Mormon History

Olson Hyde Versus William Smith - 1845

Warsaw Signal November 26, 1845


We, this week, publish the letter of Bill Smith in reply to the letter of Orson Hyde inviting him to become reconciled and return to Nauvoo. It will be seen that Bill is in earnest in his denunciations of the Twelve and that the quarrel between them is of an irreconcilable nature. Smith feels that he has been wronged and is determined to have revenge. He has therefore stationed himself in St. Louis where he is lecturing on the corruptions of the present Mormon dynasty and exposing the iniquities practiced in Nauvoo. -- This is evidently galling to the Saints and they are determined, now they cannot reconcile him, to sink him if possible.

Smith has, however, it appears some pretty strong supporters, and amongst these Elder Olney, whose expose will, in part, be found in another column of today's paper. G. J. Adams is also figuring in St. Louis, as appears from the following advertisement, which we find in the St. Louis Reveille of the 20th inst.


A Lecture Extraordinary.

At the new and splendid Lyceum Hall, northwest corner of Third and Pine streets, on Thursday evening November 28, at 7 o'clock.

Mr. G. J. ADAMS (formerly a Mormon) will deliver a lecture as above upon the Wickedness, Corruptions and Abominations, of the present organization of Mormons, and proposes a plan by which Nauvoo may be overthrown, with honor and credit to the country.

The following subjects will be treated upon, viz: -- The deceptions practised by their present leaders -- their designs against the Government of the United States -- also the State of Missouri -- their league with the Indians -- the plurality of wives, or Spiritual Wife Doctrine -- their object in gathering the people together -- their abominable and wicked practices -- their humbug expedition to California, &c., &c., &c.

Admittance -- 25 cents.

N. B. -- Ladies will not be admitted."

... [From the following] correspondence between Orson Hyde, one of the Mormon Twelve, and Wm. Smith, the Mormon Patriarch, it will be seen that the Mormons have resorted to paper bullets:

                     Nauvoo, Oct. 28, 1845.
Bro. Wm. Smith:
          I take this opportunity to express my surprise and regret at the course you have taken in leaving this place under the circumstances that existed at the time, and still more am I surprised on reading your proclamation. Wm., that was a cruel thrust, but its barbed point will pierce none but you. And to cap the climax, that you should send a bundle of these pamphlets to Tom Sharp, as if thereby to win the sympathy of the very man whom you have the best reason to believe was the real instigator of the murder of your brother Joseph and Hiram.

Now, William, I know all your plans as well as you do yourself. I know what you wrote before you left here. I know what you have done in the east and precisely what your influence is there.

Although I have written so plainly to you, William, I want to be your friend. -- I beseech you in the name of God to come speedily back to Nauvoo. You shall not be harmed. Your mother's heart is grieved and broken. You are her son, she feels for you, and all the church feel for you. We feel that you have aimed a deadly blow at us, still we fear no evil therefrom; but all would be glad to forgive you, if you will only come within the reach of our forgiveness, in your person and your spirit. You may think that you have no friends in Nauvoo, but, William, I know that your best, and only real friends are here. I will give you a sign by which you may know yourself that God is not pleased with your course, and I do not claim the aid of inspiration, either. No one of your plans or schemes will succeed according to your expectation. -- The Keys of the Priesthood command the influence and power of the Church. If you have their influence and power, you have the Keys. But if you have not, you have no grounds to indulge that thought. "All things must be done by common consent" saith the law of the church. Now, brother William, struggle against your friends no more. But return to us, and we will do you good and not harm. There is no one here that wishes to harm the hair of your head. Come home, then, and abide in the council of your brethren! -- If you do not, you cannot prosper.

With feelings of great anxiety, for your welfare, both here and hereafter.

I am your friend and well wisher,
                    ORSON HYDE.

