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June 13th, 2011
02:45 PM ET

The Book of Mormon wins big at Tony Awards

The stars of Broadway talk about performing on stage in front of live audiences day in and day out.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Mormonism • Theater

soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. shopping adult

    It is truly a nice and useful piece of information. I am glad that you simply shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

    June 13, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  2. aqa

    I recommend an ebook which changed my life , the way of thinking about death, suffering , .... the story of a girl and her father , lovestory , their wonderful relationship, death and spiritual moments in a life of the author , I bought it in kindle amazon : MY DAD MY FIRST LOVE by anna piekarczyk .... really bestseller

    October 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  3. Chris

    What a great show. The biggest disapointment was trying to find The Book of Mormon Tickets at a good price. They were not cheap The Book of Mormon Tickets but I did find them at Amazon Tickets Online

    October 9, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  4. Sanjiv

    Check out Secrets & Wives: The Hidden World of Mormon Polygamy

    http://bit.ly/hqzdR0

    July 3, 2011 at 4:28 am |
  5. RickFromMichigan

    To Not mormon-Fire back, I'm waiting to hear about these in incredibly sacred teachings known only by mormons,but please be more careful with your spelling.

    June 17, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  6. The Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Only True Church on Earth.

    Nothing more and nothing less!!!!

    June 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
  7. Limeberry

    Can you imagine if a musical like this were written about the Koran? Or the Torah? There would be a HUGE outcry. But no...Mormons are one of the only cultural groups left that are fair game to mock to no end. What happened to freedom of religion?

    For the record, I'm not Mormon. Just a humanist who believes in equal rights and respect for all people.

    June 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  8. Reality

    o http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

    o Religion Adherents

    Christianity 2.1 billion

    Islam 1.5 billion

    Irreligious/agnostic/atheism 1.1 billion

    Hinduism 900 million

    Chinese traditional religion 394 million

    Buddhism 376 million

    Animist religions 300 million

    African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million

    Sikhism 23 million

    Juche 19 million

    Spiritism 15 million

    Judaism 14 million

    (Mormons 13 million)

    Baha'i 7 million

    Jainism 4.2 million

    Shinto 4 million

    Cao Dai 4 million

    Zoroastrianism 2.6 million

    Tenrikyo 2 million

    Neo-Paganism 1 million

    Unitarian Universalism 800,000

    Rastafari Movement 600,000
    ==========================================================================================

    June 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • fred

      Reality,
      Thank you for the Reality check.......so Atheism is a religion. You beleive in the nothingness, upon death there comes a void. For in the beginning God looked upon the dark empty void and said let there be light. You say there is no light upon death to which God said the darkness did not comprehend the light. The good news is that if you wish the light at any time you need only ask with all your heart and it will ge given to you.

      June 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  9. Marie Kidman

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=360]

    June 14, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  10. RickFromMichigan

    Mormonism is a seperate religon not at all connected to Christianity.The Bible states near the end of Revelations,"He who adds to ,or takes away any part of this book will suffer the plagues described herein.The Mormones having two Bibles definately puts them in this category.It is a cult with shining teeth,like the Osmond family,very deceptive,drawing you in with their clean cut image and then teaching you some of the most bizarre beliefs in the world.To address the atheists,they will and have, found out at death of the human body, what God truly said is very,very true.

    June 14, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Not Mormon

      What ingnorice you display!!! I had a long reply explaining the religion (because I am friends with many Mormons) but your not worth it!

      June 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Not Mormon

      Ignorance LOL

      June 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Rodger

      There are a couple books in the new testament that were written after Revelations. Should those books be discounted too?

      June 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  11. FairGarden

    Mormon has no salvation. The faith in the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone saves human souls. The Bible must be read in whole. Citing certain verses without coherence with the whole Bible is useless as a pagan religion. You either trust Jesus for atonement and get saved, or trust the filthy self and get judgment forever. No middle-ground, according to the eternal Word of the Bible. Read the whole.

    June 14, 2011 at 4:03 am |
  12. disappointed

    Being Christ like and showing respect for your neighbors is taught to our children in Sunday School. The new testament teaches us about the Good Samaritan. Live by it!! To make fun of other people because of their beliefs will ensure that you will never get to live with Christ. Regardless of mine or your religious beliefs, if you can't be Christ like, you are a poor soul. As are the makers of this play, and anyone else who makes fun of others.

