Facts relative to the expulsion of the Mormons
Greene, John Portineus. Facts relative to the expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints, from the state of Missouri, under the “exterminating order.” By John P. Greene, an authorized representative of the Mormons. Cincinnati, Printed by R. P. Brook, 1839.
v [i.e. iv], -43 p. 22 cm.
John P. Greene, a brother-in-law of Brigham Young, converted to Mormonism in April 1832 and moved with his family to Kirtland in October. From that point on, he spent much of his life traveling as a Mormon missionary throughout the eastern states and Canada. In Kirtland and Far West he served on the high council. In Nauvoo he was city marshal, a member of the city council, and a member of the Council of Fifty. As the marshall he led the possee which destroyed the Nauvoo Expositor press. He died in Nauvoo on September 10, 1844, seven days past his fifty-first birthday.
Greene was appointed in May 1839 to preside over the Church in New York. In addition, he was delegated to publicize the Mormon expulsion from Missouri and collect funds for the relief of the destitute Saints. A month later Greene left Illinois for the East, and as the initial step in his publicity campaign, he published Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons.
Greene’s Facts is the earliest major work describing the Mormon conflict in Missouri. Joseph Smith’s Liberty Jail letter of March 25, 1839, urged the Saints to collect all the documentary evidence they could find of the Missouri atrocities. And the May conference, which appointed Greene to preside in New York, also designated Almon W. Babbitt, Erastus Snow, and Robert B. Thompson to gather up all “libelous reports” and other historical documents pertaining to the Church. Greene’s Facts prints some of this material. The book is based on “Memorial to the Legislature of Missouri,” signed by Edward Partridge, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Theodore Turley, Brigham Young, Isaac Morley, George W. Harris, John Murdock, and John M. Burk, December 10, 1838–augmented with many annotations.
The memorial is a summary of the Mormons’ experiences in Missouri, beginning in Jackson County, with emphasis, of course, on their mistreatment at the hands of the Missourians. John Corrill presented it to the Missouri House of Representatives on December 19, 1838, evoking considerable debate in the House. Adding detail and examples to the events summarized in the memorial, Greene’s annotations comprise 60 percent of the text, and include, for example, Joseph Young’s account of the Haun’s Mill massacre; Governor Bogg’s extermination order; General John B. Clark’s speech of November 6, 1838; and the petitions of Caleb Baldwin, Lyman Wight, Joseph Smith, Alexander McRae, and Hyrum Smith to Judge Tompkins, March 15, 1839.
Excerpted and edited from Peter Crawley and Chad J. Flake, A Mormon Fifty: an exhibition in the Harold B. Lee Library in conjunction with the annual conference of the Mormon History Association. (Provo, Utah, Friends of the Brigham Young University Library, 1984). Item 10, p. [11-12]; and Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. Volume One, 1830-1847. (Provo, Utah, Brigham Young University, Religious Studies Center, ). Item 55-56, p. 86-88.
Used by permission of the author and the Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University.