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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



The Suppression Of The Expositor








Smith was now to encounter a kind of resistance within the church
that he had never met. In all previous apostasies, where members
had dared to attack his character or question his authority, they
had been summarily silenced, and in most cases driven at once out
of the Mormon community. But there were men at Nauvoo above the
average of the Mormon convert as regards intelligence and wealth,
who refused to follow the prophet in his new doctrine regarding
marriage, and whose opposition took the very practical shape of
the establishment of a newspaper in the Mormon city to expose him
and to defend themselves.

In his testimony in the Higbee trial Smith had accused a
prominent Mormon, Dr. R. D. Foster, of stealing and of gross
insults to women. Dr. Foster, according to current report, had
found Smith at his house, and had received from his wife a
confession that Smith had been persuading her to become one of
his spiritual wives.*

* "At the May, 1844, term of the Hancock Circuit Court two
indictments were found against Smith by the grand jury--one for
adultery and one for perjury. To the surprise of all, on the
Monday following, the Prophet appeared in court and demanded that
he be tried on the last-named indictment. The prosecutor not
being ready, a continuance was entered to the next term."--GREGG,
"History of Hancock County," p. 301.


Among the leading members of the church at Nauvoo at this time
were two brothers, William and Wilson Law. They were Canadians,
and had brought considerable property with them, and in the
"revelation" of January 19, 1841, William Law was among those who
were directed to take stock in Nauvoo House, and was named as one
of the First Presidency, and was made registrar of the
University. Wilson Law was a regent of the University and a major
general of the Legion. General Law had been an especial favorite
of Smith. In writing to him while in hiding from the Missouri
authorities in 1842, Smith says, "I love that soul that is so
nobly established in that clay of yours." * At the conference of
April, 1844, Hyrum Smith said: "I wish to speak about Messrs.
Law's steam mill. There has been a great deal of bickering about
it. The mill has been a great benefit to the city. It has brought
in thousands who would not have come here. The Messrs. Law have
sunk their capital and done a great deal of good. It is out of
character to cast any aspersions on the Messrs. Law."

* Millennial Star, Vol. XX, p. 695.


Dr. Foster, the Laws, and Counsellor Sylvester Emmons became
greatly stirred up about the spiritual wife doctrine, and the
effort of Smith and those in his confidence to teach and enforce
the doctrine of plural wives; and they finally decided to
establish in Nauvoo a newspaper that would openly attack the new
order of things. The name chosen for this newspaper was the
Expositor, and Emmons was its editor.* Its motto was: "The Truth,
the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth," and its prospectus
announced as its purpose, "Unconditional repeal of the city
charter--to correct the abuses of the unit power--to advocate
disobedience to political revelations." Only one number of this
newspaper was ever issued, but that number was almost directly
the cause of the prophet's death.

* Emmons went direct to Beardstown, Illinois, after the
destruction of the paper, and lived there till the day of his
death, a leading citizen. He established the first newspaper
published in Beardstown, and was for sixteen years the mayor of
the city.


The most important feature of the Expositor (which bore date of
June 7, 1844) was a "preamble" and resolutions of "seceders from
the church at Nauvoo," and affidavits by Mr. and Mrs. William Law
and Austin Cowles setting forth that Hyrum Smith had read the
"revelation" concerning polygamy to William Law and to the High
Council, and that Mrs. Law had read it.*

* These were the only affidavits printed in the Expositor. More
than one description of the paper has stated that it contained
many more. Thus, Appleton's "American Encyclopedia," under
"Mormons," says, "In the first number (there was only one) they
printed the affidavits of sixteen women to the effect that Joseph
Smith and Sidney Rigdon and others had endeavored to convert them
to the spiritual wife doctrine."


The "preamble" affirmed the belief of the seceders in the Mormon
Bible and the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants," but declared
their intention to "explode the vicious principles of Joseph
Smith," adding, "We are aware, however, that we are hazarding
every earthly blessing, particularly property, and probably life
itself, in striking this blow at tyranny and oppression." Many of
them, it was explained, had sought a reformation of the church
without any public exposure, but they had been spurned,
"particularly by Joseph, who would state that, if he had been or
was guilty of the charges we would charge him with, he would not
make acknowledgment, but would rather be damned, for it would
detract from his dignity and would consequently prove the
overthrow of the church. We would ask him, on the other hand, if
the overthrow of the church were not inevitable; to which he
often replied that we would all go to hell together and convert
it into a heaven by casting the devil out; and, says he, hell is
by no means the place this world of fools supposes it to be, but,
on the contrary, it is quite an agreeable place."

