Joseph Smith and the founding of the Mormon church

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The teachings of Jesus Christ according to the Bible have over a long period remained a source of inspiration to humankind. However, there are teachings in other set of readings of the Bible such as the Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ. According to Christians the teachings of the scriptures offer them an everlasting harmony and gladness by providing an inspirational experience in their life (Roberts, 2012).

Joseph Smith: A Prophet of God

Joseph Smith, the prophet of God, was born in 1805 in Sharon, Vermont, one of the states in New England. The narrative begins when Joseph Smith was at the age of 14. He was searching for a true church that he could join, and so he went down on his knees. He asked God through prayers to give him the divine guidance and direction on the path of a church to take. God responded to his prayers by directing him to the true church of Jesus Christ. The God the Father and the Son revealed to Joseph that a true church of Jesus Christ was not on earth but chose Joseph to reestablish it. Henceforth, Joseph started laboring in God’s service, working every day to restore the Church of Latter-day Saints. Besides, building the kingdom of God on earth in the latter days.

Christian believers have the faith that there is only one Savior of the earth and His name is Jesus Christ. The Redeemer guides His Church in the present days through many revelations to His prophet in the land. Joseph Smith was that prophet Jesus Christ worked through during those days to teach and warn His people on earth. Even though Joseph Smith achieved many things during his era, one of the most important accomplishes was his complete commitment to being a disciplined person and a faithful witness of Jesus Christ.

From his readings, Joseph Smith states that those believers who shall accept the testimony of the prophet by the power of Holy Spirit will understand the truth of the works God called him to perform. And that they will also appreciate the harmony and gladness that come with accepting the teachings of Jesus Christ through Smith the Prophet of God, of whom he worshiped and who obliged to. Joseph Smith began writing the scripture of Mormon using a divine power that was coming directly from within his heart. The urge to write the books seemed so strong that he could not object, this was the wisdom that came from above to support Joseph Smith in writing the scriptures.

Joseph Smith’s first vision

Joseph felt a strong urge to get God’s answer to the question of the true church of Jesus Christ, and he frequently went to the woods to speak to God. One day when Joseph was going through his daily worshipping routine, praying so loud in the mid of all fears, God’s presence fell upon him and he immediately sensed some vigorous and supernatural powers overcoming him. The supernatural powers had extraordinary influence in everything that Joseph did in the woods. Also the powers bound his tongue that he could not speak.

A dense cloud of darkness surrounded him and made him have a fear of sudden destruction. During this moment Joseph gave in to the power, and immediately he saw a pillar of light precisely over his head, the streak of light descended upon, leaving him wordless. Then he saw images of two men, whose outlook and description surpassed the ordinary humankind understanding. The two men stood in the air just above him, one of them dashed towards him. The man called him by his name, then spoke to him pointing at the other man left behind, and these were His words: “This is my beloved son. Hear him!” After talking to Smith the two men departed and the light ascended from him, he woke to find himself lying facing heaven.

Persecution

After God had spoken to him against joining any earth church, he obeyed the voice of the Lord. When Joseph Smith came to the city, he began to preach against the evil deeds of the professors of religion, with the result of the preaching having enemies. They feared that Joseph Smith, the prophet of God, had concerned the great persecution of Christ believers. The persecution process amplified as the professors of religion turned the minds of the public against the servants of God. 
The issue was common among all regions in the New England, and almost everybody united to persecute Joseph Smith. However, when King Agrippa summoned him to explain the narrative of receiving the call of God, few believed the story, but a significant number detested the idea as being a mad man’s assumptions. But all these did not harm the reality of his vision. Smith maintained his vision to spread the news about his call, while people persecuted him more and more every day. They would say all sort of negative things against him, scolding and speaking all manner of evil against him, and nobody still believed anything he said. Nonetheless, he continued the walk of faith, every time facing new serious challenges at the hands of all sort of men, from professors of religion to nonreligious people. During his walk of faith in a bid to restore the true church of Christ he also faced temptations some of which he fell into.

