Joseph Smith was revered by his followers as a divinely inspired religious leader and prophet. For many he was also friend, mentor, and associate--a man who inspired deep loyalties. Compassionate and a lover of people, he was in turn loved by many. Men like Brigham Young watched him closely, learned at his feet, as it were, and dedicated their lives in Utah to carrying out "all the measures of Joseph." For them, Nauvoo with its temple became the model for community building. Placing farms outside the city allowed Nauvoo residents to live near one another on small city lots where they could advance religion, education, and culture. This model and the earlier "Plat of the City of Zion" in Missouri, never implemented, informed later decisions about city planning and colonization in Utah. Plural marriage, introduced privately by Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, became public and widespread in Utah, where it seriously influenced society and politics for two generations.
In February 1844 Joseph Smith formally commissioned Brigham Young and his fellow members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to explore the West "& find a good location where we can move after the Temple is completed" and "have a government of our own." Four months later he was dead, murdered by a mob on 27 June 1844 while held in the Carthage, Illinois, jail awaiting trial under the protection of the state.