Quotes on Smith, Joseph

“It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he, Joseph Smith, should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God.  The Lord had his eyes upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam.  He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man.  He was foreordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation.”  (Brigham Young) Book of Mormon Student Manual, p. 24

The quotation that Joseph Smith “has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world. . . ” is not an extravagant eulogy.  The restored gospel applies to both the living and the dead.  The Savior laid down His life for the redemption of all mankind.  Through the Prophet Joseph, temple work for the dead was revealed.  Thus, if we consider the millions of temple ordinances – past, present and future – performed for those living beyond the veil, President Taylor’s statement is not only reasonable and conservative, it is correct!

The life and deeds of Joseph Smith stand as eloquent evidence of his divine calling as the Prophet of the Restoration – for which he was foreordained. — Elder Russell M. Nelson, address at New Mission Presidents Seminar, Church News, July 2, 1994, p. 5

You remember the testimony which I bore in the name of the Lord Jesus, concerning the great work which He has brought forth in the last days.  You know my manner of communication, how that in weakness and simplicity, I declared to you what the Lord had brought forth by the ministering of His holy angels to me for this generation.  I pray that the Lord may enable you to treasure these things in your mind, for I know that His Spirit will bear testimony to all who seek diligently after knowledge from Him.  I hope you will search the scriptures to see whether these things are not also consistent with those things which the ancient Prophets and Apostles have written. — Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 1:442

May I make it very clear where I stand regarding Joseph Smith, a stance taken because of the Book of Mormon.  I endorse with all my heart and with the holy office I now hold, indeed with my very life itself, the declaration of John Taylor, who 150 years ago last June took four rounds, full bore, from the Prophet Joseph Smith’s enemies who had surrounded and finally stormed Carthage Jail.  Brother Taylor’s life was spared and he lived to say of Joseph:  “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. . . . He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed . . . has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood” (D&C 135:3).  Then, including the beloved Hyrum’s life as a second witness, Brother Taylor said, “The testators are now dead, and their testament is in force”  (D&C 135:5). — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Symposium on the Book of Mormon, 9 August 1994, BYU

“I know what I say; I understand my mission and business.  God Almighty is my shield; and what can man do if God is my friend?  I shall not be sacrificed until my time comes; then I shall be offered freely.”  (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:259) — Church News, June 18, 1994, p. 16

If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a “Mormon,” I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination. — Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 5:498

Joseph Smith holds the keys of this last dispensation, and is now engaged behind the veil in the great work of the last days. . . . No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. . . .

He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation – the keys to rule in the spirit world; and he rules there triumphantly. . . . He was foreordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 7:289-90

I do not think that a man lives on the earth that knew [Joseph Smith] any better than I did; and I am bold to say that, Jesus Christ excepted, no better man ever lived or does live upon this earth” (Brigham Young, JD, 9:332). — Elder Dallin Oaks, Ensign, May 1996, p. 73

Had Oliver Cowdery remained true, had he been faithful to his testimony and his calling as the “second Elder” and Assistant President of the Church, I am just as satisfied as I am that I am here that Oliver Cowdery would have gone to Carthage with the Prophet Joseph Smith and laid down his life instead of Hyrum Smith.  That would have been his right.  Maybe it sounds a little strange to speak of martyrdom as being a right, but it was a right.  Oliver Cowdery lost it and Hyrum Smith received it.  According to the law of witnesses – and this is a divine law – it had to be. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:221-22

To me it is very strange indeed that there should be so much extreme ill feeling manifested by the world against Joseph Smith.  He wronged no man.  I am a witness of that, for I know his life.  I have seen him in the flesh, and I have read of his sayings.  I have read the revelations that the Lord gave to him.  I am familiar with his work, and I know that he never wronged a living soul.  He did not injure his fellowmen, but he did much to exalt them.  And yet, the strange part of it is that people who are absolutely ignorant of him should entertain the most bitter, vindictive and wicked feelings towards him that it is possible for men to feel.  I ask myself, Why is this?  Men do not feel that way, as a rule, towards impostors, or to the promoters of new, man-made religious organizations.  But, strange to say, they nearly always become enraged when the name of the Prophet Joseph Smith is mentioned!  While, however, this is strange from a natural standpoint, it is only in accordance with the promise given to him in the beginning by one of the heavenly messengers sent to instruct him.  (Proceedings at the Dedication of the Joseph Smith Memorial Monument: At Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, December 23, 1905, 41-42.) — Joseph F. Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church, p. 14 

Why should so many religionists unite against an unknown youth of no renown or standing in the community?  Would the whole sectarian world shiver and shake and call for a sword if some other unknown 14-year-old youth in an obscure frontier village should claim that he was visited by angels and that he saw the Lord?  The problem when Joseph Smith announced such a claim was that it was true and that Lucifer knew of its verity.

