THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH
THE LAMP OF GOD
As recounted by Mary Rollins Lightner on April 14, 1905
Mary gave her account of this event before a group of prospective missionaries gathered at Brigham Young University. This story would have taken place some time around February, 1831 soon after the arrival of Joseph Smith in Kirtland, Ohio.
“It is true I have been in the Church from the beginning. Just six months after it was organized I joined it. I have been acquainted with all of those who saw the plates and handled them; those who even saw the angel Moroni, who came to them. I am well acquainted with every one of them and I have known them from the time that they came to Ohio until their death; and I am the only living witness who was at the first meeting that the Prophet held in Kirtland.
The Smith family were driven from New York, and a small Church had been organized. Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson were members. Well I being anxious, though young, to learn about the plates from those who knew all about it, my mother and I went up to the Smith family the next night after they came to Kirtland.
As I went in there were two or three others present. They were all there, the whole Smith family, from the old gentleman and his wife to all the sons and daughters. As we stood there talking to them, Joseph and Martin Harris came in. Said he ‘There are enough here to hold a little meeting.’ Joseph looked around very solemnly. It was the first time some of them had ever seen him. They got a board and put it across two chairs to make seats. Martin Harris sat on a little box at Joseph’s feet. They sang and prayed. Joseph got up and began to speak to us.
As he began to speak very solemnly and very earnestly all at once his countenance changed and he stood mute. Those who looked at him that day said there was a search light within him, over every part of his body. I never saw anything like it on the earth. I could not take my eyes off of him. He got so white that anyone who saw him would have thought he was transparent. I remember I thought I could almost see the bones through the flesh. I have been through many changes since, but that is photographed on my brain. I shall remember it and see in my mind’s eye as long as I remain upon the earth.
He stood some minutes. He looked over the congregation as if to pierce every heart. Said he: ‘do you know who has been in your midst?’ One of the Smiths said ‘an angel of the Lord.’ Martin Harris said: ‘it was our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.’ Joseph put his hands down on Martin and said: ‘God revealed that to you. Brothers and Sisters, the spirit of God has been in your midst. The Savior has been here this night and I want to tell you to remember it. There is a veil over your eyes for you could not endure to look upon Him. You must be fed with milk not with strong meat. I want you to remember this as if it were the last thing that escaped my lips. He has given all of you to me and has sealed you up to everlasting life that where he is there you may be also. And if you are tempted of Satan say “get thee behind me, Satan.”‘
These words are figured on my brain; and I never took my eyes off his countenance. Then he knelt down and prayed. I have never heard anything like it before or since. I felt that he was talking to the Lord and that power rested down upon us in every fiber of our bodies, and we received a sermon from the lips of the representative of God.
Much has come and gone from me through the powers and vicissitudes of this Church. I have been in almost every mob. I have been driven about and told I would be shot and had a gun pointed at me, but I stayed with the Church until it was driven from Nauvoo. The words of the Prophet that had been revealed to him have always been with me from the beginning to the end of the gospel. Every principle that has been given in the Church by the Prophet is true. I know whereon I stand, I know what I believe, I know what I know and I know what I testify to you is the living truth. As I expect to meet it at the bar of the eternal Jehovah it is true.”
JOSEPH- LIKE ADAM- WAS ORDAINED BY PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN
A witness and testimony by Heber C. Kimball that the visit to Joseph by the Apostles Peter, James, and John who were sent by God was the same as what we saw happen with Father Adam in the endowment.
We will discover that the endowment narrative comes from these Angelic visitations to the Prophet.
“Since Brother Joseph stepped behind the vail, Brother Brigham is his lawful successor. I bear testimony of what Brother Joseph said on the stand at Nauvoo, and I presume hundreds here can bear witness of the same. Said he, ‘these men that are set here behind me on this stand, I have conferred upon them all the power, Priesthood, and authority that God has ever conferred upon me.’ There are hundreds present this day who heard him utter words to that effect more than once. The Twelve had then received their endowments. BROTHER JOSEPH GAVE THEM THE ENDOWMENTS, AND KEYS AND POWER PLACED UPON THEM BY HIM, EVEN AS THEY WERE PLACED UPON HIM BY PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN, WHO ORDAINED HIM.” (Life of Heber C. Kimball p.458-9)
HEBER C. KIMBALL’S REMARKS ON THE FIRST VISION
“Do you suppose that God in person called upon Joseph Smith, our Prophet? God called upon him; but God did not come himself and call, but he sent Peter to do it. Do you not see? He sent Peter and sent Moroni to Joseph, and told him that he had got the plates. Did God come himself? No: he sent Moroni and told him there was a record, and says he, “That record is a matter that pertains to the Lamanites, and it tells when their fathers came out of Jerusalem, and how they came, and all about it; and, says he, “If you will do as I tell you, I will confer a gift upon you.” Well, he conferred it upon him, because Joseph said he would do as he told him…
Well, then Peter comes along. Why did not God come? He sent Peter, do you not see? Why did he not come along? Because he has agents to attend to his business, and he sits upon his throne and is established at head-quarters, and tells this man, “Go and do this;” and it is behind the veil just as it is here. You have got to learn that.” (Journal of Discourses volume 6 p.29).
