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Title: The Story of the Mormons, from the Date of Their Origin to the Year 1901

Author: William Alexander Linn

Release date: December 1, 2000 [eBook #2443]
Most recently updated: November 21, 2012

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Several Anonymous Volunteers, Dianne Bean, and David Widger




By William Alexander Linn

titlepage (26K)





























































































Facsimile of the Characters Of The Book Of Mormon

Stenhouse Plates

"Scripture" Chapter Headings

Order and Unity of the Kingdom Of God


Egyptian Papyri


List of Wives


No chapter of American history has remained so long unwritten as that which tells the story of the Mormons. There are many books on the subject, histories written under the auspices of the Mormon church, which are hopelessly biased as well as incomplete; more trustworthy works which cover only certain periods; and books in the nature of "exposures" by former members of the church, which the Mormons attack as untruthful, and which rest, in the minds of the general reader, under a suspicion of personal bias. Mormonism, therefore, to-day suggests to most persons only one doctrine—polygamy—and only one leader—Brigham Young, who made his name familiar to the present generations. Joseph Smith, Jr., is known, where known at all, only in the most general way as the founder of the sect, while the real originator of the whole scheme for a new church and of its doctrines and government, Sidney Rigdon, is known to few persons even by name.

The object of the present work is to present a consecutive history of the Mormons, from the day of their origin to the present writing, and as a secular, not as a religious, narrative. The search has been for facts, not for moral deductions, except as these present themselves in the course of the story. Since the usual weapon which the heads of the Mormon church use to meet anything unfavorable regarding their organization or leaders is a general denial, this narrative has been made to rest largely on Mormon sources of information. It has been possible to follow this plan a long way because many of the original Mormons left sketches that have been preserved. Thus we have Mother Smith's picture of her family and of the early days of the church; the Prophet's own account of the revelation to him of the golden plates, of his followers' early experiences, and of his own doings, almost day by day, to the date of his death, written with an egotist's appreciation of his own part in the play; other autobiographies, like Parley P. Pratt's and Lorenzo Snow's; and, finally, the periodicals which the church issued in Ohio, in Missouri, in Illinois, and in England, and the official reports of the discourses preached in Utah,—all showing up, as in a mirror, the character of the persons who gave this Church of Latter Day Saints its being and its growth.

In regard to no period of Mormon history is there such a lack of accurate information as concerning that which covers their moves to Ohio, thence to Missouri, thence to Illinois, and thence to Utah. Their own excuse for all these moves is covered by the one word "persecution" (meaning persecution on account of their religious belief), and so little has the non-Mormon world known about the subject that this explanation has scarcely been challenged. Much space is given to these early migrations, as in this way alone can a knowledge be acquired of the real character of the constituency built up by Smith in Ohio, and led by him from place to place until his death, and then to Utah by Brigham Young.

Any study of the aims and objects of the Mormon leaders must rest on the Mormon Bible ("Book of Mormon") and on the "Doctrine and Covenants," the latter consisting principally of the "revelations" which directed the organization of the church and its secular movements. In these alone are spread out the original purpose of the migration to Missouri and the instructions of Smith to his followers regarding their assumed rights to the territory they were to occupy; and without a knowledge of these "revelations" no fair judgment can be formed of the justness of the objections of the people of Missouri and Illinois to their new neighbors. If the fraudulent character of the alleged revelation to Smith of golden plates can be established, the foundation of the whole church scheme crumbles. If Rigdon's connection with Smith in the preparation of the Bible by the use of the "Spaulding manuscript" can be proved, the fraud itself is established. Considerable of the evidence on this point herein brought together is presented at least in new shape, and an adequate sketch of Sidney Rigdon is given for the first time. The probable service of Joachim's "Everlasting Gospel," as suggesting the story of the revelation of the plates, has been hitherto overlooked.

A few words with regard to some of the sources of information quoted:

"Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith and his Progenitors for Many Generations" ("Mother Smith's History," as this book has been generally called) was first published in 1853 by the Mormon press in Liverpool, with a preface by Orson Pratt recommending it; and the Millennial Star (Vol. XV, p. 682) said of it: "Being written by Lucy Smith, the mother of the Prophet, and mostly under his inspiration, will be ample guarantee for the authenticity of the narrative.... Altogether the work is one of the most interesting that has appeared in this latter dispensation." Brigham Young, however, saw how many of its statements told against the church, and in a letter to the Millennial Star (Vol. XVII, p. 298), dated January 31, 1858, he declared that it contained "many mistakes," and said that "should it ever be deemed best to publish these sketches, it will not be done until after they are carefully corrected." The preface to the edition of 1890, published by the Reorganized Church at Plano, Illinois, says that Young ordered the suppression of the first edition, and that under this order large numbers were destroyed, few being preserved, some of which fell into the hands of those now with the Reorganized Church. For this destruction we see no adequate reason. James J. Strang, in a note to his pamphlet, "Prophetic Controversy," says that Mrs. Corey (to whom the pamphlet is addressed) "wrote the history of the Smiths called 'Mother Smith's History.'" Mrs. Smith was herself quite incapable of putting her recollections into literary shape.

The autobiography of Joseph Smith, Jr., under the title "History of Joseph Smith," began as a supplement to Volume XIV of the Millennial Star, and ran through successive volumes to Volume XXIV. The matter in the supplement and in the earlier numbers was revised and largely written by Rigdon. The preparation of the work began after he and Smith settled in Nauvoo, Illinois. In his last years Smith rid himself almost entirely of Rigdon's counsel, and the part of the autobiography then written takes the form of a diary which unmasks Smith's character as no one else could do. Most of the correspondence and official documents relating to the troubles in Missouri and Illinois are incorporated in this work.

Of the greatest value to the historian are the volumes of the Mormon publications issued at Kirtland, Ohio; Independence, Missouri; Nauvoo, Illinois; and Liverpool, England. The first of these, Evening and Morning Star (a monthly, twenty-four numbers), started at Independence and transferred to Kirtland, covers the period from June, 1832, to September, 1834; its successor, the Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, was issued at Kirtland from 1834 to 1837. This was followed by the Elders' journal, which was transferred from Kirtland to Far West, Missouri, and was discontinued when the Saints were compelled to leave that state. Times and Seasons was published at Nauvoo from 1839 to 1845. Files of these publications are very scarce, the volumes of the Times and Seasons having been suppressed, so far as possible, by Brigham Young's order. The publication of the Millennial Star was begun in Liverpool in May, 1840, and is still continued. The early volumes contain the official epistles of the heads of the church to their followers, Smith's autobiography, correspondence describing the early migrations and the experiences in Utah, and much other valuable material, the authenticity of which cannot be disputed by the Mormons. In the Journal of Discourses (issued primarily for circulation in Europe) are found official reports of the principal discourses (or sermons) delivered in Salt Lake City during Young's regime. Without this official sponsor for the correctness of these reports, many of them would doubtless be disputed by the Mormons of to-day.

The earliest non-Mormon source of original information quoted is "Mormonism Unveiled," by E. D. Howe (Painesville, Ohio, 1834). Mr. Howe, after a newspaper experience in New York State, founded the Cleveland (Ohio) Herald in 1819, and later the Painesville (Ohio) Telegraph. Living near the scene of the Mormon activity in Ohio when they moved to that state, and desiring to ascertain the character of the men who were proclaiming a new Bible and a new church, he sent agents to secure such information among the Smiths' old acquaintances in New York and Pennsylvania, and made inquiries on kindred subjects, like the "Spaulding manuscript." His book was the first serious blow that Smith and his associates encountered, and their wrath against it and its author was fierce.

Pomeroy Tucker, the author of "Origin and Progress of the Mormons" (New York, 1867), was personally acquainted with the Smiths and with Harris and Cowdery before and after the appearance of the Mormon Bible. He read a good deal of the proof of the original edition of that book as it was going through the press, and was present during many of the negotiations with Grandin about its publication. His testimony in regard to early matters connected with the church is important.

Two non-Mormons who had an early view of the church in Utah and who put their observations in book form were B. G. Ferris ("Utah and the Mormons," New York, 1854 and 1856) and Lieutenant J. W. Gunnison of the United States Topographical Engineers ("The Mormons," Philadelphia, 1856). Both of these works contain interesting pictures of life in Utah in those early days.

There are three comprehensive histories of Utah,—H. H. Bancroft's "History of Utah" (p. 889), Tullidge's "History of Salt Lake City" (p. 886), and Orson F. Whitney's "History of Utah," in four volumes, three of which, dated respectively March, 1892, April, 1893, and January, 1898, have been issued. The Reorganized Church has also published a "History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" in three volumes. While Bancroft's work professes to be written from a secular standpoint, it is really a church production, the preparation of the text having been confided to Mormon hands. "We furnished Mr. Bancroft with his material," said a prominent Mormon church officer to me. Its plan is to give the Mormon view in the text, and to refer the reader for the other side to a mass of undigested notes, and its principal value to the student consists in its references to other authorities. Its general tone may be seen in its declaration that those who have joined the church to expose its secrets are "the most contemptible of all"; that those who have joined it honestly and, discovering what company they have got into, have given the information to the world, would far better have gone their way and said nothing about it; and, as to polygamy, that "those who waxed the hottest against" the practice "are not as a rule the purest of our people" (p. 361); and that the Edmunds Law of 1882 "capped the climax of absurdity" (p. 683).

Tullidge wrote his history after he had taken part in the "New Movement." In it he brought together a great deal of information, including the text of important papers, which is necessary to an understanding of the growth and struggles of the church. The work was censored by a committee appointed by the Mormon authorities.

Bishop Whitney's history presents the pro-Mormon view of the church throughout. It is therefore wholly untrustworthy as a guide to opinion on the subjects treated, but, like Tullidge's, it supplies a good deal of material which is useful to the student who is prepared to estimate its statements at their true value.

The acquisition by the New York Public Library of the Berrian collection of books, early newspapers, and pamphlets on Mormonism, with the additions constantly made to this collection, places within the reach of the student all the material that is necessary for the formation of the fairest judgment on the subject.

W. A. L. HACKENSACK, N. J., 1901.



I. FACILITY OF HUMAN BELIEF: The Real Miracle of Mormon Success—Effrontery of the Leaders' Professions—Attractiveness of Religious Beliefs to Man—Wherein the World does not make Progress—The Anglo-Saxon Appetite for Religious Novelties

II. THE SMITH FAMILY: Solomon Mack and his Autobiography —Religious Characteristics of the Prophet's Mother—The Family Life in Vermont—Early Occupations in New York State—Pictures of the Prophet as a Youth—Recollections of the Smiths by their New York Neighbors

III. HOW JOSEPH SMITH BECAME A MONEY-DIGGER: His Use of a Divining Rod—His First Introduction to Crystal-gazing—Peeping after Hidden Treasure—How Joseph obtained his own "Peek-stone"—Methods of Midnight Money-digging

IV. FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE GOLDEN BIBLE: Variations in the Early Descriptions—Joseph's Acquaintance with the Hales—His Elopement and Marriage—What he told a Neighbor about the Origin of his Bible Discovery—Early Anecdotes about the Book

V. THE DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS OF THE REVELATION OF THE BIBLE: The Versions about the Spanish Guardian—Important Statement by the Prophet's Father—The Later Account in the Prophet's Autobiography—The Angel Visitor and the Acquisition of the Plates—Mother Smith's Version

VI. TRANSLATION AND PUBLICATION OF THE BIBLE: Martin Harris's Connection with the Work—Smith's Removal to Pennsylvania—How the Translation was carried on—Harris's Visit to Professor Anthon—The Professor's Account of his Visit—The Lost Pages—The Prophet's Predicament and his Method of Escape—Oliver Cowdery as an Assistant Translator—Introduction of the Whitmers—The Printing and Proof—reading of the New Bible—Recollections of Survivors

VII. THE SPAULDING MANUSCRIPT: Solomon Spaulding's Career—History of "The Manuscript Found"—Statements by Members of the Author's Family—Testimony of Spaulding's Ohio Neighbors about the Resemblance of his Story to the Book of Mormon—The Manuscript found in the Sandwich Islands

VIII. SIDNEY RIGDON: His Biography—Connection with the Campbells—Efficient Church Work in Ohio—His Jealousy of his Church Leaders—Disciples' Beliefs and Mormon Doctrines—Intimations about a New Bible—Rigdon's First Connection with Smith—The Rigdon-Smith Translation of the Scriptures—Rigdon's Conversion to Mormonism

IX. "THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL": Probable Origin of the Idea of a Bible on Plates—Cyril's Gift from an Angel and Joachim's Use of it—Where Rigdon could have obtained the Idea Prominence of the "Everlasting Gospel" in Mormon Writings

X. THE WITNESSES TO THE PLATES: Text of the Two "Testimonies"—The Prophet's Explanation of the First—Early Reputation and Subsequent History of the Signers—The Truth about the Kinderhook Plates and Rafinesque's Glyphs

XI. THE MORMON BIBLE: Some of its Errors and Absurdities—Facsimile of the First Edition Title-page—The Historical Narrative of the Book—Its Lack of Literary Style—Appropriated Chapters of the Scriptures—Specimen Anachronisms

XII. ORGANIZATION OF THE CHURCH: Smith's Ordination by John the Baptist—The First Baptisms—Early Branches of the Church—The Revelation about Church Officers—Cowdery's Ambition and How it was Repressed—Smith's Title as Seer, Translator, and Prophet—His Arrest and Release—Arrival of Parley P. Platt and Rigdon in Palmyra—The Command to remove to Ohio

XIII. THE MORMONS' BELIEFS AND DOCTRINES—CHURCH GOVERNMENT: Long Years of Apostasy—Origin of the Name "Mormon"—Original Titles of the Church—Belief in a Speedy Millennium—The Future Possession of the Earth—Smith's Revelations and how they were obtained—The First Published Editions—Counterfeit Revealers—What is Taught of God—Brigham Young's Adam Sermon—Baptism for the Dead—The Church Officers


I. THE FIRST CONVERTS AT KIRTLAND: Original Missionaries sent out to the Lamanites—Organization of a Church in Ohio—Effect of Rigdon's Conversion—General Interest in the New Bible and Prophet—How Men of Education came to believe in Mormonism—Result of the Upturning of Religious Belief

II. WILD VAGARIES OF THE CONVERTS: Convulsions and Commissions—Common Religious Excitements of those Days—Description of the "Jerks"—Smith's Repressing Influence

III. GROWTH OF THE CHURCH: The Appointment of Elders—Beginning of the Proselyting System—Smith's Power Entrenched—His Temporal Provision—Repression of Rigdon—The Tarring and Feathering of Smith and Rigdon—Treatment of the Mormons and of Other New Denominations compared—Rigdon's Punishment

IV. GIFTS OF TONGUES AND MIRACLES: How Persons "Spoke in Tongues"—Seeing the Lord Face to Face—Early Use of Miracles—The Story of the "Book of Abraham"—The Prophet as a Translator of Greek and Egyptian.

V. SMITH'S OHIO BUSINESS ENTERPRISES: Young's Picture of the Prophet's Experience as a Retail Merchant—The Land Speculation—Laying out of the City—Building of the Temple—Consecration of Property—How the Leaders looked out for themselves—Amusing Explanation of Section III of the "Doctrine and Covenants"—The Story of the Kirtland Bank—The Church View of its Responsibility for the Currency—The Business Crash and Smith's Flight to Missouri

VI. LAST DAYS AT KIRTLAND: Pictures of the Prophet—Accusations against Church Leaders in Missouri—Serious Charge against the Prophet—W. W, Phelps's Rebellion—Smith's Description of Leading Lights of the Church—Charges concerning Smith's Morality—The Church accused of practising Polygamy—A Lively Fight at a Church Service—Smith's and Rigdon's Defence of their Conduct—The Later History of Kirtland


I. THE DIRECTIONS TO THE SAINTS ABOUT THEIR ZION: Western Missouri in the Early Days—Pioneer Farming and Home-making—The Trip of the Four Mormon Missionaries—Direction about the Gathering of the Elect—How they were to possess the Land of Promise—Their Appropriation of the Good Things purchased of their Enemies

II. SMITH'S FIRST VISITS TO MISSOURI: Founding the City of Zion and the Temple—Marvellous Stories that were told—Dissatisfaction of Some of the Prophet's Companions

III. THE EXPULSION FROM JACKSON COUNTY: Rapid Influx of Mormons—Result of the Publication of the Revelations—First Friction with their Non-Mormon Neighbors—Manifesto of the Mormons' Opponents—Their Big Mass Meeting—Demands on the Mormons—Destruction of the Star Printing-office—The Mormons' Agreement to leave—Smith's Advice to his Flock—Repudiation of the Mormon Agreement and Renewal of Hostilities—The Battle at Big Blue—Evacuation of the County—March of the Army of Zion—An Inglorious Finale

IV. FRUITLESS NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE JACKSON COUNTY PEOPLE: A Fair Offer Rejected—The Mormon Counter Propositions—Governor Dunklin on the Situation

V. IN CLAY, CALDWELL, AND DAVIESS COUNTIES: Welcome of the Mormons by New Neighbors—Effect of their Claims about Possessing the Land—Ordered out of Clay County—Founding of Far West—A Welcome to Smith and Rigdon

VI. RADICAL DISSENSIONS IN THE CHURCH: Trial of Phelps and Whitmer—Conviction of Oliver Cowdery on Serious Charges—Expulsion of Leading Members—Origin of the Danites—Suggested by the Prophet at Kirtland—The Danite Constitution and Oath—Origin of the Tithing System

VII. BEGINNING OF ACTIVE HOSTILITIES: Result of Smith's Domineering Course—Jealousy caused by the Scattering of the Saints—Founding of Adam-ondi-Ahman—Rigdon's Famous Salt Sermon—Open Defiance of the Non-Mormons—The Mormons in Politics—An Election Day Row—Arrests and Threats

VIII. A STATE OF CIVIL WAR: Calling out of the Militia—Proposed Expulsion of the Mormons from Carroll County—The Siege of De Witt—The Prophet's Defiance—Work of his "Fur Company"—Gentile Retaliation—The Battle of Crooked River—The Massacre at Hawn's Mills—Governor Boggs's "Order of Extermination"

IX. THE FINAL EXPULSION FROM THE STATE: General Lucas's Terms to the Mormons—Surrender of Far West and Arrest of Mormon Leaders—General Clark's Address to the Mormons—His Report to the Governor—General Wilson's Picture of Adam-ondi-Ahman—Fate of the Mormon Prisoners—Testimony at their Trial—Smith's Escape—Migration to Illinois


I. THE RECEPTION OF THE MORMONS: Incidents in the Early History of the State—Defiant Lawlessness—Politicians the First to Welcome the Newcomers—Landowners Among their First Friends

II. THE SETTLEMENT OF NAUVOO: Smith's Leadership Illustrated—The Land Purchases—A Reconciliation of Conflicting Revelations—Smith's Financiering—Shameful Misrepresentation to Immigrants

III. THE BUILDING UP OF THE CITY: Unhealthfulness of its Site—Rapid Growth of the Place—Early Pictures of it—Foreign Proselyting—Why England was a Good Field—Method of Work there—The Employment of Miracles—How the Converts were Sent Over

IV. THE NAUVOO CITY GOVERNMENT: Dr. Galland's Suggestions—An Important Revelation—Church Buildings Ordered—Subserviency of the Legislature—Dr. John C. Bennett's Efficient Aid—Authority granted to the City Government—The Nauvoo Legion—Bennett's Welcome—The Temple and How it was Constructed

V. THE MORMONS IN POLITICS: Smith's Decree against Van Buren—How the Prophet swung the Mormon Vote back to the Democrats—The Attempted Assassination of Governor Boggs—Smith's Arrest and What Resulted from it—Defeat of a Whig Candidate by a Revelation

VI. SMITH A CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: His Letter to Clay and Calhoun—Their Replies and Smith's Abusive Wrath—The Prophet's Views on National Politics—Reform Measures that He Proposed—His Nomination by the Church Paper—Experiences of Missionaries sent out to Work Up his Campaign

VII. SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN NAUVOO: Character of its Population—Treatment of Immigrant Converts—Some Disreputable Gentile Neighbors—The Complaints of Mormon Stealings—Significant Admissions—Mormon Protection against Outsiders—The Whittlers

VIII. SMITH'S PICTURE OF HIMSELF AS AUTOCRAT: Glances at his Autobiography—Difficulties Connected with the Building Enterprises—A Plain Warning to Discontented Workmen—Trouble with Rigdon—Pressed by his Creditors—Transaction with Remick—Currency Law passed by his City Council—How Smith regarded himself as a Prophet—His Latest Prophecies

IX. SMITH'S FALLING OUT WITH BENNETT AND HIGBEE: Bennett's Expulsion and the Explanations concerning it—His Attacks on his Late Companions—Charges against Nauvoo Morality—The Case of Nancy Rigdon—The Higbee Incident

X. THE INSTITUTION OF POLYGAMY: An Examination of its Origin—Its Conflict with the Teachings of the Mormon Bible and Revelations—Early Loosening of the Marriage View under Smith—Proof of the Practice of Polygamy in Nauvoo—Testimony of Eliza R. Snow—How her Brother Lorenzo shook off his Bachelorhood—John B. Lee as a Polygamist—Ebenezer Robinson's Statement—Objects of "The Holy Order"—The Writing of the Revelation about Polygamy—Its First Public Announcement—Sidney Rigdon's Innocence in the Matter

XI. PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DOCTRINE OF POLYGAMY: Text of the Revelation—Orson Pratt's Presentation of it—The Doctrine of Sealing—Necessity of Sealing as a Means of Salvation—Attempt to show that Christ was a Polygamist

XII. THE SUPPRESSION OF THE EXPOSITOR: Dr. Foster and the Laws—Rebellion against Smith's Teachings—Leading Features of the Expositor—Trial of the Paper and its Editors before the City Council—Destruction of the Press and Type—Smith's Proclamation

XIII. UPRISING OF THE NON-MORMONS: Resolutions Adopted at Warsaw—Organizing and Arming of the People—Action of Governor Ford—Smith's Arrest—Departure of the Prisoners for Carthage

XIV. THE MURDER OF THE PROPHET: Legal Proceedings after his Arrival in Carthage—The Governor and the Militia—The Carthage Jail and its Guards—Action of the Warsaw Regiment—The Attack on the Jail and the Killing of the Prophet and his Brother—Funeral Services in Nauvoo—Final Resting-place of the Bodies—Result of Indictments of the Alleged Murderers—Review of the Prophet's Character

XV. AFTER SMITH'S DEATH: The People in a Panic—The Mormon Leaders for Peace—The Future Government of the Church—Brigham Young's Victory—Rigdon's Trial before the High Council—Verdict Against Him—His Church in Pennsylvania—His Ambition to be the Head of a Distinct Church—A Visit from Heavenly Messengers—His Last Days

XVI. RIVALRIES OVER THE SUCCESSION: The Claim of the Prophet's Eldest Son—Trouble caused by the Prophet's Widow—The Reorganized Church—Strang's Church in Wisconsin—Lyman Wight's Colony in Texas

XVII. BRIGHAM YOUNG: His Early Years—His Initiation into the Mormon Church—Fidelity to the Prophet—Embarrassments of his Position as Head of the Church—His View about Revelations—Plan for Home Mission Work—His Election as President

XVIII. RENEWED TROUBLE FOR THE MORMONS: More Charges of Stealing—Significant Admission by Young—Business Plight of Nauvoo—More Politics—Defiant Attitude of Mormon Leaders—An Editor's View of Legal Rights—Stories about the Danites—Brother William on Brigham Young—The "Burnings"—Sheriff Backenstos's Proclamations—Lieutenant Worrell's Murder—Mormon Retaliation—Appointment of the Douglas-Hardin Commission

XIX. THE EXPULSION OF THE MORMONS: General Hardin's Proclamation—County Meetings of Non-Mormons—Their Ultimatum—The Commission's Negotiations—Non-Mormon Convention at Carthage—The Agreement for the Mormon Evacuation

XX. THE EVACUATION OF NAUVOO: Major Warren as a Peace Preserver—The Mormons' Disposition of their Property—Departure of the Leaders hastened by Indictments—Arrival of New Citizens—Continued Hostility of the Non-Mormons—"The Last Mormon War"—Panic in Nauvoo—Plan for a March on the Mormon City—Fruitless Negotiations for a Compromise—The Advance against the City—The Battle and its Results—Terms of Peace—The Final Evacuation XXI. NAUVOO AFTER THE EXODUS: Arrival of Governor Ford—The Final Work on the Temple—The "Endowment" Ceremony and Oath—Futile Efforts to sell the Temple—Its Destruction by Fire and Wind—The Nauvoo of To-day


I. PREPARATIONS FOR THE LONG MARCH: Uncertainty of their Destination—Explanations to the People—Disposition of Real and Personal Property—Collection of Draft Animals—Activity in Wagon and Tent Making—The Old Charge of Counterfeiting—Pecuniary Sacrifices of the Mormons in Illinois

II. FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MISSOURI: The First Crossings of the River—Camp Arrangements—Sufferings from the Cold—The Story of the Westward March—Motley Make-up of the Procession—Expedients for obtaining Supplies—Terrible Sufferings of the Expelled Remnant—Privations at Mt. Pisgah

III. THE MORMON BATTALION: Extravagant Claims Regarding it Disproved—General Kearney's Invitation—Source of the Initial Suggestion—How the Mormons profited by the Organization—The March to California—Colonel Thomas L. Kane's Visit to the Missouri—His Intimate Relations with the Mormon Church

IV. THE CAMPS ON THE MISSOURI: Friendly Welcome of the Mormons by the Indians—The Site of Winter Quarters—Busy Scenes on the River Bank—Sickness and Death—The Building of a Temporary City

V. THE PIONEER TRIP ACROSS THE PLAINS: Early Views of the Unexplored West—The First White Visitors to that Country—Organization of the Pioneer Mormon Band—Rules observed on the March—Successful Buffalo Hunting—An Indian Alarm—Dearth of Forage—Post-offices of the Plains—A Profitable Ferry

VI. FROM THE ROCKIES TO SALT LAKE VALLEY: No Definite Stopping-place in View—Advice received on the Way—The Mormon Expedition to California by Way of Cape Horn—Brannan's Fall from Grace—Westward from Green River—Advance Explorers through a Canon—First View of Great Salt Lake Valley—Irrigation and Crop Planting begun

VII. THE FOLLOWING COMPANIES: Their Leaders and Make-up —Young's Return Trip—Last Days on the Missouri—Scheme for a Permanent Settlement in Iowa—Westward March of Large Companies


I. THE FOUNDING OF SALT LAKE CITY: Utah's First White Explorers—First Mormon Services in the Valley—Young's View of the Right to the Land—The First Buildings—Laying out the City—Early Crop Disappointment—Discomforts of the First Winter—Primitive Dwelling-places—The Visitation of Crickets—Glowing Accounts sent to England

II. PROGRESS OF THE SETTLEMENT: Schools and Manufactures —How the City appeared in 1849—Sufferings during the Winter of 1908—Immigration checked by the Lack of Food—Aid supplied by the California Goldseekers—Danger of a Mormon Exodus—Young's Rebuke to his Gold-seeking Followers—The Crop Failure of 1855 and the Famine of the Following Winter—The Tabernacle and Temple

III. THE FOREIGN IMMIGRATION TO UTAH: The Commercial joint Stock Company Scandal—Deceptive Statements made to Foreign Converts—John Taylor's Address to the Saints in Great Britain—Petition to Queen Victoria—Mormon Duplicity illustrated—Young's Advice to Emigrants—Glowing Pictures of Salt Lake Valley—The Perpetual Emigrating Fund—Details of the Emigration System

IV. THE HAND-CART TRAGEDY: Young's Scheme for Economy—His Responsibility for the Hand-cart Experiment—Details of the Arrangement—Delays at Iowa City—Unheeded Warnings—Privations by the Way—Early Lack of Provisions—Suffering caused by Insufficient Clothing—Deaths of the Old and Infirm—Horrors of the Camps in the Mountains—Frozen Corpses found at Daybreak—Sufferings of a Party at Devil's Gate—Young's Attempt to shift the Responsibility

V. EARLY POLITICAL HISTORY: The Aim at Independence—First Local Government—Adoption of a Constitution for the State of Deseret—Babbitt's Application for Admission as a Delegate—Memorial opposing his Claim—His Rejection—The Territorial Government

VI. BRIGHAM YOUNG'S DESPOTISM: Causes that contributed to its Success—Helplessness of the New-comers from Europe—Influence of Superstition—Young's Treatment of the Gladdenites—His Appropriation of Property Laws passed by the Mormon Legislature—Bishops as Ward Magistrates—A Mormon Currency and Alphabet—What Emigrants to California learned about Mormon Justice

VII. THE "REFORMATION": Young's Disclosures about the Character of his Flock—The Stealing from One Another—The Threat about "Laying Judgment to the Line"—Plain Declarations about the taking of Human Lives—First Steps of the "Reformation"—An Inquisition and Catechism—An Embarrassing Confession—Warning to those who would leave the Valley

VIII. SOME CHURCH-INSPIRED MURDERS: The Story of the Parrishes—Carrying out of a Cold-blooded Plot—Judge Cradlebaugh's Effort to convict the Murderers—The Tragedy of the Aikin Party—The Story of Frederick Loba's Escape

IX. BLOOD ATONEMENT: Early Intimations concerning it—Jedediah M. Grant's Explanation of Human Sacrifices—Brigham Young's Definition of "Laying Judgment to the Line"—Two of the Sacrifices described—"The Affair at San Pete"

X. TERRITORIAL GOVERNMENT: Brigham Young the First Governor—Colonel Kane's Part in his Appointment—Kane's False Statements to President Fillmore—Welcome to the Non-Mormon Officers—Their Early Information about Young's Influence—Pioneer Anniversary Speeches—Judge Brocchus's Offence to the Mormons—Young's Threatening and Abusive Reply—The Judge's Alarm about his Personal Safety—Return of the Non-Mormon Federal Officers to Washington—Young's Defence

XI. MORMON TREATMENT OF FEDERAL OFFICERS: A Territorial Election Law—Why Colonel Steptoe declined the Governorship—Young's Assertion of his Authority—His Reappointment—Two Bad Judicial Appointments—Judge Stiles's Trouble about the Marshals—Burning of his Books and Papers—How Judge Drummond's Attempt at Independence was foiled—The Mormon View of Land Titles—Hostile Attitude toward the Government Surveyors—Reports of the Indian Agents

XII. THE MORMON "WAR": What the Federal Authorities had learned about Mormonism—Declaration of the Republican National Convention of 1856—Striking Speech by Stephen A. Douglas—Alfred Cumming appointed Governor with a New Set of Judges—Statement in the President's Message—Employment of a Military Force—The Kimball Mail Contract—Organization of the Troops—General Harney's Letter of Instruction—Threats against the Advancing Foe—Mobilization of the Nauvoo Legion—Captain Van Vliet's Mission to Salt Lake City—Young's Defiance of the Government—His Proclamation to the Citizens of Utah—"General" Wells's Order to his Officers—Capture and Burning of a Government Train—Colonel Alexander's Futile March—Colonel Johnston's Advance from Fort Laramie—Harrowing Experience of Lieutenant Colonel Cooke's Command

XIII. THE MORMON PURPOSE: Correspondence between Colonel Alexander and Brigham Young—Illustration of Young's Vituperative Powers—John Taylor's Threat—Incendiary Teachings in Salt Lake City—A Warning to Saints who would Desert—The Army's Winter Camp—Proclamation by Governor Cumming—Judge Eckles's Court—Futile Preparations at Washington

XIV. COLONEL KANE'S MISSION: His Wily Proposition to President Buchanan—His Credentials from the President—Arrival in California under an Assumed Name—Visit to Camp Scott—General Johnston ignored—Reasons why both the Government and the Mormons desired Peace—Kane's Success with Governor Cumming—The Governor's Departure for Salt Lake City—Deceptions practiced on him in Echo Canon—His Reception in the City—Playing into Mormon Hands—The Governor's Introduction to the People—Exodus of Mormons begun

XV. THE PEACE COMMISSION: President Buchanan's Volte-face—A Proclamation of Pardon—Instructions to Two Peace Commissioners—Chagrin of the Military—Governor Cumming's Misrepresentations—Conferences between the Commissioners and Young—Brother Dunbar's Singing of "Zion"—Young's Method of Surrender—Judge Eckles on Plural Marriages—The Terms made with the Mormons—March of the Federal Troops to the Deserted City—Return of the Mormons to their Homes

XVI. THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE: Circumstances Indicative of Mormon Official Responsibility—The Make-up of the Arkansas Party—Motives for Mormon Hostility to them—Parley P. Pratt's Shooting in Arkansas—Refusal of Food Supplies to the Party after leaving Salt Lake City—Their Plight before they were attacked—Successful Measures for Defence—Disarrangement of the Mormon Plans—John D. Lee's Treacherous Mission—Pitiless Slaughter of Men, Women, and Children—Testimony given at Lee's Trial—The Plundering of the Dead—Lee's Account of the Planning of the Massacre—Responsibility of High Church Officers—Lee's Report to Brigham Young and Brigham's Instructions to him—The Disclosures by "Argus"—Lee's Execution and Last Words

XVII. AFTER THE "WAR": Judge Cradlebaugh's Attempts to enforce the Law—Investigation of the Mountain Meadows Massacre—Governor Cumming's Objections to the Use of Troops to assist the Court—A Washington Decision in Favor of Young's Authority—The Story of a Counterfeit Plate—Five Thousand Men under Arms to protect Young from Arrest—Sudden Departure of Cumming—Governor Dawson's Brief Term—His Shocking Treatment at Mormon Hands—Governor Harding's Administration—The Morrisite Tragedy

XVIII. ATTITUDE OF THE MORMONS DURING THE SOUTHERN REBELLION: Press and Pulpit Utterances—Arrival of Colonel Connor's Force—His March through Salt Lake City to Camp Douglas—Governor Harding's Plain Message to the Legislature—Mormon Retaliation—The Governor and Two Judges requested to leave the Territory—Their Spirited Replies—How Young escaped Arrest by Colonel Connor's Force—Another Yielding to Mormon Power at Washington

XIX. EASTERN VISITORS To SALT LAKE CITY: Schuyler Colfax's Interviews with Young—Samuel Bowles's Praise of the Mormons and his Speedy Correction of his Views—Repudiation of Colfax's Plan to drop Polygamy—Two more Utah Murders—Colfax's Second Visit

XX. GENTILE IRRUPTION AND MORMON SCHISM: Young's Jealousy of Gentile Merchants—Organization of the Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institution—Inception of the "New Movement"—Its Leaders and Objects—The Peep o' Day and the Utah Magazine—Articles that aroused Young's Hostility—Visit of the Prophet's Sons to Salt Lake City—Trial and Excommunication of Godbe and Harrison—Results of the "New Movement".

XXI. THE LAST YEARS OF BRIGHAM YOUNG: New Governors—Shaffer's Rebuke to the Nauvoo Legion—Conflict with the New Judges—Brigham Young and Others indicted—Young's Temporary Imprisonment—A Supreme Court Decision in Favor of the Mormon Marshal and Attorney—Outside Influences affecting Utah Affairs—Grant's Special Message to Congress—Failure of the Frelinghuysen Bill in the House—Signing of the Poland Bill—Ann Eliza Young's Suit for Divorce—The Later Governors

XXII. BRIGHAM YOUNG'S DEATH: His Character—Explanation of his Dictatorial Power—Exaggerated Views of his Executive Ability—Overestimations by Contemporaries—Young's Wealth and how he acquired it—His Revenue from Divorces—Unrestrained Control of the Church Property—His Will—Suit against his Executors—List of his Wives—His Houses in Salt Lake City

XXIII. SOCIAL ASPECTS OF POLYGAMY: Varied Provisions for Plural Wives—Home Accommodations of the Leaders—Horace Greeley's Observation about Woman's Place in Utah—Means of overcoming Female Jealousy—Young and Grant on the Unhappiness of Mormon Wives—Acceptance of Fanatical Teachings by Women—Kimball on a Fair Division of the Converts—Church Influence in Behalf of Plural Marriages—A Prussian Convert's Dilemma—President Cleveland on the Evils of Polygamy

XXIV. THE FIGHT AGAINST POLYGAMY: First Measures introduced in Congress—The Act of 1862—The Cullom Bill of 1869—Its Failure in the Senate—The United States Supreme Court Decision regarding Polygamy—Conviction of John Miles—Appeal of Women of Salt Lake City to Mrs. Hayes and the Women of the United States—President Hayes's Drastic Recommendation to Congress—Recommendations of Presidents Garfield and Arthur—Passage of the Edmunds Bill—Its Provisions—The Edmunds-Tucker Amendment—Appointment of the Utah Commission—Determined Opposition of the Mormon Church—Placing their Flags at Half Mast—Convictions under the New Law—Leaders in Hiding or in Exile—Mormon Honors for those who took their Punishment—Congress asked to disfranchise All Polygamists—The Mormon Church brought to Bay—Woodruff's Famous Proclamation—How it was explained to the Church—The Roberts Case and the Vetoed Act of 1901—How Statehood came

XXV. THE MORMONISM OF TO-DAY: Future Place of the Church in American History—Main Points of the Mormon Political Policy—Unbroken Power of the Priesthood—Fidelity of the Younger Members—Extension of the Membership over Adjoining States—Mission Work at Home and Abroad—Decreased Foreign Membership—Effect of False Promises to Converts—The Settlements in Canada and Mexico—Polygamy still a Living Doctrine—Reasons for its Hold on the Church—Its Appeal to the Female Members—Importance of a Federal Constitutional Amendment forbidding Polygamous Marriages—Scope of the Mormon Political Ambition




Summing up his observations of the Mormons as he found them in Utah while secretary of the territory, five years after their removal to the Great Salt Lake valley, B. G. Ferris wrote, "The real miracle [of their success] consists in so large a body of men and women, in a civilized land, and in the nineteenth century, being brought under, governed, and controlled by such gross religious imposture." This statement presents, in concise form, the general view of the surprising features of the success of the Mormon leaders, in forming, augmenting, and keeping together their flock; but it is a mistaken view. To accept it would be to concede that, in a highly civilized nation like ours, and in so late a century, the acceptance of religious beliefs which, to the nonbelievers, seem gross superstitions, is so unusual that it may be classed with the miraculous. Investigation easily disproves this.

It is true that the effrontery which has characterized Mormonism from the start has been most daring. Its founder, a lad of low birth, very limited education, and uncertain morals; its beginnings so near burlesque that they drew down upon its originators the scoff of their neighbors,—the organization increased its membership as it was driven from one state to another, building up at last in an untried wilderness a population that has steadily augmented its wealth and numbers; doggedly defending its right to practise its peculiar beliefs and obey only the officers of the church, even when its course in this respect has brought it in conflict with the government of the United States. Professing only a desire to be let alone, it promulgated in polygamy a doctrine that was in conflict with the moral sentiment of the Christian world, making its practice not only a privilege, but a part of the religious duty of its members. When, in recent years, Congress legislated against this practice, the church fought for its peculiar institution to the last, its leading members accepting exile and imprisonment; and only the certainty of continued exclusion from the rights of citizenship, and the hopelessness of securing the long-desired prize of statehood for Utah, finally induced the church to bow to the inevitable, and to announce a form of release for its members from the duty of marrying more wives than one. Aside from this concession, the Mormon church is to-day as autocratic in its hold on its members, as aggressive in its proselyting, and as earnest in maintaining its individual religious and political power, as it has been in any previous time in its history.

In its material aspects we must concede to the Mormon church organization a remarkable success; to Joseph Smith, Jr., a leadership which would brook no rival; to Brigham Young the maintenance of an autocratic authority which enabled him to hold together and enlarge his church far beyond the limits that would have been deemed possible when they set out across the plains with all their possessions in their wagons. But it is no more surprising that the Mormons succeeded in establishing their church in the United States than it would have been if they had been equally successful in South America; no more surprising that this success should have been won in the nineteenth century than it would have been to record it in the twelfth.

In studying questions of this kind, we are, in the first place, entirely too apt to ignore the fact that man, while comparatively a "superior being," is in simple fact one species of the animals that are found upon the earth; and that, as a species, he has traits which distinguish him characteristically just as certain well-known traits characterize those animals that we designate as "lower." If a traveller from the Sun should print his observations of the inhabitants of the different planets, he would have to say of those of the Earth something like this: "One of Man's leading traits is what is known as belief. He is a credulous creature, and is especially susceptible to appeals to his credulity in regard to matters affecting his existence after death." Whatever explanation we may accept of the origin of the conception by this animal of his soul-existence, and of the evolution of shadowy beliefs into religious systems, we must concede that Man is possessed of a tendency to worship something,—a recognition, at least, of a higher power with which it behooves him to be on friendly terms,—and so long as the absolute correctness of any one belief or doctrine cannot be actually proved to him, he is constantly ready to inquire into, and perhaps give credence to, new doctrines that are presented for his consideration. The acceptance by Man of novelties in the way of religions is a characteristic that has marked his species ever since its record has been preserved. According to Max Matter, "every religion began simply as a matter of reason, and from this drifted into a superstition"; that is, into what non-believers in the new doctrine characterize as a superstition. Whenever one of these driftings has found a lodgement, there has been planted a new sect. There has never been a year in the Christian era when there have not been believers ready to accept any doctrine offered to them in the name of religion. As Shakespeare expresses it, in the words of Bassanio:—

"In religion, What damned error but some sober brow Will bless it, and approve it with a text, Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?"

In glancing at the cause of this unchanged susceptibility to religious credulity—unchanged while the world has been making such strides in the acquisition of exact information—we may find a summing up of the situation in Macaulay's blunt declaration that "natural theology is not a progressive science; a Christian of the fifth century with a Bible is on a par with a Christian of the nineteenth century with a Bible." The "orthodox" believer in that Bible can only seek a better understanding of it by studying it himself and accepting the deductions of other students. Nothing, as the centuries have passed, has been added to his definite knowledge of his God or his own future existence. When, therefore, some one, like a Swedenborg or a Joseph Smith, appears with an announcement of an addition to the information on this subject, obtained by direct revelation from on high, he supplies one of the greatest desiderata that man is conscious of, and we ought, perhaps, to wonder that his followers are not so numerous, but so few. Progress in medical science would no longer permit any body like the College of the Physicians of London to recognize curative value in the skull of a person who had met with a violent death, as it did in the seventeenth century; but the physician of the seventeenth century with a pharmacopoeia was not "on a par with" a physician of the nineteenth century with a pharmacopoeia.

Nor has man changed in his mental susceptibilities as the centuries have advanced. It is a failure to recognize this fact which leads observers like Ferris to find it so marvellous that a belief like Mormonism should succeed in the nineteenth century. Draper's studies of man's intellectual development led him to declare that "man has ever been the same in his modes of thought and motives of action, and to assert his purpose to judge past occurrences in the same way as those of our own time."* So Macaulay refused to accept the doctrine that "the world is constantly becoming more and more enlightened," asserting that "the human mind, instead of marching, merely marks time." Nothing offers stronger confirmation of the correctness of these views than the history of religious beliefs, and the teachings connected therewith since the death of Christ.

     * "Intellectual Development of Europe," Vol. II, Chap. 3.

The chain of these beliefs and teachings—including in the list only those which offer the boldest challenge to a sane man's credulity—is uninterrupted down to our own day. A few of them may be mentioned by way of illustration. In one century we find Spanish priests demanding the suppression of the opera on the ground that this form of entertainment caused a drought, and a Pope issuing a bull against men and women having sexual intercourse with fiends. In another, we find an English tailor, unsuccessfully, allotting endless torments to all who would not accept his declaration that God was only six feet in height, at the same time that George Fox, who was successful in establishing the Quaker sect, denounced as unchristian adoration of Janus and Woden, any mention of a month as January or a day as Wednesday. Luther, the Protestant pioneer, believed that he had personal conferences with the devil; Wesley, the founder of Methodism, declared that "the giving up of (belief) in witchcraft is, in effect, giving up the Bible." Education and mental training have had no influence in shaping the declarations of the leaders of new religious sects.* The learned scientist, Swedenborg, told of seeing the Virgin Mary dressed in blue satin, and of spirits wearing hats, just as confidently as the ignorant Joseph Smith, Jr., described his angel as "a tall, slim, well-built, handsome man, with a bright pillar upon his head."

   * "The splendid gifts which make a seer are usually found among
those whom society calls 'common or unclean.' These brutish beings
are the chosen vessels in whom God has poured the elixirs which amaze
humanity. Such beings have furnished the prophets, the St. Peters, the
hermits of history." BALZAC, in "Cousin Pons."

The readiness with which even believers so strictly taught as are the Jews can be led astray by the announcement of a new teacher divinely inspired, is illustrated in the stories of their many false Messiahs. One illustration of this—from the pen of Zangwill—may be given:—

"From all the lands of the Exile, crowds of the devout came to do him homage and tender allegiance—Turkish Jews with red fez or saffron-yellow turban; Jerusalem Jews in striped cotton gowns and soft felt hats; Polish Jews with foxskin caps and long caftans; sallow German Jews, gigantic Russian Jews, highbred Spanish Jews; and with them often their wives and daughters—Jerusalem Jewesses with blue shirts and head-veils, Egyptian Jewesses with sweeping robes and black head-shawls, Jewesses from Ashdod and Gaza, with white visors fringed with gold coins; Polish Jewesses with glossy wigs; Syrian Jewesses with eyelashes black as though lined with kohl; fat Jewesses from Tunis, with clinging breeches interwoven with gold and silver."

This homage to a man who turned Turk, and became a doorkeeper of the Sultan, to save himself from torture and death!

Savagery and civilization meet on this plane of religious credulity. The Indians of Canada believed not more implicitly in the demons who howled all over the Isles of Demons, than did the early French sailors and the priests whose protection the latter asked. The Jesuit priests of the seventeenth century accepted, and impressed upon their white followers in New France, belief in miracles which made a greater demand on credulity than did any of the exactions of the Indian medicine man. That the head of a white man, which the Iroquois carried to their village, spoke to them and scolded them for their perfidy, "found believers among the most intelligent men of the colony," just as did the story of the conversion of a sick Huguenot immigrant, with whose gruel a Mother secretly mixed a little of the powdered bone of a Jesuit martyr.* And French Canada is to-day as "orthodox" in its belief in miracles as was the Canada of the seventeenth century. The church of St. Anne de Beaupre, below Quebec, attracts thousands annually, and is piled with the crutches which the miraculously cured have cast aside. Masses were said in 1899 in the church of Notre Dame de Bonsecours at Montreal, at the expense of a pilots' association, to ward off wrecks in the treacherous St. Lawrence; and in the near-by provinces there were religious processions to check the attacks of caterpillars in the orchards.

   * Parkman's "Old Regime in Canada."

Nor need we go to Catholic Quebec for modern illustrations of this kind of faith. "Bareheaded people stood out upon the corner in East 113th Street yesterday afternoon," said a New York City newspaper of December 18, 1898, "because they were unable to get into the church of Our Lady Queen of Angels, where a relic of St. Anthony of Padua was exposed for veneration." Describing a service in the church of St. Jean Baptiste in East 77th Street, New York, where a relic alleged to be a piece of a bone of the mother of the Virgin was exposed, a newspaper of that city, on July 24th, 1901, said: "There were five hundred persons, by actual count, in and around the crypt chapel of St. Anne when afternoon service stopped the rush of the sick and crippled at 4.30 o'clock yesterday. There were many more at the 8 o'clock evening Mass." What did these people seek at the shrine? Only the favor of St. Anne and a kiss and touch of the casket that, by church authority, contains bone of her body. "France has to-day its Grotto of Lourdes, Wales its St. Winefride's Well, Mexico its wonder-working doll" that makes the sick well and the childless mothers, and Moscow its "wonder-working picture of the Mother of God," before which the Czar prostrates himself."

Not in recent years has the appetite for some novelty on which to fasten belief been more manifest in the United States than it was at the close of the nineteenth century. Old beliefs found new teachers, and promulgators of new ideas found followers. Instructors in Brahminism attracted considerable attention. A "Chapter of the College of Divine Sciences and Realization" instituted a revival of Druid sun-adoration on the shores of Lake Michigan. An organization has been formed of believers in the One-Over-At-Acre, a Persian who claimed to be the forerunner of the Millennium, and in whom, as Christ, it is said that more than three thousand persons in this country believe. We have among us also Jaorelites, who believe in the near date of the end of the world, and that they must make their ascent to heaven from a mountain in Scotland. The hold which the form of belief called Christian Science has obtained upon people of education and culture needs only be referred to. Along with this have come the "divine healers," gaining patients in circles where it would be thought impossible for them to obtain even consideration, and one of them securing a clientage in a Western city which has enabled him to establish there a church of his own.

In fact, instead of finding in enlightened countries like the United States and England a poor field for the dissemination of new beliefs, the whole school of revealers find there their best opportunities. Discussing this susceptibility, Aliene Gorren, in her "Anglo-Saxons and Others," reaches this conclusion: "Nowhere are so many persons of sound intelligence in all practical affairs so easily led to follow after crazy seers and seeresses as in England and the United States. The truth is that the mind of man refuses to be shut out absolutely from the world of the higher abstractions, and that, if it may not make its way thither under proper guidance, it will set off even at the tail of the first ragged street procession that passes."

The "real miracle" in Mormonism, then,—the wonderful feature of its success,—is to be sought, not in the fact that it has been able to attract believers in a new prophet, and to find them at this date and in this country, but in its success in establishing and keeping together in a republic like ours a membership who acknowledge its supreme authority in politics as well as in religion, and who form a distinct organization which does not conceal its purpose to rule over the whole nation. Had Mormonism confined itself to its religious teachings, and been preached only to those who sought its instruction, instead of beating up the world for recruits and conveying them to its home, the Mormon church would probably to-day be attracting as little attention as do the Harmonists of Pennsylvania.


Among the families who settled in Ontario County, New York, in 1816, was that of one Joseph Smith. It consisted of himself, his wife, and nine children. The fourth of these children, Joseph Smith, Jr., became the Mormon prophet.

The Smiths are said to have been of Scotch ancestry. It was the mother, however, who exercised the larger influence on her son's life, and she has left very minute details of her own and her father's family.* Her father, Solomon Mack, was a native of Lyme, Connecticut. The daughter Lucy, who became Mrs. Joseph Smith, Sr., was born in Gilsum, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, on July 8, 1776. Mr. Mack was remembered as a feeble old man, who rode around the country on horseback, using a woman's saddle, and selling his own autobiography. The "tramp" of those early days often offered an autobiography, or what passed for one, and, as books were then rare, if he could say that it contained an account of actual adventures in the recent wars, he was certain to find purchasers.

   * "Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith and his Progenitors for
Many Generations," Lucy Smith.

One of the few copies of this book in existence lies before me. It was printed at the author's expense about the year 1810. It is wholly without interest as a narrative, telling of the poverty of his parents, how he was bound, when four years old, to a farmer who gave him no education and worked him like a slave; gives some of his experiences in the campaigns against the French and Indians in northern New York and in the war of the Revolution, when he was in turn teamster, sutler, and privateer; describes with minute detail many ordinary illnesses and accidents that befell him; and closes with a recital of his religious awakening, which was deferred until his seventy-sixth year, while he was suffering with rheumatism. At that time it seemed to him that he several times "saw a bright light in a dark night," and thought he heard a voice calling to him. Twenty-two of the forty-eight duodecimo pages that the book contains are devoted to hymns "composed," the title-page says, "on the death of several of his relatives," not all by himself. One of these may be quoted entire:—

"My friends, I am on the ocean, So sweetly do I sail; Jesus is my portion, He's given me a pleasant gale.

"The bruises sore, In harbor soon I'll be, And see my redeemer there That died for you and me."

Mrs. Smith's family seem to have had a natural tendency to belief in revelations. Her eldest brother, Jason, became a "Seeker"; the "Seekers" of that day believed that the devout of their times could, through prayer and faith, secure the "gifts" of the Gospel which were granted to the ancient apostles.* He was one of the early believers in faith-cure, and was, we are told, himself cured by that means in 1835. One of Lucy's sisters had a miraculous recovery from illness. After being an invalid for two years she was "borne away to the world of spirits," where she saw the Saviour and received a message from Him for her earthly friends.

   * A sect called "Seekers," who arose in 1645, taught, like the
Mormons, that the Scriptures are defective, the true church lost, and
miracles necessary to faith.

Lucy herself came very exactly under the description given by Ruth McEnery Stuart of one of her negro characters: "Duke's mother was of the slighter intelligences, and hence much given to convictions. Knowing few things, she 'believed in' a great many." Lucy Smith had neither education nor natural intelligence that would interfere with such "beliefs" as came to her from family tradition, from her own literal interpretations of the Bible, or from the workings of her imagination. She tells us that after her marriage, when very ill, she made a covenant with God that she would serve him if her recovery was granted; thereupon she heard a voice giving her assurance that her prayer would be answered, and she was better the next morning. Later, when anxious for the safety of her husband's soul, she prayed in a grove (most of the early Mormons' prayers were made in the woods), and saw a vision indicating his coming conversion; later still, in Vermont, a daughter was restored to health by her parent's prayers.

According to Mrs. Smith's account of their life in Vermont, they were married on January 24, 1796, at Tunbridge, but soon moved to Randolph, where Smith was engaged in "merchandise," keeping a store. Learning of the demand for crystallized ginseng in China, he invested money in that product and made a shipment, but it proved unprofitable, and, having in this way lost most of his money, they moved back to a farm at Tunbridge. Thence they moved to Royalton, and in a few months to Sharon, where, on December 23, 1805, Joseph Smith, Jr., their fourth child, was born.* Again they moved to Tunbridge, and then back to Royalton (all these places in Vermont). From there they went to Lebanon, New Hampshire, thence to Norwich, Vermont, still "farming" without success, until, after three years of crop failure, they decided to move to New York State, arriving there in the summer of 1816.

   ** There is equally good authority for placing the house in which
Smith was born across the line in Royalton.

Less prejudiced testimony gives an even less favorable view than this of the elder Smith's business career in Vermont. Judge Daniel Woodward, of the county court of Windsor, Vermont, near whose father's farm the Smiths lived, says that the elder Smith while living there was a hunter for Captain Kidd's treasure, and that he also "became implicated with one Jack Downing in counterfeiting money, but turned state's evidence and escaped the penalty."* He had in earlier life been a Universalist, but afterward became a Methodist. His spiritual welfare gave his wife much concern, but although he had "two visions" while living in Vermont, she did not accept his change of heart. She admits, however, that after their removal to New York her husband obeyed the scriptural injunction, "your old men shall dream dreams," and she mentions several of these dreams, the latest in 1819, giving the particulars of some of them. One sample of these will suffice. The dreamer found himself in a beautiful garden, with wide walks and a main walk running through the centre. "On each side of this was a richly carved seat, and on each seat were placed six wooden images, each of which was the size of a very large man. When I came to the first image on the right side it arose, bowed to me with much deference. I then turned to the one which sat opposite to me, on the left side, and it arose and bowed to me in the same manner as the first. I continued turning first to the right and then to the left until the whole twelve had made the obeisance, after which I was entirely healed (of a lameness from which he then was suffering). I then asked my guide the meaning of all this, but I awoke before I received an answer."

   * Historical Magazine, 1870.

A similar wakefulness always manifested itself at the critical moment in these dreams. What the world lost by this insomnia of the dreamer the world will never know.

The Smiths' first residence in New York State was in the village of Palmyra. There the father displayed a sign, "Cake and Beer Shop, "selling" gingerbread, pies, boiled eggs, root beer, and other like notions," and he and his sons did odd jobs, gardening, harvesting, and well-digging, when they could get them.*

   * Tucker's "Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism," p. 12.

They were very poor, and Mrs. Smith added to their income by painting oilcloth table covers. After a residence of three years and a half in Palmyra, the family took possession of a piece of land two miles south of that place, on the border of Manchester. They had no title to it, but as the owners were nonresident minors they were not disturbed. There they put up a little log house, with two rooms on the ground floor and two in the attic, which sheltered them all. Later, the elder Smith contracted to buy the property and erected a farmhouse on it; but he never completed his title to it.

While classing themselves as farmers, the Smiths were regarded by their neighbors as shiftless and untrustworthy. They sold cordwood, vegetables, brooms of their own manufacture, and maple sugar, continuing to vend cakes in the village when any special occasion attracted a crowd. It may be remarked here that, while Ontario County, New York, was regarded as "out West" by seaboard and New England people in 1830, its population was then almost as large as it is to-day (having 40,288 inhabitants according to the census of 1830 and 48,453 according to the census of 1890). The father and several of the boys could not read, and a good deal of the time of the younger sons was spent in hunting, fishing, and lounging around the village.

The son Joseph did not rise above the social standing of his brothers. The best that a Mormon biographer, Orson Pratt, could say of him as a youth was that "He could read without much difficulty, and write a very imperfect hand, and had a very limited understanding of the elementary rules of arithmetic. These were his highest and only attainments, while the rest of those branches so universally taught in the common schools throughout the United States were entirely unknown to him."* He was "Joe Smith" to every one. Among the younger people he served as a butt for jokes, and we are told that the boys who bought the cakes that he peddled used to pay him in pewter twoshilling pieces, and that when he called at the Palmyra Register office for his father's weekly paper, the youngsters in the press room thought it fun to blacken his face with the ink balls.

   * "Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism," p. 16.

Here are two pictures of the young man drawn by persons who saw him constantly in the days of his vagabondage. The first is from Mr. Tucker's book:—

"At this period in the life and career of Joseph Smith, Jr., or 'Joe Smith,' as he was universally named, and the Smith family, they were popularly regarded as an illiterate, whiskey-drinking, shiftless, irreligious race of people—the first named, the chief subject of this biography, being unanimously voted the laziest and most worthless of the generation. From the age of twelve to twenty years he is distinctly remembered as a dull-eyed, flaxen-haired, prevaricating boy noted only for his indolent and vagabondish character, and his habits of exaggeration and untruthfulness. Taciturnity was among his characteristic idiosyncrasies, and he seldom spoke to any one outside of his intimate associates, except when first addressed by another; and then, by reason of his extravagancies of statement, his word was received with the least confidence by those who knew him best. He could utter the most palpable exaggeration or marvellous absurdity with the utmost apparent gravity. He nevertheless evidenced the rapid development of a thinking, plodding, evil-brewing mental composition—largely given to inventions of low cunning, schemes of mischief and deception, and false and mysterious pretensions. In his moral phrenology the professor might have marked the organ of secretiveness as very large, and that of conscientiousness omitted. He was, however, proverbially good natured, very rarely, if ever, indulging in any combative spirit toward any one, whatever might be the provocation, and yet was never known to laugh. Albeit, he seemed to be the pride of his indulgent father, who has been heard to boast of him as the 'genus of the family,' quoting his own expression."*

   * "Remarkable Visions."

The second (drawn a little later) is by Daniel Hendrix, a resident of Palmyra, New York, at the time of which he speaks, and an assistant in setting the type and reading the proof of the Mormon Bible:—

"Every one knew him as Joe Smith. He had lived in Palmyra a few years previous to my going there from Rochester. Joe was the most ragged, lazy fellow in the place, and that is saying a good deal. He was about twenty-five years old. I can see him now in my mind's eye, with his torn and patched trousers held to his form by a pair of suspenders made out of sheeting, with his calico shirt as dirty and black as the earth, and his uncombed hair sticking through the holes in his old battered hat. In winter I used to pity him, for his shoes were so old and worn out that he must have suffered in the snow and slush; yet Joe had a jovial, easy, don't-care way about him that made him a lot of warm friends. He was a good talker, and would have made a fine stump speaker if he had had the training. He was known among the young men I associated with as a romancer of the first water. I never knew so ignorant a man as Joe was to have such a fertile imagination. He never could tell a common occurrence in his daily life without embellishing the story with his imagination; yet I remember that he was grieved one day when old Parson Reed told Joe that he was going to hell for his lying habits."*

   * San Jacinto, California, letter of February 2, 1897, to the St.
Louis Globe-Democrat.

To this testimony may be added the following declarations, published in 1833, the year in which a mob drove the Mormons out of Jackson County, Missouri. The first was signed by eleven of the most prominent citizens of Manchester, New York, and the second by sixty-two residents of Palmyra:—

"We, the undersigned, being personally acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sr., with whom the Gold Bible, so called, originated, state: That they were not only a lazy, indolent set of men, but also intemperate, and their word was not to be depended upon; and that we are truly glad to dispense with their society."

"We, the undersigned, have been acquainted with the Smith family for a number of years, while they resided near this place, and we have no hesitation in saying that we consider them destitute of that moral character which ought to entitle them to the confidence of any community. They were particularly famous for visionary projects; spent much of their time in digging for money which they pretended was hid in the earth, and to this day large excavations may be seen in the earth, not far from their residence, where they used to spend their time in digging for hidden treasures. Joseph Smith, Sr., and his son Joseph were, in particular, considered entirely destitute of moral character, and addicted to vicious habits."*

   * Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 261.

Finally may be quoted the following affidavit of Parley Chase:—

"Manchester, New York, December 2, 1833. I was acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sr., both before and since they became Mormons, and feel free to state that not one of the male members of the Smith family were entitled to any credit whatsoever. They were lazy, intemperate, and worthless men, very much addicted to lying. In this they frequently boasted their skill. Digging for money was their principal employment. In regard to their Gold Bible speculation, they scarcely ever told two stories alike. The Mormon Bible is said to be a revelation from God, through Joseph Smith, Jr., his Prophet, and this same Joseph Smith, Jr., to my knowledge, bore the reputation among his neighbors of being a liar."*

   * Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 248.

The preposterousness of the claims of such a fellow as Smith to prophetic powers and divinely revealed information were so apparent to his local acquaintances that they gave them little attention. One of these has remarked to me in recent years that if they had had any idea of the acceptance of Joe's professions by a permanent church, they would have put on record a much fuller description of him and his family.


The elder Smith, as we have seen, was known as a money-digger while a resident of Vermont. Of course that subject as a matter of conversation in his family, and his sons were a character to share in his belief in the existence of hidden treasure. The territory around Palmyra was as good ground for their explorations as any in Vermont, and they soon let their neighbors know of a possibility of riches that lay within their reach.

The father, while a resident of Vermont, also claimed ability to locate an underground stream of water over which would be a good site for a well, by means of a forked hazel switch,* and in this way doubtless increased the demand for his services as a well-digger, but we have no testimonials to his success. The son Joseph, while still a young lad, professed to have his father's gift in this respect, and he soon added to his accomplishments the power to locate hidden riches, and in this way began his career as a money-digger, which was so intimately connected with his professions as a prophet.

   * The so-called "divining rod" has received a good deal of
attention from persons engaged in psychical research. Vol. XIII, Part
II, of the "Proceedings of the Society Of Psychical Research" is devoted
to a discussion of the subject by Professor W. F. Barrett of the
Royal College of Science for Ireland, in Dublin, and in March, 1890, a
commission was appointed in France to study the matter.

Writers on the origin of the Mormon Bible, and the gradual development of Smith the Prophet from Smith the village loafer and money-seeker, have left their readers unsatisfied on many points. Many of these obscurities will be removed by a very careful examination of Joseph's occupations and declarations during the years immediately preceding the announcement of the revelation and delivery to him of the golden plates.

The deciding event in Joe's career was a trip to Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, when he was a lad. It can be shown that it was there that he obtained an idea of vision-seeing nearly ten years before the date he gives in his autobiography as that of the delivery to him of the golden plates containing the Book of Mormon, and it was there probably that, in some way, he later formed the acquaintance of Sidney Rigdon. It can also be shown that the original version of his vision differed radically from the one presented, after the lapse of another ten years spent under Rigdon's tutelage, in his autobiography. Each of these points is of great incidental value in establishing Rigdon's connection with the conception of a new Bible, and the manner of its presentation to the public. Later Mormon authorities have shown a dislike to concede that Joe was a money-digger, but the fact is admitted both in his mother's history of him and by himself. His own statement about it is as follows:—

"In the month of October, 1825, I hired with an old gentleman by the name of Josiah Stoal, who lived in Chenango County, State of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquehanna County, State of Pennsylvania, and had, previous to my hiring with him, been digging in order, if possible, to discover the mine. After I went to live with him he took me, among the rest of his hands, to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month, without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging for it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a moneydigger."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, Supt., p. 6.

Mother Smith's account says, however, that Stoal "came for Joseph on account of having heard that he possessed certain keys by which he could discern things invisible to the natural eye"; thus showing that he had a reputation as a "gazer" before that date. It was such discrepancies as these which led Brigham Young to endeavor to suppress the mother's narrative.

The "gazing" which Joe took up is one of the oldest—perhaps the oldest—form of alleged human divination, and has been called "mirror-gazing," "crystal-gazing," "crystal vision," and the like. Its practice dates back certainly three thousand years, having been noted in all ages, and among nations uncivilized as well as civilized. Some students of the subject connect with such divination Joseph's silver cup "whereby indeed he divineth" (Genesis xliv. 5). Others, long before the days of Smith and Rigdon, advanced the theory that the Urim and Thummim were clear crystals intended for "gazing" purposes. One writer remarks of the practice, "Aeschylus refers it to Prometheus, Cicero to the Assyrians and Etruscans, Zoroaster to Ahriman, Varro to the Persian Magi, and a very large class of authors, from the Christian Fathers and Schoolmen downward, to the devil."* An act of James I (1736), against witchcraft in England, made it a crime to pretend to discover property "by any occult or crafty science." As indicating the universal knowledge of "gazing," it may be further noted that Varro mentions its practice among the Romans and Pausanias among the Greeks. It was known to the ancient Peruvians. It is practised to-day by East Indians, Africans (including Egyptians), Maoris, Siberians, by Australian, Polynesian, and Zulu savages, by many of the tribes of American Indians, and by persons of the highest culture in Europe and America.** Andrew Lang's collection of testimony about visions seen in crystals by English women in 1897 might seem convincing to any one who has not had experience in weighing testimony in regard to spiritualistic manifestations, or brought this testimony alongside of that in behalf of the "occult phenomena" of Adept Brothers presented by Sinnett.***

   * Recent Experiments in "Crystal Vision," Vol. V, "Proceedings of
the Society for Psychical Research."
   ** Lang's "The Making of Religion," Chap. V.
   *** "The Occult World."

"Gazers" use different methods. Some look into water contained in a vessel, some into a drop of blood, some into ink, some into a round opaque stone, some into mirrors, and many into some form of crystal or a glass ball. Indeed, the "gazer" seems to be quite independent as to the medium of his sight-seeing, so long as he has the "power." This "power" is put also to a great variety of uses. Australian savages depend on it to foretell the outcome of an attack on their enemies; Apaches resort to it to discover the whereabouts of things lost or stolen; and Malagasies, Zulus, and Siberians to see what will happen. Perhaps its most general use has been to discover lost objects, and in this practice the seers have very often been children, as we shall see was the case in the exhibition which gave Joe Smith his first idea on the subject. In the experiments cited by Lang, the seers usually saw distant persons or scenes, and he records his belief that "experiments have proved beyond doubt that a fair percentage of people, sane and healthy, can see vivid landscapes, and figures of persons in motion, in glass balls and other vehicles."

It can easily be imagined how interested any member of the Smith family would have been in an exhibition like that of a "crystal-gazer," and we are able to trace very consecutively Joe's first introduction to the practice, and the use he made of the hint thus given.

Emily C. Blackman, in the appendix to her "History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania" (1873), supplies the needed important information about Joe's visits to Pennsylvania in the years preceding the announcement of his Bible. She says that it is uncertain when he arrived at Harmony (now Oakland), "but it is certain he was here in 1825 and later." A very circumstantial account of Joe's first introduction to a "peep-stone" is given in a statement by J. B. Buck in this appendix. He says:—

"Joe Smith was here lumbering soon after my marriage, which was in 1818, some years before he took to 'peeping', and before diggings were commenced under his direction. These were ideas he gained later. The stone which he afterward used was in the possession of Jack Belcher of Gibson, who obtained it while at Salina, N. Y., engaged in drawing salt. Belcher bought it because it was said to be a 'seeing-stone.' I have often seen it. It was a green stone, with brown irregular spots on it. It was a little longer than a goose's egg, and about the same thickness. When he brought it home and covered it with a hat, Belcher's little boy was one of the first to look into the hat, and as he did so, he said he saw a candle. The second time he looked in he exclaimed, 'I've found my hatchet' (it had been lost two years), and immediately ran for it to the spot shown him through the stone, and it was there. The boy was soon beset by neighbors far and near to reveal to them hidden things, and he succeeded marvellously. Joe Smith, conceiving the idea of making a fortune through a similar process of 'seeing,' bought the stone of Belcher, and then began his operations in directing where hidden treasures could be found. His first diggings were near Capt. Buck's sawmill, at Red Rock; but because the followers broke the rule of silence, 'the enchantment removed the deposit.'"

One of many stories of Joe's treasure-digging, current in that neighborhood, Miss Blackman narrates. Learning from a strolling Indian of a place where treasure was said to be buried, Joe induced a farmer named Harper to join him in digging for it and to spend a considerable sum of money in the enterprise. "After digging a great hole, that is still to be seen," the story continues, "Harper got discouraged, and was about abandoning the enterprise. Joe now declared to Harper that there was an 'enchantment' about the place that was removing the treasure farther off; that Harper must get a perfectly white dog (some said a black one), and sprinkle his blood over the ground, and that would prevent the 'enchantment' from removing the treasure. Search was made all over the country, but no perfectly white dog could be found. Then Joe said a white sheep would do as well; but when this was sacrificed and failed, he said The Almighty was displeased with him for attempting to palm off on Him a white sheep for a white dog." This informant describes Joe at that time as "an imaginative enthusiast, constitutionally opposed to work, and a general favorite with the ladies."

In confirmation of this, R. C. Doud asserted that "in 1822 he was employed, with thirteen others, by Oliver Harper to dig for gold under Joe's direction on Joseph McKune's land, and that Joe had begun operations the year previous."

F. G. Mather obtained substantially the same particulars of Joe's digging in connection with Harper from the widow of Joseph McKune about the year 1879, and he said that the owner of the farm at that time "for a number of years had been engaged in filling the holes with stone to protect his cattle, but the boys still use the northeast hole as a swimming pond in the summer."*

   * Lippincott's Magazine, August, 1880.

Confirmation of the important parts of these statements has been furnished by Joseph's father. When the reports of the discovery of a new Bible first gained local currency (in 1830), Fayette Lapham decided to visit the Smith family, and learn what he could on the subject. He found the elder Smith very communicative, and he wrote out a report of his conversation with him, "as near as I can repeat his words," he says, and it was printed in the Historical Magazine for May, 1870. Father Smith made no concealment of his belief in witchcraft and other things supernatural, as well as in the existence of a vast amount of buried treasure. What he said of Joe's initiation into "crystal-gazing" Mr. Lapham thus records:—

"His son Joseph, whom he called the illiterate,* when he was about fourteen years of age, happened to be where a man was looking into a dark stone, and telling people therefrom where to dig for money and other things. Joseph requested the privilege of looking into the stone, which he did by putting his face into the hat where the stone was. It proved to be not the right stone for him; but he could see some things, and among them he saw the stone, and where it was, in which he could see whatever he wished to see.... The place where he saw the stone was not far from their house, and under pretence of digging a well, they found water and the stone at a depth of twenty or twenty-two feet. After this, Joseph spent about two years looking into this stone, telling fortunes, where to find lost things, and where to dig for money and other hidden treasures."

   * Joe's mother, describing Joe's descriptions to the family, at
their evening fireside, of the angel's revelations concerning the golden
plates, says (p. 84): "All giving the most profound attention to a boy
eighteen years of age, who had never read the Bible through in his life;
he seemed much less inclined to the perusal of books than any of the
rest of our children."

If further confirmation of Joe's early knowledge on this subject is required, we may cite the Rev. John A. Clark, D.D., who, writing in 1840 after careful local research, said: "Long before the idea of a golden Bible entered their [the Smiths'] minds, in their excursions for money-digging.... Joe used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had, through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig."*

   * "Gleanings by the Way" (1842), p. 225.

We come now to the history of Joe's own "peek-stone" (as the family generally called it), that which his father says he discovered by using the one that he first saw. Willard Chase, of Manchester, New York, near Palmyra, employed Joe and his brother Alvin some time in the year 1822 (as he fixed the date in his affidavit)* to assist him in digging a well. "After digging about twenty feet below the surface of the earth," he says, "we discovered a singularly appearing stone which excited my curiosity. I brought it to the top of the well, and as we were examining it, Joseph put it into his hat and then his face into the top of the hat. It has been said by Smith that he brought the stone from the well, but this is false. There was no one in the well but myself. The next morning he came to me and wished to obtain the stone, alleging that he could see in it; but I told him I did not wish to part with it on account of its being a curiosity, but would lend it. After obtaining the stone, he began to publish abroad what wonders he could discover by looking in it, and made so much disturbance among the credulous part of the community that I ordered the stone to be returned to me again. He had it in his possession about two years." Joseph's brother Hyrum borrowed the stone some time in 1825, and Mr. Chase was unable to recover it afterward. Tucker describes it as resembling a child's foot in shape, and "of a whitish, glassy appearance, though opaque."**

   * Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 240.
   ** Tucker closes his chapter about this stone with the
declaration "that the origin [of Mormonism] is traceable to the
insignificant little stone found in the digging of Mr. Chase's well in
1822." Tucker was evidently ignorant both of Joe's previous experience
with "crystal-gazing" in Pennsylvania and of "crystal-gazing" itself.

The Smiths at once began turning Chase's stone to their own financial account, but no one at the time heard that it was giving them any information about revealed religion. For pay they offered to disclose by means of it the location of stolen property and of buried money. There seemed to be no limit to the exaggeration of their professions. They would point out the precise spot beneath which lay kegs, barrels, and even hogsheads of gold and silver in the shape of coin, bars, images, candlesticks, etc., and they even asserted that all the hills thereabout were the work of human bands, and that Joe, by using his "peek-stone," could see the caverns beneath them.* Persons can always be found to give at least enough credence to such professions to desire to test them. It was so in this case. Joe not only secured small sums on the promise of discovering lost articles, but he raised money to enable him to dig for larger treasure which he was to locate by means of the stone. A Palmyra man, for instance, paid seventy-five cents to be sent by him on a fool's errand to look for some stolen cloth.

   * William Stafford's affidavit, Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," p.

Certain ceremonies were always connected with these money-digging operations. Midnight was the favorite hour, a full moon was helpful, and Good Friday was the best date. Joe would sometimes stand by, directing the digging with a wand. The utmost silence was necessary to success. More than once, when the digging proved a failure, Joe explained to his associates that, just as the deposit was about to be reached, some one, tempted by the devil, spoke, causing the wished-for riches to disappear. Such an explanation of his failures was by no means original with Smith, the serious results of an untimely spoken word having been long associated with divers magic performances. Joe even tried on his New York victims the Pennsylvania device of requiring the sacrifice of a black sheep to overcome the evil spirit that guarded the treasure. William Stafford opportunely owned such an animal, and, as he puts it, "to gratify my curiosity," he let the Smiths have it. But some new "mistake in the process" again resulted in disappointment. "This, I believe," remarks the contributor of the sheep, "is the only time they ever made money-digging a profitable business." The Smiths ate the sheep.

These money-seeking enterprises were continued from 1820 to 1827 (the year of the delivery to Smith of the golden plates). This period covers the years in which Joe, in his autobiography, confesses that he "displayed the corruption of human nature." He explains that his father's family were poor, and that they worked where they could find employment to their taste; "sometimes we were at home and sometimes abroad." Some of these trips took them to Pennsylvania, and the stories of Joe's "gazing" accomplishment may have reached Sidney Rigdon, and brought about their first interview. Susquehanna County was more thinly settled than the region around Palmyra, and Joe found persons who were ready to credit him with various "gifts"; and stories are still current there of his professed ability to perform miracles, to pray the frost away from a cornfield, and the like.*

   * Lippincott's Magazine, August, 1880.


Just when Smith's attention was originally diverted from the discovery of buried money to the discovery of a buried Bible engraved on gold plates remains one of the unexplained points in his history. He was so much of a romancer that his own statements at the time, which were carefully collected by Howe, are contradictory. The description given of the buried volume itself changed from time to time, giving strength in this way to the theory that Rigdon was attracted to Smith by the rumor of his discovery, and afterward gave it shape. First the book was announced to be a secular history, says Dr. Clark; then a gold Bible; then golden plates engraved; and later metallic plates, stereotyped or embossed with golden letters.* Daniel Hendrix's recollection was that for the first few months Joe did not claim the plates any new revelation or religious significance, but simply that they were a historical record of an ancient people. This would indicate that he had possession of the "Spaulding Manuscript" before it received any theological additions.

   * "Gleanings by the Way," p. 229.

The account of the revelation of the book by an angel, which is accepted by the Mormons, is the one elaborated in Smith's autobiography, and was not written until 1838, when it was prepared under the direction of Rigdon (or by him). Before examining this later version of the story, we may follow a little farther Joe's local history at the time.

While the Smiths were conducting their operations in Pennsylvania, and Joseph was "displaying the corruption of human nature," they boarded for a time in the family of Isaac Hale, who is described as a "distinguished hunter, a zealous member of the Methodist church," and (as later testified to by two judges of the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County)" a man of excellent moral character and of undoubted veracity."* Mr. Hale had three daughters, and Joe received enough encouragement to his addresses to Emma to induce him to ask her father's consent to their marriage. This consent was flatly refused. Mr. Hale made a statement in 1834, covering his knowledge of Smith and the origin of the Mormon Bible.** When he became acquainted with the future prophet, in 1825, Joe was employed by the so-called "money-diggers," using his "peek-stone." Among the reasons which Mr. Hale gave for refusing consent to the marriage was that Smith was a stranger and followed a business which he could not approve.

   * Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 266.
   ** Ibid., p. 262.

Joe thereupon induced Emma to consent to an elopement, and they were married on January 18, 1827, by a justice of the peace, just across the line in New York State. Not daring to return to the house of his father-in-law, Joe took his wife to his own home, near Palmyra, New York, where for some months he worked again with his father.

In the following August Joe hired a neighbor named Peter Ingersol to go with him to Pennsylvania to bring from there some household effects belonging to Emma. Of this trip Ingersol said, in an affidavit made in 1833:—

"When we arrived at Mr. Hale's in Harmony, Pa., from which place he had taken his wife, a scene presented itself truly affecting. His father-in-law addressed Joseph in a flood of tears: 'You have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have followed her to her grave. You spend your time in digging for money—pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people.' Joseph wept and acknowledged that he could not see in a stone now nor never could, and that his former pretensions in that respect were false. He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into stones. Mr. Hale told Joseph, if he would move to Pennsylvania and work for a living, he would assist him in getting into business. Joseph acceded to this proposition, then returned with Joseph and his wife to Manchester....

"Joseph told me on his return that he intended to keep the promise which he had made to his father-in-law; 'but,' said he, it will be hard for me, for they [his family] will all oppose, as they want me to look in the stone for them to dig money'; and in fact it was as he predicted. They urged him day after day to resume his old practice of looking in the stone. He seemed much perplexed as to the course he should pursue. In this dilemma he made me his confidant, and told me what daily transpired in the family of Smiths.

"One day he came and greeted me with joyful countenance. Upon asking the cause of his unusual happiness, he replied in the following language: 'As I was passing yesterday across the woods, after a heavy shower of rain, I found in a hollow some beautiful white sand that had been washed up by the water. I took off my frock and tied up several quarts of it, and then went home. On entering the house I found the family at the table eating dinner. They were all anxious to know the contents of my frock. At that moment I happened to think about a history found in Canada, called a Golden Bible;* so I very gravely told them it was the Golden Bible. To my surprise they were credulous enough to believe what I said. Accordingly I told them I had received a commandment to let no one see it, for, says I, no man can see it with the natural eye and live. However, I offered to take out the book and show it to them, but they refused to see it and left the room. 'Now,' said Joe, 'I have got the d—d fools fixed and will carry out the fun.' Notwithstanding he told me he had no such book and believed there never was such book, he told me he actually went to Willard Chase, to get him to make a chest in which he might deposit the Golden Bible. But as Chase would not do it, he made the box himself of clapboards, and put it into a pillow-case, and allowed people only to lift it and feel of it through the case."**

   * The most careful inquiries bring no information that any such
story was ever current in Canada.
   ** Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 234.

In line with this statement of Joe to Ingersol is a statement which somewhat later he made to his brother-in-law, Alva Hale, that "this 'peeking' was all d—d nonsense; that he intended to quit the business and labor for a livelihood."*

   * Ibid., p. 268.

Joe's family were quite ready to accept his statement of his discovery of golden plates for more reasons than one. They saw in it, in the first place, a means of pecuniary gain. Abigail Harris in a statement (dated "11th mo., 28th, 1833") of a talk she had with Joe's father and mother at Martin Harris's house, said:—

"They [the Smiths] said the plates Joe then had in possession were but an introduction to the Gold Bible; that all of them upon which the Bible was written were so heavy that it would take four stout men to load them into a cart; that Joseph had also discerned by looking through his stone the vessel in which the gold was melted from which the plates were made, and also the machine with which they were rolled; he also discovered in the bottom of the vessel three balls of gold, each as large as his fist. The old lady said also that after the book was translated, the plates were to be publicly exhibited, admission 25 cts."*

   * Ibid, p. 253.

But aside from this pecuniary view, the idea of a new Bible would have been eagerly accepted by a woman like Mrs. Smith, and a mere intimation by Joe of such a discovery would have given him, in her, an instigator to the carrying out of the plot. It is said that she had predicted that she was to be the mother of a prophet. She tells us that although, in Vermont, she was a diligent church attendant, she found all preachers unsatisfactory, and that she reached the conclusion that "there was not on earth the religion she sought." Joe, in his description of his state of mind just before the first visit of the angel who told him about the plates, describes himself as distracted by the "war and tumult of opinions." He doubtless heard this subject talked of by his mother in the home circle, but none of his acquaintances at the time had any reason to think that he was laboring under such mental distress.

The second person in the neighborhood whom Joe approached about his discovery was Willard Chase, in whose well the "peek-stone" was found. Mr. Chase in his statement (given at length by Howe) says that Joe applied to him, soon after the above quoted conversation with Ingersol, to make a chest in which to lock up his Gold Book, offering Chase an interest in it as compensation. He told Chase that the discovery of the book was due to the "peek-stone," making no allusion whatever to an angel's visit. He and Chase could not come to terms, and Joe accordingly made a box in which what he asserted were the plates were placed.

Reports of Joe's discovery soon gained currency in the neighborhood through the family's account of it, and neighbors who had accompanied them on the money-seeking expeditions came to hear about the new Bible, and to request permission to see it. Joe warded off these requests by reiterating that no man but him could look upon it and live. "Conflicting stories were afterward told," says Tucker, "in regard to the manner of keeping the book in concealment and safety, which are not worth repeating, further than to mention that the first place of secretion was said to be under a heavy hearthstone in the Smith family mansion."

Joe's mother and Parley P. Pratt tell of determined efforts of mobs and individuals to secure possession of the plates; but their statements cannot be taken seriously, and are contradicted by Tucker from personal knowledge. Tucker relates that two local wags, William T. Hussey and Azel Vandruver, intimate acquaintances of Smith, on asking for a sight of the book and hearing Joe's usual excuse, declared their readiness to risk their lives if that were the price of the privilege. Smith was not to be persuaded, but, the story continues, "they were permitted to go to the chest with its owner, and see WHERE the thing was, and observe its shape and size, concealed under a piece of thick canvas. Smith, with his accustomed solemnity of demeanor, positively persisting in his refusal to uncover it, Hussey became impetuous, and (suiting his action to his word) ejaculated, 'Egad, I'll see the critter, live or die,' and stripping off the canvas, a large tile brick was exhibited. But Smith's fertile imagination was equal to the emergency. He claimed that his friends had been sold by a trick of his."*

   * "Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism," p. 31.

Mother Smith, in her book, gives an account of proceedings in court brought by the wife of Martin Harris to protect her husband's property from Smith, on the plea that Smith was deceiving him in alleging the existence of golden plates; and she relates how one witness testified that Joe told him that "the box which he had contained nothing but sand," that a second witness swore that Joe told him, "it was nothing but a box of lead," and that a third witness declared that Joe had told him "there was nothing at all in the box." When Joe had once started the story of his discovery, he elaborated it in his usual way. "I distinctly remember," says Daniel Hendrix, "his sitting on some boxes in the store and telling a knot of men, who did not believe a word they heard, all about his vision and his find. But Joe went into such minute and careful details about the size, weight, and beauty of the carvings on the golden tablets, and strange characters and the ancient adornments, that I confess he made some of the smartest men in Palmyra rub their eyes in wonder."


The precise date when Joe's attention was first called to the possibility of changing the story about his alleged golden plates so that they would serve as the basis for a new Bible such as was finally produced, and as a means of making him a prophet, cannot be ascertained. That some directing mind gave the final shape to the scheme is shown by the difference between the first accounts of his discovery by means of the stone, and the one provided in his autobiography. We have also evidence that the story of a direct revelation by an angel came some time later than the version which Joe gave first to his acquaintances in Pennsylvania.

