- Joseph Smith, Jr.
Joseph Smith, Jr. (
December 23, 1805– June 27, 1844) was the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, also known as Mormonism, and an important religious and political figure in the United States during the 1830s and 1840s. In 1827, Smith began to gather a religious following after announcing that an angel had shown him a set of golden platesdescribing a visit of Jesusto the indigenous peoples of the Americas. In 1830, Smith published what he said was a translation of these plates as the Book of Mormon. The same year he organized a new church, which he called the Church of Christ.
During most of the 1830s, Smith lived in
Kirtland, Ohio, which remained the headquarters of the church until the collapse of the Kirtland Safety Societyencouraged him to gather the church to the Latter Day Saint settlement in Missouri. There, tensions between church members and non-Mormons escalated into the 1838 Mormon War, leading to Smith's imprisonment and an executive order by the Missouri governor that effectively expelled Latter Day Saints from the state. After escaping from custody, Smith and his followers settled in Nauvoo, Illinois.
There he was accused of aspiring to create a
theocracyand of practicing polygamy, which he publicly denied. He ran for President of the United Statesin 1844, and during the campaign, his part in the Nauvoo City Council's decision to suppress a newspaper that had published accusations against Smith led to his assassination by a mob of non-Mormons.
Joseph Smith's legacy includes several religious denominations with adherents numbering in the millions, denominations that share a belief in
Jesusbut that vary in their acceptance of each other and of traditional Christianity. Smith's followers consider him a prophet and believe that some of his revelations are sacred texts on par with the Bible.
Joseph Smith, Jr. was born on
December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermontto Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith, a downwardly mobile farm family. After Joseph's birth, they moved to western New York—a region of intense religious activity during the Second Great Awakening—where they continued to farm just outside the town of Palmyra. Although Smith never joined a church during his youth, he did read the Bible and was also influenced by the folk religionof that time and place. [ [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/js_h/1/5 Joseph Smith—History 1 ] ]
Many years later, Smith reported that in 1820, when he was fourteen, he had experienced a
theophany, an appearance of God to man, an event commonly referred to by Latter Day Saints as the First Vision. Smith eventually recorded several accounts of this vision, [Richard L. Bushman, "Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism" (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1984), 39-40.] and the version that was later canonized by the LDS Church was first publicly revealed in 1838. [ [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/js_h/1 Joseph Smith—History] ]
Smith said that he had been concerned about what denomination to join and prayed in a nearby woods (now called the
Sacred Grove). There he had a vision in which he saw God the Fatherand his Son, Jesus Christas two separate, glorious, resurrected beings of flesh and bone. They told him that no contemporary church was correct in its teachings, and that he should join none of them. [Joseph Smith - History 1:15-20 ]
According to Smith he reported his vision to a local minister, who he said pronounced it "of the devil" because "there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and there would never be any more of them." [Joseph Smith - History 1:20-25. Although Smith said he was persecuted by his neighbors for claiming that he had had this vision, there is no surviving documentation of the persecution.
Fawn Brodiescoffed that "the Palmyra newspapers, which in later years gave him plenty of unpleasant publicity, took no notice of Joseph's vision at the time it was supposed to have occurred." Brodie, 23. Richard Bushmansays that Smith "probably exaggerated the reaction." Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|p=43. David Persuitte noted that there was no published evidence nor "mention of it in any of the writings of any of the church members of the time." David Persuitte, "Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon ",2nd ed. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2000), 23.]
Meanwhile Smith participated in a "craze for treasure hunting." [ The treasure-seeking culture in early 19th century
New Englandis described in Harvtxt|Quinn|1998|pp=25–26.] Beginning as a youth in the early 1820s, Smith was paid to act as a "seer", using seer stones in mostly unsuccessful attempts to locate lost items and buried treasure. [Harvtxt|Smith|1838b|pp=42–43 (stating that he was what he called a "money digger", but saying that it "was never a very profitable job to him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it").] Smith's contemporaries describe his process for finding treasure as placing the stone in a white stovepipe hat, putting his face over the hat to block the light, and then "seeing" the information in the reflections of the stone. [Harvtxt|Harris|1833|pp=253-54; Harvtxt|Hale|1834|p=265; Harvtxt|Clark|1842|p=225; Harvtxt|Turner|1851|p=216; Harvtxt|Harris|1859|p=164; Harvtxt|Tucker|1867|pp=20–21; Harvtxt|Lapham|1870|p=305; Harvtxt|Lewis|Lewis|1879|p=1; Harvtxt|Mather|1880|p=199; Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|pp=50–51, 54–55.] His preferred stone, which some said he also used later to translate the golden plates, was chocolate-colored and about the size of an egg, [Harvtxt|Roberts|1930|p=129] found in a deep well he helped dig for one of his neighbors. [Harvtxt|Harris|1859|p=163; Harvtxt|Lapham|1870|pp=305–306. The stone was found in either 1819 (Harvnb|Tucker|1867|pp=19–20 Harvnb|Bennett|1893) or 1822 Harv|Chase|1833|p=240.] During this period Smith said he experienced a visitation from an angel named Moroni [Joseph Smith - History 1:50] who directed him to a long-buried book, inscribed on golden plates, which contained a record of God's dealings with ancient Israelite inhabitants of the Americas. This record, along with other artifacts (including a breastplateand what Smith referred to as the Urim and Thummim), was buried in a hill near his home. On September 22, 1827, Smith said that after four years of waiting and preparation, the angel allowed him to take possession of the plates and other artifacts. Almost immediately thereafter local people tried to discover where the plates were hidden. [Joseph Smith - History 1:59-60]
Smith left his family farm in October 1825 and was hired by Josiah Stowall, of nearby Chenango county, to search for a Spanish silver mine by gazing at seer stones. [ [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/js_h/1/56 Joseph Smith—History 1 ] ; Bushman, 48. According to Lucy Mack Smith, Stowall enlisted Joseph "on account of having heard that he possessed certain keys by which he could discern things invisible to the natural eye."] In March 1826, Smith was charged with being a "disorderly person and an impostor" by a court in nearby Bainbridge. [Harvtxt|Hitchens|2007|pp=161; Morgan, D: "Dale Morgan on Early Mormonism: Correspondence and a New History", Appendix A. Signature Books, 1986; Harvtxt|Bushman|2005|p=70; Harvtxt|Hill|1976|pp=223-233; Roberts, A. "Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints", Vol. 1, 211. The following writers cited differing charges against Smith in Bainbridge: Benton (1831): 'a disorderly person'; Cowdery (1835): 'a disorderly person'; Noble (1842): 'under the Vagrant act'; Marshall (1873): 'a disorderly person and an imposter'; Purple (1877): 'a vagrant, without visible means of livelihood'; Tuttle (1882): 'a disorderly person and an imposter'; Judge Neely: 'a misdemeanor'. 2. list of writers' citing differing verdict against Smith in Bainbridge: Benton: 'tried and condemned'...'designedly allowed to escape'; Cowdery: 'honorably acquitted'; Noble: 'was condemned, took leg bail'; Marshall: 'guilty?'; Tuttle: 'guilty?'; Purple: 'discharged'; Constable De Zeng: 'not a trial'.]
Smith also met Emma Hale during this period and married her on
January 18, 1827. Emma eventually gave birth to seven children, three of whom died shortly after birth. The Smiths also adopted twins. [ The children who died were Alvin, who lived only a few hours ( June 15, 1828), and twins, Thaddeus and Louisa,( April 30, 1831). The Smiths adopted twins, Joseph and Julia, the children of Julia Clapp Murdock and John Murdock after Julia Clapp Murdock died in childbirth shortly after Emma lost her own twins. Joseph and Emma Smith had four sons who lived to maturity: Joseph Smith III( November 6, 1832), Frederick Granger Williams Smith ( June 29, 1836), Alexander Hale Smith( June 2, 1838), and David Hyrum Smith November 17, 1844, born after Joseph's death.
Although it seems unlikely that Joseph Smith would not have any children by his polygamous wives, DNA testing has so far not proved a relationship to likely candidates. cite article | title = Research focuses on Smith family | date = 2005-05-28 | work =
Deseret News| url = http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,600137517,00.html ; cite article | title = DNA tests rule out 2 as Smith descendants: Scientific advances prove no genetic link | date = 2007-11-10 | work = Deseret News| url = http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695226318,00.html ; name=Perego>cite journal
last = Perego
first = Ugo A.
last2 = Myers
first2 = Natalie M.
last3 = Woodward
first3 = Scott R.
title = Reconstructing the Y-Chromosome of Joseph Smith, Jr.: Genealogical Applications
Journal of Mormon History
volume = 32
number = 2
date = Summer 2005
year = 2005
url = http://mha.wservers.com/pubs/TOC/05_July_Journal_TOC.pdf] (See
Children of Joseph Smith, Jr.)
