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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



Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing








While the church, in a material sense, might have been as
prosperous as Corrill pictured, Smith, on his arrival, found it
in the throes of serious internal discord. The month before he
reached Far West, W. W. Phelps and John Whitmer, of the
Presidency there, had been tried before a general assembly of the
church,* and almost unanimously deposed on several charges, the
principal one being a claim on their part to $2000 of the church
funds which they had bound the Bishop to pay to them. Whitmer was
also accused of persisting in the use of tea, coffee, and
tobacco. T. B. Marsh, one of the Presidents pro tem. selected in
their places, in a letter to the prophet on this subject, said:--

* For the minutes of this General Assembly, and text of Marsh's
letter, see Elders' Journal, July, 1838.

"Had we not taken the above measures, we think that nothing could
have prevented a rebellion against the whole High Council and
Bishop; so great was the disaffection against the Presidents that
the people began to be jealous that the whole authorities were
inclined to uphold these men in wickedness, and in a little time
the church undoubtedly would have gone every man his own way,
like sheep without a shepherd."

On April 11, Elder Bronson presented nine charges against Oliver
Cowdery to the High Council, which promptly found him guilty of
six of them, viz. urging vexatious lawsuits against the brethren,
accusing the prophet of adultery, not attending meeting,
returning to the practice of law "for the sake of filthy lucre,"
"disgracing the church by being connected with the bogus
[counterfeiting] business, retaining notes after they had been
paid," and generally "forsaking the cause of God." On this
finding he was expelled from the church. Two days later David
Whitmer was found guilty of unchristianlike conduct and defaming
the prophet, and was expelled, and Lyman E. Johnson met the same
fate.* Smith soon announced a "revelation" (Sec. 114), directing
the places of the expelled to be filled by others.

* For minutes of these councils, see Millennial Star, Vol. XVI,
pp. 130-134.


It was in the June following that the paper drawn up by Rigdon
and signed by eighty-three prominent members of the church was
presented to the recalcitrants, ordering them to leave the
county, and painting their characters in the blackest hues.* This
radical action did not meet the approval of the more conservative
element, which included men like Corrill, and he soon announced
that he was no longer a Mormon. Not long afterward Thomas B.
Marsh, one of the original members of the High Council of Twelve
in Missouri, and now President of the Twelve, and Orson Hyde, one
of the original Apostles, also seceded, and both gave testimony
about the Mormon schemes in Caldwell and Daviess Counties.
Cowdery and Whitmer considered their lives in such danger that
they fled on horseback at night, leaving their families, and
after riding till daylight in a storm, reached the house of a
friend, where they found refuge until their families could join
them.

* See p. 81 ante. For the full text of Rigdon's paper, see the
"Correspondence, Orders, etc., in Relation to the Mormon
Disturbances in Missouri," published by order of the Missouri
legislature (1841).


The most important event that followed the expulsion of leading
members from the church by the High Council was the formation of
that organization which has been almost ever since known as the
Danites, whose dark deeds in Nauvoo were scarcely more than
hinted at,* but which, under Brigham Young's authority in Utah,
became a band of murderers, ready to carry out the most radical
suggestion which might be made by any higher authority of the
church.

* Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 158.


Corrill, an active member of the church in Missouri, writing in
1839 with the events fresh in his memory, said* that the members
of the Danite society entered into solemn covenants to stand by
one another when in difficulty, whether right or wrong, and to
correct each other's wrongs among themselves, accepting strictly
the mandates of the Presidency as standing next to God. He
explains that "many were opposed to this society, but such was
their determination and also their threatenings, that those
opposed dare not speak their minds on the subject . . . . It
began to be taught that the church, instead of God, or, rather,
the church in the hands of God, was to bring about these things
(judgments on the wicked), and I was told, but I cannot vouch for
the truth of it, that some of them went so far as to contrive
plans how they might scatter poison, pestilence, and disease
among the inhabitants, and make them think it was judgments sent
from God. I accused Smith and Rigdon of it, but they both denied
it promptly."

* "Brief History of the Church," pp. 31, 32.


Robinson, in his reminiscences in the Return in later years, gave
the same date of the organization of the Danites, and said that
their first manifesto was the one directed against Cowdery,
Whitmer, and others.

We must look for the actual origin of this organization, however,
to some of the prophet's instructions while still at Kirtland. In
his "revelation" of August 6, 1833 (Sec. 98), he thus defined the
treatment that the Saints might bestow upon their enemies: "I
have delivered thine enemy into thine hands, and then if thou
wilt spare him, thou shalt be rewarded for thy righteousness; . .
. nevertheless thine enemy is in thine hands, and if thou reward
him according to his works thou art justified, if he has sought
thy life, and thy life is endangered by him, thine enemy is in
thine hands and thou art justified."

