The work and glory of God, then, was to create worlds across the cosmos where inferior intelligences could be embodied.  When the narrative described an institutional church and a requirement for baptism, Smith and Cowdery baptized each other.  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. While believing in the Bible, like all Christians, Smith broke its monopoly on the word of God.  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 Council of Fifty had a theoretical claim to succession, but it was a secret organization. 1882. , the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, This article is about the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.  Smith brought the Kirtland congregation under his own authority and tamed these outbursts.  Smith was then sent to a state court for a preliminary hearing, where several of his former allies testified against him.  Smith said that blacks were not inherently inferior to whites, and he welcomed slaves into the church. It also recommended that Latter Day Saints avoid "strong" alcoholic drinks, tobacco, and "hot drinks" (later interpreted to mean tea and coffee).  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. But he is much more than the founder of a religion.  When embarrassing rumors of "spiritual wifery" got abroad, Smith forced Bennett's resignation as Nauvoo mayor. In probable reference to this period of flight, Smith said that Peter, James, and John had appeared to him and had ordained him and Cowdery to a higher priesthood. Joseph Smith was an American religious leader and the founder of Mormonism. , By early 1844, a rift developed between Smith and a half dozen of his closest associates.  Another brother, William, was unable to attract a sufficient following. When questions arose, he would call upon God and dictate words in the voice of the Lord.  Believers tend to focus on his achievements and religious teachings, deemphasizing his personal defects, while detractors focus on his mistakes, legal troubles, and controversial doctrines.  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. Vogel’s thesis is that Joseph Smith’s motivation for founding a new religion arose in conflicts that occurred within his semi-dysfunctional family.  Through the gradual acquisition of knowledge, according to Smith, those who received exaltation could eventually become like God. Smith came from an unremarkable New England family. On April 6, 1830, Smith organized a few dozen believers into a church.  As a military endeavor, the expedition was a failure; the men were outnumbered and suffered from dissension and a cholera outbreak. harvtxt error: multiple targets (3×): CITEREFNewellAvery1994 (. , The Book of Moses begins with Moses' asking God about the purpose of creation. Smith's revelations often came in response to specific questions. , In 1835, Smith encouraged some Latter Day Saints in Kirtland to purchase rolls of ancient Egyptian papyri from a traveling exhibitor.  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.  Living near his in-laws, Smith transcribed some characters that he said were engraved on the plates and then dictated a translation to Emma. Joseph Smith often known as Consul Smith,, the British consul at Venice, 1744–1760, was a patron of artists, most notably Canaletto, and a collector and connoisseur, banker to the British community at Venice and a major draw on the British Grand Tour. In the temples, he instituted rituals of washing and anointing taken from instructions in the Book of Exodus for consecrating priests.  Though Mormon authorities controlled Nauvoo's civil government, the city promised an unusually liberal guarantee of religious freedom. Smith said they contained the writings of the ancient patriarchs Abraham and Joseph. , Smith declared that he would be one of the instruments in fulfilling Nebuchadnezzar's statue vision in the Book of Daniel: that secular government would be destroyed without "sword or gun", and would be replaced with a "theodemocratic" Kingdom of God. 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.  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.  After a month, however, he returned to Kirtland empty-handed.  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. Smith and five others, including Rigdon, were charged with "overt acts of treason", and transferred to the jail at Liberty, Missouri, to await trial.  The Book of Mormon brought Smith regional notoriety and opposition from those who remembered the 1826 Chenango County trial. , After his death, non-Mormon newspapers were almost unanimous in portraying Smith as a religious fanatic. Smith said he experienced a series of visions, including one in 1820 during which he saw "two personages" (whom he eventually described as 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.  After completing the translation, Smith gave the brown stone to Cowdery, but continued to receive revelations using another stone until about 1833 when he said he no longer needed it. (Courtesy Community of Christ Library-Archives, Independence, MO.)  On June 23, Smith and his brother Hyrum rode to Carthage to stand trial for inciting a riot. As in the Bible, men took the leading roles in church affairs, but by the end of his life Smith taught that men and women were redeemed together through eternal marriage.  As a result, the Latter Day Saints in Kirtland suffered intense pressure from debt collectors and severe price volatility. 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 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).  Conversely, within Mormonism, Smith was remembered first and foremost as a prophet, martyred to seal the testimony of his faith. , In April 1841, Smith wed Louisa Beaman.  Building the temple had left the church deeply in debt, and Smith was hounded by creditors. Joseph Smith did not have a formal education, but he was self-taught and taught by family members how to read, write, and do basic mathematics. 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. The author wrote in the Introduction to this 2004 book, "In writing this biography, I did not want to provide a simple chronological narrative of Smith's early life. , 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. "The keys of the kingdom," he wrote, "have not been taken away from us". 