Ep 89 – Pass Go Collect 60 Bodyguards

On this episode, we give Willard Richards his very own NaMo Nickname and read his whitewashed history of Jo’s arrest and court hearing in June of 1841. Jo had found some way to squirrel himself out from under nearly every legal trouble with which he was accused since he’d started the religion 11 years prior to this and his lawyers saw it fit to stick with the trend. We discuss how the trial of the prophet was seen by local periodicals and the Warsaw Signal’s reaction to the increasing political power wielded by Jo and the church. After that we have on Gottfried to discuss Isaiah in the Book of Mormon from a nuanced perspective and finish up with a very brief listener mail segment spurring a much-needed correction.


Missouri Joint Fact-Finding Committee report

Stephen A. Douglas: The Political Apprenticeship by Reg Ankrom

Times & Seasons June 1841

Warsaw Signal 1841 archive

Calvin (Charles) Warren, Esq.

1841 Growing Conflict in Illinois

Joseph Smith and the Criminal Justice System

Nauvoo Charter

1841 articles Missouri News Articles

1841 Quincy Whig

MyBoM Episode 190 - Gottfried Comment

Isaiah Variants in BoM

Show links:

Website http://nakedmormonismpodcast.com
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Music by Jason Comeau http://aloststateofmind.com/
Show Artwork http://weirdmormonshit.com/
Legal Counsel http://patorrez.com/

Hello Fresh

Early June 1841 was a fragile time for the Mormons. In a tragic repeat of 1838 when Jo was arrested in Missouri prior to the Saints being removed from that state, Jo was once again in handcuffs after meeting with Governor Carlin in Quincy, Illinois. This arrest warrant put Jo in the custody of the state of Missouri as there was an extradition clause couched in the order. It should be noted that the actual warrant was issued back in 1839 by Lilburn Boggs in response to Jo escaping the custody of the Missouri constables, but Governor Carlin, for whatever reason, sat on it for 2 years before acting.

Why the renewed fervor in arresting Jo? What happened which caused Governor Carlin to finally send the constables after Jo when they’d been nothing but helpful for 2 years prior to this moment? Well, something occurred in 1841 which reopened old wounds from the 1838 Mormon war in Missouri. The November 1838 grand jury trial was prosecuted based on reams of documents collected by a small fact-finding committee. They spent what little time they had in preparing hundreds of documents and the grand jury trial decided to move forward with a regular jury trial based on the evidence collected.

When you open the folder in the Missouri state online records, the first document you find is an extract from the Journal of the Joint Legislative Committee to investigate the late difficulties with the Mormons and here’s a quick extract of the preamble to their report:

“[We] have thought it unwise and injudicious matter—the existing circumstances of this case, to predicate a report upon papers, documents, &c purporting to be copies of the evidence taken before an examining court held in Richmond Ray County for the purpose of inquiring into the charges alleged against the people called “Mormons growing out of the late difficulties between the people, and other Citizens of this state.

[We] consider the evidence taken in the examination there held, in a great degree, expartie, and not of the character which should be desired for the basis of a fair and candid investigation. Moreover, the papers, documents, &c have not been certified in such a manner as to satisfy the Committee of their authenticity.”

Essentially, the fact-finding committee stated explicitly in this and multiple instances that the documents they had procured in their week-long investigation were insufficient to conclude a legitimate trial and that they had yet to even authenticate many of them. These documents were used by Justice King to incarcerate Jo and friends until more investigation could be done and the state could prepare a full jury trial case against the Prophet.

But, in no way should these documents have been made public before Jo stood trial. Jo and friends had escaped the state of Missouri and 2 years later, somebody saw it fit to release these documents to the public. They were met with outrage. Suddenly, everything the Mormons had done in Missouri for all of 1838 was public knowledge and the newspapers went wild. Only problem with all of it, just like today when a massive dossier of information comes out, no one person was reading through all the documents and understand everything in context. Pundits in national newspaper outlets were reading the Danite manifesto and the testimony of Doctor Sampson Avard without reading the hundreds of other documents collected by the committee and they’d compose massive articles about the Mormon’s military efforts in Missouri.

