What Happened In Nauvoo?

2567 Words 11 Pages
During the bitter winter of 1838-1839 some five thousand Latter Day Saints crossed the Mississippi River from Missouri and settled in western Illinois, where they soon established the city of Nauvoo under the leadership of their prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr. Situated on a bend of the Mississippi River in Hancock County, Nauvoo grew rapidly during the next seven years as a flood of Latter Day Saints settled in the area. Finally, it would seem that the Mormons had found a place, a holy city where they could practice their faith without the fear of persecution from others. Unfortunately, the peace would not last long due to many different reasons that will be explored in this paper.
The Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith Jr., and his brother, Hyrum,
…show more content…
In accounts of Mormonism written before 1860, Joseph Smith tends to be cast as the star of the Latter-day Saints drama. While Mormon writers, who believed him to be a prophet, always pictured Smith as a hero, non-Mormons usually described him as a villain. There has been a good deal of interpretations of what happened in Nauvoo. The majority of the accounts seem to come from Mormons scholars, which creates the problem of bias, where Smith becomes portrayed as a hero of the persecuted Mormons. Much Mormon scholarship on the Nauvoo era comes to be seen essentially as sacred history. If not overtly mythic as Mormon historical writing once manifested under such Mormon scholars as B. H. Roberts, it too often reduces the actual complexity of events, avoids matters that challenge or contradict Mormon myth, views the Mormons as good and their opponents as evil, and ignores the cultural context of the early church. One can see this exemplified in the discussions of the Nauvoo experience contained in the two leading modern histories of the church James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, …show more content…
One should take note that the very same descriptions of the very same events can take on radically different meanings when they become placed in different contexts, and keep in mind that “inside” and “outside” perceptions of what happened differed at practically every point in Mormon history. A lot of scholars, who happen to be Mormon, miss a good portion of Mormon history by not going outside of their own point of view. As Mormons themselves they cannot view Mormon history objectively, by being a part of the discussed group they seem to be biased to see their side as “right” and anyone who opposed them as “wrong”. As said by Samuel Taylor, “Regarding the causes for the expulsion, it is time to take a balanced and objective viewpoint. From the perspective of more than a century, we come to assume that these Mormons and non-Mormons would have been, by and large, good people, and that each side of this conflict had been sincerely motivated. ” The angle pursued in this paper will be one more focused on getting a view looking at the motivations of both of these peoples, a view from the outside, trying to see the situation as shades of gray. Looking at how the Mormons, primarily Joseph Smith, but also the non-Mormons, caused the events that took

Related Documents