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


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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...

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March 27th, 2015

Mormon News, March 23–27

In the wake of Utah’s new anti-discrimination legislation—but with a religious exemption clause—the story of one former BYU student evicted after his roommates learned he was gay drew national media attention this week. Andrew White settled with the Village at South Campus apartments after he filed a lawsuit alleging the landlord violated tenant law. White alleged that after his roommates learned of his sexual orientation, they physically assaulted him and dragged him from his bedroom.

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March 20th, 2015

Mormon News, March 16–20

Carl Wimmer, a former Utah state legislator, explained this week just how far the LDS Church can go to get legislation it supports passed, even by instructing local leaders to pressure handshakelawmakers. Wimmer revealed that the LDS Church has at least two full-time lobbyists who focus entirely on Utah state politics and issues. He was contacted over the years by these lobbyists who would explain that they were there “directly from the top”—that is, they represented the views of the LDS First Presidency.

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