Joseph Smith – Antique Oil Painting (Unsigned)

For the right collector, this antique oil painting of Joseph Smith is an excellent piece for their collection…  


Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, the predominant branch of which is Mormonism. At age twenty-four, Smith published the Book of Mormon, and in the next fourteen years he attracted thousands of followers, established cities and temples, and created a lasting religious culture.

Joseph Smith, Jr. was born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, to Lucy Mack Smith and her husband Joseph, a merchant and farmer.  After suffering a crippling bone infection when he was seven, the younger Smith hobbled around on crutches for three years.  In 1816–17, after an ill-fated business venture  and three years of crop failures, the Smith family moved to the western New York village of Palmyra and eventually took a mortgage on a 100-acre (40 ha) farm in nearby Manchester town.

During the Second Great Awakening, the region was a hotbed of religious enthusiasm. Between 1817 and 1825 there were several camp meetings and revivals in the Palmyra area.  Although the Smith family was caught up in this excitement, they disagreed about religion. Joseph Smith became interested in religion at about the age of twelve, and he participated in church classes, read the Bible, and reportedly showed an interest in Methodism. With his family, he also took part in religious folk magic, a common practice at the time. Like many people of that era, both his parents and his maternal grandfather reportedly had visions or dreams that they believed communicated messages from God. Because of the religious divisions in his family and community, Smith was conflicted about the benefit of organized religion, saying that he had become concerned for the welfare of his soul but was confused by competing religious denominations.

Smith later said he received a vision from God around 1820 that resolved his sense of religious confusion and personal questions. Praying in a wooded area near his home, he said he saw a vision in which God told him his sins were forgiven, and that all contemporary churches had “turned aside from the gospel.” Smith said he told a preacher about the experience who he said dismissed the story with contempt; otherwise the experience was largely unknown, including to most Mormons, until the 1840s. Although Smith probably originally understood the event as a personal conversion, this “First Vision” would later grow in importance among Mormons, who see it as the founding event of Mormonism.

The Smith family supplemented its meager farm income by treasure-digging. Joseph was said to have an ability to use seer stones for locating lost items and buried treasure. To do so, Smith would put a stone in a white stovepipe hat and would then see the required information in reflections given off by the stone.

In 1823, Smith said that while praying at night for forgiveness from his sins, he was visited by an angel named Moroni, who revealed the location of a buried book of golden plates as well as other artifacts, including a breastplate and a set of interpreters composed of two seer stones set in a frame, which had been hidden in a hill in Manchester near his home. Smith said he attempted to remove the plates the next morning but was unsuccessful because the angel prevented him.

During the next four years, Smith made annual visits to the hill, but each time returned without the plates. Meanwhile, Smith continued traveling to western New York and Pennsylvania as a treasure seeker and a farmhand. In 1826, he was brought before a court in Chenango County, New York, for “glass-looking”, or pretending to find lost treasure.

While boarding at the Hale house in Harmony, Pennsylvania, Smith met Emma Hale and began courting her. When Smith asked for Emma’s hand, her father, Isaac Hale, objected because Smith was “a stranger” and had no means of supporting his daughter other than money digging. On January 18, 1827, Smith and Emma “eloped to marry” and the couple began boarding with Smith’s parents in Manchester.

On September 22, 1827, Smith made his last annual visit to the hill, taking Emma with him. This time, he said, he retrieved the plates and placed them in a locked chest. He said the angel commanded him not to show the plates to anyone else but to publish their translation, reputed to be the religious record of indigenous Americans. Joseph later told Emma’s parents that his treasure-seeking days were behind him. Although Smith had left his treasure hunting company, his former associates believed he had double-crossed them by taking for himself what they considered joint property. They ransacked places where a competing treasure-seer said the plates were hidden, leading Smith to believe that he could not accomplish the translation in Palmyra (Wikipedia).



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