This thesis is a biography of Joseph Smith Sr., first patriarch to the Church and father of the illustrious Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. The overall purpose of this treatise is of a four-fold nature. First, it proposes to reveal the kind of personality and character he possessed. Second, it intends to present a near complete and accurate account of his deeds and experiences. Third, it hopes to relate him to the historical period in which he lived. And fourth, by fulfilling the three purposes named, it will attempt to evaluate the assertions that have been frequently made that the Prophet Joseph came from an ignorant, shiftless, and unworthy family.
All of this can be done only to a limited extent, because of the small amount that has been written about Joseph Smith, Sr.
In organizing the research of this thesis I have attempted to accomplish my desired purposes by giving an overall evaluation of Father Smith's life from both favorable and unfavorable sources; this is followed with the formative influences that helped to shape his personality and character; then is given the part he and his family played in the restoration of the true Gospel and the service he rendered as a member of the true church; added to this are the trials and tribulations he witnessed and suffered for the faith he had in the divine mission of his son; circumstances of his death and contributions he made conclude the treatise.
With this information, it is hoped that in judging Joseph Smith Sr., one may more fully take into account these influences that surrounded him and place oneself in a position to look at things from his point of view and thereby form at least a partially correct estimate of his character.



College and Department

Religious Education; Church History and Doctrine



Date Submitted


Document Type





Joseph Smith, 1771-1840