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Question: Do contemporary documents shed any light on the possible persecution of the Smith family after Joseph Smith's First Vision?
Contemporary newspaper articles report an episode that likely provides some window into the persecution which the Smiths endured
Milton Backman recounts the events surrounding the death of Alvin, Joseph's elder brother:
After the death of Joseph's brother, Alvin, who died November 19, 1823, someone circulated the rumor that Alvin's body had been "removed from the place of his interment and dissected." In an attempt to ascertain the truth of this report, Joseph Smith, Sr., along with neighbors gathered at the grave, removed the earth, and found the body undisturbed. To correct the fabrication, designed in the opinion of Joseph's father to injure the reputation of the Smith family, Joseph, Sr., placed in the Wayne Sentinel (which appeared on successive Wednesdays from September 30 to November 3, 1824) a public notice reciting his findings that the body was undisturbed. 
This kind of malicious gossip and rumor is cruel, but is also not the sort of thing likely to leave much trace on the historical record, save in memories. But, if the Smith family could be the subject of malicious gossip when faced with a tragedy like Alvin's death, can we really expect that things before then were much better?
Question: What did Joseph Smith's mother Lucy Smith say regarding the persecution of the Smith family after the First Vision?
Joseph's mother recalled that Joseph suffered "every kind of opposition and persecution from different orders of religionists
Lucy Mack Smith recalled,
From this time [the First Vision] until the twenty-first of September, 1823 [when he saw the angel Moroni] Joseph continued, as usual, to labour with his father, and nothing during this interval occurred of very great importance—though he suffered, as one would naturally suppose, every kind of opposition and persecution from the different orders of religionists. 
Question: What did Joseph Smith's brother William Smith say regarding the persecution of the Smith family after the First Vision?
William Smith said that "We never knew we were bad folks until Joseph told his vision"
William Smith, Joseph's brother remembered:
We were all very much scoffed at and persecuted during all this time, while Joseph was receiving his visions and translating the plates. 
It has generally been stated that my father's family were lazy, shiftless and poor; but this was never said by their neighbors, or until after the angel appeared and the story of the golden Bible was told.... 
It is said that Joseph and the rest of the family were lazy and indolent. We never heard of such a thing until after Joseph told his vision, and not then by our friends. Whenever the neighbors wanted a good days work done they knew where they could get a good hand and they were not particular to take any of the other boys before Joseph either. We cleared sixty acres of the heaviest timber I ever saw. We had a good place, but it required a great deal of labor to make it a good place. We also had on it from twelve to fifteen hundred sugar trees, and to gather the sap and make sugar and molasses from that number of trees was no lazy job. We worked hard to clear our place and the neighbors were a little jealous. If you will figure up how much work it would take to clear sixty acres of heavy timber land, heavier than any here, trees you could not conveniently cut down, you can tell whether we were lazy or not, and Joseph did his share of the work with the rest of the boys.
["]We never knew we were bad folks until Joseph told his vision. We were considered respectable till then, but at once people began to circulate falsehoods and stories in a wonderful way." 
With William's accounts, we again see that the persecution was largely verbal, in the form of gossip and slander.
Question: What did Joseph Smith's contemporaries say regarding the persecution of the Smith family after the First Vision?
Thomas H. Taylor said that some people "ducked him in the pond that you see over there, just because he preached what he believed and for nothing else"
Thomas H. Taylor, was asked, ""What did the Smiths do that the people abused them so?" He replied:
They did not do anything. Why! these rascals at one time took Joseph Smith and ducked him in the pond that you see over there, just because he preached what he believed and for nothing else. And if Jesus Christ had been there, they would have done the same to him. Now I don't believe like he did; but every man has a right to his religious opinions, and to advocate his views, too; if people don't like it, let them come out and meet him on the stand, and shew his error. Smith was always ready to exchange views with the best men they had. [Why didn't they like Smith?, asked the interviewer.]
To tell the truth, there was something about him they could not understand; someway he knew more than they did, and it made them mad. 
The raw notes for the Taylor interview likewise mention Joseph Smith being "ducked in the creek in Manchester" despite the fact that the Smiths "did nothing" and "nothing has been sustained [a]gainst [Joseph] Smith". 
Here too, then, we see an element of physical persecution, though the gossip and slander identified by William and Lucy was likely far more common.
- Milton V. Backman, Jr., Joseph Smith's First Vision: Confirming Evidences and Contemporary Accounts, 2d ed., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 114. ISBN 0884943992. ISBN 978-0884943990. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations (Liverpool, S.W. Richards, 1853), 78.
- Predefinição:CitationSource:BoM Witnesses:Other:William Smith:1883b
- Predefinição:CitationSource:BoM Witnesses:Other:William Smith:1884
- Predefinição:CitationSource:BoM Witnesses:Other:William Smith:1893
- Predefinição:CitationSource:Thomas H. Taylor:1881 Also in Milton V. Backman, Jr., Joseph Smith's First Vision: Confirming Evidences and Contemporary Accounts, 2d ed., (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 119. ISBN 0884943992. ISBN 978-0884943990. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)
- Predefinição:CitationSource:Thomas H. Taylor:1881:Notes