October 26, 2023

Tomb of Joseph Smith Museum, Nauvoo Illinois

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(below the map is the rest of the article)

It seems as though every square inch of Nauvoo Illinois is packed with Church History, and some of the most important historical sites are still being uncovered. This is the case with the Tomb of Joseph. There are many accounts of Joseph Smith having a tomb built for his family to all be together after their deaths, but this was lost to history for many years, and now seems to be found again.

The museum "Tomb of Joseph" is under the store, Zions Mercantile, across the street from the Nauvoo Temple. The museum is a perfect little place, making history come alive. There are historical documents, newspaper articles, artifacts and more. All highlighting different documentation of Joseph's tomb, and how it is believed to be discovered again.

The new owners of the building were told of a sprinkler in front that was never working properly. As the owners checked it out more closely they found a stone, and with more digging they found a room in the ground, under the building. There are more places around town that believe they have the tomb of Joseph Smith, but according to some records this tomb could be the one Joseph Smith had built. After the Saints left Nauvoo the wine industry tried to make its claim on Nauvoo, and there are many wine cellars under buildings in the area.

The tomb of Joseph Smith is not where Joseph Smith is buried. He is buried along with his brother and Emmas Smith in the Smith family cemetery next to the Smith Homestead. When Joseph and Hyrum were killed, the Saints were scared that the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum would be stolen for a bounty in Missouri. Because of this Joseph and Hyrum were buried in an unmarked grave, near the Smith Homestead. Years later their bodies were dug up and were placed where they are now.

In the Joseph Smith museum we were told that Joseph Smith wanted his family to be buried all together. They said Joseph wanted his family buried together for the morning of the Resurrection they would all wake up seeing each other first. This is why Joseph had this very large tomb made for his family.

Whether this is the actual tomb of Joseph Smith or just a fun find of an old wine cellar, using some of the same bricks from the Nauvoo Temple, it is worth a stop. The museum is interesting, the stories of Joseph Smith are great, it is well worth your time.

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