I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith. I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ. I'll honor his name. I'll do what is right; I'll follow his light. His truth I will proclaim.

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

I Know that My Redeemer Lives!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On Joseph's 203rd Birthday

I love Joseph Smith, Jr. He has always been a hero to me. I have loved learning more about the man and prophet throughout my life. I have enjoyed visiting, walking, and even living in the same places that he did. He was truly amazing. I like that his birthday comes exactly in between Christmas and my parents' anniversary. It just seems to fit that I get to honor his birth as well as the two other most important events that could have ever affected my life.

In tribute, here is a quote that very briefly sums up the many, many things that Joseph did in his ministry.

Neal A. Maxwell, "By the Gift and Power of God," Ensign, Jan. 1997, 41

"Why do we not have more disclosure concerning the process of translation of the Book of Mormon? Perhaps the full process was not disclosed because we would not be ready to understand it, even if given. Perhaps, too, the Lord wanted to leave the Book of Mormon in the realm of faith, though it is drenched with intrinsic evidence. After all, Christ instructed Mormon, who was reviewing the Savior's own teachings among the Nephites, not to record all of them on the plates because 'I will try the faith of my people' (3 Ne. 26:11). Perhaps the details of translation are withheld also because we are intended to immerse ourselves in the substance of the book rather than becoming unduly concerned with the process by which we received it.

"In any case, as soon as the translation process was completed, it was necessary for the Prophet Joseph to move on quickly in what would be a very busy and highly compressed ministry. This ministry included retranslating hundreds of verses in the Bible; fully establishing the Church; receiving various priesthood keys, with each of which came new duties and new concerns, from heavenly messengers; leading the winnowing Zion's Camp march; and calling and training many of the Church leaders, including the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and others, as in the School of the Prophets. (Notably, the Prophet sent nine of the Twelve to England when he could least afford to send them.) He also continued receiving revelations; he oversaw large gatherings of Church members in Kirtland, Jackson County, and Nauvoo. He experienced awful and severe apostasy among members, especially in the Kirtland period and in Nauvoo. On one illustrative occasion, when Wilford Woodruff met Joseph in Kirtland, the Prophet scrutinized him for a moment, then said: 'Brother Woodruff, I am glad to see you. I hardly know when I meet those who have been my brethren in the Lord, who of them are my friends. They have become so scarce' (quoted in Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff [1964], 68). As his ministry progressed, he focused on temple building and temple ordinances—in many ways, the crowning achievement of his life.

"The Prophet Joseph did all of these and so much more while serving simultaneously as father and husband. He and Emma lost six of their children to early death.

"Finally, of course, came the engulfing events leading up to the Martyrdom.

"So many large undertakings were compressed into such a small period of time! The Prophet's ministry almost defies description. No wonder Joseph once said that if he hadn't experienced his own life, he would not have believed it himself (see History of the Church, 6:317)."

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