Talk:Death of Joseph Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Latter Day Saint movement (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Latter Day Saint movement, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Death (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Death, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Death on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.

New article[edit]

This article was created by moving all the material and related footnotes from the Smith's death section of Joseph Smith, Jr., and rewording the introduction so the article will stand on its own. Please edit and enhance per discussion at the main article. --MrWhipple 22:19, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

Dunham's Actions[edit]

I have removed the following paragraph from the main article:

On 26 June 1844, Smith sent message to Major-General Johnathan Dunham of the Nauvoo Legion that he should lead the militia to the jail in order to protect and accompany Smith and his associates back to Nauvoo. Dunham decided to ignore Smith's order, fearing such an action would instigate a major conflict that could erupt into civil war. Dunham informed no one of Smith's order or of his decision to disregard it.

This quality of information should be refrenced and supported. In talking with Whipple it may have come from something the revered Mr. Quinn developed. In doing research trying to find support for claim the last three days, which has been fruitless, I came across quotes in numerous other websites that quote WIKI's article. It is one of those endless rounds without a legitimate head or beginning. This underscores the importance of quality editing and supporting claims. Let's make sure that there is more support than my favorite, Mr. Quinn. Otherwise we end up with a slur to Dunham that may be unwarranted. Storm Rider 22:48, 31 August 2005 (UTC)

I came across this photo on the Tanners' web site: [1]. Assuming the letter is authentic, it appears that Joseph Smith did order Dunham to bring the Legion to Carthage. I don't know the rest of the story -- did Dunham receive the letter? Was it countermanded by a later letter? Did he ignore it? If so, did he have reason to? --MrWhipple 03:30, 4 September 2005 (UTC)
I have no idea whether the photo shown by MrWhipple is authentic, but the story of the orders is corroborated by the jounal of Joseph Smith's former bodyguard, Allen J. Stout, who shows obvious disgust at Dunham keeping the order secret and not responding. It also explains why Joseph Smith was so calm in hearing of armed men approaching. (talk) 19:05, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Lynched / Assassinated / Martyred / Executed[edit]

Several times recently, I have reverted edits using the word "lynched" to describe JSmith's death (on this and Smith's home article). Of course, it is an accurate word, given its general meaning: "to put to death by mob action without legal sanction." However, to our general readers and editors, I think it implies death by hanging due to lynchings in the US Southern States. It is also a more POV word than "assassinated" or "killed." Given the word's accuracy, however, should we continue to revert? WBardwin 05:38, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

Though it may be accurate, in today's usage it is misleading for the reasons you stated. I would vote that it should be reverted; however, I do believe there may have been a discussion where Visor and COgden may have been involved. I would seek their imput first.
Yes, certain words set a "tone" that can lead to either positive or negative meanings. However, I would oppose the usage of any word that lead one to believe Joseph simply died. It necessarily must connote a violent act taken by bloodthirsty men intent on murdering Joseph Smith. So, I don't agree that lynching is POV; it is appropriate, but a word usage out-of-date for our time. Storm Rider 05:51, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I think lynch is incorrect. It clearly implies hanging, which none of the accounts I see actually suggest. It might have been a "lynch mob" but there are no claims he was actually lynched. Here is the definition I have:
 to put to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal sanction
Wikibofh 15:24, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
  • I think assasination gives the proper tone, especially when you take into account that he was running for President of the United States at the time. If ten people shot JFK at the same time, we still wouldn't call it a "lynching", would we? Wadsworth 7 October 2005
    • I concur, "lynched" is not a preferred term for this article. As you stated, it may fit the strict definition, but it's mainly used to describe the hanging of blacks by lynch mobs, making it unsuitable for our purposes. Cookiecaper 17:09, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

I agree that "lynched" has a modern implication of hanging. I also think that "assassinated" gives the wrong impression, because it implies that a single person or small group of people caught Joseph Smith unaware and killed him (think Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, etc.). This was a mob action. The interesting thing is that there was an attempt made on Smith's life several months before Carthage. On 26 April 1844 Robert and Charles Foster and Chauncey Higbee attempted to assassinate Smith in his office with a pistol. The were arrested, and released on $100 bond. --MrWhipple 17:03, 7 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm okay with assassinated. Although assassinations are usually carried out by only a few assailants, I've never thought of that as contained with the word. I don't believe people will be confused by ther term, especially if it's used in something like "assassinated by a mob". Cookiecaper 17:09, 7 October 2005 (UTC)
Assassination is an appropriate word. Julius Caesar was assassinated by dozens of men. -Silence 08:52, 13 December 2005 (UTC)

According to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language (Second Edition), he was martyred. According to the Oxford dictionary, he was martyred. While some have claimed that lynching, while technically accurate, carries a certain connotation (i.e., hanging--I agree with US usage as skewing the understanding of the term here), assassination carries with it also a certain connotation, that the act was purely political in its motivation (arguing else is really self-deception). Looking at Smith's life and the reason's for his death, it isn't possible to say he was not martyred. For some reason there are people who feel that word is too freighted, or is only reserved for certain sects of Christianity. But, the sources on the language cited indicate the propriety of the usage. From the Random House Unabridged:

1. a person who willingly suffers death rather than renounce his or her religion [ed. note: Smith is widely quoted as saying he was going like a lamb to the slaughter so this seems to fit]; 2. a person who is put ot detah or endures great suffering on behalf of any belief, principle, or cause [Smith certainly fits the bill here as well if the reader has even a cursory knowledge of his persecution].

