Our family arrived in this great land of America at the time of the Pilgrims.

They came seeking civil and religious freedom and to build a better life for their children.

The story I tell begins two days before Christmas, 1805.

While living in Sharon, Vermont, our family was blessed with a son.

We called him Joseph, after the name of his father.

Supper's ready.

It is thought by some, that I shall tell many remarkable incidents which attended Joseph’s childhood.

But nothing occurred during his early life except those trivial circumstances which are common to that state of human existence.

My husband farmed in the summer, taught school in the winter.

We worked hard and raised our children to fear God.

Let's see. Thank you, Catherine.

Yesterday we were reading in the Gospel of John.

Our family consisted of nine children.

Alvin was the oldest and a hero in Joseph's eyes.

As was Hyrum, our second oldest.

They in turn, saw something special in their younger brother.

We all did.

God gives us power over temptation,

but we are weak in the face of it.

All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Therefore, we must repent and be baptized.

It is the only path to His kingdom.

Mr. Smith, a word, please. You seem to be a God-fearing man, but I don’t see you with your family in my congregation.

It seems that preaching nowadays

teaches folks to fear God too much,

trust in Him too little.

You’re a difficult man, Mr. Smith.

I don’t mean to be.

Just concerned for your salvation.

Do right and go to Jesus.

Alvin, have you ever wondered what we need to do to be saved?

You worry too much, little brother.

But I need to know.

You remember that seashell you found at Uncle Jesse’s?


Well, some small creature made that shell, Joseph.

Layer by layer until it finally outgrew it.

Maybe...maybe God intends for us to outgrow ourselves to.

I just, I can’t believe He’d only want to save a few of us.

If you embrace false doctrine,

you can expect coldness and darkness all your life.

The Bible teaches that there is only one way to salvation, Joseph.

Study the word of God and you will know the truth of what I say.

With his mind considerably troubled,

Joseph continued his search for answers.

A search that would have been difficult even for those much older than he who had the benefit of an education he never had.

I was one day reading the epistle of James, “If any of you lack wisdom,

let him ask of God.”

The words came with great force into my heart.

I reflected upon them again and again.

At length, I came to the conclusion that I must do as James directs.

That is, ask of God.

It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day early in the spring of 1820.

I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God.

I was seized upon by some power—an actual being from the unseen world.

Exerting all my strength to call upon God,

I saw a pillar of light.

When the light rested upon me, I saw two personages.

One of them spake unto me.


this is my beloved Son,

hear Him.

I am Jesus Christ.

I saw God the Father

and His Son, Jesus Christ. They did in reality, speak to me. I knew it.

And I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it.

I was told in the vision to join none of the churches.

But that the gospel in its fullness was about to be restored.

I’m grateful for your help, Joseph,

but you must know how I feel.

There are no such things as visions and revelations in these days.

All of that ceased with the Apostles, and there will never be any more of it.

Don't speak of it further. It will only bring you grief.

Hey, Joseph, you seen any visions lately?

Mind your own business, Smith. Worry about your brother.

In September 1823, as he again opened his heart to God,

Joseph was visited by a heavenly messenger.

Joseph. I am your fellow servant.

Moses truly said-

He said his name was Moroni and that God had a work for me to do.

He told me of an ancient record written upon gold plates,

giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent.

The writing on the gold plates was unknown to me.

I was told the plates contained a fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Joseph was given knowledge of an appearance that Jesus Christ Himself made after the resurrection to the people of ancient America.

During this visit, Jesus invited the people to feel the wound marks in His hands, feet, and His side.

He called 12 apostles to teach His gospel and performed miracles.

Joseph could describe this as though he had spent his whole life with them.

I think that we presented the most peculiar aspect of any family that ever lived upon the earth.

All of us giving the most profound attention to a boy 17 years of age who had never read the Bible through in his life.

In time, Joseph would be given the knowledge to translate the record which had been revealed to him.

Until then, he was instructed to wait and prepare.

That preparation would include more challenges to His trust in God.

I'm sorry.

I’ve done everything I know how to do.

Our beloved oldest son, and Joseph’s hero on Earth...

Joseph, if Alvin dies without being baptized, he will never see heaven.

I wish I could say otherwise.

Joseph, I’m sorry. I truly am sorry.

Hyrum, you’re the oldest now.


do everything you can

to obtain the record.


