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Illinois resolution seeks forgiveness

The Illinois House of Representatives has passed a resolution asking "the pardon and forgiveness of the community of Latter-day Saints for the misguided efforts of our citizens, Chief Executive and the General Assembly in the expulsion of their Mormon ancestors from the gleaming city of Nauvoo and the State of Illinois" in 1846.

The lengthy document, comprising 29 "whereas" clauses, was adopted March 24 after being introduced by state Reps. Dan Burke (D-Chicago) and Jack Franks (D-Woodstock). It gives a lengthy recitation of Church history, including the founding and development of Nauvoo from 1839-46, the establishment of the Church in Fayette, N.Y., in 1830; its movement to Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. It covers the tumultuous events in Nauvoo, culminating in the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage in 1844 and the subsequent expulsion of the saints from the state two years later.

Speaking by telephone from Illinois, Rep. Burke said March 31 that the legislation grew out of discussions between his sister-in-law, Illinois appellate court justice Ann E.M. Burke, and Utah Gov. Olene S. Walker about the "travesties of justice of the 1800s" in Illinois. He said the resolution passed unanimously with no discussion on the floor.

"I was acutallly very surprised that so many of my colleagues understood the history of the Mormon community in our state and the unfortunate events that occurred," he said.

The resolution reads:

"Whereas, The goodness, patriotism, high moral conduct, and generosity of the community of Latter-day Saints has enriched the landscape of the United states and the world; and

'Whereas, The biases and prejudices of a less enlightened age in the history of the State of Illinois caused untolled hardship and trauma for the community of Latter-day Saints by the distrust, violence, and inhospitable actions of a dark time in our past; therefore, be it

"Resolved, by the House of Representatives of the Ninety-Third General Assembly of the State of Illinois, that we acknowledge the disparity of those past actions and suspicions, regretting the expulsion of the community of Latter-day Saints, a people of faith and hard work."

The full text of the resolution may be accessed on the Web site of the Illinois General Assembly, www.legis.state.il.us. Click on the link "Bills & Resolutions," then find the link under "House - Resolutions" to HR0627.

Editor's note: An updated story concerning the Illinois resolution can be found here: Deseret Morning News. Text of the updated Illinois resolution can be found here: Illinois resolution.

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