Joseph Smith was an American religious leader born on December 23, 1805, in Vermont, U.S. Smith was known as the founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. He also published the “Book of Mormon” and led the church of Mormon from its inception to his demise. Smith founded a religion that has succeeded him with millions of believers worldwide, mainly in the US where there is a large Mormon population. Join us as we celebrate his special day today!
Joseph Smith Jr.
Joseph the Prophet
December 23, 1805
June 27, 1844 (age 38)
Joseph Smith Jr., born on December 23, 1805, in Vermont, U.S., was an American religious founder whose visions earned him global popularity. His family left Vermont for Western New York, and in 1820, Smith claimed he received a vision in which God and Jesus appeared to him. In this vision, Jesus tells Smith that all contemporary churches had turned away from the gospel. In his later accounts, Smith is visited by an angel named Moroni in 1823 who reveals the location of a buried book made of golden plates and other artifacts on a hill near his home. In 1827, on his last visit to the hill, Smith retrieved said plates after four years of unsuccessful attempts. According to Smith, he was instructed to conceal the plates from everyone but to translate and publish it. In October that year, he moved to Harmony (Oakland) with his wife, Emma Hale.
The plates were translated and formed the “Book of Mormon,” published in March 1830. By April, Smith and his followers formally founded the Church of Christ. However, he got arrested before he could confirm the newly baptized members. On acquittal, he moved to Colesville to escape a mob. Soon after, when his authority was undermined by other church members who claimed to receive revelations, Smith revealed a revelation that solidified his position as prophet and apostle. This revelation declared his sole ability to give doctrine and scripture to the entire church. In 1838, after Smith arrived in Missouri, the Missouri Zion church became the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In August of that year, non-Mormons in Gallatin tried to disenfranchise Mormons, which incited the 1838 Mormon War. For these activities, Smith was tried before a military court and sentenced to be executed. He was charged with overt acts of treason and spent months in prison before escaping custody in April 1839 after a grand jury hearing. By 1841, after settling in Illinois, Smith revealed the doctrine of plural marriage to his male associates. This doctrine became an excuse to lure and seduce numerous women, married and unmarried. Because of this, indictments were obtained against Smith for perjury and polygamy.
As a famous religious leader who impacted the lives of thousands of devoted followers, Smith’s personal affairs were very public. He had several other wives whose existence his first wife, Hale, denied. Smith was arrested for treason in June 1844. However, an armed mob shot and assassinated him on June 27, 1844.
Smith publishes the “Book of Mormon,” one of the four sacred texts accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
With Smith arriving in Missouri, the Zion Church becomes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Smith begins revealing the doctrine of plural marriage to his closest associates.
Dissidents of Smith’s church obtain indictments against him for perjury and polygamy.
Why We Love Joseph Smith
He was revered
Smith was one of the most revered prophets of the 19th century. His teachings were believed to be hook, line, and sinker.
He impacted lives
Smith’s teachings and church impacted the lives of people. He created a denomination that currently boasts millions of followers worldwide.
Smith suffered many tragedies in his life, including the untimely death of many of his children. Yet, he continues to meet challenges that are demanding of his position and his beliefs.
5 Surprising Facts
A warrant was issued for Smith’s arrest
After multiple banking fraud incidents, a warrant was issued for Smith’s arrest.
He lost many children
Smith lost six of his 11 children with Emma Hale.
He had 10 siblings
Smith was one of his parents’ 11 children.
He suffered a bone infection
Smith suffered a bone infection that forced him to use crutches for three years.
He survived an assassination
When he was 14 years old, Smith survived an assassination attempt that killed a nearby cow in his stead
Joseph Smith FAQs
What did Joseph Smith believe?
Smith believed God chose him to restore Christ’s gospel and His Church on Earth.
Where did Joseph Smith have the first vision?
Smith had his first vision in Western New York.
Do Mormons believe in Jesus?
Yes, Mormons believe in the virgin birth of Jesus and that the brothers of Jesus were Mary and Joseph’s biological children.
Joseph Smith’s birthday dates