H I S T O R Y
TRIALS OF ELDER JOHN HARDY,
BEFORE THE CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS
For Slander, in saying that G. J. Adams, S. Brannan and
William Smith were licentious characters.
P R E F A C E.
To the honest in heart, in the branch of the church of "Latter Day Saints," over whom I have presided, and from which
I have been cut off; and especially to those who have sustained me by their votes, I here give my reasons for making
public the trials which have resulted in my excommunication from that branch -- legally or not -- righteously or not,
judge ye, after perusing this work. I believe my trials were not conducted with equity, justice or righteousness --
1st. Unrighteous means were effectually used by Adams and Smith, aided by their dupes and coadjutors, to prevent any
witnesses from testifying to the truth.
2d. My female witnesses were threatened and browbeat, and treated in a most shameful manner by Adams and Smith during
the trial; they not scrupling to any thing that might tend to blast their characters.
3d. Adams and Smith frequently called the witnesses liars during their testimony, and Smith called me a liar in his
plea, and there was no one to call them to order, or say why do ye so; while on the other hand, when the female
witnesses were have the most degrading, and perjured falsehoods heaped upon them, if they retorted by saying, "that
is false," they were threatened by Adams, the President, with being ejected from the house. And J.R. Teague, Counsellor
for Smith, was permitted to insult one of the female witnesses by a remark, (characterised with as much vulgarity as
ignorance) to that degree that many members manifested their indignation by hisses, when Adams and Smith, instead of
rebuking him for the insult, threatened those that manifested indignation with ejectment from the house.
3d. The church were instructed by Adams, the President, and also by Smith to vote as they understood the matter,
under the pain of excommunication, instead of voting as they, the church, understood the evidence.
4th. Some of the prominent members of the church have, since I was thrust out from among them, continued to heap abuse
and insult upon me, both in private and in meetings of the church, imputing motives to my conduct in these trials the
most base and dishonorable; the gross epithets, liar and deceiver, and hypocrite, have been bandied in their church
meetings, by Elders of the church. And as Elder J. C. Phelps has been the most active in bestowing these epithets upon
me, I hereby defy him to prove that I stand guilty of falsehood throughout the whole trials until now, and until he
does so, the epithet liar rests on him and he must wear it. Taking these reasons into consideration, I think I am under
obligations to those who have sustained me, to publish the whole matter, not only to satisfy them, but also to open
the eyes of those that have been honestly blinded; but those who have taken the stand that the Authorities of the
church must be sustained "right or wrong," "guilty or not," and as Elder Phelps said in church meeting "follow them if
they led to hell!" Such I do not expect to satisfy, such I am not trying to convince. That is the rock on which many of
the honest in this church have split, God save them from that delusion, and forgive me inasmuch as I have honestly
taught any doctrines of the kind. The fact contained in this Preface can be substantiated before any judicial court,
by many witnesses. JOHN HARDY.
[ 2 ]
On the ____ day of February, 1843, I was chosen by a unanimous vote to succeed Elder George B. Wallace, in the Presidency
of the Church of "Latter Day Saints," in this city, having been a member of that church about two years at that time. I
continued in the Presidency until the 7th of October, 1844, at which time I resigned my office, as the following from
the records of the church will show,
SUFFOLK HALL, OCTOBER 7th, 1844.
At a meeting of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, held this evening, Elder John Hardy
in the Chair, A. Macalister, clerk the following business was transacted: Elder John Hardy
resigned his office of Presiding Elder of this branch. Resolved, that a vote of thanks
be given Elder Hardy. Carried unanimously. Moved by Elder Macalister and seconded by
Elder Hicks, that a committee be appointed, consisting of five, to draw a letter strongly
recommendatory and warmly expressive of our feelings towards Brother Hardy, our
late presiding Elder, that he may carry with him a testimonial of our highest esteem, love
and respect!! This committee consisted of Elder[s] G. J. Adams, Macalister, Gooch,
Dam, and Phelps; this motion, after being supported by Elder[s] Macalister and Phelps,
in a manner the most flattering to elder Hardy, was carried unanimously.
So much concerning my standing in the church, and their feelings towards me unanimously on the 7th of October, 1844,
and now let Elders Phelps and Brown eat their own words and votes, when they say I have been endeavouring to destroy
and divide the church for six months or a year. I am pleased to say, however, that the more honest and sensible portion
of the church rebuke this serpent like spirit of Phelps and Brown, and will eventually see things in their true light.
About two months previous to my resigning my office, I visited elder G. B. Wallace, President of the New Bedford
branch, then about moving to that place, and (as will be seen by my testimony,) conversed with him freely concerning
the iniquity in certain authorities of this church, especially of Adams and Smith, and I then asked his advice
respecting resigning my office on account of this iniquity. He was the first man I spoke to of these things, always
making him a confidant. He was then of the same mind with me concerning their existence, but told me to do whatever I
thought best about resigning. Thus things passed on about a month, when the facts and proofs of the iniquity of these
men began to develope themselves to such a degree, that I finally selected five of the brethren, (with the advice and
consent of the church) as my counsellors to advise and consult with, on matters I did not with to lay before the body
of the church. I called a meeting of this council for the express purpose of laying this matter before them. Indeed,
had it not been for the existence of this iniquity, I think that council would never have existed, but being fully
satisfied that these men were teaching and practising under the sanction of religion, a system that is reprobated in
the most decided and strongest terms by the Old and New Testament, Book of Mormon and 'Doctrine and Covenants,' I
concluded this the wisest course, instead of blowing it to the world, or even laying it before the church -- both of
which these same men have wickedly accused me of since. When this council convened, and I laid the matter before them
in precisely the same terms I used to Elder Wallace, I found that the most of them admitted they were already
aware of it!!! I requested their council as touching my duty in the matter, some of them advised me to lay the whole
matter before the church!! among whom Elder Bickford was the foremost, while Elder Phelps was strongly for having me
write to Nauvoo on the matter -- I replied I did not wish to lay the matter before the church, because it might injure
the minds of some of the younger members, that were strangers to the matter; and as to sending to Nauvoo, I said that
the Authorities at Nauvoo knew these men a great deal better than we did. And I here appeal to this council,
if these were not the words I used to reply. The council finally thought we could not control the matter, and adjourned
sine die; coming to the conclusion, however, that the Boston Church did not wish the services of G. J. Adams,
Brannan or Smith, any more!! Will that council deny this? Thus it will be seen that if I slandered these men at all,
I did it before the council; and they are equally guilty with me -- if truth is slander; but now "how changed the scene"
with the members of that council, and although Elder Phelps was aware of these things, and was warmly in favour of
sending to Nauvoo, yet there is no one in the church that I have received such abuse and vituperation as from him,
because he says he now has got his eyes open! If his eyes are now open the Lord pity the blind man. I have been thus
particular in regard to my first breaching this subject, because my motives for so doing have been most unrighteously
misrepresented by Adams and Smith, and many of the members, and I wish my friends would give particular attention to
the foregoing and then decide whether it was my wish to spread the matter to the four winds, regardless of their
consequences, or rather my course indicated
a desire on my part to keep the matter as close as possible, and yet do my duty as a presiding Elder, as I stated to
Wallace and my council, I could not in conscience continue to fill my office as a watchman on the walls of Zion, and
not blow the trumpet when I saw danger and iniquity in the midst, and for that reason and for no other, did I resign
my office, God being my judge and what other motive under heaven can any sane man impute to me for resigning the
Presidency of the branch of about two hundred members, all supporting and upholding me to the last. God help you to
examine these things. So much for my standing in the church and my motive in making these things known.
