- A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr., an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Ch[r]ist, the son of the living God of whom he beareth record; and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time according as the Lord brough<t> forth and established by his hand. <firstly> he receiving the testamony from on high, seccondly the ministering of Angels, thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministring of Aangels to adminster the letter of the Gospel — < — the Law and Commandments as they were given unto him — > and the ordinencs, forthly a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God: power and ordinence from on high to preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit, the Kees of the Kingdom of God confered upon him, and the continuation of the blessings of God to him &c — I was born in the town of Charon [Sharon] in the <State> of Vermont, North America, on the twenty third day of December, AD 1805, of goodly Parents who spared no pains to instruct<ing> me in <the> christian religion. at the age of about ten years my Father Joseph Smith Siegnior moved to Palmyra Ontario [now Wayne] County in the State of New York, and being in indigent circumstances, were obliged to labour hard for the support of a large Family, having nine chilldren. and as it required the exertions of all that were able to render any assistance for the support of the Family, therefore we were deprived of the bennifit of an education. suffice it to say I was mearly instructtid in reading and writing and the ground <rules> of Arithmatic, which constuted my whole literary acquirements. At about the age of twelve years my mind become seriously imprest with regard to the all importent concerns for the wellfare of my immortal Soul, which led me to searching the scriptures, believeing as I was taught that they contained the word of God. thus applying myself to them and my intimate acquaintance with those of differant denominations led me to marvel excedingly, for I discovered that <they did not adorn> instead of adorning their profession by a holy walk and Godly conversation agreeable to what I found contained in that sacred depository, this was a grief to my Soul. thus from the age of twelve years to fifteen I pondered many things in my heart concerning the sittuation of the world of mankind: the contentions and divi[si]ons, the wicke[d]ness and abominations and the darkness which pervaded the of the minds of mankind. my mind become excedingly distressed for I become convicted of my sins, and by searching the scriptures I found that mand <mankind> did not come unto the Lord, but that they had apostatised from the true and liveing faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the new testament. and I felt to mourn for my own sins and for the sins of the world, for I learned in the scriptures that God was the same yesterday to day and forever, that he was no respecter to persons, for he was God. for I looked upon the sun, the glorious luminary of the earth, and also the moon rolling in their magesty through the heavens, and also the stars shining in their courses, and the earth also upon which I stood, and the beast of the field and the fowls of heaven and the fish of the waters and also man walking forth upon the face of the earth in magesty and in the strength of beauty, whose power and intiligence in governing the things which are so exceding great and marvilous even in the likeness of him who created him <them>. and when I considired upon these things my heart exclaimed: well hath the wise man said the <it is a> fool <that> saith in his heart there is no God. my heart exclaimed all all these bear testimony and bespeak an omnipotant and omnipreasant power, a being who makith Laws and decreeeth and bindeth all things in their bounds, who filleth Eternity, who was and is and will be from all Eternity to Eternity. and when I considered all these things and that <that> being seeketh such to worship him as worship him in spirit and in truth, therefore I cried unto the Lord for mercy, for there was none else to whom I could go and to obtain mercy. and the Lord heard my cry in the wilderness, and while in <the> attitude of calling upon the Lord <in the 16th year of my age>, a piller of fire light, above the brightness of the sun at noon day, come down from above and rested upon me. and I was filled with the spirit of god and the <Lord> opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying, Joseph <my son> thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy <way>, walk in my statutes and keep my commandments. Behold, I am the Lord of glory. I was crucifyed for the world that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life. <behold>, the world lieth in sin and at this time and none doeth good, no not one. they have turned asside from the gospel and keep not <my> commandments; they draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me, and mine anger is kindling against the inhabitants of the earth to visit them acording to th[e]ir ungodliness and to bring to pass that which <hath> been spoken by the mouth of the prophets and Ap[o]stles. behold and lo, I come quickly, as it [is] written of me in the cloud, <clothed> in the glory of my Father. and my soul was filled with love, and for many days I could rejoice with great Joy, and the Lord was with me. but [I] could find none that would believe the hevnly vision; nevertheless I pondered these things in my heart.
The earliest written history by Joseph Smith Jr., written in the summer of 1832, and never prepared for publication. It is presented here without correction. Editorial marks include angle brackets < > to indicate above-the-line insertions. Square brackets [ ] indicate editorial comments.