June 27th will mark the 173rd anniversary of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. In honor of the beloved prophet, here are 6 books to help you learn more about him and the events of his life.
Precept Upon Precept: Joseph Smith and the Restoration of Doctrine
How did Joseph Smith do it? How did he, when just a teenager, open the floodgates of revelation on a spring day in 1820? How did he continue to receive, restore, and refine the rich doctrine of the restored gospel until his martyrdom in 1844? And how could a man who delivered such a comprehensive system of doctrine, that laid such a profound theological foundation, be anything other than a prophet of God?
Latter-day Saint doctrine is based on the restoration of a correct understanding of God's "character, perfections, and attributes." In Precept upon Precept, esteemed Latter-day Saint scholar and speaker Robert L. Millet explored how the restoration of one truth led to questions that led to answers and the restoration of more truths—line upon line, precept upon precept.
From the original theophany of the First Vision and its implications for a world steeped in Trinitarian doctrine to the cosmic scope of the King Follett sermon, the Prophet's revelations shook up the entrenched doctrines of nineteenth-century Christianity. And by the time of Joseph's martyrdom, God had through him laid the foundations for a restored church of Jesus Christ that will last until the Millennium.
Witness to the Martyrdom: John Taylor's Personal Account of the Last Days of the Prophet Joseph Smith
On June 27, 1844, John Taylor, who was in Carthage Jail along with Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Willard Richards, courageously sought to defend his beloved leader against a murderous mob. In the barrage of bullets that killed Joseph and Hyrum, John Taylor was severely wounded. He recovered his health, however, and some time later he put into writing his recollections of the Prophet's final days on earth. John Taylor's detailed first-person account of the Martyrdom is a witness to the goodness and deep faith of the leading Brethren of the restored Church.
Witness to the Martyrdom includes John Taylor's written account in its entirety. In addition, it helps readers place his testimony into perspective with
• A summary of early events in John Taylor's life.
• A discussion of the events immediately following the Martyrdom.
• A brief outline of John Taylor's life, including his service as third president of the Church.
As B.H. Roberts stated, Elder Taylor's record of these events is "of highest historical value" and "deserves to live forever." Endowed with the authenticity that only a first-person account can give, this book is an essential addition to the LDS bookshelf.
After the Martyrdom: What Happened to the Family of Joseph Smith?
This book is a well-prepared, highly readable, carefully documented explanation of many little-known events in the era following the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It spans the period from June 27, 1844, when Joseph and Hyrum were slain, to December 10, 1914, when Joseph Smith III, the last living child of Joseph and Emma, passed away.
After the Martyrdom vividly describes Emma's trials after Joseph's death. She was almost forty when he died, and pregnant with his child. Their son was born five months later, and Emma was left to raise five fatherless children. The book chronicles her increasing bitterness, her remarriage, and the many difficult events she endured before her life ended in 1879.
It tells of the formation of the Reorganized Church in 1860, with 27-year-old Joseph Smith III as its reluctant leader; their extensive efforts to win converts from among the Utah Mormons; and their support of the anti-polygamy crusades which brought great suffering and persecution to Utah.
After the Martyrdom also deals at length with the pros and cons of the doctrine of plural marriage, the differing historical perceptions of that practice by the Utah Mormons and the Reorganized faction, and the end of the practice with the Manifestos of 1890 and 1904.
Reading this remarkable book will increase the knowledge, understanding and faith of all who peruse its pages. It's highly recommended!
Joseph Smith the Prophet
Joseph Smith — Who was he? What was he like? How did he accomplish so much in so little time? In this enlightening eight-lecture series, Dr. Truman G. Madsen presents a fascinating history of the first prophet of the Restoration. He offers deep insights into the life of this great man, adding his own witness of Joseph Smith's calling.
The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents Volumes 1-4
Become more personally acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith and early Church history through the engrossing volumes of the Documents series. Each volume contains reproductions of 75 to 100 revelations, letters, and other papers presented in chronological order. Historical introductions to each document explain where, when, and why it was created. From revelations to sermons to newspaper editorials to personal correspondence, the documents of this series allow you to see through the eyes of Joseph as early Church history unfolded.
The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals Collection
The Joseph Smith Papers project will eventually constitute approximately 30 volumes, organized into six series. With access to texts not previously available, and certainly never in one collection, the Joseph Smith Papers project provides new information and insights about Joseph Smith, early Mormonism, and nineteenth-century American religion.