                     St. Louis, Nov. 12, 1845.
To Mr. Orson Hyde, of Nauvoo::
      Sir: -- I am in receipt of your communication per Mr. J. Salsbury, of the 28th inst., and am certainly quite as much surprised at your attempt to persuade me from a proper line of duty and principle, as you possibly can be at the mode and manner I have adopted to resent the injuries I have sustained, and the base ingratitude to which I was subjected during my sojourn at Nauvoo. Have you, sir, not aided and assisted in robbing me, and those with whom I am connected, of the powers and privileges in the church to which I was lawfully entitled?

As regards the injured feelings of my aged mother to which you have the baseness and audacity to refer, permit me to say, that you and the balance of the "Twelve" alone have been the contributor to her sufferings, and could the gaping wounds of that widowed parent's heart but give utterance, and tell you the origin and source of her grief, your heart, although petrified and dead to every principle of charity and gratitude, would soften at the bleeding tale, and exhibit to you one of the guilty authors of her troubles, and the corrupt and damning influence which governs and characterizes your present course of conduct in connexion with the spurious "Twelve." Your contemplated sheet charges me with being the cause of her grief and trouble, but you are well aware of the falsity of such an assertion. The treacherous dishonesty and secret combinations of you and your sycophants, and the unhallowed course of the present assumed leaders of the Church; have been the sole and only cause; and had you possessed the least spark of even expiring veracity, or the nobleness of soul, and sympathy of feeling which characterizes humanity, principle would have shuddered and justice revoked even an allusion to that

I am here as an exile driven from my home, and that, too, by the requisition of your leaders in secret council, who deliberated upon the necessity of my murder, and required that the sacrifice of my blood should be made as speedily as possible. Providence aided me in my escape from the armed assassins, who were employed by their leader or President Brigham Young. These statements you will, no doubt, deny; but they are no less true.

The arrow of revenge is sharp, and when wielded by the strong arm of a Saint, will not fall powerless and harmless, at your feet. None have reason to fear but the guilty wretch who shrinks from the presence of an honest community, and seeks refuge beyond the power of the law and the order of civilization.

You are well advised of the fact, that I have been wronged and robbed by my pretended friends, among whom I rank your saintly self, and that, too, in an hour when I had but little reason to anticipate danger. Did you or any one of your leaders repudiate the operations and secret workings of Brigham Young to destroy my privileges -- nay, even to destroy his unsuspecting victim? Oh, no, on the contrary, efforts and influences were used for the consummation of the outrage which was contemplated against me, by the diplomatical representative of his satantic majesty.

You, in the most barefaced and hypocritical manner invite me to return to Nauvoo. Upon what principle, or based upon what assumption, I am at a loss to conjecture, except that your wicked Twelve feel too keenly the sting occasioned by my safe retreat, and that you yet seek the destruction of one who opposes, in spirit and in truth, the principles and doctrines which are practised and preached in that city, and sink of iniquity. I look upon you with as much tenacity as if you were a fallen angel whose heart is sufficiently black even to darken the gloomiest prison of hell, (not one of your present colleagues excepted.) And, sir, were you aware of the injuries and wrongs which your so very kind hearted brethren have committed, and their secret plottings to rob you of every thing calculated to sweeten life or render existence desireable, no atonement could heal the wounds inflicted upon your feelings. You would not hold your peace day or night, nor give rest to your body, or slumber to your eye-lids, until the iniquitous character and conduct of your present associates were proclaimed upon the housetops. But, doubtless, some things for the present must remain a mystery to you, until by traversing the cheerless wilderness of the west, you awaken as from a reverie. Then, too, will you find yourself shorn of all power and authority, and perhaps call to recollection the facts which I have stated in this letter. Again, I say they have sought with avidity to destroy the temple of virtue, and sanctity of your happiness. Can you, therefore, after these startling developments and facts, continue to aid and encourage those robbers of your domestic happiness, and sworn enemies of your prosperity and welfare? I may, before I leave this subject, be allowed to intimate to you that Willard Richards, as well as your assumed President, B. Young, are any thing but friends of yours, and time will satisfy you fully of the truth of this remark, as well as of many that, for the present, are forbidden.

