Ep 74 – Foster Pulls a Pistol on Joseph Smith
On this week’s episode, we read through a bunch of the first revelation Joseph Smith gave in Nauvoo that made it into the D&C, section 124. Since the passing of the Nauvoo Charter, the Mormons could finally rest easy that they wouldn’t be chased out of Illinois after living there a year like had happened in Missouri, so they set up camp. By that, I mean, Jo gave a revelation dictating the organization of Nauvoo to build it up, starting with the most important parts, like building a house for Jo and his family. Section 124 has a bunch of important names in it so we review most of the names and why they’re relevant as we move through the revelation. After that, Nauvoo holds its first election in February of 1840, electing John Wreck-it Bennett to the office of Mayor and various church elites to the offices of aldermen and councilors. Jo finally had a legally sanctioned theocracy with no looming threat of a Missouri militia to come and take it away like 2 years ago.
D&C 124 1844 vs 2013
John Snider (Snyder)
Henry G. Sherwood
Robert D. Foster
Music by Jason Comeau http://aloststateofmind.com/
Show Artwork http://weirdmormonshit.com/
Legal Counsel http://patorrez.com/
Voicemail Line (864)Nake-dMo (625-3366)
Let’s review last episode to get some milk in our gizzards.
Last episode we finally gave a proper introduction to Heber C. Kimball, reading of his middle-of-the-night vision recounted more than 60 years after it supposedly occurred. We went on to read a letter Wreck-it Bennett sent to the Mormon leadership announcing the passing of the Nauvoo Charter, complete with a list of politicians the Mormons should favor when the next election cycle lapsed. Bennett even gave a nice little shout-out to ol’ Honest Abe Lincoln for congratulating Bennett on the passing of the charter. Another sign in the heavens manifested itself to the quorum of the twelve in England, signaling God’s blessing on the Nauvoo Charter. After that we were joined by Colt to discuss the BoM timeline, which received a bit of feedback I’ll be discussing at the end of the episode.
Lots of history to get to, so, no interview segment this week. Let’s eat some meat.
We had a ton of feedback about Heber C. Kimball from last episode! WOW! Thank you all so much for participating in giving Heber C. Kimball a proper NaMo nickname. This was a hard decision because there were so many good entries. Before revealing Kimball’s name, I have to give a few shout-outs to honorable mentions. We had Heber Believer from Janice, Heebie Jeebie Ceebie from John, Night Fever Heber by James because of his visions, and one of my favorites because of Helen Mar Kimball, Kid-Pimpin-Kimball from Dustin, and Kimballer by Radovan; those were all great names and they all gave me a good belly laugh when they came in. But, one must be the winner and this was suggested by a bunch of people. Heber C. Kimball will be known to us, for many reasons, as The Heber Creeper, or Creepy Heebie for short. Cuz he ran a train on his women. This was first suggested by David Whitmer mere hours after the show aired on Twitter so be sure to give @davywhhitmer a follow, I mean, he was a president of a Mormon church for a little while, so follow the prophet.
Let’s keep this rolling by introducing somebody new to the timeline who needs a proper NaMo nickname.
Robert D. Foster was born on 14 Mar 1811 in England. He was a physician and land speculator and was living in Ohio when he married his wife Sarah Phinney in July of 1837. He was baptized shortly before Oct 1839 and was ordained an elder during that October conference. Foster was kind of on Jo’s shitlist early on because Jo gave Robert D. Foster the task of keeping Jo’s journal during the trip out to Washington D.C. back in the winter of 1839-40. Jo, Rigdon, Foster, and Pistol-Packin’-Port were the guys during the trip and Foster spent most of his time caring for Hingepin Rigdon in his sickly state. Foster apparently kept Jo’s journal during the trip, but every letter Jo sent asking to get the journals from him, Foster refused to comply. Foster eventually teamed up with William Law as editor of the Nauvoo Expositor, but not before this happened with Robert, his brother Charles and a guy named Chauncey Higbee. Robbie for the Republic is what strikes me upon reading this story.
From Harold Schindler’s biography of Orrin Porter Rockwell, Man of God/Son of Thunder beginning on page 111
“Then occurred an incident which very nearly cost the prophet his life. It began when a Mormon, Augustine Spencer, became embroiled in an argument with his brother, Orson, a Nauvoo alderman. On hearing of the dispute, Joseph, as mayor, ordered the arrest of Augustine Spencer on an assault charge. Before the city marshal could serve the warrant, Josph and Rockwell located the wanted man in the office of an attorney and informed Spencer that he was under arrest. Rockwell went for the marshal, but Spencer refused to accompany him to the mayor’s office. “Get some help and take him out of here whether he wants to go or not,” Joseph said.
