While our backgrounds and experiences are diverse, we share a deep commitment to Jesus Christ, to each other, and our neighbors. Watch these stories of faith in the everyday lives of Mormons. You can also meet Mormons here.
Our faith influences nearly every aspect of our lives. Beyond simply believing in Jesus Christ, we try to bring His teachings to life at home, at work and in our communities. Here are a few of the cultural priorities embraced by members of the Church around the world.
We are all spiritual children of a loving
Heavenly Father who sent us to this earth to learn and grow in a mortal state. As Mormons,
we are followers of Jesus Christ. We live our lives
to serve Him and teach of His eternal plan for each of us.
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Joseph Smith: A Prophet of God
The western part of New York State in the early
1800s was known as the "Burned Over District." The fervor over religion was intense. Many
religions sent ministers seeking converts to their flock. So much so that no one, it was
supposed, was left to convert. It was a time and a place of theological turmoil.
This is the setting into which Joseph Smith,
Jr., son of Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith, was born. His large family found themselves in the
heart of this religious revival, wanting to live good lives but not sure which of the
competing churches was the right one to join. Members of Joseph's family leaned toward
different religions, but none felt certain that theirs was the true Church of
Members of the Mormon Church share their
feelings and testimonies about Joseph Smith, the Prophet.
A Seeker of Truth
As a young man of fourteen years, Joseph already
had a desire to find the truth. Like the rest of his family, he was deeply religious, and
when the time came for him to be baptized, Joseph had to decide which of the many Christian
denominations to join. After careful study, he still felt confused. He later wrote,
"So great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it
was impossible for a person young as I was [ … ] to come to any certain conclusion who was
right and who was wrong [ … ] In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I
often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they
all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know
it?" (Joseph Smith-History 1:8, 10).
Joseph turned to the Bible for guidance. He
This verse deeply impressed him. He decided to
pray about what he should do, with simple faith that God would hear and answer
A Prophet of God
In the spring of 1820, Joseph went to a grove of
trees near his home and knelt in prayer. He described his experience: "I saw a
pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended
gradually until it fell upon me [ … ] When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages,
whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them
spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is My Beloved Son.
Hear Him!" (Joseph Smith-History 1:16-17).
Watch how God restored the fulness of His gospel
to the earth through Joseph Smith, the prophet (19:15).
This vision of Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus
Christ was the beginning of Joseph Smith's calling as a prophet of God. He was told that
none of the churches on the earth had the fullness of truth. Over time, Joseph Smith was
chosen to establish Christ's Church and restore the priesthood, or the authority to act in
God's name. He was led by God to an ancient record and given the ability to translate it
into English. This record is called the Book of Mormon. He continued to pray and receive
revelation for the Church throughout his life. These revelations were compiled into a book
of scriptures referred to as the Doctrine and Covenants and shows that God still leads His
children today. Joseph Smith formally organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints on April 6, 1830.
A Leader of Jesus Christ’s Church
Sometimes, when we reach a position of
responsibility, we feel like we don't need help anymore, but Joseph Smith relied on the Lord
more and more after he was called as a prophet. He knew that his responsibility was not to
spread his own teachings, but to pass along the things God revealed to him. Most of the text
that makes up the Doctrine and Covenants is God's answers to Joseph Smith's prayers and
questions. He asked God to clarify parts of the gospel and asked for guidance about how he
should lead the Church and the growing number of Mormons. God told him to call apostles,
prophets, and other leaders to oversee the Church.
Early Mormons endured serious persecution
because of a perceived commercial, political and religious threat to their neighbors, so
Joseph and the people he called to assist him had to lead multiple Mormon migrations to
friendlier areas of the country. Despite all of the suffering they endured, early members of
the Church built temples, did missionary work, built thriving cities and some served in the
United States military as they migrated west. Years before Joseph died, the Lord directed
him to organize the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and eventually he bestowed upon them all the
keys, rights, and authority necessary to lead the Church. Following Joseph Smith’s death,
Brigham Young, then the senior Apostle on the earth succeeded him as the second prophet and
president of the Church. The prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, is the authorized successor to
Joseph Smith. He and the Church’s other Apostles trace their priesthood authority back to
Jesus Christ in an unbroken chain of ordinations through Joseph Smith.
A Devoted Husband and Father
One of the later Prophets of the Church told the
members, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." This statement came more
than a century after Joseph Smith died, but Joseph exemplified this idea all his life. Even
though Joseph was often persecuted and sometimes imprisoned on false charges, his first
thoughts were always for his family. He wrote to his wife, Emma, while he was imprisoned in
Joseph lived the doctrine he preached—that
strengthening our families should be an important focus of our lives. When his life was in
jeopardy, Joseph relied on his faith in Jesus Christ not only to sustain himself, but his
wife and children as well.
A Martyr of the Restored Gospel
We sometimes think that dying for a cause is the
purest display of devotion, but living for something is usually much
more demanding. Joseph Smith did both. He wore out his life in God's service, suffering
derision and violence for the things he believed. He did not die in public with the sympathy
of the world; he was shot by a mob while he was locked in a jail on false
He showed his devotion to God in life and in
death. It was said of him, "he lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his
people; and . . . has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood" (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3).
He did God's work until the day his life was
taken and we honor him for his faith, humility, and devotion. We are grateful for the Church
he helped establish, the scripture he translated, the revelations he received and the things
he taught that help us understand the ways of God.
The faithful way Joseph Smith did his work
during his brief life inspires us to fulfill our own responsibilities, however large or
small they may be.