Martyrdom and Aftermath

“Martyrdom and Aftermath,” in Psalms of Nauvoo, ed. Hal Robert Boyd and Susan Easton Black (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City, 2015), 187–280.

“Everything seemed to turn as black as ink.”

—James Fisher[1]

“We’ll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away, in the West.”

—William Clayton, “Come, Come, Ye Saints”

By the summer of 1844, citizens of Warsaw and Carthage, Illinois had become wary of the Saints’ growing numbers, city, and political might. Editor Thomas Sharp of the Warsaw Signal predicted, “War and extermination is inevitable! CITIZENS ARISE, ONE AND ALL!!! Can you stand by, and suffer such INFERNAL DEVILS! To rob men of their property and RIGHTS, without avenging them. We have no time for comment; every man will make his own. LET IT BE MADE WITH POWDER AND BALL!!!”[2]

A few antagonists in Nauvoo embraced the mob-like sentiments and signed their names to an affidavit, which reportedly read, “You solemnly swear, before God and all holy angels, and these your brethren by whom you are surrounded, that you will give your life, your liberty, your influence, your all, for the destruction of Joseph Smith and his party, so help you God!”[3] Knowing of threats from without and within the community, Joseph was “ready to be offered a sacrifice for this people; for what can our enemies do? Only kill the body, and their power is then at an end.”[4]

A series of events followed, including the printing of an anti-Mormon publication by Joseph’s former friends. Soon after, the Nauvoo City Council declared the Nauvoo Expositor a public nuisance and dismantled the press, thinking this would quell outside opposition. Far from allaying tensions, however, these events unleashed a tirade of local anti-Mormon fervor. The Prophet Joseph attempted to leave, but listened to the advice of friends who advised submission to local authorities for their protection and a fair hearing in Carthage, Illinois. Resigned, Joseph said, “If my life is of no value to my friends it is of none to myself.”[5]

Early Monday morning on June 24, 1844, Joseph journeyed to Carthage, Illinois. He reportedly stopped one last time to survey the beautiful city he helped build, “This is the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens; little do they know the trials that await them.”[6] To friend Dan Jones, he confessed, “I love the city of Nauvoo too well to save my life at your expense. If I go not to them [at Carthage], they will come and act out the horrid Missouri scenes in Nauvoo. I may prevent it. I fear not death. My work is well nigh done. Keep the faith and I will die for Nauvoo.”[7]

When he arrived in Carthage, Joseph confided in a letter to his wife Emma, “I am very much resigned to my lot, knowing I am justified, and have done the best that could be done. Give my love to the children and all my friends.”[8] While the Prophet was incarcerated on June 27, 1844, Carthage Grays reportedly sang outside:

Where now is the Prophet Joseph?

Where now is the Prophet Joseph?

Where now is the Prophet Joseph?

Safe in Carthage jail![9]

Perhaps to counter the din, future Church president John Tayor began singing the hymn “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”:

In prisn’ I saw him next, condemned

To meet a traitor’s doom at morn.

The tide of lying tongues I stemmed,

And honored him ’mid shame and scorn.

My friendship’s utmost zeal to try,

He asked if I for him would die.

The flesh was weak; my blood ran chill,

But my free spirit cried, “I will!”[10]

Around five o’clock in the afternoon, “an armed mob—painted black—of from 150 to 200 persons” surrounded the jail. Despite attempts to defend themselves, Hyrum Smith was the first to fall dead. He collapsed on the floor, saying, “I am a dead man!”[11] Joseph called for his brother. He then stepped toward the bedroom window—bullets from the doorway struck him from behind. As he fell, two more bullets hit him from outside. He exclaimed his parting words: “O Lord, My God!”[12]

Following a period of mourning, the issue of leadership and succession arose. Some Latter-day Saints left Nauvoo to follow Sidney Rigdon to Pennsylvania; others went with James Strang to Wisconsin. Most followed Brigham Young and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to the Great Salt Lake where together the Saints forged strong communities in the American West modeled after the distinct Christian communalism of Navuoo.

“The Assassination: Of Gen’s Joseph Smith and Hyrum Smith First Presidents of The Church of Latter-day Saints; Who Were Massacred by a Mob, in Carthage, Hancock County, Ill., on the 27th June, 1844.”

Eliza R. Snow

To poet Eliza R. Snow, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyrs for the cause of Christ. Snow envisions Joseph and Hyrum mingling with the prophets of old in heavenly realms, for as Jesus taught, so the Saints believed, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you . . . for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before.”[13]

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.

And they cried with aloud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, can thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?

And white robes were given unto every one of them; And it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also, and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.”—Revelation 6:9, 10, 14.

Ye heav’ns attend! Let all the earth give ear!

Let God and seraphs, men and angels hear—

The worlds on high—the universe shall know

What awful scenes are acted here below!

Had nature’s self a heart, her heart would bleed;

For never, since the Son of God was slain

Has blood so noble, flow’d from human vein

As that which now, on God for vengeance calls

From “freedom’s ground”—from Carthage prison walls!

Oh! Illinois thy soil has drank the blood

Of Prophets martyr’d for the truth of God.

Once lov’d America! what can atone

For the pure blood of innocence, thou’st sown?

Were all thy streams in teary torrents shed

To mourn the fate of those illustrious dead;

How vain the tribute for the noblest worth

That grac’d thy surface, O degraded Earth!

Oh wretched murd’rers! fierce for human blood!

You’ve slain the prophets of the living God,

Who’ve borne oppression from their early youth.

To plant on earth, the principles of truth.

Shades of our patriotic fathers! Can it be,

Beneath your blood-stain’d flag of liberty;

The firm supporters of our country’s cause,

Are butcher’d while submissive to her laws?

Yes, blameless men, defam’d by hellish lies

Have thus been offer’d as a sacrifice

T’ appease the raging of a brutish clan,

That has defied the laws of God and man!

’Twas not for crime or guilt of theirs, they fell—

Against the laws they never did rebel.

True to their country, yet her plighted faith

Has prov’d an instrument of cruel death!

Where are thy fair-fram’d laws,—Columbia! where

Thy boasted freedom—thy protecting care?

Is this a land of rights? Stern—FACTS shall say,

If legal justice here maintains its sway,

The official pow’rs of State are sheer pretence

When they’re exerted for the Saints’ defense.

Great men have fall’n and mighty men have died—

Nations have mourn’d their fav’rites and their pride;

But TWO, so wise, so virtuous, great and good,

Before on earth, at once, have never stood

Since the creation—men whom God ordain’d

To publish truth where error long had reigned;

Of whom the world, itself unworthy prov’d;

IT KNEW THEM NOT; but men with hatred mov’d

And with infernal spirits have combin’d

Against the best, the noblest of mankind!

Oh, persecution! shall thy purple hand

Spread utter destruction through the land;

Shall freedom’s banner be no more unfurled?

Has peace indeed, been taken from the world?

Thou God of Jacob, in this trying hour,

Help us to trust in thy Almighty pow’r;

Support thy Saints beneath this awful stroke—

Make bare thine arm to break oppression’s yoke.

We mourn thy Prophet, from whose lips have flow’d

The words of life, thy spirit has bestow’d—

A depth of thought, no human heart could reach

From time to time, roll’d in sublimest speech,

From the celestial fountain, through his mind,

To purify and elevate mankind:

The rich intelligence by him brought forth,

Is like the sun-beam, spreading o’er the earth.

Now Zion mourns—she mourns an earthly head:

The Prophet and the Patriarch are dead!

The blackest deed that men or devils know

Since Calv’ry’s scene, has laid the brothers low!

One in their life, and one in death—they prov’d,

How strong their friendship—how they truly lov’d:

True to their mission, until death, they stood,

Then seal’d their testimony with their blood.

All hearts will sorrow bleed, and ev’ry eye

Is bath’d in tears—each bosom heaves a sigh—

Heart-broken widows’ agonizing groans

Are mingled with the helpless orphan’s moans!

Ye Saints! be still, and know that God is just—

With steadfast purpose in His promise trust:

Girded with sackcloth, own His mighty hand,

And wait His judgments on this guilty land!

The noble martyrs now have gone to move

The cause of Zion in the courts above.

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 12 (July 1, 1844): 575.

“The Death of the Prophets”

William Clayton[14]

William Clayton wrote of the inescapable sadness in Nauvoo following the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith: “Sorrow & gloom was pictured in every countenance,” he wrote. “One universal scene of lamentation pervaded the city. The agony of the widows & orphan children was inexpressible and utterly beyond description.”[15] In this poem, Clayton assures his readers that “Joseph’s body it will slumber, / But his spirit reigns above: / In the courts of heavenly knowledge, / Where there’s wisdom, light, and love. / There he’s pleading Zion’s cause to Zion’s God.”

Oh, Columbia’s sons of freedom,
What is that we hear of you;
Have you slain two men of wisdom?
Yes! the story is too true.

Holy Spirit!
Shew the wicked what they do.

Hark: the voice of justice echoes,
O’er the wide extended plain;
That the Lord will come with vengeance,
And the wicked shall be slain.

While his servants,
Range in peace on the blissful plain.

In the west there’s boasted freedom,
But her sons have stained the ground,
With the blood of prophets martyr’d,
For the truth which they had found.

But their teaching,
Shall through all the world resound.

Zion’s cities shall be founded
In the western hemisphere;
Saints of God like doves will gather;
And by thousands flock to hear

All the teaching
Joseph gave while preaching here.

They may kill and banish others,
Still these truths shall overcome:
That the saints will quickly gather,
To their promised happy home.

Then will Jesus
In the clouds of heaven come.

Joseph’s body it will slumber,
But his spirit reigns above:
In the courts of heavenly knowledge,
Where there’s wisdom, light, and love.

There he’s pleading
Zion’s cause to Zion’s God.

Hyram too, stands as a witness,
Of the dread and awful scenes,
That have roll’d on Zion’s borders;
Caused by jealous maddened rage

Of the serpent,
Anti-Zion’s advocate.

Saints be faithful and you’ll see them,
Both in Zion there to reign;
Not in trouble nor in sorrow,
For their foes will all be slain

And the Saviour,
With his people then will reign.

William Clayton, “The Death of the Prophets,” Church History Library. Call number: M288.1 C622d.

“A Song”

William Hyde

In July 1844, while traveling as a missionary in New York, William Hyde learned of the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Hyde wrote in his journal, “I learned that Joseph and Hyrum had been slain. My soul sickened and I wept before the Lord, and for a time it seemed that the very Heavens were clad in mourning.”[16] This poem expresses his profound distress at the news.

While far from kind domestic life,

An only child, a loving wife,

While striving in my early youth

To warn mankind, and teach the truth.

Sad news I heard, which broke my heart,

It seemed that all must feel the smart;[17]

It came while I, within a room

Was seeking news from friends and home.

For weeks I’d pore the pages o’er,

That carried news from shore to shore;

But all that came looked dark and drear,

Which caused me the more to fear.

At length a stranger did relate,

Our loving brother Joseph’s fate;

That he, with others—strange to tell—

Had been immured[18] in prison cell.

It seemed, for truths which they had taught,

Their lives by demons had been sought;

But that the world the truth might know,

They did themselves to prison go.

While there they justice did await,

How hard to tell how foul their fate!

Those hellish fiends, in hellish form,

Cut from their coverts they did swarm.

The prison doors they soon were burst,

The prophet and his brother thrust;

The balls in showers did stop their breath,

Thus fell these martyrs cold in death.

I listened to this stranger’s tale

Until my strength did almost fail;

My blood did chill within my vein,

From weeping I could not refrain.

I asked myself, can it be so?

Must Joseph fall, and Hyrum, too?

The greatest men for deeds of worth

That ever lived, or walked the earth.

But ah! they’re gone; they sought in vain,

On earth some justice to obtain;

But there’s a court that will them hear,

And at this court they will appear.

’Tis now in councils of the just,

Their causes soon will God adjust;

For Joseph there himself will plead,

And God, I’m sure, his cause will heed.

The saints are soon to get redress,

For all their wrongs and sore distress;

The prayers of those who have been slain,

Are not before the Lord in vain.

Then let us all be pure in heart,

Although we now may feel the smart;

When all the saints on earth we meet,

’Tis then we’ll realize the sweet.

When Christ shall come from Heaven again,

With all his saints on earth to reign,

’Tis then we’ll greet our suffering o’er,

’Tis then we’ll meet to part no more!

In William Hyde, journal, 75–76, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.


Alexander Neibaur

Alexander Neibaur, a converted Jew, was adamant that “Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord” and the “things spoken of in the Bible, Book of Mormon, sealed with the blood of the martyr at Carthage jail, Ill[inois] are true.”[19] In his poem below, Neibaur expresses his mood and sentiments at the time of his dear friend’s passing.

A Jew among the afflicted and mourning Sons and Daughters of Zion, at the assassination of the Two Chieftains of Israel, Joseph and Hyrum Smith

Blessed the people knowing the shout of Jehovah,

In the light of his countenance they will walk.

How can we, a people in sackcloth,

Open our lips before thee?

They have rejected and slain our leaders,

Thine anointed ones.

Our eyes are dim, our hearts heavy;

No place of refuge being left.

Redeem the people that in thee only trusts:

There is none to stand between and inquire;

Thou art our helper,

The refuge of Israel in time of trouble.—

O look in righteousness upon thy faithful servants,

Who have laid bare their lives unto death,

Not withholding their bodies:

Being betrayed by false brethren, and their lives cut off,

Forbidding their will before thine:

Having sanctified thy great name,

Never polluting it;

Ready for a sacrifice;—standing in the breach,

Tried, proved and found perfect.

