Ep 214 – Mormonism From Its Infancy
On this episode, Jo and Hyrum are in Carthage Jail. We spend this week talking about the grand plans of Joseph Smith’s Mormon theocracy to roll forth throughout the world. We discuss what this Mormon revolution would look like, the contrived theological boundaries which justified it, and the deliberate steps taken to carry it out. From the Book of Mormon to the Council of Fifty, Jo sought to capitalize off the plight of slaves and the oppression of Native Americans. Jo’s POTUS campaign comes into focus within the larger scheme of Mormon expansionist ideals. Eventually, he realized a powerful ally was needed and attempted to gain the favor of the Russian Emperor. NO COLLUSION!
JS April 1836 letter to the editor justifying slavery
Joseph H. Jackson 1844 expose
Find Christopher C. Smith here!
Music by Jason Comeau http://aloststateofmind.com/
Show Artwork http://weirdmormonshit.com/
Legal Counsel http://patorrez.com/
While Joseph and Hyrum Smith languish away in Carthage jail with a few of their closest and most-trusted allies, we’ve spent the last few episodes catching other people up to June of 1844. It’s a complicated time in Mormon and Illinois history with a lot of moving parts.
Today I want to zoom out… take a few steps back and see a larger picture. Today we’re going to talk about the world of the 1840s and the Mormon plans of revolution. Let’s discuss the wiring, weaponry, armor, structure, and fuel source for Talos, the Mormon war machine; let’s find out this thing’s first mission.
Radical and revolutionary movements throughout history teach us that a radicalized vocal minority can force a silent majority into committing any sort of atrocity. Before the silent majority realizes what’s happened and the way things are, the radical minority has seized too much power to be stopped. Sometimes these radical revolutions are necessary to progress society and we have to weight the cost of human life in the balance. From an American-centric perspective, the revolutionary war was started by a vocal minority which led to chaos, death, destruction, but gained America its independence from the British Commonwealth. The impacts of this revolution, led by a radical minority, are far-reaching and history-shaping on a global scale. Was the cost of human life worth it? What was the moral decision to cause the least harm to the fewest people? Similarly, abolition of slavery was a largely minority movement in America but when it gained enough weight and politicians on its side, a civil war became inevitable. Devastation, mass death and illness, opioid addiction, economic devastation, cities burned to the ground, overall societal collapse were caused by the civil war but slavery was outlawed which was a necessary progression for America to make and was clearly the moral high ground, even if the human cost was immense. Like it or not, World Wars one and two brought about some of the greatest scientific advancements humans ever made in aviation, navigation, communication, machinery, medicine, and, unfortunately, humans’ abilities to kill one another, more so than any other singular catalysts in human history. Much of our medicine and technology we use every day traces its DNA back to advancements made by governments during wartime. Millions die and the world becomes better for billions. I don’t like this. I don’t like that humans need calamities, atrocities, and mass devastation to advance faster than we do during peacetime. It’s paradoxical and uncomfortable, but it’s also necessary to acknowledge the vast and irreversible changes and impacts caused by each of these revolutions.
I’d also be grievously mistaken if I didn’t acknowledge that some of the most vicious and autocratic periods of history have been the result of tyrannical overthrow, resulting in far-reaching suppression of human rights and Orwellian dictatorships. These revolutions retard societal progression, forcing people under such regimes to live inside a time capsule of totalitarianism while the rest of the world continues to progress. We see these examples at the massive global scale when comparing Europe to China and at the smaller scale when comparing South to North Korea.
Revolutions come in all shapes and sizes. The most troubling aspect of any revolution is that it’s nigh impossible to determine whether or not the outcomes would be better or worse for more people whilst caught in the middle of them. Often, only with hindsight can we determine whether or not a revolution was more good or more bad for more people; and even judgments of what’s “good” and “bad” can be very subjective, especially when the revolution is happening.
These are simply my musings based on personal observations. Take them how you will. Why am I opening the episode this way? I posted something on twitter and one of the radical Mormons who hate-follows me replied with #America #Deznat to which I responded America and Deseret Nation are mutually exclusive propositions, idiot. There are believing Mormons today paying their tithing to the wealthiest religion in the world who pine for the day when a Mormon theocracy is finally resurrected from the ashes of the Utah Territory and constructed to rule the world, the last government earth will ever need. Building a Mormon theocracy was a concept which predated the Mormons creating it in modern-day Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, and Wyoming. This idea started with the man who created the religion and it was the goal of Mormonism from the earliest days to become the de facto national religion of America, and use the economic and geographic advantages of America to expand that religious empire to the other 6 continents.