Now I will say something to show the inconsistency and duplicity of Elders Wallace, Dam, Phelps, Brown, &c, in their
course against me through these trials.
Elder G. J. Adams was charged with teaching the polygamy system some time last spring, and tried (although not present)
before a conference held in Franklin Hall in this city. P. P. Pratt, one of the twelve presiding, and there was evidence
brought to that amount that Elder Adams was DISFELLOWSHIPED for teaching POLYGAMY! and
who were the witnesses against Adams on this occasion? Myself, Wallace, Phelps, Macalister, Elder Dam not being present,
Wallace and Phelps stated to the conference that he (Dam) could tell more concerning Adams than all of them! And now
these same men can vote to excommunicate me for even mentioning these things in confidence, and would fain make you
believe that Adams and Smith were innocent men. Oh consistency! At another conference held in the same place, an Elder
of this branch confessed that he had committed adultery with a sister, and she was cut off on his testimony, and as
an excuse, that Elder testified that Elder G. J. Adams was present on the occasion, and taught them to do it, and told
him it was all right, and he obeyed, believing it (as he said) to be a righteous doctrine. And who composed that
council, pray, and voted to excommunicate that woman for doing what Adams taught her? Why, forsooth, these very men
that now pretend to believe Adams to be an innocent and virtuous man, and voted me out of the church for charging
them with these things. Their names are Dam, Wallace, Phelps, Macalister, &c, "Oh, judgment, thou art fled to brutish
beast," and men have lost their reason. Dare any of those men deny these things?
I will now devote a small space to Elder Wallace, and then to the trials. It will be seen by the above that Elder
Wallace was witness against Adams for teaching this doctrine, and voted to disfellowship him; at another time
we see Elder Wallace at a conference assisting by testimony and vote to cut off a sister for committing adultery!
When it was fully proved that it was done under the sanction and authority of Elder Adams. Again you find Wallace
admitting in the course of my trials, that he conversed with me freely on the iniquity of these men, previous to his
going to New Bedford, and again you have it proved on my trial by three witnesses, that Elder Wallace stated
in their presence that he confidently believed that Elder Adams had cohabited with three sisters in the
church, calling their names, and then on his return from New Bedford and resuming the same conversation with me,
his conscientious soul was so shocked that he hastened immediately to Adams and Smith and eases his tender
conscience by writing an affidavit that Elder Hardy had said that Adams and Smith were guilty of whoremongery! what
news this must have been to the conscientious Wallace, how green he pretended to be about that time, in
regard to the innocent Adams and Smith. Elder Wallace, the man to complain of me slandering Elder Adams!! He, throw
the first stone -- the Lord pity him and give him an honest heart -- and let men beware hereafter how they make a
confident of George B. Wallace.
Trial of Elder John Hardy charged with unrighteously slandering and traducing the characters of Elder
Samuel Brannan, G. J. Adams and William Smith.
Elder JOSEPH BALL in the Chair.
Elder Brannan's case first on the docket.
Elder G. J. ADAMS counsel for the accuser.
Elder J. HARDY his own counsel.
The charge was first read by Brannan at a meeting held in Suffolk Hall, Oct. 12th, 1844. Elder Hardy pleads not guilty.
He then proceeded to read an affidavit made by Elder Wallace, when Elder Hardy objected to their proceeding any farther
until Elder Wallace could be present -- unless they had other testimony -- which not being the case, the trial was
postponed until Tuesday evening, October 15th. When the trial was again resumed, and the affidavit of Elder Wallace
read, the substance of which was that Elder Hardy said in a private conversation that Brannan, Adams and Smith
were guilty of whoremongery. Wallace being present certified that the affidavit was true, Elder Hardy denies using
Brannan's name in that manner. And Elder Wallace was the only witness of the fact -- after some remarks from the
respective counsels, the decision of the matter was deferred until the case was tried.
Elder Adams charges Elder Hardy with slandering him, by saying he believed him to be a whoremonger, as set forth in
the affidavit of Wallace. Elder Hardy pleads not guilty of slander, "unless truth is slander," but admitted the truth
of the affidavit in relation to Adams.
Elder Adams counsel for himself.
Elder Hardy counsel for himself.
Elder Adams calls Sophia Clark, she testifies that she heard Elder Hardy call Adams
the same as set forth in the affidavit. Cross examined by Elder Hardy, could not remember the words, but it was
materially the same, and being pressed for the words, she says Elder Hardy called them "bad men." --
Mary Brown called for Adams, testified that the was present with Miss Clark, but she either could not or would not
testify any thing material. Thus ended the testimony for Elder Adams, which was all needless, as Elder Hardy admitted
the truth of the affidavit in regard to Adams.
