Item #24921 The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History. Jedediah Rogers.

The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History

Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2014. First printing. Hardcover/dust jacket. 424 pp. Reg. $49.95. One of the more intriguing developments in Mormon history during Joseph Smith’s lifetime came only a scant few months before his death. In March 1844, the Council of Fifty was formed—council member John D. Lee proclaimed it would replicate the “councils of the gods” in heaven. The intent was to have an organization that would supervise political campaigns and send explorers out in search of locations where the church could establish satellite colonies. As events unfolded, their scouting forays into Oregon and Texas proved useful when tensions mounted in Illinois and Mormons began looking for a new home base.

In the Great Basin the council oversaw everything from water rights to the regulation of hunting and grazing during the first few years in the valley. The council later appointed a Committee of Seven to monitor the federal “Board of Registration and Election in the Territory of Utah” and to approve candidates for elections, typically only allowing one candidate per office.

Among the council’s more notable practices was how it anointed its leader their temporal king. “After listening to some current items of news” in 1885, council president John Taylor “directed [someone] to read a revelation which [Taylor] said he [had] received … requiring him to be anointed & set apart as a king [and] priest and ruler over Israel on the earth,” upon which they “proceed[ed] to obey the requirement of the revelation.”

Council members clearly felt an inseparable bond, writing about how they spent hours together in “sweet conversation.” One council member described one of the meetings as “a long session but pleasant and harmonious,” while another wrote that “much precious instructions were given, and it seems like heaven began on earth and the power of God is with us.”

Entries in this documentary history are taken from contemporary diaries and letters—in some cases, excerpts or entire sets of meeting minutes are taken from the research notes of Michael Quinn. Helpful annotation from Rogers gives biographical details on members of the council, fleshes out references and provides contextual historical information. New. Item #24921
ISBN: 9781560852247

Price: $39.95

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