After the Fulness was Rejected
The Lord Covered the Eyes of the Seers
In part three of this series we discussed how the gospel was fully restored and then rejected sometime between June of 1831 and the end of 1834. After that, something NEW had to be done for the salvation of the church. That took place in 1836. It had to do with the restoration of the gospel of Abraham and the setting up or foreign missions to take the gospel to the nations of the world. From that time on, the church grew further and further into a state of apostasy and darkness. Because of this, Hyrum was commissioned to reform the church after the saints got to Nauvoo.
One cannot understand the truth about what happened during the LDS succession crisis without understanding what the fulness of the gospel is, the fact that it was fully restored and then rejected by the end of 1834. The context in which the saints gathered to Nauvoo is that they were a fallen and apostate people who had lost the fullness of the priesthood as documented in section 124.
I documented that the gospel law of monogamy had clearly been established by the Lord in modern revelation in sections 42, 49 and the article on Marriage and that it was an eternal law, not a temporal or temporary law. There is no higher marital law than the law of monogamy.
I did this because the secret practices pertaining to spiritual wifery and polygamy that were taking place in Nauvoo at the time of the succession crisis are the crux of what the succession crisis was really all about regarding the struggle between Sidney Rigdon and the majority of the Twelve Apostles under the leadership of Brigham Young.
The primary issue in Nauvoo was that the saints had collectively strayed from the original gospel ordinances and covenants.
It is critical to understand that every ordinance and covenant necessary for salvation is contained in sections 20 and 42 and that the saints were commanded to not add to or take away from what had been revealed in those two revelations. (The “Baptisms for the Dead” that would be introduced in Nauvoo are a subcategory of baptisms and the ordinance of “washing of feet” that was done in the Kirtland Temple and also before the Kirtland Temple was completed, is not an ordinance of salvation, but rather an ordinance for those in the ministry.)
It is because the saints had stayed from the ordinances, covenants and commandments that the Lord commissioned the prophet Hyrum Smith to lead a reformation of the church.
The Lord had acknowledged in section 124 that the saints were practicing abominations during the Nauvoo era-
“..And it shall come to pass that if you build a house unto my name, and do not do the things that I say, I will not perform the oath which I make unto you, neither fulfil the promises which ye expect at my hands, saith the Lord.
For instead of blessings, ye, by your own works, bring cursings, wrath, indignation, and judgments upon your own heads, by your follies, and by all your abominations, which you practise before me, saith the Lord…”
The practice of secret combinations and secret abominations began infiltrating the church shortly after the fulness of the gospel was rejected in Kirtland.
Secret doctrines and secret oaths were infiltrating the restored church. They were bringing darkness upon the saints.
Although Joseph was being accused by some people of his day of organizing the Danites and some historians believe that Joseph Smith at least encouraged the creation of the Danites and other secret organizations within the church shortly after the Kirtland Temple was defiled and the saints had to flee from Kirtland, we find him condemning secret bands as late as 1839.
“I would further suggest the impropriety of the organization of bands or companies, by covenant or oath, by penalties or secrecies; but let the time past of our experience and sufferings by the wickedness of Doctor Avard suffice and let our covenant be that of the Everlasting Covenant, as contained in the Holy Writ and the things that God hath revealed to us. Pure friendship always becomes weakened the very moment you undertake to make it stronger by penalty oaths and secrecy.”
Joseph was publicly testifying against the practice of secret oaths by “penalties or secrecies” and encouraging people to stick with the EVERLASTING COVENANT.
Indeed, the only covenant the church members should be involved in was the EVERLASTING COVENANT of baptism.
Shortly after the death of Joseph and Hyrum, Apostle William Smith, their brother, and his supporters publicly condemned the secret doctrine of secret oaths and covenants that Brigham Young and other leading brethren were participating in.
“… we do solemnly protest against the doctrine of secret oaths and covenants and we also view this as among the principal causes that have overthrown our brethren…”
William saw the practice of secret oaths as the primary thing that led the leaders of the church into apostasy.
Emma Smith made a profound observation shortly after the death of Joseph and Hyrum. She said-
“…secret things… cost Joseph and Hyrum their lives!”
The Real Succession debate was about the Spiritual Wife Doctrine
and the False Masonic Covenant- Temple Endowment
It appears to me from my study that Brigham Young and his brethren of the Twelve would very probably have found the leadership of Sidney Rigdon acceptable if Rigdon would have embraced the spiritual wife doctrine and the Masonic secret oaths and covenants that were being intertwined with each other.