Elder Hardy then calls the testimony for the defence. Calls Elder G. B. Wallace. Q. Did you not tell me that you
confidently believed that Elder Adams had cohabited with sisters W*******, W****** and B******? Ans. I did not.
Q. Did you not tell me just previous to your going to New Bedford, that Smith and Adams taught and practiced the
plurality wife doctrine? A. I did not!
(At this stage of the trial Elder Bickford and some others complained of the unfairness of Elder Ball, the President --
on this occasion, he leaning on the side of Adams, but he was finally allowed to preside, Elder Hardy not objecting.
Elder Hardy then called upon Elders H. Trim, Chas. Cram, and W. Hobby, who severally testified that they heard
Wallace say in my presence, that he had no doubt but Adams had cohabited with the three females spoken of above!
Here Elder Wallace arose and proceeded as he said to explain, which so exasperated the usually quiet and honest soul,
(Elder B.) that he arose and exclaimed with much feeling, "Eld. Wallace you have stood up there and lied to-night,
you know you have lied, and God know you have lied, and now set down!!" Elder Hardy calls Elder Phelps. Q. Did you
hear Adams admit to me that he had cohabited with Sister B******? A. I did. Q. Did he say that she almost
hauled him on her? A. He did! (Here something more was said against the President, Elder Ball, he appearing to wish
to cover up some things. Adams stated that he was the great Apostle in the nations, stood as high as Paul, and could
preside if he chose, but did not wish to usurp authority.) Adams cross questions Phelps. Q. Did you think I meant what
I said? A. I did. Elder Hardy to Phelps. Did Sister W****** tell you that Adams had cohabited with her? A. She did!!
Adams here stated that Sister W****** was a liar, and could not be believed under any circumstances. (This is the
course Adams and Smith took with all my female witnesses.) Whereupon Elder Hardy calls Mr. Hicks. Q. Did you hear
Elder William Smith say that sister W. knew too much to be out of the church? and he would baptize her when
she wished? A. I did!! (The reader will here notice that according to Adams, this sister was one of the greatest liars
imaginable, while Smith was ready to receive her into the church at any time, saying she knew too much to be out of
the church. Query. What did she know to much of, their iniquity?
Elder Dam called by Hardy. Q. Did Elder Adams tell you at sister W's house that you might sleep with her? A. He did not!!
Here Elder Hardy called Elders Cram, and Hobby, who severally testified that they heard Elder Dam testify that Adams
did tell him that he might sleep with sister W!! Elder Hutchins called by Elder Hardy testifies that Sister
I****** stated that Elder Adams, at her house in New Bedford, took her and Miss Susan Clark into a room and swore
them into the secrets of a lodge, which secrets were not to be revealed under the penalty of their lives, and then told
them they knew more than the whole church in New Bedford! (Undoubtedly they did of deviltry.) And in connection
with this I will extract a few lines from a letter sent from Boston by Elder G. J. Adams, to an Elder in New York, as
follows: "I have just returned from New Bedford and sister Susan is with me. I was S. U. (sealed up) to
her last night, go it! She has a thousand dollars left to her, expects 400 or 500 dollars next week, go it again. I
have no money, but expect some soon." To Elder Hutchins. Did sister H**** tell you at her house that she believed the
spiritual wife doctrine? A. She did, and wished me to see her husband, and blind his eyes on it, as he mistrusted all
was not right! (Elder Adams and Smith visited this house often.) Elder Wallace again called. Q. By Elder Hardy. Did you
not tell me at your house just previous to going to New Bedford that Adams and Smith taught the plurality wife doctrine?
A. Elder Hardy came to my house, said he thought there was "iniquity in the church,["] and said he could not, and would
not hold the office of President of the branch, and at the same time know
of this iniquity in some of the heads of this church, and asked my advice about resigning his office. I told him
I thought there was iniquity in the church, and told him to do as he thought best about resigning, and Elder H. replied
that he knew of this iniquity and he would expose it if he was damned for it! Q. To Elder Wallace. Did you write an
article for the New York Prophet in reply to another wrote by "T. A. L." of
Oct. the 5th? A. I wrote an article about
the progress of the church in New Bedford, &c. Q. Did you think that article signed T. A. L. had reference to Adams
and Smith? A. I think it alluded to some Elders. Elder Hardy here reads the article of T. A. L. as follows: --
Mr. Editor: -- The advancement of Mormonism should be the first wish of our hearts,
because we believe it to be the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. * * * Caution those
who feel they are called to preach the glad tidings, that they mix not the pure
gospel with unlawful things, such as Paul would not utter, much less practice; let
those of our Elders who hang their weakness on the liberal sayings of Paul, study
well the 9th chapter of Corinthians; as competent as he was to use all things with
discretion, he held a tight rein on all desires that would detract from his ministry,
lest after preaching to others he himself might become a castaway. There can be no
contradiction to this assertion. The holy hypocrite is the most destructive serpent
that can assail the happiness of the human family; under the mantle of church power
he can work a greater mischief than all the villany that parade society at large.
Like the mole, he mines his way unseen, even to virtue's citadel; and while you
(having charity) think all secure, lays your fair fabric in ruins; but you are nothing
the wiser -- the victim is held under bonds; fear of the world's exposure, and remorse
of conscience is half stifled in the promise of a greater reward, by the false promise
of this unsanctified caitiff, in the sight of God, than her true and faithful or
betrothed husband could give her. Women, as you value your soul's salvation, your
peace of mind, turn with honor and disgust from the outline of a man that would insult
your ears and understanding with such indelicate teachings. Shun him as you would a
draught of poison distilled from the deadly night shade, or black hemlock! Aye, more;
for one would only kill your body, while the other would destroy your soul. Those
who have free souls, this touches not, and far be it from me to shoot the arrow over
the house and T. A. L.
