The Church Historian's Press

Joseph Smith

1805– 1844

Brother of Hyrum Smith and nephew of John Smith; born in Sharon, Vermont; moved with his family to western New York; in 1820, beheld God the Father and Jesus Christ in answer to his prayer regarding which church to join; visited by the angel Moroni in answer to another prayer in 1823; received the gold plates from Moroni; translated gold plates, which were published as the Book of Mormon in March 1830; organized the Church at Fayette, New York, in April 1830; moved headquarters of the Church to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1831; joined with his followers at Far West, Missouri, and Nauvoo, Illinois; served as mayor of Nauvoo and lieutenant general of the Nauvoo Legion; went to Carthage, Illinois, to answer charges relating to destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor press in June 1844; murdered along with his brother Hyrum while in Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844. (See Richard L. Bushman and Dean C. Jessee, “Smith, Joseph,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 3:1331–48; Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith; Bushman, Joseph Smith; Orton and Slaughter, Joseph Smith’s America; Jesse, Esplin, and Bushman, The Joseph Smith Papers; GQC journal, frequent references, Nov. 1850–July 1854.)