From the book: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith
by Michael R. Ash
In this episode, Michael Ash discusses: A Prophet’s Birth from Noble Heritage. Both Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith came from a line of worthy ancestors. Some of their progenitors were patriots, pioneers, and ministers. Seven were pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower, and three of the seven signed the Mayflower Compact.
One of Lucy’s ancestors was John Lathrop, a former minister of the Church of England who allied himself with an independent religious body when he no longer approved of the church government. For eight years Lathrop and his congregation met secretly in London until they were arrested. During his imprisonment, Lathrop’s wife became fatally ill and he was allowed to visit her in her dying moments before returning to jail. He was finally released after pleading with the bishop for the sake of his motherless children. Lathrop and his children then sailed to America, where he became a leader in church affairs.
Joseph Sr. and Lucy wed in 1796. The following year they delivered their first child, an unnamed daughter who died shortly after birth. Alvin, Hyrum, and Sophronia followed. The Smiths moved several times as they struggled to support their growing family. They finally settled in Sharon, Vermont after purchasing a farm from Lucy’s father, Solomon Mack. Joseph Sr. cultivated the farm and taught school during the winter. Gradually, their financial circumstances became more comfortable.
Joseph Smith Jr. was born on December 23, 1805. He was the fifth child of an eventual eleven to be born to the Smiths. Twenty-nine years had passed since America had declared her independence from England, and only twenty-two years had lapsed since the Revolutionary War had formally ended. The Bill of Rights had been in force for only fourteen years, and George Washington had died just six years earlier. Thomas Jefferson was serving as president of the United States –which consisted of only seventeen of our current fifty states.
Michael R. Ash is the author of: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith. He is the owner and operator of MormonFortress.com and is on the management team for FairMormon. He has been published in Sunstone, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the Maxwell Institute’s FARMS Review, and is the author of Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One’s Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt. He and his wife live in Ogden, Utah, and have three daughters.
Julianne Dehlin Hatton is a broadcast journalist living in Louisville, Kentucky. She has worked as a News Director at an NPR affiliate, Radio and Television Host, and Airborne Traffic Reporter. She graduated with an MSSc from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2008. Julianne and her husband Thomas are the parents of four children.
Music for Faith and Reason is provided by Arthur Hatton.