Posted on Leave a comment

CSI: Carthage Jail (Part 4 of 9)

Not many people know that Joseph Smith not only had a pistol in the Carthage Jail.  Did you know he fired at the mob?  Some critics say this is evidence that Joseph didn’t go like a lamb to the slaughter.  Is that fair?  Dr. Casey Griffiths, author of 50 Relics of the Restoration, will show us the gun the Joseph likely used, and push back against some of the critics.  We’ll also talk about a crime scene investigation to see if a bullet hit John Taylor’s watch!

Casey:  Honestly, John Taylor’s descendants believe, sincerely, and John Taylor believed sincerely that what happened was after Joseph Smith fires the gun, Joseph Smith said, “Hold them off, as long as you can, Brother Taylor.”  John Taylor ran to the window, and on the way there he is shot in the leg.  It produces an involuntary reaction that causes him to fall forward. At that point, John thought he was going to fall out the window, but he says he was forced back into the room. What John Taylor believed had happened was that a bullet had hit his pocket watch, and forced him back into the room. Now, that may have been what happened. If that is what happened, though, it was miraculous, because we did, the Church History scene did a similar Mythbusters sort of challenge all night.  They took a similar watch and fired a similar caliber bullet, and the watch just blew apart.

GT:  Oh, really?

Casey:  Yeah. To watch that we have right now shows forcible damage, like it was hit by something. The gears in the watch have been driven forward through the watch face. But it hit into something really hard. So, what some people think happened, and again, nothing is settled here, is that when John was shot, he fell and hit into the window sill so hard, that he shattered the watch. Now, to John, it’s all confusion and gunfire and he wasn’t lying when he said he thought that the bullet hit. In fact, when we went back and we investigated a little bit, we found out that the way John Taylor told the story was–he’s so badly shot up when it’s over, he doesn’t know what happens.  Willard Richards goes and gets the doctor and John Taylor has to spend two weeks convalescing in the town where Joseph Smith was killed. I mean, that’s part of the story that we don’t bring up is that John Taylor has to stay in Carthage for two weeks after the martyrdom.

Check out our conversation….

Dr Griffiths discusses pistol smuggled to Joseph Smith, and Mythbusters-type investigation to see if John Taylor’s watch could stop a bullet.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Casey!

521: Swimsuits, Gold Medals, & Blacks

520: Recycling Hofmann Forgeries

519: Mormon Interfaith Council

Posted on Leave a comment

Civil War Prophecy & Joseph’s Apocalyptic Death

One of the most famous prophecies of Joseph Smith is the Civil War prophecy, in which Joseph predicted the Civil War would start in South Carolina.  When that happened two decades later, how did that affect LDS apocalyptic thought?  Dr. Christopher Blythe will let us know the answer.

Christopher:  When the Saints first get to Nauvoo, Joseph’s in Liberty Jail, and the Apostles write to the saints and say, “We know we’re going to be persecuted, guys. This is part of the plan, and eventually, your murderers will be brought to justice.” So, there’s this expectation that the saints have to be martyred, that there should be widespread persecution, and it’s part of bringing to pass the Second Coming. Joseph’s death, one of the key things here that changes all that, allegedly, one story is that Joseph as right before he goes to Liberty Jail, sends out a message for the saints to read that specific chapter about these martyrs, as he’s on his way there, that he wants them to be very aware of this idea of a last martyr. Now, after his death–this is something that Sam Brown points out, Joseph is recognized in this role as last martyr. Now, all these events can happen.

Brigham Young will give a discourse to say, “You don’t understand what’s happened here with Joseph’s death. But because Joseph has died, there’ll be much less blood demanded of us.”  This sort of message to say, “We once expected vast martyrdom, but Joseph’s actually been sort of a Savior to us physically, because the nation is sort of, can be sated by taking his life, they’re not going to come after us in the same way. That doesn’t mean we don’t want to leave town. But it’s not demanded in the same way to fulfill these events.” So, when I discovered that I thought, “This is incredible. What a sort of interesting idea of how martyrology plays here.”

GT:  When we look at the LDS Church’s view that martyrdom is to be expected, trials are to be expected, but it’s also interesting in that same time period, you have the Community of Christ, well, I guess I should call it The RLDS Church, because they weren’t the Community of Christ back then. The RLDS Church is saying, “Well, look. The reason why they’re suffering so bad is because God’s putting his punishments on them.”  William Bickerton is basically [saying] the same thing.  It’s funny, inside the church, we look at it as, “Oh, we’re martyrs.” Outside the church they’re looking at it, “No, God’s punishing you.”

