Joseph Smith Documents from May through August 1842

The period from May through August 1842 was one of significant change and increasing tension for Joseph Smith. In May, he introduced new religious rituals, directed missionary work, and struggled to organize resources to provide for the hundreds of converts from the and who continued to to , Illinois. While he was engaged in these and other endeavors, two events occurred that dramatically affected his life and those of his followers over the next four months. The first was the excommunication of , due to sexual misconduct, and Bennett’s departure from Nauvoo. Bennett shifted from being Smith’s supporter and ally to his vehement opponent, undertaking a campaign of slander and libel against Smith in print and in public lectures. The second defining event of these months, also occurring in May, was an assassination attempt on former governor by an unknown assailant. Rumors began to circulate that the assassin had been sent by Joseph Smith, which prompted another attempt to have him extradited to Missouri for prosecution. Amid these larger concerns, Smith shouldered a staggering workload of civic and ecclesiastical responsibilities.
wrote in a letter to fellow that he had “never seen Joseph as full of business as of late,” noting that “he hardly gets time to sign his name.” As a result of Smith’s many responsibilities, the summer of 1842 was a period of intense document production for him. Joseph Smith’s documentary record from May through August 1842 includes nearly 400 documents, not including the sometimes multiple copies of correspondence and civic records. This volume of The Joseph Smith Papers features 105 documents focusing on the core of Joseph Smith’s documentary output—correspondence, discourses, and revelations—and is selective, rather than comprehensive, with other genres of records. More unusual documents featured in the volume include -issued currency, called Nauvoo city scrip; reflections and blessings dictated by Smith in August 1842 while in hiding to avoid arrest and extradition to ; a poem written by , addressed to Smith; and an authorization granting Latter-day Saint Thomas R. King access to the baptismal font of the Nauvoo .
The increase in document production in the summer of 1842 and the preservation of these records resulted in part from the increased stability and professionalization of Smith's office and staff beginning in 1841. As his various responsibilities expanded, he employed several clerks and scribes, some with professional training. He had previously relied on individual scribes with little or no training to maintain his journal, correspondence, and church records. Over the years, he had lost several scribes to illness, death, or disaffection, leading at times to the loss of the records they had kept. In , by contrast, Smith’s office expanded beyond a single individual, and by summer 1842 scribes and were both working to create a professional and organized for Smith’s correspondence and other records. Additionally, Clayton served as clerk and recorder to assist Smith in his role as the Nauvoo registrar. Smith also worked closely with , the Nauvoo city recorder and clerk for the Nauvoo Municipal Court, who also inscribed the docket book for the Nauvoo mayor’s court on Smith’s behalf.
Joseph Smith’s increased document production was also a product of his myriad administrative duties. He continued to lead the and direct missionary work as prophet and church president, while at the same time overseeing financial matters for the church as trustee-in-trust. These roles generated substantial correspondence, as well as ecclesiastical, administrative, and financial documents. As prophet and church president, Smith led meetings and spoke often in . In March 1842, he drew on an initiative by the women of the church to organize a charitable society and established the , an organization for Latter-day Saint women intended to promote charitable actions, encourage moral reform, and strengthen female spirituality. Smith saw the establishment of the Relief Society as a central element in completing the organization of the church and a precursor for including women in temple rituals. During the summer of 1842, he met several times with the Relief Society, providing instruction and seeking their support, particularly in his ongoing conflict with .
Smith was also involved in civic responsibilities in 1842. These duties included acting as lieutenant general of the , a local unit of the state militia, and serving as registrar of , making him responsible for recording and certifying local land transactions. In addition to these responsibilities, Smith took on a new role on 19 May, when the city council elected him mayor to replace , who had resigned two days earlier. This established Smith as both the religious and civic leader of the Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo. In his new mayoral role, Smith generated a wide variety of records as he assumed the associated administrative, financial, and legal responsibilities. He directed the city council, heard residents’ petitions, and authorized ordinances enacted by the council; oversaw the city treasury and directed payment for municipal expenditures; and directed other organizations, such as the city watch. As part of Smith’s mayoral responsibilities, he was commissioned as a justice of the peace, and he presided over both the mayor’s court and municipal court in Nauvoo. He also signed hundreds of one-dollar notes of a local currency, called Nauvoo city scrip, in a continued effort to aid the desperately cash-poor Nauvoo economy.
Beyond these diverse duties, Joseph Smith continued as editor of the church’s semimonthly newspaper, the Times and Seasons. He had purchased the and newspaper from in February 1842. Although he was identified as editor in the 15 February 1842 issue of the paper, Smith’s editorial oversight began the following month, starting with the 1 March issue. His involvement as editor fluctuated over the next eight months; some issues of the newspaper included editorials he likely wrote, while others were produced when he was absent from . Apostles and oversaw the daily operations of the office, but until October 1842 the newspaper bore Smith’s name, which implied that he took editorial responsibility and thus endorsed all published content. This volume of The Joseph Smith Papers features selections of editorial content from the eight issues produced from May through August 1842.
Even when he was not focused on ecclesiastical, civic, or editorial matters, Smith had significant demands on his time. He devoted time to his personal obligations as a husband and father. He directed various financial endeavors, including a he had opened in early 1842. And during this period he also had some involvement with Freemasonry, having joined the Masons in March 1842.
Joseph Smith’s leadership in came at a time of continuing financial difficulty. The financial panics of 1837 and 1839 had significantly weakened the economy of the , leading to a devastating recession that lasted into the 1840s. As a result of economic instability and mounting debts, in April 1841 the U.S. Congress, led by members of the Whig Party, introduced new legislation that allowed individual debtors to apply for voluntary bankruptcy. This was a dramatic departure from earlier legislation, in which bankruptcy was involuntary and creditors were required to take the debtor to court. The new bankruptcy act of 1841 took effect in February 1842, only to be repealed by Congress in March 1843. The act caused chaos in the judicial system as justices, struggling to interpret the legislation, provided inconsistent rulings. Yet it also gained widespread popularity, as tens of thousands of debtors across the nation applied to have their debts forgiven. In , more than fifteen hundred applications were filed in the one-year time frame. The new act required that an individual’s intention to apply for bankruptcy be printed as a public notice in local newspapers. Due to the high volume of notices, the Sangamo Journal, a , Illinois, newspaper, was forced to print extra editions for several of its summer issues, featuring hundreds of bankruptcy applications.
Although it is unclear when Joseph Smith first learned about the new act, he began the process of applying for bankruptcy in April 1842 with the help of , Illinois, attorney of the law firm Ralston, Warren & Wheat. On 18 April, Smith filed his application in , Illinois, the seat of ; shortly thereafter, notice of his bankruptcy application circulated in local newspapers. His initial hearing in June appears to have met with no complications, and by mid-June another notice appeared in local newspapers, announcing that his final hearing was set for 1 October 1842.
Several weeks after filing his bankruptcy application, Smith wrote to his largest creditor, , explaining his decision. In August 1839, Smith had partnered with his brother and , both members of the church’s , to purchase several hundred acres of land in from Hotchkiss and his partners, and , for $110,000. In his May 1842 letter, Smith informed Hotchkiss that applying for bankruptcy was a last resort, clarifying that he and other church leaders had been compelled to petition for bankruptcy because of the pressure of unpaid debts from their time in , Ohio; the economic losses that accompanied being driven from ; and the “disadvantagious circumstances” of purchasing land on credit in Illinois and for the refugee Saints in 1839. Hotchkiss was dismayed when he learned of Joseph Smith’s bankruptcy application. Although the church leaders still owed him a significant debt and had been unable to make several payments, Hotchkiss urged Smith not to abandon their original contract. In his letters, Hotchkiss further warned Smith against including the land the church president had arranged to purchase from him, which Smith did not yet own, among his assets when petitioning for bankruptcy. Hotchkiss’s caution came too late, however, as Smith or his lawyer had already itemized the land in question as part of Smith’s assets.
