The Council of Fifty : A Documentary History
Salt Lake City, UT
Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith had both millennial and temporal aspirations for the organization he called the Council of Fifty, named after the number of men who were intended to comprise it. Organized a few months before Smith s death in June 1844, it continued under Brigham Young as a secret shadow government until 1851. Minutes from the earliest meetings are closed to researchers but contemporary accounts speak of a deliberative body preparing for Christ s imminent reign. It also helped to sponsor Smith s U.S. presidential bid and oversaw the exodus to present-day Utah.
One member downplayed the significance of this secret legislative body in 1849 as nothing but a debating School. On the contrary, a typical meeting included decisions regarding irrigation, fencing, and adobe housing, after which the group sang a song written by Parley P. Pratt: Come ye sons of doubt and wonder; Indian, Moslem, Greek or Jew; Be to all a friend and brother;Peace on Earth, good will to men. Two weeks later, the council called for blood to flow to enforce its laws.
As the nineteenth century waned and the LDS Church moved toward the American mainstream, ending its emphasis on the imminent End of Days, there was no longer a need for a Church-managed municipal group destined to become the millennial world government.The council became irrelevant but survives today as a historical artifact available in fragmented documentary pieces which are presented here for the first time."
American Indians and the Nauvoo-Era Council of Fifty
Before the Boom: Mormons, Livestock, and Stewardship, 1847-1870
Brigham Young and the Expansion of the Mormon Faith
Faithful and Fearless : Major Howard Egan : Early Mormonism and the Pioneering of the American West
Finally Statehood! Utah's Struggles, 1849-1896
Frontier Religion : Mormons and America, 1857–1907
Frontier Religion : Mormons and America, 1857-1907
John C. Fremont's 1843-44 Western Expedition and Its Influence on Mormon Settlement in Utah
Luana Hart Beebe (1814-1897) : A Biographical Sketch of a Remarkable Early Latter-day Saint
Making Lamanites : Mormons, Native Americans, and the Indian Student Placement Program, 1947-2000
Storming the Nation : The Unknown Contributions of Joseph Smith’s Political Missionaries
The Council of Fifty in Western History
The Council of Fifty, Orson Hyde, and the “Last Charge”: A Re-evaluation
The History and Culture of Mormon Fundamentalism in the United States
The LDS Gospel Topics Series : A Scholarly Engagement
The Selected Letters of Juanita Brooks
The Social-Historical Context of Mormon Beliefs
Understanding the Council of Fifty and Its Minutes
"We, The People of the Kingdom of God" : Constitution Writing in the Council of Fifty