180 years ago today - Mar 11, 1844

Joseph Smith becomes the prophet, priest and king of newly organized Council of Fifty. Several accounts give a sense how different attendees perceived the meeting:

—Historian's Office history "Had a very interesting time, the Spirit of the Lord was with us, and we closed the Council with loud shouts of Hosanna!"

—William Clayton "We had a glorious interview. President Joseph [Smith] was voted our P[rophet] P[riest] & K[ing] with loud Hosannas."

—Brigham Young "we had an interesting time, & closed the Council with shouts of Hosannah."

Over time, the council was known by various titles, including the "Kingdom of God", "General Council", "Grand Council", "The Perfect Organization of the Church", "Council of the Kingdom", "Quorum of Fifty", "The Living Constitution", "Council of 50,000", "Council of Ytfif", "council of fifty princes of the kingdom", "Council of Elders", "Council of L", "Council of the Priesthood", and other titles. The lengthy revealed name was too long for practical use, leading to a multitude of nicknames, and gives a sense of how members of the council perceived themselves.

Virtually the entire First Presidency, Quorum of Twelve, and Presiding Bishopric were inducted into the council when it was first organized in 1844. Three-fourths of the male members of the Quorum of Anointed were also invited to become members. Perhaps most distinctively, three non-Mormons were also invited to join the council , making it clear that Joseph envisioned the council not as part of the Church, but an independent, male organization expanding beyond the Church. New members were anointed and taught a '"Charge," "The name," & "Key word," and the "Constitution," and "Penalty"' in a temple-like ritual. Members were considered the council's "living constitution" , transcending the U.S. Constitution . Despite its conspicuous overlap of highly placed members from other governing groups in the Church, it was considered distinct from the Church per se. Council member Joseph Fielding considered it "a Shield round about the Church".

Statements from quorum members give us insight into how Joseph and other quorum members viewed the role of the council:

Clayton felt they replicated "the Grand Council amongst the Gods when the organization of this world was contemplated".

Benjamin F. Johnson thought it would be the "the embryo kingdom of God . .. . an organization distinct from the Church . . . formed of representatives from every nation . . . which will continue through the millennial period as the outer wall or government around the inner temple".

George Miller believed that if voters could be converted, and if they "elected Joseph President . . . the dominion of the kingdom would be forever established in the United States. And if not successful, we could but fall back on Texas, and be a kingdom notwithstanding".

Lyman Wight believed that the Fifty were "organized to bear off the kingdom triumphantly over the head of every opposition, and to establish Zion no more to be thrown down forever".

Orson Pratt considered the council as "the only legal government that can exist in any part of the universe" with all other governments "illegal and unauthorized".

Jed Rogers, editor of the Council of Fifty: A Documentary History concludes that they were "to establish a worldly kingdom that would usurp all others and receive Jesus at His Second Coming".

[Clair Barrus, Response to: "What Is This?: The Nauvoo Council of Fifty Minutes ...", https://www.academia.edu/34080046/Response_to_What_Is_This_The_Nauvoo_Council_of_Fifty_Minutes_]

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