Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lesson Recap: Contemporaries of Joseph Smith Testify of His Prophetic Mission

Special thanks to Sheryl Jackson for teaching this lesson.
Taught October 18, 2009

Like the early Saints, we can know that Joseph Smith is the prophet through whom the Lord restored the fulness of the gospel.

Brigham Young, the second President of the Church: “I feel like shouting, hallelujah, all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith, the Prophet whom the Lord raised up and ordained, and to whom he gave keys and power to build up the kingdom of God on earth and sustain it. These keys are committed to this people, and we have power to continue the work that Joseph commenced.”

Eliza R. Snow, the general president of the Relief Society from 1866 to 1887: “In the cause of truth and righteousness—in all that would benefit his fellow man, his integrity was as firm as the pillars of Heaven. He knew that God had called him to the work, and all the powers of earth and hell combined, failed either to deter or divert him from his purpose. With the help of God and his brethren, he laid the foundation of the greatest work ever established by man—a work extending not only to all the living, and to all the generations to come, but also to the dead.

“He boldly and bravely confronted the false traditions, superstitions, religions, bigotry and ignorance of the world—proved himself true to every heaven-revealed principle—true to his brethren and true to God, then sealed his testimony with his blood.”

Bathsheba W. Smith, the general president of the Relief Society from 1901 to 1910: “I know him to be what he professed to be—a true prophet of God, and the Lord through him restored the everlasting gospel and every ordinance and endowment that will lead us into the celestial kingdom.”

Wilford Woodruff, the fourth President of the Church: “I have felt to rejoice exceedingly in what I saw of Brother Joseph, for in his public and private career he carried with him the Spirit of the Almighty, and he manifested a greatness of soul which I had never seen in any other man.”9

Daniel D. McArthur, an early Church member who later led one of the first handcart companies to Salt Lake City: “My testimony is that he was a true Prophet of the living God; and the more I heard his sayings and saw his doings the more I was convinced that he had of a truth seen God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, as also the holy angels of God. … It always seemed to me that if I ever did know anything on this earth I surely knew that he was a Prophet.”

Alexander McRae, one of those imprisoned in Liberty Jail with Joseph Smith: “Such was our confidence in [Joseph Smith] as a Prophet, that when he said, ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ we were confident it would be as he said; and the more we tried it, the more confidence we had, for we never found his word to fail in a single instance.”

Lyman O. Littlefield, a member of Zion’s Camp: “The whole energies of his soul were absorbed in the glorious latter-day work to which he had been called by his Divine Master.”

Mary Alice Cannon Lambert, an English convert who emigrated to Nauvoo in 1843: “I first saw Joseph Smith in the Spring of 1843. When the boat in which we came up the Mississippi River reached the landing at Nauvoo, several of the leading brethren were there to meet the company of saints that had come on it. Among those brethren was the Prophet Joseph Smith. I knew him the instant my eyes rested upon him, and at that moment I received my testimony that he was a Prophet of God. … He was not pointed out to me. I knew him from all the other men, and, child that I was (I was only fourteen) I knew that I saw a Prophet of God.”

Angus M. Cannon, a Church member who lived in Nauvoo as a youth and later became a stake president in Salt Lake City: “On one occasion especially do I remember Brother Joseph as he addressed an assembly of the Saints, in the spring of 1844. It was under some large oak trees, in a hollow south of the Temple, near to Parley street. He was discoursing upon the fact that God, in establishing His Church, had provided that only one man was authorized, of God, to receive revelations that should be binding upon the Church. … It was on this same occasion that I heard the Prophet declare he had received the Melchizedek Priesthood, under the administration of Peter, James and John.

“The impression created upon my young mind in the inspired utterances of Joseph Smith has accompanied me throughout my subsequent life; and when darkness would otherwise have beclouded my mind, his testimony has come up vividly before me, giving me evidence that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been established and governed by the manifest power and authority of God.”

Hyrum Smith, the Prophet’s brother and the Patriarch to the Church: “There were prophets before, but Joseph has the spirit and power of all the prophets.”

What impresses you about these testimonies? 

What is the foundation of your own testimony of Joseph Smith?

How did you obtain this testimony? 

Please share in the comments your story, when you first knew Joseph Smith was a prophet.


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