Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

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stuck
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Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by stuck » Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:07 pm

Apparently, Joseph Smith was going to escape with Hyrum and Porter Rockwell to the west rather than stay in Nauvoo to face charges of treason for enforcing Marshall law and inciting a riot in destroying the printing press. My wife asked me why he returned (because if he was really a con artist he probably wouldn't have). I did a bit of digging and found in ex-mormon.org that SL Cabbie posted a quote from Schindler's book about Porter Rockwell the following:

"Rockwell then returned to Nauvoo but was persuaded by Emma Smith to carry a note from her to JS. He was accompanied by Reynolds Cahoon. Cahoon told Smith of Governor Ford's promise of safety and accused Joseph of cowardice.

The prophet and his older brother agreed to return (they had originally planned to flee to the Rocky Mountains with Rockwell as their guide).

(pp. 126-28; 1st Edition, 2nd Printing)"

At the time when I was responding to my wife I don't think I said much but I may have thought that perhaps he wasn't too scared because he could have the Nauvoo Legion protect him which apparently he tried to do but the leader decided not to for fear of starting a war.

The positive thing is for us nomies is that we are on the right side of truth I believe and we are in a position to perhaps more easily defend our position compared to our believing spouses. But it is still difficult being in this position where we are at odds with our believing spouses right? How do you guys find inner peace and happiness in your position? Meditation? Counseling? Anti-depressants?

Thanks

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jfro18
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by jfro18 » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:49 pm

I think the story is that the note basically said that the members in Nauvoo were saying they felt abandoned that he left that defenseless and that they thought he was a coward.

I don't know how reliable sources are on that - I need to see if I can find those for you.

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Palerider
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by Palerider » Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:04 pm

jfro18 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:49 pm
I think the story is that the note basically said that the members in Nauvoo were saying they felt abandoned that he left that defenseless and that they thought he was a coward.

I don't know how reliable sources are on that - I need to see if I can find those for you.
I've heard the same. I believe if Joseph had left, the gig would have been up. He wouldn't have been able to control the nay sayers in the church and there would have been chaos. He would lose everything he had been working for. No more money. No more women. (Not even Emma because they were on the verge of divorce) And no more power.

Going back was the only chance he had of holding it together.

ETA:

Going back doesn't mean Joseph wasn't a fraud. It means he knew that there were few people who were going to follow him out into the wilderness if he couldn't control the narrative.

As it was, Brigham lost a large percentage of the church that stayed behind. Part of the reason he was as successful as he was was because he immediately took control of the church's correspondence and publishing and had everyone who was in Europe on missions report back to Salt Lake as the new church center.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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Raylan Givens
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by Raylan Givens » Tue Jan 07, 2020 11:35 pm

Palerider wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:04 pm
jfro18 wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:49 pm
I think the story is that the note basically said that the members in Nauvoo were saying they felt abandoned that he left that defenseless and that they thought he was a coward.

I don't know how reliable sources are on that - I need to see if I can find those for you.
I've heard the same. I believe if Joseph had left, the gig would have been up. He wouldn't have been able to control the nay sayers in the church and there would have been chaos. He would lose everything he had been working for. No more money. No more women. (Not even Emma because they were on the verge of divorce) And no more power.

Going back was the only chance he had of holding it together.

ETA:

Going back doesn't mean Joseph wasn't a fraud. It means he knew that there were few people who were going to follow him out into the wilderness if he couldn't control the narrative.

As it was, Brigham lost a large percentage of the church that stayed behind. Part of the reason he was as successful as he was was because he immediately took control of the church's correspondence and publishing and had everyone who was in Europe on missions report back to Salt Lake as the new church center.
I often wish he had kept going. I too believe it would have sputtered out.
"Ah, you know, I think you use the Bible to do whatever the hell you like" - Raylan Givens

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Not Buying It
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by Not Buying It » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:36 am

I think the Church has built tremendous amount of mythology around Joseph going "like a lamb to the slaughter". Joseph had got himself out of all kinds of pickles, I really think he thought he was going to get himself out of this one. I don't for a second believe he went back across the river knowing he was facing certain death.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Dravin
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by Dravin » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:52 am

Not Buying It wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:36 am
I think the Church has built tremendous amount of mythology around Joseph going "like a lamb to the slaughter". Joseph had got himself out of all kinds of pickles, I really think he thought he was going to get himself out of this one. I don't for a second believe he went back across the river knowing he was facing certain death.
Honestly, had the mob not killed him I think he may have managed to survive. Being so removed and disgusted at his less savoury aspects of his it's easy to forget that he was charismatic. Maybe a deal could have been struck where he took the Mormons out West under promise his followers wouldn't make a fuss and would finally be out of the hair of his detractors. I mean sure, you could hang Smith and risk Mormons being onery about it or get him and all the Mormons out of your borders with minimum fuss. He may have had a chance at such a deal.

