Joseph Smith - History
1805 - 1820.
Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil disposed and designing persons in relation to the rise and progress of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, all of which have been designed by the authors thereof to militate against its character as a church and its progress in the world, I have been induced to write this history so as to disabuse the public mind and put all inquirers after truth into possession of the facts as they have transpired in relation both to myself and the Church as far as I have such facts in possession. In this history I will present the various events in relation to this Church in truth and righteousness as they have transpired, or as they at present exist, being now the eighth year since the organization of said Church .
I was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, on the twenty third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor County, state of Vermont. My father Joseph Smith Senior left the state of Vermont and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) County, in the state of New York when I was in my tenth year or thereabouts.
In about four years after my father's arrival at Palmyra, he moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario, his family consisting of eleven souls, namely, my father Joseph Smith, my mother Lucy Smith (whose name previous to her marriage was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack) my brothers Alvin (who died Nov 19 th, 1823 in the 25 year of his age) Hyrum, myself, Samuel Harrison, William, Don Carloss, and my sisters Sophronia, Catherine, and Lucy.
Sometime in the second year after 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, indeed the whole district of country seemed affected by it and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division among the people, some crying, "Lo here" and some "Lo there." Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist, for notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased. Yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real. For a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued, priest contending against priest, and convert against convert, so that all their good feelings one for another (if they ever had any) were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.
1820 - 1823.
I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father's family were proselyted to the Presbyterian faith and four of them joined that Church, namely, my mother Lucy, my brothers Hyrum, Samuel Harrison, and my sister Sophronia.
During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness, but though my feelings were deep and often pungent, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. But 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 was the confusion and strife amongst the different denominations that it was impossible for a person young as I was and so unacquainted with men and things to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong. My mind at different times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists and used all their powers of either reason or sophistry to prove their errors, or at least to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
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 are right? Or are they all wrong together? And if any one of them be right, which is it? And how shall I know it? While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse which reads, "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." Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man that this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did, for how to act I did not know and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, would never know, for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passage of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible. At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at last came to the determination to ask of God, concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally and not upbraid, I might venture. So in accordance with this my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful clear day early in the spring of Eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
After I had retired into 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 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 a 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 beloved Son. Hear him." My object in going to enquire 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." He again forbade me to join with any of them and many other thing did he say unto me which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again I found myself lying on my back looking up into Heaven.
Some few days after I had this vision I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist Preachers who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement, and conversing with him on the subject of religion I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior. He treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the Devil, that there was no such thing as visions or revelations in these days, that all such things had ceased with the apostles and that there never would be any more of them. I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion and was the cause of great persecution which continued to increase. And though I was an obscure boy only between fourteen and fifteen years of age or thereabouts, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me and create a hot persecution. And this was common among all the sects: all united to persecute me. It has often caused me serious reflection both then and since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy of a little over fourteen years of age and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day so as to create in them a spirit of the bitterest persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and was often cause of great sorrow to myself. However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had had a vision. I have thought since that I felt much like Paul when he made his defense before King Agrippa and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light and heard a voice, but still there were but few who believed him. Some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad, and he was ridiculed and reviled, but all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under Heaven could not make it otherwise. And though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew and would know to his latest breath that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise. So it was with me: I had actually seen a light and in the midst of that light I saw two personages and they did in reality speak unto me, or one of them did. And though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true. And while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart, "Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision and who am I that I can withstand God" Or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen, for I had seen a vision, I knew it, and I knew that God knew it. And I could not deny it, neither dare I do it, at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God and come under condemnation.
I had now got my mind satisfied, so far as the sectarian world was concerned, that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but continue as I was until further directed. I had found the testimony of James to be true, that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God and obtain and not be upbraided. I continued to pursue my common avocations in life until the twenty first of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hand of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious, because I continued to affirm that I had seen a vision. During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year Eighteen hundred and twenty three, (having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly and if they supposed me to be deluded, to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me) I was left to all kinds of temptations, and mingling with society I frequently fell into many foolish errors and displayed the weakness of youth and the foibles of human nature which I am sorry to say led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In consequence of these things I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections. When on the evening of the above mentioned twenty first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me that I might know of my state and standing before him. For I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation as I had previously had one.
