The history of Mormonism in America is a complicated one. Uninvited visits from young men on bicycles wearing white shirts and ties aren’t what citizens of the mid-nineteenth century experienced.
On the heels of the American Revolution came a young man with big plans and a big imagination to match. His ideas of a new god and religion were given birth to and then encouraged by parents with their own god who was a mix of American Folk Religion, the occult and the Bible.
Americans have been a hearty bunch who’s willing to work hard and carve a little niche out for themselves and their prosperity. Success is an easier ladder to climb when you’ve garnered the respect of others and somehow Smith overlooked this little caveat as his track record clearly testifies to.
In his zeal to be seen as the go-to-guy for all things spiritual he convinced a fair amount of people the angels of God were making repeat appearances to him exclusively. They brought a special message from the Lord only Smith could interpret and an even more important message; everyone on the face of the earth was a whore of Babylon and worshipping the wrong god. Only Joseph’s church was the true church and only Joseph had been chosen by God.
Smith wasted no time prophesying the Second Coming of Christ was at hand and the new Zion (near Independence, MO) would be inherited by the Saints. The problem with this? The land already belonged to others.
Public declarations like this didn’t set well for many in the communities Joseph took up residence in with memories of fighting for their freedom and very lives were still fresh in their minds. No history books were needed at this stage in the game – they became the history we read about today. Their tolerance for anyone telling them God was going to annihilate the inhabitants had no place amongst them and threats were taken seriously.
While Joseph Smith and company seemed to enjoy what the benefits of the American Constitution offered its citizens, there seemed to be a disconnect for LDS leaders when it came to following the laws of the land.
The Church wanted to live without religious persecution and had convinced itself the Constitution protected them so they could practice polygamy or even initiate their own bank complete with a new monetary system.
As expected the US Government didn’t take too kindly of the Mormon interpretation of freedom of religion. As such the difference of ideals brought a fair amount of animosity from both sides. By the end of its first decade in existence the LDS Church was gathering not only new converts but enemies along the way.
In the early years of Mormonism Smith saw to it public edicts were issued to calm fears and reassure locals the Church wasn’t planning attacks against the community while thumbing his nose by continuing polygamy. Smith had a penchant for warning Gentiles they were ripening for damnation and God’s wrath would soon be poured out on the earth’s inhabitants. When he or one of the elders was questioned about their polygamous activity the answers were always the same – denial.
Threats of arrest by the law and prophetic threats from Joseph’s god that unbelievers would be annihilated went back forth from 1831 to the time Smith was killed in a gunfight in 1844. There were disagreements ranging from Joseph’s glass-looking and money schemes to land rights and theology.
In August 1831 Smith delivered a commandment from God that all citizens should obey the laws of the land but suffice it to say either the congregation didn’t get God’s memo or they flat out ignored it.
D&C 58:21; “Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.”
The biggest problem for the Church was polygamy and it got them into trouble more than any other issue. Beginning with Joseph Smith, the Church denied practicing polygamy and as early as 1834 rumors started swirling that ol’ Joe was building himself a harem of young girls.
From inside the circle of believers, promises of an America run by a Mormon theocracy kept hopes and dreams alive during Smith’s reign and thereafter. From the outside looking in, Mormons became an untrustworthy hoard of ne’er do-wells.
In the past twenty or so years the Church’s rhetoric has tamed quite a bit, however the ideal system of the Church running the US Government is still an integral part of Mormon psyche today. As late as 2000 leaders have included portions of the White Horse Prophecy into Conference Talks or have quoted from prophecies made almost two centuries ago. The theocratic dream has obviously not been put to rest.
Many in the Church saw their hopes dashed with Mitt Romney’s loss of the 2012 POTUS election, but don’t count them out just yet.
Millions of dollars were dumped into the “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign nationwide in preparation for the last election and we can expect to see more of the same with any other Mormon hopeful that might fit the bill to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
To date none of Smith’s prophecies canonized by the Church have been removed from their scripture. You can still open the covers of any Doctrine and Covenants and read his prophetic words.
While there’s been a heavy emphasis to integrate teachings of being patriotic into the Church, the early teachings of true Mormonism seems to be part of the mindset of each Mormon. They want to be seen as fiercely loyal to America’s ideals, but still see themselves as being persecuted just because they’re Mormon.
Ironically the majority of Mormons don’t know the true history of the Church or the fighting that took place with the government. They’ve been told one generation after the next they’re persecuted for being Mormon and this seems to be enough info to convince them it’s their lot in life. Life-long Mormons more times than not, aren’t aware America and the Church has been involved in three mini-wars against each other; the 1838 Mormon-Missouri War, the Illinois Mormon War and the Utah Mormon War.
The average Mormon has no idea Smith and company prophesied at least thirteen times the US would be annihilated for not believing, they have no clue that more than a half dozen times Smith declared certain cities or entire areas of America were to be handed over or given to the Mormons by God. They’ve not been told in Sunday school Smith referred to non-Mormons as the enemy and would override them, nor have they thought to compare their contradictory scripture when it says the Church obeys all the laws while denying their illegal activities.
