The “Prime Cause” of 1838 Mormon Troubles in Missouri

rigdon38bListen to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism as Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson discuss a lesser-known event from Mormon history: Sidney Rigdon’s 1838 July 4th speech. Brigham Young claimed this speech “was the prime cause of [Mormon] troubles in Missouri” (Times and Seasons, 5:667).

Viewpoint on Mormonism: Sidney Rigdon’s July 4th Oration
(Audio, 14 minutes)

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.

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9 Responses to The “Prime Cause” of 1838 Mormon Troubles in Missouri

  1. spartacus says:

    I think it important to include in the facts the actual wording of Gov. Boggs’ order. According to wiki he said,

    ” The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace–their outrages are beyond all description.”

    I would like to point out that this is not accurately referred to as an “extermination order”, no more than if we referred to Rigdon’s “4th of July oration” as the “Extermination Oration”.

    Something I just realized – for all those LDS who speak of the lies of ain’tImormons- consider that it is not only the aints that so nicely refer to it as the 4th of July oration AND dont use “extermination oration” but it is the LDS who use “extermination order” instead of order #44 (I think it was) or “driven or exterminated order”.

    Maybe that will be the greatest revelation in all of this for some LDS- the aints were not only fair but NICE. Did the spin FOR the church…

  2. spartacus says:

    No responses to this from the LDS? Does this mean that the LDS here will stop or never start speaking of the LDS church being the only one to have an “extermination order” given against it by the United States of America? Perhaps you will only say “exterminstion or driven out” order. Or maybe you will go so far as to say “of course, one of our top leaders started the extermination talk”. Maybe you might even not just throw Rigdon under the bus and say, ” the top leaders really made things worse though”…

    May be.

  3. grindael says:

    Spartacus,

    Speaking of Extermination orders given against the U.S. Mormon “prophets” and “apostles” have had it in for America since the beginning. To them, ALL OF AMERICA except the Mormons were evil and wicked. They only tolerated the Indians [Lamanites] because their “scriptures” said they had to, because someday those latter-day Lamanites would “rise up” against the evil Gentiles and give America to the Mormons. Here is a continuation of my Zion information, that ties directly into your comments in an interesting way…

    On April 25, 1844 Wilford Woodruff wrote in his journal,

    “President Joseph Smith Prophesyed that within five years we should be rid of our old enemies whether they were Apostates or of the world & wished us to record it that when it comes to pass that we need not say we had forgotten the saying.” Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.352

    This of course failed to come true. They were not “rid” of their “old enemies”. One “enemy” was the United States Government. You all know Jo’s prophecies concerning that. They begin with his failure to “redeem” Zion. You see, Jo never got that out of his system. When he could not get back into Missouri because he was wanted for treason, he of course threw out his old timetable of Sept. 11, 1836, and made a new one. This one (given on July 19, 1840) was that 12 “stakes” of “Zion” which was now “all of America” (not just Missouri) had to be built first. Jo had invented this idea when the Mormons were kicked out of Jackson County (the centerplace) in October 1833. Read D&C Section 101: 43-62 (given December 1833). You see, Jo thought that the Mormons could “plant” 11 “stakes” around the centerplace, and then the Mormons would be built up enough to then attack the Missourians in Jackson County and as the “revelation” mentioned above says: “break down the walls of mine enemies; throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen. And inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land.” (verses 57-58)

    This was all supposed to happen by Sept. 11, 1836. By 1837 Jo was talking about those “stakes” as Mary Fielding wrote in a letter:

    Some important things were shown to Brother Joseph in vision previous to his going off relative to the enlargement of our borders which has indeed become indispensably necessary for the inhabitants of Zion both here and in the west are crying the cities are too strait for us give place that we may dwell. The people are crowding in from all parts and as President Rigdon said in his last discourse here they will gather and earth and hell combined cannot hinder them for gather they will. Hence the necessity of planting new stakes which they received a command to do before they left and it is expected that after they have set in order the Church in the west they will fix upon 11 new stakes before they return but this is not spoken of in public for reasons you will be aware of. If this were generally known it would probably make there way much more difficult. [Mary Fielding Smith, October 7, 1837, LDS Archives.]

