Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846; Volume 2, 1 March–6 May 1845
Council of Fifty
Kingdom of God
There is another item of business pertaining to our charter. Shall we disregard any charter, or shall go to law and try to sustain it? My feelings are to let the charters go and live by the law which the proposed. If men come here to trouble and molest us, set aunt Peggy at them and anoint them as some person anointed a certain person in this a few evenings ago. The laws are good enough but they are in the hands of such mean men they do us no good. I want to go and convert the Lamanites and dwell with them, and I believe in twenty years the land will be divided off to the Lamanites, and they will have the privileges of going to visit the graves of theri [their] fathers. The gentiles will yet be glad to lick the dust of the feet of the Lamanites to get their favor and we shall live to see it. [p. ] These are some matters laying before us and I want the brethren to speak their minds freely. I dont want the brethren to be patient stop and consider and dont get in a hurry. We can stop as long as we like, and meet as often as we have a mind to. Dont be in a hurry. We are in eternity and have all eternity before us, and there is no need to be in a hurry.
Councillor said he had no feelings to be in a hurry, yet at the same time he considered it wisdom to eat and strengthen up the body. We may live fifty years & accomplish more in proportion in the same time than has ever been done, and there will yet be work enough. I have told our bishops that they would yet be the presidents over one hundred and fifty thousand bishops, for we will have to tithe the gentiles, and if they don’t live to do it their successors will. We have got fourteen [p. ] or fifteen hundred seventies to carry out our measures and I dont feel in a hurry, for if we should live fifty years, we shall not begin to carry out all that we have got to do. I feel as though there was something deficient all the time when I reflect that we have not yet sent out men to find a location, where can erect the standard of liberty. When we get that done the nations will begin to flock to it and many of us will live to see it. While these men are finding this location the will be finished and the saints get their endowment, then we can go and set up the standard and execute the law of God. The time will be when the Twelve will not have a resting place here, and they want to have a place prepared where they can go and be sustained. We have no safety here. We cannot go together in the [p. ] City of to transact important business without being betrayed, except in this council. It was but last Sunday when I was speaking before the High Priests quorum, one of the most important quorums of this church, I let out some feelings of my mind concerning some mean men in our midst, and that same day those very men were told all that was said in that meeting. But the time will come when the quorums will have to be as confidential as we are here in this council, or they will lose their heads. There is no safety in our midst. When I heard that those things had been told out of that honorable quorum I felt mad, and I felt to damn those characters who profess to be in good standing and are all the while betraying us to the lowest hell. When I have seen my brethren massacred through the influence of traitors and see [p. ] the same things coming upon us, dont you think I feel it? Yes I do feel it. And when men come to me and say that wants to curtail them in this and that I know their feelings. There is not a man who will stand up for your rights more than will and all of my brethren. They have been proven to be true in adversity & prosperity on the land & on the sea, and shall we not sustain these principles. Yes we will sustain them. This is my feelings. And it is my feelings for us to take a course where we can go to a healthy country and live, for I am sick all the day long, and I cannot live long unless God sustains me. But I dont want to go as did and and . They went contrary to council. They have said that this place would be destroyed and that we would not build the [p. ] , and at the same time sent men back to burn the lumber that they might hinder the work. I know the will be built and the saints receive their endowment I intend if I can create means to build me a good house this next summer, a splended mansion, and if I can get means I want to build one that will stand a thousand years. and if I go away and cant enjoy it now I will leave some of my posterity to live in it and administer for my dead, and after a while I will come back and enjoy it myself. When I lay down at night and take a nap I rise up in the morning and go to work again where I left off, and so it will be in the morning of the resurrection. I shall not begin my work exactly where I left off because others will continue the work while we are absent. [p. ] We are engaged in the same work now that we shall be engaged in in eternity, as says we are in eternity, we are in heaven and we only need to reform to enjoy it. I make calculations to live forever and not die at all, for I lay down and go to sleep and wake up in the morning, and so I will wake up in the morning of the resurrection and take up a new body. The process of death is something like the planting of wheat for when you plant the kernal, you dont receive the same kernal back again but a new one out of the old one. And so it is in the resurrection, and when we all rise up again you will not know which is the oldest only pertaining to our years on this earth. When I consider on these things I dont feel cast down. The time has come when I dont feel sensitive about death, and [p. ] my prayer is that I may never any thing. If we see any other one of our brethren who cannot carry out their designs with the gentiles let us splice him if we have to do it five times, just as and I spliced brother Miller at , and we would have enabled him to outstrip the whole of them if we had not been betrayed. Never care if some person should bedirt a mean scoundrel I dont want to know who they are who do it.
Councillor said he felt a good deal interested in the remarks which has been made to day, and feels glad to have the priviledge of meeting with his brethren. In regard to the situation of the world as it now exists I dont care a damn because they are as corrupt as the devil. We have no benifit from the laws of the land, and the only reason why they dont cut our throats is because [p. ] they dare not, and as says I dont care how often the bucket is turned up. Some cry out it will bring persecution, but they cannot lie about us, nor persecute us worse than they have done, and I go in for whipping the scoundrels when they come into our midst and if any of them come near me I will use my cane to them and I want my brethren to go and do likewise. This cursed was here prowling round the a few days ago. He was one who was trying to push our brethren into the Jail at , and he wanted to have them taken out without a guard that they might be shot down by the mob before they got to the Jail. I dont want such men to come near us, and if they come near me I feel like whipping them I dont care about excitement, we can stand it as long as they can. We have know we have no more justice here, no more than we could get [p. ] at the gates of hell, and the only thing we have got to do is to take care of ourselves. As to the other thing which has been proposed about seeking out a location in the West I dont care how soon it go into operation. People talk about law and justice I go in for giving them the same kind of justice they give us. We have our own charter to take care of ourselves, and we will deal out justice and there will be no appeal from it. We have been excluded from all our rights as other citizens and we have a right to make law for ourselves and put them in force, and there is not a court of justice in these but that would justify the principle if they knew all the facts as we do. If we got together here and established the kingdom we should be in the same situation we are in now. The fact is, the kingdom of God is established and the transgressors will be cut off. I go in for a company being sent out to find out place where [p. ] we can establish the kingdom, erect the standard and dwell in peace, and have our own laws.
said he would much rather hear others speak than speak himself. The transit of his feelings are such that he hardly knows how to express himself. But yesterday he had his seat in the Legislative Hall enacting laws for the welfare of a multitude of beings. To day I take my seat in another Legislative Hall to enact laws for the eternal salvation of mankind, not only in time but to all eternity. We are making laws not to be repealed at our next session but to exist and be in force to all eternity, because if our laws originate from God they will form a part of the government not only in time but in eternity. My feelings are peculiar. I look around on this honorable body and see no party feeling, no Whigs nor Democrats no party measure to be carried out which would [p. ] oppress one and aggrandize another. All have got the same interest, the same object in view. You may be anxious to draw from me an expression relative to feelings manifested to me by the members of the Legislature, as we can understand their feelings far better to watch their movements and their speeches, than to read their speeches on paper. I will say to this honorable body that it is my firm and settled conviction that there is an intention among the Legislatures and the people of this to drive this people from the State. They dont express it openly but they manifest it by all their movements. They are determined to break up the City of and scatter the people and make them scatter amongst the rest of the citizens so that they can the more easily oppress us at their will. They dont seem disposed to exterminate this people, but to break up the City [p. ] and scatter them. But I would just as soon they said exterminate as scatter for the dispensation we have embraced designs to gather the Saints together. If After I returned from at my last visit I found considerable change of feelings among the members of the Legislature. The letter which was sent to me over the signature of I left with them during my absence. They took an extract from the latter part of the letter, and made use it of it as a threat against the . Every man after this urged on the repeal of our charters. They said they had not done enough at us. When the old charter was repealed we got up a new one, which we considered as good as the other. It passed the house, but in the Senate was laid on the table. There was a kind of rumor when I left that on the last day of session the Senate would take up the [p. ] Charter and pass it. I have found the men of the North generally are our friends, but the members from the South part of the are our enemies. I have reflected much during the winter what course we had best pursue in relation to trying to sustain our charter in the higher courts. I am aware that the proceedings of the Legislature will strengthen the hands of our enemies. We have borne more persecution from the north than from the south. I attribute it to their education. I have had considerable feelings as to what would be our best policy. If I consult my own feelings I should, as says, be for whipping every scoundrel that comes among us. But the sober second thought says it would not be best. I have thought it would be best to make a proposition to the citizens of this to buy their property, or sell ours to them. I made a proposition to them that if they would agree to [p. ] purchase our property we would agree to leave the in eighteen months. I did this to shew them that we meant to be honorable with them. If they would sell to us we could buy their property and soon pay them, or if they would buy us out we will leave them. But if we go away from here, where shall we go. If I ever leave here I want to go where the southern spirit does not reign. If you go to there is that spirit predominant which has harassed us all the while. The American settlers have been ordered away from seems to be the place to my mind to answer the purpose which we want. I think if the population of this church were to begin to emigrate to we would soon have the control of the whole country. The probability is that will ultimatly become subject to the British government. The colonists under the British government seem to [p. ] enjoy more liberal principles under that government that [than] colonists under other governments”. He then went on to state concerning some laws which the Legislature have passed which will be for our benifit, one in particular to legalize the sales of property by the late Trustee in Trust.
If we should come to the conclusion to change our location, the question arises, should we make it known what our intentions are. The brethren seem willing to go any where rather than tarry in . It seems as though we were weaned from the other citizens entirely, and I believe if the idea was to go abroad that we designed to leave it would produce a reaction and prevent the prosperity & upbuilding of this . If we want to make another trial here I believe it would not be best policy to let the information go abroad what our intentions were in regard to the West but let two or three go & explore the country, seek out a location and report [p. ] to this body and we could then take the whole subject into further consideration.
The said in regard to our going under the British wing, they would be more tyrannical than the . But I tell you in the name of the Lord when we go from here, we will exalt the standard of liberty and make our own laws. When we go from here we dont calculate to go under any goverment but the government of God. There are millions of the Lamanites who when they understand the law of God and the designs of the gospel are perfectly capable of using up these . They will walk through them and lay them waste from East to West. We mean to go to our brethren in the West & baptise them, and when we get them to give hear to our council the story is told.
On motion the council adjourned for one hour [p. ]
2 ½ P.M. Council met pursuant to adjournment. Present same as this morning.
