Joseph H. Wakefield was an early member of the church who later fell away and led mobs against the church. He was born about 1892, and converted early in the churches history, likely before 1831. A resident of Watertown, New York, he left for Kirtland, Ohio soon after his conversion. Joseph served several missions for the chruch. The callings for these missions are noted in the Doctrine and Covenants. In the first, he was called to serve with Parley P. Pratt to the Western Reserve (everything west of Missouri). Through revelation of the prophet, the lord told Joseph that he was well pleased with his efforts. So much so, that upon his return to Kirtland, he was ordained a high priest on June 3, 1831 by Lyman Wight. A couple of days later he was called to serve another mission to St. Lawrence County, New Yourk. In September of 1832 he baptized George A. Smith, who would later serve in prominent callings in the church.
This was not to last, however. By 1834, he rebelled against the church and was a major instigator of mob violence against the church in Kirtland. His reasoning for rebelling, as he put it, was watching the prophet Joseph. The prophet would do the work of translation and then take breaks to play with the children. Wakefield did not believe that this was conduct of a man of god and left the church accordingly.