Community of Christ
Community of Christ, known from 1872 to 2001 as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is an American-based international church with roots in the Latter Day Saint movement. The church reports 197,000 in 60 nations; the church traces its origins to Joseph Smith's establishment of the Church of Christ on April 6, 1830. A group of members including his elder son formally reorganized on April 6, 1860 in the aftermath of the 1844 death of Joseph Smith, forming The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; the Community of Christ is rooted in Restorationist traditions. Although in some respects it is congruent with mainline Protestant Christian attitudes, it is in many ways theologically distinct, continuing such features as prophetic revelation, it is the second-largest denomination within the Latter Day Saint movement. Community of Christ worship follows a non-liturgical tradition based loosely on the Revised Common Lectionary. From its headquarters in Independence, the church offers a special focus on evangelism and justice ministries and wholeness, youth ministries and outreach ministries.
Church teachings emphasize that "all are called" as "persons of worth" to "share the peace of Christ". Known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Community of Christ regards itself as the true embodiment of the original church organized in 1830 by Joseph Smith, it regards Joseph Smith III, the eldest surviving son of Smith, to have been his legitimate successor; the church was "legally organized on April 6, 1830, in Fayette, New York". The formal reorganization occurred on April 6, 1860, in Amboy, Illinois, as the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints", adding the word Reorganized to the church name in 1872; the Community of Christ today considers the period from 1830 to 1844 to be a part of its early history and from 1844, the year of the death of the founder, to 1860, to be a period of disorganization. Since 1844, the doctrines and practices of the Community of Christ have evolved separately from the other denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement.
Since the 1960s, the church's proselytizing outside North America forced a re-assessment and a gradual evolution of its practices and beliefs. Some changes included the ordination of women to the priesthood, open communion, changing the church's name from the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to the current name in April 2001; these changes were controversial among the membership, they led to the formation of breakaway churches such as the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Between the mid-1960s and the late 1990s, there was a one-third decline in new baptisms in the United States along with a 50 percent drop in contributions in the decade before 1998; the church owns two temples: the Kirtland Temple, dedicated in 1836 in Kirtland and the new Independence Temple, which serves as the church's headquarters in Independence, Missouri. These structures are open to the public and are used for education and gatherings; the church owns and operates some Latter Day Saint historic sites in Lamoni and Plano and Nauvoo, Illinois.
The Auditorium in Independence houses the Children's Peace Pavilion and is the site of the major legislative assembly of the Community of Christ, which convenes during the World Conference. The church sponsors Graceland University, with a campus in Lamoni and another in Independence, where the School of Nursing and the Community of Christ Seminary are based; the current vision and mission statements of the Community of Christ were adopted in 1996 by the leading quorums of the church's leadership and reflect the peace and justice centered ministries of the denomination. In its mission statement, the church declares that "e proclaim Jesus Christ and promote communities of joy, hope and peace." The vision statement states that "We will become a worldwide church dedicated to the pursuit of peace and healing of the spirit." The Community of Christ states that it recognizes that "perception of truth is always qualified by human nature and experience" and it therefore has not adopted an official religious creed.
The Community of Christ offers a number of the held beliefs of its members and leaders as the "generally accepted beliefs of the church." As Stephen M. Veazey, current president of the church states, "Community of Christ is a church that provides light for the way as well as space for the personal faith journey."The Community of Christ accepts the doctrine of the Trinity and other held Christian beliefs. The concept of Zion as both a present reality of Christian living and as a hoped for community of the future is a rather held belief in the Community of Christ and it ties to the peace and justice emphasis of the denomination; the movement differs from most other Christian faiths in its belief in prophetic leadership, in the Book of Mormon, in an open canon of scripture recorded in its version of the Doctrine and Covenants, appended. The Community of Christ teaches that the "one eternal living God is triune", it acknowledges God, a community of three persons, as the Creator and the Source of love and truth.
