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Minute Book 1

To the foregoing charges brother Elder Keeler plead not guilty. The council after hearing the testimony and patiently investigating the case, found him guilty of the first and last charges, and made their decision as follows, That brother Keeler discharge a judgement and cost of about fifteen dollars which he obtained against David Matthews, before John C. Stearns, a justice of the peace at New-Portage

Settled by 1815. Population severely diminished by epidemic, possibly typhus, in late 1820s. Mormon missionaries visited and preached at many meetings in town, by 1831. Large branch of LDS church organized, early 1830s. JS attended several church conferences...

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and relinquish the property now under execution and also that he said Keeler, should stay the proceedings on another Judgement of about three dollars or so, for a short space of time that said Matthews could pay it short of having his property sold on execution. To this decision Brother Keeler refused to comply, and said that he would appeal it to the high council at 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 whom we address these minutes
Ambrose Palmer

15 Sept. 1784–before Sept. 1838. Farmer, tavern keeper, surveyor, glass worker, manufacturer, justice of the peace. Born at Winchester, Litchfield Co., Connecticut. Moved to Trumbull Co., Ohio, by 1807. Married Lettis (Lettice) Hawkins of Castleton, Rutland...

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P. Elder
Joseph B. Bosworth

6 Mar. 1790–16 July 1850. Farmer. Born at Scituate, Providence Co., Rhode Island. Son of Benajah Bosworth. Moved to Burlington, Otsego Co., New York, by 1800. Married Lucina Hopkins, 17 May 1815. Moved to Copley, Medina Co., Ohio, by 1818. Baptized into LDS...

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, Clerk

22 November 1835 • Sunday

Council of High Priests and Elders. held in the presence of the members of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints 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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Nov 22d 1835.
President Joseph Smith Junr. & 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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Presiding Sylvester Smith

25 Mar. 1806–22 Feb. 1880. Farmer, carpenter, lawyer, realtor. Born at Tyringham, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Chileab Smith and Nancy Marshall. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, ca. 1815. Married Elizabeth Frank, 27 Dec. 1827, likely in Chautauque...

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appointed Clerk.
The case of Andrew J. Squires

17 Sept. 1815–3 Sept. 1897. Physician, politician. Born at Aurora, Portage Co., Ohio. Son of Ezekiel Squires and Clarissa Stewart. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder. Left church and joined briefly with the Methodists. Returned to LDS church, ...

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presented by J. Smith Mr. Squires

17 Sept. 1815–3 Sept. 1897. Physician, politician. Born at Aurora, Portage Co., Ohio. Son of Ezekiel Squires and Clarissa Stewart. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder. Left church and joined briefly with the Methodists. Returned to LDS church, ...

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had been an ordained Elder in the Church and for a time preached the gospel successfully. but after a while sent his license in a letter to President Smith requesting to be excused from laboring longer in the vineyard. This evening he came forward before the church and confessed that he had been in temptation and fallen into Error, so much [p. 130]
To the foregoing charges brother Elder Reuben Keeler  plead not guilty. The council after hearing the tes timony and patiently investigating the case, found him  guilty of the first and last charges, and made their  decision as follows, That <brother> Keeler discharge a  judgement and cost of about fifteen dollars which  he obtained against David Matthews, before John C.  Stearns, a justice of the peace at New-Portage

Settled by 1815. Population severely diminished by epidemic, possibly typhus, in late 1820s. Mormon missionaries visited and preached at many meetings in town, by 1831. Large branch of LDS church organized, early 1830s. JS attended several church conferences...

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and  relinquish the property now under execution and also  that he said Keeler, should stay the proceedings on an other Judgement of about three dollars or so, for a short  space of time that said Matthews could pay it short  of having his property sold on execution. To this  decision Brother Keeler refused to comply, and said that  he would appeal it to the high council at 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 whom we address these minutes
Ambrose Palmer

15 Sept. 1784–before Sept. 1838. Farmer, tavern keeper, surveyor, glass worker, manufacturer, justice of the peace. Born at Winchester, Litchfield Co., Connecticut. Moved to Trumbull Co., Ohio, by 1807. Married Lettis (Lettice) Hawkins of Castleton, Rutland...

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P. Elder
Joseph B. Bosworth

6 Mar. 1790–16 July 1850. Farmer. Born at Scituate, Providence Co., Rhode Island. Son of Benajah Bosworth. Moved to Burlington, Otsego Co., New York, by 1800. Married Lucina Hopkins, 17 May 1815. Moved to Copley, Medina Co., Ohio, by 1818. Baptized into LDS...

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, Clerk

22 November 1835 • Sunday

Council of High Priests and Elders. held in the presence  of the members of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints  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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Nov 22d 1835.
President Joseph Smith Junr. & 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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Pre siding Sylvester Smith

25 Mar. 1806–22 Feb. 1880. Farmer, carpenter, lawyer, realtor. Born at Tyringham, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Chileab Smith and Nancy Marshall. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, ca. 1815. Married Elizabeth Frank, 27 Dec. 1827, likely in Chautauque...

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appointed Clerk.
The case of A[ndrew] J. Squires

17 Sept. 1815–3 Sept. 1897. Physician, politician. Born at Aurora, Portage Co., Ohio. Son of Ezekiel Squires and Clarissa Stewart. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder. Left church and joined briefly with the Methodists. Returned to LDS church, ...

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presented by J. Smith  Mr. Squires

17 Sept. 1815–3 Sept. 1897. Physician, politician. Born at Aurora, Portage Co., Ohio. Son of Ezekiel Squires and Clarissa Stewart. Baptized into LDS church and ordained an elder. Left church and joined briefly with the Methodists. Returned to LDS church, ...

