There are 10 thoughts on “Turning Type into Pi: The Destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor in Historical Context”.

  1. Great article and interesting explanation of the thoughts running through the country regarding something that today we just take for granted.

    Interestingly, just as I thought that the simple answer to the vexing problem of the Nauvoo Expositor would have better been to turn it over to the hands of a night-darkened group of vigilantes, I get near the end of the article and discover this is exactly what the coward, Thomas Ford, would have done and strongly recommended. I suppose this coinciding abridgment of thought places me in appropriate company with him…
    …anyway, I must say that the response from John Taylor feeling that the City Council had the right and acted forthrightly is refreshing. Come what may, honesty is still after all these years, the best policy. In fact, in a sort of juxtaposition of scenarios, I find that the Church and its leadership today are often found fronted by circumstances which might typically be handled by less-honest individuals in a more backhanded approach. On the other hand, the brethren always take the high road. They always take the high road even when doing so sometimes leaves them open to ridicule, intolerant remarks, and outright lying innuendoes. (See for example, recent commentary emanating from those opposed to handling of Church finances, opposition to local temple building, LGBTQ agendas, marriage re-definition, gender affirmation and any other hot-button excuse which detractors care to pontificate over.) Although not currently inviolate of any local, state or national law, it is easy to see how certain church doctrines, policies or beliefs could run afoul of some future law made to foster or promote ideas which aren’t currently permissible or acceptable to or within the Church. Assuming that some future law were to be created counter to standard Church procedure, this not-so-implausible scenario could lead to a point where the brethren might have to decide whether to kowtow to the political agenda or to “push-back” against law futuristically in place or in “vogue” at that hopefully far-distant time. This type of scenario would not necessarily be all that different from what Joseph Smith and the City Council faced in long-ago Nauvoo.

    • Some great thoughts. You make a really good point comparing to today and the future and how the Church and its leaders may have to react to events or laws. Thanks.

  2. Thank you for an interesting article. If memory serves me correctly, it was not for another 70+ years after the Nauvoo expositor press was destroyed, that the United States Supreme Court even held that the first amendment applied to actions of a state or local municipal entity.

  3. You gave two examples of government authorized destruction of printing presses (one in 1835 and another in 1866) outside of wartime censorship. This doesn’t make the case that “legally authorized” destruction of printing presses was a common occurrence. In fact, it helps emphasize how rarely this was actually done. How many hundreds (thousands?) of American printing presses were allowed to operate unmolested even while producing content more offensive and often libelous to individuals and communities than what came out of the Nauvoo Expositor. Governor Ford rightly condemned this action soon after it happened and emphasized its how untypical this act was:

    “I now express to you my opinion that your conduct in the destruction of the press was a very gross outrage upon the laws and the liberties of the people. It may have been full of libels, but this did not authorize you to destroy it.

    There are many newspapers in this state which have been wrongfully abusing me for more than a year, and yet such is my regard for the liberty of the press and the rights of a free people in a republican government that I would shed the last drop of my blood to protect those presses from any illegal violence.” – pulled from Wikipedia

    This was an act of bullying and vandalism ordered by church leaders and carried out by members that I think should be condemned by those who look back at it, both members and nonmembers. Church leaders used their civic power to forcefully silence those who attempted to expose polygamy at the same time those church leaders lied over and over again publicly about it not taking place. Shouldn’t serious apologists should be able to admit how bad this act was without resorting to fallacious “it happened all the time” arguments such as this?

    • You’re entitled to your opinion which I might add, is not a neutral one. You obviously view the events negatively and you have every right to do so.

      As I stated, this article is to neither condone nor condemn but to place within a greater historical context of what was happening at the time. Furthermore, it obviously was not a fallacious argument given the article provided plenty of examples of presses being destroyed in one way or another. And I could have provided other examples but it would have been annoyingly redundant.

      However, I obviously should have given more examples of civil or government authorized destruction of presses and I appreciate your bringing that to my attention.

    • The words of a tyrant such as Ford mean nothing nor do the words of genocide enablers or deniers. The corporate press is the enemy of the people.

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