The Lord's message to the Mormons, and the Mormons' message to their neighbors, conflicted with the core values of the American Republic. In this conundrum we see the root cause of the animosity directed against them wherever they settled. While other strange religions lived in peace with their neighbors, the Latter-day Saints did not. It wasn't that they were peculiar, chosen, insular and impolite; it was that they were political and theocratic, an unfortunate authoritarian presence on a republican landscape. "And now ... concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them." "[Y]e shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God." Smith spoke for God: "[T]hou shalt give heed unto all his words, and commandments, which he shall give unto you, as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me: For his word ye shall receive, as if from my own mouth, in all patience and faith."
"However much early Mormons felt they were being persecuted for righteousness's sake, their cultural deafness meant they were hardly innocent victims of the violence they provoked in Missouri and later in Illinois." "When it came time to steal hogs and pillage farmsteads, the Mormons usually gave as good as they got." (Aird, Nichols, Bagley). The Church was new to the hemisphere when it quickly became a political-temporal entity declaring civil sovereignty, a law unto itself, a renegade force governed by God and his prophet indifferent to the authority of the magistrate.
Joseph Smith, an ungovernable messenger, took liberties with his followers, and with the wives and daughters of his followers. He didn't tell the truth and lived above the law. The Latter-day Saints and their republican neighbors were trains on different tracks. When religion becomes political, when it posits spiritual sovereignty in a secular marketplace, it is subject to a different set of restraints.