February 14, 2024

Saying 'Goodbye' to Hyrum

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Leading up to the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum the whole city of Nauvoo was in chaos, everyone wondering what the fate of Joseph Smith and Hyrum would be. Only seven years before in Missouri the Saints faced abuse, rape and death and those memories weighed heavily on the minds of the Saints while Hyrum and Joseph Smith rode through town on the way to Carthage Jail. Nobody was more worried about the fate of Joseph and Hyrum them their families, hoping and praying their fathers would make it through this trial alive. On the way to Carthage the men stopped and said 'goobye' to their families for the last time.

In the Nauvoo years, Joseph Smith had spent much of his time in hiding, there was always a new problem after him. When the time came to ride to Carthage Jail, the men knew this time was different than all the other times of persecutions before. This time felt heavy, and emotional. The son of Hyrum Smith, Joseph F. was a very sensitive boy, and he felt the worry, even at only five years old. This account comes from what young Joseph F. remembers of those moments.

As Joseph and Hyrum Smith rode past their families homes, Joseph F. ran out to the horses. Joseph F. ran straight to his father, Hyrum. Hyrum, still on his white horse, pulled Joseph F. to the stirrup, and then all the way up to the saddle and embraced him.

The Prophet Joseph Smith jokingly commented, "Hyrum he looks pale, have you been feeding him on skim milk."

Skim milk was not the reason Joseph F. Smith looked so pale that day. Joseph F. was worried for his father, and his uncle.

A simple, loving goodbye was the last memory Joseph F. had of his father. As we know, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed in Carthage. It is heartbreaking to hear the memories of young Joseph F. and his family as they were left to struggle through life without their dear father, whom they loved so much.

The tragic death of Hyrum effected his young son, Joseph F. Smith for the rest of his life. The persecutions against the Smith family did not end at the death of Joseph and Hyrum. In fact, Joseph F. Smith received a message saying, "there will not be one more Smith left in Nauvoo in 30 days" and this five year old boy hid in his families little brick home for days, in fear of his life.

Joseph F.'s mother, Mary Fielding, was very sick. By a miracle, Mary was nursed back to health enough to get her family across the plains to Utah where she died, only eight years after Hyrum's. Joseph Fielding Smith was only 14 years old when his mother passed away, and again he was only about age six when he lost his father.


"The Presidents of The Church" by Truman G. Madsen

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