The City of Nauvoo — Its Temple and University — the Nauvoo Legion — the Mormons in Illinois — Evil Reports — Revelation on Polygamy — Its Reception and Practice — the Prophet a Candidate for the Presidency — the 'Nauvoo Expositor' — Joseph Arrested — Governor Ford and His Measures — Joseph and Hyrum Proceed to Carthage — Their Imprisonment — the Governor's Pledge — Assassination of the Prophet and His Brother — Character of Joseph Smith — a Panic at Carthage — Addresses of Richards and Taylor — Peaceful Attitude of the Mormons.
To the saints it is indeed a place of refuge, the city of Nauvoo, the Holy City, the City of Joseph.1 It stands on rolling land, covering a bed of limestone yielding excellent building material, and bordered on three sides by the river which here makes a majestic curve, and is nearly two miles in width. The aborigines were not indifferent to the advantages of the spot, as the presence of their mounds testifies. In area it is three miles by four. The city is regularly laid out in streets at right angles, of convenient width, along which are scattered neat, whitewashed log cabins, also frame, brick, and stone houses, with grounds and gardens. It is incorporated by charter,2 and contains the best institutions of the latest civilization; in the
1'Among the more zealous Mormons, it became the fashion at this time (1845) to disuse the word Nauvoo, and to call the place the holy city, or the city of Joseph.' Mackay's The Mormons, 191.
2The charter granted by the legislature was signed by Gov. Carlin Sept. 16, 1840, to take effect Feb. 1, 1841. 'So artfully framed that it was found that the state government was practically superseded within the Mormon corporation. Under the judicial clause its courts were supreme.' McBride in International Review, Feb. 1882. Charters were also granted to the university and the Nauvoo legion. Times and Seasons, ii. 281.
|p. 144||country are
hundreds of tributary farms and plantations. The population is from seven
to fifteen thousand, varying with the ebb and flow of new converts and new
Conspicuous among the buildings, and chief architectural feature of the holy city, is the temple, glistening in white limestone upon the hill-top, a shrine in the western wilderness whereat all the nations of the earth may worship, whereat all the people may inquire of God and receive his holy oracles.4 Next in
3The blocks contain 'four lots of eleven by twelve rods each, making all corner lots…For three or four miles upon the river, and about the same distance back in the country, Nauvoo presents a city of gardens, ornamented with the dwellings of those who have made a covenant by sacrifice…It will be no more than probably correct, if we allow the city to contain between 700 and 800 houses, with a population of 14,000 or 15,000.' Times and Seasons, iii. 936. A correspondent of the New York Herald is a little wild when lie writes about this time: 'The Mormons number in Europe and America about 150,000, and are constantly pouring into Nauvoo and the neighboring country. There are probably in and about this city and adjacent territories not far from 30,000.' Fifteen thousand in 1840 is the number given in Mackay's The Mormons, 115, as I mentioned in the last chapter. A correspondent's estimate in the Times and Seasons, in 1842, was for the city 7,000, and for the immediate surroundings 3,000. Phelps, in The Prophet, estimates the population during the height of the city's prosperity in 1844 at 14,000, of whom nine tenths were Mormons. Some 2000 houses were built the first year. Joseph Smith in Times and Seasons, March 1842, says: 'We number from six to eight thousand here, besides vast numbers in the county around, and in almost every county in the state.'
4The structure was 83 by 128 feet, and 60 feet high. The stone was quarried within city limits. There was an upper story and basement; and in the latter a baptismal font wrought after the manner of King Solomon's brazen sea. A huge tank, upon whose panels were painted various scenes, and ascent to which was made by stairs, was upborne by twelve oxen, beautifully carved, and overlaid with gold. 'The two great stories,' says a Mormon eye-witness, 'each have two pulpits, one at each end, to accommodate the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods, graded into four rising seats, the first for the president of the ciders and his two counsellors, the second for the president of the high priesthood and his two counsellors, and the third for the Melchizedek president and his two counsellors, and the fourth for the president of the whole church and his two counsellors. There are thirty hewn stone pilasters which cost about $3,000 apiece. The base is a crescent new moon; the capitals, near 50 feet high; the sun, with a human face in bold relief, about two and a half feet broad, ornamented with rays of light and waves, surmounted by two hands holding two trumpets.' All was crowned by a high steeple surmounted with angel and trumpet. The cost was nearly $1,000,000, and was met by tithes contributed by some in money or produce, and by others in labor. The four corner-stones of the temple were laid with much ceremony on the 6th of April, 1841, on the celebration of the anniversary of the church. Sidney Rigdon delivered the address, and upon the placing of the first stone, said: 'May the persons employed in the erection of this house be preserved from all harm while engaged in its construction, till the whole is completed—in the name of the father, and of the son, and of the holy (cont.)
the City of Joseph in prominence and importance is the house of Joseph, hotel and residence, called the Nauvoo House,5 which is to the material man as the
(4cont.) ghost; even so, amen.' Times and Seasons, ii. 376. A revelation was published in Jan. 1841. 'Let all my saints come from afar, and send ye swift messengers, yea, chosen messengers, and say unto them: "Come ye with all your gold and your silver and your precious stones, and with all your antiquities, and with all who have knowledge of antiquities, that will come, may come; and bring the box-tree and the fir-tree and the pine-tree, together with all the precious trees of the earth, and with iron and with copper and with brass and with zinc and with all your precious things of the earth, and build a house to my name for the most high to dwell therein."' Smucker's Hist. Mor., 132. For reference notes on temple: minutes of conference, relating to building a church, etc., see Times and Seasons, i. 185-7. Laying the foundation stone, Id., ii. 375-7, 380-2; Mackay's The Mormons, 118-20; Smucker's Hist. Mor., 133. Laying of the capstone, Times and Seasons, vi. 926. Progress of its building, Id., iii. 775-6; iv. 10-11; The Prophet, in Mackay's The Mormons, 189-91. Description of the temple with cut, Smucker's Mormons, 129; Ferris' The Mormons, 137-9; Pratt's Autobiography, 378; without cut, Smucker's Mormons, 202-4; Bertrand Mem. Morm., 61; Cincinnati Times; Deseret News, March 22, 1876; church claims, Times and Seasons, iii. 735-8; 767-9; v. 618-20; Kimball, in Times and Seasons, vi. 972-3; misappropriation of funds, Hall's Mormonism Exposed, 7-8. 'One of the most powerful levers which he had invented for moving his disciples in temple building was the doctrine of baptism for the dead…which baptism must be performed in the temple; no other place would give it the requisite efficacy.' Ferris' The Mormons, 97-8. 'Another mode of making the dimes was that of giving the blessing, as it was said, from heaven. This was the sole province of the patriarch, which office, till his death, was exercised by Hiram Smith. No blessing could be obtained for less than one dollar; but lie frequently received for this service twenty, thirty, and even forty dollars.' Hall's Mormonism, 22.
5It was ordered by revelation given to Joseph Smith, Jan. 19, 1841, that a hotel should be built and called the Nauvoo House; that it should be erected under the supervision of George Miller, Lyman Wight, John Snider, and Peter Haws, one of whom should be president of a joint-stock company to be formed for the purpose, and that stock subscriptions should be for not less than Jiffy dollars nor more than fifteen thousand dollars by any one man, and that only by a believer in the book of Mormon. Vinson Knight, Hyrum Smith, Isaac Galland, William Marks, Henry G. Sherwood, and William Law were directed by name to take stock. 'And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding-house, which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be names upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein from generation to generation.' The Nauvoo House Associaton was incorporated Feb. 23, 1841, by George Miller, Lyman Wight, John Snider, and Peter Haws, and associates. Copy of act in Bennett's Hist. Saints, 204-5. Plan of city, with cuts of temple baptismal font, and Nauvoo Legion, with description, in Bennett's Hist. Saints, 188-91, which is quite erroneous, the building being then not completed. I have taken this account chiefly from Phelps' description in The Prophet. The Nauvoo House, says Bennett, though intended chiefly for the reception and entertainment of strangers and travellers, contains, or rather when completed is to contain, a splendid suite of apartments for the special accommodation of the prophet Joe Smith, and heirs and descendants forever.' Cut of temple, and best description of Nauvoo institutions, in Mackay's The Mormons, 115, 190-1. The Nauvoo House, in form of an L, had a frontage on two streets of 120 feet each, by a depth of 49 feet; the estimated cost was $100,000. Times and Seasons, ii. 369. Another building opened in Nov. 1843 was the Nauvoo mansion.
|p. 146||temple to the
spiritual man. Unfortunately both the one and the other are destined to an
occupancy and enjoyment all too brief in view of the vast labor bestowed
upon them. Besides these buildings are the Hall of Seventies, in which is
a library, the Masonic Hall, and Concert Hall; also there a university and
other institutions are established, though having as yet no separate
The president of the university and professor of mathematics and English literature is James Kelly, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and a ripe scholar; Orson Pratt, a man of pure mind and high order of ability, who without early education and amidst great difficulties had to achieve learning as best he could, and in truth has achieved it; professor of languages, Orson Spencer, graduate of Union College and the Baptist Theological Seminary, New York; professor of church history, Sidney Rigdon, versed in history, belles-lettres, and oratory. In the board of regents we find the leading men of the church;6 connected with the university were four common-school wards, with three wardens to each.
In 1840 all the male members of the church between the ages of sixteen and fifty were enrolled in a military organization known as the Nauvoo Legion, which eventually numbered some four thousand men, and constituted part of the state militia. It was divided into two cohorts, and then into regiments, battalions, and companies, Lieutenant-general Joseph Smith being commander-in-chief.7 The organization
6Chancellor, John C. Bennett; registrar, William Law; regents, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, William Marks, Samuel H. Smith, Daniel H. Wells, N. K. Whitney, Charles C. Rich, John T. Barnett, Wilson Law, John P. Greene, Vinson Knight, Isaac Galland, Elias Higbee, Robert D. Foster, James Adams, Samuel Bennett, Ebenezer Robinson, John Snider, George Miller, Lenos M. Knight, John Taylor, Heber C. Kimball. The tuition fees were five dollars per quarter, payable twice each quarter in advance.
7Among his generals were Robert D. Foster, George W. Robinson, Charles C. Rich, W. P. Lyon, Davison Hibbard, Hirum Kimball, A. P. Rockwood; majors, Willard Richards, Hosea Stout; colonels, John F. Weld, Orson Pratt, Francis M. Higbee, Carlos Gove, C. L. Higbee, James Sloan, George Schindle, Amass Lyman, D. B. Smith, George Coulson, Alexander McRea, J. R. Backenstos, (cont.)
|p. 147||was modelled after
the Roman legion. The men were well disciplined, brave, and efficient.
These troops carried their name to Utah, where they were reörganized in
Though all are soldiers, there are no dandy warriors in their midst. Each one returns after drill to his occupation—to his farm, factory, or merchandise. Among other workshops are a porcelain factory established by a Staffordshire company, two steam sawmills, a steam flouring-mill, a foundry, and a tool-factory. A joint-stock company is organized under the style of the Nauvoo Agricultural and Manufacturing Association. Just outside the city is a community farm, worked by the poor for their own benefit; to each family in the city is allotted one acre of ground; the system of community of property does not obtain.
Most of the people in and about Nauvoo are Mormons, but not all. The population is made up chiefly from the farming districts of the United States and the manufacturing districts of England; though uneducated, unpolished, and superstitious, they are for the most part intelligent, industrious, competent, honest, and sincere.8 With a shrewd head to direct,
(7cont.) L. Woodworth; captains, D. B. Huntington, Samuel Hicks, Amos Davis, Marcellus Bates, Charles Allen, L. N. Scovil, W. M. Allred, Justus Morse, John F. Olney, Darwin Chase, C. M. Kreymyer, and others. 'Col. A. P. Rockwood was drill-master. Rockwood was then a captain, but was afterward promoted to colonel of the militia, or host of Israel. I was then fourth corporal of a company. The people were regularly drilled and taught military tactics, so that they would be ready to act when the time came for returning to Jackson county, the promised land of our inheritance.' Lee's Mormonism, 112. 'Reviews were held from time to time, and flags presented, and Joseph appeared on all those occasions with a splendid staff, in all the pomp and circumstance of a full-blown military commander.' Ferris' Utah and the Mormons, 100-1. 'At the last dress parade of the legion, he was accompanied in the field by display of ten of his spiritual wives or concubines, dressed in a fine uniform, and mounted on elegant white horses.' Tucker's Mormonism, 170. After the force reached Utah it was 'regularly drilled by competent officers, many of whom served in Mexico with the Mormon battalion under Gen. W. Scott. They are well armed, and perfectly fearless.' Hyde's Mormonism, 183. See further Times and Seasons, ii. 321-2, 417-18, 435, 517; iii. 654, 700-1, 718, 733-4, 921; Stenhouse's Tell It All, 306; Deseret News, April 15 and July 1, 1857, July 6, 1859; Gunnison's Mormons, 183; Smucker's Hist. Mor., 149; Kidder's Mormonism, 182-9.