The fact-finding committee knew this would happen if the documents ever got out. They knew that any reader of these documents would instantly be prejudiced against the Mormons making a fair trial absolutely impossible.

The arrest of Joseph Smith in June of 1841 was in direct response to the renewed public outcry from these documents being published. The Missouri government wanted justice against Jo, but now the broader public wanted justice and were willing to go to extreme lengths to make it happen. The two years from 1839-1841 had been a brief respite from Missouri persecution, but that persecution was put on steroids and the public outcry wouldn’t be satiated until the streets ran red with the blood of the Prophet.

Jo was in handcuffs, but he’d prepared for just this occasion. Written into the Nauvoo charter was this funny little clause:

“Sec. 17. The Mayor shall have exclusive jurisdiction in all cases arising under the ordinances of the corporation, and shall issue such process as may be necessary to carry such ordinances into execution and effect; … The Municipal Court shall have power to grant writs of habeas corpus in all cases arising under the ordinances of the City Council.”

That clause made it so the Mayor of Nauvoo or anyone in relevant official government capacity could issue a writ of habeas corpus to any other government official to release any prisoner they saw fit to write said writ of habeas corpus. The mayor of Nauvoo with this executive get out of jail free card was Jo’s third in command, General John C. Wreck-it Bennett. The Mormon influence on members of government reached far beyond just those councilors and aldermen composing the Nauvoo government. One of these government officials was master in chancery for Adams County, Calvin A. Warren, referred to as Charles A. Warren Esq., in what we’ll be soon reading.

The posse which arrested Jo had planned to take him straight across the Mississippi to Missouri and down to Richmond to answer for his charges of arson, robbery, and treason against the Union. Warren’s quick action to compose Jo’s writ of habeas corpus meant the posse wasn’t even able to cross the Mississippi before the Nauvoo marshal approached them with the writ granting Jo’s release. Naturally, the posse answered with skepticism. This entire article we’re going to read was printed in the Times and Season on 15th June 1841 for all Mormons and anti-Mormons to consume. We’re reading it out of the history of the church and the pro-Mormon slant is rather brazen in its presentation of the events.

But, before reading it, we have a new NaMo nickname inductee to introduce. Willard Richards was a fun one and I’m left with a challenge in arbitrarily deciding which of all the proposed names to use for our historical timeline. A few of my favorites were from Jonathan Dille on Facebook who said Scrubbing Bubbles Richards and @TNickPerkins on twitter who said “How can Willard’s NaMo nickname be anything other than Big Willy Dick?!” which gave me quite a chuckle. We would be using that one if not for the extant pictures of the man, come on…. Look at him….. it’d be like calling him Slim, it just doesn’t fit. Another good entry came in anecdotal form from Willard Richard’s ol’ chump, @DavyWhhitmer who proposed Billard Dickards saying “Richards’ knobby walking stick not only doubled as a gun whacker, but was also used as a billiards stick. He was quite the shark! This earned his cane the nick name Billards Dickards. You’re hearing this breaking church history here first” so definitely loved that.

But, one must emerge victorious and that came from Brent Toney on facebook who sent in White-out Willard. This really was a hard one to decide, but given White-out Willard’s license to write Mormon history exactly how he saw fit, this is the perfect NaMo nickname. Thanks for playing along everybody and be sure to follow Brent Toney on Facebook as this week’s winner of the NaMoNickNameGame. We’ll pick up this week’s nominee for NMNNG at the end of the history today.

With that taken care of, let’s read how White-out Willard reported the following events after Jo’s arrest in June of 1841.

