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Nauvoo City Councilís minutes of 1840s provide chaos, contention and lies [Lds' Smith Shenanigans]
Ogden Standard-Examiner ^ | Jan. 4, 2012 | Doug Gibson

Posted on 01/10/2012 5:47:28 AM PST by Colofornian

(To see Cal Grondahl’s cartoon that goes with this post, click here) The LDS Church Library no longer allows access to the Nauvoo City Council and High Council minutes from 1839 to 1845. That’s a shame, but the minutes, when accessible, were recorded. Signature Books, with the assistance of historian John Dinger, has published the minutes, along with notes, and they’re just plain fascinating for enthusiasts of history. Without spin, they lay out the controversy that swirled in Nauvoo prior to Joseph Smith’s murder and the LDS exodus west.

The documents lend credence to the belief that the then-secret doctrine of polygamy sparked much of the contention that roiled Nauvoo. Many of those associated with the anti-Smith publication, the Nauvoo Expositor, were accused of using polygamy as an excuse to commit adultery. In the city council meeting of June 8, 1844, Hyrum Smith is cited as claiming that Joseph Smith’s revelation on polygamy, read to the Nauvoo High Council on Aug. 12, 1843, “was in answer to a question concerning things which transpired in former days & had no reference to the present time.” As curiously noted, “Hyrum Smith married four plural wives in 1843.” It’s clear that Hyrum Smith had rationalized that it was OK to mislead. Also, on page 255 of the Nauvoo City Council minutes, the LDS prophet, and Nauvoo mayor, Joseph Smith, supports Hyrum’s incorrect words, saying that he had not preached the doctrine in public or private.

From reading the various minutes and notes commentary, polygamy was used as a cudgel in a conflict between the Smiths and their enemies, such as William Law, Wilson Law, Robert and Charles Foster, Chauncey and Francis Higbee, Sylvester Emmons, and others. These accusations were often judged in the non-secular, but equally powerful, Nauvoo High Council meetings. On May 24, 1842, “Chancy” Higbee was excommunicated by the high council after being judged guilty of adultery and for teaching “the doctrine that it was right to have free intercourse with women if it was kept secret …” Higbee, the minutes report, claimed “that Joseph Smith autherised (sic) him to practice these things.”

Other accusations used to discredit critics included counterfeiting, stinginess, and plots to kill Joseph Smith. The final accusation was probably closest to the truth, as the violence that was commonplace in that era made lynching and murder a real possibility. The City Council minutes note how the Smiths used Nauvoo civil law to construct a habeus corpus statute so far-reaching that it could blunt any attempt to have Smith or others extradited to Missouri or anywhere outside of Nauvoo. In fact, Smith used habeus corpus to initially avoid arrest for trashing the Nauvoo Expositor press.

The city council debate that preceded the Nauvoo police’s destruction of the Expositor press as a “nuisance” is very interesting. Anger from past atrocities against Mormons, notably the Haun’s Mill massacre, were used as rationales to destroy the Expositor’s press. Interestingly, one Nauvoo councilman, Benjamin Warrington, opposed destroying the press. He wanted to give the editors time to stop publishing and assess them a $3,000 fine.

Both Smiths spoke in opposition to Warrington’s proposal, Hyrum adding that he doubted the publishers had the money to pay the fine. Those in favor of the press’ destruction cited ” Blackwater’s Commentaries on the Laws of England,” a reference book widely used in that era. Nauvoo city attorney and councilman George P. Stiles used “Blackwater” as evidence, “{saying a} Nuisance is any thing {that} disturbs the peace of {the} community.”

The destruction of the Expositor began before the city council meeting authorizing the act had finished. As are most decisions made in haste and with excessive emotion, it backfired, increasing the danger to Joseph Smith and others. An attempt to use Nauvoo’s liberal habeus corpus law to escape legal heat failed, and to protect Nauvoo from armed mobs, Joseph and Hyrum agreed to be jailed in Carthage, Ill. Assurances of safety from a feckless governor, Thomas Ford, failed, and history records that both Smiths were murdered by a mob.

The Nauvoo City Council minutes after the Smiths’ murders are interesting. There is little of the anger or bluster that was part of the meeting that sanctioned the press’ destruction. It’s muted, and frankly reflects the shock and despair that must have surrounded Nauvoo and church members at the loss of their prophet. Much of the minutes cover discussion on how much the city must renumerate the Nauvoo Expositor for the destruction of its property. Hiram Kimball was assigned the task of dealing with the renumeration.

Also, it’s clear that city leaders were concerned that the mobs that had killed the Smiths were still eager to attack Nauvoo. The council endorsed pleas by Governor Ford and others to avoid violent reprisals.

