Mormons revere Joseph Smith as the Prophet of the Restoration of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some unknowingly believe that Mormons worship Joseph Smith. This is false. As I was driving to Church yesterday, I found myself pondering over what I wanted to write about, in regard to Joseph Smith and his martyrdom. I couldn't help but consider this misunderstanding...
I can honestly say that I cannot ever remember, previously, a circumstance where Joseph Smith was on my mind as I entered the chapel on a Sunday.
When I attend services each week my thoughts are turned to God, who I do worship and His Son, who has made my Salvation possible. I clearly understand that Joseph Smith was the instrument that God utilized to bring about His work. I believe that for most Mormons, there is no confusion on this point.
However, while I believe that it's important to acknowledge that although Mormons do not worship Joseph Smith, most, are definitely amazed at his accomplishments as Prophet of the Restoration. Beginning with the revelation that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate and distinct individuals with bodies of flesh and bone, Joseph Smith continued to reveal eternal truths until the end of his mortal life. Saving truths that change lives.
The coming forth of the Book of Mormon is, without a doubt, the most life changing substance that Joseph Smith revealed. Within the content of this book lays a promise, which the intent thereof is to bring individuals, literally, to the knowledge of God.
My own and very personal testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith, is founded in this very promise -- which is that God will verify the truth of the Book of Mormon, brought forth by His Prophet, through the power of the Holy Ghost. I recently shared that account HERE.
The current Prophet of the Mormon Church, Thomas S. Monson, had this to say about Joseph Smith:
"The Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, had appeared to Joseph Smith. The morning of the dispensation of the fulness of times had come, dispelling the darkness of the long generations of spiritual night.
"Volumes have been written concerning the life and accomplishments of Joseph Smith, but for our purposes here today perhaps a highlight or two will suffice: He was visited by the angel Moroni. He translated, from the precious plates to which he was directed, the Book of Mormon, with its new witness of Christ to all the world. He was the instrument in the hands of the Lord through whom came mighty revelations pertaining to the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the course of his ministry he was visited by John the Baptist, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, and John, that the Restoration of all things might be accomplished. He endured persecution; he suffered grievously, as did his followers. He trusted in God. He was true to his prophetic calling. He commenced a marvelous missionary effort to the entire world, which today brings light and truth to the souls of mankind. At length, Joseph Smith died the martyr's death." Ensign, April 1997
Some of you reading this are probably thinking... 'well, if she really knew all about that Joe Smith, she would never say such things'! I can assure you, I have. Or perhaps you think I'm simply naive? Nope. Really, I've heard and read it all. Regardless, I cannot deny the answer that I received, from the Spirit, that the Book of Mormon is true. If the Book of Mormon is true, I must then accept that Joseph Smith was called of God in these last days -- and that what he taught, as a Prophet of God, must not be taken lightly.
Gaining a testimony that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the vehicle by which God has authorized His Church to be administered, comes directly through the works of Joseph Smith. And what a blessing it is for those who embrace that living prophets are here upon the earth today.
God honors His prophets and requires that we do the same. Twice on Sunday I had the opportunity to sing a favorite Mormon hymn, "Praise to the Man", found on page number 27 of the Church hymnal -- no coincidence I'm sure. And of note, this hymn was written by W. W. Phelps.
Yes, "Millions shall know "Brother Joseph" again"! And they must. It is my testimony that all who will eventually enter into the Kingdom of God will ultimately need to reconcile with this Latter-day Prophet of God -- whom He called to usher in the dispensation of the fullness of times.
"Praise to the Man" The Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith
Seth Adam Smith
Joseph Smith Jr. - Praise to the Man (post from 2009)