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Orrin Porter Rockwell
Rockwell was present at the organization of the church from April 1830. [History of the Church, Vol.1, Ch.8, p.79] Rockwell was employed by Joseph Smith as head of his security staff. Rockwell had been involved with the Missouri Danites in 1838. He was also active in the security needs of the Utah Church for Brigham Young.
Orrin Porter Rockwell (1813-78). A colorful personality baptized in 1830, Rockwell was charged by Missourians with assault with intent to kill ex-Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. He remained a close friend of the Prophet. [Ehat & Cook, Words, 7 October 1843 Note, p.310]
"Sometimes I take the liberty of talking a little further with regard to such things. Orin P. Rockwell is an eye-witness to some powers of removing the treasures of the earth. He was with certain parties that lived near by where the plates were found that contain the records of the Book of Mormon.
There were a great many treasures hid up by the Nephites. Porter was with them one night where there were treasures, and they could find them easy enough, but they could not obtain them." [Journal of Discourses, Vol.19, p.38, Brigham Young, June 17, 1877]
The mayor suggested the propriety, since Rockwell and others are clear, and we have the promise of protection from the governor; and as the police are now well organized, that they put up their guns and that the council pass such an order. The Danite system alluded to by Norton never had any existence. It was a term made use of by some of the brethren in Far West, and grew out of an expression I made use of when the brethren were preparing to defend themselves from the Missouri mob, in reference to the stealing of Macaiah's images (Judges chapter 18)--If the enemy comes, the Danites will be after them, meaning the brethren in self-defense. [History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.7, p.165]
Subsequently Sheriff Backenstos and Orrin P. Rockwell were indicted and later placed on trial for the "murder" of Worrell; the sheriff at Peoria, and Rockwell at Galena, each having taken a change of venue; both were acquitted. Gregg says concerning the killing of Worrell: "Who was the actually guilty party may never be known." There certainly was no occasion for keeping the matter secret, since the killing was altogether justifiable, under the circumstances, and it became a matter of common knowledge both in Nauvoo and Utah that it was Orrin Porter Rockwell--acting under orders of Sheriff Backenstos--and John Redder, who saved the officer's life. [B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.67, p.482]
The High Council at Nauvoo voted that Bishop Knight provide for the families of Joseph Smith, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, and Orrin Porter Rockwell, during their absence at Washington. [History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch.3, p.46]
SIR:--At the request of Orrin Porter Rockwell, who is now confined in our jail, I write you a few lines concerning his affairs. He is held to bail in the sum of $5,000, and wishes some of his friends to bail him out. He also wishes some friend to bring his clothes to him. He is in good health and pretty good spirits. My own opinion is, after conversing with several persons here, that it would not be safe for any of Mr. Rockwell's friends to come here, notwithstanding I have written the above at his request; neither do I think bail would be taken (unless it was some responsible person well known here as a resident of this state). [History of the Church, Vol.5, Ch.18, p.352]
Tuesday, 29.--I left Nauvoo accompanied by Sidney Rigdon, Elias Higbee, and Orrin P. Rockwell, in a two-horse carriage for the city of Washington, to lay before the Congress of the United States, the grievances of the Saints while in Missouri. We passed through Carthage, and stayed at Judge Higbee's over night, and the next day we arrived at Quincy. [History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch.2, p.19]
"During the summer and fall of 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith was forced to go into hiding because of the attempt on the part of Missouri mobocrats to get him in their clutches. He had been accused by ex-governor Boggs as being an accessory and Orrin Porter Rockwell as the principal in the shooting of Boggs, May 6, 1842. This was a conspiracy to get the Prophet back into the hands of the Missourian mobbers. Governor Carlin of Illinois, had joined in this conspiracy contrary to every principle of correct law, as it was later shown in the trial which was held in Springfield, and recorded in Lesson 139. From his place of concealment the Prophet wrote these two letters (Sections 127 and 128 in the Doctrine and Covenants) by revelation to the Church. He encouraged the saints to continue in the great labor which had been assigned them in the revelation of January 19, 1841, and then he gave them further light [page 135] in relation to the baptism for the dead. It should be remembered that the privilege of baptizing individuals for the dead in the Mississippi River had been withdrawn by command of the Lord. This privilege had been granted for a season after this principle had been made known when due to the poverty of the people, there