D&C/CHURCH HISTORY - LESSON 42
THE LAST DAYS IN NAUVOO
- Introductory Comments.
- The Beginning of The End.
- September 1844: The Hancock County "Wolf Hunt".
- After a relatively peaceful summer, forces began to move against the
- An extensive military movement by the people of Hancock County was
planned against the Saints at Nauvoo.
- Militias and military companies from surrounding counties in Illinois,
Iowa, and Missouri were invited to participate in what was called a "peaceful
- Governor Ford called it a "great wolf hunt" and the "wolves"
to be hunted were Mormons and Jack-Mormons.
- Fortunately, Governor Ford was able to put together a force of 500
volunteers which was marched into Hancock County, which was sufficient
to have the leaders of the "wolf hunt" abandon their plans. The
leaders of the movement fled to Missouri.
- Trial of the Accused Murders of Joseph & Hyrum.
- October 1844: A grand jury was impaneled to investigate the Carthage
- Within a few days, the jury issued bill of indictment against nine
- The defendants appeared and demanded an immediate trial.
- The prosecutor said that they were not ready. Their trial was held
over until the next session of court.
- May 1845: New session of court begins.
- More than a thousand men took up arms to keep the Mormons away from
the trial, thus no Mormons were impaneled on the jury.
- The trial for the murderers of Joseph Smith lasted from May 19 to May
- Three of the chief witnesses for the prosecution had their testimonies
- The testimony of those who were witnesses for the defense, could be
summed up in one word, "perjury".
- After deliberating for several hours, the jury handed down a verdict
of not guilty.
- A trial for the murderers of Hyrum was dismissed for want of prosecution
and the defendants were discharged.
- John Hay, in his account of the trial, wrote: "There was not a
man on the jury, in the court, in the county, that did not know the defendants
had done murder. But it was not proven, and the verdict of `not guilty'
was right in law. And you cannot find in this generation [he wrote in December,
1869] an original inhabitant of Hancock county who will not stoutly sustain
the verdict." (CHC 2:327)
- The Leadership of Brigham Young.
- On August 9, 1844, the day after the vote to sustain the Twelve, Brigham
Young met with Church leaders and proceeded to tighten up Church organization.
- Prior to this time the organization had been rather loose. Said Brigham,
"I remarked that Joseph's presence had measurably superseded the
necessity of carrying out a perfect organization of the several quorums."
(Mormon Experience, p85)
- Brigham Young was the leader who led the Church through a phase of
consolidation, organizational strengthening, doctrinal clarification, and
dealing with practical problems.
- Important tasks taken on by the Twelve under the leadership of Brigham
- The missionary work.
- In the October 1844 conference Brigham reaffirmed the importance of
this work, "It is necessary that the Saints should also be instructed
relative to . . . spreading the principles of truth from sea to sea, and
from land to land until is shall have been preached to all nations."
(Mormon Experience, p93)
- Parley Pratt was sent to the East to reassert apostolic control over
those missions. There was some rivalry there between William Smith, George
Adams, and Samuel Brannan.
- Wilford Woodruff and Dan Jones continued to lead the work in the British
- In three years, Dan Jones was responsible for 3,600 baptisms in Wales.
- Complete the Nauvoo Temple and endow as many members as possible.
- The work continued at an accelerated pace. As much was done in the
next 18 months as had been accomplished in the previous three years.
- October 1845 General Conference was held in the temple even though
it would not be completed until the following spring. The attic of the
temple was completed and dedicated in November. The temple was not dedicated
in its entirety until May 1846 when most of the Saints were gone.
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE TWELVE WERE SO ANXIOUS TO COMPLETE THE TEMPLE
EVEN THOUGH THEY WOULD SHORTLY ABANDON IT?
- It was necessary to strengthen the Saints for the trials that lay ahead
in moving west and building a new Zion.
- Many would die on the trek west or in the early days of Utah. This
is an important ordinance to further our eternal progression.
- Endowment work began on December 10 and sessions continued steadily
during the day and into the night and on Saturdays. By February 7, 1846,
more than 5000 ordinances (endowments, sealings, & marriages) had been
- To consolidate and strengthen the internal structure of the Church.
- The number of Seventies were increased and charged with conducting
the missionary effort throughout the world.
- Missionary districts were established in each of the country's congressional
- This strengthened the outlying branches and minimized the possibility
of further division after the Prophet's death.