This was not the only misstep in Smith’s bankruptcy application. In creating the schedules enumerating his assets and debts, Smith or his attorney conflated his personal debts with those he had assumed on behalf of the church as trustee-in-trust. While the 1841 bankruptcy act allowed for the resolution of personal debts, it did not address fiduciary debts, or those connected with trustees. Smith’s conflation of his debts, accusations of fraud by disaffected church members, and a significant debt he owed to the government for the purchase of a steamboat in September 1840 stalled Smith’s bankruptcy proceedings in the winter of 1842, and a decision was not rendered on his petition for bankruptcy before his death.
Joseph Smith faced additional uncertainty in itemizing his debts because of the management of his business affairs by . While Smith had authorized several individuals to act as his agents over the years, Granger’s role as Smith’s agent in , Ohio, was more prominent than most and entailed repaying outstanding debts in northeastern as well as . Granger’s untimely death in August 1841 caused Smith much consternation and financial unease, since it left him unaware of many of the payments and other arrangements Granger had made on his behalf. Smith also confronted the financial consequences experienced by Latter-day Saints who had aided Granger as a church agent. In the summer of 1842, Smith helped resolve lingering questions of repayment and property ownership for and Jonathan Harrington, who had provided Granger with needed resources.
During that same summer, the population continued to increase rapidly, with converts arriving from the eastern and . The nation’s unsettled financial condition, coupled with the economic condition of those migrating to Nauvoo, meant that the city’s burgeoning population far exceeded its economic growth. While some areas of the United States were beginning to revive after the financial panics of the late 1830s, and other western states were not. With the continuing recession, closure of banks, and depreciation of banknotes, the community of Nauvoo had little currency available and relied primarily on promissory notes and bartering. This situation was particularly difficult for the hundreds of converts coming from England who had expended their resources to immigrate and were often reliant on the church to provide housing, food, and work. later described the challenging circumstances, noting how the immigrating poor “had to be cared for, and labor created.”
also complained that some wealthy church members feigned poverty, unwilling to provide aid to the poor or donate to the church’s construction efforts. In an effort to combat such reluctance, Smith and his clerks placed notices in the local newspaper, the Wasp, in June and July 1842 urging the Saints to remember their promised and donations for the construction of the and . These notices, as well as a letter from the appealing to Saints throughout the nation to donate all that they could, suggest that the funds the church leaders were desperately relying on to finance their construction projects were in short supply.
Despite these financial concerns, Joseph Smith urged the Saints to consider the lasting significance of the and the blessings that would be gained therein. In an early May discourse, he promised the elders that when the temple was completed he would reveal certain that would allow them to detect false spirits and to be with power. A few days later, on 4 May, in the upper room of his Nauvoo , Smith provided instructions on the and introduced a small group of trusted men to new ceremonies that became known as the endowment and that were eventually performed in the Nauvoo temple. , Smith’s scribe, was present and noted that the church president offered instructions “in the principles and order of the priesthood, attending to , endowments, and the communications of keys.” Richards further recorded that within this group Smith had “institutd the Ancient order of things for the first time in these last days.” Richards concluded that the same ritual given to that small group of men would be extended to all Saints “so soon as they are prepared to receive, and a proper place is prepared to communicate them, even to the weakest of the saints; therefore let the saints be diligent in building the Temple and all houses which they have been or shall hereafter be commanded of God to build.” A May 1842 editorial, likely written by Smith, encouraged the Saints to reflect on the eternal rewards associated with completing the temple. The editorial lauded the Saints for their sacrifices, declaring in revelatory language that the blessings of the temple and the Zion the Saints created as a result of their faith and unity would help usher in the second coming of Jesus Christ and millennial prosperity.
During these months, Joseph Smith also expanded his involvement in the practice of plural marriage. Latter-day Saints referred to these unions as “,” indicating their belief that marriages solemnized by the proper authority would be recognized and efficacious in heaven. Smith and his coreligionists understood plural marriage as part of a broader restoration of such Old Testament ideas as temple worship and orders of the priesthood—all of which tied into the belief that they were living in the last dispensation of the earth’s history. , who was sealed to Smith in June 1842, later wrote, “When I reflected that I was living in the Dispensation of the fulness of times, embracing all other Dispensations, surely Plural Marriage must necessarily be included.” In a February 1842 letter to his wife, , alluded to the connection of plural marriage with biblical practices, writing, “There are many things recorded of the old patriarchs and prophets which have seemed bad to us, which if we knew the reasons thereof and the order of God would appear right.”
The extant sources concerning plural marriage preclude a thorough understanding of the practice during this period, making it difficult to unravel its complexities, its prevalence, and the experiences of the women and men involved in these relationships. The small group of men and women introduced to plural marriage in pledged to keep their involvement confidential. The few contemporary documents that describe Smith’s plural marriage sealings only specify a doctrine that marital relationships, performed by priesthood authority, could endure beyond death and through eternity. Reminiscent accounts suggest that Smith’s plural marriage sealings can be placed in three categories: sealings for the couple’s mortal lifetime, sealings for eternity, or sealings for both this lifetime and eternity. Plural marriages intended for time and eternity likely included the possibility of conjugal relations and hope for posterity, but such relations were not part of eternity-only plural marriages. While some of the women who were sealed to Smith later identified the intended duration of their sealing, limited contemporary and reminiscent documents from Smith and his plural wives make it difficult to determine which of these sealings was for the couple’s lifetime and eternity, their lifetime only, or eternity only.
As the 1843 revelation on plural marriage makes evident, Smith’s understanding of this practice was irrevocably intertwined with doctrines of eternal salvation and exaltation, and in their reminiscent accounts, Smith’s plural wives emphasized their spiritual motivations for entering into plural marriages. In Latter-day Saint theology, a sealing to a righteous, believing spouse was considered a prerequisite for exaltation. Thus, Smith may have been sealed to a single woman or a woman whose husband was not a Latter-day Saint in order to help her obtain exaltation. In addition, blessings for plural marriage sealings may have reached beyond the couple to the woman’s extended family, including them in the promise of salvation. A further benefit for the extended family was the formation of kinship ties with Smith, connecting the two families in the eternities. The desire to be eternally connected to those dear to him was apparently not unique to Smith but shared by many of his close friends. The sisters and daughters of several apostles and other church leaders agreed to plural marriages with Smith, thereby creating the desired eternal connection.
Although most sources related to plural marriage are reminiscent, two documents featured in this volume provide a rare contemporary glimpse into plural marriage as practiced by Joseph Smith. On 27 July 1842, Smith dictated a revelation that provided Bishop the language he should use in sealing his seventeen-year-old daughter, , to Smith as a plural wife. , Newel’s wife, was also named in the revelation and participated in the sealing as a witness. The instructions in this revelation are unique, being the only known instance of an extant document dictated by Joseph Smith giving directions for plural marriage sealings. The revelation emphasizes that the sealing offered eternal salvation—not just to Sarah Ann but to her whole family—and created eternal ties with Smith.