J.P. Greene, the marshal, stepped to the street and stopped the first passers-by he saw, ordering them as citizens to aid in removing the prisoner from the law office. Unfortunately, Greene had made a poor choice of helpers; he had stopped Chauncey Higbee, [Robert D.] Foster, and Foster’s brother, Charles. Before Greene fully comprehended what was happening, the three men showered him with invective, shouting that they would see the mayor and the city damned before lending him any assistance.
At the first outburst Joseph turned to the perplexed marshal and ordered him to place the trio under arrest for refusing to assist a city officer in the discharge of his duty. His words were greeted by an explosion of curses from the three men. For the husky prophet of the Lord[,] such an abuse was intolerable. Grabbing a Foster in each hand he slammed the two brothers against a wall, but Charles Foster, anticipating such a move, pulled a double-barreled pistol from his coat and swung it toward Joseph. Rockwell leaped forward and smashed his fist against Foster’s forearm, sending the gun flying across the room.
Insane with rage, his arm dangling loosely at his side, Foster screamed at the prophet, “Goddamn you, goddamn you—I would have killed you!” The sight of his sobbing brother shocked Robert Foster into a stream of profanity. “I would be favored of God for the privilege of ridding the world of such a tyrant,[!]” he yelled at Joseph.
The three men were herded to Joseph’s office where he fined them each $100. They immediately appealed the case to municipal court, and trial was called for the next day, April 27. Before the matter could be heard, Joseph pulled Robert Foster aside and asked him not to continue his public denunciations, but Foster met the request with bitter charges that Joseph had revived the Sons of Dan in Nauvoo and had been guilty of adulterous conduct. He cut the conversation short by accusing Joseph of being a false prophet.”
Robbie the Tyrant Slayer
Maybe something short and simple like Bob Fost, but he doesn’t seem all that cool and collected and I don’t know if he was a painter.
I leave it up to you to decide. Tweet your best NaMo nickname for Robert D. Foster with #NaMoNickname or email at email@example.com or go to the website nakedmormonismpodcast.com and put your favorite suggestion in the contact form and the winner will get a shout-out on the next episode.
The Nauvoo Charter had passed, it was official, the Mormons had a government recognized town all to themselves, and they controlled everything regarding the day to day operations of Nauvoo. For the previous decade the Mormons had mostly moved to areas that were already settled and just situated themselves in a nearly parasitic symbiosis with the local populations. Missouri had sanctioned off Daviess County for the Mormons, but that was only after they had been expelled from Jackson County by the mobs, and those Mormon settlements were still fairly close to larger population centers. Nauvoo presented itself as an opportunity to start fresh and put in place all the necessary agencies under church control to handle the business of the burgeoning Mormon theocracy. But, the Mormon leadership wanted to wait until the approval of the Nauvoo Charter before they set everything in stone. Understandably they didn’t want a repeat of what happened in Missouri with attempting to settle thousands of people in a few small towns and being summarily removed less than a year later. The Mormons were only hitting the end of that unspoken year probationary period with their settlements in Iowa and Illinois, so why go to all the work of settling and building up a town and school again if they were just going to be removed and have to head out to California or something? Once the Charter passed, that was the signal to the Mormon hierarchy that they could plant their flag in Nauvoo and the state of Illinois would act in good faith to them, starkly contrasting the Mormons’ experience with Missouri.
It was necessary to set up so many things we wouldn’t normally consider when building a town. There was the newly formed city government with a bunch of elected positions needing to be filled liked Mayor, Aldermen, Trustee-in-Trust, and a few others. They needed to create new committees and agencies to deal with infrastructure and the new Nauvoo University. Building a city from the ground up requires a ton of work, but luckily for the Mormons, they had God on their side dictating his will for the perfect city.
For 3 days beginning on 16 January 1841, Jo dictated a famous revelation included in the modern-day D&C, or book of Covenants because they removed the Doctrine part, section 124. We’re going to read a number of extracts from it today and discuss each person’s role in the city. Before we do, let’s qualify what we’re about to read because I find it truly remarkable.