8Says the St Louis Atlas of September 1841: The people of Nauvoo 'have (cont.)
|p. 148||like that of the
prophet, a wisdom like his to concentrate, a power like his to say to ten
thousand men, do this, and it is done, with plenty of cheap, virgin land,
with a collective knowledge of all arts, and with habits of economy and
industry, it were a wonder if they did not rapidly accumulate property,
and some of them acquire wealth. This they do, though tithed by the
church, and detested by the gentiles, and they prosper in a remarkable
degree. Of course, in political, as in spiritual and pecuniary affairs,
the prophet's word is law.
"Nauvoo is the best place in the world!" exclaims an enthusiastic saint. Nauvoo, the beautiful indeed! And "as to the facilities, tranquillities, and virtues of the city, they are not equalled on the globe." Here the saints find rest. "No vice is meant to be tolerated; no grog-shops allowed; nor would we have any trouble, if it were not for our lenity in suffering the world,9 as I shall call them, to come in and trade, and
(8cont.) been grossly misunderstood and shamefully libelled…The present population is between eight and nine thousand, and of course it is the largest town in Illinois. The people are very enterprising, industrious, and thrifty. They are at least quite as honest as the rest of us in this part of the world, and probably in any other. Some peculiarities they have, no doubt. Their religion is a peculiar one; that is, neither Buddhism, nor Mahometanism, nor Judaism, nor Christianity, but it is a faith which they say encourages no vice nor immorality, nor departure from established laws and usages; neither polygamy, nor promiscuous intercourse, nor community of property…Ardent spirits as a drink are not in use among them…Tobacco, also, is a weed which they seem almost universally to despise. We don't know but that the Mormons ought to be expatriated for refusing to drink whiskey and chew tobacco; but we hope the question will not be decided hastily, nor until their judges have slept, off the fumes of their own liquor and cigars.' 'They have enclosed large farms on the prairie ground, on which they have raised corn, wheat, hemp, etc., and all this they have accomplished within the short space of four years. I do not believe there is another people in existence who could have made such improvements in the same length of time under the same circumstances. And here allow me to remark, that there are some here who have lately emigrated to this place, who have built themselves large and convenient homes in the town; others on their farms on the prairie, who, if they had remained at home, might have continued to live in rented houses all their days, and never once have entertained the idea of building one for themselves at their own expense.' Smucker's Mormonism, 159.
9Gentiles were not excluded from the holy city. In Bennett's Hist. Saints, 158, is given an ordinance, dated March 1, 1841, running as follows: 'Be it ordained by the city council the city of Nauvoo, that the catholics, presbyterians, methodists, baptists, latter-day saints, quakers, episcopalians, universalists, unitarians, mohammedans, and all other religious sects and denominations whatever, shall have toleration and equal privileges in this city; (cont.)
|p. 149||enjoy our society,
as they say." "They are a wonderfully enterprising people,
writes a gentile. "Peace and harmony reign in the city. The drunkard
is scarcely ever seen, as in other cities, neither does the awful
imprecation or profane oath strike upon your ear; but while all is storm
and tempest and confusion abroad respecting the Mormons, all is peace and
harmony at horne."10
About this time there comes to Joseph Smith a somewhat, singular individual making somewhat singular advances. He is a yankee huckster of the first class, only for his merchandise, instead of patent clocks and wooden nutmegs, he offers for sale theology, medicine, and a general assortment of political and military wares. The thing is a fraud, and before long he openly announces himself as such. As his manhood is far inferior to his duplicity, so his name—the Reverend General John C. Bennett, M. D., U.S.A., president, chancellor, and master in chancery—as we may observe, is subordinate to his titles. He has ability, he has brains and fingers; but
(9cont.) and should any person be guilty of ridiculing, abusing, or otherwise depreciating another in consequence of his religion, etc., he shall be fined and imprisoned.' On the 17th of March, 1842, the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo was organized.
10In the Salem Advertiser was published an account of the visit to Nauvoo in 1843 of one Newhall, a lecturer, who says: 'I sought in vain for anything that bore the marks of immorality, but was both astonished and highly pleased at my ill success. I could see no loungers about the streets nor any drunkards about the taverns. I did not meet with those distorted features of ruffians, or with the ill-bred and impudent. I heard not an oath in the place, I saw. not a gloomy countenance; all were cheerful, polite, and industrious.' Smucker's Mormons, 154-5. 'The mayor of Nauvoo deserves praise for the stand he has taken in favor of temperance. The retailing of ardent spirits is not permitted within the bounds of the corporation.' Kidder's Mormons, 189. For city ordinance prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors in less quantity then a quart except as a physician's prescription, see Bennett's Hist. Saints, 27. On the 12th of Nov. 1841, B. Winchester writes from Nauvoo: 'You would be astonished, if you were here, at the vast improvement made in so short space of time…You will see nothing like idleness, but will hear the hum of industry, nay, may I not say more, the voice of merriment…Now as to the morality of the people here:…you know if you should throw cold water into melted iron the scene would be terrific, because the contrast would be so great; so it is with the saints: if a small portion of wickedness happens among them, the contrast between the spirit of Christ and that of darkness is so great that it makes a great upstir and tremendous excitement; this is the case here; but in other communities the same amount of crime would hardly be noticed.'
|p. 150||he has no soul. He
comes to Joseph and says, "Hail, master!" and worships him. He
professes all that the Mormons profess, and more; he does all that the
Mormons do, and more. So the prophet makes him general of his legion,
mayor of the city, chancellor of the university, not to mention his
functions as attorney, doctor, and privy counsellor. All this is done with
quick despatch; and the result is that the great man soon tires of his
greatness, or thinks to become yet greater by turning renegade, and
writing a book against his late friends and associates.11
There is another individual of similar name, and yet more similar character, James Arlington Bennett,
11Representative of a class of anti-Mormon literature, not altogether creditable to either its authors or supporters, are the following:
The History of the Saints; or, An Exposé of Joe Smith and Mormonism. By John C. Bennett. (Boston, 1842.)
The Abominations of Mormonism Exposed; containing many Facts and Doctrines concerning that singular people during seven years' membership with them, from 1840 to 1847. By William Hall. (Cincinnati, 1852.)
Mormonism: Its Leaders and Designs. By John Hyde, Jun., formerly a Mormon elder and resident of Salt Lake City. (New York, 1857.)
Mormonism Unveiled; or, The Life and Confessions of the late Mormon bishop, John D. Lee; Written by Himself; Embracing a history of Mormonism from its inception down to the present time, with an exposition of the secret history, signs, symbols, and crimes of the Mormon Church; also the true history of the horrible butchery known as the Mountain Meadow Massacre. (St Louis, 1877.)
The role of traitor is not one which in any wise brings credit to the performer, either from one side or the other. However great the service he may render us, we cannot but feel that he is false-hearted and vile. Many of the apostates, though they may not have written books, declare that they joined the sect only to learn their secrets and then expose them. These are the most contemptible of all. There may be cases where a young or inexperienced person, through ignorance or susceptibility, has been carried away for a time contrary to the dictates of cooler judgment; but the statements of such persons are justly regarded with more or less suspicion. Far better is it, far more honest and praiseworthy, for him who, having unwittingly made a mistake, seeks to rectify it, to go his way and say nothing about it; for if he talks of writing a book for the good of others, as a warning, and that they may avoid his errors, few will believe him. 'If he has proved traitor once,' they say, 'he will deceive again; and if he is sincere, we cannot more than half believe him, for such an individual is never sure of himself.' John C. Bennett, general, doctor, methodist preacher, and quack, is from his own showing a bad man. He devotes some fifty pages to the vindication of his character, which would not be necessary were he honest; other fifty are given to defaming his late worshipful patron Joseph Smith, which would never have been written were he true. When a man thrusts in your face three-score certificates of his good character, each signed by from one to a dozen persons, you may know that he is a very great rascal. Nor are we disappointed here. This author is a charlatan, pure and simple; such was he when he joined the Mormons, and before and after. We may credit him fully when he says, 'I never believed in them or their doctrines;' although in a letter to Dr Dyer, dated Nauvoo, Jan. 20, 1842, he declares: 'My heart is (cont.)
There is another individual of similar name, and yet more similar character, James Arlington Bennett,
(11cont.) filled with indignation, and my blood boils within me, when I contemplate the vast injustice and cruelty which Missouri has meted out to the great philanthropist and devout Christian, General Joseph Smith, and his honest and faithful adherents.' When, however, he affects patriotism and lofty devotion to the welfare of his fellow-men, pretending to have joined the society in order to frustrate 'a daring and colossal scheme of rebellion and usurpation throughout the north-western states,…a despotic military and religious empire, the head of which, as emperor and pope, was to be Joseph Smith,' we know that the writer is well aware that it is all nonsense. Nor do we believe that he was induced to print his book 'by a desire to expose the enormous iniquities which have been perpetrated by one of the grossest and most infamous impostors that ever appeared upon the face of the earth.' We have heard and are still hearing so much of that kind of talk from some of the worst men in the community that it is becoming somewhat stale, and if the general really does not know better than this why he wrote his book, perhaps he will excuse me for telling him that it was, first, for notoriety; second, for money; and third, in order to make people think him a better and greater man than he is. When a man's ambition is pitched so low, it is a pity that he should not have the gratification of success. Bravely, then, the general proceeded to offer himself on the altar of his country, 'to overthrow the impostor and expose his iniquity' by 'professing himself a convert to his doctrines;' for 'the fruition of his hopeful project would, of course, have been preceded by plunder, devastation, and bloodshed, and by all the countless horrors which invariably accompany civil war.' We are still more impressed when we read: 'I was quite aware of the danger I ran'—that of being kicked out of some back door—'but none of these things deterred me.' Without wasting more time and space upon the man, we are well enough prepared to place a proper estimate upon his statements, particularly when we take into account that, in May of the very year in which his book was published, he went before Alderman Wells and made affidavit that Joseph Smith was an honest, virtuous, sincere, high-minded, and patriotic man. He says himself that he solemnly swore to be true to the Mormons and not reveal their secrets, and now in breaking that oath he has the audacity to ask us to regard him as an honest and truthful man! In some measure, at least, the statements of such men as this, taken up by the press and people, and reiterated throughout the land, have given the latter-day saints a worse name than they deserve. Some of his charges are too coarse and filthy for repetition. I will cite a few specimens, however, to show how far mendacity is sometimes carried in this direction.
Joseph Smith is a 'monster who is using the power he possesses to gratify a brutal lust;' 'a Giovanni of some dozens of mistresses;' 'must be branded as a consummate knave;' one 'of the most heaven-daring liars the world ever saw;' 'notoriously profane;' 'gets most gloriously drunk,' etc. In the most vulgar and licentious language, he goes on to describe what he calls the 'Mormon seraglio,' 'the female inquisition,' 'Joe's cloistered, chambered, and cyprian maids.' He revels in all the wickedness of this kind during past ages which he can make up, rolling it as a sweet morsel under his tongue, finally affirming that 'the holy Joe outdoes them all!' He says that any woman belonging to the society who lapses from virtue is condemned to a life of secret prostitution, the most trustworthy members of the church having knowledge of it; another class indulge in illicit intercourse by special permission of the prophet; another class are the spiritual wives. All this is said, be it remembered, within two or three months of the time he made oath that Smith was one of the best and purest of men. Next comes an exposé of several secret societies, the Danites, Destroying Angel, etc., and finally a list of murders and robberies perpetrated in that section during a certain time, all of (cont.)
also called general, whom Mackay, Smucker, a reviewer in the Edinburgh, and others have
(11cont.) which are charged to these agencies. Sidney Rigdon is praised by Bennett; so much the worse for Sidney. Doubtless this book played its part in bringing about the assassination of Joseph Smith. Says John Taylor of John C. Bennett: 'At one time he was a good man, but fell into adultery, and was cut off from the church for his iniquity;…he was also expelled from the municipal court, of which he was a member.' Public Discussion, 5-6.