It states that "his God alone is worthy of worship". Jesus Christ is described as both Savior and as a living expression of God and is acknowledged as having lived and been resurrected; as the name of the denomination implies, Jesus Christ is central to its members' worship. The Comm
W. W. Phelps (Mormon)
William Wines Phelps was an early leader of the Latter Day Saint movement. He printed the first edition of the Book of Commandments that became a standard work of the church and wrote numerous hymns, some of which are included in the current version of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' hymnal, he was at times both close to and at odds with church leadership. He testified against Joseph Smith, providing evidence that helped persuade authorities to arrest Smith, he rejoined the church each time. He was a ghost writer for Smith, was called by Smith to serve as assistant president of the church in Missouri, served on the Council of Fifty. After the Smith's martyrdom, he supported Brigham Young as the church's new president. Born in Hanover Township, New Jersey, his father, Enon Phelps, mother, Mehitable Goldsmith, moved the family to Homer, New York, in 1800. Phelps was a descendant of the Puritan leader William Phelps; as a child, Phelps attended public schools, as a young man, he traveled to Ohio, but soon returned to Homer, where he began publishing the Western Courier.
On April 28, 1815, he married Stella Waterman. He next moved to Tompkins County, New York, where in 1823 he founded the Lake Light. In 1827, he relocated to Canandaigua, New York, where he began publishing and edited the anti-Masonic newspaper Ontario Phoenix through 1828. Phelps was described by Dean Jessee as "one of founders" of the anti-Masonic movement in New York. Self well educated as a young man, Phelps wanted to seek the office lieutenant governor of New York, he purchased a copy of the Book of Mormon on April 9, 1830—just three days after the church was organized as the Church of Christ. Phelps met Smith on December 24, 1830, was convinced he was a prophet. On April 29, 1831, Phelps was imprisoned at Lyons, New York, by a "couple of Presbyterian traders, for a small debt, for the purpose, as I was informed, of'keeping me from joining the Mormons.'"Phelps visited Kirtland in 1831, was baptized on June 10, 1831, established a print house in Independence, where he published the Evening and Morning Star.
On July 20, 1833, while working to publish the church's Book of Commandments, a mob of vigilantes attacked Phelps's home, seized the printing materials, destroyed many papers, destroyed the press, threw his family and furniture out of doors. Phelps was present near Jackson County, Missouri, on July 17, 1831, according to Phelps's testimony, Smith received the first revelation about plural marriage. In the early part of 1835, Phelps and his son, were called to Kirtland, where they resided with Smith's family temporarily and joined a committee appointed to compile the Doctrine and Covenants. About this time, Phelps subscribed US$500 toward the erection of the Kirtland Temple. Phelps was the author of eleven popular early Latter Day Saint hymns. In Kirtland, he helped print the first Latter Day Saint hymnal in 1835, which included "The Spirit of God Like a Fire Is Burning", sung at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, he was instrumental in printing the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
From 1834 to 1838, Phelps was a counselor to David Whitmer in the presidency of the church in Missouri and in that capacity he helped found the town of Far West, Missouri. Phelps was called before the High Council on March 10, 1838 when he was accused of profiting from Far West land deals and reneging on a US$2,000 subscription to "the house of the Lord", not paid. On March 17, he was excommunicated from the church. In June 1838, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Lyman E. Johnson were warned out of Far West "or a more fatal calamity shall befall you." Unlike Cowdery and the Whitmers, Phelps remained in Far West after "the dissenters" were warned to leave in June 1838. He appears to have had a short-lived détente with the church leadership, on July 8, 1838, Smith received a revelation saying that Phelps and fellow dissenter, Frederick G. Williams, could be ordained as elders and serve missions abroad. At the time of the Mormon surrender of Far West, Phelps was one of the Mormon negotiators.
But during the Richmond hearings of November 1838, Phelps was one of several who bore witness against Smith and other leaders, aiding in their imprisonment in Missouri until April 1839. This led to his excommunication in Quincy on March 17, 1839. In June 1840, Phelps pleaded for forgiveness in a letter to Smith. Smith replied with an offer of full fellowship, ended with a variant of Charles Wesley's couplet, "'Come on, dear brother, since the war is past, For friends at first are friends again at last.'"Phelps served a brief mission in the eastern United States in 1841. Phelps moved to Illinois. Where on August 27, 1841, he replaced Robert B. Thompson as Smith's clerk. Beginning in February 1843, Phelps became the ghostwriter of many of Smith's important written works of the Nauvoo period, including "General Joseph Smith's Appeal to the Green Mountain Boys" of November 1843. Phelps was endowed on December 9, 1843, received his "second anointing" promising him godhood on February 2, 1844, was made a member of the Council of Fifty.
