A Young Folks' History of the Church HTML version
Many public buildings were erected. Good houses were built, and beautiful gardens soon
bloomed around them. On the outskirts of the city, fields of grain stretched as far as the
eye could reach. In 1842 there were 20,000 people in the city, and Nauvoo promised to
be one of the largest cities in the West.
The fame of Joseph and the "Mormon" city spread, and many people came to see the
wonder. Missionaries were sent out to preach, the Times and Seasons published by the
Church, printed many Gospel truths and much important history. The militia was
organized and the city had a well-drilled body of men called the Nauvoo Legion. Peace
and prosperity smiled upon them for a season, and it seemed that at last there would be a
permanent stake of Zion established.
But it was not to be. The hate that burned in the hearts of evil men had not grown less,
but was only waiting for a chance to show itself. Trouble again arose. It would not be
easy to understand the many causes that led to these troubles, but a few may be noted.
The Saints now had great power at the polls, the same as in Missouri. The "Mormons"
would not vote for men who would not give them their rights, and so many of these
politicians became their enemies and stirred up the people against the Saints by their
many lies. Then, there were the jealousies of the sectarian preachers; and perhaps worse
than all, the evil work of apostates. Then it happened that a band of thieves troubled the
neighborhood, and of course the "Mormons" were blamed. It was not a hard matter to
find excuses for a further persecution of the Latter-day Saints.
And now came again Governor Boggs, of Missouri. He, it seems, had not had enough, so
he asked Governor Carlin to deliver to him Joseph and the other brethren who had
escaped from Missouri. Governor Carlin of Illinois, made out the papers for the brethren's
arrest, but the officer could not find them when he went to Nauvoo. He therefore returned
without his prisoners, and nothing more was done in the matter until nearly a year later,
when Joseph was visiting the governor at Quincy. Governor Carlin treated Joseph kindly,
but as soon as the Prophet had left, some of the officers were sent after him. They
overtook Joseph and arrested him on the old charge from Missouri. However, they went
on to Nauvoo, where the sheriff, being sick, was taken good care of by his prisoner. As it
was Joseph's right by law to be tried in Illinois, he was permitted to have a hearing before
Judge Stephen A. Douglas, in Monmouth, Illinois. There was great excitement at the trial,
some of his enemies trying to excite a mob against him. At the close of the hearing
Joseph was set free by the judge.
Dr. J.C. Bennett was the mayor of Nauvoo, and held other high positions; but he proved
to be a very wicked man. At one time, when the Legion was having a sham fight, Bennett
tried to get Joseph into a position that he might be shot without anyone knowing who did
it. This did not succeed. Then he began to commit sin, and say that Joseph upheld him in
it. Bennett was of course cut off from the Church, after which he wrote many false things
against Joseph and the Saints and was the means of bringing much persecution on them.
In May, 1842, Ex-Governor Boggs of Missouri was shot at and wounded by some person
in Independence. Although at this time they were hundreds of miles from Independence,
Joseph Smith and O.P. Rockwell were charged with this crime, and again papers were
issued for their arrest. They were tried in Nauvoo and acquitted. As the Missourians were
trying many schemes to take Joseph to Missouri and there kill him, he went in hiding for
a time. Every effort was made to take Joseph, and rewards were offered for his capture.