Peace and Violence among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints

17 June

Joseph Smith General of NauvooJournal of Discourses 2:186; “I will take the Government of the United States, and the laws of Missouri and Illinois, from the year 1833 to 1845, and if they had been carried out according to their letter and spirit, they would have strung up the murderers and mobocrats who illegally and unrighteously killed, plundered, harassed, and expelled us. I will tell you how much I love those characters. If they had any respect to their own welfare, they would come forth and say, whether Joseph Smith was a Prophet or not, “We shed his blood, and now let us atone for it;” and they would be willing to have their heads chopped off, that their blood might run upon the ground, and the smoke of it rise before the Lord as an incense for their sins. I love them that much. But if the Lord wishes them to live and foam out their sins before all men and women, it is all right, I care not where they go, or what they do.” – Brigham Young, Salt Lake City, February 18, 1855

In early May 2014, the Church came out with a new essay about violence and the Mormon Church for their Gospel Topics section and boy, did they ever have a lot to say without actually saying anything.

As you might imagine their essay is filled with a lot of ‘woe is me’ and ‘endure to the end’ idioms giving the impression their misfortune came about through unwarranted attacks ‘just because they’re Mormon’. For the Church it’s the same stuff, different day.  The tiny morsel of truth they yammered on about is nothing but a ruse to divert attention from reality and a lame attempt to appease critics.

Truth

The majority of trouble the Church has endured is of their own doing. Mormons were kicked out Ohio, Missouri and Illinois because of their behavioral problems.  They threatened citizens of each state with annihilation in addition to all out attacking innocent people when they didn’t conform to the Mormon standard. Not surprisingly, misfortune didn’t take long to find them after their arrival to the Wasatch Front as well.

Sadly, they still take little to no responsibility for any of the drama when history shows their complicity in much of the violence that occurred.  While headquartered in Ohio Smith had grandiose ideas of proclaiming Independence, MO as Zion and in his mind nothing short of removing non-compliant citizens would be satisfactory.

Expounding the Mormon brand of the gospel came easily for Smith, but the reception of his incessant warnings to obey or face annihilation went over like a lead balloon for the majority of folks. From 1830 to 1844 non-Mormons faced harassment, death threats, being pillaged, robbed and murdered.

Furthermore, the governments of New York, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois faced mounting costs of financing the militias needed to protect American citizens because of the new enemy from within.

The predominant problem surrounding the Church’s latest essay lies in the unspoken story of why they had so many problems, making their side of history disingenuous. If they were transparent with their history they might find that people would be more willing to stay in the Church and accept their checkered past, warts and all.

While events in history don’t happen in a vacuum it’s not difficult for the average reader to figure out Mormons may have been egged on at one point or another. However, having said that, their behavior isn’t an excuse or even a reason why for that matter. We believe it’s important to point out that we’re not blinded in our research in thinking that Mormons didn’t face some religious opposition to their plight.

We’ve gathered a fair amount of resources showing some of the major issues going on with the Mormon Church to give the reader a basic idea of the events that took place between 1830 to the Utah years. Obviously, we’ve not given an exhaustive list as it’s our intent at this time. For more information see our article US Government & Mormonism, published in early 2013.

Ohio

1831 

By the time the Church set up shop in Ohio Smith had already built himself a reputation by means of his arrest record (1825, 1826, 1830) along with several allegations made against him for sexual improprieties. See Joseph Smith and the Criminal Justice System. 

After moving to Kirtland from Fayette, NY in February 1831, Smith wasted no time implementing his charismatic talents. While setting up communities in and around Kirtland, OH, he also had missionaries doing the same in Missouri based on his claim of a prophecy God had given him. HC 1:145-146

February 9, 1831 – Law of Consecration goes into effect; worked much like the Robin Hood System. D&C 42:39

March 7th & July 20th 1831 – Smith declared Independence, MO as the new Zion and those who wouldn’t bow to this god would be wiped out. D&C 45:64-67, 49:9-10, D&C 57:2-5

March 1831 – Revelation tells Saints to save money & buy land in Zion (MO). D&C 48:4

June 7, 1831 – Mormons told to avenge themselves, take land of their enemies; Smith & other leaders go to Jackson Co, MO. D&C 52:42, D&C 53-56

July 17, 1831 – WW Phelps reports Smith told him and several others that God commanded polygamy amongst Native Americans. (1)

August 8, 1831 – God tells Smith to go back to Kirtland. D&C 60:1

August 13, 1831 – Mormons will own land of Zion forever – D&C 62:6, 9

November 1831 – Mormons to possess land of Zion forever, no others will own it. D&C 69:8

November 1, 1831 – Sword to fall on nonbelievers. D&C 1:13, 17

December 1, 1831 – Saints to publicly shame enemies. D&C 71:7-10

(1) See:

David J. Whittaker, “Mormons and Native Americans: A Historical and Biographical Introduction,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 18 (Winter 1985): 35.

