Joseph Smith was the first later day prophet of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. His faith in the Lord and his
testimony of the true and everlasting gospel, from the age of fourteen until his
martyr in 1844 caused him and everyone he loved to be persecuted. If it were
not for the sacrifices that Joseph Smith made, the torment he endured and the
pure love of Christ, millions of people in the world would not have the
testimonies that we have today.
In Palmyra, New York, in 1820, Joseph Smith had the
first of a series of visions through which he learned that the church had been
taken from the Earth and that he had been given a divine commission to restore
it. After much criticism, he then translated the Book of Mormon. In 1831 he
established his congregation at Kirtland Ohio, with less than thirty members.
Joseph Smith lost many of his children and many love-ones.
Everywhere the Saints settled, the mobs would burn
their homes and killed many members. Joseph was tarred and feathered on
numerous occasions by angry mobs. The mobs pushed the Saints out west. The
Saints settled later in Commerce, Illinois, which they renamed Nauvoo. Nauvoo
later became the most populated city in Illinois. Joseph and his follows found
refuge here. The Saints were able to grow spiritually in Nauvoo. The pure love
of Christ kept Joseph pushing forward. He new the plan that God had set for him
and he was going to accomplish it, know matter what it took.
The mobs had subsided until 1844. When angry mobs
came into Joseph’s home and took him, his brother Hyrum and John Taylor (a
leader in the church) to Carthage Jail. Carthage Jail was in the home of the
Judge. Knowing that Joseph was innocent, the Judge let them stay in the
upstairs bedroom. Not long after they were given this privilege, the angry mobs
came running down the street. In fear, Joseph and Hyrum fled to hold the door
shut. Hyrum, pushing with all his might, was shot in the eye and died
instantly. John was over at the window and was shot in the pocket watch.
Joseph then ran to his side and hid him under the bed, which saved his life.
(He later became prophet) Joseph, standing in front of the window, was shot
numerous times falling out into the street; he too died.
Though Joseph Smith lost many children and endured
much pain, he kept going. His sacrifices are forever etched in many memories.
All because of the faith and selflessness of one man, there are over ten million
members of The Church of Jesus Christ of later Day Saints today, and the numbers
are rapidly growing.