Mormon Secrets & Perjuring Prophets

INTRODUCTION

It was the bi-centennial year of the birth of Joseph Smith.  In December of that year (2005) Mormon “prophet” and President Gordon B. Hinckley gave an interview to the Associated Press. In that interview, Hinckley stated,

“Understanding and appreciation come of knowledge. The more people come to know us, the better they will understand us.”[1]

The Associated Press then asked Hinckley,

“The church seems to have difficulty distancing itself from its history of polygamy. You’ve said there are no fundamentalist Mormons, but these groups still practice polygamy and still claim Joseph Smith as their own. How do you resolve that dilemma?”[2]

Who answered,

“Well, let me just say this, the doctrine came of revelation and was discontinued by revelation. We believe in honoring, obeying and sustaining the law. And so, we have very little sympathy with those who disobey the law in this manner.”[3]

Hinckley was then asked,

“Some scholars say historical records point to discrepancies with the official church history. How do you reconcile the differences? And what is the church’s position on historical scholarship?”[4]

Hinckley’s answer was clear and concise:

“Well, we have nothing to hide. Our history is an open book. They may find what they are looking for, but the fact is the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues.”[5]

Does the Mormon Church have anything to hide? Is their official history an “open book”? Does the real history of the church lead to “faith and strength and virtues”? If the Church has “very little sympathy” for those who “disobey the law”, how should members feel when they learn that church leaders  bribed Supreme Court judges, influenced elections, committed perjury, and put a gag order over its own members to keep them from recording in their diaries the minutes of Church Council meetings? Why is the church silent about such aspects of its history?

I.  UNDER “AFFIRMATION”

per·ju·ry   [pur-juh-ree]  noun, plural -ries. Law . the willful giving of false testimony under oath or affirmation, before a competent tribunal, upon a point material to a legal inquiry.

In 1902 (with the permission of the Mormon “prophet” Joseph Fielding Smith) a Mormon “apostle” named Reed Smoot was elected Senator to the newly formed State of Utah.  His election sparked an intense four-year battle about whether Smoot was eligible or should be allowed to serve, due to his position as a Mormon “apostle”. Many in the U.S. Government were convinced that his association with the church disqualified him from serving in the United States Senate. Only a few years earlier, another prominent Utah Mormon, B.H. Roberts, had been elected to the House of Representatives but was denied his seat because he practiced polygamy. Smoot was not a polygamist, but the Salt Lake Tribune had reported that church leaders continued to secretly approve of new, post-Manifesto plural marriages, and as a result, the Senate began an investigation into Smoot’s eligibility.

Mormon “prophet” Joseph F. Smith was called to testify before Congress, and his testimony is fascinating for what it reveals and doesn’t reveal. When Smith is called to testify, he will not be “sworn in”, rather he states, “I prefer to affirm, if you please.”[6] To “affirm” rather than be “sworn in” (or take an oath to tell the truth) became an option in court proceedings because of Jesus’ admonition to “not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”[7]

Joseph Fielding Smith

This is curious, because Smith obviously had no problems swearing many oaths in the Mormon Temple Ceremony, including an “oath of vengeance” against the murderers of his uncle and father.[8] Smith also seemed concerned about being known as a “spotter” or a paid informant.  He would continually evade questions and deny knowledge about events and claim he was not a “spotter”, as he did here:

“I do it

very reluctantly, simply because I am required to do so by this honorable committee. I regret it very much, and I wish to say that much to the committee, because my statements and     testimony here are going to the world, and I do not want it understood, being compelled, as I have been, to give information and to make statements of opinion in relation to my friends, that I am in any sense a spotter or an informer. If there is anything, gentlemen, that I despise it is an infamous spotter and informer, and I am not one of those. I wish to state that in order that it may go down on record.”[9]

Asked about which “apostles” might have had children by their polygamous wives, Smith claims no knowledge, and once again, that he is not a “spotter”:

Senator Overman.  You say six [apostles] are polygamists.  Now, are those or any one of them disobeying the law of the land in regard to polygamous cohabitation?
Mr. Smith.  I do not know anything about their unlawful cohabitation relations.  I only referred in my answer to the question yesterday to the fact that they were in the status of polygamists; that is, they had more wives than one.
Senator Overman.  You do not know whether they have had children born to them since the manifesto or not?
Mr. Smith.  I am happy to say that I am not a paid spotter or informer.
Senator Overman.  You might know without being a spotter.
Mr. Smith.  I do not know.

Senator Overman.  You do not know whether they have children or not?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir.
Senator Overman.  You might have answered without saying you were not a spotter.
Mr. Smith.  Excuse me; I beg pardon.[10]

Smith then commits outright perjury,

“It has been the continuous and conscientious practice and rule of the church ever since the manifesto to observe that manifesto with regard to plural marriages; and from that time till to-day there has never been, to my knowledge, a plural marriage performed in accordance with the understanding, instruction, connivance, counsel, or permission of the presiding authorities of the church, or of the church, in any shape or form; and I know whereof I speak, gentlemen, in relation to that matter.”[11]

But this wasn’t true as D. Michael Quinn explains,

“Yet for nearly two years, President Woodruff did not encourage new plural marriages and permitted only three United States residents and one local resident to marry plural wives in Mexico and Canada. That changed in 1894. At the meeting of the Presidency and Twelve in the Salt Lake Temple on 5 April 1894, President Cannon expressed regrets that there were no provisions for polygamous marriages, to which President Woodruff replied: “The day is near when there will be no difficulty in the way of good men securing noble wives.” A month later, President Woodruff wrote a letter of instruction to Apostles Brigham Young, Jr., and John Henry Smith concerning their second trip to Mexico in five months, authorizing them “in adjusting all matters that properly comes [sic] under your calling.” Whether President Woodruff added verbal clarifications, Apostle Young, who had told the Mexican Saints in February that it was impossible for any man to marry a plural wife anywhere in the world and to cancel any polygamous engagements, performed at least five plural marriages there when he returned in May-June 1894. Among these plural marriages was one for Franklin S. Bramwell, then a stake high councilman, who later wrote, “When I took my second wife I had a letter signed by President Woodruff himself and went to Mexico with a personal letter from Prest. George Q. Cannon.” President Woodruff may or may not have known that George Q. Cannon signed a recommend on his behalf at this same time for a plural marriage to be performed in the Logan Temple, but there can be no question that in October 1894 President Woodruff personally authorized Apostle Abraham H. Cannon to marry a new plural wife: “Father [George Q. Cannon] also spoke to me about taking some good girl and raising up seed by her for my brother David…. Such a ceremony as this could be performed in Mexico, so Pres. Woodruff has said.” Six months later, Wilford Woodruff gave a newspaper interview: “I hurl defiance at the world,” said President Woodruff, “to prove that the manifesto forbidding plural marriages has not been observed.”[12]

Wilford Woodruff

Smith is then asked about one of Abraham H. Canon’s marriages to Lillian Hamblin:

Mr. Tayler.  Do you know her?
Mr. Smith.  Yes; I know here now.
Mr. Tayler.  Was she his wife?
Mr. Smith.  That is my understanding, that she was his wife.
Mr. Tayler.  Do you know when he married her?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I do not.
Mr. Tayler.  Did you marry them?
Mr. Smith.  No, sir; I did not.

Mr. Tayler.  You did not see her in California about that time [June of 1896]?
Mr. Smith.  I did, most distinctly.
Mr. Tayler.  Where?
Mr. Smith.  In Los Angeles.
Mr. Tayler.  With whom was she there?
Mr. Smith.  She was with Abraham Cannon.
Mr. Tayler.  Was she married to him then?
Mr. Smith.  That is my understanding, sir.
Mr. Tayler.  Was she married to him when you saw her shortly before that?
Mr. Smith.  That is my belief.  That is, I do not know anything about it, but that is my belief, that she was his wife.

Mr. Tayler.
  When did you first learn that Lillian Hamlin was his wife?

Mr. Smith.  The first that I suspected anything of the kind was on that trip, [a previous trip they took together to the Provo Mines during the same month] because I never knew the lady before.[13]

That Smith knew Canon well and that they spent many hours together (outside of Quorum Meetings), is attested to by Cannon’s diary entry:

“In the afternoon I went to the races, and took John Q. [Cannon] with me in my buggy. Presidents [Wilford] Woodruff and [Joseph F.] Smith were there, and I sat in their carriage a good part of the afternoon.”[14]

These men socialized together and many were in business together.  But Smith doubles down, and reinforces his perjury:

Abraham H. Cannon

Mr. SMITH. … I should like to draw a distinction between

unlawful cohabitation and polygamy. There is a law prohibiting polygamy, plural marriages.

Senator HOAR. You mean now a law of the State of Utah ?

Mr. SMITH. I mean the law of the State, and  I mean that this is in the constitution of our State. It is required by the enabling act. That law, gentlemen, has been complied with by the church; that law has been kept by the church; and there never has been a plural marriage by the consent or sanction or knowledge or approval of the church since the manifesto.[15]

These outright lies offended many people, including Abraham’s brother Frank J. Cannon, who painfully recalled these instances of Smith’s perjury:

“Late in July, 1896, when I was in New York on business for the Presidency, I received a telegram announcing the death of my brother, Apostle Abraham H. Cannon. We had been companions all our lives; he had been the nearest to me of our family, the dearest of my friends—but even in the first shock of my grief I realized that my father would have a greater stroke of sorrow to bear than I; and in hurrying back to Salt Lake City I nerved myself with the hope that I might console him.

I found him and Joseph F. Smith in the office of the Presidency, sitting at their desks. My father turned as I entered, and his face was unusually pale in spite of its composure; but the moment he recognized me, his expression changed to a look of pain that alarmed me. He rose and put his hand on my shoulder with a tenderness that it was his habit to conceal. “I know how you feel his loss,” he said hoarsely, “but when I think what he would have had to pass through if he had lived—I cannot regret his death.”

The almost agonized expression of his face, as much as the terrible implication of his words, startled me with I cannot say what horrible fear about my brother. I asked, “Why! Why—what has happened?”

With a sweep of his hand toward Smith at his desk—a gesture and a look the most unkind I ever saw him use—he answered: “A few weeks ago, Abraham took a plural wife, Lillian Hamlin. It became known. He would have had to face a prosecution in Court. His death has saved us from a calamity that would have been dreadful for the Church—and for the state.”

“Father!” I cried. “Has this thing come back again! And the ink hardly dry on the bill that restored your church property on the pledge of honor that there would never be another case—”I had caught the look on Smith’s face, and it was a look of sullen defiance. “How did it happen?” My father replied: “I know—it’s awful. I would have prevented it if I could. I was asked for my consent, and I refused it. President Smith obtained the acquiescence of President Woodruff, on the plea that it wasn’t an ordinary case of polygamy but merely a fulfilment of the biblical instruction that a man should take his dead brother’s wife. Lillian was betrothed to David, and had been sealed to him in eternity after his death. I understand that President Woodruff told Abraham he would leave the matter with them if he wished to take the responsibility—and President Smith performed the ceremony.”

Smith could hear every word that was said. My father had included him in the conversation, and he was listening. He not only did not deny his guilt; he accepted it in silence, with an expression of sulky disrespect.

He did not deny it later, when the whole community had learned of it. He went with Apostle John Henry Smith to see Mr. P. H. Lannan, proprietor of the Salt Lake Tribune, to ask him not to attack the Church for this new and shocking violation of its covenant. Mr. Lannan had been intimately friendly with my brother, and he was distressed between his regard for his dead friend and his obligation to do his public duty. I do not know all that the Smiths said to him; but I KNOW that the conversation assumed that Joseph F. Smith had performed the marriage ceremony; I know that neither of the Smiths made any attempt to deny the assumption; and I know that Joseph F. Smith sought to placate Mr. Lannan by promising “it shall not occur again.” And this interview was sought by the Smiths, palpably because wherever the marriage of Abraham H. Cannon and Lillian Hamlin was talked of, Joseph F. Smith was named as the priest who had solemnized the offending relation. If it had not been for Smith’s consciousness of his own guilt and his knowledge that the whole community was aware of that guilt, he would never have gone to the Tribune office to make such a promise to Mr. Lannan.

Frank J. Cannon

All of which did not prevent Joseph F. Smith from testifying—in the Smoot investigation at Washington in 1904—that he did not marry Abraham Cannon and Lillian Hamlin, that he did not have any conversation with my father about the marriage, that he did not know Lillian Hamlin had been betrothed to Abraham’s dead brother, that the first time he heard of the charge that he had married them was when he saw it printed in the newspapers!*

If this first polygamous marriage had been the last—if it were an isolated and peculiar incident as the Smiths then claimed it was and promised it should be—it might be forgiven as generously now as Mr. Lannan then forgave it. But, about the same time there became public another case—that of Apostle Teasdale—and as this narrative shall prove, here was the beginning of a policy of treachery which the present Church leaders, under Joseph F. Smith, have since consistently practised, in defiance of the laws of the state and the “revelation of God,” with lies and evasions, with perjury and its subornation, in violation of the most solemn pledges to the country, and through the agency of a political tyranny that makes serious prosecution impossible and immunity a public boast.  [16]

D. Michael Quinn reveals the extent of Smith’s perjury,

“Wilford Woodruff had approved Abraham H. Cannon’s entry into a proxy polygamous marriage on behalf of his brother. When Lillian Hamlin was endowed in the Salt Lake Temple on 17 June 1896, she was sealed by proxy to the deceased David H. Cannon. Abraham H. Cannon was the proxy, and Joseph F. Smith performed the sealing. The next day, the Smiths and Cannons left Salt Lake City for California. Therefore, Joseph F. Smith actually performed his only post-Manifesto polygamous marriage as a proxy ceremony in the Salt Lake Temple for Abraham H. Cannon but could legally claim that he simply officiated in a sealing on behalf of the deceased brother.”[17]

The use of aliases was common among the Mormon Hierarchy during this period. In his diary entry of July 21, 1887, Abraham Cannon writes that John Taylor used “diff. names for the brethren (disguised) Bro. Williams for C. W. Penrose & Col. Mack for J.F.S. [Joseph Fielding Smith]”[18]

It appears that Joseph F. Smith was more concerned with being labeled an “informer” or “spotter” than he was of telling the truth under oath (or affirmation), or living by his own words of counsel,

G.Q.Cannon, W.Woodruff, J.F.Smith

“Now, in the Gospel of Jesus Christ are taught principles of truth. The word of God is truth. There is no word that God hath spoken to the children of men for their guidance that is not true. And it is the business of men and women, especially those in this Church, to learn what is the word and will of God. When they have learned it, it is their duty to accept it in their hearts, incorporate it in their lives, and abide by it. Then they become the disciples of Christ in very deed. Then they shall know the truth. They shall not merely believe the truth because it is stated by one in whom they have confidence; but they shall know the truth, and the truth shall make them free. It is only the truth that can make men free.”[19]

And chose to ignore the Doctrine and Covenants:

“Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out.”[20]

I’m not aware of any public confession by Joseph F. Smith for lying at the Reed Smoot Hearings.  Instead of repenting, Smith publically affirmed his perjury in the April 1904 General Conference of the Church:

“They charge us with being dishonest and untrue to our word. They charge the Church with having violated a “compact,” and all this sort of nonsense. I want to see today whether the Latter-day Saints representing the Church in this solemn assembly will not seal these charges as false by their vote… In seconding the resolution that has just been read–which I most heartily do–I desire to state at least one reason for doing it. As remarked by the president, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been accused of being covenant-breakers with this nation. Of course, there never was, and could not be, any compact between the Church and the general government of the United States. But there could be a compact between the State of Utah and the United States, and there was such a compact made in the Constitution of our state, by and through the Constitutional Convention. And now I am pleased with the opportunity of the Church saying in its official capacity that the Latter-day Saints not only now are, but have been, true to the compact between the State of Utah and the United States, and that they are true to the Constitution of the state, which, by express provision, forever prohibited plural or polygamous marriages, and made that irrevocable, without the consent of the United States. The adoption by the Church of this resolution should put to silence those who have accused us of being covenant-breakers.[21]

1904 Political Cartoon – “The Real Objection To Smoot”

Smith would later compound his perjury, by writing to the Senate Committee in Washington nine days after the Mormon Conference:

The president of the church writes me, explanatory of this, as follows:

OFFICE OF THE FIRST PRESIDENCY OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS,

Salt Lake City, Utah, April 15, 1904,

Hon. JULIUS C. BURROWS,

Chairman Committee on Privileges and Elections, United States Senate, Washington, D. C.

SIR:

It is with regret that I inform you of my inability to procure the attendance of Messrs. John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Marriner W. Merrill, John W. Taylor, and Matthias F. Cowley before the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections.

Hon. John Henry Smith is still quite ill, but has signified his willingness to appear before the committee, if desired, as soon as his health will permit.

I am informed that Mr. Marriner.W. Merrill is still in such poor health that he is unable to leave his home.

My latest reports from Mr. Teasdale are to the effect that his health is still poor, but improving.

In accordance with the suggestion of Mr. Robert W. Tayler, I communicated to Messrs. John W. Taylor and M. F. Cowley my earnest desire that they should appear and testify before the committee, and

am in receipt of letters from them stating, in substance, that they are unwilling, voluntarily, to testify in the Smoot investigation. As this is a political matter, and not a religious duty devolving upon them or

me, I am powerless to exert more than moral suasion in the premises.

With reference to the others named the facts are as above stated.

Again expressing my sincere regret that I am unable to procure the attendance of these gentlemen, I am,

Very respectfully,

JOSEPH F. SMITH.[22]

As B. Carmon Hardy writes,

George Teasdale

“President Smith’s “sincere regret” is questionable, and his efforts to have Teasdale, Cowley, and Taylor testify were quite pretended. Teasdale, who celebrated his seventy-third birthday in 1904, may have been in declining health. He seems always to have been fragile. Yet, in the spring of 1904, at the time President Smith told the committee Teasdale was too frail to make the trip to Washington, the apostle was directed to hasten south into Mexico—an ordeal involving at least as much, and probably more, physical strain than a rail journey east. In the late summer Teasdale was healthy enough to travel north and attend three stake conferences in Arizona. In the letter containing these assignments, the apostle was instructed to see that no reports of his presence in Arizona were released to newspapers. Neither was he to let it be known what his intended course of travels was. Secretary to the First Presidency George F. Gibbs, who had a penchant for injecting his own style into official communications, wrote Teasdale that the First Presidency wished him to return to Mexico “without unnecessarily offending the righteous sensibilities of the righteous people of this the greatest nation on the top of the earth.”

Mattias F. Cowley

In a subsequent letter Teasdale, who was still in Mexico, was advised that his so-called medical advisers in Salt Lake City felt the weather yet inappropriate for his return to Utah. These same advisers had determined that if he desired a change of scenery, he could travel to Canada for a few months. Why Canada, as far from Utah as Mexico, was acceptable was undoubtedly clear to Teasdale. The communication closed by reminding the apostle that he had previously indicated that he wished to be only where the Lord wanted him to be. And that, he was being told, was to stay out of the way. Teasdale was an apostle known to have married plurally since the Manifesto, and the fact that in his testimony in Washington, D. C. , President Smith had provided a dubious scenario concerning Teasdale’s domestic affairs, more than anything associated with his health, accounted for the time the apostle spent south of the border.

Regarding apostles Taylor and Cowley, it is true both men asked to be excused from attending the hearings. Cowley, for example, wrote Smith that he wished to avoid the humiliation of exposing his family affairs to the nation’s eyes. Moreover, he said that whatever he could add to the record would but confirm what President Smith had already said in his testimony. At the same time, Cowley’s letter stated that, while he would not volunteer, he would go to Washington if subpoenaed. This was clearly a less defiant posture than that represented by President Smith to Senator Burrows.

John W. Taylor

Taylor, in his reply to the president, was more pointed, saying he felt “positive disinclinations” about going. Because of his residence in Canada at the time, he undoubtedly felt greater safety from the committee’s summons.  After receiving the letters of both men from President Smith, Smoot cut out “the whitened sepulchers” from Taylor’s letter and read them to members of the committee. The senators agreed, after hearing them, that Taylor and Cowley were both beyond President Smith’s control and that he could not force them to testify in Washington.

From the beginning there was an unmistakable note of equivocation in President Smith’s attitude about the prudence of having Taylor and Cowley testify. In the presence of Senator Smoot and his secretary, Carl A. Badger, he remarked that he felt he could persuade them to appear in Washington, provided they were not guilty of involvement in post-Manifesto marriages.90 That Smith, in making such a comment, was hedging against the discovery of what he knew to be fact was not lost on Senator Smoot. Badger recorded in his journal that Smoot volunteered, if President Smith thought best, to resign his senatorial office rather than bring sorrow on the church. Anthon H. Lund, President Smith’s counselor, said less than a month later that the First Presidency took concern when it was rumored that someone was likely to be subpoenaed who could testify to the certainty of Taylor’s post-Manifesto marriages.91 It was also said that Taylor even agreed to testify in Washington but stated that he would not compromise the truth in what he said. Supposedly, he was actually departing for Washington, D. C. , when recalled by Apostle Francis M. Lyman, who, on the authority of a warning dream, told him to stay in Canada. As much as two years later, Smoot wrote President Smith that it yet seemed best for Taylor and Cowley to remain out of reach of Congress until the investigating committee finished its work and the opportunity for successfully serving them with subpoenas had passed.[23]

This video shows Smith’s testimony about all the Corporations that he owned as Trustee in Trust for the Church. Pay attention to his testimony about the Deseret News. He claims that he doesn’t know who owned it so he could tell his questioner positively. Smith perjured himself, he did know exactly who owned it and who the officers of the company were. Here is Rudger Clawson from about a year before the Smoot Hearings:

The question was discussed. Pres. Smith thought it unfair to [p.558] advance the money without interest or any consideration. It would be only proper, he thought, for the News to share the profits of handling this publication with the church—inasmuch as they supplied the means. Some of the brethren took the view that it made but little difference, AS THE DESERET NEWS BUSINESS BELONGED TO THE CHURCH, and whatever profits there were would eventually come to the trustee-in-trust. Pres. Smith, however, did not quite endorse this view, and the matter was referred to Elder Clawson of the auditing committee to investigate and get more favorable terms. Pres. Smith at this juncture expressed some dissatisfaction with the manner in which the News is conducted, and rather spoke as if he felt that his wishes in regard to its policy were disregarded. The headlines in the News sometimes gave it the appearance of a gentile paper. As, for instance, referring to our people constantly as the “Mormons” or the great “Mormon” conference, and alluding to Senator Smoot, as Smoot. To say the least, this was disrespectful and unbecoming. Presidents Winder and Lund were appointed to have a talk with Elders [Charles W.] Penrose, [Horace G.] Whitney, and [John E.] Hansen in regard to some of these things. It was decided that all copyrights of the church publications should be assigned to the trustee-in-trust rather than to the Deseret News. (Larson, Diaries of Rudger Clawson, p.558, 19 March, 1903).

The Reed Smoot Hearings took place a year later. There is no way that F. Smith didn’t know, he was in charge of all the monies that came from and went to that business. Here is another entry from a financial report that was discussed with Joseph Fielding Smith:

[April 2, 1903]In the meeting of the Presidency and Twelve today, in behalf of the church auditing committee, I submitted the following report from the Presiding Bishop showing the receipts and disbursements of tithes for the year 1902. Also, a report from the books of the trustee-in-trust incorporating the final results as shown by the Presiding Bishop’s report and a statement of the silent assets of the church. (This report should have been included in the foregoing minutes.)

Presiding Bishop’s Office,
March 1st, 1903
GENERAL STATEMENT OF RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS
OF TITHES FOR THE YEAR 1902
Receipts
Tithes on hand, Jan. 1, 1902
P.B.O. 36,805.09 [p.575]
Stakes 355,554.70
Missions 12,787.70 405,147.49
Tithes received:
Stakes 1,363,544.66
Missions 57,506.53 1,421,051.19
Profits in handling, P.B.O. 424.00
Receipts from other sources
P.B.O. 1,013.09
Stakes 3,588.50
Missions 12,082.18 16,683.77
Total receipts 1,843,306.45
Disbursements
Losses
P.B.O. 16,871.52
Stakes 25,177.50 42,049.02
Bishops’ percentage
P.B.O. 7,928.00
Stakes 123,148.41 131,076.41
Improvements
P.B.O. 114.60
Stakes 40,169.23 40,283.83
General expenses
P.B.O. 7,917.92 [7918.16]
Stakes 14,138.00
Missions 106.00 22,162.16
Mission Maintenance 23,077.88
Paid trustee-in-trust
Cash 902,631.86
Orders 285,528.63 1,188,160.49
Balance on hand, Dec. 31, 1902:
P.B.O. 46,475.88
Stakes 339,804.00
Missions 10,216.78 396,496.66
Total 1,843,306.45
Audited Mch. 27, 1902, and submitted April 2, 1903.
(Signed) Rudger Clawson,
Reed Smoot,
Auditing Committee.

