Testimony Against Joseph Smith

Yesterday the Joseph Smith Web Site’s daily history column, “On This Day…” noted:

November 13, 1838

Richmond, Missouri. Over 40 witnesses appeared at court and bore false witness against the Prophet.

Just before I saw that LDS history note, I had been reading some of these same testimonies that I came across in The Missouri Mormon War section of the Missouri State Archives. The Mormon War Papers, 1837-1841 contains (among other things) evidence given in the 1838 trial of Joseph Smith. Documents containing the testimonies of seventeen witnesses are online for viewing/reading; documents detailing the testimonies of thirty others are not available, but the general content of each testimony is synopsized in the list.

Of the people who testified, some were Mormons, some were Mormon dissenters, and some were non-Mormon citizens living in the area. These documents make for interesting reading (for those interested in history). I’ve pulled out a few paragraphs from some of the available testimonies and offer them below for Mormon Coffee readers’ perusal.

“In this morning of the day that the militia arrived at Far West. I heard Joseph Smith Jr. in a speach to the Mormons troops say, that he did not care any thing about the coming of the troops nor about the laws, that he had tried to please them_ If they lived together it wouldn’t please them if they scattered it wouldn’t please them & that he did not intend to try to keep the [ ] to please then any longer. that they were so damned set, and God should damn them, so help him Jesus Christ.—That he meant to go on them as he had begun, and take his own course, and kill & destroy-and told the men to fight like angles that heretofore he had told them to fight like devils, but now told them to fight like angles. that angles could whip devils” –James G. Owen

“Some time in June (“last” crossed out) I attended two or three Danite meetings, and it was taught there as a part of the duty of the band, that they should support the presidency in all their designs right or wrong; that whatever they said was to be obeyed, and whoever opposed the presidency in what they said or desired done, Should be expeled the county or have their lives taken. The three composing the Presidency was at one of those meetings, and to Satisfy the people, Dr Avard called on Jos Smith Jr, who gave them a pledge, that if they led them into a difficulty, he would give them his head for a foot ball, and that it was the will of God these things should be so.” -John Cleminson

“A short time after Cowdery & the Whitmers left Far West (sometime in June) Geo. W. Robinson and Philo Dibble invited me to a Danite meeting. I went, the only speaker was Dr Avard who explained the object of the meeting and said that its object was, that [“they” crossed out] we might be perfectly organized, to defend [“ourselves their” crossed out] ourselves against mobs, that we were [“to” crossed out] all to be governed by the presidency and do whatever they required, and uphold them: that we were not to judge for ourselves whether it were right or wrong. that God had raised us [“up” crossed out] a prophet who would judge for us. and that it was proper we Should stand by each other in all cases.” –Reed Peck

“That as Early as April last at a meeting in Far West of 9 or 12 persons, Mr Rigdon arose & made an address to them in which he spoke of having borne persecutions & law suits and other privations & did not intend to be a victim any longer, that they meant to resist the law and if a sheriff Came after them with writs they would kill him, & if any body opposed them they would take off their heads, Geo W Harris who was present observed you mean the head of their influence I suppose Rigdon answered he meant that lump of flesh and bones called the skull or scalp. Jo Smith Jr followed Mr Rigdon approving his seniments and said that was what they intended to do both in their remarks observed that they meant to have the words of the Presidency to be as good and as indisputed as the words of God. And that no one should speak against what they said.” –William W. Phelps

“…on the Saturday after Gallatin was burnt and armed company of 12 [Mormon] men rode up to Mr Raglins house in Daviess County where I resided, they inquirred for John Raglin I told them where he had gone, they said their object was to drive the mob from the county and said that I must go. I replied I could not. that I had no way to get off and that my family in is bare footed they replied that made no difference I must go, and said if I was not gone by next morning by sunrise they would take my life, they told Mrs Raglin she must [ ] that there she could not stay and that Raglin had better never show himself there that they would take his life if ever they set their eyes on him[.] next morning by the assistance of friends we did start leaving most of our property there, Since then I have returned and found the houses burnt & the property gone consisting of hous hold plunder and 2 q bee gums they enquired for Gums and got down one and took it away from the house belonging to one Josiah Littlefield they further said that they had been driven as long as they were a going to. that they had got Strong enough now to defend themselves that they intended to do it by the Sword that they were at the defiance of any Set of men who could come against them & that they now intended to make it a war of extermination,…” -Thomas M. Odle

Notwithstanding the Joseph Smith Web Site claim that these testimonies were false, the court believed otherwise. The verdict was stated:

“…there is probable cause to believe that Joseph Smith, Jr Lyman Wight, Hiram Smith, Alexander McRay & Caleb Baldwin are guilty of Overt acts of Treason in Daviess County (and for want of a Jail in Daviess County) said prisoners are committed to the Jail in Clay to answer the charges aforsaid in the county of Daviess- on the first Monday in March next” –Judge Austin A. King

Joseph Smith never stood trial on this charge. While being transferred from Liberty Jail to Boone County on a requested change of venue, the Prophet escaped across the Mississippi River into Illinois.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Joseph Smith, Mormon History and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Testimony Against Joseph Smith

  1. SteveH says:

    The Missouri Mormon Wars constitute one of the grossest miscarriages of justice in U.S. history. Hundreds of Mormon settlers perished in these persecutions at the hands of ruthless, blood-thirsty mobs – whether by outright murder or by exposure after being robbed of all their possessions and been driven from their burning homes in the dead of winter. All appeals to justice from the U.S. courts and protection from the murderous mobs were met with stony silence.

    Who are we to believe: the false accusations of the murdering mob or the testimonies of the victims of this genocide?

  2. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    SteveH, you ask a good question: Who are we to believe? There is testimony from both sides of the “war,” all claiming to have been victims. How do we determine who was telling the truth? You have chosen who you are going to believe, and therefore condemn testimony that challenges your choice as “false.” For me, I think there is a lot of evidence to be considered on both sides. I would like to examine the claim you have made, that “Hundreds of Mormon settlers perished in these persecutions at the hands of ruthless, blood-thirsty mobs.” Could you please provide some historical documentation to support these claims? Thanks.

