15th President of the Church, 1995–2008
Testimony of Joseph Smith
"How great indeed is our debt to [Joseph Smith]. His life began in Vermont and ended in Illinois, and marvelous were the things that happened between that simple beginning and that tragic ending. It was he who brought us a true knowledge of God the Eternal Father and His Risen Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. During the short time of his great vision he learned more concerning the nature of Deity than all of those who through centuries had argued that matter in learned councils and scholarly forums. He brought us this marvelous book, the Book of Mormon, as another witness for the living reality of the Son of God. To him, from those who held it anciently, came the priesthood, the power, the gift, the authority, the keys to speak and act in the name of God. He gave us the organization of the Church and its great and sacred mission. Through him were restored the keys of the holy temples, that men and women might enter into eternal covenants with God, and that the great work for the dead might be accomplished. . . .
"He was the instrument in the hands of the Almighty." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley (1997), 514.)