Like the lDS or hate them, he was martyred. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mbobmean (talkcontribs) 04:35, 13 December 2009 (UTC)

There has been a discussion about use of the word 'martyred' at Talk:The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I won't repeat the whole thing here, but assassinated refers to death for political beliefs, martyred refers to death for religious beliefs. Between the two I think that Joseph Smith's religious beliefs were a much more significant part of his life than his politics, therefore, martyred is more correct. The statement "Most Mormons consider him a martyr for his beliefs." is POV, I suspect ALL Mormons would consider him a martyr as would many non-Mormons. Look up the definition of the word 'martyr'. It would be more correct to say "Some Christians object to the classification of Joseph Smith as a martyr" and cite a reference. So I'm changing it and rewording it a bit. 74s181 13:46, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I added a section for the inevitable debate on the classification of Joseph Smith as a martyr. 74s181 15:25, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

I haven't been following the discussion on the other talk page, but having looked at it, I don't see that any consensus has been reached. It's clear in my mind that both "assassinated" and "martyred" have NPOV problems that can be solved by simply replacing the word with "killed". No need to get fancy here. As to the section on classification as a martyr, I see this as a minor issue in the broader doctrinal issue of the meaning of Smith's death. COGDEN 01:27, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Seconding killed. Added killed, and was tempted to add "killed in a jailbreak". And deleted

Whether inherent in its official definition or not, "martyred" definitely has an implied POV. "Executed" is what seems appropriate to me. It works for "the Mob". Why not "a mob"? OGRastamon (talk) 14:53, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Given that he was incarcerated at the time, using "executed" in this context may give the impressionism of being officially sanction by governmental authorities, either as capital punishment &/or a extrajudicial killing, instead of the actions of essentially a very short ochlocracy. Also there is a great difference between organized crime and pioneer-era vigilantism. -- (talk) 18:46, 30 August 2013 (UTC)
Such confusion may be possible out of context but there's nothing ambiguous about "executed by a mob". If you like we can provide an interwiki link to "mob" lest anyone be confused about their legal authority. OGRastamon (talk) 00:28, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
I vote "killed". This goes along the lines of WP:SAID which discourages the use of unnecessary synonyms that insert bias. ~Adjwilley (talk) 01:21, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Also, as a point of information, there is no Wikipedia article about the kind of "mob" we are talking about. Mob is a disambiguation page, which we're not supposed to link to, and the closest articles linked there are about mobbing behavior, vigilante, and organized crime. Maybe someone ought to start an article about this sense of "mob". ~Adjwilley (talk) 01:27, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Note to Self: Sarcasm is perhaps inappropriate and ultimately distracting on WikiTalk. OGRastamon (talk) 11:49, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Heh, yeah, sorry I missed that :-) ~Adjwilley (talk) 15:45, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

Just to sum up the verbs and their connotations without pros or cons:

  • Killed = Unspecified death by outside forces (human or otherwise)
  • Murdered = Unspecified criminal death
  • Executed = Death sanctioned by law or organized crime
  • Assassinated = Death conspired by political rivals or government
  • Martyred = Death conspired by the church
  • Lynched = Death by angry mob with a noose

OGRastamon (talk) 12:15, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

Templates and white space[edit]

I have to admit, guys, that I am not a fan of templates and probably never will be. But I generally hold my typing fingers about them. But come on!! All that blank space next to a row of templates. This is an improvement? What do we owe our readers? Information. Let's bring the article contents to the fore. WBardwin 07:40, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

What skin/browser are you using - I added the table at the top so that it would float the tables off to the right and start the text at the top - and get rid of the whitespace. I'll revert for now until we can find somehting that works for other setups. --Trödel 11:25, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm an AOL customer (sometimes to my sorrow) and use the default MonoBook skin. A fairly routine combination -- so probably used by many of our readers as well. White space on Life of Joseph Smith, Jr. from 1831 to 1844 as well. The others come across ok. Hope you can fix the problem. WBardwin 19:12, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
I can see what you mean I was unable to edit Brigham Young, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because of blocked IPs due to anon vandalism - you have my sympathies - and I will get those later. --Trödel 21:21, 13 July 2006 (UTC)


I am wondering about the completeness of the section on succession. The activity around succession claims involving Sidney Rigdon, and Joseph Smith III all had significant impact on how things played out after 1844, and each case made claims that succession was prefigured by Joseph Smith before his death (preparation for succession). Are there others intending to add these things, or to link to articles with this other information? Without these pieces, the article's quality seems affected by bias. The article on Succession crisis (Mormonism) has a lengthy discussion of the claims to succession, and this article may only need to be linked back to it? Jerekson 14:38, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

I added a main article link to the succession section as described above.74s181 18:04, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

Request for reference[edit]

There was a citation requested by Duke53; however he must have missed that the statement is already footnoted. The problem is that the footnote only reads "Star, Lance", can someone please complete the reference and then remove the citation request that was erroneously placed. Storm Rider (talk) 07:28, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

I found the reference Starr refers to in an article titled, "Was Joseph Smith a Martyr or a Murderer". He attributes it to Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press), 1979, 51. I corrected the citation Oasisbob 06:07, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
There is a reference to Ed Decker saying that "Some Christians object to the term martyr". As to the term martyr, Smith is a martyr by definition (see discussion at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The question is this: Is Ed Decker a ligitimate representative for the Christian Community, and should he be referenced in the intro? Seems a bit extreme and obscure to me. Bytebear 19:44, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
I reworded the intro from 'assassinated' to 'martyred', see my comment above in the the 'Lynched / Assassinated / Martyred' section. I suspected it would be controversial so I put in a balancing statement and cited the reference you noticed. It was the first halfway legitimate thing I could find, I'm hoping that someone who really thinks that Joseph Smith wasn't a martyr will come up with a better reference. I'm still learning about Wikipedia, so if I haven't done this properly I would appreciate feedback. 74s181 22:21, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Drinking wine in the jail[edit]

I removed the following edit:

According to the History of the Church, Smith and his companions consumed alchohol while incarcerated.

