American religious leader, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and translator of the Book of Mormon.
He established Latter Day Saint communities in Kirtland, Ohio and Independence, Missouri before ultimately founding the city and spiritual center of Nauvoo, Illinois.
While living in upstate New York, he claimed to have had visions that led him to a collection of gold plates containing messages from God.
He was born in Vermont to Lucy and Joseph Smith, Sr. and had eleven children with his wife Emma. In his adulthood, he was a polygamist, a practice which, coupled with his suppression of a press critical of his lifestyle, eventually led to his arrest and subsequent murder at the hands of an angry mob.
Brigham Young, one of Smith's successors, helped to found the Mormon Church in Utah.