In 1820, Joseph Smith Jr. was a 14-year-old boy in upstate New York. There was a great excitement in the area about religion. Young Joseph attended their meetings "as often as occasion would permit." He had a hard time determining which sect he should join, however. They all interpreted the Bible so differently that he lost all hope of answering the question by an appeal to the Bible.
One day, while reading his bible, he came across a passage in James 1:5, which reads, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
Joseph decided to do as the scripture directed and ask God. On a spring morning in 1820, he went to a grove of trees near his home and asked God in prayer for a forgiveness of sins. In answer to his prayer, God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. He asked the personages "which of all the sects was right" and was told that none of them contained a fullness of the gospel. Joseph was to restore the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth as it had been in the time of Jesus' ministry. On April 6, 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized, and from that time the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth.
Next: Prophets and Apostles