In the first year after his marriage to Emma Hale on January 18, 1827, the young couple lived with Joseph Smith’s parents in Manchester, New York. In December they moved to Emma’s parents in Harmony, Pennsylvania, who let them buy some land on credit. Instead of working the land to earn the $ 200 needed toward repayment of his debt, Joseph Smith worked on writing the Book of Mormon and lived on charity from friends and acquaintances like Martin Harris and Joseph Knight (Newell & Avery 1994, pp. 19-34). Then suddenly, in August 1830, he paid off the $ 200 in a single installment but it is not known where he got the money.
Not long afterwards, Joseph Smith moved to Kirtland, Ohio “and this because of the enemy and for your sakes” (Doctrine and Covenants 2013, p. 62) – the enemy being the people of the state of New York who were familiar with Joseph Smith’s treasure digging past and wanted nothing to do with his new church (Arrington 1970). In Ohio, on the other hand, Mormon missionaries were successful. In November 1830 they baptized Sidney Rigdon, a Baptist minister, and more than a hundred of his followers (Ludlow 1992, p. 1234).
|Newell K. Whitney's house in Kirtland, Ohio|
However convenient free housing may seem to some, a person also has to eat, so during the 1831 October conference David Whitmer, Reynolds Cahoon, Simeon Carter, Orson Hyde, Hyrum Smith and Emer Harris were appointed to take care of the Smith family (2 children) and the Rigdons (6 children, see Wagoner 1994, p. 109). Earlier that year, Joseph Smith had already made the “holiness” of his followers and their understanding of “the mysteries of the kingdom” contingent on the degree to which they “provide for him food and raiment, and whatsoever thing he needeth to accomplish the work wherewith I have commanded him” (Doctrine and Covenants 2013, p. 76).
|The "Nauvoo House for boarding"|
In today’s official Mormon historical writings, very little, if any, attention is paid to Josep Smith’s finances, a subject of which this article barely scratched the surface. Instead, Mormons are fed an image of a noble, hard-working, self-sacrificing idealist who selflessly put his entire life in the service of God. This image, unfortunately, does not comply with the facts.