James T. Cobb of Salt Lake City, who has given much time to investigating matters connected with early Mormon history, received a letter under date of April 23, 1879, from Hiel and Joseph Lewis, sons of the Rev. Nathaniel Lewis, of Harmony, Pennsylvania, and relatives of Joseph's father-in-law, in which they gave the story of the finding of the plates as told in their hearing by Joe to their father, when he was translating them. This statement, in effect, was that he dreamed of an iron box containing gold plates curiously engraved, which he must translate into a book; that twice when he attempted to secure the plates he was knocked down, and when he asked why he could not have them, "he saw a man standing over the spot who, to him, appeared like a Spaniard, having a long beard down over his breast, with his throat cut from ear to ear and the blood streaming down, who told him that he could not get it alone." (He then narrated how he got the box in company with Emma.) In all this narrative there was not one word about visions of God, or of angels, or heavenly revelations; all his information was by that dream and that bleeding ghost. The heavenly visions and messages of angels, etc., contained in the Mormon books were afterthoughts, revised to order.

In direct confirmation of this we have the following account of the disclosure of the buried articles as given by Joe's father to Fayette Lapham when the Bible was first published:—

"Soon after joining the church he [Joseph] had a very singular dream.... A very large, tall man appeared to him dressed in an ancient suit of clothes, and the clothes were bloody. This man told him of a buried treasure, and gave him directions by means of which he could find the place. In the course of a year Smith did find it, and, visiting it by night, "I by some supernatural power" was enabled to overturn a huge boulder under which was a square block of masonry, in the centre of which were the articles as described. Taking up the first article, he saw others below; laying down the first, he endeavored to secure the others; but, before he could get hold of them, the one he had taken up slid back to the place he had taken it from, and, to his great surprise and terror, the rock immediately fell back to its former place, nearly crushing him [Joseph] in its descent. While trying in vain to raise the rock again with levers, Joseph felt something strike him on the breast, a third blow knocking him down; and as he lay on the ground he saw the tall man, who told him that the delivery of the articles would be deferred a year because Joseph had not strictly followed the directions given to him. The heedless Joseph allowed himself to forget the date fixed for his next visit, and when he went to the place again, the tall man appeared and told him that, because of his lack of punctuality, he would have to wait still another year before the hidden articles would be confided to him. "Come in one year from this time, and bring your oldest brother with you," said the guardian of the treasures, "then you may have them." Before the date named arrived, the elder brother had died, and Joseph decided that his wife was the proper person to accompany him. Mr. Lapham's report proceeds as follows:—

"At the expiration of the year he [Joseph] procured a horse and light wagon, with a chest and pillowcase, and proceeded punctually with his wife to find the hidden treasure. When they had gone as far as they could with the wagon, Joseph took the pillow-case and started for the rock. Upon passing a fence a host of devils began to screech and to scream, and make all sorts of hideous yells, for the purpose of terrifying him and preventing the attainment of his object; but Joseph was courageous and pursued his way in spite of them. Arriving at the stone, he again lifted it with the aid of superhuman power, as at first, and secured the first or uppermost article, this time putting it carefully into the pillow-case before laying it down. He now attempted to secure the remainder; but just then the same old man appeared, and said to him that the time had not yet arrived for their exhibition to the world, but that when the proper time came he should have them and exhibit them, with the one he had now secured; until that time arrived, no one must be allowed to touch the one he had in his possession; for if they did, they would be knocked down by some superhuman power. Joseph ascertained that the remaining articles were a gold hilt and chain, and a gold ball with two pointers. The hilt and chain had once been part of a sword of unusual size; but the blade had rusted away and become useless. Joseph then turned the rock back, took the article in the pillow-case, and returned to the wagon. The devils, with more hideous yells than before, followed him to the fence; as he was getting over the fence, one of the devils struck him a blow on the side, where a black and blue spot remained three or four days; but Joseph persevered and brought the article safely home. "I weighed it," said Mr. Smith, Sr., "and it weighed 30 pounds." In answer to our question as to what it was that Joseph had thus obtained, he said it consisted of a set of gold plates, about six inches wide and nine or ten inches long. They were in the form of a book."*

   * Historical Magazine, May, 1870.

We may now contrast these early accounts of the disclosure with the version given in the Prophet's autobiography (written, be it remembered, in Nauvoo in 1838), the one accepted by all orthodox Mormons. One of its striking features will be found to be the transformation of the Spaniard-with-his-throat-cut into a messenger from Heaven.*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, Supt.

It was, according to this later account, when he was in his fifteenth year, and when his father's family were "proselyted to the Presbyterian church," that he became puzzled by the divergent opinions he heard from different pulpits. One day, while reading the epistle of James (not a common habit of his, as his mother would testify), Joseph was struck by the words, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." Reflecting on this injunction, he retired to the woods on the morning of a beautiful clear day early in the spring of 1820, and there he for the first time uttered a spoken prayer. As soon as he began praying he was overcome by some power, and "thick darkness" gathered around him. Just when he was ready to give himself up as lost, he managed to call on God for deliverance, whereupon he saw a pillar of light descending upon him, and two personages of indescribable glory standing in the air above him, one of whom, calling him by name, said to the other, "This is my beloved Son, hear him." Straightway Joseph, not forgetting the main object of his going to the woods, asked the two personages: "which of all the sects was right." He was told that all were wrong, and that he must join none of them; that all creeds were an abomination, and that all professors were corrupt. He came to himself lying on his back.

The effect on the boy of this startling manifestation was not radically beneficial, as he himself concedes. "Forbidden to join any other religious sects of the day, of tender years," and badly treated by persons who should have been his friends, he admits that in the next three years he "frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth and the corruption of human nature, which, I am sorry to say, led me into diverse temptations, to the gratification of many appetites offensive in the sight of God." It was during this period that he was most active in the use of his "peek-stone."

On the night of September 21, 1823, to proceed with his own account, when again praying to God for the forgiveness of his sins, the room became light, and a person clothed in a robe of exquisite whiteness, and having "a countenance truly like lightning," called him by name, and said that his visitor was a messenger sent from God, and that his name was Nephi. This was a mistake on the part of somebody, because the visitor's real name was Moroni, who hid the plates where they were deposited. Smith continues:—

"He said there was a book deposited, written upon golden plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the Everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Saviour to the ancient inhabitants. Also, there were two stones in silver bows (and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim) deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones was what constituted seers in ancient or former times, and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book."

The messenger then made some liberal quotations from the prophecies of the Old Testament (changing them to suit his purpose), and ended by commanding Smith, when he got the plates, at a future date, to show them only to those as commanded, lest he be destroyed. Then he ascended into heaven. The next day the messenger appeared again, and directed Joseph to tell his father of the commandment which he had received. When he had done so, his father told him to go as directed. He knew the place (ever since known locally as "Mormon Hill") as soon as he arrived there, and his narrative proceeds as follows:—

"Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario Co., N. Y., stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box; this stone was thick and rounded in the middle on the upper side, and thinner toward the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all round was covered with earth. Having removed the earth and obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up, I looked in, and there, indeed, did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim and breastplate, as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in a kind of cement. In the bottom of the box were laid two stones crosswise of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them. I made an attempt to take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger. I was again informed that the time for bringing them out had not yet arrived, neither would till four years from that time; but he told me that I should come to that place precisely one year from that time, and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates".

Mother Smith gives an explanation of Joe's failure to secure the plates on this occasion, which he omits: "As he was taking them, the unhappy thought darted through his mind that probably there was something else in the box besides the plates, which would be of pecuniary advantage to him.... Joseph was overcome by the power of darkness, and forgot the injunction that was laid upon him." The mistakes which the Deity made in Joe's character constantly suggest to the lay reader the query why the Urim and Thummim were not turned on Joe.

On September 22, 1827, when Joe visited the hill (following his own story again), the same messenger delivered to him the plates, the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate, with the warning that if he "let them go carelessly" he would be "cut off", and a charge to keep them until the messenger called for them.

Mother Smith's story of the securing of the plates is to the effect that about midnight of September 21 Joseph and his wife drove away from his father's house with a horse and wagon belonging to a Mr. Knight. He returned after breakfast the next morning, bringing with him the Urim and Thummim, which he showed to her, and which she describes as "two smooth, three-cornered diamonds set in glass, and the glasses were set in silver bows that were connected with each other in much the same way as old-fashioned spectacles." She says that she also saw the breastplate through a handkerchief, and that it "was concave on one side and convex on the other, and extended from the neck downward as far as the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material for the purpose of fastening it to the breast.... The whole plate was worth at least $500." The spectacles and breastplate seem to have been more familiar to Mother Smith than to any other of Joseph's contemporaries and witnesses.

The substitution of the spectacles called Urim and Thummim for the "peek-stone" was doubtless an idea of the associate in the plot, who supplied the theological material found in the Golden Bible. Tucker considers the "spectacle pretension" an afterthought of some one when the scheme of translating the plates into a Bible was evolved, as "it was not heard of outside of the Smith family for a considerable period subsequent to the first story."* This is confirmed by the elder Smith's early account of the discovery. It would be very natural that Rigdon, with his Bible knowledge, should substitute the more respectable Urim and Thummim for the "peek-stone" of ill-repute, as the medium of translation.

   * "Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism," p. 33.

The Urim and Thummim were the articles named by the Lord to Moses in His description of the priestly garments of Aaron. The Bible leaves them without description;* and the following verses contain all that is said of them: Exodus xxviii. 30; Leviticus viii. 8; Numbers xxvii. 21; Deuteronomy xxxiii. 8; Samuel xxviii. 6; Ezra ii. 63; Nehemiah vii. 65. Only a pretence of using spectacles in the work of translating was kept up, later descriptions of the process by Joe's associates referring constantly to the employment of the stone.

   * "The Hebrew words are generally considered to be plurales
excellentoe, denoting light (that is, revelation) and truth.... There
are two principal opinions respecting the Urim and Thummim. One is
that these words simply denote the four rows of precious stones in the
breastplate of the high priest, and are so called from their brilliancy
and perfection; which stones, in answer to an appeal to God in difficult
cases, indicated His mind and will by some supernatural appearance....
The other principal opinion is that the Urim and Thummim were two small
oracular images similar to the Teraphim, personifying revelation and
truth, which were placed in the cavity or pouch formed by the folds of
the breastplate, and which uttered oracles by a voice.... We incline to
Mr. Mede's opinion that the Urim and Thummim were 'things well known to
the patriarchs' as divinely appointed means of inquiries of the Lord,
suited to an infantile state of religion. 'Cyclopedia of Biblical
Literature.'" Kitto and Alexander, editors.

Joe says that while the plates were in his possession "multitudes" tried to get them away from him, but that he succeeded in keeping them until they were translated, and then delivered them again to the messenger, who still retains them. Mother Smith tells a graphic story of attempts to get the plates away from her son, and says that when he first received them he hid them until the next day in a rotten birch log, bringing them home wrapped in his linen frock under his arm.* Later, she says, he hid them in a hole dug in the hearth of their house, and again in a pile of flax in a cooper shop; Willard Chase's daughter almost found them once by means of a peek-stone of her own.

   * Elder Hyde in his "Mormonism" estimates that "from the
description given of them the plates must have weighed nearly two
hundred pounds."

Mother Smith says that Joseph told all the family of his vision the evening of the day he told his father, charging them to keep it secret, and she adds:—

"From that time forth Joseph continued to receive instructions from the Lord, and we continued to get the children together every evening for the purpose of listening while he gave us a relation of the same. I presume our family presented an aspect as singular as any that ever lived upon the face of the earth—all seated in a circle, father, mother, sons, and daughters, and giving the most profound attention to a boy eighteen years old, who had never read the Bible through in his life.... We were now confirmed in the opinion that God was about to bring to light something upon which we could stay our mind, or that would give us a more perfect knowledge of the plan of salvation and the redemption of the human family."


The only one of his New York neighbors who seems to have taken a practical interest in Joe's alleged discovery was a farmer named Martin Harris, who lived a little north of Palmyra. Harris was a religious enthusiast, who had been a Quaker (as his wife was still), a Universalist, a Baptist, and a Presbyterian, and whose sanity it would have been difficult to establish in a surrogate's court. The Rev. Dr. Clark, who knew him intimately, says, "He had always been a firm believer in dreams, visions, and ghosts."

Howe describes him as often declaring that he had talked with Jesus Christ, angels, and the devil, and saying that "Christ was the handsomest man he ever saw, and the devil looked like a jackass, with very short, smooth hair similar to that of a mouse." Daniel Hendrix relates that as he and Harris were riding to the village one evening, and he remarked on the beauty of the moon, Harris replied that if his companion could only see it as he had, he might well call it beautiful, explaining that he had actually visited the moon, and adding that it "was only the faithful who were permitted to visit the celestial regions." Jesse Townsend, a resident of Palmyra, in a letter written in 1833, describes him as a visionary fanatic, unhappily married, who "is considered here to this day a brute in his domestic relations, a fool and a dupe to Smith in religion, and an unlearned, conceited hypocrite generally." His wife, in an affidavit printed in Howe's book (p. 255), says: "He has whipped, kicked, and turned me out of the house." Harris, like Joe's mother, was a constant reader of and a literal believer in the Bible. Tucker says that he "could probably repeat from memory every text from the Bible, giving the chapter and verse in each case." This seems to be an exaggeration.*

   * "Gleanings by the Way."

Mother Smith's account of Harris's early connection with the Bible enterprise says that her husband told Harris of the existence of the plates two or three years before Joe got possession of them; that when Joe secured them he asked her to go and tell Harris that he wanted to see him on the subject, an errand not to her liking, because "Mr. Harris's wife was a very peculiar woman," that is, she did not share in her husband's superstition. Mrs. Smith did not succeed in seeing Harris, but he soon afterward voluntarily offered Joe fifty dollars "for the purpose of helping Mr. Smith do the Lord's work." As Harris was very "close" in money matters, it is probable that Joe offered him a partnership in the scheme at the start. Harris seems to have placed much faith in the selling quality of the new Bible. He is said to have replied to his wife's early declaration of disbelief in it: "What if it is a lie. If you will let me alone I will make money out of it."* The Rev. Ezra Booth said: "Harris informed me [after his removal to Ohio] that he went to the place where Joseph resided [in Pennsylvania], and Joseph had given it [the translation] up on account of the opposition of his wife and others; and he told Joseph, 'I have not come down here for nothing, and we will go on with it.'"**

   * Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 254.
   ** Ibid., p. 182.

Just at this time Joe was preparing to move to the neighborhood of Harmony, Pennsylvania, having made a trip there after his marriage, during which, Mr. Hale's affidavit says, "Smith stated to me that he had given up what he called 'glass-looking,' and that he expected to work hard for a living and was willing to do so." Smith's brother-in-law Alva, in accordance with arrangements then made, went to Palmyra and helped move his effects to a house near Mr. Hale's. Joe acknowledges that Harris's gift or loan of fifty dollars enabled him to meet the expenses of moving.

Parley P. Pratt, in a statement published by him in London in 1854, set forth that Smith was driven to Pennsylvania from Palmyra through fear of his life, and that he took the plates with him concealed in a barrel of beans, thus eluding the efforts of persons who tried to secure them by means of a search warrant. Tucker says that this story rests only on the sending of a constable after Smith by a man to whom he owed a small debt. The great interest manifested in the plates in the neighborhood of Palmyra existed only in Mormon imagination developed in later years.

According to some accounts, all the work of what was called "translating" the writing on the plates into what became the "Book of Mormon" was done at Joe's home in New York State, and most of it in a cave, but this was not the case. Smith himself says: "Immediately after my arrival [in Pennsylvania] I commenced copying the characters off the plates. I copied a considerable number of them, and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them, which I did between the time I arrived, at the house of my wife's father in the month of December (1827) and the February following."

A clear description of the work of translating as carried on in Pennsylvania is given in the affidavit made by Smith's father-in-law, Isaac Hale, in 1834.* He says that soon after Joe's removal to his neighborhood with his wife, he (Hale) was shown a box such as is used for the shipment of window glass, and was told that it contained the "book of plates"; he was allowed to lift it, but not to look into it. Joe told him that the first person who would be allowed to see the plates would be a young child.** The affidavit continues:—

   * Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 264.
   ** Joe's early announcement was that his first-born child was to
have this power, but the child was born dead. This was one of the
earliest of Joe's mistakes in prophesying.

"About this time Martin Harris made his appearance upon the stage, and Smith began to interpret the characters, or hieroglyphics, which he said were engraven upon the plates, while Harris wrote down the interpretation. It was said that Harris wrote down 116 pages and lost them. Soon after this happened, Martin Harris informed me that he must have a GREATER WITNESS, and said that he had talked with Joseph about it. Joseph informed him that he could not, or durst not, show him the plates, but that he [Joseph] would go into the woods where the book of plates was, and that after he came back Harris should follow his track in the snow, and find the book and examine it for himself. Harris informed me that he followed Smith's directions, and could not find the plates and was still dissatisfied.

"The next day after this happened I went to the house where Joseph Smith, Jr., lived, and where he and Harris were engaged in their translation of the book. Each of them had a written piece of paper which they were comparing, and some of the words were, I my servant seeketh a greater witness, but no greater witness can be given him.... I inquired whose words they were, and was informed by Joseph or Emma (I rather think it was the former), that they were the words of Jesus Christ. I told them that I considered the whole of it a delusion, and advised them to abandon it. The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret was the same as when he looked for the moneydiggers, with the stone in his hat and his hat over his face, while the book of plates was at the same time hid in the woods.

"After this, Martin Harris went away, and Oliver Cowdery came and wrote for Smith, while he interpreted as above described.

"Joseph Smith, Jr., resided near me for some time after this, and I had a good opportunity of becoming acquainted with him, and somewhat acquainted with his associates; and I conscientiously believe, from the facts I have detailed, and from many other circumstances which I do not deem it necessary to relate, that the whole Book of Mormon (so-called) is a silly fabrication of falsehood and wickedness, got up for speculation, and with a design to dupe the credulous and unwary."

Harris's natural shrewdness in a measure overcame his fanaticism, and he continued to press Smith for a sight of the plates. Smith thereupon made one of the first uses of those "revelations" which played so important a part in his future career, and he announced one (Section 5, "Doctrine and Covenants"*), in which "I, the Lord" declared to Smith that the latter had entered into a covenant with Him not to show the plates to any one except as the Lord commanded him. Harris finally demanded of Smith at least a specimen of the writing on the plates for submission to experts in such subjects. As Harris was the only man of means interested in this scheme of publication, Joe supplied him with a paper containing some characters which he said were copied from one of the plates. This paper increased Harris's belief in the reality of Joe's discovery, but he sought further advice before opening his purse. Dr. Clark describes a call Harris made on him early one morning, greatly excited, requesting a private interview. On hearing his story, Dr. Clark advised him that the scheme was a hoax, devised to extort money from him, but Harris showed the slip of paper containing the mysterious characters, and was not to be persuaded.

   * All references to the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants" refer to
the sections and verses of the Salt Lake city edition of 1890.

Seeking confirmation, however, Harris made a trip to New York City in order to submit the characters to experts there. Among others, he called on Professor Charles Anthon. His interview with Professor Anthon has been a cause of many and conflicting statements, some Mormons misrepresenting it for their own purposes and others explaining away the professor's accounts of it. The following statement was written by Professor Anthon in reply to an inquiry by E. D. Howe:—

"NEW YORK, February 17, 1834.

"DEAR SIR: I received your favor of the 9th, and lose no time in making a reply. The whole story about my pronouncing the Mormon inscription to be 'reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics' is perfectly false. Some years ago a plain, apparently simple-hearted farmer called on me with a note from Dr. Mitchell, of our city, now dead, requesting me to decypher, if possible, the paper which the farmer would hand me, and which Dr. M. confessed he had been unable to understand. Upon examining the paper in question, I soon came to the conclusion that it was all a trick—perhaps a hoax. When I asked the person who brought it how he obtained the writing, he gave me, as far as I can recollect, the following account: A 'gold book' consisting of a number of plates fastened together in the shape of a book by wires of the same metal, had been dug up in the northern part of the state of New York, and along with the book an enormous pair of 'spectacles'! These spectacles were so large that, if a person attempted to look through them, his two eyes would have to be turned toward one of the glasses merely, the spectacles in question being altogether too large for the breadth of the human face. Whoever examined the plates through the spectacles, was enabled, not only to read them, but fully to understand their meaning. All this knowledge, however, was confined to a young man who had the trunk containing the book and spectacles in his sole possession. This young man was placed behind a curtain in the garret of a farmhouse, and being thus concealed from view, put on the spectacles occasionally, or rather, looked through one of the glasses, decyphered the characters in the book, and, having committed some of them to paper, handed copies from behind the curtain to those who stood on the outside. Not a word, however, was said about the plates being decyphered 'by the gift of God.' Everything in this way was effected by the large pair of spectacles. The farmer added that he had been requested to contribute a sum of money toward the publication of the 'golden book,' the contents of which would, as he had been assured, produce an entire change in the world, and save it from ruin. So urgent had been these solicitations, that he intended selling his farm, and handing over the amount received to those who wished to publish the plates. As a last precautionary step, however, he had resolved to come to New York, and obtain the opinion of the learned about the meaning of the paper which he had brought with him, and which had been given him as part of the contents of the book, although no translation had been furnished at the time by the young man with the spectacles. On hearing this odd story, I changed my opinion about the paper, and, instead of viewing it any longer as a hoax upon the learned, I began to regard it as a part of a scheme to cheat the farmer of his money, and I communicated my suspicions to him, warning him to beware of rogues. He requested an opinion from me in writing, which, of course, I declined giving, and he then took his leave, carrying his paper with him.

"This paper was in fact a singular scrawl. It consisted of all kinds of crooked characters, disposed in columns, and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets. Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman letters inverted, or placed sideways, were arranged and placed in perpendicular columns; and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle, divided into various compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican Calendar, given by Humbolt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was, derived. I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with my friends on the subject since the Mormonite excitement began, and well remember that the paper contained anything else but 'Egyptian Hieroglyphics.'

"Some time after, the farmer paid me a second visit. He brought with him the golden book in print, and offered it to me for sale. I declined purchasing. He then asked permission to leave the book with me for examination. I declined receiving it, although his manner was strangely urgent. I adverted once more to the roguery which had been, in my opinion, practised upon him, and asked him what had become of the gold plates. He informed me that they were in a trunk with the large pair of spectacles. I advised him to go to a magistrate, and have the trunk examined. He said 'the curse of God' would come upon him should he do this. On my pressing him, however, to pursue the course which I had recommended, he told me he would open the trunk if I would take 'the curse of God' upon myself. I replied I would do so with the greatest willingness, and would incur every risk of that nature provided I could only extricate him from the grasp of the rogues. He then left me.

"I have thus given you a full statement of all that I know respecting the origin of Mormonism, and must beg you, as a personal favor, to publish this letter immediately, should you find my name mentioned again by these wretched fanatics. Yours respectfully,


   * "Mormonism Unveiled," pp. 270-272. A letter from Professor
Anthon to the Rev. Dr. Coit, rector of Trinity Church, New Rochelle, New
York, dated April 3, 1841, containing practically the same statement,
will be found in Clark's "Gleanings by the Way," pp. 233-238.

While Mormon speakers quoted Anthon as vouching for the mysterious writing, their writers were more cautious. P. P. Pratt, in his "Voice of Warning" (1837), said that Professor Anthon was unable to decipher the characters, but he presumed that if the original records could be brought, he could assist in translating them. Orson Pratt, in his "Remarkable Visions" (1848), saw in the Professor's failure only a verification of Isaiah xxix. 11 and 12:—

"And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned."

   Facsimile of the Characters Of The Book Of Mormon    072

John D. Lee, in his "Mormonism Unveiled," mentions the generally used excuse of the Mormons for the professor's failure to translate the writing, namely, that Anthon told Harris that "they were written in a sealed language, unknown to the present age." Smith, in his autobiography, quotes Harris's account of his interview as follows:—

"I went to New York City and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Prof. Anthon, a man quite celebrated for his literary attainments. Prof. Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic, and he said they were the true characters."

Harris declared that the professor gave him a certificate to this effect, but took it back and tore it up when told that an angel of God had revealed the plates to Joe, saying that "there were no such things as ministering angels." This account by Harris of his interview with Professor Anthon will assist the reader in estimating the value of Harris's future testimony as to the existence of the plates.

Harris's trip to New York City was not entirely satisfactory to him, and, as Smith himself relates, "He began to tease me to give him liberty to carry the writings home and show them, and desired of me that I would enquire of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim if he might not do so." Smith complied with this request, but the permission was twice refused; the third time it was granted, but on condition that Harris would show the manuscript translation to only five persons, who were named, one of them being his wife.

In including Mrs. Harris in this list, the Lord made one of the greatest mistakes into which he ever fell in using Joe as a mouthpiece. Mrs. Harris's Quaker belief had led her from the start to protest against the Bible scheme, and to warn her husband against the Smith family, and she vigorously opposed his investment of any money in the publication of the book. On the occasion of his first visit to Joe in Pennsylvania, according to Mother Smith, Mrs. Harris was determined to accompany him, and he had to depart without her knowledge; and when he went the second time, she did accompany him, and she ransacked the house to find the "record" (as the plates are often called in the Smiths' writings).

When Harris returned home with the translated pages which Joe intrusted to him (in July, 1828), he showed them to his family and to others, who tried in vain to convince him that he was a dupe. Mrs. Harris decided on a more practical course. Getting possession of the papers, where Harris had deposited them for safe keeping, she refused to restore them to him. What eventually became of them is uncertain, one report being that she afterward burned them.

This should have caused nothing more serious in the way of delay than the time required to retranslate these pages; for certainly a well-equipped Divinity, who was revealing a new Bible to mankind, and supplying so powerful a means of translation as the Urim and Thummim, could empower the translator to repeat the words first written. Indeed, the descriptions of the method of translation given afterward by Smith's confederates would seem to prove that there could have been but one version of any translation of the plates, no matter how many times repeated. Thus, Harris described the translating as follows:—

"By aid of the seer stone [no mention of the magic spectacles] sentences would appear and were read by the prophet and written by Martin, and, when finished, he would say 'written'; and if correctly written, that sentence would disappear, and another appear in its place; but if not written correctly, it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used."*

   * Elder Edward Stevenson in the Deseret News (quoted in Reynold's
"Mystery of the Manuscript Fund," p. 91).

David Whitmer, in an account of this process written in his later years, said:—

"Joseph would put the seer stone into a hat [more testimony against the use of the spectacles] and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the translation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to O. Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to brother Joseph to see if it were correct, then it would disappear and another character with the interpretation would appear."*

   * "Address to Believers in the Book of Mormon."

But to Joseph the matter of reproducing the lost pages of the translation did not seem simple. When Harris's return to Pennsylvania was delayed, Joe became anxious and went to Palmyra to learn what delayed him, and there he heard of Mrs. Harris's theft of the pages. His mother reports him as saying in announcing it, "my God, all is lost! all is lost!" Why the situation was as serious to a sham translator as it would have been simple to an honest one is easily understood. Whenever Smith offered a second translation of the missing pages which differed from the first, a comparison of them with the latter would furnish proof positive of the fraudulent character of his pretensions.

All the partners in the business had to share in the punishment for what had occurred. The Smiths lost all faith in Harris. Joe says that Harris broke his pledge about showing the translation only to five persons, and Mother Smith says that because of this offence "a dense fog spread itself over his fields and blighted his wheat." When Joe returned to Pennsylvania an angel appeared to him, his mother says, and ordered him to give up the Urim and Thummim, promising, however, to restore them if he was humble and penitent, and "if so, it will be on the 22d of September."* Here may be noted one of those failures of mother and son to agree in their narratives which was excuse enough for Brigham Young to try to suppress the mother's book. Joe mentions a "revelation" dated July, 1828 (Sec. 3, "Doctrine and Covenants"), in which Harris was called "a wicked man," and which told Smith that he had lost his privileges for a season, and he adds, "After I had obtained the above revelation, both the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken from me again, BUT IN A FEW DAYS they were returned to me."**

   * "Biographical Sketches," by Lucy Smith, p. 125.
   ** Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 8.

For some ten months after this the work of translation was discontinued, although Mother Smith says that when she and his father visited the prophet in Pennsylvania two months after his return, the first thing they saw was "a red morocco trunk lying on Emma's bureau which, Joseph shortly informed me, contained the Urim and Thummim and the plates." Mrs. Harris's act had evidently thrown the whole machinery of translation out of gear, and Joe had to await instructions from his human adviser before a plan of procedure could be announced. During this period (in which Joe says he worked on his father's farm), says Tucker, "the stranger [supposed to be Rigdon] had again been at Smith's, and the prophet had been away from home, maybe to repay the former's visits."*

   * "Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism," p. 48.

Two matters were decided on in these consultations, viz., that no attempt would be made to retranslate the lost pages, and that a second copy of all the rest of the manuscript should be prepared, to guard against a similar perplexity in case of the loss of later pages. The proof of the latter statement I find in the fact that a second copy did exist. Ebenezer Robinson, who was a leading man in the church from the time of its establishment in Ohio until Smith's death, says in his recollections that, when the people assembled on October 2, 1841, to lay the corner-stone of Nauvoo House, Smith said he had a document to put into the corner-stone, and Robinson went with him to his house to procure it. Robinson's story proceeds as follows:—

"He got a manuscript copy of the Book of Mormon, and brought it into the room where we were standing, and said, 'I will examine to see if it is all here'; and as he did so I stood near him, at his left side, and saw distinctly the writing as he turned up the pages until he hastily went through the book and satisfied himself that it was all there, when he said, 'I have had trouble enough with this thing'; which remark struck me with amazement, as I looked upon it as a sacred treasure."

Robinson says that the manuscript was written on foolscap paper and most of it in Oliver Cowdery's handwriting. He explains that two copies were necessary, "as the printer who printed the first edition of the book had to have a copy, as they would not put the original copy into his hands for fear of its being altered. This accounts for David Whitmer having a copy and Joseph Smith having one."*

   * The Return, Vol. II, p. 314. Ebenezer Robinson, a printer,
joined the Mormons at Kirtland, followed Smith to Missouri, and went
with the flock to Nauvoo, where he and the prophet's brother, Don
Carlos, established the Times and Seasons. When the doctrine of polygamy
was announced to him and his wife, they rejected it, and he followed
Rigdon to Pennsylvania when Rigdon was turned out by Young. In later
years he was engaged in business enterprises in Iowa, and was a resident
of Davis City when David Whitmer announced the organization of
his church in Missouri, and, not accepting the view of the prophet
entertained by his descendants in the Reorganized Church, Robinson
accepted baptism from Whitmer. The Return was started by him in
January, 1889, and continued until his death, in its second year. His
reminiscences of early Mormon experiences, which were a feature of the
publication, are of value.

Major Bideman, who married the prophet's widow, partly completed and occupied Nauvoo House after the departure of the Mormons for Utah, and some years later he took out the cornerstone and opened it, but found the manuscript so ruined by moisture that only a little was legible.

In regard to the missing pages, it was decided to announce a revelation, which is dated May, 1829 (Sec. 10, "Doctrine and Covenants"), stating that the lost pages had got into the hands of wicked men, that "Satan has put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated," in accordance with a plan of the devil to destroy Smith's work. He was directed therefore to translate from the plates of Nephi, which contained a "more particular account" than the Book of Lehi from which the original translation was made.

When Smith began translating again, Harris was not reemployed, but Emma, the prophet's wife, acted as his scribe until April 15, 1829, when a new personage appeared upon the scene. This was Oliver Cowdery.

Cowdery was a blacksmith by trade, but gave up that occupation, and, while Joe was translating in Pennsylvania, secured the place of teacher in the district where the Smiths lived, and boarded with them. They told him of the new Bible, and, according to Joe's later account, Cowdery for himself received a revelation of its divine character, went to Pennsylvania, and from that time was intimately connected with Joe in the translation and publication of the book.

In explanation of the change of plan necessarily adopted in the translation, the following preface appeared in the first edition of the book, but was dropped later:—


"As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost efforts to recover it again—and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words; that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written; and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work, but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing; therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi until ye come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold, ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the Devil. Wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, I have, through His grace and mercy, accomplished that which He hath commanded me respecting this thing. I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario County, New York.—THE AUTHOR."

In June, 1829, Smith accepted an invitation to change his residence to the house of Peter Whitmer, who, with his sons, David, John, and Peter, Jr., lived at Fayette, Seneca County, New York, the Whitmers promising his board free and their assistance in the work of translation. There, Smith says, they resided "until the translation was finished and the copyright secured."

As five of the Whitmers were "witnesses" to the existence of the plates, and David continued to be a person of influence in Mormon circles throughout his long life, information about them is of value. The prophet's mother again comes to our aid, although her account conflicts with her son's. The prophet says that David Whitmer brought the invitation to take up quarters at his father's, and volunteered the offer of free board and assistance. Mother Smith says that one day, as Joe was translating the plates, he came, in the midst of the words of the Holy Writ, to a commandment to write at once to David Whitmer, requesting him to come immediately and take the prophet and Cowdery to his house, "as an evil-designing people were seeking to take away his [Joseph's] life in order to prevent the work of God from going forth to the world." When the letter arrived, David's father told him that, as they had wheat sown that would require two days' harrowing, and a quantity of plaster to spread, he could not go "unless he could get a witness from God that it was absolutely necessary." In answer to his inquiry of the Lord on the subject, David was told to go as soon as his wheat was harrowed in. Setting to work, he found that at the end of the first day the two days' harrowing had been completed, and, on going out the next morning to spread the plaster, he found that work done also, and his sister told him she had seen three unknown men at work in the field the day before: so that the task had been accomplished by "an exhibition of supernatural power."*

   * "Biographical Sketches," Lucy Smith, p. 135.

The translation being ready for the press, in June, 1829 (I follow Tucker's account of the printing of the work), Joseph, his brother Hyrum, Cowdery, and Harris asked Egbert B. Grandin, publisher of the Wayne Sentinel at Palmyra, to give them an estimate of the cost of printing an edition of three thousand copies, with Harris as security for the payment. Grandin told them he did not want to undertake the job at any price, and he tried to persuade Harris not to invest his money in the scheme, assuring him that it was fraudulent. Application was next made to Thurlow Weed, then the publisher of the Anti-Masonic Inquirer, at Rochester, New York. "After reading a few chapters," says Mr. Weed, "it seemed such a jumble of unintelligent absurdities that we refused the work, advising Harris not to mortgage his farm and beggar his family." Finally, Smith and his associates obtained from Elihu F. Marshall, a Rochester publisher, a definite bid for the work, and with this they applied again to Grandin, explaining that it would be much more convenient for them to have the printing done at home, and pointing out to him that he might as well take the job, as his refusal would not prevent the publication of the book. This argument had weight with him, and he made a definite contract to print and bind five thousand copies for the sum of $3000, a mortgage on Harris's farm to be given him as security. Mrs. Harris had persisted in her refusal to be in any way a party to the scheme, and she and her husband had finally made a legal separation, with a division of the property, after she had entered a complaint against Joe, charging him with getting money from her husband on fraudulent representation. At the hearing on this complaint, Harris denied that he had ever contributed a dollar to Joe at the latter's persuasion.

Tucker, who did much of the proof-reading of the new Bible, comparing it with the manuscript copy, says that, when the printing began, Smith and his associates watched the manuscript with the greatest vigilance, bringing to the office every morning as much as the printers could set up during the day, and taking it away in the evening, forbidding also any alteration. The foreman, John H. Gilbert, found the manuscript so poorly prepared as regards grammatical construction, spelling, punctuation, etc., that he told them that some corrections must be made, and to this they finally consented.

Daniel Hendrix, in his recollections, says in confirmation of this:—

"I helped to read proof on many pages of the book, and at odd times set some type.... The penmanship of the copy furnished was good, but the grammar, spelling and punctuation were done by John H. Gilbert, who was chief compositor in the office. I have heard him swear many a time at the syntax and orthography of Cowdery, and declare that he would not set another line of the type. There were no paragraphs, no punctuation and no capitals. All that was done in the printing office, and what a time there used to be in straightening sentences out, too. During the printing of the book I remember that Joe Smith kept in the background."

The following letter is in reply to an inquiry addressed by me to Albert Chandler, the only survivor, I think, of the men who helped issue the first edition of Smith's book:—

"COLDWATER, MICH., Dec. 22, 1898.

"My recollections of Joseph Smith, Jr. and of the first steps taken in regard to his Bible have never been printed. At the time of the printing of the Mormon Bible by Egbert B. Grandin of the Sentinel I was an apprentice in the bookbindery connected with the Sentinel office. I helped to collate and stitch the Gold Bible, and soon after this was completed, I changed from book-binding to printing. I learned my trade in the Sentinel office.

"My recollections of the early history of the Mormon Bible are vivid to-day. I knew personally Oliver Cowdery, who translated the Bible, Martin Harris, who mortgaged his farm to procure the printing, and Joseph Smith Jr., but slightly. What I knew of him was from hearsay, principally from Martin Harris, who believed fully in him. Mr. Tucker's 'Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism' is the fullest account I have ever seen. I doubt if I can add anything to that history.

"The whole history is shrouded in the deepest mystery. Joseph Smith Jr., who read through the wonderful spectacles, pretended to give the scribe the exact reading of the plates, even to spelling, in which Smith was woefully deficient. Martin Harris was permitted to be in the room with the scribe, and would try the knowledge of Smith, as he told me, saying that Smith could not spell the word February, when his eyes were off the spectacles through which he pretended to work. This ignorance of Smith was proof positive to him that Smith was dependent on the spectacles for the contents of the Bible. Smith and the plates containing the original of the Mormon Bible were hid from view of the scribe and Martin Harris by a screen.

"I should think that Martin Harris, after becoming a convert, gave up his entire time to advertising the Bible to his neighbors and the public generally in the vicinity of Palmyra. He would call public meetings and address them himself. He was enthusiastic, and went so far as to say that God, through the Latter Day Saints, was to rule the world. I heard him make this statement, that there would never be another President of the United States elected; that soon all temporal and spiritual power would be given over to the prophet Joseph Smith and the Latter Day Saints. His extravagant statements were the laughing stock of the people of Palmyra. His stories were hissed at, universally. To give you an idea of Mr. Harris's superstitions, he told me that he saw the devil, in all his hideousness, on the road, just before dark, near his farm, a little north of Palmyra. You can see that Harris was a fit subject to carry out the scheme of organizing a new religion.

"The absolute secrecy of the whole inception and publication of the Mormon Bible stopped positive knowledge. We only knew what Joseph Smith would permit Martin Harris to publish, in reference to the whole thing.

"The issuing of the Book of Mormon scarcely made a ripple of excitement in Palmyra.


   * Mr. Chandler moved to Michigan in 1835, and has been connected
with several newspapers in that state, editing the Kalamazoo Gazette,
and founding and publishing the Coldwater Sentinel. He was elected
the first mayor of Coldwater, serving several terms. He was in his
eighty-fifth year when the above letter was written.

The book was published early in 1830. On paper the sale of the first edition showed a profit of $3250 at $1.25 a volume, that being the lowest price to be asked on pain of death, according to a "special revelation" received by Smith. By the original agreement Harris was to have the exclusive control of the sale of the book. But it did not sell. The local community took it no more seriously than they did Joe himself and his family. The printer demanded his pay as the work progressed, and it became necessary for Smith to spur Harris on by announcing a revelation (Sec. 19, "Doctrine and Covenants"), saying, "I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon." Harris accordingly disposed of his share of the farm and paid Grandin.

To make the book "go," Smith now received a revelation which permitted his father, soon to be elevated to the title of Patriarch, to sell it on commission, and Smith, Sr., made expeditions through the country, taking in pay for any copies sold such farm produce or "store goods" as he could use in his own family. How much he "cut" the revealed price of the book in these trades is not known, but in one instance, when arrested in Palmyra for a debt of $5.63, he, under pledge of secrecy, offered seven of the Bibles in settlement, and the creditor, knowing that the old man had no better assets, accepted the offer as a joke.*

   * "Origin, Rise, and Progress of Mormonism," Tucker, p. 63.


The history of the Mormon Bible has been brought uninterruptedly to this point in order that the reader may be able to follow clearly each step that had led up to its publication. It is now necessary to give attention to two subjects intimately connected with the origin of this book, viz., the use made of what is known as the "Spaulding manuscript," in supplying the historical part of the work, and Sidney Rigdon's share in its production.

The most careful student of the career of Joseph Smith, Jr., and of his family and his associates, up to the year 1827, will fail to find any ground for the belief that he alone, or simply with their assistance, was capable of composing the Book of Mormon, crude in every sense as that work is. We must therefore accept, as do the Mormons, the statement that the text was divinely revealed to Smith, or must look for some directing hand behind the scene, which supplied the historical part and applied the theological. The "Spaulding manuscript" is believed to have furnished the basis of the historical part of the work.

Solomon Spaulding, born in Ashford, Connecticut, in 1761, was graduated from Dartmouth College in 1785, studied divinity, and for some years had charge of a church. His own family described him as a peculiar man, given to historical researches, and evidently of rather unstable disposition. He gave up preaching, conducted an academy at Cherry Valley, New York, and later moved to Conneaut, Ohio, where in 1812 he had an interest in an iron foundry. His attention was there attracted to the ancient mounds in that vicinity, and he set some of his men to work exploring one of them. "I vividly remember how excited he became," says his daughter, when he heard that they had exhumed some human bones, portions of gigantic skeletons, and various relics. From these discoveries he got the idea of writing a fanciful history of the ancient races of this country.

The title he chose for his book was "The Manuscript Found." He considered this work a great literary production, counted on being able to pay his debts from the proceeds of its sale, and was accustomed to read selections from the manuscript to his neighbors with evident pride. The impression that such a production would be likely to make on the author's neighbors in that frontier region and in those early days, when books were scarce and authors almost unknown, can with difficulty be realized now. Barrett Wendell, speaking of the days of Bryant's early work, says:—

"Ours was a new country...deeply and sensitively aware that it lacked a literature. Whoever produced writings which could be pronounced adorable was accordingly regarded by his fellow citizens as a public benefactor, a great public figure, a personage of whom the nation could be proud."* This feeling lends weight to the testimony of Mr. Spaulding's neighbors, who in later years gave outlines of his work.

   * "Literary History of America."

In order to find a publisher Mr. Spaulding moved with his family to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. A printer named Patterson spoke well of the manuscript to its author, but no one was found willing to publish it. The Spauldings afterward moved to Amity, Pennsylvania, where Mr. Spaulding died in 1816. His widow and only child went to live with Mrs. Spaulding's brother, W. H. Sabine, at Onondaga Valley, New York, taking their effects with them. These included an old trunk containing Mr. Spaulding's papers. "There were sermons and other papers," says his daughter, "and I saw a manuscript about an inch thick, closely written, tied up with some stories my father had written for me, one of which he called 'The Frogs of Windham.' On the outside of this manuscript were written the words 'Manuscript Found.' I did not read it, but looked through it, and had it in my hands many times, and saw the names I had heard at Conneaut, when my father read it to his friends." Mrs. Spaulding next went to her father's house in Connecticut, leaving her personal property at her brother's. She married a Mr. Davison in 1820, and the old trunk was sent to her at her new home in Hartwick, Otsego County, New York. The daughter was married to a Mr. McKinstry in 1828, and her mother afterward made her home with her at Monson, Massachusetts, most of the time until her death in 1844.

When the newly announced Mormon Bible began to be talked about in Ohio, there were immediate declarations in Spaulding's old neighborhood of a striking similarity between the Bible story and the story that Spaulding used to read to his acquaintances there, and these became positive assertions after the Mormons had held a meeting at Conneaut. The opinion was confidently expressed there that, if the manuscript could be found and published, it would put an end to the Mormon pretence.

About the year 1834 Mrs. Davison received a visit at Monson from D. P. Hurlbut, a man who had gone over to the Mormons from the Methodist church, and had apostatized and been expelled. He represented that he had been sent by a committee to secure "The Manuscript Found" in order that it might be compared with the Mormon Bible. As he brought a letter from her brother, Mrs. Davison, with considerable reluctance, gave him an introduction to George Clark, in whose house at Hartwick she had left the old trunk, directing Mr. Clark to let Hurlbut have the manuscript, receiving his verbal pledge to return it. He obtained a manuscript from this trunk, but did not keep his pledge.*

   * Condensed from an affidavit by Mrs. McKinstry, dated April 3,
1880, in Scribner's Magazine for August, 1880.

The Boston Recorder published in May, 1839, a detailed statement by Mrs. Davison concerning her knowledge of "The Manuscript Found." After giving an account of the writing of the story, her statement continued as follows:—

"Here [in Pittsburg] Mr. Spaulding found a friend and acquaintance in the person of Mr. Patterson, who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it for a long time, and informed Mr. Spaulding that, if he would make out a title-page and preface, he would publish it, as it might be a source of profit. This Mr. Spaulding refused to do. Sidney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at that time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and, as Rigdon himself has frequently stated, became acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript and copied it. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity where Mr. Spaulding deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands, and was carefully preserved."

This statement stirred up the Mormons greatly, and they at once pronounced the letter a forgery, securing from Mrs. Davison a statement in which she said that she did not write it. This was met with a counter statement by the Rev. D. R. Austin that it was made up from notes of a conversation with her, and was correct. In confirmation of this the Quincy [Massachusetts] Whig printed a letter from John Haven of Holliston, Massachusetts, giving a report of a conversation between his son Jesse and Mrs. Davison concerning this letter, in which she stated that the letter was substantially correct, and that some of the names used in the Mormon Bible were like those in her husband's story. Rigdon himself, in a letter addressed to the Boston Journal, under date of May 27, 1839, denied all knowledge of Spaulding, and declared that there was no printer named Patterson in Pittsburg during his residence there, although he knew a Robert Patterson who had owned a printing-office in that city. The larger part of his letter is a coarse attack on Hurlbut and also on E. D. Howe, the author of "Mormonism Unveiled," whose whole family he charged with scandalous immoralities. If the use of Spaulding's story in the preparation of the Mormon Bible could be proved by nothing but this letter of Mrs. Davison, the demonstration would be weak; but this is only one link in the chain.

Howe, in his painstaking efforts to obtain all probable information about the Mormon origin from original sources, secured the affidavits of eight of Spaulding's acquaintances in Ohio, giving their recollections of the "Manuscript Found."* Spaulding's brother, John, testified that he heard many passages of the manuscript read and, describing it, he said:—

   * Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," pp. 278-287.
 "It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America,
endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of
the Jews, or the lost tribe. It gave a detailed account of their journey
from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the
command of Nephi and Lehi. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions,
and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated
Nephites, and the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody Wars ensued, in
which great multitudes were slain.... I have recently read the "Book
of Mormon," and to my great surprise I find nearly the same historical
matter, names, etc., as they were in my brother's writings. I well
remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every
sentence with 'and it came to pass,' or 'now it came to pass,' the
same as in the 'Book of Mormon,' and, according to the best of my
recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote,
with the exception of the religious matter."

John Spaulding's wife testified that she had no doubt that the historical part of the Bible and the manuscript were the same, and she well recalled such phrases as "it came to pass."

Mr. Spaulding's business partner at Conneaut, Henry Lake, testified that Spaulding read the manuscript to him many hours, that the story running through it and the Bible was the same, and he recalls this circumstance: "One time, when he was reading to me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct, but by referring to the 'Book of Mormon,' I find that it stands there just as he read it to me then.... I well recollect telling Mr. Spaulding that the so frequent use of the words 'and it came to pass,' 'now it came to pass,' rendered it ridiculous."

John N. Miller, an employee of Spaulding in Ohio, and a boarder in his family for several months, testified that Spaulding had written more than one book or pamphlet, that he had heard the author read from the "Manuscript Found," that he recalled the story running through it, and added: "I have recently examined the 'Book of Mormon,' and find in it the writings of Solomon Spaulding, from beginning to end, but mixed up with Scripture and other religious matter which I did not meet with in the 'Manuscript Found'.... The names of Nephi, Lehi, Moroni, and in fact all the principal names, are brought fresh to my recollection by the 'Gold Bible.'"

Practically identical testimony was given by the four other neighbors. Important additions to this testimony have been made in later years. A statement by Joseph Miller of Amity, Pennsylvania, a man of standing in that community, was published in the Pittsburg Telegraph of February 6, 1879. Mr. Miller said that he was well acquainted with Spaulding when he lived at Amity, and heard him read most of the "Manuscript Found," and had read the Mormon Bible in late years to compare the two. On hearing read, "he says," the account from the book of the battle between the Amlicites (Book of Alma), in which the soldiers of one army had placed a red mark on their foreheads to distinguish them from their enemies, it seemed to reproduce in my mind, not only the narration, but the very words as they had been impressed on my mind by the reading of Spaulding's manuscript.... The longer I live, the more firmly I am convinced that Spaulding's manuscript was appropriated and largely used in getting up the "Book of Mormon."

Redick McKee, a resident of Amity, Pennsylvania, when Spaulding lived there, and later a resident of Washington, D. C., in a letter to the Washington [Pennsylvania] Reporter, of April 21, 1869, stated that he heard Spaulding read from his manuscript, and added: "I have an indistinct recollection of the passage referred to by Mr. Miller about the Amlicites making a cross with red paint on their foreheads to distinguish them from enemies in battle."

The Rev. Abner Judson, of Canton, Ohio, wrote for the Washington County, Pennsylvania, Historical Society, under date of December 20, 1880, an account of his recollections of the Spaulding manuscript, and it was printed in the Washington [Pennsylvania] Reporter of January 7, 1881. Spaulding read a large part of his manuscript to Mr. Judson's father before the author moved to Pittsburg, and the son, confined to the house with a lameness, heard the reading and the accompanying conversations. He says: "He wrote it in the Bible style. 'And it came to pass,' occurred so often that some called him 'Old Come-to-pass.' The 'Book of Mormons' follows the romance too closely to be a stranger.... When it was brought to Conneaut and read there in public, old Esquire Wright heard it and exclaimed, 'Old Come-to-pass' has come to life again."*

   * Fuller extracts from the testimony of these later witnesses
will be found in Robert Patterson's pamphlet, "Who wrote the Book of
Mormon," reprinted from the "History of Washington County, Pa."

The testimony of so many witnesses, so specific in its details, seems to prove the identity of Spaulding's story and the story running through the Mormon Bible. The late President James H. Fairchild of Oberlin, Ohio, whose pamphlet on the subject we shall next examine, admits that "if we could accept without misgiving the testimony of the eight witnesses brought forward in Howe's book, we should be obliged to accept the fact of another manuscript" (than the one which President Fairchild secured); but he thinks there is some doubt about the effect on the memory of these witnesses of the lapse of years and the reading of the new Bible before they recalled the original story. It must be remembered, however, that this resemblance was recalled as soon as they heard the story of the new Bible, and there seems no ground on which to trace a theory that it was the Bible which originated in their minds the story ascribed to the manuscript.

The defenders of the Mormon Bible as an original work received great comfort some fifteen years ago by the announcement that the original manuscript of Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" had been discovered in the Sandwich Islands and brought to this country, and that its narrative bore no resemblance to the Bible story. The history of this second manuscript is as follows: E. D. Howe sold his printing establishment at Painesville, Ohio, to L. L. Rice, who was an antislavery editor there for many years. Mr. Rice afterward moved to the Sandwich Islands, and there he was requested by President Fairchild to look over his old papers to see if he could not find some antislavery matter that would be of value to the Oberlin College library. One result of his search was an old manuscript bearing the following certificate: 'The writings of Solomon Spaulding,' proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession.


President Fairchild in a paper on this subject which has been published* gives a description of this manuscript (it has been printed by the Reorganized Church at Lamoni, Iowa), which shows that it bears no resemblance to the Bible story. But the assumption that this proves that the Bible story is original fails immediately in view of the fact that Mr. Howe made no concealment of his possession of this second manuscript. Hurlbut was in Howe's service when he asked Mrs. Davison for an order for the manuscript, and he gave to Howe, as the result of his visit, the manuscript which Rice gave to President Fairchild. Howe in his book (p. 288) describes this manuscript substantially as does President Fairchild, saying:—

   * "Manuscript of Solomon Spaulding and the 'Book of Mormon,'"
Tract No. 77, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.

"This is a romance, purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on twenty-four rolls of parchment in a cave on the banks of Conneaut Creek, but written in a modern style, and giving a fabulous account of a ship's being driven upon the American coast, while proceeding from Rome to Britain, a short time pious to the Christian era, this country then being inhabited by the Indians."*

   * Howe says in his book, "The fact that Spaulding in the latter
part of his life inclined to infidelity is established by a letter in
his handwriting now in our possession." This letter was given by Rice
with the other manuscript to President Fairchild (who reproduces it),
thus adding to the proof that the Rice manuscript is the one Hurlbut
delivered to Howe.

Mr. Howe adds this important statement:—

"This old manuscript has been shown to several of the foregoing witnesses, who recognize it as Spaulding's, he having told them that he had altered his first plan of writing, by going further back with dates, and writing in the old scripture style, in order that it might appear more ancient. They say that it bears no resemblance to the 'Manuscript Found.'"

If Howe had considered this manuscript of the least importance as invalidating the testimony showing the resemblance between the "Manuscript Found" and the Mormon Bible, he would have destroyed it (if he was the malignant falsifier the Mormons represented him to be), and not have first described it in his book; and then left it to be found by any future owner of his effects. Its rediscovery has been accepted, however, even by some non-Mormons, as proof that the Mormon Bible is an original production.*

   * Preface to "The Mormon Prophet," Lily Dugall.

Mrs. Ellen E. Dickenson, a great-niece of Spaulding, who has painstakingly investigated the history of the much-discussed manuscript, visited D. P. Hurlbut at his home near Gibsonburg, Ohio, in 1880 (he died in 1882), taking with her Oscar Kellogg, a lawyer, as a witness to the interview.* She says that her visit excited him greatly. He told of getting a manuscript for Mr. Howe at Hartwick, and said he thought it was burned with other of Mr. Howe's papers. When asked, "Was it Spaulding's manuscript that was burned?" he replied: "Mrs. Davison thought it was; but when I just peeked into it, here and there, and saw the names Mormon, Moroni, Lamanite, Lephi, I thought it was all nonsense. Why, if it had been the real one, I could have sold it for $3000;** but I just gave it to Howe because it was of no account." During the interview his wife was present, and when Mrs. Dickenson pressed him with the question, "Do you know where the 'Manuscript Found' is at the present time?" Mrs. Hurlbut went up to him and said, "Tell her what you know." She got no satisfactory answer, but he afterward forwarded to her an affidavit saying that he had obtained of Mrs. Davison a manuscript supposing it to be Spaulding's "Manuscript Found," adding: "I did not examine the manuscript until after I got home, when upon examination I found it to contain nothing of the kind, but being a manuscript upon an entirely different subject. This manuscript I left with E. D. Howe."

With this presentation of the evidence showing the similarity between Spaulding's story and the Mormon Bible narrative, we may next examine the grounds for believing that Sidney Rigdon was connected with the production of the Bible.

   * A full account of this interview is given in her book, "New
Light on Mormonism" (1885).
   ** There have been surmises that Hurlbut also found the
"Manuscript Found" in the trunk and sold this to the Mormons. He sent a
specific denial of this charge to Robert Patterson in 1879.


The man who had more to do with founding the Mormon church than Joseph Smith, Jr., even if we exclude any share in the production of the Mormon Bible, and yet who is unknown even by name to most persons to whom the names of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are familiar, was Sidney Rigdon. Elder John Hyde, Jr., was well within the truth when he wrote: "The compiling genius of Mormonism was Sidney Rigdon. Smith had boisterous impetuosity but no foresight. Polygamy was not the result of his policy but of his passions. Sidney gave point, direction, and apparent consistency to the Mormon system of theology. He invented its forms and the manner of its arguments.... Had it not been for the accession of these two men [Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt] Smith would have been lost, and his schemes frustrated and abandoned."*

   * "Mormonism: Its Leaders and Designs" (1857). Hyde, an
Englishman, joined the Mormons in that country when a lad and began to
preach almost at once. He sailed for this country in 1853 and joined the
brethren in Salt Lake City. Brigham Young's rule upset his faith, and he
abandoned the belief in 1854. Even H. H. Bancroft concedes him to have
been "an able and honest man, sober and sincere."

Rigdon (according to the sketch of him presented in Smith's autobiography,* which he doubtless wrote) was born in St. Clair township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, on February 19, 1793. His father was a farmer, and he lived on the farm, receiving only a limited education, until he was twenty-six years old. He then connected himself with the Baptist church, and received a license to preach. Selecting Ohio as his field, he continued his work in rural districts in that state until 1821, when he accepted a call to a small Baptist church in Pittsburg.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, Supt.

Twenty years before the publication of the Mormon Bible, Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Scotchmen, had founded a congregation in Washington County, Pennsylvania, out of which grew the religious denomination known as Disciples of Christ, or Campbellites, whose communicants in the United States numbered 871,017 in the year 1890. The fundamental principle of their teaching was that every doctrine of belief, or maxim of duty, must rest upon the authority of Scripture, expressed or implied, all human creeds being rejected. The Campbells (who had been first Presbyterians and then Baptists) were wonderful orators and convincing debaters out of the pulpit, and they drew to themselves many of the most eloquent exhorters in what was then the western border of the United States. Among their allies was another Scotchman, Walter Scott, a musician and schoolteacher by profession, who assisted them in their newspaper work and became a noted evangelist in their denomination. During a visit to Pittsburg in 1823, Scott made Rigdon's acquaintance, and a little later the flocks to which each preached were united. In August, 1824, Rigdon announced his withdrawal from his church. Regarding his withdrawal the sketch in Smith's autobiography says:—

"After he had been in that place [Pittsburg] some time, his mind was troubled and much perplexed with the idea that the doctrines maintained by that society were not altogether in accordance with the Scriptures. This thing continued to agitate his mind more and more, and his reflections on these occasions were particularly trying; for, according to his view of the word of God, no other church with whom he could associate, or that he was acquainted with, was right; consequently, if he was to disavow the doctrine of the church with whom he was then associated, he knew of no other way of obtaining a living, except by manual labor, and at that time he had a wife and three children to support."

For two years after he gave up his church connection he worked as a journeyman tanner. This is all the information obtainable about this part of his life. We next find him preaching at Bainbridge, Ohio, as an undenominational exhorter, but following the general views of the Campbells, advising his hearers to reject their creeds and rest their belief solely on the Bible.

In June, 1826, Rigdon received a call to a Baptist church at Mentor, Ohio, whose congregation he had pleased when he preached the funeral sermon of his predecessor. His labors were not confined, however, to this congregation. We find him acting as the "stated" minister of a Disciples' church organized at Mantua, Ohio, in 1827, preaching with Thomas Campbell at Shalersville, Ohio, in 1828, and thus extending the influence he had acquired as early as 1820, when Alexander Campbell called him "the great orator of the Mahoning Association". In 1828 he visited his old associate Scott, was further confirmed in his faith in the Disciples' belief, and, taking his brother-in-law Bentley back with him, they began revival work at Mentor, which led to the conversion of more than fifty of their hearers. They held services at Kirtland, Ohio, with equal success, and the story of this awakening was the main subject of discussion in all the neighborhood round about. The sketch of Rigdon in Smith's autobiography closes with this tribute to his power as a preacher: "The churches where he preached were no longer large enough to contain the vast assemblies. No longer did he follow the old beaten track,... but dared to enter on new grounds,... threw new light on the sacred volume,... proved to a demonstration the literal fulfilment of prophecy...and the reign of Christ with his Saints on the earth in the Millennium."

In tracing Rigdon's connection with Smith's enterprise, attention must be carefully paid both to Rigdon's personal characteristics, and to the resemblance between the doctrines he had taught in the pulpit and those that appear in the Mormon Bible.

Rigdon's mental and religious temperament was just of the character to be attracted by a novelty in religious belief. He, with his brother-in-law, Adamson Bentley, visited Alexander Campbell in 1821, and spent a whole night in religious discussion. When they parted the next day, Rigdon declared that "if he had within the last year promulgated one error, he had a thousand," and Mr. Campbell, in his account of the interview, remarked, "I found it expedient to caution them not to begin to pull down anything they had builded until they had reviewed, again and again, what they had heard; not even then rashly and without much consideration."*

   * Millennial Harbinger, 1848, p. 523.

A leading member of the church at Mantua has written, "Sidney Rigdon preached for us, and, notwithstanding his extravagantly wild freaks, he was held in high repute by many."*

   * "Early History of the Disciples' Church in the Western
Reserve," by A: S. Hayden (1876), p. 239.

An important church discussion occurred at Warren, Ohio, in 1828. Following out the idea of the literal interpretation of the Scriptures taught in the Disciples' church, Rigdon sprung on the meeting an argument in favor of a community of goods, holding that the apostles established this system at Jerusalem, and that the modern church, which rested on their example, must follow them. Alexander Campbell, who was present, at once controverted this position, showing that the apostles, as narrated in Acts, "sold their possessions" instead of combining them for a profit, and citing Bible texts to prove that no "community system" existed in the early church. This argument carried the meeting, and Rigdon left the assemblage, embittered against Campbell beyond forgiveness. To a brother in Warren, on his way home, he declared, "I have done as much in this reformation as Campbell or Scott, and yet they get all the honor of it." This claim is set forth specifically in the sketch of Rigdon in Smith's autobiography. Referring to Rigdon and Alexander Campbell, this statement is there made:—

"After they had separated from the different churches, these gentlemen were on terms of the greatest friendship, and frequently met together to discuss the subject of religion, being yet undetermined respecting the principles of the doctrine of Christ or what course to pursue. However, from this connection sprung up a new church in the world, known by the name of 'Campbellites'; they call themselves 'Disciples.' The reason why they were called Campbellites was in consequence of Mr. Campbell's periodical, above mentioned [the Christian Baptist], and it being the means through which they communicated their sentiments to the world; other than this, Mr. Campbell was no more the originator of the sect than Elder Rigdon."

Rigdon's bitterness against the Campbells and his old church more than once manifested itself in his later writings. For instance, in an article in the Messenger and Advocate (Kirtland), of June, 1837, he said: "One thing has been done by the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. It has puked the Campbellites effectually; no emetic could have done so half as well.... The Book of Mormon has revealed the secrets of Campbellism and unfolded the end of the system." In this jealousy of the Campbells, and the discomfiture as a leader which he received at their hands, we find a sufficient object for Rigdon's desertion of his old church associations and desire to build up something, the discovery of which he could claim, and the government of which he could control.

To understand the strength of the argument that the doctrinal teachings of the Mormon Bible were the work of a Disciples' preacher rather than of the ne'er-do-well Smith, it is only necessary to examine the teachings of the Disciples' church in Ohio at that time. The investigator will be startled by the resemblance between what was then taught to and believed by Disciples' congregations and the leading beliefs of the Mormon Bible. In the following examples of this the illustrations of Disciples' beliefs and teachings are taken from Hayden's "Early History of the Disciples' Church in the Western Reserve."

The literal interpretation of the Scriptures, on which the Mormon defenders of their faith so largely depend,—as for explanations of modern revelations, miracles, and signs,—was preached to so extreme a point by Ohio Disciples that Alexander Campbell had to combat them in his Millennial Harbinger. An outcome of this literal interpretation was a belief in a speedy millennium, another fundamental belief of the early Mormon church. "The hope of the millennial glory," says Hayden, "was based on many passages of the Holy Scriptures.... Millennial hymns were learned and sung with a joyful fervor.... It is surprising even now, as memory returns to gather up these interesting remains of that mighty work, to recall the thorough and extensive knowledge which the convert quickly obtained. Nebuchadnezzar's vision... many portions of the Revelation were so thoroughly studied that they became the staple of the common talk." Rigdon's old Pittsburg friend, Scott, in his report as evangelist to the church association at Warren in 1828, said: "Individuals eminently skilled in the word of God, the history of the world, and the progress of human improvements see reasons to expect great changes, much greater than have yet occurred, and which shall give to political society and to the church a different, a very different, complexion from what many anticipate. The millennium—the millennium described in the Scriptures—will doubtless be a wonder, a terrible wonder, to all."

Disciples' preachers understood that they spoke directly for God, just as Smith assumed to do in his "revelations." Referring to the preaching of Rigdon and Bentley, after a visit to Scott in March, 1828, Hayden says, "They spoke with authority, for the word which they delivered was not theirs, but that of Jesus Christ." The Disciples, like the Mormons, at that time looked for the return of the Jews to Jerusalem. Scott* was an enthusiastic preacher of this. "The fourteenth chapter of Zechariah," says Hayden, "was brought forward in proof—all considered as literal—that the most marvellous and stupendous physical and climatic changes were to be wrought in Palestine; and that Jesus Christ the Messiah was to reign literally in Jerusalem, and in Mount Zion, and before his ancients, gloriously."

   * "In a letter to Dr. Richardson, written in 1830, he [Scott]
says the book of Elias Smith on the prophecies is the only sensible
work on that subject he had seen. He thinks this and Crowley on the
Apocalypse all the student of the Bible wants. He strongly commends
Smith's book to the doctor. This seems to be the origin of millennial
views among us. Rigdon, who always caught and proclaimed the last word
that fell from the lips of Scott or Campbell, seized these views (about
the millennium and the Jews) and, with the wildness of his extravagant
nature, heralded them everywhere."—"Early History of the Disciples'
Church in the Western Reserve," p. 186.

Campbell taught that "creeds are but statements, with few exceptions, of doctrinal opinion or speculators' views of philosophical or dogmatic subjects, and tended to confusion, disunion, and weakness." Orson Pratt, in his "Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon," thus stated the early Mormon view on the same subject: "If any man or council, without the aid of immediate revelation, shall undertake to decide upon such subjects, and prescribe 'articles of faith' or 'creeds' to govern the belief or views of others, there will be thousands of well-meaning people who will not have confidence in the productions of these fallible men, and, therefore, frame creeds of their own.... In this way contentions arise."

Finally, attention may be directed to the emphatic declarations of the Disciples' doctrine of baptism in the Mormon Bible:—

"Ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.... And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water."—3 Nephi Xi. 23, 26.

"I know that it is solemn mockery before God that ye should baptize little children.... He that supposeth that little children need baptism is in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity; for he hath neither faith, hope, nor charity; wherefore, should he be cut off while in the thought, he must go down to hell. For awful is the wickedness to suppose that God saveth one child because of baptism, and the other must perish because he hath no baptism."—Moroni viii. 9, xc, 15.

There are but three conclusions possible from all this: that the Mormon Bible was a work of inspiration, and that the agreement of its doctrines with Disciples' belief only proves the correctness of the latter; that Smith, in writing his doctrinal views, hit on the Disciples' tenets by chance (he had had no opportunity whatever to study them); or, finally, that some Disciple, learned in the church, supplied these doctrines to him.

Advancing another step in the examination of Rigdon's connection with the scheme, we find that even the idea of a new Bible was common belief among the Ohio Disciples who listened to Scott's teaching. Describing Scott's preaching in the winter of 1827-1828, Hayden says:—

"He contended ably for the restoration of the true, original apostolic order which would restore to the church the ancient gospel as preached by the apostles. The interest became an excitement;... the air was thick with rumors of a 'new religion,' a 'new Bible.'"

Next we may cite two witnesses to show that Rigdon had a knowledge of Smith's Bible in advance of its publication. His brother-in-law, Bentley, in a letter to Walter Scott dated January 22, 1841, said, "I know that Sidney Rigdon told me there was a book coming out, the manuscript of which had been found engraved on gold plates, as much as two years before the Mormon book made its appearance or had been heard of by me."*

   * Millennial Harbinger, 1844, p. 39. The Rev. Alexander Campbell
testified that this conversation took place in his presence.

One of the elders of the Disciples' church was Darwin Atwater, a farmer, who afterward occupied the pulpit, and of whom Hayden says, "The uniformity of his life, his undeviating devotion, his high and consistent manliness and superiority of judgment, gave him an undisputed preeminence in the church." In a letter to Hayden, dated April 26, 1873, Mr. Atwater said of Rigdon: "For a few months before his professed conversion to Mormonism it was noticed that his wild extravagant propensities had been more marked. That he knew before the coming of the Book of Mormon is to me certain from what he said during the first of his visits at my father's, some years before. He gave a wonderful description of the mounds and other antiquities found in some parts of America, and said that they must have been made by the aborigines. He said there was a book to be published containing an account of those things. He spoke of these in his eloquent, enthusiastic style, as being a thing most extraordinary. Though a youth then, I took him to task for expending so much enthusiasm on such a subject instead of things of the Gospel. In all my intercourse with him afterward he never spoke of antiquities, or of the wonderful book that should give account of them, till the Book of Mormon really was published. He must have thought I was not the man to reveal that to."*

   * "Early History of the Disciples' Church in the Western
Reserve," p. 239.

Dr. Storm Rosa, a leading physician of Ohio, in, a letter to the Rev. John Hall of Ashtabula, written in 1841, said: "In the early part of the year 1830 I was in company with Sidney Rigdon, and rode with him on horseback for a few miles.... He remarked to me that it was time for a new religion to spring up; that mankind were all right and ready for it."*

   * "Gleanings by the Way," p. 315.

Having thus established the identity of the story running through the Spaulding manuscript and the historical part of the Mormon Bible, the agreement of the doctrinal part of the latter with what was taught at the time by Rigdon and his fellow-workers in Ohio, and Rigdon's previous knowledge of the coming book, we are brought to the query: How did the Spaulding manuscript become incorporated in the Mormon Bible?

It could have been so incorporated in two ways: either by coming into the possession of Rigdon and being by him copied and placed in Smith's hands for "translation," with the theological parts added;* or by coming into possession of Smith in his wanderings around the neighborhood of Hartwick, and being shown by him to Rigdon. Every aspect of this matter has been discussed by Mormon and non-Mormon writers, and it can only be said that definite proof is lacking. Mormon disputants set forth that Spaulding moved from Pittsburg to Amity in 1814, and that Rigdon's first visit to Pittsburg occurred in 1822. On the other hand, evidence is offered that Rigdon was a "hanger around" Patterson's printing-office, where Spaulding offered his manuscript, before the year 1816, and the Rev. John Winter, M.D., who taught school in Pittsburg when Rigdon preached there, and knew him well, recalled that Rigdon showed him a large manuscript which he said a Presbyterian minister named Spaulding had brought to the city for publication. Dr. Winter's daughter wrote to Robert Patterson on April 5, 1881: "I have frequently heard my father speak of Rigdon having Spaulding's manuscript, and that he had gotten it from the printers to read it as a curiosity; as such he showed it to father, and at that time Rigdon had no intention of making the use of it that he afterward did." Mrs. Ellen E. Dickenson, in a report of a talk with General and Mrs. Garfield on the subject at Mentor, Ohio, in 1880, reports Mrs. Garfield as saying "that her father told her that Rigdon in his youth lived in that neighborhood, and made mysterious journeys to Pittsburg."*** She also quotes a statement by Mrs. Garfield's** father, Z. Rudolph, "that during the winter previous to the appearance of the Book of Mormon, Rigdon was in the habit of spending weeks away from his home, going no one knew where."**** Tucker says that in the summer of 1827 "a mysterious stranger appears at Smith's residence, and holds private interviews with the far-famed money-digger.... It was observed by some of Smith's nearest neighbors that his visits were frequently repeated." Again, when the persons interested in the publication of the Bible were so alarmed by the abstraction of pages of the translation by Mrs. Harris, "the reappearance of the mysterious stranger at Smith's was," he says, "the subject of inquiry and conjecture by observers from whom was withheld all explanation of his identity or purpose."*****

   * "Rigdon has not been in full fellowship with Smith for more
than a year. He has been in his turn cast aside by Joe to make room for
some new dupe or knave who, perhaps, has come with more money. He
has never been deceived by Joe. I have no doubt that Rigdon was the
originator of the system, and, fearing for its success, put Joe forward
as a sort of fool in the play."—Letter from a resident near Nauvoo,
quoted in the postscript to Caswall's "City of the Mormons". (1843)
   * For a collection of evidence on this subject, see Patterson's
"Who Wrote the Mormon Bible?"
   ** "Scribner's Magazine," October, 1881.
   *** "New Light on Mormonism," p. 252.

In a historical inquiry of this kind, it is more important to establish the fact that a certain thing WAS DONE than to prove just HOW or WHEN it was done. The entire narrative of the steps leading up to the announcement of a new Bible, including Smith's first introduction to the use of a "peek-stone" and his original employment of it, the changes made in the original version of the announcement to him of buried plates, and the final production of a book, partly historical and partly theological, shows that there was behind Smith some directing mind, and the only one of his associates in the first few years of the church's history who could have done the work required was Sidney Rigdon.

President Fairchild, in his paper on the Spaulding manuscript already referred to, while admitting that "it is perhaps impossible at this day to prove or disprove the Spaulding theory," finds any argument against the assumption that Rigdon supplied the doctrinal part of the new Bible, in the view that "a man as self-reliant and smart as Rigdon, with a superabundant gift of tongue and every form of utterance, would never have accepted the servile task of mere interpolation; there could have been no motive to it." This only shows that President Fairchild wrote without knowledge of the whole subject, with ignorance of the motives which did exist for Rigdon's conduct, and without means of acquainting himself with Rigdon's history during his association with Smith. Some of his motives we have already ascertained: We shall find that, almost from the beginning of their removal to Ohio, Smith held him in a subjection which can be explained only on the theory that Rigdon, the prominent churchman, had placed himself completely in the power of the unprincipled Smith, and that, instead of exhibiting self-reliance, he accepted insult after insult until, just before Smith's death, he was practically without influence in the church; and when the time came to elect Smith's successor, he was turned out-of-doors by Brigham Young with the taunting words, "Brother Sidney says he will tell our secrets, but I would say, 'O don't, Brother Sidney! Don't tell our secrets—O don't.' But if he tells our secrets we will tell his. Tit for tat!" President Fairchild's argument that several of the original leaders of the fanaticism must have been "adequate to the task" of supplying the doctrinal part of the book, only furnishes additional proof of his ignorance of early Mormon history, and his further assumption that "it is difficult—almost impossible—to believe that the religious sentiments of the Book of Mormon were wrought into interpolation" brings him into direct conflict, as we shall see, with Professor Whitsitt,* a much better equipped student of the subject.

   * Post, pp. 92. 93.

If it should be questioned whether a man of Rigdon's church connection would deliberately plan such a fraudulent scheme as the production of the Mormon Bible, the inquiry may be easily satisfied. One of the first tasks which Smith and Rigdon undertook, as soon as Rigdon openly joined Smith in New York State, was the preparation of what they called a new translation of the Scriptures. This work was undertaken in conformity with a "revelation" to Smith and Rigdon, dated December, 1830 (Sec. 35, "Doctrine and Covenants") in which Sidney was told, "And a commandment I give unto thee, that thou shalt write for him; and the Scriptures shall be given, even as they are in mine own bosom, to the salvation of mine own elect." The "translating" was completed in Ohio, and the manuscript, according to Smith, "was sealed up, no more to be opened till it arrived in Zion."* This work was at first kept as a great secret, and Smith and Rigdon moved to the house of a resident of Hiram township, Portage County, Ohio, thirty miles from Kirtland, in September, 1831, to carry it on; but the secret soon got out. The preface to the edition of the book published at Plano, Illinois, in 1867, under the title, "The Holy Scriptures translated and corrected by the Spirit of Revelation, by Joseph Smith, Jr., the Seer," says that the manuscript remained in the hands of the prophet's widow from the time of his death until 1866, when it was delivered to a committee of the Reorganized Mormon conference for publication. Some of its chapters were known to Mormon readers earlier, since Corrill gives the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew in his historical sketch, which was dated 1839.

   * Millenial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 361.

The professed object of the translation was to restore the Scriptures to their original purity and beauty, the Mormon Bible declaring that "many plain and precious parts" had been taken from them. The real object, however, was to add to the sacred writings a prediction of Joseph Smith's coming as a prophet, which would increase his authority and support the pretensions of the new Bible. That this was Rigdon's scheme is apparent from the fact that it was announced as soon as he visited Smith, and was carried on under his direction, and that the manuscript translation was all in his handwriting.*

   * Wyl's "Mormon Portraits," p.124.

Extended parts of the translation do not differ at all from the King James version, and many of the changes are verbal and inconsequential. Rigdon's object appears in the changes made in the fiftieth chapter of Genesis, and the twenty-ninth chapter of Isaiah. In the King James version the fiftieth chapter of Genesis contains twenty-six verses, and ends with the words, "So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." In the Smith-Rigdon version this chapter contains thirty-eight verses, the addition representing Joseph as telling his brethren that a branch of his people shall be carried into a far country and that a seer shall be given to them, "and that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph. And he shall have judgment, and shall write the word of the Lord."

The twenty-ninth chapter of Isaiah is similarly expanded from twenty-four short to thirty-two long verses. Verses eleven and twelve of the King James version read:—

"And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.

"And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned."

The Smith-Rigdon version expands this as follows:—"11. And it shall come to pass, that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book; and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered.

"12. And behold, the book shall be sealed; and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof.

"13. Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore, the book shall be kept from them.

"14. But the book shall be delivered unto a man, and he shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust; and he shall deliver these words unto another, but the words that are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book.

"15. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for, behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof."

No one will question that a Rigdon who would palm off such a fraudulent work as this upon the men who looked to him as a religious teacher would hesitate to suggest to Smith the scheme for a new Bible. During the work of translation, as we learn from Smith's autobiography, the translators saw a wonderful vision, in which they "beheld the glory of the Son on the right hand of the Father," and holy angels, and the glory of the worlds, terrestrial and celestial. Soon after this they received an explanation from heaven of some obscure texts in Revelation. Thus, the sea of glass (iv. 6) "is the earth in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state"; by the little book which was eaten by John (chapter x) "we are to understand that it was a mission and an ordinance for him to gather the tribes of Israel."

It may be added that this translation is discarded by the modern Mormon church in Utah. The Deseret Evening News, the church organ at Salt Lake City, said on February 21, 1900:—

"The translation of the Bible, referred to by our correspondents, has not been adopted by this church as authoritative. It is understood that the Prophet Joseph intended before its publication to subject the manuscript to an entire examination, for such revision as might be deemed necessary. Be that as it may, the work has not been published under the auspices of this church, and is, therefore, not held out as a guide. For the present, the version of the scriptures commonly known as King James's translation is used, and the living oracles are the expounders of the written word."

We may anticipate the course of our narrative in order to show how much confirmation of Rigdon's connection with the whole Mormon scheme is furnished by the circumstances attending the first open announcement of his acceptance of the Mormon literature and faith. We are first introduced to Parley P. Pratt, sometime tin peddler, and a lay preacher to rural congregations in Ohio when occasion offered. Pratt in his autobiography tells of the joy with which he heard Rigdon preach, at his home in Ohio, doctrines of repentance and baptism which were the "ancient gospel" that he (Pratt) had "discovered years before, but could find no one to minister in"; of a society for worship which he and others organized; of his decision, acting under the influence of the Gospel and prophecies "as they had been opened to him," to abandon the home he had built up, and to set out on a mission "for the Gospel's sake"; and of a trip to New York State, where he was shown the Mormon Bible. "As I read," he says, "the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true."

Pratt was at once commissioned, "by revelation and the laying on of hands," to preach the new Gospel, and was sent, also by "revelation" (Sec. 32, "Doctrine and Covenants"), along with Cowdery, Z. Peterson, and Peter Whitmer, Jr., "into the wilderness among the Lamanites." Pratt and Cowdery went direct to Rigdon's house in Mentor, where they stayed a week. Pratt's own account says: "We called on Mr. Rigdon, my former friend and instructor in the Reformed Baptist Society. He received us cordially, and entertained us with hospitality."*

   * "Autobiography of P. P. Pratt," p. 49.

In Smith's autobiography it is stated that Rigdon's visitors presented the Mormon Bible to him as a revelation from God, and what followed is thus described:—

"This being the first time he had ever heard of or seen the Book of Mormon, he felt very much prejudiced at the assertion, and replied that 'he had one Bible which he believed was a revelation from God, and with which he pretended to have some acquaintance; but with respect to the book they had presented him, he must say HE HAD SOME CONSIDERABLE DOUBT' Upon which they expressed a desire to investigate the subject and argue the matter; but he replied, 'No, young gentlemen, you must not argue with me on the subject. But I will read your book, and see what claim it has upon my faith, and will endeavor to ascertain whether it be a revelation from God or not'. After some further conversation on the subject, they expressed a desire to lay the subject before the people, and requested the privilege of preaching in Elder Rigdon's church, TO WHICH HE READILY CONSENTED. The appointment was accordingly published, and a large and respectable congregation assembled. Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt severally addressed the meeting. At the conclusion Elder Rigdon arose and stated to the congregation that the information they that evening had received was of an extraordinary character, and certainly demanded their most serious consideration; and, as the apostle advised his brethren 'to prove all things and hold fast that which is good,' so he would exhort his brethren to do likewise, and give the matter a careful investigation, and NOT TURN AGAINST IT, WITHOUT BEING FULLY CONVINCED OF ITS BEING AN IMPOSITION, LEST THEY SHOULD POSSIBLY RESIST THE TRUTH."

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 47.

Accepting this as a correct report of what occurred (and we may consider it from Rigdon's pen), we find a clergyman who was a fellow-worker with men like Campbell and Scott expressing only "considerable doubt" of the inspiration of a book presented to him as a new Bible, "readily consenting" to the use of his church by the sponsors for this book, and, at the close of their arguments, warning his people against rejecting it too readily "lest they resist the truth"! Unless all these are misstatements, there seems to be little necessity of further proof that Rigdon was prepared in advance for the reception of the Mormon Bible.

After this came the announcement of the conversion and baptism by the Mormon missionaries of a "family" of seventeen persons living in some sort of a "community" system, between Mentor and Kirtland. Rigdon, who had merely explained to his neighbors that his visitors were "on a curious mission," expressed disapproval of this at first, and took Cowdery to task for asserting that his own conversion to the new belief was due to a visit from an angel. But, two days later, Rigdon himself received an angel's visit, and the next Sunday, with his wife, was baptized into the new faith.

Rigdon, of course, had to answer many inquiries on his return to Ohio from a visit to Smith which soon followed his conversion, but his policy was indignant reticence whenever pressed to any decisive point. To an old acquaintance who, after talking the matter over with him at his house, remarked that the Koran of Mohammed stood on as good evidence as the Bible of Smith, Rigdon replied: "Sir, you have insulted me in my own house. I command silence. If people come to see us and cannot treat us civilly, they can walk out of the door as soon as they please."* Thomas Campbell sent a long letter to Rigdon under date of February 4, 1831, in which he addressed him as "for many years not only a courteous and benevolent friend, but a beloved brother and fellow-laborer in the Gospel—but alas! how changed, how fallen." Accepting a recent offer of Rigdon in one of his sermons to give his reasons for his new belief, Mr. Campbell offered to meet him in public discussion, even outlining the argument he would offer, under nine headings, that Rigdon might be prepared to refute it, proposing to take his stand on the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures, Smith's bad character, the absurdities of the Mormon Bible and of the alleged miraculous "gifts," and the objections to the "common property" plan and the rebaptizing of believers. Rigdon, after glancing over a few lines of this letter, threw it into the fire unanswered.**

   * "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 112.
   ** Ibid., p. 116-123.


Having presented the evidence which shows that the historical part of the Mormon Bible was supplied by the Spaulding manuscript, we may now pay attention to other evidence, which indicates that the entire conception of a revelation of golden plates by an angel was not even original, and also that its suggestor was Rigdon. This is a subject which has been overlooked by investigators of the Mormon Bible.

That the idea of the revelation as described by Smith in his autobiography was not original is shown by the fact that a similar divine message, engraved on plates, was announced to have been received from an angel nearly six hundred years before the alleged visit of an angel to Smith. These original plates were described as of copper, and the recipient was a monk named Cyril, from whom their contents passed into the possession of the Abbot Joachim, whose "Everlasting Gospel," founded thereon, was offered to the church as supplanting the New Testament, just as the New Testament had supplanted the Old, and caused so serious a schism that Pope Alexander IV took the severest measures against it.*

   * Draper's "Intellectual Development of Europe," Vol. II, Chap.
III. For an exhaustive essay on the "Everlasting Gospel," by Renan,
see Revue des Deux Mondes, June, 1866. For John of Parma's part in the
Gospel, see "Histoire Litteraire de la France" (1842), Vol. XX, p. 24.

The evidence that the history of the "Everlasting Gospel" of the thirteenth century supplied the idea of the Mormon Bible lies not only in the resemblance between the celestial announcement of both, but in the fact that both were declared to have the same important purport—as a forerunner of the end of the world—and that the name "Everlasting Gospel" was adopted and constantly used in connection with their message by the original leaders in the Mormon church.

If it is asked, How could Rigdon become acquainted with the story of the original "Everlasting Gospel," the answer is that it was just such subjects that would most attract his attention, and that his studies had led him into directions where the story of Cyril's plates would probably have been mentioned. He was a student of every subject out of which he could evolve a sect, from the time of his Pittsburg pastorate. Hepworth Dixon said, "He knew the writings of Maham, Gates, and Boyle, writings in which love and marriage are considered in relation to Gospel liberty and the future life."* H. H. Bancroft, noting his appointment as Professor of Church History in Nauvoo University, speaks of him as "versed in history, belles-lettres, and oratory."** Mrs. James A. Garfield told Mrs. Dickenson that Rigdon taught her father Latin and Greek.*** David Whitmer, who was so intimately acquainted with the early history of the church, testified: "Rigdon was a thorough biblical scholar, a man of fine education and a powerful orator."**** A writer, describing Rigdon while the church was at Nauvoo, said, "There is no divine in the West more learned in biblical literature and the history of the world than he."***** All this indicates that a knowledge of the earlier "Everlasting Gospel" was easily within Rigdon's reach. We may even surmise the exact source of this knowledge. Mosheim's "Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern" was at his disposal. Editions of it had appeared in London in 1765, 1768, 1774, 1782, 1790, 1806, 1810, and 1826, and among the abridgments was one published in Philadelphia in 1812. In this work he could have read as follows:—

"About the commencement of this [the thirteenth] century there were handed about in Italy several pretended prophecies of the famous Joachim, abbot of Sora in Calabria, whom the multitude revered as a person divinely inspired, and equal to the most illustrious prophets of ancient times. The greatest part of these predictions were contained in a certain book entitled, 'The Everlasting Gospel,' and which was also commonly called the Book of Joachim. This Joachim, whether a real or fictitious person we shall not pretend to determine, among many other future events, foretold the destruction of the Church of Rome, whose corruptions he censured with the greatest severity, and the promulgation of a new and more perfect gospel in the age of the Holy Ghost, by a set of poor and austere ministers, whom God was to raise up and employ for that purpose."

