I thought I would first write about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, as without Joseph Smith we would not have a church. I will admit, the history of the church is pretty fantastical. In fact, Joseph Smith, the founder and first president and prophet of our church said this about his experiences, “I don’t blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would not have believed it myself.” (Link here: quote taken from second paragraph under the second picture.)
If you are interested, you can read Joseph Smith’s history and testimony in his own words here and you can read more information about him here.
But in case you don’t click over, let me tell you about Joseph Smith and what we believe — we believe that when he was 14 years old he was searching for the right church to join, and one night he read this passage in James: “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 him.” (James 1:5, KJV) That piece of scripture spoke to Joseph, and one spring morning in 1820 he went into the woods near his house to pray to know which was the right church to join. We believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him, told him that no church was true and to join none of them. A few years later, he was visited by the angel Moroni, and he was directed to a set of gold plates, hidden in a hillside not far from where Joseph lived. These plates contained what would become the Book of Mormon (I will talk about that in a later paragraph) after Joseph translated them. Throughout his life Joseph received revelation from God and was also visited by other heavenly personages. Thus, through him, the entirety of the Church of Christ (the entirety of the Gospel as was on the earth when Jesus Christ was alive) was restored. Joseph Smith was eventually martyred for his beliefs, but that did not stop the work from progressing nor the church from growing.
As mentioned, we believe that our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the restored and only true Church of Christ. We believe that through the years after Christ’s death, the Priesthood was taken off the earth and that the other teachings, covenants and ordinances were lost or corrupted. Corrupted does not mean evil, it means that there have been unintentional errors made. We absolutely believe that other Christian denominations have bits and pieces of the truth, just not all of the truth. I completely understand that that might sound harsh or condescending, but I hope you do not feel that way. While my deepest desire is that you may all learn the truth as I know it, if you just come to Christ and believe in Him, that is enough for me right now.
And now, let me tell you about the Book of Mormon, which we believe is also scripture, the word of God. The Book of Mormon is the records of a people that left Jerusalem 500 years before the birth of Christ and sailed to the Americas. The records were then hidden and sealed up, and were not found until Joseph Smith was told by an angel where to find them, and how to translate them. Do you not think that these people who left Jerusalem had every right to also commune with God, and have prophets, like their brothers in the Holy Land? Of course they did. And they did have prophets who spoke with God, and the Book of Mormon is those teachings. You can find many of the same teachings in both the Book of Mormon and the Bible — for God is one God and His Gospel is the same. We believe that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon completes this prophecy: “Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.” (Ezekial 37:16-17, KJV) We believe that the stick of Judah is the Bible, and that the stick of Ephraim is the Book of Mormon, and now, the two sticks have become one and work together to teach of Christ.
I suppose I should also touch on the Bible, as I’m talking about scripture. We absolutely believe in the Bible! We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. We generally use the KJV version, which is a version I have come to love. Yes, we say we believe it as far as it is translated corrected, but that doesn’t take away that we believe it. The Bible has been translated countless times and has been handed down for over 2000 years! Is it too much to believe that parts have been mistranslated or left out or taken out — whether by accident or malicious intent? No, I believe that it is not. But that said, we absolutely believe the Bible. In fact, I am studying the New Testament right now in my own personal study (and we are also studying it in Sunday School this year) and I have loved every minute of it. There are many beautiful and sacred truths in the Bible and I so enjoy studying it.
I want to touch on one more thing before I end this post. As I stated in the opening, the history of the church is pretty fantastic and some might wonder how we could ever believe it — or, conversely, some people might believe that I and other children brought up in the church have been brainwashed. I am not brainwashed. I was not forced into staying in a cult. I have studied and prayed and I have had the Spirit confirm to me the truth of Joseph Smith’s life, the truthfulness of my church and of it’s doctrine. I’ve felt the Spirit multiple times in my life — confirming truth to me, comforting me, and loving me. I have asked and I have received. The only way one might know the truth is if they study and pray and fast. I have done that. I’ve done that of my own free will. I love the church. I love Joseph Smith. And most importantly, I love Jesus Christ.
More in the LDS Faith and Belief Series: Intro and I am a Christian (<– Here you may also find a google form you can fill out if you have any questions you’d like me to address in an upcoming post.)
If you’d like to know more about what Mormons believe, request a copy of the Book of Mormon, or request a meeting with the missionaries visit mormon.org.
Wife to Kyle, and momma to Abe and Eliza. I'm a stay-at-home momma by day, and a blogger by naptime. I graduated from BYU with a degree in Human Development, and I love to read more than anything. I love my Savior, and sharing His love for others is my greatest passion.