Joseph Smith And The Mormon Church

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In the spring of 1820, in answer to a

prayer, Joseph Smith had a vision where he saw God the Father and

His Son Jesus Christ. In response to his question, which church should

he join, Jesus Christ told him none of them were true and that he would

be instrumental in organizing Christ's church on the earth again.

Later Joseph Smith translated the Book

of Mormon from ancient gold plates. The Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ, contained

the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

After the publication of the Book of

Mormon, Joseph Smith was instructed to organize The Church of Jesus

Christ of Latter-day Saints. About sixty people attended the organization

meeting on 6 April 1830. Joseph Smith was ordained as president and

prophet of the Church, and six members were listed, according to the

rules of the state of New York. All of the first members were men who

had seen the gold plates and had testimonies that Joseph Smith was a

prophet of God.

Sidney Rigdon, described the humble beginnings

of the Mormon

Church, “I met the whole

church of Christ in a little old log house about 20 feet square, near

Waterloo, N.Y. and we began to talk about the kingdom of God as if we

had the world at our command; we talked with great confidence, … although

we were not many people; … we saw by vision, the church of God, a

thousand times larger.”1

Missionaries were sent out with copies

of the Book of Mormon and soon congregations sprang up in New York and

Ohio. Because of persecution in New York the Lord instructed Joseph

Smith to have the Saints move to Ohio and a group to Missouri. About

two hundred Saints followed the prophet's call even though required

to "make great sacrifices of [their] property." 2

When Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland

"many essential elements of the Church were set in place. The basic

organization of Church government was revealed, Mormon

missionaries were sent abroad,

the first temple was built, and many important revelations were received.

The Saints were severely persecuted and tested to see whether they would

demonstrate faith, courage, and willingness to follow the Lord’s anointed

prophet"3 Joseph Smith.

While the Prophet Joseph was living in

the Kirtland area, he received numerous revelations describing many

of the basic beliefs and daily workings of the church, sixty-five of

which are included in the Doctrine and Covenants. Topics addressed were:

"welfare, sign seeking, moral conduct, dietary principles, tithing,

priesthood authority, the role of a prophet, the three degrees of glory,

missionary work, the Second Coming, the law of consecration, and many

other subjects." 4

After seven years the Saints were driven

out of Ohio and Missouri. The Lord instructed the prophet Joseph Smith

to take his people and establish Nauvoo, Illinois. Within four years

Nauvoo's population had grown to about 20,000 people.

Members flocked to the city as missionaries

proclaimed the gospel in Europe and the United States. Nauvoo flourished

as Saints were secure in the knowledge that they were following God's

chosen prophet, Joseph Smith.

While living in Nauvoo the Prophet

Joseph Smith oversaw the

construction of a temple, "the temple endowment was received, wards

were created for the first time, stakes were established, the Relief

Society was organized, the book of Abraham was published, and significant

revelations were received." 5

Soon persecution of the Saints increased

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