Sept 12 2017 Book of Mormon Class 2 by Cynthia Haller



August 1830, as a lay minister, Parley P Pratt met a Baptist deacon who told him of “a very strange book” written on plates of gold, delivered by an angel, and translated through power of God.  He writes:

“I opened it with eagerness . . . and commenced its contents by course.  I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.  As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists.”  (Autobiography of PPP, pp 36-37).

PPP was 23 years old, soon became baptized, and became one of the earliest and most powerful advocates.

“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away.  If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns.  I find myself loving more intensely those who I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more . . . “  President Spencer Kimball


BofM offers teachings that can help us find solutions to the problems we face today

“Parts of the BofM are as old as the Tower of Babel; yet its themes are as current as tomorrow.”  (Arthur Bassett:  It Begins With a Family book, p 2).

Nephi writes:  “I did liken all scriptures unto us, that it might be for our profit and learning.”



Lehi and Sariah struggled with disobedient children, rejoiced over his righteous ones, and had many challenges and trials like we do.  They humbly sought the Lord in all things and believed he would bless them as they kept the commandments.

Lehi told the people that they would be destroyed if they didn’t repent.  They mocked and persecuted him and sought his life.

Truth has NEVER BEEN POPULAR—USUALLY REJECTED—ALWAYS  PERSECTED.  Know that for yourself and teach your children so they won’t be surprise.  Teach them that the Lord’s way are not the popular ways today.

Examples of this are found in the Family Proclamation to the World which is opposite of being “politically correct.”



I Nephi: 20:  Jews sought his life like other prophets

PEARL—V. 20:  “I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those who he hath chosen, BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITH, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance.”

  1. What are the “tender mercies” of the Lord?

The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ” (David A. Bednar, April 2005 general conference).

Elder Bednar says we’re to record them in a special journal to remind you the Lord knows and loves you.  We all have had them, maybe without knowing it, or acknowledging it to the Lord, but it’s His way of saying, “I know who you are, I’m aware of you and your specific struggle or problem, I love you.”

1 Nephi 2: 12:  “BECAUSE THEY KNEW NOT THE DEALINGS OF THE GOD WHO HAD CREATED THEM.”  They didn’t know God, wasn’t familiar with His character, have a relationship w Him through prayer, didn’t feel spirit.


V 15:  “And my father dwelt in a tent.”  Connor asked for a favorite scripture, Kam sent this—thought a joke/not take seriously.  Significant scripture:  to him it represented leaving the world behind and putting God at the center of his life.  He lived in a tent because he left his riches in Jerusalem because the Lord required it of him.  The Lord asked the rich young ruler to forsake all and follow Him.  He went away sorrowing because he had great possessions.  Would we do that?

Joseph Smith taught:  “A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the faith sufficient unto salvation.”

This phrase is mentioned 14 times in 1 Nephi.  Gave it a whole verse because Nephi finds the fact significant and refers constantly to his father’s tent as the center of his universe.  In the ancient Near East, to dwell in a tent was considered a great honor, especially compared to living in a house in the city.  It represented living close to and trusting in the Lord.  Also the father’s tent was considered the center of the whole community.  Hugh Nibley

  1. 16-20: Nephi gets his own testimony—to know for himself –READ

Great desire to know the mysteries of God—

Cry unto the Lord (pray)—He did visit me

Soften my heart so that I believed words of father/didn’t rebel-brothers

Nephi wondered too but took action:  desire—effort-prayer—answer

Told testimony to Sam who also believed my word (faith to believe on the word of others); courage to tell Laman & Lemuel—older brothers who didn’t believe because of the hardness of their hearts—prayed to God for them because they didn’t believe him or ask themselves.

**Nephi later asks brothers—“HAVE YE INQUIRED OF THE LORD?”  1 Nephi 15:8

We have not—the Lord makes no such thing known unto us.”

