The Martyrdom! June 27 , 1844 th Doctrine & Covenants: 5 & 6 Doctrine & Covenants 5:22 and 6:29-30 The Lord hinted at martyrdom in both of these sections. Hyrum Smith would take Olivers place. Oliver should have gone with Joseph sealing his
exaltation, but it was Hyrum who replaced him. Josiah Quincy, a prominent New England citizen who later became the mayor of Boston, visited Joseph Smith two months before the Martyrdom. Many years later he wrote about the people who had most impressed him during his life. Regarding Joseph Smith, he wrote, It is by no means improbable that some future text-book, for the use of
generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet (Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past from the leaves of Old Journals, 5th ed. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1883, 376). Four Events That Brought About The
Death Of The Prophet 1. Religion Apostates believed the church was once true, but with the introduction of plurality of wives, plurality of Gods, and Sealings unto Eternal Life, they believed that Joseph was a fallen Prophet. 2. Politics Apostates said that Joseph combined Church and State and thus over-stepped his bounds.
3. Plural Marriage Apostates taught that Joseph was bringing foreign girls to America to submit their will to God and to the brethren for their own gratification. That rumor was prevalent in England for many years. There were riots in the early 1900s in England saying that the church was converting 16-17 year old girls and then bringing them to America to satisfy the lusts of wicked apostles and prophets.
4. The Nauvoo Expositor 4. The Nauvoo Expositor The city council in Nauvoo met and declared it to be a public nuisance. On June 10th, 1844 Marshall John Green was sent to destroy the Nauvoo Expositor. He threw out the type and burned the second issue of the paper that was to be delivered to the community that day.
The publishers were William and Wilson Law, Charles Ivins, Francis Higbee, Chauncy Higbee, Robert D. and Charles A. Foster (all apostates). Note: They had the right to close down the paper, but not to destroy the press. The Warsaw Signal The Warsaw Signal The following was published as a result of the destruction of
the Nauvoo Expositor: The diabolical outrage of the ferrets. The war of extermination is inevitable. Citizens arise, one and all, can you stand by and watch such infernal devils to rob men of their property and rights without avenging them. We have no time to comment. Every man will make his own, and let it be made with powder and ball. The above was published on June 12th, 1844 in the Warsaw Paper.
The Martyrdom The Nauvoo Conspiracy The Nauvoo Conspiracy involved around 200 people. We do not have an entire list of all who were involved. Two boys named Dennison Harris and Robert Scott were invited to a meeting along with others. Robert Scott had been living with William Law and was sixteen years old. Dennison Harris was the nephew of Martin Harris
(Dallin H. Oaks comes from that line). The boys werent comfortable about going to the meeting but Joseph encouraged them to attend. The Prophet said, Boys I want you to go to that meeting and tell me what takes place. They went and discovered that it was a conspiracy to kill the Prophet. They reported back to Joseph and told him that another meeting had been planned. The Prophet said, Boys, the tenor of the meeting will change,
this time they might kill you, I dont think they will, but I would like you to attend. Both of the boys were willing to attend the meeting. Joseph was right, the tone of the meeting was different. There was hatred among the people who desired to kill Joseph. In the meeting the people took an oath administered by Francis Higbee. He said, You solemnly swear before God and all Holy angels, and these
your brethren by whom you are surrounded that you will give your life, your liberty, your influence, your all for the destruction of Joseph Smith and his party so help you God. Those present responded that they would. They were all required to put their hands on the Bible to make their oath. Over 200 men and at least three women signed the document. The two boys could not identify the women because they had veils on.
After everyone had signed the document, the two boys were also invited to do so. They told the group that they were to young to know about such things and would not sign. Joseph had told them to sign nothing prior to their going to the meeting. The group pressured the boys to sign. One of the men in the meeting told the boys that they knew to much and that they had better make the oath and sign the document or they would be killed. The group decided not to kill the boys, but they did threaten
them with the horrible things they would do to them and their families if they said anything about the meeting. Joseph was worried because the boys had not yet returned from the meeting, so he started looking for them. The two boys actually found Joseph and told him everything. Joseph commended them for their faith. Josephs Vision Joseph was told that he was to surrender for trial to the State leaders.