In Nauvoo, Phelps spoke out in favor of the destruction of an opposition newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor. He believed that the city charter gave the church leaders power to declare the newspaper a nui
Priesthood (Latter Day Saints)
In the Latter Day Saint movement, priesthood is the power and authority of God given to man, including the authority to perform ordinances and to act as a leader in the church. A body of priesthood holders is referred to as a quorum. Priesthood denotes elements of both authority; the priesthood includes the power Jesus gave his apostles to perform miracles such as the casting out of devils and the healing of sick. Latter Day Saints believe that the Biblical miracles performed by prophets and apostles were performed by the power of priesthood, including the miracles of Jesus, who holds all of the keys of the priesthood; the priesthood is formally known as the "Priesthood after the Order of the Son of God", but to avoid the too frequent use of the name of deity, the priesthood is referred to as the Melchizedek priesthood. As an authority, priesthood is the authority by which a bearer may perform ecclesiastical acts of service in the name of God. Latter Day Saints believe that acts performed by one with priesthood authority are recognized by God and are binding in heaven, on earth, in the afterlife.
In addition, Latter Day Saints believe that leadership positions within the church are legitimized by the priesthood authority. For most of the history of the Latter Day Saint movement, only men have been ordained to specific offices in the priesthood; the first exception to this policy was within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a faction founded by James J. Strang that flourished between 1844 and 1856. In Strang's church, women were—and still are—permitted to hold the offices of priest and teacher from as early as 1856. In 1984, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the second largest denomination of the movement, began ordaining women to all of its priesthood offices; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest church in the movement, still restricts its priesthood to men, as do most of the other Latter Day Saint denominations. Mormon feminist Kate Kelly was excommunicated for campaigning to allow women's ordination in the LDS Church.
An apostle of the LDS Church has taught that "en have no greater claim than women upon the blessings that issue from the Priesthood and accompany its possession." Latter Day Saint theology has recognized at least three orders of priesthood: the Aaronic priesthood, the Melchizedek priesthood. Although these are different orders, they are, in reality, all subsumed under the priesthood held by Jesus Christ, that is, the Melchizedek priesthood; the Aaronic priesthood, is considered to be a lesser priesthood tracing its roots to Aaron, the brother of Moses, through John the Baptist. In Latter Day Saint theology, it derives from the original holy priesthood which Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received on May 15, 1829, when they were ordained by an angel identifying himself as John the Baptist. In 1835, Smith and Cowdery clarified that this authority was the "Aaronic, or Levitical priesthood". By early 1831, Latter Day Saint theology recognized a higher order of priesthood, or the high priesthood.
This high priesthood had been foreshadowed in the Book of Mormon, which referred to men holding the unique position of high priest in the church organization described in that book, holding the "high priesthood of the holy order of God". Rigdon believed the teachings of the early Mormon missionaries who taught him, but thought the missionaries were lacking in heavenly power. In response to Rigdon's concern, the church's first high priests were ordained at a special conference held in June 1831. By 1835, Latter Day Saints began referring to this high priesthood as the Melchizedek priesthood, or, the "Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God"; this priesthood was so named, according to a revelation, because Melchizedek "was such a great high priest" and "out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name". This priesthood was thought to be the order of priesthood held by Jesus, a distinction was made between the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, which derives in part from the Epistle to the Hebrews, whose author argues that Jesus arose "after the order of Melchizedec, not... after the order of Aaron".