  3. mobaby says:

    SteveH,

    Never before in the history of this country, and never once since (excluding the Waco incident), has a religious minority been involved in such a violent war. I am sure there has been discrimination, bad feelings, etc. between religious & non-religious groups but nothing even remotely close to what happened in Missouri. And I am sure Mormons were not the only religious minority in Missouri.
    Which makes one question why? Why did this happen? No doubt governmental authorities and non-Mormon citizens of the region acted in an atrocious manner – but what is the background? I cannot believe that they just woke up one morning and said – “let’s go persecute some Mormons.” I think there were some Mormons who were saying “let’s kill some heathen” and the so-called heathen responded. There is evidence to support this view with the Danites, statements by Mormon leaders, etc.
    When an armed militia group starts issuing what people believe to be violent threats, they don’t tend to just sit around and wait to see what happens. I think there is plenty of blame to go around – not the least of which is Joseph Smith and his desire to be not only a religious leader but a civil and political leader as well. He did set up a banking system, issue separate money, run for president, etc. I think he and Sidney Rigdon also began to figure themselves to be a military leaders of sorts as well. In a previous post here on this blog it had a speech given by Rigdon – look it up, it provides remarkable insight into what was going on.

  4. SteveH says:

    Sharon,
    The historic evidence concerning the Missouri Mormon War, the Illinois Mormon War, and the exodus to the Salt Lake Basin is clear and incontrovertible. At the Haun’s Mill Massacre of October 30th 1838 a mob of 240 Missourians (including many prominent men such as Charles Ashby of the Missouri state legislature) and led by Colonel William Jennings viciously attacked and the small Mormon community at Haun’s Mill. 18 Mormon men and boys were shot and butchered. At Crooked River 4 more people were killed.

    As the result of Governor Lillian Bogg’s infamous Extermination Order approximately 10,000 Mormons were forcibly driven out of the state of Missouri. Many of the Mormons were robbed of all of their possessions and forced to flee at gun point. Untold numbers of men, women, and children perished due to exposure in the dead of winter as the result of this cruel Extermination Order.

    The same bloody travesty occurred during Illinois persecutions and hundred perished as they fled the murderous mobs leaving behind everything except what they could carry. This events are well known and indisputable.

  5. Goldarn says:

    If the events are indisputable, why are people disputing them? Are they *all* merely [filtered profanity or slur] liars?

    It is also “indisputable” that on June 19, 1838, the Danite Manifesto was signed, and included the warning to mormon dissenters that they should “depart, or a more fatal calamity shall befall you.” In a speech on July 4, Sidney Rigdon said that if a mob came upon the mormons, then “it shall be between us and them a war of extermination; for we will follow them until the last drop of their blood is spilled; or else they will have to exterminate us.”

    It wasn’t until October 27 that Gov. Boggs issued his order, long after the mormon had issued death threats to people who left the church, and continued to agitate against it.

    The people of Illinois initially welcomed the mormons. Did you ever ask yourself what happened to change that? Did the people around Nauvoo just suddenly decide to kill off the Mormons?

    I doubt you have ever asked yourself these questions; instead, you choose to hid behind the idea that the mormon are ALWAYS the victims, and have never done ANYTHING wrong sufficient to justify any action against them.

    It was a tragic time in American. It makes it worse when we fail to learn from history.

  6. Goldarn says:

    I’m sorry; I’m not even sure what word I used that was filtered out. I’m sure it wasn’t a swear word. 🙂

  7. germit says:

    Mobaby wrote:

    When an armed militia group starts issuing what people believe to be violent threats, they don’t tend to just sit around and wait to see what happens. I think there is plenty of blame to go around – not the least of which is Joseph Smith and HIS DESIRE TO BE NOT ONLY A RELIGIOUS LEADER BUT A CIVIL AND POLITICAL LEADER AS WELL. (emph. mine)

    I’m new to this area of history, but the THEOCRATIC elements of early Mormonism stand out: their idea of the restoration (seemingly)included the idea of God’s physical gov’t, military, territory/kingdom, etc. I think any attempt to understand early Mormonism that does not take into account the theocratic mindset is woefully inadequate.

    Yours is a good reminder, Sharon, to be quick to look at BOTH sides of the issue, and read from many accounts. I’m thinking Mobaby may be on to something when stating ‘there was plenty of blame to go around…’.
    This in no way exonerates any of the guilty parties of Haun’s Mill, or any of the other atrocities in Mo. or elsewhere. Unlike Mantis and his MMM comments, I am NOT saying that the Mormons here ‘had it coming to them….’but looking at ALL of the historical records available to us gives us the best chance of figuring out what happened and why. GERMIT

  8. falcon says:

    As I was reading the posts above, for some reason the Mountain Meadows Massacre popped into my mind. What kind of people do such things? Was this Massacre an “event” or a “pattern” of behavior on the part of Mormons? As I stated on another thread, I always try to find the “historical context” for an event(s). My understanding is that in Missouri at that time, there were a lot of rough necks, tough people. Also the issue of slavery played a roll.
    “The tenuous, shifting area known as the frontier attracted men who though brave and adventurous were often also illiterate, thriftless, and antisocial. Preferring hunting to farming, they packed their wagons and moved on west as soon as neighbors came within gunshot distance. Western Missouri, according to a traveling preacher of the time had ‘a semi-barbarian populaton constantly pressing on the heels of the retreating savages’…….The Mormon settlers were no more tactful than most religious zealots, and their very enthusiasm was an irritation. ‘We are daily told’, the old settlers said, ‘and not by the ignorant alone, but by all classes of them, that, we (the gentiles) of this county are to be cut off, and our lands appropriated by them for inheritances. Whether this is to be accomplished by the hand of the destroying angel, the judgments of God, or the arm of power, they are not full agreed among themselves.’….Worst crime of all, the Mormons were Northerners who owned no slaves.” (No Man Knows My History; Fawn Bodie)
    This, hopefully, gives a little context to the discussion.

  9. SteveH says:

    Goldarn,
    The reason why some Mormon “critics” persist in denying (in spite of all the evidence to the contrary) the genocidal atrocities committed against the Mormons in Missouri and Illinois in the 1830’s – 1840’s is the same reason that anti-semites deny the atrocities committed by the nazis against the Jews. It is an implacable enmity against Mormons (and Jews) that drives this vicious behavior. No argument, no reason, no evidence will ever convince such people otherwise.

  10. Goldarn says:

    SteveH,
    The difference being that there Jews did nothing to provoke such behavior. There is amply, indisputable, evidence that the mormons did, in fact, act provokingly.

    Does that excuse any of the fighting? No, it does not.