“My text is on the resurrection of the dead, which you will find in the 14th chapter of John- “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” It should be- “In my Father’s kingdom are many kingdoms.” in order that ye may be heirs of God and joint-heirs with me. I do not believe the Methodist doctrine of sending honest men to hell, along with the murderer and the adulterer. They may hurl all their hell and fiery billows upon me, for they will roll off as fast as they come on. But I have an order of things to save the poor fellows at any rate, and get them saved; for I will send men to preach to them in prison and save them if I can.” (TPJS p.366)
“For Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, before being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, that he might bring us to God. For which cause also, he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Some of whom were disobedient in the days of Noah, while the long suffering of God waited, while the ark was preparing wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1 Peter 3:18-20)
“And there he preached to them the everlasting gospel, the doctrine of the resurrection and the redemption of mankind from the fall, and from individual sins on conditions of repentance. But unto the wicked he did not go, and among the ungodly and the unrepentant who had defiled themselves while in the flesh, his voice was not raised.” (D&C 138:19-20)
“For I (Joseph Smith Jr.) will send men to preach to them in prison and save them if I can.” (TPJS p.366)
“…and as soon as the law of the Gospel is obeyed here by their friends who act as proxy for them, the Lord has administrators there to set them free” (TPJS p.367)
Heber C. Kimball’s testimony of Joseph’s vision:
“During this time many great and marvelous visions were seen, one of which I will mention which Joseph the Prophet had concerning the Twelve. His anxiety was and had been very great for their welfare, when the following vision was manifested to him, as near as I can recollect:
“He saw the Twelve going forth, and they appeared to be in a far distant land. After some time they unexpectedly met together, apparently in great tribulation, their clothes all ragged, and their knees and feet sore. They formed a circle, and all stood with their eyes fixed upon the ground. The Savior appeared and stood in their midst and wept over them, and wanted to show Himself to them, but they did not discover Him. He (Joseph) saw until they accomplished their work, and arrived at the gate of the celestial city; there Father Adam stood and opened the gate to them, and as they entered He embraced them one by one and kissed them. He then led them to the throne of God, and then the Savior embraced each one of them and kissed them and saw that they all had beautiful heads of hair and all looked alike. The impression this vision left on Brother Joseph’s mind was of so acute a nature, that he never could refrain from weeping while rehearsing it.” (Life of Heber C. Kimball p.93-94)
THINGS THAT ONLY JOSEPH KNEW
Not Hyrum, not Brigham, not Heber, not anyone but Joseph knew this which Joseph spoke of shortly before he died.
“Would to God, brethren, I could tell you WHO I AM! Would to God I could tell you what I know! But you would call it blasphemy, and want to take my life!” (from Life of Heber C. Kimball p.333)
“No man knows my history. I CANNOT TELL IT: I SHALL NEVER UNDERTAKE IT. I don’t blame anyone for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself. I never did harm any man since I was born in the world. My voice is always for peace.” (TPJS p.361)
But he dropped hints every chance he could saying:
“God made Aaron to be the mouthpiece for the children of Israel, and HE WILL MAKE ME BE GOD TO YOU IN HIS STEAD, and the Elders to be mouth for me; and if you don’t like it, you must lump it.” (TPJS p.363)
“But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and He is within me, and comprehends more than all the world: and I will associate myself with Him.” (TPJS p.350)
“And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come…The Spirit of truth is of God. I am the Spirit of Truth, and John bore record of me, saying: He received a of truth, yea, even of all truth; And no man receiveth a unless he keepeth his commandments” (D&C 93:24-27)
JOSEPH SMITH JR. IS THE WITNESS TESTATOR
“I have to seal my testimony to this generation with my blood. I have to do it for this work will never progress until I am gone, for the testimony is of no force until the Testator is dead.
People little know who I am when they talk about me, and they never will know until they see me weighed in the balance in the Kingdom of God; Then they will know who I am, and see me as I AM. I dare not tell them and they do not know me.”
-Remarks by Sister Mary E. Lightner @ BYU April 14, 1905 special collections, BYU Library, Provo, Ut.
“Would to God, brethren, I could tell you who I am!… but you would call it blasphemy, and there are men upon this stand who would want to take my life.
-Life of Heber C. Kimball 1888 ed. p.333
Didn’t Jesus imply the very same thing when He said:
“Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long doest thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not… because ye are not of my sheep… Then the Jews took stones again to stone him, Jesus answered them:
Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” -John 10:31-32
Do we realize that this is the effect of an abused people who have suffered for ages at the hands of tyrannical church leadership? That is the devil’s end game to kill God if he can when our Lord comes by the prejudice and false traditions of His own people.
I can’t count the numberless victims that have told me that they will no longer trust anyone, who don’t know what to do, and they will use the scripture that says “woe unto him that trusteth in man or who makes flesh his arm” as their justification having no idea that their God had come into their midst whom they have abused and threatened and killed countless times.
What will we do when Peter, James, and John are sent to issue the call to the Holy Mount, to put on the “Beautiful Garments” for the Bridegroom has come and we are sent? Will we receive them or will we chase them out of doors with a broomstick? The devil is counting on us reacting on the next passerby like a beehive that has just been shook.