He knew that if he did he would be a dead man! He received a revelation and the Lord told him to take the Church and go into the wilderness. This would fulfill the words of Isaiah about the Church being built in the tops of the mountains. Joseph said that he and Hyrum were to go away to the west. Arrangements were made on the 23rd of June. They sent Porter Rockwell back to get horses and supplies. When Porter returned he had some of the brethren with him and they told Joseph and Hyrum that they
were being accused of being cowards and running from their enemies. Joseph then made the following famous statement: If my life is no value to my friends then it is no value to myself. Joseph turned to Hyrum and asked him what they should do. Hyrums advice was to return. Emma sent a letter to Joseph with the men but we dont know what it said.
Some have said that Emma wrote that Joseph was a coward. She might have asked him to come back, but its highly unlikely that she would ever call him a coward. Joseph made the prophetic statement that if we go back we are dead men, or I am not a Prophet of God. Jonathan Oldham Duke Document The document related a conversation that Stephen Markham had with the Prophet while in the Carthage jail. Markham asked the Prophet if he felt he would again be delivered as he
had been on former occasions. Joseph replied, When I was with the people as their leader, the Lord blessed me with the whisperings of His Spirit, which was for me to take this people out into the wilderness. However, being closely pursued by the Brethren who said, You always said you would not leave us, but now the wolf is coming in on us and you leave us. Believing this to be the mind of the Saints we returned to Nauvoo.
And now said he, I know no more than other men. I have given up my agency and suffered myself to be led by those who I should have led. Joseph and Hyrum returned on June 23rd, 1844. That evening Hyrum Smith married his daughter to Loren Walker which brought him great joy! On the afternoon of the 26th of June,1844, Frank Worrel, leader of the Carthage Grays took command of guarding the jail. He was the one who let the mob in.
Months after the martyrdom Frank Worrel accidentally ran into Orrin Porter Rockwell. Porter Rockwell shot and killed him right off of his horse. Rockwell later said that it was one of the greatest days of his life. Remember, Porter Rockwell said, that he never killed a man that didnt deserve to die. That same day Joseph was visited by John Smith and others. They were not allowed to stay in the jail with him.
The night of the 26th a significant prophecy was made. Dan Jones and Joseph were laying on the floor trying to get some rest. Joseph said, Dan are you afraid to die? Dan said, Do you think that time has come? The Prophet didnt answer him but simply said that Dan would live to serve a mission in Wales and would perform a great work. Dan Jones later baptized over 2,000 people in his home land of Wales.
On June 27th the Prophet sent Dan Jones out to see what the noise was during the night. Dan did so and was not let back into the jail. John Fullmer and Cyrus Wheelock came to the jail for a visit and smuggled in two pistols. One was a pepper box and one was a single shot. The Prophet gave the single shot to Hyrum. Hyrum said, I dont like guns and I dont like to use them. The Prophet said, Neither do I Hyrum, but we might have to. Hyrum never fired
that pistol. Pepper-box and Six Shooter According to Dallin Oaks and Marvin Hill: Wills, Voras, and Gallaher were probably named in the indictment because their wounds, which testimony showed were received at the jail, were irrefutable evidence that they had participated in the mob. They undoubtedly recognized their vulnerability and fled the county. A contemporary witness
reported these three as saying that they were the first men at the jail, that one of them shot through the door killing Hyrum Smith, that Joseph wounded all three with his pistol, and that Gallaher shot Joseph as he ran to the window (Hay, The Mormon Prophets Tragedy, 675). According to Hay, Wills, whom the Mormon prophet had shot in the arm, was an Irishman who had joined the mob from his congenital love of a brawl (Statement of Jeremiah Willey, August 13, 1844, Brigham Young correspondence, Church Archives).