    Should the mormon church have had the right to declare that people who left the church should die? That those “apostates” should be killed? Even the “apostates” who had done nothing?

    There’s ample evidence that, during the time of Brigham Young, mormons in Utah also killed people who wanted to leave the territory and the church.

    NOBODY’S hands are lily-white here. It is a lie to claim otherwise. So, SteveH, I would have to say that the evidence of history proves you wrong. There was no “implacable enmity.” There was a desire to drive out a perceived threat. If there had been “implacable enmity,” their mormon’s so-called persecuters could easily have hunted them down after the crossed the river and out on to the plains. They did not.

  11. jackg says:

    Falcon,

    Enjoyed your post. You quoted: “The Mormon settlers were no more tactful than most religious zealots, and their very enthusiasm was an irritation. ‘We are daily told’, the old settlers said, ‘and not by the ignorant alone, but by all classes of them, that, we (the gentiles) of this county are to be cut off, and our lands appropriated by them for inheritances. Whether this is to be accomplished by the hand of the destroying angel, the judgments of God, or the arm of power, they are not full agreed among themselves.’”

    When I read this, I had the distinct impression that JS et al really knew the OT, and that a lot of their religiosity is grounded in retribution dogma. This quote brings out the idea that they really believed themselves to be the New Jerusalem and new covenant people and, in step with OT covenantal language, focused on the promise of lands. Fortunately for us who are not Mormons, we know the New Covenant is Jesus Christ, and that our land of inheritance is the kingdom of God! And, I have to throw this in: and it’s because of God’s grace!

    Grace and Peace!

  12. germit says:

    JackG and others:

    Jack wrote:

    This quote brings out the idea that they really believed themselves to be the New Jerusalem and new covenant people and, in step with OT covenantal language, focused on the promise of lands. Fortunately for us who are not Mormons, we know the New Covenant is Jesus Christ, and that our land of inheritance is the kingdom of God!
    And JackG gets the monster hit award…. BEHIND the horribly flawed theorcracy idea is a horrible misunderstanding of the NEW COVENANT and how it replaces the OLD COVENANT. JS’ ‘restoration’ plans and theme are wrong from the get-go, and his plans to work the ‘restoration’ into the surrounding gentile society are horribly wrong to begin with: search the NT for such a bogus idea (closest thing I can recollect is Peter cutting off the servants ear in the garden of Gethsemane….don’t know WHY Jesus would undo that little bit of flagrant, and justifiable, retribution..). I will give the LDS props for drop kicking the Zion-as-physical/political kingdom thing, although they never admitted it was skewed to begin with….they just got newer and better revelation.
    Are we surprised that in the midst of such religious, political, economic, and MILITARY plans and ambitions, that some fought back (sometimes cruelly….a la Hauns’ Mill) ??
    If you gather a state militia 1/3 ,roughly, the size of the US Army, do you think your neighbors might think armed action is the only way out ??
    AS usual: good thread Sharon…… maybe I need to find a flak jacket……. GERMIT

  13. SteveH says:

    Ok, so Mormons are to be condemned for resisting brutal persecution?

    Oh how wicked those Mormons must be for complaining about having their homes burnt and their possessions stolen by the raging mobs! Oh how evil those Mormons must be for having their fathers, sons and brothers shot and butchered and their women raped!

    It shocks me to see such genocide so blithely condoned.

  14. mobaby says:

    I read through the comments and cannot find anywhere that rape and genocide are condoned. I see a lot of people saying that there were faults on both sides. If you read the statements and the speeches of those who participated it becomes clear that the escalation of violence occurred on both sides.
    Did the Rigdon help precipitate some of what happened with his militaristic speeches? Did Joseph Smith cause a lot of consternation with his desire to set up a nation with a nation – proclaiming himself to be the theocratic ruler, head of the banking system, Danite militia, etc.?
    I am sure that if a local religious organization in Missouri today formed a militia, had issued their own money, and had as their leader someone claiming ultimate authority and a desire to preside over the entire United States there would be a lot of pressure and litigation brought to bear on them along with some arrests and weapon confiscation. This is the only context in which what took place makes sense as to why it happened. There are plenty of divergent religious groups in the U.S. – very few to none have ever been involved in this type of situation. What made the difference in this tragedy?

  15. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    SteveH,

    Just to be clear, I do not question that there is “historic evidence concerning the Missouri Mormon War.” What I asked you to provide was historical documentation to support your specific assertion that “Hundreds of Mormon settlers perished in these persecutions at the hands of ruthless, blood-thirsty mobs.” You later wrote, “Untold numbers of men, women, and children perished due to exposure in the dead of winter.” This is what I’m wondering about. As far as I’ve been able to find in my research, 22 people died in the combined skirmishes of Crooked River and Haun’s Mill. I have not found any mention of hundreds (or any number) of Mormons dying from exposure as they left Missouri and went to Illinois. This does not mean that it didn’t happen; I just haven’t read any historical accounts that make that claim. The deaths of 22 people is tremendously significant and appalling, but to exaggerate that number into the hundreds (if that is what’s happening) does a disservice to the 22 who actually did lose their lives in the 1838 Mormon War in Missouri.

  16. mantis mutu says:

    Falcon,

    Yes, there is one very obvious connection between the various mob attacks & forced exodus ON the Mormons in 1838 Missouri AND the annihilation of the Arkansas caravan BY Mormons in 1857: they were both the direct result of government-backed attempts to silence the Mormon people & religion by force; in Missouri it was the state militia led by a very dark individual, Leut. Gov. Lilburn Boggs (Mormons aren’t the only ones in history to attest to that), while the Utah War was the effort of a Manifest Destiny crazed Congress that was also guilty of the genocide effort of the American Indian and finally fomenting the American Civil War.

    The early Utah Mormons learned well in Missouri & Illinois that their basic rights of life and liberty were utterly expendable to government officials who had set themselves against them. In my opinion, as sad and dark a history as the Mountain Meadows Massacre is, if it hadn’t happened, it’s very likely the Mormons would’ve been permanently put down by the Federal Army, with thousands being killed. After all, that was the explicit intention of Johnston’s legion IF the Mormons resisted his orders to assume command of their lands and territory.

    The Mormons were not born during a very pretty generation of American history, particularly American frontier history. For anyone who’s really made themselves familiar with early Mormon history, Joseph Smith’s perhaps largest fault in Missouri was that he didn’t learn to get tough with avowed enemies until it was a little late. He was dealing with a society that was far more violent, bigoted, and lawless than anything that could’ve been imagined by a small town Yankee.

