Mormon History

Prominent Mormon Defectors - 1842

Sangamo Journal July 1, 1842


The corrupt bargain by which the leaders of the Van Buren party, have sought to purchase the votes of the Mormons, and the open avowal by Joe Smith, that the Mormons shall support the candidate of the party, because Judge Douglass and other party leaders have secured to them certain extraordinary chartered privileges -- over and above those enjoyed by any other sect -- has called public attention to the movements of Joe Smith, -- to the tyranny exercised by him over his followers, -- to the moral principles by which he is governed; and it is not likely that he will much longer deceive the mass of the people, however much he may deceive those who have surrendered all their interests -- spiritual and temporal -- into his hand.

There are individuals in his flock, possessed of talents and disposition to use them for the benefit of their sect and country. Among these individuals we reckon General Bennett, Sidney Rigdon, Esq., Mr. George Robinson, and others. But the Prophet will scarcely permit them to think or act except in entire subservience to his wishes. It is now understood, that, within a few days past, Smith has made a desperate, blackguard, and abusive public attack on Gen. Bennett, Mr. Rigdon, and Mr. Robinson -- and reports, and we place great reliance upon them, go so far as to say that the life of the former has been threatened, and that orders have been issued to the Danite Band to murder him in a clandestine manner on the first opportunity. Indeed, the report goes farther, and states that two of the Danites have been in hot pursuit of Gen. Bennett for several days, in order to accomplish the nefarious purpose, and thus prevent a public exposition of the corruptions of the great impostor.

We call upon the people of our State to have an eye upon this matter -- and, if either of the individuals mentioned should be missing, that there shall be no hesitation in placing the responsibility of the act upon its proper authors, and in making them feel in their own persons that murder shall be avenged.

We take no pleasure in placing these remarks upon paper. If a secret band of assassins shall prowl about among this community, who is safe? The fate of Gov. Boggs is an event not to be unheeded. But we should be unworthy of our position should we fail to meet this matter as it deserves. -- And we now call upon General Bennett, if the rumors we have stated have just foundation, to "take his life into his hands," if that be required, and with the true spirit of a soldier and a patriot, expose the crimes, if such exist, of the heaven-daring impostor. -- We call upon Gen. Bennett to come out NOW. We appeal to him to do this in behalf of his fellow-citizens, who claim this of him, by all the considerations which can be presented to him as a lover of his species and as the servant of his God. Such an exposure may save life -- may expose corruption -- may avert consequences which no man can contemplate without fearful apprehensions. We call upon Gen. Bennett to produce documentary evidence, that the public may form opinions that cannot be gainsayed -- that they may understand the entire character, as it stands naked before his God, of a long successful religious impostor.

Among the subjects which we call upon Gen. Bennett, Messrs. S. Rigdon, G. W. Robinson, and others, to notice, are the rumors that Joe Smith, some short time before he applied for the benefits of the Bankrupt Law, was in possession of most valuable property -- a part of which he made over to himself as sole trustee for the use of the Mormon Church, and another part for the use of his wife and children. The records of Hancock county will show if these things are so. And if these rumors are true, we call upon Mr. Robinson to come here with his proof -- and let it be placed before the U. S. Circuit Court at its first session. We trust that there will be no hesitation in doing this -- that there will be no compromise -- no efforts to injure the innocent, and no pains spared to expose the guilty.

Such is the opinion we hold of Gen. Bennett, that we shall expect he will respond to the calls made in this article. It appears to us, under all the circumstances of the case, he will not refuse to do so. While he will be upon his guard against midnight assassination -- while he will regard with contempt the "bulls of excommunication" issued against him -- he will proceed to make developments that will astonish the world.

The People of Illinois will then see the character of that man who has avowed his determination to fill the two first offices of this State with his own creatures -- Thomas Ford and John Moore.

 Sangamo Journal July 29, 1842


We learn from the Warsaw Signal, that gentlemen has gone from Nauvoo. He left a communication with his friends which stated that he had been induced to take this course on account of the treatment of his wife, by Smith, and of the general management of the affairs of the Church by him.

We further learn from other sources, that Smith, finding his attempts on Mr. Pratt were matters of notoriety, went to her husband with a manufactured story, that his wife was a base woman, and that the fact was well known to him. This communication had such an effect upon Mr. Pratt -- at once blasting his happiness and the reputation of a virtuous woman -- that the wretched husband left the city.

