The Culture of Violence in Joseph Smith’s Mormonism–Part I

By D. Michael Quinn

D. Michael Quinn is an independent scholar in Rancho Cucamonga, Southern California. His first ancestral Mormon mother, Lydia Bilyeu Workman, died in Nauvoo on 30 September 1845, just days after she was burned out of her farmhouse by mobs. Her five youngest children were aged six to eighteen.

C.C.A. Christensen: Detail from “Haun’s Mill”

It is extremely difficult for most of us today to comprehend the violence that was pervasive, often normative,[i] in early American culture.[ii] Much of this normative violence had its roots in the national culture while regions (such as the South and West) had their own traditions of sanctioned violence in daily life.[iii] In other instances, the rowdyism and violence were normative only for a subculture that was defined primarily by social class or ethnicity.[iv] Early Americans had perspectives about violence that were very different even from those of modern Americans who have served in the military or lived in war-torn societies, because it is normal for modern Americans to grow up in a peaceful environment where violence is considered a violation of social norms.

Some of America’s culture of violence is rooted in England. Robert Shoemaker has observed of England’s traditions of male honor before 1800 that “violence for men was part of accepted codes of masculine behavior, and offered them a means of affirming their gender identity, and gentlemen a means of confirming their superior social position.” Nevertheless, Shoemaker’s statistical analysis shows that urban Englishmen of all classes were becoming less violent during the decades before 1800.[v] Part of the reason for this decline of violence was the growing success of English common law’s “duty to retreat.” As Richard Maxwell Brown explains, a centuries-old “society of civility” in Britain that called for “obedienceto the duty to retreat—really a duty to flee from the scene altogether or, failing that, to retreat to the wall at one’s back—meant that in the vast majority of disputes no fatal outcome could occur.”

Beginning with an 1806 decision by a Massachusetts court, gradually the United States “as a whole repudiated the English common-law tradition in favor of the American theme of no duty to retreat: that one was legally justified in standing one’s ground to kill in self-defense.” This shiftresulted in America’s “proud new tolerance for killing in situations where it might have been avoided by obeying a legal duty to retreat.”[vi]

During this same period, American norms were changing concerning violence by boys and teenagers. E. Anthony Rotundo observes: “Early in the 1800s, men and women had seen youthful brawls as a badge of evil and a sign that manly self-control was not yet developed.” However, during a decades-long transition, “bourgeois Northerners did more than endorse interpersonal violence: they now believed that fighting helped to build youthful character.”[vii]

A few examples may be helpful in recognizing this early American culture of violence, which extended from the elite to the lower classes, from the cities to the villages, from North to South, from the Eastern Establishment to the western frontier. Although dueling (usually with pistols) was permitted by the laws of various states and was regarded as honorable by most Americans of the time,[viii] Thomas Jefferson in 1798 persuaded ambassador (and future president) James Monroe against trying to kill U.S. president John Adams in a duel.[ix] Alexander Hamilton, a founding father of the Republic and secretary of the U.S. Treasury, died in an 1804 duel.[x] The history of dueling in the nation’s capital also included “an affair of honor” between Secretary of State Henry Clay and Senator John Randolph.[xi] Known for dueling while he was justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court in the early 1800s, Andrew Jackson killed one opponent in 1806, engaged in a hotel brawl as army general with Thomas Hart Benton in 1813, massacred countless Creek Indian women and children (including hundreds on a single day), executed six Tennessee militiamen in 1814 for leaving camp when they thought their enlistments had expired, illegally invaded the Spanish territory of Florida in 1818, and hanged two British men there for befriending the Seminole Indians—yet Jackson was elected U.S. president in 1828.[xii]As governor of Illinois Territory, William Henry Harrison declared “a war of extirpation” against the Kickapoo Indians who opposed white settlement on their ancestral lands, and he successfully used this violent campaign to get elected as U.S. president in 1840.[xiii] In 1842, Abraham Lincoln nearly engaged in a sword duel with the Illinois state auditor.[xiv]

Violence in the classroom was also common in early America. In 1802, students at Princeton University burned down the library; before 1830 had arrived, they had engaged in five other “major campus rebellions.” Student rioting and violence also plagued the University of Virginia during the 1830s and 1840s. The problem was even worse at public schools where the children of farmers, shopkeepers, and common laborers were educated. In 1837 alone, 400 schools had to be closed in Massachusetts because of violence and disciplinary problems.[xv] From colonial times to the mid-1840s, it was a tradition in Philadelphia on Sundays for young men to commit both “organized and spontaneous mayhem.”[xvi]

The pervasiveness of violence in early American culture, particularly by men, leads to an obvious question. Did every early American man, or even the vast majority, commit assault and battery? Existing evidence indicates that the answer is “no” for a large portion of American males during that era.

Why did many early American males avoid violence, even though it was socially sanctioned? Opinion polls did not exist, relatively few American males wrote diaries or letters about their personal feelings, and even fewer commented about their responses to violence (aside from service in the military). Therefore, the answer can be only tentative, but many early American males apparently declined to participate in their country’s culture of violence because of some combination of the following factors: non-aggressiveness in their personalities, their adherence to the Christian commandment to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39), family indoctrination against violence, or their perception that there was never sufficient cause for them to resort to violence in their daily lives.

Because many American males (and nearly all females) avoided violence, we might question whether there really was a “culture of violence” in early America. To answer that question, we need more than arrest records, or anecdotal references to violent incidents, or even estimates of those who did not engage in violent acts. Rather, we need to ask a more fundamental question: What were the norms of the society regarding violence?

In terms of the previously cited examples of legally and socially sanctioned violence in daily life and of the election of national leaders with violent reputations, it should be obvious why historians regard early America as a violent culture. Though the incidents of violence are certainly important, both individually and statistically, the crucial question is whether the violent incidents occurred in concert with the society’s norms or in opposition to them.

It may be difficult for the majority of those who follow the Restoration message that began with the 1830 Book of Mormon to conceive of early Mormon culture as being violent.[xvii] After all, the Book of Mormon’s narratives endorsed self-defensive wars (Alma 43: 26, 47) but also expressed discomfort or condemnation of violence in daily life (1 Nephi 4:7–18; Mosiah 29:14; Alma 35:15; 48:11). Members of the Community of Christ, headquartered in Independence, Missouri, can point to a tradition of gentle co-existence with their neighbors which extends to that movement’s founding in the 1850s.[xviii] Members of the LDS Church, headquartered in Salt Lake City, can point to a similar tradition throughout their own lifetime and that of their parents, grandparents, sometimes great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents.[xix]

However, the Utah church’s peaceful norms extend back only to the 1890s,[xx] and the Community of Christ’s norms do not define the Mormonism which existed before the Reorganization of the 1850s. To avoid the “presentist bias” of trying to make the past conform to our own experience and world views,[xxi] we need to explore the personalities, norms, and behaviors of early Mormonism concerning violence.

