The Council of Fifty
What the Records Reveal about Mormon History
Three months before his death, Joseph Smith established the Council of Fifty, a confidential group that he believed would protect the Latter-day Saints in their political rights and one day serve as the government of the kingdom of God. The Council of Fifty operated under the leadership of Joseph Smith and then Brigham Young. The council’s minutes had never been available until they were published by the Joseph Smith Papers Project in September 2016. This book is a compilation of essays that will give an initial appraisal of how the council’s minutes enhance our understanding of Mormon history during the critical era of the last months of Smith’s life to the trek west. Some fifteen leading Mormon scholars—including Richard Bushman, Richard Bennett, Paul Reeve, and Patrick Mason—narrate and analyze the contributions of the records of the council to key questions.