The Lord spoke to
the boy prophet in the Sacred Grove and said, "Joseph,
my son, thy sins are forgiven thee."1 Thus blessed by the
Atonement of Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith extended that godly
trait of forgiveness to others. "Ever keep in exercise
the principle of mercy," he taught, "and be ready to
forgive our brother on the first intimations of
repentance, and asking forgiveness; and should we even
forgive our brother, or even our enemy, before he repent or
ask forgiveness, our heavenly Father would be equally
as merciful unto us."2
against the Prophet in Missouri which brought additional
persecution, William W.
Phelps wrote a letter and begged the Prophet to
forgive him. "Inasmuch as long-suffering, patience,
and mercy have ever characterized the dealings of our
Heavenly Father towards the humble and penitent,"
Joseph wrote back, "I feel disposed to copy the
example, cherish the same principles, and by so doing be a
savior of my fellow men. . . .
confession to be real, and your repentance genuine, I
shall be happy once again to give you the right hand of
fellowship, and rejoice over the returning prodigal. .
" 'Come on, dear
brother, since the war is past, for friends at first,
are friends again at last.' "3
forgiveness won William's unmeasured devotion. "Praise to
his mem'ry," Phelps later wrote of the Prophet. "Honored and
blest be his ever great name!"4
1. In Personal
Writings of Joseph Smith, comp. Dean C. Jessee
History of the Church, 3:383.
History of the Church, 4:163–64.
4. "Praise to the
Man," Hymns, no. 27.
William W. Phelps
An early member and leader in the Church after it was restored in 1830. The Lord called William Phelps to be a printer for the Church (The Guide to the Scriptures, "Phelps, William W.," 192).
Read an article about the personality of Joseph Smith.
Learn more about the home where Joseph was tarred and feathered.
Learn more about how we can be more Christ-like.