The Sorry Saga of George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman is back in the news again. (Or, at least he’s trying to be.)

George-Zimmerman-6-6-2013-hearingYou may remember George from the time he “stood his ground” and killed Trayvon Martin.

I guess George was afraid Trayvon was going to do him bodily harm with his bag of Skittles. Or, it might have been his Arizona Iced Tea that put the fear of death in him. (I hear that has quite a punch!) But that isn’t what this is about.

What brought him back into my memory cloud was a “poor me” interview he did with Uniivision. It seems that since he’s no longer the poster boy for wing-nut gun butts, his life hasn’t exactly been beer, broads and bar-b-cue! If you’re hip to Spanish, you can find the interview here. (Unfortunately, Spanish, other than a few choice words, isn’t one of the one languages I speak.) If you’re also hipless when it comes to Spanish, I’ll cover the interview in a few paragraphs.

Looking into George’s background for this post, it appears that he’s always wanted to be a man with a gun. When he was 14, he joined a Jr R.O.T.C. (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program so he could grow up and be a Marine. When he got to college, he worked on an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. He was taking his last class when Trayvon happened. In 2011 he claimed he was in a Sanford police ride-along-program, but the Sanford PD couldn’t find any record of him.

Of course, there were times when he found himself on the other side of the law. In 2005, he was arrested for “resisting officer with violence” and “battery of law enforcement officer,” that was arresting his friend. That same year, his ex-fiancee filed a restraining order against him. (It appears that he has an anger management issue that keeps popping up from time to time.)

Less than two months after he “beat the rap” in the Trayvon case, his wife filed for divorce. (9/4/13) Four days after that, she reported that he punched her face and threatened her and her father with a gun. No evidence other than a busted iPad was found and Mrs George refused to press charges. Two months later he blew up when his girl friend told him to get out. She stated that he started breaking things and pointed a shotgun at her. By the time the cops showed up, he had barricaded himself inside her apartment. He was charged with “domestic violence battery,” “criminal mischief” and “aggravated assault with a weapon.” She later dropped the charges in favor of a restraining order.

In February of last year, George journeyed to Miami to do some interviews. At one point, while strolling along a beach he was recognized and run off by an angry crowd. He left Miami very quickly after that.

Then in September, he was involved in a road rage incident with Matthew Apperson. According to Apperson, Zimmerman, who was packing “heat”, yelled at him,

Do you know who I am?…I’ll (f**king) kill you!

Two days later, Zimmerman showed up at Apperson’s workplace. Apperson called the cops, but didn’t press charges.

This last January Lake Mary police arrested George again on charges of “aggravated assault with a weapon” after allegedly throwing a wine bottle at his ex-girlfriend. (Different girl friend.) Charges were later dropped.

In May, Apperson re-appeared, armed with a loaded revolver. He took a shot at George, but I guess he’s got a lousy aim. Zimmerman escaped with minor facial injuries from flying glass when the bullet shattered his car’s side window. Apperson claimed it was self defense because George was waving his gun at him. Matthew was just “standing his ground” I guess.

George_Zimmerman_American_flag_paintingIn non-police related news, George launched his art career in 2013.The art critics were not impressed. One critic saidIt looks like someone is doing paint by number.(And, that was one of the nicer critiques.) However, I guess at least one “real ‘Murican” was impressed, because his first painting sold for $100,099.99 on eBay. Btw, the flag painting was copied, without attribution, from a Shutterstock stock image.

Unfortunately, George has been unable to duplicate the financial success of his first work. His second painting was another rip off. This time from an AP photograph. The AP sent a “cease and desist” letter to his former lawyer, which was forwarded on to George.

As New York Magazine put it,

George Zimmerman can’t even paint without getting in trouble.

Despite the $100,000 earned from that painting, it seems that George is having a hard time making ends meet. In June of last year, he filed a financial affidavit in his divorce case claiming that he had no home and no income, but still managed to spend $100 a month on vacations and $200 a month on psychological counseling. According to the affidavit, he has expenses amounting to $3,304 a month, $14,000 in assets and debts of $2.5 million.

In his latest interview with Univision (I told you I’d get to it.) he claims to still have the same problems. He still doesn’t have an income. (The planned “celebrity” boxing match with DMX was cancelled a couple of weeks ago.) And, he says he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and wears a bullet-proof vest for protection.

Honestly, I [would] love to live a calm life without being in the press. I’d like [to be treated like] any American citizen — have a ticket … or an argument … [and] not have everyone aware,” he said. But that … that’s my life and I do not understand why that is, but I’m living my life as I have always lived.

Maybe, if he hadn’t been so trigger happy, that might have been the case.


Would You Vote For a Trump/Palin Ticket?

Sarah & the Great American HairballA couple of presidential cycles ago, 2008, to be exact, John “War Hero” McCain decided to pull a fast one. The Democratic establishment’s favored candidate, Hillary, had lost the nomination to an upstart freshman senator from Illinois. Towards the end of that primary season, things got a little hot, as they are wont to do in those situations. A number of vocal feminists declared they just might sit out the election if Hillary wasn’t the nominee.

The ever clever John thought he saw an opening to reap all those disgruntled gals. He’d chose someone of the female persuasion as his Veep. There were a few in politics that might have fit the bill, but John remembered one he had met on a short visit to Alaska. She had limited political experience, as she’d only been the mayor of a bedroom suburb and then governor for a very short time. But, she was good looking and had a rep for being anti-establishment. (John’s a “maverick,” don’tcha know.)

Thus was Sarah Palin introduced to the “lower 48″ (Alaska talk for mainland ‘Murica.) Sister Sarah was a prime example of the political adage that “If you don’t vet, you don’t get!” (Now called “The Palin Effect.” Seriously, it is!) Obviously, the ploy didn’t work. Feminists stayed with the Dems and while Sarah gave the “hots” to the “true believers,” she turned off just about everybody else.

Fast forward to the present. Things have changed a bit since 2008. Back then, Sister Sarah’s nuttyisms were a bit unique. With this cycle’s occupants of the Bozo Bus, they’re pretty much the norm. With Teddy (Bore) Cruz, Dr Ben (Dover) Carson and the Reverend Hucksterbee, all fighting to utter the stupidest mouth farts, they are still overshadowed by the DONALD (aka “The Great American Hairball). More or less, his Hairness is this year’s “Palin.”

And, with two great (???) minds rockin’ the same road, why not combine the pair? At least that’s what seems to be invading the DONALD’s thought processes lately. Le’ me ‘splain! (With apologies to Desi Arnez.)

Yesterday (7/27/15) the GAH showed up on something called “Mama Grizzly Radio.” Specifically, it was “The Palin Update With Kevin Scholla” program. One guess as to who this “lame-stream” media outlet focuses on. (Seven, if you’re a tea bagger.)

At one point in the conversation, Kev “pitched the softball” asking the DONALD, “If there is a Trump administration, could you see picking up the phone, giving the (half-term) governor a call and picking her brain on some things, or perhaps having her along in some official capacity.”

His Hairness promptly hit it out of the (Little League) park.

I’d love that! Because she really is somebody who knows what’s happening and she’s a special person, she’s really a special person and I think people know that….Everybody loves her.”

The DONALD went on to bad mouth his fellow presidential aspirants, calling them “weak and ineffective” compared to Sister Sarah, “to a degree that’s actually almost hard to believe.” Voters, he added, “like the Sarah Palin kind of strength, you just don’t see very much of it anymore.”

If you’ve got the stomach for it, here’s that portion of the interview:

So, is there a role for Sarah “Blunder Woman” Palin in a Trump administration? Is the “Half-baked Alaskan” due for a second try at the Veepstakes? And, would you pull the lever for them if she was?

Stay tuned? Ubetcha!

Farmersville, Texas vs The Muslim Zombies (The Night Of The Quivering Hayseeds)

OsombieThere is nothing wrong with your computer. Do not attempt to reprogram. We are now in control of the streaming. We control the images and the verbiage. We can deluge you with a thousands posts, or expand one single snark to crystal clarity and beyond. We can shape your notions to anything our imagination can conceive. For the next 600 words, we will control all that you see and hear.

– With apologies to the Outer Limits script writers.

Farmersville, Texas is a sleepy little burg in the northeast corner of the state. It’s a simple town with simple people. Until recently, its main concerns were lack of rain on the hay fields and inebriated tractor pilots. Then came the day when everything changed.

