A Question on My Mind: Robert McCorkle’s 1844 Letter to Joseph Smith

Robert McCorkle (1807–1873) was one of many Americans curious about Mormonism. In 1844 he visited Nauvoo, Illinois, then headquarters of the Latter-day Saints. He hoped to obtain an audience with Joseph Smith but was able only to hear Smith speak at public meetings. When he returned to his home in Tennessee, he wrote to Smith, asking questions and describing his willingness to relocate to Nauvoo if Smith could prove that he was a true prophet. Interestingly, McCorkle wrote much of his letter in rhymed verse and hoped that Joseph Smith would reply in verse. It does not appear that Smith replied to the letter; he died in Jun 1844. McCorkle’s letter is given in its entirety. Authors Hal Robert Boyd and Susan Easton Black give historical context to the letter and add explanatory footnotes.

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