Skip to comments.The Nauvoo Expositor: First & Only Issue June 7, 1844
Posted on 08/21/2012 2:23:58 PM PDT by RaisingCain
I was in a debate with a Mormon the other day, and he made a point about the Mormons being persecuted and Joseph Smith himself being brutally martyred for his faith. He compared it to Jesus Christ. In response, I told him about the background of Smith's murder, which was far less "pure" and far more ugly and embarrassing than he was led to believe. His response was to accuse the Nauvoo Expositor, the dissident newspaper Smith had ordered destroyed that led to his arrest and eventual lynching, of inciting violence against the Mormons, and claimed Smith acted with proper authority. (Presumably Prophetic authority, since there was no due process conducted by the city council and no laws that could actually be used to justify destruction of property to suppress dissent. The Constitution of Illinois allowed for Freedom of the Press and disallowed ex post facto laws, not to mention due process.)
As a result of this, I was able to find the actual First and Only volume of the Nauvoo Expositor for your perusal. The contents of which you will, if you are agnostic on Mormonism, find quite shocking. It details Smith's systematic abuse of women, his dictatorial designs, and his theocratic ambitions. No wonder Smith demanded its destruction.
Here is the link for the images of the journal and the text for you to read. There are 4 separate pages:
It was also made by people who were personally opposed to the Mormons, so it can hardly be taken as an unbiased source, Smith’s own issues aside. Newspapers of that era were notoriously unreliable.
“It was also made by people who were personally opposed to the Mormons, so it can hardly be taken as an unbiased source, Smiths own issues aside. Newspapers of that era were notoriously unreliable.”
They were STILL Mormons, but considered Smith to have fallen away. William Law, for example, was a member of the First Presidency under Joseph Smith. They also did this knowing they’d face persecution and shunning. That, to me, gives it greater weight. On top of that, nothing written therein is incredibly surprising to me, as I have done a lot of reading on Mormon history and theology.
3rd paragraph of the Preamble at this link.
The men who printed the Expositor were Mormons.
“I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summers morning; I have a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward all men. I SHALL DIE INNOCENT, AND IT SHALL YET BE SAID OF ME HE WAS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD.”
~Death and last words of the Prophet Joseph Smith upon deciding to go to Carthage for incarceration and to face legal prosecution.
I love the name—The Expositor Wish we could make one and expose Obama and his crew of thieves and crooks. If the Right should have a newspaper—that should be the name!
Heh, my great-great-great grandfather wrote that article. His daughter Elvira Cowles was one of Smith’s polygamous wives....
Elvira’s OTHER husband was in the group that destroyed the press. Crazy stuff.
Wow! Great history. Indeed, crazy stuff.
I’m sure it’s an unpalatable topic for mormons, to see that mormons of the day were turning against Bro. Joseph for his actions and behavior.
But to treat him like a martyr? Well, that’s a bit too much.
Like A Lamb?
(MormonismShadow or Reality? p. 258-259)
Edward Bonney gave the following information in his book, Banditti of the Prairies:
“This outrage upon the public press helped to fan the flame already kindled...and plainly foreshadowed the storm that was to burst with startling fury.
“The dissenting Mormons at once united with those opposed to that sect, and various meetings were called, and all parties urged to arm and prepare themselves to resist any further aggression: to be ready at all hazards to protect themselves and meet the worst. Warrants were issued against the Smiths, and other leaders, in the destruction of the printing office of the Expositor, and though served by the proper officers, they refused to obey the mandates of the law, and laughed at its power!
“As in all former cases, the writ of habeas corpus was resorted to, and all the arrested at once set at liberty and discharged from arrest, the same persons that were arrested acting as officers of the courts that discharged them! Thus effectually defeating the ends of justice, and compelling the officer to return to Carthage without a single prisoner!
“This mock administration of law, added new fuel to the flame. The public being convinced that Nauvoo was the headquarters of nearly all the marauders who were preying upon the surrounding community, together with the full belief that the Mormon leaders were privy to their depredations and the resistance and defeat of justice, now became enraged, and determined to rise in their might and enforce the law, even though it should be at the point of the bayonet or sabre....
“The officer from whose custody the Smiths and others were discharged proceeded to summon a posse and renew the arrest from the adjacent counties, rallied under the banner of law and justice. The Mormon leaders, learning this fact, gathered also their forces. The Nauvoo Legion, organized at the call of the Prophet, fully armed and equipped and numbering nearly four thousand, with their pieces of artillery prepared for a desperate resistance.
“The city of Nauvoo was declared under martial law, and all necessary preparations were made to sustain the edicts of the Prophet and the freedom of the crime-stained ones or die in the attempt....