William Hall was an old gentleman of simple mind and manners when he wrote his book; he appears to be earnest and truthful. As he says of the saints, so I should say of him: he meant well, but he should beware of bad leaders. Hall was not a great man in the church, like Bennett; nevertheless, like Bennett he wrote a book, but unlike Bennett's, his book reads like that of an honest man, although it is full of bitter accusations against the Mormons. All such works should be taken with some degrees of allowance; for when a person begins to rail against any people or individual, he is apt to be carried away and misrepresent, intentionally or unintentionally. The period that Hall's experiences cover is quite an important one, including as it does the Illinois expulsion and the exodus to Great Salt Lake.
Quite different from any of his brother apostates is John Hyde, Jr. who cannot by right be placed in the category of vulgar ranter or hypocritical reformer. I regard him as an able and honest man, sober and sincere. He does not denounce the sect as hypocrites. 'I know your sincerity; I know also your delusion,' he writes. He does not even denounce all the leaders; even to Brigham Young, whom he mercilessly scourges, he gives credit for ability and sincerity. 'That you are sincere in your confidence in Joseph Smith, and in your own pretensions,' he writes to him, 'I believe and acknowledge; but at the same time, that you are leading confiding thousands to misery and ruin is evident…I admire your genius, but I deplore its exercise…I admire the industry of your people, their notable labors, and their general sincerity; but I deplore their delusion, and I denounce their deceivers.' His book is dedicated 'To the honest believers in Mormonism,' and he says to them: 'In writing the following work I was not actuated by the base design of helping to malign an unpopular people, nor by the unworthy one of administering to a mere idle curiosity.' John Hyde was born in England, in 1833, and joined the Mormons there when fifteen years of age. He was almost immediately ordained a priest and began to preach. In 1851 he was ordained one of the seventies, an office of equal power but inferior jurisdiction to that of one of the twelve, and joined John Taylor in France. With about 400 Mormon converts he sailed from Liverpool in Feb. 1853, visited Nauvoo, and thence crossed the plains in company with 2,500 brethren to Salt Lake City, where he married and began teaching school. In Feb. 1854 he was 'initiated into the mysteries of the Mormon endowment,' became shaken in the faith, and the following year, having accepted a mission to the Hawaiian Islands, he threw off Mormonism and preached and wrote against it instead of for it. In his book he gives a description of Salt Lake City in 1853-4, a chapter entitles 'Practical Polygamy,' and others on Mormon Mysteries, Education, Brigham Young, Book of Mormon, Theoretical Polygamy, and Suppression of Mormonism. Hyde's book would be quite useful were he not so more about his dates; it would appear from the way he throws statements together that in the absence of a date he guessed at it.
Still another style of book is that of John D. Lee, purporting to have been written by him, but as a matter of fact written for the most part by W. W. Bishop while Lee was in prison condemned to death. The work, therefore, though the story of a Mormon, and of one who under the circumstances could not be expected to be very friendly, is not by a Mormon. The book is not essentially different from the matter published in the newspapers about the time of Lee's execution, under the title of 'Confessions.' Lee gives the (cont.)
|p. 153||mistaken for the
original. The quality of impudence appears as fully ill the second Bennett
as in the first.12
As I have before observed, the misfortunes of the saints by no means dampened their ardor, or impoverished them as a society. Some lost their all; in that case the others helped them. Old scores were
(11cont.) story of his life, simply and honestly enough; to this is added an account of the Mountain Meadow massacre, and of the arrest, trial, and execution of Lee. He was a native of Illinois, born in 1812, worked hard and with success while a young man, became an enthusiastic Mormon in 1837, and went to Missouri. With everything there he was highly delighted; he attended devoutly all the services of the church, and was duly promoted. He was with his people at Nauvoo, migrated with them to Utah, and was adopted by Brigham Young. In 1877 he was executed for participation in the Mountain Meadow massacre, excusing himself while cursing others.
Mormonism and the Mormons; A Historical View of the rise and progress of the sect self-styled Latter-day Saints; by Daniel P. Kidder, is the title of a 16mo vol. of 342 pages, published in New York, and bearing no date, though entered for copyright in the year 1842. Mr Kidder certainly wrote a book on short acquaintance with the subject; as he says up to Nov. 1840, he knew little about it. On the 13th of that month he found himself on board a Mormon steamboat called the Fulton City, on the Mississippi River, bound for Nauvoo. Nearly all the passengers and crew were Mormons. Desirous of knowing more of them, and holding to the maxim that by teaching most is to be learned, he procured copies of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Howe's Mormonism Unveiled, and Corrill's Brief History, and seating himself before them made his book, which consists chiefly of extracts from the above sources tied together with occasional remarks neither startling nor original. In Nauvoo, without date, but probably about 1841, were published two chapters of nonsense about women and their relations and duties to men, entitled, An Extract from a Manuscript entitled The Peace-maker, or the Doctrines of the Millennium, being a Treatise on Religion and Jurisprudence, or a New System of Religion and Politics. For God, my Country, and my Rights. By Adney Hay Jacob, an Israelite, and a Shepherd of Israel. Nauvoo, Ill. J. Smith, Printer. In a preface the reader is told: 'The author of this work is not a Mormon although it is printed by their press.'
12In a letter to the prophet dated October 24, 1843 which has become quite famous, James A. Bennett pretends to have been baptized by Brigham Young, a ceremony that he alludes to as 'a glorious frolic in the clear blue ocean' with 'your most excellent and worthy friend, President B. Young.' 'Nothing of this kind,' he goes on to say, 'would in the least attach me to your person or cause. I am capable of being a most undeviating friend, without being governed by the smallest religious influence…I say, therefore, go ahead, you have my good wishes. You know Mahomet had his right-hand man,' etc. Smith replied at length in a religio-philosophic strain. More has been made of this correspondence than it deserves. It was printed in Times and Seasons, iv. 371-3, in Cor. between Joseph Smith… Wentworth… and… Calhoun, as well as in Mackay's The Mormons, and Smucker's Hist. Mor. See also Edinburgh Review, April 1854, 334. Mackay observes: 'Joseph's reply to this singular and too candid epistle was quite as singular and infinitely more amusing. Joseph was too cunning a man to accept, in plain terms, the rude but serviceable offer; and he rebuked the vanity and presumption of Mr Bennett, while dexterously retaining him for future use.' All this would have some signigicance if Smith had been in the least deceived, or had the writer of this letter and the original rascal been one.
|p. 154||cancelled, old
debts forgiven.13 There were no
great riches among them; yet he who had nothing could not be called poor
amid such surroundings. Head over all, temporal and spiritual, was Joseph
Smith, not only prophet and president, but general and mayor.14
He had now approached the summit of his career, and for a brief space was
permitted to enjoy his fame, wealth, and power in some degree of quiet.
They were salutary lessons that the prophet and his people had received in Missouri, and for a time their speech and manner were less arrogant than of old. But soon prosperity was far greater here than ever before, and as with Israel of old the chastisements of the Lord were soon forgotten. From the moment they crossed the river from Missouri into Illinois their position as men and members of the commonwealth was changed. In the one state they were regarded as fanatics, dangerous to the government and to the people, having associated assassins to do their bidding, and holding to a doctrine of divine inheritance with regard to all that country; in the
13'At the conference in April 1840, the prophet delivered a lengthy address upon the history and condition of the saints. He reminded the brethren that all had suffered alike for the sake of the gospel. The rich and the poor had been brought to a common level by persecution; that many of the brethren were owing debts that they hail been forced to contract in order to get out of Missouri alive. He considered it was unchristian-like for the brethren to demand the payment of such debts; that he did not wish to screen any one from the just payment of his debts, but he did think that it would be for the glory of the kingdom if the people would, of their own will, freely forgive each other for all their existing indebtedness, one to the other, then renew their covenants with almighty God and with each other; refrain from evil, and live their religion; by this means, God's holy spirit would support and bless the people. The people were then asked if they were in favor of thus bringing about the year of jubilee. All that felt so inclined were asked to make it known by raising their hands; every hand in the audience was raised.' The prophet then declared all debts of the saints, to and from each other, forgiven and cancelled. He then gave the following words of advice to the people: 'I wish you all to know that because you were justified in taking property from your enemies while engaged in war in Missouri, which was needed to support you, there is now a different condition of things existing. We are no longer at war, and you must stop stealing. When the right time comes we will go in force and take the whole state of Missouri. It belongs to us as an inheritance; but I want no more petty stealing.' Lee's Mormonism, 110-11.
14Smith was first mayor. Feb. 1, 1841, Bennett was elected mayor and so continued till May 19, 1842, when Smith again assumed the office.
|p. 155||other they were
esteemed as hard-working and thrifty American citizens, whose votes, to
the party in power, were worth as much as those of the baptist or the
Such was their past and present status in the community. They were now treated, politically and socially, with consideration, especially by politicians. Thomas Carlin, governor of Illinois, was their friend, and granted them all the privileges they asked; Robert Lucas, governor of Iowa, was their friend, and promised them the protection due to every citizen of the United States, of whatsoever religion, creed, superstition, fanaticism, craze, or whatever people might choose to call it.
But soon there came a governor, named Thomas Ford, who knew not Joseph. He was a well meaning man enough, not blood-thirsty like Boggs, nor strong and cool-headed like Carlin, nor yet a man of positive action and opinion like Lucas; still, Ford was not a bad man, and if the saints had conducted themselves according to the wisdom of the world, they might in time, perhaps, have overcome the prejudices of the people. But prosperity seemed as fatal to them as adversity was profitable. All the best of heaven and earth was now theirs, and again Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked, revelations becoming less frequent as the cares of this world, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life crept in among the people.
The city charter of Nauvoo15 allowed the enactment of any laws not in conflict with those of the State or of the United States, and particularly that a writ of habeas corpus might be issued in all cases arising under city ordinance. In the interpretation of this
15Describing Nauvoo at this period, Linforth remarks: 'Before the close of 1842 a vast improvement had taken place. The city, which then extended 3 or 4 miles on the river, and about the same distance back, had been regularly laid off into blocks, containing 4 lots of 11 by 12 rods each, between 700 and 800 houses had been erected, and the population numbered about 15,000. Two steam-mills and 2 printing-presses existed, and buildings for various manufactures were rapidly going up. In the mean time the temple and Nauvoo House were progressing.' Route from Liverpool to G. S. L. Vally, 62.
|p. 156||provision the
saints allowed themselves rattler a wide latitude, even assuming authority
opposed to superior powers, and sometimes questioning the validity of
state documents not countersigned by the mayor of Nauvoo. The counties
surrounding Hancock, in which was Nauvoo, were fearful of the prosperity
of the saints, and of their political influence; there were angry words
and bickerings between the opposing societies, and then blows. The old
Missouri feud was kept alive by suits instituted against Smith and others.16
All attempt made to assassinate Governor Boggs was, of course, charged to
the Mormons, and probably with truth. In fact, if we may believe their
enemies, they did not deny it. Boggs had unlawfully ordered all the
Mormons in Missouri killed if they did not leave the state: why had not
they the same right, they argued, to break the law and kill him?17
Among the reports circulated, besides those of assassination and attempted assassination, the following will serve as specimens: That the plan of Smith
16When on his return from Quincy, to which place he had accompanied Hyrum Smith and William Law, who were on a mission to the east, Joseph was arrested the 5th of June, 1841, on a warrant from Gov. Carlin to deliver him to the Missouri state authorities. In return, Joseph Smith brought suit against J. H. Reynolds and H. G. Wilson for false imprisonment. This as well as other affairs of the kind kept up a bitter excitement.
