Joseph Smith Jr. Interview with David Nye White (29 August 1843)

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…Speaking of revelations, he stated that when he was in a "quandary," he asked the Lord for a revelation, and when he could not get it, he "followed the dictates of his own judgment, which were as good as a revelation to him; but he never gave anything to his people as revelation, unless it was a revelation, and the Lord did reveal himself to him." Running on in his valluble style, he said: "The world persecutes me, it has always persecuted me. The people at Carthage, in a public meeting lately, said, 'as for Joe, he's a fool, but he's got Some smart men about him.' I'm glad they give me so much credit. It is not every fool that has sense enough to get smart men about him. The Lord does reveal himself to me. I know it. He revealed himself first to me when I was about fourteen years old, a mere boy. I will tell you about it. There was a reformation among the different religious denominations in the neighborhood where I lived, and I became serious and was desirous to know what Church to join. While thinking of this matter, I opened the Testament promiscuously on these words, in James, 'Ask of the Lord who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not [James 1:5].' I just determined I'd ask him. I immediately went out into the woods where my father had a clearing, and went to the stump where I had stuck my axe when I had quit work, and I kneeled down, and prayed, saying, '0 Lord, what Church shall I join?' Directly I saw a light, and then a glorious personage in the light, and then another personage, and first personage said to the second, "Behold my beloved Son, hear him." I then, addressed this second person, saying, "0 Lord, what Church shall I join." He replied, "don't join any of them, they are all corrupt." The vision then vanished and when I came to myself, I was sprawling on my back; and it was some time before my strength returned. When I went home and told the people that I had a revelation, and that all the churches were corrupt, they persecuted me, and they have persecuted me ever since. They thought to put me down, but they hav’nt succeeded, and they can’t do it…

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.