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Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration


Our family arrived in this great
land of America at the time of the pilgrims. They
came seeking civil and religious freedom and
to build a better life for their children. The story I tell begins two days
before Christmas, 1805. While living in Sharon, Vermont,
our family was blessed with a son. We called him Joseph, after
the name of his father. Supper’s ready! It is thought by some that I
shall tell many remarkable incidents which attended
Joseph’s childhood, but nothing occurred during his
early life except those trivial circumstances which are
common to that state of human existence. My husband farmed in the summer
and taught school in the winter. We worked hard, and raised
our children to fear God. Let’s see. Thank you, Catherine. Yesterday we were reading
in the gospel of– Our family consisted
of nine children. Alvin was the oldest and a hero
in Joseph’s eyes, as was Hyrum, our second oldest. They,
in turn, saw something special in their younger
brother. We all did. God gives us power over
temptation, but we are weak in the face of it. All of us have sinned and fall
short of the glory of God. Therefore, we must repent
and be baptized. It is the only path
to His kingdom. Mr. Smith, a word please. You seem to be a God-fearing
man, but I don’t see you with your family in my congregation It seems that preacher nowadays
teaches folks to fear God too much, and trust
in Him too little. You’re a difficult
man, Mr. Smith. I don’t mean to be. I’m just concerned for
your salvation. Alvin, have you ever
wondered what we need to do to be saved? You worry too much,
little brother. But I need to know. Well, you remember that
sea shell you found at Uncle Jesse’s? Yeah. Well, some small creature
made that shell, Joseph. Layer by layer until they
finally outgrew it. Maybe God intends for us to
outgrow ourselves too. I just– I can’t believe he’d only want
to save a few of us. If you embrace false doctrine,
you can expect coldness and darkness all your life. The Bible teaches that
there is only one way to salvation, Joseph. Study the word of God,
and you will know the truth of what I say. With his mind considerably
troubled, Joseph continued his search for answers, a search
that would have been difficult even for those much older than
he, who had the benefit of an education he never had. I was one day reading the
Epistle of James. “If any of you lack wisdom, let
him ask of God.” The words came with great force
into my heart. I reflected upon them
again and again. At length, I came to the
conclusion that I must do as James directs, that
is, ask of God. It was on the morning of a
beautiful, clear day early in the spring of 1820. I kneeled down and began to
offer up the desires of my heart to God. I was seized upon by some power,
an actual being from the unseen world. Exerting all my strength
to call upon God, I saw a pillar of light. When the light rested upon
me, I saw two personages. One of them spake unto me. Joseph, this is my beloved
son, hear him. I am Jesus Christ. I saw God the Father, and his
son Jesus Christ. They did, in reality, speak to me. I knew it. And I knew that God knew it. And I could not deny it. I was told in the vision to join
none of the churches, but that the gospel in its fullness was about to be restored. I’m grateful for your help,
Joseph, but you must know how I feel. There are no such things as
visions and revelations in these days. All of that ceased with the
apostles and there will never be any more of it. Don’t speak of it further. It will only bring you grief. Hey, Joseph! You seen any visions lately? [LAUGHTER] Mind your own business, Smith. Worry about your brother. In September 1823, as he again
opened his heart to God, Joseph was visited by a
heavenly messenger. Joseph, I am your
fellow servant. Moses truly– He said his name was Moroni
and that God had a work for me to do. He told me of an ancient record
written upon gold plates, giving an account
of the former inhabitants of this continent. The writing on the gold plates
was unknown to me. I was told the plates contained
a fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Joseph was given knowledge of
an appearance that Jesus Christ himself made after the
Resurrection to the people of ancient America. During this visit, Jesus invited
the people to feel the wound marks in his hands,
feet, and his side. He called twelve apostles
to teach his gospel and performed miracles. Joseph could describe this as
though he had spent his whole life with them. I think that we presented the
most particular aspect of any family that ever lived
upon the earth. All of us giving the most
profound attention to a boy, 17 years of age, who had
never read the Bible through in his life. In time, Joseph would be given
the knowledge to translate the record which had been
revealed to him. Until then, he was instructed
to wait and prepare. That preparation would include
more challenges to his trust in God. I’m sorry. I’ve done everything
I know how to do. Our beloved oldest son and
Joseph’s hero on earth. Joseph, if Alvin dies without
being baptized, He will never see heaven. I wish I could say otherwise. Joseph, I’m sorry,
