Who is Joseph Smith Jr?

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Joseph Smith Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. When he was 24, Smith published the Book of Mormon. 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. Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont. By 1817, he had moved with his family to western New York, the site of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening. 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. In 1830, Smith published what he said was an English translation of these plates called the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized the Church of Christ, calling it a restoration of the early Christian church. Members of the church were later called "Latter Day Saints" or "Mormons", and Smith announced a revelation in 1838 that renamed the church as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In 1831, Smith and his followers moved west, planning to build a communal American Zion. They first gathered in Kirtland, Ohio, and established an outpost in Independence, Missouri, which was intended to be Zion's "center place". During the 1830s, Smith sent out missionaries, published revelations, and supervised construction of the Kirtland Temple. Because of the collapse of the church-sponsored Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company, violent skirmishes with non-Mormon Missourians, and the Mormon extermination order, Smith and his followers established a new settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois, where he became a spiritual and political leader. In 1844, when the Nauvoo Expositor criticized Smith's power and practice of polygamy, Smith and the Nauvoo city council ordered the destruction of their printing press, inflaming anti-Mormon sentiment. Fearing an invasion of Nauvoo, Smith rode to Carthage, Illinois, to stand trial, but was killed when a mob stormed the jailhouse. Smith published many revelations and other texts that his followers regard as scripture. His teachings discuss the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. His followers regard him as a prophet comparable to Moses and Elijah. Several religious denominations identify as the continuation of the church that he organized, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ. Life Early years (1805–1827) Smith was born on December 23, 1805, on the border between South Royalton and Sharon, Vermont, to Lucy Mack Smith and her husband Joseph Smith Sr., a merchant and farmer. He was one of 11 children. At the age of seven Smith suffered a crippling bone infection and, after receiving surgery, used crutches for three years. After an ill-fated business venture and three successive years of crop failures culminating in the 1816 Year Without a Summer, the Smith family left Vermont and moved to western New York, taking out a mortgage on a 100-acre (40 ha) farm in the townships of Palmyra and Manchester. The region was a hotbed of religious enthusiasm during the Second Great Awakening. Between 1817 and 1825, there were several camp meetings and revivals in the Palmyra area. Smith's parents disagreed about religion, but the family was caught up in this excitement. Smith said that he became interested in religion by age 12. As a teenager, he may have been sympathetic to Methodism. With other family members, Smith also engaged in religious folk magic, which was a relatively common practice in that time and place. Both his parents and his maternal grandfather reportedly had visions or dreams that they believed communicated messages from God. Smith said that, although he had become concerned about the welfare of his soul, he was confused by the claims of competing religious denominations.Years later, Smith wrote that he had received a vision that resolved his religious confusion. 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." Smith said he recounted the experience to a preacher, who dismissed the story with contempt. This first vision would later grow in importance to Smith's followers, who now regard it as the first event in the restoration of Christ's church to Earth. Until the 1840s, however, Smith's accounts of the vision were largely unknown to most Mormons, and Smith himself may have originally considered it a personal conversion. According to his later accounts, Smith was visited by an angel named Moroni, while praying one night in 1823. Smith said that this angel revealed the location of a buried book made of golden plates, as well as other artifacts, including a breastplate and a set of interpreters composed of two seer stones set in a frame, which had been hidden in a hill near his home. Smith said he attempted to remove the plates the next morning, but was unsuccessful because the angel returned and prevented him. 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.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. Family members supplemented their meager farm income by hiring out for odd jobs and working as treasure seekers, a type of magical supernaturalism common during the period. Smith was said to have an ability to locate lost items by looking into a seer stone, which he also used in treasure hunting, including several unsuccessful attempts to find buried treasure sponsored by a wealthy farmer in Chenango County, New York. In 1826, Smith was brought before a Chenango County court for "glass-looking", or pretending to find lost treasure. The result of the proceeding remains unclear as primary sources report various conflicting outcomes. While boarding at the Hale house in Harmony, Pennsylvania, Smith met and began courting Emma Hale. When Smith proposed marriage, Emma's father, Isaac Hale objected, in part because he believed Smith had no means to support Emma. In his sworn testimony, Isaac Hale wrote that, in addition, he had other reasons for not giving consent to Smith to marry his daughter, one of which was that Smith's "appearance at this time, was that of a careless young man—not very well educated, and very saucy and insolent to his father." Smith and Emma eloped and married on January 18, 1827, after which the couple began boarding with Smith's parents.... Discover the Joseph Smith Jr popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Joseph Smith Jr books.

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Restless Pilgrim book summary, reviews and downlod

Restless Pilgrim

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Andrew Jenson undertook a lifelong quest to render the LDS historical record complete and comprehensive. As Assistant Church Historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jen...

Pacific Apostle book summary, reviews and downlod

Pacific Apostle

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In 1920, David O. McKay embarked on a journey that forever changed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His visits to the Latter-day Saint missions, schools, and branches in the ...

Joseph Smith, Jr. book summary, reviews and downlod

Joseph Smith, Jr.

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Mormon founder Joseph Smith is one of the most controversial figures of nineteenth-century American history, and a virtually inexhaustible subject for analysis. In this volume, fifteen schol...

Settling the Valley, Proclaiming the Gospel book summary, reviews and downlod

Settling the Valley, Proclaiming the Gospel

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The Mormons had just arrived in Utah after their 1,300-mile exodus across the Great Plains and over the Rocky Mountains. Food was scarce, the climate shocking in its extremes, and local Indi...

From the Outside Looking In book summary, reviews and downlod

From the Outside Looking In

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This book contains fifteen essays, each first presented as the annual Tanner Lecture at the conference of the Mormon History Association by a leading scholar. Renowned in their own specialti...

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