Mormonism

.. d, with a spirit of love and joy.26 He had seen and heard for himself. Joseph was told that the fulness of the gospel would be made known unto him and that “he would be an instrument in laying the foundation of the kingdom of God.”26 He took the message the Lord had communicated to him home to his family, who believed all that he said. What Joseph’s spiritual thoughts and feelings were immediately following the First Vision we do not know. We do know that he continued to labor with his father and brothers to obtain a daily maintenance.

We also know that he was very much a boy. We also know that on Sunday, Sept. 21, 1823, after much reflection he sought the Lord as to his “state and standing.” (JS-History 1:29.) At this point of readiness the Angel Moroni appeared to the young prophet and began a training that was intense and systematic. Moroni told Joseph the Lord had a work for him to do, and that his name would be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues. Joseph was given a scriptural overview of the work he was to perform. He was informed of a book written on gold plates which contained “the fulness of the everlasting gospel.” (JS-History 1:34.) Joseph was to receive and translate the plates.

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The angel repeated this same message three times that night and again the following day. The vision was etched on his soul. Joseph called these visions “interviews,” suggesting an exchange occurred ensuring that a 17-year-old boy understood what he was being taught. In the four years following, he reported to the Hill Cumorah, where Moroni instructed him in “what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days.” (JS History 1:54.) Joseph wrote that he received many visits from the angels of God prior to receiving the plates. (HC 4: 537.) President John Taylor and Elder George Q. Cannon remarked that Nephi, Alma and other ancient prophets and “apostles that lived on this continent came to him.”27 When Joseph reported his vision of Moroni to his family they felt it to be “something upon which we could stay our minds.” In family gatherings Joseph described in detail ancient American inhabitants and their customs.

During these meetings, Lucy said, “the sweetest union and happiness pervaded our h0ouse.”28 In spite of these happy scenes, Joseph found himself in hand-to-hand combat with Satan almost from his infancy. The adversary had endeavored to destroy Joseph in the grove. A bitter persecution followed the First Vision. Moroni warned Joseph that as his work commenced men would seek to “destroy your reputation, and also will seek to take your life.”29 Joseph’s work was to take all the mental and physical power he possessed. He was to be tested and tried. Joseph, his mother wrote, must not only be willing, but able to do the work.30 The work which Joseph Smith began in his youth is even now proceeding to the ends of the earth, just as Moroni outlined on that early September night. Joseph’s subsequent revelations built upon the first. The fulness promised in the First Vision included the building of temples and the performance of ordinances for the living and dead. The completion of Joseph’s work required his life. In the days of Joseph Smith many converts recognized him at first sight, perhaps because of premortal promises.

Scripture tells us that Hyrum, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff and other spirits came to the earth with Joseph to assist him. (D&C 138: 53.) As Church members we, by covenant, are also committed to sustain his work, to build on the foundation he laid. Were we not reserved for this work we would not be where we are at this time. As the Prophet’s father approached the end of his life, he blessed his son with these words: “Thou hast been called, even in thy youth to the great work of the Lord; to do a work inthis generation which no other man could do as thyself . .

. . From thy childhood thou hast meditated much upon the great things of God’sT law. Thou hast suffered much in thy youth. .

. . Thou hast been an obedient son.”31 How great was this son, how great his obedience, how great was his work. References 1Bruce R. McConkie, “A Revealer of Christ,” fireside address in the Marriott Center at Brigham Young University, Sept. 3, 1978. 2Preston Nibley, ed., The History of the Prophet Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1958, p.

46. 3Ivan J. Barrett, Joseph Smith and the Restoration, Brigham University Press, 1982, pp. 21-22. 4Joseph Fielding Smith, The Life of Joseph F. Smith, Deseret News Press, 1938, p. 27.

5Mark L. McConkie, The Father of the Prophet, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1993, p. 33. 6The Father of the Prophet, p.9. 7Journal of History, XII, p.

108; Mary Audentia Smith Anderson, Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale, p. 74. 8The Father of the Prophet, p. 64. 9The Father of the Prophet, p. 175 n 21.

