Joseph Smith established the Council of Fifty in 1844 to address several issues, including the potential relocation of the Latter-day Saints outside the United States. This article includes a sample of interesting Council of Fifty quotes from Part One of the administrative records, including new teachings from the Prophet Joseph and an account of his martyrdom.
Note: These isolated Council of Fifty quotes are provided without context.
Read the Council of Fifty Minutes online.
Prest Joseph said he wanted all the brethren to speak their minds on this subject and to say what was in their hearts whether good or bad. He did not want to be forever surrounded by a set of “dough heads.”
Establish a theocracy
All seemed agreed to look for some place where we can go and establish a Theocracy either in Texas or Oregon or somewhere in California &c.
President Joseph Smith was received as our standing chairman.
The name of the council
The name of the council was discussed and the Lord was pleased to give the following Revelation; “Verily thus saith the Lord, this is the name by which you shall be called, The Kingdom of God and his Laws, with the keys and power thereof, and judgment in the hands of his servants. Ahman Christ.
Burn the minutes
It was considered wisdom to burn the minutes in consequence of the treachery and plots of designing men.
The order of the kingdom
The Chairman [Joseph Smith] continued his instructions on the order of the kingdom of God.
Drafting a constitution
It was resolved to draft a constitution which should be perfect, and embrace those principles which the constitution of the United States lacked, and on motion John Taylor Willard Richards, Wm. W. Phelps and Parley P. Pratt were appointed a committee to draft a constitution and present it to this council for their approval or disapproval.
Prest. J. Smith recommended that the Twelve should select men from the Quorums of the seventies and High Priests and send them to preach and electioneer through the different States, and then as many of the Twelve as can, follow these Elders and hold conferences in the various branches of the Church throughout the States.
Prest J. Smith continued his instruction on heavenly things and many other important subjects. [likely the Last Charge; see the day’s Intro on page 62.]
Glories of the days
Dr [Sidney] Rigdon arose to make a few remarks on general subjects. He referred largely to the anticipations of the Ancients respecting the glories of the days in which we live, showing that the Angels had joy in heaven when before the creation they looked down and saw the privileges we enjoy in this organization.
The nation of Indians
Prest J. Smith made some remarks on the spread of the principles of eternal truth in the nations of Indians.
Refusing to adjourn
Er Richards motioned to adjourn 1 hours which was over-ruled by prest J. Smith. He was opposed to adjourning more than one hour. He would rather continue together, and wanted to see men take an interest in what they do. He then again referred to the magnitude and importance of this work.
Selecting the gold from the dross
Prest Joseph Smith arose to give some instructions to the council & especially to the committee. He commenced by showing, that the reason why men always failed to establish important measures was, because in their organization they never could agree to disagree long enough to select the pure gold from the dross by the process of investigation. He waid that it was right always to judge in favor of the innocent, and it was wrong always, to judge in favor of the guilty. He wanted to see a constitution that would compel a man to execute justice in favor of the innocent.
The meaning of “Ahman”
The chairman explained the meaning of the word “Ahman” which signifies the first man or first God, and “Ahman Christ” signifies the first mans son.
The rod of iron (or word of God)
We want laws to govern us which are “thus saith the Lord[“]. God has said of the last days that he would rule all nations with a rod of Iron which is the word of God. [Er Levi Richards speaking]
The law written upon the heart
Er [Brigham] Young. Said spirits had been more susceptible these few councils than ever before. He thought when he came into this church he should never want to keep book accounts again. Why? He thought the law would be written in every mans heart, and there would be that perfection in our lives, nothing further would be needed.
Opening with scriptures
Prest J. Smith further suggested the propriety of reading a chapter on opening our councils—agreed to unanimously. Er Rigdon the chairman pro tem read Isaiah chap 40 & offered prayer.
Prest J. Smith arose and said that the committee were first appointed to bring forth all the intelligence they could, and when their productions were presented to him he could correct the errors and fill the interstices where it was lacking. . . . It is necessary for the council to exhaust their wisdom, and except they do they will never know but they are as wise as God himself.
A committee of one
[Joseph Smith:] I am a committee of myself.
The worlds would clash
The principles by which the world can be governed is the principle of two or three being united. Faith cannot exist without a concentration of two or three. The sun, moon, and planets roll on that principle. If God the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost were to disagree, the worlds would clash together in an instant.
I don’t want any man to ever assent to any thing in this council and then find fault with it. Don’t decide in favor of any thing untill you know it.
Receiving Joseph as King
[Erastus Snow] concluded by offering a motion that this honorable assembly receive from this time henceforth and forever, Joseph Smith, as our Prophet, Priest, & King, and uphold him in that capacity in which God has anointed him. The motion was seconded unanimously.
Principles of salvation and damnation
God cannot save or damn a man only on the principle that the every many acts, chooses and worships for himself.
The society of friends
If I can know that a man is susceptible of good feelings & integrity and will stand by his friends, he is my friend. The only thing I am afraid of is, that I will not live long enough to enjoy the society of these my friends as long as I want to.
Joseph speaking animatedly
While the president was speaking on these subjects he felt animated and used a 24 inch gauge or rule pretty freely till finally he broke it in two in the middle. Er B. Young said, that as the rule was broken in the hands of our chairman so might every tyrannical government be broken before us.
A kingdom worth having
The object we have in view is not to save a man alone or a nation, but to call down the power of God and let all be blessed, protected, saved and made happy—burst the chains of oppression. This is a kingdom worth having
Tried in every point
If a man will not sacrifice, the principle of a God is not in him. When a man is tried in every point, then nothing is left but the will of God, and he will then be clothed with the power of God, and it brings him peace and eternal happiness.
Making bulls of oxen
President Smith wants us to make oxens and he will make bulls of them.
How to touch the hearts of men
Our researches have done us good. By taking this course we gain wisdom & prudence much better than we would if we had set down like chickens to wait for the Lord to give it. We will know by this experience how to touch the hearts and feelings of men, because we have been in the mill ourselves.
He [Brigham Young] supposed there has not yet been a perfect revelation given, because we cannot understand it, yet we receive a little here and a little there. He should not be stumbled if the prophet should translate the bible forty thousand times over and yet it should be different in some places every time, because when God speake, he always speaks according to the capacity of the people.
“Ye are my constitution”
Verily thus saith the Lord, ye are my constitution, and I am your God, and ye are my spokesmen. From henceforth do as I shall command you.
No right to complain
We have no right to complain of others while we are as corrupt as they are.
When to commence a matter
Gods way is, never to commence a matter untill he is able to carry it out.
The way to accomplish great things, is to be indefatigueble and never rest till the thing is accomplished.
The death of Joseph Smith
Joseph opened the window and sprang through. He fell heavily on his side which evidently hurt him considerably. The mob fiercely rushed at him with their bayonets like so many fiends of hell. They raised him up and set him with his back to the well curb and began to tantalize him. Four of the mob then drew their rifles and shot him through and he expired instantly.
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- What’s In the Council of Fifty Minutes?
- What Was the Council of Fifty Constitution?
- What Have Scholars Learned About Joseph Smith?
- Did Joseph Smith Run for President?
- Who Were Joseph Smith’s Election Missionaries?
Council of Fifty quotes resources
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- Contents of Council of Fifty Minutes (Joseph Smith Papers)
- Administrative Records: Council of Fifty (Amazon)