31831

Minutes, 6 September 1831

Minutes of a 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 Nelson

Located about nineteen miles southeast of Kirtland Township and immediately east of Hiram Township. Settled by New Englanders, 1800. Population in 1820 about 400. Population in 1830 about 900. Agricultural region producing grass, wheat, and fruit. John Whitmer...

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Portage County Ohio, Sept. 6. 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...

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present:— 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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, Christian Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

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, 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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, Sylvester Parker, (denied the faith.)1

This parenthetical notation regarding Parker’s disaffection was apparently added to the minutes later, possibly when they were copied into the minute book in 1838 but perhaps when John Whitmer made an earlier copy of the minutes. On 25 October 1831, Parker attended another conference, indicating that he was still in good standing at that time. (Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; see also the source note for Minute Book 2.)  


Upon testimony satisfactory to this conference it was voted that Ezra Booth

14 Feb. 1792–before 12 Jan. 1873. Farmer, minister. Born in Newtown, Fairfield Co., Connecticut. Admitted on trial to Methodist ministry, 4 Sept. 1816, and stationed in the Ohio District in Beaver, Pike Co. Admitted into full connection and elected a deacon...

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be silenced from preaching as an Elder in this Church.2

This may have meant that Booth had to relinquish his elder’s license. One definition of “silence” in Webster’s 1828 dictionary is “to restrain from preaching by revoking a license to preach.” There is no record of any other disciplining of Booth; letters published by the Ohio Star intimate that Booth voluntarily left the church, not that church leaders cut him off. (“Silence,” in American Dictionary [1828]; see, for example, Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 24 Nov. 1831, [1].)  


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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Ck. of Con. [p. 6]
Minutes of a 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 Nelson

Located about nineteen miles southeast of Kirtland Township and immediately east of Hiram Township. Settled by New Englanders, 1800. Population in 1820 about 400. Population in 1830 about 900. Agricultural region producing grass, wheat, and fruit. John Whitmer...

More Info
Portage County  Ohio, Sept. 6. 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, 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
, Christian  Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

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, 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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, Sylvester Parker, (denied the faith.)1

This parenthetical notation regarding Parker’s disaffection was apparently added to the minutes later, possibly when they were copied into the minute book in 1838 but perhaps when John Whitmer made an earlier copy of the minutes. On 25 October 1831, Parker attended another conference, indicating that he was still in good standing at that time. (Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; see also the source note for Minute Book 2.)  


Upon testimony satisfactory to this conference it was voted that  Ezra Booth

14 Feb. 1792–before 12 Jan. 1873. Farmer, minister. Born in Newtown, Fairfield Co., Connecticut. Admitted on trial to Methodist ministry, 4 Sept. 1816, and stationed in the Ohio District in Beaver, Pike Co. Admitted into full connection and elected a deacon...

View Full Bio
be silenced from preaching as an Elder in this Church.2

This may have meant that Booth had to relinquish his elder’s license. One definition of “silence” in Webster’s 1828 dictionary is “to restrain from preaching by revoking a license to preach.” There is no record of any other disciplining of Booth; letters published by the Ohio Star intimate that Booth voluntarily left the church, not that church leaders cut him off. (“Silence,” in American Dictionary [1828]; see, for example, Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 24 Nov. 1831, [1].)  


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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Ck. of Con. [p. 6]
On 6 September 1831, JS and other church 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...

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disciplined Ezra Booth

14 Feb. 1792–before 12 Jan. 1873. Farmer, minister. Born in Newtown, Fairfield Co., Connecticut. Admitted on trial to Methodist ministry, 4 Sept. 1816, and stationed in the Ohio District in Beaver, Pike Co. Admitted into full connection and elected a deacon...

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during a 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
in Nelson

Located about nineteen miles southeast of Kirtland Township and immediately east of Hiram Township. Settled by New Englanders, 1800. Population in 1820 about 400. Population in 1830 about 900. Agricultural region producing grass, wheat, and fruit. John Whitmer...

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, Ohio. A former Methodist minister, Booth had joined the church in February 1831.1

“History of Luke Johnson,” 1, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL; JS History, vol. A-1, 153; Hayden, Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, 250.  