God has given travail to the sons of man. For dust we are, and unto dust shall we return.

Perhaps God is trying to warn you Joseph. Alvin is lost,

but there is still hope for you.

Forget these foolish notions.

But it was Alvin's words that were in Joseph's mind.

I can't believe God would want to save just a few of us.

As Joseph grew to manhood,

he continued to ponder all that had happened and to wonder about all he had been promised was yet to come.

The same tomorrow, boys.

It was during this time he became acquainted with a young woman named Emma Hale.

As so often happened, rumors preceded Joseph.

Father has heard some, stories.

Well, what if I told you that they were true?

He told her of all that had happened. She would have to decide for herself.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.

That's what I did.

You win.

There's something I want to show you.

I’ve thought a great deal about what you told me.


I believe you.

Although her parents did not approve,

Joseph and Emma were married the following year.

For four years, Joseph returned each September to the hiding place of the sacred record. Each time he received further knowledge until

at length, he was given permission to begin the long-promised translation.

You marry a dreamer, Emma.


He can hardly read and write.

Until he gives up these foolish ideas, he is no longer welcome in this house.

He'll change his mind after the baby comes.

They named their first child Alvin, after Joseph’s beloved older brother.

He lived only a few hours.

During their 17 years together, they would see many sorrows.

The Lord called Joseph in his weakness. But He qualified him for His work.

The translation continued. Others joined Joseph in this great undertaking.

“All men must repent

and be baptized in his name.”

One such was Oliver Cowdery.

How are we to be baptized?

I don't know.

In May 1829, Joseph and Oliver inquired of the Lord.

A messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light.

He said he was John the Baptist, the same who had baptized Jesus Christ.

He laid his hands upon their heads and gave Joseph and Oliver the authority to baptize.

Later, Peter, James, and John, three of Christ’s original Apostles,

restored the same authority they were given anciently by Jesus Christ. So that man could once again act in all things for the salvation of His children.

The work of translation finished and Joseph returned the plates to the angel Moroni. The ancient record was published as the Book of Mormon:

Another Witness of Jesus Christ.

I have been asked many times if the Book of Mormon is true.

The scriptures say, “Prove all things.” Read it and ask God.

“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the

eternal Father, in the name of Christ if these things are not true;

and if you shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent,

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.”

Is this book meant to replace the Bible?

Nothing can replace the Bible, Father.

This is another witness of the glory of Christ.

My husband was baptized by immersion on April 6, 1830,

the day The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized.

When he came up out of the water, Joseph exclaimed,

“Praise to my God that I have lived to see my own father baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ!”

With Christ's priesthood authority,

the same Church that Jesus Christ established anciently,

was restored to the Earth.

That we proceed and organize ourselves as a church according to the commandments of God. All those who are in favor, please so indicate.

O God, the eternal Father...

Are you still determined to organize this church of yours?

The Lord has commanded it. But it is not my church. It is His.

It is the Church of Jesus Christ.

I kept my promise.

Mr. Smith, forgive the intrusion, but I wonder,

could you tell me more about that book?

Yes. Yes, I could.

I do not believe in your religion, Mr. Smith.

But I do thank you for your kindness.

You might say that is our religion, ma'am.

Well, I’ve never been thrown by anyone,

so I’ll just apologize now, Brother Joseph.

Sometimes the Lord brings us low before He can lift us higher.

Have you begun?

Brothers and sisters be not weary in well doing.

For when we are in the service of our fellow beings,

we are only in the service of our God.

We do not ask people to give up any good that they have.

We only invite them to come and to get more.

And they did come. The word spread very fast.

Many new members began to gather in Missouri and Ohio.

These Mormons will soon be taking over the whole county.

Can you imagine picking up and leaving everything behind on the word of a so-called prophet?

I hear they worship Joseph Smith.

Well, there's one way to find out. Joseph? Yes, Mother.

My new friend here has a question.

We only worship God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

And all this talk of revelation.

That is how we learn His will.

What makes you so certain, Mr. Smith, that God even cares?

He does care. And you can know it. But first you have to trust Him.

The message was always the same. Read for yourself and ask God.

Many of our neighbors would do just that.

But there were others who felt threatened.

This time tomorrow, Joseph Smith will be long gone.


Running like a scared rabbit.

Perhaps fearful of a doctrine they did not understand,

perhaps distrustful of so many new arrivals.