1827 to 1830: Organizing the Church
Book of Mormon
Smith and his wife moved to Harmony, Pennsylvania, with the financial assistance of their neighbor Martin Harris. [Ronald W. Walker, "Martin Harris: Mormonism's Early Convert," "Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought" 19 (Winter 1986):35. ] Initially Smith told a few family members and
Joseph Knightthat he had retrieved the plates written in unusual characters as well as the Urim and Thummim. [Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling," Alfred A. Knopf, pp. 59-60] . According to Richard Bushman, "From then on, Joseph's life revolved around the plates." [Richard L. Bushman, "Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling", 60. Harris took copies of the transcribed characters, which Smith called Reformed Egyptianto several well-known scholars, including Columbia College professor Charles Anthon. Richard L. Bushman, "Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling", 64. Harris reported that Anthon had initially provided authentication of the Reformed Egyptian characters but had then torn up his written statement when he heard that Smith had received them from an angel. Anthon subsequently wrote two letters, conflicting on major points, but both insisting that the the characters were a meaningless and warning Harris that he was the victim of a fraud. Richard L. Bushman, "Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling", 64-65.] Harris was convinced that the plates were genuine, and he began acting as Smith's scribe while Smith translated them by examining the Urim and Thummim or seer stones in the bottom of his hat. [ [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/js_h/1/62-62 Joseph Smith—History 1 ] Harvtxt|Whitmer|1875 ("Having placed the Urim and Thummim in his hat, Joseph placed the hat over his face, and with prophetic eyes read the invisible symbols syllable by syllable and word by word."). Michael Morse, Smith's brother-in-law, stating that he watched Smith on several occasions: "The mode of procedure consisted in Joseph's placing the Seer Stone in the crown of a hat, then putting his face into the hat, so as to entirely cover his face." (Harvnb|Wagoner|1982|52–53, quoting W.W. Blair, "Latter Day Saints' Herald" 26 (15 Nov. 1879): 341, who was quoting Michael Morse). Smith's wife Emma stated that she took dictation from her husband as she sat next to him, and that he would put his face into a hat with the stone in it, dictating for hours at a time. Harv|Smith|1879|pp=536-40. Isaac Hale wrote, "The manner in which he [Joseph] pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the Book of Plates were at the same time hid in the woods!" David Whitmer, an early disciple of Smith, wrote that Joseph "did not use the plates in the translation, but would hold the interpreters to his eyes and cover his face with a hat, excluding all light, and before his eyes would appear what seemed to be Parchment," on which he would see the characters on the plates along with a translation. Joseph Knight wrote, "Now the way he translated was he put the urim and thummim into the hat and Darkned his Eyes then he would take a sentance and it would apper in Brite Roman Letters. Then he would tell the writer and he would write it. Then that would go away the next sentance would Come and so on. But if it was not Spelt rite it would not go away till it was rite, so we see it was marvelous. Thus was the hol translated." cite book |title= Inventing Mormonism|last= Marquart|first= H. Michael|authorlink= |coauthors= Wesley P. Walters|year= 1994|publisher= Signature Books|location= |isbn= 1-56085-108-2|pages= pp. 103-4|url= . Others have made note of Smith's procedures: "The plates could not have been used directly in the process. The Prophet, his face in a hat to exclude exterior light, would have been unable to view the plates directly even if they had been present during transcription. A mental picture of the young Joseph, face buried in a hat, gazing into a seer stone, plates out of sight, has not been a generally held view since the early days of the Church. The view raises some difficult questions. Why, for example, was such great care taken to preserve the plates for thousands of years if they were not to be used directly in the translation process?" (Richard Van Wagoner and Steven Walker, "Joseph Smith: 'The Gift of Seeing,'" "Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought" 15 [Summer 1982] : 52). ]
From April 12 to June 14, 1828, Smith and Harris worked consistently on the translation. A curtain divided the two men and Smith used Urim and Thummim or seer stones as "interpreters." [Richard L. Bushman, "Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling", 66] The result of their work was the translation of 116 pages. After relentless requests by Harris, Smith reluctantly allowed Harris to take the manuscript to Palmyra to assuage the growing skepticism of his wife Lucy. When Harris returned, long overdue, he told Smith that the manuscript had disappeared.
About the same time, Smith's wife Emma gave birth to a stillborn son. Smith, understandably distraught over losing both his child and the manuscript, [He had had great hopes for his first-born child, reportedly telling people that the child would see the plates Harv|Howe|1834|p=264 and assist in the translation Harv|Howe|1834|p=267.] then dictated to Emma his first written
revelation, which rebuked him for losing the manuscript pages but assigned most of the blame to Harris. [Harv|Phelps|1833|loc=sec. 2:5.] The revelation assured Smith that if he repented, God would restore the interpreters that the angel had taken away. [Harv|Phelps|1833|2:7.] During this period, Smith also may have briefly joined a Methodist inquirers' class in Harmony. [Harv|McKune|1879. Emma's family attended the church, which was led by Nathaniel Lewis, Emma's uncle. Harv|Lewis|Lewis|1879; Harv|Porter|1969|p=332. Joseph Lewis, a cousin of Emma "objected to the inclusion of a 'practicing necromancer' on the Methodist roll," and Smith voluntarily withdrew Harv|Lewis|Lewis|1879 in "EMD" 4:305; Harv|Bushman|2005|p=69-70.]
Lucy Mack Smith said that her son received the interpreters again on September 22, 1828, and he slowly resumed translating with Emma taking the dictation. The pace of the translation greatly increased, however, after
April 7, 1829, when Oliver Cowderyarrived in Harmony. Cowdery was a school teacher whose family, like Joseph's, had engaged in treasure seeking and other magical practices, [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=73] and Cowdery had taken an interest in Smith's story while in Palmyra. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=71.] Smith dictated most of the Book of Mormon to Cowdery between early April and late June. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=73.] In later years, both men testified that during this period they had been ordained by John the Baptistand then had baptized each other in the Susquehanna River. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=74-75; Joseph Smith - History 1:68-70. Cowdery first publicized the visitation of John the Baptist in 1834, Joseph not until a history composed in 1838 was first published in 1842.]
Early years of the church
In early June 1829, Smith and Cowdery moved to
Fayette, New Yorkto complete the translation, and Smith began to seek converts. As Richard Bushman has written, when people believed, "they did not just subscribe to the book; they were baptized." But as Joseph "began to seek converts the question of credibility had to be addressed again. Joseph knew his story was unbelievable." [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=77] He finally had a revelation that others, known today as the Three Witnessesand the Eight Witnesses, would bear testimony to the existence of the plates—which they did on unknown dates and at unknown locations sometime in early July 1829. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=77-78. Smith said that when he finished translating the gold plates, the angel Moroni took them away.] Finally, the Book of Mormonwas published in Palmyra on March 26, 1830by printer E. B. Grandin. Martin Harrisfinanced the publication by mortgaging his farm. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=80. Because he could not pay the debt, Harris lost both his farm and his wife, who had refused to become a party to the mortgage.]
April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith and his followers formally organized as the Church of Christ, [The majority of witnesses report that the organization took place in the log home of Joseph Smith, Sr.in the Manchester area (Harvnb|Smith|1844; Harv|Smith|1883|p=14; Harv|Jessee|1976; Harvnb|Tucker|1867|p=58), followed by a meeting the next Sunday in Fayette, New YorkHarv|Tucker|1867|p=58; but one of Smith's histories Harv|Roberts|1902|p=78 and a later statement by David Whitmerassert that the organization took place in Fayette Harv|Whitmer|1887|p=33.] and small branches were established in Palmyra, Fayette, and Colesville, New York. There was strong opposition to the church, and in late June, Smith was again brought to court but acquitted. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=116-17.] Perhaps it was during this period that Smith and Cowdery later said that they received a visitation from Peter, James, and John, three apostlesof Jesus, who appeared to them in order to restore the Melchizedek priesthood, which they said contained the necessary authority to restore Christ's church. ["Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith", The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2007, p. 7-8; Harv|Bushman|2005|p=118. Erastus Snowsaid that Peter, James, and John had appeared to Smith and Cowdery "at a period when they were being pursued by their enemies and they had to travel all night," a circumstance that occurred in late June 1830.]
In July 1831, Smith revealed that the church would establish a "City of Zion" in Native American territory near Missouri. [D & C 57:1-3] In anticipation, Smith dispatched missionaries, led by
Oliver Cowdery, to the area. On their way, they converted a group of Disciples of Christ adherents in Kirtland, Ohioled by Sidney Rigdon. To avoid growing opposition in New York, Smith moved the headquarters of the church to Kirtland. [ [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/37 Doctrine and Covenants 37 ] .]
1831 to 1834: Kirtland
Growth and persecution
Sidney Rigdon's supporters more than doubled the number of Latter Day Saints, and when the comparatively well-educated and oratorically gifted Rigdon became Smith's closest adviser, he aroused the resentment of some of Smith's earliest followers. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=123-24] The Kirtland saints also exhibited unusual spiritual gifts such as loud prophesying, speaking in unknown tongues, swinging from house joists, and rolling on the ground. With some difficulty, Joseph managed to check the most extreme forms of religious enthusiasm. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=150-52; Harv|Brodie|1945|p=99]
Although in Ohio Joseph and his family had to live as guests in other people's homes, this period saw a prolific increase in Smith's revelations. Following the completion of the Book of Mormon, Smith rarely any longer used his seer stone; and later "translations" were not based on purported ancient writings. He now received supernatural direction "whether a text lay before him or not." [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=131-32] From the early 1830s came the
Book of Moses(which included a long passage about the biblical Enoch) as well as an attempt to revise the Bible. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=130-43] Smith also collected his earlier revelations, which believers had already begun to treat as sacred texts, and published them in 1833 as the Book of Commandments(later, the Doctrine and Covenants). [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=128.]