While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in the room which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday When immediately a personage appeared at my bedside standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor. He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen, nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked and his arms also a little above the wrists. So also were his feet naked as were his legs a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe as it was open so that I could see into his bosom. Not only was his robe exceedingly white but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him I was afraid, but the fear soon left me. He called me by name and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me and that his name was Nephi, that God had a work for me to do, and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations kindreds and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people. He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fullness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants. Also that there were two stones in silver bows-and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim & Thummim-deposited with the plates, and the possession and use of these stones was what constituted seers in ancient or former times and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book. After telling me these things he commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as reads in our books he quoted it thus, "For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble, for the day that cometh shall burn them, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." And again he quoted the fifth verse thus, "Behold I will reveal unto you the Priesthood by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." He also quoted the next verse differently, "And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers; if it were not so the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming." In addition to these he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty second and twenty third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ, but the day had not yet come when "they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people," but soon would come. He also quoted the second chapter of Joel from the twenty eighth to the last verse. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled but was soon to be. And he further stated the fullness of the gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of scripture and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here. Again he told me that when I got those plates of which he had spoken (for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled) I should not show them to any person, neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim, only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them, if I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.
After this communication I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark except just round him, when instantly I saw as it were a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended up till he entirely disappeared and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.
I lay musing on the singularity of the scene and marveling greatly at what had been told me by this extraordinary messenger, when in the midst of my meditation I suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant as it were the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside. He commenced and again related the very same things which he had done at his first visit without the least variation, which having done, he informed me of great judgements which were coming upon the earth with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence, and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation. Having related these things he again ascended as he had done before.
By this time so deep were the impressions made on my mind that sleep had fled from my eyes and I lay overwhelmed in astonishment at what I had both seen and heard. But what was my surprise when again I beheld the same messenger at my bedside, and heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before and added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt me (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father's family) to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich. This he forbid me, saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive but that of building his kingdom, otherwise I could not get them. After this third visit he again ascended up into heaven as before and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced, when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me the third time, the cock crew, and I found that day was approaching so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night. I shortly after arose from my bed, and as usual went to the necessary labors of the day, but in attempting to labor as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as rendered me entirely unable. My father who was laboring along with me discovered something to be wrong with me and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house, but in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were my strength entirely failed me and I fell helpless on the ground and for a time was quite unconscious of anything. The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name. I looked up and beheld the same messenger standing over my head surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night and commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received.
I obeyed. I returned back to my father in the field and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God and to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited, and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there. Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario County, New York, stands a hill of considerable size and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood, On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates deposited in a stone box, This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all round was covered with earth. Having removed the earth and obtained a lever which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up, I looked in and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the Breastplate as stated by the messenger. The box in which they lay was formed by laying stones together in some kind of cement; in the bottom of the box were laid two stones crossways of the box, and on these stones lay the plates and the other things with them. I made an attempt to take them out, but was forbidden by the messenger and was again informed that the time for bringing them forth had not yet arrived, neither would until four years from that time. But he told me that I should come to that place precisely in one year from that time and that he would there meet with me, and that I should continue to do so until the time should come for obtaining the plates. Accordingly as I had been commanded, I went at the end of each year and at each time I found the same messenger there and received instruction and intelligence from him at each of our interviews respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days. As my father's worldly circumstances were very limited we were under the necessity of laboring with our hands, hiring by days works and otherwise as we could get opportunity. Sometimes we were at home and sometimes abroad and by continued labor were enabled to get a comfortable maintenance.
1823 - 1827.
In the year Eighteen hundred and twenty four my father's family met with a great affliction by the death of my eldest brother Alvin. In the month of October, Eighteen hundred and twenty five I hired with an old gentleman by name of Josiah Stoal who lived in Chenango County, state of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquehanna County, state of Pennsylvania, and had, previous to my hiring with him, been digging in order if possible to discover the mine. After I went to live with him he took me among the rest of his hands to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money digger.