Is not the persecution itself a witness of the reality of the first Vision?  Or if it were not true, would the worldly wise and the intellectual religionists today devote their talents and means to defaming Joseph smith and the work that bears his imprint?  What is it to anyone else what we believe unless they in their unbelief fear lest our doctrines are true and our practices may have divine approval?  (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, 8-10) The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, pp. 56-57

In the jail the Prophet and his brethren had listened to the boasting and the despicable abuses the guards had committed among the “Mormons.”  Finally the Prophet could abide their sordid cursing no longer.  Suddenly, he stood and in “a voice of thunder” said:   “‘SILENCE, ye fiends of the infernal pit.  In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still. . . .’

“He stood erect in terrible majesty.  Chained, and without a weapon; calm, unruffled and dignified as an angel. . . . [The quaking guards shrank] into a corner,” dropped their weapons, “begged his pardon, and remained quiet till a change of guards.”

Brother [Parley P.] Pratt writes further:   “I have seen the ministers of justice, clothed in magisterial robes. . . ; I have witnessed a Congress in solemn session . . ; I have tried to conceive of kinds, of royal courts, of thrones and crowns . . . ; but dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains, at midnight, in a dungeon in an obscure village of Missouri.”  (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt 1985), 180) — Robert K. Dellenbach, “Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven,” Ensign, November 2002, pp. 33-34

Young Joseph was told that his name would be “both good and evil spoken of” throughout the world (Joseph Smith – History 1:33).  Except from a divine source, how audacious a statement.  Yet his contemporary religious leaders, then much better known than Joseph, have faded into the footnotes of history, while the work of Joseph Smith grows constantly and globally (Neal A. Maxwell, Ensign, Nov. 1983, 54). The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, p. 58

When Joseph Smith was raised up as a Prophet of God, Mormon, Moroni, Nephi and others of the ancient Prophets who formerly lived on this Continent, and Peter and John and others who lived on the Asiatic continent, came to him and communicated to him certain principles pertaining to the Gospel of the Son of God (President John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 17:374).

During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined.  He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship.  This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them (Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, 83). The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, p. 61

A man by the name of Josiah Stoal came from Chenango county, New York, with the view of getting Joseph to assist him in digging for a silver mine.  He came   for Joseph on account of having heard that he possessed certain means by which he could discern things invisible to the natural eye.

Joseph endeavored to divert him from his vain pursuit, but he was inflexible in his purpose and offered high wages to those who would dig for him in search of said mine, and still insisted upon having Joseph to work for him.  Accordingly, Joseph and several others returned with him and commenced digging.  After laboring for the old gentleman about a month, without success, Joseph prevailed upon him to cease his operations, and it was from this circumstance of having worked by the month, at digging for a silver mine, that the very prevalent story arose of Joseph’s having been a money digger (Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, 91-92). The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual, p. 61

It was necessary for Hyrum Smith, as well as Joseph Smith, to lay down his life as a witness, for . . . the Lord had honored him with the responsibility of holding the keys of authority in this dispensation jointly with his younger brother.  “It is also written in your law,” said Jesus to the Jews, “that the testimony of two men is true” [John 8:17].  And this law was binding upon Joseph and Hyrum Smith.  The shedding of their blood also bound that testimony upon an unbelieving world and this testimony will stand at the judgment seat as a witness against all men who have rejected their words of eternal life. — President Joseph Fielding Smith, Improvement Era 47:365, June 1944

The sealing of the testimony through the shedding of blood would not have been complete in the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith alone; it required the death of Hyrum Smith who jointly held the keys of this dispensation.  It was needful that these martyrs seal their testimony with their blood, that they “might be honored and the wicked might be condemned.” — Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:218-19

I told Stephen Markham that if I and Hyrum were ever taken again we should be massacred, or I was not a prophet of God.  I want Hyrum to live to avenge my blood, but he is determined not to leave me. — Joseph Smith, History of the Church 6:546, June 22, 1844 