I truly am sorry. You’re the oldest now. Joseph. Do everything you can to
obtain the record. Everything. God has given travail
to the sons of man. For dust we are, and unto
dust shall we return. Perhaps God is trying
to warn you, Joseph. Alvin is lost, but there
is still hope for you. Forget these foolish notions. But it was Alvin’s words have
were in Joseph’s mind, I can’t believe God would want to
save just a few of us. As Joseph grew to manhood, he
continued to ponder all that had happened and to wonder about
all he had been promised was yet to come. The same tomorrow, boys. It was during this time he
became acquainted with a young woman named Emma Hale. As so often happened, rumors
preceded Joseph. Father has heard some stories. Well, what if I told you
that they were true? He told her of all that
had happened. She would have to decide
for herself. If any of you lack wisdom,
let him ask of God. That’s what I did. You win. There’s something I
want to show you. I’ve thought a great deal
about what you told me. And? I believe you. Although her parents did not
approve, Joseph and Emma were married the following year. For four years, Joseph returned
each September to the hiding place of the
sacred record. Each time, he received further
knowledge until, at length, he was given permission to begin
the long promised translation. You married a dreamer, Emma. Translate. You normally read and write. Until he gives up these foolish
ideas, he is no longer welcome in this house. He’ll change his mind after
the baby comes. They named their first child
Alvin, after Joseph’s beloved older brother. He lived only a few hours. During their 17 years
together, they would see many sorrows. The Lord called Joseph in his
weakness, but He qualified him for His work. The translation continued. Others joined Joseph in this
great undertaking. All men must repent and be
baptized in His name. One such was Oliver Caldery. How are we to be baptized? I don’t know. In May 1829, Joseph and Oliver
inquired of the Lord. A messenger from heaven
descended in a cloud of light. He said he was John the Baptist,
the same who has baptized Jesus Christ. He laid
his hands upon their heads and gave Joseph and Oliver the
authority to baptize. Later, Peter, James and John,
three of Christ’s original apostles, restored the same
authority they were given anciently by Jesus Christ, so
that man could once again act in all things for the salvation
of his children. The work of translation
finished, and Joseph returned the plates to the
angel Moroni. The ancient record was published
as the Book of Mormon, another witness
of Jesus Christ. I have been asked many times if
the Book of Mormon is true. The scriptures say,
prove all things. Read it and ask God. And when you shall receive these
things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the
eternal father, in the name of Christ, if these things
are not true. And if ye shall ask with a
sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ,
He will manifest the truth of it unto to you by the
power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost,
ye may know the truth all things. Is this book meant to
replace the Bible? Nothing can replace
the Bible, Father. This is another witness of
the glory of Christ. My husband was baptized by
immersion on April 6, 1830, the day the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized. When he came up out of the
water, Joseph exclaimed, “Praise to my God that I have
lived to see my own father baptized into the Church of
Jesus Christ. ” With Christ’s priesthood authority, the same
church that Jesus Christ established anciently was
restored to the earth. That we proceed and organize
ourselves as a church according to the commandments
of God. All those who are in favor,
please so indicate. Oh, God, the eternal
Father, we ask– Are you still determined to
organize this church of yours? The Lord has commanded
it, but it is not my church, it is His. It is the Church of
Jesus Christ. I kept my promise, Alvin. Mr. Smith, forgive the intrusion
but I wonder, could you tell me more about
that book? Yes, yes I could. I do not believe in your
religion, Mr. Smith, but I do thank you for your kindness. You might say that is
our religion, ma’am. I’ve never been thrown by
anyone, so I’ll just apologize now, brother Joseph. Sometimes the Lord brings
us low before he can lift us higher. Have you begun? [APPLAUSE] Brothers and sisters, be not
weary in well doing, for when we are in the service of our
fellow beings, we are only in the service of our God. We do not ask people to give up
any good that they have, we only invite them to come
and to get more. And they did come. The word spread very fast.
Many new members began to gather in Missouri and Ohio. These Mormons will soon be
taking over the whole county. Can you imagine? Picking up and leaving
everything behind on the word of a so-called prophet. I hear they worship
Joseph Smith. Well, there’s one
way to find out. Joseph? Yes, Mother? My new friend here
has a question. We only worship God the Father
and His son, Jesus Christ. And all this talk
of revelation? That is how we learn His will. What makes you so certain, Mr.
