Part 2: February–May 1845

Early in the morning on 28 June 1844, arrived in with the news that JS and had been killed the previous day at . The news devastated the Latter-day Saints. recorded that “sorrow & gloom was pictured in every countenance and one universal scene of lamentation pervaded the City.” On 3 July, Clayton retrieved the records of the Council of Fifty that he had buried more than a week earlier according to JS’s instructions and discovered they had been damaged. The next day, Independence Day, Clayton wrote that American “liberty is fled” and that the nation was “stained with the blood of innocence.” Notwithstanding their shock and grief over the loss of the Smith brothers, Latter-day Saints reorganized the church under the leadership of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in August 1844. The reorganization of the Council of Fifty did not take place until February 1845. Events during the intervening months provide essential context for understanding the council’s activities from February to May 1845.
At the time of the murders of JS and , most members of the Council of Fifty were on electioneering missions, primarily in the eastern . As these scattered members of the council learned the news over the next few weeks, most immediately returned to , including a majority of the Quorum of the Twelve. Indeed, on 28 June a small group in Nauvoo decided to send and , both members of the Council of Fifty, to the eastern states to call “the twelve home immediately.”
Although there had been rumors earlier, apparently the first any of the apostles in the East learned of the murders was on 9 July, when and obtained copies of a Boston Times account “containing the solumn & awful information,” though they remained unsure of its truthfulness. On 12 July, Kimball, then in Baltimore, learned in a letter from his wife that JS and had traveled to , and he was thus convinced “that the Brethren ware dead O Lord what feelings we had.” On 16 July, Woodruff received letters from confirming the deaths, and by then some of the apostles had heard also from either or . , who was in , New Hampshire, with , had heard rumors but did not credit them until he received a letter on 16 July. Young later recounted the shock: “I felt then as I never felt bef[ore] . . . I felt as tho my head wo[ul]d. crack.” He momentarily wondered if the deaths of JS and Hyrum Smith meant that “the P[riesthood] [was] taken from the Earth.” An answer to his question, Young recalled, came “like a clap— the keys of the K[ingdom] r [are] here,” meaning with him and the other apostles.
and left for where, on 18 July, they joined , , and . Woodruff wrote an “Epistle of the Twelve” to be published in the Prophet, a church newspaper, instructing “the Elders who have families in to go immediately to them & for all the authorities of the church to assemble at Nauvoo for a council.” Later that day Young gave perhaps his first public comments on JS’s death: “be of good cheer. . . . When God sends a man to do a work all the devils in hell cannot kill him untill he gets through his work, So with Joseph He prepared all things gave the keys to men on the earth and said I may be soon taken from you.”
After apostle joined the other men, the six apostles started for on 24 July. left the company to visit family in , Ohio, but the others arrived in Nauvoo on 6 August. ’s party joined the four apostles already in Nauvoo— and , who had been with the Smiths in jail, and and , both of whom had already returned from electioneering missions. Before the arrival of Young’s company, the apostles in Nauvoo had counseled the Saints to wait for the Twelve to return before making decisions regarding the leadership of the church. Among those requesting action was Council of Fifty member , who urged the apostles in Nauvoo to call together the council to organize the church soon after JS’s death. In addition to attending to the business of the church, Richards helped fulfill an assignment given him by the council by drafting a letter in mid-July to president asking for resumption of negotiations for a Mormon colony in Texas and sending him copies of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Parley P. Pratt’s Voice of Warning.
On 3 August, three days before the arrival of ’s company, arrived in from , where he had moved in late June on assignment from the Council of Fifty to establish his residency so that he could be the vice presidential candidate in JS’s presidential campaign. At a public meeting the next day, Rigdon proposed that he be the “guardian” of the church in JS’s stead. Nauvoo stake president , sympathetic to Rigdon’s claims, appointed a conference for 8 August to vote on the guardianship proposal. Though an active participant in the Council of Fifty, Rigdon had largely been out of public view for much of the Nauvoo era, had generally not functioned in his role as a counselor in the First Presidency, and was not included in other regular councils of church leaders. By contrast, for the previous three years—from the time JS had called a “special conference” on 16 August 1841, soon after many of the apostles returned from their quorum mission to the British Isles—the apostles had worked increasingly closely with JS and to oversee the “business of the church.”
Church leaders met on 7 August in the before the planned public meeting the next day. , speaking first, declared: “It was shewn to me that this church must be built up to Joseph, and that all the blessings we receive must come through him. I have been ordained a spokesman to Joseph, and I must come to and see that the church was governed in a proper manner. . . . I propose to be a Guardian to the people.” responded by saying he did not care who led the church, “but one thing I must know, and that is what God says about it. I have the keys and the means of obtaining the mind of God on the subject. . . . Joseph conferred upon our heads all the keys and powers belonging to the Apostleship, which he himself held before he was taken away, and no man or set of men can get between Joseph and the Twelve in this world or the world to come. How often has Joseph said to the Twelve, I have laid the foundation; and you must build thereon, for upon your shoulders the kingdom rests.” The meeting ended with an agreement that the Saints and the quorums of the priesthood would assemble on 13 August for a special conference.
The Twelve now saw the 8 August meeting, held in a near the , as a prayer meeting and most did not attend. , however, used the occasion to present his case. After Rigdon’s unexpected remarks, stood. Saying that he regretted the spirit of being in a hurry, Young commented, “I wanted to sit and weep 30 days before the priesthood do business.” He called for all the Saints to reassemble in the afternoon to address the church business that had been scheduled to occur five days later.
