The martyrdom story told by Mormons differs sharply from the historical record
of events that actually led up to and took place in that jail. (Is the
destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor also included in your story of inspiration?)
Moreover, Smith had a pistol, fired it multiple times, wounding
several of his attackers, and then attempted to jump out the window. Yes, he was killed by a violent mob. He didn't deserve that. He fought to
defend himself. Bully for him. But he was no martyr; he was a victim of a mob
violence. No more, no less.I draw personal inspiration and comfort
from a great many things, too. The difference is I don't attempt to find
inspiration in stories that are so distinctly and demonstrably at odds with
Definition of martyr"1. a person who willingly suffers death
rather than renounce his or her religion.2. a person who is put to death
or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause.There are various versions of recorded history about a great many
things, this incident included. I, too, have sat in that cell and drawn many
spiritual feelings that inspire and motivate me. Thanks for a wonderful
article. If you look for good, you shall surely find it.
@ Blue: You wrote: "Yes, he was killed by a violent mob . . .
But he was no martyr"From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: "mar·tyr noun \ˈmär-tər\: a person who is
killed or who suffers greatly for a religion, cause, etc.: a person
who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to
renounce a religion"Perhaps you'd like to review the
"recorded history" and learn the real reason Joseph was persecuted from
the time of his youth, culminating in his death at Carthage. It certainly
wasn't solely because of the Expositor event.
Blue:You can still be a martyr and be armed with a pistol for
self-defense. Cinci Man provided the definition of a martyr, and Joseph Smith
meets that. The church also doesn't hide the fact Joseph Smith had a
pistol.From FAIR: "Joseph's gun is on display at the Church
History Museum in Salt Lake City, where anyone can see it. It has been there for
years. There is overwhelming evidence that from the earliest days following the
martyrdom, to the present, that both official and unofficial Church publications
have repeatedly mentioned Joseph's pistol."Also, the June
2013 Ensign (church magazine) features a painting called "Greater Love Hath
No Man" by Casey Childs. It is on the page before the article, "Two
Witnesses, Three Days, and the Aftermath of the Martyrdom." The artwork
shows Joseph, Hyrum and Willard Richards are attempting to hold the door shut as
the mob attempts to enter the room. John Taylor is holding his walking stick. In
Hyrum’s left pocket is a pistol, and in Joseph’s left pocket,
clearly visible, is another pistol.Mormon officers are telling the
story just fine. It does not differ sharply from historical record.
To continue the technicalities: Joseph and Hyrum did not die in a jail cell.
They were in a bedroom in the jail. Both rooms are upstairs and adjacent, they
had been in the cell, but were moved to the bedroom. The keeper of the jail
certainly did not consider them a threat.
The Expositor incident was an EXCUSE to arrest and kill Joseph. They charged
him with treason which was absurd because treason cannot be committed against a
state--only the nation. Many elements had been trying for years to find an
excuse and a way to put Joseph to death.In the 19th century many
communities believed that banning together to stop what was considered a threat
to the community was a justifiable defense of the community. The town council
of Nauvoo believed the Expositor was a threat to the safety of the community and
they voted to stop it. That's not the way we see things now, but
that's how things were seen then. That is also the basis for the mobs
against Joseph. Regardless of what happened at the Expositor, it was in no way
a justification for Joseph's murder. Joseph was a martyr. He
went willingly and knowing he would lose his life. No one was convicted of his
murder. Their defense was that this is what the people wanted and so they did
it. It was a political assassination plain and simple and no one was held
Some of you should read "The Carthage Connection" by Dallin Oaks. He
examines the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum, and the legal proceedings that followed
in the attempt to bring justice.... from a strictly legal perspective.It provides a much clearer treatment of the historical record that some of you
keep referring to. The LDS Church is telling the truth in this.
@Cats"The Expositor incident was an EXCUSE to arrest "I'm sorry but when is ordering the destruction of someone's property
an "excuse" to arrest them?
RE:1.96 Standard DeviationsMormon officers are telling the story just fine. It
does not differ sharply from historical record? Wilford Woodruff,
”The death of JS I remember what Joseph said, a short time before he was
slain in one of the last sermons I ever heard him preach. Said he, “Men
are here today who are seeking my blood, and they are those who have held the
Priesthood and have received their washings and anointing’s; men who have
received their endowments. I saw the faces of those men at that time, and they
had a hand in slaying the Prophet.” (JoD v 4 p 149). Dec, 1856. Brigham Young comments on it.… “when you feel like killing me
for so doing, as some of the people did who called themselves brethren in the
days of Joseph Smith, look out for yourselves, for false brethren were the cause
of Joseph's death, and I am not a very righteous man.” (JoD v 3 49).
Francis M Higbee was at the meeting of dissenters on April 28, 1844.Whether Mormons killed JS or not is unimportant many important Mormons wanted
to by taking an Oath(upon request) to kill him. .
The author found peace in Carthage jail. Many readers will find peace reading
his account. Very well done. Bravo.
@SchneePlease read the whole post and absorb the perspective of the
comment. You will understand if you try.
@donn ... I believe the point is that Joseph went to his death, and was killed,
for his beliefs. The issues isn't who did the deed. But I love
the Brigham Young quote. And amen to it.
I didn't get to linger in that upper bedroom, but I did take the tour.One thing that impressed me was a story told by the guide. He said that
several years before, President Spencer W. Kimball toured the jail. He noted
the blood stains still visible on the floor upstairs -- which had been carefully
preserved. He then turned to the head of the historic site who had accompanied
the prophet on this tour and said, "It's time to forgive, please have
the blood stains cleaned off." (or words to that effect).I guess
what I learned is, who did what to whom isn't so critical as the fact that
Joseph sealed his testimony with his blood and this had added to my own
testimony. Now, let's press forward.
@Ulvegaard, I guess what I learned is, who did what to whom isn't so
critical as the fact that Joseph sealed his testimony with his blood and this
had added to my own testimony.Jesus (agonizing and nailed on the
Cross)said,“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are
doing. VS,JS shooting a revolver at the men who moments later killed him. “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man
that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam.
A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor
Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers
of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me
yet.. (D.H.C. v 6. P 408,409)
Donn,No one compares to Christ. No one.But as to
prophets defending themselves (and others) look at Abraham, Moses, Joshua,
Elijah. Prophets can take up the sword.
I get a definite impression that some, intent on detracting from the message of
peace delineated in the article, are desirous only of perpetuating the
bitterness of the past. This phenomenon is nurtured not only in negative views
of LDS History, but also in race, gender, and cultural issues throughout the
whole of society. IMHO we will never solve anything by ongoing vituperative
debate disguised as objective intellectual analysis. The latter may give us some
direction when framed in honesty, but much of it reeks of the proverbial wolves
in sheeps' clothing howling at the prey rather than the soft bleating
before the lambs of the fold.Visiting the Sacred Grove, Carthage Jail,
Martin's Cove, Temple Square in SLC, or any other temple grounds--and their
interiors, if one qualifies to enter--are havens of peace. Detractors may never
comprehend the fact--but I plead with them anyway to give us who do a little