Testimony against Chauncey L. Higbee

Testimony against Chauncey L. Higbee  (1844) 
by Nauvoo Neighbor

Nauvoo Neighbor of May 29, 1844 [1]

Testimony of Margaret J. Nyman, vs Chauncey L. Higbee, before the High Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the City of Nauvoo, May 21, 1842.

Some time during the month of March last, Chauncey L. Higbee, came to my mother's house, early one evening, and proposed a walk to a spelling school. My sister Matilda, and myself accompanied him; but, changing our design on the way, we stopped at Mrs. [Catharine] Fullers: During the evening's interview, he, (as I have since learned,) with wicked lies proposed that I should yield to his desires, and indulge in sexual intercourse with him, stating that such intercourse might be freely indulged in, and was no sin: That any respectable female might indulge in sexual intercourse, and there was no sin in it, providing the person so indulging, keep the same to herself; for there could be no sin, where there was no accussor;—and most clendestinely, with wicked lies, persuaded me to yield by using the name of Joseph Smith: and, as I have since learned, totally false and unauthorised; and in consequence of those arguments, I was influenced to yield to my Seducer, Chauncey L. Higbee.

I further state that I have no personal acquaintance with Joseph Smith, and never heard him teach such doctrines, as stated by Chauncey L. Higbee, either directly or indirectly.

I heartily repent before God, asking the forgiveness of my brethren.

Margaret J. Nyman.

Affidavit of Matilda J. Nyman

Nauvoo, May 21, 1842.

During this spring Chauncy L. Higbee, kept company with me from time to time, and, as I have since learned, wickedly deceitfully, and with lies in his mouth, urged me vehemently to yield to his desires; that there could be no wrong in having sexual intercourse with any female that could keep the same to herself;—most villainously and lyingly stating that he had been so instructed by Joseph Smith, and that there was no sin where there was no accuser:—Also vowing he would marry me. Not succeeding, he, on one occasion, brought one, who affirmed that such intercourse was tolerated by the heads of the Church. I have since found him also to be a lying conspirator against female virtue and chastity, having never received such teachings from the heads of the church; but I was at the time partially influenced to believe in consequence of the source from whom I received it.

I yielded and become subject to the will of my seducer, Chauncey L. Higbee: and having since found out to my satisfaction, that a number of wicked men have conspired to use the name of Joseph Smith, or the heads of the Church, falsely and wickedly to enable them to gratify their lusts, thereby destroying female innocence and virtue, I repent before God and my brethren and ask forgiveness.

I further testify that I never had any personal acquaintance with Joseph Smith and never heard him teach such doctrines as Higbee, stated either directly or indirectly.

Affidavit of Sarah Miller

Nauvoo, May 24, 1842.

Some two or three weeks since, in consequence of brother Joseph Smith's teachings to the singers, I began to be alarmed concerning myself, and certain teachings which I had received from Chauncey L. Higbee, and questioned him (Higbee) about his teaching, for I was pretty well persuaded from Joseph's public teachings that Chauncey had been telling falsehoods; but Chauncey said that Joseph now taught as he did through necessity, on account of the prejudice of the people, and his own family particularly [Emma], as they had not become believers in the doctrine.

I then become satisfied that all of Chauncey's teaching had been false, and that he had never been authorized by any one in authority to make any such communication to me. Chauncey L. Higbee's teaching and conduct were as follows. When he first came to my house soon after the special conference this spring, Chauncey commenced joking me about my getting married, and wanted to know how long it had been since my husband died, and soon removed his seat near me; and began his seducing insinuations by saying it was no harm to have sexual intercourse with women if they would keep it to themselves, and continued to urge me to yield to his desires, and urged me vehemently, and said he and Joseph were good friends, and he [Joseph] teaches me this doctrine, and allows me such privileges, and there is no harm in it and Joseph Smith says so.

I told him I did not believe it, and had heard no such teaching from Joseph, nor from the stand [the place where preaching services were held at Nauvoo], but that it was wicked to commit adultery, &c. Chauncey said that did not mean single women, but married women; and continued to press his instructions and arguments until after dark, and until I was inclined to believe, for he called God to witness of the truth, and was so solemn and confident, I yielded to his temptations, having received the strongest assurance from him that Joseph approved it and would uphold me in it. He also told me that many others were following the same course of conduct. As I still had some doubts, near the close of our interview, I again suggested my fears that I had done wrong, and should loose the confidence of the brethren, when he assured me that it was right, and he would bring a witness to confirm what he had taught.

When he come again, I still had doubts, I told him I understood he (Higbee), had recently been baptized, and that Joseph, when he confirmed him, told him to quit all his iniquitous practices,—Chauncey said it was not for such things that he was baptized for, [he said] do you think I would be baptized for such a thing and then go into it so soon again? Chauncey Higbee, said it would never be known, I told him it might be told in bringing forth [a child]. Chauncey said there was no danger, and that Dr. Bennet understood it, and would come and take it away, if there was any thing.

Extract from the testimony of Catharine [Fuller] Warren, vs. Chauncey L. Higbee, before the High Council of the Church, &c.

I have had unlawful connexion with Chauncey L. Higbee. Chauncey Higbee, taught the same doctrine as was taught by J. C. Bennet, and that Joseph Smith, taught and practiced those things, but he [Chauncey] stated that he did not have it from Joseph, but he had his information from Dr. John C. Bennet. He, Chauncey L. Higbee, has gained his object about five or six times, Chauncey L. Higbee, also made propositions to keep me with food if I would submit to his desires." (Nauvoo Neighbor, May 29, 1844; Millennial Star 23:657­658)