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" Smith had assumed a role as prophet, seer, and apostle of Jesus Christ, and by early 1831, he was introducing himself as "Joseph the Prophet". (Courtesy Community of Christ Library-Archives, Independence, MO.) , On the issue of slavery, Smith took different positions. 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. 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. Dan Vogel, another historian, says that the work is autobiographical in nature.  The charter also authorized the Nauvoo Legion, an autonomous militia whose actions were limited only by state and federal constitutions. , 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. , While campaigning for President of the United States in 1844, Smith had opportunity to take political positions on issues of the day. Smith's revelations often came in response to specific questions. John A. Wilson, "The Joseph Smith Egyptian Papyri: Translations and Interpretations, harvtxt error: multiple targets (2×): CITEREFSmith1994 (. He said the angel commanded him not to show the plates to anyone else, but to translate them and publish their translation. Considering the academic accomplishments of Robert Remini (1921-2013), this short (and index-less) biography of Joseph Smith is a disappointment—unevenly written, uncritical, even naïve.  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. 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). John Taylor, Doctrine and Covenants, 135:3; Once in the world's history we were to have a Yankee prophet, and we have had him in Joe Smith.  The LDS Church has proposed that Smith might have been inspired by the papyri rather than have been translating them literally, but prominent Egyptologists note that Smith copied characters from the scrolls and was specific about their meaning. They first gathered in Kirtland, Ohio, and established an outpost in Independence, Missouri, which was intended to be Zion's "center place". Some were received for a specific individual, while others were directed at the whole church. , Smith's authority was undermined when Oliver Cowdery, Hiram Page, and other church members also claimed to receive revelations. On a winter day in January 1842, Joseph Smith became reflective.  This time, he said he successfully retrieved the plates.  Biographers, Mormon and non-Mormon alike, agree that Smith was one of the most influential, charismatic, and innovative figures in American religious history.. , 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.  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. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. When Smith proposed marriage, Emma's father, Isaac Hale objected, primarily because he believed Smith had no means to support Emma.  The endowment was extended to women in 1843, though Smith never clarified whether women could be ordained to priesthood offices. Smith published many revelations and other texts that his followers regard as scripture. Joseph Smith was notable among religious figures for claiming to receive revelations and to translate ancient religious texts. "Lieutenant General" Smith and "Major General" Bennett became its commanders, thereby controlling by far the largest body of armed men in Illinois. 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. 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. 5.0 out of 5 stars AN EXECELLENT, DETAILED BIOGRAPHY OF JOSEPH SMITH'S EARLY CAREER. Smith, however, never viewed the wording to be infallible. , 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. Rigdon's followers had also been practicing a form of communalism, which Smith adopted, calling it the United Order. Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. , 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. Among these five groups was a quorum of twelve apostles. " He believed a strong central government was crucial to the nation's well-being, and thought democracy better than tyranny—although he also taught that a theocratic monarchy was the ideal form of government. During his presidential campaign of 1844, he proposed ending slavery by 1850 and compensating slaveholders for their loss.  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. CHL. He decided to list in the Book of the Law of the Lord the names of those “faithful few” followers who had stood by him since the beginnings of his ministry—“pure and holy friends, who are faithful, just, and true, and whose hearts fail not” (History of the Church, 5:107; hereafter HC). Smith, Joseph, Jr.  Smith also attempted to portray the Latter Day Saints as an oppressed minority, and unsuccessfully petitioned the federal government for help in obtaining reparations.  For instance, the doctrines of baptism for the dead and the nature of God were introduced in sermons, and one of Smith's most famed statements about there being "no such thing as immaterial matter" was recorded from a casual conversation with a Methodist preacher.  The book also elaborates and expands upon foreshadowing the coming of Christ, in effect Christianizing the Old Testament.  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.  After the crucifixion and resurrection in Jerusalem, Jesus appears in the Americas, repeats the Sermon on the Mount, blesses children, and appoints twelve disciples.  Though it is unclear how much Smith knew of the Danites' activities, he clearly approved of those of which he did know. Members of the church, known as Saints, gathered first at Independence, Missouri, on the western edge of American settlement. 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.  