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5 Dark Secrets Of The Mormon Church

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The Mormon religion is mystery to many… it’s beliefs are shrouded in secrecy, and yet, with all of the US reality shows that showcase the Mormon lifestyle, many are still left pondering what exactly lies beneath the cheerful veneer of the Mormon Church.

In a great new article from ListVerse, they examine “10 Dark Secrets Of Mormon History”.  Below, five of them are showcased – it’s anyone’s guess if this new report will shed more light, or only keep the non initiated in the dark.

Listverse reports (source):

Every religion has less-than-savory moments hidden in its history. Catholicism has the Inquisition and the Crusades. The Anglican Church began its existence with a purging of Catholics. Many American Protestant religions promoted slavery or the Ku Klux Klan.

Despite the clean-cut image of family-oriented conservatives that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon Church) presents to the world, it too has moments of darkness in its past. From deeply disturbing acts by its founder, Joseph Smith, to atrocities committed in the name of God in Utah, Mormonism has some very dark secrets that even most members of the Church don’t know about. Fortunately, they are well documented—many even by official Mormon publications.

Mormons Threatened To Exterminate All Missourians

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Sidney Rigdon was, for a time, the second most powerful person in Mormonism. Then, his relationship with Joseph Smith (depicted above in a statue at the Temple Square’s North Visitor’s Center) suffered due to a number of factors that strained the friendship including when Smith tried to marry Rigdon’s daughter (while Smith was already married) and his refusal to support polygamy.

He was removed from his post but, when Rigdon was still Smith’s second-in-command, his input helped shape much of Mormon theology and he also gave the majority of important sermons to the earliest Mormon congregations. When Mormons were living in Daviess County, Missouri, he delivered a fiery oration on Independence Day of 1838 in which he promised that the Missourians who Mormons felt were persecuting them (the sentiments had some justification although Mormons did their fair share of antagonizing as well) would need to stop any disputes with the Mormons or face a war of extermination. He promised they wouldn’t stop until the last drop of blood was spilled. The text of the speech was endorsed by Joseph Smith.

Mormon Settlers Massacred 140 Pioneers Headed For California

In 1867, a group of non-Mormon pioneers from Missouri and Arkansas were trying to pass through Utah on their way to California but ran into trouble as they tried to get through the Beehive State. The Mormon apostle Parley P. Pratt had recently been murdered in Arkansas after essentially trying to kidnap children. Because of this and the expulsion from Missouri, the Mormons at the time felt very strong prejudice against people from those two states.As the pioneers entered Utah, Brigham Young forbade everyone from selling them much-needed supplies.

Then rumors began to arise that the pioneers had been destroying fences, burning fields, and making threats against the Mormons, although none of the rumors were ever substantiated. When the rumors expanded to include a claim that the pioneers were going to bring troops back from California to attack the Mormon settlements, a group of Mormons dressed as Native Americans attacked their wagon train and, after a three-day assault, killed all men, women, and children over the age of eight. The victims’ bodies were stripped naked and left to rot in the open air.

Brigham Young Said Only Spilling Blood Could Redeem Those Who Left Mormonism

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Brigham Young had no tolerance for Mormons who began to doubt the faith. One of his wives alleged he ordered the deaths of people who tried to leave the faith. According to her, they would try to leave Utah then turn up murdered (supposedly by Native Americans) along the way. Wild Bill Hickman, a famed gunslinger and friend of the Mormon leader, actually claimed that Young had ordered him to commit some of those murders. Those allegations have never been proven, but Young did indicate that he supported the sentiment even if he never ordered a murder. In several speeches given to large gatherings of Latter-day Saints, he proclaimed that the only way a person could be absolved of the sin of leaving Mormonism would be for that person to have his or her blood spilled on the ground.

Joseph Smith Married 14-Year-Old Girls

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Polygamy has long been a blight on Mormonism’s public relations. The founder of the religion, Joseph Smith, began claiming he had been commanded by God to take additional wives after his first wife caught him having sex with their teenage maid in the barn. Despite the fact that the Book of Mormon (which Smith said he translated by the power of God) denounces polygamy, Smith didn’t stop with two wives and, before he died, he had married close to 40 women and possibly many more.

Some of his brides were as young as 14, and he even married women who already had living husbands. Sometimes, he would send the husbands on missions in foreign countries and marry their wives while they were away and unable to object. However, the revelation that Smith said he received commanding polygamy specifically forbade women marrying more than one man.

Joseph Smith Ordered Governor Bogg’s Assassination

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After the extermination order, the Mormons left for Nauvoo, Illinois, but their bad experiences in Missouri would never be forgotten. In 1841, Joseph Smith announced a prophesy that Governor Boggs (pictured above) would, within a year, meet a violent demise. Dr. John C. Bennett, one of Smith’s former close associates (who was no longer in the Church and deeply hated Smith at this point), wrote a letter to the Sangamo Journal in Carthage, Illinois, informing them that he inquired one day about the whereabouts of Orrin Porter Rockwell (Smith’s bodyguard), and Smith replied that Rockwell had gone to fulfill prophecy.

Meanwhile, someone attempted to assassinate Governor Boggs, shooting him twice through the skull, once in the neck, and once in the throat. According to Bennett, Rockwell returned the day before news of the assassination attempt arrived at Nauvoo. Rockwell never directly denied the crime, even when he was tried for it, insisting,

“I’ve never shot at anybody. If I shoot, they get shot. He’s still alive, isn’t he?” Even though Bennet’s claims were never directly supported by others, they were implicitly supported by William Law, the man who was Joseph Smith’s right-hand man at the time. Further, Joseph H. Jackson, a new arrival to Nauvoo who had a shady past, later claimed in his memoirs that Joseph Smith offered him $3,000 to free Rockwell from prison and shoot Boggs.

Royce Christyn
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