As is its wont to do, the sun rose in the east that fateful morning, ready to preside over a hot spring day in farming country. And then locals unearthed a Muslim plot to invade their territory, and, horror of horrors, it was a cemetery plot. (Cue weird music.) Even worse, it was 35 acres of cemetery plots. (Gasp!)

Now, there are no Muslim Mosques in Farmersville. There is a Buddhist meditation center on the edge of town and a new Mormon church on Audie Murphy Parkway. And, while some locals might consider both to be a mite bit weirder than a five-footed frog, neither is considered life threatening.

However, back in May, while the locals were anticipating the annual “Taste of Farmersville” and the “Opry on Main Street Music Hall” that followed, some Islamic leaders from around the county slipped in and  submitted a concept plan for a 35 acre cemetery that was unanimously approved.

Well, by jinkies, when Farmersville’s “real ‘Muricans” found out about that, they didn’t cotton to it one dang bit. Them cussed heathens don’t even embalm their dead critters, making the transformation into Zombies even easier. “All they do is wrap them in a sheet, throw them in the grave and bury them.(Btw, embalming isn’t required under Texas law.) And, they just knew that once them undead got planted, they were gonna need a mosque for them and their live friends to hide out during the daylight. (Or is that just vampires?)

The local Baptist preacher was afraid some of them dead may be radicals. After all, who wants a zombie jihad in your neighborhood. Some of the locals even called for spreading pig blood all over the planned cemetery, since to a Muslim (and a Jew, for that matter) it would make the area unclean and therefore unusable for a cemetery.

The Islamic leaders tried to explain that with 22,000 Muslims living in Collin County, they needed a centrally located cemetery since the closest ones were over in Denton and Fort Worth and both were getting full. But, that didn’t make no never mind. The local yokels demanded a meetin’ with the Planning and Zoning Commission  so’s they could air their grievances. (Foul as that “air” might be.) And, on July 6th, they got one, and it was standin’ room only.

The mayor tried to talk some sense into them, and the city manager explained that there were no plans to build a mosque.

Despite the protests, the land sale was completed last week; and the process  continues. There will be meetings on the preliminary and final platting that have to be approved by planning commissioners and the Farmersville City Council in the coming months, so them “real ‘Muricans” will have four more chances to rant. Meanwhile, they can read “The Zombie Combat Manuel” (Amazon $20.88). Or if they can’t handle the big (over four letters) words, there’s always the “Zombie Combat Field Guide” (Amazon $9.18). It’s a coloring book.

Stay tuned!

ps: It’s a well-known fact that zombies feed on brains. If they really invaded Farmersville, they’d starve to death. (If that’s possible when you’re already a corpse.)Osombie

Wing-nut Wants A Shooting War ‘To Save This Country’

event_197496622Well, the American invasion of Texas, or as the pentagon calls it, Jade Helm 15, has begun. At least that’s the view of the nut-cake crowd. (Quick question: How do you invade an area when you’ve already been there for 150 years?) What it really is, is a 21st century training exercise. War games like this happen every couple of years – and have for a very long time. But hey, this seems to be the era of the wing-nut conspiracy.

There have been all sorts of weird fantasies about this on the web. My favorite was the one about the Walmart tunnels which lead to underground military bases or internment camps or are used for smuggling in Chinese troops to aid in the invasion, or something. And, btw, they were probably built by E.T.s. (I wonder if Walmart had a sale on tin foil around that time.)

The whole thing got so serious….stupid, that the Texas governor even assigned some of the Texas State Guard to keep an eye on the federal troops. But then, as any nut-cake knows, you can’t trust any government. Therefore, some citizens decided it was imperative to do the surveillance themselves. Enter: Pete Lanteri!

Pete’s an ex-Jarhead (Marine) whose head probably got a little too jarred. Pete’s not actually a Texan; he currently resides in Arizona, but a “real ‘Murican” is a “real ‘Murican” no matter where he lives. Prior to that, he was head of the New York Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. (Dedicated to preventing Haitians from trying to sneak in by swimming up to Long Island, I suppose.)

Anyway, according to reports, Pete’s assembled 250 citizens to monitor the troops’activities to make sure they aren’t pulling a fast one.

 We’re going to be watching what they do in public. Obviously on a military base they can do whatever they want. But if they’re going to trade on public land, we have a right as American citizens to watch what they’re doing.

Pete set up a website and a Facebook page. The website is still up, but the FB page is gone after Pete got his feelings hurt by all the negativity posted on his site.fkzpmlgngmad8qxzhithAnd, being a self described “Sicilian hothead from the Bronx,” he couldn’t resist adding a little postscript:

I can’t wait to kill thousands of these f#@%s man!

When his cranium cooled down, he claimed he was just having a bad day that day because he had to cremate his dog.

Pete goes to pains to claim that he’s not one of those nuts with a shiny chapeau – he just wants to find the truth because “90 percent of the news is wrong.” However, he’s posted more than a few tin foil tales and fever dreams on his Facebook page in the months leading up to this. From strange goings on at Walmart, to hoping for a shooting war to “save the country,” to calling the Pope an anal pit (only he didn’t use a euphemism), to racist comments ad nauseam. As I said, his FB page is down, but you can check out some of his greatest (s)hits here.

Pete claims his citizen surveillers are doing their business unarmed. But one has cause to doubt that, given some of his statements such as:

Here’s hoping we are in a shooting war to save this country by the next Fourth of July!!!!!

Stay tuned!


Texas Doctor: Teachers Will Encourage Children To Have Anal Sex – Video

hotzefoxIn today’s “Nutz in the Nuze,” we meet Dr (although some put a “Quack” in front of that) Steve Hotze of Texas. Dr Hotze runs a clinic in suburban Houston that focuses on “nontraditional therapies” and medical superstitions such as:

  • All disease and disability is caused by the sin of Adam and Eve.
  • Medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin.
  • No doctor shall provide medical service on the Sabbath.
  • Treatment of the “physical body” is not a doctor’s highest priority.
  • Physicians should preach to their patients because salvation is the key to their health.

Much more on that type of claptrap here.

But surprisingly, that’s not what caused him to be nominated for Nutcake of the Day. You see, in his other life, Dr Hotze is president of the Conservative Republicans of Texas. As such, like all good little Texass Regressives, Dr Hotze is 100%, four square, unalterably and vehemently opposed to marriage equality and all its little sub-sins.

One particular sub-sin that has the doctor in a tizzy, is it’s effects on kindergarteners. It seems that Dr. Hotze is convinced that teacher will encourage little Johnny and Stevie to have butt sex.

As he put it:

If we redefine marriage, the homosexual political movement will force churches, schools, families, businesses and individuals to accept, to affirm, and even to celebrate those who participate in anal sex, or anal sodomy. It will be mandated to be taught to the children in the schools, at an early age, starting in kindergarten. They will be encouraged by their teachers to participate in anal sex.

Oh, and I probably should mention that the bad doctor is a frequent Fox contributor.


Pot Party In Stoner, Colorado – County Officials Bummed Out – VIDEO

“You are invited to the 32nd Annual Colorado Invitational Bong a Thon. The 2015 event will be commence on July 31st 2015 in ….. This private event is a “trade-cation”; An exclusive event for people in the recreational cannabis industry geared to a camping weekend of rest and relaxation. Situated on private property with stunning view. A place where anyone can openly partake in recreational cannabis while camping with their friends, family, and cannabis industry leaders. Along with some organized fun and games too!”

For over three decades, Colorado marijuana devotees have given an extra meaning to “Rocky Mountain High” by gathering for a weekend of camping and cannabis called the “Colorado Invitational Bong-a-Thon.” Prior to the passage of Amendment 64, legalizing marijuana usage in Colorado back in 2012, the gatherings were on the clandestine side. The secret locations were shifted year to year for obvious reasons. Now that pot is legal in the state, they’ve “come out of the closet,” so to speak.

This year’s event will take place, July 31-Aug 2, in Stoner, a two-person town, two and a half hours out of Denver on state 145. (Btw, one of the two residents is named Mary Jane, and no, I didn’t make that up.) The event will be situated on 52 acres of private land owned by the self-described “Mayor of Stoner,” Frank “Ol” McDonald. Mr. McDonald has plans to turn the property into a cannabis-friendly resort. He also plans on getting married as part of this year’s festivities, which will also include bands, games, pot smoking contests, and other fun stuff.