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. Read up on Joseph Smith's biography, career, awards and more on ESPN. Smith was held responsible for the failure, and there were widespread defections from the church, including many of Smith's closest advisers.  Smith never denied a relationship, but insisted it was not adulterous, presumably because he had taken Alger as an additional wife.  The result of the proceeding remains unclear as primary sources report various conflicting outcomes. They unleashed a flood of anti-Mormon rhetoric in newspapers and in stump speeches given during the 1838 election campaign. In 1823 he received another revelation: while praying for forgiveness, he later reported, an angel calling himself Moroni appeared in his bedroom and told him about a set of golden plates containing a record of the ancient inhabitants of America. By 1817, he had moved with his family to western New York, the site of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening. 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.  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. , 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. By the summer of 1835, there were fifteen hundred to two thousand Mormons in the vicinity, many expecting Smith to lead them shortly to the Millennial kingdom.  Smith said that, although he had become concerned about the welfare of his soul, he was confused by the claims of competing religious denominations. 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. Some of these polyandrous marriages were done with the consent of the first husbands, and some plural marriages may have been considered "eternity-only" sealings (meaning that the marriage would not take effect until after death).  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. In any event, Harris returned to Harmony in April 1828, and continued as Smith's scribe. Harris persuaded Smith to let him take the existing 116 pages of manuscript to Palmyra to show a few family members, including his wife.  They worked full time on the manuscript between April and early June 1829, and then moved to Fayette, New York, where they continued to work at the home of Cowdery's friend, Peter Whitmer.  He was shot multiple times before falling out the window, crying, "Oh Lord my God!" His teachings discuss the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. , Mormons and non-Mormons have produced a large amount of scholarly work about Smith, and to a large extent the result has been two discordant pictures of very different people: a man of God on the one hand, and on the other, a fraud preying on the ignorance of his followers. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.  Smith implicitly endorsed this speech, and many non-Mormons understood it to be a thinly veiled threat. , 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. , On August 6, 1838, non-Mormons in Gallatin tried to prevent Mormons from voting, and the election-day scuffles initiated the 1838 Mormon War.  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.  Believing the dissidents were plotting against his life, Smith excommunicated them on April 18, 1844. 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. As a teenager, he may have been sympathetic to Methodism. , However, by June 1828, Harris began having doubts about the project, fueled in part by his wife's skepticism.  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. 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.  In March 1836, at the temple's dedication, many participants in the endowment reported seeing visions of angels, speaking in tongues, and prophesying. He was the founder and First President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as the Mormons). , In February 1828, Martin Harris arrived to assist Smith by transcribing his dictation. He died shortly after hitting the ground, but was shot several more times before the mob dispersed.  Then in the early 1840s, after Mormons had been expelled from Missouri, he once again opposed slavery. , 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 had proposed several ways to choose his successor, but had never clarified his preference. For at least some of the earliest dictation, Smith is said to have used the "Urim and Thummim", a pair of seer stones he said were buried with the plates. Joseph and Emma had four sons who lived to maturity: Joseph Smith III, Frederick Granger Williams Smith, Alexander Hale Smith, and David Hyrum Smith. Church of Christ was the official name on April 6, 1830: Modern DNA testing of Smith's relatives suggests that his family were of Irish descent. 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. 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. He was a prophet of God and is revered by millions of people around the world, despite his humble beginnings.  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. All Smith’s revelations were carefully recorded and preserved. By the time of his death, 14 years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion that continues to the present with millions of global adherents. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? , 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.  Three months later, Smith gave a lengthy revelation called the "Olive Leaf" containing themes of cosmology and eschatology, and discussing subjects such as light, truth, intelligence, and sanctification; a related revelation given in 1833 put Christ at the center of salvation.  Smith was buried in Nauvoo, and is interred there at the Smith Family Cemetery.  They eventually construct a ship and sail to a "promised land" in the Western Hemisphere.  (Rockwell was later tried and acquitted.) It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. The text for this speech is unavailable.  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.  Between 1817 and 1825, there were several camp meetings and revivals in the Palmyra area. , The following day, the Latter Day Saints surrendered to 2,500 state troops and agreed to forfeit their property and leave the state. In their new home, they built a civilization, fought wars, heard the word of prophets, and received a visit from Christ after his resurrection. The first surgery doctors had to lance his shoulder to drain it of infected material, the second and third times they tried to drain his leg, and the fourth time they removed the bone. The revelations were not God's words verbatim, but "couched in language suitable to Joseph's time".  