Mormon History

John C. Bennett's 3rd Disclosure - 1842

Sangamo Journal July 15, 1842


Further facts in relation to Joe Smith's application for the benefits of the Bankrupt Law --- Joe Smith made sole trustee of the Mormon Church DURING LIFE with plenary powers to manage, control and convey the property of the Church --- evidence from the Records of Hancock County of Joe's putting his property out of his hands, before applying for the benefit of the Bankrupt Law --- Joe makes his family rice, including his infant children --- Gen. Robinson and Col. Higbee, and others called upon to state facts within their own knowledge in reference to Joe's swindling transactions --- Messrs. Kilbourne of Montrose, Iowa, also called upon to state facts in reference to thefts and robberies committed by the Danite Band --- Joe's "White purchase." called Church property, scheduled among his assets, because, as it was supposed, he had not paid for it --- securing spiritual wives --- some honest individuals not allowed to possess all the secrets of this order --- Messrs. Rigdon, Pratt, and Marks called upon to come out and state facts, knowing as they do the unvarnished truth of Bennett's statements -- Notice of Joe's letter to Gen. Robinson -- Joe's violation of his obligations as a Mason in making Masons in an irregular lodge -- Joe's threats that if the Grand Lodge could not approve of his acts "it might go to the devil" -- Bennett about leaving for Missouri, to make disclosures, relative to the attempted murder of Boggs and perhaps others, which may assure for Joe Smith, the great champion of Thomas Ford and John Moore, (see Joe Smith's Proclamation) a more elevated position than with all his ambition he aspires to --- Look out for breakers.

                                                    Carthage, Ills., July 4, 1842.
To the Editor of the Journal:

In your paper of the 1st inst., you call upon me, and others to make some disclosures in relation to Joe Smith, the arch-impostor, to which I now proceed to respond. I have already written you two letters on the subject; one of which I presume you have received before this, and the other will reach you in a few days. I will now give you some singular facts.

1st. JOE'S BANKRUPT APPLICATION. -- The Bankrupt Law, section 2, provides that no conveyances of property shall be made in contemplation of bankruptcy, subsequent to the 1st. of January, 1841; and an Act concerning Religious Societies, under which the Mormon Church was incorporated, provides for the appointment of TRUSTEES, not a SOLE TRUSTEE IN TRUST, who are authorized "to purchase a quantity of land not exceeding five acres." &c. &c. See act approved Feb. 6, 1842.

From a Book of Mortgages and Bongs, page 95     
City of Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Ills. )     
Feb'y 2d, A. D. 1842)     

To the County Recorder of the County of Hancock:

Dear Sir -- At a meeting of the "Church of Latter Day Saints" at this place, on Saturday the 30th day of January, A. D. 1841, I was elected sole Trustee for said Church, to hold my office during life, (my successor to be the first Presidency of said Church), and vested with plenary powers as sole Trustee in Trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to receive, acquire, manage and convey property, real, personal, or mixed, for the sole use and benefit of said church, agreeable to the provisions of an act entitled "An act concerning Religious Societies," approved February 6, 1835.
                              JOSEPH SMITH, (L. S.)

State of Illinois,) ss.
Hancock County, )

This day personally appeared before me, Daniel H. Wells, a Justice of the peace, within and for the county of Hancock aforesaid, Isaac Galland, Robert B. Thompson and John C. Bennett, who being duly sworn depose and say that the foregoing certificates of Joseph Smith is true.


Sworn to and subscribed this third day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-one, before me,
                              DANIEL H. WELLS, Justice of the Peace.

Compendious extracts from the Records of Hancock County:

In Book R, page 21, there is a deed from Joseph Smith and wife to Julia M. Smith, Joseph Smith, jr., F. G. W. Smith and Alexander Smith, (the first an adopted daughter, and the remainder all small children of Joseph and Emma Smith), executed Dec. 21, 1841, and recorded January 1st, 1842, for lots 1, 2, 3, and 4, block 12 in the city of Nauvoo, -- for the consideration of "one hundred dollars to them in hand paid," -- property worth about three thousand dollars.

Another in the same book, page 151, from the same to the same, (Joseph Smith and his wife to their children, executed March 17th, 1842, and recorded April 9th, 1842, for the east half of the south east 31, 5 north, 8 west; and west half of north-east five, and east half of north-east 6, 4 north, 8 west -- for the consideration of two thousand dollars.

