|Joseph Smith Junior was the founder and prophet leader of the Mormon Church. Joseph Smith’s family had a strong tradition of religion and patriotism. This tradition is most likely the reason for Joseph’s strong desire to understand religion even though he was so young.On Joseph Smith’s father’s side the first to come to America was Robert Smith in 1638. Robert Smith’s third son was Samuel born in 1666. Samuel’s first son, Samuel II was born in 1714. Samuel II was active in public affairs and held over twenty public offices throughout his life. He also fought for America in the Revolutionary War and was known as Captain Samuel Smith. Asael Smith was Samuel II second son and Joseph Smith Junior’s grandfather. Asael worked hard to teach his children virtue and piety. In a letter of advice written to his children Asael says, “and as to religion, I would not wish to point any particular form to you; but first I would wish you to search the scriptures and consult sound reason and see if they are not sufficient to evince to you that religion is a necessary theme.”1 This letter was a cherished family heirloom and most likely would have been well-known to Joseph.On Joseph Smith’s Mother’s side John Mack was the first to come to America. He came from Scotland in 1680. In 1697, his son Ebenezer was born. Ebenezer was a respected clergyman. Ebenezer’s son Solomon Mack was Lucy Mack’s father. Solomon was born in 1732 and married Lydia Gates in 1759. Solomon and Lydia were both very concerned that their children have a good education in secular as well as religious matters. Lydia was “in the habit of calling [the family] together both morning and evening, and teaching them to pray.”2 This tradition of gathering the family together was something that Lucy continued in her own home with her children. William Smith was interviewed in 1893 towards the end of his life and asked, “Were your folks religiously inclined before Joseph saw the angel?” William answered, “yes, we always had family prayers since I can remember.” 3 Joseph Sr. and Lucy wanted their children to be upright citizens, religious, and hard workers.Joseph Smith Senior was born in 1771. He married Lucy Mack on January 24, 1796. Joseph Smith Senior and Lucy Mack had eleven children. Their first son was born in 1797 and died shortly after his birth.Alvin Smith was born on February 11, 1798. The death of Alvin in 1823 when he was only 25 was a great trial for the family. Alvin had been a loving brother and worked hard to help care for the family. In the summer of 1821 the family was working hard to build a bigger house on their farm. Lucy Mack recorded that Alvin, “would say, I am going to have a nice pleasant room for father and mother to sit in, and everything arranged for their comfort, and they shall not work any more as they have done.” Alvin deeply believed in the truthfulness of his younger brother’s visions and just before his death told Joseph to “be a good boy, and do everything that lies in your power to obtain the Record [the Book of Mormon]. Be faithful in receiving instruction, and in keeping every commandment that is given you.” 4Hyrum was born on February 9, 1800. Hyrum, like Alvin, supported Joseph and completely believed in the visions of Joseph and the restoration of the Church. He was Joseph’s constant companion and advisor. He was loyal and firm in his beliefs. Hyrum served in many capacities in the early days of the Church, as a missionary, patriarch, and staunch supporter. He was a companion to Joseph throughout all of his persecutions and was killed at the same time as Joseph.
Sophronia, Joseph’s oldest sister, was born on May 17, 1803. Joseph was born on December 23, 1805, and Samuel was born on March 13, 1808. Samuel also strongly supported his brother Joseph. He was the first missionary for the Church. His missionary efforts eventually led to the conversion of Brigham Young, who later became the second prophet of the Mormon Church. Samuel is often called the third martyr, because he too died from injuries he sustained when he learned of the danger Joseph and Hyrum were in and rode to Nauvoo while being chased by a mob. He died about a month later.
Ephraim was born on March 13, 1810 and lived only a few hours. William was born on March 13, 1811. William too had great confidence in the truthfulness of Joseph’s mission. In an interview he was asked, “Did you not doubt Joseph’s testimony about the Book of Mormon sometimes?” William replied, “No; we all had the most implicit confidence in what he said. He was a truthful boy. Father and Mother believed him, why should not the children? I suppose if he had told crooked stories about other things we might have doubted his word about the plates, but Joseph was a truthful boy. That Father and Mother believed his report and suffered persecution for that belief shows that he was truthful. Now sir, we never doubted his word for one minute.” Katherine was born on July 25, 1813, Don Carlos on March 25, 1816 and finally Lucy on July 18, 1821.
See also “The Family of the Prophet Joseph Smith” by Elder Ballard
1 Roberts, B.H. 1965. Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Utah: Brigham Young University Press. P. 9
2 Roberts, B.H. 1965. Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Utah: Brigham Young University Press. P. 19