The following is an excerpt from the Church's new groundbreaking history, Saints: The Standard of Truth. Read it for free through the Gospel Library app and at saints.lds.org or buy a hard copy to own at Deseret Book. Get more insights into Church history with the Saints podcast.
Lucy and Joseph Sr. both came from Christian families and believed in the Bible and Jesus Christ. Lucy attended church meetings and often brought her children with her. She had been seeking the true church of Jesus Christ since the death of her sister many years earlier.
Once, after falling gravely ill sometime before Joseph’s birth, she had feared that she would die before finding the truth. She sensed a dark and lonely chasm between her and the Savior, and she knew she was unprepared for the next life.
Lying awake all night, she prayed to God, promising Him that if He let her live, she would find the church of Jesus Christ. As she prayed, the voice of the Lord spoke to her, assuring her that if she would seek, she would find. She had visited more churches since then, but she had still not found the right one. Yet even when it felt like the Savior’s church was no longer on the earth, she kept searching, trusting that going to church was better than not.18
Like his wife, Joseph Sr. hungered for the truth. But he felt that attending no church at all was preferable to the wrong one. Following the counsel of his father, Joseph Sr. searched the scriptures, prayed earnestly, and believed that Jesus Christ had come to save the world.19 Yet he could not reconcile what he felt to be true with the confusion and discord he saw in the churches around him. One night he had dreamed that contending preachers were like cattle, bellowing as they dug at the earth with their horns, which deepened his concern that they knew little about God’s kingdom.20
Seeing his parents’ dissatisfaction with local churches only confused Joseph Jr. more.21 His soul was at stake, but no one could give him satisfying answers.
Lead image from lds.org
The Standard of Truth is the first book in Saints, a new, four-volume narrative history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fast-paced and meticulously researched, Saints recounts true stories of Latter-day Saints across the globe and answers the Lord's call to write history "for the good of the church, and for the rising generations" (Doctrine and Covenants 69:0).