In 1851, in wake of the four territorial officers fleeing Utah and spreading rumors in Washington D.C., what did Thomas L. Kane fail to see and brushed off to rumor?
b. Mormons have horns
c. The Nauvoo Legion was going to war against the United States
d. The Mormons were forming alliances with the Natives to disrupt Oregon and California emigration
Since the brothers’ murders [Smith] in 1844, William had arguably affiliated with more factions of Mormonism than any other single individual. He had linked his aspirations to the Mormonism established by his brother, to Brigham Young’s leadership after Joseph Smith’s death, to George J. Adams in Iowa, to James J. Strang in Wisconsin, to Lyman Wight in Texas, to Isaac Sheen in Kentucky, and to Martin Harris in Ohio. In addition, William had associated with a host of noted dissidents, including Benjamin Winchester, John C. Bennett, William McLellin, Reuben Miller, John E. Page, Jared Carter, Jason W. Briggs, and Zena H. Gurley, among others. He had additionally formed his own promising offshoot of Mormonism but had undercut its promising expansion by his own misbehavior.
He also intermittently supported Brigham Young’s leadership and the Saints in Utah—who were justifiably suspicious of his overtures. Surrounded by the fragments of his own church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints, Smith wrote to Young each year from 1854 to 1856, sounding him out about his possible return and making it clear that a condition for such a reconciliation would be the restoration of the apostolic and patriarchal offices. Obviously, he considered himself—the last surviving Smith brother—to be a valuable property; but Young would have none of it. There is not evidence that he ever responded to Williams’ letters. William’s next move was to associate with Martin Harris who considered himself a Mormon again (despite what can only be described as his own revolving door through several denominations) before he settled in Kirtland and made himself the custodian of the temple. William made several efforts, teaming up with Harris, to revive his church, but to no avail. In 1857, William finally gave up on attempting to reorganize his church. He was forty-six, vigorous, talented, and fatally blinded by pride and insecurity about the best way to use these talents.
James A. Toronto, The “Wild West” of Missionary Work” Reopening the Italian Mission, 1965-71, Journal of Mormon History, Fall 2014, 90-91.