Later that year, when Smith promised to abandon treasure seeking, Hale offered to let the couple live on his property in Harmony and help Smith get started in business. On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and became its first president.  Shortly after the conference, Smith dispatched Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and others on a mission to proselytize Native Americans. Patriotic, conservative, influential, and vas… Meanwhile, non-Mormon hostility in the surrounding county had been growing for the usual reasons, and, when the press was closed, irate local citizens brought charges of promoting riot against Smith and his brother Hyrum.  Anthon denied Harris's account of the meeting, claiming instead that he had tried to convince Harris that he was the victim of a fraud. Joseph Smith Oil on canvas, David Rogers, 1842.  In March 1844 — following a dispute with a federal bureaucrat — Smith organized the secret Council of Fifty. Restored boyhood home of Joseph Smith, Palmyra, New York. Officials in Carthage responded by mobilizing their small detachment of the state militia, and Governor Thomas Ford appeared, threatening to raise a larger militia unless Smith and the Nauvoo city council surrendered themselves. , In December 1843, Smith petitioned Congress to make Nauvoo an independent territory with the right to call out federal troops in its defense.  At first, the endowment was open only to men, who were initiated into a special group called the Anointed Quorum.  This first vision would later grow in importance to Smith's followers, who now regard it as the first event in the restoration of Christ's church to Earth. Joseph Smith Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. On Dec. 23, 1805, Joseph Smith was born in Vermont; in 1816 his family migrated to western New York. Religious Leader.  Smith's brother Hyrum, had he survived, would have had the strongest claim, followed by Smith's brother Samuel, who died mysteriously a month after his brothers. He died shortly after hitting the ground, but was shot several more times before the mob dispersed. He described the revelatory process as having "pure Intelligence" flowing into him. Accomplishments of the Prophet Joseph Smith. John Taylor, Doctrine and Covenants, 135:3; Once in the world's history we were to have a Yankee prophet, and we have had him in Joe Smith.  On June 23, Smith and his brother Hyrum rode to Carthage to stand trial for inciting a riot. Meanwhile Brigham Young, the president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, rose to prominence when he organized the move of about 14,000 Mormon refugees to Illinois and eastern Iowa.  These dissidents formed a competing church and the following month, at Carthage, the county seat, they procured indictments against Smith for perjury and polygamy. Smith's death resulted in a succession crisis. Smith published many revelations and other texts that his followers regard as scripture. , On their way to Missouri, Cowdery's party passed through northeastern Ohio, where Sidney Rigdon and over a hundred followers of his variety of Campbellite Restorationism converted to Mormonism, more than doubling the size of the church. Smith, Joseph, Jr. Joseph Smith, originally Joseph Smith, Jr., (born December 23, 1805, Sharon, Vermont, U.S.—died June 27, 1844, Carthage, Illinois), American prophet and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Smith's revelations often came in response to specific questions. The first ever to witness, record and see God the Father, Jesus Christ, The Holy Ghost and Lucifer all … Later, about 400 ce, the record keepers, known as Nephites, were wiped out by their enemies, the Lamanites, presumably the ancestors of the American Indians.  The charter granted the city virtual autonomy, authorized a university, and granted Nauvoo habeas corpus power—which allowed Smith to fend off extradition to Missouri. Over the next several years, Smith worked to produce what he reported was a translation of one of these rolls, which was published in 1842 as the Book of Abraham. Smith, however, never viewed the wording to be infallible. , When Smith moved to Kirtland, Ohio in January 1831, he encountered a religious culture that included enthusiastic demonstrations of spiritual gifts, including fits and trances, rolling on the ground, and speaking in tongues. When he was 24, Smith published the Book of Mormon. But he is much more than the founder of a religion. Never a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  Smith said that, although he had become concerned about the welfare of his soul, he was confused by the claims of competing religious denominations. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). In 1842, Emma gave birth to a stillborn son. , After his death, non-Mormon newspapers were almost unanimous in portraying Smith as a religious fanatic. At the age of seven Smith suffered a crippling bone infection and, after receiving surgery, used crutches for three years. During this period, Smith briefly attended Methodist meetings with his wife, until a cousin of hers objected to inclusion of a "practicing necromancer" on the Methodist class roll. Smith said the translation was a religious record of Middle-Eastern indigenous Americans, and were engraved in an unknown language, called reformed Egyptian. The collapse of the church-sponsored Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company and violent skirmishes with non-Mormon Missourians caused Smith and his followers to establish a new settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois, where he became a spiritual and political leader. W Dan Vogel was a masterful editor of the five-volume Early Mormon Documents , and perhaps his encyclopedic knowledge of the primary sources is part of the problem with this biography.  For instance, Smith's revision nearly tripled the length of the first five chapters of Genesis in what would become the Book of Moses. Joseph Smith, originally Joseph Smith, Jr., (born December 23, 1805, Sharon, Vermont, U.S.—died June 27, 1844, Carthage, Illinois), American prophet and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Rigdon soon visited New York and quickly became Smith's primary assistant. John A. Wilson, "The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: Translations and Interpretations, harvtxt error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFSmith1994 (.  Smith also attempted to portray the Latter Day Saints as an oppressed minority, and unsuccessfully petitioned the federal government for help in obtaining reparations.  The endowment resembled rites of freemasonry that Smith had observed two months earlier when he had been initiated "at sight" into the Nauvoo Masonic lodge.  After Rigdon delivered a sermon that implied dissenters had no place in the Mormon community, the Danites forcibly expelled them from the county. When dissenters published a reform newspaper in Nauvoo that Smith felt disturbed the peace, he ordered it suppressed. He believed that every man could be a priest and that everyone had in him the possibility of the divine. He married Emma Hale in 1827, when he was 21 years old and she was 22. , Although Smith had left his treasure hunting company, his former associates believed he had double crossed them and taken the golden plates for himself, which they believed should be joint property.  Sometimes, Smith concealed the process by raising a curtain or dictating from another room, while at other times he dictated in full view of witnesses while the plates lay covered on the table.  He was shot multiple times before falling out the window, crying, "Oh Lord my God!" All Smith’s revelations were carefully recorded and preserved. Smith was born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, to Lucy Mack Smith and her husband Joseph Smith Sr., a merchant and farmer. Eight Mormon leaders accompanied Smith to Carthage: Hyrum Smith. , Political and religious differences between old Missourians and newly arriving Mormon settlers provoked tensions between the two groups, much as they had years earlier in Jackson County.  When fully sealed into the Covenant, Smith said that no sin nor blasphemy (other than the eternal sin) could keep them from their exaltation in the afterlife. , In Smith's view, the opportunity to achieve exaltation extended to all humanity; those who died with no opportunity to accept saving ordinances could achieve exaltation by accepting them in the afterlife through proxy ordinances performed on their behalf.  Modern historian Fawn Brodie has called the Book of Mormon a response to pressing cultural and environmental issues of Smith's times, saying that Smith composed the Book of Mormon drawing from scraps of information available to him. He said the angel commanded him not to show the plates to anyone else, but to translate them and publish their translation.  Smith said that he became interested in religion by age 12. Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet and His Progenitors for Many Generations.  Initially he opposed it, but during the mid-1830s when the Mormons were settling in Missouri (a slave state), Smith cautiously justified slavery in an anti-abolitionist essay.  Conversely, within Mormonism, Smith was remembered first and foremost as a prophet, martyred to seal the testimony of his faith.  It also attacked Smith's practice of polygamy, implying that Smith was using religion as a pretext to draw unassuming women to Nauvoo in order to seduce and marry them.  Smith gave a revelation saying that to redeem Zion, his followers would have to receive an endowment in the Kirtland Temple. His grandfather, Asael Smith, lost most of his property in Topsfield, Massachusetts, during the economic downturn of the 1780s and eventually moved to Vermont, where Smith’s father, Joseph Smith, Sr., established himself as a farmer. Smith said they contained the writings of the ancient patriarchs Abraham and Joseph.  Some of Smith's chosen successors, such as Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, had left the church.  