To save the blood of the fathers;

Their children, brothers and sisters;

Adding theirs unto those who are gone before them;

Sanctifying thy holy and great name upon the earth:

Cover and conceal not their blood.

Give ear unto their cries until thou lookest

And shewest down from heaven—taking vengeance

And avenging their blood—avenging thy people and thy law,

According to thy promises made

Unto our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Hasten the acceptable and redeeming year:

Shadday:[20] remember unto us thy covenants:

All this heaviness has reached us:

Can any one be found to declare

What has be fallen us?

All this we bear, and the name of our God

We will not forget, nor deny,

The “Hebrews” God he is called,

Thou art clothed with righteousness,

But we are vile.

Come sit in judgment with us.

Before thee nothing living is justified by their works.

But be with us as thou wast with our fathers.

Help thou, O Father; unto thee

We will lift our souls,

Our hearts in our hands.

We look to heaven,

Lifting our eyes unto the mountains,

From whence cometh our help.[21]

Turn away thine anger,[22]

That we be not spoiled.

O return and leave a blessing behind thee.

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 13 (July 15, 1844): 591.

“On the Death of the Prophet”

Charles A. Rogers

To his sister in England, Charles Rogers wrote of the “dreadful blow” that befell Joseph Smith in Carthage.[23] As his poem reiterates, Rogers was himself willing to have met “[Joseph’s] fate with gladness,” if he could “have staid [the] murderers hand.”

Joseph farewell; thy spirit pure,

Is now beneath the Altar crying

Unto that God of Mercies sure,

On whom thou called when thou wast dying.

Thy cry is heard, and vengeance certain

Will fall on those who caused thy death,

For God will raise the darkened curtain,

And blight thy murderers with his breath.

We feel thy loss, yea, tears of sadness

Fill every eye in Zion’s land;

We would have met thy fate with gladness,

Could we have staid thy murderers hand.

But fare thee well, thy woes are ended,

And perfected at sufferings shrine,

Thy name with holy martyrs blended

Shall in Eternal Glory shine!

In the Prophet 1, no. 13 (August 10, 1844): 2.

“Praise to the Man”

William W. Phelps

Noted commentator of Latter-day Saint hymns, George D. Pyper characterized this hymn as an “emphatic eulogy” containing a “cry unto heaven” and a profound “panegyric concerning . . . Priesthood and endless glory.”[24] Fellow Latter-day Saint author Karen Lynn Davidson added, “The words [Phelps] penned is a personal tribute reflecting the feelings of millions of Saints.”[25] In writing his tribute, which is still sung the world over, Phelps used both the meter and form of “The Lady of the Lake” by Sir Walter Scott: “Hail to the Chief who in triumph advances! / Honour’d and bless’d be the evergreen Pine! / Long may the tree, in his banner that glances, / Flourish, the shelter in grace of our line!”[26] The result is a powerful song with a familiar ring.

Praise to the man who commun’d with Jehovah,

Jesus anointed “that Prophet and Seer,”[27]

Blessed to open the last dispensation;—

Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.


Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven,

Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain,

Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren,

Death cannot conquer the hero again.

Praise to his mem’ry, he died as a martyr:

Honor’d and blest be his ever great name;

Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins,

Stain Illinois, while the earth lauds his fame,

CHORUS—Hail to the Prophet, &c.

Great is his glory, and endless his priesthood,

Ever and ever the keys he will hold;

Faithful and true he will enter his kingdom,

Crown’d in the midst of the prophets of old.

CHORUS—Hail to the Prophet, &c.

SACRIFICE brings forth the blessings of heaven

Earth must atone for the blood of that man!

Wake up the world for the conflict of justice,

Millions shall know “brother Joseph” again.

CHORUS—Hail to the Prophet, &c.

In Nauvoo Neighbor 2, no. 16 (August 14, 1844): 1.

“The Martyrs”

Lyman O. Littlefield

Published alongside an account of Joseph and Hyrum’s martyrdom, Littlefield’s poem rejoices in the brothers’ exaltation to “thrones, with Gods, above, / Where heav’nly anthems ’round them roll.” Notwithstanding the poetic promise of heightened glory for the fallen martyrs, Littlefield wrote that, “The occurrence of this tragedy brought a dark and gloomy day to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in all the world.”[28]

Dark and bloody was the scene,

When Prophets of the Lord were slain;

By mobbers vile, by fiendish men,

Who left them bleeding on the plain.

Their earthly temples laid full low,

Lock’d in the cold embrace of death;

Oblivion’s chill spread o’er each brow;

But peaceful was their parting breath.

Tho’ men their mortal parts could kill,

There was a pow’r beyond control;

A pow’r that baffles murdr’ers’ skill;

For, O, immortal is the soul!

Tho’ rais’d to thrones, with Gods, above,

Where heav’nly anthems ’round them roll;

Yet Zion’s people still they love,

And Zion’s cause they still control.

The Church of Christ is theirs to guide;

And at our front they’ll ever stand;

They are our head, our hope, our pride;

We’ll honor them in ev’ry land.

Their names within our mem’ry, dear,

Shall ever live and never die;

Tho’ oft the tear, the burning tear,

Shall drop from sorrow’s weeping eye.

Our Prophet and our Patriarch,

With keys of knowledge both endow’d;

Tore from the world a veil so dark—

On it a light divine bestow’d;—

From ignorance and error’s chain,

They set the captive spirit free;—

Our Prophets we shall see again,

When we have gain’d the victory.

The cause of God moves proudly on,

Tho’ troubles oft the saints betide;

Tho’ from us for a time they’ve gone,

Still truth divine doth onward stride;—

For at the helm the Twelve do stand,

To guide the Church of Christ, below—

This is the pattern He hath plan’d:

This truth each saint of God may know.

When sorrow sheds the bitter tear,

And heaves the bosom’s ardent sigh,

While mourning for our Prophets dear,

We’ll on the word of God rely:—

Look to the resurrection morn;

The resurrection of the just;—

Immortal beauties shall adorn,

And spirit wake to life their dust.

In William M. Daniels, A Correct Account of the Murder of Generals Joseph and Hyrum Smith at Carthage on the 27th day of June, 1844 (Nauvoo, IL: John Taylor, 1845): 24.

“Cry of the Martyrs”

Parley P. Prat

In the following poem, Parley P. Pratt juxtaposes the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith with the deaths of past Christian martyrs. Some thirteen years after penning this poem, Pratt too was killed. His last words: “I am dying a Martyr to the faith.”[29] Eleanor Pratt, wife of Parley P. Pratt, composed a poem titled, “The Orphans’ Lamentation, on Hearing of the Martyrdom of Their Father.” Dedicated to Pratt’s memory, the poem inducts her husband into the pantheon of past martyrs. “The father and husband,” she wrote simply, “had met a martyr’s fate, / By the hands of fiends, surcharged with guilt and hate.” [30]

Hark!—the sound of many voices mingling

Their feeble cries like the groans of myriads

Of expiring insects, ascends the skies

In solemn music. While the wide expanse

Of Heaven’s courts re-echoes with the sound:

Its strains, tho’ mournful, sad, and solemn are

Powerful and mighty, and dignified,

And grand, and sublime: and fill the heaven;

As the sound of many waters; or as

The voice of great thunders; rending the

Skies; startling the angels; and penetrating

The hearts of the Gods; thrilling every nerve

And kindling the flame of justice in each

Holy bosom.—And whose voices are these?

They are the voices of ancient martyrs

Who were slain for the witness of Jesus;

And for the word of their testimony.

Yes—crucified, beheaded, sawn asunder,

Burned, torn by wild beasts; betrayed, shot,

Hung, boiled, roasted, imprisoned, starved, and

Tortured in ten thousand nameless ways.

And who, so cruel, or so hard in heart

As to afflict these blessed martyrs thus?

Perchance some demon from the courts of Hell

In human form arrayed, alone performed it?

Or if by human aid it might have been

Some low degraded heathen—canibal,

Trained from his youth to feed on human flesh,

Or tell me where such wretches could be found?

Alas, I brush to own the truth, and yet

Myself a man. There were their PRAYING FRIENDS;

Their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons,

And neighbors Ah, too oft their fellow Christians,

In name but not in spirit. Yes, pious

Priests, and praying friends, too oft betrayed them.

But how could these in conscience kill such men,

And all for their religion and their faith;

Ah, this, (themselves the judge) they never did.

They first accused them, charged with various

Crimes, belied and slandered; then, for justice

Cried and thus destroyed them, in holy zeal for God;

And vainly thought to do him service.

But Hark.—That piercing cry still tingles in

My ears, and fills my weary heart with grief

What are their words that burn, with might and power,

To pain both heaven and earth and all that hear?

“How long, O Lord! holy, and true, dost thou

Not judge and avenge our blood on them that

Dwell on the earth?”[31]

Are these the awful words? And what reply

Is given by the avenging heavens?

BE PATIENT—O ye martyred souls and wait

Till your fellow servants who are to be

Killed in like manner shall be fulfilled.

WAIT—till Missouri’s plains are soaked in blood

Of innocence, and the souls of Latter day Saints

Mingle their cries with yours for vengeance on

The earth. Wait, till the plains of Illinois,

And the walls of Carthage, are soaked with

The blood of martyred prophets, whose cries

Ascend to heaven for vengeance on a mob.

‘Wait’—till the last vestige of civil and

Religious liberty shall expire in

The bosom of a boasting nation, whose

Rulers mock the cries of justice,

And laugh at the prayers of the oppressed.

Wait till then; but wait no longer.—You have

The answer.

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 16 (September 2, 1844): 639.

“On the Death of the Prophet and Patriarch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Shall They Live Again?”

Catherine Lewis

Poet Catherine Lewis says Joseph Smith has “a greater work to do” beyond the grave: “[Joseph] will burst those prison doors, / And in full glory shine, / With all his glorious train on earth to stand, / And meet King Jesus from on high.” Though Lewis looked forward in 1844 to the day when Joseph would once again mingle with the Saints, four years later she had left the faith in rather dramatic fashion, penning an exposé on the Latter-day Saint temple ceremony.[32]

Joseph, by name, he comes their souls to claim;

Who shall be heirs to God,

And joint heirs with His Son—

Rest from your labors hear ye honored ones;

For scenes more glorious now

Attend your labors there:

And when those who have gone before

Shall see you enter as their head, on earth

To lead the prisoners forth—

A shout of joy will then be heard,

Behold the Prophet of the Lord!

Joseph, by name, he comes their souls to claim;

Who shall be heirs to God,

And joint heirs with His Son—[33]

His work on earth is done;

He hath laid the great foundation here,

And now hath passed

Thro’ blood; within the veil

A greater work to do.

But soon he will burst those prison doors,

And in full glory shine,

With all his glorious train on earth to stand,

And meet King Jesus from on high

With all his heavenly band;

While Saints on earth shall join the throng

And far on high ascend to wait the redemption

Of the earth, and then again return.

Ye weeping Saints shake off your fears,

God’s promises are sure;

Tho’ heaven and earth shall pass away,

His word will still endure;[34]

This earth shall be as Eden fair,

When all things are restored;

The Saints shall then in peace abide

Without corroding toil.

The earth shall yield her fruit again

As at Creation’s morn;

And man be placed back again

The garden to adorn;

While angels from on high

Shall mingle with the Saints,

And Christ their Lord shall be there

To heighten all their joys.

In the Prophet 1, no. 20 (September 28, 1844): 1.


Sylvester Hulet

After hearing the poetry of Sylvester Hulet, Eliza R. Snow suggested that Hulet “take up his pen in the cause of Zion.”[35] Perhaps Snow’s suggestion inspired the writing of this poem, “Lines,” as well as his poem “I’ve Seen the Dark and Driving Storm.” Here Hulet discussed the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

O earth attend! ye nations now give ear,

Ye patriots whose noble bosoms burn

Let mortals weep, in anguish drop a tear;

With ardent zeal—whose hearts like steel are firm;

Ye seraphs bright who range in worlds on high,

Rise up like men in freedom’s righteous cause;

In sorrow heave a more than mortal sigh.

Stand to your rights defend her sacred laws.

Deign now ye gods who dwell in realms of light

Immortal shades! our honor’d father’s ghosts

To stoop in silence and behold the sight;

Who once withstood proud Briton’s warlike hosts,

For ne’er transpir’d on earth, (nor yet in hell)

Whose fearless spirits broke the haughty foe—

A scene more tragic since the Savior fell.

Weep o’er thy sons, thy fallen sons below.

Ye saints of God on this polluted earth,

Look down ye men now standing at the helm,

Cease from your laughter and put off all mirth;

To guide the fate of this extensive realm;

Weep o’er the deeds just done by wicked hands,

Your fostering care, to every branch extend;

For righteous blood now stains this guilty land.

Their wrongs redress, their liberties defend.

O Illinois thy base high handed crimes,

Shall mobs presume to raise the impious hand

Stand yet unrivall’d on the page of time;

Against the laws of this once favor’d land,

The horrid deeds that now thy country stain,

In acts of riot, plunder, strife, and blood;

Unequall’d were in Nero’s bloody reign.[36]

Of laws regardless, both of man and God?

Though shameful scenes of blood and carnage great,

Wake O Columbia from thy slumbers rise,

Transacted were within a sister state;

Break off the spell that closes now thine eyes,

Though dark the deeds perform’d by her alone,

Exert thy power quell every hostile band,

More savage still and darker are thine own.