From its inception Joseph, along with the Church, not only publicly denied practicing polygamy at least twenty times they in fact declared it an abomination. They went so far as to issue a public declaration from the elders and women’s Relief Society denying any involvement at all with polygamy. Every single person lied by signing their name.
Below are some examples of how the Mormon Church has felt about America and the threats they’ve issued against the country.
Earth Destroyed like Jerusalem
D&C 5:5, 19-20; “Verily, I say unto you, that woe shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words…For a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming. 20 Behold, I tell you these things, even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem…”
History of the Church 1:28-31
Wicked Burned Up
D&C 29:8-9; “…be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked. For the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand when the earth is ripe; and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth.”
History of the Church 1:112.
Church Demands One Wife System
D&C 42:22; “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.”
February 9, 1831
History of the Church 1:148-154
Nations Bow or be Laid Low
D&C 49:9-10; “Wherefore, I say unto you that have sent unto mine everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning. And that which I have promised I have so fulfilled, and the nations of the earth shall bow to it; and, if not of themselves, they shall come down, for that which is not exalted of itself shall be laid low of power.”
History of the Church 1:167-169
D&C 49:16; “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.”
History of the Church 1:167-169
Wicked can’t Have Kirtland, OH
D&C 45:64, 66-67; “Wherefore I, the Lord, have said, gather ye out from the eastern lands, assemble ye yourselves together ye elders of my church…66 And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God; 67 And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.”
March 7, 1831
History of the Church 1:158-163.
After years of fighting with the locals (Mormon War of 1838) culminated in the “Extermination Order” issued by Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs forcing them to leave New Jerusalem and settle in Nauvoo, IL.
Saints to Inherit Missouri
D&C 52:42; “And thus, even as I have said, if ye are faithful ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies.”
June 7, 1831
History of the Church 1:175-179
Mormons Promised Kingdom in Missouri
D&C 62:6, 9; “Behold, I, the Lord, have brought you together that the promise might be fulfilled, that the faithful among you should be preserved and rejoice together in the land of Missouri. I, the Lord, promise the faithful and cannot lie. 9 Behold, the kingdom is yours…”
August 13, 1831
Missouri River Charlton, Missouri
History of the Church 1:205-206
The faithful weren’t preserved – in fact; they were kicked out of Missouri.
Sword to Fall on Nonbelievers
D&C 1:13, 17; “And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth. 17 Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments.”
November 1, 1831
History of the Church 1:221-224
All Nations Will Tremble
D&C 133:17, 42; “17 For behold, the Lord God hath sent forth the angel crying through the midst of heaven, saying: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight, for the hour of his coming is nigh—42 O Lord, thou shalt come down to make thy name known to thine adversaries, and all nations shall tremble at thy presence—” – August 27, 1843
November 3, 1831
History of the Church 1:229-234
Confounding and Shaming Your Enemies
D&C 71:7-10; “Wherefore, confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you both in public and in private; and inasmuch as ye are faithful their shame shall be made manifest. 8 Wherefore, let them bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord.9 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you—there is no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper;10 And if any man lift his voice against you he shall be confounded in mine own due time.”
December 1, 1831
History of the Church 1:238-239
New York and Boston to be Destroyed
D&C 84:114; “Nevertheless, let the bishop go unto the city of New York, also to the city of Albany, and also to the city of Boston, and warn the people of those cities with the sound of the gospel, with a loud voice, of the desolation and utter abolishment which await them if they do reject these things.”
September 22 & 23, 1832
New York, Albany and Boston were obviously not destroyed.
Earth to be Destroyed
D&C 88:87; “For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.”
December 27, 1832
History of the Church 1:302-312
This is a paraphrase of Isa 13:10; also see Matt 24:29 and Mark 13:25.
United States to be Destroyed
History of the Church 1:315-316; “And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country.”
January 4, 1833
Redemption for Zion
D&C 100:13, 15; “And now I give unto you a word concerning Zion. Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season. 15 Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the church.”
October 12, 1833
Perrysburg, New York
History of the Church 1:416, 419-421
Enemies to be Destroyed
History of the Church 1:455; “…when the executive fail you, appeal unto the president; and when the president fail you, and all laws fail you, and the humanity of the people fail you, and all things else fail you but God alone, and you continue to weary Him with your importunings, as the poor woman did the unjust judge, He will not fail to execute judgment upon your enemies, and to avenge His own elect that cry unto Him day and night.”
December 10, 1833
Kirtland Mills, Ohio
Mormons were kicked out of Ohio and God didn’t destroy their enemies. This prophecy was part of a letter written by Smith to the saints after some of them had been killed by the locals in Missouri. While they had settlements in MO at the time their main facilities were in OH.
They were being attacked from all sides and this letter was to encourage them to seek redress from the government and by any means they could find. In the meantime they were told by Smith to flee for their very lives. In June 1834 they fled OH and settled in MO.