    That those Danite “rascals” get so much attention is just ridiculous. They have so many fair analogues throughout US history alone, that a historian could write a lengthy book. It’d be entitled something like, “Where can I find a good Cop when I really, really need one.” When you can’t find one, you make one.

    mutu.

  17. falcon says:

    Mantis,
    Either I’m reading you wrong or you’re wrapping a whole lot of historical stuff together here and putting a big Mormon bow on it. It’s one thing to state facts but intermingling it with opinion won’t make the opinion facts. Where do we start?
    The Utah War. I don’t think any Mormons got killed, if fact it’s probably one of the few wars where nobody got killed. Brigham Young was running his own little theocracy out in Utah and Mormons were in violation of the law regarding polygamy. A restrained show of force by the U.S. government got Young to back down.
    The Civil War, the treatment of the American Indians a Manifest Destiny crazed congress….? You’re going to have to work with me some here so I can see the mind map. I would suggest you read the book “A Decent and Proper Lynching”. I think it would fit in well with your orientation to vigilantism. Yea, the Mormons really had to kill all of those wild out of control folks crossing their land…at Mountain Meadows. It really kept the Federal government from invading and killing Mormons by the thousands. That’s about the most repulsive justification for violence and genocide I’ve heard. Really doesn’t sound much different than the attitudes of the folks in Missouri towards the Mormons. Kill and drive out the invaders. The Mormons of the era, it would seem, really weren’t much different than their persecutors. It’s just a matter of which side you pick and who has the most guns.

  18. germit says:

    To All: not sure if this is what Falcon was referring to, but in one of the Dan Ashby entries, there is mention of the Indians used as instruments of God’s wrath, and being brought into that plan by the Mormons…. the whole thing looked eerily like MMM, twenty years previous, hmmmmmmm seems these kind of references were not just casual or here and there…. any wonder why the feeling that John Lee didn’t cook the whole thing up himself is an idea with life to it.
    Mantis: making the US gov’t the bad guy in the MMM is revisionist history at its best/worst. I will agree that the situation is a lot more complicated than just the individual John Lee and what HE planned; again, looking at several historical sources, and trying to understand the context from all sides, including the Indians, is what will get us to the best view of what happened. That’s what Sharon is pulling for on the Mo. history theme…. GERMIT

  19. bws71 says:

    I’m really not a history person – to include the history of my church. Some people like history. To me the subject is too subjective, too dependent on observer and record fidelity. Since I feel neither are very reliable, and increasingly less so with the passage of time, I just don’t get too excited by it. I don’t feel I can judge the people and times from so far away. To me it is like studying mars through a dirty telescope – I can’t trust what I see enough to base serious decisions on that information. I certainly wouldn’t allow historical information on spiritual topics to supercede information I’ve gathered directly through the Spirit.

    I will say this – I totally agree that ‘there is plenty of blame to go around’ when it comes to Mormon history. Mormons are human. Humans make poor choices. Mormons then make poor choices. That Mormons made terrible, selfish, violent errors in judgment and action is not shocking to me. Others seem to want to deny that possibility, as if it invalidates the restoration of the gospel. I think Mormon’s in general do ourselves a disservice with this attitude. We hold ourselves and our history up to an untenable standard. MORMONS SCREWED UP… just like everyone else does. When, how and why is often a matter of debate – though I wonder why. Is there some error or mistake that would ruin the veracity of Mormon claims? Only if one of those claims is that Mormons don’t screw up. We do. Luckily the truth of the gospel does not depend on the character of its followers. It stand independent, on its own.

    Why did JS and BY do and say what they did and said? In the end I don’t know. I can’t. I wasn’t there. Many people who were there agreed with them. Many did not. Which would I have been? Impossible for me to say. So I don’t.

  20. falcon says:

    bws71,
    Very good post. There are about four or five things I’d like to respond to but I’ll run out of space. First your statement “I certainly wouldn’t allow historical information on spiritual topics to supercede information I’ve gathered directly through the spirit” interests me. It reveals a high degree of confidence on your part that you are receiving reliable information directly from God…..I’m guessing on a regular basis. As most who frequent this blog know, I’m a highly independent neopentecostal/charasmatic Christian who believes firmly in first century Christianity as depicted in the Book of Acts….and am rooted in the on going experience of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit as outlined in First Corinthians 12-14. Having said that, I filter out about 95% of the messages I get “from God”. I understand the Mormon tradition of on-going revelation.
    In fact, that was “the greatest attraction of Mormonism, this promise that each follower would be granted extraordinalily intimate relationship with God. Joseph Smith taught and encouraged his adherents to receive personal communiques straight from the Lord. Divine revelation formed the bedrock of the religion.” (Under the Banner of Heaven: A story of violent faith; Joh Krakauer). Actually personal revelation has it’s roots in 19th century evalgelical revivalism and wasn’t really all that innovative on Smith’s part. I believe that while personal revelation makes individual Mormons feel a sense of spiritual superiority, the track record for revelation is not real good within Mormonism. It’s a real head trip to think that the reliability of messages directly from God are more accurate and trustworthy than historical accounts and evidence, however it leads people to a “don’t confuse me with facts” mentality. That’s why many Mormons are surprised when they do some independent research on the history of the Mormon church. They uncover (for themselves) information that’s contrary to spiritual revelation.

  21. falcon says:

    I would guess that there is a historical record and evidence attached to most “spiritual matters”. Here’s the problem for Mormons, what do they do when the historical record and evidence contradicts their personal revelation from God. In Mormonism there is only one choice, reject the historical record and evidence and accept the personal divine revelation. If there is a contradiction, then the historical record and evidence contrary to the divine revelation is wrong. Not only that, it’s probably information sown by Satan meant to lead the Saint away from God. If a Mormon opens himself up to the possibility that maybe, just maybe the message they received wasn’t from God and maybe just maybe the historical record and evidence is accurate, a whole new world of posssibilites and also discomfort arises.
    The facts surroundiing the Mormon War in Missouri are not that difficult to ferret out. A little more difficult, however, is the assignment of blame. What’s lost here however was Joseph Smith’s revelation that the Mormons should practice communism.
    “Before long Joseph issued a revelation setting up the United Order of Enoch. ‘Behold,’ said the Lord, ‘thou shalt consecrate all thy properties, that which thou hast unto me, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken, and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church.’ Private property became church property, and private profit a community spoil.” (No Man Knows My History; Fawn Bodie) Of course the historical record is clear, the whole deal failed and was dumped after the experience in Missouri. So, what do we do with a revelation from God that ends in disaster? The same thing Joseph did when he didn’t find treasure with his peep stone. It was somebody elses fault. This works as long as people are willing to ignore the evidence and cling to their revelations. It’s a test of faith or gullability depending on a person’s point of view and ability to think independently and rationally.