“The Nauvoo City and High Council Minutes” is a massive, indispensible treasure trove of Mormon history in Illinois. I’ll have further blog entries that will concentrate on the minutes of meetings that determined the church successors to the slain Smiths, and another blog will focus on day-to-day matters that fell before the high council. Some were amusing; one recounts a man brought for church discipline because he sold his wife for her weight in catfish!


TOPICS: History; Other non-Christian; Religion & Politics; Theology
KEYWORDS: bigot; citycouncil; inman; lds; mormon; nauvoo
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Please note - this column was written by a self-professed Mormon.

If you're concerned about Mormon theocracies, well, this article provides yet another historical reason why you need to be.

The minutes reveal that "accusations" by Mormon city council leaders were "used to discredit critics included counterfeiting, stinginess, and plots to kill Joseph Smith." It says that Chancy Higbee was excommunicated by the high council for adultery though Higby claimed Joseph Smith authorized it...all at the same time that these Mormon leaders were trying to hide not only Joseph Smith's relatively secret polygamy, but his brother Hyrum's too...Hyrum having taken four wives in 1843 alone!

From the column: The LDS Church Library no longer allows access to the Nauvoo City Council and High Council minutes from 1839 to 1845. That’s a shame, but the minutes, when accessible, were recorded...The documents lend credence to the belief that the then-secret doctrine of polygamy sparked much of the contention that roiled Nauvoo. Many of those associated with the anti-Smith publication, the Nauvoo Expositor, were accused of using polygamy as an excuse to commit adultery. In the city council meeting of June 8, 1844, Hyrum Smith is cited as claiming that Joseph Smith’s revelation on polygamy, read to the Nauvoo High Council on Aug. 12, 1843, “was in answer to a question concerning things which transpired in former days & had no reference to the present time.” As curiously noted, “Hyrum Smith married four plural wives in 1843.” It’s clear that Hyrum Smith had rationalized that it was OK to mislead. Also, on page 255 of the Nauvoo City Council minutes, the LDS prophet, and Nauvoo mayor, Joseph Smith, supports Hyrum’s incorrect words, saying that he had not preached the doctrine in public or private.

Ah, the spirit of censorship (trying to tuck away Nauvoo public records from 1839-1845) is still very much alive in the Mormon church. "Sequestered" history is more "faith-promoting."

1 posted on 01/10/2012 5:47:39 AM PST by Colofornian
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To: All
From the column: The city council debate that preceded the Nauvoo police’s destruction of the Expositor press as a “nuisance” is very interesting...The Nauvoo City Council minutes after the Smiths’ murders are interesting...Much of the minutes cover discussion on how much the city must renumerate the Nauvoo Expositor for the destruction of its property. Hiram Kimball was assigned the task of dealing with the renumeration.

Why does columnist Doug Gibson assume that only the Nauvoo "police" were involved in its destruction? A regional newspaper of the day describes the perpetrators as a "ruthless, lawless, ruffian band of Mormon Mobocrats" (see quote in context below). The Mormons, having set mobs loose in June, 1844...then wondered by a mob responded with the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

Here is the June 12, 1844 IL coverage by one newspaper of the events of the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor -- as ordered by Mormon founder Joseph Smith: Unparralled Outrage at Nauvoo (Mormon - OPEN):

Excerpt from this linked article: Mr. Sharp: -- I hasten to inform you of the UNPARALLELED OUTRAGE, perpetrated upon our rights and interests, by the ruthless, lawless, ruffian band of MORMON MOBOCRATS, at the dictum that of that UNPRINCIPLED wretch Joe Smith. We were privately informed that the CITY COUNCIL, which had been in extra session, for two days past; had enacted an ordinance in relation to libels, providing that anything that had been published, or anything that might be published tending to disparage the character of the officers of the city should be regarded as LAWLESS. They also declared the "Nauvoo Expositor," a "nuisance," and directed the police of the city to proceed immediately to the office of the Expositor and DESTROY THE PRESS and also the MATERIALS, by THROWING them into the STREET!!!! If any resistance were made, the officers were directed to demolish the building and property, of all who were concerned in publishing said paper; and also take all into custody, who might refuse to obey the authorities of the City. Accordingly, a company consisting of some 200 men, armed and equipped, with Muskets, Swords, Pistols, Bowie Knives, Sledge-Hammers, &c, assisted by a crowd of several hundred minions, who volunteered their services on the occasion, marching to the building, and breaking open the doors with a Sledge Hammer, commenced the work of destruction and desperation. They tumbled the press and materials into the street, and set fire to them, and demolished the machinery with sledge hammer, and injured the building very materially. We made no resistance; but looked on and felt revenge, but leave it for the public to avenge this climax of insult and injury.

