Did Joseph Smith Die Like a Lamb to the Slaughter?

Like a Lamb to the Slaughter? by Rocky Hulse

I was invited to be a speaker at the Capstone Conference at Calvary Chapel, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 12th and 13th; so, Helen and I made the trip to Salt Lake City and visited old friends and met and made many new ones (especially Facebook friends). My presentation was titled “Like a Lamb to the Slaughter: Joseph the Martyr?” This topic was received very well and so I thought I would share it here. The topic is also quite large, so it will take two newsletters to cover it. Next month, I’ll cover the belief by Mormons that Joseph Smith died as a martyr.

Blasphemous Mormon Scripture

The Mormon Church puts forward three additional books besides the Bible as scripture: The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. These four books are called the Standard Works and are the reservoir from which Mormon Doctrine flows. The Doctrine and Covenants is touted by the Mormon Church to contain 134 revelations given to Joseph Smith. Since his death, six other revelations have been canonized. Section 135, written by John Taylor, Third Prophet of the Mormon Church, is now their scripture lauding the “martyrdom” of Joseph Smith. Verse four reads as follows:

“When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men.” (D & C 135:4)

We are told by Mormons, “If it is not in the STANDARD WORKS, it is not doctrine.” So, let’s analyze this verse of Mormon scripture that they consider to be doctrine. There are four points here that I will cover:

  1. Pretended requirements of the law
  2. I am going like a lamb to the slaughter
  3. I am calm as a summer’s morning
  4. I have a conscience void of offense towards God and towards all men

Pretended Requirements of the Law

The first point of this Mormon Scripture is that Joseph was taken to Carthage Jail illegally by ”pretended” requirements of the law. Did Joseph Smith break the law? The answer is resoundingly: YES!

Joseph Smith ordered the destruction of the newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor. The Nauvoo Expositor was founded by dissenters of Mormonism and only printed one issue before Joseph Smith, acting as Mayor of Nauvoo, declared the newspaper to be a nuisance and ordered its destruction.

I have written articles over the years where I stated that Joseph Smith violated the First Amendment – Freedom of the Press, refuting Mormon claims that Joseph was jailed illegally. A few months back, I was challenged on our website blog by a Mormon who finally identified himself as David Young. He said that Joseph did not violate the First Amendment. His position was that, even though the First Amendment was ratified on December 15, 1791, it did not apply to the States, but only to the Federal Government.

David hounded me on our blog concerning this point. I finally sat down and did the research on this issue, and he was right; however, as Paul Harvey used to say: “Now, the rest of the story.” In Barron vs. Baltimore (1833) the Supreme Court ruled the Bill of Rights (first Ten Amendments) did not apply to the States. So, when Joseph destroyed the Nauvoo Expositor in June of 1844, the protection of Freedom of the Press under the First Amendment did not apply. Not until the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified on July 9, 1868, did the Bill of Rights become applicable to all the states. So, Joseph Smith, in 1844, was not in violation of the First Amendment; however, he was in violation of the Illinois State Constitution.

Illinois became a State on December 3, 1818. Part of the process of Statehood requires a state to provide to Congress a copy of their State Constitution for its approval; so, Joseph was bound by the Constitution of the State of Illinois that was in force as of Statehood, December 3, 1818, when he ordered the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor, June 8, 1844.

Illinois Constitution ART VIII Para 7 reads:

“That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and that general warrants whereby an officer may be commanded to search suspected places without evidence of the fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, whose offenses are not particularly described and supported by evidence, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be granted.”

Illinois Constitution ART VIII Para 22 reads:

“The printing press shall be free to every person, who undertakes to examine the proceedings of the general assembly or of any branch of government; and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write, and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.”

The above excerpts from the Illinois State Constitution provide clear evidence that Freedom of the Press was an Illinois Constitutionally guaranteed right and that Illinois residents were also guaranteed the right of protection from illegal searches and seizures without supporting evidence.

Article VIII Paragraph 22 is quite specific about the right “to examine the proceedings of the general assembly or of any branch of government; and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write, and print on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.”

What was the “offense,” according to Joseph Smith? He declared the newspaper to be a “nuisance.” Why? Because it was reporting on what he was doing clandestinely. As can be clearly seen, the Illinois Constitution expressly protects the examination of government and the right to “freely speak, write, and print on any subject.” So, when Joseph ordered its destruction and was subsequently arrested for that act, was he arrested on the “pretended requirements of the law?” No. Joseph Smith was in clear violation of the law and was rightly arrested for that violation. The Mormon Church continues to this day to falsely portray Joseph as the innocent victim of false charges. RUBBISH!!

I am going like a lamb to the slaughter

Point number two is a clear reference to the Messianic Prophecy concerning Jesus:

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)

In the Book of Acts 8:32, we see the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch:

“The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth.”

In v. 34, the eunuch asks: “Of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?” Philip then explains to him that it is Jesus. There is no question this is a Messianic Prophecy of Jesus Christ. It is also quite clear that in this Mormon Scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 135:4, the Mormon Church is comparing [supposedly showing similarities] Joseph’s death to Jesus’ death. This comparison is so blasphemous it defies any and all possible explanations that can be promoted by this modern-day cult!

Let us clearly dispel this blasphemous comparison by looking at Jesus vs. Joseph:

Jesus = God

  • Jesus committed no crime.
  • Jesus went willingly.
  • Jesus never spoke in His defense.
  • Jesus was crucified saying: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” as He took upon Himself the sins of the world.