GENERAL REPORT
Surplus
Net surplus at the office of trust-in-trust 2,001,659.21
Tithes on hand in stakes of Zion, Jan. 1, 1903 396,496.66
Total 2,398,155.87
Silent Assets of the Church
Real estate:
Coal lands &c. 180,914.78
Tithing properties in stakes 325,801.12 506,805.90
B. Y. Academy, Provo, loan 100,262.41
Josepa Agricultural Co., owe on acct. 50,000.00
Total 666,068.31
Recapitulation
Surplus and tithes on hand, Jan. 1, 1903 2,398,155.87
Silent assets of the church 666,068.31
Total 3,064,224.18
Submitted,
(signed) Rudger Clawson,
Reed Smoot.
Data taken from Presiding Bishop’s general reports.
Net increase in tithing in 1902 over 1901 10,662.34
Net increase of cash tithing in 1902 over 1901 31,733.03

Total tithing paid in stakes 1,363,544.66; of this amount $1,049,541.73 was forwarded to the Presiding Bishop’s office, and $342,721 was disbursed locally. Total loss in handling tithes was 2.1%. Amt. paid to bishops for handling tithes was $123,148.41 or 9% of the total tithing received. The trustee-in-trust received 99.1[%] of the cash tithing of 1902. All the local expenses in the Stakes were paid or could have been paid from the profits in exchanges. Amount paid to the worthy poor—$95,713.92; of this amount the trustee-in-trust paid 36%, the fast offerings covered 40%, and Relief Society and sundry offerings covered 24%.

Number of tithe-payers in the church in 1901 were 74,625 [p.577]
Number of tithe-payers in the church in 1902 were 74,764
Net increase 139
Number of non-tithe-payers in 1901 10,859
Number. of non-tithe-payers in 1902 12,412
Increase 1,553

Number of non-tithe-payers, showing priesthood: 243 high priests; 656 seventies; 3396 elders; 584 priests; 600 teachers; 1966 deacons; 7445 total priesthood; 4967 members; 12,412 total.

Brother Clawson explained that if the foregoing Presiding Bishop’s report were approved, it would be copied into the trustee-in-trust’s record of assets and liabilities of the church, and the net results, namely, the tithes on hand, Jan. 1, 1903, would be carried into the trustee-in-trust’s general ledger. The said ledger would then show the exact financial status of the church with the exception of the Deseret News business, which the committee would report upon at an early day. Upon motion of Elder Jno. H. Smith the report was received, approved, and placed on file. (Larson, Diaries of Rudger Clawson, p.574-577)

 

II. LESSONS LEARNED FROM PERJURY?

In the wake of his testimony at the Reed Smoot Hearings, as Joseph F. Smith continued his lying in front of the entire Mormon Church, he probably began to wonder how he was going to keep the truth from getting out.  The case of Abraham H. Cannon was of particular concern to him, and Smith brought it up at a Council Meeting in October, 1904:

“Pres. [Joseph F.] Smith said that he wanted to refer to a matter that had given him much concern—namely, the private journals of the brethren of the council. Many things were written in them which, if they were to fall into the hands of the enemy, might bring trouble upon the church. After the death of the brethren, you cannot tell what may become of their journals, and even now the brethren felt an anxiety in relation to Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon’s journal, who made a pretty full account of everything that transpired in the councils of the brethren; the same with Abram Cannon and others. Elder Jno. H. Smith said that he was very much concerned about this matter and had been for a long time and felt ‘that some action should be taken in the premises. Pres. Winder said that it was very unsafe and risky for the brethren to write down that which occurred in these meetings. This duty belonged to the clerk of the council and nobody else. Pres. Winder moved that it be the sense and feeling of the council that the brethren should not write in their journals that which took place in the council meetings. Carried by unanimous vote. Meeting adjourned. Benediction by Elder Jno. H. Smith.”[24]

John R. Winder, Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund

CONCLUSION

Ironically, the diaries of Abraham H. Cannon were recently published (all except the last year, which is lost), and what they reveal about the church is that it has not been “clear and open” and that they in fact had much to hide. How strange that one “prophet” would claim that “the history of the church is clear and open and leads to faith and strength and virtues” and another that it “might bring trouble upon the church”, and that the “apostles” of said church would feel “anxiety” over “pretty full account[s] of everything that transpired in the councils of the brethren” and that it would be “unsafe and risky” for them to “write down that which occurred in these meetings”, or have them made known to the public.

There is much about Mormon history that is left out of the “official” accounts.  One would hope that Mormons, (As Joseph Fielding Smith taught) “shall not merely believe the truth because it is stated by one in whom they have confidence”; hopefully they will investigate and really know the truth, because  “it is only the truth that can make men free.”

ABRAHAM H. CANNON DIARY EXCERPTS

April 6th, 1884–Last day of Gen. Conf. “At a Priesthood meeting held in the evening (after the Hall was cleared of all those who were not worthy of being present by arranging the brethren according to wards and stakes) the strongest language in regard to Plural Marriage was used that I ever heard, and among other things it was stated that all men in positions who would not observe and fulfill that law should be removed from their places. The Spirit of the Lord rested powerfully upon the First Presidency each of whom addressed the meeting. All present felt the force of the remarks made.”

June 9, 1884–He called on Sis. Eliza R. Snow Smith Young: “. . . and in the course of our conversation she said she heard the Prophet Joseph once remark, `when the ten tribes were taken away, the earth was divided, so that they occupy a separate planet from this.’ This was news to me.”

May 10, 1885: Went out to “the Penn” to visit “our imprisoned brethren.” “They are all feeling quite well and as happy as possible under the circumstances. They have a few priveleges not granted to other prisoners, such as having their own beds, receiving milk, etc.”

May 18, 1885: At a mtg. in President’s office about the present crusade. “It seems that some so-called Saints in various parts of the country are beginning to weaken and talk of compromise [concerning polygamy]. Some of the leading men in Idaho are even in this frame of mind. Such talk is an evidence to me of utter lack of faith in God and His promises.”

June 30, 1885: Attended court part of the day where Bro. F. A. Brown’s case was called. The forenoon was occupied in getting a jury, and in the afternoon at his own request he was sworn as a witness. He was then permitted to read a paper in which he gave a short review of his past life, admitting his marriage with two women and saying that he would rather have his head severed from his body than to deny his religion and his God. After his testimony the case went to the jury who brought in a verdict of guilty with a recommendation for mercy. . . . As I was returning home I went to the Co-op store where a large crowd had gathered. By suggestion of some of our leaders the flags over which the “Mormons” had control were mostly placed at half mast in mourning for the sad persecution now going on in our midst. The flags at the city hall and court house had already been raised to the masthead at the command of a few anti-Mormons, and now, at 5 p.m. they had assembled at ZCMI with threats of using force in hoisting the flag. The police were there in numbers, however, and no attempt at violence was made. Finally Wm. Jennings and Thos. G. Webber came and had the stars and stripes raised, to the utter disgust of the many staunch Saints. Threats were then made to raise the flags on the Gardo House, Presidents Office, Tithing and Des. News offices, the Temple and Tabernacle, but they continued to wave in their half-mast positions until dark. In the evening a number of friends assembled at my home and we had an exhibition of fireworks until quite a late hour. At the celebration in Ogden today Apostle Moses Thatcher threw a bomb- shell into the camp of the Liberals by reciting some of Utah’s sufferings because of religious bigotry. His statements were too true to rest easy on the minds of the anti-Mormons and he was reprimanded by Judge Powers, the orator of the day. Gentiles are really beginning to think that the Saints are in rebellion.

Nov. 10, 1885: “A notice was published in tonight’s News signed by all of the Apostles except Geo. Teasdale who is absent, stating that [Apostle] Albert Carrington had been cut off from the Church for lewd and lascivious cohabitation and adultery. These acts are said to have been mostly of recent occurrence. This action caused everyone to be surprised.”

March, 1888: In the afternoon Apostle F. D. Richards spoke on the duties of the Saints, and I also spoke for about 25 minutes in a confused way. I fear that I counted too much on my own wisdom in arising to speak, and I felt very much chagrined when I resumed my seat. I hope the lesson will not be lost on me. As we drove home Father [George Q. Cannon] told me that all his success in life was due to his zeal for the work of God. Men gave him credit for much more ability than he possessed, but whatever talents he did possess he had tried to use to the glory of God. In his speaking he had never desired to be sensational but to be sound in doctrine. He asked me what I understood concerning Mary conceiving the Savior; and as I found no answer, he asked what was to prevent Father Adam from visiting and overshadowing the mother of Jesus. “Then,” said I, “He must have been a resurrected Being.” “Yes,” said he, “and though Christ is said to have been the first fruits of them that slept, yet the Savior said he did nothing but what He had seen His Father do, for He had power to lay down His life and take it up again. Adam, though made of dust, was made, as Pres. Young said, of the dust of another planet than this.” I was very much instructed by the conversation and this day’s services.

April 7, 1889: . . .Apostles Moses Thatcher and Heber J. Grant in the presence of Bros. Gates and Morgan ordained two High Priests who were going on missions to be Seventies. This is an innovation, for while I believe that a Seventy holds the higher office, there are some, even among the Twelve, who think a High Priest is higher. This settles the matter as far as these two missionaries are concerned.

June 23, 1889–Geo. Q. Cannon is teaching the gospel to A.H. He taught: (1) “That all men, even the sons of perdition, will be resurrected.” (2) “That Jesus Christ is Jehovah”. (3) “That Adam is His Father and our God”. (4) That under certain unknown conditions the benefits of the Savior’s atonement extend to our solar system.”

October 7, 1889: October: . . .At 3 p.m. I attended a meeting of the Twelve at the Gardo House where Bros. Merrill, Lund and myself were set apart as Apostles in the order named. Pres. Woodruff set apart the first, Father [George Q. Cannon] the second, and Bro. Joseph F. [Smith] myself. Our charge was first given us by Father at Pres. W’s instance. The importance of our callings was portrayed, and our privileges were named. Among these were the privileges of having the ministration of angels, and of seeing the Savior Himself; of hearing the voice of God as audibly as we hear a man’s voice; of continually being under the direction of the Holy Ghost; of being prophets and revelators; and of many other things of which I have a verbatim copy, as also of my blessing and ordination, in which I was promised everything my heart desired in righteousness if faithful.

Oct. 7, 1889: About 1 p.m. all were excused from the room except the pres[idents] of stakes, their counselors and the leading authorities, when political matters were discussed. Our danger of losing the election in this city was mentioned and it was proposed that those stakes who could spare young men to come to this city and acquire residence so as to be able to vote, do so, and that we here provide employment and pay for such. Our enemies intend to run in miners, railroad graders, and every available man to win the election, and it will require all our efforts to foil their plans.

Oct. 21, 1889: About 5 p.m. Bro. Jorgason of Sevier Co[unty] desired my counsel as to what course he should take. He was arrested two weeks since on a bench warrant on a charge of polygamy. His first wife died 18 months ago and he has since married his plural wife before a justice of the peace. I advised him to keep his wife out of the way until after his trial, and when his case came up, he should prove the death of his first wife and subsequent marriage to his second. The date of his union with the latter, however, in the house of the Lord, he should not reveal, as it has occurred within three years.

Nov. 27, 1889 (at Fillmore)–Two young unmarried people have committed fornication. “Bro. Kelly (1st Counselor in stake pres.) was told that on asking forgiveness they should be permitted to receive re-baptism and not be cut off; but where persons thus sin who have received their endowments, they must be excommunicated.”

Dec. 6, 1889: . . . In speaking of the recent examination before Judge Anderson, Father said that he understood when he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in that massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs. The Prophet charged Stephen Markham to avenge his blood should he be slain; after the Prophet’s death, Bro. Markham attempted to tell this to an assembly of the Saints, but Willard Richards pulled him down from the stand, as he feared the effect on the enraged people. Bro. Joseph F. Smith was traveling some years ago near Carthage, when he met a man who said he had just arrived five minutes too late to see the Smiths killed. Instantly a dark cloud seemed to overshadow Bro. Smith and he asked how this man looked upon the deed. Bro. S. was oppressed by a most horrible feeling as he waited for a reply. After a brief pause the man answered, “Just as I have always looked upon it–that it was a d. . .d cold- blooded murder.” The cloud immediately lifted from Bro. Smith and he found that he had his open pocket knife grasped in his hand in his pocket, and he believes that had this man given his approval to that murder of the prophets, he would have immediately struck him to the heart.

Dec. 8, 1889: Father briefly mentioned two cases with which he was familiar where men were killed in a violent way for the reason, as he believed, that they took the name of God in vain and were very profane.

Dec. 19, 1889: During our meeting a revelation was read which Pres. Woodruff received Sunday evening, Nov. 24th. Propositions had been made for the Church to make some concessions to the Courts in regard to its principles. Both of Pres. Woodruff’s counselors refused to advise him as to the course he should pursue, and he therefore laid the matter before the Lord. The answer came quick and strong. The word of the Lord was for us not to yield one particle of that which He had revealed and established. He had done and would continue to care for His work and those of the Saints who were faithful, and we need have no fear of our enemies when we were in the line of our duty. We are promised redemption and deliverance if we will trust in God and not in the arm of flesh. We were admonished to read and study the Word of God, and to pray often. The whole revelation was filled with words of the greatest encouragement and comfort, and my heart was filled with joy and peace during the entire reading. It sets all doubts at rest concerning the course to pursue.

Feb. 28, 1890: After a bitter cold night we had a very cold day. From 7 till 10:30 a.m. I was busy at the office reading proofs preparing copy, etc. At the latter hour I went by invitation to the Gardo House. There, where we usually hold our prayer circle, the following brethren met: Presidents Woodruff, Cannon and Smith, Bros. John R. Winder, B. Y. Hampton, F. Armstrong, J. W. Fox, Jr., N. V. Jones, Geo. Reynolds, Arthur Winter and myself. Before the business of the meeting commenced we were all placed under obligation to keep the matter entirely secret. Pres. Woodruff then stated that his mind had been considerably exercised of late in regard to the prospect of our people being taxed under “Liberal” rule to such an extent as to ruin them. After thought and prayer on the subject he felt impressed that we should carefully begin to sell our surplus property at the exorbitant figures now being paid by outsiders for real estate, and reinvest our money on good security, thus shifting the burden of taxation from our shoulders to those of our enemies. All the brethren expressed their approval in general of the plan, and Father expressed the idea that he believed the Lord was, for some good purpose, turning the tide of Gentile wealth in our direction, and he felt that we should take advantage of the event. The necessity of perfect secrecy and the utmost care in this movement was apparent to all for should it once be known among the Saints that it would not meet with disapproval to sell their property to speculators a great panic would immediately ensue. Bros. Winder, Armstrong, Hampton, Fox and Jones and I were appointed a committee to take this matter in hand and work it up.

Apr. 23, 1890: I listened this forenoon to a narration by Bp. Timothy Winters of Rexburg [Idaho] of the course of [Stake] Pres. Thos. E. Ricks of the Bannock Stake. Bro. Winters has received notice to prepare for a mission to New Zealand in August next, and he believes that Pres. R. has been instrumental in having him called through spite because their views have not been alike. I learned through Bp. Winters, whom I am at liberty to quote as authority, that Pres. R. is very arbitrary in his way thus creating a feeling against him among the people. He also drinks and has been seen more than once in a drunken condition. About five weeks ago as he was returning from Salt Lake he joined some of the Home Missionaries who had been laboring in Eagle Rock and Pocatello and rode with them to Market Lake. At the latter place as they were waiting for a team to convey them to Rexburg, he invited these brethren and some strangers who were present to step up to the bar and drink with him and then play cards. The brethren refused to drink, but indulged in card-playing. He, however, drank until he was intoxicated and also played cards. These matters are talked about in the stake and are sure to injure his standing. … The city council, in last evening’s session, granted a franchise on the State Road to the Rapid Transit Street R[ail] R[oad] Company of which I own some stock. They also gave the Liberal band permission to hold sacred concerts on Sunday evenings in the [Salt Lake] Theatre or Opera House. This they did notwithstanding the protest of the various ministers in this city, and the feelings of the great majority who oppose it. The sacred stillness of our Sabbath is thus to be broken by creatures who have no respect for the Lord or His laws.

July 24, 1890: Andrew J. Burt called to report some of his negotiations with three “Liberal” leaders—McCallum, Morris and an unknown—for the prevention of illegal voting, which, if successful, means the election of the People’s Ticket. The price they want is between twenty and thirty thousand dollars. Father called a council of the Apostles, and we all felt that Bro. Burt should continue his negotiations, but on the plan of giving only $1,00000 down and the remainder payable on the election of our ticket throughout this County. We all felt that this means would be well spent if it brought triumph to our side. Thus the proposition is made to pay men to be honest or to prevent fraud.

July 28, 1890: The country through which we today passed is rapidly building up, and a few years, I think, will see it thickly populated. I asked Pres. Parkinson to give me a chance to purchase a building lot in Preston near the academy when the land is plotted. This will be a good place for “undergrounders.”

Sept. 26, 1890: There is considerable comment and fault-finding among some of the Saints because of a manifesto which Pres. Woodruff issued on the 24th inst., in reply to a statement made by the Utah Commission that plural marriages were still authorized and celebrated, and that within the past year some 40 or more had been performed. Pres. W. denied this allegation, and said that such marriages were forbidden by the Church in this Territory, and he called upon the Saints to submit to the law of the land in this particular. In his declaration, however, there is no renunciation of principle nor abandonment of families recommended, as some fault-finders try to make it appear.

Oct. 17, 1890: Uncle David [Cannon] came in about noon and told me that he had just had a conversation with Lindsey Sprague, a deputy marshal, who told him that there were papers out for my arrest, but it was not the intention to serve them until my family were located and where they could be captured. I got Chas. H. Wilcken to investigate the matter for me and he learned that it was indeed a fact that a warrant was issued and in Doyle’s hands for my arrest. I therefore kept in my room all the afternoon.

Oct. 18, 1890: I … spent some time at my room until Bro. Wilcken came and informed me that he had bought Doyle off and had got his promise that I should not be molested, nor should any other person without sufficient notice being given for them to escape, and to get witnesses out of the way. He gave Bro. Wilcken the names of some 51 persons whose arrest he intended to try and effect on a trip he and another deputy intend to undertake today, through Utah and Emery counties. A messenger was therefore despatched to give these people warning. Thus with a little money a channel of communication is kept open between the government offices and the suffering and persecuted Church members.

Nov. 2, 1890: In relation to S[amuel] F. Ball who desires to go to Mexico and get a fourth wife, Father said it could not be done, as such things had ceased to occur even there. One young man who recently had this privilege, came back and allowed the knowledge of it to go out, and thus put the Church in danger. Father feels, as I do, that it is best to entirely cease the performance of such marriages for the present and thus make the brethren more appreciative of present blessings. …

Nov. 18, 1890: A saloon has been opened in Deseret by one of the brethren—Hawley. He has built a nice brick structure, and had a dance there last night and another tonight for opening. Nearly all the Saints attended[,] a notice of the parties having been given in Sunday meeting, and the proprietor of the saloon having been called to dismiss the meeting.

Dec. 18, 1890: . . .Father holds that we who live on the earth now and are faithful, will stand at the head of our lineage and will thus become Saviors as has been promised us. Pres. John Taylor was not sealed to his parents though they died in the Church, as he felt that it was rather lowering himself to be thus sealed when he was an apostle and his father was a high priest; but this is rather a questionable proceeding. Before separating we administered to Pres. Woodruff for his severe cold. Father was mouth.

Jan. 26, 1891: Quite a large number of plural wives are now living in Franklin [Idaho], as it is considered safe for them to do so[,] there being no law of the state yet enacted against the practice of the Saints. Besides it is doubtful if a man could be punished if he has his wife in different States or Territories

January 30, 1891: After some little discussion it was decided that it will be best for Z.C.M.I. and other corporations to cease paying tithing on their earnings but leave the stockholders to pay from their dividends. The custom, however, of deducting the tithing from the wages of employees was not discontinued. It was thought proper in some instances to induce eastern Gentiles of respectability to take stock with us in some of our large corporations. They would thus feel interested in protecting us in case of attack on our institutions. It was reported that there are many thieves working in Z.C.M.I. whose thefts have been discovered. Whether to make public examples of them or merely discharge them, was referred to the Board of Directors.

Apr. 9, 1891:  Went to the Gardo House at 2 o’clock and spent about 2 hrs. there. We did not hold our prayer circle, as there was so much business demanding immediate attention. The polygamist [Hans] Jespersen, who is now in prison, and was married in the Endowment House just before it was demolished, threatens to tell who performed the ceremony unless something is done for him immediately. The person [Franklin D. Richards] is liable, if discovered, to two years’ imprisonment and a $1,00000 fine, for officiating in a plural marriage. It was decided that F[rancis] M. Lyman and James Jack visit him and others of the 18 brethren now imprisoned, tomorrow, and assure them that no pains shall be spared to effect their release. They will be advised to sign a dispatch to the U.S. Att[orne]y. Gen[era]’l in Washington [D.C.], promising hereafter to obey the law. Jespersen is to be counseled to telegraph to Utah Pros[ecuting] Att[orne]y [Charles S.] Varian, who is now in Washington, making a similar promise. Thus the effort will be made to immediately relieve these brethren, who are now confined in their cells for 22 out of 24 hrs., and are not by themselves, but mixed up with the “toughs.” Warden [Oscar] Vandercook will be asked to authenticate the prisoners’ messages.

June 29, 1891: We had considerable talk over the conditions existing here, and felt that everything is moving along satisfactorily. The change in sentiment towards our people is exhibited in the fact that ex-Marshal F[rank] H. Dyer called Heber J. Grant out of a [Salt Lake] Herald Directors’ meeting a few days ago, and told him that one of his plural wives had been located in this city by the deputies, and said, “For G–d’s sake, get her away, Grant, for we can’t afford to have the Vice-President of this company arrested for violating the law.” Heber did get her away.

Feb. 9, 1892: In the afternoon spent a short time at the [Church] President’s office where the advisability of dividing the Summit Stake in two, and making a new Stake in Wyoming was considered. The object of doing so was to prevent [Stake] Pres. W[illiam] W. Cluff, who is an ardent Democrat, from using his influence with the people of his Stake in Wyoming to make them Democrats, instead of leaving them as they now are, Republicans. The division would make the Stake in Wyoming number but 646 souls, and would also make the Summit Stake, which is now very small, still smaller. It was decided to call Pres. Cluff to an interview, and if he will promise to use his influence to keep the Saints as far as possible in the Republican party, to not divide the Stake. Geo. F. Gibbs and Robt. Campbell were selected to go quietly to Logan and work to make the Republican ticket successful in the approaching city election, which takes place on the 1st of March. The registration lists now show that the Republicans outnumber the Democrats, but there is quite a number of neutral voters whom it is desired to convert to Republicanism so as to make the party abundantly strong.

