175 years ago today - Sep 8, 1844

A special council publicly excommunicates Sidney Rigdon for his succession claim in opposition to the Twelve. Rigdon is not present. Before the membership votes "President Young arose and requested the congregation to place themselves so that they could see all who voted. We want to know who goes for Sidney and who are for the Twelve." Ten Mormons who vote in favor of Rigdon at this meeting are suspended from fellowship pending trial before the High Council, an action to be extended to all "who shall hereafter be found advocating his principles." Benjamin Winchester, a prominent elder, writes: "As regards the trial of Elder Rigdon at Nauvoo, it was a forced affair, got up by the Twelve to get him out of their way, that they might the better arrogate to themselves higher authority than they ever had, or anybody ever dreamed they would have; and also (as they perhaps hope) to prevent a complete exposé of the spiritual wife system, which they knew would deeply implicate themselves." William Clayton writes, "There was a good feeling among the people and a bad feeling among the Rigdonites." A final irony to the meeting was Brigham Young's use of the DOCTRINE & COVENANTS's justification for the High Council to "sit in judgement against any of the first presidency." He tacitly, and possibly unwittingly, admits that a First Presidency is still intact and that Rigdon is still first counselor.

[On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com]

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