Ep 30 – Zion's Camp and Zelph with David Michael pt1
On this episode, David Michael of the My Book of Mormon Podcast joins us to talk about Zion's camp. Strap in for a two parter, because there is just too much to talk about and 7 hour episodes are too much work. How does a shepherd react when a wolf devours the flock? Joe decides to make a 1,000 mile march with a band of merry men for the purpose of "peaceful reinstatement" of the Missourian Mormons to their homes, following the battle for Zion that happened in November of 1833. What wiles and deeds are the Mormons up to on this military march? Listen and find out! (Spoiler alert: A great white Lamanite corpse is unearthed!!!)
Outro music Jason Comeau http://aloststateofmind.com/
Zion's Camp Seminary video
How to find David Michael
Welcome to episode 30 of the Naked Mormonism Podcast, the serial Mormon history podcast. Today is Thursday March 17, my name is Bryce Blankenagel and thank you for joining me.
The last historical episode was quite the treat. We had Noah Lugeons on to talk about the entire timeline of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut. If you don't know who Noah Lugeons is, he's a primary contributing writer editor and producer of 3 amazing podcasts. They have the Scathing Atheist, which is the first atheist podcast I ever listened to, and I can't recommend it highly enough, the skepticrat, which is their political show hailing from the far center, and of course, God Awful Movies, which is their chrisitian movie review podcast. Just a quick sidenote, when Noah and Lucinda were here they told me about the movie they would be reviewing next called If Footmen Tire You, What will Horses do? They had just reviewed the new movie Risen, which is a high production, high dollar jesus flick, so they hit the completely opposite side of that spectrum with this movie. Noah said that if there is any movie to watch before listening to the respective episode of God Awful Movies that deconstructs that movie, it was this movie, if footmen tire you what will horses do. I tortured myself with the hour long movie, and the following day I listened to the GAMcast review of the movie, and it was truly the hardest I've laughed in weeks. At one point the hosts talk about something that happened to a child in the movie, and I had to pause the podcast, because I couldn't hear it over the sound of my own laughter, while tears were streaming down my face. That episode has to be one of the best episodes of the God Awful Movies podcast ever, just because the material they had to work with was so ripe.
All of that to say, if you haven't heard the other shows that Noah is on, you are definitely missing out, and you only have yourself to blame. Beyond that, I also wanted to thank Tanner Gilliland for engaging in such an enlightening interview on the last episode. You can check out all of his stuff by searching for Mormonism and Me on youtube, or by searching for Zelph on the Shelf to find their blog and podcast.
Anyway, on the last historical episode, Noah and I discussed all the ins and outs of Mister Doctor Philastus Hurlbut, when he came into the timeline, when he went on his mission, all the way through his campaign to bring the Spalding theory to light, and it all ended with him being jailed for assaulting Joe, and Hurlbut consequently selling his work to E.D. Howe to publish in Mormonism Unvailed.
It's clear to see that Doctor Phil here experienced the worst possible outcome in the given scenario. Now there have been a lot of theories tossed around concerning this time in the Mormon timeline. For those that agree with the Spalding theory, they could easily claim that Hurlbut attained a copy of Manuscript Found, and possibly sold it to Joe and Rigdon, who promptly destroyed it, and stiffed Doctor Phil Hurlbut out of the money portion of the deal, which serves to explain why Hurlbut wanted to kill Joseph, or Mormonism in general, which got him thrown in jail in the first place. That's only one possible scenario that explains all the evidence.
The recurring theme throughout most of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut's timeline is the fact that Joe always won. No matter what Doctor Phil tried to do, no matter what evidence he could amass against the church, Joe and Rigdon still retained the vast majority of their followers, and Hurlbut ended 1834 financially destitute, living with one of his old flames in Kirtland.
I want to talk about Doctor Phil for a moment, because he is really important to Mormon history, and Book of Mormon authorship studies. We need to paint a proper picture of Doctor Phil, just so we can properly understand the nature of the evidence he collected, and some of the objections to it.