During the summer of 1839, while Latter Day Saints in Nauvoo suffered from a malaria epidemic, Smith sent Brigham Young and other apostles to missions in Europe, where they made numerous converts, many of them poor factory workers. , The two strongest succession candidates were Brigham Young, senior member and president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Sidney Rigdon, the senior member of the First Presidency.  When the narrative described an institutional church and a requirement for baptism, Smith and Cowdery baptized each other. , Smith taught that the highest level of exaltation could be achieved through "plural marriage" (polygamy), which was the ultimate manifestation of this New and Everlasting Covenant. , Throughout her life, Emma Smith frequently denied that her husband had ever taken additional wives. Male converts were ordained and sent out to make more converts, a missionary program that resulted in tens of thousands of conversions by the end of Smith’s life. Religious differences within the family and over religious revivals in the Palmyra area left Smith perplexed about where to find a church.  Smith reported that during the next four years, he made annual visits to the hill, but, until the fourth and final visit, each time he returned without the plates.  Although the church had publicly repudiated polygamy, in 1837 there was a rift between Smith and Oliver Cowdery over the issue. Omissions? ", The Book of Mormon has been called the longest and most complex of Smith's revelations. As such, Smith and other Latter Day Saints did not strictly follow this counsel, though it later became a requirement in the LDS Church.  Smith never denied a relationship, but insisted it was not adulterous, presumably because he had taken Alger as an additional wife. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. He disfavored imprisonment of convicts except for murder, preferring efforts to reform criminals through labor; he also opposed courts-martial for military deserters. His teachings discuss the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. The two were taken to Carthage, the county seat, for a hearing, and, while imprisoned, they were shot by a mob on June 27, 1844. The Book of Mormon told the 1,000-year history of the Israelites, who were led from Jerusalem to a promised land in the Western Hemisphere. Members of the church were later called "Latter Day Saints" or "Mormons", and Smith announced a revelation in 1838 which renamed the church as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Four years later, the angel permitted him to remove the plates and instructed him to translate the characters engraved on their surfaces with the aid of special stones called “interpreters.” Smith insisted that he did not compose the book but merely “translated” it under divine guidance. , Smith said that the angel returned the plates to him in September 1828. Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca.  Smith said he attempted to remove the plates the next morning, but was unsuccessful because the angel returned and prevented him. He decided to list in the Book of the Law of the Lord the names of those “faithful few” followers who had stood by him since the beginnings of his ministry—“pure and holy friends, who are faithful, just, and true, and whose hearts fail not” (History of the Church, 5:107; hereafter HC). Verified Purchase. In 1838, facing expulsion for a third time, Smith tried to defend the church with arms. By 1838, Smith had abandoned plans to redeem Zion in Jackson County, and after Smith and Rigdon arrived in Missouri, the town of Far West became the new "Zion". , In October 1827, Joseph and Emma moved from Palmyra to Harmony (now Oakland), Pennsylvania, aided by a relatively prosperous neighbor, Martin Harris. It was the originality of his views, an outsider commented, that made his discourse fascinating.  After Cowdery baptized several new church members, the Mormons received threats of mob violence; before Smith could confirm the newly baptized members, he was arrested and brought to trial as a disorderly person. by Lance S. Owens IF THERE IS A RELIGION uniquely and intrinsically American – a religion worked from its soil, and cast in the ardent furnace of its primal dreams – that religion must be Mormonism.  Smith continued to live in Ohio, but visited Missouri again in early 1832 to prevent a rebellion of prominent church members who believed the church in Missouri was being neglected. He supported capital punishment but opposed hanging, preferring execution by firing squad or beheading. During the next two-and-a-half years he married or was sealed to about 30 additional women, ten of whom were already married to other men. In 1835 Smith published the first 65 revelations in a volume titled the Book of Commandments, later called the Doctrine and Covenants. 5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXECELLENT, DETAILED BIOGRAPHY OF JOSEPH SMITH'S EARLY CAREER. By this time, Smith's experiences with mob violence led him to believe that his faith's survival required greater militancy against anti-Mormons.  