    Well, Jo fled Kirtland just three months later and “set in order” the church in Missouri by sacking the Whitmer Presidency and fanning the flames of militarism. This was the rise of the Danites. This was Jo’s cry, “the alcoran or the sword”. He failed yet again. The Mormons then settled in Commerce Ill., and Jo retooled his “prophecy” once again. This time he said,

    A few Item from a discourse delivered by Joseph Smith July 19 1840…Afterwards read the parable of the 12 olive trees 2 and said speaking of the Land of Zion that It consists of all N. & S America but that any place where the Saints gather is Zion which every righteous man will build up for a place of safety for his children that The olive trees are 12 stakes which are yet to be built not the Temple in Jackson as some suppose for while the 12 olive stakes are being built we will be at peace but the Nations of the Earth will be at war. (Howard and Martha Coray Notebook, July 19, 1840)

    Huh? Now it’s not Missouri but ANYWHERE? Well some did “suppose” it because Jo said so in 1831:

    “HEARKEN, O ye elders of my church, saith the Lord your God, who have assembled yourselves together, according to my commandments, in this land, which is the land of Missouri, which is the land which I have appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion. And thus saith the Lord your God, if you will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold, the place which is now called Independence is the center place; and a spot for the temple is lying westward, upon a lot which is not far from the courthouse.” (D&C 57:2)

    And he said so in D&C 101 (the very same “revelation” he quoted the parable of the 12 olive trees from)!!! Read it folks,

    >Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered. They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion—And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled. And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed; neither shall there be any other place appointed than that which I have appointed, for the work of the gathering of my saints—Until the day cometh when there is found no more room for them; and then I have other places which I will appoint unto them, and they shall be called stakes, for the curtains or the strength of Zion. (verses 17-21)

    So now you need to ignore all that about Zion not being “moved out of her place” and that there would only be more stakes “when there is no more room for them” in Jackson County. But by 1840 this was impossible, so you see Jo had to retool his “revelations” and prophecies a bit. So then he said this:

    Our cry from the 1st has been for peace and we will continue pleading like the Widow at the feet of the unjust judge but we may plead at the feet of Majistrates and at the feet of Judges At the feet of Governors and at the feet of senators & at the feet of the Pre[s]idents for 8 years it will be of no avail. We shall find no favor in any of the courts of this government. The redemption of Zion is the redemption of all N & S America and those 12 stake must be built up before the redemption of Zion can take place and those who refuse to gather and build when they are commanded to do so cease to be Saviours of men and are henceforth good for nothing but shall be cast out and trodden underfeet of men for their transgression...

    Did you get that? Do you see what Jo said at the last? “Salt that has lost is savor and is good for nothing…” The same thing Sidney Rigdon said when he gave his own “extermination order” against the dissenters. The Danites were alive and well in Nauvoo, because they originated with Jo. So ask yourself, who did that really come from? There you see the answer. So now, 12 “stakes” have to be built. Sigh. And Nauvoo would be one of them. Here are Jo’s prophecies about Nauvoo:

    We shall build the Zion of the Lord in peace untill the servants of that Lord shall begin to lay the foundation of a great and high watch Tower and then shall they begin to say within themselves what need hath my Lord of this tower seeing this is a time of peace & Then the Enemy shall brak come as a thief in the night and scatter the servants abroad when the seed of these 12 Olive trees are scattered abroad they will wake up the Nations of the whole Earth Even this Nation will be on the very verge of crumbling to peices and tumbling to the ground and when the constitution is upon the brink of ruin this people will be the Staff up which the Nation shall lean and they shall bear away the constitution away from the very verge of destruction Then shall the Lord say go tell all my servants who are the strength of mine house my young men and middle aged &c come to the Land of my vineyard and fight the battle of the Lord Then the Kings & Queens shall come then the rulers of the Earth shall come then shall ail saints come yea the Foreign saints shall come to fight for the Land of my vineyard for in this thing shall be their safety and they will have no power to choose but will come as a man fleeth from a sudden destruction But before this the time shall be when these who are now my friends shall become my enemies and shall seek to take my life and shall be m there are those now before me who will more furiously pursue me and the more dilligently seek to my life and be more blood thirsty upon my track than ever were the Missouri Mobbers You say among yourselves as did them of old time it is I & is it I But I know these things by the visions of the Almighty.