How many times or how many records testify Joseph said “You do not know me, I dare not tell?“
“And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet? Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus Christ that was crucified. I am the Son of God.” (D&C 45:51-52)
Is that not exactly the same thing at the great revealing of Joseph of Egypt to his brothers who sold him into slavery?
“And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king.” (D&C 45:53)
WE BELONG TO JOSEPH SMITH JR.
“I want you to remember this as if it were the last thing that escaped my lips. He has given all of you to me and has sealed you up to everlasting life that where He is there you may be also.” -Joseph Smith Jr. (As recounted by Mary Rollins Lightner April 14, 1905)
Joseph is our God
“God made Aaron to be the mouthpiece for the children of Israel, and He will make me to be God to you in His stead, and the Elders to be mouth for me; and if you don’t like it, you must lump it.” – Joseph Smith TPJS p.363
Joseph’s Second Coming
“I will now tell you something that ought to comfort every man and woman on the face of the earth. Joseph Smith Junior, will again be on this earth, dictating plans for his brethren to be baptized for the very characters who wish this was not so, in order to bring them into a kingdom to enjoy, perhaps, the presence of angels or of the spirits of good men, if they cannot endure the presence of the Father and the son; and he will never cease his operations, under the directions of the Son of God until the last ones of the children of men are saved that can be, from Adam til now… ” – Journal of discourses vol. 7, p.289
Joseph Smith Jr. is our Lord and our Judge
From the day the Priesthood was taken from the earth [The day when Moses was taken from the children of Israel] to the winding up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith Junior as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are- I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent. He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation- the keys to rule in the spirit world; and he rules there triumphantly, for he gained full power and a glorious victory over the power of Satan while he was yet in the flesh, and was a martyr to his religion and to the name of Christ which gives him a most perfect victory in the Spirit world. He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity and calling, as God does in Heaven.” – Journal of discourses vol. 7, p.289
“And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them; I will say, IT IS MY PEOPLE; AND THEY SHALL SAY THE LORD IS MY GOD” -Zechariah 13:8-9
Should there be any doubt at this point of whom we are waiting for?
WHAT’S A PROPHET LIKE?
The prophet Joseph Smith often did things that would seem to be out of character for a Prophet of God. Yet his purpose was to dispel the notion that prophets conducted themselves like nobility so that the people would not be deceived when a smooth talking perfectly groomed prophet began to prophesy lies and deceit.
In one instance a young couple came to visit the prophet Joseph, and upon seeing him rolling on the floor frolicking with his children they left the church thinking “a true prophet should never behave that way!”
Joseph was often playful with the brethren and he would say “When I am with the boys I make all the fun I can for them” and would wrestle and play in games of sport.
Not only did Joseph Smith have that temperament, but he found it difficult to abide opposite attitudes, especially when they arose from false traditions. On one occasion ministers came to him intent on tying him up in scriptural analysis, as they had bragged they would do. They kept trying to push him into a corner, but each time he not only had answers but also questions for them that they couldn’t handle. Finally they became convinced it would be better if they left. As they went to the door, the Prophet preceded them. He went out, made a mark on the ground, and jumped. “Now gentlemen,” he said, “you haven’t bested me at the scriptures. See if you can best me at that.” They went away much incensed.
On another occasion, with serious intent but humorous overtones, the Prophet dressed up in rough clothes, got on a horse, and rode down to meet a group of converts who had just arrived from England. He stopped one of them who was heading for the town.
“Are you a Mormon?” the Prophet asked.
“Yes sir,” said Edwin Rushton.
“What do you know about old Joe Smith?”
“I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.”
“I suppose you are looking for an old man with a long, gray beard. What would you think if I told you I was Joseph Smith?”
“If you are Joseph Smith, I know you are a prophet of God.”
“I am Joseph Smith,” the Prophet said, this time in gentle tones. “I came to meet those people, dressed as I am in rough clothes and speaking in this manner, to see if their faith is strong enough to stand the things they must meet. If not, they should turn back right now.”
“The Saints need not think that because I am familiar with them and am playful and cheerful, that I am ignorant of what is going on. Iniquity of any kind cannot be sustained in the Church, and it will not fare well where I am; for I am determined while I do lead the Church, to lead it right.” – Joseph Smith
THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH’S POWER TO BIND AND LOOSE – THE TEST
“And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God (the head of the Gods) will send one mighty and strong (Joseph Smith Jr.), holding the scepter (the sign of his right to rule as King of Israel) of power (priesthood) in his hand, clothed with light (truth) for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God…” (D&C 85:7)
Our God will set His house in order and by this He would show His power in a test which he gave to Heber C. Kimball and his beloved wife Vilate to prove him, to see if he was ready to receive the greater blessings Joseph had in store for him pertaining to Celestial Plural Marriage (Heber’s inheritance as a King and Priest in Israel). Joseph taught that: “When God offers a blessing, or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned.” (Life of Heber C. Kimball p.333)
“He (Joseph) was now revealing, to a chosen few, whom God had prepared to receive what he should tell them, one of the grand principles of the everlasting Gospel, ‘unlawful to be uttered’ to the multitude, yet one day to be thundered from the housetops in the ears of all living, with many other mighty truths locked in the treasure house of future time, of which eternity still holds the key. Before he would trust even Heber with the full secret, however, he put him to a test which few men would have been able to bear:
It was no less than a requirement for him to surrender his wife, his beloved Vilate, and give her to Joseph in marriage! The astounding revelation well-nigh paralyzed him. He could hardly believe he had heard aright. Yet Joseph was solemnly in earnest. His next impulse was to spurn the proposition, and perhaps at that terrible moment a vague suspicion of the Prophet’s motive and the divinity of the revelation, shot like a poisoned arrow through his soul.