::Before the jailor came in, his boy brought in some water, and said the guard wanted some wine. Joseph gave Dr. Richards two dollars to give the guard; but the guard said one was enough, and would take no more. The guard immediately sent for a bottle of wine, pipes, and two small papers of tobacco; and one of the guards brought them into the jail soon after the jailor went out. Dr. Richards uncorked the bottle, and presented a glass to Joseph, who tasted, as brother and the Doctor, and the bottle was then given to the guard, who turned to go out. (History of the Church, Vol. 6, page 616)

John Taylor, later the third President of the Church, related the following:
"Sometime after dinner we sent for some wine. It has been reported by some that this was taken as a sacrament. It was no such thing,; our spirits were generally dull and heavy, and it was sent for to revive us.... I believe we all drank of the wine, and gave some to one or two of the prison guards." (History of the Church, Vol. 7, page 101)

This has no real value unless one is attempting to shock by stating Joseph Smith drank alcohol while in jail. The Word of Wisdom was the revelation Joseph Smith received that counseld people how to live. It was not given to be an absolute was only advice. You should also know that the pioneers were required to have coffee before leaving Nauvoo for the Salt Lake Valley. This is nothing to quote. --Storm Rider (talk) 00:54, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

I respectfully disagree that the material removed has "no real value" except to shock. It gives an idea of what it was like in the jail;what the prisoners were doing; and how they felt before the mob showed up. I think that Joseph Smith's last days are completely relevant in an article about his death and the circumstances surrounding it. I believe that the material should be reinstated with some comments on the Words of Wisdom and their role in church practices. If the material makes people come to a better understanding of both Smith and the WoW, isn't that a good thing? If you disagree, please elaborate on your point that the material about Joseph Smith's actions in the day or so prior to his death is not relevant to an article about his death. Jacob1207 20:22, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
First, the last days of Joseph Smith are important, but I fail to understand the importance of what they drank and what they ate. The importance of his last days are what he and his associates said and did, what those who sought his death said and did, and the actions and words of those who facilitated that death. The topic is death, what caused it, why, where, when, and who. These are important, but attempting to bring up the role the Word of Wisdom played in the early church is not the topic; it is not even worth mention. However, it may be worth a mention in the Word of Wisdom article itself.
You seem to propose that every detail of his last day is important. Surely that is not valid for this article. Did he eat bread? Did it have butter on it? What did he eat for breakfast? Was it his favorite breakfast foods? Did he have indigestion that morning or the night before? Did he see the sun or was it cloudy? Did he drink water from a well or from another source? I reject the value of including minutiae in every article. For those who believe in Joseph Smith and for those who detest him, minutiae might be interesting, but that does not make it of value every time the man's name is mentioned.
Although many of us feel the importance of many things, all topics can not be covered in each article. It creates redundancy and overly long articles. An encyclopedia is not intended to give exhaustive details, but rather to provide the highlights of a topic. Does this make sense to you? --Storm Rider (talk) 23:24, 10 March 2007 (UTC)
I think that the content in question can and should be usefully included in the article and I'm disappointed that you're taking the position that it should be excised completely. I would rather collaborate to usefully incorporate some of the details into the article. Of course, I am not of the opinion "that every detail of his last day is important." I found the material in question interesting and think that others may as well. Per your suggestion I have edited part of the material in question into the Word of Wisdom article; please take a look at it.
Do any of the articles on the life of Joseph Smith give any indication that he consumed alcohol? If not, is the information encyclopedic? If it is, wouldn't this be a good place to include it? Just wondering. Jacob1207 01:57, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure; the articles change so often that it is unclear of content at all times. It is my understanding that Joseph drank wine; it was a relatively common event. The Word of Wisdom, at the time it was given, was only counsel and not applied as it is today. Many of the early saints also used tobacco. As I said above, they also consumed coffee. Most of these things are commonly known history. Jacob, I am a strong advcate of keeping articles focused on the topic. When contversial topics are involved, as Joseph Smith seems to be, the article topic will often become obscured by all types of additoinal information. In this situation, the information that he drank wine is not germane to the topic. I will look at the other article. Thanks for making the effort. Cheers. --Storm Rider (talk) 02:33, 11 March 2007 (UTC)


What, more specifically is this Martyrdom debate about? The text says:

There is some controversy over the classification of Joseph Smith, Jr. as a martyr.

