1857 February 5 Remarks at the Trial of William Capener


1857 February 5 Remarks at the Trial of William Capener



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Curtis E. Bolton

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By President B Young in the High Council convened in the basement of the Social Hall -- February 5, 1857. At the trial of William Capener, for manifesting a generally bad Spirit towards Bishop Woolley. Bishop Woolley having cut him off from the Church Wm Capener appealed to be restored. The members of the 13th Ward were invited & crowded the hall After several of the High Council and finally President Spencer had given their views President B Young arose and said.

I know its the desire of those present to hear from me. I do not think I will give any decision in this matter, nor will I begin at the end and go backwards through the whole of it but speak as I usually do "a little of this and a little of that" and make a suck a tash of my discourse. I will begin where the High Council have left off. We have heard both parties make their statements, we have heard the witnesses, the High Council have spoken upon the case we have heard Bro. Capener falted and Bro Woolley has been falted. But I have not heard any decision yet. Mr Clerk have you written any decision? (Clerk said he had not until after President Spencer had ceased talking and sat down. he then enquired of Bro Spencer what he intended should be the decision, who replied, and he (the Clerk) then wrote it but had heard no decision otherwise) The desision of the Council puts me in mind of my preaching, a Sunday or two ago, (it was all if so and so then so and so) As I said before I'm not going to make a decision in this case but will simply present some ideas that perhaps the High Council can call a decision (then spoke about the "if and if" at some length.) When Bro. Jackman was speaking he said that people must harken to the counsel of those set over them. Now I can agree and disagree with <him in> that. And here are the ifs again. If a man presides in righteousness over his household, they should be in obedience to his counsel. If we have appointed a man a teacher and if he lives up to his religeon, prayrful and humble, and is full of light, he can teach the people and they should harken to him And if a Bishop lives his religion and is faithful to his God, his religeon & calling and is prayrful and humble, the people must obey him, and so on. And now on the other hand, when a Bishop President or teacher does not live up to the light of the Holy Spirit, does not live his religion, and goes out of the way, the people must not follow him. But they ought to have light of truth enough in them to know when their leader is wrong. I say to this Ward, submit yourselves unto the Bishop over you, as unto the Lord. And if any of you have more light than your Bishop let that person rise, and thunder out what he has in him in the name of the Lord, and your Bishop will know its of the Lord. Prest Young then spoke upon the principle of paying up tything, donations, and giving, "to get rich" as spokeh of by Bro John Vance who said when he had ten Cows he barely could keep his family in milk and butter, but <after giving> now he had but one Cow, and they had milk and butter enough for their wants. Bro Brigham said it was a true principle that if it was required of a man to give nine out of ten cows the one will satisfy the family. Said that Bro Vance's remark "that some people were troubled with a disease which Bro Heber called the Sweeney"-- is true. they are bound in their gizzards. And then facetiously <said> remarked that the gizzard of some extended from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot and in that respect was unlike the gizzard of a chicken. Pres Young then spoke of those who come in here with nothing. and said if they will do right and live their religeon and obey counsel, in 5 years they will have more around them than those who have come in with their thousands of dollars. Said, that is the matter with Bro Capener, he came into the valley with plenty and owed his property tything, but he had the sweeney so bad, that he could not pay it, but he could loose 2 or 3 yoke of cattle, and make bad debts and tho: he was an industrious, hard working man, and scarce any family, and had a first rate trade yet he could scarcely live. And why does he make so many bad debts. Its because spt cleaves to like, and he deals with those who have the sweeney as bad as he has and they dont pay him.