In 1841, Don Carlos, who had been born a year earlier, died of malaria. 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.  At first, Smith's church had little sense of hierarchy; his religious authority was derived from visions and revelations. During the 1830s, Smith sent out missionaries, published revelations, and supervised construction of the Kirtland Temple.  The endowment was extended to women in 1843, though Smith never clarified whether women could be ordained to priesthood offices. Some historians have speculated—based on journal entries and family stories—that Smith may have fathered children with his plural wives. The leadership of the church then fell to Brigham Young, who dedicated himself to perpetuating Smith’s teachings and program. Other articles where Joseph Smith is discussed: Canaletto: …this point, an early acquaintance, Joseph Smith—publisher, merchant, and later British consul in Venice—stepped into the breach.  As such, considerable disagreement about the actual method used exists. 5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXECELLENT, DETAILED BIOGRAPHY OF JOSEPH SMITH'S EARLY CAREER. 2.  These dissidents formed a competing church and the following month, at Carthage, the county seat, they procured indictments against Smith for perjury and polygamy. His collection of drawings were bought for George III of Great Britain and form a nucleus of the Royal Collection of drawings in the Print Room at Windsor … , Smith's authority was undermined when Oliver Cowdery, Hiram Page, and other church members also claimed to receive revelations.  With other family members, Smith also engaged in religious folk magic, which was a relatively common practice in that time and place. Reviewed in the United States on June 10, 2011. Rigdon said that "if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? , After the Camp returned, Smith drew heavily from its participants to establish five governing bodies in the church, all originally of equal authority to check one another. , Smith said that the angel returned the plates to him in September 1828.  Revelations were immediately copied, and then circulated among church members.  The book also elaborates and expands upon foreshadowing the coming of Christ, in effect Christianizing the Old Testament.  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. " Smith said he recounted the experience to a preacher, who dismissed the story with contempt.  After Smith visited in July 1831, he agreed, pronouncing the frontier hamlet of Independence the "center place" of Zion.  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. , Before 1832, most of Smith's revelations dealt with establishing the church, gathering his followers, and building the City of Zion.  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"). "Lieutenant General" Smith and "Major General" Bennett became its commanders, thereby controlling by far the largest body of armed men in Illinois.  Smith and his followers treated his revelations as being above teachings or opinions, and Smith acted as though he believed in his revelations as much as his followers. , 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.  Around June 1838, recent convert Sampson Avard formed a covert organization called the Danites to intimidate Mormon dissenters and oppose anti-Mormon militia units. 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. , During the early 1840s, Smith unfolded a theology of family relations called the "New and Everlasting Covenant" that superseded all earthly bonds.  Nevertheless, Zion's Camp transformed Mormon leadership, and many future church leaders came from among the participants. His followers believed that Smith’s actions were directed by revelation. , While campaigning for President of the United States in 1844, Smith had opportunity to take political positions on issues of the day. , Converts poured into Kirtland.  Smith also attempted to portray the Latter Day Saints as an oppressed minority, and unsuccessfully petitioned the federal government for help in obtaining reparations. Hyrum, who was trying to secure the door, was killed instantly with a shot to the face. This revelation initiated a revision of the Bible on which Smith worked sporadically until 1833 and which remained unpublished at his death. Smith's death resulted in a succession crisis. Smith advised them to bear the violence patiently until after they were attacked multiple times, after which they could fight back.  Smith was blamed for having promoted a church-sponsored bank that failed. Non-Mormons tolerated a handful of “religious fanatics” in their midst but found dominance by them to be unbearable. Smith fired three shots from a pepper-box pistol that his friend, Cyrus Wheelock, had lent him, wounding three men, before he sprang for the window. Completing the work in less than 90 days, he published it in March 1830 as a 588-page volume called the Book of Mormon. , In 1841, Smith began revealing the doctrine of plural marriage to a few of his closest male associates, including Bennett, who used it as an excuse to seduce numerous women wed and unwed. 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 ). Gender Male.  Smith encouraged the settlement of land outside Caldwell County, instituting a settlement in Adam-ondi-Ahman, in Daviess County. , Years later, Smith wrote that he had received a vision that resolved his religious confusion.  Once the Smiths were in custody, the charges were increased to treason, preventing them from posting bail. John A. Wilson, "The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: Translations and Interpretations, harvtxt error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFSmith1994 (.  These teachings implied a vast hierarchy of gods, with God himself having a father. At the heart of his teachings was a confidence in the spiritual potential of common people.  Though the evidence was circumstantial, Boggs ordered Smith's extradition. 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. Joseph Smith: Cultural Biography of Mormonism's Founder Rough Stone Rolling, a cultural biography of Mormonism's founder Joseph Smith is a good read. The book also provides an enlarged account of the Genesis creation narrative and expands the story of Enoch, the ancestor of Noah. CHL. It was the originality of his views, an outsider commented, that made his discourse fascinating.
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