Friday, July 11, 2014

Following the Saints West

One of the mob that was present when Joseph Smith was shot and killed at Carthage, followed the Saints west. What was his motive for doing this?

a.      He wanted the chance to kill Brigham Young

b.      He wanted to finish off John Taylor

c.       He wanted to see how the Saints managed without Joseph Smith

d.      He wanted forgiveness and to join the Church

Yesterday’s answer:

a.      $6,000

At a time when W.W. Phelps was out of the Church we learn, through a letter from Phelps to his wife, that the brethren may even have tried to bribe their way out of jail. William states to his wife Sally that Joseph had “bribed the guard with six thousand dollars.” (William Phelps to Sally Phelps 1 May 1839.) Many years later, in 1875, The Chicago Times reported that Alexander Doniphan, the prisoners lawyer, had learned from Alanson Ripley as saying he had given Joseph Smith $1100, $700 up front to the guards, saving $200 for travel expenses and offering the sheriff a note for $400. (The Chicago Times, 7 August 1875, p. 1.) And yet, Hyrum Smith’s diary, the only account, does not mention any of this. He does mention on 14 April that “all things tend to be favorable to us; the guard [are] very lenient and kind.”

(Diary of Hyrum Smith, 14 April 1839. Ms.); New Views of Mormon History, Edited by Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher (Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, 1987), 41.

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