Although there were considered to be only two orders of priesthood during most of Smith's life, a year before his death, on August 27, 1843, he referred to a third order of priesthood called the Patriarchal priesthood. This one of the "3 grand orders of priesthood", Smith said, was second in greatness between the lower Aaronic and the higher Melchizedek; the priesthood included, according to Smith, the "keys to endowment—tokens, etc.", the ability to "walk with God", the authority of the "order of prayer". Smith taught that this order of priesthood was passed from father to son, held by Abraham and the biblical patriarchs. However, Smith provided little further information about this third order. Although Smith instituted an office of patriarch in the church, most modern Latter Day Saint denominations classify the Patriarchal priesthood as an office within the Melchizedek priesthood, rather than a separate order. According to Latter Day Saint doctrine, to exercise priesthood authority, a person must be
Oliver H. P. Cowdery was, with Joseph Smith, an important participant in the formative period of the Latter Day Saint movement between 1829 and 1836, he was the first baptized Latter Day Saint, one of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon's golden plates, one of the first Latter Day Saint apostles, the Second Elder of the church. In 1838, Cowdery left and was excommunicated from the church founded by Smith and became a Methodist. In 1848, he returned to the Latter Day Saint movement and was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Cowdery was born October 1806, in Wells, Vermont, his father, William, a farmer, moved the family to Poultney in Rutland County, when Cowdery was three. In his youth, Cowdery hunted for buried treasure using a divining rod. At age 20, Cowdery left Vermont for upstate New York, he clerked at a store for just over two years and in 1829 became a school teacher in Manchester, New York. Cowdery lodged with different families in the area, including that of Joseph Smith, Sr., said to have provided Cowdery with additional information about the golden plates of which Cowdery said he had heard "from all quarters."
Cowdery met Joseph Smith on April 5, 1829—a year and a day before the official founding of the church—and heard from him how he had received golden plates containing ancient Native American writings. Cowdery told Smith that he had seen the golden plates in a vision before the two met. From April 7 to June 1829, Cowdery acted as Smith's primary scribe for the translation of the plates into what would become the Book of Mormon. Cowdery unsuccessfully attempted to translate part of the Book of Mormon by himself. Before meeting Cowdery, Smith had stopped translating after the first 116 pages had been lost by Martin Harris, but working with Cowdery, Smith completed the manuscript in a remarkably short period, during what Richard Bushman called a "burst of rapid-fire translation."Cowdery and Smith said that on May 15, 1829, they received the Aaronic priesthood from the resurrected John the Baptist, after which they baptized each other in the Susquehanna River. Cowdery said that he and Smith went into the forest and prayed "until a glorious light encircled us, as we arose on account of the light, three persons stood before us dressed in white, their faces beaming with glory."
One of the three announced that he was the Apostle Peter and said the others were the apostles James and John. That year, Cowdery reported sharing a vision, along with Smith and David Whitmer, in which an angel showed him the golden plates. Martin Harris said he saw a similar vision that day. Cowdery and Harris signed a statement to that effect and became known as the Three Witnesses, their testimony has been published in nearly every edition of the Book of Mormon. When the church was organized on April 6, 1830, Smith became "First Elder" and Cowdery "Second Elder." Although Cowdery was technically second in authority to Smith from the organization of the church through 1838, in practice Sidney Rigdon, Smith's "spokesman" and counselor in the First Presidency, began to supplant Cowdery as early as 1831. Cowdery held the position of Assistant President of the Church from 1834 until his resignation/excommunication in 1838. Cowdery was a member of the first presiding high council of the church, organized in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1834.
On December 18, 1832, Cowdery married Elizabeth Ann Whitmer, the daughter of Peter Whitmer, Sr. and sister of David, John and Peter Whitmer, Jr. They had five children. Cowdery helped Smith publish a series of Smith's revelations first called the Book of Commandments and as revised and expanded, the Doctrine and Covenants. Cowdery was the editor, or on the editorial board, of several early church publications, including the Evening and Morning Star, the Messenger and Advocate, the Northern Times; when the church created a bank known as the Kirtland Safety Society in 1837, Cowdery obtained the money-printing plates. Sent by Smith to Monroe, Michigan, he became president of the Bank of Monroe, in which the church had a controlling interest. Both banks failed that same year. Cowdery moved to the newly founded Latter Day Saints settlement in Far West and suffered ill health through the winter of 1837–38. In 1834 and 1835, with the help of Smith, Cowdery published a contribution to an anticipated "full history of the rise of the church of Latter Day Saints" as a series of articles in the church's Messenger and Advocate.