    June 13, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  13. IslandAtheist

    It's amazing what some people will believe in order to avoid the reality of death.

    June 13, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • tbman

      It is amazing what some people will deny to avoid the consequence of a life of sin. 🙂

      June 14, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • God Bless Our Cluster Bombs

      You are absolutely right, tbman. Christians do deny the non-existence of God so that they can avoid the consequences of their sins by a quick cop-out acceptance of Jesus. They think they avoid the consequences of their Earthly actions, no matter how wicked, and will get to go the Heaven forever, while atheists will burn in Hell, no matter how good or generous or charitable they have been.

      Thanks for pointing that out.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:53 am |
  14. ScottK

    "The stars of Broadway talk about performing on stage in front of live audiences day in and day out." Not just from the article...it is the article. First time I can't complain about them taking to long to say nothing.

    June 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  15. tommas

    If there is anything worse than religion, it is one that was made up less than 200 yrs ago.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Ask God if these things are true.

      Moroni 10:4-5, The Book of Mormon

      4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

      5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

      http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/10.4?lang=eng#3

      June 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Maybe you should ask god if this is true

      There were million-man Egyptian-speaking armies in North America who used horses that did not arrive in America until the Spaniards came millenia later, armed with all sorts of steel objects that have never been found to exist here?

      Mormon – a gullible person completely lacking a bullsh!t detector.

      June 14, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  16. Bippy the Lessor Squirrel-God of Tap-Dancing in Minefields

    Second post.

    June 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Bippy the Lessor Squirrel-God of Tap-Dancing in Minefields

      Oh NUTS! (That's a squirrely way to swear). It was the third post.

      June 13, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Cosmo the Space Rabbit

      Squirrel gods are nuts! Only the followers of the One True Carrot know the real truth!
      Seek ye the lowly bird-feeders, o ye of little faith! Keep not thy wisdom hidden within thy cheek pouches, but chew and be holy thereby! (Bugs 233:21)
      What's up, doc? (Bugs 1:1)
      The Carrot loves you and wants to show you the error of your squirrely ways! Seek out the nearest garden and find his abundant Truth! Then you will see how we must strive to be ever face-full with the Orange One.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Bippy, the Lesser Squirrel-God of Gratuitous Thesaurus Use

      The Feculent Dread Lord Darth Carrot?!?!?!?! Are you mad?!?!?!?!

      You have been seduced by the Evil Angry Atrocious Bad Baneful Base Beastly Calamitous Corrupt Damnable Depraved Destructive Disastrous Execrable Flagitious Foul Harmful Hateful Heinous Hideous Iniquitous Injurious Loathsome Low Maleficent Malevolent Malicious Malignant Nefarious No-Good Obscene Offensive Pernicious Poison Rancorous Reprobate Repugnant Repulsive Revolting Spiteful Stinking Ugly Unpleasant Unpropitious Vicious Vile Villainous Wicked Wrathful One.

      Do not be led astray by dirt-grown roots! Let the love of the Holy Acorn of Saskatchewan fill you in the winter months, when that carrot of evil has long ago shrivelled into its yucky true form.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:39 am |
    • The One Carrot Speaks

      😡

      June 14, 2011 at 3:48 am |
  17. Reality

    Mormonism will slowly fade from society as will contemporary Christianity and Islam because of the obvious problems with the founders of these religions especially their angelic/satanic hallucinations and related prophecies. Angels simply do/did not exist.

    The Good Words were articulated via reason and common sense by the ancients. These Words of Wisdom were simply repeated with each major race and religion. Unfortunately the Words were attributed to embellished men in most cases as a means of profiteering as noted by the contemporary billions of dollars owned and controlled by the Mormon, Christian, Jewish and Moslem religions. It is time to get our money back!!!!!

    June 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • D-Dog

      I thought it was a play....what am I missing here?

      June 13, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Angels have not ceased to minister unto man.

      Moroni 7:35-38–The Book of Mormon

      "And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?

      36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved?

      37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain.

      38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made.

      http://lds.org/scriptures/bofm/moro/7.37?lang=eng#36

      June 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Reality

      It is called the Great Angelic Con:

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

      newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm
      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."
      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      June 13, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • tbman

      Yeah, that whole religion thing has no real track record. It's bound to fade.

      June 14, 2011 at 1:18 am |
    • And thus ends Mormonism...

