Who was Joseph Smith?

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Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and a witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ. He was the founder of the Mormon Church. Like many ancient prophets he ended his mission by being murdered by his enemies. Joseph Smith was born in 1805 in Vermont, but grew up in New York. As a young man, he was greatly troubled by religious issues and was worried about his salvation. He prayed and read the Bible often and attended church meetings. One day, as he was ponder the confusion he felt about God and His plan for mankind, he read James 1:5, which read, “If any you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”He immediately knew that he could pray to God and get an answer for himself and not need to depend on others. Some time later in the spring of 1820, when he was just 14, he went out into the woods near his home to pray. He pray aloud to God for an answer to his confusion. According to Joseph Smith’s own account: “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other–This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith-History 1:16-17). This was Joseph Smith’s first vision. After this he was visited by angels who called him to be a prophet like Moses or Paul. He was commanded to translate the Book of Mormon from ancient records. The Book of Mormon contained the fullness of Jesus Christ’s Gospel. Over the next several years he published the Book of Mormon and other revelations which he received and organized the Mormon Church. Joseph Smith continued to lead the Mormon Church until he was murdered by a mob in 1844 in Illinois.Joseph Smith taught that God lives, that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that these are the last days before His return. He taught that every person must repent and come unto Jesus Christ by accepting baptism from His servants who have receive authority from Him called priesthood. Like so many before him, Joseph Smith sealed his testimony with his own life as martyr for religion. He was succeeded by Brigham Young.