I first wrote this post over 2 years ago about the Prophet Joseph Smith17. It is my perspective. Other people, for various reasons, have opposite perspectives widely published. In his first encounter with an angel, Joseph Smith was told that it would so:
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. (PGP, JS History 1)
That has come to pass. I have added Chapter 2 to address it. But first, Chapter 1.
I have always loved to hear and read about the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Because of his writings and teachings, I feel I know something of his heart and character. My first reading of The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS) had a serious positive impact on me. My favorite hymn as a child (because I just liked the tune) was “Praise to the Man” and I can still remember the page number from the old edition hymn book – page 149. Below is the music and lyrics: One of the most beautiful and sublime renditions the Tabernacle Choir has ever done (IMO).
Continue reading "Praise To The Man"
As a young man I served two years as a French speaking missionary in Quebec, Canada for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Serving a mission was a life changing experience. Talking to perfect strangers every day for two years gave me experience in understanding of how people really think. I learned to love the people and also overcome my natural shyness – to some extent.
There sometimes exists among the Latter-day Saints the idea that our mission as a people is to convert the whole world. Not so.
Continue reading "Missionary Tales"
Sometimes, critics say they believe in the Bible but not in Joseph Smith because he’s “not Biblical”.
In actuality, everything Joseph Smith did is Biblical in the extreme. Here’s a list of controversial things about Joseph Smith, all of which are very Biblical.
- Said God and Angels appeared to him and that he had visions from God
– All over the Bible. All Bible prophets claim the same in one form or another. Joseph Smith relates the “First Vision” where God the Father introduces His Son Jesus Christ, who then related to Joseph Smith his divine assignment to restore the full Gospel in the Latter-days.
- Created new Scripture
– Each Bible prophet has made a contribution to new scripture. Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Peter, James, John, etc, etc. Revelations from God to Joseph Smith resulted in three Holy books of scripture: The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
- Claimed authority from God
– All Bible prophets claimed the same, saying: “Thus saith the Lord” in one form or another. Joseph Smith also claimed authentic Priesthood ordination by angelic messengers and he received modern scripture revelation where the Lord speaks in the first person.
- Had multiple wives
-Very common in the Bible, sometimes in a completely positive way: Abraham, Jacob, Moses. Sometimes in an approved, yet flawed way: David, Solomon. Under the command of God, Joseph Smith had more than one wife.
- Used oracular devices to receive revelation
– The Urim and Thummim, also mentioned in the Bible, was an oracular device and used by the Temple Priests to receive the word of God. Joseph Smith also used a “Urim and Thummim” and well as other “seer stones” to translate scripture and receive revelation.
- Importance of Temples
– The central role of the Temple is obvious in the Old Testament. Often overlooked is it’s importance in the New Testament. Jesus often taught there and reverenced it as a Holy Place. The Apostles taught in the temple, until they were no longer allowed in. In many of their teachings, the Apostles and Prophets directly reference temple ceremonies. Two latter-day Temples, one in Kirtland, Ohio, and one in Nauvoo, Illinois were built under the direction of God, during Joseph Smiths lifetime.
- Martyred for the cause
– Six Old Testament Bible Prophets and ten New Testament Apostles/Prophets are said to have been martyred by Biblical and also extra-Biblical ancient sources: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Amos, Zechariah, Peter, James, James (the lesser), Jude, Matthew, Philip, Simon, Thomas. Joseph Smith also “sealed his testimony” in death by being murdered, shot to death by his enemies while supposedly under the protection of the State.
I have a number of “hero’s” in my life. #1 is Jesus Christ. He was, after all, the only perfect person1 to ever live on this earth and His example and teachings have affected more people than any other person, and influenced me personally far more than any other. I have read and studied more about Him more than anyone else, including reading the New Testament 11 times and the Old Testament 5 times. The best book written, by far, on the life of Christ, in my opinion, is Continue reading “Heros in Zion”
I confess I have this “zeal” and that I use this blog to give expression to my feelings. However, in research and writing, my zeal for Zion grows even more. What I am really talking about is what I feel for Jesus Christ and what He means for me and all mankind. However, talking about Jesus is a bigger canvas and it means so many different things to so many different people. My zeal for “Zion” is simply my zeal for Jesus in a more focused way and a more immediate future Continue reading “Zeal for Zion”
Ever since Joseph Smith reported that Jesus told him not to join any church, mainstream protestant Christianity has been offended. They took it personally both then and now.
