The Danites a "Must"
One cannot long explore the dark half-world of the anti-Mormon classics without finding oneself in the lair of the terrible Danites. It is more than a racy seasoning that the Danite brotherhood brings to the seething cauldron of the myth makers—they are nothing less than the prime ingredient of the stew.
"Fear of Porter Rockwell and his Destroying Angels was the most powerful influence within the Mormon church," Messrs. Kelly and Birney solemnly assure us in their classic study of the Danites, ". . . but for the fear of Rockwell and his Danites, Mormonism would not have long survived its enforced hegira to the savage deserts of the Great Basin."1 "What is now the news circulated throughout the United States?" said Brigham Young in 1857, the year of Johnston's Army, "That Captain Gunnison was killed by Brigham Young, and that Babbitt was killed on the Plains by Brigham Young and his Danite band. What more? That Brigham Young has killed all the men who have died between the Missouri river and California. . . . Such are the newspaper stories."2 In that same year, according to our Ann Eliza, " 'Altars of sacrifice' were loudly recommended [the quotation marks prove that], and the victims were advised to place themselves thereon voluntarily; if they would not become willing sacrifices, they became involuntary ones, for 'somebody' took the matter in hand, and saw that the 'atonement' was made. Usually this mysterious 'somebody' was one of the 'Danites,' or 'Destroying-Angels.' . . . It is said that the band had its origin in Missouri. . . . But they never became so very notorious until the 'Reformation' times, when their peculiar talents were called into play, and their services into constant requisition."3 Mr. Wallace can appreciate Ann Eliza's own terror of "fantasied strangulation at the hands of one of Brigham's fanatical Danites,"4 for though the strangulation might be fantasied, "nothing was utterly impossible on that . . . paranoiac frontier"5 (i.e., there might have been Danites after all).
In the four passages just quoted, the appeal to the Danites is neither casual nor playful—those Danites are an absolute necessity. They are necessary to supply by inference the evidence against Brigham Young and the Mormons that is so sorely needed and so conspicuously absent. We have learned from our dames savantes that ordinary Mormons, like Ann Eliza's friends and neighbors, were just plain folks, the unsuspecting dupes of a depraved hierarchy; they never suspected what was really going on and were simple enough to believe that Indians killed people. On the other hand, said depraved hierarchy carefully abstained from criminal acts: "As loudly as the Mormon leaders talked to the people about doing their 'dirty work' themselves, they, nevertheless, shrank from soiling their own fingers," so that even Brigham Young "would probably avow himself entirely guiltless, since his hand did not perform the deed."6 With the common people "humble, spiritual-minded, God-fearing, law-abiding,"7 and somehow managing to ignore the clarion call of their leaders to "dirty work," and with the leaders themselves fastidiously refraining from "soiling their own fingers," what evidence have we got against the Mormons? Who was carrying on the efficient and brazen system of mass murder that for years filled all the Utah valleys with altars and graves—none of which has ever been discovered? Who but the Danites, who, as Kelly and Birney observe, operated so very secretly that one can hardly be asked to produce evidence of their activities.8
The Danites thus supply the anti-Mormon fraternity with a blank check backed by unlimited reserves of horror. Any unexplained death is automatically their doing; accidents don't just happen on the frontier—they are Danite manipulations; we need not bother with the extensive evidence that the Indians were numerous and deadly in the West and along the routes,9 for we know that people just talk about Indians because "they dare not say boldly who they believe those 'Indians' are."10 Even when an official non-Mormon investigation supported the obvious explanation of a disaster, as in the case of Captain Gunnison, the whole thing was just a cover-up for the Danites. Well, why not?—any calamity might be a Danite doing. "Even then," says Ann Eliza of her unimpeded escape to Ogden in 1874, "the 'Danites,' those terrible ministers of Mormon vengeance, might be upon our track."11 And Mr. Wallace nods vigorous assent: they might indeed, for, evidence or no evidence, "nothing was utterly impossible on that still rough and paranoiac frontier."12
The "Mormon Version"
It is significant that those who have written on the Danites, from Bennett to Brooks, have not bothered to mention that the earliest and fullest discussion of the subject is by Joseph Smith himself. Is it not odd that they will not consider this account—coming four years earlier than Bennett's lurid exposé—even as a point of departure? Where evidence is so extremely scarce, one would think a word from any source would be welcome; but unfortunately the early Mormon accounts of the Danites are so perfectly plausible and consistent that the creative writer is denied the perfect liberty he enjoys where hints and whispers are his only control.
In October 1838, Joseph Smith recounted the history and background of the Danites as it had been brought to his attention. "Doctor Sampson Avard," he says, "who had been in the Church but a short time, . . . was secretly aspiring to be the greatest of the great, and become the leader of the people."13 He began by holding secret meetings, the room being "well guarded by some of his followers," where he claimed "that he had the sanction of the heads of the Church . . . and proceeded to administer to the few under his control, an oath, binding them to everlasting secrecy."14 Speaking as a true religious enthusiast, he "would often affirm to his company that the principal men of the Church had put him forward as a spokesman, and a leader of this band, which he named Danites."15 After daily preliminary meetings, "he held meetings to organize his men into companies of tens and fifties. . . . He then called his captains together and taught them" as basic doctrine, " 'the riches of the Gentiles shall be consecrated to my people, the house of Israel; and thus you will waste away the Gentiles by robbing and plundering them, . . . and in this way we will build up the kingdom of God.' " This he followed up with dire threats against any who should jeopardize the secrecy of the society. "At this lecture all of the officers revolted," and when Avard protested that a new dispensation called for a new moral code, he was unanimously voted down and gave way. Avard suggested "that they had better drop the subject, although he had received his authority from Sidney Rigdon the evening before. The meeting then broke up; the eyes of those present were opened," and henceforth "very little confidence was placed in him, even by the warmest of the members of his Danite scheme."16 "When a knowledge of Avard's rascality came to the Presidency of the Church, he was cut off from the Church, and every measure proper used to destroy his influence, at which he was highly incensed, and went about whispering his evil insinuations, but finding every effort unavailing, he again turned conspirator, and sought to make friends with the mob."17
For a firsthand story of these events—which were only reported to Joseph Smith by others—we are beholden to Lorenzo Dow Young, whose confidential and unpublished remarks to his nephew on the evening of February 5, 1890, were made with no thought of the market or the public in mind.18 They can be trusted. The old man began by remarking that he had been reading Bancroft's story of the Danites in which their founding was erroneously attributed to David W. Patten. Even the anti-Mormon writer, T. B. H. Stenhouse, incidentally, notes that Patten was the victim of deliberately cultivated falsehoods about the Danites.19 As Mr. Young tells it, "he first heard of Dr. Avard" when "he was sent by the Prophet Joseph on a mission" to "the South-east corner of the State of Ohio," where Avard was presiding over a branch of the Church. In his tour of inspection, Brother Young was disturbed by what he found at Avard's church: "He . . . did not like the spirit or teachings of the man." Later he found "that the Dr. and Elder S. Rigdon were on quite intimate terms, and that the latter was considerably tinctured with the ideas and spirits of the former." When Lorenzo Young reported on his mission to the First Presidency, and came to report on Avard's doings, "Elder Rigdon manifested his displeasure," he says, "by animadverting rather sharply on my remarks"; but Joseph Smith encouraged him to go on and make a full report "without fear or favor." Whereupon he declared that Avard impressed him as being a rascal, and assured Rigdon, "Give Dr. Avard time and he will prove that he is a consummate hypocrite and a wicked man."20
Later in the summer of the same year (1838), Brother Young went with other Saints to Far West, Missouri, where he learned that Dr. Avard had already arrived on the scene and was "holding secret meetings attended by a few who were especially invited. I was one of the favored few."21 Avard had very winning ways with what Joseph Smith calls "his smooth, flattering, and winning speeches, which he frequently made to his associates."22 So Lorenzo Young sat in and learned that Avard's group was "a secret organization of which, so far as I know, he was the originator and over which he presided. At one of these meetings he stated that the title by which the members of the society were known, 'Danites' interpreted meant 'Destroying Angels.' He also stated that the organization was to take vengeance on their enemies. . . . The teachings and proceedings appeared to be wicked, bloodthirsty, and in direct antagonism to the principles taught by the leaders of the Church, and the Elders generally." Here then were the wicked Danites in embryo. Then came the showdown:
The culmination finally arrived. At one of the meetings Dr. Avard particularly required that all present who had been attending the meetings should at once join the society by making the required covenants, and I was especially designated. I asked the privilege of speaking which was granted. I began to state my reasons to joining the society, and was proceeding to state my reasons and in them expose its wickedness, when Dr. Avard peremptorily ordered me to be seated. I objected to sitting down until I had fully expressed my views. He threatened to put the law of the organization in force there and then. I stood directly in front of him and was well prepared for the occasion. I told him with all the emphasis of my nature, in voice and manner [i.e., he lost his temper], that I had as many friends in the house as he had, and if he made a motion to carry out his threat he should not live to get out of the house for I would instantly kill him. He did not try to put his threat in execution, but the meeting broke up. From the meeting I went directly to Brother Brigham and related the whole history of the affair. He said he had long suspicioned that something wrong was going on, but had seen no direct development. He added we will go at once to brother Joseph who has suspicioned that some secret wickedness was being carried on by Dr. Avard. Dr. Avard was at once cited before the authorities of the Church and cut off for his wickedness. He turned a bitter enemy of the saints.23
The ex- and anti-Mormon T. B. H. Stenhouse, Fanny's husband, confirms the important part of the affair when he writes, "Joseph and the Church withdrew fellowship from Avard, his Danite organizations were broken up, his teachings were disavowed; he shook hands with the mob, and asserted that Danitism in the Church was a fact."24 Even Ann Eliza admits that "Joseph Smith . . . repeatedly repudiated both them and their deeds of violence,"25 a detail which Wallace overlooks. Faced with a complete lack of evidence to incriminate the leaders of the Church, Mr. Stenhouse falls back on the argument that "the strict surveillance which 'the authorities' exercise over the actions of individuals" makes it hard to believe "that Dr. Avard was alone in the organization of the Danite Band."26 But we have already seen from the "Mormon version" that he had the support of Rigdon; the question is whether he received official recognition. Actually the Avard situation is a familiar one to many who have lived in distant branches of the Church. To say that the "surveillance of 'the authorities' " extends to checking the actions of individuals in hundreds of widely scattered branches is simply ridiculous. Any surveillance of the members of a ward or branch must be exercised through the bishop or president of the organization—and Avard happened to be the president of a branch in an outlying district: and many a branch president has abused his splendid isolation exactly as Avard did.
Avard's behavior from first to last is thoroughly typical. His aspirations "to be the greatest of the great, and become the leader of the people," are still to be found among a certain class of Mormons, and, as Brigham Young recalls, in the time of Joseph Smith the Church was fairly swarming with half-baked converts and dangerous crackpots. The members of the Church today are far more responsive to the General Authorities than they were in the days of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, when only a small minority paid any heed to such principles as tithing or the Word of Wisdom, and yet grandiose schemes and exotic doctrines still have a way of springing up almost anywhere. If Avard had, as he claimed, "the sanction of the heads of the Church," why did he hold his meetings secretly, barring Church members in good standing? The Mormons did have a very necessary military organization—for "border ruffianism" of the Bushwhacker and Jayhawker variety was a reality, reaching its most deadly excesses in the two decades after the Mormons left the area—but they made no secret of it. If there was anything in the world that Joseph Smith would not tolerate, it was a private army, organized and led by an untried newcomer to the Church. Also, it is not true that "by robbing and plundering . . . we will build up the kingdom of God,"27 for that is not the way anything is built up, and nobody knew that better than Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, for no two men in history have given more convincing proof of knowing what does build a society.
When Ann Eliza and Mrs. Stenhouse failed to realize their personal ambitions in the Church, they went about "whispering evil insinuations," as is perfectly clear from their own writings; and when that got them nowhere they both turned against the Church and "made friends with the mob." We cite their case to show how typical Avard's behavior was. The entire corpus of anti-Mormon literature draws its substance largely from such people. The process is still going on. There are various groups in the Rocky Mountains today under the leadership of ambitious and disgruntled men and women who have turned against the Church exactly like Avard. To the outsider, these groups—some of them emphasizing polygamy, others communal living, others the supremacy of self-appointed leaders—are all simply Mormons, and indeed some of them deliberately seek to give that impression. The Church in modern as in ancient times has always moved amidst a swarm of such satellites, and while nine out of ten Latter-day Saints know nothing of their existence, it is easy for those on the outside to identify them with the Church. And it was an easy thing for Avard to stir up the Missourians by insisting that the Danites were a part of the Church. That is the crux of the matter. The story as the Mormons give it is strictly true to form.
The Church did organize bands of tens and fifties, as Joseph Smith points out, but "let it be distinctly understood, that these companies of tens and fifties got up by Avard, were altogether separate and distinct from those companies of tens and fifties organized by the brethren for self defense. . . . One company would be engaged in drawing wood, another in cutting it, another in gathering corn, another in grinding, another in butchering, another in distributing meat, etc., etc. . . . Therefore, let no one hereafter, by mistake or design, confound this organization of the Church . . . with the organization of the 'Danites,' of the apostate Avard, which died almost before it had existed."28 This warning has gone unheeded by Juanita Brooks, who would prove the existence of Mormon Danites by a statement of Joseph A. Stout: "The Church organized under captains Tens, Fifties, One Hundreds, and One Thousands. . . . They [the Missourians] called our organization the DANITE BAND."29 Of course they did, and Joseph Smith has just explained why—because the frustrated Avard had gone about telling the Missourians that the Mormon organization was the Danites.
Against her admission (ignored by Wallace) that "Joseph Smith . . . repeatedly repudiated both them and their deeds of violence," Mrs. A.E.W.D.Y. Denning places the testimonies of the apostates Marsh and Hyde (hailed with glee by Wallace). Yet all she can make of them is that two men swore affidavits "against Joseph and the Mormons in general, accusing them of the grossest crimes and outrages, as well as of abetting the Danites and their deeds."30 "Abetting" is pretty weak; no one claims that Joseph and the Mormons in general were Danites or even that they organized the Danites, but only that they "abetted" them and their deeds—just as anyone who is not to the Right of everybody else in politics is accused of "abetting" Communism.
Even weaker is the affidavit itself (Hyde merely confirmed Marsh's report in a single sentence: "The most of the statements in the foregoing disclosure I know to be true; the remainder I believe to be true")31—which, far from confirming Ann Eliza's charge of "grossest crimes and outrages," speaks only of the Danites' dire capabilities, with never a word about their deeds:
They have among them a company, considered true Mormons, called the Danites, who have taken an oath to support the heads of the Church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong. Many, however, of this band are much dissatisfied with this oath, as being against moral and religious principles. On Saturday last, I am informed by the Mormons, that they had a meeting at Far West, at which they appointed a company of twelve, by the name of the 'Destruction Company,' for the purpose of burning and destroying, and that if the people of Buncombe came to do mischief upon the people of Caldwell, and committed depredations upon the Mormons, they were to burn Buncombe.32
This is followed by a report that Joseph Smith had earlier said that he would bear down on his enemies, Moslem fashion, with the sword. This has nothing to do with the Danites, and Marsh and Hyde both retracted their "confessions" later and returned to the Church. But even at its worst, what could be more vague and hedging? "They have among them a company, considered true Mormons, called the Danites." That agrees perfectly with Joseph Smith's own statement: There was such a society, they did consider themselves true Mormons, and Avard did give them the name of Danites. The trick of Marsh's testimony is to make it appear that the Latter-day Saints themselves considered the group true Mormons and called them Danites—though the affidavit is careful not to say so. Next, the resolution of the Danites to support the heads of the Church is meant to signify that the heads of the Church are supporting them—again, without saying so. Even within "this band," however, there are many who do not go along. Note that at no time is it claimed that any authority of the Church was actually a member, or even approved of the society, let alone that the Church organized it officially—a thing which Marsh, as ex-President of the Twelve Apostles, was in a better position to know than anyone else.
