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Mormon Founder, Joseph Smith's Death Hoax

Updated on June 23, 2015
Death Masks
Death Masks | Source

The General in Kelseyville!

According to records, a Mormon, General Joseph Smith was in Kelseyville CA in 1847. Was he the same General Joseph Smith who supposedly died in 1844 in Carthage Illinois? Was he the same Prophet Joseph Smith that started the Mormon Church in Missouri? Did he escape death and go to California?

General Joseph Smith was part of the Sonoma Raiders who led the 1850 POMO Indian attacks in Sonoma and Napa Counties. There are many Joseph Smiths on record, so when you do research it is difficult to decide who is who. Did the Prophet Joseph Smith really get killed in 1844 as the LDS history would have you believe? Is it possible and maybe even probable that his escape cry “O LORD, MY GOD is there no help for the widow's son?” a signal to his Masonic brothers to rescue him?” Did some of the guards help him go under cover and escape from being killed? His past history of escapes indicates the possibility that Joseph survived and lived on.

Evading death even though appearing dead.

In 1832, Joseph Smith, was the so-called new “Prophet of the true Church of Jesus Christ”. During much of the 1830’s the church was divided between Ohio and Missouri. Sidney Rigdon, the established Mormon President of the ‘Council of Twelve’, and Joseph Smith lived in Missouri. When they came to visit Ohio, a mob of Ohio residents who were incensed by the “United Order” and Smith’s political power, beat Smith and Rigdon unconscious, tarred and feathered them and left them for dead. Stories portray Smith as an intense womanizer and the doctor that accompanied the mob was going to castrate Joseph because of his infidelity and practices of plural marriage. According to the story, the doctor changed his mind and didn’t castrate Joseph, as the mob truly believed Rigdon and Smith were dead.

In 1844, Benjamin Kelsey (the person the town Kelseyville, California is named after) brought a party of immigrants including his father David and brother Samuel Kelsey from Oregon. Was Joseph one of these immigrants? History records show that a Mormon named General Joseph Smith came to Kelseyville.

On the internet, there are many “Christian” references to the story of Joseph Smith and who he was. I have referenced some of them at the end of this blog. Was he a prophet or, as some think, a manipulative con-man that became egomaniacal in his later life?

problems with history

This article points out some problems with the history. Willard Richards in the Times and Seasons wrote about Joseph’s death scene incident. A remarkable story by a man that loved Joseph (his words) tells about Joseph jumping out the window: He says, “As his feet went out of the window my head went in.” It is my contention another possibility arises. Willard Richards, John Soloman, Fullmer and John Taylor helped Joseph change clothes with the almost dead guard that they had shot in the face. Then they threw the guard out the window.

I don’t buy that story of Joseph wanting to be a martyr. Why would Joseph Smith jump out of a window into a mob when he was in a room with a gun and a door and surrounded by friends ‘that loved him’? (Their statement not mine).

According to church records, on June 25th 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were supposedly killed by a mob while in jail. Robert Vincent Remini (July 17, 1921 – March 28, 2013) American historian and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago wrote a biography of Joseph Smith that says Colonel Levi Williams ordered four men to shoot Smith after he supposedly fell out of the window of the jail. It is my contention they shot the guard that had been shot in the face and thrown out the window.

In addition Professor Remini, says the church leaders feared the desecration of the graves of Joseph and Hyrum. He tells of the church leaders deciding to have a mock funeral. The supposed coffins of Hyrum and Joseph were lifted from the pine boxes and secured in a bedroom. A bag of sand was placed at each end of the two empty boxes. Leaders of the church created face masks for the bodies that were used at the funeral.

Why did they make face masks? Was it because both men’s faces were shot and not recognizable or was it to disguise the bodies? The records show Hyrum was shot in the face and the only other person shot in the face was the guard William Gallaher. Was there a struggle at the window because William was not completely dead? Did John Taylor’s watch break on the window frame when he and Joseph threw William out the window?

The story says the leaders of the church cleaned the bodies of Hyrum and Joseph Smith (who I think was William Gallaher), examined them and made death masks to show their facial features since they were shot in the face. At night the coffin boxes were weighted with sandbags in them and were carried to the graveyard and interred in a regular ceremony. The public viewing showed the bodies with death masks on (Why the death mask for Joseph if it was indeed Joseph?). Why did they use empty coffins weighted with sandbags for the public burial. Secretly, according to the records, at midnight, ten men buried the real coffins in the basement of the unfinished Nauvoo House. After the burial a thunderstorm raged and the rain washed away all traces of the grave. This is the story. It sounds fishy to me. The historian Remini says Josephs body was moved by Emma to a secret location behind a cottage. There it rested in an unmarked grave until 1928, when it was reburied in a new grave in Nauvoo along with the remains of Emma and Hyrum. I think Emma had the body of William Gallaher and thought it was Joseph Smith. The church had created a face mask for him and he was wearing the clothes of Joseph.

My intention in telling these stories is to tell you what they ‘said happened’ didn’t really happen. What I think really happened is entirely different. Would John Taylor lie to protect the real truth that Joseph escaped? I think there was an elaborate escape plan and cover up. Even Emma, Josephs wife, thought the body she moved was that of Joseph. Most likely the lithograph of Smiths body being mutilated in 1851 is really the body of William Gallaher. The possibility of some of the guard stopping the attack when the Masonic sign, “Oh Lord, My God!” was given is not only possible but highly probable.

Meanwhile Joseph Smith went West. Under cover, and with the help of his Mason friends, he joined with a group of immigrants that went to Oregon. With the help of the Masons and Ben Kelsey, he ended up in what is now Kelseyville in 1847. That is about 3 years after his setup death. Joseph and many of his new gang became the Sonoma Raiders. A party of fifty settlers headed by Sam Kelsey and Joseph Smith began killing Indians from Napa to Lake County. The gang jailed was called the Sonoma Seven. The Sonoma Seven were released from jail on 10,000 bond, jumped bail and boarded the schooner Ryerson and went to Humboldt Bay. Upon arriving at the newly discovered Humboldt Bay, the group formed the “Union Company”, established the town called “Union” (later to become Arcata). Ten of the 33 members of the Union Company had been implicated in the Sonoma/Napa Indian attacks (including Joseph Smith and Sam Kelsey’s father-in law). They started claiming ownership of land up and down the east coast of Humboldt Bay (The Journal 2008).

Within one year of their arrival in Humblodt, they had murdered several Indians and burned two Wiyot villages (The Journal 2008) Records indicate Joseph Smith ended up in Humboldt County.

This is my view only and publicly I would like to say this view is not what the LDS church would say is their position. My view does not necessarily represent the position of the Church. For the official Church websites, please visit or

For more information:,_jr.

Illinois State militia lieutenant General Joseph Smith
Illinois State militia lieutenant General Joseph Smith | Source


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