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IN MISSOURI

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



Last Days At Kirtland








It is easy to understand that a church whose leaders had such
views of financial responsibility as Smith's and Rigdon's, and
whose members were ready to apostatize when they could not obtain
credit at the prophet's store, was anything but a harmonious
body. Smith was not a man to maintain his own dignity or to spare
the feelings of his associates. Wilford Woodruff, describing his
first sight of the prophet, at Kirtland, in 1834, said he found
him with his brother Hyrum, wearing a very old hat and engaged in
the sport of shooting at a mark. Woodruff accompanied him to his
house, where Smith at once brought out a wolfskin, and said,
"Brother Woodruff, I want you to help me tan this," and the two
took off their coats and went to work at the skin.* Smith's
contempt for Rigdon was never concealed. Writing of the situation
at Kirtland in 1833, he spoke of Rigdon as possessing "a
selfishness and independence of mind which too often manifestly
destroys the confidence of those who would lay down their lives
for him."** Smith was in the habit of announcing, from his lofty
pulpit in the Temple, "The truth is good enough without dressing
up, but brother Rigdon will now proceed to dress it up."*** Some
of the new converts backed out as soon as they got a close view
of the church. Elder G. A. Smith, a cousin of Joseph, in a sermon
in Salt Lake City, in 1855, mentioned some incidents of this
kind. One family, who had journeyed a long distance to join the
church in Kirtland, changed their minds because Joseph's wife
invited them to have a cup of tea "after the word of wisdom was
given." Another family withdrew after seeing Joseph begin playing
with his children as soon as he rested from the work of
translating the Scriptures for the day. A Canadian ex-Methodist
prayed so long at family worship at Father Johnson's that Joseph
told him flatly "not to bray so much like a jackass." The prayer
thereupon returned to Canada.

* Journal of Discourses, Vol. 1, p. 101.

** Millennial Star, Vol. XIV, pp. 584-585.

*** Lippincott's Magazine, August, 1880.


But the discontented were not confined to new-comers. Jealousy
and dissatisfaction were constantly manifesting themselves among
Smith's old standbys. Written charges made against Cowdery and
David Whitmer, when they were driven out of Far West, Missouri,
told them: "You commenced your wickedness by heading a party to
disturb the worship of the Saints in the first day of the week,
and made the house of the Lord in Kirtland to be a scene of abuse
and slander, to destroy the reputation of those whom the church
had appointed to be their teachers, and for no other cause only
that you were not the persons." In more exact terms, their
offence was opposition to the course pursued by Smith. During the
winter and spring of 1837, these rebels included in their list F.
G. Williams, of the First Presidency, Martin Harris, D. Whitmer,
Lyman E. Johnson, P. P. Pratt, and W. E. McLellin. In May, 1837,
a High Council was held in Kirtland to try these men. Pratt at
once objected to being tried by a body of which Smith and Rigdon
were members, as they had expressed opinions against him. Rigdon
confessed that he could not conscientiously try the case, Cowdery
did likewise, Williams very properly withdrew, and "the Council
dispersed in confusion."* It was never reassembled, but the
offenders were not forgotten, and their punishment came later.

* Millennial Star, Vol. XVI, p. 10.


Mother Smith attributes much of the discord among the members at
this time to "a certain young woman," an inmate of David
Whitmer's house, who began prophesying with the assistance of a
black stone. This seer predicted Smith's fall from office because
of his transgressions, and that David Whitmer or Martin Harris
would succeed him. Her proselytes became so numerous that a
written list of them showed that "a great proportion of the
church were decidedly in favor with the new party."*

* "Biographical Sketches," p. 221.


While Smith was thus fighting leading members of his own church,
he was called upon to defend himself against a serious charge in
court. A farmer near Kirtland, named Grandison Newell, received
information from a seceding Mormon that Smith had directed the
latter and another Mormon named Davis to kill Newell because he
was a particularly open opponent of the new sect. The affidavit
of this man set forth that he and Davis had twice gone to
Newell's house to carry out Smith's order, and were only
prevented by the absence of the intended victim. Smith was placed
under $500 bonds on this charge, but on the formal hearing he was
discharged on the ground of insufficient evidence.*

* Fanny Brewer of Boston, in an affidavit published in 1842,
declared, "I am personally acquainted with one of the employees,
Davis by name, and he frankly acknowledged to me that he was
prepared to do the deed under the direction of the prophet, and
was only prevented by the entreaties of his wife."