Next Mr. Marsh reports: "On Saturday last, I am informed by the Mormons, that they had a meeting at Far West." He has been talking about the Danites, and "I am informed by the Mormons" is inserted parenthetically: the "they" who hold the meeting must be the Danites, not the Mormons. But by bringing in the Mormons as his informants, he makes it look as if they had engineered the meeting—though again he is careful not to say so. This impression he backs up by threats of military might once breathed forth, he claims, by Joseph Smith, which, whether truly reported or not, have no demonstrable connection with the Danites. And that's the story. What Thomas B. Marsh's testimony amounts to is that there was a Danite society among the members of the Church—a proposition which Joseph Smith himself has clearly stated. The one thing we need and expect from Marsh and Hyde, and which they are singularly willing and able to supply if it exists, is irrefutable proof that this group was organized or even sanctioned by the heads of the Church. But for such a statement we look in vain. The two men had rushed off to Richmond Courthouse in high dudgeon to pour forth "all the vilest slanders, aspersions, lies and calumnies" they could think of into willing ears.33 Willing to go the limit in insinuating the worst, they still had nothing specific to report. The direct association of the Danites with the Church authorities, which they merely had to mention to make it stick for all time, is conspicuously absent.
The Other Versions
The most remarkable thing about the Danites is that though they operated openly and insolently for many years, cutting throats right and left in a prolonged orgy of bloodshed, not a single scrap of evidence for their vast and prolonged operations has ever been discovered.34 Let us see what the experts have to offer.
That great classic Holy Murder, the Story of Porter Rockwell, by Charles Kelly and Hoffman Birney, first deserves our consideration if only for its suspicious resemblance to Mr. Wallace's book. From the damning quotations on the flyleaf to the ingratiating acknowledgments at the back, these gentlemen have somehow anticipated the latter epic in every detail of organization, form, and method. First of all a high-minded dedication to the Cause of Truth; then, on the next page, three devastating quotations, one by a scholar who is supposed to have known Rockwell intimately—and who always refers to him as Peter Rockwell; the second by a certain Milo M. Quaife, whose candid opinion is that "the most damning picture of Mormonism . . . is that supplied by the testimony of the leaders of the Church themselves"; the third confirms this doctrine by coming right from Brigham Young himself: "I have many a time, on this stand, dared the world to produce as mean devils as we can. We can beat them at anything." Which, taken out of context, says as plain as day that the Mormons are wicked people who glory in their wickedness.
We soon learn that Porter Rockwell is not the real subject of the book, but a convenient peg for hanging up libels of Joseph Smith and the Mormons in general. Since every direct attack on Smith leads nowhere (see The Myth Makers), it has been found advisable to resort to the indirect attack:
The biography of a servant is inseparably bound with that of his master, and the life story of Orrin Porter Rockwell parallels those of Joseph Smith, Jr., translator of the Book of Mormon, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Prophet and Martyr; and of Brigham Young, who appropriated and draped about his own paunchy figure the blood-stained mantle. . . . Filled with an holy zeal, he slew only in cold blood and for the glory of the Mormon God and the exaltation of that God's viceregents, the Mormon Prophets.35
This is the Wallace technique: the resounding titles, the sinister opening chord, the inevitable return to the leitmotif of the depravity of Mormon prophets. Joseph Smith is a thousand times harder to explain than any Porter Rockwell or Ann Eliza; but see how clearly our authors avoid the dangers and pitfalls that confound Smith's biographers by treating his career simply as a side issue, throwing out all the old charges and incriminations in an easy off-handed way, while sparing the reader the trouble of considering the evidence and themselves the burden of producing it. For Wallace, as for Kelly and Birney, it is enough to give us a quick look at Joseph Smith by way of leading up to the main subject, painting with quick, deft strokes the portrait of the lecturer, swindler, and drunkard, and then passing on to the main theme.
But don't be fooled—Joseph Smith is the main theme. The conscientious anti-Mormon writer rarely forgets to remind us after every grizzly episode that the true horror of it all is that everything can be traced back to false prophets claiming revelation from God. Kelly and Birney's Porter Rockwell is little more than a front man for "Holy Joe"—even after the Prophet had been dead for years. They begin by describing Smith in exactly the gay, carefree manner of Mr. Wallace, the knowing man-to-man locker-room style that needs no verification: "The original Seer and Revelator was a lusty laddie. He . . . could out-run, out-jump, out-wrestle, and out-cuss any of his contemporaries; was a judge of good liquor; and had a keen and appreciative eye for such mundane things as the points of a good horse or the curves of a feminine ankle."36 His portrait in Kelly and Birney's book bears only the simple and austere caption: "I've got to get drunk now and then to keep the people from worshipping me."37 How did Mr. Wallace happen to miss that one? It is from that same Dr. Wyl who supplied him with the leading caption for his book: "Every time I see a pretty woman I have to pray for grace." Apparently while a touch of Dr. Wyl goes a long way, too much of him would give away the game.
Naturally a book with the title Holy Murder is going to be about the Danites, and we have every right to expect something special in the way of evidence from Messrs. Kelly and Birney. But we don't get it. Their Hauptquelle is a source that other anti-Mormon writers avoid, the anonymous "Achilles," privately printed in San Francisco in 1878. The general neglect of this heroic work is hard to understand in view of the high credentials that Kelly and Birney discover for it, for "the unknown author states that . . . 'Rockwell admits every word to be true' "38—though every word of it damns Rockwell to hell. Now if the unknown author himself says that Rockwell himself says that every word is true, who are we to question it? When Kelly and Birney note of the long and fantastic "Danite oath," found only in "Achilles," that "certain of its features are quite obviously interpolations," that proves to them that the Mormons have been corrupting the text, with never a suspicion of "the anonymous but fully cognizant 'Achilles.' "39 With such a knowing informant to hand, why do other writers on the Danites refuse the helping hand which has enabled Mr. Kelly and Mr. Birney to write a full-length book about them? The answer is simple: if they accept "Achilles" they will have to throw away their other sources, for "Achilles' " version of such well-known horror epics as the Payson murders and the son of the widow Lewis, though full and specific, have hardly the remotest resemblance to the same stories as told by Ann Eliza and her friends. If "Achilles" knows anything, then all the others are hopelessly wrong, and since all are claiming intimate personal knowledge, well, you see what that does.
Kelly and Birney's No. 2 Informant is a Mr. Fitzhugh Ludlow, who in 1870 claimed to have had an intimate personal interview with Porter Rockwell, whom he insists on designating throughout his story as Peter Rockwell—which makes one wonder. Kelly and Birney have done a brilliant job of covering up by an ingenious compromise: instead of quoting Ludlow as writing of Porter Rockwell, which he plainly did not, or of Peter Rockwell, which he did, our authors settle for Poter Rockwell, a brand-new name, but one that is bound to be passed over by the casual reader as an obvious printer's error. By such cunning devisings do Messrs. Kelly and Birney compound their epic of Holy Murder. As, for example, when they have Sampson Avard tell his Danite story not after he left the Church but before40—which makes all the difference in the world, though the reader, of course, does not suspect what is going on. For them, J. C. Bennett, the world's prize liar, is a fountain of truth when he speaks of the Danites because "Bennett . . . is positive upon the point."41 Liar he may be, but if he is positive, that settles it. Kelly and Birney also place high value on the "carefully kept diary" of one William Swartzell,42 which, as we shall see, was not a diary and was not carefully kept but was carefully rewritten as an anti-Mormon pamphlet. No copy of the diary is known to exist.
Such, plus Mrs. Stenhouse, are Kelly and Birney's basic sources for a whole book on the Danites. It is not surprising that they must shore up such feeble supports with a special kind of evidence, which on the first page of their book they claim to have found in "the testimony of the leaders of the Church themselves." Which testimony they find ready to hand in the Journal of Discourses: All Mormons, they assure us, are "docile, ignorant, and blind, . . . but blindest of all were those who permitted the publication of the Journal of Discourses."43 Our astute author assures us that the Mormons would of course never keep any Danite records, even secret ones44—yet it never occurs to them that the leaders of the Church, who sanctioned the publication of their speeches year after year as the Journal of Discourses, never would have done so had those speeches contained anything in the least incriminating. It is all a matter of selection and interpretation, which can, without too much effort, make the Bible itself a catalogue of depraved doctrines and deeds. Let us run through the list of Mormon testimony, including "Brigham's acknowledgment that the Danites existed and were a weapon ever ready to his hand."45
First there is a long quotation from J. M. Grant, who argues that the putting to death of transgressors under certain conditions would be consistent with the practice of ancient Israel, and makes it clear that though he personally would like to see such practices in force, such a thing is out of the question under present conditions. By omitting all mention of biblical parallels and all admission by Grant that he is speaking only for himself, one can make this sound pretty bad; but as far as historical evidence is concerned, the man might just as well have been telling the story of David and Goliath. The sermon, according to Kelly and Birney, "was favorably received and the sermons delivered in the Tabernacle became more and more sanguinary."46 Here is a fatal flaw that all writers on the Danites seek to hide behind—a screen of rhetoric. For if there is one aspect of Danite operations that transcends and conditions all else, it is their observance of total secrecy. The simple Saints and the general public, we are constantly reminded, knew nothing of what was going on and were scrupulously kept in the dark—they really believed that Indians killed people!47 Yet the only evidence our authorities can produce for the doings of their Danites is in the form of remarks made by Church leaders at large meetings open to the general public. What a time and place to choose for divulging the secrets of Danitism! When we are told that "the sermons in the Tabernacle became more and more sanguinary," we hold on to the edge of our seats for what comes next.
And this is it: next that terrible Mr. Grant went to Kaysville, where he preached on kindness to animals and "flayed the Saints of that hamlet for their sins and called upon them, one and all, to renew their covenants with the church, to confess their faults, and to present themselves for re-baptism."48 Except for the re-baptism (hardly a "sanguinary" rite), we detect nothing here that ten thousand ministers do not dish out to their congregations every Sunday. But now we come to the solid core of evidence "that Blood Atonement was openly advocated by the Mormon leaders during the Reformation period."49
The prize quotation is another by Grant: "I say there are men and women here that I would advise to go to the President immediately and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case, and then let a place be selected and let that committee shed their blood."50 That sounds ghastly, but if we take the passage in its context it becomes immediately apparent that fire-eating Mr. Grant is simply advocating capital punishment for capital crimes. In the sentences preceding and following the quotation (they are omitted, of course, by our researchers), Grant makes it perfectly clear that the parties he refers to are those who have committed capital crimes, crimes so great "that cannot be forgiven through baptism."51 "They are the old hardened sinners, and are almost—if not altogether—past improvement, and are full of hell."52 There were such characters on the frontier, pathological types past rehabilitation and a serious menace to society. What was to be done with them? The idealistic George Bernard Shaw earnestly recommended euthanasia for such, but Mr. Grant is more humane—he merely advises the rascals to do something which he knows perfectly well they will not do. He is not advocating bloodshed but merely trying, as he says at the beginning of his sermon, to shock the people out of their complacency by "giving them hell."
The one peculiar aspect of the thing, that people who have done wrong should actually ask to be punished, was seriously taught by Plato: "The criminal and the dishonest man," he says, "are completely wretched, indeed, but they are even more miserable if they are not punished . . . and less miserable if they are punished and chastened by gods and man."53 And so he goes on to argue that since what is just is beautiful, a person who is being justly punished suffers beautiful acts, while the one doing the punishing performs them.54 It follows that a wrong-doer "should hurry to the judge, as though to a physician," and ask to be punished, "so that the disease of injustice may not became chronic and make his soul ulcerous and incurable."55 This will be readily recognized as akin to the well-known Christian teaching that it is better that the body should suffer than that the soul should be lost in hell—an undeniably biblical teaching, whatever one may think of it. In practice it has led to such outrages as Salem witch burnings and autos-da-fé, but there is no evidence that it ever led to acts of overt violence among the Mormons. The best our critics can hope to do is to show that it was "advocated by the Mormon leaders," and assume from that that one has discovered the clue to every crime and outrage committed between the Mississippi and the Pacific in the midnineteenth century. The next damning statement by a Mormon leader is from Brigham Young.
Brigham Young had held the people rigidly in check during the affair with Johnston's Army, but on October 25, 1857, he told the Saints that if another army should ever march against them, "I shall never again say to a man, 'Stay your rifle ball,' when our enemies assail us, but will say, 'Slay them where you find them.' "56 This is simply the command "Fire at will," given to an armed host: in terms of an airborne operation, "Slay them where you find them" expresses the order of the day pretty well. Brigham Young is here speaking not only of a strictly military operation, and a defensive one at that ("when our enemies assail us"), but of a hypothetical one only, an operation which he was personally convinced would never take place. But what can defense against an enemy in arms possibly have to do with "Blood Atonement," of all things? Never mind: by entitling their chapter "Slay Them Where You Find Them," Kelly and Birney make it perfectly obvious that Brigham Young ordered all Mormons to kill everybody else whenever and wherever they could.
The next quotation, from Heber C. Kimball, is an even better example of what can be done by beginning and ending a quotation just at the right moment to destroy its context entirely, while removing from the middle of the passage whatever might still give some hint of that context. Here is the passage as Kelly and Birney give it:
When it is necessary that blood should be shed, we should be as ready to do that as to eat an apple. That is my religion, and I feel that our platter is pretty near clean of some things, and we calculate to keep it clean from this time henceforth and forever. . . . And if men and women will not live their religion, but take a course to pervert the hearts of the righteous, we will "lay judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet," and we will let you know that the earth can swallow you up as it did Koran [sic] with his hosts; as Brother Taylor says, you may dig your graves and we will slay you and you may crawl into them.57
What emerges from that is the clear images of Mormons suspected of unorthodoxy being forced to dig their own graves by relentless cold-eyed fanatics. Here is the Mormon horror beyond description which Ann Eliza and Mrs. Stenhouse and the rest proclaim from the housetops, and this is the authority for it. But if we restore the passage to its context, we also restore the reader to a sane and humane world. It becomes immediately apparent that Kimball, like Young, is speaking strictly of a military operation. "Well," he says, "there are those troops over yonder [speaking of Johnston's Army]. . . . Some of you thought they were coming here, and several ran away." He notes that "Brother Brigham has fulfilled his word" in giving safe conduct to the army camp to "any man or woman that wanted to go," including Mrs. Mogo, a local Madame, to whom he wishes well. Then he expresses his satisfaction that Brother Groesbeck's company was able to evade the Army: "God gave him wisdom, and he is here, and he escaped those troops." Next he gives a sympathetic picture of poor Mr. Johnston himself, suffering from "fever all the way," with nothing now but the dismal prospect of a long march through difficult terrain: "By the time he goes up and down Ham's Fork [on the Green River] a few times, it will take away his strength. . . . I had as lieve sit on a bayonet as a fork."