I believe the following testimony by Joseph Newton is accurate-
“I was at Nauvoo during all the time that Elder Rigdon was there on his last visit to that place, and am well acquainted with the cause of all the difficulties that existed, and now exist between him and the twelve and their adherents. It was said to me by many that they had no objection to Elder Rigdon but his opposition to the Spiritual Wife System.”
The Saints departed from the Ordinances during the Kirtland Years
After the saints arrived in Nauvoo Joseph Smith published the following statement-
“We have been chastened by the hand of God heretofore for not obeying His commands… we have treated lightly His commands, and departed from His ordinances, and the Lord has chastened us sore, and we have felt His arm and kissed the rod; let us be wise in time to come and ever remember that ‘to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (HC 5:65)
Joseph was primarily paraphrasing and combining two passages of scripture.
He was addressing the chastisement from the Lord in section 84 when the saints were brought under condemnation for taking lightly the Book of Mormon and modern revelation.
He was also paraphrasing Isaiah 24 and acknowledging that the latter day saints were the express people that Isaiah had identified in prophecy as the culprits who would bring about the defiling of the earth in the end times by breaking the everlasting covenant. This was done by transgressing the laws and changing the ordinance-
“The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5 See also section one wherein the Lord prophesies that it was the saints of the restored church that would fulfill this prophecy of Isaiah)
The saints were defiling the true everlasting covenant of baptism by replacing it with the Satanic everlasting covenant of spiritual wifery and associated masonic oaths and covenants and swearing by the neck. The redefinition of what the “New and Everlasting Covenant” is given in section 132.
The Joseph Smith we read about in Nauvoo is a very different Joseph Smith than the one we read about in the early Kirtland era.
The Kirtland Joseph was confident and full of the spirit of revelation. His personal life was quite consistent with his public teachings. During the first years of Joseph Public ministry he would bring forth about 100 revelations.
The Nauvoo Joseph was schizophrenic, erratic and paranoid and there is evidence that seems to indicate that his personal life was not congruent with what he was teaching.
One day he would appear to be confident, prophetic and chastising the saints for departing from the ordinances and failing to complete the temple. The next day, according to multiple testimonies, he would be off secretly teaching the spiritual wife doctrine, conducting secret polygamous marriage ceremonies and introducing doctrines and rituals that contributed to leading the saints into further darkness.
Less than ten significant revelations directed to the church were received by Joseph during the last seven years of his life, after the saints defiled the Kirtland Temple and fled from Kirtland.
Only one significant revelation was received during the Nauvoo years.
Again, it would be easy to place the blame on Joseph, but those who understand the prophetic aspects of what was being enacted in the atonement statute (Lev 16) will realize that it was the rebellious saints, beginning in the Kirtland era that rejected the fulness of the gospel and brought darkness upon Joseph and his brethren during the Nauvoo era.
Truly it was the saints of the restored church Isaiah was speaking about when he acknowledged that the revelatory gifts of the latter day prophets and seers would be covered because of the iniquity of the people-
“For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.” (2 Nephi 27:5)
Did Joseph wake up and try to Repent Before his Death?
There are many evidences that make it appear that the Lord was allowing Joseph to begin to wake up and see that his eyes had been covered and that he had been deceived shortly before his death. It also appears that Joseph finally acknowledged that he had been involved in some abominable practices and he was trying to repent.
Although he had been taking on spiritual wives at a break-neck pace in 1843, he completely stopped taking additional wives during the last 8 month before the martyrdom.
William Marks testified that Joseph realized that spiritual wifery was a sin and that he had been deceived.
He wrote in a July 1853 letter to the Zion’s Harbinger and Baneemy’s Organ that he met with the prophet a short time before his death.
He quoted Smith as saying privately, “This doctrine of polygamy, or spiritual wife-system, that has been taught and practiced among us, will prove our destruction and overthrow. I have been deceived; it is a curse to mankind , and we shall have to leave the United States soon, unless it can be put down, and its practice stopped in the Church.
Several others that knew Joseph Smith during those trying times also claimed that Joseph was trying to repent including Issac Sheen who became affiliated with the RLDS movement in 1859 and edited the church periodical Saints’ Herald, wrote in the first issue of that paper (March 1860) that though “Joseph Smith taught the spiritual wife doctrine,” he “repented of his connection with this doctrine, and said it was of the devil.”
