Friday, November 18, 2016

Carthage Jail

After church on Sunday, we went to Carthage.  It was a perfect Autumn day.

As you walk up to the jail where Joseph Smith was martyred, there are several large placards with testimonials.
My bosom burned as I read the familiar words, now with renewed meaning.
"When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake,
not even withholding his life, and believing before God
that he has been called to make this sacrifice
because he seeks to do His will, he does know, most assuredly,
that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering,
and that he has not, nor will not, seek His face in vain."
Joseph Smith, Jr 1835

The gospel Joseph taught was Christ's Gospel.

"I feel to never force my doctrine upon any person.
I rejoice to see prejudice give way to truth, and
the traditions of men dispersed by the pure principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ."
Joseph Smith, Jr. 1844

The story is tragic and, yet, triumphant. How can it be both?
Evil men, conspiring men, killed our prophet dear.
But the Kingdom of God was not removed from the earth.
Two were killed, but two were spared, 
to witness.

The shock and sorrow as a beloved and true brother was killed before his very eyes.
Another, friend and companion, shot multiple times and left for dead.

His desperate gaze turned to the window.

The mob below was too great, too angry.
Joseph was gone.

Hyrum, too, was gone.
Samuel, killed by the mob just as surely as Joseph and Hyrum, died a month later by injures sustained while being chased by the mob that moments before had killed his brothers.
 Willard Richards, miraculously uninjured, dragged a critically wounded John Taylor to the jail cell and flopped a mattress over him in case the mob returned.  They did not and Willard Richards and John Taylor both survived.

Stephen Markham was, along with Dan Jones, in the jail as a body guard to Joseph. When Stephen left the jail on an errand for Joseph, the mob would not let him back inside. Instead, they forced him onto his horse at the point of bayonets, stabbing his legs until his shoes were filled with blood. Gathering around him, they escorted him out of town, threatening to kill him if he returned. He lived and remained true to the gospel of Jesus Christ to the end.
Dan Jones was also sent on an errand. He avoided an ambush and was unscathed. He went on to serve a mission in Wales, baptizing thousands.

How disappointed the mobsters must have been when the Church of Jesus Christ did not fall apart with the prophet dead.  They didn't understand that, though Joseph was the prophet, Jesus Christ Himself is at the head of His Church.

Trying so hard to be reverent so Mom didn't have to miss out on this important tour.

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