   * "Spiritual Wives," p. 62.
   ** "Utah," p. 146.
   *** Scribner's Magazine, October, 1881.
   **** "Address to All Believers in Christ;" p. 35.

Here is a perfect outline of the scheme presented by the original Mormons, with Joseph as the divinely inspired prophet, and an "Everlasting Gospel," the gift of an angel, promulgated by poor men like the travelling Mormon elders.

The original suggestion of an "Everlasting Gospel" is found in Revelation xiv. 6 and 7:—

"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water."** "Bisping (after Gerlach) takes Rev. xiv. 6-11 to foretell that three great events at the end of the last world-week are immediately to precede Christ's second advent (1) the announcement of the 'eternal' Gospel to the whole world (Matt. xxiv. 14); (2)the Fall of Babylon; (3)a warning to all who worship the beast.... Burger says this vision can denote nothing but a last admonition and summons to conversion shortly before the end."—Note in "Commentary by Bishops and Other Clergy of the Anglican Church."

This was the angel of Cyril; this the announcement of those "latter days" from which the Mormon church, on Rigdon's motion, soon took its name.

That Rigdon's attention had been attracted to an "Everlasting Gospel" is proved by the constant references made to it in writings of which he had at least the supervision, from the very beginning of the church. Thus, when he preached his first sermon before a Mormon audience—on the occasion of his visit to Smith at Palmyra in 1830—he took as his text a part of the version of Revelation xiv. which he had put into the Mormon Bible (1 Nephi xiii. 40), and in his sermon, as reported by Tucker, who heard it, holding the Scriptures in one hand and the Mormon Bible in the other, he said, "that they were inseparably necessary to complete the everlasting gospel of the Saviour Jesus Christ." In the account, in Smith's autobiography, of the first description of the buried book given to Smith by the angel, its two features are named separately, first, "an account of the former inhabitants of this continent," and then "the fulness of the Everlasting Gospel." That Rigdon never lost sight of the importance, in his view, of an "Everlasting Gospel" may be seen from the following quotation from one of his articles in his Pittsburg organ, the Messenger and Advocate, of June 15, 1845, after his expulsion from Nauvoo: "It is a strict observance of the principles of the fulness of the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, as contained in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and Book of Covenants, which alone will insure a man an inheritance in the kingdom of our God."

The importance attached to the "Everlasting Gospel" by the founders of the church is seen further in the references to it in the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," which it is not necessary to cite,* and further in a pamphlet by Elder Moses of New York (1842), entitled "A Treatise on the Fulness of the Everlasting Gospel, setting forth its First Principles, Promises, and Blessings," in which he argued that the appearance of the angel to Smith was in direct line with the Scriptural teaching, and that the last days were near.

   * For examples see Sec. 68, 1; Sec. 101, 22; Sec. 124, 88.


In his accounts to his neighbors of the revelation to him of the golden plates on which the "record" was written, Smith always declared that no person but him could look on those plates and live. But when the printed book came out, it, like all subsequent editions to this day, was preceded by the following "testimonies":—


"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that we through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvellous in our eyes, nevertheless the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honour be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.


"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen; and we lie not, God bearing witness of it.


In judging of the value of this testimony, we may first inquire, what the prophet has to say about it, and may then look into the character and qualification of the witnesses.

We find a sufficiently full explanation of Testimony No. 1 in Smith's autobiography and in his "revelations." Nothing could be more natural than that such men as the prophet was dealing with should demand a sight of any plates from which he might be translating. Others besides Harris made such a demand, and Smith repeated the warning that to look on them was death. This might satisfy members of his own family, but it did not quiet his scribes, and he tells us that Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Harris "teased me so much" (these are his own words) that he gave out a "revelation" in March, 1829 (Sec. 5, "Doctrine and Covenants"), in which the Lord was represented as saying that the prophet had no power over the plates except as He granted it, but that to his testimony would be added "the testimony of three of my servants, whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I will show these things, "adding," and to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation." The Lord was distrustful of Harris, and commanded him not to be talkative on the subject, but to say nothing about it except, "I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by the power of God."

Smith's own account of the showing of the plates to these three witnesses is so luminous that it may be quoted. After going out into the woods, they had to stand Harris off by himself because of his evil influence. Then:—

"We knelt down again, and had not been many minutes engaged in prayer when presently we beheld a light above us in the air of exceeding brightness; and behold an angel stood before us. In his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of; he turned over the leaves one by one, so that we could see them and discover the engravings thereon distinctly. He then addressed himself to David Whitmer and said, 'David, blessed is the Lord and he that keeps his commandments'; when immediately afterward we heard a voice from out of the bright light above us saying, 'These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.'

"I now left David and Oliver, and went into pursuit of Martin Harris, whom I found at a considerable distance, fervently engaged in prayer. He soon told me, however, that he had not yet prevailed with the Lord, and earnestly requested me to join him in prayer, that he might also realize the same blessings which we had just received. We accordingly joined in prayer, and immediately obtained our desires; for before we had yet finished, the same vision was opened to our view, AT LEAST IT WAS AGAIN TO ME [Joe thus refuses to vouch for Harris's declaration on the subject]; and I once more beheld and heard the same things; whilst, at the same moment, Martin Harris cried out, apparently in ecstasy of joy, 'Tis enough, mine eyes hath beheld,' and, jumping up, he shouted 'Hosannah,' blessing God, and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, Supt., p. 19.

If this story taxes the credulity of the reader, his doubts about the value of this "testimony" will increase when he traces the history of the three witnesses. Surely, if any three men in the church should remain steadfast, mighty pillars of support for the prophet in his future troubles, it should be these chosen witnesses to the actual existence of the golden plates. Yet every one of them became an apostate, and every one of them was loaded with all the opprobrium that the church could pile upon him.

Cowdery's reputation was locally bad at the time. "I was personally acquainted with Oliver Cowdery," said Danforth Booth, an old resident of Palmyra, in 1880. "He was a pettifogger; their (the Smiths') cat-paw to do their dirty work."* Smith's trouble with him, which began during the work of translating, continued, and Smith found it necessary to say openly in a "revelation" given out in Ohio in 1831 (Sec. 69), when preparations were making for a trip of some of the brethren to Missouri, "It is not wisdom in me that he should be intrusted with the commandments and the monies which he shall carry unto the land of Zion, except one go with him who will be true and faithful."

   * Among affidavits on file in the county clerk's office at
Canandaigua, New York.

By the time Smith took his final departure to Missouri, Cowdery and David and John Whitmer had lost caste entirely, and in June, 1838, they fled to escape the Danites at Far West. The letter of warning addressed to them and signed by more than eighty Mormons, giving them three days in which to depart, contained the following accusations:—

"After Oliver Cowdery had been taken by a state warrant for stealing, and the stolen property found in the house of William W. Phelps; in which nefarious transaction John Whitmer had also participated. Oliver Cowdery stole the property, conveyed it to John Whitmer, and John Whitmer to William W. Phelps; and then the officers of law found it. While in the hands of an officer, and under an arrest for this vile transaction, and, if possible, to hide your shame from the world like criminals (which, indeed, you were), you appealed to our beloved brethren, President Joseph Smith Jr. and Sidney Rigdon, men whose characters you had endeavored to destroy by every artifice you could invent, not even the basest lying excepted....

"The Saints in Kirtland having elected Oliver Cowdery to a justice of the peace, he used the power of that office to take their most sacred rights from them, and that contrary to law. He supported a parcel of blacklegs, and in disturbing the worship of the Saints; and when the men whom the church had chosen to preside over their meetings endeavored to put the house to order, he helped (and by the authority of his justice's office too) these wretches to continue their confusion; and threatened the church with a prosecution for trying to put them out of the house; and issued writs against the Saints for endeavoring to sustain their rights; and bound themselves under heavy bonds to appear before his honor; and required bonds which were both inhuman and unlawful; and one of these was the venerable father, who had been appointed by the church to preside—a man of upwards of seventy years of age, and notorious for his peaceable habits.

"Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Lyman E. Johnson, united with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars and blacklegs of the deepest dye, to deceive, cheat and defraud the Saints out of their property, by every art and stratagem which wickedness could invent; using the influence of the vilest persecutions to bring vexatious lawsuits, villainous prosecutions, and even stealing not excepted.... During the full career of Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer's bogus money business, it got abroad into the world that they were engaged in it, and several gentlemen were preparing to commence a prosecution against Cowdery; he finding it out, took with him Lyman E. Johnson, and fled to Far West with their families; Cowdery stealing property and bringing it with him, which has been, within a few weeks past, obtained by the owner by means of a search warrant, and he was saved from the penitentiary by the influence of two influential men of the place. He also brought notes with him upon which he had received pay, and made an attempt to sell them to Mr. Arthur of Clay County."*

   * "Documents in Relation to the Disturbances with the Mormons,"
Missouri Legislature (1841), p. 103.

Rigdon, who was the author of this arraignment, realizing that the enemies of the church would not fail to make use of this aspersion of the character of the witnesses, attempted to "hedge" by saying, in the same document, "We wish to remind you that Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were among the principal of those who were the means of gathering us to this place by their testimony which they gave concerning the plates of the Book of Mormon, that they were shown to them by an angel; which testimony we believe now as much as before you had so scandalously disgraced it." Could affrontery go to greater lengths?

Cowdery and David Whitmer fled to Richmond, Missouri, where Whitmer lived until his death in January, 1888. Cowdery went to Tiffin, Ohio, where, after failing to obtain a position as an editor because of his Mormon reputation, he practised law. While living there he renounced his Mormon views, joined the Methodist church, and became superintendent of a Sunday-school. Later he moved to Wisconsin, but, after being defeated for the legislature there, he recanted his Methodist belief, and rejoined the Saints while they were at Council Bluffs, in October, 1848, after the main body had left for Salt Lake Valley. He addressed a meeting there by invitation, testifying to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and the mission of Smith as a prophet, and saying that he wanted to be rebaptized into the church, not as a leader, but simply as a member.* He did not, however, go to Utah with the Saints, but returned to his old friend Whitmer in Missouri, and died there in 1850. It has been stated that he offered to give a full renunciation of the Mormon faith when he united with the Methodists at Tiffin, if required, but asked to be excused from doing so on the ground that it would invite criticism and bring him into contempt.** One of his Tiffin acquaintances afterward testified that Cowdery confessed to him that, when he signed the "testimony," he "was not one of the best men in the world," using his own expression.*** The Mormons were always grateful to him for his silence under their persecutions, and the Millennial Star, in a notice of his death, expressed satisfaction that in the days of his apostasy "he never, in a single instance, cast the least doubt on his former testimony," adding, "May he rest in peace, to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection into eternal life, is the earnest desire of all Saints."

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XI, p.14.
   ** "Naked Truths about Mormonism," A. B. Demming, Oakland,
California, 1888.
   *** "Gregg's History of Hancock County, Illinois," p. 257.

The Whitmers were a Dutch family, known among their neighbors as believers in witches and in the miraculous generally, as has been shown in Mother Smith's account of their sending for Joseph. A "revelation" to the three witnesses which first promised them a view of the plates (Sec. 17) told them, "It is BY YOUR FAITH you shall obtain a view of them," and directed them to testify concerning the plates, "that my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., may not be destroyed." One of the converts who joined the Mormons at Kirtland, Ohio, testified in later years that David Whitmer confessed to her that he never actually saw the plates, explaining his testimony thus: "Suppose that you had a friend whose character was such that you knew it impossible that he could lie; then, if he described a city to you which you had never seen, could you not, by the eye of faith, see the city just as he described it?"*

   * Mrs. Dickenson's "New Light on Mormonism."

The Mormons have found consolation in the fact that Whitmer continued to affirm his belief in the authenticity of the Mormon Bible to the day of his death. He declared, however, that Smith and Young had led the flock astray, and, after the open announcement of polygamy in Utah, he announced a church of his own, called "The Church of Christ," refusing to affiliate even with the Reorganized Church because of the latter's adherence to Smith. In his "Address to Believers in the Book of Mormon," a pamphlet issued in his eighty-second year, he said, "Now, in 1849 the Lord saw fit to manifest unto John Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and myself nearly all the remaining errors of doctrine into which we had been led by the heads of the church." The reader from all this can form an estimate of the trustworthiness of the second witness on such a subject.

We have already learned a great deal about Martin Harris's mental equipment. A lawyer of standing in Palmyra told Dr. Clark that, after Harris had signed the "testimony," he pressed him with the question: "Did you see the plates with your natural eyes, just as you see this pencil case in my hand? Now say yes or no." Harris replied (in corroboration of Joe's misgiving at the time): "Why, I did not see them as I do that pencil case, yet I saw them with the eye of faith. I saw them just as distinctly as I see anything around me—though at the time they were covered over with a cloth."*

   * "Gleanings by the Way."

Harris followed Smith to Ohio and then to Missouri, but was ever a trouble to him, although Smith always found his money useful. In 1831, in Missouri, it required a "revelation" (Sec. 58) to spur him to "lay his monies before the Bishop." As his money grew scarcer, he received less and less recognition from the Mormon leaders, and was finally expelled from the church. Smith thus referred to him in the Elders' Journal, July, 1837, one of his publications in Ohio: "There are negroes who wear white skins as well as black ones, granny Parish, and others who acted as lackeys, such as Martin Harris."

Harris did not appear on the scene during the stay of the Mormons in Illinois, having joined the Shakers and lived with them a year or two. When Strang claimed the leadership of the church after Smith's death, Harris gave him his support, and was sent by him with others to England in 1846 to do missionary work. His arrival there was made the occasion of an attack on him by the Millennial Star, which, among other things, said:—

"We do not feel to warn the Saints against him, for his own unbridled tongue will soon show out specimens of folly enough to give any person a true index to the character of the man; but if the Saints wish to know what the Lord hath said of him, they may turn to the 178th page of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and the person there called a WICKED MAN is no other than Martin Harris, and he owned to it then, but probably might not now. It is not the first time the Lord chose a wicked man as a witness. Also on page 193, read the whole revelation given to him, and ask yourselves if the Lord ever talked in that way to a good man. Every one can see that he must have been a wicked man."*

   *Vol. VIII, p. 123.

Harris visited Palmyra in 1858. He then said that his property was all gone, that he had declined a restoration to the Mormon church, but that he continued to believe in Mormonism. He thought better of his declination, however, and sought a reunion with the church in Utah in 1870. His backslidings had carried him so far that the church authorities told him it would be necessary for him to be rebaptized. This he consented to with some reluctance, after, as he said, "he had seen his father seeking his aid. He saw his father at the foot of a ladder, striving to get up to him, and he went down to him, taking him by the hand, and helped him up."* He settled in Cache County, Utah, where he died on July 10, 1875, in his ninety-third year. "He bore his testimony to the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon a short time before he departed," wrote his son to an inquirer, "and the last words he uttered, when he could not speak the sentence, were 'Book,' 'Book,' 'Book.'"

   * For an account of Harris's Utah experience, see Millennial
Star, Vol. XLVIII, pp.357-389.

The precarious character of Smith's original partners in the Bible business is further illustrated by his statement that, in the summer of 1830, Cowdery sent him word that he had discovered an error in one of Smith's "revelations,"* and that the Whitmer family agreed with him on the subject. Smith was as determined in opposing this questioning of his divine authority as he always was in stemming any opposition to his leadership, and he made them all acknowledge their error. Again, when Smith returned to Fayette from Harmony, in August, 1830 (more than a year after the plates were shown to the witnesses), he found that "Satan had been lying in wait," and that Hiram Page, of the second list of witnesses, had been obtaining revelations through a "peek-stone" of his own, and that, what was more serious, Cowdery and the Whitmer family believed in them. The result of this was an immediate "revelation" (Sec. 28) directing Cowdery to go and preach the Gospel to the Lamanites (Indians) on the western border, and to take along with him Hiram Page, and tell him that the things he had written by means of the "peek-stone" were not of the Lord.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 36.

Neither Smith's autobiography nor the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants" contains any explanation of the second "testimony." The list of persons who signed it, however, leaves little doubt that the prophet yielded to their "teasing" as he did to that of the original three. The first four signers were members of the Whitmer family. Hiram Page was a root-doctor by calling, and a son-in-law of Peter Whitmer, Sr. The three Smiths were the prophet's father and two of his brothers.*

   * Christian Whitmer died in Clay County, Missouri, November 27,
1835; Jacob died in Richmond County, April 21, 1866; Peter died in Clay
County, September 22, 1836; Hiram Page died on a farm in Ray County,
August 12, 1852.

The favorite Mormon reply to any question as to the value of these "testimonies" is the challenge, "Is there a person on the earth who can prove that these eleven witnesses did not see the plates?" Curiously, the prophet himself can be cited to prove this, in the words of the revelation granting a sight of the plates to the first three, which said, "And to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation." A footnote to this declaration in the "Doctrine and Covenants" offers, as an explanation of Testimony No. 2; the statement that others "may receive a knowledge by other manifestations." This is well meant but transparent.

Mother Smith in later years added herself to these witnesses. She said to the Rev. Henry Caswall, in Nauvoo, in 1842, "I have myself seen and handled the golden plates." Mr. Caswall adds:—

"While the old woman was thus delivering herself, I fixed my eyes steadily upon her. She faltered and seemed unwilling to meet my glances, but gradually recovered her self-possession. The melancholy thought entered my mind that this poor old creature was not simply a dupe of her son's knavery, but that she had taken an active part in the deception."

Two matters have been cited by Mormon authorities to show that there was nothing so very unusual in the discovery of buried plates containing engraved letters. Announcement was made in 1843 of the discovery near Kinderhook, Illinois, of six plates similar to those described by Smith. The story, as published in the Times and Seasons, with a certificate signed by nine local residents, set forth that a merchant of the place, named Robert Wiley, while digging in a mound, after finding ashes and human bones, came to "a bundle that consisted of six plates of brass, of a bell shape, each having a hole near the small end, and a ring through them all"; and that, when cleared of rust, they were found to be "completely covered with characters that none as yet have been able to read." Hyde, accepting this story, printed a facsimile of one of these plates on the cover of his book, and seems to rest on Wiley's statement his belief that "Smith did have plates of some kind." Stenhouse,* who believed that Smith and his witnesses did not perpetrate in the new Bible an intentional fraud, but thought they had visions and "revelations," referring to the Kinderhook plates, says that they were "actually and unquestionably discovered by one Mr. R. Wiley." Smith himself, after no one else could read the writing on them, declared that he had translated them, and found them to be a history of a descendant of Ham.**

   * T. B. H. Stenhouse, a Scotchman, was converted to the Mormon
belief in 1846, performed diligent missionary work in Europe, and was
for three years president of the Swiss and Italian missions. Joining the
brethren in Utah with his wife, he was persuaded to take a second wife.
Not long afterward he joined in the protest against Young's dictatorial
course which was known as the "New Movement," and was expelled from the
church. His "Rocky Mountain Saints" (1873) contains so much valuable
information connected with the history of the church that it has been
largely drawn on by E. W. Tullidge in his "History of Salt Lake City and
Its Founders," which is accepted by the church.
   **Millennial Star, January 15, 1859, where cuts of the plates
(here produced) are given.

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   Stenhouse Plates    124

0128 (45K)

But the true story of the Kinderhook plates was disclosed by an affidavit made by W. Fulgate of Mound Station, Brown County, Illinois, before Jay Brown, Justice of the Peace, on June 30, 1879. In this he stated that the plates were "a humbug, gotten up by Robert Wiley, Bridge Whitton, and myself. Whitton (who was a blacksmith) cut the plates out of some pieces of copper Wiley and I made the hieroglyphics by making impressions on beeswax and filling them with acid, and putting it on the plates. When they were finished, we put them together with rust made of nitric acid, old iron and lead, and bound them with a piece of hoop iron, covering them completely with the rust." He describes the burial of the plates and their digging up, among the spectators of the latter being two Mormon elders, Marsh and Sharp. Sharp declared that the Lord had directed them to witness the digging. The plates were borrowed and shown to Smith, and were finally given to one "Professor" McDowell of St. Louis, for his museum.*

   * Wyl's "Mormon Portraits," p. 207. The secretary of the Missouri
Historical Society writes me that McDowell's museum disappeared some
years ago, most of its contents being lost or stolen, and the fate of
the Kinderhook plates cannot be ascertained.

In attacking Professor Anthon's statement concerning the alleged hieroglyphics shown to him by Harris, Orson Pratt, in his "Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon," thought that he found substantial support for Smith's hieroglyphics in the fact that "Two years after the Book of Mormon appeared in print, Professor Rafinesque, in his Atlantic journal for 1832, gave to the public a facsimile of American glyphs,* found in Mexico. They are arranged in columns.... By an inspection of the facsimile of these forty-six elementary glyphs, we find all the particulars which Professor Anthon ascribes to the characters which he says 'a plain-looking countryman' presented to him. "These" elementary glyphs of Rafinesque are some of the characters found on the famous "Tablet of the Cross" in the ruins of Palenque, Mexico, since so fully described by Stevens. A facsimile of the entire Tablet may be found on page 355, Vol. IV, Bancroft's "Native Races of the Pacific States." Rafinesque selected these characters from the Tablet, and arranged them in columns alongside of other ancient writings, in order to sustain his argument that they resembled an old Libyan alphabet. Rafinesque was a voluminous writer both on archaeological and botanical subjects, but wholly untrustworthy. Of his Atlantic Journal (of which only eight numbers appeared) his biographer, R. E. Call, says that it had "absolutely no scientific value." Professor Asa Gray, in a review of his botanical writings in Silliman's Journal, Vol. XL, No. 2, 1841, said, "He assumes thirty to one hundred years as the average time required for the production of a new species, and five hundred to one thousand for a new genus." Professor Gray refers to a paper which Rafinesque sent to the editor of a scientific journal describing twelve new species of thunder and lightning. He was very fond of inventing names, and his designation of Palenque as Otolum was only an illustration of this. So much for the 'elementary glyphs.'"

   * "Glyph: A pictograph or word carved in a compact distinct
figure."—Standard Dictionary.


The Mormon Bible,* both in a literary and a theological sense, is just such a production as would be expected to result from handing over to Smith and his fellow-"translators" a mass of Spaulding's material and new doctrinal matter for collation and copying. Not one of these men possessed any literary skill or accurate acquaintance with the Scriptures. David Whitmer, in an interview in Missouri in his later years, said, "So illiterate was Joseph at that time that he didn't know that Jerusalem was a walled city, and he was utterly unable to pronounce many of the names that the magic power of the Urim and Thummim revealed." Chronology, grammar, geography, and Bible history were alike ignored in the work. An effort was made to correct some of these errors in the early days of the church, and Smith speaks of doing some of this work himself at Nauvoo. An edition issued there in 1842 contains on the title-page the words, "Carefully revised by the translator." Such corrections have continued to the present day, and a comparison of the latest Salt Lake edition with the first has shown more than three thousand changes.

   * The title of this Bible is "The Book of Mormon"; but as one of
its subdivisions is a Book of Mormon, I use the title "Mormon Bible,"
both to avoid confusion and for convenience.

The person who for any reason undertakes the reading of this book sets before himself a tedious task. Even the orthodox Mormons have found this to be true, and their Bible has played a very much less considerable part in the church worship than Smith's "revelations" and the discourses of their preachers. Referring to Orson Pratt's* labored writings on this Bible, Stenhouse says, "Of the hundreds of thousands of witnesses to whom God has revealed the truth of the 'Book of Mormon,' Pratt knows full well that comparatively few indeed have ever read that book, know little or nothing intelligently of its contents, and take little interest in it."** An examination of its contents is useful, therefore, rather as a means of proving the fraudulent character of its pretension to divine revelation than as a means of ascertaining what the members of the Mormon church are taught.

   * Orson Pratt was a clerk in a store in Hiram, Ohio, when he was
converted to Mormonism. He seems to have been a natural student, and he
rose to prominence in the church, being one of the first to expound and
defend the Mormon Bible and doctrines, holding a professorship in Nauvoo
University, publishing works on the higher mathematics, and becoming one
of the Twelve Apostles.
   ** "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 553.

The following page presents a facsimile of the title-page of the first edition of this Bible. The editions of to-day substitute "Translated by Joseph Smith, Jun.," for "By Joseph Smith, junior, author and proprietor."

0134 (94K)

The first edition contains 588 duodecimo pages, and is divided into 15 books which are named as follows: "First Book of Nephi, his reign and ministry," 7 chapters; "Second Book of Nephi," 15 chapters; "Book of Jacob, the Brother of Nephi," 5 chapters; "Book of Enos," 1 chapter; "Book of Jarom," 1 chapter; "Book of Omni," 1 chapter; "Words of Mormon," 1 chapter; "Book of Mosiah," 13 chapters; "Book of Alma, a Son of Alma," 30 chapters; "Book of Helaman," 5 chapters; "Third Book of Nephi, the Son of Nephi, which was the son of Helaman," 14 chapters; "Fourth Book of Nephi, which is the Son of Nephi, one of the Disciples of Jesus Christ," 1 chapter; "Book of Mormon," 4 chapters; "Book of Ether," 6 chapters; "Book of Moroni," 10 chapters. The chapters in the first edition were not divided into verses, that work, with the preparation of the very complete footnote references in the later editions, having been performed by Orson Pratt.

The historical narrative that runs through the book is so disjointedly arranged, mixed up with doctrinal parts, and repeated, that it is not easy to unravel it. The following summary of it is contained in a letter to Colonel John Wentworth of Chicago, signed by Joseph Smith, Jr., which was printed in Wentworth's Chicago newspaper and also in the Mormon Times and Seasons of March 1, 1842:—

"The history of America is unfolded from its first settlement by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel at the confusion of languages, to the beginning of the 5th century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites, and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem about 600 years before Christ. They were principally Israelites of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inhabitance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle toward the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country."

This history purports to have been handed down, on metallic plates, from one historian to another, beginning with Nephi, from the time of the departure from Jerusalem. Finally (4 Nephi i. 48, 49*), the people being wicked, Ammaron, by direction of the Holy Ghost, hid these sacred records "that they might come again unto the remnant of the house of Jacob."

   * All references to the Mormon Bible by chapter and verse refer
to Salt Lake City edition of 1888.

To bring the story down to a comparatively recent date, and account for the finding of the plates by Smith, the Book of Mormon was written by the "author." This subdivision is an abridgment of the previous records. It relates that Mormon, a descendant of Nephi, when ten years old, was told by Ammaron that, when about twenty-four years old, he should go to the place where the records were hidden, take only the plates of Nephi, and engrave on them all the things he had observed concerning the people. The next year Mormon was taken by his father, whose name also was Mormon, to the land of Zarahemla, which had become covered with buildings and very populous, but the people were warlike and wicked. Mormon in time, "seeing that the Lamanites were about to overthrow the land," took the records from their hiding place. He himself accepted the command of the armies of the Nephites, but they were defeated with great slaughter, the Lamanites laying waste their cities and driving them northward.

Finally Mormon sent a letter to the king of the Lamanites, asking that the Nephites might gather their people "unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we would give them battle." There, in the year 384 A.D., Mormon "made this record out of the plates of Nephi, and hid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which have been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were those few plates which I gave unto my son Moroni."* This hill, according to the Mormon teaching, is the hill near Palmyra, New York, where Smith found the plates, just as Mormon had deposited them.

   * Hyde gives a list of twenty-four additional plates mentioned in
this Bible which must still await digging up in the hill near Palmyra.

In the battle which took place there the Nephites were practically annihilated, and all the fugitives were killed except Moroni, the son of Mormon, who undertook the completion of the "record." Moroni excuses the briefness of his narrative by explaining that he had not room in the plates, "and ore have I none" (to make others). What he adds is in the nature of a defence of the revealed character of the Mormon Bible and of Smith's character as a prophet. Those, for instance, who say that there are no longer "revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues," are told that they know not the Gospel of Christ and do not understand the Scriptures. An effort is made to forestall criticism of the "mistakes" that are conceded in the title-page dedication by saying, "Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him" (Book of Mormon ix. 31).

Evidently foreseeing that it would be asked why these "records," written by Jews and their descendants, were not in Hebrew, Mormon adds (chap. ix. 32, 33):—

"And now behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

"And if our plates had been sufficiently large, we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record."

Few parts of this mythical Bible approached nearer to the burlesque than this excuse for having descendants of the Jews write in "reformed Egyptian."

The secular story of the ancient races running through this Bible is so confused by the introduction of new matter by the "author"* and by repetitions that it is puzzling to pick it out. The Book of Ether was somewhat puzzling even to the early Mormons, and we find Parley P. Pratt, in his analysis of it, printed in London in 1854, saying, "Ether SEEMS to have been a lineal descendant of Jared."

   *Professor Whitsitt, of the Southern Baptist Theological
Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, in his article on Mormonism in "The
Concise Dictionary of Religious Knowledge, and Gazetteer" (New York,
1891), divides the Mormon Bible into three sections, viz.: the first
thirteen books, presented as the works of Mormon; the Book of Ether,
with which Mormon had no connection; and the fifteenth book, which was
sent forth by the editor under the name of Moroni. He thus explains his
view of the "editing" that was done in the preparation of the work for

"The editor undertook to rewrite and recast the whole of the abridgment (of Nephi's previous history), but his industry failed him at the close of the Book of Omni. The first six books that he had rewritten were given the names of the small plates.... The book called the 'Words of Mormon' in the original work stood at the beginning, as a sort of preface to the entire abridgment of Mormon; but when the editor had rewritten the first six books, he felt that these were properly his own performance, and the 'Words of Mormon' were assigned a position just in front of the Book of Mosiah, when the abstract of Mormon took its real commencement....

"The question may now be raised as to who was the editor of the Book of Mormon.... In its theological positions and coloring the Book of Mormon is a volume of Disciple theology (this does not include the later polygamous doctrine and other gross Mormon errors). This conclusion is capable of demonstration beyond any reasonable question. Let notice also be taken of the fact that the Book of Mormon bears traces of two several redactions. It contains, in the first redaction, that type of doctrine which the Disciples held and proclaimed prior to November 18, 1827, when they had not yet formally embraced what is commonly considered to be the tenet of baptismal remission. It also contains the type of doctrine which the Disciples have been defending since November 18, 1827, under the name of the ancient Gospel, of which the tenet of socalled baptismal remission is a leading feature. All authorities agree that Mr. Smith obtained possession of the work on September 22, 1827, a period of nearly two months before the Disciples concluded to embrace this tenet. The editor felt that the Book of Mormon would be sadly incomplete if this notion were not included. Accordingly, he found means to communicate with Mr. Smith, and, regaining possession of certain portions of the manuscript, to insert the new item.... Rigdon was the only Disciple minister who vigorously and continuously demanded that his brethren should adopt the additional points that have been indicated."

Very concisely, this Bible story of the most ancient race that came to America, the Jaredites, may be thus stated:—

This race, being righteous, were not punished by the Lord at Babel, but were led to the ocean, where they constructed a vessel by direction of the Lord, in which they sailed to North America. According to the Book of Ether, there were eight of these vessels, and that they were remarkable craft needs only the description given of them to show: "They were built after a manner that they were exceeding tight, even that they would hold water like unto a dish; and the bottom thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the sides thereof were tight like unto a dish; and the ends thereof were peaked; and the top thereof was tight like unto a dish; and the length thereof was the length of a tree; and the door thereof, when it was shut, was tight like unto a dish" (Book of Ether ii. 17). This description certainly establishes the general resemblance of these barges to some kind of a dish, but the rather careless comparison of their length simply to that of a "tree" leaves this detail of construction uncertain.

Just before they embarked in these vessels, a brother of Jared went up on Mount Shelem, where the Lord touched sixteen small stones that he had taken up with him, two of which were the Urim and Thummim, by means of which Smith translated the plates. These stones lighted up the vessels on their trip across the ocean. Jared's brother was told by the spirit on the mount, "Behold, I am Jesus Christ." A footnote in the modern edition of this Bible kindly explains that Jared's brother "saw the preexistent spirit of Jesus."

When they landed (somewhere on the Isthmus of Darien), the Lord commanded Nephi to make "plates of ore," on which should be engraved the record of the people. This was the origin of Smith's plates. In time this people divided themselves, under the leadership of two of Lehi's sons—Nephi and Laman—into Nephites and Lamanites (with subdivisions). The Lamanites, in the course of two hundred years, had become dark in color and "wild and ferocious, and a bloodthirsty people; full of idolatry and filthiness; feeding upon beasts of prey; dwelling in tents and wandering about in the wilderness, with a short skin girdle about their loins, and their heads shaven; and their skill was in the bow and the cimeter and the ax" (Enos i, 20). The Nephites, on the other hand, tilled the land and raised flocks. Between the two tribes wars waged, the Nephites became wicked, and in the course of 320 years the worst of them were destroyed (Book of Alma).

Then the Lord commanded those who would hearken to his voice to depart with him to the wilderness, and they journeyed until they came to the land of Zarahemla, which a footnote to the modern edition explains "is supposed to have been north of the head waters of the river Magdalena, its northern boundary being a few days' journey south of the Isthmus" (of Darien). There they found the people of Zarahemla, who had left Jerusalem when Zedekiah was carried captive into Babylon. New teachers arose who taught the people righteousness, and one of them, named Alma, led a company to a place which was called Mormon, "where was a fountain of pure water, and there Alma baptized the people." The Book of Alma, the longest in this Bible, is largely an account of the secular affairs of the inhabitants, with stories of great battles, a prediction of the coming of Christ, and an account of a great migration northward, and the building of ships that sailed in the same direction.

Nephi describes the appearance of Christ to the people of the western continent, preceded by a star, earthquakes, etc. On the day of His appearance they heard "a small voice" out of heaven, saying, "Behold my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name; hear ye him." Then Christ appeared and spoke to them, generally in the language of the New Testament (repeating, for instance, the Sermon on the Mount*), and afterward ascended into heaven in a cloud. The expulsion of the Nephites northward, and their final destruction, in what is now New York State, followed in the course of the next 384 years.

   * In the Mormon version of this sermon the words, "If thy right
eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee," and "If thy right
hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee," are lacking. The
Deseret Evening News of February 21, 1900, in explaining this omission,
says that the report by Mormon of the "discourse delivered by Jesus
Christ to the Nephites on this continent after his resurrection from the
dead... may not be full and complete."

There is throughout the book an imitation of the style of the Holy Scriptures. Verse after verse begins with the words "and it came to pass," as Spaulding's Ohio neighbors recalled that his story did. The following extract, from 1 Nephi, chap. viii, will give an illustration of the literary style of a large part of the work:—

"1.. And it came to pass that we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind.

"2. And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness, he spake unto us, saying, Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or in other words, I have seen a vision.

"3. And behold, because of the thing which I have seen, I have reason to rejoice in the Lord, because of Nephi and also of Sam; for I have reason to suppose that they, and also many of their seed, will be saved.

"4. But behold, Laman and Lemuel, I fear exceedingly because of you; for behold, methought I saw in my dream, a dark and dreary wilderness.

"5. And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me.

"6. And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him.

"7. And it came to pass that as I followed him, I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.

"8. And after I had travelled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.

"9. And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord, I beheld a large and spacious field.

"10. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.

"11. And it came to pass that I did go forth, and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen."

Whole chapters of the Scriptures are incorporated word for word. In the first edition some of these were appropriated without any credit; in the Utah editions they are credited. Beside these, Hyde counted 298 direct quotations from the New Testament, verses or sentences, between pages 2 to 428, covering the years from 600 B.C. to Christ's birth. Thus, Nephi relates that his father, more than two thousand years before the King James edition of the Bible was translated, in announcing the coming of John the Baptist, used these words, "Yea, even he should go forth and cry in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight; for there standeth one among you whom ye know not; and he is mightier than I, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose" (1 Nephi x. 8). In Mosiah v. 8, King Benjamin is represented as saying, 124 years before Christ was born, "I would that you should take upon you the name of Christ as there is no other name given whereby salvation cometh."

The first Nephi represents John as baptizing in Bethabara (the spelling is Beathabry in the Utah edition), and Alma announces (vii. 10) that "the Son of God shall be born of Mary AT JERUSALEM." Shakespeare is proved a plagiarist by comparing his words with those of the second Nephi, who, speaking twenty-two hundred years before Shakespeare was born, said (2 Nephi i. 14), "Hear the words of a trembling parent, whose limbs you must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from whence no traveller can return."

The chapters of the Scriptures appropriated bodily, and the places where they may be found, are as follows:—

First Edition Utah Edition

   'scripture' Chapter Headings    142

Among the many anachronisms to be found in the book may be mentioned the giving to Laban of a sword with a blade "of the most precious steel" (1 Nephi iv. 9), centuries before the use of steel is elsewhere recorded. and the possession of a compass by the Jaredites when they sailed across the ocean (Alma xxxvii. 38), long before the invention of such an instrument. The ease with which such an error could be explained is shown in the anecdote related of a Utah Mormon who, when told that the compass was not known in Bible times, responded by quoting Acts xxviii. 13, where Paul says, "And from thence we fetched a compass." When Nephi and his family landed in Central America "there were beasts in the forest of every kind, both the cow, and the ox, and the ass, and the horse" (ix Nephi xviii. 25). If Nephi does not prevaricate, there must have been a fatal plague among these animals in later years, for horses, cows, and asses were unknown in America until after its discovery by Europeans. Moroni, in the Book of Ether (ix. 18, 19), is still more generous, adding to the possessions of the Jaredites sheep and swine* and elephants and "cureloms and cumoms." Neither sheep nor swine are indigenous to America; but the prophet is safe as regards the "cureloms and cumoms," which are animals of his own creation.

   * "And," it is added, "many other kinds of animals which were
useful for the use of man," thus ignoring the Hebrew antipathy to pork.

The book is full of incidental proofs of the fraudulent profession that it is an original translation. For instance, in incorporating 1 Corinthians iii. 4, in the Book of Moroni, the phrase "is not easily provoked" is retained, as in the King James edition. But the word "easily" is not found in any Greek manuscript of this verse, and it is dropped in the Revised Version of 1881.

Stenhouse calls attention to many phrases in this Bible which were peculiar to the revival preachers of those days, like Rigdon, such as "Have ye spiritually been born of God?" "If ye have experienced a change of heart."

The first edition was full of grammatical errors and amusing phrases. Thus we are told, in Ether xv. 31, that when Coriantumr smote off the head of Shiz, the latter "raised upon his hands and fell." Among other examples from the first edition may be quoted: "and I sayeth"; "all things which are good cometh of God"; "neither doth his angels"; and "hath miracles ceased." We find in Helaman ix. 6, "He being stabbed by his brother by a garb of secrecy." This remains uncorrected.

Alexander Campbell, noting the mixture of doctrines in the book, says, "He [the author] decides all the great controversies discussed in New York in the last ten years, infant baptism, the Trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, penance, church government, the call to the ministry, the general resurrection, eternal punishment, who may baptize, and even the questions of Freemasonry, republican government and the rights of man."*

   * "Delusions: an Analysis of the Book of Mormon" (1832). An
exhaustive examination of this Bible will be found in the "Braden and
Kelley Public Discussion."

Such is the book which is accepted to this day as an inspired work by the thousands of persons who constitute the Mormon church. This acceptance has always been rightfully recognized as fundamentally necessary to the Mormon faith. Orson Pratt declared, "The nature of the message in the Book of Mormon is such that, if true, none can be saved who reject it, and, if false, none can be saved who receive it." Brigham Young told the Conference at Nauvoo in October, 1844, that "Every spirit that confesses that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that he lived and died a prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is true, is of God, and every spirit that does not is of Anti-Christ." There is no modification of this view in the Mormon church of to-day.


The director of the steps taken to announce to the world a new Bible and a new church realized, of course, that there must be priests, under some name, to receive members and to dispense its blessing. No person openly connected with Smith in the work of translation had been a clergyman. Accordingly, on May 15, 1829 (still following the prophet's own account), while Smith and Cowdery were yet busy with the work of translation, they went into the woods to ask the Lord for fuller information about the baptism mentioned in the plates. There a messenger from heaven, who, it was learned, was John the Baptist, appeared to them in a cloud of light, "and having laid his hands on us, he ordained us, saying unto us, 'Upon you, my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering angels, and of the Gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.'" The messenger also informed them that "the power of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost" would be conferred on them later, through Peter, James, and John, "who held the keys of the priesthood of Melchisedec"; but he directed Smith to baptize Cowdery, and Cowdery then to perform the same office for Smith. This they did at once, and as soon as Cowdery came out of the water he "stood up and prophesied many things" (which the prophet prudently omitted to record). The divine authority thus conferred, according to Orson Pratt, exceeds that of the bishops of the Roman church, because it came direct from heaven, and not through a succession of popes and bishops.*

   * Orson Pratt, in his "Questions and Answers on Doctrine" in his
Washington newspaper, the Seer (p. 205), thus defined the Mormon view of
the Roman Catholic church:—

Q."Is the Roman Catholic Church the Church of Christ?" A."No, for she has no inspired priesthood or officers."

Q."After the Church of Christ fled from earth to heaven what was left?" A."A set of wicked apostates, murderers and idolaters," etc.

Q."Who founded the Roman Catholic Church?" A."The devil, through the medium of the apostates, who subverted the whole order of God by denying immediate revelation, and substituting in place thereof tradition and ancient revelations as a sufficient rule of faith and practice."

Smith and Cowdery at once began telling of the power conferred upon them, and giving their relatives and friends an opportunity to become members of the new church. Smith's brother Samuel was the first convert won over, Cowdery baptizing him. His brother Hyrum came next,* and then one J. Knight, Sr., of Colesville, New York.** Each new convert was made the subject of a "revelation," each of which began, "A great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men." Hyrum Smith, and David and Peter Whitmer, Jr., were baptized in Seneca Lake in June, and "from this time forth," says Smith, "many became believers and were baptized, while we continued to instruct and persuade as many as applied for information."

   * Hyrum wanted to start in to preach at once, and a "revelation"
was necessary to inform him: "You need not suppose you are called to
preach until you are called.... Keep my commandments; hold your peace"
   ** Colesville is the township in Broome County of which
Harpursville is the voting place. Smith organized his converts there
about two miles north of Harpursville.

By April 6, 1830, branches of the new church had been established at Fayette, Manchester, and Colesville, New York, with some seventy members in all, it has been stated. Section 20 of the "Doctrine and Covenants" names April 6, 1830, as the date on which the church was "regularly organized and established, agreeable to the laws of our country." This date has been incorrectly given as that on which the first step was taken to form a church organization. What was done then was to organize in a form which, they hoped, would give the church a standing as a legal body.* The meeting was held at the house of Peter Whitmer. Smith, who, it was revealed, should be the first elder, ordained Cowdery, and Cowdery subsequently ordained Smith. The sacrament was then administered, and the new elders laid their hands on the others present.

   * Whitmer's "Address to Believers in the Book of Mormon."

"The revelation" (Sec. 20) on the form of church government is dated April, 1830, at least six months before Rigdon's name was first associated with the scheme by the visit of Cowdery and his companions to Ohio. If the date is correct, it shows that Rigdon had forwarded this "revelation" to Smith for promulgation, for Rigdon was unquestionably the originator of the system of church government. David Whitmer has explained, "Rigdon would expound the Old Testament Scriptures of the Bible and Book of Mormon, in his way, to Joseph, concerning the priesthood, high priests, etc., and would persuade Brother Joseph to inquire of the Lord about this doctrine and about that doctrine, and of course a revelation would always come just as they desired it."*

   * Whitmer's "Address to Believers in the Book of Mormon."

The "revelation" now announced defined the duty of elders, priests, teachers, deacons, and members of the Church of Christ. An apostle was an elder, and it was his calling to baptize, ordain, administer the sacrament, confirm, preach, and take the lead in all meetings. A priest's duty was to preach, baptize, administer the sacrament, and visit members at their houses. Teachers and deacons could not baptize, administer the sacrament, or lay on hands, but were to preach and invite all to join the church. The elders were directed to meet in conference once in three months, and there was to be a High Council, or general conference of the church, by which should be ordained every President of the high priesthood, bishop, high counsellor, and high priest.

Smith's leadership had, before this, begun to manifest itself. He had, in a generous mood, originally intended to share with others the honor of receiving "revelations," the first of these in the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," saying, "I the Lord also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things to the world." In the original publication of these "revelations," under the title "Book of Commandments," we find such headings as, "A revelation given to Oliver," "A revelation given to Hyrum," etc. These headings are all changed in the modern edition to read, "Given through Joseph the Seer," etc.

Cowdery was the first of his associates to seek an open share in the divine work. Smith was so pleased with his new scribe when they first met at Harmony, Pennsylvania, that he at once received a "revelation" which incited Cowdery to ask for a division of power. Cowdery was told (Sec. 6), "And behold, I grant unto you a gift, if you desire of me, to translate even as my servant Joseph." Cowdery's desire manifested itself immediately, and Joseph almost as quickly became conscious that he had committed himself too soon. Accordingly, in another "revelation," dated the same month of April, 1829 (Sec. 8), he attempted to cajole Oliver by telling him about a "gift of Aaron" which he possessed, and which was a remarkable gift in itself, adding, "Do not ask for that which you ought not." But Cowdery naturally clung to his promised gift, and kept on asking, and he had to be told right away in still another "revelation" (Sec. 9), that he had not understood, but that he must not murmur, since his work was to write for Joseph. If he was in doubt about a subject, he was advised to "study it out in your mind"; and if it was right, the Lord promised, "I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you"; but if it was not right, "you shall have a stupor of thought, that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong." To assist him until he became accustomed to discriminate between this burning feeling and this stupor, the Lord told him very plainly, "It is not expedient that you should translate now." That all this rankled in Cowdery's heart was shown by his attempt to revise one of Smith's "revelations," and the support he gave to Hiram Page's "gazing."

Cowdery continued to annoy the prophet, and Smith decided to get rid of him. Accordingly in July, 1830, came a "revelation," originally announced as given direct to Joseph's wife Emma, instructing her to act as her husband's scribe, "that I may send my servant Oliver Cowdery whithersoever I will." This occurred on a trip the Smiths had made to Harmony. On their return to Fayette, Smith found Cowdery still persistent, and he accordingly gave out a "revelation" to him, telling him again that he must not "write by way of commandment," inasmuch as Smith was at the head of the church, and directing him to "go unto the Lamanites (Indians) and preach my Gospel unto them." This was the first mention of the westward movement of the church which shaped all its later history.

A "revelation" in June, 1829 (Sec. 18), had directed the appointment of the twelve apostles, whom Cowdery and David Whitmer were to select. The organized members now began to inquire who was their leader, and Smith, in a "revelation" dated April 6, 1830 (Sec. 21), addressed to himself, announced: "Behold there shall be a record kept among you, and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ"; and the church was directed in these words, "For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith." Thus was established an authority which Smith defended until the day of his death, and before which all who questioned it went down.

Some of the few persons who at this time expressed a willingness to join the new church showed a repugnance to being baptized at his hands, and pleaded previous baptism as an excuse for evading it. But Smith's tyrannical power manifested itself at once, and he straightway announced a "revelation" (Sec. 22), in which the Lord declared, "All old covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing, and this is a new and everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning."

Five days after the formal organization, the first sermon to the Mormon church was preached in the Whitmer house by Oliver Cowdery, Smith probably concluding that it would be wiser to confine himself to the receipt of "revelations" rather than to essay pulpit oratory too soon. Six additional persons were then baptized. Soon after this the first Mormon miracle was performed—the casting out of a devil from a young man named, Newel Knight.

The first conference of the organized church was held at Fayette, New York, in June, 1830, with about thirty members present. In recent "revelations" the prophet had informed his father and his brothers Hyrum and Samuel that their calling was "to exhortation and to strengthen the church," so that they were provided for in the new fold.

The region in New York State where the Smiths had lived and were well known was not favorable ground for their labors as church officers, conducting baptisms and administering the sacrament. When they dammed a small stream in order to secure a pool for an announced baptism, the dam was destroyed during the night. A Presbyterian sister-in-law of Knight, from whom a devil had been cast, announced her conversion to Smith's church, and, when she would not listen to the persuasions of her pastor, the latter obtained legal authority from her parents and carried her away by force. She succeeded, however, in securing the wished-for baptism. All this stirred up public feeling against Smith, and he was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct.

At the trial testimony was offered to show that he had obtained a horse and a yoke of oxen from his dupes, on the statement that a "revelation" had informed him that he was to have them, and that he had behaved improperly toward the daughters of one of these men. But the parties interested all testified in his favor, and the prosecution failed. He was immediately rearrested on a warrant and removed to Colesville, amid the jeers of the people in attendance. Knight was subpoenaed to tell about the miracle performed on him, and Smith's old character of a money-digger was ventilated; but the court found nothing on which to hold him. Mormon writers have dilated on these "persecutions", but the outcome of the hearings indicated fair treatment of the accused by the arbiters of the law, and the indignation shown toward him and his associates by their neighbors was not greater than the conduct of such men in assuming priestly rights might evoke in any similar community.

Smith returned to his home in Pennsylvania after this, and endeavored to secure the cooperation of his father-in-law in his church plans, but without avail. It was four years later that Mr. Hale put on record his opinion of his son-in-law already quoted. Failing to find other support in Harmony, and perceiving much public feeling against him, Smith prepared for his return to New York by receiving a "revelation" (Sec.20) which directed him to return to the churches organized in that state after he had sold his crops. "They shall support thee", declared the "revelation"; "but if they receive thee not I shall send upon them a cursing instead of a blessing". For Smith's protection the Lord further declared: "Whosoever shall lay their hand upon you by violence ye shall command to be smitten in my name, and behold, I will smite them according to your words, IN MINE OWN DUE TIME. And whosoever shall go to law with thee shall be cursed by the law." This threat, it will be noted, was safeguarded by not requiring immediate fulfillment.

Smith returned to Fayette in September, and continued church work thereabouts in company with his brothers and John and David Whitmer.

Meanwhile Parley P. Pratt had made his visit to Palmyra and returned to Ohio, and in the early winter Rigdon set out to make his first open visit to Smith, arriving in December. Martin Harris, on the ground that Rigdon was a regularly authorized clergyman, tried to obtain the use of one of the churches of the town for him, but had to content himself with the third-story hall of the Young Men's Association. There Rigdon preached a sermon to a small audience, principally of non-Mormons, announcing himself as a "messenger of God". The audience regarded the sermon as blasphemous, and no further attempt was made to secure this room for Mormon meetings. Rigdon, however, while in conference with Smith, preached and baptized the neighborhood, and Smith and Harris tried their powers as preachers in barns and under a tree in the open air.

A well-authenticated story of the manner in which one of the Palmyra Mormons received his call to preach is told by Tucker* and verified by the principal actor. Among the first baptized in New York State were Calvin Stoddard and his wife (Smith's sister) of Macedon. Stoddard told his neighbors of wonderful things he had seen in the sky, and about his duty to preach. One night, Steven S. Harding, a young man who was visiting the place, went with a companion to Stoddard's house, and awakening him with knocks on the door, proclaimed in measured tones that the angel of the Lord commanded him to "go forth among the people and preach the Gospel of Nephi." Then they ran home and went to bed. Stoddard took the call in all earnestness, and went about the next day repeating to his neighbors the words of the "celestial messenger," describing the roaring thunder and the musical sounds of the angel's wings that accompanied the words. Young Harding, who participated in this joke, became Governor of Utah in 1862, and incurred the bitter enmity of Brigham Young and the church by denouncing polygamy, and asserting his own civil authority.**

   * "Origin, Rise and Progress of Mormonism," pp. 80, 285
   **Stoddard and Smith had a quarrel over a lot in Kirtland in
1835, and Smith knocked down his brother-in-law and was indicted for
assault and battery, but was acquitted on the ground of self-defence.

AS a result of Smith's and Rigdon's conferences came a "revelation" to them both (Sec. 35), delivered as in the name of Jesus Christ, defining somewhat Rigdon's position. How nearly it met his demands cannot be learned, but it certainly granted him no more authority than Smith was willing to concede. It told him that he should do great things, conferring the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, as did the apostles of old, and promising to show miracles, signs, and wonders unto all believers. He was told that Joseph had received the "keys of the mysteries of those things that have been sealed," and was directed to "watch over him that his faith fail not." This "revelation" ordered the retranslation of the Scriptures.

The most important result of Rigdon's visit to Smith was a decision to move the church to Ohio. This decision was promulgated in the form of "revelations" dated December, 1830, and January, 1831, which set forth (Secs. 37, 38):—

"And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless:

"Wherefore, for this cause I give unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high; and from thence whomsoever I will shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do; for I have a great work laid up in store, for Israel shall be saved.... And they that have farms that cannot be sold, let them be left or rented as seemeth them good."

A sufficient reason for the removal was the failure to secure converts where Smith was known, and the ready acceptance of the new belief among Rigdon's Ohio people. The Rev. Dr. Clark says, "You might as well go down in the crater of Vesuvius and attempt to build an icehouse amid its molten and boiling lava, as to convince any inhabitant in either of these towns [Palmyra or Manchester] that Joe Smith's pretensions are not the most gross and egregious falsehood."*

   * "Gleanings by the Way."

The Rev. Jesse Townsend of Palmyra, in a reply to a letter of inquiry about the Mormons, dated December 24, 1833 (quoted in full by Tucker), says: "All the Mormons have left this part of the state, and so palpable is their imposture that nothing is here said or thought of the subject, except when inquiries from abroad are occasionally made concerning them. I know of no one now living in this section of the country that ever gave them credence."


The Mormons teach that, for fourteen hundred years to the time of Smith's "revelations," there had been "a general and awful apostasy from the religion of the New Testament, so that all the known world have been left for centuries without the Church of Christ among them; without a priesthood authorized of God to administer ordinances; that every one of the churches has perverted the Gospel."* As illustrations of this perversion are cited the doing away of immersion for the remission of sins by most churches, of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and of the miraculous gifts and powers of the Holy Spirit. The new church presented a modern prophet, who was in direct communication with God and possessed power to work miracles, and who taught from a Golden Bible which says that whoever asserts that there are no longer "revelations, nor prophecies, nor gifts, nor healing, nor speaking with tongues and the interpretation of tongues,... knoweth not the Gospel of Christ" (Book of Mormon ix. 7, 8).

   * Orson Pratt's "Remarkable Visions," No. 6.

It is impossible to decide whether the name "Mormon" was used by Spaulding in his "Manuscript Found," or was introduced by Rigdon. It is first encountered in the Mormon Bible in the Book of Mosiah xviii. 4, as the name of a place where there was a fountain in which Alma baptized those whom his admonition led to repentance. Next it occurs in 3 Nephi v. 20: "I am Mormon, and a pure descendant of Lehi." This Mormon was selected by the "author" of the Bible to stand sponsor for the condensation of the "records" of his ancestors which Smith unearthed. It was discovered very soon after the organization of the Mormon church was announced that the word was of Greek derivation, 0153 (2K) meaning bugbear, hobgoblin. In the form of "mormo" it is Anglicized with the same meaning, and is used by Jeremy Collier and Warburton.* The word "Mormon" in zoology is the generic name of certain animals, including the mandril baboon. The discovery of the Greek origin and meaning of the word was not pleasing to the early Mormon leaders, and they printed in the Times and Seasons a letter over Smith's signature, in which he solemnly declared that "there was no Greek or Latin upon the plates from which I, through the grace of God, translated the Book of Mormon," and gave the following explanation of the derivation of the word:

   * See "Century Dictionary."

"Before I give a definition to the word, let me say that the Bible, in its widest sense, means good; for the Saviour says, according to the Gospel of St. John, 'I am the Good Shepherd'; and it will not be beyond the common use of terms to say that good is amongst the most important in use, and, though known by various names in different languages, still its meaning is the same, and is ever in opposition to bad. We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god; the Goth, gods; the German, gut; the Dutch, goed; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; the Egyptian, mo. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction mor, we have the word Mormon, which means literally more good."

This lucid explanation was doubtless entirely satisfactory to the persons to whom it was addressed.

In the early "revelations" collected in the "Book of Commandments" the new church was not styled anything more definite than "My Church," and the title-page of that book, as printed in 1833, says that these instructions are "for the government of the Church of Christ." The name "Mormons" was not acceptable to the early followers of Smith, who looked on it as a term of reproach, claiming the designation "Saints." This objection to the title continues to the present day. It was not until May 4, 1834, that a council of the church, on motion of Sidney Rigdon, decided on its present official title, "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

The belief in the speedy ending of the world, on which the title "Latter-Day Saints" was founded, has played so unimportant a part in modern Mormon belief that its prominence as an early tenet of the church is generally overlooked. At no time was there more widespread interest in the speedy second coming of Christ and the Day of Judgment than during the years when the organization of the Mormon church was taking place. We have seen how much attention was given to a speedy millennium by the Disciples preachers. It was in 1833 that William Miller began his sermons in which he fixed on the year 1843 as the end of the world, and his views not only found acceptance among his personal followers, but attracted the liveliest interest in other sects.

The Mormon leaders made this belief a part of their early doctrine. Thus, in one of the first "revelations" given out by Smith, dated Fayette, New York, September, 1830, Christ is represented as saying that "the hour is nigh" when He would reveal Himself, and "dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years." In the November following, another "revelation" declared that "the time is soon at hand that I shall come in a cloud, with power and great glory." Soon after Smith arrived in Kirtland a "revelation," dated February, 1831, announced that "the great day of the Lord is nigh at hand." In January, 1833, Smith predicted that "there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they shall see all these things of which I have spoken" (the sweeping of the wicked from the United States, and the return of the lost tribes to it). Smith declared in 1843 that the Lord had promised that he should see the Son of Man if he lived to be eighty-five (Sec. 130).* When Ferris was Secretary of Utah Territory, in 1852-1853, he found that the Mormons were still expecting the speedy coming of Christ, but had moved the date forward to 1870. All through Smith's autobiography and the Millennial Star will be found mention of every portent that might be construed as an indication of the coming disruption of this world. As late as December 6, 1856, an editorial in the Millennial Star said, "The signs of the times clearly indicate to every observing mind that the great day of the second advent of Messiah is at hand."

   * Speaking of W. W. Phelps's last years in Utah, Stenhouse says:
"Often did the old man, in public and in private, regale the Saints with
the assurance that he had the promise by revelation that he should not
taste of death until Jesus came." Phelps died on March 7, 1872.

As the devout Mohammedan* passes from earth to a heaven of material bliss, so the Mormons are taught that the Saints, the sole survivors of the day of judgment, will, with resurrected bodies, possess the purified earth. The lengths to which Mormon preachers have dared to go in illustrating this view find a good illustration in a sermon by arson Pratt, printed in the Deseret News, Salt Lake City, of August 21, 1852. Having promised that "farmers will have great farms upon the earth when it is so changed," and foreseeing that some one might suggest a difficulty in providing land enough to go round, he met that in this way:—

   * The similarity between Smith's early life and visions and
Mohammed's has been mentioned by more than one writer. Stenhouse
observes that Smith's mother "was to him what Cadijah was to Mohammed,"
and that "a Mohammedan writer, in a series of essays recently published
in London, treats of the prophecies concerning the Arabian Prophet, to
be found in the Old and New Testaments, precisely as Orson Pratt applied
them to the American Prophet."

"But don't be so fast, says one; don't you know that there are only about 197,000,000 of square miles, or about 126,000,000,000 of acres upon the surface of the globe? Will these accommodate all the inhabitants after the resurrection? Yes; for if the earth should stand 8000 years, or 80 centuries, and the population should be a thousand millions in every century, that would be 80,000,000,000 of inhabitants, and we know that many centuries have passed that would not give the tenth part of this; but supposing this to be the number, there would then be over an acre and a half for each person upon the surface of the globe."

By eliminating the wicked, so that only one out of a hundred would share this real estate, he calculated that every Saint "would receive over 150 acres, which would be quite enough to raise manna, flax to make robes of, and to have beautiful orchards of fruit trees."

The Mormon belief is stated by the church leaders to rest on the Holy Bible, the Mormon Bible, and the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," together with the teachings of the Mormon instructors from Smith's time to the present day. Although the Holy Bible is named first in this list, it has, as we have seen, played a secondary part in the church ritual, its principal use by the Mormon preachers having been to furnish quotations on which to rest their claims for the inspiration of their own Bible and for their peculiar teachings. Mormon sermons (usually styled discourses) rarely, if ever, begin with a text. The "Book of Doctrine and Covenants" "containing," as the title-page declares, "the revelations given to Joseph Smith, Jr., for the building up of the Kingdom of God in the last days," was the directing authority in the church during Smith's life, and still occupies a large place in the church history. An examination of the origin and character of this work will therefore shed much light on the claims of the church to special direction from on high.

There is little doubt that this system of "revelation" was an idea of Rigdon. Smith was not, at that time, an inventor; his forte was making use of ideas conveyed to him. Thus, he did not originate the idea of using a "peek-stone," but used one freely as soon as he heard of it. He did not conceive the idea of receiving a Bible from an angel, but readily transformed the Spaniard-with-his-throat-cut to an angel when the perfected scheme was presented to him. We can imagine how attractive "revelations" would have been to him, and how soon he would concentrate in himself the power to receive them, and would adapt them to his personal use.

David Whitmer says, "The revelations, or the Book of Commandments, up to June, 1829, were given through the stone through which the Book of Mormon was translated"; but that after that time "they came through Joseph as a mouthpiece; that is, he would inquire of the Lord, pray and ask concerning a matter, and speak out the revelation, which he thought to be a revelation from the Lord; but sometimes he was mistaken about its being from the Lord."* Who drew the line between truth and error has never been explained, but Smith would certainly have resented any such scepticism.

   * "Address to Believers in the Book of Mormon."

Parley P. Pratt thus describes Smith's manner of receiving "revelations" in Ohio, "Each sentence was uttered slowly and very distinctly, and with a pause between each sufficiently long for it to be recorded by an ordinary writer in long hand."*

   * Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 65.

These "revelations" made the greatest impression on Smith's followers, and no other of his pretensions seems to have so convinced them of his divine credentials. The story of Vienna Jaques well illustrates this. A Yankee descendant of John Rodgers, living in Boston, she was convinced by a Mormon elder, and joined the church members while they were in Kirtland, taking with her her entire possession, $1500 in cash. This money, like that of many other devoted members, found its way into Smith's hands—and stayed there. But he had taken her into his family, and her support became burdensome to him. So, when the Saints were "gathering" in Missouri, he announced a "revelation" in these words (Sec. 90):—

"And again, verily, I [the Lord] say unto you, it is my will that my handmaid, Vienna Jaques, should receive money to bear her expenses, and go up unto the land of Zion; and the residue of the money may be consecrated unto me, and she be rewarded in mine own due time. Verily, I say unto you, that it is meet in mine eyes that she should go up unto the land of Zion, and receive an inheritance from the hand of the Bishop, that she may settle down in peace, inasmuch as she is faithful, and not to be idle in her days from thenceforth."

The confiding woman obeyed without a murmur this thinly concealed scheme to get rid of her, migrated with the church from Missouri to Illinois and to Utah, and was in Salt Lake City in 1833, supporting herself as a nurse, and "doubly proud that she has been made the subject of a revelation from heaven."*

   * "Utah and the Mormons," p. 182.

These "revelations" have been published under two titles. The first edition was printed in Jackson, Missouri, in 1833, in the Mormon printing establishment, under the title, "Book of Commandments for the Government of the Church of Christ, organized according to Law on the 6th of April, 1830." This edition contained nothing but "revelations," divided into sixty-five "chapters," and ending with the one dated Kirtland, September, 1831, which forms Section 64 of the Utah edition of "Doctrine and Covenants." David Whitmer says that when, in the spring of 1832, it was proposed by Smith, Rigdon, and others to publish these revelations, they were earnestly advised by other members of the church not to do so, as it would be dangerous to let the world get hold of them; and so it proved. But Smith declared that any objector should "have his part taken out of the Tree of Life."*

   * It has been stated that the "Book of Commandments" was never
really published, the mob destroying the sheets before it got out. But
David Whitmer is a very positive witness to the contrary, saying, "I say
it was printed complete (and copyrighted) and many copies distributed
among the members of the church before the printing press was

Two years later, while the church was still in Kirtland, the "revelations" were again prepared for publication, this time under the title, "Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, carefully selected from the revelations of God, and compiled by Joseph Smith, Jr.; Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, F. G. Williams, proprietors." On August 17, 1835, a general assembly of the church held in the Kirtland Temple voted to accept his book as the doctrine and covenants of their faith. Ebenezer Robinson, who attended the meeting, says that the majority of those so voting "had neither time nor opportunity to examine the book for themselves; they had no means of knowing whether any alterations had been made in any of the revelations or not."* In fact, many important alterations were so made, as will be pointed out in the course of this story. One method of attempting to account for these changes has been by making the plea that parts were omitted in the Missouri editions. On this point, however, Whitmer is very positive, as quoted.

   * In his reminiscences in The Return.

At the very start Smith's revelations failed to "come true." An amusing instance of this occurred before the Mormon Bible was published. While the "copy" was in the hands of the printer, Grandin, Joe's brother Hyrum and others who had become interested in the enterprise became impatient over Harris's delay in raising the money required for bringing out the book. Hyrum finally proposed that some of them attempt to sell the copyright in Canada, and he urged Joe to ask the Lord about doing so. Joe complied, and announced that the mission to Canada would be a success. Accordingly, Oliver Cowdery and Hiram Page made a trip to Toronto to secure a publisher, but their mission failed absolutely. This was a critical test of the faith of Joe's followers. "We were all in great trouble," says David Whitmer,* "and we asked Joseph how it was that he received a 'revelation' from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copyright, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he inquired of the Lord about it, and behold, the following 'revelation' came; through the stone: 'Some revelations are from God, some revelations are of man, and some revelations are of the Devil.'" No rule for distinguishing and separating these revelations was given; but Whitmer, whose faith in Smith's divine mission never cooled, thus disposes of the matter, "So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copyright was not of God." Of course, a prophet whose followers would accept such an excuse was certain of his hold upon them. This incident well illustrates the kind of material which formed the nucleus of the church.

   * "Address to All Believers in Christ," p. 30.

Smith never let the previously revealed word of the Lord protect any of his flock who afterward came in conflict with his own plans. For example: On March 8, 1831, he announced a "revelation" (Sec. 47), saying, "Behold, it is expedient in me that my servant John [Whitmer] should write and keep a regular history" of the church. John fell into disfavor in later years, and, when he refused to give up his records, Smith and Rigdon addressed a letter to him,* in connection with his dismissal, which said that his notes required correction by them before publication, "knowing your incompetency as a historian, that writings coming from your pen could not be put to press without our correcting them, or else the church must suffer reproach. Indeed, sir, we never supposed you capable of writing a history." Why the Lord did not consult Smith and Rigdon before making this appointment is one of the unexplained mysteries.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 133.

These "revelations," which increased in number from 16 in 1829 to 19 in 1830, numbered 35 in 1831, and then decreased to 16 in 1832, 13 in 1833, 5 in 1834, 2 in 1835, 3 in 1836, 1 in 1837, 8 in 1838 (in the trying times in Missouri), 1 in 1839, none in 1840, 3 in 1841, none in 1842, and 2, including the one on polygamy, in 1843. We shall see that in his latter days, in Nauvoo, Smith was allowed to issue revelations only after they had been censored by a council. He himself testified to the reckless use which he made of them, and which perhaps brought about this action. The following is a quotation from his diary:—

"May 19, 1842.—While the election [of Smith as mayor by the city council] was going forward, I received and wrote the following revelation: 'I Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, by the voice of the Spirit, Hiram Kimball has been insinuating evil and forming evil opinions against you with others; and if he continue in them, he and they shall be accursed, for I am the Lord thy God, and will stand by thee and bless thee.' Which I threw across the room to Hiram Kimball, one of the counsellors."

Thus it seems that there was some limit to the extent of Joe's effrontery which could be submitted to.

We shall see that Brigham Young in Utah successfully resisted constant pressure that was put upon him by his flock to continue the reception of "revelations." While he was prudent enough to avoid the pitfalls that would have surrounded him as a revealer, he was crafty enough not to belittle his own authority in so doing. In his discourse on the occasion of the open announcement of polygamy, he said, "If an apostle magnifies his calling, his words are the words of eternal life and salvation to those who hearken to them, just as much so as any written revelations contained in these books" (the two Bibles and the "Doctrine and Covenants").

Hiram Page was not the only person who tried to imitate Smith's "revelations." A boy named Isaac Russell gave out such messages at Kirtland; Gladdin Bishop caused much trouble in the same way at Nauvoo; the High Council withdrew the hand of fellowship from Oliver Olney for setting himself up as a prophet; and in the same year the Times and Seasons announced a pamphlet by J. C. Brewster, purporting to be one of the lost books of Esdras, "written by the power of God."

In the Times and Seasons (p. 309) will be found a report of a conference held in New York City on December 4, 1840, at which Elder Sydney Roberts was arraigned, charged with "having a revelation that a certain brother must give him a suit of clothes and a gold watch, the best that could be had; also saluting the sisters with what he calls a holy kiss." He was told that he could retain his membership if he would confess, but he declared that "he knew the revelations which he had spoken were from God." So he was thereupon "cut off."

The other source of Mormon belief—the teachings of their leading men—has been no more consistent nor infallible than Smith's "revelations." Mormon preachers have been generally uneducated men, most of them ambitious of power, and ready to use the pulpit to strengthen their own positions. Many an individual elder, firm in his faith, has travelled and toiled as faithfully as any Christian missionary; but these men, while they have added to the church membership, have not made its beliefs.

Smith probably originated very little of the church polity, except the doctrine of polygamy, and what is published over his name is generally the production of some of his counsellors. Section 130 of the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," headed "Important Items of Instruction, given by Joseph the Prophet, April 2, 1843," contains the following:—

"When the Saviour shall appear, we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves....

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us."

An article in the Millennial Star, Vol. VI, for which the prophet vouched, contains the following:—

"The weakest child of God which now exists upon the earth will possess more dominion, more property, more subjects, and more power in glory than is possessed by Jesus Christ or by his Father; while, at the same time, Jesus Christ and his Father will have their dominion, kingdom and subjects increased in proportion."

One more illustration of Smith's doctrinal views will suffice. In a funeral sermon preached in Nauvoo, March 20, 1842, he said: "As concerning the resurrection, I will merely say that all men will come from the grave as they lie down, whether old or young; there will not be 'added unto their stature one cubit,' neither taken from it. All will be raised by the power of God, having spirit in their bodies but not blood."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIX, p. 213.

In "The Latter-Day Saints' Catechism or Child's Ladder," by Elder David Moffat, Genesis v. 1, and Exodus xxxiii. 22, 23, and xxiv. 10 are cited to prove that God has the form and parts of a man.

The greatest vagaries of doctrinal teachings are found during Brigham Young's reign in Utah. In the way of a curiosity the following diagram and its explanation, by Orson Hyde, may be reproduced from the Millennial Star, Vol. IX, p. 23:—

Order and Unity of the Kingdom Of God    162

"The above diagram (not included in this etext) shows the order and unity of the Kingdom of God. The eternal Father sits at the head, crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Wherever the other lines meet there sits a king and priest under God, bearing rule, authority and dominion under the Father. He is one with the Father because his Kingdom is joined to his Father's and becomes part of it.... It will be seen by the above diagram that there are kingdoms of all sizes, an infinite variety to suit all grades of merit and ability. The chosen vessels of God are the kings and priests that are placed at the heads of their kingdoms. They have received their washings and anointings in the Temple of God on earth."

Young's ambition was not to be satisfied until his name was connected with some doctrine peculiarly his own. Accordingly, in a long sermon preached in the Tabernacle on April 9, 1852, he made this announcement (the italics and capitals follow the official report):—

"Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, saint and sinner. When our father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a CELESTIAL BODY, and brought Eve, ONE OF HIS WIVES, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the ARCHANGEL, the ANCIENT OF DAYS, about whom holy men have written and spoken.* HE is our FATHER and our GOD, AND THE ONLY GOD WITH WHOM 'WE' HAVE TO DO... Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it and WILL KNOW IT SOONER OR LATER.... I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the estimation of the superstitious and over righteous of mankind.... Jesus, our Elder Brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the Garden of Eden, and who is our Father in heaven."**

   * Young, in a public discourse on October 23, 1853, declared that
he rejected the story of Adam's creation as "baby stories my mother
taught me when I was a child." But the Mormon Bible (2 Nephi ii. 18-22)
tells the story of Adam's fall.
   ** Journal of Discourses, VOL I, pp. 50, 51.

This doctrine was made a leading point of difference between the Utah church and the Reorganized Church, when the latter was organized, but it is no longer defended even in Utah. The Deseret Evening News of March 21, 1900, said on this point, "That which President Young set forth in the discourse referred to is not preached either to the Latter-Day Saints or to the world as a part of the creed of the church."

Young never hesitated to rebuke an associate whose preaching did not suit him. In a discourse in Salt Lake City, on March 8, 1857, he rebuked Orson Pratt, one of the ablest of the church writers, declaring that Pratt did not "know enough to keep his foot out of it, but drowns himself in his philosophy." He ridiculed his doctrine that "the devils in hell are composed of and filled with the Holy Spirit, or Holy Ghost, and possess all the knowledge, wisdom, and power of the gods," and said, "When I read some of the writings of such philosophers they make me think, 'O dear, granny, what a long tail our puss has got.'"*

   * Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 297.

The Mormon church still holds that an existing head of that organization can always interpret the divine will regarding any question. This was never more strikingly illustrated than when Woodruff, by a mere dictum, did away with the obligatory character of polygamy.

When the Mormons were under a cloud in Illinois, in 1842, John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat, applied to Smith for a statement of their belief, and received in reply a list of 13 "Articles of Faith" over Smith's signature. This statement was intended to win for them sympathy as martyrs to a simple religious belief, and it has been cited in Congress as proof of their soul purity. But as illustrating the polity of the church it is quite valueless.

The doctrine of polygamy and the ceremonies of the Endowment House will be considered in their proper place. One distinctive doctrine of the church must be explained before this subject is dismissed, namely, that which calls for "baptism for the dead." This doctrine is founded on an interpretation of Corinthians xv. 29: "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?"

An explanation of this doctrine in the Times and Seasons of May 1, 1841, says:—"This text teaches us the important and cheering truth that the departed spirit is in a probationary state, and capable of being affected by the proclamation of the Gospel.... Christ offers pardon, peace, holiness, and eternal life to the quick and the dead, the living, on condition of faith and baptism for remission of sins; the departed, on the same condition of faith in person and baptism by a living kinsman in his behalf. It may be asked, will this baptism by proxy necessarily save the dead? We answer, no; neither will the same necessarily save the living."

This doctrine was first taught to the church in Ohio. In later years, in Nauvoo, Smith seemed willing to accept its paternity, and in an article in the Times and Seasons of April 15, x 842, signed "Ed.," when he was its editor, he said that he was the first to point it out. The article shows, however, that it was doubtless written by Rigdon, as it indicates a knowledge of the practice of such baptism by the Marcionites in the second century, and of Chrysostom's explanation of it. A note on Corinthians xv. 29, in "The New Testament Commentary for English Readers," edited by Lord Bishop Ellicott of Gloucester and Bristol (London, 1878), gives the following historical sketch of the practice:—

"There have been numerous and ingenious conjectures as to the meaning of this passage. The only tenable interpretation is that there existed amongst some of the Christians at Corinth a practice of baptizing a living person in the stead of some convert who had died before that sacrament had been administered to him. Such a practice existed amongst the Marcionites in the second century, and still earlier amongst a sect called the Cerinthians. The idea evidently was that, whatever benefit flowed from baptism, might be thus vicariously secured for the deceased Christian. St. Chrysostom gives the following description of it:—

"After a catechumen (one prepared for baptism but not actually baptized) was dead, they hid a living man under the bed of the deceased; then, coming to the bed of the dead man, they spoke to him, and asked whether he would receive baptism; and, he making no answer, the other replied in his stead, and so they baptized the living for the dead: Does St. Paul then, by what he here says, sanction the superstitious practice? Certainly not. He carefully separated himself and the Corinthians, to whom he immediately addresses himself, from those who adopted this custom .... Those who do that, and disbelieve a resurrection, refute themselves. This custom possibly sprang up among the Jewish converts, who had been accustomed to something similar in their faith. If a Jew died without having been purified from some ceremonial uncleanness, some living person had the necessary ablution performed on him, and the dead were so accounted clean."

Other commentators have found means to explain this text without giving it reference to a baptism for dead persons, as, for instance, that it means, "with an interest in the resurrection of the dead."* Another explanation is that by "the dead" is meant the dead Christ, as referred to in Romans vi. 3, "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?"

   * "Commentary by Bishops and Other Clergy of the Anglican

This doctrine was a very taking one with the uneducated Mormon converts who crowded into Nauvoo, and the church officers saw in it a means to hasten the work on the Temple. At first families would meet on the bank of the Mississippi River, and some one, of the order of the Melchisedec Priesthood, would baptize them wholesale for all their dead relatives whose names they could remember, each sex for relatives of the same. But as soon as the font in the Temple was ready for use, these baptisms were restricted to that edifice, and it was required that all the baptized should have paid their tithings. At a conference at Nauvoo in October, 1841, Smith said that those who neglected the baptism of their dead "did it at the peril of their own salvation."*

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. II, p. 578.

The form of church government, as worked out in the early days, is set forth in the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants." The first officers provided for were the twelve apostles,* and the next the elders, priests, teachers, and deacons, Edward Partridge being announced as the first bishop in 1831. The church was loosely governed for the first years after its establishment at Kirtland. A guiding power was provided for in a revelation of March 8, 1833 (Sec. 90), when Smith was told by the Lord that Rigdon and F. G. Williams were accounted as equal with him "in holding the keys of this last kingdom." These three first held the famous office of the First Presidency, representing the Trinity.

   * (Sec. 18, June, 1829.)

On February 17, 1834 (Sec. 102), a General High Council of twenty-four High Priests assembled at Smith's house in Kirtland and organized the High Council of the church, consisting of Twelve High Priests, with one or three Presidents, as the case might require. The office of High Priest, and the organization of a High Council were apparently an afterthought, and were added to the "revelation" after its publication in the "Book of Commandments." Other forms of organization that were from time to time decided on were announced in a revelation dated March 28, 1835 (Sec. 107), which defined the two priesthoods, Melchisedec and Aaronic, and their powers. There were to be three Presiding High Priests to form a Quorum of the Presidency of the church; a Seventy, called to preach the Gospel, who would form a Quorum equal in authority to the Quorum of the Twelve, and be presided over by seven of their number. Smith soon organized two of these Quorums of Seventies. At the time of the dedications of the Temple at Nauvoo, in 1844, there were fifteen of them, and to-day they number more than 120.

Each separate church organization, as formed, was called a Stake, and each Stake had over it a Presidency, High Priests, and Council of Twelve. We find the meaning of the word "Stake" in some of Smith's earlier "revelations." Thus, in the one dated June 4, 1833, regarding the organization of the church at Kirtland, it was said, "It is expedient in me that this Stake that I have set for the strength of Zion be made strong." Again, in one dated December 16, 1839, on the gathering of the Saints, it is stated, "I have other places which I will appoint unto them, and they shall be called Stakes for the curtains, or the strength of Zion." In Utah, to-day, the Stakes form groups of settlements, and are generally organized on county lines.

The prophet made a substantial provision for his father, founding for him the office of Patriarch, in accordance with an unpublished "revelation." The principal business of the Patriarch was to dispense "blessings," which were regarded by the faithful as a sort of charm, to ward off misfortune. Joseph, Sr., awarded these blessings without charge when he began dispensing them at Kirtland, but a High Council held there in 1835 allowed him $10 a week while blessing the church. After his formal anointing in 1836 he was known as Father Smith, and the next year his salary was made $1.50 a day.* Hyrum became Patriarch when his father died in 1840, his brother William succeeded him, his Uncle John came next, and his Uncle Joseph after John. Patriarchal blessings were advertised in the Mormon newspaper in Nauvoo like other merchandise. They could be obtained in writing, and contained promises of almost anything that a man could wish, such as freedom from poverty and disease, life prolonged until the coming of Christ, etc.** In 1875 the price of a blessing in Utah had risen to $2. The office of Patriarch is still continued, with one chief Patriarch, known as Patriarch of the Church, and subordinate Patriarchs in the different Stakes. The position of Patriarch of the church has always been regarded as a hereditary one, and bestowed on some member of the Smith family, as it is to-day.

   * The departure of the Patriarch from Ohio was somewhat dramatic.
As his wife tells the story in her book, the old man was taken by a
constable before a justice of the peace on a charge of performing
the marriage service without any authority, and was fined $3000,
and sentenced to the penitentiary in default of payment. Through the
connivance of the constable, who had been a Mormon, the prisoner was
allowed to leap out of a window, and he remained in hiding at New
Portage until his family were ready to start for Missouri. The
revelation of January 19, 1841, announced that he was then sitting "with
Abraham at his right hand."
   * Ferris's "Utah and the Mormons," p. 314, and "Wife No. 19," p.



The four missionaries who had been sent to Ohio under Cowdery's leadership arrived there in October, 1830. Rigdon left Kirtland on his visit to Smith in New York State in the December following, and in January, 1831, he returned to Ohio, taking Smith with him.

The party who set out for Ohio, ostensibly to preach to the Lamanites, consisted of Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Ziba Peterson, the latter one of Smith's original converts, who, it may be noted, was deprived of his land and made to work for others a year later in Missouri, because of offences against the church authorities. These men preached as they journeyed, making a brief stop at Buffalo to instruct the Indians there. On reaching Ohio, Pratt's acquaintance with Rigdon's Disciples gave him an opportunity to bring the new Bible to the attention of many people. The character of the Smiths was quite unknown to the pioneer settlers, and the story of the miraculously delivered Bible filled many of them with wonder rather than with unbelief.

The missionaries began the work of organizing a church at once. Some members of Rigdon's congregation had already formed a "common stock society," and were believers in a speedy millennium, and to these the word brought by the new-comers was especially welcome. Cowdery baptized seventeen persons into the new church. Rigdon at the start denied his right to do this, and, in a debate between him and the missionaries which followed at Rigdon's house, Rigdon quoted Scripture to prove that, even if they had seen an angel, as they declared, it might have been Satan transformed. Cowdery asked if he thought that, in response to a prayer that God would show him an angel, the Heavenly Father would suffer Satan to deceive him. Rigdon replied that if Cowdery made such a request of the Heavenly Father "when He has never promised you such a thing, if the devil never had an opportunity of deceiving you before, you give him one now."* But after a brief study of the new book, Rigdon announced that he, too, had had a "revelation," declaring to him that Mormonism was to be believed. He saw in a vision all the orders of professing Christians pass before him, and all were "as corrupt as corruption itself," while the heart of the man who brought him the book was "as pure as an angel."

   * "It seemed to be a part of Rigdon's plan to make such a fight
that, when he did surrender, the triumph of the cause that had
defeated him would be all the more complete."—Kennedy, "Early Days of

The announcement of Rigdon's conversation gave Mormonism an advertisement and a support that had a wide effect, and it alarmed the orthodox of that part of the country as they had never been alarmed before. Referring to it, Hayden says, "The force of this shock was like an earthquake when Symonds Ryder, Ezra Booth, and many others submitted to the 'New Dispensation.'" Largely through his influence, the Mormon church at Kirtland soon numbered more than one hundred members.

During all that autumn and early winter crowds went to Kirtland to learn about the new religion. On Sundays the roads would be thronged with people, some in whatever vehicles they owned, some on horseback, and some on foot, all pressing forward to hear the expounders of the new Gospel and to learn the particulars of the new Bible. Pioneers in a country where there was little to give variety to their lives, they were easily influenced by any religious excitement, and the announcement of a new Bible and prophet was certain to arouse their liveliest interest. They had, indeed, inherited a tendency to religious enthusiasm, so recently had their parents gone through the excitements of the early days of Methodism, or of the great revivals of the new West at the beginning of the century, when (to quote one of the descriptions given by Henry Howe) more than twenty thousand persons assembled in one vast encampment, "hundreds of immortal beings moving to and fro, some preaching, some praying for mercy, others praising God. Such was the eagerness of the people to attend, that entire neighborhoods were forsaken, and the roads literally crowded by those pressing forward on their way to the groves."* Any new religious leader could then make his influence felt on the Western border: Dylkes, the "Leatherwood God," had found it necessary only to announce himself as the real Messiah at an Ohio campmeeting, in 1828, to build up a sect on that assumption. Freewill Baptists, Winebrennerians, Disciples, Shakers, and Universalists were urging their doctrines and confusing the minds of even the thoughtful with their conflicting views. We have seen to what beliefs the preaching of the Disciples' evangelists had led the people of the Western Reserve, and it did not really require a much broader exercise of faith (or credulity) to accept the appearance of a new prophet with a new Bible.