Doctor Philastus Hurlbut embodies a very distinct image in my mind. I picture him being a grubby, dirty man, in his mid 30's. From some of the descriptions, he seems like he wasn't very well kept, probably always had a scruffy beard going, and wore the same clothes for weeks on end. He was a very woman centric guy, having been kicked out of 4 churches for "unchristian-like conduct with women," just like he was excommunicated from Joe's church for. From what I can tell, a few of the people he stayed with during his travels for the Spalding theory, were actually women he'd been with before, probably the few he hadn't treated like complete dogshit before then. Altogether, Hurlbut was pretty much financially destitute, like most non-land owners were in the frontier days, and seemed to bum around, and get his living expenses paid by nearly any means necessary. He really wasn't a pleasant man to be around, and we can get a feeling for that when we hear that Spalding's widow, Matilda Davison, really didn't like him, or trust him enough standalone, she needed to see a letter from Solomon's brother before she could trust Hurlbut's good intentions, even though he was carrying around a Book of Mormon, and probably showed it to her, describing the similarities between it and her late husband's work.
Let's also consider the campaign that Doctor Phil Hurlbut was on as a whole. He was hired by a committee of people that didn't like the church, also labeled as the anti-mormon committee. Once we run into this detail, the problems begin to stack up when you consider the situation from a believer's perspective. Already, we know that this guy Hurlbut isn't the most trustworthy guy, and a womanizer at best. Upon embarking upon this anti-mormon campaign, he talked to a bunch of people that hated Joe, or the Smiths, or just Mormonism in general, and also lectured at other churches about the harms of Mormonism. He subsequently threatened Joe's life, and Joe was able to file a recognizance against him, which was like a restraining order, proving that he hated Joe. Then, you compound on top of that, the fact that he was hired to come up with this evidence that proves Mormonism completely false, and you have an historical figure that's ripe for ad-hominem attacks.
It's very easy for a believer to completely discount the information gathered by Doctor Phil Hurlbut. If Mormons today can write off the work of somebody like Dan Vogel, or D. Michael Quinn today, it's inexplicably easier with somebody like Hurlbut that can be considered a dreg of society, and did all this research more than 180 years ago. Mormon scholars argue that Hurlbut was only a member of the church for a little while, and never did anything noteworthy to establish his own credibility, therefore, nothing Hurlbut collected should be considered in the realm of historical reality. Mormon's may argue that Hurlbut manufactured a consensus between all the quotes he provided, or he possibly just invented them out of whole cloth.
Of course, these arguments against Hurlbut's work don't hold up for shit. Yes he was a grubby man, and did things that made him seem less than trustworthy. Yes, he was only a member of the church for a few months, and was excommunicated for his actions, whatever they may have been. Yes, Hurlbut may have altered the exact wording of what these people said and asked them to sign it. Yes, Hurlbut did threaten the church, and arguably had an ax to grind, and ended up being held responsible for keeping the peace, and for paying the court fees and bond which totalled in excess of $300, which he probably wasn't very happy with.
All of these arguments only count against Hurlbut when you consider them outside of the context of what was happening. Once you strip away the ad-hominym attacks, and wrap all those arguments against Hurlbut, and his work, into the timeline of Mormon history, and the context of the church at the time, all the pieces fit together, and all the evidence makes a lot of sense.
Follow me along this path for a minute. If the Spalding theory is true, everything make sense in context. Hurlbut was preaching Mormonism, found out it wasn't true, then went to extreme lengths to prove a natural explanation for the Book of Mormon. Hurlbut didn't get excommunicated, then disappear for 6 months, then produce the evidence from whole cloth; instead, we're able to track him as he was collecting all this evidence, travelling from town to town, lecturing all along the way. Beyond that, the vast majority of the quotes he collected were multiply attested by subsequent interviews by people other than Hurlbut, and nothing that was said in any of the quotes was ever retracted or contradicted by the people that gave the quotes. Some were later clarified, but never retracted.
