Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lesson Recap: Joseph Smith's Feelings About His Mission

I have no desire but to do all men good.

Taught by Connie Thornloe, November 15, 2009
Lesson 45, Joseph Smith's Feelings About His Prophetic Mission

It is remarkable that while the Prophet was enduring so much persecution and was pressured by the constant demands of the growing Church, he found time to show that he cared for each Church member as an individual. Many Saints in later years remembered the love and kindness the Prophet Joseph showed to them.

Joseph was good natured and fun loving when he played ball with the boys. He was kind enough to help two children who had become stuck in the mud on the way to school. For which Margarette Burgess said, “Was it any wonder that I loved that great, good and noble man of God?”

Prophets teach what God reveals to them.

Joseph so wanted to teach more to the people, but at times felt frustrated.
“There has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger [a piece of corn bread] for a wedge, and a pumpkin for a beetle [a wooden mallet]. Even the Saints are slow to understand.
“I have tried for a number of years to get the minds of the Saints prepared to receive the things of God; but we frequently see some of them, after suffering all they have for the work of God, will fly to pieces like glass as soon as anything comes that is contrary to their traditions: they cannot stand the fire at all. How many will be able to abide a celestial law, and go through and receive their exaltation, I am unable to say, as many are called, but few are chosen [see D&C 121:40].”
What can we do to be prepared to receive more revelation from God? What traditions do we need to set aside so that the things of God can be given us?

Sisters in the class responded: We need to be aware that revelation is ongoing. We need to prepare for every General Conference to receive greater light. We need an open mind to new words from our prophets, and a willing and obedient heart ready to change as needed and obey. Often we must try the word first before the Spirit bears witness of the truth. A spirit of introspection will help us evaluate our thoughts and actions so that we can put aside false traditions and sins. 

Although prophets are men with human frailties, they are called of God to teach and lead His people.

The prophet acknowledged that he was not perfect:
“When did I ever teach anything wrong from this stand? When was I ever confounded? I want to triumph in Israel before I depart hence and am no more seen. I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught. Must I, then, be thrown away as a thing of naught?”
“Although I do wrong, I do not the wrongs that I am charged with doing: the wrong that I do is through the frailty of human nature, like other men. No man lives without fault. Do you think that even Jesus, if He were here, would be without fault in your eyes? His enemies said all manner of evil against Him—they all watched for iniquity in Him.”
Perhaps we too judge others and our leaders based on their imperfections. Do we find fault where none is intended. What can we learn from Joseph?

Those who serve are not perfect, but the Lord still works through them and us. We must "bear with one another's infirmities" and not let it get in the way of our testimonies of the Gospel.
Joseph Smith’s journal for October 29, 1842, records: “I … went over to the store [in Nauvoo, Illinois], where a number of brethren and sisters were assembled, who had arrived this morning from the neighborhood of New York. … I told them I was but a man, and they must not expect me to be perfect; if they expected perfection from me, I should expect it from them; but if they would bear with my infirmities and the infirmities of the brethren, I would likewise bear with their infirmities.
Prophets fulfill the missions given to them by God.

Joseph said, “I understand my mission and business.” He knew that God would protect him and help him until he had accomplished it.

What is your mission or life focus? How have you see the hand of the Lord in accomplishing it?

Prophets praise and reprove us because they love us

Joseph Smith said, “Where this people are, there is good society.” And again, “Iniquity of any kind cannot be sustained in the Church, and it will not fare well where I am; for I am determined while I do lead the Church, to lead it right.”

Thanks Connie for teaching Relief Society for us today. We are nearing the end of the Joseph Smith manual and so we enjoyed seeing this side of Joseph Smith and hearing so many of his words directly from the lesson.


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