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Joseph Smith Jr. - Praise To The Man


I hold dear to my heart my own personal testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith Jr. That testimony has developed over my life as I have come to know, line upon line, that the gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is God's authorized Church here upon the earth -- in these last days.

A few years ago I had the blessing and privilege of teaching the Doctrine and Covenants/Church History course in both seminary and institute. I spent that year completely submerged in these inspired records. I came to know and better understand "Brother Joseph" in a way that I had never known him before. I can truly say that I love Joseph Smith. I am grateful for his life, his service, his teachings - and for his willingness to seal his testimony, of these truths, with his own blood.

It is through my personal testimony of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon, as an authentic record brought forth by the prophet, Joseph Smith, that my testimony STANDS. It is a glorious book -- as are the many revelations brought forth by this young prophet of God.

I look forward to the day that I can thank Joseph Smith, for his devotion to the Lord as he fulfilled his mission as prophet of the restoration.

Here are just a few profound teachings -- by way of quotes -- made by the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr:


First Vision


I retired to a secret place in a grove, and began to call upon the Lord; while fervently engaged in supplication, my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in features and likeness, surrounded with brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noon day. History of the Church 4:535–536

I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true . . . . I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation. Joseph Smith—History 1:25

The Lord does reveal himself to me. I know it. He revealed himself first to me when I was about fourteen years old, a mere boy. . . . I kneeled down, and prayed, saying, 'O Lord, what Church shall I join?' Directly I saw a light, and then a glorious Personage in the light, and then another personage, and the first personage said [of] the second, "Behold this is my beloved Son, hear him." Interview by David Nye White, Aug. 1843, published in "The Prairies, Nauvoo, Joe Smith, the Temple, the Mormons, etc.," The Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette, Sept. 15, 1843, 3; reprinted in The Papers of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean C. Jessee, 2 vols. [1989–92], 1:444

The Godhead

God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what He will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them. History of the Church, 3:380

"I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods," (Teachings of Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370).

When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us. History of the Church, 6:308

The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. History of the Church, 3:30

The Book of Mormon


Let us take the Book of Mormon, which a man took and hid in his field, securing it by his faith, to spring up in the last days, or in due time; let us behold it coming forth out of the ground, which is indeed accounted the least of all seeds, but behold it branching forth, yea, even towering, with lofty branches, and God-like majesty, until it, like the mustard seed, becomes the greatest of all herbs. And it is truth, and it has sprouted and come forth out of the earth, and righteousness begins to look down from heaven, and God is sending down His powers, gifts and angels, to lodge in the branches thereof. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 98.

I did translate the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, and it is before the world, and all the powers of earth and hell can never rob me of the honour of it. Quoted in James Palmer, Journal, 75, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter–day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah; capitalization modernized.

"I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book," (History of the Church, vol. 4, p. 461).

Priesthood, Authority and Baptism


The Savior, Moses and [Elijah] gave the keys to Peter, James and John on the mount, when they were transfigured before him (see Matt.17:1–5). The Priesthood is everlasting—without beginning of days or end of years. . . . The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever the Gospel is sent. . . . How have we come at the Priesthood in the latter days? It came down, down, in regular succession. Peter, James, and John had it given to them and they gave it to others. History of the Church, 3:385–87.

The Melchizedek Priesthood . . . is the channel through which all knowledge, doctrine, the plan of salvation, and every important matter is revealed from heaven. . . . It is the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing His glory at the beginning of the creation of this earth, and through which He has continued to reveal Himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which He will make known His purposes to the end of time. History of the Church, 4:207; spelling modernized and paragraph divisions altered.

Whenever men can find out the will of God and find an administrator legally authorized from God, there is the kingdom of God; but where these are not, the kingdom of God is not. All the ordinances, systems, and administrations on the earth are of no use to the children of men, unless they are ordained and authorized of God; for nothing will save a man but a legal administrator; for none others will be acknowledged either by God or angels. History of the Church, 5:259

In the former ages of the world, before the Savior came in the flesh, "the saints" were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to come, because there never was any other name whereby men could be saved; and after he came in the flesh and was crucified, then the saints were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, crucified, risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, that they might be buried in baptism like him, and be raised in glory like him, that as there was but one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and father of us all [see Ephesians 4:5?6], even so there was but one door to the mansions of bliss. Times and Seasons, Sept. 1, 1842, 905; spelling modernized.


Missionary Work

We don't ask any people to throw away any good they have got; we only ask them to come and get more. What if all the world should embrace this gospel? They would then see eye to eye, and the blessings of God would be poured out upon the people, which is the desire of my whole soul. History of the Church, 5:259

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


After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel. History of the Church, 2:478

Our Ancestors

"The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead," (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 7)

Adversity


Hell may pour forth its rage like the burning lava of Mount Vesuvius . . . and yet shall "Mormonism" stand. . . . God is the author of it. He is our shield. . . . It was by Him we received the Book of Mormon; and it is by Him that we remain unto this day; and by Him we shall remain, if it shall be for our glory; and in His Almighty name we are determined to endure tribulation as good soldiers unto the end. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 139.

Prayer

When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us. History of the Church, 6:308

Revelation


The plea of many in this day is, that we have no right to receive revelations; but if we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles [prophets] of God; and if they have not the oracles of God, they are not the people of God. . . . Jesus in His teachings says, 'Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' What rock? Revelation. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 272, 274.


Jesus Christ

22 And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
23 For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
24 That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. Doctrine and Covenants Section 76:22-24


tDMg

Kathryn Skaggs

Post Updated from original of  6/27/2009 by adding new links at bottom of post.

Reconciling the Prophet Joseph Smith

On June 27, 1844, the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, and his brother, Hyrum, were martyred.  Enemies of the Church rallied together and formed an angry mob that violently broke into Carthage Jail -- where the Prophet and a few of his closest friends were being held, under the presumption of safety.   Mormons honor Joseph Smith for a legacy that goes beyond his willingness to die for the cause, but also for what he accomplished in the building up of the Kingdom of God -- during his relatively short life. 

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Straight Mormons March on Sabbath in Gay Pride Parade

If you haven't already heard the buzz, you will. And that's because the story of over 300 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), on Sunday, marched in Salt Lake City's LGBT Pride parade -- in support of gay rights - capturing national attention. Erika Munson, who describes herself as an "active" Mormon, organized the gathering of other active LDS members, who have passionate feelings, and desires, to help bridge the gap with other members who have same-gender attraction, and who feel alienated from the Church.

In garnering publicity for the parade, which has worked, as evidence in the Associated Press covering the story picked up by major media outlets, such as my friends over at the Washington Post, is the emphasis that these Mormons are active, and straight, Church attendees, who support being gay. And to make this point with even greater clarity would be marching in Sunday attire, on Sunday -- which they did.

As much as I am all for working toward building bridges, within the Church, to help our gay brothers and sisters feel love among us, I'm not sure I quite get how taking the one day that the Lord has commanded us to worship Him, the Sabbath, to march in a parade, accomplishes, or enhances, that desire.

If this march (and others planned) is to be a show of LDS member support for gays, intended to draw outside attention, then I would question exactly what message this is sending and why? Did any of these LDS members, marching in the parade, have signs inviting gay members to return to Church, saying "Come Worship With Us Again" -- or rather, are these marches simply intended to broadcast a message that Mormons support gay Mormons, no matter how they choose to live their lives, and that we will embrace you within our congregations -- even if you choose to openly and actively live a homosexual lifestyle? If it is the latter, then certainly most "active" members of the Church would not be in support of such public, minority declarations.

Once again I have concerns that small fringe groups, of LDS members, are using any available media source to promote and advocate for change that is oppositional to what current prophets teach. During this time of increased interest in everything Mormon, it is beyond easy to bring media attention to anything remotely controversial about being Mormon. Normalizing same-sex attraction, with its advocates, both inside and outside of the Church, has become a joint effort with, no doubt, hopeful political results.

As much as I hesitate to bring the Sabbath into this discussion, because I know many will simply focus on how judgemental of others they believe that I am being, marching in a gay pride parade, on Sunday, I believe, is a misguided effort to extend love and build bridges with other members of the Church, who have the challenge of same-gender attraction. I'm not suggesting that something positive did not result, but I am saying that I believe that like, with any family - and the Mormon community is like a family -- love, forgiveness, repentance, etc...  begins in the home.

I envision the day when those challenged with being a Mormon, having same-gender attraction, will know from gentle and quiet personal experiences, with friends and family within the gospel, that they are loved, and supported, in their desire to faithfully live the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have a great deal of confidence that members with SSA, if they so desire, can and will find such loving support -- as God, I believe, intends.

I would love nothing more than to walk, on the Sabbath, into Church, with a gay person, who has previously felt alienated -- to help them feel the love that not only I have for them, but most important, to experience a reunion with God's love, through His Atonement.  This is the bridge that members of the Church wish to help build for all of God's children, who are heavy laden. No need to march.

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."


tDMg
Kathryn Skaggs


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