As for the claim that he had a financial stake in getting this information, I would just default back to what Noah said when we were talking about Hurlbut. Noah said something along the lines of "when you hire a private investigator, he has a financial stake in getting information, but you don't discount what he tells you, just because money is on the line," the same thing happened with this anti-mormon committee hiring Hurlbut to collect this evidence. Yes he had a financial stake in collecting this evidence, but it's not like Hurlbut was paid off an exorbitant amount of money, just to claim that the Book of Mormon was false. Doctor Phil Hurlbut was merely given travel and living expenses during this time, so he could focus on gathering the evidence, as opposed to dealing with financial destitution while conducting this work. The money he received wasn't part of a conspiracy that bought Hurlbut's statement or something, it was more like a research grant. And, much like today's research grants today, the person performing the research usually doesn't benefit financially from conducting the research, rather the entity funding the research is usually the beneficiary. We see the same thing happen when we look at Hurlbut and his work.
After all his research was conducted, he didn't live in the life of luxury from his huge payoff; rather, he was left more poor than he was when he first started the research. Just consider all the extra shit Hurlbut had to deal with in doing this research. He was persecuted by Joe and the other Mormons. He was left with no money, and a restraining order against him, living in a town full of people that hated him. He had been thrown in jail, and socially maligned for his work, and by the end of it all, he disappeared into the annals of American history, barely meritting a single-line mention in Mormonism Unvailed, which contained all of his research.
Considering Hurlbut's timeline, and the fact that he basically gave his life to a church that he later found out was completely false, it's understandable that he may have been angry, and may have had an ax to grind against Joe, Rigdon, and the church. The thing is, it's natural for him to have been angry at the situation. The exact timeline that Hurlbut followed, is basically what we would expect out of somebody in his circumstances.
Really, I pity his luck, and respectfully commend him for his efforts, and thank him for having to deal with the height of Joe assholery up to this point. I'm glad Hurlbut dealt with it back then so we can read about his efforts today, and understand his frustrations throughout the Mormon chapter in his personal timeline.
That's a sufficient roundup of last historical episode, and it catapults us into the meat of today's episode. We have a lot of ground to cover here, as does Zion's camp, so let's get started. For the historical portion of this episode, I brought on a good friend to help understand exactly what happened. You may know him from the My Book of Mormon podcast, or from the 45 minute drinking game he crushed me in during the 7.5 hr Book of Mormon episode of this show. He's a fellow history nerd with a voice as smooth as a duck's butt feathers, and he also has two first names. Welcome David Michael.
Well, over the last few episodes, we've been covering a lot of ground in terms of time. The whole discussion about Doctor Philastus Hurlbut moved our timeline into early 1834. The historical episode a month ago covered the timeline of Joe and company up to very late 1833, and the Hurlbut episode finally pushed us over that 1834 edge. We're getting ever closer to the crazy years of Mormon history.
In order to discuss our timeline today, we need to remember back to the end of Episode 28. That episode finished out with talking about the Battle for Zion, recounted through the eyes of Philo Dibble, or as we call him Dibble-Dabble.
Tensions had been rising between the residents of Jackson County and the influx of Mormons that were moving in. A large majority of these tensions were due to racial problems between Missourians and Mormons. Almost all of the Mormons had come from anti-slavery Northern states, or Europe which had mostly outlawed slavery by 1833, and Missouri was chartered as a slave state. The Mormons had released a statement in their newspaper inviting all free negroes and mulattoes to attend church services, which really drew the ire of Missourians. The civil war was fought over people wanting to keep other people as property, and the battle for Zion seemed almost like a precursor. Add in to the anti-slavery tensions the fact that a lot of people considered Joe a cult leader and false prophet, and sent by the devil to lead people away from real christianity, and the social pressures between the Mormons and the Missourians really start to come into focus. All of this spurred the Battle for Zion on November 4th 1833.