In the above sentence, I mentioned “personalities” first because prior to the existence of Mormonism’s norms, its founder Joseph Smith Jr. had developed personality traits which interacted with the norms of the Church he led from 1830 to his death in 1844. As biographer Richard Lyman Bushman has recently observed, “Joseph’s reaction to insults was learned behavior, shared with his society. His anger was both his own and an expression of a cultural practice—what honorable men were taught to do. . . . The culture of honor moved him to contend with the offending parties to protect his easily bruised pride, even though all the while he wanted peace.”[xxii]

On the one hand, for example,in 1836 a Kirtland resident called Joseph Smith “a pugnacious Prophet.”[xxiii] This described a repeatedly manifestedaspect of Smith’s personality—he physically assaulted those who offended him, and he spoke with pride about these violent incidents. His followers might justify such personal behaviors with religious prooftexts about Jesus using a whip on money-changers in the temple at Jerusalem (John 2:15),[xxiv] but the Mormon Prophet’s resorting to assault and battery also reflected early America’s culture of violence and its code of male honor.[xxv]

On the other hand, as God’s living Prophet and mouthpiece on earth, Smith also claimed that Mormons had the religious right to take vengeance on their enemies and had the theocratic right to form private armies. Joseph Smith’s personality and his theocratic teachings were the joint basis for early Mormonism’s norms for violent behavior. This resulted in a violent religious subculture within a violent national culture.

“When I was a boy” in Palmyra, New York—probably in the 1820s—Smith confronted a wife-beater: “I whipped him till he said he had enough.”[xxvi] He also told Mormon friends another “anecdote. While [Joseph was] young, his father had a fine large watch dog which bit off an ear from David Stafford’s hog, which Stafford had turned into Smith[‘s] corn field. Stafford shot the dog and with six other fellows pitched upon him [Joseph] unawares. Joseph whipped the whole of them and escaped unhurt [—] which they swore to as recorded in Hurlburt’s or Howe’s Book.”[xxvii] Not surprisingly, the official History of the Church, published in Salt Lake City, deleted this latter passage from the Prophet’s personal journal, in part, perhaps, because it actually endorsed the accuracy of affidavits collected from Smith’s Palmyra neighbors and published in the first anti-Mormon book, Mormonism Unvailed.[xxviii]

However, despite these violent incidents in his early life (one expressing his code of male honor and onerepresenting self-defense), the first few years of Joseph’s leadership of the Church were remarkably non-violent. His pacifism was most extraordinary when, in March 1832, a mob broke into the homes of Smith, then church president and his counselor Sidney Rigdon in Hiram, Ohio. The mob dragged the two from their beds, attempted to poison Smith, nearly castrated him, beat both men unconscious, then tarred-and-feathered them. Worse, the Prophet’s adopted child died from exposure to the cold as the mob ransacked his house. Nevertheless, Joseph preached the next day to a congregation which included several of his attackers, and he sought no retribution. Among this mob was a former friend, apostate Symonds Rider.[xxix]

I find it difficult to explain in satisfactorily human terms how Joseph Smith could manifest such Quaker-like pacifism[xxx] in his personal responses to this physical attack on himself and family in 1832, yet could lash out with vehemence at far lesser provocations during the last ten years of his life. This contrast seems beyond Richard Bushman’s biographical assessments.

To explain the Prophet’s pacifist behavior in 1832, I think Joseph believed that Mormonism required him to live a higher standard. However, that changed—and Joseph became “pugnacious” for reasons that are neither explained nor self-evident.

Perhaps hackneyed phrases such as “straw that broke the camel’s back” or “dam bursting” apply to the cumulative effect of the years of religious ridicule and personal insults that he experienced. Both certainly provoked the Prophet’s conventionally American code of honor. At any rate, it is easier to explain the theocratic basis for violent aspects in his religious leadership after 1832.

Because Joseph Smith’s 1832 response to the 1832 mob attack was the most important guide his followers had concerning how they should respond to violent attacks, Mormons behaved as pacifists when Missourians attacked them in Jackson County during July 1833. Mobs destroyed the Mormon newspaper, the home of editor William W. Phelps, and burned nearly all copies of the newly printed Book of Commandments, the first collection of Smith’s revelations. Then the mob tarred-and-feathered Bishop Edward Partridge and other Mormon men for not agreeing to leave the county immediately. The Missouri Mormons gave no resistance to these attacks, brandished no weapons, and did not speak of revenge.[xxxi]

As resident John Corrill wrote, “up to this time the Mormons had not so much as lifted a finger, even in their own defense, so tenacious were they for the precepts of the gospel—’turn the other cheek.’”[xxxii] That changed after Smith made the first revelatory pronouncement that Mormon theocracy was a here-and-now reality, not some distant event connected with the millennial return of Jesus.[xxxiii]

In August 1833, Smith announced the words of God: “And now verily I say unto you, concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them . . . “ The document required Mormons to obey divine rule, not secular authority, concerning war and militarism: “And again, this is the law I gave unto mine ancients, that they should not go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, save I, the Lord, commanded them” (D&C 98:4–11, 33).[xxxiv] The revelation implied that God would reveal such commands through the LDS Prophet. That became explicit within months, when Joseph Smith became the theocratic commander-in-chief of the “armies of Israel.”

Having previously endured an anti-Mormon attack without retribution, the Mormon community in Missouri responded to this document’s instructions to endure a total of three attacks and “bear it patiently.” However, upon the fourth attack, “thine enemy is in thine hands and thou art justified.” This theocratic justification extended to vengeance against “all their enemies, to the third and fourth generation” (D&C 98:23, 25–26, 31, 37).

