Ep 170 – Council of Fifty Pt. 3 Conflagration
Joseph Smith is granted 100,000 soldiers as part of his private militia, gets elected President of the United States, and his Council of Fifty manages war on 2 fronts with the Confederate South and Texas-Mexico border while General Smith wages a conquest covering over a million square miles. He returns to Washington D.C. in 1848 to take his office as Prophet, Priest, King, and Ruler (PPKR) of the nation of Zion.
Music by Jason Comeau http://aloststateofmind.com/
Show Artwork http://weirdmormonshit.com/
Legal Counsel http://patorrez.com/
Today we bring to a close our series on the Council of Fifty. When we started this two weeks ago, I told all of you dear listeners that this is a remarkably important subject of Mormon history and you’ll need to remember what we discussed in this series for the rest of the podcast moving forward into the Bloody Brigham Young Utah years. Last episode I took historian D. Michael Quinn to task because I felt like he was minimizing the Council of Fifty by viewing its eventual result while deemphasizing the intent of the council when it was organized. The intent of the Council of Fifty is a subject we need to spend our time and focus on because our timeline is in early 1844 when it was organized and the initial intent was all that mattered at this time.
So far, we’ve covered how it was organized, the reasons for the Council’s organization, the earliest members, William Clayton and his recording duties that delivered to us the minutes of what took place in the Council of Fifty, and what the eventual aspirations of the Council sought to be. Our examination has been far from exhaustive, but parts 1 and 2 of this series serve as the introduction and primer so we know the gravity of the situation when we read from the Council minutes in the future.
With the Council of Fifty officially formed, the chips were down, the board of play was set. Joseph Smith was running for president in a hotly contested election with territorial expansion and slavery as the primary issues dividing voters. Joseph was the leading Whig candidate, but Henry Clay was a worthy opponent with more name recognition. James Polk was gaining a mass of support as the Democrat candidate by linking the issues of Oregon and Texas annexation as a lump-sum issue. The Whigs wanted to continue to stick it to Great Britain by taking over Oregon, but opposed the annexation of Texas as it would be a slave territory. The Democrats, however, regarded the annexation of Texas as the greatest and most efficient way to expand slave territories in America and wanted to take Texas from the Mexicans.
So, how did Joseph deal with these issues on the campaign trail? Well, his campaign platform vowed to abolish slavery by 1850, but he hoped to answer the plight of the Southern slave-owning Democrats by “pay[ing] every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands”. The amount of capital slave-owners had in their slaves was an ungodly amount, so the only way to pay for all these slaves was to essentially buy all of them as a government bailout by annexing Texas and selling the land to private land-speculators or giving it to freed slaves. Of course, the slaves would be happy because they’d be freed from bondage. The slave-owning Democrats would be happy because they would have the government stimulus to hire people instead of relying on servitude. The Northern Whigs would be happy because America would no-longer be a slave-holding country, which was a rite of passage into the second half of the 19th century.
However, this platform was innovative and incorporated elements both parties wanted and both parties didn’t like. Joseph was always a bit of a rogue when it comes to the status quo of society, so he decided to run against the norm and form his own populist party, the People’s Party of America, with the Council of Fifty as his personal campaign management team. There were quite a few irons in the Mormon fire during this 1844 election. A few possible plans could be employed based on the outcome of the presidential election. Joseph called the Council of Twelve to meet in his office over the Red Brick Store where he appointed “B. Young, Parley P. Pratt, O. Pratt, W. Woodruff, J. Taylor, Geo. A. Smith, W. Richards, and four others being present… for the purpose of selecting a company to explore Oregon and California, and select a site for a new city for the saints.”
Searching for a new Mormon settlement played into the available plans. The Mormons knew they needed a new place to settle because tensions with the Illinois neighbors surrounding Nauvoo were beginning to boil. Oregon, California, and Texas were the best options as they were largely lawless territories, Texas especially because it wasn’t even a territory yet. Joseph also wanted the 100,000 soldiers from Congress to go liberate these territories from their possessors, including the Lamanites. If all went according to plan, Joseph would be elected president and take his massive army through the continental United States and liberate it from the Lamanites, killing off any who opposed their new white overlords and forming alliances with those who rolled over and accepted the inevitability. If this plan worked, Joseph would gather all these people with his private army of 100,000, along with millions of freed slaves, and march all the way back to Washington D.C., instating martial law in every settlement on the warpath’s return. If Joseph wasn’t elected president, well…. It didn’t really matter because that was the plan.
Accordingly, in the March 21st, 1844 meeting of the Council of Fifty, the council approved of the ordinance to congress to make Joseph an official officer of the U.S. Army and to grant him the 100,000 armed volunteers to “protect Oregon and Texas from foreign invasion”.
From the Illinois Register:
It appears by the Nauvoo papers that the Mormon Prophet is actually a candidate for the Presidency… General Smith possesses no such fastidious delicacy. He comes right out in favor of a bank and a tariff; taking the true Whig ground, and ought to be regarded as the real Whig candidate for President, until Mr. Clay can so far recover from his shuffling and dodging, as to declare his sentiments like a man.
From the New York Daily Herald
Joe Smith [SILENCE] defining his position.—We have received a pamphlet from Joe Smith [SILENCE] in which he defines his political position in this world, and his spiritual position in that which is to come. He explains also the Constitution of the United States by commentaries from the scriptures, and performs a variety of feats in dialectics, which altogether surpass any thing we have seen in the line at the north or South. Joe [SILENCE] is a candidate for the Presidency, and no doubt will have the whole Mormon nation. Well, that’s some capital to begin with.
Orson Hyde took Jo’s petition to Congress for 100,000 volunteers. When Hyde first presented it, the house nearly laughed him off the floor, but he was insistent. Hyde then sent the petition to local newspapers to spread the word and also called on the Mormon secret weapon, Hingepin Sidney Rigdon. Rigdon was fairly well-known and he was now on the edge of the limelight being called as Jo’s VP candidate. With this prospect of becoming Vice President of the United States, the voices and darker regions of Rigdon’s mind seemed to recede and the old king of oration returned.
Rigdon made the trip to Congress. Along the way he made a campaign of electioneering for Joseph and preaching to constituents about the 100,000 armed volunteers and how they would prove to be the salvation of this broken nation wrapped in turmoil. He gathered signed petitions and told people to write their congressmen, which they did. When Rigdon finally arrived at Congress to argue for the Ordinance allowing 100,000 volunteers to liberate the western portion of the country and secure its liberty, he arrived with dozens of petitions signed by thousands of voters. He argued passionately for 3 hours before the house, one of the finest moments of his career to this point. He told Congress how they would be complete fools to let the British conquer Texas and Oregon, turn the Indians against Americans, and allow a complete overthrow of the government. Little did they know that Rigdon and Jo’s plans weren’t so different. With a mass of populist support and letters filling the inboxes of congressmen, the house passed the ordinance, granting Joseph Smith a legitimate position as a Lieutenant-General of the United States Army, 100,000 soldiers, and immunity from opposition or molestation. John Tyler, the pseudo-Whig President in 1844, knew this was what the Whigs wanted and would do anything to stick it to the Democrats the way his predecessor, William Henry Harrison, did before he died in office. President Tyler voiced his support of the ordinance and the Senate voted with the President, big surprise, and the ordinance was signed into law.
