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    I don't have a lot of time right now, but wanted to start this thread before I forgot.

    According to FairMormon, The Danites... well, here:


    The Danites were a brotherhood of church members that formed in Far West, Missouri in mid-1838. By this point in time, the Saints had experienced serious persecution, having been driven out of Kirtland by apostates, and driven out of Jackson County by mobs. Sidney Rigdon was publicly preaching that the Saints would not tolerate any more persecution, and that both apostates and mobs would be put on notice. The Danite organization took root within this highly charged and defensive environment.

    The Danites are sometimes confused with the “Armies of Israel,” which was the official defensive organization that was tasked with defending the Saints. This is complicated by the fact that members of the Danite organization also served in the “Armies of Israel.”

    © Copyright Original Source

    We are led to believe, of course, that Smith had nothing to do with this.

    Source: Fair

    Regardless of their original motives, the Danites ultimately were led astray by their leader, Sampson Avard. Avard attempted to blame Joseph Smith in order to save himself. Joseph, however, clearly repudiated both the organization and Avard.

    © Copyright Original Source

    PART of what they were commissioned to do, IMOHBAO, was to protect the Mormons from the ANGRY EX-Mormons, many of whom were angry because of the Kirtland Bank mess, Smith fooling around with their wives, or being generally scammed or excommunicated or "whatever". Many of Smith's problems were self-inflicted.
    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

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