Ep 203 – Illinois-Mormon War of Extermination

On this episode, we examine the immediate impact and fallout of the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor. The media throughout Illinois explodes at the overt act of Mormon tyranny and fascism. Joseph Smith is arrested by a constable from Carthage on a warrant issued by a judge from Carthage, but he dodges a hearing at the Carthage courthouse by holding his own kangaroo court hearing in Nauvoo. He exchanges letters among various church leaders all over Illinois. Meanwhile, the anti-Mormons in Carthage and Warsaw hold various meetings in reaction to every development in Nauvoo and pass resolutions in response. A “war of extermination” is inevitable and imminent. Both groups funnel affidavits, letters, and resolutions to the office of Governor Thomas Ford who seeks to balance the desires and fury of both groups while maintaining peace in his state.

Links:

History of Illinois by Governor Thomas Ford
https://archive.org/details/ahistoryillinoi00shiegoog/page/n342/mode/2up/search/nauvoo

JS 1844 Nauvoo Journal
https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/journal-december-1842-june-1844-book-4-1-march-22-june-1844/149

Nauvoo City Council Minutes
https://www.josephsmithpapers.org/paper-summary/nauvoo-city-council-rough-minute-book-february-1844-january-1845/28#full-transcript

Warsaw Signal Archives
http://www.sidneyrigdon.com/dbroadhu/IL/sign184x.htm

Other links:

How to Heretic Episode 134
https://howtoheretic.com/podcast/2020/4/15/134-to-god-and-the-lamb-x3

Show links:

Website http://nakedmormonismpodcast.com
Twitter @NakedMormonism
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Naked-Mormonism/370003839816311
Patreon http://patreon.com/nakedmormonism
Music by Jason Comeau http://aloststateofmind.bancamp.com/
Show Artwork http://weirdmormonshit.com/
Legal Counsel http://patorrez.com/

The Nauvoo Expositor was no more. The city of Nauvoo’s usual tranquility was broken, never to be restored. With the force of Joseph Smith as Mayor, Prophet-President, and Lieutenant-general of the Nauvoo Legion pushing the City Council to declare it a public nuisance, the city marshal, John P. Greene had carried out Jo’s orders to destroy the printing office. Major-general of the Nauvoo Legion, Jonathan Dunham, had also called out a few hundred members of the city militia to keep the peace with orders to arrest anybody who opposed the destruction of the press. This was essentially a declaration of martial law for the night. According to reports from media outside of the city of Nauvoo, those arrest orders were indeed executed, although it’s tough to know how many people were actually arrested because that night a riot broke out in the chaos and the Legion could barely keep a handle on the city.

According to Quilliam Claypen’s entry in Jo’s journal for that day,

the possey consisting of some hundred retur[ne]d with the Marsha—in front of the Mansion--& I gave them a short address told them they had done right. that they had executed my orders—requi[re]d of me by the city council that I would never submit to have another Libellous publication in established in the.—city. that I cared not how ma[n]y pape[r]s there were in the city if they would pr[i]nt the truth. but would submit to no Libe[l]s—or slanders from them.—the speech was loudly greeted by 3 cheers—3. times.—the posse dispe[rs]ed all in good order— Francis M. Higbee and othe[r]s made some th[r]eats which will appear in duee course of Invstigatin

The Marshal and major-general of the Legion had orders to arrest anybody who opposed them or swore out any threats against the church or its leadership. I can’t find any record that Higbee was arrested, nor can I find any records of anybody being arrested but there’s simply no way the crowd gathered and dispersed peaceably. I believe we can’t find records for a couple reasons. There weren’t enough jail cells to contain hundreds or thousands of people rioting in response to this act of tyranny. Secondly, destroying the printing press as a public nuisance was one act of tyranny but then going the next step and arresting one or many of the printers was probably just too blatant even for Jo to follow through with. Thirdly, while marshal Greene and major-general Dunham were commissioned officers of the city police and city militia, the people they tried to keep from rioting were also their friends and family. Carrying out the draconian orders of arresting anybody who was angered by burning the printing press would see these men, and the men they commanded, arresting people they knew and loved.

At the end of the day, however, the posse of Legionnaires disbanded for the night, the excited mob went home, and, most importantly, people either went home to write letters or immediately set off on horseback for overnight rides to towns outside Nauvoo. In an age of the world churning at the speed of a galloping horse, intel about this outrage was quick to propagate but slow to verify. The press being destroyed was known about in Carthage and Warsaw by the next morning.

The impacts of destroying the Nauvoo Expositor are complex and multi-faceted. First off, the Nauvoo Neighbor, under direction of John Taylor, did its best to justify the response arrived at by the city council.

RETRIBUTIVE  JUSTICE.

A knot of base men, to further their wicked and malicious designs towards the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to bolster up the intents of blacklegs and bogus-makers, and advocate the characters of murderers, established a press in this city last week, and issued a paper entitled the Nauvoo Expositor. The prospectus showed an intention to destroy the charter, and the paper was filled with libels and slanderous articles upon the citizens and City Council from one end to the other.

"A burnt child dreads the fire." The Church as a body and individually has suffered till "forbearance has ceased to be a virtue." The cries and pleadings of men, women and children, with the authorities were, "Will you suffer that servile, murderous paper to go on and vilify and slander the innocent inhabitants of this city, and raise another mob to drive and plunder us again as they did in Missouri?" Under these pressing cries and supplications of afflicted innocence, and in the character, dignity, and honor of the corporate powers of the charter, as granted to the city of Springfield, and made and provided as a part of our charter for legislative purposes -- viz.. "to declare what shall be a nuisance and to prevent and remove the same." The City Council of Nauvoo on Monday, the 10th instant, declared the establishment and Expositor a nuisance; and the city marshal, at the head of the police, in the evening, took the press, materials and paper into the street and burned them.

And in the name of freemen, and in the name of God, we beseech all men who have the spirit of honor in them to cease from persecuting us, collectively or individually. Let us enjoy our religion, rights and peace like the rest of mankind. Why start presses to destroy rights and privileges, and bring upon us mobs to plunder and murder? We ask no more than what belongs to us -- the Rights of Americans.

They tried to make the Expositor publishers to be hellspawns and the Mormons are the innocent and persecuted disciples of Christ. But, the fire which destroyed the Expositor was confined only to the streets of Nauvoo. The second impact of destroying the Expositor was the fact that the press outside Nauvoo couldn’t be so easily silenced. The Warsaw Signal by Thomas Coke Sharp issued numerous daily extras covering every piece of intel they received about the city council meetings and the destruction of the press.