Mormons were beat with bull-whips, shot, murdered, cornered on a farm for a few days, and altogether rallied against by the Missourians. What does a shepherd do when a wolf devours one of the flock? Hopefully take action, one would think. It took a couple weeks for word about the battle to reach Joe, and when it did, he immediately began taking actions to remedy the situation.
That's not to say that everything was hunky dory in Kirtland town. A disciplinary council was held for our pal Not-So-Smarty-Marty.
"I then gave a relation of my situation at the time I obtained the record, the persecutions I met with, and prophesied that I would stand and shine like the sun in the firmament, when my enemies and the gainsayers of my testimony shall be put down and cut off, and their names blotted out from among men.
The council proceeded to investigate certain charges presented by Elder Rigdon against Martin Harris; one was, that he told A. C. Russel, Esq., that Joseph drank too much liquor when he was translating the Book of Mormon; and that he wrestled with many men and threw them; and that he (Harris) exalted himself above Joseph, in that he said, 'Brother Joseph knew not the contents of the Book of Mormon, until it was translated, but that he himself knew all about it before it was translated.'"
Right after this the High Council was created to take care of problems that were arising in the church. This isn't the council of the twelve apostles that would be organized the following year, this was just the high council with twelve members. (Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams are Presidents. Twelve High Priests: Joseph Smith Senior, John Smith, Joseph Coe, John Johnson, Martin Harris, John S. Carter, Jared Carter, Oliver Cowdery, Samuel Harrison Smith, Orson Hyde, Sysvester Smith, and Luke Johnson)
Feb 24 they held a meeting to decide what to do about Zion. During it, Joe gave a revelation, and the council decided on some fateful actions. Lyman Wight and Parley P. Pratt presented their experiences in Independence.
"Brother Joseph then arose, and said that he was going to Zion, to assist in redeeming it. He called for the voice of the Council to sanction his going, which was given without a dissenting voice. He then called for volunteers to go with him, when some thirty or forty volunteered to go, who were present at the Council. It was a question whether the company should go by water or by land, and after a short investigation it was decided unanimously that they go by land. Joseph was nominated to be the commander-in-chief of the armies of Israel, and the leader of those who volunteered to go and assist in the redemption of Zion."
Joe and P-cubed travel to Western NY on a recruiting trip, carrying a newspaper from Independence with them. In the revelation that Joe gave, he called a few elders in twos to go recruiting for the march to Zion.
During this time, Joe P-cubed Hingepin Rigdon, and a few others stayed with the Alvah Beaman family. Pratt recounted it "Among those whose hospitality we shared in that vicinity was old Father Beaman and his amiable and interesting family. He was a good singer, and so were his three daughters; we were much edified and comforted in their society, and were deeply interested in hearing the old gentleman and Brother Joseph converse on their early acquaintance and history."
Mary Beaman remembers the visit clearly "His society I prized, his conversation was meat and drink to me." 19 year old Louisa would eventually become Joe's first official polygamist wife in Nauvoo. She was the first sealing to happen in Nauvoo in 1841.
(it just wouldn't be a proper episode if we didn't meet one of Joe's wives somewhere down the line)
Elder Orson Pratt stayed in NY to raise $2k to save the United Order from its debts. The people in NY supposedly thought they could come up with that money in a 2 month period.
March 25, one month after leaving Kirtland to recruit for Zion's camp, Joe returned to Kirtland, having spread his mighty seed of anger against the Missourians.
Soon after arriving, Joe received a letter from Orson Pratt telling that they wouldn't be able to raise the necessary money to save the United Order. Joe wrote back an extremely vitriolic letter to the people of NY that promised the money, saying the blood of the people of Zion is on their head. This spurred them to dissolve the United Order and liquidate any remaining assets.
