With other family members, Smith also engaged in religious folk magic, which was a relatively common practice in that time and place. 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 it.  In April 1829, he met Oliver Cowdery, who replaced Harris as his scribe, and resumed dictation.  These men, known collectively as the Three Witnesses, signed a statement stating that they had been shown the golden plates by an angel, and that the voice of God had confirmed the truth of their translation. Updates? Gender Male. , The Book of Moses begins with Moses' asking God about the purpose of creation.  Around June 1838, recent convert Sampson Avard formed a covert organization called the Danites to intimidate Mormon dissenters and oppose anti-Mormon militia units. , Before 1832, most of Smith's revelations dealt with establishing the church, gathering his followers, and building the City of Zion.  This doctrine of endowment evolved through the 1830s, until in 1842, the Nauvoo endowment included an elaborate ceremony containing elements similar to Freemasonry and the Jewish tradition of Kabbalah. Smith, Joseph, Jr. 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 response, local Missourians rose up in wrath, and the governor ordered that the Mormons be driven out of the state or, where that was not possible, exterminated.  At first, the endowment was open only to men, who were initiated into a special group called the Anointed Quorum. He also told associates that he was capable of reading and translating them. 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. During the first half of the 20th century, some writers suggested that Smith might have suffered from epileptic seizures or from psychological disorders such as paranoid delusions or manic-depressive illness that might explain his visions and revelations.  Most notably, William Law, Smith's trusted counselor, and Robert Foster, a general of the Nauvoo Legion, disagreed with Smith about how to manage Nauvoo's economy. Renaming the site Nauvoo (a Hebrew word meaning “Beautiful Place”), Smith built his most successful settlement, complete with a temple (finished only after Smith’s death) on a bluff overlooking the town. 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. But his most significant accomplishment was the establishment of the restored Church of Jesus Christ, a work he was foreordained to do in the Grand Council in Heaven before the world was (see D&C 127:2 ). The first ever to witness, record and see God the Father, Jesus Christ, The Holy Ghost and Lucifer all … “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 it” (D&C 135:3). For additional biographical information on Joseph Smith, see Joseph Smith and His Papers: An Introduction. As such, Smith and other Latter Day Saints did not strictly follow this counsel, though it later became a requirement in the LDS Church. In answer to his question about which was the right church, they told him that all the churches were wrong.  Although Emma knew of some of her husband's marriages, she almost certainly did not know the extent of his polygamous activities.  After Smith visited in July 1831, he agreed, pronouncing the frontier hamlet of Independence the "center place" of Zion. , In 1835, Smith encouraged some Latter Day Saints in Kirtland to purchase rolls of ancient Egyptian papyri from a traveling exhibitor. All Smith’s revelations were carefully recorded and preserved. It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  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 said they contained the writings of the ancient patriarchs Abraham and Joseph.  After armed bands exchanged fire, killing one Mormon and two non-Mormons, the old settlers brutally expelled the Mormons from the county. , By early 1844, a rift developed between Smith and a half dozen of his closest associates.  In foreign affairs, Smith was an expansionist, though he viewed "expansionism as brotherhood". Smith published many revelations and other texts that his followers regard as scripture.  Nevertheless, Zion's Camp transformed Mormon leadership, and many future church leaders came from among the participants. Prof Richard L Bushman has produced a 'warts and all' biography of the man whose 'visions' resulted in The Book of Mormon and those clean-cut young men who knock on our doors.  In Missouri, the church also took the name "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints", and construction began on a new temple.  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.  Smith was buried in Nauvoo, and is interred there at the Smith Family Cemetery.  Smith explicitly approved of the expulsion of these men, who were known collectively as the "dissenters".  He taught that outside the Covenant, marriages were simply matters of contract, and that in the afterlife individuals married outside the Covenant or not married would be limited in their progression.  Smith, who feared another mob attack, supported the action, not realizing that destroying a newspaper was more likely to incite an attack than any libel. , According to his later accounts, Smith was visited by an angel named Moroni, while praying one night in 1823. Members of the church, known as Saints, gathered first at Independence, Missouri, on the western edge of American settlement.  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. Term ended by removal of apostleship; was later excommunicated. , Throughout her life, Emma Smith frequently denied that her husband had ever taken additional wives.  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. Although privately religious, the family rarely attended church, and after they moved to Palmyra they became involved in magic and treasure-seeking.  Believing the dissidents were plotting against his life, Smith excommunicated them on April 18, 1844. In retaliation, Bennett left Smith's following and wrote "lurid exposés of life in Nauvoo".  As such, considerable disagreement about the actual method used exists. "Lieutenant General" Smith and "Major General" Bennett became its commanders, thereby controlling by far the largest body of armed men in Illinois. For a survey of the primary sources, see Dan Vogel, These reasons included the settlers' understanding that the Mormons intended to appropriate their property and establish a, harvtxt error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFCompton1997 (.  