Sidney Rigdon’s Missouri Speeches

At Far West on June 19, 1838, Rigdon delivered a scathing denunciation of disloyalty among the members of the Church. No text nor synopsis has remained of his discourse, but reports of eyewitnesses indicated that Rigdon, who could inspire an audience to tears, could also lash them into fury. Rigdon took his text from the fifth chapter of Matthew: “Ye are the salt of the earth. If the salt hath lost its savor, it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.” Joseph Smith followed Rigdon’s harangue with a short speech, apparently sanctioning what he had said. The salt sermon caused a frenzy of activity aimed at purging the ranks of disloyal members. One unfortunate effect of the controversy over dissenters was the formation of the apparently unauthorized Danites, a secret militant society for the enforcement of orthodoxy.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 11:1
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