Champion of Christian Faith: Joseph Smith
Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.
“This great cause … will continue to go forth, changing and blessing lives. … No force in the entire world can stop the work of God. Despite what comes, this great cause will go forward.”23~ Thomas S. Monson
Neil L. Andersen
Jesus Christ chose a holy man, a righteous man, to lead the Restoration of the fulness of His gospel. He chose Joseph Smith.
On his first visit to the Prophet Joseph Smith at age 17, an angel called Joseph by name and told him that he, Moroni, was a messenger sent from the presence of God and that God had a work for him to do. Imagine what Joseph must have thought when the angel then told him that his name would “be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues.”1 Perhaps the shock in Joseph’s eyes caused Moroni to repeat again that both good and evil would be spoken of him among all people.2
The good spoken of Joseph Smith came slowly; the evil speaking began immediately. Joseph wrote, “How very strange it was that an obscure boy … should be thought … of sufficient importance to attract … the most bitter persecution.”3
While love for Joseph grew, so also did hostility. At the age of 38, he was murdered by a mob of 150 men with painted faces.4 While the Prophet’s life abruptly ended, the good and evil spoken of Joseph was just beginning.
Should we be surprised with the evil spoken against him? The Apostle Paul was called mad and deranged.5 Our Beloved Savior, the Son of God, was labeled gluttonous, a winebibber, and possessed of a devil.6
The Lord told Joseph of his destiny:
“The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee;
“While the pure in heart, … the wise, … and the virtuous, shall seek … blessings constantly from under thy hand.”7
Why does the Lord allow the evil speaking to chase after the good? One reason is that opposition against the things of God sends seekers of truth to their knees for answers.8
Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration. His spiritual work began with the appearance of the Father and the Son, followed by numerous heavenly visitations. He was the instrument in God’s hands in bringing forth sacred scripture, lost doctrine, and the restoration of the priesthood. The importance of Joseph’s work requires more than intellectual consideration; it requires that we, like Joseph, “ask of God.”9 Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.
Many of those who dismiss the work of the Restoration simply do not believe that heavenly beings speak to men on earth. Impossible, they say, that golden plates were delivered by an angel and translated by the power of God. From that disbelief, they quickly reject Joseph’s testimony, and a few unfortunately sink to discrediting the Prophet’s life and slandering his character.
We are especially saddened when someone who once revered Joseph retreats from his or her conviction and then maligns the Prophet.10
“Studying the Church … through the eyes of its defectors,” Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, is “like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus. Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed.”11
Jesus said, “Bless them that curse you, … and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”12 Let us offer kindness to those who criticize Joseph Smith, knowing in our own hearts that he was a prophet of God and taking comfort that all this was long ago foretold by Moroni.
How should we respond to a sincere inquirer who is concerned about negative comments he or she has heard or read about the Prophet Joseph Smith? Of course, we always welcome honest and genuine questions.
To questions about Joseph’s character, we might share the words of thousands who knew him personally and who gave their lives for the work he helped establish. John Taylor, who was shot four times by the mob that killed Joseph, would later declare: “I testify before God, angels, and men, that [Joseph] was a good, honorable, [and] virtuous man— … [and] that his private and public character was unimpeachable—and that he lived and died as a man of God.”13
We might remind the sincere inquirer that Internet information does not have a “truth” filter. Some information, no matter how convincing, is simply not true.
Years ago I read a Time magazine article that reported the discovery of a letter, supposedly written by Martin Harris, that conflicted with Joseph Smith’s account of finding the Book of Mormon plates.14
A few members left the Church because of the document.15
Sadly, they left too quickly. Months later experts discovered (and the forger confessed) that the letter was a complete deception.16 You may understandably question what you hear on the news, but you need never doubt the testimony of God’s prophets.
Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.
We might remind the inquirer that some information about Joseph, while true, may be presented completely out of context to his own day and situation.