The Bong-a-Thon organizers expect 1000 attendees. When I checked on July 13th there were 367 regular tickets and 20 golden tickets left.

The news of the coming event was not exactly great news to some of the county officials. Stoner is located in Montezuma County in the less liberal part of the state. Last week, the county commissioners voted to seek a court injunction. This, despite their attorney telling them it would be hard to get and not easily enforceable if they did get one. On top of that, the maximum fine is $1000. (With tickets going for $80 a pop, $420 for a “golden ticket,” that shouldn’t be a problem.)

Since pot is legal and the event is on private land, the county is looking for outside help, including the State Dept. of Transportation, the State Patrol, the county sheriff’s office, and even the Army Corps of Engineers.

According to Chris Jetter, the event organizer, the event is going on, regardless of the county’s actions.

We plan on being down there and we expect about 1,000 people. We will go prepared for harassment

Mormonism: “The Big Con?” (pt 9: Who Shot Governor Boggs?)

Editorial note: I am organizing my various series to cut down on Home Page clutter. The series will still be found all on a single page under their original title. However I want the different posts readily available. Therefore, I’m also adding them as individual posts.


Hello and welcome.

This time, we’ll take a look at an attempted murder that Joe may or may not have something to do with. (My money’s on “may”.) We’ll meet another “interesting” Mormonite: “God’s gunslinger”: Orrin Porter Rockwell, the “holy hit man” himself. (I call him “Opie”.)

We’ll explore more than a bit of legal maneuvering and discover at least one of the perks of being “head honcho” in a theocracy. Dr. John will be here. And we’ll have guest appearances by Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Elvis and some nice Mormon girls.

If you’re new to the series, you might want a bit of background to fully understand what the hell’s going on:

Who shot Governor Boggs?

Closest public official I could find. Plus, it’s Eric fuckin’ Clapton!


Mormon Chronology



Lilburn Boggs (1796-1860)

Lilburn Boggs (1796-1860)

(5/6/1842) Someone shoots Missouri’s ex-Governor, Lilburn Boggs through a window of his home in Independence, MO. (Aka Zion, aka Garden of Eden)

The governor is shot in the head, but he survives. (Hey, he’s a politician. There’s nothing vital to hit up there.) Whoever shoots him gets away.

The sheriff finds a revolver outside the window, still loaded with buckshot. The gun is identified as having been stolen from a local store owner. The owner believes the gun was stolen by a man named Brown, “that hired man of Wards”.

By the time the sheriff gets out to talk to Mr “Brown”, he’s high-tailed it out of the area.

Mr. “Brown”, it turns out, is Orrin Porter Rockwell. (O.P.R. or Opie for short) Mr. Rockwell is not only a Mormonite, he’s also a former Danite leader and he’s Joe’s bodyguard and reputed hit man. He’s been called “God’s gunslinger”. (Well, I just did, anyway.)

Not quite sure why Big D would require a hit man, but Joe seems to think he needs one. And, don’t hand me that “instrument of God’s justice” or “the Lord’s righteous avenger” bullshit. If B.D. wants somebody rubbed out, he’s damn capable of doing a little DIY.

Before we go farther, let me make a couple of points clear. There are other suspects with motive and opportunity. And, there’s evidence of anti-Mormonite skullduggery in the investigation.

For one thing, General Samuel Lucas (He’s the one that ordered Joe’s execution after a sham trial back in episode 6.) is heavily involved in the investigation.

Since no one saw the shooter, there’s no physical evidence other than the gun, and it’s still 15 years before the British start using fingerprints for identification and 60 years before the U.S. really gets around to it, this is going to be a tough nut to crack.

On the other hand, Opie is in the area and then out before anyone comes looking, and he’s one of them thar nigger-lovin’ Mormonites who’ve vowed revenge on the governor. He’s bound to be guilty! Hang the son’a’bitch!Porter Wanted PosterThe wounded ex-governor thinks whoever did it, Joe has something to do with it. He signs an affidavit stating that he thinks Joe “was accessary [sic] before the fact of the intended murder” State of Missouri, Affidavit of Lilburn W. Boggs, Jackson County, Missouri, July 20, 1842

As for yours truly, do I think Rockwell is guilty? For a number of reasons, including the fact that it fits his pattern, I do. You’ll see what I’m referring to over the next several episodes.

However it is entirely possible it was someone else. In any case, I’m not here to make or break the case against Opie. I’m just here to tell the story, with snarks, both appropriate and un.

I’ve seen claims that the only reason that Opie was in Missouri in the first place, was so that his wife could be with her family when she gave birth to her 4th child. There’s one itsy, bitsy, teeny, weeny little problem with this explanation. His wife gave birth to Sarah, her 4th child, on March 25, 1841, and he didn’t go to Independence until May of ’42. (On a totally unrelated(?) side note, Opie’s wife, Luana, dumps him in 1845.)

(5/11/1842) Just after the news of the attempted assassination reaches Nauvoo, the church announces that Dr. John is being disfellowshipped. (kicked out) I’ll explore the charges next episode, “Here Come the Brides“. (Told you there was some crossover.) Orson Hyde refuses to sign the announcement. I’ll explain that next time as well.

Due to the timing of the disfellowshipment, as well as other reasons, it’s my opinion that the items that get Dr. John “the boot” aren’t in the charges. I think it’s partially his personal reaction to the Boggs shooting. Like Apostle Tom, back in the 1838 Mormon War, he seems to come to the conclusion that scams are one thing, murder is another. I’ll pontificate on the other possible reason(s) next episode.

Dr. John is also stripped of his religious, education, military and political offices as well.

The doctor doesn’t take his dismissal lightly. Thus begins a battle (make that a WAR) that Joe will ultimately lose. (Not entirely because of the doctor, but he is definitely a major player.) Joe’s beaten back challenges from people like Apostle Tom or Ollie, but Dr. John is in a whole ‘nother league.

I’ll be sourcing the good doctor a bit in this and the next few posts. Why? You ask, knowing that I know he’s a grifter. Well, yah, but so’s Joe. A lot of this gets collaborated by other parties. For the rest of it, I went with the logical scenario based on what we’ve found out about Joe since before the days of Big Daddy and the “holy spooks”. Also, either the doctor and all the rest of those former insiders aka “apostates” are out to get Joe, or just maybe Joe has a good deal of culpability.

(5/19/1842) Joe makes himself mayor and forms a 20 man cadre of bodyguards (the “Lifeguards”). The cadre is composed of ex-Danites and headed by our Opie.

In a conversation with David Kilbourne, Dr. John says Joe prophesied at a meeting that Boggs would die violently. When Opie left Nauvoo in early May (before the disfellowshipment) Dr. John asked Joe where his bodyguard was. Joe is said to reply that he had “gone to fulfill prophecy that Boggs would not die in his bed.” Postmaster David Wells Kilbourne to Missouri Governor Thomas Reynolds, July 12, 1842

The first week of July, Opie gives the doctor a visit. He tells him that he has nothing to do with shooting the governor and “If you say that Joe Smith gave me fifty dollars and a wagon to shoot Boggs, I can whip you, and will do it in a crowd.” St. Louis American Bulletin, July 14, 1842

(7/5/1842) Joe gets the Nauvoo City Council to pass a habeas corpus ordinance, stating that no Nauvoo citizen “shall be taken out of the city by any writs without the privilege of investigation before the municipal court, and the benefit of a writ of habeas corpus.” (Very convenient, since Joe picked the court judges. Not only that, JOE IS THE CHIEF JUDGE!)

(7/22/1842) In response to ex-governor Boggs, current governor Reynolds signs an requisition for extradition stating “one Joseph Smith is a fugitive from Justice, charged with being accessary [sic] before the fact, to an assault with intent to kill, made by one O. P. Rockwell on Lilburn W Boggs in this State, and it is represented to the Executive Department of this State, has fled to the State of Illinois.” State of Missouri, Requisition of Thomas Reynolds, Jackson County, Mo., July 22, 1842,

Let’s all play “Looking for Loopholes”! There’s a slight error in the statement that Joe’s “legal beagles” quickly find. (Mistake #1) See if you can figure out what it is. If not, Emma will point it out shortly.

