164 years ago the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred. Newspaper Headlines at the time screamed: "Thus ENDS Mormonism."
Nevertheless, the work of God has continued to roll forward to fill the earth. This was a critical chapter in Mormon history.
On June 27, 1844, at about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were assassinated by enemies of the Church in the county jail at Carthage, Illinois. John Taylor, severely wounded at the same time, later called the Smith brothers "martyrs of religion" and declared that the Restoration of the gospel had "cost the best blood of the nineteenth century." These faithful souls personified the Savior's teaching: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
"God is my friend," wrote Joseph Smith to his wife in 1832. "In him I shall find comfort. I have given my life into his hands. I am prepared to go at his call. I desire to be with Christ. I count not my life dear to me, only to do his will." Days before his death in 1844, the Prophet reiterated: "I am ready to be offered a sacrifice for this people."
Leaving Nauvoo for Carthage, Joseph said, "I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men." The Prophet humbly acknowledged, "I am a lover of the cause of Christ."
Do you wonder if Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God? Look around you and see prophesy being fulfilled. Faithful Latter-day Saints have looked and now invite family, friends, and near neighbors to embrace the joy of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"Persecution has not stopped the progress of truth, but has only added fuel to the flame, it has spread with increasing rapidity. Proud of the cause which they have espoused, and conscious of our innocence, and of the truth of their system, 'midst calumny and reproach, have the Elders of this Church gone forth, and planted the Gospel...it has penetrated our cities, it has spread over our villages, and has caused thousands of our intelligent, noble, and patriotic citizens to obey its divine mandates, and be governed by its sacred truths...there are numbers now joining in every land.
Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, Australia, the East Indies, and other places, the Standard of Truth has been erected; 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, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.
Respectfully, Joseph Smith, Jr."