John Corrill, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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went so far as to contrive plans how they might scatter poison, pesti lence, and disease, among the inhabitants, and make them think it was  judgments sent from God. But here let me remark, that this was  known only to some half dozen or so of the leaders, and not to the  church, nor even the great majority of this secret society. I accused  Smith and of it, but they both denied it promptly. Be this as  it may, it was clearly evident to me that the leaders of this faction in tended to set up a monarchical government, in which the presidency  should tyranize and rule over all things. In fact there was so much  tyranny and oppression exercised, that for several weeks many per sons dare not speak their minds, nor let them be known; and I have  learned of late, that a constitution was formed, savouring all the spirit  of monarchy, and adopted by the leaders and some others of this so ciety; but I conclude that but few knew about it, for I never heard one  lisp on the subject, until exposed it, after he was arrested.
Some individuals went so far as to state, that they would kill any  person, if the presidency would say it was the will of God; for these  things were necessary sometimes to save the church from corruption  and destruction. All the while it was preached to them that they  must purify themselves from all evil, for the time was now at hand  when every thing that offended in the kingdom of God must be cast  out. This they determined to do, whether by fair means or foul, re gardless of consequences. They sometimes went by the name of  the Big Fan; this, I supposed, was figurative of their intentions to  cleanse the chaff from the wheat. They also assumed the name  of “The Daughter of Zion,” and afterwards were called “Danites.”  Why they assumed these last names I never knew, but always sup posed that they took it from the scriptures, which speaks of them,  the first prophetically, and the last historically. (See Mic[a]h. iv. 13,  read the whole chapter; also Judges, xvii. & xviii. chapters.)
This society increased, as near as I could learn, to the number of  three hundred.

Chapter 18

CHAP XVIII.
 
Fourth of July celebrated—’s oration—The election.
 
The church c[e]lebrated the fourth of July, by raising a liberty pole,  on which they hoisted the American flag. They also formed a civil  and military procession, and delivered an oration,  in which there were one or two sentences to which considerable ex ception was taken by the people of other counties. The substance  was, that they did not mean to suffer vexatious law suits, and other  abuses, as they had done, but if a mob fell on them, they would re sist, and would follow them to their houses, and it should be a war of  extirmination to one or the other party. This spirit was kept up  until the church, or many individuals, became so inspired with it, that  they would not bear any offence. [p. 32]
went so far as to contrive plans how they might scatter poison, pestilence, and disease, among the inhabitants, and make them think it was judgments sent from God. But here let me remark, that this was known only to some half dozen or so of the leaders, and not to the church, nor even the great majority of this secret society. I accused Smith and of it, but they both denied it promptly. Be this as it may, it was clearly evident to me that the leaders of this faction intended to set up a monarchical government, in which the presidency should tyranize and rule over all things. In fact there was so much tyranny and oppression exercised, that for several weeks many persons dare not speak their minds, nor let them be known; and I have learned of late, that a constitution was formed, savouring all the spirit of monarchy, and adopted by the leaders and some others of this society; but I conclude that but few knew about it, for I never heard one lisp on the subject, until exposed it, after he was arrested.
Some individuals went so far as to state, that they would kill any person, if the presidency would say it was the will of God; for these things were necessary sometimes to save the church from corruption and destruction. All the while it was preached to them that they must purify themselves from all evil, for the time was now at hand when every thing that offended in the kingdom of God must be cast out. This they determined to do, whether by fair means or foul, regardless of consequences. They sometimes went by the name of the Big Fan; this, I supposed, was figurative of their intentions to cleanse the chaff from the wheat. They also assumed the name of “The Daughter of Zion,” and afterwards were called “Danites.” Why they assumed these last names I never knew, but always supposed that they took it from the scriptures, which speaks of them, the first prophetically, and the last historically. (See Micah. iv. 13, read the whole chapter; also Judges, xvii. & xviii. chapters.)
This society increased, as near as I could learn, to the number of three hundred.

Chapter 18

CHAP XVIII.
 
Fourth of July celebrated—’s oration—The election.
 
The church celebrated the fourth of July, by raising a liberty pole, on which they hoisted the American flag. They also formed a civil and military procession, and delivered an oration, in which there were one or two sentences to which considerable exception was taken by the people of other counties. The substance was, that they did not mean to suffer vexatious law suits, and other abuses, as they had done, but if a mob fell on them, they would resist, and would follow them to their houses, and it should be a war of extirmination to one or the other party. This spirit was kept up until the church, or many individuals, became so inspired with it, that they would not bear any offence. [p. 32]
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