-- Jun 23, 1844, Sunday
[William Clayton Writings] Fully aware of the plot afoot to take their lives, Joseph and Hyrum had decided that the best thing for them as well as for the church was to flee across the Mississippi and perhaps find refuge in the Rocky Mountains. Joseph, Hyrum, and Willard Richards were preparing to leave, and Joseph told William W.l Phelps, another close friend and scribe, to inform their wives and get their feelings on the subject. When Clayton arrived at the river, Joseph whispered his assignment to him: he was to give the records of the Kingdom of God (i.e., the Council of Fifty) to a faithful man who would take them away to safety, or he should burn or bury them. Clayton certainly could not bear to part with or destroy the sacred and important records he had so faithfully kept, so he hurried home and early that Sunday morning gathered up not only the private records but also the public records and buried them.
That afternoon Joseph and Hyrum changed their minds, partly because Emma Smith sent a message to her husband urging them to return. They finally decided to submit themselves to arrest, go to Carthage, and try again to be released through the legal process. Late that afternoon as Joseph arrived back in Nauvoo, Clayton was there to greet him. (1)
1 - 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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