The Mormon Church has a picturesque history. The "dime store" summary is that Joseph Smith, a treasure hunter, who used "seer stones" to locate buried or hidden treasure came across buried golden plates which comprised additional historical material that added to the Bible and told the story of the Americas and how the Gospel came to this land. It was written in a form or hieroglyphic writing that could only be translated with seer stones one symbol at a time. The translated material became what is known today as the Book of Mormon. The religion, like the country in which it was formed was tailor made for white men, as other races were noted to be inferior in the eyes of the Lord and men could take multiple wives.
It is not the purpose of this post to critique the religion as a whole but some material should be noted to put things in context.
Joseph Smith was a Freemason and helped to establish a lodge in Illinois. Many of the rituals that are enshrined as sacerdotal in the LDS church are adaptations of Masonic ritual.
Many have alleged that the Freemasons were responsible for the death of Joseph Smith because he had stolen much of their secret material and incorporated it into his church.
It is also widely known that the church in it's early years suffered from a certain level of persecution and had to move repeatedly. It is probably in the cauldrons of this persecution that Smith would found the Danites as a means of protection for the Mormons but regardless of intent the Danites quickly became much more than an instrument of protection but one of inflicting murder and mayhem at the behest of Smith and his successor Brigham Young.
For a note of historical importance it should be noted that Sherlock Holmes inventor Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a story in which the Danites featured entitled "A Study in Scarlet".
David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon tells of the founding of this group and his persecution for trying to tell the leaders of the church of their folly in going ahead with this scheme. He eventually left the church and you can read about that here.
The original Mormon leader of the underground sect was Sampson Avard.
The sect was sanctioned to commit any treacherous act in defense of the Church including violence, lying and theft. The violence would also include murder as history would show.
There is much hand wringing over the issue of the Danites both within the church and without. Some claim the group was only briefly in existence and their activities were largely overblown. Others have it that this group continued on beyond 1838.
I find it hard to believe, as some do, that Avard could make up the inner workings of this group and it's purposes with such precision merely to keep himself out of trouble and cause consternation to the Church.
Eventually the Church would split into two distinct groups. One of which eventually would find their way to Utah under Brigham Young. There was a lot of friction between the Mormons and state and federal authorities as well as persecution on some level from the people as well.
In 1857 we had the infamous Mountain Meadows massacre, (which occurred on September 11 FYI) largely carried out by the still extant Danites. Some question whether Church leadership and specifically Brigham Young had a direct hand in what happened. It seems clear to me that Young was intimately involved in the massacre.
There was a period of intense pressure being placed upon the Church by federal authorities especially in regards to the polygamous practices of the sect and to the virtual fiefdom ruled by Young in Utah. It is at this point that we see the emigration of some to Mexico including the grandfather of Willard Mitt Romney.
The Church was forced to evolve over time because of the friction between them and the authorities. One of the biggest changes was the end to polygamy. Polygamy would be reinterpreted as a spiritual thing and not an Earthly manifestation. The Church would also seek to maintain a lower profile and it is in this context that the Danites could continue as a sub Rosa group that would morph, as many lawless groups would do, into a more "respectable" form but still adhering to it's original intent of defending the church and attacking it's enemies.
One of the first inclinations of the Mormons to move into the financial realm was with the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-banking Society in Ohio. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon sought to get a charter for the bank but were turned down. This was an "anti-bank" that ran as a bank issuing it's own currency, even though it had no legal sanction to function as a bank.
This 3 dollar bill is believed by many to be the origin of the term; "Phony as a three dollar bill". The "anti-bank" issued currency in exchange for gold and silver. It folded and a large group of suckers were left holding the bag. This also was a blow to the church as most of the victims of the scam were Church members and many would leave the Church, disillusioned, over the fiasco. It seems that Smith had land speculation in mind when he started the "anti-bank". He and Rigdon fled Kirtland by night to avoid angry mobs of the defrauded.
The Mormon church would become one of the richest religious bodies with an incredible amount of land. In this TWENTY YEAR OLD STORY the amount of land and property owned by the Church was well over a billion dollars, and that was a less than thorough investigation. In that article you will notice that this is an issue of great secrecy in the Church as they do not reveal what they own or where, even to Church members. It is my contention that the "Avenging Angels" morphed into the financial wizards of the Church. It is because of the transition to acquisition that much of the real power in the LDS church would be focused in the financial sector. When we move forward in time we have the curious case of Howard Hughes.
It is established history that later in life, after he had become a recluse, Howard Hughes had a "Mormon mafia" surrounding him and carrying on his affairs. Most of these people would have to engage in high level finance and law and would most likely be of the new Danite persuasion.
In this somewhat lackadaisical blog post the question is posed; did the Mormons plot to kill Howard Hughes?
In the structure of the short post you can see this as an operation. It would serve more than one purpose for the Mormons.
But we see a firmer and more concrete story in this post by Paul Drockton on the people connected to Hughes that also connect to Bain Capital, which brings us back to Willard Mitt Romney.
In the Drockton piece, which I urge you to read, one can see how Bain Capital may have served as a means to bleed the legacy of Howard Hughes and how this was accomplished by Mormons both close to Hughes and at Bain.
It seems that this operation would involve theft, lying, and violence. And what were the hallmarks of the Danites in the furtherance of the LDS church?
Even the Italian Mafia and other illegal groups would move into "respectable" business and continue their illegal activities but in a new "white collar" way.
Could Willard Mitt Romney be a modern Danite? If so will he put this to work for him in running for president? I believe the answer to both is yes.
I have alleged in a post at my website that Mitt is a psychopath. This is admittedly a layman's interpretation as I am not a clinician. But when one examines the actions of a predator in the financial industry and his clear inability to be pinned down on any issue it seems a small leap to make. When you add in his glibness and charm and his casual dismissal of the very poor, his support of corporate entities over living people, his love of firing people and much more that leap is smaller and smaller to make.
The Danites would have served as a magnet for sociopathic and psychopathic personalities both in it's grosser form as seen in the Mountain Meadows massacre and in the ruthless financial sector of today.
Romney is well entrenched in Church leadership by birth and by association. He is very influential in the Church and would be privy to much of what the church plans to do and with what it was involved. It is likely he would have known of the Hughes connection and might have been drawn to that operation.
Let us see how this story plays out.