In October 1833, Missourians raided isolated Mormon homes, which was the second major attack of “your enemy,” after the attack in July. On 1 November, mobs destroyed the Church’s gristmill in Independence and attacked Mormon homes there. This was the third attack, and, in compliance with the August revelation, the Mormon community in Missouri again chose to “bear it patiently.” The next night, the Missourians raided Mormon settlements in the Blue River Valley. This time—the fourth attack—the Mormons surprised their enemy by fighting back. Skirmishes increased until the “Battle of Blue River” on 4 November, when Book of Mormon witness David Whitmer led the Mormons in killing two Missourians and severely wounding others. In response, Jackson County’s leaders called out the militia, who compelled the Mormons to surrender their weapons and begin leaving their homes.[xxxv]

It is possible that the 1833 Missouri mobbings caused the Prophet to enlist some of his followers as bodyguards, but the practice would have been understandable after his being tarred-and-feathered in 1832. In any event, a non-Mormon in Ohio wrote in January 1834 that “Smith has four or five armed men to gard [sic] him every night.”[xxxvi]

A month later, Joseph dictated a revelation concerning “the redemption of your brethren who have been scattered on the land of Zion” and “in avenging me of mine enemies.” To accomplish these ends, the revelation commanded Smith to organize at least “a hundred of the strength of my house, to go up with you unto the land of Zion,” adding the instruction, “And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake, is not my disciple” (D&C 103:1, 26, 28, 34). This was the beginning of the Mormon military expedition called “Zion’s Camp.”[xxxvii]

Perhaps the most significant dimension of this “commandment” (v. 1) was its provision that “ye shall avenge me of mine enemies . . . unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me” (vv. 25–26). This new statement verified that the conditions laid down in the 1833 revelation had been fulfilled and that the Latter-day Saints were now free to take “vengeance” at will against any perceived enemy. This February 1834 revelation was the equivalent of a standing order from God—you may fire when ready.

Zion’s Camp did not succeed in redeeming Zion, but it transformed Mormon leadership and culture. In February 1834, the high council in Kirtland, Ohio, elected Joseph Smith as “commander-in-chief of the armies of Israel.”[xxxviii] This was one of the first acts of the newly organized high council, which thereby acknowledged Smith’s religious right to give God’s command to “go out unto battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people” (D&C 98:4–11, 33).

Zion’s Camp was the first organization established for the external security of Mormonism. In June 1834, Joseph Smith created the second by reorganizing his private bodyguards into an organization led by a captain, his brother Hyrum, who presided over twenty of “my life guards.”[xxxix]

Six months later, the military experience of Zion’s Camp (rather than any ecclesiastical service) was the basis upon which Joseph Smith said he was selecting men for the newly organized Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventy.[xl] Unlike other American religious denominations, “the church militant” was a literal fact in Mormonism, not just a symbolic slogan.[xli]

During this same period, Joseph Smith was involved in two outbursts of personal violence in Kirtland. Sometime between April 1834 and April 1835, the following incident occurred, as described by Smith himself. After a Baptist minister threatened him with a cane, the Prophet said, “I whipped him till he begged. He threatened to prosecute me. I sent Luke Johnson[,] the constable[,] after him and he run him out of the County into Mentor,” Ohio.[xlii] Johnson explained that this act of violence occurred because the minister, after receiving the hospitality of the Prophet’s home, then “called Joseph a hypocrite, a liar, an imposter and a false prophet, and called upon him to repent.” Therefore, “Joseph boxed his ears with both hands, and, turning his face towards the door, kicked him into the street.”[xliii] The American code of honor triumphed.

In April 1835, Joseph’s brother-in-law Calvin W. Stoddard accused him of assault and battery. At a preliminary hearing, the judge ruled that “it is considered that the charge is sustained,” and the Prophet was bound over for trial at the Court of Common Pleas. However, because Stoddard failed to appear at the May trial, Smith was acquitted, and the plaintiff had to pay court costs.[xliv]

Despite this charge of battering his brother-in-law in a dispute during the spring, the Prophet showed remarkable restraint in the fall with his brother William, who had an equally pugnacious reputation.[xlv] Because Joseph would not allow their mother to testify at a high council trial, William Smith “became enraged. I finally ordered him to set [sic] down. He said he would not unless I knocked him down.” Although furious at his brother, Joseph did not respond to this challenge with violence. Concerning a subsequent argument, Joseph wrote that William “used violence upon my person.”[xlvi]

However, this fraternal conflict of 1835 had a final outcome which the Prophet’s diary and official LDS history did not mention. Joseph Smith’s devoted friend Benjamin F. Johnson, a Kirtland resident, reportedthat “for insolence to him, he (Joseph) soundly thrashed his brother William who boasted himself as invincible.”[xlvii]

Less than four years later, Smith’s former secretary Warren Parrish referred in print to these incidents. He condemned “the Prophet[‘]s fighting four pitched battles at fisticuff, without [sic within] four years, one with his own natural brother, one with his brotherinlaw [sic], one with Ezra Thair [Thayer], and one with a Baptist priest.” Parrish’s statement was endorsed by two disaffected apostles (including Constable Luke Johnson) and two disaffected Presidents of the Seventy.[xlviii]

By contrast, rather than becoming disaffected because of the Prophet’s personal violence, some faithful Mormons cited these incidents as justification for their own aggressive behavior. Following his ordination in Kirtland to the LDS offices of elder and seventy,[xlix] Elijah Abel served a proselytizing mission. After this African-American elder threatened “to knock down elder Christopher Merkley on their passage up Lake Ontario, he publickly [sic] declared that the elders in Kirtland make nothing of knocking down one another.” Jedediah M. Grant and Zenas H. Gurley disapproved of Abel’s preaching this, and they formally accused him of misconduct.[l]

Read Part II

[i] Shelly Kagan, Normative Ethics (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1998); Michael Hechter and Karl-Dieter Opp, eds., Social Norms (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2001).

[ii] Richard Maxwell Brown, “Historical Patterns of Violence in America,” in Hugh Davis Graham and Ted Robert Gurr, eds., The History of Violence in America: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969), 45–89, provided a very useful summary of various kinds of violence—criminal, feuds, lynch mobs, racial, ethnic, religious, urban rioting, serial killing and mass murders, assassinations, police violence, labor violence, agrarian uprisings, vigilantes, and wars. This essay discusses only a few of these types.

