Just days before his death, Joseph encouraged the faithful: "Stand firm, my friends; never flinch. . . . God has tried you. You are a good people; therefore I love you with all my heart. Greater love hath no man than that he should lay down his life for his friends. You have stood by me in the hour of trouble, and I am willing to sacrifice my life for your preservation" (History of the Church, 6:500).
Some of Joseph's closest associates had heard him say, "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me—he was murdered in cold blood" (D&C 135:4). Two days before they left Nauvoo, Hyrum had similarly prophesied, "Just as sure as we fall into their hands we are dead men" (History of the Church, 6:545).
"Be assured, brethren and sisters," encouraged William W. Phelps, in his funeral address for Joseph and Hyrum, "this desperate 'smite' of our foes to stop the onward course of Mormonism, will increase its spread and rapidity an hundred fold" (in Richard Van Wagoner and Steven C. Walker, "The Joseph/Hyrum Smith Funeral Sermon," Brigham Young University Studies 23, no. 1 (1983): 3–18; spelling and punctuation modernized).