An equal measure mete to every man,

Ye men of fame who o’er this state preside—

The cause for support for which our father’s bled,

Who roll in pleasure, luxury, and pride;

The storm avert now pendant o’er thy head,

Your solemn vows now call you to sustain

Lest the same hand that thou dost foster now,

Your country’s honor and its laws maintain.

Smite thee in turn, and cause thee low to bow.

But where’s thy greatness and thine honor now,

Rouse from thy dreams and open now thine eyes,

Thy proffer’d friendship and thy plighted vows?

Ere vengeance dread, shall thunder from the skies,

Where now the pledge that once thou didst bestow—

And in thine ears announce thy fearful fate,

Were they perform’d? thine actions answer no.

And break thy visions when it be too late.

In Nauvoo Neighbor 2, no. 32 (December 11, 1844): 339.

“The Seer”

John Taylor

After Joseph Smith’s passing, John Taylor wrote a eulogy in prose praising the life and contributions of Joseph Smith. His words were later canonized in Latter-day Saint scripture: “The Prophet and Seer of the Lord has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world. . . . He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood.”[37] As a further remembrance of the Prophet, Taylor penned this poem, “The Seer,” taking as his prototype the song “The Sea” by Bryan Cullen Proctor: “The sea! the sea! the open sea! /The blue, the fresh, the ever free! / Without a mark, without a bound / It runneth the earth’s wide regions round.” [38] “The Seer” was sung at the dedication of the Seventies’ Hall in Nauvoo.

The seer,—the seer,—Joseph the seer!

I’ll sing of the Prophet ever dear;

His equal cannot be found,

By searching the wide world around.

With Gods he soared in the realms of day,

And men he taught the heavenly way.

The earthly Seer! the heavenly Seer!

I love to dwell on his memory dear;

The chosen of God and the friend of man,

He brought the Priesthood back again;

He gazed on the past, and the future, too,

And opened the heavenly world to view.

Of noble seed, of heavenly birth,

He came to bless the sons of earth;

With keys by the Almighty given,

He opened the full rich stores of heaven;

O’er the world that was wrapt in sable night,

Like the sun he spread his golden light;

He strove, O how he strove to stay

The stream of crime in its reckless way!

With a mighty mind and a noble aim,

He urged the wayward to reclaim:

’Mid foaming billows of angry strife,

He stood at the helm of the ship of life.

The Saints, the Saints, his only pride,

For them he lived, for them he died!

Their joys were his, their sorrows too,

He loved the Saints.—he loved Nauvoo.

Unchanged in death with a Savior’s love,

He pleads their cause in the courts above.

The Seer, the Seer! Joseph, the Seer!

O, how I love his memory dear!

The just and wise, the pure and free,

A father he was and is to me.

Let fiends now rage in their dark hour—

No matter, he is beyond their power.

He’s free! He’s free! the Prophet’s free!

He is where he ever more will be,

Beyond the reach of mobs and strife,

He rests unharmed in endless life.

His home’s in the sky, he dwells with the Gods,

Far from the furious rage of mobs.

He died! he died for those he loved,

He reigns, he reigns in the realms above.

He waits with the just who have gone before,

To welcome the Saints to Zion’s shore.

Shout, shout, ye Saints; This boon is given:

We’ll meet him, our martyred Seer, in heaven.

In Times and Seasons 6, no. 1(January 1, 1845): 767.

“A Voice from the Prophet: ‘Come to Me’”

William W. Phelps

In January 1843, William W. Phelps composed the poem “Vade Mecum (‘Go with Me’)”, in which he beckoned the Prophet Joseph Smith, “Go with me, will you go to the mansions above, / Where the bliss, and the knowledge, the light, and the love, / And the Glory of God do eternally be?”[39] Following the death of Joseph, Phelps penned this sequel titled “A Voice from the Prophet: ‘Come to Me,’” as if Joseph himself were beckoning the Saints from beyond the veil. Lyrics were sung to the well-known tune of “Indian Hunter.”

Come to me, will ye come to the saints that have died,
To the next better world, where the righteous reside;
Where the angels and spirits in harmony be
In the joys of a vast Paradise? Come to me.

Come to me where the truths and the virtues prevail;

Where the union is one, and the years never fail;

Where a heart can’t conceive, nor a nat’ral eye see,

What the lord has prepar’d for the just: Come to me.

Come to me where there is no destruction or war;

Neither tyrants, or mobbers, or nations ajar;

Where the system is perfect, and happiness free,

And the life is eternal with God: Come to me.

Come to me, will ye come to the mansions above,

Where the bliss and the knowledge, the light, and the love,

And the Glory of God, do eternally be?

Death, the wages of sin, is not here: Come to me.

Come to me, here are Adam and Eve at the head

Of a multitude, quicken’d and rais’d from the dead:

Here’s the knowledge that was, or that is, or will be—

In the gen’ral assembly of worlds: Come to me.

Come to me; here’s the myst’ry that man hath not seen:
Here’s our Father in heaven, and Mother, the Queen,
Here are worlds that have been, and the worlds yet to be:
Here’s eternity,—endless; amen: Come to me.

Come to me all ye faithful and blest of Nauvoo:
Come ye Twelve, and ye High Priests, and Seventies, too;
Come ye Elders, and all of the great company;
When you’ve finish’d your work on the earth: Come to me.

Come to me; here’s the future, the present and past:
Here is Alpha, Omega, the first and the last;
Here’s the fountain, the “river of life,” and the Tree:
Here’s your Prophet & Seer, JOSEPH SMITH: Come to me.

In Times and Seasons 6, no. 1 (January 15, 1845): 783.


Charles W. Wandell

Perhaps using the above poem by William W. Phelps, “A Voice From the Prophet: ‘Come to Me,’” as a prototype, Charles W. Wandell penned this poem as if spoken by the Prophet to the Latter-day Saints.

Weep, weep not for me, Zion,

Rejoice now, and sing ye aloud,

Pray, pray that Judah’s fierce lion,[40]

May quickly descend with a cloud;

Haste, haste, O! quickly descend in a cloud.

To smite with the rod of his power;

To lay Zion’s enemies low.

While frowns on his countenance lower,

They sink to perdition and woe.

Yes, yes, they sink to perdition and woe.

Long, long, dear saints we have wandered;

Yet, yet, do not complain.

Oft, oft, our all has been plundered;

The loss, is our infinite gain.

Yes, yes, the loss is our infinite gain.

Cease, cease, your sighing and weeping;

Mourn not, neither repine.[41]

Now I’m in heaven’s blest keeping;

With Jesus I ever shall shine.

Yes, yes, with Jesus, I ever shall shine.

Mobs, mobs, of all you’ve bereft me,

Home, friends, pleasures so sweet!

Now, now, from your powers I’m free;

You and I never shall meet.

No, no, you and I never shall meet.

Go, go, ye wretches who’ve slain me;

Now, now, your power is o’er.

Though in the tomb they have lain me,

I’m resting on Zion’s bright shore.

Yes, yes, I’m resting on Zion’s bright shore.

Weep not, Zion’s fair maidens,

Brave sons, weep not for me;

Crown’d now with glory I’m laden,

Now happy I ever shall be.

Yes, yes, now happy I ever shall be.

Sad was the hour of parting;

Then, then fell many a tear.

Soon, you’ll be over the smarting,

And meet with the Holy ones here.

Haste, haste, to meet with the Holy ones here.

Heaves, heaves each bosom with sorrow?

Anguish, how fervent the pain.

Soon, soon will come that blest morrow,

When you will see Joseph again.

Then, then, you will see Joseph again.

Then, then, how happy the meeting;

Joy, joy, each bosom will fill;

With Joseph and Hyrum then greeting,

On Zion’s thrice sanctified hill.

Yes, yes, on Zion’s thrice sanctified hill.

In Nauvoo Neighbor 2, no. 42 (February 19, 1845): 1.

“Sacred to the Memory of Joseph and Hyrum Smith”

Mary Ann Broomhead

Latter-day Saints wrote many mournful tributes in journals and newspapers about the martyrdom of Joseph and his brother Hyrum Smith. However, thirteen-year-old Mary Ann Broomhead used locks of her own hair to weave these verses into an ornate flower-embroidered sampler. Her poetic lines are a modified version of Eliza R. Snow’s elegy written in memory of Joseph Smith Sr.[42]


To the Memory,


Joseph, and Hyrum


Who fell, as Martyrs,

For the

Gospel, of Jesus Christ.

June 27th 1844

Aged 38, and 44, years.

Zion’s noblest sons are weeping;

See her daughters bathed in tears

Where the prophets now are sleeping,

Nature’s sleep the sleep of years;

When the earth shall be restored,

They will come with Christ the Lord.

Mary Ann,


Work, 1844

Aged, 13 years.

On display at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.

“O, Give Me Back My Prophet Dear”

John Taylor

When writing this poetic lament, John Taylor borrowed the meter of a well-known Native American-themed poem, “O Give Me Back My Bended Bow.”[43] The first four lines of “Bended Bow” read: “O Give me back my bended bow / My cap and feather give me back / To chase o’er hills the bounding roe, / Or follow in the otter track.”[44] Put to this theme, Taylor’s words are a powerful tribute to his friends Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

O, give me back my Prophet dear,

And Patriarch, O give them back,

The Saints of Latter-days to cheer,

And lead them in the Gospel track!

But O! they’re gone from my embrace,

From earthly scenes their spirits fled,

Two, the best of Adam’s race,

Now lie entombed among the dead.

Ye men of wisdom tell me why—

No guilt, no crime in them were found—

Why now their blood doth loudly cry

From prison walls and Carthage ground?

Your tongues are mute, but pray attend,

The secret I will now relate,

Why those whom God to earth did lend

Have met the suffering martyrs’ fate.

It is because they strove to gain,

Beyond the grave, a heaven of bliss,

Because they made the Gospel plain

And led the Saints in righteousness;

It is because God called them forth,

And led them by His own right hand,

Christ’s coming to proclaim on earth,

And gather Israel to their land.

It is because the priests of Baal

Were desperate their craft to save;

And when they saw it doomed to fail,

They sent the Prophets to the grave.[45]

Like scenes the ancient Prophets saw

Like these, the ancient Prophets fell;

And till the resurrection dawn,

Prophet and Patriarch—Fare thee well.

In Times and Seasons 6, no. 15 (August 1, 1845): 991.

Joseph Smith and Hyrum SmithJoseph Smith and Hyrum Smith by Sutcliffe Maudsley. Courtesy of Church History Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The Two Martyrs, Sent of God”

Joel H. Johnson

This poem is an artistic expression of Johnson’s testimony that Joseph Smith was “sent of God.” When writing his autobiography, Johnson said of the Prophet:

I was with him, more or less, in public, in private, in council and in all the associations of life. . . . This intercourse continued about thirteen years, and it gave me, probably, as good an opportunity to understand his character, as was had by any man now living. I was often present when the word of the Lord came from His mouth. . . . I knew, and now know, that it was the word of the Lord to all men, whether they receive it or not. . . . He was a man of sterling worth. He was naturally affectionate and kind.[46]

The two martyrs, sent of God,

To proclaim the truth abroad;

To restore the Gospel light,

To redeem the world from night;

The Millennial day bring in,

And release the world from sin.

The two martyrs, loved by me,

Oh, that I again could see!

Oft with them I used to meet,

Sat with them in counsel sweet;

Heard them preach, and sing, and pray,

Taught me, too, the heavn’nly way.

The two martyrs, I bewail,

Massacred in Carthage jail,

By lawless mob—though great

Priests and officers of state—

Armed they came with swords and guns,

Killed the Lord’s anointed ones.

The two martyrs, where are they?

From the altar hear, they pray

That the time they soon may see,

When their blood revenged shall be,

With the Saints arrayed in white,

See them shine in worlds of light.

In Johnson, Hymns of Praise for the Young (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1882),


“The Martyrs of Jesus: Safely Lodged behind the Vale”

J. G. Duff

On June 27, 1844, Joseph and his companions heard the mob outside of Carthage Jail chant, “Where now is the Prophet Joseph? / Where now is the Prophet Joseph? / Where now is the Prophet Joseph? / Safe in Carthage Jail!”[47] In this poem, J. G. Duff parodies the infamous chant: “Where are now Missourian Martyrs, / Where is now our Martyr’d Prophet, / Where is now our Martyr’d Patriarch, / Safely lodged behind the Vale! . . . In the presence of our Saviour, / Safely lodged behind the Vale!”

Where are now the Ancient Patriarchs,

Where are now the Hebrew Worthies,

Where is now the Prophet Daniel,

Safely lodged behind the Vale!

Safely lodged behind the Vale!

Where is now the Martyr Stephen,

Where are now the Martyr’d Apostles,

Where are now the Martyrs of Jesus,

Safely lodged behind the Vale!

Where are now the Missourian Martyrs,

Where is now our Martyr’d Prophet,

Where is now our Martyr’d Patriarch,

Safely lodged behind the Vale!

They went there through Jails and Dungeons,

They went there through Blood and Slaughter,

They went there by Ball and Powder,

Safely lodged behind the Vale!

By and by we hope to meet them,

By and by we hope to greet them.

In the presence of our Saviour,

Safely lodged behind the Vale!

Then we’ll sing and shout Hosanna!

Then we’ll sing and shout Hallelujah!

Then we’ll sing and shout together.

Safely lodged behind the Vale!

In J. G. Duff, The Martyrs of Jesus Safely Lodged Behind the Vale (Manchester, England: Jacques, Oldham Road Printers, 1844). Church History Library.