But only for a moment, if at all, was such a thought, such a suspicion entertained. He knew Joseph too well, as a man, a friend, a brother, a servant of God, to doubt his truth or the divine origin of the behest he had made. No; Joseph was God’s Prophet, His mouth-piece and oracle, and so long as he was so, his words were as the words of the Eternal One to Heber C. Kimball. His heart strings might be torn, his feelings crucified and sawn asunder, but so long as his faith in God and the Priesthood remained, heaven helping him, he would try and do as he was told. Such, now, was his superhuman resolve.
Three days he fasted and wept and prayed. Then, with a broken and a bleeding heart, but with soul self-mastered for the sacrifice, he led his darling wife to the Prophet’s house and presented her to Joseph.
It was enough-the heavens accepted the sacrifice. The will for the deed was taken, and “accounted unto him for righteousness.” Joseph wept at this proof of devotion, and embracing Heber told him that was all that the Lord required. He had proved him, as a child of Abraham, that he would “do the works of Abraham,” holding back nothing, but laying all upon the altar for God’s glory.
The Prophet joined the hands of the heroic and devoted pair, and then and there, by virtue of the sealing power and authority of the Holy Priesthood, Heber and Vilate Kimball were made husband and wife for all eternity.” (Life of Heber C. Kimball p.334-335)
Brigham on teaching about this subject marriage taught that there was only one way except for the case of adultery for a husband and wife to be separated and this demonstrates Joseph’s higher power in his priesthood than anyone else on earth.
“It takes a higher power than a bill of divorce to take a woman from a man who is a good man and honors his Priesthood—it must be a man who possesses a higher power in the Priesthood, or else the woman is bound to her husband, and will be forever and ever.” (President Brigham Young, delivered in the Bowery, Brigham City, Sunday Afternoon, June 28, 1874.)
Like King David Joseph would have this same God given power to arrange the inheritances of the children of Israel. This would make Joseph the “Davidic Servant” or the servant like unto King David, a man after God’s own heart.
WHAT KIND OF MEN SHOULD WE BE?
Joseph answers this question as to what sort of attributes we must have to be men of God and men of enduring excellence and majesty.
I have heard Joseph’s testimony which says: “I love that man better who swears a stream as long as his arm yet deals justice to his neighbors and mercifully deals his substance to the poor, than the long, smooth faced hypocrite”
I’ve seen men take this to mean Joseph is ok with profanity. He isn’t.
I don’t believe that among the heavenly hosts there are profane conversations but while we’re here we’re liable to see evidences of men’s weaknesses as part of their character as easily as it seems to roll off the tongue but it is indecency.
It demonstrates a crude mind and a crude heart but a heart that desires to serve his fellow man is a good place to start. It is not the end product that God wants. It is why God sent us here to this earth-school to learn how to conduct ourselves among other weaker vessels as well as greater vessels from whom we can receive both help and experience in this fallen world. We need to up our game and refine ourselves with God’s help. God wants men who are both possessed of the gifts of eloquence and love for their fellow man.
The Prophet Joseph Smith summed it up this way:
“Brethren, from henceforth, let truth and righteousness prevail and abound in you; and in all things be temperate; abstain from drunkenness, and from swearing, and from all profane language, and from everything which is unrighteous or unholy; also from enmity, and hatred, and covetousness, and from every unholy desire. Be honest one with another, for it seems that some come short of these things, and some have been uncharitable, and have manifested greediness because of their debts towards those who have been persecuted and dragged about with chains without cause, and imprisoned. Such characters God hates-and they shall have their turn of sorrow in the rolling of the great wheel, for it rolleth and none can hinder. Zion shall yet live, though she seem to be dead.
Remember that whatsoever measure you mete out to others, it shall be measured to you again. We say unto you brethren, be not afraid of your adversaries; contend earnestly against mobs, and the unlawful works of dissenters and of darkness.
And the very God of peace shall be with you, and make a way for your escape from the adversary of your souls. We commend you to God and the world of His grace, which is able to make us wise unto salvation. Amen.” Joseph Smith Jun. (TPJS p.129)
JOSEPH SMITH JR- THE PRESIDENT OF THE RESURRECTION WHO SETS THE HOUSE IN ORDER
A discourse delivered by President Brigham Young at the General Conference of the Church, held in Salt Lake City, on Sunday afternoon, October 8th, 1854. (TPBY 3:343-374)
“How are you going to get your resurrection? You will get it by the President of the Resurrection pertaining to this generation, and that is Joseph Smith Junior. Hear it all ends of the Earth; if ever you enter into the Kingdom of God it is because Joseph Smith let you go there. This will apply to Jews and Gentiles, to the bond, and free; to friends and foes; no man or woman in this generation will get a resurrection and be crowned without Joseph Smith says so. The man who was martyred in Carthage Jail in the state of Illinois holds the Keys of Life and Death to this generation. He is the President of the Resurrection in this Dispensation and he will be the first to rise from the dead. When he has passed through it, then I reckon the Keys of the Resurrection will be committed to him. Then he will call up his Apostles. You know I told you last conference I was an Apostle of Joseph Smith; and if faithful enough I expect Joseph will resurrect the Apostles; and when they have passed through the change, and received their blessings, I expect he will commit to them the Keys of the Resurrection, and they will go on resurrecting the Saints, every man in his own order.”