  22. bws71 says:

    For me there can be no true disparity between evidence (or ‘facts’) and the gospel. When evidence seems to contradict what I believe about God I assume it is because either I have not understood the evidence OR I have not understood God. Eventually our understanding of the two realms will merge and we will see all things the way they truly are. Until that time we are left to struggle and walk by faith.

    For example during my undergrad and graduate studies I spent a lot of time learning about the biochemistry of the human body. Occasionally I would come across something that really seemed odd. “Why would God create such an apparently flawed system?” But I realize that my understanding is not God’s. Empiric evidence cannot destroy God. If the two seem incompatible either I don’t understand the evidence or I don’t understand God.

    The same applies for me when it comes to Joseph Smith’s calling as a prophet. When I read something that Joseph Smith did or said that doesn’t seem very prophet-like I either question the veracity of the information or my own assumptions about what it means and doesn’t mean to be a prophet. The reason I do this is because I have had the truthfulness of the book of mormon communicated to me directly by the Spirit of God many times, the same spirit which Christians have always believed teaches truths which are spiritually discerned (1Cor 2). So I have to reconcile the two positions. Joseph Smith was a prophet. If I find information which contradicts this truth then I question my understanding of the information or my assumptions about what it means and doesn’t mean to be a prophet.

    I don’t feel I got my point across in the clearest manner. I hope you understand what I mean. Have you never come across ‘factual’ information that seems to contradict the spiritual truths you believe? What do you do? If your belief in God depends on measurable facts then you must accept that a new fact could change your belief. (darn char limit

  23. falcon says:

    Well I guess we’ve wandered off the topic here but a short answer. I have no witness from the Spirit that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and I believe the historical evidence supports the witness to me by God’s Spirit concerning this.
    Kind of back to the topic; there were many revelations made during the time period we are discussing here regarding the temple in Kirtland, OH. The historical evidence and record concerning this is at odds with the revelations. As a matter of fact, my understanding is that the LDS church doesn’t even own that temple today. So what’s to be believed, the historical record and evidence or Joseph Smith’s revelations. Joseph Smith had to work pretty hard to keep the program together because his credability as a prophet was in question. He just wasn’t making the grade as a prophet or leader. There’s always a way out however for the true believer in Smith and his program.

  24. SteveH says:

    Sharon,
    To briefly respond to your question concerning the existence of historical documentation of the hundreds of deaths which occurred as a result of the forced exodus from western Missouri to Nauvoo in 1838-39 and later from Nauvoo to the Great Salt Lake Basin this matter is amply documented in the volumes of History of Church which chronicles that period. Further primary historical documentation can be obtained from the personal journals of the many Saints who suffered during this period of extreme persecution. These journals document the first hand sufferings of the Saints.

    When about 10,000 people are forced at gun point to leave their burning homes in the dead of winter and then have to walk a distance of some 250 miles from western Missouri to Illinois under the most harsh conditions with very little food to sustain them it is no wonder that the very young and old perished in great numbers.

    This terrible tragedy was repeated when about 15,000 Saints under severe persecution were forced to leave their homes in Nauvoo, walk across the frozen Mississippi River seeking refuge in Iowa and then on their way to the Great Salt Lake Basin. Hundreds died in this great exodus. You can visit the many grave yards that are located along the path of this epic trek.

  25. Ralph says:

    All I can say is that history can and is biased as it is mainly written by the victor. This means that most of the atrocities done by the victor are ‘removed’ from history so they can be seen as the ‘good guys’.

    Internal histories (eg LDS church history taught to the believers, Jewish history for the Jews, Amreican history taught in American schools, etc) are also biased towards the group of people it is taught to, despite the evidence against.

    Example, many of the American missionaries I served my mission with did not know that the English established penal colonies in American before the pilgrims came over for religious freedom. The reason I knew it was a passing comment made in Australian history I was taught at school. The American civil war kicked the Brittish out so they could not establish any more penal colonies, so they sent them here instead.

    Even now we are seeing Hollywood re-writting history basing movies ‘on fact’ but actually using much poetic license for their commentary. Most teens do not like reading books, esp history (Australian stats as far as I know). So they see these movies and what are they going to believe? The movie or a teacher at school in a class they usually fall asleep in?

    I agree with Sharon about looking at all sides as these events happened many years ago under circumstances we do not know or understand. Being LDS and human I know I make many mistakes so I cannot ignore the possibility of the contribution of the members back then in what happened if any.

  26. SteveH wrote ” Hundreds died in this great exodus.”

    That’s odd. The Exodus (I’m referring to the one in the book by the same name) involved the voluntary movement of people towards their homeland, facilitated by the hand of God. The LDS ‘exodus’ involved the forceful removal of people from their homes by the hand of man.

    Why appropriate a Biblical idiom inappropriately to describe this latter episode? “Expulsion” might be a better term.

  27. As it says in Ecc 1:9 “there is nothing new under the sun”.

    Want to see what happens when a ‘prophet’ decides to set himself up as the ‘restorer’ of a (misperceived) OT theocracry, then take a look at the Muster Rebellion (1534-1535) (for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Münster_Rebellion ).

    When I read this account, and then look at the events surrounding the attempted insurgency of JS and co in the Americas, I can’t help thinking that we’ve seen it all before.

