Yesterday I posted the first part of My Faith. Here is the conclusion:
“Which Church Is Right?“ quoted Bible verses and was methodical and logical in its presentation. It was the first time that I’d thought of a church that way, though I didn’t have any real feeling about it. The prophet’s testimony was different. A paragraph that stood out was:
It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself. (Joseph Smith—History 23)
I thought it strange too, and identified with Joseph.
During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of levity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was called of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native cheery temperament. (Joseph Smith—History 28)
I was impressed that Joseph would admit to “foolish errors”. To me, someone telling a lie would not say this so openly.
I wrote to the Bishop of the Macclesfield Ward and asked him about the Church and that I wanted to know more. He replied to my letter, inviting me to travel to Macclesfield and meet with the missionaries. I did so, and recall one memory from our first meeting. I was being taught the first discussion and my mind wandered. When I was a child my mother used to say in a kindly way that “I was off wool gathering” when I didn’t pay attention. The missionaries asked me a question about what was being taught and from then on I was attentive. After the first discussion the missionaries told me that there were missionaries in Crewe and that I would be taught by them.