[Letter from Joseph and Hyrum Smith to the Relief Society Society]
To the Hon., the President of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, Greeting:
Can the "Female Relief Society of Nauvoo" be trusted with some important matters that ought actually to belong to them to see to, which men have been under the necess ity of seeing to, to their chagrin & mortification, in order to prevent iniquitous characters from carrying their iniquity into effect; such, as for instance, a man who may be aspiring after power and authority, and yet without principle,- regardless of God, man, or the devil, or the interest or welfare of man, or the virtue or innocence of woman?
Shall the credulity, good faith, and stedfast feelings of our sisters, for the cause of God or truth, be impos'd upon by believing such men, because they say they have authority from Joseph, or the First Presidency, or any other Presidency of the Church; and thus, with a lie in their mouth, deceive and debauch the innocent, under the assumption that they are authoriz'd from these sources? May God Forbid!
A knowledge of some such things having come to our ears, we improve this [p. 86]
favorable opportunity, wherein so goodly a number of you may be inform'd that no such authority ever has, ever can, or ever will be given to any man, and if any man has been guilty of any such thing, let him be treated with utter contempt, and let the curse of God fall on his head, and let him be turned out of Society as unworthy of a place among men, & denounced as the blackest & the most unprincipled wretch; and finally let him be damned!
... you are authoriz'd on the very first intimation of the kind, to denounce them as such, & shun them as the flying fiery serpent, whether they are prophets, Seers, or revelators;
Patriarchs, twelve Apostles, Elders, Priests, Mayors, Generals, City Councillors, Aldermen, Marshalls, Police, Lord Mayors or the Devil, are alike culpable & shall be damned for such evil practices; and if you yourselves adhere to anything [p. 87]
of the kind, you also shall be damned.
...- Signed by
Hyrum Smith Joseph Smith, President of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Heber C. Kimball
Vinson Knight Brigham Young, Prest. of the Quorum of the Twelve
P.S. If the Lord be God, serve him; but if baal, then serve him. [p. 88] ...
This is to certify that I never have at any time or place, seen or heard any thing improper or unvirtuous in the conduct or conversation of either President Smith
or Mrs. Agnes [Coolbrith] Smith.
I also certify that I never have reported any thing derogatory to the characters of either of them.
Signed Clarissa Marvel
[Note: Joseph Smith has by this time married over a dozen women, including Agnes Coolbrith Smith. Hyrum, who also signed the letter, was not aware of Joseph Smith's polygamous practices at this point.]
[Source: Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperDetails/nauvoo-relief-society-minute-book]