Gallaher was a young man from Mississippi who was shot in the face (Hay, The Mormon Prophets Tragedy, 669, 675). Another sources says Wills was a former Mormon elder who had left the Church (Davis, An Authentic Account, 24). Hay described Voras (Voohees) as a half-grown hobbledehoy from Bear Creek whom Joseph shot in the shoulder. The citizens of Green Plains were said to have given Gallaher and Voras new suits of clothes for their parts in the killing (Statement of Jeremiah Willey, August 13, 1844).
Joseph sent Stephen Markham on an errand and when he came back they wouldnt let him back in jail. They tried to drive Markham out of town. Stephen held the reins as they slapped his horse but they couldnt get the horse to move. They took their bayonets and jabbed Stephen in his legs until they had cut his legs so badly that his boots filled with blood. He was forced out. Stephen Markham would later become a Bishop in Spanish Fork. He died a faithful, wonderful man.
Carthage Jail George Stegal with his wife and seven children lived in the jail. Mrs. Stegal almost got shot on the day of the martyrdom. She was baking bread and bending over to look in the oven when a bullet went over her head and into the wall. Eight men were locked up: John Taylor, Willard Richards, John Green, Stephen Markham, Dan Jones, John S. Fullmer, and Lorenzo Wassom.
None of those men had to be in the jail except for Joseph and Hyrum. It was their choice to be there. On the 26th of June, at about 9:30 a.m. Governor Ford visited with Joseph Smith for a few minutes. Joseph spent the rest of the morning writing letters to his family. Garments Removed? Apparently the brethren removed their garments at the request
of Emma. At least the Prophet did. Emmas motives appear to be pure in that she did not want the garments to be mocked. The only one who refused to do so was Willard Richards. Emma-Five Months Pregnant When Joseph was arrested on June 24th and left for Nauvoo he made this famous statement.
I am going like a lamb to the slaughter It was on this occasion that he told Emma goodbye with much emotion and many tears. He asked her, if the baby is a boy, name him David Hyrum Smith. When the baby arrived, it was a boy, and Emma named him David Hyrum. David later became a great artist but ended up in an insane asylum because of chemical imbalances. If David Hyrum would have been properly diagnosed by
doctors he could have been treated with proper medicine. Joseph left behind his pregnant wife and three little boys. Governor Ford left Carthage for Nauvoo, leaving the Carthage Grays in charge. The Carthage Grays were the most devout enemies the Prophet had! When Ford arrived in Nauvoo he ripped into the Saints in his speech. He went into the Nauvoo Temple which was not yet finished
and some of his men broke the horns off the oxen at the baptismal font. Orrin Porter Rockwell said that a cannon was fired about 5:00 p.m. on June 27th, 1844 and that Ford and his men fled out of Nauvoo immediately. This event has made historians wonder if it was a signal to Ford and his men that the deed had been completed. William Randall, one of Josephs body guards, recorded that he heard Governor Ford tell the Carthage Grays, Be quiet
men the deed will be done soon enough. William Randall remained faithful and loyal to the Church. Joseph asked Hyrum to read Ether 12:36-38. He then asked John Taylor to sing To a Stranger which was later known as A Poor Wayfaring Man. When John Taylor finished singing the hymn Joseph asked him to sing it again to which John Taylor said, I dont feel like it. The Prophet said, sing it again and you will get the spirit of it. There were four apostles in the jail, two would live and two
were going to die (2 Corinthians 13:1). Carthage Jail Jailors Room in Which They Stayed Carthage Jail Painting of the Martyrdom
A large group of men were coming up the Warsaw road with blackened faces. The guards at the jail offered minimal resistance and fired shots into the air. The men came up the stairs, Hyrum Smith and Willard Richards put their hands on the door. A bullet went through the door and hit Hyrum on the left side of his nose. The bullet entered just under his eye and exited through his ear. It pierced his vein and he bled to death. Hyrum had very little blood in his body later when an autopsy was performed. Cal Stephens taught that there were at least seven bullet holes
that went into him that didnt draw blood. As Hyrum fell back he cried out, I am a dead man, John Taylor said it had been imprinted on his mind for all eternity, the facial expression of Joseph Smith, when he looked down and saw his brother dead. I will never forget the look on Josephs face as he knelt over his brother and said, Oh my poor dear brother Hyrum. Hyrum was the first to fall as a bullet passed through
the door and killed him. John Taylor, heading for the window, was wounded by a bullet that pushed him against the windowsill. The impact against the windowsill shattered and stopped his watch. John Taylors watch became a symbol of the event; it stopped at 5 oclock, 16 minutes, and 26 seconds (Willard Richards, in Glen M.
