Joseph Smith and Mormonism
Joseph Smith and Mormonism
Joseph Smith was born in 1805 in Vermont into a family of farmers. He claimed to have had his first vision as a teen, in which he saw Jesus Christ and God the Father. Three years after his first vision he was visited by the angel Moroni, who told him that there were three golden plates hidden on his farm.
Smith was denied access to the plates for several years by Moroni, but was finally allowed to see and translate them starting in 1827. According to belief Smith translated the plates, written in ancient Egyptian, through divine intervention. Smith rarely paused or corrected himself as he was translating the plates to relatives.
So came about the book of Mormon, which together with the Bible, is accepted by Mormons as divinely inspired text. According to the book of Mormon, an ancient prophet named Lehi, was told by God to go to North America in 600 BC. Further, the book recounts that God continued to choose prophets in the Americas.
After translating the book, Smith founded his new religion in 1830, after which he immediately starting spreading the faith, causing great controversy wherever he went. He started moving west ever so steadily, first from Vermont to New York to Pennsylvania, to Missouri, and ultimately to Illinois. In 1844 Smith was thrown in jail after being charged with suppressing a local newspaper. This followed him being killed by and angry mob. With Smith dead, Brigham Young became the leader and took the church further west to Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as it is called now, proposes that it is not Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant, but the reinstatement of the original church that Jesus Christ founded on earth. Smith is believed to be the first of a line of recent prophets, followed by Young and today's current president, prophet, and seer of the church. The church believes that the current prophet have the power to receive direct messages from God.
Some of the church's many doctrines include the beliefs in the importance of chastity, modest dress, and family prayer lessons. They also have a diet code called the Word of Wisdom, according to which Mormons are not allowed to consume alcohol, tobacco, coffee, or tea. What they are probably most known for, and controversially so, is a form of polygamy known as plural marriage. Ironically, polygamy was banned by the church already in 1890.
- Smith founded the city of Nauvoo when he was in Illinois, which in 1845 had the same population as Chicago.
- Mormons have the biggest missionary program world wide, which includes 51,000 full-time missionaries worldwide.
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Source: The Intellectual Devotional