Category Archives: Joseph Smith

By Their Fruits

Matt 7One of my favorite Bible stories is that of the prophet Elijah and the priest of Baal. Elijah was a prophet during a time of great wickedness among the Israelites. They had a wicked King, King Ahab and his wife Queen Jezebel. Jezebel made an order that all the prophets of God must be killed, but Obadiah, the King’s servant, hid 100 of the prophets instead of killing them. Most of the Israelites no longer followed God, but worshiped idols instead. In time, when the people would not repent, the Lord sent a famine upon the land. It did not rain, their crops did not grow, many of their animals died. When the Lord felt like it was time to end the famine he sent Elijah to the king. Elijah told Ahab to gather all of the people of Israel and all of the Priests of Baal and other false priests that ate at Jezebel’s table. Knowing Elijah to be a powerful prophet, Ahab obeyed.

Elijah told the people they would know who the true God was that day.

Elijah had the priests prepare a bull for a sacrifice. When they did, he told them to use no fire, but to call on their God to bring fire down from heaven. The priests prayed to Baal and nothing happened. They cut themselves, as the scripture said was their custom, and nothing happened. Continue reading

The Seer Stone, Faith, and Miracles

Church-Releases-Original-Book-of-Mormon-Manuscript-and-Seer-Stone-Photo--600x357The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a 1,000 page, two-volume book containing the Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon. In conjunction with the release of the printer’s manuscript project, the Church posted an article about seership, seer stones, and their roles in translation and revelation. The article is scheduled to be published in print in the Church’s October 2015 issue of the Ensign magazine.

According to Trent Toon, at the Deseret News:

“Images of the seer stone will be placed at the new priesthood restoration site that is being completed in Harmony, Pennsylvania, and will be dedicated Sept. 19 by President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Snow said. Images of the seer stone will also be available in the Church History Museum, which is being renovated and will be opened a week before general conference in October.”

Since that time, many people have either been excited to see the pictures of the stone or have been critical of the Church for keeping this part of the history hidden for nearly 200 years. I’ve heard one person express interest and love for the Church, because as he put it, “I am a very visual person.” Another person, said in disbelief, “I’ve never found a magic stone.” Many others have talked about how the Church has kept this as a secret part of its history. Continue reading

6 Ways to Avoid Spiritual Deception

rp_ask-seek-knock-meme-copy-300x214.jpgMany years ago when I was a freshman in college, I attended a CES fireside. It was November or December, and the topic of the fireside was “Joseph Smith.” At the end of the talks the congregation sang, “Praise to the Man.” As we were singing, people began standing up. After more and more people stood, I followed.

At the end of the song, the priesthood holder conducting the meeting came back to the microphone and told us that there has been a new trend in the Church to stand while singing, but that this practice was not appropriate all of the time. He then said something I would never forget. He pointed to the member of the Twelve Apostles who was on the stand and said that if we wanted to know if we were doing the right thing, we needed to look to the Brethren.

I had been thinking about deception early on during my freshman year. I wanted to follow God. I wanted to be one of the five virgin’s whose oil cruses were full, but I did not feel like I knew how to do it. After this was said, I was sorry that I had followed the crowd, but I was very grateful for the counsel given to look to the apostles. Since that time, I have learned some ways that have helped me to remain faithful, keep my spiritual cruse of oil full, and continue to joyfully endure to the end even when something I read, hear, or don’t understand shakes my faith. Continue reading

Redefining Marriage and Polygamy

file000619663500Marriage is being redefined in a few countries across the world. In fact on Tuesday, April 28, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States of America will hear arguments on whether or not the states of that nation have the constitutional right to define marriage solely as a union between one man and one woman. Many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints find themselves asking or answering some tough questions about redefining marriage and polygamy.

I have heard many people complain that the Church has no right to defend the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman simply because in the early days of the Church some prophets, apostles, and common Church members practiced polygamy. They suffered great persecutions because of it. Shouldn’t  the LDS Church be more sympathetic to other types of unions? Continue reading

Joseph Smith’s Christmases

joseph-smith-221x157Joseph Smith was born on December 23, 1805, before there were Christmas trees, lights, or even presents. Typically, during that time period, parents may have gathered children around to read the Christmas story together, but after that, it was business as usual, especially on a working farm.

Lucy Mack Smith, while reflecting on her son’s entrance into the world, said his birth was forgettable, or at least uneventful. He was a pretty normal child, until he exhibited a glimpse of his valiant spirit by enduring a horrendous operation, which included cutting out infected bone, without anesthesia.

As commercial as Jesus Christ’s birth has become, because of Santa Claus, mall shopping, and setting the perfect table, Latter-day Saints have an opportunity to pause to celebrate quietly the birth of one of the best men who ever lived. In celebrating Joseph’s birth, we are also celebrating the Christ child’s birth. Note the similarities: Continue reading

More Testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith

Recently my neighbor asked me to share my testimony of Joseph Smith in one sentence for a video he was making. I really didn’t want to because I really don’t like being filmed, but considering Mormon Women Stand also encouraged me to share my testimony of the prophet right around the same time, it was a good opportunity to ponder and record my thoughts. After waiting about a week to see the finished video, I was pleased with how well it turned out! I think you’ll enjoy it, too. Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 9.54.28 PM After watching this, the words of Praise to the Man stuck in my mind, and I felt such gratitude toward Joseph Smith for all that he did for us.  I love knowing that others share the same feelings and respect toward Joseph Smith that I have. Continue reading

Joseph Smith: A Virtuous Man

rp_nauvoo-temple-joseph-art-lds-82988-gallery-notice-243x300.jpg*This post has been updated to clarify the author’s intent.

