Questions regarding the conditions of the origin of Mormonism have been asked repeatedly since Joseph Smith first made his claims public regarding his religious experiences. The same questions have been asked by both proponents and opponents of Smith's story: "How did Mormonism begin?", "Who was Joseph Smith?", "What was Joseph Smith?", "What did he do?" If it could be shown that Joseph Smith was an honest, upright, and sincere person, then the religion he produced was more likely to be reliable and truthful. If it could be shown that Joseph Smith was a fraud and a deceiver, then presumably, the religion could have been revealed as a fake and a great hoax. For many years the issues were wrapped up in the polarization of these extreme points of view. Not until the 1940's did the emotional content of these questions abate to the degree that a more objective examination of the evidence was possible.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; History
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Yorgason, Laurence Milton, "Some Demographic Aspects of One Hundred Early Mormon Converts, 1830-1837" (1974). All Theses and Dissertations. 5230.
Mormons, Biography, Mormon converts, Surveys