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Remarks delivered on February 17, 1834 at a conference of high priests held at the home of Joseph Smith, Jr., Kirtland, Ohio. Organization of the first "high council."
Source: Orson Hyde record in the Kirtland Council Minute Book, LDS Archives.

Bro. Joseph opened the Council by solemn prayer. He then arose and called upon the High Priests, Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons that were present, who had not been nominated as councilors, to pass their vote whether they were satisfied with the appointments or nomination of the Twelve to compose the Church Council. . .

A Vision Regarding Ancient Councils

Bro Joseph then said he would show the order of councils in ancient days as shown to him by vision. The law [indecipherable] by which to govern the council in the church of Christ.

Peter and the Ancient Church

Jerusalem was the seat of the church council in ancient days. The apostle Peter was the president of the council in ancient days and held the Keys of the Kingdom of God,^ on the earth was appointed to this office by the voice of the Savior - and confirmed ^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.

Church Councils not the Same as Legal Tribunals

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 if every councilor when he arose to speak, should speak precisely accoring to evidence and according to the teaching of the Spirit of the Lord, that no councilor should attempt to screen the guilty when his guilt was manifest. That the person acused befor the high council had a right to one half the members of the council to plead his cause, that could in order that his case might be fairly presented before the President that a decision might be [rendered?] according to truth and righteousness.

Order of Speaking

If the case was not a very difficult one to investigate, two of the councilors only, spoke, one^ on one side and one on the other for the accused and one against according to evidence. If the case was more difficult, according to the judgment 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.

This Order to be Employed by Ad Hoc Councils Abroad - Appeals

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 government of the church, to be recorded on the general record. In all cases, the accuser an the accused have a perfect right to speak for themselves befor the council. The councils abroad, have a right and its their duty to appoint a president for the time being for themselves. If in case the parties are not satisfied with the decision of the council abroad, they have a right to an appeal to the Bishops Court, and from thence to the presidents council which is and end of all strife.

Further Regulations

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 further light upon the subject, so as to correct the decision 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 the 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 . . .
[The corrected version appears in the Kirtland Council Minute Book following the minutes above. The corrected verson of the minutes is essentially the version which appears in LDS D&C 102.]

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