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Kangaroo Court at Carthage (Part 5 of 7)

We’re continuing our conversation with Brian Stutzman, and we’ll talk about the trial of Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s murders.  Was justice served or was it a kangaroo court?

Brian:  The martyrdom happened June 27th, [1844.]  Thomas Sharp came back to Warsaw and after his night of drinking and bragging at the Warsaw House, within the next couple days, he writes a 32-page pamphlet and publishes it in the Warsaw Signal‘s press office. He defends the martyrdom and defends the action. See there’s a political thinking called reserved rights. It basically said that in a small community, if the government doesn’t take action, the citizens have reserved rights, the right to take action among themselves. Well, in the first week of July of 1844, right in his newspaper, he writes about the martyrdom and he defends the actions of the mob. He says, “We regret, and we still regret,” he starts out by saying we the citizens of Warsaw are law abiding community. But we regret we still regret the actions we had to take. We didn’t participate in murder. We participated in extra judicial executions and anybody familiar with the facts, would agree that we were in the right.”  He publishes this for whole world to see.

GT:  Wow.  A lynching.

Brian:  A lynching, a legal lynching. Then, as we talked about later on, the trial was not for who pulled the trigger, but who were the soul of the movement. You can say that Thomas was not the soul of the movement. Well, years later, somebody asked Thomas Sharp, “So did you kill Joseph Smith?” His answer was, “Well, the jury said not.”  Acquittal meant that these leaders, these people could go on with normal lives. Thomas Sharp, for instance, when Warsaw incorporated and became a town, he was elected the first mayor of Warsaw in 1853.

GT:  This is after Joseph was killed. I do want to ask, what was Governor Ford’s reaction to the verdict?

Brian:  He writes about it in his history. I think he thinks it’s a miscarriage of justice.  But what are you going to do? The saints already know that it’s farcical, they know that.

GT:  Would it have helped if John Taylor or others had testified?

Brian:  They probably would have been killed.

GT:  You think so?

Brian:  The mob put 1000 people outside of Carthage to prevent anyone from coming in during trial week. They were not going to let the Mormon people come.  They would kill them first.

GT:  So it was a total kangaroo court.

Brian:  It was a kangaroo court. So Thomas Sharp goes on, becomes mayor three times, becomes a judge. He’s not convicted, but everybody knows.

What are your thoughts about the trial?  Check out our conversation…

All members of the mob that killed Joseph & Hyrum Smith were acquitted of murder.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Brian about Warsaw!

309: Gov. Thomas Ford’s Role in Martyrdom & Trial

308: Profile of Anti-Mormon Thomas Sharp

307: The Warsaw-Nauvoo Rivalry

306: The Anti-Mormon Triangle: Warsaw, Carthage, Nauvoo

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Profile of anti-Mormon Thomas Sharp (Part 3 of 7)

I think Thomas Sharp should be the ultimate villain in Mormonism, but I’ll bet most people don’t know who he is.  In our next conversation with Brian Stutzman, we’ll learn more about the man who incited a mob to kill the prophet Joseph Smith.

Brian:  Thomas Sharp came from a Methodist family.  In England, in the late 1700s, John and Charles Wesley started the Methodist movement….Thomas Sharp was 22 years old when he came to Warsaw in 1844 or 1840, rather, so he’s a rather young man. He tries his hand at the newspaper business with a partner named James Gamble. They spent six months, about, down on the river at the foot of Main. Then they move their press and change the name from Western World to the Warsaw Signal and they go up into an unknown location up on Main Street.  Now some of the tour buses stop and point to building at 204 Main.  They say, “This is where Thomas Sharp published.”  That building wasn’t built till 1851, way after Thomas Sharp published there, but it was after the Mormon period.

But the turning point and Ben A. Marshall wrote a paper called the Turning Point of Thomas Sharp. There’s some discrepancy over some of the facts here. But when they set the cornerstone for the Nauvoo temple, in April six of 1841, Joseph Smith had a table up front for the dignitaries and some of the dignitaries, one of them was Chief Keokuk, from Iowa, who this town is named after, and he was up at the front table. He invited young Thomas Sharp, again, 22-23 years old to be up at the head table with him and they had this big feasts and a military parade and they set the cornerstone for the Nauvoo Temple.

