Joseph Smith's True Life
I've just read of the death of the exalted prophet. Joseph Smith dies June 27th, 1844, "throwing his gun at the assailants and lunging for the second-story window in a vain effort to escape...yelling out the first four words of the Masonic call of distress: 'Oh, Lord my God'" (Abanes 199-201). Before this, he has been through legal (and physical) disputes, moving from state to state to avoid the law.
He was followed because of the common beliefs of many against nineteenth century Christendom. Notions included:
1) every denomination had strayed from the pure teachings of Christ; 2) nearly all clergymen were "wicked hirelings," interested in ministering only for financial gain; and 3) the emerging social order represented the resurrection of evil Babylon (84)
Smith's earliest followers were there because they felt "religiously alienated" (84). They trusted that God had given Joseph the "ability to restore Christianity," but "all these revelations about Joseph also happened to come through Joseph" (85). Early followers placed their trust in the man in order to find peace...