Vol 4:362

“[after my arrest] I accordingly returned to Quincy, and obtained a writ of Habeas Corpus from Charles A. Warren, Esq., master in chancery, and Judge Stephen A. Douglas happening to come to Quincy that evening, he appointed to give a hearing on the writ on the Tuesday following in Monmouth, Warren County, where the court would then commence a regular term…

Sunday 6—News of my arrest having arrived in Nauvoo last night, and being circulated thorough the city, Hosea Stout, Tarleton Lewis, William A. Hickman (Wild Bill Hickman), John S. Higbee, Elijah Able [Abel, the first black man to get the priesthood], Uriel C. Nickerson, and George W. Clyde, stared from the Nauvoo landing in a skiff, in order to overtake me, and rescue me, if necessary. They had a heavy head wind, but arrived in Quincy at dusk; went up to Benjamin Jones’s house, and found that I had gone to Nauvoo in charge of two officers.

I returned to Nauvoo in charge of the officers (Sheriff King had been suddenly seized with sickness; I nursed and waited upon him in my own house, so that he might be able to go to Monmouth), and notified several of my friends to get ready and accompany me the next morning.”

Quick side note, one of Jo’s enemies falling immediately sick as soon as he got near Jo while Jo “nursed” him to health wasn’t unheard of at this time, nor would this be the last time such a thing would happen. This brief stop in Nauvoo allowed Jo to amass his own posse of Nauvoo Legion bodyguards.

“Monday 7—I started very early for Monmouth, seventy-five miles distant (taking Mr. King along with me, and attending him during his sickness), accompanied by Charles C. Rich, Amasa Lyman, Shadrack Roundy, Reynolds Cahoon, Charles Hopkins, Alfred Randall, Elias Higbee, Morris Phelps, John P. Greene, Henry G. Sherwood, Joseph Younger, Darwin Chase, Ira Miles, Joel S. Miles, Lucien Woodworth, Vinson Knight, Robert B. Thompson, George Miller, and others. We traveled very late, camping about midnight in the road.”

Once they arrived on Monmouth, the crowds gathered for a chance to witness the prophet and voice their ignorant rage about the Mormon war revelations. The Mormons had gone viral in Illinois and the surrounding states. They were a curiosity to some, and demons from hell to others. The people wanted to witness Jo first-hand to see if he had horns like the rumors claimed. Jo Kardashian had just arrived on horseback and the people wanted selfies and autographs. Besides, what else are these people going to do on a random Tuesday morning after they’d finished reading the local paper’s article about the Danites? Sure, people went to their jobs, but maybe they can put off planting this year’s crop for one more day because there’s something interesting to see in town! The curiosity and novelty of the prophet represented only a minority of the crowd. Most of it was comprised of people who didn’t have the Prophet’s best interests in mind.

The Mormons had national recognition by this point. Newspapers from New Orleans to New York were regularly publishing article about the Mormons because the populous was interested and articles about the Mormons sold like hotcakes. But for every person who was curious about the Mormons, 10 followed who thought they were religious fanatics led by the devil incarnate. Represented in that latter group were also all the people who’d been burned by the Mormons. The Saints were 10k strong at this point and those people came from all over the Union and even from across the pond. There were a lot of people living in Illinois who had a loved one who’d been led astray by the wretched Book of Mormon. There were people living in Illinois who’d lived in Missouri sometime in the last 6 years who had come to know what a Mormon kingdom looks like; it’s understandable they would be a little cross with Jo and friends. Then, there were also the people who’d been directly defrauded by Jo or some other Mormon by land speculation, bogus money, or investment into the KSS Company. Others had been converted, read Eber Howe’s book and learned Mormonism was a fraud, then actively sought to dismantle the church by convening in large mobs to surround the prophet anywhere he went. Maybe some ill luck could befall him among a crowd of dozens or hundreds of people. There were people in the crowd who wanted Jo dead. This was no friendly mob.