- The Last Days In Nauvoo.
- January 1845: Nauvoo Charter repealed by the Illinois legislature.
- The Nauvoo Charter had provided:
- Incorporation of the city and defined boundaries.
- Mayor & alderman given the powers of justices of the peace.
- Municipal court.
- A city university.
- The Nauvoo Legion - subject to the call of the mayor & governor
for public defense.
- The city council had passed an act assuring protection for all religious
- With the repeal of the charter much of the judicial and physical protection
of the Saints in Nauvoo was lost.
- The state's attorney, Josiah Lamborn, in a letter to Brigham Young,
dated at Springfield, Ill., Jan., 1845, said: "I have always considered
that your enemies have been prompted by political and religious prejudices,
and by a desire for plunder and blood, more than the common good. By the
repeal of your charter, and by refusing all amendments and modifications,
our legislature has given a kind of sanction to the barbarous manner in
which you have been treated. Your two representatives exerted themselves
to the extent of their ability in your behalf, but the tide of popular
passion and frenzy was too strong to be resisted. It is truly a melancholy
spectacle to witness the lawmakers of a sovereign state condescending to
pander to the vices, ignorance and malevolence of a class of people who
are at all times ready for riot, murder and rebellion." (CHC 2:468-469)
- The repeal of the charter left the 20,000 citizens of Nauvoo without
a city government and yet life went peacefully forward. The editor of the
Nauvoo Neighbor wrote in April 1845: "One thing further: having
no charter with municipal authority to protect the rights of an innocent
people, a city of at least twenty thousand people, presented the glorious
sight of being protected by the counsel of God; and watched over by the
trustworthiness of bishops and deacons." (CHC 2:470)
- One of the means of protecting the peace in Nauvoo was the institution
of the Whistling and Whittling Brigade.
- When a suspected or undesirable stranger came into the city, troops
of boys armed with knives and sticks would gather round the person and
whistle and whittle vigorously, following him wherever he went. They didn't
speak or answer any questions. They just "whistled and whittled".
Finally, exasperated and helpless, the victim would leave Nauvoo.
- September 1845: A mass meeting was held in Quincy to take action against
- This meeting called for the removal of the Saints from the state.
- The following appeared in the Quincy Whig: "It is a settled
thing that the public sentiment of the State is against the 'Mormons,'
and it will be in vain for them to contend against it; and to prevent bloodshed,
and the sacrifice of many lives on both sides, it is their duty to obey
the public will and leave the State as speedily as possible. That they
will do this we have confident hope and that too, before the next extreme
is resorted to--that of force."
- Brigham Young's response:
- Propose to leave the following spring.
- Asked for assistance of their neighbors to sell & rent properties.
- That men will leave the Saints alone with the lawsuits.
- That all business be transacted honorably.
- Requested that the public peace to be preserved.
- Quincy citizen's committee response: Accepted the proposition but declined
to make any promises regarding the rent and purchase of property.
- September 11, 1845: An attack was made upon the Morley settlement.
- 29 houses were burned down. Their occupants were driven into the bushes.
They laid in the rain through the night.
- Preparations For Leaving Illinois.
- Brigham Young and the leadership of the Church saw the writing on the
wall and knew that the time had come to prepare to leave their homes once
- As early as March 1845, a petition was drafted by the leadership of
the Church and sent to the governors of each of the states and a revised
petition was sent to President Polk, requesting a place of asylum for the
- Nothing came of any of these petitions. The only reply was received
from Thomas Drew, the governor of Arkansas wherein he suggest that the
Saints move west.
- Decision to go west.
- In August 1842, Joseph said, "I prophesied that the Saints
would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky
Mountains . . . and some of you will live to go and assist in making settlements
and build cities and see the Saints become a mighty people in the midst
of the Rocky Mountains." (HC 5:85)
- Knowing of this prophecy must caused Brigham and the Twelve to look
west in their search for a place of refuge.
- Brigham and the leadership read John C. Fremont's Report of The
Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains. They studied other maps
of the west.
- A decision was made to send a party of 1500 men to the Great Basin
the following year. The preparations for this effort became the preparations
for the general exodus from Nauvoo.