It will be recollected that Mrs. Schindle in her affidavit, detailing the attempt of Smith upon her, said -- "He told her she must never tell his proposition to her, for he had all influence in that place, and if she told he would ruin her character, and she would be under the necessity of leaving."

The same scheme has been carried out in reference to Mrs. Pratt. She "told" on the impostor, and was marked by him for destruction. In a public speech in Nauvoo on the 14th, Joe spoke of this lady -- a woman whose reputation had been as fair as virtue could make it until she came in contact with him -- in a manner only befitting the lowest and most degraded vagabond in existence.

The reader can hence learn the state of society at Nauvoo. The facts furnished are presented by the holy Joe himself.

We do not know what course will be pursued by Mr. Pratt, If he sinks under the denunciations and schemes of Joe Smith -- if he fails to defend the reputation of himself and of the woman he has vowed to protect before high heaven -- he will fix a stain upon his character which he can never wash out, and carry to the grave the pangs caused by "the gnawings of the worm that never dies."

We trust that he will secure for himself a more honorable position in life, and will come to the rescue of the fame of his lady, and expose the infamous course of the prophet, as becomes a man, an honorable citizen, and a sincere christian.

Sangamo Journal August 5, 1842


Letter of Col. Robinson to the Quincy Whig -- says that he has not been expelled from the Church of Latter Day Saints -- but that he has been roughly handled by them -- intimates that the public may judge of his case when they see and hear the TESTIMONY -- adverts to the fact that he is a son of a revolutionary Sire, and declares that he shall not flinch in the cause of freedom -- says that individuals are not allowed to withdraw from the Mormon Church -- but that he wishes all men, before his Maker, to understand that he neither desires nor considers himself "any longer a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints."

                                        NAUVOO, July 12, 1842.
To the Editors of the Quincy Whig.

GENTLEMEN: -- I wish through your paper, to respond to an article published in the same of the 9th. inst. as rumor -- embracing my name (in connection with others,) as having been expelled from the Church of Latter Day Saints, joining Bennett's party, &c., &c.

I would say that I have had no knowledge of such an occurrence whatever, and have not been advised of any difficulty existing between the Church and myself in any legal manner -- It is true that I have been pretty roughly handled in the CONGREGATION OF SAINTS, for what offence, I know not: but I have some times thought, I [might] (in the providence and great wisdom of ____ ), have been selected as a SCAPE GOAT, to carry the sins of OTHERS.

I have for a long time desired that some friend would inform me for what purpose that scandalous attacks have, at several times, been made on myself, in connection with Mr. Rigdon, but have at last concluded as above. I will, however, leave all for the public to decide when they shall both see and hear the testimony. I must acknowledge myself a frail being, and am not easily persuaded to surrender my rights to others. My father served in the war of the Revolution, and flinched not in the contest for Freedom! He shall not blush to hear that his son ever failed to maintain it. I say this with all due deference to Prophets, Priests, Kings and Rulers.

As to Bennett's party, and the conspiracy against this people, I only say. FUDGE -- NOT GUILTY. God forbid I ever should conspire to injure the innocent, and the law is all sufficient for the guilty, (If any there are.)

Since Gen. Bennett's withdrawal from the church, I have understood that a Resolution has been passed prohibiting all withdrawals from the church; so if a member wishes to withdraw, he must be expelled and published to the world; this I believe is now the statute of the Church. I now take the opportunity to say to ALL men, before my Maker, that I neither desire nor consider myself, any longer a member of said Church of Latter Day Saints. If necessary, I shall give my reasons for withdrawal at some future time; if not, I shall remain silent.

               Very respectfully, your ob't serv't.
                             GEO. W. ROBINSON.  

The public will learn with great satisfaction, that Col. Robinson has sufficient independence and regard for the best interest of himself and his fellow men, to withdraw from the Mormon church. So well do the public now appreciate the character of Joe Smith and the leaders of the church devoted to him, that no leading men can well remain attached to them but he must suffer in character with the community. We doubt not that there are many well meaning men attached to the church, who are not in the secrets of their leaders, but are duped and deceived.

We trust that Col. Robinson will lay his "testimony" before the public. Surely there should be no secrets in the policy or acts of the leaders of a church of Latter Day Saints that cannot with propriety be revealed. As a son of one of the actors in our glorious revolution we have a right to anticipate, that while he throws off the shackles of "Prophetic, Priests, Kings and Rulers," he will give the "testimony," or reasons that have led him to adopt a course which has raised him in the estimation of the public, and placed him in a position to be of much service to the community.

