The babe who would one day be known as the Prophet Joseph Smith was born on December 23, 1805, in
and enjoyed an average life until he was fourteen years old. Early in the spring of 1820 Joseph had a
desire to know which church he should join, and he went to a quiet grove to ask
God. His prayer was answered by a
visitation by Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Joseph was tutored by angels; he translated
ancient writings on gold plates and published the Book of Mormon. Under the
direction of God, Joseph organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints on April 6, 1830. He was martyred
with his brother Hyrum on June 27, 1844, in the Sharon, Vermont Carthage
jail in . Carthage, Illinois
The following tribute was written by John Taylor and printed in the Doctrine and Covenants as Section 135.
"To seal the testimony of this book and the Book of Mormon, we announce the martyrdom of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and Hyrum Smith the Patriarch. They were shot in
jail, on the 27th of June, 1844, about five o'clock p.m., by an armed mob -
painted black - of from 150 to 200 persons.
Hyrum was shot first and fell calmly, exclaiming: I am a
dead man! Joseph leaped from the
window, and was shot dead in the attempt, exclaiming: O Lord
my God! They were both shot after
they were dead, in a brutal manner, and both received four balls. Carthage
"John Taylor and Willard Richards, two of the Twelve, were the only persons in the room at the time; the former was wounded in a savage manner wit four balls, but has since recovered; the latter, through the providence of God, escaped, without even a hole in his robe.
"Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord's anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!
"When Joseph went to
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." -- The same morning, after Hyrum
had made ready to go -- shall it be said to the slaughter? Yes, for so it was -- he read the following
paragraph, near the close of the twelfth chapter of Ether, in the Book of Mormon,
and turned down the leaf upon it: Carthage
"And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord that he would give unto the Gentiles grace, that they might have charity. And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: If they have not charity it mattereth not unto thee, thou hast been faithful; wherefore thy garments shall be made clean. And because thou hast seen thy weakness, thou shalt be made strong, even unto the sitting down in the place which I have prepared in the mansions of my Father. And now I … bid farewell unto the Gentiles; yea, and also unto my brethren whom I love, until we shall meet before the judgment-seat of Christ, where all men shall know that my garments are not spotted with your blood. The testators are now dead, and their testament is in force.
"Hyrum Smith was forty-four year old in February 1844, and Joseph Smith was thirty-eight in December 1843; and henceforward their names will be classed among the martyrs of religion; and the reader in every nation will be reminded that the Book of Mormon and this book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, cost the best blood of the nineteenth century to bring them forth for the salvation of a ruined world; and that if the fire can scathe a green tree for the glory of God, how easy it will burn up the dry trees to purify the vineyard of corruption. They lived for glory; they died for glory; and glory is their eternal reward. From age to age shall their names go down to posterity as gems for the sanctified.
"They were innocent of any crime, as they had often been proved before, and were only confined in jail by the conspiracy of traitors and wicked men; and their innocent blood on the floor of Carthage jail is a broad seal affixed to `Mormonism' that cannot be rejected by any court on earth, and their innocent blood on the escutcheon of the State of Illinois, with the broken faith of the State as pledged by the governor, is a witness to the truth of the ever-lasting gospel that all the world cannot impeach; and their innocent blood on the banner of liberty, and on the magna charta of the United States, is an ambassador for the religion of Jesus Christ, that will touch the hearts of honest men among all nations; and their innocent blood with the innocent blood of all the martyrs under the altar that John saw, will cry unto the Lord of Hosts till he avenges that blood on the earth. Amen." (See Doctrine and Covenants 135.)
I testify to all who may read this post that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I love him and I honor him because he was the instrument through which God restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ to earth. I know that Joseph Smith was killed because he was doing the work of God. He was killed by men who felt threatened by his teachings, and yet those same men must rely on the work he left behind for their very eternal salvation. We will all come to know of the greatness of Joseph Smith the Prophet in a coming day!