10The Papers of Joseph Smith, Dean C. Jessee, ed., Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 1989, Vol. 1, p. 3. 11The Father of the Prophet, p.

I 1. 12The Father of the Prophet, p. 10. 13Richard Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, The University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 1988, p. 39. 14The Father of the Prophet, p.

10. 15The History of the Prophet Joseph Smith by His Mother Lucy Mack Smith, p. 46. 16The Father of the Prophet, p. 172 n 35. 17“Lucy Mack Smith,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Ludlow, Daniel H., ed.

McMillan Publishing Company, New York, 1992, Vol. 3, p. 1356. 18History of the Prophet, p. 67 and 82. 19Joseph Smith and the Restoration, p. 43.

20The History of the Prophet Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, p. 63. 21Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Momonism, p. 6. 22The Papers of Joseph Smith, pp.

5-6; 125. 23See JS History 1: 11-15; Joseph Smith and The Beginnings of Mormonism, p.4. 24Bruce R McConkie. Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1973, Vol III, p. 246.

25JS-History 1: 26; and see The Papers of Joseph Smith, p. 7. 26HC 4:537 and see Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black, eds., The Prophet Joseph, Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, 1988, p. 3 1.

27Joseph Smith and the Restoration, p. 73 n. 28The History of Joseph Smith, p. 83. 29Joseph F. McConkie, Sustaining and Defending the Faith, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1985, p.

3. 30History of the Prophet, p. 84. 31The Prophet Joseph, Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith, p. 138. 1995 Deseret News Publishing Co. Return to front page 421 A.D.

Moroni, the last Nephite prophet, his up a record of his people written on plates of gold in a stone box and buried it in the earth. 1820 A.D.:Spring Fourteen-year-old Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son in a grove near his fathers farm in Palmyra, New York. They came in answer to Joseph’s prayer. JS-H 1:1-20 1823: September 21-22 Joseph’s First Interview with Moroni Late in the evening on Sunday, 21 September, seventeen-year-old Joseph, concerned about his standing before the Lord, prayed earnestly for forgiveness of his sins full expecting another divine manifestation. In answer to his prayer the resurrected being, Moroni, visited Joseph in his room.

He described to Joseph the appearance, contents, purpose, and exact location of the record that he had buried over 1400 years earlier. Joseph was to translate and publish this record. Moroni quoted many scriptures by Biblical prophets concerning the preparations in the last days for the Second Coming of Christ. Moroni returned 2 more times that night and repeated to Joseph the exact message given the on the first visit, adding information each time. On the last visit, Joseph is instructed that his only purpose for obtaining this record must be to glorify God. These interviews lasted most of the night and at the end of his third visit, Joseph heard the rooster crow.

JS-H 1:27-47 1823: September 22 Joseph arose as usual to perform his labors on the farm but was so weak from the experience of the night before that his father sent him home. On his way home, Joseph collapsed. Upon hearing his name, Joseph opened his eyes to see Moroni, standing above him in the air. Moroni repeated his message to Joseph for the 4th time and told him to tell his father of the vision. Joseph did so and his father urged him to follow Moroni’s instructions. Joseph immediately traveled the three miles from his home to the location on the Hill Cumorah that he had seen so clearly in vision. Upon his arrival, Joseph pried off the large stone that served as a lid for the box which contained the record engraved on gold plates. While travelling, Joseph’s mind had been occupied with thoughts that so much gold would “raise him above a level with the common earthly fortunes of his fellow men, and relieve his family from want” (Oliver Cowdery, Messenger and Advocate, July 1835, p.

157) As he reached for the plates he received a shock and could not remove the plates from the box. Each subsequent attempt produced the same results until, after his third attempt he cried out, “Why can I not obtain this book?” Moroni then appeared and told him that he could not obtain the plates because he had yielded to the temptations of Satan to het them for riches rather than for God’s glory as he had been commanded. Cowdery, Oct 1835, p 198 Repentant, Joseph sought the Lord in prayer and was filled with the Spirit. A vision was opened and the “glory of the Lord shone round about and rested upon him.. He beheld the prince of darkness.. The heavenly messenger [Moroni] said, ‘All this is shown, the good and the evil, the holy and impure, the glory of God and the power of darkness, that you may know hereafter the two powers and never be influenced or overcome by that wiched one..