Once dissolved, at the advise of Sidney Rigdon, the church rebranded itself to be called "The Church of the Latter-day Saints"
Received a letter from WW Phelps, in Missouri, detailing how intense it was, and how much pressures were building against the Mormonites.
"Dear Brethren – There are great moves in the west. Last week an alarm was spread in Jackson county, the seat of iniquity and bloodshed, that the Mormons were crossing the Missouri, to take possession of their lands, and nearly all the county turned out, "prepared for war;" on Saturday and on Sunday took the field, near old McGee's, above Blue; but no Mormons came; neither did Arthur go over to see about his "spilt whiskey" so that the scene closed by burning our houses, or many of them. Our people had about one hundred and seventy buildings in Jackson, and a bonfire of nearly all of them at once made a light large enough to glare on their dark deed and cup of iniquity running over at midnight.
The crisis has come; all who will not take up arms with the mob and prepare to fight the Mormons, have to leave Jackson county. I understand some have left the county, because they refused to fight an innocent people..."
2 days after rebranding, on May 5th, Joe and the other Kirtland volunteers leave for New Portage, 55 miles south of Kirtland, for the first gathering stage of Zion's camp.
Of the $2k that Joe planned on pulling in from the church to save the United Order, and get the Mormons in Missouri out of debt, he received a total of $251.60, a mere order of magnitude less than he hoped for.
"My company from Kirtland consisted of about one hundred men, mostly young men, and nearly all Elders, Priests, Teachers, or Deacons. As our wagons were nearly filled with baggage, we had mostly to travel on foot."
2 things: 1 this implies that there were adult male members of the church that weren't in any of those offices, which is very contrary to current Mormonism, and 2 the fact that the wagons were full makes sense, they were trying to replenish some of the goods that the Missouri Mormons had lost in the ransacking and burning of their homes. But whatever was in the wagons had to sustain the camp for a march that lasted more than a month. Feeding almost 200 mouths every single day is a logistical concern that didn't really get addressed before embarking on this campaign.
Only men left in Kirtland were elderly men, Rigdon, and Ollie. Ollie had been appointed to assist Rigdon, and Rigdon had been blessed with wisdom, and the full keys to the kingdom of God. If something happened on this trip and Joe died, Rigdon would have been the new official prophet and president of the church, which would have unfathomably altered all of Mormon history.
This time away from Rigdon and Ollie gave some other elders like Bloody Brigham some time alone with the Prophet, and tasks to distinguish themselves with. This is the first thing in our timeline where Bloody Brigham really sets himself apart from the other parishoners that were following Joe. By the end of it, Captain Brigham would be considered one of the co-leaders of Zion's camp, even though he merits very little ink in this instance in the History of the Church.
One man that seemed to be a dissenting voice throughout the entire march was named Sylvester Smith. Whether he was the only dissenting voice, or was just the most vocal out of the bunch doesn't matter, because he became the poster-boy for murmuring against the prophet. One example given includes Sylvester bitching about the disgusting food they had to eat, and Joe saying that an evil spirit has come over the camp. The next day, every horse of every single man that was murmuring "was so badly foundered that we could scarcely lead them a few rods to water". Once everybody stopped their bitching, the horses healed up by noon that day, except for Sylvester Smith's horse, which died the next day... cuz he was just too evil....
"I then proposed for a diversion that we divide the camp into three parts and have a sham battle, which was agreed to. Brother Roger Orton led one division, Frederick Williams another division, while I remained in the camp with the third division. They retired to the woods with their divisions, and soon attacked the camp, which we defended by various maneuvers for some time. Many of our captains showwed considerable tact and more acquaintance with military matters than I had expeced. Everything passed off with good feelings, although Captain Heber C. Kimball, in receiving a charge, grasped Captain Lewis Zobriski's sword, and in endeavoring to take it from him, had the skin cut from the palm of his hand. After the battle was over, I called the camp together and cautioned the men to be careful in the future and control their spirits in such circumstances so as never to injure each other."