Although Brigham Young vehemently denied ever hearing Joseph Smith proclaim that he had been deceived and that the spiritual wife doctrine was false, he conceded in a discourse given in 1866 that “joseph was worn out with it“.
Joseph Has the Spiritual wife Revelation Destroyed
LDS historian Michael D. Quinn acknowledged that “Smith was, in fact, willing to destroy the original manuscript of the 1843 polygamy revelation.
Joseph F. Smith wrote that the prophet “consented for her [Emma Smith] to burn the paper containing the original copy of the revelation.”
An obscure 1853 publication also reported that the original text of the polygamy revelation “by Joseph Smith’s command was burned.”” (Quinn page 147) Quinn references Letter of Joseph F. Smith to William E. McLellin, 6 Jan. 1880, fd21, box 5, Scott G. Kenney Papers, Manuscripts Division, Marriott Library.
“Emma Smith remembered that the prophet did more than consent to the revelation’s destruction. According to her 1847 account, while alone in their Mansion House bedroom, Smith “told her that the doctrine and practice of polygamy was going to ruin the church” and then he burned the revelation.
According to Quinn, “It makes sense that while he was alone with her the night of 23 June 1844, only hours before surrendering for trial, he directed his attention to destroying the written evidence of polygamy.”
(Quinn page 147)
Joseph Smith destroyed the Council of Fifty Minutes
There is an abundance of historical documentation that indicates that Joseph Smith was using masonry, the Danites, secret anointed quorums and the counsel of 50 to try to establish the kingdom of God that Daniel prophesied about.
The diary of William Clayton shows that Joseph Smith told his secretary to burn the Council of Fifty’s minutes.
A possible reason for destroying the minutes of the council of fifty is that Joseph Smith had had himself ordained and anointed as the King in those secret meetings. It would appear that that act may have been a very grievous sin.
In the Book of Mormon the Lord warns that there will be no kings upon the land of America until Zion is established and Christ himself reigns as king and that he who attempts to rise up as a king shall perish-
“And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles.
And I will fortify this land against all other nations.
And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God.
For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words.
Wherefore, for this cause, that my covenants may be fulfilled which I have made unto the children of men, that I will do unto them while they are in the flesh, I must needs destroy the secret works of darkness, and of murders, and of abominations.” (2nd Nephi 10)
Modern revelation confirms that during “time” there are to be no mortal kings ruling over the latter day saints but in eternity Christ will be the king-
“But, verily I say unto you that in time ye shall have no king nor ruler, for I will be your king and watch over you.” (D&C 38:21)
Smith Removed his own Garments
and admonishes the apostles to do the same
Another aberration of the secret rituals that Joseph Smith was implementing was the temple garment. It is very revealing that Joseph had instructed the members of his secret quorum to remove them shortly before his own death-
“Heber C. Kimball said Smith sent word to the apostles on the east coast to destroy their garments they had received in the endowment since 1842.” (Quinn page 147) Quinn references History of the Church 6:519 which mentions the letter, and Heber C. Kimball’s diary, 21 Dec. 1845, found in the book “Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, page 224”
“Smith removed his own endowment “robe” or garment before he went to Carthage Jail and told those with him to do likewise.
His nephew Joseph F. Smith later explained, when Willard Richards was solicited [by Smith] to do the same, he declined, and it seems little less than marvelous that he was preserved without so much as a bullet piercing his garments.””
(Quinn page 146) Quinn references Heber J. Grant journal sheets, 7 June 1907, LDS Archives.
While Joseph F Smith puts a positive spin on Williard Richard’s refusal to remove his own garments, it should be remembered that it was masons that stormed the jail and murdered Joseph Smith. The fact that Williard Richard’s fellow masons murdered Joseph Smith and left Willard unharmed could simply be because he is not the one they wanted to murder. Others might suggest that his being left unharmed hardly bodes well for his role in the Carthage conspiracy to murder Joseph Smith.
Was it a marvelous miracle that saved Willard’s life, or his involvement in a secret brotherhood and possibly even his own participation in a secret plot?
Again, the words of Emma ring loud and clear. “It was indeed secret things” that caused the murder of Joseph and Hyrum.
Joseph Smith sent an order for the Nauvoo Legion to Attack Carthage
“The morning of 27 June, Smith sent an order (in his own handwriting) to Major-General Jonathan Dunham to lead the Nauvoo Legion in a military attack on Carthage “immediately” to free the prisoners.