Richard S. Van Wagoner, Mormon Polygamy: A History, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989), 12-13. 

Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrines of the Kingdom [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973], 451.

Nauvoo Roots of Mormon Polygamy, 1841-46, George D. Smith 

The Joseph Smith Revelations, p 374-376, by H. Michael Marquadt, Appendix E. Six additional revelations given through Joseph Smith.

1832 

March 24,1832 – Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon wake to the clamoring of a group of angry men who unceremoniously escorted both men from their homes in the middle of the night to tar and feather them.

Accusations of sexual improprieties plagued Smith from New York into Ohio. By 1832 there were no less than nine to twelve allegations made against Smith. Even though the actions of the ‘mob’ that attacked Smith were excessive, it’s not difficult to understand the frustration they must have had building inside knowing he (Smith) was a menace to young girls in their community.

Fawn Brodie also wrote;

“Fortified by a barrel of whiskey, [the mob] smashed their way into the Johnson home on the night of March 24, 1832 and dragged Joseph from the trundle bed where he had fallen asleep while watching one of the twins. They stripped him, scratched and beat him with savage pleasure, and smeared his bleeding body with tar from head to foot. Ripping a pillow into shreds, they plastered him with feathers. It is said that Eli Johnson demanded that the prophet be castrated, for he suspected Joseph of being too intimate with his sister, Nancy Marinda. But the doctor who had been persuaded to join the mob declined the responsibility at the last moment…” – No Man Knows My History, p 119

September 22-23, 1832 – NY & Boston to be destroyed. D&C 84:114, 97, 101

December 6, 1832 – Non-Mormons, apostates are whores to be reaped down – D&C 86:2-5

December 27, 1832 – Earth to be destroyed. D&C 88:87

1833

January 4, 1833 – United States to be destroyed. History of the Church 1:315-316

1833 – Smith (28) marries Fanny Alger (16). See Polygamy & Mormon Church Leaders, Joseph Smith

February 12, 1833 – Illinois outlaws polygamy (see attached media).

By 1833 – 1,200 Saints living in Jackson County, MO. Missourians were feeling threatened by the Saints’ economic and political power they were gaining in the state. However and more importantly, the constant threats of death and having their properties pillaged weren’t looked upon favorably either.

May-June 1833 – Saints commanded to build temple in Kirtland; Smith gives outline of city & temple complex for Zion (MO). D&C 93-95

July 14, 1833 – Smith publishes inflammatory statements against MO citizens. He prophesies God will laugh at their calamity and mock their fear when they’re destroyed because of unbelief in Mormon gospel. Evening and Morning Star Vol. 2, No. 14, p 169 

July 20-23, 1833 – MO citizens destroy printing press for Evening and Morning Star. Saints sign agreement to leave Jackson County, MO. History of Utah, p 100 by Hubert Howe Bancroft 

August 2, 1833 – Saints will prevail over enemies – D&C 97:15-20

November 4, 1833-January 1, 1834 – Saints forcibly expelled from Jackson County, MO to Clay County, MO in battle near Blue River. Two killed, one Mormon, one non-Mormon. Philo Dibble (LDS) injured.