- Nauvoo soon became a place of pitched activity in preparation for the
- Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: "...every available building in
Nauvoo had been converted into a shop where wagons, harness and other necessary
articles could be manufactured for the journey. The timber for the wagons
was cut and brought to Nauvoo, where it was prepared and boiled in salt
and water or kiln dried. Teams were sent to various parts of the country
to procure iron; and blacksmiths, wheelwrights, carpenters and other workmen
were kept busy night and day. There was very little sale of property because
of the opposition of the citizens of the country, who used their influence
to discourage sales by making threats against the new settlers as well
as harassing the Saints."
- B.H. Roberts wrote: "Nauvoo presented a busy scene those days.
Men were hurrying to and fro collecting wagons and putting them in repair;
the roar of the smith's forge was well nigh perpetual, and even the stillness
of the night was broken by the steady beating of the sledge and the ringing
of anvils. Committees were seeking purchasers of real estate and converting
both that and personal property into anything that would be of service
to those just about to plunge into an unknown wilderness; and purchasers
were thronging Nauvoo, intermittently, to take advantage of those bargains
in houses and lands which the necessities of the saints threw in their
way; and which they could purchase 'lower than the prices at a sheriff's
sale'." (CHC 2:540-541)
- The Exodus Begins.
- February 2, 1846: Brigham Young and the Twelve decided it was time
to leave Nauvoo. WHY?
- Rising persecution.
- Indictments charging President Young and the Apostles with counterfeiting
and other crimes.
- At the December 1845 term of the U.S. District Court for Illinois,
nine of the leaders were indicted on charges of counterfeiting the current
coins of the U.S.
- There were, in fact, some counterfeiters who had set up in Nauvoo but
were run out of town. It appears that is was counterfeiters themselves
who made the charges against the Church leadership.
- An interesting story about the attempted arrest of Brigham Young as
told by President Young: "One-five p. m., Almon W. Babbitt came
into the Temple and informed me that there were some federal officers from
Springfield accompanied by several of the state troops in the city for
the purpose of arresting some of the Twelve, especially Amasa Lyman and
myself. "It was soon reported that they were at the door of the Temple
and were intending to search it. George D. Grant, my coachman, went below
and drove my carriage up to the door as if he was waiting for me to come
down. "William Miller put on my cap and Brother Kimball's cloak and
went downstairs meeting the marshal and his assistants at the door, as
he was about getting into my carriage the marshal arrested him, on a writ
from the United States court, charging him with counterfeiting the coin
of the United States. Miller told him there must be some mistake about
it, as he was not guilty of anything of the kind, but the marshal insisted
it was right." The Marshall took Miller into custody and took
him to Carthage before he discovered that he had the wrong man. (DHC 7:549-551)
- President Young reported on another occasion: "Hans C. Hanson,
the doorkeeper reported that there were two officers waiting at the foot
of the stairs for me. I told the brethren that I could bear to tarry here
where it was warm as long as they could stay in the cold waiting for me."
- Rumors of Federal military intervention to prevent the Saints movement
west on grounds that they were intent on setting up an independent commonwealth.
- February 4 1846: The first of the Saints leave Nauvoo and cross the
Mississippi to Iowa.
- Brigham Young.
- WHO WAS BRIGHAM YOUNG?
- Quotes And Stories.
- The story is told "...of a woman who asked the prophet for
advice. After giving it, Young, wishing to record the incident, said diplomatically:
'Let me see, sister, I forget your name.' 'My name!' the woman retorted.
'Why I am your wife.' Young asked when they had been married, consulted
an account book, slapped his knee, and cried: 'Well, I believe you are
right. I knew your face was familiar!'"
- In Arthur Conan Doyle's novel (Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson) A Study
In Scarlet, Brigham Young was the villain.
- The story tells of the attempts of two unhappy Mormons, John Ferrier
and his daughter, to escape from Utah. The father is murdered, and the
heartbroken girl is forced to marry a leading Mormon. Soon she too dies.
- In the story the father is commanded to have his daughter choose between
two leading churchmen. Young said to Ferrier, "What is the thirteenth
rule in the code of the sainted Joseph Smith? 'Let every maiden of the
true faith marry one of the elect; for if she wed a Gentile, she commits
a grievous sin.' This being so, it is impossible that you who profess the
holy credo, should suffer your daughter to violate it."
- Young continued: "It were better for you, John Ferrier that you
and she were now lying blanched skeletons upon the Sierra Blanco than that
you should put your weak wills against the orders of the Holy Four."
- The historian Bernard DeVoto wrote that Brigham Young's leadership
"marks a decisive change in Mormonism." He continued:
"Whatever else Smith was, he was primarily a prophet, a religious
leader.... Young was primarily an organizer of the kingdom on this earth....
