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.
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