December 1833 – Saints publicly refute Missourian’s testimony of events claiming non-Mormons attacked them first. The Evening and Morning Star Vol.2, No. 15, p 118

December 10, 1833 – Mormons instructed to tear down walls of enemies & destroy watchmen.  D&C 101:55-58, HC 1:455

December 16, 1833 – ‘God’s indignation to be poured out’. D&C 101:10-11, 17

At the end of 1833 Missouri’s militia had a total of 7,638 members, far outweighing the number of Mormons who called Missouri home. Between the feds and local citizens all decided they had had enough of Smith’s shenanigans and took action. Skirmishes went on for a number of years until it eventually culminated into the Missouri Mormon War (1838) which in turn caused the “Extermination Order” to be issued by Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs forcing them to leave New Jerusalem and settle in Nauvoo, IL.  See The National Calendar and Annals of the United States for 1833, Volume 11

1834 

Zion won’t be overcome…

February 24, 1834 – Zion’s Camp organized, Saints to avenge the Church.  D&C 103:1, 24-26, History of the Church 3:xxxix

May 5, 1834 – In the meantime, Smith needed to retro-engineer and fulfill the prophecy he delivered in 1831 to regain properties they lost after being kicked out by locals.  Between May and June 1834, declaring himself a new Moses, he organized a paramilitary group he dubbed Zion’s Camp and gave marching orders to redeem Zion.  Life of Heber C Kimball, p 53. 

June 6, 1834 – Governor Dunklin warns Mormons to stay out of Jackson County, MO. Mormonism Unvailed, Chapter XIV, p 174-175 

June 22, 1834 – Zion’s Camp expedition a total failure. Smith issues another revelation declaring Church unworthy because of sin and disobedience; 14 members died of cholera. D&C 105:2-4

June 22, 1834 – Smith prophesies God will avenge them so they can rest awhile. He also prophesied they’d buy lands in and around Jackson County, throw down the watchmen of their enemies and God wouldn’t hold them responsible for killing them.  D&C 105:13-15, 28-30; HC 2:108-111

June 25, 1834 – Smith disbands his mob and goes back to Kirtland, OH arriving early August 1834. HC 2:139

August 16, 1834 – Smith prophesies Zion will be redeemed on September 11. 1836. HC 2:145

1835 

February 14, 1835 – Prophecy of Jesus’ return within 56 years, Saints ordered to ‘prune the vineyard’. HC 2:182

July 1835 – Smith purchases Egyptian mummies from traveling salesman Michael Chandler.

August 17, 1835 – Church issues declaration stating they will obey laws of the land. D&C 134

1836 

April 3, 1836 – Smith prophesies he’s the promise from the book of Isaiah; also, ‘the great & dreadful day of the Lord’ is at the door of non-Mormons. D&C 110:16; HC 2:435-436

July 1836 – Saints protest expulsion from Clay County, MO.

August 6, 1836 – Faced with crushing debt and desperate for cash Smith prophesies a takeover of Salem, MA with treasure waiting to be found in the cellar of a house in Salem. Cellar didn’t produce any treasure, scavenger team went home empty handed. D&C 111:1-11; HC 2:466

September 1836 – Saints begin leaving Clay County & move to Shoal County. HC 4:266

November 2, 1836 – Kirtland Banking Society established. HC 2:467

1837 

Apostasy & Kirtland Anti-Banking Safety Society…

Hoping to print their way out of debt Smith came up with plan to establish a bank for people to invest money with the promise of a handsome return. It was set up in hopes that people could take out loans and the interest made would make the Saints rich.

Unable to secure a formal charter for a bank Smith and friends settled upon naming their group the ‘anti-banking company’. Unfortunately for them, they’d already spent a lot of money in purchasing the plates to print banking notes. In lieu of their loss they went ahead with printing their money and attached the word ‘anti’ in front of and ‘ing’ at the end of the word bank to avoid any hassle with feds.

While the Church blames people for anti-Mormon behavior in not issuing a charter, the fact is America was facing a major economic crisis in 1837.  Numerous banks were closed throughout the country during this time and their inability to receive a charter had nothing to do with Mormonism.

January 2, 1837 – Kirtland Anti-Banking Company officially organized as joint stock company. Using Isaiah chapters 60, 62 Smith prophesies people will forego awful events if they obey God to build up kingdom. HC 2:471, 473

April 1837 – Saints promised they’d be rich in anti-banking scheme. Latter-day Saint Messenger & Advocate, Vol. 3, No. 7, p 488 

July 7, 1837 – Smith resigns as treasurer of Kirtland Anti-Banking Safety Society. HC 2:497

July 23, 1837 – Vengeance for inhabitants on earth. Saints begin infighting and blame Smith for banking failure. D&C 112:24, A Comprehensive History of the Church 1:402-403

November 1837 – KSS’ failure, numerous lawsuits filed by investors; Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Several members ‘apostatize’ because of Smith’s failed prophecies and their loss of money.