This was the first domino to fall. Joseph now had more power than General George Washington during the Revolutionary War. This ordinance passing was the most divisive issue of American politics up to this point, far more so than the Indian Removal act 14 years prior. The Southern states saw this as a power grab by the Whigs to regain popularity and social standing. The thought that an abolitionist, who was running for president, now had his own private army outside the control of the current president, what might he do? How could the South, and their society, continue to remain safe in a country run by their political adversaries who wished an end to Southern society as they knew it? This only fueled tensions moving into the election of 1844.
Back in Nauvoo, internal conflicts among the leadership grew to a fever pitch. William Law was removed from the First Presidency and excommunicated. The Higbee brothers suspected Joseph of killing their father. The Fosters had been getting the short end of the stick for years. Charles Ivins was caught up among a litany of excommunications. All of these excommunicated apostates joined together and published the Nauvoo Expositor on June 7, 1844. This was viewed as blasphemous, slanderous, and, more importantly, molesting an officer of the United States military who had immunity from such accusations.
The Council of Fifty met to determine how to answer these crimes.
“These with other matters of minor importance served to arouse the publick feeling and the apostates continually fanning the flame spread the excitement far and near. On the 10th. June the City Council passed a resolution declaring the press from when[ce] issued the Nauvoo Expositor a nuisance and ordered the same abated. The Mayor (Prest. Joseph) was ordered to destroy the press and pye the type forthwith. He gave orders to the Marshall, who, assisted by the police, obeyed the order that same evening by breaking the press & pying the type in the streats.”
They also determined to punish the publishers under the new provisions created with the ordinance passed by the federal government. Accordingly, the Nauvoo Expositor press was burned to the ground while the city marshal took William and Wilson Law, Chauncy and Francis Higbee, Charles Ivins, Robert and Charles Foster, Joseph H. Jackson, and Sylvester Emmons into custody where they were held in the Nauvoo municipal jail until the court determined what to do with them, which we’ll get to in a minute.
Joseph decided to make Nauvoo the headquarters of his military campaign to the western states. Nauvoo began to be flooded with thousands of soldiers moving themselves and some of them even moving their families to the kingdom on the Mississippi. By July of 1844 the population of Nauvoo had swollen to an excruciating 45,000 people. Sanitation was a massive problem. Feeding all these people strained the city to the breaking point. The portion of the half-breed tract Joseph had purchased back in 1839 began to fill with new towns almost overnight. Each of the cities were founded by members of the Council of Fifty and officers in the new Nauvoo Legion which was nearing 100,000 men strong. The cities bore Book of Mormon names, Enoch, Mosiah, Zarahemla, Morianton, and so forth.
The Book of Mormon and astrology played into the formation of this army of God, which continued to bear the name of the Nauvoo Legion.
In the crowning event of his life, on 11 April 1844 the theocratic Council of Fifty anointed and ordained Joseph Smith as Prophet, King, Priest, and Ruler over Israel on Earth. This was Thursday, Jupiter’s day. In addition, the 1844 almanac made special note that on this particular Thursday, Saturn was in conjunction with the moon. Saturn ruled over Smith’s zodiacal birth sign of Capricorn, and Jupiter ruled over the Decan of Capricorn in which Joseph was born. Intended for general readers, astrology handbooks did not recommend days for the coronation of monarchs, but 11 April 1844 was the moon’s second day in Aquarius, when one should “Lead an Army.” Joseph Smith could not have chosen a more astrologically significant date in 1844 for his theocratic kingship.
In fulfillment of every prophecy, the Nauvoo Legion was now set to be the one true army of god, headquartered at Nauvoo, prepared to cross the promised land and cleanse it of unbelievers and establish the Kingdom of God on Earth, even Zion.
Let’s discuss the average new member of the Nauvoo Legion who joined because of the passage of this ordinance. These were men who came from the lower castes of society. They may have owned property, maybe not, likely had some vocational skill but were far from educated. These prospective legionnaires read in the papers that they could join General Smith’s militia to take land west of the Mississippi and upon successful completion of the campaign, each soldier gets 175 acres in the west to call their own. It was an appealing proposition, especially to Descendants of Cain wanting to own some property. Understandably, the 100,000 initial volunteers for Jo’s aggressively expanded Nauvoo Legion began to swell to 150,000, then 200,000 as the November 1844 election drew nearer.
Nauvoo, and the surrounding Mormon settlements, were never known for massive exports or industry. It was a city initially built on speculation and refugee settlement. But, by November 1844, it had become a sprawling metropolis war machine, consuming every city nearby. Factories were constructed in a matter of weeks churning out wagons for the necessary supply chains. Market districts exploded all over these cities with goods and crops brought from all over the country, trading at a premium; there was money to be made. 3 new steamers were brought up to Nauvoo from New Orleans just to handle the ferrying logistics across the Mississippi and they ran 24 hours a day.
Saloons and brothels cropped up everywhere throughout the Mormon empire, all of them owned and controlled by members of the Council of Fifty. The Relief Society was run by Emma as president who was crowned prophetess priestess and Queen by the Council of Fifty. The population of volunteer militiamen grew throughout the summer and fall of 1844. The Relief Society was the only social structure the younger sex workers had. According to Council of Fifty decree, the Relief Society hierarchy was broken into 3 separate levels.
The Cyprian Saints…
This body is solemnly organized in secret and select council, and by its members,… She takes the White Veil, and her name and failing are stealthily promulgated among the trustworthy members of the Church, at whose command she is, for licentious purposes, forever after. Many young and beautiful females have thus been ruined eternally,…
If a woman gave in to her inevitable situation and tried to be as good as possible at her job while a Cyprian Saint, she could be inducted into the second level,
The Chambered Sisters of Charity
This order comprises that class of females who indulge their sensual propensities, without restraint, whether married or single, by the express permission of the Prophet…
The Chambered Sisters of Charity… are by no means niggardly of their favors to any of the faithful. Provided the Holy Joe [SILENCE] does not desire to monopolize any of them, they are at the service of each and all of the Apostles, High Priests, and Elders of Israel.
Understandably the ranks of High Priests and Elders in Nauvoo had swollen in correlation with the massive increase in population. Nauvoo was the largest city in Illinois and 3rd largest in the country, largely of military personnel. These Chambered Sisters of Charity were pretty busy, but not nearly as busy as the 3rd degree, the highest level of Relief Society ascendancy.
