03 August 2012

Joseph: Sabotages Local Press

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 2003, Excerpts

When Joseph ordered the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor, it confirmed a growing fear among non-Mormons that he was a megalomaniacal tyrant who posed a clear and present danger to the peace and stability of the region. The air over Hancock County crackled with hostility.

Anticipating imminent retaliation from the Gentiles, on June 18 Joseph declared martial law and mobilized his Mormon army – the five-thousand-man Nauvoo Legion. Fearing the outbreak of civil war, Illinois’s governor, Thomas Ford, responded by demanding that Joseph and Hyrum Smith, John Taylor, and others responsible for destroying the press surrender to face charges in Carthage, the Hancock County seat.

Joseph and eleven others who were charged with destroying the press surrendered on June 24. As they traveled the twenty-five miles from Nauvoo to Carthage, the roads were lined with Illinois militiamen and other Gentiles who heckled the prophet lustily: “God damn you, Old Joe, we’ve got you now!”

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