Joseph Smith’s Iowa Quest for Legal Assistance: His Letters to Edward Johnstone and Others on Sunday, June 23, 1844 | BYU Studies

Joseph Smith’s Iowa Quest for Legal Assistance: His Letters to Edward Johnstone and Others on Sunday, June 23, 1844

Volume 57:3 (2018)
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Joseph Smith’s Iowa Quest for Legal Assistance: His Letters to Edward Johnstone and Others on Sunday, June 23, 1844

Author John W. Welch,

Joseph and Hyrum Smith crossed the Mississippi River from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Montrose, Iowa Territory, in the early hours of Sunday, June 23, 1844. They were seeking spiritual guidance and considering their options as they were threatened with arrest: going west, going to Washington, or submitting to arrest. This article gives details of the events of that day and presents little-known documents: letters from Joseph Smith to Iowa lawyers, as he sought legal assistance in preparation for submitting to arrest. By the end of the day, June 23, Joseph, Hyrum, and their companions returned to Nauvoo. They submitted to arrest the next day, and Joseph and Hyrum were martyred on June 27 in Carthage, Illinois.