The Mormon religious revolution was deep in planning phases by the time Jo was locked in Carthage Jail. Election to POTUS was the next step on the path to building this theocracy and establishing the kingdom of god for the last days was in the minds of every sycophant who considered Jo the mouthpiece of god. They’d declared Nauvoo a sovereign territory, formed their own government, written their own constitution, and had their own army. Historians today often regard Jo’s presidential campaign as a protest candidacy for their treatment in Missouri, but doing so neglects the real ambitions of Jo and his cabal of criminal elites. They used the Missouri experience as the persecution narrative to garner support from the outside world and fire up the members to do whatever necessary to support the leaders. Persecution motivated the people to follow the prophet and not go astray, while keeping them distracted from ever considering the mission of the church and its leaders with any sense of criticism.
Back on episode 3 of the Council of Fifty series of the show, I wrote a fictional history from a future Mormon theocratic dystopia as a thought exercise, but today I want to really examine what Jo and the leadership had in mind for America given the context of events at the time. Today is a podcast about the politics and current events in the 1840s, the view of the Mormon leadership with respect to these issues, and speculation about the larger plans for the pipe-dream Mormon empire that was in its infant stages under Jo’s leadership.
From its very foundation, Mormonism sought to be the unifying religion of the Native Americans. Indigenous people across America presented some controversial and polarizing issues for European settlers of their United States since the pilgrims first landed and began extensive settlement operations. Relationships between Natives and European settlers varied by location, interaction, and decade. Sometimes the Europeans sought peaceful negotiations and mutual trade with the Natives. These types of interactions represented only a small minority of relations between the groups. As the Europeans settlers grew in numbers and geographic size, they had more leverage and power by which they could enforce their will on the various Native groups with which they came in contact. Interactions which started as peaceful negotiations and trade agreements quickly devolved into warfare, deliberately infecting tribes with old world diseases, and outright seizing of land and genocide. All of this occurring within the context of the Native American slave trade which was an ever-present reality predating any European settlements on the continents which also vacillated in frequency and popularity until the late 19th century. Understandably, after a moratorium was placed on new African slaves being brought to, and sold in, America in 1807, the Native slave trade increased, although numbers and details are exceptionally difficult to nail down. Most of these Native slaves were taken through kidnapping and raids, while others were prisoners of war from various tribal conflicts and sold to the European settlers or traded for African slaves.
Slavery was, and is, a disturbing practice. It runs against human’s innate morality of property and ownership vs autonomy and independence. To be able to own slaves, beat them, sexually abuse them, profit off their labor, force them to live in squalor, while the owner lived in relative comfort and opulence, it requires suppression of human sympathies. It requires a system of beliefs which can override the discomfort of that dissonance. Lucky for these slave holders, they were Christians who had a bible to assuage all those discomforts and make their god say whatever he needed to in order to justify atrocities. The Bible is full of plenty of directions for how to beat slaves so as not to be held liable for murder, how to acquire female prisoners of war as sex slaves, how to commit genocide, lots of real great gems in there.
From Genesis 8:25-7
And he said cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord god of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
From Ephesians 6:5-9
“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ: Not with eye service, as men-pleasers: but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart: With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men. Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”
There are plenty more but those passages immediately come to mind for reasons we’ll discuss momentarily. African slavery was justified by this curse. Other ideas predominated about the Native Americans and understanding their history within the Christian context.
I want to suspend reality for a thought exercise to illustrate this point. Suppose in a couple hundred years, humans become an interplanetary species and humans themselves travel to an earth-like planet in a nearby solar system. Upon arrival we find, not only sentient creatures, but civilization. This civilization is pre-space age, mostly agrarian and advanced enough to have livestock animals and cultivated plant materials, but far from any technology we have back on earth like harnessing and utilizing electricity or even metalwork. We call them Soltiplex. By human standards the Soltiplex are primitive, but only a thousand or so years regressed from the humans who landed there. Absolutely no communication can take place between the different domains, but not for lack of trying.