UNPARRALLED OUTRAGE AT NAUVOO.

Below we give the particulars of the most diabolical outrage that has ever been perpetrated in this free country. Had it been the act of an excited multitude, it would have appeared much more excusable; but it was the deliberate work of men who acted not from the impulse of a sudden emotion, nor amid the tumult of an intoxicated multitude. It was done in cold blood! and is there any thing further needed to exhibit the feindish and tyrannical disposition of Joe and his sattelites. To comment on this most wanton act would be an insult to our readers.

The following are the particulars which appeared in our extra of yesterday:

                                            TUESDAY JUNE 11, 1844.

Mr. Sharp: -- I hasten to inform you of the UNPARALLELED OUTRAGE, perpetrated upon our rights and interests, by the ruthless, lawless, ruffian band of MORMON MOBOCRATS, at the dictum that of that UNPRINCIPLED wretch Joe Smith.

We were privately informed that the CITY COUNCIL, which had been in extra session, for two days past; had enacted an ordinance in relation to libels, providing that anything that had been published, or anything that might be published tending to disparage the character of the officers of the city should be regarded as LAWLESS. They also declared the "Nauvoo Expositor," a "nuisance," and directed the police of the city to proceed immediately to the office of the Expositor and DESTROY THE PRESS and also the MATERIALS, by THROWING them into the STREET!!!!

If any resistance were made, the officers were directed to demolish the building and property, of all who were concerned in publishing said paper; and also take all into custody, who might refuse to obey the authorities of the City.

Accordingly, a company consisting of some 200 men, armed and equipped, with Muskets, Swords, Pistols, Bowie Knives, Sledge-Hammers, &c, assisted by a crowd of several hundred minions, who volunteered their services on the occasion, marching to the building, and breaking open the doors with a Sledge Hammer, commenced the work of destruction and desperation.

They tumbled the press and materials into the street, and set fire to them, and demolished the machinery with sledge hammer, and injured the building very materially. We made no resistance; but looked on and felt revenge, but leave it for the public to avenge this climax of insult and injury.
                                              C. A. FOSTER.
      June 11,1844.

We received the above communication by the hands of Charles A. Foster, about 1/2 past 11 o'clock to-day. We have only to state, that this is sufficient! War and extermination is inevitable! Citizens ARISE, ONE and ALL!!! -- Can you stand by, and suffer such INFERNAL DEVILS!! to ROB men of their property and RIGHTS, without avenging them. We have no time for comment, every man will make his own. LET IT BE MADE WITH POWDER AND BALL!!!

The simple fact remained, Jo could burn the printing press of an opposition paper in the city of Nauvoo but the other dozen local and nationwide papers which had been very critical of him couldn’t be shut down like the Expositor. Warsaw and Carthage were the hotbeds of anti-Mormonism. When I use that term here it’s because it was their own designation. They organized the anti-Mormon party to oppose the growing political power of the Mormons, much like the many anti-Masonic political parties had been formed to combat the power of Masons in politics. We could use another anti-Mormon political party nowadays, or at least an anti-religious party.

Jo recognized he’d stepped in it and he went into full damage-control mode. The city council met the morning of the 11th of June, the morning after the press was destroyed. The only minutes taken during that meeting are notably short. Where the meeting minutes of the previous days occupy pages and pages of deliberation, this is everything for June 11th.

Summons was issued for Sylvester Emmons to attend the City Council on the 2d Saturday of July 10 AM. to answer charges then & ther to be preferred vs him for slandering said city council agreably to the order of said council passd June 8 1844 W Richards Recorder

That was what Richards recorded anyway, but they met for hours so we don’t know what was discussed and no other document exists that I can find which sheds more light on this specific meeting. Jo did, however, issue a proclamation that day for the public of Nauvoo to observe, not unlike what Russel M. Nelson just issued in the April 2020 conference, but the context is a bit different and Jo issued half a dozen of these things for different dire circumstances during his ministry.

By virtue of my office as Mayor,… I do hereby strictly enjoin it upon the municipal officers and citizens of said city, to use all honorable and lawful means in their power to assist me in maintaining the public peace and common quiet of said city… I further call upon every officer, authority, and citizen, to be vigilant in preventing by wisdom, the promulgation of false statements, libels, slanders, or any other malicious or evil-designed concern that may be put in operation to excite and ferment the passions of men to rebel against the rights and privileges of the city, citizens, or laws of the land; to be ready to suppress the gathering of mobs, the repel, by gentle means and noble exertion, every foul scheme of unprincipled men… and finally to keep the peace by being cool, considerate, virtuous, unoffending, manly, and patriotic… JOSEPH SMITH, Mayor.

This proclamation was as close to a declaration of martial law as Jo could get without officially doing so. However, in the City Council meeting which produced this, somebody leaked an exchange that happened to the Warsaw Signal and Thomas Sharp quickly distributed another extra for that evening which showed the intensity that carried the meeting.

FURTHER PARTICULARS FROM NAUVOO.

We have conversed with a gentleman of undoubted veracity, who was in Nauvoo, and present in the council room, at the time the ordinance to destroy the Expositor press, was under consideration, and from him, we received the following items from the speeches of Joe and Hyrum Smith.

Joe became very much excited in the course of his speech, and appeared wrathy at his own followers, because of their not entering into his schemes with sufficient zeal. In giving vent to his feelings he used the following language: "If you (the people of Nauvoo) will not stick by me, and WADE TO YOUR KNEES IN BLOOD FOR MY SAKE, you may go to Hell and be Damned, and I will go and build another City!!!"

Hyrum directed his fire against the PRESS; and in relation to the editor of this paper, he made use of the following language: "We had better send a message to long-nosed Sharp, that if he does not look out he might be visited with a PINCH OF SNUFF, that will make him SNEEZE." At this burst of oratory, the council were convulsed with laughter.

In relation to our Press, he said, "If any person would go to Warsaw boldly, in daylight, and BREAK THE PRESS of the SIGNAL OFFICE, with a sledge hammer, he would BEAR HIM OUT , if it cost him his farm. He could only be taken with a warrant at any rate, and WHAT GOOD WILL THAT DO!

