Criticism of Mormonism/Books/American Massacre/Chapter 2

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Response to claims made in "Chapter 2: Kirtland/Far west, 1831"

A FairMormon Analysis of: American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, a work by author: Sally Denton
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American Massacre
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Response to claims made in American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, "Chapter 2: Kirtland/Far west, 1831"

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Response to claim: 12 - Joseph Smith was "infected with the virus" of land speculation

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

Joseph Smith was "infected with the virus" of land speculation.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author is simply repeating Brodie's claim without evidence.



Response to claim: 13 - It is claimed that Joseph stated that Independence Missouri was the site of the Garden of Eden and that the location of Far West was where Cain killed Abel

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

It is claimed that Joseph stated that Independence Missouri was the site of the Garden of Eden and that the location of Far West was where Cain killed Abel.

(Author's sources: No source provided.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

This is correct.



Question: Is it true that Mormons believe the original Garden of Eden was located in Missouri?

There is substantial circumstantial evidence that Joseph Smith taught this

Although we have no contemporaneous record of Joseph Smith teaching explicitly that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, that reading is consistent with LDS scripture, and there is substantial later testimony from Joseph's associates that he did teach such an idea.

Most Latter-day Saints are aware of this, though it is a relatively minor point that plays little role in LDS theology. (By contrast, the idea that the New Jerusalem—Zion—will be built in the Americas looms much larger in LDS consciousness.)

This idea perhaps strikes most non-members as odd, but not simply because the Saints have an opinion about the Garden's location—as we have seen, religions of all stripes have had a wide variety of views on the subject. What likely strikes outside American observers as strange is the idea that the Garden is local—the LDS view does not place the Garden in a never-never land, buried in distant time and far-away space. Rather, the LDS Garden is local and somewhat immediate.

Upon reflection, though, the thoughtful observer will realize that this is simply one more manifestation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' uniqueness: rather than believing only in dead prophets, from long ago, in distant lands, in old records, the Church also embraces modern revelation, living prophets, and an on-going divine involvement with God's people. The gospel restored by Joseph Smith does not merely sacralize the past, but the present and future as well—and, it sacralizes both lofty matters and more earthly concerns like farms, hills, and geography.

It is this intrusion of the sacred into the mundane that surprises most observers—the issue of the Garden is merely one more example of a broader phenomenon.

A common mistake is taking an obscure teaching that is peripheral to the Church’s purpose and placing it at the very center

As the official LDS church website points out, "The doctrinal tenets of any religion are best understood within a broad context and thoughtful analysis is required to understand them. ... Some doctrines are more important than others and might be considered core doctrines. ... A common mistake is taking an obscure teaching that is peripheral to the Church’s purpose and placing it at the very center. For example, the precise location of the Garden of Eden is far less important than doctrine about Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice."[1]

LDS concepts and perspectives

It is important to first distinguish the "Garden of Eden" (the paradisiacal location where Adam and Eve dwelt before the Fall) from Adam-ondi-Ahman. Adam-ondi-Ahman was a location in which Adam and Eve settled after their expulsion from the Garden.


Question: What is Adam-ondi-Ahman?

According to revelation, Adam held a meeting of his faithful posterity in a valley designated "Adam-ondhi-Ahman"

Prior to his death, the repentant Adam held a meeting of his faithful posterity in a valley designated "Adam-ondhi-Ahman:"

53 Three years previous to the death of Adam, he called Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, and Methuselah, who were all high priests, with the residue of his posterity who were righteous, into the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and there bestowed upon them his last blessing.

54 And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel.

55 And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam, and said unto him: I have set thee to be at the head; a multitude of nations shall come of thee, and thou art a prince over them forever.

56 And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation; and, notwithstanding he was bowed down with age, being full of the Holy Ghost, predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation. (DC 107:53)

LDS scripture further notes:

Spring Hill is named by the Lord Adam-ondi-Ahman, because, said he, it is the place where Adam shall come to visit his people, or the Ancient of Days shall sit, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet.(DC 116:1)[2]

Since Spring Hill was named by the Lord as the place where Adam will come to visit his people, it has generally been presumed to be the Adam-ondi-Ahman of Adam's mortal meeting with his posterity

It is perhaps significant the Lord named this site because of a future event—the pre-millennial assembly of Adam and his faithful descendants prior to the second coming of Christ. It has generally been presumed that "Spring Hill," Missouri is thus the Adam-ondi-Ahman of Adam's mortal meeting with his posterity (D&C 107, above) and the pre-millennial visit (D&C 116), which is certainly possible.

An alternate interpretation would be the Lord has given the Adam-ondi-Ahman name to a second site (i.e., at Spring Hill, Missouri) in memorial of the first great meeting of the whole righteous human race. That first meeting, at which Adam presided, would then be a foreshadowing of the greater meeting of all the righteous prior to Christ's triumphant return in glory. This reading might better explain why D&C 116 bothers to explain why the Lord is giving the name to the site. If the site was already called Adam-ondi-Ahman, perhaps there would be little need for the Lord to renew its name. One could see this as analogous to the site "Jerusalem." There is, in LDS doctrine, to be a "New Jerusalem" built on the American continent in the last days.[3] Yet, this does not mean the "New Jerusalem" site is the same as the Jerusalem of David and Jesus in the Old World, or that the old Jerusalem has ceased to exist.

On the other hand, Doctrine and Covenants 117 also seems to associate the Missouri Adam-ondi-Ahman with Adam's dwelling place in mortality:

7 Therefore, will I not make solitary places to bud and to blossom, and to bring forth in abundance? saith the Lord.

8 Is there not room enough on the mountains of Adam-ondi-Ahman, and on the plains of Olaha Shinehah, or the land where Adam dwelt, that you should covet that which is but the drop, and neglect the more weighty matters?

9 Therefore, come up hither unto the land of my people, even Zion. (DC 117:7-9)

The association of Adam-ondi-Ahman with the "land where Adam dwelt," and Adam's presence at Adam-Ondi-Ahman prior to his death have led most Latter-day Saints to conclude they are one and the same. (However, this verse raises more questions than it answers—there are no mountains of note in Missouri. So, was the geography more expansive than Joseph or the early saints presumed?)

