The Angel Moroni Appears to Joseph Smith, 9/21/1823 -by Tom Lovell 2003
This visit was the second occasion on which young Joseph was visited by heavenly beings. The first occurred "on the morning of a beautiful clear day early in the spring of 1820 when God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph in a grove of trees located not very far from his family's home where Moroni eventually visited him! It was there in that sacred grove that this young boy was told that he was to join none of the churches who were vying for his membership, telling him they were all wrong!Joseph Smith History 1:33 He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people. (emphasis added)
For the purpose of this post of mine I emphasized above these words that the Angel Moroni spoke to Joseph Smith:
If any of you readers have not heard and read both good and evil spoken or written about the Prophet Joseph Smith, I would have to believe that you have purposely avoided reading or listening to anything at all about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the church which was founded through Joseph Smith.and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.(emphasis added)
The founding of that church was accomplished by Joseph on assignment from Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. The Angel Moroni, along with the now immortal John the Baptist, and Jesus' chief apostles, Peter, James and John, were the key facilitators of the most crucial parts of God's plans for preparing mankind for the Second Coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. That assistance from those immortal beings helped bring about the translation and publishing of the Book of Mormon and the restoration to mortals of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, the authority to act in God's name!
God's plan, as explained to young Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni, was for Joseph and those who were called to work with him, to work together to prepare all who would believe in the restored Gospel sufficiently to enable them to choose to live their lives as faithful members of God's church so they could become recipients of Eternal Life (The greatest of gifts that can be given mankind!)
And then on the other side of the matter, you could have learned of the many things said and written by many people from all over the world against the prophet Joseph Smith, those who allege that he was an evil man who founded an evil church! I know personally that those people have chosen not to really learn the truth about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ through his humble prophet, Joseph Smith.
I was privileged to serve as a young LDS missionary for two and a half years in the far-away nation of Finland (Suomi). Then not many years ago (2004 - 2006) my wife and I served there as a senior missionary couple. The Lord blessed me with the ability to learn and to love their very difficult language.
During both missions I found much was said about the church that was not true, but there were many there who saw the truth that the Lord's Gospel has been restored to earth through His Latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith. There are now many faithful members of the Church in that wonderful far-away land. I know personally our active-in-the-church members there are very special people. And I know that is true in very many nations throughout the world today.
Now I show you a painting of female members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who in the Spring of 1842 were listening to Joseph Smith as he spoke inspired words of instruction to them while organizing the Relief Society of the Church in Nauvoo, Illinois (U.S.A.). These sisters, as did many other members of the Church on many other occasions, enjoyed greatly hearing this still young prophet (he died at age 43) as he taught them about the Lord's great Latter-day Work and about their very important role in it!
"Come Let Us Rejoice" By Walter Rane- Courtesy of Church History Museum
One of the desires of the early Latter-day Saints was simply to be allowed to live their religion in peace. But wherever they moved, peace eluded them. In 1833, just two years after the dedication of a place of gathering in Missouri, mobs forced the Saints to leave Jackson County, Missouri. Church members found temporary refuge in Clay County, Missouri, and then, in 1836, began moving into northern Missouri. Most of them settled in Caldwell County, a new county organized by the state legislature to accommodate the Latter-day Saints. Far West, which served as the county seat, soon became a thriving Latter-day Saint settlement.
The Prophet Joseph Smith had continued to live in Kirtland, Ohio, but in January 1838, he was forced to leave, fearing for his life. With his family, he traveled the 900 miles to Far West, where he joined the Saints living there. Later in 1838, most of the Kirtland Saints sold or abandoned their homes and followed the Prophet to Missouri. To accommodate the Church members pouring into the area, the Prophet designated areas near Far West where the Saints could settle. In July 1838, cornerstones were dedicated for a temple in Far West, giving the Saints hope that they could establish a permanent settlement where they could enjoy prosperity and peace. Unfortunately, tensions similar to those they experienced in Jackson County soon divided them from local settlers, and in the fall of 1838, mobs and militia once again began to harass and attack Latter-day Saints.
One day the Prophet was visiting his parents’ home in Far West, Missouri when a group of armed militiamen came in and announced that they had come to kill him for a supposed crime.
Lucy Mack Smith, the Prophet’s mother, described her son Joseph's gift for peacemaking:
Now I will quote statements made by other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (and one, a doctor who was most likely not a member) who knew the prophet Joseph Smith well. These statements were made after the prophet and his brother, Hyrum, had been killed by a mob in Carthage, Illinois in June 1844.“[Joseph] looked upon them with a very pleasant smile and, stepping up to them, gave each of them his hand in a manner which convinced them that he was neither a guilty criminal nor yet a cowering hypocrite. They stopped and stared as though a spectre had crossed their path. “Joseph sat down and entered into conversation with them and explained to them the views and feelings of the people called Mormons and what their course had been, as also the treatment which they had met with from their enemies since the first outset of the Church. He told them that malice and detraction had pursued them ever since they entered Missouri, but they were a people who had never broken the laws to his knowledge. But if they had, they stood ready to be tried by the law. …
“After this, he rose and said, ‘Mother, I believe I will go home. Emma will be expecting me.’ Two of the men sprang to their feet, saying, ‘You shall not go alone, for it is not safe. We will go with you and guard you.’ Joseph thanked them, and they went with him.