These extracts, will show, the Rulers of Nauvoo have doffed their saintly robes, and have come out in their true characters of HELLISH FIENDS. Yes! Hyrum & Joe are as truly Devils, as though they had served an apprenticeship of half of eternity in the Infernal Pit.
And now Hyrum, in relation to your threats, we wish no better sport than you should send your minions here to destroy our press. Let them come!! We are ANXIOUS!!! As regards your threats to our person, we scorn them. We DEFY YOU, AND YOUR hosts! Recollect that OUR DEATH will be AVENGED!!! You, Devil as you are, cannot intimidate us. We will write and publish WHAT WE PLEASE, AND AS WE PLEASE!!

The anti-Mormons were now invigorated by the same fire that put the Expositor to destruction. This was an outrage which couldn’t be tolerated and Thomas Sharp was calling for open warfare with the Mormon settlement. Let it be made with powder and ball; we will publish what we please is pretty transparent. Thomas Sharp knew the implications of what he printed. He also understood that Hyrum Sidekick-Abiff Smith was threatening him and his paper. The Warsaw Signal was now the target of a similar fate as the Nauvoo Expositor.

Thomas Sharp wasn’t always an enemy to the Mormons. until he attended the temple cornerstone laying ceremony with the Nauvoo Legion in full uniformed parade back in 1841, he was sympathetic to the plight of the Mormons like most people in Illinois (or Ellenois for some folks). But when he saw the force Joseph Smith was able to muster he knew he was witnessing the birth of something terrible and destructive. Calling for powder and ball to answer the destruction of the Expositor meant he wanted to see Governor Thomas Ford call in the militia. In fact, most of the non-Mormon citizens in the cities outside Nauvoo wanted the militia to answer this act of tyranny.

The anti-Mormon party, of which Thomas Sharp was one of the founders, met the evening after the Expositor was burned to deliberate about how to handle this issue. Martial law in Nauvoo didn’t extend beyond the boundaries of the city and this meeting couldn’t be stopped by anybody in Nauvoo, however, one of Jo’s moles attended the meeting and brought back a copy of the resolution and gave it to Jo. The meetings continued for multiple days before a resolution was finally agreed upon on June 13th. I’ve tried to cut anything possible to make it a shorter read, but there’s just nothing to cut. Each whereas and resolved contain so much information that I’m just going to read it in full. As I read through this, try to consider the mentality of the people as they drafted each line.

WHEREAS, information has reached us, about which there can be no question, that the authorities of Nauvoo did recently pass an ordinance declaring a Printing Press and Newspaper published by opponents of the Prophet, a nuisance, and in pursuance thereof, did direct the Marshal of the city,… to enter by force the building from whence the paper was issued, and violently… to take possession of the press and printing materials, and… burn and destroy the same…

And WHEREAS, Hyrum Smith did in presence of the City Council,… offer a reward for the destruction of the printing press and materials of the Warsaw Signal,--a newspaper also opposed to his interest.

And WHEREAS the liberty of the press is one of the cardinal principles of our Government, firmly guaranteed by the several constitutions of the States, as well as the United States.

And WHEREAS, Hyrum Smith has within the last week publicly threatened the life of one of our valued citizens, THOS. C. SHARP, the editor of the Signal.

Therefore, be it solemnly

Resolved, By the citizens of Warsaw,… That, we view the recent ordinance of the city of Nauvoo, and the proceedings thereunder, as an outrage, of an alarming character, revolutionary and tyrannical in its tendency, and being under color of law, as calculated to subvert and destroy the minds of the community all reliance on the law.

Resolved, That as a community, we feel anxious, when possible, to redress our grievances by legal remedies; but the time has now arrived, when the law has ceased to be a protection to our lives and property; a mob at Nauvoo, under a city ordinance, has violated the highest privilege in our Government, and to seek redress in the ordinary mode would be utterly ineffectual.

Resolved, That the public threat made in the council of the city, not only to destroy our Printing Press, but to take the life of its Editor, is sufficient, in connection with the recent outrage, to command the efforts and the services of every good citizen, to put an immediate stop to the career of the mad Prophet and his demoniac coadjutors. We must not only defend ourselves from danger, but we must resolutely carry the war into the enemy’s camp. We do therefore declare, that we will sustain our Press and the Editor, at all hazards. That we will take full vengeance,--terrible vengeance, should the lives of any of our citizens be lost in the effort. That we hold ourselves at all time in readiness to co-operate with our fellow-citizens in this State, Missouri and Iowa, to exterminate, UTTERLY EXTERMINATE, the wicked and abominable Mormon leaders, the authors of our troubles.

Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed forthwith to notify all persons in our township suspected of being the tools of the Prophet, to leave immediately on pain of INSTANT VENGEANCE. And we do recommend the inhabitants of the adjacent townships to do the same, hereby pledging ourselves to render all the assistance they may require.

Resolved, That the time, in our opinion has arrived, when the adherents of Smith, as a body, should be driven from the surrounding settlements, into Nauvoo, That the Prophet and his miscreant adherents should then be demanded at their hands, and if not surrendered, A WAR OF EXTERMINATION SHOULD BE WAGED, to the entire destruction, if necessary for our protection, of his adherents. And we do hereby recommend this resolution to the consideration of the several townships, to the Mass Convention to be held at Carthage; hereby pledging ourselves to aid, to the utmost, the complete consummation of the object in view, that we may thereby be utterly relieved of the alarm, anxiety, and trouble, to which we are now subjected.

Resolved, That every citizen arm himself to be prepared to sustain the resolutions herein contained.

The next war of extermination was on the hands of the Mormon leadership in consequence of their own actions. In Missouri it was stealing a military supply convoy, attacking a state militia, and burning and pillaging local non-Mormon settlements. In Illinois it was counterfeit money, debt, political capital, and the religious leaders using their own militia to burn down a hostile printing press, an overt act of tyranny tending towards revolution. Actions have consequences and wars of extermination the Mormons found themselves in were direct consequences of the actions of Jo and his closest yes-men advisors.

The committee resolved to send this resolution to governor Thomas Ford. What was going on in Nauvoo during these 3 days? Jo doing his usual legal machinations to try and get himself off the hook. He agreed to be arrested by a city officer from Carthage, David Bettisworth. But, of course, we know Jo and he wouldn’t be arrested willingly without a plan. He knew the provisions created by the Nauvoo Charter and the expanded powers of writing writs of habeas corpus would let him off the hook. Accordingly, on Wednesday June 12th, 2 days after the Expositor was destroyed, Jo was put in cuffs and taken before the Nauvoo Municipal Court where they held a special hearing on Jo’s case. The court was filled with Jo sycophants and the proceedings went as expected.

