Though he was spared death at this time, how hard it must have been for Joseph to languish in prison while cherished family and friends were being made to bow under the hand of tyranny and oppression in this blessed land of liberty. Joseph was deeply tormented during these months of confinement, haunted by the knowledge of the Saints being driven and scattered, freezing and homeless, their property having been confiscated or destroyed, their enemies committing murders and abuses upon them that were dark and black enough “to make hell itself shudder…and the hands of the very devil to tremble and palsy” (D&C 123: 10). And yet, it was here that Joseph received from the Lord some answers to hard questions and a perfecting of character, including a depth of empathy and mercy toward the human condition that might have come to him in no other way. After being enclosed in the walls of a prison for five months, Joseph would write: “It seems to me that my heart will always be more tender after this than ever it was before. My heart bleeds continually when I contemplate the distress of the Church….But trials will only give us the knowledge necessary to understand the minds of the ancients….I think I never could have felt as I now do if I had not suffered the wrongs that I have suffered. All things shall work together for good to them that love God….Do not have any feelings of enmity towards any son or daughter of Adam….We cannot do anything only stand still and see the salvation of God. He must do His own work….Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay” (History of the Church, Vol. 3, p. 286).
“…thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high” (D&C 121: 7, 8).