Joseph H. Jackson

A Narrative of the Adventures and Experience of Joseph H. Jackson in Nauvoo

Published by Good Press, 2021
EAN 4064066459024

Table of Contents







I N N A U V O O,


Warsaw, Illinois, August, 1844.

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The following narrative of my experience in Nauvoo, is submitted to the public in hopes that it may call attention to the character of the iniquities practiced in that city, in the name of religion. I am aware, that such is the nature of the disclosures made in the following pages -- such the blackness of the record, that it will be difficult to induce men to believe that such depravity could possibly exist. By what follows, however, it will be perceived that my motives in going to Nauvoo, were to gain the confidence of the Prophet, that I might discover and disclose to the world his real designs and the nature of his operations. To do this. I was obliged to practice dissimulation and to seem to be a fit tool for him to work with. Some may say that such conduct on my part was not excusable; but let such bethink them that the secret designs and workings of this Heaven daring wretch could never have been made public only by such means as I employed. The end, justified the means. Many are the instances on record, In which bands of robbers or counterfeiters. had so organized themselves that they were enabled to baffle the closest scrutiny of the law, and in such instances, it has been a common practice, especially in Europe, to employ men to become seeming accomplices, that they might thus be enabled to disclose the information necessary for a conviction. This was my object, and the inducement that prompted my action. will be found in what follows.

I tell nothing more than what I have seen and heard in Nauvoo. I have colored nothing, nor set down aught in malice. Many of my statements can be corroborated by abundance of testimony. I am content however, at present, to give my story and if contradicted, I can follow it up by proof, such as no reasonable man will doubt,

The question may be asked, how is it possible for so corrupt a man as Joe Smith is represented to be, could ever have attained so complete control as he unquestionably had, over the minds of the honest portion of his followers? I confess the question puzzles me. No man, who has never seen the influence of blind fanaticism over the human mind, can imagine the effect it will produce. There were hundreds of men in Nauvoo, who, I believe, from what I have seen, had Joe Smith commanded them to commit murder in the name of the Lord, they would have believed that they were doing God's service in obeying him. I will leave the philosophy of this, for the consideration of moralists; my business is to state facts.

There is one thing peculiar, that will be observed by the attentive reader, and that is that all Joe Smith's commands whether in public or private were delivered 'in the name of the Lord.' In public, before his people, he spoke 'in the name of the Lord,' and in his secret councils, if he desired the assassination of his enemy, it was 'the will of the Lord', that the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ, should be put out of the way, and


then in 'the name of the Lord' he concocted the vilest plans for murder. Thus assassination, robbery and seduction were carried on by this blasphemous wretch, 'in the name of the Most High.'

The writing of the following pages, was commenced previous to the late disturbances in Hancock County, which resulted in the death of the two Smiths. I regret that the publication was not made while they were alive. As it is however. I trust that what is said, will convince the world, that whatever may be thought of the manner of their death, nevertheless, they richly deserved to die. My experience with the Mormons was but for a short period, yet much corruption and depravity as I witnessed, I did not before believe existed on the face of the Earth.

N A R R A T I V E. ________ Before visiting Nauvoo, I had heard much of this famous city, and the character of its inhabitants. Such was the contrariety of reports afloat, that it seemed difficult to form any settled opinion concerning the Prophet or his followers. Where I had been however, the opinion seemed to prevail, that they were a pack of abandoned scoundrels, leagued together for the basest of purposes.

In passing down the Mississippi in the fall of 1842, I determined to stop In Nauvoo. My object was partly to find business and partly to gravity curiosity. With the location of the city I was delighted; but as frequent descriptions have already gone abroad, I will not stop here to expatiate either on its beauties, or the advantages of its position.

At the time I landed, (10th of October, 1842) there was great trouble amongst the saints, in consequence of a demand having been made by the Governor of Missouri, for the Prophet, for being accessory to the attempted assassination of Gov. Boggs. My visit to the city at that time, (being a stranger and out of business), induced the people as I afterwards learned, to believe, that I was a spy from Missour, in quest of evidence against Smith. Many men, who I have since learned belonged to the Danite Band, visited me at my boarding house and asked all manner of questions in relation to my business in the city. Deeming these enquiries impertinent, I did not condescend to answer them; but they did not cease their importunities. At length, being disgusted and indignant at their proceedings, I abruptly cut their acquaintance. After this, I observed that I was closely watched; but did not know the reason, until informed by a friend, that the Prophet thought me a spy. I determined then to give no satisfaction, but to pursue a silent policy.

Some time in November I was helping to haul some goods from the river, that belonged to Messrs. Rollison and Finch. I was in


company with Mr. Finch and a man from Keokuk, who was owner of the horses and wagon. We had hauled one load and were returning for the second. As we crossed the bottom, between the, Temple and the river, a man standing at about eight rods distance, (it being after dark,) called me by name. I immediately jumped from the wagon, thinking that it was a man who wished me to get some goods stored that had called me. Finch immediately followed. When I got within about five feet of the villain as he proved to he extended his arm at full length and said, "damn you, I give you what you deserve" and fired a pistol. The ball passed my head, and so stunned me, that for a few minutes I scarcely knew what I was about, but on coming to, I could scarcely see, for my face and eyes were so much burned with powder. Finch, at the time the shot was fired, was about one rod behind. He seeing me stagger, immediately pursued the fellow, but soon found that he was no match for him in speed, and gave up the pursuit. Finch and myself agreed to keep this matter a secret, that we might he able to discover some clue to the assassin. I thought that if we did not mention it, and heard of it from others, we would be able then to trace the matter to its fountainhead. When however this idea became hopeless, I mentioned it to my friends, who seemed to understand the object of the maneuver.

Shortly after this I left Nauvoo and went to Carthage to spend the winter. During the winter, I employed my time in hunting, but I heard frequently, complaints against the thieving Mormons. In the spring I determined to find out whether Joe Smith was in reality as bad a man as he was represented, and whether he had in reality instigated the villain who attempted my life in Nauvoo.

I therefore stated to Harmon T. Wilson, Deputy Sheriff, that I intended to visit Nauvoo, and if any man could, I would find out Joe's plans and measures and at a proper time, if I found him to be as base as represented and as I believed him to be, disclose all to the world. In forming this resolution, I was actuated by a desire on the one hand, to revenge myself on him if he were guilty of the attempt on my life, and by at romantic love of adventure on the other. I possessed every advantage in person and countenance to accomplish my object, as well as a full share of experience in the ways of the world.