Behold I said unto them, How is it that ye do not keep the commandments of the Lord?  How is it that ye will perish, because of the hardness of your hearts?  Do ye not remember the things which the Lord hath said:  If ye will not harden your hearts, and ask me in faith, believing that ye shall receive, with diligence in keeping the commandments, surely these things shall be made known unto you.”  You have to ask, make an effort, have a desire to know, listen and wait.

  1. 18: “Hardness of their hearts” they weren’t open and penetrable to the spirit.
  2. How do we harden our hearts against the teachings of the prophets, the scriptures, the Lord?

Lord has said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man will open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.”  Revelations 3:20

Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you.  Seek me diligently and ye shall find me.”  D&C 88?

Behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart by the Holy Ghost which shall come upon you, and shall dwell in your heart.”  D&C 8:2

  1. 19: PEARL:  “For thou has sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart”

I Nephi 3:7 PEARL:  “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”  1 Nephi 3:7

Lehi was “exceeding glad”—blessed by the Lord to know.

Lehi’s family’s response when asked by the Lord to do something very difficult—Nephi 2:2-4—

This attitude led Nephi to accomplish what seemed like impossible tasks with the help of the Lord.  My father was a young mission president (29 years old and my mom was 25) when he was called to be the president of the Irish mission.  Their mission statement was:  “Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ begins when it can’t be done.”  This seemed to be Nephi’s mantra.  This is the same spirit that launches 18 and 19 year old into the mission field and allows them to learn new languages, and face difficult tasks.  It is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that helps us accept challenging callings and rise to them.

Callings in the church:  “I have learned not to put question marks but to use exclamation points when calls are issued through inspired channels of priesthood government.”  Elder Russell Nelson

“For with God, nothing is impossible.”

I Nephi 4: 1-3:  Young and believing—why I believe—gave examples from scriptures—“Let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold He is mightier than all the earth . . . “

“Let’s be strong like Moses—you know this is true and you’ve seen an angel, wherefore can ye doubt?”

Angels don’t necessarily convert—imagine seeing an angel and then immediately after he leave, begin to complain again!

The Savior said:  “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”  (Luke 16:31)  Others say, “Well, if I could only see the golden plates then I would know the Book of Mormon is true?”  Though the 3 witnesses saw the plates and the angel, to stay spiritually in tune, you must work at it, obedient.

**  Angels administer by the power of the Aaronic priesthood, yet the Holy Ghost administered by the power of the MP.  It’s of a higher order to have the HG touch your heart and mind and convert.  Laman and Lemuel were past feeling, “they could not feel the spirit.”  “More blessed are they who have not seen and yet believe, than those who have seen.”

  1. 6: “And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do.”

Our prophet, President Monson is well known for this.  The spirit speaks to him, whispers, nudges, he hears the prompting and obeys, many times not knowing why or what he should do.  He is led by the spirit to be on the Lord’s errand and do His will by answering the prayers of his people.

I Nephi 5: 8:  Sariah gained her own testimony and witness—she kept commandments and the Lord kept His word.

Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea and I know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and give them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them.”

Scriptures were of great worth to them:
Brass plates—volume of sacred scripture
Record of God’s dealings from the beginning
Record of many of the prophecies down to Jeremiah
Law of Moses—5 books of Moses
Genealogy of the Nephite forbears
More on them than there is in the OT as we now have it
Words and testimony of many prophets

The value of the brass plates to the Nephites cannot be overestimated. By them they were able to preserve their language, and the religious knowledge of the people they came from.  By contrast, the Mulekites, led out of Jerusalem some 11 years after Lehi, had no record equivalent to the brass plates, and soon dwindled in apostasy and unbelief and lost their language, civilization, and religion.

From prophet to prophet and generation to generation the Brass Plates were handed down and preserved by the Nephites.  At some future date the Lord has promised to bring them forth again.”  Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p 103.


Not only great prophet, but a concerned father who wrestles with many of the same problems as parents do today.  A patriarch calming his wife, struggling with his disobedient sons, rejoicing in his obedient ones, and finally blessing his son and through them his descendants.

Lehi tried by the doubts and legitimate concerns of his wife when his sons had not yet returned home.