      "Important News from Nauvoo: Death of Joe and Hyrum Smith: Terrible Excitement in the West." In part the article said, "We yesterday received by western mail the following particulars of the death of Joseph Smith the Prophet and his brother Hyrum. They were both shot. There was tremendous excitement in the west in consequence of their death" (8 July 1844). The article continued and then ended with this three-word conclusion and prediction: "Thus ends Mormonism." http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=7810

      "While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside. . . . “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God . . . and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people” (Joseph Smith—History 1:30, 33).

      “You know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap. You don’t comprehend it. … This Church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world.” –Joseph Smith

      “The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame. But the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and dependent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah will say, ‘The work is done.'” –Joseph Smith

      We are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy. True words spoken by a true prophet of God.

      June 14, 2011 at 7:41 am |
    • Joseph Smith's Amazing Tales of Anthropologically Impossible Happenings (and Angels too!!!)

      Eeeeeeeeeeeew!!! The fulfillment of prophecy – cue spoo-ky music and sounds of thunder! It's not like every religious dumba$$ on this blog trots out some va-gue "prophecy" that could fit just about any year and claims it as proof of his or her religion. It's not like you friendly neighborhood fortune teller does the exact same thing or anything.

      Why are religious people so easily dazzled by obvious bullsh!t?

      June 14, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Reality

      As a good student, you have read the reiterations of the "FEMS" (Flaws, Errors, Muck and Stench) of Mormonism. Therefore the seeds have been planted in rich soil. Go therefore and preach the truth to all nations, reiterating as you go amongst the lost, bred, born and brainwashed souls of Mormon land.

      June 14, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • The Stone Cut Out of the Mountain

      The Church has become one large family scattered across the earth. There are now more than 13 million of us in 176 nations and territories. A marvelous and wonderful thing is coming to pass. The Lord is fulfilling His promise that His gospel shall be as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands which would roll forth and fill the whole earth, as Daniel saw in vision (see Daniel 2:31–45; D&C 65:2). A great miracle is taking place right before our eyes.

      I take you back 184 years to the year 1823. The month was September—the night of September 21–22, to be exact.

      The boy Joseph Smith had prayed that night before going to sleep. He asked the Lord for forgiveness of his light-mindedness. A miraculous thing then happened. He says:

      “While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside. …

      “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God … and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people” (Joseph Smith—History 1:30, 33).

      The boy must have been stunned by what he heard. In the eyes of those who knew him, he was simply a poor, unlearned farm boy. He had no wealth. His neighbors were in the same condition. His parents were struggling farmers. The area where they lived was rural and largely unknown. They were simply ordinary people trying to survive through hard work.

      And yet an angel of God said that Joseph’s “name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues.” How could it be? That description fits the entire world.

      Now, as we look back 177 years to the organization of the Church, we marvel at what has already happened. When the Church was organized in 1830 there were but six members, only a handful of believers, all residing in a largely unknown village. Today, we have become the fourth or fifth largest church in North America, with congregations in every city of any consequence. Stakes of Zion today flourish in every state of the United States, in every province of Canada, in every state of Mexico, in every nation of Central America and throughout South America.

      Congregations are found throughout the British Isles and Europe, where thousands have joined the Church through the years. This work has reached out to the Baltic nations and on down through Bulgaria and Albania and other areas of that part of the world. It reaches across the vast area of Russia. It reaches up into Mongolia and all down through the nations of Asia into the islands of the Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand, and into India and Indonesia. It is flourishing in many of the nations of Africa.

      Our general conferences are carried by satellite and other means in 92 different languages.

      And this is only the beginning. This work will continue to grow and prosper and move across the earth. It must do so if Moroni’s promise to Joseph is to be fulfilled.

      This work is unique and wonderful. It is fundamentally different from every other body of religious doctrine of which I know.

      When Jesus walked the earth, He said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

      Joseph, when he was 14 years of age, had an experience in that glorious First Vision that was different from any other recorded experience of any man. At no other time of which we have any record have God our Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, the risen Lord, appeared on earth together.

      At the time of the baptism of Jesus by John in the river Jordan, the voice of God was heard, but He was not seen. At the Mount of Transfiguration, again the voice of God was heard, but there is no record of His appearance. Stephen saw the Lord on the right hand of the Father, but They did not address or instruct him.

      Following His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the Nephites in the Western Hemisphere. The voice of the Almighty was heard three times, introducing the risen Christ, but there was no appearance of the Father.

