The Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet


George Q. Cannon

Series: Religion and Society
BISAC: BIO018000

This biography of Joseph Smith is especially interesting because to was written by a man who knew him, George Q. Cannon, and drawn from first hand accounts of people who were present when the events described actually happened.
(Imprint: SNOVA)


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

The Ripened Time
The Apostasy and the Restoration
Joseph Smith at Nauvoo
The “Choice Seer”
CHAPTER I. Joseph’s Humble Extraction—The Godliness and Fair Fame of His Ancestry—A Premonition of His Work
CHAPTER II. Birth of Joseph—Family Circumstances—Toil and Poverty—Removal to New York—Intense Religious Excitement
CHAPTER III. Light from the Scriptures—The Prayer and its Answer—”This is my Beloved Son: Hear Him”—Persecution and Scoffing of the Multitude—Joseph Doubts Himself and Supplicates for Renewed Help
CHAPTER IV. The Angel Moroni Visits Joseph Thrice in One Night—A Record to be brought forth—vision of Cumorah
CHAPTER V. A Mid-day Visitation—Joseph Confides in His Earthly Father—Cumorah and the Sacred Box—A New Probation is Fixed—Successive Visits and Ministrations of the Angel—Joseph’s Growth in Godliness
CHAPTER VI. Joseph’s Willing Toil—Four Years of Waiting—He Finds Work in Pennsylvania—His Marriage with Emma Hale—The Probation Completed
CHAPTER VII. Final Visit to Cumorah—Delivery of the Plates by the Angel Moroni—Solemn Caution to Joseph—Attacks by Assassins and Robbers—Poverty and Persecution—Help from Martin Harris—Removal to Pennsylvania
CHAPTER VIII. Joseph Copies and Translates from the Plates—Martin Harris Again Comes Opportunely—Professor Anthon and the Characters—Martin’s Labors as a Scribe—His Broken Trust—The Translation Lost to Joseph—The Prophet Punished for Willfulness
CHAPTER IX. Oliver Cowdery is Sent of Heaven to Aid the Prophet—The Aaronic Priesthood is Brought to Earth by Christ’s Forerunner—First Baptism of This Dispensation
CHAPTER X. The Prophet’s Brother Samuel Baptized by Oliver—Renewed Danger to the Work—Help From Fayette—Miraculous Interposition to Aid David Whitmer—Hyrum Smith and Others Believe and are Baptized
CHAPTER XI. Eleven Chosen Witnesses View the Plates—Their Unimpeachable Testimony —Restoration of the Melchisedec Priesthood by Disciples of our Lord—The Apostleship Conferred—Other Baptisms—The Translation Completed
CHAPTER XII. Organization of the Church at Fayette—Review of the Prophet’s Labors—His Unpretentious Character—The Courage which Animated Him was shared by his Associates—The Witnesses and Early Members of the Church
CHAPTER XIII. The All-Comprehending Character of Joseph’s Inspiration—First Public Meeting of the Church after Organization—Believers Asking Baptism—Mobs seeking the Life or the Liberty of the Prophet—Twice Arrested and Acquitted—Joseph’s Lawyer Hears a Mysterious Voice—Copying the Revelations
CHAPTER XIV. Dissensions Within the Fold—Oliver Cowdery and Hiram Page Lead the Whitmer’s Astray—Mobs at Colesville and Persecution at Harmony—Isaac Hale and his Family Oppose Joseph—The Prophet Removes to Fayette—Prophetic Outline of the Gathering
CHAPTER XV. The Second Conference of the Church—Harmony and Love Among the Elders—Accessions to the Congregation—the Mission to the Lamanites—Individual Revelations—God’s Chosen Servants in Missouri
CHAPTER XVI. Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge Join the Church—Joseph Commences the Translation of the Scriptures—Saints Commanded to Gather at Ohio—Joseph Migrates from New York—The Kirtland Saints Fall into Error—God’s Power Manifested—Important Revelations
CHAPTER XVII. Fourth General Conference—God Designates Missouri as the Place of Holding the Next Conference—Transgression of the Thompson Branch—Joseph Goes to the Place of the New Jerusalem
CHAPTER XVIII. On the Borders of the Wilderness—Laying the First Log—Dedication and Consecration of the Land of Zion and the Temple Site—Back to Civilization—Sign Seeking and Violence
CHAPTER XIX. A Methodist Priest Converted by a Miracle—Wants Power to Smite—The Prophet at Hiram Engaged in Translating—Order for Publication of the “Evening and Morning Star”—Man-made Commandments
CHAPTER XX. A Night of Fury—The Murderous Mob at Hiram—Joseph Dragged from his Bed, and is Stripped, Bruised and Almost Slain by a Profane and Drunken Crowd Led by Apostates and Sectarian Ministers
CHAPTER XXI. Departure of the Prophet from Hiram for the Consecrated Land in Missouri—Accepted as the President of the High Priesthood—Returning from Zion, an attempt is made to Poison Him—Saved Under Bishop Whitney’s Administration
