Mormon History, 1844

-- During 1844
[First Vision] "When about fourteen years of age, I began to reflect upon the importance of being prepared for a future state; and upon inquiring the place of salvation, I found that there was a great clash in religious sentiment; if I went to one society they referred me to one place, and another to another; each one pointing to his 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 enrapt 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 noonday. They told me that all the 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 fullness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me.

On the evening of the 21st 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 fullness 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 informed also concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country, 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." (1)

Austin Cowles defects after exposing Church's approval of polygamy. (2)

Francis Higbee, Chauncey Higbee, cut off from the Church. Chauncey L. Higbee claimed that Joseph Smith had men killed in Missouri. (2)

Mormon Legion reportedly has nearly 3200 troops. (U.S. Army has 8500.) (2)

Nauvoo, IL population = 12,000 (2nd largest city in IL.). Joseph Smith Mayor. (2)

William Marks excommunicated by Brigham Young. (2)

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 346; Joseph Smith; April Conference, 1844.

What did Jesus say? (Mark it, Elder Rigdon) The scriptures inform us that Jesus said, As the Father hath power in Himself, even so hath the Son power--to do what? Why, what the Father did, The answer is obvious--in a manner to lay down His body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again. Do you believe it? If you do not believe it, you do not believe the Bible. (3)

The following statement was recorded by Anson Call in Nauvoo and copied by Patriarch John M. Whitaker also of Nauvoo. B. H. Roberts, Church Historian years later made a copy from Patriarch Whitaker's copy. Joseph Smith; 1840- 1844 (Nauvoo days); c. 1844.

Now regarding Adam: He came here from another planet, an immortalized Being, and brought his wife Eve with him, and by eating of the fruit of this earth, became subject to death and decay. . . was made mortal and subject to death. (3)

Joseph the Prophet became a candidate for the Presidency of the United States. Mobs gathered around Nauvoo, and during the ensuing troubles Joseph and his brother Hyrum were martyred in Carthage jail. The Twelve Apostles returned from their missions to the Eastern States and were accepted by the Saints as the presiding Council of the Church. A great number of Seventies were ordained. (4)

586 new missionaries are sent out. (5)

(Almon W. Babbitt) A member of the Council of Fifty, Babbitt was elected to the Illinois Legislature, where he argued gallantly but unsuccessfully against repeal of the Nauvoo Charter in 1845. (6)

1 - 1844 Account in "An Original History of the Religious Denominations at Present Existing in the United States," edited by Daniel Rupp
2 - Tidd, N. R., "Mormon Chronology"
3 - Quotations Dealing with the Relationship of Our First Earthy Parents to Our Heavenly Parents (1830-1978)
4 - Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology
5 - Sherry Baker: Mormon Media History Timeline: 1827-2007,
6 - Van Wagoner, Richard and Walker, Steven C., A Book of Mormons,

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