How would we feel, if the Mormon "prophet" of today, "determined" that Free Republic was a "public nuisance" and ordered "a company consisting of some 200 men, armed and equipped, with Muskets, Swords, Pistols, Bowie Knives, Sledge-Hammers" to march to Fresno, break down JimRob's business doors with a Sledge Hammer, and commence the work of destruction and desperation, tumbling computers, etc. into the street, and set fire to them, and demolished the machinery with sledge hammers???

Mormons celebrate all this? Why? Because they celebrate Smith as a martyr. And it was principally this act he ordered, that led to an eventual gun battle where Smith died (two guns were smuggled into Smith in prison, just like Ron Gardner's acts in Utah where he sits on death row for having a weapon smuggled into him)

Mormons don't celebrate Smith the criminal, but Smith the "martyr"; yet they wind up essentially endorsing what Smith did to the Nauvoo Expositor. Hence, this doesn't remain merely an act in history. It catapults through time.

Go ahead. Ask your Mormon neighbor: "Was Joseph Smith committing criminal acts by ordering the destruction of the Expositor?" The answer you'll get will show where their absolute commitments lie -- and it won't be with Freedom of the Press.

Since Mormons don't see what Joseph Smith did to the Expositor as "criminal," it makes you wonder what kind of First Amendment destruction they would support even today. Obviously, though, the Nauvoo City Council run by Mormons post Smith's demise realized they need to provide renumeration to the owners of the Expositor for Smith's destructive chaos unleashed within the city.

2 posted on 01/10/2012 5:49:06 AM PST by Colofornian (Romney = pro-abortion)
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To: Colofornian
How would we feel, if the Mormon "prophet" of today, "determined" that Free Republic was a "public nuisance" and ordered "a company consisting of some 200 men, armed and equipped, with Muskets, Swords, Pistols, Bowie Knives, Sledge-Hammers" to march to Fresno, break down JimRob's business doors with a Sledge Hammer, and commence the work of destruction and desperation, tumbling computers, etc. into the street, and set fire to them, and demolished the machinery with sledge hammers.

We have seen the attempt by mormons to censor FR for years. Some seem to be of the mindset that destruction of the website would be justified.

3 posted on 01/10/2012 6:16:09 AM PST by greyfoxx39 (The Religion Forum is not for the faint-hearted or those not accustomed to being opposed.)
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To: greyfoxx39

We’d just go see what John Moses Browning had in stock.


4 posted on 01/10/2012 6:31:01 AM PST by Paladin2
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To: Paladin2

HEH!


5 posted on 01/10/2012 6:45:17 AM PST by greyfoxx39 (The Religion Forum is not for the faint-hearted or those not accustomed to being opposed.)
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To: Colofornian

P M


6 posted on 01/10/2012 7:16:29 AM PST by svcw (For the new year: you better toughen up, if you are going to continue to be stupid.)
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To: Colofornian

LDS made one mistake they settled too far south in Illinois, if they would have settled around Galena or so they would have settled with their Yankee relatives who themselves were Transcedentalist wannabe gods instead of the excitable Scots-Irish type more prevalant down south. They still would have been run out of Illinois but those in the North would have used then law and then claimed it under authority of god him/herself.


7 posted on 01/10/2012 7:18:46 AM PST by junta ("Peace is a racket", testimony from crime boss Barrack Hussein Obama.)
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To: junta

Spent a week with some jack mormons at their hunting camp in WY, came away from that experience thinking more than ever that the LDS is nothing but a rich powerful cult.


8 posted on 01/10/2012 7:21:12 AM PST by junta ("Peace is a racket", testimony from crime boss Barrack Hussein Obama.)
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To: Colofornian
an eventual gun battle where Smith died (two guns were smuggled into Smith in prison

I am not a Mormon and agree Smith was a dodgy character.

However, I think it is unfair to call his murder a "gun battle," which implies something resembling even odds and possibly intention.

The jail where he was held was stormed by about 200 armed men, who were in cahoots with the supposed guards.

Fighting back against odds of over 100:1 is not exactly a gun battle, it's a desperate attempt at fully justified self-defense.

9 posted on 01/10/2012 7:44:10 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Colofornian

Much of the minutes cover discussion on how much the city must renumerate the Nauvoo Expositor for the destruction of its property. Hiram Kimball was assigned the task of dealing with the renumeration.
____________________________________

Interesting...

Maybe the destruction of the press was not so justified after all...

The Mormons in 1844 didnt seem to think so...

regardless of the slant the current Mormons may put on the ill deed...


