Journals Published on Joseph Smith’s “Turbulent” Final Year of Life


Last years of the Mormonism Founder revealed in The Joseph Smith Papers Vol. 3.

Joseph Smith, the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was in his final year of life when he held the position of mayor in one of the biggest cities of Illinois. He also skillfully directed a rapidly expanding religious movement. Willard Richards, historian and his private secretary, described the period as incredibly productive and turbulent.

Journals Published on Joseph Smith’s “Turbulent” Final Year of Life[/tweetthis]

Controversies raged among his adherents while he preached sin, resurrection, multi-tiered heaven and salvation. Smith also mentioned the potential of a human being to become similar to God. The last four journals of the Mormon founder are part of The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals, Vol 3, May 1843-June 1844 released on November 30.

The third volume contains almost a corporate record detailing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Personal records are almost absent. The book is 641 pages long and provides an insight into the personality of the prophet. Daily activities are also documented in detail.

According to Brent M. Rogers, an editor of this volume, the book is an excellent way to know about Joseph Smith and his activities, along with the Nauvoo church. Although many of the entries are terse, it is possible to get an understanding of the trials Joseph Smith was enduring. He introduced a number of temple rituals which would become important to worship in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

This journal was the concluding part of the second Nauvoo journal kept by the LDS leader, and worked on by Willard Richards, a scribe of Joseph Smith. It gives an exhaustive account of the creation of the Council of Fifty organization and also Smith's candidacy to be the president of the United States. It also elaborates on plural marriage practice, the growing political power of Smith and a number of controversial teachings. A number of other events are mentioned, like the factors which led to threats and criticism towards a number of church leaders, including Smith. All of these subsequently led to the LDS founder's arrest and then martyrdom at Carthage jail, Illinois.

Also in the journal are the detailed descriptions of the opposition against Smith. He was arrested on the basis of false charges and was soon released after a habeas corpus hearing. The release by Nauvoo Municipal Court led to hostile backlashes.

A mob gunned down Joseph Smith on June 27, 1844. He was only 38 years old at the time of death.


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