A lot on his plates

A lot on his plates

The prophet claims that he was only 14 when he was first visited by the Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ, in the form of two pillars of fire. A few years later, the angel Moroni began to visit him and did so for four years straight until directing Smith to the hill Cumorah in upstate New York where he unearthed the golden plates and two divining stones that would help him to translate. Although the angel took the plates back, Smith was left with the Book of Mormon, which he originally had self-published.

In 1827, the angel Moroni directed Joseph Smith to a hill where he received a set of golden plates that contained the Book of Mormon. Plastic representations like this one can be yours for the low price of $5.95.
More features from this issue:

When the Latter-day Saints come marching in
With a new church on Airport Road and their numbers growing nationwide, local Mormons are unwavering in their faith

All in the family
The old practice of polygamy still dogs the Mormons

White and black
The Mormon Church struggles to shake the stigma of racism

The story therein concerned the descendants of a family who left Jerusalem in 600 B.C., crossing the ocean in a ship that landed somewhere on the American continents. “From this family sprang two nations known as the Nephites and Lamanites,” says Truth Restored, a short history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints published by the Mormons themselves. “For the most part, the Nephites were a God-fearing people, while the Lamanites were “generally indolent, quarrelsome, and wicked.”

Most remarkably, Jesus Christ himself chose to visit the Nephites a year after his resurrection, in 34 A.D. Accordingly, Jesus gave the Nephites his gospel, word for word, Sermon on the Mount and all. He “set up his church among them,” the small book says, “giving its leadership authority identical to that which he conferred upon the Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem.”

Like all nations, America became wicked, despite the warnings of prophets, one of whom was named Mormon and was writing all this down. From these “extensive” records, he compiled an abridged version on plates of gold and gave it to his son Moroni who survived the destruction of the Nephites at the hand of the Lamanites. Prior to his death, Moroni buried the plates to which he later directed Smith.

Not surprisingly, people were taken aback by this newer testament, and like all prophets, Smith and his message were initially refused. So he sought refuge elsewhere and was persecuted everywhere he went until he came to a small town in Illinois. There Smith and his new religion flourished, continuing to receive revelation of all kinds, seeming to clarify any question lobbed at him until he devised something called polygamy. That caused all sorts of problems, and eventually Smith was shot and killed by an angry mob in Carthage, Illinois, on June 27, 1844. A younger disciple named Brigham Young then took charge and, like Moses, led the Latter-day Saints away from the destructive Gentiles and into the barren desert with its cragged mountains and salt lake of Utah.

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