CHAPTER XXII. Brigham Young Receives the Gospel—His Memorable Meeting with the Prophet—His Constant devotion—”That Man will yet Preside over the Church”—A Revelation on Priesthood—Joseph Visits the Eastern States—His Numerous Labors—Prophecy Concerning the Civil War—Its Subsequent Fulfillment
CHAPTER XXIII. Organization of the School of the Prophets—The Translation of the Scriptures—The Word of Wisdom Revealed—Joseph Selects Counselors—The Savior and Angels Appear after the Ordination—Lands Purchased in and around Kirtland
CHAPTER XXIV. Threats of a Mob of Three Hundred at Independence—Purity Required of Church Members—Excommunication of Dr. P. Hurlbert—His Threats Against the Prophet—Pixley Joins the Mob—His Malicious Falsehoods—Meeting of a Base Element—Wicked Determinations—Destruction of the Saints’ Printing Establishment—W. W. Phelps Driven from Home—Bishop Partridge and Elder Allen Tarred and Feathered—”You Must Leave the Country”—Another Meeting of the Enemy—The Saints Agree to Leave Jackson County
CHAPTER XXV. The Corner Stone of the Kirtland Temple Laid—A Printing Establishment Opened—The Prophet’s Mission to Canada—A Minister’s Opposition—Baptisms—Persecutions at Kirtland—Wilford Woodruff Receives the Gospel
CHAPTER XXVI. The Jackson County Persecutions—Appeal to Governor Dunklin—His Timid Reply—Heartless Drivings—A Brutal Murder—Boggs Allows the Mob to Organize as a Militia—Pitcher Placed in Command—Certain Men Taken in Custody by the Mob—Settlement in Clay County—Court of Inquiry
CHAPTER XXVII. Hurlbert’s Efforts to Destroy Joseph—High Councils Organized—The Camp of Zion—A Hard Journey—Rattlesnakes in Camp—The Prophet’s Philosophy—Elder Humphrey’s Experience
CHAPTER XXVIII. Vain Appeal of the Jackson County Saints for Protection—The Approach of Zion’s Camp—Attempts to Raise an Opposing Army—James Campbell’s Prophecy and its Fulfillment—A Providential Storm—Remarkable Rise of Fishing River—Joseph States the Object of Zion’s Camp—A Comforting Revelation
CHAPTER XXIX. The Scourge of Zion’s Camp—Joseph and Hyrum Attacked by Cholera—Their Deliverance—The Camp Disbanded—Threats Against the Prophet—His Fearlessness—Joseph Returns to Kirtland—Sylvester Smith’s Charge of Impurity—The Prophet Vindicated—Visit to Michigan—The Law of Tithing
CHAPTER XXX. The Calling of Christ’s Apostles in the Last Dispensation of the Fullness of Times—Duties and Powers of the Twelve—Their Labors in the World—Organization of the Seventies
CHAPTER XXXI. Joseph as a Restorer as well as a Prophet—The Book of Abraham—Joseph’s Growth into Scholarship and Statesmanship—Difficulties with William Smith
CHAPTER XXXII. Completion and Dedication of the Kirtland Temple—Sublime Visions to the Saints—The Words of the Divine Redeemer—Joseph’s Grandmother Visits Him, then Dies in Peace—His Mission to the East
CHAPTER XXXIII. Clay County Sorrowfully Bids the Saints to Migrate into the Wilderness—Joseph Sends a Dignified Letter to the Citizens—Continuance of Mob Autocracy in Jackson—Dunklin’s Helplessness—The Saints Form the New County of Caldwell and Lay Out Far West
CHAPTER XXXIV. The First Serious Apostasy and the First Great Missionary Movement—Dissensions at Kirtland, and Successful Labors in England—Joseph Meets John Taylor in Canada—Trials and Murderous Mobs at Painesville—The Prophet Wades Through Swamps in the Night, Carrying Sidney upon his back
CHAPTER XXXV. John Taylor’s Brave Defense of Joseph—The Prophet Encounters the Spirit of Apostasy in Missouri—Hyrum in the First Presidency—Brigham Young’s Courage and Devotion—Joseph Driven from Kirtland—David W. Patten’s Prophetic Objection—Sad Excommunications—Fate of Prominent Men—Adam-ondi-Ahman—The Gathering
CHAPTER XXXVI. Peniston Arouses a Mob—His Exciting Speech Causes a Cruel Attack upon Twelve Unarmed Brethren—One Hundred and Fifty Mobocrats Drive them from the Polls—Adam Black’s Promise—False Charges Against the Saints—The Sheriff of Daviess County Arrests Joseph—Boggs Orders the Raising of the Militia—The Prophet Perceives the Real Object of this Order
CHAPTER XXXVII. Joseph Volunteers for Trial and Lyman Wight Follows—Beginning the Study of Law—The Trial Before a Coward Judge, with a Perjured Witness—Militia Called Out, but the Mob Practically Defies it—Boggs Continues the Work of Oppression
CHAPTER XXXVIII. Bombardment of De Witt—Appeal of the Saints to Governor Boggs—His Heartless Reply—Joseph’s Presence Encourages the Brethren—The Saints Leave their Possessions in De Witt—They go to Far West—Adam-ondi-Ahman Devastated—The Saints Organize for Defense—Joseph Controls a Mob who Design to Murder Him—Apostasy of Thomas B. Marsh—Death of David W. Patten—”Whatever you do Else, oh Do Not Deny the Faith.”