It is all good-natured banter, and then President Kimball gets serious: "I feel the Lord designs the thing should move along and no blood be shed, because I do not consider God is so anxious that we should be bloodthirsty men as some may be. God designs we should be pure men, holding the oracles of God in holy and pure vessels; but . . . "58 At this very point, Kelly and Birney interrupt to begin their quotation, omitting all that has gone before, including even that small but very important but. "But," says Kimball, "when it is necessary that blood should be shed, we should be as ready to do that as to eat an apple." Note that he does not want any bloodshed in this war, and is glad that it has been avoided so far, but if it does come to shooting, Kimball reminds his people, that will not be the time to be squeamish. There are few Christians who would not agree to that proposition, bearing in mind its military setting and the humane expressions that accompany it, both of which are scrupulously suppressed by our authors. From the middle and ending of their quotation the same omit the words explaining that this is simply a fair warning to particular parties, namely "all such scoundrels" as go over and join the enemy who have come to fight the Mormons; such persons as identify themselves with the enemy cannot expect immunity when the fighting begins. That is what President Kimball is talking about; they are digging their own graves and can expect the worst when and if the shooting starts, though he hopes it won't. In making it perfectly clear that this refers specifically to "those corrupt scoundrels" who have become hangers-on of the enemy camp, the speaker reminds his hearers of the need to resist military conquest and occupation: "Well, they would come from Dan to Beersheba, and from California to France,—that is, wicked and abominable spirits would have come into this valley when those troops came, do you not see? The blacklegs, and highway robbers, and whore mongers, and whores would have gathered into this place, if those troops could have come into this place to have slain our leaders."59 This could have happened before, and it must not happen now, even if the army must be resisted with force. And what has this all to do with "Blood Atonement"? Nothing whatever. There is only one way to make Heber C. Kimball look worse than to quote his words out of context, and that is to follow Mr. Wallace's example and not read them at all, simply dismissing the man as Wallace does, without further ado, as a brutal and depraved "mountebank."
Brigham Young observes that it would have been better for many to have died than to have fallen from grace and become "angels to the devil." Jesus Christ put it even more strongly: It would have been better, he said, to have a millstone tied to one's neck and be cast into the sea; it would be better never to have been born; it would be better to cut off one's own right hand than to have it commit offense, etc. True, Jesus did not actually expect such sentences to be carried out, but then neither did Brigham Young or even J. M. Grant: they were, as they explain, simply stirring the people up. Note that all this "evidence" is supposed to prove not that the Mormons ever practiced "Blood Atonement," for which there is no evidence, but that it was "advocated by the Mormon leaders." We knew people who are convinced that anybody who accepts the XVI Amendment of the Constitution is advocating communism. Who advocates what is a matter of interpretation, and the minister who describes hell-fire as a vital part of God's economy is simply advocating the burning of the opposition: it's Holy Murder, that's what it is!
But so far we have had no mention of the Danites, and with only one quotation to go it must be a good one. Indeed it is, according to our guides, nothing less than "Brigham's acknowledgment that the Danites existed and were a weapon ever ready to his hand."60 This statement by Brigham Young has been exploited a good deal by anti-Mormon writers, and here it is: "If men come here and do not behave themselves, they will not only find the Danites, whom they talk so much about, biting the horse's heels, but the scoundrels will find something biting their heels. In my plain remarks I merely call things by their own name."61 The plain remarks do not refer to heel-biting, which is a biblical figure of speech, but to calling scoundrels scoundrels. Brigham Young is here referring to organized gangs of highway robbers, and is expressing his determination to make Utah safe for the Gentiles. But what about the Danites? "The Danites, whom they talk about" are the only Danites mentioned, and that with a characteristic touch of irony that only Kelly and Birney could miss. Brigham is not "acknowledging that the Danites exist," but declaring as he had a month earlier62 that they are a Gentile myth. And what are these mythical Danites doing? "Biting the horse's heels." Ich werde dich beaureumbullum! ("I'll aureum bullum you!") shouted the Great Elector of Saxony at his son, whose studious ways enraged him. For Kelly and Birney this could only mean that the monarch intended to golden-bull the Crown Prince.
The Danite hocum is here treated with the broad sarcasm it deserves. But if we must go along with our authorities and interpret the passage literally, then we must admit on Young's testimony that the Danites do not pursue the scoundrels in question: the Danite activities are limited to "biting the horse's heels," while "their heels" are not bitten by Danites but by "something." Whatever that something is—and it must be pretty terrible—it is not Danites.
And this, if you please, is the evidence that "the Danites were an institution." The culmination of these devastating admissions by Mormon leaders is "given by John Doyle Lee, himself a Danite, an elder, and an adopted son of Brigham Young." Of course he was none of those things at the time the statement was written, but still he is quoted as a Mormon leader. And this is what Kelly and Birney have him say:
It was at that time  a common thing to see Danites going out of Cedar City and Harmony with suspected Gentiles, to send them "over the rim of the basin," and the Gentiles were always sent. This practice was supported by the people, and everything of that kind was done by orders from the Council, or by orders from some of the Priesthood. When a Danite or a Destroying Angel was placed on a man's track, that man died.63
When, however, we go to the source to which our authors refer us (as vaguely as possible, simply as "Lee, op. cit."), i.e., Lee's "Confessions" of 1877, this is what we read:
At that time it was a common thing for small bands of people on their way from California to pass through by way of Cedar City on their journey. Many of these people were killed simply because they were Gentiles. When a Gentile came into a town he was looked upon with suspicion, and most of the people considered every stranger a spy from the United States army. The killing of Gentiles was considered a means of grace.64
That is bad enough, the second one, but no mention of Danites or Destroying Angels. If the reader wonders where they come from or finds it hard to believe that any author would take such liberties with a quotation, let him compare the 1877 edition of Mormonism Unveiled: or the Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop John D. Lee, with the 1905 printing of the same book as The Mormon Menace, Being the Confession of John Doyle Lee, DANITE, Official Assassin of the Mormon Church under the Late Brigham Young. Let him turn to Chapter XVIII of the latter work, entitled "The Danite and His Duty,"65 and compare it with the text of the 1877 edition which it is supposed to be reproducing.66 The 1905 opus, under the inspired editorship of Mr. Alfred Henry Lewis, swarms with Danites on every page (mentioned twenty-one times in the chapter—twelve times in the first six pages), yet after a diligent search we find only one occurrence of the word in the corresponding original text of 1877—Mr. Lewis has inserted it every other time! In the particular passage (chapter 18) we have quoted above he blithely changes "brethren" to "Danites"—but even so he does not go as far as Kelly and Birney, who in the end can only bring the Danites to life by diligently rewriting their sources.
The man responsible for bringing out Lee's original "confessions" in 1877 was his attorney, William W. Bishop, whose introduction to the book is remarkable because it labors mightily to prove just one point—that Brigham Young "favored the shedding of blood as an atonement for sin"67—and seeks to do so only by quoting from the sermons we have just mentioned. What Christian would deny the theory, so prominent in the Old Testament? Why is Mr. Bishop so exercised about an abstract doctrine? Why does he wave the menu before us for twenty pages instead of serving us the dinner? Because there is no dinner! Even the bitter apostate Lee makes out no case for the Danites that departs a hair's breadth from the "Mormon version." He tells us that he was a Danite in 1838, but he never mentions being a Danite after that, let alone being the Danite Chieftain; indeed in all the rest of his book there is only one mention of Danites, a parenthetical reference that may well be an interpolation.
Mrs. Brooks seems to establish an official status in the Church for the Danites by using Lee's account of the Gallatin election riot, where the Mormons responded to a Danite sign of distress by coming to the rescue of a hard-pressed fellow.68 She supports this by citing Swartzell, who does tell of the riot but makes no mention whatever of Danites. Mrs. Brooks not only fails to mention that Swartzell is silent on the subject of Danites at Gallatin, but she also overlooks the significant fact that according to Lee, of the thirty Mormons at the polls, only eight participated in the melee, though all Danites were bound to respond when they saw "the sign."69 This shows the Danites as a small minority operating independently of the rest of the Mormons, who refused to support them even as hard-pressed Mormons; and there is nothing anywhere in Lee's book to indicate the contrary. The situation is depicted by Lee himself in his description of the two organizations.
In August 1838, the same month in which the election riot took place, according to Lee, "all the males over eighteen years of age, were organized into a military body, according to the law of the priesthood, and called 'The Host of Israel.' "70 He then describes the organization of tens, fifties, and hundreds under captains—exactly as Joseph Smith describes it, concluding that "the entire membership of the Mormon Church was then organized in the same way." At the very same time, he tells us, "another organization was perfected, or then first formed—it was called the 'Danites.' "71 This organization is then described with no mention of who organized it or who comprised it. The former organization, formed "by command of God, as revealed through the Lord's Prophet, Joseph Smith,"72 was placed completely under his control. But what of the other organization which, as Joseph Smith explains, imitated and duplicated it? (Though many preliminary meetings had been held in Ohio, it was not until this time, as Lee observes, that the Danites were formally organized along the biblical pattern.) What could justify its running competition with the rest of the Church if not its supersecrecy? As a secret arm of the Church it would necessarily be tied closer to the leaders, and especially to Joseph Smith than any other, and yet by all accounts it was under the direction of a new convert, an ambitious "doctor," who had performed no services for the Church and held no offices save that of branch president: he it was who called the meetings, presided at them, and laid down the law. Even had he preached perfect loyalty to the Prophet and the authorities, such a situation would have been intolerable, nay, unthinkable, to them. The Church was nothing if not centralized, and the peculiar dominance of Avard over the Danites is enough in itself to prove that they were not sanctioned by the Church. There were indeed Danites in the Battle of Crooked River, but even Lee reports that it was "the Gentiles [who] said afterwards that Captain Patton," gave the cry "Charge, Danites, charge!"73 By that time Avard had diligently spread the fiction that all Mormons in arms were Danites, and the Missourians believed it.
Then there is Lee's famous journal, which contained, according to him, "many things not intended for the public eye," including "an account of many dark deeds, . . . especially very much concerning the crimes of Mormon leaders."74 So he wrote in 1877, convinced that his journals had fallen into Mormon hands and would never come to light. "John D. Lee was an indomitable and persistent diarist," write his editors, Cleland and Brooks. "Day after day . . . he kept a faithful record of his experiences, activities, thoughts, feelings, and opinions."75 He even tells of the mysterious "Council of Fifty" "and on occasion gave more than a suggestion of its grim discussions and decisions."76 "For sheer horror and repulsive detail," Lee's account of a dream ". . . has few parallels in the macabre literature of this or any other time."77 It is reassuring to know that our authorities are so thoroughly steeped in the arcane literature of all nations, but why do we go on like this? To make it perfectly clear that Lee is holding nothing back in his diary. Because we are going to ask the reader, how does it happen that in the twenty years of his diary that have survived (1848-67), covering the very time when Lee is supposed to have been the kingpin of the Danite system, not a single mention of the Danites occurs? Even in his Mormonism Unveiled he never mentions the Danites after 1838. That must all be supplied by Alfred Henry Lewis, Kelly and Birney, Stenhouse, Wallace, and the like.
As one of the standard anti-Mormon classics and sources, Lee's book deserves more attention than we can give it here. But some things should be noted. For one, the techniques employed are exactly those of Stenhouse and Ann Eliza, whose works had already appeared and caused a great sensation—bear in mind that this book was compiled and published by W. W. Bishop after Lee's death. There are the same basic contradictions. Lee, the perfect Mormon, animated only by a sublime faith and a perfect trust in the leaders—especially Brigham Young—is nonetheless entirely aware from 1847 of all the crimes and treachery of those leaders, of which he is often the victim. This by way of explaining how the author can know so much and still be so innocent. As he explains it, he got his information about Brigham's "destroying angels" (no mention of Danites) secondhand, "they let me into the secret of all they did,"78 though he never witnessed any of it himself, and of course never participated. But why did "they"—meaning the Chief of Police of Nauvoo and his assistants—bother to confess all their crimes to the innocent Lee? Because "they looked to me to speak a good word for them with Brigham, as they were ambitious to please him and obtain his blessing."79 Then why didn't they report directly to President Young, as was their duty? And how could they expect a good word from the idealistic Lee by reporting only their crimes to him? And such crimes! The man who could imagine and write down in his journal things which "for sheer horror and repulsive detail" appall his editors could certainly impute such things to the Mormon leaders when he suddenly decided in the last days of his life that they were a lot of "low, deceitful, treacherous, cowardly, dastardly sycophants and serfs . . . combined to fasten the rope around my neck."80 That gives an inkling of the man's state of mind when he wrote his "confession," which, except for the Mountain Meadow episode, consists entirely of the confession of other people's sins—especially Brigham Young's. Still the work is unintentionally very self-revealing.
"I once thought," he writes, "that I never could be induced to . . . expose the wickedness and corruption of the man whom I once looked upon as my spiritual guide."81 Just like Ann Eliza, he knows Brigham Young for the wicked and corrupt man he is, and yet accepts him for his spiritual guide. Only at the very end of his life does he turn against Young, and only then because he has been "driven to the wall . . . and [has] been forced to resort to the first law of nature, self-protection."82 Surely this is an enlightening admission from this man who would, according to himself, condone any crime in Brigham Young, and will do anything when he is forced to by the law of self-preservation, i.e., to save his own skin. And in such a desperate crisis will he draw the line at prevaricating—with an imagination like his? And a character like his?
A word as to character—Lee's runs true to form. As he tells it, he always was terribly put upon by Brigham Young; he never got his fair share of anything; the actual grievances as he describes them are unspeakably petty—he dwells at length, for example, on the imposition of having to arrange for a dinner whenever the President visits him in Southern Utah. The dinner was a modest affair and everybody enjoyed it, but the fact that he had to provide it rankled horribly. He constantly goes to Brigham with complaints against the others and protestations of ill treatment; but when others do the same he denounces them as "Brigham's pets." He was occasionally hailed before the high council on the charge of grabbing more than his share, and it is plain from his own writing that he was a very unpopular man. He was one of those whom Brigham sent to the most out-of-the-way places (such being the fate of habitual troublemakers), not as a leader but as clerk and recorder.
And yet, resolved to "tell it all," Lee, the author of this last major eyewitness classic, has nothing to tell! That's right, he is just like the ladies. All he can do is report the gossip of other people, larded with his own hysterical editorial comments. Search his pages for what actually happened, and his sufferings and the crimes of the Mormon leaders both turn out to be of his own making. The one atrocity he reports firsthand is of course the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the sort of debacle in which he is just the sort of man to let himself go, and then, in all sincerity, shift his guilt to others. For throughout his book he is never guilty of anything, and he is never understood and never gets what is coming to him, because it all goes to Brigham Young's "pets." Lee's main concern in telling the story is "the first law of nature, self-protection," and that meant exonerating himself by shifting the whole blame to others, particularly to Brigham Young.
In attempting to do this he falls into the usual error of overlooking the wide discrepancy between his accusations and what actually happened as he describes it. Since this discrepancy characterizes his book from its first page—as it also does Ann Eliza's—it is not surprising it gets by in the supreme episode. Here, far from discovering anything apart from Lee's editorial rantings to implicate any General Authority, we find frequent indications to the contrary. Consider the conversation between the two leaders on the morning after the massacre:
Col. Dame: "I must report this matter to the authorities."
Haight: "How will you report it?"
Dame: "I will report it just as it is."
Haight: "Yes, I suppose so, and implicate yourself with the rest?"
Dame: "No, I will not implicate myself, for I had nothing to do with it."
