Page images
PDF
EPUB

Nov. 5, 1833 The militia was called out and Col. Thomas Pitcher, deputy

constable of Jackson County and an active member of the mob, was given command. To the Mormons he made it a condition of peace that they deliver up their arms and surrender certain men for trial, agreeing also to disarm the mob. This promise he failed to fulfil and, unarmed, the Mormons soon succumbed to armed raids and were pressed

outside the county. Dec. 1833 Governor Dunklin caused an inquiry into the conduct of

Col. Pitcher in disarming the Mormons to be made at Liberty. Pitcher was later arrested and tried by court martial. The court reported that it was their unanimous opinion that there was no insurrection on that day, and that Col. Pitcher was not authorized to call out his troops on the 5th of

November, 1833. Dec. 6, 1833 Messrs. Phelps and Hyde presented a petition to Governor

Dunklin signed by leading Mormons in Zion, asking for reinstatement and protection, also for the privilege of organizing into companies of Jackson Guards to assist in Spring, 1834 Zion's Camp was assembled in Kirtland with the intention

maintaining their rights. Jan. 1, 1834 At a conference in the house of Parley P. Pratt, it was

decided to send Lyman Wright and P. P. Pratt to the Presidency at Kirtland to make known the appalling con

ditions in Missouri and seek advice. Feb. 1, 1834 Gov. Dunklin's reply to the Petition of December 6th, con

tains the following:
“One of your requests needs no evidence to support the
right to have it granted, it is that your people be put in
possession of their homes, from which they have been
expelled. But what will be the duty of the governor after
that depends upon contingencies,

and should your men organize according to law-which they have a right to do, indeed, it is their duty to do so, unless exempted by religious scruples

and apply for public arms, the Executive could not distinguish between their rights to have them, and the right of every other description of people similarly situated. As to the request for keeping up a military force to protect your people, and prevent the commission of crimes and injuries, were I to compel it, it would transcend the powers

with which the Executive of this state is clothed.” Feb. 23, 1834 About twelve leading Elders who had been subpoenaed

by the State to appear at a court of inquiry against the citizens of Jackson Co. who had been active in mob capacity, were escorted under strong military guard to Independence. Attorney General Wells and Circuit Attorney Reese who were there by direction of the Governor after finding out how the old settlers felt, payed the Mormon witnesses a visit and informed them there was no ho of criminal procedure against the mob and advised them to return, which they did. No further effort was

made by the state. Apr. 10, 1834 The Mormons petitioned the President of the United States

for reinstatement and protection until peace could be restored.

of raising sufficient money and men from the branches in
the East, so that,, added to the numbere in Zion, the latter
would be in a position to accept Governor Dunklin's offer
of reinstatement in Jackson Co., , buying out those who
refused to live with them (estimated by John Corrill at
150 to 200) and having sufficient strength so that organized
as a militia they could protect their possessions.
The Camp numbered about 200 on its arrival in Missouri.
Governor Dunklin, fearing civil war thought it best not to

attempt to reinstate the expelled Mormons. Apr. 10, 1834 A Council of the United Order agreed that the Order

should be dissolved, and each one have his stewardship

“set off to him." Apr. 23, 1834 A small branch of the United Order was established in

Kirtland. The division of the property into stewardships foreshadowed the end and but little developed from

the effort. Apr. 24, 1834 A. S. Gilbert, et. al., wrote to Gov. Dunklin informing him

that some 200 to 300 of their brethren from the East would remove to Jackson County during the course of the coming

summer.

