034 | Mormonism #1

We're back, this time to fulfill and old promise; our three part special on Mormonism I swore I'd make years ago. Are you gonna miss out on this gem?

Joseph Smith: Born in 1805 to Downwardly Mobile Parents (father was a skrier, treasure hunter, speculator, and bad at it)

Early Church
Born in a family of luckless underachievers, the Smiths had the misfortune of having lost most of their inheritance on bad schemes, like the idea of selling Ginseng in China (which had been forced to open it’s ports after the First Opium Wars). In an effort to make money, Smith’s father had taken up Treasure Divining, though he had yet to find anything. He was also briefly a member of a group called the New Alliterates, as did the father of the later scribe of the Book of Mormon, a William Crowdery. They claimed to be decedents of the 10 tribes that were supposedly taken by the Assyrians. His mother was uneducated by very “spiritually open”, and claimed to have communion with god. 

  • 1811 Claims his first vision at age 14 (claims and angle asks him to “eat” from a box he will be enlightened, but the box is filled with tons of chaotic animals, and assumes this to mean there are no real church
  • As a young man, his father and Joseph are involved in several treasure hunts, all ending in failure. Smith claims the reason was that the spells he cast are broken by speech
  • Studies briefly as a methodist, but leaves when people refuse to follow his preaching.
  • Family continues to falter financially. The are eventuallyforced to sell their farm and work manual labor in exchange for living there.
  • 1823 (same year that a book claimingnatives are actually Jews) claims that he is visited by an Angel who shows him the location of a golden book with the supposed history of natives. He’s told to come back in a year with brother Alvin
  • 1824 Alvin dies from Mercury ingestion to cure a stomach ache, and the plates are not there. 
  • 1826 he’s brought to court over his use of divination to scam people ,but escapes prosecution due to lack of evidence. Also same year angel comes back, and tells joseph he needs to be married to finally have the plates. Smith uses his ser stones to pick Emma Hale. 
  • 1827 After getting married, Joseph apprently finally finds the book, along with a sword, a pair of magic spectacles (that turn Egyptian into English), and a breastplate. They then move to Harmony after a number of residents try and “look” at the plates are thrawrted by Smith. This also allows them to be close to his new patron, Martin Harris
  • 1828 After translating 116 pages, Harris convinces Smith to let him take the pages to be authenticated, but then loses them (some suugest Harris’ wife hid them to see if he could reproduce them). Smith’s first child dies, and he claims this is partly punuishment for what Harris did. The plates are temporarily taken away by Maroni. Smith finds a new scribe in Oliver Crowdery.
  • 1829 Smith claims the 110 pages were found by minions of satan, and are being manipulated. He claims that they will use this as proof that he could not duplicate the same material, so he claims to read from a different book instead. It’s published under “Book of Mormon” several months later. Harris morgages his farm to pay for it. When he starts to falter, Smith has a revelation that he’ll be damned forever if he doesn’t do it. 
  • 1830 Some of his followers begin to have their own revelations. Smith has a revelation that only he can have them, and that he is the head of the church. 
  • 1831 (after being chased by an angry mob, Mormons decide it’s time to move. They head to Kirtland, Ohio with was in the middle of a real estate boom. There he begins to assign his higher priests. Hostility from the locals is high. Smith is tarred, feathered and beaten. 
  • 1834 Org changes name from Church of Christ to church of Latter Day Saints.
  • Mormons begin to look for a new home, and converts begin to scope out Missouri. 
  • 1835 A travelling salesman sells the mormons a Egyptian Papyrus Smith claims is a lost book of the bible. He translate it into the Book of Abraham, which lays out his cosmology (the star system Kolob, why blacks can’t be priests, and how there are many gods /multiverse)
  • 1837 Establishment of Kirkland Safety Society, to handle financial affairs. They are denied a banking license, so they begin to produce their own currency.The financial crisis hits (Panic of 1837) and the Anti-Bank collapses. Many mormons loose faith, and Jospeh Smith runs out of town to avoid jail. Harris is excommunicated for calling the bank fraud.
  • 1838 Mormon War. After being in Far West only a few months, Mormons are prevented from voting, which leads to armed conflict. The Mormons are forced to leave Missouri after being attacked by an armed mob. Smith surrenders to avoid further conflict, and is found guilty of treason and sentenced to be executed, but the sentence isn’t carried out. Brigham Young begins to find his place as a leader, and while Smith is in Jail, he moves the mormons to Iowa.
  • 1839 Smith is released from jail, and the mormons purchase the town of Commerce Illinois, rename it Nauvoo. Locals are actually on Mormons side, blame Missouri for incident. 
  • 1840 Introduction of the Baptism of the Dead
  • 1841 Mormons begin building the Temple in Nauvoo 
  • 1842 Opinion begins to turn on Mormons. Several attempts to extridite Smith to Missouri unsuccessful. Missouri Govenor assassination attempt rumors that mormon strongman Porter Rockwell is involved. He is later aquited. 
  • 1843 Smith petitions congress to make Nauvoo independant territory. When he gets negative response, he declares he is running for president 
  • 1844 After being caught proposing marriage to William Law’s wife, he leave and publish a tell-all publication called the Nauvoo Expositor about Smith.   Enrages, he orders the printing press destroyed. Public opinions turned dark, and fearing reprisal, Smith ordered Martial Law. governor of Illinois dispatched his militia, and Smith, afeter trying to initially flee, surrenders himself. His charges are changed from inciting a riot to treason. 
  • June 1844 a black-faced mod descends on the prison, and shoot both Smith and Hyrum and one of the prophets John Taylor, who survives due to a bullet lodging in his pocket-watch.