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Saints Exodus from Nauvoo Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
November 2, 2020 8:52 pm

Saints Exodus from Nauvoo Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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November 2, 2020 8:52 pm

Bill and Eric review parts of the second volume of the Saints book that was published in 2020. Today is the second of 2 parts discussing the exodus of the Saints from Nauvoo with Brigham Young.

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Mormonism 101, a book by Mormonism Research Ministries, Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, has helped many who want to understand what separates Mormonism from the Christian faith. Mormonism 101 is available at your favorite Christian bookstore or online at mrm.org. Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a Biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism. So glad you could be with us for this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry, and with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. Yesterday we began looking at a new history book.

It came out in 2020. It's titled Saints No Unhallowed Hand. It's the sequel to the first edition called Saints, The Standard of Truth. And as I mentioned in yesterday's show, the first volume ends with the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints getting ready to leave Nauvoo after the death of Joseph Smith. And this book begins with the Saints getting ready to leave Nauvoo. It opens up by talking about a message that was given by Joseph Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, and she's going to recount some of the things that her son accomplished during his lifetime. The conference message that Lucy Mack Smith is giving was in October of 1845. Now, if you want the details of her message, you can go to volume seven of the history of the Church.

That's the blue volume, the seven volume set, and it starts on page 470 in the middle of the page where it says Wednesday, October 8th, 1845, conference opened at the usual hour with singing and prayer. We're going to get back to that, but we're going to be looking today at page five in this book, No Unhallowed Hand, when it talks about the persecution that the Saints were facing in Nauvoo at this particular time. It says, for more than a month, vigilante mobs had been torching the homes and businesses of Saints in nearby settlements. Fearing for their lives, many families had fled to the relative safety of Nauvoo, but the mobs had only grown stronger and more organized as the weeks passed, and soon armed skirmishes had broken out between them and the Saints.

The state and national governments, meanwhile, did nothing to protect the Saints' rights. We should stop here and talk about that because how many times have we received criticism in emails from Latter-day Saints who think that we are trying to promote some kind of animosity or ill will and even violence against the LDS people, which is certainly not our goal at all. When I read a paragraph like this and knowing LDS Church history as I do, I admit they went through some hard times. They were persecuted.

It was wrong. I don't know how many times we have to say that before a Latter-day Saint finally believes us. Maybe they never will believe us, but certainly we find nothing that is God-honoring in persecuting anybody for what they believe.

You may disagree with them. You should, I think, as a good Christian, offer arguments against what they may believe if it's false and show what you believe as a Christian to be true. But to use violence as a means of showing your hatred for what a person might believe or even a hatred towards an individual person? Well, if you have hatred towards an individual person and you claim to be a Christian, you've got problems in that area alone. So certainly we would not be in favor of the persecutions that the LDS people faced while they were in Nauvoo.

And let me just add one more thing on that, Bill. The idea that we are considered to be anti-Mormons, a lot of Latter-day Saints will call us that. And we don't like that term because anti-Mormon was used back in those days of persecution. And then the very idea that a Mormon, which is a person, a person who was a Latter-day Saint, and so we're against Mormons. No, you might call us anti-Mormonism. We've talked about that before, but I think that needs to be said again because many Latter-day Saints think we must hate them for even having a ministry like Mormonism Research Ministry.

I think you're absolutely right, Eric. And another thing that troubles me in our culture today is because when we talk about anti-Mormon bigotry or just anti-Christian bigotry, if it's only limited to disagreeing with the theological or maybe even historical principles of that faith, I don't see that as bigotry at all. I think things like that should be challenged. If somebody has a problem with what I believe as a Christian and they don't believe what I believe as a Christian and want to challenge me on that, the last thing I'm going to do is automatically assume that they're a bigot against either me as a person or what I believe. They just happen to disagree. And because they disagree, I'm not going to put that into the category of bigotry.

We disagree, but we have something better to offer. We don't believe it honors God to believe something that is false. We do believe the Mormons are believing something that is false.

If anything, we are trying to help them to see the error of what they believe and hopefully fill that vacuum with the truth of the gospel. Eric Lander The book continues on page five, believing it was only a matter of time before the mobs attacked Nauvoo, church leaders had negotiated a fragile peace by agreeing to evacuate the Saints from the county by spring. Darrell Bock But then it goes on to say this, Eric, and this is where I'm puzzled. Guided by divine revelation, Brigham Young and the other members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were planning to move the Saints more than a thousand miles west beyond the Rocky Mountains, just outside the border of the United States. Now, when I read that, I obviously wondered, guided by divine revelation, whose revelation was this revelation given to Brigham Young? Or is it talking about a revelation that perhaps was given to Joseph Smith?