By this time, the Mormons in Missouri had been relocated to Clay or Caldwell Counties, and had set up an armory to manufacture and repair swords, dirks, pistols, and stocking rifles. There was a constant stream of letters going back and forth among Joe, the Missouri Mormons, and the government of Missouri. The Mormons in Missouri were trying to get the governor Daniel Dunklin to split Jackson county between the Mormons and the Missourians, tape down the middle of the room style.
Zions camp journeyed all the way across Indiana and Illinois. Of course, rumors were running amok, and almost everybody knew that the Mormons were making a march to Jackson County to take back the Mormon's land from the mob that had chased them out. That's why Joe was so emphatic about getting money. Most of the land the Mormons were living on, in Missouri, was either susidized, or purchased outright through the United Order, which had just gone bankrupt and dissolved as one complete entity. The legal waters were a little muddy at this time.
Multiple times, there were people that would ride up to the camp and ask who they are, or who their leader is. This is an exchange recorded by Joe in the History of the Church, but it was similar to quite a few exchanges that I found in other men's journals.
"While we were eating dinner three gentlemen came riding up on very fine looking horses and commenced their inquiries of various ones concerning our traveling in so large a body, asking where we were from, and where we were going. The reply was as usual – some from the state of Maine; another would say, "I am from York state;" some from Massachusetts; some from Ohio; and some replied, "we are from the East, and as soon as we have done eating dinner we shall be going to the West again." They then addressed themselves to Dr. Frederick G. Williams to see if they could find out who the leader of the camp was. The doctor replied, "We have no one in particular." They asked if we had not a general to take the lead of the company. The reply was, "No one in particular." "But," said they, ""is there not some one among you whom you call your captain, or leader, or who is superior to the rest?" He answered, "Sometimes one and sometimes another takes charge of the company, so as not to throw the burden upon any one in particular." These spies, who had come from the west, passed us several times that same day and the next."
Martin Harris began boasting to everybody that he could handle snakes. I don't know why, but maybe it was because Joseph told him that he could without getting hurt... Well... he played with a black prairie snake with bare feet and got bit...
Upon arriving to Indianapolis, Joe sent out Freddy Willey in disguise to both buy powder, and get a feeling for the opinion of the Mormons in town. Freddy came back with two kegs of powder, and said that they are curious, but not looking to start any trouble. The next day, the camp split up into smaller contingencies and passed through town on different roads, so as not to raise suspicion. Doing so made Joe's revelation, stating they would pass through the town unharmed, come true.
On June 3rd, 1834, this happened: (ZELPH!!)
"During our travels we visited several of the mounds which had been thrown up by the ancient inhabitants of this country – Nephites, Lamanites, etc., and this morning I went up on a high mound, near the river, accompanied by the brethren. From this mound we could overlook the tops of the trees and view the prairie on each side of the river as far as our vision could extend, and the scenery was truly delightful.
On the top of the mound were stones which presented the appearance of three altars having been erected one above the other, according to the ancient order; and the remains of bones were strewn over the surface of the ground. The brethren procured a shovel and a hoe, and removing the earth to the depth of about one foot, discovered the skeleton of a man, almost entire, and between his ribs the stone point of a Lamanitish arrow, which evidently produced his death. (Metallurgy?) Elder Burr Riggs retained the arrow. The contemplation of the scenery around us produced peculiar sensations in our bosoms; and subsequently the visions of the past being opened to my understanding by the Spirit of the Almighty, I discovered that the person whose skeleton was before us was a white Lamanite, a large, thick-set man, and a man of God. His name was Zelph. He was a warrior and chieftan under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea, to the Rocky mountains. The curse was taken from Zelph, or, at least, in part – one of his thigh bones was broken by a stone flung from a sling, while in battle, years before his death. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs, during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites."
