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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Joseph Smith's Prophetic Call

"This isn't about who knows more Bible or who's a better debater," I told a young woman, "This is about your relationship with your Heavenly Father." She is a smart girl. She challenges herself mentally. The Lord has blessed her with this gift of knowledge, and faith. She has a strong belief that the Bible is true. As a result, she has made learning it a priority. In my service in the southern states of America, I have met many people who have done this exact same thing. They read. They study. They learn. When they have questions, they lean on man's understanding, and ask a man. Consequently, instead of going to omniscient God, they turn to man with limited knowledge. Instead of reading and praying about The Book of Mormon which is the raw evidence that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God; they turn to other books and ask man. The collection of books, in particular, are known to the world as "The History of The Church." This collection has many volumes and many people insist on attacking us using small passages taken out of context from these volumes. "Studying the Church… through the eyes of its defectors," Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, is "like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus. Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed." This has caused many much heartache and grief. Elder Neil L. Andersen stated, "some information about Joseph, while true, may be presented completely out of context to his own day and situation.
Elder Russell M. Nelson illustrated this point. He said: "I was serving as a consultant to the United States government at its National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Once while awaiting a taxi to take me to the airport after our meetings were over, I stretched out on the lawn to soak in a few welcome rays of sunshine before returning to the winter weather of Utah... Later I received a photograph in the mail taken by a photographer with a telephoto lens, capturing my moment of relaxation on the lawn. Under it was a caption, 'Governmental consultant at the National Center.' The picture was true, the caption was true, but the truth was used to promote a false impression."
One such passage commonly taken out of context is an account when Joseph Smith says that no man who has existed on the planet, save Adam, has held the church together as long as him, then further listed ancient prophets whose dispensations ended with apostasy, included in this list was the Son of God even Jesus Christ. This is often used in an attempt to dis-prove the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, when he "placed himself higher than Jesus Christ."
"God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us--His imperfect children--and imperfect people make mistakes." — President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Come, Join with Us
https://www.lds.org/media-library/images/jonah-beach-whale-168772?lang=eng&category=
Prophets of God are not God. They are imperfect beings with tendencies to sin, and make mistakes. As Nephi has stated of himself, "O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins..."(2 Nephi 4: 17-19)" Prophets of God are fallible. They are no more perfect today than they were anciently. Joseph Smith was fallible. Just as the prophets of old. A perfect Biblical example of a prophet falling into this trap of pride is Jonah. He thought he could run from God (thinking he was better than God) to hide from his prophetic duties to preach repentance to Ninevah. Just as Jonah had a lapse of judgement, so can modern-day prophets. Due to high emotions, Joseph Smith said what Jonah thought; a perfect example of God having to use imperfect, fallible people. 

Within all the writing of the church, the Prophet Joseph Smith has stated, far more, that he is nothing, and Jesus Christ is everything. This prophet of God has said he can't do anything without Jesus Christ. When he thought he was entitled to being miraculously broken out of prison writing, "O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place? How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them? O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol—stretch forth thy hand; let thine eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion toward us. Let thine anger be kindled against our enemies; and, in the fury of thine heart, with thy sword avenge us of our wrongs. Remember thy suffering saints, O our God; and thy servants will rejoice in thy name forever." (D&C 121: 1-6) the Lord responded with, "if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son... The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" (D&C 122: 7-8

The Angel Moroni said, "that [Joseph Smith's] name should be had
 for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues..."
As a servant of God, "Should we be surprised with the evil spoken against [Joseph Smith]?" Elder Andersen asked. "The Apostle Paul was called mad and deranged. Our Beloved Savior, the Son of God, was labeled gluttonous, a winebibber, and possessed of a devil..." Joseph Smith has the labels of "charlatan and womanizer." "The negative commentary about the Prophet Joseph Smith will increase as we move toward the Second Coming of the Savior. The half-truths and subtle deceptions will not diminish," Elder Andersen further noted.
"On his first visit to the Prophet Joseph Smith at age 17, an angel called Joseph by name and told him that he, Moroni, was a messenger sent from the presence of God and that God had a work for him to do. Imagine what Joseph must have thought when the angel then told him that his name would "be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues." Perhaps the shock in Joseph's eyes caused Moroni to repeat again that both good and evil would be spoken of him among all people... The Lord told Joseph of his destiny: 'The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee; While the pure in heart, … the wise, … and the virtuous, shall seek … blessings constantly from under thy hand.'"
"opposition... sends seekers of truth to their knees for answers." -- Elder Neil L. Andersen
I echo the challenge of Elder Andersen to, "gain a personal witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Let your voice help fulfill Moroni's prophetic words to speak good of the Prophet. Here are two ideas: First, find scriptures in the Book of Mormon that you feel and know are absolutely true. Then share them with family and friends... acknowledging that Joseph was an instrument in God's hands. Next, read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Pearl of Great Price or in this pamphlet, now in 158 languages. You can find it... with the missionaries. This is Joseph's own testimony of what actually occurred. Read it often. Consider recording the testimony of Joseph Smith in your own voice, listening to it regularly, and sharing it with friends. Listening to the Prophet's testimony in your own voice will help bring the witness you seek."


I testify Joseph Smith holds the keys of the kingdom, and is a powerful instrument in the hands of God. He has been closer to Christ in character than any other man on earth, and through Christ has been cleansed to any infirmities. He taught the pure Doctrine of Christ, and as you follow his teachings, you too will be cleansed in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

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