A heated discussion ensues as to who is to blame, and then a general council is held where it is agreed with "exhortations and commands to keep the whole matter secret from every one but Brigham Young."83
There is great local concern lest the authorities learn of what has happened; Brigham Young must of course be told, but it is perfectly clear that neither he nor any other of the "authorities" knew anything about the tragedy. Since this is supposed to have been a Danite job, though Lee makes no mention whatever of Danites, Kelly and Birney sagely observe that though Porter Rockwell was in Salt Lake City at the time, still he could have arranged it.84 But if a historian is allowed to present as history anything that could have happened, there is no limit to his license. There are some common-sense questions, however, which every historian should ask himself. Kelly and Birney, while generally avoiding these questions, do ask themselves one at the end of their book, but leave it unanswered with a bewildered shaking of the head: "When one considers Rockwell's record it is strange indeed that he was never in a gun fight. . . . The friends and relatives of his victims were legion, but no man took it upon himself to exterminate the exterminator. . . . It is difficult to understand why some professional bad-man from California or Missouri . . . did not take a pot shot at the Danite chieftain just for luck."85
This impossible discrepancy between "Rockwell's record," as Kelly and Birney see it, and the facts is not just strange, it is preposterous. The real record must be brought into line with the Porter Rockwell myth at all cost: Does the keenly observant Jules Remy find Rockwell a paragon of men, nature's nobleman in a deluxe edition?86 In that case "historical accuracy makes it necessary to amend that charming pen-portrait"87—how? By appeal to "Achilles"! Is Mr. Fitz Hugh Ludlow equally impressed? He must remind himself that this fine man cannot possibly be the real Rockwell: "No one ignorant of his character would take him on sight for a man of bad disposition in any sense. . . . It seemed strange to be riding in the carriage and by the side of a man, who, if universal report among the Gentiles were correct, would not hesitate to cut my throat at the Church's orders."88 So Ludlow's invaluable firsthand report turns out to be nothing but a report on prevailing Gentile rumor. Was Rockwell shown to be in Nauvoo when somebody shot at Boggs? Well, put it this way: "In an incredibly short time Porter Rockwell was back in Nauvoo (assisted by a relay of horses provided by the Prophet) bringing the glorious tidings of the death of Boggs."89 Incredible it may be—but we've got to have a story. Was Rockwell in Salt Lake during the Mountain Meadows Massacre? Well, he "could have told Ginn . . . that orders had been issued and awaited only execution by the chief of the Danites and his subordinates."90 Couldn't he? Couldn't Ann Eliza? Where Rockwell is clearly exonerated in a shooting, "one must read between the lines in order to understand the facts."91 With Kelly and Birney's permission to do that, we are free to accept their verdict no matter what.
Everywhere we look these damning discrepancies stare us in the face and shower us with questions. If the Danites operated with complete insolence and immunity, why is no clear case known of a Danite operation? If their activities were meant as a warning and a lesson to the people, why were the people always made to believe that there were no such activities, but only Indian atrocities? If it has always been "the fundamental conviction entertained by every Latter Day Saint that to rob or cheat a Gentile was to perform an holy deed,"92 why have the Mormons never been aware of this or sought to gain merit by complying with the doctrine? Why does Lee never refer to himself as a leader of the Danites if that is what he was? Why does he never mention Danite activities after 1838, if he was the arch-Danite and greatly given to telling wild stories? When Joseph Smith was being assailed by mobs, imprisoned in dungeons, and in dire risk of his life, surviving one deadly peril after another, where were the Danites? Why were Marsh and Hyde not liquidated the very day they betrayed the Danites? How could they go about unscathed for years before returning to the Mormons? The Nauvoo Legion was present in a crisis—why no sign of the Danites? Why did Lee, a morbidly conscientious diary keeper and lifelong clerk and recorder in the Church, not write his last intimate confession with his own hand? He prided himself on his penmanship and spent his days in prison teaching the other inmates to write. Why was it "written at his dictation and delivered to William W. Bishop, attorney for Lee, with a request that the same be published"?93 We are not even told to whom he dictated his confession, but we do know that additions and alterations are easily effected in a document of unknown provenance, while an autographic document is much harder to tamper with. As it is, the lawyer is free to do pretty much what he pleases with a hundred-page manuscript by an unidentified hand, only one page of which is signed. Why does Lee devote so much of his "confessions" to telling other people's stories, to which he was not a witness?
The questions go on and on, but there are points at which Lee can be definitely "controlled." His own passion and prejudice cannot escape the casual reader. But then another question: If the man is so bound and determined to incriminate Brigham Young, both to save his own skin and to get even, why must he always resort to rhetoric instead of producing a single concrete instance of Young's criminality? Like all the others, he seeks to prove the President's guilt by citing his sermons, knowing that the public did not have access to the Journal of Discourses. But the teachings he attributes to Brigham Young are the exact opposite to what fills those pages. Was there ever a preacher or leader more willing to admit his fallibility or more emphatic in exhorting his followers not to follow him blindly or believe a thing was so because he said it? If there was one teaching that Brigham Young emphasized more than any others, it was the importance of the individual's getting a testimony for himself independently of all human guidance, and putting his trust not in the words of any leader but in the Holy Ghost. Lee is not merely ranting, he is lying when he says: "Brigham Young, is God. . . . To disobey the will of Brigham Young is, in his mind, a sin against the Holy Ghost, and is an unpardonable sin to be wiped out only by blood atonement. The followers of Brigham Young are serfs, slaves, and willing instruments to carry out the selfish designs of the man."94 Such statements as that furnish helpful indication of the man's general reliability.
We get the same sort of thing in Kelly and Birney:
"Blood" was the word uppermost in every man's thoughts; "Blood Atonement" was on every tongue, blood stained the hands of many. There can be found no parallel in history for the bloody frenzy.95
Such words as zealotry, fanaticism, and bigotry are meaningless in the contemplation of an entire people gone rabid with blood-lust. One reads the published addresses of the First Presidency of the Mormon Church . . . and staggers before the thought that nineteenth century America could produce men who would preach a doctrine of human sacrifice.96
And the whole evidence for this "entire people gone rabid with blood-lust" is to be found in the passages we cited above; though people gone rabid are neither cautious nor discreet, they have left not a trace of their bloodlust, of which their children and grandchildren are totally unaware.
Having hurled their monstrous charges, these scholars hasten to confirm them: "As a single example . . . there may be cited the case of the third wife of Milo Andrews."97 And they are off, telling with zest on the authority of Mrs. Stenhouse (!) the fate of Mrs. Andrews: "The public was informed that she had died in childbirth," but her husband and Porter Rockwell knew better, being the only witnesses to what happened, though of course they "kept the secret."98 How Mrs. Stenhouse found out about it under those circumstances we will never know. But enough: "a single example" taken from a professional gossip, of an occurrence whose only witnesses never breathed a word to anyone, suffices to illustrate and attest the greatest mass bloodbath in history. Surely our authors, if they had anything to go on at all, would not have to fall back on such feeble stuff.
A favorite trick of the anti-Mormon teratologists, desperately casting about them for something in the way of evidence, is to appeal to general principles to support their grim particulars. How can you doubt that "throats were slit right and left" if it was "the belief of all good Mormons" that they should be when the leaders spoke?99 Need you ask for evidence where "the fundamental conviction entertained by every Latter Day Saint" sanctifies criminal acts against Gentiles?100 Is Rockwell a paradox? There is a simple explanation: "He was a Mormon—and any attempt to analyze the man must be predicated upon that statement. . . . He was a Mormon. He was a good Mormon. That is equivalent to saying that he was ignorant, illiterate, superstitious, and as easily led as a mongrel dog."101 Granted the general principle, all particulars are readily explained. But how do we prove the general principles? By the grizzly particulars, of course. All Mormons are wicked; Rockwell was a Mormon, ergo, Rockwell was a wicked man. If you ask for further proof that all Mormons are wicked, a single example will suffice, the case of the notorious Porter Rockwell—was there ever a bloodier villain? You ask the particulars? Well, "the newspapers of that day were full of complaints of Mormon thefts and raids and Porter Rockwell's name appears early. . . . Witness an item from the Burlington Hawkeye and Iowa Patriot."102 Again the lone item from the bursting archives, and it turns out to be a story in which Porter Rockwell is not mentioned, the story of how when some goods were stolen someone suggested looking for them in the skiff of a certain Mormon; the skiff was searched and the stolen goods were not there. End of story. And this is what they dish up as evidence of the early depredations of Porter Rockwell. Never mind that Rockwell isn't in the story, and that the Mormon didn't steal the stuff—you get the idea.
Since Kelly and Birney lean heavily on Mrs. Stenhouse for their Danite revelations, as do Ann Eliza and her doughty disciple, Stenhouse is the one to call on next. To find her in top form we must call on her in London, where we find her sitting over the teacups with a young English girl. This is away back in 1855, and the young girl, who is introduced to us as Mary Burton, turns out to be Mrs. Stenhouse's informant on the Danites. Our curiosity is aroused. Who is this girl? A convert. Has she ever been in America? No. Then where did she find out about the Danites? Oh, here in London—from hearing people talk. And she is Mrs. Stenhouse's informant about the Danites? I can't believe it! Well, let us listen to them talk.
Well, I hardly like to tell you, if you have heard nothing about the matter, for I'm not quite sure whether it all is true; but we have had some strange reports floating about here. . . . It is said that in the time of Joseph Smith a band of men was organized who put to death any one who was troublesome to the Church or offended the Elders. Some people say that it was one or perhaps more of this band who fired at Governor Boggs, of Missouri. . . . Dr. Avard and Sidney Rigdon are said to have been mixed up in the matter, and that wretched man, John C. Bennett, tells a frightful story about it. But that is not the worst, for Elder Shrewsbury himself told me long ago that Thomas B. Marsh, the then President of the Twelve, when he apostatised, took oath that the Saints had formed a "Destruction Company," as he called it, for the purpose of avenging themselves, and Orson Hyde, in a solemn affidavit swore that all that Marsh had said was true.103
The little English girl rattles on like an encyclopedia, accurately ticking off all the key names with intimate familiarity in the stilted and anything but conversational manner of Stenhouse herself. This is how the lady gets it all in without taking any responsibility. On the contrary, she piously refuses to believe a word of it: "Well dear," she says, "I've heard all that before, but no doubt it is all scandal." So Mary Burton puts her right:
I'm afraid not, . . . for I have heard from people who ought to know, that since the Saints have been in Salt Lake Valley the same things have been done; only now they speak of those men as "Danites" and "Avenging Angels." People say that those who are dissatisfied and want to leave Zion, almost always are killed after they set out, by the Indians, and they dare not say boldly who they believe those "Indians" are. Then, too, one lady told me that she had heard from her sister that not only were apostates killed in a mysterious way by Indians or some one else, but that many people were "missing," or else found murdered, who were only suspected of being very weak in the faith. These things are horrible, and sometimes I think I will never go out to Zion.104
Still the familiar strains from Beadle, with Stenhouse still protesting that the tales are "without foundation." She has chosen a safe, noncommittal, roundabout way to present her Danite material, but it is all there. Ann Eliza lifts the passage with but minor alterations, and satisfies the devoted Wallace that she knows all about Danites. Yet Stenhouse must go back twenty years to a conversation in London with a native girl who is not too sure of herself: "I'm not quite sure"; "we have had some strange reports floating about [who are we?]"; "it is said"; "some people say." When Stenhouse demurs, Mary Burton becomes more emphatic: "I have heard from people who ought to know"; "people say"; "one lady told me that she had heard from her sister." We are not told who the lady was, or who her sister was, or who told her sister; but little Mary Burton takes it up from there, and the others have seen to it that this priceless proof of the Danite horror shall not be lost, but be properly processed and handsomely packaged for delivery to your convenient corner drugstore.
To show that Mary Burton was right after all, Ann Eliza tells the story of the Aiken party, as reported by Beadle on the authority of Hickman.105 Kelly and Birney have since confirmed these authorities by reproducing an actual photograph of the hotel in Salt Lake where the Aiken brothers stayed "before being murdered on the Sevier River in 1857" (it couldn't very well have been after).106 This is followed in Ann Eliza by the Yates murder, taken "from his [Hickman's] own account."107 Then to prove that all this is possible she quotes the "blood atonement" sermons since used by Kelly and Birney, with the specification "It is no secret that all this was understood literally."108 If it is no secret, that clears us, of course, from having to prove any of it, though one can only wonder why if it is no secret, nobody has been able to find out about it. Oh, but they have! "There is good reason to think that Lieutenant Gunnison and his party were also victims, although it was said that they were shot by 'Indians.' "109 The "good reason" is Hickman again, though a thorough government investigation, which would have been willing and eager to discover Mormon villainy, found only the Goshutes to blame. And isn't that a long way to go for evidence of "blood atonement"? Were the Aiken, Yates, and Gunnison parties apostates? What, then, can "blood atonement" possibly have to do with them? Here for seven years and more murder was the order of the day, reaching the point, says Ann Eliza, where nobody thought anything of it; it was practiced constantly, insolently, and openly; all the fair valleys of Utah ran with blood; the word "blood" was uppermost in everybody's thoughts as all participated in an orgy of mass bloodlust unparalleled in history or imagination. That is what they say; yet whenever the accusers are asked for evidence, where must they go for it? To Indian attacks away back in the early days on non-Mormon parties in obscure and distant parts of the wilderness, where, by the way, the Indians really were dangerous right up to our own generation.
In her treatment of the Danites, our Ann Eliza simply follows Stenhouse except for two valuable contributions of her own. The first of these opens her chapter on "Danites and Their Deeds": "It is only a very few weeks since two prominent officers of the Mormon Church were overheard in the street, in Salt Lake City, angrily discussing some person who had 'broken his covenants.' Said one,—'He ought to have his throat cut.' 'It wouldn't do,' replied the other; 'there are too many Gentiles about.' "110 One wonders who could have overheard this tactful conversation; it must have been a Mormon, but in that case one wonders even more how and why it was so fully reported to Mrs. Young, who at the time was lecturing against the Mormons in the East. She pursues her theme: "Ten years ago, an apostate's or Gentile's life was worth absolutely nothing. . . . The doom of either was irrevocably fixed. . . . It was enough that he should be merely suspected, and his fate was . . . swift and sure, before he had even an opportunity of defending himself."111
There was a time in Utah, then, when every apostate and Gentile was assassinated without compunction or delay—and that as recently as ten years back, when our informant was a grown woman and intimately familiar with the doings of the Mormons high and low. Yet whenever she wants to report something specific, she must needs go way back to the "Reformation" time of the middle fifties, when she was a very sheltered little girl. The nearest she gets to the Danites personally is the claim, "I have been told this by a person who heard the oaths administered at a meeting of the band in Daviess County."112 But the Mormons have never denied that there were Danites in Daviess County, why must Ann Eliza go clear back there to discover the devilish doings which she claims are going on all around her all the time? She admits that "Joseph Smith always denied that he had in any way authorized the formation of the Danite bands; and, in fact, in public he repeatedly repudiated both them and their deeds of vio- lence."113 "However," she hastens to add, "Thomas B. Marsh . . . apostatized" and accused Joseph Smith "of abetting the Danites and their deeds."114 That, as we have seen, is as well as she can do to tie Smith up with the Danites—and it leaves everything to be desired in the way of evidence. Where were the Danites and their unbreakable oaths when Marsh and Hyde betrayed them?
To prove that the Mountain Meadows Massacre was the work of the Danites, Ann Eliza makes much of the fact that Brigham Young's secretary, i.e., the only man who knew of his complicity in the crime, "was found . . . 'drowned' in three inches of water."115 Since nobody drowns in three inches of water, this is obviously another Danite horror. According to the news report, the man was found dead at 6 a.m. with his head downstream in the irrigation ditch on North Temple street, the face was swollen, and "the Jury failed to find any marks of violence on the body, except a slight bruise near one of the eyes. . . . Verdict . . . [was] death by drowning."116 It does not occur to our little detective that one does not wait twelve years to erase a party from whom one is in mortal danger, that one does not put one's private secretary out of the way most secretly on a downtown main street, or that people who want to make a drowning look accidental do not choose to submerge their victim in three inches of water. The Danites, those masters of supersecrecy, seem capable of concealing nothing on earth but their own existence—and that's a waste of time, because everybody knows about that. It is not until 1908 that Ann Eliza volunteers the helpful information that her husband's title was "Chief Archer of the Danites."117 A strange little oversight.
Mrs. Young's one terrifying personal contribution to Danite history comes from her last hours in Utah. Though she is able to announce the gratifying news that "an apostate nowadays is comparatively safe from any deeds of violence"118 and describes Brigham Young as the helpless dragon who longs for the day, forever past, when the crook of his finger meant lights out for anybody he didn't like, still you never know: "Even then, the 'Danites,' those terrible monsters of Mormon vengeance, might be on our track."119 Mr. Wallace makes great capital of this, but can we seriously call it firsthand proof that the Danites were still operating? Or that they ever operated? "The outrages committed by these Danites . . . caused the expulsion of the Saints from Missouri," she writes.120 Yet Stenhouse says they really did not get going or take the name of Danites until they got to Utah.121 Even Mrs. Brodie declares that "there is no reliable evidence that the Danite organization was continued in Illinois except among Joseph's personal body-guard."122 In this, her only mention of the Danites, Mrs. Brodie, running true to form, cites only the worthless Bennett as her informant, and says just enough to incriminate Joseph Smith and no more. What the reliable evidence for the bodyguard is she does not say, but tells us in a footnote: "White uniforms [not robes] were part of their military attire. John D. Lee, one of Joseph's bodyguards, proudly wore his red sash in later years when he went to dances in southern Utah." No source is given for this information, and no effort is made to establish the relevance or significance of the red sash—but it all sounds beguiling, significant, and sinister.