May 2, 1834 The President replying through the War Department

took the stand that "the offenses of which you complain are violations of the laws of the State of Missouri and not

of the laws of the United States." May 7, 1835 The mob burned the houses of the Mormons, 203 in number,

also some stacks of hay and grain, and destroyed a grist

mill. June 16, 1834 At a meeting held at Liberty, Mo., a committee repre

senting the citizens of Jackson County, offered to buy out the Mormons paying double value for their lands and improvements, or they proposed that the Mormons should buy out their lands and improvements on the same terms. The Mormons, unwilling to sell and unable to buy on the terms proposed by the committee from Jackson County,

made counter-proposals. June 24, 1834 Zion's Camp disbanded, disappointed that the Governor,

who feared civil war, had hesitated about reinstating the Jackson County Mormons and realizing that they had neither men enough nor money enough to operate independently. The breaking out of the cholera was the im

mediate cause of disbandment. June 26, 1834 Samuel C. Owens, of the Jackson County Committee,

wrote to Amos Reese, attorney for the Mormons, that after conversing with the most influential men of the county he found “the people here will do nothing like according to their (Mormons) last proposition.”

THE UNITED ORDER AMONG

THE MORMONS

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTION

A considerable number of writers have attempted to find an explanation for the influence of Joseph Smith over his people. The conclusions reached range from unscrupulous deception upon an ignorant following, on the one hand, to an honorable place among the prophets on the other. An intermediate group have conceded to him honesty, but have attributed his "visions" to halucinations, some going so far as to class him as an epileptic. He may have been a deceivet 'wi, did not hesitate to use unscrupulous means to obtain power and who was in possession of no inconsiderable amount of innate intelligence. There is little evidence that confirms a half-way place for him. He was not an educated man, and many of the inconsistencies and, at times, immaturities that characterize those who are in ignorance, may be found in the early records of Mormonism which give an account of his work. But there is so much in his active career that shows the workings of a keen mind with unusual breadth of compass that it appears certain he should either be classed as the knave many think him to be or stand enshrined as the seer the Mormons claim he is.

The new world in which Joseph Smith was born affords some explaination of his character. America has done much to stir men's imagination and in doing so to impell them to undertake unusual things. Vast forests and plains, unexplored rivers and lakes, huge mountain ranges in whose recesses precious metals abounded beckoned to the hardy and sent forth their appeal to the strong in that compelling language which the adventurous alone know. The warm blood of old Spain responded and a DeSoto, a Cortez, a Coronado came forward. Individual deeds of heroism seldom before equalled became common. Men became emboldened to dare and to do.

Nor did the new land decline in its appeal to the imagination as colonies grew in numbers and spread over the eastern border fronting the Atlantic, and as the colonial spirit gradually transformed itself into the independent national spirit of the new nation,

1 The important place imagination holds in conditioning progress, is well brought out by Einor Sundt in his introduction to Imagination, Labor, Civilization, (London, 1920). Among many interesting things, Mr. Sundt says: "Intelligence is the child of imagination."

Rather, the vastness of natural resource, the unequalled fertility of the new virgin soil beyond the mountains, the enormous opportunities for gain connected with the transferring of an advanced civilization to a new, rich land tended to stimulate men to conceive larger and larger undertakings and to perform deeds before which pale in many respects even the exploits of the earlier period. Transcontinental railways were to be built which would knit the great stretches together; the extensive iron ore beds were to be drawn upon and the ore changed into billets, beams, and plates, that mans' labor might be made to endure; the oil wells, the coal beds, and the power sites were to deliver up their energy that the wheels of industry might increase in speed and productive power be multiplied.

Joseph Smith (1805-1844) belongs to this period. A study of his writings and of his undertakings reveals at once a pronounced tendency toward what may be termed the “larger view.” Irrespective of rightness or wrongness, it may anfently be said that there is nothing small about him.1 His choice of the site for the new city which was to arise under the United Order strikingly represents this characteristic.

Jackson County, in which Independence is situated, lies thirtyfour degrees north latitude, and ninety-foui degrees west longitude. It is, roughly speaking, almost equally distant from the eastern and western, the northern and southern boundaries of the United States. With Canada on the north, and Mexico on the south, it is centrally located for the whole North American continent. Further, taking into account the direction of flow of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, it becomes evident that it would be difficult to find a location of greater centrality or of easier accessibility for the whole western world, including North and South America, than is Independence, Missouri. The sacred city that Joseph Smith had in mind was evidently to be easy of access for a very wide territory.”