The Consecratees of the Cloister, or Cloistered Saints
This degree is composed of females,… who, by an express grant and gift of God, through his Prophet the Holy Joe [SILENCE], are set apart and consecrated to the use and benefit of particular individuals as secret, spiritual wives. They are… accounted the special favorites of Heaven and the most honorable among the daughters of Jacob… This is the highest degree in the Harem, and, in the order of the Prophet’s licentious arrangements, is held as the very acme of perfection, and it is, indeed, the ne plus ultra of depravity.
The Cloistered Saints were the “chosen” sisters for various reasons. The youngest, most beautiful, the most gentle, the virgins as special rewards for exemplary military behavior. Dr. Brink and Willard Richards were always on hand at these brothels for unwanted babies or to satisfy the carnal itch that ran rampant through the city. Nauvoo in 1844, with its 3:1 soldier to female ratio, was not a safe place for women of any age. When they weren’t satisfying the needs of soldiers, the women were sewing uniforms and feeding tens of thousands of hungry stomachs with strained provisions spread very thin.
Nauvoo became a city which never slept. Bored soldiers make for an unpleasant society. Prisoners and political dissidents were kept in labor camps surrounding the city to build wagons, guns, cannons, armor, and everything else an army needs. Joseph made an example out of the 7 publishers of the Nauvoo Expositor who’d tried to take him down in June of 1844. On special assignment, every morning Pistol Packin’ Porter Rockwell would open up the cells of the prisoners and hobble all 7 together in chains. Then he’d march them 3 miles through the street. Among these 7 prisoners, William Law suffered the greatest. One description of these daily marches paints a picture of William Law as gaunt and soulless. He was covered in mud from head to toe and gave off a stench that could kill swine. His hair was long and ratty with his clothes so worn they fell off him as he walked. But his physical appearance was nothing compared to his countenance. William Law was a broken man. Everything he loved had been taken from him by the prophet, including Jane. He looked like a hollow shell; like the man behind his empty gaze was no longer alive.
Port would march these prisoners through town every day to their working post. They would work without breaks in the camps all day under the burning summer sun. Anytime the children in town needed to kill their boredom, they were encouraged to go to the labor camps and practice throwing rocks. Then, at the end of every day when most street business had concluded and people would tarry about the streets for community, these prisoners would be marched from the labor camps back to their cells 3 miles through the Nauvoo city streets where people would call out to them “heretic” “Apostate” “Enemy of the gospel”. Such was the fate of any man who opposed the prophet Joseph Smith.
The city of Nauvoo continued to grow. You see, Nauvoo was perfectly positioned to be a forward operating camp of the coming Deseret military campaign across the country. It’s location on the Mississippi bordering on Lamanite territory, proximity to Chicago by train or by the Illinois River, and quick jaunt down the river to hit St. Louis, put Nauvoo in the best location to headquarter a massive war across the country. I’m mean, today it’s the ninth largest city in Zion for all these reasons. The city’s geographical benefits were a gift from the Almighty.
While this was going on through the summer and fall of 1844, Joseph continued to campaign around the nation. His Council of Fifty proved a formidable presidential campaign strategy council with Brigham Young translating orders from Joseph to logistical and practical realities. Joseph simply considered the southern Democrat states lost and therefore wasted no time campaigning there. Instead his focus remained on the progressive northern states with greater populations and more Whig voters. He was the anti-Jackson. Jackson had campaigned on a populist platform to curry favor of the slave-holding Democrat states; Joseph took a page from Jackson’s populist playbook, but did so by currying favor with everything Jackson opposed. But, like Jackson, Joseph wasn’t without his opponents, chief of which was Thomas Coke Sharp, the publisher of the Warsaw Signal. The Warsaw Signal ceased publication in Autumn 1842 with this article.
October 1st 1842
It becomes our solemn duty to notice the demise of the WARSAW SIGNAL. With this number… it ceases to exist.
With the Signal on hiatus, Sharp didn’t go anywhere. Thomas C. Sharp was a guy we talked about way back on Episode 77. He was editor of the Warsaw Signal which ran a column about Mormonism with nearly every publication. He was also one of the founders of the anti-Mormon political party. He was so caustic towards the Mormons that Jo’s younger brother, Crazy Willey Smith, responded to Warsaw Signal articles by calling Thomas “ThomAss”. He was clever.
ThomAss Sharp, and his fellow citizens in nearby Warsaw, Illinois (about 20 miles south of Nauvoo on the Mississippi) were infuriated by the growing political war machine in Nauvoo. These citizens and Thomas Sharp took their first amendment rights seriously and restarted the Signal with a brief explanation.
Wednesday, February 14, 1844
To the reader
In resuming our editorial duties, we feel it incumbent upon us to appraise our readers of the reasons which have propelled us to our present undertaking…
Never since the formation of our Government, did it ever behoove any class of people to stand more firmly together, for the protection of each other, and each others rights, than the old citizens of this community are called upon to do in this present crisis. In our midst, is a dangerous combination—bound together by the power of superstition—the strongest band that ever united the minds of men—led on by one man, and that man a dangerous and aspiring knave—possessing a capacity for secrecy which enables it to commit any atrocity without the fear of detection… To such a combination, the citizens of this county are called up to unite and oppose themselves. “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance;”… shall we lie supinely on our backs until our enemy shall have bound us hand and foot? Shall we say Godspeed to the Tyrant, while he is riveting our chains?...
Knowing, as you must, Joe [SILENCE], the relation in which your black-hearted crimes and Heaven-daring blasphemies place you before God, we charge you that it is now high time that you should begin to repent in order to avert His impending vengeance. You are now near 40 years of age, and it will require all the remaining years of a life of four score and ten, to place you in the same moral position you occupied at the outset of your desperate career. You know, too, the position you occupy before your fellow men. You know that you are despised, and hated and loathed, by nineteen twentieths of all who have ever heard of your name and deeds; and all the "Appeals" that you and your understrappers can make to the sympathies of your fellow citizens, between this and the day in which you shall "shake off this mortal coil," will not change your position before them.
And more -- you cannot expect it to continue much longer in your courses of infamy and crime. Depend upon it, the day of retribution cannot be far distant, for at least some of your misdeeds. If the vengeance of the law shall overtake you, and stretch you up as quick as lightning to the gallows, and thus end your career, rest assured that individual vengeance will! Do you think that, of all the men, women and children you have so foully wronged, that no one will be so bold as to avenge their own wrongs? be a prophet nor the son of a prophet -- yet we tell you that your career of infamy cannot continue but a little longer! Your days are numbered! The handwriting is upon the wall!
Was the Warsaw Signal blowing things out of proportion or were they speaking truths that only they were privy to? The rest of the outside world operated under the assumption that the church was good, the people were kind, and the prophet may be a bit eccentric, but he’s a popular guy who can get things done that need to be. As tyranny grew, national outlets tended to downplay the reality of the Mormon empire, and Thomas Sharp voiced his concerns in the Warsaw Signal.
Why Oppose the Mormons?