The stated to the council that had rented the “” and that he had to raise $150 to day to close the contract. He wanted to know how many of this council would assist to raise the money, also if the direct council would direct the Trustees in Trust to lend the amount for a few days untill he could raise it. A vote was taken on the Trustees loaning the money, which resulted unanimously in favor of the loan.
The had received $181.30 of brother S. Stoddard this morning which the Trustees had agreed to borrow for a short season, he took the money out of his pocket and laid it down at the Bishops feet & $150. was counted out to who immediately went out to secure the contract. [p. ]
Councillor said he had a few things to say on the subject investigated this morning. First in regard to the attitude in which we stand to this and every other nation. They have virtually made us a nation to ourselves. The older a government is, the more corrupt it is. Where [Were?] we under any other government their conduct would be more persecuting & rigorous. The idea of being under the government of Victoria is worse than to be under the government of the . I dont wish to be under any government. I believe this is a government of itself. We need look for nothing but tyranny and oppression untill we can break the yoke ourselves. This government has taken from us every right which they ever gave to us, and they would no doubt destroy us from the earth if it were possible. This government does not afford us the protection [p. ] of the law because it is a whig government. The largest party will always take the law into their own hands, and as to expecting any favor under the hands of this or any other government I do not. The project of sending men to look out a location I am favorable to, where we can erect the standard of liberty. If my brethren say they will live under the governments I will do so to, but for my own feelings I would see them in hell as far as Sims’ [Symmes’s] hole before I would do it. I glory in the anticipation of seeing this company organized and start on the journey forthwith. As to the people being excited, they will not know it untill it is accomplished. They have a great many projects in view to get us away from here. If we accomplish the building of these houses it is all we ask, and this we will accomplish in spite of them, and we will go when we are ready. [p. ] There are men in our midst who have threatened the lives of some of us, but I fear them not. I am clearly and decidedly in favor of entering <into> the project in contemplation, and of having men selected by the to go on this errand. Let the plan be accomplished forthwith. The object of this council when it was organized was to seek out a place where we could exalt the standard of liberty. There is a time for all things, and if this is the time to go into this thing I rejoice in it. There We can go amongst the red men in the forest and be safe. There is no treachery amongst them, and the reason why there is treachery amongst us is because the blood is not pure. I have no fears that the mob will drive us from here. I dont feel to relax our exertions in building & planting. Let these men be sent and let them be selected by the and it will be right and let it be done as soon as it is expedient. I [p. ] am of the opinion that the best place for a location is on the sea coast, say at, or about Monteray, as the strip of land at Gautamalia [Guatemala] is narrow, and would make the whole western coast easy of access from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, having all the coast open to , and three fourths of the people are Lamanites or creoles. About Monteray is a good country. There is a perpetual grazing country, there is thousands of cattle already there, and the climate is congenial to our natures. It is sufficient to produce in abundance all the necessaries of life. If we can find a location there, and should find those creoles there, they would come over to us. They are half Lamanite and probably would soon join in with us. We could occupy that country without hindrance. We cannot get into a worse place then these . If we get into that country three fourths of the inhabitants are Indians [p. ] and we have nothing to fear. When you hear the word go from the , then cut loose, As to mobs, the evil arises in our midst and if we suffer them to grow in our midst they will prick the veins of the heads of this church as they have said they would.
Councillor said that some information he possesses has lead him to arise on the floor. It is well known the course the is taking to grasp but there is not stability enough among them to do any thing. This is one reason why the Lord raised up this church. The only thing which induces men to Legislate from year to year is the gain. They have in the Legislative Halls of , murderers, whose hands are yet dripping with innocent blood, and the other States are no better. Information has come in a paper from Tennessee which says, “three cheers for the [p. ] men who have spilt the blood of the Smiths.[”]
What has the State of or the State of done to redress our wrongs? Nothing. They have taken away every right they ever gave us. Relative to the project of , the want to establish a government in for fear the British will do it. There is a large portion of which I dont know that any body owns. It is a rich land, many mines &c. If while they are legislating on the subject we can send men to explore the country and seek out a location we will be preparing for the event. While he was at dinner a paper was put into his hands showing a proposition on the part of Great Britain for an alliance with against the . There is no other people in the world who would have borne the abuses we have with patience, but the time has not yet come to be avenged. [p. ] Men who have not been enlightened by the same spirit we have, dont know why we feel anxious about certain matters, nor why we care nothing about our charter. He has ever felt pleased with this council. Here we can unbosom our feelings, and bring our intelligence to bear and make plans which will ultimately free the world. The hand seems to be moving in every part of the earth. The leaven is in the meal, and it will leaven the whole lump. It has begun to work, and here is the centre of gravity. When the Lamanites learn the truth they will obey it to a man, it is only the gentiles who are vessels of dishonor. Let the make his selection and when he has heard all the ideas of this council he can appoint men to go on this mission. The time is soon to come when the is to arise, for the Lord said he will come suddenly [p. ] to his Temple. We are the hammer of the whole earth and we will break it in peices. Would it be any more harm to send our messengers to the West to look out a place of rest than to send men to preach to the nations. It is our union which the nations fear, it is this which the whole world dreads.
Council adjourned 5 minutes during which time a collection was taken to purchase father stones family some provisions as they are in want.
Councillor referred to the manner the Lord led the children of Israel out of Egypt, and compared the history of that people with the History of this church. Have we not been put upon a reliance on God and ourselves. The State of has taken from us all she ever gave us. Our reliance cannot be here any longer. The kingdom of God is set up and we are in [p. ] a different attitude to what we ever were before, so that what was once unpatriotic now becomes patriotic. Where protection of the government has been withdrawn from us, we are no longer obligated to them. We have been organized into a kingdom and it would be beneath our dignity to crouch to any nation. If these was to crouch to a foreign government what would be thought of her, why, she would be considered as unworthy of a standing among the nations of the earth. Then our course is to take care of ourselves, and to legislate like other nations as to what punishment we shall inflict on our enemies. As the children of God and as Kings we are bound to protect ourselves and our families, and if we do not we are unworthy of those important priviledges which God has given to us. I would not think it wisdom to wait [p. ] till the enemy gets within our before we let them feel our power. This is what I consider virtuous and patriotic, and I am not ashamed of it, and I am not afraid to advocate the principle before the gentiles. We know the object of the enemy is to break us up and scatter us, and if they can scatter us, then we cannot show our wrongs to the world. We ought to secure to ourselves all the friendship which might be considered wise. As to our movements we need not tell it to the world. Did not the prophet tell us we had not a moment to lose and shall we wait untill the enemies bind us, No! And I say to that call upon the red men to come speedily to the help of the Lord against the mighty. They have been driven from their homes and their graves of their fathers and massacred like unto us, then let him carry the fire amongst [p. ] to them and tell them that God has set up his kingdom and that the day of deliverance is at hand. The gentiles have taken away our property and our rights and the lives of some of our best men, and shall we be afraid to take theirs. God has told us to build up this and how can we do it unless we keep our enemies off from us. I am perfectly satisfied whenever the shall <say> execute such a such law, then I say, let it be done. The nature, spirit and power of a kingdom is to obey the authorities and execute the laws. The fewer there are to defend our rights the more noble the blood by which it is done, and we are not afraid to take care of ourselves.
The then proposed that we now enter into measures to choose men to go on this mission and to fix on the number &c [p. ]
A number of men were then proposed by various ones of the brethren, after which
The nominated as the first man and president of that mission The vote passed in favor unanimously.
He then nominated as the next man— carried unanimously.
next— carried— "
next— carried— "
next— carried— "
next— carried— "
The said it was only designed to send six men with but he was in favor of appointing two more and nominated and — The vote was unanimous
Councillor recommended that those who are sent on this mission and do not belong to this council shall be put under the same [p. ] restrictions in regard to secrecy as the members of the council.
recommended that they take with them Nautical Almanacs for three years to come.
stated that and his party were going to . Also that s papers had done much to prejudice the Legislature against us.
On motion the council adjourned untill next tuesday at 9 o clock A.M. [8 lines blank] [p. ]
The council met on 4 March 1845 in two sessions in the upper room of the . The first session began at 10:00 a.m.; after an hour adjournment, the council reconvened at 2:20 p.m. In the absence of , who was sick, (the next most senior apostle) presided as chairman. Four new members were accepted in the morning session. Kimball then introduced the business that Young had instructed him to attend to, explaining that the council should discuss the timing of the “Western Mission”; whether to petition state governors “to see if they will do any thing towards maintaining our rights,” and specifically for , “whether the State will buy us out, or sell to us”; and whether Young and Kimball should travel to Europe during the Western Mission to “prepare matters and have things moving there to meet the same object.”
While discussion of rules and procedures occupied much of the morning session, council members in the afternoon discussed the purposes and timing of the Western Mission. They concurred that the mission would include attempting to proselytize among and form alliances with American Indians as well as exploring possible areas of settlement. Council members also agreed that the mission should go ahead as quickly as possible and appointed a committee to help outfit the expedition. The council also appointed a committee to prepare letters to the governor of each state to set forth the Latter-day Saints’ grievances in and in . Finally, the council appointed another committee to consider a response to the loss of the charter, which the Illinois legislature had revoked in January. The minutes record no further discussion of the possible travel of and to Europe.
Tuesday March 4th. 1845 Council met pursuant to adjournment in the upper room of the and organized at 10 oclock A. M.
our standing chairman being sick he sent word by that it was his wish that should preside and proceed to business. A vote was taken and it was decidedly unanimously that he take the Chair.
Present presiding, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , [,] , , , , , , , , [p. ] , , , , , Clerk, and , Recorder.
The called upon E[lde]r , to open the meeting by prayer which was done.
The then said that it was with timidity he took the place of this morning, but he is always determined to stand where he is told to. had given him instructions what to do and he felt to do it.
He then called those who had been invited to become members of the council to take their seats in the centre, viz. , , , and and called upon to give them their charge and the object of the organization, which [p. ] was done
The then asked if he was willing to abide by all the laws of the council.
lift up his hand and said he was willing to abide the law.
being called upon next, he with upon uplifted hand assented in full
also assented in full
also. Each expressing themselves willing to abide the law in full.
The then gave some further instructions on the subject.
The vote of the council was then taken on each case separately, and they received by unanimous vote and was seated in order The then remarked that there was all the while some persons listening around the [p. ] house to hear what was said, but he wanted the brethren to be free and speak what they had a mind to, and express their feelings in full. He thought it would be wisdom to appoint three of the councillors to keep watch by turns and see that no one was near. He appointed , & and desired that <some> one keep on watch all the while.