In early 1831, revelations instructed Joseph to organize a new social system, called the
United Order, in preparation for the coming millennium. Members were required to "consecrate" their property to the church so that "every man may receive according as he stands in need." [Joseph's instructions were explicit: "But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin." "D&C", 49:20.] As Richard Bushman has written, "The experiment was a failure, and the two-year existence of the system was about average for the various communal experiments being undertaken in the period." [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=152-55; 182-83.]
By 1832, the twenty-six-year-old Smith led an organization of about a thousand followers. Not only were the burdens of his office beyond his experience, some disaffected former followers accused Smith of dictatorial ambition, deceiving the credulous, and the intent to take their frontier property. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=178-79: The two instigators of the mob were former Mormons Ezra Booth and Symonds Ryder. Booth claimed that Smith "was an insidious fraud. Behind Joseph's plans for Zion, Booth saw a plot to trap the unsuspecting 'in an unguarded hour [as] they listen to its fatal insinuations. The plan so ingeniously contrived, having for its aim one principal point, viz: the establishment of a society in Missouri, over which the contrivers of this delusive system, are to possess unlimited and despotic sway.' Booth thought Joseph's doctrines were designed to allure the credulous and the unsuspecting, into a state of unqualified vassalage.'" Ryder claimed that the Mormons were plotting to take their followers' property "and place it under the disposal of Joseph Smith the prophet."] On March 24, they encouraged a mob to drag Smith and Rigdon from their beds and beat them unconscious. Joseph was tarred and feathered and narrowly escaped being castrated. [On the basis of limited evidence,
Fawn Brodiespeculated that a member of the mob hoped to punish Joseph for "being too intimate with his sister."Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=178-79; Harv|Brodie|1945|p=119. In the struggle Smith demonstrated his physical prowess but also begged for mercy. The next day, a Sunday, he preached as usual "and the quiet dignity of his sermon added to the aura of heroism fast beginning to surround him."Harv|Brodie|1945|p=120.] The attack encouraged Joseph to accelerate a trip to Missouri. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=180.]
Zion in Missouri
In the summer of 1831, Smith had received a revelation that the eventual Zion for Latter Day Saints would be in
Independence, Missouri, at the time a ragged village of no more than twenty dwellings. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=162; D&C 57:2.] During his 1832 visit, Joseph had to dampen hard feelings among his subordinates there, but he was also able to found the first Mormon newspaper, the " Evening and Morning Star", at the time the westernmost newspaper in the United States. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=181-83;Harv|Brodie|1945|p=115.]
The rough pioneers of Missouri found Joseph's prophecies about Zion threatening. [In 1833 Smith had prophesied that the Saints were to "redeem my vineyard; for it is mine...break down the walls of mine enemies; throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen." ("D&C" 101:56-58.) In February, the revelations spoke of "avenging me of my enemies." ("D&C" 103:25.)] They tarred and feathered two church leaders, and vigilantes destroyed Mormon homes, effectively forcing the Saints to move to Clay County. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=222-27.] Smith tried to organize a military response from Kirtland—a revelation had told him that "the redemption of Zion must needs come by power"—but the trek of what came to be called
Zion's Campended with nothing accomplished. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=235-47; "D&C" 103:15.]
For the next several years, Smith's attention was split between Ohio and Missouri, but his family lived in Kirtland. There, under his direction, the Saints sacrificed to build a stone temple. For a few months after its completion in early 1836, this first temple was the scene of visions, angelic visitations, prophesying, speaking and singing in tongues, and other spiritual experiences. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=310-19;Harv|Brodie|1945|p=178. As Brodie writes, "Five years before... [Joseph] had found a spontaneous orgiastic revival in full progress and had ruthlessly stamped it out. Now he was intoxicating his followers with the same frenzy he had once so vigorously denounced."] But economically the Kirtland temple was "a disaster," money that might have been used for the City of Zion was channeled into a costly building project. Both Smith and his church went deeply in debt, and Smith was "hounded by his creditors ever after." [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=217, 329. By 1837, Smith had run up a debt of over $100,000.]
After the dedication of the Kirtland temple, Smith's life "descended into a tangle of intrigue and conflict." [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=322.] Following his death in 1844, both friend and foe agreed that sometime during this period Joseph privately married
Fanny Alger, a serving girl in the Smith household, as a plural wife, a relationship that Oliver Cowdery referred to in 1838 as a "dirty, nasty, filthy affair." [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=322-27. The relationship had ended by 1836, and Alger married a non-Mormon grocer in Indiana, bearing him nine children. To her brother, who later wrote to her about her relationship with the Prophet, she replied, "That is all a matter of my own. And I have nothing to communicate."]
After the Saints were driven from
Jackson County, Missouri, Joseph was "stunned for months, scarcely knowing what to do." [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=322.] In August 1836, he received a revelation that there was "much treasure" in Salem, Massachusetts. Hoping he might find it with his seer stone, he and his closest associates left the financially troubled Kirtland community for the East. By September they were back in Kirtland; they returned with no treasure. ['D&C" 111:2; Harv|Bushman|2005|p=322.]
A more common expedient for raising money on the frontier was
wildcat banking. Smith did not have enough capital to obtain a state charter, but he printed notes anyway and circulated them in January 1837. The Kirtland Safety Societyfailed within a month. The notes had Smith's signature on them, and he was personally blamed for the fiasco. The onset of a nationwide panic in 1837 also encouraged creditors to pursue their debtors vigorously. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=329-30.] Many Latter Day Saints, including prominent leaders who had invested in the banking scheme, became disaffected and either left the church or were excommunicated. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=336-38.] There were even a couple of unseemly rows in the temple, including one occasion on which guns and knives were drawn. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=339.] When a leading apostle, David Patten, raised insulting questions, Joseph slapped him in the face and kicked him into the yard. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=332, 337, 339.] After a warrant was issued for Smith's arrest on the charge of bank fraud, Smith and Rigdon fled Kirtland for Missouri on the night of January 12, 1838. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=339-40.]
1835 to 1838: Missouri
After being forced from Clay County, the Missouri Saints had established themselves slightly north and east in Caldwell and Daviess Counties. Mormons from New York, Ohio, and Canada streamed to this frontier territory, and Joseph encouraged the pioneers "with a revelation promising to 'make solitary places to bud and to blossom, and to bring forth in abundance.'" ['D&C" 117:7; Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=345-46.] Smith even called the new settlement around Far West, the "church in Zion," ['D&C" 115:3] "implying that Far West was to take the place of Independence." [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=345.]
The disaffection in Kirtland had spread to Missouri, and four of the earliest Mormon leaders, David and
John Whitmer, William Phelps, and Oliver Cowderywere now expelled from the church, which had come under stronger influence of Sidney Rigdon. When the dissidents and their families lingered in Missouri, they were threatened by a group of semi-secret ruffians, the Danites, led by a cunning, resourceful, and unscrupulous recent convert, Sampson Avard, who put his band under oath to be "completely submissive" to Joseph Smith. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=346-51;Harv|Brodie|1945|p=213-20.]
Once the dissidents had been driven out, Smith warned the Missourians that the Saints would not "be mobbed anymore without taking vengeance." As Fawn Brodie has written, "From the bottom of his heart Joseph hated violence, but his people were demanding something more than meekness and compromise." [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=355;Harv|Brodie|1945|p=213: "It was common gossip among the old settlers that the Mormons would never fight; and Joseph came to realize that in a country where a man's gun spoke faster than his wits, to be known as a pacifist was to invite plundering."(Brodie, 213.)] Furthermore, as Mormons increased in Daviess County, non-Mormons "watched local government fall into the hands of people they saw as deluded fanatics." [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=357.] On election day, August 6, 1838, a Missouri rabble-rouser incited a riot in which the
Danitesgave as good (or better) than they got. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=345; Harv|Brodie|1945|pp=225-26.]
The Mormon War
Thereafter "the Saints were bullied and threatened," and they responded in kind. Latter Day Saint families were driven from their farms, and Saints burned buildings belonging to the Missourians. In October 1838 a Mormon contingent skirmished with the Richmond County militia at the
Battle of Crooked River. Three Mormons and a Missourian were killed. A few days later a small party of Missourians surprised and massacred a Latter Day Saint settlement at Haun's Mill. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=358-66.]