Mar. 16, 1892: In the afternoon I was at the President’s office to hear the complaints of the Territorial Central Committee of the Democratic Party concerning the alleged Church influence which was used to make the recent election in Logan a Republican instead of a Democratic victory. There were present Presidents [Wilford] Woodruff and [Joseph F.] Smith, F[ranklin] D. Richards, Moses Thatcher, John H. Smith, myself, Geo. F. Gibbs, Sam. Merritt, Jos. L. Rawlins, W[aldemar] Van Cott, F[rank] H. Dyer, F[ranklin] S. Richards, LeGrand Young, R[ichard] W. Young, J[ames] H[enry] Moyle, Robt. Sloan, G[eorge] W. Thatcher, and Jos. Kimball. Mr. Merritt opened the interview by saying there was evidence on hand in the form of affidavits to show that Geo. F. Gibbs and other members of the Church had stated that the Presidency had sent them privately to Logan to influence voters to cast their ballots for the Republican ticket. He (Merritt) did not believe this had been done by the authorities, but he felt that it was due to the Democrats as well as to themselves [and] that the Presidency of the Church should make public announcement that they did not empower Mr. Gibbs or any other person to use their names to influence voters. A mass of affidavits were then read to prove that ecclesiastical influence had been used for this purpose, and then remarks were made by all of the Democratic committee present, and some of these remarks were not mild. All denounced the using of Church influence in political matters, and the dangers of so doing were portrayed in bright colors. When these men had finished Pres. Woodruff thanked them for coming to him with the matter, and said he had used no influence whatever, and no person had his authority for using his name in this connection. G. F. Gibbs disclaimed any right to use the names of the Presidency, and said he had not done so in the way the affidavits claimed. Pres. Smith also denied having authorized the use of his name. I then spoke a few words in defense of Father, and told them that he was for a division in all sincerity, and he did not play with such matters. It was about 5 o’clock when the interview ended, we having been together about three and a half hours

March 29th, 1892. . . I asked Jos. F. Smith why it was that Ham’s son Canaan was cursed instead of Ham for exposing his Father’s person. He said that the Prophet Joseph is credited with saying that the sin of Ham consisted in trying to casterate his father, Noah, and kill his brothers, Shem and Japeth, so that he might become the head of the nations of the earth. Ham had married a daughter of Cain, and by him the curse was carried through the flood. The seed of this union is the Egyptians, who are not black, but after Ham’s curse, his seed were entirely black. Hence the difference between the races who now inhabit Africa.

We continued our meeting. Pres. Snow said he felt that when any question came up among us on which the majority were clear, should there be one who did not see as the others, that one should be willing to yield his views to those of the majority, and leave the responsibility of the course pursued with them. –John W. Taylor spoke in relation to the Manifesto: “I do not know that that thing was right, though I voted to sustain it, and will assist to maintain it; but among my father’s papers I found a revelation given him of the Lord, and which is now in my possession, in which the Lord told him that the principle of plural marriage would never be overcome. Pres. Taylor desired to have it suspended, but the Lord would not permit it to be done. At the close of John W.’s remarks our meeting adjourned till tomorrow at 10 o’clock. I closed with prayer.

May 26, 1892: At two o’clock I was at my Quorum meeting where were present all the Presidency and myself, as also Bro. [Francis M.] Lyman; Geo. Gibbs, clerk. Bro. Jos. F. Smith was mouth in prayer. Thereafter some conversation followed as to whether Adam is our God or not. There are some in the Church who do not accept of the statement of Pres. [Brigham] Young that such is the case, but to me it seems reasonable to think that Adam has at least much to do with our present condition, and will control greatly our future destiny.

Dec. 17, 1892: At my Quorum meeting on Thursday the brethren were told that our success in the Church suits was in a great measure due to the fact that we have a partner of Justice [Stephen J.] Field of the Supreme Court of the United States in our employ, who is to receive a percentage of the money if the suits go in our favor, and the property is returned to us. It was decided at this meeting that we would dispense with the services of the Church attorneys at the end of the year. Those now employed are F[ranklin] S. Richards and Le Grand Young. The former receives $5,000 per year, and the latter $3,000. The latter has felt some reluctance at accepting his pay for the work now being done, but the former has felt it was his due.

July 19, 1893: Three more Denver banks went to the wall today because of the runs made on them. By request of the Salt Lake bankers we [Deseret News] suppressed the exciting news from Denver, so that the people here might not become needlessly alarmed at the situation. Our bank statements published today show a very healthy condition.

October 10, 1893: “He [George Q.Cannon] believes the time will come when marriages will occur in our temples under the Aaronic Priesthood, instead of giving to young and inexperienced men all the blessings belonging to the Higher Priesthood. It is frequently the case now that unworthy persons go into the temples on recommends, which they should not receive, but it cannot well be prohibited them to enter, because of their family connections. He hoped this change would occur soon. The brethren should pay their tithes and offerings promptly and fully, and thus aid the Church in its difficultly. Men should not sell their honor, their wife’s virtue or their inheritances. We should hold all of these sacred. Pres. Woodruff and Jos. F. Smith approved of all that had been said, and the latter spoke at some length on the false doctrines which are now being circulated.

Nov. 9 1893: . . . Pres. Woodruff told of himself and David Patten being in Tennessee on a mission. While there Bro. Patten had a journey of 40 miles to make one day, but when he went out to get the mule he had procured for this labor, he was on the ground nearly dead with the colic. Bro. Patten said: “See here, old fellow, this won’t do! You have got to carry me 40 miles today, and with these words he stepped up to the animal, laid his hands on the animal, and blessed him. The mule immediately arose, and made the journey. Pres. Woodruff said that was the only time in his life when his faith had been tried, but he thought it strange for an Elder to administer to a mule, and thus do what seemed sacrilege in his mind at that time. –Bro. Joseph F. Smith told of his mother having one of her oxen become sick when she was coming to the valley with her family. The captain of the company said the animal would die, but she got out a bottle of consecrated oil, and got two of the brethren to administer to the ox, and it recovered. Father also had one of his cattle healed by the laying on of hands by himself. The animal accidentally got its leg badly hurt, and it looked as though it could no more travel, but Father slipped out after dark and administered to it, and it recovered and made the journey home. — Bro. J. F. Smith told about David Patten having seen and walked with Cain. Cain is described as being a very large man, his head being even with that of David Patten when the latter was seated on his animal. I always entertained the idea that Cain was dead, but my attention was called to the passage of scripture concerning the curse of God which should fall upon whoever should slay Cain. I supposed this meant whoever should kill his seed.

March 25, 1894 . . .Bro. Roskelly of the Logan temple is having a considerable number of persons who are dead sealed and adopted to him. This is right where people request it, but he should not try to induce them to take this course through their surviving relatives, or in their own cases, if alive. Pres. Woodruff will write him to not try to get people to be thus sealed to him, but where they ask it of their own free will it will be proper.

March 28, 1894: . . . I [Pres. Woodruff] was sealed to my father, and then had him sealed to the Prophet Joseph. Erastus Snow was sealed to his father though the latter was not baptized after having heard the Gospel. He was, however, kind to the Prophet, and was a Saint in everything except baptism. The Lord has told me that it is right for children to be sealed to their parents, and they to their parents just as far back as we can possibly obtain the records; and then have the last obtainable member sealed to the Prophet Joseph, who stands at the head of this dispensation. It is also right for wives whose husbands never heard the Gospel to be sealed to those husbands, providing they are will to run the risk of their receiving the Gospel in the Spirit world. There is yet very much for us to learn concerning the temple ordinances, and God will make it known as we prove ourselves ready to receive it. In searching out my genealogy I found about four hundred of my female kindred who were never married. I asked Pres. Young what I should do with them. He said for me to have them sealed to me unless there were more than 999 of them. The doctrine startled me, but I had it done.

March 1894: . . . Speaking of Salina, and the great number of non-Mormons living there, he (Bp. Jensen) said that Pres. Brigham Young once said that it would require a very good Saint to live in Saline, and not lose the faith, as the spot on which the city is built has been the scene of many in ancient battle in times when the Nephites and Lamanites were at war with each other. The pass through the mountains is the lowest here of any place in the Wasatch range. The spirits of the ancient dead still hover around this place. Bro. Jensen says it seems as though all the apostates gravitate to this place. He also says that out of all the young men who have been born and reared in this place he only knows two who have any faith. Were it not for the good teachers he has in the ward, the powers of evil would undoubtedly gain the ascendancy.

Oct. 24, 1894: . . . The Presidents Woodruff and Smith both say they were willing for such a ceremony (sealing David to a wife) to occur, if done in Mexico, and Pres. Woodruff promised the Lord’s blessing to follow such an act. Father said Uncle Angus could sound Annie on the matter, and I was willing to leave it in that way.

Nov. 16, 1894: “When Pres. Woodruff first met him [Joseph Smith] and his brother Hyrum they were coming in from target shooting with pistols, which they held in their hands. Bro. Joseph remarked that he was intending to go up to Missouri, and thought he would have to do some shooting, and wanted first to see if he could hit anything.

Oct. 1, 1895: . . . Bro. Lyman related of the joining to the church of several old-time Mormons, and said he could not help feeling sorry for these men who have lost so much time and so many blessings by their apostasy. –Some desultory talk was now had in which the following truths were told: Joseph Smith tried the faith of the Saints many times by his peculiarities. At one time he had preached a powerful sermon on the Word of Wisdom, and immediately thereafter he rode through the streets of Nauvoo smoking a cigar. Some of the brethren were tried as was Abraham of old. The Prophet said that the scripture concerning the putting of new wine into old bottles referred to the teaching of the Gospel to old traditionated people, many of whom were unable to stand the new truths. Even baptism for the dead was once unacceptable to the Saints.

Nov. 14, 1895: SLC “Father [George Q. Cannon] felt that some investigation should be had of the conduct of [Moses] Thatcher & [B. H.] Roberts before they receive any ecclesiastical appointments in the Church. Pres. Snow said he could not fellowship them until they made things right, nor could any of the Quorum do so. It was decided to leave any investigation of their affairs until after Statehood, as trouble might otherwise ensue because of the exercise of church discipline.”

NOTES

[1] Gordon B. Hinckley Dec. 25, 2005 interview with The Associated Press, see also http://www.deseretnews.com/article/635171604/Pres-Hinckley-answers-myriad-questions-about-the-LDS-Church.html?pg=2

[2] ibid.

[3] ibid.

[4] ibid.

[5] ibid.

[6] Reed Smoot Transcript, page 80.

[7] Matthew 5:34-37 The most infamous example of the Mormon “death oaths” was the “oath of vengeance”. The oath of vengeance was an addition made to the Nauvoo Endowment under the direction of Brigham Young by 1845 in the Nauvoo Temple, after the death of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum.  Participants agreed to be bound by the following oath, or something substantially similar:

“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray to Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.”

David John Buerger writes, “On 14 December 1904, the Washington Times and the New York Herald featured front-page photographs of a man in purported endowment clothing, depicting signs and penalties. Testimony during this hearing as well as other previously published unfriendly discussions of this oath indicate that, commencing by 1845 in the Nauvoo Temple ceremony as administered by Brigham Young, the oath of vengeance was routinely given to all initiates.” (The Development of the Mormon Temple Endowment CeremonyDialogue, Vol. 20, No. 4, p.53, Winter 1987).

Abraham Cannon in his diary, gives this chilling account of how Joseph F. Smith almost literally fulfilled this oath:

“In speaking of the recent examination before Judge Anderson, Father said that he understood when he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in that massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs. The Prophet charged Stephen Markham to avenge his blood should he be slain; after the Prophet’s death, Bro. Markham attempted to tell this to an assembly of the Saints, but Willard Richards pulled him down from the stand, as he feared the effect on the enraged people. Bro. Joseph F. Smith was traveling some years ago near Carthage, when he met a man who said he had just arrived five minutes too late to see the Smiths killed. Instantly a dark cloud seemed to overshadow Bro. Smith and he asked how this man looked upon the deed. Bro. S. was oppressed by a most horrible feeling as he waited for a reply. After a brief pause the man answered, “Just as I have always looked upon it–that it was a d. . .d cold- blooded murder.” The cloud immediately lifted from Bro. Smith and he found that he had his open pocket knife grasped in his hand in his pocket, and he believes that had this man given his approval to that murder of the prophets, he would have immediately struck him to the heart.” (Diary of Abraham H. Cannon, Friday, Dec. 6th, 1889).

[8] For some examples of the Temple Endowment Oaths, see http://www.i4m.com/think/temples/temple_oaths.htm

[9] Reed Smoot Transcript, page 149.

[10] ibid, page 202.

[11] ibid, page 129.

[12] D. Michael Quinn, Dialogue, Vol.18, No.1, p.62-63, Spring 1985

[13] Reed Smoot Transcript, page 111.

[14] Diary of Abraham H. Cannon, June 21, 1893.

[15] ibid, page 130.

[16] Frank J. Cannon and Harvey J. O’Higgins, Under the Prophet in Utah: The National Menace Of A Political Priestcraft,  p.176-179. This was not the only instance of the Smiths going to Lannan.  In his diary entry for Friday, September 23, 1898, John Henry Smith writes,

“The Republican Salt Lake Co. Convention convened at the Salt Lake Theatre, about 400 delegates present. Things went along harmoniously. In company with Prest. J. F. Smith, I called upon P[atrick]. H. Lannan [owner of the Salt Lake Tribune] and talked over the course being taken by the Tribune in its asaults on B. H. Roberts. Mr. Lannan made lots of talk and said nothing, really. Prest. J. F. Smith presented him a paper setting forth that no marrying was going of the plural kind. He said that will not do.”  Jean Bickmore White, Church, State, and Politics, The Diaries of John Henry Smith, Signature Books,  p.409.

Frank Cannon’s recollection along with John Henry Smith’s diary entry, show how Joseph F. Smith further perjured himself at the Smoot Hearings:

Mr. TAYLER. What inquiry did you make to find out whether Abraham H. Cannon, one of the twelve apostles of the church, had made  a plural marriage?

Mr. SMITH. I made no inquiry at all.

Mr. TAYLER. Did you set on foot any inquiry ?

Mr. SMITH. No, sir; not myself.

Mr. TAYLER. Did you have any interest in finding out whether there had been?

Mr. SMITH. Not the least.

Mr. TAYLER. Not the least?

Mr. SMITH. Not the least.

Mr. TAYLER. So that the public charge that an apostle of the church had married a plural wife as late as 1896 did not concern you at all?

Mr. SMITH. The public charge, or what you call a public charge, is simply the charge made by the bitterest anti-Mormon publication in Salt Lake City, and its charges are of such a vicious character that I  pay no attention to them. If I were to undertake to answer one- hundredth part of the vicious and vile charges that are made in the anti-Mormon papers against me and my people I would have nothing else to do in the world.

Mr. TAYLER. Yes; but was not the charge respecting Abraham H.  Cannon taking a plural wife made with much circumstance and detail?

Mr. SMITH. Not that I know of, any more than it was newspaper  talk.

Mr. TAYLER. Then you mean to say that as a general proposition, notwithstanding your sensitiveness on the subject of plural marriages having been authorized or performed under the sanction of the church,

you do not investigate any charges that are made of that character ?

Mr. SMITH. It is not my business to investigate them. I have given to this honorable committee

The CHAIRMAN. The question is. Do you make any investigation?

Mr. SMITH. I have made the assertion and explanation here to this [478] honorable committee that our courts of original jurisdiction in the church are the bishops’ courts, and it is the duty of the bishops to inquire into the moral character and the moral standing and the good fellowship of members of the church who reside in the wards of the bishops.

Senator HOAR. Including officials ?

Mr. SMITH. Yes. sir.

Senator HOAR. Including all officials ?

Mr. SMITH. They have jurisdiction over all members of the church, and all officials are members of the church.

Mr. TAYLER. Did you not feel any duty laid upon you to investigate this, in the interest of the church, apart from any personal lapse?

Mr. SMITH. No; not in the way that these reports and rumors came to me. They were the reports and rumors of malicious persons.

Mr. TAYLER. Malicious persons?

Mr. SMITH. Yes, sir.

Mr. TAYLER. Sometimes malicious persons tell the truth.

Mr. SMITH. That may be.

Mr. TAYLER. Or is it your assumption that they never do ?

Mr. SMITH. We become habituated to hearing reports of malicious persons until we pay no attention to them, even if they do tell the truth.

Mr. TAYLER. Suppose it were charged that Francis M. Lyman, president of the twelve apostles, who does not, I believe, live in your ward, had performed a plural-marriage ceremony at Provo; would that induce

you to make any inquiry ?

Mr. SMITH. Mr. Chairman, I submit that it is not a supposable case.

The CHAIRMAN. Would you make the inquiry ? That is the question.

Mr. SMITH. It is not a supposable case, and if it were the case I could not tell you

The CHAIRMAN. That is the only answer you desire to make ?

Mr. SMITH. It is the only answer I can give. It is not a supposable case. I suppose I am not required to answer suppositions.

The CHAIRMAN. May I ask just a question ? In any instance where you have learned that these high officials, or anyone else, have been guilty of a plural marriage, or of performing a ceremony of that kind,

since 1890, have you made inquiry into it?

Mr. SMITH. It has not, Mr. Chairman, been my business to do it.

The CHAIRMAN. Answer my question. Have you inquired?

Mr. SMITH. No, sir; because it has not been my business.

The CHAIRMAN. I understand.

Mr. SMITH. I wish to say further

The CHAIRMAN. That covers it.

Mr. SMITH. I wish to say, in connection with that, Mr. Chairman, that the circumstances that are referred to by this gentleman occurred[ 479] before I was president of the church, and before it was my duty to inquire into anything of the kind, if it was possible to be construed that the president of the church should interfere with the duties of the lesser authorities of the church.

The CHAIRMAN. I understand you to say, Mr. Smith, now, as president, it is not your duty to make inquiry ?

Mr. SMITH. It is not, because it belongs to the lesser authorities. (Reed Smoot Transcript, pages 477-479).

Not only is Smith lying here about this specific instance, he is lying about Church interest in the Tribune.  The following diary entries show that the Tribune was of ongoing concern to the Church Hierarchy, and was read and discussed often in Smith’s presence:

“Prest. W. Woodruff, Jos. F. Smith, Lorenzo Snow, Moses Thatcher, F. D. Richards, A. H. Cannon and I met in Council. The Tribune questions were answered by F. S. Richards and all approved by the brethren present. I took them to Mr. Lannan. (Jean Bickmore White, Church, State, and Politics, The Diaries of John Henry Smith, p.285, Thursday, January 26, 1893).

[January 26, 1893:] [Salina] writing journals letters and answers to Tribune questions.

[January 27, 1893:] [Manassa] I wrote to Pres[ident] Jos[eph] F. Smith and sent him list of answers to Tribune questions as bro[ther] Roberts prepared them and we approved.

[January 19, 1895:] Showed to Bro[ther]s Jos[eph] F. Smith and John Henry Smith an editorial in the Millard County Blade taking bro[ther] John Henry to task for calling Herald man a liar through the Tribune.

[March 13, 1889] In council at Gardo with Pres[iden]t WW FDR Geo[rge] QC, JFS, MT, JHS, HJG, JW Taylor & considered the impropriety of Bro JW Taylor denouncing statement of Delegate JT Caine that Polygamy in Utah was politically a dead issue as a damned lie &c as reported in Nephi Ensign and copied into Tribune. (Diary of Franklin D. Richards)

“Called at the office of the First Presidency to arrange an interview with Pres[iden]t Lorenzo Snow and Senator Jos[eph] L. Rawlings, but failed on account of Pres[iden]t Snow not being in. [Later at quorum meeting] Asked God to direct us politically and preserve the saints from being lead away from a right course by wicked men. Asked God to confound those who are running the Tribune. . . . Mattias F. Cowley . . . Felt the spirit of God should lead in all matters, business, political and religious. There are men among us who would go in direct opposition to what the wishes of the Presidency were politically if they should learn their wishes, and yet these men claim to be in fellowship in the Church. I feel that such men are sure to lose the faith unless they repent and change their course of action. [A mean Tribune editorial today] Marriner W. Merrill Expressed himself freely on political matters and said that while it might not be a wise thing to publicly say it yet, in his opinion it was the right of the Presidency of the Church to express their opinions on all matters, political as well as religious and what he wanted to know is what the Presidency desire and then he wanted to do it, and was only too willing to lay aside his own feelings if they were not in harmony with the feelings of the apostles. Was sorry that there were some who profess to have faith and yet will go in direct opposition to the mind and will of the Presidency. Heber J. Grant Told of how Bro[ther] Taylor had been impressed to sign a Bond for the Bullion Beck and Champion mine for $100,000 when all of the apostles were opposed and how it has turned out to be the right thing. At 5 PM(board m[ee]t[in]g State Bank) After supper I called on Pres[iden]t Lorenzo Snow and he said he would be pleased to meet Senator Rawlings. We had a confidential chat regarding the condition of Zion’s Savings Bank and Trust Co. I hope and pray in case he should take the Presidency of that Bank that he will stop dividends and cut down the expenses. This evening attended in company with Anthony W. Ivins the Democratic ratification meeting in the Theater. . . . I heard more of OW Powers’ talk than any other speaker. (Diary of Heber J. Grant, October 4, 1898).

“[Irate at Tribune letter] I would give considerable time and energy if I had the power to show the Tribune up to the people in their true colors. Anthony Ivins [Juárez Stake President and later “apostle”] and I chatted until 11:15 Speaking of plural marriage he said there were quite a number of them being performed in Mexico, said he was on hand and willing to take another wife if his brethren felt that it was the wisest thing to do under all the circumstances. He had no desire for another wife, but at the same time had a strong desire to fail in doing any duty devolving upon him and he wanted me and my fellow apostles to know that he was on hand to perform any and every duty required of him. Had all his life accepted in his heart of plural marriage and was making an effort to get another wife when the Manifesto came along. I was glad to have him say this much.” (ibid, October 7, 1898)

They were angry at the Tribune for reporting the continuance of plural marriages, which the Church was publically denying, but that Grant just admitted in his diary!

“…Speaking of the Salt Lake Tribune, which is vilifying the our [sic] people, he [Heber J. Grant] thought [it] a disgrace for the saints to patronize it. The question of the attitude of the Deseret News toward the [p.57] Tribune was discussed. It was the feeling of the brethren that Editor Penrose was a little too pugnacious—and that the better policy would be to treat that paper with silent contempt. Pres. Snow intimated that he would have a talk with Bro. Penrose respecting the matter. Benediction by Pres. Jos. F. Smith. “ (Stan Larson, A Ministry of Meetings, The Apostolic Diaries of Rudger Clawson, p. 56-7, entry of May 4, 1899).

Treating the Salt Lake Tribune “with silent contempt” by way of the Deseret News, did not stop them from reading and discussing it:

“…12:30 noon. Meeting at the President’s office. Present: the First Presidency,  [Lorenzo Snow, George Q. Cannon, Joseph F. Smith], Apostles B. Young, [Jr.] J. H. Smith, A. H. Lund, A. O. Woodruff, R. Clawson, Reed Smoot, Bp. W. B. Preston, J. R. Winder, Attorneys LeGrande Young and F. S. Richards, C. W. Penrose, and Bp. H. B. Clawson, and G. F. Gibbs, clerk.

Pres. Snow stated that a very serious charge had been made by The Salt Lake Tribune against the Presidency of the church to the effect that they had sold out or bargained away for a money consideration the United States senatorship to Thos. Kearns. The purpose of the meeting, therefore, was to consider the wisdom and propriety of starting a suit for libel against the publishers of that paper. By request of Pres. Snow, Elder C. W. Penrose read a number of excerpts from different issues of the Tribune covering the change.” (Stan Larson, Diaries of Rudger Clawson, p.243, Tuesday, 29 January 1901).

“Salt Lake City. Cloudy; heavy rain during night. 10:15 a.m. Meeting at the temple. Present: Presidents Jos. F. Smith, Jno. R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund, and Elders Jno. H. Smith, Geo. Teasdale, Marriner W. Merrill, Rudger Clawson, Hyrum M. Smith,  Jno. Smith, pat., and the clerk.

Some informal talk was indulged in regarding Brother Reed Smoot at Washington, and the information was brought out by the reading of an excerpt from the Tribune that Dr. [Samuel E.] Wishard was in Washington to enter formal protest against the seating of Brother Smoot. Pres. Smith remarked that the activity of Satan and his hosts against us in the present case was only a further testimony to him of the divinity of Mormonism. In view of the fact that the question of seating Brother Smoot would probably be under consideration while we were in session, he suggested that special prayers be offered up in his behalf.” (Stan Larson, Diaries of Rudger Clawson, p.552, Thursday, 5 March 1903).

This was a year before Smith testified at the Smoot hearings that “we pay no attention to them, even if they do tell the truth.” The charge by the Tribune about the election Senate election involving Thomas J. Kearns was also true. As Frank J. Cannon writes,

“Apostle Heber J. Grant, a Republican by sentiment but a Democrat by pretension, was selected by President Snow to barter the Senatorship to McCune. There can be no doubt of it. Everyone immediately suspected it. Letters from Grant, published in the newspapers of January, 1899, subsequently  confirmed it. And President Snow’s actions, toward the end of the campaign, proved it.” (Under the Prophet in Utah, pages 221-222).

