This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 1972 issue of Pioneer Magazine.
LAW AND ORDER was a theme about which the early Mormons heard a very great deal, since they were on the receiving end of its inadequacies most of the time. On the day a major of the United States Army asked brigham young and john taylor in Nauvoo, how much longer they intended to resist the majesty of the law, Elder Taylor exploded:
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“Talk about the law! Sir, I stand before you a victim and not a beneficiary of the law! I have seen my best friends shot down. Was I not shot down also, when 200 murderers stormed Carthage Jail and killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith in cold blood, while they were being ‘protected’ by the militia?”
“Where was our governor, our generals, our judges? What were all these men but a pack of scoundrels? Are we beasts to he hunted down and killed? I tell you, sir, hereafter, I will protect myself, law or no law, judge or no judge, governor or no governor! I will not be murdered by scoundrels and if I have to sell my life I’ll sell it for all I can. If you put me in jail you will put me there dead!”