Elder Russell M. Nelson illustrated this point. He said: “I was serving as a consultant to the United States government at its National Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. Once while awaiting a taxi to take me to the airport after our meetings were over, I stretched out on the lawn to soak in a few welcome rays of sunshine before returning to the winter weather of Utah. … Later I received a photograph in the mail taken by a photographer with a telephoto lens, capturing my moment of relaxation on the lawn. Under it was a caption, ‘Governmental consultant at the National Center.’ The picture was true, the caption was true, but the truth was used to promote a false impression.”17 We do not discard something we know to be true because of something we do not yet understand.
We might remind the inquirer that Joseph was not alone in the visit of angels.
The Book of Mormon witnesses wrote, “We declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and … we beheld and saw the plates.”18 We could quote many others as well.19
A sincere inquirer should see the spreading of the restored gospel as the fruit of the Lord’s work through the Prophet.
There are now more than 29,000 congregations and 88,000 missionaries teaching the gospel across the world. Millions of Latter-day Saints are seeking to follow Jesus Christ, live honorable lives, care for the poor, and give of their time and talents in helping others.
“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. …
“… By their fruits ye shall know them.”20
These explanations are convincing, but the sincere inquirer should not rely on them exclusively to settle his or her search for truth.
Each believer needs a spiritual confirmation of the divine mission and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This is true for every generation. Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.
Recently while I was on the East Coast of the United States, a returned missionary spoke to me about a friend who had become disillusioned with information he had received about the Prophet Joseph Smith. They had spoken several times, and the returned missionary seemed to have some doubts himself as a result of the discussions.
Although I hoped he could strengthen his friend, I felt concerned for his own testimony. Brothers and sisters, let me give you a caution: you won’t be of much help to others if your own faith is not securely in place.
A few weeks ago I boarded a plane for South America. The flight attendant directed our attention to a safety video. “It is unlikely,” we were warned, “but if cabin pressure changes, the panels above your seat will open, revealing oxygen masks. If this happens, reach up and pull a mask toward you. Place the mask over your nose and mouth. Slip the elastic strap over your head and adjust the mask if necessary.” Then this caution: “Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”
The negative commentary about the Prophet Joseph Smith will increase as we move toward the Second Coming of the Savior. The half-truths and subtle deceptions will not diminish. There will be family members and friends who will need your help. Now is the time to adjust your own spiritual oxygen mask so that you are prepared to help others who are seeking the truth.21
A testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith can come differently to each of us. It may come as you kneel in prayer, asking God to confirm that he was a true prophet. It may come as you read the Prophet’s account of the First Vision. A testimony may distill upon your soul as you read the Book of Mormon again and again. It may come as you bear your own testimony of the Prophet or as you stand in the temple and realize that through Joseph Smith the holy sealing power was restored to the earth.22 With faith and real intent, your testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith will strengthen. The constant water balloon volleys from the sidelines may occasionally get you wet, but they need never, never extinguish your burning fire of faith.
To the youth listening today or reading these words in the days ahead, I give a specific challenge: Gain a personal witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Let your voice help fulfill Moroni’s prophetic words to speak good of the Prophet. Here are two ideas: First, find scriptures in the Book of Mormon that you feel and know are absolutely true. Then share them with family and friends in family home evening, seminary, and your Young Men and Young Women classes, acknowledging that Joseph was an instrument in God’s hands. Next, read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Pearl of Great Price or in this pamphlet, now in 158 languages. You can find it online at LDS.org or with the missionaries. This is Joseph’s own testimony of what actually occurred. Read it often. Consider recording the testimony of Joseph Smith in your own voice, listening to it regularly, and sharing it with friends. Listening to the Prophet’s testimony in your own voice will help bring the witness you seek.
The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith is now in 158 languages.
There are great and wonderful days ahead. President Thomas S. Monson has said: “This great cause … will continue to go forth, changing and blessing lives. … No force in the entire world can stop the work of God. Despite what comes, this great cause will go forward.”23
I give you my witness that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. He chose a holy man, a righteous man, to lead the Restoration of the fulness of His gospel. He chose Joseph Smith.
