<March 1> At the request of Mr. , Editor, and Proprietor of the “Chicago Democrat” I have written the following sketch of the rise, progress, persecution and faith of the Latter Day Saints, of which I have the honor, under God, of being the founder. says that he wishes to furnish Mr. Bastow a friend of his, who is writing the history of New Hampshire, with this document, as Mr. Bastow has taken the proper steps to obtain correct information all that I shall ask at his hands, is, that he publish the account entire, ungarnished and without misrepresentation.
I was born in the town of Sharon Windsor County, Vermont, on the 23rd. of December A.D. 1805. when ten years old my parents removed to New York, where we resided about four years, and from thence we removed to the town of . My was a farmer and taught me the art of husbandry. When about fourteen years of age I began to reflect upon the importance of being prepared for a future state, and upon enquiring the plan of salvation I found that there was a great clash in religious sentiment; if I went to one society they referred me to one plan, and another to another; each one pointing to his own particular creed as the summum bonum of perfection: considering that all could not be right, and that God could not be the author of so much confusion I determined to investigate the subject more fully, believing that if God had a Church it would not be split up into factions, and that if he taught one society to worship one way, and administer in one set of ordinances, he would not teach another principles which were diametrically opposed.
Believing the word of God I had confidence in the declaration of James; “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it shall be given him,” I retired to a secret place in a grove and began to call upon the Lord; while fervently engaged in supplication my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a 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 were 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 millenial reign. I was informed that I was chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about [p. 1281]