Joseph Smith, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Latter-day Saints, religious leaders, prophets


Some of the concepts of the view of the childhood held by the Latter-day Saints can be found in stories told about the early life of their founder and first prophet, Joseph Smith. Brother Joseph, as he was known to the Saints, often took time to play games with children and youth. Some Mormons, with their early American sense of propriety about religious leaders, were troubled by Joseph's playful nature. One day a Brother Wakefield came to the Prophet's home to discuss church business. He was told that Brother Joseph was translating the word of God. Brother Wakefield waited some time and when the Prophet appeared he immediately began playing with a group of children. Brother Wakefield considered this action so inconsistent with the calling of a prophet that he left Mormonism.

Original Publication Citation

Dollahite, D. C. (2009). Latter-day Saint children and youth in America. In D. S. Browning & B. Miller-McLemore (Eds.), Children and Childhood in American Religions (pp. 102-118). Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Rutgers University Press




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor