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Joseph Smith's death


doodle

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Anyone besides me hear the story about one of the men in the mob that killed Joseph Smith being struck dead by lightening as he tried to decapitate the prophet outside of Carthage jail? Anyone know where this story came from?

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This story has long been discredited. From BYU Studies:

William M. Daniels became the chief prosecution witness in the trial of those accused of murdering Joseph and Hyrum in May 1845. Just two weeks before the trial he published a twenty-four page booklet on "the names and proceedings of the principal murderers of Joseph and Hyrum Smith," which contains the account of the alleged attempt to behead the Prophet related by Laub. The booklet, because of its exaggerations and untruths, was used effectively by the defense to discredit Daniels as a witness; though some of Daniels' account has persisted in Mormon folklore--and has even been repeated in some nonofficial books--it has not been accepted in any official way and in fact was attacked by B. H. Roberts as "incredible."

From BH Roberts Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol. 2 CHAPTER LX:

ALLEGED MIRACLES AT THE MARTYRDOM OF JOSEPH AND HYRUM SMITH

332 - 333It was inevitable, perhaps, that something miraculous should be alleged as connected with the death of Joseph Smith; that both myth and legend, those parasites of truth, should attach themselves to the Prophet's career. His character was too extraordinary, his mission too great, and his achievements too splendid to escape such a fate; and therefore both myth and legend are supplied in the stories detailing the scenes attendant upon the Prophet's death. Hence we have the legend of the body dragged to a sitting posture by the old well curb by the Missouri ruffian

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  • 4 weeks later...

The important item to be remembered regardless of the rumors and stories that surround his death, is basically his death and how he died.

His death was a tragedy for the saints and for the Smith family. The actions of the mob were brutal and not only did they kill Joseph but also his brother.

What is the story? The story is that JS was murdered as was his brother. But the lds church survived.

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How do Mormon critics explain Joseph Smith's martyrdom? I've always heard in Church that he went willingly back to Carthage for trial. Is this true? If Joseph were of the moral character that some critics portray, why would he have allowed himself to be sacrificed?

I guess you could ask the same question about Jesus Christ as well. Does anyone have any theories?

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mbh26:

"I've always heard in Church that he went willingly back to Carthage for trial. Is this true?"

Yes.

He was across the river in Iowa and was persuaded to come back to accept arrest, saying that if his life wasn't worth much to his friends, it wasn't worth much to him.

Events proved his prophecy of his own death absolutely correct. He did go like a lamb to the slaughter.

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Yes, and even though he did attempt to defend himself and the group with a 'pepper' gun, I think as a father and innocent he had every right to do so.

HiJolly

Yes, he also had the right as a brother. I don't know what kind of man wouldn't try to protect his brother's life if given the opportunity.

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He didn't allow himself to be sacrificed. If he'd known he was going to be killed, he wouldn't have gone back.

Wrong. He knew he was going to die. That's why he said he was going like a lamb to the slaughter. Do you have any references that show that he didn't think he was going to die?

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Anyone besides me hear the story about one of the men in the mob that killed Joseph Smith being struck dead by lightening as he tried to decapitate the prophet outside of Carthage jail? Anyone know where this story came from?

Here's where the story came from: The men weren't trying to decapitate Joseph Smith; they were attempting to fulfill one of their Masonic oaths dealing with a member who divulged certain secrets.

I say "follow the money".

If anyone did try to decapitate him, I would assume the most practical reason. There was a 1,000 dollar price on his head, literally... in Missouri. That would have been an awful lot of money in those days and an excellent reason for such a grisly action. :P

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As far as lightening at Carthage jail- we have that story in our family tradition. In fact, my ggggg grandpa- William Riley Cole was supposed to have known Joseph Smith pretty well- according to his life story written by Jane May Stokes Bonham- it says:

"He (William) worked for the prophet for a time and during this time he helped repair the wagon that carried the household articles of the prophet. Among the household articles was a barrel of beans containing and hiding the gold plates. This was all done so that the prophet could move to a place where he could have peace in his work of translating the gold plates. William Riley also became one of the prophets body guards and stood at his gate many nights to guard the prophet from the vicious mobs who were determined to take his life.

William Riley loved the Prophet Joseph Smith and was among other members of the church who arrived at the Carthage Jail soon after the prophet and his brother had been martyred. He saw the lightening from heaven strike the mob when they tried to cut the prophet's head off. They were unable to move."

Anyway I wish there was a way I could authenticate these stories about my ancestor- and see if they are true but I don't really know how. Anyway they are great stories to read!

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He didn't allow himself to be sacrificed.  If he'd known he was going to be killed, he wouldn't have gone back.

Wrong. He knew he was going to die. That's why he said he was going like a lamb to the slaughter. Do you have any references that show that he didn't think he was going to die?

Do you have reference that proves he actually said he was going like a lamb to the slaugter?

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He didn't allow himself to be sacrificed.
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I've always heard in Church that he went willingly back to Carthage for trial.
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Jaybear,

Do you have reference that proves he actually said he was going like a lamb to the slaugter?

There are several. The earliest is probably Times and Seasons 5:585.

Cyrus Wheelock reported in 1854 hearing the statement. And in 1856, Stephen Markham also said he heard JS make the statement.

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He didn't allow himself to be sacrificed.  If he'd known he was going to be killed, he wouldn't have gone back.

Wrong. He knew he was going to die. That's why he said he was going like a lamb to the slaughter. Do you have any references that show that he didn't think he was going to die?

I have to agree. There were many things Joseph new that he could not share with his closest.

The ministering of Angels did not cease with him, neither did the direct contact with the Father and the Holy spirit.

Its what true prophets do. The effect must be lasting. That is the power of martyrdom.

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If Joseph truly was going "like a lamb to the slaughter", I think we can all be thankful that lambs don't have pepperbox pistols and opposing thumbs.

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If Joseph truly was going "like a lamb to the slaughter", I think we can all be thankful that lambs don't have pepperbox pistols and opposing thumbs.

Certainly those who slaughter them can be glad of that.

Regards,

Pahoran

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