No Man Knows My History, pp 199-200; “Thirteen suits were brought against him between June 1837 and April 1839, to collect sums totaling nearly $25,000. The damages asked amounted to almost $35,000. He was arrested seven times in four months…only six [suits] were settled out of court — about $12,000…” – Fawn Brodie

1838

Smith escapes arrest…

1838 was a defining year in the history of Mormonism that would set them apart for generations to come. The reason for this is because of the Church sanctioned illegal activities and how they repeatedly attacked those who wouldn’t comply with Smith’s idea of the Mormon utopia. Their footprints left an indelible mark that solidified their reputation with outsiders up to this day. By and large the majority of Americans don’t remember or aren’t aware of the Church’s past behavioral problems, but they are living recipients of the animosity that grew from activities leading up to the Missouri Mormon War.

January 12, 1838 – Warrant issued for Smith’s arrest on banking fraud in Ohio. Smith and Rigdon flee to Missouri at night to escape the law. Fawn Brodie, p 207, HC 3:1, The Ohio Guide by Federal Writers Project, p 370 

February 22, 1838 – Methodist church in Kirtland, OH burned down. Accusations of arson shown to be true with evidence of the bucket at the local well being cut off and missing. Painesville Republican, Vol. II, No. 29, Thursday May 11, 1838 

March-May 1838 – 1,500 Saints living in MO as most had fled Kirtland.

April 26, 1838 – Saints ordered by God to set cornerstone for new temple in Far West, MO. D&C 115:3-7

June 17, 1838 – Salt Sermon delivered by Sidney Rigdon warning apostate Mormons to evacuate the area immediately or else. HC 1:438-439

July 4, 1838 – Rigdon delivers an independence speech threatening annihilation of enemies  further enraging non-Mormons. His words were meant to intimidate locals and scare them out of the area. Saints orchestrate huge parade with pomp and ceremony, marching armed militia and Mormons all chanting Hosannas through town streets. Entire speech printed in local papers then in pamphlet form to be distributed to church members worldwide. Part of it said;

“…No man shall be at liberty to come into 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 villify and slander any of us, for suffer it we will not, in this place. We therefore take all men to record this day, that we proclaim our liberty…” – A Comprehensive History of the Church 1:440-441

July 8, 1838 – God tells Saints to vacate Kirtland. D&C 117:5-7

August 7-8, 1838 – Saints threaten Judge Adam Black and other citizens for anti-Mormon behavior. Smith refers to this as Judge Black signing affidavit promising they wouldn’t attack Mormons. HC 3:59

Friday, August 10, 1838 — Mormons continue to complain about ‘mobocracy’. They use the word ‘mobocracy’ instead of using its correct term; ‘police’. Throughout LDS literature and scripture they’ve misled members into believing they were picked on because of religion.

“Treaties of Peace of Little Avail…The spirit of mobocracy continued…to stalk abroad, notwithstanding all our treaties of peace…” – “The Beginning Of Trouble In Caldwell And Daviess Counties

August 10, 1838 – Charges filed against Smith and Lyman Wright for threatening Judge Adam Black. The Missouri Mormon War, Records & Archives, pp 159-161

August 16, 1838 – Arrest warrant for Joseph Smith issued. HC 3:66

August 30, 1838 – roughly 1,500 Mormons resist arrest w/ force of arms. Threatened death to Justice of the Peace if they weren’t left alone. Also threatened to make every citizen of Daviess County sign petition or face death.The Missouri Mormon War, Records & Archives, p 20

September 7, 1838 – Smith & Lyman Wight appear in court before Judge Austin King on charges of creating their own army and threatening and harassing settlers. He orders them to stand trial and releases both on $500 bail.

