The Life of Joseph Smith


During the month of June, we remember the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. More importantly, we celebrate his life and the works he accomplished. President John Taylor (1808–1887) said, “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it” (D&C 135:3).

Instructions: To remember some of the things the Prophet Joseph did, remove pages 24–25, and glue them to heavy paper. Cut out the pictures on page 27, then read each event on the time line and find the picture that matches it. Glue the picture of the event on the map where it took place. Some places will have more than one event. If you wish, draw arrows on the map to indicate the order in which the events took place.

Joseph Smith(click to view larger) Paintings from history of the Church(click to view larger)

(See JS—H 1:3–4, 14–17, 57, 59; D&C 13:heading; D&C 27:12; Ensign, Jan. 1993, 38–43; D&C 21:heading; D&C 37; History of the Church, 1:145–46, 260–64; Ensign, Nov. 1998, 46; D&C 109; D&C 110; Ensign, Aug. 1986, 11; Ensign, Sep. 1979, 12–13; D&C 135. Painting by Alvin Gittins.)

23 December 1805 Joseph Smith Jr. is born in a small cabin in Sharon, Vermont, to Lucy Mack and Joseph Smith Sr.

Spring 1820 In answer to Joseph’s prayer, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appear in a grove of trees near Joseph’s home in Palmyra, New York.

18 January 1827 Joseph marries Emma Hale in South Bainbridge, New York.

22 September 1827 After years of preparation, Joseph receives the golden plates from the angel Moroni at the Hill Cumorah, near Palmyra.

15 May 1829 John the Baptist ordains Joseph and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Harmony, Pennsylvania.

26 March 1830 The first edition of the Book of Mormon, published by E. B. Grandin in Palmyra, New York, is completed.

6 April 1830 Joseph is sustained as prophet of the newly organized Church at the Peter Whitmer farm in Fayette, New York.

February 1831 In obedience to revelation, Joseph and the Saints move to Kirtland, Ohio. Joseph and Emma live for a time with Newell K. Whitney in an apartment connected to his store.

24 March 1832 While staying with the Johnsons in Hiram, Ohio, Joseph is dragged from the house and tarred and feathered. The next day he preaches a sermon.

May–June 1834 Joseph marches with Zion’s Camp from Ohio to Jackson County, Missouri, to try to reclaim the Saints’ land from which they had been driven.

27 March 1836 Joseph dedicates the Kirtland Temple. On 3 April, the Savior appears in the temple to accept it as His house.

December 1838–April 1839 Joseph is imprisoned in Liberty, Missouri. Though his suffering is great, he receives sacred revelations, given us in sections 121–23 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

April 1839–June 1844 Joseph oversees the building of Nauvoo, Illinois, and also leads the Saints to begin building another temple. He reveals the ordinances of sealing, the endowment, and baptism for the dead.

27 June 1844 After being imprisoned in Carthage, Illinois, the Prophet and his brother Hyrum are martyred by a mob.

Paintings from Church history(click to view larger)

Painting by Alvin Gittins. © Robert T. Barrett, © Greg Olsen, © Del Parson; © Clark Kelley Price