I have recently taken on the task of studying the Mormon faith. I found your book online and after reading it and various other sources on their doctrines and beliefs it is clear to me that they are not Christians, and that Mormonism is a cult. I am actually doing my semester term paper on this subject and I have watched several videos just on Joseph Smith and how he grew up.
Obviously I know that the videos they produce are skewed to their perspective on Smith, but nevertheless it seemed as though Joseph Smith was an adolescent earnestly seeking truth from God. His vision could mean that he was crazy, a liar, or he was telling the truth. Some of the people I have discussed this with have adopted the opinion that he was possessed or lead astray by the devil.
So, my question is this: if Joseph Smith was honestly asking God to show him the right thing to do (which in this case was which denomination to join) then why would God allow him to be lead so far away from the truth?
What a great question.
First, however, I hope you will send me your name, because I have a little trouble dialoguing with "baby gurl"
We, of course, cannot, nearly two hundred years later, know for sure who Joseph Smith was, what his motives were, or what his mental condition was. We do know:
a. he was (as was his mother) deeply involved in the occult (s D. Michael Quinn's "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View."--Signature Books)
b. There is some evidence that he was deeply psychologically troubled, (See Robert D. Anderson's "Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith: Psychobography and the Book of Mormon"--Signature Books)
I think the answer to your question is in the question itself and the answer is that God would certainly would not have led him astray. The fact that the answer to his question was the revelation of Mormonism (which is certainly not godly) means that God did not lead him to it. What was the context of the supposed question? In other words if Joseph Smith were indeed committed to the dark arts and in the middle of that darkness went into the grove and had a vision, I'm sure--regardless of how he framed the question--God would have answered, but I am sure that lots of people think they hear from God when they do not.
So, since we cannot know, with precision, the mind of Joseph Smith, we must judge what he _says_ God told him. And the things he said God told him are absolutely unbiblical. Hence, the source--to my way of thinking--could not have been God.
Hope that helps.
If you send me your name (and either attach it as a reply to this message, or be sure to send you address again, I will send you a packet of info that may be helpful.
God bless you in your ongoing search. And thanks for a well articulated question.
Through the Maze Ministry