Sept 17, 1838 – Citizens of Daviess Co desert the area – Mormons & non-Mormons alike. The Missouri Mormon War, Records & Archives, p 26 

Sept 22, 1838 – 50+ Mormons write Boggs requesting that he rescind orders for Mormons to leave state and file complaints of harassment. – The Missouri Mormon War, Records & Archives, p 29 

October 24, 1838 – One of the events that caused major tension between Mormons and non-Mormons took place a week before the Haun’s Mill Massacre. This brutality acted out by the Church shows that it was the final straw before Governor Boggs signed the ‘Extermination Order’. Dr. D. Michael Quinn wrote the following in his historical work ‘The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, pp 99-100; (also see MormonThink Essays)

“In the skirmishes that both sides called “battles,” Mormons used deadly force without reluctance. Benjamin F. Johnson wrote that Danite leader (and future apostle) Lyman Wight told his men to pray concerning their Missouri enemies: “That God would Damn them & give us pow[e]r to Kill them.” Likewise, at the beginning of the Battle of Crooked River… Apostle David W. Patten (a Danite captain with the code-name “Fear Not”) told his men: “Go ahead, boys; rake them down.” The highest ranking Mormon charged with murder for obeying this order was Apostle Parley P. Pratt who allegedly took the careful aim of a sniper in killing one Missourian and then severely wounding militiaman Samuel Tarwater. This was after Apostle Patten received a fatal stomach wound. In their fury at the sight of their fallen leader, some of the Danites mutilated the unconscious Tarwater “with their swords” striking him lengthwise in the mouth, cutting off his under teeth, and breaking his lower jaw; cutting off his cheeks… and leaving him [for] dead.” He survived to press charges against Pratt for attempted murder…”

October 24, 1838 – Thomas B Marsh signs affidavit admitting they (Mormons) looted and burned down Gallatin. – The Missouri Mormon War, Records & Archives, p 57 

“… At the request of citizens of Ray County, I make the following statement. . . . Joseph Smith, the prophet, had preached a sermon in which he said that all the Mormons who refused to take up arms, if necessary, in the difficulties with the citizens, should be shot or otherwise put to death…I afterwards learned from the Mormons that they had burnt Gallatin and that it was done by the aforesaid company that marched there. The Mormons informed me that they had hauled away all the goods from the store in Gallatin and deposited them at the Bishop’s storehouse at Diahmon…”

October 25, 1838 – Battle of Crooked River

““Because a Mormon attack was believed imminent, a unit of the state militia from Ray County was dispatched to patrol the border between Ray and Mormon Caldwell County to the north. On October 25, 1838, reports reached Mormons in Far West that this state militia unit was a ‘mob’ and had kidnapped several Mormons. The Mormons formed an armed rescue party and attacked the militia in what became known as the Battle of Crooked River. Although only one Missourian was killed, initial reports held that half the unit had been wiped out. This attack on the state militia, coupled with the earlier expulsion of non-Mormons from Daviess County led Missouri’s governor Lilburn W. Boggs to respond with force. On 27 October he called out 2,500 state militia to put down what he perceived as a Mormon rebellion and signed what became known as the ‘Extermination Order.’ (Baugh, pp. 108–09)”  Mormon Wiki 

October 27, 1838 – Gov. Boggs issues Extermination Order forcing Mormons to leave MO. The Missouri Mormon War, Records & Archives, p 61

See original order here

October 30, 1838 – Missourians attack Mormons and kill seventeen at Haun’s Mill. History of Utah, p 128 by Hubert Howe Bancroft; Encyclopedia of Mormonism, p 577

November 1, 1838 – Joseph Smith sentenced to be shot, General Doniphan protested, some prisoners released. HC 3:190-192

November 12, 1838 – Mormons ordered to pay shipping costs to send back property they stole from citizens. General Wilson writes letter to Governor Boggs telling him they found the stolen merchandise in a shanty Mormons called ‘The Lord’s Storehouse’;

“It would astonish you to see the immense amount of piles of stolen property which has been brought in, and deposited by the Mormons… R. Wilson, Brig. Gen. Commanding 2d Brig. Mo. Mi.” – The Missouri Mormon War, Records & Archives, p 78

November 12 & 14, 1838 – Mormons go to court. Smith charged with treason, arson, receiving stolen goods, larceny and riot. – The Missouri Mormon War, Records & Archives, pp 153-156

Testimonies of George Hinckle, WW Phelps et al, are given to judge of the 5thJudicial Circuit of the State of Missouri, pp 21-24, 44-45;

Testimony of George M. Hinkle, Senate Document 189, pp 21-24; “There was much mysterious conversation in camps, as to plundering, and house-burning; so much so, that I had my own notions about it; and, on one occasion, I spoke to Mr. Smith, Jr., in the house, and told him that

[p 22] this course of burning houses and plundering, by the Mormon troops, would ruin us…Smith replied to me, in a pretty rough manner, to keep still; that I should say nothing about it; that it would discourage the men…I understood this property and plunder were placed into the hands of the bishop at Diahmon. . . .