At least that's my completely not a historian take.
Hindsight is all well and good... until you trip.

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Advocate
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by Advocate » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:16 am

stuck wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 3:07 pm
Apparently, Joseph Smith was going to escape with Hyrum and Porter Rockwell to the west rather than stay in Nauvoo to face charges of treason for enforcing Marshall law and inciting a riot in destroying the printing press. My wife asked me why he returned (because if he was really a con artist he probably wouldn't have).

I think your statement that I bolded above is problematic. It is my opinion that many con artists start out as con artists, but then quickly delude themselves.

Take the example of Jan Matthys and the Anabaptists in Munster, Germany in the 1530's. It was a time of religious reformation and much religious interest. Matthys proclaimed himself to be a prophet of God. People started following him. Matthys instituted an "us" vs "them" system of believes vs. non-believers and began expelling non-believers from Munster. Matthys then instituted the law of consecration (everyone donated their goods to the prophet/church and Matthys directed their redistribution. Outside groups began to threaten the Anabaptists and Matthys. Here is what happened next:
Matthys now had the city in his grasp, controlling even the flow of information. All books except the Scriptures were burned in the cathedral square. Then Matthys reported a divine directive to take a few men and assault the bishop’s positions outside the city. He assured his followers that God had endowed him with special powers of such magnitude that he could even catch the enemy’s cannon balls in the pockets of his cloak. The baker and his boys marched out to dispatch the bishop just as he had the blacksmith.

On Easter Sunday 1534, Matthys descended on Bishop Waldeck like one of the apocalyptic four horsemen—but the ride was short. The bishop’s armed guards came to his defense. Matthys was stabbed with a pike, then decapitated. His head was hoisted on a pole for the citizens lining the city walls to observe.
Taken from https://christianhistoryinstitute.org/m ... rs-monster

According to our church, since Joseph Smith believed in his cause enough to die for it then the cause must be true/of God. Matthys believed in his cause just as much, and maybe more (a few men taking on an army, really?). Does that mean his cause was true/of God?

An interesting parallel, Matthys' successor, Jan van Leyden, instituted polygamy during his reign.

What about other cult leaders that died for their cause? Was David Koresh a true prophet? How about Jim Jones? What about Heaven's Gate?

I'd love to bring these cases up in a Sunday school discussion the next time we are supposed to base our testimonies on Joseph sealing his testimony with is blood.

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Red Ryder
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:39 am

While we’re throwing out theories, I believe Joseph knew the risk and was gambling on getting out of it using his charisma but also knowing full well his martyrdom would cement his legacy and fuel the movement west.

David Koresh probably had similar thoughts but chose death.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

stuck
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by stuck » Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:06 pm

Great responses guys! Here are more examples like Mormonism from the same area "burned over district". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burned-over_district

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deacon blues
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by deacon blues » Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:59 pm

I'll add my agreement to Advocate's ideas above. Savonarola (15th century Florence) is another example of a prophet playing his cards until they led all the way to martyrdom. In the field of religion martyrdom is an honor. Joseph was probably thinking God would welcome him on the other side, and maybe he did.
God is Love. God is Truth

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Not Buying It
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by Not Buying It » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:37 am

deacon blues wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:59 pm
I'll add my agreement to Advocate's ideas above. Savonarola (15th century Florence) is another example of a prophet playing his cards until they led all the way to martyrdom. In the field of religion martyrdom is an honor. Joseph was probably thinking God would welcome him on the other side, and maybe he did.
No God I would worship would roll out the red carpet for someone like Joseph Smith.

I honestly don't believe he would have come back if he'd thought he was going to die. He had bought into his own scam enough to where he thought God would protect him, and he had the Nauvoo Legion in his back pocket if he needed them. The story about Jonathan Dunham ignoring Joseph's command to bring the Nauvoo Legion to Carthage might not be true - but then again it might. In the movie "Legacy", after Joseph's death the lead character specifically said that Joseph had an army at his command yet didn't use it to save himself - "Legacy" being the propaganda device that it was, I've always kind of suspected that was President Hinckley misdirecting members and insulating them against the idea that Joseph attempted to save himself with the Nauvoo Legion. Personally, I think there may be some credence to the idea that Dunham ignored orders to bring the Legion to Carthage.

