2 Nephi 25

2 Nephi 25: Isaiah’s Prophecies will be Understood

                Nephi opens up this chapter by explaining that he is going to share some of the words of Isaiah, but he explains that many will not understand, for the words of Isaiah; “…were hard for many of my people to understand…” (2 Nephi 25:1)

Nephi explains that the words of Isaiah are difficult to understand, for those who are not filled with the Holy Ghost; “…the words of Isaiah are not plain unto you, nevertheless they are plain unto all those that are filled with the spirit of prophecy…” (2 Nephi 25:4)

Nephi stresses that while he speaks, he is inspired by the words of Isaiah and encourages everyone to read them, for; “…they are of worth unto the children of men…” (2 Nephi 25:8) and he warns that “…in the days that the prophecies of Isaiah shall be fulfilled men shall know of a surety, at the times when they shall come to pass.” (2 Nephi 25:8) In other words, when things come to pass, men will know that Isaiah did in fact preach of these things!

Nephi goes on to explain that the Jews shall return from Babylon, and they shall crucify the Messiah; “Behold, they will crucify him; and after he is laid in a sepulchre for the space of three days he shall rise from the dead, with healing in his wings; and all those who shall believe on his name shall be saved in the kingdom of God…” (2 Nephi 25:13)

                Nephi explains that Isaiah prophesied that after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Jews would be scattered among all nations; “… after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind—and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, and look not forward any more for another Messiah, then, at that time, the day will come that it must needs be expedient that they should believe these things.” (2 Nephi 25:16)

                After many generations of being scattered, God the Father would once again bring His Children together, “… he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men.” (2 Nephi 25:17) This Marvelous work and Wonder would be the Restoration of His Gospel and Church, here on the Earth. This was done through Joseph Smith, who was a servant to Jesus Christ.

Nephi warns that any nation with these words, will be judged by them. The works of the Lord will continue from generation to generation until the world no longer stands! Nephi explains that; “…we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do… we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:23 and 26)

                Nephi ends his writing in this chapter by telling his people that if you believe in God, you believe in His prophets. If you believe in His prophets, you believe in God;

“I have spoken plainly unto you, that ye cannot misunderstand. And the words which I have spoken shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way; for the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him ye also deny the prophets and the law… the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out.” (2 Nephi 25:28-29)

The right way is to believe on and worship Jesus Christ and no one else. It is true that we are saved by God’s grace, but only after we have also done our part. We have to at least try and where we fall short, God will make up in His grace.

Advertisements

2 Nephi 12

2 Nephi 12: Isaiah Sees the Latter-Day Temple

                Isaiah the son of Amoz, sees a vision of the Last Days;

“…it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (2 Nephi 12:2-3)

Essentially Isaiah sees a vision of the last days, where God’s church would be restored and the Temples would be built and shortly following that the Second Coming of Jesus would happen, where there would be 1,000 years of peace in the World.

Jacob and his people had record of Isaiah, which came from the Brass Plates which were recovered from Jerusalem from King Laban. The most interesting part of this, to me, is the following: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the tops of mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it…” (Isaiah 2:2) It is the same passage, because Jacob and Nephi both taught from Isaiah and kept their own record of their teachings, which included passages from Isaiah. The reason this is so fascinating to me, is because the “tops of mountains” is a translation of a meaning of the word “Ute” which was the Indian Tribe of Utah, where the state was named and one of the most famous Temples in the world… the Salt Lake Temple has visitors from ALL around the world flock there on a daily basis. Isaiah was speaking of the Latter-day Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the restoration of His Church, there will come a time of peace; “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into pruning-hooks—nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (2 Nephi 12:4)

Jacob explains that when the day comes for Judgment, those who chose to follow idols made of Gold and Silver will hide themselves in mountains, caves and rocks for fear of the wrath of God!

“O ye wicked ones, enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for the fear of the Lord and the glory of his majesty shall smite thee.” (2 Nephi 12:10)

 

2 Nephi 3

2 Nephi 3: Joseph Smith

                Lehi speaks to Joseph, his last born in the wilderness and proclaims unto him that he [Lehi] was a descendent of Joseph (who was sold into Egypt). Lehi also explains that Joseph of Egypt saw the day when the Lord would bring his people into a land of promise (see: Genesis 50:24-38).

