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Why would someone try to assassinate Joseph Smith shortly before the first vision?

Lucy Mack Smith recounted an experience shortly before Joseph Smith’s first vision:

At the age of fourteen an incident occurred which alarmed us much, as we knew not the cause of it. Joseph being a remarkably quiet, well-disposed child, we did not suspect that anyone had aught against him. He was out on an errand one evening about twilight. When he was returning through the dooryard, a gun was fired across his pathway with evident intention of killing him. He sprang to the door, threw it open, and fell upon the floor with fright. We went in search of the person who fired the gun, but found no trace of him until the next morning when we found his tracks under a wagon where he lay when he fired. We found the balls that were discharged from his piece the next day in the head and neck of a cow that stood opposite the wagon in a dark corner, but we never found out the man, nor ever suspected the cause of the act.

The Joseph Smith Papers – Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845

If Joseph Smith was “remarkably quiet and a well-disposed child”, why would someone try to shoot him at such an early age?


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