Robert B. Thompson

Question: Robert Blashel Thompson is mentioned in D&C 124:12-14. Who did he marry and how was she related to Mary Fielding, wife of Hyrum Smith? What was his connection to Don Carlos Smith?

Answer: Robert Blashel Thompson was born 1 October 1811 in Yorkshire, England. He joined the Methodists and was a preacher for a few yeas before migrating to Upper Canada in 1834. Robert, as well as Joseph Fielding and his two sisters Mary and Mercy, and John Taylor, were all baptized members of the Church in May 1836 by Elder Parley P. Pratt. They were all baptized in a stream called Black Creek on Joseph Fielding's property.

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In April of 1837 Joseph Fielding, sold his property and with his sisters Mary and Mercy, moved to Kirtland, Ohio. Robert B. Thompson, age 25, moved to Kirtland, Ohio in May 1837 and was married to Mercy Fielding on 4 June 1837 by Joseph Smith, Jr. Mercy said after her marriage ceremony to Robert, they were able to listen and be instructed with counsel from Joseph Smith.

In the same month of June, Robert and Mercy Thompson were asked by Joseph Smith to return to Canada as missionaries. They served until March of 1838 at which time they returned to Kirtland and journeyed on to Far West, Missouri. Mercy and Robert arrived at Far West in May of 1838. Their daughter, Mary Jane was born at Far West on 14 June 1838.

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In 1838 Robert fought in the Battle of Crooked River. In November of 1838 Robert and some of the brethren, being threatened by mob violence, fled into the wilderness. Mercy was left with a four-month-old baby to care for and did not know the whereabouts or the safety of her husband for three very distressing months. Robert suffered greatly from exposure and lack of food.

During this time period Mercy stayed with her sister Mary Fielding Smith, who had married Hyrum Smith. Mary had given birth to a son on 13 November 1838, while her husband Hyrum was in prison with his brother the Prophet Joseph Smith. Mary became ill and for the next four months, Mercy cared for her and took care of the household responsibilities.

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In February of 1839 Hyrum Smith asked his wife Mary to visit him in prison. Mary was made as comfortable as possible on a wagon bed with her eleven-week-old son, Joseph F. Smith, and then traveled forty miles with Mercy and her eight-month-old daughter to visit the brethren in prison. The weather was extremely cold, and they arrived at the prison in the evening to spend the night behind prison doors. Mercy said she would never forget the creaking of the prison doors closing upon the noblest men on earth as they left for their journey home.

Robert settled temporarily in Quincy, and then moved to Nauvoo. Robert served as Church historian and as a scribe for the Prophet Joseph, and was called by the Lord to help the Prophet write the proclamation to the kings, presidents, and governors of the earth, “for I am well pleased with him.” He was appointed to Nauvoo incorporation committee in 1840, and was made a regent of University of Nauvoo in 1841. Robert delivered a funeral sermon for Joseph Smith, Sr. on 15 September 1840. At General Conference October 1840, he was sustained as the Church Historian. In 1841, as a colonel, he was appointed aide-de-camp to lieutenant general Joseph Smith in the Nauvoo Legion. Robert wrote the hymn, “See, the Mighty Angel Flying.”

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From May to August 1841, Robert worked with Don Carlos Smith as an associate editor of the Times and Seasons and Nauvoo Neighbor. On 16 August 1841 he was seized with the same disease that had caused the death of Don Carlos the week before. Robert died on 27 August 1841 at his residence in Nauvoo at the age of twenty-nine. His wife Mercy wrote, “The attachment between them was so strong, it seemed as though they could not long be separated. “The Prophet said that he died “in full hope of a glorious resurrection.”

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It is believed he is buried in the Smith Family Cemetery in Nauvoo.

Source: Who's Who in the Doctrine & Covenants by Susan Easton Black; FamilySearch.org