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

Continued from Part II

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

In May 1842, Joseph Smith reassembled a cadre of bodyguards, selecting primarily those with experience as Danites in Missouri. Former Danites such as Dimick B. Huntington, Daniel Carn, and Albert P. Rockwood began serving as Nauvoo’s “Night Watch.”[i]Previously a Danite captain, Rockwood had already been serving as “commander of my [Smith’s] life guards.”[ii] The Prophet’s bodyguards included such well-known Danites as John L. Butler, Reynolds Cahoon, Elias Higbee, Vinson Knight, Orrin Porter Rockwell, and Samuel H. Smith. The other bodyguards with Missouri experience were probably lesser-known Danites.[iii] In December 1842, a bounty hunter wrote to Missouri’s governor: “All of our efforts to seize the renegade Smith, have proved fruitless. He keeps constantly around him as body guard some 12 to 14 enthusiastic fanaticks which makes a secret approach impossible.”[iv]

In January 1843, Smith told dinner guests about whipping the Protestant minister in Kirtland “till he begged.”[v]A month later, he preached publicly about whipping the Palmyra wife-beater.[vi] On 28 March, the Prophet wrote that seventies president “Josiah Butterfield came to my house and insulted me so outrageously that I kicked him out of the house, across the yard, and into the street.”[vii] This was another instance of Smith upholding his sense of male honor.

Also in March 1843, Joseph Smith told the Nauvoo city council that he was opposed to hanging: “If a man kill another[,] shoot him or cut his throat[,] spilling his blood on the ground and let the smoke thereof ascend up to God. If I ever have the privilege of making a law on this point, I will have it so.”[viii] This remark echoed statements that Sidney Rigdon had made five years earlier, while a counselor in the First Presidency, about cutting the throats of non-Mormons in Missouri.

Although Smith’s instructions about capital punishment to the city council could be viewed as a secular commentary from the city’s mayor favoring a particular mode of capital punishment, theocracy was clearly the context of his comments as Church president to the LDS general conference on 6 April 1843: “I’ll wring a thief’s neck off if I can find him, if I cannot bring him to Justice any other way.”[ix] When former Danite John L. Butler heard his Prophet preach on this occasion, he understood Smith as saying “that the time would come that the sinners would have their heads cut off to save them.” Butler said the “spirit” of God filled him as he listened to those words. Butler’saccount was likewise included in the official “Journal History.”[x]

In June, Smith instructed the Nauvoo Mormons about the next stage of violence against their enemies. He warned what would happen “if Missouri continues her warfare, and to issue her writs against me and this people unlawfully and unjustly . . . if they don’t let me alone, I will turn up the world—I will make war.”[xi]

In August, the Mormon Prophet showed that he did not hesitate to physically assault a civil officer: “[Walter] Bagby called me a liar, and picked up a stone to throw at me, which so enraged me that I followed him a few steps, and struck him two or three times.” Smith added in a sermon: “I seized him by the throat to choke him off.” He pleaded guilty to assault and battery of Bagby, who was the county tax collector, and the Nauvoo judge assessed a fine for this crime.[xii] Joseph Smith’s secretary William Clayton added that Daniel H. Wells had ended the brawl when he “stepped between them and succeeded in separating them.” The prophet had evidently wanted to do further damage to Bagby, judging from his later complaint in a sermon about “Esquire Wells interfering when he had no business.”[xiii]

Concerning Nauvoo’s Sunday meeting of 17 September 1843, Joseph’s official history stated: “I took my post as Mayor outside the assembly to keep order and set an example to the other officers.”[xiv] Some non-Mormon attendees had a different perspective about the example Smith was setting. These residents of Warsaw, Illinois,

were at Nauvoo, in attendance upon public preaching, near the Temple. Bennett [not John C.] and his companion were engaged in some conversation about the time of day, when the Prophet, who happened to be near, came blustering up, and seizing him by the collar, led him out of the crowd. After letting go, Bennett turned to speak to him, when Smith commenced beating him with his cane, declaring that, if he didn’t shut his mouth, he would cane him out of the corporation [i.e., the city-limits]. Bennett came home, and on Tuesday made complaint before Justice [George] Rockwell for assault & battery. A writ was issued, and put into the hands of Mr. [James] Charles, Constable, who on appearing before the Prophet on Wednesday, was coolly told that he was too late! He had procured an arrest, and had a trial before a Nauvoo court, and was discharged.