“Joseph, Our Brother, Is Dead”

Samuel W. Richards

On October 30, 1838, George Richards was killed at Hawn’s Mill. His father wrote of his death: “George, strong in faith, is gone. / An early Martyr in the cause of Zion / (Though Babylon Rage). / Lay not this thing too much at heart, / But trust in Christ alone, / And realize that God is right, / In taking of our son.”[48] In this poem, George Richard’s brother, Samuel W. Richards, expresses similar sentiments concerning the martyrdom of Joseph Smith: “Joseph, rest thou in peace, thy works shall follow still, / For thou hast sought to find a life’s eternal seal; / Then wait the day when life, with priesthood’s power to save, / With trumpet voice shall say, ‘Thy home is not the grave.’”

Joseph, thou art gone to the world of spirits, far away

In wilds, yea, far from home thy body there doth lay;

To rest with quiet sleep from toil and constant strife,

Until the resurrection morn shall welcome thee to life.

Joseph, how great the chance, how welcome to be free—

From what thy brothers still do witness day by day;

Thy life was short, ‘ere called to lay thy body down,

But long enough to gain for thee an ENDLESS CROWN.

Joseph, no longer fight to serve a nation’s cause.

Thy spirit now is free to serve celestial laws,

The power of which on earth you did obtain,

To wield it where both Kings and Priests shall ever reign.

Joseph, thy life, though short, was no less sweet and pure,

Lovely as innocence, the world it never could allure;

Redemption’s glorious work for thee shall all be done,

And onward still the heavenly race you there may run.

Joseph, while ’mong thy kindred spirits with power divine,

Illumine regions dark, and let thy light forth shine—

And with thy martyr’d brother, mingle a martyr’s cry,

For vengeance to go forth with power from on high.

Joseph, when its proud work is done, and martyrs cry now known—

All blood aveng’d that oft in innocence has flown;

Father, mother, sister, brothers, shall join with thee,

In praise to him through whom we gain the victory.

Joseph, a stronger tie shall bind us then as one,

Than e’er was formed by ties of flesh alone!

The priesthood’s seal for thee, no death shall ever take,

While thy lone home, and death, and hell have bonds to break.

Joseph, rest thou in peace, thy works shall follow still,

For thou hast sought to find a life’s eternal seal;

Then wait the day when life, with priesthood’s power to save,

With trumpet voice shall say, ‘Thy home is not the grave.’

In Millennial Star 9, no. 11 (June 1, 1847): 175–76.


William I. Appleby

While serving as president of the Eastern States Mission, William Appleby wrote these poetic verses about the life and legacy of Joseph Smith. Appleby addresses his lines directly to the Prophet.

Suggested by the reflections of the call and Martyrdom of Joseph Smith.

“Joseph, the Prophet of the Lord,” thy name to me is dear

And for thy absence now, I often shed the tender tear;

Call’d thou wast when young, thy faithfulness to prove,

To do the work agreed by thee, e’er thou left the courts above.

On this terrestrial ball thou came, at the appointed time,

To do those works of might and power, and let thy wisdom shine;

To break the spell of darkness, the time had arriv’n,

To bring to light the truth, the way and plan of heav’n.

To burst traditions fetters, to relieve the oppress’d,

And prepare the earth for righteousness and everlasting rest;

An angel from on high is sent, the truth for to reveal,

A record of the gospel, that “Moroni’s” hand had sealed.[49]

The Record is translated—the humble doth rejoice—

God bears witness to the same, by his spirit and his voice;

Again the priesthood is restor’d—the church is organiz’d,

According to revelation, but by the world despis’d;

Built on the ancient pattern—a dispensation new,

Of apostles and prophets, and inspiration too.

Joseph, thy name’s evil spoken of, by great and by small,

But true unto thy God and cause, thou overcame them all,

And laid the foundation of a mighty work began,

For the redemption, salvation, and exaltation of man.

John the Baptist” first with the “Aaronic Priesthood” came,

Second, the Melchisedek, from Peter, John, and James,

Third, the “keys of restoration,” by “Elias”[50] they are giv’n,

By “Elijah” (fourth) the sealing keys, to seal on earth and heav’n.[51]

And for these truths thy blood was shed, and laid thy body down,

But thou will rule a mighty host, and wear a martyr’s crown,

Millions shall know thou ’rt a king—thy power they shall dread,

For by the priesthood thou wast crown’d, before the blood was shed;

Thou ’rt only passed behind the veil, to plead the cause above,

Of mourning, bleeding, Zion, which was thy daily love.

There, in the counsels of the just, before the throne of God,

Along with thy brother Hyrum, who fell with thee in blood!

Thou art the “Angel of the Church,” under Christ thy head,

Thou has minister’d to it since thy death, by thy counsels it is led,

Thou wilt stand in thy place and lot in the resurrection morns,

With all the ancient worthies, whose brows a crown adorns,

At the head of thy dispensation thou ever thus will stand,

While less inferior spirits, shall bow at thy command,

“Joseph,” the “Saints” there will meet you, and brother Hyrum too,

Along with the “Twelve” apostles, who’ve faithful been and true,

With all the “Saints” in glory, forever there to reign,

Sealed with the Holy Priesthood. Eternal life. Amen.

In Millennial Star 9, no. 18 (September 17, 1847): 287–88.

“Joseph and Hyrum Smith Were Martyred June 27, 1844”

Edward Milo Webb

Edward Milo Webb’s poem is a peaceful remembrance of the passing of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Despite the brutal violence associated with their martyrdom, Webb writes of the brothers’ escape from mortal “tempest” and “billowing storms.” Webb’s conclusion that “at rest are their souls” and “The tears are all wiped from their eyes,” echoes Joseph’s own words uttered days before his martyrdom: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning.”[52]

I came to the spot where the two martyrs lay

And passively stood by their tomb,[53]

And in a soft whisper I heard someone say:

“How sweetly they sleep here alone.”

The tempest may rave and the loud thunders roar

And billowing storms may arise;

Yet calm and serene and at rest are their souls

The tears are all wiped from their eyes.

Edward Milo Webb, journal, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, BYU.

“I Thought of the Place Where the Two Martyrs Rest”


Joel H. Johnson

Fearing desecration of the martyrs’ remains, a public “mock burial” was held in June 1844. At the burial, coffins filled with sandbags were carefully placed in a vault just south of the Nauvoo Temple. During the evening hours of June 29, 1844, the true remains of Joseph and Hyrum Smith were secretly buried in the basement of the Nauvoo House. In September 1844, at the request of Emma Smith, their remains were removed to the “spring house” (“bee house”) near the Homestead in Nauvoo. In 1928 leaders of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints reburied the remains on higher ground.[55]

I thought of the place where the two martyrs rest,

Both Hyrum, and Joseph, the Seer,

In sentences clearly me thought they expressed,

“How sweet we are both, resting here.

“When called by Jehovah, and sent forth to sound

The Gospel, with book as the plan—

Moroni revealed unto us from the ground—

The only salvation for man;

“We published our mission abroad to the world,

For Peter, with James too, and John,

Ordained us with Priesthood, the truth to unfold,

The standard that makes the Saints one.

“The church of Jehovah we soon organized,

From warning we none did exempt;

While we with our brethren were mobbed and despised,

And treated with sneers and contempt.

“Imprisoned, and driven afar from our homes,

To Kirtland, our way did pursue,

And built up a temple, that Jesus might come

With wisdom his Saints to endue.

“We then to Missouri were forced to repair,

For wrath of our enemies burned;

No asylum for us was to be found there,

To Illinois then we returned.

“We built up the city of Nauvoo, the fair,

And sent forth the Elders abroad,

The standard of truth among nations to bear,

And build up the kingdom of God.

“While thus we’re obeying our Master’s command,

Our enemies all were agreed

In Carthage to slay us—a boasted free land—

While government winked at the deed.

“Our testament now with our blood we have sealed,

No better on earth can be found.

And all who oppose what the Lord has revealed

Through us, to destruction are bound.”

Johnson, Hymns of Praise for the Young, 58–60.

“Joseph’s Rest Is Sweet and Glorious”

Joel H. Johnson

In this poem, Johnson turns from the tragedy of the martyrdom to the joyful rewards that await all martyrs in heaven. This poem is a vigorous and refreshing reflection of the Latter-day Saint belief that eternal blessings await the labors of the righteous, or as Joseph Smith taught:

The blessings of the Most High will rest upon our tabernacles, and our name will be handed down to future ages . . . and generations yet unborn will dwell with peculiar delight upon the scenes that we have passed through, the privations that we have endured, the untiring zeal that we have manifested, the all but insurmountable difficulties that we have overcome in laying the foundation of a work that brought about the glory and blessing which they will realize.[56]

Joseph’s rest is sweet and glorious,

Hyrum’s too, with Christ their head;

O’er their enemies victorious,

They, like him, are bound to tread.

Crowned they will be,

For like him they fought and bled.

In their warfare, hard and lonely,

They did fight without a fear;

Sealed at last their testimony

With their blood, in Carthage, where

They were martyred.

They a martyr’s crown shall wear.

Crown them then! The Saints are crying;

They a glorious work have done.

And the heav’nly hosts replying,

With the Savior they are one.

Crown them gladly;

Crown them, Father, through thy Son!

Lo! The day of coronations!

What celestial joy it brings!

Now they take their higher stations,

While the heav’nly world thus sings,

Crowned like Jesus!

Lord of Lords, and Kings of Kings.

In Johnson, Hymns of Praise for the Young, 35–36.

“Joseph Now Has Gone to Rest”

Joel H. Johnson

This poem may have been written upon reflection of the 1845 acquittal of the alleged assassins of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. In the poem, Johnson laments, “Government has never done / Anything to screen its guilt, / Or to punish any one, / Who the Prophet’s blood has spilt.” Johnson concludes with the somber assurance that vengeance will come through God alone, for “vengeance is the Lord’s.”

Joseph now has gone to rest;

From the earth he took his flight;

Well he stood affliction’s test;

Now he’s in the world of light.

Mobbers him no more assail;

Martyred, yes, as Jesus was:

For his blood, in Carthage jail,

They have shed without a cause.

Government has never done

Anything to screen its guilt,

Or to punish any one,

Who the Prophet’s blood has spilt.

Still his blood for vengeance cries,

While the word of God records,

Soon the nation, in surprise,

Shall know vengeance is the Lord’s.

In Johnson, Hymns of Praise for the Young, 58.

“I’ve Seen the Dark and Driving Storm”

Sylvester Hulet

The following poem was published a month before the district court of Hancock County considered the case of the alleged assassins of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Before the verdict was pronounced, poet Sylvester Hulet lamented, “The perpetrators of the crime, / Unpunished still remain.” After deliberating for only two hours, the jury in People vs. Levi Williams (and four listed co-conspirators) reached a “not guilty” verdict. “There was not a man on the jury, in the court, [or] in the county, that did not know the defendants had done the murder,” wrote John Hay, a Hancock County resident. “But it was not proven, and the verdict of NOT GUILTY was right in law.”[57]

I’ve seen the dark and driving storm,

Rush wildly through the sky;

The frothed lightning’s glaring form;

Roll forth its thunder by.

I’ve seen the tempest driven deep,

And heard its dismal roar;

And seen its angry breakers sweep,

Their spray upon the shore.

I’ve seen the twining serpent fold,

His coils beneath my feet.

The frightful hiss or rattle told,

The foe I had to meet.

Would were there here no greater ills,

To trouble human life.

Than serpents hid in vales and hills’

And elemental strife.

For beating storms will soon subside,

The waters sink to rest,

The deadly snake in winter hide,

Within its rocky nest.

But man vile man is prone to sin,

By crimes both dark and deep;

And fiercer storms oft rage within,

Than o’er creation sweep.

I’ve seen their mobocratic bands,

In hostile form array’d;

And spread destruction through the land

O’er city, field, and glade.

I’ve heard martyr’s dying groan,

And seen the widow’s tear,

And heard the orphan’s piercing moan,

And no protector near.

Hear it ye great in latter time.

I tell it to your shame:

The perpetrators of the crime,

Unpunished still remain.

In Nauvoo Neighbor 2, no. 50 (April 16, 1845): 4.

“To Elder John Taylor”

Eliza R. Snow

Around 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, 1844, an armed mob ran up the stairs of Carthage Jail and shot into the bedroom where Joseph, his brother Hyrum, Willard Richards, and John Taylor were confined. Taylor with his “walking stick stood by [Joseph’s] side and knocked down the bayonets and muskets which were constantly discharging through the doorway.”[58] In this poem, Eliza R. Snow celebrates the heroic actions of John Taylor, who was shot at least four times but survived to become President of the Church.

Thou Chieftain of Zion! henceforward thy name

Will be class’d with the martyrs and share in their fame;

Thro’ ages eternal, of thee will be said,

“With the greatest of prophets he suffer’d and bled.”

When the shafts of injustice were pointed at him—

When the cup of his suff’ring was fill’d to the brim—

When his innocent blood was inhumanly shed,

You shar’d his afflictions and with him you bled.

When around you like hailstones, the rifle balls flew—

When the passage of death open’d wide to your view—

When the prophet’s freed spirit, thro’ martyrdom fled,

In your gore you lay welt’ring—with martyrs you bled.

All the scars from your wounds, like the trophies of yore

Shall be ensigns of honor till you are no more;

And by all generations, of thee shall be said

“With the best of the prophets in prison he bled.”

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 14 (August 1, 1844): 607.