The was then called upon to state to the new members the relationship of as standing chairman to this council, head and lawgiver &c, after which on motion a vote was taken of the whole house and all voted to sustain in his place as standing chairman, Prophet, Priest, and King &c.
Remarks were then made by councillors , , the & , [p. ] touching the nature of the organization &c. &c. and the power & authority of each member and the important standing each one sustained &c.
The said that this was the kingdom which Daniel saw would be set up in the last days which would overthrow and subdue all other kingdoms. This is a place designed as a place of trial for each one admitted and if we are found faithful in this council the time will come when each one will be anointed and ordained prophets, priests and kings. In the resurrection each one of these kings will appear from their respective kingdoms from time to time to make reports of matters in their kingdoms to the king of kings and will receive instructions to carry to their respective kingdoms from him. Joseph Smith is the king of kings to this kingdom, but he is now gone within the vail and [p. ] takes his place. If a man step beyond his bounds he will lose his kingdom as Lucifer did and it will be given to others who are more worthy. transcended his bounds and he lost his kingly authority and is no more a member with us, and so it has been with and others and these brethren come in and take their crowns. There are others also who have been called in, who are called to fulfil one of the most important missions ever undertaken in the world.
The then stated the title of the council to the new members and being called upon to manifest whether they accepted it the vote was unanimous in the affirmative
On motion of the reading of the minutes was called for. The minutes were then read and with some slight correction, were receive by unanimous vote. [p. ]
Some remarks were then made concerning a little inaccuracy in the minutes and also the difficulty of keeping minutes correct when there is the least disturbance or confusion.
Councillor moved that the have the priviledge of taking the minutes and retaining them to copy some names from them, and after he has done that that he be instructed to destroy them. Carried by unanimous vote
Some more remarks were made relative to the difficulty of taking minutes when there is confusion.
agreed with the remarks made concerning taking minutes, but he was not in favor of relaxing or contracting the minutes but would prefer increasing and keeping them more full, and if there were other men in this council who were good at keeping minutes he was in [p. ] favor of some being appointed to assist the .
The said he would add to what has been said relative to good order. He dont suppose there is a man who loves order more than he does, for confusion always bewilders him. President Joseph Smith would always cease business when there was confusion. s feelings are fine and he loves order as well as any man. He ( ) loves order as well as his life, but he is delicate about speaking to the brethren because he dont want to hurt their feelings. When I go to meeting I must have order or I cannot speak to edification or effect.
He then said he had a few things to lay before this council from pertaining to the mission. It is necessary to come to some conclusions what shall be [p. ] done, and to lay it before the brethren that it may be under way as quick as possible.
There is another matter of business viz. Whether we shall petition the governors of the different states to see if they will do any thing towards maintaining our rights, and also to get up a petition to the Legislature or the governor to see whether the will buy us out, or sell to us.
Another thing, whether while the mission is under way, shall & go to Europe to prepare matters and have the thing moving there to meet the same object. Our men selected for this mission are all ready. I dont know but they have undertaken the business not knowing the importance of it, but they have only to lay in the crucible and they will come out right. [p. ]
moved that the speakers address the chair, and the chair announce the name of the speaker before he commence. But it was proved to be unnecessary inasmuch as it as is already a standing rule of the house.
moved that those appointed to go on this western mission be required to state whether they would abide by and fulfil it, but they not being all present the motion was waved.
Councillor moved that the brethren speak on any subject according to the order beginning at the oldest.
Councillor said he was a great lover of order and he thought it would be better for us to proceed in order in all our investigations. He would suggest that the propose the first item of business we shall discuss and that we then go according to the suggestion of , the [p. ] oldest speak first and no one speak more than once on the same subject untill all the members have had a priviledge of speaking. He would consider this would wisdom in all important matters and would offer it as an amendment to s motion. There may be exceptions to this rule.
The vote was then taken on the resolution as amended, but was objected to by inasmuch as the motion of was already a standing rule of house the house, but s resolution was not and he was opposed to any thing being combined with the order as established by Joseph Smith.
The said that s idea was agreeable with what Prest. Joseph Smith said, viz. that a man might speak as often as he had a mind to and as much.
said he appreciated the remarks of [p. ] and thought they were correct, but he recollected that president Smiths instructions were to keep to the subject before the house. But he considers that we are bound to s orders to day inasmuch as he is our chairman and our head.
again explained that he was in favor of being bound by prest. Smiths rules so far as regards the organization of this council and its order and no other. s idea was that only one subject be discussed at one time. That is not objectionable to me, but the idea that a man must crowd his mind with the whole of his subject and if he should happen not to get all his ideas out he must wait till all the rest had spoke and would most probably lose his idea, this is what is objectionable to him.
said that in all Legislative [p. ] bodies it was a rule not to discuss more than one subject at the same time, not that he was in favor of our being bound by the rules of corrupt Legislatures but any rule that will facilitate our measures & expedite business he considers we ought to adopt it. If one man is to have the priviledge of speaking as often as he has a mind to before other members have had a priviledge, it will be a disadvantage. He feels desirous that the would suggest that a member only speak once on any important subject untill all shall have had a priviledge of speaking. He feels that this rule should be adopted to day while discussing the Western mission.
Councillor was in favor of abiding by the rule of the council as laid down by president Joseph Smith. He (prest. Smith) had the control of that matter, and of permitting any one to speak as often as he choose, but it was his rule to decide on this matter himself. [p. ]
said he believed the rule was for a member not to speak more than once without permission from the chair, unless by way of explanation.
understood that the chairman always governed the matter himself.
Councillor said he was aware that there was a delicacy in the minds of our chairmen in regard to assuming authority, but he wants a man when he takes this chair to act as though he had been in the chair a thousand years. He moved that it be the decided feelings of this council that when any man takes the chair, he feels that he is the chairman to all intents and purposes.
stated some parliamentary rules pertaining to order
The said he did not feel to say that that we shall be bound to a certain rule, because things which might be brought up tomorrow might change the subject, but he would wish to have [p. ] the brethren speak on the western mission first. He supposed there was no one would wish to speak more than once on a subject. He believed the Holy Ghost would control the whole matter, and let every man speak as he is moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
The council then adjourned 1 hour.
2 o clock & 20 minutes the council was called to order. Present same as this morning and except , and .
Council opened with prayer by .
The said he expected every man understood the course we should take and that is, let every man be directed by the Holy Ghost, and if we take this course there will be no confusion. Every man in this council knows when he is under the influence of the Holy Ghost. Inasmuch as president Joseph Smith is gone within the vail is now our lawgiver, and when he is absent the one [p. ] that stands in his place is our lawgiver. He feels diffident to step forward and take his place for fear some will take exceptions, but there ought to be no exceptions taken.
I propose that we now take up the Western Mission, when it shall be done, whether we shall go into it speedily, or shall we hold up, but my feelings are to have it go ahead as speedily as possible. I never wish to take a step unless I am moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and every one in this council feels so to. We ought to feel as clay in the hands of the potter, but what can a potter do when half of his clay will yeild and half not yeild? He cant do any thing.
asked a question pertaining to the , which was answered. He said he expected to have to go away to attend to some business concerning the . [p. ]
The said he did not consider any business in this world of importance enough to break up this council as it is ahead of every thing else.
said as to the propriety of the Western Mission he is of the same mind as he was the other day. He feels it important to rush the matter ahead as fast as possible. He accepts of his appointment in that mission joyfully. He rejoices in it. As to the preparation, it is for the council to decide the time when, the means to be used, and how they are to be raised &c.
said he felt anxious that these men who are appointed be prepared and start as quick as possible. He dont feel to have them wait long after conference. He wishes it to be considered what means are necessary, how they are to be raised &c. If we are the children of God we shall know what is right, and when these brethren return [p. ] than then we can come to some conclusions and proclaim to the saints to go as the Lord shall direct.
said this question is an important question. While we have been together to day he has had some whisperings he never thought of before. We are an assembly placed here to investigate this subject, to look at the matter as it lies before us and at things past, present and to come. In order to advance upon the question he shall endeavor to consider that the scenes we have passed through has brought us to the place where we now stand. In order to get hold of the subject there is some items to notice that those brethren may understand the nature of their mission. This is the most important mission ever undertaken. They are sent to look out a location for the saints of the most high God. For the saints to assemble to and hoist the standard that our prophet told us of for the people to assemble to. He looks upon it with feelings of joy and gladness to [p. ] see the scriptures fullfilling as the prophets said. there are a great many things for these brethren to accomplish in their mission. is well acquainted with a number of the tribes and I have an idea that when these brethren visit those nations and find amongst them confidential men for the brethren to leave things in their charge to be brought about. Let there be some men left with them to council with them and communicate to us that we may know what is going on. These has set us off as a nation to ourselves and what does it prove to us. I just feel that we are a nation to ourselves and we have no concern with them. We have a kingdom established but they have rejected the kingdom and here is a nation standing ready to receive it and these are the men to carry the news to them, and I feel like urging it along. The gentiles have rejected the gospel. It has become a national affair. The Legislature has rejected it for they [p. ] have not heard our prayers nor granted our rights and what they ever did give us they have taken it away. They have rejected the gospel and lo we turn to the house of Israel. I have felt of late that I wanted them to let us alone, for we will work and they cant hinder. They will see the thing go forth and they cant avoid it. I am glad the time is so night for it is near our doors, when the forest will pour forth its thousands and millions and they will go forth and nothing can hinder. These men are going to bear glad tidings to those red men of the forest, and I believe the time has come when you will go and appoint presidents over those red men to preside over them and communicate with us, and in a little time they will be as easily governed as our branches and more so. Go and tell them that the kingdom is set up and see if they dont come. I believe it is a part of this mission to go from [p. ] tribe to tribe and feel after their wise men and ordain presidents & set their own wise men up as councillors and their will be white men also whom you can pick up and leave them to preside. The time I believe has come when we must go and organize them and leave a council with them, plant the seed, and put in the leaven that the whole lump may be leavened. And if the enemies do not let us alone we will call out these men of the forest and they had better let us alone. I am not much of a man to fight, but I will take every advantage that lays in my power. We will set an old squaws blanket on a kite tail and send it up and if the mob dont run I dont guess right. I will write on the blanket “liberty” and they will be sure to flee I never saw more friendly fellows than these red men and they are the men with whom I want to cultivate a spirit of friendship. I expect the enemies will not let us alone. [p. ] and I want to have it so that we can have help from these men when we want it. There can be an understanding obtained with those nations that will be a benifit to us and them. Let then these brethren pass on from tribe to tribe and they can at the same time explore the country. I expect to take room to ourselves without going there, where we please. I dont believe in the doctrine of being snugged up there. I believe we have as good a right to this land as any body and if they wont let us have it we will take it. I have no notion of going to the except for amusement, or to explore the country, but as to being driven by the enemies to go I shant do it. I believe the most important thing in this mission is to go and examine those tribes and effect a reconcilliation with them, plant the gospel among them and teach them the principles of government and I believe by this course there will be a work effected which we will need by and by. As to not being means their is abundance of Cattle &c all around. There [p. ] will be thousands of horses and honey, milk and bread. I dont fear starvation, there will be no starvation. The number that was named to go on this mission is small enough in my opinion, and when they go I would approve of the idea of their sending a messenger back, that we may know where they are and how they prosper. There must be locations on the rout from place to place for this purpose. This mission may be attended with some difficulty but I dont care about the difficulty. There is a Fort above where they will probably go and about two hundred soldiers. They may interfere but they had better take care. It is necessary to be wise and discreet in establishing those places lest we be interrupted, before we accomplish the object in view.