“…Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.” (2 Nephi 3:7) Lehi is speaking of Joseph Smith, who would be the instrument in the hands of the Lord to RESTORE His Church!

Lehi explains that the Lord will command the fruit of the loins of Judah and Joseph to write what we know today as the Bible and the Book of Mormon; “Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.” (2 Nephi 3:12)

The Book of Mormon would come forth among the world and shall become a companion to the Bible to help confound false doctrines and contentions amongst the many churches and religions of the world. Joseph [the son of Lehi] explains that the seer who the Lord would raise up would be named after him [Joseph] and that the Seer would be named after his father. Joseph Smith, Jr. was named after his father; Joseph Smith Senior. The Prophecy of Joseph [Lehi’s Son] came to be; “…his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me…” (2 Nephi 3:15)

1 Nephi 13

1 Nephi 13: The Restoration and Zion

                 Nephi sees many nations throughout the world and is told by the Angel that those nations and kingdoms were of the Gentiles;

“…I [Nephi] saw among the nations of the Gentiles the formation of a great church. And the angel said unto me: Behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches, which slayeth the saints of God, yea, and tortureth them and bindeth them down, and yoketh them with a yoke of iron, and bringeth them down into captivity… I beheld this great and abominable church; and I saw the devil that he was the founder of it.” (1 Nephi 13:4-6) Nephi saw the formation of an evil church, whose founder was the devil. In this church there was gold, silver, silks, scarlets and fine-twined lined and all manner of precious clothing.

Nephi sees that many of the seed of his brethren were divided among the waters and a multitude of them forming in the promised land [America], where they; “…had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations… I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.” (1 Nephi 13:19-20) Nephi had seen the colonizing of America and the scattering of the Gentiles!

Nephi also beheld a book that was carried with them into the Promised Land; the Angel asked him if he knew that this book was, and Nephi responded that he did not. The Angel explains; “…Behold it proceedeth out of the mouth of a Jew… a record of the Jews, which contains the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; and it also containeth many of the prophecies of the holy prophets; and it is a record like unto the engravings which are upon the plates of brass, save there are not so many; nevertheless, they contain the covenants of the Lord, which he hath made unto the house of Israel; wherefore, they are of great worth unto the Gentiles.” (1 Nephi 13:23) This book that is being referred is the Bible, more specifically the Old Testament of the Bible which was written in part by the Jews.  The Angel explains to Nephi that at the time this Book “…contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record…” (1 Nephi 13:24) However, the Bible was continued with the New Testament which included more of God’s word and at the time of its completion was also considered the ‘fulness of the Gospel’. In this sense the Book of Mormon only adds to the value of the Old and New Testaments the same was the New Testament adds value to the Old Testament.

The Angel explains that after Jesus Christ formed His Church and called Apostles the church fell apart upon the death of Jesus Christ. From this point the great and abominable church was formed and from them; “…they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away…. all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God…. after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles… even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—…because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them.” (1 Nephi 13:27-29)

Apostasy

                After Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross, the Apostles he had called attempted to hold the church together, but even they were eventually persecuted and killed. With TRUE Authority gone from the earth the Church, its scripture and gospel were perverted. Elder M. Russell Ballard [An Apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints] explained it well;

                “It’s no wonder, then, that the thousand year period known as the Middle Ages wasn’t exactly the best of times for Christianity. The name of the Lord was invoked upon all manner of horrifying campaigns, from the Crusades to the Inquisition, leaving a bloody trail of death, persecution, and destruction. Christ’s central teachings of faith, hope, charity, and tolerance seemed lost upon zealots who were absolutely determined that ‘every knee shall bow’ one way or another.”