There he is! Grab him!

Come on! Emma! Emma the children!

Hold Him!

Why do this?

Put the tar in his mouth! Why are you doing this?

It is difficult to take the measure of such things.

There will always be opposition.

How much do we have to endure?

Perhaps I am meant to swim in deep water.

Better deep than shallow.

Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart that ye may be filled with this love.

God has restored to the earth the spirit of prophecy and of revelation. I am a witness that Jesus is the Christ.

He invites all men to repent and to come unto Him.

He will bear our grief. He will carry our burdens.

And if we are faithful, we may have this hope, that we may be purified,

even as He is pure.

The little town of Kirtland, Ohio, grew at such a rate that houses could scarcely be built fast enough.

Emma? Emma?

Their family just arrived.

Who have we here? That’s Rachel, Susan, and Abigail. But she prefers Abby. Oh, really? Mm-hmm. Abby.

The Jacobsons are in our room tonight. I thought their home was finished.

It is, except for the hanging of the doors and closing the back wall.

So what is all the excitement about?

The Lord has commanded us to build a house to His name.

What kind of a house?

A house of holiness where the Lord can grant us knowledge and power and authority. A temple, like the one where Jesus Christ taught His disciples in Jerusalem.

And will we build this temple before or after the walls go on the Jacobson home?

Soon, Church members were donating one day in ten to build a temple to their God.

You know you've got a good heart, Lyman.

Certainly hope you've got a good eye.

The first time I read this book,

I knew that no mere man could have written it. Joseph truly is a prophet.

You're right, Parley.

He's everything I expected. Sometimes more.

One of the hardest working among them was a new convert, Brigham Young.

Joseph opens up in plainness things that I’d never understood before.

Good morning, Brigham. Joseph.

Joseph began to rely on Brigham’s skill as a builder

and recognized his deepening faith.

This should be our finest work, Brigham. Nothing but the best for the Lord.

We’re not just building a temple here, the Lord is building us.

But how can He call someone like me to be an apostle?

You have been prepared, Brigham.

The Lord takes raw materials, shapes them, and refines them.

The Lord has great things in mind for you, Brigham.

Greater than you have ever dreamed of. Brigham Young. In the name of Jesus Christ, we lay our hands upon your head,

and ordain you to the Office of High Priest.

The Kirtland Temple became the connection between heaven and earth that our people were looking for. President. Thank you, Brethren Joseph, thank you. Pleasant evening.

Hyrum will be with us.

Not only a symbol of God’s presence, but a pathway for His word.

What is it?


Tonight in the temple. I saw a vision of the Celestial Kingdom of God.

The voice of the Lord revealed these words.

“All who die without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it,

will be heirs of the Kingdom of God.”

Mother, Alvin is not lost.

Joseph’s prophecy was fulfilled. The Lord did come to His temple.

Behold, I have accepted this house.

Other heavenly messengers appeared. Old Testament prophets. Moses.

In you and your seed... Elias All generations shall be blessed to turn the hearts of the fathers.. And Elijah

to the children, and the children to their fathers.

The Lord built us in wonderful ways as He revealed through Joseph

line upon line precept upon precept,

every truth, every principle,

every doctrine of Christ pertaining to life and salvation.

God is the Father of our spirits. Jesus Christ is His Son.

Their work and their glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

It's time we got rid of these Mormons for good.

And if we need to kill a few to do it...

all the better.

Some of the older settlers became jealous of our growing influence.

Suspicion and fear took root in ignorance.

Petty harassments turned into persistent slander and violence.

Why are you doing this? Why? Why?

It is beyond me to answer such questions.

How can we leave this behind Joseph?

I'm not the only one under threat now.

It has become too dangerous here for everyone.

That is what we must consider. A temple, we can rebuild.

We cannot replace lives.

Will things be better in Missouri?

It seemed wherever our people tried to settle, conflict followed.

Missouri proved to be the refiner’s fire.

Momma, Momma, please!

No! No!

This isn’t just a mob. There are 2500 Missouri Militiamen standing against us with that order from Governor Boggs.

Mormons must be treated as enemies and exterminated

or driven from the state.

For the public peace.

18 of our brothers and sisters lay dead at Haun's Mill.

Is this the public peace the governor speaks of?