   * "Historical Collections of the Great West."

While the main body of converts was made up of persons easily susceptible to religious excitement, and accustomed to have their opinions on such subjects formed for them, men of education and more or less training in theology were found among the early adherents to the new belief. It is interesting to see how the minds of such men were influenced, and this we are enabled to do from personal experiences related by some of them.

One of these, John Corrill, a man of intelligence, who stayed with the church until it was driven out of Missouri, then became a member of the Missouri Legislature, and wrote a brief history of the church to the year 1839, in this pamphlet answered very clearly the question often asked by his friends, "How did you come to join the Mormons?" A copy of the new Bible was given to him by Cowdery when the missionaries, on their Western trip, passed through Ashtabula County, Ohio, where he lived. A brief reading convinced him that it was a mere money-making scheme, and when he learned that they had stopped at Kirtland, he did not entertain a doubt, that, under Rigdon's criticism, the pretensions of the missionaries would be at once laid bare. When, on the contrary, word came that Rigdon and the majority of his society had accepted the new faith, Corrill asked himself: "What does this mean? Are Elder Rigdon and these men such fools as to be duped by these impostors?" After talking the matter over with a neighbor, he decided to visit Kirtland, hoping to bring Rigdon home with him, with the idea that he might be saved from the imposition if he could be taken from the influence of the impostors. But before he reached Kirtland, Corrill heard of Rigdon's baptism into the new church. Finding Kirtland in a state of great religious excitement, he sought discussions with the leaders of the new movement, but not always successfully.

Corrill started home with a "heart full of serious reflections." Were not the people of Berea nobler than the people of Thessalonica because "they searched the Scriptures daily; whether these things were so?" Might he not be fighting against God in his disbelief? He spent two or three weeks reading the Mormon Bible; investigated the bad reports of the new sect that reached him and found them without foundation; went back to Kirtland, and there convinced himself that the laying on of hands and "speaking with tongues" were inspired by some supernatural agency; admitted to himself that, accepting the words of Peter (Acts ii. 17-20), it was "just as consistent to look for prophets in this age as in any other." Smith seemed to have been a bad man, but was not Moses a fugitive from justice, as the murderer of a man whose body he had hidden in the sand, when God called him as a prophet? The story of the long hiding and final delivery of the golden plates to Smith taxed his credulity; but on rereading the Scriptures he found that books are referred to therein which they do not contain—Book of Nathan the Prophet, Book of Gad the Seer, Book of Shemaiah the Prophet, and Book of Iddo the Seer (1 Chron. xxix. 29; 2 Chron. ix. 29 and xii. 15). This convinced him that the Scriptures were not complete. Daniel and John were commanded to seal the Book. David declared (Psalms xxxv.) "that truth shall spring out of the earth," and from the earth Smith took the plates; and Ezekiel (xxxvii. 15-21) foretold the existence of two records, by means of which there shall be a gathering together of the children of Israel. It finally seemed to Corrill that the Mormon Bible corresponded with the record of Joseph referred to by Ezekiel, the Holy Bible being the record of Judah.

Not fully satisfied, he finally decided, however, to join the new church, with a mental reservation that he would leave it if he ever found it to be a deception. Explaining his reasons for leaving it when he did, he says, "I can see nothing that convinces me that God has been our leader; calculation after calculation has failed, and plan after plan has been overthrown, and our prophet seemed not to know the event till too late."

The two other most prominent converts to the new church in Ohio were the Rev. Ezra Booth, a Methodist preacher of more than ordinary culture, of Mantua, and Symonds Ryder, a native of Vermont, whom Alexander Campbell had converted to the Disciples' belief in 1828, and who occupied the pulpit at Hiram when called on. Booth visited Smith in 1831, with some members of his own congregation, and was so impressed by the miraculous curing of the lame arm of a woman of his party by Smith, that he soon gave in his allegiance. Ryder had always found one thing lacking in the Disciples' theology—he looked for some actual "gift of the Holy Spirit" in the way of "signs" that were to follow them that believed. He was eventually induced to announce his conversion to the new church after "he read in a newspaper, an account of the destruction of Pekin in China, and remembered that, six weeks before, a young Mormon girl had predicted the destruction of that city." This statement was made in the sermon preached at his funeral. Both of these men confessed their mistake four months later, after Booth had returned from a trip to Missouri with Smith.

Among the ignorant, even the most extravagant of the claims of the Mormon leaders had influence. One man, when he heard an elder in the midst of a sermon "speak with tongues," in a language he had never heard before, "felt a sudden thrill from the back of his head down his backbone," and was converted on the spot. John D. Lee, of Catholic education, was convinced by an elder that the end of the world was near, and sold his property in Illinois for what it would bring, and moved to Far West, in order to be in the right place when the last day dawned. Lorenzo Snow, the recent President of the church, says that he was "thoroughly convinced that obedience to those [the Mormon] prophets would impart miraculous powers, manifestations, and revelations," the first manifestation of which occurred some weeks later, when he heard a sound over his head "like the rustling of silken robes, and the spirit of God descended upon me."*

   * Biography of Snow, by his sister Eliza.

The arguments that control men's religious opinions are too varied even for classification. In a case like Mormonism they range from the really conscientious study of a Corrill to the whim of the Paumotuan, of whom Stevenson heard in the South Seas, who turned Mormon when his wife died, after being a pillar of the Catholic church for fifteen years, on the ground that "that must be a poor religion that could not save a man his wife." Any person who will examine those early defences of the Mormon faith, Parley P. Pratt's "A Voice of Warning," and Orson Pratt's "Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon," will find what use can be made of an insistence on the literal acceptance of the Scriptures in defending such a sect as theirs, especially with persons whose knowledge of the Scriptures is much less than their reverence for them.

Professor J. B. Turner,* writing in 1842, when the early teachings of Mormonism had just had their effect in what is now styled the middle West, observed that these teachings had made more infidels than Mormon converts. This is accounted for by the fact that persons who attempted to follow the Mormon argument by studying the Scriptures, found their previous interpretation of parts of the Holy Bible overturned, and the whole book placed under a cloud. W. J. Stillman mentions a similar effect in the case of Ruskin. When they were in Switzerland, Ruskin would do no painting on Sunday, while Stillman regarded the sanctity of the first day of the week as a "theological fiction." In a discussion of the subject between them, Stillman established to Ruskin's satisfaction that there was no Scriptural authority for transferring the day of rest from the seventh to the first day of the week. "The creed had so bound him to the letter," says Stillman, "that the least enlargement of the stricture broke it, and he rejected, not only the tradition of the Sunday Sabbath, but the whole of the ecclesiastical interpretation of the texts. He said, 'If they have deceived me in this, they have probably deceived me in all.'" The Mormons soon learned that it was more profitable for them to seek converts among those who would accept without reasoning.

   * "Mormonism in all Ages."


The scenes at Kirtland during the first winter of the church there reached the limit of religious enthusiasm. The younger members outdid the elder in manifesting their belief. They saw wonderful lights in the air, and constantly received visions. Mounting stumps in the field, they preached to imaginary congregations, and, picking up stones, they would read on them words which they said disappeared as soon as known. At the evening prayer-meetings the laying on of hands would be followed by a sort of fit, in which the enthusiasts would fall apparently lifeless on the floor, or contort their faces, creep on their hands or knees, imitate the Indian process of killing and scalping, and chase balls of fire through the fields.*

   *Corrill's "Brief History of the Church," p. 16; Howe's
"Mormonism Unveiled," p. 104.

Some of the young men announced that they had received "commissions" to teach and preach, written on parchment, which came to them from the sky, and which they reached by jumping into the air. Howe reproduces one of these, the conclusion of which, with the seal, follows:—

"That you had a messenger tell you to go and get the other night, you must not show to any son of Adam. Obey this, and I will stand by you in all cases. My servants, obey my commandments in all cases, and I will provide.

"Be ye always ready, Be ye always ready, Whenever I shall call, Be ye always ready, My seal.

   Seal    175

"There shall be something of great importance revealed when I shall call you to go: My servants, be faithful over a few things, and I will make you a ruler over many. Amen, Amen, Amen."

Foolishly extravagant as these manifestations appear (Corrill says that comparatively few members indulged in them), there was nothing in them peculiar to the Mormon belief. The meetings of the Disciples, in the year of Smith's arrival in Ohio and later, when men like Campbell and Scott spoke, were swayed with the most intense religious enthusiasm. A description of the effect of Campbell's preaching at a grove meeting in the Cuyahoga Valley in 1831 says:—

"The woods were full of horses and carriages, and the hundreds already there were rapidly swelled to many thousands; all were of one race—the Yankee; all of one calling, or nearly, the farmer.... When Campbell closed, low murmurs broke and ran through the awed crowd; men and women from all parts of the vast assembly with streaming eyes came forward; young men who had climbed into small trees from curiosity, came down from conviction, and went forward for baptism."*

   * Riddle's "The Portrait."

It is easy to cite very "orthodox" precedents for such manifestations. One of these we find in the accounts of what were called "the jerks," which accompanied a great revival in 1803, brought about by the preaching of the Rev. Joseph Badger, a Yale graduate and a Congregationalist, who was the first missionary to the Western Reserve. J. S. C. Abbott, in his history of Ohio, describing the "jerks," says:—

"The subject was instantaneously seized with spasms in every muscle, nerve and tendon. His head was thrown backward and forward, and from side to side, with inconceivable rapidity. So swift was the motion that the features could no more be discerned than the spokes of a wheel can be seen when revolving with the greatest velocity.... All were impressed with a conviction that there was something supernatural in these convulsions, and that it was opposing the spirit of God to resist them."

The most extravagant enthusiasm of the Kirtland converts, and the most extravagant claims of the Mormon leaders at that time, were exceeded by the manifestations of converts in the early days of Methodism, and the miraculous occurrences testified to by Wesley himself,*—a cloud tempering the sun in answer to his prayer; his horse cured of lameness by faith; the case of a blind Catholic girl who saw plainly when her eyes rested on the New Testament, but became blind again when she took up the Mass Book.

   * For examples see Lecky's "England in the Nineteenth Century,"
Vol. III, Chap. VIII, and Wesley's "Journal."

These Mormon enthusiasts were only suffering from a manifestation to which man is subject; and we can agree with a Mormon elder who, although he left the church disgusted with its extravagances, afterward remarked, "The man of religious feeling will know how to pity rather than upbraid that zeal without knowledge which leads a man to fancy that he has found the ladder of Jacob, and that he sees the angel of the Lord ascending and descending before his eyes."

When Smith and Rigdon reached Kirtland they found the new church in a state of chaos because of these wild excitements, and of an attempt to establish a community of possessions, growing out of Rigdon's previous teachings. These communists held that what belonged to one belonged to all, and that they could even use any one's clothes or other personal property without asking permission. Many of the flock resented this, and anything but a condition of brotherly love resulted. Smith, in his account of the situation as they found it, says that the members were striving to do the will of God, "though some had strange notions, and false spirits had crept in among them. With a little caution and some wisdom, I soon assisted the brothers and sisters to overcome them. The plan of 'common stock,' which had existed in what was called 'the family,' whose members generally had embraced the Everlasting Gospel, was readily abandoned for the more perfect law of the Lord,"*—which the prophet at once expounded.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, Supt., p. 56.

Smith announced that the Lord had informed him that the ravings of the converts were of the devil, and this had a deterring effect; but at an important meeting of elders to receive an endowment, some three months later, conducted by Smith himself, the spirits got hold of some of the elders. "It threw one from his seat to the floor," says Corrill. "It bound another so that for some time he could not use his limbs or speak; and some other curious effects were experienced. But by a mighty exertion, in the name of the Lord, it was exposed and shown to be of an evil source."


In order not to interrupt the story of the Mormons' experiences in Ohio, leaving the first steps taken in Missouri to be treated in connection with the regular course of events in that state, it will be sufficient to say here that Cowdery, Pratt, and their two companions continued their journey as far as the western border of Missouri, in the winter of 1830 and 1831, making their headquarters at Independence, Jackson County; that, on receipt of their reports about that country, Smith and Rigdon, with others, made a trip there in June, 1831, during which the corner-stones of the City of Zion and the Temple were laid, and officers were appointed to receive money for the purchase of the land for the Saints, its division; etc. Smith and Rigdon returned to Kirtland on August 27, 1831.

The growth of the church in Ohio was rapid. In two or three weeks after the arrival of the four pioneer missionaries, 127 persons had been baptized, and by the spring of 1831 the number of converts had increased to 1000. Almost all the male converts were honored with the title of elder. By a "revelation" dated February 9, 1831 (Sec. 42), all of these elders, except Smith and Rigdon, were directed to "go forth in the power of my spirit, preaching my Gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the voice of a trump." This was the beginning of that extensive system of proselyting which was soon extended to Europe, which was so instrumental in augmenting the membership of the church in its earlier days, and which is still carried on with the utmost zeal and persistence. The early missionaries travelled north into Canada and through almost all the states, causing alarm even in New England by the success of their work. One man there, in 1832, reprinted at his own expense Alexander Campbell's pamphlet exposing the ridiculous features of the Mormon Bible, for distribution as an offset to the arguments of the elders. Women of means were among those who moved to Kirtland from Massachusetts. In three years after Smith and Rigdon met in Palmyra, Mormon congregations had been established in nearly all the Northern and Middle states and in some of the Southern, with baptisms of from 30 to 130 in a place.*

Smith had relaxed none of his determination to be the one head of the church. As soon as he arrived in Kirtland he put forth a long "revelation" (Sec. 43) which left Rigdon no doubt of the prophet's intentions. It declared to the elders that "there is none other but Smith appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken," and that "none else shall be appointed unto his gift except it be through him." Not only was Smith's spiritual power thus intrenched, but his temporal welfare was looked after. "And again I say unto you," continues this mouthpiece of the Lord, "if ye desire the mysteries of the Kingdom, provide for him food and raiment and whatsoever he needeth to accomplish the work wherewith I have commanded him." In the same month came another declaration, saying (Sec. 41) "is meet that my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., should have a house built, in which to live and translate" (the Scriptures). With a streak of generosity it was added, "It is meet that my servant Sidney Rigdon should live as seemeth him good."

   *Turner's "Mormonism in all Ages," p. 38.

The iron hand with which Smith repressed Rigdon from the date of their arrival in Ohio affords strong proof of Rigdon's complicity in the Bible plot, and of Smith's realization of the fact that he stood to his accomplice in the relation of a burglar to his mate, where the burglar has both the boodle and the secret in his possession. An illustration of this occurred during their first trip to Missouri. Rigdon and Smith did not agree about the desirability of western Missouri as a permanent abiding-place for the church. The Rev. Ezra Booth, after leaving the Mormons, contributed a series of letters on his experience with Smith to the Ohio Star of Ravenna.* In the first of these he said: "On our arrival in the western part of the state of Missouri we discovered that prophecy and visions had failed, or rather had proved false. This fact was so notorious that Mr. Rigdon himself says that 'Joseph's vision was a bad thing.'" Smith nevertheless directed Rigdon to write a description of that promised land, and, when the production did not suit him, he represented the Lord as censuring Rigdon in a "revelation" (Sec. 63):—

   * Copied in Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled."

"And now behold, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, am not pleased with my servant Sidney Rigdon; he exalteth himself in his heart, and receiveth not counsel, but grieveth the spirit. Wherefore his writing is not acceptable unto the Lord; and he shall make another, and if the Lord receiveth it not, behold he standeth no longer in the office which I have appointed him."

That the proud-minded, educated preacher, who refused to allow Campbell to claim the foundership of the Disciples' church, should take such a rebuke and threat of dismissal in silence from Joe Smith of Palmyra, and continue under his leadership, certainly indicates some wonderful hold that the prophet had upon him.

While the travelling elders were doing successful work in adding new converts to the fold, there was beginning to manifest itself at Kirtland that "apostasy" which lost the church so many members of influence, and was continued in Missouri so far that Mayor Grant said, in Salt Lake City, in 1856, that "one-half at least of the Yankee members of this church have apostatized."* The secession of men like Booth and Ryder, and their public exposure of Smith's methods, coupled with rumors of immoral practices in the fold, were followed by the tarring and feathering of Smith and Rigdon on the night of Saturday, March 25, 1832. The story of this outrage is told in Smith's autobiography, and the details there given may be in the main accepted.

   * Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 201.

Smith and his wife were living at the house of a farmer named Johnson in Hiram township, while he and Rigdon were translating the Scriptures. Mrs. Smith had taken two infant twins to bring up, and on the night in question she and her husband were taking turns sitting up with these babies, who were just recovering from the measles. While Smith was sleeping, his wife heard a tapping on the window, but gave it no attention. The mob, believing that all within were asleep, then burst in the door, seized Smith as he lay partly dressed on a trundle bed, and rushed him out of doors, his wife crying "murder." Smith struggled as best he could, but they carried him around the house, choking him until he became unconscious. Some thirty yards from the house he saw Rigdon, "stretched out on the ground, whither they had dragged him by the heels." When they had carried Smith some thirty yards farther, some of the mob meantime asking, "Ain't ye going to kill him?" a council was held and some one asked, "Simmons, where's the tarbucket?" When the bucket was brought up they tried to force the "tarpaddle" into Smith's mouth, and also, he says, to force a phial between his teeth. He adds:

"All my clothes were torn off me except my shirt collar, and one man fell on me and scratched my body with his nails like a mad cat. They then left me, and I attempted to rise, but fell again. I pulled the tar away from my lips, etc., so that I could breathe more freely, and after a while I began to recover, and raised myself up, when I saw two lights. I made my way toward one of them, and found it was father Johnson's. When I had come to the door I was naked, and the tar made me look as though I had been covered with blood; and when my wife saw me she thought I was all smashed to pieces, and fainted. During the affray abroad, the sisters of the neighborhood collected at my room. I called for a blanket; they threw me one and shut the door; I wrapped it around me and went in.... My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar and washing and cleansing my body, so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again.... With my flesh all scarified and defaced, I preached [that morning] to the congregation as usual, and in the afternoon of the same day baptized three individuals."

Rigdon's treatment is described as still more severe. He was not only dragged over the ground by the heels, but was well covered with tar and feathers; and when Smith called on him the next day he found him delirious, and calling for a razor with which to kill his wife.

All Mormon accounts of this, as well as later persecutions, attempt to make the ground of attack hostility to the Mormon religious beliefs, presenting them entirely in the light of outrages on liberty of opinion. Symonds Ryder (whom Smith accuses of being one of the mob), says that the attack had this origin: The people of Hiram had the reputation of being very receptive and liberal in their religious views. The Mormons therefore preached to them, and seemed in a fair way to win a decided success, when the leaders made their first trip to Missouri. Papers which they left behind outlining the internal system of the new church fell into the hands of some of the converts, and revealed to them the horrid fact that a plot was laid to take their property from them and place it under the control of Smith, the Prophet.... Some who had been the dupes of this deception determined not to let it pass with impunity; and, accordingly, a company was formed of citizens from Shalersville, Garretsville, and Hiram, and took Smith and Rigdon from their beds and tarred and feathered them.*

   * Hayden's "Early History of the Disciples' Church in the Western
Reserve," p. 221.

This manifestation of hostility to the leaders of the new church was only a more pronounced form of that which showed itself against Smith before he left New York State. When a man of his character and previous history assumes the right to baptize and administer the sacrament, he is certain to arouse the animosity, not only of orthodox church members, but of members of the community who are lax in their church duties. Goldsmith illustrates this kind of feeling when, in "She Stoops to Conquer," he makes one of the "several shabby fellows with punch and tobacco" in the alehouse say, "I loves to hear him, the squire sing, bekeays he never gives us nothing that's low," and another responds, "O, damn anything that's low." The Anti-Mormon feeling was intensified and broadened by the aggressiveness with which the Mormons sought for converts in the orthodox flocks.

Beliefs radically different from those accepted by any of the orthodox denominations have escaped hostile opposition in this country, even when they have outraged generally accepted social customs. The Harmonists, in a body of 600, emigrated to Pennsylvania to escape the persecution to which they were subjected in Germany, purchased 5000 acres of land and organized a town; moved later to Indiana, where they purchased 25,000 acres; and ten years afterward returned to Pennsylvania, and bought 5000 acres in another place,—all the time holding to their belief in a community of goods and a speedy coming of Christ, as well as the duty of practicing celibacy,—without exciting their neighbors or arousing their enmity. The Wallingford Community in Connecticut, and the Oneida Community in New York State, practised free love among themselves without persecution, until their organizations died from natural causes. The leaders in these and other independent sects were clean men within their own rules, honest in their dealings with their neighbors, never seeking political power, and never pressing their opinions upon outsiders. An old resident of Wallingford writes to me, "The Community were, in a way, very generally respected for their high standard of integrity in all their business transactions."

As we follow the career of the Mormons from Ohio to Missouri, and thence to Illinois, we shall read their own testimony about the character of their leading men, and about their view of the rights of others in each of their neighborhoods. When Horace Greeley asked Brigham Young in Salt Lake City for an explanation of the "persecutions" of the Mormons, his reply was that there was "no other explanation than is afforded by the crucifixion of Christ and the kindred treatment of God's ministers, prophets, and saints in all ages"; which led Greeley to observe that, while a new sect is always decried and traduced,—naming the Baptists, Quakers, Methodists, and Universalists,—he could not remember "that either of them was ever generally represented and regarded by the other sects of their early days as thieves, robbers, and murderers."*

   * "Overland Journey," p. 214.

Another attempt by Rigdon to assert his independence of Smith occurred while the latter was still at Mr. Johnson's house and Rigdon was in Kirtland. The fullest account of this is found in Mother Smith's "History," pp. 204-206. She says that Rigdon came in late to a prayer-meeting, much agitated, and, instead of taking the platform, paced backward and forward on the floor. Joseph's father told him they would like to hear a discourse from him, but he replied, "The keys of the Kingdom are rent from the church, and there shall not be a prayer put up in this house this day." This caused considerable excitement, and Smith's brother Hyrum left the house, saying, "I'll put a stop to this fuss pretty quick," and, mounting a horse, set out for Johnson's and brought the prophet back with him. On his arrival, a meeting of the brethren was held, and Joseph declared to them, "I myself hold the keys of this Last Dispensation, and will forever hold them, both in time and eternity, so set your hearts at rest upon that point. All is right." The next day Rigdon was tried before a council for having "lied in the name of the Lord," and was "delivered over to the buffetings of Satan," and deprived of his license, Smith telling him that "the less priesthood he had, the better it would be for him." Rigdon, Mrs. Smith says, according to his own account, "was dragged out of bed by the devil three times in one night by the heels," and, while she does not accept this literally, she declares that "his contrition was as great as a man could well live through." After awhile he got another license.


In January, 1833, Smith announced a revival of the "gift of tongues," and instituted the ceremony of washing the feet.* Under the new system, Smith or Rigdon, during a meeting, would call on some brother, or sister, saying, "Father A., if you will rise in the name of Jesus Christ you can speak in tongues." The rule which persons thus called on were to follow was thus explained, "Arise upon your feet, speak or make some sound, continue to make sounds of some kind, and the Lord will make a language of it." It was not necessary that the words should be understood by the congregation; some other Mormon would undertake their interpretation. Much ridicule was incurred by the church because of this kind of revelation. Gunnison relates that when a woman "speaking in tongues" pronounced "meliar, meli, melee," it was at once translated by a young wag, "my leg, my thigh, my knee," and, when he was called before the Council charged with irreverence, he persisted in his translation, but got off with an admonition.** At a meeting in Nauvoo in later years a doubting convert delivered an address in real Choctaw, whereupon a woman jumped up and offered as a translation an account of the glories of the new Temple.

   * This ceremony has fallen into disuse in Utah.
   ** "The Mormons." p. 74.

At the conference of June 4, 1831, Smith ordained Elder Wright to the high priesthood for service among the Indians, with the gift of tongues, healing the sick, etc. Wright at once declared that he saw the Saviour. At one of the sessions at Kirtland at this time, as described by an eye-witness, Smith announced that the day would come when no man would be permitted to preach unless he had seen the Lord face to face. Then, addressing Rigdon, he asked, "Sidney, have you seen the Lord?" The obedient Sidney made reply, "I saw the image of a man pass before my face, whose locks were white, and whose countenance was exceedingly fair, even surpassing all beauty that I ever beheld." Smith at once rebuked him by telling him that he would have seen more but for his unbelief.

Almost simultaneously with Smith's first announcement of his prophetic powers, while working his "peek-stone" in Pennsylvania and New York, he, as we have seen, claimed ability to perform miracles, and he announced that he had cast out a devil at Colesville in 1830.* The performance of miracles became an essential part of the church work at Kirtland, and had a great effect on the superstitious converts. The elders, who in the early days labored in England, laid great stress on their miraculous power, and there were some amusing exposures of their pretences. The Millennial Star printed a long list of successful miracles dating from 1839 to 1850, including the deaf made to hear, the blind to see, dislocated bones put in place, leprosy and cholera cured, and fevers rebuked. Smith, Rigdon, and Cowdery took a leading part in this work at Kirtland.** To a man nearly dead with consumption Rigdon gave assurance that he would recover "as sure as there is a God in heaven." The man's death soon followed. When a child, whose parents had been persuaded to trust its case to Mormon prayers instead of calling a physician,*** died, Smith and Rigdon promised that it would rise from the dead, and they went through certain ceremonies to accomplish that object.****

   * For particulars of this miracle, see Millennial Star, Vol. XIV,
pp. 28, 32.
   ** While Smith was in Washington in 1840, pressing on the federal
authorities the claims of the Mormons for redress for their losses in
Missouri, he preached on the church doctrines. A member of Congress
who heard him sent a synopsis of the discourse to his wife, and Smith
printed this entire in his autobiography (Millennial Star, Vol. XVII, p.
583). Here is one passage: "He [Smith] performed no miracles. He did
not pretend to possess any such power." This is an illustration of
the facility with which Smith could lie, when to do so would serve his
   *** The Saints were early believers in faith cure. Smith, in a
sermon preached in 1841, urged them "to trust in God when sick, and live
by faith and not by medicine or poison" (Millennial Star, Vol. XVIII,
p. 663). A coroner's jury, in an inquest over a victim of this faith in
London, England, cautioned the sect against continuing this method of
curing (Times and Seasons, 1842, p. 813).
   **** For further illustrations of miracle working, in Ohio, see
Kennedy's "Early Days of Mormonism," Chap. V.

The lengths to which Smith dared go in his pretensions are well illustrated in an incident of these days. Among the curiosities of a travelling showman who passed through Kirtland were some Egyptian mummies. As the golden plates from which the Mormon Bible was translated were written in "reformed Egyptian," the translator of those plates was interested in all things coming from Egypt, and at his suggestion the mummies were purchased by and for the church. On them were found some papyri which Joseph, with the assistance of Phelps and Cowdery, set about "translating." Their success was great, and Smith was able to announce: "We found that one of these rolls contained the writings of Abraham, another the writings of Joseph.* Truly we could see that the Lord is beginning to reveal the abundance of truth." That there might be no question about the accuracy of Smith's translation, he exhibited a certificate signed by the proprietor of the show, saying that he had exhibited the "hieroglyphic characters" to the most learned men in many cities, "and from all the information that I could ever learn or meet with, I find that of Joseph Smith, Jr., to correspond in the most minute matters." * When the papyri were shown to Josiah Quincy and Charles Francis Adams, on the occasion of their visit to Nauvoo in 1844, Joseph Smith, pointing out the inscriptions, said: "That is the handwriting of Abraham, the Father of the Faithful. This is the autograph of Moses, and these lines were written by his brother Aaron. Here we have the earliest account of the creation, from which Moses composed the first Book of Genesis."—"Figures of the Past," p. 386.

Smith's autobiography contains this memorandum: "October 1, 1835. This afternoon I labored on the Egyptian alphabet in company with Brother O. Cowdery and W. W. Phelps, and during the research the principals of astronomy, as understood by Father Abraham and the Ancients, unfolded to our understanding." When he was in the height of his power in Nauvoo, Smith printed in the Times and Seasons a reproduction of these hieroglyphics accompanied by this alleged translation, of what he called "the Book of Abraham," and they were also printed in the Millennial Star.* The translation was a meaningless jumble of words after this fashion:—

   * See Vol. XIX, p. 100, etc., from which the accompanying
facsimile is taken.

Egyptian Papyri    188

"In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residence of my father, I, Abraham, saw that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence, and finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the Fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to administer the same, having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring to be one also who possessed great knowledge, and to possess greater knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness."

Remy submitted a reproduction of these hieroglyphics to Theodule Deveria, of the Museum of the Louvre, in Paris, who found, of course, that Smith's purported translation was wholly fraudulent. For instance, his Abraham fastened on an altar was a representation of Osiris coming to life on his funeral couch, his officiating priest was the god Anubis, and what Smith represents to indicate an angel of the Lord is "the soul of Osiris, under the form of a hawk."* Smith's whole career offered no more brazen illustration of his impostures than this.

   * See "A Journey to Great Salt Lake City", by Jules Remy (1861),
Note XVII.

A visitor to the Kirtland Temple some years later paid Joseph's father half a dollar in order to see the Egyptian curios, which were kept in the attic of that structure.

A well-authenticated anecdote, giving another illustration of Smith's professed knowledge of the Egyptian language is told by the Rev. Henry Caswall, M.A., who, after holding the Professorship of Divinity in Kemper College, in Missouri, became vicar of a church in England. Mr. Caswall, on the occasion of a visit to Nauvoo in 1842, having heard of Smith's Egyptian lore, took with him an ancient Greek manuscript of the Psalter, on parchment, with which to test the prophet's scholarship. The belief of Smith's followers in his powers was shown by their eagerness to have him see this manuscript, and their persistence in urging Mr. Caswall to wait a day for Smith's return from Carthage that he might submit it to the prophet. Mr. Caswall the next day handed the manuscript to Smith and asked him to explain its contents. After a brief examination, Smith explained: "It ain't Greek at all, except perhaps a few words. What ain't Greek is Egyptian, and what ain't Egyptian is Greek. This book is very valuable. It is a dictionary of Egyptian hieroglyphics. These figures (pointing to the capitals) is Egyptian hieroglyphics written in the reformed Egyptian. These characters are like the letters that were engraved on the golden plates."*

   * "The City of the Mormons," p. 36 (1842).


When Rigdon returned to Ohio with Smith in January, 1831, it seems to have been his intention to make Kirtland the permanent headquarters of the new church. He had written to his people from Palmyra, "Be it known to you, brethren, that you are dwelling on your eternal inheritance." When Cowdery and his associates arrived in Ohio on their first trip, they announced as the boundaries of the Promised Land the township of Kirtland on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Within two months of his arrival at Kirtland Smith gave out a "revelation" (Sec. 45), in which the Lord commanded the elders to go forth into the western countries and buildup churches, and they were told of a City of Refuge for the church, to be called the New Jerusalem. No definite location of this city was given, and the faithful were warned to "keep these things from going abroad unto the world." Another "revelation" of the same month (Sec. 48) announced that it was necessary for all to remain for the present in their places of abode, and directed those who had lands "to impart to the eastern brethren," and the others to buy lands, and all to save money "to purchase lands for an inheritance, even the city."

The reports of those who first went to Missouri induced Smith and Rigdon, before they made their first trip to that state, to announce that the Saints would pass one more winter in Ohio. But when they had visited the Missouri frontier and realized its distance from even the Ohio border line, and the actual privations to which settlers there must submit, their zeal weakened, and they declared, "It will be many years before we come here, for the Lord has a great work for us to do in Ohio." The building of the Temple at Kirtland, and the investments in lots and in business enterprises there showed that a permanent settlement in Ohio was then decided on.

Smith's first business enterprise for the church in Ohio was a general store which he opened in Hiram. This establishment has been described as "a poorly furnished country store where commerce looks starvation in the face."* The difficulty of combining the positions of prophet, head of the church, and retail merchant was naturally great. The result of the combination has been graphically pictured by no less an authority than Brigham Young. In a discourse in Salt Lake City, explaining why the church did not maintain a store there, Young said:—

   * Salt Lake Herald, November 17, 1877.

"You that have lived in Nauvoo, in Missouri, in Kirtland, Ohio, can you assign a reason why Joseph could not keep a store and be a merchant? Let me just give you a few reasons; and there are men here who know just how matters went in those days. Joseph goes to New York and buys $20,000 worth of goods, comes into Kirtland and commences to trade. In comes one of the brethren. Brother Joseph, let me have a frock pattern for my wife: What if Joseph says, 'No, I cannot without money.' The consequence would be, 'He is no Prophet,' says James. Pretty soon Thomas walks in. 'Brother Joseph, will you trust me for a pair of boots?' 'No, I cannot let them go without money.' 'Well,' says Thomas, 'Brother Joseph is no Prophet; I have found THAT out and I am glad of it.' After a while in comes Bill and Sister Susan. Says Bill, 'Brother Joseph, I want a shawl. I have not got any money, but I wish you to trust me a week or a fortnight.' Well, Brother Joseph thinks the others have gone and apostatized, and he don't know but these goods will make the whole church do the same, so he lets Bill have a shawl. Bill walks of with it and meets a brother. 'Well,' says he, 'what do you think of Brother Joseph?' 'O, he is a first rate man, and I fully believe he is a Prophet. He has trusted me with this shawl.' Richard says, 'I think I will go down and see if he won't trust me some.' In walks Richard. Brother Joseph, I want to trade about $20.' 'Well,'says Joseph, 'these goods will make the people apostatize, so over they go; they are of less value than the people.' Richard gets his goods. Another comes in the same way to make a trade of $25, and so it goes. Joseph was a first rate fellow with them all the time, provided he never would ask them to pay him. And so you may trace it down through the history of this people."*

   * Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 215.

If this analysis of the flock which Smith gathered in Ohio, and which formed the nucleus of the settlements in Missouri, was not permanently recorded in an official church record, its authenticity would be vigorously assailed.

Later enterprises at Kirtland, undertaken under the auspices of the church, included a steam sawmill and a tannery, both of which were losing concerns. But the speculation to which later Mormon authorities attributed the principal financial disasters of the church at Kirtland was the purchase of land and its sale as town lots.* The craze for land speculation in those days was not confined, however, to the Mormons. That was the period when the purchase of public lands of the United States seemed likely to reach no limit. These sales, which amounted to $2,300,000 in 1830, and to $4,800,000 in 1834, lumped to $14,757,600 in 1835, and to $24,877,179 in 1836. The government deposits (then made in the state banks) increased from $10,000,000 on January 1, 1835, to $41,500,000 on June 1, 1836, the increase coming from receipts from land sales. This led to that bank expansion which was measured by the growth of bank capital in this country from $61,000,000 to $200,000,000 between 1830 and 1834, with a further advance to $251,000,000.

   * "Real estate rose from 100 to 800 per cent and in many cases
more. Men who were not thought worth $50 or $100 became purchasers
of thousands. Notes (sometimes cash), deeds and mortgages passed and
repassed, till all, or nearly all, supposed they had become wealthy,
or at least had acquired a competence."—Messenger and Advocate, June,

The Mormon leaders and their people were peculiarly liable to be led into disaster when sharing in this speculators' fever. They were, however, quick to take advantage of the spirit of the times. The Zion of Missouri lost its attractiveness to them, and on February 23, 1833, the Presidency decided to purchase land at Kirtland, and to establish there on a permanent Stake of Zion. The land purchases of the church began at once, and we find a record of one Council meeting, on March 23, 1833, at which it was decided to buy three farms costing respectively $4000, $2100, and $5000. Kirtland was laid out (on paper) with 32 streets, cutting one another at right angles, each four rods wide. This provided for 225 blocks of 20 lots each. Twenty-nine of the streets were named after Mormons. Joseph and his family appear many times in the list of conveyors of these lots. The original map of the city, as described in Smith's autobiography, provided for 24 public buildings temples, schools, etc.; no lot to contain more than one house, and that not to be nearer than 25 feet from the street, with a prohibition against erecting a stable on a house lot.*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, pp. 438-439.

Of course this Mormon capital must have a grand church edifice, to meet Smith's views, and he called a council to decide about the character of the new meeting-house. A few of the speakers favored a modest frame building, but a majority thought a log one better suited to their means. Joseph rebuked the latter, asking, "Shall we, brethren, build a house for our God of logs?" and he straightway led them to the corner of a wheat field, where the trench for the foundation was at once begun.* No greater exhibition of business folly could have been given than the undertaking of the costly building then planned on so slender a financial foundation.

   * Mother Smith's "Biographical Sketches" p. 213.

The corner-stone was laid on July 23, 1833, and the Temple was not dedicated until March 27, 1836. Mormon devotion certainly showed itself while this work was going on. Every male member was expected to give one-seventh of his time to the building without pay, and those who worked on it at day's wages had, in most instances, no other income, and often lived on nothing but corn meal. The women, as their share, knit and wove garments for the workmen.

The Temple, which is of stone covered with a cement stucco (it is still in use), measures 60 by 80 feet on the ground, is 123 feet in height to the top of the spire, and contains two stories and an attic.

The cost of this Temple was $40,000, and, notwithstanding the sacrifices made by the Saints in assisting its construction, and the schemes of the church officers to secure funds, a debt of from $15,000 to $20,000 remained upon it. That the church was financially embarrassed at the very beginning of the work is shown by a letter addressed to the brethren in Zion, Missouri, by Smith, Rigdon, and Williams, dated June 25, 1833, in which they said, "Say to Brother Gilbert that we have no power to assist him in a pecuniary point, as we know not the hour when we shall be sued for debts which we have contracted ourselves in New York."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 450.

To understand the business crash and scandals which compelled Smith and his associates to flee from Ohio, it is necessary to explain the business system adopted by the church under them. This system began with a rule about the consecration of property. As originally published in the Evening and Morning Star, and in chapter xliv of the "Book of Commandments," this rule declared, "Thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast, unto me, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken," with a provision that the Bishop, after he had received such an irrevocable deed, should appoint every man a steward over so much of his property as would be sufficient for himself and family. In the later edition of the "Doctrine and Covenants" this was changed to read, "And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate thy properties for their support," etc.

By a "revelation" given out while the heads of the church were in Jackson County, Missouri, in April, 1832 (Sec. 82), a sort of firm was appointed, including Smith, Rigdon, Cowdery, Harris, and N. K. Whitney, "to manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric," both in Ohio and Missouri. This firm thus assumed control of the property which "revelation" had placed in the hands of the Bishop. This arrangement was known as The Order of Enoch. Next came a "revelation" dated April 23, 1834. (Sec. 104), by which the properties of the Order were divided, Rigdon getting the place in which he was living in Kirtland, and the tannery; Harris a lot, with a command to "devote his monies for the proclaiming of my words"; Cowdery and Williams, the printing-office, with some extra lots to Cowdery; and Smith, the lot designed for the Temple, and "the inheritance on which his father resides." The building of the Temple having brought the Mormon leaders into debt, this "revelation," was designed to help them out, and it contained these further directions, in the voice of the Lord, be it remembered: "The covenants being broken through transgression, by covetousness and feigned words, therefore you are dissolved as a United Order with your brethren, that you are not bound only up to this hour unto them, only on this wise, as I said, by loan as shall be agreed by this Order in council, as your circumstances will admit, and the voice of the council direct.....

"And again verily I say unto you, concerning your debts, behold it is my will that you should pay all your debts; and it is my will that you should humble yourselves before me, and obtain this blessing by your diligence and humility and the prayer of faith; and inasmuch as you are diligent and humble, and exercise the prayer of faith, behold, I will soften the hearts of those to whom you are in debt, until I shall send means unto you for your deliverance.... I give you a promise that you shall be delivered this once out of your bondage; inasmuch as you obtained a chance to loan money by hundreds, or thousands even until you shall loan enough [meaning borrow] to deliver yourselves from bondage, it is your privilege; and pledge the properties which I have put into your hands this once.... The master will not suffer his house to be broken up. Even so. Amen."

It does not appear that the Mormon leaders took advantage of this authorization to borrow money on Kirtland real estate, if they could; but in 1835 they set up several mercantile establishments, finding firms in Cleveland, Buffalo, and farther east who would take their notes on six months' time. "A great part of the goods of these houses," says William Harris, "went to pay the workmen on the Temple, and many were sold on credit, so that when the notes became due the houses were not able to meet them."

Smith's autobiography relates part of one story of an effort of his to secure money at this trying time, the complete details of which have been since supplied. He simply says that on July 25, 1836, in company with his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and Oliver Cowdery, he started on a trip which brought them to Salem, Massachusetts, where "we hired a house and occupied the same during the month, teaching the people from house to house."* The Mormon of to-day, in reading his "Doctrine and Covenants," finds Section 111 very perplexing. No place of its reception is given, but it goes on to say:—

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XV, p. 281.

"I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey, notwithstanding your follies; I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion;... and it shall come to pass in due time, that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours. Concern not yourself about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.... And inquire diligently concerning the more ancient inhabitants and founders of this city; for there are more treasures than one for you in this city."

"This city" was Salem, Massachusetts, and the "revelation" was put forth to brace up the spirits of Smith's fellow-travellers. A Mormon named Burgess had gone to Kirtland with a story about a large amount of money that was buried in the cellar of a house in Salem which had belonged to a widow, and the location of which he alone knew. Smith credited this report, and looked to the treasure to assist him in his financial difficulties, and he took the persons named with him on the trip. But when they got there Burgess said that time had so changed the appearance of the houses that he could not be sure which was the widow's, and he cleared out. Smith then hired a house which he thought might be the right one,—it proved not to be,—and it was when his associates were—becoming discouraged that the ex-money-digger uttered the words quoted, to strengthen their courage. "We speak of these things with regret," says Ebenezer Robinson, who believed in the prophet's divine calling to the last.*

   * The Return, July, 1889.

Brought face to face with apparent financial disaster, the next step taken to prevent this was the establishment of a bank. Smith told of a "revelation" concerning a bank "which would swallow up all other banks." An application for a charter was made to the Ohio legislature, but it was refused. The law of Ohio at that time provided that "all notes and bills, bonds and other securities [of an unchartered bank] shall be held and taken in all courts as absolutely void." This, however, did not deter a man of Smith's audacity, and soon came the announcement of the organization of the "Kirtland Safety Society Bank," with an alleged capital of $4,000,000. The articles of agreement had been drawn up on November 2, 1836, and Oliver Cowdery had been sent to Philadelphia to get the plates for the notes at the same time that Orson Hyde set out to the state capital to secure a charter. Cowdery took no chances of failure, and he came back not only with a plate, but with $200,000 in printed bills. To avoid the inconvenience of having no charter, the members of the Safety Society met on January 2, 1837, and reorganized under the name of the "Kirtland Society Anti-banking Company," and, in the hope of placing the bills within the law (or at least beyond its reach), the word "Bank" was changed with a stamp so that it read "Anti-BANK-ing Co.," as in the facsimile here presented.

Bank-note    198

W. Harris thus describes the banking scheme:—

"Subscribers for stock were allowed to pay the amount of their subscriptions in town lots at five or six times their real value; others paid in personal property at a high valuation, and some were paid in cash. When the notes were first issued they were current in the vicinity, and Smith took advantage of their credit to pay off with them the debts he and his brethren had contracted in the neighborhood for land, etc. The Eastern creditors, however, refused to take them. This led to the expedient of exchanging them for the notes of other banks. Accordingly, the Elders were sent into the country to barter off Kirtland money, which they did with great zeal, and continued the operation until the notes were not worth twelve and a half cents to the dollar."*

   * "Mormonism Portrayed," p. 31

Just how much of this currency was issued the records do not show. Hall says that Brigham Young, who had joined the flock at Kirtland, disposed of $10,000 worth of it in the States, and that Smith and other church officers reaped a rich harvest with it in Canada, explaining, "The credit of the bank here was good, even high."* Kidder quotes a gentleman living near Kirtland who said that the cash capital paid in was only about $5000, and that they succeeded in floating from $50,000 to $100,000. Ann Eliza, Brigham's "wife No. 19," says that her father invested everything he had but his house and shop in the bank, and lost it all.

   * "Abominations of Mormonism Exposed" (1852), pp. 19, 20.

Cyrus Smalling, one of the Seventy at Kirtland, wrote an account of Kirtland banking operations under date of March 10, 1841, in which he said that Smith and his associates collected about $6000 in specie, and that when people in the neighborhood went to the bank to inquire about its specie reserve, "Smith had some one or two hundred boxes made, and gathered all the lead and shot the village had, or that part of it that he controlled, and filled the boxes with lead, shot, etc., and marked them $1000 each. Then, when they went to examine the vault, he had one box on a table partly filled for them to see; and when they proceeded to the vault, Smith told them that the church had $200,000 in specie; and he opened one box and they saw that it was silver; and they were seemingly satisfied, and went away for a few days until the elders were packed off in every direction to pass their paper money."*

   * "Mormons; or Knavery Exposed" (1841).

Smith believed in specie payments to his bank, whatever might be his intentions as regards the redemption of his notes, for, in the Messenger and Advocate (pp. 441-443), following the by-laws of the Anti-banking Company, was printed a statement signed by him, saying:—

"We want the brethren from abroad to call on us and take stock in the Safety Society, and we would remind them of the sayings of the Prophet Isaiah contained in the 60th chapter, and more particularly in the 9th and 17th verses which are as follows:—

"Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God.

"For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, etc."

The Messenger and Advocate (edited by W. A. Cowdery), of July, 1837, contained a long article on the bank and its troubles, pointing out, first, that the bank was opened without a charter, being "considered a kind of joint stock association," and that "the private property of the stockholders was holden in proportion to the amount of their subscriptions for the redemption of the paper," and also that its notes were absolutely void under the state law. The editor goes on to say:—

"Previously to the commencement of discounting by the bank, large debts had been contracted for merchandise in New York and other cities, and large contracts entered into for real estate in this and adjoining towns; some of them had fallen due and must be met, or incur forfeitures of large sums. These causes, we are bound to believe, operated to induce the officers of the bank to let out larger sums than their better judgments dictated, which almost invariably fell into or passed through the hands of those who sought our ruin.... Hundreds who were enemies either came or sent their agents and demanded specie, till the officers thought best to refuse payment."

This subtle explanation of the suspension of specie payments is followed with a discussion of monopolies, etc., leading up to a statement of the obligations of the Mormons in regard to the discredited bank-notes, most of which were in circulation elsewhere. To the question; "Shall we unite as one man, say it is good, and make it good by taking it on a par with gold?" he replies, "No," explaining that, owing to the fewness of the church members as compared with the world at large, "it must be confined in its circulation and par value to the limits of our own society." To the question, "Shall we then take it at its marked price for our property," he again replies, "No," explaining that their enemies had received the paper at a discount, and that, to receive it at par from them, would "give them voluntarily and with one eye open just that advantage over us to oppress, degrade and depress us." This combined financial and spiritual adviser closes his article by urging the brethren to set apart a portion of their time to the service of God, and a portion to "the study of the science of our government and the news of the day."

A card which appeared in the Messenger and Advocate of August, 1837, signed by Smith, warned "the brethren and friends of the church to beware of speculators, renegades, and gamblers who are duping the unwary and unsuspecting by palming upon them those bills, which are of no worth here."

The actual test of the bank's soundness had come when a request was made for the redemption of the notes. The notes seem to have been accepted freely in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where it was taken for granted that a cashier and president who professed to be prophets of the Lord would not give countenance to bank paper of doubtful value.* When stories about the concern reached the Pittsburg banks, they sent an agent to Kirtland with a package of the notes for redemption. Rigdon loudly asserted the stability of the institution; but when a request for coin was repeated, it was promptly refused by him on the ground that the bills were a circulating medium "for the accommodation of the public," and that to call any of them in would defeat their object.**

   * "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 71.
   ** "Early Days of Mormonism," p. 163.

Other creditors of the Mormons were now becoming active in their demands. For failing to meet a note given to the bank at Painesville, Smith, Rigdon, and N. K. Whitney were put under $8000 bonds. Smith, Rigdon, and Cowdery were called into court as indorsers of paper for one of the Mormon firms, and judgment was given against them. To satisfy a firm of New York merchants the heads of the church gave a note for $4500 secured by a mortgage on their interest in the new Temple and its contents.* The Egyptian mummies were especially excepted from this mortgage. Mother Smith describes how these relics were saved by "various stratagems" under an execution of $50 issued against the prophet.

   * Ibid., pp. 159-160.

The scheme of calling the bank corporation an "anti-banking" society did not save the officers from prosecution under the state law. Informers against violators of the banking law received in Ohio a share of the fine imposed, and this led to the filing of an information against Rigdon and Smith in March, 1837, by one S. D. Rounds, in the Caeuga County Court, charging them with violating the law, and demanding a penalty of $1000 They were at once arrested and held in bail, and were convicted the following October. They appealed on the ground that the institution was an association and not a bank; but this plea was never ruled upon by the court, as the bank suspended payments and closed its doors in November, 1837, and, before the appeal could be argued, Smith and Rigdon had fled from the state to Missouri.


It is easy to understand that a church whose leaders had such views of financial responsibility as Smith's and Rigdon's, and whose members were ready to apostatize when they could not obtain credit at the prophet's store, was anything but a harmonious body. Smith was not a man to maintain his own dignity or to spare the feelings of his associates. Wilford Woodruff, describing his first sight of the prophet, at Kirtland, in 1834, said he found him with his brother Hyrum, wearing a very old hat and engaged in the sport of shooting at a mark. Woodruff accompanied him to his house, where Smith at once brought out a wolfskin, and said, "Brother Woodruff, I want you to help me tan this," and the two took off their coats and went to work at the skin.* Smith's contempt for Rigdon was never concealed. Writing of the situation at Kirtland in 1833, he spoke of Rigdon as possessing "a selfishness and independence of mind which too often manifestly destroys the confidence of those who would lay down their lives for him."** Smith was in the habit of announcing, from his lofty pulpit in the Temple, "The truth is good enough without dressing up, but brother Rigdon will now proceed to dress it up."*** Some of the new converts backed out as soon as they got a close view of the church. Elder G. A. Smith, a cousin of Joseph, in a sermon in Salt Lake City, in 1855, mentioned some incidents of this kind. One family, who had journeyed a long distance to join the church in Kirtland, changed their minds because Joseph's wife invited them to have a cup of tea "after the word of wisdom was given." Another family withdrew after seeing Joseph begin playing with his children as soon as he rested from the work of translating the Scriptures for the day. A Canadian ex-Methodist prayed so long at family worship at Father Johnson's that Joseph told him flatly "not to bray so much like a jackass." The prayer thereupon returned to Canada.

   * Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 101.
   ** Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, pp. 584-585.
   *** Lippincott's Magazine, August, 1880.

But the discontented were not confined to new-comers. Jealousy and dissatisfaction were constantly manifesting themselves among Smith's old standbys. Written charges made against Cowdery and David Whitmer, when they were driven out of Far West, Missouri, told them: "You commenced your wickedness by heading a party to disturb the worship of the Saints in the first day of the week, and made the house of the Lord in Kirtland to be a scene of abuse and slander, to destroy the reputation of those whom the church had appointed to be their teachers, and for no other cause only that you were not the persons." In more exact terms, their offence was opposition to the course pursued by Smith. During the winter and spring of 1837, these rebels included in their list F. G. Williams, of the First Presidency, Martin Harris, D. Whitmer, Lyman E. Johnson, P. P. Pratt, and W. E. McLellin. In May, 1837, a High Council was held in Kirtland to try these men. Pratt at once objected to being tried by a body of which Smith and Rigdon were members, as they had expressed opinions against him. Rigdon confessed that he could not conscientiously try the case, Cowdery did likewise, Williams very properly withdrew, and "the Council dispersed in confusion."* It was never reassembled, but the offenders were not forgotten, and their punishment came later.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 10.

Mother Smith attributes much of the discord among the members at this time to "a certain young woman," an inmate of David Whitmer's house, who began prophesying with the assistance of a black stone. This seer predicted Smith's fall from office because of his transgressions, and that David Whitmer or Martin Harris would succeed him. Her proselytes became so numerous that a written list of them showed that "a great proportion of the church were decidedly in favor with the new party."*

   * "Biographical Sketches," p. 221.

While Smith was thus fighting leading members of his own church, he was called upon to defend himself against a serious charge in court. A farmer near Kirtland, named Grandison Newell, received information from a seceding Mormon that Smith had directed the latter and another Mormon named Davis to kill Newell because he was a particularly open opponent of the new sect. The affidavit of this man set forth that he and Davis had twice gone to Newell's house to carry out Smith's order, and were only prevented by the absence of the intended victim. Smith was placed under $500 bonds on this charge, but on the formal hearing he was discharged on the ground of insufficient evidence.*

   * Fanny Brewer of Boston, in an affidavit published in 1842,
declared, "I am personally acquainted with one of the employees, Davis
by name, and he frankly acknowledged to me that he was prepared to do
the deed under the direction of the prophet, and was only prevented by
the entreaties of his wife."

A rebellious spirit had manifested itself among the brethren in Missouri soon after Smith returned from his first visit to that state. W. W. Phelps questioned the prophet's "monarchical power and authority," and an unpleasant correspondence sprung up between them. As Smith did not succeed by his own pen in silencing his accusers, a conference of twelve high priests was called by him in Kirtland in January, 1833, which appointed Orson Hyde and Smith's brother Hyrum to write to the Missouri brethren. In this letter they were told plainly that, unless the rebellious spirit ceased, the Lord would seek another Zion. To Phelps the message was sent, "If you have fat beef and potatoes, eat them in singleness of heart, and not boast yourself in these things." It was, however, as a concession to this spirit of complaint, according to Ferris, that Smith announced the "revelation" which placed the church in the hands of a supreme governing body of three.

Smith himself furnishes a very complete picture of the disrupted condition of the Mormons in 1838, in an editorial in the Elders' journal, dated August, of that year. The tone of the article, too, sheds further light on Smith's character. Referring to the course of "a set of creatures" whom the church had excluded from fellowship, he says they "had recourse to the foulest lying to hide their iniquity;... and this gang of horse thieves and drunkards were called upon immediately to write their lives on paper." Smith then goes on to pay his respects to various officers of the church, all of whom, it should be remembered, held their positions through "revelation" and were therefore professedly chosen directly by God.

Of a statement by Warren Parish, one of the Seventy and an officer of the bank, Smith says: "Granny Parish made such an awful fuss about what was conceived in him that, night after night and day after day, he poured forth his agony before all living, as they saw proper to assemble. For a rational being to have looked at him and heard him groan and grunt, and saw him sweat and struggle, would have supposed that his womb was as much swollen as was Rebecca's when the angel told her there were two nations there." He also accuses Parish of immorality and stealing money.

Here is a part of Smith's picture of Dr. W. A. Cowdery, a presiding high priest: "This poor pitiful beggar came to Kirtland a few years since with a large family, nearly naked and destitute. It was really painful to see this pious Doctor's (for such he professed to be) rags flying when he walked upon the streets. He was taken in by us in this pitiful condition, and we put him into the printing-office and gave him enormous wages, not because he could earn it, but merely out of pity.... A truly niggardly spirit manifested itself in all his meanness."

Smith's old friend Martin Harris, now a high priest, and Cyrus Smalling, one of the Seventy, are lumped among Parish's "lackeys,", of whom Smith says: "They are so far beneath contempt that a notice of them would be too great a sacrifice for a gentleman to make." Of Leonard Rich, one of the seven presidents of the seventy elders, Smith says that he "was generally so drunk that he had to support himself by something to keep from falling down." J. F. Boynton and Luke Johnson, two of the Twelve, are called "a pair of young blacklegs," and Stephen Burnett, an elder, is styled "a little ignorant blockhead, whose heart was so set on money that he would at any time sell his soul for $50, and then think he had made an excellent bargain."

Smith's own personal character was freely attacked, and the subject became so public that it received notice in the Elders' Journal. One charge was improper conduct toward an orphan girl whom Mrs. Smith had taken into her family. Smith's autobiography contains an account of a council held in New Portage, Ohio, in 1834, at which Rigdon accused Martin Harris of telling A. C. Russel that "Joseph drank too much liquor when he was translating the Book of Mormon," and Harris set up as a defence that "this thing occurred previous to the translating of the Book."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XV, p. 12.

There was a good deal of talk concerning a confession "about a girl," which Oliver Cowdery was reported to have said that Smith made to him. Denials of this for Cowdery appeared in the Elders' Journal of July, 1838, one man's statement ending thus, "Joseph asked if he ever said to him (Oliver) that he (Joseph) confessed to any one that he was guilty of the above crime; and Oliver, after some hesitation, answered no."

The Elders' Journal of August, 1838, contains a retraction by Parley P. Pratt of a letter he had written, in which he censured both Smith and Rigdon, "using great severity and harshness in regard to certain business transactions." In that letter Pratt confessed that "the whole scheme of speculation" in which the Mormon leaders were engaged was of the "devil," and he begged Smith to make restitution for having sold him, for $2000, three lots of land that did not cost Smith over $200.

Not only was the moral character of Smith and other individual members of the church successfully attacked at this time, but the charge was openly made that polygamy was practised and sanctioned. In the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," published in Kirtland in 1835, Section 101 was devoted to the marriage rite. It contained this declaration: "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 one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again." The value of such a denial is seen in the ease with which this section was blotted out by Smith's later "revelation" establishing polygamy.

An admission that even elders did practise polygamy at that time is found in a minute of a meeting of the Presidents of the Seventies, held on April 29, 1837, which made this declaration: "First, that we will have no fellowship whatever with any elder belonging to the Quorum of the Seventies, who is guilty of polygamy."*

   * Messenger and Advocate, p. 511.

Again: The Elders' journal dated Far West, Missouri, 1838, contained a list of answers by Smith to certain questions which, in an earlier number, he had said were daily and hourly asked by all classes of people. Among these was the following: "Q. Do the Mormons believe in having more wives than one? A. No, not at the same time." (He condemns the plan of marrying within a few weeks or months of the death of the first wife.) The statement has been made that polygamy first suggested itself to Smith in Ohio, while he was translating the so-called "Book of Abraham" from the papyri found on the Egyptian mummies. This so-called translation required some study of the Old Testament, and it is not at all improbable that Smith's natural inclination toward such a doctrine as polygamy secured a foundation in his reading of the Old Testament license to have a plurality of wives.

For the business troubles hanging over the community, Smith and Rigdon were held especially accountable. The flock had seen the funds confided by them to the Bishop invested partly in land that was divided among some of the Mormon leaders. Smith and Rigdon were provided with a house near the Temple, and a printing-office was established there, which was under Smith's management. Naturally, when the stock and notes of the bank became valueless, its local victims held its organizers responsible for the disaster. Mother Smith gives us an illustration of the depth of this feeling. One Sunday evening, while her husband was preaching at Kirtland, when Joseph was in Cleveland "on business pertaining to the bank," the elder Smith reflected sharply upon Warren Parish, on whom the Smiths tried to place the responsibility for the bank failure. Parish, who was present, leaped forward and tried to drag the old man out of the pulpit. Smith, Sr., appealed to Oliver Cowdery for help, but Oliver retained his seat. Then the prophet's brother William sprang to his father's assistance, and carried Parish bodily out of the church. Thereupon John Boynton, who was provided with a sword cane, drew his weapon and threatened to run it through the younger Smith. "At this juncture," says Mrs. Smith, "I left the house, not only terrified at the scene, but likewise sick at heart to see the apostasy of which Joseph had prophesied was so near at hand."*

   * "Biographical Sketches," p. 221.

Eliza Snow gives a slightly different version of the same outbreak, describing its wind-up as follows:—

"John Boynton and others drew their pistols and bowie knives and rushed down from the stand into a congregation, Boynton saying he would blow out the brains of the first man who dared lay hands on him.... Amid screams and shrieks, the policemen in ejecting the belligerents knocked down a stove pipe, which fell helter-skelter among the people; but, although bowie knives and pistols were wrested from their owners and thrown hither and thither to prevent disastrous results, no one was hurt, and after a short but terrible scene to be enacted in a Temple of God, order was restored and the services of the day proceeded as usual."*

   * "Biography of Lorenzo Snow," p. 20.

Smith made a stubborn defence of his business conduct. He attributed the disaster to the bank to Parish's peculation, and the general troubles of the church to "the spirit of speculation in lands and property of all kinds," as he puts it in his autobiography, wherein he alleges that "the evils were actually brought about by the brethren not giving heed to my counsel." If Smith gave any such counsel, it is unfortunate for his reputation that neither the church records nor his "revelations" contain any mention of it.

The final struggle came in December, 1837, when Smith and Rigdon made their last public appearance in the Kirtland Temple. Smith was as bold and aggressive as ever, but Rigdon, weak from illness, had to be supported to his seat. An eye-witness of the day's proceedings says* that "the pathos of Rigdon's plea, and the power of his denunciation, swayed the feelings and shook the judgments of his hearers as never in the old days of peace, and, when he had finished and was led out, a perfect silence reigned in the Temple until its door had closed upon him forever. Smith made a resolute and determined battle; false reports had been circulated, and those by whom the offence had come must repent and acknowledge their sin or be cut off from fellowship in this world, and from honor and power in that to come." He not only maintained his right to speak as the head of the church, but, after the accused had partly presented their case, and one of them had given him the lie openly, he proposed a vote on their excommunication at once and a hearing of their further pleas at a later date. This extraordinary proposal led one of the accused to cry out, "You would cut a man's head off and hear him afterward." Finally it was voted to postpone the whole subject for a few days.

   * "Early Days of Mormonism," Kennedy, p. 169.

But the two leaders of the church did not attend this adjourned session. Alarmed by rumors that Grandison Newell had secured a warrant for their arrest on a charge of fraud in connection with the affairs of the bank (unfounded rumors, as it later appeared), they fled from Kirtland on horseback on the evening of January 12, 1838, and Smith never revisited that town. In his description of their flight, Smith explained that they merely followed the direction of Jesus, who said, "When they persecute you in one city, flee ye to another." He describes the weather as extremely cold, and says, "We were obliged to secrete ourselves sometimes to elude the grasp of our pursuers, who continued their race more than two hundred miles from Kirtland, armed with pistols, etc., seeking our lives." There is no other authority for this story of an armed pursuit, and the fact seems to be that the non-Mormon community were perfectly satisfied with the removal of the mock prophet from their neighborhood.

Although Kirtland continued to remain a Stake of the church, the real estate scheme of making it a big city vanished with the prophet. Foreclosures of mortgages now began; the church printing-office was first sold out by the sheriff and then destroyed by fire, and the so-called reform element took possession of the Temple. Rigdon had placed his property out of his own hands, one acre of land in Kirtland being deeded by him and his wife to their daughter.

The Temple with about two acres of land adjoining was deeded by the prophet to William Marks in 1837, and in 1841 was redeeded to Smith as trustee in trust for the church. In 1862 it was sold under an order of the probate court by Joseph Smith's administrator, and conveyed the same day to one Russel Huntley, who, in 1873, conveyed it to the prophet's grandson, Joseph Smith, and another representative of the Reorganized Church (nonpolygamist). The title of the latter organization was sustained in 1880 by judge L. S. Sherman, of the Lake County Court of Common Pleas, who held that, "The church in Utah has materially and largely departed from the faith, doctrines, laws, ordinances and usages of said original Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and has incorporated into its system of faith the doctrines of celestial marriage and a plurality of wives, and the doctrine of Adam-God worship, contrary to the laws and constitution of said original church," and that the Reorganized Church was the true and lawful successor to the original organization. At the general conference of the Reorganized Church, held at Lamoni, Iowa, in April, 1901, the Kirtland district reported a membership of 423 members.



The state of Missouri, to which the story of the Mormons is now transferred, was, at the time of its admission to the Union, in 1821, called "a promontory of civilization into an ocean of savagery." Wild Indian tribes occupied the practically unexplored region beyond its western boundary, and its own western counties were thinly settled. Jackson County, which in 1900 had 195,193 inhabitants, had a population of 2823 by the census of 1830, and neighboring counties not so many. It was not until 1830 that the first cabin of a white man was built in Daviess County. All this territory had been released from Indian ownership by treaty only a few years when the first Mormons arrived there.

The white settler's house was a log hut, generally with a dirt floor, a mudplastered chimney, and a window without glass, a board or quilt serving to close it in time of storm or severe cold. A fireplace, with a skillet and kettle, supplied the place of a well-equipped stove. Corn was the principal grain food, and wild game supplied most of the meat. The wild animals furnished clothing as well as food; for the pioneers could not afford to pay from 15 to 25 cents a yard for calico, and from 25 to 75 cents for gingham.* Some persons indulged in homespun cloth for Sunday and festal occasions, but the common outside garments were made of dressed deerskins. Parley P. Pratt, in his autobiography, speaks of passing through a settlement where "some families were entirely dressed in skins, without any other clothing, including ladies young and old."

   * "When the merchants sold a calico or gingham dress pattern they
threw in their profit by giving a spool of thread (two hundred yards),
hooks and eyes and lining. In the thread business, however, it was only
a few years after that thirty and fifty yard spools took the place of
the two hundred yards."—"History of Daviess County", p. 161.

The pioneer agriculturist of those days not only lacked the transportation facilities and improved agricultural appliances which have assisted the developers of the Northwest, but they did not even understand the nature and capability of the soil. The newcomers in western Missouri looked on the rich prairie land as worthless, and they almost invariably directed their course to the timber, where the soil was more easily broken up, and material for buildings was available. The first attempts to plough the prairie sod were very primitive. David Dailey made the first trial in Jackson County with what was called a "barshear plough" (drawn by from four to eight yokes of oxen), the "shear" of which was fastened to the beam. This cut the sod in one direction pretty well, but when he began to cross-furrow, the sod piled up in front of the plough and stopped his progress. Determined to see what the soil would grow, he cut holes in the sod with an axe, and in these dropped his seed. The first sod was broken in Daviess County in 1834, with a plough made to order, "to see what the prairies amounted to in the way of raising a crop." Such was the country toward which the first Mormon missionaries turned their faces.

We have seen that the first intimation in the Mormon records of a movement to the West was found in Smith's order to Oliver Cowdery in 1830 to go and establish the church among the Lamanites (Indians), and that Rigdon expected that the church would remain in Ohio, when he wrote to his flock from Palmyra. The four original missionaries—Cowdery, P. P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer, and Peterson—did not stop long in Kirtland, but, taking with them Frederick G. Williams, they pushed on westward to Sandusky, Cincinnati, and St. Louis, preaching to some Indians on the way, until they reached Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, early in 1831. That county forms a part of the western border of the state, and from 1832, until the railroad took the place of wagon trains, Independence was the eastern terminus of the famous Santa Fe trail, and the point of departure for many companies destined both for Oregon and California. Pratt, describing their journey west of St. Louis, says: "We travelled on foot some three hundred miles, through vast prairies and through trackless wilds of snow; no beaten road, houses few and far between. We travelled for whole days, from morning till night, without a house or fire. We carried on our backs our changes of clothing, several books, and corn bread and raw pork."*

   * "Autobiography of P. P. Pratt," p. 54.

The sole idea of these pioneers seemed to be to preach to the Indians. Arriving at Independence, Whitmer and Peterson went to work to support themselves as tailors, while Cowdery and Pratt crossed the border into the Indian country. The latter, however, were at once pronounced by the federal officers there to be violators of the law which forbade the settlement of white men among the Indians, and they returned to Independence, and preached thereabout during the winter. Early in February the four decided that Pratt should return to Kirtland and make a report, and he did so, travelling partly on foot, partly on horseback, and partly by steamer.

As early as March, 1830, Smith had conceived the idea (or some one else for him) of a gathering of the elect "unto one place" to prepare for the day of desolation (Sec. 29). In October, 1830, the four pioneers were commanded to start "into the wilderness among the Lamanites," and on January 2, 1831, while Rigdon was visiting Smith in New York State, another "revelation" (Sec. 38) described the land of promise as "a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh." This land they and their children were to possess, both "while the earth shall stand, and again in eternity." A "revelation" (Sec. 45), dated March 7, 1831, at Kirtland, called on the faithful to assemble and visit the Western countries, where they were promised an inheritance, to be called "the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of most High God." These things they were to "keep from going abroad into the world" for the present.

The manner in which the elect were told by "revelation" that they should possess their land of promise has a most important bearing on the justification of the opposition which the Missourians soon manifested toward their new neighbors. In one of these "revelations," dated Kirtland, February, 1831 (Sec. 42), Christ is represented as saying, "I will consecrate the riches of the Gentiles unto my people which are of the house of Israel." Another, in the following June (Sec. 52), which directed Smith's and Rigdon's trip, promised the elect, "If ye are faithful ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land in Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, WHICH IS NOW THE LAND OF YOUR ENEMIES." Another, given while Smith was in Missouri, in August, 1831 (Sec. 59), promised to those "who have come up into this land with an eye single to My glory," that "they shall inherit the earth," and "shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth." On the same date the Saints were told that they should "open their hearts even to purchase the whole region of country as soon as time will permit,... lest they receive none inheritance save it be by the shedding of blood." It seems to have been thought wise to add to this last statement, after the return of the party to Ohio, and a "revelation" dated August, 1831 (Sec. 63), was given out, stating that the land of Zion could be obtained only "by purchase or by blood," and "as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city."

   * Tullidge, in his "History of Salt Lake City" (1886), defining
the early Mormon view of their land rights, after quoting Brigham
Young's declaration to the first arrivals in Salt Lake Valley, that he
(or the church) had "no land to sell," but "every man should have his
land measured out to him for city and family purposes," says: "Young
could with absolute propriety give the above utterances on the land
question. In the early days of the church they applied to land not only
owned by the United States, but within the boundaries of states of the
Union." After quoting from the above-cited "revelation" the words "save
they be by the shedding of blood," he explains, "The latter clause of
the quotation signifies that the Mormon prophet foresaw that, unless his
disciples purchased 'this whole region of country' of the unpopulated
Far West of that period, the land question held between them and
anti-Mormons would lead to the shedding of blood, and that they would be
in jeopardy of losing their inheritance; and this was realized."

As to their obligation to pay for any of the "good things" purchased of their enemies, a "revelation" dated September 11, 1831 (the month after the return from Missouri), gave this advice:—

"Behold it is said in my laws, or forbidden, to get in debt to thine enemies;

"But behold it is not said at any time, that the Lord should not take when he pleased, and pay as seemeth him good.

"Wherefore as ye are agents, and ye are on the Lord's errand; and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord, it is the Lord's business, and it is the Lord's business to provide for his Saints in these last days, that they may obtain an inheritance in the land of Zion."—"Book of Commandments," Chap. 65.

In the modern version of this "revelation" to be found in Sec. 64 of the "Doctrine and Covenants," the latter part of this declaration is changed to read, "And he hath set you to provide for his saints in these last days," etc.

So eager were the Saints to occupy their land of Zion, when the movement started, that the word of "revelation" was employed to give warning against a hasty rush to the new possessions, and to establish a certain supervision of the emigration by the Bishop and other agents of the church. Notwithstanding this, the rush soon became embarrassing to the church authorities in Missouri, and a modified view of the Lord's promise was thus stated in the Evening and Morning Star of July, 1832, "Although the Lord has said that it is his business to provide for the Saints in these last days, he is not BOUND to do so unless we observe his sayings and keep them." Saints in the East were warned against giving away their property before moving, and urged not to come to Missouri without some means, and to bring with them cattle and improved breeds of sheep and hogs, with necessary seeds.


On June 7, 1831, a "revelation" was given out (Sec. 52) announcing that the next conference would be held in the promised land in Missouri, and directing Smith and Rigdon to go thither, and naming some thirty elders, including John Corrill, David Whitmer, P. P. and Orson Pratt, Martin Harris, and Edward Partridge, who should also make the trip, two by two, preaching by the way. Booth says: "Only about two weeks were allowed them to make preparations for the journey, and most of them left what business they had to be closed by others. Some left large families, with the crops upon the ground."*

   * Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled."

Smith's party left Kirtland on June 19, and arrived at Independence in the following month, journeying on foot after reaching St. Louis, a distance of about three hundred miles. Smith was delighted with the new country, with "its beautiful rolling prairies, spread out like real meadows; the varied timber of the bottoms; the plums and grapes and persimmons and the flowers; the rich soil, the horses, cattle, and hogs, and the wild game.... The season is mild and delightful nearly three quarters of the year, and as the land of Zion is situated at about equal distances from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, as well as from the Alleghany and Rocky Mountains, it bids fair to become one of the most blessed places on the earth."* The town of Independence then consisted of a brick courthouse, two or three stores, and fifteen or twenty houses, mostly of logs.

   * Smith's "Autobiography," Millennial Star, Vol. XIV.

The usual "revelation" came first (Sec. 57), announcing that "this is the land of promise and the place for the City of Zion," with Independence as its centre, and the site of the Temple a lot near the courthouse. It was also declared that the land should be purchased by the Saints, "and also every tract lying westward, even unto the line running directly between Jew and Gentile" (whatever that might mean), "and also every tract bordering by the prairies." Sidney Gilbert was ordered to "plant himself" there, and establish a store, "that he might sell goods without fraud," to obtain money for the purchase of land. Edward Partridge was "to divide the Saints their inheritance," and W. W. Phelps* and Cowdery were to be printers to the church.

   * Phelps came from Canandaigua, New York, where, Howe says, he
was an avowed infidel. He had been prominent in politics and had edited
a party newspaper. Disappointed in his political ambition, he threw in
his lot with the new church.

Marvellous stories were at once circulated of the grandeur that was to characterize the new city, of the wealth that would be gathered there by the faithful who would survive the speedy destruction of the wicked, and of the coming of the lost tribes of Israel, who had been located near the north pole, where they had become very rich. While not tracing these declarations to Smith himself, Booth, who was one of the party, says that they were told by persons in daily intercourse with him. It is doing the prophet no injustice to say that they bear his imprint.

The laying of the foundation of the City of Zion was next in order. Rigdon delivered an address in consecrating the ground, in which he enjoined them to obey all of Smith's commands. A small scrub oak tree was then cut down and trimmed, and twelve men, representing the Apostles, conveyed it to a designated place. Cowdery sought out the best stone he could find for a corner-stone, removed a little earth, and placed the stone in the excavation, delivering an address. One end of the oak tree was laid on this stone, "and there," says Booth, "was laid down the first stone and stick which are to form an essential part of the splendid City of Zion."

The next day the site of the Temple was consecrated, Smith laying the cornerstone. When the ceremonies were over, the spot was merely marked by a sapling, from two sides of which the bark was stripped, one side being marked with a "T" for Temple, and the other with "ZOM," which Smith stated stood for "Zomas," the original of Zion. At the foot of this sapling lay the corner-stone—"a small stone, covered over with bushes."

Such ceremonies might have been viewed with indulgence if conducted in some suburb of Kirtland. But when men had travelled hundreds of miles at Smith's command, suffering personal privations as well as submitting to pecuniary sacrifices, it was a severe test of their faith to have two small trees and t wo round stones in the wilderness offered to them as the only tangible indications of a land of plenty. Rigdon expressed dissatisfaction with the outcome, as we have seen; Booth left the church as soon as he got back to Ohio; members of the party called Cowdery and Smith imperious, and the prophet and Rigdon incurred the charge of "excessive cowardice" on the way.

Smith made a second trip to Independence, leaving Ohio on April 2, 1832, and arriving there on his return the following June. His stay in Missouri this time was marked by nothing more important than his acknowledgment as President of the high priesthood by a council of the church there, and a "revelation" which declared that Zion's "borders must be enlarged, her Stakes must be strengthened."


The efforts of the church leaders to check too precipitate an emigration to the new Zion were not entirely successful, and, according to the Evening and Morning Star of July, 1833, the Mormons with their families then numbered more than twelve hundred, or about one-third of the total population of the county. The elders had been pushing their proselyting work throughout the States and in Canada, and the idea of a land of plenty appealed powerfully to the new believers, and especially to those of little means. The branch of the church established at Colesville, New York, numbering about sixty members, emigrated in a body and settled twelve miles from Independence. Other settlements were made in the rural districts, and the non-Mormons began to be seriously exercised over the situation. The Saints boasted openly of their future possession of the land, without making clear their idea of the means by which they would obtain title to it. An open defiance in the name of the church appeared in an article in the Evening and Morning Star for July, 1833, which contained this declaration:—

"No matter what our ideas or notions may be on the subject; no matter what foolish report the wicked may circulate to gratify an evil disposition; the Lord will continue to gather the righteous and destroy the wicked, till the sound goes forth, IT IS FINISHED."

With even greater fatuity came the determination to publish the prophet's "revelations" in the form of the "Book of Commandments." Of the effect of this publication David Whitmer says, "The main reason why the printing press [at Independence] was destroyed, was because they published the 'Book of Commandments.' It fell into the hands of the world, and the people of Jackson County saw from the revelations that they were considered intruders upon the Land of Zion, as enemies of the church, and that they should be cut off out of the Land of Zion and sent away."*

   * "Address to All Believers in Christ," p. 54.

Corrill says of the causes of friction between the Mormons and their neighbors:—*

   * Corrill's" Brief History of the Church," p. 19.

"The church got crazy to go up to Zion, as it was then called. The rich were afraid to send up their money to purchase lands, and the poor crowded up in numbers, without having any places provided, contrary to the advice of the Bishop and others, until the old citizens began to be highly displeased. They saw their country filling up with emigrants, principally poor. They disliked their religion, and saw also that, if let alone, they would in a short time become a majority, and of course rule the county. The church kept increasing, and the old citizens became more and more dissatisfied, and from time to time offered to sell their farms and possessions, but the Mormons, though desirous, were too poor to purchase them."*

   * After the survey of Jackson County, Congress granted to the
state of Missouri a large tract of land, the sale of which should be
made for educational purposes, and the Mormons took title to several
thousand acres of this, west of Independence.

The active manifestation of hostility toward the new-comers by the residents of Jackson County first took shape in the spring of 1832, in the stoning of Mormon houses at night and the breaking of windows. Soon afterward a county meeting was called to take measures to secure the removal of the Mormons from that county, but nothing definite was done. The burning of haystacks, shooting into houses, etc., continued until July, 1833, when the Mormon opponents circulated a statement of their complaints, closing with a call for a meeting in the courthouse at Independence, on Saturday, July 20. The text of this manifesto, which is important as showing the spirit as well as the precise grounds of the opposition, is as follows:—

"We, the undersigned, citizens of Jackson County, believing that an important crisis is at hand, as regards our civil society, in consequence of a pretended religious sect of people that have settled, and are still settling, in our county, styling themselves Mormons, and intending, as we do, to rid our society, peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must; and believing as we do, that the arm of the civil law does not afford us a guarantee, or at least, a sufficient one, against the evils which are now inflicted upon us, and seem to be increasing, by the said religious sect, we deem it expedient and of the highest importance to form ourselves into a company for the better and easier accomplishment of our purpose—a purpose, which we deem it almost superfluous to say, is justified as well by the law of nature, as by the law of self preservation.

"It is more than two years since the first of these fanatics, or knaves, (for one or the other they undoubtedly are,) made their first appearance amongst us, and, pretending as they did, and now do, to hold personal communication and converse face to face with the Most High God; to receive communications and revelations direct from heaven; to heal the sick by laying on hands; and, in short, to perform all the wonder-working miracles wrought by the inspired Apostles and Prophets of old.

"We believed them deluded fanatics, or weak and designing knaves, and that they and their pretensions would soon pass away; but in this we were deceived. The arts of a few designing leaders amongst them have thus far succeeded in holding them together as a society; and, since the arrival of the first of them, they have been daily increasing in numbers; and if they had been respectable citizens in society, and thus deluded, they would have been entitled to our pity rather than our contempt and hatred; but from their appearance, from their manners, and from their conduct since their coming among us, we have every reason to fear that, with but few exceptions, they were of the very dregs of that society from which they came, lazy, idle, and vicious. This we conceive is not idle assertion, but a fact susceptible of proof, for with these few exceptions above named, they brought into our county little or no property with them, and left less behind them, and we infer that those only yoked themselves to the Mormon car who had nothing earthly or heavenly to lose by the change; and we fear that if some of the leaders amongst them had paid the forfeit due to crime, instead of being chosen ambassadors of the Most High, they would have been inmates of solitary cells.

"But their conduct here stamps their characters in their true colors. More than a year since, it was ascertained that they had been tampering with our slaves, and endeavoring to rouse dissension and raise seditions amongst them. Of this their Mormon leaders were informed, and they said they would deal with any of their members who should again in like case offend. But how specious are appearances. In a late number of the Star, published in Independence by the leaders of the sect, there is an article inviting free negroes and mulattoes from other states to become Mormons, and remove and settle among us. This exhibits them in still more odious colors. It manifests a desire on the part of their society to inflict on our society an injury, that they knew would be to us entirely insupportable, and one of the surest means of driving us from the county; for it would require none of the supernatural gifts that they pretend to, to see that the introduction of such a caste amongst us would corrupt our blacks, and instigate them to bloodshed.

"They openly blaspheme the Most High God, and cast contempt on His holy religion, by pretending to receive revelations direct from heaven, by pretending to speak unknown tongues by direct inspirations, and by divers pretences derogatory of God and religion, and to the utter subversion of human reason.

"They declare openly that their God hath given them this county of land, and that sooner or later they must and will have the possession of our lands for an inheritance; and, in fine, they have conducted themselves on many other occasions in such a manner that we believe it a duty we owe to ourselves, our wives, and children, to the cause of public morals, to remove them from among us, as we are not prepared to give up our pleasant places and goodly possessions to them, or to receive into the bosom of our families, as fit companions for our wives and daughters, the degraded and corrupted free negroes and mulattoes that are now invited to settle among us.

"Under such a state of things, even our beautiful county would cease to be a desirable residence, and our situation intolerable! We, therefore, agree that, if after timely warning, and receiving an adequate compensation for what little property they cannot take with them, they refuse to leave us in peace, as they found us—we agree to use such means as may be sufficient to remove them, and to that end we each pledge to each other our bodily powers, our lives, fortunes, and sacred honors.

"We will meet at the court-house, at the Town of Independence, on Saturday next, the 20th inst., to consult ulterior movements."*

   * Evening and Morning Star, p. 227; Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p.

Some hundreds of names were signed to this call, and the meeting of July 20 was attended by nearly five hundred persons. There is no doubt that it was a representative county gathering. P. P. Pratt says that the anti-Mormon organization, which he calls "outlaws," was "composed of lawyers, magistrates, county officers, civil and military, religious ministers, and a great number of the ignorant and uninformed portion of the population."* The language of the address adopted shows that skilled pens were not wanting in its preparation.

   * Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 103.

The first business of the meeting was the appointment of a committee to prepare an address stating the grievances of the people with somewhat greater fulness than the manifesto above quoted. Like the latter, it conceded at the start that there was no law under which the object in view could be obtained. It characterized the Mormons as but little above the negroes as regards property or education; charged them with having exerted a "corrupting influence" on the slaves;* asserted that even the more intelligent boasted daily to the Gentiles that the Mormons would appropriate their lands for an inheritance, and that their newspaper organ taught them that the lands were to be taken by the sword. Noting the rapid increase in the immigration of members of the new church, the address, looking to a near day when they would be in a majority in the county, asked: "What would be the state of our lives and property in the hands of jurors and witnesses who do not blush to declare, and would not upon occasion hesitate to swear, that they have wrought miracles, and have been the subjects of miraculous and supernatural cures, have conversed with God and his angels, and possess and exercise the gifts of divination and of unknown tongues, and are fired with the prospect of obtaining inheritances without money and without price, may be better imagined than described." That this apprehension was not without grounds will be seen when we come to the administration of justice in Nauvoo and in Salt Lake City.

   * The Mormons never hesitated to change their position on the
slavery question. An elder's address, published in the Evening and
Morning Star of July, 1833, said: "As to slaves, we have nothing to
say. In connection with the wonderful events of this age, much is doing
toward abolishing slavery and colonizing the blacks in Africa." Three
years later, in April, 1836 the Messenger and Advocate published a
strong proslavery article, denying the right of the people of the North
to interfere with the institution, and picturing the happy condition of
the slaves. Orson Hyde, in the Frontier Guardian in 1850 (quoted in the
Millennial Star, Vol. XIII, p. 63), said: "When a man in the Southern
states embraces our faith and is the owner of slaves, the church says
to him, 'If your slaves wish to remain with you, and to go with you, put
them not away; but if they choose to leave you, and are not satisfied to
remain with you, it is for you to sell them or to let them go free, as
your own conscience may direct you. The church on this point assumes not
the responsibility to direct.'" Horace Greeley quoted Brigham Young
as saying to him in Salt Lake City, "We consider slavery of divine
institution and not to be abolished until the curse pronounced on Ham
shall have been removed from his descendants" ("Overland journey," p.

The address closed with these demands:—

"That no Mormon shall in future move and settle in this county.

"That those now here, who shall give a definite pledge of their intention within a reasonable time to remove out of the county, shall be allowed to remain unmolested until they have sufficient time to sell their property and close their business without any material sacrifice.

"That the editor of the Star (W. W. Phelps) be required forthwith to close his office and discontinue the business of printing in this county; and, as to all other stores and shops belonging to the sect, their owners must in every case strictly comply with the terms of the second article of this declaration; and, upon failure, prompt and efficient measures will be taken to close the same.

"That the Mormon leaders here are required to use their influence in preventing any further emigration of their distant brethren to this county, and to counsel and advise their brethren here to comply with the above regulations.

"That those who fail to comply with the requisitions be referred to those of their brethren who have the gifts of divination and of unknown tongues, to inform them of the lot that awaits them"*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, pp. 487-489.