Lilburn Boggsdeclared that the Mormons be "exterminated or driven from the state", [Boggs' executive order stated that the Mormon community had "made war upon the people of this State" and that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace." Harv|Bushman|2005|p=367] an executive order for which there was no formal apology until 1976. [ [http://www.mormonhistoricsitesfoundation.org/publications/studies_spring_01/MHS2.1Hartley.pdf Hartley, W.G. "Missouri’s 1838 Extermination Order and the Mormons’ Forced Removal to Illinois", Mormon Historical Sites Foundation Studies, Spring 2001] , (accessed August 29, 2008)] Far West was shortly surrounded by 2,500 militiamen. Joseph, whose earlier "angry rhetoric [had] stirred the blood of more militant men," surrendered to the Missourians on November 1, 1838; and he and four associates were taken prisoner. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=366-67,371] Latter Day Saint property was confiscated and the Saints driven from Missouri by the spring of 1839. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=371. The state of Missouri did not reverse and issue a formal apology for the Extermination Orderuntil 1976, during the administration of Governor Christopher S. Bond. [http://www.sos.mo.gov/TIF2PDFConsumer/DispPDF.aspx?fTiff=archives/OfficeofSecretaryofState/Commissions/ExecutiveOrders/Online/RescissionOrder_pg1.tif|archives/OfficeofSecretaryofState/Commissions/ExecutiveOrders/Online/RescissionOrder_pg2.tif&Fln=tempFile.pdf "The Missouri Mormon War: Executive Orders", Missouri Secretary of State] , (accessed August 29, 2008) who stated "Gov. Bogg’s order clearly contravened the rights to life, liberty, property and religious freedom as guaranteed by the Constitution of the State of Missouri." His Executive Order read "Expressing on behalf of all Missourians our deep regret for the injustice and undue suffering which was caused by this 1838 order, I hereby rescind Executive Order Number 44 dated October 7, 1838, issued by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs.]
, where the majority of state witnesses were or had been Mormons. Chief among them was the former leader of the Danites, Sampson Avard, who whitewashed himself and heaped blame on Rigdon and Smith. [Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=367-70;Harv|Brodie|1945|pp=225-26.]
The prisoners were then transferred to the jail at
Liberty, Missouri, the Clay County seat, to await trial. Although he frequently called down imprecatory judgments on his enemies and perceived enemies, as Fawn Brodie has written, Joseph bore his harsh imprisonment "stoically, almost cheerfully, for there was a serenity in his nature that enabled him to accept trouble along with glory." [Harv|Brodie|1945|p=245;Harv|Bushman|2005|pp=375-77. However, Rigdon was both sick and a whiner, and Smith became disillusioned with him during their period of enforced association in Liberty jail.Harv|Brodie|1945|p=251.] Smith wrote to his followers "with skill and tact" attempting to dispel the now current notion that he was a fallen prophet. [Harv|Brodie|1945|pp=245-46. Smith claimed to have been ignorant of many of Avard's devices; and "oddly, he chose to deny the ubiquitous rumor of polygamy—though it had not been mentioned in the Richmond trial."] Brigham Younglater claimed that even Smith's brother William said he hoped that Joseph would never get out of the hands of his enemies alive. [Statement of Brigham Young (1865) quoted in Harv|Brodie|1945|p=246.] Joseph and his companions also made two unsuccessful attempts to escape from jail before, on April 6, they were started under guard to stand trial in Daviess County. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=375;Harv|Brodie|1945|pp=250-51.]
Once the Latter Day Saints no longer posed a political threat, Missouri leaders realized that Mormon behavior could hardly be classified as "treason" whereas, as Fawn Brodie has written, the governor's "exterminating order stank to heaven." [Harv|Brodie|1945|p=247. "The prisoners had long suspected they were an embarrassment to the state because the vigilante action and Bogg's extermination order would cause a scandal if widely publicized." Bushman (2005), 382. Brodie also noted that it was common knowledge that "one member of the legislature had participated in the Haun's Mill massacre." Brodie, 247. ] On the way to trial, the sheriff and guards agreed to get drunk on whiskey purchased by Joseph's brother Hyrum and looked the other way while their prisoners escaped. [Harv|Bushman|2005|p=382;Harv|Brodie|1945|p=255. The Mormons may also have bribed their guards. Joseph Smith III remembered his father paying $800 to the sheriff.]
1838 - 1844: Nauvoo, Illinois
In April 1839, Smith rejoined his followers who, having fled east from Missouri, had spread out along the banks of the Mississippi near
Quincy, Illinois. There for both humanitarian and political reasons the refugees had been welcomed. [ "There was chronic border friction between Missouri and Illinois, and the 'Suckers' welcomed the chance to demonstrate a nobility of character foreign to the despised 'Pukes.' More important, a presidential election was in the offing, and the Democratic Association, which controlled the votes in the quincy area, was eager to make friends with this huge new voting bloc. Fearful lest the Mormons turn Whig in bitterness against the Democratic government in Missouri they solicited funds for relieving the Mormons' distress and did their best to provide housing." Brodie, 248-49.] Purchasing waterlogged wilderness land on credit from two Connecticut speculators (who drove a hard bargain during this period of economic recession), Joseph established a new gathering place for the Saints along the Mississippi in Hancock County. [ Bushman, 383-84. Joseph also purchased land across the river in Iowa from a dishonest recent convert, Isaac Galland. Galland sold his land cheaply enough, but when courts finally straightened out the titles, Gallands' proved worthless. The 250 Mormon families who had settled had to return "penniless to Nauvoo." Brodie, 262.] He renamed the area "Nauvoo", which he said meant "beautiful" in Hebrew. [ A similar Hebrew word appears in Isaiah 52: 7] The soggy low land and river eddies were exceptional breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and the Saints suffered plagues of malariain the summers of 1839, 1840, and 1841. (In 1841 malaria killed Joseph's brother Don Carlos and his namesake, Joseph's son Don Carlos, within a few days of one another.) [Bushman, 384, 425.]
Late in 1839 Smith went to Washington to seek redress from the federal government for the Saints' losses in Missouri. He met briefly with President
Martin Van Buren, but neither man seems to have thought much of the other, and the trip produced no reparations. Whatever sympathy Van Buren or Congress might have had for Mormon victims was canceled out by the importance of Missouri in the upcoming presidential election. [ Bushman, 392-93.] Nevertheless, Joseph shrewdly made Missouri a "byword for oppression" and "saw to it that the sufferings of his people received national publicity." [Brodie, 259. The editor of the "Chicago Democrat" wrote, "We will not go so far as to call the Mormons martyr-mongers, but we believe they are men of sufficient sagacity to profit by anything in the shape of persecution....The Mormons have greatly profited by their persecution in Missouri...let Illinois repeat that bloody tragedies of Missouri and one or two other states follow, and the Mormon religion will not only be known throughout our land, but will be very extensively embraced. March 25, 1840 in Brodie, 259.]
In a bold stroke, Joseph sent off the Twelve Apostles to Great Britain to serve as missionaries for the new faith. All left families in desperate circumstances struggling to establish themselves in Iowa or Illinois. While Joseph had been imprisoned,
Brigham Younghad with indefatigable skill brought the believers out of Missouri, and the Saints "had obeyed him implicitly." [Brodie, 258.] But with Young and the others in Europe, Smith recovered his earlier prestige and authority. Meanwhile, the missionaries found many willing converts in Great Britain, often factory workers, poor even by the standards of American saints. [Bushman (2005), 409; Brodie, 258, 264-65. Many converts came from dissatisfied members of English sects "along the margins of conventional church life." On the previous religious beliefs of these Mormon converts, see Grant Underwood, "The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism" (Urbana: University of Illinois, 1993). The Mormon missionaries were shocked by the poverty they witnessed, and as Fawn Brodie has written, they "began to preach the glory of America along with the glory of the gospel." The Mormon " Millennial Star" published in Liverpool "frequently had the ring of a real estate pamphlet." Brodie, 264.] These first trickled, then flooded, into Nauvoo raising Joseph's spirits. [Bushman (2005), 410.]
In February 1841, Nauvoo received a charter from the state of Illinois that granted the Latter Day Saints a considerable degree of autonomy. Smith threw himself enthusiastically into the work of building a new city. The charter authorized independent municipal courts, the establishment of a university, and the creation of a militia unit known as the "
Nauvoo Legion." Joseph dreamed of industrial projects and even received a revelation commanding the building of a hotel, "that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein." [Bushman (2005), 410-13; "D&C", 124: 23. The revelation (still included in the Mormon canon) specifically provided the amount of stock to be owned by any individual and granted a suite of rooms to Joseph and his posterity "from generation to generation, for ever and ever." "D&C", 124: 59.]
While burdened with the temporal business of creating a city, Joseph also elaborated on the
cosmologyof the new religion. According to Richard Bushman, Smith now moved from "a traditional Christian belief in God as pure spirit to a belief in His corporeality." ["D&C", 130: 22; Bushman (2005), 420. According to LDS theologian David Paulsen, this teaching was foreshadowed in the Book of Mormon by the story of the brother of Jared, although even Richard Bushman admits that the "doctrine of a corporeal God was not fully articulated until later." David L. Paulsen, "The Doctrine of Divine Embodiment: Restoration, Judeo-Christian, and Philosophical Perspectives, "BYU Studies" 34, no. 4 (1995-96), 19-21. The earliest unequivocal statement of Joseph Smith was made at the opening of the Nauvoo Lyceum, January 5,1841: "There is no other God in heaven but that God who has flesh and bone." Kurt Widmer, "Mormonism and the Nature of God: A Theological Evolution, 1830-1915" (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2000), 122. See also Douglas J. Davies, "An Introduction to Mormonism" (Cambridge University Press, 2003), 75-76.] Smith saw that the joining of spirit and body that God provided to his children as the way to attaining a fullness of joy. [Bushman (2005), 421] In other words, Joseph declared that God had a body.