“For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.” (Moroni 7:16)

From the spring of 1820 onward, wicked men consistently called the character of Joseph Smith into question. Vast lies were told and written about him to discredit him and to stop The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) from going forward. Many have accused the Church of hiding the “true history” of Joseph Smith, because someone wrote that Joseph Smith committed all kinds of evil. Some questionable “historical evidence” has been taken from the enemies of Joseph Smith and the enemies of the truth. Continue reading

New Respect for Joseph Smith

nauvoo-temple-joseph-art-lds-82988-gallery-noticeI’ve had a testimony of the Joseph Smith story since I was a teenager. It resonated with me that a 14-year-old could get answers to prayers, because I knew that I had received answers to my own prayers. There are things I don’t understand, but it doesn’t matter because I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that he restored Christ’s Church on the earth. Earlier today, I was reminded of something that happened to me a few years ago, and I began to think about and appreciate Joseph Smith in a whole different way. I was inspired to write an article a few years ago for a well-known online magazine. I didn’t know at the time why it was important to write, but I knew it had to be written.

As soon as the article was published, some of the people who knew me the best became very angry with me for writing it. They “likened” themselves to the article and apparently saw things they didn’t like. I was accused of writing the article to hurt them. There were a whole lot of accusations flying around; none of which were true.

It was such a devastating experience, that I almost quit writing. I continued writing (under a pen name at the time) for two reasons:

1) About 15 minutes after everything hit the fan over the article, I learned that a few people had posted my article on their Facebook pages. There were comments that my article had been a “direct answer to prayer”.   Since I had felt inspired to write the article, I knew that someone needed to hear it.  I was immediately thankful that Heavenly Father let me know that the article had an impact on those who needed to hear those words.  He knew it is what I needed to keep me from completely falling apart.

2) There were a few close people around me who reminded me that I’m not a quitter and encouraged me to continue writing.

Painful as it was, I continued writing and was able to get over the hurt and, in time, move on.

This morning as I was reminded of that experience, it struck me what Joseph Smith must have gone through when his name was immediately dragged through the mud. I was given just a tiny taste of what the prophet Joseph must have felt. I can’t even imagine what he went through as a young man having a small handful of supporters while seemingly the whole world wanted his head on a platter.

Today I have a much greater appreciation for his stamina, courage, and willingness to be obedient. I had never thought about Joseph Smith in this light before. I’ve spent my whole day trying to imagine myself walking in his shoes. The only conclusion that I can draw from this is that no man or woman could have withstood that kind of pressure unless he really did see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. If he hadn’t really seen what he saw in the sacred grove, and had he not been tutored by angels thereafter, he surely would have buckled under that kind of persecution.

It is a natural emotion to want to be liked–even loved–by those with whom you associate. Joseph was loved by few; hated by most. He also knew that long after his death he would be hated by others whom he had never even met.  I can’t imagine living your whole adult life knowing that many others hate you–enough to want you dead.

Yes, today I’m even more in awe of the prophet Joseph Smith. I testify that he was a true prophet of God, and that he restored the true Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. I do so in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
You can read the testimonies of the other admins of Mormon Women Stand here.

Standing By the Prophet Joseph Smith

As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in an era of unprecedented social media, we have the opportunity to testify of the things in which we believe and hold close to our hearts. As such, one of our fundamental beliefs is that Joesph Smith was a prophet of God who was foreordained to bring forth The Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ. He was the instrument by which the fullness of the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ were restored to the earth. We are blessed to be able to testify of these truths. As stated in the popular LDS hymn “Praise to the Man“, we, too, can testify about the “man who communed with Jehovah”, recognizing that “Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer” who was “blessed to open the last dispensation”.

We’re all familiar with his prophetic words: “The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).

Tens of millions have known—and will yet know—about the prophet Joseph Smith.  While the persecutions may combine, we will still stand.
Continue reading

5 Common Concerns: Polygamy, Joseph Smith, and the Church

Some concerns have surfaced about the history of the Church and of Joseph Smith. Is there a way to still be a faithful believer?

 

With the Church’s recent publication of the essays about Polygamy in the Topics section of its website, there has recently been a flurry of criticism both directed at Joseph Smith, and at the Church. I had noticed some common themes in people’s statements that I thought would be good to address. Before I address those five common concerns, let me start with a fictional conversation that will hopefully help you notice a pattern that the Lord has established.

Was Nephi Hiding the Truth From Us?

Imagine you had the following conversation with a friend. (In order for the story to make sense, just know that the “small plates” of Nephi contained a more spiritual history of Nephi’s people. The “large plates” contained a history detailing the wars and other “non-spiritual” events of his people.) Continue reading