In the small town where I live (La Grande, Oregon) local ministers are still refusing Latter-day Saint outreach to participate in ecumenical activities, and why? A group of them once said it was because they’re still offended by what Joseph Smith said about their Churches. So what did Joseph report?
Pearl of Great Price, JS-History 1:18 – 19
18 My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
One of my personal heroes is Frederick Douglass, one of the greatest men who ever lived and a contemporary of Joseph Smith. Here’s what Frederick Douglass said about the churches of the early 1800’s:
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass an American Slave
… For of all slaveholders with whom I have ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst. I have ever found them the meanest and basest, the most cruel and cowardly, of all others. It was my unhappy lot not only to belong to a religious slaveholder, but to live in a community of such religionists.
I FIND, since reading over the foregoing Narrative that I have, in several instances, spoken in such a tone and manner, respecting religion, as may possibly lead those unacquainted with my religious views to suppose me an opponent of all religion. To remove the liability of such misapprehension, I deem it proper to append the following brief explanation. What I have said respecting and against religion, … I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land. Indeed, I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. … I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. The man who robs me of my earnings at the end of each week meets me as a class-leader on Sunday morning, to show me the way of life, and the path of salvation. He who sells my sister, for purposes of prostitution, stands forth as the pious advocate of purity. He who proclaims it a religious duty to read the Bible denies me the right of learning to read the name of the God who made me. He who is the religious advocate of marriage robs whole millions of its sacred influence, and leaves them to the ravages of wholesale pollution. The warm defender of the sacredness of the family relation is the same that scatters whole families,– sundering husbands and wives, parents and children, sisters and brothers, leaving the hut vacant, and the hearth desolate. We see the thief preaching against theft, and the adulterer against adultery. We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen! all for the glory of God and the good of souls! The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. … The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. … Such is, very briefly, my view of the religion of this land; and to avoid any misunderstanding, growing out of the use of general terms, I mean, by the religion of this land, that which is revealed in the words, deeds, and actions, of those bodies, north and south, calling themselves Christian churches, and yet in union with slaveholders. It is against religion, as presented by these bodies, that I have felt it my duty to testify.
So there you have it. If you argue against Joseph Smith on this subject then you have to argue against Frederick Douglass too.
The Latter-day Saints profess to have new revelation and divinely restored priesthood authority and simply invite all to upgrade their Christianity. Insincere and dishonest Christians prefer to hold on to their positions of authority and status and worldly considerations which lead them to reject additional words from God. And this is exactly
the stance of the ancient Pharisee’s and Sadducee’s who rejected Jesus. Sincere Christians are intrigued and open to the possibility of God speaking and acting in our day.
From Joseph Smith:
Doctrine and Covenants, Section 123:12
12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—
Many Christian churches have been so offended by Latter-day Saint claims that their leaders retaliate by saying that the Latter-day Saints are not Christian – a truly arrogant stance – and one they know to be dishonest.
Yet I am heartened by the good things I see that God inspires among many of the “gentile” Christians. When I recently saw the movie FIREPROOF
I was most impressed with it’s message, inspired of God.
Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:13, 16
13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
As the events of the last days unfold and The New Jerusalem/City of ZION is established, huge numbers of people will gather together: current Latter-day Saints, non-Latter-day Saints of Gentile nations, lost (unidentified) tribes, and descendants of Lehi in the America’s. A huge number of people will gather to the City of Zion. The Latter-day Saint/covenant people gather together and the many good not yet Latter-day Saints will gather too. Events unfolding in the last days cause the process to accelerate.
Pearl of Great Price, JS-Matthew 1:26 – 27
26 For as the light of the morning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west, and covereth the whole earth, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.
27 And now I show unto you a parable. Behold, wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together; so likewise shall mine elect be gathered from the four quarters of the earth.