Joseph Smith: The Death Of The Founder Of Mormonism Explained

Born on December 23, 1805, Joseph Smith grew up on farms in multiple states, including Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York. When Smith was 14 years old, he wanted to become a church member, but he wasn't sure which one was right. Smith prayed and had his questions answered in dreams, in which he later said that he had seen God and Jesus, and they said that all the churches are wrong. Smith was sure he had a vision, but a church minister said it was a delusion (via Britannica).

In 1823, Smith claimed he had another dream. This time, an angel named Moroni spoke to him in old Hebrew. Moroni revealed there was a stone box buried not far from Smith's house, and inside it, Smith would find an ancient holy text written on golden plates. Smith found the box and translated the hieroglyphics ("reformed Egyptian," via The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The translations became a book published for the first time in 1830 and named after Moroni's father, Mormon. In the same year "The Book of Mormon" was published, Smith founded the Church of Christ, which would later become the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Joseph Smith was murdered in jail

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints soon converted many people and founded communities in Ohio, Missouri and Illinois. The new religion combined concepts of Christianity with the revelations reported by Smith. According to History, they consider themselves Christians, but many Christian denominations don't recognize the Saints as one of them.

Smith raised many controversies for his unorthodox practices, such as polygamy. According to The Guardian, after founding the church, Smith eventually had 40 wives. The religious leader claimed he didn't want to have multiple wives, but that Moroni appeared in his dreams, saying he had no choice, and threatening him with destruction if he didn't comply, according to an essay on the church's website.

In 1884, Smith announced he would run in the presidential elections, which increased his number of enemies. A group of former members of the church published newspapers exposing the controversial practices in the church. Shortly after that, Smith and his brother Hyrum were arrested under the charge of treason and conspiracy and jailed in Carthage, Illinois. According to History, on June 27, 1844, an anti-Mormon mob broke into the jail and killed Smith and his brother, an act the church characterizes as a "deliberate political assassination."

Hyrum fell first, according to PBS. Joseph was shot as he tried to escape through a window. He was hit four times, twice in the back. He fell to the ground, dead.