Jo spent the morning of Tuesday 8th June getting breakfast at the local Tavern in Monmouth. The hearing for Jo’s writ of habeas corpus was slated for that day, but the state’s Attorney asked to postpone to the next day, “on account of his not being prepared, not having had sufficient notice of the trial.” The court decided to reconvene the next day, which only made the angry mob who wanted to see Jo dead or locked behind bars even angrier.

Here’s Jo’s telling of the events of Tuesday and Wednesday, we’ll compare it to another version momentarily.

“[I] found great excitement prevailing in the public mind, and great curiosity was manifested by the citizens, who were extremely anxious to obtain “a sight of the Prophet,” expecting to see me in chains. Mr. King (whose health was now partly restored) had considerable difficulty in protecting me from the mob that had gathered there.”

Here’s a version that’s seems to match a bit closer to reality written by Reg Ankrom in his great biography of Stephen A. Douglas: The Political Apprenticeship, beginning on page 167:

“By agreement of Smith’s defense, led by Orville Browning and Archibald Williams of Quincy, and State’s Attorney Morrison, the hearing was delayed a day, which gave an excited crowd more time to fester against Smith. A rumor circulated that the evidence would not justify a conviction, and by the next day a gallows had been erected in the court yard and a mob pushed their way into the courthouse.”

Stephen A. Douglas was the Justice overseeing the proceedings of the court. This was good news for Jo, Douglas had just graced the Mormons with a giant political favor of appointing Wreck-it Bennett to the position of Master in Chancery last episode, and the Mormons considered him a friend. We can’t move forward without mentioning how much Stephen Douglas was simply pandering for the Mormon bloc vote. He was an up-and-coming politician in Illinois, he’d served in the Illinois militia in the black hawk war of 1832 which could be better summarized as almost completely a one-sided slaughter. Since then Douglas had been moving up the political ladder running as a Democratic candidate, but losing a number campaigns for various offices. He had been recently appointed associate justice of the Illinois Supreme Court in 1841 at the same time he was pandering to the Mormons to get their blessing in any upcoming elections in which he would decide to run. Somebody like Stephen Douglas on the rise in politics with the Mormon voting bloc behind him, Douglas would have been a fool to cross Jo.

The mob knew how tight Jo and Douglas were, which may help explain why they erected the gallows in protest of the sham court about to be underway on Wednesday the 9th. The courthouse was flooded by a mob. In response, Douglas ordered the sheriff to clear the courtroom, but the one Sheriff was overrun by dozens of angry people wanting justice to be served in the form of vigilante lynch mob. Douglas took this emergency opportunity to appoint a new sheriff, a large fellow Kentuckian friend of his who he knew could handle the job. From later in Douglas’s biography by Ankrom:

“’I appoint you sheriff of this court,’ Douglas bellowed. ‘Select your own deputies, and as many of them as you require. Clear this courtroom.’

The Kentuckian, said by observers to have thrown some men out the courthouse windows, the courtroom was cleared in twenty minutes. Telling the story, Douglas biographer James Sheahan noted that Douglas had no authority to appoint another sheriff since the county’s elected sheriff was present. But this was an emergency, Sheahan continues, and there was no time to debate the fine points about the constitutional limits of Douglas’s power. By Douglas’s quick action Smith had been saved from the makeshift gallows. Smith was exceedingly grateful.”

With the courthouse cleared of the lynch mob who were trying to serve justice upon Jo’s neck, the court could finally proceed with the hearing. Just to clarify before we pick things up in the HoC, this hearing wasn’t for Jo’s crimes in Missouri, this was just to hear whether or not the court would grant the writ of habeas corpus written by Charles Warren of Adams County, which would release Jo from the custody of the posse. This hearing had an incredibly narrow scope, a fact which Jo and his lawyers used to their advantage.

Vogel HoC 4:363

“Mr. Morrison, on behalf of the people, wished for time to send to Springfield for the indictment, it not being found with the rest of the papers. This course would have delayed the proceedings, and, as it was not important to the issue, the attorneys for the defense admitted that there was an indictment, so that the investigation might proceed.”

