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To Those Who are Investigating Mormonism

Article Index
To Those Who are Investigating Mormonism
What the missionaries will not tell you
Your life as a Mormon

If you are investigating Mormonism (the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" or "LDS Church"), you are probably studying it in private meetings in your home with missionaries from that church. Here are some of the key things that they are probably telling you:

  • Mormonism began when Joseph Smith, a young man in western New York, was spurred by a Christian revival where he lived in 1820 to pray to God for guidance as to which church was true. In answer to his prayers he was visited by God the Father and God the Son, two separate beings, who told him to join no church because all the churches at that time were false, and that he, Joseph, would bring forth the true church. This event is called "The First Vision."
  • In 1823 Joseph had another heavenly visitation, in which an angel named Moroni told him of a sacred history written by ancient Hebrews in America, engraved in an Egyptian dialect on tablets of gold and buried in a nearby hill. Joseph was told it was the history of the ancient peoples of America, and that Joseph would be the instrument for bringing this record to the knowledge of the world. Joseph obtained these gold plates from the angel in 1827, and translated them into English by the spirit of God and the use of a sacred instrument accompanying the plates called the "Urim and Thummim." The translation was published in 1830 as The Book of Mormon.
  • The Book of Mormon is a religious and secular history of the inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere from about 2200 BC to about 421 AD. It tells the reader that the American Indians are all descended from three groups of immigrants who were led by God from their original homes in the Near East to America. One group came from the Tower of Babel, and two other groups came from Jerusalem just before the Babylonian Captivity, about 600 BC. They were led by prophets of God who had the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is thus preserved in their history, the Book of Mormon. Many of the descendants of these immigrants were Christians, even before Christ was born in Palestine, but many were unbelievers. Believers and unbelievers fought many wars, the last of which left only degenerate unbelievers as survivors, who are the ancestors of the American Indians. The most important event during this long history was the visit of Jesus Christ to America, after his crucifixion, when he ministered to (and converted) all the inhabitants.
  • Joseph Smith was directed by revelation from God to reestablish ("restore") the true church, which he did in 1830. He was visited several times by heavenly messengers, who ordained him to the true priesthood. He continued to have revelations from God to guide the church and to give more knowledge of the Gospel. Many of these revelations are published in the Doctrine and Covenants.
  • Joseph Smith and his followers were continually persecuted for their religious beliefs, and driven from New York State to Ohio, then to Missouri, then to Illinois, where Joseph Smith was murdered in 1844 by a mob, a martyr to his beliefs. The church was then led by Brigham Young, Joseph's successor, to Utah, where the Mormons settled successfully.
  • The LDS church is led today by the successors of Joseph Smith. The present president of the church is a "prophet, seer and revelator" just as Joseph Smith was, and guides the members of the church through revelations and guidance from God.
  • The modern LDS church is the only true church, as restored by God through Joseph Smith. Other churches, derived from the early Christian church, are in apostasy because their leaders corrupted the scriptures, changed the ordinances of the original church, and often led corrupt lives, thus losing their authority.
  • By accepting baptism into the LDS church you take the first step necessary toward your salvation and your ultimate entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven (the "Celestial Kingdom").