704PERSONAL MANIFESTATIONS OF GOD THE ETERNAL FATHER AND OF HIS SON JESUS
CHRIST IN MODERN TIMES
704A NEW DISPENSATION
704In the year of our Lord 1820 there lived at Manchester, Ontario County, state of New York, a worthy
citizen named Joseph Smith. His household comprised his wife and their nine children. The third son and
fourth child of the family was Joseph Smith Jr., who at the time of which we speak was in his fifteenth
year. In the year specified, New York and adjacent states were swept by a wave of intense agitation in
religious matters; and unusual zeal was put forth by ministers of the numerous rival sects to win converts
to their respective folds. The boy Joseph was profoundly affected by this intense excitement, and was
particularly puzzled and troubled over the spirit of confusion and contention manifest through it all. As
our present subject has to do with him specifically, and in view of the transcendent importance of his
testimony to the world, his own account of what ensued is given herewith.
704Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived
an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became
general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed
affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no
small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, "Lo, here!" and others, "Lo, there!" Some were
contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist.
704For notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of
their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and
promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they
were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased-yet when the converts began to file off, some
to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the
converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued; priest
contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if
they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.
704I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father's family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and
four of them joined that church, namely-my mother Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and
my sister Sophronia.
704During this time of great excitement, my mind was called up to serious reflection and great