Seeking divine guidance or help is among the most fundamental of human instincts. It is how we know we’re not alone. It is how Jesus Christ’s Church was returned to His people.
God loves us and has consistently revealed light to His children. The embodiment of that light came to earth in the form of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ—whose birth had long been foretold by prophets. During His mortal life, Jesus declared His gospel, appointed Apostles, gave righteous men God’s priesthood, and directed followers in the performing of specific ordinances, such as baptism by immersion. The Savior’s atoning sacrifice fulfilled ancient promises made by God, promises that included the establishment of Christ’s Church on earth. But during the time after Christ’s Resurrection, there was considerable chaos and dissent; Apostles were martyred, and the foundational principles of Christ’s Church became diluted. As a result, the members of His Church were scattered. Left with only remnants of the original truth, each generation of earnest followers strayed further from the true teachings and doctrine of Christ’s Church until the priesthood authority was eventually lost to the world.
In the 16th century, faithful religious reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin brought considerable enlightenment to a world darkened by apostasy.
Luther proclaimed his “95 Theses,” where he outlined how Christianity had strayed. The movement spread all over Europe and created a crucial momentum of fervor for religious freedom. It became the rallying cry for pilgrims colonizing the New World, a place unique on earth for many reasons. Some 1,500 years earlier, Jesus Christ had visited people in the Americas before leaving this earth, teaching them as He did the people in the Old World. A record of His visit and the history of these faithful followers were recorded on golden plates and buried in the earth by an ancient prophet who lived on the American continent. It was here, in a land blessed with religious freedom, that Jesus Christ chose to restore His original Church.
In 1830, He did just that through Joseph Smith, a young man who was called of God to bring forth the ancient record and, through the divine gift of translation, transcribe it. This work is called the Book of Mormon. This book of scripture bears witness to the divinity and teachings of Jesus Christ. It calls us to repentance and helps us lead better and happier lives.
We have a loving Heavenly Father who answers prayers.
Our Heavenly Father answers the kinds of prayers where we earnestly petition Him for insight, wrestle with doubt, or implore Him for mercy. Sometimes when we pray, we do all of these things at once. It is through prayer that a boy named Joseph Smith came to a grove of trees in upstate New York in 1820, asking God to know which church to join. Earlier he had come across a scripture in the Bible, James 1:5: “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.” As many of us do, Joseph was seeking light, and he found it, literally. He later related, “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. 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!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17). Joseph was told that through him Jesus Christ would eventually restore His original Church, which had been lost through the apostasy of the previous millennia. Joseph was also told that in the coming years he would be called as a prophet.
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