Joseph Smith was born in Vermont in 1805. While still a youth his family moved to New York state near the town of Palmyra. During a period of religious excitement, young Joseph got caught up in the enthusiasm and began visiting various churches in his community in search for the truth. In his quest he followed the admonition of James to “ask of God.” In response to his prayer he was visited by God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. He was told to join none of the churches.
A few years later, Joseph was visited by an angel and told of an ancient record that told of a group of people that had left Jerusalem prior to the Babylonian captivity and came to the American continent. This record tells their story and the story of their descendants and testifies of Jesus Christ. Joseph was shown the location of this record and a few years later, through the gift and power of God translated it into what is now known as The Book of Mormon.
Joseph received authority from heavenly messengers to organize God’s church. That church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
Joseph continued to lead the Church through many trials in the states of New York, Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. Joseph, along with his brother Hyrum, were murdered in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844.
John Taylor, third president of the Church said this of Joseph Smith, “He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood.”
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