17On the 6th of May, 1842 Gov. Boggs was fired at through a window, and narrowly escaped being killed. The crime was charged to O. P. Rockwell, 'with the connivance and under the instructions of Joseph Smith.' Hyde's Mormonism, 105, 206. Boggs swore he believed Smith a party to the attempted assassination, and instituted legal proceedings. Mackay's The Mormons, 139. Bennett, Hist. Saints, 281-2, labors hard to prove that Smith wanted Boggs killed, and said as much, which it seems to me few would deny. Bennett states that in 1841 Smith prophesied that Boggs would die by violent hands within a year. 'In the spring of the year 1842 Smith offered a reward of $500 to any man who would secretly assassinate Gov. Boggs.' Joseph O. Boggs, brother of the governor, writes Bennett, Sept. 12, 1842, 'We have now no doubt of the guilt of Smith and Rockwell.' Id., 286. Rockwell was arrested, discharged, and went to Utah. 'Brigham has had him into the pulpit,' says Hyde, 'to address the meetings.' We read: 'Orin Porter Rockwell, the Mormon confined in our county jail some time since for the attempted assassination of ex-governor Boggs, was indicted by our last grand jury for escaping from the county jail some weeks since, and sent to Clay county for trial. Owing, however, to some informality in the proceedings, he was remanded to this county again for trial. There was not sufficient proof adduced against him to justify an indictment for shooting at ex-governor Boggs; and the grand jury, therefore, did not indict him for that offence.' Independent Expositor; Niles' Register, Sept. 30, 1843.
|p. 157||was to take the
county, then the state, after that the United States, and finally the
whole world; that any section making a move against the saints should be
destroyed by the Danites; that Smith declared his prophecies superior to
law, and threatened that if not let alone he would prove a second Mahomet,
and send streams of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the sea.
In an address to the saints at Nauvoo, September 1, 1812, Joseph stated that on account of the enemies in pursuit of him, both in Missouri and in Illinois, he deemed it best to retire for a time, and seek safety. He ordered his debts paid as they fell due, his property to be sold if necessary to meet requirements, and exhorted all officers to be faithful to their trust. "When the storm is past I will return," he said; "and as for perils, they seem small things to me, for the envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life." And again: "Verily thus saith the Lord, let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, be continued and not cease. Let all the records be had in order, that they may be put in the archives of my holy temple. I will write the word of the Lord from time to time and send it to you by mail. I now close my letter for the present, for the want of more time, for the enemy is on the alert; and as the savior said, the prince of this world cometh, but he hath nothing in me."
Five days later the prophet sent an address to the saints, mainly touching the baptism for the dead, of which more hereafter. "Now what do we hear in the gospel which we have received? A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth, glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and dead; glad tidings of great joy. And again what do we hear? Glad tidings from Cumorah! Moroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the book to be revealed. A voice of the Lord in the wilderness
|p. 158||of Fayette, Seneca
county, declaring the three witnesses to bear record of the book. The
voice of Michael on the banks of the Susquehanna, detecting the devil when
he appeared as an angel of light. The voice of Peter, James, and John in
the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Boone
county, on the Susquehanna River, declaring themselves as possessing the
keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times. And
again, the voice of God in the chamber of old Father Whitmer, in Fayette,
Seneca county, and at sundry times and in divers places, through all the
travels and tribulations of this church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
We come now to a most momentous epoch in the history of the church, to the most important act of the prophet during the entire course of his wonderful life, to the act of all others pregnant with mighty results, if we except the primary proceedings relative to the sacred book and its translation.
Twenty years had passed since the plates of Mormon had been revealed to Joseph, during which time he had suffered divers and continued persecution. lie and his followers had been reviled and spit upon from the beginning; some of them had been robbed, and beaten, hunted down, imprisoned, and slain. Yet they had prospered; the church had rapidly increased, and its members were blessed with plenty. Their neighbors spoke much evil of them and committed many violent acts. The saints were exceedingly annoying; they voted solid and claimed the whole world as theirs, including Jackson county, Missouri; they were wild in their thoughts, extravagant in their pretensions, and by no means temperate in the use of their tongues; they were not always prudent; they were not always without reproach.
Just how far certain members or leaders erred, bringing evil on all, it is impossible at this day to
|p. 159||determine. The
evidence comes to us in the form of rumors, general assertions, and bold
statements from the mouths of men filled with deadly hate, and cannot be
altogether trusted. Some of these have said that the leaders of the
church, finding their power over the minds and bodies of their female
associates so greatly increased, so rapidly becoming absolute, could not
resist temptation, but fell into grievous sins like Jeroboam and David,
and were thereby obliged to adopt some plan either to cover or make right
It was easy for the gentiles to make such a charge appear plausible, in view of the fact that about this time the doctrine of plurality of wives as practised and promulgated in the scriptures attracted much attention. Most of the other acts, customs, and ordinances of the old and new testaments had been adopted in common with those contained in the book of Mormon by the latter-day church; why should not this? Wives and concubines without restriction had been permitted to the worthy men of old; the holy scriptures had nowhere condemned the custom; God had at no time ordered otherwise. On the contrary, it seemed in the line of example and duty; it seemed necessary to make the holy fabric symmetrical and complete. True, it was not now in vogue with either Jews or Christians; but neither were miracles nor special revelations. Surely, if God disapproved, he would have so declared; his commands he makes clear; particularly acts heinous in his sight he denounces loudly and with many repetitions.
Thus argued the elders. They did not consider, nor indeed care for, the fact that, viewed from the standpoint of intellectual progress, the revival of polygamy, or concubinage, in common with other practices of the half-savage Hebrews, was a retrogression, a turning back toward savagism. They found it sanctioned in the holy book in use by the most civilized nations of the earth, and they felt themselves able to make
|p. 160||it appear
plausible. If any had the right to adopt part of the bible as their rule
of conduct, accepting it all as true, they claimed the right to adopt the
whole of it for their rule of conduct if they chose. It was civilization,
and not the holy scriptures, that forbade polygamy, and they cared very
little comparatively for civilization.
Finally, on the 12th of July, 1843, while the chief men of the church were thinking the matter over, though saying little even among themselves, it is stated that there came to Joseph a revelation, the last of the prophet's revelations of which there is any record.
"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; as also Moses, David, and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principles and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines: Behold! and lo, I am the Lord thy God. and will answer thee, as touching this matter.
"Abraham received concubines, and they bare him children, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also, and Jacob, did none other things than that which they were commanded. David also received many wives and concubines, as also Solomon, and Moses, my servant, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time, and in nothing did they sin, save in those things which they received not of me.
"David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me, save in the case of Uriah and his wife: and, therefore, he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.
|p. 161|| "Verily,
I say unto you, a commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your
wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself, and partake not
of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the
Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an
offering at your hand by convenant and sacrifice; and let mine handmaid,
Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph,
and who are virtuous and pure before me.
"And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. And again, verily, I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses, and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses, wherein she hath trespassed against me; and I, the Lord thy God, will bless her and multiply her, and make her heart to rejoice.
"And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood: if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent; and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then he is justified; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that belonging unto him, and to none else; and if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore he is justified."
It is said that as early as 1831 the will of the Lord in this respect had been revealed to Joseph. In translating the bible he had come upon the passages relating to plural wives and concubines, and had inquired of the Lord what he should do. He was told to wait, and not make the matter public then, the people not yet having faith to receive it. It was one of the severest trials the church had yet been called upon to undergo, and the wisest circumspection was necessary lest Joseph should be repudiated by his followers
|p. 162||as a false prophet.
So he approached persons singly, first the man of the family and then the
woman. In 1841 Joseph began to take to himself plural wives, and his
example was followed by some of the others. Finally, in order that all
might know that he was not acting on his own responsibility alone, the
revelation came, sanctioning and enforcing the system. This, as I have
given it, is the orthodox and authorized explanation of the matter.
Thus came to the saints the doctrine of polygamy, first to the leaders and for a time kept secret, and finally to the whole church, as one of its most prominent tenets.18 For years it was known only to a few, and it was not formally promulgated until after the great exodus, when the church had become well established in the valleys of the Yutas.19
There were several reasons for adopting this course. First, the hate and obloquy which would be engendered by its publication, and the wide-spread and bitter opposition it would meet. The work of missionaries in the field would greatly suffer. Many in the church would oppose it; women would rebel, while their sisters throughout christendom would hold them in derision. It was all so new and strange. Even in theory it was startling enough; but put it in practice, and who could foretell the result? The very foundations of
18John Hyde mentions a previous revelation. He says that about the year 1838 'Smith pretended to obtain a revelation from God authorizing him to practise polygamy, and began to practise it accordingly.' Mormonism, 203. See also Slater's Mormonism, 84, and Deseret News, Oct. 22, 1879. There is no truth whatever in this assertion. And yet John Hyde is regarded as pretty good authority; but in this loose way thousands of false statements have been made regarding the secrets of the saints.
19This revelation was first published in the Deseret News in 1852, and next in the Millennial Star at Liverpool, England, in 1853. It is given entire elsewhere in this volume. The Edinburgh Review of April 1854, 335, says, 'Not many months have yet passed since the Mormon leaders have decided on a bolder policy and have publicly avowed this portion of the system,' which shows that the fact of publication was not generally known to the gentile European world until two years after the official notice in Salt Lake City appeared. epics of it will also be found in Doc. and Cov., 423-32; Young's Wife No. 19, 77-86; Ferris' Utah and the Mormons, app.; Burton's City of the Saints, 451-7; Tucker's Mormonism, 172-82; Smith's Rise, Prog. and Travels, 42-8; Pearl of Great Price, 64-70; Stenhouse's Tell It All, 135-8; and Stenhouse's Exposé of Polygamy, 207-15.
|p. 163||the church might
thereby be broken up. If it must needs be, then let discretion be used.
Let the matter be broken to the church as it is able to receive it; let
the system be introduced gradually, and practised secretly; by the chief
men at first, and later by all.20
It was indeed a heavy load that the saints thus took upon themselves, willingly or unwillingly, in the service of God or in the service of Satan. Up to this
20It is denied by some that polygamy was practised by the Mormons at this date. In the Deseret News of Oct. 22, 1879, are several statements under oath to the effect that between 1840 and 1843 Joseph taught the doctrine of celestial or plural marriage, that several women were sealed to him according to this doctrine, and this with the consent of Joseph's wife, Emma Smith. On the other hand, it is stated in the Salt Lake City Tribune, Oct. 3, 1879, that Emma denied that her husband was ever married to another, or that, so far as she knew, he ever had improper relations with any woman. Elder Pratt reported at Plano, Ill., in the summer of 1878, several instances of Joseph's having had wives sealed to him, one at least as early as April 5, 1841. 'Smith introduced (at Nauvoo) the system of spiritual wifeism, and had largely increased his household by celestial ensealment. This was the preliminary step of polygamy, or its practical adoption, though it had not yet been revealed as a tenet in the Mormon creed.' Tucker's Mormonism, 170. The revelation was written after he had taken other wives. Stenhouse's Exposé of Polygamy, 70. Jos. Smith adopts it and is sealed to Eliza Snow. Tullidge's Life of Young, Suppl. 22. In a letter to the Deseret News, Oct. 22, 1879, Eliza R. Snow signs her name as 'a wife of Joseph Smith the prophet.' 'Brigham Young delivered over to Jo Smith all his wives except one, and soon after Smith had a revelation that Young should be his successor as head of the church.' Slater's Mormonism, 84. John D. Lee says: 'I understood that Brig. Young's wife was sealed to Joseph. After his death Brig. Young told me that Joseph's time on earth was short, and that the Lord allowed him privileges that we could not have.' Mormonism, 147. Jos. Smith had taken some more wives, but the revelation required that he should do it without publicity (for fear of the mob). Richards' Reminiscences, MS., 18. 'Joseph Smith lost his life entirely through attempting to persuade a Mrs Dr Foster, at Nauvoo, that it was the will of God she should become his spiritual wife; not to the exclusion of her husband, Dr Foster, but only to become his in time for eternity. This nefarious offer she confessed to her husband. Some others of a similar nature were discovered, and Dr Foster, William Law, and others began to expose Smith. Their paper was burned, type and press demolished, for which Smith was arrested, and afterward shot by Missourians, at Carthage, Ill.' Hyde's Mormonism, 85.
'Smith and Noble repaired by night to the banks of the Mississippi, where Noble's sister was sealed to Smith by Noble, said the latter to another woman by Smith. These were the first plural marriages, and a son born to Noble the first child born in polygamy.' Young's Wife No. 19, 72-3. 'That polygamy existed at Nauvoo, and is now a mater scarcely attempted to be concealed among the Mormons, is certain.' Gunnison's Mormons, 120. On the other side, in Times and Seasons, iv. 143 (March 15, 1843), we read, 'The charge of advocating a plurality of wives is as false as the many other ridiculous charges brought against us.' In Id., v. 474 (March 15, 1844), Hyrum Smith declares that no such doctrine is taught or practised; and on p. 715 it is declared that 'the law of the land and the rules of the church do not allow one man to have more than one wife alive at once.' For additional denials by Parley Pratt, John Taylor, and others, see S. L. Tribune, Nov. 11, 1879.
|p. 164||time, though
citizens of the commonwealth, they had not been in sympathy with other
citizens; though religionists, they were in deadly opposition to all other
religions; as a fraternity, bound by friendly compact, not alone
spiritually but in temporal matters, in buying and selling, in
town-building, farming, and stock-raising, in all trades and manufactures,
they stood on vantage-ground. They were stronger than their immediate
neighbors—stronger socially, politically, and industrially; and the
people about them felt this, and while hating, feared them.
