Questions asked of David Whitmer at his home in Richmond Ray County, MO – January 14 – 1885:
4Q Why did you stand aloof from the church after 1838?
4A I was appointed in charge of church affairs in Zion Missouri, but from my teachings disaffection grew, and Joseph and Sydney came out and visited the various branches of the church pledging them to themselves as against my teachings upon the word of wisdom and other matters, until for the establishment of their views they organized the DANITES by which each member was sworn to sustain the Heads of the church whether right or wrong – the penalty of refusing so to do being death, “the throat cut” – I LEFT BECAUSE I COULD NOT ACCEPT IT, being led out by the outstretched arm of God – promised life and blessing, and that my opponents would suffer that which they had tried to bring upon me. Being informed of these designs &c by W W Phelps – John Corrill, and Riggs. (https://whitmercollege.com/interviews/zenas-h-gurley-1885/)
It was then that the DANITES were organized, and it is said that their formation was for the PURPOSE OF KILLING the Whitmers and Cowdery, they having been commanded and openly refused to obey, the so-called leaders, right or wrong. The Whitmers and Cowdery then renounced the Church (https://whitmercollege.com/interviews/chicago-tribune-1885/)