There's most probably no such controversy outside the vast number of Latter-Day-Saint churches, so the controversy must be between some of the "Saints" themselves (no offense meant). The section Classification of Joseph Smith, Jr. as a martyr should be clarified on this matter. If it is "non-Saint" sources that criticise this martyr classification, then the matter should be put in an article or section about contrary opinions. Rursus 19:43, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

This subject is discussed in the section Lynched / Assassinated / Martyred (above) and in other places. But to summarize the discussion, "martyr" can't be used because not everyone can agree that the church that he founded is a valid religion. "Assassinated" can't be used because he wasn't killed for his political views. "Lynched" can't be used because it has the modern implication of hanging. "Murdered" can't be used because no one was ever charged for killing him. And "killed" can't be used because his death was more than that. In summary, there is no word which can be used that is acceptable by consensus. The only thing that can be agreed upon is that there is controversy over his death, but this wording hasn't been approved by consensus. Val42 00:33, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
I disagree as to killed. That's a neutral term that doesn't imply anything controversial. Murdered is also neutral and it's accurate, because the killing was obviously intentional and premeditated, even though we don't know for sure the identity of who did it. Just like how you can say that JonBenét Ramsey and Tupak Shakur were murdered. COGDEN 00:59, 21 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree that killed and murdered should be acceptable for exactly the reasons that you specified. But the above is my recollection of the many discussions on the subject. Val42 19:45, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Following is an excerpt from what I have previously said about this. 74s181 02:02, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

"Killed" may be less offensive to some people, but "martyred" is more accurate. One may be killed by being gored by an ox, run over by a wagon, shot for cheating at cards, etc. Joseph Smith was killed for his religious beliefs, therefore he was martyred. Assassinated is less accurate, although he was a politician for a short time, most people are not even aware that he was a US presidential candidate. His entire life revolved around his role as founder and leader of the Mormon church. 74s181 02:02, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
Joseph Smith went to Carthage voluntarily, " a lamb to the slaughter..." but he did fire a few shots with a pepper-box revolver after attackers started firing into the jail. However, there is nothing in the dictionary definition of 'martyr' that says a martyr has to meekly accept his fate. In fact, the Wikipedia martyr article includes those who voluntarily surrender their lives actively attacking others in the name of a religous cause. 74s181 02:02, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
"Died" would be the most neutral, but it isn't accurate. We could say: "Joseph Smith led the church until his death in 1844." This is factually correct, but doesn't convey as much information as "killed", which doesn't convey as much information as "martyred". We could also say "...until he died in prison in 1844..." Not exactly correct. "...until he was shot while attempting to escape from prison in 1844..." Whoa, completely factual but also completely wrong. How about "...until he was killed by an armed group who disagreed with his religious teachings..." Accurate, but kind of long, might still be offensive, and by the way, isn't that what 'martyred' means? "...until his death in 1844..." would be definitely be less offensive to some Christians. Is that the goal? To sacrifice brevity or accuracy in order to avoid offense? 74s181 02:02, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Isn't being less truthful in the interest of reducing offense itself POV? Now I'll add one other thought. Although mainstream Christians have some qualifications for being a Martyr, this term is not restricted to Christianity. I would say that as long as mainstream Christians insist that Joseph Smith and his followers were / are not Christians we needn't be restricted by their definition of martyr in describing what they did to Joseph Smith. Personally, I don't have time to follow all the places where the martyrdom of Joseph Smith is mentioned and keep changing them back to 'martyred', but I think this is the most accurate word. If the consensus is that 'martyr' is too POV, then it should be replaced with "killed by an armed mob because of his religious beliefs", which is the the only other way that the truth can be stated. 74s181 02:02, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

I see nothing in what you (74s181) said that I disagree with. I, too, think that "martyred" (or variation thereof) would be the best word. There hasn't been any disagreement in this particular discussion against using that word. Let's let it go for a few more days then if there have been no objections, we should change it. Val42 02:47, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

No no, please do use more than one reference to define the word martyr. Being a martyr means that you willingly accept your death. He was not at all willing, he accepted a gun and used it to injure and kill some of his attackers. I could agree with the terminology used by the person below my comment [comment moved to chronological order]: "...until he was shot while attempting to escape from prison in 1844..." That is 100 percent fact. So please either keep what I have put or exchange martyr for the quote listed above.

Connor Butterfield — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:08, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

"being a martyr means that you willingly accept your death" [citation needed]. I thought martyr meant "somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce a belief or cause, usually religious." Smith was threatened and persecuted plenty, without renouncing his "belief or cause", and was subsequently killed. Regardless, the wording from 4 years ago is old news. The article now clearly states that "Latter Day Saints view Joseph and Hyrum as martyrs", which is about as plain as it gets. ...comments? ~BFizz 00:06, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Mason reference[edit]

The following reference has been provided regarding Joseph Smith's last words:

Why was Joseph Smith a Mason?, from Sunday Sermons, by By Cordell and Janice Vail,, dated 23 Nov 2003, retrieved December 15, 2007.

The problem is this is not a reputable reference from an expert source. When reading the attached article it is clear that the Vail's have a very strong POV and there is no support in this reference for the statement other than personal opinion. Can someone provide a reputable reference? I know they must exist from someone that has done more than just offer opinion. --Storm Rider (talk) 11:06, 18 December 2007 (UTC)


