joseph smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. About the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067…
When he was twenty-four, Smith published the Book of Mormon; by the time of his death fourteen years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion and religious culture that continues to the present. Smith was born in Sharon, Vermont, but by 1817, he had moved with his family to the burned-over district of western New York, a site of intense religious revivalism during the Second Great Awakening. According to Smith, he experienced a series of visions, including one in which he saw “two personages” (presumably God the Father and Jesus Christ) and others in which an angel named Moroni 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, 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”.
In 1831, Smith and his followers moved west, planning to build a communalistic 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 expensive Kirtland Temple. Nevertheless, the collapse of the church-sponsored Kirtland Safety Society and violent skirmishes with non-Mormon Missourians caused Smith and his followers to establish a new settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois, where he became a spiritual and political leader. In 1844, Smith and the Nauvoo city council angered non-Mormons by destroying a newspaper that had criticized Smith’s power and practice of polygamy. After Smith was imprisoned in Carthage, Illinois, he was killed when a mob stormed the jailhouse.
Smith published many revelations and other texts that his followers regard as scripture. His teachings include unique views about the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. His followers regard him as a prophet comparable to Moses and Elijah, and he is considered the founder of several religious denominations, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ.
Joseph Smith, Jr. was born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, to Lucy Mack Smith and her husband Joseph, a merchant and farmer. After suffering a crippling bone infection when he was seven, the younger Smith hobbled around on crutches for three years. In 1816–17, after an ill-fated business venture and three years of crop failures, the Smith family moved to the western New York village of Palmyra, and eventually took a mortgage on a 100-acre (40 ha) farm in the nearby town of Manchester.
During the Second Great Awakening, the region was a hotbed of religious enthusiasm; and between 1817 and 1825, there were several camp meetings and revivals in the Palmyra area. Although Smith’s parents disagreed about religion, the family was caught up in this excitement. Smith later said he became interested in religion at about the age of twelve; without doubt, he participated in church classes and read the Bible. As a teenager, he may have been sympathetic to Methodism. With other family members, Smith also engaged in religious folk magic, not an uncommon practice at the time. 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 said that in 1820 he had received a vision that resolved his religious confusion. While praying in a wooded area near his home, he said that God, in a vision, had told him his sins were forgiven and that all contemporary churches had “turned aside from the gospel.” Smith said he told the experience to a preacher, who dismissed the story with contempt; but the experience was largely unknown, even to most Mormons, until the 1840s. Although Smith may have understood the event as a personal conversion, this “First Vision” later grew in importance among Mormons, who today see it as the founding event of Mormonism.