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Joseph Smith

Prophet of God

Called of God

I the Lord . . . Called upon My Servant Joseph

Introduction

God Himself called Joseph Smith as the prophet 1 of the latter days to restore His true gospel to the earth. "I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments." 2 Over centuries, the true Church of Jesus Christ had fallen into apostasy. 3 Christ's teachings had been corrupted and the ordinances of salvation changed. This apostasy ended with the calling of Joseph Smith, an obscure farm boy 14 years of age, as a prophet.

Why did God call a mere boy as His prophet? "I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit." 4 President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, "The instrument in this work of God was a boy whose mind was not cluttered by the philosophies of men. That mind was fresh and without schooling in the traditions of the day." 5

Having proven faithful over the 10 years since his First Vision, Joseph Smith was sustained by vote of the Church as a prophet, seer, revelator, 6 translator, and apostle of Jesus Christ on April 6, 1830.

Quotes

Joseph Smith Quotes 

I stood alone, an unlearned youth, to combat the worldly wisdom and multiplied ignorance of eighteen centuries, with a new revelation, which . . . would open the eyes of more than eight hundred millions of people, and make "plain the old paths." (History of the Church, 6:74.)

I have no enemies but for the truth's sake. I have no desire but to do all men good. I feel to pray for all men. We don't ask any people to throw away any good they have got; we only ask them to come and get more. What if all the world should embrace this gospel? They would see eye to eye, and the blessings of God would be poured out upon the people, which is the desire of my whole soul. (History of the Church, 5:259.)

When you joined this Church . . . you [speaking to Isaac Behunnin] 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. (Quoted by Daniel Tyler, in "Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith," Juvenile Instructor, Aug. 15, 1892, 492.)

Witnesses

Hyrum Smith, Church Patriarch, 1841–1844 

President Hyrum Smith spoke at great length and with great power . . . [and] proceeded to show the folly of any person's attempting to overthrow or destroy Joseph, and read from the Book of Mormon in various places concerning the Prophet who, it was prophesied, should be raised up in the last days, setting forth the work he was destined to accomplish, and that he had only just commenced; but insamuch as we could plainly see that the former part of the prophecy had been literally fulfilled, we might be assured that the latter part would also be fulfilled, and that Joseph would live to accomplish the great things concerning him. (History of the Church, 5:123.)

George Q. Cannon, Apostle, 1860–1901 

Joseph, a youth, obscure, illiterate in some respects, . . . through industry and perseverance, became learned, and if he had lived, he would undoubtedly have become one of the most learned of men through the gifts God gave him. (Deseret News, Jan. 21, 1885, 2.)

John Taylor, 3rd President of the Church, 1880–1887 

Joseph Smith was . . . uneducated when he was a boy. . . . The Lord took him into His school, and He taught him things that I have seen puzzle many of the wisest scientists, profoundest thinkers, and the most learned men. (Deseret News, July 30, 1884, 435.)

Questions

Do the scriptures speak of a Restoration?

Through His prophets, the Lord spoke of "a marvelous work and a wonder" (Isaiah 29:14), referring to a time when He would set up a kingdom which would fill the whole earth (Daniel 2:44). Peter prophesied of a "restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21) and Paul saw "the dispensation of the fulness of times" when the Lord would "gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth" (Ephesians 1:10). John the Revelator also saw in vision the latter days prior to the Second Coming of Christ, when divine messengers would "fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people" (Revelation 14:6).

Do the scriptures speak of a Great Apostasy from the truth of God?

Isaiah prophesied that "darkness shall cover the earth" (Isaiah 60:2). Amos spoke of "a famine . . . of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11). The Savior warned of "false Christs, and false prophets" (Matthew 24:24) while Paul taught that before the Second Coming of Christ "there [would] come a falling away first" (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

Readings

Online Resources at LDS.org

 

Footnotes

[1] A person who has been called by and speaks for God. As a messenger of God, a prophet receives commandments, prophecies, and revelations from God. His responsibility is to make known God's will and true character to mankind and to show the meaning of His dealings with them. His primary responsibility is to bear witness of Christ. (The Guide to the Scriptures, "Prophet," 201–202).

[2] D&C 1:17.

[3] A turning away from the truth by individuals, the Church, or entire nations. It includes rebellion against authority and rejection of prophets (Preach My Gospel, 44).

[4] D&C 35:13.

[5] "The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith," Ensign, Nov. 2002, 80.

[6] One who reveals the will of God to His children. Members of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sustained as prophets, seers, and revelators.