I am fully prepared to establish each and every assertion I am now making, and bid defiance to contradiction, although it is but reasonable to expect that you[r] co-demons in Nauvoo, will attempt a reply and denial of these statements. But by whom do the chosen heads of the Church consist? Why sir, of yourself and those who at this time, are a libel and disgrace to humanity, corrupt in principle, character, conduct and reputation. -- With any honest man from Nauvoo, who will meet me in this city; I am quite ready and willing to test the strength of my cause, or of my veracity in the pulpit, or to submit to the deliberations of a jury of my fellow citizens.

I have not the least cause to regret the course I am now pursuing. It is for the cause of virtue, and the result of calm reflection, influenced by a heart struggling for life and liberty, and revolting against the murder, stratagem and treason so carefully matured and rocked in that cradle of crime, Nauvoo. If you think that I am so lost, to every principle of honor that I would surrender one particle of the right which you know legally belongs to me, you are egregiously in error. I have a spirit which will breathe upon your organized band of assassins, murders and robbers, a lava which will soon extinguish the flame of ingratitude now burning against me. This is the first eruption, and be careful that the volcano of truth does not open with terrible effect upon your guilty heads; can it be possible that any person possessing the ordinary capacity of a liberal being can imagine for one moment, that B. Young., or any of the Twelve who are rebels to the original principles and practices of Mormonism, are in possession of the keys of any kingdom, except those of the blackest regions of darkness.

You remark that you know what my influence is in the Eastern States, and what I have written. This does not in the slightest degree surprise me, and for your information, I will say, that I am perfectly well aware of the secret manner in which you, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, and the rest of the Twelve, and many others of my (brethren and) pretended friends, have for some months labored to weaken and destroy the confidence reposed in me by my brethren at the East. The bite of the adder is poisonous, and it seeks its prey upon the highway; just so have you and your hypocritical brethren endeavored to ensnare me into difficulty and crime; but I prefer being the bitten stranger and injured victim, rather than to dwell (in a den of snakes) among a set of people who are daily outraging every principle of morality, and that, too under the most solemn pretended authority from God. I desire no honors from such a band of pharisees and robbers, as I know many of these apostolic scoundrels are. Time will fully establish the truth of every charge I make against them. I am now prepared openly and boldly, to expose every secret evil which is practised by Brigham Young and his brother leaders at Nauvoo, and elsewhere. I'm not now surrounded by an armed body of men, employed by the leaders of a Church to destroy the persons and property of those who honestly differ with them in religious opinion, and are bound by oaths to murder indiscriminately whoever may oppose the secret and wicked plans and practices of the immaculate Brigham Young. As a specimen of the moral degradation existing among you, I will mention Parley P. Pratt as a fit subject to introduce. You are well aware that this unassuming and righteous apostle came from the East, a few days since, in company with a female whose appearance and conduct bear sufficient evidence of his utter disregard of virtue or religion. This is not the only crime he is guilty of. His iniquitous conduct is well known in the East and speaks for itself. It is needless for me to enlighten you further upon the character of B. Young, John Taylor, W. Richards, and many others who are continually preaching the doctrine, and openly practising adultery; for this you know too well. Let these dreadful monsters dare to go to the Eastern States, and I think it would not be long before they would find out that in some instances "corn cobs have not been shelled for nothing."