I testify that Joseph Smith was an honest and virtuous man, a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, did appear to him. He did translate the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God.
In our society beyond the veil of death, we will clearly understand the sacred calling and divine mission of the Prophet Joseph Smith. In that not-too-distant day, you and I and “millions [more] shall know ‘Brother Joseph’ again.”24 In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
The Testimony of Joseph Smith: A Prophet of God
When Joseph Smith was 14 years old, he wanted to know which church he should join, so he asked God in sincere prayer. In response to this prayer, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph and told him the true Church of Jesus Christ was not on the earth and They had chosen Joseph to restore it.
From that day, Joseph labored in God’s service, working to establish The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to build up God’s kingdom on earth in the latter days. Faithful members of the Church witness that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Jesus directs His Church today through revelation to a prophet on the earth. Joseph Smith was such a prophet. Although Joseph accomplished many things during his life, most important was his commitment to being a disciple and witness of Jesus Christ. He wrote, “After the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:22).
Those who receive the Prophet’s testimony by the power of the Holy Ghost will know the truth of the work he was called to do. They can also know the peace and happiness that come through the Savior Jesus Christ, whom Joseph Smith worshipped and served.
Which Church Is Right?
Joseph Smith was born in 1805 in Sharon, Vermont. At the time this narrative begins, he was 14 years old, living with his family in New York, and earnestly considering which church to join. The following is Joseph’s experience, written in his own words.
During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness. … I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?
While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.
Joseph Smith’s First Vision
In accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
One of them … said, pointing to the other—“This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—“This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”
My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home.
Joseph obeyed God and did not join any existing church. As he told people what he had seen and heard, he began experiencing opposition and persecution.
I soon found … that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects—all united to persecute me.
It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself.
However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.
I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it.
So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.
I had now got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned—that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but to continue as I was until further directed. I had found the testimony of James to be true—that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided.
I continued to pursue my common vocations in life until the twenty-first of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hands of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious, because I continued to affirm that I had seen a vision.
During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my friends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of temptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolish errors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature.
Persecution continued as Joseph refused to deny that he had seen God. On September 21, 1823, after retiring to bed, Joseph prayed to know his standing before the Lord. The angel Moroni appeared to him.
On the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.
While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.
He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.
Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.
He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my 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.
He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;
Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.
After telling me these things, he commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi; and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as it reads in our books, he quoted it thus:
“For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”
And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
He also quoted the next verse differently: “And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.”
In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come.
He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated that the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here.
Again, he told me, that when I got those plates of which he had spoken—for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled—I should not show them to any person; neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.
After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark, except just around him; when, instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended till he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.
I lay musing on the singularity of the scene, and marveling greatly at what had been told to me by this extraordinary messenger; when, in the midst of my meditation, I suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant, as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside.
He commenced, and again related the very same things which he had done at his first visit, without the least variation; which having done, he informed me of great judgments which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence; and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation. Having related these things, he again ascended as he had done before.
By this time, so deep were the impressions made on my mind, that sleep had fled from my eyes, and I lay overwhelmed in astonishment at what I had both seen and heard. But what was my surprise when again I beheld the same messenger at my bedside, and heard him rehearse or repeat over again to me the same things as before; and added a caution to me, telling me that Satan would try to tempt me (in consequence of the indigent circumstances of my father’s family), to get the plates for the purpose of getting rich. This he forbade me, saying that I must have no other object in view in getting the plates but to glorify God, and must not be influenced by any other motive than that of building his kingdom; otherwise I could not get them.
After this third visit, he again ascended into heaven as before, and I was again left to ponder on the strangeness of what I had just experienced; when almost immediately after the heavenly messenger had ascended from me for the third time, the cock crowed, and I found that day was approaching, so that our interviews must have occupied the whole of that night.
I shortly after arose from my bed, and, as usual, went to the necessary labors of the day; but, in attempting to work as at other times, I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything.
