His full name is simply Joseph Smith, Jr. [12] Fearing an invasion of Nauvoo, Smith rode to Carthage, Illinois, to stand trial, but was killed when a mob stormed the jailhouse. [207], According to the American historian and Mormonism expert Richard Bushman, the "signal feature" of Smith's life was "his sense of being guided by revelation". [185] Smith had proposed several ways to choose his successor, but had never clarified his preference. Smith's death resulted in a succession crisis. He died on February 11, 2012 at 59 years of age. It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Smith said he experienced a series of visions, including one in 1820 during which he saw "two personages" (presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ), and another in 1823 in which an angel directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a Judeo-Christian history of an ancient American civilization. [127] 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. It also recommended that Latter Day Saints avoid "strong" alcoholic drinks, tobacco, and "hot drinks" (later interpreted to mean tea and coffee). Rigdon's followers had also been practicing a form of communalism, which Smith adopted, calling it the United Order. [199], Throughout her life, Emma Smith frequently denied that her husband had ever taken additional wives. [260], Though Smith initially viewed God the Father as a spirit,[261] he eventually began teaching that God was an advanced and glorified man,[262] embodied within time and space. [286] 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. [244] In 1833, Smith edited and expanded many of the previous revelations, publishing them as the Book of Commandments, which later became part of the Doctrine and Covenants. [232] While many changes involved straightening out seeming contradictions or making small clarifications, other changes added large "lost" portions to the text. In 1831, Smith and his followers moved west, planning to build a communalistic American Zion. Their devotion to each other was sorely tried by the practice of polygamy. Lucy Smith attended Presbyterian meetings, but her husband refused to accompany her, and Joseph, Jr., remained at home with his father. Harris also took a sample of the characters to a few prominent scholars, including Charles Anthon. For a survey of the primary sources, see Dan Vogel, harvtxt error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFQuinn1994 (, These reasons included the settlers' understanding that the Mormons intended to appropriate their property and establish a, harv error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFBrodie1971 (, harvtxt error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFCompton1997 (. "[211], The Book of Mormon has been called the longest and most complex of Smith's revelations. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? [97] Smith encouraged the Latter Day Saints to buy the notes, and he invested heavily in them himself, but the bank failed within a month. [173], After his death, non-Mormon newspapers were almost unanimous in portraying Smith as a religious fanatic. 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. It was the originality of his views, an outsider commented, that made his discourse fascinating. He lived in Vermont until about 1816 when the family relocated to Palmyra, New York. Smith's revelations often came in response to specific questions. [33] Smith said he attempted to remove the plates the next morning, but was unsuccessful because the angel returned and prevented him. [40], While boarding at the Hale house in Harmony, Pennsylvania, Smith met and began courting Emma Hale. [213] The story begins with a family that leaves Jerusalem, just before the Babylonian captivity. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. [197] In 1841, Don Carlos, who had been born a year earlier, died of malaria. [128], Smith also attracted a few wealthy and influential converts, including John C. Bennett, the Illinois quartermaster general. [117] Smith was immediately brought before a military court, accused of treason, and sentenced to be executed the next morning; Alexander Doniphan, who was Smith's former attorney and a brigadier general in the Missouri militia, refused to carry out the order. As such, Smith and other Latter Day Saints did not strictly follow this counsel, though it later became a requirement in the LDS Church. None of these communities survived, however, because the faithful were expelled as soon as their increasing numbers threatened to give them political control of the towns in which they settled. Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, the fifth of eleven children born to Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. According to Smith’s own account, he had a vision from God when he was fourteen years old. The Nephites become a righteous people who build a temple and live the law of Moses, though their prophets teach a Christian gospel. Emma never denied Smith's prophetic gift or repudiated her belief in the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith Jr. was born on December 23, 1805. [293] Cowdery suspected Smith had engaged in a relationship with his serving girl, Fanny Alger. [167], On June 27, 1844, an armed mob with blackened faces stormed Carthage Jail where Joseph and Hyrum were being held. In a church-wide conference on August 8, most of the Latter Day Saints elected Young, who led them to the Salt Lake Valley as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). [294] Smith never denied a relationship, but insisted it was not adulterous, presumably because he had taken Alger as an additional wife. [158] 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. [110] Smith implicitly endorsed this speech,[111] and many non-Mormons understood it to be a thinly veiled threat. [26] Smith said that, although he had become concerned about the welfare of his soul, he was confused by the claims of competing religious denominations. [247] Another 1832 revelation "on Priesthood" was the first to explain priesthood doctrine. Absolutely resolute in all of his projects, he never became discouraged, even under the most trying circumstances. [99] After a warrant was issued for Smith's arrest on a charge of banking fraud, Smith and Rigdon fled Kirtland for Missouri in January 1838.