Leonard, Nauvoo: A Place of Peace, a People of Promise (2002), 398). John Taylors Watch John Taylor was pulled into the other cell by Willard Richards and covered with straw. Ticks might have saved his life
(they might have clotted his blood). Willard Richards stood and waited for the mobs to come back, but they had already fled. Samuel Smith with the help of Mr. Hamilton took both bodies to the Hamilton house where
they cleaned the dead bodies. The mobs shed the blood of two of the greatest men on the face of the planet. I dont think it was an accident that the Lord provided two witnesses to the murders. Instead of reading everyone elses accounts of the martyrdom we should read Willard Richards and John Taylors accounts. Why? They were the only ones there who were righteous.
Bullet Hole in the Door Bullet Hole in Door, The Rascal Beater Willard Richards The Willard Richards Prophecy: Joseph told Willard that the day would come when he would stand where bullets would fly as thick as in a hail storm and
that he would not be hurt (It was given about a year before the martyrdom). Joseph then asked Willard if he believed it? Willard said, no, Joseph said, why? He said, because Ive been in a hail storm before and I got hit lots of times. That tickled the Prophet and he said, You will see it happen. It did happen in Carthage. One of the bullets nicked his ear, causing a little trickle of blood. The bullets were flying around him like hail in a storm (He was a big man, well over 300 pounds).
That great prophecy was fulfilled! Outside Window From Which Joseph Leaped Joseph approached the window and I believe, because of what I know about Joseph Smith, decided to jump out the window in order to save his friends. Two bullets hit him from the back and then two from the front. He leaped out the window saying, Oh Lord my God. I dont believe that Joseph was giving the Masonic distress
signal. The Masonic distress signal is Oh Lord my God is there no help for the widows mite. Its just too late, Joseph knew he was going to die, hes not trying to get someone to help him. Here is a thought that I would like you to consider. I think the Son of God was there to take him home. If Im wrong, Im sorry. I have felt for many years that the Savior came to take the
greatest of all the Prophets home. Joseph was taken home to his exaltation! Stair Well On Second Floor Stair Well Again One of the first people to get to the dead bodies was Samuel Smith. Henry Martin Harmon, a member of the church came with him.
Samuel witnessed a member of the mob running around saying that Joseph Smith had abused his father. The man then took his fife (used in military drills) and hit the Prophet over the head a couple of times and ran off. It might be from that story that comes all of the wild ones that we hear including the person who was going to decapitate the Prophet but God intervened in a rather sensational way. Painting of the Martyrdom
The next day they took Joseph and Hyrums bodies back to Nauvoo. They ended up putting their bodies in wooden boxes. Samuel Smith and Willard Richards drove one wagon with Josephs body, and Mr. Hamilton drove the other wagon with Hyrums body. They covered the bodies with buffalo robes and green boughs and twigs to try and keep the sun rays off because of the heat and humidity. Lenore Cannon Taylor, John Taylors wife was brought to the
Hamilton House to stay with her husband while he was recovering. While the doctor was working on John Taylor, Lenore was kneeling in prayer outside the room. She was praying for the recovery of her husband. While she was praying a lady walked by and patted her on the shoulder and said, Thats right Mrs. Taylor, you ask God to forgive you Mormons. Friday, June 28th:
In the morning at the Hamilton Hotel, Willard Richards arranged for a guard of eight soldiers, provided by Governor Ford and General Deming, to travel with the bodies to Nauvoo. The bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were placed in rough oak boxes, covered with brush for protection from the sun, and loaded onto separate wagons. With one wagon driven by the innkeeper, Artois Hamilton, and the other driven by Samuel Smith, the procession slowly made its way to Nauvoo. That evening, after the bodies were prepared and impressions of the faces were taken for the death masks.