This is an important detail to begin the court proceedings with. The lawyer for the state, Mr. Morrison, wanted a copy of the arrest warrant to enter into the court as evidence, but it couldn’t be found and it was necessary to send a messenger to Springfield or Quincy to obtain a copy of it. This would have held up the court, so both prosecution and defense decided to continue on without going to the trouble of getting a copy of the original indictment. This will come back to haunt the prosecution.

“Mr. Warren, for the defense, then read the petition, which stated that I was unlawfully held in custody, and that the indictment in Missouri was obtained by fraud, bribery, and duress, all of which I was prepared to prove.”

It’s worth noting that Governor Carlin of Illinois was the original signer to the warrant for Jo’s arrest, but originally it came from Governor Lilburn Boggs before he left office in late 1839. The arrest warrant had been simply sitting Governor Carlin’s office for two years without ever being put into effect. Governor Carlin had met with Jo and other high ranking Mormon officials, multiple times, allowing ample time for him to execute the warrant and place Jo, Rigdon, and other elites under the custody of the State of Illinois to be extradited to Missouri to answer for high crimes. Carlin never committed the Hancock or Adams County sheriffs to take Jo into custody until more than 2 years after the initial arrest warrant was issued.

This fact became the primary argument for Jo’s defense lawyers, but gets lost in the retelling from what we and other historians take away from reading just the HoC.

“All the lawyers on the opposite side, excepting two, viz., Messrs. Knowlton and Jennings, confined themselves to the merits of the case, and conducted themselves as gentlemen: but it was plainly evident that the design of Messrs. Knowlton and Jennings was to excite the public mind still more on the subject, and inflame the passions of the people against me and my religion.”

I’ve searched far and wide online to gain access to the court minutes from this hearing but I can’t seem to find them anywhere. It would be interesting to know the exact details of the arguments being thrown around the courthouse on this day, but all we can do is infer based on the information that is provided. I’m not saying those court documents don’t exist and aren’t online, I’m merely saying I spent many hours chasing google rabbit holes and reading newspaper clippings to try and construct the arguments made by the respective lawyers, but the search has come up dry. It has been entertaining reading so many articles about this court proceeding though, even though most of them were reprints from the Quincy Whig and Warsaw Signal.

From what I’ve gathered, even though it fell outside the scope of this particular court hearing on the merits of the arrest warrant, it seems as if both sides were merely bickering about the merits of the November 1838 grand jury trial which convicted Jo, Sidekick-Abiff Hyrum Smith, and Hingepin Rigdon to Liberty Jail. The defense seems to have made the argument that Missouri acted outside the scope of the law and persecuted the Mormons on religious bases, but the prosecution seemed to make the argument that the Missouri Grand Jury trial was merely to ascertain if there was enough evidence to proceed with a jury trial and that religious persecution had nothing to do with the case. Neither of these arguments had any place in this hearing as the only subject which should have been discussed is whether or not the state of Illinois would hold to the arrest warrant issued 2 years ago by Governor Lilburn Boggs and extradite Jo to Missouri, or if they would grant the writ of habeas corpus and release the prisoner.

However, just like every terrible court movie ever, each side did their level best to sway the court through emotive arguments that the Mormons had either been wrongfully persecuted, or that Jo was a criminal deserving of a proper trial judged by a jury of his peers.

A confounding variable among the two sides arguing the merits of the Mormons’ case in Missouri or the merits of the writ of habeas corpus was the political posturing going on. Remember, Judge Stephen Douglas was friendly to Jo and the Mormons and served as the presiding judge, but the lawyers had to worry about their careers in the state hinging upon the outcome of this trial. If the arrest warrant is upheld by this court, Jo gets taken to Missouri and hanged for treason. All the pandering the various lawyers and politicians have done for the Mormon suddenly becomes a liability. If Jo goes free, the lawyers who opposed him have no career in Illinois politics while the Mormons remain voters in the state of Illinois. It wasn’t just the fate of the Mormons and Jo riding on this decision, the Mormons were plutonium and everybody who’d ever touched them had a lot riding on the outcome of this seemingly simple court hearing for an arrest warrant.