Many wonderful men tried to bring those lost gospel truths to the light of the people, however with so many truths lost, many argued over who was right and as a result we see the formation of many churches throughout the world. It is also no wonder that this ‘great and abominable church’ was that of the Catholic Church. William Tyndale, a man who desired to have the scriptures in the hand of the common man, had an argument with a ‘learned’ clergy man, who said; “We had better be without God’s laws than the Pope’s.” Tyndale responded: “I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost!

The Angel continues to speak to Nephi and explains that God will be merciful unto the Gentiles;

…I [God] will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall be plain and precious….” (1 Nephi 13:34) The Lord will command prophets in the Americas to write his Gospel, that it might not be perverted from the writings of the Bible in the ‘Old World’.

Nephi sees the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the coming forth of Zion in the Last Days, the Great Apostasy being unfolded and the coming forth of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon as sacred writings of God. The Angel of the Lord explains to Nephi that both books must come forth to reveal the truths that had been lost and to help guide people to their Savior Jesus Christ;

“…These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.” (1 Nephi 13:40) Both the Book of Mormon and the Bible will help people come unto their Savior. The Angel explains to Nephi that in the Last Days the Book of Mormon and the Bible shall be established as one;

 “…wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.” (1 Nephi 13:41)

Moses 7

Moses 7: Restoration, Second Coming and Return of Zion

Enoch speaks to the people;

“…Behold, our father Adam taught these things, and many have believed and become the sons of God, and many have believed not, and have perished in their sins, and are looking forth with fear, in torment, for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God to be poured out upon them.”

Enoch explains that as he was prophesying near the place Mahujah, there came a voice unto him that told him to go to the top of Mount Simeon.  There he saw the Lord, who; “…stood before my face, and he talked with me, even as a man talketh one with another, face to face; and he said unto me: Look, and I will show unto thee the world for the space of many generations…  I beheld in the valley of Shum, and lo, a great people which dwelt in tents, which were the people of Shum… and I beheld the people of Canaan, which dwelt in tents… And the Lord said unto me: …Behold the people of Canaan, which are numerous, shall go forth in battle array against the people of Shum, and shall slay them that they shall utterly be destroyed; and the people of Canaan shall divide themselves in the land, and the land shall be barren and unfruitful, and none other people shall dwell there but the people of Canaan;” (Moses 7:4-7)

Because of this, the Lord will curse the land with great heat and the land shall become barren. The people of Canaan were also cursed with a blackness and were despised among all people.

“…the Lord said unto me: Look; and I looked, and I beheld the land of Sharon, and the land of Enoch, and the land of Omner, and the land of Heni, and the land of Shem, and the land of Haner, and the land of Hanannihah, and all the inhabitants thereof; And the Lord said unto me: Go to this people, and say unto them—Repent, lest I come out and smite them with a curse, and they die.” (Moses 7:9-10)

The Lord commanded Enoch that he should preach unto those people repentance, that they might become baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. Enoch preached mightily throughout the land, so much that when; “…he spake the word of the Lord… the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, even according to his command; …the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of the language which God had given him.” (Moses 7:13) Enoch was a true prophet, which had been called of God. God gave Enoch the power and Authority to do these things in the name of the Lord.

Even though there were many wars throughout the land, the people still feared the Lord. Those who truly feared the Lord were called the people of Zion; “…because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them… Enoch continued his preaching in righteousness unto the people of God. And it came to pass in his days, that he built a city that was called the City of Holiness, even Zion.” (Moses 7:18-19) Enoch exclaimed to the Lord that the city of Zion should dwell in safety forever! The Lord explained to Enoch that the inhabitants of Zion he has blessed, but the rest of the people he had cursed.

“…the Lord showed unto Enoch all the inhabitants of the earth; and he beheld…  Zion, in process of time, was taken up into heaven… Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them. And after that Zion was taken up into heaven…” (Moses 7:21-23) Because of the righteousness of Enoch and his people, they and the entire city in which they dwelt were lifted up into the heavens to be with God and His Son.

