Topical Guide/Church history/Martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum

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Joseph Smith as a martyr

Summary: Critics charge that Joseph was actually a coward, and that he did not willingly die for his beliefs. They claim that he does not deserve the title of "martyr."

Martyrdom in Christian history

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith is not a martyr because, while in jail, he fought back against those who attacked him. No one questions if he died for his religion. The question therefore is, has the definition of a Christian martyr always been understood only as one who does not fight back?