From his boyhood to his thirty-ninth and last year, Joseph Smith centered his life on the person and latter-day work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The following statements by the Prophet are a sampling, from a wide variety of circumstances, of the innumerable expressions voiced by the Prophet during a lifetime of personal communication with the Son of God.
“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
“It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. 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! …
“I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right … and which I should join.
“I was answered that I must join none of them, … and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time” (JS—H 1:16–20).
“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended unto heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 121; History of the Church, 3:30).
“In the former ages of the world, before the Saviour came in the flesh, ‘the saints’ were baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to come, because there never was any other name whereby men could be saved” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 266).
“You remember the testimony which I bore in the name of the Lord Jesus, concerning the great work which He has brought forth in the last days. You know my manner of communication, how that in weakness and simplicity, I declared to you what the Lord had brought forth by the ministering of His holy angels to me for this generation” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 29; History of the Church, 1:442).
“God is my friend. In him shall I find comfort. I have given my life into his hands. I am prepared to go at his call. I desire to be with Christ. I count not my life dear to me, only to do his will” (letter to Emma Hale Smith, 6 June 1832, as quoted in The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, comp. Dean C. Jessee, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1984, p. 239; spelling and punctuation modernized).
“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!
“For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—
“That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God. …
“And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us—
“That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness” (D&C 76:22–24, 40–41).
“The great Jehovah contemplated the whole of the events connected with the earth, pertaining to the plan of salvation, before it rolled into existence, or ever ‘the morning stars sang together’ for joy; the past, the present, and the future were and are, with Him, one eternal ‘now;’ He knew of the fall of Adam, the iniquities of the antediluvians, of the depth of iniquity that would be connected with the human family, their weakness and strength, their power and glory, apostasies, their crimes, their righteousness and iniquity; He comprehended the fall of man, and his redemption; He knew the plan of salvation and pointed it out; He was acquainted with the situation of all nations and with their destiny; He ordered all things according to the council of His own will; He knows the situation of both the living and the dead, and has made ample provision for their redemption, according to their several circumstances, and the laws of the kingdom of God, whether in this world, or in the world to come” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 220; History of the Church, 4:597).
“I can assure you I feel a disposition to act on your case in a manner that will meet the approbation of Jehovah, (whose servant I am), and agreeable to the principles of truth and righteousness which have been revealed; and inasmuch as long-suffering, patience, and mercy have ever characterized the dealings of our heavenly Father towards the humble and penitent, I feel disposed to copy the example” (letter to William W. Phelps, 22 July 1840, as quoted in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 165; History of the Church, 4:163).
“Don’t be limited in your views with regard to your neighbor’s virtue, but beware of self-righteousness, and be limited in the estimate of your own virtues, and not think yourselves more righteous than others; you must enlarge your souls towards each other, if you would do like Jesus, and carry your fellow-creatures to Abraham’s bosom” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 228; History of the Church, 4:606).
“You are aware, no doubt, dear brother, that anxieties inexpressible crowd themselves continually upon my mind for the Saints, when I consider the many temptations to which we are subject, from the cunning and flattery of the great adversary of our souls: and I can truly say with much fervency have I called upon the Lord for our brethren in Canada. And when I call to mind with what readiness they received the word of truth by the ministry of Brother Sidney and myself, I am truly under great obligations to humble myself before Him” (letter to Moses C. Nickerson, as quoted in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 29; History of the Church, 1:442).
“It is only through the Holy Ghost that I can do you good. God is able to do his own work” (Joseph Smith Diary, 13 Apr. 1843).
“Thou knowest that we have done this work through great tribulation; and out of our poverty we have given of our substance to build a house to thy name, that the Son of Man might have a place to manifest himself to his people. …
“And may all the scattered remnants of Israel, who have been driven to the ends of the earth, come to a knowledge of the truth, believe in the Messiah, and be redeemed from oppression, and rejoice before thee.
“O Lord, remember thy servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., and all his afflictions and persecutions—how he has covenanted with Jehovah, and vowed to thee, O Mighty God of Jacob—and the commandments which thou hast given unto him, and that he hath sincerely striven to do thy will” (D&C 109:5, 67–68).
“There are many souls, whom I have loved stronger than death; to them I have proved faithful; to them I … am determined to prove faithful, untill God calls me to resign up my breath. O, thou who seeth, and knoweth the hearts of all men; … that sitteth, as saith the psalmist; enthroned in heaven; look down upon thy servant Joseph, at this time; and let faith on the name of thy Son Jesus Christ, to a greater degree than thy servant ever yet has enjoyed, be conferred upon him; even the faith of Elijah; and let the Lamp of eternal life, be lit up in his heart, never to be taken away; and let the words of eternal life, be poured upon the soul of thy servant; that he may know thy will, thy statutes, and thy commandments, and thy judgments to do them” (Joseph Smith, “Reflections,” 23 Aug. 1842, as quoted in The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p. 536).
“Therefore to be obedient to the precepts of our divine Master, we say unto you—Search the Scriptures—search the revelations which we publish, and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to His glory, nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation. No; for when men receive their instruction from Him that made them, they know how he will save them” (History of the Church, 1:282–83; see also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 11–12).
“We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. …
“We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
“We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. …
“We believe … that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory” (A of F 1:1, 3, 4, 10).
“Beloved brethren, you must be aware in some measure of my feelings, when I contemplate the great work which is now rolling on, and the relationship which I sustain to it, while it is extending to distant lands, and thousands are embracing it. I realize in some measure my responsibility, and the need I have of support from above, and wisdom from on high, that I may be able to teach this people, which have now become a great people, the principles of righteousness, and lead them agreeably to the will of Heaven; so that they may be perfected, and prepared to meet the Lord Jesus Christ when He shall appear in great glory. Can I rely on your prayers to our heavenly Father on my behalf, and on all the prayers of all my brethren and sisters in England, (whom having not seen, yet I love), that I may be enabled to escape every stratagem of Satan, surmount every difficulty, and bring this people to the enjoyment of those blessings which are reserved for the righteous? I ask this at your hands in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 178; History of the Church, 4:230).
“When the Savior shall appear we shall see him as he is. We shall see that he is a man like ourselves.
“And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy. …
“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also” (D&C 130:1–2, 22).
“I understand my mission and business. God Almighty is my shield; and what can man do if God is my friend? I shall not be sacrificed until my time comes; then I shall be offered freely. … I thank God for preserving me from my enemies; I have no enemies but for the truth’s sake. I have no desire but to do all men good. I feel to pray for all men. We don’t ask any people to throw away any good they have got; we only ask them to come and get more. What if all the world should embrace this Gospel? They would then see eye to eye, and the blessings of God would be poured out upon the people, which is the desire of my whole soul. Amen” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 274–75; History of the Church, 5:259).
“Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, the East Indies, and other places, the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (History of the Church, 4:540).
“Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to redeem them out of their prison; for the prisoners shall go free.
“Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever!” (D&C 128:22–23.)