Austin Cowles Faction

(RLDS History of the Church 3:73–74)

The movement under Austin Cowles was an offshoot from the one under Brewster, Aldrich, and others. There was a General Assembly held by them in Kirtland, Ohio, commencing June 23,1849, presided over by Hazen Aldrich. The President decided that no one was entitled to a vote in the Assembly who did not believe in the Writings of Esdras and the revelations that had come through J. C. Brewster. Before formally organizing he called a vote on the acceptance of two revelations coming through Brewster in order to determine who had a right to vote in the organization. The Cowles party dissented from this, claiming that the Assembly should first be organized and the question of eligibility be determined by the body. This resulted in the withdrawal of the Cowles party and the formation of a separate organization with Austin Cowles chairman, I. H. Bishop secretary.

We have not learned that this dissenting organization accomplished much. At a conference held by the Brewster organization at Springfield, Illinois, September 29,1849, the following action was had in their case:—

The following resolutions were then presented and read:—

Whereas, Austin Cowles and I. H. Bishop, together with seven others, whose names are appended to their circular published in the first number of the second volume of the Olive Branch, have dissented from this church and have acted in open and direct violation of the order and faith of the church.

And whereas, they have been faithfully admonished and labored with, both in private and in public, and still persist in their opposition to the church.

Resolved, therefore, that their names, which are as follows: Austin Cowles, I. E. Bishop, David Purdun, William Carr, Charles Wood, Lemon Copley, Joseph Robinson, Norman G. Brimhall, Sheldon Hurd, be erased from the general church record.

Resolved, that we approve of the course adopted and pursued by President Hazen Aldrich, at the General Assembly, which met in the temple at Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio, on the 23d day of June, 1849.—Olive Branch, vol. 2, p. 50.

There were several other claimants for leadership which we but casually mention. Of the most of them we have no publications representing and do not think proper to relate what rumor says regarding their positions, as that is often conflicting and unreliable.