“The time had elapsed, and the promise was fulfilled” — but not of Christmas

 

SLC UT USA Temple Square Xmas
Lights at Temple Square in Salt Lake City
(LDS.org)

 

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A new article in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:

 

“Jacob’s Protector”

 

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More notes:

 

Even many decades after the Book of Mormon was published, Katherine Smith Salisbury, Joseph’s sister, was still deeply convinced of the authenticity of his claim to prophethood.  “I can testify to the fact of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon,” she said,

and also to its truth, and the truth of the everlasting gospel as contained therein. . . . Many times when I have read its sacred pages, I have wept like a child, while the Spirit has borne witness with my spirit of its truth.[1]

Moreover, the family’s trust in Joseph came at a very high price.  They moved with him from New York to Ohio to Missouri to Illinois, chased by mobs.  Hyrum Smith, the Prophet’s older brother, followed him faithfully to a violent death at Carthage Jail.  Lucy Mack Smith gives some sense of the sorrow that the family endured in her account of the day that the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were brought back from Carthage to Nauvoo:

After the corpses were washed, and dressed in their burial clothes, we were allowed to see them.  I had for a long time braced every nerve, roused every energy of my soul, and called upon God to strengthen me; but when I entered the room, and saw my murdered sons extended both at once before my eyes, and heard the sobs and groans of my family, and the cries of “Father! Husband! Brothers!” from the lips of their wives, children, brother, and sisters, it was too much, I sank back, crying to the Lord, in the agony of my soul, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken this family!”  A voice replied, “I have taken them to myself, that they might have rest.”  Emma was carried back to her room almost in a state of insensibility.  Her oldest son approached the corpse, and dropped upon his knees, and laying his cheek against his father’s, and kissing him, exclaimed, “Oh, my father, my father!”  As for myself, I was swallowed up in the depth of my afflictions; and though my soul was filled with horror past imagination, yet I was dumb, until I arose again to contemplate the spectacle before me.  Oh! at that moment how my mind flew through every scene of sorrow and distress which we had passed together, in which they had shown the innocence and sympathy which filled their guileless hearts.  As I looked upon their peaceful, smiling countenances, I seemed almost to hear them say,–“Mother, weep not for us, we have overcome the world by love; we carried to them the Gospel, that their souls might be saved; they slew us for our testimony, and thus placed us beyond their power; their ascendancy is for a moment, ours is an eternal triumph.”

I then thought upon the promise which I had received in Missouri, that in five years Joseph should have power over all his enemies.  The time had elapsed, and the promise was fulfilled.[2]

  Samuel died a month after his brothers Joseph and Hyrum, weakened by a dangerous and ultimately fruitless ride on horseback to save his brothers and, no doubt, horrified at their assassinations.  (Members of the mob fired at him, as well.)  He can reasonably be counted as the family’s third martyr.  Throughout their lives, the Smiths met with persecution and contempt because of Joseph’s religious claims and because of their loyalty to him.

 

[1] Katherine Salisbury, “Dear Sisters,” Saints’ Herald 33 (1 May 1886): 260. [See original.]

[2] Lucy’s Book, 748-749.

 

Posted from Salt Lake City, Utah

 

 

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