Each priesthood was a continuation of biblical priesthoods through patrilineal succession or ordination by biblical figures appearing in visions. Gouverneur Morris Professor Emeritus of History, Columbia University. 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 (. In 1842, Emma gave birth to a stillborn son. Founded in 1830 by the then twenty-four year old Joseph Smith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (as it is formally named) has emerged from relative insularity during the mid-twentieth century to become a world-wide movement now numbering nine million members. , the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, This article is about the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.  While this ended the Missourians' attempts at extradition, it caused significant political fallout in Illinois. harvtxt error: multiple targets (3×): CITEREFNewellAvery1994 (. , In January 1837, Smith and other church leaders created a joint stock company, called the Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company, to act as a quasi-bank; the company issued bank notes capitalized in part by real estate.  Bennett used his connections in the Illinois legislature to obtain an unusually liberal charter for the new city, which Smith renamed "Nauvoo" (Hebrew נָאווּ, meaning "to be beautiful").  After Rigdon delivered a sermon that implied dissenters had no place in the Mormon community, the Danites forcibly expelled them from the county. 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. For additional biographical information on Joseph Smith, see Joseph Smith and His Papers: An Introduction. The book resembled the Bible in its length and complexity and in its division into books named for individual prophets.  Nevertheless, Zion's Camp transformed Mormon leadership, and many future church leaders came from among the participants. Smith was then released on a writ of habeas corpus from the Nauvoo municipal court. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. , 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. Among Joseph Smith’s accomplishments is his contribution to the church’s scriptures, the dispatching of missionaries around the world and the organization and leadership of Nauvoo’s militia. In 1838, facing expulsion for a third time, Smith tried to defend the church with arms. Over the next several years, Smith worked to produce what he reported was a translation of one of these rolls, which was published in 1842 as the Book of Abraham. Smith and five others, including Rigdon, were charged with "overt acts of treason", and transferred to the jail at Liberty, Missouri, to await trial.  Once the Smiths were in custody, the charges were increased to treason, preventing them from posting bail. However, all DNA testing of potential Smith descendants from wives other than Emma has been negative.  Matter, in Smith's view, could neither be created nor destroyed; the creation involved only the reorganization of existing matter. , Although Smith had left his treasure hunting company, his former associates believed he had double crossed them and taken the golden plates for himself, which they believed should be joint property. Restored boyhood home of Joseph Smith, Palmyra, New York. Joseph first appears in the Bible in the gospels of Matthew and Luke; in Matthew, Joseph's lineage is traced back to King David. Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont.  Smith's sons Joseph III and David also had claims, but Joseph III was too young and David was yet unborn.  By the end of his life, Smith was teaching that both God the Father and Jesus were distinct beings with physical bodies, but the Holy Spirit was a "personage of Spirit". Smith said the Council had authority to decide which national or state laws Mormons should obey.  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. Author of.  On October 30, a party of Missourians surprised and killed seventeen Mormons in the Haun's Mill massacre. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership. 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. Religious Leader.  Harris lost the manuscript, of which there was no other copy.  Shortly after the conference, Smith dispatched Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and others on a mission to proselytize Native Americans.  After a warrant was issued for Smith's arrest on a charge of banking fraud, Smith and Rigdon fled Kirtland for Missouri in January 1838.. By 1838, Smith had abandoned plans to redeem Zion in Jackson County, and after Smith and Rigdon arrived in Missouri, the town of Far West became the new "Zion". Current statistics published by the LDS Church show 16.1 million members of that denomination.  Tension increased until July 1833, when non-Mormons forcibly evicted the Mormons and destroyed their property.  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. Biography.  He was acquitted, but soon both he and Cowdery fled to Colesville to escape a gathering mob. On Dec. 23, 1805, Joseph Smith was born in Vermont; in 1816 his family migrated to western New York. Smith came from an unremarkable New England family.  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.  After armed bands exchanged fire, killing one Mormon and two non-Mormons, the old settlers brutally expelled the Mormons from the county. When he was not busy burying his nose in a book, he helped out on his family farm. For other persons, see. Governor Lilburn Boggs then ordered that the Mormons be "exterminated or driven from the state". 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. Humble beginnings, gathered first at Independence, MO. ) quickly became from. 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