The "preamble" further set forth the methods employed by Smith to
induce women from other countries, who had joined the Mormons in
Nauvoo, to become his spiritual wives, reciting the arguments
advanced, and thus summing up the general result: "She is
thunderstruck, faints, recovers and refuses. The prophet damns
her if she rejects. She thinks of the great sacrifice, and of the
many thousand miles she has travelled over sea and land that she
might save her soul from pending ruin, and replies, 'God's will
be done and not mine.' The prophet and his devotees in this way
are gratified." Smith's political aspirations were condemned as
preposterous, and the false "doctrine of many gods" was called
blasphemy.

Fifteen resolutions followed. They declared against the evils
named, and also condemned the order to the Saints to gather in
haste at Nauvoo, explaining that the purpose of this command was
to enable the men in control of the church to sell property at
exorbitant prices, "and thus the wealth that is brought into the
place is swallowed up by the one great throat, from whence there
is no return." The seceders asserted that, although they had an
intimate acquaintance with the affairs of the church, they did
not know of any property belonging to it except the Temple.
Finally, as speaking for the true church, they ordered all
preachers to cease to teach the doctrine of plural gods, a
plurality of wives, sealing, etc., and directed offenders in this
respect to report and have their licenses renewed. Another
feature of the issue was a column address signed by Francis M.
Higbee, advising the citizens of Hancock County not to send Hyrum
Smith to the legislature, since to support him was to support
Joseph, "a man who contends all governments are to be put down,
and one established upon its ruins."

The appearance of this sheet created the greatest excitement
among the Mormon leaders that they had experienced since leaving
Missouri. They recognized in it immediately a mouthpiece of men
who were better informed than Bennett, and who were ready to
address an audience composed both of their own flock and of their
outlying non-Mormon neighbors, whose antipathy to them was
already manifesting itself aggressively. To permit the continued
publication of this sheet meant one of those surrenders which
Smith had never made.

The prophet therefore took just such action as would have been
expected of him in the circumstances. Calling a meeting of the
City Council, he proceeded to put the Expositor and its editors
on trial, as if that body was of a judicial instead of a
legislative character. The minutes of this trial, which lasted
all of Saturday, June 8, and a part of Monday, June l0, 1844, can
be found in the Neighbor of June 19, of that year, filling six
columns. The prophet-mayor occupied the chair, and the defendants
were absent.

The testimony introduced aimed at the start to break down the
characters of Dr. Foster, Higbee, and the Laws. A mechanic
testified that the Laws had bought "bogus"--(counterfeit) dies of
him. The prophet told how William Law had "pursued" him to
recover $40,000 that Smith owed him. Hyrum Smith alleged that
William Law had offered to give a man $500 if he would kill
Hyrum, and had confessed adultery to him, making a still more
heinous charge against Higbee. Hyrum referred "to the revelation
of the High Council of the church, which has caused so much talk
about a multiplicity of wives," and declared that it "concerned
things which transpired in former days, and had no reference to
the present time." Testimony was also given to show that the Laws
were not liberal to the poor, and that William's motto with his
fellowchurchmen who owed him was, "Punctuality, punctuality."*
This was naturally a serious offence in the eyes of the Smiths.

* The Expositor contained this advertisement: "The subscribers
wish to inform all those who, through sickness or other
misfortunes, are much limited is their means of procuring bread
for their families, that we have allotted Thursday of every week
to grind toll free for them, till grain becomes plentiful after
harvest.--W. & W. Law."


The prophet declared that the conduct of such men, and of such
papers as the Expositor, was calculated to destroy the peace of
the city. He unblushingly asserted that what he had preached
about marriage only showed the order in ancient days, having
nothing to do with the present time. In regard to the alleged
revelation about polygamy he explained that, on inquiring of the
Lord concerning the Scriptural teaching that "they neither marry
nor are given in marriage in heaven," he received a reply to the
effect that men in this life must marry in one of eternity,
otherwise they must remain as angels, or be single in heaven.

