David Whitmer, Martin Harris and Sidney Rigdon all said they did not apostatize or leave the church, but rather it, i.e. Joseph’s additions went beyond what they signed on for.
Consider that the church was a “spiritual Titanic” whose builders became overly confident and added too much weight by fanciful new doctrines, oaths and practices. The Reformed Church is the life boat. It is the original church stripped of the additions of men, whose captain also steered cleared of political waters by not mingling religion and politics.
Well at last, the Mormons are at it amongst themselves in good earnest. A new church has been organized and we understand that a press will soon be procured, and a paper started which will be devoted to the building up of the cause of the seceders, and to an exposition of Joseph Smith’s enormities and mal-practices. The creed of the new church differs but little from the old — they acknowledge the authority of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, &c.; the only essential difference being in relation to the inspiration of Joseph Smith. The seceders believe that Joseph was a prophet, but that he is now fallen from grace. They have a new prophet, therefore, who is William Law.
The members of the new church are among the most intelligent and respectable of the Mormon body, and it is said that their number is already quite respectable.
On Saturday last, Law preached in Nauvoo, and in the severest terms denounced Smith, for his arbitrary and immoral conduct. Some think that this breach will soon be healed, but we are inclined to believe that the disaffected have gone so far as to preclude the possibility of retreat — sure it is, they cannot retreat honorably….
We stated last week that William Law was the Prophet of the New Church at Nauvoo. This was denied, we hear, by Mr. Law, who says no man can assume the Spirit of Prophecy. He is President of the New Church, but will not venture to publish any revelations.
The New Church appears to be going ahead. On last Sunday, there were about three hundred assembled at Mr. Law’s house in Nauvoo, and listened with much seeming pleasure to a sermon from Elder Blakely [James A. Blakeslee], who denounced Smith as a fallen Prophet. He treated the Spiritual wife doctrine without gloves, and repudiated Smith’s plan of uniting Church and State.
After Blakely had concluded, William Law gave his reasons in strong language for leaving the false prophet.
Francis M. Higbee, then read a series of resolutions which set forth the reasons for withdrawing from Joseph. After this a number of Affidavits were read testifying to Joseph’s villainy, and showing the evils under which a huge portion of the citizens are obliged to labor.
The new church and those opposed to Mormonism in Nauvoo, are said to be strongly in favor of repealing their Charter, it having been made an instrument of oppression rather than a benefit.
The Nauvoo Expositor is the title of a new paper about to be started at Nauvoo, by the opponents of Joseph. The Prospectus has been issued, in which the proposed character of the paper is set forth. It will have nothing to do with religion, but goes in for the repeal of the Nauvoo City Charter, against political revelations and unconstitutional ordinances. As the conductors of this paper are well acquainted with Joseph, it will in all probability make some disclosures which will render Nauvoo too hot either for Joseph or his enemies. We will endeavor to keep our readers well apprised of everything of interest to them. In the mean time we say, success to the new undertaking, for “a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.”
(Warsaw Signal on 8 May 1844, p. 2, under the title, “Matters and Things at Nauvoo,” and the other three appeared as untitled articles on 15 May 1844, p. 2.)