Instead of affirming that there was an eternal God who had created matter, Smith taught that matter was eternal and that it was God who had developed through time and space. God only assembled the earth from preexisting materials and then had drawn on "a cohort of spirits from the pool of eternal intelligences to place upon it." [Bushman (2005), 421. In general see, Kurt Widmer, "Mormonism and the Nature of God: A Theological Evolution, 1830-1915" (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2000). Widmer notes that Smith's "Doctrine of Eternal Progression" includes four components: that God is an exalted man; that man's spirit is co-equal with God and he can become a god; that there are innumerable gods who are progressing in knowledge; and that there is a "council or plurality" of gods." (119)] Another striking doctrine that Joseph developed after 1840 was
baptism for the dead," an attempt to join "the generation of humanity from start to finish" by bringing "saving ordinances to the millions who had died without their benefits." [Bushman (2005), 422.] During the same period, Joseph published the Book of Abraham, Smith's "translation" of what later turned out to be an ancient Egyptian Book of the Deadthat he had purchased from a traveling exhibitor in 1835. The Book of Abraham, canonized by the LDS Church after Smith's death, also emphasized the plurality of gods, pre-mortal existence, and the concept that the earth had been organized out of preexisting matter. [Bushman (2005), 452-58; Brodie, 170-75; Widmer, 90. The Book of Abraham was also used by later Mormons to justify discrimination against those with black skin because they were, like Pharaoh, descendants of Ham.]
These doctrinal expansions culminated in a renewed effort to build another temple. Joseph chose a site on a bluff in Nauvoo where he blessed the cornerstones in a public ceremony on
April 6, 1841. In Kirtland, Joseph had instituted rituals of washing and anointing, but in Nauvoo "the ceremonies were further elaborated to include baptism for the dead, endowments, and priesthood marriages." [Bushman (2005), 448; Ostlings, 9; Davies, 205. Davies notes that "Baptism for the dead and covenant-endowments for the conquest of death both found their ultimate validation in the power of the priesthood yet these three elements are absent from the Book of Mormon, whose emphasis upon baptism is always a baptism of repentance of the living for themselves." Smith did not live to see the completion or dedication of the temple. The Saints began to receive endowments on December 10, 1845, and the temple dedication was held on April 30, 1845, just before Nauvoo was abandoned.] As Bushman has written, Smith had "a green thumb for growing ideas from tiny seeds," and "portions of the temple ritual resembled Masonic rites that Joseph had observed when a Nauvoo lodge was organized in March 1842 and that he may have heard about from Hyrum, a Mason from New York days." [Bushman (2005), 449. Smith was initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason at the Nauvoo lodge on March 15, 1842. The next day, he was raised to the degree of Master Mason; the usual month-long wait between degrees was waived by the Grand Master of Illinois, Abraham Jonas. [http://www.masonicinfo.com/mormons.htm Mormons] ; [http://www.signaturebooks.com/excerpts/anointed2.htm Excerpts - Joseph Smith's Quorum of the Anointed ] ; [http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2005_Latter-day_Saints_and_Freemasonry.html The Message and the Messenger: Latter-day Saints and Freemasonry ] ; [http://www.ftfacts.com/morm.htm Facing the facts about mormonisn ] ; [http://www.mastermason.com/masonicmoroni/Images1.htm The Masonic Moroni- Images- Page One ] ; [http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Joseph_Smith_Jr_-_Biography/id/1539122 Joseph Smith Jr.: Encyclopedia II - Joseph Smith Jr. - Biography ] . Some commentators have noted similarities between portions of temple ordinance of the endowment and the Royal Arch Degree of Freemasonry. Richard Ostlingand Joan K. Ostling, "Mormon America: The Power and the Promise" (Harper Collins, 1999), 188. "Smith was an active Mason when he introduced the endowment ordinance two years before his death, and many scholars have noted the strong resemblance between the Mormon ordinance and Masonic ritual." Richard Ostlingand Joan K. Ostling, "Mormon America: The Power and the Promise" (Harper Collins, 1999), 194-95. "Early Mormons were fairly open in recognizing the connection between the endowment ritual and Masonry. Apostle and First Counselor Heber C. Kimball wrote that Smith believed in the 'similarity of preast Hood in Masonary.' Other early church leaders taught that the Masonic ceremony was a corrupted form of temple rituals that had descended directly from the biblical Solomonand were restored to their true, pristine form by the inspired Joseph Smith. ... Joseph Smith became a Mason in March 1842, advancing all the way to Master Mason the next day. This was highly unusual since the normal minimum wait between each of the three degrees is thirty days. In the weeks that followed he observed Masonic ritual degree advancements thirteen times before introducing the endowment ceremony on May 4 and 5, 1842. The essentially British version of Masonry as probably practiced in Nauvoo included such elements as ritual anointing of body parts; a ... drama as a metaphor for a spiritual journey; bestowal of a secret name (as a password into eternity); special garments (in Mormonism, sacred undergarments) when stepping through a veil in glorified ascent to a Celestial Lodge; secret handshakes and tokens; promises to fulfill moral obligations; penalty oaths to protect secrecy; progression through three degrees toward perfection; the use of special temple robes and aprons; and the word "exalted" to signify becoming kings in connection with the Royal Arch degree. Masons regard the lodge as a temple. All these elements have strong parallels in Smith's endowment ceremony. In addition, Masonic symbols that have been adapted by Mormons on everything from temples to gravestones to logos include: the beehive, the square and compass, two triangles forming a six-pointed star, the all-seeing eye, sun, moon, and stars, and ritualistic hand grips." Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith,"The Mormon Murders", (St Martin's Press, 1988), 78. "But like many Mormon boys with doubts, Mark was already caught up in the intriguing, Masonic-like initiation rites of the Mormon priesthood, the secret passwords, the secret handshakes, the special garments." Stanley B. Kimball,"Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer", 85: "Heber thought he saw similarities between Masonic and Mormon ritual." "Heber seems to have felt that both Mormonism and Masonry derived separately from ancient ceremonies connected with Solomon's temple." (See Freemasonry and the Latter Day Saint movement.)]
Revealed to Smith
The early years in Nauvoo had been a time of comparative peace and economic prosperity, but by mid-1842, Joseph was entangled in the conflicts that ended with his death two years later. [Bushman (2005), 436.] A year previous, Missouri courts had once again tried to extradite him on old charges that stemmed from the Mormon War. Although
Stephen Douglas, then a member of the Illinois State Supreme Court, declared the writ of extradition void on a technicality, Joseph "realized that popular opinion was turning against the Saints after two years of sympathy." Not surprisingly, Smith's praise for the Democrat Douglas first provoked opposition to the Mormons in a Whig newspaper, the " Warsaw Signal", whose young editor, Thomas C. Sharp, Joseph then arrogantly and unwisely offended. [Bushman (2005), 425-28. Joseph ended his subscription by calling the paper "a filthy sheet, that tissue of lies, that sink of iniquity," and signed the letter "Yours, with utter contempt."]
Of all Joseph's innovations during the years immediately preceding his death, Richard Bushman has called his practice of plural marriage "the most disturbing." [Bushman (2005), 437.] In April 1841, Smith secretly wed
Louisa Beamanas a plural wife, and during the next two and a half years, he may have married about thirty additional women, ten of them already married to other men. [Bushman (2005), 437; Remini, 151; Brodie, 335. Bushman follows the conservative reckoning of Todd Compton, "In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith" (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997), excluding one.] About a third of Smith's plural wives were teenagers, including two fourteen-year-old girls. [Compton, 11; Remini,154; Brodie, 334-43. ] Joseph was "a charismatic, handsome man," and in Remini's words, he "seemed cheerful and gracious" to all. [Bushman (2005), 439; Remini, 144.] Because many husbands and fathers knew about these plural marriages, Smith must have convinced them that "they and their families would benefit spiritually from a close tie to the Prophet." [Bushman (2005), 439. Joseph also told some women that an angel had commanded him to marry them, sometimes coming with "a drawn sword and threatened his life." Brodie, 303.] Smith told one prospective wife that her submission would insure the eternal salvation of her father's household. Furthermore, once sealed for eternity by priesthood authority, Joseph revealed that such couples would continue to procreate in the next life, becoming "enlarged" and, in effect, gods. [Bushman (2005), 439, 444; "D&C" 132: 20: "Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them."]
As Bushman has written, Joseph surely "must have realized that plural marriage would inflict terrible damage, that he ran the risk of wrecking his marriage and alienating his followers." And for those in the larger world, plural marriage "would confirm all their worst fears" about Mormonism. "Sexual excess was considered that all too common fruit of pretended revelation." [Bushman (2005), 438: "Joseph's enemies would delight in one more evidence of a revelator's
antinomiantransgressions. He also risked prosecution under Illinois's antibigamy law."]