It is true, that on their first arrival in Zion they were not wealthy; neither were their neighbors. They were not highly educated or refined or cultured; neither were their neighbors. They were sometimes loud and vulgar of speech: so were their neighbors. Immorality cropped out in certain quarters; so it did among the ancient Corinthians and the men of modern Missouri; there was some thieving among them; but they were no more immoral or dishonest than their persecutors who made war on them, and as they thought without a shadow of right.
There is no doubt that among the Mormons as among the gentiles, perhaps among the Mormon leaders as among the gentile leaders, fornication and adultery were practised. It has been so in other ages and nations, in every age and nation; it is so now, and is likely to be so till the end of the world. But when the testimony on both sides is carefully weighed, it must be admitted that the Mormons in Missouri and Illinois were, as a class, a more moral, honest, temperate, hard-working, self-denying, and thrifty people than the gentiles by whom they were surrounded. Says John D. Lee on entering the Missouri fraternity and, at the time of this remarking, by no means friendly to the saints, "The motives of the people who composed my neighborhood were pure; they were all sincere in their devotions, and tried to square their actions through life by the golden rule…The
|p. 165||word of a Mormon
was then good for all it was pledged to or for. I was proud to be an
associate with such honorable people." And thus Colonel Kane, a
disinterested observer, and not a Mormon: As compared with the other
"border inhabitants of Missouri, the vile scum which our society,
like the great ocean, washes upon its frontier shores," the saints
were "persons of refined and cleanly habits and decent
Nevertheless the sins of the entire section must be visited on them. Were there any robberies for miles around, they were charged by their enemies upon the Mormons; were there any house-burnings or assassinations anywhere among the gentiles, it was the Danites who did it. Of all that has been laid at their door I find little proved against them. The charges are general, and preferred for the most part by irresponsible men; in answer to them they refer us to the records. On the other hand, the outrages of their enemies are easily followed; for they are not denied, but are rather gloried in by the perpetrators. To shoot a Mormon was indeed a distinction coveted by the average gentile citizen of Illinois and Missouri, and was no more regarded as a crime than the shooting of a Blackfoot or Pawnee. Of course the Mormons retaliated.
Polygamy was a heavy load in one sense; in another sense it was a bond of strength. While in the eyes of the world its open avowal placed the saints outside the pale of respectability, and made them amenable to the law, among themselves as law-breakers, openly defying the law, and placing themselves and their religion above all law, the very fact of being thus legal offenders, subject to the penalties and punishments of the law, brought the members of the society so acting into closer relationship, cementing them as a sect, and making them more dependent on each other and on their leaders. It is plain that while thus bringing upon themselves ignominy and reproach,
|p. 166||while laying
themselves open to the charge of being law-breakers, and assuming an
attitude of defiance toward the laws and institutions of the country in
which they lived, this bond of sympathy, of criminality if you will,
particularly when made a matter of conscience, when recognized as a
mandate from the almighty, higher than any human law, and in whose
obedience God himself was best pleased, and would surely afford
protection, could but prove in the end a bond of strength, particularly if
permitted to attain age and respectability among themselves, and assume
the form of a concrete principle and of sacred obligation.
If instead of falling back upon the teachings of the old testament, and adopting the questionable practices of the half-civilized Jews; if instead of taking for their models Abraham, David, and Solomon, the saints at Nauvoo had followed the advice of Paul to the saints at Ephesus, putting away fornication and all uncleanness, and walking worthy of their vocation, in all lowliness and meekness, as children of light, they would probably have remained in their beautiful city, and come into the inheritance of their Missouri Zion as had been prophesied. Had they consulted more closely the signs of the times, had they been less orthodox in their creed, less patriarchal in their practices, less biblical in their tenets, less devoted in their doctrines—in a word, had they followed more closely the path of worldly wisdom, and, like opposing christian sects, tempered religion with civilization, giving up the worst parts of religion for the better parts of civilization, I should not now be writing their history, as one with the history of Utah.
But now was brought upon them this overwhelming issue, which howsoever it accorded with ancient scripture teachings, and as they thought with the rights of man, was opposed to public sentiment, and to the conscience of all civilized nations. Forever after they must have this mighty obstacle to contend with; forever
|p. 167||after they must
live under the ban of the christian world; though, with unshaken faith in
their prophet and his doctrine of spiritual wedlock, they might scorn the
world's opinion, and in all sincerity and singleness of heart thank God
that they were accounted worthy to have all manner of evil spoken of them
During this period of probation the church deemed it advisable to deny the charge, notably by Elder Pratt in a public sermon, and also by Joseph Smith. "Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again."21 In the Times and Seasons of February 1, 1844, we have a notice signed by Joseph and Hyrum Smith: "As we have lately been credibly informed that an elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Hiram Brown, has been preaching polygamy and other false and corrupt doctrines in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan, this is to notify him and the church in general that he has been cut of from the church for his iniquity."
Notwithstanding these solemn denials and denunciations in high places, the revelation and the practices which it sanctioned were not easily concealed.22 As yet, however, the calumny of the gentiles and the bickering of the saints vexed not the soul of Joseph. He was now in the zenith of his fame and power; his followers in Europe and America numbered
21Doctrine and Covenants, app. 331.
22'It is believed,' writes Governor Ford not long afterward to the Illinois legislature, 'that Joseph Smith had announced a revelation from heaven sanctioning polygamy, by some kind of spiritual-wife system, which I never could well understand; but at any rate, whereby a man was allowed one wife in pursuance of the laws of the country, and an indefinite number of others, to be enjoyed in some mystical and spiritual mode; and that he himself, and many of his followers, had practised upon the precepts of this revelation, by seducing a large number of women.' Message to Ill. Sen.; 14th Ass. 1st Sess., 6. A copy of Ford's message will be found in Utah Tracts, no. 11.
more than a hundred thousand; his fortune was estimated at a million dollars; he was commander-in-chief of the Nauvoo Legion, a body of troops "which," remarks an artillery officer, from his own observation, "would do honor to any body of armed militia in any of the states, and approximates very closely to our regular forces;" he was mayor of the city; and now, as the crowning point of his earthly glory, he was announced in February 1844 as a candidate for the presidency of the United States, while Sidney Rigdon was named for vice-president. Whether this was done for effect or in earnest is somewhat doubtful, for it appears that the prophet's head was a little turned about this time; but it is certain that the people of Illinois and Missouri believed him to be in earnest. Addressing letters to Clay and Calhoun, near the close of 1843, he asked each of them what would be his rule of action toward the Mormons as a people should he be elected to the presidency. The reply in both cases was non-committal and unsatisfactory;23 whereupon Joseph issues an address setting forth his views on the government and policy of the United States, and foreshadows his own policy, in which we find many excellent features and many absurdities. "No honest man can doubt. for a moment," he says, "but the glory of American liberty is on the wane; and that calamity and confusion will sooner or later destroy the peace of the people. Speculators will urge a national bank as a savior of credit and comfort. A hireling pseudo-priesthood will plausibly push abolition doctrines and doings and 'human rights' into congress, 'and into every other place where conquest smells of fame or opposition swells to popularity."24
23Copies of the correspondence may be found in Times and Sections, v. 393-6, 544-8; Mackay's The Mormons, 151-62; Olshausen, Geschichte der Mormonen, 202-19.
24'Now, oh people !' he continues, 'turn unto the Lord and live; and reform this nation. Frustrate the designs of wicked men. Reduce congress at least one half. Two senators from a state and two members to a million of population will do more business than the army that now occupy the halls (cont.)
|p. 169|| The
aspirations of the prophet, pretended or otherwise, to the highest office
in the republic, together with renewed, and at this juncture exceedingly
dangerous, claims, pointing toward almost universal empire,25
brought upon him afresh the rage of the surrounding gentile populace, and
resulted in an awful tragedy, the circumstances of which I am now about to
relate. "The great cause of popular fury," writes Governor Ford
shortly after the occurrence, "was that the Mormons at several
preceding elections had cast their vote as a unit; thereby making the
fact; apparent that no one could aspire to the honors or offices of the
country, within the sphere of their influence, without their approbation
Indeed, a myriad of evils about this time befell the church, all portending bloody destruction. There were
(24cont.) of the national legislature. Pay them two dollars and their board per diem, except Sundays; that is more than the farmer gets, and he lives honestly. Curtail the offices of government in pay, number, and power, for the philistine lords have shorn our nation of its goodly locks in the lap of Delilah. Petition your state legislature to pardon every convict in their several penitentiaries, blessing them as they go, and saying to them in the name of the Lord, Go thy way and sin no more…Petition also, ye goodly inhabitants of the slave states, your legislators to abolish slavery by the year 1850, or now, and save the abolitionist from reproach and ruin, infamy and shame. Pray congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands, and from the deduction of pay from the members of congress…Give every man his constitional freedom, and the president full power to send an army to suppress mobs; and the states authority to repeal and impugn that relic of folly which makes it necessary for the governor of a state to make the demand of the president for troops in cases of invasion or rebellion. The governor himself may be a mobber, and instead of being punished as he should be for murder and treason, he may destroy the very lives, rights, and property he should protect. Like the good Samaritan, send every lawyer as soon as he repents and obeys the ordinances of heaven, to preach the gospel to the destitute, without purse or scrip, pouring in the oil and the wine…Were I the president of the United States, by the voice of a virtuous people, I would honor the old paths of the venerated fathers of freedom; I would walk in the tracks of the illustrious patriots, who carried the ark of the government upon their shoulders with an eye single to the glory of the people… When a neighboring realm petitioned to join the union of the sons of liberty, my voice would be, Come; yea, come Texas; come Mexico; come Canada; and come all the world—let us be brethren; let us be one great family; and let there be universal peace.' A full copy of the address is given in Times and Seasons, 528-533; Mackay's The Mormons, 141-51; Remy's Jour. to G. S. L. City, 353-71.
25Two months after announcing himself a candidate for the presidency, Joseph again publicly declared that all America, from north to south, constituted the Zion of the saints, theirs by right of heavenly inheritance.
|p. 170||suits and
counter-suits at law; arrests and rearrests; schisms, apostasies, and
expulsions; charges one against another of vice and immorality, Joseph
himself being implicated. Here was one elder unlawfully trying his hand at
revelations, and another preaching polygamy. Many there were whom it was
necessary not only to cut off from the church, but to eradicate with their
evil influences from society. Among the prophet's most inveterate enemies
were William Law, who sought to betray Smith into the hands of the
Missourians, and almost succeeded—Doctor Foster and Francis M. Higbee,
who dealt in scandal, charging Joseph, Hyrum, Sidney, and others with
seducing women, and having more wives than one. Suits of this kind brought
by the brethren against each other, but more particularly by the leaders
against high officials, were pending in the Nauvoo municipal court for
over two years.
Early in June 1844 was issued the first number of the Nauvoo Expositor, the publishers being apostate Mormons and gentiles.26 The primary object of the publication was to stir up strife in the church, and aid its enemies in their work of attempted extermination. Its columns were at once filled with foul abuse of the prophet and certain elders of the church, assailing their character by means of affidavits, and charging them with all manner of public and private crimes, and abusing and misrepresenting the people. The city council met, and pronouncing the journal a nuisance, ordered its abatement. Joseph Smith being mayor, it devolved on him to see the order executed, and he issued instruction to the city marshal and the policemen accordingly. The officers of the law forthwith entered the premises, and destroyed
26In Remy's Jour. to G. S. Lake City, i. 388, it is stated that, among others, a renegade catholic priest, J. H. Jackson by name, 'conceived the idea of starting at Nauvoo a newspaper called the Expositor, with the avowed object of opposing the Mormons.' I find no confirmation of this statement. The first number of the Nauvoo Neighbor had been issued May 3, 1843, in place of the Wasp, suspended.
|p. 171||the establishment,
tearing down the presses and throwing the type into the street.27
For this act the proprietors obtained from the authorities of the town of
Carthage, some twenty miles distant, a warrant for the arrest of Joseph
Smith, which was placed in the hands of the Carthage constable to be
It was a proceeding not at all to the taste of the Mormons that their mayor should be summoned for misdemeanor before the magistrate of another town, and Smith refused to go. He was willing to be tried before a state tribunal. Meanwhile the offenders were brought before the municipal court of Nauvoo, on a writ of habeas corpus, and after examination were discharged. The cry was then raised throughout the country that Joseph Smith and associates, public offenders, ensconced among their troops in the stronghold of Nauvoo, defied the law, refusing to respond to the call of justice; whereupon the men of Illinois, to the number of two or three thousand, some coming even from Missouri, rallied to the support of the Carthage constable, and stood ready, as they said, not only to arrest Joe Smith, but to burn his town and kill every man, woman, and child in it.