God’s Wrath on the Nations
D&C 101:11; “Mine indignation is soon to be poured out without measure upon all nations; and this will I do when the cup of their iniquity is full.”
D&C 101:75; “There is even now already in store sufficient, yea, even an abundance, to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches, who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice.”
December 16, 1833
History of the Church 1:458-464
Zion’s Camp Organized, became Disorganized and Disbanded
D&C 103:1; “Verily I say unto you, my friends, behold, I will give unto you a revelation and commandment, that you may know how to act in the discharge of your duties concerning the salvation and redemption of your brethren, who have been scattered on the land of Zion.”
February 24, 1834
History of the Church 2:36-39
This prophecy came on the heels of an ongoing persecution period the Saints believed was aimed at them. While being told to cut their losses and leave Jackson County, Missouri, Smith received this revelation to form Zion’s Camp which consisted of an armed military group of Mormons.
Smith’s original prophetic commandment was for a few hundred men to organize themselves in Kirtland, OH and march to Missouri to aid fellow Mormons and reclaim property in Jackson County, MO. As it turned out only 100 or so men showed up and began marching to Missouri on March 6, 1834. As they marched to Missouri they gathered more people to aid in their plight bringing their numbers up to about 200 or so men, women and children.
Zion’s Camp was officially disbanded in July of the same year because of what Smith claimed was disobedience of Church members. Besides the disobedient Mormons, there were a number of weather related incidents that impeded their progress, but the real problem they faced was cholera. Chronic unsanitary conditions led to the deaths of 13 people.
By June or July of 1834 Smith had another message from God telling them not to worry about Zion just yet and lie low for a few years. (D&C 105) According to Reed Peck’s testimony, Smith told members if they’d wait for three years not even a dog would open its mouth when they go back in to reclaim Zion for God. See “The Reed Peck Manuscript” here:
D&C 103:5-7; “But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them. 6 Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour. 7 And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.”
D&C 103:15-25; Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power… 24 And inasmuch as mine enemies come against you to drive you from my goodly land, which I have consecrated to be the land of Zion, even from your own lands after these testimonies, which ye have brought before me against them, ye shall curse them.”
February 24, 1834
History of the Church 2:36-39
Mormons were kicked out of here.
God’s Destroyer will Leave No One
D&C 105:13-15; “Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion.14 For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil—I will fight your battles.15 Behold, the destroyer I have sent forth to destroy and lay waste mine enemies; and not many years hence they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, and to blaspheme my name upon the lands which I have consecrated for the gathering together of my saints.”
June 22, 1834
Fishing River, Missouri
History of the Church 2:108-111
Mormons were kicked out of Missouri and eventually pushed into Illinois
Polygamy Denial/Crime of Fornication
History of the Church 2:247; “Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy, we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and one woman but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband; neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband.”
September 24, 1834
This text used to be part of D&C 101 from 1834 to 1876
Obedience to Civil Law Mandatory
D&C 134:5; “We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside…”
August 17, 1835
History of the Church 2:247-249
Takeover of Salem, Mass.
D&C 111:2-5; “I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion, and many people in this city, whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality. 3 Therefore, it is expedient that you should form acquaintance with men in this city, as you shall be led, and as it shall be given you. 4 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. 5 Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.”
August 6, 1836
History of the Church 2:465-466
Kirtland Anti-Banking Society Flop – Saints Will be Rich!
Latter-day Saint Messenger & Advocate, April 1837, pg. 488; “He then closed at about 4 P. M. by uttering a prophesy saying this place must be built up, and would be built up, and that every brother that would take hold and help secure and discharge those contracts that had been made, should be rich.”
Smith prophesied if they’d bail the Kirtland anti-banking Society out by securing contracts for land they’d all become rich.
Truth: everyone lost everything and even Smith went bankrupt on this one.
No Fellowship with Polygamists
Messenger & Advocate, (October 1836-Sept. 1837), Vol. 3, No. 8 Kirtland, Ohio, pg 511; “That we will have no fellowship whatever with any Elder belonging to the quorums of the Seventies who is guilty of polygamy…”
Smith had been practicing polygamy for several years by this time. He married Fannie Alger, a 16 yr old house-maid in 1833.
History of the Church 3:28-29; “Question 7th. —”Do the Mormons believe in having more wives than one?” “No, not at the same time. But they believe that if their companion dies, they have a right to marry again. But we do disapprove of the custom, which has gained in the world, and has been practiced among us, to our great mortification, in marrying in five or six weeks, or even in two or three months, after the death of their companion. We believe that due respect ought to be had to the memory of the dead, and the feelings of both friends and children.”
May 8, 1838
Far West, Missouri
Smith provided a list of answers to various questions being asked by the public at large. While denying he had more than one wife, secretly he had three wives at this point; Emma, Fanny Alger and Lucinda Pendleton Morgan Harris.
Sidney Rigdon’s July 4th Oration
On July 4, 1838 Sidney Rigdon delivered a speech, sometimes referred to as the Mormon Declaration of Independence, stating if Mormons encountered any other problems with citizens of Missouri they’d be met with force.
