The first thing I’ll say here is that the members of the Church do NOT adore Joseph Smith; we revere him as the first prophet of this dispensation, the man to whom the task of reestablishing the Church of Jesus Christ, in its entirety, just as it was in the days when Jesus walked upon the earth.
In 1820, Joseph Smith was a young boy, a little past his fourteenth birthday, when he went into the woods near his home in Manchester, New York , to pray; the area was rife with religionists and evangelists of many denominations, each proclaiming that only they knew which was the true way to Heaven, and Joseph was very curious to know for himself which of these groups he should join. It was after reading James 1:5 which states: “If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” that Joseph made his decision to pray and ask which of the many churches was true. In answer to his prayer, Joseph was told in a vision that he should join none of the churches, but that he was to restore the original church.
Three years later, at the age of seventeen, he was visited by an Angel who told him that he would be given some metal plates that contained a history of the people who had lived in the new world and a record of their relationship with God. Each year, on the same day – September 21 – Joseph went to a certain hill; on the fourth year, he was told to dig up the plates and to translate them. He was also told to be careful and to protect them as many men would try to steal them because of their intrinsic value. He began the translation at the age of twenty-one, in the year1827. These plates were published under the title of The Book Of Mormon in 1830.
Joseph Smith was assassinated in 1844, at the age of thirty-eight, after having been unjustly arrested for trumped up charges. A mob of one hundred fifty to two hundred men shot both Joseph and his brother Hyrum to death and wounded one other person, each receiving four musket-balls.