Smith then proposed that the Council make some provision for
putting down the Expositor, declaring its allegations to be
"treasonable against all chartered rights and privileges." He
read from the federal and state constitutions to define his idea
of the rights of the press, and quoted Blackstone on private
wrongs. Hyrum openly advocated smashing the press and pieing the
type. One councillor alone raised his voice for moderation,
proposing to give the offenders a few days' notice, and to assess
a fine of $300 for every libel. W. W. Phelps (who was back in the
fold again) held that the city charter gave them power to declare
the newspaper a nuisance, and cited the spilling of the tea in
Boston harbor as a precedent for an attack on the Expositor
office. Finally, on June 10, this resolution was passed
unanimously:--

"Resolved by the City Council of the City of Nauvoo that the
printing office from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor is a
public nuisance, and also all of said Nauvoo Expositors which may
be or exist in said establishment; and the mayor is instructed to
cause said printing establishment and papers to be removed
without delay, in such manner as he shall direct."

Smith, of course, made very prompt use of this authority, issuing
the following order to the city marshal:--

"You are hereby commanded to destroy the printing press from
whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor, and pi the type of said
printing establishment in the street, and burn all the Expositors
and libellous hand bills found in said establishment; and if
resistance be offered to the execution of this order, by the
owners or others, destroy the house; and if any one threatens you
or the Mayor or the officers of the city, arrest those who
threaten you; and fail not to execute this order without delay,
and make due return thereon.

"JOSEPH SMITH, Mayor."

To meet any armed opposition which might arise, the acting major
general of the Legion was thus directed:--

"You are hereby commanded to hold the Nauvoo Legion in readiness
forthwith to execute the city ordinances, and especially to
remove the printing establishment of the Nauvoo Expositor ; and
this you are required to do at sight, under the penalty of the
laws, provided the marshal shall require it and need your
services."

JOSEPH SMITH,

"Lieutenant General Nauvoo Legion."

The story of the compliance with the mayor's order is thus
concisely told in the "marshal's return," "The within-named press
and type is destroyed and pied according to order on this loth
day of June, 1844, at about eight o'clock P.m." The work was
accomplished without any serious opposition. The marshal appeared
at the newspaper office, accompanied by an escort from the
Legion, and forced his way into the building. The press and type
were carried into the street, where the press was broken up with
hammers, and all that was combustible was burned.

Dr. Foster and the Laws fled at once to Carthage, Illinois, under
the belief that their lives were in danger. The story of their
flight and of the destruction of their newspaper plant by order
of the Nauvoo authorities spread quickly all over the state, and
in the neighboring counties the anti-Mormon feeling, that had for
some time been growing more intense, was now fanned to fury. This
feeling the Mormon leaders seemed determined to increase still
further.

The owners of the Expositor sued out at Carthage a writ for the
removal to that place of Joseph Smith and the Nauvoo counsellors
on a charge of a riot in connection with the destruction of their
plant. This writ, when presented, was at once set aside by a writ
of habeas corpus issued by the Nauvoo Municipal Court, but the
case was heard before a Mormon justice of the peace on June 17,
and he discharged the accused. As if this was not a sufficient
defiance of public opinion, Smith, as mayor, published a
"proclamation" in the Neighbor of June 19, reciting the events in
connection with the attack on the Expositor, and closing thus:

"Our city is infested with a set of blacklegs, counterfeiters and
debauchees, and that the proprietors of this press were of that
class, the minutes of the Municipal Court fully testify, and in
ridding our young and flourishing city of such characters, we are
abused by not only villanous demagogues, but by some who, from
their station and influence in society, ought rather to raise
than depress the standard of human excellence. We have no
disturbance or excitement among us, save what is made by the
thousand and one idle rumors afloat in the country. Every one is
protected in his person and property, and but few cities of a
population of twenty thousand people, in the United States, hath
less of dissipation or vice of any kind than the city of Nauvoo.

"Of the correctness of our conduct in this affair, we appeal to
every high court in the state, and to its ordeal we are willing
to appear at any time that His Excellency, Governor Ford, shall
please to call us before it. I, therefore, in behalf of the
Municipal Court of Nauvoo, warn the lawless not to be precipitate
in any interference in our affairs, for as sure as there is a God
in Israel we shall ride triumphant over all oppression."

JOSEPH SMITH, Mayor.





Next: Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest

Previous: Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy



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