The charges were consistent with the violations Jo’s enemies alleged against him, that “[accused] did… commit a riot,… wherein they with force and violence broke into the Printing Office… and unlawfully, and with force burned and destroyed the printing press, type, and fixtures of the same, being the property of [the 7 publishers]”. Jo and 17 other members of the City Council, Nauvoo Legion, and the city marshal were all arrested for the offense.

The arrest warrant was sworn out of Carthage, the seat of Hancock County, in which the city of Nauvoo resided. The arresting officer from Carthage, Bettisworth, noted that the warrant for arrest stated “bring them before me or some other justice of the peace to answer the premises, and further to be dealt with according to Law.” When the warrant was issued by Justice of the Peace Thomas Morrison, a member of the anti-Mormon political party, it was obviously issued with the understanding that the case would be heard in Carthage. Jo, however, objected.

After the officer got through reading the writ, I referred him to the clause in the writ, “before me or some other justice of the peace of said county,” saying “we are ready to go to trial before Esquire Johnson, or any justice in Nauvoo, according to the requirement of the writ:’ but Bettisworth swore he would be damned but he would carry them to Carthage before Morrison who issued the writ, and seemed very wrathy. I asked him if he intended to break the law, for he knew the privilege of the prisoners, and they should have it. I called upon all present to witness that I then offered myself (Hyrum did the same) to go forthwith before the nearest justice of the peace; and also called upon them to witness whether the officer broke the law or not.

I felt so indignant at his abuse in depriving me of the privilege of the statute of Illinois in going before “some other justice,” that I determined to take out a writ of habeas corpus, and signed the following petition:--

The petition is a pretty standard writ of habeas corpus but has an interesting petition in it worth note: “Your petitioner further avers that the design and intention of the said F.M. Higbee in commencing this prosecution, is to commit and carry out more easily a conspiracy against the life of your petitioner; that the said Higbee has publicly declared that it was his determination to do everything in his power to throw your petitioner into the hands of his enemies.” Jo pleaded not guilty to the charges of the warrant. Remember, Nauvoo had passed “an extra ordinance in the case of Joseph Smith” back in November of 1843 which made it so any officer entering the city of Nauvoo to arrest Jo could be arrested by the city marshal and imprisoned for life until an investigation into the merits of the warrant could be adjudicated in the Nauvoo Municipal Court. This effectively nullified any arrest warrant issued by anybody for Joseph Smith. He made the rules and the people had to follow them or be accused of breaking the law the way Jo had accused his current warden of doing so. Accordingly, White-out Willard Richards issued an order to the city marshal in Nauvoo in view of Jo’s writ of habeas corpus.

These are therefore to command the said David Bettisworth [the arresting officer from Carthage], constable as aforesaid, to safely have the body of said Joseph Smith,… in his custody detained,… together with the day and cause of his caption and detention… before the Municipal Court of the said city forthwith, to abide such order as the said court shall make in his behalf. And further, if the said David Bettisworth, or other person or persons having said Joseph Smith of said city of Nauvoo, in custody, shall refuse or neglect to comply with the provisions of this writ, you, the Marshal of said city,… are hereby required to arrest the person or persons so refusing or neglecting to comply,… and bring him or them, together with [Joseph Smith] forthwith before the Municipal Court…

Amazingly, the city marshal who received this order, John P. Greene, was one of the 18 men in the custody of Bettisworth when White-out Willard Richards issued this order. But, if Bettisworth didn’t comply with the order, John P. Greene had an official order to arrest Bettisworth and commit him to the city jail. What was Bettisworth to do? What could he do other than comply with the laws of Nauvoo? This is how despots retain their power. They make the rules calculated to their own benefit, and everybody who follows those rules only adds to the despotic power. The resolutions I read through earlier by the anti-Mormon party at Carthage didn’t come in a vacuum; they declared a war of extermination because no laws, resolutions, or ordinances they passed to legally remedy the Joseph Smith problem could supersede his power in Nauvoo. The anti-Mormons were playing by the rules in a rigged game so they overturned the gameboard.

The Nauvoo Municipal Court convened at 5 p.m. that evening and Bettisworth complied with the order, delivering Jo and his 17 co-conspirators to the courtroom. They swore in a few men of the city government to testify to the facts of the public nuisance order and the ordinance concerning libelous publications we’ve covered the last 2 episodes. They also slandered the characters of William Law, Francis Higbee, and Charles Foster, testifying that the riot which occurred on the evening the press was destroyed was all because of Higbee and the other publishers. Here’s just one of the testimonies. This is important because one of the charges in the arrest warrant was inciting riot. If they could get enough testimony to prove that it wasn’t the marshal or Nauvoo legionnaires who started the riot, the charge would be dismissed in the Nauvoo court and they could file a writ of double jeopardy if the Carthage court attempted to try them on riot again. Like I said, Jo would never agree to be arrested if he didn’t have a plan.

James Jackson sworn—confirmed the statements of previous witnesses; heard no noise on opening the [printing office] door, most of the confusion he heard was Higbee and his company throwing blackguard language to the posse, which they did not regard; saw the whole proceedings till they were dismissed—all was done in order. Higbee’s blackguard language was not answered to at all by the ranks; heard nothing said about shooting; heard some one damn the city authorities; understood it was Charles Foster. I am a stranger in this place.

Another testimony came from John P. McEwan where he alleged that Francis Higbee “said in reference to Joseph Smith, “God damn him, I will shoot him; and Hyrum Smith, God damn him, I will shoot him, and all that pertains to him, and before ten suns shall go over our heads, the Temple, Nauvoo House, and Mansion, shall all be destroyed, and it will be the total downfall of this community.” And another man named Joseph Dalton testified that “Higbee said if they laid their hands on the press, from that hour they might date their downfall; that ten suns should not roll over their heads till the city was destroyed.” This is how the Nauvoo Municipal Court worked. Jo pulled the strings, witnesses were produced on his behalf, the Higbees Fosters and Laws were never called in to testify on their own behalf, and at the end of the day:

Court decided that Joseph Smith had acted under proper authority in destroying the establishment of the Nauvoo Expositor…; that his orders were executed in an orderly and judicious manner, without noise or tumult; that this was a malicious prosecution of the part of F. M. Higbee, and that said Higbee pay the costs of suit, and the Joseph Smith be honorably discharged from the accusations and of the writ, and go hence without delay.