“A full investigation was entered into and Gov. Ford, instructing the officer having the writs from which the Mormons had discharged themselves, to proceed to Nauvoo and demand the surrender of the Smiths and others upon whom the writs had already been served, and in case of a refusal to obey the law, to enforce it at the point of the bayonet. At the same time pledging himself, as the Chief Executive of the state, to protect them from personal violence, and the troops under his command pledged themselves to sustain him....
“Morning came, and the hour of their departure arrived, but the Prophet could not be found, having crossed the Mississippi River during the night with his brother Hiram and secreted themselves in Iowa, and the officer was again forced to return to Carthage without the prisoners....
“During the day, several dispatches crossed the river to and from the Prophet, some advising him to seek safety in flight, and others urging him to return and save the city. Thus urged, the Prophet and his companion in flight, recrossed the river about sunset, and on the following morning started for Carthage, and Nauvoo was again quiet....
“On arriving there, the prisoners were examined on the charge of riot in destroying the printing press, and held to bail for their appearance at the next term of the Hancock Circuit Court. Joseph and Hiram Smith were arrested on charge of treason, and committed to await examination.
“All being tranquil, and Governor Ford thinking an armed force no longer necessary, disbanded his troops on the morning of the 27th, leaving but a small force to guard the jail, and proceeded with his suite to Nauvoo....
“After the troops were disbanded, the most hostile of them believing the Smiths eventually would be acquitted on the charge of treason, and the Mormons still continued their depredations, and deeming that the only way to secure safety was by ridding them of their leaders, they still continued to fan the flame of revenge that had heretofore been burning but too brightly. Urged on by the Mormon dissenters, who were thirsting for blood, they collected, to the number of about 140, armed and disguised, and proceeded to the jail about five o’clock in the afternoon of the 27th. Having dispersed the guard, they attacked the jail, and Joseph and Hiram Smith in an effort to escape were both shot dead. Four balls pierced each of them, and any one of the wounds would have proved fatal. Having accomplished this cold-blooded murder (for surely no other name will apply to it) and glutted their appetite for blood, the mob instantly dispersed.” (Banditti of the Prairies, pp. 20-24)
It is interesting to compare the death of Joseph Smith with that of Jesus. In Isaiah 53:7 we read the following: “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: HE IS BROUGHT AS A LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” In the New Testament it is claimed that Christ fulfilled this prophecy (see Acts 8:32). The reason that Christ fulfilled it is that he did not try to fight back when he was led to death. He died without putting up a fight. In 1 Peter 2:23 we read: “Who, when he was reviled, reviled NOT AGAIN; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:”
When Peter tried to defend Jesus with the sword, Jesus told him: “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11)
It is claimed that before Joseph Smith was murdered in the Carthage jail he made this statement: “I am going like a LAMB to the slaughter;...” (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 135, verse 4)
Most Mormons believe that Joseph Smith died without putting up a struggle, but the actual truth is that he died in a gun fight. In the History of the Church the following is recorded concerning Joseph Smith’s death:
“Immediately there was a little rustling at the outer door of the jail, and a cry of surrender, and also a discharge of three or four firearms followed instantly....JOSEPH sprang to his coat for his SIX-SHOOTER, Hyrum for his single barrel,...
“When Hyrum fell, Joseph exclaimed; ‘Oh dear, brother Hyrum!’ and opening the door a few inches HE DISCHARGED HIS SIX SHOOTER IN THE STAIRWAY (as stated before), two or three barrels of which missed fire.
“Joseph, seeing there was no safety in the room, and no doubt thinking that it would save the lives of his brethren in the room if he could get out, turned calmly from the door, dropped his PISTOL on the floor, and sprang into the window when two balls pierced him from the door, and one entered his right breast from without, and he fell outward into the hands of his murderers, exclaiming, ‘O Lord, my God.’” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 617-618)
In the Introduction to Vol. 6 of the History of the Church, page XLI, the following is stated about Joseph Smith’s death: “When the jail in Carthage was assailed, and the mob was pouring murderous volleys into the room occupied by himself and friends, the Prophet turned from the prostrate form of his murdered brother to face death-dealing guns and bravely returned the fire of his assailants, ‘BRINGING HIS MAN DOWN EVERY TIME,’ and compelling even John Hay, who but reluctantly accords the Prophet any quality of virtue, to confess that he ‘made a handsome fight’...”
