Hyrum Smith and the Good Death

8m ·

Hyrum Smith and the Good Death

Over the years, many people have commented on the last words of Joseph Smith.  But Hyrum's last words have received little attention.  His final words - "I am a dead man" - would have been significant to Americans in the nineteenth century, Americans who valued the Christian art of dying well.  This concept of the “good death” had long been a core of Christian practice.  Dying was an art and the tradition of ars moriendi had specific rules going back to at least the 15th Century.   

On this episode, we'll explore what it meant to die well, especially when death came by violence, leaving no time for the traditions of final words and admonishments.  

To learn more about what dying well meant to 19th Century Americans, please check out Drew Gilpin Faust, "This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (2008).

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