      How truly remarkable was that vision in the year 1820 when Joseph prayed in the woods and there appeared before him both the Father and the Son. One of these spoke to him, calling him by name and, pointing to the other, said, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:17).

      Nothing like it had ever happened before. One is led to wonder why it was so important that both the Father and the Son appear. I think it was because They were ushering in the dispensation of the fulness of times, the last and final dispensation of the gospel, when there would be gathered together in one the elements of all previous dispensations. This was to be the final chapter in the long chronicle of God’s dealing with men and women upon the earth.

      Following the Savior’s death, the Church He had established drifted into apostasy. Fulfilled were the words of Isaiah, who said, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5).

      Realizing the importance of knowing the true nature of God, men had struggled to find a way to define Him. Learned clerics argued with one another. When Constantine became a Christian in the fourth century, he called together a great convocation of learned men with the hope that they could reach a conclusion of understanding concerning the true nature of Deity. All they reached was a compromise of various points of view. The result was the Nicene Creed of A.D. 325. This and subsequent creeds have become the declaration of doctrine concerning the nature of Deity for most of Christianity ever since.

      I have read them all a number of times. I cannot understand them. I think others cannot understand them. I am sure that the Lord also knew that many would not understand them. And so in 1820, in that incomparable vision, the Father and the Son appeared to the boy Joseph. They spoke to him with words that were audible, and he spoke to Them. They could see. They could speak. They could hear. They were personal. They were of substance. They were not imaginary beings. They were beings tabernacled in flesh. And out of that experience has come our unique and true understanding of the nature of Deity.

      No wonder that when Joseph in 1842 wrote the Articles of Faith he stated as number one, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:1).

      As all of you well know, there followed through the years a veritable “cloud of witnesses,” as Paul described prophetically (see Hebrews 12:1).

      First came Moroni with the plates from which was translated the Book of Mormon. What a singular and remarkable thing this was. Joseph’s story of the gold plates was fantastic. It was hard to believe and easy to challenge. Could he have written it of his own capacity? It is here, my brothers and sisters, for everyone to see, to handle, to read. Every attempt to explain its origin, other than that which he gave, has fallen of its own weight. He was largely unschooled; and yet, in a very brief time, he brought forth the translation which in published form comes to more than 500 pages.

      Paul declares that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1).

      The Bible had stood for centuries. It is a precious and wonderful book. Now there was a second witness declaring the divinity of Christ. The Book of Mormon is the only book ever published, of which I know, that carries in it a promise that one who reads it prayerfully and asks concerning it in prayer will have revealed to him by the power of the Holy Ghost a knowledge that it is true (see Moroni 10:4).

      Since its first publication in a rural print shop in Palmyra, New York, there have been more than 133 million copies produced. It has been translated into 105 languages. Not long ago it was named one of the 20 most influential books ever published in North America.

      Recently a first edition sold for $105,000. But the cheapest paperback edition is as valuable to the reader who loves its language and message.

      Through all of these years critics have tried to explain it. They have spoken against it. They have ridiculed it. But it has outlived them all, and its influence today is greater than at any time in its history.

      In this series of events came next the restoration of the priesthood, bestowed by resurrected beings who held it when the Savior walked the earth. This occurred in 1829, when Joseph was only 23.

      Following receipt of the priesthood, the Church was organized on the 6th of April, 1830, when Joseph was a young man not yet 25. Again, the organization is unique and different from that of traditional Christianity. It is largely operated by a lay ministry. Voluntary service is its genius. As it has grown and spread abroad, thousands upon thousands of faithful and able men have directed its efforts.

      Today I stand in wonder at the marvelous things which God revealed to His appointed prophet while he was yet young and largely unknown. The very language of these revelations is beyond the capacity of even a man of great learning.

      Scholars not of our faith, who will not accept our singular doctrines, are puzzled by the great unrolling of this work, which is touching the hearts of people across the earth. We owe it all to Joseph the Prophet, the seer and the revelator, the Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was foreordained to come forth in this generation as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in restoring to the earth that which the Savior taught when He walked the roads of Palestine.

      To you, this day, I affirm my witness of the calling of the Prophet Joseph, of his works, of the sealing of his testimony with his blood as a martyr to the eternal truth. Each of you can bear witness of the same thing. You and I are faced with the stark question of accepting the truth of the First Vision and that which followed it. On the question of its reality lies the very validity of this Church. If it is the truth, and I testify that it is, then the work in which we are engaged is the most important work on the earth.

