Joseph Smith Jr., First President of the Church
Born December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, Joseph Smith Jr. was the fifth of 11 children of Joseph Smith and Lucy Mack. He worked on the family farm in Vermont and later in western New York. A series of remarkable spiritual experiences prepared him for his prophetic calling. Beginning in 1820 at Palmyra, New York, Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in vision. Through revelation, he translated and published the Book of Mormon, organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830, and received revelations to guide the Church. By inspiration, he called Apostles and other Church leaders, defined doctrines, and taught the principles and ordinances that would lead to exaltation. Under his leadership, Latter-day Saints founded communities in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. He was sustained as First Elder of the Church on April 6, 1830. On June 27, 1844, at Carthage, Illinois, Joseph Smith died a martyr to his faith.