Christopher:  Oh, isn’t that fascinating? Yeah. The one thing I do mention with that is Strang’s curse. Strang writes this curse on the Saints in Nauvoo, predicting, that they’re going to get these same diseases and things that the Saints believe are being put on Joseph’s persecutors and others, the idea of a curse.  So, Strang, in 1845, is the first one to kind of turn that on his fellow Latter-day Saints of how this is going to happen, “You guys are, are in trouble.” So, absolutely.

GT:  It’s interesting to see how people interpret the same event.

Christopher:  I think, one thing I didn’t read about here is, for several these small groups, Brigham Young becomes the Antichrist figure. He’s the one that’s taken over the temple and done these evil things to lead astray the church. So, forget the United States government, they’re not even part of it. They’re looking at the tyrant of Brigham.

We also talk about how Joseph’s death affected LDS apocalypticism.  Check out our conversation….

By the way, here is a link to Dr. Blythe’s book, Terrible Revolution.  It’s currently over 40% off, here’s your chance to get a good deal!  https://amzn.to/35hud6K

The Civil War Prophecy is probably Joseph’s most famous revelation.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Dr. Christopher Blythe.

461: Mormon History of Apocalypse

460: Maxwell Institute: A Religious Thinktank

Posted on Leave a comment

Why Joseph Destroyed Expositor (Part 7 of 8)

The Nauvoo Expositor exposed Joseph Smith’s polygamy and was the lightning rod that led to Joseph Smith’s death.  As Mayor of Nauvoo, Smith directed the city council to destroy the Expositor press.  While polygamy was an explosive issue, it wasn’t the only reason Joseph wanted the press destroyed.  In his book, “Origins of Power,” Dr. Michael Quinn makes the case that polygamy was a relatively minor reason for the destruction of the press.  I asked Dr. Derek Sainsbury if he agreed with Quinn, and he did.  What else was published in the Expositor that Joseph wanted suppressed?

GT:  Well, let me ask you a question about that. I remember reading Michael Quinn. It was a long time ago that I read this, but one of the things that he said–going back to the Nauvoo Expositor, polygamy kind of always grabs the headlines. The Expositor published Joseph Smith’s polygamy. But the bigger issue, according to Quinn, was that Joseph was seeking alliances with England, France, Texas, which would have been considered treasonous. Can you talk about that? I’m assuming that that didn’t really happen in the Council of Fifty minutes or was speculation.  Can you talk to that issue?

Derek:  So, they sent a delegate to Texas to negotiate.  Woodworth is his name.  That’s an independent nation. So, the Council of Fifty considered themselves to be the kingdom of God on Earth, the political Kingdom of God that represents it on earth. There’s a reason why when Joseph Smith is headed to Carthage, he tells William Clayton to either burn or bury the minutes because they could be construed as treason. They didn’t consider it to be treason. But it could be construed that way. So yes, they did send a representative to Texas. They did formally call someone to go to Russia and to England.  Those ambassadors, if you want to call them that, never left. But it gives you the mindset that they were acting like a government. They were pushing for the United States. They were pushing this idea of Joseph Smith for president. But then if that doesn’t work out, where can we go? So, then you have to start looking at where you go, who are you going to have to work with? If you go to Texas, you got to work with Texas. If you go to Oregon, which is contested property between the United States, Great Britain and Russia, then, of course, you need to be talking with those three countries as well. Does that make sense? The minutes show that these assignments were made.  The only one that was made and actually reported back was the Texas one.

Derek:  But yeah, the minutes also reveal that on the April 11th meeting, in the new Masonic hall had been built in 1844, they nominate Joseph as a prophet, priest and king over Israel, different from maybe the promises that might be found in an LDS endowment. So, this idea of making him a king over Israel, that ends up being leaked.  It’s in the Nauvoo Expositor that he’s made himself [king.] They’re twisting it that he’s made himself King. They’re twisting it and so that’s…

GT:  Well, I would think that would be an easy thing to twist because we hate kings, and even the Book of Mormon says it’s better that you do not have a king.

Were you aware of these reasons?  What are your thoughts?

Check out our conversation….

Dr Derek Sainsbury says polygamy was a minor irritation of the Nauvoo Expositor. There were other reasons Joseph wanted the paper destroyed.

Don’t miss our previous conversations with Dr. Sainsbury.

423:  Theo-democracy in Deseret (Sainsbury)

422:  Anti-Slavery Missionaries in the South (Sainsbury)

421: Bobby Kennedy-Joseph Smith (Sainsbury)

420:  Electioneer Missionaries (Sainsbury)

419:  Mormons: The Original Swing Voters! (Sainsbury)