Unlike some of his family members, Joseph did not join a church as a child. He wrote, "During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong" (Joseph Smith—History 8).
Joseph never knew his oldest brother, who died at birth in 1797. His other siblings, in order of age, are Alvin (b. 1798), Hyrum (b. 1800), Sophronia (b. 1803), Samuel Harrison (b. 1808), Ephraim (b. 1810), William (b. 1811), Katherine (b. 1813), Don Carlos (b. 1816), and Lucy (b. 1821). Ephraim lived only 11 days. Illness took Alvin in 1823 and Don Carlos in 1841. Hyrum was martyred with Joseph in Carthage, Illinois. Samuel Harrison died a few weeks later from the stress and fatigue of evading the Carthage mob after they murdered his brothers.
Joseph's parents were constant and encouraging. Older brother Alvin also encouraged Joseph and delighted in the contemplation of his success. Samuel embraced the truth and was the first to be baptized after Joseph and Oliver Cowdery. Hyrum sought baptism soon thereafter and, like Samuel and their father, Hyrum became a witness of the Book of Mormon and saw the plates. Hyrum later said, "There were prophets before, but Joseph has the spirit and power of all the prophets" (Lucy Smith, History of the Prophet Joseph Smith, rev. George A. Smith and Elias Smith, , 346).