Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lesson Recap: The Martyrdom

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Chapter 46

God protected Joseph Smith until his earthly mission was complete.

In August 1842, Joseph Smith said:
My feelings at the present time are that, inasmuch as the Lord Almighty has preserved me until today, He will continue to preserve me, by the united faith and prayers of the Saints, until I have fully accomplished my mission in this life, and so firmly established the dispensation of the fullness of the priesthood in the last days, that all the powers of earth and hell can never prevail against it.
We committed ourselves to serve him with all our might, mind, and strength when we covenanted to take Christ's name upon us. Let us be about His business and trust that “He will continue to preserve [us]” until we too may accomplish the mission God has for us.

Have you seen this principle in action in your life or the lives of family members?

Before his death, Joseph Smith conferred upon the Twelve Apostles every priesthood key and power that the Lord had sealed upon him.

Wilford Woodruff said about Joseph Smith’s meeting with the Apostles in March 1844:
I remember the last speech that [Joseph Smith] ever gave us before his death. … He stood upon his feet some three hours. The room was filled as with consuming fire, his face was as clear as amber, and he was clothed upon by the power of God.

He laid before us our duty. He laid before us the fullness of this great work of God; and in his remarks to us he said: “I have had sealed upon my head every key, every power, every principle of life and salvation that God has ever given to any man who ever lived upon the face of the earth.

And these principles and this Priesthood and power belong to this great and last dispensation which the God of Heaven has set His hand to establish in the earth. Now,” said he, addressing the Twelve, “I have sealed upon your heads every key, every power, and every principle which the Lord has sealed upon my head.”

And continuing, he said, “I have lived so long—up to the present time—I have been in the midst of this people and in the great work and labor of redemption. I have desired to live to see this Temple built. But I shall never live to see it completed; but you will—you will.”

After addressing us in this manner he said: “I tell you, the burden of this kingdom now rests upon your shoulders; you have got to bear it off in all the world, and if you don’t do it you will be damned.”
What is your testimony of succession in the Presidency of the Church?

Joseph Smith fulfilled his earthly mission and sealed his testimony with his blood.

Joseph F. Smith, the sixth President of the Church, taught:
What does the martyrdom [of Joseph and Hyrum Smith] teach us?

The great lesson that “where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator” (Heb. 9:16) to make it of force. Moreover, that the blood of martyrs is indeed the seed of the Church.

The Lord permitted the sacrifice that the testimony of those virtuous and righteous men should stand as a witness against a perverse and unrighteous world.

Then, again, they were examples of the wonderful love of which the Redeemer speaks: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ (John 15:13.) This wonderful love they manifested to the Saints and to the world; for both realized and expressed their conviction, before starting on the journey to Carthage, that they were going to their death. …

Their courage, their faith, their love for the people were without bounds, and they gave all that they had for their people. Such devotion and love left no doubt in the minds of those who enjoyed the companionship of the Holy Spirit that these good men and true, were indeed the authorized servants of the Lord.

This martyrdom has always been an inspiration to the people of the Lord. It has helped them in their individual trials; has given them courage to pursue a course in righteousness and to know and to live the truth, and must ever be held in sacred memory by the Latter-day Saints who have learned the great truths that God revealed through His servant, Joseph Smith.
Has the martyrdom been an inspiration to you? Does it give you courage to pursue a course of righteousness?

I add my testimony to the prophets that Joseph Smith was the first prophet of this dispensation, that he was true to his mission, that he bore testimony of God and His Son Jesus Christ, that he established the church of Christ again in these latter-days, and that he sealed his testimony in blood.


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