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His name is had for both good and evil. Loyal members of the Church, varied historians, and his most passionate critics—then and now— can at least agree on one thing: Joseph Smith was murdered in cold blood.
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Attempts on Joseph Smith’s life started in his early teenage years. Not long before his first declared vision, a young Joseph was returning home from an errand. It was dark. As he entered his parents’ property, some unidentified person (or persons) fired a gun at him. Immediately recognizing he was in danger, he sprang for the door and entered the home very much frightened. The next day the family identified that the shooter (or shooters) found seclusion under a wagon in the field. They found two bullets lodged into the neck and head of a cow that apparently had been in the trajectory. His mother never knew why some attempted to kill him. She said he was a “remarkably quiet, well-disposed child; we did not suppose that anyone had aught against him.”
The day the contract for printing the Book of Mormon was signed, several men obscured themselves somewhere between Palmyra, New York, where the book was being printed, and Manchester, New York, where Joseph resided at the time. They hid themselves off the road to do harm to him and stop the printing of the Book of Mormon. Their plan was foiled. The Book of Mormon is still being printed today in over 115 languages. Well over a 150 million copies have been printed since the first copies were released in March of 1830.
In March of 1832, he was pulled from his home in Hiram, Ohio, in the middle of the night. He was stripped and then tarred and feathered. Members of the mob tried to put poison in his mouth, but he fought vigorously to stop them. Failing to get the poison into his mouth, they instead scratched and gnawed at his naked body, saying,
“This is the way the Holy Ghost falls on a man.” Stunningly, he was able to preach the next morning. Three months later while staying in Greenville, Indiana, at a tavern to help a friend back to health, he was severely poisoned from food he was served. He vomited so violently that he dislocated his jaw and had to put it back into place himself.
He was often chased while en route for personal or Church business. He had constant threats on his life. Many times while in court, he had to be protected by friends and Divine Providence as unruly citizens and juries sought to overrun him. He had to flee Kirtland, Ohio, on the cold night of January 12, 1838, by horseback as his enemies were in pursuit to kill him. Fleeing from Ohio to Missouri did not stop the attempts on his life. The worst was still before him.
In June and July of 1838, Sidney Rigdon, a Mormon leader close to Joseph Smith, gave two fiery speeches that further agitated Mormon apostates and anti-Mormons in Missouri. Their agitation surfaced, and the Mormons were no longer welcome in Missouri. Hostilities against the Mormons began to escalate in 1838. By September and October, a small number of Mormons started fighting back, and both they and their enemies were guilty of “indiscriminate acts of intimidation and hostility.” The “Mormon phobia,” along with the Latter-day Saints’ exasperation with being persecuted, led to lawlessness and what has been termed the Mormon War. The man in the center of it all was Joseph Smith.
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The account in this book begins in October 1838; Joseph is thirty-two years old and has less than six years to live. This fast-paced, driving narrative provides a factual account leading to the murder and is sure to capture the attention of Latter-day Saints and those not of the faith. Purchase the Book for half off. Offer ends soon.