The second document is a letter Smith wrote to the Whitneys in mid-August 1842, shortly after the sealing took place. In this letter, he asked and her parents to meet him while he was in hiding to avoid extradition to so he could visit with them and provide them with previously promised blessings. No extant documentation captures Sarah Ann Whitney’s thoughts about her marriage to Smith, which was arranged through her parents. A later account written by her friend and sister-in-law, , noted that although Sarah Ann consented to the union, it created social distance for the popular Sarah Ann, isolating her from friends, possible suitors, and siblings who were unaware of the practice of plural marriage.
Joseph Smith’s sealing to was part of a more concerted effort on his part to practice plural marriage in the early 1840s. He appears to have been sealed to his first plural wife in the mid-1830s, but he did not resume the practice until April 1841, when he was sealed to . According to evidence from Smith’s plural wives or their families, between 1841 and spring 1842 Smith was sealed to approximately six women and began to teach the practice to a small group of trusted associates. Sources indicate that from June to August 1842, he was sealed to an additional four women: , Sarah Ann Whitney, , and . There are few details about Smith’s sealings to Knight and Sherman, both of whom were apparently widows when sealed to Smith. Sherman’s brother later wrote that her sealing occurred before Johnson’s return to from a mission in early July 1842. According to her obituary, Knight was sealed to Joseph Smith in August 1842, shortly after the death of her husband, , Smith’s close friend and a bishop in Nauvoo.
More information exists about ’s marriage to Joseph Smith on 29 June 1842. As an accomplished poet and independent woman in her late thirties, Snow’s marriage to Smith probably differed markedly from that of ’s. Unlike Whitney, whose sealing was arranged and who continued to live with her parents after the sealing, Snow married Smith without her family’s knowledge or approval. Snow’s journal and contemporary poems suggest that she greatly admired Smith and was deeply concerned for his welfare. Years later, she related that when she was introduced to the practice of plural marriage, she found the idea repugnant, but with time she accepted and revered it: “As I increased in knowledge concerning the principle and design of Plural Marriage, I grew in love with it, and today esteem it a precious, sacred principle.” Snow further noted that her marriage to Joseph Smith was “one of the most important circumstances of my life, I never have had cause to regret.”
By summer 1842, Joseph Smith had shared the practice of plural marriage with only a few trusted friends and associates, a group that apparently did not include his brother or his wife . Although it is unclear what Emma knew or suspected about plural marriage in 1842, documents in this volume suggest that she was unaware of at least some of her husband’s sealings. Smith’s sealing to , for example, occurred when Emma was absent from . In his August letter to the Whitneys, Smith asked that they avoid visiting him in exile if Emma was present, a request likely meant to ensure that she remained unaware of the marriage.
Despite the secrecy with which Joseph Smith approached plural marriage, some knowledge of the practice appears to have circulated as rumor in . In March 1842, Clarissa Marvel was disciplined by the for spreading rumors about Smith having a relationship with his widowed sister-in-law, , to whom he had likely been sealed in January 1842. The most invested and aggressive critic, however, was , who may have had some knowledge of plural marriage or used circulating rumors for his own ends.
had been a rising star in both the church and since his move to the city in September 1840 and his subsequent . He was instrumental in ushering the act incorporating the city of Nauvoo through the legislature, and he became the mayor of Nauvoo once that act was signed into law. Upon the creation of the , Bennett was elected major general and inspector general, second in command only to Joseph Smith. Bennett actively participated in the church’s , and in April 1841 he was “presented with the as assistant president” because was suffering at the time from ill health. An 1841 revelation declared that God would “crown” Bennett “with blessings and great glory” if he listened to counsel and remained faithful.
Even as received these positions and accolades, however, Joseph Smith began to hear troubling reports about him. When Bennett arrived in he had presented himself as a single man, but Smith received information indicating he was married to Mary Barker Bennett of and was the father of two children. Smith became more disturbed when Bennett began courting a woman in Nauvoo and talked to her about marriage. According to Smith, he confronted Bennett about his behavior, and Bennett promised to end the relationship. However, Smith later stated, Bennett then began telling women in Nauvoo “that promiscous intercourse between the sexes, was a doctrine believed in by the Latter-Day Saints, and that there was no harm in it.” Smith further claimed that Bennett had even told some of the women that Smith himself “not only sanctioned, but practiced the same wicked acts,” thereby enabling Bennett to seduce other women in Nauvoo.
Joseph Smith again confronted , who again promised to reform. Perhaps doubting his sincerity, Smith commenced an investigation, which included sending to to inquire into the rumors about Bennett’s past. Miller and others confirmed that Bennett had a wife and children there and that he had reportedly committed adultery in the past. When Bennett persisted in the same adulterous conduct in , Smith’s patience wore thin and he warned Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo about such behavior. Although not mentioning Bennett by name, Smith wrote a letter in March 1842 to his wife , in her role as president of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, warning the women about unprincipled men who claimed authority from Smith and the First Presidency and who “with a lie in their mouth deceive & debauch the innocent under the assumption that they are authorized from these sources!” Smith also preached against adultery at a 10 April 1842 church meeting. On 11 May, he and other leaders of the church prepared a notice stating that they were withdrawing fellowship from Bennett.
In late May, the began investigating sexual misconduct by several men who had apparently followed ’s lead in seducing women in Nauvoo on the premise that church leaders, including Smith, sanctioned such illicit behavior. Several women provided affidavits detailing their encounters and identifying the men involved. Those accused before the Nauvoo high council included , George Thatcher, , , and . The high council’s investigation of charges of unvirtuous conduct included several of these men as well as Catherine Fuller Warren, one of the women they had seduced. Ultimately, only three of the men were disfellowshipped. These investigations fostered a heightened concern about morality among church leaders in Nauvoo as well as concern over individuals with ties to Bennett.
After his excommunication, ’s influence in both the church and the city unraveled. He resigned as mayor of on 17 May, Joseph Smith publicly preached against him on 18 June, the Nauvoo Masonic Lodge held hearings in June about Bennett’s conduct, and, probably sometime toward the end of June, Bennett was cashiered from the . Disgraced, he left Nauvoo on 21 June, threatening to write a book exposing Joseph Smith as a fraud and impostor. Perhaps to forestall any accusations Bennett might make, on 23 June Smith composed a letter to church members “and to all the honorable part of community” outlining Bennett’s actions while in Nauvoo and the steps Smith had taken to get him to reform. Smith wrote a similar letter the following day to governor . Further, Smith sent to meet with , a member of the elite upon whom John C. Bennett had bestowed several Nauvoo honors.
In late June, a few days after Joseph Smith wrote his letters of warning, released a series of his own letters, which were published in summer 1842 in the Sangamo Journal and reprinted in several other newspapers. These letters painted a lurid picture of Smith, depicting him as an adulterer who had proposed marriage to several women in , including , the daughter of First Presidency counselor , and , the wife of apostle . Bennett also claimed that Joseph Smith had a band of “”—similar to those who had sworn to defend the church in in 1838—who would kill anyone who opposed his measures. Bennett often claimed that his own life was in danger. Other allegations in the letters included that Smith was involved in fraudulent land dealings and that he had ordered the assassination of , former governor of Missouri and a primary antagonist of Smith and the Saints.
These allegations—which said could be corroborated by several people, including , Rigdon’s son-in-law , , and —quickly spread through the eastern , causing a firestorm of controversy and negative opinion. Apostle , who was preaching in , pleaded with Joseph Smith in August “to put down the slanders of Bennett” and the others because the accusations had “done much to injure the cause of the kingdom.” At the end of August, Smith met with the and made plans to send missionaries throughout the United States to combat Bennett’s allegations “with a flood of truth.”