CHAPTER XXXIX. Boggs Issues an order of Extermination—General Atchison’s Threat Against the Tyrant—Avard Organizes the Danites—The Haun’s Mill Massacre—Far West Besieged—Three Noble Ones Refuse to Desert their Friends—Colonel Hinkle’s Base Treachery—”These are the Prisoners I Agreed to Deliver up”—A Court-martial Sentences Joseph and his Companions to Death—General Doniphan’s Noble Action—Demoniac Deeds Enacted in Far West
CHAPTER XL. The Prophet’s Life Saved by the Vanity of Lucas—Farewell of the Prisoners to their Families—On Toward Independence—Continued Ravages at Far West—General Clark’s Inhuman Address—The Movement Against Adam-ondi-Ahman
CHAPTER XLI. Joseph Preaches in Jackson and Fulfills his own Prophecy—Favor in the Eyes of their Captors—Drunken Guards—In Richmond Jail—Majesty in Chains—Clark’s Dilemma—The mock Trial—Treason to Believe the Bible—Close of the Year 1838
CHAPTER XLII. The Pledge for the Poor Saints in Missouri—Brigham Young Driven Forth—Efforts to Secure the Prophet’s Release—Removal to Gallatin—Examination of the Case by a Drunken Jury—Wholesale Indictment—Change of Venue to Boone—Escape from Missouri to Illinois
CHAPTER XLIII. The Exodus Completed—A Fragment of its Agonies—The Woes of a Martyr’s Widow, a Type of the General Suffering—Threat that one of Joseph’s Prophecies should Fail—But it is Fulfilled by Courageous Apostles—Missouri’s Punishment and Atonement
CHAPTER XLIV. The Location of Commerce—Nauvoo, the Beautiful—Pity from Prominent Men in Illinois—A Day of Miracles—The Prophet Raises the Sick at the Sound of his Voice—Joseph Sounds the Trump of Warning—The Mission of the Apostles—Their Self-sacrifice and Courage—Conference at Commerce
CHAPTER XLV. Reasons for an Appeal to Washington—Joseph and Companions Depart for the National Capital—The Prophet’s Act of Physical Heroism—He sees Ingratitude—Martin Van Buren and Joseph Smith—The Latter’s Scorn—Cowardice and Chicanery—”Your Cause is Just, but I can do Nothing for you.”