[iii] H.C. Brearley, “The Pattern of Violence,” in W.T. Couch, ed., Culture In the South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1934), 678–92; John Hope Franklin, The Militant South (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 1956); Jack K. Williams, Vogues In Villainy: Crime and Retribution In Ante-Bellum South Carolina (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1959), 31–38; Richard Maxwell Brown, American Violence (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1970); Leonard L. Richards, Gentlemen of Property and Standing: Anti-abolition Mobs in Jacksonian America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1970); sections of relevant chronology in Richard Hofstadter and Michael Wallace, eds., American Violence: A Documentary History (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1970); Raymond D. Gastil, “Homicide and a Regional Culture of Violence,” American Sociological Review 36 (June 1971): 416–27; Richard Slotkin, Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600–1860 (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1973); W. Eugene Hollon, Frontier Violence: Another Look (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974), esp. 216 (for his thesis that Americans have tended “to over-emphasize the violent side of the frontier, in comparison to that of the cities, and to give short shrift to the peaceful and orderly side”); Richard Maxwell Brown, Strain of Violence: Historical Studies of American Violence and Vigilantism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975); Michael Feldberg, The Philadelphia Riots of 1844: A Study of Ethnic Conflict (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1975); David Grimsted, “Rioting in Its Jacksonian Setting,” American Historical Review 77 (April 1977): 361–97; David J. Bodenhamer, “Law and Disorder on the Early Frontier: Marion County, Indiana, 1823–1850,” Western Historical Quarterly 10 (July 1979): 323–36 (by contrast, found “a remarkably peaceful frontier” in this case study); Dickson Bruce Jr., Violence and Culture in the Antebellum South (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979); W. Stuart Harris, “Rowdyism, Public Drunkenness, and Bloody Encounters in Early Perry County,” Alabama Review 33 (January 1980): 15–24; Michael Feldberg, The Turbulent Era: Riot and Disorder in Jacksonian America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), esp. 77–80 (for “Recreational Rioting”); Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1982); Edward L. Ayers, Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the 19th-Century American South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984), 98–117; Roger D. McGrath, Gunfighters, Highwaymen, & Vigilantes: Violence on the Frontier (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984), esp. 261–71 (for his summary of scholarly assessments that “The Frontier Was Violent” versus scholarly assessments that “The Frontier Was Not Especially Violent”); Elliott J. Gorn, “`Gouge and Bite, Pull Hair and Scratch’: The Social Significance of Fighting in the Southern Backcountry,” American Historical Review 90 (February 1985): 18–43; Carl E. Prince, “The Great `Riot Year’: Jacksonian Democracy and Patterns of Violence in 1834,” Journal of the Early Republic 5 (Spring 1985): 1–19; David Brion Davis, From Homicide To Slavery: Studies in American Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); Paul A. Gilje, The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763–1834 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987); Linda Gordon, Heroes of Their Own Lives: The Politics and History of Family Violence, Boston, 1880–1960 (New York: Viking, 1988); Robert M. Ireland, “The Libertine Must Die: Sexual Dishonor and the Unwritten Law in the Nineteenth-Century United States,” Journal of Social History 23 (Fall 1989): 29–44; Charles Van Ravenswaay, “Bloody Island: Honor and Violence in Early Nineteenth-Century St. Louis,” Gateway Heritage 10 (Spring 1990): 4–21; Morgan Peoples, “Brawling and Dueling On the North Louisiana Frontier, 1803–1861: A Sketch,” North Louisiana Historical Association Journal 21 (Fall 1990): 99–108; David T. Courtwright, “Violence in America,” American Heritage 47 (September 1996): 36–46; David T. Courtwright, Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder From the Frontier to the Inner City (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), 9–151; Richard E. Nisbett and Dov Cohen, Culture of Honor: The Psychology of Violence in the South (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996); Hendrik Hartog, “Lawyering, Husbands Rights, and the Unwritten Law in Nineteenth Century America,” Journal of American History 84 (June 1997): 67–96; Kenneth E. Foote, Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscape of Violence and Tragedy (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997); Anne Spencer Lombard, “Playing the Man: Conceptions of Masculinity in Anglo-American New England, 1675 to 1765,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles, 1998; David Grimsted, American Mobbing, 1828–1861: Toward Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), ix (his omitting most “incidents of economic, racial, ethnic, religious, and youth” violence), 85–113 (the South’s culture of violence, including discussions of dueling on 88–89, 97–99); David Peterson del Mar, “Violence Against Wives By Prominent Men in Early Clatsop County,” Oregon Historical Quarterly 100 (Winter 1999): 434–450; Michael A. Bellesiles, ed., Lethal Imagination: Violence and Brutality in American History (New York: New York University Press, 1999); Christine Daniels and Michael Kennedy, ed., Over the Threshold: Intimate Violence in Early America (New York: Routledge, 1999); Scott C. Martin, “Violence, Gender, and Intemperance in Early National Connecticut,” Journal of Social History 34 (Winter 2000): 309–25; David Edwin Ballew, “The Popular Prejudices of Our People: Kinship, Community, and Male Honor, in the Alabama-Mississippi Hill Country, 1820–1890,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Mississippi, 2000; Sean T. Moore, “`Justifiable Provocation’: Violence Against Women in Essex County, New York, 1799–1860,” Journal of Social History 35 (Summer 2002): 889–918.

[iv] For example, Rhys Isaac, “Evangelical Revolt: The Nature of the Baptists’ Challenge to the Traditional Order in Virginia, 1765 to 1775,” William and Mary Quarterly 31 (July 1974): 345–68; Bertram Wyatt-Brown, “Barnburning and Other Snopesian Crimes: Class and Justice in the Old South,” in Orville Vernon Burton and Robert C. McMath Jr., eds., Class, Conflict, and Consensus: Antebellum Southern Community Studies (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981), 173–206 (esp. 177, that according to the South’s norms, “class crimes were misdeeds of anonymity and insignificance,” with title-word referring to Colonel Snopes in William Faulkner’s short story “Barn Burning”); Susan G. Davis, “`Making the Night Hideous’: Christmas Revelry and Public Disorder in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia,” American Quarterly 34 (Summer 1982): 185–99; Gene Sessions, “`Years of Struggle’: The Irish in the Village of Northfield, 1845–1900,” Vermont History 55 (Spring 1987): 88; Peter Way, “Shovel and Shamrock: Irish Violence in the Digging of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal,” Labor History 30 (Fall 1989): 489–517; Michael A. Gordon, The Orange Riots: Irish Political Violence in New York City, 1870 and 1871 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993); Michael Kaplan, “New York City Tavern Violence and the Creation of a Working-Class Male Identity,” Journal of the Early Republic 15 (Winter 1995): 591–617; Matthew E. Mason, “`The Hands Here Are Disposed To Be Turbulent’: Unrest Among the Irish Trackman of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad,” Labor History 39 (August 1998): 253–72.

[v] Robert Shoemaker, “Male Honour and the Decline of Public Violence in Eighteenth-Century London,” Social History 26 (May 2001): 190–208, with quote on 200.

