John C. Bennett - the 'Lucifer' of early Mormonism

Dr. John Cook Bennett: most Mormons probably know him from LDS Church Almanacs as “assistant president of the LDS Church” for a year or so during the Nauvoo era. Those who know a bit more about church history know him as a proclaimed “Judas,” or “Lucifer,” who slithered into Nauvoo, deceived the Prophet Joseph Smith, seduced several women, married and single, was cast out, then made considerably more than 30 pieces of silver vilely blasting Smith at lectures and in a best-selling book. Bennett was so anathema to LDS Church leaders that in response to his death in 1867, an LDS Church publication released a scathing, false obituary which read, in part, “… He dragged out a miserable existence, without a person scarcely to take the least interest in his fate, and died a few months ago without a person to mourn his departure. …”

In reality, Bennett died in Polk City, Iowa, a fairly well off and respected man. He had recently served as surgeon in the Third U.S. Infantry during the Civil War. Yet, the Mormons’ loathing of Bennett was not without cause. Despite Bennett’s many talents and skills, he was often a scoundrel during his life.

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