Prophet of doom, rejected by his people, his life in danger.

Lehi gets revelation through his visions and dreams (doesn’t distinguish between them).

No longer does he try to change a nation, but create a new one.

Lehi’s family has always been important to him, but now his entire calling focused on his children and their children—this was his mission.

Liahona appeared in front of his tent.

Just before his death he said:  “Behold the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”  What beautiful imagery.


Rare combination—a great prophet who is also a founder of a nation.  So beloved of his people that they called his successors “2nd Nephi, 3rd Nephi, 4th Nephi, “ etc.

Like Enoch, Moses, Joseph Smith, and Brigham Young, Nephi led his people to physical safety, organized them into a new society, and stood at the head of a unique era in scriptural history.

Like Enoch, Moses, and Joseph Smith, he received panoramic visions and great spiritual powers, including a visitation by the Lord.  And like Joseph the son of Israel, his righteousness provoked his rebellious older brothers to try to kill him.

Very skilled craftsman—made a bow of wood, built a ship of exceedingly fine workmanship, established a city, build a temple like Soloman’s, taught his people to work in wood, iron, copper, brass, steel, gold, silver, precious ores.  Made weapons for war patterned after the sword of Laban.

Excellent hunter,


Exceptional woman—follow husband/trust/left possessions, friends to live a nomadic life in the wilderness

Very faithful—experienced grief especially on ship—almost died—both

Bore two children in the wilderness

Mothers understand the heavy burdens placed on Sariah as she left her home, belongings, attachments to friends and journeyed into the uncertainties of life in the wilderness, simply because of her faith in her husband, whom others called a visionary man.  She hadn’t received the visions herself, but believed her husband had been called of God.  Received own witness when the Lord brought her four sons home whom she thought was dead.


“Brothers and sisters, without reservation I promise you that if you will prayerfully read the B of M, regardless of how many times you previously have read it, there will come into your hearts an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord.  There will come a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to his commandments, and there will come a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.”

(President Hinckley)

Our living prophet President Monsons promises these four things from the Book of Mormon:

I IMPLORE each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day.  As we do so, we will be in a position to:

hear the voice of the spirit
to resist temptation
to overcome doubt and fear
to receive heaven’s help in our lives.
I so testify with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

April 25 2017 Lesson 30 by Cynthia Haller


 “Joseph Smith the prophet was little understood by the people of the 19th century and may even be more of an enigma to those who live in our time.  Even the saints of God, those who stand and bear witness of the Prophet’s divine calling-little understand what manner of man he was.  ‘You don’t know me.  You never knew my heart,” he said.  ‘I don’t blame anyone for not believing my history.  If I had not experienced what I have, I would not have believed it myself.”  (Joseph Smith:  The Choice Seer by Joseph McConkie).   

Joseph had a remarkable mission to perform, one that he was pre-ordained in the life before.  His grandfather Asael predicted that “God was going to raise up some branch of his family to be a great benefit to mankind.”  Many years later his son Joseph Smith, Sr. gave him a recently published Book of Mormon which he read and fully believed.  George A Smith (Joseph’s cousin) said, “Asael died in the fall of 1830, confident that his grandson Joseph was the long-anticipated prophet and that he had heralded in a new religious age.

Brigham Young said this of the prophet’s mission and calling:  “It was decreed in the counsel of eternity . . . in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to his people . . . The Lord had his eye upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father . . . He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man.  He was foreordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation, as much so as . . . was Jesus to be the Saviour of this world.”  (Journal of Discourses 7:289-90; Joseph Smith:  The Choice Seer Joseph McConkie).

Joseph who was sold into Egypt, the great-grandson of Abraham, spoke specifically of him who would be his namesake (unusual that Joseph was their third son, behind Alvin and Hyrum—usually give the father’s name to the first son).   His prophecies, of which Nephi recorded said “there are not many greater”  (2 Nephi 4:2) spoke of the coming of a “choice seer” out of the fruit of his loins.  “He shall do a work . . . which shall be of great worth unto them . . . unto him will I give power to bring forth my word (the Book of Mormon) saith the Lord, “to the convincing them of my word.   He shall be like unto me. . . by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.”  (2 Nephi 3:15). 