Because Adam left the Garden of Eden, and (by this reading) dwelt somewhere in or near Missouri, many members have concluded the Garden of Eden must likewise be near by

As President John Taylor wrote:

Itt was stated by the Prophet Joseph Smith, in our hearing while standing on an elevated piece of ground or plateau near Adam-ondi-Ahman (Davis Co., Missouri,), where there were a number of rocks piled together, that the valley before us was the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman; or in other words, the valley where God talked with Adam, and where he gathered his righteous posterity, as recorded in the above revelation, and that this pile of stones was an altar built by him when he offered up sacrifices, as we understand, on that occasion.[4]


Response to claim: 14 - Joseph became a "swaggering general in his Army of Israel" and that "drilling and pageantry were quite suddenly pervasive aspects of a once-pacific Kirtland existence"

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

The author, in describing the Kirtland period, states that Joseph became a "swaggering general in his Army of Israel" and that "drilling and pageantry were quite suddenly pervasive aspects of a once-pacific Kirtland existence."

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

The author seems to be very unfamiliar with Mormon history, because she is confusing Kirtland and Nauvoo. It was the Nauvoo Legion that performed "drilling and pageantry."



Response to claim: 14 - In Kirtland, Joseph "then initiated the secret rituals that would further repel their conventional Christian neighbors"

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

 Author's quote: "He then initiated the secret rituals that would further repel their conventional Christian neighbors-anointings, endowments, proxy baptisms, visions, healings, writhing ecstasies, and, especially, the concepts of 'eternal progression' and 'celestial marriage.'"

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is a falsehood - The author has disseminated false information

Proxy baptisms were not introduced until Nauvoo, they were not known at Kirtland. Healings and visions were present from the Church's very beginnings. "Writhing ecstasies" were condemned by LDS scripture by 1831 (see DC 50:). The U.S. Constitution protects private religious practices that do not harm others, including those which might "repel" one's conventional Christian neighbors.



Response to claim: 14 - The name of the Church was changed to the "Church of Latter-day Saints" in 1834

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

The name of the Church was changed to the "Church of Latter-day Saints" in 1834.

(Author's sources: No source provided.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information - The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

This is correct. The name of the Church was changed several times prior to the revelation which provided a permanent name.



Question: What is the history of name changes of the Church?

The original name of the Church when it was organized in 1830 was the "Church of Christ"

The original name of the Church when it was organized in 1830 was the "Church of Christ." Mormonism to some extent originated in the historical context of the restorationist movement. This movement consisted of Christians who believed that the original Christianity needed to be restored, and it was a common belief among Christian restorationists that the name of a Christian church should properly be the "Church of Christ." Many new members of the Church brought such ideas with them when they became "Mormons."

This caused practical problems, however, since there were lots of restorationist groups who named their local churches the "Church of Christ," so there was tremendous confusion. (Indeed, one of the groups that descends from Alexander Campbell's Disciples of Christ continues to use the name "Church of Christ" to this day.)

The use of the term "Mormonite" prompted changes in order to distinguish the Church from other Christian churches

This, coupled with the use of the common antagonistic epithet "Mormonite" (soon simplified to "Mormon"), led to a desire for a more distinctive name that would distinguish our church from so many others that were using the same name.

So in April 1834, under the influence of Sidney Rigdon (according to David Whitmer),[5] who had been a reformed Baptist preacher with close ties to Alexander Campbell prior to joining the church, the official name of the church was changed to the "Church of Latter Day Saints."

There was no attempt to distance the Church from the name of Christ

This was no attempt to distance the Church from the name of Christ or its claims to be Christ's church. In 1835, the official Church paper referred to the:

"rise and progress of the church of Christ of Latter Day Saints" [6]

The final name of the Church came through revelation

The basis for the present name of the church came in DC 115:3, received on April 26, 1838: the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." Note how this name combines elements of the original name and the Rigdon-inspired name.

In 1851 when the church formally incorporated, the name included a corporate initial article "The" and a British hyphenization of "Latter-day," thus becoming the formal name we use to this day, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." Other groups that split off from the church, such as the Strangites and the Reorganization {RLDS, now Community of Christ}, kept the original unhyphenated "Latter Day" in their formal names.

The members of the Church have always seen themselves as Christians, and members of "the Church of Jesus Christ"

This chart demonstrates that the members of the Church have always seen themselves as Christians, and members of "the Church of Jesus Christ."

Journal or Series Church of Christ Church of Jesus Christ Church of Jesus Christ of LDS Latter-day Saints alone Mormon Church
Evening and Morning Star (1832-1834) 115 1 xx 0 0
Messenger and Advocate (1834-1837) 33 0 xx 0 1
Elders Journal (1837-1838) 10 2 1 4 0
Times and Seasons (1839-1846) 118 13 24 47 4
Journal of Discourses 26 vols. (1839-1886)

1438 sermons

167 59 308 3255 10
Collected Discourses 5 vols. (1886-1898)

432 sermons

149 15 139 1121 7
General Conference Reports, (1880, 1897-1970) 780 671 3180 6291 333 [7]
Millennial Star (incomplete study) - 84 - - -
The Seer 0 6 6 0 0

xx = no use of name "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" because that name was not yet in use during the journal's publication dates.

Source: Ted Jones, FairMormon researcher, private communication (7 April 2007); updated 1 April 2010.


Response to claim: 14 - Emma is claimed to have driven "the girl" Fanny Alger out of her house

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

Emma is claimed to have driven "the girl" Fanny Alger out of her house because she was "unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the Prophet."

(Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The claim wasn't made until over 50 years later, and appeared in an anti-Mormon book.



Question: Did Joseph Smith marry Fanny Alger as his first plural wife in 1833?

Joseph Smith met Fanny Alger in 1833 when she was a house-assistant to Emma

Joseph Smith came to know Fanny Alger in early 1833 when she stayed at the Smith home as a house-assistant to Emma. Neither Joseph nor Fanny ever left any first-hand accounts of their relationship. There are no second-hand accounts from Emma or Fanny's family. All that we do have is third hand accounts from people who did not directly observe the events associated with this first plural marriage, and most of them recorded many years after the events.

Joseph said that the "ancient order of plural marriage" was to again be practiced at the time that Fanny was living with his family

Benjamin F. Johnson stated that in 1835 he had "learned from my sister’s husband, Lyman R. Sherman, who was close to the Prophet, and received it from him, 'that the ancient order of Plural Marriage was again to be practiced by the Church.' This, at the time did not impress my mind deeply, although there lived then with his family (the Prophet’s) a neighbor’s daughter, Fannie Alger, a very nice and comely young woman about my own age, toward whom not only myself, but every one, seemed partial, for the amiability for her character; and it was whispered even then that Joseph loved her."[8]

Joseph asked the brother-in-law of Fanny's father to make the request of Fanny's father, after which a marriage ceremony was performed

Mosiah Hancock discusses the manner in which the proposal was extended to Fanny, and states that a marriage ceremony was performed. Joseph asked Levi Hancock, the brother-in-law of Samuel Alger, Fanny’s father, to request Fanny as his plural wife:

Samuel, the Prophet Joseph loves your daughter Fanny and wishes her for a wife. What say you?” Uncle Sam says, “Go and talk to the old woman [Fanny’s mother] about it. Twill be as she says.” Father goes to his sister and said, “Clarissy, Brother Joseph the Prophet of the most high God loves Fanny and wishes her for a wife. What say you?” Said she, “Go and talk to Fanny. It will be all right with me.” Father goes to Fanny and said, “Fanny, Brother Joseph the Prophet loves you and wishes you for a wife. Will you be his wife?” “I will Levi,” said she. Father takes Fanny to Joseph and said, “Brother Joseph I have been successful in my mission.” Father gave her to Joseph, repeating the ceremony as Joseph repeated to him.[9]


Question: Did Fanny Alger have a child by Joseph Smith?