John TaylorJohn Taylor by D'Estournelles De Constant, Courtesy of Church History Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“To Dr. Willard Richards”

unknown poet

On June 27, 1844, Joseph and his brother Hyrum were shot dead and John Taylor wounded by four bullets. Other than a bullet that grazed his ear, Willard Richards went unscathed. His safety, it is said, fulfilled a prophetic utterance by the Prophet Joseph, predicting that: “Willard, …you will stand where the balls will fly around you like hail and men will fall dead by your side, and …there never shall a ball injure you.”[59] The anonymous poet of the these verses wrote, “Hence onward these tidings shall pass round the globe, / That Richards was mark’d with the martyrs of God, / Yet spared without even a hole on his robe!”

A word to the favor’d “two minutes in jail,”[60]

When the fury of men, and the vengeance of hell,

Sent a shower of balls, like a shower of hail,—

And the mightiest prophets but breathed—‘farewell!’

When the answer was silent—to “what shall I do?”

When there Brother Taylor lay weltering in gore;

When the heralds of death rush’d the broad way to view,

And horribly glanc’d—you’re the last of the four!

O tell it ye saints, while eternities add,

Where the righteous are joy’d, or the evil alarm’d,

That amid all the carnage at Carthage, so bad,

His body, as veil’d by the Lord, was unharm’d!

Ah! Error’s a phantom, but truth is a rod—

Hence onward these tidings shall pass round the globe,

That Richards was “mark’d” with the martyrs of God,

Yet spared without even a hole on his robe!

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 15 (August 15, 1844): 623.

Williard RichardsWilliard Richards by Frederick Piercy. Courtesy of Church History Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“To Mrs. Mary”

Consort of the Late Hyrum Smith the Second Patriarch over The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Eliza R. Snow

In 1837 Hyrum Smith married Mary Fielding. To their union were born two children, one being Joseph F. Smith, who went on to become President of the Church. He was almost six years old when mobbers killed his father in Carthage. Poet Eliza R. Snow wrote the following to celebrate Mary Fielding Smith, Joseph F. Smith’s “much-honor’d” mother.[61]

Though thy lord, thy companion, is laid in the dust,

He that liveth forever, whose counsels are just,

Is your friend and protector—He only can bind

The deep wounds of your spirit and solace your mind.

His power is sufficient, whatever betide;

The earth and its fullness are His: He’ll provide

For your fatherless children: their father He’ll be,

And, according to promise, a God unto thee.

Then, much-honor’d lady, submissively bow

To the weight of affliction that falls on you now:

The glad period approaches when, happy above,

Your companion you’ll meet, and rejoice in his love.

In Snow, Poems I, 1856.

“Lines Written on the Birth of the Infant Son of Mrs. Emma, Widow of the Late General Joseph Smith”

Eliza R. Snow

Eliza R. Snow composed this poem for Emma Smith and David Hyrum Smith, born on November 17, 1844, in Nauvoo. According to Brigham Young, the Prophet Joseph Smith foresaw the birth of his son David and told him, “I shall have a son born to me and his name shall be called David; and on him in some future time will rest the responsibility that now rests upon me.”[62] For a time, David served as an apostle in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.[63]

Sinless as celestial spirits—

Lovely as a morning flow’r,

Comes the smiling infant stranger

In an evil-omen’d hour.

In an hour of lamentation—

In a time—a season when

Zion’s noblest sons are fallen,

By the hands of wicked men.

In an hour when peace and safety

Have the civil banner fled—

In a day when legal justice

Covers its dishonor’d head.

In an age when saints must suffer

Without mercy or redress:

Comes to meet a generation

That has made it fatherless.

Not to share a father’s fondness—

Not to know its father’s worth—

By the arm of persecution

’Tis an orphan at its birth!

Smile, sweet babe! thou art unconscious

Of thy great, untimely loss!

The broad stroke of thy bereavement,

Zion’s pathway seem’d to cross!

Till in childhood thou had’st known him,

Had the age, thy father spar’d;

The endearment of remembrance,

Through thy life time thou had’st shar’d.

Thou may’st draw from love and kindness

All a mother can below;

But alas! on earth, a father

Thou art destin’d not to know!

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 22 (December 1, 1844): 735.

Woman holding babyEmma and David H. Smith, circa 1845. Courtesy of Church History Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“To President Brigham Young”

Eliza R. Snow

On August 8, 1844, forty-two days after the martyrdom, some five thousand Latter-day Saints gathered near the walls of the Nauvoo Temple to listen to Sidney Rigdon preach. In a lengthy oration, Rigdon petitioned the Saints to embrace him as the “guardian” of the Church. Brigham Young countered Rigdon’s petition, contending that the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles should lead the Church. As Young spoke, onlookers heard the voice of the Prophet Joseph Smith and some even saw Joseph’s countenance. Twenty-six-year-old Benjamin Johnson reported, “As soon as he spoke, I jumped upon my feet, for in every possible degree it was Joseph’s voice. . . . I knew in a moment the spirit and mantle of Joseph was upon him.”[64] In this poem Eliza R. Snow writes: “For the mantle of Joseph seems to rest / Upon thee, while the spirit and pow’r divine, / That inspir’d his heart, is inspiring thine.” Young recorded in his journal: “The church was of one h[e]art and one mind; they wanted the Twelve to lead the church as Br. Joseph had [done] in his day.”

An important station is truly thine,

And the weight of thy calling can none define:

Being call’d of the Lord o’er the Twelve to preside,

And with them over all of the world beside.

Like Elisha of old, when Elijah fled

In a chariot of fire, thou hast lost thy head;

Lost thy head? O no! thou art left to prove

To the Gods,[65] thy integrity, faith, and love.

Thou has gain’d, like Elisha, a rich behest,

For the mantle of Joseph seems to rest[66]

Upon thee, while the spirit and pow’r divine,

That inspir’d his heart, is inspiring thine.

The great work which he laid the foundation to

Is unfinished, and resting on thee to do—

With thy brethren, the Twelve, thou wilt bear it forth

To the distant nations of the earth.

Kings, princes, and nobles will honor thee,

And thy name will be great on the isles of the sea—

The pure light of intelligence thou wilt spread

Will exalt the living and save the dead.

The great spirit of truth, will direct thy ways;

Generations to come, will repeat thy praise—

When thy work is completed on earth, thou’lt stand

In thy station appointed at God’s right hand.

In Times and Seasons 6, no. 3 (February 15, 1845): 815.

Brigham YoungBrigham young by Charles De Forest Fredricks. Courtesy of Church History Library, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Joseph Smith, the Prophet”

George W. Johnson[67]

In this verse George Johnson, brother of Joel H. Johnson, describes Joseph Smith as “a man of sterling worth, / And true to friend or brother” and alludes to his teachings, such as “living a virtuous, upright and holy life before God” and persuading all “to do the same.”[68] Johnson wrote, “He told us pride, and haughtiness / And vanity were evil … He taught us to refrain from sin, / And practice good behavior, / And imitate the pattern of / Our meek and lowly Savior.”

He was a man of sterling worth,

And true to friend or brother,

And always taught us to be true

And kind to one another.

He told us pride, and haughtiness,

And vanity were evil,

And all who would indulge in them

Were prompted by the Devil.

He told us fashion led astray,

And Saints would never love it,

That God had made us in His form,

And man could not improve it.

He taught us to refrain from sin,

And practice good behavior,

And imitate the pattern of

Our meek and lowly Savior.

In George Washington Johnson, Jottings by the Way: A Collection of Rustic Rhyme (Saint George, UT: C. E. Johnson, 1882), 30–31.


Matthew C. Field

Matthew C. Field gained a reputation for wit in his newspaper serial, “Prairie and Mountain Life,” published under the pseudonym “Phazma.” His poem, “Nauvoo,” was also originally published under the name Phazma and appeared in the St. Louis Reveille. In response to the poem, an unknown poet wrote a “Reply” in the Nauvoo Neighbor. “Reply” alludes to the true authorship of “Nauvoo” (Matthew C. Field) by including the following line: “Learn ye but this, through the whole of the Field/ That truth is eternal, as God has revealed.”

O Fable! O sage century! O time!

O, boasted march of intellect and mind!

O, holy spot in the far western clime,

Leaving the mighty globe in gloom behind!

O, blissful ignorance imaginative!

O, golden science! Knavery! O, law!

O, sacred truth, of solemn cheat creative!

O, foolery! O, knavery! O, pshaw!

When the earth rolls no more around the sun,

When the sun ceases to throw light on earth

Then only, shall the work of truth be done,

And fair perfection guide to blissful mirth!

What is there left for the great world to do,

But seek the sacred city of Nauvoo?


unknown poet[69]

O strike thy wild harp for the Mormon’s again,

And sing out the way for the blessings of men!

The sun never shone, and the winds never blew

On more precious men than there is in Nauvoo

Oh soar like a God, from the worlds little den.

To eternity now, and eternity then:

And learn ye but this, through the whole of the Field,

That truth is eternal, as God has revealed;

And every thing else, although ever so nice.

Is error, that comes from the father of vice;

And “when earth rolls no more around the sun,

“When the sun ceases to throw light on earth,”

The work of truth then will have only begun:

For truth is the honor of God, and its birth.

And its work, as if done, and its end, never was—

For God is eternally light, love, and laws.

In Nauvoo Neighbor 2, no. 17 (August 21, 1844): 2.

“God Save Nauvoo”

William W. Phelps

On July 16, 1844, reports reached Nauvoo that the “Warsaw and Green Plains mobocrats [were] making strong exertions to raise forces sufficient to mob and drive the people of [the] city.”[70] Some, it was said, declared that Mormons “must go, even if force be necessary to accomplish it.”[71] At this time of great fear, William W. Phelps composed a poetic supplication to Almighty God to save the city: “When you enter your closet as Christ told you to; / And ye ask of the Father; then pray in the spirit, / O God save Nauvoo!”

When you pray for all blessings to equally flow;

For the gath’ring and kingdom of Christ here below;

For the good of all people; the Mormon and Jew,

For a more perfect union; then pray without ceasing,

O God save Nauvoo!

When you pray for old Israel, now scatter’d afar;

For the nations and kingdoms, degraded by war;

For the world in its blindness, through wickedness, too;

For redemption as promised; then pray without doubting,

O God save Nauvoo!

When you pray for your foes, both without and within;

For the captives in prison, the exiles in sin;

When you enter your closet, as Christ told you to;[72]

And ye ask of the Father; then pray in the spirit,

O God save Nauvoo!

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 18 (October 1, 1844): 671.


Laura, a Visitor[73]

Though not a Latter-day Saints, Laura, a self-described “visitor” to Nauvoo, captured in poetic verse the vibrant beauty of the city and its people. “Yet on that temple, when I gaz’d involuntarily,” she wrote, “Escaped my heart a prayer to God, sincere and fervent too. / That he will bless the people of the young and fair Nauvoo.” Methodist minister Samuel Prior similarly wrote of his visit to the city, “I was surprised to see one of the most romantic places that I had visited in the West. . . . I was almost willing to believe myself mistaken, and instead of being in Nauvoo of Illinois among Mormons, that I was in Italy.”[74]

Through cities, towns and countries, I’ve often found my way,

Unnumbered joys attending to bless each happy day.

Ten thousand, thousand beauties rare, have often met my view;

But lovelier still and queen of all, is beautiful Nauvoo.

Oh, tell me not of ancient Rome, of Athens, or of Troy:

Gone, gone is all their greatness, without one gleam of joy,

Nor speak ye yet, more modern names, though fair and lovely too;

What is their beauty, what their fame, compared to fair Nauvoo?

Tell not of Egypt’s ruined towns that once show’d splendor’s dome;

Though art and science ever fair, once made that place their home:

For they have flown, have crossed the seas, and now bid fair to do,

The honor of their presence sweet, to beautiful Nauvoo.

Speak not of London’s wealth and power, her population dense.

Long time she’s had a nation’s care, and sums of gold immense,

Then why not be old England’s pride, there’s been no hostile foe,

To check the progress of her growth; not so with fair Nauvoo.

’Midst great oppression she has risen, the pride of all the land;

Built up by men who had been driven from all they could command;

Once nursed on luxuries lap of ease, of toil they little knew.

But strip’d of all, their hands they ply to rear the fair Nauvoo,

Nor deem they this a task severe, they fondly do believe,

That each and every suffering here, God surely will relieve,

Though men more fierce than savage beasts, lions and tigers too,

Have, slain their Prophet, and assail the beautiful Nauvoo

Yet trusting still in Him who said, “their wrongs I will redress,”

And fondly do they now believe, that they, they are blest,

And as you gaze upon that scene, their temple strikes your view,

And in the fulness of your heart, you ’xclaim, O, fair Nauvoo!

Though wild and visionary schemes, their doctrine seems to me,

Yet on that temple, when I gaz’d involuntarily.

Escaped my heart a prayer to God, sincere and fervent too.

That he will bless the people of the young and fair Nauvoo.

In Times and Seasons 5, no. 19 (October 15, 1844): 687.


Reuben McBride

The McBride poem was penned as a tribute to Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. McBride also writes of the priesthood and calls for Latter-day Saints to “Arise and build the House of God, / Bring all your treasures, too, / Your tithes and offerings ne’r forget; / And gather to Nauvoo.”

The glorious day has usher’d in,

By prophets long foretold;

The eternal truths of God reveal’d

As were in days of old.

CHORUS––A prophet’s voice is heard again,

What glorious news has come!

Come oh! My people’s saith the Lord,

Come Israel, gather home.

A veil of darkness has been spread,

For many hundred years:

And low! an angel broke the spell;

To Joseph he appears.

CHORUS––A prophets voice &c.

The Priesthood is again restored,

Oh! how our hearts expand;

Yes we by truth a veil may rend,

And in his presence stand.

