Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846; Volume 1, 10 March 1844–1 March 1845

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page [94]
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11 April 1844 • Thursday

Editorial Note
In the days following their previous meeting, several council members were actively involved in the church’s conference held 6–9 April 1844. Many of their sermons touched on themes that had been discussed in the Council of Fifty. For example, although seldom spoke publicly in , he gave three lengthy addresses on the kingdom of God that dominated both the morning and afternoon sessions on 6 April and the morning session of 7 April. In his morning address on 6 April, Rigdon stated that “mankind have labored under one universal mistake” in believing that “salvation was distinct from government; i. e.; that I can build a church without government, and that thing have power to save me.” By contrast, Rigdon taught, “When God sets up a system of salvation, he sets up a system of government; when I speak of a government I mean what I say; I mean a government that shall rule over temporal and spiritual affairs.” similarly stated that there was no “divid[in]g. line bet[wee]n. the Govt. of God & the Govt. of the Chil[dren] of men” and that “the Govm. belongs to God.” contrasted the treatment the Saints had received from the federal government with the determination of the Saints to “stand up in defence of the oppressed of whatever country they may be,” proclaiming that “if liberty has been blasted in this nation we will proclaim ourselves free in time and eternity.” Even JS, whose remarks largely centered on the nature of God, referred to the church’s expansion from Nauvoo, which had been a central theme in the deliberations of the Council of Fifty. On 8 April, JS announced having received a “a great grand & glorious rev[elatio]n.” that all of North and South America was Zion and that after the had been dedicated, the Saints would spread throughout the two continents building up churches wherever they went.
Two days after the close of the conference, the Council of Fifty met in the newly dedicated from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and reconvened at 2:00 p.m. In the morning meeting JS appointed chairman pro tem. proposed that JS join the committee to draft a constitution for the kingdom of God. JS explained that he, the standing chairman, would not belong to any committees. After further instruction, the council voted to receive JS as “Prophet, Priest & King.” Rigdon appointed chairman pro tem in order to propose taking a second expression of the vote, to be followed by shouts of “hosanna,” as an adjournment of the morning meeting. The council voted affirmatively and closed the meeting accordingly.
In the afternoon meeting JS instructed the council on several principles. He spoke on the importance of religious tolerance and explained the significance of including council members who were not Latter-day Saints. He also stated that the Constitution of the failed to protect freedom and equal rights and that a measure was needed to compel executive authorities to protect the rights of oppressed peoples.

Thursday April 11th. 1844 9 o clock A.M. Council met pursuant to adjournment in the , Prest. J. Smith in the chair.
The chairman read the following letter from , viz.
April 10th. 1844. To the Honorable president and councillors of the kingdom of God, Sirs, Circumstances that is not in my power to controll prevent me from meeting with you on the 11 Inst. I will therefore say from the confidence which I have in your deliberation, I will most cheerfully give my sanction to all measures which may receive your sanction.
Yours very respectfully
[p. [94]]
11 April 1844 • Thursday

Editorial Note
In the days following their previous meeting, several council members were actively involved in the church’s conference held 6–9 April 1844. Many of their sermons touched on themes that had been discussed in the Council of Fifty. For example, although seldom spoke publicly in , he gave three lengthy addresses on the kingdom of God that dominated both the morning and afternoon sessions on 6 April and the morning session of 7 April. In his morning address on 6 April, Rigdon stated that “mankind have labored under one universal mistake” in believing that “salvation was distinct from government; i. e.; that I can build a church without government, and that thing have power to save me.” By contrast, Rigdon taught, “When God sets up a system of salvation, he sets up a system of government; when I speak of a government I mean what I say; I mean a government that shall rule over temporal and spiritual affairs.” similarly stated that there was no “divid[in]g. line bet[wee]n. the Govt. of God & the Govt. of the Chil[dren] of men” and that “the Govm. belongs to God.” contrasted the treatment the Saints had received from the federal government with the determination of the Saints to “stand up in defence of the oppressed of whatever country they may be,” proclaiming that “if liberty has been blasted in this nation we will proclaim ourselves free in time and eternity.” Even JS, whose remarks largely centered on the nature of God, referred to the church’s expansion from Nauvoo, which had been a central theme in the deliberations of the Council of Fifty. On 8 April, JS announced having received a “a great grand & glorious rev[elatio]n.” that all of North and South America was Zion and that after the had been dedicated, the Saints would spread throughout the two continents building up churches wherever they went.
Two days after the close of the conference, the Council of Fifty met in the newly dedicated from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and reconvened at 2:00 p.m. In the morning meeting JS appointed chairman pro tem. proposed that JS join the committee to draft a constitution for the kingdom of God. JS explained that he, the standing chairman, would not belong to any committees. After further instruction, the council voted to receive JS as “Prophet, Priest & King.” Rigdon appointed chairman pro tem in order to propose taking a second expression of the vote, to be followed by shouts of “hosanna,” as an adjournment of the morning meeting. The council voted affirmatively and closed the meeting accordingly.
In the afternoon meeting JS instructed the council on several principles. He spoke on the importance of religious tolerance and explained the significance of including council members who were not Latter-day Saints. He also stated that the Constitution of the failed to protect freedom and equal rights and that a measure was needed to compel executive authorities to protect the rights of oppressed peoples.

Thursday April 11th. 1844 9 o clock A.M. Council met pursuant to adjournment in the , Prest. J. Smith in the chair.
The chairman read the following letter from , viz.
April 10th. 1844. To the Honorable president and councillors of the kingdom of God, Sirs, Circumstances that is not in my power to controll prevent me from meeting with you on the 11 Inst. I will therefore say from the confidence which I have in your deliberation, I will most cheerfully give my sanction to all measures which may receive your sanction.
Yours very respectfully
[p. [94]]
Page [94]