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Laban Killed During Passover (Part 5 of 12)

This week in Sunday School, we’re talking about the story of Nephi killing Laban in the Book of Mormon.  Historian Don Bradley has some extra information about this story!  Have you ever wondered why Laban was drunk?  Historian Don Bradley thinks Laban was celebrating the Passover feast.  What else does Don know about this story that is part of the missing pages of the Book of Mormon?  Don tells about an account from a non-Mormon named Fayette Lapham.  Lapham gives details from the Lost Pages telling additional information not found in our current Book of Mormon.

Don:  Again, he doesn’t remember names, so he doesn’t name Nephi and Laban but he’s describing them.  [Lapham says] This prophet’s son goes back to get this record and he finds the guy who he tried to get it from. That guy is lying drunk in the street–it’s obviously [Laban] who he’s talking about. But he says that the reason that the guy was drunk is because there was a great feast going on in the city at the time. So think like Jewish festival, right? So [there is a] Jewish festival being celebrated in Jerusalem. Now think about that. Our Book of Mormon text doesn’t say that. The small plates don’t say that. Think about what the small plates do say. They say, among other things, that Laban was out by night among the elders of the Jews, and he comes home drunk. If he’s just out carousing, he’s got really high-profile drinking buddies, right? He’s out with the elders. Notice something else that’s crucial to the story. He’s wearing armor and he’s carrying a sword.  He got with his drinking buddies? I mean, the first and final days of Passover, in Judaism are known as holy convocations, per the Hebrew Bible. They are group celebrations where the Israelites get together, they have these feasts. This would be an occasion to dress up, if you will. So this account that Laban was drunk, from Joseph, Sr., that Laban was drunk because of the feast being celebrated, would help to explain why Laban is out in armor and sword, drinking by night with the elders of the Jews, and why when Nephi pretending to be Laban goes to Zoram and he’s like, “Hey, yeah, let’s go get the brass plates/scriptures and take them out to the elders, my brothers.  Zoram’s like, “Yeah, that makes sense.”  He doesn’t seem to bat an eye about that.  Well, if it’s Passover and there’s a religious celebration that makes sense.  If Laban’s out carousing with his drinking buddies, it kind of makes less sense.

Don also discusses a bit about his spiritual journey in this episode.  Check out our conversation….

Don Bradley has found records adding additional information about the story of Laban. Was he killed during Passover?
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*Reflecting on Hawn’s Mill (Part 7 of 7)

In our final conversation with Dr. Alex Baugh, we’ll talk about the lessons to be learned from Hawn’s Mill.  Who deserves blame in this escalation?  What might have helped calm things down?  Did Porter Rockwell try to assassinate Governor Boggs?

GT:  There was an assassination attempt on his life and a lot of people want to pin that on Porter Rockwell.

Alex:  It probably was.

GT:  It probably was?

Alex:  Yeah, I think it was. He was visiting his in-laws, the Beebes. The Beebes lived in Jackson County. Monte McClaus wrote an article about it years ago. I taught his kids in seminary, actually. But if you line everything up, I think Rockwell, he was definitely there. Did he intend to kill Boggs? I kind of think not. He just wanted to make him–and why do I say that? Well he used a German buckshot pistol. So they were just small pellets, and it didn’t kill him. I mean, it could have, but I don’t think he intended it to. I think he was just upset with what this man did to us. I mean, his indecisiveness, his lack of humanity towards the Mormons. I don’t know what you want to say, I think he probably did it.

GT:  Oh, really?

Alex:  Yeah, I do. Would he deny it? Well, of course.  I guess the folklore around, “If I would have done it, I would have killed him.” Well, that’s just a good round about there. But Joseph had nothing to do with it. There’s no question there. Even though John C. Bennett and others wanted to pin that on him, there’s no evidence for that. Joseph was not an accessory to the crime. Rockwell acted on his own.

Check out our conversation….

Dr. Alex Baugh discusses lessons learned from Hawn’s Mill Massacre and Gov. Boggs credit/blame.

 

Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Baugh!

333: Halloween Massacre at Hawn’s Mill

332: Finding Jacob Hawn

331: Was Extermination Order a License to Kill?

330: Mormon Dissent Leads to Salt Sermon

329: Mormon Expulsion from Jackson County

328: Trouble in Missouri 1833

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Halloween Massacre at Hawn’s Mill (Part 6 of 7)

Seventeen Mormon men and boys were killed at Hawn’s Mill, Missouri on October 30, 1838.  Dr. Alex Baugh describes the awful tragedy that includes mutilation of corpses, and gruesome injuries to a boy as young as 7 years old.  As we approach Halloween, it is a very sad anniversary to the awful tragedy.  If you are sensitive to these kinds of descriptions, you may want to skip this episode.

Alex:  So we’ve got 30 plus men. But they had thought if there was conflict, that perhaps they could use this unfinished blacksmith shop as a garrison, a place of defense.  That was a bad choice, because, unfortunately, it was not finished. But they thought, “Well, this will be good. It wasn’t chinked or daubed, so we can shoot through the cracks. But that’s going to prove fatal. What ends up happening then is they start attacking and so the women immediately leave.  I’m sure this was pre-arranged. They get out of there. Most of them fled across the river, across the Mill, and race up the hill into the woods. They shot at a woman, her name was Mary Steadwell, and she was shot in the hand. So they’re indiscriminate. They’re not just firing at men. They’re firing at women and children.  These women are making their way out. She was injured, and she fell behind a log and her dress was over the log. So they kept pelting the log. There were 20 bullets right in the log itself, but she only had the hand injured. But they’re after these the women and children, too. So, the men try to find some sort of defense in the blacksmith shop. They’ve got the numbers, but about 30 some odd men went in there and four boys with the intent of defending themselves and the community. But as these waves come in, they were slowly able to get under the fire, and eventually come right on to [shop.] The south end is where the door was, and that faced the river.

Again, this is Thomas McBride. He was 62 years old.  He was probably the oldest guy there. He makes his way out and gets hit a couple of times….McBride is just wounded terribly….A guy named Jacob Rogers from Daviess County, he’s one of the ones [the Mormons] expelled. He finds Thomas McBride and he says, “Give me your weapon.”  He’s thinking, “Okay, I’m wounded, but he won’t hurt me. I’m giving up my weapon.” He gives it to him and he actually shoots him. Then he takes a corn cutter and cuts off some of his fingers. He mutilates him. I mean, this is a terrible, horrific killing.

Isaac Leaney was pelted and he made his way and eventually was able to get into the home of Jacob Hawn, where some of the women had assembled and were praying.  They took care of him….What’s interesting is years later, and Wilford Woodard talks about this, and I may be off a little bit on the figures, but he was walking in Nauvoo, and Isaac Leaney goes, “Brother Woodruff, do you want to see the clothes I was shot in?” They said, “He went in, he laid out his clothes.” I think he said there were 28 bullet holes.

17 Mormon men and boys were killed in the massacre.  Check out our conversation….

17 Men and boys were killed by a Missouri mob. The dead ranged in age from 10-62. Women and children were also wounded severely in the Hawn’s Mill Massacre on October 30, 1838.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Baugh.

332: Finding Jacob Hawn

331: Was Extermination Order a License to Kill?

330: Mormon Dissent Leads to Salt Sermon

329: Mormon Expulsion from Jackson County

328: Trouble in Missouri 1833