Although Emma believed in Joseph's prophetic calling, she was displeased with Joseph's multiple marriages, especially since five of the women lived in the Smith household when he married them. [Leonard Arrington & Davis Bitton, "The Mormon Experience" (University of Illinois, 1979), 223; Bushman (2005), 491; Remini, 152-53; Brodie, 340-42: "Only Joseph's intimates knew that Emma nagged at him incessantly to be done with plural marriage....There was a hard core of resistance in Emma that Joseph simply could not wear down."] Emma may have temporarily approved of Joseph's marriage to two sisters, Eliza and Emily Partridge, but even they were an "awkward selection" because Joseph had already married the sisters two months previous, and he had to go through another ceremony for Emma's benefit. [Bushman (2005), 494; Brodie, 339; Remini, 152-53. The day Joseph married the Partridge sisters, he bought Emma a new carriage.] Nevertheless, "from that hour," Emily later wrote, "Emma was our bitter enemy," and they had to leave the household. [Quoted in Brodie, 339.] According to Joseph's scribe,
William Clayton, Joseph's brother Hyrum encouraged him to write down his revelation on plural marriage to present to Emma, and Joseph did so. [Bushman (2005), 495-96.] When Hyrum presented Emma with the revelation, she abused him. [Bushman (2005), 496; Newell and Avery, 161. Hyrum said that he came away from Emma having "never received a more severe talking to in his life." Later Joseph supposedly told his brother, "I told you you didn't know Emma as well as I did. "Historical Record", 6: 224-26 (1887), quoted in Brodie, 341.] Clayton reported that when Joseph reproved Emma for demanding from one plural wife a watch Joseph had given her, Joseph "had to use harsh measures to put a stop to [Emma's] abuse." [Bushman (2005), 496 quoting Clayton, Journal, August 16, 21, 23, 1843,]
Throughout her life and on her deathbed, Emma Smith repeatedly denied that her husband had ever taken additional wives. [Emma claimed that the very first time she ever became aware of a polygamy revelation being attributed to Joseph by Mormons was when she read about it in
Orson Pratt's booklet "The Seer" in 1853 ("Saints' Herald" 65:1044–1045). Emma campaigned publicly against polygamy and also authorized and was the main signatory of a petition in Summer 1842, with a thousand female signatures, denying that Joseph was connected with polygamy ("Times and Seasons" 3 [August 1, 1842] : 869). As president of the Ladies' Relief Society, Emma authorized publishing a certificate in October 1842 denouncing polygamy and denying her husband as its creator or participant ("Times and Seasons" 3 [October 1, 1842] : 940). In March 1844, Emma said, "we raise our voices and hands against John C. Bennett's 'spiritual wife system', as a scheme of profligates to seduce women; and they that harp upon it, wish to make it popular for the convenience of their own cupidity; wherefore, while the marriage bed, undefiled is honorable, let polygamy, bigamy, fornication, adultery, and prostitution, be frowned out of the hearts of honest men to drop in the gulf of fallen nature". The document "The Voice of Innocence from Nauvoo". signed by Emma Smith as President of the Ladies' Relief Society, was published within the article "Virtue Will Triumph", Nauvoo Neighbor, March 20, 1844 ("LDS History of the Church" 6:236, 241) including on her deathbed where she stated "No such thing as polygamy, or spiritual wifery, was taught, publicly or privately, before my husband's death, that I have now, or ever had any knowledge of...He had no other wife but me; nor did he to my knowledge ever have". "Church History"3: 355-356] Even when her sons Joseph III and Alexander presented her with specific written questions about polygamy, she continued to deny that their father had been a polygamist. [Harv|Van Wagoner|1992|pp=113-115 As Fawn Brodie has written, this denial was "her revenge and solace for all her heartache and humiliation." (Brodie, 399) "This was her slap at all the sly young girls in the Mansion House who had looked first so worshipfully and then so knowingly at Joseph. She had given them the lie. Whatever formal ceremony he might have gone through, Joseph had never acknowledged one of them before the world." Newell and Avery wrote of "the paradox of Emma's position", quoting her friend and lawyer Judge George Edmunds who stated "that's just the hell of it! I can't account for it or reconcile her statements." Harv|Newell|1994|p=308]
Revealed to others
Although Joseph's teachings about plural marriage were expressed in strict confidentiality and only to his leadership, the more men and women who participated, the more likely it became that the secret would be revealed to the Nauvoo community and, of course, to the larger world. By May 16, 1842, the "
New York Herald" reported the rumor that "promiscuous intercourse" was being practiced in Nauvoo. [Quoted in Brodie, 269.] Yet Joseph might have been able to talk down these reports along with other salacious gossip had not been for his erstwhile second-in-command, John Cook Bennett. [Ostlings, 32.] Joseph was not a good judge of men, [Ostlings, 32. Bushman says more discreetly that Joseph "had trouble distinguishing true friends from self-serving schemers." Bushman (2005), 410.] and Bennett shortly became Smith's nemesis, although Joseph had first predicted that Bennett was "calculated to be a great blessing to our community." [Bushman, 410.]
After deserting a wife and three children and arriving in Nauvoo in 1841, Bennett had been baptized into the new religion. [Ostlings, 12.] Emma never trusted him, but Joseph welcomed his assistance in acquiring the Nauvoo city charter. Soon Bennett became the first mayor of Nauvoo, “assistant president,” and Major General of the Nauvoo Legion. [Ostlings, 12; Bushman, 459.] The latter Bennett threatened to use in challenging Missouri for restitution of the Saints’ lost property, suggesting to skittish gentiles that Mormons intended to use force of arms to accomplish their objectives. [Brodie, 273. Bennett wrote that the “blood of murdered Mormons cries aloud for help…and I swear by the Lord God of Israel, that the sword shall not depart from my thigh, nor the buckler from my arm, until the trust is consummated, and the hydra-headed fiery dragon slain.” Times and Seasons, 3 (March 15, 1842), 724. ] Unfortunately for Smith, Bennett also had an eye for women and made use of Joseph’s new revelation to seduce the unwary, telling them that illicit sex was acceptable among the Saints so long as it was kept secret. [Bushman, 460.] And Bennett ignored even perfunctory wedding ceremonies. [Brodie, 310; Bushman, 460. Bennett, a minimally trained doctor, also promised abortions to those who became pregnant.]
Smith was incensed at Bennett’s activities and forced Bennett’s resignation as Nauvoo mayor. In retaliation, Bennett remained in the area and wrote “lurid exposés of life in Nauvoo” that were first published in various newspapers and, later that year, compiled into a book. [Ostlings, 12; Bushman, 461-62; Brodie, 314.] Even contemporaries could hardly escape the conclusion that Bennett was, as Fawn Brodie has called him, “a base and ignoble opportunist.” But the Ostlings note that “there was just enough of a kernel of truth to arouse internal suspicion and whip up anti-Mormon sentiment elsewhere.” [Ostlings, 13.] Non-Mormons looked with increasing uneasiness not only at reports of Mormon “free wifery” but at the comparative success of Nauvoo, the competent drilling of the Nauvoo Legion, and the growing political clout of the Saints. [Ostlings, 13.]
Furthermore, on May 6, 1842, an unknown assailant shot former governor of Missouri
Lilburn Boggsthree times in the head. [Bushman, 468.] Bennett named a rough Mormon loyalist, Porter Rockwell, as the gunman. Mormons considered Boggs’ assassination as the fulfillment of prophecy, and the " Nauvoo Wasp" indiscreetly gloated that the person who “did the noble deed remains to be found out." [Bushman, 468; Brodie, 323; Nauvoo Wasp, May 28, 1842.] Boggs refused to die, however, and when he recovered, he pressed Illinois governor Thomas Carlinto extradite Smith to Missouri. Joseph once again went into hiding for some months until the U. S. Circuit Court in Springfield finally ruled that the extradition order was unconstitutional. [Bushman, 468-75. The court’s reasoning was that if Joseph had committed a crime, it had been committed in Illinois not Missouri.]
Nevertheless, Smith realized his current position was tenuous. Many citizens of Illinois were now determined to drive the Mormons out of the state. [Bushman, 508.] In December 1843, Joseph petitioned Congress for the right to make Nauvoo an independent federal territory with the right to call out federal troops in its defense. [Bushman, 511; Brodie, 356. Smith also threatened Congress. The "
Millennial Star" later quoted Joseph as having said, "if Congress will not hear our petition and grant us protection, they shall be broken up as a government and God shall damn them, and there shall be nothing left of them—not even a grease spot." Quoted in Brodie, 356.] Then, probably unwisely, Smith also decided to desert both Whigs and Democrats, and announce his own candidacy for President of the United States, sending out the apostles to advertise his campaign. [Bushman, 514-15; Brodie, 362-64. Smith chose Sidney Rigdonas his running mate.] Meanwhile, he made plans to scout possible sites for a large Mormon settlement in Oregon or California. [Bushman, 519.]
