Mormon History

John C. Bennett's 5th Disclosure - 1842

The Louisville Daily Journal July 27, 1842

Gen. John C. Bennett, the author of the expositions of Joe Smith's character and conduct, passed through this city on Saturday. In consequence of some conversation we had with him, he has since sent the following letter. The astounding facts that it sets forth are certainly worthy of the earnest consideration of the civil authorities of Illinois.

                 STEAMER IMPORTER. July 23, 1842.
To the Editors of the Louisville Journal: --

As I promised to lay before you some of the strong points of objection to "the gathering of the Saints," or the congregating of THE MORMONS at one point, or general head-quarters, I now proceed to redeem the pledge.

1st. Nine hundred and ninety-nine thousandths of all the faithful of the Mormon Church regard Joe Smith as God's vice-gerent on earth, and obey him accordingly; and all the Danites of that Church (and by the bye, they compose no very inconsiderable proportion of their mighty hosts) are sworn to receive him as the supreme head of the Church, and to obey him as the supreme God. If, therefore, any State officer, in the administration of public justice, happens to give offence to His Holiness the Prophet, it becomes the will of God, as spoken by the mouth of his Prophet, that that functionary should DIE; and his followers, the faithful Saints, immediately set about the work of assassination, in obedience, as they suppose, to their Divine Master; and for which NOBLE DEED, they expect to receive an excellent and superior glory in the celestial kingdom!!! It does not require Argus eyes to see the incalculable mischief growing out of such a state of society; and an intelligent community must look on with awful forebodings and fearful anticipations, where such a state of things is suffered. Great God! only look at the horrible picture! The lives of thousands of human beings depending upon the whim or caprice of the most corrupt, heaven-daring, and black-hearted Impostor that ever disgraced the earth! The whole community are in the most imminent danger, from the common citizen to the highest public functionary, unless they chain their fate to the car of Mormon despotism.

2d. Where a large community, like the Mormons, are under the absolute dictation of a vacillating and capricious tyrant, like Joe Smith, who acts under the influence of reason, but is wholly governed by impulses and selfish motives, political demagogues will become fawning sycophants, and the best interests of the country will be sacrificed in the ambitious views of an ancient or modern Prophet -- a Mahomet or a Smith! This state of things is fraught with the most fearful consequences -- the subversion of governments; the fall of kingdoms and empires; the destruction of nations by the shedding of rivers of human blood; and, where consequences of a less serious nature accrue, it destroys natural affection, hardens the heart against the better feelings of our nature, and produces a state of savage barbarity, which causes a civilized man to shudder, and from which he turns with loathing and disgust.

3d. The standard of morality and Christian excellence with them is quite unstable. Joe Smith has but to speak the word, and it becomes the LAW which they delight to obey --by the mouth of his anointed Prophet! BECAUSE IT COMES FROM GOD!! Acts, therefore, which but yesterday were considered the most immoral, wicked, and devilish, to-day are the most moral, righteous, and God-like, because God, who makes right, has so declared it

4th. Joe Smith designs to abolish all human laws, and establish a Theocracy, in which the word of God, as spoken by his (Joe's) mouth, shall be the only law; and he now orders that his followers shall only obey such human laws as they are compelled to do, and declares that the time is at hand when all human institutions shall be abrogated! Joe's will is to become the law of right, and his power is to execute it.

5th. Under the new order of things, all the property of the Saints, with their wives and little ones, is to be consecrated to Joe, to subserve his purposes and gratify his passions! These are only SOME of the reasons which I shall hereafter, when time permits, consider more in detail; and, in the mean time, I should like your opinion on a matter of so much importance to all of our fellow-citizens.

With high consideration of respect and esteem, suffer me to subscribe myself --   Yours, respectfully,
                           JOHN C. BENNETT.

Note: John C. Bennett reprinted this letter on pp. 148-50 of his anti-Mormon book, History of the Saints, published later the same year in Boston.

Sangamo Journal August 19, 1842


What Joe's morality amounts to, can be learned from his letter to Miss Rigdon, which will be found in the 6th communication of Gen. Bennett, in this paper. Joe Smith, in the letter alluded to, undertakes to sustain by the Scriptures, by reason, argument, and GOD'S REVELATION TO HIMSELF, the lawfulness of his "spiritual wife doctrine." The argument is very specious, and had it been addressed to a young lady of only ordinary attainments, a believer in Joe's divine mission, it is not improbable it might have accomplished the object designed by Smith. But happily for Miss Rigdon, she was too well informed, possessed to much moral firmness, and was too deeply imbued with the true religion of the Bible, to be overcome by Smith's hellish schemes. She resisted them, and unquestionably from this cause arose all those slanders against her father that have for sometime been in the mouths of Joe's followers here.

To a young lady of Miss Rigdon's sensibilities, the publications made, in which her name has been introduced, must have given her pain. We should have been glad if we could have avoided making those publications consistently with what we regarded as the high interests of our community. But Miss Rigdon will have the satisfaction of knowing that her case has elicited the strong sympathies not only of her own sex, but that of the other; and that her triumph over the wiles of the impostor will be spoken to her praise wherever her name shall be known.

In this letter these is enough evidence to make it the duty of the officers of the law to bring Joe Smith before the Grand Jury, of the county -- not for the purpose of giving him further liberty and permitting the immoral monster to roam through the county, by giving him a sham trial, and allowing him to escape justice -- but to secure all the evidence which can be found bearing on the case, and if guilty makes his punishment commensurate with his high professions and his crimes. The impostor is now unveiled. His infatuated followers may suppose, by affidavits of his virtue, his purity, and his holiness, to keep up the delusion, but that time is past. And if he is not brought to justice by the officers of the law, they will be guilty of a flagrant breach of duty.