, serving as clerk, recorded the following minutes:
Agreeable to appointment—the standing High Councellors met, when it was found that several were absent, who, (some of them,) have had to flee for their lives, therefore it being necessary that those vacancies be filled the meeting was called for that purpose, and, also, to express each others feeling respecting the word of the Lord. . . .
made a few remarks saying he thought it all important to have the Council reorganized, and prepared to do business.
He advised the councellors to be wise and judicious in all their movements and not hasty in their transactions; as for his faith it was the same as ever, and he fellowshiped all such as loved the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in act as well as deed word. (Minute Book 2, 13 Dec. 1838)
This entry from Minute Book 2, a volume sometimes known as the Far West Record (see JS, Journal, Mar.−Sep., 1838, 13 Apr. 1838), is a reminder of the crisis of leadership and faith endured by JS’s followers in the aftermath of the Mormon War. Brigham Young
beginning in 1830 and ending, with the exception of two entries from 1844, in 1839. The minutes in the volume were copied from earlier notes and, aside from the 1844 transcriptions, were not inscribed into the minute book contemporaneously. Another portion of the bound volume, not presented here, contains seventy-three pages of Warren Parrish
in 1834 (Minute Book 2, 7 July 1834), also served as one of the clerks for the Missouri high council from July 1834 until December 1837 (Minute Book 2, 12 July 1834–23 Dec. 1837). Oliver Cowdery served briefly as a “standing Clerk” for the council beginning in December 1837, and then on 6 April 1838, Ebenezer Robinson
’s handwriting designates the volume as “Conference Minutes, and Record Book, of Christ’s Church of Latter Day Saints. Belonging to the High Council of said Church, or their successors in office, of Caldwell County Missouri; Far West: April 6, 1838.” That page may have been a later insertion, as the date reflects Robinson’s assumption of office as clerk and recorder.
had gathered in his role as church historian. This collection probably included some original minutes. Whitmer apparently refused to turn the records over to Robinson. On 9 April 1838, JS and Sidney Rigdon
wrote to Whitmer demanding his notes (JS, Journal, Mar.−Sep., 1838, 9 April 1838). According to Robinson’s later account (Ebenezer Robinson, “Items of Personal History of the Editor,” in The Return (Davis City, Iowa, September 1889, 134), Whitmer then permitted Robinson and Levi Richards
to make a copy of a compilation that he had begun four or five years earlier. This assemblage included conference and council minutes from 9 June 1830 through 7 December 1837. Sometime afterward, Robinson and Richards recorded this material in Minute Book 2. Thus, that portion of Minute Book 2 is in effect a copy of a copy of a copy.
high council and to copy them into Minute Book 2. (Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1 Oct. 1842) These were the minutes Robinson began keeping when he was sustained as clerk for the Far West high council in April 1838. Robinson had not yet transferred his own notes to Minute Book 2 in the aftermath of the Mormon War and his assumption of duties as copublisher of the Times and Seasons with Don Carlos Smith
’s cooperation, inscribed more than eighty pages of minute entries into the volume, covering conferences, councils, and other meetings from 23 December 1837 through 2 January 1839. Subsequently, the Nauvoo
, JS’s personal secretary, for use in compiling JS’s history. (Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 14 Sep. 1843) The last entries made in the volume were by Joseph Cole for two Nauvoo high council meetings, on 1 and 15 June 1844. These last entries were evidently made contemporaneously, as Cole was dismissed as high council clerk in September 1844.
The minutes compiled in Minute Book 2, though for the most part not copied into that record at or near the time of the meetings they record, offer a remarkable view of the unfolding of early church organization and governance. The text captures and illuminates critical aspects of the church’s development including early conferences in New York
Stake High Council, “The Conference Minutes, and Record Book, of Christ’s Church of Latter Day Saints,” Minute Book 2, 6 Apr. 1838–[ca. June 1838], [ca. Oct. 1842], [ca. June 1844]; handwriting of Ebenezer Robinson
, Joseph M. Cole, and an unidentified scribe; 178 pages, as well as indexing in tabbed pages at beginning of book; CHL. Includes tables, redactions, use marks, and archival marking.
The second of two texts inscribed in a ledger book. The paper, which is ruled both horizontally and vertically, measures 12½ × 7¾ inches (32 × 20 cm). The book contains 276 leaves, including the flyleaves in the front and back of the book. The bound book, which features a brown suede leather cov-er, measures 13 × 8½ × 1¾ inches (33 × 22 × 4 cm). The spine has a pasted red label with “LEDGER” in gold lettering. Following the four front flyleaves, the first twenty-four pages are tabbed index pages. The next seventy-three pages were used by Warren Parrish
, Ohio. Following a blank page, Minute Book 2 fills the next 187 pages, although there are some blank pages within and at the end of this record. The portion of the ledger in which Minute Book 2 is inscribed has its own pagination, all apparently done by Hosea Stout. Ebenezer Robinson
, Illinois, stake high council meetings held 1 and 15 June 1844, recorded by Joseph M. Cole on pages 178–185. The minutes were recorded with a quill pen, and all are in brown ink, except for some blue ink on pages 179–181. The remaining 251 pages of the book are blank. There were originally four back flyleaves; only two remain, and they are blank.
Minute Book 2 includes several redactions made in graphite, as well as some marking in blue pencil. The leather cover was decorated with blind tooling at some point, and a paper sticker was pasted on the spine with “CONFERENCE MINUTES AND HIGH COUNCIL RECORDS OF FAR WEST” inscribed in unidentified handwriting. This sticker resembles several other such stickers found on early church record books.
exodus inventory as part of “Records of High Council.” It is listed in middle- and late-nineteenth-century inventories of the Historian’s Office in Salt Lake City. The Historian’s Office apparently made a microfilm copy of the volume in 1954. Church historian Joseph Fielding Smith took the volume with him to the Office of the First Presidency when he became church president in 1970 and kept it in his safe. The book was returned to the Church History Department in 2008. These archival records and archival marking on the book indicate continuous institutional custody.