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    The Life and Controversies of Joseph Smith, a Religious Leader and Founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saints Movement

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    Mormonism, one of America’s strongest and most influential religions, was not always popular with the people. Joseph Smith was the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints, and the leader of the Mormon, faith. Through all the scapegoating and violence, Mormons were forced out of countless states, and were prosecuted all the way to the desolate salt plains of Utah, where they created a major city for the time and still for today, Salt Lake City, Utah. All these achievements were made possible by one man with a vision that vastly changed Americans who believed his tales of religion.

    Joseph Smith, Jr. was born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont to Lucy Mack Smith and her husband Joseph, a merchant and farmer. The family suffered through many different circumstances, such as four seasons of crop failures, and hardships to pay debts. Even more crippling to Joseph Smith, he suffered from a bone infection at age seven, deteriorating him to a level of handicapped abilities and crutches. As Joseph aged, he realized he was captivated in the era of the Second Great Awakening, where many religions flew around the minds of Americans. After this revelation, Joseph realized that the start of his own religionwould be at his best interests. (Ref Joseph Smith, America’s hermetic Prophet)

    Joseph Smith claimed that one night, while he was sleeping, an angel named Moroni roused him from his sleep and informed him that he was to be the prophet of the Church of LDS (Mormon). He then commanded Joseph Smith to retrieve the tablets that had been buried at Hill Cumorah. These were no ordinary tablets however, these tablets were said to be made out of pure gold and written in a language that needed a seer stone to translate, according to Joseph Smith. 

    When Smith had fully translated the script (funnily enough, by placing the plates and seer stones into a hat and “reading” them in the dim light) assisted by Martin Harris, he then proceeded to publish them to American citizens. However, Martin Harris who had showcased these manuscripts to several of his acquaintances lost the articles of which there was only one copy. Smith, outraged, locked himself into a room and reportedly deeply communicated with the Mormon God, in which he was told that the golden plates had been taken away and all Smith could do was attempt to do was wait until the plates were “finished with the refurbishment” and again available to be perused again.

    Peeved with Harris for the loss of the original script, Joseph Smith and his wife traveled and settled in a different village in which he hired a personal scribe, Oliver Cowdery to transfer the readings onto another script, which finishes with a slam on the religious authorities, a 116 page paper off pure heretical lunatics running around telling lies of Native American Jews. (Ref The Book of Mormon)

    When the population read Joseph Smith’s Book of Mormon, the bible for the Mormons, they were shocked to find out that the book was indeed about Joseph Smith’s encounter of angels from another world that gave him stories on how the population and original natives of America came to be. According to the Book of Mormon, the Garden of Eden was in Jackson Missouri, Jesus and Satan were brothers, and that the Native Americans were actually Jews who were descended from a Jewish merchant named Lehi, who sprouted three tribes, the Nephites, Jaredites, and the Lamenites. 

    These three tribes would go to war and eventually fight till only a few remaining people were left living. These last of the living, were cursed by God, who as punishment turned the survivors’ light skin to dark. These men would live the rest of their lives as Native Americans, untouched until the arrival of Christopher Columbus. Even though the tale of the spread of Mormonism might be somewhat far-fetched, the principle of the religion is something that is extremely vital to the American life, such as strong family and community relationships. (Ref the Book of Mormon)

    As you probably have guessed the teachings of Joseph Smith were highly controversial. However contrary to popular belief, in which everyone thought that the only believers of the Mormon faith would be Joseph Smith, the Mormon religion attracted many followers throughout the trek from Vermont to Utah with his revolutionary way of campaigning for believers in his faith. He named this Campaign the Zion’s Camp, which successfully raised thousands of religious followers. However as the followers grew, so did the hate for the Mormons. The religion and the believers were scapegoated for many different things such as economic crisis and public riots.

    As the Mormon’s settled in Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith truly began to attract many different believers; Joseph Smith became drunk with his power and influence, and even started the trend of polygamy as he had roughly wed 30 different women, ranging in age from under twenty to over fifty years old. Some of these women who were already wed to Smith’s closest advisors, whom which turned on him and tried him for these outrageous and outlandish acts of atrocious behavior. (Ref PBS: Joseph Smith)

    Eventually Joseph Smith was imprisoned with several of his family members for attempts on monarchy, polygamy and trying to cover up a sex scandal with many different women. As the Smiths were escorted to Carthage Jail, the accusations rose to treason against the state of Illinois and the people of Mormonism. As tension escalated, so did the hatred of Joseph Smith by his followers and the people of America. Men in black face paint stormed the jail one night and raided the cell holding Joseph Smith as their anger for his actions cannot be contained. 

    Hyrum Smith, who was blocking the door attempting to protect Joseph, was instantly killed as a shot penetrated the door and hit him in the face. As Joseph fired a pepper-box pistol, which had been smuggled inside the prison at his incoming assailants, he leapt from the window onto the ground attempting to make a run for it, he was penetrated multiple times by the bullets as he screamed “Oh Lord my God!” 

    So many bullets struck his body that his head was almost decapitated by the time it hit the ground. He died shortly after hitting the ground, and was buried in Nauvoo Illinois. As the Mormons were without a leader, they were run out of Illinois as well, however Brigham Young decided to step up to the plate and lead the Mormons to the Promised Land which was Salt Lake City Utah, where the spread and culture of Mormonism greatly developed. (ref Joseph smith, America’s Hermetic Prophet)

    Even though Joseph Smith lead a short life of only thirty eight years, he accomplished and began a religion that could survive the riots and mobs of many, and still come out to be one of America’s most influential and powerful home-grown religions. Joseph Smith would always be remembered by many people today as many famous people reflect on the Mormon belief as the religious guide. People such as Mitt Romney (the 2012 Republican presidential candidate), Christina Aguilera (popular singer of the 21st century), Larry King (News anchor who provided much of the top stories for Americans to date), Tom Hanks (One of the greatest actors of the 20th-21st century), and Elvis Presley (the king of rock and roll).

    Joseph Smith and his Book of Mormon had come a long way from looking at stones and tablets through the dim light of a hat and has gone through many hardships, but even through all the criticism and skepticism, the Mormon religion still lives on today with flair in social media and the lives of millions right now in America, the Homeland of free will and religious freedom. (Ref the Church Of Mormons)

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    The Life and Controversies of Joseph Smith, a Religious Leader and Founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saints Movement. (2023, Mar 10). Retrieved from

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