A Young Folks' History of the Church by Nephi Anderson - HTML preview
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Wild reports now went over the country about the "Mormons;" and to make these reports seem true some of the mobbers actually set fire to their own log cabins and then accused the Saints of the act.
In a previous chapter, mention was made of Lilburn W. Boggs. This man was now governor of the state, and we shall see how he used his power against the "Mormons," whom he hated so much.
The reports that the "Mormons" were burning houses and driving people from their homes, reached the governor, and he believed, or pretended to believe, all these false stories. So he gave orders to the officers of the state militia to organize an army of 2,000 men, march to the scene of the trouble, and see that the people whom the "Mormons" had driven from their homes were returned to them. Note how eager the governor was to restore these few presumably abused people to their lands—but it was all right that twelve hundred "Mormons" should be driven from their property!
The next day after the governor had issued this order, the news of the Crooked River battle reached him, so he changed his instructions to the commanding officer, General Clark. This order, given October 27, 1838, is known as Governor Boggs' exterminating order, and is one of the most disgraceful and wicked commands known in history. Exterminate means to destroy utterly, to root out completely, and this is what a governor of a state said should be done to twelve thousand innocent people if they did not leave the state.
Companies of Missouri militia now came marching from various parts of the state into Caldwell and other counties nearby. Soon Far West was surrounded by an army. Niel Gillium was there with his band of men in Indian costume, who whooped and yelled like true savages. On the evening of October 30th, a party of men came fresh from the awful massacre, at Haun's Mill, eager for more blood. Thus the town was surrounded, and as it seemed, doomed to destruction.
The few brethren in Far West prepared to defend themselves as best they could. It might appear useless for a handful of men to oppose an army, but when men are fighting for their homes, their liberty, their wives and their children, a few can do mighty deeds.
But they were not to fight. Traitors were in the camp of the Saints and they now betrayed their brethren into the hands of the enemy. Colonel George M. Hinkle was the commander of the Far West militia, and he went to the mob commanders and promised to deliver up to them the Church leaders. He also made an agreement with them that the Saints would deliver up their arms, sign away their property to pay the expenses of the war, and then leave the state. This was all done without the knowledge of the "Mormons" or their leaders.
On the evening of October 30th, Colonel Hinkle told Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and George W. Robinson that the officers of the mob- militia wanted to consult with them and try to arrange matters. Next morning these brethren went with Hinkle some distance out of Far West where they were met by General Lucas, and soon most of the mob came up. Lucas ordered his men to surround the brethren, when Hinkle stepped up and said:"General Lucas, these are the prisoners I agreed to deliver to you."
The brethren were then marched into the camp of the mob-militia where they were received with great shouts, curses, and yells. All that night they were compelled to lie on the cold ground, and it rained before morning. The next day Hyrum Smith and Amasa M. Lyman were brought as prisoners into camp.
That day General Lucas demanded the arms of the "Mormons," promising them protection, and the return of their guns after the trouble was over; but no sooner had the mob obtained possession of the arms then they began stealing and carrying away everything they could lay their hands on. They also destroyed much property and abused innocent women and children. Those of the brethren that had property were compelled to sign it away to the mob.
On the evening of November 1st, General Lucas held a court in which Joseph and his brethren were to be tried. This court was composed of seventeen preachers and some army officers. None of the prisoners were present, and knew nothing of what was going on. The brethren were found guilty and sentenced to be shot next morning at eight, o'clock, on the public square in Far West. When the sentence was passed Generals Doniphan and Graham said it was murder, and they would have nothing to do with it. This checked Lucas in his evil designs and so they decided to take the prisoners to Jackson county and kill them there. Before starting, they were allowed to go to their homes and see their families, but they were not permitted to speak to them. Their wives and children clung to them, crying in their despair, and were only separated by the cruel swords of the guards.
Fifty-six of the leading brethren were now taken prisoners and sent to the town of Richmond. Most of them were released shortly after.
On November 6th General Clark made his famous speech to the Saints in Far West, wherein he told them that he had come to carry out the governor's orders to destroy them, but he would be lenient and give them a little time to get out of the state. He advised the Saints to be like other people and not organize themselves with bishops, presidents, etc. It was a very foolish, conceited speech.
About twenty-five miles north of Far West was a beautiful settlement of the Saints. Joseph said it was the place where our father Adam had blessed his children, and where he will come again to visit his people. So the place was called Adam-ondi-Ahman. The people here had suffered with the rest of the Saints, and now in the cold month of November they were driven from their homes and took refuge for the winter in Far West.
During that hard winter and time of trial when Joseph and many of his brethren were in prison and many others had apostatized, one name comes to the front as that of a faithful man. It is Brigham Young. He was ever true to the Prophet, and Joseph could rely on him. With him were such noble men as Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, and many others. Brigham was now president of the Twelve, and it was his duty to take the lead in looking after the affairs of the Church during the absence of the First Presidency.
In January, 1839, Brigham Young called a meeting to consider what should be done in aiding the poor Saints to remove from Missouri. President Young presented a resolutionthat the brethren should never desert the poor Saints, but that they should help them to escape from their persecutors. A great many brethren agreed to this, and that winter and spring the move eastward to Illinois continued. They did not travel in large bodies, but in small companies as they got ready. Not one family who wished to go was left behind.
The sufferings of that winter journey cannot be told you here. Many died on the way through exposure and hardships. The mobs would not let them alone even when they were leaving as fast as they could. Mobs often rode into Far West, abused the people, stole horses, drove off cattle and took anything that pleased them. The Saints traded their farms for horses and wagons in which to get away. Sometimes fine farms were nearly given away. It is told of one brother that he sold forty acres of good land for a blind mare and a clock.
July 8, 1838, the Lord gave a revelation wherein he called the Twelve Apostles to go on a mission to England. The Twelve were to take leave of the Saints at the temple site in Far West, April 26, 1839. (Doc. and Cov., Sec. 118.) This time had now come, but it seemed impossible that it could be carried out, as most of the Saints had left Far West and the mobbers swore that this was a revelation that should not be fulfilled. They would kill the first Apostle that came into the place, they said.
However, seven of the Twelve arrived at Far West the night before the 26th, and early next morning they went to the temple lot, rolled a large stone to the southeast corner of the temple grounds as a foundation, and then proceeded to hold a meeting. Elders Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith were then ordained Apostles, the brethren prayed and sang and then dismissed the meeting, bidding good-bye to the eighteen Saints present. Not a mobber was astir that morning, and the word of the Lord was again fulfilled.
Topics.—1. Governor Boggs' exterminating order. 2. Betrayal of Joseph and his brethren. 3. Adam-ondi-Ahman. 4. Departure from Far West. 5. The meeting of the Twelve at Far West.
Questions and Review.—1. How did the mob make the people believe that the "Mormons" were burning houses, etc.? 2. What reports were brought to Governor Boggs? 3. What was the exterminating order? 4. What kinds of "soldiers" surrounded Far West? 5. What did Colonel Hinkle do? 6. What kind of court did General Lucas have to try Joseph and his brethren? 7. What was their sentence? 8. Why was it not carried out? 9. What did General Clark say in his speech? 10. Where was Adam-ondi-Ahman? 11. Why was it so called? 12. What did Brigham Young now do? 13. Tell about the meeting held at Far West, April 26, 1839.