In other words, Smith had arranged to have himself acquitted of the assault.[xv]

Although not dated in the autobiography which recorded it, the following incident may also have occurred in 1843. Ira N. Spaulding was riding in the Prophet’s carriage when “there came a man who held a [promissory] note against Joseph. He talked kindly to the man and begged him to wait a short time for the money as he could not pay him then[,] but good words would not satisfy him. He abused him [the Prophet] shamefully, calling him every mean name he could think of.” The man should have known that this was not a wise thing for anyone to do. Smith “stepped outside the carriage and knocked him down flat as a beef, not speaking a word and come into the carriage and traveled on.”[xvi]

Even the Mormon Prophet’s well-known hobby of wrestling manifested an unpleasant willingness to take physical advantage of smaller men. While celebrating Joseph’s “athletic nature,” Alexander L. Baugh noted: “On occasion, the Prophet even challenged much smaller individuals we might consider to be the more non-athletic type to wrestle with him.” He quoted Howard Coray about one example that ended badly. The Prophet told his devout follower:

“Brother Coray, I wish you was a little larger, I would like to have some fun with you.” I replied, perhaps you can as it is, —not realizing what I was saying—Joseph a man of over 200 lbs. weight, while I [was] scarcely 130 lb., made it not a little ridiculous for me to think of engaging with him in any thing like a scuffle. However, as soon as I made this reply, he began to trip me; he took some kind of a lock on my right leg, from which I was unable to extricate it. [A]nd throwing me around, broke it some 3 inch(es) above the ankle joint.

Breaking Coray’s leg was an accident which Joseph immediately regretted.[xvii]

However, Baugh did notraise an obvious question: Why would a tall, husky man like Joseph Smith want to humiliate small, scrawny men either by easily defeating them in a wrestling match or by giving them a challenge they would lose honor by declining? It does not matter that he often wrestled larger men for sport or that he sometimes engaged in serious fights with several opponents at once.

Whenever the Prophet challenged a smaller, obviously weaker male to a physical contest, he went beyond the male code of honor and engaged in the kind of behavior that Americans described at the time as “bullying.”[xviii] This also puts another perspective on Joseph’s boasting about beating up enemies until they begged him to stop.

Despite his endorsements of decapitation in 1843, there is no evidence that the Prophet ever actuallyauthorized such punishment in Nauvoo. However, one of his housegirls wrote, apparently late that November, that Dr. Robert D. Foster, surgeon-general and brevet-brigadier-general of the Nauvoo Legion, had used a sword to decapitate a man execution-style “on the prairie 6 miles” from LDS headquarters. Foster was not a dissenter then, but would become one within four months.[xix]

In December 1843, Joseph Smith organized the “Police Force of Nauvoo,” with Jonathan Dunham and Hosea Stout, former Danites, as captain and vice-captain. Among the forty police were such other Danites from Missouri as Charles C. Rich, John D. Lee, Daniel Carn, James Emmett, Stephen H. Goddard, Abraham C. Hodge, John L. Butler, Levi W. Hancock, Abraham O. Smoot, Dwight Harding, and William H. Edwards. Several members of the police force continuedto double as Smith’s personal bodyguards.[xx]

These Mormon policemen were proud of their Danite background. According to one complaining Mormon at Nauvoo, policeman Daniel Carn “told me several times [that] Daniteism was not down . . . said it was a good system.” Carn laconically replied (in Joseph Smith’s presence): “Daniteism is to stand by each other [—] that is all I know about Daniteism.”[xxi]

As mayor, Joseph authorized his police to kill “if need be,” and then said his own life was endangered in December 1843 by a “little dough-head” and “a right-hand Brutus.” The latter remarks put the police on notice to look for Mormon dissenters as traitors. Within a week, Nauvoo’s police left Smith’s second counselor William Law and Nauvoo’s stake president William Marks under the terrifying impression that Smith had marked them for death.[xxii] Both were foes of the Prophet’s secret practice of polygamy.[xxiii]

On 11 March 1844, Joseph Smith secretly organized the theocratic Council of Fifty in fulfillment of the revelation nearly two years earlier.[xxiv] Several months later, disaffected members claimed that he “swore them all to present secrecy, under penalty of death!”[xxv] Although the 1844 minutes of the Council of Fifty are sequestered in the LDS First Presidency’s vault, the claim of a theocratic “penalty of death” in 1844 is verified by available minutes from a later date which referred to a “Penalty.”[xxvi]