One aspect of Mormon history that we talk about all the time is how much the Brighamite church tries to ignore or cover up certain aspect of their history. One way they actively cover things up is by redacting names and occurrences from documents they hold in only their library which can’t be accessed online. They have a stranglehold on the information which comes out of their own archives, and that’s always something to be suspicious about. The redactions they have are usually of names of people who were sealed to other people in polygamy or names and dates of persons who received their second anointing, information which affects the historic record, but in the grand scheme of things seems fairly inconsequential to yours truly. What’s much more controversial in my mind is something the church doesn’t seem to hide one bit and that’s how much control Joseph as the Prophet had over government and secular affairs. He called himself Lieutenant-General for God’s sake, Jo was the sole authority in Nauvoo over church AND state affairs, there was no separating the two. The church makes hardly any effort to cover up this incredibly salacious aspect of Mormon history when Jo was in constant stark conflict with the first amendment of the constitution. Legally speaking, I find the government aspects of early Mormon history to be where the controversy truly lies. This section 124 we’re about to deconstruct exhibits an incredible confluence of early Mormon church and state government being the same entity, and the will of God directing Jo and the other leaders through divine revelation on specific aspects of creating the Nauvoo city government. There are some interesting line-items included here with amazing specificity, it’s nice when God can be specific enough to tell us what value to set for a company’s stock. This was the first revelation included in the Book of Covenants Jo had in over a year, the last revelations he gave were from the Liberty Jail cell nearly 2 years prior to this.
1 Verily 🍺, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, I am well pleased with your offering and acknowledgements, which you have made, for unto this end have I raised you up, that I might shew forth my wisdom through the weak things of the earth.
Your prayers are acceptable before me, and in answer to them I say unto you, that you are now called, immediately to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel, and of this stake which I have planted to be a corner-stone of Zion, which shall be polished with that refinement which is after the similitude of a palace.
This proclamation shall be made to all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof-To the honorable President elect, and the high-minded governors of the nation in which you live, and to all the nations of the earth, scattered abroad.
Let it be written in the Spirit of meekness, and by the power of the Holy Ghost, which shall be in you at the time of the writing of the same;
for it shall be given you by the Holy Ghost to know my will concerning those kings and authorities, even what shall befal them in a time to come.
4 And again, verily 🍺 I say unto you, let my servant Robert B. Thompson help you to write this proclamation; for I am well pleased with him, and that he should be with you;
let him, therefore, hearken to your counsel, and I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings; let him be faithful and true in all things from henceforth, and he shall be great in mine eyes;
but let him remember that his stewardship will I require at his hands.
6 Again, let my servant John C. Bennett, help you in your labor in sending my word to the kings and people of the earth, and stand by you, even you my servant Joseph Smith, in the hour of affliction, and his reward shall not fail, if he receive counsel;
and for his love he shall be great; for he shall be mine if he do this, saith the Lord. I have seen the work which he hath done, which I accept, if he continue, and will crown him with blessings and great glory.
7 And again, I say unto you, that it is my will that my servant Lyman Wight should continue in preaching for Zion, in the spirit of meekness, confessing me before the world, and I will bear him up as on eagle's wings, and he shall beget glory and honor to himself, and unto my name,
8 And again, verily 🍺 I say unto you, my servant George Miller is without guile; he may be trusted because of the integrity of his heart; and for the love which he has to my testimony, I the Lord loveth him;
I therefore say unto you, I seal upon his head the office of a bishoprick, like unto my servant Edward Partridge, that he may receive the consecrations of mine house, that he may administer blessings upon the heads of the poor of my people, saith the Lord. Let no man despise my servant George, for he shall honor me. (George Miller was a convert in 1839. He was living in Illinois when the Mormon refugees began streaming in and even housed some of them on his property prior to his conversion to the faith.)
9 Let my servant George, and my servant Lyman, and my servant John Snider, and others, build a house unto my name, such an one, as my servant Joseph shall show unto them; upon the place which he shall show unto them also. (Nauvoo House, not Temple) (John Snider had been baptized in 1836 and immediately invested in the KSS company before it crashed and was tied to the Mormons from that time forward. He served on the first mission to England in 1837, and was later ordained a member of the Seventy)
And it shall be for a house for boarding, a house that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein: therefore, let it be a good house, worthy of all acceptation, that the weary traveller may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord, and the corner-stone have I appointed for Zion.
This house shall be a healthy habitation, if it be built unto my name, and if the governor, which shall be appointed unto it shall not suffer any pollution to come upon it. It shall be holy, or the Lord your God will not dwell therein.
…for there is not a place found on earth that he may come and restore again that which was lost unto you, or, which he hath taken away, even the fulness of the priesthood;
for a baptismal font there is not upon the earth; that they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead:
for this ordinance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the days of your poverty, wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me.
But I command you, all ye my saints, to build a house unto me; and I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house unto me, and during this time your baptisms shall be acceptable unto me.
11 But, behold 🍺, at the end of this appointment, your baptisms for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me; and if you do not these things at the end of the appointment, ye shall be rejected as a church with your dead, saith the Lord your God.
