26020

“Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” July 1839

“Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” July 1839

nearly all that they possessed be driven from their homes, and forced to wander as strangers in a strange country,85

See Exodus 2:22.  


in order, that they might save themselves and their little ones, from the destructions they were threatened with in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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: yet, as far as I was concerned, I felt perfectly calm, and resigned to the will of my heavenly Father. I knew my innocency, as well as that of the saints; and that we had done nothing to deserve such treatment from the hands of our oppressors: consequently, I could look to that God, who has the hearts of all men in his hands, and who had saved me frequently from the gates of death, for deliverance: and notwithstanding that every avenue of escape seemed to be entirely closed, and death stared me in the face, and that my destruction was determined upon, as far as man was concerned; yet, from my first entrance into the camp, I felt an assurance, that I with my brethren and our families should be delivered. Yes, that still small voice, which has so often whispered consolation to my soul, in the depth of sorrow and distress, bade me be of good cheer,86

See 1 Kings 19:12; Acts 23:11; and Book of Mormon, 1837 ed., 49 [1 Nephi 17:45].  


and promised deliverance, which gave me great comfort: and although the heathen raged, and the people imagined vain things,87

See Psalm 2:1; and Acts 4:25.  


yet the Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob, was my refuge;88

See Psalm 46:7, 11.  


and when I cried unto him in the day of trouble, he delivered me; for which I call upon my soul, and and all that is within me, to bless and praise his holy name:89

See Psalms 50:15; 103:1.  


For although I was “troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”90

See 2 Corinthians 4:8–9.  


The conduct of the saints under their accumulated wrongs and sufferings, has been praise-worthy; their courage, in defending their brethren from the ravages of mobs; their attachment to the cause of truth, under circumstances the most trying and distressing, which humanity can possibly endure; their love to each other; their readiness to afford assistance to me, and my brethren who were confined in a dungeon; their sacrifices in leaving the state of Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, and assisting the poor widows and orphans, and securing them houses in a more hospitable land; all conspire to raise them in the estimation of all good and virtuous men; and has secured them the favor and approbation of Jehovah; and a name, as imperishable as eternity. And their virtuous deeds, and heroic actions, while in defence of truth and their brethren: will be fresh and blooming; when the names of their oppressors shall either be entirely forgotten, or only remembered, for their barbarity and cruelty. Their attention and affection to me, while in prison, will ever be remembered by me; and when I have seen them thrust away, and abused by the jailor and guard, when they came to do any kind offices, and to cheer our minds while we were in the gloomy prison house, gave me feellings, which I cannot describe, while those who wished to insult and abuse us, by their threats and blasphemous language, were applauded and had every encouragement given them.
However, thank God, we have been deliverd; and although, some of our beloved brethren, have had to seal their testimony with their blood; and have died martyrs to the cause of truth; yet,
 
Short, though bitter was their pain;
Everlasting is their joy.91

Quoted inexactly from Hannah More (1745–1833), “The True Heroes: or, The Noble Army of Martyrs.” The original lines are “Short tho’ bitter were their woes / Everlasting is their joy.” (Works of Hannah More,1:187.)  


 
Let us not sorrow as “those without hope,” the time is fast approaching, when we shall see them again; and rejoice together, without being affraid of wicked men: Yes, those who have slept in Christ, shall he bring with him,92

See 1 Thessalonians 4:13–14.  


when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and admired by all those who believe: but to take vengeance upon his enemies, and all those who obey not the gospel. At that time, the hearts of the widow and fatherless shall be comforted; and every tear shall be wiped from off their faces.
The trials they have had to pass through, shall work together for their good,93

See Romans 8:28; see also JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 122:7].  


and prepare them for the society of those, who have come up out of great tribulation; and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.94

See Revelation 7:14.  


Marvel not then, if you are persecuted, but remember the words of the Savior, “The servant is not above his Lord, if they have persecuted me, they will persecute you also;”95

See John 15:20.  


and that all the afflictions through which the saints have to pass, are in fulfillment of the words of [p. 8]
nearly all that they possessed be driven  from their homes, and forced to wan der as strangers in a strange country,85

See Exodus 2:22.  


 in order, that they might save them selves and their little ones, from the  destructions they were threatened with  in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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: yet, as far as I was con cerned, I felt perfectly calm, and re signed to the will of my heavenly  Father. I knew my innocency, as  well as that of the saints; and that we  had done nothing to deserve such treat ment from the hands of our oppressors:  consequently, I could look to that God,  who has the hearts of all men in his  hands, and who had saved me frequent ly from the gates of death, for deliver ance: and notwithstanding that every  avenue of escape seemed to be entirely  closed, and death stared me in the face,  and that my destruction was determin ed upon, as far as man was concerned;  yet, from my first entrance into the  camp, I felt an assurance, that I with  my brethren and our families should  be delivered. Yes, that still small  voice, which has so often whispered  consolation to my soul, in the depth of  sorrow and distress, bade me be of good  cheer,86

