Joseph Smith's Life

Joseph Smith came from humble beginnings. He was born 23 December 1805 in Vermont, to Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith. He was the fifth child of eleven, two of which died during childhood. The Smith family was a poor farming family who moved to New York seeking better land. Joseph Smith received only three years of formal education although his parents made sure that he could read and write. The children were also educated from the family Bible, which was a daily part of their lives.

When Joseph Smith was seven years old he contracted typhoid fever. As a result a painful infection settled in the bone of his leg, which doctors insisted on amputating. His parents refused instead asking doctors to try removing a section of the bone instead through a new surgical technique. The operation was successful and his leg was saved. He walked on crutches for about three years and had a slight limp after, but his leg healed.

When Joseph Smith was fourteen years old a religious revival swept through New York. Many religions were competing for members. It was in this social climate that Joseph experienced what Mormons term the "First Vision." Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. Beginning with this, and through other visions, Joseph was appointed a prophet of God like in ancient times.

In 1827 Joseph Smith married Emma Hale. He met her while employed by her father in Pennsylvania. Emma's father did not approve of Joseph but they married anyway. During their seventeen years together they suffered intense personal tragedy. The couple had nine children and adopted two, only four of which survived infancy. Their last child was born five months after Joseph died.

In the same year they were married, Joseph Smith got the gold plates from which he translated the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ. Joseph was led by an angel to the Hill Cumorah near Palmyra, New York. Buried there was a record engraved on gold plates, which told of the people of God who lived in the Americas before and after the time of Christ.

After the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830, Joseph organized the Church of Christ. For the next fourteen years Joseph Smith led the Mormon Church. Their first headquarters were in Kirtland, Ohio, and there was built the first Mormon temple. When persecution became too much Joseph led the Mormons to Independence, Missouri, but the Mormons were driven out again, to Nauvoo, Illinois. Here, Joseph oversaw the Mormons at their most successful. Another temple was built and church membership grew to 26,000.

Joseph Smith presided over the Mormon Church until he and his older brother Hyrum were killed in June of 1844 by a mob at Carthage Jail, where they had been imprisoned on false charges of riot and treason. Joseph and Hyrum died martyrs to the Church of Jesus Christ.

Other Links:
Joseph Smith's First Vision Accounts
Joseph Smith Daguerreotype