[vi] Richard Maxwell Brown, No Duty To Retreat: Violence and Values in American History and Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 4–5 (for quotes), 7 (for 1806 decision and subsequent rejection by American jurisprudence of the English common-law “duty to retreat”). Shoemaker did not emphasize this as a factor in the statistical declines of violence he identified for London in the 1700s, so my concluding comment in the previous paragraph is my application of Brown’s thesis to Shoemaker’s study.

[vii] E. Anthony Rotundo, American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolution to the Modern Era (New York: Basic Books, 1993), 225–26 (for first quote), 225 (for second quote, which came first in his narrative).

[viii] Don C. Seitz, Famous American Duels, With Some Account of the Causes That Led Up To Them and the Men Engaged (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1929); William O. Stevens, Pistols At Ten Paces: The Story of the Code of Honor in America (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1940); Harnett T. Kane, Gentlemen, Swords, and Pistols (New York: Morrow, 1951); J. Winston Coleman, Famous Kentucky Duels: The Story of the Code of Honor in the Bluegrass State (Frankfort, KY: Roberts Printing Company, 1953); Wilmuth S. Rutledge, “Dueling In Antebellum Mississippi,” Journal of Mississippi History 26 (August 1964): 181–91; Guy A. Cardwell, “The Duel In the Old South: Crux of a Concept,” South Atlantic Quarterly 66 (Winter 1967): 50–69; Sheldon Hackney, “Southern Violence,” American Historical Review 74 (February 1969): 906–25; James D. Van Trump and James Brian Cannon, “An Affair of Honor: Pittsburgh’s Last Duel,” Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine 57 (July 1974): 307–15; Malcolm J. Rohrbough, The Trans-Appalachian Frontier: People, Societies, and Institutions, 1775–1850 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 17–118, 275–84; Nancy Torrance Matthews, “The Duel In Nineteenth-Century South Carolina: Custom Over Written Law,” Proceedings of the South Carolina Historical Association (1979): 78–84; Stephen M. Stowe, “The `Touchiness’ of the Gentleman Planter: The Sense of Esteem and Continuity in the Antebellum South,” Psychohistory Review 8 (1979): 6–17; Nicholas B. Wainwright, “The Life and Death of Major Thomas Biddle,” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 104 (July 1980): 326–44 (in which he and Congressman Spencer Pittis killed each other in an 1831 duel); Jack K. Williams, Dueling In the Old South: Vignettes of Social History (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1980); Michael Stephen Hindus, Prison and Plantation: Crime, Justice, and Authority in Massachusetts and South Carolina, 1767–1878 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980); Stephen W. Brown, “Satisfaction at Bladensburg: The Pearson-Jackson Duel of 1809,” North Carolina Historical Review 58 (January 1981): 23–43 (involving Congressman Joseph Pearson); E. Lee Shepard, “Honor Among Lawyers: The Case of Charles Marshall Jones and Edward Sayre,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 90 (July 1982): 325–38; Kenneth S. Greenberg, “The Nose, the Lie, and the Duel in the Antebellum South,” American Historical Review 95 (February 1990): 57–74; James M. Denham, “The Read-Alston Duel and Politics in Territorial Florida,” Florida Historical Quarterly 68 (April 1990): 427–46; Dick Steward, Duels and the Roots of Violence in Missouri (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2000).

[ix] Arthur Scherr, “James Monroe, John Adams, and Southern Honor: Dueling With the Passions,” Southern Studies 7 (Summer/Fall 1996): 1–26.

[x] Joanne B. Freeman, “Dueling As Politics: Reinterpreting the Burr-Hamilton Duel,” William and Mary Quarterly 53 (April 1996): 289–318; Arnold A. Rogow, A Fatal Friendship: Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr (New York: Hill and Wang, 1998); Thomas Fleming, Duel: Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and the Future of America (New York: Basic Books, 1999).

[xi] Myra L. Spaulding, Dueling In the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.: Columbia Historical Society, 1928); Robert V. Remini, Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union (New York: W.W. Norton, 1991), 292–95.

[xii] Official Record From the War Department, of the Proceedings of the Court Martial Which Tried, and the Orders of General Jackson For Shooting the Six Militia Men, Together With Official Letters from the War Department, (Ordered To Be Printed By Congress) Showing That These Americans Were Inhumanely & Illegally Massacred (Washington, D.C.: J. Elliot, 1828); Robert V. Remini, Andrew Jackson (New York: Twayne, 1966), 41–43, 55–56, 57–58, 59, 60–61, 78–82; Lowell H. Harrison, “An Affair of Honor: The Jackson-Dickinson Duel,” American History Illustrated 8 (April 1973): 38–43; D. Michael Quinn, “Benton, Thomas Hart (1782–1858),” and Thomas D. Clark, “Jackson, Andrew (1767–1845),” in Howard R. Lamar, ed., The New Encyclopedia of the American West (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), 92, 559–61.

[xiii] John Mack Faragher, Sugar Creek: Life on the Illinois Prairie (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1986), 31–32; Thomas D. Clark, “Harrison, William Henry (1773–1841),” in Lamar, New Encyclopedia of the American West, 471. Illinois was originally part of Indiana Territory, over which Harrison was governor. For brief narratives, historians often simplify references to the Illinois portion of Indiana Territory by describing them as occurring in Illinois Territory. The same approach applies to early events in Arizona before it was officially split from New Mexico Territory.

[xiv] Thomas O. Jewett, “Lincoln’s Duel,” Lincoln Herald 89 (Winter 1987): 142–43; Lowell H. Harrison, Lincoln of Kentucky (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 2000), 73.

[xv] Joan Newman and Graeme Newman, “Crime and Punishment in the Schooling Process: A Historical Analysis,” in Keith Baker and Robert J. Rubel, eds., Violence and Crime in the Schools (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books/D.C. Heath and Company, 1980), 11 (for Massachusetts schools in 1837), 12 (for Princeton and the University of Virginia).

[xvi] Elizabeth M. Geffen, “Violence in Philadelphia in the 1840s and 1850s,” in Roger Lane and John J. Turner Jr., eds., Riot, Rout, and Tumult: Readings in American Social and Political Violence (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978), 113.

[xvii] I first described early Mormonism as “a Culture of Violence” in The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power (Salt Lake City: Signature Books/Smith Research Associates, 1997), 241.