Joseph said, “Truly this is a day long to be remembered . . . a day in which the God of heaven has begun to restore the ancient order of His Kingdom to bring about the completion of the fullness of the gospel . . . to prepare the earth for the return of His glory.”  Joseph Smith

 Look up on, “Ask of God:  Joseph Smith’s First Vision” and watch it now (6:35 minutes)  (I would also recommend the new church DVD to your families–it’s an hour long:  “Joseph Smith:  The Prophet of the Restoration.”)

After Joseph received the 1st vision, he recorded his feelings on leaving the grove several days later and wrote:  “My soul was filled with love and for many days I could rejoice with great joy and the Lord was with me . .  (Madsen, p 17)

Truman Madsen wrote in Joseph Smith  the Prophet (p 10), “There is no greater example of familial endurance in history than that of the Smith family. “ They immediately believed their brother and son when he shared his vision with his family—character .  Joseph’s father counseled him not to be disobedient to the heavenly vision. 

Lucy Mack:  “I think we presented the most curious peculiar aspect of any family who 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 in its entirety in his life.”

All the family believed him:  Alvin’s dying words to Joseph were—“do everything you can to obtain the record—everything.”

 If you didn’t have GPS on your phone or car, (foreign to some of you), and were trying to find your way around LA by using a map of Chicago, and if that map were your only source of information, you’d be hopelessly lost and after a while you would probably get discouraged and quit in frustration.  It would be foolish if someone told you to try harder or to start thinking positive –hoping that would help, it would do nothing because the map did not reflect the territory.  It was not an accurate map.

 Now, in Joseph’s words, “on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of 1820” came forth a prayer from a young man who had been prepared for generations through his heritage to ask the deepest question from his soul.  He saw the Father and the Son, and the Father called him by name, saying, “Joseph, this is my beloved Son, hear Him.”

So when he left the Sacred Grove, Joseph Smith understood the world differently from when he went in.  He had a NEW MAP.  Because of this experience, he was beginning to understand who God was, who Christ was, and who he was.  And he also learned a little about his role in life.  He saw everything in a new light and that was only the beginning of truth being restored.  “Truth is knowledge of things as they were, and as they are, and as they are to come.”  (D&C 93:24)  Truth is eternal and Joseph Smith was the prophet of the “restoration of all things” that would bless us all & the whole earth.   

 Elder Callister explained, In many ways the gospel of Jesus Christ is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. When Joseph Smith came on the scene, perhaps 100 pieces were in place. Then through the miracle of the restoration, Joseph the prophet came along and put many of the other 900 pieces in place so that people could say, “Oh, now I understand where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going.” As for Joseph Smith’s role in the Restoration, the Lord defined it clearly: “This generation shall have my word through you” (D&C 5:10).  (Callister)

 Told at 17 by Moroni his “name would be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues.”  (imagine his shock hearing this at 17).

Good came slowly—the evil immediately.  Joseph:

“How very strange that an obscure boy . . . should be thought . . . of sufficient importance to attract . . . the most bitter persecution”

“I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true;  . . . why persecute me for telling the truth?  . . . I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it . . . ”  (Joseph 2:22, 25) 

Ended when he was killed by 150 men with painted faces when he was only 38.  

 Why had for good & evil when he is a prophet of God?  Is this typical?

Truth never popular—always persecuted –pattern of the prophets from the beginning

Paul called mad & deranged/Jesus labeled gluttonous, a winebibber, and possessed of a devil

The Lord told Joseph of his destiny:  The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee; while the pure in heart . . . the wise . . . and the virtuous, shall seek . . . blessings constantly from under thy hand.”  (D&C 122:12) 

Why did the adversary fight so hard against Joseph Smith right from the start?  And why do you think the Prophet Joseph Smith has so many critics and enemies now, even though many years have passed since his death?  A testimony of the Restoration hinges on whether or not Joseph Smith was a prophet who performed God’s work. Therefore, Satan continues to strive to discredit Joseph Smith.

