19th Century, Miscellaneous

The Divine Revelation

Just a quickie post to note something that caught my attention in the August 15 edition of the National Post. Throughout the summer the National Post has been producing a series of articles “on the revolutionaries, luminaries and criminals who have taken time out from shaping world events to pay us a visit — and how that visit shaped them.” Us, meaning Canada.

This last edition detailed the visit that Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, paid to Southern Ontario in 1833 in the hopes of evangelizing the Canadians to his faith. You can read the article online here, but this is the part I like best:

Although this was Smith’s first trip over the border, the British colony had played a curious role in one of his first divine revelations. Via the seer stone, Smith had declared in 1830 that if his followers went to Kingston, Ont. — the terminus of the still-under-construction Rideau Canal — they would secure funding to distribute the Book of Mormon.

The seer stone was the device that Joseph Smith used to decode Egyptian text on the buried plates shown to him by the angel Moroni. This decoded text became the Book of Mormon, published in 1830, the same year the Kingston revelation was made. However, God’s message to visit our nascent city couldn’t have been terribly urgent, because Smith never actually came here. Maybe he found the money to distribute his book anyway?

I know very little about the Mormon faith, but it made me smile to see Kingston as the subject of a divine revelation – something that has certainly never been mentioned in any of the local history books I’ve read!

Update: Joseph Smith did visit Bath in 1833 though. Close enough.

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