By Alex Beam
At thirty-nine years outdated, Smith had already lived an oversized existence. as well as beginning his personal faith and developing his personal Golden Bible”the booklet of Mormonhe had labored as a water-dowser and treasure hunter. He’d led his humans to Ohio, then Missouri, then Illinois, the place he based a urban better than fledgling Chicago. He used to be operating for president. And, secretly, he had married greater than thirty women.
In American Crucifixion, Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic chief to public enemy: How his so much seismic revelationthe doctrine of polygamycreated a rift between his humans; how that schism grew to become to violence; and the way, finally, Smith couldn't get away the implications of his ambition and pride.
Mormonism is America’s greatest and so much enduring local faith, and the martyrdom” of Joseph Smith is certainly one of its transformational occasions. Smith’s brutal assassination propelled the Mormons to colonize the yank West and declare their position within the mainstream of yankee historical past. American Crucifixion is a gripping tale of scandal and violence, with deep roots in our nationwide identity.
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Extra info for American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church
The text came from God, speaking through Joseph while he stared at the hidden plates, wrapped in a tablecloth. Sometimes he read the revealed text from the Urim and Thummim, placed in a hat. At first, Emma took dictation in their tiny home. But a prosperous local convert, Martin Harris, soon supplanted her, separated from Joseph by a blanket suspended from a string. A schoolteacher convert named Oliver Cowdery eventually joined them. Although Harris and Cowdery would swear to be original “witnesses” of the Book of Mormon, they claimed to have been shown the gold plates in an angelic vision, not by Joseph.
The Old Testament, the New Testament, and the New World merged into one seamless, divine narrative, handed down by Joseph. Second, he brought news of the Second Coming and a restoration of God’s rule on earth. Joseph preached that a theocratic Kingdom of God would appear on American soil, possibly within his own lifetime. He had already chosen the men to administer the new, universal government. America scorned Joseph’s proffered gifts. “The whole [Book of Mormon] was a delusion,” Smith’s father-in-law said in an 1834 affidavit gleefully reproduced around the country.
The blood of the martyrs [was] indeed the seed of the church,” as Joseph’s nephew, church president Joseph Fielding Smith, gruesomely observed in the Juvenile Instructor, a Mormon children’s magazine. The Saints—“perhaps the most work-addicted culture in American history,” according to historian David Brion Davis—labored, they proselytized, they fought, prayed, and struggled, to erect an international Christian movement with 14 million members. That imposing edifice stands atop the modest gravestone of a thirty-eight-year-old preacher gunned down in cold blood on America’s Mississippi border.
American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church by Alex Beam