Latter Day Saint martyrs

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Latter Day Saint martyrs are persons who belonged to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) or another church within the Latter Day Saint movement who were killed or otherwise persecuted to the point of premature death on account of their religious beliefs or while performing their religious duties.

Although the term "martyr" is not frequently used in Latter-day Saint terminology, Latter Day Saints recognize a number of prophets, apostles, and other religious persons as recorded in the Bible, including both the Old Testament and New Testament, and Book of Mormon as martyrs within the same religious tradition (albeit at an earlier time) to which they subscribe.[1] For Latter Day Saints, the most notable martyr is Jesus Christ. Other scriptural examples include Abel ("the first martyr"),[2] John the Baptist, James the brother of John, Stephen whose stoning is recorded in the Book of Acts, Abinadi,[3] women and children of Ammonihah,[4] etc.[5] Latter Day Saints also acknowledge as "Early-day Saint" martyrs those early Christians who were killed for their faith prior to or as a result of the Great Apostasy.

The most notable post-Biblical Latter Day Saint martyrs are Joseph Smith, Jr. and his brother Hyrum Smith.[6]

Individuals who die "in the Lord's service" are believed to be rewarded with eternal life: "And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal."[7] Joseph F. Smith, President of the LDS Church, declared: "I beheld that the faithful elders of this dispensation, when they depart from mortal life, continue their labors in the preaching of the gospel ... in the great world of the spirits."[8]

According to LDS Church apostle L. Tom Perry, from 1831 until 1989, "only seventeen LDS missionaries [were] killed by assassins." At the same time, apostle M. Russell Ballard "indicated that of the 447,969 missionaries who have served since the days of Joseph Smith, only 525—about one-tenth of 1 percent—have lost their lives through accident, illness, or other causes while serving. 'When you contemplate that number,' he said, 'it appears that the safest place to be in the whole world is on a full-time mission.'"[9]

Missonaries who died from illness or accident are not listed. However, depending on the circumstances of their death, they could be deemed "martyrs" for having died while in religious service.[10][11][12][13][14]

Many Mormon pioneers and other early Church members who suffered privation and early death on account of their religious beliefs would likely qualify as "martyrs." However, they are too numerous to list here. This list also does not include early Mormon settlers who were killed in encounters with Native Americans during the Mormon settlement of the American West.

List of Latter Day Saint martyrs[edit]

Death date Location Name Church Cause of death Age at death
January 7, 1832 Pomfret, Vermont Joseph B. Brackenbury (missionary) Church of Christ Poisoning 43
October 25, 1838 Battle of Crooked River, Missouri Gideon Carter Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Killed in battle
October 25, 1838 Battle of Crooked River, Missouri Patrick O'Banion Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Killed in battle by John Lockhart
October 25, 1838 Battle of Crooked River, Missouri David W. Patten (apostle)[15] Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Killed in battle 39
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Hiram Abbott Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Elias Benner Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri John Byers Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Massacre

October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Alexander Campbell Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Simon Cox Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Josiah Fuller Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Austin Hammer Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri John Lee Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Benjamin Lewis Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Thomas McBride Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre; shot by Jacob Rogers; body hacked apart with a corn knife 78
November 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Charles Merrick Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre; died about 4 weeks afterward from wounds 9
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Levi Newton Merrick Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre 30
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri William Napier Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri George S. Richards Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Sardius Smith Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre; top of skull blown off from musket shot by William Reynolds 10
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri Warren Smith Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
October 30, 1838 Haun's Mill, Missouri John York Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Massacre
May 27, 1840 Nauvoo, Illinois Edward Partridge (bishop) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Persecution[16] 46
June 27, 1844 Carthage Jail, Illinois Joseph Smith, Jr. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Mob assassination 38
June 27, 1844 Carthage Jail, Illinois Hyrum Smith Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Mob assassination
July 30, 1844 Nauvoo, Illinois Samuel Harrison Smith (one of Eight Witnesses) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Attributed to internal injuries sustained while fleeing a mob on horseback on the day his brothers were murdered[17][18] 36
July 9, 1856 St. James Township, Beaver Island, Michigan James Strang (president of the church) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite) Shot on June 16, 1856 by Thomas Bedford, a member who Strang had had flogged for adultery; Strang died in Voree, Wisconsin 43
May 13, 1857 near Van Buren, Arkansas Parley P. Pratt (apostle) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Shot and stabbed by Hector McLean, the ex-husband of one of Pratt's plural wives 50
July 21, 1879 Varnell, Georgia Joseph Standing (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Mob murder 24
August 10, 1884 Cane Creek, Tennessee William S. Berry (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Mob assassination 46
August 10, 1884 Cane Creek, Tennessee John H. Gibbs (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Mob assassination 32
August 10, 1884 Cane Creek, Tennessee W. Martin Conder The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Mob assassination 20
August 10, 1884 Cane Creek, Tennessee John Riley Hutson The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Mob assassination 27
May 4, 1912 Diaz, Galeana, Chihuahua, Mexico James D. Harvey The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Shot and killed 49
August 27, 1912 Colonia Pacheco, Mexico Joshua Stevens The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Killed by Mexican rebels
1915 San Marcos, Hidalgo, Mexico Rafael Monroy (branch president)[19] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Execution by Liberation Army of the South
1915 San Marcos, Hidalgo, Mexico Vicente Morales[19] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Execution by Liberation Army of the South
October 27, 1942 Plötzensee Prison, Germany Helmuth Hübener The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Executed for anti-Nazi activities 17[20]
August 20, 1972 Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico Joel LeBaron (president of the church) Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times Shot and killed by Daniel Jordan on the orders of Ervil LeBaron, Joel's brother and a rival fundamentalist Mormon leader 49
October 1974 Austin, Texas Gary Darley (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Murder by an unidentified individual (Robert Elmer Kleason was convicted for the crime but his conviction was later overturned); presumably dismembered with chainsaw[21] 20
October 1974 Austin, Texas Mark Fischer (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Murder by an unidentified individual (Robert Elmer Kleason was convicted for the crime but his conviction was later overturned); presumably dismembered with chainsaw[21] 19
May 10, 1977 Murray, Utah Rulon C. Allred (head of church) Apostolic United Brethren Shot and killed by Rena Chynoweth and another woman on orders of Ervil LeBaron, a rival fundamentalist Mormon 71
December 15, 1979 North Charleston, South Carolina Elizabeth King (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Found beaten and shot to death in a car in a parking lot 66
December 15, 1979 North Charleston, South Carolina Ruth Teuscher (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Found beaten and shot to death in a car in a parking lot 65
February 1987 Lisbon, Portugal Roger Hunt (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Shot and killed by a security guard who thought he had stolen a car 19
May 24, 1989 La Paz, Bolivia Todd Ray Wilson (missionary)[9][22] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Assassination in terrorist attack by Zarate Willka Armed Forces of Liberation 20
May 24, 1989 La Paz, Bolivia Jeffrey Brent Ball (missionary)[9][22] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Assassination in terrorist attack by Zarate Willka Armed Forces of Liberation 20
May 27, 1990 Dublin, Ireland Gale Stanley Critchfield (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Stabbed to death 20
August 22, 1990 Huancayo, Peru Manuel Antonio Hidalgo (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Assassination in terrorist attack by Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement 22
August 22, 1990 Huancayo, Peru Cristian Andreani Ugarte (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Assassination in terrorist attack by Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement 21
March 6, 1991 Tarma, Peru Oscar Zapata (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Shot and killed after getting off a bus 20
October 17, 1998 Ufa, Russia José Manuel Mackintosh (missionary) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Stabbed outside the lobby of a building where he and his companion had been visiting Church members 20
January 2, 2006 Chesapeake, Virginia Morgan W. Young (missionary)[23] The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Fatal shooting 21

