Chapter 1 ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF MORMONISM THE STORY AS TOLD BY MORMONS Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism recorded his own story this way: I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, on the twenty third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor County, State of Vermont...
It was the angel Moroni who told him that God had a work for him to do.
The angel also told Joseph about a book written on gold plates by the former inhabitants of the American continent which contained "the fulness of the everlasting gospel." With the plates were "two stones in silver bows — and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim." The angel said God prepared these for the purpose of translating the book.
Moroni quoted several Bible verses and vanished, only to re-appear two more times that night giving the same message each time (., vs. For four consecutive years on the anniversary of his first visit, Moroni met Joseph at the Hill Cumorah where the gold plates were buried.
It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of the country.
Indeed, the whole district of the country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, 'Lo, here! ' Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist....
In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: 'What is to be done? Joseph said this revival happened in 1820 when he was 14 years old.
Who of all these parties are right; or are they all wrong together? After reading James 1:5, he went alone into the woods near his home to pray.
If any of them be right, which is it and how shall I know it? While praying, Smith said he was first overcome by some power of darkness, then a pillar of light appeared over his head (., vs. Smith recorded: 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 spoke unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other — 'This is My Beloved Son. ' 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 in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that they were all 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 all their creeds were abomination in His sight; that those professors were all corrupt (., v. Then Smith said: I soon found, however, that my telling the story excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects — all united to persecute me (., vs. About three and a half years later on September 21, 1823, Joseph said he was in his room praying and asking God for forgiveness of all his sins and follies when a bright light again appeared.