In March 1844, Smith organized a secret
Council of Fifty, a policy-making body based on what Smith called " Theodemocracy" [Smith told a St. Louis reporter, "I go emphatically, virtuously, and humanely for a Theodemocracy, where God and the people hold the power to conduct the affairs of men in righteousness. And where liberty, free trade, and sailor's right [sic] , and the protection of life and property shall be maintained inviolate, for the benefit of ALL." (Quoted in Bushman, 522.) Nevertheless, as Bushman admits, to critics, "Joseph's plan for the Kingdom of God looked like a program for Mormon dominance." The Council of Fifty (which originally had fifty-three members) included only three non-Mormons, two of whom were known counterfeiters. (Ostlings, 13).] and which was in effect a shadow government. [Bushman, 511; Ostlings, 13; Remini, 166; Robert Bruce Flanders, "Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi" (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965), 292-94.] One of the Council's first acts was to ordain Joseph as King of the Kingdom of God. And, as if they had just organized an independent state, Smith and the Council sent ambassadors to England, France, Russia, and the Republic of Texas. [Ostlings, 13.] In April, Smith predicted "the entire overthrow of this nation in a few years." [Quoted in Bushman, 521.]
Dissent in Nauvoo
Smith faced growing opposition among his former supporters in Nauvoo, and he "was stunned by the defections of loyal followers." [Bushman (2005), 527.] Chief among the dissidents was William Law, Smith's second counselor in the
First Presidency, who was well respected in the Mormon community. [Ostlings, 14. Law had taken Hyrum Smith's place in the First Presidency as second counselor. Brodie calls Law one of Smith's "ablest and most courageous men." Brodie, 368. Law had been one of the few Saints to arrive in Nauvoo with capital; and he and his brother Wilson had purchased a considerable amount of land and constructed flour and lumber mills. Bushman (2005), 528. Brodie notes that Law came from Canada "a wealthy man" and had fostered "more than anyone else the sorely needed industrialization of the city." Brodie, 368.] Law's disagreement with Smith was partly economic. [Law paid his workers in cash, but Smith "operated on scrip, credit, and tithed labor." Law was also convinced that Smith was misappropriating money donated by church members to complete the Nauvoo House hotel in order to buy land and sell it to converts at a profit. Ostlings, 14; Brodie, 368.] But the most significant difference between the two was Law's opposition to plural marriage. There is even evidence that Smith propositioned the wives of both Law and his associate Robert D. Foster. [Ostlings, 14; Brodie, 369-72. Brodie repeats the testimony of another dissenter, Joseph H. Jackson, that Smith had vainly tried for two months to win the "amiable and handsome" Jane Law—and that Emma suggested that she be given William Law as a spiritual husband.] Law and others gave testimonies at the county seat in Carthage that resulted in three indictments being brought against Smith, including one accusing him of polygamy. [On the legal issues, see Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard Collin Mangrum, "Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1900" (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 106-113.] On May 26, just a few weeks before his death, Smith spoke before a large crowd of the Saints in front of the uncompleted temple and once again denied having any more than one wife. [Smith stated "I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made one proclamation of the Gospel, before it was reported that I had seven wives....I have rattled chains before in a dungeon for truth's sake. I am innocent of all these charges, and you can bear witness of my innocence, for you know me yourselves....What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers."Address of the Prophet—His Testimony Against the Dissenters at Nauvoo", History of the Church, Period I, 6:408–412. Referring to Law, Smith stated "This new holy prophet has gone to Carthage and swore that I had told him that I was guilty of adultery. This spiritual wifeism! Why, a man dares not speak or wink, for fear of being accused of this". History of the Church, 6:410–411. Bushman argues that, while to Joseph's enemies "the speech was blatant hypocrisy", in Smith's mind "priesthood plural marriage was based on another principle than polygamy." Bushman (2005), 538 ]
Unlike earlier dissenters Law had enough money to buy a printing press and publish a newspaper called the "
Nauvoo Expositor". Its only edition, published on June 7, 1844, contained affidavits testifying that the signers had heard Smith read a revelation giving every man the privilege of marrying ten virgins. The paper also attacked the attempt to "christianize a world by political schemes and intrigue" and denounced "false doctrines" such as "doctrines of many Gods," which, the paper said, Smith had recently revealed in his King Follett discourse. The newspaper also refused to "acknowledge any man as king or lawgiver to the church." [cite article | title = Nauvoo Expositor | date = 1844-06-07 | author = William Law | work = Nauvoo Expositor| url = http://www.solomonspalding.com/docs/exposit1.htm | name="autogenerated8">Harvnb|Marquardt|2005;Harvnb|Marquardt|1999, p. 312]
Joseph declared the "Expositor" a "nuisance." On June 10, the Nauvoo city council passed an ordinance about libels; and Joseph, as mayor, ordered the city marshal to destroy the paper. [Bushman, 540; name="autogenerated8">Harvnb|Marquardt|2005;Harvnb|Marquardt|1999, 312; name="Clark">J. L. Clark writes that Hyrum's statement "appeared in the Nauvoo "Neighbor" of June 19, 1844, but was omitted from the History of the Church" (Harvnb|Clark|1968); name="La Rue">Harvnb|La Rue|1919; name="historyOfLDS-council">Harvnb|LDS Church|1912. The council met on
June 8and June 10to discuss the matter; cite web | title=The Destruction of the "Nauvoo Expositor"—Proceedings of the Nauvoo City Council and Mayor | url=http://byustudies2.byu.edu/hc/6/22.html] Press, type, and newspapers were dragged into the street and burned. Smith argued that destroying the paper would lessen the possibility of anti-Mormon settlers attacking Nauvoo; but as Richard Bushman has written, he "failed to see that suppression of the paper was far more likely to arouse a mob than the libels. It was a fatal mistake." [Bushman, 541.]
When the destruction of the "Expositor" was reported to Smith's journalistic enemy
Thomas C. Sharp, his " Warsaw Signal" published a hysterical call to action: "Citizens arise, one and all!!! Can you stand by, and suffer such Infernal Devils! to rob men of their property and rights without avenging them. We have no time for comment, every man will make his own. Let it be made with Powder and Ball!!!" ["Warsaw Signal", June 14, 1844.]
Nauvoo Mormons feared reprisals from the non-Mormons, and non-Mormons were were apprehensive about the Nauvoo Legion, especially after Smith, fearing for his life, declared martial law on June 18. Illinois Governor Thomas Ford, desperately trying to prevent civil war, then mobilized the state militia. [Ostlings, 16.] The governor promised Smith that he would provide protection if Smith would stand trial at Carthage for the destruction of the newspaper. Smith ordered the Legion to disarm but then fled across the Mississippi to Iowa. Emma warned Joseph that Nauvoo residents believed he had left due to cowardice and that they feared reprisals from local mobs. Smith returned to Illinois on June 23, gave himself up, and was taken to Carthage to stand trial. [Ostlings, 17; Bushman, 546. Eight Mormon leaders accompanied Smith to Carthage: Hyrum Smith, John Taylor,
Willard Richards, John P. Greene, Stephen Markham, Dan Jones, John S. Fullmer, Dr. Southwick, and Lorenzo D. Wasson. [http://byustudies2.byu.edu/hc/6/31.html] All of Smith's associates left the jail, except his brother Hyrum, Richards and Taylor.]
June 27, 1844, an armed group of men with blackened faces stormed the jail where Joseph and three other Mormon prisoners were being held in an upstairs room without bars. Both Hyrum Smithand Joseph had pistols that had been smuggled in by friends the previous day. As the mob broke into the room, Hyrum was shot in the face and killed. Joseph discharged all six barrels of his pepper-boxand wounded three members of the mob. [ [http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/johnhayarticle.htm Hay, J. "Atlantic Monthly"] . Richards was unharmed. Taylor was shot several times, but survived. (One of the bullets glanced off his pocket watch.)cite book |last=Taylor |first=John |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=Witness to the Martyrdom |origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |date= |year= |month= |publisher= |location= |language= |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=91, 114-115 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= ;cite book |last=Leanord |first=Glen |authorlink= |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=A Place of Peace, a People of Promise |origdate= |origyear=2002 |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Deseret Book |location=Salt Lake City, Utah |language= |isbn= |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=Taylor, close behind the Prophet, had been using Markham's ‘rascal-beater’ to knock against the muskets and bayonets thrusting into the room.] But they continued to fire at Smith and the other Mormons. As Smith prepared to jump from the second floor, he was hit by a ball from the door and fell from the window. On the ground he stirred a bit. Four men fired and killed him. [Brodie, 393-94.]