Amid the difficulties caused by , Smith and his followers also faced political opposition in the August 1842 state election. Fearing mob attacks and Smith’s possible extradition to , church members in hoped to elect sympathetic candidates in the coming election. Since the Saints’ arrival in , both the Democrats and Whigs had attempted to win their votes. In December 1841, Smith denied partisanship but publicly supported , the Democratic candidate for governor, fueling fears of religious bloc voting. Even after Snyder’s sudden death in mid-May, Smith continued to voice political neutrality. He announced in a 26 May meeting in Nauvoo that he would not support either party. Nauvoo citizens proceeded to nominate a separate ticket of candidates for county and state offices, including some candidates who were not Latter-day Saints. In response, the Anti-Mormon Party, established in 1841 to counter Latter-day Saint political influence in the county, held a convention in on 29 May. In early July, Smith published a letter calling for independent candidates who, if they met certain qualifications, would receive the Saints’ political support. During the next few weeks, Smith received several letters about the election; some were lobbying for candidates, while others were from Saints seeking guidance on voting. In the August election, the Saints overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, who won the election. , the editor of the Warsaw Signal and an avowed opponent of Smith and the church who helped form the Anti-Mormon Party, lamented that the Democratic ticket, which he described as the “Mormon ticket,” had been elected. Meanwhile, the Saints hoped that when Governor took office at the end of the year, he would prove more willing to protect them from outside forces and less willing to comply with Missouri officials’ attempts to extradite Smith than his predecessor, , had been.
Fears of a new effort to extradite Joseph Smith from to escalated after the attempted assassination of Missouri’s former governor . On 6 May 1842, an assailant shot Boggs through the window of his home in , Missouri, severely wounding him. Newspapers immediately began reporting his demise, although he eventually recovered from the injury. By mid-May, reports reached that Boggs had died. A few days later, in a Nauvoo City Council meeting—the same meeting in which Smith was elected to replace as mayor—Smith “spoke at some length concerning the evil reports which were abroad in the city concerning himself— & the nec[e]ssity of counteracting the designs of our enemies. establishing a night watch &c.” The city council proceeded to establish a new city watch, which received its orders from Smith the next day. During the next few weeks, rumors circulated that Latter-day Saints had been involved in the attempted assassination of Boggs and that the city council had created the night watch to protect Smith from possible retaliation.
The Saints’ fears for Joseph Smith’s safety took more concrete form in June, when rumors reached Smith that Missourians were planning to send a mob to to kidnap him. On 24 June, Smith notified Governor that might be conspiring to help the Missourians and solicited advice on how to respond if a mob reached Nauvoo. Smith’s concerns about an attack on Nauvoo went hand in hand with his fear of a forced return to , his memories of his earlier imprisonment there, and the Saints’ past conflicts with Missouri mobs. Carlin responded reassuringly on 30 June that there was no real threat of a mob attack, but he also indicated that he would be compelled to comply if Missouri’s governor initiated extradition procedures. Anticipating both events, four days before Carlin’s response Joseph Smith and other church leaders had “united in Solemn prayer that God . . . would deliver his anointed, his people. from all the evil designs of . & the powers of the state of Missouri, & of Governor Carlin. & the authorities of . . . . and. of . & all mobs.”
As the Saints’ anxieties about these possibilities increased, they prepared countermeasures, turning to the militia, city council, and government officials for assurance and protection. In early July, ’s city council passed an ordinance bolstering the right of in order to protect its citizens from being “subjected to illegal Process by their Enemies.” Concerned about Smith’s potential extradition, and traveled to to meet with . After this the men intended to travel to , Missouri, to meet with governor . Their interactions in Quincy convinced them that Smith had little to fear. But on 15 July the Sangamo Journal published ’s second and third letters, wherein he alleged that Smith had foretold ’s death and had sent to fulfill the prophecy. A few days later, Boggs signed an affidavit accusing Rockwell of the shooting and a second affidavit charging Smith with being an “accessary before the fact of the intended murder.” Reynolds responded by issuing requisitions demanding that officials apprehend and extradite the two men from Illinois to Missouri. Before the requisition reached Governor Carlin, though, he received a letter from Joseph Smith, as well as petitions from Nauvoo’s citizens, urging Carlin not to surrender Smith to Missouri authorities. In his letter, Smith again expressed concerns about an attack on Nauvoo’s citizens, and again Carlin attempted to calm his fears.
However, on 8 August, after had received ’s requisitions, he signed a warrant for the arrest of Smith and , and three officers arrived in and detained them. Smith and Rockwell immediately petitioned Nauvoo’s municipal court for writs of habeas corpus. Smith applied for the writ with the understanding that the Constitution and law characterized fugitives from justice as those who committed a crime in one state and fled to another state. In his petition, Smith expressed his intent to prove he was not a fugitive from justice, a charge that Reynolds had made based on ’s affidavit, though Boggs had simply stated that Smith was a citizen of Illinois. The municipal court granted Smith and Rockwell their requests for writs of habeas corpus and demanded that the officers deliver them to the court for investigation. Uncertain about the court’s authority to make such a demand, the arresting officers left Smith and Rockwell in the hands of Nauvoo’s marshal, , and returned to , Illinois, to receive clarification from Carlin.
At this point, released Smith and , and Smith went into hiding, first across the in , Iowa Territory, and then in and around , where church members and sympathetic neighbors sheltered him. Despite his exile, Smith continued to meet with church leaders and close associates about how to address the threat of extradition. He also corresponded frequently with his wife and with , major general of the . He asked for their opinion on whether he should temporarily leave to ensure the safety of the Saints and his family; he even considered relocating to , where the church had established a lumber operation.
The weeks he spent in hiding appear to have been an introspective time for Joseph Smith, as he remembered past kindnesses and further refined instructions for the practice of proxy for deceased friends and family. Smith’s absence from was keenly felt among the Saints. noted that Smith’s exile deprived the Saints of his “society and governing wisdom.” Expressing similar sentiments, composed two poems in August, each lamenting the injustice Smith had suffered and the sadness occasioned by his absence.
Upon his return from hiding in late August, Smith announced that he had successfully escaped from his enemies, whom he defined broadly as and government officials, , and others like , , and , all of whom had sided with Bennett. Smith’s late August discourses resounded with his victorious enthusiasm. But his celebration was short lived. Days later, in early September, legal authorities returned to , and Smith went back into hiding.
The four months documented in this volume, May to August 1842, were a time of dramatic change and increasing anxiety for Joseph Smith and the community of . The specter of looms large over the documentary record of these four months. His misconduct and his separation from the church and city he participated in building placed significant strain on Smith as he assumed Bennett’s role as mayor and as the church investigated Bennett’s illicit affairs. Accusations by the former church leader created division and doubt at a time when Smith’s practice of plural marriage was expanding, and Bennett’s threats of collaboration with mobs induced anxiety in Smith and his followers. The threat of extradition reemerged with the May assassination attempt on and was amplified into a terrifyingly real possibility in early August. Assured that extradition to Missouri would mean another difficult imprisonment and potentially death, Smith abandoned legal recourse and went into hiding. Although he returned triumphant to Nauvoo at the end of August, the threat of this extradition attempt persisted and would not be resolved until January 1843. The documents in this volume—consisting of correspondence, accounts of discourses, minutes of meetings, and financial and legal records—illuminate and contextualize this tumultuous season in Joseph Smith’s life, which brought difficulties that would only increase with the passage of time.
  1. 1