“The remainder of the officers stood by the door while these were absent, and I overheard the following conversation between them: “First Officer: ‘Did you not feel strangely when Smith took you by the hand? I never felt so in my life.’ “Second Officer: ‘I felt as though I could not move. I would not harm one hair of that man’s head for the whole world.’ “Third Officer: "This is the last time you will ever catch me coming to kill Joe Smith or the Mormons either.’ …
“Those men who went with my son promised to go disband the militia under them and go home, and said that if he had any use for them, they would come back and follow him anywhere.”1 Speaking the truth in a kind, forthright way, Joseph Smith overcame prejudice and hostility and made peace with many of those who had been his enemies. (Quoted from Teachings of Presidents of the Church - Joseph Smith, Chapter 29, pp. 339-341)
|Parley P. Pratt|
Parley P. Pratt, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from 1835 to 1857:
“President Joseph Smith was in person tall and well built, strong and active; of a light complexion, light hair, blue eyes, very little beard, and of an expression peculiar to himself. … His countenance was ever mild, affable, beaming with intelligence and benevolence; mingled with a look of interest and an unconscious smile, or cheerfulness, and entirely free from all restraint or affectation of gravity; and there was something connected with the serene and steady penetrating glance of his eye, as if he would penetrate the deepest abyss of the human heart, gaze into eternity, penetrate the heavens, and comprehend all worlds. He possessed a noble boldness and independence of character; his manner was easy and familiar; his rebuke terrible as the lion; his benevolence unbounded as the ocean; his intelligence universal.”
John Needham, an early English convert:
“Joseph Smith is a great man, a man of principle, a straight forward man; no saintish long-faced fellow, but quite the reverse. Indeed some stumble because he is such a straight forward, plain spoken, cheerful man, but that makes me love him the more.”
|Emmeline B. Wells|
“I … testify that he (Joseph Smith) was the greatest man and the greatest prophet and the greatest personage of this generation, the greatest, I feel safe in saying, since the days of the Savior. His majesty in appearance was something wonderful. You would think that he was much taller and much larger even than he was. Perhaps many of you have noticed men who have such a bearing when they rise up and walk. This was the way with the Prophet Joseph. There are no pictures of him extant that I know of, that compare with the beauty and majesty of his presence.”
|Mary Alice Cannon|
“The love the saints had for him was inexpressible. They would willingly have laid down their lives for him. If he was to talk, every task would be laid aside that they might listen to his words. He was not an ordinary man. Saints and sinners alike felt and recognized a power and influence which he carried with him. It was impossible to meet him and not be impressed by the strength of his personality and influence.”
John M. Bernhisel, a medical doctor who boarded in Joseph and Emma’s home in Nauvoo for several months during 1843 and 1844:
William Clayton, an English convert who served as a clerk to Joseph Smith:
“Joseph Smith is naturally a man of strong mental powers, and is possessed of much energy and decision of character, great penetration, and a profound knowledge of human nature. He is a man of calm judgment, enlarged views, and is eminently distinguished by his love of justice. He is kind and obliging, generous and benevolent, sociable and cheerful, and is possessed of a mind of a contemplative and reflective character. He is honest, frank, fearless and independent, and as free from dissimulation [false appearances] as any man to be found. … As a religious teacher, as well as a man, he is greatly beloved by this people.”Jesse N. Smith, a cousin of Joseph Smith:
“[The Prophet was] incomparably the most God-like man I ever saw. … I know that by nature he was incapable of lying and deceitfulness, possessing the greatest kindness and nobility of character. I felt when in his presence that he could read me through and through. I know he was all that he claimed to be.”
|William Clayton, an English Convert|
“The more I am with him, the more I love him; the more I know of him, the more confidence I have in him.”
|Joseph F. Smith (at a younger age)|
Joseph F. Smith, the sixth President of the Church:
“He was brimming over with the noblest and purest of human nature, which often gave vent in innocent amusements—in playing ball, in wrestling with his brothers and scuffling with them, and enjoying himself; he was not like a man with a stake run down his back, and with his face cast in a brazen mold that he could not smile, that he had no joy in his heart. Oh, he was full of joy; he was full of gladness; he was full of love, and of every other noble attribute that makes men great and good, and at the same time simple and innocent, so that he could descend to the lowest condition; and he had power, by the grace of God, to comprehend the purposes of the Almighty too. That was the character of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”(Quoted from Teachings of Presidents of the Church - Joseph Smith, Chapter 43, pp 497 - 499 (There were many more I could have quoted if I had the space.)
William Wines Phelps. Below are the words of a hymn found in the current LDS Church Hymn Book. This hymn was written after the death of Joseph Smith. Earlier, Joseph excommunicated the author of this hymn, William Wines Phelps for having seriously betrayed himself, Joseph, and other leaders and members of the Church to their enemies who were attempting to destroy them and their church. In June 1840, Phelps plead for forgiveness in a letter to Joseph Smith. Joseph replied with an offer of full fellowship, and ended with the famous couplet,
"Come on, dear brother, since the war is past, For friends at first are friends again at last."
|William Wines Phelps|
Verse 1: Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah! Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer, Blessed to open the last dispensation, Kings shall extol him, and nations revere,
Verse 2: Praise to his mem'ry he died as a martyr; Honored and blest be his ever great name! Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins, Plead unto heav'n while the earth lauds his fame.
Verse 3: Great is his glory and endless his priesthood, Ever and ever the keys he will hold. Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom, Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.
Verse 4: Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven, Earth must atone for the blood of that man. Wake up the world for the conflict of justice, Millions shall know "Brother Joseph" again.
Chorus: (Sung after each verse) Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven! Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain, Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren; Death cannot conquer the hero again.
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