The Missouri years were racked with horrendous challenges and hardships for the early Saints of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The climax of the chaos occurred when Joseph Smith and other church leaders were arrested on false charges. With absolutely no help from the corrupt government, the Church members and the prophet had no Earthly help to get them out of the turmoil they faced. This arrest was what put the prophet and the other leaders on the road to Liberty Jail, but there were multiple stops before they made it to the horrendous jail, and one of the stops was Richmond. While in Richmond Joseph and the others leaders were forced to the verbal persecutions of the guards. The Church leaders did not react to the words of instigation, but the conversation of the guards turned to the torture of the Latter-day Saints, and the Prophet Joseph Smith could bare it no more and used the power of God to silence the guards.
Arresting Joseph Smith
The arrest of the Prophet Joseph Smith happened in Far West, Missouri,(read more about his arrest here) and the prisoners were transferred the Richmond courthouse before making their way to Liberty jail. During the transfer of the prisoners the Prophet and the other Church leaders were obviously no threat because there were few guards used to escort the prisoners our of Independence to Richmond. When the prisoners reached Richmond they were met by a man named Colonel Sterling Price, a member of the Clacks militia, with 74 guards! By November 10, 1838 Joseph and the other leaders were in a ramshackle log cabin.
The prisoners were chained together, and relinquish all pocket knives.
Joseph wrote a letter to his wife explaining the order of their imprisonment saying: ”Brother Robinson is chained next to me he has a true heart and firm mind, Bro. Whight, is next Br. Rigdon, next Hiram, next Parley, next Amasa,. . . And thus we are bound together in chains as well as cords of everlasting love, we are in good spirits and rejoice that we are counted worth to be persecuted for Christs sake.”
The captives were treated very poorly by the guards. Joseph Smith had a terrible tooth ache at one point and was mocked by the guards. Sidney Rigdon was mocked for his mental health struggles, he had delirium, fainting spells, fits of uncontrolled laughter, and incoherent speech.
The imprisoned leaders ignored the mean and hurtful acts of the guards. The Church leaders would not overlook the words of the jailers when the subject turned to torturing the defenseless Latter-day Saints families still in Missouri. The guards bragged and boasted of rape, murder, and robbery. Laughing and joking of the persecutions of the Saints.
Parley P. Pratt recorded: “I had listened till I became so disgusted, socked, horrified, and so filled with the spirit of indignant justice that I could scarcely refrain from rising upon my feet and rebuking the guards.”
“On a sudden[Joseph] arose to his feet and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion. . . “Silence ye fiends of the infernal pit. In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die THIS INSTANT.”
Joseph Smith, imprisoned, and chained, arose commanding the guards to stop. The guards did stop. The power of God was manifested through His prophet Joseph Smith. The response from the guards was recorded the “quailing guards, whose weapons were lowered or dropped to the ground; whose knees smite together, and who, shrinking to a corner, or crouching at his feet, begged his pardon, and remained quiet till the change of guards.”
Even imprisoned and chained the power of God worked through His prophet Joseph Smith. God did not leave His prophet alone during those challenging years in Missouri, but was with them through the hardships.
” Joseph Exploring the life and ministry of the prophet” p.300-301