180 years ago today - Mar 10, 1844, Sunday

The philosophical roots for the organization of the Council of Fifty reached back many years, and were directly related to the millennial expectations of the church. The immediate impetus, however, came from two letters signed by Lyman Wight and four other brethern who were working in the church's lumber camps in Black River Falls, Wisconsin Territory. These were read at a special meeting of the Twelve, Bishop George Miller, and the Nauvoo Temple Committee on the evening of 10 March 1844. The letters proposed a grandiose plan for Mormon colonization in the Southwest, and led to an important discussion where, according to Clayton, ``many great and glorious ideas were advanced.''

[Joseph Smith Journal entry:] 4 1/2 P.M. I [Joseph Smith] met the 12 [apostles] Bishop [George] Miller, Temple Committee at Nauvoo Mansion. A Letter was read from Lyman Wight ... about removing [the saints moving] to the Table Lands of Texas ^Saxet^ &c. &c. ...

Joseph asked, ["]can this council keep what I say, not make it Public["] all held up their hands. Copy the Constitution of the U S. [Place it in the] hands of a select committee [to use as a guide for the Council of Fifty]. No laws can be enacted but what every man can be protected. Grant their petition, go ahead concern[i]ng the [mission to the] indians & southern states &c. Send 25 men by / the y^r^enip- through to Santa Fee ^Atnas Eef^ &c., and if Houston ^Notsuoh^ will embrace the gospel [we] can amend that constitution & make it the voice of Jehovah and shame the U. S. ...

[Fillerup, Robert C., compiler; William Clayton Nauvoo Diaries and Personal Writings, A chronological compilation of the personal writings of William Clayton while he was a resident of Nauvoo, Illinois. http://www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/clayton-diaries]

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