185 years ago today - Feb 1, 1835
Oliver Cowdery writes in a history of the Church in the MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE, "You will recollect that I mentioned the time of a religious excitement, in Palmyra and vicinity to have been in the 15th year of our brother J. Smith Jr's, age that was an error in the type - it should have been in the 17th. - You will please remember this correction, as it will be necessary for the full understanding of what will follow in time. This would bring the date down to the year 1823. . . . [Joseph] was urged forward and strengthened in the determination to know for himself of the certainty and reality of pure and holy religion. And it is only necessary for me to say, that while this excitement continued, he continued to call upon the Lord in secret for a full manifestation of divine approbation, and for, to him, the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him. . . . On the evening of the 21st of Sep, 1823, previous to retiring to rest, our brother's mind was unusually wrought up on the subject which had so long agitated his mind - his heart was drawn out in fervent prayer, . . . and in a moment a personage stood before him. . . . The stature of this personage was a little above the common size of men in this age; his garment was perfectly white, and had the appearance of being without seam. . . . he heard him declare himself to be a messenger sent by commandment of the Lord, to deliver a special message, and to witness to him that his sins were forgiven, and that his prayers were heard . . . He then proceeded and gave a general account of the promises made to the fathers, and also gave a history of the aborigines of this country, and said they were literal descendants of Abraham. He represented them as once being an enlightened and intelligent people, possessing a correct knowledge of the gospel, and the plan of restoration and redemption. He said this history was written and deposited not far from that place, and that it was our brother's privilege, if obedient to the commandments of the Lord, to obtain, and translate the same by the means of the Urim and Thummim, which were deposited for that purpose with the record."