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Joseph Smith Essay

905 words - 4 pages

At the end of the 18th century, the prospects for American Christianity were not hopeful and the memories of the First Great Awakening faded. The chaos of the Revolutionary War era had greatly affected religious life. The start of the new century brought religious activity unique to all of world history. This period, now known as the Second Great Awakening brought with it the emergence of Mormonism. There was an optimistic sense of a new beginning for religion. Society was transforming quickly, with religion emerging as a force that helped shape the wider social problems.
Many longed for a return to the past, and tried to recover it by recreating New Testament Christianity. Some religious ...view middle of the document...

At age 14, in 1820 Joseph prayed for religious guidance. This prayer is what led him in becoming a prophet and an experience that became the founding event of Mormonism. Joseph experienced a vision; he was overwhelmed by darkness and saw a pillar of light encircling two beings, God the Father and Jesus. God told him that he was not to join any church, because none of the churches on the earth had the fullness of truth.
When Smith was 17, he had another religious experience. He was visited by an angel named Moroni, who appeared to him and told him the location of two golden plates, on which was written the history of two ancient Native American Christian tribes. Joseph obtained the plates, and set about translating them into English. In 1830 the translated history was published as The Book of Mormon. This scripture led Joseph and his early followers to formally organize a church. The Church, initially called the Church of Christ was founded in 1830 and soon attracted members. Mormonism emerged into a community of intense religious activity, later called the Second Great Awakening. From the start it actively tried to convert people and sent missionaries out to win members. By the end of 1830, the Church of Christ gained 1,000 followers, but the church faced persecution, and began a gradual move west. By May 1831 nearly all Mormons had left New York.
Followers moved to Kirtland, Ohio, where they joined Sidney Rigdon, a preacher who had learned the Mormon faith. By 1831, the church's headquarters were established in Kirtland, it was also the site of the construction of the movement's first temple. While based in Kirtland, the church changed its name to the "Church of the Latter Day Saints". Conflict with...

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