When the Church was young, Joseph told the Brethren to go too and help build up Kirtland and not go and help build up Gentile cities. I went to Kirtland according to this counsel, and there found Bro Reynolds Cahoon living in a miserable log hut not fit hardly for a hog pen. he wanted to build. I told him I would work for him. he frankly told me he had not a cent to pay me with. Said I, " dont say pay once to me! Joseph has told us to help build up Kirtland and I am going to do so." I went to work to build the house and when the house was done Bro Cahoon did not owe me a cent, whenever he got any meat, potatoes &c he divided with me and when the work was done he did not owe me a cent Bro Brigham then spoke upon the principle of doing good, to get good, Said a singular circumstance had happened to himself within a few weeks. A brother came to me and was in distress for the want of $5. I gave him $5. And he was full of gratitude and blessed me and prayd God I might receive four fold A few days after I found in my pantaloons pocket a $5 gold piece. I counted my money in my purse it was all right. I could not then nor can I now account for the manner that piece came in my pocket And about one week after, I found another $5 gold piece in my pantaloons pocket and cannot account for it no more than the other. Said, he could tell many things of this kind. Said This is a principle the people do not understand. But it is a settled principle with me to "give to get rich." then told a circumstance that occured with Bro Lorenzo Young during the scarcety last spring. Bro Lorenzo dealt out flour most bountifully to the needy and one evening his wife went to the barrill and scraped out what little flour was in it, and it was the last in the house. The next morning his wife had occasion to go into the closet and to her astonishment the barrill she had scraped clean the night before was half full of flour, she enquired of Bro Lorenzo but he knew nothing about it. She could find no one who knew how it came there. Bro Brigham sd I am constantly preaching to this people not to be hide-bound Not to have the sweeney. Then spoke what a curse it would be to us to find gold here -- that the mountains are full of it -- but he is praying all the time that the people may not find it. Spoke of the bad effect the finding of the lead mine had had upon the Branch of the Church there, and of the blood thirsty spirit it had engendered, and that he is obliged to break up that Branch and remove the people to save them. Sd There are men here who would kill me for gold.
Bro Capener, we know is out of the way; and my course is, if a man cant stand without my carrying him on my back and giving him a stick of sugar candy in each hand. I'll throw off such a man. Then spoke of persons having been cut off from the Church by the Presidency without explaination. that if the first Presidency know that a man should be cut off from the Church, the people should have confidence enough in them to vote for it without any explaination. And if they dont vote its because the have no confidence in them. A Bishop has the same right, and the Ward is in the dark when they dont vote with the Bishop. Sd. I have written lately to England to have men cut off from the Church whom I've never seen, I ask noodds of any Council. Bro. Brigham then sd. I am going to talk to Bro Woolly and if I should say something to hurt his feelings I know he'll bear it. Bro Woolley has the superintending of my private affairs and he goes around as if he was cross all the time, and I will say to him, Bro Woolley what makes you so cross he'll say, I aint cross. I tell him, I know it, but dont speak cross -And he is improving fast I am a great deal with him and I teach him and dont all of you think he is improving (all responded Yes) Bro Brigham said I heard all about this matter long ago then told over some few things of Bro Capeners course, and what he had counselled Bros Woolley & Davis in the matter. There are very few intances in this Church but what let me deal out something new If I live my religion and you live yours, you will understand as I do.
I feel proud of the 13 Ward and I want it a little ahead of the ohers, they live so near by me the light has only to shine down from the top of the hill they ought to be better than the others and I mean they shall be -- And I want Bro Woolley to be the best Bishop and I believe he is.
Bro Brigham then <spoke of> said I will say a few words to Bro Spencer and I may touch his feelings. And if I do I dont care. Bro Spencer has performed a mission to England to the satisfaction of every Saint so far as I have any knowledge -- all speak well of him. Bro Brigham then spoke about Elders coming home and thinking they can tell him how to preach sermons so as to have them go abroad to the world smooth, and deprecated the idea. Sd, I'll tell you Christ and Baliol are not friends & there are some of the Elders think they can teach Bishops &c. Now its so with Bro Spencer, he thinks that perhaps Bro Woolley has been too severe <on Bro Capener> and ought to have explained to the ward why he moved to have Bro Capener cut off &c.

Curtis E Bolton
Clerk of High Council

(I was very sick and faint that evening and could scarcely arouse energy enough to take the minutes -- I had a sick head ache and the heat in the room was so great, that I was very near fainting several times)