John Gould was born 11 May 1808 in Ontario, Canada, the fifth of twelve children born to Seth Burr Gould and Hannah sager. He married Abigail Harrington. His known children are John Gould, Jr. and Magor G. Gould. He was baptized no later than June 1833 for he was appointed to travel to Jackson County, Missouri, with Orson Hyde on 21 August 1833 to direct Church leaders in Missouri to seek redress for illegal persecution at law. He left Kirtland about 31 August 1833 and arrived in Independence about 28 September 1833. A revelation received by Joseph Smith on 12 October 1833 assured the Prophet that Orson Hyde and John Gould were safe and well. He arrived back in Kirtland on 25 November 1833 bringing the "melancholy intelligence of the riot in Zion" the previous July. .
Elder Gould accompanied Joseph Smith and others to seek volunteers for Zion's Camp in March 1834. After returning to Kirtland he joined with Evan M. Greene in New York to preach gospel 16 June 1834. He and Elder Greene worked in establishing branches of the Church in Freedom, New York, area in 1834. He served another Mission in Catteraugaus County, New York in 1834-35.
Elder Gould was ordained a Seventy in 1836. He was ordained and set apart as a President of the First Quorum of Seventy 6 April 1837 under the hands of Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith. At a conference held at Kirtland, Sept. 3, 1837; he was objected to as a president of Seventies. Six brethren, instead of five, had been selected to fill vacancies in the council of Seventies in April, 1837, it being supposed at the time that Levi W. Hancock, who was absent from Kirtland, had also been ordained a High Priest. This being a mistake the Prophet requested Bro. Joseph Young to see John Gould and signify to him the desire of the Prophet to have him placed in the High Priests' quorum. Bro. Gould complied with the wishes of the Prophet, and he was consequently ordained a High Priest.
Surviving the persecutions of Missouri, Elder Gould relocated to Nauvoo. There he received his endowment 3 February 1846. After the expulsion of the Saints from Nauvoo John settled at Cooley's Mill in Pottawatamie County, Iowa where he died 9 May 1851.