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Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 30: Joseph Smith’s Death

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
March 12, 2020 9:39 pm

Saints: The Standard of Truth Part 30: Joseph Smith’s Death

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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March 12, 2020 9:39 pm

In the last day of this 6-week series that took a look at the LDS Church history book Saints, Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson cover the death of Joseph Smith, which was anything but a martyrdom.

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One member is examining the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 Mormonism sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect.

And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism.

So glad you agree with us for this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson.

My colleague at MRM today we wrap up our several weeks long study of the book Saints. The standard of truth. A history book published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 2018 ever going to end our study with the incidences that lead up to the death of Joseph Smith in Carthage, Illinois, in the way this goes according to the book and it's quite accurate in what it says that there were some dissenters some people that were very upset with some of the behavior and the teachings of Joseph Smith and so they were going to expose him for the abuser of power that they felt that he was. This was going to be published in a newspaper called the Naboo expositor and on page 531 it says that it was going to be a newspaper that would give as they put it, quote a full, candid and succinct statement of facts as they really exist in the city of Naboo. There were seven guys involved in this and they were very close to Joseph Smith at one time but they had felt that Joseph Smith had certainly abused his power.

The book mentions on page 532 that at this time.

Opposition to Joseph intensified and then you go to page 533. It says that is William Law promised William laws behind the publishing of the Naboo expositor.

It says the Naboo expositor appeared on Naboo streets in early June. Actually it was June 7, 1844 quote we are earnestly seeking to explode the vicious principles of Joseph Smith." It declared in its preamble, which we verily know are not accordion and consonant with the principles of Jesus Christ and the apostles continues on page 534 in the newspaper. William and his followers insisted that Joseph had strayed from the restored gospel by introducing the endowment practicing plural marriage and teaching new doctrine about exultation and the nature of God.

They also warned the county citizens that the Saints political power was rising. They condemned Joseph blurring of the roles of church and state and denounced his candidacy for the presidency. Let's talk about this Eric because the accusations that were raised in this newspaper were absolutely correct. He did introduce the endowment the temple endowment he was practicing plural marriage, and he was in fact teaching new doctrine about exultation or godhood and the nature of God. This of course would go back to the King Follett discourse that Smith taught maybe the complaint is not what they were saying, but how they were saying it and so because they're the opposition and criticizing Joseph Smith for these things that were true, that might've been more of what the complaint is about. You could be right on that because we've had many Mormons criticize us. It's not so much they save for what we say it's how they think were saying that which I still don't understand either but were just trying to be as factual as possible. When I think the complaints that were being leveled in the Naboo expositor were spot on how they make you felt that some of it was exaggerated but listen to this when it says that they condemned Joseph blurring of the roles of church and state and denounced his candidacy for the presidency. Why would that upset Joseph Smith. He announces his candidacy publicly, don't you think is a candidate for the presidency, or you want to get that out there so people can eventually vote for you but what was Joseph Smith's reaction to this. It says the day after the paper appeared. Joseph convened the Naboo city Council discussed what to do about the expositor. Many of the Saints neighbors were already hostile to the church and he worried that the expositor would provoke them to violence.

Quote it is not safe that such things should exist on account of the mob spirit which they tend to produce." I think this is a classic example.

Another classic example of Joseph Smith not using very good judgment were getting the hint here that he thinks that perhaps to destroy the Naboo expositor is somehow going to alleviate violence. You would think that if you're going to destroy a printing press. You're not only trying to cover up any potential criticisms that could be printed about you, but you're going at the heart of the First Amendment of the Constitution. That's not going to upset people, perhaps even to violence. I would think it would.

What's really kind of strange about this is even though it includes this worry that Joseph Smith had about the expositor provoking people to violence. If you turn the page to page 536. It speaks of Thomas Sharp who was a newspaperman who was very critical of Joseph Smith. It says the next day Thomas Sharp reported the destruction of the press in an extra edition of his newspaper warning and extermination is inevitable. Citizens arise one at all. He wrote we have no time for comment.

Every man will make his own, let it be made with powder and ball for supposedly being a prophet of God.

He doesn't seem to really get that strategy of what he did was going to infuriate people rather than to placate them and the boot after it talks about Smith thinking that the expositor would provoke people to violence and therefore is it says it is not safe that such things should exist. I have to ask this question because it talks about John Taylor on page 535 who is the editor of the times and seasons. What is it say their John valued a free press and free speech, but both he and Joseph believed they had a constitutional right to protect themselves against libel, destroying the expositor's press would be controversial, but they believe the laws permitted them to do it legally know why do you think it would say that destroying the expositor and its press would be controversy.