A suggestion that Fanny was pregnant by Joseph surfaced in an 1886 anti-Mormon book with a claim that Emma "drove" Fanny out of the house

The first mention of a pregnancy for Fanny is in an 1886 anti-Mormon work, citing Chauncey Webb, with whom Fanny reportedly lived after leaving the Smith home.[10] Webb claimed that Emma "drove" Fanny from the house because she "was unable to conceal the consequences of her celestial relation with the prophet." If Fanny was pregnant, it is curious that no one else remarked upon it at the time, though it is possible that the close quarters of a nineteenth-century household provided Emma with clues. If Fanny was pregnant by Joseph, the child never went to term, died young, or was raised under a different name.

Fawn Brodie claimed that Fanny's son Orrison was the son of Joseph Smith, but this was disproven by DNA research

Fawn Brodie, in her critical work No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, claimed that “there is some evidence that Fannie Alger bore Joseph a child in Kirtland.”[11] However, DNA research in 2005 confirmed Fanny Alger’s son Orrison Smith is not the son of Joseph Smith, Jr.[12]


Response to claim: 15 - Joseph issued his prophecy regarding the Civil War after visiting New York and hearing about how President Jackson should deal with "a rebellious South Carolina"

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

Joseph issued his prophecy regarding the Civil War after visiting New York and hearing about how President Jackson should deal with "a rebellious South Carolina."

(Author's sources: Joseph Smith's December 25, 1832 prophecy, quoted in D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power (Signature Books, 1994), 619.)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

There were troubles in South Carolina, but a rebellion was averted. The Church and its members continued to publicize the prophecy well after things calmed down.



Question: What is Joseph Smith's 1832 prophecy of the Civil War?

The prophecy was given 25 December 1832 and is given in Doctrine and Covenants 87:1-8

1 VERILY, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;

2 And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.

4 And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

5 And it shall come to pass also that the remnants who are left of the land will marshal themselves, and shall become exceedingly angry, and shall vex the Gentiles with a sore vexation.

6 And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations;

7 That the cry of the saints, and of the blood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies.

8 Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come; for behold, it cometh quickly, saith the Lord. Amen. (D&C 87:1-8)

Attempts to explain away this prophecy fail on multiple grounds. It is no surprise that nineteenth-century members of the Church consistently saw the Civil War as a fulfillment of prophecy, and evidence of Joseph Smith's prophetic gifts.


Question: After the end of the rebellion in South Carolina, did the Church not mention the Civil War prophecy for many years?

Joseph Smith reiterated the prophecy in 1842, and added more detail, 19 years before the Civil War

12 I prophesy, in the name of the Lord God, that the commencement of the difficulties which will cause much bloodshed previous to the coming of the Son of Man will be in South Carolina.

13 It may probably arise through the slave question. This a voice declared to me, while I was praying earnestly on the subject, December 25th, 1832. (D&C 130:12-13)

Orson Pratt preached about the prophesy in 1832, 29 years before the Civil War

Orson Pratt testified that he began preaching the prophecy soon after it was given. In 1870, he said:

I went forth before my beard was gray, before my hair began to turn white, when I was a youth of nineteen, now I am fifty-eight, and from that time on I published these tidings among the inhabitants of the earth. I carried forth the written revelation, foretelling this great contest, some twenty-eight years before the war commenced. This prophecy has been printed and circulated extensively in this and other nations and languages. It pointed out the place where it should commence in South Carolina. That which I declared over the New England States, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and many other parts in the East, when but a boy, came to pass twenty-eight years after the revelation was given.

When they were talking about a war commencing down here in Kansas, I told them that was not the place; I also told them that the revelation had designated South Carolina, "and," said I, "you have no need to think that the Kansas war is going to be the war that is to be so terribly destructive in its character and nature. No, it must commence at the place the Lord has designated by revelation."

What did they have to say to me? They thought it was a Mormon humbug, and laughed me to scorn, and they looked upon that revelation as they do upon all others that God has given in these latter days—as without divine authority. But behold and lo! in process of time it came to pass, again establishing the divinity of this work, and giving another proof that God is in this work, and is performing that which He spoke by the mouths of the ancient prophets, as recorded in the Book of Mormon before any Church of Latter-day Saints was in existence.[13]

Thus, Orson Pratt indicates that not only did he preach regarding Joseph's prophesy in 1832, but that he was ridiculed for it. He would also remember:

Now I am aware that it is almost impossible for even some of the Latter-day Saints to get that confidence and that strong faith in the events which God intends to accomplish on this land in the future to believe in such a thing, to say nothing about outsiders, that do not believe a word of it. Outsiders do not believe it any more than they believed me when I was a boy and took that revelation which was given in 1832, and carried it forth among many towns and cities and told them there was to be a great and terrible war between the North and the South, and read to them the revelation. Did they believe it? Would they consider that there was any truth in it? Not in the least, "that is a Mormon humbug" they would say. "What! this great and powerful nation of ours to be divided one part against the other and many hundreds of thousands of souls to be destroyed by civil wars!" Not a word of it would they believe. They do not believe what is still in the future.[14]

The Church printed the prophecy in the Pearl of Great Price in 1851, ten years before the Civil War

The Church also printed the prophecy in the Pearl of Great Price in 1851, and continued to publicize it until the Civil War. Clearly, they did not keep it "under wraps" until the Civil War became inevitable.[15]

Orson Pratt also included the full prophecy from December 1832 on the front page of his publication The Seer in April 1854, seven years before the Civil War

Orson Pratt also included the full prophecy from December 1832 on the front page of his publication The Seer in April 1854, with interpretation and editorial comment for 6 pages.[16] There are also many extant manuscript copies of the prophecy, in the handwriting of men who left the church before Joseph Smith died, and some who didn't (WW Phelps, Thomas Bullock, Willard Richards [who died before the Civil War], Edward Partridge, Algernon Sidney Gilbert, Frederick G. Williams).[17]