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 forever. For from this hour, we will bear it no more, our rights shall no more be trampled on with impunity. The man or the set of men, who attempts 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 till 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 the aggressors, we will infringe on the rights of no people; but shall stand for our own until death. We claim our own rights, and are willing that all others shall enjoy theirs.
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 vilify 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 on 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 law suits against us, to cheat us out of our just rights, if they attempt it we say wo be unto them.
Needless to say his speech got the immediate attention of non-Mormons and is considered to be what caused the 1838 Mormon-Missouri War.
July 4, 1838
1838 Missouri-Mormon War
In 1831 Mormons began settling in Jackson County, Missouri and announcing to the surrounding area the Second Coming of Christ was at hand and that specific area would be the inheritance of the Saints even though the land was already owned by private citizens.
Tensions began mounting as members of the Church dominated the local economy, instituted block voting making it look like the vote went to the highest bidder, they were sympathetic to abolitionism,
As Mormons were being forced from the villages they in turn would retaliate and the government looked upon this as insurrection. After a relative peaceful period of time tensions began to flare again as the Church moved their headquarters from Kirtland, Ohio to Far West, Missouri after the Kirtland Banking fiasco. With the sudden growth and expansion of the Mormon population locals began getting nervous once again as the Mormons could determine election results between the Democrats and the Whig Party.
After several months of back and forth skirmishes between both sides in October 1838 the tension was at an all time high when Thomas Marsh and Orson Hyde traveled to Richmond, MO and started up rumors of the Danites who were planning attacks upon the citizens.
After another conflict known as the Battle at Crooked River, Governor Boggs issued the “Mormon Extermination Order”.
August 6, 1838 – November 1, 1838
Mormon “Extermination” Order
Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs issued Missouri Executive Order 44 on October 27, 1858. This obviously took place during the 1838 Missouri-Mormon War. The order came as a result of the Mormon’s “open and avowed defiance of the laws” which “made war upon the people of this state”.
Because of the words used by the governor many people labeled his executive order as the extermination order.
The plan was to expel and drive Mormons from their homes and property into Illinois because of the numerous problems they had caused while living there after being run out of Ohio. The state of Missouri looked upon them as enemies and while the intent wasn’t to kill or literally exterminate the Mormon people, pushing them out of the state didn’t come without the loss of life – for both sides.
October 27, 1858
Haun’s Mill Massacre
Three days after Governor Boggs issued the Missouri Executive Order the Missouri State Militia rode into a Mormon settlement in eastern Caldwell County. It’s been discovered since that time the Missouri Militia hadn’t received the orders from Governor Boggs.
While most of the Mormon community had been alerted to the coming conflict and had vacated the area, at the end of the ordeal seventeen Mormons were attacked and killed. Only three militia members were wounded.
October 30, 1838
Church Petitions Missouri Legislation
History of the Church 3:222-224; “The late order of Governor Boggs to drive us from the state, or exterminate us…In laying our ease before your honorable body, we say that we are willing, and ever have been, to conform to the Constitution and laws of the United States, and of this state. We ask, in common with others, the protection of the laws. We ask for the privilege guaranteed to all free citizens of the United States, and of this state, to be extended to us that we may be permitted to settle and live where we please, and worship God according to the dictates of our conscience without molestation. And while we ask for ourselves this privilege, we are willing all others should enjoy the same.
We now lay our case at the feet of you legislators, and ask your honorable body to consider it…And we, as in duty bound, will ever pray. Edward Partridge, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Theodore Turley, Brigham Young, Isaac Morley, George W. Harris, John Murdock, John M. Burk.”
December 10, 1838
Far West, Missouri
The elders wrote this while Smith and others were being held in the Liberty Jail Prison in Missouri. They were awaiting trial on charges of treason.
D&C sections 121, 122 and 123 are the revelations Smith had during incarceration.
Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley Pratt, Lyman Wight & George Robinson were housed there from December 1, 1838 to April 6, 1839.
Polygamy Denial/Ex-Mormons Spread Lies
History of the Church 3:230; “Was it for committing adultery that we were assailed? We are aware that that false slander has gone abroad, for it has been reiterated in our ears. These are falsehoods also. Renegade “Mormon” dissenters are running through the world and spreading various foul and libelous reports against us…Such characters God hates; we cannot love them. The world hates them, and we sometimes think that the devil ought to be ashamed of them.
We have heard that it is reported by some, that some of us should have said, that we not only dedicated our property, but our families also to the Lord; and Satan, taking advantage of this, has perverted it into licentiousness, such as a community of wives, which is an abomination in the sight of God.”
