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Joseph is Tarred by a Mob

March 24, 1832

Image: "Joseph Smith," after 1842, artist unknown, Museum of Church History and Art Joseph was sitting up late with his 11-month-old adopted son, who had the measles, when about a dozen men broke into the house, hauled the Prophet from the house, stripped his clothes from him, and began to pour hot tar all over his body. He saw others of the mob pulling Sidney Rigdon from his house. Because Sidney was unconscious, Joseph supposed that he was dead and began to plead for his own life. The mobbers broke a vial of nitric acid against his mouth, trying to poison him. In the process they broke a tooth, causing Joseph to have a slight whistle for life. One man said, "That's the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks!" and jumped on Joseph, ripping off his remaining clothes and scratching his fingers into Joseph's skin. Joseph pulled the tar away from his mouth so he could breathe. Two men rushed out of the house to help Joseph and, each assuming that the other was from the mob, started attacking each other. When the mob finally fled, Joseph tried to return to the house; when Emma saw him she thought the tar was blood and fainted. Joseph spent the night with his friends, who pulled and ripped off the pieces of tar and skin.

Source: J. Christopher Conkling, A Joseph Smith Chronology, Deseret Book Company, 1979.

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