During the time that I was thus employed I was put to board with a Mr Isaac Hale of that place. 'Twas there that I first saw my wife, (his daughter) Emma Hale. On the Eighteenth of January, Eighteen hundred and twenty seven we were married while yet I was employed in the service of Mr Stoal. Owing to my still continuing to assert that I had seen a vision, persecution still followed me and my wife's father's family were very much opposed to our being married. I was therefore under the necessity of taking her elsewhere, so we went and were married at the house of Squire Tarbill in South Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York. Immediately after my marriage I left Mr Stoal's, and went to my father's and farmed with him that season.
At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim and the breastplate. On the twenty second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty seven, having went as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge: that I should be responsible for them. That if I should let them go carelessly or through any neglect of mine I should be cut off, but that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them until he (the messenger) should call for them, they should be protected.
I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them. For no sooner was it known that I had them than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me if possible, but by the wisdom of God they remained safe in my hands until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When according to arrangement the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight.
September 1827 - February 1828.
The excitement however still continued, and rumor with her thousand tongues was all the time employed in circulating tales about my father's family and about myself. If I were to relate a thousandth part of them it would fill up volumes. The persecution however became so intolerable that I was under the necessity of leaving Manchester and going with my wife to Susquehanna County in the state of Pennsylvania. While preparing to start (being very poor and the persecution so heavy upon us that there was no probability that we would ever be otherwise) in the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a gentleman by the name of Martin Harris, who came to us and gave me fifty dollars to assist us in our affliction, Mr Harris was a resident of Palmyra township, Wayne County, in the state of New York and a farmer of respectability. By this timely aid was I enabled to reach the place of my destination in Pennsylvania, and immediately after my arrival there I commenced copying the characters of the plates. I copied a considerable number of them and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them, which I did between the time I arrived at the house of my wife's father in the month of December, and the February following. Sometime in this month of February the aforementioned Mr Martin Harris came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off the plates and started with them to the City of New York. For what took place relative to him and the characters I refer to his own account of the circumstances as he related them to me after his return which was as follows. "I went to the City of New York and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian.
I then shewed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldean, Assyrian, and Arabic, and he said that they were true characters. He gave me a certificate certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct.
I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house when Mr Anthon called me back and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. He then said to me, Let me see that certificate. I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him, he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed and that I was forbidden to bring them; he replied, "I cannot read a sealed book". I left him and went to Dr Mitchel who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.
April - June 1828.
Mr Harris having returned from this tour, he left me and went home to Palmyra, arranged his affairs, and returned again to my house about the twelfth of April, Eighteen hundred and twenty eight, and commenced writing for me while I translated from the plates, which we continued until the fourteenth of June following, by which time he had written one hundred and sixteen pages of manuscript on foolscap paper. Sometime after Mr Harris had begun to write for me, he began to tease me to give him liberty to carry the writings home and shew them, and desired of me that I would enquire of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim if he might not do so. I did enquire, and the answer was that he must not. However he was not satisfied with this answer, and desired that I should enquire again. I did so, and the answer was as before. Still he could not be contented, but insisted that I should enquire once more. After much solicitation I again enquired of the Lord and permission was granted him to have the writings on certain conditions, which were that he shew them only to his brother Preserved Harris, his own wife, his father, and his mother, and a Mrs Cobb, a sister to his wife. In accordance with this last answer I required of him that he should bind himself in a covenant to me in the most solemn manner that he would not do otherwise than had been directed. He did so. He bound himself as I required of him, took the writings and went his way.
Notwithstanding however the great restrictions which he had been laid under, and the solemnity of the covenant which he had made with me, he did shew them to others and by stratagem they got them away from him, and they never have been recovered nor obtained back again until this day. In the meantime, while Martin Harris was gone with the writings, I went to visit my father's family at Manchester. I continued there for a short season and then returned to my place in Pennsylvania. Immediately after my return home I was walking out a little distance, when behold, the former heavenly messenger appeared and handed to me the Urim and Thummim again (for it had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting Martin Harris take the writings which he lost by transgression) and I enquired of the Lord through them and obtained the following revelation:.