December 10, 1838
Far West, Missouri
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 127
Enemies & Prosperity Destroyed
D&C 121:10-15; “Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job. 11 And they who do charge thee with transgression, their hope shall be blasted, and their prospects shall melt away as the hoar frost melteth before the burning rays of the rising sun. And also that God hath set his hand and seal to change the times and seasons, and to blind their minds, that they may not understand his marvelous workings; that he may prove them also and take them in their own craftiness; 13 Also because their hearts are corrupted, and the things which they are willing to bring upon others, and love to have others suffer, may come upon themselves to the very uttermost; 14 That they may be disappointed also, and their hopes may be cut off; 15 And not many years hence, that they and their posterity shall be swept from under heaven, saith God, that not one of them is left to stand by the wall.”
March 20, 1839
Far West, Missouri
No Peace but in Zion
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 161; “The time is soon coming, when no man will have any peace but in Zion and her stakes.”
July 2, 1839
Far West, Missouri
History of the Church 3:391
Prophecy given to missionaries on their way to Great Britain
Mormons Obey the Law/Twelfth Article of Faith
“We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.”
March 15, 1842
The Thirteen Articles of Faith were probably taken from a simple “what we believe” list written in October 1834 by Oliver Cowdery while in Kirtland, Ohio (Messenger & Advocate Vol. 1, No. 1, pg 2).
In March 1842 Joseph Smith sent a letter (known as the Wentworth Letter) to the editor of the Chicago Democrat, John Wentworth, outlining the creeds of Mormonism. Wentworth asked for a description of the Church to help a friend who was writing about the history of New Hampshire.
The letter along with the 13 Articles of Faith was first published in the Times & Seasons Vol. 3, No. 9, pg 706-710.
Kings and Queens Will Come to Nauvoo
History of the Church 4:605-606; “I now deliver it as a prophecy, if the inhabitants of this state, with the people of the surrounding country, will turn unto the Lord with all their hearts, ten years will not roll round before the kings and queens of the earth will come unto Zion, and pay their respects to the leaders of this people; they shall come with their millions, and shall contribute of their abundance for the relief of the poor, and the building up and beautifying of Zion.” – Joseph Smith
April 28, 1842
As of 2013 no royalty has made it to Nauvoo.
Polygamy Denial/Mormon Doctrine won’t Allow It
Millennial Star, Vol. 3, No. 4, pg 73-74; “Among the most conspicuous of these apostates, we would notice a young female who emigrated from Manchester in September last, and who, after conducting herself in a manner unworthy the character of one professing godliness, at length conceived the plan of gaining friendship and extraordinary notoriety with the world, or rather with the enemies of truth, by striking a blow at the character of some of its worthiest champions. She well knew that this would be received as a sweet morsel by her old friends, the Methodists, and other enemies of the Saints. She accordingly selected J. Smith, and elder B. Young for her victims, and wrote to England that these men might have two wives; by these disreputable means she thought to overthrow the Saints here, or at least to bring a storm of persecution on them, and prevent others from joining them; but in this thing she was completely deceived by Satan…But for the information of those who may be assailed by those foolish tales about two wives, we would say that no such principle ever existed among the Latter-day Saints, and never will…the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and also all our periodicals are very strict and explicit on that subject, and indeed far more so than the Bible.”
August 4, 1842
Smith Will Overcome All Enemies
D&C 127:2; “…for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it.”
September 1, 1842
History of the Church 5:142-144
Mr. Smith had enemies everywhere he went; New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri and now Illinois. He was killed by his enemies in June 1844.
Times and Seasons Vol. 3, No. 21, September 1, 1842, pg 909; “Inasmuch as the public mind has been unjustly abused through the fallacy of Dr. Bennett’s letters, we make an extract on the subject of marriage, showing the rule of the church on this important matter. The extract is from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and is the only rule allowed by the church.
“All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband.”
September 1, 1842
See earlier entry for Denial of Polygamy, History of the Church 2:247.
This is the same denial verbatim from September 24, 1834. By this time Smith had 24 wives.
D&C 101 & Elders & Relief Society Deny Polygamy
According to the custom of all civilized nations, marriage is regulated by laws and ceremonies: therefore we believe, that all marriages in this church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, should be solemnized in a public meeting, or feast, prepared for that purpose: and that the solemnization should be performed by a presiding high priest, high priest, bishop, elder, or priest, not even prohibiting those persons who are desirous to get married, of being married by other authority…The clerk of every church should keep a record of all marriages, solemnized in his branch.
All legal contracts of marriage made before a person is baptized into this church, should be held sacred and fulfilled. Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again. It is not right to persuade a woman to be baptized contrary to the will of her husband, neither is it lawful to influence her to leave her husband. All children are bound by law to obey their parents; and to influence them to embrace any religious faith, or be baptized, or leave their parents without their consent, is unlawful and unjust. We believe that husbands, parents and masters who exercise control over their wives, children, and servants and prevent them from embracing the truth, will have to answer for that sin.”
