~by Jen H.
Not long ago, I sat in our Sunday meetings at church and listened to a very well thought out, well prepared and inspired lesson on the remarkable Prophet Joseph Smith. A few things really struck me as listened to the moving lesson. Most profound is that, I knew Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that was re-confirmed to me with 100% certainty. I have always had very strong feelings about the Church and the truth of it and because of that, I have never questioned the validity of Joseph Smith because I knew it all to be true. Besides having been given the spiritual confirmation that he is a true prophet, there is no way a man would have endured what he did had he not believed in what he was doing to be irrevocably true. He endured so much, suffered so much and did so much to restore Christ’s gospel on the earth. What an amazing burden that must have been but he demonstrated faith beyond my comprehension. I fear I would have been a coward; I do not think I could have endured what he did. He loved his wife and children dearly yet to bring to pass “the work” it required him to be gone much of the time. I am not sure what quality of life he had, from what I have read he suffered a great deal but I am sure he knew the reward in heaven for blazing the trail and for preparing the way for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saint to thrive in the last days.
Joseph Smith had a very strong testimony and he wrote eloquently about his feelings. Below are a few quotes that I found rather moving.
“I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priest-craft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women—all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty.” (History of the Church, 5:401.)
That quote is so applicable to all our lives, we ARE refined and beautified through our trials and sometimes the attempts of adversary to weaken us actually makes us stronger and better.
Joseph Smith wrote the following from Liberty Jail after receiving letters from his loved ones:
“We need not say to you that the floodgates of our hearts were lifted and our eyes were a fountain of tears, but those who have not been enclosed in the walls of prison without cause or provocation, can have but little idea how sweet the voice of a friend is; one token of friendship from any source whatever awakens and calls into action every sympathetic feeling . . . until finally all enmity, malice and hatred, and past differences, misunderstandings and mismanagements are slain victorious at the feet of hope; and when the heart is sufficiently contrite, then the voice of inspiration steals along and whispers, ‘My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.'” H(istory of the Church, 3:293; the last portion of this paragraph was later canonized in D&C 121:7–8.)
What a beautiful verse of Scripture on what it feels like to be humble and to forgive others. How bright the light he must have been even amongst great darkness around him, he KNEW what he was doing and there was still great peace and light. Isn’t there a great lesson for us in these few words about how we handle our trials and our enemies?
As President of the Church, the Prophet Joseph received constant guidance from heaven. “It is my meditation all the day,” he said, “to know how I shall make the Saints of God comprehend the visions that roll like an overflowing surge before my mind.” (History of the Church, 5:362)
Oh, how I love this quote! He could not contain himself, he could not restrain himself, regardless of the consequence he was moved to righteous obedience in restoring this great gospel of Jesus Christ.
Joseph Smith has taught me that it is important to be courageous in the cause of Christ and that is OK to be unpopular in the eyes of others. Having a testimony of the gospel of Christ also means having a testimony of the man that gave his life restoring it. I am so grateful for him and for his remarkable work.
For more on Joseph Smith, click here.
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I was very touched by this. I so long to be a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty! I had an ancestor in Liberty jail with Joseph–he was not arrested but chose to stay with Joseph as he was one of his bodyguards. He died young as a result of chronic injuries he sustained from beatings he had while in Liberty jail. I am so grateful for him and his faith and his willingness–I believe his example is one reason I am able to endure my challenges in faith and patience.