This time, he said he successfully retrieved the plates.  An 1841 revelation promised the restoration of the "fulness of the priesthood"; and in May 1842, Smith inaugurated a revised endowment or "first anointing". Smith’s teachings departed from conventional Christian traditions by incorporating certain practices from the Hebrew Bible (see also Old Testament). Harris said Anthon initially authenticated the characters and their translation, but then retracted his opinion after learning that Smith claimed to have received the plates from an angel.  Later, however, he is said to have used a chocolate-colored stone he had found in 1822 that he had used previously for treasure hunting. , In April 1841, Smith wed Louisa Beaman. The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants were added to the canon of scripture, and Smith spoke as if more revelations and translations would accumulate in the future. Updates? , Although the Book of Mormon drew many converts to the church, Fawn Brodie argued that the "book lives today because of the prophet, not he because of the book. Establishment of settlements and persecution, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Joseph-Smith-American-religious-leader-1805-1844, Spartacus Educational - Biography of Joseph Smith, American National Biography - Biography of Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  In July 1843, Smith dictated a revelation directing Emma to accept plural marriage, but the two were not reconciled until September 1843, after Emma began participating in temple ceremonies.  While this ended the Missourians' attempts at extradition, it caused significant political fallout in Illinois. After receiving noncommittal or negative responses, Smith announced his own independent candidacy for President of the United States, suspended regular proselytizing, and sent out the Quorum of the Twelve and hundreds of other political missionaries. Joseph Smith: Cultural Biography of Mormonism's Founder Rough Stone Rolling, a cultural biography of Mormonism's founder Joseph Smith is a good read.  Harris lost the manuscript, of which there was no other copy.  Smith implicitly endorsed this speech, and many non-Mormons understood it to be a thinly veiled threat. Joseph first appears in the Bible in the gospels of Matthew and Luke; in Matthew, Joseph's lineage is traced back to King David. Smith said that this angel revealed the location of a buried book made of golden plates, as well as other artifacts, including a breastplate and a set of interpreters composed of two seer stones set in a frame, which had been hidden in a hill near his home. , After Smith's death, Emma Smith quickly became alienated from Brigham Young and the church leadership. Smith came from an unremarkable New England family.  However, he opposed baptizing them without permission of their masters, and he opposed interracial marriage.  An 1832 revelation called "The Vision" added to the fundamentals of sin and atonement, and introduced doctrines of life after salvation, exaltation, and a heaven with degrees of glory. Meanwhile, Smith moved his family to another gathering place in Kirtland, Ohio, near Cleveland.  These teachings implied a vast hierarchy of gods, with God himself having a father.  By the end of his life, Smith was teaching that both God the Father and Jesus were distinct beings with physical bodies, but the Holy Spirit was a "personage of Spirit". , In February 1828, Martin Harris arrived to assist Smith by transcribing his dictation.  Smith was blamed for having promoted a church-sponsored bank that failed.  Smith encouraged the Latter Day Saints to buy the notes, and he invested heavily in them himself, but the bank failed within a month.  Tension increased until July 1833, when non-Mormons forcibly evicted the Mormons and destroyed their property. In June 1843, enemies of Smith convinced a reluctant Illinois Governor Thomas Ford to extradite Smith to Missouri on an old charge of treason. Devoted members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints honor its founder, Joseph Smith, with saint-like reverence.LDS scripture instructs that “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in … Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. , In late 1837, a series of internal disputes led to the collapse of the Kirtland Mormon community. Some were temporal, while others were spiritual or doctrinal.  Another brother, William, was unable to attract a sufficient following.  Biographers, Mormon and non-Mormon alike, agree that Smith was one of the most influential, charismatic, and innovative figures in American religious history.. However, several fragments were rediscovered in the 1960s, were translated by Egyptologists, and were determined to be part of the Book of Breathing with no connection to Abraham. This revelation initiated a revision of the Bible on which Smith worked sporadically until 1833 and which remained unpublished at his death.  