    But brethren come ye yea come all of you who can come and go to with your mights and build up the cities of the Lord and whosoever will let him come and partake of the poverty of Nauvoo freely for those who partake of her poverty shall also shall also partake of her prosperity. And it is now wisdom in God that we should enter into as compact a city as posible for Zion and Jerusalem and must both be built up before the coming of Christ This will [be] near a half of a century How long will it take to do this 10 years Yes more than 40 years will pass before this work will be accomplished and when these cities are built then shall the coming of the Son of man be. 1840 + 50 = 1890.

    Now let all who can coolly and deliberately dispose of their property come up and give of their substance to the [church?] that the hearts of the poor may be comforted and all may worship god together in holiness of heart Come brethren come all of you. And I prophecy in the name of the Lord that the state of Illinois shall become a great mountain and mighty mountain as city set upon a hill that cannot be hid and a great that giveth light to the world and The city of Nauvoo als[o] shall become the greatest city in the whole world.

    Just like Jackson County would be “redeemed”. Such are the prophecies of Jo Smith. He adds one more that is of interest:

    Then shall the poor be fed by the curious who shall come from all parts of the world to see this wonderful temple Yea I prophecy that pleasure parties shall come from England to see the Mamoth and like the Queen of Sheba shall say the half never was told them. School houses shall be built here and High schools shall be established and the great men of the [earth] shall send their sons here to board while they are receiving their education among us And even Noblemen shall crave the priviledge of educating their children with us and these poor saints shall chink in their pockets the money of these proud men received from such as come and dwell with us. Now brethren I obligate myself to build as great a temple as ever solomon did if the church will back me up. Moreover it shall not impoverish any man but enrich thousands I prophecy that the time shall be when these saints shall ride proudly over the mountains of Missouri and no Gentile dog nor Missouri dog shall dare lift a tongue against them but will lick up the dust from beneath their feet and I pray the father that many here may realize this and see it with their eyes.

    When did the Mormon Church pass the 12 stake mark?

    End of Part I. In Part II I’ll discuss a few of the Downfall of America prophecies, that had to happen before 1890.

  4. shematwater says:

    Spartacus

    Just what does it take for an order to be an extermination order?

  5. spartacus says:

    Shematwater,

    I never claimed that it was not an “extermination order” but that it was not JUST an “extermination order”. I would think that would be obvious from what I wrote shematwater.

    The counterpoint question to you would be:
    Does Rigdon’s oration have what it takes to be an “extermination oration”?
    Or
    Does Joseph Smith’s and Rigdon’s pamphlet propagating Rigdon’s oration have what it takes to be an “extermination pamphlet” or “extermination propaganda”?

    Shematwater, I think you know my point was that it is dishonestly incomplete to refer to it solely as an “extermination order”and dishonestly biased to speak of “only religion to have an extermination order against it by the US” without mentioning that the LDS church is the only religion to threaten extermination.

    I would think that this is an obvious description of the facts with minimum editorial – little with which to argue. But it is a point that needs to be made for fairness and integrity.

  6. shematwater says:

    Spartacus

    You never once gave an indication that is was not JUST and extermination order. You said, and I quote “not accurately referred to as an “extermination order.” This says nothing about even part of it being an extermination order, but clearly indicates that you don’t think the order qualifies to be described as an order to exterminate. Now, wether you meant it this way or not, this is how you said it.

    I am not fully aquainted with Rigdon’s speech, but will comment on that later.
    And for those interested, here is the full text of the order. You will note that the entire things deals directly with the order to exterminate or drive from the state, and even mentions intercepting those Mormon who attempt to retreat North. From the text it is clear the only purpose of this order was as an extermination order.

    Headquarters of the Militia, City of Jefferson, Oct. 27, 1838.
    Gen. John B. Clark:
    Sir: Since the order of this morning to you, directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your division, I have received by Amos Reese, Esq., of Ray county, and Wiley C. Williams, Esq., one of my aids [sic], information of the most appalling character, which entirely changes the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made war upon the people of this state. Your orders are, therefore, to hasten your operation with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace–their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so to any extent you may consider necessary. I have just issued orders to Maj. Gen. Willock, of Marion county, to raise five hundred men, and to march them to the northern part of Daviess, and there unite with Gen. Doniphan, of Clay, who has been ordered with five hundred men to proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by express, you can also communicate with them if you find it necessary. Instead therefore of proceeding as at first directed to reinstate the citizens of Daviess in their homes, you will proceed immediately to Richmond and then operate against the Mormons. Brig. Gen. Parks of Ray, has been ordered to have four hundred of his brigade in readiness to join you at Richmond. The whole force will be placed under your command.
    I am very respectfully, yr obt st [your obedient servant],
    L. W. Boggs, Commander-in-Chief.