Hyrums Death Mask Death masks were often created during this time period as a means of preserving the likeness of a deceased family member Josephs Death Mask Although no religious authorities have vouched for the authenticity, some people take it seriously.
The original daguerreotype first surfaced in 1965 in Independence, Missouri. The picture was donated to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints --- now called the Community of Christ --- by a woman who believed it was an old picture of Joseph Smith. Arizona author and researcher S. Michael Tracy said, She purported that she was a distant family relative which has never been proved. The picture was rediscovered in Community of Christ archives in
1994. Many other alleged Joseph Smith photos have been discredited by experts. Of all the different images, this is the only one that matches up forensically with what we know of Joseph Smiths anatomy. Tracy said. He says the forensics team compared anatomical points in the photo with Josephs death mask and with photos of Josephs skull taken when his remains were exhumed in the 1920s. There are also two sets of measurements of Smiths live skull, one made
during a Joseph Smith visit to Philadelphia in 1839. Tracy said he found 32 points of anatomical comparison. His anatomy matches up perfectly with this image, Tracy said. He agrees there needs to be more study of the image. In fact, we invite more people to come and study this image. The existence of this picture has been well-known to insiders of the two churches for more than a decade, and neither is willing to vouch for its authenticity. Weve seen many images of Joseph Smith over the years, but
all have been the work of painters, sculptors and illustrators. The Community of Christ has tried to authenticate the photo but has never vouched for it publicly. The Latter-day Saint Church says it has no opinion whatsoever. Historian Will Bagley said he first saw the picture at least five years ago and believes its a picture of someone else. The best experts Ive talked to reject it because the clothing isnt appropriate, and also its a picture of a very thin man. Saturday, June 29:
For several hours, thousands passed through the Mansion House to view the fallen brothers. Shortly after 5:00 p.m., the Saints gathered at the meeting ground west of the temple to hear William W. Phelps give the funeral sermon. There were rumors that enemies planned to steal the bodies. As a result, the coffins were removed from their outer boxes and were locked in the bedroom. The outer boxes were filled with bags of sand, nailed shut, and driven past the crowd at the meeting ground. About midnight, a group of men met at the Mansion House and moved the coffins that held the bodies to the basement of the Nauvoo
House. Several weeks later, the bodies were removed from the Nauvoo House and buried under a small outbuilding near the Homestead, Joseph and Emmas first home in Nauvoo. The bodies remained there until 1928 and were then moved to their current location, closer to the Homestead. Today the graves of Joseph (38), Hyrum (44), and Emma Smith (74) are the focal point of this small family cemetery. Joseph Smith Sr. (69) and Lucy Mack Smith (80) are
among the few buried there. Reaction of Others Not There! Louisa Barnes Pratt (wife of Addison Pratt) said that at the time of the martyrdom, dogs barked, cows bellowed, and a depressed gloomy spirit set around. Women began to cry. Louisa said that no one had ever heard anything like it in
Nauvoo before. It wasnt until hours later that they heard the Prophet had been killed. Wilford Woodruff said the following about the day of the martyrdom. He wrote, Brigham Young and myself were at the railroad station at the time Joseph and Hyrum were assassinated and this was June the 27th at a quarter past five in the evening. It was half past six
in Boston as we sat in the station. Brigham was very sorrowful and depressed in Spirit not knowing the cause. Brigham said, This was the time that Satan had struck the heaviest blow since the Son of God was crucified. All of the Twelve wherever they were on that day, later stated that they felt like the President of the Quorum, sorrowful and burdened in Spirit without knowing why. George Albert Smith said that at the time of the martyrdom he
heard a voice which said, Joseph is dead aint you glad! George A. Smith was offended but knew that it was true. Parley P. Pratt told some of the brethren he was with, This is a sorrowful day, the horrors of hell have been turned loose, let us not say anything. He didnt know why, but he told his companions that this day we do not teach the Gospel nor do we say anything. John Taylor said, The death of the Son of God convulsed all things on the earth
and moved out into eternity and shook all things there also when He died. And thats why this earth just about came apart when it felt the blood of its creator hit its face. All things felt his death, and to a lesser extent the Saints were experiencing that something was happening. Many accounts told of it. The bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were laid out on a table at the Mansion House in Nauvoo and the Smith family were able to view them.