[xviii] 18.                Alma R. Blair, “The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: Moderate Mormonism,” in F. Mark McKiernan, Blair, and Paul M. Edwards, eds., The Restoration Movement: Essays on the Mormon Past (Lawrence, KS: Coronado Press, 1973), 207–30; Paul M. Edwards, Our Legacy of Faith: A Brief History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1991); Richard P. Howard, The Church Through the Years, Volume 1 (Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1992). In 2001 the RLDS Church officially changed its name to Community of Christ, which defines itself as one of the “Peace Churches.”

[xix] For example, in his Internet article, “Militias and Mormon Culture??” (at, accessed on 3 March 2011), Jeff Lindsay wrote: “In Utah, I knew of very few Mormons who owned guns . . . I honestly don’t recall ever seeing a gun during my years living in that state . . . The Church teaches its members across the world to find peaceful, legal, orderly solutions to problems, even when those problems might be bad laws or oppressive governments.” In the middle of discussing Mormon history from Joseph Smith (including the Missouri “Danites”) to pioneer Utah, Lindsay exclaimed: “Violence is not part of Mormon culture!”

[xx] As examples of the official endorsement by LDS headquarters of violence against newspaper reporters, LDS dissenters, unfriendly non-Mormons, and federal officials until 1890, see the following articles in newspapers published by LDS headquarters, Deseret News (the LDS Church’s official newspaper since 1850) and Salt Lake Herald (the official newspaper of the LDS Church’s political party, The People’s Party, from 1872 to 1891): “The Killing of Brassfield,” Deseret News [weekly], 12 April 1866, 148 (reported that the murder of a non-Mormon was due to a “general feeling of just indignation” that he had legally married a Mormon’s polygamous wife and attempted to adopt her children legally); “What Is a Riot?” Deseret Evening News, 19 August 1874, [3]; “`Take That You Handsome Son of a Bitch’: Jerome B. Stillson, the New York Herald `Commissioner’ Attacked—In a Horn,” Salt Lake Herald, 1 June 1877, [3]; “Investigation of the Assassination Fabrication, Deseret Evening News, 2 June 1877, [3]; “He Survives—The Improbable Story Going to Grass: Who Has Seen a Black Goatee With a Tall Gentleman Attached To It: Stillson the Laughing Stock of Salt Lakers,” Salt Lake Herald, 3 June 1877, [3]; “A Tribune Editor Assaulted,” Salt Lake Daily Herald, 14 November 1878, [3]; “Assault and Battery,” Deseret Evening News, 14 November 1878, [3]; “Retaliation” and “Another Whipping Affair,” Deseret Evening News, 6 August 1879, [2, 3]; “The Whipping Case,” Deseret Evening News, 8 August 1879, [3]; “CHASTENED. The `Tribune’ Local Editor Soundly Thrashed. THE PENALTY OF LYING,” Salt Lake Daily Herald, 1 November 1884, 9; “A REPORTER RAWHIDED. ENCOUNTER BETWEEN A RESPECTABLE CITIZEN AND A `TRIBUNE’ REPORTER,” Deseret Evening News, 10 November 1884, [3]; “A HAMMERED`HERO.’ A `TRIBUNE’ REPORTER COMES TO GRIEF,” Deseret Evening News, 8 December 1884, [3]; “A BLISSFUL LOT. Another of the `Tribune’ Crew Rewarded. A TROUNCING WELL MERITED,” Salt Lake Daily Herald, 9 December 1884, [2]; “Punishment for Scandal-Mongers,” Deseret Evening News, 12 December 1884, [2]; “MALICIOUS ACCUSATIONS,” Salt Lake Daily Herald, 16 September 1885, 4; “VARIAN TAKES A HAND: After Deputy [Andrew J.] Burt for Mauling [non-LDS] Deputy Collin . . . Burt is Fined $25 in the Police Court but Varian Wants Him Given an Extra Dose,” Salt Lake Daily Herald, 12 November 1885, 8; “The Collin Examination: M’Murrin Not the Only Witness Missing . . . M’Niece Says There Was a Plot to Assassinate,” Deseret Evening News, 23 January 1886, [5]; “The Collin Case: Is Collin or McMurrin the Defendant?” Salt Lake Herald, 25 January 1886, 12; “McMurrin,” Salt Lake Herald, 26 January 1886, 4; “AN UNFORTUNATE OCCURRENCE: District Attorney Dickson Assaulted by a 16-year-old Boy in the Continental Hotel—a Reprehensible Action . . . THE FEAR THAT HAUNTS AN F.O.H. [Federal Office Holder] WHEN HE THINKS A `MORMON’ IS LOOKING AT HIM,” Deseret Evening News, 23 February 1886, [3]; “THE ASSAULT ON DICKSON: Hugh [J.] Cannon Pleads Guilty, and Is Fined,” Deseret Evening News, 24 February 1886, [3]; “Blood Flows From a `Tribune’ Liar’s [Reporter’s] Nose,” Deseret Evening News, 10 March 1886, [3]; “THRASHING A REPORTER. Don Carlos Young Remodels the Phiz [sic] of C.T. Harte to Suit His Fancy,” Salt Lake Daily Herald, 11 March 1886, 8; “The Battery Case,” Deseret Evening News, 11 March 1886, [3]; “The Cannon Boys: Frank J. Cannon Shoulders the Blame—The Others Discharged,” Salt Lake Herald, 2 May 1886, 1; “A Just Verdict,” Deseret Evening News, 11 May 1889, [2] (editorial applauding the acquittal of Howard O. Spencer for first degree murder of Sgt. Pike who “richly deserved his fate”); “The Usual Dish of Sensations,” Deseret Evening News, 22 November 1889, [2] (LDS headquarters’ last condemnation of investigation by non-LDS officials of religiously motivated killings by Mormons).

[xxi] Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff, The Modern Researcher, rev. ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1970), 53; David Hackett Fischer, Historians’ Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought (New York: Harper Torchbooks/Harper & Row, 1970), 135–40; Paul K. Conkin and Roland N. Stromberg, Heritage and Challenge: The History and Theory of History (Wheeling, IL: Forum Press, 1989), 204.

[xxii] Richard Lyman Bushman “with the assistance of Jed Woodworth,” Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005), 295. Their source-notes for this discussion did not mention the 2002 version of my essay on this topic, but their bibliography (page 704) cited it.

[xxiii] Truman Coe, “Mormonism,” The Ohio Observer, 11 August 1836, page 82 (near end of long, first paragraph), original in Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Recent transcriptions of the original sometimes inaccurately lowercase “Prophet,” as in Milton V. Backman Jr., “Truman Coe’s 1836 Description of Mormonism,” BYU Studies 17 (Spring 1977): 352.