Elder Hardy then read an extract from a letter from Elder Adams in the next No. of the Prophet, showing that the
coat fitted and that the "galled jade did wince." Here follows the extract.
"By the tenor of one or two of your last week's correspondents, I should think, they thought your readers were
very wicked, especially the Elders. Now I have never known any of the Authorities of this church to teach any
thing but virtue, truth and righteousness, and when I hear men making such an ado about virtue, I always think
'there is something rotten in Denmark.' Now the article of 'T. A. L.' made no charges, it is wrote by way
of general caution, as will be seen, yet Adams fathers it immediately. The arrow "hit my brother."
Sister Macalister, called by Elder Adams. Says that Elder Adams conversed on the spiritual wife doctrine, at my house,
he said he had license to preach it in public. The reason he did not preach it in public, the
people would take it in the wrong light. Elder Macalister called, testifies that Adams told him that he knew of three
or four old maids he expected to be sealed up (married) to. Here ended the testimony. Then Elder Adams commenced
the, anything but argument, for the defence. It was a tissue of misrepresentation and inuendoes, and insinuations,
accusing me of having concocted a plan to divide the church, &c. I was an apostate, and would go to the devil, &c; He
made use of the old and oft repeated stories, such as he and Smith makes use of when begging for money -- viz. how much
they had suffered, and the persecution they had undergone, and how much head suffered by false brethren! This was the
course made use of by Adams in his plea, instead of confining himself to the testimony that had been offered. He stated
in regard to his admitting that he had cohabited with sister B. and that she hauled him on to her, that he was only
JOKING!! He had said the same a hundred times!!! A great Apostle to the Gentiles in company
with the Elders -- thus trifling with the character of females!! Adams says he was only joking! and the church
that was trying me must believe it because he said so. The Authorities must be supported. God pity such ignorance!
I will say in regard to Elder Adams and Sister B., that he has boasted of the same thing that he admitted to me, in
New York and in Philadelphia many times! And in regard to its being a joke, let Mrs. W. and Elder D. and Elder L.,
speak on their oaths -- and it would be a joke indeed! In regard to the testimony of Elder Phelps, that Mrs. W. had
admitted to him that Adams slept with her, how did Adams meet that? Why he, G. J. Adams, the Paul of this age, said
she was a notorious liar, and could not
be believed on any account. G. J. Adams said this, and the church must believe it, because he said so. The
authorities must be supported! Quere. Where did G. J. Adams make it his home and head quarters when here on his
Russia Mission Humbug (on which occasion the churches in the state were humbugged of their thousands of dollars, and,
where is that money, wrung from the hand of poverty, and obtained by false pretence, echo answers, where? Yet
the AUTHORITY must be supported! I say where did Adams make it his head quarters on that occasion?
Answer. At the house of this notorious liar!! Who was it told Elder D. he might sleep with, and went into the
room and saw them in bed -- and told them it was no harm, they could be SEALED UP when William Smith
came from New York? Answer. This notorious liar! And who did Adams sleep with that same night? But the Authorities
must be supported!! In whose house did he sleep, at whose table did he eat, and whose money did he receive, to aid in
all his money schemes? Why her who he now denounces as a notorious and contemptible liar! Oh, base ingratitude! Oh
Without commenting further on the manner, Adams attempted to do away with the evidence against him; I will just say,
to wind up, he told them (evidence or no evidence,) all that dared to vote to sustain Elder Hardy should have their
names sent to Nauvoo, to be cut off. The idea was constantly kept before them, that the authorities must be supported
and sustained, RIGHT OR WRONG! Elder H. replied to the plea of Adams -- when, after another harangue
from Adams to work up the feelings of the church –- and browbeat them sufficiently, the question was taken; First, Is
Elder Hardy guilty of slandering Elder Samuel Brannan? Yea 30; Nay 28. In regard to this decision, I will just say, it
was entirely contrary to all rules of the church, as there was but one witness that testified of my using the
language of the affidavit in reference to Brannan -- when, according to the rules of the church it requires two or
more witnesses to establish any fact, and more, that one witness was impeached! But never mind rules of the church.
The authorities must be sustained at all hazards!
The question was then put, is Elder Hardy guilty of slandering Elder G. J. Adams? This was decided in the affirmative,
33 to 24.
It was then moved by Elder Samuel A. Dam that Elder Hardy be cut off from the church, which was decided in the negative,
yeas 19, nays 34. The great apostle to the Gentiles then arose, and in all the dignity of his apostleship, very
modestly told the church if they kept Elder Hardy among them, he would send the whole church up to Nauvoo and have it
excommunicated!! Whereupon they voted to adjourn.
The next Sabbath Elder Adams preached all day, and his subjects were slanderers, false brethren, persecution, apostates
and insinuations -- and a grand Sunday's campaign, with the feelings of the church in favor of himself, and against
Elder Hardy -- after the afternoon service he requests the church to remain on some business which would take only a
few moments -- his plan was, after having preached twice, and got the feelings of the church worked up to the sticking
point, to strike at once, and carry them by storm, reconsider the vote, whereby Elder Hardy was kept in the church, then
excommunicate him -- and thus prevent him from being tried on Elder Smith's case. But Adams reckoned this time without
his host, the church would not stand his nonsense -- and refused to cut off Elder Hardy, but said he should have a
hearing on William Smith's case.
Adams then altered his tone, and said Elder H. should be tried on the Smith case at that meeting -- it then being
almost night -- and a lecture appointed for the evening. Elder H. replied that he was not prepared for trial, having
had no notice; Adams replied that he, and his two counsellors (one hypocrite, named Benjamin Brown, and Elder
Ball,) had decided that the trial should go on any how; Elder H. told them he should make no defence; and they might
go ahead if they were determined to. Adams felt the pulse of the church and saw it would not do, and backed out, in
quick time, notwithstanding the decision of his grand council, and passed from the matter until the next
October 22, 1844.
Trial of Elder Hardy for slandering William Smith, one of the twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church.