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Patch, Robert C. (1992), "Martyrs", in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York, NY: Macmillan, pp. 862–863, ISBN 0-02-904040-X, OCLC 24502140 
  2. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 138:40
  3. ^ Mosiah 12:1-17
  4. ^ Alma 14:1-11
  5. ^ Martyrdom, "Topical Guide", Standard Works (LDS Church) 
  6. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 135:1
  7. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 98:13
  8. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 138:57
  9. ^ a b c "News of the Church: Church Honors Missionaries Who Died in South America", Ensign, August 1989 
  10. ^ Booth, J. Wilford (September 1909), "Four Heroes Far Away", Improvement Era 12 (11): 897–907 . Concerning Adolf Haag, John Alexander Clark, Edgar D. Simmons, and Emil J. Huber.
  11. ^ "2 Mormon missionaries die in natural gas leak in Romania", Deseret News, 31 January 2010 
  12. ^ "Mormon missionary shot, killed in Jamaica", Deseret News, 17 January 2011 
  13. ^ "LDS Missionary from Dominican Republic killed in Colombia", Deseret News, 1 September 2013 
  14. ^ "Dr. B" (4 October 2010). "Partial List of LDS Missionary Deaths". Prepare Ye The Way of The Lord (mormonmission.blogspot.com). 
  15. ^ Wilson, Lycurgus A. (1904), Life of David W. Patten, the First Apostolic Martyr, Salt Lake City: Deseret News, OCLC 15512846 
  16. ^ Smith, Joseph, Jr. (December 15, 1855), May 1840 (reprint), "History of Joseph Smith", Millennial Star (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) 17 (50): 789, "Bishop Edward Partridge died at Nauvoo, age 46 years. He lost his life in consequence of the Missouri persecutions, and he is one of that number whose blood will be required at their hands." 
  17. ^ LaRene Porter Gaunt and Robert A. Smith, “Samuel H. Smith: Faithful Brother of Joseph and Hyrum,” Ensign, August 2008, pp. 44–51.
  18. ^ The sole remaining Smith brother, William, later charged that Brigham Young had arranged for Samuel to be poisoned to prevent his accession to the presidency of the church. Jon Krakauer (2003). Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (New York: Doubleday) p. 194; D. Michael Quinn (1994). The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books) pp. 152–153; William Smith, "Mormonism: A Letter from William Smith, Brother of Joseph the Prophet", New York Tribune, 1857-05-19. William Smith's accusations did not lead to police investigations into the death of Samuel Smith.
  19. ^ a b Grover, Mark L. (1996), "Execution in Mexico: The Deaths of Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales", BYU Studies 35 (3) 
  20. ^ Hübener was the youngest person sentenced to death by Volksgerichtshof.
  21. ^ a b Driggs, Ken. (2000), Evil Among Us: The Texas Mormon Missionary Murders, Signature Books, ISBN 978-1-56085-138-7 
  22. ^ a b "Bolivia tragedy plays role in conversions", Church News, 9 September 1989 
  23. ^ "Mormon Missionary Shot Dead in Virginia", FoxNews.com (AP), 3 January 2006 

References[edit]