Monday, June 27, 1994, marked 150 years since the 1844 martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, Associate President of the Church, in Carthage, Illinois, where they were jailed and awaiting a court hearing when a mob stormed the jail and killed them.
On Sunday, June 26, wards and branches throughout the United States and Canada held special sacrament meeting services to remember the “contributions and sacrifices” of the two martyrs. The Church’s major commemorative services were held at Nauvoo and Carthage, Illinois, that day, at three meetings presided over by President Howard W. Hunter, assisted by President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve:
• These three Brethren spoke in Nauvoo, the city founded by the Prophet in 1839, to an estimated 1,540 persons at a 9:00 A.M. Nauvoo Ward, Nauvoo Illinois Stake, sacrament meeting.
• The three Church leaders spoke to about 2,440 persons at a 2:30 P.M. outdoor service at the site where stood the Nauvoo Temple prior to its 1848 destruction by Church enemies. The service also featured the unveiling of a light gray limestone block, one of thirty such blocks original to the Nauvoo Temple. These architectural features were called sun stones because they were carved with the design of a rising sun’s face.
• The three Brethren spoke at the Carthage Jail grounds, now a Church visitors’ center, to about 2,400 persons at a 7:00 P.M. outdoor service which was broadcast by satellite to more than 3,000 locations.
Also attending these events was the North America Central Area presidency: Elders James M. Paramore, Hartman Rector, Jr., and William R. Bradford.