Suppose one of the astronaut humans is an idiot Christian who believes in the earth being 6,000 years old and thinks evolution is an anti-Christian lie. These new organisms have to somehow fit into the paradigm of their stupid book so they communicate extra hard with the Soltiplex and surmise the Soltiplex are actually communicating in Adamic, the language Adam and Eve used to communicate with Yahweh. What an amazing discovery! This same moron, we’ll call him Chris, Chris Christianson; this same moron takes off his helmet because he has an exemption from facemasks card in his wallet. The other astronauts are like, “Chris, what’s wrong with you! You’re endangering the mission, yourself, and the Soltiplex!” and Chris yells back “Muh religious liberties!” and the other astronauts roll their eyes and sigh because chief justice Kavanaugh’s disembodied sentient head in a jar ruled 3 weeks before they left earth that religious people can commit genocides if they say they sincerely believe in genocide. Then Chris holds out his paper bible, a 2020 NIV edition, a relic of a simpler time, to one of the Soltiplex and points to a passage from John saying Jesus super duper loves everybody, including weird alien folk. The Soltiplex doesn’t seem interested but Chris insists on leaving the Bible on this new world with the Soltiplex. The astronauts conclude to capture a few Soltiplex to bring back to earth to study, but on the flight home Chris wonders how they taste and if they’re good at doing laundry. He’s memorized his bible and sees the Soltiplex all have what appears to be markings all over their faces, “this must be their curse!” he exclaims in excitement of his discovery. The Bible says they’re to be servants. God must have put the Soltiplex on that planet for his chosen people to find one day and exercise dominion over! The other astronauts have to remain silent because Chris will report them to the neutral and respectful consideration of religious beliefs bureau if they ever contradict anything he says or thinks.
The astronauts return with a few specimens of Soltiplex and the scientist astronauts tell their superiors about all the discoveries. Chris, however, goes to his buddies at the Christian-science division of the Discovery Institute and they spend thousands of man hours mining passages from the Bible to explain how the descendants of Shem were taken to a different domain after the flood, and the Soltiplex are clearly an inferior race god put on that planet for humans to have dominion over.
Fast forward a half decade and Chris Christiansen is with another group of astronauts on a journey back to this earth-like planet. This time he was smart enough to bring a box of old print bibles from the early 21st century as gifts to the Soltiplex. However, upon arrival, the planet is devastated. 5 years ago the planet was covered in millions of Soltiplex with amazing buildings, sprawling plant life, beautiful scenery; but now, the buildings are abandoned, the plants are mostly dead and the few alive are sickly and near death. The only living Soltiplex are in a perpetual state of despair and survival mode, attacking the astronauts when they approach, clearly starving and in desperate need of some form of medical attention. Massive dirt piles on the outskirts of the cities conceal millions of dead Soltiplex. “What could have caused this devastation?” Chris wonders to himself. “Why would god curse these wonderful and simple creatures with such death and destruction?” The astronauts, including Chris, take a few more sample and specimens of the dying creatures and return to earth. Chris takes all this data back to the Christian Science department of the Discovery Institute to comb through the Bible and find some kind of explanation for it. Chris and his buddies conclude that the Soltiplex who survived whatever scourge caused such destruction must have been the ones who caused it.
Chris, however, is a pretty imaginative Christian, and decides to write a book about the Soltiplex using Bible passages with the help of a few of his friends at the Discovery Institute. This book happens to explain the existence of the Soltiplex, turns out they’re descendants of Shem who believed in Jesus, but turned away from God’s grace and he cursed them for it. The book sells like hotcakes because people want answers for what happened to the Soltiplex. Generations pass and Humans begin making frequent supply and settlement missions to the ruins of Soltiplex, some of whom carry Chris’s new Book of Soltiplex with them. These Christians make effort after effort of teaching the few living Soltiplex how to read this new Book of Soltiplex, which tells them the never before known history of their Christian ancestors who settled their empty planet a mere 3,000 years ago. The Soltiplex begin to speak English and this missionaries are successful in teaching them reading and writing, but not too much reading and writing or the Soltiplex might chose to stop helping the human settlers build their human structures and cultivate their human crops on the ruins of the Soltiplex civilizations.
As the humans explore more of this new world, they find carvings, language, maps, calendars, advanced communication highways, and carbon date early Soltiplex ruins to hundreds of thousands of years old. These scientists even learn that the Soltiplex actually communicate non-verbally through a series of sonar waves at frequencies humans can’t hear. These scientists eventually decipher the carvings and communications among the ruins and find the Soltiplex have a deep, complicated, and beautiful system of mythologies, beliefs, and ways to understand the world on which they live. Beyond that, these mythologies and beliefs deciphered vary from civilization to civilization across the entire planet. These scientists painstakingly construct a patchwork history of the Soltiplex, but it takes decades to do it. By then, the only remaining living Soltiplex are fluent in spoken and written English and believe in the Book of Soltiplex as their history. Chris is the mouthpiece of their mythology who gave them their history and they’re happy to have it. Whatever these scientists are trying to teach the Soltiplex is anathema to what’s contained in the Book of Soltiplex and decry the scientists as heretics.