A recess of two hours was taken in which to permit a committee of twelve to call on Bishop Partridge, Phelps, and Gilbert, and present these terms. This committee reported that these men "declined giving any direct answer to the requisitions made of them, and wished an unreasonable time for consultation, not only with their brethren here, but in Ohio." The meeting thereupon voted unanimously that the Star printing-office should be razed to the ground, and the type and press be "secured."

A report of the action of this meeting and its result was prepared by the chairman and two secretaries, and printed over their signatures in the Western Monitor of Fayette, Missouri, on August 2, 1833, and it is transferred to Smith's autobiography. It agrees with the Mormon account set forth in their later petition to Governor Dunklin. It particularized, however, that the Mormon leaders asked the committee first for three months, and then for ten days, in which to consider the demands, and were told that they could have only fifteen minutes.

What happened next is thus set forth in the chairman's report:—

"Which resolution (for the razing of the Star office) was with the utmost order and the least noise and disturbance possible, forthwith carried into execution, AS ALSO SOME OTHER STEPS OF A SIMILAR TENDENCY; but no blood was spilled nor any blows inflicted."

Mobs do not generally act with the "utmost order," and this one was not an exception to the rule, as an explanation of the "other steps" will make clear. The first object of attack was the printing office, a two-story brick building. This was demolished, causing a loss of $6000, according to the Mormon claims. The mob next visited the store kept by Gilbert, but refrained from attacking it on receiving a pledge that the goods would be packed for removal by the following Tuesday. They then called at the houses of some of the leading Mormons, and conducted Bishop Partridge and a man named Allen to the public square. Partridge told his captors that the saints had been subjected to persecution in all ages; that he was willing to suffer for Christ's sake, but that he would not consent to leave the country. Allen refused either to agree to depart or to deny the inspiration of the Mormon Bible. Both men were then relieved of their hats, coats, and vests, daubed with tar, and decorated with feathers. This ended the proceedings of that day, and an adjournment as announced until the following Tuesday.

On Tuesday, July 23 (the date of the laying of the corner-stone of the Kirtland Temple), the Missourians gathered again in the town, carrying a red flag and bearing arms. The Mormon statement to Governor Dunklin says, "They proceeded to take some of the leading elders by force, declaring it to be their intention to whip them from fifty to five hundred lashes apiece, to demolish their dwelling houses, and let their negroes loose to go through our plantations and lay open our fields for the destruction of our crops."* The official report of the officers of the meeting** says that, when the chairman had taken his seat, a committee was appointed to wait on the Mormons at the request of the latter.

   * Greene, in his "Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons
from the State of Missouri" (1839), says that the mob seized a number of
Mormons and, at the muzzle of their guns, compelled them to confess that
the Mormon Bible was a fraud.
   ** Millennial Star Vol. XIV, p. 500.

As a result of a conference with this committee, a written agreement was entered into, signed by the committee and the Mormons named in it, to this effect: That Oliver Cowdery, W. W. Phelps, W. E. McLellin, Edward Partridge, John Wright, Simeon Carter, Peter and John Whitmer, and Harvey Whitlock, with their families, should move from the county by January 1 next, and use their influence to induce their fellow-Mormons in the county to do likewise—one half by January 1 and all by April 1—and to prevent further immigration of the brethren; John Corrill and A. S. Gilbert to remain as agents to wind up the business of the society, Gilbert to be allowed to sell out his goods on hand; no Mormon paper to be published in the county; Partridge and Phelps to be allowed to go and come after January 1, in winding up their business, if their families were removed by that time; the committee pledging themselves to use their influence to prevent further violence, and assuring Phelps that "whenever he was ready to move, the amount of all his losses in the printing house should be paid to him by the citizens." In view of this arrangement there was no further trouble for more than two months.

The Mormon leaders had, however, no intention of carrying out their part of this undertaking. Corrill, in a letter to Oliver Cowdery written in December, 1833, said that the agreement was made, "supposing that before the time arrived the mob would see their error and stop the violence, or that some means might be employed so that we could stay in peace."* Oliver Cowdery was sent at once to Kirtland to advise with the church officers there. On his arrival, early in August, a council was convened, and it was decided that legal measures should be taken to establish the rights of the Saints in Missouri. Smith directed that they should neither sell their lands nor move out of Jackson County, save those who had signed the agreement.** It was also decided to send Orson Hyde and John Gould to Missouri "with advice to the Saints in their unfortunate situation through the late outrage of the mob."***

   * Evening and Morning Star, January, 1834
   ** Elder Williams's Letter, Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 519.
   *** Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 504.

To strengthen the courage of the flock in Missouri, Smith gave forth at Kirtland, under date of August 2, 1833, a "revelation" (Sec. 97), "in answer to our correspondence with the prophet," says P. P. Pratt,* in which the Lord was represented as saying, "Surely, Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fail, NEITHER BE MOVED OUT OF HER PLACE; for God is there, and the hand of God is there, and he has sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower." The same "revelation" directed that the Temple should be built speedily by means of tithing, and threatened Zion with pestilence, plague, sword, vengeance, and devouring fire unless she obeyed the Lord's commands.

   *Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 100,

The outcome of all the deliberations at Kirtland was the sending of W. W. Phelps and Orson Hyde to Jefferson City with a long petition to Governor Dunklin, setting forth the charges of the Missourians against the Mormons, and the action of the two meetings at Independence, and making a direct appeal to him for assistance, asking him to employ troops in their defence, in order that they might sue for damages, "and, if advisable, try for treason against the government."

The governor sent them a written reply under date of October 19, in which, after expressing sympathy with them in their troubles, he said: "I should think myself unworthy the confidence with which I have been honored by my fellow citizens did I not promptly employ all the means which the constitution and laws have placed at my disposal to avert the calamities with which you are threatened.... No citizen, or number of citizens, have a right to take the redress of their grievances, whether real or imaginary, into their own hands. Such conduct strikes at the very existence of society." He advised the Mormons to invoke the laws in their behalf; to secure a warrant from a justice of the peace, and so test the question "whether the law can be peaceably executed or not"; if not, it would be his duty to take steps to execute it.

The Mormons and their neighbors were thus brought face to face in a manner which admitted of no compromise. The situation naturally seemed rather a simple one to the governor, who was probably ignorant of the intentions and ambition of the Mormons. If he had understood the nature and weight of the objections to them, he would have understood also that he could protect them in their possessions only by maintaining a military force.

His letter gave the Mormons of Jackson County new courage. They had been maintaining a waiting attitude since the meeting of July 23, but now they resumed their occupations, and began to erect more houses, and to improve their places as if for a permanent stay, and meanwhile there was no cessation of the immigration of new members from the East. Their leaders consulted four lawyers in Clay County, and arranged with them to look after their legal interests.

This evident repudiation by the Mormons of their part of their agreement with the committee incensed the Jackson County people, and hostilities were resumed. On the night of October 31, a mob attacked a Mormon settlement called Big Blue, some ten miles west of Independence, damaged a number of houses, whipped some of the men, and frightened women and children so badly that they fled to the outlying country for hiding-places. On the night of November 1, Mormon houses were stoned in Independence, and the church store was broken into and its goods scattered in the street. The Mormons thereupon showed the governor's letter to a justice of the peace, and asked him for a warrant, but their accounts say that he refused one. When they took before the same officer a man whom they caught in the act of destroying their property, the justice not only refused to hold him, but granted a warrant in his behalf against Gilbert, Corrill, and two other Mormons for false imprisonment, and they were locked up.* Thrown on their own resources for defence, the Mormons now armed themselves as well as they could, and established a night picket service throughout their part of the county. On Saturday night, November 2, a second attack was made by the mob on Big Blue and, the Mormons resisting, the first "battle" of this campaign took place. A sick woman received a pistolshot wound in the head, and one of the Mormons a wound in the thigh. Parley P. Pratt and others were then sent to Lexington to procure a warrant from Circuit Judge Ryland, but, according to Pratt, he refused to grant one, and "advised us to fight and kill the outlaws whenever they came upon us."**

   * Corrill's letter, Evening and Morning Star, January, 1834.
   ** Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 105.

On Monday evening, November 4, a body of Missourians who had been visiting some of the Mormon settlements came in contact with a company of Mormons who had assembled for defence, and an exchange of shots ensued, by which a number on both sides were wounded, one of the Mormons dying the next day.

These conflicts increased the excitement, and the Mormons, knowing how they were outnumbered, now realized that they could not stay in Jackson County any longer, and they arranged to move. At first they decided to make their new settlement only fifty miles south of Independence, in Van Buren County, but to this the Jackson County people would not consent. They therefore agreed to move north into Clay County, between which and Jackson County the Missouri River, which there runs east, formed the boundary. Most of them went to Clay County, but others scattered throughout the other nearby counties, whose inhabitants soon let them know that their presence was not agreeable.

The hasty removal of these people so late in the season was accompanied by great personal hardships and considerable pecuniary loss. The Mormons have stated the number of persons driven out at fifteen hundred, and the number of houses burned; before and after their departure, at from two hundred to three hundred. Cattle and household effects that could not be moved were sold for what they would bring, and those who took with them sufficient provisions for their immediate wants considered themselves fortunate. One party of six men and about one hundred and fifty women and children, panic-stricken by the action of the mob, wandered for several days over the prairie without even sufficient food. The banks of the Missouri River where the fugitives were ferried across presented a strange spectacle. In a pouring rain the big company were encamped there on November 7, some with tents and some without any cover, their household goods piled up around them. Children were born in this camp, and the sick had to put up with such protection as could be provided. So determined were the Jackson County people that not a Mormon should remain among them, that on November 23 they drove out a little settlement of some twenty families living about fifteen miles from Independence, compelling women and children to depart on immediate notice.

The Mormons made further efforts through legal proceedings to assert their rights in Jackson County, but unsuccessfully. The governor declared that the situation did not warrant him in calling out the militia, and referred them to the courts for redress for civil injuries. In later years they appealed more than once to the federal authorities at Washington for assistance in reestablishing themselves in Jackson County,* but were informed that the matter rested with the state of Missouri. Their future bitterness toward the federal government was explained on the ground of this refusal to come to their aid.

   * James Hutchins, a resident of Wisconsin, addressed a long
appeal "for justice" to President Grant in 1876, asking him to reinstate
the Mormons in the homes from which they had been driven.

Meanwhile Smith had been preparing to use the authority at his command to make good his predictions about the permanency of the church in the Missouri Zion. On December 6, 1833, he gave out a long "revelation" at Kirtland (Sec. 101), which created a great sensation among his followers. Beginning with the declaration that "I, the Lord," have suffered affliction to come on the brethren in Missouri "in consequence of their transgressions, envyings and stripes, and lustful and covetous desires," it went on to promise them as follows:—

"Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.... And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed; neither shall there be any other place appointed than that which I have appointed, for the work of the gathering of my saints, until the day cometh when there is found no more room for them."

The "revelation" then stated the Lord's will "concerning the redemption of Zion" in the form of a long parable which contained these instructions:—

"And go ye straightway into the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard, for it is mine, I have bought it with money.

"Therefore get ye straightway unto my land; break down the walls of mine enemies; throw down their tower and scatter their watchmen;

"And inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land."

This "revelation" was industriously circulated in printed form among the churches of Ohio and the East, and so great was the demand for copies that they sold for one dollar each. The only construction to be placed upon it was that Smith proposed to make good his predictions by means of an armed force led against the people of Missouri. This view soon had confirmation.

The arrival of P. P. Pratt and Lyman Wight in Kirtland in February, 1834, was followed by a "revelation" (Sec. 103) promising an outpouring of God's wrath on those who had expelled the brethren from their Missouri possessions, and declaring that "the redemption of Zion must needs come by power," and that Smith was to lead them, as Moses led the children of Israel.

In obedience to this direction there was assembled a military organization, known in church history as "The Army of Zion." Recruiters, led by Smith and Rigdon, visited the Eastern states, and by May 1 some two hundred men had assembled at Kirtland ready to march to Missouri to aid their brethren.*

   * There are three detailed accounts of this expedition, one in
Smith's autobiography, another in H. C. Kimball's journal in Times and
Seasons, Vol. 6, and another in Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," procured
from one of the accompanying sharpshooters.

The Army of Zion, as it called itself, was not an impressive one in appearance. Military experience was not required of the recruits; but no one seems to have been accepted who was not in possession of a weapon and at least $5 in cash. The weapons ranged from butcher knives and rusty swords to pistols, muskets, and rifles. Smith himself carried a fine sword, a brace of pistols (purchased on six months' credit), and a rifle, and had four horses allotted to him. He had himself elected treasurer of the expedition, and to him was intrusted all the money of the men, to be disbursed as his judgment dictated.

According to his own account, they were constantly threatened by enemies during their march; but they paid no attention to them, knowing that angels accompanied them as protectors, "for we saw them."

As they approached Clay County a committee from Ray County called on them to inquire about their intention, and, when a few miles from Liberty, in Clay County, General Atchison and other Missourians met them and warned them not to defy popular feeling by entering that town. Accepting this advice, they took a circuitous route and camped on Rush Creek, whence Smith on June 25 sent a letter to General Atchison's committee saying that, in the interest of peace, "we have concluded that our company shall be immediately dispersed."

The night before this letter was sent, cholera broke out in the camp. Smith at once attempted to perform miraculous cures of the victims, but he found actual cholera patients very different to deal with from old women with imaginary ailments, or, as he puts it, "I quickly learned by painful experience that, when the great Jehovah decrees destruction upon any people, and makes known his determination, man must not attempt to stay his hand."* There were thirteen deaths in camp, among the victims being Sidney Gilbert.

   * "Millennial Star, Vol. XV, p. 86.

Of course, some explanation was necessary to reconcile the prophet's surrender without a battle with the "revelation" which directed the army to march and promised a victory. This came in the shape of another "revelation" (Sec. 105) which declared that the immediate redemption of the people must be delayed because of their disobedience and lack of union (especially excepting himself from this censure); that the Lord did not "require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion"; that a large enough force had not assembled at the Lord's command, and that those who had made the journey were "brought thus far for a trial of their faith." The brethren were directed not to make boasts of the judgment to come on the Missourians, but to keep quiet, and "gather together, as much in one region as can be, consistently with the feelings of the people"; to purchase all the lands in Jackson County they could, and then "I will hold the armies of Israel guiltless in taking possession of their own lands, which they have previously purchased with their monies, and of throwing down the powers of mine enemies." But first the Lord's army was to become very great.

It seems incredible that any set of followers could retain faith in "revelations" at once so conflicting and so nonsensical.


Meanwhile, the Mormons in Clay County, with the assent of the natives there, had opened a factory for the manufacture of arms "to pay the Jackson mob in their own way,"* and it was rumored that both sides were supplying themselves with cannon, to make the coming contest the more determined. Governor Dunklin, fearing a further injury to the good name of the state, wrote to Colonel J. Thornton urging a compromise, and on June 10 Judge Ryland sent a communication to A. S. Gilbert, asking him to call a meeting of Mormons in Liberty for a discussion of the situation.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XV, p. 68.

This meeting was held on June 16, and a committee from Jackson County presented the following proposition: "That the value of the lands, and the improvements thereon, of the Mormons in Jackson County, be ascertained by three disinterested appraisers, representatives of the Mormons to be allowed freely to point out the lands claimed and the improvements; that the people of Jackson County would agree to pay the Mormons the valuation fixed by the appraisers, WITH ONE HUNDRED PER CENT ADDED, within thirty days of the award; or, the Jackson County citizens would agree to sell out their lands in that county to the Mormons on the same terms." The Mormon leaders agreed to call a meeting of their people to consider this proposition.

The fifteen Jackson County committeemen, it may be mentioned, in crossing the river on their way home, were upset, and seven of them were drowned, including their chairman, J. Campbell, who was reported to have made threats against Smith. The latter thus reports the accident in his autobiography, "The angel of God saw fit to sink the boat about the middle of the river, and seven, out of the twelve that attempted to cross were drowned, thus suddenly and justly went they to their own place by water."

On June 21 the Mormons gave written notice to the Jackson County people that the terms proposed were rejected, and that they were framing "honorable propositions" on their own part, which they would soon submit, adding a denial of a rumor that they intended a hostile invasion. Their objection to the terms proposed was thus stated in an editorial in the Evening and Morning Star of July, 1834, "When it is understood that the mob hold possession of a large quantity of land more than our friends, and that they only offer thirty days for the payment of the same, it will be seen that they are only making a sham to cover their past unlawful conduct." This explanation ignores entirely the offer of the Missourians to buy out the Mormons at a valuation double that fixed by the appraisers, and simply shows that they intended to hold to the idea that their promised Zion was in Jackson County, and that they would not give it up.*

   * The idea of returning to a Zion in Jackson County has never
been abandoned by the Mormon church. Bishop Partridge took title to the
Temple lot in Independence in his own name. In 1839, when the Mormons
were expelled from the state, still believing that this was to be
the site of the New Jerusalem, he deeded sixty-three acres of land in
Jackson County, including this lot, to three small children of Oliver
Cowdery. In 1848, seven years after Partridge's death, and when all the
Cowdery grantees were dead, a man named Poole got a deed for this land
from the heirs of the grantees, and subsequent conveyances were made
under Poole's deed. In 1851 a branch of the church, under a title
Church of Christ, known as Hendrickites, from Grandville Hendrick, its
originator, was organized in Illinois, with a basis of belief which
rejects most of the innovations introduced since 1835. Hendrick in 1864
was favored with a "revelation" which ordered the removal of his church
to Jackson County. On arriving there different members quietly bought
parts of the old Temple lot. In 1887 the sole surviving sister and heir
of the Cowdery children executed a quit claim deed of the lot to Bishop
Blakeslee of the Reorganized Church in Iowa, and that church at once
began legal proceedings to establish their title. Judge Philips, of
the United States Circuit Court for the Western Division of Missouri,
decided the case in March, 1894, in favor of the Reorganized Church, but
the United States Court of Appeals reversed this decision on the ground
that the respondents had title through undisputed possession ("United
States Court of Appeals Reports," Vol. XVII, p. 387). The Hendrickites
in this suit were actively aided by the Utah Mormons, President Woodruff
being among their witnesses. This Church of Christ has now a membership
of less than two hundred.

Two Mormon elders, describing their visit to Independence in 1888, said that they went to the Temple lot and prayed as follows: "O Lord, remember thy words, and let not Zion suffer forever. Hasten her redemption, and let thy name be glorified in the victory of truth and righteousness over sin and iniquity. Confound the enemies of the people and let Zion be free:"—"Infancy of the Church," Salt Lake City, 1889.

On June 23 (the date of Smith's last quoted "revelation"), the Mormons presented their counter proposition in writing. It was that a board of six Mormons and six Jackson County non-Mormons should decide on the value of lands in that county belonging to "those men who cannot consent to live with us," and that they should receive this sum within a year, less the amount of damage suffered by the Mormons, the latter to be determined by the same persons. The Jackson County people replied that they would "do nothing like according to their last proposition," and expressed a hope that the Mormons "would cast an eye back of Clinton, to see if that is not a county calculated for them." Clinton was the county next north of Clay.

Governor Dunklin, in his annual message to the legislature that year, expressed the opinion that "conviction for any violence committed against a Mormon cannot be had in Jackson County," and told the lawmakers it was for them to determine what amendments were necessary "to guard against such acts of violence for the future." The Mormons sent a petition in their own behalf to the legislature, which was presented by Corrill, but no action was taken.


The counties in which the Mormons settled after leaving Jackson County were thinly populated at that time, Clay County having only 5338 inhabitants, according to the census of 1830, and Caldwell, Carroll, and Daviess counties together having only 6617 inhabitants by the census of 1840. County rivalry is always a characteristic of our newly settled states and territories, and the Clay County people welcomed the Mormons as an addition to their number, notwithstanding the ill favor in which they stood with their southern neighbors. The new-comers at first occupied what vacant cabins they could find in the southern part of the county, until they could erect houses of their own, while the men obtained such employment as was offered, and many of the women sought places as domestic servants and school-teachers. The Jackson County people were not pleased with this friendly spirit, and they not only tried to excite trouble between the new neighbors, but styled the Clay County residents "Jack Mormons," a name applied in later years in other places to non-Mormons who were supposed to have Mormon sympathies.

Peace was maintained, however, for about three years. But the Mormons grew in numbers, and, as the natives realized their growth, they showed no more disposition to be in the minority than did their southern neighbors. The Mormons, too, were without tact, and they did not conceal the intention of the church to possess the land. Proof of their responsibility for what followed is found in a remark of W. W. Phelps, in a letter from Clay County to Ohio in December, 1833, that "our people fare very well, and, when they are discreet, little or no persecution is felt."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, p. 646.

The irritation kept on increasing, and by the spring of 1836 Clay County had become as hostile to the Mormons as Jackson County had ever been. In June, the course adopted in Jackson County to get rid of the new-comers was imitated, and a public meeting in the court house at Liberty adopted resolutions* setting forth that civil war was threatened by the rapid immigration of Mormons; that when the latter were received, in pity and kindness, after their expulsion across the river, it was understood that they would leave "whenever a respectable portion of the citizens of this county should require it," and that that time had now come. The reasons for this demand included Mormon declarations that the county was destined by Heaven to be theirs, opposition to slavery, teaching the Indians that they were to possess the land with the Saints, and their religious tenets, which, it was said, "always will excite deep prejudices against them in any populous country where they may locate." In explanations of the anti-Mormon feeling in Missouri frequent allusion is made to polygamous practices. This was not charged in any of the formal statements against them, and Corrill declares that they had done nothing there that would incriminate them under the law. The Mormons were urged to seek a new abiding-place, the territory of Wisconsin being recommended for their investigation. The resolutions confessed that "we do not contend that we have the least right, under the constitution and laws of the country, to expel them by force"; but gave as an excuse for the action taken the certainty of an armed conflict if the Mormons remained. Newly arrived immigrants were advised to leave immediately, non-landowners to follow as soon as they could gather their crops and settle up their business, and owners of forty acres to remain indefinitely, until they could dispose of their real estate without loss.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XV, p. 763.

The Mormons, on July 1, adopted resolutions denying the charges against them, but agreeing to leave the county. The Missourians then appointed a committee to raise money to assist the needy Saints to move. Smith and his associates in Ohio had not at that time the same interest in a Zion in Missouri that they had three years earlier, and they only expressed sorrow over the new troubles, and advised the fugitives to stop short of Wisconsin if they could. An appeal was again made by the Missouri Mormons to the governor of that state, but he now replied that if they could not convince their neighbors of their innocence, "all I can say to you is that in this republic the vox populi is the vox dei."

The Mormons selected that part of Ray County from which Caldwell County was formed (just northeast of Clay County) for their new abode, and on their petition the legislature framed the new county for their occupancy. This was then almost unsettled territory, and the few inhabitants made no objection to the coming of their new neighbors. They secured a good deal of land, some by purchase, and some by entry on government sections, and began its improvement. Many of them were so poor that they had to seek work in the neighboring counties for the support of their families. Some of their most intelligent members afterward attributed their future troubles in that state to their failure to keep within their own county boundaries.

As the county seat they founded a town which they named Far West, and which soon presented quite a collection of houses, both log and frame, schools, and shops. Phelps wrote in the summer of 1837, "Land cannot be had around town now much less than $10 per acre."* There were practically no inhabitants but Mormons within fifteen or twenty miles of the town,** and the Saints were allowed entire political freedom. Of the county officers, two judges, thirteen magistrates, the county clerk, and all the militia officers were of their sect. They had credit enough to make necessary loans, and, says Corrill, "friendship began to be restored between them and their neighbors, the old prejudices were fast dying away, and they were doing well, until the summer of 1838."

   * Messenger and Advocate, July, 1837.
   ** Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 53.

It was in January, 1838, that Smith fled from Kirtland. He arrived in Far West in the following March; Rigdon was detained in Illinois a short time by the illness of a daughter. Smith's family went with him, and they were followed by many devoted adherents of the church, who, in order to pay church debts in Ohio and the East, had given up their property in exchange for orders on the Bishop at Far West. In other words, they were penniless.

The business scandals in Ohio had not affected the reputation of the church leaders with their followers in Missouri (where the bank bills had not circulated) and Smith and Rigdon received a hearty welcome, their coming being accepted as a big step forward in the realization of their prophesied Zion. It proved, however, to be the cause of the expulsion of their followers from the state.


While the church, in a material sense, might have been as prosperous as Corrill pictured, Smith, on his arrival, found it in the throes of serious internal discord. The month before he reached Far West, W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer, of the Presidency there, had been tried before a general assembly of the church,* and almost unanimously deposed on several charges, the principal one being a claim on their part to $2000 of the church funds which they had bound the Bishop to pay to them. Whitmer was also accused of persisting in the use of tea, coffee, and tobacco. T. B. Marsh, one of the Presidents pro tem. selected in their places, in a letter to the prophet on this subject, said:—

   * For the minutes of this General Assembly, and text of Marsh's
letter, see Elders' Journal, July, 1838.

"Had we not taken the above measures, we think that nothing could have prevented a rebellion against the whole High Council and Bishop; so great was the disaffection against the Presidents that the people began to be jealous that the whole authorities were inclined to uphold these men in wickedness, and in a little time the church undoubtedly would have gone every man his own way, like sheep without a shepherd."

On April 11, Elder Bronson presented nine charges against Oliver Cowdery to the High Council, which promptly found him guilty of six of them, viz. urging vexatious lawsuits against the brethren, accusing the prophet of adultery, not attending meeting, returning to the practice of law "for the sake of filthy lucre," "disgracing the church by being connected with the bogus [counterfeiting] business, retaining notes after they had been paid," and generally "forsaking the cause of God." On this finding he was expelled from the church. Two days later David Whitmer was found guilty of unchristianlike conduct and defaming the prophet, and was expelled, and Lyman E. Johnson met the same fate.* Smith soon announced a "revelation" (Sec. 114), directing the places of the expelled to be filled by others.

   * For minutes of these councils, see Millennial Star, Vol. XVI,
pp. 130-134.

It was in the June following that the paper drawn up by Rigdon and signed by eighty-three prominent members of the church was presented to the recalcitrants, ordering them to leave the county, and painting their characters in the blackest hues.* This radical action did not meet the approval of the more conservative element, which included men like Corrill, and he soon announced that he was no longer a Mormon. Not long afterward Thomas B. Marsh, one of the original members of the High Council of Twelve in Missouri, and now President of the Twelve, and Orson Hyde, one of the original Apostles, also seceded, and both gave testimony about the Mormon schemes in Caldwell and Daviess Counties. Cowdery and Whitmer considered their lives in such danger that they fled on horseback at night, leaving their families, and after riding till daylight in a storm, reached the house of a friend, where they found refuge until their families could join them.

   * See p. 81 ante. For the full text of Rigdon's paper, see the
"Correspondence, Orders, etc., in Relation to the Mormon Disturbances in
Missouri," published by order of the Missouri legislature (1841).

The most important event that followed the expulsion of leading members from the church by the High Council was the formation of that organization which has been almost ever since known as the Danites, whose dark deeds in Nauvoo were scarcely more than hinted at,* but which, under Brigham Young's authority in Utah, became a band of murderers, ready to carry out the most radical suggestion which might be made by any higher authority of the church.

   * Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 158.

Corrill, an active member of the church in Missouri, writing in 1839 with the events fresh in his memory, said* that the members of the Danite society entered into solemn covenants to stand by one another when in difficulty, whether right or wrong, and to correct each other's wrongs among themselves, accepting strictly the mandates of the Presidency as standing next to God. He explains that "many were opposed to this society, but such was their determination and also their threatenings, that those opposed dare not speak their minds on the subject.... It began to be taught that the church, instead of God, or, rather, the church in the hands of God, was to bring about these things (judgments on the wicked), and I was told, but I cannot vouch for the truth of it, that some of them went so far as to contrive plans how they might scatter poison, pestilence, and disease among the inhabitants, and make them think it was judgments sent from God. I accused Smith and Rigdon of it, but they both denied it promptly."

   * "Brief History of the Church," pp. 31, 32.

Robinson, in his reminiscences in the Return in later years, gave the same date of the organization of the Danites, and said that their first manifesto was the one directed against Cowdery, Whitmer, and others.

We must look for the actual origin of this organization, however, to some of the prophet's instructions while still at Kirtland. In his "revelation" of August 6, 1833 (Sec. 98), he thus defined the treatment that the Saints might bestow upon their enemies: "I have delivered thine enemy into thine hands, and then if thou wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness;... nevertheless thine enemy is in thine hands, and if thou reward him according to his works thou art justified, if he has sought thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified."

What such a license would mean to a following like Smith's can easily be understood.

The next step in the same direction was taken during the exercises which accompanied the opening of the Kirtland Temple. Three days after the dedicatory services, all the high officers of the church, and the official members of the stake, to the number of about three hundred, met in the Temple by appointment to perform the washing of feet. While this was going on (following Smith's own account),* "the brethren began to prophesy blessings upon each other's heads, and cursings upon the enemies of Christ who inhabit Jackson County, Missouri, and continued prophesying and blessing and sealing them, with hosannah and amen, until nearly seven o'clock P. M. The bread and wine were then brought in. While waiting, I made the following remarks, 'I want to enter into the following covenant, that if any more of our brethren are slain or driven from their lands in Missouri by the mob, we will give ourselves no rest until we are avenged of our enemies to the uttermost.' This covenant was sealed unanimously, with a hosannah and an amen." **

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XV, pp. 727-728.
   * "The spirit of that covenant evidently bore fruit in the Fourth
of July oration of 1838 and the Mountain Meadow Massacre."—The Return,
Vol. II, p. 271.

The original name chosen for the Danites was "Daughters of Zion," suggested by the text Micah iv. 13: "Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion; for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thine hoofs brass; and thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I will consecrate thy gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth." "Daughters" of anybody was soon decided to be an inappropriate designation for such a band, and they were next called "Destroying (or Flying) Angels," a title still in use in Utah days; then the "Big Fan," suggested by Jeremiah xv. 7, or Luke iii. 17; then "Brothers of Gideon," and finally "Sons of Dan" (whence the name Danites,) from Genesis xlix. 17: "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse's heels, so that his rider shall fall backward."*

   * Hyde's "Mormonism Exposed," pp. 104-105.

Avard presented the text of the constitution to the court at Richmond, Missouri, during the inquiry before Judge King in November, 1838* It begins with a preamble setting forth the agreement of the members "to regulate ourselves under such laws as in righteousness shall be deemed necessary for the preservation of our holy religion, and of our most sacred rights, and the rights of our wives and children," and declaring that, "not having the privileges of others allowed to us, we have determined, like unto our fathers, to resist tyranny, whether it be in kings or in the people. It is all alike to us. Our rights we must have, and our rights we shall have, in the name of Israel's God." The President of the church and his counsellors were to hold the "executive power," and also, along with the generals and colonels of the society, to hold the "legislative powers"; this legislature to "have power to make all laws regulating the society, and regulating punishments to be administered to the guilty in accordance with the offence." Thus was furnished machinery for carrying out any decree of the officers of the church against either life or property.

   * Missouri "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," pp. 101-102.

The Danite oath as it was administered in Nauvoo was as follows:—"In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I do solemnly obligate myself ever to regard the Prophet and the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as the supreme head of the church on earth, and to obey them in all things, the same as the supreme God; that I will stand by my brethren in danger or difficulty, and will uphold the Presidency, right or wrong; and that I will ever conceal, and never reveal, the secret purposes of this society, called Daughters of Zion. Should I ever do the same, I hold my life as the forfeiture, in a caldron of boiling oil."*

   * Bennett's "History of the Saints," p. 267.

John D. Lee, who was a member of the organization, explaining their secret signs, says,* "The sign or token of distress is made by placing the right hand on the right side of the face, with the points of the fingers upward, shoving the hand upward until the ear is snug up between the thumb and forefinger."

   *Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 57.

It has always been the policy of the Mormon church to deny to the outside world that any such organization as the Danites existed, or at least that it received the countenance of the authorities. Smith's City Council in Nauvoo made an affidavit that there was no such society there, and Utah Mormons have professed similar ignorance. Brigham Young, himself, however, gave testimony to the contrary in the days when he was supreme in Salt Lake City. In one of his discourses which will be found reported in the Deseret News (Vol. VII, p. 143) he said: "If men come here and do not behave themselves, they will not only find the Danites, whom they talk so much about, biting the horses' heels, but the scoundrels will find something biting THEIR heels. In my plain remarks I merely call things by their own names." It need only be added that the church authority has been powerful enough at any time in the history of the church to crush out such an organization if it so desired.

A second organization formed about the same time, at a fully attended meeting of the Mormons of Daviess County, was called "The Host of Israel." It was presided over by captains of tens, of fifties, and of hundreds, and, according to Lee, "God commanded Joseph Smith to place the Host of Israel in a situation for defence against the enemies of God and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

Another important feature of the church rule that was established at this time was the tithing system, announced in a "revelation" (Sec. 119), which is dated July 8, 1838. This required the flock to put all their "surplus property" into the hands of the Bishop for the building of the Temple and the payment of the debts of the Presidency, and that, after that, "those who have thus been tithed, shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and this shall be a standing law unto them forever."

Ebenezer Robinson gives an interesting explanation of the origin of tithing. *In May, 1838, the High Council at Far West, after hearing a statement by Rigdon that it was absolutely necessary for the church to make some provision for the support of the families of all those who gave their entire time to church affairs, instructed the Bishop to deed to Smith and Rigdon an eighty-acre lot belonging to the church, and appointed a committee of three to confer with the Presidency concerning their salary for that year. Smith and Rigdon thought that $1100 would be a proper sum, and the committee reported in favor of a salary, but left the amount blank. The council voted the salaries, but this action caused such a protest from the church members that at the next meeting the resolution was rescinded. Only a few days later came this "revelation" requiring the payment of tithes, in which there was no mention of using any of the money for the poor, as was directed in the Ohio "revelation" about the consecration of property to the Bishop.

   * The Return, Vol. 1, p. 136.

This tithing system has provided ever since the principal revenue of the church. By means of it the Temple was built at Nauvoo, and under it vast sums have been contributed in Utah. By 1878 the income of the church by this source was placed at $1,000,000 a year,* and during Brigham Young's administration the total receipts were estimated at $13,000,000. We shall see that Young made practically no report of the expenditure of this vast sum that passed into his control. To Horace Greeley's question, "What is done with the proceeds of this tithing?" Young replied, "Part of it is devoted to building temples and other places of worship, part to helping the poor and needy converts on their way to this country, and the largest portion to the support of the poor among the Saints."

   * Salt Lake Tribune, June 25, 1879.

As the authority of the church over its members increased, the regulation about the payment of tithes was made plainer and more severe. Parley P. Pratt, in addressing the General Conference in Salt Lake City in October, 1849, said, "To fulfil the law of tithing, a man should make out and lay before the Bishop a schedule of all his property, and pay him one-tenth of it. When he hath tithed his principal once, he has no occasion to tithe again; but the next year he must pay one-tenth of his increase, and one-tenth of his time, of his cattle, money, goods, and trade; and, whatever use we put it to, it is still our own, for the Lord does not carry it away with him to heaven."* Millennial Star, Vol. XII, p. 134.

The Seventh General Epistle to the church (September, 1851) made this statement, "It is time that the Saints understood that the paying of their tithing is a prominent portion of the labor which is allotted to them, by which they are to secure a future residence in the heaven they are seeking after."* This view was constantly presented to the converts abroad.

   * Ibid., Vol. XIV, p. 18.

At the General Conference in Salt Lake City on September 8, 1850, Brigham Young made clear his radical view of tithing—a duty, he declared, that few had lived up to. Taking the case of a supposed Mr. A, engaged in various pursuits (to represent the community), starting with a capital of $100,000 he must surrender $10,000 of this as tithing. With his remaining $90,000 he gains $410,000; $41,000 of this gain must be given into the storehouse of the Lord. Next he works nine days with his team; the tenth day's work is for the church, as is one-tenth of the wheat he raises, one-tenth of his sheep, and one-tenth of his eggs.*

   * Ibid., Vol. XIII, p. 21.

Under date of July 18, came another "revelation" (Sec. 120), declaring that the tithings "shall be disposed of by a Council, composed of the First Presidency of my church, and of the Bishop and his council, and by my High Council." The first meeting of this body decided "that the First Presidency should keep all their property that they could dispose of to advantage for their support, and the remainder be put into the hands of the Bishop, according to the commandments."* The coolness of this proceeding in excepting Smith and Rigdon from the obligation to pay a tithe is worthy of admiration.

   * Ibid., Vol. XVI, p. 204.


Smith had shown his dominating spirit as soon as he arrived at Far West. In April, 1838, he announced a "revelation" (Sec. 115), commanding the building of a house of worship there, the work to begin on July 4, the speedy building up of that city, and the establishment of Stakes in the regions round about. This last requirement showed once more Smith's lack of judgment, and it became a source of irritation to the non-Mormons, as it was thought to foreshadow a design to control the neighboring counties. Hyde says that Smith and Rigdon deliberately planned the scattering of the Saints beyond the borders of Clay County with a view to political power.*

   * Hyde's "Mormonism," p. 203.

In accordance with this scheme, a "revelation" of May 19 (Sec. 116), directed the founding of a town on Grand River in Daviess County, twenty-five miles northwest of Far West. This settlement was to be called "Adam-ondi-Ahman," "because it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the Prophet." The "revelation" further explains that, three years before his death, Adam called a number of high priests and all of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there blessed them. Lee (who, following the common pronunciation, writes the name "Adam-on-Diamond") expresses the belief, which Smith instilled into his followers, that it "was at the point where Adam came and settled and blessed his posterity, after being driven from the Garden of Eden. There Adam and Eve tarried for several years, and engaged in tilling the soil." By order of the Presidency, another town was started in Carroll County, where the Saints had been living in peace. Immediately the new settlement was looked upon as a possible rival of Gallatin, the county seat, and the non-Mormons made known their objections.

   * "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 91.

With Smith and Rigdon on the ground, if these men had had any tact, or any purpose except to enforce Mormon supremacy in whatever part of Missouri they chose to call Zion, the troubles now foreshadowed might easily have been prevented. Every step they took, however, was in the nature of a defiance. The sermons preached to the Mormons that summer taught them that they would be able to withstand, not only the opposition of the Missourians, but of the United States, if this should be put to the test.*

   * Corrill's "Brief History of the Church," p. 29.

The flock in and around Far West were under the influence of such advice when they met on July 4 to lay the corner-stone of the third Temple, whose building Smith had revealed, and to celebrate the day. There was a procession, with a flagpole raising, and Smith embraced the occasion to make public announcement of the tithing "revelation" (although it bears a later date).

The chief feature of the day, and the one that had most influence on the fortunes of the church, was a sermon by Sidney Rigdon, known ever since as the "salt sermon," from the text Matt. v. 13: "If the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." He first applied these words to the men who had made trouble in the church, declaring that they ought to be trodden under foot until their bowels gushed out, citing as a precedent that "the apostles threw Judas Iscariot down and trampled out his bowels, and that Peter stabbed Ananias and Sapphira." It was what followed, however, which made the serious trouble, a defiance to their Missouri opponents in these words: "It is not because we cannot, if we were so disposed, enjoy both the honors and flatteries of the world, but we have voluntarily offered them in sacrifice, and the riches of the world also, for a more durable substance. Our God has promised a reward of eternal inheritance, and we have believed his promise, and, though we wade through great tribulations, we are in nothing discouraged, for we know he that has promised is faithful. The promise is sure, and the reward is certain. It is because of this that we have taken the spoiling of our goods. Our cheeks have been given to the smiters, and our heads to those who have plucked off the hair. We have not only, when smitten on one cheek, turned the other, but we have done it again and again, until we are weary of being smitten, and tired of being trampled upon. We have proved the world with kindness; we have suffered their abuse, without cause, with patience, and have endured without resentment, until this day, and still their persecution and violence does not cease. But from this day and this hour, we will suffer it no more.

"We take God and all the holy angels to witness this day, that we warn all men, in the name of Jesus Christ, to come on us no more for ever, for, from this hour, we will bear it no more. Our rights shall no more be trampled on with impunity. The man, or set of men, who attempt it, DOES IT AT THE EXPENSE OF THEIR LIVES. And that mob that comes on us to disturb us, it shall be between us and them A WAR OF EXTERMINATION, FOR WE WILL FOLLOW THEM TO THE LAST DROP OF THEIR BLOOD IS SPILLED, OR ELSE THEY WILL HAVE TO EXTERMINATE US; for we will carry the seat of war to their own houses, and their own families, and one party or the other SHALL BE UTTERLY DESTROYED. Remember it then, all men.

"We will never be aggressors; we will infringe on rights of no people; but shall stand for our own until death. We claim our own rights, and are willing that all shall enjoy theirs.

"No man shall be at liberty to come in our streets, to threaten us with mobs, for if he does, he shall atone for it before he leaves the place; neither shall he be at liberty to vilify or slander any of us, for suffer it we will not in this place.

"We therefore take all men to record this day, as did our fathers. And we pledge this day to one another, our fortunes, our lives, and our sacred honors, to be delivered from the persecutions which we have had to endure for the last nine years, or nearly that. Neither will we indulge any man, or set of men, in instituting vexatious lawsuits against us to cheat us out of our just rights. If they attempt it we say, woe be unto them. We this day then proclaim ourselves free, with a purpose and a determination that never can be broken, no never, NO NEVER, NO NEVER."

Ebenezer Robinson in The Return (Vol I, p. 170) says:—

"Let it be distinctly understood that President Rigdon was not alone responsible for the sentiment expressed in his oration, as that was a carefully prepared document previously written, and well understood by the First Presidency; but Elder Rigdon was the mouthpiece to deliver it, as he was a natural orator, and his delivery was powerful and effective.

"Several Missouri gentlemen of note, from other counties, were present on the speaker's stand at its delivery, with Joseph Smith, Jr., President, and Hyrum Smith, Vice President of the day; and at the conclusion of the oration, when the president of the day led off with a shout of 'Hosannah, Hosannah, Hosannah,' and joined in the shout by the vast multitude, these Missouri gentlemen began to shout 'hurrah,' but they soon saw that did not time with the other, and they ceased shouting. A copy of the oration was furnished the editor, and printed in the Far West, a weekly newspaper printed in Liberty, the county seat of Clay county. It was also printed in pamphlet form, by the writer of this, in the printing office of the Elders' Journal, in the city of Far West, a copy of which we have preserved.

"This oration, and the stand taken by the church in endorsing it, and its publication, undoubtedly exerted a powerful influence in arousing the people of the whole upper Missouri country."

At the trial of Rigdon, when he was cast out at Nauvoo, Young and others held him alone responsible for this sermon, and declared that it was principally instrumental in stirring up the hostilities that ensued.

A state election was to be held in Missouri early in August, and there was a good deal of political feeling. Daviess County was pretty equally divided between Whigs and Democrats, and the vote of the Mormons was sought by the leaders of both parties. In Caldwell County the Saints were classed as almost solidly Democratic. When election day came, the Danites in the latter county distributed tickets on which the Presidency had agreed, but this resulted in nothing more serious than some criticism of this interference of the church in politics. But in Daviess County trouble occurred.

The Mormons there were warned by the Democrats that the Whigs would attempt to prevent their voting at Gallatin. Of the ten houses in that town at the time, three were saloons, and the material for an election-day row was at hand. It began with an attack on a Mormon preacher, and ended in a general fight, in which there were many broken heads, but no loss of life; after which, says Lee, who took part in it, "the Mormons all voted."*

   * Smith's autobiography says, "Very few of the brethren voted."

Exaggerated reports of this melee reached Far West, and Dr. Avard, collecting a force of 150 volunteers, and accompanied by Smith and Rigdon, started for Daviess County for the support of their brethren. They came across no mob, but they made a tactical mistake. Instead of disbanding and returning to their homes, they, the next morning (following Smith's own account)* "rode out to view the situation." Their ride took them to the house of a justice of the peace, named Adam Black, who had joined a band whose object was the expulsion of the Mormons. Smith could not neglect the opportunity to remind the justice of his violation of his oath, and to require of him some satisfaction, "so that we might know whether he was our friend or enemy." With this view they compelled him to sign what they called "an agreement of peace," which the justice drew up in this shape:—

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 229.

"I, Adam Black, A Justice of the Peace of Davies County, do hereby Sertify to the people called Mormin that he is bound to suport the constitution of this state and of the United States, and he is not attached to any mob, nor will not attach himself to any such people, and so long as they will not molest me I will not molest them. This the 8th day of August, 1838.


When the Mormon force returned to Far West, the Daviess people secured warrants for the arrest of Smith, L. Wight, and others, charging them with violating the law by entering another county armed, and compelling a justice of the peace to obey their mandate, Black having made an affidavit that he was compelled to sign the paper in order to save his life. Wight threatened to resist arrest, and this caused such a gathering of Missourians that Smith became alarmed and sent for two lawyers, General D. R. Atchison and General Doniphan, to come to Far West as his legal advisers.* Acting on their advice, the accused surrendered themselves, and were bound over to court in $500 bail for a hearing on September 7.

   * General Atchison was the major general in command of that
division of the state militia. His early reports to the governor must
be read in the light of his association with Smith as counsel. General
Douiphan afterward won fame at Chihuahua in the Mexican War.


All peaceable occupations were now at an end in Daviess County. General Atchison reported to the governor that, on arriving there on September 17, he found the county practically deserted, the Gentiles being gathered in one camp and the Mormons in another. A justice of the peace, in a statement to the governor, declared, "The Mormons are so numerous and so well armed [in Daviess and Caldwell counties] that the judicial power of the counties is wholly unable to execute any civil or criminal process within the limits of either of the said counties against a Mormon or Mormons, as they each and every one of them act in concert and outnumber the other citizens." Lee says that an order had been issued by the church authorities, commanding all the Mormons to gather in two fortified camps, at Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman. The men were poorly armed, but demanded to be led against their foes, being "confident that God was going to deliver the enemy into our hands."*

   * "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 78.

Both parties now stood on the defensive, posting sentinels, and making other preparations for a fight. Actual hostilities soon ensued. The Mormons captured some arms which their opponents had obtained, and took them, with three prisoners, to Far West. "This was a glorious day, indeed," says Smith.* Citizens of Daviess and Livingston counties sent a petition to Governor Boggs (who had succeeded Dunklin), dated September 12, declaring that they believed their lives, liberty, and property to be "in the most imminent danger of being sacrificed by the hands of those impostorous rebels," and asking for protection. The governor had already directed General Atchison to "raise immediately four hundred mounted men in view of indications of Indian disturbances on our immediate frontier, and the recent civil disturbances in the counties of Caldwell, Daviess, and Carroll." The calling out of the militia followed, and General Doniphan found himself in command of about one thousand militiamen. He seems to have used tact, and to have employed his force only as peace preservers. On September 20 he reported to Governor Boggs that he had discharged all his troops but two companies, and that he did not think the services of these would be required more than twenty days. He estimated the Mormon forces in the disturbed counties at from thirteen hundred to fifteen hundred men, most of them carrying a rifle, a brace of pistols, and a broadsword; "so that," he added, "from their position, and their fanaticism, and their unalterable determination not to be driven, much blood will be spilt and much suffering endured if a blow is at once struck, without the interposition of your excellency."

   * Smith's autobiography, at this point, says: "President Rigdon
and I commenced this day the study of law under the instruction of
Generals Atchison and Doniphan. They think by diligent application we
can be admitted to the bar in twelve months." Millennial Star, Vol. XVI,
p. 246.

The people of Carroll County began now to hold meetings whose object was the expulsion of the Mormons from their boundaries, and some hundreds of them assembled in hostile attitude around the little settlement of Dewitt. The Mormons there prepared for defence, and sent an appeal to Far West for aid. Accordingly, one hundred Mormons, including Smith and Rigdon, started to assist them, and two companies of militia, under General Parks, were hurried to the spot. General Parks reported to General Atchison on October 7 that, on arriving there the day before, he found the place besieged by two hundred or three hundred Missourians, under a Dr. Austin, with a field-piece, and defended by two hundred or three hundred Mormons under G. M. Hinckle, "who says he will die before he is driven from thence." Austin expected speedy reenforcements that would enable him to take the place by assault. A petition addressed by the Mormons of Dewitt to the governor, as early as September 22, having been ignored, and finding themselves outnumbered, they agreed to abandon their settlement on receiving pay for their improvements, and some fifty wagons conveyed them and their effects to Far West.

A period of absolute lawlessness in all that section of the state followed. Smith declared that civil war existed, and that, as the state would not protect them, they must look out for themselves. He and his associates made no concealment of their purpose to "make clean work of it" in driving the non-Mormons from both Daviess and Caldwell counties. When warned that this course would array the whole state against them, Smith replied that the "mob" (as the opponents of the Mormons were always styled) were a small minority of the state, and would yield to armed opposition; the Mormons would defeat one band after another, and so proceed across the state, until they reached St. Louis, where the Mormon army would spend the winter. This calculation is a fair illustration of Smith's judgment.

Armed bands of both parties now rode over the country, paying absolutely no respect to property rights, and ready for a "brush" with any opponents. At Smith's suggestion, a band of men, under the name of the "Fur Company," was formed to "commandeer" food, teams, and men for the Mormon campaign. This practical license to steal let loose the worst element in the church organization, glad of any method of revenge on those whom they considered their persecutors. "Men of former quiet," says Lee, who was among the active raiders, "became perfect demons in their efforts to spoil and waste away the enemies of the church."* Cattle and hogs that could not be driven off were killed.** Houses were burned, not only in the outlying country, but in the towns. A night attack by a band of eighty men was made on Gallatin, where some of the houses were set on fire, and two stores as well as private houses were robbed. The house of one McBride, who, Lee says, had been a good friend to him and to other Mormons, did not escape: "Every article of moveable property was taken by the troops; he was utterly ruined." "It appeared to me," says Corrill, "that the love of pillage grew upon them very fast, for they plundered every kind of property they could get hold of, and burnt many cabins in Daviess, some say 80, and some say 150." ***

   * Lee naively remarks, "In justice to Joseph Smith I cannot say
that I ever heard him teach, or even encourage, men to pilfer or steal
little things."—"Mormonism Unveiled," p. 90.
   ** W. Harris's "Mormonism Portrayed," p. 30.
   *** "Brief History of the Church," p. 38.

The Missourians retaliated in kind. Mormons were seized and whipped, and their houses were burned. A lawless company (Pratt calls them banditti), led by one Gilliam, embraced the opportunity to make raids in the Mormon territory. It was soon found necessary to collect the outlying Mormons at Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman, where they were used for purposes both of offence and defence. The movements of the Missourians were closely watched, and preparations were made to burn any place from which a force set out to attack the Saints.

One of the Missouri officers, Captain Bogart, on October 23, warned some Mormons to leave the county, and, with his company of thirty or forty men, announced his intention to "give Far West thunder and lightning." When this news reached Far West, Judge Higbee, of the county court, ordered Lieutenant Colonel Hinckle to go out with a company, disperse the "mob," and retake some prisoners. The Mormons assembled at midnight, and about seventy-five volunteers started at once, under command of Captain Patton, the Danite leader, whose nickname was "Fear Not," all on horseback. When they approached Crooked River, on which Bogart's force was encamped, fifteen men were sent in advance on foot to locate the enemy. Just at dawn a rifle shot sounded, and a young Mormon, named O'Barrion, fell mortally wounded. Captain Patton ordered a charge, and led his men at a gallop down a hill to the river, under the bank of which the Missourians were drawn up. The latter had an advantage, as they were in the shade, and the Mormons were between them and the east, which the dawn was just lighting. Exchanges of volleys occurred, and then Captain Patton ordered his men to rush on with drawn swords—they had no bayonets. This put the Missourians to flight, but just as they fled Captain Patton received a mortal wound. Three Mormons in all were killed as a result of this battle, and seven wounded, while Captain Bogart reported the death of one man.*

   * Ebenezer Robinson's account in The Return, p. 191.

The death of "Fear Not" was considered by the Mormons a great loss. He was buried with the honors of war, says Robinson, "and at his grave a solemn convention was made to avenge his death." Smith, in the funeral sermon, reverted to his old tactics, attributing the Mormon losses to the Lord's anger against his people, because of their unbelief and their unwillingness to devote their worldly treasures to the church.

The rout of Captain Bogart's force, which was a part of the state militia, increased the animosity against the Mormons, and the wiser of the latter believed that they would suffer a dire vengeance.*

   * Corrill's "Brief History of the Church," p. 38.

This vengeance first made itself felt at a settlement called Hawn's Mill (of which there are various spellings), some miles from Far West, where there were a flour mill, blacksmith shop, and other buildings. The Mormons there were advised, the day after the fight on Crooked River, to move into Far West for protection, but the owners of the buildings, knowing that these would be burned as soon as deserted, decided to remain and defend their property.

On October 30 a mounted force of Missourians appeared before the place. The Mormons ran into the log blacksmith shop, which they thought would serve them as a blockhouse, but it proved to be a slaughter-pen. The Missourians surrounded it, and, sticking their rifles into every hole and crack, poured in a deadly fire, killing, some reports say eighteen, and some thirty-one, of the Mormons. The only persons in the town who escaped found shelter in the woods. The Missourians did not lose a man. When the firing ceased, they still showed no mercy, shooting a small boy in the leg after dragging him out from under the bellows, and hacking to death with a corn cutter an old man while he begged for his life. Dead and wounded were thrown into a well, and some of the wounded, taken out by rescuers from Far West, recovered. "I heard one of the militia tell General Clark," says Corrill, "that a well twenty or thirty feet deep was filled with their dead bodies to within three feet of the top."*

   * Details of this massacre will be found in Lee's "Mormonism
Unveiled," pp. 78-80; in the Missouri "Correspondence, Orders, etc.,"
p. 82; the Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 507, and in Greene's "Facts
Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri," pp. 21-24.

The Mormons have always considered this "massacre," as they called it, the crowning outrage of their treatment in Missouri, and for many years were especially bitter toward all participants in it. A letter from two Mormons in the Frontier Guardian, dated October, 1849, describing the disinterred human bones seen on their journey across the plains, said that they recognized on the rude tombstone the names of some of their Missouri persecutors: "Among others, we noted at the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains the grave of one E. Dodd of Gallatin, Missouri. The wolves had completely disinterred him. It is believed that he was the same Dodd that took an active part as a prominent mobocrat in the murder of the Saints at Hawn's Mill, Missouri; if so, it is a righteous retribution." Two Mormon elders, describing a visit in 1889 to the scenes of the Mormon troubles in Missouri, said, "The notorious Colonel W. O. Jennings, who commanded the mob at the [Hawn's Mill] massacre, was assaulted in Chillicothe, Missouri, on the evening of January 20, 1862, by an unknown person, who shot him on the street with a revolver or musket, as the Colonel was going home after dark." * They are silent as to the avenger.

   * "Infancy of the Church" (pamphlet).

Governor Boggs now began to realize the seriousness of the situation that he was called to meet, and on October 26 he directed General John B. Clark (who was not the ranking general) to raise, for the protection of the citizens of Daviess County, four hundred mounted men. This order he followed the next day with the following, which has become the most famous of the orders issued during this campaign, under the designation "the order of extermination":—


"CITY OF JEFFERSON, Oct. 27, 1838.


"Sir:—Since the order of this morning to you, directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your Division, I have received by Amos Rees, Esq., of Ray County and Wiley C. Williams, Esq., one of my aids, information of the most appalling character, which entirely changes the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made war upon the people of this state. Your orders are, therefore, to hasten your operations with all possible speed.

"The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so to any extent you may consider necessary. I have just issued orders to Maj. Gen. Willock, of Marion County, to raise five hundred men, and to march them to the northern part of Daviess, and there unite with Gen. Doniphan, of Clay, who has been ordered with five hundred men to proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by express; you can also communicate with them if you find it necessary.

"Instead therefore of proceeding, as at first directed, to reinstate the citizens of Daviess in their homes, you will proceed immediately to Richmond and then operate against the Mormons. Brig. Gen. Parks, of Ray, has been ordered to have four hundred of his brigade in readiness to join you at Richmond. The whole force will be placed under your command.

"I am very respectfully,

"Your ob't serv't,

"L. W. Boggs, Commander-in-chief."

The "appalling information" received by the governor from his aids was contained in a letter dated October 25, which stated that the Mormons were "destroying all before them"; that they had burned Gallatin and Mill Pond, and almost every house between these places, plundered the whole country, and defeated Captain Bogart's company, and had determined to burn Richmond that night. "These creatures," said the letter, "will never stop until they are stopped by the strong hand of force, and something must be done, and that speedily."*

   * For text of letter, see "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 59.

The language of Governor Boggs's letter to General Clark cannot be defended. The Mormons have always made great capital of his declaration that the Mormons "must be exterminated," and a man of judicial temperament would have selected other words, no matter how necessary he deemed it, for political reasons, to show his sympathy with the popular cause. But, on the other hand, the governor was only accepting the challenge given by Rigdon in his recent Fourth of July address, when the latter declared that if a mob disturbed the Mormons, "it shall be between us and them a war of extermination, for we will follow them till the last drop of their blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us." What compromise there could have been between a band of fanatics obeying men like Smith and Rigdon, and the class of settlers who made up the early Missouri population, it is impossible to conceive. The Mormons were simply impossible as neighbors, and it had become evident that they could no more remain peaceably in the state than they could a few years previously in Jackson County.

General Atchison, of Smith's counsel, was not called on by the governor in these latest movements, because, as the governor explained in a letter to General Clark, "there was much dissatisfaction manifested toward him by the people opposed to the Mormons." But he had seen his mistake, and he united with General Lucas in a letter to the governor under date of October 28, in which they said, "from late outrages committed by the Mormons, civil war is inevitable," and urged the governor's presence in the disturbed district. Governor Boggs excused himself from complying with this request because of the near approach of the meeting of the legislature.

General Lucas, acting under his interpretation of the governor's order, had set out on October 28 for Far West from near Richmond, with a force large enough to alarm the Mormon leaders. Robinson, speaking of the outlook from their standpoint at this time, says, "We looked for warm work, as there were large numbers of armed men gathering in Daviess County, with avowed determination of driving the Mormons from the county, and we began to feel as determined that the Missourians should be expelled from the county."* The Mormons did not hear of the approach of General Lucas's force until it was near the town. Then the southern boundary was hastily protected with a barricade of wagons and logs, and the night of October 30-31 was employed by all the inhabitants in securing their possessions for flight, in anticipation of a battle the next day.

   * The Return, Vol. I, p. 189.


At eight o'clock the next morning the commander of the militia sent a flag of truce to the Mormons which Colonel Hinckle, for the Mormons, met. General Lucas submitted the following terms, as necessary to carry out the governor's orders:

1. To give up their leaders to be tried and punished.

2. To make an appropriation of their property, all who have taken up arms, to the payment of their debts and indemnity for damage done by them.

3. That the balance should leave the State, and be protected out by the militia, but be permitted to remain under protection until further orders were received by the commander-in-chief.

4. To give up the arms of every description, to be receipted for.

While these propositions were under consideration, General Lucas asked that Smith, Rigdon, Lyman Wight, P. P. Pratt, and G. W. Robinson be given up as hostages, and this was done. Contemporary Mormon accounts imputed treachery to Colonel Hinckle in this matter, and said that Smith and his associates were lured into the militia camp by a ruse. General Lucas's report to the governor says that the proposition for a conference came from Hinckle. Hyrum Smith, in an account of the trial of the prisoners, printed some years later in the Times and Seasons, said that all the men who surrendered were that night condemned by a court-martial to be shot, but were saved by General Doniphan's interference. Lee's account agrees with this, but says that Smith surrendered voluntarily, to save the lives of his followers.

General Lucas received the surrender of Far West, on the terms named, in advance of the arrival of General Clark, who was making forced marches. After the surrender, General Lucas disbanded the main body of his force, and set out with his prisoners for Independence, the original site of Zion. General Clark, learning of this, ordered him to transfer the prisoners to Richmond, which was done.

Hearing that the guard left by General Lucas at Far West were committing outrages, General Clark rode to that place accompanied by his field officers. He found no disorder,* but instituted a military court of inquiry, which resulted in the arrest of forty-six additional Mormons, who were sent to Richmond for trial. The facts on which these arrests were made were obtained principally from Dr. Avard, the Danite, who was captured by a militia officer. "No one," General Clark says, "disclosed any useful matter until he was captured."

   * "Much property was destroyed by the troops in town during their
stay there, such as burning house logs, rails, corn cribs, boards, etc.,
the using of corn and hay, the plundering of houses, the killing
of cattle, sheep, and hogs, and also the taking of horses not their
own."—"Mormon Memorial to Missouri Legislature," December 10, 1838.

After these arrests had been made, General Clark called the other Mormons at Far West together, and addressed them, telling them that they could now go to their fields for corn, wood, etc., but that the terms of the surrender must be strictly lived up to. Their leading men had been given up, their arms surrendered, and their property assigned as stipulated, but it now remained for them to leave the state forthwith. On that subject the general said:—

"The character of this state has suffered almost beyond redemption, from the character, conduct, and influence that you have exerted; and we deem it an act of justice to restore her character to its former standing among the states by every proper means. The orders of the governor to me were that you should be exterminated and not allowed to remain in the state. And had not your leaders been given up, and the terms of the treaty complied with, before this time you and your families would have been destroyed, and your houses in ashes. There is a discretionary power vested in my hands, which, considering your circumstances, I shall exercise for a season. You are indebted to me for this clemency.

"I do not say that you shall go now, but you must not think of staying here another season, or of putting in crops, for the moment you do this the citizens will be upon you; and if I am called here again, in a case of a non-compliance of a treaty made, do not think that I shall do as I have done now. You need not expect any mercy, but extermination, for I am determined the governor's orders shall be executed. As for your leaders, do not think, do not imagine for a moment, do not let it enter into your mind, that they will be delivered and restored to you again, for their fate is fixed, their die is cast, their doom is sealed.

"I am sorry, gentlemen, to see so many apparently intelligent men found in the situation you are; and O! if I could invoke the great spirit, the unknown God, to rest upon and deliver you from that awful chain of superstition, and liberate you from those fetters of fanaticism with which you are bound, that you no longer do homage to a man. I would advise you to scatter abroad, and never organize yourselves with bishops, presidents, etc., lest you excite the jealousies of the people, and subject yourselves to the same calamities that have now come upon you. You have always been the aggressors: you have brought upon yourselves these difficulties by being disaffected, and not being subject to rule. And my advice is that you become as other citizens, lest by a recurrence of these events you bring upon yourselves irretrievable ruin."

General Clark then marched with his prisoners to Richmond, where the trial of all the accused began on November 12, before Judge A. A. King. By November 29 the called-out militia had been disbanded, and on that date General Clark made his final report to the governor. In this he asserted that the militia under him had conducted themselves as honorable citizen soldiers, and enclosed a certificate signed by five Mormons, including W. W. Phelps, Colonel Hinckle, and John Corrill, confirming this statement, and saying, "We have no hesitation in saying that the course taken by General Clark with the Mormons was necessary for the public peace, and that the Mormons are generally satisfied with his course."

In his summing up of the results of the campaign, General Clark said:

"It [the Mormon insurrection] had for its object Dominion, the ultimate subjugation of this State and the Union to the laws of a few men called the Presidency. Their church was to be built up at any rate, peaceably if they could, forcibly if necessary. These people had banded themselves together in societies, the object of which was to first drive from their society such as refused to join them in their unholy purposes, and then to plunder the surrounding country, and ultimately to subject the state to their rule."

"The whole number of the Mormons killed through the whole difficulty, so far as I can ascertain, are about forty, and several wounded. There has been one citizen killed, and about fifteen badly wounded."*

   * "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 92.

Brigadier General R. Wilson was sent with his command to settle the Mormon question in Daviess County. Finding the town of Adamondi-Ahman unguarded, he placed guards around it, and gathered in the Mormons of the neighborhood, to the number of about two hundred. Most of these, he explained in his report, were late comers from Canada and the northern border of the United States, and were living mostly in tents, without any adequate provision for the winter. Those against whom criminal charges had been made were placed under arrest, and the others were informed that General Wilson would protect them for ten days, and would guarantee their safety to Caldwell County or out of the state. "This appeared to me," said General Wilson, in his report to General Clark, "to be the only course to prevent a general massacre." In this report General Wilson presented the following picture of the situation there as he found it: "It is perfectly impossible for me to convey to you anything like the awful state of things which exists here—language is inadequate to the task. The citizens of a whole county first plundered, and then their houses and other buildings burnt to ashes; without houses, beds, furniture, or even clothing in many instances, to meet the inclemency of the weather. I confess that my feelings have been shocked with the gross brutality of these Mormons, who have acted more like demons from the infernal regions than human beings. Under these circumstances, you will readily perceive that it would be perfectly impossible for me to protect the Mormons against the just indignation of the citizens.... The Mormons themselves appeared pleased with the idea of getting away from their enemies and a justly insulted people, and I believe all have applied and received permits to leave the county; and I suppose about fifty families have left, and others are hourly leaving, and at the end of ten days Mormonism will not be known in Daviess county. This appeared to me to be the only course left to prevent a general massacre."*

   * "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 78.

The Mormons began to depart at once, and in ten days nearly all had left. Lee, who acted as guide to General Wilson, and whose wife and babe were at Adamondi-Ahman, says:

"Every house in Adamondi-Ahman was searched by the troops for stolen property. They succeeded in finding very much of the Gentile property that had been captured by the Saints in the various raids they made through the country. Bedding of every kind and in large quantities was found and reclaimed by the owners. Even spinning wheels, soap barrels, and other articles were recovered. Each house where stolen property was found was certain to receive a Missouri blessing from the troops. The men who had been most active in gathering plunder had fled to Illinois to escape the vengeance of the people, leaving their families to suffer for the sins of the believing Saints."*

   * "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 89.

We may now follow the fortunes of the Mormon prisoners. On arriving at Richmond, they were confined in the unfinished brick court-house. The only inside work on this building that was completed was a partly laid floor, and to this the prisoners were restricted by a railing, with a guard inside and out. "Two three-pail iron kettles for boiling our meat, and two or more iron bake kettles, or Dutch ovens, were furnished us," says Robinson, "together with sacks of corn meal and meat in bulk. We did our own cooking. This arrangement suited us very well, and we enjoyed ourselves as well as men could under such circumstances."*

   * The Return, Vol. I, p. 234.

Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and A. McRea were soon transferred to the jail at Liberty. The others were then put into the debtor's room of Richmond jail, a two-story log structure which was not well warmed, but they were released on light bail in a few days.

A report of the testimony given at the hearing of the Mormon prisoners before judge King will be found in the "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," published by order of the Missouri legislature, pp. 97-149. Among the Mormons who gave evidence against the prisoners were Avard, the Danite, John Whitmer, W. W. Phelps, John Corrill, and Colonel Hinckle. There were thirty-seven witnesses for the state and seven for the defence. As showing the character of the testimony, the following selections will suffice.

Avard told the story of the origin of the Danites, and said that he considered Joseph Smith their organizer; that the constitution was approved by Smith and his counsellors at Rigdon's house, and that the members felt themselves as much bound to obey the heads of the church as to obey God. Just previous to the arrival of General Lucas at Far West, Smith had assembled his force, and told them that, for every one they lacked in numbers as compared with their opponents, the Lord would send angels to fight for them. He presented the text of the indictment against Cowdery, Whitmer, and others, drawn up by Rigdon.

John Corrill testified about the effect of Rigdon's "salt sermon," and also that he had attended meetings of the Danites, and had expressed disapproval of the doctrine that, if one brother got into difficulty, it was the duty of the others to help him out, right or wrong; that Smith and Rigdon attended one of these meetings, and that he had heard Smith declare at a meeting, "if the people would let us alone, we would preach the Gospel to them in peace, but if they came on us to molest us, we would establish our religion by the sword, and that he would become to this generation a second Mohammed"; just after the expulsion of the Mormons from Dewitt, Smith declared hostilities against their opponents in Caldwell and Daviess counties, and had a resolution passed, looking to the confiscation of the property of the brethren who would not join him in the march; and on a Sunday he advised the people that they might at times take property which at other times it would be wrong to take, citing David's eating of the shew bread, and the Saviour's plucking ears of corn.* Reed Peck testified to the same effect.

   * Corrill, Avard, Hinckle, Marsh, and others were formally
excommunicated at a council held at Quincy, Illinois, on March 17, 1839,
over which Brigham Young presided.

John Clemison testified to the presence of Smith at the early meetings of the Danites; that Rigdon and Smith had advised that those who were backward in joining his fighting force should be placed in the front ranks at the point of pitchforks; that a great deal of Gentile property was brought into Mormon camps, and that "it was frequently observed among the troops that the time had come when the riches of the Gentiles should be consecrated to the state."

W. W. Phelps testified that in the previous April he had heard Rigdon say, at a meeting in Far West, that they had borne persecution and lawsuits long enough, and that, if a sheriff came with writs against them, they would kill him, and that Smith approved his words. Phelps said that the character of Rigdon's "salt sermon" was known and discussed in advance of its delivery.

John Whitmer testified that, soon after the preaching of the "salt sermon," a leading Mormon told him that they did not intend to regard any longer "the niceties of the law of the land," as "the kingdom spoken of by the Prophet Daniel had been set up."

The testimony concerning the Danite organization and Smith's threats against the Missourians received confirmation in an affidavit by no less a person than Thomas B. Marsh, the First President of the twelve Apostles, before a justice of the peace in Ray County, in October, 1838. In this Marsh said:—

"The plan of said Smith, the Prophet, is to take this state; and he professes to his people to intend taking the United States and ultimately the whole world. The Prophet inculcates the notion, and it is believed by every true Mormon, that Smith's prophecies are superior to the law of the land. I have heard the Prophet say that he would yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies; that, if he was not let alone, he would be a second Mohammed to this generation, and that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean."

This affidavit was accompanied by an affidavit by Orson Hyde, who was afterward so prominent in the councils of the church, stating that he knew most of Marsh's statements to be true, and believed the others to be true also.

Of the witnesses for the defence, two women and one man gave testimony to establish an alibi for Lyman Wight at the time of the last Mormon expedition to Daviess County; Rigdon's daughter Nancy testified that she had heard Avard say that he would swear to a lie to accomplish an object; and J. W. Barlow gave testimony to show that Smith and Rigdon were not with the men who took part in the battle on Crooked Creek.

Rigdon, in an "Appeal to the American People," which he wrote soon after, declared that this trial was a compound between an inquisition and a criminal court, and that the testimony of Avard was given to save his own life. "A part of an armed body of men," he says, "stood in the presence of the court to see that the witnesses swore right, and another part was scouring the country to drive out of it every witness they could hear of whose testimony would be favorable to the defendants. If a witness did not swear to please the court, he or she would be threatened to be cast into prison.... A man by the name of Allen began to tell the story of Bogart's burning houses in the south part of Caldwell; he was kicked out of the house, and three men put after him with loaded guns, and he hardly escaped with his life. Finally, our lawyers, General Doniphan and Amos Rees, told us not to bring our witnesses there at all, for if we did, there would not be one of them left for the final trial.... As to making any impression on King, if a cohort of angels were to come down and declare we were clear, Doniphan said it would be all the same, for he had determined from the beginning to cast us into prison." Smith alleged that judge King was biased against them because his brother-in-law had been killed during the early conflicts in Jackson County.

Several of the defendants were discharged during or after the close of the hearing. Smith, Rigdon, Lyman Wight, and three others were ordered committed to the Clay County jail at Liberty on a charge of treason; Parley P. Pratt and four others to the Ray County jail on a charge of murder; and twenty-three others were ordered to give bail on a charge of arson, burglary, robbery, and larceny, and all but eight of these were locked up in default of bail. The prisoners confined at Liberty secured a writ of habeas corpus soon after, but only Rigdon was ordered released, and he thought it best for his safety to go back to the jail. He afterward, with the connivance of the sheriff and jailer, made his escape at night, and reached Quincy, Illinois, in February, 1839.

P. P. Pratt, in his "Late Persecution," says that the prisoners were kept in chains most of the time, and that Riodon, although ill, "was compelled to sleep on the floor, with a chain and padlock round his ankle, and fastened to six others." Hyrum Smith, in a "Communication to the Saints" printed a year later, says; "We suffered much from want of proper food, and from the nauseous cell in which I was confined."

Joseph Smith remained in the Liberty jail until April, 1839. At one time all the prisoners nearly made their escape, "but unfortunately for us, the timber of the wall being very hard, our augur handles gave out, which hindered us longer than we expected," and the plan was discovered.

The prophet employed a good deal of his time in jail in writing long epistles to the church. He gave out from there also three "revelations," the chief direction of which was that the brethren should gather up all possible information about their persecutions, and make out a careful statement of their property losses. His letters reveal the character of the man as it had already been exhibited—headlong in his purposes, vindictive toward any enemy. He says in his biography that he paid his lawyers about $50,000 "in cash, lands, etc." (a pretty good sum for the refugee from Ohio to amass so soon), but got little practical assistance from them, "for sometimes they were afraid to act on account of the mob, and sometimes they were so drunk as to incapacitate them for business." In one of his letters to the church he thus speaks of some of his recent allies, "This poor man [W. W. Phelps] who professes to be much of a prophet, has no other dumb ass to ride but David Whitmer, or to forbid his madness when he goes up to curse Israel; but this not being of the same kind as Balaam's, therefore, notwithstanding the angel appeared unto him, yet he could not sufficiently penetrate his understanding but that he brays out cursings instead of blessings."*

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. I, p. 82.

On April 6, Smith and his fellow-prisoners were taken to Daviess County for trial. The judge and jury before whom their cases came were, according to his account, all drunk. Smith and four others were promptly indicted for "murder, treason, burglary, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing." They at once secured a change of venue to Boone County, 120 miles east, and set out for that place on April 15, but they never reached there. Smith says they were enabled to escape because their guard got drunk. In a newspaper interview printed many years later, General Doniphan is quoted as saying that he had it on good authority that Smith paid the sheriff and his guards $1100 to allow the prisoners to escape. Ebenezer Robinson says that Joseph and Hyrum were allowed to ride away on two fine horses, and that, a few Weeks later, he saw the sheriff at Quincy making Joseph a friendly visit, at which time he received pay for the animals.* The party arrived at Quincy, Illinois, on April 22, and were warmly welcomed by the brethren who had preceded them. Among these was Brigham Young, who was among those who had found it necessary to flee the state before the final surrender was arranged. The Missouri authorities, as we shall see, for a long time continued their efforts to secure the extradition of Smith, but he never returned to Missouri.

As the Mormons had tried to set aside their original agreement with the Jackson County people, so, while their leaders were in jail, they endeavored to find means to break their treaty with General Lucas. Their counsel, General Atchison, was a member of the legislature, and he warmly espoused their cause. They sent in a petition,* which John Corrill presented, giving a statement in detail of the opposition they had encountered in the state, and asking for the enactment of a law "rescinding the order of the governor to drive us from the state, and also giving us the sanction of the legislature to inherit our lands in peace"; as well as disapproving of the "deed of trust," as they called the second section of the Lucas treaty. The petition was laid on the table. An effort for an investigation of the whole trouble by a legislative committee was made, and an act to that effect was passed in 1839, but nothing practical came of it. When the Mormon memorial was called up, its further consideration was postponed until July, and then the Mormons knew that they had no alternative except to leave the state.

   * For full text, see Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, pp. 586-589.

While the prisoners were in jail, things had not quieted down in the Mormon counties. The decisive action of the state authorities had given the local Missourians to understand that the law of the land was on their side, and when the militia withdrew they took advantage of their opportunity. Mormon property was not respected, and what was left to those people in the way of horses, cattle, hogs, and even household belongings was taken by the bands of men who rode at pleasure,* and who claimed that they were only regaining what the Mormons had stolen from them. The legislature appropriated $2000 for the relief of such sufferers.

   * See M. Arthur's letter, "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," p. 94.

Facing the necessity of moving entirely out of the state, the Mormons, as they had reached the western border line of civilization, now turned their face eastward to Quincy, Illinois, where some of their members were already established. Not until April 20 did the last of them leave Far West. The migration was attended with much suffering, as could not in such circumstances be avoided. The people of the counties through which they passed were, however, not hostile, and Mormon writers have testified that they received invitations to stop and settle. These were declined, and they pressed on to the banks of the Mississippi, where, in February and March, there were at one time more than 130 families, waiting for the moving ice to enable them to cross, many of them without food, and the best sheltered depending on tents made of their bedclothing.*

   * Green's "Facts Relative to the Expulsion."

What the total of the pecuniary losses of the Mormons in Missouri was cannot be accurately estimated. They asserted that in Jackson County alone, $120,000 worth of their property was destroyed, and that fifteen thousand of their number fled from the state. Smith, in a statement of his losses made after his arrival in Illinois, placed them at $1,000,000. In a memorial presented to Congress at this time the losses in Jackson County were placed at $175,000, and in the state of Missouri at $2,000,000. The efforts of the Mormons to secure redress were long continued. Not only was Congress appealed to, but legislatures of other states were urged to petition in their behalf. The Senate committee at Washington reported that the matter was entirely within the jurisdiction of the state of Missouri. One of the latest appeals was addressed by Smith at Nauvoo in December, 1843, to his native state, Vermont, calling on the Green Mountain boys, not only to assist him in attaining justice in Missouri, "but also to humble and chastise or abase her for the disgraces she has brought upon constitutional liberty, until she atones for her sin."

The final act of the Mormon authorities in Missouri was somewhat dramatic. Smith in his "revelation" of April 8, 1838, directing the building of a Temple at Far West, had (the Lord speaking) ordered the beginning to be made on the following Fourth of July, adding, "in one year from this day let them recommence laying the foundation of my house." The anniversary found the latest Missouri Zion deserted, and its occupants fugitives; but the command of the Lord must be obeyed. Accordingly, the twelve Apostles journeyed secretly to Far West, arriving there about midnight of April 26, 1839. A conference was at once held, and, after transacting some miscellaneous business, including the expulsion of certain seceding members, all adjourned to the selected site of the Temple, where, after the singing of a hymn, the foundation was relaid by rolling a large stone to one corner.* The Apostles then returned to Illinois as quietly as possible. The leader of this expedition was Brigham Young, who had succeeded T. B. Marsh as President of the Twelve.

   * The modern post-office name of Far West is Kerr. All the Mormon
houses there have disappeared. Traces of the foundation of the Temple,
which in places was built to a height of three or four feet, are still

Thus ended the early history of the Mormon church in Missouri.



The state of Illinois, when the Mormons crossed the Missouri River to settle in it, might still be considered a pioneer country. Iowa, to the west of it, was a territory, and only recently organized as such. The population of the whole state was only 467,183 in 1840, as compared with 4,821,550 in 1900. Young as it was, however, the state had had some severe financial experiences, which might have served as warnings to the new-comers. A debt of more than $14,000,000 had been contracted for state improvements, and not a railroad or a canal had been completed. "The people," says Ford, "looked one way and another with surprise, and were astonished at their own folly." The payment of interest on the state debt ceased after July, 1841, and "in a short time Illinois became a stench in the nostrils of the civilized world.... The impossibility of selling kept us from losing population; the fear of disgrace or high taxes prevented us from gaining materially."* The State Bank and the Shawneetown Bank failed in 1842, and when Ford became governor in that year he estimated that the good money in the state in the hands of the people did not exceed one year's interest on the public debt.

   * Ford's "History of Illinois," Chap. VII.

The lawless conditions in many parts of the state in those days can scarcely be realized now. It was in 1847 that the Rev. Owen Lovejoy (handwritten comment in the book says "Elijah P. Lovejoy." Transcriber) was killed at Alton in maintaining his right to print there an abolition newspaper. All over the state, settlers who had occupied lands as "squatters" defended their claims by force, and serious mobs often resulted. Large areas of military lands were owned by non-residents, who were in very bad favor with the actual settlers. These settlers made free use of the timber on such lands, and the non-residents, failing to secure justice at law, finally hired preachers, who were paid by the sermon to preach against the sin of "hooking" timber.*

   * Ford's "History of Illinois," Chap. VI.

Bands of desperadoes in the northern counties openly defied the officers of the law, and, in one instance, burned down the courthouse (in Ogle County in 1841) in order to release some of their fellows who were awaiting trial. One of these gangs ten years earlier had actually built, in Pope County, a fort in which they defied the authorities, and against which a piece of artillery had to be brought before it could be taken. Even while the conflict between the Mormons was going on, in 1846, there was vitality enough in this old organization, in Pope and Massac counties, to call for the interposition of a band of "regulators," who made many arrests, not hesitating to employ torture to secure from one prisoner information about his associates. Governor Ford sent General J. T. Davies there, to try to effect a peaceable arrangement of the difficulties, but he failed to do so, and the "regulators," who found the county officers opposed to them, drove out of the county the sheriff, the county clerk, and the representative elect to the legislature. When the judge of the Massac Circuit Court charged the grand jury strongly against the "regulators," they, with sympathizers from Kentucky, threatened to lynch him, and actually marched in such force to the county seat that the sheriff's posse surrendered, and the mob let their friends out of jail, and drowned some members of the posse in the Ohio River.

The reception and treatment of the Mormons in Illinois, and the success of the new-comers in carrying out their business and political schemes, must be viewed in connection with these incidents in the early history of the state.

The greeting of the Mormons in Illinois, in its practical shape, had both a political and a business reason.* Party feeling ran very high throughout the country in those days. The House of Representatives at Washington, after very great excitement, organized early in December, 1839, by choosing a Whig Speaker, and at the same time the Whig National Convention, at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, nominated General W. H. Harrison for President. Thus the expulsion from Missouri occurred on the eve of one of our most exciting presidential campaigns, and the Illinois politicians were quick to appraise the value of the voting strength of the immigrants. As a residence of six months in the state gave a man the right to vote, the Mormon vote would count in the presidential election.

   * "The first great error committed by the people of Hancock
County was in accepting too readily the Mormon story of persecution.
It was continually rung in their ears, and believed as often as
asserted."—Gregg, "History of Hancock County," p. 270.

Accordingly, we find that in February, 1839, the Democratic Association of Quincy, at a public meeting in the court-house, received a report from a committee previously appointed, strongly in favor of the refugees, and adopted resolutions condemning the treatment of the Mormons by the people and officers of Missouri. The Quincy Argus declared that, because of this treatment, Missouri was "now so fallen that we could wish her star stricken out from the bright constellation of the Union." In April, 1839, Rigdon wrote to the "Saints in prison" that Governor Carlin of Illinois and his wife "enter with all the enthusiasm of their nature" into his plan to have the governor of each state present to Congress the unconstitutional course of Missouri toward the Mormons, with a view to federal relief. Governor Lucas of Iowa Territory, in the same year (Iowa had only been organized as a territory the year before, and was not admitted as a state until 1845), replying to a query about the reception the Mormons would receive in his domain, said: "Their religious opinions I consider have nothing to do with our political transactions. They are citizens of the United States, and are entitled to the same political rights and legal protection that other citizens are entitled to." He gave Rigdon at the same time cordial letters of introduction to President Van Buren and Governor Shannon of Ohio, and Rigdon received a similar letter to the President, recommending him "as a man of piety and a valuable citizen," signed by Governor Carlin, United States Senator Young, County Clerk Wren, and leading business men of Quincy. Thus began that recognition of the Mormons as a political power in Illinois which led to concessions to them that had so much to do with finally driving them into the wilderness.

The business reason for the welcome of the Mormons in Illinois and Iowa was the natural ambition to secure an increase of population. In all of Hancock County there were in 1830 only 483 inhabitants as compared with 32,215 in 1900. Along with this public view of the matter was a private one. A Dr. Isaac Galland owned (or claimed title to) a large tract of land on both sides of the border line between Illinois and Iowa, that in Iowa being included in what was known as "the half-breed tract," an area of some 119,000 acres which, by a treaty between the United States government and the Sacs and Foxes, was reserved to descendants of Indian women of those tribes by white fathers, and the title to much of which was in dispute. As soon as the Mormons began to cross into Illinois, Galland approached them with an offer of about 20,000 acres between the Mississippi and Des Moines rivers at $2 per acre, to be paid in twenty annual instalments, without interest. A meeting of the refugees was held in Quincy in February, 1839, to consider this offer, but the vote was against it. The failure of the efforts in Ohio and Missouri to establish the Mormons as a distinct community had made many of Smith's followers sceptical about the success of any new scheme with this end in view, and at this conference several members, including so influential a man as Bishop Partridge, openly expressed their doubt about the wisdom of another gathering of the Saints. Galland, however, pursued the subject in a letter to D. W. Rodgers, inviting Rigdon and others to inspect the tract with him, and assuring the Mormons of his sympathy in their sufferings, and "deep solicitude for your future triumphant conquest over every enemy." Rigdon, Partridge, and others accepted Galland's invitation, but reported against purchasing his land, and the refugees began scattering over the country around Quincy.


Smith's leadership was now to have another illustration. Others might be discouraged by past persecutions and business failures, and be ready to abandon the great scheme which the prophet had so often laid before them in the language of "revelation"; but it was no part of Smith's character to abandon that scheme, and remain simply an object of lessened respect, with a scattered congregation. He had been kept advised of Galland's proposal, and, two days after his arrival in Quincy, we find him, on April 24, presiding at a church council which voted to instruct him with two associates to visit Iowa and select there a location for a church settlement, and which advised all the brethren who could do so to move to the town of Commerce, Illinois. Thus were the doubters defeated, and the proposal to scatter the flock brought to a sudden end. Smith and his two associates set out at once to make their inspection.