“I want to tell you a thing with regard to parents, wives, brothers and sisters etc. The time will come when it will be told where this man and this woman shall be placed; The real blood of Joseph will be selected out from among the tribes of Israel, and every man, and woman will be put in their places, and stand in their order where the Lord designs them to be. When you get back into the presence of God, and the Lord should say “Who have you brought with you?” Your reply would be, “My wife and children;” but in reality you have only with you your brothers and sisters. The Father would say, “These are my children.” When you meet your Father in Heaven you will know Him, and realize that you have lived with Him, and rested in His bosom for ages gone past, and He will hail you as His sons and daughters, and embrace you, and you will embrace Him, and “Hallelujah, thank God I have come to Father again, I have got back home” will resound through the Heavens.”
JOSEPH KNEW WHO WOULD BETRAY HIM
Joseph, the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator was no less capable of seeing into a man’s heart than the Lord Himself
The Prophet once remarked: “The Saints need not think because I am familiar with them and am playful and cheerful, that I am ignorant of what is going on. Iniquity of any kind cannot be sustained in the Church, and it will not fare well where I am; for I am determined while I do lead the Church to lead it right.” -TPJS p. 307
Joseph tested the Saints to see if they would receive the celestial law of Plural Marriage and as he did, he found them to be unreceptive to this higher law.
JOSEPH REVEALS THEM
On this occasion John D. Lee wrote the following:
“Joseph himself said on the stand, that should he reveal the word of God concerning them, that they, pointing to President W. Marks, P.P. Pratt, and others would shed his blood. He urged them to surrender themselves to God instead of rebelling against the stepping stone of exaltation… But he dared not proclaim it publicly, so it was taught confidentially to such as were strong enough in the faith to take another step.” (Mormonism Unveiled, p. 146)
President Smith explained this problem in greater detail years later after the people were better able to understand the principle of sealing, stating that in 1843 Joseph once again went to the stand and taught the law of plural marriage:
“…While he was thus preaching he turned to the men sitting in the stand, and who were the men who should have backed him up. (Marks, Law, Cowles, & others) and said. “If I were to reveal the things that God has revealed to me, if I were to reveal to this people the doctrines that I know are for their exaltation, these men would spill my blood” -JD 2:217
THEY EXPOSED THEMSELVES
“Saturday, June 22, 1844, about 9pm Hyrum came out the Mansion and gave his hands to Reynolds Cahoon, at the same time saying, “A company of men are seeking to kill my brother Joseph, and the Lord warned him to flee to the Rocky Mountains to save his life. Good-by, Brother Cahoon, we shall see you again.” In a few minutes afterwards Joseph came from his family, His tears flowing fast. He held a handkerchief to his face, and followed after Brother Hyrum without uttering a word.
Late that night, the Prophet and Patriarch were taken across the river by Orrin P. Rockwell preparatory to their start towards the Rocky Mountains… That same morning a possee arrived in Nauvoo to arrest Joseph Smith, but they did not find him, but they did succeed in creating fear in the hearts of some of the timid… Orrin P. Rockwell… arrived with a letter from Emma Smith, requesting the Prophet to return to Nauvoo.
Reynolds Cahoon, Lorenzo D. Wasson and Hiram Kimball accused Joseph of cowardice for wishing to leave the people… like the fable, when the wolves came the shepherd ran from the flock, and left the sheep to be devoured. To which Joseph replied: “If my life is of no value to my friends it is of none to myself” (TPJS p. 377)
In a remarkable parallel, the Lord Jesus Christ likewise points out his betrayer:
“After Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit and testified, “Truly, truly, I tell you, one of you will betray Me.” The disciples looked at one another, perplexed as to which of them He meant. One of His disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at His side. So Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus which one He was talking about. Leaning back against Jesus, he asked, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this morsel after I have dipped it.” Then He dipped the morsel and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. And when Judas had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Then Jesus said to Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” -John 13: 21-27
The Prophet Joseph Smith, no less a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator than the Lord Jesus Christ could clearly enough see into the hearts of men and discern between them whom he could trust and by whom he would be betrayed. To consider Joseph ignorant of these facts at hand would be to diminish the power and authority of the Almighty Himself. God is in charge and He knows what is going on in the hearts of men.
