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Joseph Smith, Jr.

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Joseph Smith, Jr.

Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader. He started the Latter Day Saint movement (also called Mormonism). Latter Day Saints believe that Smith was a prophet.

Book of Mormon

According to Joseph Smith's own story, when he was 17 years old, he was visited by an angel named Moroni.[1] Moroni told him about a really old book written upon Golden Plates. It was buried in a hill. A few years later, Joseph said that he received those plates and translated them into the book that today is call The Book of Mormon. He instructed a man named Martin Harris to write down the words that he said was a translation of the plates. He said Moroni gave him seer stones which would help him translate the golden plates. Harris took home the pages and told his wife all about what had happened. His wife did not believe him and told him to test Joseph the next day. Martin went to Joseph the next day and said he had lost the pages but would be willing to recopy them. This way if Joseph was lying, the new book would be different. Joseph said he needed to pray alone. When he returned he informed Martin that God was very angry at him and would never let him translate from that plate again. Instead he had to translate from another plate which nobody but Joseph was allowed to see. Joseph said God made him do it this way because if he translated again from the same plates, someone would change the old pages and say Joseph lied.[2] Joseph said that this one had the same story but was written by a different ancient prophet. From this translation, the Book of Mormon was written.

Mormon Church

On April 6, 1830, he started The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is often called the Mormon Church. Joseph Smith said that God wanted him to be a prophet and teach other people the things that he learned from God. Millions of people joined this church, which still exists today.

Joseph Smith taught some things that some people did not like. He said that other churches were only partly true. He also said that men could have more than one wife if God commanded them, just like was taught in the Old Testament of the Bible.[3][4]


On June 7, 1844, some people who were upset with Smith published a newspaper in Nauvoo, Illinois called the Nauvoo Expositor[5] This newspaper was filled with bad things being said about Smith, such as how some men claimed that Smith tried to take their wives. Smith had the printing press that made the newspaper destroyed, and had the city declare martial law. Smith was arrested after being accused of trying to start a riot, and was put in jail in Carthage, Illinois as he waited for his trial to start. On June 27, a group of angry men entered the jail and killed Smith and his brother, Hyrum.


  1. Jackson, Andrew The Mormon Faith of Mitt Romney: What Latter Day Saints Teach and Practice Kudu Publishing 2012 page 23
  4. "The Bible does not forbid plural marriage. In fact, many of the most noble Biblical figures (e.g., Abraham) had more than one wife. Furthermore, Biblical laws quoted by critics forbid kings from being led astray by plural spouses, or entering relationships not sanctioned by God's authority. However, the same Biblical laws provide guidelines for legitimate plural relationships." 'Is polygamy not biblical?' FairMormon.