History of the Church Series | BYU Studies

History of the Church Series

August 9, 2017
History of the Church Series
Crime and Punishment in Mormon Nauvoo, 1839–1846
Kenneth W. Godfrey

This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Kenneth W. Godfrey. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history, beginning in New York in the early 19th century and progressing throughout the year to Utah in the 20th century. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

Samuel W. Taylor argued that the "City Beautiful" and the Mississippi bottomland had their "brothels, barrooms, saloons" and "notorious gangs of banditti—knaves, cutthroats, horse thieves, counterfeiters, outlaws—organized and so powerful that some frontier settlements and even counties came under their control. With all of these accusations of disregard for law and property in Nauvoo, it seems appropriate to examine the evidence and to ascertain just what the truth was relative to crime and punishment among the Latter-day Saints as they sojourned in Illinois and Iowa during the years 1839–46.