But then, tragedy strikes. The scientists decipher a critical artifact in one of these civilizations which states explicitly that immediately after Chris took his helmet off during the first visit, all the Soltiplex began dying immediately for unknown reasons. They trace more artifacts from just after that time and see there’s no question that Chris taking off his helmet was the cause of all the devastation which left the planet nearly extinct, which directly contradicts what’s included in the Book of Soltiplex. In fact, they don’t even call themselves Soltiplex, that’s the humans’ word for them. The scientists take all this information to Chris, in his old age living in a complex with statues of him in every corridor. They tell him he’s the cause of the Soltiplex nearly dying out and then he commands his Soltiplex army to kill the scientists for heresy.
As belabored an analogy as that was, it’s extremely difficult to construct a metaphor which does justice to what Mormon theology really is. Chris is a monster. Every person who follows in his path and believes in the Book of Soltiplex is a complete monster. Whether out of ignorance or a misdirected need to shift the blame for death and devastation from himself, Chris constructed a facet of his system of beliefs to explain what happened within the context of Christian dominionism and manifest destiny. He was the cause of all the death and destruction; he was the beneficiary of Soltiplex enslavement to build his human empire on the new world, but to admit he’d committed atrocities through ignorance and a superiority complex would force Chris to admit god’s plan is flawed and injustice exists without ultimate resolution. But, if his book of scripture explains that the Soltiplex were victims of god’s wrath because of their own sins, he doesn’t bear the blame. He even has the bible which tells him its okay to take the Soltiplex as slaves; if the Bible is flawed then his human tendencies to think slavery is wrong cause him cognitive dissonance because his own morality is better than the bible. But, every Christian is capable of ignoring their innate human morality when a Bible passage contradicts, so it must be the adversary putting that cognitive dissonance in Chris’s head because the Bible is the word of god and therefore infallible.
As long of a journey into metaphor that was, it’s about the only way I can explain the genesis of the Book of Mormon and Jo’s desires to give that Native Americans a Christian history in hopes they’d call him their prophet and build statues to the great Joseph Smith. The issue of African slavery and Native American genocide didn’t seem to bother Jo all that much, especially if he could capitalize off the torment and atrocities committed by his European settler contemporaries.
Those passages I pulled from the Bible earlier which justify slavery; I didn’t have to go find them myself because I simply read them from a letter to the editor Jo wrote in April of 1836.
I know that when an Israelite had been brought into servitude in consequence of debt, or otherwise, at the seventh year he went from the task of his former master or employer; but to no other people or nation was this granted in the law to Israel. And if, after a man had served six years, he did not wish to be free, then the master was to bring him unto the judges, boar his ear with an awl, and that man was “to serve him forever.”16 The conclusion I draw from this, is that this people were led and governed by revelation and if such a law was wrong God only is to be blamed, and abolitionists are not responsible.
Now, before proceeding any farther, I wish to ask one or two questions:—Were the apostles men of God, and did they preach the gospel? I have no [p. 290] doubt but those who believe the bible will admit these facts, and that they also knew the mind and will of God concerning what they wrote to the churches which they were instrumental in building up…
What could have been the design of the Almighty in this wonderful occurrence is not for me to say; but I can say, that the curse is not yet taken off the sons of Canaan, neither will be until it is affected by as great power as caused it to come;13 and the people who interfere the least with the decrees and purposes of God in this matter, will come under the least condemnation before him; and those who are determined to pursue a course which shows an opposition and a feverish restlessness against the designs of the Lord, will learn, when perhaps it is too late for their own good, that God can do his own work without the aid of those who are not dictated by his counsel.
Jo’s own words justifying slavery and saying the curse of Cain is the skin of blackness. Whenever you hear modern Mormons saying the curse wasn’t a skin of blackness and that’s just taking Book of Mormon passages out of context, you can show them Jo’s own words in this April 1836 letter which was published in the official church newspaper of the time, the Latter Day Saints Messenger and Advocate.
Jo’s perspective on slavery would evolve when in Nauvoo, but only because it was politically advantageous, not out of any moral convictions. He also wanted to end slavery by giving a massive government bailout to the slaveholders without any plan to help the freed slaves themselves transition into life after slavery. Somebody who flip-flops on the slavery question, especially in the 19th century just 2 decades before the civil war, isn’t doing so out of a sense of what’s moral, but a sense of what’s popular. Regardless of where the mouthpiece of an all-loving all-knowing god came down on slavery, it was a social issue of the day.
