Josiah Butterfield served as one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventy, which was also designated as the First Council of the Seventy at that time. (See Doctrine and Covenants 124:138.) Later it would be called the Presidency of the Seventy.
He was born on March 13, 1795, at Dunstable, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. He was baptized in Maine on October 1, 1833. He moved to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1834 and worked on the temple.
Butterfield was ordained a Seventy in 1836. He simultaneously served as one of the Seven Presidents of Seventy and a member of the Kirtland High Council.
At one point, he faced criminal charges with the Quorums of the Seventy, but was acquitted of the charges.
On January 19, 1841, in a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith, Josiah was once again named one of the Seven Presidents of the Seventy (D&C 124:138-39). His status as a president was questioned a second time in 1843.
- Elder Butterfield's wife, Polly, died 28 October 1840 at Bear Creek. Elder Butterfield then married Margaret Lawrence (mother of Sarah and Maria Lawrence). Shortly after this a conflict arose between Butterfield who would have benefitted from his new wife's inheritance and the Prophet Joseph Smith who seems to have represented the daughters. The matter came to a head on March 28, 1843, when as The Prophet writes: "Josiah Butterfield came to my house and insulted me so outrageously that I kicked him out of the house, across the yard, and into the street.”
Butterfield was excommunicated on October 7, 1844. He was later rebaptized and received his endowment on January 20, 1846, in the Nauvoo Temple.
He did not join the Saints in the West. By 1853, he moved to California, where he died in March 1871. The Joseph Smith Papers notes that he was baptized into the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in May 1865 and served as branch president in Watsonville, California.