Smith, that God even cares? He does care and you
can know it. but first you have
to trust Him. The message was always
the same. Read for yourself and ask God. Many of our neighbors
would do just that. But there were others
who felt threatened. This time tomorrow, Joseph
Smith will be long gone, running like a scared rabbit. Perhaps fearful of a doctrine
they did not understand, perhaps distrustful of
so many new arrivals. There he is. Grab him! [SCREAMING AND YELLING] Come on, children! They’re right here. Hold him! Don’t do this. Put tar in his mouth. It is difficult to take the
measure of such things. There will always
be opposition. How much do we have to endure? Perhaps I am meant to
swim in deep water. Better deep than shallow. Pray unto the Father, with all
the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love. God has restored to the earth
the spirit of prophecy in the revelation. I am a witness that Jesus is the
Christ. He invites all men to repent and to
come unto him. He will bear our grief. He will carry our burdens. And if we are faithful, we may
have this hope that we may be purified even as He is pure. The little town of Kirtland,
Ohio grew at such a rate that houses could scarcely be
built fast enough. Their family just arrived. Who have we here? That’s Rachael, Susan,
and Abigail. But she prefers Abby. Oh really. Mm-hmm. Abby. The Jacobsens are in
our room tonight. I thought their home
was finished. It is, except for hanging
the doors and closing the back wall. [LAUGHS] So, what is all the
excitement about? The Lord has commanded us to
build a house to his name. What kind of a house? A house of holiness where the
Lord can grant us knowledge and power and authority. A temple, like the one where
Jesus Christ taught his disciples in Jerusalem. And will we build this temple
before or after the walls go on the Jacobsen home? [LAUGHING] Soon church members were
donating one day in ten to build a temple to their God. I know you’ve got a
good heart, Lymon. I certainly hope you’ve
got a good eye. The first time I read this book,
I knew that no mere man could have written it. Joseph really is a prophet. You’re right. Parley. He’s everything I expected,
sometimes more. One of the hardest working among
them was a new convert, Brigham Young. Joseph opens up in cleanness
things that I’d never understood before. Morning, Brigham. Joseph began to rely on
Brigham’s skill as a builder, and recognized his
deepening faith. This should be our finest
work, Brigham. Nothing but the best
for the Lord. We’re not just building a
temple here, the Lord is building us. But how can He call someone
like me to be an apostle? You have been prepared,
Brigham. The Lord takes raw materials,
shapes them and refines them. The Lord has great things in
mind for you, Brigham. Greater than you have
ever dreamed of. Brigham Young, in the name of
Jesus Christ we lay our hands upon your head and ordain you to
the office of high priest. The Kirtland Temple became the
connection between heaven and earth that our people
were looking for. Not only a symbol of God’s
presence, but a pathway for his word. What is it? Mother, tonight in the temple
I saw a vision of the celestial kingdom of God. The voice of the Lord revealed
these words. “All who die without knowledge
of this gospel who would have received it will be heirs of the
kingdom of God.” Mother. Alvin is not lost. Joseph’s prophecy
was fulfilled. The Lord did come
to his temple. Behold, I have accepted
this house. Other heavenly messengers
appeared. Old Testament prophets, Moses,
Elias, and Elijah. –to the children and the
children to their fathers. The Lord built us in wonderful
ways as he revealed through Joseph, line upon line, precept
upon precept, every truth, every principle, every
doctrine of Christ pertaining to life and salvation. God is the father
of our spirits. Jesus Christ is His Son. Their work and their glory
is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal
life of man. It’s time we got rid of these
Mormons for good, and if we need to kill a few to do
it, all the better. Some of the older settlers
became jealous of our growing influence. Suspicion and fear took
root in ignorance. Heavy harassments turned into persistent slander and violence. Why are you doing this? Shut up! Why? Why? It is beyond me to answer
such questions. How can we leave this
behind, Joseph? I’m not the only one
under threat now. This has become too dangerous
here for everyone. That is what we must consider. A temple we can rebuild, but
we cannot replace lives. Will things be better
in Missouri? [MUSIC PLAYING] [BANG] [BANG] Lay down. [BANG] It seemed wherever our
people tried to settle, conflict followed. Missouri proved to be
the refiner’s fire. Mama! Mama, please! [CRYING] This isn’t just a mob. There are 2,500 Missouri
militiamen standing against us with that order from
Governor Boggs. “Mormons must be treated as
enemies and exterminated or driven from the state for
the public peace.” 18 of our brothers and sisters
lay dead at Haun’s Mill. Is this is the public peace