A rebellious spirit had manifested itself among the brethren in
Missouri soon after Smith returned from his first visit to that
state. W. W. Phelps questioned the prophet's "monarchical power
and authority," and an unpleasant correspondence sprung up
between them. As Smith did not succeed by his own pen in
silencing his accusers, a conference of twelve high priests was
called by him in Kirtland in January, 1833, which appointed Orson
Hyde and Smith's brother Hyrum to write to the Missouri brethren.
In this letter they were told plainly that, unless the rebellious
spirit ceased, the Lord would seek another Zion. To Phelps the
message was sent, "If you have fat beef and potatoes, eat them in
singleness of heart, and not boast yourself in these things." It
was, however, as a concession to this spirit of complaint,
according to Ferris, that Smith announced the "revelation" which
placed the church in the hands of a supreme governing body of
three.

Smith himself furnishes a very complete picture of the disrupted
condition of the Mormons in 1838, in an editorial in the Elders'
journal, dated August, of that year. The tone of the article,
too, sheds further light on Smith's character. Referring to the
course of "a set of creatures" whom the church had excluded from
fellowship, he says they "had recourse to the foulest lying to
hide their iniquity...; and this gang of horse thieves and
drunkards were called upon immediately to write their lives on
paper." Smith then goes on to pay his respects to various
officers of the church, all of whom, it should be remembered,
held their positions through "revelation" and were therefore
professedly chosen directly by God.

Of a statement by Warren Parish, one of the Seventy and an
officer of the bank, Smith says: "Granny Parish made such an
awful fuss about what was conceived in him that, night after
night and day after day, he poured forth his agony before all
living, as they saw proper to assemble. For a rational being to
have looked at him and heard him groan and grunt, and saw him
sweat and struggle, would have supposed that his womb was as much
swollen as was Rebecca's when the angel told her there were two
nations there." He also accuses Parish of immorality and stealing
money.

Here is a part of Smith's picture of Dr. W. A. Cowdery, a
presiding high priest: "This poor pitiful beggar came to Kirtland
a few years since with a large family, nearly naked and
destitute. It was really painful to see this pious Doctor's (for
such he professed to be) rags flying when he walked upon the
streets. He was taken in by us in this pitiful condition, and we
put him into the printing-office and gave him enormous wages, not
because he could earn it, but merely out of pity.... A truly
niggardly spirit manifested itself in all his meanness."

Smith's old friend Martin Harris, now a high priest, and Cyrus
Smalling, one of the Seventy, are lumped among Parish's
"lackeys,", of whom Smith says: "They are so far beneath contempt
that a notice of them would be too great a sacrifice for a
gentleman to make." Of Leonard Rich, one of the seven presidents
of the seventy elders, Smith says that he "was generally so drunk
that he had to support himself by something to keep from falling
down." J. F. Boynton and Luke Johnson, two of the Twelve, are
called "a pair of young blacklegs," and Stephen Burnett, an
elder, is styled "a little ignorant blockhead, whose heart was so
set on money that he would at any time sell his soul for $50, and
then think he had made an excellent bargain."

Smith's own personal character was freely attacked, and the
subject became so public that it received notice in the Elders'
Journal. One charge was improper conduct toward an orphan girl
whom Mrs. Smith had taken into her family. Smith's autobiography
contains an account of a council held in New Portage, Ohio, in
1834, at which Rigdon accused Martin Harris of telling A. C.
Russel that "Joseph drank too much liquor when he was translating
the Book of Mormon," and Harris set up as a defence that "this
thing occurred previous to the translating of the Book."*

* Millennial Star, Vol. XV, p. 12.


