Doctrine and Covenants

Week 25: The Mormon War of 1838; Joseph writes from Liberty Jail

D&C 121–123

22 April 2021


Additional reading and links

  • Leland H. Gentry, “The Danite Band of 1838,” BYU Studies 14, no. 4 (Summer 1974): 421–50. Who were the Danites, what were their motivations, and how much about their activities did Joseph Smith know?

  • R. Scott Lloyd, “Hawn’s Mill Massacre: ‘New Insights and Interpretations’,” Church News, 9 November 2013. Recent research indicates that the name of the Mormon settlement was spelled Hawn’s Mill, rather than Haun’s, and that the Saints there were not aware of Joseph Smith’s counsel to move closer to Far West to avoid violence.

  • Transcript and photograph of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs’ “Extermination Order,” Missouri Executive Order 44, issued 27 October 1838.

  • Emma Smith’s letter to Joseph Smith, Jr. in Liberty Jail, 7 March 1839. In her letter, Emma updated her incarcerated husband on her status and the the welfare of their children: “Was it not for conscious innocence, and the direct interposition of divine mercy, I am very sure I never should have been able to have endured the scenes of suffering that I have passed through…but I still live and am yet willing to suffer more if it is the will of kind Heaven, that I should for your sake.”

  • Sections 121, 122, and 123 of the Doctrine and Covenants are extracts from a letter written by Joseph Smith and other Church leaders from Liberty Jail on 20 and (c.) 22 March 1839. Images of the original letter, along with an uncorrected transcript, are available on the Joseph Smith Papers website: Part 1 (20 March 1839); Part 2 (ca. 22 March 1839).

  • Kent P. Jackson and Robert D. Hunt, “Reprove, Betimes, and Sharpness in the Vocabulary of Joseph Smith,” The Religious Educator 6, no. 2 (2005): 97–104. Jackson and Hunt explain what these words meant in 1839 and the context in which they were used in D&C 121:43.