It was terribly sad. The Church of Jesus Christ, established by him on Earth to lead his children, had been lost. The apostles, the guardians of the church, had been killed and their authority lost to the world. Nobody knew exactly how to guide the church, because nobody had the authority or revelation to say what the scriptures meant. People hadn't heard from God for so much time that eventually they figured he had stopped talking; that the Bible was the only word God had spoken, and the only word he ever would speak. Eventually, even that medium of knowing God was taken, being thought too much for the common people to understand.
During the Renaissance, people realized that something was wrong. The Catholic church, the only church at the time, wasn't the same as the church that the Bible described. Reformers, called Protestants, tried to get back to the church as Christ had made it. Martin Luther broke off of the Catholic church, eventually forming the Lutheran Church. King Henry VIII decided to break off the Catholic church as well. From there, churches seemed to sprout up all over Europe. Do you know how many different churches there are?
List of Christian Denominations, I think you'll see my point after scrolling down a few seconds. There are thousands of churches, and new ones are springing up every day. People feel happy, and a church starts. People feel sad, and a church starts. People feel discontent with the church that they go to already, and so they start their own. Where in this entire mess is the Church of God? Which one has the authorization of God to do His will? Can God really be the author of all this confusion?
That's really the question that came to the mind of a boy in 1820. Joseph Smith saw all these churches and asked himself, "Which is right?" In order to enter heaven, he needed to be baptized, but which of all these churches had the authority. Each pastor had his list of reasons for why his church was right. Which church was God's church, and how could he know it?
He decided to investigate the matter more fully by reading the Bible. Towards the end, he found a scripture in James:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God. That means, if you don't know what to do, go and pray to God. He'll tell you what to do."If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, which giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. ~James 1:5"
That's exactly what Joseph did.
To be concluded...