History of the Church

Joseph Smith's Boyhood Operation: An 1813 Surgical Success
March 20, 2019
History of the Church
Joseph Smith's Boyhood Operation: An 1813 Surgical Success
Author

This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by LeRoy S. Wirthlin. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history according to the current month. To download the PDF and read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

This article (linked below) was used as foundational research for “Joseph Smith’s Leg Surgery” under Topics at Saints.lds.org. Click here to read more. The image used is a portrait of Nathan Smith, the surgeon who operated on Joseph’s leg.

Although brutal and gruesome, the surgery on 5-year-old Joseph Smith was groundbreaking. Leroy S. Wirthlin’s 1981 BYU Studies article was the first to delve into this unprecedented operation through the eyes of Nathan Smith (the physician), Joseph Smith (the patient), and Lucy Mack Smith (the patient’s mother).