Revelation to Joseph Smith Jr, given July 1828 [D&C 98] concerning certain manuscripts on the first part of the Book of Mormon which had been taken from the possession of Martin Harris.
The works and designs and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated; neither can they come to ground. For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.
Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the works of men; for although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boast in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his will and carnal desires, he must fall to the earth and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him.
Behold you have been entrusted with those things, but strict was your commandment; and remember also the promises which were made to you if you transgressed them. And behold, how oft you have transgressed the Laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men. For, behold, you should not have feared men more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words, yet you should have been faithful and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.
Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression thou mayest fall; but, remember, God is merciful; therefore repent of that which thou hast done and he will only cause thee to be afflicted for a season and thou art still chosen and will again be called to the work; and except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as other men, and have no more gift.
And when thou deliveredst up that which God had given the right to translate, thou deliveredst up that which was sacred into the hands of a wicked man, who has set at naught the counsels of God, and hath broken the most sacred promises which was made before God, and hath depended upon his own judgment and boasted in his own wisdom. And this is the reason that thou hast lost thy Privileges for a Season for thou hast suffered that the council of thy directors to be trampled upon from the beginning.
For as the knowledge of a Savior hath come to the world, so shall the knowledge of my people the Nephites and the Jacobites and the Josephites and the Lamanites come to the knowledge of the Lamanites. And the Lamanites and the Ishmaelites which dwindled in unbelief because of the iniquities of their fathers, who hath been suffered to destroy their brethren because of their iniquities and their abominations; and for this very purpose are these plates prepared which contain these records, that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled which he made to his people; and that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they may know the promises of the Lord, that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and that they might be glorified through faith in his name, and that they might repent and be saved. Amen.
After I had obtained the above revelation, both the plates and the Urim and Thummim were taken from me again, but in a few days they were returned to me.
Revelation given to Joseph Smith Jr, May 1829 [D&C 4] informing him of the alteration of the manuscript of the forepart of the Book of Mormon. When I enquired of the Lord and the Lord said thus unto me: Now, behold I say unto you, that because you delivered up those writings which you had power given unto you to translate, by the means of the Urim and Thummim, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them; and you also lost your gift at the same time, and your mind became darkened; nevertheless, it is now restored unto you again, therefore see that you are faithful and continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun: do not run faster, or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end: pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan, that do uphold his work. Behold, they have sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted, has sought to destroy you. And for this cause I said, that he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been entrusted; and he has also sought to destroy your gift, and because you have delivered the writings into his hands, behold wicked men have taken them from you: therefore, you have delivered them up; yea, that which was sacred unto wickedness. And behold Satan has put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands; and behold I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written; and on this wise the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work; for he has put it into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate.
Verily I say unto you, that I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing, for behold he has put it into their hearts to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God, in asking to translate it over again; and then behold they say and think in their hearts, we will see if God has given him power to translate, if so, he will also give him power again; and if God giveth him power again, or if he translate again, or in other words, if he bringeth forth the same words, behold we have the same with us, and we have altered them: therefore, they will not agree, and we will say that he has lied in his words, and that he has no gift, and that he has no power: therefore, we will destroy him, and also the work, and we will do this that we may not be ashamed in the end, and that we may get glory of the world.
Verily, verily I say unto you, that Satan has great hold upon their hearts; he stirreth them up to iniquity against that which is good, and their hearts are corrupt, and full of wickedness and abominations, and they love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil: therefore they will not ask of me. Satan stirreth them up, that he may lead their souls to destruction. And thus he has laid a cunning plan, thinking to destroy the work of God, but I will require this at their hands, and it shall turn to their shame and condemnation in the day of judgment; yea, he stirreth up their hearts to anger against this work; yea, he saith unto them, Deceive and lie in wait to catch, that ye may destroy: behold this is no harm, and thus he flattereth them and telleth them that it is no sin to lie, that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may destroy him, and thus he flattereth them, and leadeth them along until he draggeth their souls down to hell; and thus he causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare; and thus he goeth up and down, to and fro in the earth, seeking to destroy the souls of men.