The text above is D&C Section 101. In 1842 the Church decided to republish this in their periodical Times and Seasons and add the following declaration:
We have given the above rule of marriage as the only one practiced in this church, to show that Dr. J. C. Bennett’s “secret wife system” is a matter of his own manufacture; and further to disabuse the public ear, and shew [show] that the said Bennett and his misanthropic friend Origen Bachelor, are perpetrating a foul and infamous slander upon an innocent people, and need but be known to be hated and despise. In support of this position, we present the following certificates:-
We the undersigned members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and residents of the city of Nauvoo, persons of families do hereby certify and declare that we know of no other rule or system of marriage than the one published from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and we give this certificate to show that Dr. J. C. Bennett’s “secret wife system” is a creature of his own make as we know of no such society in this place nor never did.
N. K. Whitney
We the undersigned members of the ladies’ relief society, and married females do certify and declare that we know of no system of marriage being practised [practiced] in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints save the one contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and we give this certificate to the public to show that J. C. Bennett’s “secret wife system” is a disclosure of his own make.
Emma Smith, President
Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Counsellor
Sarah M. Cleveland, Counsellor
Eliza R. Snow, Secretary
Mary C. Miller
Sophia R. Marks
October 1, 1842
D&C 101 condemning polygamy was published by the Church and part of their canon from 1835 to 1876. Their new declaration on marriage is known as D&C 132, commanding polygamy for salvation. Each person lied when they signed their names, knowing they were all in a polygamous relationship either with Smith himself and/or their respective husband or wife.
Saints Do Not Practice Polygamy
Times & Seasons Vol. 4, No. 9, March 15, 1843, pg 143; “We are charged with advocating a plurality of wives, and common property. Now this is as false as the many other ridiculous charges which are brought against us. No sect have a greater reverence for the laws of matrimony, or the rights of private property, and we do what others do not, practice what we preach…”
March 15, 1843
Smith just kept recycling the same lie whenever he could, he had up to 28 wives at this point.
White Horse Prophecy/America will be Mormon Zion
Journal of John J. Roberts; “You will see the constitution of the United States almost destroyed. It will hang like a thread…. A terrible revolution will take place in the land of America…. [T]he land will be left without a Supreme Government… [Mormonism] will have gathered strength, sending out Elders to gather the honest in heart… to stand by the Constitution of the United States…. In these days… God will set up a Kingdom, never to be thrown down…. [T]he whole of America will be made the Zion of God.”
May 6, 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, May 18, 1843.”
May 18, 1843
History of the Church 5:394
Also see Historical Record Vol. 5, pg 514
Mormons claim Smith couldn’t be referring to the U.S. government here, but to the Whig party. Alas, they (the Whig Party) was dissolved shortly after this and wasn’t overthrown.
This entry came from a meeting Smith had with Judge Stephen A. Douglass in Carthage, Illinois. While passing through from a mission earlier that day Smith stopped by the courthouse. When the judge saw him he asked for Smith to give him his side of things and so he acquiesced.
Here’s the rest of what Smith told the Judge:
“Judge you will aspire to the Presidency of the United States, and if you ever turn your hand against me or the Latter-day Saints, you will feel the weight of the hand of the Almighty upon you; and you will live to see and know that I have testified the truth to you, for the conversation of this day will stick to you through life.”
Polygamy for Salvation
History of the Church 5:500-501; “Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage Covenant, including the Plurality of Wives. Given through Joseph, the Seer, in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, July 11th, 1843, 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… 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…and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God…Abraham received promises concerning his seed and of the fruit of his loins,—from whose loins ye are—viz., my servant Joseph,—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed out of the world, they should continue…Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law, and ye shall be saved…”
July 11, 1843
Smith Will Not be Overthrown
History of the Church 5:554; “I [Joseph Smith] prophesy and bear record this morning that all the combined powers of earth and hell shall not and cannot ever overthrow or overcome this boy, for I have a promise from the eternal God. If I have sinned, I have sinned outwardly; but surely I have contemplated the things of God.”
August 27, 1843
Joseph Smith was shot and killed by the enemy ten months later.
Grease Spot Prophecy/US Government Broken Up
Millennial Star, Vol. 22, No. 29, (July 21, 1860), pg. 455; “I prophesied by virtue of the holy Priesthood vested in me, and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that, if Congress will not hear our petition and grant us protection, they shall be broken up as a government and God shall damn them, and there shall be nothing left of them – not even a grease spot!”.
December 16, 1843
History of the Church 6:116
Denial of Polygamy
Millennial Star, Vol 4, No. 9, pg 144; “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 but one wife, and one woman but one husband… We wish these doctrines to be taught by all that are in the ministry, that the people may know our faith respecting them, and also to correct the public mind in respect to the church.”
January 9, 1844
Polygamy Denial/Hyram Brown’s to Blame
Times & Seasons, Vol. 5, No. 3, pg 423; “As we have lately been credibly informed, that an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Hyram Brown, has been preaching polygamy, and other false and corrupt doctrines, in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan. This is to notify him and the Church in general, that he has been cut off from the church, for his iniquity.”
