In the early spring of 1820 (or maybe 1819 or 1821), a 14-year-old boy (in his “fifteenth year” according to Mormon theology,, although his handwritten account says he was in his “sixteenth” year) named Joseph Smith, Jr., went into the woods to pray for divine guidance in the selection of a church to join. The rest of his family joined the Presbyterian church, but Joseph was still undecided between the Presbyterian, Baptist, and Methodist churches. While praying alone in the woods, young Joseph was suddenly seized by some dark power so intense that it had such an astonishing influence over him as to bind his tongue so that he could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around him, and it seemed to him for a time as if he were doomed to sudden destruction.
He exerted all his
power to call upon
As soon as the light appeared, he felt that he had been delivered from the unseen enemy which had held him bound. Then when the light rested upon him he saw two “personages,” whose brightness was beyond description, standing above him in the air. One of them spoke his name and pointed to the other, and said, “This is my beloved son. Hear him!”
When he asked which of the churches he should join, Joseph was told by one of the “personages of light” that he was to join none of them, that all Christian churches wrong and all Christians were corrupt, that all their creeds were an abomination to the “personage” who was speaking to him.
When he told a local Methodist minister of his encounter with the supernatural, the minister told him that his experience had been “of the devil.” When he persisted in telling this story to the other church leaders in the community, these “men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against [him], and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects—all united to persecute [him].”
On the night of September 21, 1823, Joseph, now
17 years old, looked up from his bed to see the angel Moroni floating in
the air beside his bed. Moroni told the the boy where he could find “a
book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former
inhabitants of this continent [North America], and the source from whence
they sprang. He also said that the fulness [sic.] of the
everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the
ancient inhabitants” [of North America]. Moroni also said that in the box
with the book he would find two stones, “what is [sic.] called the Urim
and Thummim … and the possession and use of these stones were what
constituted ‘seers’ in ancient or former times; and that
The next day that boy, Joseph Smith, Jr., allegedly found the plates buried in a stone box in the side of hill called Cumorah near his home in Palmyra, New York. But for some reason, Moroni would not let Smith have the plates until September 22, 1827.
Nine months before the plates became his, Smith eloped with Emma Hale. Smith claimed that because of intense persecution on account of his frequent divine revelations.
2. Joseph Smith, Pearl of Great Price (PGP), Joseph Smith - History (JS-H) 1:7. Salt Lake City: Church of Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 2002. [RETURN]
8. Note that the “Angel Moroni”
claimed that it was the “possession and use of” these two stones, and not
the power of
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*Ari Levitt is the shem kodesh of Messianic Pastor Dr. Rickard (Ari) Levitt-Sawyer. As the free expression of my religious beliefs, the content of this website is protected under the provisions of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Except where otherwise specifically indicated, the opinions expressed on this website are my own, are sometimes highly speculative in nature and subject to differing interpretations, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of any other organization or individual. If you disagree with my opinions, please CLICK HERE before contacting me.