The Alton Telegraph is making some rather complimentary remarks, in relation to our paper, regrets the course which we pursue in relation to the Mormons, and expresses the opinion, that it is the duty of the press to allay, as far as possible, the excitement against that people. Now Mr. Telegraph, you know but little of the circumstances by which the people of this County are surrounded -- you know nothing of the repeated insults and injuries received by our citizens from the Heads of the Mormon Church -- you know nothing of the manner in which the laws are trampled under foot, and evaded by the Mormons, and they screened from their just operations behind a set of sham city ordinances -- you know nothing of the baits held out, wherewith the more gullible portion of Joe's [SILENCE] followers, are induced to take up their residence in Nauvoo, and then of the manner in which they are fleeced of their all, and reduced to beggary -- you know nothing of the iron rod by which Joseph controls his followers; with threats of violence quieting the discontented, and by every species of tyranny restraining the liberty of the tongue and person. -- We say Mr. Telegraph, you can know nothing of these things, or you could not undertake to lecture us, for endeavoring to expose such a gang of outlaws, blacklegs and bloodsuckers.
It is a fact, that can be substantiated by the most unimpeachable testimony, that the discontented spirits in Nauvoo, dare not speak or write one word against the Prophet without risking their lives. And even those who have left the Church will hint of iniquities, which they dare not proclaim.
It can be proven that there are men in Nauvoo, who have publicly said that should Joseph Smith command them to commit murder, they should do it without compunction, believing that the command of Smith is the will of Heaven.
The Anti-Mormon political party, with ThomAss Sharp at the head, met in Spring of 1844 and passed a resolution to attempt some kind of controlling mechanism on the propaganda coming from Nauvoo.
[Anti-Mormon] MEETING AT GREEN PLAINS.
On motion it was
1st. Resolved, That the citizens of Green Plains, request the Central Committee to forward a certain extra Nauvoo Neighbor, published December 1843, to Governor Ford informing him of our situation, and that we wish redress for our grievances.
2nd. Resolved, that the Chairman and Secretary of this meeting forward said extra Nauvoo Neighbor to the Governor of Missouri, with suitable comments on the same.
3rd. Resolved, That we request the authorities of the State of Missouri to make a demand for such individuals as have transgressed their laws, and fled to our State especially Joseph Smith the false Prophet.
4th Resolved, That any of our citizens seeing a suspicious character lurking around that we find out if possible his business, and give him our opinion of spies and bad characters.
5th. Resolved, That we use our utmost energy to ferret out all dishonest persons in our section of country, whether Mormons or not.
6th. Resolved, That so far as we are concerned about Joseph and his Legion and his threats we ask him no favors.
Levi Williams, Ch'r'm.
H. P. Crawford, Secretary.
The resolution was passed and the editions of the Nauvoo Neighbor in question were sent to the Governors of Missouri and Illinois, but none of it mattered. Governor Reynolds of Missouri had repeatedly proven himself impotent of prosecuting the prophet. Governor Thomas Ford was so deeply in the pockets of the Mormons that he wouldn’t lift a finger to put down this perceived rebellion. Understandable, though. Ford was dependent upon the Mormon vote to keep his seat. If he ever opposed them it would be politically dangerous, and likely life-threatening. Ford saw what had happened to Governor Lilburn Boggs and he was no idiot. His only solution was to call out the Illinois militia and arrest Jo, but then he’d be taken into the Nauvoo municipal system and ruled an enemy to the cause and thereby liable to fines and imprisonment in labor camps.
With Congress passing Jo’s 100,000 soldier order into law, which included the anti-opposition and molestation provision, Thomas Sharp became public enemy #1 to the Mormons in Nauvoo and he was forced into hiding. The Council of Fifty met and deemed him and the Warsaw Signal a public nuisance like the Nauvoo Expositor. It wasn’t long before Pistol Packin’ Porter tracked down Thomas Sharp and he was arraigned in before the Nauvoo municipal tribunal for opposing or molesting Joseph Smith. The court determined he was guilty without allowing him to testify on his own behalf or bring any character witnesses. This was a high-profile target for the Mormon leadership to nail and they finally got him. ThomAss was sent to the Nauvoo labor camps building armor and then he disappears from the historical record after that. The Warsaw Signal ceased publication.
Amidst this increased militarization of Nauvoo, election day finally came in November of 1844. It was Jo’s big moment. Would he carry the day or would it be his democratic opponent, James K. Polk? The votes came in and Joseph carried 18 states, making him the second Whig president elected. Many had speculated that the Whig party was dying, but Jo’s populist candidacy and decisive firebrand policies breathed new life into the party. The states who opposed him, understandably, were Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama; all the slave-holding states with the exception of Tennessee because Andrew Jackson gave Joseph his vote of approval. Smith took 52.9% of the popular vote which granted him 234 electoral votes. Joseph Smith was now President of the United States.
From treasure-digger and magus, to religious leader, to demagogue, to president. Joseph Smith truly was the embodiment of so many wrongs in America and our political system.
President Smith’s first 100 days as President of the United Stated incited chaos. His inauguration speech seemed like pandering to his sycophants because the Southern states and Democrats across the country didn’t believe he’d be able to actually accomplish anything in his campaign platform. The issues of Oregon and Texas were at the forefront of what he intended to accomplish with all possible prudence.
“Governor Houston, of Texas, says, ‘if you refuse to receive us into the United States, we must go to the British Government for Protection.’
This would certainly be bad policy for this nation; the British are  throughout that whole country, trying to bribe all they can; and the first thing they would do, if they got possession, would be to set the Negroes and the Indians to fight, and they would use us up. British Officers are now running all over Texas to establish British influence in that country.”
How did Joseph solve this? By annexing Texas before Britain had too great a control over it, and use it to fight off the British invasion.
“It will be more honorable for us to receive Texas, and set the Negroes free, and use the Negroes and Indians against our foes. Don’t let Texas go, lest our mothers, and the daughters of the land should laugh us in the teeth;” adding, “I know much that I do not tell. I have had bribes offered me, but I have rejected them.”
Which certainly rallied up the populist support for his cause. The Prophet was just a grassroots kind of guy, just like all the people voting for him. He went from rags to President. He’s the quintessential American dreamer that proves to every lowly voter that they, too, can acquire their greatest aspirations if they just keep chasing their dreams.
Accordingly, his first point of order upon taking office January 1845 was to sign Executive Order #45. Executive Order #45, which came to be known as “The Zion Act” had a few interlocking pieces that made it a Rube Goldberg piece of legislation.