said in addition to the remarks already made that the first thing which presents [p. ] itself is, that the greatest fears manifested by our enemies is the union of Church and State. I believe we are actually doing this and it is what the Lord designs. The kingdom of God was established for the uniting of Ephraim. The scriptures say that Ephraim shall have the first dominion. There has been in every age of the world an effort made to establish a theocracy but it has as often been defeated. There is not a place where Japheth does not reign, but Daniel said the kingdom of God should rise in the last days which should break in peices all other kingdoms. The revelations say that “the gentiles shall assist my people to build the Temple”. I read in the Book of doctrine and yesterday covenants yesterday that the gathering together should be in Missouri. If the gentiles have not rejected the gospel, what more can they [p. ] do to reject it. They have spilt the blood of our prophets and sought to kill us off that there should not be one left to tell the tale. If you go from the highest officer of the to the lowest citizen the answer would be “destroy Mormonism” from the face of the earth, and I have yet to learn whether there was not a combination from the Legislatures Legislators to the lickskittles to destroy the prophets. The scriptures tell us that the times of the gentiles should be fulfilled and at that time the Lord would turn to his people, and “then I the Lord will gather them and plant them in their own land and they shall no more be plucked up”. This day we have one of them in our midst to carry the tidings to them. In a little while—when the nations are agitating themselves with strife the powers that be will rise up against themselves, and the slaves will rise up against their masters, and then will the red men [p. ] come out from their hiding places and go forth to waste and destroy with fire pestilence &c. The present mission is one of the most important missions ever undertaken. There has never been a time when a kingdom was established that was not thrown down, but this kingdom will never be thrown down. There has been a great many kingdoms and upon the ruins of these kingdoms is a kingdom to be built up by these few men that will stand forever. We are Legislators, set here to legislate for the best means whereby the chosen seed shall return that they might go to Jerusalem and receive the statutes they once rejected. Zion is the place where the tribes shall return and bring a present to the Lord of Hosts. Under existing circumstances it becomes necessary to have special pretexes and special places of gathering. We may want [p. ] a dozen. The great idea is to go out into the mountains and let the hunters of Israel go with good rifles and they will pick the game every time. Here is one of the men to go, and we want him to go and tell them to prepare, for our enemies are forging chains for us. As to a location, there are many good places There is an excellent place on what is called the Camet river, and another on the . I am not going to say how many years it is going to take for we have got to go through the last gap. He here related an anecdote of an Eagle and an Owl and compared this generation to the Owl for they are “mousing”, they live by it. I dont know any good reason why the religion of Jesus Christ should be blown out of existance to accommodate mobbers. With regard to the company that are going it will not do to tell them they are going to walk [p. ] on flowery beds of ease, but I suppose the prayers of this church and this council will bring them off conquerors. When I see the means the gentiles have invented to punish men I have no feeling of mercy for them. Talk about patriotism—what is the patriotism of these —fifteen thousand souls driven from their homes in and no means made use of to restore them to us, or redress our wrongs and to finish off with, they have spilt our best blood. Then let these men go and tell Jacob and let them come & execute that which is reserved for them. As was remarked on the stand some time ago, this church is fourteen years old and is able to choose her own guardian, and what do we see, a wheel within a wheel a kingdom within a kingdom, here out of sight, and these men will go and invite the heirs to come into it. [p. ]
Councillor said stands first and it is his place to speak but he waves his right. The subject before us is the Western Mission. I feel to accord in the absolute necessity of sending those men forth as soon as possible. I understand also that it is the right of the proper authorities to instruct those missionaries relative to their duties. What we may see here may be all well enough. It may have a tendency to draw out some ideas that would not have occurred. I am in favor of devising the ways and the means for those men. It will be necessary to have instruments to ascertain latitude and longitude. It will also be necessary to have a historian, and all other means necessary to look out a suitable location for the Saints. I am in favor of our providing the means necessary for the outfit, and that they should receive their instructions from the . On the heads of the authorities of this church rest the responsibility of giving [p. ] instructions. The Indian usage is to go from home empty and return loaded like the bee. These men are to go on an important mission and it is necessary to furnish them with every thing they may need. Indian usage is different to gentile usage. You must use those means which may be necessary to give them to understand who you are and the nature of your business, also to tell them who they are and what they are and what their rights are, and that this is their land and the gentiles have usurped it from them. The gentiles have rejected every thing that belongs to salvation. They have taken from us every right, and it is necessary that we use every means in our power to take care of ourselves. I feel to rejoice that the time has come when the Lord will restore to Jacob his land. I feel to rejoice that I have an opportunity to be numbered among this council and I feel never to stop nor deviate, till [p. ] we have accomplished every thing which God has designed for us to accomplish. Then let us have an eye to this outfit. Let them have horses or mules and such trinkets as will suit the Indians that you may form a union with them and smoke the pipe of peace with them The leading object of this mission is to unite the tribes from North to South. When these brethren get into these tribes and get them to understand their mission and who they are, they will send their messengers from tribe to tribe and will have the intelligence communicated in a trice, and then they can look out for a place for a location. The tribes are ready to come forth and take hold of the matter in earnest. Things will be done right, I have no fear. As to to the outfit it is absolutely necessary they should have mules, trinkets, ammunition, guns and instruments to take latitude [p. ] and longitude. When you get into an Indian tribe assemble the chiefs, smoke a pipe of peace with them—form a league of friendship with them and then tell them your mission and that God has set up his kingdom. This is the only Israel on the earth, the fullness of the gentiles has come in and we have nothing to fear.
Adjourned five minutes.
After adjournment the asked whether we shall pursue this subject any further or shall we talk over the subject of sending letters to the governors in relation to our sufferings. But before we enter into this we will call upon those appointed to take this mission to see if they will accept it
said he accepted of the mission and felt himself honored with the appointment.
said he was willing to accept the mission, it is what he has expected for some time. He knows what the mission is. He has been with twenty two tribes and [p. ] had had three five <(5)> missions amongst them. He is not afraid of starving if he can have a rifle and ammunition and health. He is willing to go and with the prayers and faith of the brethren he believes they can accomplish the designs of the mission.
thinks there is no danger of starving. He dont think there is any danger of loosing his scalp nor ever would unless the gentiles catched him asleep.
said he shall enter upon the mission with pleasure and shall accept it. He fears no danger and shall go wherever he is appointed by the .
said he feels perfectly free to go on the mission but he is able unable to furnish any thing for the outfit. That is all the objections he could have.
said he had no doubt but if [p. ] the church knew what we wanted there would be thousands of means could be had forthwith. He knows we can get it because God is at the bottom of it. He considers this the most important mission ever undertaken, and those who undertake it and go through with it will be crowned with honor and immortality in the eternal world. He rejoices in it and feels like putting it ahead with all his might.
Councillor moved to adjourn the debate on this subject till the next meeting.
moved that this body appoint a committee to ascertain what would be the amount, and the necessary equippage, and that said committee shall be called the “Committee on foreign relations”.
The stated that inasmuch as , and [p. ] are away it is necessary to have them here that they may be put in possession of keys and power for their mission.
It was then decided that send a messenger to fetch home, who is now in .
said that in consequence of ’s having intimated that he would probably have to go on this mission he had made enquiry relative to the necessary means. told him that mules can be bought in arkansas for $35. has an especial object in going to that country and if mules can be bought there at that rate it would be cheaper than to buy them here.
s motion to appoint a committee of three was put to vote and passed unanimously. [p. ]
moved that the committee consist of three and that be one.
said he did not know but it would be impossible for to act on account of a vast multitude of business continually crowding.
Coun. said he believed it was the prerogative of the chairman to nominate committees.
s motion that the committee consist of three was put to vote and passed.
The then nominated , and for this committee, which was put to vote and passed unanimously.
The motion to adjourn this subject till the next meeting was again brought up.
gave some information concerning being in danger of being arrested on account of the destruction of the press last June. [p. ]
Er motion to adjourn this subject till the next meeting, then passed.
Councillor moved that a committee of three be appointed to address letters to the governors of the several States. The motion was seconded.
asked if it was the desire of that this thing should be done. Because his feelings were utterly averse to petitioning them any more or asking any more favors of them.
The said it was s feelings to do this.
said this was the first time the church had ever written to all the governors and he thought it would be wisdom.
was in favor of giving them a full priviledge of perfecting their destruction.
offered some remarks on [p. ] the subject of sending petitions to governors, shewing their limited powers to act in such cases. His mind would be to defer sending the petition untill the legis[la]ture sits next december.
said there is various times of legislatures meeting in different states, but we dont care about this, inasmuch as we only want to draw out from them their feelings and what they are disposed to do for us.
The said that as to asking any favors of the gentiles any more it is contrary to his own feelings all the while for he feels indignant at them. But there are some good governors left and it would be well to draw out of them their feelings. He was in favor of writing letters to the governors and their cabinets and believes it will be one of the best things we can do
asked a question on the [p. ] subject for information. He was answered by who again repeated what he heard say on the subject.
