Mission and Identity of Joseph Smith

And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (Revelation 14:6-7)

. . . the Savior said, when those tribulations should take place, it should be committed to a man, who should be a witness over the whole world, the keys of knowledge, power, and revelations, should be revealed to a witness who should hold the testimony to the world; . . . all the testimony is, that the Lord in the last days  would commit the keys of the Priesthood to a witness  over all people—has the Gospel of the Kingdom commenced in the last days? and will God take it from the man, until he takes him, himself? I have read it precisely as the words flowed from the lips of Jesus Christ—John the Revelator saw an angel flying thro’ the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, &c the scripture is ready to be fulfilled when great wars, famines, pestilence, great distress, judgments, &c are ready to be poured out on the Inhabitants of the Earth—John saw the angel having the holy Priesthood who should preach the everlasting Gospel to all nations,—God had an angel, a special messenger, ordained, & prepared for that purpose in the last days—Woe! Woe! be to that man, or set of men, who lift up their hands against God and his Witness in these last days . . . every man who has a calling to minister to the Inhabitants of the world, was ordained to that very purpose in that grand Council of Heaven before this world was—I suppose that I was ordained to this very office in that grand Council—it is the testimony that I want, that I am God’s servant. (Joseph Smith, May 12, 1844, “Thomas Bullock Report;” The Words of Joseph Smith, pg. 366-367)

Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you [Joseph Smith, Jr.], while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come; (Doctrine and Covenants 90:3)

Exalt not yourselves; rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to youward, shall not be taken from him till I come.  (Doctrine and Covenants 112:15)

The records of past ages and generations, and the histories of ancient days shall he (Joseph Smith) bring forth, even the record of the Nephites shall he again obtain, with all those hid up by Mormon, and others who were righteous; and many others till he is overwhelmed with knowledge. (Oliver Cowdery Patriarchal Blessing to Joseph Smith, September 22, 1835, Unpublished Revelations, Collier, Vol. 1, pg. 76-77. Made mention of in DHC, Vol. 2, pg 281)

5 And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

6 And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it needs be, by the things which they suffer.

7 I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;

8 But I speak concerning my churches abroadthere are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up to Zion, and will keep our moneys.

9 Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion—

10 That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands. 

11 And this thing cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high.  

12 For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful and continue in humility before me.

13 Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion  (Doctrine and Covenants 105:5-13)

15 Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power;

16 Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel

17 For ye are the children of Israel, and the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm.

18 And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be. (Doctrine and Covenants 103:15-18)

D&C Parable of the Redemption of Zion:

41  Behold, here is wisdom concerning the children of Zion, even many, but not all; they were found transgressors, therefore they must needs be chastened—

42  He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that abaseth himself shall be exalted.

43  And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion.

44  A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive-trees;

45  And set watchmen round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.

46  Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive-trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.

47  And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower?

48  And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves: What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace?

49  Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things.

50  And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.

51  And the enemy came by night, and broke down the hedge; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive-trees.

52  Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the vineyard, called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil?

53  Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and—after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof—built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?

54  And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.

55  And the lord of the vineyard said unto one of his servants: Go and gather together the residue of my servants, and take all the strength of mine house, which are my warriors, my young men, and they that are of middle age also among all my servants, who are the strength of mine house, save those only whom I have appointed to tarry;

56  And go ye straightway unto the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard; for it is mine; I have bought it with money.

57  Therefore, get ye straightway unto my land; break down the walls of mine enemies; throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen.

58  And inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land.

59  And the servant said unto his lord: When shall these things be?

60  And he said unto his servant: When I will; go ye straightway, and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you;

61  And this shall be my seal and blessing upon you—a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house, a ruler in my kingdom.

