Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith

Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith

June 27
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as Mormons, commemorate the day on which their founder, Joseph Smith, and his brother, Hyrum, were murdered in the city jail in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844. Joseph Smith had announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency earlier that year, and he had been attacked by a group of Mormon dissenters for his political ambition and his alleged polygamy: There is evidence that he may have married as many as 50 wives, although he acknowledged only his first.
As the mayor of Nauvoo, Ill., Smith saw to it that the press used to print the opposition newspaper was destroyed. Threats of mob violence followed, and Smith and his brother were eventually jailed on charges of treason. Although the brothers had been promised protection by the governor, a mob of men with blackened faces stormed the jail on June 27 and killed them, thus elevating them to the status of martyrs.
CONTACTS:
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
50 N.E. Temple St.
Salt Lake City, UT 84150
801-240-1000; fax: 801-240-1534
www.lds.org
Joseph Smith Historic Visitor Center
P.O. Box 338
Nauvoo, IL 62354
217-453-2246
www.cofchrist.org
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 847
DictWrldRel-1989, p. 424
RelHolCal-2004, p. 127