Not only was Jo discharged on all offences, but Francis Higbee was now bound to pay the court fees, which were assessed by Jo’s own kangaroo court which he personally took a cut from. I… I don’t have words for this. This is how people like Joseph Smith thrive in a world and society. Because case law in Nauvoo was binding for the city, the precedent set in this case meant that any riot started by anything the prophet did was acceptable and any opposition press which attempted to establish itself in the city could be destroyed by Jo’s cronies with impunity. And, with the older provisions and ordinances existing in the city, if any officer or constable from any other city attempted to arrest Jo to make him answer for any of these crimes, that officer would be arrested and the Nauvoo court would grant Jo his writ of habeas corpus and he’d walk free again. He was untouchable, but… he wasn’t immortal. When we discussed the Nauvoo Charter and D&C 124 on the show I titled the episode God-mode Jo because the powers granted by the charter were so sweeping and totalitarian. But, he was a mortal god and he could still bleed.

Jo knew that once the people of Carthage caught wind of what happened, they would bring the hammer down on him. The following morning he was given a copy of the resolution passed by the anti-Mormons in Carthage. But that information went both ways and the anti-Mormon party met again after learning Jo had a hearing in the Nauvoo Municipal Court which dismissed him honorably. The anti-Mormons drafted a new resolution based on testimony provided by Francis Higbee, who attended the meeting after he lost the case against Jo and was ordered to pay court fees.

Whereas, the officer charged with the execution of a writ against Joseph Smith and others, for riot in the county of Hancock, which said writ said officer has served upon said Smith and others; and whereas said Smith and others refuse to obey the mandate of said writ; and whereas in the opinion of this meeting, it is impossible for said officer so raise a posse of sufficient strength to execute said writ; and whereas it is the opinion of this meeting that the riot is still progressing and that violence is meditated and determined on, it is the opinion of this meeting that the circumstances of the case require the interposition of executive power. Therefore,

Resolved, that a deputation of two discreet men be sent to Springfield to solicit such interposition.

2nd, Resolved, that said deputation be furnished with a certified copy of the resolution, and be authorized to obtain evidence, by affidavits and otherwise, in regard to the violence which has already been committed, and is still further meditated.

The anti-Mormons sent this separate delegation of “two discreet men” to Governor Ford’s office. At the same time, Jo furiously wrote multiple letters to Governor Ford. Jo wasn’t sure how well this court ruling would hold with the anti-Mormons growing in strength and size every passing day in nearby Carthage.

His Excellency Thomas Ford:--

Sir:--I write you this morning briefly to inform you of the facts relative to the removal of the press and fixtures of the Nauvoo Expositor as a nuisance…

After a long an patient investigation of the character of the Expositor, and the characters and designs of its proprietors, the constitution, the charter,… and all the best authorities on the subject… The city council decided that it was necessary for the “peace, benefit, good order, and regulations” of said city, “and for the protection of property,” and for “the happiness and prosperity of the citizens of Nauvoo,” that said Expositor should be removed;…

I send you this hasty sketch that your Excellency may be aware of the lying reports that are now being circulated by our enemies, that there has been a “mob at Nauvoo,” and “blood and thunder,” and “swearing that two men were killed,” &c., &c., as we hear from abroad, are false—false as Satan himself could invent… and if your Excellency is not satisfied,… after reading the whole proceedings,… and shall demand an investigation of our municipality before Judge Pope or any legal tribunal at the Capitol, you have only to write your wishes and we will be forthcoming; and will not trouble you to fill a writ or send an officer for us.

I remain as ever, a friend of truth, good order, And your Excellency’s humbler servant, JOSEPH SMITH

Jo had his friends, John M. Berhisel, Joseph R. Wakefield, and Hingepin Sidney Rigdon all send letters of good character about Jo to Governor Ford at the same time. These letters are filled with gems. Bernhisel called Jo “naturally a man of strong mental powers, and is possessed of much energy and decision of character, great penetration, and a profound knowledge of human nature. He is a man of calm judgement, enlarged views, and is eminently distinguished by his love of justice.” So, go ahead a lie about Jo, but do you have to fill your lies with so many euphemisms? Joseph R. Wakefield said that every assertion in Jo’s letter we just read “are true in every particular, and that the press in the minds of all unprejudiced people was a nuisance of the worst character, and that the authorities acted perfectly proper in destroying it;”. Hingepin Sidney Rigdon focused less on Jo than the persecution complex he’d been harping on for over a decade as Jo’s second in command. He talks about Jo and those who were arrested being afraid to be carried to Carthage as their lives felt threatened. “with this demand [to carry the arrested to Carthage] they refused to comply, as there is a large assembly of persons assembled at Carthage making threats of violence; and they say, and I have no doubt verily believe, that by going there their lives will be in danger, and from the intelligence which I received last evening from a person no way connected with the affair,… I must think so myself… he heard threatenings by the persons assembled there, that if they could get into Nauvoo that they would murder indiscriminately, and those who wanted to escape must leave. This your Excellency will abhor as I do.” Rigdon being the calculated pragmatist he was wraps his letter to Governor Ford with “I send this to your Excellency as confidential, as I wish not to take any part in the affair, or be known in it.” Rigdon could see the writing on the walls and feared the coming blood running through the streets.

After all these letters were sent to Governor Thomas Ford, Jo held a meeting with “two brethren… from Lima [Illinois]” bearing grave news. Colonel Levi Williams, a powerful enemy of the church who would later be tried for murdering Jo and Hyrum, “had demanded the arms belonging to the Mormons in that neighborhood.” The men sought the meeting with Jo to ask what the Mormons should do when members of the Illinois militia demanded their arms, to which Jo “told them that when they gave up their arms to give up their lives with them as dearly as possible.” They also brought intel “that a company of men were constantly training at Carthage. Mr. John M. Cane from Warsaw said that several boxes of arms had arrived at Warsaw from Quincy; there was some considerable excitement”.

Jo was far from an idiot. He knew that his release from the Nauvoo Municipal Court would only further infuriate these people and fuel the coming fire once they caught word. Also, the orders passed by the anti-Mormon party were easier said than done. They called all the Mormons living outside Nauvoo to consolidate to Nauvoo, but there were hundreds of Mormons living in Illinois not inside the boundaries of Nauvoo. Those in greatest danger for the time being were the hundreds of Mormons living at the Morley Settlement, known as Yelrom, Morley spelled backwards. They were lead by one of the earliest converts to the church from Kirtland, Isaac Morley. What made it so dangerous for those living in Yelrom was the fact that it was about 30 miles south of Nauvoo. Directly between Nauvoo and Yelrom Illinois was Warsaw and the road connecting Warsaw to Carthage, where the anti-Mormon fire was raging. Yelrom was cut off from Nauvoo and nobody could expect safe passage between Yelrom and Nauvoo without at least being accosted by the anti-Mormons in Warsaw. The anti-Mormons viewed Yelrom as an opportunity to turn the screws on Jo and force action. Isaac Morley sent a letter to Jo to inform him of the situation there.