Moroni’s Visit

As persecution continued, Joseph still maintained his vision of restoring the true church of Jesus Christ as instructed by God the Father and the Son. On 21st September 1823, before going to bed, he prayed to God to forgive him for being weak over the temptations he faced. Besides, he also asked God through prayer to reveal to him his situation and the standing on the issue of true church (Scales, 2012). During this praying session, Joseph noticed a light appearing in his room, which unceasingly increased until the whole room became brighter than the daylight. In this vision, a man appeared standing at his bedside in the air.

The man called him by his name and identified Himself as Moroni the messenger of the presence of God. God sent Moroni to deliver a task to Smith the prophet. His task was to continue the walk of faith and make his name heard throughout the world for both the good and evil. Moroni quoted the books of the Bible; he cited the third, fourth, and the last chapters of the book of Malachi to prove that he was a true messenger from God. Joseph noticed that Moroni would quote these chapters with little modifications from the way it reads in our Bibles.

He went further to quote the fifth verse of the same book of prophecy and it read: “Behold I will show unto you the Priesthood, by Elijah the prophet of God, before the coming of the Messiah.” Then gave him two stones in silver bows, fastened to a breastplate, these were Urim and Thummim. Moroni told Joseph not to share the message from the Urim and Thummim to any person since they have not come to pass however, he was to show the message contained in the breastplate to those who God will command him to. In addition, the messenger of God directed him where the Lord deposited these sacred stones.

The Sacred Record

In the village of Manchester, Ontario, in New York there was the secret place where God kept the sacred stones. Joseph uncovered the earth to reveal the plates, the Urim and Thummim as well as the breastplates as directed by the messenger of God (Tares, 2014). However, the agent warned the prophet not to remove the stones until when the time was right, after a year. Joseph made frequent visits to the sacred place at the end of every year. And each time he visited the place he would meet with the messenger of God to give him directions and instructions regarding the next move. Besides, the messenger showed him how God wanted His kingdom conducted in the last days. 

The Priesthood Restored

On 5th April 1829, Joseph met with Oliver Cowdery, who he became close friends with. Smith and Cowdery began the task of writing and translating the Book of Mormon by 7th April 1829. They would go to the woods to pray for divine intervention and inquire of God about the baptism for the cleansing of sins. While still in the woods praying a messenger of the Lord descended upon them in the form of a cloud of light. He laid his hands upon them and declared upon the two servants of the Lord, besides presenting the Priesthood of the house Aaron to them (Beam, 2014).

The messenger gave Smith and his counterpart directions and instructions on how they should receive baptism. Joseph was to baptize Cowdery, and he baptized Smith too. After the baptism both received the Holy Spirit that witnessed the prophecies of Cowdery of many events that will come to pass. The baptism was symbolic as it prepared the two friends of the task ahead in spreading the Aaronic Priesthood.

Conclusion

Smith was a prophet of God, born in 1805 in Sharon, Vermont a state in New England. The narrative begins when Joseph Smith was at the age of 14 years. He was searching for a true church that he could join, and so he went down on his knees in prayers. He asked God through devotions to give him the divine guidance and direction on the path of a church to take. God responded to his prayers by directing him to the true church of Jesus Christ.

In this vision, a man appears standing at his bedside in the air. The man called him by his name and identified Himself as Moroni the messenger from the presence of God. God sent his messenger to deliver a task to Smith the prophet. Joseph’s task was to continue the walk of faith and make his name heard throughout the world for both the good and evil deeds. After the baptism he and Cowdery both received the Holy Spirit that witnessed the prophecies of Cowdery of many events that will come to pass. The baptism was symbolic as it prepared the two friends of the task ahead in spreading the Aaronic Priesthood.

References

Beam, A. (2014). A prophet without honor: there's no authoritative biography yet for Joseph Smith, the notorious founding figure in Mormonism. The American Scholar, (3), 71.

Roberts, P. W. (2012). Barnes, Jane. Falling in Love with Joseph Smith: My Search for the Real Prophet. Library Journal, (17). 81.

Scales, L. T. (2012). Narrative Revolutions in Nat Turner and Joseph Smith. American Literary History, (2), 205.

Tares, A. (2014). History and the Claims of Revelation: Joseph Smith and the Materialization of the Golden Plates. Numen: International Review for the History of Religions, 61(2/3), 182-207.

July 14, 2022
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