John Taylor, who became the third President of the Mormon Church, made these statements concerning the death of Joseph Smith: “Elder Cyrus H. Wheelock came in to see us, and when he was about leaving drew a small pistol, a six-shooter, from his pocket, remarking at the same time, ‘Would any of you like to have this?’ Brother JOSEPH immediately replied, ‘YES, give it to me,’ whereupon he took the pistol, and put it in his pantaloons pocket.... I was sitting at one of the front windows of the jail, when I saw a number of men, with painted faces, coming around the corner of the jail, and aiming towards the stairs.... “I shall never forget the deep feeling of sympathy and regard manifested in the countenance of Brother Joseph as he drew nigh to Hyrum, and, leaning over him, exclaimed, ‘Oh! my poor, dear brother Hyrum!’ He, however, instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Wheelock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were WOUNDED by these discharges, TWO of whom, I am informed DIED.” (History of the Church, Vol. 7, pp. 100, 102 & 103)
From the information given above it can be seen that the death of Joseph Smith can in no way be compared to the death of Jesus. Jesus did go like a “lamb to the slaughter,” but Joseph Smith died like a raging lion. In a letter dated July 22, 1844, Sarah Scott wrote:
“I suppose you received our letter and was somewhat prepared, when you heard of the dreadful murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage jail....Joseph prophesied in the last Neighbor that was published before his death that they would come off victorious over them all, as sure as there was a God in Israel. Joseph also prophesied on the stand a year ago last conference that he could not be killed within five years from that time; that they could not kill him till the Temple would be completed, for that he had received an unconditional promise from the Almighty concerning his days, and he set Earth and Hell at defiance; and then said, putting his hand on his head, they never could kill this Child. But now that he is killed some of the Church say that he said: unless he gave himself up. My husband was there at the time and says there was no conditions whatever, and many others testify to the same thing....Brigham Young said if he had been here, he wouldn’t have consented to give Joseph up and he would be damned if he would give himself up to the law of the land. He would see them all in hell first; the Church [sic], and then he said he would see all Creation in Hell before he would.” (Among the Mormons, pp. 152-153)
Joseph Smith’s prophecy that he would prevail against his enemies is found in the Nauvoo Neighbor for June 19, 1844:
“I therefore, in behalf of the Municipal Court of Nauvoo, warn the lawless, not to be precipitate in any interference in our affairs, for as sure as there is a God in heaven, WE SHALL RIDE TRIUMPHANT OVER ALL OPPRESSION.
“JOSEPH SMITH, Mayor”
Just eight days after Joseph Smith made this prophecy he was murdered in the Carthage jail, and before two years had elapsed the Mormons were driven from Illinois. There is some evidence that just before his death Joseph Smith sent for the Nauvoo Legion to rescue him from the Carthage jail. Harold Schindler states:
“Because Ford had permitted Joseph to use the debtor’s apartment in jail and allowed several of the prophet’s friends access to him, it was possible to smuggle messages out of Carthage. Realizing time was precious, Joseph dictated a note to Major General Jonathan Dunham ordering him to call out the Legion and march on the jail immediately. Dunham received the communication in Nauvoo but failed to carry out the command. One of the Legionnaires, Allen Stout, said, ‘Dunham did not let a single man or mortal know that he had received such orders and we were kept in the city under arms not knowing but all was well.’” (Orrin Porter Rockwell: Man of God, Son of Thunder, p.130)
"Sweetest," replied Henry, embracing her, "you must forgive me; I staid but to settle some affairs now, that I might not again be torn from you -- though I must confess that I should have been here earlier but for a companion I picked up on the road; nay, look not so hardly, Adeline, it was a man, and if you heard his story, you would, I have no doubt, forgive him the delay he caused me -- but you shall hear it some other time."
Adeline, however, would rather hear it then. Henry, therefore, related the story of the stranger, and looking at Adeline, as he concluded, was surprised to find her in tears.
"Dearest Adeline," exclaimed he, taking her hand, "let it not affect you thus; he will, I dare say, be made happy, as you will make me to-morrow."
Or maybe it was the whole "race" thing:
Thinking it the best time for their visit to E___, they set out for that place, and were much surprised on arriving to learn that the stranger had already departed, whither they could not learn; but the man who had taken his horse on the preceding evening, informed them that, on Henry's departure from the inn, "the strange gentleman had been moighty 'quisitive zurely; for," said he, "he axed me all about yer honor and miss, and whether or noa there war'nt nobody as paid his 'dresses to her; so I uo un told him that as how I b'lieved so, and that there was a weddin up there this morning. Lord love you, sir, he look'd the colour o' old white Peggy there, till I thought the mon war gone crazy; but he starts off all at once towards yer honer's house; so I thought, maybe, he was an old friend, and war in order 'cause yer honer didn't ax him to the wedding." "Well, my good fellow, did he not say anything at starting, this morning?"
Many former, disgruntled Mormons who were upset with horn dog smith was hitting on their wives...