Heber J. Grants diary confirms his and the church’s involvement in the campaign:

[August 13, 1898] Hon. AW McCune is thinking of running for the United States Senate and he asked me today if I would help him. I told him I had no objections to doing what little I could to aid him in securing the place, although I assured him that I could not on account of the ecclesiastical position which I occupied, devote any time to laboring for his cause. [Talked of Utah loan & trust; he gave check for $5000.] I chatted today with Pres[iden]t Joseph F. Smith and Elder John Henry Smith and asked them if they had any objections whatever to my doing a little work in a quiet way in the interests of friend McCune securing the office of United States Senator. They both assured me that they had no objections whatever and did not know of any Democrat that they would sooner see go to the U.S. Senate than Mr McCune. Pres[iden]t Smith suggested that I call and chat the matter over with Pres[iden]t Woodruff and get his opinion in the premises. I went to Pres[iden]t Woodruff’s house to chat with him, but his carriage had just left for the Rio Grande Depot. He and his wife, Pres[iden]t Cannon and wife and others leave on the noon train today for California.

[October 7, 1898] FD Richards . . . In his opinion wars are necessary for the establishing of Gods work in the land (referred to American Revolution, Civil War opened South to missionary work, Franco-Prussion had Germany) . . . [Met with RR Lyman, Heber Iverson, Sec[retar]y Higgs of the Co. officers Ymmi(?) of Salt Lake.] We chatted on the League matters and it was suggested that I try and get Hon. AW McCune to pay off the League debt of $1,800 and the brethren said if he would do so they would do all in their power to try and make him a United States Senator. I hope Mr. McCune will conclude to do it .

[November 9, 1898] The Herald announces that the Democratic Party had won the elections. Pres[iden]t L. Snow’s Democratic Headquarters, Cha[rle]s W. Penrose’s & St. Car. Co’s. At the last place chatted with Hon. AW McCune and explained that tomorrow three notes of $500 each signed by Richard W. Young, Cha[rle]s W. Penrose and Benj. Hampton and endorsed by me, I told him I was not able to pay these notes and he gave me $1500 and told me to loan it to the above parties and if I ever collected it then to repay same to him and if I lost it then I need never repay it. I feel very thankful indeed for this assistance as I don’t know how I could have maintained my credit had it not been for the assistance from Bro[ther] McCune. I chatted with him on the political situation and assured him of my best efforts in trying to make him the US Senator. Called and chatted with Pres[iden]t Jos[eph] F. Smith and was much pleased to learn that he would prefer to see AW McCune the next Senator in preference to Frank J. Cannon. I chatted with Bro[ther] John R. Winder and he promised me to do all he could to aid me in getting AW McCune elected as US Senator. At the Theatre wrote Jos[eph] Howell and John R. Murdock asking them not to pledge their vote for US Senator.

[December 29, 1898] After the meeting had a chat with Apostle Francis M. Lyman on the political situation, He objected to my writing letters in favor of Mr. McCune as Senator and referring to anything said to me by Pres[iden]t Snow or Woodruff. I agreed with him & said in the future I would not do so. I regret having ever mentioned the names of the Presidency in any of my letters. Bro[ther] Lyman does not seem to think Mr McCune is worthy to go to the U.S. Senate. I can not blame him for wanting to have his son-in-law Bro[ther] W[ilia]m King made Senator.

[January 19, 1899] Chatted with Pasper Robertson of Emery Co. in Mr. McCune’s interest. Met McCune and had a talk with him in regard to his employing Edward H. Snow as his private sec[re]t[ar]y if he is made US Senator.

[17] D. Michael Quinn, Dialogue, Vol.18, No.1, p.85. Quinn’s footnote reads,

“Salt Lake Temple Living Endowment Record, 17 June 1896, GS; Salt Lake Temple Deceased Sealing Book C, p. 19, 17 June 1896, GS; Wilford Woodruff, Diary, 18 June 1896. In the Nauvoo Temple record book of sealings for the dead of January-February 1846, one ceremony united the living woman for eternity to the deceased husband and for time to the proxy husband. As an assistant recorder for the Salt Lake Endowment House in earlier years, Joseph F. Smith recopied these Nauvoo sealings in which he had special interest because many of them involved his martyred father and uncle. He also copied early Utah proxy sealings and was thus conversant with the dual nature of this single ceremony. Even in early Utah, however, not every man who acted as proxy in a sealing with a living woman became her “proxy husband,” and by 1896 it was no longer customary for a single proxy sealing to have the dual function it once had. Joseph F. Smith never had to answer a direct question about performing this polygamous marriage in the Salt Lake Temple because every time he was asked about the Cannon marriage, it was in the context of the claim that the ceremony occurred aboard ship between San Pedro and Catalina Island. According to Cannon family tradition, Joseph F. Smith also performed a polygamous ceremony for George M. Cannon and Ellen C. Steffensen. See Cannon, “After the Manifesto,” p. 35, note 33. On the contrary, Matthias F. Cowley’s marriage record shows that Cowley performed the plural marriage for Cannon and Steffensen in Salt Lake City on 17 June 1901. Cowley also stated that he was the officiator of this Cannon marriage in Minutes of the Quorum of the Twelve, 10 May 1911.”

[18] Diary of Abraham H. Cannon, July 21st, 1887.

[19] Joseph F. Smith, And The Truth Shall Make You Free, Bear Lake Stake Conference Address,  November l0th, 1895. Brain Stuy, Collected Discourses Vol. 4, p.406.

[20] Doctrine and Covenants, Section 42:10.

[21] Conference Report, April 1904, p.76

[22] Reed Smoot Transcript, page 1058.

[23] B. Carmon Hardy, Solemn Covenant: The Mormon Polygamous Passage, p. 256-8

[24] Stan Larson, A Ministry of Meetings, The Apostolic Diaries of Rudger Clawson, October 5, 1904, pages 777-778.

Lamanites & Indians & A Strange Encounter

WHITE and delightsome!” I exclaimed. “Are you sure you didn’t mean PURE and delightsome?” I asked, not quite hiding the slight hesitation in my voice.

“No,” he replied a bit gruffly, “it was definitely white.” He lowered his eyebrows and frowned, and for a moment I was afraid, but I saw his mouth twitch a bit just before he turned away and began to walk up the hill, relief washing over me. I followed him for he signaled me to do so, and in between gulps of air I managed to stammer out,

“Have you ever been back to this place, since…um, you know.”

He shook his head without breaking his stride. He was tall and muscular, and with those long legs soon outdistanced me, though I tried hard to keep up. “Nice suit…but it’s a little out of fashion!” I called to his receding silhouette, but he did not slow down.

I squinted at his retreating form as I searched my pockets for my glasses, which to my surprise were empty. This caused me to pause in my climb as I tried again to remember how I got here. All I could remember was finding myself at the bottom of this hill, face to face with … him. Glancing ahead once more, I caught his blurry form just as he disappeared over the crest of the hill, and it was many minutes before I finally reached the top and saw them all a short distance away.

He was standing there among them with his arms crossed and I marveled at how different he looked in person. He gave me a sympathetic look as I slowly approached. “Sorry” I mumbled, ”my knee is acting up today.”

“It’s all right” he said giving me a smile, “I had my own leg problem once. They told me they haven’t been waiting long,” he added, nodding at his companions. I watched him slowly take in the view of the surrounding lands below us and while he did so I sized up the three men he had led me here to meet. I stuck my hand out and they all took it, one by one. There were no introductions. I knew who they were, and they most certainly knew who I was. They were not quite what I expected, they were so … ordinary.

“Tell them what you told me,” he said, “when I first met you at the bottom of the hill.” I nodded at him and turned back to them as he gazed about at the lands below.

“It all started right after the 1978 Revelation,” I said as all three of them nodded. “Then they changed that word in the book, you know to pure. For the second time. I thought that might be the end of it, but then the DNA evidence came out. After that it was obvious what was happening.”

“Give us an example,” said the one on the left.

“Ok,” I said. “It seems that the DNA evidence shows that the indigenous peoples of the Americas have no connection at all to the ancient Hebrews. It got people everywhere asking the Church all kinds of questions about whether the Church has some kind of doctrine that states the Jaradites and Nephites were really the first inhabitants of this continent like the book says, and if the indigenous tribes of the Americas really are their descendants.”

“And how did they respond?” asked the one on the right.

“Well in 1997 Church Spokesman Stuart Reid said the Church ‘has no position on that’.”

“Are you telling me they said they don’t know?” asked the one in the middle.

“That’s what he appeared to be saying,” I replied. “Then Mr. Reid added that we also ‘don’t have any official doctrine about who the descendants of the Nephites and the Jaredites are.’”

I heard a sigh (at least I thought it was) from behind me, and I saw my tall acquaintance digging his foot in the dirt as he stood there clenching his fists and looking intently to the west. I wondered if he knew that the log cabin was still there. He cleared his throat. “Has anyone asked the prophet about this?” he finally asked.

“Well we would, but it’s not like you can just go up to him and ask him questions,” I replied. “I mean, with the bodyguards and all” I added, glancing up to meet his pale blue eyes. My tall guide grimaced and shook his head in disgust.

“Why don’t they just quote them 2 Nephi 1, verses 5-9,” asked the middle one of the three. “It does say that God covenanted with Lehi to give him a land for the inheritance of his seed. It also reveals that there “shall none come into this land save they shall be brought by the hand of the Lord” and it is ‘wisdom that this land should be kept as yet from the knowledge of other nations; for behold, many nations would overrun the land, that there would be no place for an inheritance.’ Lehi even says his seed would ‘be kept from all other nations, that they may possess this land unto themselves,’ that there would be none to molest them or take it away from them. Isn’t scripture official doctrine of the Church anymore?” He looked at me and scratched his head. “I think that passage makes it perfectly clear.”

The other two nodded agreement. The one on the left then said, “if this scripture is not enough to declare a doctrine, and if the prophet at the head of the Church now will not inquire of God, then there is one other place that may tell us the answer to these questions.”

The one on the right spoke then and said, “The answer will be in the statements of those who have been given the authority to answer such questions, the apostles and prophets of the Church.” The other two nodded in agreement.

“There was a Proclamation made in 1845 by the Quorum of the Twelve at that time” said my guide, coming suddenly to life. “It was sent out to all the world and answers these questions. “Let me think a moment… yes, it said the Proclamation was ‘doctrine’ and that the ‘Indians (so called) of North and South America are a remnant of the tribes of Israel, as is now made manifest by the discovery and revelation of their ancient oracles and records.’ It also calls upon ‘the government of the United States to also continue to gather together, and to colonize the tribes and remnants of Israel (the Indians), and also to feed, clothe, succour, and protect them, and endeavour to civilize and unite; and also to bring them to the knowledge of their Israelitish origin, and of the fulness of the gospel which was revealed to, and written by their forefathers on this land, the record of which has now come to light. They would then begin to know and understand what was to be done with these remnants,’ and that ‘He has revealed the origin and the records of the aboriginal tribes of America, and their future destiny.”

“This all seems very clear,” said the middle one. Why is this not proclaimed as doctrine by the Church today? Didn’t any of the many Church Prophets or Apostles speak on this?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Many of them. For instance, Apostle N. Eldon Tanner told the Church in a General Conference Address in 1976 that ‘we have the Book of Mormon record which tells of the Jaredites who were the first to come to America. They came at the time of the confusion of languages during the building of the tower of Babel’. You can see he makes this quite clear. A more recent Apostle, Boyd Packer said, “In contrast to the relatively few in North America who could claim Lamanite lineage (1.3 million), he then pointed to the many millions in Mexico, Yucatan, Guatemala, and throughout South America and said” ‘In all . .. . there are seventy-five million six hundred thousand who share in your [Native American Lamanite] birthright, of whom thirty-one million nine hundred ninety thousand arepure Indians.'”

“So, the problem here is with the DNA?” asked the one on the left. “If that is the case, how is this being addressed? Has the prophet given any statements on the DNA issue?”

“Not that I know of,” I replied. “He probably just doesn’t think it important enough to bother the Lord about. After all, the Church has Moroni’s promise to fall back on, and that should be enough, shouldn’t it?”

“I should say so,” added my tall guide. “But the prophet still should not be shy about clarifying issues or going to the Lord about them for the uplifting of the Saints. After all, that is what being a prophet is all about. Are these men just afraid to go to the Lord with these issues? Don’t they realize that He is the one with all the answers, and they have the keys to ask for the answers to all questions of faith? What have they done to answer these questions?”

They all looked at me and I was almost afraid to answer. Then I remembered. “Dallin Oaks referenced this problem in a speech he gave in 1993. He said, the book ‘only purports to be an account of a few peoples who inhabited a portion of the Americas during a few millennia in the past.”

They all looked shocked. “Only a few peoples?” The right one of the three stammered, with a note of incredulity in his voice.

“Well,” I said, they call this ‘limited geography theory’, and it claims that there weren’t many Nephites at all, and that they mixed in with large groups of people already in America.”

“Didn’t they read 2 Nephi?” asked the middle one of the three. ‘It specifically states that this land was kept hidden from all nations for an inheritance to Lehi’s descendants. Are these people Lehi’s descendants?” Isn’t that what being a Nephite is? Why, the book says there were millions of Nephites! In fact, it says they covered the whole face of the land and ran out of timber! Why, one Apostle has said that a ‘vast number of millions that must have swarmed over this great western hemisphere in times of old, building large cities, towns and villages, and spreading themselves forth from shore to shore from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the frozen regions of the north to the uttermost extremity of South America!’ Don’t they believe the words of their prophets and apostles any more?”

I glanced over at my tall guide and he looked troubled. “What of Zelph,” he murmured. “Don’t they remember it was said he was a converted Lamanite who became white and became a great warrior of the Nephite armies “from the eastern sea to the Rocky Mountains?”

I nodded at his logic as I blurted out, “It seems that while there was no scientific evidence against the book, the Church believed it’s leaders about all the Indians being descendants of the Lamanites, and that the Nephites covered the whole face of the North and South American continents. They even think that you were ‘speculating’ about Zelph, and didn’t have a vision at all. And now, in the light of new discoveries in genetics and the many expeditions to the ruins they once said were built by the Nephites that have shown otherwise they are saying all those statements, even the “official” ones are only speculation. Why, they even changed the Preface to the book! What are we to make of this? Isn’t there something you can do? Like tell us where the Nephite ruins are? After all it was you who….

The tall man and his three companions disappeared as I found myself looking up at the ceiling of my bedroom. I sat up and rubbed my eyes. A dream! It was all a dream! Imagine that, meeting Jo Smith and the Three Nephites at the Hill Cumorah! Too bad I had woke up before my tall guide had answered my question. Well, perhaps one of the Mormon prophets will wake up and ask one of their gods for the answers. Isn’t that what Joseph Smith would have done?

Playing F.A.I.R.

Really?

I often come across this scenario on Mormon Facebook Pages and other sites as I browse the internet:

Self-proclaimed Mormon “apologists” using material from F.A.I.R (Foundation for Apologetic  Information and Research) to “prove” that critics of Mormonism are dead wrong about issues (that the critics prove) the Church has manipulated or lied about in telling its history.

Case in point – This alleged “prophecy” recorded in the History of the Church they claim was given by Joseph Smith:

“I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some of you will live to go and assist in making settlements and build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.”[1]

I. CHALLENGING THOSE DAMN “ANTI-MORMONS”

On a Facebook Page titled “Challenging Anti-Mormon Apologetics”,[2]I came across the following post:

“LDS Honesty: Lying for the Lord (Link provided in the previous post) also says the following:

4. The famous Rocky Mountain Prophecy was a later addition to the official church history and not uttered by Joseph Smith as a prediction that the Mormons would inhabit the Salt Lake Valley. Despite the fact it is not authentic; the church presented it as such for more than a century. The ‘Rocky Mountain Prophecy’ was added after the Mormons arrived in Utah. (The Changing World of Mormonism, p. 406) The church had no intentions of giving this information to members, in order to make their history appear more faith promoting.

Contemporary documentation says otherwise. [3]

What is this “contemporary documentation” they speak of? If one pursues the F.A.I.R. link that the Facebook Page mentioned above provides, one comes upon the “Official Mormon Apologist” response to the above allegations: that Smith’s famous Rocky Mountain “prophecy” was inserted into the Manuscript History of the Church at a later date.

And what is this “contemporary documentation”? Let’s start with their conclusion and work our way back. F.A.I.R. states,

“To accept a “forgery” theory, we must accept that all of the people listed above who remembered Joseph speaking about the Rocky Mountains were lying or fabricating their experience. Furthermore, we must also accept that Joseph was sending explorers to the west with no real expectation of moving, and the discussion of heading west by both members and enemies was all idle talk.”[4]

This is a classic case of diverting the issue. Jerald and Sandra Tanner actually state in The Changing World of Mormonism,

“In our book Falsification of Joseph Smith’s History, page 10, we stated concerning this prophecy:

There is some evidence that Joseph Smith considered going west to build his kingdom, but since we now know that the Mormon Historians actually compiled Joseph Smith’s History after his death and that they drew from many sources, we cannot help being suspicious of the authorship of this prophecy.[5]

Jerald & Sandra Tanner

We see that the Tanners did indeed admit that “there is some evidence that Joseph Smith considered going west”, so why does F.A.I.R. state,

“But, to claim that the account of him discussing and even prophesying a move to the west rests on nothing but “forgery” is to distort and ignore too many sources, from too broad a time period, over what is essentially a peripheral issue.”

Notice F.A.I.R. trying to tie this specific “prophecy” to any discussion about the Rocky Mountains, and that any discussion of moving west by Smith must also be classed as spurious. Then, if they can show that Smith discussed it, this makes the Tanners deceptive.  F.A.I.R. is trying to set their own criteria here, but this is not what the Tanners claim at all, as I have shown above. Is the fact that someone discussed something likely to be made into an issue?

The Tanner’s claim was not that Smith ever discussed the Rocky Mountains, or moving the church west; it was that a false prophecy was fabricated by Mormon Historians (most likely based on exaggerations by contemporary Mormons well after the fact) and placed in the official History of the Church as an actual specific statement (prophecy) that Joseph Smith made.  The specific charge made by the Tanners was this,

“Important evidence concerning Joseph Smith’s prophecy that the Mormons would come to the Rocky Mountains has recently come to light. This prophecy was reported to have been given in 1842 in Illinois. Joseph Smith himself was supposed to have said:

“While the Deputy Grand-Master was engaged in giving the requisite instructions to the Master-elect, I had a conversation with a number of brethren in the shade of the building on the subject of our persecutions in Missouri and the constant annoyance which has followed us since we were driven from that state. I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some of you will live to go and assist in making settlements and build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains” (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 85) …

The situation, then, boils down to the following: we have two handwritten [history]manuscripts, books D-1 and D-2. Neither of these books were even started until after Joseph Smith’s death. In both cases the prophecy concerning the Mormons coming to the Rocky Mountains was interpolated in a smaller handwriting. From this evidence we can reach only one conclusion: the famous “Rocky Mountain Prophecy” is not authentic.” [6]

F.A.I.R singles out the book One Nation Under Gods, and Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s book The Changing World of Mormonism, (and since they imply that Richard Abanes probably got his information from the Tanners –  I will focus on the argument made in Changing World). F.A.I.R.  makes these points of criticism:

Jerald and Sandra Tanner claim that a prophecy from Joseph about the Saints’ move to the Rocky Mountains was forged after the fact and inserted into the History of the Church. They provide the following sources for this claim:

  • History of the Church 5:85.
  • Joseph Smith’s Manuscript History, Book D-1, page 1362
  • Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1971, p.469
  • Davis Bitton, Joseph Smith in the Mormon Folk Memory, The John Whitmer address, delivered at the Second Annual Meeting of the John Whitmer Historical Association, Lamoni, Iowa, September 28, 1974, unpublished manuscript, p.16″ [This article is now available in “Joseph Smith in the Mormon Folk Memory,” in Restoration Studies, ed. Maurice L. Draper, vol. 1, (Independence, Missouri, 1980).]

And conclude, “This use of sources is dishonest and misleading.”[7]

II. FAIR OR UN-F.A.I.R.?

The Tanner’s sources are “dishonest” and “misleading”? Let’s take this point by point and see if they are.  F.A.I.R. states,

None of these sources support the argument:

  • The BYU Studies article from 1971 is Dean Jessee’s account of the authorship of the History of the Church. It says nothing about adding a “Rocky Mountain Prophecy,” and the Tanners neglect to provide the perspective on authorship practices in 19th century history that Jessee provides. They thus hide the material that answers their objection. Readers can fortunately access these ideas on the FAIR wiki.[8]

Dean C. Jessee

Can we point out that F.A.I.R. doesn’t acknowledge that the History of the Church also doesn’t acknowledge that Joseph Smith really didn’t “first-person” his own history either?  And they must have missed the Tanners when they explained,”since we now know that the Mormon Historians actually compiled Joseph Smith’s History after his death and that they drew from many sources..” Do all the Mormon “Authorities” who quote this “prophecy” bother to explain the background behind it? That this quote is used by the Church as a bona fide “prophecy” of Smith, and in using it this way they tout Smith’s prophetic powers?  But the real question that F.A.I.R. doesn’t address about this source is why the Tanner’s used it. Not only does F.A.I.R. does not explain this, they don’t even offer a link or internet address to the Book! They don’t even bother to quote what the Tanner’s said! Here is the Tanner’s explanation:

“We are now happy to announce that a photograph of the portion of the original handwritten manuscript containing this ‘prophecy’ has been located at the Visitor Center in Nauvoo, Illinois. Wesley P. Walters of Marissa, Illinois, has sent us a photograph of this page…. This photograph is taken from ‘Joseph Smith’s Manuscript History,’ Book D-1, page 1362.”

An examination of the photograph revealed that the part concerning the Mormons becoming “a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains” was crammed in between the lines of the text in a much smaller handwriting. This indicated that the famous prophecy had been added to the manuscript sometime after this page had originally been written. When we published an enlarged edition of Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? we stated that “Dean C. Jessee’s study proves that this prophecy could not have been written in ‘Joseph Smith’s Manuscript History’ until at least a year after Joseph Smith’s death. He shows that page 1362 of the Manuscript History—the page containing the prophecy—was not even written until July 4, 1845!”

We reasoned that if the page was not written until July 4, 1845, then it was likely that the interpolation containing the prophecy was not added until after the Mormons came to Utah. We have recently found new evidence which further undermines the authenticity of this prophecy. Fortunately, in 1845 Brigham Young had ordered the scribes to make a “duplicate handwritten copy of the History” (Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1971, p. 469). We examined this second manuscript, Book D-2, p. 2, and found that the “Rocky Mountain Prophecy” was written in very small handwriting between the lines. In other words, it was obviously added at a later time to this manuscript.” [9]

So the reason that the Tanners quoted Jessee from his 1971 article, was to prove that Brigham Young had ordered a duplicate made of the Church History, and that the Manuscript History wasn’t written until after Smith died. They quoted Jessee to verify this, and found that the “prophecy” was inserted into Smith’s history well after the fact.  They also included a photo (in their on-line version of the book) of the page in question from the Manuscript History, which can be found here, and below. This source absolutely supports the argument.

F.A.I.R. is not playing fair, because they are not telling you why the Tanners used the source.  How many Mormons are going to go to the trouble of reading what the Tanner’s wrote? Especially when F.A.I.R. doesn’t quote them, has this disclaimer at the beginning of nearly every book they review that is critical to Mormonism:

“Those who do not wish to examine the claims contained in what some would consider an “anti-Mormon” work are advised to proceed no further.” [10]

F.A.I.R. then goes to the Davis Bitton source and states,

  • Davis Bitton’s article specifically rejects the Tanners’ claim:

Two errors have been made regarding this Rocky Mountains prophecy. The first is to reject it out of hand as a later invention of the Utah Mormons. There is enough discussion of possible westward moves during the later Nauvoo period to think that Joseph Smith, in one of his prophetic moods, might well have said something of the sort. The second error, even more serious, is to seize upon these fragments as the basis for concluding that Joseph knew exactly what the future held in store for the Saints down to every last detail. Like the constitution-by-a-thread prophecy, the Rocky Mountains prophecy probably had a basis in an actual statement. The two prophecies are alike, too, in the fact that they were extremely popular later on when they served the needs of the Saints for encouragement.[11]

First, the Tanners did not “reject it out of hand as a later invention”, they show credible evidence that it was.  Second, might and probably don’t make it so. A statement that one is thinking about moving west someday, or sending out exploration parties, is far different from prophesying that one will, with specific details about what happens before and after.  Thirdly, (and most important) it is the Mormons that are “seizing upon these fragments as the basis for concluding that Joseph knew exactly what the future held in store for the Saints down to  every last detail,” and that is why this is not a “peripheral issue”.  Here is a little more of Davis Bitton quoted by the Tanners,  that F.A.I.R. doesn’t quote,

“The situation, then, boils down to the following: we have two handwritten manuscripts, books D-1 and D-2. Neither of these books were even started until after Joseph Smith’s death. In both cases the prophecy concerning the Mormons coming to the Rocky Mountains was interpolated in a smaller handwriting. From this evidence we can reach only one conclusion: the famous “Rocky Mountain Prophecy” is not authentic. The church historical department has Joseph Smith’s diary for 1842-43, but the first entry does not appear until December 21—some four months after the prophecy was supposed to have been given. Mormon scholars have been unable to come up with anything to support the authenticity of this prophecy.