See 1 Kings 19:12; Acts 23:11; and Book of Mormon, 1837 ed., 49 [1 Nephi 17:45].  


and promised deliverance, which  gave me great comfort: and although  the heathen raged, and the people im agined vain things,87

See Psalm 2:1; and Acts 4:25.  


yet the Lord of  hosts, the God of Jacob, was my re fuge;88

See Psalm 46:7, 11.  


and when I cried unto him in the  day of trouble, he delivered me; for  which I call upon my soul, and and all  that is within me, to bless and praise  his holy name:89

See Psalms 50:15; 103:1.  


For although I was  “troubled on every side, yet not distress ed; perplexed, but not in despair; per secuted, but not forsaken; cast down,  but not destroyed.”90

See 2 Corinthians 4:8–9.  


The conduct of the saints under  their accumulated wrongs and suffer ings, has been praise-worthy; their  courage, in defending their brethren  from the ravages of mobs; their attach ment to the cause of truth, under cir cumstances the most trying and dis tressing, which humanity can possibly  endure; their love to each other; their  readiness to afford assistance to me,  and my brethren who were confined in  a dungeon; their sacrifices in leaving  the state of Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, and assisting the  poor widows and orphans, and securing  them houses in a more hospitable land;  all conspire to raise them in the estima tion of all good and virtuous men; and  has secured them the favor and appro bation of Jehovah; and a name, as im perishable as eternity. And their vir tuous deeds, and heroic actions, while  in defence of truth and their brethren:  will be fresh and blooming; when the  names of their oppressors shall either  be entirely forgotten, or only remem bered, for their barbarity and cruelty.  Their attention and affection to me,  while in prison, will ever be remem bered by me; and when I have seen  them thrust away, and abused by the  jailor and guard, when they came to do  any kind offices, and to cheer our  minds while we were in the gloomy  prison house, gave me feellings, which  I cannot describe, while those who  wished to insult and abuse us, by their  threats and blasphemous language,  were applauded and had every encour agement given them.
However, thank God, we have been  deliverd; and although, some of our  beloved brethren, have had to seal their  testimony with their blood; and have  died martyrs to the cause of truth; yet,
 
Short, though bitter was their pain;
Everlasting is their joy.91

Quoted inexactly from Hannah More (1745–1833), “The True Heroes: or, The Noble Army of Martyrs.” The original lines are “Short tho’ bitter were their woes / Everlasting is their joy.” (Works of Hannah More,1:187.)  


 
Let us not sorrow as “those without  hope,” the time is fast approaching,  when we shall see them again; and re joice together, without being affraid of  wicked men: Yes, those who have  slept in Christ, shall he bring with him,92

See 1 Thessalonians 4:13–14.  


 when he shall come to be glorified in  his saints, and admired by all those who  believe: but to take vengeance upon his  enemies, and all those who obey not  the gospel. At that time, the hearts  of the widow and fatherless shall be  comforted; and every tear shall be  wiped from off their faces.
The trials they have had to pass  through, shall work together for their  good,93

See Romans 8:28; see also JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 122:7].  


and prepare them for the society  of those, who have come up out of  great tribulation; and have washed  their robes, and made them white in  the blood of the Lamb.94

See Revelation 7:14.  


Marvel not  then, if you are persecuted, but re member the words of the Savior, “The  servant is not above his Lord, if they  have persecuted me, they will perse cute you also;”95

See John 15:20.  


and that all the afflic tions through which the saints have to  pass, are in fulfillment of the words of [p. 8]
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The historical account contained in “Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.” was composed in the aftermath of the 1838 armed conflict between the Latter-day Saints and other Missourians, a struggle that culminated in the incarceration of JS and the expulsion of the Saints from the state

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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. On 20 March 1839, from the jail in Liberty

Located in western Missouri, thirteen miles north of Independence. Settled 1820. Clay Co. seat, 1822. Incorporated as town, May 1829. Following expulsion from Jackson Co., 1833, many Latter-day Saints found refuge in Clay Co., with church leaders and other...

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, Missouri, JS wrote to the Saints instructing them to document “all the facts and suffering and abuses put upon them by the people of this state and also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained.”1

JS et al., Liberty, MO, to the church members and Edward Partridge, Quincy, IL, 20 Mar. 1839, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 123:1–2]. In a letter to the church written three months earlier, JS had reflected on some of the causes leading to the expulsion. (JS, Liberty, MO, to “the church,” Caldwell Co., MO, 16 Dec. 1838, JS Collection, CHL.)  