CHAPTER XLVI. The Mission of the Apostles—Miraculous Opening of their way to the Old World—Ordination of Willard Richards—Special Labors of Each Apostle—The First Immigrants to Zion—Joseph’s Letters of Instruction and Comfort to Elders and Saints Abroad
CHAPTER XLVII. Nauvoo the Beautiful—Events There During the Year 1840—Renewal of Outrages by the Missourians—Death of the Prophet’s Father and Edward Partridge—Return of Williams and Phelps—Joseph’s Hope for His City—Demand by Governor Boggs for the Prophet and His Brethren
CHAPTER XLVIII. Joseph Smith at Nauvoo—His Physical and Mental Personality—Views of his Opponent Commentators—Testimony of the Spirit of His Inspiration
CHAPTER XLIX. Dr. J. C. Bennett Joins the Church—Nauvoo City Chartered—Nauvoo University and Legion Organized—Joseph Smith Commissioned as Lieutenant-General of the State Militia—Temple Site—Dedication of the Temple—An Important Conference
CHAPTER L. Joseph’s Visit to Governor Carlin at Quincy—Arrest on the Old Requisition from Missouri—A Sheriff Nursed by his Prisoner—Judge Douglas Discharges the Prophet on Writ of Habeas Corpus—Browning’s Eloquent Appeal—Death of Don Carlos Smith—Events at Nauvoo, Closing 1841
CHAPTER LI. The Power of Human Harmony—Changing Hell to Heaven—Joseph as a Servant—His Sketch of the Church—A Ringing Editorial—Organization of the Relief Society—Bennett Begins his Plots
CHAPTER LII. Bennett’s Impurities—His Cowardly Stab at the Prophet’s Name and Life—Fellowship Withdrawn from the Evil-doer—Quoting his own Letters to Injure the Saints—Attempt to Kill Boggs—Absurd Charges Against “The Mormons”—Joseph’s Horse, “Joe Duncan”—A Prophecy
CHAPTER LIII. The Prophet Charged with being an Accessory to the Attempted Assassination of Boggs—Orrin Porter Rockwell Accused of the Crime—The Governor’s Requisition—The Arrest—The Prophet’s Desire for Peace—Wilson Law’s Brave Words—Emma Smith’s Noble Appeal to the Governor—Carlin’s False Reply—Amasa M. Lyman Ordained an Apostle—Three Hundred and Eighty Faithful Volunteers
CHAPTER LIV. Attempt to Capture Joseph—Reward Offered—Tricks to Entrap the Prophet—He Submits to Arrest—Visits Governor Ford—His Examination and Release—A Traitor’s Threat
CHAPTER LV. A Breathing Spell—Joseph’s Anticipation of his Sacrifice—Many Prophecies and an Important Theological Epoch in the Early Part of 1843—Wrestling and Other Manly Sports—Extracts from his Sermons—Attack on the Nauvoo Charter—The Lull was Brief
CHAPTER LVI. The Celestial Order of Marriage—Eternity and Plurality of the Covenant—The Revelation Written and Delivered to the High Council—Joseph, Hyrum and Others Obey it
CHAPTER LVII. An Evil Quartette—Reynolds, Ford, Bennett and Owens—A New Writ—Joseph Kidnapped at Dixon and Threatened with Death—Efforts for Release on Habeas Corpus—a Wrestling Match—Entry into Nauvoo—Joseph Released—The Kidnappers ask for a Mob Army—Independence Day at Nauvoo
CHAPTER LVIII. Growth of Nauvoo—The Mansion—Sidney Rigdon’s Recreancy—Mobocratic Conventions at Carthage—Inciting the Missourians to Kidnap—The Prophet Checks a Bombastic Politician—Appeals for Redress—Joy on a Christmas Day—Orrin Porter Rockwell Back from Missouri
CHAPTER LIX. Joseph Smith for President of the United States—An Inspired Candidate—His Views of the Powers and Policy of the General Government—How the Country could have Saved the Carnage of War
CHAPTER LX. Pacific Address by the Prophet—The Mob ask God to Bless their Work of Massacre—Looking to the West—A Sublime Sermon—Apostates and their Work—Joseph Indicted for Polygamy
CHAPTER LXI. The First and Only Issue of the Nauvoo “Expositor”—Its Murderous Purpose—Removal of a Nuisance and Eradication of its Cause—Trial of the Mayor and Others, and Their Acquittal in an Honest Court—Gathering of the Mobs—Threats of Extermination—Nauvoo Under Martial Law
CHAPTER LXII. Joseph’s Dream—His Last Public Address—Consciousness of his Impending Fate—His Love for his Brethren
CHAPTER LXIII. Pontius Pilate Ford’s Entrance upon the Scene at Carthage—The Old Cry of “Crucify!”—Joseph’s Final Effort to Avert Danger from Nauvoo—Lack of Faith and Suspicions of Cowardice—A Fatal Blindness—Like a Lamb to the Slaughter—The Arms Demanded—Farewell to Nauvoo—At Carthage
CHAPTER LXIV. Voluntary Yielding to Process—Joseph and Hyrum Charged with Treason—Ford’s Cowardice and Falsehood—In Carthage Jail—The First Day and Night—Preaching to the Guards—Ford Leaves the Martyrs to their Fate
CHAPTER LXV. Administration of the Holy Endowments—The work of the Closing Months —Union of Satanic Forces Against the Prophet—A Momentary Glance at him Before the Final Hour
CHAPTER LXVI. The Last Day—Ford’s Action at Nauvoo—Conspiracy Between the Guards and Murderous Mob Militia—The Prisoners Left to their Fate—”A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”—The Assault and the Murder—The End
Anecdotes and Sayings of the Prophet


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