THE PROPHET JOSEPH SMITH’S FIRST RECORDED MIRACLE
“Amongst those who attended our meetings regularly, was Newell Knight. He and I had many serious conversations on the important subject of man’s eternal salvation. We had got into the habit of praying much at our meetings, and Newell had said that he would try and take up his cross, and pray vocally during meeting; but when we met together, he rather excused himself. I tried to prevail upon him, making use of the figure, supposing that he would get into a mud-hole, would he not try to help himself out? And I further said that we were willing now to help him out of the mud-hole. He replied, that provided he had got into a mud-hole through carelessness, he would rather wait and get out himself, than to have others help him; and so he would wait until he could get into the woods by himself, and there he would pray. Accordingly, he deferred praying until next morning, when he retired into the woods; where, according to his own account afterwards, he made several attempts to pray, but could scarcely do so, feeling that he had not done his duty, in refusing to pray in the presence of others. He began to feel uneasy and continued to feel worse both in mind and body, until upon reaching his own house, his appearance was such as to alarm his wife very much. He requested her to go and bring me to him. I went and found him suffering very much in his mind, and his body acted upon in a very strange manner; his visage and limbs distorted and twisted in every shape and appearance possible to imagine; and finally he was caught up off the floor of the apartment, and tossed about most fearfully.
His situation was soon made known to his neighbors and relatives, and in a short time as many as eight or nine grown persons had got together to witness the scene. After he had thus suffered for a time, I succeeded in getting hold of him by the hand, when almost immediately he spoke to me, and with great earnestness requested me to cast the devil out of him, saying that he knew he was in him, and that he also knew that I could cast him out.
I replied, “If you know that I can, it shall be done;” and then almost unconsciously I rebuked the devil, and commanded him in the name of Jesus Christ to depart from him; when immediately Newel Spoke out and said that he saw the devil leave him and vanish from his sight. This was the first miracle which was done in the Church, or by any member of it; and it was done not by man, nor by the power of man, but it was done by God, and by the power of godliness; therefore, let the honor and the praise, the dominion and the glory, be ascribed to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.”
From the “History of the Church” volume 1 page 82
JOSEPH IS THE PROMISE OF MOSES
Lehi testified to his son Joseph of the coming Messiah, a latter-day Prophet named Joseph, a Moses who would come to deliver his people.
It is this deliverer who comes among his brethren who reveals himself. It is then that they finally realize something that Joseph has wanted to reveal to them from the very beginning but could not until the time of the great unveiling. Only through the understanding of Multiple Mortal Probations can we unlock the mystery of this end time deliverer.
“For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph, which was carried captive into Egypt (that’s my family he says in other words) And great was the covenants of the Lord, which he made unto Joseph (speaking of Joseph of Egypt); wherefore Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord that out of the fruit of his loins, the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the House of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off; nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord, that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days (and we’re in the latter days) in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of the darkness unto light; yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.” – 2 Nephi 3:4-5
IN THE LATTER DAYS A MAN BY THE NAME OF JOSEPH WOULD BE RAISED AND HE WOULD BE A “SEER”
“For Joseph truly testified, saying: a seer shall the Lord my God raise up, which shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins… And his name shall be called (Joseph) after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people (whose people? Joseph’s people) unto salvation; yea, thus prophesied Joseph. I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses: for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever. And the Lord hath said, I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing (he will be a translator, a writer of scripture). Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much: for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.” Joseph of Egypt’s prophecy.- 2 Nephi 3:6,15-17
IT IS JOSEPH THAT GOD WAS SPEAKING OF WHO WOULD COME AS MOSES TO DELIVER HIS PEOPLE
“God made Aaron to be the mouthpiece for the children of Israel, and He will make me to be God to you in His stead, and the Elders to be mouth for me; and if you don’t like it, you must lump it.” -Joseph Smith TPJS p.363
JOSEPH OF EGYPT IS FINALLY REVEALED TO HIS BROTHERS
“Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: for him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be cut off from among the people.
Verily, I say unto you, Yea; and all the prophets from Samuel, and those that follow after, as many as have spoken have testified of me….
and they shall believe in me, that I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and shall pray unto the Father in my name.
Then shall their watchmen lift up their voice; and with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye. (now they will know). Verily, verily, I say unto you, That my people shall know my name; yea, in that day they shall know that I am he that doth speak.” – 3 Nephi 20:23-24,39
“Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me!” So none of them were with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. But he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household soon heard of it.
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But they were unable to answer him, because they were terrified in his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near me.” And they did so. “I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, “the one you sold into Egypt! – Genesis 45:1-4
Interestingly enough, in the Berean Study Bible Zechariah 13:5 the prophecy reads as follows:
“He will say, ‘I am not a prophet; I work the land, for I was purchased as a servant in my youth.’”
But in King James Zechariah 13:6 the prophecy continues:
“And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.”
That scripture in Zechariah 13:6 sounds like the prophecy of the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ to His brethren and it is! That scripture in Zechariah 13:5 sounds like this deliverer isn’t recognized even by his own closest family just like Joseph and it’s true! They won’t recognize Him!
If you look back at when Jesus came to Mary after the crucifixion you will understand that even she didn’t recognize her Lord. She thought he was the gardener but He was more than that. He was our Lord who had died, laid in the tomb for three days and rose again on the third day! That is the good news of our coming deliverer and that is the fulfillment of the promise of Moses, a coming deliverer in the name of Joseph.