Certain the Mormons would retaliate, the people of Carthage deserted their town by nightfall. But the Saints had been shattered by the loss of their leader. The bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were brought back to Nauvoo, and thousands of mourners filed by their coffins. Fearing desecration of the graves, church leaders decided to bury the men in the basement of the unfinished Nauvoo House. The coffins were filled with bags of sand and buried in the cemetery following a public funeral. [Arrington and Bitton, 82; Remini, 174-75. The remains were disinterred in 1928 on the orders of Smith's grandson
Frederick M. Smith, then President of the RLDS Church, and reburied along with Smith's wife Emma in a location thought to be safer from Mississippi flooding. http://farms.byu.edu/publications/bookschapter.php?bookid=&chapid=264 Black, S.E. "The Tomb of Joseph", from "The Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson", The Neal A. Maxwell Institute for religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University, 61–86. [http://www.cofchrist.org/history/Cemetery.asp Our History - Smith Family Cemetery, Community of Christ] .]
Charges were brought against five accused leaders of the mob that had killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and they stood trial in May 1845. The defense argued that no individuals could be held responsible because the assassins were carrying out the will of the people. The jury, which included no Mormons, acquitted the defendants. [Bushman (2005), 552.]
Emma Smith quickly became alienated from the church, largely over property matters; it was difficult to disentangle Joseph's personal property from that of the church. [Bushman (2005), 554. Brodie says that she also "came to fear and despise" Brigham Young. Brodie, 399.] Her strong opposition to plural marriage "made her doubly troublesome." [Bushman (2005), 554.] When the Saints moved west, she stayed in Nauvoo, married a non-Mormon, and withdrew from religion until 1860, when her son,
Joseph Smith III, stepped forward to lead what became the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (today, the Community of Christ). Emma never denied Joseph's prophetic gift or belief in the Book of Mormon. [Bushman (2005), 554-55. Emma Smith married Major Lewis Bidamon, an "enterprising man who made good use of Emma's property." Although Bidamon sired an illegitimate child when he was 62 (whom Emma reared), "the couple showed genuine affection for each." Bushman (2205), 555.]
After Joseph Smith's death, schisms threatened to rend the church. [Brodie, 398.] Several men claimed Joseph's mantle. The Prophet had not explicitly chosen a successor, although there is evidence that he had blessed his son Joseph III with the understanding that he would eventually succeed him. [Ostlings, 42. The church had published a revelation in 1841 stating, "I say unto my servant Joseph, In thee, and in thy seed, shall the kindred of the earth be blessed." sourcetext|source=The Doctrine and Covenants|book=Covenant 107|verse=18c and this prophecy was interpreted as endorsing the concept of Lineal Succession. Evidence also suggests that Joseph set apart his son as his successor at other places, including Liberty ("Joseph Smith III and the Restoration" (Herald House, 1952), 13.) and Nauvoo. ("Autumn Leaves", 1: 202). Indeed, as late as 1860, Brigham Young assured the bulk of Smith's followers that young Joseph would eventually take his father's place. ("Journal of Discourses", 8: 69.)] But the boy was only eleven when his father was murdered. William Clayton, one of Joseph's confidants and secretaries, declared that Joseph had recently said that if he and Hyrum were removed, a younger brother,
Samuel H. Smithshould be his successor. [Clayton Journal, July 12, 1844, quoted in Bushman (2005), 555. Because of the long controversy between the Utah and Missouri churches, the succession question has been extensively debated in both popular and scholarly publications.] Samuel died a month later. [Bushman (2005), 555.] Another brother, William Smith, made a bid to become leader but, as Richard Bushman has said, "his unstable character kept him from being a serious contender." [Bushman (2005), 555.]
A fairly recent convert,
James J. Strang, produced a counterfeit letter from Joseph commissioning him to lead the church. [Bushman (2005), 555. Strang also claimed he had been ordained by an angel.] Although Strang's previous relationship with Smith and the Saints had been minimal, he was able to produce revelations with a seerstoneand discovered another set of supernatural writings, the Voree Plates. Strang attracted two thousand followers, including William Smith, Martin Harris, and John C. Bennett; but Strang was assassinated in 1856 after he began to practice polygamy. [Bushman (2005), 556.]
As the surviving member of the
First Presidency, Sidney Rigdonhad a strong claim to leadership. Although his relationship with the Prophet had been uneven since 1839, on hearing of his assassination, Rigdon rushed from Pittsburgh to Nauvoo. [Bushman (2005), 556. After his imprisonment in Liberty jail, Rigdon was plagued by ill health; then in 1842 after breaking with Smith over his unsuccessful proposal of plural marriage to Rigdon's daughter Nancy, Smith nearly had him removed from the First Presidency. But after William Law's defection, Rigdon was welcomed back.] At an August 8 meeting of the Nauvoo congregation, Rigdon claimed he had had a vision in which the Lord had made him "Guardian" for the martyred prophet. At the same meeting Brigham Youngproposed that the Quorum of the Twelve, of which he was the senior member, should lead the church. [Bushman (2005), 556.] The experienced Young was easily sustained as the new First Presidency. [Bushman (2005), 557. Rigdon retreated to Pennsylvania where he founded churches that only briefly survived his death in 1876.] Later a legend grew that when Young rose to speak, members of the audience were struck by the similarity between his voice and mannerisms and those of the late prophet. [Bushman (2005), 557. The "Times and Seasons" reported that just before the sustaining vote at the afternoon session of the August meeting, "every Saint could see that Elijah's mantle had truly fallen upon the 'Twelve.'" Although the church newspaper did not refer to Young specifically for the "mantle" experience, on 15 November 1844Henry and Catharine Brooke wrote from Nauvoo that Young "favours Br Joseph, both in person, manner of speaking more than any person ever you saw, looks like another." Five days later Arza Hinckley referred to "Brigham Young on [w] hom the mantle of the prophet Joseph has fallen."cite book | last = Quinn | first = D. Michael | title = The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power | pages = p. 166 | location = Salt Lake City | publisher = Signature Books | year = 1994 | id = ISBN 1-56085-056-6]
Young, who lacked the charisma of Smith, was an even greater motivator of men. As Arrington and Bitton have written, he had "a compulsion to organize and "do"." [Arrington & Bitton, 85.] In the next eighteen months, the Nauvoo Mormons accomplished as much work on the temple as had occurred in the previous three years under Joseph. [Arrington & Bitton, 85.] But by that time, persecution of the Saints resumed in earnest. The state legislature revoked the Nauvoo city charter, and there were barn-burning and crop-burning attacks on outlying settlements. [Arrington & Bitton, 94.] It was clear that Saints would have to leave Illinois. By the fall of 1846, the Nauvoo was a virtual ghost town. [Arrington & Bitton, 96.]
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, adherents of the denominations originating from Joseph Smith's teachings numbered perhaps as many as thirteen or fourteen million.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saintsis the largest with a self-reported membership of over thirteen million. [http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695242682,00.html. "Addressing the New Mission Presidents Seminar on June 24, President Hinckley announced that LDS Church membership had reached 13 million." More members now reside outside than in the United States. The first million-member milestone was reached in 1947, the second in 1963.cite web |url=http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-851-9,00.html |title=Statistical Report, 2007 |accessdate=2008-04-14 |accessmonthday= |accessdaymonth= |accessyear= |author= |last=Watson |first=F. Michael |authorlink= |coauthors= |date= |year=2008 |month=April |format= |work= |publisher=www.lds.org |pages= |language= |doi= |archiveurl= |archivedate= |quote=Total Membership: 13,193,999 ] The second largest is the Community of Christ, formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS), with about 250,000 members. Other groups which follow Smith's teachings have memberships numbering from dozens to tens of thousands. [Steven L. Shields, "Divergent Paths of the Restoration: A History of the Latter Day Saint Movement" (Los Angeles: 1990).]
In modern media
*Joseph Smith has been portrayed on film by a number of actors including
Vincent Price("Brigham Young"), Dean Cain(" September Dawn"), Jonathan Scarfe("The Work and The Glory"), Nathan Mitchell ("") and Richard Moll("Brigham").
*Smith was the subject of the cover of "
Newsweek" Magazine, dated October 17, 2005. The cover included a reproduction of a stained-glass window portraying the First Vision.
*In 2003, Joseph Smith's early life was satirized in the "
South Park" TV episode " All About Mormons." On an earlier episode Joseph Smith was also featured as a member of the Super Best Friends, a groups of superheros composed of gods and major religious leaders.
December 23, 2005the film "" was premiered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; it is shown in the Legacy Theater of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. [ [http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,6516-1-3350-1,00.html "Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration" Film] from official LDS website]
The Joseph Smith Papers
* Smith Political and Civic Family
History of the Latter Day Saint movement
Controversies regarding Mormonism
Joseph Smith, Jr. and Polygamy
Lectures on Faith
List of assassinated American politicians
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page = 60–61
url = http://olivercowdery.com/smithhome/1886WWyl.htm#pg061a .
* [http://www.josephsmith.net/portal/site/JosephSmith JosephSmith.net] - The official web site on Joseph Smith by the LDS Church.
* [http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/ JosephSmithPapers.org]
* [http://comevisit.com/lds/js3photo.htm Joseph Smith Daguerreotype] - The only known photograph of Joseph Smith
* [http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6810859820752730970&q=joseph+smith The Restoration (Google Video)] - a Mormon film about Joseph Smith
* [http://www.lds.org/gospellibrary/materials/DC_Timeline_000.pdf Joseph Smith Chronology Chart]
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