History of Joseph Smith


Times and Seasons

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“History of Joseph Smith.” Times and Seasons (Nauvoo, Illinois) 3, no. 19 (1 August 1842):865–67.



We still continued the work of translation, when in the ensuing month, (May, eighteen hundred and twenty nine,) we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, as we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying, and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us, saying unto us, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and[865] of baptism by immersion, for the remission of sins, and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.”

He said this Aaronic priesthood had not the power of laying on of hands, for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter, and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and afterwards that he should baptize me.

Accordingly we went and were baptized, I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me, after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same priesthood, for so we were commanded.

The messenger who visited us on this occasion, and conferred this priesthood upon us said that his name was John, the same that is called John the Baptist, in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the priesthood of Melchisedeck, which priesthood he said should in due time be conferred on us—and that I should be called the first elder, and he the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, eighteen hundred and twenty nine, that we were baptized and ordained under the hand of the messenger.

Immediately upon our coming up out of the water, after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our heavenly father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery than the Holy Ghost fell upon him and he stood up and prophecied many things which should shortly come to pass: And again so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up I prophesied concerning the rise of the church, and many other things connected with the church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.

Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us, in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of. In the mean time we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of our having been baptized, and having received the priesthood; owing to a spirit of persecution which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood. We had been threatened with being mobbed, from time to time, and this too by professors of religion. And their intentions of mobbing us were only counteracted by the influence of my wife’s father’s family, (under Divine Providence,) who had becAme very friendly to me, and were opposed to mobs, and were willing that I should be allowed to continue the work of translation without interruption: And therefore offered and promised us protection from all unlawful proceedings as far as in them lay.

After a few days however, feeling it to be our duty, we commenced to reason out of the scriptures, with our acquaintances and friends, as we happened to meet with them. About this time my brother Samuel H. Smith came to visit us. We informed him of what the Lord was about to do for the children of men; and to reason with him out of the bible. We also showed him that part of the work which we had translated, and labored to persuade him concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ which was now about to be revealed in its fulness. He was not however very easily persuaded of these things, but after much enquiry & explanaion, he retired to the woods, in order that by secret and fervent prayer he might obtain of a merciful God, wisdom to enable him to judge for himself. The result was that he obtained revelations for himself sufficient to convince him of the truth of our assertions to him, and on the fifteenth day of that same month in which we had been baptized and ordained, Oliver Cowdery baptized him; and he returned to his father’s house greatly glorifying and praising God, being filled with the Holy Spirit.—Not many days afterwards my brother Hyrum Smith came to us to enquire concerning these things, when, at his earnest request, I enquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim, and received for him the following:

Revelation given to Hyrum Smith, Harmony, Susquehannah co. Penn. May, 1829

A great and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men: behold I am God and give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharp- [866] er than a two edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow: therefore, give heed unto my word.

Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore, whoso desireth to reap let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God; yea; whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God: therefore, if you will ask me you shall receive: if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.

Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion. Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich; behold he that hath eternal life is rich.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so shall it be done unto you: and, if you desire you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation. Say nothing but repentence unto this generation. Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.

Behold thou hast a gift, or thou shalt have a gift if thou wilt desire of me in faith, with an honest heart, believing in the power of Jesus Christ, or in my power which speaketh unto thee: for behold it is I that speaketh: behold I am the light that shineth in darkness, and by my power I give these words unto thee.

And now, verily, verily I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good: yea, to do justly; to walk humbly; to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.

Verily, verily I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy, and then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which is pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.

Behold I command you, that you need not suppose that you are called to preach until you are called: wait a little longer, until you shall have my word, my rock, my church, and my gospel, that you may know of a surety my doctrine; and then behold, according to your desires, yea, even according to your faith, shall it be done unto you.

Keep my commandments; hold your peace; appeal unto my Spirit: yea, cleave unto me with all your heart, that you may assist in bringing to light those things of which have been spoken: yea, the translation of my work: be patient until you shall accomplish it.

Behold this is your work, to keep my commandments: yea, with all your might, mind, and strength: seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosened: then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit, and my word: yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men: but now hold your peace; study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men: and also study my word which shall come forth among the children of men; or that which is now translating: yea, until you have obtained all which I shall grant unto the children of men in this generation; and then shall all things be added thereunto.

Behold thou art Hyrum, my son; seek the kingdom of God and all things shall be added according to that which is just. Build upon my rock, which is my gospel; deny not the spirit of revelation, nor the spirit of prophecy, for wo unto him that denieth these things: therefore, treasure up in your hearts until the time which is in my wisdom, that you shall go forth: behold I speak unto all who have good desires, and have thrust in their sickles to reap.

Behold I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the life and the light of the world: I am the same who came unto my own, and my own received me not: but verily, verily I say unto you, that as many as receiveth me, them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name. Amen.

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