CHORUS––A prophets voice &c.

That priesthood will again restore,

Our friends who are dead and gone;

As Saviors we may be to them,

In the Celestial morn.

CHORUS––A prophets voice &c.

That charity which never fails,

Will set our kindred free;

Hosanna! let our heart’s rejoice,

How great our joy will be,

CHORUS––A prophets voice &c.

Arise and build the House of God,

Bring all your treasures, too,

Your tithes and offerings ne’r forget;

And gather to Nauvoo.

CHORUS––A prophets voice &c.

A blessing we may then receive,

Our souls can ne’er remain,

When Christ again unveils his face,

In his own house again.

CHORUS––A prophets voice &c.

In Nauvoo Neighbor 3, no. 4 (May 28, 1845): 1.


D. W.[75]

Following the martyrdom, Brigham Young and others referred to Nauvoo as the “City of Joseph,” in memory of the slain Prophet. Even after Joseph’s death, Young and the Saints continued to invite converts throughout the world to come to Joseph’s city. Affectionately, this poet refers to Nauvoo as, “The city of our Joseph.”

Blessed city how I love thee;

Saints secure and bles’d abode;

Where the good of every country,

Comes to seek, and serve the Lord.

Sure ’tis Zion, here’s her temple;

Here’s her Twelve, and high-priests too;

Here’s her seventies, and her elders,

In the city of Nauvoo.

Come then brethren, come then sisters,

From the place wher’er you’r found,

In compliance with the wishes

Of the saints on Zion’s ground.

This the city of the prophets;

This the gathering place for you;

This the city of our Joseph;

Yes, the city of Nauvoo.

In Times and Seasons 6, no. 4 (March 1, 1845): 831.

“Ye Saints of God on Whom All Earth May Gaze”

A. L. B.[76]

This poet appears to meditate on Joseph’s famous declaration that “no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent.”[77] The poet similarly prophesies that “the wicked may the saints and prophets slay, / Their rights invade, or charters wrest away. / But naught, the eternal work of God can stay.”

Ye saints of God on whom all earth may gaze,

The gospel heralds of this latter day;

Well, may ascend your hymns of joy and praise;

Well, in each hour of nail ye may say, Hail!

To us a token of salvation show;

Before thy shafts, our faith shall never fail.

We bow to heaven, to thee we ne’er shall bow,

Though persecutions spill the martyr’s blood.

Till earth is crimsoned with the vital flood;

Each drop, by vile oppression basely shed,

Shall call forth souls to fill the martyr’s stead

The plan of those, who in their maker’s cause

Died, unprotected by their country’s laws;

Thousands shall leap with joyous zeal to fill,

Glory to him, and do their master’s will

The blood of saints which cries from earth, to heaven,

Shall summon myriads to the cause of God:

Who, when his prophets unto death are given

Shall tread the path our slaughter’d brethren trod.—

Your blood, ye self devoted martyr’s slain;

So freely shod, has not been spilt in vain;

Each drop, a fearless champion shall inspire.

Who will contend for truth, in blood or fire.

The wicked may the saints and prophets slay,

Their rights invade, or charters wrest away.

But naught, the eternal work of God can stay;

This is above legislative control.

This, as a mighty flood, o’er earth shall roll,

While loftiest empires, humbled all their pride,

Have, as the hands who ruled them, fallen and died.

But who can, those clouds of woe e’er disperse!

Who can remove the murderer’s curse;

Or what can efface the memory of that crime,

Which haunts the soul through all succeeding time,

Sharpening those arrows conscience aims so well,

Filling the guilty soul on earth with hell?—

Oh! who would live beyond the law’s control,

With the dark crime of murder on the soul;

Or who would wish in worldly fame to rise,

Stung by the torturing worm that never dies:

While wretched widows’ never ceasing sighs,

And helpless orphan’s sad and plaintive cries,

Rise to the throne of Him who rules the skies:

While to high heaven they raise their tearful eyes:

Calling on God for vengeance on the men who trod

Beneath their feet, the laws of man and God!

Ye slew the prophets of the God Most High

Condemned the guiltless, without law, to die,

Dooming yourselves to everlasting shame;

And by the deed immortalized their name

Which still shall live, age after age the same,

Emblazoned on the proudest page of fame!—

God’s work now hastens swifter than before,

Its course is onward, still forevermore.

Rise, infant city of the mighty west!

The fist of the Almighty bids thee rise:

Extend thy glory, bid thy sons be blest.

Thou highly favor’d, ’neath Columbia’s skies!

If foes oppress thee, they oppress in vain,

Thy rising greatness, none can overthrow;

Though earth beholds thee now with proud disdain,

Thy spreading grandeur, all the world shall know.

Thy streets will soon be filled from every clime;

Even distant nations now thy dwelling tread.

Hastening to thee, to learn those truths sublime,

Which God’s decree, throughout the world shall spread.

Gird on your armor, every chosen one,

The gospel of the kingdom to restore,

Nor cast it from you till the work is done,

Which bids great Babel fall to rise no more.

Heaven bless thee ever, beautiful Nauvoo:

And may thy God, most holy, just, and true.

With power divine his servants all endue;

Till his true gospel is through earth restored.

Composed June 21, 1845.

In Nauvoo Neighbor 3, no. 11 (July 16, 1845): 1.

“Thou Persecuted of Nauvoo”

G. W. M.[78]

This poem pays homage to the Prophet Joseph Smith and expresses empathy to all Latter-day Saints who suffered from prejudice and persecution. The poet supplicates to Almighty God for protection of the Saints in Nauvoo: “O God! protect the chosen Twelve, / Who for the church ’mid dangers dwell; / Those widowed mothers, orphans too, / Dear Lord we recommend to you.” The poet ends the verse by expressing hope for a glorious future: “Then Zion in thy beauty rise, / Stretch, stretch thy pinions to the skies, / Thy Temples shall the world amaze, / While they with wonder on thee gaze.”

Thou persecuted of Nauvoo,

How oft I’ve sympathized with you;

And in the lonely hours of even,

Have marked your onward course to heaven.

Although your prophet is no more,

Still thou art thought of as before;

For God is with you night and day,

Have faith in him he hears you pray.

Be like a band of Christian brothers,

Nor mind the scoffs nor frowns of others,

And when your earthly race is run,

Your troubles o’er, the prize is won.

With Joseph Smith, and Hyrum too,

The praises of your God renew;

No murderers there to interfere,

But all is peace, without a tear.

No more with cares shalt thou be prest,

But in God’s presence will be blest,

When truth shall triumph over sin,

And mobocrats be cursed therein.

O Carthage! blush, to own thy name,

For prophet’s blood thy walls do stain;

Their blood for vengeance calls on God,

To smite thee with his chastening rod.

The judgment day is near at hand,

When you before your God must stand,

To hear your doom, pronounced aright,

Depart ye cursed from my sight!

O God! protect the chosen Twelve,

Who for the church ’mid dangers dwell;

Those widowed mothers, orphans too,

Dear Lord we recommend to you.

Then Zion in thy beauty rise,

Stretch, stretch thy pinions to the skies,

Thy Temples shall the world amaze,

While they with wonder on thee gaze.

In Nauvoo Neighbor 3, no. 10 (July 9, 1845): 4.

“The Capstone”

William W. Phelps

At six o’clock on the morning of May 25, 1845, a dedicatory service was held near the Nauvoo Temple as the final stone—the capstone—was put in place.[79] On the occasion, Brigham Young declared, “The last stone is now laid upon the Temple and I pray the Almighty in the name of Jesus to defend us in this place and sustain us until . . . we have all got our endowments.” His words were followed by a resounding Hosanna shout.[80] The musical portion of the service included selections by the Nauvoo Brass Band and a solo rendition of this poem, “The Capstone,” which promised to “Give the world a sample, / Of our faith and works most ample, / When we’ve finish’d off the temple, / As a dwelling for the Lord.”

Have you heard the revelation,

Of this latter dispensation,

Which is unto every nation,

O! prepare to meet thy God?

CHORUS—We are a band of brethren,

And we’ve rear’d the Lord a temple,

And the capstone now is finish’d,

And we’ll sound the news abroad.

Go and publish how Missouri,

Like a whirlwind in its fury,

And without a judge or jury,

Drove the saints and split their blood.

CHORUS—We are a band of brethren, &c.

Illinois, where satan flatters,

Shot the prophets too, as martyrs,

And repeal’d our city charters,[81]

All because we worhip’d God.

CHORUS—We are a band of brethren, &c.

Bennett,[82] Law[83] and many others,

Have betray’d our honest brothers,

To destroy our wives and mothers,

As a Judas did the Lord.

CHORUS—We are a band of brethren, &c.

And their chief is Sidney Rigdon,

Who’s a traitor, base, intriguing,

And will fight at Armageddon,

When the fire comes down from God.

CHORUS—We are a band of brethren, &c.

While the devil such men jostles,

With his “keys of conquest” morsels,

We’ll uphold the Twelve apostles,

With authority from God.

CHORUS—We are a band of brethren, &c.

And we’ll give the world a sample,

Of our faith and works most ample,

When we’ve finish’d off the temple,

As a dwelling for the Lord.

CHORUS—We are a band of brethren, &c.

And we’ll feed the saints that’s needing,

And improve our hearts by weeding,

Till we make Nauvoo as Eden,

Where the saints can meet the Lord.

CHORUS—We are a band of brethren, &c.

In Times and Seasons 6, no. 15 (August 1, 1845): 991.

Picture of Nauvoo TempleNauvoo Temple, 1846 by C. W. Carter, 1846. Courtesy of Church History, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Dedication Hymn”

William W. Phelps

In 1836 William W. Phelps composed the well-known hymn “The Spirit of God,” which was sung at the Kirtland Temple dedication in Ohio. In 1845 Phelps composed “The Capstone,” sung at the capstone dedication of the Nauvoo Temple. In “Dedication Hymn,” Phelps solidifies his position as a writer of celebratory hymns for temple dedications, penning the words: “Ho, ho, for the Temple’s completed,— / The Lord hath a place for his head, / And the priesthood, in power, now lightens / The way of the living and dead!”

See, see, mid the world’s dreadful splendor

Christianity, folly and sword,

The Mormons, the diligent Mormons,

Have rear’d up this house to the Lord!

Ho, ho, for the Temple’s completed,—

The Lord hath a place for his head,

And the priesthood, in power, now lightens

The way of the living and dead!

See, see, mid the world’s dreadful splendor

Christianity, folly and sword,

The Mormons, the diligent Mormons,

Have rear’d up this house to the Lord!

By the spirit and wisdom of Joseph,—

(Whose blood stains the honor of State,)

By tithing and sacrifice daily,

The poor learn the way to be great.

Mark, mark, for the Gentiles are fearful

Where the work of the Lord is begun;

Already this monument finish’d,

Is counted—one miracle done!

Gaze, gaze, at the flight of the righteous,

From the “fire show’r of ruin”[84] at hand,

Their pray’rs, and their suff’rings, are wrathing

Jehovah to sweep off the land!

Sing, sing, for the hour of redemption,

The day for the poor Saint’s reward,

Is coming for temp’ral enjoyment,

All shining with crowns from the Lord!

Watch, watch, for the blessings of Jesus,

Is richer the farther it’s fetch’d;—

The wonderful chain of our union

Is tighten’d the longer it’s stretch’d!

Shout, shout, for the armies of heaven,

Will purify earth at a word,

And the Twelve, with Saints that are faithful,


In Times and Seasons 6, no. 23 (February 15, 1846): 1135.

“Latter Day Pilgrim”

unknown poet

Latter-day Saints have incorporated both the pilgrim symbol of the scallop seashell on the famous Salt Lake City Temple doors and the symbol of the pilgrim’s lodestar on the temple’s wall. Some have compared Latter-day Saints pioneers to the Puritan Pilgrims.[86] Alluding to the lode star as a symbol of Christ, this poet writes, “We will fix our eyes afar, / Directed by that star, / Till we all arrive safe there, / In the west / Come saints who live afar, / And follow the same star,— / It will guide you all safe here, / In this land.”

Part I

There is a pleasant land

In the west, in the west;

There is a pleasant land,

Sought out by God’s command,

For the saints to gather on,

In the west.

Come, brethren, go with me,

To the west,

Come, brethren, go with me;

His glory you shall see,

And in his temple be,

In the west.

Come, sisters, go with me,

To the west,

Come, sisters, go with me;

Protected you shall be,

And forever blessed be,

In the west.

My brethren, I will come,

To the west;

My brethren, I will come,

When all my work is done,

And will live with you at home,

In the west.

I will call on those who stay,

When I come;

I will call on those who stay,

And help them in the way,

Lest they should turn astray,

From the west.

We will move in solid bands,

To the west;

We will move in solid bands,

Protected by his hands,

Till we reach the blessed lands,

In the west.

We will fix our eyes afar,

In the west;

We will fix our eyes afar,

Directed by that star,

Till we all arrive safe there,

In the west.

We will follow the true light,

In the west;

We will follow the true light,

And pass the mountain height,

Till we all do find the site,

In the west.

The city heaves in sight,

In the west;

The city heaves in sight,

The spires all shining bright,

For the Lamb, he is the light,

In the west.

Dear brethren, we have come

From afar;

Dear brethren, we have come,

To find with you a home,

And to share it all as one,

In this land.

Part II

Dear brethren, welcome here,

In this land,

Dear brethren, welcome here;

These blessings are most dear,—

O see the bloody spear,

By the cross.

Come saints who live afar,

In all lands;

Come saints who live afar,

And follow the same star,—

It will guide you all safe here,

In this land.