THE CHOICE SEER
I was reading 3rd Nephi and I came across this passage which is about the choice seer whom the Lord would raise up in the latter days. It’s interesting because this scripture makes it clear that the Choice Seer is Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who was speaking when He said:
“Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me: him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that prophet, shall be cut off from among the people.” – 3 Nephi 20:23
So who is Jesus saying that this Prophet will be? When he said “Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me:” What’s He saying? He’s saying that this prophet when he comes, is going to seem very familiar. In fact he’s going to start sounding a lot like the Lord Jesus Christ and from the very beginning of this verse, Jesus affirms that the identity of this coming prophet is Him. This Prophet is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
But this verse sounded so much like a verse I remembered from 2nd Nephi so I went to check it out, and there it was, all the same context from the prophecy of Joseph that he gave of this coming Prophet whom the Lord God would send who would be once again a type of Moses. A man who is “great like unto Moses” the prophecy tells us of this latter day prophet whom if we do not hearken to his voice we would be destroyed (confounded). The difference here though is in the identity of the man’s name. It says that His name is Joseph.
“For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, which shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins…
And I will give unto him a commandment, that he shall do none other work, save the work which I command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work…
And he shall be great like unto Moses whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.
And Moses will I raise up to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt…
(but remember that Moses was in Joseph’s past but yet he’s speaking of Him as though he were in Joseph’s future. Can you see the unfolding mystery of Multiple Mortal Probations here?)
And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him, shall be confounded (destroyed)…
And his name shall be called (Joseph) after me; and it shall be after the name of his father, And he shall be like unto me;…” 2 Nephi 3:6-15
Or it may be more clearly said “And he shall be me.”
JOSEPH SMITH- SAVIOR AND DELIVERER
The Prophet’s Letter to William W. Phelps, Welcoming Him Back into the Church
“Dear Brother Phelps. I must say that it is with no ordinary feelings I endeavor to write a few lines to you in answer to yours of the 29th ultimo; at the same time I am rejoiced at the privilege granted me.
You may in some measure realize what my feelings, as well as Elder Rigdon’s and Brother Hyrum’s were, when we read your letter- Truly our hearts were melted into tenderness and compassion when we ascertained your resolves. I can assure you I feel a disposition to act on your case in a manner that will meet the approbation of Jehovah (whose servant I am), and agreeable to the principles of truth and righteousness which have been revealed; and inasmuch as long-suffering, patience, and mercy have ever characterized the dealings of our heavenly Father towards the humble and penitent, I feel disposed to copy the example, cherish the same principles, and by so doing be a savior to my fellow men” – TPJS p. 165
Joseph here testified of his place in the Godhead consisting of Eloheim, Jehovah, and Michael.
As the redeemer of his brethren and servant of Jehovah, Joseph just told us in this intimate letter to WW Phelps, that he does just as he has seen His Father do just as Jesus said:
“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the son likewise.” (John 5:19)
Joseph is even more. He is the choice seer prophesied of that would come bearing his Father’s own name, a right thing for a lawful heir to his Father’s kingdom. Therefore if the redeemer does only what He has seen his Father do, he would also bear his Father’s name. He has testified that he came in his Father’s name and follows his Father’s example.
“I have come in My Father’s name, and you have not received Me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will receive him.” – John 5:43
Would Jesus therefore be mirroring the redemptive role His Father played as Jesus, the only name given in Heaven whereby men can be saved? Yes he would. Would Joseph then also bear the name of his Father being His son? Yes he would.
How can he be known then by so many names?
The same way a general can have so many decorations on his chest for all his victories.
I suppose this imagery of names and titles all applied in the lifetime of one man for wartime victories would be best epitomized in the movie “The Ten Commandments”
“Prince of Memphis, Prince of Thebes, beloved of the Nile god, conqueror of Ethiopia, general of generals, commander of the Egyptian Host, and man of mud!” (Nefertiri)
How many more would there be of this man over countless lifetimes?
“For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, which shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins..
And I will give unto him a commandment, that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes: for he shall do my work…
And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.
And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation;” (2 Nephi 3:6,8,9,15)
A PROPHETIC DREAM OF THE CHILD IN THE HANDS OF BROTHER BRIGHAM
A dream had by President Joseph F Smith, June 1910 recounted by Lorin Woolley:
“In the dream, Pres. Smith was in the Beehive house, where he then lived, bathing preparatory to attending a meeting in the Temple. As he was bathing, one of his wives came to the door and said, “Pa, you will be late.”
He replied, “Well, I will go there clean.” Later, in entering the Temple, the room in which the meeting was to be held, there were Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and Lorenzo Snow, sitting in the order named.
As he entered, his Uncle, Joseph Smith remarked, “Joseph, you are late.”
He said, “Yes, but I have come clean,” and took his place in the circle.
Joseph Smith arose, went over to a cradle and picked up a child and held it a few minutes, then handing it to Brigham Young. The child thrived in Brigham Young’s hands. He then handed it to John Taylor, who held it a few minutes, and it thrived in his hands. The child was handed to Wilford Woodruff, who held it a few minutes, then it began to get sickly. He handed it to Lorenzo Snow, who held it a few minutes, but it got worse and looked like it was going to die, when he took it back to Joseph Smith, where it immediately began to get better, which was the end of the vision, or dream.”
