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In honor of Joseph Smith’s birthday, here are 5 articles and a video about the Prophet

Joseph Smith Jr. was born on Dec. 23, 1805. Here are five Church News articles and a video that share about his life, birthplace, places he spent Christmas and the Joseph Smith Papers project

Joseph Smith Jr. was born to Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith on Dec. 23, 1805, in a New England frame home in Sharon, Vermont. After suffering a financial setback, the Smith family moved to a home on the farm belonging to Lucy’s father, Solomon Mack, shortly before Joseph’s birth, where they lived for three years.

From there, the family would move several times and live in upstate New York. There, 14-year-old Joseph knelt in a grove of trees near his family’s farm to ask which church to join. God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to young Joseph in an experience known as the First Vision

Three years later, in 1823, the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith, and after that, Joseph began translating the Gold Plates. The resulting translation was published as the Book of Mormon in 1830, just before The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized on April 6. He led the Church as members moved west, first to Ohio and Missouri and then Nauvoo, Illinois. And in June 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith were martyred, sealing their testimonies of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ with their blood.

Here are several articles from the Church News archives about Joseph, including places he and his family spent Christmas, what two Apostles said about visiting Joseph’s birthplace, celebrating and remembering his life, a lesson from Liberty Jail in Missouri, the conclusion of the Joseph Smith Papers project and an announcement about a new biography.

6 places the Prophet Joseph Smith spent Christmas

Sharon, Vermont, with a tall monument and restored homes, is the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Sharon, Vermont, is the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith. | Credit: Kenneth Mays

From Joseph Smith’s birthplace in Sharon, Vermont, to his last year in Nauvoo, Illinois, see photos of several places he spent Christmas.

See the list and photos of the six places.

Video: Honoring the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith

President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, walk at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial in Sharon, Vt., on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

This Church News video, “A Baby Was Born,” with President M. Russell Ballard, then acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, highlights the significance of Joseph Smith’s life. It was released in 2020 as the Church was celebrating the 200th anniversary of the First Vision — when the Father and Son appeared to Joseph and set in motion the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Watch the video “A Baby Was Born,” plus what it means to the two Apostles to be at the birthplace.

From monument to proclamation: celebrating the Prophet Joseph Smith’s birth, life and testimony

The Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial
The Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial in Sharon, Vt., on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Find out about the history of the monument at the Joseph Smith Birthplace in Sharon, Vermont, and events of the past century to remember the Prophet, leading up to the release in 2020  “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: A Bicentennial Proclamation to the World,”

“I can’t get anywhere near this birthplace without having deep affection and love for the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr.,” President M. Russell Ballard, then acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, told the Church News in October 2019. “I feel obligated to do everything I can to declare and to teach that the gospel is once again on the earth.” 

Read about remembering the life and work of Joseph Smith.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Why it is fitting that Joseph Smith was born during the Christmas season

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stands in the Historic Liberty Jail in Liberty, Missouri, on Friday, May 28, 2021.
Elder Quentin L. Cook, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, stands in the Historic Liberty Jail in Liberty, Missouri on Friday, May 28, 2021. | Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said Liberty Jail “is a place where we recognize the depths of the hardships and yet the sacredness of the Doctrine and Covenants sections. The revelations that came to him are powerful and bless us and give us hope. What a remarkable history, what a remarkable blessing it is to us.”

Elder Cook’s reflection from Carthage is the same reflection we each share this December as we celebrate two births — the Savior of the World and the Prophet who restored the Savior’s Church to the earth and died a martyr to His cause.

Find out more about Elder Cook at Liberty Jail and lessons from Joseph’s time there

After two decades, Church celebrates final volume of the Joseph Smith Papers project

The final print volume of the Joseph Smith Papers is pictured at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 27, 2023.
The final print volume of the Joseph Smith Papers is pictured at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 27, 2023. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Church leaders, historians and guests celebrated the final volume of the Joseph Smith Papers, published on the anniversary of Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s martyrdom, June 27.

“Those who opposed Joseph Smith thought that his death would be the end of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, it was just the beginning,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

More about what Church leaders and historians said about the Joseph Smith Papers project.

First Presidency announces new biography, ‘Joseph the Prophet,’ at Joseph Smith Papers Conference

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, speaks at the seventh Joseph Smith Papers Conference in the Conference Center Theater in Salt Lake City on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. He also announced that the First Presidency had commissioned a new biography of Joseph Smith. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, opened the Joseph Smith Papers Conference in September 2023 by announcing a new biography on Joseph Smith. He also reflected on the project’s history and thanked the Larry H. and Gail Miller family for its financial support.

Learn more about the announcement of the Joseph Smith biography.

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