Under Young [Mormonism] became a religio-economic social system, based
on cooperative enterprise, subordinating religious ecstasy to practical
achievement.... 'Live your religion,' was his unvarying counsel to the
Saints. And by 'live your religion' he meant: take up more land, get your
ditches in, make the roof of your barn tight, improve your livestock, and
in so doing glorify God and advance the Kingdom."
- One Solomon Carvalho, who traveled south with Brigham Young in 1854
wrote: "As soon as our party were descried from the observatory
at Parowan, the authorities of the town, and numbers of other gentlemen,
came out to welcome the arrival of his excellency, Governor Young; and
I never could have imagined the deep idolatry with which he is almost worshipped.
There is no aristocracy or presuming position about the governor; he is
emphatically one of the people; the boys call him Brother Brigham. They
place implicit confidence in him.... He must certainly possess some extraordinary
qualities, which could inspire such unlimited confidence in two hundred
- Robert B. Day wrote in They Made Mormon History: "Dynamic was
the word for Brigham Young. For thirty-three tumultuous years, by force
of personality, character, ability, and organizing genius, he led The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Brigham Young who ascended to
leadership of the Latter-day Saints in the crisis of 1844 was relatively
unschooled in formal institutions. But he brought to his task rare native
abilities. In him idealism and pragmatism were blended to an exceptionally
fine degree.... "A mind that never tired of detail, that left nothing
to chance, was one of the greatest of his gifts. Coupled to all these capacities
was an iron will that had been beaten on many anvils of adversity from
Kirtland to Missouri to England to Illinois, shaped by the hammer blows
of mobs and apostates to a cleaving edge. Tempered in faith, it was the
driving power of the man through the fire and storm of one crisis after
another through which he led the Church for a third of a century."
- George Q. Cannon wrote of his thoughts near the time of Brigham's death:
"As I sat near his bed and thought of his death, if it should occur,
I recoiled from the contemplation of the view. It seemed to me that he
was indispensable. What could we do without him? He has been the brain,
the eye, the ear, the mouth, and hand for the entire people of the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. From the greatest details connected
with the organization of this church down to the smallest minutae connected
with the work, he has left upon it the impress of his great mind."
- Personal Thoughts On Brigham Young.
- My own study of Brigham Young has left me with the impression that
he was not a prophet handing down the divine will, but a practical man
carrying out the divine will as he understood it.
- Comparisons between Joseph & Brigham:
- Joseph the architect, Brigham the builder.
- Joseph was like Moses, a lawgiver. Brigham was like Joshua, the mighty
leader who led Israel to the promised land.
- A Brief History of Brigham Young.
- June 1, 1801: Born in Whittingham, VT.
- After his mother died in 1815 he was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker,
painter, and glazier. By age 21 he was in business for himself.
- 1829: Moved to Mendon, NY with his wife & 3 year old daughter.
Here he met his life long associate, Heber C. Kimball.
- Caught up in the religious ferment of the day. Brigham said: "I
saw them get religion all around me. Men were rolling and bawling and thumping
but it had no effect on me. I felt that if I could see the face of a Prophet,
a man that had revelations, to whom the Heavens were opened, who knew God
and his character, I would freely circumscribe the earth on my hands and
- 1832: After studying the Book of Mormon Brigham was baptized and ordained
an elder. His wife died and he lived with Heber & Vilate Kimball for
- November 1832: Joseph Young, Heber Kimball, & Brigham Young go
to Kirtland and meet the Prophet. Brigham wrote of this event: "We
immediately repaired to the woods, where we found the Prophet, and two
or three of his brothers, chopping and hauling wood. Here my joy was full
at the privilege of shaking the hand of the Prophet of God, and receiving
the sure testimony, by the spirit of prophecy, that he was all that any
man could believe him to be as a true prophet."
- That evening a few of the brethren met together where Brigham was called
on to pray and delivered his prayer in tongues. Joseph commented on this
and said that Brigham had spoken in the pure Adamic tongue. He said, "It
is of God, and the time will come when brother Brigham Young will preside
over this Church."
- 1834: A captain in Zion's Camp.
- 1835: Ordained to the original quorum of the 12.
- 1839: Leaves on a mission to Great Britain.
- 1844: Upon the death of the Prophet assumed the leadership of the Church
as President of the Twelve.