Joseph Smith: Mormon Prophet-Martyrdom

The Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith, after only 38 years of mortal life, was martyred by an armed mob on June 27, 1844.

On that fateful day of June 27 a large group of angry mobsters burst into Carthage Jail where the Prophet Joseph and brother Hyrum Smith were being held with others. The mob stormed up the stairs into the room where the prisoners were being held. In an attempt to protect the others, Hyrum held the door hoping the mob would not storm through. However, Hyrum became the first to be killed, falling on the floor and declaring, "I am a dead man!" The Prophet Joseph knelt beside his brother and cried, "Oh! My poor, dear brother Hyrum!" John Taylor who was a prisoner with the Prophet was shot, but did not die. Joseph went to the window to draw the mob's attention away from the other prisoners. As soon he did, he was shot and fell to the ground below. The mob rushed outside leaving the wounded John Taylor in the room. John Taylor later recorded, "I had a full view of our beloved and now murdered brother, Hyrum. There he lay as I had left him; he had not moved a limb; he lay placid and calm, a monument of greatness even in death; but his noble spirit had left its tenement, and was gone to dwell in regions more congenial to its exalted nature."1

We can only imagine the grief the members of the Mormon Church felt at having heard the news of the death of the Prophet. Dan Jones gave this emotional description of what he encountered in Nauvoo upon the return of the bodies of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum:

"Oh, the sorrowful scene to be seen in Nauvoo day! There has never been nor will there ever anything like it; everyone sad along the streets, all the shops closed and every business forgotten. Onward I quickened my pace until I reached the house of the late Joseph Smith. I pushed my way through the sorrowful crowd until I reached the room where his body and that of his brother had been placed…There they lay in their coffins side by side, majestic men as they suffered side by side from prison to prison for years, and they labored together, shoulder to shoulder, to build the kingdom of Immanuel; eternal love bound them steadfastly to each other and to their God until death; and now, my eyes beheld the blood of the godly martyrs mingling in one pool in the middle of the floor, their elderly mother, godly and sorrowful,…a hand on each one of her sons…, her heart nearly broken by the excruciating agony and the indescribable grief. At the head of the deceased sat the dear wife of each one and around their father stood four of Joseph's little children and six of Hyrum's children crying out intermittently, 'My dear father'…'Oh, my father.' And from the hearts of the mothers, 'My husband killed,' and the gray-haired mother groaning pitifully, 'Oh, my sons, my sons.'

Still, within the grief that the Mother Lucy felt, she felt comfort and peace. As she cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken this family!" she reported hearing a voice reply, "I have taken them to myself, that they might have rest." Then, as she looked upon the mortal remains of her two sons, she said, "I seemed almost to hear them say, 'Mother, weep not for us, we have overcome the world by love; we carried to them the gospel, that their 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.'"2

The Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum sealed their testimonies of the restored gospel with their blood.

1 "History of the Church", 7:107

2 "History of Joseph Smith by his mother Lucy Mack Smith, 1958, pg 324-325



For more information visit the following sites:


The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith – American Prophet

Joseph Smith Daguerreotype
Fulfilled Prophecies of Joseph Smith
JS-H 1
Joseph Smith
BBC – Religion & Ethics – The Story of Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith: Biography and Much More From
Joseph Smith – Lightplanet
Joseph Smith – bellsouth
Joseph Smith, Jr. – Wikiquote
Joseph Smith: Prophet, Revelator, Human; Interview with Richard Lyman



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