On 11 January 1846 the Council of Fifty met from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. in the attic story of the by order of . After a vote to drop from the council, the chairman “stated that the object of this meeting was to take into consideration our present situation and removal and what is best to be done in regard to our property,” and most of the discussion revolved around these two subjects. Young proposed an initial settlement “between” the mountains “somewhere on the vallies of the Bear River.” From there the Saints could “explore the whole country to the coast and seek out suitable places where we can locate and fortify ourselves so as to bid defiance to the enemy.” With their efforts to sell or lease properties to the Catholic church frustrated, council members decided they would no longer attempt to sell the temple or ; instead, they would finish the structures “as monuments of the industry of this people” and then “hold them sacred to the Lord.” To further manage land transactions, the council appointed , , , , and to remain in as “Agents or a committee to transact business for and in behalf of this council.” Earlier in the meeting Heywood had been chosen to become a member of the council, although he was not present and it is unclear when he began attending council meetings. The council also decided that Babbitt should retain one of the two presses in use at Nauvoo so that a newspaper could continue to be published. At the end of the meeting, Young instructed captains of companies to ascertain “how many can be ready to start in a few days” and to report back in two days.
Sunday Morning January 11th. 1846 Council assembled by orders of the in the Attic Story of the & organised at 11 o clock president in the chair.
John D. Lee recorded that the council met in the attic story of the temple, “it being 60 feet above the surface of the Earth— enabled us to breathe Pure air— & also placed us out of the reach of cowans [i.e., the uninitiated] or evedroper [eavesdroppers].” Ordinance work had begun on the third, or attic, floor of the temple the preceding month; the floor contained offices, dressing rooms, and rooms for the performance of the endowment ceremony. (Lee, Journal, 11 Jan. 1846, 77; see also “Temple, Nauvoo, Illinois,” in the geographical directory.)