“Some had even been told, that if they engaged on the side of the defense, they need never look to the citizens of that county for any political favors. But they were not to be overawed by the popular clamor, or be deterred from an act of public duty by any insinuations or threats whatever, and stated that if they had not before determined to discharge their duty. The counsel for the defense spoke well, without exception; and strongly urged the legality of the court examining testimony to prove that the whole proceedings on the part of Missouri were base and illegal, and that the indictment was obtained through fraud, bribery, and corruption.”

According to the HoC, unfortunately for the state of Missouri and all those opposed to Jo and the Mormons, the prosecution attorney was in bad shape for the hearing, which played to the Mormons’ advantage.

“A young lawyer from Missouri volunteered to plead against me; he tried his utmost to convict me, but was so high with liquor, and chewed so much tobacco, that he often called for cold water. Before he had spoken many minutes he turned sick, requested to be excused by the court, and went out of the Court House puking all the way down stairs. (As the Illinoisans call the Missouri people pukes, this circumstance caused considerable amusement to the members of the bar.) During his plea, his language was so outrageous that the judge was twice under the necessity of ordering him to be silent.

Mr. O. H. Browning then commenced his plea, and in a short time the puking lawyer returned, and requested the privilege of finishing his plea, which was allowed.”

Now the defense turns up the emotive rhetoric to unbearable levels…

“Afterwards Mr. Browning resumed his pleadings, which were powerful; and when he gave a recitation of what he himself had seen at Quincy, and on the banks of the Mississippi river when the Saints were “exterminated from Missouri,” where he tracked the persecuted women and children by their bloody footmarks in the snow, they were so affecting that the spectators were often dissolved in tears. Judge Douglass himself, and most of the officers wept, for they were under the necessity of keeping the spectators company.”

Thus day one of the hearing was terminated, which was all it took to convince Judge Stephen Douglas that it was proper to side with the Mormons. His judgement would be passed down at 9 a.m. the following morning after considering all the available evidence and arguments, but also keeping in mind his stance with the Mormons and the fact that his political career was held in the balance. Judge Douglas made a judgement call. He likely thought the Mormons would be spending decades in Illinois and if he let the Prophet off on a technicality his name would be revered among Mormons for upholding the religious liberty of the land when the Mormons were in a time of desperation.

The following morning, Judge Douglas summarized the arguments and delivered his decision:

“… the writ being once returned to the executive by the sheriff of Hancock County was dead, and stood in the same relationship as any other writ which might issue from the Circuit Court; and consequently, the defendant could not be held in custody on that writ. The other point, whether evidence in the case was admissible or not, he would not at that time decide, as it involved great and important considerations relative to the future conduct of the different states. There being no precedent, as far as they had access to authorities which could be obtained on the subject, before he would decide that point. But on the other the defendant must be liberated.”

Essentially, the warrant for Jo’s arrest was thrown out because Governor Carlin had ample time and opportunity to act upon it without doing so. The warrant had therefore extinguished its statute of limitations and was thrown out of court, and the writ of habeas corpus by Charles Warren was granted. Jo and his massive posse of 60 body guards walked out of the courthouse that day flanked by the local sheriffs for protection from the outraged mob.

“Thus have I been once more delivered from the fangs of my cruel persecutors, for which I thank God, my Heavenly Father.”

A letter was immediately sent to Nauvoo to be published in the next edition of the Times and Seasons commending the efforts of Orville Browning and Judge Douglas for siding with the Mormons.