Though Smith did not claim exclusive prophethood, an early revelation designated him as the only prophet allowed to issue commandments "as Moses". Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, List of sects in the Latter Day Saint movement, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Freemasonry and the Latter Day Saint movement, "Nauvoo Roots of Mormon Polygamy, 1841–46: A Preliminary Demographic Report", "A Trajectory of Plurality: An Overview of Joseph Smith's Thirty-three Plural Wives", "Gospel Topics: Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo", "Joseph Smith DNA Revealed: New Clues from the Prophet's Genes – FairMormon", "An Overview of the Burned-Over District by John H. Martin", "Joseph Smith's Experience of a Methodist "Camp-Meeting" in 1820", 10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.0802307, "Smith, Joseph: Legal Trials of Joseph Smith", "A Brief History of the Smith Family Nauvoo Cemetery", "Joseph Smith, Brigham Young rank first and third in magazine's list of significant religious figures", Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite), "Facts and Statistics: Worldwide Statistics", "DNA tests rule out 2 as Smith descendants: Scientific advances prove no genetic link", "Reconstructing the Y-Chromosome of Joseph Smith, Jr.: Genealogical Applications", "Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham", "Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham: A Response", "The Significance of Joseph Smith's "First Vision" in Mormon Thought", "The Lion and the Lady: Brigham Young and Emma Smith", "The King Follett Discourse: A Newly Amalgamated Text", The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Official LDS Church site about Joseph Smith, List of Reorganized Restorationist churches, Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite) history, Doctrine and Covenants (Book of Commandments), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Joseph_Smith&oldid=1000215137, Candidates in the 1844 United States presidential election, Apostles of the Church of Christ (Latter Day Saints), Latter Day Saint missionaries in the United States, Prophet-Presidents of the Community of Christ, Tarring and feathering in the United States, Victims of religiously motivated violence in the United States, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from December 2020, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia indefinitely semi-protected pages, Wikipedia pages semi-protected against vandalism, Latter Day Saint biography Infobox with missing parameters, Pages using infobox Latter Day Saint biography with unsupported parameters, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2013, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Wikipedia articles with BIBSYS identifiers, Wikipedia articles with CINII identifiers, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SELIBR identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 14 January 2021, at 03:55. Among the more prominent features of the terrain were the Indian mounds containing the skeletons of long-dead warriors. , While campaigning for President of the United States in 1844, Smith had opportunity to take political positions on issues of the day. Memorials to Smith include the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Joseph Smith Building on the campus of Brigham Young University, and a granite obelisk marking his birth place. Although Smith had previously refused to show the plates to anyone, he told Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer that they would be allowed to see them.  Smith said that the Bible had been corrupted through the ages, and that his revision worked to restore the original intent; it added long passages rewritten "according to his inspiration". When he was not busy burying his nose in a book, he helped out on his family farm. Please Click HERE to go to the the AUTHORIZED and OFFICIAL website for the true biography of Joseph Smith, Jr. .  Among Mormons, he is regarded as a prophet on par with Moses and Elijah.  Smith had promised church elders that in Kirtland they would receive an endowment of heavenly power, and at the June 1831 general conference, he introduced the greater authority of a High ("Melchizedek") Priesthood to the church hierarchy.  For instance, the doctrines of baptism for the dead and the nature of God were introduced in sermons, and one of Smith's most famed statements about there being "no such thing as immaterial matter" was recorded from a casual conversation with a Methodist preacher.  The revelation was written as if God were talking rather than as a declaration mediated through Smith; and subsequent revelations assumed a similar authoritative style, often opening with words such as "Hearken O ye people which profess my name, saith the Lord your God. "Lieutenant General" Smith and "Major General" Bennett became its commanders, thereby controlling by far the largest body of armed men in Illinois.