What such a license would mean to a following like Smith's can
easily be understood.

The next step in the same direction was taken during the
exercises which,accompanied the opening of the Kirtland Temple.
Three days after the dedicatory services, all the high officers
of the church, and the official members of the stake, to the
number of about three hundred, met in the Temple by appointment
to perform the washing of feet. While this was going on
(following Smith's own account),* "the brethren began to prophesy
blessings upon each other's heads, and cursings upon the enemies
of Christ who inhabit Jackson County, Missouri, and continued
prophesying and blessing and sealing them, with hosannah and
amen, until nearly seven o'clock P. M. The bread and wine were
then brought in. While waiting, I made the following remarks, 'I
want to enter into the following covenant, that if any more of
our brethren are slain or driven from their lands in Missouri by
the mob, we will give ourselves no rest until we are avenged of
our enemies to the uttermost.' This covenant was sealed
unanimously, with a hosannah and an amen." **

* Millennial Star, Vol. XV, pp. 727-728.


* "The spirit of that covenant evidently bore fruit in the Fourth
of July oration of 1838 and the Mountain Meadow Massacre."--The
Return, Vol. II, p. 271.


The original name chosen for the Danites was "Daughters of Zion,"
suggested by the text Micah iv. 13: "Arise and thresh, O daughter
of Zion; for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thine
hoofs brass; and thou shalt beat in pieces many people; and I
will consecrate thy gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto
the Lord of the whole earth." "Daughters" of anybody was soon
decided to be an inappropriate designation for such a band, and
they were next called "Destroying (or Flying) Angels," a title
still in use in Utah days; then the "Big Fan," suggested by
Jeremiah xv. 7, or Luke iii. 17; then "Brothers of Gideon," and
finally "Sons of Dan" (whence the name Danites,) from Genesis
xlix. 17: "Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the
path, that biteth the horse's heels, so that his rider shall fall
backward."*

* Hyde's "Mormonism Exposed," pp. 104-105.


Avard presented the text of the constitution to the court at
Richmond, Missouri, during the inquiry before Judge King in
November, 1838* It begins with a preamble setting forth the
agreement of the members "to regulate ourselves under such laws
as in righteousness shall be deemed necessary for the
preservation of our holy religion, and of our most sacred rights,
and the rights of our wives and children," and declaring that,
"not having the privileges of others allowed to us, we have
determined, like unto our fathers, to resist tyranny, whether it
be in kings or in the people. It is all alike to us. Our rights
we must have, and our rights we shall have, in the name of
Israel's God." The President of the church and his counsellors
were to hold the "executive power," and also, along with the
generals and colonels of the society, to hold the "legislative
powers"; this legislature to "have power to make all laws
regulating the society, and regulating punishments to be
administered to the guilty in accordance with the offence." Thus
was furnished machinery for carrying out any decree of the
officers of the church against either life or property.

* Missouri "Correspondence, Orders, etc.," pp. 101-102.


The Danite oath as it was administered in Nauvoo was as
follows:-- "In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I do
solemnly obligate myself ever to regard the Prophet and the First
Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as
the supreme head of the church on earth, and to obey them in all
things, the same as the supreme God; that I will stand by my
brethren in danger or difficulty, and will uphold the Presidency,
right or wrong; and that I will ever conceal, and never reveal,
the secret purposes of this society, called Daughters of Zion.
Should I ever do the same, I hold my life as the forfeiture, in a
caldron of boiling oil."*

* Bennett's "History of the Saints," p. 267.


John D. Lee, who was a member of the organization, explaining
their secret signs, says,* "The sign or token of distress is made
by placing the right hand on the right side of the face, with the
points of the fingers upward, shoving the hand upward until the
ear is snug up between the thumb and forefinger."

*Lee's "Mormonism Unveiled," p. 57.


It has always been the policy of the Mormon church to deny to the
outside world that any such organization as the Danites existed,
or at least that it received the countenance of the authorities.
Smith's City Council in Nauvoo made an affidavit that there was
no such society there, and Utah Mormons have professed similar
ignorance. Brigham Young, himself, however, gave testimony to the
contrary in the days when he was supreme in Salt Lake City. In
one of his discourses which will be found reported in the Deseret
News (Vol. VII, p. 143) he said: "If men come here and do not
behave themselves, they will not only find the Danites, whom they
talk so much about, biting the horses' heels, but the scoundrels
will find something biting THEIR heels. In my plain remarks I
merely call things by their own names." It need only be added
that the church authority has been powerful enough at any time in
the history of the church to crush out such an organization if it
so desired.