Verily, verily I say unto you, wo be unto him that lieth to deceive, because he supposes that another lieth to deceive, for such are not exempt from the justice of God.
Now, behold they have altered those words, because Satan saith unto them, He hath deceived you: and thus he flattereth them away to do iniquity, to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God.
Behold I say unto you, that you shall not translate again those words which have gone forth out of your hands; for behold they shall not accomplish their evil designs in lying against those words. For, behold, if you should bring forth the same words they will say that you have lied; that you have pretended to translate, but that you have contradicted yourself: and behold they will publish this, and Satan will harden the hearts of the people to stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe my words. Thus, Satan thinketh to overpower your testimony in this generation, that the work may not come forth in this generation: but behold here is wisdom, and because I show unto you wisdom, and give you commandments concerning these things, what you shall do, show it not unto the world until you have accomplished the work of translation.
Marvel not that I said unto you, here is wisdom, show it not unto the world, for I said, show it not unto the world, that you may be preserved. Behold I do not say that you shall not show it unto the righteous; but as you cannot always judge the righteous, or as you cannot always tell the wicked from the righteous: therefore, I say unto you, hold your peace until I shall see fit to make all things known unto the world concerning the matter.
And now, verily I say unto you, that an account of those things that you have written, which have gone out of your hands, are engraven upon the plates of Nephi: yea and you remember, it was said in those writings, that a more particular account was given of these things upon the plates of Nephi. And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates of Nephi, is more particular concerning the things, which in my wisdom I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this account: therefore, you shall translate the engravings which are on the plates of Nephi, down even till you come to the reign of king Benjamin, or until you come to that which you have translated, which you have retained; and behold, you shall publish it as the record of Nephi, and thus I will confound those which have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
Behold they have only got a part, or an abridgement of the account of Nephi. Behold there are many things engraven on the plates of Nephi, which do throw greater views upon my gospel: therefore, it is wisdom in me, that ye should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work. And behold, all the remainder of this work doth contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples desired in their prayers, should come forth unto this people. And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers; yea, and this is their faith, that my gospel which I give unto them, that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and also all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions.
Now this is not all, but their faith in their prayers where were that this gospel should be made known also, if it were possible that other nations should possess the land; and thus they did leave a blessing upon this land in their prayers, that whosoever should believe in this gospel, in this land, might have eternal life; yea, that it might be free unto all of whatsoever nation, kindred, tongue, or people they may be.
And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers, will I bring this part of my gospel to the knowledge of my people. Behold, I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up.
And for this cause have I said, if this generation harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them. Now I do not say this to destroy my church, but I say this to build up my church: therefore, whosoever belongeth to my church need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven: but it is they which do not fear me, neither keep my commandments, but buildeth up churches unto themselves, to get gain; yea, and all those that do wickedly, and buildeth up the kingdom of the devil; yea, verily,, verily I say unto you, it is they that I will disturb, and cause to tremble and shake to the center.
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I came unto my own and my own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not. I am he which said other sheep have I which are not of this fold unto my disciples, and many there were which understood me not.
And I will shew unto this people, that I had other sheep, and that they were a branch of the house of Jacob; and I will bring to light these marvelous works, which they did in my name; yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel, which was ministered unto them, and behold they shall not deny that which ye have received, but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine; yea, and the only doctrine which is in me; and this I do, that I establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention. Yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do arrest the scriptures, and do not understand them; therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery, for behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts, yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely.
Behold this is my doctrine: whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less then this is not of me, but is against me; therefore, he is not of my church.
Now, behold, whosoever is of my church and endureth in my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.
And now, remember the words of who has the life and the light of the world, your redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen.
I did not, however, go immediately to translating, but went to laboring with my hands upon a small farm which I had purchased of my wife's father in order to provide for my family. In the month of February, Eighteen hundred and twenty nine my father came to visit us at which time I received the following revelation for him:
Revelation to Joseph Smith Senr given February 1829 [D&C 99].
