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It was the originality of his views, an outsider commented, that made his discourse fascinating. 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. When Smith proposed marriage, Emma's father, Isaac Hale objected, primarily because he believed Smith had no means to support Emma. [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. [243] Revelations were immediately copied, and then circulated among church members. [51], However, by June 1828, Harris began having doubts about the project, fueled in part by his wife's skepticism. [289] Plural marriage, according to Smith, allowed an individual to transcend the angelic state and become a god, accelerating the expansion of one's heavenly kingdom. [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. Later, a group of Eight Witnesses — composed of male members of the Whitmer and Smith families — issued a statement that they had been shown the golden plates by Smith. Carthage, Illinois, United States. [209] In fact Smith's first recorded revelation was a rebuke chastising Smith for having let Martin Harris lose 116 pages of Book of Mormon manuscript. [306] In foreign affairs, Smith was an expansionist, though he viewed "expansionism as brotherhood". Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. [62] The Book of Mormon brought Smith regional notoriety and opposition from those who remembered the 1826 Chenango County trial. [191], 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. [219] 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. Harris persuaded Smith to let him take the existing 116 pages of manuscript to Palmyra to show a few family members, including his wife. [235] The book also elaborates and expands upon foreshadowing the coming of Christ, in effect Christianizing the Old Testament. He died on February 11, 2012 at 59 years of age. Early years. [69], 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. The Nephites become a righteous people who build a temple and live the law of Moses, though their prophets teach a Christian gospel. When the twins died, the Smiths adopted another set of twins, Julia and Joseph, whose mother had recently died in childbirth; Joseph died of measles in 1832. Gouverneur Morris Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University. [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. 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. [116], The following day, the Latter Day Saints surrendered to 2,500 state troops and agreed to forfeit their property and leave the state. Although a local minister to whom he related the vision dismissed it as a delusion, Smith continued to believe in its authenticity. [314] Smith taught that this kingdom would be governed by theocratic principles, but that it would also be multidenominational and democratic, so long as the people chose wisely. Members of the church, known as Saints, gathered first at Independence, Missouri, on the western edge of American settlement. The book explains itself to be largely the work of Mormon, a Nephite prophet and military figure. [167], On June 27, 1844, an armed mob with blackened faces stormed Carthage Jail where Joseph and Hyrum were being held. [171] Five men were later tried for Smith's murder, but were all acquitted. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Never a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Returning later as a resurrected being, he told Joseph Smith about the ancient record, which contains the fulness of the gospel as delivered by the Savior to … Smith was held responsible for the failure, and there were widespread defections from the church, including many of Smith's closest advisers. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. [236], In 1835, Smith encouraged some Latter Day Saints in Kirtland to purchase rolls of ancient Egyptian papyri from a traveling exhibitor. He was born in Vermont to Lucy and Joseph Smith, Sr. and had eleven children with his wife Emma. His followers regard him as a prophet comparable to Moses and Elijah, and several religious denominations consider themselves the continuation of the church that he organized, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ. [80] Smith's trip was also hastened by a mob of Ohio residents who were incensed over the United Order and Smith's political power; the mob beat Smith and Rigdon unconscious, tarred and feathered them, and left them for dead. 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.. Joseph Smith Jr. was born on December 23, 1805. Learn joseph smith with free interactive flashcards. In any event, Harris returned to Harmony in April 1828, and continued as Smith's scribe. [42], Smith made his last visit to the hill on September 22, 1827, taking Emma with him. [277] Upon introducing the Melchizedek or "High" Priesthood in 1831, Smith taught that its recipients would be "endowed with power from on high", thus fulfilling a need for a greater holiness and an authority commensurate with the New Testament apostles. They first gathered in Kirtland, Ohio, and established an outpost in Independence, Missouri, which was intended to be Zion's "center place". [43] This time, he said he successfully retrieved the plates. [187] Another brother, William, was unable to attract a sufficient following. In the narrative, Enoch speaks with God, receives a prophetic calling, and eventually builds a city of Zion so righteous that it was taken to heaven. [161], Destruction of the newspaper provoked a strident call to arms from Thomas C. Sharp, editor of the Warsaw Signal and longtime critic of Smith. [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. The purpose of the temple rituals was to give people the knowledge they needed to enter God’s presence and to become like God. The eldest, Alvin (born in 1828), died within hours of birth, as did twins Thaddeus and Louisa (born in 1831). [315], the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, This article is about the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. [250] The Word of Wisdom was not originally framed as a commandment, but a recommendation. [220], Smith never said how he produced the Book of Mormon, saying only that he translated by the power of God and implying that he had transcribed the words. [210] 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. [12] Fearing an invasion of Nauvoo, Smith rode to Carthage, Illinois, to stand trial, but was killed when a mob stormed the jailhouse. Smith fled Kirtland for Far West, Missouri, in 1838, but opposition arose once more. He died in February 1974 at 47 years old. It also recommended that Latter Day Saints avoid "strong" alcoholic drinks, tobacco, and "hot drinks" (later interpreted to mean tea and coffee). He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have". “Joseph Smith Monument, Sharon, Vermont,” by Welden C. Andersen A walking trail behind the monument leads to archaeological sites of homes dating from the Mack family’s occupation. In 1838, facing expulsion for a third time, Smith tried to defend the church with arms. Like matter, Smith saw "intelligence" as co-eternal with God, and taught that human spirits had been drawn from a pre-existent pool of eternal intelligences. In the temples, he instituted rituals of washing and anointing taken from instructions in the Book of Exodus for consecrating priests. [83] After armed bands exchanged fire, killing one Mormon and two non-Mormons, the old settlers brutally expelled the Mormons from the county. [177] In a 2015 compilation of the 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time, Smithsonian magazine ranked Smith first in the category of religious figures. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. [285] To fully enter the Covenant, a man and woman must participate in a "first anointing", a "sealing" ceremony, and a "second anointing" (also called "sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise"). When did Joseph Smith die? [35], Meanwhile, the Smith family faced financial hardship, due in part to the death of Smith's oldest brother Alvin, who had assumed a leadership role in the family. The Prophet Joseph was born on December 23, 1805, the 5th of 11 children. [190] Some of Smith's chosen successors, such as Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, had left the church. There are 3 I know 2 Robert F. Kennedy and Joseph F. Smith. [156], On June 7, the dissidents published the first (and only) issue of the Nauvoo Expositor, calling for reform within the church and appealing to the political views of the county's other faiths as well as those of former Mormons. [227], 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. However, all DNA testing of potential Smith descendants from wives other than Emma has been negative. [77] After Smith visited in July 1831, he agreed, pronouncing the frontier hamlet of Independence the "center place" of Zion. [189] The Council of Fifty had a theoretical claim to succession, but it was a secret organization. [266] In Smith's cosmology, those who became gods would reign, unified in purpose and will, leading spirits of lesser capacity to share immortality and eternal life. Nor did people of higher social standing intimidate him; he appeared to think of himself as the equal of anyone, as demonstrated when he ran for president of the United States in 1844. [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. His full name is simply Joseph Smith, Jr. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? 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. For instance, in the early 1830s, he temporarily instituted a form of religious communism, called the United Order, that required Latter Day Saints to give all their property to the church, which was divided among the faithful. The leadership of the church then fell to Brigham Young, who dedicated himself to perpetuating Smith’s teachings and program. 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. [74] 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. [63] 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.

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