His version was not congruent with the official history of the church. For instance, Cowdery ignored the First Vision but described an angel who called Smith to his work in September 1823, he placed the religious revival that inspired Smith in 1823 and stated that this revival experience had caused Smith to pray in his bedroom. Further, after first asserting that the revival had occurred in 1821, when Smith was in his "fifteenth year," Cowdery corrected the date to 1823 and stated that it was in Smith's 17th year. By early 1838, Smith and Cowdery disagreed on three significant issues. First, Cowdery competed with Smith for leadership of the new church and "disagreed with the Prophet's economic and political program and sought a personal financial independence Zion society that Joseph Smith envisioned." Too, in March 1838, Smith and Rigdon moved to Far West, under the presidency of W. W. Phelps and Cowdery'
John Wentworth (Illinois)
John Wentworth was the editor of the Chicago Democrat, publisher of an extensive Wentworth family genealogy, a two-term mayor of Chicago, a six-term member of the United States House of Representatives, both before and after his service as mayor. After growing up in New Hampshire, he joined the migration west and moved to the developing city of Chicago in 1836, where he made his adult life. Wentworth was affiliated with the Democratic Party until 1855. After retiring from politics, he wrote a three-volume genealogy of the Wentworth family in the United States. John Wentworth was born in New Hampshire, he was educated at the academy of Dudley Leavitt. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1836; that year, Wentworth joined a migration west and moved to Chicago, arriving in the city on October 25, 1836. He became managing editor of Chicago's first newspaper, the Chicago Democrat becoming its owner and publisher, he entered politics. He was a business partner of Illinois financier Jacob Bunn, the two men were two of the incorporators of the Chicago Secure Depository Company.
In 1844, he married Roxanna Marie Loomis. In years, his nephew Moses J. Wentworth handled his business affairs, would manage his estate as well. After becoming active with the Democrats, Wentworth was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives, where he served for a total of six terms, five of them as a Democrat:, he affiliated with the Republican Party. Wentworth was first elected mayor in the 1857 Chicago mayoral election; as mayor Wentworth instituted the use of chain gangs of prisoners in the city as laborers. In July 1857, while serving as mayor of Chicago, Wentworth was charged with assaulting an attorney named Charles Cameron, attempting to communicate with his incarcerated client. Cameron testified that Wentworth "seized him by the coat collar and shirt bosom" and forcibly removed him from the prison, alleging that he had resisted officers. Wentworth, after requested the case be delayed twice, refused to appear in court; the Judge found in favor of Cameron and charged Wentworth amounts of $25 "and costs" and $200.
In his effort to clean up the city's morals, he hired spies to determine, frequenting Chicago's brothels. In 1857, Wentworth led a raid on "the Sands," Chicago's red-light district, which resulted in the burning of the area. In 1864, Wentworth ran again for Congress, as a Republican, was elected for his last term, serving March 4, 1865 – March 3, 1867. While he was in the House, there was a controversial vote to settle a boundary issue between Wisconsin and Illinois, with Wisconsin claiming land as far as the tip of Lake Michigan. Wentworth was promised that if he voted to give the land including Chicago to Wisconsin, he would be appointed to the US Senate. Wentworth declined the offer. According to city historians in Sandwich, Wentworth was one of the key individuals, responsible for the city getting a railroad stop; the town, which at the time, was called "Newark Station", was given the station, in turn, the town gave Wentworth the honor of naming the town, which he subsequently named after his hometown, New Hampshire.
It is to note that the boundary line dispute with Wisconsin would have cut through present-day Sandwich, as it straddles the northern border with neighboring LaSalle County, which would have been the State Line had Wentworth not been successful in moving the line north. After retiring from Congress, from 1868 Wentworth lived at his country estate at 5441 South Harlem Avenue in Chicago, he owned about 5,000 acres of land in what is today part of the Chicago neighborhood of Garfield Ridge and suburban Summit. When an author left a manuscript of a history of Chicago with Wentworth for his suggestions, he removed what did not refer to him and returned the manuscript to its author with the note, "Here is your expurgated and correct history of Chicago." He researched and wrote The Wentworth Genealogy – English and American - twice, which he published privately. The first two-volume edition known as the "private edition", published in 1871, was followed by a second, edition in 1878, published in three volumes, for a total of 2241 pages.
