Joseph Smith Jr. was born in Sharon, Vermont on December 23, 1805. Smith was characterized as being literate, but far from well-educated. His family's rough existence led them across Vermont and eventually to Rochester, New York. It was here, in the spring of 1820, that Joseph Smith retired to a secluded grove of trees behind his house and said a prayer for guidance about whether to join the Presbyterians as his mother demanded, or whether to join the credo of the Baptists, take up the faith of the Methodists, or follow some other of the contending sects within Christianity at the time. It was here Joseph Smith claimed to receive his first of many visions. Smith claimed that God and Jesus Christ appeared before Joseph as separate entities and told him that all of the Christian sects and denominations were in error and that he should no join any of them. And that he should anticipate a major personal assignment in the restoration of the original church of Christ.
Joseph's later visions, beginning in 1827, led to the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon, a book of sacred scripture written on gold plates that were buried nearby in the Hill Cumorah and were given him by a divine messenger, Moroni, himself an earlier prophet among the peoples described in the book. The book was, Moroni told Joseph Smith, a record of God's dealings with people who had lived before and after Christ's appearance in the New World. As in ancient Israel, they too had prophets who broth them God's word and were visited by the resurrected Jesus Christ with his message and hope. Their Civilizations had eventually disappeared because of sin and strife, and their records had been lost until the Book of Mormon and presented for public consideration in March, 1830.
Joseph Smith also received many other revelations from God that he documented forming other books, with the Book of Mormon. These consist of the Doctrines and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. The Doctrine and...
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