Criticism of Mormonism/Books/One Nation Under Gods/Notable omissions

One Nation Under Gods: Notable omissions


A FairMormon Analysis of: One Nation Under Gods
A work by author: Richard Abanes

Curiously, the following items were not included in this "History of the Mormon Church."

Page One Nation Under Gods

166

The book fails to mention how General Lucas ordered Alexander Doniphan to execute Joseph Smith and other Church leaders at Far West, and how Doniphan refused to do so because he considered it "cold blooded murder."

211

  • There is no mention at all of well-known anti-Mormon Thomas Sharp, owner of the Warsaw Signal, and how the paper played a major role leading up to Joseph's death. The author simply mentions Sharp's articles. Sharp wrote the following on 11 June 1844:

War and extermination is inevitable! Citizens ARISE, ONE and ALL!!!—Can you stand by, and suffer such INFERNAL DEVILS! to ROB men of their property and RIGHTS, without avenging them. We have no time for comment, every man will make his own. LET IT BE MADE WITH POWDER AND BALL!!!

On July 10, Sharp wrote:

Joe and Hiram [sic] Smith, at the time their lives were taken, were in the custody of the officers of the law; and it is asked by those who condemn the act, why the law was not first allowed to take its course before violence was resorted to? We answer that the course of law in the case of these wretches would have been a mere mockery; and such was the conviction of every sensible man.

  • Sharp would also say that the murder of the Smiths was "a summary execution," and that "the anti-Mormons had agreed in early June to exterminate the Mormon leaders." [1]
  • How likely is it that the Nauvoo Signal will offer accurate information about the Saints? Would Abanes appeal to articles in Der Sturmer about the Jews?
  • See also: Crime and violence in Nauvoo

226a

  • Orson Hyde said that the United States "will have to suffer," and the "corrupt Government" to not long "flourish or prosper."
Now, suppose the Lord had offered us all these things, and we should sit down and not move a finger for the blessings he had given, should we be worthy of them? No, not at all. We should be in this condition, if we were suffered to take possession of these blessings without any trials.
If we are dilatory, we shall have to suffer as in days gone by, and our enemies will come in here and bring in their whoredoms and abominations that they have been accustomed to from their youth up. This will be the case, if we do not save ourselves by our diligence and obedience. But if we show to God that we are willing to stand up in behalf of his kingdom and of the truth, even unto death, then, notwithstanding our enemies may be two hundred to our one, we shall feel strong in the Lord, and he will fight our battles. Then we shall accomplish that which has been promised by the Prophets; and not only the United States will have to suffer, but as the Prophet Isaiah says—"The multitude of all the nations that fight against Zion shall become like the dream of a night vision, as when a man who is hungry dreameth that he is satisfied with food, and he awaketh and behold he is faint." So will be all nations who fight against this people: they will pass away before the power of the servants of God. His servants will be clothed with wisdom and with the power of the Most High to prevail against all their enemies.
We would let the poor curses alone, if they would stay at home and mind their own business. The American continent never was designed for such a corrupt Government as the United States' to flourish or prosper long upon it. After they should become ripened in iniquity, it was not intended they should continue. The Lord has designed another thing, and for this reason we are here in these mountains: the little stone has been rolling up hill.
  • The president at the time (28 January 1858) was James Buchanan, a Democrat beholden to southern slave states. Following Buchanan, Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected, and the United States was plunged into a bloody and costly civil war. Members of the Church saw this as a fulfillment of such expectations as expressed by Elder Hyde.

Compare: Government to be 'overthrown and wasted'?

232

  • Additional context for Brigham's statement:

One of the first and plainest principles to be believed and practised is to put ourselves and all we have into the kingdom of God, and then be dictated by the Lord and his servants. Is there any danger? Some are ready [p.176] to say, "Yes, we are afraid to trust ourselves and our means here and there....

Can we feed and clothe ourselves? Yes, we can, as well as any people on the earth. We have a goodly share of the genius, talent, and ability of the world; it is combined in the Elders of this Church and in their families. And if the Gentiles wish to see a few tricks, we have "Mormons" that can perform them. We have the meanest devils on the earth in our midst, and we intend to keep them, for we have use for them; and if the Devil does not look sharp, we will cheat him out of them at the last, for they will reform and go to heaven with us.

We have already showed the invading army a few tricks; and I told Captain Van Vliet that if they persisted in making war upon us, I should share in their supplies. The boys would ride among the enemy's tents; and one of their captains ran into Colonel Alexander's tent one night, saying, "Why, Colonel, I'll be damned if the Mormons won't be riding into your tent, if you don't look out....

But look out, pertaining to taking care of and sustaining ourselves, that the children of this world are not smarter than the children of light. I say that they shall not be; for we will best them in every good thing, the Lord and the brethren being our helpers.