As a general reader of Wikipedia I find this whole discussion beyond intellectual & more on a wrangling over opinions of whether 1. It is okay to insult 13 million people with inaccurate terms, over 2. Using the correct & accurate terms. Joseph Smith did not kill himself, he did not want to die, his life was horribly wrenched from him in a small upstairs room of a little jail in an even less notable county of Illinois. Death? Yes, he is dead & the world is not better for it. Murdered without a doubt & by the people of the land of Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, & Mississippi that time & again stole the lands, goods & crops of his religious followers. Taken at gunpoint & by war alive or dead. Leaving families, women, children, widows, destitute in the cold winters of early America. Cry for the trail of tears. Hurt for the loss of the Long Walk. But shed not a tear, give no right of deference to those who died along the western trail to escape the horrors dealt them in the land of their fathers. Yes, their fathers were of the Mayflower, were those who fought the fight of the Revolution & for America. I know for both are in my lineage & others I have met & studied. He died a Martyr to his religious beliefs. The Expositor is rife with the Anti-Mormon sentiments of the local & regional people. It is without doubt that he was killed for his religious beliefs. He died assassinated for his political beliefs which were a plenty beyond Presidential (remember Mayor of Nauvoo (an unwanted Swamp brought to prominence rivaling Chicago!). Because of this kind of manipulative reporting most people believe, Bobby Kennedy was the first presidential hopeful assassination! Not true. Joseph Smith tread that path over 100 years earlier. Many of the Apostles, including Brigham Young were distributing material to that end when the assassination occurred. He was also a military commander of the Nauvoo legion, a legal & proper American militia of the type in those times of America. The real Mormon people, even in their most desperate times supported a government that rarely even noticed them. Joseph Smiths example & Brigham Young's prodding providing the Mormon Battalion to repel Santa Anna finally from Texas & other territories that became the American Southwest. Where is General Joseph Smiths Statue? An unmarked grave is all, as his son, Joseph Smith III, so respectfully wrote in his song. He died serving his country & was buried in a true patriots grave. Those are facts gentlemen. Try as you like to sound intellectual about your presentations it doesn't come out that way. The man is dead, report it truthfully & accurately or at the expense of your own intelligence jargonism loose the very thing that Wikipedia is trying to achieve. The truth. Perhaps the truth is that you need a small paragraph on each item & let people decide for themselves what the truth is.

Some additional information. Anti-mormon writers should be restricted to contributing on Anti-mormon sites. Sites dealing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints should be written by people who are actually associated in some positive intellectual way. Just as I would not presume to relate reliable Catholic information & editing, the use of anti-mormon writers material is very questionable in defining areas of history that have been well written & referenced by actual Mormon writers. Anti anything should not be the staple of a article on Wikipedia. Also consider this please: would it be acceptable to refer to all the Protestants as Catholics since they broke from Catholism but still believe in the Bible? I think most Protestants would agree that the Bible is not the sole definition. Likewise it is incorrect to refer to all break away church's from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Mormons because they believe in portions of the Book of Mormon Another Testament of Jesus Christ. They chose another course & left the original church. They own no copyrights to the associated body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nor any true rights to claim ownership of the doctrines, words, or teachings of real Mormons. In a Christian attitude of not making them offenders for a word, the LDS church has been generous in not calling them to task for these misrepresentations but recent events, like the FDLS Child Abuse Scandal, the Warren Jeffs Trial, & other polygamous prosecutions, point out that more & more, just because groups use Mormon words does not truly, in any way, associate them with real Mormons of the LDS church. A careful delineation between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints & other break-off groups has become important in accurate reporting & writing alike. These ex-Mormon groups have been through the excommunication processes within the LDS Church & lost or given up the right to claim true affiliation or representation of the church. This is true of most, although not all, anti-mormons. They may or may not be associated with the break-off groups or even protestant groups. They may speak or write their mind as much as they like but they do not have a right to represent the LDS church in anyway other than their own experiences. Often their reference sources are highly suspect using unclaimed documents, suspected forgeries, & a variety of time consuming research to distract & dissuade a completion of a rightful project about which they earned the title of anti-mormon for. Lastly, be clear there is not one among all these herein listed that could not return to active membership in the LDS church by applying the principles of Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance of all wrong doing, Rebaptism to reactivate their membership in the Church & a remission of sins & letting the Holy Ghost that is given them to guide their direction in the path of the Savior. They have closed the door but he stands outside waiting for the door to be opened. As recently as last April 2008 Conference, President Monson asked that they return, they are not forgotten, nor are they far from our hearts. mormontrailnews Mormontrailnews (talk) 16:59, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

So what you are suggesting is that the history of an individual or a movement should be written by those who have a biased point of view towards the person or movement in question? That is blatantly against wikipedia standards, and explains a great deal about how this article was written. This article is short on references and high on rhetoric. In other words, it requires the attention of individuals who are able to describe this event without any of their own personal beliefs colouring it. Halogenated (talk) 01:44, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Choice of words[edit]

In this article, to maintain NPOV I think it's best to avoid "murder" and to use "killed" or "assassinated" in its place. The reason for this is that the people tried for the murder of the Smiths were acquitted of murder. (See Thomas C. Sharp, Mark Aldrich, Jacob C. Davis, William N. Grover and Levi Williams.) Thus, from a legal standpoint, although a homicide was committed, there was no murder. It's a small point and distinction, but for the sake of NPOV, I think it's one worth maintaining. This can be maintained without having any extended discussion here about whether the Smiths were in fact "murdered". From my point of view, they were, in the colloquial sense, but that's irrelevant. There's a reason this article is "Death of Joseph Smith, Jr." and not "Murder of Joseph Smith, Jr." Good Ol’factory (talk) 10:48, 5 November 2008 (UTC)