In the afternoon session, argued that the apostles stood next in authority to JS, from whom they had received the necessary authority for church governance. He pledged that the apostles would build on the foundation laid by JS. Young wrote in his journal that he “lade before them the order of the church and the Power of the Preasthood, after a long and laboras talk of a bout two [h]ours in the open air with the wind blowing, the church was of one hart and one mind they wanted the twelve to lead the church as Br Joseph had dun in his day.” When Young moved for a vote regarding ’s proposal, Rigdon insisted that a vote for the Twelve come first. outlined the proposition before the congregation: “do the Saints want the Twelve to Stand as the head, the first Presidency of the church and at the head of this Kingdom in all the world, Stand next to Joseph, walk up into their Calling, hold the Keys of this Kingdom All that are in favor of this in all the congregation of the Saints manifest it by holding up the right hand.” Woodruff recorded, “Their was [a] sea of hands a universal vote.”
At first seemed to accept this decision. Though invited, he did not attend any of the councils of the Twelve and other church leaders, but he preached at public meetings. The apostles received reports, however, that he was privately seeking to “draw off a party.” In late August they summoned Rigdon and , perhaps his most prominent supporter, to a council. Rigdon declined to attend, but Marks insisted that many of the things the apostles had heard were not true. In early September, when pressed by in a private meeting, Rigdon stated that “he had Power and authority above the twelve did not concider him self bound to thir councel.” When three of the apostles then visited him to demand his ministerial license, Rigdon threatened to “expose the Counsels of the Church and Publish all he knew against us he knew the Church had not Been Led By the Spirit to [of] God for Long time.” The Council of Fifty was presumably one of the councils Rigdon was threatening to “expose,” since it was the only council meeting in the last months of JS’s life that Rigdon regularly attended.
On 5 September, and both denounced at separate public meetings. By then the Quorum of the Twelve had decided to bring charges against Rigdon in a public ecclesiastical trial. When the trial convened on 8 September, Young explained that the apostles would act as witnesses, not judges; the case would be tried by a council under Bishop . Young and other apostles charged Rigdon with setting up a rival church organization and with performing unauthorized ordinations and temple-related rituals. Young, Hyde, , , , and —all members of the Council of Fifty—testified against Rigdon. Hyde stated that JS had given the apostles “all the keys, and all the ordinances . . . and now says he on your shoulder will the responsibility of leading this people rest, for the Lord is going to let me rest a while.” Rigdon declined to appear at the trial, but , after noting that church trials always provided an opportunity for someone to speak in defense of the accused, addressed some of the accusations. At the conclusion of some six hours of meeting, Rigdon and several of his followers (though not Marks) were unanimously excommunicated. Two days later Rigdon left for .
and the Quorum of the Twelve were not the only claimants to authority. In late August, Moses Smith arrived in from with information about , who claimed that shortly before his death JS had, in response to revelation, written a letter appointing Strang as JS’s successor. Presenting himself as a new prophet with new revelations, Strang was gathering followers in Voree, Wisconsin. The apostles denounced Strang’s letter as a forgery and published a notice announcing Strang’s excommunication and warning of his attempts at “leading the saints astray.”
and his followers had little impact in through 1844. But his movement gained strength in some outlying areas, and in 1845 several of his adherents sought followers in the Mormon heartland. and his followers also had less influence in Nauvoo than they had in some of the eastern branches. Both Rigdon and Strang also later sent emissaries to , which had the largest concentration of Latter-day Saints outside . Church members who supported JS’s late Nauvoo initiatives and teachings tended to support the Twelve, while those who opposed some of his measures tended to seek alternatives. A key issue for detractors of the Twelve—including Rigdon, Strang, and many of their followers—was plural marriage. The apostles and other church leaders refused to acknowledge plural marriage publicly even as the practice expanded, under the direction of the Twelve, among the Latter-day Saints between JS’s death and the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo.
As events unfolded with and his supporters, two other members of the Council of Fifty also showed themselves unwilling to act in concert with the Twelve. Both and rejected the priority of finishing the , insisted that the best path was to leave the city, and drew off people and resources from Nauvoo against the counsel of the Twelve. Despite ’s public denunciation of Wight’s plans, he and the other apostles authorized Wight to leave Nauvoo “with his compa[n]y . . . and carry out the instructions he has received from Joseph,” a reference to Wight’s council-approved plan to lead a company from the to . On 24 August the Twelve and others decided that Wight’s company should go “north into the Colder Country to build a branch” rather than to . Young warned that aside from the “Pine Company . . . not any other soul has the consent of the Twelve to go with them.” Taking more men and supplies with him than the Twelve had authorized, Wight left Nauvoo on 28 August with plans to winter in before traveling to Texas the next spring. When a messenger from Young warned Wight in September that he had violated his instructions, Wight dismissed the authority of the other apostles and stated that “the Lord would not accept of the Temple when it was built.” Although Young did not at that time censure Wight, the Twelve withdrew fellowship from Emmett, who likewise may have seen his plan to take a party from Nauvoo “into the wilderness” as fulfilling an assignment he had received in the Council of Fifty or from JS. Later in September, Emmett and his recruits departed from Nauvoo, contrary to the instructions of the Quorum of the Twelve.