For, verily 🍺 I say unto you, that after you have had sufficient time to build a house to me, wherein the ordinance of baptizing for the dead be longeth, and for which the same was instituted from before the foundation of the world, your baptisms for your dead cannot be acceptable unto me;
for therein are the keys of the holy priesthood, ordained, that you may receive honor and glory… (then it goes on for a number of verses talking about the importance of the Nauvoo house and conducting washings and anointings and baptisms for the dead there…)
18 And now, I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding-house, which I have commanded you to build, for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation:
for this annointing have I put upon his head, that his blessing shall also be put upon the head of his posterity after him;…
and let the name of that house be called the Nauvoo House; and let it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting place for the weary traveler, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion, and the glory of this the corner-stone thereof;
that he may receive, also, the counsel from those whom I have set to be as plants of renown, and as watchmen upon her walls.
19 Behold 🍺! verily 🍺 I say unto you, let my servant George Miller, and my servant Lyman Wight, and my servant John Snider, and my servant Peter Haws, organize themselves, and appoint one of them to be a president over their quorum for the purpose of building that house.
And they shall form a constitution whereby they may receive stock for the building of that house.
And they shall not receive less than fifty dollars for a share of stock in that house, and they shall be permitted to receive fifteen thousand dollars from any one man for stock in that house;
but they shall not be permitted to receive over fifteen thousand dollars stock, from any one man;
and they shall not be permitted to receive under fifty dollars for a share of stock from any one man, in that house;
and they shall not be permitted to receive any man as a stockholder in this house, except the same shall pay his stock into their hands at the time he receives stock;
and in proportion to the amount of stock he pays into their hands, he shall receive stock in that house; but if he pay nothing into their hands, he shall not receive any stock in that house.
And if any pay stock into their hands, it shall be for stock in that house, for himself, and for his generation after him, from generation to generation, so long as he and his heirs shall hold that stock, and do not sell or convey the stock away out of their hands by their own free will and act: if you will do my will, saith the Lord your God.
20 And again, verily 🍺 I say unto you, if my servant George Miller, and my servant Lyman Wight, and my servant John Snider, and my servant Peter Haws, receive any stock into their hands, in moneys, or in properties, wherein they receive the real value of moneys, they shall not appropriate any portion of that stock to any other purpose, only in that house;
and if they do appropriate any portion of that stock any where else, only in that house, without the consent of the stockholder, and do not repay fourfold, for the stock which they appropriate any where else, only in that house, they shall be accursed, and shall be moved out of their place, saith the Lord God, for I the Lord am God, and cannot be mocked in any of these things.
21 Verily 🍺 I say unto you, let my servant Joseph pay stock into their hands for the building of that house, as seemeth him good; but my servant Joseph cannot pay over fifteen thousand dollars stock in that house, nor under fifty dollars; neither can any other man, saith the Lord.
22 And there are others also, who wish to know my will concerning them; for they have asked it at my hands:
Therefore I say unto you, concerning my servant Vinson Knight, if he will do my will, let him put stock into that house for himself and for his generation after him, from generation to generation,
and let him lift up his voice, long and loud, in the midst of the people, to plead the cause of the poor and the needy, and let him not fail, neither let his heart faint, and I will accept of his offerings; for they shall not be unto me as the offerings of Cain, for he shall be mine, saith the Lord.
Let his family rejoice, and turn away their hearts from affliction, for I have chosen him and anointed him, and he shall be honored in the midst of his house, for I will forgive all his sins, saith the Lord; Amen. (Vinson Knight had been a member of the Kirtland, Ohio Bishopric and was later ordained as a Bishop in Adam-ondi-Ahmen during the Mormons’ brief time settling Daviess county before their removal. Jo designating him as Bishop and telling him to be mindful of the poverty-stricken Saints were cause and effect. Remember, at this time, the primary function of the Bishop was coordinating the logistics of the church storehouses which stock supplies for Mormons needing welfare. Vinson Knight would be dealing with the poorest Mormons and trying to somehow provide for them from the church’s storehouse of goods, which wasn’t really a thing since the last storehouse was raided and dissolved in Missouri. Communalism doesn’t seem to work very well when practiced on a scale of thousands of people.)
23 Verily 🍺 I say unto you, let my servant Hyrum put stock into that house, as seemeth him good, for himself and his generation after after him, from generation to generation.
24 Let my servant Isaac Galland put stock into that house, for I the Lord loveth him for the work he hath done, and will forgive all his sins; therefore, let him be remembered for an interest in that house, from generation to generation.