237

Brigham actually said:

We must have those amongst us who will steal our fence poles, who will go and steal hay from their neighbor's hay stack, or go into his corn field to steal corn, and leave the fence down; nearly every ax that is dropped in the kanyon must be picked up by them, and the scores of lost watches, gold rings, breast pins, &c., must get into their hands, though they will not wear them in your sight. It is essentially necessary to have such characters here.

After we had given the brethren such a scouring two or three months ago, about returning lost property when found, one or two men brought in two or three rusty nails of no value, which they had picked up; this was tantamount to saying to brother Sprague, "If we had found your purse, or if we had found Brigham's purse, we would see you, in hell before we would return it." We wish to impress upon you the necessity of your bringing the ax you find, the hay fork, or any other lost property which you find, to the person who is appointed to take charge of such property, that the owners may again possess it. But if you should pick up a piece of rotten wood, and bring it to brother Brigham, or Dr. Sprague, with a show of honesty, and in derision of the counsel you have received, it would be like saying, "If we could find or steal your purses, you should never see them again. We are poor, miserable devils, and mean to live here by stealing from the Saints, and you cannot help yourselves."

Live here then, you poor, miserable curses, until the time of retribution, when your heads will have to be severed from your bodies. Just let the Lord Almighty say, "Lay judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet," and the time of thieves is short in this community. What do you suppose they would say in old Massachusetts, should they hear that the Latter-day Saints had received a revelation or commandment to lay "judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet?" What would they say in old Connecticut? They would raise a universal howl of, "How wicked those Mormons are; they are killing the evil doers who are among them; why I hear that they kill the wicked away up yonder in Utah." They do not kill anybody down there, do they?

As for the inhabitants of the earth, who know anything about the "Mormons," having power to utter worse epithets against us than they do, they have to get more knowledge in order to do it; and as for those enemies who have been in our midst, feeling any worse than they do, they have first to know more; they are as full of bad feeling now as they can hold without bursting. What do I care for the wrath of man? No more than I do for the chickens that run in my dooryard. I am here to teach the ways of the Lord, and lead men to life everlasting, but if they have not a mind to go there, I wish them to keep out of my path.(emphasis added)

238

  • Los Angeles Star reported that Indians had supposedly killed Parrish and two others; it noted too that "rumor had it [that Parrish]...'had a difficulty with the authorities about removing property which he had previously 'consecrated' to the church.'" [2] No guilty parties were ever found. [3]
  • The only "leader" accused was Parrish's bishop. [4] If a local leader did commit an act of murder, this proves nothing about Brigham Young or other general leaders ordering it, or that this is a representative example of how Utah Mormons dealt with apostates.

241

  • Hosea Stout's diary reads only:
Saturday 27 Feb. 1858: "This evening several persons disguised as Indians entered Henry Jones' house and dragged him out of bed with a whore and castrated him by a square & close amputation."
  • Thus, this provides no evidence regarding Stout's murder, as the citation might lead us to expect.
  • Jones was later killed, and the anti-Mormon newspaper Valley Tan printed an affidavit from Nathaniel Case claiming that Jones' bishop had plotted his death with several other members. [5] If true, Jones was not attacked for trying to marry someone, but for adultery with a prostitute. Reportedly, the murder of Jones and his mother sprang from accusations of incest. [6]
  • There is no evidence linking the attack on Jones to anyone but local members. Joseph Hancock was found guilty of second degree murder in 1890. [7]
  • Critics try to use this as an example of a "tip of the iceberg," problem, implying that many such extra-legal castrations occurred in Utah, and that the Church or its doctrines or leaders are somehow to blame. Such a characterization is unfair.
  • Given that in the 19th century there was a common tendency among non-Mormons for "frontier justice" to be carried out extra-legally, especially in the case of sexual crimes, its occurrence in areas far from central Church control on one or two occasions is not particularly surprising.

301-2

  • Brigham actually said "a source," not "the source:"

"Since the founding of the Roman empire monogamy has prevailed more extensively than in times previous to that. The founders of that ancient empire were robbers and women stealers, and made laws favoring monogamy in consequence of the scarcity of women among them, and hence this monogamic system which now prevails throughout all Christendom, and which has been so fruitful a source of prostitution and whoredom throughout all the Christian monogamic cities of the Old and New World, until rottenness and decay are at the root of their institutions both national and religious."

— Brigham Young, June 18, 1865, Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, 128.

