June 27

Today marks the anniversary of Hyrum and Joseph Smith’s deaths. Brothers who fell victim while in state custody, unable to escape from the organized militia that came to kill them.

This morning I have been reading the letter they wrote while in a Missouri prison five years before they were killed. The false accusations of former Mormons caused their imprisonment both in Missouri and in Illinois.

They wrote from Liberty Jail: “Truth is Mormonism. God is the author of it.” I see no reason to shy away from the nickname “Mormon” or “Mormonism.”

Killing Hyrum and Joseph inflicted an incalculable loss on mankind. Today it is difficult for the world to comprehend just how much was lost to humanity because of the continual flood of falsehoods still heaped on them. What was true in 1839 continues to be true today: Hyrum and Joseph are still subject to attack by “renegades, liars, priests, thieves, and murders, who are all alike tenacious of their crafts and creeds, have poured down from their spiritual wickedness in high places, and from their strongholds of the divine, a flood of dirt, and mire, and filthiness, and vomit upon [their] heads.”

These two brothers were and are victims of “ignorance, superstition, and bigotry, placing itself where it ought not.” And so lies have gained an upper hand in the world, and truth is overcome by a torrent of slander.

Studying carefully the words of Joseph Smith uncovers a man of remarkable poise and virtue. A loving and loyal husband who does not deserve to have his words twisted to make him seem otherwise. Hyrum Smith was so Christlike a man that in his day no one doubted his truthfulness, virtue and fidelity.

Murdering Hyrum and Joseph on June 27, 1844 let others get control of the records, and to alter and distort events to support a new regime. The largest group of Mormons then used the slain leaders as cover for their new agenda.

The loss of those two remains incalculable. A fog of lies, like a great veil, enshrines ignorance about these two valiant brothers. The Lord explained to Joseph while in that Missouri prison that the world would always be divided in opinions about him: “The ends of the earth shall inquire after your name, and fools shall have you in derision, and hell shall rage against you, while the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under your hand. And your people shall never be turned against you by the testimony of traitors, and although their influence shall cast you into trouble, and into bars and walls, you shall be had in honor.”

Fools still deride. Hell still rages. The testimony of traitors is still given credence. But wise people whose hearts are pure see through the slander and acknowledge the virtue and blessings God restored through these two brothers.

Today I have been reflecting on the killings of Hyrum and Joseph. I am grateful to God for all they accomplished.