He Is Our Friend: Thomas L. Kane and the Mormons in Exodus, 1846–1850

This article, originally a lecture given at Brigham Young University in 2009, was published as part of a special issue of BYU Studies featuring Thomas L. Kane. Although Kane was not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was an advocate for the Mormon cause and a trusted friend of Mormon leaders for almost forty years. Bennett shows how documents from the Kane collection at Brigham Young University enhance, correct, or confirm our knowledge of the following: first, the attitudes of President James K. Polk and his cabinet and others close to him toward the fleeing Latter-day Saints; second, the federal government’s request for a five-hundred-man Mormon Battalion; third, the Mormon settlement at Winter Quarters at the Missouri River in winter 1846–47; and fourth, Kane’s lecture titled “The Mormons,” given and published in Philadelphia in 1850.

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