"...let him ask of God..."
“Joseph Smith Jr. was a thoughtful boy who had many questions about the wellness of his soul, the sins of the world, and how he could find true repentance. Growing up during the Second Great Awakening, he questioned the countless religions reforming nationwide and wondered which he should choose. Joseph couldn't understand how so many denominations could interpret the same book in so many ways. He would listen to the preachers and sermons in town hoping to learn more about true forgiveness from God, but mostly felt distressed at the contrasting conclusions.”
"In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together?"
— Joseph Smith History 1:10
During the Awakening, people were encouraged to make a personal connection with God. The way in which religion was practiced was evolving into something more emotional than it was before. Joseph was not the only one seeking truth. Amidst all the discord between the various churches, Joseph's parents, Lucy Mack Smith and Joseph Smith Sr. also battled with unsettled feelings about the current options. They both believed that Jesus Christ came to earth and atoned for the sins of the world, but found no comfort in the friction brewing among the surrounding faiths. They continued to be patient, to pray, and to study the scriptures. Following their example, Joseph Jr. came across James 1:5 whilst reading the bible...
"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."
“The Prophet Joseph Smith taught us the principle of faith—by example. His simple prayer of faith on that Spring morning in 1820 brought about this marvelous work which continues today throughout the world.”
- Thomas S. Monson
The Prophet Joseph Smith: Teacher by Example
“Every soul has a natural desire to communicate with their Father in Heaven. We all long for purpose in our lives and a connection to the being that created us. Joseph Smith was no different; he longed for enlightenment and turned to the one Being he knew could answer the deep questions that had been plaguing his mind..” ;
- S. Michael Wilcox
"Let us Ask of God" S. Michael Wilcox, Dec. 2004 Ensign,The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
"Have you ever had questions like Joseph's? What can be learned from his
example on how to get answers to important questions we have?"