Smith, Joseph (LDS Founder)

Born: 1805-12-23 Sharon, Vermont

Died: 1844-06-27 Carthage, Illinois

Flourished: 1839-1844 Nauvoo, Illinois

Joseph Smith was the prophet and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. In 1820, while living in the burned-over district of New York, Smith received visions and revelations that led to his publication of The Book of Mormon in 1830. In the early 1830s, Smith and his followers moved to Ohio and later Missouri, where enmity toward the Mormons and their collective political power erupted in late 1838. After being expelled from Missouri, Smith came to Illinois, where he founded the town of Nauvoo in 1839. In 1844, Smith, acting as Mayor of Nauvoo, ordered the closing of an anti-Mormon newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor. Smith was arrested for inciting a riot and taken into custody in Carthage, the county seat, where a mob killed him and his brother Hyrum.

Richard L. Bushman, "Smith, Joseph," American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford, 1999), 20:230-33.