Either way, while Joseph clearly felt there was enough danger that he should get out of Dodge, at the urging of Emma and some of the other Brethren he went back - but if he'd really thought his life was in danger he'd have pulled a revelation out of his butt like he had so many other times before when he was in a jam, one that commended him to flee. I'm pretty sure he didn't expect he was going to get killed.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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alas
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by alas » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:45 pm

Not Buying It wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:37 am
deacon blues wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:59 pm
I'll add my agreement to Advocate's ideas above. Savonarola (15th century Florence) is another example of a prophet playing his cards until they led all the way to martyrdom. In the field of religion martyrdom is an honor. Joseph was probably thinking God would welcome him on the other side, and maybe he did.
No God I would worship would roll out the red carpet for someone like Joseph Smith.

I honestly don't believe he would have come back if he'd thought he was going to die. He had bought into his own scam enough to where he thought God would protect him, and he had the Nauvoo Legion in his back pocket if he needed them. The story about Jonathan Dunham ignoring Joseph's command to bring the Nauvoo Legion to Carthage might not be true - but then again it might. In the movie "Legacy", after Joseph's death the lead character specifically said that Joseph had an army at his command yet didn't use it to save himself - "Legacy" being the propaganda device that it was, I've always kind of suspected that was President Hinckley misdirecting members and insulating them against the idea that Joseph attempted to save himself with the Nauvoo Legion. Personally, I think there may be some credence to the idea that Dunham ignored orders to bring the Legion to Carthage.

Either way, while Joseph clearly felt there was enough danger that he should get out of Dodge, at the urging of Emma and some of the other Brethren he went back - but if he'd really thought his life was in danger he'd have pulled a revelation out of his butt like he had so many other times before when he was in a jam, one that commended him to flee. I'm pretty sure he didn't expect he was going to get killed.
I don’t think Emma would have urged him to come back if she thought he might be killed either. I really think they all underestimated the idea that people were fed up with Joseph thinking he could be king of the world and had no idea that there would be a mob out for vigilante justice. He had gotten out of legal scrapes several times before, so I think he just thought he would again. I really don’t think he even comprehended that destroying a printing press was really illegal. He acted like he thought that as mayor of Nauvoo he had every right to do what he thought best to “keep the peace” and that he would just get out of jail like he had several times before when charges were brought against him. Sort of like our current president sees nothing wrong with anything he has done. I don’t think he even thought he would do jail time. And the idea of fleeing to the Rockymountains, well, that was a long way away ver pretty rough country and I think Joseph was too soft to want to risk running very far. It is one thing to cross a river and hide out for a few days, and quite another to run hundreds of miles into Indian territory.

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2bizE
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by 2bizE » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:48 pm

To get to the other side of the Mississippi River?
~2bizE

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fetchface
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by fetchface » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:57 pm

If you look at the history of cult leaders, you will notice that many of them are extremely reckless and take big risks and end up getting killed in the end. It seems to be that this is a common personality trait of cult leaders. Some even purposely organize a mass suicide with themselves included. Why are they this way? Hell if I know, but it is clear that they are very different from normal people.

I don't buy the narrative that the church sold me about Joseph's humble and submissive personality. For one thing, it isn't who I hear talking to me when I read sermons by Joseph. He was anything but humble and meek. I believe he was fairly similar to your run-of-the-mill cult leader. He had more than his fair share of hubris and took big risks all the time. I mean, what kind of man demands another man's wife to test his loyalty, right?

He just thought he was special and could pull it off, just like he had pulled off all kinds of crazy shit before.
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by Red Ryder » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:35 pm

2bizE wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:48 pm
To get to the other side of the Mississippi River?
No no no.

To get to the other bride! :lol:
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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2bizE
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by 2bizE » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:00 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:35 pm
2bizE wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:48 pm
To get to the other side of the Mississippi River?
No no no.

To get to the other bride! :lol:
:lol: :lol: :lol:
~2bizE

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jfro18
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by jfro18 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 7:53 am

Red Ryder wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:35 pm
2bizE wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:48 pm
To get to the other side of the Mississippi River?
No no no.

To get to the other bride! :lol:
:lol: :lol: :lol:

This is the greatest and I promise this will be used at a future date. So so so good.

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Just This Guy
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by Just This Guy » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:11 am

Red Ryder wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:35 pm
2bizE wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:48 pm
To get to the other side of the Mississippi River?
No no no.

To get to the other bride! :lol:
Epic!!!
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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græy
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Re: Why did Joseph Smith return from Iowa to go to Carthage?

Post by græy » Tue Jan 21, 2020 10:51 am

Red Ryder wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:35 pm
2bizE wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:48 pm
To get to the other side of the Mississippi River?
No no no.

To get to the other bride! :lol:
I know this is older, but I haven't had much time to be here lately and I'm just seeing this now. :D :lol: :D :lol:
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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