the governor speaks of? Fathers and mothers and children
slaughtered for the crime of building homes
and worshipping God. You should make this
very point. Accept the offer, I beg you. General Lucas. I was told you wanted
to talk with me. Here are your prisoners,
General, as we agreed. When we heard that Joseph and
Hyrum had been betrayed, we were filled with mourning,
lamentation and woe. Gentlemen. Gentlemen, please! Tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock
General Doniphan and his brigade will take these men to
the town square and far west. And he will shoot them! [CHEERING] In the midst of my grief, I was
comforted by the spirit of the Lord and received the
following promise. Your sons shall not be harmed,
and in five years from this time, Joseph will have power
over all his enemies. This is cold-blooded murder. These men are innocent. I will not obey your order. And if you execute them, I
will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal,
so help me God. Though their lives were spared,
Joseph and Hyrum found themselves charged with treason
against the state of Missouri, and treated
as prisoners of war. Who’s gonna save
you now, Smith? Prophesy, Smith. Give us one of your
revelations. Tell us, Joe. Tell us more about
Haun’s Mill. Hey, you ever actually
kill any Mormons? Two, maybe three. Course, the young’uns, they
don’t count for much. Yeah, but they’re good
for target practice! [LAUGHTER] Oh, some of them Mormons ran
into the woods and others of ’em hid in their blacksmith’s
shop. [LAUGHTER] We aimed right through them
boards and we started shooting ’em just like fish in a barrel. [LAUGHTER] I found one 10-year-old
boy trying to hide and shot him dead. I couldn’t get his father’s
boots off. [LAUGHTER] Those Mormon women– oh hoh hoh, now they put
up a real fight. I remember two or three of
them were hiding out– Silence, silence, Silence, ye
fiends of the infernal pit. In the name of Jesus Christ,
I rebuke you and command you to be still. I will not live another minute
and hear such language. Cease such talk, or you
or I die this instant. The worth of every soul is
great in the eyes of God. Many of our fathers and
brothers fought in the Revolutionary War and struggled
to establish a government of liberty and equal
rights upon this land. We violated no laws, yet
thousands of our innocent people were driven from place
to place at the barrel of their lives. Smith! Get yourself up here. Don’t you try nothing. It’s so good to see you. Mary? Hyrum. I brought someone to meet you. We have a fine new son. One at a time. As Joseph and Hyrum languished
in the Liberty jail waiting to be tried for their lives, our
people were scattered across Missouri, Iowa and Illinois. I have Mary and the children. And all this work is true. What a faithful heart
you have, Hyrum. Oh, God, where art thou? My son, peace be
unto thy soul. Thine adversity and thine
afflictions shall be but a small moment. And then if thou endure
it well, God shall exalt thee on high. After six months in jail, and
by the grace of God, Joseph and Hyrum escaped
their captors. We were reunited in Illinois,
where we felt welcomed. We hoped that our sufferings had
not been in vain, and that we would now enjoy
a season of rest. Don’t lose heart, brethren. Nauvoo in Hebrew means
beautiful place. What’s the Hebrew
word for swamp? During that first summer in
Nauvoo, hundreds became sick with chills and fever. Here. Let me help you, sisters. Brother Joseph, my pride has
brought me very low. Now the Lord can lift
you higher. Am I indeed the mother
of a prophet of God? The honored instrument in
performing so great a work that my soul did magnify
and my spirit rejoiced in God, my Savior. Within five years, Nauvoo grew
into a thriving community of some 15,000. At the same time, Joseph was
considering the wider world. The truth of God will go forth,
boldly, nobly and independent until it has
penetrated every continent, sounded in every ear, and the
purposes of God shall be accomplished. God desires to bless all of His
children with light and truth and salvation. Brethren, a man filled with
the love of God cannot be content in blessing
his family alone. He will be anxious to bless
the whole human race. This is what the Lord
desires for you. In 1830, the first missionaries
set out to share the Book of Mormon. In ancient days, God spoke to
prophets who in turn shared God’s word with all those who
were willing to listen. Nonsense! God has again spoken to
his prophets who have given us His word. The book of Amos teaches
us that this is part of God’s plan. 10 years later, Brigham Young
and the other apostles were sent to England. Great success there dispelled
any thought that our faith was just an American religion. Good morning, brother. If he asks with a sincere heart,
having real intent and faith in Christ, he will
manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy– The missionaries sent out into
the world gathered converts by the thousands to help build
Nauvoo into the city of God. Boatloads came up the