The town of Commerce had been laid out (on paper) in 1834 by two Eastern owners of the property, A. White and J. B. Teas, and adjoining its northern border H. R. Hotchkiss of New Haven, Connecticut, had mapped out Commerce City. Neither enterprise had proved a success, and when the Mormon agents arrived there the place had scarcely attained the dignity of a settlement, the only buildings being one storehouse, two frame dwellings and two blockhouses. The Mormon agents, on May 1, bought two farms there, one for $5000 and one for $9000 (known afterward as the White purchase), and on August 9 they bought of Hotchkiss five hundred acres for the sum of $53,500. Bishop Knight, for the church, soon afterward purchased part of the town of Keokuk, Iowa, a town called Nashville six miles above, a part of the town of Montrose, four miles above Nashville, and thirty thousand acres in the "half-breed tract," which included Galland's original offer, and ten thousand acres additional.

Thus was Smith prepared to make another attempt to establish his followers in a permanent abiding-place. But how, it may be asked, could the prophet reconcile this abandonment of the Missouri Zion and this new site for a church settlement with previous revelations? By further "revelation," of course. Such a mouthpiece of God can always enlighten his followers provided he can find speech, and Smith was not slow of utterance. While in jail in Liberty he had advised a committee which was sent to him from Illinois to sell all the lands in Missouri, and in a letter to the Saints, written while a prisoner, he spoke favorably of Galland's offer, saying, "The Saints ought to lay hold of every door that shall seem to be opened unto them to obtain foothold on the earth." In order to make perfectly clear the new purpose of the Lord in regard to Zion he gave out a long "revelation" (Sec. 124), which is dated Nauvoo, January 19, 1841, and which contains the following declarations:—

"Verily, verily I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work under my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have, to perform that work and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept their offerings.

"And the iniquity and transgression of my holy laws and commandments I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not and hate me, saith the Lord God.

"Therefore for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and house unto my name in Jackson County, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God."

This announcement seems to have been accepted without question by the faithful, as reconciling the failure in Missouri with the new establishment farther east.

The financiering of the new land purchases did credit to Smith's genius in that line. For some of the smaller tracts a part payment in cash was made. Hotchkiss accepted for his land two notes signed by Smith and his brother Hyrum and Rigdon, one payable in ten, and the other in twenty years. Galland took notes, and, some time later, as explained in a letter to the Saints abroad, the Mormon lands in Missouri, "in payment for the whole amount, and in addition to the first purchase we have exchanged lands with him in Missouri to the amount of $80,000."* Galland's title to the Iowa tract was vigorously assailed by Iowa newspapers some years later. What cash he eventually realized from the transaction does not appear.** Smith had influence enough over him to secure his conversion to the Mormon belief, and he will be found associated with the leaders in Nauvoo enterprises.

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. II, p. 275.
   ** "Galland died a pauper in Iowa."—"Mormon Portraits," p. 253.

The Hotchkiss notes gave Smith a great deal of trouble. Notwithstanding the influx of immigrants to Nauvoo and the growth of the place, which ought to have brought in large profits from the sale of lots, the accrued interest due to Hotchkiss in two years amounted to about $6000. Hotchkiss earnestly urged its payment, and Smith was in dire straits to meet his demands. In a correspondence between them, in 1841, Smith told Hotchkiss that he had agreed to forego interest for five years, and not to "force payment" even then. Smith assured Hotchkiss that the part of the city bought from him was "a deathly sickly hole" on which they had been able to realize nothing, "although," he added, with unblushing affrontery for the head of a church, "we have been keeping up appearances and holding out inducements to encourage immigration that we scarcely think justifiable in consequence of the mortality that almost invariably awaits those who come from far distant parts."* In pursuance of this same policy (in a letter dated October 12, 1841), the Eastern brethren were urged to transfer their lands there to Hotchkiss in payment of the notes, and to accept lots in Nauvoo from the church in exchange.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XVIII, p. 631.

The name of the town was changed to Nauvoo in April, 1840, with the announcement that this name was of Hebrew origin, signifying "a beautiful place."*

   * In answer to a query about this alleged derivation of the name
of the city, a competent Hebrew scholar writes to me: "The nearest
approach to Nauvoo in Hebrew is an adjective which would be
transliterated Naveh, meaning pleasant, a rather rare word. The letter
correctly represented by v could not possibly do the double duty of uv,
nor could a of the Hebrew ever be au in English, nor eh of the Hebrew be
oo in English. Students of theology at Middletown, Connecticut, used
to have a saying that that name was derived from Moses by dropping
'iddletown' and adding 'mass.'"


The geographical situation of Nauvoo had something in its favor. Lying on the east bank of the Mississippi, which is there two miles wide, it had a water frontage on three sides, because of a bend in the stream, and the land was somewhat rising back from the river. But its water front was the only thing in its favor. "The place was literally a wilderness," says Smith. "The land was mostly covered with trees and bushes, and much of it so wet that it was with the utmost difficulty a foot man could get through, and totally impossible for teams. Commerce was so unhealthy very few could live there, but, believing it might become a healthy place by the blessing of heaven to the Saints, and no more eligible place presenting itself, I considered it wisdom to make an attempt to build up a city."

Contemporary accounts say that most of the refugees from Missouri suffered from chills and fevers during their first year in the new settlement. Smith, in his autobiography, laments the mortality among the settlers. The Rev. Henry Caswall, in his description of three days at Nauvoo in 1842, says:—

"I was informed again and again in Montrose, Iowa, that nearly half of the English who emigrated to Nauvoo in 1841 died soon after their arrival... In his sermon at Montrose in May 9, 1841, the following words of most Christian consolation were delivered by the Prophet to the poor deluded English: 'Many of the English who have lately come here have expressed great disappointment on their arrival. Such persons have every reason to be satisfied in this beautiful and fertile country. If they choose to complain, they may; but I don't want to be troubled with their complaints. If they are not satisfied here, I have only this to say to them, "Don't stay whining about me, but go back to England, and go to h—l and be d—d."'"*

   *"City of the Mormons," p. 55.

Brigham Young, in after years, thus spoke of Smith's exhibition of miraculous healing during the year after their arrival in Illinois: "Joseph commenced in his own house and dooryard, commanding the sick, in the name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be made whole, and they were healed according to his word. He then continued to travel from house to house, healing the sick as he went."* Any attempt to reconcile this statement by Young with the previously cited testimony about the mortality of the place would be futile.

   * "Life of Brigham Young" (Cannon & Son, publishers), p. 32.

The growth of the town, however, was more rapid than that of any of the former Mormon settlements. The United States census shows that the population of Hancock County, Illinois, increased from 483 in 1830 to 9946 in 1840. Statements regarding the population of Nauvoo during the Mormon occupancy are conflicting and often exaggerated. In a letter to the elders in England, printed in the Times and Seasons of January, 1841, Smith said, "There are at present about 3000 inhabitants in Nauvoo." The same periodical, in an article on the city, on December 15, 1841, said that it was "a densely populated city of near 10,000 inhabitants." A visitor, describing the place in a letter in the Columbus (Ohio) Advocate of March, 1842, said that it contained about 7000 persons, and that the buildings were small and much scattered, log cabins predominating. The Times and Seasons of October, 1842, said, "It will be no more than probably correct if we allow the city to contain between 7000 and 8000 houses, with a population of 14,000 or 15,000," with two steam mills and other manufacturing concerns in operation. W. W. Phelps estimated the population in 1844 at 14,000, almost all professed Mormons. The Times and Seasons in 1845 said that a census just taken showed a population of 11,057 in the city and one third more outside the city limits.

As soon as the Mormons arrived, Nauvoo was laid out in blocks measuring about 180 by 200 feet, with a river frontage of more than three miles. An English visitor to the place in 1843 wrote "The city is of great dimensions, laid out in beautiful order; the streets are wide and cross each other at right angles, which will add greatly to its order and magnificence when finished. The city rises on a quick incline from the rolling Mississippi, and as you stand near the Temple you may gaze on the picturesque scenery round. At your side is the Temple, the wonder of the world; round about and beneath you may behold handsome stores, large mansions, and fine cottages, interspersed with varied scenery."*

   * Mackay's "The Mormons," p. 128.

Whatever the exact population of the place may have been, its rapid growth is indisputable. The cause of this must be sought, not in natural business reasons, such as have given a permanent increase of population to so many of our Western cities, but chiefly in active and aggressive proselyting work both in this country and in Europe. This work was assisted by the sympathy which the treatment of the Mormons had very generally secured for them. Copies of Mormon Bibles were rare outside of the hands of the brethren, and the text of Smith's "revelations" bearing on his property designs in Missouri was known to comparatively few even in the church. While the Nauvoo edition of the "Doctrine and Covenants" was in course of publication, the Times and Seasons, on January 1, 1842, said that it would be published in the spring, "but, many of our readers being deprived of the privilege of perusing its valuable pages, we insert the first section." Mormon emissaries took advantage of this situation to tell their story in their own way at all points of the compass. Meetings were held in the large cities of the Eastern states to express sympathy with these victims of the opponents of "freedom of religious opinion," and to raise money for their relief, and the voice of the press, from the Mississippi to the Atlantic, was, without a discovered exception, on the side of the refugees.

This paved the way for a vast extension of that mission work which began with the trip of Cowdery and his associates in 1830, was expanded throughout this country while the Saints were at Kirtland, and was extended to foreign lands in 1837. The missionaries sent out in the early days of the church represented various degrees of experience and qualification. There were among them men like Orson Hyde and Willard Richards, who, although they gave up secular callings on entering the church, were close students of the Scriptures and debaters who could hold their own, when it came to an interpretation of the Scriptures, before any average audience. Many were sent out without any especial equipment for their task. John D. Lee, describing his first trip, says:—

"I started forth an illiterate, inexperienced person, without purse or scrip. I could hardly quote a passage of Scripture. Yet I went forth to say to the world that I was a minister of the Gospel." He was among the successful proselyters, and rose to influence in the church.* Of the requirement that the missionaries should be beggars, Lorenzo Snow, who was sent out on a mission from Kirtland in 1837, says, "It was a severe trial to my natural feelings of independence to go without purse or scrip especially the purse; for, from the time I was old enough to work, the feeling that 'I paid my way' always seemed a necessary adjunct to self respect."

   * For an account of his travels and successes, see "Mormonism

Parley P. Pratt, in a letter to Smith from New York in November, 1839, describing the success of the work in the United States, says, "You would now find churches of the Saints in Philadelphia, in Albany, in Brooklyn, in New York, in Sing Sing, in Jersey, in Pennsylvania, on Long Island, and in various other places all around us," and he speaks of the "spread of the work" in Michigan and Maine.

The importance of England as a field from which to draw emigrants to the new settlement was early recognized at Nauvoo, and in 1840 such lights of the church as Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, P. P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and George A. Smith, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, were sent to cultivate that field. There they ordained Willard Richards an Apostle, preached and labored for over a year, established a printing-office which turned out a vast amount of Mormon literature, including their Bible and "Doctrine and Covenants," and began the publication of the Millennial Star.

In 1840 Orson Hyde was sent on a mission to the Jews in London, Amsterdam, Constantinople, and Jerusalem, and the same year missionaries were sent to Australia, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the East Indies. In 1844 a missionary was sent to the Sandwich Islands; in 1849 others were sent to France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, Italy, and Switzerland; in 1850 ten more elders were sent to the Sandwich Islands; in 1851 four converts were baptized in Hindostan; in 1852 a branch of the church was organized at Malta; in 1853 three elders reached the Cape of Good Hope; and in 1861 two began work in Holland, but with poor success. We shall see that this proselyting labor has continued with undiminished industry to the present day, in all parts of the United States as well as in foreign lands.

England provided an especially promising field for Mormon missionary work. The great manufacturing towns contained hundreds of people, densely ignorant,* superstitious, and so poor that the ownership of a piece of land in their own country was practically beyond the limit of their ambition. These people were naturally susceptible to the Mormon teachings, easily imposed upon by stories of alleged miracles, and ready to migrate to any part of the earth where a building lot or a farm was promised them. The letters from the first missionaries in England gave glowing reports of the results of their labors. Thus Wilford Woodruff, writing from Manchester in 1840, said, "The work has been so rapid it was impossible to ascertain the exact number belonging to each branch, but the whole number is 33 churches, 534 members, 75 officers, all of which had embraced the work in less than four months." Lorenzo Snow, in a letter from London in April, 1841, said: "Throughout all England, in almost every town and city of any considerable importance, we have chapels or public halls in which we meet for public worship. All over this vast kingdom the laws of Zion are rolling onward with the most astonishing rapidity."

   * "It has been calculated that there are in England and Wales six
million persons who can neither read nor write, that is to say, about
one-third of the population, including, of course, infants; but of
all the children more than one-half attend no place of public
instruction."—Dickens, "Household Words."

The visiting missionaries began their work in England at Preston, Lancashire, in 1836 or 1837, and soon secured there some five hundred converts. Then they worked on each side of the Ribble, making converts in all the villages, and gaining over a few farm owners and mechanics of some means. Their method was first to drop hints to the villagers that the Holy Bible is defective in translation and incomplete, and that the Mormon Bible corrects all these defects. Not able to hold his own in any theological discussion, the rustic was invited to a meeting. At that meeting the missionary would announce that he would speak simply as the Lord directed him, and he would then present the Mormon view of their Bible and prophet. As soon as converts were won over, they were immersed, at night, and given the sacrament. Then they were initiated into the secret "church meeting," to which only the faithful were admitted, and where the flock were told of visions and "gifts," and exhorted to stand firm (along with their earthly goods) for the church, and warned against apostasy.

One way in which the prophetic gift of the missionaries was proved in the early days in England was as follows: "Whenever a candidate was immersed, some of the brethren was given a letter signed by Hyde and Kimball, setting forth that 'brother will not abide in the spirit of the Lord, but will reject the truth, and become the enemy of the people of God, etc., etc.' If the brother did not apostatize, this letter remained unopened; if he did, it was read as a striking verification of prophecy."*

   * Caswall's "City of the Mormons," appendix.

Miracles exerted a most potent influence among the people in England with whom the early missionaries labored, and the Millennial Star contains a long list of reported successes in this line. There are accounts of very clumsy tricks that were attempted to carry out the deception. Thus, at Newport, Wales, three Mormon elders announced that they would raise a dead man to life. The "corpse" was laid out and surrounded by weeping friends, and the elders were about to begin their incantations, when a doubting Thomas in the audience attacked the "corpse" with a whip, and soon had him fleeing for dear life.*

   * Tract by Rev. F. B. Ashley, p. 22.

Thomas Webster, who was baptized in England in 1837 by Orson Hyde and became an elder, saw the falsity of the Mormon professions through the failure of their miracles and other pretensions, and, after renouncing their faith, published a pamphlet exposing their methods. He relates many of the declarations made by the first missionaries in Preston to their ignorant hearers. Hyde declared that the apostles Peter, James, and John were still alive. He and Kimball asserted that neither of them would "taste death" before Christ's second coming. At one meeting Kimball predicted that in ten or fifteen years the sea would be dried up between Liverpool and America. "One of the most glaring things they ever brought before the public," says Webster, "was stated in a letter written by Orson Hyde to the brethren in Preston, saying they were on the way to the promised land in Missouri by hundreds, and the wagons reached a mile in length. They fell in with some of their brethren in Canada, who told him the Lord had been raining down manna in rich profusion, which covered from seven to ten acres of land. It was like wafers dipped in honey, and both Saints and sinners partook of it. I was present in the pulpit when this letter was read."

However ridiculous such methods may appear, their success in Great Britain was great.* In three years after the arrival of the first missionaries, the General Conference reported a membership of 4019 in England alone; in 1850 the General Conference reported that the Mormons in England and Scotland numbered 27,863, and in Wales 4342. The report for June, 1851, showed a total of 30,747 in the United Kingdom, and said, "During the last fourteen years more than 50,000 have been baptized in England, of which nearly 17,000 have migrated from her shores to Zion." In the years between 1840 and 1843 it was estimated that 3758 foreign converts settled in and around Nauvoo.**

   * "There is no page of religious history which more proudly tells
its story than that which relates this peculiar phase of Mormon
experience. The excitement was contagious, even affecting persons in the
higher ranks of social life, and the result was a grand outpouring
of spiritual and miraculous healing power of the most astonishing
description. Miracles were heard of everywhere, and numerous
competent and most reliable witnesses bore testimony to their
genuineness."—"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 10.
   ** Two of the most intelligent English converts, who did
proselyting work for the church and in later years saw their error, have
given testimony concerning this work in Great Britain. John Hyde, Jr.,
summing up in 1857 the proselyting system, said: "Enthusiasm is the
secret of the great success of Mormon proselyting; it is the universal
characteristic of the people when proselyted; it is the hidden and
strong cord that leads them to Utah, and the iron clamp that keeps them
there."—"Mormonism," p. 171.

Stenhouse says: "Mormonism in England, Scotland and Wales was a grand triumph, and was fast ripening for a vigorous campaign in Continental Europe" (when polygamy was pronounced). The emigration of Mormon converts from Great Britain to the United States, in its earlier stages, was thoroughly systemized by the church authorities in this country. The first record of the movement of any considerable body tells of a company of about two hundred who sailed for New York from Liverpool in August, 1840, on the ship North American, in charge of two elders. A second vessel with emigrants, the Shefeld, sailed from Bristol to New York in February, 1841. The expense of the trip from New York to Nauvoo proved in excess of the means of many of these immigrants, some of whom were obliged to stop at Kirtland and other places in Ohio. This led to a change of route, by which vessels sailed from British ports direct to New Orleans, the immigrants ascending the Mississippi to Nauvoo.

The extent of this movement to the time of the departure of the Saints from Nauvoo is thus given by James Linforth, who says the figures are "as complete and correct as it is possible now to make them*":—

   * "Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley," 1855.
   Year *** No. of Vessels *** No. of Emigrants






The Mormon agents in England would charter a vessel at an English port* when a sufficient company had assembled and announce their intention to embark. The emigrants would be notified of the date of sailing, and an agent would accompany them all the way to Nauvoo. Men with money were especially desired, as were mechanics of all kinds, since the one sound business view that seems to have been taken by the leaders at Nauvoo was that it would be necessary to establish manufactures there if the people were to be able to earn a living. In some instances the passage money was advanced to the converts.

   * For Dickens's description of one of these vessels ready to
sail, see "The Uncommercial Traveller," Chap. XXII


A tide of immigration having been turned toward the new settlement, the next thing in order was to procure for the city a legal organization. Several circumstances combined to place in the hands of the Mormon leaders a scheme of municipal government, along with an extensive plan for buildings, which gave them vast power without incurring the kind of financial rocks on which they were wrecked in Ohio.

Dr. Galland* should probably be considered the inventor of the general scheme adopted at Nauvoo. He was at that time a resident of Cincinnati, but his intercourse with the Mormons had interested him in their beliefs, and some time in 1840 he addressed a letter to Elder R. B. Thompson, which gave the church leaders some important advice.** First warning them that to promulgate new doctrinal tenets will require not only tact and energy, but moral conduct and industry among their people, he confessed that he had not been able to discover why their religious views were not based on truth. "The project of establishing extraordinary religious doctrines being magnificent in its character," he went on to say, would require "preparations commensurate with the plan." Nauvoo being a suitable rallying-place, they would "want a temple that for size, proportions and style shall attract, surprise and dazzle all beholders"; something "unique externally, and in the interior peculiar, imposing and grand." The "clergymen" must be of the best as regards mental and vocal equipment, and there should be a choir such as "was never before organized." A college, too, would be of great value if funds for it could be collected.

   * "In the year 1834 one Dr. Galland was a candidate for the
legislature in a district composed of Hancock, Adams, and Pike Counties.
He resided in the county of Hancock, and, as he had in the early part
of his life been a notorious horse thief and counterfeiter, belonging to
the Massac gang, and was then no pretender to integrity, it was
useless to deny the charge. In all his speeches he freely admitted the
fact."—"FORD's History of Illinois," p. 406.
   ** Times and Seasons, Vol. II, pp. 277-278. The letter is signed
with eight asterisks Galland's usual signature to such communications.

These suggestions were accepted by Smith, with some important additional details, and they found place in the longest of the "revelations" given out by him in Illinois (Sec. I 24), the one, previously quoted from, in which the Lord excused the failure to set up a Zion in Missouri. There seemed to be some hesitation about giving out this "revelation." It is dated after the meeting of the General Conference at Nauvoo which ordered the building of a church there, and it was not published in the Times and Seasons until the following June, and then not entire. The "revelation" shows how little effect adversity had had in modifying the prophet's egotism, his arrogance, or his aggressiveness.

Starting out with, "Verily, thus with the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offerings and acknowledgments," it calls on him to make proclamation to the kings of the world, the President of the United States, and the governors of the states concerning the Lord's will, "fearing them not, for they are as grass," and warning them of "a day of visitation if they reject my servants and my testimony." Various direct commands to leading members of the church follow. Galland here found himself in Smith's clutches, being directed to "put stock" into the boardinghouse to be built.

The principal commands in this "revelation" directed the building of another "holy house," or Temple, and a boardinghouse. With regard to the Temple it was explained that the Lord would show Smith everything about it, including its site. All the Saints from afar were ordered to come to Nauvoo, "with all your gold, and your silver, and your precious stones, and with all your antiquities,... 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, with copper, and with brass, and with zinc, and with all your most precious things of the earth."

The boarding-house ordered built was to be called Nauvoo House, and was to be "a house that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein... a resting place for the weary traveler, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion." It was explained that a company must be formed, the members of which should pay not less than $50 a share for the stock, no subscriber to be allotted more than $1500 worth.

This "revelation" further announced once more that Joseph was to be "a presiding elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer and a prophet," with Sidney Rigdon and William Law his counsellors, to constitute with him the First Presidency, and Brigham Young to be president over the twelve travelling council.

Legislation was, of course, necessary to carry out the large schemes that the Mormon leaders had in mind; but this was secured at the state capital with a liberality that now seems amazing. This was due to the desire of the politicians of all parties to conciliate the Mormon vote, and to the good fortune of the Mormons in finding at the capital a very practical lobbyist to engineer their cause. This was a Dr. John C. Bennett, a man who seems to have been without any moral character, but who had filled positions of importance. Born in Massachusetts in 1804, he practised as a physician in Ohio, and later in Illinois, holding a professorship in Willoughby University, Ohio, and taking with him to Illinois testimonials as to his professional skill. In the latter state he showed a taste for military affairs, and after being elected brigadier general of the Invincible Dragoons, he was appointed quartermaster general of the state in 1840, and held that position at the state capital when the Mormons applied to the legislature for a charter for Nauvoo.

With his assistance there was secured from the legislature an act incorporating the city of Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Legion, and the University of the City of Nauvoo. The powers granted to the city government thus established were extraordinary. A City Council was authorized, consisting of the mayor, four aldermen, and nine councillors, which was empowered to pass any ordinances, not in conflict with the federal and state constitutions, which it deemed necessary for the peace and order of the city. The mayor and aldermen were given all the power of justices of the peace, and they were to constitute the Municipal Court. The charter gave the mayor sole jurisdiction in all cases arising under the city ordinances, with a right of appeal to the Municipal Court. Further than this, the charter granted to the Municipal Court the right to issue writs of habeas corpus in all cases arising under the city ordinances. Thirty-six sections were required to define the legislative powers of the City Council.

A more remarkable scheme of independent local government could not have been devised even by the leaders of this Mormon church, and the shortsightedness of the law makers in consenting to it seems nothing short of marvellous. Under it the mayor, who helped to make the local laws (as a member of the City Council), was intrusted with their enforcement, and he could, as the head of the Municipal Court, give them legal interpretation. Governor Ford afterward defined the system as "a government within a government; a legislature to pass ordinances at war with the laws of the state; courts to execute them with but little dependence upon the constitutional judiciary, and a military force at their own command." *

   * A bill repealing this charter was passed by the Illinois House
on February 3, 1843, by a vote of fifty-eight to thirty-three, but
failed in the Senate by a vote of sixteen ayes to seventeen nays.

This military force, called the Nauvoo Legion, the City Council was authorized to organize from the inhabitants of the city who were subject to military duty. It was to be at the disposal of the mayor in executing city laws and ordinances, and of the governor of the state for the public defence. When organized, it embraced three classes of troops—flying artillery, lancers, and riflemen. Its independence of state control was provided for by a provision of law which allowed it to be governed by a court martial of its own officers. The view of its independence taken by the Mormons may be seen in the following general order signed by Smith and Bennett in May, 1841, founded on an opinion by judge Stephen A. Douglas:—"The officers and privates belonging to the Legion are exempt from all military duty not required by the legally constituted authorities thereof; they are therefore expressly inhibited from performing any military service not ordered by the general officers, or directed by the court martial."*

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. II, p. 417. Governor Ford commissioned
Brigham Young to succeed Smith as lieutenant general of the Legion from
August 31, 1844. To show the Mormon idea of authority, the following is
quoted from Tullidge's "Life of Brigham Young," p. 30: "It is a singular
fact that, after Washington, Joseph Smith was the first man in America
who held the rank of lieutenant general, and that Brigham Young was the
next. In reply to a comment by the author upon this fact Brigham Young
said: 'I was never much of a military man. The commission has since been
abrogated by the state of Illinois; but if Joseph had lived when the
(Mexican) war broke out he would have become commander-in chief of the
United States Armies.'"

In other words, this city military company was entirely independent of even the governor of the state. Little wonder that the Presidency, writing about the new law to the Saints abroad, said, "'Tis all we ever claimed." In view of the experience of the Missourians with the Mormons as directed by Smith and Rigdon, it would be rash to say that they would have been tolerated as neighbors in Illinois under any circumstances, after their actual acquaintance had been made; but if the state of Illinois had deliberately intended to incite the Mormons to a reckless assertion of independence, nothing could have been planned that would have accomplished this more effectively than the passage of the charter of Nauvoo.

What next followed remains an unexplained incident in Joseph Smith's career. Instead of taking the mayoralty himself, he allowed that office to be bestowed upon Bennett, Smith and Rigdon accepting places among the councillors, Bennett having taken up his residence in Nauvoo in September, 1840. His election as mayor took place in February, 1841. Bennet was also chosen major general of the Legion when that force was organized, was selected as the first chancellor of the new university, and was elected to the First Presidency of the church in the following April, to take the place of Sidney Rigdon during the incapacity of the latter from illness. Judge Stephen A. Douglas also appointed him a master in chancery.

Bennett was introduced to the Mormon church at large in a letter signed by Smith, Rigdon, and brother Hyrum, dated January 15, 1841, as the first of the new acquisitions of influence. They stated that his sympathies with the Saints were aroused while they were still in Missouri, and that he then addressed them a letter offering them his assistance, and the church was assured that "he is a man of enterprise, extensive acquirements, and of independent mind, and is calculated to be a great blessing to our community." When his appointment as a master in chancery was criticised by some Illinois newspapers, the Mormons defended him earnestly, Sidney Rigdon (then attorney-at-law and postmaster at Nauvoo), in a letter dated April 23, 1842, said, "He is a physician of great celebrity, of great versatility of talent, of refined education and accomplished manners; discharges the duties of his respective offices with honor to himself and credit to the people." All this becomes of interest in the light of the abuse which the Mormons soon after poured out upon this man when he "betrayed" them.

Bennett's inaugural address as mayor was radical in tone. He advised the Council to prohibit all dram shops, allowing no liquor to be sold in a quantity less than a quart. This suggestion was carried out in a city ordinance. He condemned the existing system of education, which gave children merely a smattering of everything, and made "every boarding school miss a Plato in petticoats, without an ounce of genuine knowledge," pleading for education "of a purely practical character." The Legion he considered a matter of immediate necessity, and he added, "The winged warrior of the air perches upon the pole of American liberty, and the beast that has the temerity to ruffle her feathers should be made to feel the power of her talons."

Smith was commissioned lieutenant general of this Legion by Governor Carlin on February 3, 1841, and he and Bennett blossomed out at once as gorgeous commanders. An order was issued requiring all persons in the city, of military obligation, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, to join the Legion, and on the occasion of the laying of the corner-stone of the Temple, on April 6, 1841, it comprised fourteen companies. An army officer passing through Nauvoo in September, 1842, expressed the opinion that the evolutions of the Legion would do honor to any militia in the United States, but he queried: "Why this exact discipline of the Mormon corps? Do they intend to conquer Missouri, Illinois, Mexico? Before many years this Legion will be twenty, perhaps fifty, thousand strong and still augmenting. A fearful host, filled with religious enthusiasm, and led on by ambitious and talented officers, what may not be effected by them? Perhaps the subversion of the constitution of the United States." *

   * Mackay's "The Mormons," p. 121.

Contemporary accounts of the appearance of the Legion on the occasion of the laying of the Temple corner-stone indicate that the display was a big one for a frontier settlement. Smith says in his autobiography, "The appearance, order, and movements of the Legion were chaste, grand, imposing." The Times and Seasons, in its report of the day's doings, says that General Smith had a staff of four aides-de-camp and twelve guards, "nearly all in splendid uniforms. The several companies presented a beautiful and interesting spectacle, several of them being uniformed and equipped, while the rich and costly dresses of the officers would have become a Bonaparte or a Washington." Ladies on horseback were an added feature of the procession. The ceremonies attending the cornerstone laying attracted the people from all the outlying districts, and marked an epoch in the church's history in Illinois.

The Temple at Nauvoo measured 83 by 128 feet on the ground, and was nearly 60 feet high, surmounted by a steeple which was planned to be more than 100 feet in height. The material was white limestone, which was found underlying the site of the city. The work of construction continued throughout the occupation of Nauvoo by the Mormons, the laying of the capstone not being accomplished until May 24, 1845, and the dedication taking place on May 1, 1846. The cost of the completed structure was estimated by the Mormons at $1,000,000.* Among the costly features were thirty stone pilasters, which cost $3000 each.

   * "The Temple is said to have cost, in labor and money, a million
dollars. It may be possible, and it is very probable, that contributions
to that amount were made to it, but that it cost that much to build
it few will believe. Half that sum would be ample to build a much more
costly edifice to-day, and in the three or four years in which it
was being erected, labor was cheap and all the necessaries of life
remarkably low."—GREGG'S "History of Hancock County," p. 367.

The portico of the Temple was surrounded by these pilasters of polished stone, on the base of which was carved a new moon, the capital of each being a representation of the rising sun coming from under a cloud, supported by two hands holding a trumpet. Under the tower were the words, in golden letters: "The House of the Lord, built by the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Commenced April 6, 1841. Holiness to the Lord." The baptismal font measured twelve by sixteen feet, with a basin four feet deep. It was supported by twelve oxen "carved out of fine plank glued together," says Smith, "and copied after the most beautiful five-year-old steer that could be found." From the basement two stairways led to the main floor, around the sides of which were small rooms designed for various uses. In the large room on this floor were three pulpits and a place for the choir. The upper floor contained a large hall, and around this were twelve smaller rooms.

The erection of this Temple was carried on without incurring such debts or entering upon such money-making schemes as caused disaster at Kirtland. Labor and material were secured by successful appeals to the Saints on the ground and throughout the world. Here the tithing system inaugurated in Missouri played an efficient part. A man from the neighboring country who took produce to Nauvoo for sale or barter said, "In the committee rooms they had almost every conceivable thing, from all kinds of implements and men and women's clothing, down to baby clothes and trinkets, which had been deposited by the owners as tithing or for the benefit of the Temple." *

   * Gregg's "History of Hancock County," p. 374

Nauvoo House, as planned, was to have a frontage of two hundred feet and a depth of forty feet, and to be three stories in height, with a basement. Its estimated cost was $100,000.* A detailed explanation of the uses of this house was thus given in a letter from the Twelve to the Saints abroad, dated November 15, 1841:—

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. II, p. 369.

"The time set to favor the Stakes of Zion is at hand, and soon the kings and the queens, the princes and the nobles, the rich and the honorable of the earth, will come up hither to visit the Temple of our God, and to inquire concerning this strange work; and as kings are to become nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers in the habitation of the righteous, it is right to render honor to whom honor is due; and therefore expedient that such, as well as the Saints, should have a comfortable house for boarding and lodging when they come hither, and it is according to the revelations that such a house should be built... All are under equal obligations to do all in their power to complete the buildings by their faith and their prayers; with their thousands and their mites, their gold and their silver, their copper and their zinc, their goods and their labors."

Nauvoo House was not finished during the Prophet's life, the appeals in its behalf failing to secure liberal contributions. It was completed in later years, and used as a hotel.

Smith's residence in Nauvoo was a frame building called the Mansion House, not far from the r*iver side. It was opened as a hotel on October 3, 1843, with considerable ceremony, one of the toasts responded to being as follows, "Resolved, that General Joseph Smith, whether we view him as a prophet at the head of the church, a general at the head of the Legion, a mayor at the head of the City Council, or a landlord at the head of the table, has few equals and no superiors."

Another church building was the Hall of the Seventies, the upper story of which was used for the priesthood and the Council of Fifty. Galland's suggestion about a college received practical shape in the incorporation of a university, in whose board of regents the leading men of the church, including Galland himself, found places. The faculty consisted of James Keeley, a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, as president; Orson Pratt as professor of mathematics and English literature; Orson Spencer, a graduate of Union College and the Baptist Theological Seminary in New York, as professor of languages; and Sidney Rigdon as professor of church history. The tuition fee was $5 per quarter.


The Mormons were now equipped in their new home with large landed possessions, a capital city that exhibited a phenomenal growth, and a form of local government which made Nauvoo a little independency of itself; their prophet wielding as much authority and receiving as much submission as ever; a Temple under way which would excel anything that had been designed in Ohio or Missouri, and a stream of immigration pouring in which gave assurance of continued numerical increase. What were the causes of the complete overthrow of this apparent prosperity which so speedily followed? These causes were of a twofold character, political and social. The two were interwoven in many ways, but we can best trace them separately.

We have seen that a Democratic organization gave the first welcome to the Mormon refugees at Quincy. In the presidential campaign of 1836 the vote of Illinois had been: Democratic, 17,275, Whig, 14,292; that of Hancock County, Democratic, 260, Whig, 340. The closeness of this vote explained the welcome that was extended to the new-comers.

It does not appear that Smith had any original party predilections. But he was not pleased with questions which President Van Buren asked him when he was in Washington (from November, 1839, to February, 1840) seeking federal aid to secure redress from Missouri, and he wrote to the High Council from that city, "We do not say the Saints shall not vote for him, but we do say boldly (though it need not be published in the streets of Nauvoo, neither among the daughters of the Gentiles), that we do not intend he shall have our votes."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XVII, p.452.

On his return to Illinois Smith was toadied to by the workers of both parties. He candidly told them that he had no faith in either; but the Whigs secured his influence, and, by an intimation that there was divine authority for their course, the Mormon vote was cast for Harrison, giving him a majority of 752 in Hancock County. In order to keep the Democrats in good humor, the Mormons scratched the last name on the Whig electoral ticket (Abraham Lincoln)* and substituted that of a Democrat. This demonstration of their political weight made the Mormons an object of consideration at the state capital, and was the direct cause of the success of the petition which they sent there, signed by some thousands of names, asking for a charter for Nauvoo. The representatives of both parties were eager to show them favor. Bennett, in a letter to the Times and Seasons from Springfield, spoke of the readiness of all the members to vote for what the Mormons wanted, adding that "Lincoln had the magnanimity to vote for our act, and came forward after the final vote and congratulated me on its passage."

   *This is mentioned in "Joab's" (Bermett's) letter, Times and
Seasons, Vol, II, p. 267.

In the gubernatorial campaign of 1841-1842 Smith swung the Mormon vote back to the Democrats, giving them a majority of more than one thousand in the county. This was done publicly, in a letter addressed "To my friends in Illinois,"* dated December 20, 1841, in which the prophet, after pointing out that no persons at the state capital were more efficient in securing the passage of the Nauvoo charter than the heads of the present Democratic ticket, made this declaration:—

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. III, p. 651.

"The partisans in this county who expect to divide the friends of humanity and equal rights will find themselves mistaken. We care not a fig for Whig or Democrat; they are both alike to us; but we shall go for our friends, OUR TRIED FRIENDS, and the cause of human liberty which is the cause of God.... Snyder and Moore are known to be our friends.... We will never be justly charged with the sin of ingratitude,—they have served us, and we will serve them."

If Smith had been a man possessing any judgment, he would have realized that the political course which he was pursuing, instead of making friends in either party, would certainly soon arraign both parties against him and his followers. The Mormons announced themselves distinctly to be a church, and they were now exhibiting themselves as a religious body already numerically strong and increasing in numbers, which stood ready to obey the political mandate of one man, or at least of one controlling authority. The natural consequence of this soon manifested itself.

A congressional and a county election were approaching, and a mass meeting, made up of both Whigs and Democrats of Hancock County, was held to place in the field a non-Mormon county ticket. The fusion was not accomplished without heart-burnings on the part of some unsuccessful aspirants for nominations. A few of these went over to Smith, and the election resulted in the success of the state Democratic and the Mormon local ticket, legislative and county, Smith's brother William being elected to the House. It is easy to realize that this victory did not lessen Smith's aggressive egotism.

Some important matters were involved in the next political contest, the congressional election of August, 1843. The Whigs nominated Cyrus Walker, a lawyer of reputation living in McDonough County, and the Democrats J. P. Hoge, also a lawyer, but a weaker candidate at the polls. Every one conceded that Smith's dictum would decide the contest.

On May 6, 1842, Governor Boggs of Missouri, while sitting near a window in his house in Independence, was fired at, and wounded so severely that his recovery was for some days in doubt. The crime was naturally charged to his Mormon enemies,* and was finally narrowed down to O. P. Rockwell,** a Mormon living in Nauvoo, as the agent, and Joseph Smith, Jr., as the instigator. Indictments were found against both of them in Missouri, and a requisition for Smith's surrender was made by the governor of that state on the governor of Illinois. Smith was arrested under the governor's warrant. Now came an illustration of the value to him of the form of government provided by the Nauvoo charter. Taken before his own municipal court, he was released at once on a writ of habeas corpus. This assumption of power by a local court aroused the indignation of non-Mormons throughout the state. Governor Carlin characterized it somewhat later, in a letter to Smith's wife, as "most absurd and ridiculous; to attempt to exercise it is a gross usurpation of power that cannot be tolerated."***

   * The hatred felt toward Governor Boggs by the Mormon leaders was
not concealed. Thus, an editorial in the Times and Seasons of January 1,
1841, headed "Lilburn W. Boggs," began, "The THING whose name stands at
the head of this article," etc. Referring to the ending of his term of
office, the article said, "Lilburn has gone down to the dark and dreary
abode of his brother and prototype, Nero, there to associate with
kindred spirits and partake of the dainties of his father's, the
devil's, table."

Bennett afterward stated that he heard Joseph Smith say, on July 10, 1842, that Governor Boggs, "the exterminator, should be exterminated," and that the Destroying Angels (Danites) should do it; also that in the spring of that year he heard Smith, at a meeting of Danites, offer to pay any man $500 who would secretly assassinate the governor. Bennett's statement is only cited for what it may be worth; that some Mormon fired the shot is within the limit of strict probability.

   ** Rockwell, who, in his latter days, was employed by General
Connor to guard stock in California, told the general that he fired
the shot at Governor Boggs, and was sorry it did not kill him.—"Mormon
Portraits," p. 255.
   *** Millennial Star, Vol. XX, p. 23.

Notwithstanding his release, Smith thought it best to remain in hiding for some time to escape another arrest, for which the governor ordered a reward of $200. About the middle of August his associates in Nauvoo concluded that the outlook for him was so bad, notwithstanding the protection which his city court was ready to afford, that it might be best for him to flee to the pine woods of the North country. Smith incorporates in his autobiography a long letter which he wrote to his wife at this time,* giving her directions about this flight if it should become necessary. Their goods were to be loaded on a boat manned by twenty of the best men who could be selected, and who would meet them at Prairie du Chien: "And from thence we will wend our way like larks up the Mississippi, until the towering mountains and rocks shall remind us of the places of our nativity, and shall look like safety and home; and there we will bid defiance to Carlin, Boggs, Bennett, and all their whorish whores and motley clan, that follow in their wake, Missouri not excepted, and until the damnation of Hell rolls upon them by the voice and dread thunders and trump of the eternal God."

   * Ibid., pp. 693-695.

In October Rigdon obtained from Justin Butterfield, United States attorney for Illinois, an opinion that Smith could not be held on a Missouri requisition for a crime committed in that state when he was in Illinois. In December, 1842, Smith was placed under arrest and taken before the United States District Court at Springfield, Illinois, under a writ of habeas corpus issued by Judge Roger B. Taney of the State Supreme Court. Butterfield, as his counsel, secured his discharge by Judge Pope (a Whig) who held that Smith was not a fugitive from Missouri.

While these proceedings were pending, the Nauvoo City Council (Smith was then mayor), passed two ordinances in regard to the habeas corpus powers of the Municipal Court, one giving that court jurisdiction in any case where a person "shall be or stand committed or detained for any criminal, or supposed criminal, matter."* This was intended to make Smith secure from the clutches of any Missouri officer so long as he was in his own city.

   * For text of these ordinances, see millennial Star, Vol. XX, p.

But Smith's enemy, General Bennett (who before this date had been cast out of the fold), was now very active, and through his efforts another indictment against Smith on the old charges of treason, murder, etc., was found in Missouri, in June, 1843, and under it another demand was made on the governor of Illinois for Smith's extradition. Governor Ford, a Democrat, who had succeeded Carlin, issued a warrant on June 17, 1843, and it was served on Smith while he was visiting his wife's sister in Lee County, Illinois. An attempt to start with him at once for Missouri was prevented by his Mormon friends, who rallied in considerable numbers to his aid. Smith secured counsel, who began proceedings against the Missouri agent and obtained a writ in Smith's behalf returnable, the account in the Times and Seasons says, before the nearest competent tribunal, which "it was ascertained was at Nauvoo"—Smith's own Municipal Court. The prophet had a sort of triumphal entry into Nauvoo, and the question of the jurisdiction of the Municipal Court in his case came up at once. Both of the candidates for Congress, Walker (who was employed as his counsel) and Hoge, gave opinions in favor of such jurisdiction, and, after a three hours' plea by Walker, the court ordered Smith's release. Smith addressed the people of Nauvoo in the grove after his return. From the report of his remarks in the journal of Discourses (Vol. II, p. 163) the following is taken:

"Before I will bear this unhallowed persecution any longer, before I will be dragged away again among my enemies for trial, I will spill the last drop of blood in my veins, and will see all my enemies in hell.... Deny me the writ of habeas corpus, and I will fight with gun, sword, cannon, whirlwind, thunder, until they are used up like the Kilkenny cats.... If these [charter] powers are dangerous, then the constitutions of the United States and of this state are dangerous. If the Legislature has granted Nauvoo the right of determining cases of habeas corpus, it is no more than they ought to have done, or more than our fathers fought for."

Smith expressed his gratitude to Walker for what the latter had accomplished in his behalf, and the Whig candidate now had no doubt that the Mormon vote was his.

But the Missouri agent, indignant that a governor's writ should be set aside by a city court, hurried to Springfield and demanded that Governor Ford should call out enough state militia to secure Smith's arrest and delivery at the Missouri boundary. The governor, who was not a man of the firmest purpose, had no intention of being mixed up in the pending congressional fight and struggle for the Mormon vote; so he asked for delay and finally decided not to call out any troops.

The Hancock County Democrats were quick to see an opportunity in this situation, and they sent to Springfield a man named Backenstos (who took an active part in the violent scenes connected with the subsequent history of the Mormons in the state) to ascertain for the Mormons just what the governor's intentions were. Backenstos reported that the prophet need have no fear of the Democratic governor so long as the Mormons voted the Democratic ticket.*

   * Governor Ford, in his "History of Illinois," says that such a
pledge was given by a prominent Democrat, but without his own knowledge.

When this news was brought back to Nauvoo, a few days before the election, a mass meeting of the Mormons was called, and Hyrum Smith (then Patriarch, succeeding the prophet's father, who was dead) announced the receipt of a "revelation" directing the Mormons to vote for Hoge. William Law, an influential business man in the Mormon circle, immediately denied the existence of any such "revelation." The prophet alone could decide the matter. He was brought in and made a statement to the effect that he himself proposed to vote for Walker; that he considered it a "mean business" to influence any man's vote by dictation, and that he had no great faith in revelations about elections; "but brother Hyrum was a man of truth; he had known brother Hyrum intimately ever since he was a boy, and he had never known him to tell a lie. If brother Hyrum said he had received such a revelation, he had no doubt it was a fact. When the Lord speaks, let all the earth be silent." *

   * Ford's"History of Illinois," p. 318.

The election resulted in the choice of Hoge by a majority of 455!


Smith's latest triumph over his Missouri enemies, with the feeling that he had the governor of his state back of him, increased his own and his followers' audacity. The Nauvoo Council continued to pass ordinances to protect its inhabitants from outside legal processes, civil and criminal. One of these provided that no writ issued outside of Nauvoo for the arrest of a person in that city should be executed until it had received the mayor's approval, anyone violating this ordinance to be liable to imprisonment for life, with no power of pardon in the governor without the mayor's consent! The acquittal of O. P. Rockwell on the charge of the attempted assassination of Governor Boggs caused great delight among the Mormons, and their organ declared on January 1, 1844, that "throughout the whole region of country around us those bitter and acrimonious feelings, which have so long been engendered by many, are dying away."

Smith's political ideas now began to broaden. "Who shall be our next President?" was the title of an editorial in the Times and Seasons of October 1, 1843, which urged the selection of a man who would be most likely to give the Mormons help in securing redress for their grievances.

The next month Smith addressed a letter to Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, who were the leading candidates for the presidential nomination, citing the Mormons' losses and sufferings in Missouri, and their failure to obtain redress in the courts or from Congress, and asking, "What will be your rule of action relative to us as a people should fortune favor your ascendancy to the chief magistracy? "Clay replied that, if nominated, he could "enter into no engagements, make no promises, give no pledges to any particular portion of the people of the United States," adding, "If I ever enter into that high office, I must go into it free and unfettered, with no guarantees but such as are to be drawn from my whole life, character and conduct." He closed with an expression of sympathy with the Mormons "in their sufferings under injustice." Calhoun replied that, if elected President, he would try to administer the government according to the constitution and the laws, and that, as these made no distinction between citizens of different religious creeds, he should make none. He repeated an opinion which he had given Smith in Washington that the Mormon case against the state of Missouri did not come within the jurisdiction of the federal government.

These replies excited Smith to wrath and he answered them at length, and in language characteristic of himself. A single quotation from his letter to Clay (dated May 13, 1844) will suffice:—

"In your answer to my question, last fall, that peculiar trait of the modern politician, declaring 'if you ever enter into that high office, you must go into it unfettered, with no guarantees but such as are to be drawn from your whole life, character and conduct,' so much resembles a lottery vender's sign, with the goddess of good luck sitting on the car of fortune, astraddle of the horn of plenty, and driving the merry steeds of beatitude, without reins or bridle, that I cannot help exclaiming, 'O, frail man, what have you done that will exalt you? Can anything be drawn from your LIFE, CHARACTER OR CONDUCT that is worthy of being held up to the gaze of this nation as a model of VIRTUE, CHARACTER AND WISDOM?'... 'Your whole life, character and conduct' have been spotted with deeds that causes a blush upon the face of a virtuous patriot; so you must be contented with your lot, while crime, cowardice, cupidity or low cunning have handed you down from the high tower of a statesman to the black hole of a gambler.... Crape the heavens with weeds of woe; gird the earth with sackcloth, and let hell mutter one melody in commemoration of fallen splendor! For the glory of America has departed, and God will set a flaming sword to guard the tree of liberty, while such mint-tithing Herods as Van Buren, Boggs, Benton, Calhoun, and Clay are thrust out of the realms of virtue as fit subjects for the kingdom of fallen greatness—vox reprobi, vox Diaboli."

Calhoun was admonished to read the eighth section of article one of the federal constitution, after which "God, who cooled the heat of a Nebuchadnezzar's furnace, or shut the mouths of lions for the honor of a Daniel, will raise your mind above the narrow notion that the general government has no power, to the sublime idea that Congress, with the President as executor, is as almighty in its sphere as Jehovah is in his." 1

   *For this correspondence in full, see Times and Seasons, January
1, and June 1, 1844, or Mackay's "The Mormons," p. 143.

Smith's next step was to have judge Phelps read to a public meeting in Nauvoo on February 7, 1844, a very long address by the prophet, setting forth his views on national politics.* He declared that "no honest man can doubt for a moment 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," while "the motto hangs on the nation's escutcheon, `every man has his price.'"

   * For its text, see Times and Seasons, May 15,1844, or Mackay's
"The Mormons," p.133.

Smith proposed an abundance of remedies for these evils: Reduce the members of Congress at least one-half; pay them $2 a day and board; petition the legislature to pardon every convict, and make the punishment for any felony working on the roads or some other place where the culprit can be taught wisdom and virtue, murder alone to be cause for confinement or death; petition for the abolition of slavery by the year 1850, the slaves to be paid for out of the surplus from the sale of public lands, and the money saved by reducing the pay of Congress; establish a national bank, with branches in every state and territory, "whose officers shall be elected yearly by the people, with wages of $2 a day for services," the currency to be limited to "the amount of capital stock in her vaults, and interest"; "and the bills shall be par throughout the nation, which will mercifully cure that fatal disorder known in cities as brokery, and leave the people's money in their own pockets"; give the President full power to send an army to suppress mobs; "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"; "spread the federal jurisdiction to the west sea, when the red men give their consent"; and give the right hand of fellowship to Texas, Canada, and Mexico. He closed with this declaration: "I would, as the universal friend of man, open the prisons, open the eyes, open the ears, and open the hearts of all people to behold and enjoy freedom, unadulterated freedom; and God, who once cleansed the violence of the earth with a flood, whose Son laid down his life for the salvation of all his father gave him out of the world, and who has promised that he will come and purify the world again with fire in the last days, should be supplicated by me for the good of all people. With the highest esteem, I am a friend of virtue and of the people."

It seems almost incomprehensible that the promulgator of such political views should have taken himself seriously. But Smith was in deadly earnest, and not only was he satisfied of his political power, but, in the church conference of 1844, he declared, "I feel that I am in more immediate communication with God, and on a better footing with Him, than I have ever been in my life."

The announcement of Smith's political "principles" was followed immediately by an article in the Times and Seasons, which answered the question, "Whom shall the Mormons support for President?" with the reply, "General Joseph Smith. A man of sterling worth and integrity, and of enlarged views; a man who has raised himself from the humblest walks in life to stand at the head of a large, intelligent, respectable, and increasing society;... and whose experience has rendered him every way adequate to the onerous duty." The formal announcement that Smith was the Mormon candidate was made in the Times and Seasons of February 15, 1844, and the ticket—

   Nauvoo, Illinois.

was kept at the head of its editorial page from March 1, until his death.

A weekly newspaper called the Wasp, issued at Nauvoo under Mormon editorship, had been succeeded by a larger one called the Neighbor, edited by John Taylor (afterward President of the church), who also had charge of the Times and Seasons. The Neighbor likewise placed Smith's name, as the presidential candidate, at the head of its columns, and on March 6 completed its ticket with "General James A. Bennett of New York, for Vice-President."* Three weeks later Bennett's name was taken down, and on June 19, Sidney Rigdon's was substituted for it. There was nothing modest in the Mormon political ambition.

   * This General Bennett was not the first mayor of Nauvoo, as some
writers like Smucker have supposed, but a lawyer who gave his address as
"Arlington House," on Long Island, New York, and who in 1843 had offered
himself to Smith as "a most undeviating friend," etc.

Proof of Smith's serious view of his candidacy is furnished in his next step, which was to send out a large body of missionaries (two or three thousand, according to Governor Ford) to work-up his campaign in the Eastern and Southern states. These emissaries were selected from among the ablest of Smith's allies, including Brigham Young, Lorenzo Snow, and John D. Lee. Their absence from Nauvoo was a great misfortune to Smith at the time of his subsequent arrest and imprisonment at Carthage.

The campaigners began work at once. Lorenzo Snow, to whom the state of Ohio was allotted, went to Kirtland, where he had several thousand pamphlets printed, setting forth the prophet's views and plans, and he then travelled around in a buggy, distributing the pamphlets and making addresses in Smith's behalf. "To many persons," he confesses, "who knew nothing of Joseph but through the ludicrous reports in circulation, the movement seemed a species of insanity."* John D. Lee was a most devout Mormon, but his judgment revolted against this movement. "I would a thousand times rather have been shut up in jail," he says. He began his canvassing while on the boat bound for, St. Louis. "I told them," he relates, "the prophet would lead both candidates. There was a large crowd on the boat, and an election was proposed. The prophet received a majority of 75 out of 125 votes polled. This created a tremendous laugh."**

   * "Biography of Lorenzo Snow."
   ** "Mormonism Unveiled," p.149.

We have an account of one state convention called to consider Smith's candidacy, and this was held in the Melodeon in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 1, 1844, the news of Smith's death not yet having reached that city. A party of young rowdies practically took possession of the hall as soon as the business of the convention began, and so disturbed the proceedings that the police were sent for, and they were able to clear the galleries only after a determined fight. The convention then adjourned to Bunker Hill, but nothing further is heard of its proceedings. The press of the city condemned the action of the disturbers as a disgrace. Mention is made in the Times and Seasons of July 1, 1844, of a conference of elders held in Dresden, Tennessee, on the 25th of May previous, at which Smith's name was presented as a presidential candidate. The meeting was broken up by a mob, which the sheriff confessed himself powerless to overcome, but it met later and voted to print three thousand copies of Smith's views.

The prophet's death, which occurred so soon after the announcement of his candidacy, rendered it impossible to learn how serious a cause of political disturbance that candidacy might have been in neighborhoods where the Mormons had a following.


Having followed Smith's political operations to their close, it is now necessary to retrace our steps, and examine the social conditions which prevailed in and around Nauvoo during the years of his reign—conditions which had quite as much to do in causing the expulsion of the Mormons from the state as did his political mistakes.

It must be remembered that Nauvoo was a pioneer town, on the borders of a thinly settled country. Its population and that of its suburbs consisted of the refugees from Missouri, of whose character we have had proof; of the converts brought in from the Eastern states and from Europe, not a very intelligent body; and of those pioneer settlers, without sympathy with the Mormon beliefs, who were attracted to the place from various motives. While active work was continued by the missionaries throughout the United States, their labors in this country seem to have been more efficient in establishing local congregations than in securing large additions to the population of Nauvoo, although some "branches" moved bodily to the Mormon centre.*

   * Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled;" p. 135.

Of the class of people reached by the early missionaries in England we have this description, in a letter from Orson Hyde to his wife, dated September 14,1837:—"Those who have been baptized are mostly manufacturers and some other mechanics. They know how to do but little else than to spin and weave cloth, and make cambric, mull and lace; and what they would do in Kirtland or the city of Far West, I cannot say. They are extremely poor, most of them not having a change of clothes decent to be baptized in."*

   * Elders' Journal, Vol. I, No. 2.

In a letter of instructions from Smith to the travelling elders in Great Britain, dated October, 1840, he warned them that the gathering of the Saints must be "attended to in the order that the Lord intends it should"; and he explains that, as "great numbers of the Saints in England are extremely poor,... to prevent confusion and disappointment when they arrive here, let those men who are accustomed to making machinery, and those who can command a capital, though it be small, come here as soon as convenient and put up machinery, and make such other preparations as may be necessary, so that when the poor come on they may have employment to come to."

The invitation to all converts having means was so urgent that it took the form of a command. A letter to the Saints abroad, signed by Joseph and Hyrum Smith, dated January 15, 1841, directed those "blessed of heaven with the possession of this world's goods" to sell out as soon as possible and move to Nauvoo, adding in italics: "This is agreeable to the order of heaven, and the only principal (sic) on which the gathering can be effected."*

   * The following is a quotation from a letter written by an
American living near Nauvoo, dated October 20, 1842, printed in the
postscript to Caswall's "The City of the Mormons":—

"If an English Mormon arrives, the first effort of Joe is to get his money. This in most cases is easily accomplished, under a pledge that he can have it at any time on giving ten days' notice. The man after some time calls for his money; he is treated kindly, and told that it is not convenient to pay. He calls a second time; the Prophet cannot pay, but offers a town lot in Nauvoo for $1000 (which cost perhaps as many cents), or land on the 'half-breed tract' at $10 or $15 per acre.... Finally some of the irresponsible Bishops or Elders execute a deed for land to which they have no valid title, and the poor fellow dares not complain. This is the history of hundreds of cases.... The history of every dupe reaches Nauvoo in advance. When an Elder abroad wins one over to the faith, he makes himself perfectly acquainted with all his family arrangements, his standing in society, his ability, and (what is of most importance) the amount of ready money and other property which he will take to Nauvoo.... They make no converts in Nauvoo, and it appears to me that they would never make another if all could witness their conduct at Nauvoo for one month... . In regard to this communication, I prefer, on account of my own safety, that you should not make known the author publicly. You cannot appreciate these fears [in England]. You have no idea what it is to be surrounded by a community of Mormons, guided by a leader the most unprincipled." We have seen how hard-pressed Smith was for money with which to meet his obligations for the payment of land purchased. It was not necessary that a newcomer should be a Mormon in order to buy a lot, special emphasis being laid on the freedom of religious opinion in the city; but it was early made known that purchasers were expected to buy their lots of the church, and not of private speculators. The determination with which this rule was enforced, as well as its unpopularity in some quarters, may be seen in the following extract from Smith's autobiography, under date of February 13, 1843: "I spent the evening at Elder O. Hyde's. In the course of conversation I remarked that those brethren who came here having money, and purchased without the church and without counsel, must be cut off. This, with other observations, aroused the feelings of Brother Dixon, from Salem, Mass., and he appeared in great wrath."

The Nauvoo Neighbor of December 27, 1843, contained an advertisement signed by the clerk of the church, calling the attention of immigrants to the church lands, and saying, "Let all the brethren, therefore, when they move into Nauvoo, consult President Joseph Smith, the trustee in trust, and purchase their land from him, and I am bold to say that God will bless them, and they will hereafter be glad they did so."

A good many immigrants of more or less means took warning as soon as they discovered the conditions prevailing there, and returned home. A letter on this subject from the officers of the church said:—

"We have seen so many who have been disappointed and discouraged when they visited this place, that we would have imagined they had never been instructed in the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God, and thought that, instead of coming into a society of men and women, subject to all the frailties of mortality, they were about to enjoy the society of the spirits of just men made perfect, the holy angels, and that this place should be as pure as the third heaven. But when they found that this people were but flesh and blood... they have been desirous to choose them a captain to lead them back."

The additions to the Mormon population from the settlers whom they found in the outlying country in Illinois and Iowa were not likely to be of a desirable class. The banks of the Mississippi River had long been hiding-places for pirate bands, whose exploits were notorious, and the "half-breed tract" was a known place of refuge for the horse thief, the counterfeiter, and the desperado of any calling. The settlement of the Mormons in such a region, with an invitation to the world at large to join them and be saved, was a piece of good luck for this lawless class, who found a covering cloak in the new baptism, and a shield in the fidelity with which the Mormon authorities, under their charter, defended their flock. In this way Nauvoo became a great receptacle for stolen goods, and the river banks up and down the stream concealed many more, the takers of which walked boldly through the streets of the Mormon city. The retaliatory measures which Smith encouraged his followers to practise on their neighbors in Missouri had inculcated a disregard for the property rights of non-Mormons, which became an inciting cause of hostilities with their neighbors in Illinois.

The complaints of thefts by Mormons became so frequent that the church authorities deemed it necessary to recognize and rebuke the practice. Lee quotes from an address by Smith at the conference of April, 1840, in Nauvoo, in which the prophet said: "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 our inheritance; but I want no more petty stealing. A man that will steal petty articles from his enemies will, when occasion offers, steal from his brethren too. Now I command you that have stolen must steal no more."*

   * Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled;" p. 111.

The case of Elder O. Walker bears on this subject. On October 11, 1840, he was brought before a High Council and accused of discourtesy to the prophet, and "suggesting (at different places) that in the church at Nauvoo there did exist a set of pilferers who were actually thieving, robbing and plundering, taking and unlawfully carrying away from Missouri certain goods and chattels, wares and property; and that the act and acts of such supposed thieving, etc., was fostered and conducted by the knowledge and approval of the heads and leaders of the church, viz., by the Presidency and High Council."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XVIII, p. 185.

The action of the church authorities themselves shows how serious they considered the reports about thieving. As early as December 1, 1841, Hyrum Smith, then one of the First Presidency, published in the Times and Seasons an affidavit denying that the heads of the church "sanction and approbate the members of said church in stealing property from those persons who do not belong to said church," etc. This was followed by a long denial of a similar character, signed by the Twelve, and later by an affidavit by the prophet himself, denying that he ever "directly or indirectly encouraged the purloining of property, or taught the doctrine of stealing." On March 25, 1843, Smith, as mayor, issued a proclamation beginning with the declaration, "I have not altered my views on the subject of stealing," reciting rumors of a secret band of desperadoes bound by oath to self-protection, and pledging pardon to any one who would give him any information about "such abominable characters." This exhibition of the heads of a church solemnly protesting that they were opposed to thieving is unique in religious history.

The Patriarch, Hyrum Smith, made an announcement to the conference of 1843, which further confirms the charges of organized thieving made by the non-mormons. While denouncing the thieves as hypocrites, he said he had learned of the existence of a band held together by secret oaths and penalties, "who hold it right to steal from anyone who does not belong to the church, provided they consecrate one-third of it to the building of the Temple. They are also making bogus money.... The man who told me this said, 'This secret band referred to the Bible, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and Book of Mormon to substantiate their doctrines; and if any of them did not remain steadfast, they ripped open their bowels and gave them to the catfish.'" He named two men, inmates of his own house, who, he had discovered, were such thieves. The prophet followed this statement with some remarks, declaring, "Thieving must be stopped."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XX, pp. 757-758.

The Rev. Henry Caswall, in a description of a Sunday service in Nauvoo in April, 1842 "City of the Mormons," (p. 15) says:—

"The elder who had delivered the first discourse now rose and said a certain brother whom he named had taken a keg of white lead. 'Now,' said he, 'if any of the brethren present has taken it by mistake, thinking it was his own, he ought to restore it; but if any of the brethren present have stolen a keg, much more ought he to restore it, or else maybe he will get catched.'... Another person rose and stated that he had lost a ten dollar bill. If any of the brethren had found it or taken it, he hoped it would be restored." This introduction of calls for the restoration of stolen property as a feature of a Sunday church service is probably unique with the Mormons.

That the Mormons did not do all the thieving in the counties around Nauvoo while they were there would be sufficiently proved by the character of many of the persons whom they found there on their arrival, and also by the fact that their expulsion did not make those counties a paradise.* The trouble with them was that, as soon as a man joined them, no matter what his previous character might have been, they gave him that protection which came with their system of "standing together." An early and significant proof of this protection is found in the action of the conference held in Nauvoo on October 3, 1840, two months before the charter had given the city government its extended powers, which voted that "no person be considered guilty of crime unless proved by the testimony of two or three witnesses."**

   * "Long afterward, while the writer was travelling through
Hancock, Pike and Adams Counties, no family thought of retiring at night
without barring and doublelocking every ingress."—Beadle, "Life in
Utah," p. 65.
   ** Millennial Star, Vol. XVIII, p. 153.

It became notorious in all the country round that it was practically useless for a non-Mormon to attempt the recovery of stolen property in Nauvoo, no matter how strong the proof in his possession might be. S. J. Clarke* says that a great deal of stolen stock was traced into Nauvoo, but that, "when found, it was extremely difficult to gain possession of it." He cites as an illustration the case of a resident of that county who traced a stolen horse into Nauvoo, and took with him sixty witnesses to identify the animal before a Mormon justice of the peace. He found himself, however, confronted with seventy witnesses who swore that the horse belonged to some Mormon, and the justice decided that the "weight of evidence," numerically calculated, was against the non-Mormon.

   * "History of McDonough County," p. 83.

A form of protection against outside inquirers for property, which is well authenticated, was given by what were known as "whittlers." When a non-Mormon came into the city, and by his questions let it be known that he was looking for something stolen, he would soon find himself approached by a Mormon who carried a long knife and a stick, and who would follow him, silently whittling. Soon a companion would join this whittler, and then another, until the stranger would find himself fairly surrounded by these armed but silent observers. Unless he was a man of more than ordinary grit, an hour or more of this companionship would convince him that it would be well for him to start for home.*

   * Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 168.


Smith's autobiography gives incidentally many interesting glimpses of the prophet as he exercised his authority of dictator during the height of his power at Nauvoo. It is fortunate for the impartial student that these records are at his disposal, because many of the statements, if made on any other authority, would be met by the customary Mormon denials, and be considered generally incredible.

That Smith's life, aside from the constant danger of extradition which the Missouri authorities held over him, was not an easy one at this time may readily be imagined. He had his position to maintain as sole oracle of the church. He was also mayor, judge, councillor, and lieutenant-general. There were individual jealousies to be disposed of among his associates, rivalries of different parts of the city over wished-for improvements to be considered, demands of the sellers of church lands for payment to be met, and the claims of politicians to be attended to. But Smith rarely showed any indication of compromise, apparently convinced that his position at all points was now more secure than it had ever been.

The big building enterprises in which the church was engaged were a heavy tax on the people, and constant urging was necessary to keep them up to the requirements. Thus we find an advertisement in the Wasp dated June 25, 1842, and signed by the "Temple Recorder," saying, "Brethren, remember that your contracts with your God are sacred; the labor is wanted immediately." Smith referred to the discontent of the laborers, and to some other matters, in a sermon on February 21, 1843. The following quotations are from his own report of it. "If any man working on the Nauvoo House is hungry, let him come to me and I will feed him at my table... and then if the man is not satisfied I will kick his backside.... This meeting was got up by the Nauvoo House committee. The Pagans, Roman Catholics, Methodists and Baptists shall have place in Nauvoo—only they must be ground in Joe Smith's mill. I have been in their mill... and those who come here must go through my smut machine, and that is my tongue."* The difficulty of carrying on these building enterprises at this time was increased by the financial disturbance that was convulsing the whole country. It was in these years that Congress was wrestling with the questions of the deposits of the public funds, the United States Bank, the subtreasury scheme, and the falling off of customs and land-sale revenues, with a threatened deficit in the federal treasury. The break-down of the Bank of the United States caused a general failure of the banks of the Western and Southern states, and money was so scarce at Nauvoo that one Mormon writer records the fact that "when corn was brought to my door at ten cents a bushel, and sadly needed, the money could not be raised."

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XX, p. 583.

The relations between Smith and Rigdon had been strained ever since the departure of the Mormons from Missouri. The trouble between them was finally brought before a special conference at Nauvoo, on October 7, 1843, at which Smith stated that he had received no material benefits from Rigdon's labors or counsel since they had left Missouri. He presented complaints against Rigdon's management of the post-office, brought up a charge that Rigdon had been in correspondence with General Bennett and Governor Carlin, and offered "indirect testimony" that Rigdon had given the Missourians information of Smith's whereabouts at the time of his last arrest. Rigdon met these accusations, some with denials and some with explanations, closing with a pitiful appeal to the all-powerful head of the church, whose nod would decide the verdict, reciting their long associations and sufferings, and signifying his willingness to resign his position as councillor to the First Presidency, but not concealing the pain and humiliation that such a step would cause him. Smith became magnanimous. "He expressed entire willingness to have Elder Rigdon retain his station, provided he would magnify his office, and walk and conduct himself in all honesty, righteousness and integrity; but signified his lack of confidence in his integrity and steadfastness."* This incident once more furnishes proof of some great power which Smith held over Rigdon that induced the latter to associate with the prophet on these terms.

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. IV, p. 330. H. C. Kimball stated
afterward at Rigdon's church trial that Smith did not accept him as an
adviser after this, but took Amasa Lyman in his place, and that it was
Hyrum Smith who induced his brother to show some apparent magnanimity.

Smith's creditors finally pressed him so hard that he attempted to secure aid from the bankruptcy act. In this he did not succeed,* and he was very bitter in his denunciation of the law because it was interpreted against him. It was about this time that Smith, replying to reports of his wealth, declared that his assets consisted of one old horse, two pet deer, ten turkeys, an old cow, one old dog, a wife and child, and a little household furniture. On March 1, 1843, the Council of the Twelve wrote to the outlying branches of the church, calling on them "to bring to our President as many loads of wheat, corn, beef, pork, lard, tallow, eggs, poultry, venison, and everything eatable, at your command," in order that he might be relieved of business cares and have time to attend to their spiritual interests. It was characteristic of Smith to find him, at a conference held the following month, lecturing the Twelve on their own idleness, telling them it was not necessary for them to be abroad all the time preaching and gathering funds, but that they should spend a part of their time at home earning a living.

   * See chapter on this subject in Bennett's "History of the

At this same conference Smith was compelled to go into the details of a transaction which showed of how little practical use to him were his divining and prophetic powers. A man named Remick had come to him the previous summer and succeeded in getting from him a loan of $200 by misrepresentation. Afterward Remick offered to give him a quit-claim deed for all the land bought of Galland, as well as the notes which Smith had given to Galland, and one-half of all the land that Remick owned in Illinois and Iowa, if Smith would use his influence to build up the city of Keokuk, Iowa. Smith actually agreed to this in writing. At the conference he had to explain this whole affair. After alleging that Remick was a swindler, he said: "I am not so much of a 'Christian' as many suppose I am. When a man undertakes to ride me for a horse I feel disposed to kick up, and throw him off and ride him. David did so, and so did Joshua." *

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XX, pp. 758-759.

The old Kirtland business troubles came up to annoy Smith from time to time, but he always found a way to meet them. While his writ of habeas corpus was under argument out of the city in 1841, a man presented to him a five-dollar bill of the Kirtland Bank, and threatened to sue him on it. As the easiest way to dispose of this matter, Smith handed the man $5.

Smith's Ohio experience did not lessen his estimation of himself as an authority on finance. We find him, at the meeting of the Nauvoo City Council on February 25, 1843, denouncing the state law of Illinois making property a legal tender for the payment of debts; asserting that their city charter gave them authority to enact such local currency laws as did not conflict with the federal and state constitutions, and continuing:—

"Shall we be such fools as to be governed by their [Illinois] laws which are unconstitutional? No. We will make a law for gold and silver; then their law ceases, and we can collect our debts. Powers not delegated to the states, or reserved from the states, are constitutional. The constitution acknowledges that the people have all power not reserved to itself. I am a lawyer. I am a big lawyer, and comprehend heaven, earth and hell, to bring forth knowledge that shall cover up all lawyers, doctors and other big bodies."*

   *Ibid., p. 616.

Smith had his way, as usual, and on March 4, the Council passed unanimously an ordinance making gold and silver the only legal tender in payment of debts and fines in Nauvoo, and fixing a punishment for the circulation of counterfeit money. Perhaps this Council never took a broader view of its legislative authority than in this instance.

Smith never laid aside his natural inclination for good fellowship, nor took himself too seriously while posing as a mouthpiece of the Lord. Along with the entries recording his predictions he notes such matters as these: "Played ball with the brethren." "Cut wood all day." A visitor at Nauvoo, in 1843, describes him as "a jolly fellow, and one of the last persons whom he would have supposed God would have raised up as a Prophet."* Josiah Quincy said that Smith seemed to him to have a keen sense of the humorous aspects of his position. "It seems to me, General," Quincy said to him, "that you have too much power to be safely trusted in one man." "In your hands or that of any other person," was his reply, "so much power would no doubt be dangerous. I am the only man in the world whom it would be safe to trust with it. Remember, I am a prophet." "The last five words," says Quincy, "were spoken in a rich comical aside, as if in hearty recognition of the ridiculous sound they might have in the ears of a Gentile."**

   * This same idea is presented by a writer in the Millennial Star,
Vol. XVII, p. 820: "When the fact of Smith's divine character shall
burst upon the nations, they will be struck dumb with wonder and
astonishment at the Lord's choice,—the last individual in the whole
world whom they would have chosen."
   ** "Figures of the Past;" p. 397.

Smith makes this entry on February 20, 1843: "While the [Municipal] Court was in session, I saw two boys fighting in the street. I left the business of the court, ran over immediately, caught one of the boys and then the other, and after giving them proper instruction, I gave the bystanders a lecture for not interfering in such cases. I returned to the court, and told them nobody was allowed to fight in Nauvoo but myself."

In January, 1842, Smith once more became a "storekeeper." Writing to an absent brother on January 5, 1842, he described his building, with a salesroom fitted up with shelves and drawers, a private office, etc. He added that he had a fair stock, "although some individuals have succeeded in detaining goods to a considerable amount. I have stood behind the counter all day," he continued, "dealing out goods as steadily as any clerk you ever saw."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIX, p. 21.

The following entry is found under date of June 1, 1842: "Sent Dr. Richards to Carthage on business. On his return, old Charley, while on a gallop, struck his knees and breast instead of his feet, fell in the street and rolled over in an instant, and the doctor narrowly escaped with his life. It was a trick of the devil to kill my clerk. Similar attacks have been made upon myself of late, and Satan is seeking our destruction on every hand."

Smith practically gave up "revealing" during his life in Nauvoo. At Rigdon's church trial, after Smith's death, President Marks said, "Brother Joseph told us that he, for the future, whenever there was a revelation to be presented to the church, would first present it to the Quorum, and then, if it passed the Quorum, it should be presented to the church." Strong pressure must have been exerted upon the prophet to persuade him to consent to such a restriction, and it is the only instance of the kind that is recorded during his career. But if he did not "reveal," he could not be prevented from uttering oral prophecies and giving his interpretation of the Scriptures. That he had become possessed with the idea of a speedy ending of this world seems altogether probable. All through his autobiography he notes reports of earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, etc., and he gives special emphasis to accounts that reached him of "showers of flesh and blood." Under date of February 18, 1843, he notes, "While at dinner I remarked to my family and friends present that, when the earth was sanctified and became like a sea of glass, it would be one great Urim and Thummim, and the Saints could look in it and see as they are seen." Another of his wise sayings is thus recorded, "The battle of Gog and Magog will be after the Millennial."

In some remarks, on April 2, 1843, Smith made the one prediction that came true, and one which has always given the greatest satisfaction to the Saints. This was: "I prophesy in the name of the Lord God that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of man will be in South Carolina. It may probably arise through the slave trade." This prediction was afterward amplified so as to declare that the war between the Northern and Southern states would involve other nations in Europe, and that the slaves would rise up against their masters. It would have been better for his fame had he left the announcement in its original shape.

Such is the picture of Smith the prophet as drawn by himself. Of the rumors about the Mormons, current in all the counties near Nauvoo, which cannot be proved by Mormon testimony there were hundreds.


Surprise has been expressed that Smith would permit the newcomer, General John C. Bennett, to be elected the first mayor of Nauvoo under the new charter. Much less surprising is the fact that a falling-out soon occurred between them which led to the withdrawal of Bennett from the church on May 17, 1842, and made for the prophet an enemy who pursued him with a method and vindictiveness that he had not before encountered from any of those who had withdrawn, or been driven, from the church fellowship.

The exact nature of the dispute between the two men has never been explained. That personal jealousy entered into it there is little doubt. Smith never had submitted to any real division of his supreme authority, and when Bennett entered the fold as political lobbyist, mayor, major general, etc., a clash seemed unavoidable. It was stated, during Rigdon's church trial after Smith's death, that Bennett declared, at the first conference he attended at Nauvoo, that he sustained the same position in the First Presidency that the Holy Ghost does to the Father and the Son; and that, after Smith's death, Bennett visited Nauvoo, and proposed to Rigdon that the latter assume Smith's place in the church, and let Bennett assume that which had been occupied by Rigdon.*

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. V, p. 655.

The Mormon explanation given at the time of Bennett's expulsion was that some of their travelling elders in the Eastern states discovered that the general had a wife and family there while he was paying attention to young ladies in Nauvoo; but a very slight acquaintance with Smith's ideas on the question of morality at that time is needed to indicate that this was an afterthought. The course of the church authorities showed that they were ready to every way qualified to be a useful citizen. Smith directed the clerk of the church to permit Bennett to withdraw "if he desires to do so, and this with the best of feelings toward you and General Bennett." But as soon as Bennett began his attacks on Smith the church made haste to withdraw the hand of fellowship from him, and framed a formal writ of excommunication, and Smith could not find enough phials of wrath to pour upon him. Thus, in a statement published in the Times and Seasons of July 1, 1842, he called Bennett "an impostor and a base adulterer," brought up the story of his having a wife in Ohio, and charged that he taught women that it was proper to have promiscuous intercourse with men.

As soon as Bennett left Nauvoo he began the publication of a series of letters in the Sangamon (Illinois) Journal, which purported to give an inside view of the Mormon designs, and the personal character and practices of the church leaders. These were widely copied, and seem to have given people in the East their first information that Smith was anything worse than a religious pretender. Bennett also started East lecturing on the same subject, and he published in Boston in the same year a little book called "History of the Saints; or an Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism," containing, besides material which he had collected, copious extracts from the books of Howe and W. Harris.

Bennett declared that he had never believed in any of the Mormon doctrines, but that, forming the opinion that their leaders were planning to set up "a despotic and religious empire" over the territory included in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri, he decided to join them, learn their secrets, and expose them. Bennett's personal rascality admits of no doubt, and not the least faith need be placed in this explanation of his course, which, indeed, is disproved by his later efforts to regain power in the church. It does seem remarkable, however, that neither the Lord nor his prophet knew anything about Bennett's rascality, and that they should select him, among others, for special mention in the long revelation of January 19, 1841, wherein the Lord calls him "my servant," and directs him to help Smith "in sending my word to the kings of the people of the earth." There is no doubt that Bennett obtained an inside view of Smith's moral, political, and religious schemes, and that, while his testimony un-corroborated might be questioned, much that he wrote was amply confirmed.

According to Bennett's statements, Mormon society at Nauvoo was organized licentiousness. There were "Cyprian Saints," "Chartered Sisters of Charity," and "Cloistered Saints," or spiritual wives, all designed to pander to the passions of church members. Of the system of "spiritual wives" (which was set forth in the revelation concerning polygamy), Bennett says in his book:

"When an Apostle, High Priest, Elder or Scribe conceives an affection for a female, and he has satisfactorily ascertained that she experiences a mutual claim, he communicates confidentially to the Prophet his affaire du coeur, and requests him to inquire of the Lord whether or not it would be right and proper for him to take unto himself the said woman for his spiritual wife. It is no obstacle whatever to this spiritual marriage if one or both of the parties should happen to have a husband or wife already united to them according to the laws of the land."

Bennett alleged that Smith forced him, at the point of a pistol, to sign an affidavit stating that Smith had no part in the practice of the spiritual wife doctrine; but Bennett's later disclosures went into minute particulars of alleged attempts of Smith to secure "spiritual wives," a charge which the commandments to the prophet's wife in the "revelation" on polygamy amply sustain. A leading illustration cited concerned the wife of Orson Pratt.* According to the story as told (largely in Mrs. Pratt's words), Pratt was sent to England on a mission to get him out of the way, and then Smith used every means in his power to secure Mrs. Pratt's consent to his plan, but in vain. Nancy Rigdon, the eldest unmarried daughter of Sidney Rigdon, was another alleged intended victim of the prophet, and Bennett said that Smith offered him $500 in cash, or a choice lot, if he would assist in the plot. One day, when Smith was alone with her, he pressed his request so hard that she threatened to cry for help. The continuation of the story is not by General Bennett, but is taken from a letter to James A. Bennett, he of "Arlington House," dated Nauvoo, July 27, 1842, by George W. Robinson, one of Smith's fellow prisoners in Independence jail, and one of the generals of the Nauvoo Legion:—

   * Ebenezer Robinson says that when Orson Pratt returned from his
mission to England, and learned of the teaching of the spiritual wife
doctrine, his mind gave way. One day he disappeared, and a search party
found him five miles below Nauvoo, hatless, seated on the bank of the
river.—The Return, Vol. II, p. 363.

"She left him with disgust, and came home and told her father of the transaction; upon which Smith was sent for. He came. She told the tale in the presence of all the family, and to Smith's face. I was present. Smith attempted to deny at first, and face her down with a lie; but she told the facts with so much earnestness, and the fact of a letter being proved which he had caused to be written to her on the same subject, the day after the attempt made on her virtue, breathing the same spirit, and which he had fondly hoped was destroyed, all came with such force that he could not withstand the testimony; and he then and there acknowledged that every word of Miss Rigdon's testimony was true. Now for his excuse. He wished to ascertain if she was virtuous or not!"

To offset this damaging attack on Smith, a man named Markham was induced to make an affidavit assailing Miss Rigdon's character, which was published in the Wasp. But Markham's own character was so bad, and the charge caused so much indignation, that the editor was induced to say that the affidavit was not published by the prophet's direction.

Bennett's charges aroused great interest among the non-Mormons in all the counties around Nauvoo, and increased the growing enmity against Smith's flock which was already aroused by their political course and their alleged propensity to steal.

A minor incident among those leading up to Smith's final catastrophe was a quarrel, some time later, between the prophet and Francis M. Higbee. This resulted in a suit for libel against Smith, tried in May, 1844, in which much testimony disclosing the rotten condition of affairs in Nauvoo was given, and in the arrest of Smith in a suit for $5000 damages. The hearing, on a writ of habeas corpus, in Smith's behalf, is reported in Times and Seasons, Vol. V, No. 10. The court (Smith's Municipal Court) ordered Smith discharged, and pronounced Higbee's character proved "infamous."


The student of the history of the Mormon church to this date, who seeks an answer to the question, Who originated the idea of plural marriages among the Mormons? will naturally credit that idea to Joseph Smith, Jr. The Reorganized Church (non-polygamist), whose membership includes Smith's direct descendants, defend the prophet's memory by alleging that "in the brain of J. C. Bennett was conceived the idea, and in his practice was the principle first introduced into the church." In maintaining this ground, however, they contend that "the official character of President Joseph Smith should be judged by his official ministrations as set forth in the well authenticated accepted official documents of the church up to June 27, 1844. His personal, private conduct should not enter into this discussion."* The secular investigator finds it necessary to disregard this warning, and in studying the question he discovers an incontrovertible mass of testimony to prove that the "revelation" concerning polygamy was a production of Smith,** was familiar to the church leaders in Nauvoo, and was lived up to by them before their expulsion from Illinois.

   * Pamphlets Nos. 16 and 46 published by the Reorganized Church.
   ** "Elder W. W. Phelps said in Salt Lake Tabernacle in 1862 that
while Joseph was translating the Book of Abraham in Kirtland, Ohio,
in 1835, from the papyrus found with the Egyptian mummies, the Prophet
became impressed with the idea that polygamy would yet become an
institution of the Mormon Church. Brigham Young was present, and was
much annoyed at the statement made by Phelps; but it is highly probable
that it was the real secret that the latter then divulged."—"Rocky
Mountain Saints," p. 182.

The Book of Mormon furnishes ample proof that the idea of plural marriages was as far from any thought of the real "author" of the doctrinal part of that book as it was from the mind of Rigdon's fellow-Disciples in Ohio at the time. The declarations on the subject in the Mormon Bible are so worded that they distinctly forbid any following of the example of Old Testament leaders like David and Solomon. In the Book of Jacob ii. 24-28, we find these commands: "Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me saith the Lord; wherefore, thus with the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.

"Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord; for there shall not any man among you hath save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; for I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts."

The same view is expressed in the Book of Mosiah, where, among the sins of King Noah, it is mentioned that "he spent his time in riotous living with his wives and concubines," and in the Book of Ether x. 5, where it is said that "Riplakish did not do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, for he did have many wives and concubines."

Smith, at the beginning of his career as a prophet, inculcated the same views on this subject in his "revelations." Thus, in the one dated at Kirtland, February 9, 1831, it was commanded (Sec. 42), "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shall cleave unto her and none else; and he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the spirit, and if he repents not he shall be cast out." In another "revelation," dated the following month (Sec. 49), it was declared, "Wherefore it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation."* These teachings may be with justness attributed to Rigdon, and we shall see on how little ground rests a carelessly made charge that he was the originator of the "spiritual wife" notion.

"It is the strongest proof of the firm hold of a party, whether religious or political, upon the public mind, when it may offend with impunity against its own primary principles." MILMAN, "History of Christianity."

That there was a loosening of the views regarding the marriage tie almost as soon as Smith began his reign at Kirtland can be shown on abundant proof. Booth in one of his letters said, "it has been made known to one who has left his wife in New York State, that he is entirely free from his wife, and he is at pleasure to take him a wife from among the Lamanites" (Indians).* That reports of polygamous practices among the Mormons while they were in Ohio were current was conceded in the section on marriage, inserted in the Kirtland edition of the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants"—"Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy," etc.; and is further proved by Smith's denial in the Elders' Journal,** and by the declaration of the Presidents of the Seventies, withholding fellowship with any elder "who is guilty of polygamy."

   * Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled."
   ** p. 157, ante.

Of the enmity of the higher powers toward transgressors of the law of morality of this time, we find an amusing (some will say shocking) mention in Smith's "revelation" of October 25, 1831 (Sec. 66). This "revelation" (announced as the words of "the Lord your Redeemer, the Saviour of the world") was addressed to W. E. McLellin (who was soon after "rebuked" by the prophet for attempting to have a "revelation" on his own account). It declared that McLellin was "blessed for receiving mine everlasting covenant," directed him to go forth and preach, gave him power to heal the sick, and then added, "Commit no adultery, a temptation with which thou hast been troubled." Could religious bouffe go to greater lengths?