BYU professor William G. Hartley has written that the Missouri “Danite oaths [were] not to betray each other, the breaking of which could bring the death penalty.”[xxvii] At least eighteen members of the Council of Fifty had already taken oaths as Danites before Smith required this new guarantee of deadly secrecy in the spring of 1844.[xxviii]

Within two weeks, Smith took the first step toward abandoning the non-violent militarism which had characterized his leadership of the Nauvoo Legion during the years since he had escaped a death sentence for Danite militarism in Missouri. On 26 March, the Council of Fifty authorized Smith to ask Congress to commission him to recruit “one hundred thousand armed volunteers in the United States and Territories.” As secretly approved by this theocratic council, Smith’s “memorial” to Congress promised that he would use this military force “to extend the arm of deliverance to Texas [then an independent nationin conflict with Mexico]; [to] protect the inhabitants of Oregon from foreign aggressions and domestic broils; to prevent the crowned nations from encircling us as a nation on our western and southern borders.” This petition also asked Congress to provide for the arrest and two-year imprisonment of anyone who “shall hinder or attempt to hinder or molest the said Joseph Smith from executing his designs.” In case Congress was unwilling to grant these powers, Smith prepared a similar petition to the U.S. president. Ostensibly representing Smith as mayor, Orson Hyde carried this memorial to the nation’s leaders after being secretly commissioned as an ambassador of the theocratic Council of Fifty during its 4 April meeting.[xxix] Two months before asking federal authority for him to lead military forces against “foreign aggressions and domestic broils,” Joseph Smith had publicly announced himself as candidate for U.S. president.[xxx]

In contrast to the previous five years, Smith was no longer content with mere saber-rattling by the armed forces he commanded. Uriah Brown was initiated into the secretive Council of Fifty because of the Prophet’s 1844 interest in this non-Mormon’s invention of “liquid fire to destroy an army or navy.”[xxxi] Thirty years earlier, Brown had unsuccessfully offered his idea “for destroying by fire the vessels of the enemy” in a proposal to the U.S. Navy.[xxxii]

The last public endorsement of violence during Joseph Smith’s life occurred at the general conference on 6 April 1844. Sidney Rigdon undoubtedly startled many Mormons by announcing: “There are men standing in your midst that you cant [sic] do anything with them but cut their throat & bury them.” The Prophet said nothingto censure his first counselor’s remarks.[xxxiii]

Ten weeks later, Joseph Smith died as a martyr to his faith in Carthage Jail. But he was neither a willing nor non-violent martyr. As the mob clamored up the stairs, he fired at them with a six-shooter pistol, wounding three.[xxxiv]

Mormon culture became increasingly violent following the murder of its founding Prophet. Claiming apostolic succession from his fallen leader, Brigham Young authorized assault and battery against Nauvoo dissidents and applauded Porter Rockwell for killing some of those identified as involved in murdering Smith and other Mormons.[xxxv] On the pioneer trail and in the Utah society he created, Young increasingly preached about “blood atonement” against sinful Mormons and about “avenging the blood of the prophets” against anti-Mormons. These themes of violence and vengeance became both normative and pervasive in LDS sermons, hymns, newspaper editorials, and patriarchal blessings for decades.[xxxvi]

However, LDS apologists claim that faithful Mormons were really non-violent pioneers who regarded as mere “rhetorical devices” or “hyperbolic rhetoric” all evidence of this wholesale endorsement of theocratic violence.[xxxvii] To the contrary, there were many examples of religiously motivated assaults and murders until the First Presidency in December 1889 publicly abandoned previous Mormon teachings about blood atonement for apostates and about the temporal Church’s theocratic prerogatives.[xxxviii]Moreover, Utah pioneer diaries, correspondence, and Church minutes indicate that ordinary Mormons believed that they had the religious obligation to “blood atone” apostates and to avenge the blood of the prophets on anti-Mormon gentiles.[xxxix] As Utah historian Melvin T. Smith has noted, “violence against `evil’ became a defensible rationale for both the Smith family and for most early Church members.”[xl]

The fact that many Utah Mormon men did not act upon the norms for violence that Brigham Young and other general authorities promoted is beside the point. Those violent norms were officially approved and published by the LDS Church in pioneer Utah. Likewise, most Mormon men did not marry polygamously, even though this was an unrelenting norm of the LDS Church until 1890.[xli]

