Joseph Smith

    Prophet of God

    Preparing for the Return of Jesus Christ

    Building the Kingdom of God

    Introduction

    "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," declared Jesus Christ in a revelation to Joseph Smith in 1831. 1 The Prophet, in turn, called on the Saints to prepare themselves for the Lord's Second Coming by letting "love to God and man predominate, and reign triumphant in every mind," that "hearts may become like unto Enoch's 2 of old." 3

    By revelation, the Lord admonished Joseph "from the heavens and declared His will concerning the human family." The Lord gave His children "just and holy laws to regulate their conduct, and guide them in a direct way, that in due time He might take them to Himself." 4 Joseph clearly felt the urgency of preparation. "Let the saints remember that great things depend on their individual exertion, and that they are called to be co-workers with us and the Holy Spirit in accomplishing the great work of the last days." 5

    If we diligently share the Gospel 6 and learn "not to live to ourselves but to God," 7 Joseph taught, we will prepare ourselves and others to be "ready for the Bridegroom" 8 when He comes again. 9

    Quotes

    Joseph Smith Quotes 

    When I contemplate the rapidity with which the great and glorious day of the coming of the Son of Man advances, when He shall come to receive His Saints unto Himself, where they shall dwell in His presence, and be crowned with glory and immortality; when I consider that soon the heavens are to be shaken, and the earth tremble and reel to and fro; and that the heavens are to be unfolded as a scroll when it is rolled up; and that every mountain and island are to flee away, I cry out in my heart, What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness! (History of the Church, 1:442.)

    It is left for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward the Latter-day glory, "the dispensation of the fullness of times, when God will gather together all things that are in heaven, and all things that are upon the earth, even in one," . . . The blessings of the Most High will rest upon our tabernacles, and our name will be handed down to future ages; our children will rise up and call us blessed; and generations yet unborn will dwell with peculiar delight upon the scenes that we have passed through, the privations that we have endured; the untiring zeal that we have manifested; the all but insurmountable difficulties that we have overcome in laying the foundation of a work that brought about the glory and blessing which they will realize; a work that God and angels have contemplated with delight for generations past; that fired the souls of the ancient patriarchs and prophets; a work that is destined to bring about the destruction of the powers of darkness, the renovation of the earth, the glory of God, and the salvation of the human family. (History of the Church, 4:609–10.)

    Witnesses

    Hugh B. Brown, Apostle, 1958–1975 

    Your job and mine is to help to prepare this world for the second coming of Christ. (The Abundant Life (1965), 336.)

    Brigham Young, 2nd President of the Church, 1847–1877 

    From his 1840 mission to England, Elder Young wrote to the Prophet Joseph: "The Gospel is spreading, the devils are roaring. As nigh as I can learn, the priests are howling, the tares are binding up, the wheat is gathering, nations are trembling, and kingdoms tottering; 'men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking for those things that are coming on the earth.' " (History of the Church, 4:115.)

    Mark E. Petersen, Apostle, 1944–1984 

    A modern people must be prepared to receive the Lord. This preparation will come only through a worldwide preaching of the restored gospel. . . . This preaching will convert the righteous who earnestly look forward to Christ's coming, and they will join his Church. It is to be by the same means used by John the Baptist. To carry on the work in an orderly manner, the Lord fully restored his Church and priesthood in our day, and decreed that missionaries should go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, just as in ancient times. All of this was done under the immediate direction of the Savior himself, who sent holy angels to minister to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph was the Lord's forerunner to begin the preparation for the Second Coming of the Lord. This work still goes on under the direction of living prophets who have succeeded Joseph, and it will continue worldwide until the Lord says "enough." Then he will come. (Malachi and the Great and Dreadful Day (1883), 21; paragraph divisions altered.)

    Questions

    What is my responsibility in preparing for the Lord's Second Coming?

    "Let the Saints remember that great things depend on their individual exertion," Joseph Smith cautioned, "and that they are called to be co-workers with us and the Holy Spirit in accomplishing the great work of the last days; and in consideration of the extent, the blessings and glories of the same, let every selfish feeling be not only buried, but annihilated; and let love to God and man predominate, and reign triumphant in every mind, that their hearts may . . . comprehend all things, present, past and future, and come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ" (History of the Church, 4:230–31).

    How can I know what God expects of me in preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

    During His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ prayed to the Father, "thy kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10). "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," is the instruction to this dispensation. "Pray unto the Lord, call upon his holy name, make known his wonderful works among the people" (D&C 65:3–4). The revelation through Joseph Smith continued: "Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth" (D&C 65:5).

    Why do people think we worship Joseph Smith?

    "Let there be no misunderstanding. We are witnesses of Christ. He is our Savior. . . . But we are also witnesses of Joseph Smith, by whom we know of Christ, and who is the legal administrator to whom power was given to bind on earth and seal in heaven, that all men from his day forward might be heirs of salvation" (Bruce R. McConkie, "Joseph Smith: The Mighty Prophet of the Restoration," Ensign,May 1976, 97).

    Readings

    Online Resources at LDS.org

    Online Resources at BYU

    • "A Non-Mormon View of the Birth of Mormonism in Ohio" – 

      Newspaper article written by Josiah Jones of Kirtland, published June 1841 in The Evangelist, noting the missionary efforts and subsequent conversion of Sidney Rigdon and others.

       Edited by Milton V. Backman Jr., Brigham Young University Studies 12, no. 3 (1972): 306–11

     

    Footnotes

    [1] D&C 65:1, 3.

    [2] A prophet who led the people of the city of Zion. Zion was taken to heaven because of the righteousness of those who lived in it (The Guide to the Scriptures, "Enoch," 74).

    [3] History of the Church, 4:231.

    [4] History of the Church, 2:11.

    [5] History of the Church, 4:230.

    [6] God's plan of salvation, made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The gospel includes the eternal truths or laws, covenants, and ordinances needed for mankind to enter back into the presence of God. God restored the fulness of the gospel to the earth in the nineteenth century through the Prophet Joseph Smith (The Guide to the Scriptures, "Gospel," 96–97).

    [7] History of the Church, 4:231.

    [8] Jesus Christ is symbolized in the scriptures as the Bridegroom. The Church is His symbolic bride (The Guide to the Scriptures, "Bridegroom," 35).

    [9] D&C 65:3–4.