62  And his servant went straightway, and did all things whatsoever his lord commanded him; and after many days all things were fulfilled(D&C 101:41-62)

Verily, verily I say unto you, that my servant Baurak Ale (Joseph Smith, Jun.), is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given unto you. (Doctrine and Covenants 103:21)

And it shall come to pass that I, the Lord God, will send one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light 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, . . . (Doctrine and Covenants  85:7)

Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.  (Isaiah 28:2)

You will gather many people into the fastness of the Rocky Mountains as a center for the gathering of the people, and you will be faithful because you have been true; and many of those who come under your ministry, because of their much learning, will seek for high positions, and they will be set up and raise themselves in eminence above you, but you will walk in low places unnoticed and you will know all that transpires in their midst, and those that are my friends will be your friends.  This I will promise to you, that when I come again to lead you forth, for I will go to prepare a place for you, so that where I am you shall be with me. (Joseph Smith, quoted in “Diary of John E Forsgren,” Fate of the Persecutors of Joseph Smith, N.B. Lundwall, pg. 154)

My servant Joseph Smith still holds the keys of my kingdom in this dispensation, and he shall stand in due time on the earth, in the flesh, and fulfill that to which he is appointed. (Revelation to Apostle Parley Pratt while walking in Illinois on the road back to Nauvoo after the martyrdom, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pg. 368)

So it is with the Prophet Joseph Smith. He has gone before with the keys of this dispensation, after having lived and conferred them upon the authorities of the church, even all that was necessary until he shall come again to build up this kingdom preparatory to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Apostle Franklin D. Richards, August 30, 1885, JD 26:302)

But we still were in hopes that he (Joseph Smith) would live and that he would be the man who, like Moses, would lead this people from bondage.  I do not know but he will yet.  God’s arm is not shortened that he cannot raise him up even from the tomb.  (Apostle Orson Pratt, March 9, 1873, JD 15:363)

From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth 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 he 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. Many will exclaim—”Oh, that is very disagreeable! It is preposterous! We cannot bear the thought!”  But it is true.  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 and calling forth his brethren to be baptized for the very characters who wish this was not so, in order to bring them into a kingdom . . . (President Brigham Young, October 9, 1859, JD 7:289)

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.  (Joseph Smith, “King Follett Discourse”, April 7, 1844, Reported in Times and Seasons, 15 August 1844)

Joseph also said that the Holy Ghost is now in a state of Probation which if he should perform in righteousness he may pass through the same or a similar course of things that the Son has(“Scriptural Items”, F. D. Richards, The Words of Joseph Smith, Ehat/Cook, pg. 245)

Now concerning the organization of the kingdom of God [which] is brought to pass.  The Savior told his disciples as he [has] seen the Father do, so does he, and as Joseph Smith [has] seen Jesus do, so did Joseph do, and as I [have] seen Joseph do, so do I also.  (President Brigham Young, December 1844, George Laub’s Nauvoo Journal, BYU Studies 18:177-178)

Many men will say, “I will never forsake you, but will stand by you at all times,” but the moment you teach them some of the mysteries of the kingdom of God that are retained in the heavens, and are prepared for them, they will be the first to stone you and put you to death. It was this same principle that crucified the Lord Jesus Christ, and will cause the people to kill the prophets in this generation. 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 there are men upon this stand who would want to take my life. (Joseph Smith, Jr., as quoted by Heber C. Kimball, Life of Heber C. Kimball, by Orson F. Whitney, pg. 322-323)

The Jews answered him [Jesus], saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.  (John 10:33)

Oh ye learned doctors and lawyers who have persecuted me, I want to let you know that the Holy Ghost knows something as well as you do(Joseph Smith, April 7, 1844, “King Follett Discourse”)

Like the sun in his meridian splendor, Joseph Smith shown [shone] as full man at home, among his friends, in the field, on the bench, or before the world.  [He] a pattern parent; a worthy friend; a model general; a righteous judge, and the wisest man of the age, sustained by Truth, and “God was his right hand man.”  Surely, as one of the Holy Ones commissioned by his Father among the Royal Seventy, when the High Council of Heaven set them apart to come down and “multiply and replenish the earth,” he was the “last,” and who knows but the “greatest,” for he declared—we—knew not who he was!  So, I may say, as the last is to be first, and the first last in eternal rotation, that Joseph Smith, who was Gazelam [seer—see Alma 37:23, D&C 78:9, 82:11, 104:26, 43] in the spirit world, was, and is, and will be in the endless progress of eternity:  —The Prince of Light.  ‘Tis so, and who can dispute it!  (W. W. Phelps, speaking at the funeral of the Prophet Joseph Smith, June 29, 1844, BYU Studies vol. 23, Winter 1983, 12, also “President Brigham Young’s Doctrine on Deity, Collier, p. 250)

