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Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was an American religious leader and the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement. Regarded as a prophet by his followers, Smith was also a military leader, city planner, political theorist, and polygamist.
Smith was raised in western New York during the Second Great Awakening, a period of religious enthusiasm. As a youth, he was influenced by both Christian revivalism and a widespread belief in folk magic. In addition to working as a farm hand, Smith was employed as a treasure hunter, directing searches for buried treasure with a seer stone. In the late 1820s, Smith said that an angel had directed him to a buried book of golden plates inscribed with a religious history of ancient American peoples. After publishing what he said was an English translation of the plates as the Book of Mormon, he organized branches of the Church of Christ, a church whose adherents were later called Latter Day Saints, Saints, or Mormons.