Scripture Stories
Chapter 48: Joseph Smith Asks the President for Help: March–November 1839
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“Chapter 48: Joseph Smith Asks the President for Help: March–November 1839,” Doctrine and Covenants Stories (2002), 176–79

“Chapter 48,” Doctrine and Covenants Stories, 176–79

Chapter 48

Joseph Smith Asks the President for Help

March–November 1839

Pioneers
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Joseph Smith wrote letters to the Saints while he was in Liberty Jail. He told them to write down the bad things the mobs had done to them. He said they should send what they had written to the leaders of the country.

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Joseph told the Saints to write the names of the people who had hurt them. He said they should tell how their homes and farms had been destroyed.

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After Joseph and his friends had been in Liberty Jail for more than four months, some guards took them to another town for a trial. Joseph and his friends bought two horses from the guards. They gave the guards some clothing to pay for one horse and promised to pay for the other horse later.

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One night some of the guards got drunk and went to bed. Another guard helped Joseph and his friends escape.

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Joseph and his friends took turns riding the horses. After 10 days they arrived in Quincy, Illinois, where they found their families.

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Joseph and his friends were happy to be with their families again.

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The Saints wanted to find a place in Illinois to build their own city. They bought some wet and muddy land by the Mississippi River. Joseph and the Saints worked hard to drain the land so they could build homes and plant gardens. They began to build a beautiful city, which they named Nauvoo. Nauvoo means beautiful.

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While the Saints were starting to build Nauvoo, Joseph Smith went to see the president of the United States. Joseph told the president about the mobs in Missouri. He told how the mobs had burned the Saints’ homes, stolen their animals, and forced them off their land.

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Joseph said some of the Saints had been killed. Others had been put in jail. He showed the president what the Saints had written about the bad things that had been done to them. Joseph said the leaders in Missouri would not help the Saints. He asked the president to help them.

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The president said he knew the Saints had suffered, but he would not do anything to help them. If he helped the Saints, the people in Missouri would be angry.

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Joseph was sad because the president would not help the Saints. He returned to Nauvoo.