-Reminiscences of John W. Wooley and Lorin C. Woolley, Vol. 5, p.45
Is there any doubt as to the interpretation of this dream?
KNOWLEDGE LOST THROUGH REJECTION
Excerpts taken from “Further Light and Knowledge- Understanding the Mysteries of the Kingdom” pp 52-53
“We can observe that people react differently when eternal truths are revealed to them. Some are too complacent in their lives to accept the glorious principles that could be theirs. Through apathy, the most common form of rejection, they seal the door to divine knowledge not only against themselves but also against their posterity. Others are quick to discuss and study theological points but are reluctant to implement principles which are designed for their exaltation. The greatest destroyer of their faith is unbelief. Lack of belief destroys not only faith in what has just been learned but also undermines faith in what was previously believed and, if not repented of, will eventually rob a person of that which was formerly cherished. Because of fear, misunderstanding, or unwillingness to do what is required by God, these individuals seal the door of divine revelation and forfeit blessings which would otherwise be within their grasp.”
“Yet there is another class of individuals who are even more destructive to the work of God, and the knowledge He reveals from heaven, Those who “flat-out” reject the revealed word often take one more step. Not able to live and let live, these individuals openly attempt to squelch, stamp out, rebel against, and destroy the things of God. This is the principle that crucified Christ and took the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Referring to this class of individuals Joseph stated:”
“They are crying out against Prophets, Apostles, Angels, Revelation, Prophesying, and Visons etc. Why, they are just ripening for the damnation of hell, they will be damned for they reject the more glorious principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ and treat with disdain and trample under foot the main key that unlocks the heavens and puts in our possession the glories of the Celestial world. Yes I say such will be damned with all their professed godliness.” -Sunday 14 May 1843; Words of Joseph Smith, p.202
“Throughout history peoples and nations have rejected the truths of the gospel. As Joseph stated, they have rejected the idea of Angels, Revelation, Prophesying, and Visions. Because of their rejection of these things they have suffered the consequences of their actions. Individuals are no exception for “…When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man (or woman), and he refuses to receive it he will be damned.” -Joseph Smith, Words of Joseph Smith p. 247
Nephi explained this in the following manner:
“Yea, wo be unto him that saint: We have received, and we need no more! And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God!
Wo be unto him who shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him who receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, we have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” (2 Neph 28:27-30)
“And thus through their rebellion their knowledge becomes lost, not only to themselves, but also to their posterity and they risk eternal damnation. Again Joseph explained:”
“…if we have direct revelations given us from heaven, surely those revelations were never given to be trifled with, without the trifler’s incurring displeasure and vengeance upon his own head…” (TPJS p.54)
Once God reveals truth to an individual or to the people they can no longer stand on neutral ground. They must either embrace it or fight against God. Joseph Smith recognized why former members of the Church became so bitter in their opposition. If we do not continually receive revelations from God we are not recognized by Him as His people. Joseph clearly taught this truth, said he:
“The plea of many in this day is that we have no right to receive revelations. But if we do not get revelations we… are not the people of God.” (Sunday 22 Jan. 1843; Words of Joseph Smith, p. 156)
WHEN GOD RAN FOR PRESIDENT
When God ran for president, His campaign was to largely eliminate the prisons, particularly debtor’s prisons using the construction of roads and public works to give them means of repayment with the admonition: “Go your way and sin no more.”With the prisons being empty He would turn them into seminaries of learning where barbarism would give way to intelligence and decency.
When God ran for President, He advocated to purchase the freedom of the slaves, not by forced abdication of the owner’s rights, but by the sale of public land to purchase their freedom so that they too could hopefully enjoy the opportunity to live and worship God according to their own conscience.
When God ran for President, He advocated the elimination of courts martial for desertion but rather give them their pay and dishonorably discharge them never again having the public’s trust.
When God ran for President, he advocated the death penalty for politicians who refused to uphold the constitutional rights of their citizens.
How would this nation have turned out with God at the head of it?
We would have been free.
WORDS THAT WOULD DIVIDE MEN
“If I was to show the Latter-day Saints all the revelations that the Lord has shown unto me, there is scarce a man that would stay with me, they could not bear it.” Joseph Smith Jr.
What could Joseph possibly say to make his case any more perilous that it would cause his own disciples to abandon him?
The only thing that I’ve seen in the scriptures that would do that; to cause friends and family to abandon Him and even perhaps seek His life is to do what Jesus did with the Pharisees, which is to claim to be God, the only God with whom we have to do.
“For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18)
If Jesus claiming to be the great I AM wasn’t enough, Abinadi didn’t fare much better with his opponents when he said that our God would also be our Messiah and that He would be rejected by His own people saying:
“…I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people… but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.” (Mosiah 15:1,5)
Interestingly enough Joseph of Egypt met the same fate with his family when from his dreams he told them they would bow down and worship him as their God, the God of Israel, the only one of the 12 brothers who could fit the description of being “The Holy One of Israel” Or in other words, the Holy offspring of Israel.
These are all testaments of that One True God, with whom we have to do.
“And he (Joseph) told it to his father and to his brethren and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?
And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying” (Genesis 37:10-11)