As a young 14 year old boy, Joseph Smith wondered which church he should join. As he was reading in James, he read a passage of scripture that made a deep impression on his heart and mind. "5 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." James 1:5 Joseph believed the promise of this scripture, and determined to ask God which church he should join. One spring morning he went to a grove of trees and prayed. In answer to his prayer, God the Father, and Jesus Christ appeared to him. Some have questioned this experience, saying that they didn't believe a man could look at God and still live. Can a man see God? Can a man see God and withstand His glory? Could Joseph Smith have seen God?
The Bible records a couple of different events in which people were allowed to see God. Jacob was allowed to see the face of God. "30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." Genesis 32:30 Moses also saw God face to face on Mount Sinai. "11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend..." Exodus 33:10
After translating the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, Joseph Smith went on to start a translation of the Bible. While translating the book of Genesis, Joseph received a revelation which today is known as the Book of Moses. In this account of Moses we get a more detailed account of his experience upon Mount Sinai.
"1 The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain,
2 And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses; therefore Moses could endure his presence.
10 And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.
11 But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him. " Moses 1:1,2,10,11
This account explains more fully how a person could withstand the glory of God, should they see Him face to face. It is only through the glory of God, that a person is able to withstand the glory of God. Moses, Jacob, Joseph Smith, and others were given this opportunity. The Bible teaches that in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall all things be established. Here are three that testify that God lives, for they have seen Him face to face.