      I leave with you my testimony of the truth of these things, and I invoke the blessings of heaven upon you. May the windows of heaven be opened and blessings showered upon you as the Lord has promised. Never forget that this was His promise and that He has the power and the capacity to see that it is fulfilled. I so pray as I leave my blessing and love with you in the sacred name of our Redeemer, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen. The Church has become one large family scattered across the earth. There are now more than 13 million of us in 176 nations and territories. A marvelous and wonderful thing is coming to pass. The Lord is fulfilling His promise that His gospel shall be as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands which would roll forth and fill the whole earth, as Daniel saw in vision (see Daniel 2:31–45; D&C 65:2). A great miracle is taking place right before our eyes.

      I take you back 184 years to the year 1823. The month was September—the night of September 21–22, to be exact.

      The boy Joseph Smith had prayed that night before going to sleep. He asked the Lord for forgiveness of his light-mindedness. A miraculous thing then happened. He says:

      “While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside. …

      “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God … and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people” (Joseph Smith—History 1:30, 33).

      The boy must have been stunned by what he heard. In the eyes of those who knew him, he was simply a poor, unlearned farm boy. He had no wealth. His neighbors were in the same condition. His parents were struggling farmers. The area where they lived was rural and largely unknown. They were simply ordinary people trying to survive through hard work.

      And yet an angel of God said that Joseph’s “name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues.” How could it be? That description fits the entire world.

      Now, as we look back 177 years to the organization of the Church, we marvel at what has already happened. When the Church was organized in 1830 there were but six members, only a handful of believers, all residing in a largely unknown village. Today, we have become the fourth or fifth largest church in North America, with congregations in every city of any consequence. Stakes of Zion today flourish in every state of the United States, in every province of Canada, in every state of Mexico, in every nation of Central America and throughout South America.

      Congregations are found throughout the British Isles and Europe, where thousands have joined the Church through the years. This work has reached out to the Baltic nations and on down through Bulgaria and Albania and other areas of that part of the world. It reaches across the vast area of Russia. It reaches up into Mongolia and all down through the nations of Asia into the islands of the Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand, and into India and Indonesia. It is flourishing in many of the nations of Africa.

      Our general conferences are carried by satellite and other means in 92 different languages.

      And this is only the beginning. This work will continue to grow and prosper and move across the earth. It must do so if Moroni’s promise to Joseph is to be fulfilled.

      This work is unique and wonderful. It is fundamentally different from every other body of religious doctrine of which I know.

      When Jesus walked the earth, He said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

      Joseph, when he was 14 years of age, had an experience in that glorious First Vision that was different from any other recorded experience of any man. At no other time of which we have any record have God our Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, the risen Lord, appeared on earth together.

      At the time of the baptism of Jesus by John in the river Jordan, the voice of God was heard, but He was not seen. At the Mount of Transfiguration, again the voice of God was heard, but there is no record of His appearance. Stephen saw the Lord on the right hand of the Father, but They did not address or instruct him.

      Following His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the Nephites in the Western Hemisphere. The voice of the Almighty was heard three times, introducing the risen Christ, but there was no appearance of the Father.

      How truly remarkable was that vision in the year 1820 when Joseph prayed in the woods and there appeared before him both the Father and the Son. One of these spoke to him, calling him by name and, pointing to the other, said, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:17).

      Nothing like it had ever happened before. One is led to wonder why it was so important that both the Father and the Son appear. I think it was because They were ushering in the dispensation of the fulness of times, the last and final dispensation of the gospel, when there would be gathered together in one the elements of all previous dispensations. This was to be the final chapter in the long chronicle of God’s dealing with men and women upon the earth.

      Following the Savior’s death, the Church He had established drifted into apostasy. Fulfilled were the words of Isaiah, who said, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5).

      Realizing the importance of knowing the true nature of God, men had struggled to find a way to define Him. Learned clerics argued with one another. When Constantine became a Christian in the fourth century, he called together a great convocation of learned men with the hope that they could reach a conclusion of understanding concerning the true nature of Deity. All they reached was a compromise of various points of view. The result was the Nicene Creed of A.D. 325. This and subsequent creeds have become the declaration of doctrine concerning the nature of Deity for most of Christianity ever since.

