The Prophet Joseph Smith is one of the most charismatic and influential religious figures in American history. Joseph Smith acquired many followers throughout his life, but also many opponents. Joseph Smith’s calling was to be the first prophet of the final dispensation before the Second Coming of Christ. The Lord intended to reveal the fulness of His gospel as it had been known since ancient times, with all of its true doctrine and priesthood authority. He also intended to establish the same order and organization that Christ had set up during His ministry.
Joseph Smith’s ancestors were ordinary New England farm people who emigrated from England to America in the seventeenth century and settled in Massachusetts. Joseph Smith was born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, the son of Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith.
Impressing the Stranger
(Joseph Smith an American Prophet by J. Evans)
One day, in the early summer of 1844, Josiah Quincy, the sophisticated mayor of Boston, with his cousin, Charles Francis Adams, visited Nauvoo, Illinois. Nauvoo was then the largest town in the state. It had been built on a bog by the Mormons, and was at this time occupied by some twenty-five thousand of them. The famous visitors were shown the sights by Joseph Smith himself, who also explained to them the Mormon faith.
Quincy observed the Prophet closely. He noted his size and looks, his dress, his language, his mannerisms, the play of his features as he talked, his way with people, how these regarded him, his ideas on religion and public questions-everything, in short, that an educated observer of men would be likely to notice in one of whom he had heard strange things. He even fished out of a waste-paper basket some letters from English converts-which he read.
From that interview Josiah Quincy went home and wrote an essay on the Mormon prophet, which he later published in his book, Figures of the Past. The beginning and the end of this paper are interesting as they show the impression made by Joseph Smith on one who was an adept at sizing up his contemporaries.
“It is by no means improbable,” he begins, “that some future text-book for the use of generations yet unborn will contain a question something like this: ‘What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen?’ And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: ‘Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet.’ And the reply, absurd as it doubtless seems to most men now living, may be an obvious commonplace to their descendants. History deals in surprises and paradoxes quite as startling as this.”
More about Joseph Smith:
JOSEPH SMITH Mormon Prophet – The First Vision
Joseph Smith was only fourteen years old when he experienced what few boys or men have. Known as the first vision, where young Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ, there has never been an event more glorious or controversial. It has been described as possibly being the most singular event to ever occur on the earth since the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is hard to believe for some and it is hard for some to explain. However, it was a real event, an event that has changed the course of human history…. (Read more)
The exact process by which the Book of Mormon was translated is known only to Joseph Smith. He described it only as through the “gift and power of God.” That he used translators, the “urrim and Thummim” is known, but eventually Joseph grew into seership and didn’t need their help…. (Read more)
The priesthood is given by God to man, so that they may have the authority to act in His name. Jesus Christ gave the priesthood to the Twelve Apostles, but after the ascension of Christ, as the Apostles died or were killed, the authority of the priesthood was lost…. (Read more)
Joseph Smith is the first modern prophet of The Church learn more by attending a local meetinghouse today.