First, it freed the slaves. In order to free the slaves without leaving slave-holders high and dry, the second provision was made. The second provision annexed Texas and made it a territory, giving all the land to the government which it could give to Descendants of Cain and sell off to settlers in order to fund the slave buyback program in the first provision. The third provision annexed Oregon from the British-Canadian government and forced out the British minister. In February of 1844 headlines read “Mr. Packingham is to be specially empowered to enter into negotiations at Washington.” Soon they read, “questions still loom over British minister whereabouts”. The fourth provision of the Zion Act annexed everything south of Oregon and north and west of Texas all the way to the borders of Arkansas, Missouri, and the territory of Iowa, designating it the territory of Deseret. The territory of Deseret covered from the northern border of Texas west to the coast, north to Oregon. East of Oregon the territory of Deseret extended along the Canadian border all the way through Iowa territory to Lakes Superior and Michigan, and then a small jaunt to cut along the borders of Arkansas and Missouri to finally terminate again at the Northeastern corner of Texas territory. The territory of Deseret was somewhere in the ballpark of 1.371 million square miles. For reference, Texas is 261,000 square miles. The fifth, and final, provision created by The Zion Act outlawed any tribal law systems and exterminated all Lamanites from any American territories other than Texas. Put a pin in that 5th provision because it was actually part of the larger plan we’ll be getting to soon.
The Prophet’s election to President was so divisive. The southern states were livid and felt they had no other option. They couldn’t continue their system of society with an abolitionist president. But, it was a mixed bag for them. Southern Democrats wanted the annexation of Texas and Oregon, but the price to pay would be giving up their slaves and their very way of life. President Smith’s platform of offering them land in repayment for their lost slave-capital wasn’t good enough. His aggressive expansionism was viewed as great by Southerners, but looked down upon by the high-minded educated New England Whig folk.
If his election alone wasn’t enough to cause it, the Zion Act of 1845 was the final straw which caused the southern states to secede. It started with North Carolina, in fulfillment of prophecy, and one by one, every state who opposed the Prophet’s election all voted to secede from the Union. The last vote was curiously Missouri who probably had their own reasons for waiting until June 27, 1845 to sign the secession notice. No state had more reason to hate their new president than Missouri because he’d tried to accomplish there in 1838 what he’d finally accomplished by late 1844.
But Smith’s presidency was just beginning when the south seceded. He chose a different approach to the presidency than every president before him. Instead of spending his life in the White House and delegating duties, President Smith structured his system of governance more similar to a Roman Consulate. He sent Vice President Rigdon to the White House to handle the day-to-day duties of the office and hold rallies with his power of oratory while Joseph remained in Nauvoo as the headquarters for the coming Deseret War. The best commanders in chief fight alongside their soldiers, and that’s what General Smith intended to do.
The Deseret War was the bloodiest and most confusing period of Zion history. It included 2 stationary fronts and one expanding front. The Southern slave states drew a boundary along the Mason-Dixon line and included Missouri. This was the southeastern confederate front of the Deseret War. The Southwestern front was in the southern border of Texas with the republic of Mexico. Joseph wanted to ensure the entire territory of Texas remained with the borders as they were drawn without Mexican invasion. The third, and expanding, front of the Deseret War began over the edge of the Mississippi river from Nauvoo. The Des Moines river, separating what used to be Iowa territory from the State of Missouri is where the first battles broke out. Directly west from the Missouri territory would be where the real war began against the Lamanites and the borders of Deseret expanded rapidly. Joseph had a plan with the Lamanites lying in wait.
To organize the Deseret War boundaries and decide initial strategy, a meeting of the Council of Fifty was called. Brigham Young was the general tasked with waging war on the southeastern front by maintaining the state boundaries as they stood upon secession.
Lyman Wight was a lion of the lord and an apt military commander. Upon Lucien Woodworth’s return from meeting with Sam Houston in Texas, Lyman Wight was sent to be the General who would maintain the border between Texas and the Republic of Mexico. For that he needed Sam Houston’s help and compliance. Joseph annexing Texas and the remaining Mexico territory north and west of Texas was a declaration of war against Mexico; Lyman Wight was the only trusted Mormon general who had the acumen and fearlessness to be the warfront general there.
This is where President Smith’s plan for the Lamanites comes into play. The Council of Fifty also sent
“James Emmett on a mission ‘to the Lamanites to instruct them to unite together.’”
Which meant to the Potawatomie Lamanites living in Iowa on reservations at the time. Well, it used to be Iowa, now it was the territory of Deseret. Joseph had a 4-year plan to affect his military crusade. The Zion Act included the Lamanite extermination provision in order to make it more palatable to the Southern Democrats who wanted territorial expansion, but the real plan was a bit more insidious and it required complete cooperation from the Lamanite tribes. It all started with the Pottawatomies.
Back in July of 1843, then-Prophet Joseph had met with some Pottawatomie chiefs about their plight. He implanted an idea in their minds at the time and they were receptive.
Chiefs: We have talked with the Great Spirit, and the Great Spirit has talked with us; we have asked the Great Spirit to save us and let us live; and the Great Spirit told us that he had raised up a great prophet, chief and friend, who would do us great good, and tell us what to do;… We have now come a great way to see you, and hear your words, and to have you to tell us what to do…
Jo: The Great Spirit will soon begin to talk with you and your children;… I now want you to begin to pray to the Great Spirit. I want you to make peace with one another, and do not kill any more Indians; it is not good; do not kill white men, it is not good… it will not be long before the Great Spirit will bless you.
Those chiefs took his words to heart and now the time had come for the Great Spirit to bless them. Through his emissary, James Emmett, Joseph formed an alliance with the Pottawatomie Lamanites. All they had to do was move to Texas and ally with every Lamanite tribe on their journey. The purpose of this was to consolidate the Lamanites in Texas where hundreds of thousands of freed Descendants of Cain were about to begin making their new home. Should the border with Texas and Mexico be maintained successfully by General Lyman Wight, Texas was set up to be the staging ground for the final phase of President Smith’s military campaign, which would come in 4 years’ time. What was also going to happen in 4 years’ time? Smith’s reelection campaign. You see, Joseph never planned on getting reelected once he took office. He simply never planned on stepping down. The Northern Americans would elect a new President in 1848 as per their constitution, but Joseph had no intention of stepping aside and knew it would result in conflict. His 4-year plan was to create this staging ground in Texas for the final military push… all the way to Washington D.C. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
The Mormon war machine, Talos, needed Lamanites to confederate together in order to form a more perfect insurrection army, the Pottawattamie tribe was the most receptive to a Mormon alliance and presented the best place to begin amassing this confederation of Lamanite tribes, not to be confused with the Confederacy that formed in the south from the secession.
Lucien Woodworth went on a mission to Texas to find a settlement place for the Mormons and meet the Karankawa and Aranama people there. Texas was largely controlled by Numunuu, the Comanche tribe, a group who were vehemently opposed to European encroachment and were ready to war against their white oppressors. Lucien made the Comanche chiefs in Texas an offer they couldn’t refuse, join us and we’ll help you retain your lands and kill any paleface who tries to take your land.
Buffalo Hump and Santa Anna had already formed an alliance with Sam Houston during the various skirmishes between Texans and Mexicans, so these Comanche chiefs weren’t opposed to the idea of being in league with the new President if it served their ends. The Comanches also controlled the majority of the barren openness of Texas. If Texas was to be the new settling and staging ground for the greatest army the nation had ever seen, Comanche cooperation was fundamentally crucial to the plan.