Joseph the Prophet met the final test of the leader, that of fidelity.  He was true to the cause which he represented.  He gave of himself for it.  Almost every day of the fourteen years he presided over the Church was one of toil, often of pain and sorrow.  But, he continued to be diligent, dependable, ever considerate of the welfare of the people.  In the needs of the Church he forgot himself.  Opposition to the Church was usually visited upon his head.  Fifty times he was charged with offenses, falsely as the record shows, for he was never found guilty.  He spent months in a foul jail.  He was driven from place to place and robbed of his material possessions.  His name became known for “good and evil” the world over.  But he did not falter. . . . He suffered a martyr’s death.  He was true even unto death. — Elder John Andreas Widtsoe, Conference Report, October, 1942, p. 75

I knew him [Joseph Smith] when at his mother’s breast, I watched and counseled his youth, but when God spoke and taught him, I bowed to his superior  knowledge, and although he was a boy and I an old man, and his uncle, yet I was not ashamed to learn true principles from him, and . . . drank in the truths which flowed from the prophet’s lips.

I was in jail with him and his brother Hyrum a few hours before they were killed, and I can testify before God, that they died innocent of any crime, and that they sealed their testimony with their blood. — John Smith as quoted in George Albert Smith, Conference Report, April 1927, p. 85

It may be urged that Joseph Smith did not escape death from the hands of his enemies, while the ancient Apostles and servants of God escaped the edge of the sword, etc.  Neither did Jesus Christ escape from the hands of his enemies, but died an ignominious death upon the cross.  Why was this?  Because God so ordained it, for no testament is in force, until after the death of the testator;  he sealed his testimony with his blood, and so he has permitted many of the Prophets to do.  When we reflect upon the path in which the faithful children of God have walked, from the days of Adam to this day, we find that the path of the transgressor is much the hardest – that the righteous have always fared better than the wicked, in every age and nation. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 10, p. 326

Dear Brethren, we are sensible that the account of the death of the Prophet and Patriarch of the Church will be painful to your hearts; it is to ours.  We feel and mourn their loss, but they have sealed their testimony with their blood; they have not counted their lives as dear unto themselves as the lives of the Church; they have died in the Lord and their works will follow them.  The eyes of the Lord are upon those who have shed the blood of the Lord’s anointed, and he will judge them with a righteous judgment. Let the Saints cultivate a meek and quiet spirit, and all things shall in the end work together for your good. — Brigham Young, Millennial Star, 25:86

Men do not give their lives to perpetuate falsehoods.  Martyrdom dissipates all questions as to the sincerity of the martyr.  Personalities do not survive the ages.  They rise like a shooting star, shine brilliantly for a moment and disappear from view, but a martyr for a living cause, like the sun, shines on forever.  Great characters, students, businessmen, scientists, followed the youthful prophet to  his death.  They were not deceived.  They lost him in martyrdom but inspired with the divinity of the Cause went forward without hesitancy.  Thousands gave lives they could have saved in Missouri, Illinois, and crossing the plains, and today a great people hailed for their education, practicability, and virtue, stand to bear witness that the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, like that of the martyrs before him, is another of the infallible proofs of the divinity of the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored in its fulness through that humble prophet. — President Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1946, pp. 45, 48, 50

It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he [Joseph Smith] should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God.  The Lord had his eye upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam.  He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man.  He was foreordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:289-90; Ivan J. Barrett, Young Joseph, p. 6

I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm yet deals justice to his neighbors and mercifully deals his substance to the poor, than the long, smooth-faced hypocrite. — Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 401

 

Brigham Young declared, “I do not think that a man lives on the earth that knew [Joseph Smith] any better than I did; and I am bold to say that, Jesus Christ excepted, no better man ever lived or does live upon this earth” (in Journal of Discourses, 9:332). — Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, May 1996, p. 73

The scriptures record that throughout history, on occasions of exceptional importance, God the Father’s voice has been heard.  On repeated occasions Jesus Christ has personally appeared to select individuals.  Yet there is only one supernal, singular instance of which we have knowledge that God the Father Himself appeared in person.  This was done with His precious Holy Son, Jesus Christ, to an audience of one.  That one was young Joseph Smith Jr., an extraordinary spirit prepared before the foundation of the earth.  He would become the greatest prophet sent to earth.  About to come forth was the return of priesthood authority, the complete Restoration of the Church established by the Savior, with additional scripture required for our time provided by continuing revelation from the Savior. — Elder Richard G. Scott, “Truth Restored,” Ensign, November 2005, p. 80

