O Lord, My God

Joseph Smith’s dying words have always intrigued me. I like them, in part, for what they don’t say. The expression lacks a verb and thus neither asks nor confesses nor praises nor questions. It is not a plea for extended life or safety. It is not the dying command of a captain to attack or take cover. We find no last instructions to the Saints or final declaration of love and loyalty. But rather as the hot lead balls tore through the prophet’s body, as he staggered at the window’s edge and fell into the tragic fulfillment of his last prophecy, Joseph used his last breath to call out the simply but holy words “O Lord, my God.”

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