Joseph Smith

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FAIR Answers Wiki Table of Contents

Joseph Smith Jr.

Summary: Joseph Smith Jr. was the first President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820 and received authority from heaven to establish God's Church and kingdom on the earth.

Video published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.



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Early Smith family history


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Joseph Smith's character

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith was a disreputable person.

Audio/video published by Brigham Young University.



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Joseph Smith's alleged narcissism


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Treasure seeking, money digging and Joseph Smith, Jr.

Summary: Was Joseph Smith's engagement in "money digging" or looking for buried treasure a blot on his character?


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Joseph Smith's seer stone and the Urim and Thummim

Summary: Joseph Smith used the Nephite Interpreters as well as his own seer stone (both of which were later referred to as "Urim and Thummim") to translate the Book of Mormon.

Video published by the Church History Department.



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FAIR Answers Wiki Table of Contents

Joseph Smith's First Vision

Summary: Joseph Smith's announcement that he saw the Father and the Son in 1820 has produced a broad response, from faithful to critical. This set of articles addresses the multiple accounts of the First Vision, the events leading to and occurring after the vision, and a review of the doctrinal developments from the vision.

Video published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Accounts of the First Vision

Historical context

Doctrinal impact

Joseph Smith and the "occult" or "magick"

Summary: Citing Joseph Smith's experiences with folk magic, treasure seeking and seer stones, it is claimed that Joseph Smith's spiritual experiences were originally products of magic and the occult. Some charge that only much later did Joseph retrofit his experiences in Christian, religious terms: speaking of God, angels, and prophethood rather than in terms of magic, treasure guardians and scrying. It is also claimed that a "vagabond fortune-teller" named Walters became popular in the Palmyra area, and that when Walters left the area, "his mantle fell upon" Joseph Smith.


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Joseph Smith as a translator

Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith claimed to translate other texts or items, which can be checked against modern academic translations. They claim that this "cross-checking" proves that Joseph could not have translated the Book of Mormon or other ancient texts.


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The "Joseph Smith Translation" of the Bible


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Joseph Smith and miracles


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Joseph Smith and the priesthood

Summary: The restoration of priesthood authority is an important part of Church history.

Video published by the Church History Department.



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Joseph Smith as a prophet


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Joseph Smith and legal issues


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Kirtland Safety Society

Summary: The Kirtland Safety Society (sometimes called the Kirtland Bank) was a banking institution intended to generate economic improvement in Kirtland.

Video published by the Church History Department.



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Joseph Smith, politics and government


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Joseph Smith and polygamy

Summary: Joseph Smith is frequently criticized for his introduction and practice of polygamy. From a Christian perspective, these attacks usually focus on arguing that polygamy is unchristian or unbiblical, and that Joseph hid the truth from the world. From a secular perspective, it is asserted that the practice of polygamy sprung from Joseph's carnal desires to marry young women. Of particular interest is the fact that Joseph was sealed to women who were already married to other men (polyandry).

Video published by the Church History Department.



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Death of Joseph Smith


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Joseph Smith's status in Latter-day Saint belief

Summary: Do members worship Joseph Smith or treat him as more than a man? Critics charge that since Joseph claimed (or it was claimed in his behalf) the right to "approve whether or not someone gets into heaven," this arrogates to a mortal a right properly reserved for God and Jesus Christ. Some critics have even charged that "Mormons worship Joseph Smith."


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