The Philadelphia Sunday Mercury quoted the prophecy in 1851, ten years before the Civil War

Robert Woodford's Ph.D. thesis also located a an article in a Philadelphia paper quoting the revelation from 1851, with comments, from May 1861; it was reprinted in England a month later:

Philadelphia Sunday Mercury, Sunday May 5, 1861

A MORMON PROPHECY

We have in our possession a pamphlet, published at Liverpool, in 1851, containing a selection from the ‘revelations, translations and narratives’ of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. The following prophecy is here said to have been made by Smith, on the 25th of December, 1832. In view of our present troubles, this prediction seems to be in progress of fulfilment, whether Joe Smith was a humbug or not:

‘A REVELATION AND PROPHECY BY THE PROPHET, SEER, AND REVELATOR, JOSEPH SMITH. Verily thus saith the Lord…. Amen [complete text quoted]’

The war began in South Carolina. Insurrections of slaves are already dreaded. Famine will certainly afflict some Southern communities. The interference of Great Britain, on account of the want of cotton, is not improbable, if the war is protracted. In the meantime, a general war in Europe appears to be imminent. Have we not had a prophet among us?[18]

Clearly, members of the Church did not hide the prophecy, and spread it far and wide among themselves and among others from the 1830s until its fulfillment in the 1860s.


Question: Did the Church cover up the fact that the Civil War prophecy was made during the 1832 rebellion in South Carolina?

No American statesman in 1832 believed that the doctrines of secession then talked of would result in a great civil war

It is claimed that Mormons "cover up the fact that the 'prophecy' was made in the midst of an earlier rebellion in December 1832. That rebellion ended quietly a few months later."[19]

This claim, however, is false. Gil Scharffs noted that critics "are correct when they say Joseph Smith announced the Civil War prophecy when rebellion in South Carolina was threatening. A large 1832 rebellion never materialized and the threat ended a few months later."[20]

No American statesman in 1832 believed that the doctrines of secession then talked of would result in a great civil war. None of them had the foresight to see that a great rebellion would occur, beginning in South Carolina; that it would terminate in the death and misery of many souls; that the Southern States would be divided against the Northern States; that the Southern States would call on Great Britain, and that war would eventually be poured out upon all nations. No one foresaw that this would be the result except Joseph Smith--when but twenty-seven years of age--and he saw it only by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. To be required to believe that the prophecy was merely the fortunate conjecture of a more than ordinary astute mind, requires a greater amount of credulity than to concede the inspiration of the Prophet; and then the question would still remain, why is it that sagacious minds in other generations have not paralleled this astuteness of Joseph Smith's? Why did not some of the brilliant minds in the Senate or House of Representatives in 1832 make such a prediction? There was not a lack of brilliant minds in either Senate or House at that time, yet none seemed equal to the task.[21]

The fact that there were rumors of war is in fact a fulfillment of prophecy itself! (Matthew 24:6-7) The question is not were there rumors of war, but the question should be, did the events take place just as Joseph Smith said they would. As soon as Joseph uttered the words "Thus saith the Lord" he was tied to the prophecy being true or false, and if the events did not happen as he said, then, and only then, could it be declared a false prophecy.

Wars would shortly come to pass, beginning with the rebellion of South Carolina, which would eventually terminate in war being poured out upon all nations and in the death and misery of many souls

It was because of this fact that the Lord made known to Joseph Smith this revelation stating that wars would shortly come to pass, beginning with the rebellion of South Carolina, which would eventually terminate in war being poured out upon all nations and in the death and misery of many souls. It may have been an easy thing in 1832, or even 1831, for someone to predict that there would come a division of the Northern States and the Southern States, for even then there were rumblings, and South Carolina had shown the spirit of rebellion. It was not, however, within the power of man to predict in the detail which the Lord revealed to Joseph Smith, what was shortly to come to pass as an outgrowth of the Civil War and the pouring out of war upon all nations. It must be conceded that no one, except Joseph Smith, ever entered into such detail in relation to this conflict or stated with such assurance that the time would come when all nations would be involved in war, The revelation begins with these words: "Verily, thus saith the Lord, concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; and the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place." This, certainly, is a bold prediction which no one, other than Joseph Smith, dared to make.[22]:2:123


Response to claim: 15 - Failure of the bank in Kirtland caused Joseph to leave Kirtland in the middle of the night

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

Failure of the bank in Kirtland caused Joseph to leave Kirtland in the middle of the night.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The author is simply repeating Fawn Brodie's speculation.



Question: Did Joseph Smith personally profit from the Kirtland Safety Society?

Joseph did not profit personally from the bank, and withdrew his support before the failure

Joseph probably suffered more legal repercussions than anyone from the event. There is no evidence that Joseph was “getting rich,” or attempting to do so, from the bank. He paid more for his stock in the bank than 85% of the subscribers, and he put more of his own money into the bank than anyone else, save one person.[23]

In June 1837, Kirtland land values had increased by 800% in just one year, so the idea of backing the bank with land does not seem unreasonable.

Furthermore, the bank's weakness became a drain on Joseph, and he expended considerable resources trying to save it—including obtaining three new loans—which only worsened his position in the end.[24]

Joseph was left with debts of $100,000. He had that value in goods and land, but it was difficult to convert these to cash. (Ironically, it was this very issue which had led to the bank's formation in the first place.)

Joseph fled for fear of his life, but as late as 1843 worked to settle his Kirtland debts

Joseph fled for fear of his life, but also left creditors behind. Admirably, even as late as 1843, he continued to work to settle his Kirtland debts, even though he was far away in Nauvoo and effectively beyond the reach of his creditors.[25] In a 23 June 1874 speech, Brigham Young indicated that "some of his [Joseph's] debts had to be settled afterwards; and I am thankful to say that they were settled up."[26]


Question: Why were properties in the name of Joseph Smith?

In the early days of the Church, the finances of Joseph Smith and the institutional Church were enmeshed

This was not unusual, as the idea of religious groups functioning as corporations and holding property was frowned on in Jacksonian America.

In 1836, the Church was centered at Kirtland, and was undergoing substantial growth. The Saints were constructing the Kirtland temple, at considerable cost, as well as financing property and business acquisitions, the immigration of poor members to Ohio, and missionary work.

To finance this explosive growth, loans were sought. Joseph Smith and the Church had extensive loans; some loans were for Joseph, some for Kirtland, and some for the Church. In some instances, Joseph was the only borrower, in other cases he was one among many who were liable for a given debt.