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.  . . . The testators are now dead, and their testament is in force.   (D&C 135:3, 5, written by John Taylor)

I teach the people that Joseph Smith was greater than any other Prophet that ever lived, except Jesus Christ. (President B. Young: “That is true. How can it be otherwise?”) It can’t; and I tell you that he is just as active to-day as ever he was, and he can do more for this people and for the cause of Zion than he could when here. In the days of Israel of old, and in all former dispensations, there have been many Prophets; but Joseph Smith stands at the head of this, which is a dispensation of all dispensations: it will comprehend and complete the unfinished work of all former days.  (John Young, April 8, 1857, JD 6:231-232)

The Holy Ghost is a man; he is one of the sons of our Father and our God; and he is the man that stood next to Jesus Christ, just as I stand by brother Brigham.  (Heber C. Kimball, August 23, 1857, JD 5:179)

Who can justly say aught against Joseph Smith? I was as well acquainted with him, as any man. I do not believe that his father and mother knew him any better than I did. I do not think that a man lives on the earth that knew him 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. I am his witness.  (Brigham Young, August 3, 1862, JD 9:332)

It was not necessary for Joseph Smith to be killed, if the people had believed his testimony; but as the testator has sealed it with his blood, his testimony is in force on all the inhabitants of the earth, and wherever it goes those who reject it will be damned.  (Brigham Young, August 12, 1866, JD 11:257)

Some of Joseph’s wives thought they had the Holy Ghost for a bed fellow. (Joseph H. Jackson, August 1844, “Guide to Mormon Diaries & Autobiographies,” p. 172)

We have just been listening to the testimony of one of the Apostles of  the Lord Jesus Christ, also an Apostle of him whom the Lord has called in our day to establish his kingdom no more to be overcome by wickedness on the  earth.  To say that we are Apostles of Joseph Smith is rather a dark saying  to many.  Jesus Christ being sent of the Father to perform a certain work, became an Apostle.  (Brigham Young, August 31, 1862, JD 9:364)

I am Brigham Young, an Apostle of Joseph Smith, and also of Jesus Christ.  (Brigham Young, October 6, 1857, JD 5:296)

What is the nature and beauty of Joseph’s mission?  You know that I am one of his Apostles(Brigham Young, October 7, 1857, JD 5:330)

But the Mormon prophet [Joseph Smith] invoked the Holy Ghost of the ancient Hebrews, and burst the sealed heavens.  The Holy Ghost came, and His apostles published the news abroad.  (Eliza R. Snow Smith with Edward Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom, 1877, p. 21)

Joseph Smith was an unlettered youth. He came not in the polished form of wisdom—either divine or human—but in the demonstration of the Holy Ghost, and with signs following the believer. (Eliza R. Snow Smith with Edward Tullidge,  Women of Mormondom, 1877, p. 39)

I arose and spoke to the people, my hart [sic] was swollen with compassion towards them by the power of the Holy g[h]ost even the Spirit of the Prophet, I was enabled to comfort the harts [sic] of the saints.  (Diary of Brigham Young, August 18, 1844, p. 49, LDS Historical Dept.)

Joseph has always been preserved from his enemies, until now, but he has sealed his testimony with his blood, and his testament is now in force.  While the Testator lived it was all in his hands, but now he is dead. (Brigham Young, August 18, 1844, Teachings of President Brigham Young, Collier, 1:1;8;18;44)

Everlasting covenant was made between three personages before the organization of this earth, and relates to their dispensation of things to men on the earth; these personages, according to Abraham’s record, are called God the first, the Creator; God the second, the Redeemer;and God the third, the witness or Testator.  (Prophet Joseph Smith, TPJS, p. 190)

He [President Young] next showed how the saints are delivered up in their progress from those who give them up to the high council, and from the high council to the prophet, and from the prophet to the son, the elder brother, and from the son to his father. (Brigham Young, October 6, 1944, in General Conference, DHC 7:287)

