170th anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith


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  • Socal Coug San Diego, CA
    July 2, 2014 7:29 p.m.

    Still an amazing story. It's hard to believe the magnitude of hatred that surrounded this event, yet equally as hard to believe the enormity of faith and goodness that was brought by that man. Praise to the man!

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    July 1, 2014 12:15 p.m.

    Clifton, good job on your comments. From one fellow Nacogdochesite to another.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    July 1, 2014 12:12 p.m.

    ThinksIThink, a gun was smuggled into the jail, in fact two were, and one of them is on display at the Church History Museum. It was the gun called a Pepper Box. That is hardly earth shaking information. I'd have wanted a gun in there too for self defense had I been Joseph. They weren't in the cells, they were in the upstairs bedroom. If some of the mob got hurt, that's just too bad for them. They shouldn't have been participating in vigilantism.

  • PA Gardener Towanda, PA
    June 30, 2014 10:30 p.m.

    I remember visiting Carthage as a young boy and being strongly impressed by the preserved bloodstains in the wood. Since that unforgettable experience I have taken the liberty of reading and examining nearly every biography and teaching I could find on the prophet Joseph. Joseph could not have experienced divine manifestations without having been a pure and virtuous vessel. And he went through persecution even to the point of foreseen death. I know he was not only a remarkable individual but he was also God's prophet. For that I am grateful. And I for one am closer to God for that knowledge.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    June 30, 2014 8:09 a.m.

    Joseph Smith's only true successors in the church presidency were Sidney Rigdon, and, after Rigdon fell in 1847, William Bickerton, in 1852.

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    June 29, 2014 9:41 a.m.

    @something to think about, Was Abel a martyr if he didn't defend himself? Martyr means you would rather die than give up your beliefs, you still have a right to defend yourself.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    June 28, 2014 5:38 p.m.

    Clifton Palmer McLendon

    The same reason that god would command somebody to live polygamy, but not protect that person from mobs attacking him for living as god commanded.

  • UT Brit London, England
    June 28, 2014 4:01 p.m.

    @Light and Liberty

    Joseph did some good things and taught some good principles. On the other hand he did marry 14 year old girls and told women if they didnt marry him an angel was going to kill him.

    One of the worst things we have done in the church is portray Joseph as an almost perfect man, almost to the point of worship.

  • Lilalips Attleboro, MA
    June 28, 2014 1:56 p.m.

    @BR Old Testament: Issac had but one wife, Rebekah. Jacob was tricked into having two wives. It was through another man's wickedness. And it brought his family great sadness. Imagine having to "buy" a night with your spouse the way that Leah had to do. Sarah, Abrahams wife, instigated Abraham taking Hagar and notice that Abraham didn't jump to do it. He inquired of the Lord. The Lord said, "Listen to your wife". The Lord would NEVER stand between a man and his wife to force her to accept the taking of other wives. He has never done that in the scriptures. So simply saying that "polygamy has existed in the Old Testament, therefore it is valid today" falls short. Facts are stubborn things. It is my understanding from my personal study that Joseph Smith also married other apostles wives who were already married to living men. AND that his total number of known wives is somewhere up in the 40's for number. The church is true despite Joseph Smith's mistakes. I wish the Church was more honest about the history.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    June 28, 2014 1:41 p.m.

    Joseph Smith was, and is, a true prophet of God.

    Based on that sure, pure knowledge, visiting Nauvoo and the Carthage jail was a powerful and sacred experience I will always cherish.

    Like one poster above said, I would be thrilled to someday meet Joseph Smith in person. I would be even more thrilled if he someday considered me worthy of being his friend.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    June 28, 2014 12:25 p.m.

    By any objective measurement, Joseph Smith's accomplishments are so profound and stunning, I believe even those who throw their rocks are back pedaling as quickly as the rock is thrown. To actually and thoughtfully consider his life with the least amount of objectivity would leave them feeling, at minimum, sheepish. Foolish would be the other end! Joseph Smith was a prophet!

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    June 28, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    Lots to love, Helen Mar Kimball, Fannie Alger, ets.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    June 28, 2014 8:39 a.m.


