Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Prophet Joseph Smith

I can't let this day pass without acknowledging the Prophet Joseph Smith's birthday.  On this day, December 23, 1805, Joseph Smith, Jr. was born.  I discovered this really great link commemorating his life.

As this two-year period draws to a close in which we as a Church have studied his teachings, I want to add my witness of his instrumental role in restoring the ancient priesthood keys once conveyed to prophets, then lost through ages of apostasy.

Curious about the confusion over religion in his small rural community of Palmyra in upper state New York, fourteen-year-old Joseph determined to pray and follow the admonition of James in the New Testament:  "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).

The story of the events thereafter have been told and retold perhaps millions of times since that early spring morning in a grove of trees not far from the family home.  He declared boldly and without reservation thereafter that he saw and spoke with the Father and the Son who appeared in a pillar of light that was brighter, he said, than the radiance of the noonday sun.

Joseph Smith, the Prophet, ushered in the dispensation of the fullness of times.  The organization of the Church of Christ was revealed year by year during his lifetime.  Priesthood keys were restored, never again to be taken from the earth.  With those priesthood keys, living authorized representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ have fanned out for generations since across the four corners of the earth to proclaim the good news.

Doctrines of truth had been lost through the ages since the garden of Eden.  Obscured or missing doctrines from the Bible were restored through the Prophet.  Included among them are these:

  • The true role and mission of Jesus Christ
  • The true role of Satan
  • The fall of Adam and Eve
  • The nature of man, his pre-mortal existence, mortality, spirit world and resurrection
  • The original gospel taught in the beginning to Adam and Eve
  • God's ways compared and contrasted with fallen man's
  • The use of true priesthood
My witness is simple on this 204th anniversary of his birth:  He was God's prophet.  The more I study his life, his teachings, his revelations, his translation of The Book of Mormon, indeed, the longer I live, the more convinced I become of his divine calling.  There is simply no other way to account for the sheer bulk and weight of what he left behind after suffering a martyr's death in Carthage on July 27, 1844.  Do not dismiss Joseph Smith lightly.  Study his life, study his writings, his teachings and read what his contemporaries had to say about him.  Compare all that with his critics.  Leave nothing out in your quest to understand this pivotal nineteenth century phenomenon, and you will come to view him as I have -- a true prophet of God.

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