Emma cried bitterly and said, Oh Joseph speak to me, and fell on the Prophet. She said, Oh Joseph speak to me and say that you forgive me! We really dont know what she was talking about. It may have had something to do with the letter she wrote. Maybe it was over plural
marriage or that she refused to go to Carthage, Joseph had asked her to go. Who knows why a wife says what she says when she looks at her dead husband. Mary Fielding Smith quietly walked into the room, looked at Hyrum and quietly walked out. It bothered Emma that Mary didnt shed any tears. What Emma didnt know was that after Mary left, she went back to her house and sobbed hysterically on her bed.
We all react differently, that is why we dont want to make a judgment. We will almost always error most of the time. Lucy Mack Smith came in and said, I sank back crying to the Lord in the agony of my soul, saying, My God, my God why hast thou forsaken this family. A voice immediately replied and she heard, I have taken them to myself that they might have rest. Lucy recorded, As I looked upon their peaceful countenances, I seemed
almost to hear them say, Mother weep not for us. We have overcome the world by love. We carry to them the Gospel that there souls might be saved. They slew us for our testimony and thus placed us beyond their power. Their ascendancy is for a moment. Ours is an eternal triumph. Eliza R. Snow almost died of a broken heart. She refused to eat, and began starving herself. had lost her desire to live.
She Joseph Smith came from the Spirit World and walked through the wall, stood in the room, and reprimanded Eliza. Joseph told her that the Lord was not pleased with what she was doing and either was he. He told her that she had a great work to perform in the valley of the Rocky Mountains and when she had finished her work he would come and take her home.
Eliza R. Snow exercised faith and accomplished great things. She held the most unique position of all women in this Church. She was called as the General President of all of the sisters. She was over the Relief Society, Primary and Young Women Organizations. The Prophet and Hyrum were buried after a mock burial ceremony. The caskets were taken to the Nauvoo cemetery located east of town. They buried the bodies at night in the basement of the Nauvoo
House. Later Emma moved their bodies to a little spring or well house. They were later moved from that location and lost for a period of time. They eventually found the bodies and exhumed them. After they were exhumed they buried their bodies in cement vaults. Joseph and Hyrums Bodies Exhumed in January 1928 Frederick Smith the President of the Re-organized Church of
Latter-day Saints, now the Community of Christ had the bodies exhumed because he had heard that the Mormon Church was teaching that Joseph had been resurrected and that he had rode in the wagon with Brigham Young to show the way to the Rocky Mountains. A lot of the Saints believed it. Samuel O. Bennion was the mission president of the Central States Mission and he immediately rushed to see what the RLDS Church had done.
The Saints were very upset. When Samuel O. Bennion got there, they had taken the skeletons and laid them out on tables in the Mansion House. They hired photographers to take pictures. Samuel said it bothered him to see the way they were treating the Prophets of God. Samuel said he saw the big hole that went through the skull of Hyrum and that his skull was missing two teeth. He saw that
Hyrums jaw had been broken by a bullet. The RLDS Church have all of the pictures of Josephs and Hyrums skeletons. President Heber J. Grant wrote and told Frederick Smith that he didnt feel good about what they were doing and wished that they would leave the bones alone. Fate of the Persecutors of Joseph Smith Most of the people that were involved in the killing of the
Prophet and Hyrum became well known and nothing unusual happened to them. We need to remember that God will take care of business at the judgment with those people who were responsible for their deaths. The Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith written by Lundwall is a poorly written book. He picked out seven or eight men and told about horrible things that happened to them.