Davis Bitton, an assistant church historian, has written almost five pages concerning this matter. He frankly states that “there is no such prophecy in the handwriting of Joseph Smith or published during the Prophet’s lifetime, but it was referred to in general terms in 1846 during the trek west. After the arrival in the Salt Lake Valley the prophecy was frequently cited and became more specific as time went on” (“Joseph Smith in the Mormon Folk Memory,” The John Whitmer address, delivered at the Second Annual Meeting of the John Whitmer Historical Association, Lamoni, Iowa, September 28, 1974, unpublished manuscript, p. 16).

Davis Bitton goes on to state that “The manuscript history covering this period was written in 1845….” This is, of course, a year after Joseph Smith’s death. Mr. Bitton then admits that the prophecy is an “insertion” which was added into the manuscript as “an afterthought” (p. 18). Although Davis Bitton cannot find any real evidence that Joseph Smith made the famous “Rocky Mountain Prophecy,” he does feel that there was “a time when something like this might have been said by Joseph Smith with considerable plausibility. Anytime during the last four years of his life, … the Prophet had good reason to consider possibilities for relocation. It can be demonstrated that he considered the possibility of settling in Oregon (or on Vancouver Island). He was attempting to negotiate some kind of colonization venture in Texas …” (p. 17).

Mr. Bitton admits that other changes were made in Joseph Smith’s documents to support the idea that he knew the Mormons would come to the Rocky Mountains:

And in February 1844 the Prophet was organizing an exploring expedition to go to the West. There are some interesting changes in the way the description of this expedition was written by Willard Richards, secretary of Joseph Smith at the time, and the later revisions. The original, handwritten version reads: “Met with the Twelve in the assembly room concerning the Oregon Expedition.” This has been modified to read “the Oregon and California Exploring Expedition.” Continuing, the Richards manuscript reads, “I told them I wanted an exposition of all that country, “—which has been changed to “exploration of all that mountain country.” There are other such changes that make one suspect that the later compilers of the history, notably George A. Smith and his assistants in the 1850s, were determined to have Joseph Smith contemplating the precise location where the Saints had by then settled. Oregon would not do; Oregon and California as then defined at least included the Rocky Mountains. If the Prophet could be made to say “mountain country” instead of just “country,” it would appear that he clearly had in mind the future history of his followers (pp. 17-18).[12]

If we go by what F.A.I.R. states, we have Bitton refuting himself! They have to perpetuate an outright lie, to make their point (that Bitton’s article specifically rejects the Tanner’s argument). Bitton’s article in no way rejects the Tanner’s claim, that the specific prophecy, recorded in the History of the Church was an insertion after the fact. It was, and Bitton agrees that it was, stating that “there is no such prophecy in the handwriting of Joseph Smith or published during the Prophet’s lifetime”.  The Tanners also reveal Bitton’s speculation that the prophecy might be based on something Smith might have said. But the bottom line is Smith didn’t say it, and there is no proof that he did.  Is F.A.I.R.’s claim that the Tanner’s use of this source is “dishonest” fair? We see that it is not, and that the Tanner’s are more fair than F.A.I.R., admitting that Smith “considered going west to build his kingdom”.

III. EVIDENCE IS NO EVIDENCE

F.A.I.R. also attacks the Tanners for the use of the History of the Church source. They quote a footnote by B.H. Roberts, where he supports the authenticity of the “prophecy” with a quote by Anson Call. Their main objection is “The author[s] provide only the History of the Church reference, but provide no evidence of [their]claim.”

No evidence? Here is F.A.I.R.’s “evidence”. F.A.I.R writes,

The prophecy source is the biography of Anson Call, in August 1842. The relevant section reads as follows:

“A block schoolhouse had been prepared with shade in front, under which was a barrel of ice water. Judge Adams, the highest Masonic authority in the State of Illinois, had been sent there to organize this lodge. He, Hyrum Smith and J. C. Bennett, being high Masons, went into the house to perform some ceremonies which the others were not entitled to witness. These, including Joseph Smith, remained under the bowery. Joseph as he was tasting the cold water, warned the brethren not to be too free with it. With the tumbler still in his hand, he prophesied that the Saints would yet go to the Rocky Mountains, and said he, ‘This water tastes much like that of the crystal streams that are running from the snow-capped mountains. I had before seen him in a vision, and now saw, while he was talking, his countenance change to white, not the deadly white of a bloodless face, but a living, brilliant white. He seemed absorbed in gazing upon something at a great distance and said, “I am gazing upon the valleys of those mountains.”

Anson Call

I had before seen him [Joseph Smith] in a vision [i.e., while seeing or reporting a divine vision or revelation], and now saw while he was talking his countenance change to white; not the deadly white of a bloodless face, but a living brilliant white. He seemed absorbed in gazing at something at a great distance, and said: “I am gazing upon the valleys of those mountains.” This was followed by a vivid description of the scenery of these mountains, as I have since become acquainted with it. Pointing to Shadrach Roundy and others, he said: “There are some men here who shall do a great work in that land.” Pointing to me, he said, “There is Anson, he shall go and shall assist in building up cities from one end of the country to the other, and you, rather extending the idea to all those he had spoken of, shall perform as great a work as has been done by man, so that the nations of the earth shall be astonished, and many of them will be gathered in that land and assist in building cities and temples, and Israel shall be made to rejoice.”

It is impossible to represent in words this scene which is still vivid in my mind, of the grandeur of Joseph’s appearance, his beautiful descriptions of this land, and his wonderful prophetic utterances as they emanated from the glorious inspirations that overshadowed him. There was a force and power in his exclamations of which the following is but a faint echo: “Oh the beauty of those snow-capped mountains! The cool refreshing streams that are running down through those mountain gorges!” Then gazing in another direction, as if there was a change in locality: “Oh the scenes that this people will pass through! The dead that will lay between here and there.” Then turning in another direction as if the scene had again changed: “Oh the apostasy that will take place before my brethren reach that land! But,” he continued, “The priesthood shall prevail over its enemies, triumph over the devil and be established upon the earth, never more to be thrown down!” He then charged us with great force and power, to be faithful to those things that had been and should be committed to our charge, with the promise of all the blessings that the Priesthood could bestow. “Remember these things and treasure them up. Amen.” (Tullidge’s Histories, Vol I. History of Northern Utah, and Southern Idaho.–Biographical Supplement, p. 271

 Thus, the accusation must be not only that the Church decided to “forge” a prophecy by Joseph, but that Anson Call did as well. Can we assess how likely these claims are?[13]

We sure can assess them, because F.A.I.R. is not really being fair here either. The first thing they want you to believe is that the source is from the biography of Anson Call is “in August 1842”. There are all kinds of problems with this, which B.H. Roberts mentions in that Church History footnote that F.A.I.R. quotes.  Here are some of the problems that Roberts encountered,

“It is thought important that the following statement from a biography of Anson Call, by Edward Tullidge, should be made part of the history of this prophetic incident, as doubtless the testimony of Brother Call relates to the same incident as that described in the Prophet’s text of the History, notwithstanding some confusion of dates that exists in the Call testimony. It will be seen that the Prophet fixes the date of his prophecy on Saturday, the 6th of August, 1842. In Whitney’s History of Utah, Vol. IV.—(Biographical section of the history, p. 143), the date on which Call heard the prophecy, is given as the 8th of August, 1842. While in Tullidge’s biography of Call the date is given as the 14th of July, 1843, evidently an error. There is no entry in the Prophet’s journal for the 8th of August, 1842, and the entries for the 8th of August, 1843, and the 14th of July, 1843, relate to matters of quite a different character. Tullidge, in relating Anson Call’s recollection of the incident also says that J. C. Bennett was present on the occasion, which must also be an error, as the rupture between Bennett and the Church and its authorities occurred and he had left Nauvoo previous to the 6th of August, 1842. In the Call statement as published by Tullidge, the name of Mr. Adams, the Deputy Grand Master Mason in charge of the ceremonies, is given as George, it should be James.”[14]

B. H. Roberts

Tullidge’s biography of Call was written in 1889. So when did Call actually first write down the prophecy he claimed that Smith made? Certainly not when it happened (August 1842), since he is wrong about so many details.  Notice that even in his notes, Roberts tries to make it seem as if Smith wrote the prophecy and put it in his history himself.

It seems that Anson Call kept a journal, but the prophecy is not found there. He wrote an autobiography taken from his journals that ended at the year 1839. He later wrote what he called a “Life Sketch”.

The following is taken from Anson Call: Excerpts from his Autobiography:

“Almost the last journal entry that Anson makes shows his love and his respect for Joseph Smith by as indicated by the following:

About the middle of May I was one day traveling to Warsaw when to my great surprise I met Brothers Joseph and Hyrum. I asked him when and how he had made his escape from Missouri. He said, ‘I am in a great hurry, for my enemies are pursuing me…I will say in short to you, the prayers of the brethren brought me her” He then inquired of me where I lived. He said, ‘in about a week I will be at your house; then I will relate the whole matter to you.’ He passed on in great haste. I was filled with great joy to see our prophet after more than six months. Suffering by chains and dungeons once more in the enjoyment of liberty.

He came to my house about the appointed time, had his dinner and spent the principle part of the afternoon in conversation. Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and Vincent Knight were with him. He related to some of the circumstances of his escape from Missouri. He also stated that he had purchased a tract of land in Commerce. A place for the saints to gather to, now called Nauvoo. In the course of the summer my wife had a very severe sickness, chills and fever from which she would probably have died had it not been for her being healed by the laying on of hands. Worked for the Carthaginians and supported our families. I preached to them a few times in the court house but they were not very religious and did not wish to inquire much about Mormonism. (Call, pp. 18 & 19.)

Anson moved West with the rest of the saints. He was assigned by Brigham Young to settle Bountiful. He settled down on a 300 acre farm and raised 18 children with the help of four wife’s. He was the bishop of the Bountiful Ward. He built the Bountiful First Ward by order of Brigham Young.

One of the most lasting contributions that Anson made, other than his prodigious posterity, are a few tibbits of  historical information that he recorded. One of which is the prophecy that Joseph Smith made of the saints moving west.

Joseph Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley

The “Life Sketch” has the same text as the “Autobiography”, but it is written in 2nd person, with the exception of this quote.)

On the 14th of July, 1843, with quite a number of his (Joseph Smith brethren, he (Joe) crossed the Mississippi River to the town of Montrose to be present at the installment of the Masonic lodge of the ‘rising sun, A block school house had

J.C. Bennett

been prepared with shade in front, under which a barrel of ice water. Judge George Adams was the highest Masonic author in the state of Illinois and had been sent there to organize this lodge He (Joe), Hyrum Smith and J.C. Bennett, being high masons, went into the house to perform some ceremonies which the others were not entitled to witness. These, including Joseph Smith remained under the bowery. Jose] as he was tasting of the cold water, warned the brethren not to be fret with it. With the tumbler still in his hand he prophesied that the Saint would yet go to the Rocky Mountains; and, said he, ‘this water tastes much like that of the crystal streams that are running from the snow capped mountains’ we will 1st Mr. Call describe (sic) this prophetic scene: I had before seen him in a vision and now saw while he was talking his countenance changed to white: not the deadly white of a bloodless face, but a living brilliant white. He

seemed absorbed in gazing at something at a great distance and said, ‘I am gazing upon the valleys of those mountains’. This was followed by a vivid description of the scenery of these mountains as I have since become acquainted with it. Pointing to Shadrach Roundy and others, he said, ‘There are some men here who shall do a great work in that land.’ Pointing to me he said, ‘There is Anson, he shall go and shall assist in building cities from one end of that country to the other, and you’ rather extending the idea to all those he had spoken of, ‘shall perform as great a work as has been done by man, so that the nation of the earth shall be astonished and many of them will be gathered in that land and assist in building cities and temples, and Israel shall he made to rejoiced’.

S. Roundy

“It is impossible to represent in words this scene which is still vivid in my mind, of the grandeur of Joseph’s appearance, his beautiful descriptions of this land and his wonderful prophetic utterances as they emanated from the glorious inspirations that over shadowed him. There was a force and power in his exclamations of which the following is but a faint echo. ‘Oh the beauty of those snow capped mountains. The cool refreshing streams that are running down through theose (sic ?) mountains gorges’ Then gazing in another direction, as if there was a change and locality; ‘oh the scenes that this people will pass through’ The dead that will lay between here and there.’ Then turning in another direction as if the scene had again changed: ‘Oh the apostasy that will take place before my brethren reach that land’. But he continued, ‘the Priesthood shall prevail over all it’s enemies, triumph over the devil and be established upon the earth never more to be thrown down.’ He then charged us with great force and power, to be faithful in these things that had been and …???

[Written at bottom of page “THIS CONCLUDES ALL WE HAVE OF THIS COPY”, Alice Maud Call Burton Afton, Wyo.] (Life Sketch of Anson Call 1810-1890, Pioneer in the building of the west.)”[15]

The “prophecy” that Call records here, is obviously written well after the fact, because of the problems with the historical data that B.H. Roberts notes in his History of the Church. Also, the “almost the last journal entry” was when Smith escaped from Liberty Jail in 1839! The “prophecy” was obviously written later, and appears to be unfinished in the copy that Alice Burton had in her possession because it breaks off mid sentence near the end.

F.A.I.R.’s sarcastic comment that Call “forged” his “prophecy”, is the most realistic conclusion, because the historical details don’t line up with the facts.

Since F.A.I.R. has no evidence that there was an actual specific Rocky Mountain prophecy uttered by Smith in his lifetime, they choose to befuddle the issue with a series of quotes that they claim bolster the premise that there was probably a prophecy, therefore there must have been some kind of a prophecy. Most of these are remembrances of Mormon authorities long after the fact – which prove nothing at all.

One interesting quote they use, is from Wilford Woodruff’s Journal. On November 24, 1878 Woodruff wrote on the” Inside Front Cover Fly Sheet” of one of his Journals some “true sayings” of the “Prophet Joseph” that he says he copied from Philo Dibble’s “record”. These “true sayings” are supposedly Dibble’s recollection of Smith’s last address before the Nauvoo Legion. It is obvious from a quick reading that these are not journal entries from the period, or even written on those dates or shortly after the events because like Call’s account, they are so full of inaccuracies.

Philo Dibble

Dibble first gives the date of the 22 of June and says that Smith “called us [The Nauvoo Legion] out in order and to my astonishment Counselled us to give up our arms” and then prophesied to them that they would “gather many people into the fastness of the Rocky Mountains as a centre for the Gathering of the people.” He then thanked them, dismissed them and told them to “take care of your wives, Children and homes.” But the Legion did not give up their arms until June 24, six days after Smith’s last address to the Nauvoo Legion.

Dibble then gives a date for the next day, and has Smith giving his last speech to the Nauvoo Legion. If he had dismissed them the day before, (as Dibble attests)and said his obvious farewell (take care of your wives, children and homes) why would he give them a “last speech” the next day? Also,  Dibble’s date for the “last speech” of Smith before the Nauvoo Legion as the 23 of June, 1844 is incorrect. The actual date of that event was on the 18 of June, and it is well documented. Dibble uses parts of Smith’s speech as recorded by those who were there and later published in the History of the Church, and then has Smith repeating his prophecy about the Rocky Mountains that he supposedly told them the day before.

F.A.I.R. concludes with,

“It could be, of course, that Anson Call forged his account, and all the Church leaders and members lied about remembering Joseph speak about the matter. But why then appeal to “many of you” remembering Joseph speaking about it? Why not claim it was a private, secret teaching given to the apostles—for, they certainly also reported these. If the claim was fraudulent, why risk exposure?

Or, the story could have started after the Saints reached the valley, and simply grown in the telling with members “remembering” the story as it was retold to them. But, the contemporary evidence would seem to argue against this, and witnesses often mentioned how struck they were by Joseph’s remarks. They also described him discussing this idea in a variety of setting, which argues against an accumulated “folklore.”[16]

F.A.I.R. thinks it “strange to see critics argue that Joseph would not prophesy about this,” because they claim that critics say he “was always larding his ideas with prophetic pronouncement,” and I agree. He did.  I have furnished some of that “larding” below in the next section.  I will also show that the accumulated “folklore” argument fits the evidence perfectly.

Again we see F.A.I.R. combining two different issues and tying them together; implying if the prophecy itself was fraudulent that Smith’s discussing the matter must also be based on something “fraudlent”. The Tanners do not say that Smith never spoke about it, they admit that he did. The Tanner’s “evidence” is legitimate though, while F.A.I.R.’s evidence doesn’t appear to be any evidence at all.

Also, Call’s appeal to “many of you” was made because Smith did in fact make vague statements about the west.  This obviously grew into a full blown “folklore” “prophecy” as did the story about Brigham Young transforming into Joseph Smith while he was making the case for claiming leadership of the Church.

I do agree with one point that F.A.I.R. makes: that Smith “discussed moving to the west several times, and likely prophesied about it.” Given the Mormons history of being driven out of every place they settled in, it sure wouldn’t be bad odds to do so and get that right.  But it wasn’t this particular “prophecy” given in those words on that date; the details are completely different, and he made other “prophecies” about the west and Nauvoo that were completely false. This makes Smith a good guesser, but a bad prophet.

IV. ROCKY MOUNTAIN ZION?

“But the Colorado Rocky Mountain high
I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky,
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply:
Rocky Mountain high” [17]

***

“Men profess to prophecy. I will prophesy that the signs of the coming of the Son of Man are already commenced, one pestilence will desolate after another, we shall soon have war & bloodshed. The Moon will be turned to blood. [Matt. 24]I testify of these things, & that the coming of the Son of Man is nigh even at your doors.–If our Souls & our bodies are not looking forth for the coming of the Son of Man, & after we are dead if we are not looking forth, &c we shall be among those who are calling for the rocks to fall upon us &c– There will be here & there a stake &c. for the gathering of the Saints Some may have cried peace, but the Saints & the world will have little peace from henceforth. Let this not hinder us from going to the Stakes, for God has told us to flee not dallying, or we shall be scattered, one here, another there. There your children shall be blessed & you in the midst of friends where you may be blessed. &c  …

The Gospel net gathers of every kind. I prophecy that the man who tarries after he has an opportunity of going will be afflicted by the Devil. Wars are at hand we must not delay, but we are [are we] not required to Sacrifice.[?] We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object.–when wars come we shall have to flee to Zion, the cry is to make haste.

The last revelation says ye shall not have time to have gone over the Earth until these things come. It will come as did the cholera, war, & fires burning earthquake, one pestilence after another &c  the Ancient of Days [will] come then judgment will be given to the Saints.

 Whatsoever you may hear about me or Kirtland, take no notice of, for if it be a place of refuge the Devil will use his greatest efforts to trap the Saints. You must make yourselves acquainted with those men, who, like Daniel pray three times a day to the house of the Lord. –Look to the Presidency &c & receive instruction. Every man who is afraid, covetous &c will be taken in a snare.–The time is soon coming when no man will have any peace but in Zion & her Stakes. I saw men hunting the lives of their own sons, & brother murdering brother, women killing their own daughters & daughters seeking the lives of their mothers. I saw armies arrayed against armies I saw blood, desolations, & fires &c,–The Son of Man has said that the mother, shall be against the daughter, & the daughter against the mother &c, &c–these things are at our doors. They will follow the Saints of God from City to City—

goya-yson-tan-fiera

Satan will rage & The Spirit of the Devil is now enraged, &c I know not how soon these things will take place, and with a view of them shall I cry peace? No! I will lift up my voice & testify of them. How long you will have good crops, & the famine be kept off. I do not know. When the fig tree leaves, know then that the summer is nigh at hand. we may look for Angels &c. & receive their ministering but we are to try the spirits & prove them. for it is often the case that men make a mistake in regard to these things.”~Joseph Smith, July, 1839[18]

This “prophecy” was given a few months after Smith escaped from jail in Missouri, when he was well aware that the possibility of returning was dismal. Here, he mentions “stakes” of Zion that would be the only safe havens for the “saints”. These “stakes” would be an important part of Smith’s plans for a westward expansion of the church.

Let’s consider some of the accounts that speak of “the Rocky Mountains”, including some of those mentioned in the F.A.I.R. article’s “Other Evidence From Joseph’s Lifetime” section.   In an article titled “The Far West”, which appeared in the Evening and Morning Star in October of 1832, we are told about the lands from the Mississippi River to the Rockies in the far west:

“The far west, as the section of country from the Mississippi to the Rocky Mountains may justly be styled, is not only distant from the Atlantic States, but different. Its principle river, running rapidly from the 48th to the 39th degree of north latitude, is always rily, always wearing away its banks and always making new channels: It is rightly named Missouri; for in plain English, it looks like the waters of misery,-or troubled water:-even as the sea which the prophet said, Casts up mire and dirt…”[19]

United States 1832

In 1821 the Missouri Territory stretched all the way from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. After 1821 and Missouri statehood, it was renamed the Arkansaw Territory and the northern part went unnamed.  In 1834 during the “Zion’s Camp” march, Smith claimed to see a vision of a white Lamanite named Zelph who he described as a great general under one “Onandagus”, known from “Cumorah to the Rocky Mountains”.  As the article in the Star explains,

“this beautiful region of country is now mostly, excepting Arkansas and Missouri, the land of Joseph or the Indians,” and though “the world will never value the land of Desolation, as it is called in the book of Mormon, for any thing more than hunting ground, for want of timber and mill-seats: The Lord to the contrary notwithstanding, declares it to be the land of Zion which is the land of Joseph, blessed by him, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth and fulness [fullness] thereof…”[20]

But 1832 would be a bad year for Mormonism in Missouri, for Smith would underestimate the old settlers there, along with their patience in dealing with a large group of what they deemed religious fanatics who thought they were justified in “consecrating the riches of the Gentiles”[21] to themselves as their God given due.  Of course the Mormons thought that the backlash was only religious persecution as Francis Bishop wrote in 1839, who blamed it all on,

“a rumor [which] was likewise raised and carried abroad through the papers, that the church in Missouri, who had purchased lands there and were peaceably settled on them, were intending to drive the inhabitants out of the State, upon the ground that they claimed the country as a promised land.”[22]

It would be hard to read the above “revelation” about consecrating the riches of the Gentiles and not get that impression. Smith would later change that verse in the 1835 expanded edition of the Book of Commandments, renamed the Doctrine and Covenants. Returning for a moment to B. H. Roberts and  New Witnesses for God, we find Roberts mentioning another “prophecy” (as he calls it) in connection with the alleged 1842 “prophecy” that is a part of Doctrine and Covenants, Section  49. It reads,

“But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites [the American Indians] shall blossom as the rose. Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed.”[23]

The problems with tying this “prophecy” to the 1842 Rocky Mountain prophecy should be obvious, for the place that was “appointed” (to gather) was not in the Rocky Mountains, but in the state of Missouri:

“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.”[24]

1838 United States (click to enlarge)

But you may say, the land of Missouri stretched all the way to the Rocky Mountains! Perhaps if the old settlers had known about Smith’s plans for the Rocky Mountains they would have been less recalcitrant. Then again, they probably read the next verse of this “revelation” penned by Smith:

“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.”[25]

By 1832 the State of Missouri was the little boot of the former Missouri Territory. The Mormons were coming in droves, and as we read in the rest of that Star article on the Far West,

“When we consider that the land of Missouri is the land where the saints of the living God are to be gathered together and sanctified for the second coming of the Lord Jesus, we cannot help exclaiming with the prophet, O land be glad! and O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord: For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou [Jerusalem] shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land [Zion] any more be termed Desolate… “[26]

Driven out of Jackson County into neighboring counties, the Mormons for a time lived in peace with the Missourians.  But “the gathering” and visions of destruction were still Smith’s primary focus. In 1833, Smith says he is inspired “by God” to write to N.C. Saxton,

“The Book of Mormon is a record of the forefathers of our western tribes of Indians; having been found through the ministration of an holy angel, and translated into our own language by the gift and power of God, after having been hid up in the earth for the last fourteen hundred years, containing the word of God which was delivered unto them. By it we learn that our western tribes of Indians are descendants from that Joseph which was sold into Egypt, and that the land of America is a promised land unto them, and unto it all the tribes of Israel will come with as many of the Gentiles as shall comply with the requisitions of the new covenant. But the tribe of Judah will return to old Jerusalem. The city of Zion spoken of by David, in the one hundred and second Psalm, will be built upon the land of America, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads” (Isaiah xxxv: 10); and then they will be delivered from the overflowing scourge that shall pass through the land. But Judah shall obtain deliverance at Jerusalem. … These are testimonies that the Good Shepherd will put forth His own sheep, and lead them out from all nations where they have been scattered in a cloudy and dark day, to Zion and to Jerusalem, besides many more testimonies which might be brought.