    "if in 1844 he were to say it was all a hoax (abandoning and disillusioning) he'd have probably been murdered by his followers for deceiving them and sacrificing so much to follow him."

    I respectfully disagree. The vast majority of his followers, though they would have been greatly disappointed, were generally peaceful and sincere people. But, it is a moot point. They were not deceived or disappointed. He was a prophet. Joseph took the hero's way and his people, though shaken to the core at his death, carried on.

    The Lord's revelations of gospel organization, doctrine, and ordinances - revealed through him - are what the church needed to survive and thrive. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints today is what it is because of what Joseph taught and did.

  • Igualmente Mesa, AZ
    June 28, 2014 8:18 a.m.

    Praise to the man! Blessed to open the last dispensation. Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.

  • Something to think about Ogden, UT
    June 28, 2014 7:12 a.m.

    Didn't Smith have a gun? Didn't he shoot back before dying? Why was that part of the story left out?

    I understand the "martyr" concept because of the religious background, but find some of this rhetoric confusing.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    June 28, 2014 6:43 a.m.

    Every time I read this account of the incidents surrounding the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, my mind expounds the evil which surrounded and finally overtook these good men. There were no heroes to save them; no last minute reprieve by angels or men. They left behind families, wives and children as their life-blood poured on those wooden floors. Their murders went unpunished and evil rejoiced. But their blood was not shed in vain. The Church of Jesus Christ triumphed and grew in the hearts and minds of the pure in heart who have Divine guidance in accepting it. Indeed, the murders of Joseph and Hyrum did not stop this work but rather gave it a renewed life thus showing that good can triumph over the howling of the adversary and that Christ and His church will prevail. Thank you Brother Joseph and Hyrum, for your sacrifice.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    June 28, 2014 6:08 a.m.

    The United States was soon brought to justice for denying Joseph Smith his constitutional rights murdering and driving members of Christ's restored Church beyond it's borders.

    The Civil War was the punishment.

  • deniron Effurun/Nigeria, 00
    June 28, 2014 2:41 a.m.

    It is very good to reminiscence our heroes ( Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith). It will better to practice their bravery by standing for the truth and the best is when the light of the gospel and the spirit descend upon us and people will say you (we) have the spirit. I for one am a living witness of the divine power(priesthood) we hood.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    June 27, 2014 10:36 p.m.

    I believe Richard Bushman, in Rough Stone Rolling, discussed evidence that Joseph Smith had a gun in the jail and that Joseph fired the gun possibly injuring or killing others. Is this simply conjecture or is it generally accepted as true?

  • David in CA Livermore, CA
    June 27, 2014 5:00 p.m.

    According to most LDS, Joseph Smith was the leader and Prophet of the Restoration.

    We were hoping that BYU-TV would have some type of program of recoginition of Joseph Smith
    and his contribution to the world. This is the day he was died in Carthage along with his brother Hyrum.

    We checked the program guide on BYU-TV for something about Joseph and Hyrum. Didn't find
    anything!! Just another day with Time for stuff like Studio C, Sports, an FBI cop show, and some old movies that have nothing to do with with LDS culture or history.

    The orginal BYU-TV USED to play programs of LDS significance. The "Keeping You Connected"
    BYU-TV was far BETTER!!! The decision makers that are now there say it's getting better, but some of us believe it's just getting more Secular...

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 27, 2014 3:37 p.m.

    Sasha Pachev,

    "....just knowing that Joseph Smith was killed by a mob with faces painted black would make me wonder what kind of man he was...."

    Joseph Smith was a phenomenally polarizing figure. People loved him or hated him, regarded him as God’s prophet or as a complete scoundrel. Such polemic extremes are what make him a larger than life figure. Every new book about him that offers a definitive explanation seems to reignites the debate.

  • donn layton, UT
    June 27, 2014 3:12 p.m.

    RE: Craig Clark, It’s apocalyptic in tone but it does not call for a takeover of the Government?