Councillor was in favor of writing letters to every governor in the , and also every U.S. Senator. We might by this means accomplish some good, and we might incur some evil. But he feels to lay before them every particular of our sufferings and wrongs that there may be no excuse for them. For his part if he could write he would be at it night and day. If it were not for our own writings the world would know nothing of what abuses we have suffered. Had it not been for such a course as this the sufferings of the “neutral French in Nova Scotia” would have been buried in oblivion. He wished he could write, he would send letters to every responsible man in the whether he [p. ] knew them or not. It is not so much his object to seek out a place in the West as it is to try to maintain our rights here. Let letters be sent every where not only to this country but to foreign countries, that they may learn of our sufferings & wrongs. Notwithstanding the corruptions of men and the ill luck we have met with, there will be multitudes who will by this means come out and help us and if we dont realize the benifit of it ourselves our children will.
said that the Great God had so ordered it that he had brought in the judges and he was in favor of going a head with the matter.
said he did not at first fully understand the subject, but there has been new light thrown on it. He now understands it.
Coun. again explained. He supposed that made a calculation of con [p. ]sulting the governors to draw out their feelings in relation to our objects in the Western Mission.
said as he understood the subject it was touching the letter sent by and that the object was to show them what had been proposed to us and what they felt on the subject. We want to keep them dark of our intentions by this means and keep down excitement, and have them use their influence to allay the excitement and put down mobs that we may go away in peace. We want to give them to understand that we are in favor of the project and see what they will do.
Coun. said he had some views of other objects which might be accomplished in the same letter. If to keep them in the dark was the only object he would have sent s answer to letter and let it end there. He looks at things as really about to transpire which are important. [p. ] The object is to draw out of these governors their feelings that they may commit themselves, and then we can let it be known what they have done. This people are the people of every State in the and the governors are the fathers of the States. has robbed us and driven us from our homes, and to crown the climax has taken away our charters. Our object is to lay the subject before the governors, and ask them whether they will lay the wrongs of their own citizens before their respective legislatures and tell them that their citizens are in danger of being exterminated every moment and see if they will not do something for us, and if they will not that we may bring the thunder bolt of wrath against them. He reffered to the action of in relation to their negroes, and the question is will they do it for the negroes, and will they not [p. ] do it for their own blood. We have appealed in vain and now we look to these governors and they have an influence, and they will enhance the bitterness of their own cup if they dont listen to us. This is one object and at the same time we can draw out from them their feelings in regard to the Western Mission.
The said had spoken the mind of on the subject, and he knows that God is in it for the brethren get the spirit when they talk about.
Coun. moved to amend the resolution of by adding two more to the committee and make the number three instead of five.
A vote was taken on s motion as amended by and was unanimous in the affirmative [p. ]
The nominated , , , & to be said Committee.
asked some further instructions relative to the duties of this committee, which was replied to by
The motion to accept this committee was seconded and passed unanimously.
The then asked whether we shall take any further notice of our charter and try to sustain it, or shall we let it go.
A motion was offered to appoint a committee of three to take this matter into consideration and report to the council at the next meeting. Motion was seconded and passed unanimously
The nominated councillors , & for said committee.
Motion offered that the said committee be [p. ] received, seconded & passed unanimously
Councillor offered a motion to adjourn till next tuesday at 9 o clock A.M. The motion was seconded and carried, and the council adjourned accordingly.
During the foregoing session a question was asked as to who the Lamanite was who was in company with him yesterday. He answered ‘his name is of the Delaware tribe, originally a Mohegan but adopted amongst the Delawares.— [p. ]
On 11 March 1845 the council convened in the upper room of the at 10:00 a.m. After an adjournment of an hour, council members met again in the afternoon beginning at 2:30. While the minutes do not indicate when the meeting concluded, and noted that they met with the council “all day.” After the admission of one new member, the council heard reports of committees assigned in the prior meeting on 4 March. The committee on foreign relations, appointed to outfit the western expedition, reported a list of items needed. advised that the committee and expedition members should raise the necessary funds, and all planned participants of the expedition joined the committee. Council members discussed possible sites that the expedition members should explore, either as a way station for the Saints or as a permanent settlement location. These included sites among the Comanche, who lived in northwestern and eastern portions of the Mexican territory of New Mexico; among the Cherokee, who lived west of Arkansas in Indian Territory; or in or . Deliberations about possible sites continued in the afternoon session, and a committee was appointed to investigate further.
During these discussions, and other council members displayed a hostile view toward “Gentiles” (persons other than Mormons or those believed to be of the house of Israel) generally and toward the national and state governments especially. Young argued that the “gentiles have rejected the gospel,” and he condemned those who had shed the “blood of the prophets”—a reference to the murders of JS and —or who had celebrated their deaths. While council members did not advocate immediate vengeance against their enemies, their anger and sense of loss led to intemperate remarks and threats, and they appear to have generally agreed that at some future point violence might be divinely condoned or required. In addition, Young said that the Latter-day Saints should no longer send missionaries to the Gentiles.
Rather than focus on converting the Gentiles, and other council members stated, the Latter-day Saints should join with the American Indians, whom they viewed as part of the house of Israel through descent from the Lamanites of the Book of Mormon. This understanding reflected statements in the Book of Mormon. In that book, Jesus Christ tells the Nephites that when the “Gentiles shall sin against my Gospel, and shall reject the fulness of my Gospel” and “shall be filled with all manner of lyings, and of deceits, and of mischiefs, and all manner of hypocrisy, and murders, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, and of secret abominations,” then God will “bring the fulness of my Gospel from among them.” At that point, Christ continues, “then will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my Gospel unto them.” Council members believed that such prophecies would be soon fulfilled.
Statements by council members that envisioned a union among the American Indians as well as an alliance between the Mormons and the Indians against the Gentiles reflected Book of Mormon passages foretelling a gathering of the Lamanites and subsequent violence against the Gentiles, which Latter-day Saints viewed as necessary to the eventual establishment of the “New Jerusalem,” or Zion. The Book of Mormon states that the Lamanites, after being scattered by the Gentiles, will be gathered together and will wage battle against the Gentiles. In that book, Jesus Christ, quoting in part from the Old Testament book of Micah, states that “if the Gentiles do not repent,” the Lamanites, as a “remnant of the house of Jacob,” will “go forth among them; and ye [the Lamanites] shall be in the midst of them, which shall be many; and ye shall be among them, as a lion among the beasts of the forest, and as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he goeth through, both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.” Regarding the Gentiles who repent, however, Christ states, “I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant, and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob,” and together they will “build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.”
The afternoon session addressed other pressing matters, including the implications of the January 1845 revocation of the city charter, which deprived city officials of the rights to perform marriages and record deeds and left the city without an operating court system or police. The council appointed to investigate state laws on marriage, particularly the rights of religious groups to perform marriages. Notwithstanding these concerns, when the committee that was charged with responding to the loss of the charter was not ready to report, dismissed the committee, saying that “he cared nothing about the charter. Let it alone just where it is.” Young’s comment may be connected to the general hostility against governments as well as to the increasing focus on leaving Nauvoo for the West once the Nauvoo and were completed.
, on behalf of the committee appointed to write to the governors, presented a draft letter that asked for assistance in protecting the rights of the Saints and for the governors’ views “concerning what is called the Great Western Measure, of colonizing the Latter Day Saints in , the North Western Territory, or some location, remote from the states.” The council unanimously accepted the letter and appointed to oversee the copying of a letter to each governor. indicated that he did not expect the governors to actually assist the Saints, and he declared at the next meeting of the council that “the only object of our writing to the governors is to give them the privilege of sealing their own damnation.” The implication was that the Mormons were obligated to communicate their plight to state governments as well as the national government in order to make those governments complicit, if they failed to act, in disregarding the rights of the Saints. The dismal expectation for these letters was reflected in the lack of urgency surrounding their creation and transmittal, as the copies were not finished until 11 April and not signed until 10 May. By that time it had been decided to send a modified copy of this letter to President James K. Polk as well.
Near the end of the meeting, the council discussed whether men who were targeted by judicial writs, which council members believed would be issued by the church’s enemies, should be sent on missions. The day before this meeting, a justice of the peace had attempted to arrest on a charge of perjury , a Latter-day Saint who had testified the previous fall before the grand jury investigating the men accused of murdering JS and . Although the minutes record no decision, noted in his journal that “it was considered best for those who are hunted with writs to go on missions so that we may if possible evade the blow until we can finish the and the .” Clayton’s journal entry also indicates that the completion of the temple and the Nauvoo House continued as priorities; indeed, both and commented to the council that the completion of these structures, as commanded by a JS revelation in 1841, was at least as important as the exploration of potential settlement sites in the West. As such, near the conclusion of the meeting, council members decided that construction of the walls of the temple, which had been delayed since December because of the winter weather, should begin the following day.
Tuesday March 11th. 1845 Council met pursuant to adjournment in the upper room of the and organized at 10 o clock. Present in the Chair. Present. , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , & Clerk.
The council was opened by prayer from .
The then stated to who has been invited to become a member of [p. ] this council, the nature and object of the organization, also the mission appointed to him & others. He also briefly gave him his charge.
arose and with uplifted hand said he was perfectly willing to make this covenant, as has been stated, and is willing that his life should be the forfeiture if he betray his brethren. He is willing to abide by all the laws of the council.
On motion, a vote was taken which resulted unanimously in favor of becoming a member. He was accordingly seated in order.
The minutes of the last council was then read and accepted after which on motion of E[lde]r they were ordered to be destroyed after they clerk has done with them. [p. ]
The then called for the report of the committees appointed at the last council. The committee on foreign relations being first their chairman presented their report which was read by the clerk, and followed by explanation from . The report was merely a list of articles they considered necessary for the expedition.
Some remarks were then made relative to the duty of the committee on foreign relations.
The said we must find our resources without taking church property, and he proposed that this same committee devise means for the expedition and enter into measure themselves to raise them, and let those who are able bear their own expenses. Since he has been in this church, he has never received the first thing from brother Joseph or the [p. ] church except once six dollars which brother Joseph gave him. never had his expenses borne untill he went to last spring. If the brethren will let me go on this mission I will find my own means. He wants this committee to go to work untill they have accomplished what they have to do. He supposes it was the understanding that this committee get together and see what they can do themselves and do all they can. He motioned that this committee continue their labors untill they have accomplished what is necessary. , or are any of them able to furnish all that is necessary for this mission.
said all he had was at the service of this mission.
. said he is yet of the same mind [p. ] he was last year. He can sustain himself and intends to do it.
