Mormonism and Wikipedia/Joseph Smith, Jr./1838 to 1839

Table of Contents

An analysis of Wikipedia article "Joseph Smith"


A FairMormon Analysis of Wikipedia: "Joseph Smith"
A work by a collaboration of authors (Link to Wikipedia article here)
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Reviews of previous revisions of this section

19 May 2009

Summary: A review of this section as it appeared in Wikipedia on 19 May 2009.

Section review

Life in Missouri (1838–39)  Updated 9/3/2011

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

After leaving Jackson County, the Saints in Missouri established the town of Far West. Smith's plans to redeem Zion in Jackson County had lapsed by 1838,

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

and after Smith and Rigdon arrived in Missouri, Far West became the new Mormon "Zion."

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

In Missouri, the church also received a new name: the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,"

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

}}


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

and construction began on a new temple.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Soon after Smith and Rigdon arrived at Far West, hundreds of disaffected Saints in Kirtland, suddenly realizing "the enormity of their loss," followed them to Missouri.

Author's sources:
  1. Remini (2002) , p. 125; Brodie (1971) , p. 210 ("Joseph's going had left a void that they had found intolerable. With each passing week they remembered less of their prophet's financial ineptitude and more of his genial warmth and his magnetic presence in the pulpit.")

FairMormon Response


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

But Smith was unable to reconcile with many of the oldest and most prominent leaders of the church, and he purged those critics who had not yet resigned.

Author's sources:
  1. Marquardt (2005) , p. 463 (listing Oliver Cowdery (Assistant President of the Church), Frederick G. Williams (First Presidency), David and John Whitmer (Book of Mormon witnesses and presidency of Missouri), William Phelps (presidency of Missouri), Martin Harris, Hiram Page, and Jacob Whitmer (Book of Mormon witnesses), and Lyman E. Johnson, John F. Boynton, Luke S. Johnson, and William E. McLellin (Quorum of the Twelve)); Remini (2002) , p. 128; Quinn (1994) , p. 93.

FairMormon Response

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Though Smith hated violence, his experiences led him to believe that his faith's survival required greater militancy against anti-Mormons and Mormon traitors.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

With his knowledge and at least partial approval,

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  • Brodie (p. 216): "Avard was shrewd enough to make heresy against the presidency the most heinous crime in the church....Avard told his men that they 'should support the presidency in all their designs, right or wrong.'"
  • Bushman (p. 350): "George Robinson, Sidney Rigdon's son-in-law and keeper of Joseph's journal...may exaggerate the First Presidency's backing He also depicts the Presidency, not Joseph, as the effective governing body of the Church. Smith recedes as a personality in Robinson's records, and the Presidency as a group, with Rigdon as First Counselor, appears to be in charge. In Robinson's record, Joseph goes along with Rigdon, rather than taking the lead..."
  • For a detailed response, see: Mormonism and persecution/Danites
  • See DC 117:7
  • For an analysis of Fawn Brodie's critical work, see A FAIR Analysis of No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith.

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

recent convert Sampson Avard formed a covert organization called the Danites

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

}}


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

to intimidate Mormon dissenters and oppose anti-Mormon militia units.

Author's sources:
  1. Quinn (1994) , p. 93; Brodie (1971) , p. 213 ("They would not only defend the Saints against aggression from the old settlers, but also act as a bodyguard for the presidency and as a secret police for ferreting out dissenters."); Remini (2002) , p. 129.

FairMormon Response


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Sidney Rigdon was working to restore the United Order, but lawsuits by Oliver Cowdery and other dissenters threatened that plan.

Author's sources:
  1. Brodie (1971) , p. 217.

FairMormon Response


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

After Rigdon issued a thinly veiled threat in a sermon,

Author's sources:
  1. Rigdon said that "if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men."

FairMormon Response


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

the Danites expelled the dissenters from the county

Author's sources:
  1. Brodie (1971) , pp. 218–19 (Danites issued a written death threat, and when that didn't work they surrounded the dissenters' homes and "ordered their wives to pack their blankets and leave the county immediately"); Quinn (1994) , pp. 94–95.

FairMormon Response


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

with Smith's approval.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Violates Wikipedia: Citing sources off-site— There is either no citation to support the statement or the citation given is incorrect.

    It is implied based upon Brodie's claim in the previous footnote that Joseph approved of issuing "death threats." Bushman only states that he favored "evicting dissenters."
  • Bushman,p.352: "Although Avard may have concealed the Danite oaths, Joseph certainly favored evicting dissenters and resisting mobs."