Now, behold, a marvelous work is about to come among the children of men, therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day: therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work. For behold the field is white already to harvest, and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perish not, but bringeth salvation to his soul, and faith, hope, charity, and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, constitutes him for the work.
Remember temperance, patience, humility, diligence etc. Ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.
The following I applied for at the request of the aforementioned Martin Harris and obtained:
Revelation given March, 1829 [D&C 2].
Behold I say unto you, that my servant Martin Harris hath desired a witness, that my Servant Joseph hath got the things which he hath testified that he hath got; and now behold thus shall ye say unto him, I the Lord am God, I have given these things unto him, and I have commanded him that he should stand as a witness of these things, nevertheless I have caused him that he should enter into a covenant with me that he should not show them except I command him; and he hath no power over them except I grant it unto him. And he hath a gift to translate the book, and I have commanded him that he should shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant unto him no other gift. And verily I say unto you, that wo shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words; for behold if they will not believe my words, they would not believe my servants if it were possible he could show them all things, o ye unbelieving, ye stiffnecked generation. Behold I have reserved the things which have been spoken of, which I have entrusted to my servant for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations; but for this generation, they shall have my word, yea, and the testimony of three of my servants shall go forth with my word unto this generation, yea, three shall know of a surety that those things are true; for I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are; and to none else will I grant this power, among this generation, and the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth and my word and; behold whosoever believeth in my word, him will I visit with the manifestations of my spirit, and they shall be born of me, and their testimony shall also go forth; and thus if the people of this generation harden not their hearts I will work a reformation among them, and I will put down all lyings, and deceivings, and priestcraft, and envyings, and strifes, and idolatries, and sorceries, and all manner of iniquities, and I will establish my church, yea, even the church which was taught by my disciples. And now if this generation do harden their hearts against my words, behold I deliver them up unto Satan; for he reigneth and hath much power at this time; for he that hath got great hold upon the hearts of the people of this generation, and how far from the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah do they come at this time. And behold, the sword of justice doth hang above their heads, and if they persist in the hardness of their hearts the time cometh that it must fall upon them. Behold, I tell you these things even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem, and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.
And now I command my servant Joseph, that he repenteth and walketh more uprightly before me, and yield to the persuasions of men no more; and that he be firm in keeping the commandments which I have commanded him, and if he do this, behold I grant unto him eternal life even, if he should be slain.
And now I speak again, concerning the man that desireth the witness: behold I say unto him if he exalteth himself and doth not humble himself sufficiently before me, I will grant unto him no such views, but if he will go out and bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desireth to view. Then shall he say unto the people of this generation, behold I have seen the things and I know of a surety that they are true, for I have seen them; and they have been shone unto me by the power of god. And I command him that he say no more except, I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by the power of God. And these are the words which he shall say. But if he deny this he shall break the covenant which he hath covenanted with me, and behold he is condemned. And now except he humble himself and acknowledge unto me the things which he hath done that is wrong, and covenant with me that he will keep my commandments, and exercise faith in me, behold, I say unto him, he shall have no such views; for I will grant unto him no such views of which I have spoken. And if this be the case, I command him that he shall do no more, nor trouble me no more concerning this matter.
And if this be the case, behold I say unto you Joseph, when thou hast translated a few more pages and then shalt thou stop for a season, even until I command thee again. Then thou mayest translate. And except thou do this, behold thou shalt have no more gift, and I will take away the things which I have entrusted with thee. And now because I foresee the lying in wait to destroy thee; yea, I foresee that if my servant humbled not himself, and receive a witness from my hand, that he will fall into transgression; and there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee off the face of the earth; and for this cause that thy days may be prolonged, I have given unto you these commandments; yea, for this cause have I said, stop and stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing I have commanded thee; and if thou art faithful in keeping my commandments, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.
On the fifth day of April, Eighteen hundred and twenty nine Oliver Cowdery came to my house, until when I had never seen him. He stated to me that having been teaching school in the neighborhood where my father resided, and my father being one of those who sent to the school, he had went to board for a season at my father's house. And while there the family related to him the circumstance of my having received the plates, and accordingly he had come to make enquiries of me.