In the days, weeks, and months after the 8 August sustaining vote of the Saints, and the Twelve moved vigorously to set the church in order. On 9 August the Twelve appointed bishops and , both members of the Council of Fifty, to act as trustees-in-trust for the church, overseeing temporal affairs so the Twelve could “attend to the spiritual affers.” Young also proposed “righting up the quorums, giving every one his place.” JS’s presence “super[c]eded the necessity” of a more perfect organization, Young explained, but in his absence all the quorums must be put in order. Soon after, church leaders discussed establishing better oversight of branches in the outside of Nauvoo and assigned to travel to to oversee church affairs in the British Isles. These councils indicated that Young would be less formally involved in political and financial matters than JS had been; whereas JS served as mayor and as trustee-in-trust, Young would do neither.
These meetings also established the pattern that the church would be administered through councils, some involving only the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and others consisting of the Twelve and other church leaders. saw the 8 August vote as authorizing the quorum to govern the church. He wrote in his journal in August something that would be true for months to come: “we continued our councels from day to day to regulate the Buisness of the Church.” Because of his role as recorder, frequently attended the weekly councils consisting of members of the Twelve, the two trustees, and the temple committee. On 15 August he noted that “a very good feeling prevails in the breasts of the brethren.” Three days later Clayton began to copy the minutes of the Council of Fifty into a small leather-bound volume.
Gathering resources for construction of the and pushing the project forward remained a central focus of the Twelve over the next several months. The 1 October issue of the Times and Seasons contained an epistle from the Twelve to the church that affirmed the necessity of completing the temple because it touches “our salvation and exaltation, and that of our dead.” The Twelve also continued organizing the priesthood quorums. On 24 September, , senior president of the Seventy, joined six of the Twelve in selecting presidencies of seven to preside over ten quorums of seventies, each to be composed of seventy men.
The work of reorganizing the church continued during the church’s 6–8 October general conference. set the tone on the first day by proclaiming it a “test of our fellowship to believe and confess that Joseph lived and died a prophet of God in good standing.” During the second day, church members voted unanimously “to carry out the principles and measures heretofore adopted and laid down by Joseph Smith.” The officers of the church were then presented for a sustaining vote, beginning with Young and the Twelve. After Young was sustained as “president of the quorum of the Twelve, as one of the Twelve and first presidency of the church,” each of the apostles was sustained unanimously. This included the absent , though only “after some discussion.” was sustained as president of the stake in the place of , but Marks retained his church membership.
A week after the conference, , , and left for two weeks, and “no one knew whare we ware gon.” They visited outlying branches as far as two hundred miles from “and located another place of gathering for the Saints of God.” Perhaps they sought a nearby place of refuge in case of emergency, but the clerk keeping Young’s journal saw it as one of many future places of gathering, while Nauvoo would remain “the head stake for the Saints to come” to participate in the temple rituals.
During September and October some areas in were in turmoil because of efforts to arrest those believed to be responsible for the June murders in . Governor had vowed to see justice done despite the depth of anti-Mormon feeling. Anticipating violence, he informed leaders on 8 September that his request for a detachment of troops to be stationed in the county had been declined, leaving him to rely on the support of an uncertain militia. Nonetheless, he was prepared to sustain the laws and “ascertain how far I will be seconded by the Militia.” Ford insisted that he could do nothing directly until after civil process began and then only if arrests were resisted. He advised Mormon leaders to seek warrants from a justice of the peace outside of Nauvoo or to take complaints to the grand jury for indictments that could be tried by the circuit court. Despite this advice, on 21 September, swore out an affidavit before , a justice of the peace in Nauvoo, accusing prominent anti-Mormons and of murder; Johnson issued a warrant for their arrest. Sharp resisted attempts to arrest him, and his supporters swore “they would not let them be taken law or no law[,] governor or no governor.” Sharp and Williams fled to , and messengers were sent to raise a force sufficient to prevent the execution of the law. Faced with such threats, Ford traveled to Nauvoo to assess the situation and began sending state militia to Hancock County to uphold the law. In September, Ford and church leaders agreed to reorganize the Nauvoo Legion to defend Nauvoo and assist in arrest efforts if necessary. had earlier been elected by the troops as lieutenant general of the Legion, a position earlier held by JS, and he now received his commission.
Seeking to defuse an increasingly hostile situation, on 30 September proposed favorable terms for the surrender of and , offering to arrange for their protection and guaranteeing that they would be released on bail. They accepted the offer and agreed to appear at the next term of the circuit court in October. Fearing additional conflict, Ford ordered as commander of the Nauvoo Legion to hold in readiness a force to act under the direction of the sheriff if needed to protect the court and witnesses or even Mormon settlements if they were attacked by those opposed to prosecuting the accused murderers. A grand jury handed down indictments in late October against Sharp, Williams, and seven other men without the eruption of open violence. The grand jury also indicted eleven of the eighteen men who had been arrested for destroying the printing office of the Nauvoo Expositor in June 1844. The trials for those indicted for the murders and those indicted for destroying the printing office were ultimately pushed to the spring session of the court.
In late 1844 and early 1845, and other church leaders faced two other challenges: reports of division and disorder among church branches in the eastern states and a legislative effort to repeal ’s charter. En route to his mission in , spent several weeks visiting church branches and sending reports to Young, one of which stated that apostle and , both members of the Council of Fifty, had instigated much of the division, in part through participation in unauthorized plural marriages. Woodruff advised Young to replace Smith as the presiding authority in the eastern states. Even as Woodruff was writing, was on his way to the East, having been appointed by the Twelve to “take the presidency of all the eastern churches.” As soon as his ailing wife could travel, William Smith, the only surviving Smith brother, was expected back in Nauvoo to be ordained as patriarch to the church in place of his brother .
