Nauvoo Expositor

The Nauvoo Expositor had only one issue printed prior to being destroyed by order of Joseph Smith. The order had been issued after all the Mormons on the Nauvoo City Council declared "that the printing-office from whence issues of the Nauvoo Expositor is a public nuisance and also all of said Nauvoo Expositors which may be or exist in said establishment; and the Mayor is instructed to cause said printing establishment and papers to be removed without delay, in such manner as he shall direct." (History of the Church, vol. 6, page 448) The one dissenting vote on the resolution came from a non-Mormon who "thought it might be considered rather harsh for the Council to declare the paper a nuisance, and proposed giving a few days limitation, and assessing a fine of $3,000 for every libel..."

What was the real reason the press was declared a nuisance? In my opinion, the paper was declared a nuisance because it exposed Joseph Smith's private doctrine and practice of polygamy. You can read the Nauvoo Expositor and decide for yourself.

The order that Joseph Smith gave certainly went beyond "removing" the nuisance, in my opinion. The order said:

Within a couple of hours of Joseph's order the press was destroyed. Accounts of the event indicate that it was attended by a very large number of people and that the press went through the window of the building.

The destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor printing press was certainly wrong. Although Elder Dallin H. Oaks believes that the destruction of the newspaper was within the law, he admits that destroying the press went beyond the law:

Nauvoo Expositor
Last Updated September 28, 1997
Copyright © 1996, 1997 All Rights Reserved.
Created by James David,