G. J. Adams, Chairman, Witness, Counsellor, Judge and Jury!!
J. R. Teague presented the following charge: I charge Brother John Hardy with slandering Elder William Smith. Elder H.
pleads not guilty of slander, unless truth is slander, but guilty of calling Smith a whoremonger, as per
affidavit of Wallace. J. R. Teague appears as (dumb) counsel for William Smith, and chooses William Smith as his
Elder Hardy calls upon Elder David Brown as his assistant counsel. At this stage of the proceedings Elder Hardy prefers
the question to the Chairman, where in this case
the truth may be slander; if so, here is an end to the trial. Adams, the chairman, refused to answer. Before Elder H.
called the witnesses for the defence, William Smith arose and said, "Let those females that are about to testify
BEWARE! or, perhaps after they have got through -- I may tell something more!" (O, guilt, guilt, guilt!)
Elder H. calls Mrs. A****, Question: Do you know any thing of an engagement of marriage between your daughter and
William Smith, to be consummated as soon as his sick wife is dead? This witness appeared much confused, exhibited
much feeling, and refused to answer at first -- said she knew beans; after much pressing the question she answered
"she did not." Calls Elder B. Brown. Question: What do you know of the matter? Ans.: I had some conversation with
Mrs. A****; and asked if her daughter was engaged to William Smith; she replied she had engaged her to her God, or
had dedicated her to him; thereby evading the question. Elder B. replied, that as her daughter was of age, he thought
she might make her own engagements. Q. to Elder B.: Did Miss A**** tell you that William Smith said to her that "a
woman should have but four children, but that a man should have fifty." Ans.: she did. Testimony was here introduced
by Elder H. showing that linen with Wm. Smith's name marked on the same, had been sent from Mrs. A****'s to be washed
-- in a most unutterable situation, and that Mrs. A**** visited the lady that did the washing, and accused her
of turning traitor! surmising she would testify in the matter. (The particulars of this testimony cannot be here made
public.) It was proved, however, that the witness was about to leave the church on the account of the matter. Elder
Smith, to explain the matter, said he was troubled with blood biles -- and two witnesses testified that he had these
biles some years since. Elder Nickerson called. Ques. Do you know anything of the engagement between Smith and Miss.
A****. It was impossible to get this witness to testify; he was very willing to talk and consume time, but not to
answer any questions. Elder H. pressed the question: Did you not tell me directly that both Mrs. and Miss A**** told
you that Smith was engaged to the daughter, the marriage to take place as soon as his wife died? The witness said he
did not; but said he head conversation with them, and Miss A**** told him she had her eye on a certain individual
whose wife was sick, and not expected to live, and she was trying to get him -- he thought it was Wm. Smith;
he replied to her it was hard to wait for dead men's shoes, &c. This witness had been browbeat and frightened by
Smith to the degree that he dared not testify against him, and even went so far as to state that he never knew anything
against Smith. In consequence of this I shall give my affidavit, and the affidavit of another, on this subject, to
let the world see the means that are resorted to, to intimidate my witness.
I hereby certify in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in view of the judgment,
that Elder F. Nickerson came to me and voluntarily offered himself as witness against
Smith, told me he had rather have his arm cut off that to testify what he knew of
Smith, but he must tell the truth, and he supposed they would also cut him off.
He told me positively that Mrs. A**** and daughter told him of the engagement between
Smith and daughter, to be consummated as soon as Smith's wife died; said he doubted
not but they had already cohabited, and in confirmation told me of the "washing business,"
before referred to; the old man cried while relating the matter to me, and said it
nearly killed him, to think the first females to be baptised in Boston should be thus
duped and deceived. JOHN HARDY.
Smith here asked Elder N. if he had not heard it from a number that he was engaged to Miss A****, and if that did
not cause him to inquire of them concerning it; he answered, he did hear it.
For further proof of the hypocrisy and base duplicity of Elder F. Nickerson, the reader is referred to the letter
of Elder John A. Eaton, in the latter part of this work.
Elder Phelps called by Elder H. Did you ever see Wm. Smith exhibit actions toward sister P____ that, to use your
own words, "it made your very blood boil"? Ans.: I did. The witness here related the particulars, which it would
not be proper to publish. Ques. by Smith: Did you think I was doing it as a piece of pleasantry, in a joking
manner, or otherwise? Ans. It seemed to be very pleasant to you -- you seemed to enjoy it -- but as for me, I said
it made my blood boil!
Ques. by Smith, Are you not apt to see motes in your brother's eye, when there is a beam in your own? Ans.: I do
not know but I am.
Mr. Turner called by Elder H. Did you not say that you had no doubt but Adams and Smith slept with a sister each
at the house of Mrs. A****, where you board, one with Miss A____, the other with Susan Clark? Ans.: I believe not.
Did you not make arrangements with Mr. B. Brown, to have him come to the house on a certain night, and you would
let him in, and you had no doubt but he would find them in that position? Ans.: I told him if he would come I would
let him in, and if there was any thing of that kind he could ascertain it.
Mr. Brown called. Did Mr. T. tell you that if you would come and watch he would let you in, and he had no doubt but
you would find Adams and Smith in the above position? Ans.: he did.
Miss P____ called. Did you come from Lowell in the cars in company with Elder Wm. Smith, on a certain occasion? I did.
Ques.: What conversation took place between you? Ans.: It was anything but agreeable. Ques.: Will you state what it was?
Ans.: he first asked me where I boarded; I told him at Elder D____‘s; he says, his wife is not in the church, I believe;
I answered, she was; he then asked me if she was strong in the faith; I said she appeared to be; he asked me if I
thought it would shake her faith any if he should sleep with me, and then continued to ask me if I would not sleep with
him if he would go to Elder D____'s and stay that night; as I refused, he said he would not go there then, and
consequently did not go.
Question: Was this conversation ever renewed? Ans. It was; the next Sunday forenoon he preached, and came home with
Elder D____ to dinner; and stayed all the afternoon, and took tea; he arose to go, when sister D____ invited him to
stay all night; he replied he would if I would let him sleep with me -- although he had engaged to stay to Elder H___'s;
on my refusing, he went away. Ques.: Was you much acquainted with him when you came from Lowell? Ans.: But very slightly.
