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History of the Saints Conference Series: "Knowing Joseph"

Knowing Joseph

August 12, 2017, Idaho Falls, Idaho

It was late October 1838 and the state of Missouri had issued an extermination order demanding that all Mormons be driven from the state or exterminated for the public good. Several thousand Missouri militia advanced on the city of Far West, Missouri. Joseph Smith and others were betrayed and arrested. The next day, November 1, 1838, the militia surrounded Far West and demanded the surrender of the Mormons. The Saints had no choice if they would avoid a slaughter. Colonel Samuel D. Lucas ordered the Mormon prisoners to ground arms. He then formed them into a hollow square, ordered them to sit on the ground, and wait under guard. They would remain in that position all night long.

While the prisoners were sitting, certain apostates—those whom Heber C. Kimball described had once been brethren and had piloted the mob into the city—came forward. One of them, William E. McLellin, asked where Heber C. Kimball was. He was pointed out and McLellin walked over. Heber described the conversation:

“When he came up to me, he said, 'Brother Heber, what do you think of Joseph Smith, the fallen prophet, now? Has he not led you blindfolded long enough? Look and see yourself poor, your family stripped and robbed, and your brethren in the same fix. Are you not satisfied with Joseph?' I replied, 'Yes, I am more satisfied a hundred-fold than I was before; for I see you in the very position that he foretold you would be in—a Judas to betray your brethren, if you did not forsake your adultery, fornication, lying and abominations. Where are you? What are you about—you, and Hinkle, and scores of others? Have you not betrayed Joseph and his brethren into the hands of the mob, as Judas did Jesus? Yes, verily, you have! I tell you Mormonism is true, and Joseph is a true Prophet of the living God, and you with all others that turn therefrom will be damned and go to hell, and Judas will rule over you.'”

This experience of Elder Kimball demonstrates a fervent testimony under fire—the kind of witness and understanding that is needed today.

History of the Saints presents, "Knowing Joseph", a one-day educational seminar on the life and mission of Joseph Smith at Hillcrest High School in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Leading scholars will answer questions and teach about various aspects of the Prophet’s ministry. It will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the cost is $45 per person. To purchase tickets, go to historyofthesaints.org. Seating is limited, so please hurry.

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