Thomas Baldwin Marsh was born at Acton, Mass., Nov. 1st, 1799. He came on a visit to Palmyra at the time when the Book of Mormon was being printed, and Martin Harris gave him a sheet containing the first sixteen pages of that book. He read these pages and showed them to his wife, and both received a testimony that the book was of God. When he learned that the Church had been organized, he moved to Palmyra and was baptized by David Whitmer. This was in the month of September, 1830, shortly before this Revelation was received. After a career of varied experiences, Marsh moved to Kirtland, where he was called to the Apostleship. In July and August, 1837, he accompanied the Prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon on a mission to Canada, and the following year he and David W. Patten were appointed presidents of the Church in Missouri, until the arrival of the Prophet. In August, 1838, a year of apostasy, he became disaffected and turned traitor to his brethren. He made an affidavit to the effect that the "Mormons" had a company called "Danites," organized for the purpose of murdering "enemies" —a statement
he certainly knew to be false. After that he became a vagabond, withoutresting-place, without peace, for many years. No photo of Thomas B. Marsh is available.
[SMITH AND SJODAHL, DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS COMMENTARY, Sec. 31, p.164–p.165]
Doctrine and Covenants Commentary Sec. 122
5. False brethren] There were many, but perhaps none exhibited more diabolical cunning than Samson Avard. This individual proposed to form a secret organization for the purposes Of plunder and robbery, and succeeded in gathering a band of outlaws around him under the name of Danites. As soon as his plans and designs became known to the Church leaders, he was expelled from the Church, and then, to save himself, he swore that his band was a Church organization. His advice to Oliver Olney was "to swear hard against the heads of the Church." "I intend to do it," said he, "in order to escape, for if 1 do not, they will take my life" (Hist. of the Church, Vol. III., p. 209). [Smith and Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, Sec. 122, p.761]