The first thing that I can recollect was a voice speaking unto me, calling me by name. I looked up, and beheld the same messenger standing over my head, surrounded by light as before. He then again related unto me all that he had related to me the previous night, and commanded me to go to my father and tell him of the vision and commandments which I had received.
I obeyed; I returned to my father in the field, and rehearsed the whole matter to him. He replied to me that it was of God, and told me to go and do as commanded by the messenger. I left the field, and went to the place where the messenger had told me the plates were deposited; and owing to the distinctness of the vision which I had had concerning it, I knew the place the instant that I arrived there.
1.Joseph Smith—History 1:33.
- See Joseph Smith—History 1:29–46.
- Joseph Smith—History 1:23.
- See Doctrine and Covenants 135:1.
- See Acts 26:24.
- See Matthew 11:19; John 10:20.
- Doctrine and Covenants 122:1–2.
- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: “First doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” (“Come, Join with Us,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 23). Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said: “This is a divine work in process, with the manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don’t hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know” (“Lord, I Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 94).
- James 1:5; see also Joseph Smith—History 1:11–13.
- Daniel Tyler recalled: “Brother Isaac Behunin and myself [visited the Prophet] at his residence. His persecutions were the topic of conversation. He repeated many false, inconsistent and contradictory statements made by apostates. … He also told how most of the officials who would … have [willingly] taken his life, when he was arrested, turned in his favor on [knowing him better]. …
“… Brother Behunin remarked: ‘If I should leave this Church I would not do as those men have done: I would go to some remote place where Mormonism had never been heard of, settle down, and no one would ever learn that I knew anything about it.’
“[Joseph] immediately replied: ‘Brother Behunin, you don’t know what you would do. No doubt these men once thought as you do. Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. … When you joined this Church you enlisted to serve God. When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve, it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant’” (in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 324).
- Neal A. Maxwell, “All Hell Is Moved” (Brigham Young University devotional, Nov. 8, 1977), 3; speeches.byu.edu.
- Matthew 5:44.
- Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor (2001), 83; see also Doctrine and Covenants 135:3.
- See Richard N. Ostling, “Challenging Mormonism’s Roots,” Time, May 20, 1985, 44.
- See Ostling, “Challenging Mormonism’s Roots,” 44; see also Gordon B. Hinckley, “Lord, Increase Our Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 52; Neil L. Andersen, “Trial of Your Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 41.
- See Richard E. Turley Jr., Victims: The LDS Church and the Mark Hofmann Case (1992).
- Russell M. Nelson, “Truth—and More,” Ensign, Jan. 1986, 71.
- “The Testimony of Three Witnesses,” Book of Mormon.
- See Joseph Smith—History 1:71, note; see also Doctrine and Covenants 76:23.
- Matthew 7:18, 20.
- President Henry B. Eyring, in speaking about those with doubts, said: “In your love for them you may decide to try to give them what they ask. You may be tempted to go with them through their doubts, with the hope that you can find proof or reasoning to dispel their doubts. Persons with doubts often want to talk about what they think are the facts or the arguments that have caused their doubts, and about how much it hurts. …
“You and I can do better if we do not stay long with what our students see as the source of their doubts. … Their problem does not lie in what they think they see; it lies in what they cannot yet see. … We do best if we turn the conversation soon to the things of the heart, those changes of the heart that open spiritual eyes” (“‘And Thus We See’: Helping a Student in a Moment of Doubt” [address to Church Educational System religious educators, Feb. 5, 1993], 3, 4; si.lds.org).
- President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “Many years ago when at the age of twelve I was ordained a deacon, my father, who was president of our stake, took me to my first stake priesthood meeting. … [The opening hymn was “Praise to the Man.”] They were singing of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and as they did so there came into my heart a great surge of love for and belief in the mighty Prophet of this dispensation. … I knew then, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God” (“Praise to the Man,” Ensign, Aug. 1983, 2; Tambuli, Jan. 1984, 1, 2).
- Thomas S. Monson, “As We Gather Once Again,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 4.
- “Praise to the Man,” Hymns, no. 27.