A second organization formed about the same time, at a fully
attended meeting of the Mormons of Daviess County, was called
"The Host of Israel." It was presided over by captains of tens,
of fifties, and of hundreds, and, according to Lee, "God
commanded Joseph Smith to place the Host of Israel in a situation
for defence against the enemies of God and the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

Another important feature of the church rule that was established
at this time was the tithing system, announced in a "revelation"
(Sec. 119), which is dated July 8, 1838. This required the flock
to put all their "surplus property" into the hands of the Bishop
for the building of the Temple and the payment of the debts of
the Presidency, and that, after that, "those who have thus been
tithed, shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually; and
this shall be a standing law unto them forever."

Ebenezer Robinson gives an interesting explanation of the origin
of tithing. *In May, 1838, the High Council at Far West, after
hearing a statement by Rigdon that it was absolutely necessary
for the church to make some provision for the support of the
families of all those who gave their entire time to church
affairs, instructed the Bishop to deed to Smith and Rigdon an
eighty-acre lot belonging to the church, and appointed a
committee of three to confer with the Presidency concerning their
salary for that year. Smith and Rigdon thought that $1100 would
be a proper sum, and the committee reported in favor of a salary,
but left the amount blank. The council voted the salaries, but
this action caused such a protest from the church members that at
the next meeting the resolution was rescinded. Only a few days
later came this "revelation" requiring the payment of tithes, in
which there was no mention of using any of the money for the
poor, as was directed in the Ohio "revelation" about the
consecration of property to the Bishop.

* The Return, Vol. 1, p. 136.


This tithing system has provided ever since the principal revenue
of the church. By means of it the Temple was built at Nauvoo, and
under it vast sums have been contributed in Utah. By 1878 the
income of the church by this source was placed at $1,000,000 a
year,* and during Brigham Young's administration the total
receipts were estimated at $13,000,000. We shall see that Young
made practically no report of the expenditure of this vast sum
that passed into his control. To Horace Greeley's question, "What
is done with the proceeds of this tithing?" Young replied, "Part
of it is devoted to building temples and other places of worship,
part to helping the poor and needy converts on their way to this
country, and the largest portion to the support of the poor among
the Saints."

* Salt Lake Tribune, June 25, 1879.


As the authority of the church over its members increased, the
regulation about the payment of tithes was made plainer and more
severe. Parley P. Pratt, in addressing the General Conference in
Salt Lake City in October, 1849, said, "To fulfil the law of
tithing, a man should make out and lay before the Bishop a
schedule of all his property, and pay him one-tenth of it. When
he hath tithed his principal once, he has no occasion to tithe
again; but the next year he must pay one-tenth of his increase,
and one-tenth of his time, of his cattle, money, goods, and
trade; and, whatever use we put it to, it is still our own, for
the Lord does not carry it away with him to heaven."* *
Millennial Star, Vol. XII, p. 134.


The Seventh General Epistle to the church (September, 1851) made
this statement, "It is time that the Saints understood that the
paying of their tithing is a prominent portion of the labor which
is allotted to them, by which they are to secure a
futureresidence in the heaven they are seeking after."* This view
was constantly presented to the converts abroad.

* Ibid., Vol. XIV, p. 18.


At the General Conference in Salt Lake City on September 8, 1850,
Brigham Young made clear his radical view of tithing--a duty, he
declared, that few had lived up to. Taking the case of a supposed
Mr. A, engaged in various pursuits (to represent the community),
starting with a capital of $100,000 he must surrender $10,000 of
this as tithing. With his remaining $90,000 he gains $410,000;
$41,000 of this gain must be given into the storehouse of the
Lord. Next he works nine days with his team; the tenth day's work
is for the church, as is one-tenth of the wheat he raises,
one-tenth of his sheep, and one-tenth of his eggs.*

* Ibid., Vol. XIII, p. 21.


Under date of July 18, came another "revelation" (Sec. 120),
declaring that the tithings "shall be disposed of by a Council,
composed of the First Presidency of my church, and of the Bishop
and his council, and by my High Council." The first meeting of
this body decided "that the First Presidency should keep all
their property that they could dispose of to advantage for their
support, and the remainder be put into the hands of the Bishop,
according to the commandments."* The coolness of this proceeding
in excepting Smith and Rigdon from the obligation to pay a tithe
is worthy of admiration.

* Ibid., Vol. XVI, p. 204.





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Previous: In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties



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