Oh, I think it's pretty clear here when it says that Joseph believed that he had a constitutional right to protect themselves against libel. Certainly he does have a constitutional right to protect himself against libel, but what is the means of protecting yourself.

It's called a lawsuit, folks. You take the people who you think are lying about you and you sue them in a court of law, the Constitution certainly does not give any indication whatsoever that you can go in destroying a printing press that happens to be used in order to criticize you, and then it goes on to discuss William Phelps, William Phelps told the Council that he had reviewed the United States Constitution, the Naboo city charter, and the laws of the land in his mind, the city was fully and legally justified to declare the press a nuisance and destroy it immediately.

The council voted to destroy the press and Joseph sent orders to the city marshal to carry out the measure, so Joseph Smith was personally involved in the destruction of this printing press that was printing a publication that criticized him. Here is what troubles me though William Phelps.

It says told the Council that he had reviewed the United States Constitution, the Naboo city charter in the laws of the land and in his mind, the city was fully and legally justified to declare the press a nuisance and destroy it immediately. Eric where you think in the United States Constitution, he would've ever gotten the idea that you can destroy a printing press that is printing critical things about an individual certainly goes against the idea of a free press, you would think so.

I mean does anybody do that nowadays when we look at all the fake news that is going on. You think there'd be lots of reasons to destroy certain people's presses, but that's not legal, and I don't think the Constitution was justifying it.

Even at that time, but you have to remember Naboo is being run by the Mormons and so maybe there is something in there that might have given him the idea that it would be okay as many small towns sometimes think that their roles would supersede anything that the United States government would put on them yet. I think you're right. You would have to probably look to something within the Naboo city charter and when it says the laws of the land that becomes a little bit vague what laws of the land are you talking about the from what I understand Alan Noakes who is a member the first presidency in the LDS church's background is in law and he comments on this and I remember Dylan Oakes. One time saying it would be kind of difficult. Not paraphrasing difficult to justify Joseph Smith's destroying of the press, although he seemed to think if I understand correctly that it would've been okay to destroy with the press had printed. Therefore, the printed pages, but to break yet and this is what happens. Because at the bottom of the page it says that evening Naboo Marshall arrived at the expositor office with about 100 men. They broke into the shop with a sledgehammer dragging the printing press into the street and smashed it into pieces will first of all, would you consider breaking into a person's business to be legal. I would say no, not at all. And then you run into the questionable part about dragging the printing press out into the street and then smashing into pieces. This is what leads eventually to Joseph Smith's death. So while he thinks destroying this press might alleviate violence. It actually provokes violence to the level that Joseph Smith is going to eventually be killed. Joseph Smith ends up going to Carthage, Illinois where he turns himself in to the local constable instead of being charged for riot. However, he eventually is going to be charged with treason. A much more serious offense. And what happens is while Joseph Smith is incarcerated at the Carthage jail the jail is attacked by a mob who had darkened their faces using gunpowder and mud. Joseph Smith. It admits in this book had a smuggled pistol.

He had been visited by a man by the name of Cyrus Wheelock and he was given a smuggled pistol. Another pistol was given to Joseph Smith and his brother by a guy by the name of former book is honest enough to admit that Joseph Smith uses this pistol. It was in Ethan Allen pepper box which is on display at the history Museum in downtown Salt Lake City. I was told that the pistol that is on display right now is the actual pistol even though that is not the pistol that was on display for years prior to the renovation of the history Museum, so the Mormons don't hide this, even though we come across a number of Mormons who have doubted that Joseph Smith ever used a gun to defend himself, but the fact remains that Joseph Smith was attacked by this mob. The book admits that he fires the gun into the mob and then eventually he is killed by this mob.

I give the book credit for admitting to the gun but yet the documentary history of the church that the church used for years admitted that as well. In volume 7, so that's not new. It does mention how Joseph's revolver misfired two or three times but here we have Smith firing multiple times it sounds like he's trying to do bodily harm against his attackers. But then it ends with this. Suddenly Joseph dropped his revolver to the floor and darted for the window as he straddled the windowsill to ball struck his back another ball hurtled through the window and pierced him below the heart.

His last words were, what O Lord my God, he cried, his body lurched forward and he pitched headfirst out the window and as it says at the end of this chapter. Chapter 44 Joseph Smith the Prophet and seer of the Lord was dead. Thank you for listening you would like more information regarding his research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is sharing your faith with the Latter Day Saints helps to know what their church is taught in several basic topics. For this reason, this research ministry has provided its crash course is crash course, Mormonism includes concise articles highlighting what LDS leaders and church manuals have taught on issues that will probably come up in a typical conversation. You can find these informative articles and crash course Mormonism.com that's crash course Mormonism.com


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