Meet Brother Joseph

“Meet Brother Joseph,” Liahona, Dec. 2011, 58

Meet Brother Joseph

You know that Joseph Smith was the first prophet in these latter days, but did you know that he loved to laugh and make people laugh? or that he and his wife, Emma, adopted twins? Here are a few other things you might not know about the Prophet Joseph:

  • Joseph Smith Jr. was born on December 23, 1805, in Sharon, Vermont, USA, and was named after his father. Joseph’s siblings, in order of age, were Alvin, Hyrum, Sophronia, Samuel Harrison, Ephraim, William, Katherine, Don Carlos, and Lucy.

  • When Joseph was seven, he had typhoid fever. He recovered from the fever but was left with an infection in his left leg. Nine pieces of the bone were removed without any anesthesia (painkiller). He walked with a slight limp the rest of his life.1

  • Joseph was 14 when he first prayed aloud and saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (see Joseph Smith—History 1:17).

  • Joseph’s oldest brother, Alvin, died when Joseph was 17. Almost 13 years later Joseph saw Alvin in a vision of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 137:5–7).

  • Isaac Hale, Emma’s father, didn’t approve of Joseph and didn’t want them to get married. Joseph and Emma decided to elope and were married on January 18, 1827.2

  • Emma and Joseph were married for 17 years and had 11 children, 6 of whom died as children.

  • After his tooth was chipped when he was attacked by a mob in 1832, Joseph spoke with a lisp.3

  • Joseph enjoyed playing games. Such games included playing ball, wrestling, throwing snowballs, fishing, and pulling sticks.4

  • An early Latter-day Saint described Joseph’s voice as being like “the thunders of Heaven.”5

  • Joseph was strong and tall, around 6′2″ (1.9 m), and weighed about 200 pounds (91 kg).6

  • Joseph wasn’t only the President of the Church, but he also ran for president of the United States.7

  • After Joseph was martyred, Elder John Taylor (1808–87), then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, wrote of him, “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it” (D&C 135:3).


  1. See Presidents of the Church (Church Educational System student manual, 2003), 3–4.

  2. See “Life of the Prophet: Joseph and Emma,” JosephSmith.net.

  3. See “Life of the Prophet: Friend of Man,” JosephSmith.net.

  4. See Alexander L. Baugh, “Joseph Smith’s Athletic Nature,” in Joseph Smith: The Prophet, the Man, ed. Susan Easton Black and Charles D. Tate Jr. (1993), 137.

  5. Joseph L. Robinson, in “Life of the Prophet: Teacher of God’s Truth,” JosephSmith.net.

  6. See Baugh, “Joseph Smith’s Athletic Nature,” 138–39.

  7. See “Life of the Prophet: Leading with Love,” JosephSmith.net.

Joseph Smith, by Dee Jay Bawden; Joseph Smith and Nauvoo’s Youths, by Del Parson © IRI