Saturday, June 25, 2016

40 years ago: Cuckservative Governor of Missouri rescinds 1838 executive order banishing Mormons from the state

The term "cuckservative" has been around only since about early 2015, but the cuckservative mentality has been around longer than that. I don't know if the word has an "official" definition, but I define a cuckservative as someone who claims to be a conservative, but who considers it more important to be regarded as not racist, sexist, and/or (insert pejorative here) by people who don't like him than to stand firm for any conservative principles. Cuckservatism manifests itself in behaviour known as "virtue signalling," such as apologizing to groups claiming victim status on the basis of alleged historical mistreatment at the hands of the cuckservatives and/or the cuckservatives' ancestors.

An example of 20th century cuckservatism comes from June 25, 1976. Missouri Governor Kit Bond (Republican) announced an executive order rescinding Missouri Executive Order 44, issued by Governor Lilburn Boggs on October 27, 1838, directing that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints "must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description." Mr. Bond's announcement came in an address to the Far West stake of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as a goodwill gesture for the United States Bicentennial. For those unfamiliar with the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the RLDS was formed as a splinter group from the main LDS church after the death in 1844 of Moromon founder Joseph Smith, resulting in a dispute over who was the proper successor to Mr. Smith as leader of the church.

Mr. Boggs' executive order in 1838 had been issued three days after the Battle of Crooked River, a skirmish between Mormons and Missouri state militia. The Mormons have made a lot of mileage out of claiming to be victims of religious persecution, but the claim is nonsense. Many new religious movements came into being in the United States in the second quarter of the 19th century, with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints being the one that has lasted the longest (It hardly needs saying--but I'll say it, anyway--that that's not to be taken as evidence of the approval of God upon the organization). There were numerous splinter groups that resulted from the death of Joseph Smith; most of them soon disappeared but the RLDS remains. Another new religious movement, Seventh-Day Adventism, began in the mid-1840s, but I don't recall any accounts of Seventh-Day Adventists being driven out of one area after another. The evidence indicates that many Americans in those days were receptive to doctrines that were heretical by biblical standards of orthodoxy (in the mid-19th century, only about 1/4 of the American population were members of Christian churches), but somehow the Mormons seem to have borne the brunt of "persecution." Mormons were in fact driven out of various places (e.g,, Kirtland, Ohio in 1837), but it wasn't because of their beliefs, but because of their behaviour, especially crooked banking and real estate practices. Readers who are interested in this history may search some of the blogs and sites on the left side of this blog. A "secular" book about a serious crime that has some connection to historic Mormon scandals is The Mormon Murders by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith (1988).

According to Gordon H. Fraser in his book Is Mormonism Christian? (4th edition, 1977, pp. 176, 180):

True, the Mormons left New York State for Ohio in the early 1830s, but this was largely because their New York neighbors could not see them as saints and prophets. The "hoodlums" of the area were not persecutors, but simply Joseph Smith's old gang of treasure hunters, who felt that Joseph was "holding out" on them with his treasure of golden plates. The attraction in Ohio was Sidney Rigdon's ready-made congregation, which moved into the Mormon church as a body.

They left Kirtland, with its newly built temple, largely because of the shady banking and real estate operations of Smith and Rigdon. Many had apostatized by that time. Those who hastened the exodus westward were not gentile persecutors, but dissident Mormons who had attached themselves to the church and then, disillusioned, sought revenge against the leaders. The rank and file of honest folk who followed westward did so in good faith.

Their expulsion from Missouri and Illinois, likewise, was not because of their religious beliefs but because of their behavior. In both cases, they had become undesirable neighbors...

...The most flagrant fraud, and the one that caused the hasty exit of Smith and Rigdon to escape their pursuers, was their venture into the banking business. The bank was denied a charter but was started anyway. It was illegally operated and dishonestly administered. It issued $250,000 worth of bills, which were backed by no assets. Many besides Mormons invested and deposited in it to their sorrow. The outsiders added to the friction, causing the flight of Smith and Rigdon and the collapse of the whole Kirtland enterprise. None of this, however, was religious persecution by the gentiles.
Note: "Gentiles" in Mormon terminology refers to non-Mormons, as Mormons regard themselves as being true Israel.

The differences between Mormonism and Christianity are beyond the scope of this post, but the reader is invited to search various blogs and sites on the left side of this blog. Additional useful sources include the film The God Makers (1982) and the companion book of the same name by Dave Hunt and Ed Decker (1984), as well as the aforementioned Is Mormonism Christian?.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent analysis of the Missouri situation.

    Aside from the two best sites about Mormonism (Utah Lighthouse Ministry and Mormonism Research Ministry), one can also visit my "Anti-Mormon Blog," where I share articles from other sites but also have written well-researched articles of my own, having once been a Mormon and having studied their "church" for over 40 years.
    http://watchmanvlds.blogspot.com

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  2. Thanks, Glenn. Your blog is on my blogroll, and is one of those I had in mind.

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