had or the Spirit Brown had was not of God–or Br. Sylvester stood different in the eyes of the Lord now from what he did at the time the Council rejected him.–Br. Brown thought probably he was different in the eyes of the Lord.”  (Far West Record, 31 Jul., 1834)   

“. . . that the ordination of Silvester Hulet performed by Samuel Brown is illegal therefore not acknowledged by us to be of God–Therefore is void and good for nothing.

The foregoing decision sanctioned by the unanimous Aye of the counsillors.

Br. Samuel Brown came forward and confessed the charges.  Also gave up his licenses of Elder and High Priest  Elder’s license dated at Pittsburgh Pensylvania February 21. 1833 and by the hand of Phineas Young.  And his license for high priest dated at Cincinnatti Hamilton Co. Ohio, June 15. 1833. Give by Luke Johnson.  Therefore Br. Brown stands as a private member in this Church;–all this by the voice of the Counsillors.”  (Far West Record, 1 Aug., 1834)     

6 Aug.:  Recommend necessary for ordination.

“Br. Wm W Phelps made some few remarks saying it was necessary for any one that desired to be ordained to obtain a recomend from that part of the brethren where he resides.”  (Far West Record, 6 Aug., 1834)

24 Sep.:  High priests to be ordained by High Council.

“The council then decided that said committee, after arranging and publishing said book of covenants, have the avails of the same.  The council then decided that a notice be published to the churches and conferences abroad, that high priests be ordained hereafter, in the high council at Kirtland, signed by the clerk of the council.”  (Kirtland High Council Minutes, 24 Sep., 1834)

5 Nov.:  Voice of Church necessary before ordination.

“It was a practice for any who was to be ordained to the ministry to have the vo[ice?] of the branch of the Church in which they were living before they were recommended to the high Council for ordination.  It was at one of these meetings that Brother Lyman Wight called a vote to recommend Brother Stephen Winchester Heman T. Hide and myself to the high Council for ordination.  It was a full vote and at the next meeting of the high Council we were recommended by Lyman Wight, Amasa Lyman Elias Higby, and Zebedee Coltan all high Priests to the council.  And there was a vote taken and carried by the high Council to ordain us priests. And Brother Simeon Carter was appointed to ordain us and we were ordained on the 5th day of November 1834.”  (Wilford Woodruff diary, 1834.  I:13-14 of typescript.)

5 Dec.:  Oliver ordained assistant President.

“According to the directions of the Holy Spirit breth[r]en Joseph Smith Jr.  Sidney, Frederick G. Williams, and Oliver Cowdery, assembled to converse upon the welfare of the Church, when brother Oliver Cowdery was ordained an assistant President of the High and Holy Priesthood under the hands of brother Joseph Smith Jr. saying, ‘My brother, in the name of Jesus Christ who was crucified for the sins of the world, I lay my hands upon thee, and ordain thee an assistant President of the high and holy priesthood in the Church of the Latter Day Saints.'”  (Joseph Smith diary, 5 Dec., 1834; Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 31) 

5 Dec.:  The angel who gave them the lesser priesthood.

“The reader may further understand, that the reason why High Counsellor Cowdery was not previously ordained to the Presidency was in consequence of his necessary attendance in Zion, to assist W. W. Phelps in conducting the printing business; but that this promise was made by the angel while in company with President Smith, at the time they received the office of the lesser priesthood.”  (History of the Church, Manuscript, Book A-1, {1838} (back of the book), 5 Dec., 1834, CR 100/102, LDS Archives; Barney)