  28. falcon says:

    To capture some idea of the zeitgeist (spirit of the times) and context of the Mormon expulsion from Missouri, it might be instructive to examine what happened in Salt Lake City around the 1880s. The incident was written about by an editor named Fisk and it appeared in a Helena, Montana newspaper. Montana, specifically Virginia City, had been a gold rush town in the 1860s. Some of the folks that lived there got sick of the lawlessness and ended up forming vigilante groups that lynched the undesirables. From, Montana: The Magazine of Western History, Spring 2001 by Frederick Allen:
    “Fisk’s thinking on lynch law crystallized soon afterward in an editorial he wrote about a hanging in Salt Lake City. A heavily armed black man named Harvey had run amuck there, killing the city marshal and wounding another man before being subdued and arrested. Hours later, a mob stormed the jail, seized Harvey, dragged him through the streets, and hanged him. Fisk was horrified, calling it a ‘butal thing.’ Then he got to the point: ‘We do not object so much to a decent, orderly lynching when there is particular atrocity in the crime and there can be no mistake as to the criminal. But this beating, kicking, clubbing, and dragging through the streets, both before and after death, is too brutal to allow excuse, and would better suit cannabal savages than men who preted to be civilized’. Reading Fisk more than a century later, one marvels at the distinction he drew between good and bad lynchings. Mob violence was a terrible thing. But who could object to a decent, orderly lynching?”
    Since this was Salt Lake City circa 1880 my guess is that the mob that carried out the lynching had more than a few Mormons in it. It seems these folks were of the same cut of cloth as those who brutalized the Mormons in Missouri and the crowd that stormed a jail in Carthage, Ill. and killed a couple undesireable and disordely Mormons. Same attitudes and techniques, different perps!

  29. falcon says:

    A good case can be made for moral relativism in the discussion at hand. Absolute, moral truths do not hold for all people in all places at all times. It really is unrealistic to ask an abstract question regarding whether a given act is good or bad. Actually, in the abstract, goodness or badness do not exist. Whether something is good or bad has to be examined in context. Something may be morally good or bad in a given situation or cultural setting, but not in a general sense. So in our discussion here, we really shouldn’t be asking whether or not something is good or bad as an abstract construct. We should only ask if an act is good or bad in a particular situation.
    So lynching someone or brutally killing and terrorizing a group of people can’t be judged in the abstract. The Missouri expulsion of Mormons, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the lynching of the black man in Salt Lake City can all be justified contextually. There really aren’t any moral absolutes, only outcomes. Any act can find moral justification in a particular cultural context. In the minds of the Missourians who drove the Mormons out, the (Mormans) were a threat and got what they deserved. In the minds of the Mormons who massacred the Arkansians, they got what they deserved. In the minds of the Salt Lake City lynch mob………..I think we get the point.

  30. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    SteveH, Thank you for your response to my question. It was my understanding that your original claim (i.e., “Hundreds of Mormon settlers perished in these persecutions at the hands of ruthless, blood-thirsty mobs”) was specifically referring to those deaths resulting from the expulsion following the “Missouri Mormon War” as you stated. You have now broadened your claim to include the movement of Latter-day Saints from Illinois to Utah as well as from Missouri to Illinois. Nevertheless, you continue to assert that in the Missouri-Illinois trek “the very young and old perished in great numbers.” I’m assuming these are the hundreds you originally wrote about. I appreciate you pointing me to the History of the Church for documentation of your claim, but it would be much more helpful if you would provide the actual numbers of those who perished along with the volumes and pages in History of the Church where this information can be found. This doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable request. Given the importance the LDS Church places on record keeping and Church history, this information should be readily available and fairly easy for you to pull together. Let me be clear: I do not question that some Mormons died from exposure and illness while making their way out of Missouri. My question has to do with the extent of the deaths. I repeat from an earlier comment, “deaths of [any number of] people is tremendously significant and appalling,” still, I have a great appreciation for accuracy and documentation of historical claims. Thanks, SteveH, for indulging me and (hopefully) providing source evidence for your assertion.

  31. Ralph says:

    Martin,

    Exodus basically means a migration whether voluntary or forced. It has been used in a few wildlife shows I have watched to describe the migration of birds, wildebeasts, and other animals. Steve H did not use the word incorrectly at all in his writing and did not reference in anyway the Biblical exodus, so I do not see your problem with his use.

  32. Ralph wrote “Steve H did not use the word incorrectly at all in his writing and did not reference in anyway the Biblical exodus, so I do not see your problem with his use.”

    Fair enough. Perhaps I’m splitting hairs and I don’t wish anyone to get too troubled about it, but I do get a little sensitive when I sense the misappropriation of a Biblical idiom for some current circumstance.

    Migration of birds! Let the program producers use whatever language they like. But we’ll need to keep the original intention of the idiom in mind if we are to understand it correctly.

  33. Sharon Lindbloom says:

    I accidentally deleted this comment from jackg so I’m posting it again here. Sorry jackg. I’ll try to not let it happen again.

    bws71,

    I have had the witness of the Spirit that the BOM is not the word of God. So, I think the question is who is following a false spirit and who is following the real Holy Spirit. What other question is there for us to consider since we have two different witnesses about the BOM. Is my witness authentic simply because I say so? Is your witness authentic simply because you say so? What can we do to determine which one of us has actually received inspiration from the Holy Spirit? You are only assuming that the spirit you are receiving a witness from is the same Holy Spirit that Paul is talking about in his letter to the Corinthians. I make the same assumption and claim; yet, we have different witnesses regarding the truthfulness of the BOM. What are we to do? I’m curious as to how you answer this question.

    Grace and Peace!

  34. I’m wondering if anyone else has noticed the parallels between Munster and Missouri?

    I’d venture to say that most of the posters on MC would agree that Matthys and Bockelson got it dreadfully wrong in Munster – the body count attests for itself.

    Question: If Matthys, Bockelson and co. got it wrong and Joseph Smith jnr and co. got it right, what was the difference?

  35. SteveH says:

    jackg,

    In reference to your post concerning discerning the truth a good analogy is that of the pharisees who claimed that Jesus “hath a devil” and that he performed his miracles by the power of Satan. Clearly they were mistaken and they of all people should have recognized their messiah yet because of their hard-heartedness and pride they simply could not accept that a poor carpenter from Nazareth (of all places) was the King of Kings.

    Paul is a perfect example of this spiritual blindness. He actively persecuted the early saints fully believing that he was in God’s service until Christ directly intervened and set the matter straight.

    So who was correct: the pharisees or that miscreant from Nazareth? These matters are discerned through the witness of the Spirit and divine revelation which can be as pronounced as a visitation from Christ as in the case of Paul..