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had been an ordained Elder in the Church  and for a time preached the gospel successfully. but  after a while sent his license in a letter in a  to President Smith requesting to be excused from  laboring longer in the vineyard. This evening he came  forward before the church and confessed that he had  been in temptation and fallen into Error, so much [p. 130]
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On 12 February 1834 JS held a council meeting with high priests and elders at his home 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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, Ohio. To those gathered he observed, “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 will 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.” Along with other instructions, JS related that “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 the voice of the council by the spirit was obtained; which has not been observed in this church to the present.” (Minute Book 1, 12 Feb. 1834, 27–29.)
The record of this occasion is one of many found in Minute Book 1, also known as the “Kirtland Council Minute Book” or the “Kirtland High Council Minutes.” This and its companion, Minute Book 2 (also known as the “Far West Record”), are now published as part of the Administrative Records series on the Joseph Smith Papers website. These volumes illuminate many of the principles and practices that ordered early church governance and administration. They illustrate the early Saints’ determination to respond to revelation and divine guidance while simultaneously acknowledging the doctrine of common consent. Furthermore, these records demonstrate JS’s personal endorsement of and participation in a conference or council system of church government.
Entries for various conferences and councils recorded in Minute Book 1 stand as witness to several seminal events in early church history. Among these were the receipt of the revelation known as the “Olive Leaf” in late December 1832 and early January 1833; the organization of the School of the Prophets on 22–23 January 1833; the ordination of 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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and 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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as presidents of the high priesthood on 18 March 1833; revelations concerning construction of 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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House of the Lord

JS revelation of Jan. 1831 directed Latter-day Saints to migrate to Ohio, where they would “be endowed with power from on high.” JS Revelation of Dec. 1832 directed Saints to “establish . . . an house of God.” JS Revelation of 1 June 1833 chastened Saints...

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; the organization of the first standing high council in February 1834; church courts held in the aftermath of the Camp of Israel (Zion’s Camp) march in August 1834; the calling, ordination, and blessing of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventies in February 1835; the acceptance by the church of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants in August of that year; preparation for the dedication of the Kirtland House of the Lord in winter and early spring 1836; and events related to the Kirtland Safety Society, its demise, and the concomitant dissension within the Kirtland stake of Zion in 1837. Some of these minutes, especially those where JS was a participant in the meeting, will also appear with individual introductions in the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers.
In the texts of the various minute entries, and occasionally in separate entries alongside them, the register records ordinations, blessings, disciplinary councils, testimonies, Pentecostal outpourings, callings and releases, missionary appointments, and fund-raising activities. Thus, Minute Book 1 provides a rich survey of JS’s interactions with associates and others during many dramatic, and often challenging, episodes beginning in October 1832 and concluding in November 1837. Sixteen different clerks took original minutes that were later copied into the volume by 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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, Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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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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, Warren Cowdery

17 Oct. 1788–23 Feb. 1851. Physician, druggist, farmer, editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Married Patience Simonds, 22 Sept. 1814, in Pawlet, Rutland Co. Moved to Freedom, Cattaraugus Co., New York, 1816...

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, Marcellus Cowdery, George W. Robinson

14 May 1814–10 Feb. 1878. Clerk, postmaster, merchant, clothier, banker. Born at Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont. Baptized into LDS church and moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1836. Clerk and recorder for Kirtland high council, beginning Jan. 1836. Married...

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, Phineas Richards

15 Nov. 1788–25 Nov. 1874. Cabinetmaker, joiner, carpenter, botanic physician. Born at Framingham, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Served as sergeant major during War of 1812. Married Wealthy Dewey, 24 Feb. 1818. Moved...

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, and Harlow Redfield

25 Sept. 1801–3 Aug. 1866. Farmer. Born at Chestnut Hill, Killingworth Township, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Levi Redfield and Weltha Stevens. Christened member of First Congregational Church, 21 Jan. 1821. Married first Caroline Foster, 1824. Moved...

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.
Minute Book 1 was initiated during a remarkable upsurge in record keeping, beginning with the calling of 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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and later 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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as church historians in 1830 and 1831. Revelations and commandments recorded in Revelation Book 1 were sent to 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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to be published on the church’s first press in late 1831, and Revelation Book 2 was in use 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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by February 1832. Sometime in 1832, probably between July and September, JS and 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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worked together on a brief history of JS’s early visionary experiences. JS purchased the small volume that contains his first journal in November 1832 and began penning entries that same month. That fall another record, containing retained copies of early church correspondence and now designated Letterbook 1, was commenced. In January of the following year, in an epistle recorded in Letterbook 1, JS wrote to William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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encouraging him as editor of the church’s first periodical, The Evening and the Morning Star, then printed in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri, to set “forth the rise and progress and faith of the church,” that is, to begin publishing items on the history of the church.
This upwelling was quite unusual for the time. As scholar Dean C. Jessee has observed, “So primitive were some aspects of record keeping in nineteenth-century America that much of the early Latter-day Saint experience was a pioneering effort. . . . Although Mormon record keeping was inaugurated by [an] 1830 revelation, details for carrying out that commandment were largely hammered out on the anvil of experience in the years that followed.” (Dean C. Jessee, “The Reliability of Joseph Smith’s History,” Journal of Mormon History 3 [1976]: 27.) Thus, during a brief span in the early 1830s, JS, along with those working under his direction, commenced the systematic collection and recording of critical documents pertaining to church governance and administration. Throughout the remainder of JS’s lifetime minute-taking, revelation-recording, correspondence-copying, journal-keeping, and history-writing activities would remain imperative commitments.

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