How did you take that paragraph when you read that? Darrell Bock Well, definitely, according to the context, guided by divine revelation, comma, then you're going to put the person who's being guided by the revelation, and the next words are Brigham Young. So it seems to be very clear that Brigham Young is who is being guided by the divine revelation. And when it says beyond the Rocky Mountains, just outside the border of the United States, I think the average reader, and including myself, assume it's talking about the state of Utah, which is where the Latter-day Saints ended up coming in 1847. Now, we have to understand, when this is supposedly happening, we already know from the context that it's conference in the fall of 1845.

The Mexican-American War has not taken place. That takes place eventually, and then ends in early 1848. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo will come about a few months after the surrender of Mexico to the United States, and this is where the United States acquires a huge chunk of land that was the property of Mexico. So when it says that they were planning to move the Saints more than a thousand miles west beyond the Rocky Mountains, just outside the border of the United States, at this time, you could easily assume that they're talking about Utah, the territory of Deseret, as it would be called, and then, of course, later on, the state of Utah. But I don't know of any reference in either this conference or in other messages that Brigham Young gave prior to the time that they left that they were specifically going to go to the Salt Lake Valley. Yet this book gives the impression that that's exactly where they're planning on going.

In fact, let me skip ahead, because I think it's important in this context to look at it. It says on page 10 that the Lord had already directed the Saints to settle near the Great Salt Lake. Now, the Lord had already directed the Saints. Is this talking about Brigham Young, or is it talking about what has come to be known as the Rocky Mountain Prophecy that has been attributed to Joseph Smith and that he allegedly received from God in 1842? Now, there's a lot of controversy over this, because there's nothing written in Joseph Smith's hand about this alleged Rocky Mountain prophecy. It's only talked about after the fact, and it's given kind of a retrofit before Joseph Smith dies to make it sound authentic.

The question I raise is this. Joseph Smith was running for president in 1844 just before he dies. If the Lord was really telling him in 1842 or around that time that he needs to go to the Salt Lake Basin, how are you going to run the country and the church if you're supposedly living in the Salt Lake area and your headquarters for your country is in Washington, D.C.? There is no railroad at that time.

The railroad wouldn't come about until 1869. So, this raises all sorts of questions for me personally, and I think it should raise some questions for Latter-day Saints, because I think the book is being misleading when it makes it sound so specific on page 10 that the Lord had already directed the Saints to settle near the Great Salt Lake. Brigham Young didn't seem to know that before they left. There's even evidence to show that when Brigham Young was asked, where are you going, Mr. Young, he did not know. In fact, one of the options was to perhaps even go to Vancouver's Island, which is owned by Canada. Others thought that they were going to the Upper California, as it was known at that time.

Some others were suggesting that they go to Texas. So, to make it sound like Brigham Young had it in his mind that the Lord was leading him to the Salt Lake Valley, I think is very misleading. And that's one of the problems I have with this book and the other book as well. Unlike the documentary, History of the Church, that gives us dates and times and specific things that people said and did, this book becomes very vague in many respects. It tries too hard to be just a mere prose-y narrative rather than what I like to see in an actual history book, at least not one that I like to read.

I like to have specifics, and I think this book fails miserably in that regard. One of the things about The Rocky Mountain Prophecy is, as you mentioned, Bill, there is nothing in the handwriting of Joseph Smith, there is nothing that was published during his lifetime. And in fact, it seems to be one of those legends in Mormonism where it comes up later after they have already moved to Salt Lake, it seems to get more specific. And we see other issues such as Brigham Young saying, this is the place.

Well, did he really say that? We don't know about that until 20 years after he supposedly said in 1847. It's interesting how a lot of folklore becomes historical in Mormonism, even when it comes to the seagulls, the miracle of the seagulls that we're going to talk about, because it's mentioned in this book. Bill, we have an article on our website, mrm.org slash Rocky Mountain Prophecy with hyphens between Rocky Mountain and Prophecy, written by Lane Thuit. It's an excellent description of what The Rocky Mountain Prophecy supposedly was. But I find it interesting in this book, No One Hallowed Hand, that the impression you're given is that it was meant to be for them to go to Utah when it doesn't say that at all in the history books.

I think you're right. And one more thing I want to mention before our time expires here, it also talks about in this speech given by Lucy Max Smith, it gives you the impression that she's not going to go with the saints when they leave Nauvoo to go out West. On page six, it says, Furthermore, most of her living family members were staying in Nauvoo. Her only surviving son, William, had been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, but he had rejected their leadership and refused to go West. Her three daughters, Saphronia, Catherine, and Lucy, were all staying behind. So too was her daughter-in-law, Emma, the prophet's widow.

But yet if you go to volume seven of the history of the church, on page 470 to 72, it gives you a lot of the details of the talk. Brigham Young says, when she speaks to him in a voice that the congregation could not hear, Brigham Young got up and related to the congregation her last closing remarks. And this is what Brigham Young said, Mother Smith proposes a thing which rejoices my heart. She will go with us. Obviously, something must have happened between that conference message and when the saints finally leave because Lucy Mack Smith does not go with Brigham Young or any of the saints out West from Nauvoo.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-30 17:49:57 / 2024-01-30 17:55:37 / 6

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