The growth of European-American settlements and negotiating slavery in each new territory or state was a source of heated disagreement in politics at the time. When Jo put out that statement in 1836, the final phases of the Indian Removal Act were beginning implementation. Jackson wanted the Florida territory really bad, as well as what would become modern-day George, Alabama, and Mississippi so all those Natives needed to go. The Trail of Tears was started in 1831 and by the mid 1830s when Jo made that statement about slavery being totally sanctioned by god, more than 45,000 Natives had crossed the trail, which opened over 25 million acres for European-American settlement. Political philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, on visit from France in 1831, saw firsthand the brutality of these forced resettlements.
In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction, something which betrayed a final and irrevocable adieu; one couldn't watch without feeling one's heart wrung. The Indians were tranquil, but sombre and taciturn. There was one who could speak English and of whom I asked why the Chactas were leaving their country. "To be free," he answered, could never get any other reason out of him. We ... watch the expulsion ... of one of the most celebrated and ancient American peoples.
It's not that people like Jo living in the 1830s had a different sense of morality than all of us; they weren’t amoral robots or something. It’s because European Americans enjoyed the life afforded to them as a result of this brutality that they chose to not take a stand or to simply look the other way when their fellow human beings were being forced from their lands and marched to their deaths. However, Jo took this a step further because he sought to profit from this oppression and persecution. He knew what was transpiring during this Native removal and his revelations provide a window into his mentality.
His revelation given in December 1832, contained in modern D&C 87, says:
Verily, thus saith the lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations beginning at this place. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States,… and then war shall be poured out upon all nations. And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war. And it shall come to pass also that the remnants [Native Americans] who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation… And thus,… shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations. Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen.
Jo was privy to the social issues of the day and he prophesied that the coming civil war would bring about the end of the world, god would return, and the saints will be blessed if they stand in holy places and be not moved. Odd that Jo said the remnant, meaning the Natives, will be marshaled and disciplined for war, implying they would join the slave uprising thus making the civil war even more calamitous and deadly.
The plight of Native Americans was widely recognized but rarely opposed by the wider public to any extent which may stop it from happening. Indigenous peoples live on reservations across America today because the political will somehow still isn’t there after more than 400 years of oppression and abuse. People just like Joseph Smith sought to convert Native Americans to Christianity as part of assimilation into what they called “civilized” society. It was a common idea of the time, if the Natives would assimilate properly by converting to Christianity, owning homes, building and maintaining stores and trading posts, and even owning African slaves, then they’d be treated as equals by European-American settlers. This is clearly white supremacy and it’s disgusting, but Jo took the concept a step further. Not only did the Natives have to convert to Christianity, but they needed to convert to his Christianity by accepting the Book of Mormon as a book about their history, thus accepting the label of “Lamanite” and embracing the erasure of their true history.
Jo is our Chris Christiansen. He was responsible, not personally, but by virtue of the time and place he lived, of the near eradication of Native Americans and he personally capitalized on their suffering by writing their history for them without knowing the first thing about them. It was always his dream to give them this history and be regarded as their religious leader, a religious leader who could federate the scattered remnant together and vex the gentiles with a sore vexation. 1830s America could handle the power dynamic created by slavery and still keep the slaves oppressed; it could also handle the constant expansion of America into Native regions by pushing them further and further back. These were each tenuous fronts to maintain. Like the Nazis waging war on the western front then turning east and attempting to expand into Russia, there is a finite amount of this oppression and warfare a nation can handle. If, however, the slaves and Natives were able to organize and join forces, they were positioned to make a pincer movement on both sides of the Southern states and they could burn through it in a matter of months before taking their war to the Northern states out of retribution. This was the ever-present threat for European-American settlers. Any white man, like possibly a religious leader, who could utilize this pent-up rage from oppression and genocide for his own ends would become the greatest force America had ever dealt with to that point. The further white settlers could push back Natives and the longer they could keep slaves from organizing, the longer the power dynamic remained exceptionally comfortable for those European settlers who were building America as we know it from the comfort of their offices on the whip-scarred backs of slaves atop the corpses of Indigenous people.
