The Prophet Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith Jr. was the first prophet and president of the Mormon Church. It was through him that Christ revealed information on how to restore His Church.

Joseph Smith Jr. was born in Sharon Vermont to Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. In 1820, at the age of fourteen Joseph had an experience that changed his life. In answer to a prayer about which church to join he had a vision where he saw Heavenly Father and Christ. They informed him that all of the Churches were wrong and that he should join none of them.

During the night of September 21, 1823 Joseph Smith was visited five times by an angel named Moroni. Moroni told Joseph of ancient records known as the gold plates. He was not yet allowed to handle the plates but was visited each year on the same day by the angel Moroni for four years to receive instruction.

On January 18, 1827 Joseph married Emma Hale. That same year in September, Joseph was given the gold plates by the angel Moroni. He was also given the Urim and Thummim, objects that helped in the translation of the Book of Mormon. He then began working on the translation.

On May 15, 1829 John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and ordained them to the Aaronic Priesthood. Joseph and Oliver baptized each other as instructed. A short time later Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Melchizedek Priesthood from the Apostles Peter, James and John.

In June of 1829 Joseph completed the translation of the Book of Mormon, and by March 26, 1830 the first printed copies of the Book of Mormon were available. On April 6, 1830 Joseph officially organized the Church in Fayette, New York. 

On March 18, 1833 the First Presidency of the Church was organized with Joseph Smith as the President and Prophet and Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams as counselors. On May 8, 1834 Joseph led Zion’s Camp, a group of men who had volunteered to help the members of the Mormon Church under attack from the mobs in Missouri. Zion’s camp did not stop the persecutions of the Mormons in Missouri but did teach Joseph Smith and others who went a great deal about leadership. In 1835, the Doctrine and Covenants, which contained all of Joseph Smith’s revelation concerning the Church thus far, were accepted as a standard work of the Church.

On March 27, 1836 the Kirtland Temple was completed and dedicated. Just a few days later on April 3, Jesus Christ, Moses, Elias, and Elijah appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple to restore priesthood keys. From December 1838 until April 1839 Joseph Smith was held in Liberty Jail in Missouri on exaggerated charges. He was allowed to escape because his captors knew the charges would not hold in court.

By 1844 trouble was escalating between the Saints and their neighbors and Joseph and Hyrum turned themselves over to government officials. Joseph and Hyrum were sent to Carthage Jail, where on June 27, 1844 both were killed by a mob.

Other Links:

Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith – Lightplanet
The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith

  1. I’m sorry this doesn’t fit in here but I have a question & cannot find a place to post it!!??:
    I recently purchased a N.B. Lundwall book – ‘The Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith’.
    Can anyone tell me how legitimate this book is?
    Thank you!
    (Yes – I’m LDS)

    • Sorry, but Lundwall’s book is almost entirely unsubstantiated folklore and wishful thinking. You are better off reading “Carthage Conspiracy” by Oaks and Hill. Lundwall has more recently been debunked in a master’s thesis by University of Utah student Debra Jo Marsh, entitled “Respectable Assassins.” Nearly all of Joseph’s murderers died peacefully in bed in their old age.

  2. Hi friend,
    I’ve owned the book, “Fate of the Persecutors,”
    since about 1958. I have reason to believe that most of it is true. Most entries are with legal and sworn affidavits. One of the criticized parts of the book is the clap of thunder and lightning at at Carthage Jail, when the Prophet Joseph lay near the well. Many years ago, maybe in the mid ’50’s, I had privy to interview Dr. Steven Markham, great, grandson of the original Steven Markham who was there. He told me personally that he sat upon the knee of his great, grandfather and was told personally that when the mob stopped him down the street from the jail, (you recall he was only a visitor and had left the jail to fetch, “refreshment” for the brethren – grape juice), that they warned him not to return, and he indicated that he would anyway, and they stuck his leg with a bayonet, soaking his boot with his blood. While stopped there in the street by members of the mob, he testified that he heard a clap of thunder. This incident coincides with other witnessess at the scene. The fact that the ruffian who supposedly took the Prophet by the head to behead him, and was struick with lightning and was rendered “frozen” I don’tknow about. To me, the fate of these evil people fits well their evil deeds.
    I love the book!
    Best wishes.
    Don J. Black

  3. I’ve read the book and would love to get a copy of it, if only it weren’t so expensive. If anyone wants to sell one, please let me know.

  4. Though ‘The Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith’ may give what seems like a fitting conclusion to the lives of those who murdered Joseph, for good or for ill, Dallin H. Oaks and Marvin S. Hill in their book “Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith,” pretty much put such persistent rumors to death.
    “A persistent Utah myth holds that some of the murderers of Joseph and Hyrum Smith me fittingly gruesome deaths – that Providence intervened to dispense the justice denied in the Carthage trial. But the five defendants who went to trial, including men who had been shown to be leaders in the murder plot and others associated with them, enjoyed notably successful careers” (217).
    The authors go on to trace the lives of several of the known members and leaders of the mob, finding no evidence of any divine justice meted out in this life.
    As to the story about the lightning bolt which struck the man about the decapitate the Prophet, that is traced back to a pamphlet which heavily exaggerated the account of a tagalong with the mob, William M. Daniels. According to him, there was a flash of lightning in the distance just after the death of Joseph which startled many members of the mob. The man was so struck by what he saw that for a short period he joined the Church. Unfortunately, when the story was printed in Nauvoo, Lyman O. Littlefield, the printer, took some liberties to make Joseph’s death seem more miraculous than it really was. When Daniels was later questioned in court about the pamphlet he denied ever saying that a man was going to cut off Joseph’s head, or that the flash of light did anything more than cause the members of the mob to jump.
    There is a real danger in LDS Church history to want to remember things as grander and more miraculous than they really were. We need to pull back the layers of myth surrounding Joseph Smith and at the same time recognize that doing so in no way diminishes the importance and beauty of what he did.

  5. The more correct book you should read is “Carthage Conspiracy” by Dallin H. Oakes and Marvin S. Hill. This book covers what lead up to the murders, the trial and beyond, of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The persecutors detailed bio’s show they went on and lived normal lives and some became congressman, a general, and other civic & business leaders. Many of the stories of the “Fate” book are un- founded. Also see a reference to the “Fate” book in “Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling” by Richard Bushman. Both exceptional reads.

  6. (1) Your article has Joseph Smith’s birthdate in 1820. That would have him translating the Book of Mormon at nine years of age. (2) The Lord said the other churches “taught for doctrines the precepts of man” which is essentially the same as “wrong,” but more explicapatory. (3) It might also be helpful to mention that “Mormons” is a convenient nickname, and the church’s name was lengthened from simply “The Church of Christ” at its organization to “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints” by 1838 or so. Also that the Book of Mormon is a Bible-like series of testaments written by ancient American prophets who believed in Christ and was visited by Him.

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