I saw this on a post on Twitter, and I think it may be the best summation ever of the history of Latter-day Saint persecution at the hands of “the world.” (The comment is not from the person who painted this painting but instead from the person who posted this painting on Twitter. I thought his comment relevant to the painting itself).
I am just going to make the following point: Jesus Christ himself warned us in the scriptures multiple times that his followers would suffer persecution, even sometimes from our friends.
Matthew 10: 34-36: “34Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
Modern-day revelation says the following: (D&C 101)
1 Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and apersecuted, and bcast out from the land of their inheritance—
2 I, the Lord, have suffered the aaffliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their btransgressions;
3 Yet I will own them, and they shall be amine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.
4 Therefore, they must needs be achastened and tried, even as bAbraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.
5 For all those who will not aendure chastening, but bdeny me, cannot be sanctified.
The message I receive is: Latter-day Saints who follow the prophet will be tested and will have to suffer persecution. Part of the test is that we should maintain principles of kindness and charity, even for our declared enemies, but at the same time, we should not believe that abandoning the precepts of our faith is the solution. Another part of the test is that we must become better Saints even as we suffer persecution.
Joseph Smith said it best:
“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”(History of the Church, 4:540).
This message still applies in our time.
(I am going to assume that almost all readers know that this painting is a depiction of the mob that attacked and killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith in Carthage, Illinois on June 27, 1844, but for those of you who may not know, now you know).