These weren’t high minded ideas or pipe dreams Jo thought up in a drunken stupor, he took deliberate actions to integrate his Mormon missionaries with the Native Americans, attempted to get them to take Native women as plural wives as early as 1831, and frequently made in-roads with Native communities throughout his entire 14-year ministry. It started with the first missionary troop who visited the natives in Kaw Township just outside Jackson County, Missouri. The missionaries were kicked out because they annoyed the Natives and didn’t have the proper permits, causing tensions between the Mormons there and the Missourians in Jackson County.
Eventually Jo made war against the state of Missouri and by doing so committed high treason, murder, and arson. Upon his arrival in Nauvoo, Jo sought to forge relationships with Natives in multiple directions. He met with Pottawatamie chiefs in Nauvoo on multiple occasions, gave them gifts, possibly even gave them a portion of the Egyptian Papyri scrolls he bought in Kirtland as a token of friendship, and 11 of these chiefs were present during the last General Conference Jo presided over in April 1844. He also sent Lyman Wight to Wisconsin territory where Wight made a number of deals with the Natives there who were sick of how the government was oppressing them and had faith in Jo’s great mission of rectifying these wrongs. If the two groups, the Mormons and the Pottawatamies, could use each other to accomplish mutual goals, good for everybody, right? You think Jo would show them any loyalty or would he discard them as soon as they stopped being useful to them?
That will forever remain a mystery as Jo was assassinated before his grand plans were hatched. Missouri, however, was a turning point for Jo. From his escape from Liberty Jail to his internment in Carthage Jail he did everything in his power to insulate himself and his ability to flaunt the laws. What we’ve examined for the past 3 years on the podcast has illustrated his ability to craft the Nauvoo government and municipal court in such a way that he could commit crimes, or cover up crimes, with impunity. These weren’t his actual grand plans; they were merely symptoms of what he sought, the expansion of his empire from the east to the west coast, from Florida to Oregon. From there, greater expansion would follow with Jo as king of this new Jerusalem.
This was a dream shared by his fellow conspirators in building the Mormon theocracy, and in many ways is still a belief owned by some Mormons and church leadership to this day. The constitution will hang by a thread and it will be enlightened members of this church which will come to the rescue on their white horse… or Learjet.
We discussed this a bit in the last episode when reading the Council of Fifty minutes. This new Mormon government was to be the final government the world would ever need. This was the government of God and the Council of Fifty was to bring it. They opined in the May 13th meeting reading letters from Orson Hyde about Texas and Oregon.
We have this day had a long conversation with Judge [Stephen A.] Douglass. He is ripe for Oregon, and California. He said he would resign his seat in Congress, if he could command the force that Mr. Smith could, and would be on the march to that couuntry in a month.
Orson Hyde continues reporting what he learned during his visit to Washington D.C.
I learn that the eyes of many aspiring politicians in this place are upon that country; and that there is so much jealousy between them that they will probably pass no bill in relation to it. Now all these politicians rely upon the arm of our government to protect them there, and if government were to pass an act establishing a territorial government west of the rocky mountains, there would be at once, a tremendous rush of emigration; but if government pass no act in relation to it, these men have not stamina or sufficient confidence in themselves and their own resources to hazard the enterprize.
Sounds like the Senate needed a Bloody Brigham Young to go out there and blaze the trail. Orson Hyde continues:
Should Texas be admitted, war with Mexico is looked upon as inevitable. The Senate has been in secret session on the ratification of the treaty of annexation; but what they did we cannot say… Judge Douglass says he would equally as soon go to that country without an act of Congress as with; “and that in 5 years a noble state might be formed, and then if they would not receive us in the union, we would have a government of our own”.
That must have been pretty exciting for both Jo and Bloody Brigham to hear read out loud from Orson Hyde’s letter. Hyde, however, didn’t stop there.
It is the opinion here among politicians, that it will be extremely difficult to have any bill pass in relation to the encouragement of emigration to Oregon; but much more difficult to get a bill passed designating any particular man to go; but all concur in the opinion that we are authorized already.
In case of a removal to that country, Nauvoo is the place of general rendezvous our course from thence would be westward through Iowa, bearing a little north, untill we come to the Missouri river, leaving the State of Missouri on the left, thence onward till we come to the Platte, thence up the north fork of the Platte to the mouth of Sweet water River in Long. 107” 45” W. and thence up said Sweetwater river to the South pass of the Rocky Mountains about 11 hundred miles from Nauvoo, And from said South pass in Lat 42 [D] 28” north to the Um[p]qua and Clamet [Klamath?] valleys in Oregon bordering on California is about 600 miles—making the distance from Nauvoo to the best portions of Oregon 1700 miles. There is no government established here, and it is so near California, that when a government shall be established there, it may readily embrace that country likewise.