Another in the same book (R.) pages 159, 160, and 161, from Joseph Smith and wife to Joseph Smith, as sole Trustee in trust for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,(the same day he visited Carthage to file his schedule for bankruptcy) and I have no doubt the deed was executed on the 16th or 17th of April, 1842, and dated back to Oct. 5th, 1841, for so Joe informed me, and Mr. Marshall, Mr. Sherman and others, of Carthage, will state that the writing was fresh, and changed materially in appearance soon after, for ($230) two hundred and thirty lots, or thereabouts, mostly of the "White Purchase," for the consideration of "the sum of one dollar to them in hand paid, on a just and lawful settlement between themselves in person, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. -- (Property worth from one hundred and fifty to two hundred thousand dollars, at the rate that Joe is selling it).

Another in book I, page 329, from Ebenezer F. Wiggins to Emma Smith, executed May 15th, 1841, and recorded June 30th, 1841, for west half of northwest quarter 30, 7 north, 8 west, and the west half of north-east 30, 7 north, 8 west, for the consideration of ($2,700), two thousand seven hundred dollars -- ([s]aid for by Joe, and worth about three thousand dollars).

Another in the same book (I.) page 243, from Daniel H. Wells and wife to Joseph Smith, jr., (Joe's son), executed May 5th, 1841, and recorded May 6th, 1841, for lots 1 and 4, block 22, in Wells' addition to Nauvoo, for the consideration of one hundred dollars.

Another in the same book, page 354, from Robert B. Thompson and wife to Emma Smith, (Joe's wife), executed July 24th, 1841, and recorded July 27th, 1841, for south-east fractional quarter of section 2, north 6, 9 west, containing 123 43/100 acres, for the consideration of ($4,000), four thousand dollars.

Another in the same book, page 355, from same to Frederick G. W. Smith, (Joe's son), executed July 24th, 1841, and recorded July 27th, 1841, for part of block 156, in Nauvoo,, for the consideration of ($500), five hundred dollars.

If an official certificate is required, call upon Chauncey Robinson, Esq., the Recorder of Hancock, and he will certify that these are correct extracts from the county records. -- There are various other matters of record that could be made to operate against this king of swindlers and impostors, Joe Smith; but I presume that the foregoing will be sufficient to give him a comfortable home in the State penitentiary, at Alton, for some years to come, if Missouri does not get him first.

If oral testimony is required, call upon Gen. George W. Robinson, Col. Francis M. Higbee, and others, who are acquainted with the transactions. Call out these witnesses in relation to the SHAM sales of valuable property made to Willard Richards, N. K. Whitney, and others, by Joe, in order to prepare for the bankruptcy. The Hotchkiss purchase, called Church property -- but which is not paid for -- was given in by Joe in his schedule as his own individual property, which it undoubtedly was; but the White Purchase, (S. E. Fractional quarter of section 2, 6N. 9W.) WHICH IS PAID FOR, was deeded to Thompson, Joe's Clerk, who had no property, and from Thompson to Emma Smith, (Joe's wife) and from Joseph Smith and wife to Joseph Smith, SOLE TRUSTEE IN TRUST, &c. I now call upon General Robinson and Colonel Higbee, to come out in the Sangamo Journal, over their own names, and tell what they know of Joe's swindling operations. Come out, gentlemen, boldly; the public good requires it at your hands. -- Forbearance is no longer a virtue in this business. I call, likewise, upon Messrs. Kilbourne, of Montrose Iowa, to come out in the Journal and tell what they know of Joe's swindling in Iowa lands, and of the thefts and robberies committed by his Danite Band; and I hope they will respond to the call without delay. Let no man fear to speak out boldly. Remember that the White Purchase was CALLED church property, but it was and is Joe's own individual estate. He said in a public congregation in Nauvoo, a few weeks ago, "I own a million dollars in property, in this city, and around it." Can this swindler take the benefit of the bankrupt law! Never! No, never!! Let a prosecution be at once instituted against his holiness, and let the law have its just operations ONCE.