A month later, on 16 April, JS escaped from the custody of Missouri lawmen, and on 22 April he was reunited with the Mormon exiles in Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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, Illinois. Within days he arranged extensive land purchases for Mormon settlement at nearby Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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, Illinois, and across the Mississippi River

Principal U.S. river running southward from Itasca Lake, Minnesota, to Gulf of Mexico. Covered 3,160-mile course, 1839 (now about 2,350 miles). Drains about 1,100,000 square miles. Steamboat travel on Mississippi very important in 1830s and 1840s for shipping...

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in Iowa Territory

Area originally part of Louisiana Purchase, 1803. First permanent white settlements established, ca. 1833. Organized as territory, 1838, containing all of present-day Iowa, much of present-day Minnesota, and parts of North and South Dakota. Population in ...

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. JS himself was among the initial Latter-day Saints to relocate to Commerce in May 1839. On 4 June 1839, during a visit to Quincy, JS created a record of his own Missouri losses, titled “Bill of Damages against the state of Missouri.”2

JS, “Bill of Damages against the State of Missouri[:] An Account of the Sufferings and Losses Sustained Therein,” Quincy, IL, 4 June 1839, JS Collection, CHL; see also JS, Journal, 27 May–8 June 1839.  


Written in the handwriting of JS’s recently appointed clerk, Robert B. Thompson

1 Oct. 1811–27 Aug. 1841. Clerk, editor. Born in Great Driffield, Yorkshire, England. Member of Methodist church. Immigrated to Upper Canada, 1834. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, May 1836, in Upper Canada. Ordained an elder by John Taylor, 22...

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, the bill of damages was created as a petition to the federal government for redress, and it became the basis of “Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” published in July 1839. The reference to a “private journal” in the title notwithstanding, the article was not in fact based on a journal source; JS’s bill of damages is the only known manuscript source. The manuscript is much more than a simple bill of damages, however, and the historical narrative it contains bridges the chronological gap between JS’s last Missouri journal and his first Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

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journal.3

The last entry in JS’s September–October 1838 journal is 5 October 1838. On that day, JS left Far West, Missouri, with a detachment of Mormon men to reinforce the besieged Saints in De Witt, Missouri; after an introductory overview, JS’s “Bill of Damages” begins with the De Witt conflict. The bill ends with JS’s escape from his captors on 16 April 1839 and his arrival in Quincy, Illinois, on 22 April 1839; the first two entries in JS’s 1839 journal resume JS’s journal keeping precisely at this point.  


After an introduction stating that JS encountered enmity from the moment of his arrival in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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in March 1838, “Extract, from the Private Journal” covers most of the significant episodes in the Missouri conflict. The first specific historical event is the siege of the Mormon settlement at De Witt

Located on bluffs north of Missouri River, about six miles above mouth of Grand River. Permanently settled, by 1826. Laid out, 1836. First called Elderport; name changed to De Witt, 1837, when town acquired by speculators David Thomas and Henry Root, who ...

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in Carroll County. The article then narrates the subsequent conflict around Adam-ondi-Ahman

Town located in northwest Missouri. JS revelations designated area as place where Adam blessed his posterity after leaving Garden of Eden and where Adam will return prior to Second Coming. While seeking new areas in Daviess Co. for settlement, JS and others...

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in Daviess County, the battle at Crooked River

Located in northwest Missouri. Rises in Clinton Co. and flows about sixty miles southeast through Caldwell and Ray counties; drains into Missouri River. Saints settled mainly on northwestern and southeastern sections of river, by 1835; main settlement also...

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with militia from Ray County

Located in northwestern Missouri. Area settled, 1815. Created from Howard Co., 1820. Initially included all state land north of Missouri River and west of Grand River. Population in 1830 about 2,700; in 1836 about 6,600; and in 1840 about 6,600. Latter-day...

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, and the siege at Far West

Originally called Shoal Creek. Located fifty-five miles northeast of Independence. Surveyed 1823; first settled by whites, 1831. Site purchased, 8 Aug. 1836, before Caldwell Co. was organized for Latter-day Saints in Missouri. William W. Phelps and John Whitmer...

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in Caldwell County. Also recounted are JS’s capture, imprisonment, and indictment, as well as the exodus of the Latter-day Saints to Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

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. The narrative draws to a close with JS’s escape and his flight from Missouri. Where the bill of damages ends with a list of losses and sufferings for which remuneration is sought, the “Extract” concludes with an address to the American people at large, appealing to the principles of liberty and justice.
“Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.” was published in the first issue of the church newspaper Times and Seasons. The prospectus published at the end of the issue declared that the newspaper would provide “a history of the unparallelled persecution, which we, as a people, received in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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”; the lead article in the issue, an “Address” from the editors, similarly announced that the newspaper’s mission included publication of “a detailed history of the persecution and suffering” experienced in Missouri.4

“Prospectus of the Times and Seasons,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:16; Ebenezer Robinson and Don Carlos Smith, “Address,” Times and Seasons, July 1839, 1:1.  


