As you may know, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A little background of our Faith... Back in 1820 there was a 14 yr. old boy named Joseph Smith. He lived in Palmyra, NY. In his time, there was a lot of confusion going on around him of one faith telling another that they were right and the others were false. Amidst all this confusion, Joseph was doing his best to find the one that was right. In his search, he came across this scripture, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God." (James 1:5) So that's exactly what he did. That scripture was his answer, and he followed it.
One spring morning, Joseph decided to go to a grove of trees. When he found the right spot, he knelt down and began to pray. This scripture gives the best description:
"It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy
Which held me bound. When the light rested upon me
I saw two Personages,
Who's brightness and glory defy all description,
Standing above me in the air.
One of them spake unto me,
Calling me by name and said,
Pointing to the other--
This is My Beloved Son.
He received a vision. From Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. In this holy vision, Joseph was spoken to by Jesus Christ. He answered Joseph's long awaited question by telling him, that none of the sects (or churches) were right. "They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." (JSH)
So here is young Joseph. He is faced with this incredible experience. When they ascend back to Heaven, he is left with little or no energy. He makes his way home, and the first person he relates all of this to, is his mother, Lucy Mack Smith.
Fast forward a few years, Joseph is given a charge from an angel. Angel Moroni. Who appeared to him. He told Joseph to unbury a golden record. This record contained a great deal. About the Ancient Americas. He finds the plates on a hill. He is asked to translate this record. Which he faithfully does for the next few years.
This record became The Book of Mormon.
And now you know why we have the nickname "Mormon". And it's great. I mean really. We respectfully like to tell people that we are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but we also feel honored to be known as Mormons. At least I am. :)
Well. That's the background. Now I would like to share with you my personal belief and thoughts of the dear prophet Joseph Smith.
I am aware, let's just say, of places and books and what have you, that have dirt on Joseph Smith. Places and things that would cause anyone to be appalled, or upset, offended, etc. of what Joseph may have done.
Now thankfully, I was raised in an environment, where I have been able to develop my own testimony and view of this man. As I shared at the beginning, I was taught this my whole life. Through video clips, the scriptures, my parents, teachers, and so forth.
It wasn't until I attended a youth oriented camp named "EFY" (Especially For Youth), that I gained a true testimony of Joseph Smith. I was sitting in a classroom, and there was this lady who was speaking to us. She was teaching about Moses, and also Joseph Smith. And then the next moment, she sang to us, "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" in Spanish. I can still remember today as I'm writing this... (I was 14).... the room was immediately filled with the Spirit. It was tender, it was quiet, yet I felt a distinct and powerful feeling, that this was true. What I've been taught all my life, I finally understood. It made complete sense, and it was beautiful. Utterly beautiful. If I could give you that exact feeling with the knowledge I received, I would give it to you in a second!
Moving forward in my life, I have learnt many things, I am continuing to learn things. Good and bad. Fun and not so fun. We all know what this world is going through. It is not pretty. But at the very same time, there is so much good.
Just today, I am most positive, the Lord has helped me get every single thing I needed to get done today, done. And now I get to sit here, after cleaning my whole downstairs, listening to my parents' choir (Utah Baroque Ensemble) writing out what I am most grateful for in my whole life.
Truly it is a blessing and a treat. But to refer back to Joseph Smith. I recognize he is not a perfect man. He most likely made mistakes. Mistakes. Have you heard of that? Have you made one today? Was it serious? Was it minor? Did I use the right miner? haha. Can you get my point?
But here is my message. My take home message. This is not the church of Joseph Smith. This is,
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Joseph Smith brought about the Restoration of the Gospel.
He accomplished all that the Lord entrusted him to do.
From Joseph Smith-- History once more:
"Joseph's name is to be known for
Good and evil
Among all nations."
I believe that Joseph Smith is a true Prophet. I have a firm belief in what I have talked about.
I have a deep love for my Savior, Jesus Christ. Who is perfect, and is who I will always do my
very best to follow.
I love you all. You who have taught me, have loved me, who've supported me, who've been my best and dearest companions. My heart goes out to all those who are really struggling in the world. Oh my goodness life is tough! I promise you though, if you would like to know these truths for yourself, & I encourage you to do so, you will find the truth as well. If you need access to a Book of Mormon, I am more than happy to oblige you. :) Also, you can go to lds.org for any and all questions you have of our Faith.
Lastly, but not least, if you have questions, I would pray. As Joseph did as a young boy.
Thank you for sticking it out those of you who read to the end. I know this was a lengthy one, so I appreciate you very much. :)
Happy Friday and Happy Mother's Day to you beautiful mothers!