That is why I am going there when I go or else they may just as well keep me here, but there will be a time of peace, rest, joy and glory, but I will not rest as I have told you many times until every spirit bows in reverence to our Father and to Jesus His Son…(with deep emotion)…and to Joseph, the Prophet.  I will not rest until that trinity is placed in its proper place and praise and glory given to them forever and forever.  * * *  “Do not fear, my brethren, for when these things are happening to you, when evil men and women despitefully use and accuse you and bring you and your name and character into disrepute, remember they did this to me before they did it to you.” This is a wonderful consolation, that they did this to Father Adam, to Jesus Christ, to Joseph Smith, before they have done it to us.  * * * These are tears of joy, dear people.  I seldom have tears of sadness, but I have wept worlds of tears of joy for this great work; and I feel like shouting to all and wish my words to be heard,  HALLELUJAH, HALLELUJAH, GLORY BE TO ADAM OUR FATHER AND OUR GOD, TO JESUS CHRIST HIS SON, AND TO THEIR BELOVED JOSEPH! FOREVER AND FOREVER, AMEN AND AMEN! (Apostle John W. Taylor, discourse in SL Tabernacle, 1888, Church Archives, caps in original, emphasis added—See “Notes on Apostle John W. Taylor” at the end of the section on the Manifesto)

I never told you I was perfect—but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught—must I then be thrown away as a thing of naught? —I enjoin for your consideration, add to your faith, virtue, love &c. I say in the name of the Lord, if these things are in you, you shall be fruitful. I testify that no man has the power to reveal it, but myself, things in heaven, things in earth and hell—and all shut your mouths for the future—. (Joseph Smith, Jr., “Thomas Bullock Report”, May 12, 1844, Temple Stand, The Words of Joseph Smith, Ehat/Cook, pg. 369)

“I have asked the Lord to take me away.  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.”  These words were spoken with such power that they penetrated the heart of every soul that believed on him.  (Joseph Smith, as quoted by Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, speech given at BYU, 1905)

I rejoice in hearing the testimony of my aged friends.  You don’t know me; you never knew my heart.  No man knows my history. I cannot tell it:  I shall never undertake it.  I don’t blame any one 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.  I cannot lie down until all my work is finished.  I never think any evil, nor do anything to the harm of my fellowman.   When I am called by the trump of the archangel and weighed in the balance, you will all know me then.  I add no more.  God bless you all.  Amen. (Joseph Smith, “King Follett Discourse,” April 7, 1844, TPJS, pp. 361-362)

I have heard him [Joseph Smith] say on certain occasions, “You do not know who I am.” The world did not like him. The world did not like either the Savior, or the Prophets; they have never liked revealed truth; and it is as much as a bargain for the Saints even to bear the truth. (John Taylor, October 20, 1881, JD 26:106)

You did not know who you had amongst you.  Joseph so loved this people that he gave his life for them; … Joseph and Hyrum have given their lives for the church. But very few knew Joseph’s character; he loved you unto death—you did not know it until after his death: he has now sealed his testimony with his blood. If the Twelve had been here we would not have seen him given up—he should not have been given up. He was in your midst, but you did not know him; he has been taken away, for the people are not worthy of him. (Brigham Young, August 8, 1844, BYA 1:45)

If you find out who Joseph was, you will know as much about God as you need to at present; for if He said, “I am a God to this people.” He did not say that He was the only wise God.  Jesus was a God to the people when he was upon the earth, and is yet.  Moses was a God to the children of Israel, and in this manner you may go right back to Father Adam. (Brigham Young, March 8, 1857, JD 4:270)

And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there never is but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead. (Doctrine and Covenants 132:7)

Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!

Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer.

Blessed to open the last dispensation,

Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.

Praise to his mem-’ry, he died as a martyr;

Honored and blest be his ever great name!

Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins,

Stain Illinois [original wording] while the earth lauds his fame.

Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.

Ever and ever the keys he will hold.

Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom,

Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.

Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;

Earth must atone for the blood of that man.

Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.

Millions shall know ‘Brother Joseph’ again.

Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven

Traitors and Tyrants now fight him in vain—

Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;

Death cannot conquer the hero again.

(“Praise to the Man”, Hymn #27, LDS Hymns, William W. Phelps,  1782-1872)