“It was an effort worthy of a high-minded and honorable gentleman, such as we ever considered him to be, since we have had the pleasure of his acquaintance. Soon after we came out of Missouri, he sympathized with us in our afflictions, and we are indeed rejoiced to know that he yet maintains the same principles of benevolence.”

As long as the Mormons remained in Illinois, Orville Browning would always have a job or electoral seat with the Mormons. This was Jo and the elite’s way of winking to Browning saying we’ll be happy to scratch your back when the time comes, thanks for scratching ours.

The Warsaw Signal is utterly delightful to read for the next few installments into mid-July 1841. ThomAss Sharp realized just how powerful Jo was becoming with the court system granting the bogus habeas corpus appeal written by a friend of the prophet. He took the opportunity to bring to public notice the fact that the Mormons were now the single largest voting bloc in the state and there were local elections coming up in August, a mere 2 months away. The Mormons had already queued up their favorite Mormons or Mormon sympathizers to take various local offices; ThomAss Sharp saw it fit to respond accordingly after summarizing the events of the sham court hearing among other important items of business.

“It is said that Mr. Browning's eloquence, in describing the persecution of the Mormons, on the trial of Joe Smith, at Monmouth, last week, drew tears from the eyes of Judge Douglass. 

Query -- Were there any onions about? 

THE HABEAS CORPUS. -- We noticed the fact, last week, of the arrest of Joe Smith, under a warrant from the Governor, on a demand made by the Governor of Missouri, and of his having been brought before Judge Douglass, at Monmouth, on a writ of Habeas Corpus. We since learn, that after a hearing of the case he was discharged -- on the grounds of the illegality of the writ.”


Will our kind friend, the Prophet, or the talented editors of the "Times and Seasons" give us some further information relative to the "Danite Society" of Latter Day Saints? We publish to-day a very interesting account of it, under the head of "Correspondence of the New York Evangelist," and we would be glad to learn something more of its character. Have you one in complete organization now, at Nauvoo? or is it merged in the "Nauvoo Legion?" Please send us a constitution. We would like to publish it.”

“According to a request contained in the proceedings above alluded to, the County Commissioners' Clerk has politely forwarded us the number of delegates which each Precinct is entitled, which is as follows: 

Precincts No. of del. No of votes

Bear Creek 2 20

Montebello 3 26

Chili 5 46

Appanosse 5 51

CampCreek 8 61

Fountain Green 8 85

Augusta 8 81

St. Mary's 10 104

Green Plains 12 117

Warsaw 20 197

La Harpe 20 202

Carthage 33 332

Commerce 41 409

We now ask our fellow citizens to take an interest in this matter. Will each Precinct hold a meeting, and appoint the number of delegates designated in the above list -- good men and true -- who will act -- and act understandingly? We wish to see whether Hancock county has the spirit to resist the religious and military despotism which is attempted to be fastened upon her. We wish to know whether Joe Smith is to be the dispenser of honor and office among us, as he is among his deluded followers”

ThomAss Coke Sharp kept an eager eye on the Mormons through his outlet of the Warsaw signal. We introduced him a few episodes ago, but I’ve only been using the name he was endowed with by Jo’s younger brother Crazy Willey Smith when he starts up the Wasp. ThomAss Sharp couldn’t let any action the Mormons took go unanswered and he spearheaded the anti-Mormon movement in Illinois. Next or the following week we’ll get into him starting the actual Anti-Mormon political party to combat those delegate and vote numbers the Mormons held as reported in the previous article, but for now, we need to endow ThomAss Coke Sharp with a proper NaMoNickname. Sharp’s name does him a service as he was pointed and calculated in his periodicals against the Mormons, we could call him tackman… cuz he’s Sharp as a tack…. Tackman….. He was known for his smack downs of the Mormons and his scathing commentary, and one great journalist was known for his Hitch-slaps so maybe ThomAss can be known for bringing the AssSmackdown when it was called for.

