Here is an excerpt from the history lesson below, from 1839, which prompted me to write this.
“While waiting in Washington, Joseph also grew tired of hearing politicians make grand speeches full of lofty language and empty promises. “There is such an itching disposition to display their oratory on the most trivial occasions and so much etiquette, bowing and scraping, twisting and turning to make a display of their witticism,” he told his brother in a letter. “It seems to us rather a display of folly and show more than substance and gravity.”
Government hasn’t changed much since 1839.
I, Jonesy, am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, sometimes called the “Mormons” which is an appellation we prefer to minimize. We prefer to be called Members of The Church of Jesus Christ. Sixty-three times in the New Testament the members of Jesus’ church were called “saints”. So you can call me “saint Jonesy”. No, I’m not the perfect kind of canonized “Saint”. I’m just a common-ordinary-member kind of small-s-saint with weaknesses and shortcomings which I’m working on.
Here is the background;
In 1838 the “Mormons” were forcibly driven from their homes by mobs in Missouri. Missouri Governor Boggs, a former mobster, became Governor and issued an extermination order to kill or drive the “Mormons” from the state. The Members endured incredible hardships and deprivation. Many Members were killed or wounded and their homes and possessions were burned. Yes, tens of thousands of God-fearing people were mobbed and driven from their homes at the order of a Governor of a state.
The Mormon leader, Joseph Smith, endured a mock trial and was held in a dungeon in Missouri for six months. Later he traveled to Washington to petition for redress from the federal government. Here are excerpts from the historical record, as reported in chapter 34 of “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days”.
“Saints in Illinois and Iowa composed statements detailing their harsh treatment in Missouri, as Joseph had instructed them to do when he was in jail. By the fall, church leaders had collected hundreds of these accounts and prepared a formal petition. In total, the Saints asked for more than two million dollars to compensate for lost homes, land, livestock, and other property. Joseph planned to deliver these claims personally to the President of the United States and to Congress.
Joseph hoped that the president and other lawmakers in Washington, DC, would read about the Saints suffering and agree to recompense them for the land and property they had lost in Missouri.
On November 29, 1839, after traveling nearly a thousand miles from his home in Illinois, Joseph arrived at the front door of the Presidential mansion in Washington. Beside him were his friend and legal adviser, Elias Higbee, and John Reynolds, a congressman from Illinois.
A porter greeted them at the door and motioned them inside. At last the President’s parlor doors opened, and the three men entered the room.
After greeting the President, Joseph handed him the letters of introduction and waited. Van Buren read these letters and frowned. “Help you?” he said dismissively. “How can I help you?”
Joseph did not know what to say. He had not expected the president to dismiss them so quickly. He and Elias urged the president to at least read about the Saints suffering before deciding to reject their pleas.
“I can do nothing for you, gentlemen,” President Van Buren insisted. “If I take up your cause, I should go against the whole state of Missouri, and that state would go against me in the next election”.
Disappointed, Joseph and Elias left the mansion and delivered their petition to Congress, knowing it would be weeks before legislators could review and discuss it.
While waiting in Washington, Joseph also grew tired of hearing politicians make grand speeches full of lofty language and empty promises. “There is such an itching disposition to display their oratory on the most trivial occasions and so much etiquette, bowing and scraping, twisting and turning to make a display of their witticism,” he told his brother Hyrum in a letter. “It seems to us rather a display of folly and show more than substance and gravity.”
After an unsuccessful meeting with John C. Calhoun, one of the most influential senators in the nation, Joseph realized that he was wasting his time in Washington and decided to go home. Everyone spoke of liberty and justice, but no one seemed willing to hold the people of Missouri accountable for their treatment of the Saints.
After the Prophet returned to Illinois, Elias Higbee continued to seek compensation for the Saints losses. In March, the Senate reviewed the Saints petition and allowed delegates from Missouri to defend the actions of their state. After considering the case, the legislators decided to do nothing. They acknowledged the Saints distress but believed Congress had no power to interfere with the actions of a state government. Only Missouri could compensate the Saints for their losses.” End of history lesson.
Now, with all these demands for “reparations” to African-Americans because their ancestors endured slavery, perhaps we “Mormons” could get reparations for the mobbing which occurred in Missouri and later Illinois which deprived us of our property and the federal government wouldn’t help.
By the way, when the saints were driven out of Missouri and Illinois, many of them kept the deeds to their property, planning on going back someday or waiting until they could sell the property. The counties where they formerly lived, and the states, came up with the ingenious idea of “property tax” by which these properties were eventually confiscated and sold. Of course the owners of the property had moved a thousand miles to the Rocky Mountains and left no forwarding address.