Utah man wonders if the vault near the temple of Nauvoo could be Joseph Smith’s tomb

Brian Christiansen has been talking to so many reporters lately that he is beginning to lose his voice.

A St. George businessman submitted several interview requests as the press wanted to know more about the discovery of an old brick vault under the sidewalk in front of the business in Nauvoo, Illinois.

Some believe that the mysterious underground space may be the site of the tomb designated by Joseph Smith, the founder and early prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before martyrdom.

“That’s why this madman is digging up in front of the store,” Christiansen jokingly said, citing why he was first approached by the media. “It was a crazy and whirlwind process, but it was definitely fun.”


Latter-day Saint Christiansen purchased the Zion’s Mercantile and Woodruff Hotel on 1200 Mulholland Street in Nauvoo, opposite the church’s Nauvoo Illinois Temple in the summer of 2020. He and his family had previously traveled the country on an RV. , Visited the historic sites of the church and fell in love with the historic city. He jumped at the chance to buy the property.

Brian Christiansen was intrigued by the Zion Mercantile business property because of several red brick arches under the sidewalk.
Brian Christiansen

What intrigued Christiansen about the property was the presence of a red brick arch just below the sidewalk.

“They were guessing when they thought it was probably an escape tunnel or something for their brothers,” he said. “They didn’t excavate it because they were told that it might be dangerous to get in because there is a driveway there.”

Later, another theory was revealed that Joseph Smith commissioned a tomb for him and his family, which was in front of a commercial building.

“I had never heard of Joseph’s tomb,” said Christiansen. “That was all the news for me.”


After buying the property, Christiansen and his friends grabbed the shovel and started digging.

Brian Christiansen’s property, with its mysterious underground vault, is opposite the Nauvoo Illinois Temple.
Brian Christ

“Because of COVID, there were no tourists and the place was vacant,” he said. “So we were able to delve into everything we wanted to see underground.”

Progress was initially slowed by large limestone beams. However, once I made a large enough opening, I lowered the ladder and went inside to find a pile of debris, a frog with wide open eyes, and a pile of cockroaches. When Christiansen began filming in the vault, he explained that he saw a “big carved keystone” on the beam. This turned out to be important to him.

According to Christiansen, the underground vault is 7 feet wide and 27 feet long.

Where is the grave?

Nauvoo was the main gathering place for Latter-day Saints from 1839 to 1846, forcing the majority of its members to leave and head west.

The region’s historian Joseph John Stan said Joseph Smith had asked William Weeks, the former architect of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, to build a tomb for the Prophet and his family. It was.

John Stan has written a research treatise on Joseph Smith’s tombs and burials, exploring four prominent theories about the location of tombs. The fourth theory points to the southwest corner of the temple, which fits the location of the Christiansen vault.

John Stan’s treatise also cites a study by Susan Easton Black, a former professor of church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University. Susan Easton Black favored another vault in the south 1 block of Nauvoo Illinois Temple on the southeastern corner of Ripley and Bluff Roads.

According to, John Stan said Christiansen’s vault has unique similarities to its tombs.

“It’s a size comparable to what William Week’s drawings show,” John Stan said in an article.

These plans for Joseph’s tomb, along with the plan for the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, were donated to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Leslie Griffin in 1948.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Christiansen mentioned the use of red bricks and read a journal entry indicating that the location of the tomb was far from the southeastern corner of the temple. This seems to be in agreement, but Christiansen immediately says that there is no official record of where the tomb was built. He does not claim to have found it.

“There are a lot of cool coincidences that raise a little question,” he said. “It’s a little fun to think about.”

Regardless of the location of the tomb, the Prophet was not placed to rest there. After Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered by mobs in 1844, their bodies were secretly housed in the basement of the Nauvoo House. A few months later, the body was backfilled in an unmarked area near the Mississippi River. Decades after 1928, the remains of Joseph, Emma, ​​and Hyrum were excavated and backfilled together in what became known as the Smith Family Cemetery.

Documentaries and museums

Christiansen asked a team of filmmakers, including TC Christensen and Filtercket, to make a documentary film that captures the process of discovering the vault and its history. The documentary is scheduled to be released in November, he said, and its purpose is not to prove that the vault is Joseph’s tomb.

“But there are some similarities that make us wonder if that is possible,” said Christiansen.

Christiansen, along with the documentary, wants to create a museum that corresponds to Joseph’s tomb.

“The documentary seeks to uncover the possibilities of different places while delving into the history of the church in the era just before and after the martyrdom,” said the website “Joseph’s tomb is a space to explain the history of the tomb, why it was important to Joseph, and provides a place to display historical relics and records.”

“Further attention and research”

A longtime collector of early church history books, documents, and relics, Reed Moon is skeptical of Christiansen’s vault, but open to heart.

“As someone fascinated by the history of the early church, I found this discovery to be worth more attention and research. It is very important to reject it altogether,” said Moon. “Until we can clearly prove it in other ways, we need to consider and investigate using all the historical documents. I look forward to my next trip to Nauvoo.”

Utah man wonders if the vault near the temple of Nauvoo could be Joseph Smith’s tomb

Source link Utah man wonders if the vault near the temple of Nauvoo could be Joseph Smith’s tomb

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