Road to Carthage: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast Released

SALT LAKE CITY—The Church Historian’s Press announces the release of Road to Carthage: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast. This eight-part miniseries from the Joseph Smith Papers Project explores the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in 1844. The episodes focus on the historical events that led to the assassination of the prophet and his brother by a mob, as well as the aftermath of that tragic event. The first two episodes of the podcast series are available now, with new episodes released each week through June 27, 2023. Series host Spencer W. McBride, PhD, interviews historians and church leaders in a documentary-style podcast.

“One of the goals of this podcast series is to help listeners understand the complex series of events that led to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith by a mob,” McBride said. “The episodes reveal how religious prejudice colored economic, political, and legal concerns in western Illinois, culminating in a mob acting outside of the law. But the series also explores the enduring historical and spiritual legacies of the martyrdom among church members today.”

Beginning in 1841, tensions rose between the Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois, and many of the other residents of that state. While the Saints used legal and political strategies to protect their rights and lives, their critics grew increasingly wary of the minority religious group. Animosity among these critics continued to rise until, on June 27, 1844, a mob murdered Joseph and Hyrum Smith in the county jail in Carthage, Illinois. Latter-day Saints memorialized Joseph and Hyrum Smith as martyrs and, in the aftermath of the event, grappled with serious questions about the future of the church.

Scholars featured in the podcast include Matt Grow, Richard E. Turley Jr., Matthew C. Godfrey, Brent Rogers, Elizabeth Kuehn, Jeffrey Mahas, Adam Petty, Christian Heimburger, Hillary Kirkham, Alex Smith, Emily Utt, Sharalyn Howcroft, David Grua, Chase Kirkham, Jessica Nelson, Brett Dowdle, and Jenny Reeder. Church leaders featured in the podcast series include Elder Kyle S. McKay, a General Authority Seventy and the Church Historian and Recorder, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency.

All eight episodes of Road to Carthage: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast will be available on the Gospel Library and on other platforms such as iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, and Amazon. The episodes are currently available in English, with releases in Spanish and Portuguese forthcoming.