Was Your Ancestor Really a Bodyguard for the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith?

Could you be related to a bodyguard of Joesph Smith? Here's what historian Jeffrey D. Mahas had to say.

A recent Flash.vote poll posted on the I am LDS Facebook page asked people if they've ever been told an ancestor was a bodyguard for Joseph Smith. Of the more than 425 who voted, 53 percent said yes. The post received numerous comments with names of ancestors and how they defended the Prophet.

But was your ancestor really a bodyguard for the Prophet? If so, what did being one of Joseph's bodyguards entail? Does a list of these men exist in church records?

Jeffrey D. Mahas, a historian with the Joseph Smith Papers project, can appreciate such claims. He grew up hearing stories about several ancestors who served as bodyguards for Joseph Smith, including one named Roswell Stevens. While Mahas has found references to Stevens being a bodyguard in written histories, he has yet to find his ancestor's name on any list or related church history document.

Lead image from the Deseret News
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