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. When he was 14, he prayed for help, and, according to his own account, God and Jesus appeared to him. Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. Moses is told in this account that God made the Earth and heavens to bring humans to eternal life. , 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.  Between 1817 and 1825, there were several camp meetings and revivals in the Palmyra area. Joseph Smith Oil on canvas, David Rogers, 1842. 1882. 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. As of 2013[update], members of the denominations originating from Smith's teachings number approximately 16.3 million. Justifying the practice of polygamy by reference to the precedent of Abraham, the first of the Hebrew patriarchs, Smith was “sealed” (the ceremony that binds men and women in marriage for eternity) to about 30 wives, though no known children came from these unions.  Smith's parents disagreed about religion, but the family was caught up in this excitement. Absolutely resolute in all of his projects, he never became discouraged, even under the most trying circumstances.  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.  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.  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.  Although the church had publicly repudiated polygamy, in 1837 there was a rift between Smith and Oliver Cowdery over the issue. " Smith said he recounted the experience to a preacher, who dismissed the story with contempt. 5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXECELLENT, DETAILED BIOGRAPHY OF JOSEPH SMITH'S EARLY CAREER. Among the more prominent features of the terrain were the Indian mounds containing the skeletons of long-dead warriors. During this time, a church council expelled many of the oldest and most prominent leaders of the church, including John Whitmer, David Whitmer, W. W. Phelps, and Oliver Cowdery. Joseph Smith’s thirty-eight and one-half years were marked by the highest of spiritual peaks and the depths of tribulation, sorrow, and betrayal such as few mortals have experienced. His teachings discuss the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. He described the revelatory process as having "pure Intelligence" flowing into him. , Smith favored a strong central bank and high tariffs to protect American business and agriculture. In June 1843, enemies of Smith convinced a reluctant Illinois Governor Thomas Ford to extradite Smith to Missouri on an old charge of treason. The revelations were not God's words verbatim, but "couched in language suitable to Joseph's time". In the temples, he instituted rituals of washing and anointing taken from instructions in the Book of Exodus for consecrating priests. harvtxt error: multiple targets (3×): CITEREFNewellAvery1994 (. Current statistics published by the LDS Church show 16.1 million members of that denomination.  Many members of these smaller groups, including most of Smith's family, eventually coalesced in 1860 under the leadership of Joseph Smith III and formed what was known for more than a century as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now the Community of Christ), which now has about 250,000 members.  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.  More nuanced interpretations include viewing Smith as: a prophet who had normal human weaknesses; a "pious fraud" who believed he was called of God to preach repentance and felt justified inventing visions in order to convert people; or a gifted "mythmaker" who was the product of his Yankee environment. , Smith taught that all existence was material, including a world of "spirit matter" so fine that it was invisible to all but the purest mortal eyes. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates called the Book of Mormon.  The practice of polygamy was kept secret from both non-Mormons and most members of the church during Smith's lifetime.  Smith said that, although he had become concerned about the welfare of his soul, he was confused by the claims of competing religious denominations. By this time, Smith's experiences with mob violence led him to believe that his faith's survival required greater militancy against anti-Mormons.  Emma said that the very first time she ever became aware of a polygamy revelation being attributed to Smith by Mormons was when she read about it in Orson Pratt's periodical The Seer in 1853. , Smith's months in prison with an ill and whining Rigdon strained their relationship. The Mormons came together in the nearly abandoned town of Commerce on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River. Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont.  The pace of formal revelations slowed during the autumn of 1833, and again after the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. When he was 24, Smith published the Book of Mormon.  In 1835, Smith gave the "great revelation" that organized the priesthood into quorums and councils, and functioned as a complex blueprint for church structure. When the farm failed, Joseph Senior moved the family to … Gouverneur Morris Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University. According to Smith, an angel named Moroni directed him to a buried book of golden plates hidden at the Hill Cumorah and as per the instruction of the angel he translated the book and published it as the ‘Book of Mormon’.  Matter, in Smith's view, could neither be created nor destroyed; the creation involved only the reorganization of existing matter. Although a local minister to whom he related the vision dismissed it as a delusion, Smith continued to believe in its authenticity. 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.  The Word of Wisdom was not originally framed as a commandment, but a recommendation.  For instance, Smith's revision nearly tripled the length of the first five chapters of Genesis in what would become the Book of Moses. , In late 1837, a series of internal disputes led to the collapse of the Kirtland Mormon community. , By some accounts, Smith had been teaching a polygamy doctrine as early as 1831, and there is unconfirmed evidence that Smith was a polygamist by 1835. Joseph and Emma had four sons who lived to maturity: Joseph Smith III, Frederick Granger Williams Smith, Alexander Hale Smith, and David Hyrum Smith. , In December 1843, Smith petitioned Congress to make Nauvoo an independent territory with the right to call out federal troops in its defense. 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