Today, 179 years ago, Joseph and Hyrum Smith gave their lives in order to preserve their testimony through the precious blood they shed.
M. Russell Ballard, who is the great-great-grandson of Hyrum, has a personal and intense love for the brothers.
President Ballard released a link to his presentation at the New Mission President Seminar in a Facebook post today. He talked about Joseph and Hyrum and how they were great missionary partners. The brothers are characterized by him as “men of integrity, loyalty, courage, trust, faith, and unwavering testimony.” They set an example for all of us by enduring the unimaginable together.
The brothers’ shared love for God and one another served as their foundation. They supported one another, acknowledged one another’s callings, and finally stood by one another all the way to the end.
President Hunter is quoted saying, “We praise Joseph for enduring bitter and repeated betrayals and disappointments. … He did not go to Carthage bitterly. He did not go to Carthage complainingly. What a marvelous capacity to endure well! Joseph knew which way he faced. It was toward the Savior Jesus Christ.”
The same could be said about Hyrum as he so bravely said “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” when the Smith brothers were called back to Nauvoo just days before the martyrdom.
In a previous talk by President Ballard he recalls that “A week before the fateful trip to Carthage, where they were murdered in cold blood by an armed mob of cowards who had painted their faces to avoid detection, Joseph recorded that ‘I advised my brother Hyrum to take his family on the next steamboat and go to Cincinnati.’’
I still feel great emotion as I remember Hyrum’s reply: ‘Joseph, I can’t leave you.’
So Joseph and Hyrum went to Carthage, where they became martyrs for Christ’s cause and name.”
As John Taylor so fittingly observed: “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, … left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life, they were not divided, and in death, they were not separated!”
You can read President Ballard’s full address here.