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In Illinois

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

A State Of Civil War
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
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
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Sidney Rigdon
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
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 Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Reformation
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee








Surprise has been expressed that Smith would permit the newcomer,
General John C. Bennett, to be elected the first mayor of Nauvoo
under the new charter. Much less surprising is the fact that a
falling-out soon occurred between them which led to the
withdrawal of Bennett from the church on May 17, 1842, and made
for the prophet an enemy who pursued him with a method and
vindictiveness that he had not before encountered from any of
those who had withdrawn, or been driven, from the church
fellowship.

The exact nature of the dispute between the two men has never
been explained. That personal jealousy entered into it there is
little doubt. Smith never had submitted to any real division of
his supreme authority, and when Bennett entered the fold as
political lobbyist, mayor, major general, etc., a clash seemed
unavoidable. It was stated, during Rigdon's church trial after
Smith's death, that Bennett declared, at the first conference he
attended at Nauvoo, that he sustained the same position in the
First Presidency that the Holy Ghost does to the Father and the
Son; and that, after Smith's death, Bennett visited Nauvoo, and
proposed to Rigdon that the latter assume Smith's place in the
church, and let Bennett assume that which had been occupied by
Rigdon.*

* Times and Seasons, Vol. V, p. 655.


The Mormon explanation given at the time of Bennett's expulsion
was that some of their travelling elders in the Eastern states
discovered that the general had a wife and family there while he
was paying attention to young ladies in Nauvoo; but a very slight
acquaintance with Smith's ideas on the question of morality at
that time is needed to indicate that this was an afterthought.
The course of the church authorities showed that they were ready
to every way qualified to be a useful citizen. Smith directed the
clerk of the church to permit Bennett to withdraw "if he desires
to do so, and this with the best of feelings toward you and
General Bennett." But as soon as Bennett began his attacks on
Smith the church made haste to withdraw the hand of fellowship
from him, and framed a formal writ of excommunication, and Smith
could not find enough phials of wrath to pour upon him. Thus, in
a statement published in the Times and Seasons of July 1, 1842,
he called Bennett "an impostor and a base adulterer," brought up
the story of his having a wife in Ohio, and charged that he
taught women that it was proper to have promiscuous intercourse
with men.

As soon as Bennett left Nauvoo he began the publication of a
series of letters in the Sangamon (Illinois) Journal, which
purported to give an inside view of the Mormon designs, and the
personal character and practices of the church leaders. These
were widely copied, and seem to have given people in the East
their first information that Smith was anything worse than a
religious pretender. Bennett also started East lecturing on the
same subject, and he published in Boston in the same year a
little book called "History of the Saints; or an Expose of Joe
Smith and Mormonism," containing, besides material which he had
collected, copious extracts from the books of Howe and W. Harris.

Bennett declared that he had never believed in any of the Mormon
doctrines, but that, forming the opinion that their leaders were
planning to set up "a despotic and religious empire" over the
territory included in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and
Missouri, he decided to join them, learn their secrets, and
expose them. Bennett's personal rascality admits of no doubt, and
not the least faith need be placed in this explanation of his
course, which, indeed, is disproved by his later efforts to
regain power in the church. It does seem remarkable, however,
that neither the Lord nor his prophet knew anything about
Bennett's rascality, and that they should select him, among
others, for special mention in the long revelation of January 19,
1841, wherein the Lord calls him "my servant," and directs him to
help Smith "in sending my word to the kings of the people of the
earth." There is no doubt that Bennett obtained an inside view of
Smith's moral, political, and religious schemes, and that, while
his testimony un-corroborated might be questioned, much that he
wrote was amply confirmed.

According to Bennett's statements, Mormon society at Nauvoo was
organized licentiousness. There were "Cyprian Saints," "Chartered
Sisters of Charity," and "Cloistered Saints," or spiritual wives,
all designed to pander to the passions of church members. Of the
system of "spiritual wives" (which was set forth in the
revelation concerning polygamy), Bennett says in his book:

"When an Apostle, High Priest, Elder or Scribe conceives an
affection for a female, and he has satisfactorily ascertained
that she experiences a mutual claim, he communicates
confidentially to the Prophet his affaire du coeur, and requests
him to inquire of the Lord whether or not it would be right and
proper for him to take unto himself the said woman for his
spiritual wife. It is no obstacle whatever to this spiritual
marriage if one or both of the parties should happen to have a
husband or wife already united to them according to the laws of
the land."

Bennett alleged that Smith forced him, at the point of a pistol,
to sign an affidavit stating that Smith had no part in the
practice of the spiritual wife doctrine; but Bennett's later
disclosures went into minute particulars of alleged attempts of
Smith to secure "spiritual wives," a charge which the
commandments to the prophet's wife in the "revelation" on
polygamy amply sustain. A leading illustration cited concerned
the wife of Orson Pratt.* According to the story as told (largely
in Mrs. Pratt's words), Pratt was sent to England on a mission to
get him out of the way, and then Smith used every means in his
power to secure Mrs. Pratt's consent to his plan, but in vain.
Nancy Rigdon, the eldest unmarried daughter of Sidney Rigdon, was
another alleged intended victim of the prophet, and Bennett said
that Smith offered him $500 in cash, or a choice lot, if he would
assist in the plot. One day, when Smith was alone with her, he
pressed his request so hard that she threatened to cry for help.
The continuation of the story is not by General Bennett, but is
taken from a letter to James A. Bennett, he of "Arlington House,"
dated Nauvoo, July 27, 1842, by George W. Robinson, one of
Smith's fellow prisoners in Independence jail, and one of the
generals of the Nauvoo Legion:--

* Ebenezer Robinson says that when Orson Pratt returned from his
mission to England, and learned of the teaching of the spiritual
wife doctrine, his mind gave way. One day he disappeared, and a
search party found him five miles below Nauvoo, hatless, seated
on the bank of the river.--The Return, Vol. II, p. 363.


"She left him with disgust, and came home and told her father of
the transaction; upon which Smith was sent for. He came. She told
the tale in the presence of all the family, and to Smith's face.
I was present. Smith attempted to deny at first, and face her
down with a lie; but she told the facts with so much earnestness,
and the fact of a letter being proved which he had caused to be
written to her on the same subject, the day after the attempt
made on her virtue, breathing the same spirit, and which he had
fondly hoped was destroyed, all came with such force that he
could not withstand the testimony; and he then and there
acknowledged that every word of Miss Rigdon's testimony was true.
Now for his excuse. He wished to ascertain if she was virtuous or
not!"

To offset this damaging attack on Smith, a man named Markham was
induced to make an affidavit assailing Miss Rigdon's character,
which was published in the Wasp. But Markham's own character was
so bad, and the charge caused so much indignation, that the
editor was induced to say that the affidavit was not published by
the prophet's direction.

Bennett's charges aroused great interest among the non-Mormons in
all the counties around Nauvoo, and increased the growing enmity
against Smith's flock which was already aroused by their
political course and their alleged propensity to steal.

A minor incident among those leading up to Smith's final
catastrophe was a quarrel, some time later, between the prophet
and Francis M. Higbee. This resulted in a suit for libel against
Smith, tried in May, 1844, in which much testimony disclosing the
rotten condition of affairs in Nauvoo was given, and in the
arrest of Smith in a suit for $5000 damages. The hearing, on a
writ of habeas corpus, in Smith's behalf, is reported in Times
and Seasons, Vol. V, No. 10. The court (Smith's Municipal Court)
ordered Smith discharged, and pronounced Higbee's character
proved "infamous."





Next: The Institution Of Polygamy

Previous: Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat



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