Nevertheless, Brigham Young did not originate Mormonism’s culture of violence. It had been nurtured by Joseph Smith’s revelations, theocracy, and personal behavior before June 1844. Like all prophets before or since, Smith was influenced by his environment, which included a national culture of violence and its code of male honor. This was a volatile mix for those early Americans who became Mormons within a hostile religious environment that was increasingly dominated by crusading Evangelicals.[xlii]

[i] History of the Church, 5: 4, 13; Book of the Law of the Lord, 19 May 1842, in Jessee, Papers of Joseph Smith, 2: 384; The Wasp (Nauvoo, IL), 21 May 1842, [3], 4 June 1842, [3]. The Night Watch in 1842 included Dimick B. Huntington, William D. Huntington, Lucius N. Scovil, Charles Allen, Albert P. Rockwood, Noah Rogers, Shadrach Roundy, Josiah Arnold, David H. Redfield, Hiram Clark, S.B. Hicks, Erastus H. Derby, John A. Forgeus, Gilbert D. Goldsmith, Daniel Carn, and John G. Luce. See appendix, “Danites in 1838: A Partial List,” in Origins of Power, [479]–490.

[ii] History of the Church, 5: 4.

[iii] James B. Allen, Trials of Discipleship: The Story of William Clayton, A Mormon (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987), 140. Based on the list of Smith’s personal staff and “guards” in the Nauvoo Legion as of February 1841 (History of the Church, 4: 296), Hartley, My Best For the Kingdom, 120, lists as Smith’s twelve bodyguards the following men: John L. Butler, Thomas Grover, Christian M. Kremeyer, John Snyder, Alpheus Cutler, Reynolds Cahoon, Henry G. Sherwood, Shadrach Roundy, Vinson Knight, James Allred, Elias Higbee, and Samuel H. Smith. A problem with this list is that it omits Orrin Porter Rockwell, widely known as one of Smith’s bodyguards. Hartley also omits Albert P. Rockwood, the actual commander of the “lifeguards,” with the explanation that the 1841 entry in History of the Church listed Rockwood only as a “drill master” with the Nauvoo Legion. Apparently, Smith’s “lifeguards” in the Nauvoo Legion were for ceremonial purposes and overlapped with his actual bodyguards who were “ordained” to protect his life. For sources about the Danite affiliation of the above men, see appendix, “Danites in 1838: A Partial List,” in Origins of Power, [479]–490.

[iv] L.B. Fleak (at Keokuk, Iowa) to Governor Thomas Reynolds, 4 December 1842, folder 14346, box 319, Reynolds Correspondence, Missouri State Archives, Joseph City, Missouri, with transcription in Warren A. Jennings, “Two Iowa Postmasters View Nauvoo: Anti-Mormon Letters to the Governor of Missouri,” BYU Studies 11 (Spring 1971): 286. For the context of why Missouri’s governor was receiving reports from attempted kidnappers, see George R. Gayler, “Attempts by the State of Missouri to Extradite Joseph Smith, 1841–1843,” Missouri Historical Review 58 (October 1963): 21–36.

[v] 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.

[vi] History of the Church, 5: 285.

[vii] History of the Church, 5: 316.

[viii] Joseph Smith diary, 5 March 1843, in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 326; phrased differently in History of the Church, 5: 296 (“I will shoot him, or cut off his head, spill his blood on the ground,” also “on that subject”); see Note 26, last sentence.

The LDS Church’s official history changed the phrase to “cut off his head” as an apparent effort to make readers think the founding prophet was referring to the civil execution by decapitation as practiced in the decades-earlier French Revolution. However, Smith’s actual phrase “cut his throat” replayed the throat-cutting threats by Missouri Danites (including Sidney Rigdon) in 1838 (see quotes for previous notes 82 and 83). The LDS prophet’s 1843 statement was also an official precedent for Counselor Rigdon’s throat-slitting statement to April 1844 general conference (see quote in narrative for Note 149).

Smith’s 1843 statement was also an obvious precedent for Brigham Young’s similar phrases in his published sermons about “blood atonement” during the 1850s (see Note 152). Published in Salt Lake City, the LDS Church’s official History of the Church, 5: 296 even described Smith’s remarks as “The Questions of `Currency’ and Blood Atonement, in the Nauvoo City Council.” Notice that its editors did not put quotation marks around Blood Atonement, but did for “Currency.”

[ix] Joseph Smith statement, manuscript minutes of 6 April 1843 conference, first version (page 10), and with quoted words lined out in second version (page 4), both documents in LDS Archives, with complete transcriptions in Quinn’s research files, Beinecke Library. This statement by Joseph Smith is absent from the report of his remarks in Times and Seasons, History of the Church, and in Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980), 173–81.