Nothing has given as much body and substance to all the dark hints and whisperings about the Danites as the story of the Aiken party. "It was fourteen years before the truth of this affair was known," writes Ann Eliza. " . . . Now their fate is known beyond a doubt, and foremost in the list of assassins stands the name of Brigham Young."123 Nobody had been able to pin anything on the Mormons until fourteen years later, when Bill Hickman came to the rescue with his thrice-welcome "confessions" (even Ann Eliza puts it in quotes), a long and lurid catalogue of blood in which every major crime committed in Utah is mechanically and unimaginatively pinned on Brigham Young. This work established once and for all the useful and simple formula of attributing to the Mormons every crime committed in the West, and leaving it to them to prove their innocence; lack of evidence is simply proof of Mormon secrecy—for in view of their doctrine of Blood Atonement,124 every Mormon must be considered guilty before the law until proven innocent.
Stenhouse and Ann Eliza take their Danites from Hickman. But Hickman himself had a ghostwriter, "a frequently impoverished editor and hack," as Wallace so nicely puts it,125 who was struggling to make a living and whose stock in trade was the Mormon Monster. His book, Life in Utah, by J. H. Beadle, editor of the Salt Lake Reporter, and Utah Correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, printed in 1870, was reprinted in 1882 under the title "Polygamy, by J. H. Beadle, late editor of the Salt Lake Reporter; . . . and Clerk of the Supreme Court for Utah."126 Here was a man who knew the value of sensationalism. And now the plot thickens. "Since Beadle was short of funds in 1874 and 1875," writes Mr. Wallace, "it is possible that he had assumed the task of serving as Ann Eliza's shade," i.e., her ghostwriter. Wallace hastens to assure us, however, that Ann Eliza "undoubtedly wrote or dictated Wife No. 19," since "the tone of Ann Eliza's private letters and impromptu interviews . . . indicates" as much, "although she may have retained a professional writer to correct and polish it."127 Why does Wallace concede so much, since his whole story depends on the reliability of his star witness? Is something wrong? We are asked to take Wallace's word for it that "the tone of Ann Eliza's private letters and impromptu interviews with the press" proves "undoubtedly" that she wrote her book—yet it doesn't rule out a ghostwriter. If "tone" is all we have to go on, "tone" should be amply, nay exhaustively, documented. Let the reader compare the "tone" of Beadle's long introduction to Hickman's book (by Beadle) with Wife No. 19 and he will discover a very likely source of those key tags and phrases that Stenhouse and Ann Eliza Young later claimed for their own. Here are a few characteristic Beadlisms: "Against the pure principle of 'Peace on earth and good will to men' [they] . . . wrest the mild precepts of the Gospel, and deduce therefrom license for themselves, and a sanction for vengeance on their enemies."128 "Mormonism is sanctified selfishness: a system which teaches practically, that very little restraint need be put upon the baser passions. . . . On its members such doctrines must produce a terrible effect."129 "Fortunately most of the common Mormons have not quite entered into the spirit of, or 'lived up to,' their faith."130 "Slavery and polygamy—'twin relics'—may well be put beside each other in a brief parallel."131 "Love, forgiveness, kindly charity, must wither in such an air."132 This is followed by the favorite passage about Brigham Young's bowie-knife,133 etc.
Here the student will recognize the characteristic sentiments and the ironic undertone of our moralizing ladies, couched in the familiar jargon. If "tone" is to be our criterion, then Beadle must be given far more credit than Wallace is willing to concede. It is Beadle who first goes all the way in applying the lucrative formula "M is for Mormon and Murder"—Hickman, as we shall see, never dreamed of such a thing until Beadle put him up to it; and it is Beadle who perfects the standard tricks and clichés that Stenhouse, Young, and Wallace find so helpful. As for the "tone" of Ann Eliza's personal letters and interviews, Mr. Wallace never lets his readers see a single one of those letters or sit through one of the interviews. Her long letter to Stenhouse is available, however, in Fanny's book, and the most remarkable thing about it is the tameness of its "tone" as compared with Wife No. 19, which is definitely in the Beadle vein.
Now about this Beadle. It seems that Hickman brought his life story to Beadle for his expert advice and assistance. What was the understanding between the two? "Our conversation need not be recorded," writes Beadle, thereby arousing suspicions which are not allayed when he continues: "I then agreed to take charge of his manuscript, and, to use his own language, 'Fix it up in shape, so people would understand it.' "134 That is a pretty broad commission. That the spelling and punctuation were to be corrected would be taken for granted anyway—even the printer would do that—fixing the thing up went definitely beyond that—Brother Beadle had a free hand, and he used it, as we shall soon see. But first his own story of how he came into possession of the awful facts is too good to miss.
"For years," he begins, "I had heard of 'Bill Hickman, Chief of the Destroying Angels, Head Danite,' &c., &c., ad nauseam but like most persons unacquainted with Mormon history, I regarded such matters as the creations of a fertile fancy."135 Let us stop the film there for a moment: He and everybody else living back East always kept hearing (ad nauseam) for years and years about this Bill Hickman. But how could that be if the first knowledge the public had of Hickman and his deeds, according to Ann Eliza, came with the startling revelations of his book—first edited by Beadle himself in 1870? What could those earlier stories of Hickman and his Danites possibly have been? Who gave them out? Why are they not found in his autobiography? If they are, why no reference to earlier publications? Only Hickman knew those stories, and it was to Beadle that he first told them.
And then that business about Beadle and the rest of the general public, "unacquainted with Mormon history," refusing to credit such atrocity stories. Was that really the reaction of the public to the Mormon horror tales from the beginning? Did people actually take the side of the Mormons when these tales were handed out to them from the high authority of the pulpit and the press? They did not: the public is neither prone to spurn sensationalism nor to take a cool and detached view of Mormonism. Beadle is making all this up. Disillusionment came, he says, only when he was "convinced by a longer residence in Utah that there was and had long been some kind of a secret organization dangerous to Gentiles and recusant Mormons."136 Stop the camera again: these were the very years when, according to Ann Eliza, "a Gentile's life was worth absolutely nothing"137 in Utah. Granting that Mr. Beadle's was worth just that, still he, a snooping Gentile, lived and labored for a long time in Utah before he became "convinced . . . that there was . . . some kind of a secret organization" at work. It took long and intense investigation even to make him suspicious: this cannot possibly have been Ann Eliza's Utah of the bloody valleys.
But what did convince the astute Beadle that something was wrong? Not shots in the dark, knives in the door, or notes on the table—no, during all his time in Utah there was no indication that he was ever in the slightest danger. The light dawned when "I began to examine the history of the Church more carefully; and . . . was struck by two curious and then unexplainable facts."138 Fact one was that the notorious Hickman, openly denounced by the leaders of the Church as a bad and dangerous man, was never prosecuted. Fact two was that said Hickman "was on terms of personal intimacy with Brigham Young."139 Stop the film again: He got all that out of the history of the Church? Whose history of the Church? He had read anti-Mormon histories and not believed a word of them, because they offered not a scrap of proof. So now he turns to the Mormon history, where the figure of Hickman commands his attention. But where does Hickman's name appear in the history of the Church? Where do we read of his intimacy with Brigham Young? To Beadle's mind the significant thing about Hickman was that the Mormons knew he was bad and yet did not prosecute him. Prosecute him for what? The West was full of bad and dangerous men who couldn't be prosecuted until they were caught in a crime. Hickman's early crimes were all most secret, known only to himself, until he confessed to Beadle. Why then, when all became known, was he never prosecuted? Were the Mormons protecting him then? If Hickman's only business with Brigham Young was, as he avers, the execution of secret, black, and midnight acts, O, most damnable, the dangerous association would of course be kept scrupulously out of the history of the Church—yet that is where Beadle says he found all about it.
With such clumsy artifice Beadle sets his stage. Why, if he has a direct and authentic tale to unfold, must he protest over and over again in his introduction that the Mormons as a whole are so very, very wicked that it makes no difference what you say about them, it can't be bad enough. Why does he seek to make his history plausible by appealing lamely to "late developments in Utah," which "have poured a flood of light on many dark and bloody mysteries,"140 and then leave us completely in the dark as to what those developments might be or to what dark and bloody mysteries he is so darkly referring? His Hickman behaves like a moron, and his Brigham Young like an idiot, as they unimaginatively and repeatedly go through the same routine: the henchmen go forth on the hour every hour to commit their monotonous murders and return with their routine reports to receive the Prophet's routine blessing along with some such ingenious remark as "Dead Men Tell No Tales"!—inevitably paraphrased by the ladies as "Dead women tell no tales"! In order to work at all, the crude Beadle formula requires a cooperative and confiding public, but when has such ever been wanting where the Mormons are concerned? When you come right down to it, our contemporary experts, though more devious, are almost as crude.
To adorn and confirm the Hickman book, Mr. Beadle solicited the aid of Judge Stephen S. Harding, and got it. And in Harding we have just the control we need. First, a word about the good Judge. He was born in Palmyra in 1808, and because of that was able to give to the world a priceless description of the boy Joseph Smith: "He had hardly ever been known to laugh in his childhood; and would never work or labor like other boys; and was noted as never having had a fight or quarrel with any other person. . . . He was hard on birds' nests, and . . . it was a common saying in the neighborhood: 'That is as big a lie as young Joe ever told.' "141 Now it happens that the Harding family moved to Indiana in 1820, when little Stephen was only twelve years old; and when in 1827 he saw a newspaper report of the "Golden Bible" sensation in Palmyra, the name of the place caught his eye, he says, but "I had at the time no certain recollection as to who this "Joe Smith" was; but remembered having seen a long-legged, tow-headed boy of that name, who was generally fishing in the mill-pond at Durfee's grist-mill."142 It turned out later that that was sure enough Joe Smith, but that was all that Harding remembered of him. Then in 1829 he visited Palmyra and spent a good deal of time at the printing office, where they made a present to him143 of "the first title page of the Book of Mormon that was ever printed";144 but in spite of his persistent efforts he failed to get any response from Joseph Smith himself. He did learn all about him, though, from his cousin, Pomeroy Tucker. We have shown how irresponsible Tucker was when it came to inventing stories about Joseph Smith,145 and it is interesting that Harding ends his long letter with a Tucker story, to which he adds his own contribution:
The best part of the story, however [i.e., that J. Smith insisted on a large black sheep instead of a small white one as a sacrifice when he dug for treasure], had been forgotten by Mr. T. . . . "The reason why it must be a black sheep," said the young deceiver, "is because I have found the treasure by means of the black art." This, of course, was unanswerable, and the black wether was given up.
With malice toward none, and charity for all, I subscribe myself,
|Stephen S. Harding.146|
Such was a good Judge Harding, a well of truth. But he hated Brigham Young with a consuming hatred. When on July 7, 1862, he became Governor of Utah, he "joined hands with Colonel Connor in assuming for Utah a military police supervision," cracking down on the Mormons, but withholding military aid to them even "when they were harassed by Indian raids."147 Harding's undisguised hatred of the Mormons burst out in a furious attack on their patriotism and morals in a speech to the Utah legislature in December 1862. Within six months he was removed from office by President Lincoln and transferred to a judgeship in Colorado. He continued to work steadily against statehood for Utah. And to this man Bill Hickman confessed six years before he came to Beadle. So it was a natural thing for Beadle to write to the Judge for confirmation and more dirt for his book. But what have we here?
This is the situation: Here is Governor Harding, who has been in office less than a year and is already on his way out "on account of continuous struggles between himself and the Mormon church,"148 whose career has been wrecked by Brigham Young. To his door in the middle of the night of March 3, 1863, comes one Bill Hickman, "a born killer," as Kelly and Birney put it, who "enjoyed his profession. He was cold-blooded, crafty, and heartless, . . . a huge man, as strong as a bull. . . . His eyes were a steel-grey, the whites always bloodshot, and no man who looked into them ever craved a repetition of the experience."149 If any man hated Brigham Young more than Harding did, it was Hickman. On that momentous night he "stood up (I often think now of the man and his manner), and said, 'Governor, . . . I know Brigham Young and his rabbit-tracks! Rabbit-tracks! . . . Brigham Young has more reason to be afraid o' Bill Hickman than Bill Hickman has to be afraid o' Brigham Young.' I never looked on a face with more of a scowl of defiance."150 Well, you get the pitch: Hickman is not the man to hold anything back from timidity or modesty, and Harding is not the man to let such information go to waste. The two met often after that; they were "confederates," as Kelly and Birney put it, the one Brigham Young's arch-Danite and chief assassin, now turned against Brigham with insane fury, and the other the frustrated Governor who would give anything to pin something on Young. "All the army," said Brigham Young in 1860, "with its teamsters, hangers-on, and followers, with the judges, and nearly all the rest of the civil officers, amounting to some seventeen thousand men, have been searching diligently for three years to bring one act to light that would criminate me; but they have not been able to trace out one thread or one particle of evidence that would criminate me."151
What a feather in Harding's cap to be able to pin something on Brigham Young! He badly needed such a feather—the one thing that would save his career. And here was Hickman right in his own office in secret session—the one man who knew all the crimes of Brigham Young inside out! Why didn't Harding bring charges against Brigham Young the very next morning, as duty, pleasure, and desperate self-interest prescribed? There were other sessions with Hickman after this one: why didn't Harding ever bring charges? Why was Hickman, though he lived until 1883, never prosecuted? Plainly he was safe enough. As chief Danite he would know about plenty of crimes that would not directly incriminate himself, or by the learned judge's advice he could at least turn state's witness and save his skin. Yet never a peep out of Harding! He went off to Colorado demoted, and hence to retirement in Indiana with not a word of Brigham's Danite operations. In 1890 he contributed two lengthy chapters on the Mormons to Thomas Gregg's anti-Mormon classic with not so much as a hint of his own dealings with those terrible people in Utah. Of course he asked Hickman about the Danites on their very first interview, but, would you believe it, Hickman had nothing to report!
Here they are, Young's two deadliest enemies, cheek by jowl—"thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing"—in a top-secret session that had just one object in the world. Hickman is reporting to the Governor: "He gave me a short sketch of his life," the latter reports, "and did not seem very proud of his title as 'Danite Captain.' On this subject, however, he was reticent."152 That man ashamed? Under those circumstances? He didn't have to incriminate himself, as we have said—what a time to be "reticent" on that theme!
One thing emerges clearly from this. Neither in that or in any of their subsequent sessions did Harding learn anything he could use against Brigham Young. It was only when Hickman came to Beadle six years later that Hickman suddenly remembered and revealed for the first time all the now familiar tales of the Danites. Beadle was a professional purveyor of scandal, "a frequently impoverished hack," says Mr. Wallace, a sometime editor, court clerk (only in later years when he is safely back East, does he become clerk of the Supreme Court for Utah), Utah correspondent for a Cincinnati paper, professional anti-Mormon, and ghostwriter for our own Ann Eliza. Hickman handed this man his story with a free hand to "fix it up."
That is why we believe that those tales are Beadle's invention, for the celebrated "Confessions" that suddenly sprang to life in 1870 can in no wise have resembled Hickman's long and intimate communications to Harding—if they had, Harding would have had Brigham trapped in no time. Harding's attempts to attribute his own lack of information on the Danites to Hickman's tender conscience and maidenly reserve is worthy of Gilbert and Sullivan.