Consider again the thing that it was proposed to make a

1 A number of discerning anti-Mormon writers share this view. For instance, Kennedy, on p. 183 of his Early Days of Mormonism (New York, 1888), says: Ona cannot but admire the wonderful power of Smith in meeting each event as it came, and in fitting the circumstances of an extraordinary occurrence to his own purpose. Nothing was so unexpected that it could take advantage of him; and no truth was so mighty that it could unhorse him or put his imagination to shame.” See also John Q. Adams', The Birth of Mormonism (Boston, 1916), p. 58.

2 There is evidence of practical insight, also. Not only is Independence (which in early Mormon contemplation embraced what is now Kansas City) a choice loca. tion, but the surrounding country is of splendid fertility. In 1920, Missouri ranked fourth among the states in the production of corn, yielding 198,000,000 bushels; seventh in the production of wheat, and eighth in hay. In 1909, she ranked eleventh as a producer of butter, cheese and milk. The mineral resources of Missouri are of considerable importance. The great deposits of disseminated lead in the southeastern part of the state, yielded 340% of the primary lead recovered from domestic ores in the United States in 1920. giving Missouri first rank among the lead-producing states. The Joplin lead iegion is also largely in southwestern Missouri. The state produces zinc, copper and silver which are of value in the order named. Stone is produced in large quantities, the 1919 output having a value of $2,190,884. Lime products in 1920 were valued at $2,319,285, which gave Missousi a ranking of third, Sand and gravel are found in many places. Coal in 1918, reached a production of 5,667,730 tons. In 1912, the estimated value of all the property in the state was $5,842,017,009, which gave her a ranking of ninth among the states of the Union whose combined wealth for that year was estimated at $187,739,071,090. Truly, the region is an inviting one; but the picture may still be enlarged. To the west and north are the corn and wheat belts, to the south, the cotton country, to the north and east the rich Ohio valley. Coal, Oil and Mineral ores of varied kinds abound. Forests, while gradually thinning, are still extensive. A great natural system of rivers and lakes offers opportunity for the deveopment of inland commerce. In short, extendng, in every direction is the wonderful Mississippi valley, with its varied climate, fertile soils, and vast extent. Few, if any, areas of equal size upon the earth's surface are comparable with it in richness of soil, in mineral, oil, and coal resources, and in general adaptability, to man's needs. To these early Mormons, it was a part of “the promised land," a "land choice above all other lands." Here in the center of this valley was the new Zion to be built. For sheer breadth of conception, the choice of location has few parallels in history.

"1

deginning upon. Around Jerusalem, the holy city, clustered the traditions, the teachings, the laws and commandments of the Hebrew race. There the prophets raised their voices, oftentimes strong and defiant, against sin. There martyrs sometimes offered their all on the altar of principle. There the great Christ chose his disciples and performed his ministry. There the spiritual power and light which was to influence and largely to dominate the advanced races came into being. It was a holy city, towards which all Europe turned. But the disciple John, in far distant conception, pictured a city like which nothing had been known or thought of, and in comparison with which the great cities of modern times are but country villages. His New Jerusalem was to lie foursquare and was to measure 12,000 furlongs. Its walls were to be garnished with precious stones, while its streets, and the city itself, were to be of "pure gold like unto clear glass.'

Now the average mind, while finding it necessary to stretch itself somewhat in order to follow John in his description of this gigantic city which the distant future was to bring into existence, finds itself much farther out of depth when a man comes along and not only designates the spot, but says that the time has come to begin to build. According to Joseph Smith, the divine scheme called for a sacred city, the New Jerusalem—Zion—to be built in the new world.

A third item to which I desire to call attention illustrating the working of a virile intellect on the part of Joseph Smith, is the plan of economic organization which we are soon to study somewhat in detail. In Plato with his Ideal Republic, More with his Utopia, Bacon with his New Atlantis, and Owen with his New Harmony, we find a few of many efforts to evolve plans which would avoid the great evils and inequalities inherent in existing orders. Joseph Smith presents us with another plan which has come to be known among the Mormon people as the United Order. As in the choice of location and in the conception of the

1 Book of Revelations. 21:10-27.

« PreviousContinue »