[x] John L. Butler reminiscence, in Journal History, 6 August 1838, page 6.

[xi] History of the Church, 5: 473.

[xii] History of the Church, 5: 524, 531; Joseph Smith diary, 13 August 1843, in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 405; see Note 26, last sentence; also Allen, Trials of Discipleship, 114–15, 144n15.

[xiii] William Clayton diary, 1 August 1843, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 114; History of the Church, 5: 531.

In Warsaw Message (Warsaw, IL) (11 October 1843), [1–2], Bagby wrote that Joseph Smith “insulted me in the grossest manner, without any provocation, (as I think will appear in the sequel) and at time too, when I was enfeebled by long and severe illness, being then but just able to walk . . . and what, Mr. Editor, may you suppose was the cause of this attack? Why simply because, as collector of the county, I advertised, according to law, a certain lot in Nauvoo, to which he afterwards set up a claim. Such was the ostensible cause that produced the cause above alluded to.

“ . . . And I would here remark, that, but for the timely interference of Dan’l H. Wells Esq., who happened to be near, and who nobly throwed himself into the breach, I would, doubtless, have suffered great personal injury, by the dastardly beast [Smith], whose fury increased in an inverse ratio to his discovery of my entire inability from the effect of disease, and the want of suitable weapons, to resist his brutal violence.”

[xiv] History of the Church, 5: 34; Joseph Smith diary, 17 September 1843, in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 414, specified “under officers”; see Note 26, last sentence.

[xv] “The Last Case At Nauvoo,” Warsaw Message (Warsaw, IL), 27 September 1843, [3]. Bennett’s first name was not given in this long article, nor in the first reference to this altercation “on Sunday last” in Warsaw Message (20 September 1843), [2]. However, Smith’s excommunicated counselor John C. Bennett was not “one of our citizens” at Warsaw.

[xvi] “Story as related to me by Ira N. Spaulding of East Weber,” in “THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF DAVID OSBORN, SENIOR Started in February 1860,” Lee Library, with complete transcription in GospeLink 2001 CD-ROM (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2001), and on the Internet at, accessed on 3 March 2011; also quoted in Richard Lyman Bushman, “The Character of Joseph Smith,” BYU Studies 42, No. 2 (2003): 23–34. Spaulding died in 1882 at Uintah, Weber County, Utah. One of his children was born in Nauvoo in 1844. See “Ancestral File” of the LDS Church, available on the Internet at

[xvii] Alexander L. Baugh, “Joseph Smith’s Athletic Nature,” in Susan Easton Black and Charles D. Tate Jr., eds., Joseph Smith: The Prophet, The Man (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1993), 140.

[xviii] For example, Isaac M. Dwight, To the public, Augusta, Dec’r 2d, 1823 (Augusta, GA: N.p., 1823). This broadside was a refutation of printed charges posted by Thomas Broughton Jr., accusing the author of being “a bullying coward, a braggadocio in words and a poultroon in deeds.”

[xix] Phebe Wheeler Olney statement, written between November 1843 and April 1844 on the back of Susan McKee Culbertson’s application for membership in the Nauvoo Relief Society, 21 [July] 1843, uncatalogued manuscripts, Beinecke Library. Nauvoo’s 1842 census showed “Phoebe” Wheeler as the first of the six girls residing as house servants with the Joseph Smith family. Despite her marriage to Oliver Olney on 19 October 1843, performed by Patriarch Hyrum Smith, Phebe apparently continued as a servant in the Smith home until 1844. Its unrelated reference to “Mrs Sagers” indicates that this entry dates from November 1843 to April 1844, when the marital complaints of Mrs. Harrison Sagers involved the high council. The more likely time period for discussion of the Harrison case in the Smith household was November 1843, the only time Smith’s manuscript diary referred to the complaint against Harrison. See Joseph Smith diary, 25 November 1843, in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 428; Nauvoo high council minutes, 25 November 1843, 14 April 1844; History of the Church, 6: 118, 333 (which retroactively adds the April 1844 reference to Sagers as if it were part of Smith’s diary); Nauvoo 1842 census in Lyman De Platt, Nauvoo: Early Mormon Records Series (Highland, UT: By the author, 1980), 86; Lyndon W. Cook, comp., Nauvoo Deaths and Marriages, 1839–1845 (Orem, UT: Grandin Book Co., 1994), 107; also Joseph Smith diary, 2 March 1843 to 21 January 1844, in Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 314, 323, 324, 334, 335, 336, 337, 373, 388, 403, 412, 424, 433, 438, 442, for his positive or neutral references to Foster; see Note 26, last sentence. Smith’s next reference (460) described Foster as a dissenter trying to destroy him. History of the Church, 5: 369, 6: 355, for Foster’s positions in the Nauvoo Legion.