10 posted on 01/10/2012 7:48:48 AM PST by Tennessee Nana
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To: Colofornian

Ah, the spirit of censorship (trying to tuck away Nauvoo public records from 1839-1845) is still very much alive in the Mormon church. “Sequestered” history is more “faith-promoting.”
_____________________________________

What, no “transparency” ???

How very Obamaesque of the Mormons...


11 posted on 01/10/2012 7:52:47 AM PST by Tennessee Nana
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To: Colofornian
I am personally uncomfortable with wholesale attacks against an entire religion in a transparent attempt to smear Romney.

Any religion can be the target of unfair demagoguery by focusing on people or events that were highly unsavory, in that religions history.

There is plenty of opportunity to honestly disagree with Romney and others based on their positions regarding economic, social and geo political issues, without slandering an entire group of people.

12 posted on 01/10/2012 8:07:10 AM PST by Awgie (truth is always stranger than fiction)
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To: Sherman Logan

***Fighting back against odds of over 100:1 is not exactly a gun battle, it’s a desperate attempt at fully justified self-defense. ****

Doesn’t fit the movie in which Vincent Price stands there, harmless with no guns, while the “evil” mob shoots him down.


13 posted on 01/10/2012 8:14:24 AM PST by Ruy Dias de Bivar
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To: Awgie

Sober thought is unwelcome on these “let’s make fun of someone else’s religion” threads.


14 posted on 01/10/2012 8:16:41 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Awgie

Sober thought is unwelcome on these “let’s make fun of someone else’s religion” threads.


15 posted on 01/10/2012 8:16:55 AM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Ruy Dias de Bivar

Disagree with your scare quotes around evil.

Unless you think mobs aren’t evil, more or less by definition.


16 posted on 01/10/2012 8:18:58 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Awgie; Colofornian
There is plenty of opportunity to honestly disagree with Romney and others based on their positions regarding economic, social and geo political issues, without slandering an entire group of people.

Explain that to the mormons running around facebook who are filing bogus abuse claims to have people and pages banned - even for quoting their own prophet.

17 posted on 01/10/2012 8:27:45 AM PST by Godzilla (3/7/77)
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To: Sherman Logan
However, I think it is unfair to call his murder a "gun battle," which implies something resembling even odds and possibly intention. The jail where he was held was stormed by about 200 armed men, who were in cahoots with the supposed guards.

Are you consistent then?

If a prisoner were to today -- in your local jail -- get ahold of two loaded weapons...and he was to die in proximity to 200 armed men (non-prisoners)...all as he fires at least 6 shots...that's not a gun battle either...just because the ratio is 200:1?

Whatever your squeamishness about it, ya gotta understand it that it's usually portrayed as a martyrdom. I'm sorry, but sacrificial lambs don't go down shooting & killing people as did Joseph Smith.

So, if it wasn't a martyrdom, and if you are uncomfortable with calling it a "gun battle," what third choice would you offer up?

And why isn't the reality of a prisoner having loaded weapons ever an issue in describing whatever it is we're describing?

I tell you what...if people heard about a prisoner being shot all as he was shooting & killing others...and that he got at least 6 shots off...they wouldn't think twice about his death.

18 posted on 01/10/2012 8:28:37 AM PST by Colofornian (Romney = pro-abortion)
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To: Colofornian

200 armed men in a mob bent on murder should be shot. As often as possible.

Joe was being held pending trial by agreement with the governor, who had guaranteed his safety.

I believe Joe and the other prisoners were entirely justified in trying to use lethal force to protect their lives.

I think Joe was guilty of a great many crimes and should have been prosecuted and punished for them. Not murdered by a mob in cahoots with those who were supposed to be protecting him.

This type of mob action was an ongoing problem in IL and other American states at the time. Six years before the murder of Smith, an obscure young IL lawyer gave a speech on the subject, just 100 miles away. I agree with him.

http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/lyceum.htm


19 posted on 01/10/2012 8:43:23 AM PST by Sherman Logan
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To: Sherman Logan

“I think Joe was guilty of a great many crimes and should have been prosecuted and punished for them. Not murdered by a mob in cahoots with those who were supposed to be protecting him.”

I agree. Joe was guilty and the frontier often acted outside the law to bring justice.
I would have preferred to see Joe face a jury.

Was justice done? Hard to say. A jury might have punished him in the same way. Did Joe reap what he had sown? I think so. His life was a tragedy that has gone on to afflict millions.


20 posted on 01/10/2012 9:17:08 AM PST by aMorePerfectUnion (You know, 99.99999965% of the lawyers give all of them a bad name)
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