Orson Hyde also sent coveted maps of John Fremont’s exploration trip, probably stolen from the Library of Congress by Stephen A. Douglass. A problem presented itself with these letters, though. While there was no chapter of the American government established out in Oregon or on the west side of the Rocky Mountains, and the Texas question was still a huge unknown as it would inevitably result in war with Mexico was annexed, it didn’t mean those possible settlement places for the Mormons were uninhabited. That’s where Jo’s petition to Congress for 100,000 volunteers comes into play. Not soldiers, volunteers. Not actual militiamen, but volunteers and if they happen to convert to the church during the journey then so be it. They’ll get along much better with their fellow Mormon Nauvoo Legionnaires better that way.
With these grand plans for the next Mormon settlement underway with Nauvoo as the launch point, how does Jo’s presidential campaign factor into the decision, and why Oregon? For this, we must turn to a person who was a brief confidant of Jo. Jo thought he could use this guy, this guy just wanted to infiltrate the Mormons and see what was going on and help affect an arrest. Our good old friend, the quintessential anti-Mormon expose writer, Joseph H. Jackson. The final pages of Jackson’s 1844 expose reveal what the real grand plan was and it sheds a pretty sinister light on the grand scheme, how Talos, the Mormon war colossus, was to be truly implemented. This passage centers around a guy named Uriah Brown, an inventor. Uriah Brown had devised a clever device and offered it to Jo, who promptly inducted him into the Council of Fifty.
I’ve read this from Joseph H. Jackson’s expose on the show before and I even read the entire expose for those special listeners in the know who support the show at patreon.com/nakedmormonism. However, given the context of today’s show and what lies in our very near horizon, this passage really bears underscoring today. Beginning on page 33 of A Narrative of the Adventures and Experience of Joseph H. Jackson in Nauvoo; Disclosing the Depths of Mormon Villainy:
I have now given a brief sketch of some of the damnable practices carried on, in the name of religion, in Nauvoo; but to avoid an interruption, I have omitted to narrate several matters that passed before my observation. The world is generally aware of the fact, that Joe Smith was a candidate for the Presidency. This has excited universal contempt and merriment; for no one conceived that Joe had any idea of his own success; but he had his even in this, which was more treasonable and deeper laid than a person unacquainted with him could imagine. His object was simply this: There was a Mr. Brown, formerly of Rushville, with whom I became acquainted in Nauvoo, soon after my arrival there. This man has a wonderful genius for invention, and has planned a sub-marine battery and steam fire ship, which, to all appearance, is capable of great execution. He stated to me, that he had been operating for 21 years, in perfecting this work, but had not the means to bring the matter before the nation, and that Joe made him a propusition, which had caused him to remove to Nauvoo. This proposition was, to furnish the means to take him, together with G. A. Adams and Orson Hyde, to Russia, where the invention would be laid before the Emperor; and as Joe had great faith in its success, he expected a large sum for the secret, Which Brown and Joe were to divide. This was palmed off on Brown, but was far from being Joe's real object. His real object, as he disclosed it to me, was this: He would first run for President, and thus be be able to prove to the Emperor of Russia his strength in the Union. He would then send G. A. Adams, Orson Hyde, and Brown to Russia, and after the utility of the invention had been fairly proved to the Emperor, Joe's proposition to him was to be submitted: which was to form a league for the overthrow of the powers that be. Now this may seem too ridiculous for any man to imagine possible; nevertheless, no one acquainted with the excessive vanity of Joe Smith, will doubt but that he in reality believed that he could form even so preposterous a union. Joe's idea was, that by the aid of Brown's invention, he could introduce himself to the Emperor, and having the strongest faith in the efficiency of the new discovery as an instrument of warfare; he imagined, that if His Majesty could once see the wonderful work, that he would be willing even to take him as a partner in the benefits, for the sake of its advantages. As wild as this scheme may seem, it is no wilder than many that have characterized Mormonism from its infancy.
This plan was never carried out, but the Council of Fifty minutes list the mission to Russia, corroborating Jackson’s single most disturbing and salacious of claim within his expose. Notably as well, after Jo’s death, Bloody Brigham sent a letter to this inventor, Uriah Brown, in 1851 asking for the flamethrower to make quicker work of the Natives they were encountering in the Utah territory.
