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Cover image via Mormon Historic Sites Foundation.
The greatest danger to the church has always come from those who have been members and who have then turned against us. Those who have been with us and who know much about us and then leave us are the greatest threat to us.
When Porter Rockwell returned to Nauvoo on and interrupted a Christmas party at the Mansion House in 1853, he was at first taken for a Missourian.
On Christmas day, 1843, a large party assembled at the Prophet’s home, spending the time in music and a social visit. During the festivities a man with long shaggy hair, apparently drunk, came in and was taken for a Missourian. A scuffle ensued and the Prophet beheld the stranger’s face. To his great surprise and joy he recognized that this long-haired, disheveled man was his long-tried and true friend, Orrin Porter Rockwell. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 4, p.155)
Rockwell told the Prophet that there was a plan to apprehend Joseph and that one of his [Joseph’s] closest friends would assist them. (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 164). Joseph responded by declaring
“My life is more in danger from some little dough-head of a fool in this city than from all my murderous and inveterate enemies abroad. I am exposed to far greater danger from traitors among ourselves than from enemies without, although my life has been sought for many years by the civil and military authorities, priests, and people of Missouri; and if I can escape from the ungrateful treachery of assassins, I can live as Caesar might have lived were it not for a right-hand Brutus. I have had pretended friends betray me. All the enemies upon the face of the earth may roar and exert all their power to bring about my death, but they can accomplish nothing, unless some who are among us and enjoy our society, have been with us in our councils, participated in our confidence, taken us by the hand, called us brother, saluted us with a kiss, join with our enemies, turn our virtues into faults, and, by falsehood and deceit, stir up their wrath and indignation against us, and bring their united vengeance upon our heads. All the hue-and-cry of the chief priests and elders against the Savior, could not bring down the wrath of the Jewish nation upon His head, and thereby cause the crucifixion of the Son of God, until Judas said unto him, ‘Whomsoever I shall kiss, he is the man; hold him fast.’ Judas was one of the Twelve Apostles, even their treasurer, and dipped with their Master in the dish, and through his treachery the crucifixion was brought about; and we have a Judas in our midst.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, p.152.)