The Council of Fifty was Joseph Smith’s attempt to set up a kind of preparatory government for the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. Up until now, the minutes, taken by council clerk William Clayton for the most part, have been unavailable for study. The minutes will now appear in the Administrative Records Series of the Joseph Smith Papers Project. This is a boon to historians of Mormonism and Religious Studies scholars who encounter Mormonism of the Joseph Smith period. I for one anxiously await the privilege of pursuing the minutes. Here is a portion of the press release by Church Historian, Steven E. Snow:
Regarding other plans in the Joseph Smith Papers Project, Elder Snow said a few days prior to this recent announcement that the First Presidency “has approved the Church History Department staff to use the Council of Fifty minutes as reference and footnote material in upcoming Joseph Smith Papers books and to eventually publish the minutes in full as a separate volume.”
Elder Snow explained that Joseph Smith established the Council of Fifty in March 1844.
“The minutes of the council meetings, which have heretofore not been available for research, provide a new window into Joseph’s prophetic view on government and the kingdom of God,” he said.
“Following Joseph’s death, the council continued to meet under Brigham Young’s leadership and played a key role in the planning for the trek west. Our historians have been working to prepare these important records for publication for some time. We plan to publish the Nauvoo minutes of the Council of Fifty in the Administrative Records Series of the Joseph Smith Papers.”
For the entire press release, see here.