One hundred seventy-four years ago, just two days before Christmas, a baby boy was born in the little town of Sharon in eastern Vermont. There seemed to be nothing unusual about the occasion. He was the fourth child and the third son born to hard-working parents, Joseph and Lucy Smith. It was decided to call him Joseph after his father.
But between the boy’s fourteenth and fifteenth birthdays, a most remarkable event occurred—he had a vision. Even more astounding, Joseph saw and talked to God, our Heavenly Father, who introduced him to His Son Jesus Christ in these words: This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
These divine personages were perfected and glorified human beings—no vaporous, imaginary forms.
From that very moment Joseph’s life changed dramatically. He was taught by heavenly teachers in all things. Joseph and his good friend Oliver Cowdery received the restored priesthood together. The church of Jesus Christ was again restored to the earth. With the help of the Urim and Thummim and through divine leading, the Prophet Joseph translated the sacred golden plates of Nephi, to produce the “most perfect book ever written”—the Book of Mormon.
And like our Exemplar, Jesus Christ, who in His 30s was taken by an unruly crowd and crucified, the Prophet Joseph’s life was also taken by a vicious and angry mob when he was only thirty-eight years old.
In the quiet moments of this holiday season when we consider our many blessings, how grateful we are for Joseph Smith—that he was taught by heavenly teachers and under their direction organized the Church. His example of love and kindness is a blessing to all who know and follow his teachings.