Yet again Parley and his friends had been forced to walk several miles along the dusty roads of Ray County, Missouri, surrounded by guards towering on horseback. They arrived at their new prison exhausted, hoping only for sleep. The weary men huddled on the dank floor, their chains hampering any hope of finding comfort in such a place.
Parley shoved his nose into a sleeve, barely able to abide the stink of alcohol and urine contributed by their guards. The vile men had spent hours raucously boasting of various ways they’d like to kill their captors, the leaders of the Mormon Church.
One man, emboldened by copious amounts of drink, stumbled over to the cell bars and spat, as though he were a cobra spewing venom.
“Not so brave now, are you? Not such a mighty leader. Nothing but a rat in its’ cage.”
Parley glanced at Brother Joseph lying next to him. Though his handsome face appeared serene, Parley could see his jaw clench fiercely.
Upset his charge didn’t take the bait their guard squatted down like a toad, his bloodshot eyes narrowing.
“I hear you have a sweet looking wife, Prophet. I hear she’s born you quite a few babies. D’you think she’d do the same for me when you’re dead? D’you think she’d rather be with a real man, instead of a rat like you? Maybe, just maybe I’ll go find your little wife and tell her personally about your death. Offer some comfort.”
Joseph closed his eyes. Parley marveled at his self-control. The guard, frustrated with Joseph’s stoic nature, retreated to his mates. Parley suspected they kept their voices loud enough for the captors to hear each filthy word.
Even now the vile men boasted of every Mormon house they’d set afire, every wife and daughter they’d maliciously defiled, every man and child they’d brutally killed. On and on came their depraved ranting, their words pellets of disgust and despair that fused to Parley’s soul like bits of tar. No matter how hard he scraped, no matter how hard he prayed, he couldn’t get the filth off.
How he wished to rise from the frigid stone floor, to call these men to repentance, to quail their vicious tongues! Only the serene countenance of Brother Joseph kept him in place.
If ever the spirit of God had been eagerly thrust from a room it had surely been done in this place by these men. As time passed the guards worsened, permeating the air with malice. Their rage turned to what would happen to the families and friends of Parley, the atrocious nature of their imaginings going beyond any evil he had previously thought could exist.
A sudden clanging of chains brought his attention to Brother Joseph, who stood and faced their captors, eyes blazing with a fierceness never before seen by Parley. Joseph was a tall man, over six feet in stockings. At that moment he seemed to fill the room with the vastness of his fury.
His voiced roared in righteous indignation, thoroughly silencing the riotous men.
“Silence! Ye fiend of the infernal pit!,” he cried, his booming voice echoing off the stone walls. “In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still. I will not live another minute and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you or I die this instant!” **
The guards immediately fell to their knees, a few of them cowered in a corner. To Parley’s amazement several immediately asked for forgiveness, unwilling to look at their prisoner.
The darkness that had previously threatened to dominate every crook of his mind was dispelled. After several heart pounding minutes Joseph sat down. For the rest of the night his eyes remained locked on the corner where the cringing men sat, the fire in his eyes never dissipating. The guards spoke not another word until their replacements, curious at the subdued demeanor of their cohorts, arrived.
In years to come Parley would see presidents face to face, watch judges rightfully condemn the wicked, would even imagine what it might be like to sit at the feet of a king.
Yet never in his life would he witness a more brilliant display of dignity and bravery, of boldness and courage, than he did watching a shackled man call the wicked to repent in a little room of an obscure town in Missouri.
**Joseph Smith, History of the Church: III
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.