The Mormon Faith: A Myth During the early 1800s many new religious sects were growing in the United States. Religious denominations tried to spread their unique set of beliefs. Joseph Smith found a new church based on revelation that was translated into The Book of Mormon. The work tells a story of a prophet named Lehi who sailed to North America from Palestine in 600 BC. Lehi’s sons became bitter rivals and each formed a powerful army. Their followers, the Lamanites and Nephites, named after the brothers (Laman and Nephi), prepared for battle in the area that would become New York. A Nephite named Mormon recorded, on golden tablets, stories of the battle and of earlier events. The Lamanites slaughtered many Nephites, but Mormon’s son, Moroni, survived and buried the tablets at Cumorah. Nearly 1500 years later, Joseph Smith claimed that the angel of Morone had appeared to him (Streissguth, 1995). Mormonism began when Joseph Smith attended a Christian revival in 1820 where he was encouraged to pray to God for guidance as to which church was true. In answer to his prayers he was visited by God the Father and God the Son, two separate beings, who told him to join no church because all the churches at that time were false, and that he was to bring forth the true church. This event is called the first vision (Beversluis, 1993). In 1823 Joesph Smith had another heavenly visitation, in which an angel told him of a sacred history written by ancient Hebrews in America. The history was engraved in Egyptian on gold tablets and buried in a hill. He was told the information was the history of the ancient peoples of America, and that Joseph would be the instrument for bringing this knowledge to the world. The angel gave the tablets to Joseph Smith in 1827. He then translated the Egyptian into English with the help of the spirit of God and the use of a sacred instrument accompanying the plates called the “Urim and Thummi…
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