Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 444
Joseph Smith, a visionary and mystic, founder of the Church of Latter-day Saints; a poor, handsome, humorless giant who believes himself a prophet of God and who reports the finding of some inscribed golden plates, which he translates into a bible for his followers. Persecuted in New York, Ohio, and Missouri, he is finally killed by a mob in Illinois.
Brigham Young, the strong, able leader of the church after Smith’s death. Unsentimental, hardheaded, and unceasingly devoted to the church, he leads his saints to Utah and becomes governor until the territory is made a state. After withstanding many onslaughts, he dies just before being tried for his reputed crimes.
John Taylor, leader of the church after Young’s death.
Oliver Cowdery, a schoolteacher, Joseph’s first convert, who records Joseph’s dictated translation of the Book of Mormon and later becomes a missionary to the Indians.
Heber Kimball, Brigham’s close friend and one of his chief aides. He dies of pneumonia after falling from a carriage.
Emma Hale Smith
Emma Hale Smith, Joseph’s first wife, who complains, among many other things, about Joseph’s many wives.
Newel Knight, a convert who introduces Joseph to conditions among his Ohio followers.
Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant, disgusted president of the United States, who plans to wipe out the Mormon empire.
Bill Hickman, an adventurous former Methodist who becomes a volunteer avenger, scout, and Indian fighter for the Mormons until he finally sours on Mormonism.
Sidney Rigdon, an unpredictable, strong-voiced prophet who, after Joseph’s death, is ambitious to head the church and is later excommunicated.
John Bennett, a handsome, sensual adventurer and jack-of-all-trades attracted to Mormonism by Joseph’s plural marriage policy.
Jedediah Grant, a zealous preacher, the firebrand of the church, who pleads with Brigham for a casting out of the sinners.
Nephi McBride, grandfather and grandson, leaders of a group of dissident Mormons who leave Salt Lake City after the abolition of plural marriages.
Alfred Cumming, the enormously fat governor of Utah.
Artemus Ward, and
Richard Burton, three visitors to Salt Lake City who later write about the Mormons and their activities.
Wilford Woodruff, Mormon leader after John Taylor. He abolishes plural marriages in an attempt to save the church from destruction.
The Whitmers, a family of early converts.
Moroni, an angel who tells Joseph where to find the golden plates and commands him to translate them.
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