Long before Joseph Smith was born, his grandfather, Asael Smith, said, “It has been borne in upon my soul that one of my descendants will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith.” — Elder M. Russell Ballard, “His mission,” Church News, December 13, 2005, p. 5

The story of Joseph’s life is the story of a miracle. He was born in poverty. He was reared in adversity. He was driven from place to place, falsely accused, and illegally imprisoned. He was murdered at the age of 38. Yet in the brief space of 20 years preceding his death, he accomplished what none other has accomplished in an entire lifetime. He translated and published the Book of Mormon, a volume which has since been retranslated into scores of languages and which is accepted by millions across the earth as the word of God. The revelations he received and other writings he produced are likewise scripture to these millions. The total in book pages constitutes approximately twice the volume of the entire New Testament of the Bible, and it all came through one man in the space of a few years.

In this same period he established an organization which for 175 years has withstood every adversity and challenge and is as effective today in governing a worldwide membership of some 12 million as it was in governing a membership of 300 in 1830. There are those doubters who have strained to explain this remarkable organization as the product of the times in which he lived. That organization, I submit, was as peculiar, as unique, and as remarkable then as it is today. It was not a product of the times. It came as a revelation from God. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Joseph Smith Jr., Prophet of God, Mighty Servant,” Ensign, December 2005, p. 4

“When the Prophet had ended telling how he had been treated, Brother Behunin remarked: ‘If I should leave this Church I would not do as those men have done: I would go to some remote place where Mormonism had never been heard of, settle down, and no one would ever learn that I knew anything about it.’

“The great Seer immediately replied: ‘Brother Behunin, you don’t know what you would do.  No doubt these men once thought as you do.  Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground.  When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you.  You could choose either or neither.  There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them.  When you joined this Church you enlisted to serve God.  When you did that you 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, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant.’” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 324

As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest – and last – hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?

Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor.  Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true.  Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time?  They would not do that!  They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul,” General Conference, October 2009 

Not everything in life is so black and white, but the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and its keystone role in our religion seem to be exactly that.  Either Joseph Smith was the prophet he said he was, a prophet who, after seeing the Father and the Son, later beheld the angel Moroni, repeatedly heard counsel from Moroni’s lips, and eventually received at his hands a set of ancient gold plates that he then translated by the gift and power of God, or else he did not.  And if he did not, he would not be entitled to the reputation of New England folk hero or well-meaning young man or writer of remarkable fiction.  No, nor would he be entitled to be considered a great teacher, a quintessential American religious leader, or the creator of great devotional literature.  If he had lied about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he would certainly be none of these. . . .

If Joseph Smith did not translate the Book of Mormon as a work of ancient origin, then I would move heaven and earth to meet the “real” nineteenth-century author.  After one hundred and fifty years, no one can come up with a credible alternative candidate, but if the book were false, surely there must be someone willing to step forward – if no one else, at least the descendants of the “real” author – claiming credit for such a remarkable document and all that has transpired in its wake.  After all, a writer that can move millions can make millions.  Shouldn’t someone have come forth then or now to cashier the whole phenomenon? — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU Women’s Conference Address

“How does it compare with the vision that Joseph and others had, when they went into a cave in the hill Cumorah, and saw more records than ten men could carry?  There were books piled up on tables, book upon book.  Those records this people will yet have, if they accept of the Book of Mormon and observe its precepts, and keep the commandments.” Journal of Discourses 4:105

Great was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s vision.  It encompassed all the peoples of mankind, wherever they live, and all generations who have walked the earth and passed on.  How can anyone, past or present, speak against him except out of ignorance?  They have not tasted of his words, they have not pondered about him, nor prayed about him.  As one who has done these things, I add my own words of testimony that he was and is a prophet of God, raised up as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty to usher in a new and final gospel dispensation. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Praise to the Man,” Ensign, August 1983, p. 6

By any standard, Joseph Smith was a remarkable person!  Most of the world’s political and spiritual leaders are men and women of mature years.  Leaders who reach the heights of influence as early as their forties and fifties are gifted exceptions. Joseph Smith, however, was called to be a prophet while in his teens.  He accomplished his work while in his twenties and thirties and fell to assassins at age 38. . . .

“I never told you I was perfect,” Joseph Smith said, “but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught” (History of the Church, 6:366). . . .