      I have read them all a number of times. I cannot understand them. I think others cannot understand them. I am sure that the Lord also knew that many would not understand them. And so in 1820, in that incomparable vision, the Father and the Son appeared to the boy Joseph. They spoke to him with words that were audible, and he spoke to Them. They could see. They could speak. They could hear. They were personal. They were of substance. They were not imaginary beings. They were beings tabernacled in flesh. And out of that experience has come our unique and true understanding of the nature of Deity.

      No wonder that when Joseph in 1842 wrote the Articles of Faith he stated as number one, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:1).

      As all of you well know, there followed through the years a veritable “cloud of witnesses,” as Paul described prophetically (see Hebrews 12:1).

      First came Moroni with the plates from which was translated the Book of Mormon. What a singular and remarkable thing this was. Joseph’s story of the gold plates was fantastic. It was hard to believe and easy to challenge. Could he have written it of his own capacity? It is here, my brothers and sisters, for everyone to see, to handle, to read. Every attempt to explain its origin, other than that which he gave, has fallen of its own weight. He was largely unschooled; and yet, in a very brief time, he brought forth the translation which in published form comes to more than 500 pages.

      Paul declares that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1).

      The Bible had stood for centuries. It is a precious and wonderful book. Now there was a second witness declaring the divinity of Christ. The Book of Mormon is the only book ever published, of which I know, that carries in it a promise that one who reads it prayerfully and asks concerning it in prayer will have revealed to him by the power of the Holy Ghost a knowledge that it is true (see Moroni 10:4).

      Since its first publication in a rural print shop in Palmyra, New York, there have been more than 133 million copies produced. It has been translated into 105 languages. Not long ago it was named one of the 20 most influential books ever published in North America.

      Recently a first edition sold for $105,000. But the cheapest paperback edition is as valuable to the reader who loves its language and message.

      Through all of these years critics have tried to explain it. They have spoken against it. They have ridiculed it. But it has outlived them all, and its influence today is greater than at any time in its history.

      In this series of events came next the restoration of the priesthood, bestowed by resurrected beings who held it when the Savior walked the earth. This occurred in 1829, when Joseph was only 23.

      Following receipt of the priesthood, the Church was organized on the 6th of April, 1830, when Joseph was a young man not yet 25. Again, the organization is unique and different from that of traditional Christianity. It is largely operated by a lay ministry. Voluntary service is its genius. As it has grown and spread abroad, thousands upon thousands of faithful and able men have directed its efforts.

      Today I stand in wonder at the marvelous things which God revealed to His appointed prophet while he was yet young and largely unknown. The very language of these revelations is beyond the capacity of even a man of great learning.

      Scholars not of our faith, who will not accept our singular doctrines, are puzzled by the great unrolling of this work, which is touching the hearts of people across the earth. We owe it all to Joseph the Prophet, the seer and the revelator, the Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was foreordained to come forth in this generation as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in restoring to the earth that which the Savior taught when He walked the roads of Palestine.

      To you, this day, I affirm my witness of the calling of the Prophet Joseph, of his works, of the sealing of his testimony with his blood as a martyr to the eternal truth. Each of you can bear witness of the same thing. You and I are faced with the stark question of accepting the truth of the First Vision and that which followed it. On the question of its reality lies the very validity of this Church. If it is the truth, and I testify that it is, then the work in which we are engaged is the most important work on the earth.

      I leave with you my testimony of the truth of these things, and I invoke the blessings of heaven upon you. May the windows of heaven be opened and blessings showered upon you as the Lord has promised. Never forget that this was His promise and that He has the power and the capacity to see that it is fulfilled. I so pray as I leave my blessing and love with you in the sacred name of our Redeemer, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.The Church has become one large family scattered across the earth. There are now more than 13 million of us in 176 nations and territories. A marvelous and wonderful thing is coming to pass. The Lord is fulfilling His promise that His gospel shall be as the stone cut out of the mountain without hands which would roll forth and fill the whole earth, as Daniel saw in vision (see Daniel 2:31–45; D&C 65:2). A great miracle is taking place right before our eyes.

      I take you back 184 years to the year 1823. The month was September—the night of September 21–22, to be exact.

      The boy Joseph Smith had prayed that night before going to sleep. He asked the Lord for forgiveness of his light-mindedness. A miraculous thing then happened. He says:

      “While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside. …

      “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God … and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people” (Joseph Smith—History 1:30, 33).

