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“I flatly denied it, saying that no such ever existed [Danite Manifesto], nor was thought of among the Mormons, and I could bring all the Mormons both men, women and children besides myself that would swear before all the world, that no such thing ever existed <​nor was thought of​> among the Mormons”

~Joseph Smith, History of Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, A Source- and Text-Critical Edition 4:69 (Vogel) – 22 February 1840; see also JSP History 1838-1856, volume c, page 1021~

Yet, both the Danites and the Manifesto are factual. Earlier, he made this comment about their duties:

“Thus far, according to the order of the Danites. We have a company of Danites in these times, to put to right physically that which is not right, and to cleanse the Church of every great evil which has hitherto existed among us inasmuch as they cannot be put to right by teachings and persuasyons [sic]. This company or a part of them exhibited on the fourth day of July [—] They come up to consecrate, by companies of tens, commanded by their captains over ten.”

~Faulring, Scott H., An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith (1989, 2 ed.), page 198~