“Extract, from the Private Journal” directly follows, taking up half of the issue’s sixteen pages. Times and Seasons editors Ebenezer Robinson

25 May 1816–11 Mar. 1891. Printer, editor, publisher. Born at Floyd (near Rome), Oneida Co., New York. Son of Nathan Robinson and Mary Brown. Moved to Utica, Oneida Co., ca. 1831, and learned printing trade at Utica Observer. Moved to Ravenna, Portage Co....

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and Don Carlos Smith

25 Mar. 1816–7 Aug. 1841. Farmer, printer, editor. Born at Norwich, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816–Jan. 1817. Moved to Manchester, Ontario Co., 1825. Baptized into LDS church by David...

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printed only about two hundred copies of the July 1839 issue before a malaria epidemic left them debilitated.5

“To the Patrons of the Times and Seasons,” Times and Seasons, Nov. 1839, 1:15–16; Ebenezer Robinson, “Items of Personal History of the Editor,” The Return, May 1890, 257–258.  


Months later they published a reprint of the first issue, including JS’s “Extract,” under a November 1839 date.6

It appears that there were three printings of the first issue of the Times and Seasons: the first in July; the second in November, from the same typesetting; and a third sometime thereafter, from a new setting of the text. The third printing, perhaps issued to satisfy increasing demand for the newspaper, retained the November 1839 date. Although minor spelling and punctuation changes appear in the later printings of the “Extract,” no changes were made to the wording. (See Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:94–95.)  


JS’s account of Missouri sufferings constituted part of a new genre of Mormon historical writing, and in the next issue, the Times and Seasons began publishing an eleven-part series on the Saints’ Missouri persecutions.7

See “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839–Oct. 1840.  


JS’s bill of damages was revised for publication as the “Extract” sometime between 4 June 1839, when the bill of damages was composed, and 12 July, when Wilford Woodruff

1 Mar. 1807–2 Sept. 1898. Farmer, miller. Born at Farmington, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of Aphek Woodruff and Beulah Thompson. Moved to Richland, Oswego Co., New York, 1832. Baptized into LDS church by Zera Pulsipher, 31 Dec. 1833, near Richland. Ordained...

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recorded “looking over the proof sheet of the first number of the Times & seasons.”8

Woodruff, Journal, 12 July 1839.  


JS returned to Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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from Quincy

Located on high limestone bluffs east of Mississippi River, about forty-five miles south of Nauvoo. Settled 1821. Adams Co. seat, 1825. Incorporated as town, 1834. Received city charter, 1840. Population in 1835 about 800; in 1840 about 2,300; and in 1845...

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on 5 June and remained in the area until 12 July, except for a 15–26 June journey through western Illinois

Became part of Northwest Territory of U.S., 1787. Admitted as state, 1818. Population in 1840 about 480,000. Population in 1845 about 660,000. Plentiful, inexpensive land attracted settlers from northern and southern states. Following expulsion from Missouri...

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. Therefore, JS’s narrative of Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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persecutions was likely revised in Commerce between 5 and 14 June or between 27 June and 12 July.9

JS’s journal records that he was “dictating History” 10–14 June and 3–5 July 1839, which may have included the historical narrative in the “bill of damages” along with his ongoing work on a complete history of the church. (JS, Journal, 10–14 June and 3–5 July 1839.)  


The first issue of the Times and Seasons was probably published within a few days of 12 July, the day Wilford Woodruff helped check the proof sheet.
The first two-thirds of the “Extract” was based closely on “Bill of Damages,” with only minor editorial changes. The changes softened some of the manuscript’s more strident rhetoric, omitted particulars regarding JS’s personal losses, and added details to emphasize the suffering of the Saints. Significant differences between the two documents are explained in footnotes herein. The final section of the article, which did not come from the bill of damages, may have been dictated or written by JS, perhaps with help from clerical assistants Robert B. Thompson

1 Oct. 1811–27 Aug. 1841. Clerk, editor. Born in Great Driffield, Yorkshire, England. Member of Methodist church. Immigrated to Upper Canada, 1834. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, May 1836, in Upper Canada. Ordained an elder by John Taylor, 22...

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, James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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, and George W. Robinson

14 May 1814–10 Feb. 1878. Clerk, postmaster, merchant, clothier, banker. Born at Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont. Baptized into LDS church and moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1836. Clerk and recorder for Kirtland high council, beginning Jan. 1836. Married...

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. The published “Extract” was disseminated to Saints throughout the nation via the newspaper, and the document shaped their memory of the persecution in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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and their pattern for rehearsing it. JS clearly intended to reach not only the Latter-day Saints subscribing to the church newspaper but also the greater American public. As part of JS’s effort to gain sympathy in the court of public opinion, this document became part of the broadening agenda of gaining redress for grievances suffered in Missouri.

Facts