Dunham realized that such an assault by the Nauvoo Legion would result in two blood baths – one in Carthage and another when anti-Mormons (and probably the Illinois militia) retaliated by laying siege to Nauvoo for insurrection.
To avoid civil war and the destruction of Nauvoo’s population, Dunham refused to obey the order and did not notify Smith of his decision. One of his lieutenants, a former Danite, later complained that Dunham “did not let a single mortal know that he had received such orders (from Smith).”
“[Later that same day] Around 5 p.m., more than 250 men approached the Carthage Jail. When informed of this by the panicky jailer, Joseph Smith replied: “Don’t trouble yourself, they have come to rescue me.” (Quinn, Page 141) Smith quickly discovered that the mob wasn’t his rescue army. After exchanging gunfire with the mob, Smith was killed.
Jonathan Dunham Commits Suicide
On July 28th 1845, Jonathan Dunham, despondent about disobeying Smiths orders to rescue him from jail, commits suicide.
Later disclosures indicate that Dunham, who was a captain of Nauvoo’s police, major-general of the Nauvoo legion, and a Council of Fifty member, accomplished the suicide by asking a native American friend (Lewis Dana, a fellow member of the fifty) to “kill and bury him”. (Mormon Hierarchy- Origins of Power pg 652)
Joseph Smith Kills Two Men in a Shoot Out?
Amazingly, many members of the restored church are not even aware that Joseph had a pistol when the attack in the Carthage Jail took place.
According to several accounts, some contained in Quinn’s above mentioned book, Joseph shot three members of the mob. According to some accounts, two of the three eventually died from the wounds inflicted at that time-
“Elder Cyrus H. Wheelock came in to see us, and when he was about leaving drew a small pistol, a six-shooter, from his pocket, remarking at the same time, ‘Would any of you like to have this?’ Brother Joseph immediately replied, ‘Yes, give it to me,’ whereupon he took the pistol, and put it in his pantaloons pocket.”
“I shall never forget the deep feeling of sympathy and regard manifested in the countenance of Brother Joseph as he drew nigh to Hyrum, and, leaning over him, exclaimed, ‘Oh! my poor, dear brother Hyrum!’ He, however, instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Wheelock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed, died.“
“I had in my hands a large, strong hickory stick, brought there by Brother Markham, and left by him, which I had seized as soon as I saw the mob approach; and while Brother Joseph was firing the pistol, I stood close behind him. As soon as he had discharged it he stepped back, and I immediately took his place next to the door, while he occupied the one I had done while he was shooting.”
Reporter John Hay, of the Atlantic Monthly identified three men who were shot by Joseph Smith: John Wills in the arm, William Vorhees in the shoulder, and William Gallagher in the face. Hay was a son of Charles Hay, a surgeon of the Carthage militia and apparently a member of the mob.
“Smith had two loaded six-barrelled revolvers in his room. How a man on trial for capital offences came to be supplied with such luxuries is a mystery that perhaps only one man could fully have solved; and as General Deming, the Jack-Mormon sheriff, died soon after, and left no explanation of the matter, investigation is effectually baffled. But the four shots which I have chronicled, and two which had no billet, exhausted one pistol, and the enemy gave Smith no time to use the other. Severely wounded as he was, he ran to the window, which was open to receive the fresh June air, and half leaped, half fell, into the jail yard below.”
– John Hay, “The Mormon Prophet’s Tragedy,” Atlantic Monthly (December 1869) 671-678.
In another contemporary account from a faithful Latter-Day Saint:
“Of the three barrels discharged by Joseph, it is believed he hit three men: an Irishman named Wells-who was in the mob from his love of a brawl-in the arm; Voorhees-an oversized kid from Bear Creek known for his lack of good sense-in the shoulder; and a man named Gallagher-a Southerner from the Mississippi Bottom-in the face.”
“Two other men were known to get hit in the hall, one a man named Townsend from Fort Madison, Iowa Territory, who died nine months later from the arm wound that wouldn’t heal, and another named Mills, who was shot in the arm.”
– Elder Reed Blake, 24 Hours to Martyrdom, p. 129
D&C Section 135 is part of John Taylor’s account of the incident. It states: “Joseph leapt from the window, and was shot dead in the attempt, exclaiming ‘O Lord my God!'”
