[This post is part of a series on Joseph Smith's Polygamy. To read from the beginning or link to previously published posts, go to A Faithful Joseph.]
Joseph was killed at Carthage, Illinois on June 27, 1844, 170 years ago.
Last week I thought I knew what I was going to write in this post. Despite William Law’s Nauvoo conspiracy, I presumed the dissidents hadn’t been involved in Joseph’s actual death beyond publishing the Expositor. I supposed the mob had been composed of non-Mormons from Missouri and Illinois, whipped into a frenzy by the editor of the Warsaw Signal, Thomas Sharp. The Carthage Greys had been complicit, I supposed. And the escape of John Taylor, Willard Richards, and the handful of men who had been at Carthage Jail prior to the actual martyrdom had been a sort of miracle. I liked to say that it had been a miracle that Joseph and Hyrum hadn’t been killed by the Saints, though there had been hundreds allegedly willing to kill Joseph based on what had been written in the Expositor.
I thought today’s post would be a relatively boring recitation of the facts we all know. Then I read the original accounts from John Taylor and William R. Hamilton.
We haven’t had enough data before to realize what happened at Carthage, because we have not known the identities of the vast number of individuals involved in “illicit intercourse” under the influence of John C. Bennett. I submit it was these ostensibly “believing” members of the Church who were primarily responsible for the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum. Inasmuch as we have presumed the killers of the Smith brothers were primarily ‘regular’ citizens of Missouri and Illinois, I believe we have an apology to make. Continue reading
Today the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a joint statement concerning Priesthood, Questioning, and Apostasy.
“In God’s plan for the happiness and eternal progression of His children, the blessings of His priesthood are equally available to men and women. Only men are ordained to serve in priesthood offices. All service in the Church has equal merit in the eyes of God. We express profound gratitude for the millions of Latter-day Saint women and men who willingly and effectively serve God and His children. Because of their faith and service, they have discovered that the Church is a place of spiritual nourishment and growth.”
“We understand that from time to time Church members will have questions about Church doctrine, history, or practice. Members are always free to ask such questions and earnestly seek greater understanding. We feel special concern, however, for members who distance themselves from Church doctrine or practice and, by advocacy, encourage others to follow them.”
“Simply asking questions has never constituted apostasy. Apostasy is repeatedly acting in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its faithful leaders, or persisting, after receiving counsel, in teaching false doctrine.“
… that often. They just don’t appeal to or look good on me. How far back this aesthetic concern goes in my life I am not sure. Perhaps its only as recently in my life timeline as returning from my mission. Every day from dusk until dawn a missionary wears white shirts and ties, if not suits, as a servant of the Lord. Like any uniform, after the official reason for its use ends it feels good to change into something else. No reason to wear a drab color when there are so many other choices. The reason I don’t like to wear white shirts might sound shallow, and there is truth to that consideration, but tastes are not always complicated.
Part of my personality is less than white shirt and tie compatible. From an early age I have been an artistic minded person. My most distinct youthful memories include drawing or coloring on whatever piece of paper crossed my path. As an example, on Saturdays after cartoons there was a classic monster show that came on one of the channels. Giant monsters were my favorite. One of those was a giant tarantula that terrorized the American foothills of some unnamed geography. Having at the time fallen in love with the show the first viewing, I put that fandom down in art. Not just any old picture would do for my enthusiasm. No, I drew and colored (for a black and white film) the basic storyboard of the movie’s events. In the mind of that young boy sitting half the Saturday doing his creation, he was writer and director of a remake. White means fill the space up with shapes and colors. Continue reading
This Friday, June 27th, marks the 170th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. As this anniversary has approached my thoughts understandably have turned to those events on that tragic summer day so many years ago. In Doctrine & Covenants 135: 4 we read, “When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me—HE WAS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD.” More than anything, this has settled into my heart this week. Joseph knew what his fate was when he left Nauvoo. He knew. And yet, he went, he didn’t fight it, he went. And because he went, he sealed his testimony with his blood. He gave everything for the Lord and the cause of the Restored Gospel.
click to enlarge this image
Growing up in the Church I think I look the life and Marytrdom of Joseph Smith for granted. I never really thought about my own testimony of Joseph Smith I just always thought I knew he was a prophet, because everyone around me said he was. Thankfully, that changed. Twenty years ago, on the 150th anniversary of the Martyrdom, there was a fireside broadcast in commemoration of the event from Carthage Jail in Illinois. President Howard W. Hunter and his councilors were going to be there as well. I was a young single adult at the time, attending a student ward. We had the last block of meetings in our building that day, and everyone had planned on staying for this broadcast. I really didn’t think much about it; in fact I didn’t even know that June 27th was the exact day Joseph Smith had been killed. But my friends were going to be there, so I stayed. Continue reading