Monday, June 27, 2016
'The Assassination of Joseph Smith' shines thought-provoking light on final years of Prophet's life
"THE ASSASSINATION OF JOSEPH SMITH: Innocent Blood on the Banner of Liberty," by Ryan C. Jenkins, Cedar Fort Books, $22.99, 368 pages (nf)
In "The Assassination of Joseph Smith: Innocent Blood on the Banner of Liberty," author Ryan C. Jenkins gives a thought-provoking account of the slain Prophet's life from Oct. 31, 1838, until his martyrdom on June 27, 1844.
Killed by an assassin's bullet at age 38, Joseph Smith led a fascinating yet brief life. He translated the gold plates in 1829, and in 1830 he published the Book of Mormon and organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. What followed were years of persecution and strife for Joseph Smith and his followers, who came to number in the thousands.
Jenkins meticulously lays out the scene, opening the day after the Hawn's Mill massacre. Latter-day Saints were about to be forced to surrender their land to the state of Missouri and leave immediately. A flag of truce approached the Mormons in Far West.
Joseph Smith and his associates were then arrested and sentenced to death, though they were ultimately spared and sent to Liberty Jail. Several months later, Joseph escaped and returned to his followers. They proceeded to the small town of Commerce (later named Nauvoo), Illinois.
Other notable events covered in the book include the prophet's trip to Washington, D.C., to seek reparations, his presidential run and the final days leading up to his martyrdom.
Jenkins' decision to write the book in the present tense allows for a more engaging reader experience.
Whether one is a dedicated student of church history or a newcomer, "The Assassination of Joseph Smith" provides an exhaustively detailed and useful overview of some of the most tumultuous years in the Latter-day Saint movement.
The book contains no sexual content but has some generally described violence and mild swearing included in historical quotes.