Elder Hicks called. Ques.: Did you tell me that Elder Wm. Smith slept all night with sister S. Clark in your house? Ans.:
You tell the story just as I told it to you -- and then I shall answer. Elder Hardy then said that he called upon
Elder Hicks, and he told him that he set a trap for Smith and caught him; he having had suspicion of Smith asked him
one evening why he did not take sister Clark and go to bed; sister Clark said she was ready; Smith says, come along;
and they then in his presence went into the bed-room, and they slept there all night, and the next morning, sister
W____e made a fuss, and called Miss Clark a strumpet. A few days afterward Hicks told me it was of no use for him to
testify, for the rest of the family had conspired to swear against him, and deny the whole matter. Elder Hicks
acknowledged this conversation with Elder Hardy to be correct, but says he, it was all a ==> DREAM, <== and thus ended
Elder Hicks's testimony.
Sister S____ called by Elder Hardy. Testifies that Elder Smith came home one Sunday night, and in the presence of my
husband, asked me for one of my rings; (this begging rings of every girl, is an old and common habit of Smith's;) I
having two on my finger, gave one to him; he went to meeting in the evening and preached; came home after meeting,
and stayed all night; in the course of the evening, he said his shirt was wet by perspiration from preaching, and he
put my hand in his bosom to feel how wet it was; when he retired I gave him one of my husband's shirts, and my husband
showed him to bed; in the morning early, before my husband left the house, I went up to the room where Smith slept
and opened the door softly to get his wet shirt, so that I might wash and dry it before he went from the house; he
awoke on my opening the door; he saw me and asked me to come to bed -- I refused; he said, "grant me this much." In a
day or two he came again, asked me to go upstairs with him; his actions were very obscene; I refused; he said
when he did anything of that kind, he rounded up his shoulders, and thought it right and told me to try and think so
too; he said there was nothing too good to give a friend; I asked what adultery was; he said that was
not it; he did not say what it was; I quoted from Paul's Epistles, on adultery; he said we had Prophets and apostles
now, and we should go by them. The first opportunity I sent him a note requesting him to return my ring, stating that
I did not believe in his polygamy doctrine; he came again, and I asked him for my ring, telling him if all he wanted
of my friendship was to gratify his carnal desires, I wanted nothing to do with him; he said he cared not, for any one's
friendship or love, unless he could gratify his desires; he gave me the ring, and said, now you will tell your husband,
and injure the church and me; he still contended that these were righteous principles; Ques.: Did Elder Dam tell you to-day
not to testify here to-night? Ans.: he did. Ques.: Did Wm. Smith and Elder Adams both come to you about a week since,
and tell you not to remember anything! referring to these trials? Ans.: They did, both of them.
I here state to the reader that neither of these individuals, Dam, Smith, and Adams, denied this charge of sister S____'s;
comment is unnecessary; the guilt of these men was confirmed by every step they took.
Here closed the evidence. The senior COUNSEL for Smith, J. R. Teague, made no plea in behalf of his
client, but kept up an awful thinking all the while. While the junior counsel, Wm. Smith, had to do his own browbeating,
and for bombast and obscene language -- there are but few who can excel -- Smith is perfectly at home. In his defence,
instead of obtaining the testimony others, to disprove and rebut the testimony against him, or impeach their character,
he contented himself with merely his own assertions,
which were, that the female witnesses that came forward to expose his insults toward them, and his often repeated
attempts on their virtue, were endeavoring all the while to seduce him! while he, virtuous soul, was
repulsing them, and endeavoring to shun their company. After taking that course with sister P____, and in a
most cowardly and hellish manner endeavored to blast her character, in order to cover his own hellish deeds, he then
-- fearing it would not do -- said he had no doubt but the woman was insane! If Smith's story was true, that this
witness was after him, and dogging his steps everywhere, I would agree with him that she must be
He took the same rascally course with sister S____, and in fact, if I had twenty females of the most exceptionable
character, that dared testify of Smith's hellish arts of seduction, he would have taken the same course to blast
their fair fame. And the church having previously been browbeat into this nefarious doctrine, that the Authorities
must be sustained, right or wrong -- must, forsooth, believe Wm. Smith -- at the expense of any amount of matter, or
testimony. And be it known to all men that it was on that principle I was found guilty of slandering those wicked men.
Smith, in making his defence, fairly exhausted the catalogue of billingsgate, that has become second nature to him,
since his connection with the plurality wife system; he jumped, frothed, and roared, and fairly shook the house; he
whined over his manifold persecutions, and told how females were laying their plans to seduce him from the paths
of virtue. I will not attempt to recapitulate and examine the testimony against him, but leave the part of
the matter for honesty and common sense to dispose of. I will merely say to the readers that if they can so far
stretch their credulity as to believe that the story of Hicks was a Dream! I am perfectly willing they should
believe so, to say the least of it, it was as safe a way to get out of the fix as could have been used for the occasion.
Smith had more trouble of disposing of the remaining testimony -- and so he made a bold push, and one witness was a
prostitute! the other was the same, and insane! in the bargain, and they all were liars -- and they were among
those that were attempting to seduce -- the handsome, beautiful, genteel, lovely, and virtuous William Smith! But the
reader will bear in mind that these witnesses are traduced thus, on the say so of Smith, and he is one of the
Authorities -- He, of course, must be sustained. This same innocent apostle! said, in the course of his remarks, "if
he had me in his own country he would rawhide me as long as he could stand over me." This is only a specimen of the
spirit manifested by both Smith and Adams; no wonder the old man Nickerson said, "if he should testify of what he
knew of Smith, that Smith would kill him when he got home, he had such horrible temper." Indeed, the spirit manifested
at my trial by Smith and Adams, would burn men at the stake -- all they want is power; but thank God, these men shall
proceed no farther -- their folly is about manifest. After Elder Hardy had replied very briefly to this abuse and
billingsgate, (for Smith's defence was nothing else,) and before putting the question, both Smith and Adams arose and
threatened all that dared vote against them with excommunication.