That “canonized” version of events gives one the false impression that Smith was praying to God. The edited D&C version omits Heber C. Kimball’s details of Smith’s actions:
“When the enemy surrounded the jail, rushed up the stairway, and killed Hyrum Smith, Joseph stood at the open window, his martyr-cry being these words, ‘O Lord My God! This was not the beginning of a prayer, because Joseph Smith did not pray in that manner. This brave, young man who knew that death was near, started to repeat the distress signal of the Masons, expecting thereby to gain the protection its members are pledged to give a brother in distress.”
– Mormonism and Masonry, p. 16-17
“President Young said the people of the United States had sought our destruction and they had used every Exertion to perfect it. They have worked through the masonic institution to perfect it. Joseph & Hyrum Smith were Master Masons and they were put to death by masons or through there instigation and he gave the sign of distress & he was shot by masons while in the act.” – Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, August 19th, 1860, Volume 5
“The mob forced the door open. Joseph dropped the pistol, sprang to a big windowsill and stood there glaring down at a crowd of men below with their bayonets at the ready. Some reports say he tried a final ploy with the Gentiles, giving the Masonic hand signal of distress and uttering the accompanying code, “Is there no help for the widow’s son?”
There were, almost certainly, Masons in the crowd below. But Smith’s appeal to members of that fraternal order was probably a very bad decision on his part. As he teetered on the windowsill, a rifle ball fired from upstairs slammed into Joseph’s back, sending him to the ground below as he shouted, “Oh Lord, My God.”
Joseph landed on his shoulder with a snap of cartilage. A disguised militiaman with his face painted black dragged the wounded Joseph across the yard and propped him up against the side of a well. An officer ordered a firing squad, and four men sent rifle balls into the Prophet, killing him at last.”
One of Joseph Smith’s alleged polygamous wives, Zina D. Huntington, declared:
“I am the widow of a master mason, who, when leaping from the window of Carthage Jail pierced with bullets, made the masonic sign of distress.” – Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Volume 1, page 698
The Nauvoo Environment
Ok, I covered several of the chaotic events of Joseph’s last months for several reasons.
One is that they give context to the fact that Joseph’s eyes had been covered, he had sinned as foretold in ancient and modern prophecy and it appears that he began to realize the awful state that he and the saints were in and wanted to repent and set things right.
Ironically, he had been a major part of the reason that his brother Hyrum had been called to try and reform the church. (of course, ultimately it was not his own sins but rather the sins of latter day Israel that caused him to do what he did. He was part of the literal fulfillment of Lev 16))
Another reason that I covered this most painful sequence of events is that they are important in understanding the psyche of the inhabitants of Nauvoo. It appears that many of the leaders of the church had been publicly teaching one thing while secretly teaching contrary doctrines.
Some of the saints were privy to the secret things going on while others were not. It depended on which circles you were in and whether you were called into one of the “anointed quorums”. This created havoc and division among the saints.
If you are a seasoned student of church history you probably didn’t learn anything new in this post.
If you are someone who has just recently begun to wake up, you may be in shock right now.
Perhaps you have just learned that Joseph’s last several months and the events surrounding his death are a little different than the LDS lesson manuals depict.
Please notice that the following passage in the Book of Mormon. It clearly states that directly after the Lamanites that dwindle in unbelief are smitten by the gentiles, restored gentile church will be lifted up in the pride of their eyes.
No, it does not actually say the “restored gentile church”, it simply says gentiles… but if you read the whole thing in context, it is referring to the believing but apostate gentiles not the unbelieving gentiles.
Speaking of the restored gentile church, it says-
They will “stumble”.
They will build up many churches (congregations)
They will put down the power of miracles from God
They will preach up to themselves from their own wisdom to get gain
They will be infested with secret combinations (this is an incredible link between Masonry and Mormonism)
19 And it shall come to pass, that those who have dwindled in unbelief shall be smitten by the hand of the Gentiles.
20 And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor.
21 And there are many churches built up which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice.
22 And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old, according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things; yea, the founder of murder, and works of darkness; yea, and he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.
23 For behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you that the Lord God worketh not in darkness.
Is it a coincidence that the restored church embraced the flaxen cord of Masonry?
Is it a coincidence that in Nauvoo many of the saints were involved in secret works of darkness?
Is it a coincidence that the saints were involved in secret councils and secret doctrines and secret covenants and secret ordinances when in fact God does not do his work in darkness?
Okay… now that we have a little context for what was happening leading up the murder of Joseph and Hyrum, we are ready to address the trial of Sidney Rigdon when we get to part five..