February 1, 1844
Polygamy Denial/No Such Doctrine
Times & Seasons, Vol. 5, No. 6, pg 474; “Whereas brother Richard Hewitt has called on me to-day, to know my views concerning some doctrines that are preached in your place, and states to me that some of your elders say, that a man having a certain priesthood, may have as many wives as he pleases, and that doctrine is taught here: I say unto you that that man teaches false doctrine, for there is no such doctrine taught here. And any man that is found teaching privately or publicly any such doctrine, is culpable, and will stand a chance to be brought before the High Council, and loose his license and membership also: therefore he had better beware what he is about.” – Hyrum Smith
March 15, 1844
Polygamy Denial/JC Bennet’s Accusations
Times & Seasons, Vol. 5, No. 7, pg 491; “We very frequently receive letters from elders and individuals abroad, inquiring of us whether certain statements that they hear, and have written to them, are true: some pertaining to John C. Bennet’s spiritual wife system; others in regard to immoral conduct, practiced by individuals, and sanctioned by the church; and as it is impossible for us to answer all of them, we take this opportunity of answering them all, once for all.
In the first place, we cannot but express our surprise that any elder or priest who has been in Nauvoo, and has had an opportunity of hearing the principles of truth advanced, should for one moment give credence to the idea that anything like iniquity is practiced, much less taught or sanctioned, by the authorities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
If any man writes to you, or preaches to you, doctrines contrary to the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the book of Doctrine and Covenants, set him down as an imposter.”
Polygamy Revelation from God not Joseph
Contributor, Vol. 5, (October 1883-September 1884), No. 7, pg 259; “”They accuse me of polygamy, and of being a false Prophet, and many other things which I do not now remember; but I am no false Prophet; I am no impostor; I have had no dark revelations; I have had no revelations from the devil; I made no revelations; I have got nothing up of myself. The same God that has thus far dictated me and directed me and strengthened me in this work, gave me this revelation and commandment on celestial and plural marriage, and the same God commanded me to obey it. He said to me that unless I accepted it and introduced it, and practiced it, I, together with my people, would be damned and cut off from this time henceforth. And they say if I do so, they will kill me! Oh, what shall I do? If I do not practice it, I shall be damned with my people. If I do teach it, and practice it, and urge it, they say they will kill me, and I know they will. But,” said he, “we have got to observe it. It is an eternal principle and was given by way of commandment and not by way of instruction.””
This is an excerpt from one of Joseph Smith’s speeches in the spring of 1844 reprinted in the LDS periodical, The Contributor.
Polygamy Denial/All Hell Boil Over
History of the Church 6:408-411; “Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet…
I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made on proclamation of the Gospel, before it was reported that I had seven wives. This new holy prophet [William Law] has gone to Carthage and swore that I had told him that I was guilty of adultery. This spiritual wifeism! Why, a man dares not speak or wink, for fear of being accused of this… What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago.”
May 26, 1844
An address towards the dissenters of the Church, two months later Smith was killed. By now Smith had 48+ wives.
Mormons Will Ride Triumphant
History of the Church 6:485; “”I therefore 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.””
June 16, 1844
Prophecy made in Mayor’s Office (Smith was the mayor). Eleven days after this prophetic statement was made Smith was killed by his enemies. In February 1846 they were forced to leave Nauvoo and subsequently settled in Utah.
Polygamy Denial/Church Law doesn’t Allow it
Times and Seasons, v. 5, p. 715; “The law of the land and the rules of the church do not allow one man to have more than one wife alive at once…”
Nov. 15, 1844
Mormon War in Illinois aka Mormon Exodus
In December 1844 the state of Illinois began the process to repeal the Nauvoo Charter. On January 29, 1845 the repeal was passed by a vote of 25-14 in the Senate and 75-31 in the house.
After its privileges were taken away the Nauvoo government operated as a default government and by the end of 1845 it became clear peace wouldn’t be obtained with the locals who had been relentlessly antagonized, thus making it impossible for the Church to operate in Nauvoo.
By the winter of 1845-1846 leaders made a truce with the locals enabling them to pack their bags and head west yet again. The majority of Mormons abandoned Nauvoo leaving only a small fraction of the 12,000 residents.
Polygamy Denial/D&C Says No
Times & Seasons 6:894; “The Latter-day Saints are charged by their enemies, with the blackest crimes. Treason, murder, theft, polygamy, and adultery, are among the many crimes laid to their charge… As to the charge of polygamy, I will quote from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which is the subscribed faith of the church and is strictly enforced. Article Marriage, sec. 91, par. 4, says, “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 BUT ONE WIFE, and one woman but one husband.”
Without having any battles, this period of time had numerous confrontations, fighting and threats from both sides for more than a decade.
From 1857-1858 President Buchanan sent military troops to Utah to calm things down with orders there was to be no bloodshed.
Numerous negotiations resulted in a full pardon for the Mormons and the transfer of Utah’s governorship belonging to Brigham Young over to the non-Mormon Alfred Cumming.
While it’s reported by many no casualties took place, the 150 people murdered while traveling through the Utah Territory should be taken into account since the Mormons thought of them as spies for the US Government during this time period.
