Joseph Smith: The founder of Mormonism
Who is Joseph Smith?
Joseph Smith Jr. was an American religious leader and the founder of Mormonism and The Latter Day Saints Movement. At the age of twenty-four, Smith published what is now known as The Book of Mormon. After fourteen years of his death, he attracted tens of thousands of followers and started a religious culture that continues till today and is widely known as Mormonism.
The man known as Joseph Smith
Joseph Smith Jr. was born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont. Smith’s interest for a religion started at the tender age of twelve when his family was caught up in the excitement of what was a religious enthusiasm. Smith may have decided to adopt a religion but was confused at the time whether which church would help him with his soul’s welfare. Years later Smith experienced a series of visions which cleared his religious confusions with one in which he saw God The Father and Jesus Christ. Another such event is experienced by Smith where the angel Moroni tells him that his sins were forgiven and the others churches have turned aside from the Gospel. The event is one that is of great importance for Smith’s followers and is known as the first event in the gradual restoration of Christ’s church to earth.
The Book of Mormon
On later visits, according to Smith the angel Moroni revealed to him the location of a buried book made of golden plates, as well as other artifacts, including a breastplate and a set of interpreters composed of two seer stones set in a frame. All of it was hiden near his house on a hill. For four years he made visits to the hill but was prevented by the angel. Meanwhile, when Smith was in Harmony, Pennsylvania at the hale house he started courting Emma Hale. He married Emma on January 18, 1827. During his last visit to the hill, Smith took his wife with him and retrieved the golden plates on September 22, 1827. According to him, the angel told him not to show the plates to anyone and publish them for the public to see them.
The Three Witnesses
Martin Harris was one of the first people who aided in the translation of the plates but was kicked out from he job when he lost a total of 116 pages from the manuscript he was given to show to his family members. Oliver Cowdery was then appointed as the replacement and the third person to aid them in due course of time was Peter Whitmer. During one such event of translation, they found out about the requirement of a church and baptism. The first three translators were collectively known as The Three Witnesses. The book of Mormon was finally published on March 26, 1830, by printer E.B.Grandin.
In 1831 Smith and his followers moved west to build a communalistic American Zion. The first of these places where Kirtland Ohio where Smith’s attempt failed of building a Zion. His attempts bore fruit in Missouri as a Zio was built there. After the collapse of Kirtland Safety Society Anti-Banking Company and the violent skirmishes with non-Mormon public Smith had to flee Missouri as warrant was also issued against him on the charge of banking fraud. A new zion was established in Nauvoo, Illinois where he became a spiritual and political figure. In 1844 he angered the Non-Mormons by destroying a newspaper press which criticized Smith’s power and practice of polygamy. When he was imprisoned in Carthage, Illinois he was killed when a mob stormed the jail. He was whot several times when he was trying to jump from a window. He died shortly after hitting the ground.
Revelations and Teachings
Smith published many revelations and other texts that his followers regard as scripture. His teachings include his views about the nature of God, cosmology, family structures, political organization, and religious collectivism. His followers regard him as a prophet comparable to Moses and Elijah. Several religious denominations consider themselves the continuation of the church he organized. Including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Community of Christ.