Mississippi from the port of New Orleans. Ah, you play the pipes. Brother Joseph, please
don’t encourage him. Still others came by any means
they could manage. We walked almost 900
miles to get here. God bless you, Jane Manning. Oh, He already has. He already has. Brother Joseph? Jesse! A word? Certainly. I was thinking– Yes? People notice everything you
do and I wonder if a man of your position should engage
in such menial chores. Well, if there are demeaning
things to be done in a man’s house, who better than the head
of the house to do them? Well, my wife does most such
work at our house. Maybe, maybe she could
speak to Sister Emma. How long have you
been married? Three years next month. That long? May I offer you some advice. Aye. The Lord intends for marriage to
last much longer than that, in fact, forever. Now. If a man is not willing to
help and cherish his wife here, why would she want
him here hereafter? Now you give that
some thought. Therein lies happiness,
brother. Now there’s a very wise man. They’re beautiful. That’s what made me
think of you. It is the duty of a husband
to love, cherish and nourish his wife. Start counting. One, two, three. Two, two, three. Do not count out loud. To honor her as himself, to
regard her feelings with tenderness. For she is his flesh and
she is his bone. The Lord hath revealed the
sacred sealing ordinances which bind families together
in life will exist in eternity, only coupled
with eternal glory. We can one day dwell with
God as families. Just a little weird,
that’s all. You’ve watched after us all
of our lives, Father. That’s what fathers do. Let us watch after you. Joseph, will I see
Alvin again? Yes. You will see Alvin again
and be with him. You will always be his
father and he will always be your son. The Lord has revealed that
that is His plan. We can be together with the
ones we love forever. We will all see Alvin again. [MUSIC PLAYING] Heave, once more. Over, over easy, very good. It’s as magnificent as
they say it will be. The Lord has great blessings
in store for all of us. Why does the Lord want us
to build another temple? It may seem to some a very bold
doctrine, a power which binds on earth and in heaven. But God has restored that
authority again. In the temple we can receive
all of the ordinances of salvation, not only for
ourselves but for those who have died without them. If we are faithful, all our
losses will be made up. Even as a new glorious temple
rose up in Nauvoo, the old fears returned. We would not be surprised to
hear of the death of Joseph Smith by violent means. This isn’t news. It’s a threat. There’s an easier way to get
rid of these Mormons. Old Joe Smith is still
wanted in Missouri. I say let them have him. Hold it right there, Smith. Don’t move or you’re
a dead man. Gonna shoot me? No. We’re taking you back to
Missouri for good. The governor of Missouri
demanded Joseph be extradited to stand trial, again
on false charges. Sadly, the Illinois authorities honored the demand. Come on, boys! Our men found him just before
they crossed the Illinois-Missouri border. Well, gentlemen. Looks like I won’t be going with
you to Missouri today. But just to show there are no
hard feelings, why don’t you be my guests tonight? Gentlemen? I don’t believe we’ve
had the pleasure. You might say we’re the
guests of honor. Oh. We rejoiced in the bold rescue,
but the authorities took it as an act of defiance. Joseph was given an ultimatum. Joseph, the governor insists
that we come to Carthage. The governor of Illinois
promised my sons would receive fair treatment. History suggested otherwise. If Hyrum and I do not do what
the governor orders, he will send the militia into Nauvoo,
and that will mean bloodshed. God does not want that, and
I can only do His will. Did you ever wonder if
He asks too much? I do not let myself. Sometimes I do. I have longed with all my heart
to finish this temple. I shall never live to
see it, Brigham. You will. Promise me, when the time
comes, you will lead our people to the Rocky Mountains. Brethren, my mission is to
testify of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. [MUSIC PLAYING] I love you, brother. Joseph and Hyrum arrived in
Carthage, Illinois, and surrendered themselves
to face charges. Despite all the promises of fair
treatment, what happened came as no surprise. [BANG] Ooh. Joseph. [UNINTELLIGIBLE] Hyrum. No! [BANG] What do we hear in the gospel
that we have received? Truth out of the earth. Mercy from heaven. A voice of gladness for the
living and the dead. [BANG] [BANG] Shall we not go on in
so great a cause? The mobs are determined we shall
not have justice while we stay in Nauvoo. I do not know that I shall go
west, but I pray that the Lord will let Brother Brigham
take the people away. I am the first witness of the
restoration of Christ’s Church upon the earth. I leave the world at liberty
to pass judgment upon what I’ve spoken, esteemeth
them good. But this much I will say. All that I have told you is true
and will stand forever.

Glenn Chapman

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