Mormon History, Jun 23, 1844

-- Jun 23, 1844
Emma Smith sends Orrin Porter Rockwell, Reynolds Cahoon, Lorenzo D. Wasson, and Hirum Kimball to convince Joseph Smith to return and face charges, as Governor Ford promised their safety and a fair trial. Joseph reluctantly agrees with Hyrum to return but says they will be butchered. (1)

Joseph Smith sends Orrin Porter Rockwell back to get horses and tells him to be ready to start for the Great Basin in the Rocky Mountains.. (1)

Accused of cowardly abandoning Nauvoo, Joseph returns about 6 p.m. He tells Stephen Markham that this is contrary to a revelation and commandment he had received. Joseph and Emma Smith burn the original manuscript of the 1843 polygamy revelation, presumably on this evening. William Clayton preserves a copy. Joseph writes to Governor Thomas Ford, who is in Carthage, "But from the explanation, I now offer to come to you at Carthage on the morrow, as early as shall be convenient for your posse to escort us into headquarters. provided we can have a fair trial, not be abused nor have my witnesses abused, and have all things done in due form of law, without partiality, and you may depend on my honor without the show of a great armed force to produce excitement in the minds of the timid." Joseph also retains a lawyer and witnesses. (2)

Joseph and Hyrum Smith return to Nauvoo from Iowa, submit to Illinois authorities, and consent to appear in court at Carthage on a charge of inciting a riot when the press of the Nauvoo Expositor was destroyed on June 10. (3)

[Joseph Smith] Sunday. They reach the Iowa side at daybreak. Joseph immediately writes Emma a note asking her to let him know her whereabouts. They send Rockwell back across the river. He finds Nauvoo full of confusion, with people unsure whether to defend or flee the city. A posse arrives to arrest Joseph, but they cannot find him. When the news that he has fled fills the town, many who had thought themselves in great danger now consider him a coward. (Gov. Ford later says that he thought Joseph had taken the best solution.) Dr. Bernhisel and Reynolds Cahoon cross the river to see Joseph. At 1 P.M. Emma sends Porter Rockwell back across the river to beg Joseph to return to Nauvoo. Reynolds Cahoon and others accuse Joseph of cowardice, holding that, inasmuch as Gov. Ford has promised him a fair trial, he has nothing to worry about. When Joseph hears that he is considered a coward, he says, "If my life is of no value to my friends it is of none to myself. . . . What shall I do
?" Rockwell says,"You are the oldest and ought to know best; and as you make your bed, I will lie with you." Joseph asks Hyrum for advice. Hyrum says, "Let us go back and give ourselves up, and see the thing out." After a few moments, Joseph says, "If you go back I will go with you, but we shall be butchered." Hyrum says, "No, no; let us go back and put our trust in God, and we shall not be harmed. The Lord is in it. If we live or have to die, we will be reconciled to our fate." Joseph writes a letter to Ford stating that he will give himself up. They head back in the afternoon, but Joseph says, "It is of no use to hurry, for we are going back to be slaughtered." He desires to speak to his people one more time, and Rockwell offers to get them out by starlight, but when Joseph sees his family, he decides to spend the eveing with them. (History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (7 volumes) 6:548-52.) (4)

Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith decided to turn themselves in at Carthage, Illinois, for a hearing. (5)

[Lucy Mack Smith] Hyrum returns to Nauvoo for the marriage of his daughter Lovina to Lorin Walker. (6)

After 1 a. m. Smith tells his secretary, William Clayton to burn or bury the minutes of the Council of Fifty, and Joseph and Hyrum Smith flee Nauvoo. Word of the prophet's departure causes near panic among his devoted followers. Accused of cowardly abandoning Nauvoo, Smith returns about 6 p.m. He tells Stephen Markham that this is contrary to a revelation and commandment he had received. Joseph and Emma Smith burn the original manuscript of the 1843 polygamy revelation, presumably on this evening. William Clayton preserves a copy, which is later canonized as Section 132 of the D&C. Smith burns polygamy revelation, flees Nauvoo but then returns . SOURCE: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 6, p.548-550, Manuscript fragment of Nauvoo Legion History for June 1844, LDS archives. (7)

-- Jun 23, 1844 (Sunday)
Through the solicitation of Emma Smith, and several supposed friends, Joseph Smith and his companions returned to Nauvoo. (8)

-- Jun 23, 1844, Sunday
[William Clayton Writings] During the day following some of the brethern, with Sister Emma Smith, despatched messengers to request the President and those with him to come and give themselves up, fearing that the city would be destroyed and the people massacred if they did not do it.

About five o'clock, p.m., the little party returned and concluded to surrender, although it was contrary to the President's feelings to do so. Nauvoo 3 44

Sunday 23rd. At 5 A.m. Rockwood & Scott came to ask advice what to do with the Cannon &c I went to Joseph & got all the public & private records together and buried them. (9)

1 - Tidd, N. R., "Mormon Chronology"
2 - On This Day in Mormon History,
3 - The Woodland Institute 'On This Day Historical Database,'
4 - Conklin, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology
5 - Joseph Smith Resource Center: Daily Events in the Life of Joseph Smith,
6 - Anderson, Lavina Fielding, Editor, Lucy's Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith's Family Memoir, 2001, Signature Books,
7 - Joseph Smith Polygamy Timeline,
8 - Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology
9 - Fillerup, Robert C., compiler; William Clayton Nauvoo Diaries and Personal Writings, A chronological compilation of the personal writings of William Clayton while he was a resident of Nauvoo, Illinois.

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