The said his feelings were that the brethren go till they can find a suitable place for a location and when they have done that let them immediately send word back. His mind would be for them to go to the Camanche Indians and negotiate with them and if we can get their consent we will go and tarry among them for a season. His feelings are that our time is short among the gentiles, and the judgment of God will soon come on them like whirlwind. He dont care about preaching to the gentiles any longer. Some of the brethren say they can convert many of the gentiles and baptise them, but what are they good for when we get them. They are not bold enough to come out in defence [p. ] of the truth, nor do any thing, and he feels as said let the damned scoundrels be killed, let them be swept off from the earth, and then we can go and be baptized for them, easier than we can convert them. The gentiles have rejected the gospel; they have killed the prophets, and those who have not taken an active part in the murder all rejoice in it and say amen to it, and that is saying that they are willing the blood of the prophets should be shed. The gentiles have rejected the gospel, and where shall we go to preach. We cannot go any where but to the house of Israel We cant get salvation without it. We cant get salvation any where else, and the only reason why he wants letters sent to all the governors is to have them let out their feelings, but he knows they will do nothing for us. This [p. ] is the last call we will make to them and if they dont listen to it we will sweep them out of existance. Then his mind is to have the brethren go and find a place where we can go and locate ourselves, and if we can we will send a company this fall. He wants to go again to . If the Camanche Indians will give us the priviledge of going there that is all the favors we ask. He proposes that this council instruct all those who are going on this mission to get together and see what they can do themselves; and then, what is lacking let them go to work by faith and get it from other sources.
asked a question relative to the course to be pursued to raise means which was answered by the . He said it is not necessary to tell anyone what you [p. ] want the means for.
He then went on to relate some items of a conversation he just had with a Mr Cooley concerning the officers who had arrested yesterday. The officers intimated that if they could have got out to they would have killed him.
If we can finish the and it is all the Lord requires of us in this place and he believes we shall do it. He wanted to suggest to the council one thing for their consideration. We want to keep peace this summer if possible and whether or no it would not be better for all those who are hunted by the mob with illegal writs to go away for the time being on a mission and if possible ward of[f] the blow for the time being untill we can get the two houses finished. [p. ]
said when the committees were appointed it was understood by him that they carry out the thing in full, and if they could not do it within themselves to get help where they could. He agreed with the in regard to preaching the gospel any longer to the gentiles. They have rejected the gospel, and severed from us every tie, and the greatest thing now before us is the western mission. He is in favor of stopping this side the for a time, or this side . He thinks this is the most important thing we can do except it is to finish the and the , and his feelings are for every man in this to give all he has to build the , and it would be his feelings to begin the immediately. We are abundantly able now to have the stone setters [p. ] on the walls of the immediately and stop for nothing. We have means enough to go ahead and can have an abundance. Then let this idea go to every quorum and to their presidents and let every man do all he can, so that when the snow comes next fall we may have the greater part of that finished. Let those men who have no families devote the whole of their time on the houses. There are a great many men in this who have neither natural wives nor spiritual wives and what do they want with property. As to this mission his mind is for it to go ahead and let these brethren find a place and report to us so that we can begin to move off immediately. If there is any church property let us dispose of it for the accomplishment of these objects, viz. building the and . Now is the time to receive [p. ] our washings and anointings that we may be prepared to go. He wants to throw away his pill bag and be ordained a travelling Bishop.
moved that all the members of the foreign mission be added to the committee on foreign relations. Passed unanimously.
Coun. said that he had had a desire to express his feelings to this council, but as has expressed his feelings in full he only wished to say Amen to the whole subject.
Coun. wished to have the priviledge of saying Amen to it also.
House adjourned five minutes
Coun. wanted to suggest an idea concerning our going to the Camanches. They are somewhere a little north of , north [p. ] of and South of . They are within the limits of the and we should be in as great jeopardy there as here. He feels as though when we make a move from this place we want to go where we can be out of the reach of this government, where we can erect the standard in peace. Any where east of the we are within the reach of these governments. I <He> dont care where we go, but he wants to go where we will be out of the reach of gun shot of the devil at least for one year. If this company go by revelation they will go right, just as brother Joseph did when he pointed out the spot in .
The said in regard to going beyond the , he dont feel like it, it is so far to go there, and have to come back to kill off these cursed scoundrels. As to going by [p. ] revelation he defys any man to go out of revelation, if he keep in the . If the was finished this day, he would wait till April conference and invite every man and woman to go, and we would take any and go there. We can go to and set up the standard and maintain ourselves there. If ever we get the City of Zion once organized the idea of men going and telling tales to our enemies will be put an end to. Let us get by ourselves and in a little while the Indians will join in with us, and as soon as we get cousin Lemuel converted I dont fear.
Coun. said the remarks of the council this morning has changed the features of the mission materially. We shall not need half the means to go as stated this morning as we should to go as we understood it at the last council. We can get on a Steam Boat [p. ] and go direct to the and from them to the Camanches, but amongst the Camanches there is a scarcity of timber, but if we can get the Cherokees to admit us amongst them we can have a place to stay one, two or three years in peace.
apprehended some difficulty in settling among the Indian tribes, inasmuch as it was an invariable rule when the entered into a treaty with any nation of Indians to enter into a bond to keep the whites from among them.
made some remarks in relation to the difficulty attending settling with the Cherokees. He presumes there is no one who has had stronger feelings in regard to this mission than he has. It is his opinion that the first Elders of this church, who have borne [p. ] the burthen and heat of the day could not bear the toil of moving about from year to year. He wants to go where we can settle down and tarry, and there is boys enough to come here and whip out the gentiles. It is his opinion that we should locate on the seacoast or some of the tributary streams where we can command the shipping and have the benifits of the commerce. Either in or are tributary streams where any amount of shipping can be moored. I <He> beli[e]ves if we were to go there five hundred men would be able to defend us from any foreign foe. He believes that in one year we might establish ourselves so that no power could overthrow us. He feels as though when we made a move it should be to a place where we can settle down permanently. He is willing to go any where—where this can be done and what is three months travel to obtain this. [p. ] When we get there we are not subject to taxation nor oppression from any government. We would then be away from our persecuting neighbors. We would be in the wilderness where the apostle said we would be. He would not be for going to for there are already there, many of those who have mobbed us, and the filth of all creation. He wants to go to a place where the vultures feet has not trod, and he dont care how far the journey is. He is poor as any man but he believes he can do it. We can go in about three months, and when we get there we can lay off the land of Zion just as the prophet said we should.
arose but wa[i]ved
had just read some information which this council knows not of. There is three new States come into existance—the state of north California, the State of South California, [p. ] and the state of . the State of north California has already rebelled against the governor and he is now in Irons. The State of South Carolina it is thought will next rebell, but all this does not concern us nor interfere with the object we have in view. Monteray [Monterey] contains about 2500 inhabitants. about 30 or 40000 and lower California about ten thousand less inhabitants.
A letter was here read from brother Noah Rogers from giving cheering intelligence concerning the spread of the gospel in the islands of the sea where he is.
said while hearing councillors & speak an idea occurred to his mind which he wished to advance, in regard to the rule of the government in locating the Indians. They invariably agree to free them from [p. ] the whites, but this makes no difference to us. As to going to the Pacific, the nearer the seacoast we go the more devils we will have to cope with. It makes no odds to us where we go so that we get the consent of the natives. He feels to demur to the idea of raising objections to any proposition from the because it is all alike where we go. We can sustain ourselves here if it was not a matter of expediency to be still a while. The dictations of the spirit says sustain ourselves by manouvering according to the dictation of the head. And wherever the authorities of this church says go there <He> goes. If the word is go to hell, and he goes there if the head says so. As to government this is all the Land of the Lamanites and the white people are nothing but intruders; the devil gave it to them. If we can form an alliance with the Lamanites we dont care about the whites nor any thing else. He feels that there is a place somewhere [p. ] where we can get together and give them jesse. We ask no favors of this little puny world; all we ask is for the Lord to dictate and we will do it, and what the head says it is the word of the Lord. If we can get the sanction and consent of the Camanches or Cherokees to locate among them, or any other tribe there is where we want to go. He wants to see the thing move on with rapidity, so that we can find a place where we can establish ourselves. He dont want to be poked away on the Pacific Ocean. This whole world is his home and he intends to live in it, and he wants to be where he can execute vengeance on those who have shed the blood of the prophets. He will wait for the word go, but he feels impatient. He shall not go till he is sent but he is in a hurry. He feels to demur in toto to the idea of raising of objections to the suggestions of our head. [p. ]
said while was speaking he had an impression that we are not going far away; and it would require the word from the to convince him that we had to go far. We read in the revelations that the Angel was told to stay his hand for a little season untill the servants of God should be sealed in their forheads. There is an anxiety among our beloved brethren the Twelve to roll forth the building of the . The day is to come when one shall chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight. While was speaking of going three months journey to he thought of the time when his feet, and the feet of his children were frozen by travelling in the cold.
The enemy cant drive us from here untill we get ready to go. We will put our trust in our heavenly father. He feels that it is our duty to [p. ] rush the ahead with all our mights.
wished to explain his motives in making the remarks he did. When he gets his feelings excited he can fight as well as any other man. We come together here to council and express our feelings and views on the subjects befores us. We come to council, and to lay aside our natural feelings and deliberate upon the wisest course to be adopted for the temporal salvation of a large multitude of people, not only men, but women and children. We can accomplish a great deal by calling into requisition the spirit of God and deliberating calmly upon a matter. When a revelation comes from the that is the law to him, but he understands that when a subject is presented is presented before this council we have to investigate it and when we agree upon it that is a revelation; that is the mind of God. [p. ] He still feels that he would as soon stay here as to go but a little way where we shall be in no better fix than we are now. We dont intend to wage war against any nation, we only mean to defend ourselves, and avenge innocent blood on those who have shed it and been our oppressors. He does not expect to forsake this place; he has not sold his property in , nor in nor here, neither does he intend to. He intends if he go away for a season to come back and inherit it. He dont believe that God is going to interpose his power in the overthrow of the gentiles untill the Ancient of days can sit in grand council. He has heard great battles fought in and in , but we have always had to succumb. We are but few in numbers compared with the citizens of and have no prospects of sustaining ourselves [p. ] but by the power of God, but if this is the time to strike the blow and go to work to sustain ourselves here, he is ready; but if it is wisdom to seek out a place with natural fortifications, where we can naturally defend ourselves let us do so. The are almost all converted to Sectarianism; they have five hundred missionaries among them. While he was in he heard a Cherokee missionary preach. He was sent on a charitable excursion for that tribe. The missionary heralds say they cannot do any thing with the Indians beyond the mountains. Now he wants to take a course that we can sustain ourselves without any unwise measure. Cool, impassionate movements are the best.
said he was intruding, but he thinks it but due to him to have the priviledge of making a few remarks by way of explanation. In his former address he attempted to convey [p. ] the idea that he was not in favor of throwing out any thing as a barrier against what was suggested by the . He did not intend to impune the motives of . But whenever a thing is proposed by the he always thinks they understand the matter. To throw in objections always darkens council. He never wishes to throw objections in the way of a barrier to any thing proposed by our head. He feels as safe in one place as another among the Indians, they are all descendants of the same family, and they will feel after the truth. He has had the priviledge of being amongst the Cherokees a whole summer himself, and he knows all about them. The idea he wishes to advance, is, never to throw objections in the way of any thing proposed by the . He expects to be always in perfect subjection to [p. ] those whose place it is to govern whether his views agree with theirs or not. He never wants to do any thing unless the hand of God is in it. If this council determines to send these missionaries to the Camanches, he is in favor of sending them there.
