Picturing history: Liberty Jail

Published: Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

The Liberty Jail historic site in Liberty, Mo.

Kenneth Mays

During the so-called Missouri Mormon War of 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith agreed to meet with Missouri militia leaders to discuss the Saints’ removal from the state of Missouri.

However, rather than entering into negotiations, Joseph was arrested on Nov. 1, 1838. After a month of incarceration and judicial hearings, he was sent to the jail at Liberty, Clay County, Mo.

Joseph and several others were in the jail from Dec. 1, 1838, to April 6, 1839. While there, the Prophet dictated a long letter from which sections 121, 122 and 123 of the Doctrine and Covenants were taken. The original, or dictation document, still exists and is in the possession of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

While en route to another venue, Joseph and the others were allowed to escape. They seized the opportunity and hurried on to Quincy, Ill., where they were reunited with friends, family and other members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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