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Behind Joseph F. Smith’s Vision of the Afterlife
Near the end of his life, Joseph F. Smith had a vision of the afterlife that brought hope to him and to the Saints. To better understand the context of this revelation, Casey Griffiths visits several sites around Salt Lake City and Provo, looking for answers.
The first place Casey visits is the Salt Lake cemetary, where Joseph F. Smith and his family members are buried. When President Joseph F. Smith received the vision of the afterlife in 1918, he’d earlier that year endured the loss of his son, Hyrum Mack Smith, who was a member of the Twelve Apostles. Hyrum’s wife, Ida, died shortly after, leaving their children orphans.
As Casey points out, these were not the first significant losses of President Smith’s life either. His father, Hyrum Smith, and uncle, Joseph Smith, were murdered in Carthage jail when President Smith was a young boy. President Smith lost many loved ones, and after the losses of his son and daughter-in-law, he became anxious and depressed, but looked for answers in the scriptures.
To better understand what was on President Smith’s mind in 1918, Casey and the video team then visit the Pagoda in Memorial Grove Park, built to honor those killed in World War I. The Great War would have been heavy on President Smith’s mind, as well as a weight on the Saints. But another source of death struck the nation—and the world—when the Spanish Flu began to spread.
At Moon’s Rare Books in Provo, Casey meets with Reid Moon to see a set of President Smith’s scriptures. In this set of scriptures, President Smith marked the verses in 1Peter which are quoted in Section 138. These verses mention that the dead were taught the gospel and contributed to President Smith’s preparation for the vision he received.
Finally, back in Salt Lake City, Casey tours the Beehive House, where Joseph F. Smith received the vision of the afterlife. With the context of the revelation now clear, it’s no question that President Smith found great joy and peace in this vision.
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