Does murder only exist if someone is convicted? I have never heard that definition or distinction made for the term. This has been reverted twice now and I am not sure there is not a reasonable case for it to be used. Lynching to me is still off because there is a definite inference of hanging. To be lynched is to be murdered, no? Assassinated also seems to be less than the best term because of the political overtone and Smith was not killed because of his politics. On the other hand, I can understand where one can make the allegation that his death resulted from his decision as mayor to destroy the printing press. I disagree with that position that his death was motivated by a plethora of issues are revolving around his role as a religious leader. I am not sure that murder is not the more accurate term here. --StormRider 16:08, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
I think you might be confusing the legal meanings of "murder" and "homicide", or at least misinterpreting my intended meaning with respect to the colloquial vs. the legal meaning of the term "murder". (I probably wasn't clear on this, but I was meaning to address the legal meaning because the editor who made the edit appeared to try to present a "legalese" meaning for "murder" in the edit summary, and that meaning was clearly wrong.) Anyway, regardless of this, I think the article should use whatever is most common in sources. Almost all sources I can find use "assassinated" or "killed". Many LDS Church-related ones use "martyred". (Not many use "lynched", but "lynching" does not mean "hanged"—that's a common misinterpretation, but it actually means an extrajudicial killing by a mob: see Lynching. That seems exactly on point here. But again, if not used by the sources, what we think is irrelevant.) I can't really find any that use "murdered", so that, combined with the fact that there were murder charges that resulted in acquittals, seems to pretty strongly support the avoidance of the term. To use it wouldn't reflect sources and probably amounts to a mild for of OR. I don't think it's a huge deal but I also can't see how "murdered" is superior to using "killed" and/or "assassinated". Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:29, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't use Wikipedia articles often for references and particularly not when seeking definitions. The term "lynch" in English definitely is related to hanging if one is to believe the dictionary (see here. I still don't like assassinated for the same reason of extra meanings attached to the word (it was not secret or by surprise, but rather it was expected by a number of those involved, in particular Joseph Smith). Both of the terms work, but both are less than ideal. Killed is workable, but seems devoid of what took place...a little too sanitized. It is like saying that Jews were killed by Hitler during WWII. It has that feel of "spin" one uses to down play an event. Like you I don't think this is a significant issue and yet understand why some prefer the term murder, which means "1.The unlawful killing of one human by another, especially with premeditated malice."
If are asking if historians think that Joseph Smith was murdered, I don't think I have ever seen a historian say he was not murdered. It really depends on the historian, much similar to those historians that discuss other atrocities. In search "Joseph Smith, murder" I found the following instances, one, two, three, four(calls the individuals murders, five, six, seven (an anti-Mormon website), eight (Jan Shipps article, nine, ten. Given these ten references it would seem that murder is used by experts pro and con on the topic. You may want to review each of the references yourself; when you do make sure you use the search page command to speed your review.
Again tone is an issue of personal taste. You obviously prefer words that downplay the event. Others would seem to have something stronger. Given that it is a matter of taste, I would encourage you to be a bit more circumspect in reverting others. If not, it comes off too controlling of the article. It would seem to me that there is a place for stating they were murdered. As an aside, the fact no one was convicted is a red herring and has no bearing on this issue. --StormRider 22:44, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
(1) Of course lynching can be via hanging. My point is it is not limited to that form of killing/murder, as the dictionary indicates. (2) Thanks for the links; the majority I see still use something other than murder, but I never did doubt that one could find its use. My main point was just that it wasn't as prevalent. (3) I don't think it's an issue of me trying to "downplay" anything through tone, and I would appreciate an AGF on that matter. I framed it as a NPOV issue, and I would appreciate keeping the talk within those bounds and not to personal taste issues. (4) I don't think the lack of conviction is really a red herring if one is speaking of the legal definition of the term. If one is speaking about what term to use, I think I already stated that it's kind of irrelevant since we should be reflecting sources. (5) You can say it comes across as controlling, but I don't think there's much dispute that when an editor changes a word in the lead that is in the name of the article, a revert is probably in order unless there's a consensus to use that term and therefore move the page. (6) As I said, it's not a big deal. I posted here more as an explanation to the editor in question and not to debate detailed semantics, which in fact has little appeal to me. If you'd like to propose some usages of "murder" in the article, feel free. It shouldn't be a problem if used properly. Good Ol’factory (talk) 23:01, 5 November 2008 (UTC)
1) No one is saying that lynching is used exclusively for hanging individuals, I am saying that there is a strong inference to hanging, which the dictionary does say. 2) Each and every link provided all use the word murder or murders; not just some of them. Please read them and as I indicated above, you the "find" command if necessary and to speed the process up. 3) Tone is always important and should always be considered and tone specifically is covered in NPOV. 4) There is a difference in using the term murder in the article and in the first sentence. What you have done is to expunge its use from anyone in the article. I assume if an editor uses the term and references you will accept the usage. --StormRider 20:05, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
(1) You say "strong inference"; that's obviously an interpretation of what the this dictionary actually says. Others will interpret it differently and most importantly other dictionaries phrase it differently. Six of one, half a dozen of another—it's just semantics and how you interpret it. (2) I realise that. Why are you assuming that I didn't read/refer to the links? I did. I can also find many other sources that refer to the event that do not use the term "murder", so it's a mixed bag. (3) I agree that tone is "covered" by NPOV, which is what I'm trying to achieve. But to focus on tone at the exclusion of other POV issues can be a mistake, in my opinion, since at the end of the day what we call "tone" depends quite heavily on the reader's perceptions and preconceived notions of the topic. (4) I didn't "expunge" anything. The article never contained the use of "murder" in the first place, at least when I came upon it. On the other hand, other editors have "expunged" the terms "killing" and "assassination" from the article and replaced them with "murder". But you are correct that if someone wants to propose using "murder" in the article in an appropriate way, that would be fine with me. Good Ol’factory (talk) 22:56, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

"I am a dead man"[edit]

Copied from my comment on Talk:Joseph Smith, Jr.:

I found an Eyewitness account by John Taylor, now how to source it? Apparently it is from History of the Church, 7:99-108. Also: whoever does the citation, please also replicate it on Death of Joseph Smith, Jr.#Attack by the mob since it also includes the statement of when Hyrum exclaimed "I am a dead man."...but what do you think? ~B Fizz (talk) 05:54, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

