Mormons Leave Nauvoo

Editor’s Note: The information related here is the full extent of available context. It appears Brenda Adkisson’s original Facebook post was either deleted or blocked, but we’ve updated the post with an embedded post from Adkisson that appears to reference the original.

Who knew smallish-town politics could be so fascinating? And so volatile?

On June 16, 2017 the Edgar County Watchdogs, published a press release from Open Nauvoo stating that many Nauvoo citizens felt threatened by Beverly Reynolds, a Nauvoo city council member, for her allegedly hostile remarks about Mormons:

Many Nauvoo citizens fear for their safety tonight after learning of statements made by Beverly Reynolds, Nauvoo City Councilwoman, who called for “people like this” to be tarred and feathered and run out of town. The threats got even more graphic when she called for a return to the 1840’s. She said “[y]ou and I know what happened then”, referring to the murder of Mormon founder Joseph Smith and the expulsion of Mormons from Nauvoo,” [i]t could happen again,” she said ominously.

Members of the Nauvoo City Council are defending the embattled Mayor in spite of the alleged false official statements he has made regarding his business ownership, and its receipt of funds from the City for at least 10 years, and the Illinois State Police Investigation into these actions.

Reynold’s statement came as a public reply to fellow Councilwoman Brenda Adkisson who referred to newly arriving citizens of Nauvoo as “newcomers” and unwelcome guests and referred to herself and others as “insiders” and “family.” “Yes, God will deal with them, I am sure”, said Councilwoman Reynolds.

Nauvoo, Illinois is perhaps best known as the town that was established in the 1840’s by Mormon founder Joseph Smith. Mobs killed Smith days after the Nauvoo City council decision to destroy a then existing newspaper. The early saints were driven from the town and their Temple was burned to the ground. The saints have been gone for over 150 years, leaving the town in the hands of many who killed their leader. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) has its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In recent years the LDS population has risen sharply as a result of the re-building of the Nauvoo Temple by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

What was unclear at the time was that Reynolds’ remarks came in the form of a Facebook post on Adkisson’s Wall, not during an exchange during a council meeting. The two are the only women in Nauvoo’s seven-member city council. Unfortunately, that original post appears unavailable, but Adkisson issued a blunt rebuke of what has happened, and the context appears to be longtime Nauvoo residents are frustrated with new ones, with Reynolds’ original comment referencing Mormons seemingly filling in the gaps. But even with that, it’s unclear, and we might even go as far as to assume the lack of detail in these posts is deliberate, given the current climate in the city.


Some comments from the post:




Reynolds herself sounds off in the thread:

And the only comment we could find with any usage of “Mormon:”

The following is a transcription of those original remarks, with emphasis added per the Edgar County Watchdogs:

Brenda—I have lived in Nauvoo most of my 80 years and have never seen anything anywhere near like these situations you are referring to. They have got completely out of hand. I agree with you and think it is too bad that these people didn’t try to go about this in a different way. It is very stressful for those caught up in it. Yes, God will deal with them, I am sure. But the majority of Nauvooites should band together and do what we can to stop them from ruining reputations of some who are being hurt. Those of us who love Nauvoo and the people here need to do something for sure to stop this. Fast back to the 1800’s [sic]: people like this would be tarred and feathered and run out of town. And back to the 1840’s [sic]: You and I know what happened then. It could happen again.

Beverly ReynoldsReynolds argues that her comments were not taken in the appropriate context, and now, she has threatened the Edgar County Watchdogs with legal action if they do not pull the original article.

The Watchdogs recorded phone message available for listening on their website (link in the preceding paragraph), where Reynolds pretty politely asks to have all related articles removed before she gets lawyers involved, calling the Watchdogs’ publications “slander” even though it might be closer to libel. Regardless, all alleged, naturally.

Edgar County Watchdogs have stated that they have no intention of pulling their content, instead calling for Reynolds to “exit the public arena if she thinks she can threaten people and get by with it simply because she is on the city council.”

So is this the case of an intolerant incumbent getting caught being too candid on social media, or are we looking at an overzealous watchdog group finding controversy where there is none? You can be the judge. Or perhaps a judge can be the judge if lawyers do get involved. Either way, some judging is gonna go down.