By establishing the Church, Joseph Smith laid the groundwork for the Savior’s return to earth.  Restoring the truth of God, translating the Book of Mormon, receiving priesthood keys and ordinances, organizing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sending missionaries to proclaim the gospel worldwide, building temples and starting work for the dead, sealing his testimony with his blood – all these efforts were necessary to prepare Jesus Christ’s people for the state of affairs that will be ushered in at his coming. — Gerald Lund, “A Prophet for the Fulness of Times,” Ensign, January 1997

All the forces of evil combined to fight the work the Lord started through Joseph Smith. Words such as persecution, apostasy, betrayal, treachery, expulsion, condemnation, opposition, extermination, and finally martyrdom fill our early histories.  And yet the Prophet Joseph Smith’s vision never flagged; he knew the work was God’s work, and he knew that God would see it through.  “The Standard of Truth has been erected,” he said; “no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540). — Gerald Lund, “A Prophet for the Fulness of Times,” Ensign, January 1997

They thought, if they could kill Joseph and Hyrum, they would get the ascendancy, and that it would be an end of “Mormonism.” Do you not see that every means they devised for their own safety is so many steps towards their overthrow?  They could not have struck a more fatal blow for themselves than when they murdered Joseph and Hyrum, because it made them rulers over their enemies; and by this bloody act they sealed, nailed, and clenched their own doom, and there is now no possible chance of deliverance.

It is just so with our enemies at this time: if they let us alone, we will prosper; and if they don’t, we will prosper the faster and bring them under subjection the sooner.  That is just the way our heavenly Father will overrule it, if we live to his honour and glory. — “Self-Government,” a sermon by Elder Orson Hyde, delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 3, 1858; Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, pp. 150-58

Just as certain men were foreordained from before the foundations of the world, so were certain women appointed to certain tasks.  Divine design – not chance – brought Mary forward to be the mother of Jesus.  The boy prophet, Joseph Smith, was blessed not only with a great father but also with a superb mother, Lucy Mack, who influenced a whole dispensation. — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Conference Report, April 1978, p. 13

Not everything in life is so black and white, but the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and its keystone role in our religion seem to be exactly that.  Either Joseph Smith was the prophet he said he was, a prophet who, after seeing the Father and the Son, later beheld the angel Moroni, repeatedly heard counsel from Moroni’s lips, and eventually received at his hands a set of ancient gold plates that he then translated by the gift and power of God, or else he did not.  And if he did not, he would not be entitled to the reputation of New England folk hero or well-meaning young man or writer of remarkable fiction.  No, nor would he be entitled to be considered a great teacher, a quintessential American religious leader, or the creator of great devotional literature.  If he had lied about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he would certainly be none of these. . . .

If Joseph Smith did not translate the Book of Mormon as a work of ancient origin, then I would move heaven and earth to meet the “real” nineteenth-century author.  After one hundred and fifty years, no one can come up with a credible alternative candidate, but if the book were false, surely there must be someone willing to step forward – if no one else, at least the descendants of the “real” author – claiming credit for such a remarkable document and all that has transpired in its wake.  After all, a writer that can move millions can make millions.  Shouldn’t someone have come forth then or now to cashier the whole phenomenon? — Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU Book of Mormon Symposium, August 9, 1994

Love is one of the chief characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the sons of God.  A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.  This has been your feeling, and caused you to forego the pleasures of home, that you might be a blessing to others, who are candidates for immortality, but strangers to truth; and for so doing, I pray that heaven’s choicest blessings may rest upon you. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, pp. 330-331                                                                                                                       

I had an intimate acquaintance with Joseph Smith, the Prophet, for a number of years. The position he occupied before the world and the declarations which he made were of an extraordinary character.  It was a position which no individual before or since has attempted to assume.  I know Joseph Smith to have been an honest man, a man of truth, honor, and fidelity, willing to sacrifice everything he possessed, even life itself, as a testimony to the heavens and the world that he had borne the truth to the human family. Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, pp. 56-57

I feel like shouting Hallelujah, all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith, the Prophet whom the Lord raised up and ordained, and to whom he gave keys and powers to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth and sustain it. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 3:51

From the day that Joseph obtained the plates, and previous to that time, the Lord dictated him.  He directed him day by day and hour by hour. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 8:66

When you hear a man pour out eternal things, how well you feel, to what a nearness you seem to be brought with God.  What a delight it was to hear Brother Joseph talk upon the great principles of eternity; he would bring them down to the capacity of a child, and he would unite heaven with earth, this is the beauty of our religion. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:54