was no Temple in which this ordinance could be performed In November, 1841, baptism in a font were commenced for a font had been dedicated in the House of the Lord, for that purpose. The Prophet was very anxious that this work should continue and the Lord had made it known that recorders who were eye-witnesses must record all ordinances of this kind. The reason the Prophet did not speak also of endowments and sealings at this time was due, most likely, to the fact that while in exile he gave counsel and direction only in relation to that which the saints at that time could perform. The Temple had not been completed, but the basement had been enclosed where the font was placed and dedicated. The members of the Church could not, there was no place for carrying it on even if this instruction had been given. Before the Temple at Nauvoo was prepared for it, only a few of the leading brethren, with their wives, had received the ordinance of the endowment. After the Temple was built many of the members of the Church entered it and were endowed and sealed before they were driven from Nauvoo. [Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 4, p.134]
But as to William Law himself: If the statement made by him in the affidavit of 1885, and that of the Wyl interview of 1887, viz., that Joseph Smith told him [William Law] that he had sent Rockwell to Missouri to kill Boggs, then why is it that William Law remained silent so long upon this important incident? William Law was President Smith's counselor during the time that this case in relation to the attempt on the life of Boggs was before the courts of the country. [B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.2, Ch.49, p.164 - p.165]
I prophesied, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that Orrin Porter Rockwell would get away honorably from the Missourians. (March 15, 1843.) DHC 5:305. [Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843–44, p.285]
History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.22, p.488
State of Illinois v. Joseph Smith, Samuel Bennett, John Taylor, William W. Phelps, Hyrum Smith. John P. Greene, Stephen Perry, Dimick B. Huntington, Jonathan Dunham, Stephen Markham, Jonathan H. Holmes, Jesse P. Harmon, John Lytle, Joseph W. Coolidge, R. David Redfield, Orrin Porter Rockwell and Levi Richards.
Defendants were brought before the court by Joel S. Miles, constable of the county aforesaid, by virtue of a warrant issued by the court on complaint of W. G. Ware, for a "riot committed in the city of Nauvoo, county aforesaid, on or before the 10th day of June, 1844, by forcibly entering a brick building in said city, occupied as a printing office and taking therefrom by force, and with force of arms, a printing-press, types and paper, together with other property, belonging to William Law, Wilson Law, Robert D. Foster, Charles A. Foster, Francis M. Higbee, Chauncey L. Higbee and Charles Ivins, and breaking in pieces and burning the same in the streets. [History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.22, p.488]
George P. Stiles, Esq., appeared as counsel for the defense, and Edward Bonny, Esq., for the prosecution. W. G. Ware sworn. Said he was present when the City Council passed an order for the destruction of the press. Went up to the Temple and heard the Marshal read the order of the Mayor. Did not know how they got into the building. The press was taken out and destroyed. [History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.22, p.488]
There is a numerous host of faithful souls, whose names I could wish to record in the Book of the Law of the Lord; but time and chance would fail. I will mention, therefore, only a few of them as emblematical of those who are too numerous to be written. But there is one man I would mention, namely Orrin Porter Rockwell, who is now a fellow-wanderer with myself, an exile from his home, because of the murderous deeds, and infernal, fiendish dispositions of the indefatigable and unrelenting hand of the Missourians. He is an innocent and a noble boy. May God Almighty deliver him from the hands of his pursuers. He was an innocent and a noble child and my soul loves him. Let this be recorded for ever and ever. Let the blessings of salvation and honor be his portion. [History of the Church, Vol.5, ch.6, p.125]
Joseph said to Rockwell, "What shall I do?" Rockwell replied, "You are the oldest and ought to know best; and as you make your bed, I will lie with you." [Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843–44, p.377]
"While this expedition was preparing for the journey to the west, the difficulties arose in Nauvoo which culminated in the seizure of the Prophet and his brother Hyrum, and their imprisonment in Carthage, Illinois, in June. Before the Prophet surrendered and yielded to the demands of his accusers and the leaders of what later became the mob which took his life, he crossed the Mississippi River at Nauvoo, with his brother Hyrum, Porter Rockwell, and Willard Richards, with the intention of preceding the exploring company to the west. This action was taken on the grounds that it was Joseph Smith whose blood the mob desired, and if he were out of the way, peace would be restored." [Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.334]
