180 years ago today - Jun 18, 1844

Joseph proclaims martial law in the city of Nauvoo. The Legion and the police force are ordered out, and the 5,000 men of the Nauvoo Legion line up close to the Mansion House. Joseph stands on the top of the frame of the building in full uniform to address them, which he does for an hour and a half. This is his last public oration. He notes that the Saints are innocent of the charges that are being put against them. But he says that as American citizens, it is time to stand up for their rights. He draws his sword and raises it to heaven and says, "I call God and angels to witness that I have unsheathed my sword with a firm and unalterable determination that this people shall have their legal rights, and be protected from mob violence, or my blood shall be spilt upon the ground like water, and my body consigned to the silent tomb. . . . I do not regard my own life. I am ready to be offered a sacrifice for this people; for what can our enemies do? Only kill the body, and theirpower
is then at an end. Stand firm, my friends; never flinch. Do not seek to save our lives, for he that is afraid to die for the truth, will lose eternal life."

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology]

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