Both groups of Natives were receptive to the new plan of Joseph the conqueror. The Pottawattamie chiefs sent messengers to evangelize this new plan to tribes all across the wide-open plains of the Midwest and all the way into the rockies, all while the Comanches in Texas with the help of Sam Houston, Lucien Woodworth, and Lyman Wight, set up camps and settlements in preparation for the surge of new Lamanite and freed descendants of Cain settlers.
Most Lamanite tribes were receptive to the proposal of the Pottawattamie messengers. It was a matter of realism. Work with this new President and you can get your lands back in 5 years’ time. Don’t work with us and the new President;… your only option to delay your inevitable defeat is to run away and die tired. The Iowa, Missouria, Osage, Kanza, Oto, Pawnee, Omaha, Arikara, Mandan, Sioux, Cheyenne, Arapaho, all these Midwest tribes, by in large, agreed to the plan without knowing further details. Even the various tribes who’d been relocated numerous times after the American government had repeatedly violated treaties like the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, and even much smaller groups like the Tawasa, Wakokai, Napochi, Moila, Tunica, Quapaw, and Osochi were mostly receptive to the new deal. Any tribes who opposed the resettlement in Texas plan only put up minor opposition and eventually agreed with very little persuasion. At least, that’s what our history books tell us. It’s kind of hard to know the truth.
Now, the catch with all of this scheming is that the overall plan had to stay secret with the utmost prejudice. Only the Council of Fifty could know there was a plan once the North and South borders were secure that involved marching an army back to Washington D.C. The grouping of Lamanites and Descendants of Cain to Texas was largely viewed with positivity by the Northern Union states because no New Englanders wanted to live in the desert or in Deseret Territory for that matter. As expected though, the Southern Confederacy hated the Zion Act which only made them more opposed to Northern tyranny. They, and their secession, would be dealt with in due time.
As Vice President, Rigdon seemed to fall into the proper swing of politics rather quickly. His melancholia seemed to deteriorate with respect to how much distance was between him and President Smith. The further away they were from each other, the happier Rigdon was and the more capable he was at accomplishing the demands of the office of acting President until Joseph succeeded in his military campaign.
Brigham Young couldn’t have been happier in any other place than he was waging war against the Confederates on the southern borders. Such a monumental task was properly suited for a bean counter like himself. Under direction of the Council of Fifty, General Young established a complex system of communication and forts with watchtowers every 44 miles along the border. Even in areas which were strategically disadvantageous for the south to make an attack, Bloody Brigham was prepared. He also established distilleries next to hospitals every 150 miles along the border. Nobody knows why, but Brigham was what we might call today a germophobe. For whatever reason he thought that soaking medical instruments in alcohol helped the doctors be more effective. He was on to something because it worked. Throughout the entire conflict the Norther Union lost somewhere in the ballpark of 33,000 soldiers to the Southern Confederacy’s 250,000. The numbers of people lost to opium addiction afterwards doesn’t seem to be a statistic that was ever collected for whatever reason.
Lyman Wight in Texas. That guy was crazy and super hated anybody who wasn’t white. His time in Texas quartering all the Lamanites and Descendants of Cain was heaven for him. In the period of 4 years Wight basically became the largest single entity who drove slaves in all of Zion history. He had control over the every-day lives and living conditions of millions of people. The exact numbers were never collected because it doesn’t matter that much, but it was millions of people. He was also successful at putting down the Mexican invasion into Texas. He was probably burning through 30,000 soldiers a month, most of them didn’t have armor or projectile weapons, so it’s understandable that General Wight was able to maintain the line effectively.
As for President Smith’s military campaign, we don’t know much about it. I had an anonymous source pass an account to me that was supposedly written by Daniel H. Wells, one of President Smith’s Major-Generals for the expansion border into Deseret territory. Daniel H. Wells was an interesting guy in Mormon history and was ranked 27th in the Council of Fifty under President Smith, a very prestigious number. I don’t have any way of corroborating whether or not this reminiscence actually came from him. It’s hard to trust information in our world, but here it is anyway.
April 1 1845: General Smith made a few remarks on the mission of our formidable Legion. We embarked upon our journey into the land of the Lamanites.
April 20 1845: First contact with Lamanite tribe called “Kanza”. No fight.
May 5 1845: Used up Kanza and Oto Lamanites, some dead, no Nauvoo Legion casualties.
May 29 1845: Hot out and no rain for weeks. Found Pawnee Lamanites. Removed to Texas without resistance.
June 27 1845: Crow Lamanites ferocious. Most fight to death. Some without arms from cannon balls continue assault. Many Legion casualties.
July 4 1845: Used up Crows. Prairies filled with slain. Blood running through creek to fill Crow pond. General Smith ordered a count of slain Lamanites by cutting off tips of noses, counted 1,233 from this day’s battle. Legion casualties number in scores.
August 15 1845: Sioux formidable warriors. Many have guns. General Smith prophesied cannon fire will take the day. Prophecy true. Many body parts without bodies all over village. Little provisions attained. Village burned. Left dead for wolves.
November 2 1845: Established winter encampment at east rocky mountians near friendly Ute Lamanites. They are kind and agreed to remove to Texas peaceably. Warn of Shoshone warrior Walkara.
March 15 1846: Set out from Winter camp. Utes en route to Texas. Found Arapaho settlements and left none alive. Salted ground. Left arsenic in wells.
March 30 1846: Moved North toward Cheyenne Lamanites. Some fight, others lie down and ask to be slain like anti-Nephi-Lehite ancestors. Refuse to remove to Texas, none left alive. So many bodies, doubtless will cause trouble to animals in vicinity.
June 1 1846: Finished crossing rocky mountains to Salt Lake. General Smith met Chief Walkara to negotiate Shoshone surrender. Walkara refused. Smith brandished bowie knife. Walkara cried out to his warriors. Smith cut him across chest. Insides fell out. Smith used him up by cutting throat. Warriors terrified and ran. Tracked for hours before finding their village hideout. Used up village, none left alive, buildings burned, their crops harvested and bison killed for Nauvoo Legion. Why can Lamanites not understand the will of God and remove peaceably to Texas?
July 9 1846: Arrived to Navajo settlements. Good Lamanites, truly beloved by the God of Abraham. Agreed to peaceful removal to Texas. Their Lamanite brethren would be well to do same.
July 24 1846: Found peaceable Goshute. Most agreed to removal with little bloodshed. Why must they require us to shed blood before agreeing to removal?
September 9 1846: Continued west to Numa Paiute. All opposed. All dead. May god have mercy on their cursed souls.
October 10 1846: Began winter settlement on edge of California. Intel from northern contingents good. Expect Piegan, Blackfoot, Kutenai, Assiniboine, Nez Perce, and Palouse removal coming spring.
December 21 1846: Cold. Snow. Many hungry. Slaughtering extra horses to feed army. Spirit of melancholia everywhere. Dreams bad. Crying of Lamanites heard everywhere, even in sleep.
