We are excited to announce the arrival of The Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes edited by John S. Dinger, published by Signature Books. We will have the editor at our store to speak about and sign his book on Wednesday, January 25th. He will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., speaking at 6:00, and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time.
While the Nauvoo high council minutes have appeared (albeit in somewhat abridged format) previously, only tantalizing excerpts here and there from the city council minutes have ever emerged. John Dinger (currently a deputy prosecuting attorney) brings his legal expertise to the table in a yeoman’s effort to produce coherent sets of minutes for both of these key Nauvoo decision making bodies. Despite working almost until the point of no return from confusing transcripts, Dinger has compiled a fascinating chronology of the chaos that swirled almost constantly in Nauvoo.
Leafing through the entries, one quickly notes the breadth of matters that the city council considered. In a unique “created” community where virtually no one had much experience in government, the reader sees a group consulting other cities for precedent and experimenting with ordinances. The entries cover the most mundane (dogs were clearly a pressing problem—several ordinances deal with them!) to weightier matters such as what to do with the Nauvoo Expositor. In the period predating the formation of the city council, one can easily see the seamless blend of temporal and spiritual in the high council discussions. As time passes and secular matters move to the other body, the high council turns attention to hearing complaints. These range from the trivial to the many riveting trials of 1842 when polygamy began to really be whispered about and people began to claim authority from Joseph Smith (due to the influence of John C. Bennett and others) to “take liberties” with the women of Nauvoo. The city of Joseph was at times peaceful, at times chaotic, and these minutes demonstrate this dual nature in a way that few contemporary sources can.
We hope you will be able to attend this event, which is sure to be insightful and interesting; but if you cannot, you may order a copy which can be signed or personalized and held or shipped to you.
The Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes (hb, 700 pp.) $49.95
Media mail: $4.50 for the first book and $1 for each additional. FedEx/UPS/Priority options available—inquire for details. Utah residents please add 7.05% sales tax.