[xxiv] In fact, that is what Jeff Lindsay did in his Internet article, “Militias and Mormon Culture??”

[xxv] Although there is a regional emphasis on the South in much of the literature about the code of male honor in early America, it was a national phenomenon, as indicated in the previously cited studies by Brown (R.M.), Courtwright, Hartog, Ireland, Kaplan, Lombard, Martin, Moore, Stevens, and Van Trump/Cannon. For cross-cultural studies of the usually violent dimensions of male honor, see Donna T. Andrew, “The Code of Honour and Its Critics: The Opposition to Duelling in England, 1700–1850,” Social History 5 (October 1980): 409–34; Robert A. Nye, Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993); Kevin McAleer, Dueling: The Cult of Honor in Fin-de-Siecle Germany (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994); Robert A. Nye, “The Modern Duel and Masculinity in Comparative Perspective,” Masculinities 3 (Fall 1995): 69–79; Elizabeth Foyster, “Male Honour, Social Control and Wife Beating in Late Stuart England,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 6 (1996): 215–24; Petrus Cornelius Spierenburg, ed., Men and Violence: Gender, Honor, and Rituals in Modern Europe and America (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1998); Elizabeth Foyster, “Boys Will Be Boys?: Manhood and Aggression, 1600–1800,” in Tim Hitchcock and Michele Cohen, eds., English Masculinities, 1660–1800 (London: Longman, 1999), 151–66; Thomas W. Gallant, “Honor, Masculinity, and Ritual Knife Fighting in Nineteenth-Century Greece,” American Historical Review 105 (April 2000): 359–82.

[xxvi] Joseph Smith diary, 21 February 1843, in Joseph Smith Jr., et al., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1902–32; 2nd ed. rev. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], hereafter History of the Church), 5: 285 (“till he said he had enough”); Scott H. Faulring, ed., An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books/Smith Research Associates, 1987), 310 (“till he said enough”). This would have appeared in the never-published third volume of Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith, 2 vols., with a different subtitle for each volume (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989–92).

[xxvii] Joseph Smith diary, 1 January 1843, in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 267.

[xxviii] History of the Church, 5: 216; also Rodger I. Anderson, Joseph Smith’s New York Reputation Reexamined (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1990).

[xxix] History of the Church, 1: 261–65; Max H. Parkin, “A Study of the Nature and Cause of Internal and External Conflict of the Mormons In Ohio Between 1830 and 1838,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1966, 248–55; Donna Hill, Joseph Smith: The First Mormon (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977), 144–47; Susan Easton Black, “Hiram, Ohio: Tribulation,” in Larry C. Porter and Black, eds., The Prophet Joseph: Essays On the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988), 161–74; Karl Ricks Anderson, “Hiram, Ohio,” in Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism: The History, Scripture, Doctrine, and Procedure of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 5 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 2: 588; Blaine Yorgason and Brent Yorgason, Joseph Smith: Tarred and Feathered (Orem, UT: Grandin Books, 1994). History of the Church, 1: 261n, explained that Rider apostatized because a revelation misspelled his name, but this official LDS account ironically misspelled both the first and last names of “SYMONDS RIDER,” as he signed his name in bold-face in a letter to the editor condemning the Mormons, in Ohio Star (Ravenna, OH), 29 December 1831.

[xxx] D. Elton Trueblood, Studies in Quaker Pacifism (Philadelphia: Friends Peace Committee, 1934); Peter Brock, The Quaker Peace Testimony, 1660 to 1914 (York, Eng.: Sessions Book Trust; Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1990).

[xxxi] History of the Church, 1: 390–95; Richard L. Bushman, “Mormon Persecutions in Missouri, 1833,” BYU Studies 3 (Autumn 1960): 11–20; Warren A. Jennings, “Zion is Fled: The Expulsion of the Mormons from Jackson County, Missouri,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Florida, 1962; Warren A. Jennings, “Factors in the Destruction of the Mormon Press in Missouri, 1833,” Utah Historical Quarterly 35 (Winter 1967): 57–76; Warren A. Jennings, “The Expulsion of the Mormons from Jackson County, Missouri,” Missouri Historical Review 64 (October 1969): 41–63; T. Edgar Lyon, “Independence, Missouri, and the Mormons, 1827–1833,” BYU Studies 13 (Autumn 1972): 10–19; Warren A. Jennings, “The City in the Garden: Social Conflict in Jackson County, Missouri,” in F. McKiernan, Blair, and Edwards, Restoration Movement, 99–119; Ronald E. Romig and John H. Siebert, “Jackson County, 1831–1833: A Look at the Development of Zion,” Restoration Studies 3 (1986): 286–304; Church History in the Fulness of Times (Salt Lake City: Church Educational System, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989), 127–39; Ronald E. Romig and John H. Siebert, “First Impressions: The Independence, Missouri, Printing Operation, 1832–1833,” John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 10 (1990): 51–66; James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1992), 94–95; Robert J. Woodford, “Book of Commandments,” Clark V. Johnson, “LDS Communities in Jackson and Clay Counties,” Max H. Parkin, “Missouri Conflict,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1: 138, 2: 922–25, 927–28.

[xxxii] John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, (Commonly Called Mormons;) . . . With the Reasons for the Author for Leaving the Church (St. Louis: By the author, 1839), 19.

[xxxiii] The best work on this idea/theology during Joseph Smith’s lifetime is Grant Underwood, The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993). For the continued legacy of Smith’s statements, the disappointed expectations of his followers, and the institutional redefinitions by the LDS Church (headquartered in Salt Lake City), see Dan Erickson, As a Thief in the Night: The Mormon Quest For Millennial Deliverance (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998).

[xxxiv] For the full text, context, and implications of this 1833 revelation, see my The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power (Salt Lake City: Signature Books/Smith Research Associates, 1994), 80–84. Nevertheless, as I discuss on its page 111, early Mormon pamphleteering and editorials continued to describe theocracy as a distant, millennial circumstance until Smith changed the emphasis both publicly and privately in 1842.

[xxxv] Note 31; History of the Church, 1: 407, 410–15, 423–31; Howard H. Barron, Orson Hyde: Missionary, Apostle, Colonizer (Bountiful, UT: Horizon Publishers, 1977), 42–43; also B. Pixley’s different perspective about this Mormon “ambuscade” in his letter to editors of New York Observer, 7 November 1833, in William Mulder and A. Russell Mortensen, eds., Among the Mormons: Historic Accounts by Contemporary Observers (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1958), 81–83.

