Why Did Joseph Smith want to be President of the United States and What was his Political Platform?

Joseph Smith’s primary motivation for running for president of the United States was to do all in his power to protect the Latter-day Saint from the kinds of injustices they had suffered in Missouri. On February 8, 2844, the Prophet declared:


“I would not have suffered my name to have been used by my friends on anywise as a President of the United States, or candidate for that office, it I and my friends could have had the privilege of enjoying our religious and civil rights as American citizens, even those rights which the Constitution guarantees unto all her citizens alike.

But this as a people we have been denied from the beginning. Persecution has rolled upon our heads from time to time, from portions of the United States, like peals of thunder, because of our religion; and no portion of this government has yet stepped forward for our relief. And in view of these things, I feel it to be my right and privilege to obtain what influence and power I can, lawfully, in the United States, for the protection of injured innocent.”

 

Joseph’s platform would advocate for the following:


  • Giving the power to the president to suppress mobs
  • Abolishing slavery
  • Reducing both the number and pay of the House of Representitives
  • Reforming the Prison System
  • Eliminating courts-martial for desertion
  • Forming a national bank


Joseph did not receive any revelation on whether or not he should run for Office that we know of, saying:


“The Lord has not given me a revelation concerning politics. I have not asked him for one. I am a third party, and stand independent and alone.”


So the question is, how serious was Joseph's campaign for president and why is it not talked about as much?


The reason why it is not talked about as much is because his campaign was cut short due to his martyrdom at Carthage Jail. On January 29, 1844, the Prophet declared,


“If I ever get into the presidential chair, I will protect the people in their rights and liberties. There is oratory enough in the Church to carry me into the presidential chair on the first slide.”


On February 7, he said, “I feel it to be my right and privilege to obtain what influence and power I can, lawfully, in the United States, for the protection of injured innocent.” Joseph would then go on and speculate that he might be killed because of the campaign. These are hardly the words of a frivolous candidate.


What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!

 

The following was taken from the book Joseph Smith: Presidential Candidate written by Arnold K. Garr, which is part of the Setting the Record Straight series, currently available on SALE at cedarfort.com.