As the forces of the enemy enlarged and grew yet more and more demonstrative in their wrath, the town prepared for defence, the Nauvoo Legion being called out and placed under arms, by instructions from Governor Ford to Joseph Smith, as general in command. This gave rise to a report that they were about to make a raid on the neighboring gentile settlements.28
27Letter of John S. Fullmer to the New York Herald, dated Nauvoo, Oct. 30, 1844 (but not published until several years later). A copy of it will be found in Utah Tracts, ix. p. 7. Smith had been elected mayor on the resignation of John C. Bennett April 19, 1842. Mackay, The Mormons, 168, says 'A body of the prophet's adherents, to the number of two hundred and upward, sallied forth in obedience to this order and proceeding to the office of the Expositor, speedily razed it to the ground.' Remy states that 'an order to destroy the journal signed by Joseph was immediately put into execution by a police officer, who proceeded the same day to break up the presses.' Journey, i. 389. Ford declares that the marshal aided by a portion of the legion executed his warrant by destroying the press and scattering the type and other materials of the office. Message to Ill. Sen., 14th Ass. 1st Sess., 4.
28'At a meeting of the citizens of Hancock co. held at Carthage, on the (cont.)
|p. 172||In consequence of
these rumors and counter-rumors the governor went to Carthage. Previous to
this, frequent communications were sent to him at Springfield by Joseph
Smith, informing him of the position of affairs in and around Nauvoo. The
governor in his History of Illinois, referring to these times,
writes: "These also were the active men in blowing up the fury of the
people, in hopes that a popular movement might be set on foot, which would
result in the expulsion or extermination of the Mormon voters. For this
purpose public meetings had been called, inflammatory speeches had been
made, exaggerated reports had been extensively circulated, committees had
been appointed, who rode night and day to spread the reports and solicit
the aid of neighboring counties, and at a public meeting at Warsaw
resolutions were passed to expel or exterminate the Mormon population.
This was not, however, a movement which was unanimously concurred in. The
county contained a goodly number of inhabitants in favor of peace, or who
at least desired to be neutral in such a contest. These were stigmatized
by the name of Jack Mormons, and there were not a few of the more furious
exciters of the people who openly expressed their intention to involve
them in the common expulsion or extermination."
Thomas Ford, governor of Illinois, was as a man rather above the average politician usually chosen among these American states to fill that position. Not specially clear-headed, and having no brain power to spare, he was quite respectable and had some conscience, as is frequently the case with mediocre men. He had a good heart, too, was in no wise vindictive, and though he was in no sense a strong man, his sense of right and equity could be quite stubborn upon occasion.
(28cont.) 6th inst, it was resolved to call in the people of the surrounding counties and states, to assist them in delivering up Joe Smith, if the governor of Illinois refused to comply with the requisition of the governor of Missouri. The meeting determined to avenge with blood any assaults made upon citizens by the Mormons. It was also resolved to refuse to obey officers elected by the Mormons, who have complete control of the country, being a numerical majority.' Missouri Reporter, in Niles Register, lxv. 70, Sept. 30, 1843.
|p. 173||Small in body, he
was likewise small in mind; indeed, there was a song current at the time
that there was no room in his diminutive organism for such a thing as a
soul. Nevertheless, though bitterly censured by some of the Mormons, I do
not think Ford intended to do them wrong. That he did not believe all the
rumors to their discredit is clearly shown in his statement of what was
told him during the days he was at Carthage. He says: "A system of
excitement and agitation was artfully planned and executed with tact. It
consisted in spending reports and rumors of the most fearful character. As
examples: On the morning before my arrival at Carthage, I was awakened at
an early hour by the frightful report, which was asserted with confidence
and apparent consternation, that the Mormons had already commenced the
work of burning, destruction, and murder, and that every man capable of
bearing arms was instantly wanted at Carthage for the protection of the
county. We lost no time in starting; but when we arrived at Carthage we
could hear no more concerning this story. Again, during the few days that
the militia were encamped at Carthage, frequent applications were made to
me to send a force here, and a force there, and a force all about the
country, to prevent murders, robberies, and larcenies which, it was said,
were threatened by the Mormons. No such forces were sent, nor were any
such offences committed at that time, except the stealing of some
provisions, and there was never the least proof that this was done by a
On the morning to which he refers, the report was brought to him with the usual alarming accompaniments of fears being expressed of frightful carnage, and the like. Hastily dressing, he assured the crowd collected outside of the house in which he had lodged that they need have no uneasiness respecting the matter, for he was very sure he could settle the difficulty peaceably. The Mormon prophet knew him well,
|p. 174||and would trust
him. What he purposed doing was to demand the surrender of Joseph Smith
and others. He wished them to promise him that they would lend their
assistance to protect the prisoners from violence, which they agreed to
After his arrival at Carthage the governor sent two men to Nauvoo as a committee to wait on Joseph Smith, informing him of his arrival, with a request that Smith would inform him in relation to the difficulties that then existed in the county. Dr J. M. Bernhisel and Elder John Taylor were appointed as a committee by Smith, and furnished with affidavits and documents in relation both to the proceedings of the Mormons and those of the mob; in addition to the general history of the transaction they took with them a duplicate of those documents which had previously been forwarded by Bishop Hunter, Elder James, and others. This committee waited on the governor, who expressed an opinion that Joseph Smith and all parties concerned in passing or executing the city law in relation to the press had better come to Carthage; however repugnant it might be to their feelings, he thought it would have a tendency to allay public excitement, and prove to the people what they professed, that they wished to be governed by law. The next day the constable and a force of ten men were despatched to Nauvoo to make the arrests. The accused were told that if they surrendered they would be protected; otherwise the whole force of the state would be called out, if necessary, to take them.
Upon the arrival of the constable and his posse, the mayor and the members of the city council declared that they were willing to surrender. Eight o'clock was the hour appointed, but the accused failed to make their appearance; whereupon the constable returned, and reported that they had fled. The governor was of opinion that the constable's action was part of a plot to get the troops into Nauvoo and exterminate the Mormons. He called a council of officers and proposed to
|p. 175||march on the town
with the small force under his command, but was dissuaded. He hesitated to
make a further call on the militia, as the harvest was nigh and the men
were needed to gather it. Meanwhile, ascertaining that the Mormons had
three pieces of cannon and two hundred and fifty stand of arms belonging
to the state, the possession of which gave offence to the gentiles, he
demanded a surrender of the state arms, again promising protection.
On the 24th of June29 Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the members of the council, and all others demanded, proceeded to Carthage, gave themselves up, and were charged with riot. All entered into recognizances before the justice of the peace to appear for trial, and were released from custody. Joseph and Hyrum, however, were rearrested, and, says Ford, were charged with overt treason, having ordered out the legion to resist the posse comitatus, though, as he states, the degree of their crime would depend on circumstances. The governor's views on this matter are worthy of note. "The overt act of treason charged against them," he remarks, "consisted in the alleged levying of war against the state by declaring martial law in Nauvoo, and in ordering out the legion to resist the posse comitatus. Their actual guiltiness of the charge would depend upon circumstances. If their opponents had been seeking to put the law in force in good faith, and nothing more, then an array of a military force in open resistance to the posse comitatus and the militia of the state most probably would have amounted to treason. But if those opponents merely intended to use the process of the law, the militia of the state, and the posse comitatus as cat's-paws to compass the possession of their persons for the purpose of murdering them afterward, as the
29Report, ut supra, 10-11. In Times and Seasons, v. 560, it is stated that 'on Monday, June 24th, after Ford had sent word that eighteen persons demanded on a warrant, among whom were Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith, should be protected by the militia of the state, they in company with ten or twelve others start for Carthage.'
|p. 176||sequel demonstrated
the fact to be, it might well be doubted whether they were guilty of
With the Nauvoo Legion at their back, the two brothers voluntarily placed themselves in the power of the governor who, demanding and accepting their surrender, though doubting their guilt, nevertheless declared that they were not his prisoners, but the prisoners of the constable and jailer. Leaving two companies to guard the jail, he disbanded the main body of his troops, and proceeding to Nauvoo, addressed the people, beseeching them to abide by the law. "They claimed," he says, "to be a law-abiding people; and insisted that as they looked to the law alone for their protection, so were they careful themselves to observe its provisions. Upon the conclusion of my address, I proposed to take a vote on the question, whether they would strictly observe the laws, even in opposition to their prophet and leaders. The vote was unanimous in favor of this proposition." The governor then set forth for Carthage, and such in substance is his report when viewed in the most favorable light.30
It is related that as Joseph set forth to deliver himself up to the authorities he exclaimed: "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offence toward God and toward all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me, He was murdered in cold blood."31 Nevertheless, for a moment he hesitated. Should he offer himself a willing sacrifice, or should he endeavor to escape out of their hands? Thus meditating, he crossed the river thinking
30Message, ut supra. The above appear to be the facts of the case, so far as they can be sifted from a lengthy report, which consists mainly of apology or explanation of what the governor did or left undone.
31Smith's Doc. and Cov., app. 335. The same morning he read in the fifth chapter of Ether, 'And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me, If they have not charity it mattereth not unto you, thou hast been faithful; wherefore thy garments are clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness, thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my father.'
|p. 177||to depart. On
reaching the opposite bank he turned and gazed upon the beautiful city,
the holy city, his own hallowed creation, the city of Joseph, with its
shining temple, its busy hum of industry, and its thousand happy homes.
And they were his people who were there, his very own, given to him of
God; and he loved them! Were he to leave them now, to abandon them in this
time of danger, they would be indeed as sheep without a shepherd,
stricken, and scattered, and robbed, and butchered by the destroyer. No,
he could not do it. Better die than to abandon them thus! So he recrossed
the river, saying to his brother Hyrum, "Come, let us go together,
and let God determine what we shall do or suffer."
Bidding their families and friends adieu, the two brothers set out for Carthage. Their hearts were very heavy. There was dire evil abroad; the air was oppressive, and the sun shot forth malignant rays. Once more they returned to their people; once more they embraced their wives and kissed their children, as if they knew, alas! that they should never see them again.
The party reached Carthage about midnight, and on the following day the troops were formed in line, and Joseph and Hyrum passed up and down in company with the governor, who showed them every respect—either as guests or victims—introducing them as military officers under the title of general. Present were the Carthage Greys, who showed signs of mutiny, hooting at and insulting the prisoners—for such in fact they were, being committed to jail the same afternoon until discharged by due course of law.
A few hours later Joseph asked to see the governor, and next morning Ford went to the prison. "All this is illegal," said the former. "It is a purely civil matter, not a question to be settled by force of arms." "I know it," said the governor, "but it is better so; I did not call out this force, but found it assembled; I pledge you my honor, however, and the faith and honor of
|p. 178||the state, that no
harm shall come to you while undergoing this imprisonment." The
governor took his departure on the morning of the 27th of June. Scarcely
was he well out of the way when measures were taken for the consummation
of a most damning deed. The prison was guarded by eight men detailed from
the Carthage Greys, their company being in camp on the public square a
quarter of a mile distant, while another company under Williams, also the
sworn enemies of the Mormons, was encamped eight miles away, there
awaiting the development of events.
It was a little after five o'clock in the evening. Joseph and Hyrum Smith were confined in an upper room. With the prisoners were John Taylor and Willard Richards, other friends having withdrawn a few moments before. At this juncture a band of a hundred and fifty armed men with painted faces appeared before the jail, and presently surrounded it. The guard shouted vociferously and fired their guns over the heads of the assailants, who paid not the slightest attention to them.32 I give what followed from Burton's City of the Saints, being the statement of President John Taylor, who was present and wounded on the occasion.
