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After the typically horrific early nineteenth-century surgery without either anesthetic or antiseptic, Smith eventually recovered, though he used crutches for several years and had a slight limp for the remainder of his life.The extended Smith clan had already moved west to New York, and in 1817, Joseph Smith Sr.Lucy's account, recorded thirty years after the period in which the visions are said to have occurred, suggests "a tendency to make her husband the predecessor of her son" by echoing passages in the Book of Mormon.
Around this time he, along with other male members of his family, was hired to assist in searching for buried treasure.According to Lucy Smith, Asael once came to Joseph Smith Sr.'s door after he had attended a Methodist meeting with Lucy and "threw Tom Paine's Age of Reason into the the [sic?] house and angrily bade him read that until he believed it." Conversely, in 1811 Smith's maternal grandfather, Solomon Mack, self-published a book describing a series of heavenly visions and voices he said had led to his conversion to Christianity at the age of seventy-six. Before Joseph was born, his mother Lucy, prayed in a grove about her husband's refusal to attend church and later said she had had a dream-vision, which she interpreted as a prophecy that Joseph Sr.Four witnesses reported that the Smiths used divining rods in the Palmyra area, and sometime between Joseph Smith's eleventh and thirteenth years, he began "following his father's example in using a divining rod." Lucy Mack Smith noted in her memoirs that while family members were "trying to win the faculty of Abrac, drawing magic circles or sooth saying," they did not neglect manual labor, "but whilst we worked with our hands we endeavored to remember the service of & the welfare of our souls." Like his father, the younger Smith reportedly had his own set of visions, the first of which occurred in the early 1820s when Smith was in his early teens and is called by Latter Day Saints the First Vision.According to accounts by Joseph and his brother, William, the First Vision was prompted in part by a reading of James 1:5, which in the King James Version reads, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him"; William suggested that Smith "ask of God".