Testimony as to the liberal Mormon view of the marriage relation while the church was in Missouri is found in the case of one Lyon, reported by Smith on page 148 of Vol. XVI of the Millennial Star. Lyon was the presiding high priest of one of the outlying branches of the church. Desiring to marry a Mrs. Jackson, whose husband was absent in the East, Lyon announced a "revelation," ordering the marriage to take place, telling her that he knew by revelation that her husband was dead. He gained her consent in this way, but, before the ceremony was performed, Jackson returned home, and, learning of Lyon's conduct, he had him brought before the authorities for trial. The high priest was found guilty enough to be deposed from his office, but not from his church membership.

There is abundant testimony from Mormon sources to show that the doctrine of polygamy, with the "spiritual wife" adjunct, was practised in Nauvoo for some time before Joseph Smith's death. A very orthodox Mormon witness on this point is Eliza R. Snow. In her biography of her brother, Lorenzo Snow,* the recent head of the church, she gives this account of her connection with polygamy:

   * "This biography and autobiography of my brother Lorenzo Snow
has been written as a tribute of sisterly affection for him, and as a
token of sincere respect to his family. It is designed to be handed down
in lineal descent, from generation to generation,—to be preserved as a
family memorial."—Extract from the preface.

"While my brother was absent on this [his first] mission to Europe [1840-1843], changes had taken place with me, one of eternal import, of which I supposed him to be entirely ignorant. The Prophet Joseph had taught me the principle of plural or celestial marriage, and I was married to him for time and eternity. In consequence of the ignorance of most of the Saints, as well as people of the world, on this subject, it was not mentioned, only privately between the few whose minds were enlightened on the subject. Not knowing how my brother [he returned on April 12, 1843] would receive it, I did not feel at liberty, and did not wish to assume the responsibility, of instructing him in the principle of plural marriage.... I informed my husband [the prophet] of the situation, and requested him to open the subject to my brother. A favorable opportunity soon presented, and, seated together on the bank of the Mississippi River, they had a most interesting conversation. The prophet afterward told me he found that my brother's mind had been previously enlightened on the subject in question. That Comforter which Jesus says shall I lead unto all truth had penetrated his understanding, and, while in England, had given him an intimation of what at that time was to many a secret. This was the result of living near the Lord.

"It was at the private interview referred to above that the Prophet Joseph unbosomed his heart, and described the trying ordeal he experienced in overcoming the repugnance of his feelings, the natural result of the force of education and social custom, relative to the introduction of plural marriage. He knew the voice of God—he knew the command of the Almighty to him was to go forward—to set the example and establish celestial plural marriage.... Yet the prophet hesitated and deferred from time to time, until an angel of God stood by him with a drawn sword, and told him that, unless he moved forward and established plural marriage, his priesthood would be taken from him and he should be destroyed. This testimony he not only bore to my brother, but also to others."*

   * "Biography of Lorenzo Snow" (1884), pp. 68-70. Young married
some of Smith's spiritual widows after the prophet's death, and four
of them, including Eliza Snow, appear in Crockwell's illustrated
"Biographies of Young's Wives," published in Utah.

Catherine Lewis, who, after passing two years with the Mormons, escaped from Nauvoo, after taking the preliminary degrees of the endowment, says: "The Twelve took Joseph's wives after his death. Kimball and Young took most of them; the daughter of Kimball was one of Joseph's wives. I heard her say to her mother: 'I will never be sealed to my father [meaning as a wife], and I would never have been sealed [married] to Joseph had I known it was anything more than ceremony. I was young, and they deceived me by saying the salvation of our whole family depended on it.' The Apostles said they only took Joseph's wives to raise up children, carry them through to the next world, and there deliver them up to him; by so doing they would gain his approbation."—"Narrative of Some of the Proceedings of the Mormons." Smith's versatility as a fabricator seems to give him a leading place in that respect in the record of mankind. Snow says that he asked the prophet to set him right if he should see him indulging in any practice that might lead him astray, and the prophet assured him that he would never be guilty of any serious error. "It was one of Snow's peculiarities," observes his sister, "to do nothing by halves"; and he exemplified this in this instance by having two wives "sealed" to him at the same time in 1845, adding two more very soon afterward, and another in 1848. "It was distinctly understood," says his sister, "and agreed between them, that their marriage relations should not, for the time being, be divulged to the world."

The testimony of John D. Lee in regard to the practice of polygamy in Illinois is very circumstantial, and Lee was a conscientious polygamist to the day of his death. He says* that he was directed in this matter by principle and not by passion, and goes on to explain:—

   * "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 200

"In those days I did not always make due allowance for the failings of the weaker vessels. I then expected perfection in all women. I know now that I was foolish in looking for that in anything human. I have, for slight offences, turned away good-meaning young women that had been sealed to me, and refused to hear their excuses, but sent them away brokenhearted. In this I did wrong. I have regretted the same in sorrow for many years .... Should my history ever fall into the hands of Emeline Woolsey or Polly Ann Workman, I wish them to know that, with my last breath, I asked God to pardon me the wrong I did them, when I drove them from me, poor young girls as they were"

Lee says that in the winter of 1843-1844 Smith set one Sidney Hay Jacobs to writing a pamphlet giving selections from the Scriptures bearing on the practice of polygamy and advocating that doctrine. The appearance of this pamphlet created so much unfavorable comment (even Hyrum Smith denouncing it "as from beneath") that Joseph deemed it best to condemn it in the Wasp, although men in his confidence were busy advocating its teachings.

The "revelation" sanctioning plural marriages is dated July 12, 1843, and Lee says that Smith "dared not proclaim it publicly," but taught it "confidentially," urging his followers "to surrender themselves to God" for their salvation; and "in the winter of 1845, meetings were held all over the city of Nauvoo, and the spirit of Elijah was taught in the different families, as a foundation to the order of celestial marriage, as well as the law of adoption."* The Saints were also taught that Gentiles had no right to perform the marriage ceremony, and that their former marriage relations were invalid, and that they could be "sealed" to new wives under the authority of the church.

   *"Mormonism Unveiled," p. 165.

Lee gives a complete record of his plural marriages, which is interesting, showing how the business was conducted at the start. His second wife, the daughter of a wealthy farmer near Quincy, Illinois, was "sealed" to him in Nauvoo in 1845, after she had been an inmate of his house for three months. His third and fourth wives were "sealed" to him soon after, but Young took a fancy to wife No. 3 (who had borne Lee a son), and, after much persuasion, she was "sealed" to Young. At this same "sealing" Lee took wife No. 4, a girl whom he had baptized in Tennessee. In the spring of 1845 two sisters of his first wife AND THEIR MOTHER were "sealed" to him; he married the mother, he says, "for the salvation of her eternal state." At the completion of the Nauvoo Temple he took three more wives. At Council Bluffs, in 1847, Brigham Young "sealed" him to three more, two of them sisters, in one night, and he secured the fourteenth soon after, the fifteenth in 1851, the sixteenth in 1856, the seventeenth in 1858 ("a dashing young bride"), the eighteenth in 1859, and the nineteenth and last in Salt Lake City. He says he claimed "only eighteen true wives," as he married Mrs. Woolsey "for her soul's sake, and she was nearly sixty years old." By these wives he had sixty-four children, of whom fifty-four were living when his book was written.

Ebenezer Robinson, explaining in the Return a statement signed by him and his wife in October, 1842, to offset Bennett's charges, in which they declared that they "knew of no other form of marriage ceremony" except the one in the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," said that this statement was then true, as the heads of the church had not yet taught the new system to others. But they had heard it talked of, and the prophet's brother, Don Carlos, in June, 1841, had said to Robinson, "Any man who will teach and practise spiritual wifery will go to hell, no matter if it is my brother Joseph." Hyrum Smith, who first opposed the doctrine, went to Robinson's house in December, 1843, and taught the system to him and his wife. Robinson was told of the "revelation" to Joseph a few days after its date, and just as he was leaving Nauvoo on a mission to New York. He, Law, and William Marks opposed the innovation. He continues: "We returned home from that mission the latter part of November, 1843. Soon after our return, I was told that when we were gone the 'revelation' was presented to and read in the High Council in Nauvoo, three of the members of which refused to accept it as from the Lord, President Marks, Cowles, and Counsellor Leonard Soby." Cowles at once resigned from the High Council and the Presidency of the church at Nauvoo, and was looked on as a seceder.

Robinson gives convincing testimony that, as early as 1843, the ceremonies of the Endowment House were performed in Nauvoo by a secret organization called "The Holy Order," and says that in June, 1844, he saw John Taylor clad in an endowment robe. He quotes a letter to himself from Orson Hyde, dated September 19, 1844, in which Hyde refers guardedly to the new revelation and the "Holy Order" as "the charge which the prophet gave us," adding, "and we know that Elder Rigdon does not know what it was." *

   * The Return, Vol. II, p. 252.

We may find the following references to this subject in Smith's diary: "April 29, 1842. The Lord makes manifest to me many things which it is not wisdom for me to make public until others can witness the proof of them."

"May 1. I preached in the grove on the Keys of the Kingdom, etc. The Keys are certain signs and words by which the false spirits and personages can be detected from true, and which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed."

"May 4. I spent the day in the upper part of my store... in council with (Hyrum, Brigham Young and others) instructing them in the principles and order of the Priesthood, attending to washings, anointings, endowments.... The communications I made to this Council were of things spiritual, and to be received only by the spiritually minded; and there was nothing made known to these men but what will be made known to all the Saints of the last days as soon as they are prepared to receive, and a proper place is prepared to communicate them." *

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIX, pp. 390-393.

In one of Smith's dissertations, which are inserted here and there in his diary, is the following under date of August, 1842:—

"If we seek first the kingdom of God, all good things will be added. So with Solomon. First he asked wisdom and God gave it to him, and with it every desire of his heart, even things which might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of heaven only in part, but which in reality were right, because God gave and sanctioned them by special revelation." *

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XIX, p. 774.

While the Mormon leaders, Lorenzo Snow and others, were in the Utah penitentiary after conviction under the Edmunds antipolygamy law, refusing pardons on condition that they would give up the practice of polygamy, the Deseret News of May 20, 1886, printed an affidavit made on February 16, 1874, at the request of Joseph F. Smith, by William Clayton, who was a clerk in the prophet's office in Nauvoo and temple recorder, to show the world that "the martyred prophet is responsible to God and the world for this doctrine." The affidavit recites that while Clayton and the prophet were taking a walk, in February, 1843, Smith first broached to him the subject of plural marriages, and told him that the doctrine was right in the sight of God, adding, "It is your privilege to have all the wives you want." He gives the names of a number of the wives whom Smith married at this time, adding that his wife Emma "was cognizant of the fact of some, if not all, of these being his wives, and she generally treated them very kindly." He says that on July 12, 1843, Hyrum offered to read the "revelation" to Emma if the prophet would write it out, saying, "I believe I can convince her of its truth, and you will hereafter have peace." Joseph smiled, and remarked, "You do not know Emma as well as I do," but he thereupon dictated the "revelation" and Clayton wrote it down. An examination of its text will show how largely it was devoted to Emma's subjugation. When Hyrum returned from reading it to the prophet's lawful wife, he said that "he had never received a more severe talking to in his life; that Emma was very bitter and full of resentment and anger." Joseph repeated his remark that his brother did not know Emma as well as he did, and, putting the "revelation" into his pocket, they went out. *

   * Jepson's "Historical Record," Vol. VI, pp. 233-234, gives the
names of twenty-seven women who, "besides a few others about whom we
have been unable to get all the necessary information, were sealed to
the Prophet Joseph during the last three years of his life."

"At the present time," says Stenhouse ("Rocky Mountain Saints"), p. 185, "there are probably about a dozen sisters in Utah who proudly acknowledge themselves to be the `wives of Joseph, 'and how many others there may be who held that relationship no man knoweth.'" At the conference in Salt Lake City on August 28, 1852, at which the first public announcement of the revelation was made, Brigham Young said in the course of his remarks: "Though that doctrine has not been preached by the Elders, this people have believed in it for many years.* The original copy of this revelation was burned up. William Clayton was the man who wrote it from the mouth of the Prophet. In the meantime it was in Bishop Whitney's possession. He wished the privilege to copy it, which brother Joseph granted. Sister Emma burnt the original." The "revelation," he added, had been locked up for years in his desk, on which he had a patent lock.**

   * As evidence that polygamy was not countenanced by Smith and his
associates in Nauvoo, there has been cited a notice in the Times and
Seasons of February, 1844, signed by Joseph and Hyrum Smith, cutting off
an elder named Brown for preaching "polygamy and other false and corrupt
doctrines," and a letter of Hyrum, dated March 15, 1844, threatening to
deprive of his license and membership any elder who preached "that a man
having a certain priesthood may have as many wives as he pleases." The
Deseret News of May 20, 1886, noticing these and other early denials,
justifies the falsehoods, saying that "Jesus enjoined his Disciples on
several occasions to keep to themselves principles that he made known
to them," that the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants" gave the same
instruction, and that the elders, as the "revelation" was not yet
promulgated, "were justified in denying those imputations, and at the
same time avoiding the avowal of such doctrines as were not yet intended
for this world." P. P. Pratt flatly denied, in England, in 1846, that
any such doctrine was known or practised by the Saints, and John Taylor
(afterward the head of the church), in a discussion in France in
July, 1850, declared that "these things are too outrageous to admit of
belief." The latter false statements would be covered by the excuse of
the Deseret News.
   ** Deseret News, extra, September 14, 1852. Young declared in a
sermon in Salt Lake City in July, 1855, that he was among the doubters
when the prophet revealed the new doctrine, saying: "It was the first
time in my life that I desired the grave, and I could hardly get over
it for a long time.... And I have had to examine myself from that day to
this, and watch my faith and carefully meditate, lest I should be
found desiring the grave more than I ought to." His examinations proved
eminently successful.

Further proof is not needed to show that this doctrine was the offspring of Joseph Smith, and that its original object was to grant him unrestricted indulgence of his passions.

Justice to Sidney Rigdon requires that his memory should be cleared of the charge, which has been made by more than one writer, that the spiritual wife doctrine was of his invention. There is the strongest evidence to show that it was Smith's knowledge that he could not win Rigdon over to polygamy which made the prophet so bitter against his old counsellor, and that it was Rigdon's opposition to the new doctrine that made Young so determined to drive him out of church after the prophet's death.

When Rigdon returned to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to establish his own Mormon church there, he began in October, 1844, the publication of a revived Latter-Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate. Stating "the greater cause" of the opposition of the leaders of Nauvoo to him, in an editorial, he said:—

"Know then that the so-called Twelve Apostles at Nauvoo are now teaching the doctrine of what is called Spiritual Wives; that a man may have more wives than one; and they are not only teaching it, but practising it, and this doctrine is spreading alarmingly through that apostate branch of the church of Latter-Day Saints. Their greatest objection to us was our opposition to this doctrine, knowing, as they did, that we had got the fact in possession. It created alarm, great alarm; every effort was made while we were there to effect something that might screen them from the consequence of exposure....

"This doctrine of a man having more wives than one is the cause which has induced these men to put at defiance the ecclesiastical arrangements of the church, and, what is equally criminal, to do despite unto the moral excellence of the doctrine and covenants of the church, setting up an order of things of their own, in violation of all the rules and regulations known to the Saints."

In the same editorial Rigdon prints a statement by a gentleman who was at Nauvoo at the time, and for whose veracity he vouches, which said, "It was said to me by many that they had no objection to Elder Rigdon but his opposition to the spiritual wife system."

Benjamin Winchester, who was one of the earliest missionaries sent out from Kirtland, adds this testimony in a letter to Elder John Hardy of Boston, Massachusetts, whose trial in 1844 for opposing the spiritual wife doctrine occasioned wide comment:

"As regards the trial of Elder Rigdon at Nauvoo, it was a forced affair, got up by the Twelve to get him out of their way, that they might the better arrogate to themselves higher authority than they ever had, or anybody ever dreamed they would have; and also (as they perhaps hope) to prevent a complete expose of the spiritual wife system, which they knew would deeply implicate themselves."


Although there was practically no concealment of the practice of polygamy by the Mormons resident in Utah after their arrival there, it was not until five years from that date that open announcement was made by the church of the important "revelation." This "revelation" constitutes Sec. 132 of the modern edition of the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," and bears this heading: "Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage Covenant, including Plurality of Wives. Given through Joseph, the Seer, in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, July 12, 1843." All its essential parts are as follows:

"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 principle 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:

"Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same;

"For behold! I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant, and be permitted to enter into my glory;

"For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world:

"And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fullness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fullness thereof, must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

"And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made, and entered into, and sealed, by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time, on whom this power and the keys of this Priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force, in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end, have an end when men are dead....

"I am the Lord thy God, and I give unto you this commandment, that no man shall come unto the Father but by me, or by my word, which is my law, saith the Lord;...

"Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me, nor by my word; and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world, and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world;

"Therefore, when they are out of the world, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory;

"For these angels did not abide my law, therefore they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity, and from henceforth are not Gods, but are angels of God, for ever and ever.

"And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife, and make a covenant with her for time and for all eternity, if that covenant is not by me, or by my word, which is my law, and is not sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, through him whom I have anointed, and appointed unto this power—then it is not valid, neither of force when they are out of the world, because they are not joined by me, saith the Lord, neither by my word; when they are out of the world, it cannot be received there, because the angels and the Gods are appointed there, by whom they cannot pass; they cannot, therefore, inherit my glory, for my house is a house of order, saith the Lord God.

"And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power, and the keys of this Priesthood; and it shall be said unto them, ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb's Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity, and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the Gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fullness and a continuation of the seeds for ever and ever.

"Then shall they be Gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be Gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.

"Verily, verily I say unto you, except ye abide my law, ye cannot attain to this glory;...

"And verily, verily I say unto you, that whatsoever you seal on earth, shall be sealed in Heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name, and by my word, with the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you remit on earth shall be remitted eternally in the heavens; and whosesoever sins you retain on earth, shall be retained in heaven.

"And again, verily I say, whomsoever you bless, I will bless, and whomsoever you curse, I will curse, with the Lord; for I, the Lord, am thy God....

"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 covenant 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 those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, with the Lord God;

"For I am the Lord, thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things, for he hath been faithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.

"And I command mine handmaid, Emma Smith, to abide and cleave unto my servant Joseph, and to none else. But if she will not abide this commandment, she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord; for I am the Lord thy God, and will destroy her, if she abide not in my law;

"But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him, and give unto him an hundred fold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of eternal lives in the eternal worlds.

"And again, verily I say, let mine handmaid forgive my servant Joseph his trespasses; and then shall she be forgiven her trespasses, wherein she has 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 is he justified; he cannot commit adultery, for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one 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 is he justified.

"But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man; she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfill the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world; and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.

"And again, verily, verily I say unto you, if any man have a wife who holds the keys of this power, and he teacheth unto her the law of my priesthood, as pertaining to these things, then shall she believe, and administer unto him, or she shall be destroyed, saith the Lord your God, for I will destroy her; for I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law.

"Therefore, it shall be lawful in me, if she receive not this law, for him to receive all things, whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him, because she did not administer unto him according to my word; and she then becomes the transgressor; and he is exempt from the law of Sarah; who administered unto Abraham according to the law, when I commanded Abraham to take Hagar to wife.

"And now, as pertaining to this law, verily, verily I say unto you, I will reveal more unto you, hereafter; therefore, let this suffice for the present. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega. Amen."

This jumble of doctrinal and family commands bears internal evidence of the truth of Clayton's account of its offhand dictation with a view to its immediate submission to the prophet's wife, who was already in a state of rebellion because of his infidelities.

The publication of the "revelation" was made at a Church Conference which opened in Salt Lake City on August 28, 1852, and was called especially to select elders for missionary work.* At the beginning of the second day's session Orson Pratt announced that, unexpectedly, he had been called on to address the conference on the subject of a plurality of wives. "We shall endeavor," he said, "to set forth before this enlightened assembly some of the causes why the Almighty has revealed such a doctrine, and why it is considered a part and portion of our religious faith."

   *For text of the addresses at this conference, see Deseret News,
extra, September 14, 1852.

He then took up the attitude of the church, as a practiser of this doctrine, toward the United States government, saying:—

"I believe that they will not, under our present form of government (I mean the government of the United States), try us for treason for believing and practising our religious notions and ideas. I think, if I am not mistaken, that the constitution gives the privilege to all of the inhabitants of this country, of the free exercise of their religious notions, and the freedom of their faith and the practice of it. Then, if it can be proved to a demonstration that the Latter-Day Saints have actually embraced, as a part and portion of their religion, the doctrine of a plurality of wives, it is constitutional. And should there ever be laws enacted by this government to restrict them from the free exercise of their religion, such laws must be unconstitutional."

Thus, at this early date in the history of Utah, was stated the Mormon doctrine of the constitutional foundation of this belief, and, in the views then stated, may be discovered the reason for the bitter opposition which the Mormon church is still making to a constitutional amendment specifically declaring that polygamy is a violation of the fundamental law of the United States.

Pratt then spoke at great length on the necessity and rightfulness of polygamy. Taking up the doctrine of a previous existence of all souls and a kind of nobility among the spirits, he said that the most likely place for the noblest spirits to take their tabernacles was among the Saints, and he continued:—"Now let us inquire what will become of those individuals who have this law taught unto them in plainness, if they reject it." (A voice in the stand "They will be damned.") "I will tell you. They will be damned, saith the Lord, in the revelation he hath given. Why? Because, where much is given, much is required. Where there is great knowledge unfolded for the exaltation, glory and happiness of the sons and daughters of God, if they close up their hearts, if they reject the testimony of his word and will, and do not give heed to the principles he has ordained for their good, they are worthy of damnation, and the Lord has said they shall be damned."

After Brigham Young had made a statement concerning the history of the "revelation," already referred to, the "revelation" itself was read.

The Millennial Star (Liverpool) published the proceedings of this conference in a supplement to its Volume XV, and the text of the "revelation" in its issue of January 1, 1853, saying editorially in the next number:—

"None [of the revelations] seem to penetrate so deep, or be so well calculated to shake to its very center the social structure which has been reared and vainly nurtured by this professedly wise and Christian generation; none more conclusively exhibit how surely an end must come to all the works, institutions, ordinances and covenants of men; none more portray the eternity of God's purpose—and, we may say, none have carried so mighty an influence, or had the power to stamp their divinity upon the mind by absorbing every feeling of the soul, to the extent of the one which has appeared in our last."

With the Mormon church in England, however, the publication of the new doctrine proved a bombshell, as is shown by the fact that 2164 excommunications in the British Isles were reported to the semi-annual conference of December 31, 1852, and 1776 to the conference of the following June.

The doctrine of "sealing" has been variously stated. According to one early definition, the man and the woman who are to be properly mated are selected in heaven in a pre-existent state; if, through a mistake in an earthly marriage, A has got the spouse intended for B, the latter may consider himself a husband to Mrs. A. Another early explanation which may be cited was thus stated by Henry Rowe in the Boston Investigator of, February 3, 1845:—

"The spiritual wife doctrine I will explain, as taught me by Elder W—e, as taught by Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Elder Adams, William Smith, and the rest of the Quorum, etc., etc. Joseph had a revelation from God that there were a number of spirits to be born into the world before their exaltation in the next; that Christ would not come until all these spirits received or entered their 'tabernacles of clay'; that these spirits were hovering around the world, and at the door of bad houses, watching a chance of getting into their tabernacles; that God had provided an honorable way for them to come forth—that was, by the Elders in Israel sealing up virtuous women; and as there was no provision made for woman in the Scriptures, their only chance of heaven was to be sealed up to some Elder for time and eternity, and be a star in his crown forever; that those who were the cause of bringing forth these spirits would receive a reward, the ratio of which reward should be the greater or less according to the number they were the means of bringing forth."

Brigham Young's definition of "spiritual wifeism" was thus expressed: "And I would say, as no man can be perfect without the woman, so no woman can be perfect without a man to lead her. I tell you the truth as it is in the bosom of eternity; and I say to every man upon the face of the earth, if he wishes to be saved, he cannot be saved without a woman by his side. This is spiritual wifeism, that is, the doctrine of spiritual wives."*

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. VI, p. 955.

The Mormon, under polygamy, was taught that he "married" for time, but was "sealed" for eternity. The "sealing" was therefore the more important ceremony, and was performed in the Endowment House, with the accompaniment of secret oaths and mystic ceremonies. If a wife disliked her husband, and wished to be "sealed" to a man of her choice, the Mormon church would marry her to the latter*—a marriage made actual in every sense—if he was acceptable as a Mormon; and, if the first husband also wanted to be "sealed" to her, the church would perform a mock ceremony to satisfy this husband. "It is impossible," says Hyde, "to state all the licentiousness, under the name of religion, that these sealing ordinances have occasioned." **

   * One of Stenhouse's informants about the "reformation" of 1856
in Utah writes: "It was hinted, and secretly taught by authority, that
women should form relations with more than one man." On this Stenhouse
says: "The author has no personal knowledge, from the present leaders
of the church, of this teaching; but he has often heard that something
would then be taught which 'would test the brethren as much as polygamy
had tried the sisters."'—"Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 301.
   ** "Mormonism," p. 84.

A Mormon preacher never hesitated to go to any lengths in justifying the doctrine of plural marriages. One illustration of this may suffice. Orson Hyde, in a discourse in the Salt Lake Tabernacle in March, 1857, made the following argument to support a claim that Jesus Christ was a polygamist:—

"It will be borne in mind that, once on a time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and on a careful reading of that transaction it will be discovered that no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that occasion. If he was never married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha, and the other Mary also, whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper, to say the best of it. I will venture to say that, if Jesus Christ was now to pass through the most pious countries in Christendom, with a train of women such as used to follow him, fondling about him, combing his hair, anointing him with precious ointments, washing his feet with tears and wiping them with the hair of their heads, and unmarried, or even married, he would be mobbed, tarred and feathered, and rode, not on an ass, but on a rail.... Did he multiply, and did he see his seed? Did he honor his Father's law by complying with it, or did he not? Others may do as they like, but I will not charge our Saviour with neglect or transgression in this or any other duty."*

   * Journal of Discourses, Vol. IV, p. 259.

The doctrine of "adoption," referred to, taught that the direct line of the true priesthood was broken with the death of Christ's apostles, and that the rights of the lineage of Abraham could be secured only by being "adopted" by a modern apostle, all of whom were recognized as lineal descendants of Abraham. Recourse was here had to the Scriptures, and Romans iv. 16 was quoted to sustain this doctrine. The first "adoptions" took place in the Nauvoo Temple. Lee was "adopted to" Brigham Young, and Young's and Lee's children were then "adopted" to their own fathers.

With this necessary explanation of the introduction of polygamy, we may take up the narrative of events at Nauvoo.


Smith was now to encounter a kind of resistance within the church that he had never met. In all previous apostasies, where members had dared to attack his character or question his authority, they had been summarily silenced, and in most cases driven at once out of the Mormon community. But there were men at Nauvoo above the average of the Mormon convert as regards intelligence and wealth, who refused to follow the prophet in his new doctrine regarding marriage, and whose opposition took the very practical shape of the establishment of a newspaper in the Mormon city to expose him and to defend themselves.

In his testimony in the Higbee trial Smith had accused a prominent Mormon, Dr. R. D. Foster, of stealing and of gross insults to women. Dr. Foster, according to current report, had found Smith at his house, and had received from his wife a confession that Smith had been persuading her to become one of his spiritual wives.*

   * "At the May, 1844, term of the Hancock Circuit Court two
indictments were found against Smith by the grand jury—one for adultery
and one for perjury. To the surprise of all, on the Monday following,
the Prophet appeared in court and demanded that he be tried on the
last-named indictment. The prosecutor not being ready, a continuance was
entered to the next term."—GREGG, "History of Hancock County," p. 301.

Among the leading members of the church at Nauvoo at this time were two brothers, William and Wilson Law. They were Canadians, and had brought considerable property with them, and in the "revelation" of January 19, 1841, William Law was among those who were directed to take stock in Nauvoo House, and was named as one of the First Presidency, and was made registrar of the University. Wilson Law was a regent of the University and a major general of the Legion. General Law had been an especial favorite of Smith. In writing to him while in hiding from the Missouri authorities in 1842, Smith says, "I love that soul that is so nobly established in that clay of yours." * At the conference of April, 1844, Hyrum Smith said: "I wish to speak about Messrs. Law's steam mill. There has been a great deal of bickering about it. The mill has been a great benefit to the city. It has brought in thousands who would not have come here. The Messrs. Law have sunk their capital and done a great deal of good. It is out of character to cast any aspersions on the Messrs. Law."

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XX, p. 695.

Dr. Foster, the Laws, and Counsellor Sylvester Emmons became greatly stirred up about the spiritual wife doctrine, and the effort of Smith and those in his confidence to teach and enforce the doctrine of plural wives; and they finally decided to establish in Nauvoo a newspaper that would openly attack the new order of things. The name chosen for this newspaper was the Expositor, and Emmons was its editor.* Its motto was: "The Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth," and its prospectus announced as its purpose, "Unconditional repeal of the city charter—to correct the abuses of the unit power—to advocate disobedience to political revelations." Only one number of this newspaper was ever issued, but that number was almost directly the cause of the prophet's death.

   * Emmons went direct to Beardstown, Illinois, after the
destruction of the paper, and lived there till the day of his death,
a leading citizen. He established the first newspaper published in
Beardstown, and was for sixteen years the mayor of the city.

The most important feature of the Expositor (which bore date of June 7, 1844) was a "preamble" and resolutions of "seceders from the church at Nauvoo," and affidavits by Mr. and Mrs. William Law and Austin Cowles setting forth that Hyrum Smith had read the "revelation" concerning polygamy to William Law and to the High Council, and that Mrs. Law had read it.*

   * These were the only affidavits printed in the Expositor. More
than one description of the paper has stated that it contained many
more. Thus, Appleton's "American Encyclopedia," under "Mormons," says,
"In the first number (there was only one) they printed the affidavits
of sixteen women to the effect that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon and
others had endeavored to convert them to the spiritual wife doctrine."

The "preamble" affirmed the belief of the seceders in the Mormon Bible and the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," but declared their intention to "explode the vicious principles of Joseph Smith," adding, "We are aware, however, that we are hazarding every earthly blessing, particularly property, and probably life itself, in striking this blow at tyranny and oppression." Many of them, it was explained, had sought a reformation of the church without any public exposure, but they had been spurned, "particularly by Joseph, who would state that, if he had been or was guilty of the charges we would charge him with, he would not make acknowledgment, but would rather be damned, for it would detract from his dignity and would consequently prove the overthrow of the church. We would ask him, on the other hand, if the overthrow of the church were not inevitable; to which he often replied that we would all go to hell together and convert it into a heaven by casting the devil out; and, says he, hell is by no means the place this world of fools supposes it to be, but, on the contrary, it is quite an agreeable place."

The "preamble" further set forth the methods employed by Smith to induce women from other countries, who had joined the Mormons in Nauvoo, to become his spiritual wives, reciting the arguments advanced, and thus summing up the general result: "She is thunderstruck, faints, recovers and refuses. The prophet damns her if she rejects. She thinks of the great sacrifice, and of the many thousand miles she has travelled over sea and land that she might save her soul from pending ruin, and replies, 'God's will be done and not mine.' The prophet and his devotees in this way are gratified." Smith's political aspirations were condemned as preposterous, and the false "doctrine of many gods" was called blasphemy.

Fifteen resolutions followed. They declared against the evils named, and also condemned the order to the Saints to gather in haste at Nauvoo, explaining that the purpose of this command was to enable the men in control of the church to sell property at exorbitant prices, "and thus the wealth that is brought into the place is swallowed up by the one great throat, from whence there is no return." The seceders asserted that, although they had an intimate acquaintance with the affairs of the church, they did not know of any property belonging to it except the Temple. Finally, as speaking for the true church, they ordered all preachers to cease to teach the doctrine of plural gods, a plurality of wives, sealing, etc., and directed offenders in this respect to report and have their licenses renewed. Another feature of the issue was a column address signed by Francis M. Higbee, advising the citizens of Hancock County not to send Hyrum Smith to the legislature, since to support him was to support Joseph, "a man who contends all governments are to be put down, and one established upon its ruins."

The appearance of this sheet created the greatest excitement among the Mormon leaders that they had experienced since leaving Missouri. They recognized in it immediately a mouthpiece of men who were better informed than Bennett, and who were ready to address an audience composed both of their own flock and of their outlying non-Mormon neighbors, whose antipathy to them was already manifesting itself aggressively. To permit the continued publication of this sheet meant one of those surrenders which Smith had never made.

The prophet therefore took just such action as would have been expected of him in the circumstances. Calling a meeting of the City Council, he proceeded to put the Expositor and its editors on trial, as if that body was of a judicial instead of a legislative character. The minutes of this trial, which lasted all of Saturday, June 8, and a part of Monday, June l0, 1844, can be found in the Neighbor of June 19, of that year, filling six columns. The prophet-mayor occupied the chair, and the defendants were absent.

The testimony introduced aimed at the start to break down the characters of Dr. Foster, Higbee, and the Laws. A mechanic testified that the Laws had bought "bogus"—(counterfeit) dies of him. The prophet told how William Law had "pursued" him to recover $40,000 that Smith owed him. Hyrum Smith alleged that William Law had offered to give a man $500 if he would kill Hyrum, and had confessed adultery to him, making a still more heinous charge against Higbee. Hyrum referred "to the revelation of the High Council of the church, which has caused so much talk about a multiplicity of wives," and declared that it "concerned things which transpired in former days, and had no reference to the present time." Testimony was also given to show that the Laws were not liberal to the poor, and that William's motto with his fellow-churchmen who owed him was, "Punctuality, punctuality."* This was naturally a serious offence in the eyes of the Smiths.

   * The Expositor contained this advertisement: "The subscribers
wish to inform all those who, through sickness or other misfortunes, are
much limited is their means of procuring bread for their families, that
we have allotted Thursday of every week to grind toll free for them,
till grain becomes plentiful after harvest.—W. & W. Law."

The prophet declared that the conduct of such men, and of such papers as the Expositor, was calculated to destroy the peace of the city. He unblushingly asserted that what he had preached about marriage only showed the order in ancient days, having nothing to do with the present time. In regard to the alleged revelation about polygamy he explained that, on inquiring of the Lord concerning the Scriptural teaching that "they neither marry nor are given in marriage in heaven," he received a reply to the effect that men in this life must marry in one of eternity, otherwise they must remain as angels, or be single in heaven.

Smith then proposed that the Council make some provision for putting down the Expositor, declaring its allegations to be "treasonable against all chartered rights and privileges." He read from the federal and state constitutions to define his idea of the rights of the press, and quoted Blackstone on private wrongs. Hyrum openly advocated smashing the press and pieing the type. One councillor alone raised his voice for moderation, proposing to give the offenders a few days' notice, and to assess a fine of $300 for every libel. W. W. Phelps (who was back in the fold again) held that the city charter gave them power to declare the newspaper a nuisance, and cited the spilling of the tea in Boston harbor as a precedent for an attack on the Expositor office. Finally, on June 10, this resolution was passed unanimously:—

"Resolved by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo that the printing office from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor is a public nuisance, and also all of said Nauvoo Expositors which may be or exist in said establishment; and the mayor is instructed to cause said printing establishment and papers to be removed without delay, in such manner as he shall direct."

Smith, of course, made very prompt use of this authority, issuing the following order to the city marshal:—

"You are hereby commanded to destroy the printing press from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor, and pi the type of said printing establishment in the street, and burn all the Expositors and libellous hand bills found in said establishment; and if resistance be offered to the execution of this order, by the owners or others, destroy the house; and if any one threatens you or the Mayor or the officers of the city, arrest those who threaten you; and fail not to execute this order without delay, and make due return thereon.


To meet any armed opposition which might arise, the acting major general of the Legion was thus directed:—

"You are hereby commanded to hold the Nauvoo Legion in readiness forthwith to execute the city ordinances, and especially to remove the printing establishment of the Nauvoo Expositor; and this you are required to do at sight, under the penalty of the laws, provided the marshal shall require it and need your services."


"Lieutenant General Nauvoo Legion."

The story of the compliance with the mayor's order is thus concisely told in the "marshal's return," "The within-named press and type is destroyed and pied according to order on this loth day of June, 1844, at about eight o'clock P.M." The work was accomplished without any serious opposition. The marshal appeared at the newspaper office, accompanied by an escort from the Legion, and forced his way into the building. The press and type were carried into the street, where the press was broken up with hammers, and all that was combustible was burned.

Dr. Foster and the Laws fled at once to Carthage, Illinois, under the belief that their lives were in danger. The story of their flight and of the destruction of their newspaper plant by order of the Nauvoo authorities spread quickly all over the state, and in the neighboring counties the anti-Mormon feeling, that had for some time been growing more intense, was now fanned to fury. This feeling the Mormon leaders seemed determined to increase still further.

The owners of the Expositor sued out at Carthage a writ for the removal to that place of Joseph Smith and the Nauvoo counsellors on a charge of a riot in connection with the destruction of their plant. This writ, when presented, was at once set aside by a writ of habeas corpus issued by the Nauvoo Municipal Court, but the case was heard before a Mormon justice of the peace on June 17, and he discharged the accused. As if this was not a sufficient defiance of public opinion, Smith, as mayor, published a "proclamation" in the Neighbor of June 19, reciting the events in connection with the attack on the Expositor, and closing thus:

"Our city is infested with a set of blacklegs, counterfeiters and debauchees, and that the proprietors of this press were of that class, the minutes of the Municipal Court fully testify, and in ridding our young and flourishing city of such characters, we are abused by not only villanous demagogues, but by some who, from their station and influence in society, ought rather to raise than depress the standard of human excellence. We have no disturbance or excitement among us, save what is made by the thousand and one idle rumors afloat in the country. Every one is protected in his person and property, and but few cities of a population of twenty thousand people, in the United States, hath less of dissipation or vice of any kind than the city of Nauvoo.

"Of the correctness of our conduct in this affair, we appeal to every high court in the state, and to its ordeal we are willing to appear at any time that His Excellency, Governor Ford, shall please to call us before it. I, therefore, in behalf of the Municipal Court of Nauvoo, warn the lawless not to be precipitate in any interference in our affairs, for as sure as there is a God in Israel we shall ride triumphant over all oppression."



The gauntlet thus thrown down by Smith was promptly taken up by his non-Mormon neighbors, and public meetings were held in various places to give expression to the popular indignation. At such a meeting in Warsaw, Hancock County, eighteen miles down the river, the following was among the resolutions adopted:

"Resolved, that the time, in our opinion, has arrived when the adherents of Smith, as a body, should be driven from the surrounding settlements into Nauvoo; that the Prophet and his miscreant adherents should then be demanded at their hands, and, if not surrendered, a war of extermination should be waged, to the entire destruction, if necessary for our protection, of his adherents."

Warsaw was considered the most violent anti-Mormon neighborhood, the Signal newspaper there being especially bitter in its attacks; but the people in all the surrounding country began to prepare for "war" in earnest. At Warsaw 150 men were mustered in under General Knox, and $1000 was voted for supplies. In Carthage, Rushville, Green Plains, and many other towns in Illinois men began organizing themselves into military companies, cannon were ordered from St. Louis, and the near-by places in Iowa, as well as some in Missouri, sent word that their aid could be counted on. Rumors of all sorts of Mormon outrages were circulated, and calls were made for militia, here to protect the people against armed Mormon bands, there against Mormon thieves. Many farmhouses were deserted by their owners through fear, and the steamboats on the river were crowded with women and children, who were sent to some safe settlement while the men were doing duty in the militia ranks. Many of the alarming reports were doubtless started by non-Mormons to inflame the public feeling against their opponents, others were the natural outgrowth of the existing excitement.

On June 17 a committee from Carthage made to Governor Ford so urgent a request for the calling out of the militia, that he decided to visit the disturbed district and make an investigation on his own account.* On arriving at Carthage he found a considerable militia force already assembled as a posse comitatus, at the call of the constables. This force, and similar ones in McDonough and Schuyler counties, he placed under command of their own officers. Next, the governor directed the mayor and council of Nauvoo to send a committee to state to him their story of the recent doings. This they did, convincing him, by their own account, of the outrageous character of the proceedings against the Expositor. He therefore arrived at two conclusions: first, that no authority at his command should be spared in bringing the Mormon leaders to justice; and, second, that this must be done without putting the Mormons in danger of an attack by any kind of a mob. He therefore addressed the militia force from each county separately, urging on them the necessity of acting only within the law; and securing from them all a vote pledging their aid to the governor in following a strictly legal course, and protecting from violence the Mormon leaders when they should be arrested.

   * The story of the events just preceding Joseph Smith's death are
taken from Governor Ford's report to the Illinois legislature, and from
his "History of Illinois."

The governor then sent word to Smith that he and his associates would be protected if they would surrender, but that arrested they should be, even if it took the whole militia force of the state to accomplish this. The constable and guards who carried the governor's mandate to Nauvoo found the city a military camp. Smith had placed it under martial law, assembled the Legion, called in all the outlying Mormons, and ordered that no one should enter or leave the place without submitting to the strictest inquiry. The governor's messengers had no difficulty, however, in gaining admission to Smith, who promised that he and the members of the Council would accompany the officers to Carthage the next morning (June 23) at eight o'clock. But at that time the accused did not appear, and, without any delay or any effort to arrest the men who were wanted, the officers returned to Carthage and reported that all the accused had fled.

Whatever had been the intention of Smith when the constable first appeared, he and his associates did surrender, as the governor had expressed a belief that they would do.. Statements of the circumstances of the surrender were written at the time by H. P. Reid and James W. Woods of Iowa, who were employed by the Mormons as counsel, and were printed in the Times and Seasons, Vol. V, No. 12. Mr. Woods, according to these accounts, arrived in Nauvoo on Friday, June 21, and, after an interview with Smith and his friends, went to Carthage the next evening to assure Governor Ford that the Nauvoo officers were ready to obey the law. There he learned that the constable and his assistants had gone to Nauvoo to demand his clients' surrender; but he does not mention their return without the prisoners. He must have known, however, that the first intention of Smith and the Council was to flee from the wrath of their neighbors. The "Life of Brigham Young," published by Cannon & Sons, Salt Lake City, 1893, contains this statement:—

"The Prophet hesitated about giving himself up, and started, on the night of June 22, with his brother Hyrum, W. Richards, John Taylor, and a few others for the Rocky Mountains. He was, however, intercepted by his friends, and induced to abandon his project, being chided with cowardice and with deserting his people. This was more than he could bear, and so he returned, saying: 'If my life is of no value to my friends, it is of no value to myself. We are going back to be slaughtered.'"

It will be remembered that Young, Rigdon, Orson Pratt, and many others of the leading men of the church were absent at this time, most of them working up Smith's presidential "boom." Orson Pratt, who was then in New Hampshire, said afterward, "If the Twelve had been here, we would not have seen him given up."

Woods received from the governor a pledge of protection for all who might be arrested, and an assurance that if the Mormons would give themselves up at Carthage, on Monday, the 24th, this would be accepted as a compliance with the governor's orders. He therefore returned to Nauvoo with this message on Sunday evening, and the next morning the accused left that place with him for Carthage. They soon met Captain Dunn, who, with a company of sixty men, was going to Nauvoo with an order from the governor for the state arms in the possession of the Legion.* Woods made an agreement with Captain Dunn that the arms should be given up by Smith's order, and that his clients should place themselves under the captain's protection, and return with him to Carthage. The return trip to Nauvoo, and thence to Carthage, was not completed until about midnight. The Mormons were not put under restraint that night, but the next morning they surrendered themselves to the constable on a charge of riot in connection with the destruction of the Expositor plant.

   * It was stated that on two hours' notice two thousand men
appeared, all armed, and that they surrendered their arms in compliance
with the governor's plans.


On Tuesday morning, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were arrested again in Carthage, this time on a charge of treason in levying war against the state, by declaring martial law in Nauvoo and calling out the Legion. In the afternoon of that day all the accused, numbering fifteen, appeared before a justice of the peace, and, to prevent any increase in the public excitement, gave bonds in the sum of $500 each for their appearance at the next term of the Circuit Court to answer the charge of riot.* It was late in the evening when this business was finished, and nothing was said at the time about the charge of treason.

   * The trial of the survivors resulted in a verdict of acquittal.
"The Mormons," says Governor Ford, "could have a Mormon jury to be tried
by, selected by themselves, and the anti-Mormons, by objecting to the
sheriff and regular panel, could have one from the anti-Mormons. No one
could [then] be convicted of any crime in Hancock County."—"History of
Illinois," p. 369.

Very soon after their return to the hotel, however, the constable who had arrested the Smiths on the new charge appeared with a mittimus from the justice of the peace, and, under its authority, conveyed them to the county jail. Their counsel immediately argued before the governor that this action was illegal, as the Smiths had had no hearing on the charge of treason, and the governor went with the lawyers to consult the justice concerning his action. The justice explained that he had directed the removal of the prisoners to jail because he did not consider them safe in the hotel. The governor held that, from the time of their delivery to the jailer, they were beyond his jurisdiction and responsibility, but he granted a request of their counsel for a military guard about the jail. He says, however, that he apprehended neither an attack on the building nor an escape of the prisoners, adding that if they had escaped, "it would have been the best way of getting rid of the Mormons," since these leaders would never have dared to return to the state, and all their followers would have joined them in their place of refuge.

The militia force in Carthage at that time numbered some twelve hundred men, with four hundred or five hundred more persons under arms in the town. There was great pressure on the governor to march this entire force to Nauvoo, ostensibly to search for a counterfeiting establishment, in order to overawe the Mormons by a show of force. The governor consented to this plan, and it was arranged that the officers at Carthage and Warsaw should meet on June 27 at a point on the Mississippi midway between the latter place and Nauvoo.

Governor Ford was not entirely certain about the safety of the prisoners, and he proposed to take them with him in the march to Nauvoo, for their protection. But while preparations for this march were still under way, trustworthy information reached him that, if the militia once entered the Mormon city, its destruction would certainly follow, the plan being to accept a shot fired at the militia by someone as a signal for a general slaughter and conflagration. He determined to prevent this, not only on humane grounds,—"the number of women, inoffensive and young persons, and innocent children which must be contained in such a city of twelve hundred to fifteen thousand inhabitants"—but because he was not certain of the outcome of a conflict in which the Mormons would outnumber his militia almost two to one. After a council of the militia officers, in which a small majority adhered to the original plan, the governor solved the question by summarily disbanding all the state forces under arms, except three companies, two of which would continue to guard the jail, and the other would accompany the governor on a visit to Nauvoo, where he proposed to search for counterfeiters, and to tell the inhabitants that any retaliatory measures against the non-Mormons would mean "the destruction of their city, and the extermination of their people."

The jail at Carthage was a stone building, situated at the northwestern boundary of the village, and near a piece of woods that were convenient for concealment. It contained the jailer's apartments, cells for prisoners, and on the second story a sort of assembly room. At the governor's suggestion, Joseph and Hyrum were allowed the freedom of this larger room, where their friends were permitted to visit them, without any precautions against the introduction of weapons or tools for their escape.

Their guards were selected from the company known as the Carthage Grays, Captain Smith, commander. In this choice the governor made a mistake which always left him under a charge of collusion in the murder of the prisoners. It was not, in the first place, necessary to select any Hancock company for this service, as he had militia from McDonough County on the ground. All the people of Hancock County were in a fever of excitement against the Mormons, while the McDonough County militia had voted against the march into Nauvoo. Moreover, when the prisoners, after their arrival at Carthage, had been exhibited to the McDonough company at the request of the latter, who had never seen them, the Grays were so indignant at what they called a triumphal display, that they refused to obey the officer in command, and were for a time in revolt. "Although I knew that this company were the enemies of the Smiths," says the governor, "yet I had confidence in their loyalty and their integrity, because their captain was universally spoken of as a most respectable citizen and honorable man." The governor further excused himself for the selection because the McDonough company were very anxious to return home to attend to their crops, and because, as the prisoners were likely to remain in jail all summer, he could not have detained the men from the other county so long. He presents also the curious plea that the frequent appeals made to him direct for the extermination or expulsion of the Mormons gave him assurance that no act of violence would be committed contrary to his known opposition, and he observes, "This was a circumstance well calculated to conceal from me the secret machinations on foot!"

In this state of happy confidence the governor set out for Nauvoo on the morning of June 27. On the way, one of the officers who accompanied him told him that he was apprehensive of an attack on the jail because of talk he had heard in Carthage. The governor was reluctant to believe that such a thing could occur while he was in the Mormon city, exposed to Mormon vengeance, but he sent back a squad, with instructions to Captain Smith to see that the jail was safely guarded. He had apprehensions of his own, however, and on arriving at Nauvoo simply made an address as above outlined, and hurried back to Carthage without even looking for counterfeit money. He had not gone more than two miles when messengers met him with the news that the Smith brothers had been killed in the jail.

The Warsaw regiment (it is so called in the local histories), under command of Colonel Levi Williams, set out on the morning of June 27 for the rendezvous on the Mississippi, preparatory to the march to Nauvoo. The resolutions adopted in Warsaw and the tone of the local press had left no doubt about the feeling of the people of that neighborhood toward the Mormons, and fully justified the decision of the governor in countermanding the march proposed. His unexpected order disbanding the militia reached the Warsaw troops when they had advanced about eight miles. A decided difference of opinion was expressed regarding it. Some of the most violent, including Editor Sharp of the Signal, wanted to continue the march to Carthage in order to discuss the situation with the other forces there; the more conservative advised an immediate return to Warsaw. Each party followed its own inclination, those who continued toward Carthage numbering, it is said, about two hundred.

While there is no doubt that the Warsaw regiment furnished the men who made the attack on the jail, there is evidence that the Carthage Grays were in collusion with them. William N. Daniels, in his account of the assault, says that the Warsaw men, when within four miles of Carthage, received a note from the Grays (which he quotes) telling them of the good opportunity presented "to murder the Smiths" in the governor's absence. His testimony alone would be almost valueless, but Governor Ford confirms it, and Gregg (who holds that the only purpose of the mob was to seize the prisoners and run them into Missouri) says he is "compelled" to accept the report. According to Governor Ford, one of the companies designated as a guard for the jail disbanded and went home, and the other was stationed by its captain 150 yards from the building, leaving only a sergeant and eight men at the jail itself. "A communication," he adds, "was soon established between the conspirators and the company, and it was arranged that the guards should have their guns charged with blank cartridges, and fire at the assailants when they attempted to enter the jail."

Both Willard Richards and John Taylor were in the larger room with the Smith brothers when the attack was made (other visitors having recently left), and both gave detailed accounts of the shooting, Richards soon afterward, in a statement printed in the Neighbor and the Times and Seasons under the title "Two Minutes in Gaol," and Taylor in his "Martyrdom of Joseph Smith." * They differ only in minor particulars.

   * To be found in Burton's "City of the Saints."

All in the room were sitting in their shirt sleeves except Richards, when they saw a number of men, with blackened faces, advancing around the corner of the jail toward the stairway. The door leading from the room to the stairs was hurriedly closed, and, as it was without a lock, Hyrum Smith and Richards placed their shoulders against it. Finding their entrance opposed, the assailants fired a shot through the door (Richards says they fired a volley up the stairway), which caused Hyrum and Richards to leap back. While Hyrum was retreating across the room, with his face to the door, a second shot fired through the door struck him by the side of the nose, and at the same moment another ball, fired through the window at the other side of the room, entered his back, and, passing through his body, was stopped by the watch in his vest pocket, smashing the works. He fell on his back exclaiming, "I am a dead man," and did not speak again.

One of their callers had left a six-shooting pistol with the prisoners, and, when Joseph saw his brother shot, he advanced with this weapon to the door, and opening it a few inches, snapped each barrel toward the men on the other side. Three barrels missed fire, but each of the three that exploded seems to have wounded a man; accounts differ as to the seriousness of their injuries. While Joseph was firing, Taylor stood by him armed with a stout hickory stick, and Richards was on his other side holding a cane. As soon as Joseph's firing, which had checked the assailants for a moment, ceased, the latter stuck their weapons through the partly opened doorway, and fired into the room. Taylor tried to parry the guns with his cudgel. "That's right, Brother Taylor, parry them off as well as you can," said the prophet, and these are the last words he is remembered to have spoken. The assailants hesitated to enter the room, perhaps not knowing what weapons the Mormons had, and Taylor concluded to take his chances of a leap through an open window opposite the door, and some twenty-five feet from the ground. But as he was about to jump out, a ball struck him in the thigh, depriving him of all power of motion. He fell inside the window, and as soon as he recovered power to move, crawled under a bed which stood in one corner of the room. The men in the hallway continued to thrust in their guns and fire, and Richards kept trying to knock aside the muzzles with his cane. Taylor in this way, before he reached the bed, received three more balls, one below the left knee, one in the left arm, and another in the left hip.

Almost as soon as Taylor fell, the prophet made a dash for the window. As he was part way out, two balls fired through the doorway struck him, and one from outside the building entered his right breast. Richards says: "He fell outward, exclaiming 'O Lord, my God.' As his feet went out of the window, my head went in, the balls whistling all around. At this instant the cry was raised, 'He's leaped the window,' and the mob on the stairs and in the entry ran out. I withdrew from the window, thinking it of no use to leap out on a hundred bayonets, then around General Smith's body. Not satisfied with this, I again reached my head out of the window and watched some seconds, to see if there were any signs of life, regardless of my own, determined to see the end of him I loved. Being fully satisfied that he was dead, with a hundred men near the body and more coming round the corner of the gaol, and expecting a return to our room, I rushed toward the prison door at the head of the stairs." Finding the inner doors of the jail unlocked, Richards dragged Taylor into a cell and covered him with an old mattress. Both expected a return of the mob, but the lynchers disappeared as soon as they satisfied themselves that the prophet was dead. Richards was not injured at all, although his large size made him an ample target.

Most Mormon accounts of Smith's death say that, after he fell, the body was set up against a well curb in the yard and riddled with balls. Taylor mentions this report, but Richards, who specifically says that he saw the prophet die, does not. Governor Ford's account says that Smith was only stunned by the fall and was shot in the yard. Perhaps the original authority for this version was a lad named William N. Daniels, who accompanied the Warsaw men to Carthage, and, after the shooting, went to Nauvoo and had his story published by the Mormons in pamphlet form, with two extravagant illustrations, in which one of the assailants is represented as approaching Smith with a knife to cut off his head.*

   *A detailed account of the murder of the Smiths, and events
connected with it, was contributed to the Atlantic Monthly for December,
1869, by John Hay. This is accepted by Kennedy as written by "one whose
opportunities for information were excellent, whose fairness cannot be
questioned, and whose ability to distinguish the true from the false is
of the highest order." H. H. Bancroft, whose tone is always pro-Mormon,
alludes to this article as "simply a tissue of falsehoods." In reply
to a note of inquiry Secretary Hay wrote to the author, under date
of November 17, 1900: "I relied more upon my memory and contemporary
newspapers for my facts than on certified documents. I will not take my
oath to everything the article contains, but I think in the main it
is correct." This article says that Joseph Smith was severely wounded
before he ran to the window, "and half leaped, half fell into the jail
yard below. With his last dying energies he gathered himself up, and
leaned in a sitting posture against the rude stone well curb. His
stricken condition, his vague wandering glances, excited no pity in the
mob thirsting for his life. A squad of Missourians, who were standing by
the fence, leveled their pieces at him, and, before they could see
him again for the smoke they made, Joe Smith was dead:" This is not an
account of an eye-witness.

The bodies of the two brothers were removed to the hotel in Carthage, and were taken the next day to Nauvoo, arriving there about three o'clock in the afternoon. They were met by practically the entire population, and a procession made up of the City Council, the generals of the Legion with their staffs, the Legion and the citizens generally, all under command of the city marshal, escorted them to the Nauvoo Mansion, where addresses were made by Dr. Richards, W. W. Phelps, the lawyers Woods and Reid, and Colonel Markham. The utmost grief was shown by the Mormons, who seemed stunned by the blow.

The burial followed, but the bodies did not occupy the graves. Stenhouse is authority for the statement that, fearing a grave robbery (which in fact occurred the next night), the coffins were filled with stones, and the bodies were buried secretly beneath the unfinished Temple. Mistrustful that even this concealment would not be sufficient, they were soon taken up and reburied under the brick wall back of the Mansion House.*

   * "Rocky Mountain Saints," p. 174.

Brigham Young said at the conference in the Temple on October 8, 1845, "We will petition Sister Emma, in the name of Israel's God, to let us deposit the remains of Joseph according as he has commanded us, and if she will not consent to it, our garments are clear." She did not consent. For the following statement about the future disposition of the bodies I am indebted to the grandson of the prophet, Mr. Frederick Madison Smith, one of the editors of the Saints' Herald (Reorganized Church) at Lamoni, Iowa, dated December 15, 1900:—

"The burial place of the brothers Joseph and Hyrum has always remained a secret, being known only to a very few of the immediate family. In fact, unless it has lately been revealed to others, the exact spot is known only to my father and his brother. Others who knew the secret are now silent in death. The reasons for the secrecy were that it was feared that, if the burial place was known at the time, there might have been an inclination on the part of the enemies of those men to desecrate their bodies and graves. There is not now, and probably has not been for years, any danger of such desecration, and the only reason I can see for still keeping it a secret is the natural disinclination on the part of the family to talk about such matters.

"However, I have been on the ground with my father when I knew I was standing within a few feet of where the remains were lying, and it is known to many about where that spot is. It is a short distance from the Nauvoo House, on the bank of the Mississippi. The lot is still owned by the family, the title being in my father's name. There is not, that I know, any intention of ever taking the bodies to Far West or Independence, Missouri. The chances are that their resting places will never be disturbed other than to erect on the spot a monument. In fact, a movement is now underway to raise the means to do that. A monument fund is being subscribed to by the members of the church. The monument would have been erected by the family, but it is not financially able to do it."

In the October following, indictments were found against Colonel Williams of the Warsaw regiment, State Senator J. C. Davis, Editor Sharp, and six others, including three who were said to have been wounded by Smith's pistol shots, but the sheriff did not succeed in making any arrests. In the May following some of the accused appeared for trial. A struck jury was obtained, but, in the existing state of public feeling, an acquittal was a foregone conclusion. The guards at the jail would identify no one, and Daniels, the pamphlet writer, and another leading witness for the prosecution gave contradictory accounts.

But the prophet, according to Mormon recitals, did not go unavenged. Lieutenant Worrell, who commanded the detachment of the guards at the jail, was shot not long after, as we shall see. Murray McConnell, who represented the governor in the prosecution of the alleged lynchers, was assassinated twenty-four years later. P. P. Pratt gives an account of the fate of other "persecutors." The arm of one Townsend, who was wounded by Joe's pistol, continued to rot until it was taken off, and then would not heal. A colonel of the Missouri forces, who died in Sacramento in 1849, "was eaten with worms, a large, black-headed kind of maggot, seeming a half-pint at a time." Another Missourian's "face and jaw on one side literally rotted, and half his face actually fell off."*

   *Pratt's "Autobiography," pp. 475-476.

It is difficult for the most fair-minded critic to find in the character of Joseph Smith anything to commend, except an abundance of good-nature which made him personally popular with the body of his followers. He has been credited with power as a leader, and it was certainly little less than marvellous that he could maintain his leadership after his business failure in Ohio, and the utter break-down of his revealed promises concerning a Zion in Missouri. The explanation of this success is to be found in the logically impregnable position of his character as a prophet, so long as the church itself retained its organization, and in the kind of people who were gathered into his fold. If it was not true that HE received the golden plates from an angel; if it was not true that HE translated them with divine assistance; if it was not true that HE received from on high the "revelations" vouchsafed for the guidance of the church,—then there was no new Bible, no new revelation, no Mormon church. If Smith was pulled down, the whole church structure must crumble with him. Lee, referring to the days in Missouri, says, "Every Mormon, if true to his faith, believed as freely in Joseph Smith and his holy character as they did that God existed."* Some of the Mormons who knew Smith and his career in Missouri and Illinois were so convinced of the ridiculousness of his claims that they proposed, after the gathering in Utah, to drop him entirely. Proof of this, and of Brigham Young's realization of the impossibility of doing so, is found in Young's remarks at the conference which received the public announcement of the "revelation" concerning polygamy. Referring to the suggestion that had been made, "Don't mention Joseph Smith, never mention the Book of Mormon and Zion, and all the people will follow you," Young boldly declared: "What I have received from the Lord, I have received by Joseph Smith; he was the instrument made use of. If I drop him, I must drop these principles. They have not been revealed, declared, or explained by any other man since the days of the apostles." This view is accepted by the Mormons in Utah to-day.

   * "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 76.

If it seems still more surprising that Smith's associates placed so little restraint on his business schemes, it must be remembered that none of his early colaborers—Rigdon, Harris, Cowdery, and the rest—was a better business man than he, and that he absolutely brooked no interference. It was Smith who decided every important step, as, for instance, the land purchases in and around Nauvoo; and men who would let him originate were compelled to let him carry out. We have seen how useless better business men like the Laws found it to argue with him on any practical question. The length to which he dared go in discountenancing any restriction, even regarding his moral ideas, is illustrated in an incident related in his autobiography.* At a service on Sunday, November 7, 1841, in Nauvoo, an elder named Clark ventured to reprove the brethren for their lack of sanctity, enjoining them to solemnity and temperance. "I reproved him," says the prophet, "as pharisaical and hypocritical, and not edifying the people, and showed the Saints what temperance, faith, virtue, charity, and truth were. I charged the Saints not to follow the example of the adversary non-mormons in accusing the brethren, and said, 'If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser, you will enter heaven; if you will follow the revelations and instructions which God gives you through me, I will take you into heaven as my back load. If you will not accuse me, I will not accuse you. If you will throw a cloak of charity over my sins, I will over yours—for charity covereth a multitude of sins. What many people call sin is not sin. I do many things to break down superstition."' A congregation that would accept such teaching without a protest, would follow their leader in any direction which he chose to indicate.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XVIII, p. 743.

Smith was the farthest possible from being what Spinoza has been called, "a God-intoxicated man." Real reverence for sacred things did not enter into his mental equipment. A story illustrating his lack of reverence for what he called "long-faced" brethren was told by J. M. Grant in Salt Lake City. A Baptist minister, who talked much of "my dee-e-ar brethren," called on Smith in Nauvoo, and, after conversing with him for a short time, stood up before Smith and asked in solemn tones if it were possible that he saw a man who was a prophet and who had conversed with the Saviour. "'Yes,' says the prophet, 'I don't know but you do; would you not like to wrestle with me?' After he had whirled around a few times, like a duck shot in the head, he concluded that his piety had been awfully shocked."*

   * Journal of Discourses, Vol. III, p. 67.

In manhood Smith was about six feet tall, weighing something over two hundred pounds. From among a number of descriptions of him by visitors at Nauvoo, the following may be cited. Josiah Quincy, describing his arrival at what he calls "the tavern" in Nauvoo, in May, 1844, gives this impression of the prophet: "Pre-eminent among the stragglers at the door stood a man of commanding appearance, clad in the costume of a journeyman carpenter when about his work. He was a hearty, athletic fellow, with blue eyes standing prominently out on his light complexion, a long nose, and a retreating forehead. He wore striped pantaloons, a linen jacket which had not lately seen the wash-tub, and a beard of three days' growth. A fine-looking man, is what the passer-by would instinctively have murmured upon meeting the remarkable individual who had fashioned the mould which was to shape the feelings of so many thousands of his fellow-mortals." *

   *" Figures of the Past," p. 380.

The Rev. Henry Caswall, M.A., who had an interview with the prophet at Nauvoo, in 1842, thus describes him: "He is a coarse, plebeian, sensual person in aspect, and his countenance exhibits a curious mixture of the knave and the clown. His hands are large and fat, and on one of his fingers he wears a massive gold ring, upon which I saw an inscription. His eyes appear deficient in that open and straightforward expression which often characterizes an honest man."

   * Millennial Star, November 1, 1850.

John Taylor had death-casts taken of the faces of Joseph and Hyrum after their murder. By the aid of these and of sketches of the brothers which he had secured while they were living, he had busts of them made by a modeller in Europe named Gahagan, and these were offered to the Saints throughout the world, for a price, of course.*

The proofs already cited of Smith's immorality are convincing. Caswall names a number of occasions on which, he charges, the prophet was intoxicated after his settlement in Nauvoo. He relates that on one of these, when Smith was asked how it happened that a prophet of the Lord could get drunk, Smith answered that it was necessary that he should do so to prevent the Saints from worshipping him as a god!*

   * "Mormonism and its Author," 1852.

No Mormon ever concedes that proof of Smith's personal failings affects his character as a prophet. A Mormon doctor, with whom Caswall argued at Nauvoo, said that Smith might be a murderer and an adulterer, and yet be a true prophet. He cited St. Peter as saying that, in his time, David had not yet ascended into heaven (Acts ii. 34); David was in hell as a murderer; so if Smith was "as infamous as David, and even denied his own revelations, that would not affect the revelations which God had given him."


The murder of the Smiths caused a panic, not among the Mormons, but among the other inhabitants of Hancock County, who looked for summary vengeance at the hands of the prophet's followers, with their famous Legion to support them. The state militia having been disbanded, the people considered themselves without protection, and Governor Ford shared their apprehension. Carthage was at once almost depopulated, the people fleeing in wagons, on horseback, and on foot, and most of the citizens of Warsaw placed the river between them and their enemies. "I was sensible," says Governor Ford, "that my command was at an end; that my destruction was meditated as well as the Mormons', and that I could not reasonably confide longer in one party or the other." The panic-stricken executive therefore set out at once for Quincy, forty miles from the scene of the murder.

From that city the governor issued a statement to the people of the state, reciting the events leading up to the recent tragedy, and, under date of June 29, ordered the enlistment of as many men as possible in the militia of Adams, Marquette, Pike, Brown, Schuyler, Morgan, Scott, Cass, Fulton, and McDonough counties, and the regiments of General Stapp's brigade, for a twelve days' campaign. The independent companies of all sorts, in the same counties, were also told to hold themselves in readiness, and the federal government was asked to station a force of five hundred men from the regular army in Hancock County. This last request was not complied with. The governor then sent Colonel Fellows and Captain Jonas to Nauvoo by the first boat, to find out the intentions of the Mormons as well as those of the people of Warsaw.

Meanwhile the voice of the Mormon leaders was for peace. Willard Richards, John Taylor, and Samuel H. Smith united in a letter (written in the first person singular by Richards), on the night of the murders, addressed to the prophet's widow, General Deming (commanding at Carthage), and others, which said:—

"The people of the county are greatly excited, and fear the Mormons will come out and take vengeance. I have pledged my word the Mormons will stay at home as soon as they can be informed, and no violence will be on their part. And say to my brethren in Nauvoo, in the name of the Lord, be still, be patient; only let such friends as choose come here to see the bodies. Mr. Taylor's wounds are dressed and not serious. I am sound."

This quieting advice was heeded without even a protest, and after the funeral of the victims the Mormons voted unanimously to depend on the law for retribution.

While things temporal in Nauvoo remained quiet, there were deep feeling and great uncertainty concerning the future of the church. The First Presidency had consisted, since the action of the conference at Far West in 1837, of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon. Two of these were now dead. Did this leave Rigdon as the natural head, did Smith's son inherit the successorship, or did the supreme power rest with the Twelve Apostles? Discussion of this matter brought out many plans, including a general reorganization of the church, and the appointment of a trustee or a president. Rigdon had been sent to Pittsburg to build up a church,* and Brigham Young was electioneering in New Hampshire for Smith. Accordingly, Phelps, Richards; and Taylor, on July 1 issued a brief statement to the church at large, asking all to await the assembling of the Twelve.

John Taylor so stated at Rigdon's coming trial. This, perhaps, contradicts the statement in the Cannons' "Life of Brigham Young" that Rigdon had gone there "to escape the turmoils of Nauvoo."

Rigdon arrived in Nauvoo on August 3, and preached the next day in the grove. He said the Lord had shown him a vision, and that there must be a "guardian" appointed to "build the church up to Joseph" as he had begun it. Cannon's account, in the "Juvenile Instructor," says that at a meeting at John Taylor's the next day Rigdon declared that the church was in confusion and must have a head, and he wanted a special meeting called to choose a "guardian." On the evening of August 6, Young, H. C. Kimball, Lyman Wight, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, and Wilford Woodruff arrived from the East. A meeting of the Twelve Apostles, the High Council, and high priests was called for August 7, at 4 P.m., which Rigdon attended. He declared that in a vision at Pittsburg it had been shown to him that he had been ordained a spokesman to Joseph, and that he must see that the church was governed in a proper manner. "I propose," said he, "to be a guardian of the people. In this I have discharged my duty and done what God has commanded me, and the people can please themselves, whether they accept me or not."

A special meeting of the church was held on the morning of August 8. Rigdon had previously addressed a gathering in the grove, but he had not been winning adherents. As we have seen, he had alienated himself from the men who had accepted Smith's new social doctrines, and a plan which he proposed, that the church should move to Pennsylvania, appealed neither to the good judgment nor the pecuniary interests of those to whom it was presented. Young made an address at this meeting which so wrought up his hearers that they declared that they saw the mantle of Joseph fall upon him. When he asked, "Do you want a guardian, a prophet, a spokesman, or what do you want?" not a hand went up. Young then went on to give his own view of the situation; his argument pointed to a single result—the demolition of Rigdon's claim and the establishment of the supreme authority of the Twelve, of whom Young himself was the head. W. W. Phelps, P. P. Pratt, and others sustained Young's view. Before a vote was taken, according to the minutes quoted, Rigdon refused to have his name voted on as "spokesman" or guardian. The meeting then voted unanimously in favor of "supporting the Twelve in their calling," and also that the Twelve should appoint two Bishops to act as trustees for the church, and that the completion of the Temple should be pushed.*

   * For minutes of this church meeting, see Times and Seasons, Vol.
V, p. 637. For a full account of the happenings at Nauvoo, from August 3
to 8, see "Historical Record" (Mormon), Vol VIII, pp.785-800.

On August 15 Young, as president of the Twelve, issued an epistle to the church in all the world in which he said:—

"Let no man presume for a moment that his [the Prophet's] place will be filled by another; for, remember he stands in his own place, and always will, and the Twelve Apostles of this dispensation stand in their own place, and always will, both in time and eternity, to minister, preside, and regulate the affairs of the whole church." The epistle told the Saints also that "it is not wisdom for the Saints to have anything to do with politics, voting, or president-making at present."

Rigdon remained in Nauvoo after the decision of the church in favor of the Twelve, preaching as of old, declaring that he was with the brethren heart and soul, and urging the completion of the Temple. But Young regarded him as a rival, and determined to put their strength to a test. Accordingly, on Tuesday, September 3, he had a notice printed in the Neighbor directing Rigdon to appear on the following Sunday for trial before a High Council presided over by Bishop Whitney. Rigdon did not attend this trial, not only because he was not well, but because, after a conference with his friends, he decided that the case against him was made up and that his presence would do no good.*

   * For the minutes of this High Council, see Times and Seasons,
Vol. V, pp. 647-655, 660-667.

When the High Council met, Young expressed a disbelief in Rigdon's reported illness. He said that, having heard that Rigdon had ordained men to be prophets, priests, and kings, he and Orson Hyde had obtained from Rigdon a confession that he had performed the act of ordination, and that he believed he held authority above any man in the church. That evening eight of the Twelve had visited him at his house, and, getting confirmation of his position, had sent a committee to him to demand his license. This he had refused to surrender, saying, "I did not receive it from you, neither shall I give it up to you." Then came the order for his trial.

Orson Hyde presented the case against Rigdon in detail. He declared that, when they demanded the surrender of his license, Rigdon threatened to turn traitor, "His own language was, 'Inasmuch as you have demanded my license, I shall feel it my duty to publish all your secret meetings, and all the history of the secret works of this church, in the public journals.'* He intimated that it would bring a mob upon us." Parley P. Pratt, the member of Rigdon's old church in Ohio, who, according to his own account, first called Rigdon's attention to the Mormon Bible, next spoke against his old friend.

   * Lee thus explains one of these "secret works": "The same winter
(1843) he [Smith] organized what was called 'The Council of Fifty.'
This was a confidential organization. This Council was designated as a
lawmaking department, but no record was ever kept of its doings, or, if
kept, they were burned at the close of each meeting. Whenever anything
of importance was on foot, this Council was called to deliberate upon
it. The Council was called the 'Living Constitution.' Joseph said that
no legislature could enact laws that would meet every case, or attain
the ends of justice in all respells."—"Mormonism Unveiled," p.173.

After Amasa Lyman, John Taylor, and H. C. Kimball had spoken against Rigdon, Brigham Young took the floor again, and in reply to the threat that Rigdon would expose the secrets of the church, he denounced him in the following terms:—

"Brother Sidney says, if we go to opposing him, he will tell our secrets. But I would say, 'O, don't, brother Sidney! don't tell our secrets—O, don't!' But if he tells our secrets, we will tell his. Tit for tat. He has had long visions in Pittsburg, revealing to him wonderful iniquity among the Saints. Now, if he knows of so much iniquity, and has got such wonderful power, why don't he purge it out? He professes to have the keys of David. Wonderful power and revelations! And he will publish our iniquity. O, dear brother Sidney, don't publish our iniquity! Now don't! If Sidney Rigdon undertakes to publish all our secrets, as he says, he will lie the first jump he takes. If he knew of all our iniquity why did he not publish it sooner? If there is so much iniquity in the church as you talk of, Elder Rigdon, and you have known of it so long, you are a black-hearted wretch because you have not published it sooner. If there is not this iniquity, you are a blackhearted wretch for endeavoring to bring a mob upon us, to murder innocent men, women and children. Any man that says the Twelve are bogus-makers, or adulterers, or wicked men is a liar; and all who say such things shall have the fate of liars, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Who is there who has seen us do such things? No man. The spirit that I am of tramples such slanderous wickedness under my feet." *

   * William Small, in a letter to the Pittsburg Messenger and
Advocate, p. 70, relates that when he met Rigdon on his arrival at St.
Louis by boat after this trial, Orson Hyde, who was also a passenger
and thought Small was with the Twelve, addressed Small, asking him to
intercede with Rigdon not to publish the secret acts of the church,
and telling him that if Rigdon would come back and stand equal with the
Twelve and counsel with them, he would pledge himself, in behalf of the
Twelve, that all they had said against Rigdon would be revoked.

At this point the proceedings had a rather startling interruption. William Marks, president of the Stake at Nauvoo, and a member of the High Council (who, as we have seen, had rebelled against the doctrine of polygamy when it was presented to him) took the floor in Rigdon's defence. But it was in vain.

W. W. Phelps moved that Rigdon "be cut off from the church, and delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until he repents." The vote by the Council in favor of this motion was unanimous, but when it was offered to the church, some ten members voted against it. Phelps at once moved that all who had voted to follow Rigdon should be suspended until they could be tried by the High Council, and this was agreed to unanimously, with an amendment including the words, "or shall hereafter be found advocating his principles." After compelling President Marks, by formal motion, to acknowledge his satisfaction with the action of the church, the meeting adjourned.

Rigdon's next steps certainly gave substance to his brother's theory that his mind was unbalanced, the family having noticed his peculiarities from the time he was thrown from a horse, when a boy.* He soon returned to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where his first step was to "resuscitate" the Messenger and Advocate, which had died at Kirtland. In a signed article in the first number he showed that he then intended "to contend for the same doctrines, order of government, and discipline maintained by that paper when first published at Kirtland," in other words, to uphold the Mormon church as he had known it, with himself at its head. But his old desire for original leadership got the better of him, and after a conference of the membership he had gathered around him, held in Pittsburg in April, 1845, at which he was voted "First President, Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator," he issued an address to the public in which he declared that his Church of Christ was neither a branch nor connection of the church at Nauvoo, and that it received members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints only after baptism and repentance.** In an article in his organ, on July 15, 1845, he made assertions like these: "The Church of Christ and the Mormons are so widely different in their respective beliefs that they are of necessity opposed to one another, as far as religion is concerned.... There is scarcely one point of similarity.... The Church of Christ has obtained a distinctive character."

   * Baptist Witness, March I, 1875.
   **Pittsburg Messenger and Advocate, p, 220.

Rigdon told the April conference that he had one unceasing desire, namely, to know whether God would accept their work. At the suggestion of the spirit, he had taken some of the brethren into a room in his house that morning, and had consecrated them. What there occurred he thus described:—

"After the washing and anointing, and the patriarchal seal, as the Lord had directed me, we kneeled and in solemn prayer asked God to accept the work we had done. During the time of prayer there appeared over our heads in the room a ray of light forming a hollow square, inside of which stood a company of heavenly messengers, each with a banner in his hand, with their eyes looking downward upon us, their countenance expressive of the deep interest they felt in what was passing on the earth. There also appeared heavenly messengers on horseback, with crowns upon their heads, and plumes floating in the air, dressed in glorious attire, until, like Elisha, we cried in our hearts, 'The chariots of Israel and the horsemen thereof.' Even my little son of fourteen years of age saw the vision, and gazed with great astonishment, saying that he thought his imagination was running away with him. After which we arose and lifted our hands to heaven in holy convocation to God; at which time was shown an angel in heaven registering the acceptance of our work, and the decree of the Great God that the kingdom is ours and we shall prevail."

While the conference was in session, Pittsburg was visited by a disastrous conflagration. Rigdon prayed for the sufferers by the fire and asked God to check it. "During the prayer" (this quotation is from the official report of the conference in the Messenger and Advocate, p. 186), "an escort of the heavenly messengers that had hovered around us during the time of this conference were seen leaving the room; the course of the wind was instantly changed, and the violence of the flames was stayed."

Rigdon's attempt to build up a new church in the East was a failure. Urgent appeals in its behalf in his periodical were made in vain. The people addressed could not be cajoled with his stories of revelations and miraculous visions, which both the secular and religious press held up to ridicule, and he had no system of foreign immigration to supply ignorant recruits. He soon after took up his residence in Friendship, Allegheny County, New York, where he died at the residence of his son-in-law, Earl Wingate, on July 14, 1876. In an obituary sketch of him the Standard of that place said:—

"He was approached by the messengers of young Joseph Smith of Plano, Ill., but he refused to converse or answer any communication which in any way would bring him into notice in connection with the Mormon church of to-day. It was his daily custom to visit the post-office, get the daily paper, read and converse upon the chief topics of the day. He often engaged in a friendly dispute with the local ministers, and always came out first best on New Testament doctrinal matters. Patriarchal in appearance, and kindly in address, he was often approached by citizens and strangers with a view to obtaining something of the unrecorded mysteries of his life; but citizen, stranger and persistent reporter all alike failed in eliciting any information as to his knowledge of the Mormon imposture, the motives of his early life, or the religious faith, fears and hopes of his declining years. Once or twice he spoke excitedly, in terms of scorn, of those who attributed to him the manufacture of the Mormon Bible; but beyond this, nothing. His library was small: he left no manuscripts, and refused persistently to have a picture of himself taken. It can only be said that he was a compound of ability, versatility, honesty, duplicity, and mystery."

One person succeeded in drawing out from Rigdon in his later years a few words on his relations with the Mormon church. This was Charles L. Woodward, a New York bookseller, who some years ago made an important collection of Mormon literature. While making this collection he sent an inquiry to Rigdon, and received a reply, dated May 25, 1873. After apologizing for his handwriting on account of his age and paralysis, the letter says:—

"We know nothing about the people called Mormons now.* The Lord notified us that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were going to be destroyed, and for us to leave. We did so, and the Smiths were killed a few days after we started. Since that, I have had no connection with any of the people who staid and built up to themselves churches; and chose to themselves leaders such as they chose, and then framed their own religion.

   * The statement has been published that, after Young had
established himself in Utah, be received from Rigdon an intimation that
the latter would be willing to join him. I could obtain no confirmation
of this in Salt Lake City. On the contrary, a leading member of the
church informed me that Young invited Rigdon to join the Mormons is
Utah, but that Rigdon did not accept the invitation.

"The Church of Latter-Day Saints had three books that they acknowledged as Canonical, the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the Commandments. For the existence of that church there had to be a revelater, one who received the word of the Lord; a spokesman, one inspired of God to expound all revelation, so that the church might all be of one faith. Without these two men the Church of Latter-Day Saints could not exist. This order ceased to exist, being overcome by the violence of armed men, by whom houses were beaten down by cannon which the assailents had furnished themselves with.

"Thus ended the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and it never can move again till the Lord inspires men and women to believe it. All the societies and assemblies of men collected together since then is not the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, nor never can there be such a church till the Lord moves it by his own power, as he did the first.

"Should you fall in with one who was of the Church [of] Christ, though now of advanced age, you will find one deep red in the revelations of heaven. But many of them are dead, and many of them have turned away, so there are few left.

"I have a manuscript paper in my possession, written with my own hands while in my {30th. year}, but I am to poor to do anything with it; and therefore it must remain where it [is]. During the great fight of affliction I have had, I have lost all my property, but I struggle along in poverty to which I am consigned. I have finished all I feel necessary to write.



   * The original of this letter is in the collection of Mormon
literature in the New York Public Library. An effort to learn from
Rigdon's descendants something about the manuscript paper referred to by
him has failed.

Rigdon's affirmation of his belief in Smith as a prophet and the Mormon Bible when he returned to Pennsylvania was proclaimed by the Mormons as proof that there was no truth in the Spaulding manuscript story, but it carries no weight as such evidence. Rigdon burned all his old theological bridges behind him when he entered into partnership with Smith, and his entire course after his return to Pittsburg only adds to the proof that he was the originator of the Mormon Bible, and that his object in writing it was to enable him to be the head of a new church. Surely no one would accept as proof of the divinity of the Mormon Bible any declaration by the man who told the story of angel visits in Pittsburg.


Rigdon was not alone in contending for the successorship to Joseph Smith as the head of the Mormon church. The prophet's family defended vigorously the claim of his eldest son to be his successor.* Lee says that the prophet had bestowed the right of succession on his eldest son by divination, and that "it was then [after his father's death] understood among the Saints that young Joseph was to succeed his father, and that right justly belonged to him," when he should be old enough. Lee says further that he heard the prophet's mother plead with Brigham Young, in Nauvoo, in 1845, with tears, not to rob young Joseph of his birthright, and that Young conceded the son's claim, but warned her to keep quiet on the subject, because "you are only laying the knife to the throat of the child. If it is known that he is the rightful successor of his father, the enemy of the Priesthood will seek his life."** Strang says, "Anyone who was in Nauvoo in 1846 or 1847 knows that the majority of those who started to the Western exodus, started in this hope," that the younger Joseph would take his father's place.***

   * The prophet's sons were Joseph, born November 6, 1832; Fred G.
W., June 20, 1836; Alexander, June 2, 1838; Don Carlos, June 13, 1840;
and David H., November 18, 1844.
   ** "Mormonism Unveiled," pp. 155, 161.
   *** Strang's "Prophetic Controversy," p. 4.

At the last day of the Conference held in the Temple in Nauvoo, in October, 1845, Mother Smith, at her request, was permitted to make an address. She went over the history of her family, and asked for an expression of opinion whether she was "a mother in Israel." One universal "yes" rang out. She said she hoped all her children would accompany the Saints to the West, and if they did she would go; but she wanted her bones brought back to be buried beside her husband and children. Brigham Young then said: "We have extended the helping hand to Mother Smith. She has the best carriage in the city, and, while she lives, shall ride in it when and where she pleases." * Mother Smith died in the summer of 1856 in Nauvoo, where she spent the last two years of her life with Joseph's first wife, Emma, who had married a Major Bideman.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. VII, p. 23.

Emma caused the Twelve a good deal of anxiety after her husband's death. Pratt describes a council held by her, Marks, and others to endeavor to appoint a trustee-in-trust for the whole church, the necessity of which she vigorously urged. Pratt opposed the idea, and nothing was done about it.* Soon after her husband's death the Times and Seasons noticed a report that she was preparing, with the assistance of one of the prophet's Iowa lawyers, an exposure of his "revelations," etc. James Arlington Bennett, who visited Nauvoo after the prophet's death, acting as correspondent for the New York Sun, gave in one of his letters the text of a statement which he said Emma had written, to this effect, "I never for a moment believed in what my husband called his apparitions or revelations, as I thought him laboring under a diseased mind; yet they may all be true, as a prophet is seldom without credence or honor, excepting in his own family or country." Mrs. Smith, in a letter to the Sun, dated December 30, 1845, pronounced this letter a forgery, while Bennett maintained that he knew that it was genuine.**

   *Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 373.
   ** Emma Smith is described as "a tall, dark, masculine looking
woman" in "Sketches and Anecdotes of the Old Settlers."

The organization—or, as they define it, the reorganization of a church by those who claim that the mantle of Joseph Smith, Jr., descended on his sons, had its practical inception at a conference at Beloit, Wisconsin, in June, 1852, at which resolutions were adopted disclaiming all fellowship with Young and other claimants to the leadership of the church, declaring that the successor of the prophet "must of necessity be the seed of Joseph Smith, Jr." At a conference held in Amboy, Illinois, in April, 1860, Joseph Smith's son and namesake was placed at the head of this church, a position which he still holds. The Reorganized Church has been twice pronounced by United States courts to be the one founded under the administration of the prophet. Its teachings may be called pure Mormonism, free from the doctrines engrafted in after years. It holds that "the doctrines of a plurality and community of wives are heresies, and are opposed to the law of God." Its declaration of faith declares its belief in baptism by immersion, the same kind of organization (apostles, prophets, pastors, etc.) that existed in the primitive church, revelations by God to man from time to time "until the end of time," and in "the powers and gifts of the everlasting gospel, viz., the gift of faith, discerning of spirits, prophesy, revelation, healing, visions, tongues, and the interpretation of tongues." No one ever heard of this church having any trouble with its Gentile neighbors.