I don't know if this is the earliest source ever (I would guess that it was originally published in the Deseret News), but the earliest copy I can find constitutes Appendix III of Burton, Richard F. (1962), The City of the Saints, and Across the Rocky Mountains to California, New York: Harper & Brothers . COGDEN 01:52, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
Actually, I just did a search of the Deseret News archives, and the only hit that came up was a 1937 article transcribing a radio address by Stephen L. Richards. Nothing apparently before that. So apparently Deseret News is not where it came from. Also, part of Taylor's story is quoted in Bankroft's History of Utah, and he attributes Burton. It appears from the text of Burton (p. 272) that Burton got the original manuscript from Taylor, and published it long before the church ever did. I would cite Burton. COGDEN 02:03, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

A Mormon Mob Killed Joseph Smith?[edit]

It should be noted that there are many people (mostly members of the Community of Christ church which is the church of the Smith family formally known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints) believe that Smith was killed by a mob of angry polygamist that knew Smith and his family were going to ban polygamy from the Mormon church. This is very likely considering the polygamist's swift move (or what the modern-day Mormons strangely refers to as the "Exodus," as if Brigham Young could even remotely compare to Moses) to Utah without the Smith family. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

People are entitled to their opinion, of course. But, scholars generally agree that the mob was led by Protestant churchmen, contained many "Gentiles" who were politically opposed to Mormon interests, and included a modest number of "disaffected" Mormons who had left the Church in recent years. A number of these men were brought to trial but were not convicted. Your point on polygamy also fails, as scholars (including those of the Community of Christ) almost unanimously agree that Joseph Smith instituted the practice of polygamy among the Mormons and was a polygamist himself. Best wishes. WBardwin (talk) 20:22, 20 August 2010 (UTC)
If the claim by anon could be cited to a source, it could be included in the article in the sense of reporting what some RLDS Church members taught/believed about the death. Good Ol’factory (talk) 23:48, 20 August 2010 (UTC)

Wow, what a hagiography[edit]

Anybody else think this reads like an extremely well-written LDS pamphlet? In comparison to many other LDS articles, this one's got a real problem with neutral wording in every section. In total the tone is juuuust sympathetic and apologetic enough to impart that subtle spin on the article's tone. It reads like it's been very carefully vetted from top to bottom by a skilled LDS Wikipedian. Unflattering details are avoided or generically worded where possible, while heroic or sympathetic ones are accentuated and expounded on. Aren't all LDS articles supposed to be under Arbcom scrutiny to avoid this kind of thing? I see tons of inlines and lots of gleaming prose but that gleam clearly came after somebody with a pro-Smith POV polished it from "neutral grey" to "shiny, flawless chrome".

Oh, and the sources need work. A lot of these sources are dogmatic LDS members who would, by necessity, hold a hagiographic (i.e- non historic) view of Joseph Smith, Jr. (particular as to the circumstances of his death) in keeping with official church dogma. Not to say we can't include LDS scholars as sources for theocratic viewpoints, but many of these historical inlines are currently cited to LDS scholars rather than neutral historians or primary documentation. That's not okay in a purely non-theological historical event article like this. Bravo Foxtrot (talk) 14:38, 2 January 2011 (UTC)

Well, if you have any specific ideas, why not share them? What source in particular do you think is misquoted or inappropriate? Where are these non-LDS scholarly sources you mention? It would be nice to improve the article, but your criticism is too vague, with no specific examples of what needs to be done. – jaksmata 14:46, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Attempted Rescue?[edit]

Any truth to the newspaper accounts of an attempted rescue of Smith by 150 armed men? e.g.: [2] If so, can this be incorporated? Just curious, I was editing Steamboat Iowa and came across this ref. Edgar Vekilnik, Jr. (talk) 18:32, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

It's true, but it doesn't relate to the June 1844 arrest of Smith that led to his death. The paper you cite was from a year previous, on 30 June 1843. Smith was indicted and/or arrested multiple times in various jurisdictions, and this incident is referring to a different time Smith was indicted. Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:42, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Joseph Smith's Last Dream[edit]

The following text is taken from an 1863 Salt Lake City Almanac published by W. W. Phelps Digital photographs of the actual pages can be seen below. Look at Joseph Smith's Last Dream - The Full Account as Told by W. W. Phelps How can I add this dream to this wikipedia biography? (talk) 17:37, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

I think it would be OK to mention it in the "Incarceration at Carthage Jail" section. I'll try to add it in. ...comments? ~BFizz 17:52, 13 July 2011 (UTC)
How's this? ...comments? ~BFizz 18:32, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

I think B added it in a good way. Now it has to be accepted. (talk) 18:42, 13 July 2011 (UTC)

Joseph Smiths real last dream was of raping a little girl. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:57, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

WP: Death assessment commentary[edit]

The article was rated C-class for lack of sufficient in-line citations. Boneyard90 (talk) 11:18, 4 February 2012 (UTC)

File:G. W. Fasel - Charles G. Crehen - Nagel & Weingaertner - Martyrdom of Joseph and Hiram Smith in Carthage jail, June 27th, 1844.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:G. W. Fasel - Charles G. Crehen - Nagel & Weingaertner - Martyrdom of Joseph and Hiram Smith in Carthage jail, June 27th, 1844.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on June 27, 2012. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2012-06-27. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 18:31, 25 June 2012 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Death of Joseph Smith

A lithograph depicting the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on June 27, 1844. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, had been jailed in Carthage, Illinois, US, on charges of his ordering the destruction of the facilities of a newspaper that had criticized him. While awaiting trial an armed mob of men with painted faces stormed the jail and shot him and his brother Hyrum to death.