I alluded to this holy institution in one of my former letters. Joe says he has given them the Master's word by revelation. In the preparation they are stripped naked so as to see if they will pass the holy examination as required in Deuteronomy, 23rd chapter and 1st verse. They are then clothed upon and the precious ointment poured upon the head, running down upon the beard and the skirts of the garment. The ungodly oath, a part of which I gave you is then administered in order to prepare them for the SPIRITUAL WIFE operations, and save Joe from public disgrace and infamy. Some of them, however, are not in the SECRETS, -- They are taken in as blind in order to deceive the people. If they are charged with iniquity, they say, "Look at William Marks and others like him! Do they indulge!" No, gentlemen, but this is not exploited to THEM. Joe says, "Sidney Rigdon and Orson Pratt, and William Marks must never know the SECRETS, or they will apostasize." Rigdon and Pratt are not yet members, however, and I hope they never will be; and Marks has a very strong squinting at apostacy. If Sidney Rigdon will suffer a base attempt on his daughter's chastity; Orson Pratt another on his wife; and William Marks will look tamely on at these disclosures, and say nothing, I am much mistaken in the man. The public look to Rigdon, Pratt and Marks and other kindred spirits, to speak at this eventful crisis -- they have seen and heard, and FELT in their own families, the corruptions of this Smith, that soul-damning impostor. Come out NOW, or bow down and lick the dust, worship at his shrine, and chain your fate to the wheels of damnation, and the car of iniquity. The issue is made up, -- it cannot be averted; and I pray God that the "bitter cup may not pass." You ALL, with Francis M. Higbee, George W. Robinson, Chauncey L. Higbee, Henry Marks, and hundreds of others, KNOW that I have told the unvarnished truth, and the people at large will believe me, -- yes, they will believe me, tho; I have not yet told HALF THE DREADFUL STORY!! "Come out from among the ungodly, and be ye separate." Gen. Robinson writes me under date of July 3d -- Joe says to the people, "Look out! look out!!! Those men, I will venture to say; will come out on me, with all in their power, and say and do all they can to put me down; but do not believe one word of their cursed lies; for I KNOW I am Prophet." Yes, and Pratt, and Rigdon, and Robinson, and the Higbees, and the Marks, and hundreds of others KNOW you to be a LIAR, Joe, -- And Pratt and others have told you so in the face of open day. YOU LIED in the name of the Lord!!! Remember that, you base blasphemer, -- remember that, and weep! -- Look at your black catalogue of crimes -- your seductions and attempted seductions in the name of your Maker -- your thefts -- your robberies -- and your murders! Why, Satan blushes to behold so corrupt and loathsome a mortal, -- one whose daring deeds of crime so far surpass hell's darkest counsels, as to hide the sable Prince in impenetrable darkness forever!

3rd. NAUVOO LODGE, U. D. The original records show that Joseph Smith, Job Snyder, Brigham Young, Peter Haws, Willard Richards, and one other, I think Adara Lyman, were initiated, passed and raised, before the installation of the Lodge, and all but one have passed through since, -- Joe by the hands of the Grand Master Jones, and the remainder by other brethren. That record was sealed up, and a new one commenced -- the second was sealed up, and a third commanded, -- and then a new record book procured and such parts copied as they were willing should go out to the Grand Lodge, and such only.

Let the original book be produced and these facts will appear -- I stand pledged that they shall appear. A part of the original record is in my hand writing, as all know; and if they will produce a record that has any of my hand writing in it, (for the new one has nothing but my name), I will show all the facts unless the leaves have been torn out. Mr. Stoddard was suspended for blackballing Mr. Sessions, but it was not put to record. The charge of H. G. Sherwood and Samuel H. Smith, against Robert D. Foster, during the trial of which Foster received such a severe rebuke by Joe, never appeared upon record, and Joe said, as the case was likely to effect his brother Samuel, "I will see the records in hell and burn this house, before it shall be said that a Smith ever failed to accomplish a thing he undertook, or before anything shall be recorded that may ever operate against Samuel -- and if we can't get a charter without that, the Grand Lodge may go to the Devil." Is this not so? I appeal to George W. Robinson, Francis M. Higbee, and Hiram Kimball, all Master Masons. These are only some of the actings and doings of the Nauvoo Lodge, U. D., under the Supervision of Joe and his servile priest, George Miller -- the little creature that does Joe's dirty work. Let the Grand Lodge look to this. Why does not Nauvoo Lodge, U. D., deal with Joe for the attempted seduction of Nancy Rigdon, a Master Mason's daughter, and for the actual seduction of several Master Masons' wives and sisters and daughters! -- Simply because they say Joe is a Prophet, and the Lord's anointed must not be harmed; the Lord will not suffer his anointed to fall! O, tempore! O, mores!

4th. I am now going over to Missouri to have Joe taken to justice; and then I am going to New York to publish a book, to be called "The History of the Saints," in which I shall tell most of the actings and doings at Nauvoo for the last two years, of most of their great men, and some of their great women, too; so look out for breakers. We shall have full disclosures if the Danites don't catch me -- they are after me like prowling wolves, by Joe's special orders. In haste,
executed Oct. 5th, 1841, and recorded April 8th, 1842,

Yours respectfully,