    Now, some might say that since it also mentions driving from the state that this is something other than extermination. However, the only definition I can find for what an extermination order is includes this, as the idea of such an order is to irradicate the presence of a certain group from the jurisdiciton of the ordering authority. This was an extermination order, and nothing in it deals with anything else.

  7. grindael says:

    Executive Order 44. says, notice the emphasis,

    Headquarters of the Militia, City of Jefferson, Oct. 27, 1838.

    Gen. John B. Clark:

    Sir: Since the order of this morning to you, directing you to cause four hundred mounted men to be raised within your division, I have received by Amos Reese, Esq., of Ray county, and Wiley C. Williams, Esq., one of my aids [sic], information of the most appalling character, which entirely changes the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made war upon the people of this state. Your orders are, therefore, to hasten your operation with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary for the public peace–their outrages are beyond all description. If you can increase your force, you are authorized to do so to any extent you may consider necessary. I have just issued orders to Maj. Gen. Willock, of Marion county, to raise five hundred men, and to march them to the northern part of Daviess, and there unite with Gen. Doniphan, of Clay, who has been ordered with five hundred men to proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the Mormons to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by express, you can also communicate with them if you find it necessary. Instead therefore of proceeding as at first directed to reinstate the citizens of Daviess in their homes, you will proceed immediately to Richmond and then operate against the Mormons. Brig. Gen. Parks of Ray, has been ordered to have four hundred of his brigade in readiness to join you at Richmond. The whole force will be placed under your command.
    I am very respectfully, yr obt st [your obedient servant],

    L. W. Boggs, Commander-in-Chief

    Notice that Boggs uses the words “exterminated OR driven from the state if necessary for the public peace… He did not give a blanket extermination order. He also qualified it with “IF NECESSARY”, so it wasn’t a blanket order for genocide.

    The Mormon engaged State Militia at Smith’s order. Bad move. Also, the Missourians weren’t the first to use extermination language. That credit goes to Sidney Rigdon:

    We take God and all the holy angels to witness this day, that we warn all men in the name of Jesus Christ, to come on us no more forever. For from this hour, we will bear it no more, our rights shall no more be trampled on with impunity. The man or the set of men, who attempts it, does it at the expense of their lives. And that mob that comes on us to disturb us; it shall be between us and them a war of extermination; for we will follow them till the last drop of their blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us: for we will carry the seat of war to their own houses, and their own families, and one party or the other shall be utterly destroyed.—Remember it then all MEN. (Sidney Rigdon, July 4th “oration”)

    After Boggs was shot, Wilford Woodruff wrote,

    Vengance is mine. I will repay saith The Lord. Sunday True information has just reached us that the Noted Governor Boggs of Missouri who By his orders expeled ten thousand Latter Day Saints, Has just Been assassinated in his own house & fallen in his own Blood. Three Ball wer shot through his head two through his Brains & one through his mouth, tongue & throat. Thus this ungodly wretch has fallen in the midst of his iniquity & the vengance of God has overtaken him at last & he has met his Just deserts though by an unknown hand. This information is proclaimed through all the papers & By dispatched messengers & hand Bills through the land. Thus Boggs hath died as a fool dieth & gone to his place to receive the reward of his works. * /* Boggs was shot but did not die but has sinc recove[red] from his wounds./(Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.176, May 15, 1842)

    Smith, after being taken into custody and almost returned to Missouri to face charges of treason gave a speech in which he declared,

    In speaking of my Journey to Nauvoo I will relate a circumstance. When Mr Cyrus Walker first came to me they said I should not speak to any man & they would shoot any man that should speak to me. An old man came up & said I should have council & said he was not afraid of their pistols & they took me from him, & I had an opportunity to have killed him but I had no temptation to do it to him nor any other man, my worst enemy not even Boggs. In fact he would have more hell to live in the reflection of his past life than to die. My freedom commenced from the time the old man came to me & would talk to me. We came direct from Papa grove to Nauvoo. We got our writ directed to the nearest court having authority to try the case & we came to Nauvoo. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.254, June 30, 1843)