The question was then put: -- Is Elder Hardy guilty of slandering Wm. Smith? Yeas, 95; Nays, 25; whereupon Elder
Samuel Dam moved that Elder Hardy be cut off: Yeas, 75; Nays, 25. Pope G. J. Adams then arose, in all the dignity
of a Romish Pontiff of the fifteenth century, and held up his holy hands, in the name of God, Christ, angels,
and the Prophet and Patriarch, (meaning Wm. Smith) denounced all that dared vote against them -- and pronounced
his malediction upon them -- and then shook off the dust from his feet, as a testimony against them! Query? how much
of that dust came from the floor of the Park Hall bar-room? That room "could a tale unfold," if this
trial does not. But I suppose the Authorities must be supported, right or wrong.
The secret course of these trials, which resulted in my extermination from the church which now sustains these men
in all their corruptions, was the Plurality Wife doctrine, which is making sad havoc in nearly all the branches in
the Middle and Eastern States, and indeed it is getting so notorious, that those who still support the "Twelve"
now frankly admit, and are endeavoring to defend the doctrine in a greater or less degree; although the world knows
that till very recently it has been denied in public, in toto, and no one of the church, at all acquainted
with its history, and especially those who have lived in Nauvoo any length of time, will deny the doctrine, unless
they are consummate scoundrels, or most woefully ignorant. There are many, even in Boston, who are ready to testify
before any judicial tribunal, that Adams and Smith, and at least five others of the Twelve, have taught the doctrine
in its worst features, in this city; and New York and Philadelphia could exhibit a picture still more sickening and
revolting. Truly it might be said of this people, in the words of Jeremiah, v. 7: "When I had fed them to the full,
they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses; they are as fed horses in
the morning, every one neighed after his neighbor's
wife; shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a people
as this?" In conclusion, I will say in the words of the revelator, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not
partaker of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
I will here introduce the letter of commendation, before referred to, passed by a unanimous vote of the church,
only two weeks previous to my excommunication; it will serve to show the public my motives for taking the course I have.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: -- The bearer hereof, Elder JOHN HARDY,
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, having for some time past been presiding Elder of the Boston
Branch of the Church of Christ, and having this day resigned the duties of that office; we do not feel to accept his
resignation without this small testimony of our regard, esteem and respect. During the time he has presided over us,
unanimity and brotherly love have reigned in our midst, and the church has prospered under his charge. And as a citizen
and a neighbor, we esteem him as a friend, we respect him as a brother in the New and Everlasting Covenant; and in
taking leave of his office he does it amid the fervent prayers of the saints of God, that he may be preserved and
protected, through life, and finally saved in the celestial kingdom of God.
To the Saints of God everywhere, we strongly recommend him as worthy and faithful brother.
Given by a vote of the Boston Branch of Latter Day Saints, this seventh day of October, in the year of our Lord
eighteen hundred and forty-four.
A. McALLESTER, }
JOHN GOOCH, Jr. } Committee.
JACOB C. PHELPS, }
Boston, Nov. 23, 1844.
ELDER HARDY: Sir, -- I respectfully submit the following to your disposal, with the
earnest wish to aid you in the equitable measures which you have adopted in exposing to the just detestation of a
high-minded public, the promulgators of a system of extreme licentiousness, no less irrational in its nature, than
that of the most depraved of the human race; although its preachers pretend hypocritically to have the sanction of
heaven. All virtuous people will applaud the spirited exertions which you have made to open the eyes of those who
may yet be ignorant of the contemptible measures adopted by certain individuals, not merely to screen themselves
from merited punishment, but to carry out their darling projects, setting at defiance the laws of God and man, and
outraging even common decency. About two or three evenings prior to your trial, (so called) Elder Freeman Nickerson
met me in Suffolk Hall, and noticing my dejection of mind, said he should like to go home with me, as he had a good
deal to say to me; as we walked along he said, among other things, "Brother Eaton, if I am called as a witness during
Brother Hardy's trial I shall tell the truth; I suppose I shall be cut off for it, I expect the whole branch will be
cut off, but no matter if we are, we will all be re-baptised and enter into a new covenant. Brother Smith no doubt
will be dreadful mad with me, for he has got an awful temper when it is up, but I am not afraid of him, or
any other man; I never was; I am ready to lay down my life for the truth." Well, Father Nickerson, what kind of
character has William Smith sustained heretofore? "Don't ask me," said he; "I don't want to say anything
about it. I don't want to get into trouble, but I mean to tell the truth if I am called upon. Don't be worried,
Brother Eaton, it will all come out right." After your trial, (so called,) I reminded Elder Nickerson of the
conversation which we had together, and told him I did not know what to think of him, he said, "Oh, how I wished the
other evening that I had been in Brother Hardy's place. I would have acknowledged that I had done wrong, and then all
the trouble would be settled." But, said I, Brother Hardy cannot make such an acknowledgement as that, because he
thinks that he has done right; and Father Nickerson, you remember what you told me the other night, yourself about
Wm. Smith. "Well," said he, "Brother Eaton, if we strike against our head we strike against ourselves." It is
evident to my mind, that Elder Nickerson has been overawed by William Smith, and made a convert to the pernicious
doctrine that we must uphold the authorities of the church right or wrong, a doctrine which has paved the way to a
most lamentable apostacy, with a large portion of the society, and led them to turn the grace of God into
Respectfully, JOHN A. EATON.
New York. Nov. 13, 1844.
Elder Hardy: Sir, -- I have been informed that you are about to publish your trials, before the church, for slanderinq
G. J. Adams, William Smith, and S. Brannan, in order to defend your own character against their malicious thrusts, and
expose to public view the corruptions of these men, and a certain clique that are now attempting to sustain them.