    An earlier attempt by Missouri officials to extradite Smith to Missouri came in September 1840 and was revived in June 1841. (See Editorial, Times and Seasons, Sept. 1840, 1:169–170; and “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:447–449; see also Historical Introduction to Statement of Expenses to Thomas King, 30 Sept. 1841.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  2. 2

    Wilford Woodruff, Nauvoo, IL, to Parley P. Pratt, Liverpool, England, 18 June 1842, Parley P. Pratt, Correspondence, CHL.  

    Pratt, Parley P. Correspondence, 1842–1855. CHL. MS 897.

  3. 3

    This is particularly the case with featured financial and civic documents, such as deeds, promissory notes, and city ordinances, which are representative of dozens of similar documents found among Smith’s papers. All of these records are available on this website.  

  4. 4

    See Nauvoo City Scrip, 14 July 1842; Reflections and Blessings, 16 and 23 Aug. 1842; Poem from Eliza R. Snow, 20 Aug. 1842; and Authorization for Thomas R. King, 27 Aug. 1842.  

  5. 5

    The largest number of records created during these four months are ecclesiastical licenses provided to proselytizing elders, the majority of which are no longer extant. (See, for example, License for James Flanigan, 14 May 1842, JS Collection [Supplement], CHL.)  

  6. 6

    See Minutes and Discourses, 17 Mar. 1842; and Derr et al., First Fifty Years of Relief Society, 3–16.  

    Derr, Jill Mulvay, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, and Matthew J. Grow, eds. The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2016.

  7. 7

    See Minutes, 19 May 1842.  

  8. 8

    See Oath, 21 June 1842; see also Docket Entry, Nauvoo Mayor’s Court, ca. 5 July 1842. While the mayor’s court functioned as both a justice of the peace court and a local court for the mayor to try alleged breaches of city ordinances, the municipal court was primarily an appellate court for violations of city ordinances. Appeals on decisions made by the justice of the peace were sent to the Hancock County Circuit Court.  

  9. 9

    See Nauvoo City Scrip, 14 July 1842. The scrip was intended only for local use and was provided by the mayor or city council to municipal staff or others working on behalf of the city. The scrip could be used to pay city taxes or could be redeemed for specie from the city treasurer.  

  10. 10

    See Agreement with Ebenezer Robinson, 4 Feb. 1842.  

  11. 11

    See Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842.  

  12. 12

    See JS, Lease, Nauvoo, IL, to John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff, Nauvoo, IL, [between 8 and 10] Dec. 1842, JS Collection (Supplement), CHL.  

  13. 13

    See An Act to Establish a Uniform System of Bankruptcy [19 Aug. 1841], Public Statutes at Large, 27th Cong., 1st Sess., chap. 9, pp. 440–449; see also Balleisen, Navigating Failure, 1–8.  

    The Public Statutes at Large of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845. . . . Edited by Richard Peters. 8 vols. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1846–1867.

    Balleisen, Edward J. Navigating Failure: Bankruptcy and Commercial Society in Antebellum America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

  14. 14

    “In the Matter of John C. Tebbetts,” 259–269.  

    “In the Matter of John C. Tebbetts” / “Circuit Court of the United States, Massachusetts, September 7, 1842, at Boston. In Bankruptcy. In the Matter of John C. Tebbetts.” Law Reporter 5 (Oct. 1842): 259–269.

  15. 15

    Over 41,000 individuals in the United States filed petitions under the act; 1,592 petitions were filed in Illinois from February 1842 to March 1843, when the act was repealed. (Balleisen, Navigating Failure, 124, 172.)  

    Balleisen, Edward J. Navigating Failure: Bankruptcy and Commercial Society in Antebellum America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

  16. 16

    See Bankruptcy Notice for JS, Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 6 May 1842, [3]; and Notice, 28 Apr. 1842.  

  17. 17

    See JS, Journal, 14–16 Apr. 1842; and Application for Bankruptcy, ca. 14–16 Apr. 1842.  

  18. 18

    See JS, Journal, 18 Apr. 1842; and Notice, 28 Apr. 1842.  

  19. 19

    See Notice to Creditors and Others, 17 June 1842.  

  20. 20

    The principal payment for the land was $50,000. As part of this agreement, the purchasers also promised annual interest payments of $3,000 for twenty years, making a total obligation to Hotchkiss, Gillet, and Tuttle of $110,000. (Bond from Horace Hotchkiss, 12 Aug. 1839–A.)  

  21. 21

    Letter to Horace Hotchkiss, 13 May 1842.  

  22. 22

    See Letter from Horace Hotchkiss, 27 May 1842.  

  23. 23

    See Application for Bankruptcy, ca. 14–16 Apr. 1842.  

  24. 24

    See Letter to Horace Hotchkiss, 30 June 1842; and Historical Introduction to Deed to Emma Smith, 13 June 1842.  

  25. 25

    See Deed to Emma Smith, 13 June 1842; and Oaks and Bentley, “Joseph Smith and Legal Process,” 735–782.  

    Oaks, Dallin H., and Joseph I. Bentley. “Joseph Smith and Legal Process: In the Wake of the Steamboat Nauvoo.” Brigham Young University Law Review, no. 3 (1976): 735–782.

  26. 26

    See Power of Attorney to Oliver Granger, 27 Sept. 1837; Authorization for Oliver Granger, 13 May 1839; Agreement with Mead & Betts, 2 Aug. 1839; and Agreement with Oliver Granger, 29 Apr. 1840.  

  27. 27

    See Account with Estate of Oliver Granger, between ca. 3 Feb. and ca. 2 Mar. 1842; and Obituary for Oliver Granger, Times and Seasons, 15 Sept. 1841, 2:550.  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  28. 28

    See Letter from Alonzo LeBaron, ca. 29 June 1842; and Receipt, 8 July 1842.  

  29. 29

    See Times and Seasons, 16 May 1842. A census of church members in Nauvoo in 1842 included approximately four thousand Latter-day Saints. The census did not account for those who were not members of the church or living outside of the city limits. By November 1843, the Nauvoo Neighbor estimated that the population of Nauvoo and the surrounding area was between eight thousand and twelve thousand. (Nauvoo Stake, Ward Census, 1842, CHL; News Item, Nauvoo Neighbor, 15 Nov. 1843, [2].)  

    Nauvoo Stake. Ward Census, 1842. CHL.

    Nauvoo Neighbor. Nauvoo, IL. 1843–1845.

  30. 30

    See Times and Seasons, 15 Mar. 1842; Letter to Edward Hunter, 9 and 11 Mar. 1842; and Letter to Horace Hotchkiss, 10 Mar. 1842. The use of promissory notes often significantly delayed payment. An inventory of Nauvoo resident John M. Burk’s assets in late June 1842 recorded that in addition to tools, livestock, and household goods, he held several uncollected promissory notes in amounts varying from $2 to $27, with unsettled accounts from Missouri worth a combined $300. (See Inventory of John M. Burk Property, 30 June 1842, Jameson Family Collection, CHL.)  

    Jameson Family Collection, 1825–1938. CHL. MS 14052.

  31. 31

    George Miller, St. James, MI, to “Dear Brother,” 26 June 1855, in Northern Islander (St. James, MI), 16 Aug. 1855, [3]–[4].  

    Northern Islander. St. James, MI. 1850–1856.

  32. 32

    See Notice, 8 July 1842; and Notice, 9 July 1842.  

  33. 33

    Brigham Young et al., “An Epistle of the Twelve,” Times and Seasons, 2 May 1842, 3:767–769.  

  34. 34

    See Discourse, 1 May 1842.  

  35. 35

    JS, Journal, 4 May 1842. The group consisted of Willard Richards, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Newel K. Whitney, George Miller, James Adams, William Law, and William Marks. (See Historian’s Office, JS History, Draft Notes, 4 May 1842. For more on the concept of endowment, see Discourse, 1 May 1842.)  

  36. 36

    Historian’s Office, JS History, Draft Notes, 4 May 1842; see also JS, Journal, 4 May 1842.  

  37. 37

    See “The Temple,” Times and Seasons, 2 May 1842.  

  38. 38

    See Clayton, Journal, 16 May and 16 July 1843; and Parley P. Pratt, “This Number Closes the First Volume of the ‘Prophet,’” Prophet, 24 May 1845, [2].  

