My Testimony of Joseph Smith

This Friday, June 27th, marks the 170th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. As this anniversary has approached my thoughts understandably have turned to those events on that tragic summer day so many years ago. In Doctrine & Covenants 135: 4 we read, “When Joseph went to Carthage to deliver himself up to the pretended requirements of the law, two or three days previous to his assassination, he said: “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer’s morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall yet be said of me—HE WAS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD.” More than anything, this has settled into my heart this week. Joseph knew what his fate was when he left Nauvoo. He knew. And yet, he went, he didn’t fight it, he went. And because he went, he sealed his testimony with his blood. He gave everything for the Lord and the cause of the Restored Gospel.

Martyrdom collage

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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.

Whtimer Farm collage 2

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Fast forward to 2008, my husband and I had the opportunity to go back east and visit the Church History sites, specifically The Hill Cumorah and Western New York. The Sunday we were there, we attended church in the Fayette Ward, which meets on the grounds of the Peter Whitmer Farm, where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in 1830.

We arrived at the building about 45 minutes early. We took the time to walk around the grounds and sit and reflect on the Restoration of the Gospel and the organization of the Church so many years ago. The spirit was peaceful and strong. It was a lovely quiet morning, and the surroundings were beautiful. A light misty fog slowly burned off the land, as the sun rose. I imagine this is how things looked so many years ago, when Joseph Smith was a visitor to the farm.

As we entered the building, the members of the ward greeted us kindly and enthusiastically. We were treated as brothers and sisters, not merely visitors for the day. For the opening song in Sacrament Meeting, that Sunday we sang Hymn No, 27, “Praise to the Man”. I had what I thought was a good testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and had many witnesses of this fact, but on that day, singing about the Prophet, Brother Joseph, in the place where he’d walked and lived, the Holy Spirit bore another powerful witness to me that, indeed, Joseph Smith was the prophet of The Restoration, and of the modern days.

I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for this knowledge, and for the Restoration of the Gospel and for all that, this entails. I know Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord. I know that he translated The Book of Mormon by the Power of God, and that it contains the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that the keys and authority that were given to Joseph Smith so many years ago, are still on the earth today, in our modern, living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I know these things are true. I also know that if we follow the prophet, even if we don’t fully understand why, we will have spiritual peace and lasting happiness.

I recommend re-reading Doctrine & Covenants 135 in its entirety this week, and reflecting on the life and work of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

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About Joyce Anderson

Joyce is a mother, wife, sister, school teacher, Bulgarian speaker, conservative, lover of good music, social media junky and a two time culinary arts Grand Champion bread baker. She and the family reside in a remote mountain community where great discoveries have been made. When not changing the world, she enjoys the occasional bowl of chips and salsa. She can be found at: http://pinterest.com/TheAtomicMom

12 thoughts on “My Testimony of Joseph Smith

  1. I had visited Carthage Jail and Nauvoo sometime in the 60’s when all that was left of the temple was a few sunstones and a small box with a glass top on the courtyard of the Carthage Jail covered a brown stain that some claimed was the blood of the Prophet. I returned to the sites over the years as Nauvoo and finally the temple were restored but beginning in 2005 I began to make stained glass panels that would be meaningful to my children. To do so I visited the sites again and read whatever I could find about the events of the days I depicted. The first: heritagestainedglass.com/cutice.jpg. depicts Joseph Smith cutting a hole in the frozen Mississippi River for the baptism of my great grandfather. The second panel: heritagestainedglass.com/window.jpg. depicts another great grandfather as he sung ‘A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief’ to Joseph, Hyrum and Willard Richards. More recently I created images for a small replica of the golden plates that I am distributing to my grandchildren as they reach the age of eight. Once again I immersed myself in the events leading up to the publication of the Book of Mormon.
    I have admired Joseph Smith since childhood, but making a closer study of his life has endeared him to me. Being in Carthage Jail as summer reaches its height and the old glass in one of the windows ripples the green and gold of vegetation seen from the second story was a powerful experience for me. A testimony should not depend on visiting sacred landmarks or seeing a watch that bears the scars of a bullet, but sometimes it can be edifying just as we draw nearer to our ancestors as we learn of the times and places and events of their lives.