President Joseph Smith:

Sir:--Believing it to be my duty to inform you of the proceedings of a wicked clan against the Saints in this place, I improve this opportunity. On yesterday… [A] Mr. Baker came to my door and said he had some business, and wished to speak with me. I went out into my dooryard with him, and he came in company with a Mr. Banks and others; they informed me they were a committee appointed to inform me and our people, that they had three propositions to make to us; in the first place yourself and about seventeen others had broken the law and good order of society; that we, the Mormon people, must take up arms and proceed with them for your arrest, or take our effects and proceed immediately to Nauvoo, otherwise give up our arms and remain quiet until the fuss is over. We have until Monday morning next to make up our minds; we have made up our minds that we shall not comply with any of these proposals, but stand in our own defense; we have no signature from the governor, or any official officer, to accept of such wicked proposals.

That was the proposition, you have 24 hours to decide whether you’ll help us arrest your religious and political leader, or you’ll be disarmed and forced to Nauvoo, where we’re consolidating all the Mormons. Jo’s reply to this intel? “you will take special notice of the movements of the mob party that is stirring up strife, and endeavoring to excite rebellion to the government and destroy the Saints, and cause all the troops of said Legion in your vicinity to be in readiness to act at a moment’s warning”. But, it wasn’t just a reply telling Father Morley to ready the troops, there was also strategizing. “if the mob shall fall upon the Saints by force of arms defend them at every hazard, unless prudence dictate the retreat of the troops to Nauvoo, either come before them or in their rear, and be ready to co-operate with the main body of the Legion. Instruct the companies to keep cool, and let all things be done decently and in order.” Jo also told Father Morley to send affidavits of everything that happens to Governor Thomas Ford. Once this letter exchange was complete, Jo resorted to an ultimate option, calling on a higher power to extricate himself from the situation. Not God, no, but Governor Ford himself.

His Excellency Thomas Ford:

Sir:--I am informed from credible sources,… that an energetic attempt is being made by some of the citizens of this and the surrounding counties to drive and exterminate “the Saints” by force of arms; and I send this information to your Excellency by a special messenger,… who will give all particulars; and I ask at your hands immediate counsel and protection…

The Nauvoo Legion is at your service to quell all insurrections and support the dignity of the common weal.

I wish—urgently wish your Excellency to come down in person with your staff, and investigate the whole matter without delay, and cause peace to be restored to the country; and I know not but this will be the only means of stopping an effusion of blood…

I remain, sir, the friend of peace, and your Excellency’s humble servant, JOSEPH SMITH

In a tragic repeat of the Missouri-Mormon war, Thomas Ford’s personal presence was requested, but information took so long to get to him. By the time a messenger traversed the 120 miles to the Governor’s office in Springfield, new events had transpired at an exponentially accelerating pace. A skilled single rider with horse exchange stations of well-trained and fit horses could make that ride in 2 days with almost no sleep, but an average rider on a single horse taking needed rests and sleeping 6 hours a night would take 5 days to make the journey. Then it would be another day to get the meeting with the Governor and another 5 days to make the journey back with his reply. Everything we’ve discussed in the episode so far transpired over 5 days.

During the Missouri-Mormon War, the trip from the Mormon headquarters of Adam-ondi-Ahman to Richmond was even further. The lack of communication made everything far more complicated. For that reason, as well as the need to have an authoritative figure on their side, the Mormons petitioned Governor Lilburn Boggs to come and handle the issue in person. Communications took too long to reach him and he received botched intel and signed the Mormon extermination order without ever having stepped foot outside his office. The Mormons learned from this and I’d like to think Governor Thomas Ford had as well so Jo made this earnest plea to bring the Governor to Nauvoo to personally handle what was happening. Beyond that, Governor Ford was receiving communications and meetings from anti-Mormons nearly everyday during this affair. Jo wanted to balance out the information he was getting with some Mormon propaganda to combat the anti-Mormon propaganda.

Beyond that, Jo was intent on spreading propaganda from Nauvoo to places beyond the city limits as it was becoming increasingly dangerous to be a Mormon in Illinois outside of Nauvoo. He organized a propaganda campaign similar to that of the travelling propaganda experts dealing with the John C. Wreck-it Bennett meltdown for the last 6 months of 1842. This meeting was held after he’d sent the letters to Isaac Morley and Governor Ford.

Resolved, That inasmuch as many false reports are being circulated through this country by designing characters, for the purpose of bringing persecution upon the peaceable citizens of this city, we will use our endeavors to disabuse the public mind, and present a true statement of facts before them as speedily as possible.

Resolved, That for a more speedy accomplishment of this object, this meeting appoint delegates to go to the different precincts throughout the county to lay a true statement of facts before the public.

Then it lists 14 places and the 24 men tasked with canvassing these areas to spread the Mormon propaganda. These men were expected to risk their lives in hostile areas and tell people a message they didn’t want to hear in a futile attempt to preserve the life of the prophet. When Jo returned from the meeting, a letter from his uncle John Smith was awaiting him.

President Smith:

We send you… two faithful brethren, who will give you all the information which is within our knowledge, of the proceedings of our enemies;… we should have sought your counsel sooner only on account of high water…

This was Jo’s reply.

Uncle John:

we were glad to see [the brethren from Ramus], and to hear that you were all alive in the midst of the ragings of an infatuated and blood thirsty mob. I write these few lines to inform you that we feel determined in this place not to be dismayed if hell boils over all at once. We feel to hope for the best, and determined to prepare for the worst; and we want this to be your motto in common with us “that we will never ground our arms until we give them up by death” “Free trade and sailor’s rights, protection of persons and property, wives and families.”

If a mob annoy you, defend yourselves to the very last, and if they fall upon you with a superior force, and you think you are not able to compete with them, retreat to Nauvoo… Remember the front and the rear of your enemies, because if they should come to Nauvoo to attack it unlawfully, and by mob force, a little annoyance upon the rear with some bold fellows would be a very good thing to weaken the ranks of an enemy.

