It’s a fantastic and extraordinary thing to say that Jesus has actually visited the Earth and restored His original church to the Earth with all of its truth, power and blessings. It goes against many traditional religious beliefs, but it’s true. People in the world once believed the Earth was flat and the sun moved across the it. That is the way it appeared, but when the people gained understanding and knowledge, they learned that the sun stands still and the Earth revolves around it.
Even if the Spirit of God did not speak to my soul and tell me the church is true, common sense, logic and reasoning would give me a reason to believe. I recognize the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints stands or falls on the testimony of Joseph Smith, the proclaimed prophet of God. Did he really see the Father and Son in his first vision? Did Angels from the presence of God appear to Joseph Smith like the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary the mother of Jesus and Zechariah the Father of John the Baptist? or did he make it all up to gain a religious following. If it was a fabrication, he would have to convince many others to make up stories as well. If the founding of the Church was based on him alone people may be justified not believing it, but it wasn’t based on one single testimony. There were many other eyewitnesses that collaborated with Joseph Smith’s testimony. First there was Oliver Cowdery, who was with Joseph when John the Baptist appeared to them and conferred the Aaronic Priesthood upon their heads, as well as Peter, James and John who conferred upon them the Melchizedek Priesthood. Oliver Cowdery was also one of the three official witnesses of the Book of Mormon. When the time came to establish the truth of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, first the Angel Moroni appeared to David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery together and showed them the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated, then a short while later the Angel appeared to Marin Harris separately. In addition to this, eight other men from the community were chosen to be eyewitnesses to the gold plates.
Some may think Joseph Smith was deceived by Satan who appeared to him as an “Angel of light.” First of all Satan is a spirit being, whose glory is minor compared to a resurrected being from the presence of God who’s brightness and glory is brighter that the noon-day sun. (Many righteous dead were resurrected after Christ’s resurrection.) (Matt 27:53) A resurrected being has a physical body who can lift the gold plates and take them away. A spirit being does not have a body of flesh and bone as a resurrected being like Jesus has. (Matt 36:39) If a person will study history of Joseph Smith you will see that his sole purpose was lead all men to have faith in Jesus Christ and his restored Gospel. Most, if not all the miracles that Jesus performed while on Earth have been performed by the power of the Priesthood in modern time, including casting out devils. Some in Jesus’ time claimed that He cast out devils by the prince of the devils. Jesus said “a house divided against itself can not stand.” (Matt 12:25) This applies to Joseph Smith today.
One of the interesting things about the history of the three witness is they all three disassociated themselves from the church. But even after leaving the church, they did not ever deny their testimony; because the Angel told them that if they ever denied their testimonies that they would have no forgiveness in this world or the world to come. When people with weak testimonies apostatized from the church, many times they became enemies to the church and would try to convince people that Joseph Smith was not a prophet, but the three witnesses did not. If these men were part of a religious fraud and became out of favor with its founder, it seems to me that they would likely try to expose the perpetrator of the fraud. But they did not, they stayed firm to their testimonies, in fact, two of them come back into the church in later years and continued to bear strong testimonies of the things that they saw, even on their deathbeds.See Testimony of the Three Witnesses in Later years
Many of the revelations given to Joseph Smith by the Lord, and recorded in the book Doctrine and Covenants, were given in meetings or where others were present. A scribe was present to write the revelations down. They weren’t given in secret or “done in a corner,” a phrase coined in the New Testament. (Acts 26:26) And when Joseph Smith had the vision of the “Three degrees of Glory” (D&C Section 76). Sidney Rigdon had the same exact vision at the same time. They said to each other, “Do you see what I see?” They then confirmed that they saw the same thing.See Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Even though these testimonies may sound reasonable and give you a desire to believe, the only sure way to know whether Joseph Smith was a prophet is to examine his fruits, namely the Book of Mormon and then exercise faith and ask God in prayer concerning its truth. The Lord has promised if a person will read the Book of Mormon and then ask God with a sincere heart with real intent, he will manifest the truth of it by the power of the Holy Ghost. Millions have taken the challenge and asked and have received an answer that it is true.