The said it is now one o clock and we want an intermission, but he wished to offer a little explanation in regard to what has been said pertaining to matters in and . To the natural man this church has from the beginning had a boasting spirit but to the priesthood it does not appear so. If a man was to be ever so much oppressed and had the priesthood upon him he would feel to defy his oppressors. He knows if the Lord God was to say we must whip out the now, he knows it could be done. [p. ] looks at things naturally, he looks at speeches made in as inflammatory. A man never could speak by the power of the spirit but his language would appear to this ungodly world as inflamatory. He feels as though if he was drawn before his enemies and it was not wisdom for him to die, he could pick up men and throw them out of the window as easy as he could potatoes, and that is the power of the priesthood. When was speaking about inflamatory speeches “he <I> knows he had Joseph in his mind and no man can ever speak against Joseph in my presence but I shall tell him of it.” Now as to seeking out a location he knows all about it. He knows it dont matter where we go whether to the Camanches or elsewhere. If we can find a healthy country we will go there [p. ] and sustain ourselves. If the saints would hearken to council counsel we could sustain ourselves here, but they will not, and this place will be left to apostates as was because the saints wont take council. If the church had taken council from the beginning we would have been free before now. He would just as soon go to one place as another. If we once get out of the jurisdiction of the men will never go away from us to tell the enemy how strong we are, and if we would take this course here we could sustain ourselves in this place. Now he knows all about it, and when the brethren get ready to go they will come here and he will tell them the straight shoot were to go.
The house then adjourned one hour. [2 lines blank] [p. ]
2½ P. M. Council organized and opened by prayer from councillor .
Present— same as this morning
It was reported that is sick.
Coun. stated that he had made enquiries concerning but could not learn where he was. The said he need take no further pains to find out.
The then said that any members of the council living in the who should be absent once or twice without sufficient cause will be regarded as offering contempt to the council. And also if all are not present at the hour appointed.
Coun. apologised for not being here in season this morning
The continued and said he wanted [p. ] when the brethren leave the council chamber not to talk in the streets about any thing that is said here. We may as well talk on the stand as to talk about these matters in the streets. When we get through here let the subject drop. This is the place for us to let out every thing in our hearts whether good or bad. We can roll over each other here as much as we have a mind to but be still in the streets.
The afternoon will soon be spent, and if we spend the time in argument we shall not accomplish what we want. We want to talk about the propriety of those whom the mob may come to take with writs going away to keep out of sight for a little while. We want to tarry here this season if possible and if one man is killed there will have to be many killed. He is not easily excited, but he is just determined that [p. ] we will not endure any more from these cursed scoundrels. He would rather the would stop, and we go to the wilderness to get our endowment than that another innocent man should be killed. If the time was come for the Saints to go forth and avenge the blood of our prophets and redeem Zion he would take one hundred men and sweep the State of so that there should not be a man left to tell the tale and he would not lose ten men.
A contribution was taken up to buy paper &c.
arose to offer a resolution as follows:— “Resolved that a committee of three be appointed to examine the geographical situation of the Southern and Western country and that they report to the next meeting the location of the country West of and West of the mountains, the amount of population, the government, and [p. ] the natural resources of the country.[”]
Coun. said that our object was to send men on this mission and he did not consider it necessary to adopt the resolution.
understood that this company were going to take a tour through the whole western country and report the situation of the whole country. There were some intimations at the last meeting that they were to start North and explore the whole western country and return by the way of the South. This morning it was intimated that they would only go to the South. There was an appearance this morning to impune his motives, but whatever he may say or appear to think he is always willing to abide council He has heard secret whisperings from this council that if other men had been sent to the Legislature they would have saved the Charter. [p. ] But he dont believe that any man but God himself could have saved it. He dont know whether he has got the priesthood or not, if he has it not and nothing but the priesthood could save the Charter of course he could not save it. In regard to what he said concerning inflammatory speeches made in he had referrence to s speeches. He had no intention to cast reflections on the character of our deceased prophet
The reason of his offering this resolution is to facil[it]ate the progress of this mission. If it is said to be the voice of the spirit that a certain spot is designate then he submits to it, but if it is to be decided by this council then he would recommend the adoption of his resolution. Prudence dictates for us to take a course to ward of[f] the blow aimed by our enemies for the time being. If the time has come for the church to rise up and execute vengeance on our enemies he could [p. ] take ten men and whip out the but if the time has not yet come let us use policy and wisdom to sustain ourselves for the time being. All that he is waiting for is the time and the place. If this is the time and the place, then let us go to work and rise up and destroy without fear.
The said he wished to take an expression of the minds of this council as to whether they were satisfied that and Mr Babbit had done all they could to sustain our Charters. He has not heard a man say but that he believed you had done all you could. He put the matter to vote whether the council were satisfied &c and the vote was unanimous in the affirmative.
The said we are perfectly satisfied. He (the ) said if you had had the power [p. ] you would have saved the charter. In regard to what he said about the priesthood, he still says it will not bow to the devil.
In regard to the resolution offered by he was in favor of it. If we had time we could probably get a footing in the north sooner than in the south, but it is as much the will of God to go to the South as any where else if we can do it. If we can find a place to build a City surrounded by natural fortifications we can take care of ourselves in spite of them. If the brethren can go to and get admission there, we can sustain ourselves. As to the revelation they will suit the circumstances under which we live.
Coun. moved an amendment to s resolution, viz. that the investigation extend to all the Western Country.
The question being called for on s resolution a vote was taken and carried unanimously. [p. ]
The then nominated , and to be said committee.
Coun. begged to substitute in his place.
was in favor of having five on the committee instead of three and motion to that effect. A vote was taken and decided to add two more to the committee.
The nominated and .
A vote was taken and passed unanimously
The then called upon the committee appointed to write letters to the governors to present their report:— when
Coun. the chairman of said committee after a few explanations presented the report which was read by the clerk in the words following, to wit:— [p. ]
Ill. March [blank] 1845
Suffer us, sir, in behalf of a disfranchised and long afflicted people to prefer a few suggestions for your serious consideration, in hope of a friendly and unequivocal response, at as early a period as may suit your convenience, and the extreme urgency of the case seems to demand. It is not our present design to detail the multiplied and aggravated wrongs that we have received in the midst of a nation that gave us birth. Some of us have long been loyal citizens of the state over which you have the honor to preside; while others claim citizenship in each of the states of this great confederacy. We say we are a disfranchised people. We are privately told by the highest authorities of this , that it is neither prudent [p. ]
dent nor safe for us to vote at the polls: still we have continued to maintain our right to vote, untill the blood of our best men has been shed, both in and the State of with impunity.
You are doubtless somewhat familiar with the history of our extermination from the state of ; wherein scores of our brethren were massacred; hundreds deid through want and sickness, occasioned by their unparralleled sufferings; some millions of our property were confiscated or destroyed; and some fifteen thousand souls fled for their lives, to the then hospitable and peaceful shores of :— And that the State of granted to us a liberal charter, for the term of perpetual succession, under whose provisions private rights have [p. ]
become invested, and the largest City in the has grown up, numbering about 20.000 inhabitants.
But, Sir, the startling attitude recently assumed by the state of forbids us to think that her designs are any less vindictive than those of . She has already used the military of the state, with the Executive at their head, to coerce and surrender up our best men to unparrallelled murder, and that too under the most sacred pledges of protection and safety. As a Salvo for such unearthly perfidy and guilt, she told us through her highest , that the laws should be magnified, and the murderers brought to justice; but the blood of her innocent victims had not been wholly wiped from the floor of the awful arena, where the citizens of a sovreign state pounced upon two [p. ]
defenceless servants of God, our Prophet and our Patriarch, before the senate of that rescued one of the indicted actors in that mournful tragedy, from the of and gave him an honorable seat in her hall of legislation. And all others who were indicted by the grand jury of for the murder of Generals Joseph and , are suffered to roam at large watching for further prey.
To crown the climax of those bloody deeds, the has repealed all those chartered rights by which we might have defended ourselves against aggressors. If we defend ourselves hereafter against violence, whether it comes under the shadow of law or otherwise, (for we have reason to expect it both ways,) we shall then be charged with treason, and suffer the [p. ]
penalty; and if we continue passive and nonresistant, we must certainly expect to perish, for our enemies have sworn it.
And here, Sir, permit us to state that Gen. Joseph Smith, during his short life, was arraigned at the bar of his country about 50 times, charged with criminal offences, but was acquited every time by his country, his enemies almost invariably being his judges: And we further testify that as a people, we are law abiding, peacable, and without crime; and we challenge the world to prove the contrary: And while other less cities in have had special courts instituted to try their criminals, we have been stript of every source of arraigning marauders and murderers who are prowling around to destroy us, except the common magistracy.
With these facts before you, Sir, will you [p. ]
write to us without delay, as a father and friend, and advise us what to do? We are, many of us, citizens of your state, and all members of the same great confederacy. Our fathers, nay, some of us, have fought and bled for our country; and we love her constitution dearly.
In the name of Israel’s God, and by virtue of multiplied ties of country and kindred, we ask your friendly interposition in our favor. Will it be too much to ask you to convene a special session of your State Legislature, and furnish us an asylum where we can enjoy our rights of conscience and religion unmolested? Or will you in a special message to that body, when convened, recommend a against such unhallowed acts of oppression and expatriation, as this people have continued to receive from the States of and ? Or will [p. ]
you favor us by your personal influence, and by your official rank?