This is why:  if Joseph is a prophet then we still have revelation from heaven, then the Book of Mormon is true, and then the church is true.  It’s a domino affect so Satan works hard to attack Joseph still—“his name will be had for good and evil.”

 Elder Anderson said, “The negative commentary about the Prophet Joseph Smith will increase as we move toward the Second Coming of the Savior.  The half-truths and subtle deceptions will not diminish. There will be family members and friends who will need your help.  Now is the time to adjust your own spiritual oxygen mask so that you are prepared to help others who are seeking the truth.”21   (Neil Andersen)  You have seen this.

 The internet doesn’t have a truth filter.  Some information, no matter how convincing, is simply not true. “ (Andersen)

Studying the church . . . through the eyes of its defectors, Elder Maxwell once said, is ‘like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus.  Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed.”

Attempts have been made by some to focus on or magnify some minor weaknesses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, but in that process they have missed the mark, the man, and his mission.  Joseph Smith was the Lord’s anointed to restore Christ’s church to the earth.

When JS emerged from the grove of trees, he eventually learned four fundamentals truths not then taught by the majority of the contemporary Christian world. 

 First, he learned that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ are two separate, distinct beings.  (understanding the nature of God & man)

The second great truth Joseph discovered was that the Father and the Son have glorified bodies of flesh and bones. (understanding eternity)

The third truth is that God still speaks to man today—that the heavens are not closed.  (understanding communication—God to man)

And the fourth truth that Joseph Smith learned was that the full and complete Church of Jesus Christ was not then on the earth. 

(this was the mission of Joseph Smith—be an instrument to restore it).

I’ve cut up a “map” so to speak of many of the important things restored to the earth by the Lord through the prophet Joseph.  Like the quote I read about the puzzle, let’s put the pieces back together so that we have a correct map like was restored to the earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Answers to the most asked questions:

Where did I come from?  Why am I here?  Where am I going?

Our primary kids could answer these questions with no problem—the song, “I Am a Child of God” teaches what we may consider basic, fundamental truths for us, but actually to most, they are extraordinary.

 Walter Cronkite after a full career interviewing the best and the brightest in the world, still said he’s searching for answers to those 3 questions. 


Joseph, the revelator.  Looking at our scriptures is evidence of the revelations he received—translated the B of M, the D & C is full of revelations for our time, also Pearl of Great Price. (show quad).

Article of Faith 9:  “We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, and we believe He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”  To many Christians this is unbelievable, since they believe that revelation stopped after the apostles died (which it did during the apostasy). 

Hugh B. Brown in Profile of a Prophet asked three questions to determine if revelation is to continue. 

First:  does God love us as much today as He loved the people to who he spoke in New Testament times?

Second:  does God have the same power today as He did then?

Third:  Do we need Him as much today as they need Him anciently?

If the answers to those questions are yes and if God is the same yesterday, today, and forever as the scriptures declare, then there is little doubt:  God does speak to man today exactly as JS testified. 

 Joseph was a seer. He had the gift to translate ancient records.  “I calculate,” he said less than two months before his death, “to be one of the instruments of setting up the kingdom of Daniel by the word of the Lord, and I intend to lay a foundation that will revolutionize the whole world.”  (Madsen, p 4)

Elder Holland said that Joseph the translator, though untrained in theology, has given us more printed pages of scripture than any other mortal. 

 The process of translation was truly “a marvelous work and a wonder,” or, as rendered in Hebrew, “a miraculous miracle.” (Isa. 29:14.) Depending upon his sequence of translation, scholars estimate Joseph in 1829 was translating at a rapid daily equivalent of from eight to thirteen of today’s printed pages. An able, professional translator recently told me he considers one page a day productive.

 (See John W. Welch and Tim Rathbone, “The Translation of the Book of Mormon: Basic Historical Information,” Preliminary Report, F.A.R.M.S., Provo, Utah, 1986, pp. 38–39.)

