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Sources from Light in the Darkness, Liberty in a Jail

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Main Text

“On December 1”: See Lyman Omer Littlefield, Reminiscences of Latter-day Saints (Logan: Utah Journal Printers, 1888), 79–80.

In the building commonly known as Liberty Jail: The jail’s official name was the Clay County Jail or the Jail of Clay County. People called it the Liberty Jail because it was located in Liberty, Missouri, the county seat.

More frequent were visits: See Hyrum Smith diary, Mar. 18 and Apr. 3, 1839, Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

“Breathed a kind and consoling spirit . . . were to our souls . . . our joy is mingled with grief”: Joseph Smith, “Letter to the Church and Edward Partridge, 20 March 1839–A,” 7, josephsmithpapers.org; spelling, capitalization, and punctuation standardized.

“Zion shall yet live”: Joseph Smith, “Letter to the Church in Caldwell County, Missouri, 16 December 1838,” 7, josephsmithpapers.org.

“O God, where art thou?”: Doctrine and Covenants 121:1–3.

“Let us cheerfully do all things”: Doctrine and Covenants 123:17.

Joseph and his companions: See History of the Church, 3:308–21.

Pop-Ups

LIBERTY JAIL WAS CONFINING.
“We are kept under strong guard”: Joseph Smith letter to Isaac Galland, Mar. 22, 1839, in Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, 52; josephsmithpapers.org.

“We found the space inside”: Andrew Jenson, Edward Stevenson, and Joseph S. Black, “Liberty Jail,” Deseret News, Oct. 3, 1888, 608. In 1888, Jenson, Stevenson, and Black visited several sites with historical significance to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As part of this trip, they visited the old county jail in Liberty, Missouri. By that time, the structure was crumbling and the roof was gone, but they were able to record the basic measurements of the jail.

LIBERTY JAIL WAS DARK.
“I have been under the grimace of a guard”: Joseph Smith, “Letter to Emma Smith, 4 April 1839,” 1, josephsmithpapers.org; spelling and punctuation standardized.

“The only openings giving light”: Andrew Jenson, Edward Stevenson, and Joseph S. Black, “Liberty Jail,” 608.

“In the south side”: B. H. Roberts, The Latter-day Saints’ Tour from Palmyra, New York, to Salt Lake City, through the Stereoscope (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1904), 50.

LIBERTY JAIL WAS COLD.
“We have been compelled”: Joseph Smith letter to Isaac Galland, Mar. 22, 1839, in Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, 52; josephsmithpapers.org.

LIBERTY JAIL WAS GRIM.
“We are compelled”: Joseph Smith, “Letter to the Church and Edward Partridge, 20 March 1839—A,” 2, josephsmithpapers.org; spelling and punctuation standardized.

“Our food was very coarse”: Alexander McRae, “Incidents in the History of Joseph Smith,” Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, Mar. 3, 1855, 135; italics in original.

James H. Ford interview: See Andrew Jenson, Edward Stevenson, and Joseph S. Black, “Liberty Jail,” 608.

Joseph Smith and his companions: See History of the Church, 3:308–21.

Visuals

Note that the letter from Emma Smith to Joseph Smith is not written in Emma’s hand. It is a copy of her letter, included in Joseph’s letterbook.