"I was sitting at one of the front windows of the jail, when I saw a number of men, with painted faces, coming around the corner of the jail, and aiming toward the stairs. The other brethren had seen the same, for, as I went to the door, I found Brother Hyrum Smith and Dr Richards already leaning against it. They both pressed against the door with their shoulders to prevent its being opened, as the lock and latch were comparatively useless. While in this position, the mob, who had come up stairs, and tried to open the door, probably thought it was
32Littlefield says the Carthage Greys were marched in a body, 'within about eight rods of the jail, where they halted, in plain view of the whole transaction, until the deed was executed.' Narrative, 9.
|p. 179||locked, and fired a
ball through the keyhole; at this Dr Richards and Brother Hyrum leaped
back from the door, with their faces toward it; almost instantly another
ball passed through the panel of the door, and struck Brother Hyrum on the
left side of the nose, entering his face and head. At the same instant,
another ball from the outside entered his back, passing through his body
and striking his watch. The ball came from the back, through the jail
window, opposite the door, and must, from its range, have been fired from
the Carthage Greys, who were placed there ostensibly for our protection,
as the balls from the fire-arms, shot close by the jail, would have
entered the ceiling, we being in the second story, and there never was a
time after that when Hyrum could have received the latter wound.
Immediately, when the balls struck him, he fell flat on his back, crying
as he fell, 'I am a dead man!' He never moved afterward.
"I shall never forget the deep feeling of sympathy and regard manifested in the countenance of Brother Joseph as he drew nigh to Hyrum, and, leaning over him, exclaimed, 'Oh! my poor, dear brother Hyrum!' He, however, instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Wheelock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterward understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed, died.33 I had in my hands a large, strong hickory stick, brought there by Brother Markham, and left by him, which I had seized as soon as I saw the mob approach; and while Brother Joseph was firing the pistol, I stood close behind him. As soon
33'He wounded three of them, two mortally, one of whom, as he rushed down out of the door, was asked if he was badly hurt. He replied, "Yes; my arm is shot all to pieces by old Joe; but I don't care, I've got revenge; and I shot Hyrum!"' Id., 11.
|p. 180||as he had
discharged it he stepped back, and I immediately took his place next to
the door, while he occupied the one I had done while he was shooting.
Brother Richards, at this time, had a knotty walking-stick in his hands
belonging to me, and stood next to Brother Joseph, a little farther from
the door, in an oblique direction, apparently to avoid the rake of the
fire from the door. The firing of Brother Joseph made our assailants pause
for a moment; very soon after, however, they pushed the door some distance
open, and protruded and discharged their guns into the room, when I
parried them off with my stick, giving another direction to the balls.
"It certainly was a terrible scene: streams of fire as thick as my arm passed by me as these men fired, and, unarmed as we were, it looked like certain death. I remember feeling as though my time had come, but I do not know when, in any critical position, I was more calm, unruffled, energetic, and acted with more promptness and decision. It certainly was far from pleasant to be so near the muzzles of those fire-arms as they belched forth their liquid flames and deadly balls. While I was engaged in parrying the guns, Brother Joseph said, 'That's right, Brother Taylor, parry them off as well as you can.' These were the last words I ever heard him speak on earth.
"Every moment the crowd at the door became more dense, as they were unquestionably pressed on by those in the rear ascending the stairs, until the whole entrance at the door was literally crowded with muskets and rifles, which, with the swearing, shouting, and demoniacal expressions of those outside the door and on the stairs, and the firing of the guns, mingled with their horrid oaths and execrations, made it look like pandemonium let loose, and was, indeed, a fit representation of the horrid deed in which they were engaged.
"After parrying the guns for some time, which now protruded thicker and farther into the room, and
|p. 181||seeing no hope of escape or protection there, as we were now unarmed, it occurred to me that we might have some friends outside, and that there might be some chance to escape in that direction, but here there seemed to be none. As I expected them every moment to rush into the room—nothing but extreme cowardice having thus far kept them out—as the tumult and pressure increased, without any other hope, I made a spring for the window which was right in front of the jail door, where the mob was standing, and also exposed to the fire of the Carthage Greys, who were stationed some ten or twelve rods off. The weather was hot, we had our coats off, and the window was raised to admit air. As I reached the window, and was on the point of leaping out, I was struck by a ball from the door about midway of my thigh, which struck the bone and flattened out almost to the size of a quarter of a dollar, and then passed on through the fleshy part to within about half an inch of the outside. I think some prominent nerve must have been severed or injured, for, as soon as the ball struck me, I fell like a bird when shot, or an ox when struck by a butcher, and lost entirely and instantaneously all power of action or locomotion. I fell upon the window-sill, and cried out, 'I am shot!' Not possessing any power to move, I felt myself falling outside of the window, but immediately I fell inside, from some, at that time, unknown cause. When I struck the floor my animation seemed restored, as I have seen it sometimes in squirrels and birds after being shot. As soon as I felt the power of motion I crawled under the bed, which was in a corner of the room, not far from the window where I received my wound. While on my way and under the bed I was wounded in three other places; one ball entered a little below the left knee, and never was extracted; another entered the forepart of my left arm, a little above the wrist, and passing down by the joint, lodged in the fleshy part of my hand, about|
|p. 182||midway, a little
above the upper joint of my little finger; another struck me on the fleshy
part of my left hip, and tore away the flesh as large as my hand, dashing
the mangled fragments of flesh and blood against the wall.
"It would seem that immediately after my attempt to leap out of the window, Joseph also did the same thing, of which circumstance I have no knowledge only from information. The first thing that I noticed was a cry that he had leaped out of the window. A cessation of firing followed, the mob rushed down stairs, and Dr. Richards went to the window. Immediately afterward I saw the doctor going toward the jail door, and as there was an iron door at the head of the stairs adjoining our door which led into the cells for criminals, it struck me that the doctor was going in there, and I said to him, 'Stop, doctor, and take me along.' He proceeded to the door and opened it, and then returned and dragged me along to a small cell prepared for criminals.
"Brother Richards was very much troubled, and exclaimed, 'Oh! Brother Taylor, is it possible that they have killed both Brothers Hyrum and Joseph? it cannot surely be, and yet I saw them shoot them;' and, elevating his hands two or three times, he exclaimed, 'Oh Lord, my God, spare thy servants!' He then said, 'Brother Taylor, this is a terrible event;' and he dragged me farther into the cell, saying, 'I am sorry I can not do better for you;' and, taking an old filthy mattress, he covered me with it, and said, 'That may hide you, and you may yet live to tell the tale, but I expect they will kill me in a few moments.' While lying in this position I suffered the most excruciating pain. Soon afterward Dr. Richards came to me, informed me that the mob had precipitately fled, and at the same time confirmed my worst fears that Joseph was assuredly dead." It appears that Joseph, thus murderously beset and in dire extremity, rushed to the window and threw himself
|p. 183||out, receiving in
the act several shots, and with the cry, "O Lord, my God!" fell
dead to the ground.34 The fiends
were not yet satiated; but setting up the lifeless body of the slain
prophet against the well-curb, riddled it with bullets.35
Where now is the God of Joseph and of Hyrum, that he should permit this most iniquitous butchery? Where are Moroni and Ether and Christ? What mean these latter-day manifestations, their truth and efficacy, if the great high priest and patriarch of the new dispensation can thus be cruelly cut off by wicked men? Practical piety is the doctrine! Prayer
34Joseph dropped his pistol, and sprang into the window; but just as he was preparing to descend, he saw such an array of bayonets below, that he caught by the window casing, where he hung by his hands and feet, with his head to the north, feet to the south, and his body swinging downward. He hung in that position three or four minutes, during which time he exclaimed two or three times, 'O Lord, my God!' and fell to the ground. While he was hanging in that situation, Col. Williams halloed, 'Shoot him! God damn him! shoot the damned rascal!' However, none fired at him. He seemed to fall easy. He struck partly on his right shoulder and back, his neck and head reaching the ground a little before his feet. He rolled instantly on his face. From this position he was taken by a young man who sprung to him from the other side of the fence, who held a pewter fife in his hand, was barefooted and bareheaded, having on no coat, with his pants rolled above his knees, and shirt-sleeves above his elbows. He set President Smith against the south side of the well-curb that was situated a few feet from the jail. While doing this the savage muttered aloud, 'This is old Jo; I know him. I know you, old Jo. Damn you; you are the man that had my daddy shot'—intimating that he was a son of Boggs, and that it was the Missourians who were doing this murder. Littlefield's Narrative, 13.
35After President Taylor's account in Burton's City of the Saints, the best authorities on this catastrophe are: Assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the Prophet and the Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; also a Condensed History of the Expulsion of the Saints from Nauvoo, by Elder John S. Fullmer (of Utah, U.S.A.), Pastor of the Manchester, Liverpool, and Preston Conferences. Liverpool and London, 1855; Message of the Governor of the State of Illinois, in relation to the disturbances in Hancock County, December 23, 1844. Springfield, 1844; Awful assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith; the pledged faith of the State of Illinois stained with innocent blood by a mob, in Times and Seasons, v. 560-75; A Narrative of the Massacre of Joseph and Hyrum Smith by an Outsider and an Eye-witness, in Utah Tracts, i.; and The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith, by Apostle John Taylor, a copy of which is contained in Burton's City of the Saints, 625-67. Brief accounts will be found in Utah Pamphlets, 23; Lee's Mormonism, 152-5; Remy's Jour. to G. S. L. City, 388-96; Hall's Mormonism Exposed, 15-16; Green's Mormonism, 36-7; Tullidge's Women, 297-300; Olshausen, Gesch. der Mor., 100-3; Tucker's Mormonism, 189-92; Mackay's The Mormons, 169-72; Smucker's Hist. Mor., 177-9; Ferris' Utah and Mormons, 120-5, and in other works on Mormonism. In the Atlantic Monthly for Dec. 1869 ia an article entitled 'The Mormon Prophet's Tragedy,' which, however justly it may lay claim to Boston 'smart' writing, so far as the facts are concerned is simply a tissue of falsehoods.
|p. 184||and faith must
cease not though prayer be unanswered; and they ask where was the father
when the son called in Gethsemane? It was foreordained that Joseph and
Hyrum should die for the people; and the more of murder and extermination
on the part of their enemies, the more praying and believing on the part
of saints, and the more praise and exultation in the heavenly inheritance.
The further the credulity of a credulous people is taxed the stronger will be their faith. Many of the saints believed in Joseph; with their whole mind and soul they worshipped him. He was to them as God; he was their deity present upon earth, their savior from evil, and their guide to heaven. Whatever he did, that to his people was right; he could do no wrong, no more than king or pope, no more than Christ or Mahomet. Accordingly they obeyed him without question; and it was this belief and obedience that caused the gentiles to fear and hate. There are still open in the world easier fields than this for new religions, which might recommend themselves as a career to young men laboring under a fancied inexorable necessity.
Whatever else may be said of Joseph Smith, it must be admitted that he was a remarkable man. His course in life was by no means along a flowery path; his death was like that which too often comes to the founder of a religion. What a commentary on the human mind and the human heart, the deeds of those who live for the love of God and man, who die for the love of God and man, who severally and collectively profess the highest holiness, the highest charity, justice, and humanity, higher far than any held by other sect or nation, now or since the world began—how lovely to behold, to write and meditate upon their disputings and disruptions, their cruelties and injustice, their persecutions for opinion's sake, their ravenous hate and bloody butcheries!
|p. 185|| The
founder of Mormonism displayed a singular genius for the work he gave
himself to do. He made thousands. believe in him and in his doctrines,
howsoever good or evil his life, howsoever true or false his teachings.
The less that can be proved the more may be asserted. Any one possessing
the proper abilities may found a religion and make proselytes. His success
will depend not on the truth or falsity of his statements, nor on their
gross absurdity or philosophic refinement, but on the power and skill with
which his propositions are promulgated. If he has not the natural and
inherited genius for this work, though his be otherwise the greatest mind
that ever existed, he is sure to fail. If he has the mental and physical
adaptation for the work, he will succeed, whatever may be his abilities in
There was more in this instance than any consideration short of careful study makes appear: things spiritual and things temporal; the outside world and the inside workings. The prophet's days were full of trouble. His people were often petulant, his elders quarrelsome, his most able followers cautious and captious. While the world scoffed and the neighbors used violence, his high priests were continually asking him for prophecies, and if they were not fulfilled at once and to the letter, they stood ready to apostatize. Many did apostatize; many behaved disgracefully, and brought reproach and enmity upon the cause. Moreover, Joseph was constantly in fear for his life, and though by no means desirous of death, in moments of excitement he often faced danger with apparent indifference as to the results. But without occupying further space with my own remarks, I will give the views of others, who loved or hated him and knew him personally and well.
