On the Trail

The Nauvoo Temple and Carthage Jail

By Jennifer Maddy

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Come along to explore these important places in Church history!

On the Trail

Photographs by Jennifer Maddy and Craig Dimond © IRI

In 1841 many of the Saints in Nauvoo were poor. But they knew they needed to build a temple, as the Lord had told them. More than 1,000 men worked to build the temple. Women sewed shirts and cooked for the workers. Many people sacrificed to build the temple. They looked forward to the blessings they would receive there.

Carthage Jail

Work on the temple stopped in June 1844, when the Prophet Joseph Smith was killed. Joseph and several other men had been taken to Carthage Jail. On June 27 a mob stormed the jail. They shot and killed Joseph and his brother Hyrum.

Finishing the Temple

The Saints were brokenhearted that their Prophet was gone. Brigham Young, who was President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, knew the Lord’s work would continue. The Saints finally finished the temple. Church leaders worked in the temple day and night so the Saints could be baptized for their ancestors and be sealed as eternal families.

Rebuilding the Temple

After the Saints left Nauvoo, the temple was destroyed by fire and a tornado. In 1999 President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) announced that the Nauvoo Temple would be built again in the same place. Today you can see this beautiful temple just as it looked back in the 1840s.

A crescent moon carved on the outside wall of the temple.

The original Nauvoo Temple had 30 sunstones.

Statues of Joseph and Hyrum stand in front of Carthage Jail. “In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!” (D&C 135:3).

The mob ran up this stairway in Carthage Jail to get to Joseph and his companions.

Joseph and the other men were in this upstairs room at the jail.

Cut out and paste to the “On the Trail” map in the July issue.