George M. Hinkle: Mormons' Benedict Arnold

George M. Hinkle was the LDS Church's own Benedict Arnold.

As the colonel of the Mormon-controlled Caldwell County militia in 1838, Hinkle made a secret deal to hand over his own leaders, including the prophet Joseph Smith, to their sworn enemies.

In recent years some historians have tried to rehabilitate Hinkle's reputation -- arguing that his motives were to prevent bloodshed between the Mormons and non-Mormons in Missouri.

One of 24 documents from the 1842 case of Smith vs. Hinkle. Documents were purchased for the LDS Church in an auction on Jan. 28 in New York City at the Spink Shreves Galleries. Image courtesy Spink Shreves Galleries.

But 19th-century legal documents purchased at a public auction last month tell a story that confirms Hinkle's darker motives.

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