Re: Mormons should reciprocate Illinois Legislature’s recent apology

By By [email protected]

By [email protected]

To the Editor:How many letters to the editor attacking religion constitute an agenda? Jared Johnson’s 9 letters this acadmeic year,the majority of which attempt to tear down religion and religious institutions, surely have passed the total needed to provehis agenda. In his April 6th letter to the editor, Johnson once again to failed to present facts combined with logic. Not to nitpick, but Illinois did not apologize, but expressed regret. Did Johnson read the final, approved version of the resolution? Guess not.Johnson also claims Joseph Smith started “his own little dictatorship” in Illinois. Do most dictatorships have a city council with a charter? Nauvoo did. It was an active democracy on the edge of the western frontier.Next, the Nauvoo Expositor incident that Johnson cryptically refers to is still of some debate. The Nauvoo City Council’s charter gave it some lattitude in it’s policing of activities that were a nuisance and dangerous to it’s citizens. Consider it’s claim that Joseph Smith was engaged in “many of the most dark and damnable crimes that ever darkened human character”. Surely the paper’s publication was meant to bring mob action, despite any claims to the contrary. The city council ordered Joseph Smith to have the “public nuisance” destroyed, and Smith complied. The First Amendment implications are obvious, but libelous speech is not protected by the First Amendment. Destroying the press was wrong, but Joseph Smith acted out of what he believed would be the best interest of his fellow citizens.Then, Johnson contends that “The Mormons brought whatever problems they had in Illinois upon themselves.” Johnson’s prior letter to the editor claiming the Bible and the Passion stink of anti-semitism make this statement outright hypocritical. Imagine if anyone contended in this forum that the Jewish people brought the Holocaust upon themselves! Johnson spouts tolerance, but himself smells of anti-religious bigotry.Johnson also contends that Joseph Smith’s “dictatorship” lended him control of a militia so strong as to avoid justice. The Mormon Battalion was the largest militia in Illinois, larger than the forces controlled by the state. So why then did Joseph Smith submit to being imprisoned, and order the miltia to stand down? He died in Carthage Jail, when he certainly could have resisted arrest. Finally, Johnson’s claim of Smith’s penchant for “break(ing) laws and condon(ing) criminal activity” are baseless. Smith was convicted but once at trial, and that for casting out an evil spirit. Joseph Smith honored the United States Constitution, as any person who has read Doctrine and Covenants section 98 (which calls the Cnstitution an inspired document) knows. Alas, Johnon still lacks the scholarly wisdom to read up before making claims that turn out to be unsubstantiated. One would think past rebukes (i.e. Mark Hausam’s rebuttal to his anti-semitism claims) would teach Johnson. Elitists have a hard time learning humility. I have no faith this rebuttal will do that, but perhaps it can clear up some confusion left in the wake of sloppy scholarship.Brian MaxwellSophomorePolitical Science