Joseph Smith Jr., Prophet

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Joseph Smith, Jr.

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, United States
Death: Died in Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, United States
Cause of death: Assassination
Place of Burial: Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Joseph Smith, Sr.; Lucy Mack Smith and Lucy Mack
Husband of Sarah Hannah Foster; Emma Hale; Sarah Smith; Ann Smith; Patty Sessions and 33 others
Father of Alvin Smith; Louisa Smith; Thaddeus Smith; Julia Murdock Smith [Adopted Twin]; Joseph Murdock Smith [Adopted Twin] and 6 others
Brother of Alvin Smith; Hyrum Smith; INFANT SMITH; Sophronia Smith; Samuel Harrison Smith, I and 5 others

Occupation: Mayor of Nauvoo, founder and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Joseph Smith Jr., Prophet

Joseph Smith, Jr. (23 December 1805 – 27 June 1844) was the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), a church whose adherents regard him as a prophet. The son of Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack, Smith was born 23 December 1805 at Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont; he was assassinated at Carthage Jail, Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois on 27 June 1844, and buried at Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois on 29 June 1844 following a public viewing. He married Emma Hale on 18 January 1827; they had seven children and adopted twins.

Marriages and Children

Joseph Smith, Jr. met Emma Hale and, on 18 January 1827, eloped with her because her parents disapproved of the match. Emma gave birth to seven children, the first three of whom died shortly after birth. Joseph and Emma Smith had four sons who lived to maturity. Additionally, the Smiths adopted twins whose mother had recently died in childbirth.

  1. Alvin Smith (June 15, 1828 – June 15, 1828) Died shortly after birth.
  2. Thaddeus Smith (April 30, 1831 – April 30, 1831) Twin of Louisa, premature, died within a few hours of birth
  3. Louisa Smith (April 30, 1831 – April 30, 1831) Twin of Thaddeus, premature, died within a few hours of birth
  4. Joseph Smith Murdock (April 30, 1831 – March 29, 1832) Adopted. Twin of Julia, birth son of Julia Clapp Murdock and John Murdock, who upon his wife's death in childbirth gave the infants to the Smiths for adoption. Died at 10 months of age.
  5. Julia Murdock Smith (April 30, 1831 – September 12, 1880) Adopted. Twin of Joseph, birth son of Julia Clapp Murdock and John Murdock.
  6. Joseph Smith III (November 6, 1832 – December 10, 1914)
  7. Frederick Granger Williams Smith (June 20, 1836 – April 13, 1862)
  8. Alexander Hale Smith (June 2, 1838 – August 12, 1909)
  9. Don Carlos Smith (June 13, 1840 – August 15, 1841) Died aged 14 months.
  10. Male child (December 26, 1842 – December 26, 1842) Stillborn
  11. David Hyrum Smith (November 17, 1844 – August 29, 1904)

Biographical Sketch

Joseph Smith Jr. (1805-1844) was born 23 December 1805, the fifth of eleven children of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. "I was born . . . of goodly parents," said Joseph, "who spared no pains to instruct me in the Christian religion." His parents stressed personal religion and encouraged Joseph to seek his "soul's salvation" in Jesus Christ.

Lucy Mack Smith eventually joined one of the local churches, but continued to search for something more. "I therefore determined," said Lucy, "to examine my Bible, and, taking Jesus and his disciples for my guide, to endeavor to obtain from God which man could neither give nor take away."

Joseph's father, Joseph Smith Sr., found peace in Bible study and seeking God in prayer. Under his leadership, the family met morning and evening for prayer, hymns, and scripture reading. At times Joseph Sr. taught his children "in his own home school and used the Bible as a text." The devotion to God that Joseph saw in his parents strengthened his confidence and faith to seek divine truth.

During the late 1820s Joseph Smith, Jr. revealed that an angel had given him a book of golden plates containing a religious history of ancient American peoples. Smith translated the writing on the plates from an unknown language into English; and in 1830, he published the translation as the Book of Mormon and organized a restoration of the early Christian church.

LDS Church members regard Smith's revelations as scripture, equal to the Bible. His teachings include unique views about the nature of godhood, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. His legacy includes a number of splinter churches which have broken away from the doctrine and teachings of the LDS Church proper.

Martyrdom

Smith and his brother Hyrum were held in Carthage Jail on controversial charges of treason. On the 27th of June, 1844, an armed group with blackened faces stormed the jail and killed Hyrum instantly with a shot to the face. Smith fought back with a pepper-box pistol that had been smuggled into the prison but was shot while jumping from a window, then shot and killed as he lay on the ground. Smith was buried in Nauvoo after a public viewing on 29 June 1844.

Polygamy

Although polygamy was later publicly practiced by Brigham Young and other early Mormons, Smith, and other leaders of his church, publicly denied he taught or practiced it. The first publication of a list of women alleged to be Smith's plural wives was in 1887; it included 27 women besides Emma Smith. Currently, historians disagree as to the number of plural wives attributed to Smith. Various scholars and historians have tried to identify the women who married Smith but are hindered by the lack of documents to support some of the alleged marriages. As of 2010, DNA testing has provided no evidence that Smith fathered any children with women other than Emma...

Historic Sites

A list of historic sites relating to Joseph Smith can be found here. They include locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri and Illinois.

Sources and Further Information

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Joseph Smith Jr., Prophet's Timeline

1805
December 23, 1805
Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, United States
1827
January 18, 1827
Age 21
South Bainbridge, Chenango, New York, USA
1828
June 15, 1828
Age 22
Harmony, Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, USA
1829
May 15, 1829
Age 23
1831
April 30, 1831
Age 25
Near Kirtland, Geuaga, Ohio, USA
April 30, 1831
Age 25
Kirtland, Geauga, OH
May 1, 1831
Age 25
Near Kirtland,Geuaga,Ohio
May 1, 1831
Age 25
Near Kirtland, Geuaga, Ohio
1832
November 6, 1832
Age 26
Kirtland, Geauga, Ohio, USA
1833
1833
Age 27
Kirtland, OH