  36. falcon says:

    Steve H.
    Sorry, but I don’t get it! I get the concept but I don’t get how it distinguishes Mormonism from any other cult that claims to have a prophet, a new revelation, new scripture and a new true blue one way to eternal life. I don’t see ten cents worth of difference between the claims of christian science, the Jehovah Witnesses or Mormonism. They are all off the radar screen of traditional christianity. That’s how we judge the true from the false. Does it line up with the standard of Christianity? In order for Mormonism to work, the adherents have to subscribe to first century conspiracy theories for which there is no evidence. I guess that’s where “feelin it” comes in. The bottom line is that Mormons believe the claims of Joseph Smith because thinking and reading about it made them feel good. There’s no reasoning with someone who thinks they’ve heard from God regardless of the evidence to the contrary. In fact, rational thought and evidence contrary to the testimony must be ignored in order to have “real” faith. If you want to I suppose we can swap spiritual experience stories to see who’s, got the truth, I guess. We could come-up with some sort of criteria by which to judge the truth based on this. We could maybe even pull in some Christian Science and JW folks for the exercise. And don’t forget all of the new agers and those that are into eastern mysticism or even the religion of the American Indians.

  37. jackg says:

    Sharon,

    That’s okay. 🙂

    SteveH,

    Falcon doesn’t get it, but I get it because I recognize the language you’re using to put JS in the same category as Paul, and to put Christians in the same category as the Pharisees. In essence, your comment is saying that we Christians of all people should see the BOM as the word of God, but since we are pharisaic in our blindness and hard-hearted, we cannot see that the BOM is true. After all, my comment to bws71 was specifically discussing the truthfulness of the BOM and how I have received revelation from the Spirit that it is not the word of God as Mormons claim it to be. So, once again we arrive at the original question since your argument did nothing to resolve it: how do we know which of us is following the Holy Spirit or a false spirit? But, maybe, before Mormons can answer this question, we have to establish if whether or not Mormons believe in false spirits. Then, once that has been determined and we are in agreement, we cannot discount what Falcon has said in responding to your post.

    BTW, StevenH, if I am reading too much into what you said, and you actually are not equating Christians with the Pharisees, then please accept my apology. But, if I’m not, please be honest about it. It’s just that I think you introduced a red herring into the conversation.

    Grace and Peace!

  38. Its a bit off topic, but its worth looking at what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for, and what he didn’t condemn them for.

    For example, nowhere in the NT do we read statements like “the Pharisees belonged to the wrong religion”, or “the Pharisees went to the wrong Synagogue/Temple/Church” (except Rev 2:9 and 3:9, in which Jesus condemns them for abandoning their heritage). Also, the NT consistently describes Jesus as being a devout, observant Jew who fostered devotion and observance in all the Jews he dealt with. Furthermore, Jesus does not condemn the pharisees for failing to keep the law, but he recognises that they were, in fact, successful in keeping and maintaining it (Matt 23, for example).

    The problem, according to the NT perspective was that the Pharisees succeeded in doing the law, but they failed at doing what the law was for. What is the purpose of the law? To lead us to the Christ of God and the Son of Man. How does it do it? By demonstrating through generation after generation from Abraham to Jesus that we cannot bring ourselves to God by the processes described by the law.

    How do we know that the law failed? Because the Israel of the NT was a troubled land, from the demon-possessed individuals, right up to the institutional temple religion of the time, the continuing Roman occupation and the absence of a Davidic King.

    Now, if a failure of faith in the Christ of God precipitated the troubles of the NT, what can we say of the troubles of Munster and Missourri?

  39. GRCluff says:

    I will dare to say that together we could find sufficient evidence to clear JS’s name from the false accusations in Missouri. It will be too little too late, so why bother?

    It is interesting enough to hear what people testified about. My ancestors were there, and kept pretty good records on what they saw, and my family is not alone in that regard. Anyone with a serious desire to clear his name from these kind of accusation could do so easily.

    I am sure that will not be done here because when the real evidence comes in this site will quickly begin to loose interest.

    A people who are persecuted should have a right to defend themselves. How do you take that away? Turn language of self defense into words of treason, then you can jusify the full exercise of your hate via brutality and murder. That is was really happened.

    The eventual consequences of this activity should be sufficient evidence. It is/was a cover up that should still be in the news today. It was much worse that Watergate. People died, not a few. The real story, quietly published in family journals will continue to go unnoticed for the same reason I listed above.

    No one wants to know the truth on these matters.

    Keep asking the questions, Sharon, but I expect you will stop asking abruptly when you begin to get real answers.

  40. GRCluff says:

    If doubt my comments above- here are a few quote from family journals (published 1899)

    When we moved to Nauvoo the girls, who were usually from Missouri, used to tell me what they had suffered. One girl said after they had gone to bed, they heard a dreadful noise on thier house top. The roof was soon torn off and swearing, drunken men carried her father off, and drove her mother and children into the streets where hey found many other people. They had to hide in the woods. An awful storm came and their baby died from exposure.

    Another girl said when her sister was out milking one evening two men rode up with swords on their pant-legs, and pistols in their hands. One shot down the cow and jumping from his horse cut a strip of hide down the back of the dying cow and tied his horse to it while he came up to the house and ordered her mother to take her brats and leave the country at once. Many of our people were killed outright, and many more died from fright and exposure.

  41. germit says:

    CLUFF: I have no reason to doubt or challenge the journal entries you’ve posted. But what of the material Sharon has given us ?? Did you bother to read any of it ? Is it possible that BOTH your journal entries and at least some of these entries are true ? Is it possible that there was cruelty and injustice done by, and toward, both groups ?? As long as you see you church as ALWAYS the agrieved party, I think your chances at understanding what really happened are zilch……you have LDS friends here at MC that have stated aloud their past is not that lop-sided.

    Even if you won’t drink it, time to smell the java…. GERMIT

    PS: SHARON, I appreciate your tenacity in getting at what really happened in all things histroical, the same attitude (most of the time, at least) struck me with R.Bushman.

  42. Cluff wrote “No one wants to know the truth on these matters.”

    Not all of us have the energy to pursue all the accounts on all the matters in this episode, but that does not mean that we’re not interested in seeing truth prevail.

    When one side denounces unfavourable testimony against it as “false”, its a sign that the “truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” is not that side’s top priority.

    When executed well, a less adversarial strategy can do much to reconcile a community that has been torn apart by civil unrest. For example, consider the pros and cons of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_and_Reconciliation_Commission_(South_Africa)). One of its foundational policies was that no side was exempt from appearing before the commission, which means that testimony was received from victims and perpetrators alike.

    The Bible has a very low tolerance level for falsehood of any kind, and whatever the truth is, it can never hurt us more than a lie. Upholding truth and truthfulness is close to the heart of God.