    Clayton, William. Journals, 1842–1845. CHL.

    The Prophet. New York City, NY. May 1844–Dec. 1845.

  39. 39

    See Ephesians 1:10; Acts 3:20–21; and Book of Mormon, 1840 ed., 125 [Jacob 2:27–30].  

  40. 40

    Snow, “Sketch of My Life,” 16.  

    Snow, Eliza R. “Sketch of My Life,” n.d. Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

  41. 41

    Willard Richards, [Nauvoo, IL], to Jennetta Richards Richards, [Richmond, MA], 26 Feb. 1842, Jennetta Richards Richards, Collection, CHL.  

    Richards, Willard. Letter, Nauvoo, IL, to Jennetta Richards, Richmond, MA, 26 Feb. 1842. Jennetta Richards Collection, 1842–1845. CHL. MS 23042.

  42. 42

    For additional resources on Joseph Smith’s practice of plural marriage and the experiences of the women who married him as plural wives, see Compton, In Sacred Loneliness; and Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy.  

    Compton, Todd. In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001.

    Hales, Brian C. Joseph Smith’s Polygamy. 3 vols. SLC: Greg Kofford Books, 2013.

  43. 43

    Secrecy about the practice meant that these plural marriage relationships usually involved infrequent and clandestine interactions; however, some evidence suggests affection and even deeper emotional attachments developed between at least a few couples. Eliza R. Snow wrote two poems to Smith in August 1842 that convey her concern about his welfare and her attachment to him. (See Historical Introduction to Poem from Eliza R. Snow, 20 Aug. 1842.)  

  44. 44

    Mercy Fielding Thompson, who was a widow, recorded that she was sealed to Hyrum Smith, her brother-in-law, as a plural wife for time only and was married eternally to her deceased husband, Robert B. Thompson. The widows who married Smith as plural wives may have been in a similar situation—possibly including widows Martha McBride Knight and Delcena Johnson Sherman, to whom Smith was sealed in summer 1842. (See Mercy Fielding Thompson, [Salt Lake City, Utah Territory], to Joseph Smith III, Lamoni, IA, 5 Sept. 1883, copy, Joseph F. Smith, Papers, CHL; Martha McBride Kimball, Affidavit, Millard Co., Utah Territory, 8 July 1869, Joseph F. Smith, Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, CHL; and Benjamin F. Johnson, [Mesa, Arizona Territory], to George F. Gibbs, Salt Lake City, UT, ca. Apr.–ca. Oct. 1903, Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Papers, CHL.)  

    Smith, Joseph F. Papers, 1854–1918. CHL. MS 1325.

    Smith, Joseph F. Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1869–1915. CHL. MS 3423.

    Johnson, Benjamin Franklin. Papers, 1852–1911. CHL. MS 1289, box 2, fd. 1.

  45. 45

    Revelation, 27 July 1842. In some of his plural marriages, Smith may have followed the biblical pattern of levirate marriage, in which a man married his deceased brother’s wife in order to father children on the brother’s behalf. This may have been Smith’s intention in marrying Agnes Coolbrith Smith, the widow of his brother Don Carlos Smith. Similarly, Smith’s close friendships and sense of brotherhood with men like Vinson Knight may have influenced his decision to be sealed to their widows as his plural wives. (See Deuteronomy 25:5–6; and Hales, Joseph Smith’s Polygamy, 1:258–262, 497–498.)  

    Hales, Brian C. Joseph Smith’s Polygamy. 3 vols. SLC: Greg Kofford Books, 2013.

  46. 46

    See Revelation, 12 July 1843, Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 132:4–7, 15–19, 26–27]. Joseph Smith was sealed to a number of women who were already married. Neither these women nor Smith explained much about these sealings, though sources suggest that some of these marriages were for eternity alone. These sealings may have been an early version of linking one family to another. In Nauvoo, most if not all of the first husbands seem to have continued to live in the same household with their wives during Smith’s lifetime, and complaints from either the women or their first husband about these sealings to Joseph Smith are virtually absent from the documentary record. (See, for example, Presendia Huntington Kimball, Affidavit, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, 1 May 1869, in Joseph F. Smith, Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1:7; Presendia Huntington Kimball, Reminiscences, 1881, CHL; Patty Bartlett Sessions to Brigham Young, June 1867, Ecclesiastical Files, Files relating to Marriage and Other Ordinances, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL; and Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Affidavit, 23 Mar. 1877, Collected Material concerning JS and Plural Marriage, ca. 1870–1912, CHL.)  

    Smith, Joseph F. Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1869–1915. CHL. MS 3423.

    Kimball, Presendia Lathrop Huntington. Reminiscences, 1881. CHL. MS 742.

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

    Collected Material concerning Joseph Smith and Plural Marriage, ca. 1870–1912. CHL.

  47. 47

    See Letter to Newel K., Elizabeth Ann Smith, and Sarah Ann Whitney, 18 Aug. 1842; and Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, Autobiographical Sketch, 30 Mar. 1881, Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, Papers, CHL.  

    Whitney, Helen Mar Kimball. Papers, 1881–1882. CHL.

  48. 48

    Apostles Willard Richards and Heber C. Kimball both wrote letters conveying their desire for eternal connections. (See Willard Richards, [Nauvoo, IL], to Jennetta Richards Richards, [Richmond, MA], 26 Feb. 1842, Jennetta Richards Richards, Collection, CHL; and Heber C. Kimball, Nauvoo, IL, to Sarah Ann Whitney Kimball, 9 May 1845, Heber C. Kimball, Letters to Sarah Ann Whitney Kimball, CHL.)  

    Richards, Willard. Letter, Nauvoo, IL, to Jennetta Richards, Richmond, MA, 26 Feb. 1842. Jennetta Richards Collection, 1842–1845. CHL. MS 23042.

    Kimball, Heber C. Letters to Sarah Ann Whitney Kimball, 1845–1856. CHL.

  49. 49

    At least six women who were likely sealed to Joseph Smith from 1841 to 1844 were related to prominent church leaders who were close friends of Smith: Sarah Ann Whitney, Emily Partridge, Eliza Partridge, Helen Mar Kimball, Rhoda Richards, and Fanny Young Murray. (Revelation, 27 July 1842; Emily Dow Partridge Young, Affidavit, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, 1 May 1869; Rhoda Richards, Affidavit, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, 1 May 1869; Augusta Adams Young, Affidavit, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, 12 July 1869; Eliza Maria Partridge Lyman, Affidavit, Millard Co., Utah Territory, 1 July 1869, in Joseph F. Smith, Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1:11, 17, 52, 2:32; Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, Autobiographical Sketch, 30 Mar. 1881, Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, Papers, CHL.)  

    Smith, Joseph F. Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1869–1915. CHL. MS 3423.

    Whitney, Helen Mar Kimball. Papers, 1881–1882. CHL.

  50. 50

    See Revelation, 27 July 1842.  

  51. 51

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

  52. 52

    Helen Mar Kimball Whitney, “Scenes in Nauvoo after the Martyrdom,” Woman’s Exponent, 1 Mar. 1883, 11:146.  

    Woman’s Exponent. Salt Lake City. 1872–1914.

