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Clark, Joshua Reuben, Jr. (01 September 1871–06 October 1961), diplomat and church leader, was born near Grantsville, Utah, the eldest of the ten children of Joshua Reuben Clark, Sr., and Mary Louisa Woolley, Mormon farmers. Although the family was poor, Clark showed great promise early on and was encouraged to pursue an education. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1898 and went on to Columbia University Law School in 1903. While there he came to the attention of both ...

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Grant, Heber Jeddy (22 November 1856–14 May 1945), seventh president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), seventh president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Jedediah Morgan Grant and Rachel Ridgeway Ivins. Grant’s father, mayor of Salt Lake City and one of ...

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Pratt, Orson (19 September 1811–03 October 1881), Mormon religious leader, was born in Hartford, Washington County, New York, the son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson, farmers. At age nineteen Pratt joined the recently organized (1830) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), being baptized by his brother ...

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Smith, Joseph (23 December 1805–27 June 1844), founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormon Church, was born in Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, the son of Joseph Smith, Sr., and Lucy Mack, farmers. Joseph Smith was notable among religious figures for claiming to receive revelations and to translate ancient religious texts. Mormons consider these writings, published as the Doctrine and Covenants and the Book of Mormon, as scripture on a par with the Bible and think of Smith as a prophet in the biblical tradition. Smith did not consider himself to be either a reformer or the founder of a new religion. In his own eyes, he was restoring the Christian gospel as taught by Jesus and the first apostles. Nothing in Joseph Smith’s background prepared him to write scriptures or to head a religious movement. His parents were poor New England farmers who began life with a farm in Tunbridge, Vermont, but lost it in 1803 after a commercial venture failed. When Joseph Smith, Jr., was born two years later, the Smith family lived on a farm rented from a relative. In 1816 they migrated to Palmyra, New York, and in 1818 purchased 100 acres in Farmington (later Manchester) a few miles south of Palmyra village. For the first time in fourteen years they owned land of their own....

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Smoot, Reed Owen (10 January 1862–09 February 1941), senator and Mormon apostle, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of Abraham Owen Smoot, a businessman and politician, and Anne Kirstene Morrison. Smoot’s father had joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in Kentucky and moved with the church to Illinois and then on to Utah in 1847. Abraham Smoot was a polygamist, and Reed was the third child of the fifth wife, a convert from Norway. Anne Morrison Smoot influenced all her children to have faith, be industrious, and practice prudence. Abraham Smoot was mayor of Salt Lake City for ten years and then moved south to Provo, where he served in that same office for twelve years. Abraham served simultaneously as the president of the Mormon church’s Utah Stake, which covered all of Utah County....

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Wells, Emmeline B. (29 February 1828–25 April 1921), suffragist and Mormon feminist activist, was born Emmeline Blanche Woodward in Petersham, Massachusetts, the daughter of David Woodward and Diadama Hare, farmers. Marital relations were a defining characteristic of Emmeline’s life. As a recent convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS church), she married at age fifteen fellow church member James Harris, also fifteen. By the next year, she had buried her first child and had been deserted by her teenage husband. Thereafter, Emmeline chose father figures as husbands. In 1845 she married Newel K. Whitney, a prominent Mormon bishop thirty-three years her senior, who was already the husband of two living wives. She wrote Whitney in 1847: “Like as a vine entwineth itself around an ...