To write about Mormonisms beginnings is something that comes with a very important question. Which beginnings? The beginnings of the Mormon church? The beginnings of what the church claims the beginnings to be? Because those can be very different things. And from a Mormon perspective, these "beginnings" also change over time.
What I'm going to do in this post is give a background of the Mormon church as I was taught during the late 80's and throughout the 90's. Once I have regurgitated that shit, I can then start to tackle some other issues--plus for those of you who weren't Mormons, you'll be able to get some of the "jokes."
Growing up in the church, the story started off simply. Joseph Smith was a lovable little rascal that just had such a noodle scratching dilemma during the 1820's. The whole state of New York was in a fervor over religion. Many religions were preaching a ton of different shit, and Joseph wanted to know which church to join. He couldn't just take each preacher's word for it, because that would be stupid-- so he decided to ax god directly. He had recently read a scripture that said something to the effect of, "yo, if you don't fuckin' know, then fuckin' ax god, motherfuck." This extremely eloquent scripture hit Joseph like a thunderclap from Mothra's wings.
So Joseph went and fuckin axed god. He was only 14 at the time, and the results were astonishing. Normally when someone prays to god, they don't really get much of an answer. Usually god is too busy scratching his balls and watching 'Die Hard' on TBS for the 1000th time, but god decided that Joseph was too cool and decided to roust Jesus and go to answer his question.
Joseph was down on his knees like a good lover would be, when suddenly he was attacked by Satan. Satan knew that some shit was about to go down, and wanted to try to fuck up god's plan. Apparently they had had a falling out after the whole Job bet, and Satan wanted to get god back by ruining god's plan to restore the one true church on the face of the earth...and possibly the moon.
Joseph was able to cry out to god, and god banished Satan to his room for a time out. During my time at church we learned this event to be the "First Vision" because Joseph had an actual factual literal vision of the "Godhead."
Now "Godhead" isn't what it sounds like. It's not the first time you got blown and it was so amazing you shot jizz into the chick's eye and she ran screaming to the bathroom--because that shit burns! No, the "Godhead" is the Mormon explanation of god. For Mormonism (at least at the time I was taught, Mormonism tends to change shit) god is actually three distinct and separate beings. God, the father; his son Jesus, and the "holy ghost" who is just crashing for a little while until he can get a job at Home Depot and get back on his feet again.
Joseph's "First Vision" is "Joseph's" recounting of meeting the Big Bros. Joseph claims that he saw god the father as a man having "flesh and bone" and Jesus "also having flesh and bone" and that he "felt" the holy ghost just so super strong around him. Joseph described a big, bright tractor beam of light and then god and Jesus descending within the beam. Joseph was struck speechless but god pointed to Jesus and spake, "'Sup! This is Jesus, dawg. Represent."
Even though he had pissed his pantaloons, Joseph axed his question, "which church is yours?"
God the father answered, "Man, fuck all that shit. Those motherfuckers don't know me! They think they do, but they DON'T! Fuck 'em. We's startin' our own church, aiight??"
Joseph was beyond flabbergasted. He had never thought that ain't none no churches wasn't no good. He didn't dream that he'd be starting his own church. What a lot of responsibility to give to a fourteen year old boy. But god thought Joseph was legit! Joseph was going to "restore" god's church! But how??? What a cliffhanger!