After this happened, the power of Satan was upon all the face of the earth, and Enoch saw angels descending out of heaven saying; “…Wo, wo be unto the inhabitants of the earth.” (Moses 7:25) Enoch saw Satan, who; “…had a great chain in his hand, and it veiled the whole face of the earth with darkness; and he looked up and laughed, and his angels rejoiced.” (Moses 7:26) During this time many Angels came down to earth to bear testimony of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost and as many as believed; “…were caught up by the powers of heaven into Zion.” (Moses 7:27) Enoch explained that he saw God cry because of the inhabitants of the world. Enoch explains that this weeping is when the heavens; “…weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains…” (Moses 7:28)

Does God Cry?

Enoch asks the Lord

“…How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?” (Moses 7:29) and the Lord responds to Enoch; “…Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency; And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood; …But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?” (Moses 7:32-37) God made it clear; He created the Heaven and the Earth. He created man and gave men knowledge and agency. Satan tempted his children and made them hate their own Father and their own blood. Because of this, God weeps because He is sad to see His children fail.

The Lord gives Enoch the ability to see all of the wickedness from God’s perspective, and Enoch; “…looked upon their wickedness, and their misery, and wept and stretched forth his arms, and his heart swelled wide as eternity; and his bowels yearned; and all eternity shook… Enoch also saw Noah, and his family; that the posterity of all the sons of Noah should be saved with a temporal salvation; …Enoch saw that Noah built an ark; and that the Lord smiled upon it, and held it in his own hand; but upon the residue of the wicked the floods came and swallowed them up.” (Moses 7:41-43) When Enoch saw this he was saddened, but the Lord told him to be glad. Enoch saw the destruction of the flood and begged the Lord; “…I ask thee, O Lord, in the name of thine Only Begotten, even Jesus Christ, that thou wilt have mercy upon Noah and his seed, that the earth might never more be covered by the floods.” (Moses 7:50) The Lord agreed and covenanted with Enoch and made an oath that; “…he would stay the floods…” (Moses 7:51)

                Enoch saw the day of the coming of the; “…Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of my father…” (Moses 7:47) Here we learn that Jesus Christ was ordained before the Foundation of the World to become the Savior, who would Atone for the sins of ALL mankind!

Enoch is given a vision of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ;

“…Enoch cried unto the Lord, saying: When the Son of Man cometh in the flesh, shall the earth rest? I pray thee, show me these things… The Lord said unto Enoch: Look, and he looked and beheld the Son of Man lifted up on the cross, after the manner of men; And he heard a loud voice; and the heavens were veiled; and all the creations of God mourned; and the earth groaned; and the rocks were rent; and the saints arose, and were crowned at the right hand of the Son of Man, with crowns of glory; And as many of the spirits as were in prison came forth, and stood on the right hand of God; and the remainder were reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day.” (Moses 7:54-57) Enoch was told about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and we learn that when Jesus Christ died on the cross that the Saints arose from the grave. Those who were in Spirit Prison (like Purgatory) that chose to be on the right hand of God were permitted to pass into Spirit Paradise and those who did not would wait in darkness until the Judgment Day.

When Shall the Earth Rest?

“…again Enoch wept and cried unto the Lord, saying: When shall the earth rest?” (Moses 7:58)

“…the Lord said unto Enoch: As I live, even so will I come in the last days, in the days of wickedness and vengeance, to fulfil the oath which I have made unto you concerning the children of Noah; And the day shall come that the earth shall rest, but before that day the heavens shall be darkened, and a veil of darkness shall cover the earth; and the heavens shall shake, and also the earth; and great tribulations shall be among the children of men, but my people will I preserve; And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth [The Book of Mormon] will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.” (Moses 7:60-62) God answers Enoch and tells him that YES, the EARTH SHALL REST. However, before the world will come to its rest; great darkness and tribulation must precede this rest.  Jesus explains to Enoch that the Book of Mormon will come forth from the earth and that heavenly messengers will come down before the End, to help declare the word of God. In the first resurrection, all men that are righteous [the ‘elect’ of God] will be gathered from the four corners of the earth and he shall prepare a city for them, the New Jerusalem. There, Enoch and his people will also meet at the New Jerusalem and shall; “…fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other; And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.” (Moses 7:63-64) Shortly after the Second Coming of Jesus Christ the elect will be gathered, the New Jerusalem and Zion shall be established and there shall be one thousand years of peace.

