Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are part of history—an eternal heritage!
“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing, persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny many defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited very clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”1
This eternal truth did not die on June 27, 1844 when the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred in Carthage, Illinois. What earthly clocks do not permit time for, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ can show us the path that reaches beyond time and through the veil.
Testaments continue to validate what young Joseph learned for himself in the spring of 1820 when the Father and the Son appeared and declared to him what he had sought after in humble prayer.
President Joseph Fielding Smith
“In the same way that I know Jesus is the Christ—and that is by revelation from the Holy Spirit—I know that Joseph Smith is and was and everlastingly shall be a Prophet of God. In a spirit of testimony and thanksgiving, as set forth in the Doctrine and Covenants: ‘Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.’” (D&C 135:3)2
President Harold B. Lee
“Joseph Smith, the young man not schooled in the theologies of the day, not schooled in the high schools of learning of his day, . . . [was] one who could be submissive to the teachings and whisperings of the Spirit. Joseph Smith could not have established this Church. He could not have brought forth the work of the Lord, the Book of Mormon. Joseph by the power of God did perform the miraculous service of bringing forth the kingdom out of obscurity in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”3
President Spencer W. Kimball
“That new day dawned when [a] soul with passionate yearning prayed for divine guidance. A spot of hidden solitude was found, knees were bent, a heart was humbled, pleadings were voiced, and a light brighter than the noonday sun illuminated the world—the curtain never to be closed again.”4
President Ezra Taft Benson
“The Prophet Joseph Smith was not only ‘one of the noble and great ones,’ but he gave and continues to give attention to important matters here on the earth even today from the realms above. For in the eyes of the Lord . . . it is all one great eternal program in which the Prophet Joseph plays an important role— all through the eternal priesthood and authority of God.”5
President Howard W. Hunter
“I am grateful . . . [for] my testimony of the simple story of the lad under the trees kneeling and receiving heavenly visitors— not one God, but two separate, individual personages, the Father and the Son, revealing again to the earth the personages of the Godhead. . . . I bear witness that . . . it is one of the greatest single events in all history.”6
President Gordon B. Hinckley
“The story of Joseph’s life is the story of a miracle. . . . In the brief space of 20 years preceding his death, he accomplished what none other has accomplished in an entire lifetime. He translated and published the Book of Mormon, a volume which has since been retranslated into scores of languages and which is accepted by missions across the earth as the word of God. . . . He established an organization which . . . has withstood every adversity and challenge and is as effective today in governing a worldwide membership . . . as it was in governing a membership of 300 in 1830. . . . Joseph Smith set in motion a program for carrying the gospel to the nations of the earth. . . . Members gather in [nations of the earth twice a year] and are the flowering of the vision of Joseph Smith, the prophet of God. He was indeed a mighty seer who saw this day and greater days yet to come as the work of the Lord moves over the earth.”7
President Thomas S. Monson
“Volumes have been written concerning the life and accomplishments of Joseph Smith. In the course of his ministry he was visited by John the Baptist, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, and John, that the Restoration of all things might be accomplished. He endured persecution; he suffered grievously, as did his followers. He trusted in God. He was true to his prophetic calling. He commenced a marvellous missionary effort to the entire world, which today brings light and truth to the souls of mankind. At length, Joseph Smith died the martyr’s death, as did his brother Hyrum.”8
The Prophet Joseph Smith’s counsel to President Brigham Young given in a dream President Young had after the Prophet’s death:
“Be sure to tell the people to keep the spirit of the Lord and it will lead them right. Be careful not to turn away the small still voice; it will teach you what to do and where to go; it will yield the fruits of the kingdom.”9
With the exception of the Prophet Joseph, seven of the prophets of God heretofore referenced I have known and worked with personally. Alongside each, I wish to add my own witness.
Over the span of many years in personal study, and of time to ponder and pray, the promises of our Lord and Savior have been realized through personal spiritual confirmations. There has come a conviction that God our Father in Heaven lives and loves us, and His Son, Jesus the Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer. Joseph Smith was the Prophet of the Restoration. This assurance, through the whisperings of the Spirit, even the Holy Ghost, provides the polar star of direction toward all that is desired in the eternal glories.
The timeless events and experiences with our latter-day prophets of God, whom we sustain, cause us to remember that we are children of a loving Father in Heaven and that we should act accordingly. The significance of the life and history of the Prophet Joseph Smith and those who followed continue to provide the Standard of Truth. May we ever look toward the gifts of the Atonement and Resurrection, made possible by His Son, Jesus the Christ, with the eternal promise of life everlasting in the highest realms of the celestial kingdom.
1. Joseph Smith Jr., History of the Church, 4:540.
2. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 541–555.
3. Teachings: Joseph Smith, 541–555.
4. Teachings: Joseph Smith, 541–555.
5. Teachings: Joseph Smith, 541–555.
6. Teachings: Joseph Smith, 541–555.
7. Teachings: Joseph Smith, 541–555.
8. “Led by Spiritual Pioneers,” Liahona and Ensign, Aug. 2006, 7.
9. Manuscript History of Brigham Young 1846–1847, comp., Eldon J. Watson (1971), 529.