QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2005-06 > 1119980444
Subject: June 27, 1844
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2005 13:40:44 EDT
1844 Mormon leader killed by mob
Joseph Smith, the founder and leader of the Mormon religion, is murdered
along with his brother Hyrum when an anti-Mormon mob breaks into a jail where
they are being held in Carthage, Illinois.
Born in Vermont in 1805, Smith claimed in 1823 that he had been visited by a
Christian angel named Moroni who spoke to him of an ancient Hebrew text that
had been lost for 1,500 years. The holy text, supposedly engraved on gold
plates by a Native American historian in the fourth century, related the story
of Israelite peoples who had lived in America in ancient times. During the
next six years, Smith dictated an English translation of this text to his wife
and other scribes, and in 1830 The Book of Mormon was published. In the same
year, Smith founded the Church of Christ--later known as the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints--in Fayette Township.
The religion rapidly gained converts, and Smith set up Mormon communities in
Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. However, the Christian sect was also heavily
criticized for its unorthodox practices, such as polygamy. In 1844, the threat
of mob violence prompted Smith to call out a militia in the Mormon town of
Nauvoo, Illinois. He was charged with treason by Illinois authorities and
imprisoned with his brother Hyrum in the Carthage city jail. On June 27, 1844, an
anti-Mormon mob with blackened faces stormed in and murdered the brothers.
Two years later, Smith's successor, Brigham Young, led an exodus of
persecuted Mormons from Nauvoo along the western wagon trails in search of religious
and political freedom. In July 1847, the 148 initial Mormon pioneers reached
Utah's Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Upon viewing the valley, Young
declared, "This is the place," and the pioneers began preparations for the tens of
thousands of Mormon migrants who would follow them to settle there.