Let my servant Isaac Galland be appointed among you, and be ordained by my servant William Marks, and be blessed of him, to go with my servant Hyrum, to accomplish the work that my servant Joseph shall point out to them, and they shall be greatly blessed. (William Marks is an interesting character in Mormon history. He hasn’t distinguished himself above and beyond other trusted leaders up to this point, but as we progress through Nauvoo he will steadily become more important. Marks was one of the few of the leadership who, like Hingepin Sidney Rigdon, viciously hated polygamy, he and Rigdon were actually very good friends until Rigdon further shrunk away from the scene in late 1842-43 when Marks argued that he didn’t deserve his position as one of the Presidents of the Church due to inactivity and lack of involvement. However, after the death of Jo and Hyrum in Carthage, Marks was one of the few advocates for Rigdon being the rightful successor to Jo’s empty throne. He was soon disabused of these notions and went to Beaver Island to serve as a counselor to James Strang. We’ll talk more about him as he occasionally crops up.)
25 Let my servant William Marks pay stock into that house, as seemeth him good, for himself and his generation, from generation to generation.
26 Let my servant Henry G. Sherwood pay stock into that house, as seemeth him good, for himself and his seed after him, from generation to generation. (Henry Sherwood had been a member since 1832 and was involved in basically every large event of the church with the exception of Zion’s Camp. He would soon be designated the Nauvoo city Marshal and was one of many leaders of Nauvoo Legion and would be one of the members of the first pioneer group to Utah in 1847)
27 Let my servant William Law pay stock into that house, for himself and his seed after him, from generation to generation.
If he will do my will, let him not take his family unto the eastern lands, even unto Kirtland; nevertheless I the Lord will build up Kirtland, but I the Lord have a scourge prepared for the inhabitants thereof. (We’ll talk William Law in coming episodes, basically, through the butterfly effect, William Law got Jo and Hyrum killed after Jo propositioned William and Jane Law to be swingers with him and Emma.)
Therefore, let my servant William put his trust in me, and cease to fear concerning his family, because of the sickness of the land. If ye love me, keep my commandments, and the sickness of the land shall redound to your glory.
28 Let my servant William go and proclaim my everlasting gospel, with a loud voice, and with great joy, as he shall be moved upon by my spirit, unto the inhabitants of Warsaw, and also unto the inhabitants of Carthage, and also unto the inhabitants of Burlington, and also unto the inhabitants of Madison, and await patiently and diligently for further instructions at my general conference, saith the Lord.
If he will do my will, let him from henceforth hearken to the counsel of my servant Joseph, and with his interest support the cause of the poor, and publish the new translation of my holy word unto the inhabitants of the earth;
and if he will do this, I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings, that he shall not be forsaken, nor his seed be found begging bread.
(Next, Jo sets up his own leadership. The vacuum left behind by the death of BDC, Joseph Sr., needed to be filled by the person whom BDC had designated, and that was Hyrum, creating a vacancy in Jo’s ranks of counselors. The next few verses promote Hyrum to Patriarch over the church, giving him power seemingly equal with Jo’s own, and also designating that William Law fill the vacancy left by Hyrum’s promotion.)
29 And again, verily 🍺 I say unto you, let my servant William be appointed, ordained, and anointed, as a councillor unto my servant Joseph, in the room of my servant Hyrum; that my servant Hyrum may take the office of priesthood and patriarch, which was appointed unto him by his father, by blessing and also by right,
that from henceforth he shall hold the keys of the patriarchal blessings upon the heads of all my people,
that whoever he blesses shall be blessed, and whoever he curseth shall be cursed: that whatsoever he shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever he shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven;
and from this time forth, I appoint unto him that he may be a prophet and a seer and a revelator unto my church, as well as my servant Joseph,
that he may act in concert also with my servant Joseph, and that he shall receive counsel from my servant Joseph, who shall shew unto him the keys whereby he may ask and receive, and be crowned with the same blessing, and glory, and honor, and priesthood, and gifts of the priesthood, that once were put upon him that was my servant Oliver Cowdery;…
31 Behold 🍺 I say unto you, I have a mission in store for my servant William and my servant Hyrum, and for them alone; and let my servant Joseph tarry at home, for he is needed; the remainder I will shew unto you hereafter: even so; Amen.
32 And again, verily 🍺 I say unto you, if my servant Sidney Rigdon will serve me and be councillor unto my servant Joseph, let him arise and come up and stand in the office of his calling, and humble himself before me;
and if he will offer unto me an acceptable offering, and acknowledgements, and remain with my people, behold 🍺, I the Lord your God will heal him that he shall be healed; and he shall lift up his voice again on the mountains, and be a spokesman before my face.
