On this day in 1844, Joseph Smith, the founder and leader of the Mormon religion, was murdered along with his brother Hyrum, when an anti-Mormon mob broke into a jail where they were being held in Carthage, Illinois. In early 1844, Smith announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. Although he did not have great enough appeal to win, the idea of Smith as president increased anti-Mormon sentiment.
A group of dissenting Mormons began publishing a newspaper that was highly critical of the practice of polygamy and of Smith’s leadership; Smith had the press destroyed. The ensuing threat of violence prompted Smith to call out a militia in the Mormon town of Nauvoo, Illinois. He was charged with treason and conspiracy by Illinois authorities and imprisoned with his brother Hyrum in the Carthage city jail. On June 27, 1844, an anti-Mormon mob stormed in and murdered the brothers.
Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun. We have always had hate crime with us. Just ask the people of Orlando, Florida. Ask the descendants of Joseph Smith. Can we ever turn away hate? History says no. Personal observation says no. But in the name of all things sane, we must never stop trying.