}}


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

In a keynote speech at the town's Fourth of July celebration, Rigdon issued similar threats against non-Mormons, promising a "war of extermination" should Mormons be attacked.

Author's sources:
  1. Brodie (1971) , pp. 222–23; Remini (2002) , pp. 131–33.

FairMormon Response


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

After Rigdon's oration, Smith shouted "Hosannah!"

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources
  • Remini's source of Joseph's statement is not specifically identified. He cites a variety of sources for this chapter, including Brodie.

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

and allowed the speech to be published as a pamphlet.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  • Bushman, (p. 355) notes: "The Mormon press printed Rigdon's talk, and Joseph urged the elders to get a copy, underscoring the passage saying the Saints would not 'be mob[b]ed any more without taking vengeance.'"

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Rigdon's July 4 oration produced a flood of anti-Mormon rhetoric in Missouri newspapers and stump speeches during the political campaign leading up to the August 6, 1838 Missouri elections.

Author's sources:
  1. Remini (2002) , p. 133.
  • Remini notes that Mormons were "denounced as murderers, thieves, idolaters, blasphemers, and liars," and that they needed to be "driven from the state."

FairMormon Response


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

In Daviess County, where Mormon influence was increasing because of their new settlement of Adam-ondi-Ahman,

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

this election descended into violence when non-Mormons sought to prevent Mormons from voting. Although there were no immediate deaths,

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  • Both sources note that the instigator of the violence was candidate William Peniston, a "local Whig politician and colonel of the county militia." (Bushman, p. 357) According to Brodie, "one of the candidates, William Peniston, harangued against the Saints." (Brodie, p. 225).
  • For an analysis of Fawn Brodie's critical work, see A FAIR Analysis of No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith.

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

the election scuffles initiated the 1838 Mormon War,

Author's sources:
  1. Remini (2002) , p. 134; Quinn (1994) , p. 96.

FairMormon Response


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

which quickly escalated as non-Mormon vigilantes raided and burned Mormon farms.

Author's sources:
  1. Brodie (1971) , p. 227

FairMormon Response


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Meanwhile, under Smith's general oversight and command,

Author's sources:
  1. Quinn (1994) , pp. 98–99, 101.

FairMormon Response


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

the Danites and other Mormon forces pillaged non-Mormon towns.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Violates Wikipedia: Synthesis off-site: Do not put together information from multiple sources to reach a conclusion that is not stated explicitly by any of the sources.

    A variety of sources are used to support the previous statement that these actions were performed "under Smith's general oversight and command."
  •  Violates Wikipedia: Citing sources off-site— There is either no citation to support the statement or the citation given is incorrect.

    Bushman's statement (p.371), when viewed in context, directly contradicts the assertion that Joseph ordered or oversaw looting and pillaging:

[Joseph] certainly wanted Mormon enemies removed, but would he have fought to remove them or burned their houses? He believed his people could rightfully confiscate property in compensation for their own losses to the Missourians but o more. He is not known to have ordered any greater violence. As the December letter said, he believed the Missourians burned their own houses and blamed it on the Mormons. His military instincts were defensive. When it was time to attack, he pulled back...Any Mormon aggression beyond these limits probably occurred without his authorization. (emphasis added)

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

During this time, Smith and other Mormon leaders helped inflame Mormon sentiment with militant rhetoric including a promise to "establish our religion with the sword" if molested.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  • Bushman, p. 352:

Corrill remembered strong talk. Joseph said that "if they came on us to molest us, we would establish our religion by the sword; and that he would become to this generation a second Mahomet."

}}


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

His rhetoric perhaps produced greater militancy among Mormons than he had intended.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

When Mormons attacked the Missouri state militia at the Battle of Crooked River in an attempt to rescue some captured Mormons,

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources
  • Bushman notes:

[T]he Mormons learned of a group of armed men approaching in a threatening posture. They actually were a contingent of the Richmond County militia under Samuel Bogard, but they looked like a mob on the prowl. The misapprehension proved to be a serious mistake.

}}


The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Governor Boggs ordered that the Mormons be "exterminated or driven from the state."

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  • According to the cited source (Bushman, p. 367), the Mormons were required to sign away their property to the state of Missouri "while militia men stood by and struck anyone who protested...Marauders were attacking outlying farms, molesting women, whipping men, and killing animals."

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Before word of this order got out, non-Mormon vigilantes surprised and killed about 18 Mormons, including children, in the Haun's Mill massacre, effectively ending the war.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  • As noted, the Missourians, who were part of the state militia, massacred the residents of Haun's Mill before they became aware of the Extermination Order.

