Who is Joseph Smith?
According to Mormonism, Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Mormons believe that Christ’s church was restored (rather than reformed) through the prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith received revelations from God just as prophets and apostles in the Old and New Testament did.
Why do we need a prophet?
Mormons believe that God has called prophets throughout time —Adam being the first prophet for his descendents. Whenever God’s children turned away from truth there was an apostasy, or a falling away. God followed the pattern of restoration. Each time there had been a falling away, when the people were prepared, God would call a new prophet to restore God’s laws, authority, and teachings to the earth. Noah, Abraham, and Moses are examples of prophets who restored God’s word.
After the ministry and death of the redeemer Jesus Christ and the subsequent deaths of Christ’s apostles, Mormons believe there was a great apostasy.  This means that there was no one left on the earth that had authority to act in God’s name. According to Mormonism, many of the doctrines of Christ were altered or lost so that Christ’s church was no longer the church Christ had himself established.
How does Joseph Smith fit into all of this?
According to Mormonism, when Joseph Smith was a young man, around the age of 14, he was seeking Christ’s church. His family was religious, but there was no single denomination that they all attended together. During Joseph’s search for truth he came upon a scripture in the New Testament, James 1:5, which says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Joseph took this scripture seriously and decided to actually pray and ask God which church to join. Joseph Smith received an answer from God. Joseph recounts the following experience:
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. […] When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said … that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” 
According to Mormonism, Joseph Smith was later called as a prophet to restore the church of Jesus Christ to the earth with authority from God. Joseph Smith restored and established God’s church on the earth. This is why Mormonism is officially called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
How do Mormons perceive Joseph Smith?
Mormons honor Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. Mormons do not believe that Joseph Smith was perfect, infallible, or worthy of worship. But, his importance in Mormonism is underscored by the important role he performed as a prophet, seer, and revelator. Mormons claim that the Book of Mormon is one of the great evidences of Joseph Smith’s divinely appointed mission. 
Is there a prophet today?
Mormons believe that there is a living prophet today. The living prophet is Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons believe that he is the prophet for the whole world. They also believe in continuing revelation from God. This is an important difference between Mormonism and other Christian religions. Mormonism’s organization reflects the same organization that Christ established while he was on the earth with 12 apostles.
How do you know that Joseph Smith was a prophet or that there is a prophet today?
Mormons believe that the words in James 1:5 are applicable for all people. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” The way to know if God called Joseph Smith as a prophet is to pray and ask God believing that you can receive an answer from Him. Mormons also believe that one can read the Book of Mormon to know if it is truly a book of true scripture. 
 Amos 3:7.
 Acts 20:29.
 Joseph Smith-History 1:16-19.
 See our Book of Mormon page.
 Moroni 10:3-5.
Read the evidence that Joseph Smith is a prophet, by reading the Book of Mormon.