Early in December, , a member of the Council of Fifty and representative from to the legislature, alerted of efforts to repeal the charter. The expansive city charter, approved in December 1840, had granted authority to form an independent militia (the Nauvoo Legion) and empowered city courts to issue writs of habeas corpus. Without the charter, residents would lack a city government, militia, local court system, and police force. Babbitt reported rumors that intended to recommend repeal of the charter—or at least the right to maintain a militia. Ford apparently believed that the Mormons could form a separate brigade of the Hancock County militia, since the existence of the Nauvoo Legion terrified “the more ign[or]ant part of community.” On 17 December, Ford issued a special message advocating repeal of the authorization for the legion and other “obnoxious parts” while retaining the charter as a whole. “I do not see how, ten or twelve thousand people, can well do in a city, without some chartered privileges,” he argued. The Saints should be placed “upon grounds of some equality with other citizens. This is republican and cannot be denied without injustice.” Nevertheless, on 19 December the state senate approved a bill repealing the entire charter. ’s Christmas Day lament “that the Legislature has taken away all our Charters and laid us open to all the raviges of mobs & murderers” was premature, as the rancorous debate in continued in the house of representatives for another month. During a leave of absence around Christmas, Babbitt returned to Nauvoo with news that prospects had brightened a little, and he was instructed to contend for the whole charter “for we will never willingly consent to relinquish one jot of it.”
In January the house of representatives debated the bill for unconditional repeal that had passed in the senate. The temporary arrest of , senator for who had been indicted for the murders of JS and , intensified anti-Mormon feelings in the legislature. informed church leaders in that if repeal occurred, the Latter-day Saints would immediately appeal in the courts, from lower to higher “until it goes to the Federal Court of the before we give it up.” By the time it had worked its way to the last court, “we shall have accomplished all that the Lord designs for this place,” implying that by then they intended to leave in any event. On 23 January, reported to Young that “the city charter was repealed also the Legion so that all acts done from this time will be null and void.” The next day the house approved the legislation repealing the charter. On 29 January the bill was signed into law and went into effect.
Though the news spread rapidly, leaders had not received official notice of the repeal when convened on 30 January a “gen[eral] council” of church and city leaders to decide next steps. Comments by church leaders suggested that the repeal removed yet one more tie that had kept the Saints in the and that the time was nearing when they should have a government of their own. Young declared his desire to leave the nation: “Let the U. S. give us the north part of , let us go where we please, we have N. & S. America , Ireland, Scotland, & all the Eastern World.” In the meantime, though, the men decided to proceed with city elections on 3 February in hopes that the repeal would be overturned by the governor or the courts. The council also appointed a committee to gather information—including by writing prominent jurists and politicians for advice—that could be used in an effort to overturn the repeal.
The repeal of the charter as well as renewed threats of violence in may have prompted and his associates to again turn their attention to the question of where they would go after the was finished—and when. In ’s view, by late 1844 the seemed “filled with wrath against the saints.” The anti-Mormons “are threatening hard again,” he wrote, vowing that “we shall not put in another crop.” On 7 January, Young and the Twelve met in council to discuss, perhaps for the first time since the Council of Fifty ceased meeting in the spring of 1844, “sending to .” An expedition could be sent in the spring, but church leaders believed that the temple must be finished and the Saints endowed before large numbers could leave. That plan would be tested if rumored threats by former Mormons and were realized. reported that the Laws were “endeaveri[n]g to Raise a fuss big Enough to Crush the Saints in this C[o]unty they are Preachi[n]g to the mob that if the Temple is done they Cannot Ever drive the Mormons.”
Church leaders now faced the possibility that if they stayed in to finish the , violence would be unavoidable. Since the death of JS, ’s statements about finishing the temple and endowing the Saints had been unequivocal. But the prospect of bloodshed concerned him enough that he noted in his journal the threat and his prayer, offered with and , to seek an answer: “I inquaired of the Lord whether we should stay here and finish the templ the ansure was we should.” From that moment Young displayed no doubt: they would leave Nauvoo, but not until the temple was finished.
In this context of the repeal of the charter, discussions to explore settlement sites in the West, and the urgency to complete the , convened the Council of Fifty on 4 February 1845. From that meeting until 10 May 1845, the council met on fifteen days in a total of twenty-two sessions. The minutes in this period constitute the largest section of the record, in part because the 1845 minutes tend to capture more details of discussion than do the earlier minutes. The longer minutes meant that spent considerable time in March and April revising the minutes and copying them into the record books he had begun in August 1844. The council also appears to have functioned differently under Young’s leadership in that members of the Quorum of the Twelve played an even larger role than they had during 1844. In their quorum meetings the apostles discussed some proposals in advance that they then brought to the Council of Fifty for ratification. In addition, during these months the Council of Fifty took a much more active role in making decisions on temporal matters than it had during JS’s lifetime.
After the council adjourned sine die in May, did not reconvene it until 9 September 1845.
  1. 1