But what does this passage really mean in the context of Jo’s deepest desires? You see, dear listener, the outcome of his presidential campaign actually didn’t matter. It was just a marketing ploy for a much larger and more dangerous plan; that was, to form an alliance with the Emperor of Russia, use Uriah Brown’s submarine, and take over the entire world. Why and how? Russia had proven so resilient to Napoleon’s forces just 3 decades before, Britain was a sharp enemy of America, having so recently lost the colonies from the Commonwealth, the next largest global ally Jo could see on the horizon was Russia. Once this alliance was formed with the new Mormon settlement in Oregon, hundreds of thousands of soldiers ranging from volunteer Americans, oppressed Native Americans seeking restitution of their lands, and freed slaves bloodthirsty for retribution against their former masters; this ragtag army with naval superiority via flamespitting submarines to completely decimate the Royal British fleet, this was a world-ending plan for Mormon global superiority.
Had even a portion of these plans been carried to completion, we would be living in a largely different world today. I may just be speaking for myself here, and if any of the people I hate-follow on social media truly believe what they say then this is certainly the case, but it was a good thing for Jo to be stopped dead in his tracks. When the Mormon Titan, Talos, was left without a pilot, it left many people devastated, but because these plans were left shattered to pieces, the world became a better place that day. If you disagree, fight me on social media about it; you’ll probably gain some new DEZNAT followers.
Alright, folks, let’s talk about what’s ahead. A few weeks ago I gave a brief forecast of the podcast, well now it’s time for some details. What lies ahead is a 10-part series titled “Road to Carthage” to conclude the history of Mormonism under its founder, Joseph Smith.
We’re going to spend the first 7 of those episodes examining various stories and aspects withing Joseph Smith’s and early Mormonism’s history. We’ll be discussing many of the most prominent figures but of course our primary focus will be Jo himself. We’ll cover the timeline focusing on the four primary theatres of Jo and Mormon history, New York, Kirtland Ohio, Missouri, and Nauvoo Illinois. Each episode will highlight stories in each of these locations throughout the entire 39 years life of the founder. Then, episode 8 will be the final hour, discussing the events of June 27th which preceded the assassinations that evening. Episode 9 will be the Carthage assassination itself. And finally, episode 10 will be the immediate aftermath once the bodies were brought back to Nauvoo. That final episode will also contain a conclusion reflecting on everything I’ve learned on this journey. I’ve hired personal friend and Mormon history mercenary, Christopher C. Smith to help put together a final product I hope you’ll all enjoy as much as I’ve enjoyed making them. Chris has been a complete lifesaver and you can check the show notes to find him.
These episodes will be standalone. No listener mail. No thanking new patrons. Nothing but history with self-referencing episode numbers throughout in case you want to learn more about anything I say from episodes in the backlog. And, of course, each episode will have extensive show notes. They’re also all really long. I think every script right now is over 21 pages; for context, today’s is twelve pages.
Now… As for what comes after the Road to Carthage. The podcast will be going on hiatus. After nearly 6 years of almost entirely weekly episodes, your very tired host needs a little break. Longer than a few weeks, no longer than several months. What comes after the hiatus, well, you’ll just have to stick around to find out. Hopefully, for those of you who financially support the show on patreon.com/nakedmormonism, a few months’ break during the second half of 2020 will probably be a welcome respite (resput). I’ll probably still put up occasional patron-exclusive content over there during hiatus, but I won’t be charging you lovely folks for it. Tanner and Skyler just signed up for all the patron content, maybe join the NaMo outer darkness family during the hiatus and you get all the extra content for free until the show boots back up. Lots of audiobooks, live hangouts, extra interviews, extended NSFW editions of the show. Meh, whatever… you hear the sales pitch every episode.
In the meantime, I’ll still be doing shows every two weeks of current events and Mormon history deep dives over on Glass Box Podcast so if you’re going to miss me just too much during the Naked Mormonism hiatus, you can still find me there. Or, hey, buy some merch at glassboxpodcast.com/store! That’s super helpful too!
I’ll also be attending and presenting at Sunstone on the Whova app this upcoming July 29-Aug 1. My session is on Saturday at 3:15. Information for virtual attendance is in the show notes. The theme this year is, fittingly, Gratitude and Grief.
That’s all the housekeeping for now. Thanks for lending me your ear and I hope y’all are ready to go on one hell of a ride for the next 2.3 months. I hope to talk at ya next time, here, on the NMP.
Copyright Ground Gnomes LLC subject to fair use. Citation example: "Naked Mormonism Podcast (or NMP), Ep #, original air date 07/03/2020"