It was not until Beadle got to work that every solved and unsolved crime of the century was traced directly and simply to Brigham Young through the helpful Hickman, who receives his orders, liquidates his Aikens, Yates, et al., and reports to Brigham with the regularity of clockwork. If he and Beadle were singularly weak in inventive skill, must we attribute the same total lack of resource to the crafty Brigham Young? No wonder Hickman was never prosecuted. The patent absurdity of the "Confessions" becomes apparent on the most superficial investigation and grows with every monotonous episode.
Hickman raises a lot of questions: To sum them up, how could Beadle and everybody else back East know all about Hickman and his Danites for years before Hickman ever divulged his deep secrets? In what history of the Church did Beadle read about Hickman's intimacy with Brigham Young? Why did Hickman hold back his evidence against Brigham Young in his talks with Harding? Harding's explanation—because he was not "very proud" of his own association with the Danites—raises yet more questions. Was Hickman the squeamish type? As Top Danite, couldn't he implicate Young in particular crimes of which he himself was not guilty? Was Harding so indifferent or devoid of ingenuity as to overlook an opportunity like this to throw the book at Brigham Young? As a lawyer, couldn't he have made some use of such incriminating evidence? Why did he make no use at all of the material Hickman gave him? It is Beadle who asks, Why was Hickman never prosecuted by the Mormons before he confessed to anything, if the Mormons were not condoning his crimes? But that raises much more serious questions: Why was he never prosecuted at all? Why was he, living on an isolated ranch alone for years, never liquidated by the Danites he betrayed? The questions pile up, and they all have the same answer: The Hickman stories were not true.
Only desperation could lead Mr. Wallace and his army of trained researchers to bring so pitiful a witness into court as Horace Greeley, to give "some credence to the continuing rumors of threat and violence." "Some credence" isn't very good, but it is far better than what Greeley gives us. He reports that "there is some basis of truth for the current Gentile conviction that the Mormons have robbed, maimed, and even killed persons in this territory. . . . I deeply regret the necessity of believing this; but the facts are incontestable." What begins a sentence as "some basis of truth" turns up at the end as "incontestable facts." And where does he get his incontestable facts? From "United State soldiers encamped near Salt Lake City," who told him that " 'not less than seventy-five distinct instances of murder by Mormons because of apostasy . . . are known to the authorities here.' "153 Why didn't he consult the "authorities"? What could bored and resentful G.I.'s, robbed of an easy victory and condemned to the confinement of a dusty camp, find better to do than to propagate rumors in the grand old army manner? Greeley and Wallace, by locating their informants "near Salt Lake City," have them enjoying a ringside view, as it were, of all that went on in the Mormon community, never hinting that they were actually isolated in a camp forty-five miles away and forbidden to fraternize with the Mormons. That the camp should be a hothouse of barrack-room and mess-hall rumors, and that the poor soldiers should be pitifully grateful for a chance to show off to a famous newspaper man is understandable; but Mr. Greeley could have spared himself great mental anguish if he had only asked himself how soldiers stationed far from any Mormon settlement and objects of suspicion to the civilian population could possibly know about the inner workings of the Mormon system in dealing with "apostates."
When Richard Burton later went to the same source for enlightenment, he discovered that the soldiers could furnish no evidence whatever for the stories they told so well. Of this singular lack of confirmation Burton observes, "They attribute the phenomenon to the impossibility of obtaining testimony, and the undue white-washing action of juries."154 Of course they do—thus adding Mormon rascality to Mormon criminality. But whatever the reason the proof was not forthcoming, the rumor-loving G.I.'s refer confidently and characteristically to "the authorities" and to Mormon cover-up tactics as their franchise for unlimited invention, and their eager gossip is the whole substance of Mr. Greeley's "incontestable facts."
After his appeal to Greeley, Mr. Wallace is content to quote Ann Eliza: "Brigham Young had 'managed' a great many murders, of which he would probably avow himself entirely guiltless, since his hands did not perform the deed."155 Lacking all support for this terrible charge, Wallace clinches it with a rhetorical trick, commenting with withering irony: "But, of course, by this time Ann Eliza was an angry wife."156 Of course we can't believe an angry wife, even if our whole book is nothing but the gossip of an angry wife.
The most valued witness, perhaps, for those who write about the Danites is "the diary of William Swartzell, another convert."157 In designating it thus, Mrs. Brooks fails to note that Swartzell was not a convert but an ex-convert (what Mormon was not a convert in 1838?), and that the document in question is not the man's diary, but a careful reworking of it into an anti-Mormon pamphlet. The revamped diary of an apostate is, we insist, not the same thing as the diary of a convert. Consider the preface to Mormonism Exposed . . . by William Swartzell, Sometime a Deacon in the Church of "Latter-Day-Saints": "The darkest page of history can furnish no parallel to the wicked and damnable deeds, the high handed impostures, the mad fanaticism, and the violent outrages against morality, decency, and regular law, etc., etc. . . . And all this under the sacred name of religion"! Here in 1840 we have the formula full-blown—the terrible indictment, the appeal to all history, the crowning horror of perverting "the sacred name of religion."158 And then, already true to form, the perfectly tame and innocuous story that follows—ordinary enough except when the author uses it as a frame to hang his polemic on. What makes Swartzell interesting is his frequent resort to clumsy and obvious interpolation and fabrication.
Take Swartzell's first entry, for example. Here Swartzell, brand-new in the Church, has joined the Saints just three days before; he has just met Joseph Smith, who has been very kind and helpful. And to the day's entry he adds:
The most prominent and influential members of the fraternity were generally the only ones upon which donations of land were conferred. I particularly observed that the least among the brethren were the least noticed, and got the least. . . . I took note of a great many things, while I superintended the cooking department, that did not savor very strongly of piety, or honesty. The boss cook was not asleep.159
Does that reminiscence of the past read like a journal entry of specific events on the day they happened? Does this little sermon of wise disillusionment, critical scorn, and vague generalities, written in the past historical tense, suggest the starry-eyed youth who has been just three days with the Saints? He is already talking like Ann Eliza; he is being editorial and retrospective, displaying a frankly hostile spirit right at the time when he is supposed to be an ardent follower of the Prophet. The next day he reports: "This day Joseph Smith says to me, 'We are getting along, brother Swartzell; be a faithful steward, and we will remember you well.' Thinks I to myself, 'So much for that.' "160
Wasn't it a bit early for the young enthusiast to be scoffing at the Prophet? Why had he cast his lot with the persecuted Mormons if he only came to sneer and mutter caustic asides? Ten days later he describes himself as a thorough-going enthusiast for the cause: "As the Lord has blessed and prospered the proceedings of the last week, I bless his holy name for his many tender mercies."161 Can this be the same person who has been commenting on events with such withering sarcasm? No, that is the apostate Swartzell of later days.
This can be clearly demonstrated from the entry for June 27, 1838:
The god of the Mormons, I begin to perceive [he had perceived it on the first day in camp], is the god of Mammon. . . . It seems that in order to induce many of the dupes of Mormonism to emigrate to Missouri, some of the leaders take advantage . . . by representing . . . that they have thousands of acres in wheat. This bait many of the poor half-starved creatures readily swallowed, and emigrated to Missouri; but they found no wheat there, or any thing else to live upon.162
Note here how our diary writer slips into the past narrative tense, and then goes on to describe developments that could only have taken place much later. For on June 27, 1838, the oldest Mormon settlement in Missouri was less than six weeks old—which gives the saints back East and abroad less than six weeks to receive news of the settlements, be duped into believing that at that season of the year thousands of acres of wheat awaited them in Missouri, and upon hearing the report to sell out, pack up, and "emigrate to Missouri," only to find no rich harvests awaiting them. Swartzell is plainly putting this stuff into his "diary" in retrospect.
Two days after this, Swartzell reports the fulfillment of a personal revelation: "went to the place to which my vision pointed, and found it precisely as I had anticipated."163 Yet scarcely a week has passed before he announces, "From this day, I concluded to make my escape from this blessed land, and as soon as possible."164 Another bad slip: He is writing about something he did on a certain day in the past. He does not say "From this day on I resolve" or the equivalent, but can already report a resolution to which he has remained firm.
Now comes the important part, the entry of July 14, 1838, quoted as the one firsthand description of a Danite meeting: "It was held in a grove, in the woods, adjoining brother White's house, where a number of benches were made out of trees split in two. Sentinels, armed with pistols, swords, and guns, were posted on the outskirts of the grove, while the Daranites, as they were called, occupied the centre."165 All very damning and very specific. The trouble is that Swartzell wasn't there. All he can report is: "Some talk of a meeting—for what purpose I do not know—it is called a Daranite meeting." And then the description of the grove. After the meeting, he says, Brother Thayer said to him, "Ah! brother Swartzell, you should have been at the meeting; you should have heard all about the Daranite business, for brother Joseph preached, and brother Hiram, and brother Rigdon."166 And did brother Joseph preach for the "Daranites" or against them? That is important to know, since this is the only direct association of Joseph Smith with the Danites.
What Danites? Swartzell refers to them always and only as "Daranites": If everyone was going about talking about Daranites, how is that only Swartzell knows that peculiar name? The indication is that he heard the name incorrectly, which is quite possible; but in that case he could have heard it from only one person—not repeated by many different persons in a form which occurs only in his "diary." He is extending things as usual. Why should Thayer come right from the meeting from which Swartzell had been excluded, "deprived," he says, ". . . of being then let into the secret, or being admitted to the meeting"167— report to him what happened in it? Extending, did we say? Suddenly, now that he has mentioned the "Daranites," Swartzell's diary takes on epic proportions with entries ten times the normal length. Why is that? Is it because he found the "Daranites" of particular significance? Not at all: he tells us that at the time, being a good Mormon (has he already forgotten his resolution to "escape"?), he did not realize the importance or significance of all this, which occurred to him only later. Yet suddenly his "diary" becomes minutely discursive and accompanied by parenthetical comments and footnotes not found elsewhere in the book, to attest its working-over. If the Danites meant no more to him than any of the other Mormon activities, as he insists, why does he give them five times as much space as anything else?
The long and sensational entry of July 19, 1838, is introduced by a statement in brackets meant to anticipate obvious objections, but actually putting the critical reader on his guard:
It may not be improper here to state, that when I wished to make an entry in my Journal, while stationed among the Mormons I was under the necessity of retiring some distance from the camp, to a large tree, under whose boughs they believed I was offering up my daily prayers; where I wrote without being disturbed, as none were aware that I kept a record of their transactions—nor did I at that time have the most distant idea, that at some future period these notes would be laid before the public in the form of an exposition of the corruptions of a band of religious fanatics.168
This raises a number of questions, such as: Since the Mormons have always encouraged the keeping of journals by their members, and since at that time, as you explain, you were a good Mormon with nothing to hide, why the elaborate subterfuge? Most of your entries are very short and innocuous—did you have to go through a masquerade to jot them down? Where did you keep your diary during the day? You tell of a number of little expeditions you made by yourself away from the camp, and as chief cook you were obviously trusted and let alone a good deal of the time—do you expect us to believe that you could only be by yourself when you were pretending to pray? And that you chose a conspicuous spot for your prayers, where you would be observed? Were you expected to "retire" to a place where the Mormons could watch you at prayer—you and your diary? Why do you wait until the "Daranite" story to explain how you kept your secret journal, since you insist that at the time you had not "the most distant idea" of using it against the Mormons? Why should they think there was anything wrong with your journal if you didn't? If you never dreamed that your jottings might someday be used to expose the "corruptions" of the Mormons, how do you explain the bitter anti-Mormon polemic that begins with your very first entry? Where is the "record of their transactions" that the Mormons never suspected you of keeping? We search the diary in vain for anything but ordinary glimpses of camp-life relieved by frequent insights into Mr. Swartzell's passionate and peevish character. If there is any record of Mormon transactions, it is the account of what happened after Swartzell was actually admitted to the Danites. What does he say about that?
At the initiation "the High Priest performed the ceremonies, and commented upon the order of things with his head uncovered, and hair cut in a peculiar manner."169 Since we know of nothing either to corroborate this statement or to invest it with a sinister allure, we pass to the next: "I was initiated into the mysteries of Daraniteism,"170 followed by the horrible oath: "Now I do solemnly swear, by the eternal Jehovah, that I will decree to hear and conceal, and never reveal this secret, at the peril of committing perjury, and the pains of death, and my body be given to be shot, and laid in the dust. Amen."171 The gist of this strange wording is "cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die"; it was explained by a speaker thus: "If any of you should run away and betray this trust which is committed to you, though he should be five thousand miles distant, the Destroying Angels will pursue him, and take his life." To which Swartzell adds his comment after a dash, "—have him shot privately, so that it may not be found out or known to men."172 This is the only part of Swartzell's diary that is supplied with footnotes, and at the end of the entry the author adds, "I have not stated every thing accurately, perhaps, as my memory does not always serve me fully."173
Granted all that, we are still waiting for the hair-raising disclosures, and Swartzell finally obliges with italics and exclamation point to mark the high-water mark in his tale of terror: The Daranites were told that if they ran away in battle "You will be shot down by your own officers!"174 This is where he gets that business about being shot if you run away; but that has always been the fate meted out by the laws of war (theoretically at least) to deserters in any army, and Swartzell insists that the Danites were a strictly military organization.
After this culmination of terror, the rest of the little book is an anticlimax, albeit a lucid commentary on the personality of the author. The very next day he has a run-in with Sidney Rigdon, who maintains that any single man in the camp should be willing to do his own washing "or get a nigger to do it," since "the fair daughters of Zion should not touch a dirty rag!" He was referring to Swartzell's shirt, but our hero replied with spirit, "For my part, I will go with a dirty shirt before I will be my own washerman"—not a very helpful addition to a camp of religious refugees.175 The next day he discovers that Hiram Smith is a dirty swindler (no particulars),176 and on July 28 attends a "Daranite meeting," where there was "a vast expenditure of breath in expounding to the dupes," but nothing worse.177 Of a speaker who suggested on August 5, 1838, "it may be that we will have to flee beyond the Rocky Mountains," Swartzell comments, "He seemed to talk unreasonably, but many of the innocent dupes did not see the destruction that was coming, and I dared not give them any warning."178 We have underlined the "was" to show that this entry was put down not on the day indicated but in retrospect, after the Missouri disaster.
On August 13 Swartzell writes, "I have got the horrors—thinking about home."179 And then a week later, August 20: "This morning I left the Mormon camp. When I had got four or five miles from the city of Adam-on-Diammon, I shouted so loud for joy that the blood came out of my mouth."180 An enlightening passage. Not one word of planning for a getaway or of hair-breadth escape or pursuit—he simply walked away from the Mormon camp, as he could have done any time he felt like it, and nobody made the slightest effort to stop him. Then having relieved his feelings and revealed his state of mind in a hair-raising scream, he went on to the Clay County Courthouse, and there "I told them something about the band of warriors, and charged them never to tell on me, as every Daranite was sworn to take my life, if they could find out that I had seceded from their ranks."181 Would the Gentiles have to "tell on" Swartzell before it dawned on the Daranites that he was no longer with them? Would the Mormons never guess that their chief cook had seceded unless the outsiders told them so? Either Swartzell was free to go his way unmolested, as he did, or else the Mormons had no way of knowing he had left the camp, as he implies. In either case it is clear that the man is fabricating about the danger he was in. He concludes his history with an appendix taken from the writings of E. D. Howe.