 He also became an articulator. President Young said the Prophet Joseph had the “happy faculty” of communicating things “often in a single sentence throwing … light into the gloom of [the] ages … in one blending flood of heavenly intelligence.” (Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 9:310.)


 Many people wonder how God is just when some people are born without ever hearing the name of Jesus and know nothing of the church, or of baptism, or saving ordinances.

The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS is the only church in the world with a plan to save all the living and all the dead—it’s inclusive and miraculous.

God is no respector of persons and will give all the same opportunity.

These truths have been restored to the earth through the doctrine in the gospel of Jesus Christ.


When JS met with Pres Van Buren and was asked what the difference was between our church and others, he said we differ in our mode of baptism, we have the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Joseph had many gifts of the spirit, discernment, visions, tongues and used them to bless others.

Those with kids on missions know can’t prove church is true.  Message always the same—Moroni 10:3-5  “pray, study, qualify and find out for yourself—HG will manifest truth to sincere seekers.”

And when ye shall receive these things, ye shall ask God, if these things are not true.  And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, He shall manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

This is the vehicle where the truth will be known to those elect who harden not their hearts and receive the word with gladness.  (example?)

It is the mission of the HG to testify of truth.  Feel the spirit here.


Elder Callister taught, Through Joseph Smith have been restored all the powers, keys, teachings, and ordinances necessary for salvation and exaltation.  You cannot go anywhere else in the world and get that.  It is not to be found in any other church. It is not to be found in any philosophy of man or scientific digest or individual pilgrimage, however intellectual it may seem. Salvation is to be found in one place alone, as so designated by the Lord Himself when He said that this is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30).

In 1834, all the priesthood in the Kirtland area met, not in a tabernacle, but in a small log cabin with a small group.  There, Joseph prophesied, “I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this church and kingdom than a babe upon its mother’s lap . . . This church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world.” (See Wilford Woodruff, Millennial Star, 19 Sept. 1892, p. 605; see also Conference Report, Apr. 1898, p. 57.) 

As it says in Article of faith #12, Joseph Smith established the same organization as the primitive church with all it’s offices, power, priesthood, authority, ordinances, and keys.  He was the final Elias (forerunner) before the Messiah; he was an Elias of the restoration.

The Prophet Joseph was a very good man.  Though he wasn’t perfect and his critics focus on his faults, we need not suppose him “guilty of any great or malignant sins,” for such, he said, “was never in my nature.” (JS—H 1:28.) Near the end of his life, he meekly said, “I never told you I was perfect; but there is no error in the revelations which I have taught.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 368.)

 He described himself in this way:  “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain, and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, . . . Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty.”  

 He had a wonderful relationship with Emma and helped her a lot with the home and children, more than was the custom for men in those days.  He cared for her diligently and for days on end when she was sick, and when she hovered between life and death after delivering a baby who died at birth.  When he was chided for it by other men, he encouraged them to follow his example.  He enjoyed having a good time, and loved to play with his children.  He loved to wrestle and often challenged others.  Some pious men came to argue about the scriptures with him, and upon leaving Joseph said, “well gentlemen, you haven’t bested me with the scriptures, now do you want to wrestle?”   They went away much incensed.  

 Love Brigham Young’s description: 

“I feel like shouting hallelujah, all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith, the Prophet whom the lord raised up and ordained, and to whom he gave keys and power to build up the kingdom of God on earth.” 

 It is vital that each of us gain and maintain a testimony of Joseph Smith being the prophet of the restoration.  For if he is, then the Book of Mormon is true, and the church is true, being the Lord’s.  The significance of the first vision is reflected in our beliefs and have shaped us as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I testify that he is a true prophet of God and was foreordained to fulfill his mission of being an instrument in the Lord’s hands to bring about the restoration of the gospel.

 Read D&C 135:3

Study the words to Praise to the Man

Study Hugh B. Brown’s talk:  Profile of the Prophet and God is the Gardener (great FHE’s and discussions).