    Clayton, Journal, 28 June and 3–4 July 1844.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  2. 2

    Clayton, Journal, 28 and 30 June 1844.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  3. 3

    Woodruff, Journal, 9 July 1844; Kimball, Journal, 9–10 July 1844.  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.

  4. 4

    Kimball, Journal, 12 July 1844.  

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.

  5. 5

    Woodruff, Journal, 16 July 1844; Kimball, Journal, 15 July 1844; Young, Journal, 23 July 1844.  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

  6. 6

    Historian’s Office, General Church Minutes, 12 Feb. 1849; Young, Journal, 16 July 1844.  

    Historian’s Office. General Church Minutes, 1839–1877. CHL

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

  7. 7

    Woodruff, Journal, 18 July 1844; “Epistle of the Twelve,” Prophet, 27 July 1844, [2].  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    The Prophet. New York City, NY. May 1844–Dec. 1845.

  8. 8

    Woodruff, Journal, 18 July 1844.  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  9. 9

    Woodruff, Journal, 24 July–6 Aug. 1844; Kimball, Journal, 24 July–6 Aug. 1844.  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.

  10. 10

    Richards, Journal, 10 and 28 July 1844; see also Pratt, Autobiography, 368–369; and George A. Smith, Journal, 28 July 1844.  

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

    Pratt, Parley P. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels, with Extracts, in Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Edited by Parley P. Pratt Jr. New York: Russell Brothers, 1874.

    Smith, George Albert. Journals, 1839–1875. George Albert Smith, Papers. 1834–1877. CHL.