Or, will you express your views concerning what is called the Great Western Measure, of colonizing the Latter Day Saints in , the North western Territory, or some location, remote from the states, where the hand of oppression shall not crush every noble principle, and extinguish every patriotic feeling?
And now, Hon. Sir, having reached out our imploring hands to you with deep solemnity, we would importune with you as a father, a friend, a patriot and statesman; by the constitution of American liberty;— by the blood of our fathers, who have fought for the independance of this :— by the blood of the martyrs which has been shed in our midst; by the wailings of the widows and [p. ]
orphans; by our murdered fathers and mothers, brothers & sisters, wives and children; by the dread of immediate destruction, from secret combinations now forming for our overthrow; and by every endearing tie that binds men to men and renders life bearable, and that, too, for ought we know, for the last time, that you will lend your immediate aid to quell the violence of mobocracy and exert your influence to establish us a people in our civil and religious rights, where we now are, or in some part of the , or at some place remote therefrom, where we may colonize in peace and safety as soon as circumstances will permit.
We sincerely hope that your future prompt measures towards us will be dictated by the best feelings that dwell in the bosom [p. ]
of humanity; and the blessings of a grateful people, and of many, ready to perish, shall come upon you.
We are Sir,
With great respect,
your obdt servts. [9 lines blank]
In behalf of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at , Ills. [p. ]
P.S. As many of our communications postmarked at , have failed of their destination, and the mails around us have been intercepted by our enemies, we shall send this to some distant office by the hand of a special messenger.
The report was then accepted by unanimous vote.
A suggestion was then made relative to printing the letters in form of a circular.
said in relation to printing the letters, he thinks we can procure hands enough to write them and he would prefer this course instead of printing them. When any thing goes to the great men of the world in the form of a printed circular it rarely attracts their attention [p. ] enough to induce them to read it, but a manuscript letter is almost certain to be read. This communication is a feeler of death, and judgement will not be long before it follow after it. We have got to tear this kingdom from the gentiles, and give it to those who are more worthy. And if we have to sell our lives in endeavoring to accomplish it, others will rise up and carry out the plans we have set in motion.
In relation to the committee on the charter, he had to say that they were not prepared to report, for he had not felt like doing any thing about it.
The said he cared nothing about the charter. Let it alone just where it is.
said on yesterday when [p. ] the officers arrested some one began to call out for the police. Now if we have no charter we have no police but we can ordain five hundred deacons and appoint over them an Arch-deacon which will do just as well as the police.
Some remarks were made on the subject of marrying in the without Licenses Also concerning recording Deeds, shall we go to to do it or shall we not.
The was opposed to going to either to get a marriage licence or to get our Deeds recorded. When any couple wants to be married let them make a covenant between themselves in the presence of witnesses and they cant be harmed.
He proposed that we hire brother Wandall to write the letters, but some saying [p. ] that Wandall was not a good penman it was waved. He then proposed and , to do the business.
did not know that he could possibly find time, as it would be all he could do to prepare for his mission.
Coun. proposed that either write the letters or see that they are done.
“Coun. moved that a committee of one be appointed to report all information concerning the statute on marriage, and the priviledges of religious societies relating to this subject.”
The motion was seconded & carried unan[imousl]y.
The appointed to be that committee. He also appointed to write the letters to the Governors and if he needs [p. ] help to get it.—
The then said he had two more items of business to lay before the council. One is relative to those men going away who are hunted with writs. The other is relative to s mission to , shall he go on his mission or shall he be longer excused.
Coun. , moved that this council think it wisdom for every innocent man when hunted by persecutors with writs to go on a mission, as they shall be councilled by the authorities.
Coun. related the circumstances of ’s arrest and showed that was very active in assisting the officers to get away.
Coun. was favorable to the motion. We know the enemies will get up a thousand ways to drag us away. He is in favor of trying [p. ] the strength of their writs. If any man come to him with a writs, he shall tell him he has a writ to tarry at home and he shall try which is the strongest. If they come here with vexatious lawsuits and writs, he is in favor of the men going away subject to the council of the authorities
Coun. said it is well known that there are a number who are under bonds for their appearance at Court. Shall these men go to Court, or shall the bail be forfeited.
The said there is no man under bonds for his appearance at Court but what can go with perfect safety. The mob invariably level their shafts at the heads of the church; they are seeking the leading characters among the Twelve. While the twelve are here, others are in no danger, they can go with perfect safety, [p. ] but let no man go to to be destroyed who is innocent. They shall not go. There is no legal writ to take a man away from here, untill they have executed the law on the murderers. Untill the has redeemed his pledge there shall not a man go from here.
was in favor of those men against whom there is the most prejudice existing going away as soon as conference is over. He said he knew they had a great pique against brothers , , , and . He made some remarks on the legality & illegality of writs. In relation to his mission to he was not present when he was appointed. He is willing to abide the orders of the council. On account of his business it will scarcly be possible to go till after court, but after [p. ] that he was willing to go where the council wanted him. He gave his views in regard to our best policy to be used at the next court.
Coun. was in favor of anointing all those officers who came with writs for innocent men and thrasing them. He dont believe it is of any use to say poor pussy any longer to any of them.
s motion was then put to the house and passed unanimously.
The subject of s mission coming up:—
moved go on his mission to immediately after Court, say by the first of June. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
The clerk then related to the nature of the organization of the council, the relationship of the to the council, the [p. ] title of the kingdom and the name of the constitution in a brief manner.
made some further remarks relative to the organization of the council, showing his reasons for proposing the resolution requiring secrecy. We had been betrayed in every council, and even since the organization of this council we have been betrayed and sacred matters have leaked out.
suggested the propriety of adopting as the name of the council the title of “moot legislature”, also the propriety of the appointing standing committees to transact business in Parliamentary order.
The wanted to know of this council whether the building of the shall be delayed any longer, or shall the hands begin work immediately.
Remarks were made by several on the [p. ] subject, after which:—
Coun. moved that the hands commence on the walls of the tomorrow The motion was seconded and carried unanimously
The subject of building the was also called up, whereupon the proposed that arrangments be made forthwith to put the works in operation.
After various remarks on subjects of minor importance, the Seer was sung and the council adjourned untill next tuesday morning at 9 o clock.——
Clerk [4 lines blank] [p. ]
On 18 March 1845 the council met in two sessions at the , with the morning session convening at 10:00. After a one-hour adjournment, the afternoon session began at 2:00. The minutes do not record the length of the afternoon session, but and wrote in their journals that the council meetings lasted “all day.” , who had recently returned from his assignment to deliver letters from the council to and his company, was admitted as a member.
began the meeting by calling for committee reports. , chair of the committee that had been charged with outfitting the western expedition, explained that he had no report since some of the committee members had been absent. then spoke for the committee charged with gathering information on the geography of the West. Rather than offering a report, Phelps stated that “the substance of the matters they had been able to collect” would be published in that day’s edition of the Nauvoo Neighbor. The materials Phelps published included newspaper descriptions of and the annual report of the chief topographical engineer of the summarizing ’s recent western expedition. The council’s discussion indicates that committee members had reviewed additional newspaper articles, travelers’ accounts of , and other sources not included in the Nauvoo Neighbor. Council members then discussed possible destinations for a Mormon migration, with particular focus on Upper California and Oregon. Young clarified that he hoped to find a place of safety “not far distant” where the Mormons could stay for a year or two before moving west to California. In support of Young’s proposition, asked to sing “The Upper California,” a song that Taylor had apparently composed during the meeting. Following these discussions, the committee to gather information on western geography was discharged.
During the afternoon session, council members discussed the implications of the legislature’s repeal of the charter on their ability to perform marriages and administer local law enforcement. , who was assigned at the previous meeting to examine marriage statutes, gave a report, but the council did not make any decision. The council then accepted a proposal by to create a legally authorized police force of constables by dividing the city into multiple precincts. The council also instructed to manufacture “fifteen shooters and Bowie Knives” for the defense of the Saints.
The possible reappointment of to the council and the importance of resuming work on the also occupied the council during the afternoon. Adams had been dropped from the council in February because of accusations of misconduct while on a mission to the eastern . He had recently returned to and had been tried before the high council on 15 March 1845, where he confessed and asked for forgiveness. The council gave the power to do as he saw fit regarding Adams’s membership in the council, though the general feeling was that they should wait to see whether Adams’s repentance was sincere. Adams was excommunicated from the church three weeks later and never rejoined the council. At the close of the meeting, reported on the disorganized state of the Nauvoo House Association’s financial records, and the council voted to have Miller proceed with calling a meeting of the shareholders and organizing the records.
Toward the close of this meeting clarified some of the details regarding the Western Mission. Referring to earlier proposals to send representatives “to all the different tribes,” Dunham stated that such measures would be unnecessary because he had received intelligence that a “grand council of the principal men among all the tribes” would convene in June. “We calculate to be there and meet with them,” Dunham reported. He was almost certainly referring to a pan-Indian council to be convened by the Creek Nation in May 1845 in response to violent altercations with both the Pawnee and the Comanche. By early March 1845 the federal Indian agent for the Creek Nation reported that the Creek were arranging “an assemblage of deputations from all the Indian Tribes on this frontier as well as those of the wandering tribes of the distant Prairies to meet in Council on the Deep Fork on the first of May next, with a view of settling all difficulties that may exist between them respectively, and to discuss such matters as may tend to advance peaceable and amicable relations.” The meeting was to be held at the council ground in Creek territory, near the junction of the Deep Fork and North Canadian rivers. According to Tuckabatchemicco, a member of the Creek Nation, the purpose of this council was that “some plan may be fallen upon for the preservation of peace” among the various tribes and “to cleanse the path which has lately been stained with blood.” It is not clear how much Dunham knew about the council or why he thought it would take place in June. For example, although the Indian council was to be hosted by the Creek Nation, much of the discussion and planning in the Council of Fifty for the Western Mission focused on the Cherokee. At the next Council of Fifty meeting, Dunham even referred to the grand Indian council as “the Cherokee council”—a misconception that apparently was not corrected until the missionaries arrived at Fort Gibson in Cherokee territory in May 1845.
Tuesday March 18th. 1845 Council met pursuant to adjournment and organized at 10 o clock A.M. in chair Present , , , , , ,