Josephs Testimony Against Dissenters at Nauvoo: In May of 1844 Joseph read the 11th chapter of 2nd Corinthians. He taught that he, like Paul, had been in perils, and more often than anyone else in this generation. As Paul boasted, Joseph taught that he had suffered more than Paul did. He also taught that he would not be so humble if he was not persecuted. He said that God is in the still small voice. I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever
been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me (History of the Church, vol. 6, 408-9). Wilford Woodruff, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve declared:
I bear my testimony that in the early spring of 1844, in Nauvoo, the Prophet Joseph Smith called the Apostles together and he delivered unto them the ordinances of the church and kingdom of God. And all the keys and powers that God had bestowed
upon him, he sealed upon our heads, and he told us we must round up our shoulders and bear off this kingdom, or we would be damned... his face was as clear as amber, and he was covered with a power that I had never seen in any man in the flesh before (Wilford Woodruff, statement made on Mar. 12, 1897, in Salt Lake City, Utah; in Journal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, March 12 1897, 2). Brigham Young told the Saints in his day:
Joseph Smith holds the keys of this last dispensation, and is now engaged behind the veil in the great work of the last days (no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the Celestial Kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith (Journal of Discourses, 7:289). Splinter Groups
There have been over 240 Splinter Groups from our Church. Sidney Rigdon: Sidney Rigdon held secret meetings with disgruntled members of the Church, to be its guardian. He said that he had been called of God. He also said that he held keys of authority higher than any conferred upon the Prophet Joseph: the keys of David.
He was excommunicated after refusing to change his ways. He returned to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he organized a church similar to the one organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith. The organization soon disbanded. Sidney, the man who with the Prophet Joseph saw the vision of the three degrees of glory, died a lonely man, in Allegheny County, New York, in 1876. William Smith
William Smith was excommunicated in October 1845. He associated himself with James J. Strang for many years, but became disaffected and left prior to Strangs death. Then, in 1850 he started another movement in which he set himself up as President pro tem of the Church, with two counselors. He claimed that the presidency of the Church should go from father to son. Since Joseph Smith III (the Prophets oldest son) was too young at the time to take over the leadership of the Church, he, William would be a sort of guardian in the meantime. This
movement survived hardly a year. Grandville Hedrick Grandville Hedrick followed several different factions after the Prophets death, but he did not remain with any of them. Almost twenty years after the martyrdom, in about 1863, Hedrick organized what he called the Church of Christ. He claimed that Joseph Smith was a fallen prophet and told his followers to gather to Jackson County, Missouri, to prepare for judgments which would destroy the nation in 1878 (those
judgments never came). The Hedrikites, as they are sometimes called purchased plots of ground which were part of the temple lot laid out in Independence. They still own part of that temple site today and call themselves the Church of Christ, Temple Lot. They have about three thousand members throughout the world. They claim revelation instructing them to build a temple, but lack of funds has forced them to abandon that project temporarily. They are hoping that
some other organization will come along and provide them help in building the temple. James Strang James J. Strang refused to follow the prophet Brigham Young. Instead, he claimed to have a letter from Joseph Smith appointing him to lead the Church after Joseph death. Many of the members of the Church who refused to follow Brigham Young believed Strangs claim. For instance, William Smith, Josephs brother, and John C. Bennett and John E. Page
followed Strang for a while. The group established themselves on Beaver Island in upper Lake Michigan, where Strang eventually had himself crowned King of Beaver Island. He was killed in 1856 during an uprising, and most of his followers disbanded. There are about three hundred members today. The Reorganized Church The biggest of all the splinter groups which broke away from the Church after the death of Joseph and Hyrum is the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with