(8/8/1842) Undersheriff Tom King and a posse arrive in Nauvoo to arrest Joe & Opie. They’re worth $1,300 ($30,505 in our inflated funds) back in Missouri. They’re both lodged in Nauvoo’s “Iron Bar Inn”. Joe immediately applies for a writ of habeas corpus.

The idea that a municipality could declare superiority to a claim by a sovereign state, surprises King, and he heads back to Missouri for more instructions, taking the warrants with him. (Mistake #2.)

When he gets back, a very pissed off governor lets him know in no uncertain terms that municipal courts do not have the authority to override a warrant signed by a state governor. Plus, in this particular case, since Joe’s alleged crime had nothing to do with any city ordinance, habeas corpus doesn’t apply. The council’s counter-argument is that ‘habeas’ covers the arrest if not the crime.

While King is gone, the city council passes another “habeas” ordinance, broadening it even farther. Now, even if everything is legal and proper, the court can deny extradition if the action is brought through “private pique, malicious intent, or religious or other persecution, falsehood or misrepresentation.” Nauvoo City Council Minutes, August 8, 1842 Guess who gets do decide that? (If you didn’t say “Joe’s judges”, have your doctor check you for ADD.)

The non-Mormonite press blasts the expanded “habeas” ordinance. The Warsaw Signal prints the ordinance and writes: “We copy the above ordinances in order to show our readers the barefaced affrontery [sic] with which the holy brotherhood at Nauvoo set at defiance the civil authorities of the State.”

Also, while King is away, Joe’s lawyers challenge the incarcerations. They argue that without the warrants, the marshal has no authority to hold Joe or Rockwell. The court agrees. (Surprise! Surprise!) Joe is released and pulls his patented “urgent business elsewhere” routine and heads out “on the road, again” before King gets back.

(If you’re a regular reader, you knew that was coming.)

Joe keeps on the move for several months, hiding out in “safe houses” in Illinois and Iowa.

Rockwell heads for Pennsylvania and then on to New Jersey. He tries to find work, but I guess there isn’t much call for gunslingers. (In New Jersey???) He gets depressed and he misses his Joe.

Emma appeals to Illinois Governor Carlin on the grounds that the Missouri order states that Joe has fled to the State of Illinois.” (See mistake #1) Since Joe was already in Illinois when the crime was committed, ipso facto, (Although, I really don’t think she said “ipso facto”.) he couldn’t have “fled”. The governor replied that Joe was entitled to a writ by the circuit court, but not any Nauvoo court: “…to claim the right of a hearing before the municipal court of the city of Nauvoo is a burlesque upon the charter itself.” Jessee: Papers of Joseph Smith, 2:476–77

This doesn’t work for Joe at all.

Don’t start thinking “If Joe is innocent, why doesn’t he just go to Missouri and clear his name?” There is no possible way Joe would get a fair trial. This is Missouri! To much bad blood and too little healing time. Plus, according to Executive Order 44, a Missouri Mormonite, is a dead Mormonite. General Lucas would finely get his wish. (I don’t much care for Joe, but I’m a huge fan of court neutrality.)

Be that as it may, from a p.r. standpoint, The Nauvoo City Council, Joe’s judges and his loophole loving lawyers are not doing the Mormonite cause any favors. “No termination of the affair could be less satisfactory than the one which has taken place. If [Smith] had resisted, we should have had the sport of driving him and his worthy clan out of the State en masse, but as it is we are mortified that there is no efficacy in the law to bring such a scamp to justice.” “Recent Attempt to Arrest the Prophet,” Warsaw Signal, p 3; (7/13/1842)

(9/9/1842) The council passes an ordinance that allows the municipal court to make writs of habeas corpus “returnable forthwith”. That means the court can issue the writ and immediately adjudicate it. (No sense wasting time before you throw out the extradition requisition.)

(11/14/1842) The council adds a $1,000 fine and a one year jail term for anyone who dares arrest Joe or anyone else the court doesn’t want arrested. So, in essence, Nauvoo has placed their “laws” above that of any other government entity, municipal, state or federal. (The constitution has more than a word or two to say about this.)

In December, there’s a new governor in Illinois, largely because of a solid Mormonite voting bloc in the election. (Joe decides – they vote!)

(12/9/1842) Joe’s bro Hyrum leads a delegation to Springfield to argue that the extradition requisition should be dumped.

Governor Thomas FordTom Ford, the new governor, tells them that he thinks the extradition requisition is shaky, but he doesn’t want to second guess the previous gov. He tells them that he’ll consult with the state supreme court judges and see what they think.

The judges agree that Joe is not a fugitive from justice. Since he wasn’t in Missouri at the time, he couldn’t have fled. However, they’re split as to whether governor Ford has any standing to intervene in the case.

Ford writes a letter outlining the judges’ opinion and gives it to the Mormonite delegation. The U.S. attorney also writes a letter agreeing with the court. In the letter he tells Joe to “come here without delay and you do not run the least risk of [not] being protected while here and of [not] being dis-charged by the Sup. Court by Habeas Corpus.” He goes on to state “I have also a right to bring the case before the U.S. [District] Court now in Session here, and there you are certain of obtaining your discharge—I will stand by you and see you safely delivered from your arrest.” Jessee: Papers of Joseph Smith, 2:505-6

(12/26/1842) Joe turns himself in to the Nauvoo Legion (of which he’s the commander). Arriving in Springfield with his entourage on the 30th, he moves in with a Mormonite judge (James Adams) for the duration of the legal proceedings.

While lodged with the judge, one conversation turns to slavery. Orson Hyde asks him what he would tell a slave owner that joined the church? Joe replies, “I have always advised such to bring their slaves into a free country, set them free, educate them & give them their equal rights.” Smith: Journal, December 30, 1842 (Which just goes to prove, that like a busted clock that’s right twice a day, even Joe is right some of the time.) When Brigham (the bigot) takes over in a few years, he’ll have an entirely different take on the subject.

(12/31/1842) Joe receives a writ of habeas corpus from the federal court and his bail is set at $4,000 (Nowadays, that would be about 93,900 simoleons.) Joe’s boys immediately post bail. (Joe has come a long way financially since having to extort Marty Harris for BoM publishing money.)

The extradition hearing becomes the 19th century version of “must see tv”. The courtroom is packed. Mary Todd Lincoln even has a choice seat up next to the judge.

(1/5/1843) After ruling on jurisdictional and other arguments, the judge hands down his decision: Since Joe wasn’t in Illinois, he couldn’t have fled from Illinois, so the extradition requisition is refused. Joe is free to go.

This is a thin victory for Joe. He wanted to be freed based on the merits of the case. Instead, it was a win by technicality.

Hearing that Joe “beat the rap”, Opie decides it’s safe to come home to Nauvoo. BIG MISTAKE!

(3/4/1843) Bounty hunter, Robert A. Fett (*), spots Rockwell boarding a boat in St. Louis and grabs him. ((*) Just yanking your chain, Jedi wannabees. Live long and prosper and may the schwartz be with you!)

Opie gets a free trip to Independence and an all expense paid, nine month vacation in the local “stoney lonesome” awaiting a grand jury hearing.Cell blockHe tries to bust out a couple of times, but no luck. (I’m surprised he wasn’t shot while “escaping”.)

Once the hearing does commence, the state of Missouri has a slight problem: There’s no evidence connecting Rockwell to the crime. The mere fact that he was in the area doesn’t quite cut it.

And then there’s Opie’s statement on the stand: “I never shot at anybody, if I shoot they get shot! … He’s still alive, ain’t he?”, Which begs the question, how many people has he shot through a window? (The glass would slightly shift the image.)

(12/13/1843) The grand jury refuses to indict and Rockwell is released.

(12/25/1843) Joe’s throwing a Christmas bash and someone knocks on his door. “A man apparently drunk, (Doesn’t anybody practice “The Word of Wisdom”?) with his hair long and falling over his shoulders come in and acted like a Missourian. I commanded the Capt[ain] of the police to put him out of doors. In the scuffle, I looked him full in the face and to my great supprize [sic] and Joy untold I discovered it was Orrin Porter Rockwell” Smith: Journal, December 25, 1843 Opie’s back with his Joe, and all’s right in his twisted little world.Porter PosterWith that we come to the end of another saga in the life of Joe. Whether he gave the assassination order or not will be argued as long as its important enough to be argued about. However, to my way of thinking, the bigger question remains: WHY THE HELL DOES BIG DADDY NEED A HIT MAN?

