Book of Mormon History
A Short Summary of Joseph Smith and the background of the Book of Mormon
Joseph Smith was born into a large family in the early 1800s, a time when the Christian religion was split into many denominations. By the age of fourteen, he had to decide which of the Churches he wanted to join before his baptism. He felt that there was so much strife between the denominations that it was impossible for a young person to choose, so he turned to the Bible for answers, and read, "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" (James 1:5). This inspired him to pray to God for guidance on the issue.
Joseph was given a vision of both God and Jesus. His new calling was to be a prophet of God. In his visions, he was told that none of the current Churches were teaching the full truth, and he was chosen to start a new Church. He was led by God to discover an ancient record, and given the ability to translate it into English. This was the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Church of Latter Day Saints. It was first published in March 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr. as "The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi." According to Smith's account and the book's narrative, the Book of Mormon was originally written in otherwise unknown characters referred to as "reformed Egyptian," engraved on golden plates.
Joseph Smith received these plates in 1827 from an angel named Moroni. Moroni was the son of Mormon, a prophet born in 310 AD Central America. Mormon had spent his life involved with warfare. His people, called the Nephites, defended themselves against the Lamanites. In 385 AD the Lamanites defeated the Nephites in one great, last battle.
Mormon was instructed by God to make a historical account of his people in writing. His culture had many records engraved on thin gold or brass plates. He used these as a reference and engraved his own narrative of the history of God's dealings with his people on Earth.
By referring to many volumes of records, which were engraved upon thin gold or brass plates, Mormon engraved his own narrative style history of the Lord's dealings with His people in the New World. Before going to war with the Lamanites for the final battle, Mormon gave his son Moroni the plates. Moroni finished the book and became the last known survivor of the Nephite nation. The plates were finished by Mornoni and buried, where they remained until Joseph Smith was called upon to translate them into English.
Joseph Smith formally organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830.