Two days after the arrival of Mr Cowdery (being the seventh of April) I commenced to translate the Book of Mormon and he commenced to write for me, which having continued for some time I enquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim and obtained the following revelation.
Revelation given April 1829, to Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith Jr [D&C 100].
A great and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men: behold I am God, and give heed unto my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow: - Therefore give heed unto my words.
Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God: Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God; therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you. Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion: seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold he that hath eternal life is rich.
Verily, verily I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so shall it be unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation. Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.
Behold thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is sacred and cometh from above; and if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous: therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, that thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, convince them of the error of their ways. Make not thy gift known unto any, save it be those which are of thy faith. - Trifle not with sacred things. If thou wilt do good, yea and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.
Verily, verily I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done, for thou hast inquired of me, and behold as often as thou hast inquired, thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
Behold thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me, and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things, that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth; yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God, that knowest thy thoughts and the in tents of thy heart: I tell thee these things as a witness unto thee, that the words or the work which thou hast been writing is true:
Therefore be diligent, stand by my servant Joseph faithfully in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be, for the word's sake. Admonish him in his faults and also receive admonition of him. Be patient; be sober; be temperate; have patience, faith, hope and charity.
Behold thou art Oliver, and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires, therefore, treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.
Behold I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto my own and my own received me not. I am the light, which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not. Verily, verily I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things; did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? - What greater witness can you have than from God? And now behold, you have received a witness, for if I have told you things which no man knoweth, have you not received a witness? And behold I grant unto you a gift if you desire of me, to translate even as my servant Joseph.
Verily, verily I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people; and now I command you, that if you have good desires, a desire to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven, then shall you assist in bringing to light, with your gift, those parts of my scriptures which have been hidden because of iniquity.
And now behold I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph, the keys of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry; and in the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall every word be established.
Verily, verily I say unto you, if they reject my words, and this part of my gospel and ministry, blessed are ye, for they can do no more unto you than unto me; and if they do unto you, even as they have done unto me, blessed are ye, for you shall dwell with me in glory: but if they reject not my words, which shall be established by the testimony which shall be given, blessed are they; and then shall ye have joy in the fruit of your labors.
Verily, verily I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold there will I be in the midst of them: even so am I in the midst of you. Fear not to do good my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap: therefore, if ye sow good, ye shall also reap good for your reward:
Therefore fear not little flock, do good, let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built up on my Rock, they cannot prevail. Behold I do not condemn you, go your ways and sin no more: per form with soberness the work which I have commanded you: look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not: behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet: be faithful; keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven: Amen.
After we had received this revelation he (Oliver Cowdery) stated to me that after he had gone to my father's to board, and after the family communicated to him concerning my having got the plates, that one night after he had retired to bed he called upon the Lord to know if these things were so and that the Lord had manifested to him that they were true, but that he had kept the circumstance entirely secret and had mentioned it to no being, so that after this revelation having been given, he knew that the work was true because that no being living knew of the thing alluded to in the revelation but God and himself.
During the month of April I continued to translate and he to write with little cessation, during which time we received several revelations. A difference of opinion arising between us about the account of John the Apostle, mentioned in the New Testament, John, twenty first chapter and twenty second verse, whether he died, or whether he continued. We mutually agreed to settle it by the Urim and Thummim and the following is the word which we received:
A Revelation given to Joseph Smith Jr and Oliver Cowdery in Harmony Pennsylvania, April 1829, when they desired to know whether John, the beloved disciple, tarried on earth. Translated from parchment, written and hid up by himself.
And the Lord said unto me, John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if (shall) you ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you. And I said unto him, Lord, give unto me power over death that I may bring souls unto thee. And the Lord said unto me, verily, verily I say unto thee because thou desiredst this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory.
And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desiredst of me that he might bring souls unto me; but thou desiredst that thou might speedily come unto me in my kingdom. I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire, but my beloved has desired, that he might do more, or a greater work, yet among men than what he has before done; yea he has undertaken a greater work; therefore, I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel: he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth; and I will make thee to minister for him and for thy brother James: and unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come.
Verily I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both joy in that which you have desired.
