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Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith

American religious leader and the founder of the latter day saint movement

Joseph Smith was the founder and first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and five associates formally organized the Church at Fayette, New York, on 6 April 1830. He presided over the Church until 27 June 1844, when he was martyred. Under his leadership, Church membership grew from six to over 26,000.

Confused about religion during a time of revival in the state of New York where he lived in 1820, 14-year-old Joseph read a passage in the New Testament and went to the woods to pray. Joseph records that God and Jesus Christ appeared to him. "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head," he wrote, "above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me." Within that light, he saw two personages -- one of whom spoke Joseph's name, pointed to the other, and said, "This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" Church members refer to this experience as the "First Vision." It forever changed Joseph Smith and has become a central tenet of Latter-day Saint belief. It began the work of restoring the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth.

Although born a farmer, Joseph worked as an editor, entrepreneur and businessman. In the years he led the fledgling Church, Joseph organized an international missionary program and founded what is today one of the largest women's organizations in the world. He oversaw the building of three cities and directed the construction of two temples -- all the while facing intense persecution from local mobs, who eventually drove Church members from all three cities Joseph settled.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today numbers more than 14 million. Latter-day Saints revere Joseph Smith as a prophet, just as they revere biblical prophets such as Moses and Isaiah.


January 1844
Because the Saints' religious and civil rights as American citizens had been denied them despite numerous and repeated appeals to the federal government, Church leaders announced Joseph Smith's candidacy for President of the United States in January 1844.
December 23, 1805
Joseph Smith was born in Sharon.


Further Resources


Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling

Richard Lyman Bushman


March 13, 2007

The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother

Lucy Mack Smith




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May 11, 2021
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a total of sixteen million members around the world. However, the conception and foundation of this church started through a vision. At 14-years of age, Joseph Smith received the most important vision in his life. In 1820, during the height of revivalism in New England, the young Joseph was ordained by God and the resurrected Jesus Christ. He was given a mission - restore God's true church. The vision lived on, and 200 years later, the...
March 15, 2021
It all started when 14-year-old Joseph Smith wanted to know which church he should join. In 1820, revivalism was rampant in New England. As he knelt in prayer, to his amazement, he received a vision during which he talked face to face with both God and the resurrected Jesus Christ., , , , Now 200 years later, over 16 million people worldwide are baptized members of this church, which God and Jesus empowered Joseph to organize. Joseph was also told that other heavenly messengers would assist in...


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