Make no mistake about it. Whether or not Opie did this particular deed, that’s what he is.

We’ll cross paths with “God’s gunslinger” again as we travel down the timeline, but next episode we segue from violence to sex as Joe and the gang sorta come clean about their extra-marital diddling, and start practicing it BIG TIME! This one’s got bunch of fun stuff: poligamy, polyandry, sibling sex, pissed off first husbands, and at least one pissed off first wife. (Things haven’t changed that much since Fanny Alger.) Speaking of old bed buddies, remember Marinda? She’s baaack!

In the meantime, have you heard the one about the bigamist with two failed marriages?

His first wife left him and his second one won’t! (RIM SHOT)


p.s.: If my ramblings don’t revolt you, I’ve got a FaceBook page (“Grouchy’s Grumbles”) you might enjoy. Better yet, you might “like” it. It’s free (and worth every cent) and almost completely painless (other than the usual bad jokes).

Mormonism: “The Big Con?” (pt 8: The Year of the Doctor)

Editorial note: I am organizing my various series to cut down on Home Page clutter. The series will still be found all on a single page under their original title. However I want the different posts readily available. Therefore, I’m also adding them as individual posts.

Welcome back, or if this is your first visit, welcome to the madness.

Those of you who have been following this series, know it’s mostly based around a timeline. I say mostly, because for the sake of clarity, I’ve modified that a couple of times. This is going to be the third.

1841 & ’42 have a lot going on, with three stories dominating and a hell of a lot of crossover. One story centers around Dr. John Cook Bennett, (as do quite a bit of the next two). The second story is the attempted assassination of Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs (of Extermination Order fame) and the aftereffects. The third story is on “plural marriage”, “celestial marriage”, “spiritual wifery”, or whatever you want to call it. There are also, some minor events, such as Joe’s latest “translation”.

So, I’m going to split it up the separate stories and try to avoid another 6000 (or more) word post. No guarantees on the “spiritual wifery” episode, though.

This post, I’m going to concentrate on the doctor, with small sides of Joe screwing up another “translation”, and an apostle clearing the way for the aliyah (return of the Jews)

Next time around, we’ll delve into the attempted assassination. Whether or not Joe has something to do with the assassination, the assassination will have a lot to do with Joe.

The last episode in this sort-of-trilogy covers the “official” start of Mormonite multi-marriages. Sort of like the “Grand Opening” after a bunch of “soft openings”.


At the end of the last episode, we had just been introduced to “Dr. John” Cook Bennett, “The Saintly Scoundrel” as one book calls him. This is a man with many talents, and more than a few faults. (Kinda Joe’s “brother from another mother”.) He’s…….well, you’ll see as we go along.

In the meantime, teasing Joe’s “Dr. John”, gives me another very thin excuse to play my favorite “Dr. John”, so I’m gonna do it.


Mormon ChronologyCONTINUED

Doctor, Doctor

(12/16/1840) The Illinois General Assembly approves Nauvoo’s charter and grants corporate city status.

It’s actually three charters in one. Besides the city charter, there’s a charter to establish a college (The University of the City of Nauvoo), and a charter that allows the city to establish its own hit squad er… militia (The Nauvoo Legion). In retrospect, that third charter is not a good idea. (More later. yadda, yadda, yadda.)

The church claims that the charter is Joe’s “own plan and device” and “concocted for the salvation of the church”. I think this comes under the heading of “Minimizing Dr. John’s Influence”. (That’s Dr. John Cook Bennett, for those of you who’ve just joined us.)

Dr. John

Dr. John

It’s far more likely that the Charter is mostly Dr. John’s. He’s the one with multi-state (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio & Virginia) experience in writing passable bills. He’s also the one who shepherds the charter though the Assembly. Andrew F. Smith: The Saintly Scoundrel – The Life and Times of Dr. John Cook Bennett, p 60, University of Illinois Press (1997) As I said, the doctor is a man of many talents, not to mention political connections.


(1/5/1841) Joe calls the good doctor “active and diligent, always employing himself in doing good for his fellow men”. Later in the month, in his “Proclamation to the Saints Scattered Abroad“, Joe gives a written “shout out” to the doctor “He is a man of enterprize, extensive acquirements, and of independent mind, and is calculated to be a great blessing to our community”.

Over the next couple of months, Joe makes Dr. John Mayor of Nauvoo, Chancellor of “Nauvoo U”, and Inspector General of the Nauvoo Legion. (A reward for each section of the charter?)

There’s an old saw that states “You can’t con a con man”. Well, Dr. John is proof that you can! To be fair to Joe, he’s competing with a world-class grifter. This dude is so awesome, he makes Big Daddy his “mark“.

(1/19/1841) Big D drops by for one of his frequent chats. Again, let my servant John C. Bennett help you in your labor in sending my word to the kings and people of the earth, and stand by you, even you my servant Joseph Smith, in the hour of affliction; and his reward shall not fail if he receive acounsel. [sic] And for his love he shall be great, for he shall be mine if he do this, saith the Lord. I have seen the work which he hath done, which I accept if he continue, and will crown him with blessings and great glory.” D&C 124:16-17 Kinda makes Big D look his usual non-precient, not to mention GULL-E-BULL!

While he’s there, Big Daddy tells Joe he needs a new temple. (Probably because he’s been kicked out of his first, and his second was never built.) This one is mostly completed and dedicated in 1846 as the Mormonites are getting kicked out of the area. At first, they try to lease it to the Catholic church, but the Catholics don’t want it. They finally sell it in 1848 after it’s been heavily vandalized.

Not the "El Hotel"

Not the “El Hotel”

He also wants Joe to build a boarding house. Not only that, but it has to be named after B.D.. “And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation.” D&C 124:56 Hmmm. The YHWH Hotel? Well, it has a nice ring to it. Or maybe he’s referring to his original name (El) from his earlier incarnation as head of the Canaanite Pantheon. Then it would be the “El Hotel”, with an even better ring. Although, some people might expect to see strolling mariachis in the lobby.

However, four verses later, B.D. decides maybe it should be called “Nauvoo House“. He even names the people he wants to construct it. Talk about micro-managing. Where was he during the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company fiasco? (Oh yah, he was telling Joe his anti-bank would dominate the world’s financial system.)

(NOTE TO SELF: One of these days, I’m going to have to do a post on the evolution of God. That should piss off a hell of a lot of “true believers”. But, as my dear departed grandpappy used to say, “Better to be pissed off than pissed on.”)

Oh, and one last thing (Busy chat!), B.D. tells Joe that he doesn’t have to build that temple back in Far West. Which is probably a good thing, since it’s technically open season on Mormonites in Missouri. (And, will be until 1976, when Chris Bonds rescinds the “Extermination Order” aka Missouri Executive Order 44)

(1/19/1841) Joe Sr. dies and Hyrum is immediately made “Presiding Patriarch”. Like I said last episode, Joe has decided to keep this job in the family. And, it stays in the family until 1958.

(2/5/1841) Joe appoints Dr. John Inspector General of the Nauvoo Legion. Joe’s already made himself Lieutenant General. (George Washington’s old rank.)

(2/6/1841) Joe intervenes in the Nauvoo High Council excommunication trial of “Elder” Theodore Turley. Ted stands accused of “unchristian conduct”, “romping and kissing the females”, “dancing”, oh yah, and “sleeping with two females”. Joe doesn’t think “sleeping with two females” is all that egregious. Certainly not grounds for excommunication. All Ted really needs to do is publicly confess his “sins”. Minutes of the High Council of the Church of Latter Day Saints (2/6/1841) (If he was a “prophet”, he wouldn’t even have to do that.)

By this time, Joe’s practice of bedding and wedding(?) is beginning to spread among upper management. Joe, of course, keeps denying he’s “porking” anyone but Emma.

As far as the hoi polloi are concerned, multiple bed buddies is still an abominable NO! NO! But the word of God burdens me because of your grosser crimes. For behold, thus saith the Lord: This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures, for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son. Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” Jacob 2: 23-24

Over the next three years, Ted, who is already married, “marries” three additional women, all sisters. (Kinkeee!)

