Mormon History, May 19, 1842

-- May 19, 1842
The citizens of Nauvoo elect Joseph Smith as the city's second mayor, replacing John C. Bennett, who had been excommunicated. (1)

Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith was elected by the Nauvoo City Council to replace the discredited John C. Bennett as mayor. (2)

[Joseph Smith] Joseph is elected mayor of Nauvoo. (3)

[Joseph Smith] Elected mayor of Nauvoo. (4)

-- May 20, 1842
Catherine Fuller Warren, responds to charges by the Nauvoo High Council of "unchaste and unvirtuous conduct with [Assistant President] John C. Bennett." She admits to them and also confesses to intercourse with others, including Joseph Smith's younger brother, Apostle William Smith. She explains that the men had "taught the doctrine that it was right to have free intercourse with women and that the heads of the church also taught and practiced it which things caused her to be led away thinking it to be right." Bennett is excommunicated but charges against William Smith are withdrawn by Brigham Young after Joseph Smith complains, "I will not listen to this abuse of my family a minute longer. I will wade in blood up to my knees before I will do it." (5)

-- May 24-25, 1842
Three women testify that two apostles have taught them that Joseph Smith approved of "spiritual wifery" wherein several men can have sexual relations with one woman. One of those is John C. Bennett. Bennett is excommunicated, and immediately publishes the first exposé of Mormon polygamy. The other apostle was Joseph Smith's brother William. Joseph Smith prevents Brigham Young (the president of the Quorum of the Twelve) from disciplining William for adultery. Apostle George A. Smith records that "Wm. Smith committing iniquity & we have to sustain him against our feelings". (6)

-- May 25, 1842
John C Bennett: Disfellowshipped 25 May 1842 (7)

Joseph Smith disfellowships John C. Bennett who quickly publishes the first exposé of Mormon polygamy. It is not clear whether Bennett is disfellowsipped for sexual misconduct or for using Smith's name in justifying seduction. Bennet's excommunication on Jun 18 would be for his intention to publish against Joseph Smith who prevents Brigham Young from disciplining his brother William for adultery. George A. Smith later referred to "Wm Smith committing iniquity & we have to sustain him against our feelings" as an apostle. Joseph addresses the Nauvoo Relief Society, directing his comments to Emma: "One request to the Pres[iden]t and Society, hold your tongues about things of no moment-a little tale will set the world on fire. At this time the truth on the guilty should not be told openly-we must use precaution in bringing sinners to justice but in exposing their heinous sins, we draw the indignation of a gentile world upon us." Later that evening after listening to John C. Benn
ett's confession of wrongdoing before 100 of his fellow Freemasons, Joseph requests mercy for his friend and former counselor. (5)

1 - The Woodland Institute 'On This Day Historical Database,'
2 - BYU Studies Journal, volume 46, no. 4: A Chronology of the Life of Joseph Smith
3 - More Good Foundation, Timeline,
4 - Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City, Utah
5 - On This Day in Mormon History,
6 - McQue, Bob; Religious Faith: Enlightening or Blinding?: Timeline of Key Events in Mormon History
7 - Quinn, D. Michael, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Appendix 6, Biographical Sketches of General Officers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-47

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