"About midnight, Joseph, Hyrum, and Dr. Richards called for Orrin P. Rockwell at his lodgings, and all went up the river bank until they found Aaron Johnson's boat, which they got into and started about 2 a.m, to cross the Mississippi River. Orrin P. Rockwell rowed the skiff, which was very leaky, so that it kept Joseph, Hyrum, and the doctor busy bailing out the water with their boots and shoes to prevent it from sinking. [Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.335]
"Sunday 23rd—At daybreak arrived on the Iowa side of the river. Sent Orrin P. Rockwell back to Nauvoo with instructions to return next night with horses for Joseph and Hyrum, pass them over the river in the night secretly, and be ready to start for the Great Basin in the Rocky Mountains…. [Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.335]
"At 1 p.m. (Sunday 23rd) Orrin P. Rockwell returned from Nauvoo with a petition from some of the citizens requesting him to come back. It was said that these were saying that it was like the fable, when the wolves come the shepherd ran from the flock and left the sheep to be devoured." [Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.336]
This document and the one following under the same date are the earliest documents located which carry the signature of the new First Presidency. They are the instructions and authority of Elder Amasa Lyman of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to carry the First General Epistle of the First Presidency of the Church to the Saints in Western California and to Orrin P. Rockwell to accompany him. [James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, Vol.1, p.348]
Monday, May 20, 1844 "The Prophet instructed Orrin P. Rockwell and Aaron Johnson to return to Carthage the next day and have Foster arrested for perjury. Obedient to this call they returned, but before they arrived the grand jury had risen. It was also reported by the brethren that there were complaints out for John D. Parker, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and William Clayton. The Prophet spent the next few days keeping out of the way of the officers from Carthage. " [Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 4, p.186]
At one p.m. Emma Smith sent Orrin P. Rockwell to entreat the Prophet to return. Turning to Rockwell he said: "What shall I do?" Rockwell answered, "You are the oldest and ought to know best; and as you make your bed, I will lie with you." [Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 4, p.193]
"About 4 p. m. Joseph, Hyrum, the Doctor and others started back. While walking towards the river Joseph fell behind with Orrin P. Rockwell. The other shouted to come on. Joseph replied, "It is of no use to hurry, for we are going back to be slaughtered," and continually expressed himself that he would like to get the people once more together, and talk to them tonight. Rockwell said if that was his wish he would get the people together, and he could talk to them by starlight." [History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.29, p.551]
"Joseph also sent a message to Orrin P. Rockwell not to come to Carthage, but to stay in Nauvoo, and not to suffer himself to be delivered into the hands of his enemies, or to be taken a prisoner by any one." [History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.30, p.565]
"Personally appeared before me, Thomas Bullock, County Recorder in and for Great Salt Lake County, in the Territory of Utah, Orrin P. Rockwell, who being first duly sworn, deposeth and saith that about the hour of 3 o'clock in the afternoon of the 27th day of June, one thousand eight hundred forty-four, a short time only before Governor Ford addressed the citizens of Nauvoo, he (Ford) and his suit occupied an upper room in the mansion of Joseph Smith, in the city of Nauvoo, when he, the said Rockwell, had of necessity to enter said upper room for his hat, and as he entered the door, all were sitting silent except one man, who was standing behind a chair making a speech, and while in the act of dropping his right hand from an uplifted position, said. "The deed is done before this time," which were the only words I heard while in the room, for on seeing me they all hushed in silence. At that time I could not comprehend the meaning of the words, but in a few hours after I understood them as referring to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage jail." [History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.31, p.588]
"Orrin P. Rockwell met F. M. Higbee about 4 p. m. and accused him of seeking Joseph's life. Higbee made use of some very insulting language in reply, when a scuffle ensued, during which a letter dropped out of Higbee's hat, which stated that there were seventy of the mob ready in Iowa to come upon Nauvoo tonight." [History of the Church, Vol.7, Ch.11, p.130]
Monday, 23.----The sheriff came in with writs for a number of brethren and succeeded in arresting O. P. Rockwell and J. P. Harmon, but Rockwell got away from him. A constable from Le Harpe came in with writs for Brother Taylor, myself and others, but we kept out of the way. [History of the Church, Vol.7, Ch.31, p.428]

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Read how the Mormon Killers got paid by the US Government for caring for the orphan children after they had killed their parents.