The Mormons moved to Illinois and settled on undeveloped land along the Mississippi River known as Commerce.
When he was a teenager, he attended a religious revival where his family lived in upstate New York.
Confused by the different religions, Smith prayed for direction in 1820 and over the next few years recorded several personal revelations. Members accepted him as a prophet who could speak the will of the Lord.
The first group arrived in Kirtland, Ohio, a few miles east of Cleveland, early in 1831.
For the next seven years, Kirtland served as the church headquarters, and the Latter-day Saints built their first temple there.
One of the first groups went to share the Book of Mormon with the Native Americans.
When there were more Mormons in Ohio than in New York, Smith received a revelation that the church should move west.
A significant consequence of this tradition has been the development of an enduring sense of territoriality that has given a distinctive cast to Mormon group consciousness.
It differentiates the Mormons from members of other sects and lends support to the judgment of [Catholic] sociologist Thomas F.
As Smith, his brother Hyrum, and other church leaders were held in jail awaiting trial, a mob broke into the jail and killed Joseph and Hyrum Smith on June 27, 1844.
Following the death of their leader, Brigham Young (1801-1877), the president of the Council of Twelve Apostles, gained the trust of most of Smith's followers.
Using the powers granted by Nauvoo's charter, Smith destroyed not only the newspaper but also the press.