Joseph gave another prophecy:
"I said the Lord had revealed to me that a scourge would come upon the camp in consequence of the fractious and unruly spirits that appeared among them, and they should die like sheep with the rot; still, if they would repent and humble themselves before the Lord, the scourge, in a great measure, might be turned away; but, as the Lord lives, the members of this camp will suffer for giving way to their unruly temper."
Rigdon in control Ollie helping
Joe recruited people in NY tried to get $2k
Tensions building between Mormons and Missourians
snake bit martin harris
On June 4th-5th, they arrived at the Mississippi river and spent two days ferrying all the stuff over, while hunting and fishing so they didn't all starve to death. During this time, Sylvester Smith raised a voice of dissent again. His company was last to cross the river, and he said that Joe's dog growled at him when they were crossing, which Sylvester was angry with. Joe heard about this, and made an example out of him. This is recounted from Heber C. Kimball's journal.
"He rose up and commenced speakng by saying, 'If any man insults me, or abuses me, I will stand in my own defense at the expense of my life; and if a dog growls at me, I will let him know that I am his master.' At this moment Sylvester Smith, who had just returned from where he had turned out his horses to feed, came up, and hearing Brother Joseph make those remarks, said, 'If that dog bites me, I'll kill him.' Brother Joseph turned to Sylvester and said, 'If you kill that dog, I'll whip you,' and then went on to show the brethren how wicked and unchristianlike such conduct appeared before the eyes of truth and justice." (Not only an asshole, but a self-righteous asshole)
Luke Johnson told Joseph that there were 400 men that were ready at a moments notice to mobilize and crush Zion's camp. That night there were three gunshots on the west, which was answered by a single gunshot to the east, letting the Mormons know they were surrounded. Zion's camp dug in for the night, and beefed up night security detail, and nothing happened.
On June 6th, Governor Dunklin warned the Mormons that marching in to Jackson County fully armed is a very bad idea, and appointed an emissary for a peaceful solution.
On June 8th, Hyrum Smith and Lyman Wight join up with a few more volunteers, totalling 205 armed men in Zion's camp, ready to march on Jackson County.
On June 9th
"While at Salt River, General [Lyman] Wight marched the camp on the prairie, inspected our firelocks, ordered a discharge of the same at targets by platoons, drilled us half a day, and returned to camp."
By June 16th, the people of Jackson County proposed a peaceful agreement, which was rejected by the Mormons.
June 17th, Hyrum Smith recommended a change of plans to Joseph, and Joe heeded the advice. Sylvester Smith jumped on this as a weakness, "Are you following your General, or some other man?" and was able to pull 20 men away from the march. The next day, they joined back up.
The whole time Zions camp was marching out to Missouri, Double-Dub Phelps, Asid Gilbert, and Party-boy Partridge were in constant contact with Governor Dunklin and other officials to resolve everything peaceably. Joe wanted to march in with guns, and these Elders were trying for all they're worth to eliminate the necessity for it. That's something worth pointing out, Joe was the irrational one in this situation.
Governor Dunklin appointed John F. Ryland to oversee the conflict, and hopefully resolve it without any casualities. Ryland tried to get the Mormons to sell their land, and move to the adjacent Clay County, to the little town of Liberty. Double-Dub Phelps and Asid Gilbert continually refused this compromise claiming that it was unfair to the people that had been chased out of their homes that previous November.
One of the primary sticking points wasn't so much the land, but the guns and goods. In running the Mormons out of their homes, the mob disarmed them and stole all their stuff, especially their guns. Of course, today we can go pick up a gun for a couple hundred bucks, maybe cheaper if bought from a guy selling them out of the back of his van, but in the frontier days, a man's gun was an investment and his livlihood. The mob had taken 52 guns and 1 pistol, which the Mormons were highly offended about, possibly even moreso than their other possessions being stolen or destroyed.