Banks do not loan money to those they consider poor risks, and so to his contemporaries, Joseph clearly appeared to have the ability to meet his obligations. The amount of the loans seems to have been less than the total value of the lands, businesses, and goods which Joseph and the Church owned. However, these assets were difficult to liquefy—the loans were often short-term (from a few weeks to around 180 days) and so cash flow problems beset Joseph continually.[27]


Response to claim: 16 - Joseph "organized a secret group of loyalists" called the Danites

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

Joseph "organized a secret group of loyalists" called the Danites.

(Author's sources: *D. Michael Quinn, quoting Hallwas and Launius, Cultures in Conflict, 8.  [ATTENTION!] - Check source--there's nothing by H&L on that page about Danites at all.....)

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors - The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

The Danites are sometimes confused with the “Armies of Israel,” which was the official defensive organization that was tasked with defending the Saints.



Gospel Topics: "At the Latter-day Saint settlement of Far West, some leaders and members organized a paramilitary group known as the Danites"

"Peace and Violence among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints," Gospel Topics on LDS.org:

At the Latter-day Saint settlement of Far West, some leaders and members organized a paramilitary group known as the Danites, whose objective was to defend the community against dissident and excommunicated Latter-day Saints as well as other Missourians. Historians generally concur that Joseph Smith approved of the Danites but that he probably was not briefed on all their plans and likely did not sanction the full range of their activities. Danites intimidated Church dissenters and other Missourians; for instance, they warned some dissenters to leave Caldwell County. During the fall of 1838, as tensions escalated during what is now known as the Mormon Missouri War, the Danites were apparently absorbed into militias largely composed of Latter-day Saints. These militias clashed with their Missouri opponents, leading to a few fatalities on both sides. In addition, Mormon vigilantes, including many Danites, raided two towns believed to be centers of anti-Mormon activity, burning homes and stealing goods.22 Though the existence of the Danites was short-lived, it resulted in a longstanding and much-embellished myth about a secret society of Mormon vigilantes.[28]


Question: Did Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon support the formation of a vigilante band called the Danites?

The Danites are sometimes confused with the “Armies of Israel,” which was the official defensive organization that was tasked with defending the Saints

The Danites were a brotherhood of church members that formed in Far West, Missouri in mid-1838. By this point in time, the Saints had experienced serious persecution, having been driven out of Kirtland by apostates, and driven out of Jackson County by mobs. Sidney Rigdon was publicly preaching that the Saints would not tolerate any more persecution, and that both apostates and mobs would be put on notice. The Danite organization took root within this highly charged and defensive environment.

The Danites are sometimes confused with the “Armies of Israel,” which was the official defensive organization that was tasked with defending the Saints, and which was supported by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. This is complicated by the fact that members of the Danite organization also served in the “Armies of Israel.”

Although Joseph Smith was aware of the intent of the Danites to cleanse the Church of "evil," he rejected the illegal activities of the Danite band

Regardless of their original motives, the Danites ultimately were led astray by their leader, Sampson Avard. Avard attempted to blame Joseph Smith in order to save himself. Joseph, however, clearly repudiated both the organization and Avard.


Question: When was the Danite band formed and why?

Sidney Rigdon gave a speech against dissenters on 17 June 1838 in Far West known as the "Salt Sermon"

Rigdon's speech was directly targeted at dissenters within the Church, and strongly implied that they should leave.

Leland H. Gentry,

The first official encouragement given to removing these "dissenters" from Caldwell County came in the form of a speech given by Sidney Rigdon on Sunday, 17 June 1838. Familiarly known in church history annals as the "Salt Sermon," Rigdon's address remains one of the controversial events of the period.[29]

Gentry notes John Corrill's description of the sermon,

President Rigdon delivered from the pulpit what I call the "Salt Sermon;" 'If the salt hath lost its savour, it is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men,' was his text; and although he did not call names in his sermon, yet it was plainly understood that he meant the dissenters or those who had denied the faith. He indirectly accused some of them with crime.[30]

The Danites appear to have been formally created about the time that Sidney Rigdon gave his “Salt Sermon” in Far West

The Danites were led by Dr. Sampson Avard, and the group appears to have been formally formed about the time that Sidney Rigdon gave his “Salt Sermon” in Far West, in which he gave apostates an ultimatum to get out or suffer consequences.[29] According to Avard, the original purpose of the band was to “drive from the county of Caldwell all that dissented from the Mormon church.”[31]:25 Once the dissenters had left the country, the Danites turned their attention to defending the Saints from mobs.


Question: Is it true that the Danites were pledged to “plunder, lie, and even kill if deemed necessary?"

Sampson Avard began retaliation against those who persecuted the Saints, including stealing and plundering

After the dissenters left Far West, Avard, took the idea of defending the Saints one step further by including retaliation against those who persecuted the Saints. Thus, the Danites began operating as a vigilante group outside the law. This, unfortunately, included stealing and plundering from those who stole and plundered from the Saints.[29]:4 The Danites believed that if they consecrated plundered goods to the Church, that they would be protected in battle.[29]:9 The group held secret meetings, with special signs used to identify themselves to one another.


Question: How were the activities of the Danite band exposed?

Sampson Avard was eventually brought to trial, and he blamed Joseph Smith for the Danite's activities

Much of the information that we have about the Danite organization comes from the document describing the criminal court of inquiry held against church leaders in Richmond, Missouri on November 12, 1838. When the group’s activities were exposed and church leaders brought to trial, Avard became a primary witness for the prosecution, and laid the blame for the Danites at the feet of Joseph Smith. Avard claimed that he had been acting under the direction of the First Presidency.[29]:7

Several witnesses indicated that Avard indicated that he would lie in order to incriminate the Church, and it is apparent that he testified in order to save himself.[31][32] Avard even produced a “Danite Constitution” for the court, despite the fact that nobody else in the organization had ever heard of it or seen it until that time.[29]:11-12

Joseph Smith rejected the Danite band and referred to them as a "secret combination"

Joseph Smith referred to the Danites as a “secret combination.”[33] Referring to Avard’s testimony before the judge, B.H. Roberts states,

This lecture of the doctor's revealed for the first time the true intent of his designs, and the brethren he had duped suddenly had their eyes opened, and they at once revolted and manfully rejected his teachings. Avard saw that he had played and lost, so he said they had better let the matter drop where it was. As soon as Avard's villainy was brought to the knowledge of the president of The Church he was promptly excommunicated, and was afterwards found making an effort to become friends with the mob, and conspiring against The Church. This is the history of the Danite band, "which", says the Prophet Joseph, "died almost before it had an existence."[34]

Sampson Avard had a reputation for not being trustworthy

There is clear consensus among both Mormon and non-Mormon early sources that Sampson Avard was not trustworthy.[29] Additionally, there is a well-documented case of Avard attempting to do what he was eventually accused of doing with the Danites: taking advantage of inefficient and ambiguous lines of communication and authority to establish his own command.

