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Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 19: The Danites

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
February 26, 2020 8:08 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 19: The Danites

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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February 26, 2020 8:08 pm

This is the fourth week of a series of articles on the 2018 history manual titled Saints: The Standard of Truth.

Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever
Viewpoint on Mormonism
Bill McKeever

.1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when 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. What is the story behind a group of Mormon men referred to as the daylights welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM we continue looking at the book Saints. The standard of truth. The history book published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 2018 we been talking about some of the dissent that Took Pl. in Missouri, especially during the late 1830s when Joseph Smith had made some very bad decisions regarding, for instance, the Kirtland bank and a lot of members started to lose faith in Joseph Smith. This did not and swiftly. It went on for a while. So now were in 1838, and as we been discussing this week Sidney Rigdon who is really as I understand it Joseph Smith's right hand man came out with a sermon called the salt sermon and in that sermon, he harshly criticized and even threatened those that were criticizing the LDS church leadership. Now we've already discussed.

Basically, with the salt sermon was about how it was remembered by some of those who had heard it, even though there is no transcript of the sermon in existence today so all we can do is piece together some of the comments made by people who were aware of this message and definitely it had some very threatening content in it. From what we have available to us today, but now were going to talk about something that had happened just prior to the salt sermon and that was the organization of the Dan Eitzen. This is mentioned on page 314 of the book Saints Sidney sermon had and bold in some Saints who had banded together a week earlier to defend the church against dissenters. These men went by several names, but they were best known as the Dan-ites after the tribe of Dan in the Old Testament.

Joseph did not organize the group, yet he likely sanctions some of their actions in their eagerness to defend the church. Dan-ites vowed to protect the saints rights against what they saw as threats from inside and outside the church.

Many of them had seen how dissent had unraveled the community in Kirtland place.

Joseph and others at risk of mob attacks and endangered the ideals of Zion. Together they pledged to protect the community of Far West against any similar threat, as we mentioned earlier in this series we are referring to another book that goes into I think much deeper detail which fills in some of the blanks here because even though the Dan-ites are mentioned later on in this book Saints.

It doesn't really give you a lot of the story behind it. So we're going to take you again to a book titled Sidney Rigdon a portrait of religious excess. It was written by a Mormon historian Richard Van Wagoner and I think it's important to see what he has to say on this subject because it will give you a better understanding of what this group was all about beginning on page 216, at the very top of the page Van Wagoner says the prophet and his spokesman ventured beyond mere boastful rhetoric John Witmer's account of the.

Notes that the first presidency called together a Council of church leaders to discuss how to deal with dissidents. Smith stated quote that any person who said a word against the heads of the church should be driven over these prairies as a chase dear by a pack of hounds" putting teeth into the rhetoric clandestine army of Israel was formed from organizational remnants of Zion's Camp bound together by Machiavellian artifice into a brotherly union members for fraternal owes to quote always uphold the first presidency right or wrong" and to assist in the quote unquote utter destruction of apostates and as we were mentioning. Yesterday there were some pretty serious threats made against some of those who were critical of the LDS church leadership. Now this putting together of this clandestine army of Israel as Van Wagoner has quoted here. This was on June 10, 1838 June 17 is when the salt sermon comes forward by Sidney Rigdon if you're going to make these kind of threats against some of those who are critical of your movement, how are you going to enforce those threats.

If you can't enforce it. It becomes mere rhetoric and nobody scared of that. I mean, they might criticize you for the rhetoric but there's really no threat in just rhetoric alone. So in order to put some force behind the words they have what you might call their own hitmen that are going to carry out the dictates of what Sidney Rigdon has threatened in his salt sermon, and let's not forget folks. Joseph Smith after Sidney Rigdon gave this sermon brought up and condoned what Sidney Rigdon had said so you have not only Sidney Rigdon saying this, you have Joseph Smith, the leader of the movement. The top two guys at this time. You could say coming out with these threats and they're going to make these threats good by having these men enforce what leadership wants them to do. He goes on in rights. According to later court testimony and other first-hand corroborative accounts.

This secret brotherhood was initially known by various titles as the daughters of Zion from Micah 413, brother of Gideon, a veiled reference to Jared Carter's brother and the big fan or the thresher to separate the wheat from the chaff. Eventually they settled on the sons of Dan or Dan-ites quote Dan shall judge his people."