There was a good deal of talk concerning a confession "about a
girl," which Oliver Cowdery was reported to have said that Smith
made to him. Denials of this for Cowdery appeared in the Elders'
Journal of July, 1838, one man's statement ending thus, "Joseph
asked if he ever said to him (Oliver) that he (Joseph) confessed
to any one that he was guilty of the above crime; and Oliver,
after some hesitation, answered no."

The Elders' Journal of August, 1838, contains a retraction by
Parley P. Pratt of a letter he had written, in which he censured
both Smith and Rigdon, "using great severity and harshness in
regard to certain business transactions." In that letter Pratt
confessed that "the whole scheme of speculation" in which the
Mormon leaders were engaged was of the "devil," and he begged
Smith to make restitution for having sold him, for $2000, three
lots of land that did not cost Smith over $200.

Not only was the moral character of Smith and other individual
members of the church successfully attacked at this time, but the
charge was openly made that polygamy was practised and
sanctioned. In the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," published in
Kirtland in 1835, Section 101 was devoted to the marriage rite.
It contained this declaration: "Inasmuch as this Church of Christ
has been reproached with the crime of fornication and polygamy,
we declare that we believe that one man should have one wife, and
one woman one husband, except in case of death, when either is at
liberty to marry again." The value of such a denial is seen in
the ease with which this section was blotted out by Smith's later
"revelation" establishing polygamy.

An admission that even elders did practise polygamy at that time
is found in a minute of a meeting of the Presidents of the
Seventies, held on April 29, 1837, which made this declaration:
"First, that we will have no fellowship whatever with any elder
belonging to the Quorum of the Seventies, who is guilty of
polygamy."*

* Messenger and Advocate, p. 511.


Again: The Elders' journal dated Far West, Missouri, 1838,
contained a list of answers by Smith to certain questions which,
in an earlier number, he had said were daily and hourly asked by
all classes of people. Among these was the following: "Q. Do the
Mormons believe in having more wives than one? A. No, not at the
same time." (He condemns the plan of marrying within a few weeks
or months of the death of the first wife.) The statement has been
made that polygamy first suggested itself to Smith in Ohio, while
he was translating the so-called "Book of Abraham" from the
papyri found on the Egyptian mummies. This so-called translation
required some study of the Old Testament, and it is not at all
improbable that Smith's natural inclination toward such a
doctrine as polygamy secured a foundation in his reading of the
Old Testament license to have a plurality of wives.

For the business troubles hanging over the community, Smith and
Rigdon were held especially accountable. The flock had seen the
funds confided by them to the Bishop invested partly in land that
was divided among some of the Mormon leaders. Smith and Rigdon
were provided with a house near the Temple, and a printing-office
was established there, which was under Smith's management.
Naturally, when the stock and notes of the bank became valueless,
its local victims held its organizers responsible for the
disaster. Mother Smith gives us an illustration of the depth of
this feeling. One Sunday evening, while her husband was preaching
at Kirtland, when Joseph was in Cleveland "on business pertaining
to the bank," the elder Smith reflected sharply upon Warren
Parish, on whom the Smiths tried to place the responsibility for
the bank failure. Parish, who was present, leaped forward and
tried to drag the old man out of the pulpit. Smith, Sr., appealed
to Oliver Cowdery for help, but Oliver retained his seat. Then
the prophet's brother William sprang to his father's assistance,
and carried Parish bodily out of the church. Thereupon John
Boynton, who was provided with a sword cane, drew his weapon and
threatened to run it through the younger Smith. "At this
juncture," says Mrs. Smith, "I left the house, not only terrified
at the scene, but likewise sick at heart to see the apostasy of
which Joseph had prophesied was so near at hand."*

* "Biographical Sketches," p. 221.


Eliza Snow gives a slightly different version of the same
outbreak, describing its wind-up as follows:--

John Boynton and others drew their pistols and bowie knives and
rushed down from the stand into a congregation, Boynton saying he
would blow out the brains of the first man who dared lay hands on
him.... Amid screams and shrieks, the policemen in ejecting the
belligerents knocked down a stove pipe, which fell helter-skelter
among the people; but, although bowie knives and pistols were
wrested from their owners and thrown hither and thither to
prevent disastrous results, no one was hurt, and after a short
but terrible scene to be enacted in a Temple of God, order was
restored and the services of the day proceeded as usual."*

* "Biography of Lorenzo Snow," p. 20.