    On April 11, 1844, the Council of Fifty installed Joseph Smith as king on earth, then two days later, “He [Smith] prophecied the entire overthrow of this nation in a few years.” This theocratic-political body believed they were receiving God's “law” for the whole earth. On January 1, 1845, William Clayton summarized the goals and accomplishments of this council during 1844:
    Apostles Lyman Wight and Heber C. Kimball, both members of the Council of Fifty, in a June 19, 1844, letter to Joseph Smith boldly declared, “You are bound to be the President of the United States on 4th March 1845 and that you are already president pro tem of the world.”

    Joseph Smith by attempting to establish a secret theocratic-government within America in 1844 appears to have violated the treason clause of the U.S. Constitution (Article III, Section 3). Moreover, his plan and method for overthrowing the United States.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    June 27, 2014 2:58 p.m.

    "Faced with the choice between abandoning and disillusioning them and violent early death, he chose the heroic choice."

    He never had that choice, if in 1844 he were to say it was all a hoax (abandoning and disillusioning) he'd have probably been murdered by his followers for deceiving them and sacrificing so much to follow him.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    June 27, 2014 2:44 p.m.

    It is interesting to observe a different nature of comments on this thread. Not as much negative against the Church as we usually get. Perhaps the circumstances of the death of the Prophet tend to subdue his critics. If I knew nothing about the Church (and I at one point in my life I did not), just knowing that Joseph Smith was killed by a mob with faces painted black would make me wonder what kind of man he was. A coward tends to be antagonistic against a certain type of people, the opposite type, the noble kind. What kind of character would attract a violent mob of several hundred cowards?

  • Don Aldo BOUNTIFUL, UT
    June 27, 2014 1:45 p.m.

    Joseph Smith stands out as a religious, business and political leader during an age that produced giants in many fields. Nevertheless it is not impossible that some future historians will recognize him as the greatest figures of all modern times. One of his great achievements is The Book of Mormon. If one does not accept Joseph's account of it's divine origin, the only alternative is that the book is a fictional work, and that Joseph must be one of the greatest novelists of the nineteenth century from the age of seventeen (it then took seven years to get it published.) An other great achievement is the brilliant organization he founded. An other is a body of theological doctrine rivaling any other system of religious thought in its completeness and logical beauty. Opine what you will; I choose to follow him as the true prophet of God The Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 27, 2014 1:28 p.m.


    "....He was arrested and put in Carthage Jail because he ordered the destruction of a printing press that was exposing the truth about his polygamy and his plans to take over the U.S. government and institute a theo-democracy...."

    You’re wildly overstating the church and state matter. The Expositor called for repeal of the Nauvoo Charter whose powers they felt Joseph was abusing. But there was never a call by Joseph Smith to “take over the U.S. Government and institute a theo-democracy,” as you charge.

    Joseph was in fact an announced candidate for President at the time. His published paper titled General Smith’s Views of the Power and Policy of the Government was the equivalent of his Presidential platform. It’s apocalyptic in tone but it does not call for a takeover of the Government.

    The Expositor did detail allegations of polygamy using sworn statements from individuals in Nauvoo.

  • donn layton, UT
    June 27, 2014 12:47 p.m.

    RE: Craig Clark , “JS was behaving like an autocrat who was out of control. Joseph tempted fate once too often with tragic results”. True, It got out of hand.

    He was arrested and put in Carthage Jail because he ordered the destruction of a printing press that was exposing the truth about his polygamy and his plans to take over the U.S. government and institute a theo-democracy.

    JS sent a secret message to the Nauvoo Legion commander to bring troops to break him out of jail which the commander refused to do. He was smuggled a gun by a church friend which he fired frantically at the storming mob.
    He went to the window of the jail in view of the mob to scream the masonry distress call hoping to influence help by fellow masons. Joseph Smith was wearing an occult object called a Jupiter Talisman on him on the day he was killed.

  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    June 27, 2014 12:38 p.m.

    @Craig Clark - On a similar note,

    "Jesus’ murder might not have happened had he shown restraint in his conduct on several fronts. ... To his enemies, he was behaving like an autocrat who was out of control. Jesus tempted fate once too often with tragic results."