If these are the objects you have in view, I can sincerely say that I commend you for this praiseworthy undertaking,
for certainly to expose the secret and most extraordinary systemn of wickedness carried on by professedly religious men,
is the laudable duty of any man that takes the least interest in the welfare of mankind. I am pleased to see any man
take a bold stand in favor of the truth, and in opposition to the most contemptible scheme of iniquity that has been
introduced into the church during the last two or three years, generally known by the name of the "Spiritual Wife
System," thus doing may be the means of guarding the innocent and unwary female against the unhallowed attacks of a
set of libertines, and retrieve the honest and orderly portion of the church from the present state of disgrace to
which these unsanctified excesses have reduced the whole society, and save them from a more horrible vortex of woe,
that lies in the advance, yawning for heartrending victims of dispair. So may kind heaven protect you, and crown your
efforts with signal success.
With regard to the course pursued of late by Elder S. Rigdon, I can say that if the book of Doctrine and Covenants
is true, he, in respect to his general or public movements, has done nothing more than that which the Lord has
commanded him to do; he seeks not to lead the members of the church from the original or true principles and order
of the same, but is laboring to get them to return (inasmuch as they have strayed from) and strictly adhere to them.
Now, sir, I know that if what is written in the above book be true, he is the only lawful President of the Church now
living, and the only one holding the keys of the kingdom; and by the bye, it is said in this book, that he ie equal
with Joseph Smith in holding them. It has been said that he is trying to build up a Church on his own responsibility; --
this is utterly false; he is only officiating in his proper office, and carrying out the true principles and order of
the Church: those who sustain him in this capacity, are sustaining this order; all that arrogate to themselves this
office, are aspirants and are acting without the sanction of heaven, and in opposition to the law of the church, and
if the term apostate is applicable to any one, it is to those who have taken a stand against the proper authority or
authorities of the church.
I have hitherto, and do now, give out the following an a standing challange: "This is to say to the public, and the
Church of Latter Day Saints, that I hold myself in readiness, after due notice, to meet all the men of talent in the
Society, and before impartial jedges, prove that either S. Rigdon is the proper man to preside over the Church, or
that the Book of Covenants and Book of Mormon are not true. If I cannot do this I will manfully yield the point."
As regards the trial of Elder Rigdon at Nauvoo, it was a forced affair, got up by the twelve to get him out of their
way, that they might the better arrogate to themselves higher authority than they ever had, or any body ever dreamed
that they would have; and also (as they perhaps hoped) to prevent a complete expose of the Spiritual-wife-system,
which they knew would deeply implicate themselves. This trial deserves no other name than that of a religious farce.
Elder Rigdon has always been a most uncompromising enemy to this system of corruption, which accounts for many stories
that have been got up by the twelve and others, that he has for sometime past been negligent with regard to his duty,
and has not been much interested in the affairs of the Church. &c. &c. Indeed sir, they have publicly declared in
Nauvoo, that they would not only destroy his infuonce, but that of all those that stood by him: of course as they
cannot use truth to do this, they expect to invent and put in circulation falsehoods, and thus accomplish this
Yours, respectfully, B. WINCHESTER.
In order to give the public an idea of the workings of this Spiritual-wife-system, I will here introduce a few
extracts from the pen of Elder S. Rigdon,
as published in the Messenger and Advocate
"It would seem almost impossible that there could be found a set of men and women, in this age of the world, with the revelations of God in their hands, who could invent and propagate doctrines so ruinous to society, so debasing and demoralising as the doctrine of a man having a plurality of wives; for it is the existence of this strange doctrine -- worse than the strange fire offered on the altar, by corrupted Israel -- that was at the root of all the evils which have followed, and are following the church, the very mention, of which could not fail to redden the cheek of decency with a blush.
The whole of the revelations of God in all ages, charge the prophets and leaders of the
people, with being the authors of the corruptions, which from time to time overrun the people of God. We need not marvel then that like evils have befallen us. The crime of the people was that they loved to have it so, they were not charged with introducing the corruptions, but having pleasure in them after the prophets, and leaders, had introduced them. It is no small degree of satisfaction to me, to find the people rising in the exercise of their just rights, and casting off, not only the leaders, but those who are led by those corruptors' seducing spirits which introduce doctrines of demons.
"It is a fact, so well known, that the Twelve and their adherents have endeavored to carry this spiritual wife business in secret, that I hardly need mention it here, and have gone to the most shameful and desperate lengths, to keep it from the public. First, insulting innocent females, and when they resented the insult, these monsters in human shape would assail their characters by lying, and perjuries, with a multitude of desperate men to help them effect the ruin of those whom they had insulted, and all this to enable them to keep these corrupt practices from the view of the world. I could bring facts which can be established in any court of justice, in relation yo these vile abominations practised under the garb of religion that would make humanity blush. No falsehood too great and no perjury too daring, in order to conceal these heaven-daring abuses of mankind; but I say in the language of Paul, they shall go no further, for their folly is now being made manifest, and will not cease until it is manifest unto all.
How often have these men and their accomplices stood up before the congregation, and called God and all the holy Angels to witness, that there was no such doctrine taught in the church; and it has now come to light, by testimony which cannot be gainsaid, that at the time they thus dared heaven and insulted the world, they were living in the practice of these enormities; and there were multitudes of their followers in the congregation at the time who knew it.
"The doctrine of a man having more wives than one, is the cause which has induced the twelve to put at defiance the ecclesiastical arrangements of the Church, and what is equally criminal, to do despite unto the moral excellence of the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church, setting up an order of things of their own in violation of all the rules and regulations known to the saints, and nowhere found in the Doctrines and Covenants of the Church, but by the authority of pretended secret communications made to themselves in the Secret Chambers, unknown to the Church only as they and some of their followers declare them, and these pretended secret communications, in direct contradiction to the written word contained in the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church.
These matters the saints are now investigating, and not only in Nauvoo but in other places to avoid these investigations, the twelve are getting up sham trials to stop the mouths of those who are determined to expose the corruptions of these transgressors. Let the saints look well to it. The time has come when the saints will have to come out and show themselves: the alternative with the saints is that they must either deny their faith or espouse the Spiritual Wife system and be taught by those who practice it, or else boldly and manfully join with those who have and are raising their voices against this most extraordinary of all doctrines, which is destroying the peace and sapping the foundation of the Church.