[xx] History of the Church, 6: 149–50; compare appendix, “Danites in 1838: A Partial List,” in Origins of Power, [479]–490.

[xxi] Statements by Eli Norton and Daniel Carn in presence of Mayor Joseph Smith, Nauvoo City Council Minutes, 3 January 1844, LDS Archives, with complete transcription in Cook, William Law, 40n–41n.

[xxii] History of the Church, 6: 151, 152, 166–70; William Law diary, 2–5 January 1844, in Cook, William Law, 38–45.

[xxiii] Lawrence Foster, Religion and Sexuality: Three American Communal Experiments of the Nineteenth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), 147, 177; John Frederick Glaser, “The Disaffection of William Law,” Restoration Studies 3 (1986): 163–77; Cook, William Law, passim; Compton, In Sacred Loneliness, 3, 476–77, 549.

[xxiv] Church History in the Fulness of Times, 270; Origins of Power, 120–22, also appendix, “Members of the Council of Fifty, 1844–45, Ranking as of 27 June 1844 (at Joseph Smith’s death),” [521]–528; Ehat, “`It Seems Like Heaven Began on Earth,’” passim.

[xxv] George T.M. Davis, An Authentic Account of the Massacre of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, and Hyrum Smith, His Brother, Together with a Brief History of the Rise and Progress of Mormonism, And All the Circumstances Which Led to Their Deaths (St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1844), 7, emphasis in original. Davis, a newspaper editor, was in Nauvoo gathering information just before Joseph Smith’s death. See History of the Church, 6: 587.

[xxvi] Council of Fifty minutes by Joseph F. Smith, 12 October 1880, emphasis in original, LDS Archives, with modified transcription in “jfs box 11 [page] 14-14-14-14,” in folder 6, box 6, Scott G. Kenney papers, Marriott Library, and complete transcription in Quinn’s research files, Beinecke Library; also discussion in Origins of Power, 128–29.

[xxvii] Hartley, My Best For the Kingdom, 50. For the documentary evidence on which his statement is based, see Document Containing the Correspondence, Orders, &c In Relation to the Disturbances With the Mormons, 97 (which was quoted by Schindler, Orrin Porter Rockwell, 46–47, and by Roberts, Comprehensive History, 1: 501; also variant of the oath in William Swartzell daily journal, 21 July 1838, in his Mormonism Exposed, 22. In his manuscript autobiography (1807–51), pages 120, 125 (for August 1838) at LDS Archives, lifelong Mormon Luman A. Shurtliff verified that the Danites took a solemn “oath,” without giving its details. His reference to “oath” was removed in the typescript, “Luman Andros Shurtliff: My Grandfather, 1807,” at Utah State Historical Society.

However, David J. Whittaker, “The Book of Daniel in Early Mormon Thought,” in John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., By Study and Also By Faith, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., and Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1990), 1: 171, observes that in the letters of Albert P. Rockwood to his relatives about the Danites in 1838, “nowhere is there the cutthroat secrecy that Avard later succeeded in convincing Judge Austin King and the non-Mormon public that there was.” However, since Rockwood as a Danite was already bound by a penal oath of secrecy (as friendly Mormon sources verify was the case), he understandably did not volunteer that information to his uninitiated relatives. Whittaker’s argument is the fallacy of irrelevant proof.

[xxviii] Compare appendix, “Danites in 1838: A Partial List,” in Origins of Power, [479]–490 with its appendix, “Members of the Council of Fifty, 1844–45, Ranking as of 27 June 1844 (at Joseph Smith’s death),” [521]–528.

[xxix] History of the Church, 6: 270, 274–77, 282–83, 286, 286n; Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, 461, 463; William Clayton diary, 4 April 1844, in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 128; Ehat, “`It Seems Like Heaven Began on Earth,’” 275.