(2/1841) Hearing some rumors about Dr. John, Joe sends George Miller to investigate.

(3/2/1841) George reports back that Dr. John is a serial adulterer whose wife and child have left him. Not only that, but he moves around a lot and is a shameless self promoter. He concludes that the doctor is “an impostor, and unworthy of the confidence of all good men”. (I probably should mention that George is the doctor’s primary rival at this point in time.)

(4/6/1841) Joe makes Dr. John assistant president of the church. Heady territory. That’s up there with Ollie, Sid and Hyrum. (Olliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon & Hyrum Smith, for you newbies.)

So, at this point, Dr. John is Mayor of Nauvoo, Inspector General of the Nauvoo Legion, Chancellor of “Nauvoo U” and Assistant Church President. All-in-all, not a bad first six months for the doctor.

Still, you do have to question Joe’s judgement and/or motivation. His reaction to the Miller report was to give Dr. John a huge leap in authority? This along with several other factors leads me to believe that Joe already knew of the doctor’s predilections.This also partially explains why they get along so well. (Birds of a feather and all that.)


In addition, rumors of the sexual proclivities of Mormonite leadership may have been a factor in the doctor’s request to come on board the previous summer.


(6/15/1841) Bro Hyrum and William Law write Joe a letter backing up George Miller’s original infidelity report. Joe shows Dr. John the letter and the doctor acknowledges it.

The following is strictly my opinion. However, based on the character traits Joe has demonstrated in the past, this is what I think is going down. And remember, Joe already knows this stuff and he still keeps promoting Dr. John. On the other hand, this is the second report and rumors are starting to raise their ugly heads. Plus, Dr. John’s conduct with the ladies is also starting to raise eyebrows. A LOT more on that in pt 10: “Here Come the Brides“.

Since Joe is still butt-deep in denying that he’s a serial adulterer, he gets a bit nervous. If the word spreads about the doctor and everyone knows they’re good buddies…….

Joe decides it’s best if the doctor finds another abode. Other than that, nothing much changes. Dr. John is still Mayor, Chancellor, Inspector General and Assistant Church President. I’ll explore some of the possible reasons for that in the next couple of posts.

However, there are storm clouds on the horizon. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, Apos

!!!!!NEWS FLASH!!!!!

We interrupt this narrative for an important breaking story:

Dateline: (10/24/1841); Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, Palestine, Asia, Earth, Solar System, Orion Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, Universe, Mind of God.

Mormon Apostle clears path for rebirth of Jewish state of Israel!

On a hill overlooking the sleepy city of Jerusalem, Apostle Orson Hyde has dedicated Palestine for the return of the children of Abraham.

Word of this shocking turn of events is spreading through the Jewish community like an Antarctic wildfire.

We’ll keep you informed as developments develop (in about 105 years).


That’s the way the church tells the story, anyway. (Well, maybe not the “Antarctic wildfire” bit.) D&C 68: 1-3; 124: 128-29

The story is mostly true. Joe has sent Orson to proselyte (that’s not a naughty word) in Palestine. And, Orson does dedicate the area for the return of the Jews. There’s even a memorial garden to commemorate the event.

Orson Hyde Memorial Garden

Orson Hyde Memorial Garden

As to whether it has any effect, physical or spiritual, is a hay burner of an entirely different hue.

And now back to our narrative, already in progress.

ne will ever know.


Emma Smith (1804-1879)

Emma Smith (1804-1879)

(3/7/1842) The Female Relief Society is organized. This is the blossoming of an idea of Sarah Kimball and Margaret Cook.

At its start, it’s initially a church sewing circle organized “after a pattern of the Priesthood.” This quickly expands to “looking to the wants of the poor”, so the men don’t have to.

The first meeting draws 20 ladies, mostly the wives of church leaders, and eight more join later. By 2014, there will be six million members in 170 countries.

Emma is elected General President. (Natch.) There are also two counselors selected and a secretary, assistant secretary and treasurer elected, none of whom are Sarah Kimball or Margaret Cook. (Hmmm.)

Several women make donations and Joe, who was invited to attend, kicks in five bucks to get things rolling.

It’s Egyptian to Me

“I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer, and prophet.” D&C 124:125

(4/18-19/1842) Professor Henry Caswall, an Episcopal Clergyman by trade, and anti-Mormonite by inclination visits Nauvoo. He’s brought along a psalter. (A psalter, for all of you non-medieval Christianity freaks er…enthusiasts out there, is a manuscript containing the book of Psalms.)

Prof Caswall approaches Joe and tells him he has this ancient manuscript, and he really doesn’t know what it is. Since Joe is “famous” for his translating ability, the Professor asks him if he would kindly translate it for him.

I’ll let the professor pick up the story:

“He led the way to his house, accompanied by many elders, preachers, and other Mormon dignitaries. On entering the house, chairs were provided for the prophet and myself, while the curious and gaping spectators remained standing. I handed the book to the prophet, and begged him to explain its contents. He asked me if I had any idea of its meaning. I replied, that I believed it to be a Greek Psalter; but that I should like to hear his opinion. “No he said; “it ain’t Greek at all, except, perhaps, a few words. What ain’t Greek, is Egyptian; and what ain’t Egyptian, is Greek. This book is very valuable. It is a dictionary of Egyptian Hieroglyphics.” Pointing to the capital letters at the commencement of each verse, he said: Them figures is Egyptian hieroglyphics; and them which follows, is the interpretation of the hieroglyphics, written in the reformed Egyptian. Them characters is like the letters that was engraved on the golden plates.” Upon this, the Mormons around began to congratulate me on the information I was receiving. “There,” they said; “we told you so — we told you that our prophet would give you satisfaction. None but our prophet can explain these mysteries.” The prophet now turned to me, and said, “This book ain’t of no use to you, you don’t understand it.” “Oh yes,” I replied; “it is of some use; for if I were in want of money, I could sell it for something handsome.”Greek Psalter Incident“…Having exhibited the book to the prophet, I requested him in return to show me his papyrus, and to give me his own explanation, which I had hitherto received only at second hand. He proceeded with me to his office, accompanied by the multitude. He produced the glass frames which I had seen on the previous day; but he did not appear very forward to explain the figures. I pointed to a particular hieroglyphic, and requested him to expound its meaning. No answer being returned, I looked up, and behold! the prophet had disappeared. The Mormons told me that he had just stepped out, and would probably soon return. I waited some time, but in vain: and at length descended to the street in front of the store. Here I heard the noise of wheels, and presently I saw the proophet [sic] in a light waggon, flourishing his whip and driving away as fast two fine horses could draw him. Henry Caswell: The City of the Mormons or Three Days at Nauvoo in 1842, pp 35-7 (1843) You can read the book here, or you can download it here. It’s free and rather interesting.


The church has two responses to this:

  1. Never happened!
  2. It happened, but Joe declined to translate.

I think I’ll go with the professor’s side on this one. Mainly because it’s far more logical, knowing what I know about Joe and his “translating” abilities. (Quick question: Why doesn’t Joe use his magic hat stone to translate? Did he leave it in his other jacket?)

The church, on the other hand, would be a smidgen (half a skosh) more credible if they could settle on one story and stick with it. (But, only a smidgen.)

Still to come: The Kinderhook Plates in 1843. (Stay tuned, fantasy fans.)

Well, that wraps up another episode. Next time, we’ll continue along the timeline and examine the Boggs assassination attempt and it’s aftermath. Dr. John will be here, and we’ll be joined by “God’s gunslinger” himself, Orrin Porter Rockwell. While we’re at it, we’ll explore the perks of ruling a theocracy, particularly the judicial division.

So, til we meet next time, remember “Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines.”

Couldn’t find a group called “Weasels”, so I went with “Eagles”


p.s.: If my ramblings don’t revolt you, check out my FaceBook page (“Grouchy’s Grumbles”) you might just enjoy it. Better yet, you might “like” it. I’d love it if you did.It’s free (and worth every cent) and almost completely painless (other than the usual bad jokes).

Mormonism: “The Big Con?” (pt 7: You Can’t Go to Quashquema Anymore)

Editorial note: I am organizing my various series to cut down on Home Page clutter. The series will still be found all on a single page under their original title. However I want the different posts readily available. Therefore, I’m also adding them as individual posts.

