30 July 2012

Joseph: Winning Converts

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 2003, Excerpts

Joseph began winning converts almost immediately after he received the plates from Moroni, well before the book was printed and made public. When the Mormon Church was formally established in April 1830, it claimed some fifty members. A year later the membership exceeded one thousand, and fresh converts were arriving all the time.

But perhaps the greatest attraction of Mormonism was the promise that each follower would be granted an extraordinarily intimate relationship with God. Joseph taught and encouraged his adherents to receive personal communiqu├ęs straight form the Lord. Divine revelation formed the bedrock of the religion.

The Lord routinely issued commandments to Joseph, continually revealing sacred principles that needed to be revised or changed outright. Indeed, the notion that each Mormon prophet receives guidance from an ongoing series of revelations was, and remains, one of the religion’s crucial tenets. These revelations are compiled in a thin volume titled The Doctrine and Covenants, which in some ways has supplanted The Book of Mormon as the Latter-day Saints’ most consequential scriptural text.

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