Smith made a stubborn defence of his business conduct. He
attributed the disaster to the bank to Parish's peculation, and
the general troubles of the church to "the spirit of speculation
in lands and property of all kinds," as he puts it in his
autobiography, wherein he alleges that "the evils were actually
brought about by the brethren not giving heed to my counsel." If
Smith gave any such counsel, it is unfortunate for his reputation
that neither the church records nor his "revelations" contain any
mention of it.

The final struggle came in December, 1837, when Smith and Rigdon
made their last public appearance in the Kirtland Temple. Smith
was as bold and aggressive as ever, but Rigdon, weak from
illness, had to be supported to his seat. An eye-witness of the
day's proceedings says* that "the pathos of Rigdon's plea, and
the power of his denunciation, swayed the feelings and shook the
judgments of his hearers as never in the old days of peace, and,
when he had finished and was led out, a perfect silence reigned
in the Temple until its door had closed upon him forever. Smith
made a resolute and determined battle; false reports had been
circulated, and those by whom the offence had come must repent
and acknowledge their sin or be cut off from fellowship in this
world, and from honor and power in that to come." He not only
maintained his right to speak as the head of the church, but,
after the accused had partly presented their case, and one of
them had given him the lie openly, he proposed a vote on their
excommunication at once and a hearing of their further pleas at a
later date. This extraordinary proposal led one of the accused to
cry out, "You would cut a man's head off and hear him afterward."
Finally it was voted to postpone the whole subject for a few
days.

* "Early Days of Mormonism," Kennedy, p. 169.


But the two leaders of the church did not attend this adjourned
session. Alarmed by rumors that Grandison Newell had secured a
warrant for their arrest on a charge of fraud in connection with
the affairs of the bank (unfounded rumors, as it later appeared),
they fled from Kirtland on horseback on the evening of January
12, 1838, and Smith never revisited that town. In his description
of their flight, Smith explained that they merely followed the
direction of Jesus, who said, "When they persecute you in one
city, flee ye to another." He describes the weather as extremely
cold, and says, "We were obliged to secrete ourselves sometimes
to elude the grasp of our pursuers, who continued their race more
than two hundred miles from Kirtland, armed with pistols, etc.,
seeking our lives." There is no other authority for this story of
an armed pursuit, and the fact seems to be that the non-Mormon
community were perfectly satisfied with the removal of the mock
prophet from their neighborhood.

Although Kirtland continued to remain a Stake of the church, the
real estate scheme of making it a big city vanished with the
prophet. Foreclosures of mortgages now began; the church
printing-office was first sold out by the sheriff and then
destroyed by fire, and the so-called reform element took
possession of the Temple. Rigdon had placed his property out of
his own hands, one acre of land in Kirtland being deeded by him
and his wife to their daughter.

The Temple with about two acres of land adjoining was deeded by
the prophet to William Marks in 1837, and in 1841 was redeeded to
Smith as trustee in trust for the church. In 1862 it was sold
under an order of the probate court by Joseph Smith's
administrator, and conveyed the same day to one Russel Huntley,
who, in 1873, conveyed it to the prophet's grandson, Joseph
Smith, and another representative of the Reorganized Church
(nonpolygamist). The title of the latter organization was
sustained in 1880 by judge L. S. Sherman, of the Lake County
Court of Common Pleas, who held that, "The church in Utah has
materially and largely departed from the faith, doctrines, laws,
ordinances and usages of said original Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-Day Saints, and has incorporated into its system of faith
the doctrines of celestial marriage and a plurality of wives, and
the doctrine of Adam-God worship, contrary to the laws and
constitution of said original church," and that the Reorganized
Church was the true and lawful successor to the original
organization. At the general conference of the Reorganized
Church, held at Lamoni, Iowa, in April, 1901, the Kirtland
district reported a membership of 423 members.





Next: The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion

Previous: Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises



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