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Dear Gramps,

I certainly don’t want to question the prophetic nature of Joseph Smith, but I just can’t help but wonder what would happen if we all started religions based on the stories our children tell us. How does one base their life on the stories of children? I love my kids, and I retell the stories they tell me, but I wouldn’t expect anyone else to think that my child, who said he talked to God the other day about the fact that “Tom and Jerry” is better storytelling than “The Power Rangers,” somehow had a bead on God’s preferences on kids’ shows. Wasn’t Joseph Smith providing a child’s retelling of the stories he had heard from his parents (with some embellishments)?

Dr. Curious



Dear Curious,

I think that it would be very important for you to delve into Mormon history just a bit, rather than to form opinions on such a vital subject based on what appears to me to be your own completely unsubstantiated whims.

Joseph Smith never heard from his parents one iota of what he believed and preached. They heard it from him! Here is a paragraph from Joseph Smith’s own history where he recounts his experience of the First Vision to his mother—

“When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well–I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?” (Joseph Smith-History 1:20)

What Joseph was referring to was a vision that he had received in which both God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to him to announce that he was chosen by God to restore to the earth the true and original gospel of Jesus Christ that formed the basis for the Church of Jesus Christ that He organized while on the earth. This original church, as announced by the early Apostles and recorded in the New Testament, was taken from the earth as a result of apostasy, but was to be restored in the period of the fullness of times–which is our day. The person chosen by God to affect that restoration was the prophet Joseph Smith.







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