29 August 1842 (Monday Morning). Grove Near Temple

Manuscript History of the Church[1]

Near the close of Hyrum's [2] remarks I went upon the Stand. I was rejoiced to look upon the Saints once more, whom I have not seen for about three weeks. [3] They also were rejoiced to see me, and we all rejoiced together. My sudden appearance on the Stand under the circumstances which surrounded us, caused great animation and cheerfulness in the Assembly. Some had supposed that I had gone to Washington, and some that I had gone to Europe, while some thought I was in the City; but whatever difference of opinion had prevailed on this point, we were now all filled with thanksgiving and rejoicing. When Hyrum had done speaking I arose and congratulated the brethren and Sisters on the victory I had once more gained over the Missourians. I had told them {formerly about fighting the Missourians, and about fighting alone. I had not fought them with the Sword, or by carnal weapons; I had done it by stratagem, by outwitting them, and there had been no lives lost, and there would be no lives lost if they would hearken to my Council. Up to this day God had given me wisdom to save the people who took Council. None had ever been killed who abode by my Council. At Hauns Mill the brethren went contrary to my Council; if they had not, their lives would have been spared. [4] I had been in Nauvoo all the while, and outwitted Bennett's associates, [5] and attended to my own business in the City all the time. We want to whip the world mentally and they will whip themselves physically. The brethren cannot have the tricks played upon them that were done at Kirtland and Far West, they have seen enough of the tricks of their enemies and know better. Orson Pratt has attempted to destroy himself and caused all the city almost to go in search of him. [6] Is it not enough to put down all the infernal influence of the devil, what we have felt and seen, handled and evidenced of this work of God? But the Devil had influence among the Jews after all the great things they had witnessed to cause the death of Jesus Christ by hanging him between heaven and earth. O. Pratt and others of the same class caused trouble by telling stories to people who would betray me, and they must believe those stories because his Wife told him so! I will live to trample on their ashes with the souls of my feet. I prophecy in the name of Jesus Christ that such shall not prosper, they shall be cut down in their plans. They would deliver me up Judas like, but a small band of us shall overcome. We dont want or mean to fight with the sword of the flesh, but we will fight with the broad Sword of the Spirit. [7] Our enemies say our Charter and writs of Habeas Corpus are worth nothing. We say they came from the highest authority in the State and we will hold to them. They cannot be disannulled or taken away. [8] I then told the brethren I was going to send all the Elders away, and when the Mob came there would only be women and chldren to fight and they would be ashamed. I dont want you to fight but to go and gather tens, hundreds, and thousands to fight for you. If oppression comes, I will then shew them that there is a Moses and a Joshua amongst us; and I will fight them, if they dont take off oppression from me. I will do as I have done this time. I will run into the woods. I will fight them in my own way. I will send brother Hyrum to call conferences everywhere throughout the States and let documents be taken along and show to the world the corrupt and oppressive conduct of Boggs, [9] Carlin, [10] and others, that the public may have the truth laid before them. Let the Twelve send all who will support the character of the Prophet, the Lord's anointed, and if all who go will support my character, I prophecy in the name of the Lord Jesus, whose servant I am, that you will prosper in your missions. I have the whole plan of the kingdom before me, and no other person has. [11] And as to all that Orson Pratt, Sidney Rigdon, or George W. Robinson [12] can do to prevent me, I can kick them off my heels, as many as you can name, I know what will become of them. I concluded my remarks by saying I have the best of feelings towards my brethren, since this last trouble began, but to the Apostates and enemies, I will give a lashing every opportunity and I will curse them}. [13] During the address an indescribable transport of good feeling was manifested by the Assembly and about 380 Elders volunteered to go immediately on the proposed Mission.

William Mendenhall Diary

Their was a special conference held in Nauvoo and Joseph Smith made his appearance after 3 weeks absence

—29 August 1842


[1] See History of the Church, 5:137-39. Not in Teachings. The original source for the following report is the "Book of the Law of the Lord," pp. 183-84. The William Mendenhall Diary account was not included in the first edition of Words and is here published for the first time.

[2] Hyrum Smith's remarks.

