In 1820, a young boy was confused about religion. His whole town was in a religious revival, and different preachers were pulling him all sorts of directions. As a 14-year-old, the young Joseph had been taught Christianity by his parents growing up, but was concerned at how often the different sects completely contradicted each other. He just really wanted to know what God actually expected of him.
One day, he was reading the Bible, and found James' testimony of personal revelation. It is interesting, because I bet when James was writing his epistle to a Christian church that at the time was almost entirely still Jewish, he had no idea what his words, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God" would inspire. But, Joseph, at that time, doubted that any scripture had ever had so powerful effect on any person in history. He knew that wisdom was exactly what he lacked, and suddenly came to the realization that the only way he could gain that wisdom was by asking God.
So, on a nice Spring morning, he went out into the woods behind his family's farm. Apparently he'd been thinking this all through, because he went to a spot he'd "previously designed to go." He'd never before prayed aloud, and was clearly taking it very seriously. When her arrived at his decided private location, he knelt down and started explaining his concerns and worries with his Father.
At first, the Adversary of all truth and light constrained him. Nevertheless, Joseph persevered, calling upon his Lord. At that moment, he saw a pillar of light above him in the air. This light descended from the heavens, illuminating the woods around him. As he gazed into the light, he saw two separate beings, "whose brightness and glory defied all description." God the Father called out to Joseph, and introduced His Son, Jesus Christ.
Joseph entered the grove confused about the path that he should take in his pathway to eternity, clearly concerned the path that he was on would not cut it. Christ answered this concern promptly, saying "Joseph, thy sins are forgiven thee." Essentially telling him that all his past was behind him, so long as he would adhere to the counsel he was about to receive. This counsel would change the world forever.
The Savior explained that, at Joseph's time, no church was accepted of God, for all had lost their way. Doctrines and ordinances, and even scriptures, had been twisted and manipulated to fit better with man's philosophies. Even those sects who earnestly sought to interpret God's word as He would have them do were unable, as they were without the authority of the priesthood. This being the case, Joseph was commanded to join none of the churches. Instead, he was to open up a new dispensation as a prophet of God, being the Abraham, Noah, or Moses of his age. Just as Jesus didn't reform the distorted religion of the Pharisees, Joseph was not to reform any existing church, but to restore the Church of Jesus Christ back to the Earth.
Because of this prayer and this prophetic calling, we know why we are on the Earth in mortality.
Because of this prayer, we know what we need to do in order to return with our Heavenly Father, and we know that we are returning, reuniting.
Because of this prayer, we know that amid all the strife and struggles in the world, God is fully aware of each of us as individuals.
Because of this prayer, we know that God truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Because of this prayer, we know that God is truly the God of the world, and not just of a region.
Because of this prayer, we know that God hears and answers prayers, and that He knows us by name.
Basically, because of this one prayer, the works of God are again rolling forward. We can once again be on a path pleasing to Him. We can be with our families forever. We can always look forward with hope, and some amount of clarity. Isn't it just great?
'Twas a great week!
I love you, but I don't miss you!