  53. 53

    The six are Louisa Beman, Zina Huntington Jacobs, Presendia Huntington Buell, Agnes Coolbrith Smith, Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, and Patty Bartlett Sessions, listed in chronological order of their sealings. This number does not include the plural marriages of Sylvia Sessions Lyon and Marinda Nancy Johnson Hyde—whose sealings may have taken place in either 1842 or 1843—or other women who may have married Joseph Smith during this period but for whom less reliable sources exist. (Joseph Bates Noble, Affidavit, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, 26 June 1869; Zina Diantha Huntington Young, Affidavit, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, 1 May 1869; Presendia Huntington Kimball, Affidavit, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, 1 May 1869, in Joseph F. Smith, Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1:3, 5, 7; Mary Ann West, Testimony, Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, ca. 22 Mar. 1892, pp. 499–500, questions 141–144, pp. 521–522, questions 676–687, 696–699, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v. Church of Christ of Independence, Missouri et al. [C.C.W.D. Mo. 1894], typescript, United States Testimony, CHL; Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Affidavit, 23 Mar. 1877, Collected Material concerning JS and Plural Marriage, ca. 1870–1912, CHL; Patty Bartlett Sessions to Brigham Young, June 1867, Ecclesiastical Files, Files relating to Marriage and Other Ordinances, Brigham Young Office Files, CHL; see also Joseph F. Smith, Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1:15, 3:62.)  

    Smith, Joseph F. Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1869–1915. CHL. MS 3423.

    Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints v. Church of Christ of Independence, Missouri, et al. (C.C.W.D. Mo. 1894). Typescript. Testimonies and Depositions, 1892. Typescript. CHL.

    Collected Material concerning Joseph Smith and Plural Marriage, ca. 1870–1912. CHL.

    Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1.

  54. 54

    Johnson, “A Life Review,” 86–93; Benjamin F. Johnson, [Mesa, Arizona Territory], to George F. Gibbs, Salt Lake City, UT, ca. Apr.–ca. Oct. 1903, Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Papers, CHL. Delcena Sherman was later sealed to her deceased husband, Lyman Sherman, for eternity in the Nauvoo temple, making unclear the intended duration of her sealing to Smith. (See Nauvoo Temple Sealings of Couples, 36–37, entry no. 79.)  

    Johnson, Benjamin Franklin. “A Life Review,” after 1893. Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Papers, 1852–1911. CHL. MS 1289 box 1, fd. 1.

    Johnson, Benjamin Franklin. Papers, 1852–1911. CHL. MS 1289, box 2, fd. 1.

    Nauvoo Temple Sealings of Couples, 1846. CHL.

  55. 55

    “Death of Pioneer Woman,” Standard (Ogden, UT), 21 Nov. 1901, 5. Martha McBride Knight apparently chose to be sealed to Smith for eternity in the Nauvoo temple, rather than be sealed by proxy to her deceased husband, Vinson Knight. (See Nauvoo Temple Sealings of Couples, 42–43, entry no. 92.)  

    Standard. Ogden, UT. 1888–1902.

    Nauvoo Temple Sealings of Couples, 1846. CHL.

  56. 56

    Eliza Roxcy Snow Smith, Affidavit, Salt Lake Co., Utah Territory, 7 June 1869, in Joseph F. Smith, Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1:25.  

    Smith, Joseph F. Affidavits about Celestial Marriage, 1869–1915. CHL. MS 3423.

  57. 57

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

  58. 58

    Snow, “Sketch of My Life,” 17.  

    Snow, Eliza R. “Sketch of My Life,” n.d. Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

  59. 59

    See Historical Introduction to Revelation, 27 July 1842; and Letter to Newel K., Elizabeth Ann Smith, and Sarah Ann Whitney, 18 Aug. 1842.  

  60. 60

    For example, see Oliver Olney’s discussion of rumors of immorality in his 1842 notebooks and other personal writings. (Oliver Olney, Papers, microfilm, CHL.)  

    Olney, Oliver H. Papers, 1842–1844. Microfilm. CHL.

  61. 61

    See Relief Society Minute Book, 24 Mar. 1842, in Derr et al., First Fifty Years of Relief Society, 38–39; Young, Journal, 1837–1845, 6 Jan. 1842; and List of Women, in Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, Manuscript Fragment, [ca. 1843], Western Americana Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT.  

    Derr, Jill Mulvay, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, and Matthew J. Grow, eds. The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2016.

    Young, Brigham. Journals, 1832–1877. Brigham Young Office Files, 1832–1878. CHL. CR 1234 1, boxes 71–73.

    Western Americana Collection. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

  62. 62

    Bennett, History of the Saints, 18; Notice, Times and Seasons, 1 Dec. 1840, 2:234.  

    Bennett, John C. The History of the Saints; or, an Exposé of Joe Smith and Mormonism. Boston: Leland and Whiting, 1842.

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  63. 63

    See Minutes and Discourse, 3–5 Oct. 1840; Minutes, 3 Feb. 1841; and Minutes, 4 Feb. 1841.  

  64. 64

    Minutes, 7–11 Apr. 1841.  

  65. 65

    Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:16–17].  

  66. 66

    Letter to the Church and Others, 23 June 1842; see also Smith, Saintly Scoundrel, 5–6. Bennett may have been referring to plural marriage in his accusations against Smith.  

    Smith, Andrew F. The Saintly Scoundrel: The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.

  67. 67

    Letter to the Church and Others, 23 June 1842; Times and Seasons, 1 July 1842.  

  68. 68

    See Letter to Emma Smith and the Relief Society, 31 Mar. 1842.  

  69. 69

    JS, Journal, 10 Apr. 1842; Notice, 11 May 1842.  

  70. 70

    Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 20, 27, and 28 May 1842; Margaret Nyman, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 21 May 1842; Matilda Nyman, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 21 May 1842; Sarah Miller, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 24 May 1842; Catherine Fuller Warren, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 25 May 1842, Testimonies in Nauvoo High Council Cases, CHL; Mary Clift, Testimony, Hancock Co., IL, 4 Sept. 1842, Nauvoo High Council Papers, CHL. These affidavits noted that in addition to justifying their actions as sanctioned by church leaders, some of the men also coerced the women through promises of marriage or of supplying provisions, like food. Although two affidavits claimed that William Smith, a younger brother of Joseph Smith, affirmed that Joseph had approved of the men’s actions, William was not charged or tried by the high council. (Catherine Fuller Warren, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 25 May 1842; Sarah Miller, Testimony, Nauvoo, IL, 24 May 1842, Testimonies in Nauvoo High Council Cases, CHL.)  

    Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.

    Testimonies in Nauvoo High Council Cases, May 1842. CHL.

    Nauvoo High Council Papers, 1839–1844. CHL.

  71. 71

    The women who testified before the high council included Catherine Fuller Warren, Margaret Nyman, Matilda Nyman, and Sarah Miller.  

  72. 72

    Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 24, 25, 27, and 28 May 1842.  

    Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. CHL. LR 3102 22.

  73. 73

    “New Election of Mayor, and Vice Mayor, of the City of Nauvoo,” Wasp, 21 May 1842, [3]; Letters from John C. Bennett and James Sloan, 17 May 1842; Woodruff, Journal, 18 June 1842; JS, Journal, 16 and 30 June 1842.  

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

    Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.

  74. 74

    [Nauvoo Masonic Lodge], Nauvoo, IL, to Abraham Jonas, [Columbus, IL], 21 June 1842, Letters pertaining to Freemasonry in Nauvoo, CHL; “Trouble among the Mormons,” Hawkeye and Iowa Patriot [Burlington], 23 June 1842, [2].  

    Letters pertaining to Freemasonry in Nauvoo, 1842. CHL.

    Hawk-Eye and Iowa Patriot. Burlington, IA. 1839–1851.

  75. 75

    Letter to the Church and Others, 23 June 1842.  

  76. 76

    Letter to Thomas Carlin, 24 June 1842; Letter to James Arlington Bennet, 30 June 1842.  

  77. 77

    For more information on Danites in Missouri, see Introduction to Part 2: 8 July–29 Oct. 1838.  

  78. 78

    See 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]; and 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.