      The boy must have been stunned by what he heard. In the eyes of those who knew him, he was simply a poor, unlearned farm boy. He had no wealth. His neighbors were in the same condition. His parents were struggling farmers. The area where they lived was rural and largely unknown. They were simply ordinary people trying to survive through hard work.

      And yet an angel of God said that Joseph’s “name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues.” How could it be? That description fits the entire world.

      Now, as we look back 177 years to the organization of the Church, we marvel at what has already happened. When the Church was organized in 1830 there were but six members, only a handful of believers, all residing in a largely unknown village. Today, we have become the fourth or fifth largest church in North America, with congregations in every city of any consequence. Stakes of Zion today flourish in every state of the United States, in every province of Canada, in every state of Mexico, in every nation of Central America and throughout South America.

      Congregations are found throughout the British Isles and Europe, where thousands have joined the Church through the years. This work has reached out to the Baltic nations and on down through Bulgaria and Albania and other areas of that part of the world. It reaches across the vast area of Russia. It reaches up into Mongolia and all down through the nations of Asia into the islands of the Pacific, Australia, and New Zealand, and into India and Indonesia. It is flourishing in many of the nations of Africa.

      Our general conferences are carried by satellite and other means in 92 different languages.

      And this is only the beginning. This work will continue to grow and prosper and move across the earth. It must do so if Moroni’s promise to Joseph is to be fulfilled.

      This work is unique and wonderful. It is fundamentally different from every other body of religious doctrine of which I know.

      When Jesus walked the earth, He said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).

      Joseph, when he was 14 years of age, had an experience in that glorious First Vision that was different from any other recorded experience of any man. At no other time of which we have any record have God our Eternal Father and His Beloved Son, the risen Lord, appeared on earth together.

      At the time of the baptism of Jesus by John in the river Jordan, the voice of God was heard, but He was not seen. At the Mount of Transfiguration, again the voice of God was heard, but there is no record of His appearance. Stephen saw the Lord on the right hand of the Father, but They did not address or instruct him.

      Following His Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the Nephites in the Western Hemisphere. The voice of the Almighty was heard three times, introducing the risen Christ, but there was no appearance of the Father.

      How truly remarkable was that vision in the year 1820 when Joseph prayed in the woods and there appeared before him both the Father and the Son. One of these spoke to him, calling him by name and, pointing to the other, said, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:17).

      Nothing like it had ever happened before. One is led to wonder why it was so important that both the Father and the Son appear. I think it was because They were ushering in the dispensation of the fulness of times, the last and final dispensation of the gospel, when there would be gathered together in one the elements of all previous dispensations. This was to be the final chapter in the long chronicle of God’s dealing with men and women upon the earth.

      Following the Savior’s death, the Church He had established drifted into apostasy. Fulfilled were the words of Isaiah, who said, “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant” (Isaiah 24:5).

      Realizing the importance of knowing the true nature of God, men had struggled to find a way to define Him. Learned clerics argued with one another. When Constantine became a Christian in the fourth century, he called together a great convocation of learned men with the hope that they could reach a conclusion of understanding concerning the true nature of Deity. All they reached was a compromise of various points of view. The result was the Nicene Creed of A.D. 325. This and subsequent creeds have become the declaration of doctrine concerning the nature of Deity for most of Christianity ever since.

      I have read them all a number of times. I cannot understand them. I think others cannot understand them. I am sure that the Lord also knew that many would not understand them. And so in 1820, in that incomparable vision, the Father and the Son appeared to the boy Joseph. They spoke to him with words that were audible, and he spoke to Them. They could see. They could speak. They could hear. They were personal. They were of substance. They were not imaginary beings. They were beings tabernacled in flesh. And out of that experience has come our unique and true understanding of the nature of Deity.

      No wonder that when Joseph in 1842 wrote the Articles of Faith he stated as number one, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:1).

      As all of you well know, there followed through the years a veritable “cloud of witnesses,” as Paul described prophetically (see Hebrews 12:1).

      First came Moroni with the plates from which was translated the Book of Mormon. What a singular and remarkable thing this was. Joseph’s story of the gold plates was fantastic. It was hard to believe and easy to challenge. Could he have written it of his own capacity? It is here, my brothers and sisters, for everyone to see, to handle, to read. Every attempt to explain its origin, other than that which he gave, has fallen of its own weight. He was largely unschooled; and yet, in a very brief time, he brought forth the translation which in published form comes to more than 500 pages.