  11. 11

    Minutes, 25 Dec. 1846 and 9 Dec. 1848, Council of Fifty, Papers, 1844–1885, CHL. The final portion of the manuscript history of JS compiled in the 1850s dated this event to 30 July and stated that George Miller joined in Badlam’s request. (JS History, vol. F-1, addenda, 9.)  

    Council of Fifty. Papers, 1844–1885. CHL.

  12. 12

    Lucien Woodworth, Nauvoo, IL, to Sam Houston, 14 July 1844, draft, Willard Richards, Papers, CHL; Council of Fifty, “Record,” 6 May 1844.  

  13. 13

    Richards, Journal, 3 Aug. 1844; Council of Fifty, “Record,” 6 May 1844.  

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

  14. 14

    Richards, Journal, 4 Aug. 1844; Clayton, Journal, 4 Aug. 1844.  

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  15. 15

    Historian’s Office, General Church Minutes, 16 Aug. 1841; Richards, Journal, 16 Aug. 1841.  

    Historian’s Office. General Church Minutes, 1839–1877. CHL

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

  16. 16

    Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Minutes, 7 Aug. 1844; see also Woodruff, Journal, 7 Aug. 1844; Clayton, Journal, 7 Aug. 1844; and Richards, Journal, 7 Aug. 1844.  

    Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Minutes, 1840–1844. CHL.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

  17. 17

    In addition to agreeing to postpone the business of the conference until 13 August, Rigdon had earlier assured several of the apostles that “he did not expect the people to choose a guardian” at the 8 August meeting. Instead he merely wanted to “have a prayer meeting.” (Richards, Journal, 5 Aug. 1844.)  

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

  18. 18

    Carruth and Jensen, “Sidney Rigdon’s Plea to the Saints,” 138; Woodruff, Journal, 8 Aug. 1844.  

    Carruth, LaJean Purcell, and Robin Scott Jensen. “Sidney Rigdon’s Plea to the Saints: Transcription of Thomas Bullock’s Shorthand Notes from the August 8, 1844, Morning Meeting.” BYU Studies 53, no. 2 (2014): 121–139.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  19. 19

    Young, Journal, 8 Aug. 1844.  

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

  20. 20

    Woodruff, Journal, 8 Aug. 1844. While Woodruff noted a unanimous vote, Clayton indicated that there were “a few who were dissappointed.” (Clayton, Journal, 8 Aug. 1844.)  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  21. 21

    “Continuation of Elder Rigdon’s Trial,” Times and Seasons, 1 Oct. 1844, 5:663; Clayton, Journal, 29 Aug. 1844.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  22. 22

    Young, Journal, 3 Sept. 1844; Clayton, Journal, 4 Sept. 1844.  

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  23. 23

    George A. Smith, Journal, 3 Sept. 1844; see also “Trial of Elder Rigdon,” Times and Seasons, 15 Sept. 1844, 5:653; Clayton, Journal, 4–5 Sept. 1844; Young, Journal, 3 and 6 Sept. 1844; and Kimball, Journal, 6 Sept. 1844.  

    Smith, George Albert. Journals, 1839–1875. George Albert Smith, Papers. 1834–1877. CHL.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.

  24. 24

    See Young, Journal, 5 Sept. 1844; Kimball, Journal, 5 Sept. 1844; and Clayton, Journal, 5 Sept. 1844.  

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  25. 25

    Historian’s Office, General Church Minutes, 8 Sept. 1844; “Trial of Elder Rigdon,” Times and Seasons, 15 Sept. 1844, 5:647–655; “Continuation of Elder Rigdon’s Trial,” Times and Seasons, 1 Oct. 1844, 5:660–667; “Conclusion of Elder Rigdon’s Trial,” Times and Seasons, 15 Oct. 1844, 5:685–687. Hyde later prepared a more detailed written statement expanding on this theme, which he read in the 25 March 1845 Council of Fifty meeting. (Orson Hyde, Statement about the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, ca. 25 Mar. 1845, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL; see also Woodruff, Journal, 25 Aug. 1844.)  

    Historian’s Office. General Church Minutes, 1839–1877. CHL

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  26. 26

    Historian’s Office, General Church Minutes, 8 Sept. 1844.  

    Historian’s Office. General Church Minutes, 1839–1877. CHL

  27. 27

    Kimball, Journal, 10 Sept. 1844.  

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.

  28. 28

    See Jensen, “Mormons Seeking Mormonism,” 115–140.  

    Jensen, Robin Scott. “Mormons Seeking Mormonism: Strangite Success and the Conceptualization of Mormon Ideology, 1844–50.” In Scattering of the Saints: Schism within Mormonism, edited by Newell G. Bringhurst and John C. Hamer, 115–140. Independence, MO: John Whitmer Books, 2007.