Well, here we are at episode #7. Believe it or not, this was originally supposed to be a single segment in “The Religious Wrong (pt 3: The Great(?) Awakening)“. However as I was researching, (Yes Virginia, I research before I rant!) I kept running into more and more interesting little tidbits.

As I said back in episode 1, “Joe & the Magic Hat Stone“, I used to be one of those Mormonite critters. Some of this stuff, I’d heard before, but with a very Mormonite slant. A lot of it, the church didn’t want to discuss at all.

After reading the other side’s take on the situation and doing a bunch (and I mean a BUNCH) of fact checking, the church version started leaking like a sieve.

So far in this series, we’ve explored con jobs, fake translations, phony “revelations”, a bank scandal, adultery, more adultery (or maybe polyandry), infighting that would make congress look like Sunnybrook Farm, and a war. And, we haven’t gotten to the really “fun stuff” yet.

Polygamy, when it becomes an official “revelation from Big Daddy”, is going to get a post all its own. (Until that happens Joe keeps lying about his bed bouncing with women not named Emma.) Plus, we’ve got the further adventures of Joe’s hit squad (the Danites morph into the “Nauvoo Legion”), two more wars, the myth of Joe’s martyrdom, the breakup of the original church and of course, Brigham the bigot hasn’t made his power play yet.

I’m planning on finishing up the series with the Mountain Meadows Massacre. How many more episodes it’s going to take, I’ve quit trying to estimate. I really do want to wrap up the series fairly soon though, it’s an election year and there are all those Repugnuts to skewer.


Mormon Chronology


The Great Escape

When last we left our dear Mormonites, they were in a bit of a pickle. They had just lost their war against Missouri and had been given 4 months to “GIT!!!” If that wasn’t bad enough, their leadership was in jail on charges of murder, treason, and several other naughty no-no’s (burglary, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing).

Yup, ol’ Joe’s “in the jailhouse now”. (CUE THE MUSIC.)

Over the winter, the Mormonites split in different directions, with the majority heading to Illinois. Of those, about half settled temporarily in Quincy, a town known for its tolerance of alternative ideologies. (Sort of a San Francisco of the middle west.) Plus, the Mayor’s a friend of Joe.

The church spins this story as the saga of displaced saints being forced to cross the Mississippi in the dead of winter. If there’s one thing the church is consistent at in their history spinning, it’s always “poor us” against the wicked, wicked world. Never mind that they cause a great deal of their “suffering”, themselves.

A number of Mormonites do cross the river in boats or across the ice when the river freezes up. Of course, this is exactly the same way everyone else crosses the river in winter! (What? You thought cross-river commerce and transportation ceased in winter?) And, since they have until April to go across, those that do it in the “dead of winter”, do it because they want to do it in the “dead of winter”, not because they’re chased.

(3/17/1839) The church gets its revenge on Thomas Marsh (Apostle Tom) for spilling the beans about the Daviess County arson and looting. They excommunicate him in absentia! Of course, he’d already quit, so it was mostly to salve their own ego.

A funny thing happens on the way to jail

(4/6/1839) Joe and the gang are transferred to Gallatin for a Grand Jury hearing. As a result of the hearing, they are indicted on all charges. (That’s treason, murder, burglary, arson, larceny, theft and stealing, for ye of the short attention span.)

His lawyers are fighting to get a change of venue out of Daviess County and over to Marion County (Just a hop, skip and a yippee across the Mississippi from Quincy, Illinois.) Not that Joe has ideas of escaping or anything like that, he’s just heard that they serve incredible cuisine at the county crowbar hotel. (Ok, I lied about that last part.)

(4/15/1839) Joe’s granted a change of venue, but not to Marion County. Instead, the trial will be held in Boone County. (More or less, smack dab in the middle of the state.)

In Joe and the boys’ previous jaunts from jail to hearings and back again, they’ve been “escorted” by up to 70 armed men. This time the destination is about 100 miles away. You’d think that there would be at least a platoon or two going along for the trip. But, it’s just the sheriff and four deputies. (At least one or more of whom were friends of Joe.)

Now, here’s where it starts getting weird(er): A good horse can travel 100 miles in a day if there aren’t a lot of hills. But, let’s say that there are a few speed bumps on the way and the hay burners aren’t of the highest quality. Plus, a pair of the horses are pulling a wagon. So two, maybe three days for the trip if they lose a shoe or two.

The first day they travel 5 miles before bedding down for the night.

Before they leave in the morning, Joe buys a couple of horses. (This is the loosest prisoner transfer I’ve ever heard of, and we haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.)

The next day they travel a few more miles. But the following day is rainy and there’s no sense getting all wet and miserable.

The day after the rain, they go another 7 miles. This time, when they stop, Joe buys some whiskey to share with the group. (The church dances around whether Joe drinks any, but despite the “word of wisdom“, Joe’s a documented drinker Millennial Star, vol. 23, no. 45 p. 720 & History of the Church (January 1836), vol. 2, 369 and former saloon owner Far West Record: Minutes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1844, p. 191.

When everybody has had a few and the pink pachyderms start peeking around the corner, the prisoners saddle up some horses and ride off into the night. (Good thing Joe bought those extra nags.)

Joe “takes it on the lam” to Illinois. (“Lam”, in case you are curious, comes from the Old Norse “lemja” meaning to cripple by beating or flogging. Not sure what that has to do with escaping, but whatever.)

As I said last episode, there are two theories on the escape:

  1. Joe bribes the guards.
  2. Governor Boggs wants this whole mess in the rear view mirror. (Did they have those back then?)

The church more or less, chooses door #2, (Saint Joe would never stoop to bribery!) but with circumstances as they are, I’m still sticking to a version of #1. Things seem mighty friendly between the accused traitorous murdering thieves and their guards.

In any case, the fix is in and Joe is gone. A couple of days later he’s in Quincy.

(4/26/1839) William Woodruff and George A. Smith are made apostles. G.A. is Joe’s nephew. (Nepotism LIVES!)

(5/4/1839) Orson Hyde and Joe’s younger bro Willie are kicked out of the Quorum of the (some of the time)12 Apostles. (Nepotism SUFFERS!)

Evidently, Willie and Joe don’t always get along too well and at times it gets a bit physical. It’s said that at the time of his death, Joe is still suffering effects of a 9-year-old beating Willie gives him. Willie’s out of the picture temporarily, but he’ll return soon. (Blood’s thicker than water and all that jazz.) Both he and Orson are back as apostles by November. (Sometimes I get the feeling that this is all a Mormonite version of “musical chairs”.)

While we’re on the subject of nepotism, Joe at some point decides the position of “Presiding Patriarch” belongs to the Smith family. At this time, Joe Sr. holds that position. When he dies (9/14/1840), the position goes to Hyrum, Joe’s older bro. When Hyrum kicks it in ’44, it goes to Willie. Of course, Willie also petitions to be the patriarch of of the “Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”(*) after the coming schism. From that point on, it continues with those Smiths still in the church until Elbert A. Smith (Joe’s grandson) in 1958. After that, they must have run out of Smiths. None of the eight since Elbert have been family members. (Oh, and it’s now called “Presiding Evangelist”.)

(*) The RLDS church is now called “The Community of Christ”. (A LOT more on them down the timeline, of course.)

Which brings us to Nauvoo

Nauvoo, “The Beautiful” (swamp)

While Joe is in the pokey and the flock mostly scurrying off to Illinois, the church leaders not in jail are offered some land along the Mississippi about 47 miles north of Quincy. Of course, it’s mostly swamp land overlooked by a bluff, but it’s cheap and the owner will even take a note for it.

When Joe gets to Quincy, he likes the deal. He can buy on credit and then jack up the price of the lots to pay off the debt and make a bunch of bucks in the process, just like in Kirtland and Far West.

(5/1/1839) Joe buys the property.

In the early part of the 18th Century the area was primarily inhabited by Sauk & Weskwaki “Indians”. (I prefer the Canadian term, “First Nations”. I mean, come on, not one of these people ever bathed in the Ganges. That was Columbus’s ignorance showing.) It was a good-sized settlement with around 500 lodges. The area was named after the chief at the time, Quashquema.

