Part 4: August 1842

August 1842 was another tumultuous month for JS and the Latter-day Saints. Many of their difficulties were rooted in letters had begun to publish in July—which presented JS as a licentious fraud. The situation became more precarious as authorities undertook attempts to extradite JS from to . As this external threat took more concrete form in August, disagreements between JS and erstwhile friends, including and , continued to play out in public. An understanding of this unsettled situation provides crucial context for the documents in part 4 of this volume. During this tense time, JS received letters from members in the eastern , some of whom commented on the negative publicity and damaging effects of Bennett’s claims. JS also continued to act as editor of the Times and Seasons and to perform his civic duties, including those related to his roles as lieutenant general of the , mayor of , Illinois, and presiding officer of the mayor’s court. These and other responsibilities were interrupted on 8 August when three officers arrested JS and on a warrant issued by Illinois governor in connection with the attempted murder of former Missouri governor . JS and Rockwell petitioned for and received a writ of from Nauvoo’s municipal court. Uncertain about whether the city court had the authority to grant the writs, the officers left Nauvoo to receive further instructions from Carlin, and local authorities released JS from their custody. By 10 August, JS had gone into hiding, first across the in , Iowa Territory, and then back to Illinois, in and around Nauvoo. During his two-week absence from public life, he continued to meet and correspond with his wife and with church leaders.
While in hiding, JS grew concerned that a mob might attack , so he wrote to , major general of the Nauvoo Legion, instructing him to protect the Saints if circumstances required. Believing he was being “hunted by the Missourians,” JS also consulted with Law, , and others about the possibility of leaving the . Meanwhile, Emma followed up earlier petitions by writing to and asking him to terminate efforts to extradite JS.
JS’s time in hiding seems to have made him pensive. Reflecting on those who had sacrificed on his behalf, he recorded their names in the Book of the Law of the Lord, which was also used to record tithing donations and JS’s journal. In addition to recording their sacrifices, he pronounced blessings on them. He also asked and , as well as their daughter —with whom JS had entered into plural marriage in late July—to meet with him in secret. During this time, , who also had been sealed to JS, penned a poem lamenting his absence.
In contrast to his time in hiding, when JS remembered and blessed those individuals who had supported him, upon his return to public life he openly condemned those whom he considered enemies. On 29 August, within days of returning to his home in , he presided over a public meeting in which he castigated individuals he believed had been spreading false rumors about him, including and . He also directed available church to travel throughout the eastern to counteract ’s efforts and to bring to light the unjust actions of and . Two days later, in a meeting of the , he echoed many of the sentiments of his 29 August discourse, celebrated his escape from his enemies, and thanked the sisters for their support. However, his enthusiasm was short-lived: within a few days, a renewed attempt to arrest JS drove him back into hiding.
Documents in this part of the volume provide insight into the effect of extradition efforts on JS and the Saints, as well as their concerns for his well-being. The documents here include correspondence, editorials, legal and financial papers, discourses, a military order, a journal entry, a poem, and an authorization to use the baptismal font in the unfinished .
  1. 1

    John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, IL, 27 June 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 8 July 1842, [2]; John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 2 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 15 July 1842, [2]; John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 4 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 15 July 1842, [2]; John C. Bennett, St. Louis, MO, 15 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 22 July 1842, [2].  

    Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.

  2. 2

    See Letter from John E. Page, 8 Aug. 1842; Letter from Willard Richards, 9 Aug. 1842; Letter from John E. Page, 15 Aug. 1842; Letter from James Arlington Bennet, 16 Aug. 1842; and Letter from Robert D. and Sarah Phinney Foster, ca. 16 Aug. 1842.  

  3. 3

    See, for example, Times and Seasons, 1 Aug. 1842; Times and Seasons, 15 Aug. 1842; General Orders for Nauvoo Legion, 2 Aug. 1842; Nauvoo Legion Minute Book, [13] Aug. 1842, 29; and Warrant for William Thompson, 2 Aug. 1842–B.  

    Nauvoo Legion Minute Book, 1843–1844. Nauvoo Legion, Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 3430, fd. 1.

  4. 4

    Petition to Nauvoo Municipal Court, 8 Aug. 1842; JS, Journal, 8 Aug. 1842; “The Arrest,” Wasp, 13 Aug. 1842, [2].  

    The Wasp. Nauvoo, IL. Apr. 1842–Apr. 1843.

  5. 5

    JS, Journal, 8 Aug. 1842; “The Arrest,” Wasp, 13 Aug. 1842, [2].  

    The Wasp. Nauvoo, IL. Apr. 1842–Apr. 1843.

  6. 6

    Thomas R. King, Fillmore, Utah Territory, to George A. Smith, 21 Feb. 1868, Obituary Notices and Biographies, CHL; JS, Journal, 10–23 Aug. 1842.  

    Obituary Notices and Biographies, 1854–1877. CHL. MS 4760.

  7. 7

    Letter to Wilson Law, 14 Aug. 1842; see also Letter from Wilson Law, 15 Aug. 1842.  

  8. 8

    Reflections and Blessings, 16 and 23 Aug. 1842; JS, Journal, 15 Aug. 1842; Letter to Emma Smith, 16 Aug. 1842; Letter to Wilson Law, 16 Aug. 1842; Letter from Emma Smith, 16 Aug. 1842; Letter from Wilson Law, 16 Aug. 1842.  

  9. 9

    Emma Smith, Nauvoo, IL, to Thomas Carlin, 16 Aug. 1842; Thomas Carlin, Quincy, IL, to Emma Smith, [Nauvoo, IL], 24 Aug. 1842; Emma Smith, Nauvoo, IL, to Thomas Carlin, 27 Aug. 1842.  

  10. 10

    Reflections and Blessings, 16 and 23 Aug. 1842.  

  11. 11

    Letter to Newel K., Elizabeth Ann Smith, and Sarah Ann Whitney, 18 Aug. 1842.  

  12. 12

    Poem from Eliza R. Snow, 20 Aug. 1842.  

  13. 13

    Discourse, 29 Aug. 1842.  

  14. 14

    Minutes and Discourse, 31 Aug. 1842.  

  15. 15

    JS, Journal, 3 Sept. 1842.  

  16. 16

    Authorization for Thomas R. King, 27 Aug. 1842.