Polygamy Denial/No Authority to Practice it
Millennial Star, Vol. 19, No. 30, pg 475; “The Latter-day Saints, from the rise of the Church in 1830, till the year 1843, had no authority to marry more than one wife each. To have done otherwise, would have been a great transgression.”
July 25, 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.
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.
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.
September 11, 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.
US to be Emptied of Inhabitants
Journal of Discourses 6:185-186; “So it will be eventually in the United States. After the truth is all gathered out, you will find that the rest will be destroyed. I do not mean that the land will be destroyed, but I refer to the wicked inhabitants, and the earth will be emptied, according to the words of the Prophet. Why will this be so? Because there are no saving principles there: the saving principles are with this Church, and there is no salvation in the absence of those principles.” – Heber C. Kimball, Salt Lake City
December 27, 1857
WW Phelps Letter to Brigham Young
Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., letter from W.W. Phelps to Brigham Young, August 12, 1861; “Verily, I say unto you, that the wisdom of man, in his fallen state, knoweth not the purposes and the privileges of my hold priesthood, but ye shall know when ye receive a fullness by reason of the anointing: For it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome and just, for even now their females are more virtuous then the gentiles.”
Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act
United States President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act targeting the LDS church.
Polygamy Denial/Deseret News
Deseret News; “Polygamy in the ordinary and Asiatic sense of the term, never was and is not now a tenet of the Latter-day Saints. That which Joseph and Hyrum denounced… was altogether different to the order of celestial marriage including a Plurality of wives…. Joseph and Hyrum were consistent in their action against the false doctrines of polygamy and spiritual wifeism, instigated by the devil and advocated by men who did not comprehend sound doctrine nor the purity of celestial marriage which God revealed for the holiest of purposes.” Prophet Joseph F. Smith, editor.
May 20, 1866
Doctrine and Covenants 101 Removed
Section 101 condemning polygamy is removed from the Doctrine and Covenants. Section 132 requiring polygamy for exaltation is canonized. Section 132 remains part of the canon today.
Polygamy Vital Principle
Millennial Star, v. 40, pg. 226-227; “And we… are believers in the principles of plural marriage or polygamy… as a principle revealed by God, underlying our every hope of eternal salvation and happiness in heaven… we cannot view plural marriage in any other light than as a vital principle of our religion.” – Brigham Young
April 15, 1878
Civil Law Ignored
Journal of Discourses 20:317; “I was asked, “Do you believe in obeying the laws of the United States?” Yes I do, in all except one—in fact I had not broken that. “What law is that?” The law in relation to polygamy.” – John Taylor
October 6, 1879
Salt Lake City, Utah
Polygamy or Damnation
Millennial Star, v. 47, pg. 711; “Damnation was the awful penalty affixed to a refusal to obey this law [polygamy]. It became an acknowledged doctrine of the Church; it was indissolubly interwoven in the minds of its members with their hopes of eternal salvation and exaltation in the presence of God…”
November 9, 1885
Part of the General Conference Address given while in hiding.
US Congress passed an anti-polygamy act – two weeks later (March 3) it would be signed into law.
In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed a federal enactment into law banning bigamy and limiting churches and non-profits in America to $50,000 in assets. It was targeted to stop Mormons from practicing polygamy and curb their dominance in Utah Territory. While Lincoln gave Brigham Young unspoken permission to ignore the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act in exchange for not getting involved in the Civil War, the issue wouldn’t quietly go away.
The Manifesto of 1890 allowed Utah to become a state of the Union, but another manifesto was needed in 1904 to completely and formally declare before Congress that no one in the Church could perform multiple marriages. The first manifesto, known as the Official Declaration 1, was canonized and Mormons today consider it to be a direct revelation from God.
February 19, 1887
Reed Smoot & US Congressional Hearings
“Senator Pettus. Have there been any past plural marriages without the consent of the first wife?
Mr. [Joseph F.] Smith. I do not know of any, unless it may have been Joseph Smith himself.
Senator Pettus. Is the language that you have read construed to mean that she is bound to consent?
Mr. Smith. The condition is that if she does not consent the Lord will destroy her, but I do not know how He will do it.
Senator Bailey. Is it not true that in the very next verse, if she refuses her consent her husband is exempt from the law which requires her consent?
Mr. Smith. Yes; he is exempt from the law which requires her consent.
Senator Bailey. She is commanded to consent, but if she does not, then he is exempt from the requirement?
Mr. Smith. Then he is at liberty to proceed without her consent, under the law.
Senator Beveridge. In other words, her consent amounts to nothing?
Mr. Smith. It amounts to nothing but her consent.”
Reed Smoot Case, v. 1, pg. 480; ““The Chairman: That is the Book of Mormon?
Joseph F. Smith: Yes, sir; that is the Book of Mormon.
The Chairman: Is the doctrine of polygamy taught in that revelation?
Mr. Smith: Taught in it?
The Chairman: Yes.
Mr. Smith: It is emphatically forbidden in that book.
The Chairman: In that book it is emphatically forbidden?
Mr. Smith: It is.””