The Restoration Video: Joseph Didn’t Believe Jesus

Have you seen the Church DVD called The Restoration? I watched it back in 2004 when I received it with my October Ensign. Page 54 explains the short movie as “a beautiful new dramatization of the First Vision”. It’s very well done and at times is so realistic it’s as if you’re right there with Joseph Smith.

Throughout the movie we see Joseph seeking answers to spiritual questions. Two questions that run throughout the movie are “How will we know if we are saved?” and “How can we know which doctrine is right?” As I watched, I found myself wanting to reach out to Joseph—to help him recognize that even from the very beginning of his search, God was already answering his questions. If this movie is an honest depiction of what happened, then God answered Joseph’s questions before he went to the grove to pray. By going to the grove to pray he confirms that either he believes his questions weren’t answered; or, that he has rejected God’s answers.

So what are God’s answers? God provides the answer to Joseph’s first question “How will we know if we are saved?” before he even asks it. Barely one minute into the movie Joseph’s family gathers to listen as his father reads from the Bible. From the book of John, he reads the words of Jesus Christ our Savior, words which clearly tell us how to be saved:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

This passage from God’s Word is probably the most popular verse in the Bible for Christians. At almost every football game shown on TV you will see someone sitting in the stands holding a sign that reads “John 3:16”. The reason this verse is so precious to believers is precisely because it does tell every human how they are saved! But Joseph misses it! The very Son of God promises that all who believe in Him have everlasting and eternal life!!!

It’s as though Joseph Smith does not hear these words! Just four minutes after we hear Joseph’s father read this promise from God, Joseph asks him “How will we know if we are saved?” As I watched the movie, I wanted to reach out and shake him and say “Jesus already told you! If you believe in Him you are saved. Why can’t you trust him? Why do you deny Him?”

Joseph Smith’s testimony of how to be saved is seen in the third article of faith: “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.” This ordinance stands in direct opposition to the very words of the Son of God. Because Joseph choose not to believe Jesus, he has taught millions of Mormons the wrong way to gain eternal life.

God also answers Joseph’s second question “How can we know which doctrine is right?” About seven minutes into the movie Joseph reads from Psalm 119:

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Again the answer is so clear. God’s Word lights the path—revealing the way. But Joseph again denies the clear instruction of God and seeks his own understanding. He finds his own way to discern truth. He denies the truth that God has already revealed in the Bible and decides to pray for wisdom. The wisdom that he needed was that it is unwise to reject God’s Words. By placing his own way above God’s already revealed way he is easily misled by false spirits. God’s way is to use His Word to light the path—to show the way.

God’s Word is so sweet to me!! It has shown me which doctrine is right. I bear witness to you on the basis of God’s Word that eternal life is a free gift, given to all who believe in Jesus. Believe His Words of John 3:16 and you have eternal life. You are saved. You will have found the way of truth that sadly eluded Joseph—to his eternal torment!

Allow me to share just one more of many clear “lamps” found in God’s Word. Again, these words were written down by John the Beloved. God’s Word bears witness of the truth. Referring to the fact that we can know we have eternal life through belief in Christ, John testified:

“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:9-13)

Believe it and receive it!!!

Link to LDS video The Restoration:



  1. catzgalore said,

    September 12, 2010 at 9:07 am

    It is such a healing balm to be reminded that indeed we have eternal life. We dwell with Jesus now!!!And I love old hymns…

    I serve a risen Saviour,
    He’s in the world today;
    I know that He is living,
    Whatever men may say;
    I see His hand of mercy,
    I hear His voice of cheer,
    And just the time I need Him
    He’s always near.


    He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives
    He walks with me and He talks with me
    Along life’s narrow way.
    He lives, He live, salvation to impart!
    You ask me how I know He lives:
    He lives within my heart.

    In all the world around me
    I see His loving care,
    And tho my heart grows weary
    I never will despair;
    I know that He is leading
    Thro’ all the stormy blast,
    The day of His appearing
    Will come at last.


    Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
    Lift up your voice and sing
    Eternal hallelujahs
    To Jesus Christ the King!
    The hope of all who seek Him,
    The help of all who find,
    None other is so loving,
    So good and kind.

    hymn written by Alfred Ackley

  2. afriendinchrist said,

    September 12, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    I am a little confused by this blog and hoping you can clarify about the comment on Joseph Smith asking “How will we know if we are saved?” In all of my teachings I have never heard that Joseph Smith went to the grove to ask to know ““How will we know if we are saved?” He only went to the grove to ask which church to join and which doctrine to follow. AS someone who has been saved, along with many other Christians…that is a very common concern in which we all pray about in private and many whom are searching for the correct church to go to, whether it be the vineyard, the calvary church, baptist, or luthern. Every one of them has the basic principle of Christianity but differs on doctrine…which is what Joseph Smith, who was a christian boy went to the grove to pray about. So, I would like a little more clarity, even though I agree with your comments about the questions, I just don’t think those are the actual questions that was asked by Joseph Smith, nor does the LDS teach that he asked that. AND if they are teaching that, it is NOT the correct teaching’s of the LDS church’s history.

  3. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    September 13, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Hi Friend,

    Great question, and if you haven’t watched the DVD then you wouldn’t understand. Basically, the movie begins some time before the First Vision takes place. It shows him asking spiritual questions of various Preachers and family members. One of those questions is “How will we know if we are saved?

    Because Joseph can’t figure out who has the right answers, he then goes to the grove to ask God for the wisdom to know which church teaches correct doctrine.

    The best way to see how the movie portrays him asking the question “How will we know if we are saved?” is to simply click on the link at the bottom of the Post. That will take you to where you can watch the movie.

    You do bring up a great point. In all of my reading about the history of Joseph Smith I have never heard that he asked people “How will we know if we are saved?” This LDS movie which depicts how the LDS Restoration began is the only place that I have heard him ask that.

    Personally, I believe that the reason it is included in the movie is because it is a common question that many people have. LDS Prophets are trying to do missionary work with this movie and so maybe they are trying to strike a common thread with non-Mormons. As well, I believe that is why the movie shows the Smith family reading John 3:16, because it is the most common passage known to Christians. But, that is just speculation. Maybe an LDS member out there knows more about this?

    Anyway, hope all this helps.

  4. echoechoecho said,

    September 13, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I watched the LDS Restoration video.
    I can totally relate to and sympathize with Joseph’s agony in his day of who was teaching the truth and who wasn’t. I had the same agony when I first became a Christian.

    I am so thankful today that God’s word in the Bible, WAS and still IS, a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. That word has showed me who is teaching the truth and who isn’t and continues to do so.

    In that lamp or light (the word of God in the Bible) it states this TRUTH:

    Romans 4:5 “but believeth on him who justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness,”

    And that lamp has revealed that Joseph Smith did NOT teach the truth:

    In the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible that same verse is in direct opposition to the lamp or light of the Word in the Bible. I will BOLD the contradiction, It is as follows:

    Romans 4:5 “but believeth on him who justifieth NOT the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    God’s word teaches us who is teaching the truth and who isn’t. Trust in his truth. It’s very unfortunate and sad that Joseph never trusted or had faith in God’s truth in the Bible. That is evidenced by his having to pray about what “IS” true when all along God’s word had already said it was the truth, our help, our light, our lamp given to us for this very purpose.

  5. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    September 14, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Thank you echo, that was beautifully said. While watching the video, I also felt sympathy for the struggle that Joseph was going through. The movie is so well done and so believable that you really feel like you are there, going through the struggles with him. I sure would like to know if the video correctly portrays all that happened prior to the First Vision; or, if it is simply LDS Prophets creating a movie meant to draw non-Mormons into the church.

    Echo, like you, I absolutely love God’s Word! Like the Psalmist in 119, God’s Word is “sweeter than honey to my mouth!” If you’ve never read Psalm 119, give yourself a treat and study it today. It is devoted to speaking of God’s wonderful scripture and the benefits of turning to it for truth. Here is verse 105 in context:

    O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word. I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me. How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:97-105)

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