    But then in the same speech picked up the violent rhetoric again,

    Furthermore if Missouri continues her warfare & continues to Issue her writs against me & this people unlawfully & unjustly as they have done & our rights are trampled upon & they under take to take away my wrights I sware with uplifted hands to Heaven I will spill my Blood in its defence. They shall not take away our rights, & if they dont stop leading me by the nose I will lead them by the nose & if they dont let me alone I will turn up the world. I will make war. (ibid)

    Later that year, Smith again spoke of Boggs,

    If the people will give ear a moment I will address them, with few words in my own defence as touching my arest. In the first place I will state to these that Can hear me that I never spent more than six months in Missouri except while in prison. While I was there I was at work for the support of my family. I never was a prisioner of war during my stay for I had not made war. I never took a pistol, a gun, or sword & the much that has been said on this subject is false. I have been willing to go before any governor Judge or tribunal whare justice could be done & have the subject investigated. I could not have committee treason in that state while there. I had no controll any whare in temporal things while there but in spiritual. I was driven from that state by force of arms under the exterminating order of Govornor Boggs.

    I have never commited treason. The people know vary well I have Been a peaceable Citizen but their has been a great hugh & Cry about Jo Smith Govornor Bogs being shot. No crime can be done but what it is laid to Jo Smith. Here I was again dragged to the United States Court, & was cleared & now it comes again. But as often as God sees fit for me to suffer I am ready. But I am as innocent of these crimes as the Angels in heaven. I am not an enemy to mankind. I am a friend to Mankind. I am not an enemy to Missouri nor any governors or people.

    As to the military station I hold & the cause of my holding it is as follows. When we came here the State required us to bear arms & do military duty according to law, & as the Church had just been driven from the State of Missouri & robed of all their property & arms they were poor & destitute of armes: They were liable to be fined for not doing duty when they had not arms to do it with. They Came to me for advice. I advised them to organize themselves into independant companies, & demand arms of the State. This they did. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 2, 1841–1845, p.258, July 4, 1843)

    Too many people in Nauvoo heard Smith prophecy in 1842 that Boggs would be dead in a year. The crux of Smith’s defense was that he “HAD NO CONTROL OF TEMPORAL THINGS”. But this is a lie. Michael Quinn writes,

    By the time of the 1833 revelation on theocracy, Smith was already establishing an authoritarian system of priesthood that he intended to be monolithic. In his dictated revelations of the 1830s the voice of God commanded Mormons to be one in all things and to make their decisions unanimously (D&C 101:50, 102:3, 104:21, 107:27). Thus Mormons were supposed to view any factionalism in spiritual or temporal matters as contrary to God’s will. In a manner left unclear in Smith’s revelations, these contradictory prerogatives were supposed to mesh with the republicanism of the U.S. Constitution.

    A decade later the church would begin implementing this theocracy as a city-state in Illinois. In the American West Mormonism would dominate the social order of millions of square miles.26 But the Mormon hierarchy was already influencing political events in the Mormon commonwealth at Kirtland, Ohio. The communitarian practices and doctrine of gathering to a common place gave Mormons increasing political importance in the voting districts where they resided. (D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.86)

  8. grindael says:

    Smith wrote for the Times and seasons in July of 1842:

    “It has been the design of Jehovah, from the commencement of the world, and is his purpose now, to regulate the affairs of the world in his own time; to stand as head of the universe, and take the reins of government into his own hand,” the editorial began. The prophet observed that Moses and Aaron “taught the people in both civil and ecclesiastical affairs; they were both one; there was no distinction; so will it be when the purposes of God shall be accomplished.” He added that “the government was a theocracy, they had God to make their laws, and men chosen by Him to administer them.”

    Smith wrote the editorial three months after he received a revelation outlining the political Kingdom of God. The full content of his revelation of 7 April 1842 is presently unknown, but it [p.112] provided the name for a future theocratic organization: “Verily thus saith the Lord. This is the name by which you shall be called—The Kingdom of God and His Laws, with Keys and power thereof, and judgment in the hands of his servants, Ahman Christ.” A few months later Smith preached, “I have the whole plan of the kingdom before me, and no other person has.”