In his biography of John Taylor, B.H. Roberts recorded an incident wherein Avard tried take over the Church in Canada by feigning authority from Joseph Smith, when he in fact did not have any.[35] For many years this account was not supported by any first-hand accounts, but recently this incident has been confirmed by an account in the journal of Joseph Horne, a member of the Church who rode with Avard up to Canada and witnessed the attempt to take over the Church there.[36]


Question: Did the Danite band persist even after they were exposed?

Legends of “Danites” persisted for many years as the Saints moved to Nauvoo and later to Utah

Legends of “Danites” persisted for many years as the Saints moved to Nauvoo and later to Utah. The mysterious “Danites” have served as villains in fictional stories such as the first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet. Danites are sometimes associated with the Mountain Meadows Massacre, since one of the principal protagonists of that unfortunate event, John D. Lee, was himself once a member of the Danites in Missouri. With the help of imaginative writers, the mysterious “Danites” took on the status of an “urban legend” as a shadowy, mysterious vigilante group which enforced the will of church leaders by practicing blood atonement on those who opposed them. Brigham Young gave his opinion of such rumors during a conference talk on April 7, 1867 when he said:

Is there war in our religion? No; neither war nor bloodshed. Yet our enemies cry out "bloodshed," and "oh, what dreadful men these Mormons are, and those Danites! how they slay and kill!" Such is all nonsense and folly in the extreme. The wicked slay the wicked, and they will lay it on the Saints.[37]


Response to claim: 16 - The Danites introduced "blood atonement" in order to "save" people by slitting their throats

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

The Danites introduced "blood atonement" in order to "save" people by slitting their throats.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

This is incorrect.



Question: What is "blood atonement"?

If a person thereafter commits a grievous sin such as the shedding of innocent blood, only by voluntarily submitting to whatever penalty the Lord may require can that person benefit from the Atonement of Christ

From the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:

The doctrines of the Church affirm that the Atonement wrought by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is efficacious for the sins of all who believe, repent, are baptized by one having authority, and receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. However, if a person thereafter commits a grievous sin such as the shedding of innocent blood, the Savior's sacrifice alone will not absolve the person of the consequences of the sin. Only by voluntarily submitting to whatever penalty the Lord may require can that person benefit from the Atonement of Christ.

Several early Church leaders, most notably Brigham Young, taught that in a complete theocracy the Lord could require the voluntary shedding of a murderer's blood-presumably by capital punishment-as part of the process of Atonement for such grievous sin. This was referred to as "blood Atonement." Since such a theocracy has not been operative in modern times, the practical effect of the idea was its use as a rhetorical device to heighten the awareness of Latter-day Saints of the seriousness of murder and other major sins. This view is not a doctrine of the Church and has never been practiced by the Church at any time.

Early anti-Mormon writers charged that under Brigham Young the Church practiced "blood Atonement," by which they meant Church-instigated violence directed at dissenters, enemies, and strangers. This claim distorted the whole idea of blood atonement-which was based on voluntary submission by an offender-into a supposed justification of involuntary punishment. Occasional isolated acts of violence that occurred in areas where Latter-day Saints lived were typical of that period in the history of the American West, but they were not instances of Church-sanctioned blood Atonement.[38]

Reports of "blood atonement" having occurred were exaggerated and sensationalized

As one historian noted,

That the doctrine [of blood atonement] was preached by high officials is a matter of record; the intent of the sermons became a matter of conjecture; and the results therefrom set vivid imaginations working overtime. Blood fairly flowed through the writing of such men as Beadle in Life in Utah or the Mysteries of Mormonism and Polygamy, in Linn's The Story of Mormonism, and even Stenhouse's anonymous chapter on Reformation and Blood Atonement in his Rocky Mountain Saints. Numerous killings, including the Mountain Meadows massacre, were credited as the fruits of the doctrine....

Omitted from quotations used by the anti-Mormons were restraining clauses such as follow from Brigham Young:

. . . The time has been in Israel under the law of God that if a man was found guilty of adultery, he must have his blood shed, and that is near at hand. But now I say, in the name of the Lord, that if this people will sin no more, but faithfully live their religion, their sins will be forgiven them without taking life.

The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle's being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force.

The doctrine of blood atonement which involved concern for the salvation of those to be subjected to it, could have little meaning in the [p.62] Mountain Meadows massacre, or any other of the murders laid unproved on the Mormon threshold (emphasis added).[39]

There is evidence that some crimes were considered worthy of death, even in the apostolic age among Christians

Despite the critics' claims, there is evidence that some crimes were considered worthy of death, even in the apostolic age among Christians:

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him....[Chapter 5] If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (1 John 3:15; 1 John 5:16-18) (italics added).


Charles Penrose (1912): "Do you believe in "blood-atonement"?

Charles W. Penrose, Improvement Era (September 1912):

Question 9: Do you believe in "blood-atonement," or in other words, do you accept and believe in the principles taught in Brigham Young's sermon of 8th of February, 1857, Journal of Discourses, volume 4, pages 219, 220?

Answer: We believe in "blood atonement" by the sacrifice of the Savior, also that which is declared in Genesis 9:6. A capital sin committed by a man who has entered into the everlasting covenant merits capital punishment, which is the only atonement he can offer. But the penalty must be executed by an officer legally appointed under the law of the land.[40]


Question: Did early Mormon leaders teach that apostasy was the unforgivable sin, and that the only thing an apostate could do to redeem himself was to give his own life, willingly or unwillingly?

Accusations are unsupported which seek to establish these as activities promoted, condoned, or concealed by the Church or its leaders

While one is no doubt able to dig up examples of blood being shed by those of the LDS faith, accusations are unsupported which seek to establish these as activities promoted, condoned, or concealed by the LDS church or its leaders generally.[41]

As Gustave O.Larson noted in the Utah Historical Quarterly:

Denials of murder charges which rode in on the backwash of the Reformation gradually resolved into defensible positions that (1) some known killings of the reform period resulted from motives not related to blood atonement, (2) that in spite of extreme statements by some of its leaders the church did not officially condone taking life other than through legal processes, (3) responsibility for any reversions to primitive practices of blood shedding must rest upon fanatical individuals. The whole experience continued in memory as a reminder of ill effects growing out of good causes carried to extremes.[42]

The Deseret News reported the following on June 17, 2010, reporting the Church's recent statement on the subject of Blood Atonement:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released this statement Wednesday:

In the mid-19th century, when rhetorical, emotional oratory was common, some church members and leaders used strong language that included notions of people making restitution for their sins by giving up their own lives.