Of his physique and character, Parley P. Pratt remarks: "President Joseph Smith was in person tall and well built, strong and active; of a light complexion, light hair, blue eyes, very little beard, and of an
|p. 186||expression peculiar
to himself, on which the eye naturally rested with interest, and was never
weary of beholding. His countenance was ever mild, affable, and beaming
with intelligence and benevolence, mingled with a look of interest and an
unconscious smile of cheerfulness, and entirely free from all restraint,
or affectation of gravity; and there was something connected with the
serene and steady, penetrating glance of his eye, as if he would penetrate
the deepest abyss of the human heart, gaze into eternity, penetrate the
heavens, and comprehend all worlds. He possessed a noble boldness and
independence of character; his manner was easy and familiar, his rebuke
terrible as the lion, his benevolence unbounded as the ocean, his
intelligence universal, and his language abounding in original eloquence
peculiar to himself."
And thus a female convert who arrived at Nauvoo a year or two before the prophet's death: "The first time I ever saw Joseph Smith I recognized him from a vision that once appeared to me in a dream. His countenance was like that of an angel, and such as I had never beheld before. He was then thirty-seven years of age, of ordinary appearance in dress and manner, but with a child-like innocence of expression. His hair was of a light brown, his eyes blue, and his complexion light. His natural demeanor was quiet; his character and disposition were formed by his life-work; he was kind and considerate, taking a personal interest in all his people, and considering every one his equal."36
On the other hand, the author of Mormonism Unveiled says: "The extreme ignorance and apparent stupidity of this modern prophet were by his early followers looked upon as his greatest merit, and as furnishing the most incontestable proof of his divine mission…His followers have told us that he could not at the time he was chosen of the Lord even write his own name. But it is obvious that all these deficiencies
36Another account says that at 36 he weighed 212 lbs, stood 6 feet in his pumps, was robust, corpulent, and jovial, but when roused to anger his expression was very severe.
|p. 187||are fully supplied
by a natural genius, strong inventive powers of mind, a deep study, and an
unusually correct estimate of the human passions and feel-rags. In short,
he is now endowed with all the requisite traits of character to pursue
most successfully the humbug which he has introduced. His address is easy,
rather fascinating and winning, of a mild and sober deportment when not
irritated. But he frequently becomes boisterous by the impertinence or
curiosity of the skeptical, and assumes the bravado, instead of adhering
to the meekness which he professes. His followers, of course, can discover
in his very countenance all the certain indications of a divine
One more quotation will serve to show the impression that Joseph Smith's doctrines and discourse made not only on his own followers but on the gentiles, and even on gentile divines. In 1843 a methodist minister, named Prior, visited Nauvoo and was present during a sermon preached by the prophet in the temple. "I took my seat," he remarks, "in a conspicuous place in the congregation, who were waiting in breathless silence for his appearance. While he tarried, I had plenty of time to revolve in my mind the character and common report of that truly singular personage. I fancied that I should behold a countenance sad and sorrowful, yet containing the fiery marks of rage and exasperation. I supposed that I should be enabled to discover in him some of those thoughtful and reserved features, those mystic and sarcastic glances, which I had fancied the ancient sages to possess. I expected to see that fearful faltering look of conscious shame which from what I had heard of him he might be expected to evince. He appeared at last; but how was I disappointed when, instead of the head and horns of the beast and false prophet, I beheld only the appearance of a common man, of tolerably large proportions.
"I was sadly disappointed, and thought that,
|p. 188||although his
appearance could not be wrested to indicate anything against him, yet he
would manifest all I had heard of him when he began to preach. I sat
uneasily and watched him closely. He commenced preaching, not from the
book of Mormon, however, but from the bible; the first chapter of the
first of Peter was his text. He commenced calmly, and continued
dispassionately to pursue his subject, while I sat in breathless silence,
waiting to hear that foul aspersion of the other sects, that diabolical
disposition of revenge, and to hear that rancorous denunciation of every
individual but a Mormon. I waited in vain; I listened with surprise; I sat
uneasy in my seat, and could hardly persuade myself but that he had been
apprised of my presence, and so ordered his discourse on my account, that
I might not be able to find fault with it; for instead of a jumbled jargon
of half-connected sentences, and a volley of imprecations, and diabolical
and malignant denunciations heaped upon the heads of all who differed from
him, and the dreadful twisting and wresting of the scriptures to suit his
own peculiar views, and attempt to weave a web of dark and mystic
sophistry around the gospel truths, which I had anticipated, he glided
along through a very interesting and elaborate discourse, with all the
care and happy facility of one who was well aware of his important station
and his duty to God and man."37
No event, probably, that had occurred thus far in the history of the saints gave to the cause of Mormonism so much of stability as the assassination of Joseph Smith. Not all the militia mobs in Illinois, in Missouri, or in the United States could destroy this cause, any more than could the roundheads in the
37Mackay's The Mormons, 131-3. Of course views as to Joseph Smith's character are expressed in nearly all the works published on Mormonism. With the exception, perhaps, of Mahomet, no one has been so much bespattered with praise by his followers and with abuse by his adversaries as the founder of this faith.
|p. 189||seventeenth century
destroy the cause of monarchy. The deed but reacted on those who committed
When two miles on his way from Nauvoo, the governor was met by messengers who informed him of the assassination, and, as he relates, he was "struck with a kind of dumbness." At daybreak the next morning all the bells in Carthage were ringing. It was noised abroad throughout Hancock county, he says, that the Mormons had attempted the rescue of Joseph and Hyrum; that they had been killed in order to prevent their escape, and that the governor was closely besieged at Nauvoo by the Nauvoo Legion, and could hold out only for two days. Ford was convinced that "those whoever they were who assassinated the Smiths meditated in turn his assassination by the Mormons," thinking that they would thus rid themselves of the Smiths and the governor, and that the result would be the expulsion of the saints, for Ford had shown a determination to defend Nauvoo, so far as lay in his power, from the threatened violence. Arriving at Carthage at ten o'clock at night, he found the citizens in flight with their families and effects, one of his companies broken up, and the Carthage Greys also disbanding, the citizens that remained being in instant fear of attack. At length he met with John Taylor and Willard Richards, who, notwithstanding the ill-usage they had received, came to the relief of the panic-stricken magistrate, and addressed a letter to their brethren at Nauvoo, exhorting them to preserve the peace, the latter stating that he had pledged his word that no violence would be used.
The letter of Richards and Taylor, signed also by Samuel H. Smith, a brother of the deceased, who a few weeks afterward died, as the Mormons relate, of a broken heart, prevented a threatened uprising of the saints.38 On the 29th of June, the day after the news was received, the legion was called out, the letter read,
38To the letter was appended a postscript from the governor, bidding the Mormons defend themselves until protection could be furnished, and one from (cont.)
|p. 190||and the fury of the
citizens allayed by addresses from Judge Phelps, Colonel Buckmaster, the
governor's aid, and others. In the afternoon the bodies of Joseph and
Hyrum arrived in wagons guarded by three men. They were met by the city
council, the prophet's staff, the officers of the legion, and a vast
procession of citizens, crying out "amid the most solemn lamentations
and wailings that ever ascended into the ears of the Lord of hosts to be
avenged of their enemies." Arriving at the Nauvoo House, the
assemblage, numbering ten thousand persons, was again addressed, and
"with one united voice resolved to trust to the law for a remedy of
such a high-handed assassination, and when that failed, to call upon God
to avenge them of their wrongs. Oh I widows and orphans! Oh Americans!
weep, for the glory of freedom has departed!"
Meanwhile the governor, fearing that the Mormons would rise in a body to execute vengeance, issued an address to the people of Illinois, in which he attempted to explain his conduct,39 and again called out the militia. Two officers were despatched to Nauvoo, with orders to ascertain the disposition of the citizens, and to proceed thence to Warsaw, where were the headquarters of the anti-Mormon militia, and forbid violent measures in the name of the state. On arriving at the former place they laid their instructions before the members of the municipality. A meeting of the council was summoned, and it was resolved that the saints rigidly sustain the laws and the governor, so long as they are themselves sustained in their constitutional rights; that they discountenance vengeance on the assassins of Joseph and Hyrum Smith; that instead of an appeal to arms, they appeal to the majesty of the law, and, should the law fail, they
(38cont.) General Deming, telling them to remain quiet, that the assassination would be condemned by three fourths of the people of Illinois, but that they were in danger of attack from Missouri, and 'prudence might obviate material destruction.' Times and Seasons, v. 561.
39Copies of it will be found in Id., v. 564-5; Mackay's The Mormons, 178-9; and Smucker's Hist. Mor., 1867.
|p. 191||leave the matter
with God; that the council pledges itself that no aggressions shall be
made by the citizens of Nauvoo, approves the course taken by the governor,
and will uphold him by all honorable means. A meeting of citizens was then
held in the public square; the people were addressed, the resolutions
read, and all responded with a hearty amen.
The two officers then returned to Carthage and reported to the governor, who was so greatly pleased with the forbearance of the saints that he officially declared them "human beings and citizens of the state." He caused writs to be issued for the arrest of three of the murderers—after they had taken refuge in Missouri.40 The assassins escaped punishment, however; and now that order was restored, the chief magistrate disbanded the militia, after what he termed "a campaign of about thirteen days."
On the afternoon of July 1st a letter was addressed by Richards, Taylor, and Phelps to the citizens of Nauvoo, and a fortnight later, an epistle signed by the same persons and also by Parley P. Pratt was despatched to all the saints throughout the world. "Be peaceable, quiet citizens, doing the works of righteousness; and as soon as the twelve and other authorities can assemble, or a majority of them, the onward course to the great gathering of Israel, and the final consummation of the dispensation of the fulness of times, will be pointed out, so that the murder of Abel, the assassination of hundreds, the righteous blood of all the holy prophets, from Abel to Joseph, sprinkled with the best blood of the son of God, as the crimson sign of remission, only carries conviction to the business and bosoms of all flesh, that the cause is just and will continue; and blessed are they that hold out faithful to the end, while apostates, consenting to the shedding of innocent blood, have no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come…Let no vain
40In Message to Ill. Legis., 20, it is stated that some of the murderers afterward surrendered on the understanding that they should be admitted to bail. There was not sufficient proof to convict them.
|p. 192||and foolish plans
or imaginations scatter us abroad and divide us asunder as a people, to
seek to save our lives at the expense of truth and principle, but rather
let us live or die together and in the enjoyment of society and
At this time the saints needed such words of advice and consolation. Some were already making preparations to return to the gentiles; some feared that their organization as a sect would soon corec to an end. To reassure them, one more address was issued on August 15th, in the name of the twelve apostles,42 and signed by Brigham Young, the president of the apostles. The saints were told that though they were now without a prophet present in the flesh, the twelve would administer and regulate the affairs of the church; and that even if they should be taken away, there were still others who would insure the triumph of their cause throughout the world.
In 1830, as will be remembered, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in a chamber by a few humble men; in 1811 the prophet's followers mustered scores of thousands. Speedy dissolution was now predicted by some, while others argued that as all his faults would lie buried in the tomb, while on his virtues martyrdom would stied its lustre, the progress of the sect would be yet more remarkable. The latter prediction was verified, and after the Mormons had suffered another period of persecution, Joseph Smith the martyr became a greater power in the land than Joseph Smith the prophet.
41The full text of both letters is given in Times and Seasons, v. 568, 586-7; Mackay's The Mormons, 180-2; Smucker's Hist. Mormons, 189-92.
42Who are thus described in a letter addressed by Phelps to the editor of the New York Prophet, a small journal established to promulgate the views of the sect: 'Brigham Young, the lion of the Lord; Heber C. Kimball, the herald of grace; Parley P. Pratt, the archer of paradise; Orson Hyde, the olive branch of Israel; Willard Richards, the keeper of the rolls; John Taylor, the champion of right; William Smith, the patriarchal staff of Jacob; Wilford Woodruff, the banner of the gospel; George A. Smith, the entablature of truth; Orson Pratt, the gauge of philosophy; John E. Page, the sun-dial; and Lyman Wight, the wild ram of the mountains. They are good men; the best the Lord can find.' See Mackay's The Mormons. 186.
Go to Online Books
Home | FAQs | What's New | Topical Index | Testimony | Newsletters | Online Resources | Online Books | Booklist | Order/Contact | Email | Other Websites