By 1827, white settlers moved in and took over. Within a couple of years there were enough “white eyes” to need a post office. By 1832, the town was called Venus (Don’t ask me why.) and competed to be the county seat. However, another town, Carthage, beat them out. In 1834, Venus became Commerce (Again, don’t ask me why.) So, technically, it’s the town of Commerce (such as it is) that Joe buys.

Nauvoo Region

Nauvoo Region

As I said earlier, a lot of it is swampland, ripe with cholera, malaria and typhoid. Over the first two years, quite a few Mormonites get sick and several die. Of course, Joe does what he can to help. He goes around performing the “laying on of hands” ritual on the sick and claims to “cure” many.

"Hands on" religion

“Hands on” religion

(Sorry to burst their bubble, but that procedure only works with psychosomatic illnesses.)

It takes a couple of years, but the swamp is drained and the cholera, malaria and typhoid go away.

There are a few buildings in the community of Commerce, but not nearly enough for the expected influx of Mormonites, so a major building boom commences. Homes, businesses and industrial buildings are laid out on a grid Joe calls the “plat of Zion”.

 The diagonal grid on the map is the community of Commerce's original location.

The diagonal grid on the map is the community of Commerce’s original location.

(5/10/1839) Joe and Emma move to Commerce and into a 2 story, 4 bedroom house (The Homestead) they’ve just bought.nauvoo-j-smith-home

(It’ll do nicely until the mansion is constructed.)Nauvoo_Mansion_HouseI’ll have more to say about the mansion when it’s finished in ’43 and Joe has a bar installed.

(8/30/1839) “Nauvoo” is used on a city plat for the first time. The following April, “Nauvoo” becomes official as the town is renamed.


Enter: Dr. John

No, unfortunately, not that “Dr. John”. Although, this Doctor is rather amazing himself.


"Dr. John" Cook Bennett (1804-1867)

“Dr. John” Cook Bennett (1804-1867)

  • He’s a doctor (a real one).
  • He’s ex-head of a medical school.
  • He’s a military man, (Brigadier General in the Illinois Invincible Light Dragoons.)
  • He’s very politically connected Democrat, being buds with Stephen A. Douglas. (He of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Lincoln-Douglas Debates and Lincoln’s opponent in 1860.)
  • He’s a former Campbellite preacher. (Like Sidney Rigdon.)
  • He’s a poultry expert. (He created the “Plymouth Rock” chicken strain.)
  • He’s a former college president. (And, a pioneering advocate for women’s educational rights.)
  • He’s the man mostly responsible for the popularity of tomatoes in the American diet. Unknown fact that almost everybody knows #7,397: Tomatoes are a fruit, not a veggie. Bonus irrelevant fact: Most people used to think tomatoes were poisonous. My older daughter still does. ;-))
  • He’s a 5’5″ Napoleon fanboy. (Notice the hand) And, he seems to have a very bad case of Napoleon Complex. (Btw, at 5’6″, Napoleon was actually 4 inches taller than the average Frenchman of the time.)

As if all those accomplishments weren’t enough, on top of everything else, Dr. John’s a world-class scam artist, not to mention a wife and child deserter. And, like Joe, he has a problem keeping it in his pants.

Meet Dr. John Cook Bennett, late of Christian College (A 19th Century “degree for a fee” diploma mill.) And that tomato thingy is the result of a scam promoting the “magical” curative powers of tomatoes, particularly when encapsulated in a little pill. People buy the scam, but who needs the pills when you have the tomatoes. (Oh, and the tomato pills turn out not to have any tomatoes in them anyway.)

Without a doubt, Dr. John is one of the more remarkable characters in a century full of remarkable characters. The church has a bad tendency to exaggerate the foibles and faults of their opponents. With Dr. John, they really don’t need to.

As I said, he and Sid were at one time, preachers following Alexander “If the bible doesn’t mention it favorably, it’s a sin” Campbell. (Disciples of Christ (Campbell Movement)) Interestingly, among his other attributes, Alex Campbell is very anti-Mormonite, and very vocal about it. Although, that never stopped Sid from switching horses, and it won’t stop Dr. John.

Joe and the doctor first met up back in ’32. Nobody knows what was discussed, but I’d lay you odds the topic centered around flock fleecing. (And I ain’t talkin’ quadrupedal, ruminant mammals here.) At the time, the doctor seemed to be fairly unimpressed. (However, that was back before Joe hit the “mother lode”.)

By the time of the Missouri Mormon War, Joe’s financial fortunes have improved considerably. With an eye “for the main chance“, Dr. John sees an opportunity amidst all the internal and external conflicts.

(7/1840) Dr. John writes three letters to Joe. In them he claims that he’s looking for happiness not wealth and would like to join Joe and the gang. (I have a pretty good idea as to why wealth seeking comes up in this con man to con man conversation.)

(8/8/1840) Joe writes back, “It would afford me much pleasure to see you at this place, and from the desire you express in your letter to move to this place, I hope I shall soon have the satisfaction”

(8/15/1840) While this is going on, Joe introduces “baptism for the dead”. (No Virginia, they don’t “dig ’em and dunk ’em”. Too messy, too expensive and too gross a P.R. image. They do it all by proxy so the dead don’t even have know about it, let alone be there.)

(9/1840) Dr. John moves to Nauvoo. In fact he moves in with Joe as a house guest for the next nine months. From all reports Joe and the doctor get along famously.


That about blows it for this episode. It’s been a pretty quiet transition from Far West to Nauvoo. A few minor events like getting thrown out of Missouri: church leaders in jail on treason and murder charges, Joe’s “great escape”, fighting cholera, malaria and typhoid, draining a swamp, and starting a new town. Oh, and of course, we got introduced to Dr. John. A LOT more on Joe’s reputed “evidence eliminator” next time around.

Also, next episode, there’s an assassination attempt that Joe may or may not have initiate, and Joe gets back in the “translating” business, with hilarious results.

In the meantime, and in between time – Seeya later alligator.


p.s.: If my ramblings don’t revolt you, check out my FaceBook page (“Grouchy’s Grumbles”) you might just enjoy it. Better yet, you might “like” it. I’d love it if you did.It’s free (and worth every cent) and almost completely painless (other than the usual bad jokes).

S.C. Senator: ‘The Devil Is Taking Control Of This Land’

South_Carolina_Senator_Lee_Bright_(R-Spartanburg)This morning (7/6/15) the South Carolina legislature met to debate what to do with their enshrined Confederate battle flag (aka “treason flag”). The first to speak on the senate side was Lee Bright, a Republican representing Roebuck, a wide spot on state highway 213, south of Spartanburg.

UntitledSenator Bright (who has been described as “about as bright as a 4W un-screwed light bulb”) is known for his passionate defense of the flag. After the Charleston AME church murders and the backlash against the Confederate flag as a banner of treason and hate, he got busy. On the 28th of last month, he set up an on-line petition to save the flag. Not only that, but if you make a “quick donation” ($25 – $—–) to his political campaign, he’ll send you a bumper sticker.

So, it was naturally assumed that Senator Bright would rise to his beloved banner’s defense. But the senator had other things on his mind. (Either that, or he was hallucinating that the senate chamber was the Roebuck Baptist church.) It seems that praising his flag wasn’t nearly as important as condemning “deviant behavior.”

Our governor called us in to deal with the flag that sits out front, let’s deal with the national sin that we face today! We talk about abortion but this gay marriage thing, I believe will be one nation gone under like President Reagan said. If we’re not one nation under God, we’ll be one nation gone under.

I watch the White House be lit up in the abomination colors! It is time for the church to rise up…. Romans chapter 1 is clear, the Bible is clear. This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and they are under assault by men in black robes who were not elected by you.

And to sanctify deviant behavior from five judges, it’s time for us to make our stand, church! It’s time to make our stand and we’re not doing it.

We can rally together and talk about a flag all we want but the devil is taking control of this land and we’re not stopping him!

Let’s find some way to deal with marriage. If we’re not going to find some way to deal with marriage like our forefathers did or push back against a tyrannical government like the founders of this nation did, let’s at least not put these citizens in South Carolina in a position where they’ve got to choose between their faith and their jobs.

Senator Bright likes to use the bible to back up his bigotry, but in reference to that last sentence, he seems to have forgotten about Mark 12:17 –

And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marveled at him.

Meanwhile, the debate on the flag goes on.