“…the Lord showed Enoch all things, even unto the end of the world; and he saw the day of the righteous, the hour of their redemption, and received a fulness of joy’ …all the days of Zion, in the days of Enoch, were three hundred and sixty-five years…. Enoch and all his people walked with God, and he dwelt in the midst of Zion; and it came to pass that Zion was not, for God received it up into his own bosom; and from thence went forth the saying, Zion is Fled.” (Moses 7:67-69) Enoch and his people were taken up to the bosom of the Lord. Zion is Fled… but will return in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Revelation 14

Revelation 14: The Restored Gospel

                John explains that he sees the 144,000 who were; “…redeemed from the earth.” (Revelation 14:3) He also sees an; “…angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people. Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come…” (Revelation 14:6-7) John says that this angel was followed by another angel who announced the destruction of Babylon because of their wine and fornication.

As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, we believe that this Angel, who brought forth the ‘everlasting gospel’ was Moroni, who first appeared to Joseph Smith to guide him in restoring the Church of Jesus Christ, that had been lost with time.

John explains that we need to “…Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap: for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” (Revelation 14:15) Essentially John is saying that it is time to move missionary work forward, because the harvest of men is ripe.

James 1

James 1: Ask God!

                James, as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ writes a letter of wisdom. While the letter is not addressed to any specific people or person, it serves as New Testament literature and as a letter written to all.

James explains that we should be filled with joy when we fall into temptation, knowing; “…that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” (James 1:3) In other words, when we are tempted and overcome those temptations we will be made stronger for having been through the temptation.

Paul urges us all to ask God when we are in doubt; “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:5-6) In this life we will pass through trials and tribulations, we may have doubts and we may not understand everything in this world. But we can ask God, and those who ask God with faith will be given the answers to their righteous desires.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God: The Restoration of the Gospel

firstvision

                This very same scripture is what led Joseph Smith to ask God the question; “Which of all the sects was right?”

Joseph Smith was a young farm boy who lived in the east coast of the United States in the early 1800’s, he explains in his own words;

“I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five (1805)… in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont… My father, Joseph Smith, Senior, left the state of Vermon, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the state of New York, when I was in my tenth year… In about four years… he [Joseph Smith Senior] moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario… Some time in the second year of our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country… which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist…. Priest contending against priest, and convert against convert… During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness… though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was… to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong…. In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself : What is to be done? Who of all these parties is right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?” (Joseph Smith History 1:3;5-6;7;8)

                Joseph Smith, like many today may ask themselves, which of all the sects is the correct one? Why would there be different beliefs, if there be one God? Joseph Smith was confused and unsure of which religion was right. So he consulted the Bible, God’s word! He read in James 1:5-6; which says that anyone who lacks wisdom will be given it. So, who better to ask which religion was right… then GOD HIMSELF!?!

Joseph Smith decided to take this advice from James and retired to a grove of trees near his home;

“ After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw 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 BelovedSon. Hear Him!

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (Joseph Smith History 1:15-19)

Joseph Smith followed the advice given by James and asked God; which of all the sects was right. Joseph Smith was answered and told that none of the sects were right. This single question from a young, 14 year old boy would lead to God restoring His Church on the Earth, using Joseph Smith as an instrument in His hands.

James goes on in the first chapter to explain that those who endure temptation shall receive a just reward; “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13) James explains that God does not tempt anyone, but rather we choose to sin on our own accord; “…every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust…” (James 1:14)

James explains that anything GOOD is from GOD, and anything BAD or EVIL is from the DEVIL; “Every good gift any every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17)

James encourages people to be DOERS and not just HEARERS; “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass.” (James 1:23) James explains that anyone who seems to be religious but does not follow his religion; “…deceiveth his own heart… this man’s religion is in vain.” (James 1:26) James goes on to explain that pure religion is; “…undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27) While many may claim to be religious, anyone who fails to take care of those around them and stay clean and worthy are not following the will of God.