The Council of Fifty

The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History

The original duties of the Council of Fifty were to help elect Mormon founder Joseph Smith to the presidency of the United States, to scout locations for colonies in Texas and Oregon, and to form the political kingdom of God on earth. After Smith’s death, the council oversaw the exodus west and served as the initial governing body for the settlements until Utah became a territory. The council met off and on for another forty years and left behind a corpus of letters, minutes, diaries, and reminiscences on the topic. These documents are assembled together for the first time.

“A new high standard for a documents collection.”
—Gene A. Sessions, Professor of History, Weber State University


Lost Apostles

Forgotten Members of Mormonism's Original Quorum of Twelve
Before the LDS Church was organized, Joseph Smith received a revelation telling him that twelve men would be called as latter-day apostles. Their assignment would be to warn men and women that the end was near. Although the determination...

An Imperfect Book

What the Book of Mormon Tells Us About Itself
In his own personal quest for answers, “An Imperfect Book” becomes an accessible but thorough overview of major controversies surrounding the Book of Mormon involving authorship, use of idiom, anachronisms, contrived names, borrowed passages, and prophecies made and fulfilled...

Amazing Colossal Apostle

Robert M. Price
As children, we were told the stories of Paul as didactic tales meant to keep us reverent and obedient. As adults reading the New Testament, we catch glimpses of a very different kind of disciple—an ascetic hermit whom Tertullian...

Latest News

February 27th, 2015

Mormon News, February 23–27

The LDS Church, in an article in the Ensign, drew a distinction between “questions” and “doubts.” The article is part of an ongoing response to challenging issues that were previously waved away, but are increasingly visible in the Internet Age. In the essay by Adam Kotter, questions were framed as “critical part of our eternal growth,” while doubts were characterized as little more than an excuse to sin. According to Kotter, those with questions will dedicate themselves more to the LDS faith and its teachings, while doubters disobey and demand answers. Those with doubts are even compared to Korihor, the infamous anti-Christ of the Book of Mormon.


February 20th, 2015

Mormon News, February 16–20

The historical community in Walla Walla, Washington, commemorated a Mormon schismatic group known as the Kingdom of Heaven that was active from 1867 to 1881. The Kingdom was founded by William W. Davies, a disillusioned follower of Brigham Young who joined the Morrisite branch of Mormonism before forming his own group.