Joseph Smith Jr. Is Born

Born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, to Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph Smith Jr. grew up on a series of tenant farms in Vermont, New Hampshire, and New York.

Though in his youth Joseph was largely deprived of a formal education, he was "instructed in reading, writing, and the ground rules of arithmetic." Joseph's mother said that he was often "given to meditation and deep study."

Joseph Smith, Jr. was born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont to Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith, a working class couple. Stricken with a crippling bone infection at age eight, he hobbled on crutches as a child. In 1816-17, the Smith family moved west to the village of Palmyra in western New York, and by July 1820 had obtained a mortgage for a 100-acre farm in the nearby town of Manchester, an area that had fueled repeated religious revivals during this time known as the Second Great Awakening.
Smith and his family participated in the sectarian fervor and spiritual mystery of their day. Although he may never have joined a church in his youth, Joseph Smith participated in church classes and read the Bible. With his family, he took part in religious folk magic, a common practice but one condemned by many clergymen. Like many people of that era, both his parents and his maternal grandfather had mystical visions or dreams that they believed communicated messages from God. Smith said that he had his own first vision in 1820, in which God told him his sins were forgiven and, according to later accounts, that all churches were false. Though generally unknown to early Latter Day Saints, the vision story gained increasing theological importance within the Latter Day Saint movement beginning roughly a half century later.

Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, a group of churches whose adherents regard him as a prophet. During the late 1820s he became the leader of a small group of followers who believed that an angel had given him a book of golden plates containing a religious history of ancient American peoples. Smith said he had translated the writing on the plates from an unknown language into English; and in 1830, he published the translation as the Book of Mormon and organized what he said was a restoration of the early Christian church.