Sangamo Journal August 26, 1842


It will be recollected that a week or two since, we re-published a communication from the Quincy Whig, written by the gentleman above named, in which he gave notice that he wished no longer to be considered as belonging to the Church of Latter Day Saints, He also added, that the leaders of the Church had adopted a resolution that no person should be permitted to withdraw from the body; but that in all cases, they should be expelled.

The independence manifested by Col. ROBINSON, rendered it necessary, to the Mormon leaders, if possible to destroy his credibility as a witness -- a policy which it appears they adopt on all similar occasions. In pursuance of that policy, the Nauvoo Wasp of the 4th inst. attacks Col. Robinson, alleging that he had sold to different individuals, land, &c., and furnishes the certificates of Carlos Granger and Horace S. Eldridge to prove the allegations.

In reply to these charges, we have received the following communication from Col. Robinson -- which we should think, with all candid men, would settle the matter entirely in his favor.

It is one of the singular features of the cases of these seceding Mormons, that they are all first rate men while belonging to the Mormon church, but so soon as they leave it, they become at once, if their charitable and truth-loving brethren are to be believed, great villains. Such has been the fact in the cases of Gen. Bennett and Col. Robinson. A discerning public will be at no loss to discover the truth in these cases, and others which may occur of a similar character"

For the Sangamo Journal.
NAUVOO, Aug. 8, 1842.

The old adage verified -- "Drowning men will catch at straws." This saying was never more fully verified than in the Wasp of the 4th inst. No doubt the authors supposed it a mighty attempt to stop my mouth, by getting a pair of worthies to certify, for the chief of defamation, thinking, as I suppose, that this, of course, would be a silencer -- a fair earthquake. If it were not that "birds" of a feather will flock together," it is very doubtful if there are any human beings on the globe, who would think their cause bettered by a certificate of Carlos Granger, a perfect drunken vagabond, and an absolute disgrace to the human species -- but then every man to his taste.

Now for the certificates for this pair of worthies. To give the whole history of the matter. would take considerable time and space, and would be too great a tax upon the patience of the public. I would merely say, that on the 30th Aug. 1839, I made a contract with this Carlos Granger, to sell him a piece of land, for a certain consideration -- gave a bond, running 30 days -- consideration $200. The 30 days passed -- no money came -- Granger came to see me a short time after and said he would pay all in a few days; said Joseph Smith had borrowed his money, and he could not get it. I told him I would take it if payed within one week, as I wanted money to use on my journey to New England; and told him I sold it for less than half of what I had been offered on a credit [of] six months; he came and paid $87 -- and that ended the payments. In the mean time he had got possession of the same. Granger remains in possession at the present time.

I took counsel from SYDNEY H. LITTLE, Esq. He informed me that, as Granger had forfeited his contract, I was no longer holden to him any farther than to pay him back what he had paid me. I sent to Granger several times to come and settle with me, and take the land he had paid for, &c. He utterly refused to settle, but said he would have the whole land or nothing, and would pay me when he pleased. Mr. Little told me to sell the land, and pay him they money when called for. I sold the land, or part of it to Mr. Horace S. Eldridge, as he states in his certificate, for some Missouri property. When Eldridge came to this place he saw Granger, and then told me he would rather have some other property. I informed him I would warrant and defend the place sold to him; but he concluded not to wait for a law suit, but said he would take some town property. I had just bought two lots of Mr. Church of Missouri, paid him $1000 -- the amount that said Church paid Joseph Smith for the lots a few days before. Eldridge complained at the price, and I was anxious to satisfy him if possible. He offered me $700 for the two lots, and house. I finally let him have the property and deeded it over to him. If he was ever dissatisfied about the arrangement, he certainly never intimated the same to me; and I presume he never thought of complaining until it would answer the ends of certain individuals to do so.

I commenced suit against Granger, and it would have been tried at the may term of the circuit court; but Joseph Smith sent for me one day, just before court, and wanted to settle the matter between Granger and myself. Smith had been Granger's attorney, and had employed Esq. Warren, of Quincy, to attend Granger's case. We finally agreed upon a settlement, and I have held myself in readiness to comply according to agreement; and I withdrew the suit from court, paid the cost, with an understanding that the matter was all settled. I now have the terms of settlement, as agreed upon in writing, under the hand of C. A. Warren, Esq.