Here’s another great article from Thomas Sharp clarifying the political position of the Warsaw Signal:


We have several times been asked whether we profess to represent the Whig party in the controversy in which we have engaged, relative to the Mormon ascendancy in this county. If by the Whig party is meant certain individuals calling themselves leaders, who make Party their God, and sacrifice everything at her shrine -- or if is meant those kind-hearted and sympathetic gentlemen whose feelings are so deeply touched at the idea of "persecution." as our poor action of self-defense is perversely termed -- or if is meant that class of high-minded politicians whose highest glory is to fawn upon and flatter Joe Smith, and who are ready to toss coppers for the honor of escorting him from place to place -- or if is meant that class of persons who yet think the Mormons may be some political utility in future elections -- we answer, that we do not profess to represent any of these. On the contrary, we profess to represent in this controversy those high-minded and independent citizens of Hancock who dare to think, and fear not to speak their thoughts. We profess to represent those of both political parties, who are not shackled by self-interest, and who have the manliness to stand up for their rights in opposition to the dictates of a political and military Church. We profess to represent that class of our fellow citizens who would save the country and state from the disgrace of being ruled by an ignorant and unprincipled aspirant for power -- from the degradation of submitting to religious despotism in a land of freedom and laws. We profess to represent those, too, who are not willing to wait until they are trodden under foot before they make resistance.”

Sharp was a straight shooter when it came to politics, not siding with any party but examining each subject as he saw it through the eyes of what was fair and right. We could call him the SharpShooter. What do you think we should call Thomas Coke Sharp? Vote or propose your nomination with #NaMoNickname on twitter or facebook @nakedmormonism or email it in to nakedmormonism@gmail.com and I’ll arbitrarily select my favorite. I know you guys are far more clever than yours truly so I leave Thomas Sharp in your hands.

The situation is heating up in Nauvoo with the Mormons. For every new convert, another dozen people learned about the delusion of Mormonism and wanted to read everything the newspapers were saying about these religious fanatics. We’ll continue to keep track of how the Mormons were treated in periodicals with national recognition and how the Mormon elite responded to these claimed slanders and abuse through their own propaganda outlets. Jo escaped the clutches of the Missouri government through a small technicality and this wasn’t the first or last time it would happen in his life. One historian claimed Joseph was arrested or brought to trial 42 times in his life, but never actually convicted of anything. A rap sheet like that sure doesn’t seem to ring of a good, honest, godlike man, Jo really begins to come into focus as a con-man and crimelord as we progress closer to his ultimate demise a mere 3 years ahead of where our timeline currently resides. Stay tuned everybody.

Hello Fresh

We’re about to get into an interesting conversation about the Book of Mormon. Before we do, I just need to let you guys know that patrons of the show at patreon.com/nakedmormonism get access to another segment of this interview which just about doubles the amount of time we had Jeff on. He and I talk Sidney Rigdon and the Spalding theory to a great extent and it was a really fun conversation, so if you want access to that, go pledge a dollar an episode and you’ll get the extended edition of this episode, all episodes ad free, and this week you’ll also see our monthly NaMo home evening with featured guest Mormon historian Joe Geisner who informed us on some finer points of Jo’s early history and told us a bit about Nauvoo history we’re setting our sights on in the coming months of the show as we progress through the Nauvoo years. Lots of exclusive content every week, a fun community of people commenting or joining for the live hangouts on the first Monday of each month, and all around good times to be had on the patreon feed so if you aren’t signed up, please consider doing so. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Jeff about Isaiah in the Book of Mormon.

Hiram Hyrum

Seattle Atheists Darwin Day Feb 18

Mormon Doctrine AMA Feb 17th


“When I was at dinner a man rushed in and said, “Which is Jo Smith? I have got a five dollar Kirtland bill, and I’ll be damned if he don’t take it back I’ll sue him, for his name is to it.” I replied, “I am the man”; took the bill and paid him the specie, which he took very reluctantly, being anxious to kick up a fuss.”

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