It is impossible to give you correct information what to do beforehand, but act according to the emergency of the case; but never give up your arms, but die first…

We have sent to the governor, and are about to send again; and we want you to send affidavits and demand the attention of the governor, and request protection at his hand in common with the rest of us,…

As Jo was exchanging all these letters, Hyrum Smith also drafted letters to all the members of the Quorum of Apostles. The letter retained in the Joseph Smith papers archive and reprinted in the History of the Church is to Bloody Brigham Young, but the handwritten draft on the Joseph Smith Papers lists the names of the various apostles and their locations, meaning a copy was made and sent to each of them.

Now, this letter is tragic when we consider what it really means. Each of these men were out electioneering and meeting with politicians to elevate Jo’s presidential campaign. Most of them had been out of the state of Illinois for weeks by the time these letters were sent. Why this is tragic is because Jo was a smart guy, and as evidence of that intelligence, he surrounded himself with people who were equally or more intelligent with particular sets of skills. Whenever each of these men spoke about anything with regards to his leadership or tough decisions he had to make, Jo listened. He really did listen. He may have been headstrong and confrontational but he was smart enough to recognize good advice when it was given. The Council of Fifty minutes, the City Council minutes, the High Council minutes, all of these are filled with page after page of Jo asking for the advice of his counselors and dealing with the information they provided and often making decisions based on that advice. Many of these guys were yes-men and sycophants who would do anything the prophet said without any opposition, but there were others like Bloody Brigham Young who had a spine to push back and give candid advice when it was most needed. The aldermen of the city and most of the city councilors were lemmings, but the highest-ranking leaders in the church was a much more healthy mix of intellect and expertise. The decision to pass the city ordinance concerning libelous publications and declaring the Nauvoo Expositor a public nuisance which led to this storm of chaos was all made without Jo’s closest advisors telling him these were bad ideas. Had Bloody Brigham Young been present for those city council meetings, I’m of the opinion that the Expositor never would have been burned and American history would look very different today. Instead, the rational voices were nowhere near the city to temper Jo’s irrational tendencies. The saddest part about these letters if that almost all of them wouldn’t be received before Joseph and Hyrum were dead. John E. Page was in Pittsburgh. Heber the Creeper Kimball was in Washington D.C. with Orson Pratt. George A. Smith, cousin of Jo and Hyrum and son of uncle John Smith was in New Hampshire. Willy goat Wilford Woodruff was in Portage County New York, not far from Jo’s old stomping grounds with P-cubed Parley P. Pratt somewhere in the state of New York as well. Amasa Lyman was in Cincinnati. Jo’s younger brother Crazy Willy Smith was with Orson L’Chydem in Philadelphia. The Wild Ram of the Mountains, Lyman Wight, was in Baltimore and Bloody Brigham Young was in Boston. The letter we’re about to read was sent on June 20th 1844. They wouldn’t be received for at least 2 weeks. But just 7 days after they were sent, Jo and Hyrum lay dead in a wagon entering Nauvoo, surrounded by sobbing friends and family. When each of these men opened their letters, it was too late.

Dear Brother Brigham Young:

There has been for several days a great excitement among the inhabitants in the adjoining counties. Mass meetings are held upon mass meeting, drawing up resolutions to utterly exterminate the Saints. The excitement has been gotten up by the Laws, Fosters, and the Higbees, and they themselves have left the city and are engaged in the mob. They have sent their runners into the State of Missouri to excite them to murder and bloodshed, and the report is that a great many hundreds of them will come over to take an active part in murdering the Saints. The excitement is very great indeed.

It is thought best by myself and others for you to return without delay, and the rest of the Twelve and all the Elders that have gone out from this place, and as MANY MORE GOOD FAITHFUL men as feel disposed to come up with them. Let wisdom be exercised, and whatever they do, do it without a noise. You knew we are not frightened, but think it best to be well prepared and be ready for the onset, and if it is extermination—extermination it is of course.

Communicate to the others of the Twelve with as much speed as possible, with perfect stillness and calmness. A word to the wise is sufficient, and a little poweder, lead and a good rifle can be packed in your luggage very easy without creating any suspicion

There must be no excuses made, for wisdom says that a strict compliance with this request will be for our safety and welfare.

In haste, I remain yours in the firm bonds of the new and everlasting covenant,

HYRUM SMITH

[P.S.] large bodies of armed men, cannon and munitions of war are coming on from Missouri in steamboats. These facts are communicated to the governor, and President of the United States, and you will readily see that we have to prepare for the onset.

In the bonds of the new and everlasting covenant, I remain yours,

JOSEPH SMITH

The desperation. The urgency. The grasping at straws for any comforting hand when war was imminent and inevitable. When these men finally broke the wax seal of the prophet containing this letter, the authors of it had already breathed their last breath.

The days all these letters were exchanged was Sunday June 16th, 1844. This day also contained one of Jo’s final sermons on the godhead. He reiterates many of the points made in the King Follett Discourse but there are a few extra points worthy of mention.

I testify again, as the Lord lives, God never will acknowledge any traitors or apostates; any man who will betray the Catholics will betray you, and if he will betray me he will betray you. All men are liars who say they are of the true church without the revelations of Jesus Christ and the priesthood of Melchizedek, which is after the order of the son of God.

It is in the order of heavenly things that God should always send a new dispensation into the world, when men have apostatized from the truth and lost the priesthood; but when men come out and build upon other men’s foundations, they do it on their own responsibility without authority from God; and when the floods come and the winds blow, their foundations will be found to be sand, and their whole fabric will crumble to dust.

Did I build on any other man’s foundation? I have got all the truth which the Christian world possessed, and an independent revelation in the bargain, and God will bear me off triumphant.

After Jo made this speech, he went to the temple construction grounds where he “met some thousands of the brethren. I instructed them to keep cool, and prepare their arms for defense of the city; as it was reported that a mob was collecting in Carthage and other places.” These were obviously the majority of the Nauvoo Legion and he was preparing them for the next Mormon war. He then went to the Masonic Lodge where a Judge Jesse B. Thomas “advised me to go before some justice of the peace of the county, and have an examination of the charges specified in the writ from Justice Morrison of Carthage, and if acquitted or bound over it would allay all excitement, answer the law, and cut off all legal pretext for a mob, and he would be bound to order them to keep the peace.”

He went home and considered the advice of this Judge he met in the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge, went to bed and probably didn’t get a lick of sleep. Then Jo woke up the next morning and was arrested again for a second trial in a week in the Nauvoo Municipal Court. And here is where we’ll leave our prophet and criminal kingpin to pick up in coming episodes.

There are a number of consequential angles to consider with everything that happened in the single week we discussed on the show today. There are the three prongs of power dynamics, each with competing interests to weigh in the balance.