GT:  So at this time, Thomas is still friendly.

Brian:  Yeah, neutral at best, neutral or friendly. Sometime after–now, people speculate that that day he turned against the church. There’s another historian and she’s kind of in my house with me and my wife. We’ve done some history, Brooke Lethar. She was at BYU. Now she’s studying at the University of Utah, and she has found research that it was awhile later before, Sharp turned negative. So there was a time where he was friendly and that he turned negative. So he goes up there and he starts writing terrible things in his paper.  There was a term in in that area about Masons. If you were not a Mason, but you’re referring to Mason’s there was a term called Jack Mason.

Thomas Sharp is sitting there, seeing this bloc-voting going on up Nauvoo, and the two main political parties at the time were Democrats and Whigs. He says to his fellow people, fellow residents, he says, we don’t have a shot in heck of getting somebody elected unless we join together, put our differences aside, and maybe we can get somebody elected locally. So he and Aldrich, again, these are two guys stood trial, and the guy named William Roosevelt. William Roosevelt was the cousin to Teddy Roosevelt’s father. They’re living in Warsaw and they get together and they create this political party in 1841. It’s called the anti-Mormon political party. That wasn’t a mob. It wasn’t hostile, at least at first, but it was a political party to try to outvote the Mormons. Well, in 1842, Thomas Sharp decides to run for a seat in the state legislature. Well, who was he was he opposed by?  The prophet’s little brother, William Smith, and William Smith beats him. In 1844 when Joseph Smith was running for President Thomas Sharp talks about running for the United States Senate, and then he learns that Hyrum Smith, the prophet’s brother was considering running for the same seat in the United States Senate and Sharp withdrew.

Check out our conversation….

It is surprising that Thomas Sharp is not more well-known among Church members. He literally started the anti-Mormon political party!

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Brian!

307: Economic Reasons Warsaw Hated Joseph

306: The Anti-Mormon Triangle: Warsaw, Carthage, Nauvoo

 

 

 

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LDS Succession Crisis (Part 6)

Dr. Michael Quinn is one of the foremost experts on the LDS Succession Crisis.  He says there were seven legitimate succession claims following the death of Joseph Smith.  In a previous interview, John Hamer said Sidney Rigdon was the best option according to canon law.  I’ll ask Quinn that question, and we’ll talk about some of the other candidates.

Michael:  I would disagree with John Hamer that Sidney Rigdon was the most likely. He was the first publicly proposed alternative to the Quorum of the Twelve and he was voted down by the congregation that met in August of 1844. When their choice was only Sidney Rigdon or the Quorum of the Twelve, they chose the Quorum of the Twelve to continue in the Twelve’s position in its place of having all this prior role administratively within Nauvoo, the headquarters of the church. And they rejected Sidney Rigdon. But the fact that he was the first publicly proposed doesn’t mean that either one of them was the most likely. That was the choice that the Quorum of the Twelve and Sidney Rigdon had advertised. And this had been advertised before the Twelve was even back in Nauvoo. Most of the apostles, members of the Quorum of the Twelve were in the eastern states, and there were only one or two members in Nauvoo and two of them were wounded in and the attack on Carthage Jail.

We’ll talk about several of the possibilities during the succession crisis.  Check out our conversation, and don’t forget our previous episodes with Michael!

186: Quinn on Hofmann (Quinn)

185: “The Church Makes No Distinction Between God & Mammon” (Quinn)

184: Would LDS Church Income Ever Support a Paid Ministry?(Quinn)

183: Are LDS Church Revenues really $50 Billion/Year? (Quinn)

182: Michael Quinn Discusses Deseret Hemp Company (Quinn)

John Hamer lists several people with claims of succession. Dr. Michael Quinn weighs in.
John Hamer lists several people with claims of succession. Dr. Michael Quinn weighs in.