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Mormon History And Joseph Smith Essay

1315 words - 5 pages

In 1777, Thomas Jefferson drafted a statue for religious freedom, which was opposed by many of Virginia’s largest religious groups who feared that this statue would lead to the demise of their churches (Heneretta & Brody, 2010). However, with the help of James Madison, the Religious Freedom Statue was enacted in 1786, which is one of the important documents in American history as it has direct correlation with religious rights. This statue prohibited obstructing or backing any religion by the United States Government and was the motivation behind the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (Digital History, 2006). The years that followed the Revolution ended the tax support for churches and recruitment of members was accomplished without the help of the government. The voluntary support for religion was successful as the numbers of church members doubled between 1800 and 1840, and the older denominations grew along with many new denominations which included the Mormon Church that was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith (Digital History, 2006).
Joseph Smith was born on December 23, 1805 in Sharon, Vermont and at the age of fourteen moved with his family to Manchester, New York. During this time there was an outbreak of religious renewal along with social and economic reforms. This religious eruption was witnessed in every borough throughout the United States and began with the Second Great Awakening. The renewed awareness in religious conviction developed mostly as a reaction opposing the Enlightenment, which emphasized on the belief of reason and logic for the test of truth. Joseph was affected by the religious excitement that was going on around him and at fourteen he was determined to find a religion that suited him. Joseph Smith’s vision had more than one version that change over a course of six years. In his first vision account he tells the story of venturing out into the woods early one morning to ask God to guide him to the church which he should join. He states that a pillar of light appeared and “when the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description” (Walters, 2005). On this religious journey, Smith’s account was that he was approached by God and Jesus and told not to join any of the Churches (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2011) In 1823, Joseph Smith claimed he was visited by an angel named Moroni, who spoke of ancient records containing God's dealings that were buried on a hilltop outside of Manchester, New York. In 1827, Joseph retrieved the hieroglyphics that were inscribed on thin golden plates, and began translating with the use of seer stones (Walters, 2005). Once Smith had all the plates translated he returned them to the angel, Moroni. The translation of the tablets resulted in the 600 page Book of Mormon, and was published in March 1830 (Walters, 2005).
On April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith organized The Mormon Church and became its first president. From the beginning his...

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