You speak of the Keys going with the body of the Church. This I deny. You know such a statement is false; for the law of God teaches no such thing. On the contrary, you know that the Keys control and govern the church in every matter connected with its ecclesiastical government. Where I would ask were the Keys, the power and blessing of the holy Priesthood, when the multitude of Israel followed and worshipped the golden Calf. It requires no vision to inform you that the Keys were in possession of the few, while the multitude followed their apostate leaders, among whom Aaron was most conspicuous. What was the result? Did they not have to drink the bitterness of their own folly. Yes, sir, and ere long the followers of the present despot, B. Young will have to drink a similar draught. -- Scripture and reason teach us that those who are led by wicked rulers must necessarily be astray, and powerless as those who govern and direct then; for wicked rulers have neither Priesthood nor power. My Priesthood was conferred upon me by a higher power than the iniquitous Twelve. It was conferred by a just God who never errs and who cannot look upon sin with the slightest degree of allowance of palliation. You remark, if I have not the influence of the Church I must not indulge the thought of having the Keys of the Priesthood. Where and in what condition was the Church when my brother Joseph received his Priesthood? You will certainly grant that it was conferred upon him by some means, (other than the Church.) You will no doubt say that I was ordained. So I was; but not by either the church or the Twelve; for before they were, "I am." Admitting, for the sake of argument, that they ever ordained me it amounts then to a ceremony only, and by no means conferring any right or power to which I was entitled. For this, I inherit by lineage, according to the tenets of the original church of Latter Day Saints. My brother Joseph was also baptised and ordained by Oliver Cowdery. -- Now, sir, you might as well claim, that this man was, or is now the head of the Church and the author of Joseph Smith's Priesthood, as to claim that the Church or the Twelve are the origin or authors of mine; and what the Church did not give she cannot take away. I received what I possess, not from the church, but from the Great Author of the Universe, through my brother Joseph and father, by ordination and lawful inheritance.

I care not for your boasted pretensions to rule, and authority in the church, for I am independent of any such band of lying hypocrites, as I know the present rulers to be. They are apostates in every sense of the word from the true church of Christ and it does not require the aid of revelation to establish the truth of this statement, (although upon this subject there is an abundance).

Your invitation to return to the quorum of the twelve, I treat with that calm and dignified scorn which such barefaced hypocrisy justly merits. No sir, I return no more to such a den of thieves and quorum of iniquity. I am fixed in my course and firm as the Rock of Gibraltar; and I protest against your proceedings and conduct. I know there are many friends now in Nauvoo who are afraid to express their opinion, but it will not always be so. As regards the course I am taking, make yourselves as contented as possible, for I do not apprehend any alarm as to my success, for I think my chances are quite as encouraging as yours possibly can be, in the event of your departure to the wild and cheerless far-west. Your tyrant usurpers will there be shielded from civilized law, and ere long you will be made to feel the lash of their power. My life and exertions will be (in order to perpetrate the names of my father's family and with honor to the noble martyred brothers Joseph and Hiram wipe away the disgrace, the stain, the evils that, since their deaths, have crept into the church. And by too frequent use of their names, the twelve are carrying out the most wicked, base and unhallowed purposes that could be devised under the cloak of Joseph and Hiram's names. Brethren! be assured that Joseph or Hiram never would have sanctioned the present wicked plans of the twelve; their corruption, their sink of iniquity, their removal to the wilderness, their doctrine of polygamy, usurpation, etc.) exercise for the redemption of the church to its original purity, and the rights of my father's and brother's family. I am by no means discouraged, but that I will finally succeed, I have no doubt. -- I am willing by the help of God to try it, at least for six years to come.

You say that I sent a bundle of pamphlets to the editor of the Signal at Warsaw. This is a falsehood. If any was sent to that gentleman, I was not aware of it. -- But I understand what you mean by this subject. It is done for affect, as a great many other things are done at Nauvoo for the same purpose, such as fasting and prayer, a proclamation, or an avowal of friendship before the public, but in secret council sworn and inveterate enemies. Oh shame, where is thy blush! Look upon these hypocrites and then hide thy face with confusion. The best evidence we have of a man's friendship is in his works and not in his professions. Let him that has wronged his brother restore fourfold, or he will be damned and go to hell. But I am well satisfied that your rascally twelve can find some scoundrels, enough to condemn and swear away the life of any one upon whom they wish to be revenged.

I will conclude by earnestly hoping that you will come as a humble penitent, seeking forgiveness, that you may find mercy while it is called to-day. Flee, I say, flee the wrath to come, and wash your hands of all iniquity, and give your aid to the re-building of the pure and original principles of the religion and kingdom of Jesus Christ, as taught by my brothers Joseph and Hiram.

Your well wisher and friend; in all good works.     WM. SMITH.
                                                                       Patriarch of the Church.