From small beginnings, great things come to pass. In the spring of 1820, a boy stepped in to a quiet grove looking for answers. A seed of faith had been nurtured in the soil of Western New York.
In time it would blossom and then bear fruit.
It would grow to fill the Earth. Millions would find renewed faith in Jesus Christ, all from one small step of faith.
I was born in the year 1805 of goodly parents who spared no pains in instructing me in the Christian religion.
Thank you, Catherine. Yesterday, we were reading in the Gospel of John.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Remember, children there is no other way to salvation except through Jesus Christ. Dear Lord, at the end of this day we gather as a family in prayer to thank Thee for the many blessings that we receive at Thy hand.
Father was obliged to labor hard for the support of a large family.
Look out, boy. Here it comes.
Remember, horse-high and hog-tight. It required the exertions of all that were able to render any assistance.
At an early age, my mind became seriously impressed with regard to the welfare of my soul.
There was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion.
Great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir among the people, some contending for one faith, some for another. --sorrows in his anger, and they are as stubble before the wind-- Brother, have you been saved? Have you? How many of you have been saved? Before the world-- What does saved mean? Which of you would be saved? I'd like to know that myself. Now, God has told us repeatedly in a Holy Writ that fallen man cannot be saved. Only God can rescue us, but unless he wills it so it cannot be. Who will reach out for His mighty hand if He offers it. The grace of God is sufficient to save all sinners. So brethren and sisters, do you have faith? And are you willing to show the Lord evidence of your faith?
Father? Yeah? How will we know if we are saved?
I don't reckon God intends to save just a few of his children, Joseph. I do believe you can know where you stand. Remember what the Bible says, ask any you shall receive?
If we ask in faith, God will show us what to do.
Why doesn't father come? Father has a lot of faith, Will. He just shows it differently than some folks. Now, if you embrace wrong doctrine and you unite with a corrupt church, you can expect coldness and darkness all of your lives. So you must inquire as to which denomination comes nearest to the truth. And that is the church with which you must unite. But how can we know which doctrine is right?
We must obtain from God that knowledge which man cannot give or take away.
The Bible teaches there is one Lord and one faith, Joseph. Then why do doctrines disagree? We each strive to find the answer that is right for us. But shouldn't there be one answer that's right for everyone?
So great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.
There, see. That's how it's done.
Fellow citizens of Palmyra, today we celebrate the anniversary of our freedom. Freedom purchased with the blood and tears of our own fathers. Joseph, keep your eye on things. I'm going to fetch more gingerbread.
You haven't been coming to church, Joseph. I'm trying to do what you said, decide which doctrine is right. I see. Well, beware of pride, boy. Your eternal soul is at stake.
Considering that God could not be the author of so much confusion, I determined to investigate the subject more fully. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Joseph, you worry too much. I'm just trying to do what's right, Alvin. During this time of great excitement, my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness. Still, I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their meetings as often as occasion would permit.
Ask and it shall be given you. Seek and ye shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened unto you.
For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh, findeth.
It's time to go, boys.
To believe that God answers prayers is to believe that he does not govern, but is governed by the prayers of men. I contend that God has given unto each and every one of us the ability to think, to reason for ourselves. In the midst of this war of words and opinions, I often said to myself, what is to be done? Who of all these parties are right? And how shall I know it?
So what do you think? Well, father says the only real answers come from God.
Your Lord answers in His own way, Joseph, and in His own time. But he does answer.
If ye, then, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them That ask him.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given. But let him ask in faith.
Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did, for how to act I did not. The Almighty is telling us that our eternal salvation-- The teachers of religion understood the same passage of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible. I often found the Scriptures-- At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God.
After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart.
I saw a pillar of light above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
When the light rested upon me I saw two personages whose brightness and glory defy all description. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said pointing to the other, Joseph, this is my beloved Son. Hear Him.
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right. I was answered that I must join none of them. And many other things did he say unto me.
There are no such things as visions and revelations in these days. I don't blame anyone for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would not believe it myself.
It was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two personages.
And they did in reality speak to me. I knew it. And I knew that God knew it. And I could not deny it.
The truth of any work can be seen in the blessings which flow from it. Joseph had been called of God. He had a Work to do.
Through him, the Lord revealed new Scripture, a record which contained a fullness of the Gospel.
There shall be no other name given-- It was translated through the gift and power of God. Only in and through the name of Christ-- And published as the Book of Mormon, another Testament of Jesus Christ.
And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost.
And by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.
Through His living Prophet, the Lord restored his Church.
The fullness of the Gospel was available again in beautiful simplicity.
Wherefore, by the Lord, knowing the calamity which had come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon My servant, Joseph Smith, Jr., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave unto him commands, that the fullness of My Gospel might be proclaimed unto the ends of the world.