By Cameron Ford

Joseph Smith states that when he was 14 years old he was given a vision of God the Father and the resurrected Christ in a grove of trees near his home in Palmyra, New York in 1820. To paraphrase their message, they basically told him that much error had crept into Christianity since the time of Christ’s earthly ministry among the Jews in Israel and that a completely true Church did not exist anymore. They told him that they would restore Christ’s true Church through Joseph. A few years later God sent him a heavenly messenger that guided him to a record(written on plates of gold) hidden in a hillside near his home that gave an account of God’s dealings with some of the ancient inhabitants of the American continent and indicated that a portion of this group were descendants of a family that left Jerusalem in about 600 BC. The record described Christ’s visit to these people in America, after his death and resurrection in Jerusalem, and contained the pure teachings and doctrines of Jesus Christ. The record was called the Book of Mormon after the ancient prophet/historian named Mormon who had compiled it in about 400 AD. Joseph, who came from a poor farming family and had not received more than a few years of basic education, translated the record by the power of God into English in roughly 60 days. With this book as a foundation, Joseph formally organized the Church in 1830. Members of this new church were nicknamed Mormons because of their belief in the Book of Mormon (note: we also strongly believe in the Bible). This new Church grew rapidly, but was also heavily persecuted. The believers were abused and driven from state to state until they finally settled in Utah in 1847. Since that time the Church has grown to become a world-wide church with millions of members.

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