Come, let us walk around,

In this land;

Come, let us walk around,

And view the city ground,—

Such buildings ne’er were found

Here below.

The streets are long and wide,

Through the midst,

The streets are long and wide;

The saints walk on each side,

And the trees are for a shade

From the sun.

The temple on the right

As we come,

The temple on the right;

The curtains are all white,

And His glory is the light

Of the house.

The tables richly spread

By His hand;

The tables richly spread

For all the saints to feed,

And the sparkling wine is red

From the grape.

The fields are drest in green

With the vine;

The fields are drest in green,

And the ripe grapes are seen,

All safe entwined between

The green leaves.

The nations hear the sound,

And crumble to the ground,

And can no more be found,

In that day.

The saints will gather home,

In this land;

The saints will gather home,

And Jesus Christ will come

To the New Jerusalem

In this land.

The saints will multiply,

In this land;

The saints will multiply,

And fill America,

And the name will Zion be,

Of this land.

We shall his glory see,

In this land;

We shall his glory see,

And ever blessed be,

To all eternity,

In this land.

In Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Volume One, 1830–1847 (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1997).

“The Upper California, O That’s the Land for Me”

John Taylor

In February 1844, Joseph Smith instructed a delegation to investigate California and Oregon for possible relocation after the completion of the Temple.[87] At that time California was a large region comprising most of the territory from the pacific to the Rocky Mountains and from Oregon to Mexico.[88] John Taylor’s poem in support of relocation to California, was first printed on a broadside sheet and modeled after “The Rose That All Are Praising”: “The rose that all are praising; / is not the rose for me; / Too many eyes are gazing upon that costly tree; / But there’s a rose in yonder glen . . . / O! that’s the rose for me, / O! that’s the rose for me.”[89]

The upper California, O that’s the land for me

It lies between the mountains & the great Pacific sea,

The saints can be supported there

And taste the sweets of liberty;

With flocks & herds abounding, O that’s the land for me

We’ll go and lift our standard, we’ll go there & be free

We’ll go to California and have our Jubilee

A land that blooms with endless spring

A land of joy and liberty,

In upper California, O that’s the land for me. &c

We’ll burst off all our fetters & break the gentile yoke

For long it has beset us, but now it shall be broke

No more shall Jacob bow his neck,

Henceforth he shall be great and free,

In upper California, O that’s the land for me &c.

We’ll reign, we’ll rule, and triumph & God shall be our King

The plains, the hills & vallies, shall with Hosannas ring.

Our towers & Temples there shall rise

Along the great Pacific Sea,

In upper California, O that’s the land for me, &c.

We’ll ask our cousin Lemuel,[90] to join us heart & hand

And spread abroad our curtains throughout fair Zion’s land

Till this is done we’ll pitch our tents

Beside the great Pacific Sea,

In upper California, O that’s the land for me. &c

Then join with me my brethren, & let us hasten there

And lift our glorious standard & raise our house of prayer

We’ll call on all the nations round

To join our standard and be free

In upper California, O that’s the land for me. &c.

In William Clayton, journal, April 17, 1845, Church History Library.

“In Ancient Days, by Scorn”

Joel H. Johnson

Joel H. Johnson melodically compares followers of Jesus Christ in the meridian of time with Latter-day followers of Christ in the nineteenth century. A similar comparison was made by pioneer Isaac Haight, who observed: “Here we are exiled from the United States and without a home, dwelling in tents and wagons exposed to the inclemency of the weather. We are even like the Saints of old having no abiding city but are wanderers and pilgrims on the earth but we count the present suffering not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to his Saints.”[91] Like Haight, Johnson concludes, “Although your lot is sore, / For soon your crowns will shine, / Like those who’re gone before.”

In ancient days, by scorn,

The Saints were forced to roam,

Imprisoned, whipt, forlorn,

Without a house or home;

Were clothed with skins, in mountain dens,

And forced to hide for want of friends.

And in meridian time,

Behold the Son of God,

Who never knew a crime—

Was taken by a mob;

Was by his enemies belied,

Arraigned, condemned, and crucified.

And many Saints were stoned,

Imprisoned, whipt and bled;

And many, too, were burned;

While some to mountains fled.

The blest Apostles martyred too;

And scores of holy men they slew.

Now in this latter day

Of boasted Gospel light,

The Saints are forced away

From ev’ry lawful right.

Those scenes are o’er again;

The Saints, by thousands, mobbed and slain.

Yes; Joseph Smith, the Seer,

And Hyrum, Patriarch, too;

Though both from sin were clear,

Were forced from sweet Nauvoo;

Like Jesus, by a mob were killed:

In Carthage jail their blood was spilled.

Then saints, do not repine,

Although your lot is sore,

For soon your crowns will shine,

Like those who’re gone before.

Then faithful be, and never yield,

Till forced by death to quit the field.

In Johnson, Hymns of Praise for the Young, 52–53.

“Early This Spring We Leave Nauvoo”

unknown poet

On January 20, 1846, the Nauvoo High Council announced that Latter-day Saints would be leaving Nauvoo in order to maintain peace and promote the Saints’ safety. Many, including this poet, believed they would depart Nauvoo in the spring . Few imagined that many Mormons would be pressured to leave in February of 1846.

Early this spring we leave Nauvoo

And on our journey we’ll pursue.

We’ll go and bid the mob farewell

And let them go to heaven or hell.

So on the way to California:

In the spring we’ll take our journey

Far above Arkansas’ fountains pass

Between the Rocky Mountains.

The mobocrats have done their best,

Old Sharp[92] and Williams[93] with the rest.

They’ve burnt our houses and our goods

And left our sick folk in the woods.

Below Nauvoo on the green plains,

They burnt our houses and our grains.[94]

And if fought, they were hell bent

To raise for help the government.

The old settlers that first cleared the soil,

They thought they would take a spoil.

And at first they did begin,

But not much money did bring in.

Old Governor Ford, his mind so small,

He’s got no room for soul at all.

If heaven and hell should do their best,

He neither could be damned or blessed.

Backenstos,[95] his mind so large

Upon the mob, he made a charge;

Some three or four he did shoot down

And left them dying on the ground.[96]

The old state marshal came to town

And searched our temple up and down.

He told the Saints that he had come

And brought a writ for Brigham Young.[97]

Old Major Warren[98] came to town—

He rode our city up and down

And searched for hogs like a good fellow,

And at last was found in Hibbard’s cellar.

So out of the way, you old state marshal,

You can’t get the Twelve Apostles;[99]

So out of the way, old Major Warren,

You can’t come over the Mormons.

Now since it’s so we have to go

And leave the City of Nauvoo,

I hope you’ll all be strong and stout,

And then no mob can back you out.

The temple shining silver bright

And Christ’s own glory gives the light;

High on the mountains we will rear

A standard to the nations far.

“Early This Spring We Leave Nauvoo,” Mormon File, Huntington Library and Art Gallery, San Marino, CA. Reproduced by permission of the Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

“Farewell to Nauvoo”

Lucretia Hupper

Lucretia Hupper bids “adieu” in this poem to her “native country.” In a letter some four weeks before departing to the “rocky mountains,” Hupper reflects on the Saints’ lamentable situation. “We are compelled to leave our homes and go to a distant land,” she writes. “And what for. Because the star spangled banner is not large enough to shield and protect a poor and oppressed people.”[100]

Farewell, dearest city, farewell for a time,
We’re now called to leave thee for a distant clime.
Fair city of Joseph, we bid you adieu,
Farewell for a season, our own loved Nauvoo.
Adieu to the spot where the Prophet once stood,
And boldly declared the whole council of God.
Before the rude hand of a blood-thirsty mob,
Forced him from our midst to a peaceful abode.

Farewell to the temple, where oft we have heard
The precepts of life and salvation declared.
Dear House of our God, we thy memory will love;
Although in a far distant country we love.
Adieu to the friends of our childhood and youth,
For they have rejected both us and the truth;
Therefore we will leave them in darkness to roam,
And seek in the far western forest a home.

Adieu to the states that have given us birth,
Our own native country, the proudest on earth.
The soil is bedewed with the innocent blood
Of Joseph and Hyrum, the prophets of God.
Then flee from these states, you saints of the Lord
And spread forth the kingdom of Heaven abroad;
That Zion may rise in her beauty and shine,
With beams of salvation and glory divine.

Lucretia Hupper, “Book of Poetry, 1844–1894,” MS 22525, 39–40, Church History Library.

“The Noble, Brave Boys of Nauvoo”

unknown poet[101]

In September 1846 the so-called “Battle of Nauvoo” began when Thomas Brockman led nine hundred men in an armed attack against the Saints with the intent of driving the last of the Mormons from Illinois. As the song tells it, the “brave boys of Nauvoo” banded together to defend the city. Many of the “brave” were sick and destitute. With makeshift cannons and cannonballs made of scraps, the small band of fighters held their ground for some three days.[102]

I’ll tell you about a war meeting
That made all the mobbers look blue
Which has lately been held in this city
By the noble, brave boys of Nauvoo.

Old Williams camped out on the prairie
With a drunken mean mobocrat crew
And said he would march in and butcher
All the noble, brave boys of Nauvoo.

The sheriff then called out his posse
Good heavens, oh, then the dust flew.
All heaven and earth seemed moving
From the noble, brave boys of Nauvoo.

The [illegible] also came running

And quickly they raised a flag too

Like horses rushed forward for battle

All noble brave boys of Nauvoo

On Sunday the sun shone in splendor,
And bravely we marched the streets through,
For the battlefield we were all ready
All noble, brave boys of Nauvoo.

In William Marshall Evans Papers, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.

The Battle of NauvooThe Battle of Nauvoo by C. C. A. Christensen. Courtesy of BYU Museum of Art.

“Resurrection Hymn”

William Clayton

In 1844 Joseph Smith taught, “I have a father, brothers, and friends who are gone to a world of spirits. They are only absent for a moment…when we depart we shall hail our mothers, fathers, friends, and all whom we love.— There will be no fear of mobs…but all will be an eternity of felicity.”[103] William Clayton draws upon these ideas as he poetically remembers the valiant Saints who lost their lives or suffered in the Missouri persecutions, Carthage Jail, and at the Battle of Nauvoo.

When first the glorious light of truth,

Burst forth in this last age;

How few there were with hearts so bold

To obey it did engage.

Yet of those few how many

Have passed from Earth away;

And in their graves are sleeping;

’Till the Resurrection Day.

How many on Missouri’s plains,

Were left in death’s embrace;

Pure honest hearts too good to live,

In such a wicked place.

And are they left in sorrow,

And in doubt to pine away?

Oh no; in peace they’re sleeping,

’Till the Resurrection Day.

And in Nauvoo the city where

The temple cheered the brave;

Hundreds of faithful saints have found

A cold but peaceful grave.

And there they now are sleeping;

Beneath the silent clay;

But soon they’ll share the glories,

Of a Resurrection Day.

Our patriarch and prophet too,

Were massacred; they bled;

To seal their testimony they

Were numbered with the dead.

Ah, tell me are they sleeping?

Methinks I hear them say:

Death’s icy chains are bursting,

’Tis the Resurrection Day.

And here in this sweet peaceful vale

The shafts of death are hurled,

And many faithful saints are called

To enjoy a better world;

And saints are often weeping

For their friends who’ve passed away,

And in their graves are sleeping

’Till the Resurrection Day.

Why should we mourn because we leave

These scenes of toil and pain;

Oh happy change the faithful go,

Celestial joys to gain;

And soon we all shall follow

To the realms of endless day;

And taste the joyous glories

Of the Resurrection Day.

In St. Louis Luminary 1, no. 20 (April 7, 1855): 4.

Crossing the Mississippi on IceCrossing the Mississippi on Ice by C. C. A. Christensen. Courtesy of BYU Museum of Art.

“All Is Well”

William Clayton

William Clayton wrote “All is Well” on April 15, 1846, while resting near Locust Creek in Iowa Territory, about a hundred miles west of Nauvoo, Illinois. “All is Well” (or “Come, Come Ye Saints”) is perhaps the most iconic hymn of the Latter-day Saint movement. The lyrics of the hymn have become an “Anthem of the Mormon Pioneers” and a symbol of the Latter-day Saint story. For many, Clayton’s poem embodies the ethos of the Mormon pioneer spirit.[104]

Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.

Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell—
All is well! All is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
’Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?

Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell—
All is well! All is well!

We’ll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away, in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the saints, will be blessed.

We’ll make the air, with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we’ll tell—
All is well! All is well!

And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!

But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we’ll make this chorus swell—
All is well! All is well!

In William Clayton, journal, April 15, 1846, Church History Library.


[1] James Madison Fisher, as cited in Roger D. Launius and John E. Hallwas, Kingdom of the Mississippi Revisited: Nauvoo in Mormon History (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1996), 87.

[2] Thomas Sharp, “We received the above communication . . . ,” Warsaw Signal 1, no. 18 (June 12, 1844): 1.

[3] Horace Cummings, “Conspiracy of Nauvoo,” Contributor 5 (April 1884): 255.

[4] History of the Church, 6:500; the quotation comes from Joseph Smith’s speech delievered on June 18, 1844, slightly more than a week before his death. The writers and editors of History of the Church used various firsthand accounts to compile the remarks.

[5] History of the Church, 6:549.

[6] History of the Church, 6:549.

[7] Dan Jones, “History of the Latter-day Saints, from their establishment in the year 1823, until the time that three hundred thousand of them were exiled from America because of their religion, in the year 1846,” 73–83, as published and translated from Welch in Ronald D. Dennis, trans., “The Martyrdom of Joseph Smith and His Brother Hyrum,” BYU Studies 24, no. 1 (1984), 96.