    In tandem with this revelation on formal laws, Smith also wrote an explanation of his theocratic ethics. To justify his polygamous proposal to the nineteen-year-old daughter of counselor Sidney Rigdon, Smith wrote this letter within a few days of his 7 April revelation on theocracy:

    That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be and often is, right under another. God said thou shalt not kill,—at another time he said thou shalt utterly destroy. This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire. If we seek first the kingdom of God, all good things will be added… even things which may be considered abominable to all who do not understand the order of heaven…

    This was the first written statement of Smith’s theocratic ethics, a doctrine he had originally announced when performing the illegal marriage ceremony in Kirtland nearly seven years earlier. (D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.111-112)

    Sidney Rigdon confirmed this doctrine on April 5, 1844:

    “When God sets up a system of salvation, he sets up a system of government; when I speak of a government I mean what I say; I mean a government that shall rule over temporal and spiritual affairs.”

    Then Rigdon revealed to thousands of Mormons that the purpose of Mormon’s theocratic “system of government” was to set aside at will the laws of the United States and of all other secular governments:

    A man is not an honorable man if he is not above all law, and above government….The law of God is far more righteous than the laws of the land; the laws of God are far above the laws of the land. The kingdom of God does not interfere with the laws of the land, but keeps itself by its own laws. (Times and Seasons 5 (1 May 1844): 524, also printed with punctuation changes in History of the Church, 6: 292. D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.123)

    Until the hierarchy began to reveal the extent of the theocracy, Latter-day Saints had no reason to conclude that they were participating in an alternative to the present forms of [p.124] American government. Increasingly in the spring of 1844 Smith let it be publicly known that such an alternative was in the making.

    Two days after this general conference Smith became Mormonism’s theocratic king. The kingdom’s clerk William Clayton wrote that during the 11 April 1844 meeting “was prest. Joseph chosen as our Prophet, Priest and King by Hosannas.” Clayton did not describe what happened immediately after this secret sustaining vote by the Council of Fifty. Although he had participated, William Marks never referred to the sustaining vote on 11 April but later stated that the Council of Fifty performed an ordinance “in which Joseph suffered himself to be ordained a king, to reign over the house of Israel forever.

    Some have been uncomfortable with the assertion that Smith became a king. They have claimed that Marks and other critics either confused or misrepresented Smith’s reception of the strictly religious ceremony of the second anointing as “king and priest.” As already noted, the prophet taught that the second anointing had theocratic meaning, but he received that ordinance nearly six months before Clayton’s entry for 11 April. What occurred that day was clearly something different from the second anointing ordinance for a heavenly “King and Priest.”

    In fact a later revelation to the Council of Fifty affirmed that God called Smith “to be a Prophet, Seer and Revelator to my Church and Kingdom; and to be a King and Ruler over Israel.” In detailed minutes of this same ceremony years later, the Council of Fifty’s standing chairman, John Taylor, was “anointed & set apart as a King, Priest and Ruler over Israel on the Earth.”105 As Mormonism’s theocratic sovereign Smith gave the revelation of August 1833 its most radical expression. In a veiled reference to Smith’s kingship, Apostles Lyman Wight and Heber C. Kimball wrote in 1844 that “you are already President Pro tem of the world.”

    Three days after receiving theocratic kingship, Smith informed the non-Mormon press of his new political order.

    As the “world is governed too much,” and there is not a nation or dynasty, now occupying the earth, which acknowledges Almighty God as their lawgiver, and as “crowns won by blood, by blood must be maintained,” I go emphatically, virtuously, and humanely for a THEO-DEMOCRACY, where God and the people hold the power to conduct the affairs of men in righteousness, and where liberty, [p.125] free trade, and sailor’s rights, and the protection of life and property shall be maintained inviolate for the benefit of ALL. (D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.124)

    This type of thinking had been going on in Missouri, and was manifested in Smith’s Danites, of which he admitted for a fact that they existed and that he approved of them in his own journal:

    “We have a company of Danites in these times, to put to right physically that which is not right, and to cleanse the Church of very great evils which hath hitherto existed among us inasmuch as they cannot be put to right by teachings & persuasions.” (Joseph Smith diary, Missouri Journal, 1838, March to September, under July 27, 1838; also Dean Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith, 1992, v. 2, p. 262 (this quote is crossed out in this book at a later date); also in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 198.)