Let him come and locate his family in the neighborhood in which my servant Joseph resides,
and in all his journeyings let him lift up his voice as with the sound of a trump, and warn the inhabitants of the earth to flee the wrath to come;
let him assist my servant Joseph; and also let my servant William Law assist my servant Joseph, in making a solemn proclamation unto the kings of the earth, even as I have before said unto you.
If my servant Sidney will do my will, let him not remove his family unto the eastern lands, but let him change their habitation, even as I have said.
Behold 🍺, it is not my will that he shall seek to find safety and refuge out of the city which I have appointed unto you, even the city of Nauvoo.-
Verily 🍺 I say unto you, even now, if he will hearken to my voice, it shall be well with him: even so; Amen.
(The next few verses are a little confusing. You’ll hear the name Robert D. Foster, who is the subject of this week’s NaMo nickname. It talks about building a house for Jo, but it’s not talking about the Nauvoo House discussed at length in the earlier verses, this next set of verses were talking about the Nauvoo Mansion, which Jo and Emma moved in to on 31 August 1841.)
34 And again, verily 🍺 I say unto you, if my servant Robert D. Foster will obey my voice, let him build a house for my servant Joseph, according to the contract which he has made with him, as the door shall be open to him from time to time;
and let him repent of all his folly, and clothe himself with charity, and cease to do evil, and lay aside all his hard speeches,
35 And again, verily 🍺 I say unto you, let no man pay stock to the quorum of the Nauvoo House, unless he shall be a believer in the Book of Mormon, and the revelations I have given unto you, saith the Lord your God:
for that which is more or less than this cometh of evil, and shall be attended with cursings and not blessings, saith the Lord your God: even so; Amen. (Jo was trying to have a quality control on those who invested in the Nauvoo House, because he already had a certain level of undue influence over them he could exert as their prophet should they step out of line. The next verses we’re skipping just say that people can be paid stock in the Nauvoo House for their labor in building it.)
37 Verily 🍺 I say unto you, I now give unto you the officers belonging to my Priesthood, that ye may hold the keys thereof, even the priesthood which is after the order of Melchisedek, which is after the order of my only begotten Son.
38 First, I give unto you Hyrum Smith to be a patriarch unto you to hold the sealing blessings of my church, even the Holy Spirit of promise, whereby ye are sealed up unto the day of redemption, that ye may not fall; notwithstanding the hour of temptation that may come upon you.
39 I give unto you my servant Joseph, to be a Presiding Elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer and prophet.
I give unto him for councillors my servant Sidney Rigdon, and my servant William Law, that these may constitute a quorum and first presidency, to receive the oracles for the whole church.
40 I give unto you my servant Brigham Young, to be a president over the twelve travelling council,
which twelve hold the keys to open up the authority of my kingdom upon the four corners of the earth, and after that to send my word to every creature;
they are: Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, William Smith, John Taylor, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, George A. Smith;
David Patten I have taken unto myself, behold 🍺 his priesthood no man taketh from him; but verily 🍺 I say unto you, another may be appointed unto the same calling.
41 And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a High Council, for the cornerstone of Zion;
viz: Samuel Bent, H. G. Sherwood, George W. Harris, Charles C. Rich, Thomas Grover, Newel Knight, David Dort, Lewis Dunbar Wilson; Seymour Brunson I have taken unto myself, no man taketh his priesthood, but another may be appointed unto the same priesthood in his stead, (and verily 🍺 I say unto you, let my servant Aaron Johnson be ordained unto this calling in his stead,) David Fullmer, Alpheus Cutler, William Huntington Sr.
42 And again, I give unto you Don Carlos Smith to be a president over a Quorum of High-priests:
which ordinance is instituted for the purpose of qualifying those who shall be appointed standing presidents or servants over different stakes scattered abroad,
and they may travel also if they choose, but rather be ordained for standing presidents, this is the office of their calling saith the Lord your God.
I give unto him Amasa Lyman and Noah Packard for councillors that they may preside over the quorum of high-priests of my church saith the Lord.
43 And again I say unto you, I give unto you John A. Hicks, Samuel Williams, and Jesse Baker which priesthood is to preside over the quorum of Elders which quorum is instituted for standing ministers, nevertheless they may travel, yet they are ordained to be standing ministers to my church, saith the Lord.
44 And, again, I give unto you Joseph Young, Josiah Butterfield, Daniel Miles, Henry Harriman, Zera Pulsipher, Levi Hancock, James Foster, to preside over the quorum of seventies,
which quorum is instituted for travelling elders to bear record of my name in all the world, wherever the travelling high council, my apostles, shall send them to prepare a way before my face.
