Who are the Mormons? Part 1: The Beginning


With the whole Book of Mormon musical and such lots of people have just basic curious questions about the Mormons. I love learning about other religions too so that’s what this is for. I’ll try to not bore you and not go into unneeded detail but I am long-winded so I’ll do my best. (PS-I am not looking to bash religions or get in a religious argument, simply explaining Mormon doctrine..thanks!)

Lots of people think the whole church started with Joseph Smith, but to understand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Note: Yes we know it’s a mouthful so we often abbreviate it to LDS or use the nickname, Mormon) you have to go back to the very beginning of mankind, with who else but our good man, Adam. Adam was the first human on earth and was actually the first Prophet of God as well. Now God created this earth and a plan for it and part of His plan was that He would have a Prophet to guide and direct His children because let’s be honest..they have troubles.  It’s nice to have a Prophet to help guide and clarify things to put it simply. Sometimes the Prophets are ridiculed and attacked by those silly people like remember Noah? Ya the people weren’t so nice to him.

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When the people are trying to kill a Prophet or won’t listen, God takes him away until He tries again and gives the people another Prophet. It’s quite the cycle which is why it’s so great God loves us and never stops trying. When God takes away His Prophet that means that there isn’t a leader for the church and therefore His complete Gospel is not on  the earth..this time frame is called an Apostasy. When God does have a Prophet on the earth it’s called a dispensation. (Fun fact!)

So this leads us to the scriptures John 3:16-17. God so loved the world He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. (Paraphrasing) So Christ’s mission was to establish his church, with help of his apostles and to atone for our sins, among other things. The first step of his ministry was to get baptized. He went to John the Baptist because John had the authority to baptize (very important!). After Christ was baptized he then ordained 12 apostles. (John 15:16) This meant he gave them the Priesthood or authority to act in God’s name for instance to baptize. Authority isn’t something you get on your own, it has to be given to you.(Hebrews 5:4)

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This whole Priesthood Authority is very important it’s like how a policeman has to have a badge and authority. Baptism by the Priesthood power is key. It would be like if you really wanted to get married but the person officiating the wedding didn’t have authority. (D&C 42:11) Even though you really love each other and they may have said all the right things and pronounced you man and wife, you aren’t married unless someone with authority marries you two. It’s a nice gesture, but it’s not official.

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Without straying from the topic let’s skip ahead to when Christ left the earth after his resurrection. He left the Apostles with the ordained authority but knew that the Church he established would soon be gone from the earth again. The people rejected Christ and his Apostles and one by one the Apostles were killed. (Matthew 24:9-14) Once Peter died the Priesthood Authority was gone from the earth, and no one was left to lead it. Because of this, good people who did want to follow Christ tried to figure out which direction to go.(D&C 123: 12) Some attended meetings and discussed doctrines and tried to understand the Bible better. Unfortunately, the Bible was changed a lot and important doctrines were changed and were altered through translations and such. (Isaiah 24:5) Moral of the story: this lead to some very confused people. Some started their own churches because they felt like some doctrines in the Bible and what were taught in other churches weren’t right and this is why today we have thousands of different churches.

So you with me?  No Prophet, no Priesthood Authority, and the church fell apart.This period is what is called The Great Apostasy. Don’t worry it was all part of the plan! (Amos 8:11) So the church was lost and lots of people were confused..this is called the Dark Age for a reason.  Luckily, God loves us like I said and so He waited patiently until the time was finally right again to bring His church back to the earth for one final time or as we like to call, The Final Dispensation.(Acts 3:21) (Remember that word from before?)

This brings us to good ol’ youngster Joseph Smith. (I’m sorry I tried to be short) He was one of the many people in his town searching for a church to join in Palmyra New York. The town had many different churches and everyone was pretty convinced their church was the one to join. I guess if there was one thing they probably all agreed on it was Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism. Meaning, there’s one Church out there..so go find it!

joseph-searching-scriptures-37717-galleryJoseph was only 14 years old and had a very basic 7th grade education. He was no scholar but he did study the bible with his family. One night he read in James 1:5 where it says: “If any of ye lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” He later writes “Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in stettling to question by an appeal tot he Bible. At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God.”

So on a beautiful spring day he set out to be alone outside his family farm. He knelt down in a grove of trees to pray out loud, alone. In his own words he then describes the miraculous event that then occurred. “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.When the light rested upon me Isaw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

In that moment Joseph saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. They answered his prayer, but not in the way he was expecting. They told him that although the churches had bits and pieces of the truth, non of them were complete. Christ wanted Joseph to help restore the church that Christ had brought to the earth with a Prophet and Apostles and the Priesthood Authority to baptize.

(Watch the 20 minute video here)

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After that event The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints began. The name means that it is Christ’s church (Not Joseph Smith’s!!) and that it is His Church formed now, in the Latter-Days (Final Dispensation). There is even a Prophet today, Thomas S. Monson who leads and guides The Church just like in Biblical days.

So there ya have it! I hope I made it simple enough to understand. But even if it may sound crazy or odd, the reason I am a Mormon is not because I grew up Mormon, but because I prayed and asked God if it was true. Although I did not see God or Jesus Christ, I did feel His presence confirm it’s truthfulness to me. It’s a feeling I cannot and will not deny. It was a warm and full of love that is incomparable to any other feeling. It’s a feeling of peace and joy that can only come from Heaven.

With religion I know you don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. You don’t have to know everything about everything. You just have to go to the source, and ask Him himself. He’ll answer you, because he answered me. I don’t know everything but that’s one thing I do know. I know because of prayer and I know why I’m here and where I’m going. But more to that later..

Questions? Ask the Missionaries!

Order a free Book of Mormon or Bible

Live chat with a Mormon

Check out the Mormon website!

Talks by LDS leaders Apostles and Prophets

Find The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints near you

Read Joseph Smith’s story in his own words

Other Mormons

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