[p 23] The general teachings of the presidency were, that the kingdom they were setting up was a temporal kingdom . . . that the time had come when this kingdom was to be set up by forcible means, if necessary. It was taught, that the time had come when the riches of the Gentiles were to be consecrated to the true Israel…

[p 24] Joseph Smith, jr. made a speech to the troops who were called together, in which he said: That the troops which were gathering through the country were a damned mob; that he had tried to please them long enough; that we had tried to keep the law long enough; but, as to keeping the law of Missouri any longer, he did not intend to try to do so. That the whole State was a job set; and that, if they came to fight him, he would play hell with their apple carts. He told his people that they heretofore had the character of fighting like devils; but they should now fight like angels, for angel could whip devils”.

Testimony of W.W. Phelps, Senate Document 189, p 44-45; “A motion was then made, by Sidney Rigdon, that the blood of those who were thus backward should first be spilled in the streets of Far West; a few said, Amen to this. But immediately Mr. Joseph Smith, jr., before Rigdon’s motion was put, rose, and moved that they be taken out into Daviess County, and if they came to battle, they should be put on their horses with bayonets and pitchforks, and put in front: this passed without a dissenting voice. There was a short [speech] made then, by Joseph Smith, jr., about carrying on the war; in which he said it was necessary to have something to live on; and, when they went out to war, it was necessary to take spoils to live on…

[p 45] Smith replied, the time had come when he should resist all law . . . . I heard J. Smith remark, there was a store at Gallatin, and a grocery at Millport; and in the morning after the conversation between Smith and Wight about resisting the law, a plan of operations was agreed on, which was: that Captain Fearnaught, who was present, should take a company of 100 men, or more, and go to Gallatin, and take it that day; to take the goods out of Gallatin, bring them to Diahmon, and burn the store. . . . On the same day, in the evening, I saw both these companies return; the foot company had some plunder. . .”

November 22, 1838 – “…many of the class of citizens called Mormons, charged with various crimes and offences; under the charge of treason, ‘six: for murder and as accessories thereto, before and after the fact, eight; and for other felonies, twenty-seven. Special terms of the Circuit Court are expected to be held in the several counties, in which the above mentioned crimes are represented to have been committed.” – Legislative Proceedings, In the General Assembly of the State of Missouri House of Representatives, Thursday, November 22, 1838, p 3.

November 23, 1838 – “…The Mormons have done immense injury to the citizens of this county, first by robbing them of all their moveable  property, and then burning their houses. A part of this property was found at Adam-on-dishmon, but the greater portion is still missing. The people of Daviess county, during my stay among them, conducted themselves towards the Mormons with great propriety and even generosity.” – Robert Wilson, Brig. Gen. 2nd Brig., 1st Div., Mo, M.” – The Missouri Mormon War, Records & Archives, p 88 

1839

Smith becomes a fugitive…

February 18, 1839 – Missouri charges 50 Mormons with crimes against the state. To read full account with all names see link below.  This is what it says in part;

State v Joseph Smith, Hiram Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P Pratt…; who were charged with the several crimes of high treason against the State, murder, burglary, arson, robbery, and larceny.

…Sampson Avard testified that Smith organized and was in charge of the Danites. They swore secret oaths to be bound together or be put to death. Joseph Smith, Hiram Smith (sic) & Sidney Rigdon considered supreme heads of Church.” – The Missouri Mormon War, Records & Archives, p 97

March 20, 1839 – Smith in Liberty Jail on charges listed above, denies all charges. D&C 121, HC 3:289-300

April 16, 1839 – Smith says he escaped from Liberty jail “because he loves his family”. HC 3:320-321

July 2, 1839 – No one on earth will have peace but Zion. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p 161

1841

July 1841 – Multiple indictments brought against LDS Church leaders. Most bailed out because of the lack of jail space except for those against Smith brothers, Rigdon, Wight, Pratt, Phelps and a few others. Charges included overt treason, larceny, burglary, etc. in multiple counties.

