'Prophet went willingly to his death'

Of Section 135, Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl wrote in Doctrine and Covenants Commentary:

"This article on the Martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, touches the heart of every sincere believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the Church."Section 135 was written by Elder John Taylor of the Council of the Twelve, who was with Joseph and Hyrum at the jail in Carthage at the time of the martyrdom. Elder Taylor himself was wounded by gunshot in the attack by the mob. Also incarcerated at Carthage was Elder Willard Richards of the Council of the Twelve.

In an October 1965 general conference address, then-Elder Ezra Taft Benson said: "Joseph Smith the Prophet went willingly to his death. He sealed his testimony with his life - his own blood. On that fateful day in Nauvoo, Ill., as he looked back upon his city and people whom he loved, on his way to Carthage Jail and his martyrdom, he declared: `This is the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens; little do they know the trials that await them.'

"Later the Prophet said feelingly, but calmly and courageously: I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am as calm as a summer's morning. I have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward all men. If they take my life I shall die an innocent man, and my blood shall cry from the ground for vengeance, and it shall be said of me,He was murdered in cold blood!' (History of the Church 6:555.)"

Yet even the martyrdom of a prophet of the Lord could not stop the work of the kingdom of God.


Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the gospel doctrine course of study.

Information compiled by Gerry Avant and Elayne Wells

Sources: History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, by Lucy Mack Smith; Joseph Smith, Martyr, Prophet of God by Francis M. Gibbons; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith; Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson; Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, by Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl; Essentials in Church History, by Joseph Fielding Smith; A Chronology of the Doctrine and Covenants, by Dell Van Orden and Gerry Avant.

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