The following is excerpted from the Church News. To read the full article, CLICK HERE

Minor Deming would likely not be as remembered today if he was not a brigadier general of the Illinois militia at the time that Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed in 1844.

The story is traditionally told that after the Smith brothers surrendered, Deming escorted them through unruly militia troops at the courthouse grounds in Carthage and reportedly introduced them as Generals Joseph and Hyrum Smith of the Nauvoo Legion.

The local militia troops, also knowns as the Carthage Grays, standing by thought Deming gave the prisoners too much respect and broke into hissing and profanities, said Bryon Andreasen, a historian and curator at the Church History Library.

“Afterward, Deming supposedly ordered the Grays’ arrest. At this, the Grays almost mutinied, until a face-saving way was found for Deming to countermand the arrest order,” Andreasen said.

Deming, a non-Latter-day Saint later elected as sheriff, was a man of principle who tried to bring those responsible for the murders of Joseph and Hyrum Smith to justice in the face of ridicule and persecution, Andreasen explained during the Church History Museum’s Evenings at the Museum series on Thursday, Oct. 20.

“Although it would have been much easier and safe for him to have stood on his hands and let things happen, he didn’t do it,” Andreasen said. “He tried to preserve the rule of law and he tried to make it possible for even Mormons to be treated by the law. He stood up and said ‘these people need to be prosecuted and held accountable, even though it’s politically unpopular for me to say that.’ … It’s that human story that I think is compelling.”

To read the full article, CLICK HERE