One his way to Damascus, and in the process of going about to destroy Christ’s church, Saul received a glorious vision in which the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him. Through this event, Saul was converted and his zeal was turned into an instrument for good. As one of the Twelve Apostles, he became known as Paul, and boldly proclaimed the Christ and the reality of his experience on the road to Damascus.
Like Paul, Joseph Smith also received a vision, in which he not only saw the Savior but also God the Father. Naturally, this event completely altered the course of his life, as did Paul’s experience did for him. Here we have two individuals who both had a rather extraordinary vision engendering a lifetime of unique discipleship full of great joy and also great pain, and all for the sake of furthering the work of God.
Another thing that these two men had in common: they were both accused of being crazy.
Before Festus and King Agrippa, Paul testified of his vision, that he had indeed seen and heard the risen Lord, and that the brightness was “above the brightness of the sun.” Also, that Christ had told Paul he had a mission for him to accomplish, that he was to proclaim the gospel to the Gentiles.
Upon hearing this testimony, Festus spoke up, loudly, and said, “Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.” (Acts 26:24)
To this Paul said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.”
Joseph Smith, among the many things he was accused of, was said to be a lunatic. Some people today even believe he was actually put into a mental institution. But Joseph Smith was not insane. He was a mere fourteen years old when he told others of his experience. He suffered great amounts of persecution his entire life for making it known. He was tarred and feathered, thrown into jail multiple times on false charges, taken from his family and friends, lost many of his children, and watched in anguish as his fellow saints suffered the same tortures at the hands of evil men.
What had he to gain from making up a fairy tale? He had nothing to gain. He did not deny his vision because he knew it was a true, and he knew that God knew it. I know it as well. I know Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. Like Paul, he faced his opposition with boldness and proclaimed the truth for what it was.
If you don’t believe this to be true. That’s okay. I’m not here to convince you, I’m here to invite you. Read from the Book of Mormon. In Matthew, we read that you may know a true prophet from a false prophet by their fruits, or the consequences of what they have taught and done. The Book of Mormon is the fruit of Joseph Smith. By reading it with a sincere desire and an open heart, you can know Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God.