When I was baptized into the church I did not have a testimony of Joseph Smith. I could not really, honestly say that I believed that he was a prophet of God. I knew that the Book of Mormon was truly the word of God and another testiment of Jesus Christ. However, I could not let myself believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet.
So I needed to ask myself why and how? Why did I not believe and how could I believe in this sacred record, but not believe in the man who translated it. It came down to this...I knew the towns where these things happened. I knew them because I grew up in Pennsylvania. I also knew the 14-year old boys that I grew up with and I could not image Heavenly Father saying, "Let's go to dairy country and get some hick boy to be the person to restore the gospel to the earth."
Sounds crazy, but that's it. That is what was holding me back. So I was baptized on June 2, 1991 without a testimony of Joseph Smith. Then in October of that same year we travelled home from Florida to Pennsylvania. It just so happened to be stake conference was that weekend we went home and although we were from Pennsylvania our stake crosses the boarder of Ohio. So we travelled to stake conference and while in Ohio we decided to tour the Kirtland temple, the Whitmer store and finally the Johnson farm. It was at the farm that I gained my testimony of Joseph Smith.
When we got to the farm is was dusk and the missionary couple who stayed at the farm said that it was too late and they were turning in for the night. We thought we missed the chance to tour the farm, but at the last minute they decided to let us come in and tour.
As we were walking through the room where Joseph and Emma had slept the missionary told us about the night that a mob broke in and took Joseph. The spirit came into my heart so fast and so hard my knees were weak and I was having trouble breathing. I listened with tears streaming down my face to the story of Joseph being beat, tarred, feathered and poisoned. I listened to how he survived and got up the very next morning and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He could have said at anytime, its all a lie, its not true, I made it all up. However, that did not happen!! Because he had not lied, it was true and he didn't make it all up. While I was standing in the entrance way of the Johnson farm listening to that story, feeling the spirit move me, I thought..."I know no other man".
It was at that very moment that I knew without a doubt that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. That at the tender age of 14-years he sought counsel from his Heavenly Father and received it. I believed that he was visited by an Angel named Moroni, who taught him the things needed for him to receive the golden plates and to be the prophet of the new dispensation. I believe that he did translate a sacred record that we now know as the Book of Mormon. Most importantly, I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and I did not know that until I found this religion and learned that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I leave this with your in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.