Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, so I want to share some thoughts and feelings about him. I shared something similar last year, and on my Blog comments yesterday were two which were VERY disturbing and unwelcome. Someone had gone back to what I posted a year ago and made blasphemous comments about Joseph Smith. Ouch! It moved me to re-post some of what I had shared. I love the Prophet Joseph Smith! I feel so thankful for his sacrifices and his willingness to be an instrument in God’s hands for restoring so much that means everything to me. I love it that his birthday is so close to the time when we celebrate the birth of the Savior. The Beloved Son of God, and another of God’s sons who was and is also greatly loved. One early morning I was reading Joseph Smith’s history from The Pearl of Great Price. It’s a story I’ve read many times, and it’s a story I’ve shared with others many, many times. But I wanted to go slowly and pay attention (with no “been there, done that” feelings). As I did, some thoughts came to my mind. I’ll share them the best I can. Joseph had questions. Perhaps he even had doubts. He was wondering which church he should join. Some family members had joined a church. But he was confused at all the contention. As he described it, those who had been so loving at one moment were the opposite the next (when some of their members began to join other sects). You know what happens. Joseph realizes he lacks wisdom and needs to ask God. I wish I could and would turn that direction more often. I sat really thinking about it. Do I have faith that I’ll receive an answer if I lack wisdom? Do I have enough faith to ask Him? The father of evil tried to keep Joseph from receiving an answer, because he knew it would change everything. EVERYTHING! Maybe sometimes when we feel like asking questions we will feel some opposition, some darkness, some negative influence. I’m so thankful a young boy didn’t give up. I don’t want to give up either. I know we’re all surrounded by those who are no longer believers. I know they dig up negative things about the Prophet Joseph Smith. Once they doubt him, the other dominoes fall—they no longer believe that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. And although they may say they still believe in and follow Christ, how is that possible when HE is the One Who appeared to Joseph, and HE is the One Who has continued to provide guidance and revelation to every Prophet who has followed Joseph. Joseph was told by Moroni that his name “should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.” (JS-H 1:33). I always thought that would happen because of enemies of the Church, enemies of righteousness and of God. I mourn (I really do mourn) that so many of those who have believed no longer believe, and that they speak evil of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
I’m deeply thankful for how I feel about Joseph Smith. I love him. Sometimes when I’m thinking about him and praying about him – thanking Heavenly Father for him and all the others who remained true and faithful at great sacrifice – I have feelings come into my heart. One of the strong ones is this: “Millions shall know Brother Joseph again!” And yes, it is usually accompanied by “Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!” It is a strong, deep desire of my heart that I can be one of those millions – that when I see him again I will KNOW HIM. I will know that he IS all that he said he was, that he DID experience ALL that he said he did… that I can look on him with JOY, knowing that I never doubted. Never. I love this message which was carved in a hearthstone from the old Solomon Mack home years after Joseph’s birth: AROUND THIS HEARTHSTONE AND ITS GLOWING FIREPLACE, TWO DAYS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, 1805, THE SMITH FAMILY WASHED, DRESSED, AND CUDDLED THE FUTURE ORGANIZER OF “GOD’S KINGDOM RESTORED.”