You now see why you could not obtain this record; that the commandment was strict, that if ever these sacred things are obtained they must be by prayer and faithfulness in obeying the Lord. They are not deposited here for the sake of accumulating gain and wealth for the glory of this world: they were sealed by the payer of faith, and because of the knowledge which they contain they are of nor worth among the children of men, only for their knowledge.'” (Cowdery, Oct 1835, p 198) Moroni finished by telling the 17-year-old Joseph that he would not be able to get the plates “until he had learned to keep the commandment of God — not only till he was willing but able to do it.. The ensuing evening, when the family were altogether, Joseph made known to them all that he had communicated to his father in the field, and also of his finding the record, as well as what passed between him and the angel while he was at the place where the plates were deposited.” Lucy Mack Smith, The History of Joseph Smith, ed. Preston Nibley (Salt Lake City:Bookcraft, 1958), p 81 1823: November 19 Alvin Smith, Joseph’s oldest brother, died after 4 days of illness. 1824 Joseph and Hyrum, his brother, scouted the countryside for work to support the family, continued the work of building the new Smith home, and prepared for Hyrum’s upcoming marriage to Jerusha Barden.

This year brought some great religious revivals to Palmyra. Joseph’s mother attempted to persuade Joseph to attend a few meetings but he insisted that “he could learn more in the woods from the Bible than from any number of meetings.” Bushman, Beginnings of Mormonism, p 65 1824: September 22 Joseph’s Second Interview with Moroni Joseph Smith returned to Cumorah for his interview with Moroni and to obtain the plates. He was able to remove the plates from the box and after setting them down, he looked back into the box to see if there was anything else he should remove. When he turned back, the plates were gone. As Joseph prayed to find out why they were taken, the angel Moroni appeared and reminded Joseph that he was not to put the plates for even a moment out of his hands until he had gotten them home and deposited them in a strongbox with a good lock.

He was again permitted to peer into the box and saw the plates resting securely inside. Joseph wept as he returned home to share his disappointing experience but was comforted by his family. 1825: September 22 Joseph’s Third Interview with Moroni Joseph received “instruction and intelligence.. respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to conducted in the last days”JS-H 1:54 1825: October-December Joseph and his father traveled to South Bainbridge, NY to work for Josiah Stowell. While boarding with the Hales, Joseph Smith met his future wife, Emma Hale. Because of financial need, Joseph and his father agreed to search for buried treasure for Mr.

Stowell. After a month without success, they convinced Josiah Stowell to stop digging and they returned home. Upon their arrival, the Smith’s lost their farm to Lemuel Durfee, Sr. Bushman, p68 1825: Spring Joseph Smith was arrested upon complaint of Mr. Stowell’s nephew.

Josiah and his daughters testified in behalf of Joseph’s character but he was still convicted though “designedly allowed to escape” because of his youth. (A.W. Benton letter in Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Asvocate, 9 April 1831, p 120) Joseph, having learned his lesson, completely forsakes any form of treasure hunting. Richard Lloyd Anderson, “The Mature Joseph and Treasure Seeking,” BYU Studies 24[Fall 1984]:64-128 1826: Summer Joseph returns home to work at home and prepare for his upcoming interview. 1826: September 22 Joseph’s Fourth Interview with Moroni The angel Moroni told Joseph that he could receive the record the following September if he brought with him the right person. By revelation, Joseph determined the right person was Emma Hale. “Joseph Knight’s Recollection,” p31 1827: Winter and Early Spring Joseph returns to South Bainbridge and was married to Emma Hale on January 18 by the Justice of the Peace.

Because her father would not consent to the marriage, Joseph and Emma eloped. A few months after the marriage, Joseph went to Manchester on business for his father. He was expected back by six in the evening but he did not return till after nine. He told his family that on his way home as he passed the Hill Cumorah, Moroni had appeared and chastised him severally. Moroni told him that he “had not been engaged enough in the work of the Lord; that the time had come for the record to be brought forth and that I [Joseph] must be up and going and set myself about the things which God had commanded me to do”.

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