The Reorganized Church moved its headquarters to Lamoni, Iowa, in 1881. It has a present membership of 45,381, according to the report of the General Church Recorder to the conference of April, 1901. Of these members, 6964 were foreign,—286 in Canada, 1080 in England, and 1955 in the Society Islands. The largest membership in this country is 7952 in Iowa, 6280 in Missouri, and 3564 in Michigan. Utah reported 685 members.

The most determined claimant to the successorship of Smith was James J. Strang. Born at Scipio, New York, in 1813, Strang was admitted to the bar when a young man, and moved to Wisconsin. Some of the Mormons who went into the north woods to get lumber for the Nauvoo Temple planted a Stake near La Crosse, under Lyman Wight, in 1842. Trouble ensued very soon with their non-Mormon neighbors, and after a rather brief career the supporters of this Stake moved away quietly one night. Strang heard of the Mormon doctrines from these settlers, accepted their truth, and visiting Nauvoo, was baptized in February, 1844, made an elder, and authorized to plant another Stake in Wisconsin. He first attempted to found a city called Voree, where a temple covering more than two acres of ground, with twelve towers, was begun.

When Smith was killed, Strang at once came forward with a declaration that the prophet's revelations indicated that, at the close of his own prophetic office, another would be called to the place by revelation, and ordained at the hands of angels; that not only had he (Strang) been so ordained, but that Smith had written to him in June, 1844, predicting the end of his own work, and telling Strang that he was to gather the people in a Zion in Wisconsin. Strang began at once giving out revelations, describing visions, and announcing that an angel had shown him "plates of the sealed record," and given him the Urim and Thummim to translate them.

Although Strang's whole scheme was a very clumsy imitation of Smith's, he drew a considerable number of followers to his Wisconsin branch, where he published a newspaper called the Voree Herald, and issued pamphlets in defence of his position, and a "Book of the Law," explaining his doctrinal teachings, which included polygamy. He had five wives. His Herald printed a statement, signed by the prophet's mother and his brother William, his three married sisters, and the husband of one of them, certifying that "the Smith family do believe in the appointment of J. J. Strang." Among other Mormons of note who gave in their allegiance to Strang were John E. Page, one of the Twelve (whom Phelps had called "the sun-dial"), General John C. Bennett, and Martin Harris.

Strang gave the Mormon leaders considerable anxiety, especially when he sent missionaries to England to work up his cause. The Millennial Star of November 15, 1846, devoted a good deal of space to the subject. The article began:—

"SKETCHES OF NOTORIOUS CHARACTERS: James J. Strang, successor of Sidney Rigdon, Judius Iscariot, Cain & Co., Envoy Extraordinary and a Minister Plenipotentiary to His Most Gracious Majesty Lucifer L, assisted by his allied contemporary advisers, John C. Bennett, William Smith, G. T. Adams, and John E. Page, Secretary of Legation."

Strang announced a revelation which declared that he was to be "King in Zion," and his coronation took place on July 8, 1850, when he was crowned with a metal crown having a cluster of stars on its front. Burnt offerings were included in the programme.

This ceremony took place on Beaver Island, in Lake Superior, where in 1847 Strang had gathered his people and assumed both temporal and spiritual authority. Both of these claims got him into trouble. His non-Mormon neighbors, fishermen and lumbermen, accused the Mormons of wholesale thefts; his assumption of regal authority brought him before the United States court, (where he was not held); and his advocacy of the practice of polygamy by his followers aroused insubordination, and on June 15, 1856, he was shot by two members of his flock whom he had offended, and who were at once regarded as heroes by the people of the mainland. A mob secured a vessel, visited Beaver Island, where Strang had maintained a sort of fort, and compelled the Mormon inhabitants to embark immediately, with what little property they could gather up. They were landed at different places, most of them in Milwaukee. Thus ended Strang's Kingdom.*

   * "A Moses of the Mormons," by Henry E. Legler, Parkman Club
Publications, Nos. 15-16, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 11, 1897; "An
American Kingdom of Mormons," Magazine of Western History, Cleveland,
Ohio, April, 1886.

Another leader who "set up for himself" after Smith's death was Lyman Wight, who had been one of the Twelve in Missouri, and was arrested with Smith there. Wight did not lay claim to the position of President of the church, but he resented what he called Brigham Young's usurpation. In 1845 he led a small company of his followers to Texas, where they first settled on the Colorado River, near Austin. They made successive moves from that place into Gillespie, Burnett, and Bandera counties. He died near San Antonio in March, 1858. The fact that Wight entered into the practice of polygamy almost as soon as he reached Texas, and still escaped any conflict with his non-Mormon neighbors, affords proof of his good character in other respects. The Galveston News, in its notice of his death, said, "Mr. Wight first came to Texas in November, 1845, and has been with his colony on our extreme frontier ever since, moving still farther west as settlements formed around him, thus always being the pioneer of advancing civilization, affording protection against the Indians."

After Wight's death his people scattered. A majority of them became identified with the Reorganized Church, a few gave in their allegiance to the organization in Utah, and others abandoned Mormonism entirely.


Brigham Young, the man who had succeeded in expelling Rigdon and establishing his own position as head of the church, was born in Whitingham, Windham County, Vermont, on June 1, 1801. The precise locality of his birth in that town is in dispute. His father, a native of Massachusetts, is said to have served under Washington during the Revolutionary War. The family consisted of eleven children, five sons and six daughters, of whom Brigham was the ninth. The Youngs moved to Whitingham in January, 1801. In his address at the centennial celebration of that town in 1880, Clark Jillson said, "Henry Goodnow, Esq., of this town says that Brigham Young's father came here the poorest man that ever had been in town; that he never owned a cow, horse, or any land, but was a basket maker." Mormon accounts represent the elder Young as having been a farmer.

His circumstances permitted him to give his children very little education, and, when sixteen years old, Brigham seems to have started out to make his own living, working as a carpenter, painter, and glazier, as jobs were offered. He was living in Aurelius, Cayuga County, New York, in 1824, working at his trade, and there, in October of that year, he married his first wife, Miriam Works. In 1829 they moved to Mendon, Monroe County, New York.

Joseph Smith's brother, in the following year, left a copy of the Mormon Bible at the house of Brigham's brother Phineas in Mendon, and there Brigham first saw it. Occasional preaching by Mormon elders made the new faith a subject of conversation in the neighborhood, and Phineas was an early convert. Brigham stated in a sermon in Salt Lake City, on August 8, 1852, that he examined the new Bible for two years before deciding to receive it. He was baptized into the Mormon church on April 14, 1832. His wife, who also embraced the faith, died in September of that year, leaving him two daughters.

Young married his second wife, Mary A. Angel, in Kirtland on March 31, 1834. His application for a marriage license is still on file among the records of the Probate Court at Chardon, now the shire town of Geauga County, Ohio, and his signature is a proof of his illiterateness, showing that he did not know how to spell his own baptismal name, spelling it "Bricham."

Young began preaching and baptizing in the neighborhood, having at once been made an elder, and in the autumn of 1832, after Smith's second return from Missouri, he visited Kirtland and first saw the prophet. Mormon accounts of this visit say that Young "spoke in tongues," and that Smith pronounced his language "the pure Adamic," and then predicted that he would in time preside over the church. It is not at all improbable that Joseph did not hesitate to interpret Brigham's "tongues," but at that time he was thinking of everything else but a successor to himself.

Young, with his brother Joseph, went from Kirtland on foot to Canada, where he preached and baptized, and whence he brought back a company of converts. He worked at his trade in Kirtland (preaching as called upon) from that time until 1834, when he accompanied the "Army of Zion" to Missouri, being one of the captains of tens. Returning with the prophet, he was employed on the Temple and other church buildings for the next three years (superintending the painting of the Temple), when he was not engaged in other church work. Having been made one of the original Quorum of Twelve in 1835, he devoted a good deal of time in the warmer months holding conferences in New York State and New England.

When open opposition to Smith manifested itself in Kirtland, Young was one of his firmest defenders. He attended a meeting in an upper room of the Temple, the object of which was to depose Smith and place David Whitmer in the Presidency, leading in the debate, and declaring that he "knew that Joseph was a prophet." According to his own statement, he learned of a plot to kill Smith as he was returning from Michigan in a stage-coach, and met the coach with a horse and buggy, and drove the prophet to Kirtland unharmed. When Smith found it necessary to flee from Ohio, Young followed him to Missouri with his family, arriving at Far West on March 14, 1838. He sailed to Liverpool on a mission in 1840, remaining there a little more than a year.

In all the discords of the church that occurred during Smith's life, Young never incurred the prophet's displeasure, and there is no evidence that he ever attempted to obtain any more power or honor for himself than was voluntarily accorded to him. He gave practical assistance to the refugees from Missouri as they arrived at Quincy, but there is no record of his prominence in the discussions there over the future plans for the church. The prophet's liking for him is shown in a revelation dated at Nauvoo, July 9; 1841 (Sec. 126), which said:—

"Dear and beloved brother Brigham Young, verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Brigham, it is no more required at your hand to leave your family as in times past, for your offering is acceptable to me; I have seen your labor and toil in journeyings for my name. I therefore command you to send my word abroad, and take special care of your family from this time, henceforth, and forever. Amen."

The apostasy of Marsh and the death of Patton had left Young the President of the Twelve, and that was the position in which he found himself at the time of Smith's death.

One of the first subjects which Young had to decide concerned "revelations." Did they cease with Smith's death, or, if not, who would receive and publish them? Young made a statement on this subject at the church conference held at Nauvoo on October 6 of that year, which indicated his own uncertainty on the subject, and which concluded as follows, "Every member has the right of receiving revelations for themselves, both male and female." As if conscious that all this was not very clear, he closed by making a declaration which was very characteristic of his future policy: "If you don't know whose right it is to give revelations, I will tell you. It is I."* We shall see that the discontinuance of written "revelations" was a cause of complaint during all of Young's subsequent career in Utah, but he never yielded to the demand for them.

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. V, pp. 682-683.

At the conference in Nauvoo Young selected eighty-five men from the Quorum of high priests to preside over branches of the church in all the congressional districts of the United States; and he took pains to explain to them that they were not to stay six months and then return, but "to go and settle down where they can take their families and tarry until the Temple is built, and then come and get their endowments, and return to their families and build up a Stake as large as this." Young's policy evidently was, while not imitating Rigdon's plan to move the church bodily to the East, to build up big branches all over the country, with a view to such control of affairs, temporal and spiritual, as could be attained. "If the people will let us alone," he said to this same conference, "we will convert the world."

Many members did not look on the Twelve as that head of the church which Smith's revelations had decreed. It was argued by those who upheld Rigdon and Strang, and by some who remained with the Twelve, that the "revelations" still required a First Presidency. The Twelve allowed this question to remain unsettled until the brethren were gathered at Winter Quarters, Iowa, after their expulsion from Nauvoo, and Young had returned from his first trip to Salt Lake valley. The matter was taken up at a council at Orson Hyde's house on December 5, 1847, and it was decided, but not without some opposing views, to reorganize the church according to the original plan, with a First Presidency and Patriarch. In accordance with this plan, a conference was held in the log tabernacle at Winter Quarters on December 24, and Young was elected President and John Smith Patriarch. Young selected Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards to be his counsellors, and the action of this conference was confirmed in Salt Lake City the following October. Young wrote immediately after his election, "This is one of the happiest days of my life."

The vacancies in the Twelve caused by these promotions, and by Wight's apostasy, were not filled until February 12, 1849, in Salt Lake City, when Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, C. C. Rich, and F. D. Richards were chosen.


The death of the prophet did not bring peace with their outside neighbors to the Mormon church. Indeed, the causes of enmity were too varied and radical to be removed by any changes in the leadership, so long as the brethren remained where they were.

In the winter of 1844-1845 charges of stealing made against the Mormons by their neighbors became more frequent. Governor Ford, in his message to the legislature, pronounced such reports exaggerated, but it probably does the governor no injustice to say that he now had his eye on the Mormon vote. The non-Mormons in Hancock and the surrounding counties held meetings and appointed committees to obtain accurate information about the thefts, and the old complaints of the uselessness of tracing stolen goods to Nauvoo were revived. The Mormons vigorously denied these charges through formal action taken by the Nauvoo City Council and a citizens' meeting, alleging that in many cases "outlandish men" had visited the city at night to scatter counterfeit money and deposit stolen goods, the responsibility for which was laid on Mormon shoulders.

It is not at all improbable that many a theft in western Illinois in those days that was charged to Mormons had other authors; but testimony regarding the dishonesty of many members of the church, such as we have seen presented in Smith's day, was still available. Thus, Young, in one of his addresses to the conference assembled at Nauvoo about two months after Smith's death, made this statement: "Elders who go to borrowing horses or money, and running away with it, will be cut off from the church without any ceremony. THEY WILL NOT HAVE SO MUCH LENITY AS HERETOFORE."*

   * Times and Seasons, Vol. V, p. 696.

A lady who published a sketch of her travels in 1845 through Illinois and Iowa wrote:—

"We now entered a part of the country laid waste by the desperadoes among the Mormons. Whole farms were deserted, fields were still covered with wheat unreaped, and cornfields stood ungathered, the inhabitants having fled to a distant part of the country.... Friends gave us a good deal of information about the doings of these Saints at Nauvoo—said that often, when their orchards were full of fruit, some sixteen of these monsters would come with bowie knives and drive the owners into their houses while they stripped their trees of the fruit. If these rogues wanted cattle they would drive off the cattle of the Gentiles."*

   * "Book for the Married and Single," by Ann Archbold.

A trial concerning the title to some land in Adams County in that year brought out the fact that there existed in the Mormon church what was called a "Oneness." Five persons would associate and select one of their members as a guardian; then, if any of the property they jointly owned was levied on, they would show that one or more of the other five was the real owner.

While the Mormons continued to send abroad glowing pictures of the prosperity of Nauvoo, less prejudiced accounts gave a very different view. The latter pointed out that the immigrants, who supplied the only source of prosperity, had expended most of their capital on houses and lots, that building operations had declined, because houses could be bought cheaper than they could be built, and that mechanics had been forced to seek employment in St. Louis. Published reports that large numbers of the poor in the city were dependent on charity received confirmation in a letter published in the Millennial Star of October 1, 1845, which said that on a fast-day proclaimed by Young, when the poor were to be remembered, "people were seen trotting in all directions to the Bishops of the different wards" with their contributions.

We have seen that the gathering of the Saints at Nauvoo was an idea of Joseph Smith, and was undertaken against the judgment of some of the wiser members of the church. The plan, so far as its business features were concerned, was on a par with the other business enterprises that the prophet had fathered. There was nothing to sustain a population of 15,000 persons, artificially collected, in this frontier settlement, and that disaster must have resulted from the experiment, even without the hostile opposition of their neighbors, is evident from the fact that Nauvoo to day, when fifty years have settled up the surrounding district and brought it in better communication with the world, is a village of only 1321 inhabitants (census of 1900).

Politics were not eliminated from the causes of trouble by Smith's death. Not only was 1844 a presidential year, but the citizens of Hancock County were to vote for a member of Congress, two members of the legislature, and a sheriff. Governor Ford urgently advised the Mormons not to vote at all, as a measure of peace; but political feeling ran very high, and the Democrats got the Mormon vote for President, and with the same assistance elected as sheriff General Deming, the officer left by Governor Ford in command of the militia at Carthage when the Smiths were killed, as well as two members of the legislature who had voted against the repeal of the Nauvoo city charter.

The tone of the Mormons toward their non-Mormon neighbors seemed to become more defiant at this time than ever. The repeal of the Nauvoo charter, in January, 1845, unloosened their tongues. Their newspaper, the Neighbor, declared that the legislature "had no more right to repeal the charter than the United States would have to abrogate and make void the constitution of the state, or than Great Britain would have to abolish the constitution of the United States—and the man that says differently is a coward, a traitor to his own rights, and a tyrant; no odds what Blackstone, Kent or Story may have written to make themselves and their names popular, to the contrary."

The Neighbor, in the same article, thus defined its view of the situation, after the repeal:—

"Nor is it less legal for an insulted individual or community to resist oppression. For this reason, until the blood of Joseph and Hyrum Smith has been atoned for by hanging, shooting or slaying in some manner every person engaged in that cowardly, mean assassination, no Latter-Day Saint should give himself up to the law; for the presumption is that they wilt murder him in the same manner.... Neither should civil process come into Nauvoo till the United States by a vigorous course, causes the State of Missouri and the State of Illinois to redress every man that has suffered the loss of lands, goods or anything else by expulsion. ... If any man is bound to maintain the law, it is for the benefit he may derive from it.... Well, our charter is repealed; the murderers of the Smiths are running at large, and if the Mormons should wish to imitate their forefathers and fulfil the Scriptures by making it 'hard to kick against the pricks' by wearing cast steel pikes about four or five inches long in their boots and shoes to kick with, WHAT'S THE HARM?" Such utterances, which found imitation in the addresses of the leaders, and were echoed in the columns of Pratt's Prophet in New York, made it easy for their hostile neighbors to believe that the Mormons considered themselves beyond the reach of any law but their own. Some daring murders committed across the river in Iowa in the spring of 1845 afforded confirmation to the non-Mormons of their belief in church-instigated crimes of this character, and in the existence and activity of the Danite organization. The Mormon authorities had denied that there were organized Danites at Nauvoo, but the weight of testimony is against the denial. Gregg, a resident of the locality when the Mormons dwelt there, gives a fair idea of the accepted view of the Danites at that time:—

"They were bound together with oaths of the most solemn character, and the punishment of traitors to the order was death. John A. Murrell's Band of Pirates, who flourished at one time near Jackson, Tennessee, and up and down the Mississippi River above New Orleans, was never so terrible as the Danite Band, for the latter was a powerful organization, and was above the law. The band made threats, and they were not idle threats. They went about on horseback, under cover of darkness, disguised in long white robes with red girdles. Their faces were covered with masks to conceal their identity."*

   * "History of Hancock County." See also "Sketches and Anecdotes
of the Old Settlers," p. 34.

Phineas Wilcox, a young man of good reputation, went to Nauvoo on September 16, 1845, to get some wheat ground, and while there disappeared completely. The inquiry made concerning him led his friends to believe that he was suspected of being a Gentile spy, and was quietly put out of the way.*

   * See Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," pp. 158-159, for accounts of
methods of disposing of objectionable persons at Nauvoo.

William Smith, the prophet's brother, contributed to the testimony against the Mormon leaders. Returning from the East, where he had been living for three years when Joseph was killed, he was warmly welcomed by the Mormon press, and elevated to the position of Patriarch, and, as such, issued a sort of advertisement of his patriarchal wares in the Times and Seasons* and Neighbor, inviting those in want of blessings to call at his residence. William was not a man of tact, and it required but a little time for him to arouse the jealousy of the leaders, the result of which was a notice in the Times and Seasons of November 1, 1845, that he had been "cut off and left in the hands of God." But William was not a man to remain quiet even in such a retreat, and he soon afterward issued to the Saints throughout the world "a proclamation and faithful warning," which filled eight and a half columns of the Warsaw Signal of October 29, 1845, in which, "in all meekness of spirit, and without anger or malice" (William possessed most of the family traits), he accused Young of instigating murders, and spoke of him in this way:—

 * Vol. VI, p. 904.

"It is my firm and sincere conviction that, since the murder of my two brothers, usurpation, and anarchy, and spiritual wickedness in high places have crept into the church, with the cognizance and acquiescence of those whose solemn duty It was to guardedly watch against such a state of things. Under the reign of one whom I may call a Pontius Pilate, under the reign, I say, of this Brigham Young, no greater tyrant ever existed since the days of Nero. He has no other justification than ignorance to cover the most cruel acts—acts disgraceful to any one bearing the stamp of humanity; and this being has associated around him men, bound by oaths and covenants, who are reckless enough to commit almost any crime, or fulfil any command that their self-crowned head might give them."

William was, of course, welcomed as a witness by the non-Mormons. He soon after went to St. Louis, and while there received a letter from Orson Hyde, which called his proclamation "a cruel thrust," but urged him to return, pledging that they would not harm him. William did not accept the invitation, but settled in Illinois, became a respected citizen, and in later years was elected to the legislature. When invited to join the Reorganized Church by his nephew Joseph, he declined, saying, "I am not in sympathy, very strongly, with any of the present organized bands of Mormons, your own not excepted."

By the spring of 1845 the Mormons were deserted even by their Democratic allies, some three hundred of whom in Hancock County issued an address denying that the opposition to them was principally Whig, and declaring that it had arisen from compulsion and in self-defence. Governor Ford, anxious to be rid of his troublesome constituents, sent a confidential letter to Brigham Young, dated April 8, 1845, saying, "If you can get off by yourselves you may enjoy peace," and suggesting California as opening "a field for the prettiest enterprise that has been undertaken in modern times."

An era of the most disgraceful outrages that marked any of the conflicts between the Mormons and their opponents east of the Rocky Mountains began in Hancock County on the night of September 9, when a schoolhouse in Green Plain, south of Warsaw, in which the anti-Mormons were holding a meeting, was fired upon. The Mormons always claimed that this was a sham attack, made by the anti-Mormons to give an excuse for open hostilities, and probabilities favor this view. Straightway ensued what were known as the "burnings." A band of men, numbering from one hundred to two hundred, and coming mostly from Warsaw, began burning the houses, outbuildings, and grain stacks of Mormons all over the southwest part of the county. The owners were given time to remove their effects, and were ordered to make haste to Nauvoo, and in this way the country region was rapidly rid of Mormon settlers.*

   * Gregg's "History of Hancock County," p. 374.

The sheriff of the county at that time was J. B. Backenstos, who, Ford says, went to Hancock County from Sangamon, a fraudulent debtor, and whose brother married a niece of the Prophet Joseph.* He had been elected to the legislature the year before, and had there so openly espoused the Mormon cause opposing the repeal of the Nauvoo charter that his constituents proposed to drive him from the county when he returned home. Backenstos at once took up the cause of the Mormons, issued proclamation after proclamation,** breathing the utmost hostility to the Mormon assailants, and calling on the citizens to aid him as a posse in maintaining order.

   * Ford's "History of Illinois," pp. 407-408.
   ** For the text of five of these proclamations, see Millennial
Star, Vol. VI.

A sheriff of different character might have secured the help that was certainly his due on such an occasion, but no non-Mormon would respond to a call by Backenstos. An occurrence incidental to these disturbances now added to the public feeling. On September 16, Lieutenant Worrell, who had been in command of the guard at the jail when the Smith brothers were killed, was shot dead while riding with two companions from Carthage to Warsaw. His death was charged to Backenstos and to O. P. Rockwell,* the man accused of the attempted assassination of Governor Boggs, and both were afterward put on trial for it, but were acquitted. The sheriff now turned to the Nauvoo Legion for recruits, and in his third proclamation he announced that he then had a posse of upward of two thousand "well-armed men" and two thousand more ready to respond to his call. He marched in different directions with this force, visiting Carthage, where he placed a number of citizens under arrest and issued his Proclamation No. 4., in which he characterized the Carthage Grays as "a band of the most infamous and villanous scoundrels that ever infested any community."

   * "Who was the actual guilty party may never be known. We have
lately been informed from Salt Lake that Rockwell did the deed, under
order of the sheriff, which is probably the case."—Gregg, "History of
Hancock County," p. 341.

"During the ascendency of the sheriff and the absence of the anti-Mormons from their homes," said Governor Ford,* "the people who had been burnt out of their houses assembled at Nauvoo, from whence, with many others, they sallied forth and ravaged the country, stealing and plundering whatever was convenient to carry or drive away." Thus it seems that the governor had changed his opinion about the honesty of the Mormons. To remedy the chaotic condition of affairs in the county, Governor Ford went to Jacksonville, Morgan County, where, in a conference, it was decided that judge Stephen A. Douglas, General J. J. Hardin, Attorney General T. A. McDougal, and Major W. B. Warren should go to Hancock County with such forces as could be raised, to put an end to the lawlessness. When the sheriff heard of this, he pronounced the governor's proclamation directing the movement a forgery, and said, in his own Proclamation No. 5, "I hope no armed men will come into Hancock County under such circumstances. I shall regard them in the character of a mob, and shall treat them accordingly."

   *Ford's "History of Illinois," p. 410.

The sheriff labored under a mistake. The steps now taken resulted, not in a demonstration of his authority, but in the final expulsion of all the Mormons from Illinois and Iowa.


General Hardin announced the coming of his force, which numbered about four hundred men, in a proclamation addressed "To the Citizens of Hancock County," dated September 27. He called attention to the lawless acts of the last two years by both parties, characterizing the recent burning of houses as "acts which disgrace your county, and are a stigma to the state, the nation, and the age." His force would simply see that the laws were obeyed, without taking part with either side. He forbade the assembling of any armed force of more than four men while his troops remained in the county, urged the citizens to attend to their ordinary business, and directed officers having warrants for arrests in connection with the recent disturbances to let the attorney-general decide whether they needed the assistance of troops.

But the citizens were in no mood for anything like a restoration of the recent order of things, or for any compromise. The Warsaw Signal of September 17 had appealed to the non-Mormons of the neighboring counties to come to the rescue of Hancock, and the citizens of these counties now began to hold meetings which adopted resolutions declaring that the Mormons "must go," and that they would not permit them to settle in any of the counties interested. The most important of these meetings, held at Quincy, resulted in the appointment of a committee of seven to visit Nauvoo, and see what arrangements could be made with the Mormons regarding their removal from the state. Notwithstanding their defiant utterances, the Mormon leaders had for some time realized that their position in Illinois was untenable. That Smith himself understood this before his death is shown by the following entry in his diary:—

"Feb. 20, 1844. I instructed the Twelve Apostles to send out a delegation, and investigate the locations of California and Oregon, and hunt out a good location where we can remove to after the Temple is completed, and where we can build a city in a day, and have a government of our own, get up into the mountains, where the devil cannot dig us out, and live in a healthy climate where we can live as old as we have a mind to."*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XX, p. 819.

The Mormon reply to the Quincy committee was given under date of September 24 in the form of a proclamation signed by President Brigham Young.* In a long preamble it asserted the desire of the Mormons "to live in peace with all men, so far as we can, without sacrificing the right to worship God according to the dictates of our own consciences"; recited their previous expulsion from their homes, and the unfriendly view taken of their "views and principles" by many of the people of Illinois, finally announcing that they proposed to leave that country in the spring "for some point so remote that there will not need to be a difficulty with the people and ourselves." The agreement to depart was, however, conditioned on the following stipulations: that the citizens would help them to sell or rent their properties, to get means to assist the widows, the fatherless, and the destitute to move with the rest; that "all men will let us alone with their vexatious lawsuits"; that cash, dry goods, oxen, cattle, horses, wagons, etc., be given in exchange for Mormon property, the exchanges to be conducted by a committee of both parties; and that they be subjected to no more house burnings nor other depredations while they remained.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. VI, p. 187.

The adjourned meeting at Quincy received the report of its committee on September 26, and voted to accept the proposal of the Mormons to move in the spring, but stated explicitly, "We do not intend to bring ourselves under any obligation to purchase their property, nor to furnish purchasers for the same; but we will in no way hinder or obstruct them in their efforts to sell, and will expect them to dispose of their property and remove at the time appointed." To manifest their sympathy with the unoffending poor of Nauvoo, a committee of twenty was appointed to receive subscriptions for their aid. The resignation of Sheriff Backenstos was called for, and the judge of that circuit was advised to hold no court in Hancock County that year.

The outcome of the meetings in the different counties was a convention which met in Carthage on October 1 and 2, and at which nine counties (Hancock not included) were represented. This convention adopted resolutions setting forth the inability of non-Mormons to secure justice at the hands of juries under Mormon influence, declaring that the only settlement of the troubles could be through the removal of the Mormons from the state, and repudiating "the impudent assertion, so often and so constantly put forth by the Mormons, that they are persecuted for righteousness' sake." The counties were advised to form a military organization, and the Mormons were warned that their opponents "solemnly pledge ourselves to be ready to act as the occasion may require."

Meanwhile, the commissioners appointed by Governor Ford had been in negotiation with the Mormon authorities, and on October 1 they, too, asked the latter to submit their intentions in writing. This they did the same day. Their reply, signed by Brigham Young, President, and Willard Richards, Clerk,* referred the commission to their response to the Quincy committee, and added that they had begun arrangements to remove from the county before the recent disturbances, one thousand families, including the heads of the church, being determined to start in the spring, without regard to any sacrifice of their property; that the whole church desired to go with them, and would do so if the necessary means could be secured by sales of their possessions, but that they wished it "distinctly understood that, although we may not find purchasers for our property, we will not sacrifice it or give it away, or suffer it illegally to be wrested from us." To this the commissioners on October 3 sent a reply, informing the Mormons that their proposition seemed to be acquiesced in by the citizens of all the counties interested, who would permit them to depart in peace the next spring without further violence. They closed as follows:—

   * Text in Millennial Star, Vol. VI, p. 190.

"After what has been said and written by yourselves, it will be confidently expected by us and the whole community, that you will remove from the state with your whole church, in the manner you have agreed in your statement to us. Should you not do so, we are satisfied, however much we may deprecate violence and bloodshed, that violent measures will be resorted to, to compel your removal, which will result in most disastrous consequences to yourselves and your opponents, and that the end will be your expulsion from the state. We think that steps should be taken by you to make it apparent that you are actually preparing to remove in the spring.

"By carrying out, in good faith, your proposition to remove, as submitted to us, we think you should be, and will be, permitted to depart peaceably next spring for your destination, west of the Rocky Mountains. For the purpose of maintaining law and order in this county, the commanding general purposes to leave an armed force in this county which will be sufficient for that purpose, and which will remain so long as the governor deems it necessary. And for the purpose of preventing the use of such force for vexatious or improper objects, we will recommend the governor of the state to send some competent legal officer to remain here, and have the power of deciding what process shall be executed by said military force.

"We recommend to you to place every possible restraint in your power over the members of your church, to prevent them from committing acts of aggression or retaliation on any citizens of the state, as a contrary course may, and most probably will, bring about a collision which will subvert all efforts to maintain the peace in this county; and we propose making a similar request of your opponents in this and the surrounding counties.

"With many wishes that you may find that peace and prosperity in the land of your destination which you desire, we have the honor to subscribe ourselves,


On the following day these commissioners made official announcement of the result of their negotiations, "to the anti-Mormon citizens of Hancock and the surrounding counties." They expressed their belief in the sincerity of the Mormon promises; advised that the non-Mormons be satisfied with obtaining what was practicable, even if some of their demands could not be granted, beseeching them to be orderly, and at the same time warning them not to violate the law, which the troops left in the county by General Hardin would enforce at all hazards. The report closed as follows:—

"Remember, whatever may be the aggression against you, the sympathy of the public may be forfeited. It cannot be denied that the burning of the houses of the Mormons in Hancock County, by which a large number of women and children have been rendered homeless and houseless, in the beginning of the winter, was an act criminal in itself, and disgraceful to its perpetrators. And it should also be known that it has led many persons to believe that, even if the Mormons are so bad as they are represented, they are no worse than those who have burnt their houses. Whether your cause is just or unjust, the acts of these incendiaries have thus lost for you something of the sympathy and good-will of your fellow-citizens; and a resort to, or persistence in, such a course under existing circumstances will make you forfeit all the respect and sympathy of the community. We trust and believe, for this lovely portion of our state, a brighter day is dawning; and we beseech all parties not to seek to hasten its approach by the torch of the incendiary, nor to disturb its dawn by the clash of arms."

The Millennial Star of December 1, 1845, thus introduced this correspondence:—


"The following official correspondence shows that this government has given thirty thousand American citizens THE CHOICE OF DEATH or BANISHMENT beyond the Rocky Mountains. Of these two evils they have chosen the least. WHAT BOASTED LIBERTY! WHAT an honor to American character!"


The winter of 1845-1846 in Hancock County passed without any renewed outbreak, but the credit for this seems to have been due to the firmness and good judgment of Major W. B. Warren, whom General Hardin placed in command of the force which he left in that county to preserve order, rather than to any improvement in the relations between the two parties, even after the Mormons had agreed to depart.

Major Warren's command, which at first consisted of one hundred men, and was reduced during the winter to fifty and later to ten, came from Quincy, and had as subordinate officers James D. Morgan and B. M. Prentiss, whose names became famous as Union generals in the war of the rebellion. Warren showed no favoritism in enforcing his authority, and he was called on to exercise it against both sides. The local newspapers of the day contain accounts of occasional burnings during the winter, and of murders committed here and there. On November 17, a meeting of citizens of Warsaw, who styled themselves "a portion of the anti-Mormon party," was held to protest against such acts as burnings and the murder of a Mormon, ten miles south of Warsaw, and to demand adherence to the agreement entered into. On February 5, Major Warren had to issue a warning to an organization of anti-Mormons who had ordered a number of Mormon families to leave the county by May 1, if they did not want to be burned out.

Governor Ford sent Mr. Brayman to Hancock County as legal counsel for the military commander. In a report dated December 14, 1845, Mr. Brayman said of the condition of affairs as he found them:—

"Judicial proceedings are but mockeries of the forms of law; juries, magistrates and officers of every grade concerned in the civil affairs of the county partake so deeply of the prevailing excitement that no reliance, as a general thing, can be placed on their action. Crime enjoys a disgraceful impunity, and each one feels at liberty to commit any aggression, or to avenge his own wrongs to any extent, without legal accountability.... Whether the parties will become reconciled or quieted, so as to live together in peace, is doubted.... Such a series of outrages and bold violations of law as have marked the history of Hancock County for several years past is a blot upon our institutions; ought not to be endured by a civilized people." *

   * Warsaw Signal, December 24, 1845.

Meanwhile, the Mormons went on with their preparations for their westward march, selling their property as best they could, and making every effort to trade real estate in and out of the city, and such personal property as they could not take with them, for cattle, oxen, mules, horses, sheep, and wagons. Early in February the non-Mormons were surprised to learn that the Mormons at Nauvoo had begun crossing the river as a beginning of their departure for the far West. "We scarcely know what to make of this movement," said the Warsaw Signal, the general belief being that the Mormons would be slow in carrying out their agreement to leave "so soon as grass would grow and water run." The date of the first departure, it has since been learned, was hastened by the fact that the grand jury in Springfield, Illinois, in December, 1845, had found certain indictments for counterfeiting, in regard to which the journal of that city, on December 25, gave the following particulars:—

"During the last week twelve bills of indictment for counterfeiting Mexican dollars and our half dollars and dimes were found by the Grand Jury, and presented to the United States Circuit Court in this city against different persons in and about Nauvoo, embracing some of the 'Holy Twelve' and other prominent Mormons, and persons in league with them. The manner in which the money was put into circulation was stated. At one mill $1500 was paid out for wheat in one week. Whenever a land sale was about to take place, wagons were sent off with the coin into the land district where such sale was to take place, and no difficulty occurred in exchanging off the counterfeit coin for paper.... So soon as the indictments were found, a request was made by the marshal of the Governor of this state for a posse, or the assistance of the military force stationed in Hancock County, to enable him to arrest the alleged counterfeiters. Gov. Ford refused to grant the request. An officer has since been sent to Nauvoo to make the arrests, but we apprehend there is no probability of his success."

The report that a whole city was practically for sale had been widely spread, and many persons—some from the Eastern states—began visiting it to see what inducements were offered to new settlers, and what bargains were to be had. Among these was W. E. Matlack, who on April 10 issued, in Nauvoo, the first number of a weekly newspaper called the Hancock Eagle. Matlack seems to have been a fair-minded man, possessed of the courage of his convictions, and his paper was a better one in, a literary sense than the average weekly of the day. In his inaugural editorial he said that he favored the removal of the Mormons as a peace measure, but denounced mob rule and threats against the Mormons who had not departed. The ultra-Antis took offence at this at once, and, so far as the Eagle was supposed to represent the views of the new-comers,—who were henceforth called New Citizens,—counted them little better than the Mormons themselves. Among these, however, was a class whom the county should have welcomed, the boats, in one week in May, landing four or five merchants, six physicians, three or four lawyers, two dentists, and two or three hundred others, including laborers.

The people of Hancock and the surrounding counties still refused to believe that the Mormons were sincere in their intention to depart, and the county meetings of the year before were reassembled to warn the Mormons that the citizens stood ready to enforce their order. The vacillating course of Governor Ford did not help the situation. He issued an order disbanding Major Warren's force on May 1, and on the following day instructed him to muster it into service again. Warren was very outspoken in his determination to protect the departing Mormons, and in a proclamation which he issued he told them to "leave the fighting to be done by my detachment. If we are overpowered, then recross the river and defend yourselves and your property."

The peace was preserved during May, and the Mormon exodus continued, Young with the first company being already well advanced in his march across Iowa. Major Warren sent a weekly report on the movement to the Warsaw Signal. That dated May 14 said that the ferries at Nauvoo and at Fort Madison were each taking across an average of 35 teams in twenty-four hours. For the week ending May 22 he reported the departure of 539 teams and 1617 persons; and for the week ending May 29, the departure of 269 teams and 800 persons, and he said he had counted the day before 617 wagons in Nauvoo ready to start.

But even this activity did not satisfy the ultra element among the anti-Mormons, and at a meeting in Carthage, on Saturday, June 6, resolutions drawn by Editor Sharp of the Signal expressed the belief that many of the Mormons intended to remain in the state, charged that they continued to commit depredations, and declared that the time had come for the citizens of the counties affected to arm and equip themselves for action. The Signal headed its editorial remarks on this meeting, "War declared in Hancock."

When the news of the gathering at Carthage reached Nauvoo it created a panic. The Mormons, lessened in number by the many departures, and with their goods mostly packed for moving, were in no situation to repel an attack; and they began hurrying to the ferry until the streets were blocked with teams. The New Citizens, although the Carthage meeting had appointed a committee to confer with them, were almost as much alarmed, and those who could do so sent away their families, while several merchants packed up their goods for safety. On Friday, June 12, the committee of New Citizens met some 600 anti-Mormons who had assembled near Carthage, and strenuously objected to their marching into Nauvoo. As a sort of compromise, the force consented to rendezvous at Golden Point, five miles south of Nauvoo, and there they arrived the next day. This force, according to the Signal's own account, was a mere mob, three-fourths of whom went there against their own judgment, and only to try to prevent extreme measures. A committee was at once sent to Nauvoo to confer with the New Citizens, but it met with a decided snubbing. The Nauvoo people then sent a committee to the camp, with a proposition that thirty men of the Antis march into the city, and leave three of their number there to report on the progress of the Mormon exodus.

On Sunday morning, before any such agreement was reached, word came from Nauvoo that Sheriff Backenstos had arrived there and enrolled a posse of some 500 men, the New Citizens uniting with the Mormons for the protection of the place. This led to an examination of the war supplies of the Antis, and the discovery that they had only five rounds of ammunition to a man, and one day's provision. Thereupon they ingloriously broke camp and made off to Carthage.

After this nothing more serious than a war of words occurred until July 11, when an event happened which aroused the feeling of both parties to the fighting pitch. Three Mormons from Nauvoo had been harvesting a field of grain about eight miles from the city.* In some way they angered a man living near by (according to his wife's affidavit, by shooting around his fields, using his stable for their horses, and feeding his oats), and he collected some neighbors, who gave the offenders a whipping, more or less severe, according to the account accepted. The men went at once to Nauvoo, and exhibited their backs, and that night a Mormon posse arrested seventeen Antis and conveyed them to Nauvoo. The Antis in turn seized five Mormons whom they held as "hostages," and the northern part of Hancock County and a part of McDonough were in a state of alarm.

   * The Eagle stated that the farm where the Mormons were at work
had been bought by a New Citizen, who had sent out both Mormons and New
Citizens to cut the grain.

Civil chaos ensued. General Hardin and Major Warren had joined the federal army that was to march against Mexico, and their cool judgment was greatly missed. One Carlin, appointed as a special constable, called on the citizens of Hancock County to assemble as his posse to assist in executing warrants in Nauvoo, and the Mormons of that city at once took steps to resist arrests by him. Governor Ford sent Major Parker of Fulton County, who was a Whig, to make an inquiry at Nauvoo and defend that city against rioting, and Mr. Brayman remained there to report to him on the course of affairs.

What was called at that time, in Illinois, "the last Mormon war" opened with a fusillade of correspondence between Carlin and Major Parker. Parker issued a proclamation, calling on all good citizens to return to their homes, and Carlin declared that he would obey no authority which tried to prevent him from doing his duty, telling the major that it would "take something more than words" to disperse his posse. While Parker was issuing a series of proclamations, the so-called posse was, on August 25, placed under the command of Colonel J. B. Chittenden of Adams County, who was superseded three days later by Colonel Singleton. Colonel Singleton was successful in arranging with Major Parker terms of peace, which provided among other things that all the Mormons should be out of the state in sixty days, except heads of families who remained to close their business; but the colonel's officers rejected this agreement, and the colonel thereupon left the camp. Carlin at once appointed Colonel Brockman to the chief command. He was a Campbellite preacher who, according to Ford, had been a public defaulter and had been "silenced" by his church. After rejecting another offer of compromise made by the Mormons, Brockman, on September 11, with about seven hundred men who called themselves a posse, advanced against Nauvoo, with some small field pieces. Governor Ford had authorized Major Flood, commanding the militia of Adams County, to raise a force to preserve order in Hancock; but the major, knowing that such action would only incense the force of the Antis, disregarded the governor's request. At this juncture Major Parker was relieved of the command at Nauvoo and succeeded by Major B. Clifford, Jr., of the 33rd regiment of Illinois Volunteers.

On the morning of September 12, Brockman sent into Nauvoo a demand for its surrender, with the pledge that there would be no destruction of property or life "unless absolutely necessary in self-defence." Major Clifford rejected this proposition, advised Brockman to disperse his force, and named Mayor Wood of Quincy and J. P. Eddy, a St. Louis merchant then in Nauvoo, as recipients of any further propositions from the Antis.

The forces at this time were drawn up against one another, the Mormons behind a breastwork which they had erected during the night, and the Antis on a piece of high ground nearer the city than their camp. Brayman says that an estimate which placed the Mormon force at five hundred or six hundred was a great exaggeration, and that the only artillery they had was six pieces which they fashioned for themselves, by breaking some steamboat shafts to the proper length and boring them out so that they would receive a six-pound shot.

When Clifford's reply was received, the commander of the Antis sent out the Warsaw riflemen as flankers on the right and left; directed the Lima Guards, with one cannon, to take a position a mile to the front of the camp and occupy the attention of the men behind the Mormon breastwork, who had opened fire; and then marched the main body through a cornfield and orchard to the city itself. Both sides kept up an artillery fire while the advance was taking place.

When the Antis reached the settled part of the city, the firing became general, but was of an independent character. The Mormons in most cases fired from their houses, while the Antis found such shelter as they could in a cornfield and along a worm fence. After about an hour of such fighting, Brockman, discovering that all of the sixty-one cannon balls with which he had provided himself had been shot away, decided that it was perilous "to risk a further advance without these necessary instruments." Accordingly, he ordered a retreat and his whole force returned to its camp. In this engagement no Antis were killed, and the surgeon's list named only eight wounded, one of whom died. Three citizens of Nauvoo were killed. The Mormons had the better protection in their houses, but the other side made rather effective use of their artillery.

The Antis began at once intrenching their camp, and sent to Quincy for ammunition. There were some exchanges of shots on Sunday and Monday, and three Antis were wounded on the latter day.

Quincy responded promptly to the request for ammunition, but the people of that town were by no means unanimously in favor of the "war." On Sunday evening a meeting of the peaceably inclined appointed a committee of one hundred to visit the scene of hostilities and secure peace "on the basis of a removal of the Mormons." The negotiations of this committee began on the following Tuesday, and were continued, at times with apparent hopelessness of success, until Wednesday evening, when terms of peace were finally signed. It required the utmost effort of the Quincy committee to induce the anti-Mormon force to delay an assault on the city, which would have meant conflagration and massacre. The terms of peace were as follows:

"1. The city of Nauvoo will surrender. The force of Col. Brockman to enter and take possession of the city tomorrow, the 17th of September, at 3 o'clock P.m.

"2. The arms to be delivered to the Quincy Committee, to be returned on the crossing of the river.

"3. The Quincy Committee pledge themselves to use their influence for the protection of persons and property from all violence; and the officers of the camp and the men pledge themselves to protect all persons and property from violence.

"4. The sick and helpless to be protected and treated with humanity.

"5. The Mormon population of the city to leave the State, or disperse, as soon as they can cross the river.

"6. Five men, including the trustees of the church, and five clerks, with their families (William Pickett not one of the number), to be permitted to remain in the city for the disposition of property, free from all molestation and personal violence.

"7. Hostilities to cease immediately, and ten men of the Quincy Committee to enter the city in the execution of their duty as soon as they think proper."

The noticeable features of these terms are the omission of any reference to the execution of Carlin's writs, and the engagement that the Mormons should depart immediately. The latter was the real object of the "posse's" campaign.

The Mormons had realized that they could not continue their defence, as no reenforcements could reach them, while any temporary check to their adversaries would only increase the animosity of the latter. They acted, therefore, in good faith as regards their agreement to depart. How they went is thus described in Brayman's second report to Governor Ford: *

   * For Brayman's reports, see Warsaw Signal, October 20, 1846.

"These terms were not definitely signed until the morning of Thursday, the 17th, but, confident of their ratification, the Mormon population had been busy through the night in removing. So firmly had they been taught to believe that their lives, their city, and Temple, would fall a sacrifice to the vengeance of their enemies, if surrendered to them, that they fled in consternation, determined to be beyond their reach at all hazards. This scene of confusion, fright and distress was continued throughout the forenoon. In every part of the city scenes of destitution, misery and woe met the eye. Families were hurrying away from their homes, without a shelter,—without means of conveyance,—without tents, money, or a day's provision, with as much of their household stuff as they could carry in their hands. Sick men and women were carried upon their beds—weary mothers, with helpless babes dying in the arms, hurried away—all fleeing, they scarcely knew or cared whither, so it was from their enemies, whom they feared more than the waves of the Mississippi, or the heat, and hunger and lingering life and dreaded death of the prairies on which they were about to be cast. The ferry boats were crowded, and the river bank was lined with anxious fugitives, sadly awaiting their turn to pass over and take up their solitary march to the wilderness."

On the afternoon of the 17th, Brockman's force, with which the members of the Quincy committee had been assigned a place, marched into Nauvoo and through it, encamping near the river on the southern boundary. Curiosity to see the Mormon city had swelled the number who entered at the same time with the posse to nearly two thousand men, but there was no disorder. The streets were practically deserted, and the few Mormons who remained were busy with their preparations to cross the river. Brockman, to make his victory certain, ordered that all citizens of Nauvoo who had sided with the Mormons should leave the state, thus including many of the New Citizens. The order was enforced on September 18, "with many circumstances of the utmost cruelty and injustice," according to Brayman's report. "Bands of armed men," he said, "traversed the city, entering the houses of citizens, robbing them of arms, throwing their household goods out of doors, insulting them, and threatening their lives."


Brockman's force was disbanded after its object had been accomplished, and all returned to their homes but about one hundred, who remained in Nauvoo to see that no Mormons came back. These men, whose number gradually decreased, provided what protection and government the place then enjoyed. Governor Ford received much censure from the state at large for the lawless doings of the recent months. A citizens' meeting at Springfield demanded that he call out a force sufficient "to restore the supremacy of the law, and bring the offenders to justice." He did call on Hancock County for volunteers to restore order, but a public meeting in Carthage practically defied him. He, however, secured a force of about two hundred men, with which he marched into Nauvoo, greatly to the indignation of the Hancock County people. His stay there was marked by incidents which showed how his erratic course in recent years had deprived him of public respect, and which explain some of the bitterness toward the county which characterizes his "History." One of these was the presentation to him of a petticoat as typical of his rule. When Ford was succeeded as governor by French, the latter withdrew the militia from the county, and, in an address to the citizens, said, "I confidently rely upon your assistance and influence to aid in preventing any act of a violent character in future." Matters in the county then quieted down. The Warsaw newspapers, in place of anti-Mormon literature, began to print appeals to new settlers, setting forth the advantages of the neighborhood. But a newspaper war soon followed between two factions in Nauvoo, one of which contended that the place was an assemblage of gamblers and saloon-keepers, while the other defended its reputation. This latter view, however, was not established, and most of the houses remained tenantless.

Amid all their troubles in Nauvoo the Mormon authorities never lost sight of one object, the completion of the Temple. To the non-Mormons, and even to many in the church, it seemed inexplicable why so much zeal and money should be expended in finishing a structure that was to be at once abandoned. Before the agreement to leave the state was made, a Warsaw newspaper predicted that the completion of the Temple would end the reign of the Mormon leaders, since their followers were held together by the expectation of some supernatural manifestation of power in their behalf at that time* Another outside newspaper suggested that they intended to use it as a fort.

   * A man from the neighborhood who visited Nauvoo in 1843 to buy
calves called on a blind man, of whom he says: "He told me he had a nice
home in Massachusetts, which gave them a good support. But one of the
Mormon elders preaching in that country called on him and told him if he
would sell out and go to Nauvoo the Prophet would restore his sight. He
sold out and had come to the city and spent all his means, and was now
in great need. I asked why the Prophet did not open his eyes. He replied
that Joseph had informed him that he could not open his eyes till the
Temple was finished."—Gregg, "History of Hancock County," p. 375.

Orson Pratt, in a letter to the Saints in the Eastern states, written at the time of the agreement to depart, answering the query why the Lord commanded them to build a house out of which he would then suffer them to be driven at once, quoted a paragraph from the "revelation" of January 19, 1841, which commanded the building of the Temple "that you may prove yourselves unto me, that ye are faithful in all things whatsoever I command you, that I may bless you and cover you with honor, immortality, and eternal life."

The cap-stone of the Temple was laid in place early on the morning of May 24, 1845, amid shouts of "Hosannah to God and the Lamb," music by the band, and the singing of a hymn.

The first meeting was held in the Temple on October 5, 1845, and from that time the edifice was used almost constantly in administering the ordinances (baptism, endowment, etc.). Brigham Young says that on one occasion he continued this work from 5 P.M. to 3.30 A.M., and others of the Quorum assisted.

The ceremony of the "endowment," although considered very secret, has been described by many persons who have gone through it. The descriptions by Elder Hyde and I. McGee Van Dusen and his wife go into details. A man and wife received notice to appear at the Temple at Nauvoo at 5 A.m., he to wear white drawers, and she to bring her nightclothes with her. Passing to the upper floor, they were told to remove their hats and outer wraps, and were then led into a narrow hall, at the end of which stood a man who directed the husband to pass through a door on the right, and the wife to one on the left. The candidates were then questioned as to their preparation for the initiation, and if this resulted satisfactorily, they were directed to remove all their outer clothing. This ended the "first degree." In the next room their remaining clothing was removed and they received a bath, with some mummeries which may best be omitted. Next they were anointed all over with oil poured from a horn, and pronounced "the Lord's anointed," and a priest ordained them to be "king (or queen) in time and eternity." The man was now furnished with a white cotton undergarment of an original design, over which he put his shirt, and the woman was given a somewhat similar article, together with a chemise, nightgown, and white stockings. Each was then conducted into another apartment and left there alone in silence for some time. Then a rumbling noise was heard, and Brigham Young appeared, reciting some words, beginning "Let there be light," and ending "Now let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Approaching the man first, he went through a form of making him out of the dust; then, passing into the other room, he formed the woman out of a rib he had taken from the man. Giving this Eve to the man Adam, he led them into a large room decorated to represent Eden, and, after giving them divers instructions, left them to themselves.

Much was said in later years about the requirement of the endowment oath. When General Maxwell tried to prevent the seating of Cannon as Delegate to Congress in 1873, one of his charges was that Cannon had, in the Endowment House, taken an oath against the United States government. This called out affidavits by some of the leading anti-Young Mormons of the day, including E. L. T. Harrison, that they had gone through the Endowment House without taking any oath of the kind. But Hyde, in his description of the ceremony, says:—

"We were sworn to cherish constant enmity toward the United States Government for not avenging the death of Smith, or righting the persecutions of the Saints; to do all that we could toward destroying, tearing down or overturning that government; to endeavor to baffle its designs and frustrate its intentions; to renounce all allegiance and refuse all submission. If unable to do anything ourselves toward the accomplishment of these objects, to teach it to our children from the nursery, impress it upon them from the death bed, entail it upon them as a legacy." *

   * Hyde's "Mormonism," p. 97.

In the suit of Charlotte Arthur against Brigham Young's estate, to recover a lot in Salt Lake City which she alleged that Young had unlawfully taken possession of, her verified complaint (filed July 11, 1874) alleged that the endowment oath contained the following declaration:—"To obey him, the Lord's anointed, in all his orders, spiritual and temporal, and the priesthood or either of them, and all church authorities in like manner; that this obligation is superior to all the laws of the United States, and all earthly laws; that enmity should be cherished against the government of the United States; that the blood of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and Apostles slain in this generation shall be avenged."

As soon as the agreement to leave the state was made, the Mormons tried hard to sell or lease the Temple, but in vain; and when the last Mormon departed, the structure was left to the mercy of the Hancock County "posse." Colonel Kane, in his description of his visit to Nauvoo soon after the evacuation, says that the militia had defiled and defaced such features as the shrines and the baptismal font, the apartment containing the latter being rendered "too noisome to abide in."

Had the building been permitted to stand, it would have been to Nauvoo something on which the town could have looked as its most remarkable feature. But early on the morning of November 19, 1848, the structure was found to be on fire, evidently the work of an incendiary, and what the flames could eat up was soon destroyed. The Nauvoo Patriot deplored the destruction of "a work of art at once the most elegant in its construction, and the most renowned in its celebrity, of any in the whole West."

When the Icarians, a band of French Socialists, settled in Nauvoo, they undertook, in 1850, to rebuild the edifice for use as their halls of reunion and schools. After they had expended on this work a good deal of time and labor, the city was visited by a cyclone on May 27 of that year, which left standing only a part of the west wall. Out of the stone the Icarians then built a school house, but nothing original now remains on the site except the old well.

The Nauvoo of to-day is a town of only 1321 inhabitants. The people are largely of German origin, and the leading occupation is fruit growing. The site of the Temple is occupied by two modern buildings. A part of Nauvoo House is still standing, as are Brigham Young's former residence, Joseph Smith's "new mansion," and other houses which Mormons occupied.

The Mormons in Iowa were no more popular with their non-Mormon neighbors there than were those in Illinois, and after the murders by the Hodges, and other crimes charged to the brethren, a mass meeting of Lee County inhabitants was held, which adopted resolutions declaring that the Mormons and the old settlers could not live together and that the Mormons must depart, citizens being requested to aid in this movement by exchanging property with the emigrants. In 1847 the last of these objectionable citizens left the county.



Two things may be accepted as facts with regard to the migration of the Mormons westward from Illinois: first, that they would not have moved had they not been compelled to; and second, that they did not know definitely where they were going when they started. Although Joseph Smith showed an uncertainty of his position by his instruction that the Twelve should look for a place in California or Oregon to which his people might move, he considered this removal so remote a possibility that he was at the same time beginning his campaign for the presidency of the United States. As late as the spring of 1845, removal was considered by the leaders as only an alternative. In April, Brigham Young, Willard Richards, the two Pratts, and others issued an address to President Polk, which was sent to the governors of all the states but Illinois and Missouri, setting forth their previous trials, and containing this declaration:—"In the name of Israel's God, and by virtue of multiplied ties of country and kindred, we ask your friendly interposition in our favor. Will it be too much for us to ask you to convene a special session of Congress and furnish us an asylum where we can enjoy our rights of conscience and religion unmolested? Or will you, in special message to that body when convened, recommend a remonstrance against such unhallowed acts of oppression and expatriation as this people have continued to receive from the states of Missouri and Illinois? Or will you favor us by your personal influence and by your official rank? Or will you express your views concerning what is called the Great Western Measure of colonizing the Latter-Day Saints in Oregon, the Northwestern Territory, or some location remote from the states, where the hand of oppression will not crush every noble principle and extinguish every patriotic feeling?" After the publication of the correspondence between the Hardin commission and the Mormon authorities, Orson Pratt issued an appeal "to American citizens," in which, referring to what he called the proposed "banishment" of the Mormons, he said: "Ye fathers of the Revolution! Ye patriots of '76! Is it for this ye toiled and suffered and bled? ... Must they be driven from this renowned republic to seek an asylum among other nations, or wander as hopeless exiles among the red men of the western wilds? Americans, will ye suffer this? Editors, will ye not speak? Fellow-citizens, will ye not awake?"*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. VI, p. 193.

Their destination could not have been determined in advance, because so little was known of the Far West. The territory now embraced in the boundaries of California and Utah was then under Mexican government, and "California" was, in common use, a name covering the Pacific coast and a stretch of land extending indefinitely eastward. Oregon had been heard of a good deal, and it, as well as Vancouver Island, had been spoken of as a possible goal if a westward migration became necessary. Lorenzo Snow, in describing the westward start, said: "On the first of March, the ground covered with snow, we broke encampment about noon, and soon nearly four hundred wagons were moving to—WE KNEW NOT WHERE." *

   * "Biography of Lorenzo Snow," p. 86.

The first step taken by the Mormon authorities to explain the removal to their people was an explanation made at a conference in the new Temple, three days after the correspondence with the commission closed. P. P. Pratt stated to the conference that the removal meant that the Lord designed to lead them to a wider field of action, where no one could say that they crowded their neighbors. In such a place they could, in five years, become richer than they then were, and could build a bigger and a better Temple. "It has cost us," said he, "more for sickness, defence against mob exactions, persecutions, and to purchase lands in this place, than as much improvement will cost in another." It was then voted unanimously that the Saints would move en masse to the West, and that every man would give all the help he could to assist the poorer members of the community in making the journey.*

   * Millennial Star, Vol. VI, p. 196. Wilford Woodruff, in an
appeal to the Saints in Great Britain, asked them to buy Mormon books
in order to assist the Presidency with funds with which to take the poor
Saints with them westward.

Brigham Young next issued an address to the church at large, stating that even the Mormon Bible had foretold what might be the conduct of the American nation toward "the Israel of the last days," and urging all to prepare to make the journey. A conference of Mormons in New York City on November 12, 1845, attended by brethren from New York State, New Jersey, and Connecticut, voted that "the church in this city move, one and all, west of the Rocky Mountains between this and next season, either by land or by water."

Active preparations for the removal began in and around Nauvoo at once. All who had property began trading it for articles that would be needed on the journey. Real estate was traded or sold for what it would bring, and the Eagle was full of advertisements of property to sell, including the Mansion House, Masonic Hall, and the Armory. The Mormons would load in wagons what furniture they could not take West with them, and trade it in the neighborhood for things more useful. The church authorities advertised for one thousand yokes of oxen and all the cattle and mules that might be offered, oxen bringing from $40 to $50 a yoke. The necessary outfit for a family of five was calculated to be one wagon, three yokes of cattle, two cows, two beef cattle, three sheep, one thousand pounds of flour, twenty pounds of sugar, a tent and bedding, seeds, farming tools, and a rifle—all estimated to cost about $250. Three or four hundred Mormons were sent to more distant points in Illinois and Iowa for draft animals, and, when the Western procession started, they boasted that they owned the best cattle and horses in the country.

In the city the men were organized into companies, each of which included such workmen as wagonmakers, blacksmiths, and carpenters, and the task of making wagons, tents, etc., was hurried to the utmost. "Nauvoo was constituted into one great wagon shop," wrote John Taylor. If any members of the community were not skilled in the work now in demand, they were sent to St. Louis, Galena, Burlington, or some other of the larger towns, to find profitable employment during the winter, and thus add to the moving fund.

On January 20, 1846, the High Council issued a circular announcing that, early in March, a company of hardy young men, with some families, would be sent into the Western country, with farming utensils and seed, to put in a crop and erect houses for others who would follow as soon as the grass was high enough for pasture.

This circular contained also the following declaration:—

"We venture to say that our brethren have made no counterfeit money; and if any miller has received $1500 base coin in a week from us, let him testify. If any land agent of the general government has received wagon loads of base coin from us in payment for lands, let him say so. Or if he has received any at all, let him tell it. These witnesses against us have spun a long yarn."

This referred to the charges of counterfeiting, which had resulted in the indictment of some of the Twelve at Springfield, and which hastened the first departures across the river. That counterfeiting was common in the Western country at that time is a matter of history, and the Mormons themselves had accused such leading members of their church as Cowdery of being engaged in the business. The persons indicted at Springfield were never tried, so that the question of their guilt cannot be decided. Tullidge's pro-Mormon "Life of Brigham Young" mentions an incident which occurred when the refugees had gone only as far as the Chariton River in Iowa, which both admits that they had counterfeit money among them, and shows the mild view which a Bishop of the church took of the offence of passing it:—"About this time also an attempt was made to pass counterfeit money. It was the case of a young man who bought from a Mr. Cochran a yoke of oxen, a cow and a chain for $50. Bishop Miller wrote to Brigham to excuse the young man, but to help Cochran to restitution. The President was roused to great anger, the Bishop was severely rebuked, and the anathemas of the leader from that time were thundered against thieves and 'bogus men,' and passers of bogus money.... The following is a minute of his diary of a council on the next Sunday, with the twelve bishops and captains: 'I told them I was satisfied the course we were taking would prove to be the salvation, not only of the camp but of the Saints left behind. But there had been things done which were wrong. Some pleaded our sufferings from persecution, and the loss of our homes and property, as a justification for retaliating on our enemies; but such a course tends to destroy the Kingdom of God'."

As soon as the leaders decided to make a start, they sent a petition to the governor of Iowa Territory, explaining their intention to pass through that domain, and asking for his protection during the temporary stay they might make there. No opposition to them seems to have been shown by the Iowans, who on the contrary employed them as laborers, sold them such goods as they could pay for, and invited their musicians to give concerts at the resting points. Lee's experience in Iowa confirmed him, he says, in his previous opinion that much of the Mormons' trouble was due to "wild, ignorant fanatics"; "for," he adds, "only a few years before, these same people were our most bitter enemies, and, when we came again and behaved ourselves, they treated us with the utmost kindness and hospitality."*

   * "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 179.

How much property the Mormons sacrificed in Illinois cannot be ascertained with accuracy. An investigation of all the testimony obtainable on the subject leads to the conclusion that a good deal of their real estate was disposed of at a fair price, and that there were many cases of severe individual loss. Major Warren, in a communication to the Signal from Nauvoo, in May, 1846, said that few of the Mormons' farms remained unsold, and that three-fourths of the improved property on the flat in Nauvoo had been disposed of.

A correspondent of the Signal, answering on April 11 an assertion that the Mormons had a good deal of real estate to dispose of before they could leave, replied that most of their farms were sold, and that there were more inquiries after the others than there were farms. As to the real estate in the city, he explained:—

"It is scattered over an area of eight or ten square miles, and contains from 1500 to 2000 houses, four-fifths of which, at least, are wretched cabins of no permanent value whatever. There are, however, 200 or 300 houses, large and small, built of brick and other desirable material. Such will mostly sell, though many of them, owing to the distance from the river and other unfavorable circumstances, only at a very great sacrifice." *

   * "A score or more of chimneys on the northern boundary of the
city marked the site of houses deliberately burned for fuel during the
winter of 1845-1846."—Hancock Eagle, May 29,1846.

A general epistle to the church from the Twelve, dated Winter Quarters, December 23, 1847, stated that the property of the Saints in Hancock County was "little or no better than confiscated." *

   * See John Taylor's address, p. 411 post.


The first party to leave Nauvoo began crossing the Mississippi early in February, 1846, using flatboats propelled by oars for the wagons and animals, and small boats for persons and the lighter baggage. It soon became colder and snow fell, and after the 16th those who remained were able to cross on the ice.

Brigham Young, with a few attendants, had crossed on February 10, and selected a point on Sugar Creek as a gathering place.* He seems to have returned secretly to the city for a few days to arrange for the departure of his family, and Lee says that he did not have teams enough at that time for their conveyance, adding, "such as were in danger of being arrested were helped away first." John Taylor says that those who crossed the river in February included the Twelve, the High Council, and about four hundred families.**

   * "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 171.
   ** "February 14 I crossed the river with my family and teams, and
encamped not far from the Sugar Creek encampment, taking possession of
a vacant log house on account of the extreme cold."—P. P. Pratt,
"Autobiography," p. 378.

"Camp of Israel" was the name adopted for the camp in which President Young and the Twelve might be, and this name moved westward with them. The camp on Sugar Creek was the first of these, and there, on February 17, Young addressed the company from a wagon. He outlined the journey before them, declaring that order would be preserved, and that all who wished to live in peace when the actual march began "must toe the mark," ending with a call for a show of hands by those who wanted to make the move. The vote in favor of going West was unanimous.*

   * "At a Council in Nauvoo of the men who were to act as the
captains of the people in that famous exodus, one after the other
brought up difficulties in their path, until the prospect was without
one poor speck of daylight. The good nature of George A. Smith was
provoked at last, when he sprang up and observed, with his quaint humor,
that had now a touch of the grand in it, 'If there is no God in Israel
we are a sucked-in set of fellows. But I am going to take my family and
the Lord will open the way.'"—Tullidge, "History of Salt Lake City,"

The turning out of doors in midwinter of so many persons of all ages and both sexes, accustomed to the shelter of comfortable homes, entailed much suffering. A covered wagon or a tent is a poor protection from wintry blasts, and a camp fire in the open air, even with a bright sky overhead, is a poor substitute for a stove. Their first move, therefore, gave the emigrants a taste of the trials they were to endure. While they were at Sugar Creek the thermometer dropped to 20 degrees below zero, and heavy falls of snow occurred. Several children were born at this point, before the actual Western journey began, and the sick and the feeble entered upon their sufferings at once. Before that camp broke up it was found necessary, too, to buy grain for the animals.

The camp was directly in charge of the Twelve until the Chariton River was reached. There, on March 27, it was divided into companies containing from 50 to 60 wagons, the companies being put in charge of captains of fifties and captains of tens—suggesting Smith's "Army of Zion." The captains of fifties were responsible directly to the High Council. There were also a commissary general, and, for each fifty, a contracting commissary "to make righteous distribution of grains and provisions." Strict order was maintained by day while the column was in motion, and, whenever there was a halt, special care was taken to secure the cattle and the horses, while at night watches were constantly maintained. The story of the march to the Missouri does not contain a mention of any hostile meeting with Indians.

The company remained on Sugar Creek for about a month, receiving constant accessions from across the river, and on the first of March the real westward movement began. The first objective point was Council Bluffs, Iowa, on the Missouri River, about 400 miles distant; but on the way several camps were established, at which some of the emigrants stopped to plant seeds and make other arrangements for the comfort of those who were to follow. The first of these camps was located at Richardson's Point in Lee County, Iowa, 55 miles from Nauvoo; the next on Chariton River; the next on Locust Creek; the next, named by them Garden Grove, on a branch of Grand River, some 150 miles from Nauvoo; and another, which P. P. Pratt named Mt. Pisgah, on Grand River, 138 miles east of Council Bluffs. The camp on the Missouri first made was called Winter Quarters, and was situated just north of the present site of Omaha, where the town now called Florence is located. It was not until July that the main body arrived at Council Bluffs.

The story of this march is a remarkable one in many ways. Begun in winter, with the ground soon covered with snow, the travellers encountered arctic weather, with the inconveniences of ice, rain, and mud, until May. After a snowfall they would have to scrape the ground when they had selected a place for pitching the tents. After a rain, or one of the occasional thaws, the country (there were no regular roads) would be practically impassable for teams, and they would have to remain in camp until the water disappeared, and the soil would bear the weight of the wagons after it was corduroyed with branches of trees. At one time bad roads caused a halt of two or three weeks. Fuel was not always abundant, and after a cold night it was no unusual thing to find wet garments and bedding frozen stiff in the morning. Here is an extract from Orson Pratt's diary:—"April 9. The rain poured down in torrents. With great exertion a part of the camp were enabled to get about six miles, while others were stuck fast in the deep mud. We encamped at a point of timber about sunset, after being drenched several hours in rain. We were obliged to cut brush and limbs of trees, and throw them upon the ground in our tents, to keep our beds from sinking in the mud. Our animals were turned loose to look out for themselves; the bark and limbs of trees were their principal food." **

   * Millennial Star, Vol. XI, p. 370.

Game was plenty,—deer, wild turkeys, and prairie hens,—but while the members of this party were better supplied with provisions than their followers, there was no surplus among them, and by April many families were really destitute of food. Eliza Snow mentions that her brother Lorenzo—one of the captains of tens—had two wagons, a small tent, a cow, and a scanty supply of provisions and clothing, and that "he was much better off than some of our neighbors." Heber C. Kimball, one of the Twelve, says of the situation of his family, that he had the ague, and his wife was in bed with it, with two children, one a few days old, lying by her, and the oldest child well enough to do any household work was a boy who could scarcely carry a two-quart pail of water. Mrs. F. D. Richards, whose husband was ordered on a mission to England while the camp was at Sugar Creek, was prematurely confined in a wagon on the way to the Missouri. The babe died, as did an older daughter. "Our situation," she says, "was pitiable; I had not suitable food for myself or my child; the severe rain prevented our having any fire."

The adaptability of the American pioneer to his circumstances was shown during this march in many ways. When a halt occurred, a shoemaker might be seen looking for a stone to serve as a lap stone in his repair work, or a gunsmith mending a rifle, or a weaver at a wheel or loom. The women learned that the jolting wagons would churn their milk, and, when a halt occurred, it took them but a short time to heat an oven hollowed out of a hillside, in which to bake the bread already "raised." Colonel Kane says that he saw a piece of cloth, the wool for which was sheared, dyed, spun, and woven during this march.

The leaders of the company understood the people they had in charge, and they looked out for their good spirits. Captain Pitt's brass band was included in the equipment, and the camp was not thoroughly organized before, on a clear evening, a dance—the Mormons have always been great dancers—was announced, and the visiting Iowans looked on in amazement, to see these exiles from comfortable homes thus enjoying themselves on the open prairie, the highest dignitaries leading in Virginia reels and Copenhagen jigs.

John Taylor, whose pictures of this march, painted with a view to attract English emigrants, were always highly colored, estimated that, when he left Council Bluffs for England, in July, 1846, there were in camp and on the way 15,000 Mormons, with 3000 wagons, 30,000 head of cattle, a great many horses and mules, and a vast number of sheep. Colonel Kane says that, besides the wagons, there was "a large number of nondescript turnouts, the motley makeshifts of poverty; from the unsuitable heavy cart that lumbered on mysteriously, with its sick driver hidden under its counterpane cover, to the crazy two-wheeled trundle, such as our own poor employ in the conveyance of their slop barrels, this pulled along, it may be, by a little dry-dugged heifer, and rigged up only to drag some such light weight as a baby, a sack of meal or a pack of clothes and bedding." *

   * "The Mormons," a lecture by Colonel T. L. Kane.

There was no large supply of cash to keep this army and its animals in provisions. Every member who could contribute to the commissary department by his labor was expected to do so. The settlers in the territory seem to have been in need of such assistance, and were very glad to pay for it in grain, hay, or provisions. A letter from one of the emigrants to a friend in England* said that, in every settlement they passed through, they found plenty of work, digging wells and cellars, splitting rails, threshing, ploughing, and clearing land. Some of the men in the spring were sent south into Missouri, not more than forty miles from Far West, in search of employment. This they readily secured, no one raising the least objection to a Mormon who was not to be a permanent settler. Others were sent into that state to exchange horses, feather beds, and other personal property for cows and provisions.

   * Millennial Star, Vol. VIII, p. 59.

A part of the plan of operations provided for sending out pioneers to select the route and camping sites, to make bridges where they were necessary, and to open roads. The party carried light boats, but a good many bridges seem to have been required because of the spring freshets. It was while resting after a march through prolonged rain and mud, late in April, that it was decided to establish the permanent camp called Garden Grove. Hundreds of men were at once set to work, making log houses and fences, digging wells, and ploughing, and soon hundreds of acres were enclosed and planted.

The progress made during April was exasperatingly slow. There was soft mud during the day, and rough ruts in the early morning. Sometimes camp would be pitched after making only a mile; sometimes they would think they had done well if they had made six. The animals, in fact, were so thin from lack of food that they could not do a day's work even under favorable circumstances. The route, after the middle of April, was turned to the north, and they then travelled over a broken prairie country, where the game had been mostly killed off by the Pottawottomi Indians, whose trails and abandoned camps were encountered constantly.

On May 16, as the two Pratts and others were in advance, locating the route, P. P. Pratt discovered the site of what was called Mt. Pisgah (the post-office of Mt. Pisgah of to-day) which he thus describes: "Riding about three or four miles over beautiful prairies, I came suddenly to some round sloping hills, grassy, and crowned with beautiful groves of timber, while alternate open groves and forests seemed blended into all the beauty and harmony of an English park. Beneath and beyond, on the west, rolled a main branch of Grand River, with its rich bottoms of alternate forest and prairie."* As soon as Young and the other high dignitaries arrived, it was decided to form a settlement there, and several thousand acres were enclosed for cultivation, and many houses were built.

   * Pratt's "Autobiography," p. 381.

Young and most of the first party continued their westward march through an uninhabited country, where they had to make their own roads. But they met with no opposition from Indians, and the head of the procession reached the banks of the Missouri near Council Bluffs in June, other companies following in quite rapid succession.

The company which was the last to leave Nauvoo (on September 17), driven out by the Hancock County forces, endured sufferings much greater than did the early companies who were conducted by Brigham Young. The latter comprised the well-to-do of the city and all the high officers of the church, while the remnant left behind was made up of the sick and those who had not succeeded in securing the necessary equipment for the journey. Brayman, in his second report to Governor Ford, said:—

"Those of the Mormons who were wealthy or possessed desirable real estate in the city had sold and departed last spring. I am inclined to the opinion that the leaders of the church took with them all the movable wealth of their people that they could control, without making proper provision for those who remained. Consequently there was much destitution among them; much sickness and distress. I traversed the city, and visited in company with a practising physician the sick, and almost invariably found them destitute, to a painful extent, of the comforts of life."*

   * Warsaw Signal, October 20, 1846.

It was on the 18th of September that the last of these unfortunates crossed the river, making 640 who were then collected on the west bank. Illness had not been accepted by the "posse" as an excuse for delay. Thomas Bullock says that his family, consisting of a husband, wife, blind mother-in-law, four children, and an aunt, "all shaking with the ague," were given twenty minutes in which to get their goods into two wagons and start.* The west bank in Iowa, where the people landed, was marshy and unhealthy, and the suffering at what was called "Poor Camp," a short distance above Montrose, was intense. Severe storms were frequent, and the best cover that some of the people could obtain was a tent made of a blanket or a quilt, or even of brush, or the shelter to be had under the wagons of those who were fortunate enough to be thus equipped. Bullock thus describes one night's experience: "On Monday, September 23, while in my wagon on the slough opposite Nauvoo, a most tremendous thunderstorm passed over, which drenched everything we had. Not a dry thing left us—the bed a pool of water, my wife and mother-in-law lading it out by basinfuls, and I in a burning fever and insensible, with all my hair shorn off to cure me of my disease. A poor woman stood among the bushes, wrapping her cloak around her three little orphan children, to shield them from the storm as well as she could." The supply of food, too, was limited, their flour being wheat ground in hand mills, and even this at times failing; then roasted corn was substituted, the grain being mixed by some with slippery elm bark to eke it out.** The people of Hancock County contributed something in the way of clothing and provisions and a little money in aid of these sufferers, and the trustees of the church who were left in Nauvoo to sell property gave what help they could.

   *Millennial Star, Vol. X, p. 28.
   ** Bancrofts "History of Utah," p. 233,

On October 9 wagons sent back by the earlier emigrants for their unfortunate brethren had arrived, and the start for the Missouri began. Bullock relates that, just as they were ready to set out, a great flight of quails settled in the camp, running around the wagons so near that they could be knocked over with sticks, and the children caught some alive. One bird lighted upon their tea board, in the midst of the cups, while they were at breakfast. It was estimated that five hundred of the birds were flying about the camp that day, but when one hundred had been killed or caught, the captain forbade the killing of any more, "as it was a direct manifestation and visitation by the Lord." Young closes his account of this incident with the words, "Tell this to the nations of the earth! Tell it to the kings and nobles and great ones."

Wells, in his manuscript, "Utah Notes" (quoted by H. H. Bancroft), says: "This phenomenon extended some thirty or forty miles along the river, and was generally observed. The quail in immense quantities had attempted to cross the river, but this being beyond their strength, had dropped into the river boats or on the banks."*

   * Bancroft's "History of Utah," p. 234, note.

The westward march of these refugees was marked by more hardships than that of the earlier bodies, because they were in bad physical condition and were in no sense properly equipped. Council Bluffs was not reached till November 27.

The division of the emigrants and their progress was thus noted in an interview, printed in the Nauvoo Eagle of July 10, with a person who had left Council Bluffs on June 26, coming East. The advance company, including the Twelve, with a train of 1000 wagons, was then encamped on the east bank of the Missouri, the men being busy building boats. The second company, 3000 strong, were at Mt. Pisgah, recruiting their cattle for a new start. The third company had halted at Garden Grove. Between Garden Grove and the Mississippi River the Eagle's informant counted more than 1000 wagons on their way west. He estimated the total number of teams engaged in this movement at about 3700, and the number of persons on the road at 12,000. The Eagle added:—

"From 2000 to 3000 have disappeared from Nauvoo in various directions, and about 800 or less still remain in Illinois. This comprises the entire Mormon population that once flourished in Hancock County. In their palmy days they probably numbered 15,000 or 16,000."

The camp that had been formed at Mt. Pisgah suffered severely from the start. Provisions were scarce, and a number of families were dependent for food on neighbors who had little enough for themselves. Fodder for the cattle gave out, too, and in the early spring the only substitute was buds and twigs of trees. Snow notes as a calamity the death of his milch cow, which had been driven all the way from Ohio. Along with their destitution came sickness, and at times during the following winter it seemed as if there were not enough of the well to supply the needed nurses. So many deaths occurred during that autumn and winter that a funeral came to be conducted with little ceremony, and even the customary burial clothes could not be provided.* Elder W. Huntington, the presiding officer of the settlement, was among the early victims, and Lorenzo Snow, the recent head of the Mormon church, succeeded him. During Snow's stay there three of his four wives gave birth to children.

   * "Biography of Lorenzo Snow," p. 90.

Notwithstanding these depressing circumstances, the camp was by no means inactive during the winter. Those who were well were kept busy repairing wagons, and making, in a rude way, such household articles as were most needed—chairs, tubs, and baskets. Parties were sent out to the settlements within reach to work, accepting food and clothing as pay, and two elders were selected to visit the states in search of contributions. These efforts were so successful that about $600 was raised, and the camp sent to Brigham Young at Council Bluffs a load of provisions as a New Year's gift.

The usual religious meetings were kept up during the winter, and the utility of amusements in such a settlement was not forgotten. Ingenuity was taxed to give variety to the social entertainments. Snow describes a "party" that he gave in his family mansion—"a one-story edifice about fifteen by thirty feet, constructed of logs, with a dirt roof, a ground floor, and a chimney made of sod." Many a man compelled to house four wives (one of them with three sons by a former husband) in such a mansion would have felt excused from entertaining company. But the Snows did not. For a carpet the floor was strewn with straw. The logs of the sides of the room were concealed with sheets. Hollowed turnips provided candelabras, which were stuck around the walls and suspended from the roof. The company were entertained with songs, recitations, conundrums, etc., and all voted that they had a very jolly time.

In the larger camps the travellers were accustomed to make what they called "boweries"—large arbors covered with a framework of poles, and thatched with brush or branches. The making of such "boweries" was continued by the Saints in Utah.


During the halt of a part of the main body of the Mormons at Mt. Pisgah, an incident occurred which has been made the subject of a good deal of literature, and has been held up by the Mormons as a proof both of the severity of the American government toward them and of their own patriotism. There is so little ground for either of these claims that the story of the Battalion should be correctly told.

When hostilities against Mexico began, early in 1846, the plan of campaign designed by the United States authorities comprised an invasion of Mexico at two points, by Generals Taylor and Wool, and a descent on Santa Fe, and thence a march into California. This march was to be made by General Stephen F. Kearney, who was to command the volunteers raised in Missouri, and the few hundred regular troops then at Fort Leavenworth. In gathering his force General (then Colonel) Kearney sent Captain J. Allen of the First Dragoons to the Mormons at Mt. Pisgah, not with an order of any kind, but with a written proposition, dated June 26, 1846, that he "would accept the service, for twelve months, of four or five companies of Mormon men" (each numbering from 73 to 109), to unite with the Army of the West at Santa Fe, and march thence to California, where they would be discharged. These volunteers were to have the regular volunteers' pay and allowances, and permission to retain at their discharge the arms and equipments with which they would be provided, the age limit to be between eighteen and forty-five years. The most practical inducement held out to the Mormons to enlist was thus explained: "Thus is offered to the Mormon people now—this year—an opportunity of sending a portion of their young and intelligent men to the ultimate destination of their whole people, and entirely at the expense of the United States; and this advance party can thus pave the way and look out the land for their brethren to come after them."

There was nothing like a "demand" on the Mormons in this invitation, and the advantage of accepting it was largely on the Mormon side. If it had not been, it would have been rejected. That the government was in no stress for volunteers is shown by the fact that General Kearney reported to the War Department in the following August that he had more troops than he needed, and that he proposed to use some of them to reenforce General Wool.*

   * Chase's "History of the Polk Administration," p. 16.

The initial suggestion about the raising of these Mormon volunteers came from a Mormon source.* In the spring of 1846 Jesse C. Little, a Mormon elder of the Eastern states, visited Washington with letters of introduction from Governor Steele of New Hampshire and Colonel Thomas L. Kane of Philadelphia, hoping to secure from the government a contract to carry provisions or naval stores to the Pacific coast, and thus pay part of the expense of conveying Mormons to California by water. According to Little, this matter was laid before the cabinet, who proposed that he should visit the Mormon camp and raise 1000 picked men to make a dash for California overland, while as many more would be sent around Cape Horn from the Eastern states. This big scheme, according to Mormon accounts, was upset by one of the hated Missourians, Senator Thomas H. Benton, whose Macchiavellian mind had designed the plan of taking from the Mormons 500 of their best men for the Battalion, thus crippling them while in the Indian country. All this part of their account is utterly unworthy of belief. If 500 volunteers for the army "crippled" the immigrants where they were, what would have been their condition if 1000 of their number had been hurried on to California? **

   * Tullidge's "Life of Brigham Young," p. 47.
   ** Delegate Berahisel, in a letter to President Fillmore
(December 1, 1851), replying to a charge by Judge Brocchus that the
24th of July orators had complained of the conduct of the government in
taking the Battalion from them for service against Mexico, said,
"The government did not take from us a battalion of men," the Mormons
furnishing them in response to a call for volunteers.

Aside from the opportunity afforded by General Kearney's invitation to send a pioneer band, without expense to themselves, to the Pacific coast, the offer gave the Mormons great, and greatly needed, pecuniary assistance. P. P. Pratt, on his way East to visit England with Taylor and Hyde, found the Battalion at Fort Leavenworth, and was sent back to the camp* with between $5000 and $6000, a part of the Battalion's government allowance. This was a godsend where cash was so scarce, as it enabled the commissary officers to make purchases in St. Louis, where prices were much lower than in western Iowa.** John Taylor, in a letter to the Saints in Great Britain on arriving there, quoted the acceptance of this Battalion as evidence that "the President of the United States is favorably disposed to us," and said that their employment in the army, as there was no prospect of any fighting, "amounts to the same as paying them for going where they were destined to go without."***

   * "Unexpected as this visit was, a member of my family had been
warned in a dream, and had predicted my arrival and the day."—Pratt,
"Autobiography," p. 384.
   ** "History of Brigham Young," Ms., 1846, p. 150.
   *** Millennial Star, Vol. VIII, p. 117.

The march of the federal force that went from Santa Fe (where the Mormon Battalion arrived in October) to California was a notable one, over unexplored deserts, where food was scarce and water for long distances unobtainable. Arriving at the junction of the Gila and Colorado rivers on December 26, they received there an order to march to San Diego, California, and arrived there on January 29, after a march of over two thousand miles.

The war in California was over at that date, but the Battalion did garrison duty at San Luis Rey, and then at Los Angeles. Various propositions for their reenlistment were made to them, but their church officers opposed this, and were obeyed except in some individual instances. About 150 of those who set out from Santa Fe were sent back invalided before California was reached, and the number mustered out was only about 240. These at once started eastward, but, owing to news received concerning the hardships of the first Mormons who arrived in Salt Lake Valley, many of them decided to remain in California, and a number were hired by Sutter, on whose mill-race the first discovery of gold in that state was made. Those who kept on reached Salt Lake Valley on October 16, 1847. Thirty-two of their number continued their march to Winter Quarters on the Missouri, where they arrived on December 18.

Mormon historians not only present the raising of the Battalion as a proof of patriotism, but ascribe to the members of that force the credit of securing California to the United States, and the discovery of gold.*

   * "The Mormons have always been disposed to overestimate the
value of their services during this period, attaching undue importance
to the current rumors of intending revolt on the part of the
Californians, and of the approach of Mexican troops to reconquer the
province. They also claim the credit of having enabled Kearney to
sustain his authority against the revolutionary pretensions of Fremont.
The merit of this claim wil