1842

May 1842 – “Orrin Porter Rockwell was taken prisoner in St. Louis by the Missourians, on an advertisement accusing him of shooting ex-Governor Boggs on the 6th day of May, 1842”. HC 5: 298

August 8, 1842 – Warrants for arrest against Smith & Porter Rockwell for conspiracy to murder IL Governor Thomas Carlin.

September 3-10, 1842 – Smith goes into hiding to evade arrest

 

1843 

January 1843 – arrest and release of Smith for attempted murder on Boggs in 1842.  Truth and Grace Ministries

March 28, 1843 – Smith beats up Josiah Butterfield. HC 5:316

May 18, 1843 – Potsherd Prophecy/United States to be Overthrown

Latter-day Prophets Speak – Selections from the Sermons and Writing of Church Presidents, Book 4, Chapter 22; “I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed upon the Saints in the State of Missouri and punish the crimes committed by officers, that in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left for their wickedness in permitting the murder of men, women and children, and the wholesale plunder and extermination of thousands of her citizens to go unpunished, thereby perpetrating a foul and corroding blot upon the fair fame of this great republic, the very thought of which would have caused the high-minded and patriotic framers of the Constitution of the United States to hide their faces with shame.” – Joseph Smith, Jr., Historical Record, p 514; DHC 5:394

June 23, 1843 – Smith arrested in Nauvoo for treason in IL. HC 5:463-464

June 30, 1843 – Smith condones, encourages violence. HC 5:467

“I have dragged these men here by my hand, and I will do it again; but I swear I will not deal so mildly with them again, for the time has come when forbearance is no longer a virtue; and if you or I are again taken unlawfully, you are at liberty to give loose to blood and thunder. But be cool, be deliberate, be wise, act with almighty power; and when you pull, do it effectually—make a sweep-stakes for once!” – Joseph Smith

August 1, 13, 1843 – Smith beats up & chokes tax collector, Mr. Bagby. HC 5:524, 531

December 16, 1843 – US Government to be broken up, Grease Spot Prophecy.Millennial Star, Vol. 22, No. 29, (July 21, 1860), p 455, HC 6:116

1844

June 10, 1844 – Smith orders destruction of Nauvoo Expositor. HC 6:448

June 24, 1844 – Smith brothers & two other church members land in Carthage Jail to await trial when Carthage Grays open fire on jail. Hyrum killed, Joseph shoots and kills two of the enemy’s assailants and then Joseph is shot and killed. John Taylor shot multiple times, survived.

Utah

The Saints settled into their new homestead by July 1847, but crops of food wouldn’t be the only thing they’d be harvesting. Their past behavior problem began manifesting itself shortly after their arrival with rhetoric and seeds of hatred sown into the fiery sermons delivered by Brigham and friends.

We’re only listing a few quotes from their leaders to give an idea of their mindset along with a few significant events that took place in Utah in the first decade they took up residence there.

April 8, 1853 – Mormons Will Possess Earth

JD 1:230; “Let us now notice our political position in the world. What are we going to do? We are going to possess the earth. Why? Because it belongs to Jesus Christ, and he belongs to us, and we to him; we are all one, and will take the kingdom and possess it under the whole heavens, and reign over it forever and ever.” – John Taylor, April 8, 1853, Salt Lake City

In the Church’s essay they said;

In the mid-1850s, a “reformation” within the Church and tensions between the Latter-day Saints in Utah and the U.S. federal government contributed to a siege mentality and a renewed sense of persecution that led to several episodes of violence committed by Church members. Concerned about spiritual complacency, Brigham Young and other Church leaders delivered a series of sermons in which they called the Saints to repent and renew their spiritual commitments. Many testified that they became better people because of this reformation.

The reformation sermons were aimed more at dissenters than outsiders. Most non-Mormons in the area listened to them with a grain of salt. For those who weren’t conforming to the Mormon standard of excellence the sermons were intended to scare, intimidate and control. Mixed with threats of damnation and blood atonement for non-compliance the height of the ‘reformation’ period went on from 1856-1857. See Journal of Mormon History 1989 

The Church’s essay was also less than honest by describing their relationship with Native Americans as amicable.  The Mormons’ true relationship with the local Indian tribes were about as friendly as a buzz saw. Their wholesale slaughter of tribal members led to the Walker War which in turn encouraged other problems to take place.

1853 Massacre of John W. Gunnison’s Survey Party

While obeying orders from superiors to map out the Utah Territory, Captain John Gunnison and his eleven men set up shop alongside the Sevier River to accomplish the task they’d been assigned.