[xxx] “WHO SHALL BE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT?” in Nauvoo Neighbor (Nauvoo, IL), 14 February 1844, [2], and in Times and Seasons 5 (15 February 1844): 441; also History of the Church, 6: 64–65, 144, 155–60, 376–77, 428–29, 439; Hill, Joseph Smith, 374–75.

[xxxi] Uriah Brown to Brigham Young, 3 November 1845, LDS Archives; statements of Phineas Young and Almon W. Babbitt, in Council of Fifty minutes, 25 August 1851, LDS Archives, with complete transcriptions of the above in Quinn’s research files, Beinecke Library; also Origins of Power, 127–28, for discussions of the three non-Mormons in Smith’s theocratic Council of Fifty.

[xxxii] U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Report of the Committee on Naval Affairs, On the Petition of Uriah Brown, January 27, 1815. Read and Ordered To Lie On the Table, document 53 in State Papers, 3rd Session, 13th Congress (Washington, D.C.: Roger C. Weightman, 1815), whose one-page text stated in part: “The committee on naval affairs, to whom was referred the memorial of Uriah Brown, together with the report of the acting secretary of the navy, have, according to order, had the said memorial and report under consideration, and thereupon submit the following report: . . . many difficulties would be presented to the execution of such a plan, as it is represented by the memorialist, that to be able to effect it, the vessel carrying the materials must approach within three or four hundred feet of the vessel to be attacked. The memorialist supposes that fifty thousand dollars would be necessary to carry his plan into execution; the committee taking into consideration the present situation of the finances … think it would be inexpedient at this time to authorize an appropriation for the purpose proposed by the memorialist.”

[xxxiii] Sidney Rigdon sermon on 6 April 1844, compiled on 24 April 1844 by Thomas Bullock, LDS Archives, with complete transcription in Quinn’s research files, Beinecke Library; deleted from the published report.

[xxxiv] Church History in the Fulness of Times, 281, for photograph of the “six-shooter” Joseph Smith used and the single-shot handgun he gave his brother Hyrum who declined to fire it. John Hay, “The Mormon Prophet’s Tragedy,” Atlantic Monthly 24 (December 1869): 675, identified three men who were shot by Joseph Smith: John Wills in the arm, William Vorhees in the shoulder, and William Gallagher in the face. Hay was a son of Charles Hay, a surgeon of the Carthage militia and apparently a member of the mob. Church History in the Fulness of Times, 282, agrees that Smith wounded three men.

[xxxv] Origins of Power, 176–81; Marshall Hamilton, “From Assassination to Expulsion: Two years of Distrust, Hostility, and Violence,” in Launius and Hallwas, Kingdom on the Mississippi Revisited, 214–30; John E. Hallwas and Roger D. Launius, eds., Cultures in Conflict: A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1995).

[xxxvi] John Smith (former Danite) patriarchal blessing to John Smith (b. 1832), 22 January 1845, quoted in Irene M. Bates, “Patriarchal Blessings and the Routinization of Charisma,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26 (Fall 1993): 12, 12n45, 21; Hosea Stout diary, 27 September 1845, in Juanita Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1844–1861, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964), 1: 76; Elden J. Watson, ed., MANUSCRIPT HISTORY of Brigham Young, 1846–1847 (Salt Lake City: By the author, 1971), 480 (24 February 1847); Elisha H. Groves patriarchal blessing to William H. Dame, 20 February 1854, in Harold W. Pease, “The Life and Works of William Horne Dame,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1971, 64–66; Groves patriarchal blessing to William Leany, 23 February 1854, in Leany autobiography, 8, typescript in Utah State Historical Society; “DISCOURSE By Jedediah M. Grant, Tabernacle, G.S.L. City, March 12th 1851 [1854],” Deseret News [weekly], 27 July 1854, [2]; “REMARKS By President J. M. Grant, Bowery, Sunday Morning, Sept. 21, 1856,” Deseret News [weekly], 1 October 1856, 235; Elisha H. Groves patriarchal blessing to Joseph Fish, 30 January 1857, in Paul H. Peterson, “The Mormon Reformation,” Ph.D. dissertation, Brigham Young University, 1981, 192; Isaac Morley (former Danite) patriarchal blessing to Philip Klingensmith, 28 May 1857, in Anna Jean Backus, Mountain Meadows Witness: The Life and Times of Bishop Philip Klingensmith (Spokane: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1995), 124; Journal of Discourses, 1: 73 (Hyde/1853), 1: 83 (B. Young/1853), 1: 97 (G.A. Smith/1851), 1: 108 (B. Young/1853), 3: 246–47 (B. Young/1856), 4: 49–51 (J.M. Grant/1856), 4: 53–54 (B. Young/1856), 4: 173–74 (Kimball/1857), 4: 219–20 (B. Young/1857), 4: 375 (Kimball/1857), 6: 38 (Kimball/1857), 7: 20 (Kimball/1854), 7: 146 (B. Young/1859), 10: 110 (B. Young/1857); Sacred Hymns and Spiritual Songs (Salt Lake City: Deseret News/George Q. Cannon, 1871), 73–74, 314, 332, 337, 385; Sessions, Mormon Thunder, 125–30, 211; John W. Welch and John William Maddox, “Reflections on the Teachings of Brigham Young,” in Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter, eds., Lion of the Lord: Essays on the Life & Service of Brigham Young (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995), 393 (which listed two of these sermons on “Blood Atonement”); Extensions of Power, esp. 246–57.