    Although Governor Boggs had done virtually nothing to protect Mormons from predatory Missourians, the Danite assault on the militia at Crooked River put the politician into action. On 27 October 1838 Boggs issued a directive to Major-General John B. Clark, which read in part:

    Since the order of this morning to you…I have received, by Amos Rees, Esq., of Ray county and Wiley C. Williams, Esq., one of my aid[e]s, information of the most appalling character, which changes entirely the face of things, and places the Mormons in the attitude of an open and avowed defiance of the laws, and of having made war upon the people of this State. Your orders are therefore, to hasten your operations and endeavor to reach Richmond in Ray County, with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated, or driven from the State, if necessary for the public peace.

    The governor’s “extermination order,” as it subsequently became known, was supported by the unwritten—though frequently avowed—right of American citizens to expel unwanted groups or individuals from their midst. Rigdon himself had used this reasoning to justify forcing Mormon dissidents from Far West. Boggs later said his principal desire was to quell Mormon insurrection without bloodshed. The muster of such a massive military force from his perspective was merely to “awe [the Saints] into submission.”

    Initially Mormons, unaware of the size of the military contingent, were not awed. Responding to a rumor that the governor had called out the militia, Smith scoffed:

    I care not a fig for the coming of the troops. We’ve tried long enough to please the Gentiles. If we live together they don’t like it; if we scatter they massacre us for it. The [p.237] only law they know here is that might makes right. They are a damned set, and God will blast them into hell! If they try to attack us we will play hell with their applecarts. Before now, men, you’ve fought like devils. But now I want you to fight like angels, for angels can whip devils. And for every one we lack in number to match the mob, the Lord will send an angel to fight alongside.

  9. grindael says:

    Albert Rockwood,

    impressed with Smith’s bravado, recorded in his diary that “the Prophet goes out to the battle as in days of old. He has the sword that Nephi took from Laban.…The Prophet has unsheathed his sword and in the name of Jesus declares that it shall not be sheathed again untill he can go into any County or state in safety and in peace. (Richard S. Van Wagoner, Sidney Rigdon, p.236-237)

    John Corrill testified about Smith’s establishing religion by the point of a sword,

    “At the second, or at least the last meeting I attended, the presidency, [to wit: Joseph Smith, jr., Hiram Smith, and Sidney Rigdon,] and also George W. Robinson, was there. There was at this meeting a ceremony introducing the officers of the society to the presidency, who pronounced a blessing on each of them, as introduced exhorting to faithfulness in their calling, and they should have blessings.

    After this, President Smith got up… he observed to the people that they should obey the presidency, and, if the presidency led them astray they might destroy them. In the last, or in some public meeting, Joseph Smith jr., said: ***IF THE PEOPLE WOULD LET US ALONE, WE WOULD PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THEM IN PEACE; but, IF THEY CAME ON US TO MOLEST US, we would establish our religion BY THE SWORD;*** and that he would become to this generation a second Mahomet. [John Corrill, Senate Document 189]

    Footnote to page 167 of The History of the Church Vol. III:

    The chief points in the affidavit of Thomas B. Marsh, referred to in the text, are as follows: “They have among them a company, considered true Mormons, called the Danites, who have taken an oath to support the heads of the Church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong. Many, however, of this band are much dissatisfied with this oath, as being against moral and religious principles. On Saturday last, I am informed by the Mormons, that they had a meeting at Far West, at which they appointed a company of twelve, by the name of the ‘Destruction Company,’ for the purpose of burning and destroying, and that if the people of Buncombe came to do mischief upon the people of Caldwell, and committed depredations upon the Mormons, they were to burn Buncombe; and if the people of Clay and Ray made any movement against them, this destroying company were to burn Liberty and Richmond. The Prophet inculcates the notion, and it is believed by every true Mormon, that Smith’s prophecies are superior to the laws of the land. I have heard the Prophet say that he would yet tread down his enemies, and walk over their dead bodies; and if he was not let alone, he would be a second Mohammed to this generation, ***AND THAT HE WOULD MAKE IT ONE GORE OF BLOOD FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS TO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN; that like Mohammed, whose motto in treating for peace was, ‘the Alcoran or the Sword.’ So should it be eventually with us, ‘JOSEPH SMITH OR THE SWORD.’*** These last statements were made during the last summer. The number of armed men at Adam-ondi-Ahman was between three and four hundred.
    “THOMAS B. MARSH.
    “Sworn to and subscribed before me, the day herein written.
    “HENRY JACOBS,
    “J.P. Ray county, Missouri.
    “Richmond, Missouri, October 24, 1838.”
    AFFIDAVIT OF ORSON HYDE.
    “The most of the statements in the foregoing disclosure I know to be true; the remainder I believe to be true.
    “ORSON HYDE.
    “Richmond, October 24, 1838.
    “Sworn to and subscribed before me, on the day above written.
    “HENRY JACOBS, J.P.” (End of History of the Church Footnote)