  79. 79

    John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, IL, 27 June 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 8 July 1842, [2]; “Bennett’s Second and Third Letters,” Sangamo Journal, 15 July 1842, [2].  

    Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.

  80. 80

    Letter from John E. Page, 8 Aug. 1842.  

  81. 81

    JS, Journal, 26 Aug. 1842.  

  82. 82

    See Historical Introduction to Minutes, 26 May 1842.  

  83. 83

    Letter to Friends in Illinois, 20 Dec. 1841; see also Flanders, “Kingdom of God in Illinois,” 153.  

    Flanders, Robert Bruce. “The Kingdom of God in Illinois: Politics in Utopia.” In Kingdom on the Mississippi Revisited: Nauvoo in Mormon History, edited by Roger D. Launius and John E. Hallwas, 147–159. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996.

  84. 84

    “Death of Col. Snyder,” Wasp, 28 May 1842, [3].  

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

  85. 85

    Minutes, 26 May 1842.  

  86. 86

    Letter to the Citizens of Hancock County, ca. 2 July 1842.  

  87. 87

    See Letter from John Harper, 13 July 1842; Letter from John Harper, 14 July 1842; Letter from William S. Wright, 24 July 1842; Letter from Aldrich & Chittenden, 28 July 1842; and Letter from Isaac Morley, 24 July 1842.  

  88. 88

    “Election Returns,” Warsaw (IL) Signal, 6 Aug. 1842, [2]; Gregg, History of Hancock County, Illinois, 283, 449; Pease, Illinois Election Returns, 126–131, 351, 363.  

    Warsaw Signal. Warsaw, IL. 1841–1853.

    Gregg, Thomas. History of Hancock County, Illinois, Together with an Outline History of the State, and a Digest of State Laws. Chicago: Charles C. Chapman, 1880.

    Pease, Theodore Calvin, ed. Illinois Election Returns, 1818–1848. Springfield, Illinois: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923.

  89. 89

    [Thomas C. Sharp], “The Last Move,” Warsaw (IL) Signal, 9 July 1842, [2]; see also Historical Introduction to Letter to the Citizens of Hancock County, ca. 2 July 1842.  

    Warsaw Signal. Warsaw, IL. 1841–1853.

  90. 90

    “The Election,” Warsaw (IL) Signal, 6 Aug. 1842, [2]; Letter from Wilson Law, 16 Aug. 1842.  

    Warsaw Signal. Warsaw, IL. 1841–1853.

  91. 91

    In September 1840, Missouri authorities had attempted to extradite Smith based on a treason charge for which he had been imprisoned before his escape in 1839. Carlin complied with the request by issuing a warrant, but the arresting officer could not locate Smith in Nauvoo. In early June 1841, Carlin reissued the warrant and Smith was arrested, but an Illinois circuit court judge discharged him, arguing that the warrant, having been returned unserved, was invalid. (“Joseph Smith Documents from September 1839 through January 1841”; “The Late Proceedings,” Times and Seasons, 15 June 1841, 2:447–449; see also Historical Introduction to Statement of Expenses to Thomas King, 30 Sept. 1841.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  92. 92

    “A Foul Deed,” Daily Missouri Republican (St. Louis), 12 May 1842, [2]; “Governor Boggs,” Jeffersonian Republican (Jefferson City, MO), 14 May 1842, [2].  

    Daily Missouri Republican. St. Louis. 1822–1869.

    Jeffersonian Republican. Jefferson City, MO. 1831–1844.

  93. 93

    JS, Journal, 14–15 May 1842; “Assassination of Ex-Governor Boggs of Missouri,” Quincy (IL) Whig, 21 May 1842, [3].  

    Quincy Whig. Quincy, IL. 1838–1856.

  94. 94

    JS, Journal, 19 May 1842.  

  95. 95

    Minutes, 19 May 1842; Mayor’s Order to City Watch, 20 May 1842.  

  96. 96

    “Assassination of Ex-Governor Boggs of Missouri,” Quincy (IL) Whig, 21 May 1842, [3]; “The Mormons,” Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 3 June 1842, [2]; see also Letter to Sylvester Bartlett, 22 May 1842; and “Public Meeting,” Wasp, 28 May 1842, [3].  

    Quincy Whig. Quincy, IL. 1838–1856.

    Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.

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

  97. 97

    Letter to Thomas Carlin, 24 June 1842.  

  98. 98

    Letter from Thomas Carlin, 30 June 1842.  

  99. 99

    JS, Journal, 26 June 1842. A day later, Bennett wrote a letter stating that because Joseph Smith was “indicted for murder, treason, burglary, and arson, in Missouri,” Bennett would gladly “deliver him up to justice, or die in the attempt.” (John C. Bennett, Nauvoo, IL, 27 June 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal [Springfield, IL], 8 July 1842, [2].)  

    Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.

  100. 100

    JS, Journal, 4 July 1842.  

  101. 101

    Ordinance, 5 July 1842.  

  102. 102

    JS, Journal, 12 July 1842; Letter from Calvin A. Warren, 13 July 1842; George Miller, St. James, MI, to “Dear Brother,” 26 June 1855, in Northern Islander (St. James, MI), 16 Aug. 1855, [3]–[4]. Miller had written Reynolds in late June and asked for information about Bennett’s efforts to “conspire with” Missourians to incite “mob voilence” against the Latter-day Saints. (George Miller, Nauvoo, IL, to Thomas Reynolds, 28 June 1842, in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 236–237.)  

    Northern Islander. St. James, MI. 1850–1856.

  103. 103

    John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 2 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 15 July 1842, [2]; John C. Bennett, Carthage, IL, 4 July 1842, Letter to the Editor, Sangamo Journal, 15 July 1842, [2].  

    Sangamo Journal. Springfield, IL. 1831–1847.

  104. 104

    Lilburn W. Boggs, Affidavit, 20 July 1842; Thomas Reynolds, Requisition, 22 July 1842; Orrin Porter Rockwell, Petition to Nauvoo Municipal Court, 8 Aug. 1842, copy, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.  

  105. 105

    Minutes, 22 July 1842; Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 22 July 1842, 95–97; JS, Journal, 22 July 1842; Nauvoo Female Relief Society, Petition to Thomas Carlin, ca. 22 July 1842, in Derr et al., First Fifty Years of Relief Society, 139–141.  

    Derr, Jill Mulvay, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, and Matthew J. Grow, eds. The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women’s History. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2016.

  106. 106

    Letter from Thomas Carlin, 27 July 1842; see also Letter from Aldrich & Chittenden, 28 July 1842.  

  107. 107

    U.S. Constitution, art. 4, sec. 2; An Act concerning Fugitives from Justice [6 Jan. 1827], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois [1834–1837], p. 319, sec. 4.  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.

  108. 108

    Petition to Nauvoo Municipal Court, 8 Aug. 1842; Lilburn W. Boggs, Affidavit, 20 July 1842; see also Orrin Porter Rockwell, Petition to Nauvoo Municipal Court, 8 Aug. 1842, copy, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.  

  109. 109

    Writ of habeas corpus for JS, 8 Aug. 1842; Writ of habeas corpus for Orrin Porter Rockwell, 8 Aug. 1842, Nauvoo, IL, Records, CHL.  

  110. 110

    JS, Journal, 8 Aug. 1842.  

  111. 111

    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.

  112. 112

    Letter to Wilson Law, 14 Aug. 1842; Letter from Wilson Law, 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, 17 Aug. 1842.  

  113. 113

    See Letter from Wilson Law, 16 Aug. 1842, underlining in original.  

  114. 114

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

  115. 115

    JS, Journal, 29 Aug. 1842.  

  116. 116

    See JS, Journal, 4–6 Jan. 1843.