Nauvoo Expositor 1:1, Resolution #2, June 7, 1844.
Inasmuch as we have for years borne with the individual follies and iniquities of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and many of the official characters, and having laboured with them repeatedly with all Christian love, meekness, and humility, yet to no effect, we feel as if forebearance has ceased to be a virtue and hope reformation vain. And inasmuch as they have introduced false and damnable doctrines into the church such as; a plurality of Gods above the God of this universe; and his liability to fall with all of His creations; the plurality of wives; unconditional sealing up. (1)
William Law, Joseph Smith's second counselor, publishes the first and only edition of THE NAUVOO EXPOSITOR (intended to be a weekly paper), which exposes the practice of polygamy in Nauvoo The newspaper asserted that Smith had "introduced false and damnable doctrines into the church" such as "the plurality of wives," which "are taught secretly, and denied openly" and amount to "abominations and whoredoms." It also references the teaching by Joseph Smith that there is more than one God, and Joseph Smith's 1844 ordination as king on earth. Law writes in his journal this day that the EXPOSITOR is "rich with facts, such expositions, as make the guilty tremble and rage.- 1000 sheets were struck and five hundred mailed forthwith." Although Law and his associates see Joseph as a corrupt and fallen prophet the EXPOSITOR maintains that the editors "know of a surety, that the religion of the Latter Day Saints as originally taught by Joseph Smith, which is contained in the Old and New T
estament, Book of Covenants, and Book of Mormon, is true; and that the pure principles set forth in those books, are the immutable and eternal principles of Heaven, and speaks a language which, when spoken in truth and virtue, sinks deep into the heart of every honest man." In London Wilford Woodruff learns of a plot by anti-Mormons to copyright the Doctrine & Covenants for themselves and thereby deprive Mormons of the ability to print their own scriptures in England. Woodruff hastily obtains copyright in his own name on the same day. (2)
Robert D. Foster calls on Joseph and says he wants to talk to him in private. Joseph does not trust a private interview with any of the apostates, and says he will only meet with him in the presence of several other people. Their proposed meeting and settlement dissolves.The first and only issue of the Nauvoo Expositor is published; Sylvester Emmons is editor. The four-page paper contains a short story, some poetry, some advertisements, and some national news. However, the vast majority of the paper is a direct attack on Joseph Smith and Mormonism. The attack has three bases: (1) religion (the Church was true once, but since introducing such doctrines as plurality of wives, plurality of gods, and unconditional scalings into eternal life, Joseph has become a fallen prophet); (2) politics (Joseph had combined Church and state, abused the right of habeas corpus, overstepped his bounds with his "views on the powers and policy" and his candidacy for U. S. president); (3) morality
(Joseph had "taught secretly and denied openly" the doctrine of polygamy by which young, foreign girls were brought thousands of miles to America, and then told to submit their own will to God's for the gratification of the Prophet and his devotees). The newspaper does notdeny the possibility of using force against the Mormons, "if it is necessary to make show of force, to execute legal process, it will create no sympathy in that case to cry out, we are mobbed." The paper also promises to be unrestrained in the future publications: "We intend to tell the whole tale and by all honorable means to bring to light and justice, those who have long fed and fattened upon the purse, the property, and the character of injured innocence." (Utah Law Review 9:4 (Winter 1965), Winter 1965, pp. 868-73.) (3)
[Joseph Smith] Nauvoo Expositor published, inciting anger and fear in Nauvoo: anger for its vilification of the Prophet and its accusations against other Church leaders; fear from its call for a repeal of the Nauvoo charter so that local government would be taken out of the hands of the Saints. (4)
[Joseph Smith Diary] Friday, June 7th 1844 At home. R[obert] D. Foster called professidly to make some concessions and return to the Church. [He] wanted a private interview which ! declined. Told him I would choose individuals and he might choose others and we would meet and I would settle any thing on righteous principles.
Report was circulated in the evening that Foster said I would receive him on any terms and give him a hat full of dollars into the bargain.
l st number of Nauvoo Expositor published to day, ed[ited] by Sylvester Emmons.
Went to the printing office about 2 o'clock and instructed Mr. Taylor to answer certain bill receipts of Geo[rge] W. Harris. Pleasant evening. (5)
William Law publishes the Nauvoo Expositor. This starts into motion the events leading to the death of Joseph Smith. The Expositor announced to the world that the Mormons were living polygamy. The Nauvoo City Council, led by Mayor Joseph Smith, declared the press a nuisance, and ordered it destroyed. Destroying a press was perfectly legal at the time. The Mormon press had been destroyed in Independence on July 20 1833, and its editor tarred and feathered. An abolitionist press was destroyed in Cincinnati, Ohio. Elijah Parish Lovejoy had five presses destroyed, and lost his life defending the last one in Alton, Illinois, all because of his anti-slavery writings in the newspaper he published. What the Mormons did not understand, however, was that the destruction of Lovejoys presses about 150 miles from Nauvoo and the martyrdom of Lovejoy had ignited a firestorm of praise of a free and independent press that led rather quickly to an amendment to the United States
Constitution which guaranteed freedom of the press. (6)
1 - Quotations Dealing with the Relationship of Our First Earthy Parents to Our Heavenly Parents (1830-1978)
2 - On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
3 - Conklin, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology
4 - Highlights in the Prophet's Life, Ensign, June 1994
5 - Faulring, Scott (ed.), An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith: Joseph Smith Diary, 1844, http://amzn.to/jsdiaries
6 - Tungate, Mel, Mormon Polygamy, http://www.tungate.com/polygamy.htm
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