  2. Pat, I finally looked at your website yesterday. I LOVE your art. It is so beautiful. I’m sure your grandkids will appreciate those special gifts you’ve made them.

    Thanks Geoff and Bookslinger.

  3. C C, The moderators here don’t usually put up with Mormon-hating trolls, so while I expect them to delete your comment, maybe they’ll let my response stand so you can read it.

    Before you spew more ignorance and hate on another pro-LDS blog, I suggest that try to get your historical facts straight.

    There are several events/actions of that day, June 27, 1844, in Carthage Illinois that both believing Mormons and non-believers/non-Mormons accept as factual and historical. The “why’s” and behind-the-scenes actions can be argue forever, but there are many things/events/physical/public actions both dispassionate non-partisan observers and LDS believe that happened.

    I’m not gong to help you by pointing out where you are wrong, because the fact that you got some commonly accepted and agreed-upon events wrong shows you to be just a Mormon-hater at heart. And a lazy one at that, because you didn’t do much research.

    In the mean time, I’m going to pray for you, because in the next life we’re all going to meet “Joe,” and his brother (Hyrum), and the angel Moroni, and THE Mr. Mormon himself (Moroni’s dad), and we’ll know that they were all telling the truth.

  4. As the author of this post, I get to decide to keep or toss comments. I’m tossing CC’s post because it *is* full of the same, tired anti-Mormon rumors and arguments. So try again, there CC.

    I will tell you this, as Latter-day Saints we do believe in GRACE and that we are saved by the GRACE of Jesus Christ. In The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, in 2 Nephi 25: 23 it says, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” We believe that GRACE is the healing, cleansing and purifying power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and that this is freely given to all people. We also believe in the words of Paul found in James 2: 26: “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” We believe that our Heavenly Father expects us to follow His commandments and to work toward our salvation and then also to rely on the GRACE of Christ to make up the difference.

    I don’t have any hope that my words or the words of Bookslinger will change your mind, but I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that by the power of God he translated the Book of Mormon. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God as well, and that it contains the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nothing else matters. I invite you to lay aside your preconceived notions of who Mormons are and what Mormonism is and investigate us with an open heart and mind. I promise if you do that, you will come to know it is true.

    Finally, I will issue a warning here, that you are welcome to comment and ask honest questions, however, trolling, the re-telling of lies and slander and arguing the core doctrines of the LDS Church, will not be tolerated on Millennial Star.

  5. I am extremely grateful for my Spirit-born witness of Joseph Smith. I’ve spent more than two decades now carefully studying his life to great detail. The more I study, the more his seer-ship seems obvious to me.

    But the beautiful thing is that nobody has to take my word for it. Just do what Joyce has invited you to do and heaven can give you a revelation on the subject. Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of the living God. And he still is.

  6. Growing up in the South, the issue of Grace is a frequent topic for thought. The best summary of the difference between Mormonism and mainline Christianity, in my opinion, is as follows:

    All Mormons and all Christians believe we are saved by Grace. Mormons, however, also believe we must be changed by Grace. All Mormons and all Christians believe that the power of Grace is sufficient to overcome sin. Mormons, however, believe that over time Grace is powerful enough to overcome our sinful natures.

  7. J Cavender: evangelicals actually do have a Mormon outlook after you take into account what they say is supposed to happen _after_ a person gets “saved”. If a saved person doesnt make good-faith efforts to live a christian life, then evangelicals say that the person wasn’t actually saved/converted in the first place, or that they weren’t sincere in their conversion.

    So if you ever get into a grace/works discussion, ask them thier opinion about a saved person who makes no effort to walk a Christian life after getting saved.

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