The difference between this quorum and the quorum of elders is, that one is to travel continually, and the other is to preside over the churches from time to time, the one has the responsibility of presiding from time to time and the other has no responsibility of presiding, saith the Lord your God.
45 And again I say unto you, I give unto you Vinson Knight, Samuel H. Smith, and Shadrach Roundy if he will receive it to preside over the Bishopric, a knowledge of said Bishopric is given unto you, in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.
46 And, again, I say unto you Samuel Rolfe and his councillors for Priests, and the president of the Teachers and his councillors and also the president of the Deacons and his councillors, and also the president of the Stake and his councillors:
the above offices I have given unto you, and the keys thereof for helps and for governments, for the work of the ministry, and the perfecting of my saints,
and a commandment I give unto you that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned or else disapprove of them at my general conference,
and that ye should prepare rooms for all these offices in my house when you build it unto my name saith the Lord your God: even so: Amen.”
Alright, that was an important revelation for so many reasons. Until this January 1841 revelation came along, the church leadership was made up of a patchwork of committees and organizations to serve very specific needs when those needs arose. This was Jo’s way of hitting the reset button and establishing once and for all the government of the church. But this wasn’t just a government for the church, it was the ecclesiastical version of the Nauvoo city government. On February 1st, less than half a month after this revelation was given and widely published in the Times and Seasons, Nauvoo held its first election.
This is taken from the Dan Vogel HoC 4:280
“Monday [Feb 1]—The first election for members of the City Council took place and the following persons were elected by majorities varying from 330 to 337 votes; to wit, for mayor, John C. Bennett; Aldermen, William Marks, Samuel H. Smith, Daniel H. Wells, Newell K. Whitney; Councilors, Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Charles C. Rich, John T. Barnett, Wilson Law, Don Carlos Smith, John P. Greene, Vinson Knight.”
And later from that same page:
“At a meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at this place, On Saturday, the 30th day of January, A.D. 1841, I was elected Sole Trustee for said Church, to hold my office during life…, and vested with plenary powers, as sole Trustee in Trust for the Church…, to receive, acquire, manage, or convey property, real, personal, or mixed, for the sole use and benefit of said church,…
Did you recognize any similar names in Joseph’s revelation now included as Section 124, and those of the elected officials of Nauvoo? Well, most of the names included in 124 were people who were given certain directives in the organization of the church, and all but one of the people elected to public office in the city of Nauvoo were Mormons, and all of those Mormons were prominent elites in leadership positions in the church. John T. Barnett was the one non-Mormon elected to Nauvoo public office, and there may have been other reasons for electing him, we’ll hopefully get into that in coming episodes.
Our government is a representative democracy, at least that’s how it was conceived. In order to govern people, there should be elected representatives who actually represent the population that elected them. You have an area with predominantly latino, or black population, they should have a latino or black person representing them in government. With a majority Christian country, the majority of elected officials should be Christian to properly represent the voting constituents. However this has actually played out, I don’t want to comment on, I’m more discussing how the democracy was conceived in the first place with locally elected representatives. Nauvoo was made up of almost exclusively Mormons, so in a representative democracy, the public offices there should be held by almost entirely Mormons. That’s a separate issue with respect to how a church influences the politicians and elected officials who represent a given area with a majority church population.
Look, the Mormon church conglomeration today can run from church history and polygamy and everything they try to hide from church history all it wants because the church thinks those issues are behind them. They can redact and omit whatever they want while teams of historians dig through their trash for the evidence needed to build compelling historical models. The Mormon impact on government is something infecting every piece of Mormon history and it’s not something they can say they stopped doing at any point. They’re proud of it when they publish articles through the Deseret News talking about the newest amicus brief they filed against gay people getting a fucking cake or trans people being able to use the bathroom they goddamn well please.
Morality and politics should be separate from each other. Our morality should motivate our politics, but when a religious organization is dictating a population’s morality and by extension their politics, now we have a stark violation of the constitution and we edge closer to theology dictating the actions of our democracy, a theocracy. John Wreck-it Bennett sent that letter last episode which named all the public officials the Mormons should get behind because they helped pass the Nauvoo Charter in some way. For the next half decade, nobody got elected in areas representing Nauvoo without the blessing of the Mormons. If we chase the line of influence, that means Jo was the sole mind dictating who would and would not get into government and if anybody wanted to get elected, they had to pay the Mormons some kind of obligation to gain their favor.
It wouldn’t be for another 110 years until the Johnson Amendment was written into the IRS tax code making it illegal for churches to endorse or oppose political candidates, but the sentiment still existed and most religious people back then, as now, realized that a government with a solid wall of church/state separation required good faith among religious officials and government officials to at least not be overt in their influence over each other.
