Historical Who is Who

SMITH, Joseph

1805 - 1844
United States


Founder of the Mormons in 1830, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. He based this on his experience of an angel messenger some eight years earlier telling where revelatory golden tablets might be found which tell of the earlier settlement of the lost tribes of Israel in America in the 5th century followed by appearances there of the risen Christ. His desire to share this message with others – his missionary zeal – has become a characteristic obligation on those who have become Mormon followers, whether in Utah or throughout the world. His distinctive beliefs were accompanied by distinctive values, including multiple marriage and baptism as a mark of repentance for entry to a coming millennial kingdom – which could also be carried out on behalf of those already dead. Morality and supportive education were a necessary priority for him. However, as with any religious truth claims in which history is involved, independent analysis raises some challenging questions about the extent to which factual corroboration is at all decisive.

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