Why I’m glad Jesse Gause left the LDS Church

From the current LDS Institute manual on church history:

On 15 March 1832 the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation calling Frederick G. Williams to be a Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church. Originally, however, this revelation was directed to Jesse Gause.

“Our earliest reference to Jesse Gause is as a member of the Shaker communities in Hancock near Pittsfield, and possibly in North Union, Ohio as well. His conversion and baptism are not found in any of the records of the Church, but one writer has suggested that he was converted by Reynolds Cahoon in late 1830. It was not until 8 March 1832, when Jesse Gause was called to be a counselor to Joseph Smith in the presidency of the high priesthood, that his name is even mentioned in surviving Church records. The notation in the Kirtland Revelation Book is as follows:

“‘March 8, 1832. Chose this day and ordained Brother Jesse Gause and Brother Sidney to be my counselors of the ministry of the presidency of the high priesthood . . .’ [spelling standardized].

“One week later, a revelation concerning Jesse Gause was received by Joseph Smith, confirming Jesse in his work and giving further direction in his office and calling. There are two manuscript copies of this revelation extant. . . . In both of these Jesse Gause’s name has been crossed out and Frederick G. Williams’ name written above it. Since that time, all published copies of this revelation (Section 81 of the Doctrine and Covenants) list Frederick G. Williams as the one to whom it is directed. Since this revelation contains instructions, duties, and promised blessings to the one called as counselor to the Prophet, the revelation was just as appropriate for Frederick G. Williams as it was to Jesse Gause.

“After Jesse Gause was ordained, he appeared in a leading role in the Church for only a short time. In April 1832, he accompanied Joseph Smith, Newel K. Whitney, and Peter Whitmer, Jr. on a trip to Missouri. They arrived 24 April and began holding conferences with the Saints in Zion on the 26th. In the minutes of a meeting of the Literary Firm held on Monday, 30 April, Jesse Gause was listed as a counselor to Joseph Smith. . . .

“Upon his return to Kirtland, Jesse was called to serve a mission with Zebedee Coltrin. They began their journey on 1 August 1832, and traveled until the 19th, at which time Coltrin decided to return to Kirtland because of severe pains in his head. After praying with and for each other, they parted. Jesse Gause continued east and walked right out of the history of the Church, never again to return. There appears to be no other record of the man either in or out of the Church.

“Some months after the departure of Jesse Gause, the presidency of the high priesthood was reorganized with Frederick G. Williams replacing him as counselor. This reorganization was commanded in Section 90 of the Doctrine and Covenants, and actually took place on 18 March 1833.” (Robert J. Woodford, “Jesse Gause, Counselor to the Prophet,” BYU Studies, Spring 1975, pp. 362–64.)

Had President Gause not literally walked away from the church, my ancestor Frederick G. Williams would not have been chosen as a counselor in the First Presidency. Had he not occupied that position and received certain blessings and promises from Joseph Smith, it’s unlikely that Heber C. Kimball would have taken Frederick’s widow as a plural wife and brought her to Utah.

I would probably not exist were it not for Jesse Gause walking away from his mission. And they say there’s no upside to apostasy.


4 Responses to Why I’m glad Jesse Gause left the LDS Church

  1. Odell says:

    Well, thats one way of looking at it. It would be interestin to see what became of Gause.

  2. What an interesting mystery. Almost makes me wish I’d developed Family History skills that would enable me to pursue the missing Jesse.

  3. Jesse Gause says:

    Glad I could be of service. This makes it all worth it.

  4. I’m a relative of Jesse’s! I’m ok with his choice 🙂 Clearly it all works out for the best!

    Glad you are here too!

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