Joseph Smith

“But it must not be forgotten that, during the last two years of his life, Joseph’s paranoia had increased. He had always been drunk on glory, now he was drunk on power. His fury fell alike on those who questioned him within the Church, the Missouri Pukes, and the Congress and President of the United States. In musical-comedy uniforms, he was lieutenant general of the Nauvoo Legion; its rituals were fantastic but its muskets were just as usable as any the Pukes had. He had announced himself as a candidate for President against Polk and Henry Clay – his platform was mostly apocalypse but included a plank for the seizure of the West – and several hundred missionaries were stumping the East to get him votes. He had dropped some of the secrecy that had hidden the doctrine of polygamy; he and many of his hierarchy were practising, it with a widening range that could not be altogether covered by denials.

“All these were blunders; the last was the worst blunder. There had always been dissent in Israel, backsliders, apostates, a sizable if futile bulk of opposition. Suddenly opposition to polygamy crystalized in a revolt led by men of courage and genuine intelligence. They struck hard, establishing in Nauvoo a newspaper which def nounced Joseph. He struck back, and the newspaper printed one l issue only. Joseph’s marshal, assisted by Joseph’s Legion, pied its type and pounded its press to pieces in the street. The rebels fled. The Illini, especially the politicians who had been sold out, needed f just this to produce their own uprising. Illinois had had enough of the Mormons, the mob rose, and Joseph was killed.”