  29. 29

    Jacob, Reminiscences and Journal, 8; Kimball, Journal, 26 Aug. 1844; “To the Saints,” Times and Seasons, 2 Sept. 1844, 5:631.  

    Jacob, Norton. Reminiscence and Journal, May 1844–Jan. 1852. CHL. MS 9111.

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  30. 30

    Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, 1:3, 2:165.  

    Hales, Brian C. Joseph Smith’s Polygamy. 3 vols. SLC: Greg Kofford Books, 2013.

  31. 31

    Council of Fifty, “Record,” 6 May 1844.  

  32. 32

    Young, Journal, 11 and 18 Aug. 1844; 12 Sept. 1844; Richards, Journal, 12 Aug. 1844; Woodruff, Journal, 18 and 24 Aug. 1844.  

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  33. 33

    David Clayton to Brigham Young, Nauvoo, IL, 24 Sept. 1844, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL; Clayton, Journal, 26 Sept. 1844.  

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  34. 34

    Clayton, Journal, 4 Sept. 1844; Young, Journal, 11 Aug. 1844; see also George A. Smith, Journal, 2 and 9 Sept. 1844.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

    Smith, George Albert. Journals, 1839–1875. George Albert Smith, Papers. 1834–1877. CHL.

  35. 35

    The Council of Fifty addressed the situations of Wight and Emmett on several occasions in 1845. (See Council of Fifty, “Record,” 4 and 27 Feb. 1845; 29 Apr. 1845.)  

  36. 36

    Brigham Young, Nauvoo, IL, to Nathaniel Felt, Salem, MA, in Brigham Young to Vilate Young, 11 Aug. 1844, photocopy, CHL.  

    Young, Brigham. Letter, to Vilate Murray Young, 11 Aug. 1844, photocopy. CHL.

  37. 37

    Richards, Journal, 9 and 12 Aug. 1844.  

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

  38. 38

    Young, Journal, 11 Aug. 1844.  

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

  39. 39

    Clayton, Journal, 15 and 18 Aug. 1844; 6 and 20 Sept. 1844.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  40. 40

    Brigham Young, “An Epistle of the Twelve,” Times and Seasons, 1 Oct. 1844, 5:668.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  41. 41

    Kimball, Journal, 24 Sept. 1844.  

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.

  42. 42

    “October Conference Minutes,” Times and Seasons, 15 Oct. 1844, 5:683; 1 Nov. 1844, 5:691–692, 696; Young, Journal, 6–8 Oct. 1844.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

  43. 43

    Kimball, Journal, 14–27 Oct. 1844; Young, Journal, 14 Oct. 1844.  

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

  44. 44

    Thomas Ford, Springfield, IL, to Willard Richards and William W. Phelps, Nauvoo, IL, 8 Sept. 1844, Willard Richards, Papers, CHL.  

    Richards, Willard. Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490.

  45. 45

    John Taylor, Affidavit, 21 Sept. 1844; Warrant for Levi Williams and Thomas C. Sharp, 21 Sept. 1844, Hancock Co., IL, Circuit Court, Civil and Criminal Files, 1830–1860, State of Illinois v. Williams et al. [Hancock Co. Cir. Ct. 1845], microfilm 1,521,604, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  46. 46

    Charles C. Rich, Nauvoo, IL, to Thomas Ford, 26 Sept. 1844, photocopy in editors’ possession.  

    Rich, Charles C. Letter, Nauvoo, IL, to Thomas Ford, 26 Sept. 1844. Photocopy in editors’ possession.

  47. 47

    Thomas Ford, Commission for Brigham Young, 24 Sept. 1844, CHL; Clayton, Journal, 27 Sept. 1844.  

    Ford, Thomas. Commission to Brigham Young. 24 Sept. 1844. CHL.

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  48. 48

    Thomas Ford, Agreement, 30 Sept. 1844, CHL.  

    Ford, Thomas. Agreement, 30 Sept. 1844. CHL.

  49. 49

    Recognizance Bond for Levi Williams and Thomas C. Sharp, 2 Oct. 1844, Hancock Co., IL, Circuit Court, Civil and Criminal Files, 1830–1860, State of Illinois v. Williams et al. [Hancock Co. Cir. Ct. 1845], microfilm 1,521,604, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; for a legal overview of this case, see Oaks and Hill, Carthage Conspiracy, 35–42.  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Oaks, Dallin H., and Marvin S. Hill. Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975.