[8] Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, comp. Dean C. Jessee (2002), 630-631.

[9] John Hay, “The Mormon Prophet’s Tragedy,” Atlantic Monthly 24, no. 146, December 1869, 674.

[10] James Montgomery, “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief,” Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), no. 29, verse 6.

[11] Doctrine and Covenants 135:1.

[12] Doctrine and Covenants 135:1.

[13] Matthew 5:11.

[14] This poem has historically been attributed to William Clayton. It was published on a broadside next to another of Clayton’s poems, “With Darkness Long We’ve Been O’erwhelm’d.” There is no concrete evidence to confirm or refute the tradition of Clayton’s authorship.

[15] Robert C. Fillerup, “William Clayton Nauvoo Diaries and Personal Writings, A Chronological Compilation of the Personal Writings of William Clayton while he was a Resident of Nauvoo, Illinois,” Church History Library.

[16] William Hyde, journal, 11; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT.

[17] One definition of smart is “severe pungent pain of mind; pungent grief.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “smart.”

[18] Immured means “confined within walls.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “immured.”

[19] Alexander Neibaur, Autobiographical Sketch, 10 as quoted in Fred E. Woods, “‘A Mormon and Still a Jew’: The Life of Alexander Neibaur,” Mormon Historical Studies 7, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 31.

[20] Shadday is the Hebrew word for “Almighty,” as in “Almighty God.”

[21] See Psalm 121:1.

[22] See Helaman 13:37.

[23] Letter to his sister Susanna dated November 26, 1844 as quoted in Jane Rae Fuller Topham, In Search of Living Water: Biography of Susanna Mehetable Rogers Sangiovanni Pickett Keate (Orem, UT: Topham), 37.

[24] George D. Pyper, Stories of the Latter-day Saint Hymns: Their Authors and Composers (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1939), 98.

[25] Karen Lynn Davidson, Our Latter-day Hymns: The Stories and the Messages (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2009), 61–62.

[26] Walter Scott, “The Lady of the Lake,” Canto Second, XIX, “Boat Song,” in The Lady of the Lake and Other Poems (New York: New American Library of World Literature, 1962), 56. For more on the poetic borrowing seen in “Praise to the Man,” see Hicks, “Poetic Borrowing in Early Mormonism,” 139–40.

[27] See Doctrine and Covenants 21:1.

[28] Lyman Omer Littlefield, Reminiscences of Latter-day Saints (Logan, UT: The Utah Journal Company, 1888), 133.

[29] John A. Peel, “Dying Remarks of Parley P. Pratt,” Church Archives, as quoted in Steven Pratt, “Eleanor McLean and the Murder of Parley P. Pratt,” BYU Studies,15, no. 2 (1975): 248.

[30] Eleanor McComb Pratt, “The Ophans’ Lamentation, on Hearing of the Martyrdom of their Father,” Millennial Star 19, no. 27, July 4, 1857, 427.

[31] See Revelation 6:10.

[32] See Catherine Lewis, Narrative of Some of the Proceedings of the Mormons (Lynn, MA: Catherine Lewis, 1848).

[33] Romans 8:17.

[34] See Matthew 24:35; Doctrine and Covenants 1:38.

[35] Eliza R. Snow, diary, August 28, 1843. Church History Library.

[36] Nero was a Roman emperor known as a violent persecutor of Christians.

[37] Doctrine and Covenants 135:3.

[38] Hicks, “Poetic Borrowing in Early Mormonism,” 138.

[39]“From W. W. Phelps to Joseph Smith the Prophet,” Times and Seasons 4, no. 6 (February 1, 1843): 81–82.

[40] See Genesis 49:9.

[41] One definition of repine is “to fret oneself; to feel inward discontent which preys on the spirits.” Webster, American Dictionary, s.v. “repine.”

[42] The first four lines match verbatim the beginning of Eliza R. Snow’s poem. The last two lines are modifications of the concluding couplet of Snow’s poem. See Eliza R. Snow, “Elegy: On the Death of the Dearly Beloved, and Much Lamented Father in Israel, Joseph Smith Sen. A Patriarch in the Church of Latter-day Saints; Who Died at Nauvoo, Sept. 14th, 1840,” Times and Seasons 1, no. 12 (October 12, 1840): 190–91.

[43] Hicks, “Poetic Borrowing in Early Mormonism,” 139.

[44] Elijah Middlebrook Haines, The American Indian (Uh-nish-in-na-ba) (Chicago: The Mas-sin-na’-gan Company, 1888), 413, as cited in Hicks, “Poetic Borrowing in Early Mormonism,” 139.

[45] See 1 Kings 18:4.

[46] Joel Hills Johnson, “Voice from the mountains, being a testimony of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as revealed by the Lord to Joseph Smith, Jr” (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1881),

[47] B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Century I (Salt Lake City, UT: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1930), 2:281.

[48] Dorothy Streeper, “Phinehas Richards,” in Richards Family History, 1:127, as cited in Maurine C. Ward, “The Sacrifice of a Mother,” Nauvoo Journal 10, no. 2 (Fall 1998): 33–38.

[49] See Moroni 10:2.

[50] See Doctrine and Covenants 110:12.

[51] See Doctrine and Covenants 110:13.

[52] Doctrine and Covenants 135:4.

[53] See Susan Easton Black,“The Tomb of Joseph,” in The Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson, Stephen D. Ricks, Donald W. Parry, and Andrew H. Hedges, eds. (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2000), 61–86.

[54] The writings of Joel H. Johnson include an autobiography, 736 poems in journals, the pamphlet “Voices from the Mountains” (1881), and book Hymns of Praise for the Young (1882). Most of Johnson’s poems do not have specific composition dates.

[55] See Black, “The Tomb of Joseph,” The Disciple as Witness, 61–86.

[56]“The Temple,” Times and Seasons 3, no. 13 (May 2, 1842): 776.

[57] Quoted in Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill, Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1979), 185 n. 100.

[58] Willard Richards, “Carthage, June 27th, 1844,” in The Mormons or Latter-day Saints: With Memoirs of The Life and Death of Joseph Smith, 3rd ed., ed. Charles MacKay (London: Strand, 1852), 155.

[59] Brigham Young, Brigham Young Addresses, 1860–1864: A Chronological Compilation of Known Addresses of the Prophet Brigham Young, comp. and ed. Elden J. Watson, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Elden J. Watson, 198) 4:1, July 14, 1861, as quoted in Timothy Merrill, “Will the Murderers Be Hung?”: Albert Brown’s 1844 Letter and the Martyrdom of Joseph Smith,” BYU Studies 45, no.2 (2006), 98 note 35.

[60] See Willard Richards, “Two Minutes in Jail,” Nauvoo Neighbor 2, no. 13 (July 24, 1844): 3; See also “Two Minutes in Jail,” Times and Seasons 5, no. 14 (August 1, 1844): 598–99.

[61] For more on this, see the editorial introduction to this poem in Derr and Davidson, Eliza R. Snow: The Complete Poetry, 304.

[62] Brigham Young, “Tithing—Building Temples . . . ,” Journal of Discourses, 10:251.

[63] David Hyrum Smith composed poetic verses about his father’s legacy. His poem “There’s an Unknown Grave” reads, in part: “The Prophet whose life was destroyed by his foes / Sleeps now where no hand may disturb his repose. / Till trumpets of God drown the notes of the wave / And we see him arise from his unknown grave, / God bless that unknown grave.” David Hyrum Smith, “There’s an Unknown Grave,” original poem located in the Joseph Smith Historic Center in Nauvoo, Illinois.

[64] Benjamin F. Johnson, My Life’s Review (Independence, MO: Zion’s Printing, 1928), 103–4.

[65] See Abraham 3–4.

[66] Lynne W. Jorgensen, “The Mantle of the Prophet Joseph passes to Brother Brigham: A Collective Spiritual Witness,” BYU Studies 36, no. 4 (1996–97): 125–204.

[67] Poems in Jottings by the Way are not dated, however, based on this poem’s use of the passive tense, and eventual publication date in 1882, it is likely this poem was written after Joseph’s death.

[68] Joseph Smith to the Chester County Register and Examiner, January 22, 1840, Brandywine, PA. See also Chester County Register and Examiner, February 11, 1840, Church History Library.

[69] The letter “P” is the only identification of authorship. The letter may stand for William W. Phelps or Parley P. Pratt.

[70] Roberts, Comprehensive History, 7:193.

[71] Roberts, Comprehensive History, 7:195.

[72] See Matthew 6:6; 3 Nephi 13:6.

[73] The author is identified only by the moniker “Laura, a Visitor.”

[74] Samuel A. Prior, “A Visit to Nauvoo,” Times and Seasons 4, no. 12 (May 15, 1843): 196–98.

[75] The unknown poet is identified only by the letters “D. W.”

[76] The author is identified only by the letters “A. L. B.”

[77]“The Wentworth Letter,” Times and Seasons 3, no. 9 (March 1, 1842).

[78] The author is identified only by the letters “G. W. M.”

[79] Dean C. Jessee, “The John Taylor Nauvoo Journal: January 1845–September 1845,” BYU Studies 23, no. 3 (1983): 43.

[80] History of the Church, 7:417-418; see also Times and Seasons 6, no.10, June 1, 1845, 925.

[81] In January 1845, the Illinois legislature repealed the Nauvoo Charter.

[82] John C. Bennett served as mayor of Nauvoo from February 1841 to May 1842.

[83] William Law served in the First Presidency of the Church from January 1841 to January 1844. He published the Nauvoo Expositor, an anti-Mormon newspaper, on June 7, 1844. See Lyndon W. Cook, “William Law: Nauvoo Dissenter,” BYU Studies 22, no. 1 (1982): 47–72.

[84] See Genesis 19:24; Richard Van Wagoner and Steven C. Walker, “The Joseph/Hyrum Smith Funeral Sermon,” BYU Studies 23, no. 1 (1983): 3–18.

[85] See Matthew 25:21, 31.

[86] Harvard professor Noah Feldman has compared the Latter-day Saint overland journey with the watery trek two centuries earlier by the Puritan pilgrims to America. See Noah Feldman, “Few Are Chosen: Comparative Religion and the Public Sphere,” an address given at Brigham Young University on November 17, 2009. In a somewhat related account, Harvard President Charles William Eliot “drew a very pleasing comparison” between the Puritan origins of Harvard and the “development of the LDS Church School system.” James E. Talmage, journal, March 16, 1892, Church History Library.

[87] History of the Church, 6:222, 224.

[88] See Richard O. Cowan and William E. Homer, California Saints: A 150-Year Legacy in the Golden State (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1996), 1–10.

[89] Hicks, “Poetic Borrowing in Early Mormonism,” Dialogue 18, no. 1 (Spring 1985): 138.

[90] A reference to Native Americans.

[91] Isaac Chauncey Haight Journal, September 16, 1846. Church History Library.

[92] For more information on Thomas Sharp’s role in the assassination of Joseph Smith, see Marshall Hamilton, “From Assassination to Expulsion: Two Years of Distrust, Hostility, and Violence,” BYU Studies 32, nos. 1–2 (1992): 229–48.

[93] Colonel Levi Williams of Warsaw was a suspect in the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. In August 1845, Colonel Williams and his men burned Latter-day Saint dwellings in Yelmore (Morley’s Settlement), Illinois, about twenty-five miles south of Nauvoo.

[94] See Hamilton, “From Assassination to Expulsion: Two Years of Distrust, Hostility, and Violence,” BYU Studies 32, nos. 1–2 (1992): 237–39.

[95] Jacob B. Backenstos, a sheriff in Hancock County, Illinois, was friendly toward Latter-day Saints.

[96] In August 1845, Sheriff Backenstos was threatened and pursued by Frank Worrell. In the conflict that ensued, Worrell was fatally wounded by newly deputized Orin Porter Rockwell. Backenstos faced political heat for Worrell’s death. See History of the Church, 7:439. For a another version of Worrell’s death, see Thomas Gregg, History of Hancock County, Illinois (Chicago: Chas. C. Chapman, 1880), 341.

[97] On April 12, 1845, a deputy marshal came to Nauvoo to arrest Brigham Young. See History of the Church, 7:395–96.

[98] On October 25, 1845, Major Warren threatened to declare martial law in Nauvoo. See History of the Church, 7:487.

[99] On February 2, 1846, Brigham Young decided the Saints should leave Nauvoo before spring. Two days later, Charles Shumway became the first Latter-day Saint to leave with an intention of going west. On February 15, 1846, Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles left Nauvoo with their families. See History of the Church, 7:578–79, 585.

[100] Lucretia Hupper, “Book of Poetry, 1844–1894,” MS 22525, 36, Church History Library.

[101] The poem was sung as a Mormon folksong. Although William Marshall Evans recorded the lyrics in his journal, he did so alongside other songs and poems he did not author.

[102] See Andrew F. Ehat, “‘They Might Have Known That He Was Not a Fallen Prophet’:The Nauvoo Journal of Joseph Fielding,” BYU Studies 19, no.2 (1979), 19.

[103] Joseph Smith,“Discourse, Nauvoo, IL, 7 Apr. 1844” in Times and Seasons 5, no. 15 (August 15, 1844): 617,!/paperSummary/discourse-7-april-1844-as-reported-by-times-and-seasons&p=6.

[104] See Paul E. Dahl, “‘All is Well . . .’: The Story of the Hymn That Went around the World,” BYU Studies 21, no. 4 (Fall 1981): 515–27.