The total reported cost for both editions was $40,000. The first of the 1878 volumes chronicles the ancestry of Elder William Wentworth, the first of this family in New England, his first five generations of New World descendants; the second and third volumes discuss the "Elder's" many others of the name. John was a fourth great grandson of William. Wentworth died at his estate in 1888, aged 73, he was buried in Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago. The Wentworth Letter United States Congress. "John Wentworth". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. John Wentworth, "First Inaugural Address", Chicago Public Library John Wentworth, "Second Inaugural Address", Chicago Public Library
Latter Day Saint movement
The Latter Day Saint movement is the collection of independent church groups that trace their origins to a Christian primitivist movement founded by Joseph Smith in the late 1820s. Collectively, these churches have over 16 million members, although the vast majority of these—about 98%—belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; the predominant theology of the churches in the movement is Mormonism, a form of Christianity categorized as Restorationist. A minority of Latter Day Saint adherents, such as members of the Community of Christ, believe in traditional Protestant theology, have distanced themselves from some of the distinctive doctrines of the LDS Church. Other groups include the Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which supports lineal succession of leadership from Smith's descendants, the more controversial Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which defends the practice of polygamy; the movement began in western New York during the Second Great Awakening when Smith said that he received visions revealing a new sacred text, the Book of Mormon, which he published in 1830 as a complement to the Bible.
Based on the teachings of this book and other revelations, Smith founded a Christian primitivist church, called the "Church of Christ". The Book of Mormon attracted hundreds of early followers, who became known as "Mormons", "Latter Day Saints", or just "Saints". In 1831, moved the church headquarters to Kirtland, in 1838 changed its name to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". After the church in Ohio collapsed due to a financial crisis and dissensions, in 1838, Smith and the body of the church moved to Missouri where they were persecuted and forced to Illinois. After Smith's death in 1844, a succession crisis led to the organization splitting into several groups; the largest of these, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, migrated under the leadership of Brigham Young to the Great Basin and became known for its 19th-century practice of polygamy. The LDS Church renounced this practice in 1890, discontinued it, resulting in the Utah Territory becoming a U. S. state. This change resulted in the formation of a number of small sects who sought to maintain polygamy and other 19th-century doctrines and practices, now referred to as "Mormon fundamentalism".
Other groups originating within the Latter Day Saint movement followed different paths in Missouri, Illinois and Pennsylvania. For the most part, these groups rejected plural marriage and some of Smith's teachings; the largest of these, the Community of Christ, was formed in Illinois in 1860 by several groups uniting around Smith's son, Joseph Smith III. The founder of the Latter Day Saint movement was Joseph Smith, to a lesser extent, during the movement's first two years, Oliver Cowdery. Throughout his life, Smith told of an experience he had as a boy having seen God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate beings, who told him that the true church of Jesus Christ had been lost and would be restored through him, that he would be given the authority to organize and lead the true Church of Christ. Smith and Cowdery explained that the angels John the Baptist, Peter and John visited them in 1829 and gave them priesthood authority to reestablish the Church of Christ; the first Latter Day Saint church was formed on April 6, 1830, consisting of a community of believers in the western New York towns of Fayette and Colesville.
The church was formally organized under the name of the "Church of Christ". By 1834, the church was referred to as the "Church of the Latter Day Saints" in early church publications, in 1838 Smith announced that he had received a revelation from God that changed the name to the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". In 1844, William Law and several other Latter Day Saints in church leadership positions publicly denounced Smith's secret practice of polygamy in the Nauvoo Expositor, formed their own church; the city council of Nauvoo, led by Smith, subsequently had the printing press of the Expositor destroyed. In spite of Smith's offer to pay damages for destroyed property, critics of Smith and the church considered the destruction heavy-handed; some called for the Latter Day Saints to be either destroyed. Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, the Assistant President of the Church, were both assassinated by a mob while in a Carthage, Illinois jail, several bodies within the church claimed to be the senior surviving authority and appointed successors.
These various claims resulted in a succession crisis. Many supported the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Emma Hale Smith failed to persuade William Marks, the president of the Presiding High Council and a Rigdon supporter, to assume leadership and the surviving members of Smith's immediate family remained unaffiliated with any larger body until 1860, when they formed the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with Joseph's eldest son as prophet; these various groups are sometimes referred to under two geographical headings: "Prairie Saints". Today, the vast majority of Latter Day Saints belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which reports over 16 million members worldwide; the second-largest
Joseph Smith Sr.
