Facebook reminded me today of a post I wrote a few years ago about how I gained my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. From the original post:
“Growing up in the Church I think I look the life and Marytrdom of Joseph Smith for granted. I never really thought about my own testimony of Joseph Smith I just always thought I knew he was a prophet, because everyone around me said he was. Thankfully, that changed. Twenty years ago, on the 150th anniversary of the Martyrdom, there was a fireside broadcast in commemoration of the event from Carthage Jail in Illinois. President Howard W. Hunter and his councilors were going to be there as well. I was a young single adult at the time, attending a student ward. We had the last block of meetings in our building that day, and everyone had planned on staying for this broadcast. I really didn’t think much about it; in fact I didn’t even know that June 27th was the exact day Joseph Smith had been killed. But my friends were going to be there, so I stayed.
I’m so glad I did stay and I thought to pay attention because it was at this fireside that I gained my own testimony of Joseph Smith.
The service started with and opening song and a prayer and there were speakers. I don’t remember what they said at all. But near the end of the program there was a congregational hymn. I can’t even remember what song it was we were to sing, “Praise to the Man,” or “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief?” It didn’t matter. The camera panned to President Hunter, who was in a wheelchair and who looked uncomfortable in the heat of a late June afternoon in Illinois, but he was singing and enduring it well I thought. It was at this time that the Spirit spoke to my heart and my mind. “Joyce, Joseph Smith was the Prophet of the Restoration. And all the power and keys which were given to Joseph, reside with that man there, President Hunter. He is the living prophet – follow the prophet!” From then on, and for the last 20 years, I have had an abiding testimony of Joseph Smith. I know he was a prophet of God.”
I still testify that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the restoration. That has been made manifest even more this year, as I’ve had the opportunity to teach Church History and the Doctrine & Covenants in our ward’s Gospel Doctrine class. We have living prophets on the earth today, and we will always do well to follow their council and teachings in all things. Helping others follow the prophet is also one of the most important things we can do. If you are struggling with something, look to what the living prophets have said and taught us. They love us, and want us to return to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Their words are the words the Lord and the Savior would speak if they were sitting next to us. Listen and follow!
In episode three of our Revelations in Context Series, host Nick Galieti of LDS Perspectives Podcast interviews Matthew McBride of the Church History Department about his essay entitled “The Vision.”
In 1832 Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon reported receiving a vision at the John Johnson home. Apparently while working on a revision of the New Testament, Joseph had just completed “translating” John 5:29 when the vision commenced.
The early nineteenth century culture was highly religious and most Christian sects believed that the Bible was all sufficient. For Joseph Smith to revise what was already considered to be complete was radical. What he and Sidney saw in vision was even more surprising.
The vision touched on matters dealing with one of the most contentious religious debates of the time: who is saved? Suprisingly, the revelation confirmed the least popular position.
Brigham Young, arguably one of Joseph’s most loyal supporters, struggled with this Universalist position for quite a time. Other members had difficulty accepting this paradigm shift as well.
Matthew McBride uses this historical backdrop to provide a powerful metaphor for modern-day members to use when dealing with doctrine that may be difficult to accept.
I am sure you have heard of it. Whether through the infamous Broadway Musical or the missionaries who travel the world sharing its message, chances are, you have heard of the Book of Mormon. So, my question to you is, what have you heard? What are your questions about the Book of Mormon? As you think about that, let me offer my thoughts on the Book of Mormon.
Before the Broadway Musical, this sacred work of scripture had already seen great controversy (JS-H 1:59-65). I am not here to argue about that controversy and I am not here to debate the rightness or wrongness of such a musical, nor do I want to give it any more fame that it already seems to have. One of the glorious freedoms we have in this country is the right to free speech, even if that speech is degrading, incorrect, irresponsible and hurtful. So, I completely recognize that Broadway performers and producers have the right to belittle things that others may hold sacred. I DO want to discuss what the Book of Mormon actually is – from one who holds this book so close to her heart. Continue reading →
“Gone are the days when a student asked an honest question and the teacher responded, ‘Don’t worry about it.’ Gone are the days when a student raised a sincere concern and a teacher bore his or her testimony as a response intended to avoid the issue.”
What I hope to do in this post is list a few resources that a seminary/institute (or even a really dedicated Sunday School teacher) could read to help them get the knowledge to either give good answers to these questions or to know where to look and find the answers. Continue reading →