Artist: George Wilhelm Fasel; Lithograph: Charles G. Crehen; Restoration: Adam Cuerden
ArchiveMore featured pictures...

POV Dispute[edit]

The entry refers to newspapers as well as former associates, of whom were well known critics of Joseph Smith. The wording of this entry, the citations used, combined with the title itself. All slant the article toward the POV of Smiths critics. A POV of which is entirely based on hearsay. Hoss1982 (talk) 18:10, 2 July 2012 (UTC)

What specificially is being referred to that is problematic? Good Ol’factory (talk) 00:18, 3 July 2012 (UTC)
Since Hoss1982 hasn't responded in over a month, I would suggest closing this issue and removing the {{POV}} tag. I will do it if there is a consensus.--ARTEST4ECHO (talk/contribs) 21:32, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

Citation Three Error?[edit]

I am not sure if its just me or my computer but I am having trouble finding what citation 3 is referencing to and could not find it with the link provided. The article writes, "Some of these associates alleged that Smith tried to marry their wives. About eight of Smith's wives were also married to other men (four were Mormon men in good standing, who in a few cases acted as a witness in Smith's marriage to his wife) at the time they married Smith. Typically, these women continued to live with their first husband, not Smith. Some accounts say Smith may have had sexual relations with some of his other wives, and one wife later in her life stated that he fathered children by one or two of his wives.[3]" The link provided is ^ Newell, Linda King; Avery, Valeen Tippetts (1994). Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith (2d ed.). University of Illinois Press. pp. 44. ISBN 0-252-06291-4. Like I said I couldn't find the content in the reference that the article is discussing. If its correct then maybe someone could point that out to me. If its not correctly cited then maybe a new reference could be found or it should be removed.Thenamesbryce (talk) 16:38, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

Reason J. Smith moved to window[edit]

Isn't it impossible to know exactly why Joseph Smith moved to the window? He's dead, and he never told anyone why he did it prior to his death. There are a few different possible explanations, all of which are at least plausible. How could there have been any research on this that doesn't essentially amount to an opinion? Maybe the WP article should just say he moved to the window, without ascribing a motive to it. Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:59, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

I would agree with you, but I have found one source, although it is historical fiction. Volume 6 of the award-winning series The Work and the Glory describes Smith's martyrdom in detail, including the reasons Smith moved to the window. I believe it lists some sources to back it up. I will be happy to do research on it at some point. Right now, however, my wife and I are preparing to move, and things have picked up at work, so my Wikipedia time is limited. I will do some studying on this as time and circumstances allow. Would that be a satisfactory source? On another article, the series has been cited as a good source for information, since it contains fictional characters but ties them in with actual historical events. Thoughts? --Jgstokes (talk) 06:50, 16 September 2015 (UTC)ɬ
No, I don't think that a work of historical fiction can be used as a reference for Wikipedia stating what a person's motives were for doing something that they did. I really don't see how anyone could possibly know what the motive was, since Smith never told anyone before he died. As I said, there are several plausible explanations which could be and have been speculated about (eg, he was trying to protect others; he was trying to escape; he was frightened; he was going to shout out the Masonic call of distress out the window; he was offering himself up as a martyr), but how can Wikipedia state definitively which is correct? I don't think we can. Good Ol’factory (talk) 00:05, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

I never intended the historical fiction series alone to be presented as a possible source. What I did intend in suggesting the historical fiction source (and perhaps didn't make plain enough in my last comment) is this: this series contains extensive chapter notes, including references to nonfiction works that back up the content set forth in the series, or else sets forth how what actually happened differs from the events in the series. I'm sure (if I remember correctly) that Gerald Lund talks about Joseph's motives in moving to the window and cites sources to prove the veracity of this situation. That's why I suggested appealing to "The Work and the Glory" to resolve this question once and for all. Did that explanation clarify my purpose in suggesting a consultation of the series? --Jgstokes (talk) 06:16, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

I understand what you're proposing, but I fail to see how any reference could possibly be able to establish a motive, apart from speculating. We can have a look at what the sources say, but in the abstract I'm having a hard time understanding how we can know what a dead man was thinking or intending just seconds before he died. Good Ol’factory (talk) 22:53, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

I understand your concern, and it may be justified. However, I don't see how it can hurt to see what established sources compiled in a book that recounts historical events say. --Jgstokes (talk) 04:51, 18 September 2015 (UTC)

I'm not stopping you from looking it up or posting here what the sources are and what they say. In the meantime, I've placed a "citation needed" tag on the phrase. Good Ol’factory (talk) 05:02, 18 September 2015 (UTC)

Thank you. I agree with the need for the "citation needed" tag. I will take time this weekend to research it and post my findings here. --Jgstokes (talk) 04:51, 19 September 2015 (UTC)

A new user has removed the statement. I just want to state that this user has no connection to me. (It could be viewed as suspicious, since it was the user's first-ever edit.) Good Ol’factory (talk) 21:40, 29 November 2015 (UTC)

BYU Studies Article[edit]

I referenced a BYU studies article about the positions of everyone and I found a newer link to it (but the newer link isn't as specific; it links to the entire issue). If the one I put becomes broken try this one. This source could also support the assertion that the pocket watch wasn't shot. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rwelean (talkcontribs) 18:16, 21 January 2016 (UTC)