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John Whitmer, History, 1831–circa 1847

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 86
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Editorial Note
’s conclusion to Chapter 19, which acknowledged his formal excommunication on 10 March 1838, originally marked the end of this history. At a later time, however, Whitmer returned to the manuscript to cancel his plea for forgiveness; he then added three more chapters. Before he was expelled from in June 1838 along with other excommunicants, Whitmer was a witness of some of the 1838 events of which he wrote. In contrast, because Whitmer had to rely entirely on the reports of others for his description of developments in from autumn 1836 to spring 1838, in and counties, Missouri, in late 1838, and in beginning in 1839, the final chapters of his narrative exhibit significant historical shortcomings. For example, his comment that the Mormons “commenced a difficulty in Daviess Co.” and his brief explanation of the events leading up to JS’s imprisonment and the expulsion of the Mormons from fail to place Mormon acts of aggression in Daviess County in the context of a broader and rapidly developing conflict, including previous violence against the Mormons. He stands alone among his contemporaries in claiming that an organization resembling the Danites originated in , and his generalization about “spiritual wife doctrine, that is pleurality of wives” in Kirtland suggests his narrative was colored by a later perspective, one based on charges leveled at the Mormons in in the 1840s.

Chapter 20
Chapter 20, 1837.
In the fall of 1836, Joseph Smith Jr. & others of the Leaders of the church at Ohio, Established a bank for the purpose of Speculation and the whole church partook of the same Spirit, they were lifted up in pride, and lusted after the forbiden things of God such as covetousness, & in secret combination, spiritual wife doctrine, that is pleurality of wives, and gadianton bands in which they were bound with oaths &c. that brought divisi[o]ns and mistrust among those who were pure in heart, and desired the upbilding of the Kingdom of God—
J. Smith Jr. & & moved their families to this place in the Spring of 1838. As soon as they came here they began to enforce their new organized plan in force which caused disensions and difficulties, threatnings and even murders[.] Smith called a counsel of the leaders together in which council he Stated that any person who said a word against the heads of the church should be driven over these prairies as a chaced deer by a pack of hounds, having an allusion to the gideanats [Gideonites] as they were then termed to Justify themselves, in their wicked designes
Thus on the 19th of June 1838 they preached a sermon called it the Salt sermon in which these gideonites understood that they should drive the disenters as they termed those who believed that not [p. 86]

Editorial Note
’s conclusion to Chapter 19, which acknowledged his formal excommunication on 10 March 1838, originally marked the end of this history. At a later time, however, Whitmer returned to the manuscript to cancel his plea for forgiveness; he then added three more chapters. Before he was expelled from in June 1838 along with other excommunicants, Whitmer was a witness of some of the 1838 events of which he wrote. In contrast, because Whitmer had to rely entirely on the reports of others for his description of developments in from autumn 1836 to spring 1838, in and counties, Missouri, in late 1838, and in beginning in 1839, the final chapters of his narrative exhibit significant historical shortcomings. For example, his comment that the Mormons “commenced a difficulty in Daviess Co.” and his brief explanation of the events leading up to JS’s imprisonment and the expulsion of the Mormons from fail to place Mormon acts of aggression in Daviess County in the context of a broader and rapidly developing conflict, including previous violence against the Mormons. He stands alone among his contemporaries in claiming that an organization resembling the Danites originated in , and his generalization about “spiritual wife doctrine, that is pleurality of wives” in Kirtland suggests his narrative was colored by a later perspective, one based on charges leveled at the Mormons in in the 1840s.

Chapter 20
Chapter 20, 1837.
In the fall of 1836, Joseph Smith Jr. & others of the Leaders of the church at Ohio, Established a bank for the purpose of Speculation and the whole church partook of the same Spirit, they were lifted up in pride, and lusted after the forbiden things of God such as covetousness, & in secret combination, spiritual wife doctrine, that is pleurality of wives, and gadianton bands in which they were bound with oaths &c. that brought divisions and mistrust among those who were pure in heart, and desired the upbilding of the Kingdom of God—
J. Smith Jr. & & moved their families to this place in the Spring of 1838. As soon as they came here they began to enforce their new organized plan which caused disensions and difficulties, threatnings and even murders. Smith called a counsel of the leaders together in which council he Stated that any person who said a word against the heads of the church should be driven over these prairies as a chaced deer by a pack of hounds, having an allusion to the gideanats [Gideonites] as they were then termed to Justify themselves, in their wicked designes
Thus on the 19th of June 1838 they preached a sermon called it the Salt sermon in which these gideonites understood that they should drive the disenters as they termed those who believed not [p. 86]
Page 86