However, so-called "blood atonement," by which individuals would be required to shed their own blood to pay for their sins, is not a doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe in and teach the infinite and all-encompassing atonement of Jesus Christ, which makes forgiveness of sin and salvation possible for all people.[43]


Question: Were apostates secretly put to death by "blood atonement" during the administration of Brigham Young?

Despite a number of rhetorical statements in the late 1850s, there is no evidence that anyone was "blood atoned" at the orders of Brigham Young

Brigham Young spoke of a doctrine called "blood atonement." Despite a number of rhetorical statements by LDS leaders in the late 1850s, there is no evidence that anyone was "blood atoned" at the orders of Brigham Young or any other general authority. Contemporary claims for such actions uniformly come from anti-Mormon books and newspapers with lurid titles such as The Destroying Angels of Mormondom[44]and Abominations of Mormonism Exposed.[45]

The First Presidency issued an official declaration on the matter of killing apostates, as a form of blood atonement, in 1889. This declaration reads, in part:

Notwithstanding all the stories told about the killing of apostates, no case of this kind has ever occurred, and of course has never been established against the Church we represent. Hundreds of seceders from the Church have continuously resided and now live in this territory, many of whom have amassed considerable wealth, though bitterly opposed to the Mormon faith and people. Even those who made it their business to fabricate the vilest falsehoods, and to render them plausible by culling isolated passages from old sermons without the explanatory context, and have suffered no opportunity to escape them of vilifying and blackening the characters of the people, have remained among those whom they have thus persistently calumniated until the present day, without receiving the slightest personal injury.

We denounce as entirely untrue the allegation which has been made, that our Church favors or believes in the killing of persons who leave the Church or apostatize from its doctrines. We would view a punishment of this character for such an act with the utmost horror; it is abhorrent to us and is in direct opposition to the fundamental principles of our creed.[46]


Response to claim: 20 - Joseph claimed to be a "second Mohammad" in a speech in Far West

The author(s) of American Massacre make(s) the following claim:

Joseph claimed to be a "second Mohammad" in a speech in Far West.

FairMormon Response

Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin - The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

The statement which Joseph is charged with making did not accord at all with how he had his followers behave.



Question: Did Joseph Smith say that he would be a "second Muhammad," threatening to spread his beliefs with the sword?

The statement which Joseph is charged with making did not accord at all with how he had his followers behave

Some have argued that Joseph may have said something like this, but was doing so for rhetorical effect to frighten the Missourians into leaving the Saints alone. But, it is by no means certain that he said it at all. Some who made the claims returned to the Church, and other sources were motivated by hostility and a desire to portray the Saints as a military and religious threat.

This claim came from Thomas B. Marsh after he left the Church

The source of this claim is from Thomas B. Marsh, an apostate former president of the Quorum of the Twelve. In 1838, Marsh swore an affidavit in which he claimed to have heard Joseph Smith say:

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 it would be 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.' [47]

Green and Goldrup: "this threat was quite probably a mere fabrication by the disgruntled Marsh"

Arnold Green and Lawrence Goldrup noted in 1971 that "this threat was quite probably a mere fabrication by the disgruntled Marsh," [48] and pointed out Orson Hyde (who was also disaffected at the time) later repented and returned, indicating that parts of the affidavit had been invented by Marsh. Marsh himself was later to repent and return to the Church, which casts further doubt on his story.

The tale was also repeated by George M. Hinkle, John Corrill, George Walter, and partially by Abner Scovil. [49] Joseph Smith's journal for the period notes:

some excitement was raised in the adjoining Counties, that is Ray & Clay, against us, in consequence of the suden departure of these wicked character[s], of the apostates from this Church, into that vicinity reporting false stories, and statements, but when they [the Missourians] come to hear the other side of the question their feeling[s] were all allayed upon that subject especially. [50]

It is, then, by no means certain that Joseph made this statement—the witnesses are all hostile, and clearly intended to frighten the Missourians

Joseph was under enormous pressure to defend the Saints against the repeated actions of mobbers. As historian Marvin Hill notes,

the actual response to belligerence when it occurred was much more restrained. Although the elders did confiscate property and burn houses, their attacks were generally aimed at specific enemies. Mormons had neither the inclination nor means to wage a general war of extermination against all mobbers, despite menacing talk. The only fatalities occurred in the skirmish with Bogart, where the elders got the worst of the fight. Had the prophet been intent on waging total war, it is unlikely he would have allowed Rigdon to issue his 4th of July warning, which only put the Missourians on guard. [51]