Joseph Smith Sr. was the father of Joseph Smith Jr. the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. Joseph Sr. was one of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, which Mormons believe was translated by Smith Jr. from golden plates. In 1833, Smith Sr. was named the first patriarch of the Church of Christ. Joseph Sr. was a member of the First Presidency of the church and a Freemason in Ontario Lodge No. 23 of Canandaigua, New York. Smith was born on July 1771, in Topsfield, Massachusetts, to Asael Smith and Mary Duty, he married Lucy Mack in Tunbridge, Vermont, on January 26, 1796, had 11 children with her. Smith tried his hands at several professions, including farmer and shop-keeper, none of which proved successful, he moved his family to Palmyra, New York, in 1816 and began to make payments on a farm located on the edge of neighboring Manchester Township. He was raised to the degree of Master Mason on May 7, 1818, in Ontario Lodge No. 23 of Canandaigua, New York. In the Palmyra–Manchester area and his sons were involved in a number of treasure digging excavations in the 1820s.
Work on a frame house at the farm was halted by the unexpected death of Smith's eldest son, Alvin, in 1823. Smith subsequently failed to make payments on the farm. Lemuel Durfee purchased it as a favor to the family and allowed the Smiths to continue there as renters through 1830. Though a spiritual man, Smith showed little interest in organized religion and was content to allow his wife control over the religious upbringing of their children; this indifference bothered Lucy much. After much prayer, she said she had received a divine witness that her husband would some day accept "the pure and undefiled Gospel of the Son of God."Smith professed that he had visionary dreams with symbolic content related to his ambivalence about religious faith and sometimes presaging events to come. These dreams continued after the family's move to Palmyra. In the late 1820s, Smith's son, Joseph Jr. began to tell the family about golden plates, which he said contained a record of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.
In September 1827, Joseph Jr. said. In the following years, Joseph Jr. said he translated the plates into English through the use of the Urim and Thummim, a sacred device given to him by the angel Moroni. When the work was near completion, at the end of June 1829, Joseph Sr. and seven other men signed a joint statement, testifying that they had both lifted the plates and seen the engravings on the plates. Known as the "Testimony of the Eight Witnesses", this statement was published with the first edition of the Book of Mormon and has been a part of nearly all subsequent editions. Smith was baptised when the Church of Christ was formally organized on April 6, 1830; when Joseph Jr. saw Joseph Sr. come up out of the water, he is reported to have cried, "Oh! My God I have lived to see my own father baptized into the true church of Jesus Christ!" In January 1831, Smith and his family moved to the church's new headquarters in Ohio. He was ordained to be the church's first Presiding Patriarch on December 18, 1833.
In reference to his father's role as patriarch of the church, Joseph Jr. likened his father to Adam, the first biblical patriarch: "So shall it be with my father. As part of his new role, Smith administered patriarchal blessings. On September 3, 1837, Smith was made an Assistant Counselor to his son in the First Presidency of the church. Smith moved with his family to Far West, Missouri, in 1838 and from there to the church's new headquarters at Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1839. Old age and illnesses had taken their toll and by the end of summer 1840, Smith realized he was dying, he called his family around him to administer patriarchal blessings. He blessed his wife: "Mother, do you not know that you are the mother of as great a family as lived upon the earth.... They are raised up to do the Lord's work", he blessed and ordained his eldest surviving son, Hyrum to succeed to the office of Presiding Patriarch by right of lineage. Smith died in Nauvoo on September 14, 1840. Bates, Irene M.. Lost Legacy: The Mormon Office of Presiding Patriarch.
Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-07115-7. OCLC 53077386. Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. New York: Vintage Books. P. 110. ISBN 978-1-4000-7753-3. Skinner, Earnest M.. Joseph Smith, Sr, First Patriarch of the LDS Church. Mesa, Arizona: Palmyra Publishing Company. ASIN B000M7VGQ8 Smith, Lucy Mack. Anderson, Lavina Fielding, ed. Lucy's Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith's Family Memoir. Signature Books. ISBN 1-56085-137-6. Archived from the original on 2006-10-21. Biography of Joseph Smith Sr; the Joseph Smith Papers Joseph Smith, Sr. Grandpa Bill's General Authority Pages Joseph Smith Sr, The Joseph Smith Sr. & Lucy Mack Foundation Scot and Maurine Proctor. "Joseph Smith Sr.'s Remarkable Vision of the Tree of Life". Meridian Magazine. Archived from the original on September 7, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-01