Booth was ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

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to the high priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

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at the conference held 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, in early June 1831 and received a commission in a subsequent June revelation to travel 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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with Isaac Morley

11 Mar. 1786–24 June 1865. Farmer, cooper, merchant, postmaster. Born at Montague, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Morley and Editha (Edith) Marsh. Family affiliated with Presbyterian church. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, before 1812. Married...

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, preaching along the way.2 Although he reluctantly fulfilled this assignment, he became increasingly disillusioned with JS while in Missouri.3

Booth was disappointed with several developments, including the small number of converts he found in Missouri and his inability to preach the gospel with the same spirit and liberty he had experienced as a Methodist preacher. Booth recounted that before leaving Ohio for Missouri, JS stated that he had been shown in a vision a great church that Oliver Cowdery had raised up in Missouri, consisting of “several hundred” converts—far more than the few members Booth found upon his arrival. There is no extant account of such a vision, nor is there any reference to this vision in other sources. Booth also resented having to walk to Missouri while JS, Sidney Rigdon, and others received money to travel by other means. Furthermore, Booth said that he regarded JS’s “spirit of lightness and levity, a temper of mind easily irritated, and an habitual proneness to jesting and joking” as unbecoming a prophet. (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. V,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 10 Nov. 1831, [3]; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star, 24 Nov. 1831, [1].)  


On 8 August, JS dictated a revelation commanding Booth and others to return to Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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, proclaiming the gospel as they did so.4

Revelation, 8 Aug. 1831 [D&C 60:8].  


Booth later recalled that he “violated the commandment

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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by not preaching” on his journey home, but he accused JS of neglecting the same commandment.5

Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star (Ravenna), 24 Nov. 1831, [1].  


After Booth

14 Feb. 1792–before 12 Jan. 1873. Farmer, minister. Born in Newtown, Fairfield Co., Connecticut. Admitted on trial to Methodist ministry, 4 Sept. 1816, and stationed in the Ohio District in Beaver, Pike Co. Admitted into full connection and elected a deacon...

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reached Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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on 1 September, he “had several interviews with Messrs. [Joseph] Smith, [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 [Oliver] Cowdrey

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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” to discuss his belief that Mormonism was “nothing else than a deeply laid plan of craft and deception.” These interviews may have taken place in the few days leading up to this conference; a later JS history states that JS spent “the forepart of september” preparing to move to 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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, Ohio, which may have necessitated a trip there. Ezra Booth was apparently living in Nelson

Located about nineteen miles southeast of Kirtland Township and immediately east of Hiram Township. Settled by New Englanders, 1800. Population in 1820 about 400. Population in 1830 about 900. Agricultural region producing grass, wheat, and fruit. John Whitmer...

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, and since Nelson was just a few miles from Hiram, JS and others could have met with Booth at his home at that time.6

Ezra Booth, Nelson, OH, to Ira Eddy, 12 Sept. 1831, in Ohio Star (Ravenna), 13 Oct. 1831, [3]; JS History, vol. A-1, 151.  


Although the minutes are not clear, it is possible that this conference took place directly after such a meeting, since the conference itself was held in Nelson. Whatever the case, the 6 September conference had prohibited Booth “from preaching as an Elder in this Church,” five days after another conference had disciplined two other men 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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.7

See Minutes, 1 Sept. 1831. The conference may have been held in the home of Charles Hulet, where other gatherings occurred. Booth is not listed as one of the “Elders present” and so was probably not in attendance. In a 20 September 1831 letter to Edward Partridge, Booth stated that he was “no longer a member of the Mormonite Church.” (Carter, Our Pioneer Heritage, 13:489; Dibble, Reminiscences, [6]; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 24 Nov. 1831, [1].)  


Within a few days, Booth began writing a series of letters critical of JS and the church. The letters were soon published in the Ohio Star, a newspaper in Ravenna, Ohio, with the announced intent “to prevent the spread of a delusion.”8

Ezra Booth, Nelson, OH, to Ira Eddy, 12 Sept. 1831, in Ohio Star (Ravenna), 13 Oct. 1831, [3].  


Another newspaper in the area reported that Booth publicly renounced Mormonism at a camp meeting held in Shalersville, Ohio, later in the month.9

“Renunciation of Mormonism,” Observer and Telegraph (Hudson, OH), 29 Sept. 1831, [3].  


As clerk of the conference, 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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kept 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