Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith
Prophet, Seer and Revelator

Saturday, September 29, 2012

As John slowly recovered, he wrote of his friendship for the Prophet in poetry:

“The Seer, the Seer, Joseph the Seer!

I’ll sing of the Prophet ever dear;

His equal now cannot be found,

By searching the wide world around,

With Gods, he soared in the realms of day,

And men he taught the heavenly way.

The earthly Seer! The heavenly Seer!

I love to dwell on his memory dear;”

The Saints were grief-stricken. Confusion reigned. What would happen to the Church? Brigham Young would become their leader, but John was the last connection they had to the Prophet Joseph and the Saints revered him for it. Wilford Woodruff recorded this revelation in his journal: “While I [Heavenly Father] have taken my servants Joseph and Hyrum Smith unto myself, I have preserved my servant John Taylor for a wise purpose in me.”

Monday, September 24, 2012

John was so glad to be back in Nauvoo with the Saints. “I shall never forget the feelings of gratitude that I then experienced towards my Heavenly Father . . . the Lord had preserved me by a special act of mercy . . . I had still a work to perform upon the earth.”10

“I rejoice in afflictions; . . . and I rejoice when I triumph over them, because God answers my prayers.”11 As a living martyr, John was with Joseph Smith during his last minutes on this earth.

John recorded the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and Hyrum in the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 135: “To seal the testimony of this book and the Book of Mormon, we announce the martyrdom of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and Hyrum Smith the Patriarch. . . . Joseph . . . has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. . . . In life they [Joseph and Hyrum] were not divided, and in death they were not separated. . . . They lived for glory; they died for glory; and glory is their eternal reward.”

The spiritual strength of the poetic language of this scripture is felt in the hearts of people throughout the world. Many Saints know the verses by heart. Through the Spirit, the truthfulness of the message John recorded can be felt by all nations.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Leonora came that afternoon and brought Dr. Samuel Bennet to remove the ball in John’s hip. John wanted no whiskey as an anesthetic. He would bear the pain. In fact the cutting was a relief to the agony he suffered. The bullet near his knee remained the rest of his life.

Because of his wounds and loss of blood, John remained in Carthage for several days, unable to return to Nauvoo in a carriage or wagon. The pain would be too great. But he longed to return home. Carthage seemed a dangerous place. Would a mob kill him also?

The Saints didn’t attack Carthage so the people came back to their homes. They thought about keeping John as a hostage. If he was in Carthage, the Saints wouldn’t retaliate.

But John wanted to go home. Several men hooked a sleigh to the back of a wagon and laid John carefully on it. Sliding across the prairie grass with Leonora at his side filled him with thankfulness. He would be back with the people he loved.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Willard Richards, who was unharmed, dragged John into the next room and threw a dirty straw mattress over him, hoping to protect him.

John coughed at the dusty mattress covering him. What had just happened? Joseph’s body lay in the yard. Hyrum’s body rested peacefully in the next room. Pain wracked John’s knee and hip. His hand ached. Grief overwhelmed him.

The Prophet was dead. “I felt a dull lonely sickening sensation at the news. . . We [the Saints] were left alone.” How would the Church continue without Joseph? Was all lost?

The people of Carthage feared the Saints would retaliate. They fled their city. A few curious onlookers stayed behind, climbing the stairs of the jail to see the damage. One of them was a doctor. With no pain medication, he gouged the bullet out of John’s hand with a dull pen knife. John later called it “surgical butchery.”

Some of the people tried to move him to the Hamilton Hotel where he could be cared for, but he would not go. He feared for his life. After eight hours of anguish, he allowed himself to be moved. It was two in the morning. Colonel Jones of the Hancock County militia was kind to him. He stayed with John to protect him. When he had to leave John’s room, he left two loaded pistols on the table for him.