    If those appointed by God to complete a specific task were to kowtow to every criticism by mankind, nothing would ever get done.

    @LilyLips - Jesus taught that we would know a prophet by his fruits. Those brought forth by Joseph Smith have proven time and again to be some of the greatest ever given to mankind. His works have more than proven his position as a prophet of the Living God.

    Seems to happen a lot to those who seek to bring more light to a very dark world.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    June 27, 2014 11:38 a.m.

    It takes brave men to die for their cause.

    Joseph had built a revolutionary religious movement, and assembled a community of saints whose virtue he recognized and whom he dearly loved. Faced with the choice between abandoning and disillusioning them and violent early death, he chose the heroic choice.

  • BR Sandy, UT
    June 27, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    Lilalips & Craig Clark

    As we read the scriptures - Old, New Testament, Book of Mormon, etc. we can find that several prophets were murdered for saying the truth and following the Lord's commandment. Not because they didn't show some restraint or because of polygamy, as many prophets had more than one wife (Abraham, Jacob, etc.)They were killed because there is evil in this world and some people chose to follow evil instead the voice of the Lord.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 27, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    Twin Lights,

    Agreed. People are not justified in taking the law into their own hands regardless of what they think someone has done. But vigilantism was a phenomenon that cropped periodically in our nation’s early history, especially on the American frontier.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    June 27, 2014 9:51 a.m.

    Craig Clark,

    Even if you put these actions in their most negative light, the punishment for these actions is not death to you and your brother (certainly without due process) and the expulsion of an entire city.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    June 27, 2014 9:37 a.m.

    Joseph’s murder might not have happened had he shown restraint in his conduct on several fronts. He wasn’t just the leader of the Church. He was also a civil authority who exercised poor judgment in ordering the destruction of the Expositor and declaring martial law in Nauvoo. To his enemies, he was behaving like an autocrat who was out of control. Joseph tempted fate once too often with tragic results.

  • Clifton Palmer McLendon Gilmer, TX
    June 27, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    @Lilalips: "Polyandry" [from the Greek "poly" (many) and "andros" (man)] involves one wife married to a number of husbands.

    "Polygyny" [from the Greek "poly" (many) and "gyne" (woman)] involves one husband married to a number of wives.

    The general term "polygamy" [from the Greek "poly" (many) and "gamos" (marriage)] can refer to either polyandry or polygyny.

    As to your conjecture about Joseph Smith's death: Why would God give a commandment, then punish someone for obeying it?

  • ImABeliever Provo, UT
    June 27, 2014 8:49 a.m.

    I hope one day to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith if the Lord would allow.

  • tyndale1 Pullman, WA
    June 27, 2014 8:18 a.m.

    To Lilalips, few things are ever clear cut, black or white, yet the end result is the same. Joseph Smith did his part, the part the Lord needed him to do. He was human and had his faults, but he did what the Lord asked of him, and that is all any of us can do. How I admire his courage. How I appreciate his willingness to go forward with certain things even when he knew certain results would cause his death. Yet he didn't falter. As I study and contemplate the answers to gospel questions that he provided through the insight of his unique calling, I am overwhelmed. What a gift to humanity he was.

  • Lilalips Attleboro, MA
    June 27, 2014 7:34 a.m.

    Sad that they had to die the way they did. But is there a possibility that Joseph Smith died because of how he "lived" polygamy? (polyandry or spiritual wives) Joseph told Emma that if she didn't accept polygamy that she would be destroyed. Within that same year he was gone. Yet, the church has gone on to become something very powerful. A force for good. I don't think the "martyrdom" was as black and white as the Church has always taught.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    June 27, 2014 7:29 a.m.

    Joseph was a figure for the eternities. And Hyrum was a hero as well. An angel of God prophesied Joseph's name would be had for good and bad throughout the world and indeed it has. We do not worship Joseph or Hyrum, but we do venerate them as great men, about as great as ever lived.

    I for one will be forever grateful for the work that they did to bring us the gospel of Jesus Christ. They sealed their testimonies with their blood: The ultimate testimonies that could be given.