Joseph = sinful man

  • Joseph did commit crimes.
  • Joseph fled to Iowa, then demanded an escort from the Governor of Illinois.
  • Joseph petitioned Governor Ford on his behalf.
  • Joseph died with the Masonic call of distress on his lips: “Oh Lord my God” (is there no help for a widow’s son).

Masonic signal and call of distress: Elder Heber C. Kimball, First Counselor to Brigham Young, confirmed in Mormonism and Masonry, p. 16. Zina D. Huntington, Joseph’s wife #7, affirmed this as well on p. 17: “I am the daughter of a Master Mason; I am the widow of the Master Mason who, when leaping from the window of Carthage Jail, pierced with bullets, made the Masonic sign of distress, but those signs were not heeded except by the God of Heaven.”

But I am calm as a summer’s morning

Point number 3 is the statement: ”but I am calm as a summer’s morning.” The evidence doesn’t bear out this statement. The initial arrest warrant for the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor was illegally discharged by the Nauvoo City Council on a writ of habeas corpus (I will expound on this in the next issue of the Midwest Expositor). Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, immediately fled across the Mississippi River to Iowa to avoid the jurisdiction of the Illinois Courts. Only when berated by the comments of the Mormons that Joseph was abandoning his flock and the pleas of his wife Emma, did Joseph return to Nauvoo.

Upon his return, Joseph Smith sent emissaries to Governor Ford to accept the armed escort by the Nauvoo Legion of Joseph to Carthage. Jesus went willingly to be tried before the Courts of Jerusalem. Joseph initially fled the state and then required of Governor Ford an armed escort.

Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be tried, convicted and executed for you and me. Joseph Smith was killed in a gun battle. Joseph Smith was wrongfully killed by a mob in the Carthage Jail; however, he was in possession of an illegally smuggled-in revolver with which he killed some of the mob:

“Elder Cyrus Wheelock came in to see us, and when he was about leaving drew a small pistol, a six-shooter, from his pocket, remarking at the same time, ‘Would any of you like to have this?’ Brother Joseph immediately replied, ‘Yes, give it to me,’ whereupon he took the pistol and put it in his pantaloons pocket.” (History of the Church, Vol. 7, p. 100)

When the mob rushed the jail and Joseph’s brother Hyrum had been shot, the following is recorded in History of the Church, Vol. 7, pp. 102-103:

“He, however, instantly arose, and with a firm, quick step, and a determined expression of countenance, approached the door, and pulling the six-shooter left by Brother Wheelock from his pocket, opened the door slightly, and snapped the pistol six successive times; only three of the barrels, however, were discharged. I afterwards understood that two or three were wounded by these discharges, two of whom, I am informed, died.”

Jesus went to his death willingly and died for us; Joseph went to his death unwillingly and died in a gun battle where he killed at least two men.

We also know that Joseph Smith sent a message to the acting General of the Nauvoo Legion to attack Carthage and rescue the prisoners:

“The morning of 27 June, Smith sent an order (in his own handwriting) to Major-General Jonathan Dunham to lead the Nauvoo Legion in a military attack on Carthage ‘immediately’ to free the prisoners.” (The Mormon Hierarchy Origins of Power, p. 141)

Jesus, on the other hand, said in Matt. 26:53, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” A legion was 6,000 soldiers, which means Jesus says he could have called up 72,000 angels in His defense. Did He? No. Did Joseph attempt to call up the Nauvoo Legion in his defense? Yes! Who went to their death willingly?

I have a conscience void of offense towards God and towards all men

For Joseph Smith to make such a statement was for him to completely ignore his lawbreaking actions and his moral failures. While denying it publicly, there is no question that Joseph Smith was practicing polygamy privately, which was a violation of Illinois Law. “An 1833 Illinois state law provided two years’ imprisonment and a $1000 fine for the married man who married another woman and one year’s imprisonment and a $500 fine for the unmarried woman who knowingly entered into a marriage ceremony with an already-married man.” (“LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages 1890-1904,” D. Michael Quinn)

In her book No Man Knows My History, The Life of Joseph Smith, Fawn Brodie lists his 49 wives. Of these wives, ten were teenagers (2-15, 1-16, 4-17, 3-19). Six of these women were once wards in his home and instead of protecting them, he seduced them.

Twelve of these women were married to living men. This is called “polyandry,” defined as: “the state or practice of having two or more husbands at the same time.” This was a despicable practice where Joseph Smith used his position as the “Prophet” to convince these men to give their wives to him. Joseph pressured many of these women to marry him by saying that if they didn’t, God would slay him.

Joseph ordered the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor because he knew the newspaper would expose his diabolical acts.

There is no doubt that the only way Joseph could make a statement of a clear conscience was because he had a seared conscience.

Nauvoo Expositor

Having done this research, I now believe that the real reason Joseph had the Nauvoo Expositor destroyed was because Joseph had secretly organized the Council of Fifty, designed to bring forth the Kingdom of God on earth with the Mormon Church as the governing body and Joseph Smith as the earthly king. The Council of Fifty had ordained Joseph as “King of the Earth” and the Nauvoo Expositor was going to print that in their Second Edition.

Article written by Rocky and Helen Hulse, Issue No. 37, April 2010, The Midwest Expositor publication of Mormon Missions Midwest Outreach – Reprinted and posted on our website by permission.


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