Members of the Mormon Church believe that Joseph Smith was the first prophet of the latter-days. He is revered because he restored the gospel to the earth, organized the Church, and translated the Book of Mormon. Mormons do not worship him but they do honor him as Catholics honor their Saints.
Joseph Smith was just a young boy of fourteen when he desired to know which church was true. During the early 1800's the area of Palmyra New York experienced a great religious revival. Churches everywhere were competing and urging people to join their congregation. Young Joseph Smith did not know who was right. After reading in 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,"1 he decided to ask for himself.
In the spring of 1820 Joseph Smith retired to a grove of trees and began to pray. What transpired then was truly a miracle and not something that Joseph Smith ever expected. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared unto the boy Joseph. God the Father gestured towards Christ and said, "This is My Beloved Son. Hear him." 2 Then Christ proceeded to tell Joseph Smith that none of the churches on the earth were true and that Joseph would be instrumental in restoring the fullness of His gospel on the earth. Because of Joseph Smith's vision The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that God and Jesus Christ are two separate and distinct beings, with bodies of perfected flesh and bone, that are one in purpose.
Because of his vision Joseph Smith was greatly persecuted. But he would not deny it. For he said, "I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it." 3
A few years after what Mormons call "The First Vision," another holy messenger, the angel Moroni, visited Joseph Smith. Moroni was an ancient prophet that lived in the Americas. He was the last writer on a sacred record of scripture called the gold plates. Moroni proceeded to tell Joseph Smith where the plates were buried. In 1827 Joseph Smith received the gold plates and began translating them. He read the record straight from the plates while another translated it. The translation is called The Book of Mormon. It is another testament of Jesus Christ and a record of the ancient inhabitants of the American continents.
Later Joseph Smith received the priesthood, which is God's power on earth. Under Christ's direction Joseph Smith organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. Through future revelations from Joseph Smith, many recorded in The Doctrine and Covenants, sweet and precious truths and practices were restored to the earth including: apostles, temples, the power to seal in heaven and on earth, the Word of Wisdom, forever families, missionary work, and the organization of Christís church.
1. James 1:5