Doctrine and Covenants 135 to 136 – He “Has Sealed His Mission and His Works with His Own Blood”

November 22, 2021 to November 28, 2021

Accounts of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith written by the two men who were there in Carthage Jail and others in Nauvoo are moving and inspiring in their respect and love for the lost leaders.


“John Taylor’s June 27, 1854, Account of the Martyrdom,” LaJean P. Carruth, Mark L. Staker, BYU Studies, Vol. 50, no. 3
In 1854, on the tenth anniversary of the martyrdom, John Taylor gave this address about it in Salt Lake City. It provides additional details of events, but most of all it includes Taylor’s unwavering and forceful testimony of Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling: “I know that he was a prophet of the Lord; that he lived in that capacity and died in that capacity and maintained his integrity to the end.”

“Appendix 3: Willard Richards, Journal Excerpt 23-27 June 1844,” Joseph Smith Papers, including “Two Minutes in Jail” by Willard Richards
Willard Richards kept Joseph Smith’s journal and wrote about the martyrdom using notes he kept at the time. Here is his journal and a version which was printed later in the Times and Seasons newspaper.

“Finalizing Plans for the Trek West: Deliberations at Winter Quarters, 1846-1847,” Richard E. Bennett, BYU Studies 24, no. 3

D&C section 136 was first presented on January 14, 1846, as Brigham Young needed to dispel any doubt that the Quorum of the Twelve held the authority of leading the Church. This article explains the many divergent plans for the Saints’ direction that were discussed at Winter Quarters.

“Physical Evidence at Carthage Jail and What It Reveals about the Assassination of Joseph and Hyrum Smith,” Joseph L. Lyon, David W. Lyon, BYU Studies, Vol. 47, no. 4
This article examines eyewitness accounts of the assault, the layout of the crime scene, the physical evidence left in the jail, and the types of weapons used and the wounds they inflicted on the Smith brothers, John Taylor, and Willard Richards. This multidisciplinary investigation of the martyrdom examines the accuracy of the first-hand accounts of Willard Richards and John Taylor and evaluates the crime scene.

“Joseph Smith’s Iowa Quest for Legal Assistance: His Letters to Edward Johnstone and Others on Sunday, June 23, 1844,” John W. Welch, BYU Studies Quarterly 57, no. 3

When Joseph and Hyrum Smith were threatened with arrest on June 22, 1844, they left Nauvoo, Illinois, and went across the Mississippi River in the very early morning hours of Sunday, June 23. As evidenced by the letters and records of that crucial day, Joseph and Hyrum were considering several options that pointed in divergent directions.

“Life in Nauvoo, June 1844: Vilate Kimball’s Martyrdom Letters,” Ronald K. Esplin, BYU Studies 19, no. 2.
Vilate Kimball’s letters provide a detailed view of the emotional and confused atmosphere in Nauvoo during the two weeks leading up to the murders, as well as give an insight into the impact on the city of the event itself.

 “‘It Seems That All Nature Mourns’: Sally Randall’s Response to the Murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith,” Steven C. Harper, Jordan Watkins, BYU Studies, Vol. 46, no. 1.
Sally wrote to her friends in the East, explaining her perceptions regarding the Martyrdom, and thus provided one Latter-day Saint woman’s response to what she described as “one of the most horrible crimes committed that ever history recorded.”

“The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith and His Brother Hyrum by Dan Jones, introduced and translated,” Ronald D. Dennis, BYU Studies, Vol. 24, no. 1
Dan Jones was with Joseph and Hyrum the night before the martyrdom. Here he tells the story as he wrote it as a book for proselytizing in Wales.

“Road to Martyrdom: Joseph Smith’s Last Legal Cases,” Joseph I. Bentley, BYU Studies Quarterly 55, no. 2

While the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor press in June 1844 played a role in the martyrdom, there were other factors: fear of the Nauvoo Legion’s power and political unrest. This article shows that Joseph Smith was harassed with legal cases against him in his last weeks.