Fathers and mothers and children slaughtered for the crime of building homes and worshiping God. You should make this very point. Accept the offer, I beg you.

General Lucas. I was told you wanted to talk with me.

Here are your prisoners, General. As we agreed.

When we heard that Joseph and Hyrum had been betrayed,

we were filled with mourning, lamentation and woe.

Gentlemen. Gentlemen, please.

Tomorrow morning at 9:00, General Doniphan and his brigade will take these men

to the town square in Far West,

and he will shoot them.

In the midst of my grief, I was comforted by the Spirit of the Lord and received the following promise: “Your son shall not be harmed.

And in five years from this time, Joseph will have power over all his enemies.”

This is cold-blooded murder.

These men are innocent.

I will not obey your order.

And if you execute them, I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal. So help me God.

Though their lives were spared,

Joseph and Hyrum found themselves charged with treason against the state of Missouri and treated as prisoners of war.

Who's going to save you now?

Prophesy Smith! Give us one of your revelations.

Tell us, Joe.

Tell us more about Haun's Mill.

Hey, you ever actually kill any Mormons? Two, maybe three.

Of course the young’uns, they don’t count for much. Yeah, but they're good for target practice.

Oh, some of them Mormons ran into the woods. The others of them hid in their blacksmith shop.

We aim right through the boards, and we started shooting them just like fish in a barrel.

I found one ten-year-old boy trying to hide and shot him dead, but I couldn't get his father's boots off.

Oh those Mormon women! Oh, now they put up a real fight Yeah, I remember. 2 or 3 of them were hiding out.

Silence. Silence. Silence! Ye fiends of the infernal pit!

In the name of Jesus Christ, I rebuke you and command you to be still.

I will not live another minute and hear such language.

Cease such talk, or you or I die this instant.

The worth of every soul is great in the eyes of God.

Many of our fathers and brothers fought in the Revolutionary War and struggled to establish a government of liberty and equal rights upon this land.

We violated no laws. Yet thousands of our innocent people were driven from place to place at the peril of their lives.


Get yourself up here.

Don't you try nothing.

So good to see you.



I brought someone to meet you. We have a fine new son.

One at a time.

As Joseph and Hyrum languished in the Liberty Jail,

waiting to be tried for their lives,

our people were scattered across Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois.

Tell Mary,

and the children,

I know this work is true.

What a faithful heart you have, Hyrum.

Oh, God. Where art thou?

My son,

peace be unto thy soul.

Thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment.

And then if thou endure it well. God shall exalt thee on high.

After six months in jail. And by the grace of God, Joseph and Hyrum escaped their captors.

We were reunited in Illinois, where we felt welcomed.

We hoped that our sufferings had not been in vain

and that we would now enjoy a season of rest.

Don't lose heart, brethren. Nauvoo in Hebrew means beautiful place.

What's the Hebrew word for swamp?

During that first summer in Nauvoo,

hundreds became sick with chills and fever.

Here, let me help you, sisters.

Brother Joseph. My pride has brought me very low.

Now the Lord can lift you higher.

Am I indeed the mother of a prophet of God?

The honored instrument in performing so great a work that my soul did magnify and my spirit rejoiced in God, my Savior?

Within five years, Nauvoo grew into a thriving community of some 15,000.

At the same time, Joseph was considering the wider world.

The truth of God will go forth boldly,

nobly, and independent until it has penetrated every continent, sounded in every ear, and the purposes of God shall be accomplished.

God desires to bless all of His children with light and truth and salvation. Brethren, a man filled with the love of God cannot be content blessing his family alone.

He will be anxious to bless the whole human race.

This is what the Lord desires for you.

In 1830, the first missionaries set out to share the Book of Mormon.

In ancient days. God spoke to prophets who in turn shared God’s word with all those who were willing to listen. God has again— God has again spoken to His prophets who have given us His word. The Book of Amos teaches us that this is part of God's plan.

Ten years later, Brigham Young and the other apostles were sent to England.

Great success there dispelled any thought that our faith was just an American religion.

Good morning, brother. If ye ask with a sincere heart having real intent and faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost The missionaries sent out into the world gathered converts by the thousands to help build Nauvoo into the city of God.

Boatloads came up the Mississippi from the port of New Orleans.

You play the pipes.

Brother Joseph, please don't encourage him.

Still others came by any means they could manage.

We walked almost 900 miles to get here.

