Gospel Art Picture Kit
President of the Church, 1830–1844
On a spring morning in 1820, God the Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to answer the prayer of the 14-year-old Joseph, who recorded: “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. … When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose 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. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:16–17).
So great was his mission that holy prophets foresaw his ministry thousands of years before his birth. Joseph of Egypt prophesied: “A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer. … Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded. … And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father” (2 Nephi 3:6, 14–15).
“Happiness,” Joseph Smith taught, “is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God” (History of the Church, 5:134–35).
After the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Elder John Taylor was inspired to testify, “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it” (D&C 135:3).
Joseph Smith was chosen in the premortal existence to translate the Book of Mormon and to organize The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The work that he did while he was alive was so great that prophets long ago knew who he was, knew what his name would be, and knew what he would do. Men who helped Joseph Smith with his work testified that he had done more for the people on this earth than anyone other than Jesus Christ.
Image provided courtesy of the Community of Christ (Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), Independence, Missouri.
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