Notes

  1. "Approaching Mormon Doctrine," from Newsroom: The Official Resource for News Media, Opinion Leaders, and the Public (4 May 2007) at lds.org. off site
  2. See also Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 3:35. Volume 3 link
  3. See A+of+F 1:10.
  4. John Taylor, The Mediation and Atonement (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Co., 1882), 69.
  5. David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ by a Witness to the Divine Authenticity of The Book of Mormon (David Whitmer: Richmond, Virginia, 1887).
  6. W. W. Phelps to Oliver Cowdery, June 1835, "Letter No. 8," Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 1 no. 9 (June 1835), 129–31. off-site See also W. W. Phelps to Oliver Cowdery, "Letter No. 11," Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate 2 no. 1 (October 1835), 193–95. off-site
  7. The vast majority of these were in describing what others said about the Church.
  8. Dean Zimmerman, I Knew the Prophets: An Analysis of the Letter of Benjamin F. Johnson to George F. Gibbs, Reporting Doctrinal Views of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (Bountiful, Utah: Horizon, 1976), 38; punctuation and spelling standardized. Cited in Brian Hales, "Fanny Alger," josephsmithspolygamy.org. off-site
  9. Levi Ward Hancock, “Autobiography with Additions in 1896 by Mosiah Hancock,” 63, MS 570, LDS Church History Library, punctuation and spelling standardized; cited portion written by Mosiah. Cited in Brian Hales, "Fanny Alger," josephsmithspolygamy.org. off-site
  10. Wilhelm Wyl, Mormon Portraits Volume First: Joseph Smith the Prophet, His Family and Friends (Salt Lake City: Tribune Printing and Publishing Co., 1886), 57. Ann Eliza Young, Wife No. 19, or the Story of a Life in Bondage, Being a Complete Exposé of Mormonism, and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy (Hartford, Conn.: Custin, Gilman & Company, 1876), 66–67. Discussed in Bachman, "Mormon Practice of Polygamy," 140. Also in Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 34–35.
  11. Fawn Brodie, No Man Knows My History.
  12. Ugo A. Perego, Natalie M. Myers, and Scott R. Woodward, “Reconstructing the Y-Chromosome of Joseph Smith Jr.: Genealogical Applications, Journal of Mormon History Vol. 32, No. 2 (Summer 2005) 70-88.
  13. Orson Pratt, (10 April 1870) Journal of Discourses 13:135.
  14. Orson Pratt, (27 December 1868) Journal of Discourses 12:344.
  15. Paul H. Peterson, "Civil War Prophecy," in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 1:288.
  16. Editor [Orson Pratt], "A Revelation and Prophecy by the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, Joseph Smith," The Seer 2/4 (April 1854): 241–247.
  17. Robert Woodford, The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants, Ph.D. Dissertation, Brigham Young University, 1974, 1104–1124.
  18. Woodford, "The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants," 1110, 1111 (figures 12 and 13) [figures contain photocopy of the masthead of each newspaper, and the article itself].
  19. The God Makers, 224, lines 21-24; cited by Gilbert W. Scharffs, The Truth about ‘The God Makers’ (Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press, 1989; republished by Bookcraft, 1994), Chapter 15. Full text FairMormon link ISBN 088494963X. direct off-site
  20. Gilbert W. Scharffs, The Truth about ‘The God Makers’ (Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press, 1989; republished by Bookcraft, 1994), Chapter 15. Full text FairMormon link ISBN 088494963X. direct off-site
  21. Brigham H. Roberts, New Witnesses for God, 3 Vols., (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1909[1895, 1903]), 1:319. ISBN 0962254541.
  22. Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Co., 1947).
  23. Hill, Rooker, & Wimmer, 456.
  24. Hill, Rooker, & Wimmer, 432.
  25. Hill, Rooker, & Wimmer, 458.
  26. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 18:242. See also discussion in Leland Homer Gentry, "A History of the Latter-Day Saints in Northern Missouri from 1836 to 1839," (Unpublished PhD thesis, Brigham Young University, 1965), 196. (Hard copy available from UMI Dissertation Express; order number 6509857.)
  27. See Marvin S. Hill, Keith C. Rooker and Larry T. Wimmer, "The Kirtland Economy Revisited: A Market Critique of Sectarian Economics," Brigham Young University Studies 17 no. 4 (Summer 1977), 389–471.
  28. "Peace and Violence among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints," Gospel Topics on LDS.org (May 2014)
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 29.3 29.4 29.5 29.6 Leland H. Gentry, ""The Danite Band of 1838"," Brigham Young University Studies 14 no. 4 (1974). 423. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "gentry" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "gentry" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "gentry" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "gentry" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "gentry" defined multiple times with different content
  30. John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Commonly Called Mormons) (1839), 31. Cited in Gentry, "The Danite Band", 423.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Document Containing the Correspondence, Orders &c. in Relation to the Disturbances with the Mormons; And the Evidence Given Before the Hon. Austin A. King, Judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit of the State of Missouri, at the Court-House in Richmond, in a Criminal Court of Inquiry, Begun November 12, 1838, on the Trial of Joseph Smith, Jr., and Others, for High Treason and Other Crimes Against the State., (1841) U.S. Government Printing Office.
  32. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 3:209–210. Volume 3 link
  33. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 3:179. Volume 3 link
  34. B.H. Roberts, The Missouri Persecutions, 1900, p. 220
  35. B.H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor (Salt Lake City, Bookcraft, 1963), 43-44.
  36. The Journal of Joseph Horne, Jr., 1858-1861: Including His Life Summary. LDS archives, 7. Horne’s account is also cited in Corwin L. Nimer, "Treachery and False Swearing in Missouri: The Rise and Fall of Sampson Avard," Mormon Historical Studies 5, no. 2 (Fall 2004): 37-60.
  37. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 12:30.
  38. Lowell M. Snow, "Blood atonement," Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
  39. Gustave O. Larson, "The Mormon Reformation," Utah Historical Quarterly 26/1 (January 1958): 60-62.
  40. Charles W. Penrose, "Peculiar Questions Briefly Answered," Improvement Era 15 no. 11 (September 1912).
  41. Criticisms regarding "blood atonement" are raised in the following publications: Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003), 232-236 ( Index of claims ); "Achilles" [pen name for Samuel D. Sirrine], The Destroying Angels of Mormondom; or a Sketch of the Life of Orrin Porter Rockwell, the Late Danite Chief; Sally Denton, American Massacre: The Tragedy at Mountain Meadows, (Secker & Warburg, 2003), 16. ; Contender Ministries, Questions All Mormons Should Ask Themselves. Answers; William Hall, The Abominations of Mormonism Exposed (Cincinnati: I. Hart & Co., 1853), ?.; Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults (Revised) (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1997), 236. ( Index of claims ); Watchman Fellowship, The Watchman Expositor (Page 3)
  42. Gustave O. Larson, "The Mormon Reformation," Utah Historical Quarterly 26/1 (January 1958): 62.
  43. See Deseret News Thursday, June 17, 2010
  44. "Achilles" [pen name for Samuel D. Sirrine], The Destroying Angels of Mormondom; or a Sketch of the Life of Orrin Porter Rockwell, the Late Danite Chief, (San Francisco, 1878).
  45. William Hall, The Abominations of Mormonism Exposed (Cincinnati: I. Hart & Co., 1853), {{{pages}}}.
  46. Official Declaration, 12 December 1889, signed by the First Presidency (Wilford Woodruff, George Q. Cannon, and Joseph F. Smith), the Quorum of the Twelve (Lorenzo Snow, Franklin D. Richards, Brigham Young Jr., Moses Thatcher, Francis M. Lyman, John Henry Smith, George Teasdale, Heber J. Grant, John W. Taylor, M.W. Merrill, A.H. Lund, and Abraham H. Cannon), and counselors (John W. Young and Daniel H. Wells).
  47. History of the Church, 3:167 note. note Volume 3 link
  48. Arnold H. Green and Lawrence P. Goldrup, "Joseph Smith, An American Muhammad?: An Essay on the Perils of Historical Analogy," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 6 no. 1, 46.
  49. David Grua, "From the Archives: Joseph Smith or the Sword!?," blog post at Juvenile Instructor blog (17 Nov 2007) off-site.
  50. JS, Journal, [July 1838], cited in Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith, vol. 2, Journal, 1832-1842 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1992), 255–256. ISBN 0875795455.; as cited in Juvenile Instructor, ibid.
  51. Marvin S. Hill, Quest for Refuge: The Mormon Flight from American Pluralism (Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books, 1989), 97.