    Testimony from Senate Documents:

    They have among them a company consisting of all that are considered true Mormons, called the Danites, who have taken an oath to support the heads of the church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong. Many, however, of this band are much dissatisfied with this oath as being against moral and religious principles. On Saturday last, I am informed by the Mormons, they had a meeting at Far West at which they appointed a company of twelve, by the name of the destruction company, for the purpose of burning & destroying, and that if the people of Buncombe came to do mischief upon the people of Caldwell & committed depredations on the Mormons, they were to burn Buncombe & if the people of Clay & Ray made any movement against them, this destroying company was to burn Liberty & Richmond. This burning was to be done secretly by going as incendiaries. At the same meeting I was informed they passed a decree that no Mormon dissenter should leave Caldwell County alive, & that such as attempted to do it should be shot down & sent to tell their tale in eternity. In a conversation between Doct. Avard & other Mormons, said Avard proposed to start a pestilence among the gentiles, as he called them, by poisoning their corn, fruit &c and saying it was the work of the Lord. And said Avard advocated lying for the support of their religion, & said it was no harm to lie for the Lord.

    The plan of said Smith, the prophet, is to take the State, & he professes to his people to intend taking the U.S. & ultimately the whole world. This is the belief of the Church & my own opinion of the prophet’s plans & intentions.

    It is my opinion that neither said Joseph Smith, the prophet, nor any one of the principal men who is firm in the faith could be indicted for any offense in the county of Caldwell. The prophet inculcates the notion, & it is believed by every true Mormon, that Smith’s prophecies are superior to the law of the land. I have heard the prophet say that he should yet tread down his enemies & walk over their dead bodies; that if he was not let alone he would be a second Mahamet to the generations, & that he would make it one gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic ocean. That like Mahamet, whose motto in treating for peace was the Alcoran or the sword, so should it be eventually with us – Jo Smith or the sword.

    These last statements were made during the last summer. The number of armed men at Adamondiamon was between three & four hundred.**

    Thomas B. Marsh

    Richmond, Mo.
    October the 24th 1838
    Sworn & subscribed before me the day hereon written
    Henry Jacobs, J.P., Ray County, Mo.

    The most of the statements in the foregoing disclosed of Thomas B. Marsh I know to be true. The remainder I believe to be true.

    Orson Hyde

    Richmond, Oct 24th 1838
    Sworn to & subscribed before me on the day above written
    Henry Jacobs, J.P.

    The undersigned committee on the part of the citizens of Ray County have no doubt but that Thomas B. Marsh & Orson Hyde, whose names are signed to the foregoing certificates, have been members of the Mormon Church in full fellowship until very recently when they voluntarily abandoned the Mormon Church & faith. And that said Marsh was, at the time of his dissenting, the President of the Twelve Apostles & President of the Church at Far West, and that said Hyde was, at that time, one of the Twelve Apostles. And that they left the church & abandoned the faith of the Mormons from a conviction of their immorality & impiety.

    Richmond, Oct 24th 1838

    Too many people with nothing to gain said that Jo was behind the Danites, indeed did carry a sword and threatened to kill people. Jo’s defense in Missouri was one lie after another. Bogg’s order was not only an extermination order, it was an either or order. Like when someone is wanted dead or alive. If they resist, use deadly force. Mormons trying to say that this order was a blanket extermination order are reaching. It was not. If it was, why were the Mormons not all murdered when Jo surrendered? Where are the concentration camps? There never was any teeth in that order, Boggs knew it, and the Mormons today know it, because nothing happened to the Mormons after they surrendered. If they had put up arms and fought the state, it might have been different.

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