Question: Did Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde order Nauvoo's police force to kill an apostate named Lambert Symes?

Table of Contents

Question: Did Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde order Nauvoo's police force to kill an apostate named Lambert Symes?

There is no record of anyone named "Lambert Symes" in Nauvoo's records

The author of One Nation Under Gods claim that Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde "actually ordered Nauvoo's police force to kill apostate Lambert Symes, who subsequently disappeared without a trace." [1]. The author cites D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power (Signature Books, 1994), 181. in support of this claim. However, One Nation Under Gods misrepresents the source on multiple accounts:

  • Only Heber C. Kimball was charged with making "Lambert Symes" disappear
  • We are not told that this charge came from Jehiel Savage, an apostate who was supporting James Strang's break-off movement.
  • We are not told that Quinn also wrote: "Savage said it was 'Lambert Symes' who thus disappeared, but I have been unable to find anyone by that name in Nauvoo's records."[2]:181 n. 194

Thus, the author gets the claim wrong, we have only an apostate's account as evidence, and there is no evidence whatever that the person who supposedly 'disappeared' ever existed. Furthermore, as D. Michael Quinn notes (and ONUG likewise fails to tell us):

Nauvoo was not littered with corpses of dissenters, the most strident of whom lived long lives in opposition to Brigham Young.[2]:181

There were many vocal, powerful, and well-known anti-Mormons around Nauvoo at the period. If Heber C. Kimball was going to have one of them killed, why pick someone so insignificant that his existence cannot even be confirmed? Why not someone with more power or prominence, to put fear in the others? Why did no one in Nauvoo notice this supposed murder?


Notes

  1. Richard Abanes, One Nation Under Gods, Endnote 38, page 551 (hardback); page 549 (paperback)
  2. 2.0 2.1 D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power (Signature Books, 1994), {{{pages}}}.