[100]. [301] In 1843, Emma temporarily accepted Smith's marriage to four women boarded in the Smith household, but soon regretted her decision and demanded the other wives leave. [149] In March 1844 — following a dispute with a federal bureaucrat — Smith organized the secret Council of Fifty. [103] Smith encouraged the settlement of land outside Caldwell County, instituting a settlement in Adam-ondi-Ahman, in Daviess County. Joseph married Emma Hale in 1827. [315], the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, This article is about the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. [274] He also envisioned that the theocratic institutions he established would have a role in the worldwide political organization of the Millennium. Joseph Smith was born on December 28, 1926. [102] In the weeks and months after Smith and Rigdon arrived at Far West, thousands of Latter Day Saints followed them from Kirtland. [112], On August 6, 1838, non-Mormons in Gallatin tried to prevent Mormons from voting,[113] and the election-day scuffles initiated the 1838 Mormon War. 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. He was born in Vermont to Lucy and Joseph Smith, Sr. and had eleven children with his wife Emma. The purpose of the temple rituals was to give people the knowledge they needed to enter God’s presence and to become like God. [175], Smith attracted thousands of devoted followers before his death in 1844, and millions in the century that followed. [142] In the summer of 1842, Smith revealed a plan to establish the millennial Kingdom of God, which would eventually establish theocratic rule over the whole Earth. [88] Smith gave a revelation saying that to redeem Zion, his followers would have to receive an endowment in the Kirtland Temple. [243] Revelations were immediately copied, and then circulated among church members. [288], 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. "; Ostlings, 17; Bushman, 546. [28] He said that in 1820, while praying in a wooded area near his home, God and Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him his sins were forgiven and that all contemporary churches had "turned aside from the gospel. Certain he would be killed if he ever returned to Missouri, Smith went into hiding twice during the next five months, before the U.S. district attorney for Illinois argued that Smith's extradition to Missouri would be unconstitutional. The couple adopted twins and had nine biological children, five of whom died in infancy. Did Joseph smith junior have a middle name? [310] Then in the early 1840s, after Mormons had been expelled from Missouri, he once again opposed slavery. [135] When embarrassing rumors of "spiritual wifery" got abroad, Smith forced Bennett's resignation as Nauvoo mayor. Murder by Stabbing. [65], Smith's authority was undermined when Oliver Cowdery, Hiram Page, and other church members also claimed to receive revelations. [201] Emma campaigned publicly against polygamy, and was the main signatory of a petition in 1842, with a thousand female signatures, denying that Smith was connected with polygamy. [224] Joseph Knight said that Smith saw the words of the translation while he gazed at the stone or stones in the bottom of his hat, excluding all light, a process similar to divining the location of treasure. [133] Smith made Bennett Assistant President of the church, and Bennett was elected Nauvoo's first mayor. [245], Smith gave varying types of revelations. harvtxt error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFBrodie1971 (, harvtxt error: multiple targets (3×): CITEREFNewellAvery1994 (. Religious differences within the family and over religious revivals in the Palmyra area left Smith perplexed about where to find a church. [32], According to his later accounts, Smith was visited by an angel named Moroni, while praying one night in 1823. [71] With growing opposition in New York, Smith gave a revelation stating that Kirtland was the eastern boundary of the New Jerusalem, and that his followers must gather there. [218], Early Mormons understood the Book of Mormon to be a religious history of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Joseph Smith was born on December 31, 1969. He died in August 1957 at 38 years old. An 1831 revelation called "The Law" contained: directions for missionary work; rules for organizing society in Zion; a reiteration of the Ten Commandments; an injunction to "administer to the poor and needy"; and an outline for the law of consecration. After an unknown assailant shot and wounded Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs in May 1842, anti-Mormons circulated rumors that Smith's bodyguard, Porter Rockwell, was the shooter. [230], Smith said that in June 1830, he received a "revelation of Moses" in which Moses saw "the world and the ends thereof" and asked God questions about the purpose of creation and man's relationship to God. 1833 Age 27. [198] Joseph married Emma Hale in 1827. At the heart of his teachings was a confidence in the spiritual potential of common people. [61] According to Smith, the angel Moroni took back the plates once Smith finished using them. Gouverneur Morris Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University. He was one of 11 children. [66] In response, Smith dictated a revelation which clarified his office as a prophet and an apostle, and which declared that only he held the ability to give doctrine and scripture for the entire church. Joseph Smith (1805-1844) ... Smith was born in 1805 in Sharon, Vermont, into a hard-pressed farm family that eventually included ten children. [90], In late 1837, a series of internal disputes led to the collapse of the Kirtland Mormon community. Eight Mormon leaders accompanied Smith to Carthage: Hyrum Smith. [309] 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. [157] The paper decried Smith's new "doctrines of many Gods", alluded to Smith's theocratic aspirations, and called for a repeal of the Nauvoo city charter. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. [109], In a speech given at the town's Fourth of July celebration, Rigdon declared that Mormons would no longer tolerate persecution by the Missourians and spoke of a "war of extermination" if Mormons were attacked. The region was a hotbed of religious enthusiasm during the Second Great Awakening. [108] After Rigdon delivered a sermon that implied dissenters had no place in the Mormon community, the Danites forcibly expelled them from the county. 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