180 years ago today - Jul 8, 1842

John C. Bennett publishes the first of his anti-Mormon articles in the Sangamon Journal, stating that he will expose the Prophet and the Saints. "I write you now from the Mormon Zion, where I am threatened with death by the Holy Joe, and his Danite band of murderers." Elsewhere in this Springfield paper it is stated: "The Mormons are so constituted that in these temperate times, the world will be divided between the Pope and the Catholics on one side and Joseph Smith and the Mormons on the other. The oyster is opening and will soon be equally divided. There are now approximately 30,000 of these war-like fanatics." Bennett's letters appear intermittently for the next three months, after which he publishes a book on the same subject. His most famous accusation is that the Saints have an elaborate "spiritual wife" system of plural marriage.

[Francis M. Gibbons, Joseph Smith: Martyr, Prophet of God 293; David E. and Della S. Miller, Nauvoo: The City of Joseph 131-32; Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

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