December 24 1846: Better today. Cold. Spirit of rejoicing throughout camp when supply wagons arrived. We shall feast for Christmas. Truly we are the lord’s chosen army and people for his blessings are aplenty.
March 1 1847: Begin California, many Lamanite tribes to remove.
September 8 1847: California campaign success. Tribes removed: Yahi, Wintu, Tlokeang, Wiyat, Batawat, Howunakut, Chasta, Hupa, Nongatl, Wailaki, Patwin, Pomo, Huchnom, Nishinam, Waashiw, Mutistul, Mayakmah, Me-wuk, Maidu. Tribes used up… too many to enumerate. So many dead. So much blood. Ocean beautiful.
November 10 1847: Diegueno Lamanites resist. Much cannon shot used, rent bodies to pieces. General Smith is gifted with cannon command. Arrows no match. Why can Lamanites not be of good cheer and believe in modern-day Moses. God is with us. God destroys all who oppose his will and people. Screams of terror louder, even when no bloodshed about or asleep.
November 11 1847: General Smith rewards our valiant fight with pleasant winter quarters near ocean. Temperate clime and beautiful scenery. No bodies here.
February 13 1848: Begin march east to Texas. Plan to rally with General Lyman Wight for phase III.
March 10 1848: Apache terrifying. So much resistance.
March 13 1848: Siege of Apache settlement. They fight hard.
March 15 1848: Apache refuse to surrender.
March 16 1848: Siege continues, villages starving. Women and children wail through the night, even while I sleep.
March 17 1848: Screaming never ceases. How long will they oppose the will of God?
March 19 1848: Apache refuse to remove to Texas. Cannons loosed. Horrible bloodshed.
March 20 1848: Apache surrender. General Smith refuses to accept. Commands slaughter. Some soldiers refused and were used up on the spot. All Apache dead. Nobody left alive to scream but still hear it. Took provisions for Nauvoo Legion. Piled bodies in center of village. All burned. No further battle could be the more bloody. Asked General Smith if we should count dead Lamanites. He turned to me and asked why with no thought or feeling. Suspect more than 10,000.
June 2 1848: Time running short for election. Phase III must be completed. General Smith ordered no more diplomacy until rendezvous with General Wight. All Lamanites to be used up and burned till we reach Texas.
July 4 1848: Reached General Wight. Generals embraced with tears and joy. Yavapi, Maricopa, Cocpah, Pima, and Hopi all used up on journey. In safety with no more bloodshed but the screaming never ceases. May originate from within. Should see physician.
July 9 1848: Phase III began.
The Deseret territory campaign was apparently a resounding success. This left the country divided into 3 distinct and separate territories. The Northern Union States, the Southern Confederacy, and the territory of Deseret. The campaign was successful but the war was far from over. The campaign had run an expected 3 and a half years since it kicked off from the headquarters of Nauvoo. But, 1848 brought another election year and a hotly contested one at that. President Smith refused to give up the office of President of the disunited states and territories so he put the final phase of his plan into play.
There were enough remaining Lamanites after the Deseret campaign that were still willing to fight. They’d been promised when Joseph took office that they’d retake their lands from the palefaces. Joseph was never known for keeping promises but if he could travel alongside somebody to a similar desired location, he’d use them until they no longer had anything to offer. Accordingly, Joseph began phase III, conflagration, which meant marching hundreds of thousands of Lamanites and freed Descendants of Cain from their stronghold in Texas to Washington D.C.
Why? Well, as President, Joseph made too many controversial calls and risked political capital he didn’t have. His administration was fraught with scandal and controversy, especially the sex trafficking stuff, and he wouldn’t get more than 30% of the popular vote. I wish I could tell you more about all the scandals, but all those documents and newspapers were destroyed. What I’m trying to say is, the only way Joseph could retain his seat as President was by enforcing it through superior military power. Nobody in the country had an army that could rival the Nauvoo Legion with its hundreds of thousands, not even to the tune of 10% its size. And the warriors themselves? The Lamanites and Descendants of Cain were fighting for ideological reasons to take back their homelands from, and wreak vengeance upon, their white oppressors. You simply can’t pay a soldier enough to make up for the ferocity these Legionnaires fought with; it’s why the Deseret Campaign was so successful even though most of it was fought Lamanites against other Lamanites. General Smith had hundreds of thousands of soldiers who were motivated by vengeance. No weapon in existence at that time could combat this force of nature. Today, well, the Council has ways of ensuring compliance.
The journey back across the eastern plains states through the Northern territory was swift and met with absolutely no opposition. People cowered in fear from General Smith’s army. The Nauvoo Legion occupied towns and drained them of resources all the way from the Mississippi to D.C. A journey of over 1000 miles undertaken by hundreds of thousands of soldiers with General Smith at their head. But, this wasn’t a direct march because the Southern Confederacy was still an issue to be dealt with.
Joseph was smart in how he handled the southern insurrection. While Brigham Young’s detachment maintained the border between the Northern Union and Southern Confederacy, General Smith’s main army never set foot inside any of the Confederacy states. You see, Joseph didn’t want to invade the Confederacy as it would only lead to more senseless bloodshed. Instead, what he wanted was for them to peaceably realize complete and total defeat should they oppose the New Order of Zion and Moronite law. So, what Joseph did instead was brilliant. He sent in small messenger parties of exclusively Lamanite warriors, never more than 7 men per group, to simply carry a decree to each and every city in the Union. The decree just needed to be signed by the mayor of each town for it to be valid. What did the decree do? It was basically a surrender order. Don’t oppose the New Order of Zionism and you can continue to go about your life as you see fit. The decree established the Southern Confederacy, the Northern Union and Deseret Territory as separate sovereign city-states that operated under a common umbrella theocratic government known as Zion, the Kingdom of God. Deseret Territory was already being settled by white people from all over the nation since the army’s campaign. The settlers even included refugees from the South. The decree also reestablished borders so that everything east of the Mississippi was divided as Union and Confederate depending on what side of the Mason-Dixon line the state was. Everything… and I mean everything, west of the Mississippi, became part of Deseret Territory.
These three territories answered only to the Council of Fifty and the PPKR of the Council. To this day, the Prophet Priest King and Ruler of the Council ever since the death of President Smith has been a descendant of the original Council formed in March 1844 in Nauvoo.
When the Nauvoo Legion arrived in Washington D.C., the city was nearly empty. The Legion had burned or sucked dry the resources of every single city on their march from Nauvoo. Word spread long before the armies got there that if there would be no opposition then there needn’t be any bloodshed. The history books say that this march encountered absolutely no opposition and not a single person was violently killed during the march back, but… who knows, really…
Joseph and the Nauvoo Legion arrived in D.C. in October of 1848 for the President to finally take to the oval office for the first time in his entire presidency. There must have been hard feelings about how Vice President Rigdon ran the Union while Joseph was on the Deseret Campaign because he seems to disappear from the record too. There’s a story about it, probably apocryphal, but still interesting.