And now I am prepared to say by the authority of Jesus Christ, that not many years shall pass away before the United States shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the history of our nation; pestilence, hail, famine, and earthquake will sweep the wicked of this generation from off the face of the land, to open and prepare the way for the return of the lost tribes of Israel from the north country. The people of the Lord, those who have complied with the requirements of the new covenant, have already commenced gathering together to Zion, which is in the state of Missouri, therefore I declare unto you the warning which the Lord has commanded to declare unto this generation, remembering that the eyes of my Maker are upon me and that to him I am accountable for every word I say wishing nothing worse to my fellow-men than their eternal salvation; therefore, “Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come.” Repent ye, repent ye, and embrace the everlasting covenant, and flee to Zion, before the overflowing scourge overtake you, for there are those now living upon the earth whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things, which I have spoken, fulfilled. Remember these things; call upon the Lord while He is near, and seek Him while He may be found, is the exhortation of your unworthy servant.” [Signed] JOSEPH SMITH, JUN.[27]

Smith was telling everyone to flee to Missouri! And he was apparently soon to bring the lost Tribes with him. Smith declares here that “the city of Zion … will be built upon the land of America” and that “there are those whose eyes shall not be closed in death until they see all these things, including the city of Zion being built, fulfilled. By mid 1834 Smith had gathered up a group of Mormon menfolk and they made their way to Missouri to take back their lands in Jackson County.

But before leaving to “redeem” Zion in May 1834, Smith gave a “revelation” in response to Parley Pratt and Lyman Wight’s arrival in Kirtland with questions on what they should do about their lands in Jackson County. Smith’s reply was that if they “hearken from this very hour” to the counsel they are given from Smith, they would “begin to prevail against” their “enemies from this very hour.”[28]

Hearken they did, answering Smith’s call to arms with enthusiasm.  How could they not be excited when they had received this promise supposedly by God himself,

“Behold, this is the blessing which I have promised after your tribulations, and the tribulations of your brethren–your redemption, and the redemption of your brethren, even their restoration to the land of Zion, to be established, no more to be thrown down. Nevertheless, if they pollute their inheritances they shall be thrown down; for I will not spare them if they pollute their inheritances. Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power; Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel. For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm. And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be. Therefore, let not your hearts faint, for I say not unto you as I said unto your fathers: Mine angel shall go up before you, but not my presence. But I say unto you: Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land.[29]

Arriving in Missouri with much bickering and squabbling among them on the way,

“A possibly decisive battle with the “Jackson Countians” was aborted 19 June by a devastating thunder-and-hail storm which the Mormons ascribed to divine intervention. Three days later, near Liberty, Joseph Smith issued the “Fishing River Revelation,” chastising the Saints for disobedience and disbanding the camp, thereby postponing indefinitely the eventual Mormon reclamation of Jackson County. Zion’s Camp never officially fired a shot upon its enemies. The few deaths reported among the Missourians came mainly by drowning, and those among the Mormons from cholera.”[30]

Did the Mormons “pollute their inheritances”? With Zion’s Camp having been decimated by cholera, and Smith himself being struck with it while claiming he could “heal the sick”, all of his previous violent rhetoric from his February “revelation” was tossed aside, like these promises made in that very “revelation”,

“Verily, verily I say unto you, that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given unto you. Therefore let my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., say unto the strength of my house, my young men and the middle aged—Gather yourselves together unto the land of Zion, upon the land which I have bought with money that has been consecrated unto me. And let all the churches send up wise men with their moneys, and purchase lands even as I have commanded them. And inasmuch as mine enemies come against you to drive you from my goodly land, which I have consecrated to be the land of Zion, even from your own lands after these testimonies, which ye have brought before me against them, ye shall curse them; And whomsoever ye curse, I will curse, and ye shall avenge me of mine enemies. And my presence shall be with you even in avenging me of mine enemies, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again. And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.”[31]

Smith instead, gave his Fishing River Revelation, where he blames his own failure on the church,

“were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now.”[32]

Yet, Smith was supposed to be “the man like unto Moses” and lead them “with power” and “a stretched out arm”. And as the followers of Moses were led, “so shall the redemption of Zion be”.  Did Moses have those in his camp who griped? Yes. But did that stop Moses from destroying the Egyptians? Not at all. Remember, Smith doesn’t liken the redemption of Zion to the possessing of the promised land of Israel, he likens it to when Israel was leaving Egypt, “and as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be.” This included all the gripers, backbiters, and those who had committed “transgressions”.  These were individuals, not the entire church.  Smith had been so confident in his power that he wrote another earlier revelation which stated,

“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 saintsUntil 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.”[33]

This pretty much states that it’s Missouri or nothing. “Zion shall not be moved out of her place,” says Smith, even though “her children are scattered”.[34] Smith tells us that God “reveals” to him that there is “none other place appointed” and that “neither shall there be until the day” comes that “there is found no more room for them” and then, only then, will there be “other places” which would be called “stakes”.

Smith knew what he had written, and so after blaming this failure on others, decides to set the date for the “redemption of Zion” and try again. On August 16, 1834 he writes to the leaders of the Church in Clay County, Missouri,

“use every effort  to prevail on the churches to gather to those regions  and situate themselves to be in readiness to move  into Jackson Co. in two years from the Eleventh of  September next which is the appointed time for the  redemption of Zion.[35]

This would set the date for the “redemption of Zion” at September 11, 1836. A diary entry by Joseph Smith that was made on September 25, 1835 shows that he was still intent on fulfilling this, and that it was indeed “the voice of the spirit of the Lord, that those “driven out”  should be set back on their lands by the spring of 1836:

September 24th 1835 This day the High Council met at my house to take into consid[e]ration the redeem[p]tion of Zion. It was the voice of the spirit of the Lord that we petition to the Governer [of Missouri]. That is those who have been driven out /should/ to do so to be set back on their Lands next spring. We go next season to live or dy [die] to this end so the dy is cast  in Jackson County.

We truly had a good time and Covena[n]ted to strug[g]le for this thing u[n]till death shall desolve [dissolve] this union. And if one falls that the rest be not discouraged but pe[r]sue this object until it is a[c]omplished. Which may God grant u[n]to us in the name of Christ our Lord.

September 24th 1835 This day drew up an Arti/c/le of [p.35] inrollment for the redem[p]tion of Zion that we may obtain volunteers to go next spring /to M[iss]o[uri]/. I ask God in the name of Jesus that we may obtain Eight hundred men /or one thousand/ well armed [men] and that they may ac[c]omplish this great work. Even so. Amen.[36]

But the Mormons couldn’t even hold on to their lands in Clay County, and were expelled by the citizens there and were forced to regroup in Ray (Caldwell) County.  John Corrill writes that

“Friendship began to be restored between them and their neighbors, the old prejudices were fast dying away, and they were doing well, until the summer of 1838.”[37]

What happened was Joseph Smith. Having made a mess of things in Kirtland with the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society,[38]Smith was forced to flee Kirtland in the middle of the night in January of 1838 and arrived in Far West, Missouri in the spring of that year. He subsequently ex-communicated all of the leaders of the Church there, and as John Corrill writes, told the “saints” that,

“in order to get protection and favor from God, they must become one, and be perfectly united in all things; cleanse themselves from every kind of pollution, and keep the whole law of God; and, if they would do this, God would strengthen them against their enemies, his arm should be their arm, and the time was not far distant when, if they purified themselves properly, one should be able to choose his thousand, and to put their ten thousand to flight.[39]  

This was the same rhetoric used in the journal entries of 1835. It again amounted to nothing. In Caldwell County tensions mounted, and a secret band of Mormon “enforcers” [40] was formed called the Danites, which Smith described in his diary:

“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.[41]

Open war soon erupted between the Missourians and the Mormons, with Smith promising to those that fought with him 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.’”[42]

Ordering the Mormon apostle David W. Patten to attack State Militia, Smith outraged the Governor, who issued an Extermination Order against the Mormons. Patten was killed in the Battle of Crooked River, and Smith was captured and charged with treason and murder.  Sent to Richmond and then Liberty Jail, Smith bribed his guards and left the state, and soon thereafter made Commerce Illinois the new gathering place for the “saints”.[43] It is here, that we have some more mention of the Rocky Mountains.

About a year after his “leg bail” from the Missourians, Smith sent Jonathan Dunham on a mission to New York to proselyte the Indians there. Smith had suspended his plans to intermarry with the “Lamanites” in Missouri because govern­ment regulations enforced by Indian agents forbade dwelling among the Indian Tribes, and the Missourians were suspicious very early on of supposed Mormon interaction with them. It seems that the conversion of an Indian and his family, who was “an Interpreter of six tribes” generated excitement among the Mormons to renew their efforts in fulfilling Smith’s prophecy that the “Lamanites” would “blossom as the rose”.[44]

On July 19, 1840 Smith would embellish his concept of Zion once more, claiming that “When all this comes true–and it surely will–then they will know that a prophet has been among them,”[45] before he launched into a “prophetic” speech that would set the stage for the coming “Lamanite” uprising. Howard and Martha Corey reported that Smith,

“read the parable of the 12 olive trees  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 [County, Missouri] 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”[46]

Having failed twice at Zion’s redemption, Smith was now claiming that twelve “stakes” must be built up first, but in 1837 told something quite different to some in his inner circle like Mary Fielding, who mentions them in a letter to her sister written in 1837:

“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 [Ohio] and in the west [Missouri]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.”[47]

Forced out of Missouri without redeeming Zion, Smith reverses himself, and claims,

“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…”[48]

We then have Smith claiming that the Mormons would save the Constitution after the desolation that the “Gentiles” would suffer (for rejecting the Book of Mormon)[49]and Smith gives a timeframe for when all this happens, and does it by way of a “prophecy”,

“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

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 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”[50]

It would be hard indeed, to imagine Smith prophecying (and really believing) that the saints would be “driven” from Nauvoo, in 1842 when he “prophesied” in 1840 that it would become the greatest city in the world,

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. Now from this hour bring every thing you can bring and build a Temple unto the Lord a house into the mighty God of Jacob. We will build upon the top of this Temple a great observatory a great and high watch tower and in the top thereof we will Suspend a tremendous bell  that when it is rung shall rouse the inhabitants of Madison wake up the people of Warsaw and sound in the ears of men [in] Carthage Then comes the ancient records yea all of them dig them yea bring them forth speedily

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”[51]

Not finished, Smith again gives a “ prophesy” that “these saints” will return to Missouri,

“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. And if it should be (Stretching his hand towards the place and in a melancholly tone that made all hearts tremble) will of God that I might live to behold that temple completed and finished from the foundation to the top stone I will say Oh Lord it is enough Lord let thy servant depart in peace, which is my ernest prayer in the name of the L[ord] Jesus Amen.”[52]

We now return to Jonathan Dunham and his mission to the “Lamanites”, who left Fort Leavenworth where he was residing, and wrote a letter to Hiram Kellogg in Kirtland to ask for assistance, signing it “Jonathan Dunham, Lamanite”. After he arrived in Kirtland, one of the leaders there, Thomas Burdick wrote a letter to Joseph Smith, quoting some of Dunham’s letter and asking about his “mission”, which they thought odd in the light of Dunham’s subsequent explanations upon his arrival there. Dunham initially wrote Kellogg,

“Dear brother in the gospel and new Covenant, I feel it a duty to inform you that I am on  my way and mission to the State of New York, I have  just returned from the Far West! by way of Commerce  Nauvoo, Springfield &c. I started in company with three other Elders who have all got sick & I have been obliged to leave them, two of whom have gone back &  the other I left in Covington K.Y. opposite Cincinatti.  My mission is urgent indeed. I am now left alone”  I did want you to select out if possible three or four Lam anite preachers and have them ready when I arrive to  go to Catteraugus Buffalo Tonawanda, Tuscaroras  Alleganys Onendagas and Oneidas:— I want the  bretheren if possible to assist me in getting to the Onida  Castle by water for I am in haste to return to Nauvoo  at Oct. Conference, & then to my station in the Terri tory of Missouri 9 miles from the Garrison (Leving worth), from whence, I have just come. A new  scene of things are about to transpire in the west, in fulfilment of prophecy, &c I want your prayers & also  the prayers of the bretheren that I may have my health to  accomplish my mission. I am not sent to the Gentiles  neither to the Cities of the Sameritans, but to the promised  people of the house of Jacob, who if they go through &c”[53]

While in Kirtland, Burdick reports that Dunham preached in public that,

“This nation is about  to be destroyed” and suggests to the bretheren that there is a place of safety preparing for them away towards  the Rockey mountains they may have a long and croo ked Road to go to get there” and says but few will  be preserved to arrive there, he suggests that twelve  stakes may be built up & again thrown down—  That the ten tribes are somewhere on a Planet taken  from this Plannet which when it comes back will cause  this earth to reil to and fro like two Boats meeting—  that Adam had 15 or 16 sons before Cain &c.”[54]

Dunham had obviously heard Smith’s “prophetic” speech in July, or reports of it. His “towards the Rocky Mountains”, could mean anywhere between the western boundary of Missouri and the Rockies, and as we shall see, there was never any specific destination Mormon “prophets” had in mind, only vague references to the Rocky Mountains, as this was.  In 1841, the “saints” were told,

“all places of gathering are discontinued, excepting Hancock county, Illinois, and Zarahemla, in Lee county, Iowa territory, opposite Nauvoo…”[55]

Regardless, this was in direct contradiction to a “revelation” that Smith wrote in 1830 where he states,

“And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts; Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked. For the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand when the earth is ripe; and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth; For the hour is nigh, and that which was spoken by mine apostles must be fulfilled; for as they spoke so shall it come to pass; For I will reveal myself from heaven with power and great glory, with all the hosts thereof, and dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years, and the wicked shall not stand.”[56]

And 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.”[57]

Smith’s modus operandi was to entrench himself in a place, until driven out when his dishonest dealings were exposed. In 1842 he came close to leaving Nauvoo over the defection of John C. Bennett and his revelations about Smith’s spiritual wifeism, and so the Rocky Mountains and the “stakes” were again discussed. This was mentioned by Oliver Olney, a convert from the Kirtland days who had weathered the Missouri storm, but had recently apostatized.

“Also twelve Stakes of Zion on its borders that was to be reared by the Latter Day Saints, in the due time of the Lord, as the way opened it for them to perform.”[58]

Marvin S. Hill in “Quest For Refuge” explains,

“For a time, in response to the criticism in local and national press due to Bennett’s allegations, Smith entertained the idea of finding refuge further west. Oliver Olney learned of this and wrote him a letter dated 20 July 1842 from Quincy. He inquired, “They say with your numerous wifes and maidens you are about to start west as far as the Rocky Mountains where you will raise up a Righteous Branch without being molested by the Laws of the Land.” Olney later noted that the Saints “are fast a fixing to go West where they can live in peace without being molested By the laws of the land. They say soon to start If what I hear is correct as far West as Origen Territory and establish a stake of Zion.” But Willard Richards indicated in a letter to James Arlington Bennett of New York, written in November, that the Saints desired to go no further west unless compelled, so that by the latter date they felt reasonably certain that they had weathered the storm stirred by Bennett.”[59]

1846 Texas Territory

Since Missouri was now off limits to the Mormons, the Territory beyond Missouri – which was Texas and encompassed part of the Rockies – would be considered by Smith and others as an additional refuge for the “saints”.  This fits in with Smith’s plans to proselyte the “Lamanites” and set up the twelve “stakes”  (or cities) in the Texas Territory, as recorded by William Clayton:

[January 1, 1845. Wednesday.]…The organization of the Kingdom of God on 11th March last is one important event. This organization was called the Council of Fifty or Kingdom of God, and was titled by revelation as follows. “Verily thus saith the Lord, this is the name by which you shall be called, the Kingdom of God and his Laws, with the Keys and power thereof, and judgment in the hands of his servants, Ahman Christ.” In this Council [p.154] was the plan arranged for supporting President Joseph Smith as a candidate for the presidency of the U.S. President Joseph was the standing chairman of the Council and myself the Clerk. In this Council was also devised the plan of establishing an emigration to Texas, and plans laid for the exaltation of a standard and ensign of truth for the nations of the earth. In this Council was the plan devised to restore the Ancients to the Knowledge of the truth and the restoration of Union and peace amongst ourselves.  In this Council was President Joseph chosen our Prophet, Priest and King by Hosannas. In this Council was the principles of eternal truth rolled forth to the heavens without reserve and the hearts of the servants of God made to rejoice exceedingly. I was admitted a member of the first quorum and a member of the council of fifty. I have received two companions, received two children and buried one.”[60]

A month later, Wilford Woodruff mentions California as a place to set up “a city”,

“I met with the Quorum of the Twelve at Joseph’s Store and according to Joseph’s counsel, we selected a company to go on an exploring expedition to California and pitch upon a spot to build a city. The following persons were named: Jonathan Dunham, David Fulmer, Phineas Young, Alphonzo Young, Yearsley and Emmet.”[61]

Wilford Woodruff

What is interesting, is that Smith’s Presidential Platform included the annexation of Texas, and he still had plans for the territory.  In the History of the Church Smith’s plans were revealed,

7 Mar 1844 – At a meeting at the Nauvoo Temple, William W. Phelps read Smith’s presidential platform and he was “unanimously, with one exception” nominated as a candidate for President of the United States.   Explaining his views on slavery and westward expansion, Smith said that he would free the slaves from a few states, compensate their owners, annex Texas, and settle the freed slaves in Texas, where they would act as a buffer of human flesh against the British, who were also attempting to gain control of Texas:

British officers are now running all over Texas to establish British influence in that country…. It will be more honorable for us to receive Texas and set the negroes free, and use the negroes and Indians against our foes….How much better it is for the nation to bear a little expense than to have the Indians and British upon us and destroy us all…. The South holds the balance of power. By annexing Texas, I can do away with this evil. As soon as Texas was annexed, I would liberate the slaves in two or three States, indemnifying [i.e. compensating] their owners, and send the negroes to Texas, and from Texas to Mexico, where all colors are alike. And if that was not sufficient, I would call upon Canada, and annex it.”[62]

Aside from the racism here, Smith’s plans to use the “negroes and Indians against our foes” as “a buffer of human flesh” is reprehensible for one claiming to follow Jesus. A year later, after Smith’s death, Clayton mentions Lewis Dana, an Indian (Lamanite) who they had admitted to the Council of Fifty, and the Council’s plans to use him to help them find a place to settle in the “west”,

[March 1, 1845. Saturday.] At 10 A.M. met at the Seventies Hall in the Council of Fifty. The following brethren were taken into fill up the Quorum viz; Joseph Young, John E. Page, David Fullmer, Theodore Turley, Albert P. Rockwood, Jonathan Dunham, and Lucien R. Foster. They subscribed to the laws of the Council and covenanted before God with uplifted hands to maintain all things inviolate agreeable to the order of the Council. Brothers Daniel Spencer, Isaac Morley, and Shadrack Roundy were selected to make up the number of 50 but they were absent and sick. Brother John Pack was admitted to sit in the place of Wilford Woodruff, John D. Lee in the place of Ezra Thayer, and Lewis Dana in place of Amos Fielding they being absent on business. Lewis Dana is a Lamanite of the Oneida nation and the First Lamanite who has been admitted a member of any Quorum of the Church.

The object of the Council was to decide whether we shall send out a company of men with Brother Dana to fill Josephs measures originally adopted in this Council by going West to seek out a location and a home where the Saints can dwell in peace and health and where they can erect the ensign and standard of liberty for the nations, and live by the laws of God without being oppressed and mobbed under a tyrannical government, without protection from the laws. Many able speeches were made on the subject and the Council finally agreed to send out a company with Brother Dana to accomplish this important object.”[63]

Just as Smith dreamed of being the head of God’s political kingdom on earth, so did Brigham Young, who left the United States and to start an independent nation, which he named Deseret.[64]The plans for this political kingdom was to befriend the Indians, who the Mormons expected to “rise up” against the people of the United States and help them destroy themselves.[65]

Some months before the his diary entries of September 1835 which outlined the plan to redeem Zion by 1836, Smith called  a special conference of those who had been members of Zion’s Camp, and told them that “God had commanded it and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit” that “it was The Will of God that they should be ordained to the ministry and go forth to prune the vineyard for the last times, or the coming of the Lord which was nigh, even fifty six years, should wind up the scene.”[66]

This timeframe would figure prominently in a tract that Parley P. Pratt would publish in a rebuttal of claims made by LaRoy Sunderland who had denounced Mormonism in his publication, Zion’s Watchman. In his tract, called Mormonism Unveiled, Pratt stated that the Book of Mormon prophesied this very scenario, (involving the “Lamanites”) and Pratt also “prophesied” that it would happen in less than 50 years from that date (or the Book of Mormon was false), which was also the same timeframe that Smith would repeat in July of 1840,

LaRoy Sunderland

The Book of Mormon contains many prophecies, yet future, with names, places, and dates, so definite, that a child may understand; indeed, it is one of the peculiar characteristics of the Book of Mormon, that its predictions are plain, simple, definite, literal, positive and very express, as to the time of their fulfilment. Notice a prediction of Nephi, page 125, second edition. “For after the book of which I have spoken, shall come forth, and be written unto the Gentiles, and sealed up again unto the Lord, there shall be many, which shall believe the words which are written, and they shall carry them forth, unto the remnant of our seed, (the Indians) and then shall the remnant of our seed know concerning us; how that we came on from Jerusalem; and that they are the descendants of the Jews; and the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be declared among them; wherefore they shall be restored unto the knowledge of their fathers; and also to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which was had among their fathers; and then shall they rejoice for they shall know, that it is a blessing unto them from the hand of God. And their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and delightsome people. And it shall come to pass that the Jews which are scattered also shall begin to believe in Christ; and they shall begin to gather in upon the face of the land; and as many as shall believe in Christ, shall also be a delightsome people; and it shall come to pass, that the Lord God shall commence his work among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, to bring about the restoration of his people upon the earth. * * * For the time speedily cometh, that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy, and he will spare his people.”

Also page 121, 2d edition. “Behold that great and abominable church, the whore of all the earth, must tumble to the earth, and great must be the fall thereof: for the kingdom of the devil must shake; and they which belong to it must needs be stirred up unto repentance. or the devil will grasp them with his everlasting chains, and they be stirred up to anger and perish; for behold at that day shall he rage in the hearts of the children of men, and stir them up to anger against that which is good.”

Also, page 122 2nd edition. “Woe unto all those who tremble and are angry, because of the truth of God; for behold he that is built upon the rock, receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth, lest he shall fall.” Also. page 123 2nd edition. “Woe be unto the Gentiles, says the Lord God of Hosts; for notwithstanding I shall lengthen out my arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me.” See also, page 514, and read the fate of our nation, and the fate of the Indians of America; in the day that the Gentiles should reject the fullness of the gospel.–(The Book of Mormon.) See also, page 526, where a sign is given, and the time clearly set for the restoration and gathering of Israel from their long dispersion, namely, the coming forth the Book of Mormon, should be the sign; and in the day this work should come forth, should this great event commence among all nations. Also, p. 527, where all who will not hearken to the Book of Mormon, shall be cut off from among the people; and that too, in the day it comes forth to the Gentiles and is rejected by them. And not only does this page set the time for the overthrow of our government and all other Gentile governments on the American continent, but the way and means of this utter destruction are clearly foretold; namely, the remnant of Jacob will go through among the Gentiles and tear them in pieces. like a lion among the flocks of sheep. Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off. This destruction includes an utter overthrow, and desolation of all our Cities, Forts, and Strong Folds–an entire annihilation of our race, except such as embrace the Covenant, and are numbered with Israel.