T. B. H. Stenhouse, an apostate and anti-Mormon writer, has told how the confessions of Marsh and Hyde were exploited in the manufacture of rumors to rally the people against the Mormons, and how those false rumors resulted in the death of Patten at Crooked River.182 Having recognized the extent and influence of false rumors about the Danites, Mr. Stenhouse then seeks to nullify the effect of his pronouncement by the neatly rhetorical proposition that whether "Danitism was taught . . . by the authority of Joseph Smith or without, it matters not—the terrible dread of vengeance was all the same."183 Which is the equivalent of saying, "Whether John Wilkes Booth or Louisa May Alcott shot Lincoln matters not—it was a terrible crime all the same." When it is Joseph Smith who is on trial for these crimes, does it make no difference whether he had anything to do with them or not? Not with Mr. Stenhouse, just so you can get them into the same sentence. He goes even farther: "The intelligent Mormon knows to-day that though there may be no bona fide organization called the Danites, there have been in church fellowship, from the days of Avard up to the present, men who have done the deeds charged to the Danites."184 This is the same argument in an even more brazen form: Stenhouse is doing his best to make out a case against the Mormons, even though he knows there is no evidence for the Danite myth. After all, there have been in every church men who have done the very "deeds charged to the Danites," whether there were any Danites or not. And out of that Stenhouse would forge his subtle verbal link between the Mormons and the Danite image. Kelly and Birney rejoice in a further disclosure of Stenhouse, namely that there was a man who failed to deliver a message from Joseph Smith in the Carthage jail and that years later in the West "by odd coincidence, he died 'it is said of dysentery.' "185 Can you think of a single cause of death in any time or place that would not be "an odd coincidence" to these gentlemen?
What we are trying to point out is that all these writers on the Danites have no foothold after 1838 and know it. The most effective exploitation of the Danite myth has in fact been through works of pure fiction: It was Joaquin Miller's Broadway hit The Danites, or the Heart of the Sierra that established the tradition that Zane Grey and some early movies ("The Mormon Maid") continued. In 1881 Miller changed the name of his play to The Danites in the Sierras,186 because the book treats chiefly of that once dreaded and bloody order—in the Sierras yet.The Kauffmans in their work of high scholarly pretense prove that "the Danites, or 'Destroying Angels,' pillaged often and sometimes slew the argonauts,"187 by citing as their source the novel The Viper's Trail, by Alfred Henry Lewis, the same man who converted Lee's autobiography into a Danite epic by the simple and effective device of inserting the word "Danite" into the text every few sentences.
Well, what else can you expect? "The very nature of the Danite organization precluded the keeping of records," Kelly and Birney remind us. "The Danite oath, together with the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and all of Joseph Smith's revelations from Yahveh, has suffered many changes, deletions, and additions from time to time."188 That leaves our authorities free to announce, "There is no mention of Porter Rockwell in the many accounts of the dark days that preceded the great migration. We may assume, with entire safety, that he was not idle."189 Having assumed so much, they take their next step with the same entire safety: "there are indications [not given] that Porter was in Nauvoo when General J. J. Hardin . . . entered the Holy City and searched it for evidence of the hasty burials of Danite victims."190 Doesn't that make your blood run cold? The General found no evidence, but A. W. Babbit practically confessed everything when he caustically pointed out to the General that it would be silly to bury victims right on the banks of the Mississippi with the river right next door. Which of course proves that Rockwell threw his victims into the river.191
"Porter's first murder in Utah" is another creation ex nihilo, Kelly and Birney basing their case on two points, (1) that the victim was "supposed by the Mormons" to have been once a member of the Illinois mob at Carthage, and that "even to be suspected of such complicity was sufficient to seal any man's death warrant," and (2) to this useful General Principle is joined the concrete evidence, that many later emigrants to Utah have actually seen the place where the murder took place! If that is not enough, Slater and Nelson (our authors' informants), claim that some of those emigrants actually told them personally of having seen the place!192
How can you doubt after that? The Gunnison atrocity "was charged to the Indians," and indeed proven against them, "but to this day," Kelly and Birney remind us, "gossip in Utah alleges that Rockwell and the Danites participated in the slaughter."193 Mormon gossip? What were Gentiles doing on the lower Sevier? To prove that the gossip is well founded, Kelly and Birney note that the killers "carried away all the maps, instruments, and written records of the survey party—articles which were absolutely of no value to savages." But the fact that "all of the stolen material was afterwards recovered"194 fails to suggest to our sleuths that the stuff was obviously of no use to the men who took it—they made no effort to divide it up, hide it, sell it, or use it, as white men would have done.
The most revealing commentary on the art of creating Danites out of nothing is Kelly and Birney's last chapter. A few examples: "More than thirty years ago the Society of Friends spent several hundred thousand dollars on a large irrigation project on the Sevier River. Nothing remains of that endeavor but an abandoned schoolhouse. . . . The gentle Quakers were taken 'over the rim' by Porter Rockwell's ghost."195 Just what is the charge here—that Porter Rockwell, dead for over twenty years, attacked the Quakers? That they were assassinated? That the Mormons wrecked their project? Here the critics show their hand—this is the quality of their vaunted historical objectivity. Writing as of the year 1934, they say,
Constant vigilance has made of the Gentile residents of Utah a tribe of congenital hypocrites. . . . Throats are no longer slit, but the very few who do not tremble in the Shadow of the Sword can be counted upon the fingers of a one-armed man. . . . With but one notable exception no Gentile cleric dares speak of the Mormon hierarchy in any but the most cordial terms; the Shadow of the Sword lies athwart their pulpits.196
Here the line of reasoning is simple and direct: If even the Gentiles will not sustain their awful charges against the Mormons, then the Gentiles one and all, "with but one notable exception," are simply liars and hypocrites.
"In the good old days," our guides assure us, "the Salt Lake City daily Tribune was frankly, rabidly, courageously, and joyously anti-Mormon, . . . but it received the surgical attentions of the ghost of Porter Rockwell." Next the Telegram "sold out to the ghost of the Danite chieftain."197 What is all this talk about ghosts? This free play between unbridled imagination and positive assertion is the trick behind every successful anti-Mormon book. It is Ann Eliza's trump card in dealing with the Danites:
Yet the spirit of assassination still remains; and were it unchecked, hundreds would be . . . sent into eternity without a moment's warning, for no crime at all except for daring to differ, if ever so slightly, from those in authority.198
He . . . longs for a return of the days when one word of his would have put a summary and permanent end to the existence of this sheet, by the utter annihilation of everything and everybody connected with it. But the time is forever past when the "unsheathing of his bowie-knife," or the "crooking of his little finger," pronounced sentence upon offenders.199
The technique is always the same; the protasis is discreetly contrary-to-fact, but the apodosis is so vivid and horrible that the reader easily forgets that detail in his emotional involvement. The classic example of this is Ann Eliza's great Danite sermon:
If anyone became tired of Mormonism, or impatient of the increasing despotism of the leader, and returned to the East, or started to do so, he inevitably was met by the Indians and killed before he had gone very far. The effect was to discourage apostasy, and there was no one but knew that the moment he announced his intention of leaving Zion . . . he pronounced his death sentence.
There was admittedly no evidence for any of this:
The faces were as friendly that he met every day, the voices just as kind; his hand was shaken at parting, and there was not a touch of warning or sarcasm in the "God speed" and bon voyage. But HE KNEW he was a lucky man if in less than twenty-four hours after leaving Salt Lake City, he was not lying face downward on the cold earth, shot to death by an unerring rifle ball, while the stars looked sorrowfully down [etc.], . . . and a man rode swiftly cityward, carrying the news of the midnight murder to his master. . . . "Ah, poor fellow; killed by the Indians," said all his friends; but Brigham Young and Bill Hickman or 'Port' Rockwell KNEW better.200
We don't need the mention of Hickman to tell us where this comes from. Notice that the purpose of this system is "to discourage apostasy," while the potential apostates were all told—and believed—that it was the doing of Indians, thereby defeating the purpose of the whole operation. Notice also that the proof rests on the leading verb, which is always what somebody thought: There is no evidence whatever for the doings of the Danites except what the victim knows and what Brigham and Hickman know. The murder she talks about is the murder that the victim knew he would be lucky to escape if he ever became tired of Mormonism. So with the Mountain Meadows Massacre: "Young as I was, I felt the mystery that shrouded the whole transaction, I knew instinctively" what even her parents did not suspect—and she thirteen years old.
If "any stranger in the city" by "his words or actions displeased the Mormon spies," according to Ann Eliza, "he never got far beyond the city limits."201 Her witness for this is a visiting intellectual, Mr. Langford, who "felt sure that if one word in disparagement, or criticism, of the Mormon people, or their religion, had crossed his lips, he would have been a dead man."202 Again the inner voice. But what if somebody in Salt Lake was a well-behaved visitor or a member in good standing, wouldn't he be safe then? Not a bit of it! "If no other charge could be brought against a person, he was called a 'spy'; and this, of course, gave sufficient reason for putting him out of the way very summarily."203
As we review the charges (they are too long to repeat here),204 we are forced to the astonishing conclusion that, according to Mr. Wallace's guide, for many years in Utah (seven at the very least), if a person was a Gentile he was immediately killed; if he was an apostate he was immediately killed; if he was weak in the faith, he was immediately killed; if he was merely suspected of being weak in the faith, he was immediately killed; if he "dared to neglect the counsel of the Priesthood," he "was at once charged with apostasy" and immediately killed; if he "committed even the most trifling offense to any member of the priesthood [including each and every male in the church above the age of eleven], he was immediately killed; if no charge of apostasy or deviation could be brought, he would still be accused of being a spy and instantly killed; if he was a casual visitor or transient and let slip one uncomplimentary word, he was immediately killed. Joseph Smith taught his people "openly that it was their duty to 'destroy in the flesh' all upon whom the leaders of the church frowned."205 Her proof of this is Doctrine and Covenants 132:26, which has nothing to do with the case. Brigham Young, in turn, "set at nought all morality with his horrible and debasing teachings . . . the duty of assassination."206
Insanity is no word for it. Are these people telling the truth or aren't they? Is this a likely situation? Do you find it appealing, or convincing? For people living on the narrowest margin of survival, as the Mormons were in the 1850s and 1860s, this doctrine seems singularly weak in survival value; what would such a policy do to any society? It seems even weaker in its human appeal. Murder the order of the day year after year? People think nothing of it? We wonder. The vast majority of these people in Utah were recent emigrants from Northern Europe, where the too frequent assassination of one's neighbors was frowned on, at least in the straight-laced nineteenth century. Why no protest from them? Why were the Mormons, to whom the liquidation of Gentiles and apostates was a sacred duty, never proud of their Danites? Why are none of their exploits known or praised by the Saints? Surely such a dedicated and efficient band must have at sometime performed some useful service besides murder during the years when there was so much else to be done. The fact that they never appear, either in times of crisis or in those parades of which the Mormons were so fond, is, to say the least, a suspicious one.
Finally our own Mr. Wallace has caught the Danite spirit and carried on the fine old tradition. If Ann Eliza is weak enough to admit that Joseph Smith always denounced the Danites or that Porter Rockwell did not shoot Boggs, Wallace charitably and quietly overlooks such slips; and if she fails to detect Danites where Danites might have been, he obligingly corrects the oversight. We refer the reader to Ann Eliza's account of the vivid terror of her first night in the Walker House, where she expected every moment to be murdered in her bed by the Gentiles because she was a Mormon.207 Since she had been running a boarding-house for Gentiles only and had been intimately closeted with some of the leading Gentiles of the territory for some time as they worked out their plots against Brigham Young, the lady's naiveté, though touching, is preposterous—she is prevaricating. As if that were not enough, however, Mr. Wallace improves on her story. As he tells it, she starts out fearing the Gentiles, but then, sometime during the night, shifts her ground to "fantasied strangulation at the hands of one of Brigham's fanatical Danites."208 "Her image of death . . . shifted from faceless Gentile to familiar Mormon. No Danite, she decided in terror, would allow her to remain alive in this hostile hotel or to escape Utah Territory."209 All this is strictly Wallace's invention; how the Danites become a reality and acquire familiar Mormon faces only in the mind of Ann Eliza is mirrored in the eery depths of his own.
This clever devising is promptly underpinned by another slick invention: "Ann Eliza knew by heart many of the public threats Brigham Young had thundered forth from the Tabernacle pulpit against apostates, those who had forsaken the faith." And to his erudite definition of an apostate he appends one threat which "she particularly recollected" (though how he knows that he does not tell us): "The time is coming when justice will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet: when we shall take the old broadsword, and ask, 'Are you for God?' and if you are not heartily on the Lord's side, you will be hewn down."210 Did Brigham Young actually own a line, plummet, and broadsword? Even the Destroying Angels are strictly biblical, and that broadsword which suggests such horrendous cuttings-off to our authors is entirely figurative, like Heber C. Kimball's sieve. Christians, Jews, and Moslems have always promised a dismal fate to apostates—what religion does not? It remains for Mr. Wallace to demonstrate that Brigham Young's warnings had anything to do with threats of physical violence. The policy in dealing with apostates is stated clearly and often in Brigham Young's sermons: there were to be no hard feelings (even Ann Eliza makes that clear),211 and, if requested, substantial assistance in getting back home or out to California was forthcoming.
But to show that he is being fair and noble, Wallace next concedes that "it was unlikely that Brigham Young would have dared, or even desired, to send an assassin into a bedroom of Walker House to garrote or knife his twenty-seventh wife." Which gives the reader a pretty fair idea of how the man would operate if he had a free hand. Having made this dangerous concession, however, our author retrieves the situation by the neatest coup of all: "Yet nothing was utterly impossible on that still rough and paranoiac frontier."212 If nothing was impossible, or rather, to make a double hedge, if nothing was utterly impossible, then the question of evidence becomes a mere quibble—there could be Danites after all! "Moreover," our eager informant hastens on, "there was every evidence that the Mormons had maintained, in their earlier days . . . and perhaps still in Utah . . . a special secret-service force to frighten off or even dispose of dangerous enemies of the Church."213 The feeble "perhaps" pulls the props out from under "every evidence," but every evidence is pretty strong; let us by all means have a look at every evidence, which is conveniently contained in the very next paragraph, taken from J. C. Bennett and John Hyde: "Certainly, in 1838 . . . the Mormons had formed a 'death society,' as Elder John Hyde labeled it."214 John Hyde was not an elder but a bitter apostate, and the "death society" was indeed his invention. Nothing more clearly betrays the fraudulence of reports about Wallace's "special service" than the bewildering variety of fantastic names attributed to it by their authors, among whom there is no agreement. Mr. Wallace, magisterially discoursing on a number of these, can tell us how they chose first one name and then another, until "the Sons of Dan, soon shortened to Danites, was permanently adopted."215 How does he know all this? Well, how do the others come by their information? Never mind, there is "every evidence . . . perhaps" for Danites in the halls of the Walker House. Is anything utterly impossible?
With the reader thus dazed and off-balance, Wallace follows through with elan. How glibly he next describes Porter Rockwell as a paid assassin, "a long-haired man who was said to have shot the governor of Missouri"!216 He does not even have the fairness of Ann Eliza to mention that Rockwell was proven to have been far from the scene of the attempted assassination of an ex-governor—but mentions just enough of the affair to justify without evidence the title of paid assassin. The next step is obvious, as Wallace reports that under Rockwell and Hickman, "who published his confessions of mayhem in a paperback book in 1870, the Danite idea seemed to survive the exodus west."217 The Danite idea? Seemed to survive? How conveniently vague and noncommittal—and yet how shivery! Next the appeal to Horace Greeley and his G.I.'s to give "some credence to the continuing rumors of threat and violence."218 But Greeley, as we have seen, was reporting army-camp rumors of the 1850s—does that put the Danites on the trail of Ann Eliza in 1873?
To keep the Danite image alive, Mr. Wallace tells how the ward teachers were admitted to Ann Eliza's hotel room, "after being properly screened, no doubt, and it being ascertained that they were not Danites."219 That canny "no doubt" pretty well takes care of the evidence. No one ever mentions the fact that while Ann Eliza Young barricaded herself in the hotel for two months, she spent more than five months in the city after moving to the Walker House—from July 15 to November 27. Where were the ever-vigilant Danites during those other three months? Why were they so easily eluded on the night of the Great Escape? Well, they weren't—aren't we reminded that "even then, the 'Danites' . . . might be upon our track"?220 Still no Danite materialized or any sign of a Danite—an inefficient crowd to say the least. But Mr. Wallace, for all the rampant absurdities that surround him, still clings loyally and tenaciously to his precious Danites, reminding us that his heroine "considered her peril real," and that "possibly it may have been."221 What can one say in the face of such dedication?