According to legend, Joseph had a ring on his finger when he finally greeted Rigdon for the first time in nearly 4 years since inauguration. When they saw each other, it was a tearful reunion between these long-time friends who’d been through so much together. Apparently Joseph heard that Rigdon was about to talk about some manuscript the anti-Mormons talked about a lot in the 1830s, and Joseph didn’t want that information to get out. Supposedly it had something to do with the Book of Mormon, but like I said this is all legend so take it with a grain of salt. When Joseph learned this information, he was careful to conceal his knowledge of it to Rigdon. They called a meeting of the Council of Fifty, the first official convention of the Council since the military campaigns had begun 4 years before. During the opening ceremonies, President Smith greeted Vice President Rigdon through the veil by giving him the sure sign of the nail. But, instead of replying that this is the sure sign of the nail, Joseph whispered in Rigdon’s ear, this is the sure sign of your penalty. Rigdon recoiled instantly as he felt a small tingle where Joseph shook his hand. He looked down and noticed a small drop of blood coming from his wrist. Horrified Rigdon asked, What is this? What have you done? Jo’s reply to this enemy of Zion was said coyly through a smile, “It is the kiss of the devil, for he has power over you.”
Apparently Joseph had learned from one of the Lamanite doctors about Datura Inoxia, the Devil’s Weed. Those who live by the Devil’s weed die by it. Rigdon instantly went into a fit of convulsions, his limbs paralyzed into rigidity, and a dreadful look of unimaginable fear froze on his face as his soul slipped away to spirit prison. Legend has it that he was too disfigured for them to even do a death mask, that every time they tried you could see his pain and fear in the mask no matter what they did. I don’t know, it’s a cool story and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s true, nothing surprises me anymore, but it’s just a legend.
Joseph outlawed the electoral college, collected and burned every copy of the American constitution, wrote his own, and remained PPKR of the Council of Fifty and Zion until his death on September 11, 1857 at the age of 51. Heart attack! I know, right? He was a guy under a lot of stress and he lived a fast and hard life. His mission here was complete anyway. How we got to where we are today, well that’s mostly thanks to his successor, PPKR Young. Young’s Council of Fifty conquered British and French forces for the Canadian Conquest Campaign. Russia was really helpful in that whole ordeal. They had these crazy, rickety old submarines and the British Navy had no answer. PPKR Young also annexed Mexico into the territory of Deseret, although the people there don’t call themselves Celestials, instead preferring their native Mexican label to keep some semblance of their erased heritage. President Young’s military history is dark and we don’t know a lot about it. None of our history books talk about it, but legend has Brigham’s army slaughtering entire villages with contraptions that threw flames hundreds of feet through the air without even offering the people a surrender treaty. Then, any prisoners they took were decimated, killing one in every ten to instill absolute fear into the minds of the survivors. Then they were sold into slavery. One story was told that Brigham’s troops, after the Blackfoot battles, took the prisoners of war and forced them to construct their own prison camps. The walls weren’t brick though, the walls were made of the dead Blackfoot Lamanites, and the prisoners had to sit in an open field surrounded by a wall of rotting corpses until they all thirsted to death days later. Some legends say they tried to drink the blood of their dead kin to satisfy their thirst.
PPKR Young’s 20 years were a bad time to live in Zion. But, he gave us a lot of what we have today. He turned the territories into 3 stakes, each with a different number of states. We, here in Deseret Stake, they call us Celestians, those in the Northern Stake are known as Terrestrians, while those in the South Stake are Telestians. Those are sometimes pejorative terms, but they fit with what our respective societies look like.
The old state of Missouri is a standalone piece of land inside Zion. We call it Outer Darkness. President Smith had a vendetta against the state of Missouri. In 1848, after General Smith took the White House, refused to step down as President, and the Council of Fifty formed the Constitution of the Kingdom of God, aka Constitution of Zion, he took a contingent of soldiers to Missouri and surrounded the state on all sides. Nobody knows what happened after that but I understand that to this day, nearly 2 centuries later, a lot of it is uninhabitable. What land is habitable is where the prisoners go and we don’t hear anything about them. I really don’t know why Missouri would be Outer Darkness because Christ is supposed to return there and the keys will be restored. Who knows what really happens there…
As for me… I try to lay low as much as I can. Like… it’s hard to trust anything you hear nowdays and I’m not even sure I believe in the church anymore, but it doesn’t really matter. The Nauvoo Legion are scary. I just try to get by with my life. How do I do that? Just live like everybody else. I love my families, I work hard, I keep my mouth shut. When the Council finds out somebody doesn’t believe, there’s no place for apostates in Deseret Nation. I don’t want somebody to accuse me of having a mind of Outer Darkness, I wouldn’t survive for one minute there.
I grew up in Bountiful in the state of Salt Lake in Deseret Stake. Bountiful is basically a suburb of Zarahemla, which is where the church is headquartered. It was nice there. It was nice to grow up close to the capital of Deseret. Our family had only 3 slaves and all my parents were goodly. My family was relatively small, but our next-door neighbors… They had 4 houses for all their kids! Eventually I moved to Seattle in Oregon State. I’m still in Deseret Stake, I’m still a Celestian, so it’s really nice here, although the population really seems to be growing at an unsustainable rate. We’re one of the few places with solar and water desalination so we’ll be fine as the last of the permafrost melts in a few years. The taxes here are really high, but we’re told the United Order only takes in what it needs to operate, not an Antion more; I have no reason to distrust them.
The elections here are unanimous, which seems kind of strange. The only real fear we live with here is Russian expansion. Since the Arctic cap melted, I hear the fighting up there has been really crazy, but I don’t know much about it. I read a headline yesterday that scientists have finally been able to achieve a 25/75 male to female ratio in the population of Zion, it’s amazing, I couldn’t believe it. President Young abolished child-marriage laws so female children in the whom are sealed to their husbands before they even come into the world. Hopefully the female population will continue to grow to reduce this practice because it seems really weird to me. Luckily slavery isn’t practiced much here, but in the Terrestrial and Telestial stakes, I hear its really horrible. Up here in Celestia we don’t get much information about the other stakes and travelling to them is only possible for the exceptionally wealthy.
I often wonder about how things might be different. You know, if this didn’t happen or that event hadn’t occurred in history, how would that change the world we live in today. Could Zion ever survive as a secular nation like the founding fathers envisioned when they created the United States of America? What would a country with the original Constitution look like if it hadn’t been replaced with Moronite law? What if the Council of Fifty was never formed to begin with on that fateful day in 1844? What if slavery were outlawed again or god lifted the curse from the seed of Cain? What’s it like in other countries where kids grow up with only 2 parents? I bet it’s weird… I’m told those other countries are devolving into hell because they don’t have New and Everlasting families and they drink alcohol and do drugs like tobacco.
I don’t know… I guess, I just think a lot, and that’s probably not good for me. But when I’m laying in one of my beds at night staring at the ceiling, I can’t help but wonder… what if everything were different?
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