So much for this attempt at defamation. This attack upon my character is in perfect accordance with other things which have shown themselves -- that is, if it is feared that a man has it in his power to make disclosures, his character is assailed, to destroy the validity of his testimony, and save the guilty from reproach.

If there is not a scape-goat needed, why then seek for one? Why make efforts which show to the world that the entire object of those who attack me is to conceal some hidden things, or some thing done in secret? Such wanton attacks, such shameful condescensions, and such low [ribaldry?], which speaks a language not to be mistaken, that a scape-goat is not only needed, but diligently sought for.

As to the doctrine prohibiting any member from withdrawing from the church, which the men if the Wasp deny, I have only to say, that B. YOUNG, President of the Quorum of Twelve, did say in a public congregation on the 18th of June, that no member could withdraw from said church, and that Bennett had no right to withdraw, but should have been expelled; and then and there the said Bennett was expelled in pursuance of this doctrine; and Joseph Smith was also present, and did acquiesce in the same settlement. And for testimony of which I now say you, men of the Wasp, for out of the dozen would be editors, who are prowling and loafing about the printing office, it would be difficult to ascertain the editors!

For the truth of the statement about the land contract, I would refer the public to the documents themselves. The don't often lie. Sidney Rigdon is also acquainted with the circumstances, and will say the same as is here said. As to the character of the said Granger, I submit to any gentleman who knows him.

Respectfully, &c.


Sangamo Journal September 23, 1842

More of Joe Smith's Villainies!

Communication of J. F. Olney,


                          La Harpe, Hancock Co., Sept. 10, 1842.
Editor, Sangamo Journal:

Dear Sir: -- I wish to make through the medium of your paper, a public withdrawal from the church of Latter Day Saints, as I cannot longer consent to remain a member of said church while polygamy, lasciviousness and adultery are practiced by some of its leaders. That crimes of the deepest dye are tolerated and practiced by them, cannot be doubted.

I have heard the circumstances of Smith's attack upon Miss Rigdon, from the family as well as herself, -- and knowing her to be a young lady who sustains a good moral character, and also of undoubted veracity, I must place implicit confidence in her statements, the foul insinuations of that miserable little insect the Wasp, to the contrary notwithstanding.

And having a personal knowledge of Smith's lying at different times in the name of the Lord, I cannot for a moment doubt but he did so in the case above alluded to. Smith is so fearful that his character (which is poorest where best known) is about to take a sudden flight to parts unknown -- that he has lately either by himself on the public stand, or by his organ the Wasp, attacked the character of every person, who he thinks will demur and proclaim against his conduct, and been called upon by the public to state what they know about the matter, and who have thus far refrained from taking part with either side -- these are they who feel the indignation and wrath of the Prophet Smith, and who suffer in the MORMON community by foul calumny of these debauchees.

I know that Miss Rigdon has been greatly mortified by being obtruded before the public -- nevertheless it was unavoidable on her part, and if Smith succeeds in extricating himself from the awful dilemma in which he has placed himself, by obtaining her certificate to the contrary, then I am much mistaken in the character of Miss Rigdon. It is true that Mr. Rigdon has endeavored to allay the excitement upon this subject, and has evaded a direct answer to the public, as far as he could consistently with truth, but that part which is true he has left untouched. -- The fact of Smith's wishing to marry Miss Rigdon as a spiritual wife, of his attack upon her virtue, his teachings about his having the blessings of Jacob, &c. &c., as stated in General Bennett's letters, ARE TRUE; and if I am called upon to prove it, I SHALL DO IT to the satisfaction of the public, and to the chagrin and mortification of Smith and others. The letter published purporting to be from Smith to Miss Rigdon, was not in Smith's hand-writing, but in the hand-writing of Dr. Willard Richards, who officiated not only as scribe, but post boy, for the Prophet, and who DID say that he wrote the letter as dictated by Joseph Smith, and said Joseph Smith did say, on a certain occasion, that he did direct said Richards to write a letter to Miss Nancy Rigdon; and I now say I stand ready to prove these allegations by as respectable WITNESSES as can be produced in Hancock County, and if Smith has no other means by which he can extricate himself from this complexis argumentum bicornis, then by endeavoring to blast the characters of the innocent and unoffending, to shield himself from infamy and disgrace, then let him fire his Tormentum Murale -- and be gathered unto his Fathers.