To really understand the nature of what I’m talking about here, I offer a few interesting examples from that most correct book that Mormons venerate.
3 NE: 18 Now the chiefest among all the chief captains and the great commander of all the armies of the Nephites was appointed, and his name was Gidgiddoni.
19 Now it was the custom among all the Nephites to appoint for their chief captains, (save it were in their times of wickedness) some one that had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy; therefore, this Gidgiddoni was a great prophet among them, as also was the chief judge.
20 Now the people said unto Gidgiddoni: Pray unto the Lord, and let us go up upon the mountains and into the wilderness, that we may fall upon the robbers and destroy them in their own lands.
21 But Gidgiddoni saith unto them: The Lord forbid; for if we should go up against them the Lord would deliver us into their hands; therefore we will prepare ourselves in the center of our lands, and we will gather all our armies together, and we will not go against them, but we will wait till they shall come against us; therefore as the Lord liveth, if we do this he will deliver them into our hands.
Alma 43: 16 Now, the leader of the Nephites, or the man who had been appointed to be the chief captain over the Nephites—now the chief captain took the command of all the armies of the Nephites—and his name was Moroni;
17 And Moroni took all the command, and the government of their wars. And he was only twenty and five years old when he was appointed chief captain over the armies of the Nephites.
23 But it came to pass, as soon as they had departed into the wilderness Moroni sent spies into the wilderness to watch their camp; and Moroni, also, knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him, desiring him that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites.
24 And it came to pass that the word of the Lord came unto Alma, and Alma informed the messengers of Moroni, that the armies of the Lamanites were marching round about in the wilderness, that they might come over into the land of Manti, that they might commence an attack upon the weaker part of the people. And those messengers went and delivered the message unto Moroni.
More from Alma 51: 15 And it came to pass that he sent a petition, with the voice of the people, unto the governor of the land, desiring that he should read it, and give him (Moroni) power to compel those dissenters to defend their country or to put them to death.
16 For it was his first care to put an end to such contentions and dissensions among the people; for behold, this had been hitherto a cause of all their destruction. And it came to pass that it was granted according to the voice of the people.
17 And it came to pass that Moroni commanded that his army should go against those king-men, to pull down their pride and their nobility and level them with the earth, or they should take up arms and support the cause of liberty.
18 And it came to pass that the armies did march forth against them; and they did pull down their pride and their nobility, insomuch that as they did lift their weapons of war to fight against the men of Moroni they were hewn down and leveled to the earth.
19 And it came to pass that there were four thousand of those dissenters who were hewn down by the sword; and those of their leaders who were not slain in battle were taken and cast into prison, for there was no time for their trials at this period.
These are the people Jo wrote about in the Book of Mormon, in the religious text Mormons uphold as the divine word of God. These prophet Kings like Alma, Nephi, Gidgiddoni, and Moroni all committed atrocities. We would drone strike the fuck out of any of these people today, but they’re treated as great holy warrior prophet-kings replete throughout the Book of Mormon. Anytime a Mormon says they love the Book of Mormon and follow its teachings, be happy that they don’t really know their Book of Mormon all that well because theocracies were how the Book of Mormon operated, and a theocracy is what Joseph Smith had successfully built. Nauvoo had an education system, its own army, a few dissenters who were put out of the way, and it was led by the elite of the church all looking to Jo for direction who would later crown him King over the entire world. Let that shit sink in. Next time you’re talking to a Mormon, ask them if this is a system that will create the most good for the most people. Is this really a society in which we want to live? What level are we willing to allow religious involvement in government before it’s too far? Once we’ve determined a religion is influencing government too much, how does one go about taking that power back without becoming an analogue of the Book of Mormon King-men who experienced genocide at the hands of Lieutenant-General Prophet Moroni?
Yeah, we can point and laugh at the God of the Old Testament or the passages in the Qu’ran which command genocide over and over again, but the Book of Mormon doesn’t have 2000 or 1400 years of antiquity to justify its horrible content. It was written in the 19th century on free American soil by a man who set himself up a theocratic throne in Illinois and was poised to become a warlord with his own army and haram of women. Joseph Smith said of himself that he would become a second Mohammed unto his generation when the Missouri persecution was too much to handle. This is your guy Mormons? This is who you sing praises to for communing with Jehovah? Any person who claims themselves to be fundamental or orthodox Mormon, or even a follower of the Book of Mormon’s teachings is a person who either doesn’t truly understand their own religion, or they do understand their religion and should be justifiably condemned for believing such horrible and damaging things from an earlier ignorant generation of society. We owe it to those people to disabuse them of their ignorance and we owe it to society to stand united against any form of religious theocracy.
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