  50. 50

    Thomas Ford, Springfield, IL, to Brigham Young, 9 Oct. 1844, in Clayton, Journal, 26 Oct. 1844.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  51. 51

    Indictment, 26 Oct. 1844, Hancock Co., IL, Circuit Court, Civil and Criminal Files, 1830–1860, State of Illinois v. Williams et al. [Hancock Co. Cir. Ct. 1845], microfilm 1,521,604, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  52. 52

    Clayton, Journal, 20–24 Oct. 1844.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  53. 53

    Wilford Woodruff, Boston, MA, to Brigham Young, Nauvoo, IL, 9 and 14 Oct. 1844; Wilford Woodruff, Philadelphia, PA, to Brigham Young, Nauvoo, IL, 3 Dec. 1844, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.  

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

  54. 54

    News Item, Times and Seasons, 1 Dec. 1844, 5:727.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  55. 55

    Almon Babbitt, Springfield, IL, to Brigham Young, Nauvoo, IL, 5 Dec. 1844, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.  

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

  56. 56

    Message of the Governor of the State of Illinois, 21.  

    Message of the Governor of the State of Illinois, in Relation to the Disturbances in Hancock County, December, 21, 1844. Springfield, IL: Walters and Weber, 1844.

  57. 57

    Journal of the Senate . . . of Illinois, 19 Dec. 1844, 80–81; Almon Babbitt, Springfield, IL, to Brigham Young, Nauvoo, IL, 19 Dec. 1844, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.  

    Journal of the Senate of the Fourteenth General Assembly of the State of Illinois, at Their Regular Session, Begun and Held at Springfield, December 2, 1844. Springfield, IL: Walters & Weber, 1844.

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

  58. 58

    Clayton, Journal, 25 Dec. 1844.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  59. 59

    Clayton, Journal, 27 Dec. 1844.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  60. 60

    Journal of the Senate . . . of Illinois, 26 Dec. 1844, 3, 117–118, 121–122; “Arrest of the Hon. Jacob C. Davis,” Reports Made to the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Illinois, 157–158.  

    Journal of the Senate of the Fourteenth General Assembly of the State of Illinois, at Their Regular Session, Begun and Held at Springfield, December 2, 1844. Springfield, IL: Walters & Weber, 1844.

    Reports Made to the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Illinois, at Their Session Begun and Held at Springfield, December 2, 1844. Vol. 1. Springfield, IL: Walters and Weber, 1845.

  61. 61

    Brigham Young, Nauvoo, IL, to Phineas Young et al., Kirtland, OH, 21 Jan. 1845, copy, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.  

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

  62. 62

    Almon Babbitt, Springfield, IL, to Brigham Young, 23 Jan. 1845, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL; see also Jacob B. Backenstos, Springfield, IL, to Brigham Young et al., Nauvoo, IL, 25 Jan. 1845, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.  

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

  63. 63

    Journal of the House of Representatives . . . of Illinois, 24 Jan. 1845, 276–277.  

    Journal of the House of Representatives of the Fourteenth General Assembly of the State of Illinois, at Their Regular Session, Begun and Held at Springfield, December 2, 1844. Springfield, IL: Walters & Weber, 1844.

  64. 64

    An Act to Repeal the Act Entitled “An Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo,” Approved December 16, 1840 [29 Jan. 1845], Laws of the State of Illinois [1844–1845], pp. 187–188.  

    Laws of the State of Illinois, Passed by the Fourteenth General Assembly, at Their Regular Session, Began and Held at Springfield, December 2nd, 1844. Springfield, IL: Walters and Weber, 1845.

  65. 65

    Richards, Journal, 30 Jan. 1845; Historian’s Office, General Church Minutes, 30 Jan. 1845. As examples of the letters, see George Miller, Nauvoo, IL, to Stephen A. Douglas, 31 Jan. 1845, copy; George Miller, Nauvoo, IL, to Thomas Ford, 4 Feb. 1845, copy; and Brigham Young et al., Nauvoo, IL, to Stephen A. Douglas et al., 1 Feb. 1845, copy, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL.  

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

    Historian’s Office. General Church Minutes, 1839–1877. CHL

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

  66. 66

    Clayton, Journal, 26 Dec. 1844.  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

  67. 67

    Richards, Journal, 7 Jan. 1845.  

    Richards, Willard. Journals, 1836–1853. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, boxes 1–2.

  68. 68

    George A. Smith, Nauvoo, IL, to Wilford Woodruff, Liverpool, England, 25 Jan. 1845, Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, CHL.  

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  69. 69

    Young, Journal, 24 Jan. 1845; see also Kimball, Journal, 24 and 25 Jan. 1845.  

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

    Kimball, Heber C. Journal, Sept. 1842; May 1844–May 1845. Heber C. Kimball, Papers, 1837–1866. CHL. MS 627, box. 3, fd. 4.