Now, as bad as myself and my brethren are, and as far as we are from the mark, and from the privileges we should enjoy, if Joseph Smith, Jr., the Prophet, could have seen the people in his day as willing to obey his voice, as they are today to obey the voice of their President, he would have been a happy man.  He lived, labored, toiled, and worked; his courage was like the courage of an angel, and his will was like the will of the Almighty, and he labored till they killed him. Discourses of Brigham Young, 464

Is Joseph glorified?  No, he is preaching to the spirits in prison.  He will get his resurrection the first of any one in this Kingdom, for he was the first that God made choice of to bring forth the work of the last days. Discourses of Brigham Young, 468

Records indicate that soon after the founding of the Church in 1830, the Prophet stopped using the seer stones as a regular means of receiving revelations.  Instead, he dictated the revelations after inquiring of the Lord without employing an external instrument.  One of his scribes explained that process: “The scribe seats himself at a desk or table, with pen, ink, and paper.  The subject of inquiry being understood, the Prophet and Revelator inquires of God.  He spiritually sees, hears, and feels, and then speaks as he is moved upon by the Holy Ghost.”  (William McLellin, ed., The Ensign of Liberty, Aug. 1849, 98) — Gerrit Dirkmaat, “Great and Marvelous are the Revelations of God,” Ensign, January 2013, p. 46

It does no violence even to our frail human logic to observe that there cannot be a grand plan of salvation for all mankind, unless there is also a plan for each individual. The salvational sum will reflect all its parts.  Once the believer acknowledges that the past, present, and future are before God simultaneously – even though we do not understand how – then the doctrine of foreordination may be seen somewhat more clearly.  For instance, it was necessary for God to know how the economic difficulties and crop failures of the Joseph Smith, Senior, family in New England would move this special family to Cumorah country where the Book of Mormon plates were buried.  God’s plans could scarcely have so unfolded if – willy-nilly – the Smiths had been born Manchurians and if, meanwhile, the plates had been buried in Belgium! — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, “Meeting the Challenges of Today,” BYU Devotional, October 10, 1978

This day of organization was, in effect, a day of commencement, the graduation for Joseph from ten years of remarkable schooling.  It had begun with the incomparable vision in the grove in the spring of 1820, when the Father and the Son appeared to the fourteen-year-old boy.  It had continued with the tutoring from Moroni, with both warnings and instructions given on multiple occasions.  Then there was the translation of the ancient record, and the inspiration, the knowledge, the revelation that came from that experience. There was the bestowal of divine authority, the ancient priesthood again conferred upon men by those who were its rightful possessors – John the Baptist in the case of the Aaronic Priesthood, and Peter, James, and John in the case of the Melchizedek.  There were revelations, a number of them, in which the voice of God was heard again, and the channel of communication opened between man and the Creator.  All of these were preliminary to that historic April 6. — President Gordon B. Hinckley, “150-Year Drama: A Personal View of Our History,” Ensign, April 1980, pp. 11-12

The object with me is to obey and teach others to obey God in just what He tells us to do.  It mattereth not whether the principle is popular or unpopular, I will always maintain a true principle, even if I stand alone in it. Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, p. 161

It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fullness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God.  The Lord had his eye upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man. — Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 7:289-90; see also 2 Nephi 3:7-15

When the Prophet Joseph was taken he had remained faithful and true, and he had the keys of the latter-day dispensation, and he has them today.  And if you think that he has departed from this people, if you think that his influence and power are withdrawn from the brethren here whom God has appointed to preside over us in the Church, you are sadly mistaken.  The spirit and power of Joseph are in this Church and with this Presidency. Joseph the Prophet, although he has gone from our midst, holds the keys of the last dispensation, and will hold them till the Lord comes.  But there were others appointed to act in his stead, in the place he occupied in the flesh, and he still holds his priesthood and power and authority and the keys of the dispensation behind the veil.  He is doing a far greater work there than he could accomplish in the flesh.  He has a wider sphere of labor, and more power and influence, now that the infirmities of the flesh are gone.  He is clothed with the power of the holy priesthood, and the keys thereof abide with him.  And he is with this people, for “the powers of this priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers behind the veil;” and they, united together, will prevail over every power and influence that may be brought against them. — Elder Charles W. Penrose, General Conference, October 1905