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Joseph Smith

             The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the world's fastest growing religions. With over eleven million members worldwide today, some experts have projected a membership of nearly 265 million in the year 2080 (Anderson). This would make the LDS Church second only to the Roman Catholic Church in population. It is an awe-inspiring prediction, when one considers the humble beginnings of the Church not even two centuries past. It all began with a most intriguing man, one who was destined to shape American history through the religion he planted and cultivated on American soil. This is the story of Joseph Smith, the American Prophet. .
             Joseph Smith Jr. was born on December 23, 1805, as the fourth child of Joseph and Lucy Smith. He was born into an insecurity that in a lifetime of thirty-eight years he would never escape. By the time he was five the family had moved from Sharon, Vermont, to Randolph, then to Royalton, and finally to Lebanon, New Hampshire. At this time a depression was hanging over New England. Its economy had been all but destroyed by Jefferson's embargo against England and France, and later by the War of 1812. All that remained of the once lucrative trade with Canada was a thriving smuggling business around Lake Champlain (Brodie 7). .
             When the Smiths arrived in New Hampshire in 1813 they sent Joseph's older brother Hyrum to Moore's Academy in Hanover. He soon brought home from school the fever that was devastating the whole countryside that year. One by one the other Smith children became sick. Joseph, now eight years old, recovered slowly but steadily, until one day his mother discovered huge infections breaking out on his leg and shoulder. After prayers and herb poultices failed, Lucy finally sought a physician. The doctor bled Joseph and probed the sores, and when the leg refused to heal, he suggested amputation, but Lucy wouldn't have it.

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