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  • 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 and 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--

  • 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 preacher nowadays teaches folks to fear

  • God too much, and trust in Him too little.

  • You're a difficult man, Mr. Smith.

  • I don't mean to be.

  • I'm just concerned for your salvation.

  • Alvin, have you ever wondered what we

  • need to do to be saved?

  • You worry too much, little brother.

  • But I need to know.

  • Well, you remember that sea shell you

  • found at Uncle Jesse's?

  • Yeah.

  • Well, some small creature made that shell, Joseph.

  • Layer by layer until they finally outgrew it.

  • Maybe God intends for us to outgrow ourselves too.

  • 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.

  • Joseph, 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?

  • [LAUGHTER]

  • 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--

  • 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 twelve 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 particular 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.

  • You're the oldest now.

  • Joseph.

  • Do everything you can to obtain the record.

  • Everything.

  • 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 have 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.

  • And?

  • 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 married a dreamer, Emma.

  • Translate.

  • You normally 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 Caldery.

  • 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 has

  • 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 you 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 ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real

  • intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the

  • truth of it unto to you by the power of the Holy Ghost. And

  • by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth

  • 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.

  • Oh, God, the eternal Father, we ask--

  • 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, Alvin.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • 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