Joseph S. Murdock
Joseph Stacy Murdock was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a church leader and colonizer. He also wrote the words to the hymn “Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice” (#21), which was included in the 1985 Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His words were based on his friendship with Joseph Smith when he served as one of his bodyguards.
Murdock was born in update New York on June 26, 1822. He and his first wife, Eunice Sweet, were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ in 1836 and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1841 to be with the Saints. They immigrated to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847.
Brigham Young assigned Murdock to colonize settlements in various locations in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. He helped settle American Fork, Utah; Carson City, Nevada; Muddy River (in southern Utah Territory); and northern Arizona Territory, which is now Moapa Valley in Nevada. In 1860, Murdock was called and set apart as a bishop and sent to preside over the Saints in the area of Heber City, Utah. While living there, he negotiated a peace treaty with Chief Tabby-To-Kwanah, the local Ute Indian chief, to end hostilities between the local settlers and the Ute Indians. The treaty was signed by Murdock and the chief on August 20, 1867. This was a turning point that led to the end of the Utah Black Hawk War.
After settling other cities throughout the west, Murdock chose Heber City as his home. He died there of pneumonia on February 15, 1899. His home is registered with the National Register of Historic Places.
Murdock was asked by Brigham Young to practice plural marriage and he consequently had six wives and 32 children. He was sent to jail in 1889 for practicing plural marriage and was pardoned in 1894 by U.S. President Grover Cleveland.