    I don’t have the right to ask any victim of civil injustice to relinquish his or her greivances, but if you foster an “us and them” mentality, you’ll get an “us and them” situation, and with it the basic ingredients for civil unrest.

  43. GRCluff says:

    germit:
    I read it all carefully. To me the details are inconsistent with any quotes from Joseph Smith that I have read. The nature of the quotes are out of character for him, and I find no similarities in the verbage.

    While I do believe the Mormons hoped to defend themselves and their properly from threatened violence, I don’t think the context of treason has ANY portion of truth.

    They demanded freedom from persecution, and never at any point stretched that to cruelty, brutality or injustice, let alone treason.

    The depraved people of Missouri and their spineless leader Gov. Boggs willingly embraced all 3- cruelty, brutality and injustice. These ARE the facts.

    The real questions is: How could these people call themselves Christian?

  44. germit says:

    Martin: your quote, below, is PURE GOLD, the nail hit squarely on the head:

    I don’t have the right to ask any victim of civil injustice to relinquish his or her greivances, but if you foster an “us and them” mentality, you’ll get an “us and them” situation, and with it the basic ingredients for civil unrest.

    And note, the US AND THEM was much more than a spiritual, difference of beliefs, it included the implementation of a kingdom of God, NOW, on earth, emph. on NOW, and I think, by whatever means possible. This was just not going to fly well, and of course the fact that the surrounding audience were rough and tumble settler folk, not known for their civility anyway, this was the proverbial gas meeting lit match…..
    As I’ve noted before, the LDS seem to have abondoned this plan, earthly , political, physical, Zion, for mainstreaming and trying to get in as part of the christian whole (though they would not describe it as that). Fewer border wars that way.

    Again: great line Martin. GERMIT

  45. falcon says:

    This episode in Mormon history is replete with false and unfullfilled prophesy. The track record on revelation by the prophet is dismal. His leadership decisions were poor. The problem is modern Mormons do not want to look at this because it calls into question Joseph Smith’s bonifides as both a prophet and a leader. It’s much easier and emotionally fullfilling to point to Mormon persecution. Rignt or wrong, the earlier settlers felt threatened and retaliated. Without a strong civil authority in place to stop this, people took matters into their own hands on both sides.
    Only a few will question the prophet. That’s the insidious nature of demogary. “Optimistic and esxuberant, he (Joseph) became careless with prophecy. Ezra Booth who described the conference in detail shortly after he left the church, wrote that on the day before the meetings began Joseph promised that ‘not three days should pass away before some should see the Savior face to face.’ The prophet set the keynote for the first assembly by unriddling the mystery of the Lost Ten Tribes, revealing that they lived in a land ‘contiguous to the north pole, seperated from the rest of the world by impassable mountains of ice and snow.” (No Man Knows My History; Fawn Bodie)
    Joseph Smith was full of himself and it lead to tragedy for those willing to give themselves over to him unquestionably.

  46. germit says:

    Thot I’d do a connect-the-thots with Mobaby and Martin’s posts; the 1st is Mobaby:

    Never before in the history of this country, and never once since (excluding the Waco incident), has a religious minority been involved in such a violent war. I am sure there has been discrimination, bad feelings, etc. between religious & non-religious groups but nothing even remotely close to what happened in Missouri. And I am sure Mormons were not the only religious minority in Missouri.

    Then Martin:

    I don’t have the right to ask any victim of civil injustice to relinquish his or her greivances, but if you foster an “us and them” mentality, you’ll get an “us and them” situation, and with it the basic ingredients for civil unrest.

    This thread is probably close to put to bed, but for me, the answer to Mobaby’s question is within Martin’s post. I am not able, yet, to explain it, but the Mormons seemed to EXCEL at the Us vs. Them…..this could be because they are indeed the one true gospel, and they are being opposed violently by the devil and his forces, human and non-human (and whatever category bloggers constitute…).
    OR….. there is another explanation for the hostility that has followed them from place to place.
    We are indeed fortunate to be living in a country that, for now, offers us both the oversight and freedom to express religious views BOTH strongly FOR and AGAINST the LDS position. We’ll see how long this window of freedom lasts…. and I sure don’t expect it to be the LDS camp to take these freedoms away…for that I’m grateful. GERmIT

  47. falcon says:

    The unattended to back story of this point in Mormon History was the complete and total failure of Joseph Smith both as a prophet and leader. The Order of Enoch, embracing communism, was a disaster. His glorious proclamations regarding the Kirtland, OH temple were never fullfilled. In fact, today, the Utah branch of the LDS doesn’t even have ownership of the temple.
    “Now, however, the disillusionment of many elders began to show itself. Edward Partridge, who had been given control of the United Order in the new Zion, complained about the quality of the land selected for purchase. When Joseph replied with some heat that Heaven had selected the land, Patridge replied pointedly; ‘I wish you not to tell us any more that you know these things by the spirit when you do not; you told us that Oliver had raised up a large church here, and there is no such thing.’……..According to (Ezra) Booth, Rigdon was particularly annoyed with Joseph, telling him bluntly that his vision ‘was a bad thing’ and urging an immediate return to Ohio…….The Mormns were thus split in two, the Missouri colony becoming a haven for the disinherited and the Kirtland church retaining the prestige of the prophet’s presence.” (No Man Knows My History; Brodie)
    The standard operational procedure for “prophets’ when their revelations prove false or for leaders when their plans disintegrate is to blame the people. At least some people were willing to question Joseph Smith. However too many were willing to continue to follow unquestionably. This is the real tragedy of cults in general and Mormonism in particular. Even today, despite the evidence, people follow Mormon prophets blindly. For those who do have the courage to question and leave the group, slanderous labels are applied to them because it’s their failure; certainly not the organization or the leadership or most importantly, not the belief system.

  48. GRCluff, I wouldn't mind a renaming of the events in Missouri, but I do take issue with your statement that the Mormons in Missouri never "fought back." There's plenty of evidence that the violence between the Mormons and settlers in Missouri was engaged in by both parties. Even the Mormons at Haun's Mill shot back.

  49. GRCluff says:

    We need a renaming event. The Missouri Mormon War was not a real war because the Mormons never fought back. Remember the Mountain Meadow Massacre? Now in that event the people being killed did fight back. The correct names are: Missouri Mormon Massacre, and Mountian Meadow War. Come on now, lets get the names right.

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