They weren’t there long before evil cast its dark shadow upon Utah’s visitors. In a scene that’d rival slasher movies of today 8 of the 11 men were mutilated, organs removed and senseless mayhem took over the innocent men’s encampment.

Word got back to Gunnison’s wife that a wild tribe of Ute Indians had slaughtered her poor defenseless husband’s work crew. The only problem is that the widow Gunnison wasn’t buying the whole sordid story that Brigham sent her way.

She took matters into her own hands and wrote to Judge WW Drummond who had just resigned his position as the Supreme Court Judge for the Territory of Utah to try and extract the truth about her husband’s untimely death.

As it turned Utah rounded up who they said was guilty of the hideous crime. A couple of ‘squaws’, a blind Indian, a crippled Indian and one other warrior. They were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 3 yrs in the State Pen. The judge found it so outrageous he set them all free.

In an unrelated trial for murder that took place not long afterwards testimony came out alluding to the fact the Gunnison Surveyor Party was mutilated on orders of Brigham Young.

September 11, 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre

From our site:

If you haven’t seen the movie September Dawn I highly encourage you to go out and rent the DVD to see a true story of what happened on the original September 11th tragedy of this nation.

On September 11, 1857 the Baker-Francher Party, a wagon train from Arkansas, were crossing the lower regions of Utah when all hell broke loose.  As they were peacefully rolling along in their wagon train and minding their own business from Arkansas to California, a group of Mormons dressed up to look like wild Native Americans viciously pounced upon the unsuspecting men, women and children.

One hundred and twenty adults and older children were slaughtered after being tricked by the Mormons to give up their weapons.  After being encircled by men hiding in the bushes and even those right in front of them, these poor Christians were gunned down and hacked to death.

If that doesn’t sound evil enough the Mormons didn’t kill those who were 7 years old and younger because they hadn’t reached the year of accountability in the Mormon teaching of when kids can sin.  These older people had made decisions in their lives to follow a different God than the god Mormons worshipped.  They took the younger kids (14 of them), the clothing, weapons, jewelry, animals and other goods of the wagon train and dispersed them amongst those who participated in the nefarious deed. Their bodies were left to be eaten by animals and strewn across the countryside.

The Mormon Church would have you believe Brigham Young had nothing to do with it, but don’t believe it.  He actually ordered the raid himself.  Eventually the younger children were given to their relatives.

See History of Utah 1540-1886, pgs 542-572, by Hubert Howe Bancroft

October 1857 The Aiken Murders

One month after the slaughter of 120+ innocent people by the Mormon hierarchy another atrocity took place.

Six people traveling from San Bernadino to the eastern states were mercilessly shot down and killed as well.

The six men were arrested in Kaysville, Utah and charged with spying for the US Government. While being transported from Kaysville to Nephi, Porter Rockwell and Sylvanus Collett were given orders to execute them.

While camped at night the six men were attacked on the Sevier River. Two were killed there, two escaped and the other two were transported to Nephi where they would face execution. The two that escaped tried to make their way to Salt Lake but were gunned down at Willow Springs.

It wasn’t until 1875 that Collett was tried in court for the murders and later acquitted of all charges. Porter Rockwell wasn’t arrested for the murders until twenty years after the fact and died of natural causes while awaiting trial. The two Aiken brothers and four other men’s cattle and $25,000 never made it to the intended destination.

See History of Utah 1540-1886, pgs 562-563, by Hubert Howe Bancroft

September 14, 1859 – Nations Bow to Prophets

The Valley Tan [Salt Lake City], 14 September 1859, p 2; “Then will the American people prostrate themselves before the independent Saints of Deseret, and beg for food and protection; then will the nations of the earth bow themselves down to our prophets…That’s what these Federal officers are sent here for, to wait upon us, to be our servants; and if they had their duty they would have hung 40 before this time for committing treason against Deseret – for violating the laws of this Territory. When we go to the States we obey their laws, and when they come here they ought to obey our laws. They ought to go to the polls and vote for the man who we want to elect to office. They ought to do as Romans do when they are among Romans. But do they do it? No, they are traitors to Deseret.” – Heber C Kimball

After all of this we have to ask;

Does this sound like the work of God? Does it sound like they were persecuted? Do they even sound sane?

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