God bless you. Jane Manning.

Oh, He already has. He already has.

Brother Joseph.


A word? Certainly. I was thinking. Yes.


I was thinking.


People notice everything you do.

And I wonder if a man of your position should engage in such menial chores.

Well, if there are demeaning things to be done in a man's house,

who better than the head of the house to do them? Well, my wife does most such work at our house.

Maybe, maybe she could speak to Sister Emma.

How long have you been married?

Three years next month.

That long? May I offer you some advice?

Aye? The Lord intends for marriage to last much longer than that. In fact, forever.

Now, if a man is not willing to help and cherish his wife here,

why would she want him hereafter? Now you give that some thought.

Therein lies happiness, brother.

Now there's a very wise man.

They're beautiful.

That's what made me think of you.

It is the duty of a husband to love, cherish and nourish his wife.

One, two, three. Two, two. Do not count out loud. To honor her as himself. To regard her feelings with tenderness.

Counting again.

For she is his flesh. And she is his bone.

The Lord hath revealed the sacred sealing ordinances which bind families together in life will exist in eternity, only coupled with eternal glory.

We can one day dwell with God as families.

Just a little weary, that's all.

You have watched after us all of our lives, Father.

That's what fathers do.

Let us watch after you.


Will I see Alvin again?

Yes. You will see Alvin again.

And be with him.

You will always be his father. And he will always be your son.

The Lord has revealed that that is His plan.

We can be together with the ones we love forever.

We will all see Alvin again.

Heave. Once more. Over, over, easy, steady, good. It’s as magnificent as they say. It will be.

The Lord has great blessings in store for all of us.

Why does the Lord want us to build another temple? It may seem to some a very bold doctrine,

a power which binds on earth and in heaven.

But God has restored that authority again.

In the temple, we can receive all the ordinances of salvation.

Not only for ourselves, but for those who have died without them.

If we are faithful,

all our losses will be made up.

Even as a new, glorious temple rose up in Nauvoo, the old fears returned.

We would not be surprised to hear of the death of Joseph Smith by violent means. This isn’t news, it’s a threat.

There's an easier way to get rid of these Mormons.

Old Joe Smith is still wanted in Missouri.

I say let them have him.

Hold it right there, Smith.

Don't move or you're a dead man.

You gonna shoot me?

Oh, no. We're taking you back to Missouri for good. The governor of Missouri demanded Joseph be extradited to stand trial again on false charges.

Sadly, the Illinois authorities honored the demand.


Come on, boys.


Our men found him just before they crossed the Illinois-Missouri border.

Hold it right there! Stop where you’re at.

Well, gentlemen, looks like I won't be going with you to Missouri today,

but just to show there are no hard feelings,

why don't you be my guest tonight?

Gentlemen, I don't believe we've had the pleasure.

Might say we're the guests of honor.


We rejoiced in the bold rescue.

But the authorities took it as an act of defiance.

Joseph was given an ultimatum. Joseph.

The governor insists that we come to Carthage.

The governor of Illinois promised my sons would receive fair treatment.

History suggested otherwise.

If Hyrum and I do not do what the governor orders,

he will send the militia into Nauvoo. And that will mean bloodshed.

God does not want that. And I can only do His will.

Do you ever wonder if He asks too much?

I do not let myself...

Sometimes I do.

I have longed with all my heart to finish this temple.

I shall never live to see it, Brigham. You will.

Promise me.

When the time comes, you will lead our people to the Rocky Mountains.


My mission is to testify of Jesus Christ.

I know that He lives.

I love you, brother.

Joseph and Hyrum arrived in Carthage, Illinois, and surrendered themselves to face charges.

Despite all the promises of fair treatment,

what happened came as no surprise.


Hyrum! No!

What do we hear in the gospel that we have received?

Truth out of the earth.

Mercy from heaven.

A voice of gladness for the living and the dead.

Shall we not go on in so great a cause?

The mobs are determined. We shall not have justice while we stay in Nauvoo.

I do not know that I shall go west.

But I pray that the Lord will let Brother Brigham take the people away.

I am the first witness of the restoration of Christ’s Church upon the earth. I leave the world at liberty to pass judgment upon what I have spoken, as seemeth them good.

But this much I will say.

All that I have told you is true.

And will stand forever.

Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration

A motion picture about the life and legacy of Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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