31837

Minutes, 21 October 1831

Minutes of a special conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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held in Hiram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

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Portage co Ohio Oct 21, 1831
Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
present
Joseph Smith JrSidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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Frederick G Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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Luke Johnson

3 Nov. 1807–8 Dec. 1861. Farmer, teacher, doctor. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Lived at Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, when baptized into LDS church by JS, 10 May 1831. Ordained a priest by Christian Whitmer...

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Peter Whitmer Jr.

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

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Stephen Burnett

15 Dec. 1813–14 Feb. 1885. Farmer, tavernkeeper, patent medicine salesman, nurseryman. Born in Trumbull Co., Ohio. Son of Serenus Burnett and Jane Burnes (Burnside). Moved to Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1815. Baptized into LDS church by John Murdock, 21 Nov. 1830...

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Prayer by Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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who called in question the case of two brs William Cahoon

7 Nov. 1813–6 Apr. 1893. Shoemaker, carpenter, joiner. Born at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Son of Reynolds Cahoon and Thirza Stiles. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, 16 Oct. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained a priest by Oliver...

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and Peter Devolve who were accused by some of our brethren of offering abuse to br. Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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’s little child. Br. Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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arose and said that he was at a meeting with the Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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brethren, when br. William Cahoon

7 Nov. 1813–6 Apr. 1893. Shoemaker, carpenter, joiner. Born at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Son of Reynolds Cahoon and Thirza Stiles. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, 16 Oct. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained a priest by Oliver...

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was present who spoke at considerable length by the Spirit of the Lord as he supposed, and also br. Peter Devolve declared that he was filled with the Spirit of God, but had confessed previous that he did offer abuse to the child, but not to the satisfaction of her parents.
Therefore voted by this conference that it is their undoubted opinion taking into consideration the testimony before them.1

Here, a portion of text recording the decision of the conference appears to be missing, probably because of a scribal error.  


It is therefore voted that this conference send our beloved brethren Joseph Smith jr. and Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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unto the church in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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to lay before them the descision of this Conference, call before them these two brethren cause them to make sufficient acknowledgement of their sins, or be dealt with according to the law of this Church.
Closed in prayer by Joseph Smith jr.
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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Clerk of Conference. [p. 9]
Minutes of a special conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

View Glossary
held in Hiram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

More Info
Portage co Ohio  Oct 21, 1831
Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
present
Joseph Smith JrSidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
Frederick G Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

View Full Bio
John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
Luke Johnson

3 Nov. 1807–8 Dec. 1861. Farmer, teacher, doctor. Born at Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of John Johnson and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs. Lived at Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, when baptized into LDS church by JS, 10 May 1831. Ordained a priest by Christian Whitmer...

View Full Bio
Peter Whitmer [Jr.]

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

View Full Bio
Stephen Burnett

15 Dec. 1813–14 Feb. 1885. Farmer, tavernkeeper, patent medicine salesman, nurseryman. Born in Trumbull Co., Ohio. Son of Serenus Burnett and Jane Burnes (Burnside). Moved to Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1815. Baptized into LDS church by John Murdock, 21 Nov. 1830...

View Full Bio
Prayer by Sidney <Rigdon>

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
who called in question <the case> of two brs William Cahoon

7 Nov. 1813–6 Apr. 1893. Shoemaker, carpenter, joiner. Born at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Son of Reynolds Cahoon and Thirza Stiles. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, 16 Oct. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained a priest by Oliver...

View Full Bio
 and Peter Devolve who were accused by some of our brethren of offering abuse  to br. Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

View Full Bio
’s little child. Br. Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

View Full Bio
arose and said that  he was at a meeting with the Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
brethren, when br. William Cahoon

7 Nov. 1813–6 Apr. 1893. Shoemaker, carpenter, joiner. Born at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Son of Reynolds Cahoon and Thirza Stiles. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, 16 Oct. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained a priest by Oliver...

View Full Bio
was  present who spoke at considerable length by the Spirit of the Lord as he supposed,  and also br. Peter Devolve declared that he was filled with the Spirit of God,  but had confessed previous that he did offer abuse to the child, but not to the  satisfaction of her parents.
Therefore voted by this conference that it is their undoubted opinion taking  into consideration the testimony before them.1

Here, a portion of text recording the decision of the conference appears to be missing, probably because of a scribal error.  


