On June 27, 1844, at
about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, Joseph Smith and his
brother Hyrum were assassinated by enemies of the Church in
the county jail at Carthage, Illinois. John Taylor, severely
wounded at the same time, later called the Smith brothers
religion" and declared that the Restoration of the gospel
had "cost the best blood of the nineteenth
These faithful souls personified the Savior's teaching:
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his
life for his friends."2
"God is my friend,"
wrote Joseph Smith to his wife in 1832. "In him I shall find
comfort. I have given my life into his hands. I am prepared
to go at his call. I desire to be with Christ. I count not
my life dear to me, only to do his will."3 Days before his death in 1844,
the Prophet reiterated: "I am ready to be offered a
sacrifice for this people."4
Leaving Nauvoo for
Carthage, Joseph said, "I have a conscience void of offense
towards God, and towards all men."5 The Prophet humbly
acknowledged, "I am a lover of the cause of
1. See D&C
2. John 15:13.
3. Letter to Emma
Smith, June 6, 1832, in Personal Writings of Joseph
Smith, comp. Dean C. Jessee (2002), 264–65.
History of the Church, 6:500.
5. D&C 135:4.
6. Letter to William
W. Phelps, July 31, 1832, in Personal Writings of
Joseph Smith, comp. Dean C. Jessee (2002), 272.
One who suffers death as the consequence of witnessing for Jesus Christ, the gospel, or righteous beliefs or principles.
Learn about Joseph Smith's untiring zeal to do the will of the Lord.
Learn more about some of the events that took place at Carthage Jail.
Read an article about how we can gain a testimony for ourselves.