In the year 1820, a 15 year old farm boy in Palmyra, New York, named Joseph Smith Jr., was confused about religion. At that time, in the area in which he lived (Genesee District of New York State), there were many camp-meetings. At these camp meetings the different Preachers (Baptists, Congregationalists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Universalists) contended one with another for followers (who would financially support the preachers--the more followers the more financial support). Each said, "Lo, here is Christ!"; each claimed to have "the Truth" and that their church was "true" while the other churches were false. Confused, Joseph Smith decided to go into a grove of trees to ask God which of the contending churches was true. During this prayer he had a vision of "The Father" and "The Son". Jesus told him:
"Joseph my son thy sins are forgiven thee. Go thy way walk in my statutes and keep my commandments. Behold I am the Lord of glory I was crucified for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life. Behold, the world lieth in sin and at this time and none doeth good no not one they have turned aside from the gospel and keep not my commandments. They [the preachers at the camp-meetings] draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them according to their ungodliness and to bring to pass that which has been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and apostles behold and lo, I come quickly as it written of me in the cloud clothed in the glory of my Father." (Joseph Smith's First Vision, 1832 account)According to Mormon belief, about 600 B.C., just before the Babylonians marched on Jerusalem, a Jewish prophet named Lehi (lee-high) was shown in vision that the city of Jerusalem would be destroyed. He was commanded to flee into the wilderness (desert). Lehi took his sons (Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, and Sam) into Arabia. There he met an Arab named Ishmael, who had daughters. These two families built a ship and sailed to America. Laman and Lemuel split from the family, and their descendants became known as the "Lamanites" (lay-man-ites). Nephi became patriach of the others, and they became known as the Nephites (nee-fights). The Lamanites became "idolatrous" (worshippers of idols) so God cursed the Lamanites with a red skin, so that the white-skinned Nephites would remained separate from them. They had many wars. But Jesus visited the Nephites for three days (after His ascension on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem), and established His Church. Peace reiged for 400 years. But the Nephites became very wicked, more wicked than the Lamanites, and materialistic (worshippers of Mammon), and practiced "whoredoms" so God allowed the Lamanites (the great majority) to "utterly destroy" the Nephites (by then a small minority). This happened at the Hill Cumorah, near Palmyra, New York State, about 430 A.D.; exactly 400 years after Jesus appeared to the Nephites. Only a few dozens Nephites escaped death, including Moroni (mor-row-nai), the son of Mormon (mor-mawn), the last Nephite prophet and general who was killed at the Battle of Cumorah. Mormon had written an abridged history of the Nephite nation on plates (tablets) of gold. Moroni finished the record, and buried the gold plates in a stone box in the Hill Cumorah. About 14 million Mormons believe that the Nephites really existed and The Book of Mormon is literal history of a colony of Jews that lived in ancient America.
In 1823, the Angel Moroni (more-row-nai), an ancient American Prophet of the Nephites (nee-fights), appears in a vision to Joseph Smith in his bedroom, and told him of the history of the Nephites written on plates (tablets) of gold, hid in a hill nor far from the Smith farm in a hill called Cumorah. Defore his death, Moroni had hid this history of the Nephites in the Hill Cumorah, about 430 A.D. Now, in 1823 A.D., Moroni had become an Angel of the Lord. In 1827, Joseph Smith obtained the gold plates, and via a "seerstone", translated them into The Book of Mormon (Mormon was the father of Moroni and chief writer of the book). In 1829, The Book of Mormon was published in English. Also in 1829, the angels Peter, James, and John (the three main Apostles of Jesus) appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery (his cousin and scribe) and ordained them to the Melchizedek Priesthood; the very priesthood Jesus and the Apostles held 1800 years before. Joseph and Oliver establish "The Church of Christ" in 1830; which in 1838 becomes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; commonly known as The Mormon Church. It's one divine mission was to prepare the way for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ when He comes "in a cloud" clothed in the Glory of His Father. In 1820, Jesus told Joseph "I come quickly in the cloud clothed in the glory of My Father." Read More (2 of 12)