Whilst continuing the work of translation during the month of April; Oliver Cowdery became exceedingly anxious to have the power to translate bestowed upon him and in relation to this desire the following revelations were obtained:
Revelation given April 1829 [D&C 101].
Oliver, verily, verily, I say unto you, that assuredly as the Lord liveth, which is your God and your Redeemer, even so sure shall ye receive a knowledge of whatsoever things ye shall ask with an honest heart, believing that ye shall receive a knowledge concerning the engravings of old records, which are ancient, which contain those parts of my scriptures of which hath been spoken, by the manifestation of my Spirit; yea, behold I will tell you in your mind and in your heart by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
Now, behold this is the Spirit of revelation: behold this is the Spirit by which Moses brought the children of Israel through the Red Sea on dry ground: therefore this is thy gift; apply unto it and blessed art thou, for it shall deliver you out of the hands of your enemies, when, if it were not so, they would slay thee and bring thy soul to destruction.
O remember these words, and keep my commandments. - Remember this is thy gift. Now this is not all; for thou hast another gift, which is the gift of working with the sprout; behold it hath told you things: behold there is no other power save God that can cause this thing of nature to work in your hands for it is the work of God and therefore whatsoever ye shall ask to tell you by that means that will he grant unto you that ye shall know. Remember that without faith ye can do nothing. Trifle not with these things: do not ask for that which ye had not ought: ask that ye may know the mysteries of God, and that ye may translate all those ancient records which have been hid up, which are sacred, and according to your faith shall it be done unto you. Behold, it is I that have spoken it: and I am the same which spake unto you from the beginning. Amen.
Revelation given to Oliver Cowdery, April 1829 [D&C 102].
Behold I say unto you, my son, that because ye did not according to that which ye desired of me, and did commence again to write for my servant Joseph, even so I would that ye should continue until ye have finished this record, which I have entrusted unto you; and then behold other records have I, that I will give unto you power that ye may assist to translate.
Be patient my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that ye should translate at this time. behold this is the work which ye are called to do, is to write for my servant; and behold it is because that ye did not continue as ye commenced, when ye commenced to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not murmur my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.
Behold ye have not understood, ye have supposed that I would give it unto you, when ye took no thought save it was to ask me; but behold I say unto you that ye must study it out in your mind; then ye must ask me if it be right; and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, ye shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right, ye shall have no such feelings, but ye shall have stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, ye cannot write that which is sacred save it be given unto you from me.
Now if you had known this, you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now. Behold it was expedient when you commenced, but you feared and the time is past, and it is not expedient now: for, do you not behold that I have given unto my servant Joseph sufficient strength, whereby it is made up? And neither of you have I condemned.
Do this thing, which I have commanded you, and you shall prosper. Be faithful, and yield to no temptation. Stand fast in the work wherewith I have called you, and a hair of your head shall not be lost, and you shall be lifted up at the last day. Amen.
We still continued the work of translation, when in the ensuing month (May, Eighteen hundred and twenty nine) we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and enquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins as we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying unto us, "Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness." He said this Aaronic priesthood had not the power of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and afterward that he should baptize me. Accordingly, we went and were baptized. I baptized him first and afterwards he baptized me, after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic priesthood, and afterward he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same priesthood, for so we were commanded.
The messenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this priesthood upon us said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James, and John, who held the keys of the priesthood of Melchizedek, which priesthood he said should in due time be conferred on us. And that I should be called the first Elder of the Church and he the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, Eighteen hundred and twenty nine that we were baptized and ordained under the hand of the messenger. Immediately upon our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery than the Holy Ghost fell upon him and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy; when standing up I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.
Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously nor ever before had thought of. In the meantime we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of our having been baptized and having received this priesthood, owing to a spirit of persecution which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood. We had been threatened with being mobbed from time to time, and this too by professors of religion, and their intentions of mobbing us were only counteracted by the influence of my wife's father's family (under Divine Providence) who had became very friendly to me and were opposed to mobs and were willing that I should be allowed to continue the work of translation without interruption, and therefore offered and promised us protection from all unlawful proceedings as far as in them lay.