06fallcaudillcody

06fallcaudillcody - DALLAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF...

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DALLAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF CHRISTIAN FAITH JOSEPH SMITH, JR. ESSAY SUBMITTED TO DR. MATOS IN PARTIAL FUFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE COURSE WORLD RELIGIONS RELI 4301 BY CODY C CAUDILL DALLAS, TX 19 NOVEMBER 2006
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The Second Great Awakening “Joseph Smith Jr. arrived into a family of religious zealots at a time and place drenched in religious fervor, if not frenzy, with practices of divination, magic, astrology, alchemy, and mysticism commonplace occurrences.” 1 Mormonism has experienced persecution since its initial founding in the early nineteenth century until present day. Arguably, the founding of Mormonism is closed connected with the influences on Joseph Smith Jr.’s life. I. Woodbridge Riley’s Founder of Mormonism: A Psychological Study of Joseph Smith, Jr. states his belief that “Smith was more an unwitting product of his culture than a conscious deceiver.” 2 Family Background Joseph Smith Jr.’s mother, Lucy Mack Smith, grew up in New Hampshire in a strong religious family of ten. Illness and death were common elements of the day, and death took its toll on the Mack family leaving her depressed and curious if life was “worth living.” At the age of nineteen, she struggled joining a church, but conceded her battle to avoid being labeled as “worldly.” 3 One of Lucy’s older brothers, Jason, left home at an early age to become a “seeker” in order to receive the same gifts that the disciples received while they were with Christ. He became a preacher at the age of twenty, and while Lucy was in a time of seeking herself, she spent a year with her brother. It was while staying with her brother that she met Joseph Smith Sr. They married on January 24, 1796. 4 1 Robert Remini, Joseph Smith (New York: Penguin Group), 17. 2 Ronald Walker, David Whitaker, James Allen, Mormon History (Chicago: University of Illinois Press) 122. 3 Donna Hill, Joseph Smith: The First Mormon 4 Robert Remini, Joseph Smith (New York: Penguin Group), 11-12.
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Three years later, after a near death experience, she committed to serve the Lord, and she decided to be baptized. Later, she returned to the belief that no church knew the truth and therefore she used the Bible as her only guide to the Lord’s will. Lucy became deeply concerned with the salvation of her husband, Joseph Smith Sr., who refused to attend any religious meetings with her. Through a dream, Lucy was told Joseph Sr. would eventually receive the gospel. 5 One night “while contemplating the situation of the Christian religion, or the confusion and discord that were extant,” Joseph Sr. had the first of many religious dreams that excited his religious exploration which continued over an eight-year span from 1811 to 1819. This deepened his family’s beliefs that “all churches knew no more about the Kingdom of God than any layman.” 6 Although, the Smith family was at one of their most prosperous times, they were “far
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06fallcaudillcody - DALLAS BAPTIST UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF...

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