[3] Joseph Smith and Orrin Porter Rockwell were arrested in Nauvoo by two sheriffs from Adams County, Illinois, on 8 August 1842. A requisition for the Prophet (and Rockwell), issued by Governor Thomas Reynolds of Missouri on 22 July 1842, charged the Prophet with being an accessory before the fact to an assault with intent to kill ex-Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. On 2 August 1842 Governor Thomas Carlin of Illinois signed an order for Joseph Smith's arrest and delivery to a Missouri agent. The Prophet sued for and was granted a writ of habeas corpus by the Nauvoo Municipal Court on 8 August 1842, the day of the arrest. The arresting officers, however, objected to the city court's use of habeas corpus to release prisoners in the custody of state or federal authorities, and left Joseph Smith and Rockwell in the charge of the Nauvoo city marshal, Henry G. Sherwood, while they went for legal counsel. Because of the decision of the court, Sherwood felt no compulsion to hold the prisoners and released them the same day. Attorneys for the Prophet and Rockwell "advised them not to be found on the return of the officers from Quincy (which they observed) believing the prisoners would fall victims to the fury of the populace of Illinois or Missouri, and that the arm of Law would not protect them, nor could they get an impa[r]tial trial by due course of Law" (see George Miller to Governor Thomas Reynolds in Lyndon W. Cook, "'A More Virtuous Man Never Existed On The Footstool Of The Great Jehovah': George Miller on Joseph Smith," Brigham Young University Studies 19 [Spring 1979]: 402-7). After being freed, the Prophet and Porter Rockwell went into hiding. When the Adams County sheriffs returned to Nauvoo on 10 August 1842 and found the prisoners gone, law-enforcement officers, two governors and a large non-Mormon faction were infuriated. Rewards for the arrest or capture of Joseph Smith and Rockwell were set at $300 or more. When, in the fall of 1842, United States District Attorney Justin Butterfield informed Joseph Smith that it was his opinion that the Missouri requisition was invalid, the Prophet sent messengers to Thomas Ford, the newly elected governor of Illinois, requesting rescission of the demand. Ford refused to rescind his predecessor's official acts but did recommend that Joseph Smith stand trial in Springfield and let judges of the supreme court decide the matter. With the concurrence of Justin Butterfield in this recommendation, the Prophet traveled to Springfield in late December 1842. Judge Nathaniel Pope's opinion, delivered 5 January 1843, was that Joseph Smith could not be a "fugitive from justice" on the assault with intent to kill Boggs and that Boggs's affidavit was imprecise and of questionable validity. The Prophet was discharged on 5 January 1843.

The text refers to one of the Prophet's public appearances during this hiding period.

[4] Reference to the massacre of nearly twenty Mormons at Jacob Haun's Mill in Caldwell County, Missouri on 30 October 1838.

[5] The Prophet is undoubtedly referring to George W. Robinson, Nancy Rigdon, Martha Brotherton, Orson Pratt, and Sidney Rigdon.

[6] See 15 July 1842, note 2.

[7] Ephesians 6:17.

[8] This statement reflects the sentiment of some non-Mormons at the time regarding the Prophet's being released from arrest three weeks earlier by the Nauvoo Municipal Court on habeas corpus (see 18 June 1842, note 2 2). Some opposed to the Prophet and Nauvoo's growing prominence as a western city, charged the court with "gross usurpation of power," and demanded that the city's charters be revoked. Because the State of Illinois had authorized Nauvoo's charters, as well as similar charters for Chicago, Springfield, Alton, and Galena, the Prophet knew that they could not be easily disannulled.

[9] Lilburn W. Boggs (1798-1861). Governor of Missouri 1836-40. Boggs is particularly remembered by the Mormons for his order of Mormon extermination from Missouri 27 October 1838.

[10] Thomas Carlin (1789-1852). Governor of Illinois 1838-42. Although initially friendly to the Mormons, Carlin reversed his position the last year of his governorship.

[11] The Prophet not only had not as yet conferred the ordinances of the fulness of the priesthood upon any one in the Church (see 27 August 1843, note 30), but he had only recently received a revelation giving the exact title of the millennial Kingdom of God. Apparently the Prophet had not as yet discussed his understanding of these matters fully even with his closest associates. See Andrew F. Ehat, “ ‘It Seems Like Heaven Began on Earth’: Joseph Smith and the Constitution of the Kingdom of God.” Brigham Young University Studies 20 (Spring 1980):253–57.

[12] George W. Robinson (1814-78) was a native of Pawlet, Rutland County, Vermont. A son-in-law of Sidney Rigdon, Robinson was General Church Recorder 1837-40. Among the first Mormon settlers of Nauvoo, by 1842 he had become disaffected and left the Church.

[13] The words enclosed in braces are from the "Book of the Law of the Lord."