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

On November 1, 1838, the Saints surrendered to 2,500 state troops, and agreed to forfeit their property and leave the state.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Smith was court-martialed and nearly executed for treason, but militiaman Alexander Doniphan, who was also the Saints' attorney, probably saved Smith's life by insisting that he was a civilian.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  • General Lucas of the state militia held a "court-martial" for the Church leaders, convicted them of treason, and sentenced them to be executed the next day. It was only Alexander Doniphan's refusal to carry out the illegal order that saved them.
  • For an analysis of Fawn Brodie's critical work, see A FAIR Analysis of No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith.

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Smith was then sent to a state court for a preliminary hearing,

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

where several of his former allies, including Danite commander Sampson Avard, turned state's evidence.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Smith and five others, including Rigdon, were charged with "overt acts of treason,"

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

and transferred to the jail at Liberty, Missouri to await trial.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Smith's months in prison with Rigdon strained their relationship,

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Violates Wikipedia: Citing sources off-site— There is either no citation to support the statement or the citation given is incorrect.

    The Bushman citation is out of place - it mentions nothing about Joseph's relationship with Sidney Rigdon while in the jail.

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

and Brigham Young rose in prominence as Smith's defender.

Author's sources:
  1. Brodie (1971) , pp. 245–46.

FairMormon Response

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Under Young's leadership, about 14,000 Saints

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Violates Wikipedia: Citing sources off-site— There is either no citation to support the statement or the citation given is incorrect.

    Remini doesn't really say much about Young leading the Saints, and he does not specify the number of people involved. He simply notes that "Young and the other elders had led the rest of the Mormon party..."

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

made their way to Illinois and searched for land to purchase.

Author's sources:
  1. Brodie (1971) , pp. 248–50.

FairMormon Response

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Smith bade his time writing contemplative statements directed mainly to Mormons.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  •  Correct, per cited sources

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

He did not deny responsibility for the Danites, but he said he had been ignorant of Avard's extreme militancy.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Though it had not been an issue in his preliminary hearing, he denied rumors of polygamy,

Author's sources:
  1. Brodie (1971) , p. 246.

FairMormon Response

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

as he quietly planned how to reveal the principle to his followers.

Author's sources:
  1. Brodie (1971) , pp. 252–53.

FairMormon Response

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Many Saints now considered Smith a fallen prophet, but he assured them he still had the heavenly keys.

Author's sources:
  1. Brodie (1971) , pp. 245–46.

FairMormon Response

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

He directed the Saints to collect and publish all their stories of persecution, and to moderate their antagonism to non-Mormons.

Author's sources:
  1. Bushman (2005) , pp. 377–78.

FairMormon Response

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

Smith and his companions tried to escape at least twice during their four-month imprisonment,

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

  • Bushman: "...the prisoners attempted to escape, as though prisoners of war."

}}

The author(s) of Check link or content make(s) the following claim:

and on April 6, 1839, on their way to a different jail after their grand jury hearing, they succeeded by bribing the sheriff.

Author's sources:

FairMormon Response

}}

References

Wikipedia references for "Joseph Smith, Jr."
  • Abanes, Richard, (2003), One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church Thunder's Mouth Press
  • Allen, James B., The Significance of Joseph Smith's "First Vision" in Mormon Thought off-site .
  • (1992), The Mormon Experience University of Illinois Press .
  • (1980), The Lion and the Lady: Brigham Young and Emma Smith off-site .
  • Bergera, Gary James (editor) (1989), Line Upon Line: Essays on Mormon Doctrine Signature Books .
  • Bloom, Harold, (1992), The American Religion: The Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation Simon & Schuster .
  • Booth, Ezra, Mormonism—Nos. VIII–IX (Letters to the editor) off-site .
  • Brodie, Fawn M., (1971), No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith Knopf .
  • Brooke, , (1994), The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644–1844 Cambridge University Press .
  • Bushman, Richard Lyman, (2005), Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling , New York: Knopf .
  • Clark, John A., (1842), Gleanings by the Way , Philadelphia: W.J. & J.K Simmon off-site .
  • Compton, Todd, (1997), In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith Signature Books .
  • Foster, Lawrence, (1981), Religion and Sexuality: The Shakers, the Mormons, and the Oneida Community , New York: Oxford University Press .
  • Harris, Martin, (1859), Mormonism—No. II off-site .
  • Hill, Donna, (1977), Joseph Smith: The first Mormon , Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co. .
  • Hill, Marvin S., (1976), Joseph Smith and the 1826 Trial: New Evidence and New Difficulties off-site .
  • Hill, Marvin S., (1989), Quest for Refuge: The Mormon Flight from American Pluralism Signature Books off-site .
  • Howe, Eber Dudley, (1834), Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of that Singular Imposition and Delusion, from its Rise to the Present Time , Painesville, Ohio: Telegraph Press off-site .
  • Hullinger, Robert N., (1992), Joseph Smith's Response to Skepticism Signature Books off-site .
  • Jessee, Dean, (1976), Joseph Knight's Recollection of Early Mormon History off-site .
  • Lapham, [La]Fayette, (1870), Interview with the Father of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, Forty Years Ago. His Account of the Finding of the Sacred Plates off-site .
  • Larson, Stan, (1978), The King Follett Discourse: A Newly Amalgamated Text off-site .
  • Mormon History off-site .
  • Mack, Solomon, (1811), A Narraitve [sic] of the Life of Solomon Mack Windsor: Solomon Mack off-site .
  • (1994), Inventing Mormonism Signature Books .
  • Marquardt, H. Michael, (1999), The Joseph Smith Revelations: Text and Commentary Signature Books .
  • Marquardt, H. Michael, (2005), The Rise of Mormonism: 1816–1844 Xulon Press .
  • Matzko, John, (2007), The Encounter of the Young Joseph Smith with Presbyterianism off-site .
  • Morgan, Dale, Walker, John Phillip (editor) (1986), Dale Morgan on Early Mormonism: Correspondence and a New History Signature Books off-site .
  • (2008), Joseph Smith Jr.: reappraisals after two centuries Oxford University Press .
  • Newell, Linda King, (1994), Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith University of Illinois Press .
  • (1999), Mormon America: The Power and the Promise HarperSanFrancisco .
  • Persuitte, David, (2000), Joseph Smith and the origins of the Book of Mormon McFarland & Co. .
  • Phelps, W.W. (editor) (1833), A Book of Commandments, for the Government of the Church of Christ , Zion: William Wines Phelps & Co. off-site .
  • Prince, Gregory A, (1995), Power From On High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood Signature Books .
  • Quinn, D. Michael, (1994), The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power Signature Books .
  • Quinn, D. Michael, (1998), Early Mormonism and the Magic World View Signature Books .
  • Remini, , (2002), Joseph Smith: A Penguin Life Penguin Group .
  • Roberts, B. H. (editor) (1902), History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , Salt Lake City: Deseret News off-site .
  • Roberts, B. H. (editor) (1904), History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , Salt Lake City: Deseret News off-site .
  • Roberts, B. H. (editor) (1905), History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , Salt Lake City: Deseret News off-site .
  • Roberts, B. H. (editor) (1909), History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , Salt Lake City: Deseret News off-site .
  • Shipps, Jan, (1985), Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition University of Illinois Press .
  • Smith, George D., (1994), Nauvoo Roots of Mormon Polygamy, 1841–46: A Preliminary Demographic Report off-site .
  • Smith, George D, (2008), Nauvoo Polygamy: "...but we called it celestial marriage" Signature Books .
  • Smith, Joseph, Jr., (1830), The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, Upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi , Palmyra, New York: E. B. Grandin off-site . See Book of Mormon.
  • Smith, Joseph, Jr., Jessee, Dean C (editor) (1832), Personal Writings of Joseph Smith , Salt Lake City: Deseret Book .
  • Jessee, Dean C (editor) (1839–1843), Personal Writings of Joseph Smith Deseret Book .
  • (1835), Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints: Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God , Kirtland, Ohio: F. G. Williams & Co off-site . See Doctrine and Covenants.
  • Smith, Joseph, Jr., Church History [Wentworth Letter] off-site . See Wentworth letter.
  • Smith, Lucy Mack, (1853), Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations , Liverpool: S.W. Richards off-site . See The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother
  • Tucker, Pomeroy, (1867), Origin, Rise and Progress of Mormonism , New York: D. Appleton off-site .
  • Turner, Orsamus, (1852), History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase, and Morris' Reserve , Rochester, New York: William Alling off-site .
  • Joseph Smith: The Gift of Seeing off-site .
  • Van Wagoner, Richard S., (1992), Mormon Polygamy: A History Signature Books .
  • Vogel, Dan, (1994), The Locations of Joseph Smith's Early Treasure Quests off-site .
  • Vogel, Dan, (2004), Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet Signature Books .
  • Widmer, Kurt, (2000), Mormonism and the Nature of God: A Theological Evolution, 1830–1915 McFarland .


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