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“Church History,” 1 March 1842

heavenly vision and saw two glorious personages who exactly resembled each other in features, and likeness, surrounded with a brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noon-day. They told me that all religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom. And I was expressly commanded to “go not after them,” at the same time receiving a promise that the fulness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me.
On the evening of the 21st of September, A. D. 1823, while I was praying unto God, and endeavoring to exercise faith in the precious promises of scripture on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a far purer and more glorious appearance, and brightness burst into the room, indeed the first sight was as though the house was filled with consuming fire; the appearance produced a shock that affected the whole body; in a moment a personage stood before me surrounded with a glory yet greater than that with which I was already surrounded. This messenger proclaimed himself to be an angel of God sent to bring the joyful tidings, that the covenant which God made with ancient Israel was at hand to be fulfilled, that the preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence; that the time was at hand for the gospel, in all its fulness to be preached in power, unto all nations that a people might be prepared for the millennial reign.
I was informed that I was chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about some of his purposes in this glorious dispensation.
I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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, and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people was made known unto me: I was also told where there was deposited some plates on which were engraven an abridgement of the records of the ancient prophets that had existed on this continent. The angel appeared to me three times the same night and unfolded the same things. After having received many visits from the angels of God unfolding the majesty, and glory of the events that should transpire in the last days, on the morning of the 22d of September A. D. 1827, the angel of the Lord delivered the records into my hands.
These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold, each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters and bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction and much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found a curious instrument which the ancients called “Urim and Thummim,” which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim of a bow fastened to a breastplate.
Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift, and power of God.
In this important and interesting book the history of ancient America is unfolded, from its first settlement by a colony that came from the tower of Babel, at the confusion of languages to the beginning of the fifth century of the Christian era. We are informed by these records that America in ancient times has been inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called Jaredites and came directly from the tower of Babel. The second race came directly from the city of Jerusalem, about six hundred years before Christ. They were principally Israelites, of the descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the time that the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in the inheritance of the country. The principal nation of the second race fell in battle towards the close of the fourth century. The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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. This book also tells us that our Saviour made his appearance upon this continent after his resurrection, that he planted the gospel here in all its fulness, and richness, and power, and blessing; that they had apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelists; the same order, the same priesthood, the [p. 707]
heavenly vision and saw two glorious  personages who exactly resembled each  other in features, and likeness, surround ed with a brilliant light which eclipsed the  sun at noon-day.4

JS identified these two personages as God the Father and Jesus Christ. (JS History, vol. A-1, 3; see also JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 3; JS, Journal, 9–11 Nov. 1835; and JS, “Latter Day Saints,” p. 405.  


They told me that all  religious denominations were believing in  incorrect doctrines, and that none of them  was acknowledged of God as his church  and kingdom. And I was expressly com manded to “go not after them,”5

See Luke 17:23.  


at the  same time receiving a promise that the  fulness of the gospel should at some future  time be made known unto me.
On the evening of the 21st of Septem ber, A. D. 1823, while I was praying  unto God, and endeavoring to exercise  faith in the precious promises of scripture  on a sudden a light like that of day, only  of a far purer and more glorious appear ance, and brightness burst into the room,  indeed the first sight was as though the  house was filled with consuming fire; the  appearance produced a shock that affected  the whole body; in a moment a personage  stood before me surrounded with a glory  yet greater than that with which I was  already surrounded.6

JS also recounted this experience in JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 4; JS, Journal, 9–11 Nov. 1835; JS History, vol. A-1, 4–7; and JS, “Latter-day Saints.” He previously identified the messenger as Moroni. ([JS], Editorial, Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 42–44.)  


This messenger  proclaimed himself to be an angel of God  sent to bring the joyful tidings, that the  covenant which God made with ancient  Israel was at hand to be fulfilled, that  the preparatory work for the second com ing of the Messiah was speedily to com mence; that the time was at hand for the  gospel, in all its fulness to be preached in  power, unto all nations that a people  might be prepared for the millennial  reign.
I was informed that I was chosen to be  an instrument in the hands of God to  bring about some of his purposes in this  glorious dispensation.
I was also informed concerning the ab original inhabitants of this country

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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, and  shown who they were, and from whence  they came; a brief sketch of their origin,  progress, civilization, laws, governments,  of their righteousness and iniquity, and  the blessings of God being finally with drawn from them as a people was made  known unto me: I was also told where  there was deposited some plates on  which were engraven an abridgement of  the records of the ancient prophets that  had existed on this continent. The an gel appeared to me three times the same  night and unfolded the same things. Af ter having received many visits from the  angels of God unfolding the majesty, and  glory of the events that should transpire  in the last days, on the morning of the  22d of September A. D. 1827, the an gel of the Lord delivered the records into  my hands.7

Much of the following account of the gold plates quotes Orson Pratt’s Interesting Account.  


These records were engraven on plates  which had the appearance of gold, each  plate was six inches wide and eight in ches long and not quite so thick as com mon tin. They were filled with engra vings, in Egyptian characters and bound  together in a volume, as the leaves of a  book with three rings running through  the whole. The volume was something  near six inches in thickness, a part of  which was sealed. The characters on  the unsealed part were small, and beau tifully engraved. The whole book exhib ited many marks of antiquity in its  construction and much skill in the art of  engraving. With the records was found  a curious instrument which the ancients  called “Urim and Thummim,” which  consisted of two transparent stones set in  the rim of a bow fastened to a breast plate.
Through the medium of the Urim and  Thummim I translated the record by the  gift, and power of God.
In this important and interesting book  the history of ancient America is unfold ed, from its first settlement by a colony  that came from the tower of Babel, at  the confusion of languages to the begin ning of the fifth century of the Christian  era. We are informed by these records  that America in ancient times has been  inhabited by two distinct races of people.  The first were called Jaredites and came  directly from the tower of Babel. The  second race came directly from the city  of Jerusalem, about six hundred years  before Christ. They were principally Is raelites, of the descendants of Joseph.  The Jaredites were destroyed about the  time that the Israelites came from Jeru salem, who succeeded them in the inheri tance of the country. The principal  nation of the second race fell in battle to wards the close of the fourth century.  The remnant are the Indians that now  inhabit this country

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

More Info
. This book also tells  us that our Saviour made his appearance  upon this continent after his resurrection,  that he planted the gospel here in all its  fulness, and richness, and power, and  blessing; that they had apostles, prophets,  pastors, teachers and evangelists; the  same order, the same priesthood, the [p. 707]
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JS, “Church History,” in Times and Seasons (Nauvoo, IL), 1 Mar. 1842, vol. 3, no. 9 (whole no. 45), pp. 706–710; edited by JS; includes typeset signature. The copy used for transcription is currently part of a bound volume held at CHL; includes later underlining.
The five-page article is the second item in this number of the Times and Seasons. The issue comprises eight leaves, making sixteen pages that measure 9 x 5¾ inches (23 x 15 cm). The text on each page is set in two columns. The copy used for transcription has apparently been in continuous church custody since its purchase in the early twentieth century.1

A previous owner’s bookplate and stamp are found on the inside front cover, as is the selling price of the volume, marked in graphite now erased. A blank flyleaf has the same previous owner’s stamp.  


Facts