Sunday, September 3, 2017

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To Seal the Testimony - Joseph Smith's Martyrdom

So...Who is this Joseph Smith anyways? What has he done?  Why this verse of modern day scripture?

I will get to that in just a moment...

Today I had the opportunity to facilitate our adult gospel doctrine class during Sunday School.  I was given this opportunity to serve at the beginning of the year and be the instructor once every five weeks.  I, along with four other members of our ward were called to serve in this capacity.  As the instructor, we prepare the content and lead the discussion during this class.  The true teacher of the class, however, is the Holy Ghost which is always present when truths are being discussed.  It is a highlight of my join with other Latter-day Saints and discuss the truths of the restored gospel and be inspired and uplifted by the spirit.

Today was no different; I felt the witness of the spirit testify and confirm to me the truths surrounding the prophet Joseph Smith's life and his martyrdom.  

Modern day scripture reveals the following truth:

2 Nephi 27:23
23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.

God has always called prophets in each dispensation to lead His children upon the earth.

He was the first prophet called in this dispensation by our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, to restore the precious truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ and establish His church once again upon the earth in preparation for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

What exactly happened during the Restoration?

So what exactly did Joseph Smith do during his time as prophet as mentioned above in Doctrine and Covenants 135:3

Here are some of Joseph Smith's major achievements and revelations:

     Truths about the Godhead
D&C 130:22-23.  In the King Follett sermon given 7 April 1844, the Prophet taught: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!  That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible,—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form of man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, and talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another”(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 345)  
·        The authority of the priesthood
Through the prophet Joseph Smith, heavenly messengers restored the Aaronic Priesthood, the Melchizedek Priesthood, and the keys of the priesthood.  Then, the Lord gave revelations about priesthood offices, organization, covenants, ordinances, duties, and blessings.  Without those revelations, we would not understand the priesthood power or its operations.
·        Truths about our origin and our relationship to God
D&C 76:23-24; Abraham 3:22-28 teach that we are literally children of God and that we lived with him before we came to this earth as mortals.  Think about how this knowledge affects your daily life.
·        Scriptures
While serving in the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Gordon B. Hinckley said: “[Joseph Smith] translated and published the Book of Mormon, a volume of 522 pages which has since been retranslated into [many] languages and which is accepted by millions across the earth as the word of God.  The revelations he received and other writings he produced are likewise scripture to these millions.  The total in book pages constitutes the equivalent of almost the entire Old Testament of the Bible, and it came through one man in the space of a few years” (Ensign, May 1977, 65)
·        Truths about the plan of salvation
·        Truths about the salvation of the dead
The Prophet taught that those who died without an opportunity to receive gospel ordinances and covenants would have an opportunity to accept or reject these ordinances and blessings just as if they had had the opportunity in this life.   He also taught that we need our dead and they need us for the whole human family to be joined together as the Father intended.  See D&C 128:18.
·        The building of temples and the performance of temple ordinances
The receipt of endowments and the sealing of families together forever were revealed through Joseph so that we might enjoy the blessings of eternal families.
·        Other contributions included:
The Church was restored through him
He began the gathering of Israel and the missionary work to spread the gospel throughout the earth
The Law of Consecration, a celestial principle, was revealed through him
The Lord’s law of health, the Word of Wisdom, was revealed through him
We learned about the future building of latter-day Zion and the New Jerusalem through him
He also wrote the Articles of Faith

I am very grateful for the prophet Joseph Smith.  Because he acted in faith and continued to do the Lord's will we have been greatly blessed in this last dispensation.  As I study and learn more about the prophet's life I am filled with gratitude.  I have gained a deeper understanding and greater appreciation for all that he went through to bring forth these revealed truths in our day.  These truths and the blessings that come from accepting them are available to all who will trust in the Lord.  If this post has touched you in anyway I invite you to pray unto your Heavenly Father and seek His will and confirmation of these truths.  I promise it will bless your life and enhance it in ways you may not have experienced  yet.

~ C. J. Poulsen

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