On June 19th a band of mobbers came into the camp swearing that the Mormons would see hell before morning, and that they were going to join up with a band of 130 other mobbers and kill Jo Smith and his army. That night the rain and hail fell so much that nobody could be outside, and the mormons had to take refuge inside an old baptist church near their camp.
On June 20th it's recorded that 3 men in the camp had cholera.
On June 22nd Joseph gave his amazing Fishing River revelation. Lyman Smith also accidentally shot himself in the leg with a horse pistol.
"Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine Elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion.
This only came after Sheriff Cornelius Gillium came to the camp and asked for Joseph by name. This was the first time that Joe ever showed his face to anybody that asked who the leader of the camp was. "I arose and replied, 'I am the man.' This was the first time that I had been discovered or made known to my enemies since I left Kirtland. Gillium then gave us instruction concerning the manners, customs, and dispositions of the people, and what course we ought to pursue to secure their favor and protection."
Next day, Zions camp continues heading toward Liberty, Clay County, and are warned not to by General Atchison, they go to Asid Gilbert's home instead and stay for a few days.
Cholera outbroke and 68 men came down with it, of which 14 died. Of those 14, one was Joe's cousin Jesse J Smith, and another was our friend Algernon Sidney Gilbert, who had been trying to negotiate peace this whole time.
These are some extracts from the journal of Heber C. Kimball:
"When the Cholera first broke out in the camp, Brother John S. Carter was the first who went forth to rebuke it, but [he] himself, was immediately seized by it, and as before stated, was the first who was slain. In about thirty minutes after his death, Seth Hitchcock followed him; and it appeared as though we must sink under the destoyer with them. We were not able to obtain boards to make coffins, but were under the necessity of rolling them up in their blankets, and burying them in that manner. . . Our hopes were that no more would die, but while we were uniting in a covenant to pray once more with uplifted hands to God, we looked at our beloved brother, Elder Wilcox, and he was gasping his last. At this scene my feelings were beyond expression.Those only who witnessed it, can realize anything of the nature of our sufferings, and I felt to weep, and pray to the Lord that He would spare my life that I might behold my dear family again. We felt to sit and weep over our brethren, and so great was our sorrow that we could have washed them with our tears, to realize that they had traveled one thousand miles through so much fatigue to lay down their lives for our brethren. . . While one or two were digging the grave, the rest stood with their arms to defend them. This was our situation, the enemies around us, and the destroyer in our midst. Soon after we returned another brother was taken away from our little band. . . Brother Joseph, seeing the sufferings of his brethren, stepped forward to rebuke the destroyer, but was immediately seized with the disease himself"
Betsy Parish also died, which surprised me because I didn't know there were 9, possibly 10 women involved in Zions camp until this name came up. Turns out there were 7 children involved also.
All in all it was considered a sacrifice of suffering for the Lord, and a culling of the weak. 9 of the original 12 apostles were on this trek, every single one of the 7 presidents of the first quorum of the seventy, as well as every single member of the 70 were part of the journey
Jedediah Grant, Brigham's Sledgehammer, was part of the drive, pretty much every big Mormon name in early Mormon history is linked with Zion's camp somehow.
On July 8th, after losing 14 people to cholera, never firing a shot at an enemy, starving and thirsting nearly to death many times, scaring a lot of people that thought there would be a huge shootout, and making things much worse than they were before the march, Joseph and the majority of the elders left Missouri, without actually resolving anything.
Let's just consider what they accomplished for a minute. . .
Upon their return to Kirtland, Sylvester Smith accused Joe of criminal actions, the details of which I couldn't find anywhere. In reaction, a disciplinary council was held for Sylvester, who was persuaded to publish a confession admitting fault.
Much like Doctor Philastus Hurlbut, 3 weeks later Sylvester published a statement recinding his confession.
3 days later, another council is called, and Sylvester signed another confession out of fear of punishment.
Copyright Ground Gnomes LLC subject to fair use. Citation example: "Naked Mormonism Podcast (or NMP), Ep #, original air date 03/17/2016"