Parley P. Pratt

Now, Mr. Sunderland, you have something definite and tangible, the time, the manner, the means, the names, the dates; and I will state as a prophecy, that there will not be an unbelieving Gentile upon this continent 50 years hence; and if they are not greatly scourged, and in a great measure overthrown, within five or ten years from this date, then the Book of Mormon will have proved itself false. And furthermore, as Mr. LaRoy Sunderland has lied concerning the truth of Heaven, the fulness of the Gospel; and has blasphemed against the word of God, except he speedily repent, and acknowledge his lying and wickedness, and obey the message of eternal truth, which God has sent for the salvation of his people. God will smite him dumb, that he can no longer speak great swelling words against the Lord; and a trembling shall seize his nerves, that he shall not be able to write; and Zion’s Watchman shall cease to be published abroad, and its lies shall no longer deceive the public; and he will wander a vagabond on the earth, until sudden destruction shall overtake him; and if Mr. La Roy Sunderland enquires, when shall these things be? I reply, it is nigh thee–even at thy doors; and I say this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

I hope Mr. Sunderland, will no more complain of the jargon of the Mormon Prophets being unintelligible or indefinite.”[67]

Brigham Young elaborated on those plans for the Lamanites in July of 1847 as WIlford Woodruff records in his Journal,

“all the governors–and presidents of the U.S.A. had rejected all our petitions from first to last, that when the Saints were driven from Illinois and perished as it were on the prairies, then President Polk sends for a draft of 500 men to go into the Army. What for? That they might be wasted entirely wasted away as a people. If the brethren had not gone, they would have made war upon us and the Governor of Missouri would have been ordered not to have let us cross the Missouri and the raising of the battalion was our temporal salvation at the time and said Polk would be damned for this act and that he with many of the government men had a hand in the death of Joseph and Hyrum and that they should be damned for these things and if they ever sent any men to interfere with us here, they shall have their throats cut and sent to hell, and with uplifted hands to Heaven swore by the Gods of Eternity that He would never cease His exhortation while he lived to make every preparation and avenge blood of the Prophets and Saints, that he intended to have every hole and corner from the Bay of Francisco to Hudson Bay known to us and that our people would be connected with every tribe of Indians throughout America and that our people would yet take their squaws, wash and dress them up, teach them our language and teach them to labor and teach them the gospel of their forefathers and raise up children by them and teach the children and not many generations hence they will become a white and delightsome people and in no other way will it be done and that the time was nigh at hand when the gospel must go to that people.”[68]

In his book Establishing Zion, Eugene E. Campbell writes,

“When the Mormons began their emigration from Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1846, their destination was California. The Great Basin, which was part of the Mexican province of Upper California, was to be the site of the first colony, but as Apostle Parley P. Pratt wrote in September 1846, “I expect we shall stop near the Rocky Mountains about 800 miles nearer than the coast … and there make a stand until we are able to enlarge and extend to the coast.”[69]

This didn’t happen, not because of prophetic vision, but because they did not have the means. Campbell again explains,

“Young had also notified Brannan as late as 6 June 1847 that “the main [camp] will not go to the west coast, or to your place at present, as they do not have the means.” This implied that Young’s contingent would have followed Brannan’s example, if they had had the means. Young continued in the same letter, “Any among you who may choose to come over into the basin, or meet the camp, are at liberty to do so, and if they are doing well where they are, and choose to stay, it is quite all right.” However, after church authorities established the Great Salt Lake Valley as the headquarters of the church, the policy emerged of requiring that all loyal church members gather to that region, help to build it up, and secure it for the church.[70]

There is ample evidence to show that neither Joseph Smith nor Brigham Young had any specific places in mind when it came to setting up “stakes” or cities in the west, hence there was no “vision” or “prophecy” that described anything in detail, as Anson Call would claim years after the Mormons built up the Salt Lake Valley.  Having been driven out of every place they had previously settled, and with tensions rising in Nauvoo in 1842, it is quite plausible that Smith mentioned the Rocky Mountains as his next place to escape to.  His plans for the Presidency of the United States only go to show that Smith intended to stay in Nauvoo, and keep it intact as one of the “stakes” of Zion, along with establishing other “stakes” in the “far west”.  But his timeline changed with every new move and every new city he built up, all the while “prophesying “ “greatness” for those cities, none of which ever came to pass[71]

Addendum:

I found this recently posted by rare document and book collector Rick Grunder  on his website where he lists some “past treasures” he has sold, and one of them was a broadside that was published by the Church in 1845. Grunder writes,

The first printing of news that the entire Church will go West, published at Nauvoo in October, 1845.  A spectacular Mormon broadside (Flake 1339; Crawley 284; Byrd 945), of which only five examples are recorded. This sixth example appears to be the only copy in private hands.

Our houses, our farms, this Temple and all we leave will be a monument to those who may visit the place of our industry, diligence and virtue. . . .  Wake up, wake up dear brethren . . . to the present glorious emergency . . . The exodus of the . . . only true Israel from these U. S. to a far distant region of the West . . .  Let all wagons that are hereafter built be constructed to the track of five feet width from centre to centre. . . . There are said to be many good locations for settlements on the Pacific, especially at Vancouver’s Island, near the mouth of Columbia.  BRIGHAM YOUNG, Pres’t.  WILLARD RICHARDS, Clerk.

The Huntington Family copy, with notarized provenance. Sold to a private collector.

V. THE REAL ISSUE

What is the real issue that the Tanners and Richard Abanes and others are getting at here? It is this:

That there were changes made in Joseph Smith’s history after the fact and written in as his actual words, without any documents to authenticate them.  As B.H. Roberts writes in New Witnesses,

“At that date, August 6th, 1842, the Rocky Mountains seemed like a country afar off to the people of Illinois. The Missouri River was the extreme frontiers of the United States. All beyond that was well nigh an unexplored wilderness filled with savages. The church was fairly settled at Nauvoo, the state authorities were apparently very friendly, the future of the Saints in Illinois seemed propitious. Yet in the midst of all these favorable circumstances the Prophet predicted much affliction for some of the Saints, death from persecution for others, apostasy for many, and for the great body of the church an exodus to the Rocky Mountains, where some of those present who were listening to the prediction, should live to assist in making settlements and building cities in the Rocky Mountains where they would see the Saints become a mighty people.

There can be no question as to the reality of these two predictions, the one of March, 1831, and the other of August, 1842, or of their being of a character to test the divine inspiration of him who uttered them. That they were proclaimed some years before the events predicted in them began to be fulfilled, or even there was any thought or prospect of such events taking place, is well known; that the latter prophecy has been fulfilled to the uttermost, the whole history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from August, 1842, until now witnesses. The Saints suffered many afflictions in Illinois. Their homes, fields, stacks of grain, stock and other property were destroyed; their prophets and a number of others were killed outright by mob violence; many more perished from exposure and disease occasioned by being driven from their homes at an inclement season of the year. In those trying times, following the martyrdom of the Prophet and the expulsion from Nauvoo, many turned away from the faith, and it is too generally known to need comment, that the great body of the church made its way to the Rocky Mountains, where cities, towns and villages have been founded, the wilderness subdued, and the Saints are fast becoming a mighty people.”[72]

Even knowing the problems with Call’s recollection of Smith’s “prophecy”, Roberts still insists that “the latter prophecy has been fulfilled to the uttermost”, and touts it as a test of “the divine inspiration of him who uttered them.”  In 1891 Assistant Church Historian Andrew Jensen repeats the “prophecy” to a group of students,

“I need spend no time to prove the fulfilment of this remarkable prophecy. All of you who are present in this hall tonight can testify to its literal fulfilment. The Latter-day Saints have indeed become a mighty people in these mountains, numbering as they do now about two hundred thousand souls, organized into thirty-two stakes of Zion, or nearly five hundred wards and branches; and this does not include the Saints in Mexico and Canada. It is also a matter of history that the Saints, for years after the prediction was uttered, continued to suffer persecution and affliction from their enemies; that many apostatized, while others, who proved faithful and true to their covenants, were put to death for conscience’ sake, and the remainder were driven by a ruthless mob from the beautiful city of Nauvoo into the western wilderness in the year 1846.”[73]

Apostle Erastus Snow would add to the folklore in 1916:

“Joseph Smith, when he uttered this prophecy, when he beheld this vision, was standing upon the banks of the Mississippi River, fifteen hundred miles from where we now are. Yet he saw the Rocky Mountains, and the crystal streams flowing from yonder canyons, and I doubt not that if he had led his people to this land, as he once purposed doing, he would have recognized it as a familiar scene, having beheld it in vision, by the seeric gift, before he saw it with the natural eye. But the Prophet was not destined to fulfill his own prediction; his martyrdom prevented; and the Lord raised up another mighty man to carry out the project, to become the founder of Utah, and the redeemer of the Great American Desert.”[74]

On the Churches official site, under “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church” they are still pedaling the folklore,

“The Prophet was well aware that he and all of the Saints living in Nauvoo were in an increasingly dangerous situation. As Nauvoo grew larger, some of the people who lived in the area began to fear the growing political and economic power of the Saints, and mobs began again to harass them. The Prophet was in particular danger, for authorities from Missouri made repeated efforts to capture him, and apostates from the Church became increasingly hostile in their efforts to destroy him. On August 6, 1842, the Prophet declared that the time would come when Church members would be forced to leave Nauvoo:

“I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some of you will live to go and assist in making settlements and build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.”[75]

The footnote they give for the quote references the same interpolated manuscript that the Tanners expose as having been doctored after the fact:

History of the Church, 5:85; from “History of the Church” (manuscript), book D-1, p. 1362, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. [76]

In July of 1997, M. Russell Ballard once again references the same spurious prophecy in a New Era article,

“The pioneer exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, began on February 4, 1846. Nearly four years earlier, in August of 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith shared his foreknowledge of the trek west: “I prophesied that the Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains, many would apostatize, others would be put to death by our persecutors or lose their lives in consequence of exposure or disease, and some [would live to] build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, 1976, 255).[77]

“Apostle” M. Russell Ballard

The impression the Church today gives is not that this “prophecy” is a conglomeration of various and sundry statements by Smith, or even an amalgamation of them crafted into a coherent “prophecy”, but a valid, specific statement uttered by Smith on a particular day and inserted by Smith himself into his own history.  What the evidence shows is that this is not only an interpolation, but it is an insertion of something that there is no evidence that Smith ever said in those precise words, and was in fact a contradiction of previous prophecies that were recorded! The Tanners are absolutely correct in their use of sources to prove this, and their conclusion that this “prophecy” is “not authentic”.

CONCLUSION

The shoddy and deceptive “apologetics” of F.A.I.R. are demonstrated here for what they are. If one were to systematically go through each of their reviews, one can come to the same conclusion for the majority of their efforts. Their vilification of the Tanners as “dishonest” is especially disturbing, for as we see by the evidence from this one instance, the Tanners are vindicated by the facts, and it is F.A.I.R. who is shown to be dishonest and misleading.

F.A.I.R.’s disclaimer at the bottom of each of its articles is a fascinating puzzle in and of itself. They claim,

“The Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR) is not … affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All research and opinions provided on this site … should not be interpreted as official statements of LDS doctrine, belief, or practice.”

How can an organization that consists of members of the Mormon Church not be affiliated with it? Affiliated means to be formally or informally associated.  Are we to believe that “faithful members” of a church are not affiliated with it? In a press release to promote their newly published book Shaken- Faith Syndrome (distributed by the Church owned Deseret Book) in 2008, F.A.I.R. describes itself as,

“a  tax-exempt 501 (C) 3 Corporation staffed by faithful members of the Church of Jesus  Christ of Latter-day Saints who seek to defend the Mormon Church, its leaders,  teachings, and practices….”[78]

Good for them. But they don’t play fair.

NOTES

[1] History of the Church , Vol.5, Ch.4, p.85.

[2] Challenging Anti-Mormon Apologetics is a Facebook Page that describes itself as “A group where the members discuss issues brought up by critics of Mormonism on Face Book”.  Their Rules of the Page include,

3. Personal attacks (a.k.a. ad hominem attacks) will not be tolerated. Friendly jabs, however, are allowed.

4. Hostility toward any given religious group is forbidden. Disagreements are to be expected, but this is no excuse for hostility.

In a post made on February 6, 2012 we read,

“Lion Leviticus – your end will be near if you continue to disrespect and post your Anti-Mormon Rhetoric here. Consider this your fair warning from this Admin – Timothy. If you disagree then you can go somewhere else and post your poisonous bigotry elsewhere. One more post from you that disrespects, condemns, state we are going to hell or are children of a False Prophet then you will be banned and you will no longer enjoy the privileges of posting on this page. Consider this fair warning you lying serpent of the Devil and False prophet who possesses a contentious spirit.”

And in a follow up,

“Any other apostates, ex-mormons, athiests, or Anti-Mormons do not like this decision, you all can go to other places on the web where you are more than welcome to gnash, rant, rail, and deceive one another. Your days are numbered, and you will be called out. I am tired of your evil rantings and your destruction of testimonies and slandering of the Prophets and the Apostles. I will start calling you out by name and calling you out and expose you for who you are. Want to discuss my faith, you will discuss it with due respect and disagree honorably. If you act like a child and want to through mud, use slander, call us names then you will be called a child of Satan, children of lies, deceiving and lying spirits who are bent on one thing and one thing only. YOU DO NOT HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO CONDEMN US AND OUR TESTIMONY STANDS AS A WITNESS TO YOUR LIES AND DECEPTIONS AND YOUR ANGER TOWARD THE TRUTH, RIGHTEOUSNESS AND LIBERTY WE HAVE IN CHRIST AND IT WILL LEAD YOU TO BONDAGE AND THERE YOU WILL BECOME A SERVANT OF YOUR FATHER!” ~~Timothy [Berman] (Page Administrator, emphasis all his).

I think that will suffice as to how well they “challenge” anything on that Page, and the top-notch scholarly approach they use there. Still, the story surrounding the Rocky Mountain “prophecy” is interesting, which prompted this article. Note: This post was subsequently removed from the page, but here is a screenshot of the post as it appeared:

[3] Fair Article: Criticism of Mormonism Books One Nation Under Gods, use of sources, forged Rocky Mountain prophecy, hereafter, Criticism.

[4] ibid.

[5] The Changing World of Mormonism by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, page 405, emphasis mine, hereafter Changing World.

[6] ibid, pages 404-05, emphasis mine.

[7] Fair Wiki Article: Joseph Smith prophecies, Forged Rocky Mountain prophecy, Tanners use of sources, hereafter, Tanner’s sources.

[8] ibid.

[9] Changing World, pages 405-406, emphasis mine.

[10] The full warning reads,

“This is a review of claims and/or responses to misrepresentations of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints found in this work. The inclusion of an author’s work here does not imply that he or she is “anti-Mormon,” or that none of his or her work(s) have value. Those who do not wish to examine the claims contained in what some would consider an “anti-Mormon” work are advised to proceed no further.”

Almost all of their “reviews” of books critical of Mormonism, contain this “Note”, and it is even applied to authors that are members of the Church. I guess if you are critical of Mormonism in any way, even if you are a member, you are an “anti-Mormon”. That must be fair, since it’s coming from F.A.I.R., right?

[11] Fair Article Criticism of Mormonism Books One Nation Under Gods, use of sources, forged Rocky Mountain prophecy, op. cited, hereafter, Criticism.

[12] Changing World, pages 405-406, emphasis mine.

[13] F.A.I.R. Article, Criticism, op. cited.

[14] History of the Church vol. 3, page 85, emphasis mine.

[15] http://user.xmission.com/~plporter/lds/ansoncall.htm

[16] Fair Article, Criticism, op. cited.

[17] John Denver, lyrics from the album Rocky Mountain High, RCA, 1972.

[18] Joseph Smith, August 8, 1839, Willard Richards Pocket Companion, emphasis mine (probably copied in part from notes of John Taylor & given sometime in July). Smith would later claim that the “whole of America” is Zion, but if it is, then where do you flee to? He mentions “stakes” that will provide some protection. But Smith had already revealed that Zion was a specific place, and the only place that fits his end of the world scenario is Jackson County Missouri. Salt Lake City would be a “stake” of Zion, and would not fit this scenario in the timeframe that Smith gave over and over, that the end would come in fifty years from the time of this statement. This has been borne out by historical events.

[19] The Evening and the Morning Star, Vol. 1 No. 2 October 1832, page 37, hereafter Star.

[20] ibid. Wilford Woodruff wrote an account of the “Zelph vision” that warrants inclusion here,

“While on our travels we visited many of the mounds which were flung up by the ancient inhabitants of this continent probably by the Nephites & Lamanites. We visited one of those Mounds and several of the brethren dug into it and took from it the bones of a man.

[Interlinearly after “We visited one of those Mounds”:] considerd to be 300 feet above the level of the Illinois river. Three persons dug into the mound & found a body. Elder Milton Holmes took the arrow out of the back bones that killed Zelph & brought it with some of the bones in to the camp. I visited the same mound with Jesse J Smith. Who the other persons were that dug in to the mound & found the body I am undecided.

Brother Joseph had a vission respecting the person. He said he was a white Lamanite. The curs was taken from him or at least in part. He was killed in battle with an arrow. The arrow was found among his ribs. One of his thigh bones was broken. This was done by a stone flung from a sling in battle years before his death. His name was Zelph. Some of his bones were brought into the Camp and the thigh bone which was broken was put into my waggon and I carried it to Missouri. Zelph was a large thick set man and a man of God. He was a warrior under the great prophet /Onandagus/ that was known from the hill Camorah /or east sea/ to the Rocky mountains. The above knowledge Joseph receieved in a vision.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 1, 1833–1840, p.10)

[21] Book of Commandments, 44:32 reads,

“For it shall come to pass, that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate the riches of the Gentiles, unto my people which are of the house of Israel.”

Smith would change this in 1835 to read,

“For it shall come to pass, that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate of the riches of those who embrace my gospel among the Gentiles unto the poor of my people who are of the house of Israel.”

While there have been a few Mormon writers who have been willing to admit that Joseph Smith’s revelations have been changed, many have not been that honest. Mormon Apostle John A. Widtsoe said that the revelations “have remained unchanged. There has been no tampering with God’s word” (Joseph Smith—Seeker After Truth, p. 119).

Joseph Fielding Smith, tenth president, said that “there was no need for eliminating, changing, or adjusting any part to make it fit; but each new revelation on doctrine and priesthood fitted in its place perfectly to complete the whole structure, as it had been prepared by the Master Builder” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p. 170).

For an indepth study of all the changes made in the Book of Commandments,  go here.

[22] A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints, by Francis K. Bishop, 1839 page 1.  A good article on some of the reasons behind the Mormon War can be found here.

[23] B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, Vol.1, Ch.22, p.300, bracketed words are in the original. For more on the “Lamanites” see note 65.

[24]  Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Section 57:1-2, hereafter D&C, emphasis mine.

[25] ibid, verse 3.

[26] Star, page 37, emphasis mine.

[27] JS, letter, Kirtland, OH to N. C. Saxton, Rochester, NY, 4 Jan. 1833; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams, with insertion in handwriting of William W. Phelps; in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 14–18; JS Collection, CHL.. See also, History of the Church, vol. 3:311-15.  My question when reading why Smith wrote this letter is – why is this not canonized? Smith wrote a follow up letter to N.C. Saxton, the editor of the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer where only part of the letter had been published and claimed,

“The letter which I  wrote you for publication I wrote by the commandment of God, and I am quite anxious  to have it all laid before the public for it is of importance to them …” (JS, letter, Kirtland, OH, to N. C. Saxton, Rochester, NY, 12 Feb. 1833; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams; in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 27–28; JS Collection, CHL., emphasis mine)

[28] D&C 103:6-7.

[29] ibid, 13-20.

[30] Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol.19, No.4, p.196, hereafter Dialogue, emphasis mine.

[31] D&C 103 21:28, emphasis mine

[32] History of the Church, vol. 2:108-11. Also, D&C 105:2.

[33] D&C 101: 20-21.(16 December 1833)

[34] ibid, verse 17.

[35] Joseph Smith Jr. (Kirtland, OH), to Lyman Wight, Edward Partridge, John Corrill, Isaac Morley, and others, Clay County, MO, 16 Aug. 1834; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams; in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 84–87; JS Collection, CHL.

[36] Scott H. Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p.34-35, emphasis mine.

[37] John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church, page 26.

[38] http://mormonthink.com/glossary/anti-banking.htm

[39] ibid, page 29, emphasis mine.

[40] Corrill, p. 46.

[41] Joseph Smith diary, Missouri Journal, 1838, March to September, under July 27, 1838; Scott Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p. 198, emphasis mine.

[42] History of the Church 3:167

[43] Reed Peck was a follower of Joseph Smith from the time of the Church’s organization until the summer of 1838 when he became “opposed to the wicked transactions in Davies and the oppressive influence by which the church is led”. He directly tied Smith to the Danites by eyewitness testimony. Reed Peck left the Mormons and returned to South Bainbridge, (Afton, New York) farmed, and was a Justice of the Peace. In 1839 Reed Peck wrote an account of the events of the Mormon War, which has become known as the Reed Peck Manuscript,or History. Concerning the Danites he writes,

“A few individuals of us [p. 36] were ever after this opposed to the rule of the presidency perceiving that all spiritual and temporal affairs were under their control and no monarch on earth ever had supreme power over his subjects more than they over the inhabitants of Caldwell County only they durst not exercise it to so great a degree Their word was law in religious civil and military matters, but the secret springs of their power and influence we did not yet understand…

[p. 38] Some time previous to this Secret meetings had been held in F West that excited much curiousity among those that had not been permitted to attend as it was easily discovered that something more than ordinary was in progress among the male members of the church Ignorant of the nature of these meetings I attend one about the last of June, and heared a full disclosure of its object=Jared Carter Geo W. Robinson, and Sampson Avard, under the instructions of their presidency, had formed a secret military Society, called the “daughter of Zion” and [p. 39] were holding meetings to initiate members The principles taught by Sampson Aard as spokesman, were that “as the Lord had raised up a prophet in these last days like unto Moses it Shall be the duty of this band to obey him in all things, and whatever he requires you shall perform being ready to give up life and property for the advancement of the Cause When any thing is to be performed no member Shall have the privilege of judging whether it would be right or wrong but Shall engage in its accomplishment and trust God for the result [p. 40] It is not our business or place to know what is required by God, but he will inform us by means of the prophet and we must perform If any one of you see a member of the band in difficulty in the surrounding country contending for instance with an enemy, you shall extricate him even if in the wrong if you have to do with his adversary as Moses did with the Egyptian put him under the Sand and both pack off to Far West and we will take care of the matter ourselves. No person shall be suffered to speak evil or disrespectfully of the presidency The secret signs [p. 41] and purposes of this society are not to be revealed on pain of death” &c &c About 50 persons were initiated into the Society at the time I was introduced and to sam time the oath was administered to all the novices at once of which I took advantage by remaining silent and accordingly avoided taking it

I was appointed Adjutant of the band in consequence I suppose of my holding that office in the 59th Reg Missouri Militia I did not think it policy to regect the appointment though I declared to my society friends that I would never act in [p. 42] the office — All the principles of the Society tended to give the presidency unlimited power over the property, persons and I might say with propriety lives of the memebrs of the church as physical force was to be resorted to if necessary to accomplish their designs The blood of my best best friend must flow by my own hands if I would be a faithful Danite should the prophet command it Said A McRae in my hearing “If Joseph should tell me to kill Vanburen in his presidential chain I would im [p. 43] mediately start and do my best to assassinate him let the consequences be as they would–Having been taught to believe themselves invincible in the defence of their cause though the combined power of the world were in array against them, and the purposes of God were to be accomplished through their instrumentality, the wicked destroyed, by force of arms the “nations subdued,” and the Kingdom of Christ established on the Earth, they consider themselves accountable only at the bar of God for their conduct, and consequently [p. 44] acknowlegded no law superior to the “word of the Lord through the prophet” Do you suppose said a Zealous Danite at a time when the Sheriff of Daviess county held a State’s warrant against Joseph Smith that the prophet will condescend to be tried before a judge? I answered that Smith would in all probability submit Knowing that in case resistence was made the officers would call in the strength of other counties to enforce the law “What, said he, do we care for other counties or for the state or whole United States.” [p. 45] The independence of the church was to be supported it laws and the behests of the presidency enforced by means of this layal band of Danites, under command of Jared Carter, the terrible brother of Gideon became the additional title of “Captain Genl of the Lords hosts” His subalterns were Maj Genl Sampson Avard Brigd Genl C. P. [-] Coln Geo W. Robinson also a Lieut Coln Maj. Secretary of War an Adjutant, Captains of fifties & captains of tens and all these officers with the privates were to be under the administration of [p. 46] the presidency of the church and wholly subject to their control

At a meeting for the organisation of the Danites Sampson Avard presented the society to the presidency who blessed them and accepted their Services as though they were soon to be enployed in executing some great design They also made speeches to the Society in which great military glory and conquest were represented as awaiting them, victories in which one should chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight, were portrayed in the most lively manner, the assistance of [p. 47] Angels promised and in fine every thing was said to inspire them with Zeal and courage and to make them believe that God was soon to “bring to pass his act, his strange act” or by them as instruments to perform a marvelous work on the Earth In the fore part of July the “brother of Gideon” or Jared Carter Capt Genl of the Danites having complained to Joseph Smith of some observations made by Sidney Rigdon in a Sermon, was tried for finding fault with one of the presidency and deprived of his station and Elias Higbee was appointed in his stead

[p. 48] Carter’s punishment according to the principles of the Danites Should have been death In the evening after the trial I was in company with Maj Genl Sampson Avard Dimick B Huntington Capt of the Guard, Elias Higbee the new capt Genl and David W. Patten one of the twelve apostles and member of the high counsel of the church all of whom had sat with the presidency on the trial. D. B. Huntington stated that Joseph declared during the examination that he should have cut Carters throat on the spot if he had been alone when he made the complaint [p. 49] Huntington also Said that on his trial Carter came within a fingers point of losing his head Sampson Avard related at the same time the arrangements that had been made by the presidency and officers present at the trial respecting the dissenters.–Said he, “All the head officers are to be furnished by the presidency with a list of dissenters both in Ohio and Missouri and if for example I meet with one of them or who is damning and cursing the presidency, I can curse them too and if he will drink I can get him a bowl for brandy and after a while [p. 50] take him by the arm and get him one Side in the brush when I will into his guts in a minute and put him under the Sod. When an officer had disposed of a dissenter in this way he shall inform the presidency, and them only with whom it shall remain an inviolable Secret In July the law of consecration took effect which required every person to give up to the bishop all surplus property of every description, not necessary for their present support Sampson Avard the most busy actor and sharpest tool of [p. 51] the presidency informed John Corrill and My self that “all persons who attempted to deceive and return property that should be given up would meet with the fate of Ananias and Saphira who were Killed by Peter”” 

[44] See Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 1, 1833–1840, p.484, July 13, 1840.