William G. Hartley, My Best For the Kingdom: History and Autobiography of John Lowe Butler, A Mormon Frontiersman (Salt Lake City: Aspen Books, 1994), 44–45, also interpreted the military provisions of the 1833 revelation in a cumulative manner. However, he offered a lengthier time frame: “ . . . Saints probably counted the expulsion from Jackson [in 1833] as one provocation and the forced departure from Clay County [in 1836] as a second. Persecutions in Kirtland and its collapse [in late 1837] might have been seen as a third offense. Expected abuses of Saints in northern Missouri [in mid-1838] could easily run the count up past four.” To the contrary, as indicated in my discussion to follow, an 1834 revelation and commandment verified that the three-fold restraints of the 1833 revelation had been fulfilled and no longer applied.

[xxxvi] B.F. Norris to Mark Norris, 6 January 1834, Mark Norris papers, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Michigan.

[xxxvii] History of the Church, 1: 493, 263; Warren A. Jennings, “The Army of Israel Marches Into Missouri,” Missouri Historical Review 62 (January 1968): 107–35; Roger D. Launius, Zion’s Camp: Expedition to Missouri (Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1984); Lance D. Chase, “Zion’s Camp,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4: 1627–29; Bruce A. Van Orden, “Zion’s Camp: A Refiner’s Fire,” in Porter and Black, The Prophet Joseph, 192–207.

[xxxviii] History of the Church, 2: 39.

[xxxix] History of the Church, 2: 88 (referring to 12 June 1834).

[xl] History of the Church, 2: 39, 180–86, 201–04.

[xli] Nicholas Lockyer, Christ’s Communion With His Church Militant . . . (London: John Rothwell, 1644); William Tilson Marsh, The Tabernacle and the Temple, or, The Church Militant, and the Church Triumphant . . . (London: Hatchard; Birmingham: J.M. Knott; Colchester, Eng.: Taylor, 1839); Hymns of the Church Militant (New York: R. Carter, 1858).

[xlii] Joseph Smith diary, 1 January 1843, in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 267; History of the Church, 5: 216, deleted this entry; see Note 26, last sentence. Luke S. Johnson served as Kirtland’s constable from April 1834 to April 1835, and not again until the last week of December 1837. The latter period would have been too late for this incident due to Smith’s own hasty retreat from Ohio in January 1838. See Kirtland Township Trustees minutes (1817–38), 123–24 (7 April 1834), 135 (6 April 1835), 161 (23 December 1837), Lake County Historical Society, Mentor, Ohio.

[xliii] “History of Luke Johnson,” Latter-Day Saints Millennial Star 27 (1865): 5, with transcription in Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974), 31.

[xliv] Calvin W. Stoddard v. Joseph Smith Junior (based on an original complaint by Grandison Newell), court documents (21 April, 7 May 1835), Janes Collection, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California; State of Ohio v. Joseph Smith Jr., Book Q, 497–98 (16 June 1835), Court of Common Pleas records, Geauga County courthouse, Chardon, Ohio. From 1827 to his death in 1836, Stoddard was married to Joseph’s older sister Sophronia Smith (b. 1803).

According to Ohio law at this time, a criminal case (“State of Ohio versus”) could be instituted by a citizen’s complaint against the defendant for criminal behavior (“Calvin W. Stoddard versus”), which in turn could begin with an original complaint by a third party (in this case, Grandison Newell) on behalf of the battered plaintiff. It is unclear, at least to me, whether the court costs were assessed against Stoddard (for allowing the criminal complaint to proceed to trial concerning the charge of battery against himself, the plaintiff) or were assessed against Newell (the original complainant who began the court proceedings).

[xlv] Origins of Power, 594–95; Irene M. Bates and E. Gary Smith, Lost Legacy: The Mormon Office of Presiding Patriarch (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996), 74.

[xlvi] History of the Church, 2: 295, 335; Joseph Smith diary, 29 October and 16 December 1835, in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 43, 79; Jessee, Papers of Joseph Smith, 2: 59, 107; Dean C. Jessee, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Richard L. Jensen, eds., The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839 (Salt Lake City: The Church Historian’s Press/Church History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2008), 77, 124.

[xlvii] “Benjamin F. Johnson to George S. Gibbs, April-October 1903,” in E. Dale LeBaron, Benjamin Franklin Johnson: Friend to the Prophets (Provo, UT: Grandin Book Company, 1997), 221.

[xlviii] Warren Parrish letter, 5 February 1838, with signed endorsement by Apostles Luke S. Johnson and John F. Boynton, and by Seventy’s Presidents Sylvester Smith and Leonard Rich, published in Painesville Republican (Painesville, OH), 15 February 1838.

[xlix] Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saints Biographical Encyclopedia, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News/Andrew Jenson Historical, 1901–36), 3: 577; Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1830–1972), 31 May 1879, 246 reels, microfilm, Special Collections, Marriott Library, with original in Church History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah; Lester E. Bush Jr., “Mormonism’s Negro Doctrine: An Historical Overview,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 8 (Spring 1973): 16–21; Newell G. Bringhurst, “Elijah Abel and the Changing Status of Blacks Within Mormonism,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 12 (Summer 1979): 23–36; Bringhurst, Saints, Slaves, and Blacks: The Changing Place of Black People within Mormonism (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981), 37–38; entry for Mormons,” in Jack Salzman, David Lionel Smith, and Cornel West, eds., Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History, 5 vols. (New York: Macmillan Library Reference USA/Simon & Schuster, 1996), 4: 1854–55.

[l] Last accusation against Elijah Abel by Jedediah M. Grant, which “was substantiated by the written testimony of elder Zenas H. Gurley,” in First Council of Seventy’s minute book (1835–43), 81–82 (1 June 1839), Archives, Church History Library (hereafter cited as LDS Archives), with complete transcription currently available to the public in D. Michael Quinn’s research files, Beinecke Library. This meeting (in fact, the entire day) is absent from History of the Church.

For Grant, see Gene A. Sessions, Mormon Thunder: A Documentary History of Jedediah Morgan Grant (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1982). For Gurley, see Clare D. Vlahos, “The Challenge to Centralized Power: Zenos H. Gurley, Jr. and the Prophetic Office,” Courage: A Journal of History, Thought and Action 1 (March 1971): 148–58. Gurley’s first name has been spelled both “Zenas” and “Zenos,” but I used the spelling I found in most manuscripts and original sources.