      Paul declares that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1).

      The Bible had stood for centuries. It is a precious and wonderful book. Now there was a second witness declaring the divinity of Christ. The Book of Mormon is the only book ever published, of which I know, that carries in it a promise that one who reads it prayerfully and asks concerning it in prayer will have revealed to him by the power of the Holy Ghost a knowledge that it is true (see Moroni 10:4).

      Since its first publication in a rural print shop in Palmyra, New York, there have been more than 133 million copies produced. It has been translated into 105 languages. Not long ago it was named one of the 20 most influential books ever published in North America.

      Recently a first edition sold for $105,000. But the cheapest paperback edition is as valuable to the reader who loves its language and message.

      Through all of these years critics have tried to explain it. They have spoken against it. They have ridiculed it. But it has outlived them all, and its influence today is greater than at any time in its history.

      In this series of events came next the restoration of the priesthood, bestowed by resurrected beings who held it when the Savior walked the earth. This occurred in 1829, when Joseph was only 23.

      Following receipt of the priesthood, the Church was organized on the 6th of April, 1830, when Joseph was a young man not yet 25. Again, the organization is unique and different from that of traditional Christianity. It is largely operated by a lay ministry. Voluntary service is its genius. As it has grown and spread abroad, thousands upon thousands of faithful and able men have directed its efforts.

      Today I stand in wonder at the marvelous things which God revealed to His appointed prophet while he was yet young and largely unknown. The very language of these revelations is beyond the capacity of even a man of great learning.

      Scholars not of our faith, who will not accept our singular doctrines, are puzzled by the great unrolling of this work, which is touching the hearts of people across the earth. We owe it all to Joseph the Prophet, the seer and the revelator, the Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was foreordained to come forth in this generation as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty in restoring to the earth that which the Savior taught when He walked the roads of Palestine.

      To you, this day, I affirm my witness of the calling of the Prophet Joseph, of his works, of the sealing of his testimony with his blood as a martyr to the eternal truth. Each of you can bear witness of the same thing. You and I are faced with the stark question of accepting the truth of the First Vision and that which followed it. On the question of its reality lies the very validity of this Church. If it is the truth, and I testify that it is, then the work in which we are engaged is the most important work on the earth.

      I leave with you my testimony of the truth of these things, and I invoke the blessings of heaven upon you. May the windows of heaven be opened and blessings showered upon you as the Lord has promised. Never forget that this was His promise and that He has the power and the capacity to see that it is fulfilled. I so pray as I leave my blessing and love with you in the sacred name of our Redeemer, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.
      –President Gordon B. Hinckley, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator
      http://lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/the-stone-cut-out-of-the-mountain?lang=eng

      True words spoken by a true prophet of God.

      June 14, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Reality

      o http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html

      o Religion Adherents

      Christianity 2.1 billion

      Islam 1.5 billion

      Irreligious/agnostic/atheism 1.1 billion

      Hinduism 900 million

      Chinese traditional religion 394 million

      Buddhism 376 million

      Animist religions 300 million

      African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million

      Sikhism 23 million

      Juche 19 million

      Spiritism 15 million

      Judaism 14 million

      (Mormons 13 million)

      Baha'i 7 million

      Jainism 4.2 million

      Shinto 4 million

      Cao Dai 4 million

      Zoroastrianism 2.6 million

      Tenrikyo 2 million

      Neo-Paganism 1 million

      Unitarian Universalism 800,000

      Rastafari Movement 600,000

      June 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Words of a Prophet

      “You know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap. You don’t comprehend it. … This Church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world.” –Joseph Smith

      June 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • John j.

      you are worse than the old fariceos, never learned the true message of Jesus Christ, true love .... thanks for being "Christians" and not follow his teachings ..

      I feel sadness ...
      Lds Church teaches true and correct principles, also has the authority to do so.
      we believe in Christ, I love you and respect your beliefs, but I am saddened by his ignorance.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  18. Artist

    First post

    June 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • PaddingtonPoohBear

      Congratulations doofus...

      June 13, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Monkey Poo

      Is this a race? Well then, Artist wins. What sort of prize would you like, Artist? We have a prize box filled with stuff made in China. Just dig in and pick something out. But first sign this release form that says we aren't responsible for any lead poisoning you may encounter as a result.

      June 13, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.