[45] Ezekiel 33:33

[46] Coray Notebook

[47] Mary Fielding to Mercy Rachel Fielding Thompson,  October 7, 1837, LDS Archives, Kenneth W. and Audrey M. Godfrey, Jill Mulvay Derr, Women’s Voices (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982), pp. 60-68.

[48] Howard and Martha Coray Notebook, July 19, 1840. Dean C. Jessee, gives the background here.

[49] See Note 65.

[50] Coray Notebook. On April 6, 1843 Smith gave a sermon and promised,

If I had not actually got into this work, & been called of God, I would back out. but I cannot back out. I have no doubt of the truth. were I going to prophecy I would prophecy the end will not come in 1844 or 5 or 6. or 40 years more there are those of the rising generation who shall not taste death til christ comes. I was once praying earnestly upon this subject. and a voice said unto me. My son, if thou livest til thou art 85 years of age, thou shalt see the face of the son of man.–I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this & I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live til that time Jesus he would make his appearance.–but I do not say whether he will make his appearance or I shall go where he is.-

I prophecy in the name of the Lord God.–& let it be written. that the Son of Man will not come in the heavens till I am 85 years old 48 years hence or about 1890.–the Read 14 Rev. 6 verse another angel fly in the midst of heaven; for the hour of his judgment is come. to extermination–from commencement. commence when angel commences preaching this gospel 1 day–1000 years. 1000 years as 1 day.–41 yrs 8 months.– only 6 years from the voice, saying. if thou live till thou art 85. years old. Hosea 6th chapter after 2 days &c 2520 years which bring it to 1890.–the Son of man never will be, never can be till the judgments spoken of for this hour are poured out, which judments are commenced. (Smith diary)

[51] ibid.

[52] ibid.

[53] Thomas Burdick, letter, (Kirtland, OH), to JS, Nauvoo, IL, 28 Aug. 1840; handwriting of Howard Coray; in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 174–176; JS Collection, CHL.

[54] ibid, page 174-75. See note 65 for more on the Ten Tribes.

[55] History of the Church, Vol. 4, p.410.

[56] D&C 29:7-11

[57] D&C 57:1. The introduction to Section 97 Reads, “Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, 2 August 1833 (see History of the Church, 1:400–402). This revelation deals particularly with the affairs of the Saints in Zion, Jackson County, Missouri, in response to the Prophet’s inquiry of the Lord for information.” Smith at that time wrote,

“Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that a house (temple) should be built unto me in the land of Zion, like unto the pattern which I have given you. Yea, let it be built speedily, by the tithing of my people…And now, behold, if Zion do these things she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible, and the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there; and he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower” (Verses 10-11, 18-20).

Smith though, was in Kirtland Ohio when he wrote this, and had no idea that just ten days previous to making an “inquiry of the Lord for information”, that the “saints” had agreed to leave Jackson County Missouri. Certainly God must have known this, but he obviously didn’t relate it to Smith. In the History of the Church, they record the incident this way,

“Early in the morning of the 23rd of July, the mob again as­sembled, armed with weapons of war and bearing a red flag; whereupon the Elders, led by the Spirit of God, and in order to save time, and stop the effusion of blood, entered into a treaty with the mob, to leave the county within a certain time” (History of the Church, vol. I, p. 394).

[58] The Absurdities Mormonism Displayed, by Oliver Olney, 1843, pg. 4.

[59] Marvin S. Hill, Quest For Refuge, page 120.

[60] George D. Smith, An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, p.153-4, emphasis mine.

[61] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, February 21, 1844

[62] History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 244

[63] An Intimate Chronicle, p.158-9, emphasis mine.

[64] Wilford Woodruff gives a succinct account of “Deseret” and what they wished to accomplish in doing so, in his Journal entry of October 13, 1849:

“I wrote two letters to day one to Allexander Badlam at San Francisco & one to Orson Pratt of Liverpool. I sent A Copy of the New York Herraid Weekly of Oct 13 to Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde, Allexander Badlam, & Joseph Russell. This Paper Contained An account of the Saints organizing themselves into An Independent Sovreign State called the state of Deseret And appointing their Govornor & other officers. Brigham Young was Elected Governor. This is certainly an important erie in the History of the Church & kingdom of God.

There has been more written in the New York Herrald, Tribune, Sun, Boston papers & many papers in the United States in favor of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints than has been written before for many years. The Editors of papers begin to see that the saints will prosper, rise up & build Zion, nowithstanding all there Efforts to crush us & destroy us from off the Earth, when they now find us organized into a State Government holding in our hands the Key of the North American Continant And that we will not die but live & rise up in the midst of all our oppressions they begin to speak in our favor & the world marvel at our prosperity. And One remarkable fact is that thousands of men who had A hand expelling us from the United States & drove us into the wilderness have this season while on there way to the gold digings have had to come bending unto the saints & have had to look to them to save them from starvation & death” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 3, p. 490, emphasis mine.)

[65] “…We know the Gospel has to be offered to the Gentiles first, we have offered it to them for the space of twenty five years, that we may be prepared to go to the house of Israel,” announced Wilford Woodruff in a Conference address in 1857,

“The Gentiles in a great measure, have rejected it; we have borne a faithful testimony to the nations of the earth, and they prefer to take their own course, and act on their own agency; they would rather build themselves up than the kingdom of God. The consequence is, it will soon be taken from the Gentile nations, and it will not be long before the judgments of God are abroad among them, and those bitter branches will be taken off the tree.

Now there is no personage, or subject, or work upon the face of the whole earth, but what is more popular than the Lord, and His Gospel, and kingdom; His name is dishonored and blasphemed, with impunity by nearly all the inhabitants of the earth and in the midst of every nation under heaven, but the day is nigh at hand when He will make bare His arm of power, and show the world that there is a God in Israel, who will no longer bear the blasphemies of the wicked without bringing them to judgment, but He will send forth those angels, those messengers who dwell in the presence of God, who are waiting with their sharp sickles in their hands to reap down the earth; but this will not be until the Gospel has been fully offered to the Gentiles; then the bitter branches will be broken off.

This kingdom will go forward, for the Lord God has decreed it, and Zion will arise and be adorned with beauty and power, and true refinement, in light and knowledge, and in every good gift that will prepare the minds of men for the Society of their Heavenly Father and of celestial beings. These lessons have got to be given, and we have got to learn them, and we have got to bring ourselves to the celestial law of God; we have to be quickened by the Spirit and power of the kingdom of God and its righteousness, that we may be prepared to carry out the purposes of the Lord; then this kingdom will be borne to the house of Israel, and they will receive it.

The door has already been unlocked to the Lamanites in these mountains, and they will begin to embrace the Gospel and the records of their fathers, and their chiefs will be filled with the Spirit and power of God, and they will rise up in their strength, and a nation will be born in a day, because they are of the seed of Abraham, and God has promised to bless the descendants of Abraham, and they will be saved with the house of Israel, for the Lord has spoken it, and made those promises unto them through their fathers.

Again, here are the ten tribes of Israel, we know nothing about them only what the Lord has said by His Prophets. There are Prophets among them, and by and by they will come along, and they will smite the rocks, and the mountains of ice will flow down at their presence, and a high way will be cast up before them, and they will come to Zion, receive their endowments, and be crowned under the hands of the children of Ephraim, and there are persons before me in this assembly today, who will assist to give them their endowments. They will receive their blessings and endowments, from under the children of Ephraim, who are the firstfruits of the kingdom of God in this dispensation, and the men will have to be ordained and receive their Priesthood and endowments in the land of Zion, according to the revelations of God.”(Journal of Discourses, 4:231-32)

Woodruff also noted that “President Young said he herd Joseph Smith say that the Ten Tribes of Israel were on a Portion of Land separated from this Earth.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 6, p.363, September 8, 1867).

Orson Hyde declared that the gospel had been preached to the world, and that the “saints” were being gathered to Utah, to escape it:

“These missionaries and labourers are now called home. The Lord says, ‘It is enough.’ ‘Come out of her, my people,’ is now the voice of God to his servants in every land and nation. The vials of his wrath cannot be poured out until you, like Lot, flee from the countries doomed to feel the vengeance of God. To you, my faithful brethren abroad, the Spirit of Christ has often whispered, during the last six months, ‘Go home—go home.’ Your guardian angels have said it to you in dreams and in visions, and we expect to see you come. Scores have already arrived. God bless them and you too, if you listen to the whisperings of that voice that speaks truth to the heart.

“What now remains to be done? Your testimony is borne—your words have gone into all the earth. Read in the Book of Covenants, page 102, and you will find the answer in part—‘After your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people; for after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes, that shall cause groanings in the midst of her; and men shall fall upon the ground and shall not be able to stand. And also cometh the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds; and all things shall be in commotion; and surely men’s hearts shall fail them, for fear shall come upon all. people,’&c.

“Again, the sign gives in the Book of Mormon, showing when the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled and they abandoned to the judgments and wrath of Almighty God, and showing also when the covenants of the Father with the house of Israel shall be fulfilled, is this important declaration—‘I will take the fulness of my Gospel from among the Gentiles,’&c. It might be considered treason to quote further. With our Elders and missionaries comes the fulness of the Gospel from among the Gentiles, who, like the leaky ship, are abandoned to the mercy of the winds and the waves.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.16)

Why does Orson Hyde speak of treason? Because they believed that the United States was to be broken up and Brigham Young would be installed as President (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 5, p.219). In 1857, Wilford Woodruff records Brigham Young saying about then President Buchanan, “I should not wonder if we heard he was dead soon” (Wilford Woodruff Journal,Vol. 5, p. 72).

By the end of 1857, Brigham Young and the Mormons could “foresee” only the sure and swift destruction of the United States. In an address to the Legislative Council Young declares,

“When Our Fathers set in solumn Convention upon the subject of our Declaration of Independance they knew well that their Cause was just. Yet it required the strongest talent and argumet and language was exherted to bring that august body of senators to agree as a unit in putting their names to that Sacred instrumet. The speech of Sir Patrick Henry was a masterly Effort of talent & oritory upon that solumn occasion.

It does not require any argumet with this body of men to Convince them what Course to persue. What Causes this difference? They were inspired by the Lord to step forth to esstablish an Independant Government in America, but this body of Men [the Mormons] are far more inspired by the same God to esstablish the Kingdom of God upon the Earth and lay a foundation for the Liberty and salvation of our Children and to lift up a Standard for the oppressed of all nations. Our path is marked out as plain to our view as is our broad street or the missippi River to the natural Eye.

The Same God who inspired our Fathers to Esstablish a Free government said through the prophet Joseph Smith that if ever the Constitution of the United States or its principles were ever preserved it would have to be done by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints even the servants of God Holding the Holy priesthood. That day has now Come & the day is dawning when we are Called to act. The Same God who has destroyed two Nations who have dwelt upon this Continent because of their iniquity, has also said that all other Nations who should occupy this Continent when they were ripened in iniquity should in like manner be Cut off from the earth and not left to pollute the Land of Joseph or the Land of Zion. I do not know what Els our Nation can do in order to fill up their Cup of iniquity than what they have done and are doing. I do not know of any other key [p.142] the United States Can turn to seal fast their Condemnation than the Exertions which they are makeing to destroy the Saints of God for their religion. I am in For the measure because it is right.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 5, p. 141-142, emphasis mine).

Wilford Woodruff referred to himself as a “Prophetic Historian”(Journal, Vol. 5:615), and at the end of 1857 declares,

“Eighteen hundred and fifty Seven has past and gone to return no more forever. It has borne its report to heaven of all men and Nations. It has been an important year to Zion and the world. 1857 will be the year on histories page which will be dated the Commencement of the downfall of the United States For it is during this year that they have entered the field as the open Enemies & persecuters of the saints of the Most High god and have sent an Armey of 2,500 men 1,000 miles for the purpose of laying a foundation for the destruction of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints called Mormons who have setled in the great Bason of North America Called Utah Territory of the State of Deserett. Here is esstablished the kingdom of God as Daniel saw it by vision, and the people of the United States are Determined to destroy the kingdom of God from off the Earth. For these things the Judgments of God will now begin to rest more fully upon that Nation and will be increased upon them year by year untill they are broaken up and wasted away from under Heaven and Cease to become a Nation. And this Calamity will begin to Come spedily [speedily] upon them. And they will be visited with thunder, lightning, storm, whirl winds Earthquakes floods, pestilence plagues, war and Devouring fire and the wicked will slay the wicked untill the Nation is wasted away and broaken up.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 5, p. 145, emphasis mine).

Such were the sentiments of Mormon “prophets” about the Nation of America. In his first entry for 1858 Woodruff writes “that they know not the thoughts of the Lord neither understand they his ways” and pens this prophecy,

“…Prepare yourself O Land of America for the judgments of the God of Heaven await you and are nigh even at your doors. For the Lord hath looked down from his Holy habitation and hath beheld all your wickedness and abomination and all the Evil designs of your hearts and all your secrets plans for the destruction of the Saints of the Most High. For all these things God will bring you into Judgment and He will require the stewardship at the Hands of the President of the United States and at the Hands of the Senators, and Representatives, and Govornors, and Judges, and all the Rulers of the Land will all be held responsible for the use they make of the liberties & blessings put into their hands and the whole people of the Land who Elect the officers of Government will be held responsible for the conduct of those officers as well as their own Conduct in their dealings with the Church and kingdom of God upon the Earth.Let us watch the signs of the times of 1858 and we shall find that the Lord will soon Come out of his hiding place and in his fury he will vex the Nation and in his hot displeasure he will begin to Cut off the wicked and unjust stewards and appoint them their portion with hypocrites and unbelievers. Let the Saints of God prepare for that which is to come”. (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 5, p. 151, January 1, 1858, emphasis mine).

[66] Remarks delivered on February 14, 1835, Kirtland Council Minute Book, LDS Archives.

[67] Parley P. Pratt, Mormonism Unveiled, pages 14-16.

[68] Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, July 28, 1847.

[69] Establishing Zion, by Eugene E. Campbell, page 42.

[70] ibid.

[71] An example of this is Smith’s comments about the Kirtland Safety Society and the city of Kirtland, Ohio:

“I also herd President Joseph Smith jr. declare in the presence of F Williams, D. Whitmer, S. Smith, W. Parrish, & others in the Deposit Office that he had receieved that morning the Word of the Lord upon the Subject of the Kirtland Safety Society. He was alone in a room by himself & he had not ownly the voice of the Spirit upon the Subject but even an audable voice. He did not tell us at that time what the LORD said upon the subject but remarked that if we would give heed to the Commandments the Lord had given this morning all would be well. May the Lord bless Brother Joseph with all the Saints & support the above named institution & Protect it so that every weapen formed against it may be broaken & come to nought while the Kirtland Safety Society shall become the greatest of all institutions on EARTH.”(Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 1, 1833–1840, p.120, January 6, 1837)

“But by January 23, the Safety Society stopped redeeming its notes for specie, or hard-money. During its brief operation,

“Brigham [Young] was reported to have deposited marked script in the bank and was shocked several days later to receive one of his marked notes as part of a commercial transaction. He apparently thought that banks simply stored deposits and that because [his] notes were circulating, something dishonest was going on in the bank.” (Chartering the Kirtland Bank, by Dale W. Adams, BYU Studies, Vol. 23, No. 4, 1983).

There obviously was, and regardless of who was to blame, bad judgement on Smith’s part, led to the Kirtland Safety Society’s demise:

“The founders of the bank must have known they were skating on very thin legal ice when they began to issue script without either a state bank charter or at least a corporate charter that might be loosely interpreted as authorizing circulation of company debt notes.” (ibid, page 477)

By April, Smith was still hoping for an positive outcome, according to Woodruff, and made this boast,

“President Hiram Smith followed Joseph with many useful remarks. He also was Clothed with much of the spirit of God. Joseph desired us to give heed to his words & teaching this once & be wise that Zion & her stakes might spedily be redeemed. He instructed us to be sure & ask those that enter the Kingdom to send up their wise men to Kirtland with there money to counsel with the presidency & purchase an interitance before they move their families or bring the poor to the places of gathering for to suffer. Also that we must keep in view the institution of the Kirtland Safety Society & if the Elders of Israel would be faithful & do what was in their power this once Kirtland should spedily be redeemed & become a strong hold not be thrown down.” (Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 1, 1833–1840, p.134, April 6, 1837)

But just three days later, Smith was obviously angered by the “saints” lack of faith in his bad decision. But this only strengthened Woodruff’s belief in Smith’s prophetic abilities,

“Sidney Closed and Joseph arose & like the lion of the tribe of JUDAH he poured out his Soul in the midst of the Congregation of the Saints. But who can find languague to write his words & teachings as with an iron pen in a rock that they may stand for future generation to look upon? A fountain of knowledge rolled from his mouth to the people which was the word of God. Yea in the name of God he proclaimed that Severe Judgment awaited those Characters that professed to be his friends & friends to humanity & the Kirtland Safety Society But had turned tritors & opposed the Currency & its friends which has given power into the hands of the enemy & oppressed the poor Saints. Such have become Covenant Breakers for which they will feel the wrath of God as true as Joseph is a prophet.

“Joseph uttered the feelings of his Soul in pain while viewing the poverty & afflictions of Ephraim or the Saints in Kirtland at least that fals brethren should be whited walls & bring perrils upon the Saints. Joseph is as a father to Ephraim & to all Israel in these last days. He mourns because of unbelief & the negligence manifest with many who have receieved the gospel in obeying the commands of God. He fears lest but few be left to receieve an  inheritance. There is not a greater man than Joseph [p.139] standing in this generation. The gentiles look upon him & he is to them like bed of Gold conceled from human view. They know not his principle, his spirit, his wisdom, virtue, phylanthropy, nor his calling. His mind like Enochs swells wide as eternity. Nothing short of a God can comprehend his Soul.”(Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, Vol. 1, 1833–1840, p.138 April 9, 1837)

Another interesting “prophecy” by Smith, but unrelated to Kirtland, had to do with the Relief Society and Nauvoo. Again, if Smith had seen the demise of Nauvoo in August 1842, why did he ‘prophecy’ this just a few months before that?

“I now deliver it as a prophecy that before ten years shall roll round, the queens of the earth shall come and pay their respects to this Society – they shall come with their millions and shall contribute of their abundance for the relief of the poor – If you will be pure, nothing can hinder it.” (A Record of the Organization, and Proceedings of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, Illinois, 1842-44, April 28, 1842)

For more folklore about Mormon Prophets and the Salt Lake Valley, see: Post Mortal Appearances of Joseph Smith, by Sharon Lindbloom.

Brigham Young’s “vision” of Ensign Peak has been claimed to have been a “secret” that Young didn’t let on about (one of those scenarios that F.A.I.R. mentions). In his excellent article, A Banner is Unfurled, by Ronald W. Walker, he explains,

“As the pioneer party traveled into the Great Plains, led by Young and the other main leaders, members were anxious about where they were going. Where was the gospel flag to be lifted? While leaders had bandied about such places as Oregon, California, Texas, and Vancouver Island, by 1846 they had fixed their eyes on the Great Basin interior, most specifically the Bear River, Salt Lake, or Utah Lake valleys. Each of these valleys answered the requirements of Young’s earlier statements about settling in the West’s “beautiful” but “barren” hills or his still more revealing passage of placing the gospel flag above a “perfect Sea of water.” But during the final stage of the trip, Young had still not named the precise place. As he told his brother, Lorenzo, who was worried by Brigham’s poor health and his failure to declare a destination: “Brother Lorenzo, when we reach the end of our journey I shall know it; AND I DON’T KNOW IT.”

Several of the pioneers thought Young’s indecision lay with his inner or spiritual seeking. “Brigham Young did not tell us whither he was leading us,” said one. “Perhaps he did not know it himself. He confined himself to telling us that God, in a vision, had caused him to see the spot where we were to stop.” Churchman Erastus Snow, also along on the pioneer trip, gave the same report. “Said the Prophet Brigham [to the camp]–`I have seen it [the promised location], I have seen it, in vision, and when my natural eyes behold it, I shall know it.'”

Young was looking for Ensign Peak, or at least this is what Mormon believers would later claim. After visiting Utah in 1866 and interviewing Brigham Young, British author and critic William Hepworth Dixon said that this was the report he had heard from the prophet himself. “Brigham Young tells me,” he wrote, that when coming over the mountains, in search of a new home for his people, he saw in a vision of the night, an angel standing on a conical hill, pointing to a spot of ground on which the new Temple must be built. Coming down into this basin of Salt Lake, he first sought for the cone which he had seen in his dream; and when he had found it, he noticed a stream of fresh hill-water flowing at its base, which he called the City Creek.

If Young failed to record such a “vision of the night” in his own records, there is evidence of his spiritual groping about where to settle. By early July 1847, perhaps as the result of their interview with mountaineer Jim Bridger, Young and the Mormon leadership increasingly looked on the Salt Lake Valley as the place for their settlement. But Young wanted confirmation. His own diary tells of his first view of the valley from Big Mountain. Turning the carriage in which he was riding to see the vista to the west, he felt “the spirit of light” resting on him and hovering “over the valley.” “I felt that there the Saints would find protection and safety.” (Dialogue, Vol.26, No.4, p.78, Winter 1993, emphasis mine).

Though we have no contemporary evidence of a “vision”, or Smith or an angel appearing to Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff mentions Young’s “vision” of Ensign Peak on “Pioneer Day” in 1888, found in:  Brian Stuy, Collected DiscoursesVol. 1, p. 165. Also, George Albert Smith mentions it in 1927, found in: Conference Report, April 1927, p.86.

[72] B. H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, Vol.1, Ch.22, p. 303

[73] A Lecture Delivered by Elder Andrew Jenson before the Students’ Society, in the Social Hall, Salt Lake City, Friday Evening, January 16, 1891. Brian Stuy, Collected Discourses Vol.2, p. 161.

[74] Conference Report, April 1916, p.66

[75] Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith.

[76] ibid.

[77] Faith in Every Footstep by Elder Russell M. Ballard, New Era, July 1997.

[78] http://shakenfaithsyndrome.com/press.pdf