headquarters in Independence, Missouri. This church was not organized until 6 April 1860 when Joseph Smith III finally consented to be sustained as their president. Today they have about 220,000 members and are remaining somewhat static, if not declining in membership. As early as 1856, Joseph Smith III had been urged to take over as president, but he did not do so until 1860. Upon his acceptance of the office of president of the church, Joseph Smith III was ordained by four men,
one being William Marks, who had been excommunicated in 1844 because he supported Sidney Rigdons claims of having authority to lead the Church. The Reorganized Church has become rather protestant in doctrine. They do not believe in temple marriage or temple endowments. When a president of the Reorganized Church dies or leaves office, the next president is chosen by a system of delegates from congregations throughout the world who vote as if in a
political convention. Members of the church have the right to vote on whether or not the president is inspired when he claims to have a revelation. Men are not called to the priesthood; rather, they are recommended for it by any member who may feel inspired to do so. No patriarchal blessings are given. On April 6th, 2001 they officially changed their name to Community of Christ. Did Joseph Smith ordain his son Joseph III to
take his place as prophet? Here is one account: Wednesday, January 17, 1844, dawned warm and clear. On this day George J. Adams hurried from the Red Brick Store to the Mansion House to find Emma. He exclaimed, The matter is now settled. We now know who Josephs successor will be: it is little Joseph, (for) I have seen him ordained by his father. George Adams was a high priest and served several missions between his conversion in 1840 and Josephs death. It was published in the Saints Herald 8 (1 October 1885).
The document authenticating the blessing would lie hidden among the scribes private papers for a hundred and thirty seven years, but the details of the ceremony were preserved by James Whitehead, financial clerk for Joseph. Whitehead told a friend, William W. Blair, in 1873 that he was in the outer office at the time, but he heard others discuss the ordination. Later, under oath, he remembered there were about twenty-five people in attendance. Whitehead said Hyrum Smith anointed (the boy) and his father blessed him and ordained him and
Newel Whitney poured the oil on his head, and he was set apart to be his fathers successor in office, holding all the powers his father held (John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, 1(1981): 14). As an old man Joseph III could not recall specifics of the blessing but wrote, I was called into the room over my fathers store in Nauvoo and was there anointed with oil and blessed by my father, and the privileges and callings to fit one to succeed him were conferred
by name upon me (Joseph III Letterbook No. 4, RLDS Library Archives). These claims were not advanced by his sons until fifteen years after the martyrdom, a fact which Utah Mormon polemicists used for the next century to repudiate Joseph Smith IIIs claims that he was designated to be the successor of his father. There is evidence that Joseph Smith Jr., hoped that his sons might eventually preside over the Church. To
this end he may have designated his eldest living son, Joseph Smith III, to be his successor. Whether, in fact, Joseph Smith officially designated his son Joseph Smith III to be his successor has been debated for more than a century! The Mantle being passed to Brigham Young Most Mormon historians acknowledge the mantle story, agreeing
that something important happened in August 1844. There may be psychological explanations for the phenomenon and some reserve judgment regarding whether a miraculous transfiguration occurred. Others have concluded that it is unlikely that a spiritual manifestation took place. Many of the Saints in Nauvoo experienced a witness of the Lords designation of the next prophet as they met in conference on August 8, 1844. The mantle experience of 1844 has become a symbol of the transfer of prophetic authority in the Church.
Testimonies of the Mantle Experience of 1844 Currently known records establish that 129 people gave written testimonies or say that a transformation or other spiritual manifestation occurred (John W. Welch, Opening the Heavens, 2017, 407). Of these, sixty-eight people created firsthand documents: personal journals, personal narratives told to a scribe, or firstperson testimonies published in Church magazine articles. Testimonies from sixty-one people are secondhand: accounts gleaned from biographies written by family members or from historical compilations.
The mantle testimonies come from people who eventually settled all over the Utah Territory, Idaho and Arizona, and even Tahiti.