304

  • The author quotes Brigham thusly:
"It is for you to bear children,...are you tormenting yourselves by thinking that your husbands do not love you? I would not care whether they loved a particle or not; but I would cry out, like one of old, in the joy of my heart, 'I have got a man from the Lord!' 'Hallelujah! I am a mother—I have borne an image of God!'"
  • Brigham's actual words, in context, read:
It is for you to bear children, in the name of the Lord, that are full of faith and the power of God,—to receive, conceive, bear, and bring forth in the name of Israel's God that you may have the honour of being the mothers of great and good men—of kings, princes, and potentates that shall yet live on the earth and govern and control the nations. Do you look forward to that? or are you tormenting yourselves by thinking that your husbands do not love you? I would not care whether they loved a particle or not; but I would cry out, like one of old, in the joy of my heart, "I have got a man [child] from the Lord!" "Hallelujah! I am a mother—I have borne an image of God!" (emphasis added)

Brigham is encouraging those who are unhappy to focus upon their blessings, rather than upon their sorrows.

355

  • The author quotes Joseph Smith as saying, ""Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species..." (History of the Church. Volume 5 link). He apparently wishes to make Joseph appear racist and backward. He does not, however, provide us with the other perspectives which Joseph offered on race issues:
Elder Hyde inquired the situation of the negro. I replied, they came into the world slaves, mentally and physically. Change their situation with the whites, and they would be like them. They have souls, and are subjects of salvation. Go into Cincinnati or any city, and find an educated negro, who rides in his carriage, and you will see a man who has risen by the powers of his own mind to his exalted state of respectability. The slaves in Washington are more refined than many in high places, and the black boys will take the shine off many of those they brush and wait on.
Elder Hyde remarked, "Put them on the level, and they will rise above me." I replied, if I raised you to be my equal, and then attempted to oppress you, would you not be indignant and try to rise above me, as did Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and many others, who said I was a fallen Prophet, and they were capable of leading the people, although I never attempted to oppress them, but had always been lifting them up? Had I anything to do with the negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization.

Fawn Brodie, from whom the author otherwise quotes liberally, noted that aside from the issue of intermarriage, Joseph was "in every other respect in favor of total equality. . .a stand which in 1844 was dangerously revolutionary." [8]

In materials besides that from which the author's fragment was taken, Joseph also said:

  • "Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings, for 'an hour of virtuous liberty on earth is worth a whole eternity of bondage.'" (Nauvoo Neighbor (17 April 1844)).
  • Slaves owned by Mormons should, said Joseph in private, be brought "into a free country and set . . . free--Educate them and give them equal Rights." [9]

455

  • The author completely omits the fact that the Church published an article in the Improvement Era soon after the discovery of the papyrus fragments that acknowledged that they were from the Book of Breathings.

531

We are told that Isaac McWithy was "brought to trial before the church's High Council for insolence" after he "refused to sell his land to Joseph for $3000."

The book fails to mention:

  • The High Council court was to "investigate the charges of 'A want of benevolence to the poor, and charity to the Church,' which [Joseph] had previously preferred against Brother Preserved Harris and Elder Isaac McWithy.
  • Note that Joseph said "We offered him..."—this was not a personal transaction with Joseph.
  • History of the Church states: "In the pleas of the Councilors, in the case of Elder McWithy, they decided that the charges had been fully sustained; after which, I spoke in my turn as accuser, and stated that I called on the accused, in company with President Oliver Cowdery, for money to send up to Zion, but could get none; afterwards saw him, and asked him if he would sell his farm. He at first seemed willing, and wished to build up Zion. He pleaded excuse in consequence of his liberality to the poor. We offered him three thousand dollars for his farm, would give him four or five hundred dollars to take him to Zion, and settle him there, and an obligation for the remainder, with good security and interest. He went and told Father Lyon that we demanded all his property, and so we lost four or five hundred dollars; because the accused told him [Lyon] such a story, [that] he calculated to keep it [the aforesaid four or five hundred dollars] himself."

Notes


  1. Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy, the Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1979), 22, citing Warsaw Signal (July 10 & July 31, 1844). ISBN 025200762X.
  2. Edward Leo Lyman, San Bernadino: The Rise and Fall of a California Community (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 1996), 342–343.
  3. Thomas G. Alexander, "Wilford Woodruff and the Mormon Reformation of 1855-57," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 25 no. 2 (Summer 1992), 27–28.
  4. Lyman, 343 n. 37.
  5. Nathaniel Case, affidavit of 9 April 1859, sworn before John Cradlebaugh, Judge of Second Judicial District, Utah, USA. See The Valley Tan (19 April 1859).
  6. Richard H. Cracroft, "review of Orrin Porter Rockwell: Man of God, Son of Thunder by Harold Schindler," Brigham Young University Studies 24 no. 3 (1984), 389.
  7. Andrew Jenson, LDS Church Chronology: 1805–1914 (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co., 1914), entry for 22 March 1890. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
  8. [citation needed]
  9. December 30, 1842, in Joseph Smith's Journal, kept by Willard Richards; copy at Church Historical Department; cited by Lester E. Bush, Dialogue 8/1 (Spring 1973): 18-19.