It is therefore voted that this conference  send our beloved brethren Joseph Smith jr. and Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
unto the church in  Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
to lay before them the descision of this Conference, call before them these two  brethren cause them to make sufficient acknowledgement of their sins, or be dealt with  according to the law of this Church.
Closed in prayer by Joseph Smith jr.
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
Clerk of Conference. [p. 9]
JS and other elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
met in Hiram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

More Info
, Ohio, on 21 October 1831 to review the case of William Cahoon

7 Nov. 1813–6 Apr. 1893. Shoemaker, carpenter, joiner. Born at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Son of Reynolds Cahoon and Thirza Stiles. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, 16 Oct. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained a priest by Oliver...

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, the seventeen-year-old son of Reynolds

30 Apr. 1790–29 Apr. 1861. Farmer, tanner, builder. Born at Cambridge, Washington Co., New York. Son of William Cahoon Jr. and Mehitable Hodges. Married Thirza Stiles, 11 Dec. 1810. Moved to northeastern Ohio, 1811. Located at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co.,...

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and Thirza Stiles Cahoon, and Peter Devolve, about whom little is known. Cahoon and Devolve were charged with “offering abuse” to Newel K.

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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and Elizabeth Ann Smith Whitney

26 Dec. 1800–15 Feb. 1882. Born at Derby, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Daughter of Gibson Smith and Polly Bradley. Moved to Ohio, 1819. Married Newel K. Whitney, 20 Oct. 1822, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Shortly after, joined reformed Baptist (later Disciples...

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’s daughter, six-year-old Sarah Ann Whitney

22 Mar. 1825–4 Sept. 1873. Born in Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Daughter of Newel K. Whitney and Elizabeth Ann Smith. Moved to Hancock Co., Illinois, by 1840. Member of Nauvoo Fourth Ward, 1842. Later identified herself as a plural wife of JS, married on 27...

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.1

The minutes of the meeting do not name the child, but they refer to the Whitneys as “her” parents. The Whitneys’ two other children at this time—Horace and Orson—were both boys. What the abuse entailed is unknown. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, “abuse” could mean simply “rude speech; reproachful language” or “reviling words.” (See Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, UT, Cemetery Records, 1847–1976, vol. B, p. 113, microfilm 1,299,167, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 226; and “Abuse” in American Dictionary [1828].)  


Since the return of JS and others from Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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in late August 1831, several conferences

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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had functioned as disciplinary bodies. The minutes of this conference differ from those of the earlier meetings by specifying the charges against the individuals who were to be disciplined;2 this conference specifically dealt with a case of church members allegedly committing an impropriety against another member.
A February 1831 revelation explained how a church member should proceed if offended by another member: First, the two parties were to meet in private and seek reconciliation. If the offending party did not confess to the grievance, he or she was to be brought before “the Church not to the members but to the Elders and it shall be done in a meeting and that not before the world.”3

Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:88–89].  


At that point, the offender faced chastisement based on the nature of the offense. “If thy Brother offend many he shall be chastened before many,” the revelation declared, “and if any one offend openly he shall be rebuked openly that he may be ashamed.” One who offended someone “in secret” would be “rebuked in Secret that he may have oportunity to confess in Secret.”4

Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:90–92].  


A September 1831 revelation reiterated these instructions, but it also declared that those who did not repent and confess their sins should be brought “before the church” to be dealt with “as the Scriptures

The sacred, written word of God containing the “mind & will of the Lord” and “matters of divine revelation.” Members of the church considered the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s revelations to be scripture. Revelations in 1830 and 1831 directed JS to ...

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Saith unto you.”5

Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:12].  


In this instance, Cahoon

7 Nov. 1813–6 Apr. 1893. Shoemaker, carpenter, joiner. Born at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Son of Reynolds Cahoon and Thirza Stiles. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, 16 Oct. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained a priest by Oliver...

View Full Bio
and Devolve had apparently confessed their actions to the Whitneys, but not to the Whitneys’ satisfaction. The special conference was therefore held to determine whether the elders should take any further action. Neither the Whitneys nor Cahoon and Devolve were present at the conference. After hearing relevant testimony, the conference determined to send JS and Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
to Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

More Info
, Ohio, where the offenders were living, to resolve the matter, but extant records do not reveal what action JS and Rigdon took.
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, clerk of the conference, took the minutes. In 1838, Ebenezer Robinson

25 May 1816–11 Mar. 1891. Printer, editor, publisher. Born at Floyd (near Rome), Oneida Co., New York. Son of Nathan Robinson and Mary Brown. Moved to Utica, Oneida Co., ca. 1831, and learned printing trade at Utica Observer. Moved to Ravenna, Portage Co....

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copied the minutes into Minute Book 2.

Facts