First, there was the Mormon side, which had a few integrated levels of interests to consider. The average Mormon wanted to live their life and contribute to building the kingdom of God. Then there was the Mormon leadership, directed by the prophet priest and king Joseph Smith who was on an unstoppable path of avarice and ambition. He wanted nothing more than to grow his empire and bring the entire world under his control. An autocrat is never truly satisfied with the boundaries of his empire, no matter how vast.

Second competing power dynamic prong to consider was the anti-Mormons, which also has a number of integrated levels of interests. The average citizen of Illinois simply wanted to live their life and let others do the same. They didn’t want their money and property stolen and didn’t want to be swindled by counterfeit money. And they really wanted their neighbors to pay their bills. Then there were the violence-seeking vocal minority who comprised the anti-Mormon political party. They wanted the leadership of the church to answer for their crimes. If that meant marching a state militia into the city and burning it to the ground to remove every single Mormon from the state then so be it. That strategy worked in Missouri so why not their state?

Then we have the third competing power dynamic prong to consider; the government, personified by Governor Thomas Ford. The two competing interests discussed previously were mutually exclusive. Mormons and anti-Mormons act as matter and anti-matter. Whichever has the greatest presence cancels out the other and stands as the remaining force. That presents us some interesting questions when we consider this growing conflict from the perspective of Governor Thomas Ford. He wanted peace in his state and Governors in the mid-19th century held considerably more power than governors today. The civil war would see growth of the federal government and correlated shrinkage of the power of governors but that was still 20 years in the future.

What was Governor Thomas Ford to do? He was a wise man and he knew that the non-Mormons were looking for any opportunity to march into Nauvoo with guns and bowie knives and take justice the old-fashioned American way. He recounts in his History of Illinois circa 1852 the turmoil, conflict, and the plans of the non-Mormon militia, discussing why they wanted to have the Governor’s blessing to enter Nauvoo.

I observed that some of the people became more and more excited and inflammatory the further the [militia] preparations were advanced. Occasional threats came to my ears of destroying the city and murdering or expelling the inhabitants.

I had no objection to ease the terrors of the people by such a display of [military] force, and was most anxious also to search for the alleged apparatus for making counterfeit money; and, in fact, to inquire into all the charges against that people, if I could have been assured of my command against mutiny and insubordination. But I gradually learned, to my entire satisfaction, that there was a plan to get the troops into Nauvoo, and there to begin the war, probably by some of our own party, or some of the seceding Mormons, taking advantage of the night, to fire on our own force, and then laying it on the Mormons. I was satisfied that there were those amongst us fully capable of such an act, hoping that in the alarm, bustle, and confusion of a militia camp, the truth could not be discovered, and that it might lead to the desired collision.

That counterfeit money is a much larger point. I know I said last week that we’d discuss Joseph H. Jackson this week but I decided to push it to next week for a few good reasons, most importantly is that we can’t discuss counterfeit money in Nauvoo without talking Joseph H. Jackson and the inverse is also true. It was a huge problem and he was one of the central figures of the counterfeit operation in Nauvoo. We’ll talk about it next week. After that passage, Governor Ford makes a larger assessment about how it would more likely go down once his state militia was gathered if they weren’t able to make it into the city. He had the 30,000 foot view of the situation.

I was openly and boldly opposed to any attack on the city [of Nauvoo], unless it should become necessary, to arrest prisoners legally charged and demanded. Indeed, if any one will reflect upon the number of women, inoffensive and young persons, and innocent children, which must be contained in such a city of twelve or fifteen thousand inhabitants, it would seem to me his heart would relent and rebel against such violent resolutions… No one who has children of his own would think of it for a moment.

Besides this, if we had been ever so much disposed to commit such an act of wickedness, we evidently had not the power to do it. I was well assured that the Mormons, at a short notice, could must as many as two or three thousands well-armed men. We had not more than seventeen hundred, with three pieces of cannon, and about twelve hundred stand of small arms. We had provisions for two days only, and would be compelled to disband at the end of that time. To think of beginning a war under such circumstances was plain absurdity. If the Mormons had succeeded in repulsing our attack, as most likely would have been the case, the country must necessarily be given up to their ravages until a new force could be assembled and provisions made for its subsistence. Or if we should have succeeded in driving them from their city, they would have scattered; and, being justly incensed at our barbarity, and suffering with privation and hunger, would have spread desolation all over the country, without any possibility on our part, with the force we then had, of preventing it. Again; they would have had the advantage of being able to subsist their force in the field by plundering their enemies.

He’s right on every point. The Mormon was one of the largest militias in the nation. The national forces could only gather and support with provisions as many as 8,000 soldiers at any given time. The Mormon militia was larger than anything Governor Thomas Ford could gather in any reasonable amount of time without support from the federal government. The Mormons would win the battle. Then what? Jo had worked so hard to make his settlement above the critical mass necessary to be able to flaunt all laws and have a large enough militia to enforce that impunity. He’d reached that critical mass.

The anti-Mormons had so much pent-up rage they wanted to express by shooting them some damned Joeites. The Mormons wanted to live in peace inside their own theocracy without any legal oversight. The Governor wanted to keep the peace. These competing desires insured escalating tensions and chaos would be the inevitable result.

The words of Joseph Smith from just a week before the Nauvoo Expositor was published echo through my mind. The Expositor publishers had formed their own church with William Law at the helm, the prospectus of the Expositor had been published, the Expositor itself was being written and printed, Joseph was more vulnerable at this time than he’d been in years because all his closest advisors and leadership safety net were all over the country. Jo stood at the head of a few thousand Mormons gathered for Sunday worship service on May 26th, 1844, knowing the publishers of the Expositor were about to ignite a blaze throughout the city.

I,… have been in perils, and oftener than anyone in this generation; as Paul boasted, I have suffered more than Paul did. I should be like a fish out of water if I were out of persecution; perhaps my brethren think it requires all this to keep me humble. The Lord has constituted me so curiously that I glory in persecution; I am not near so humble as if I was not persecuted. If oppression will make a wise man mad, much more a fool. If they want a beardless boy to whip all the world, I will get on the top of a mountain and crow like a rooster; I shall always beat them…

God is in the “still small voice”; in all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil—all corruption. 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 ever has 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 me; the followers of Jesus ran away from him; the Latter Day Saints never ran away from me yet. You know my daily walk and conversation. I am in the bosom of a virtuous and good people. How I do love to hear the wolves howl; when they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.

The only difference is this time the howling wolves will drink the blood of a god.

How to heretic and general conference.

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