Read Genesis 4916 through 17 as quote a serpent. By the way an adder in the path that bite if the horse heals so that his writers shall fall backwards" later in Deuteronomy 3322 quote Dan is a lion's wealth." At first the group acted as secret thought police charge to ferret out any who were critical of the hierarchy than force them out of the community through intimidation. Let me stop you there because this is almost like a religious police state now and when the phrase fought polices in quotation marks there looking for anybody who not only has verbally criticize the leadership. But even those they may suspect might be critical of the leadership.

Imagine yourself folks living in this kind of a society at that time. Now I know this is a tense situation there. Living in an area of the country and a lot of the people that they are living among these Missourians are not real happy with the Mormons being there. Joseph Smith is kind of set the stage for a lot of the criticism that they are receiving from the Missourians.

They are not innocent. So what ever you hear stories about the persecution of the Latter Day Saints during the Missouri. You have to keep in mind that the Mormons were not completely without blame.

You have Joseph Smith supporting what Sidney Rigdon said not, don't you think that the word from the salt sermon is starting to get out and then later on the next month you're going to have to do Sidney Rigdon's July 4 oration. The July 4.

Oration was certainly a threat against those are that are outside of the church and this is where that phrase war of extermination comes into play by Sidney Rigdon, now Gov. Wilbur Boggs will use that type of language later on, but it was Sidney Rigdon who used it first.

The governor uses it later but now you've got this organization of men that are going to carry out some of these dictates that are coming down from the top.

Van Wagoner goes on to say on page 216 Samson Abelard Maj. Gen. of the Dan-ites later testified during a court hearing that the intent of the band quote was to drive from the County of Caldwell all that dissented from the Mormon church. Then Wagoner goes on to say that this assessment was confirmed by George W. Robinson, who was Joseph Smith's scribe and then he says this, who presumably under the prophets direction wrote in what's called the script to read the book of Joseph Smith Junior what did he say in that document the Scripture re-book of Joseph Smith Junior we have a company of Dan-ites. In these times. July 27, 1838 to put right.

Physically, that which is not right and to cleanse the church a very great evils which have hitherto existed among us. Inasmuch as they cannot be put to write by teachings and persuasions." Page 216 ends by saying this once more dissidents were driven from Far West the Dan-ites became a home guard militia of nearly 300 men.

They then evolved into a punitive force that raided and plundered native Missourians see that that's the evidence that supports what I said earlier, the Mormons were not innocent in all this melt. Certainly, they may not have been the first to be the aggressors. They may have been defending themselves. In some cases, but now the rules are starting to switch here. Those who once defended themselves now become the aggressors and so they are going to be doing things that I think even modern Latter Day Saints would find questionable, but the problem I have is many times when you read Mormon sources they give you the impression that the Mormons were doing nothing but being good Mormons and yet those people because they hated Joseph Smith and they hated the restored gospel did their best to try to get rid of the Latter Day Saints, as if they had done nothing at all wrong. The says that the group also acquired the popular name of destroying angels.

That's an interesting term destroying angel because we have somebody who is known as the destroying angel who played a role in early Mormonism as far as retribution for things that have been done against Joseph Smith or the church, and that man was more important, Rockwell. If you've ever been to Draper, Utah.

You will find that there are number of places named after Oren Porter Rockwell and I've often said, you can tell a lot about a people group by the heroes. They have if you wanted to get on the I 15 S. from 1/23 S. You'll find that there is a huge relief of the face of Oren Porter Rockwell. He's not hard to distinguish from anyone else because he was known for this long hair that he had. There's a Porter Rockwell Trl. in Draper and also we have the Rockwell Park. We have Rockwell Square condominiums. Rockwell estates he's for some reason, in Draper.

He's a hero. And it all depends really on your perspective. If you're Latter Day Saints you look at or Porter Rockwell as being a hero. If you're not a Latter Day Saints and you're on the receiving end of some of the things he may have said or done. Then of course Oren Porter Rockwell is nothing more than a thug.

But Rockwell was a Dan Knight as well as Bill Hickman, who was also with Dan Knight now Hickman doesn't join the church till after this time. But Hickman becomes the bodyguard of Brigham Young now again it's perspective.

Either he's a bodyguard Brigham Young or he's Brigham Young's assassin, so it's all in the eye of the beholder. Thank you for listening you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website at you can request a free newsletter. Mormonism researched this again, as we look at another viewpoint is sharing your faith with the light of day, saying it helps to know what their church is taught in several basic topics. For this reason, this research ministry has provided its crash course is a crash course, Mormonism includes concise articles highlighting what LDS leaders and church manuals have taught on issues that will probably come up in a typical conversation. You can find these informative articles and crash course that's crash course

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