But then we are puzzled by this. Why do Ann Eliza and her spiritual Eckermann, Mr. Wallace, heave such a sigh of relief once the lady has chugged across the boundary at 22 m.p.h.? "Ahead lay Wyoming and freedom." Freedom from the Danites? Wasn't Wyoming a pretty "rough and paranoiac frontier" too? Weren't there Mormons even there? What on earth was there to hinder the Danites, those past masters in the art of "Indian" attacks and "accidents," from operating as freely beyond the Utah Territory as within it? The world had lent a willing ear when William Smith, the brother of Joseph Smith, no less, had reported,
They are in every town and city throughout the whole of the United States, and . . . their object is not known by the people; . . . they are all over the world; . . . there are thousands of them; and . . . the life of every officer that comes here [to Utah] is in the hands of the Danites; . . . even the President of the United States is not safe; for, at one wink from Brigham, the Danites will be upon him and kill him.222
In all their thousands of murders, moreover, they were never caught red-handed—not once! They were that clever and efficient.
With a record like that, and granting Mr. Wallace's useful thesis that "nothing was utterly impossible," and Mrs. Young's announcement that the Danites could be anywhere, our heroine wouldn't have had one chance in a million if things were as she and Wallace say they were. Unless the Danites were a myth, Ann Eliza never could have gotten out of Utah or spent long years unguarded on the road and all over the country. When she visited Utah to lecture against the Mormons, then of course Brigham would not dare let anything happen to her (Wallace generously concedes that); but what about the rest of the time? She was as safe as anybody else, and she knew it.
Was Brigham Young a shrewd operator, or wasn't he? If we would believe honest Judge Harding, "Brigham Young is no fanatic; it is nonsense to say that a man of his coldness, executive ability, and acuteness, can be fooled by such stuff as makes his system. When they talk to me about a man like Brigham believing such fooleries, I can only adopt the saying of Bill Hickman, 'All rabbit-tracks! All rabbit-tracks!' "223 The ladies would agree that Brigham Young was not the true believer but the complete opportunist. Now it takes no administrative genius to foresee, what H. H. Bancroft has pointed out,224 that the Mormons had nothing whatever to gain and everything to lose by the Mountain Meadows Massacre, which, occurring when it did, would give the people of the United States the very thing they had been looking for so long—a real case against the Mormons. Nothing could be more obvious than that.
Nothing could be more idiotic, therefore, than the thesis that Brigham Young himself worked out the whole suicidal operation, unless it is Mr. Wallace's announcement that Brigham Young "infected his underlings with fighting fever," and by keeping his people in a state of perpetual hysteria he "made possible Mountain Meadows."225 What would be gained by such a policy? In 1857 Brigham Young was playing fearful odds and knew it: he won the game by iron self-control. It was the year of the crickets, the drought, and the worst Indian wars of all, and, to top it off, a full-scale invasion by the U.S. Army. And this was the time, according to Mr. Wallace, that Brigham Young chose for his senseless swashbuckling, his insane and pointless ranting, driving his overburdened people to follow a course of crime and sure self-destruction. Such historic insight is only matched by Wallace himself in his production of the Great Nauvoo Bacchanalia.
One wonders at times if all this nonsense might not have suggested some interesting parallels to Mr. Wallace. There is far more and better evidence for the killing of the Holy Child of La Guardia by the Jews in 1428 than there is for the doings of the Danites; yet what does examination of the evidence show? That "the child of La Guardia never existed."226 High officials of church and state accused the Jews of the Damascus ritual murders of 1841—which were completely fictitious. Volumes of impressive testimony to numerous other ritual murders carried out by the Jews in various countries have been published,227 and the belief that "Jews require the blood of human beings for ritual purposes persists to this day."228 The scandalous trial of Mendel Beilliss in 1913 should have exposed the fraudulence of charges once and for all, but the Poles and then the Nazis revived the issue, bringing out long and important-looking legal reports to prove their case. When evidence is lacking, resort is readily had to the teachings of the Jews to prove the worst. What of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion? What about the dreaded Stern gang? Didn't the Jews teach openly the "Expiation of the Polluted Land"?229 There's blood atonement for you! Wasn't there a warning inscription in the Temple at Jerusalem threatening death to all non-Jews?230 Haven't the Jews been known to pray openly for vengeance on their enemies? Horrible! Horrible!
And against all that—and we have not even scratched the surface—Mr. Wallace waves excitedly one dingy little paperback of 1870, written by an impoverished hack for an old drunk who had been nursing a deadly hatred of Brigham Young for years, but hadn't enough solid information even to help out poor Governor Harding.
Such is the baseless fabric of the Danite vision which has served so long as the solid bedrock of the Mormon atrocity stories. This writer cannot claim Mr. Wallace's Olympian aloofness and majestic impartiality where Brigham Young is concerned, for he accepts the man as a prophet and his religion as divine. He feels accordingly that such stories as are being circulated abroad today should not go unchallenged and submits that the foregoing inquiry, however inadequate and unworthy of the theme, justifies the suspicion that those stories do not always rest on a foundation of truth.
* Sounding Brass was originally published in Salt Lake City by Bookcraft in 1963. It carried the subtitle, "Informal Studies in the Lucrative Art of Telling Stories about Brigham Young and the Mormons."
1. Charles Kelly and Hoffman Birney, Holy Murder: The Story of Porter Rockwell (New York: Minton, Balch, 1934), 287-88.
2. JD 5:77.
3. Ann Eliza (Webb) Young, Wife No. 19; Or, The Story of a Life of Bondage, Being a Complete Exposé of Mormonism, and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy (Hartford, CT: Dustin, Gilman, 1875), 268.
4. Irving Wallace, The Twenty-Seventh Wife (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961), 238.
5. Ibid., 28.
6. Young, Wife No. 19, 268-69.
7. Ibid., 34.
8. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 23.
9. Nels Anderson, Desert Saints: The Mormon Frontier in Utah (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1942), 117-31.
10. Mrs. T. B. H. (Fanny) Stenhouse, Tell It All: The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism (Hartford, CT: Worthington, 1874), 169.
11. Young, Wife No. 19, 569.
12. Wallace, The Twenty-Seventh Wife, 28 (emphasis added).
13. HC 3:178-79.
14. Ibid., 3:179.
15. Ibid., 3:179-80.
16. Ibid., 3:180-81.
17. Ibid., 3:181.
18. Lorenzo Dow Young, Diary and Reminiscences, Manuscript in Church Historian's Office.
19. T. B. H. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints: A Full and Complete History of the Mormons, from the First Vision of Joseph Smith to the Last Courtship of Brigham Young (New York: Appleton, 1873), 93-95.
20. Young, Diary and Reminiscences.
22. HC 3:179.
23. Young, Diary and Reminiscences.
24. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints, 93.
25. Young, Wife No. 19, 48.
26. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints, 91.
27. HC 3:180.
28. Ibid., 3:181-82.
29. Juanita Brooks, John Doyle Lee, Zealot-Pioneer-Builder-Scapegoat (Glendale: Clark, 1972), 32.
30. Young, Wife No. 19, 48.
31. HC 3:167.
34. Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., Blood Atonement and the Origin of Plural Marriage (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1905), 15.
35. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 3.
36. Ibid., 7.
37. Ibid., facing p. 46.
38. Ibid., 301.
39. Ibid., 24.
40. Ibid., 33.
41. Ibid., 48.
42. Ibid., 27.
43. Ibid., 130.
44. Ibid., 23.
45. Ibid., 130.
46. Ibid., 133.
47. Young, Wife No. 19, 198.
48. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 133.
49. Ibid., 133-34.
50. Ibid., 134; Not only are Kelly and Birney imprecise with their quotation (cf. JD 4:49), but they also cite the wrong date!
51. JD 4:51.
52. JD 4:49.
53. Plato, Gorgias 509b.
55. Ibid., 480a-b.
56. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 134; cf. JD 5:353.
57. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 134.
58. JD 6:34.
59. Ibid., 6:35.
60. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 130.
61. Ibid., 135.
62. JD 4:345.
63. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 135-36.
64. John D. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled: or the Life and Confessions of the Late Mormon Bishop John D. Lee, Written by Himself (St. Louis: Mason, 1877), 273.
65. John D. Lee, The Mormon Menace (New York: Home Protection, 1905), 277-97.
66. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, 269-86.
67. Ibid., 16.
68. Brooks, John Doyle Lee, 32-33.
69. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, 59-60.
70. Ibid., 57.
73. Ibid., 73 (emphasis added).
74. Ibid., 74.
75. Robert G. Cleland and Juanita A. Brooks, A Mormon Chronicle: The Diaries of John D. Lee, 1848-1876, 2 vols. (San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1955), 1:XX.
76. Ibid., 1:XXIII.
77. Ibid., 1:XXVI.
78. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, 159.
80. Ibid., 268.
81. Ibid., 161.
83. Ibid., 246-47.
84. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 152-53.
85. Ibid., 246.
86. Ibid., 120-22.
87. Ibid., 122.
88. Ibid., 224-25.
89. Ibid., 49.
90. Ibid., 153 (emphasis added).
91. Ibid., 195.
92. Ibid., 37.
93. Lee, Mormonism Unveiled, 213.
94. Ibid., 101-2.
95. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 137.
96. Ibid., 129.
97. Ibid., 137.
99. Ibid., 136 (emphasis added).
100. Ibid., 37 (emphasis added).
101. Ibid., 280-81.
102. Ibid., 43.
103. Stenhouse, Tell It All, 169.
104. Ibid., 169-70.
105. Young, Wife No. 19, 270-76.
106. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, facing p. 272.
107. Young, Wife No. 19, 277.
108. Stenhouse, Tell It All, 318.
109. Ibid., 319.
110. Young, Wife No. 19, 262.
111. Ibid., 264.
112. Ibid., 47.
113. Ibid., 48.
115. Ibid., 289.
116. Deseret News, 21 April 1869, 18:132.
117. Ann Eliza Young, Life in Mormon Bondage (Philadelphia: Aldine, 1908), 42.
118. Young, Wife No. 19, 263.
119. Ibid., 569.
120. Ibid., 48.
121. Stenhouse, Tell It All, 169.
122. Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History (New York: Knopf, 1946), 315.
123. Young, Wife No. 19, 276.
125. Wallace, The Twenty-Seventh Wife, 360.
126. John H. Beadle, Life in Utah; or, the Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism. Being an exposé of the Secret Rites and Ceremonies of the Latter-Day Saints, with a full and authentic history of Polygamy and the Mormon sect from its origin to the present time (USA: National, 1870); reprinted as John H. Beadle, Polygamy, or the Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism. Being a full and authentic history of Polygamy and the Mormon sect from its origin to the present time. With a complete analysis of Mormon society and theocracy, and an exposé of the secret rites and ceremonies of the Latter-day Saints (USA: National, 1882).
128. William Hickman, Brigham's Destroying Angel: Being the Life, Confession, and Startling Disclosures of the Notorious Bill Hickman, the Danite Chief of Utah. Written by Himself, with explanatory notes by J. H. Beadle (New York: Crofutt, 1872), 9.
129. Ibid., 10-11.
130. Ibid., 13.
132. Ibid., 14.
133. Ibid., 15.
134. Ibid., vii.
135. Ibid., v.
137. Young, Wife No. 19, 264 (emphasis added).
138. Hickman, Brigham's Destroying Angel, v.
139. Ibid., v-vi.
140. Ibid., vii (emphasis added).
141. Thomas Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra (New York: Alden, 1890), 39.
142. Ibid., 36.
143. Ibid., 48.
144. Ibid., 52.
145. Hugh Nibley, The Myth Makers (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1961), 57-74; reprinted in this volume, pages 103-406.
146. Gregg, The Prophet of Palmyra, 56.
147. Anderson, Desert Saints, 222.
148. The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 63 vols. (New York: White, 1907), 5:515.
149. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 113-14.
150. Hickman, Brigham's Destroying Angel, 215.
151. JD 8:143.
152. Hickman, Brigham's Destroying Angel, 214.
153. Wallace, The Twenty-Seventh Wife, 29-30.
154. Ibid., 30.
157. Brooks, John Doyle Lee, 30.
158. William Swartzell, Mormonism Exposed, Being a Journal of a Residence in Missouri from the 28th of May to the 20th of August, 1838 (Pekin: Swartzell, 1840), iii.
159. Ibid., 9-10.
160. Ibid., 10.
161. Ibid., 11.
162. Ibid., 15.
164. Ibid., 17.
166. Ibid., 18.
167. Ibid., 17.
168. Ibid., 19-20.
169. Ibid., 21.
171. Ibid., 22.
173. Ibid., 23.
174. Ibid., 22.
175. Ibid., 24-25.
176. Ibid., 25.
177. Ibid., 25-26.
178. Ibid., 28 (emphasis added).
179. Ibid., 33.
180. Ibid., 35.
181. Ibid., 36 (emphasis added).
182. Stenhouse, The Rocky Mountain Saints, 88-95.
183. Ibid., 78-79 (see footnotes).
184. Ibid., 93.
185. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 63.
186. Cassie H. Hock, "The Mormons in Fiction," Ph.D. diss., University of Colorado, 1941, 38.
187. Ruth Kauffman and Reginald W. Kauffman, The Latter Day Saints (London: Williams and Norgate, 1912), 76.
188. Kelly and Birney, Holy Murder, 23.
189. Ibid., 77.
191. Ibid., 77-78.
192. Ibid., 101.
193. Ibid., 109.
195. Ibid., 289.
196. Ibid., 290-91.
197. Ibid., 291-92.
198. Young, Wife No. 19, 263 (emphasis added).
199. Ibid., 520 (emphasis added).
200. Ibid., 161 (emphasis added).
201. Ibid., 264.
202. Ibid., 266 (emphasis added).
203. Ibid., 278.
204. The reader can find some representative examples in ibid., 75, 264, 273, 278.
205. Ibid., 81.
206. Stenhouse, Tell It All, 273.
207. Young, Wife No. 19, 547-48.
208. Wallace, The Twenty-Seventh Wife, 238.
209. Ibid., 28.
211. Young, Wife No. 19, 161.
212. Wallace, The Twenty-Seventh Wife, 28.
214. Ibid., 28-29.
215. Ibid., 29.
219. Ibid., 247.
220. Young, Wife No. 19, 569.
221. Wallace, The Twenty-Seventh Wife, 274 (emphasis added).
222. JD 4:345.
223. Hickman, Brigham's Destroying Angel, 217.
224. H. H. Bancroft, Works, 26 vols. (San Francisco: The History Company, 1889), 26:544.
225. Wallace, The Twenty-Seventh Wife, 117.
226. Isidore Loeb, "Le Saint Enfant de la Guardia," Revue des Etudes Juives 15 (1887): 232.
227. Salomon Reinach, "Des Persécutions des Juifs," Revue des Etudes 25 (1892): 161-80; Isidore Loeb, "A Calomnie du Meurtre Rituel," Revue des Etudes 18 (1889): 179-211; Harry Schneiderman, "The Ritual Murder Libel," Jewish Quarterly Review 27 (1936-37): 179-87.
228. Schneiderman, "The Ritual Murder Libel," 179.
229. Raphael Patai, "The cEgla cArufa or the Expiation of the Polluted Land," Jewish Quarterly Review 30 (1939-40): 59-60.
230. Elias J. Bickerman, "The Warning Inscriptions of Herod's Temple," Jewish Quarterly Review 37 (1946-47): 387-88.