[xxxvii] Charles W. Penrose, Blood Atonement, As Taught By Leading Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1884), 35; Roberts, Comprehensive History, 4: 126; Eugene England, Brother Brigham (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 169, 182; Lowell M. Snow, “Blood Atonement,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1: 131; Ronald W. Walker review in Journal of Mormon History 20 (Spring 1994): 170, 173.

[xxxviii] Extensions of Power, 242–61; “OFFICIAL DECLARATION,” Deseret Evening News, 14 December 1889, [2]; James R. Clark, ed., Messages of the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–71), 3: 185, 186.

[xxxix] Extensions of Power, 242, 245, 248–49, 257, 273. On these issues, also compare Will Bagley, Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002) with Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley Jr., and Glen M. Leonard, Massacre at Mountain Meadows (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).

[xl] Melvin T. Smith, “Response to Paper by D. Michael Quinn,” John Whitmer Historical Association 2002 Nauvoo Conference Special Edition, 187.

[xli] For statistics of polygamy in Utah, see Dean L. May, “People on the Mormon Frontier: Kanab’s Families of 1874,” Journal of Family History 1 (Winter 1976): 169–92; James E. Smith and Phillip R. Kunz, “Polygyny and Fertility in Nineteenth-Century America,” Population Studies 30 (September 1976): 465–80; Phillip R. Kunz, “One Wife or Several?: A Comparative Study of Late Nineteenth Century Marriage in Utah,” in Thomas G. Alexander, ed., The Mormon People: Their Character and Traditions (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1980), 53–73; Larry Logue, “A Time of Marriage: Monogamy and Polygamy in a Utah Town,” and Lowell “Ben” Bennion, “The Incidence of Mormon Polygamy in 1880: `Dixie’ versus Davis Stake,” Journal of Mormon History 11 (1984): 3–26, 27–42; Marie Cornwall, Camela Courtright and Laga Van Beek, “How Common the Principle?: Women as Plural Wives in 1860,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26 (Summer 1993): 139–53; Kathryn M. Daynes, More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840–1910 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001), 100–01 (for percentages from her research about Manti). For the publicly stated emphasis of LDS leaders that plural marriage was the required norm, see Daynes (72–73) and B. Carmon Hardy, Doing the Works of Abraham: Mormon Polygamy: Its Origins, Practice, and Demise (Norman, OK: Arthur H. Clark, 2007).

[xlii] Ray Allen Billington, The Protestant Crusade, 1800–1860: A Study of the Origins of American Nativism (New York: Rinehart, 1952); David Brion Davis, “Some Themes in Counter Subversion: An Analysis of Anti-Masonic, Anti-Catholic and Anti-Mormon Literature,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 57 (September 1960): 205–24; Leonard J. Arrington and Jon Haupt, “Intolerable Zion: The Image of Mormonism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature,” Western Humanities Review 22 (Summer 1968): 243–60; Gary L. Bunker and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Graphic Image, 1834–1914: Cartoons, Caricatures, and Illustrations (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983); Craig L. Foster, “Anti-Mormon Pamphleteering in Great Britain, 1837–1860,” M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, 1989; William O. Nelson, “Anti-Mormon Publications,” in Ludlow, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1: 115–32; Craig L. Foster, “Victorian Pornographic Imagery in Anti-Mormon Literature,” Journal of Mormon History 19 (Spring 1993): 115–32; Terryl L. Givens, The Viper on the Hearth: Mormon Myths and the Construction of Heresy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997); any sample one might choose on the Internet of Evangelical diatribes against Mormonism.