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In his last slumber in mortality, Joseph Smith captures a dream. The morning is hectic, and he is unable to express it. By 10 a.m. he has a moment to outline what rested on his mind a few hours earlier.
“I was back in Kirtland, Ohio,” he tells those in his hearing. Kirtland was the headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the winter of 1831 to the winter of 1838. Joseph Smith had to leave in the middle of winter, at night, to escape those who were seeking to kill him at that time. In his dream, he was walking by himself and desired to visit his old farm. When his farm, which he hadn’t seen for over seven and half years, appeared in his dream, he found it was “grown up with weeds and brambles, and altogether bearing evidence of neglect and want of culture.”
He desired to examine the structures of the farm.
This is an excerpt from The Assassination of Joseph Smith: Innocent Blood on the Banner of Liberty by Ryan Jenkins.
“While I viewed the desolation around me,” he tells his friends “[I] was contemplating how it might be recovered from the curse upon it.” As he stood in contemplation, “there came rushing into the barn a company of furious men, who commenced to pick a quarrel with me.” The dream was vivid and descriptive of the quarrel with men he has had his entire life.
“The leader” of the furious men ordered him to “leave the barn and farm, stating it was none of [his], and that [he] must give up all hope of ever possessing it.” In his dream, Joseph responded to the leader of the mob, “I told him the farm was given me by the Church, and although I had not had any use of it for some time back, still I had not sold it, and according to righteous principles it belonged to me or the Church.” At this, the agitator turned even more madly on Joseph “and began to rail upon [him] and threaten [him], and said it never did belong to [him] nor to the Church.”
As if the dream was really playing out in the flesh, Joseph Smith told the man, “I did not think it worth contending about, that I had no desire to live upon it in its present state, and if he thought he had a better right I would not quarrel with him about it but leave.” Joseph’s attempt at being a peacemaker fell short. This “did not seem to satisfy him, as he seemed determined to quarrel with me, and threatened me with the destruction of my body.”
Suddenly Joseph was spared the man’s vengeance of tongue and physical abuse. As “he was thus engaged, pouring out his bitter words upon me, a rabble rushed in and nearly filled the barn, drew out their knives, and began to quarrel among themselves for the premises.” At this point in his dream, the mad men forgot about him. At which time, he says he “took the opportunity to walk out of the barn about up to [his] ankles in mud.” Though with great difficulty, Joseph Smith was able to distance himself from his enemies. The dream ended with him hearing from a short distance the commotion and fighting in the barn amongst his enemies. He heard them “screeching and screaming in a very distressed manner, as it appeared they had engaged in a general fight with their knives.” They began killing each other as he moved farther and farther away.
The scenario affirms a verse from the Book of Mormon, which Joseph Smith testified he translated by the power of God: “But, behold, the judgments of God will overtake the wicked; and it is by the wicked that the wicked are punished; for it is the wicked that stir up the hearts of the children of men unto bloodshed.” In his last night of sleep, Joseph has been given a dream indicating his deliverance from his enemies and how in the end they will turn on each other.
By the time he shares it with those present, he is almost seven hours away from being freed from the bitterness, the threats, and the violence of his enemies. The dream designates that he will have to pass through ankle-deep mud in order to separate himself from the mob—this is modest imagery for a man who is about to start walking out of the barn. He is about to be free from all enemy troubles.
“Envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life,” he wrote a few years before Carthage Jail. “For what cause it seems mysterious, unless I was ordained from before the foundation of the world for some good end, or bad, as you may choose to call it. Judge ye for yourselves. God knoweth all these things, whether it be good or bad.” Of the mountainous persecution he has been facing and climbing over, around, and through, Joseph Smith leaves on record, “It has become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over all my enemies, for the Lord God hath spoken it.”
This is his confidence and divine assurance. He holds it close to his heart as he nears death. Having declared his last sermon and now conveying his last dream, Joseph gives his last testimony. “Both Joseph and Hyrum give a testimony to the Latter-day work, and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and [prophesy] of the triumph of the Gospel over all the earth, exhorting the brethren present to faithfulness and persevering diligence in proclaiming the Gospel, building up the Temple, and performing all the duties connected with our holy religion.”
The few Mormon men still in their presence sense the impending fate. Read part three of Joseph's Final Day - 3pm - 6pm.