I Remember Joseph


Many who knew the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote of their experiences with him. Here, some of those accounts accompany artwork featuring the Prophet. Some accounts were written near the time of the event depicted in the art and others long after, but they all give insight into his life as a man and as a prophet of God.

Jesse N. Smith, the Prophet’s cousin, said: “[Joseph Smith was] incomparably the most God-like man I ever saw. … I know that by nature he was incapable of lying and deceitfulness, possessing the greatest kindness and nobility of character. I felt when in his presence that he could read me through and through. I know he was all that he claimed to be.” 1

Joseph Smith(click to view larger)

Joseph Smith, by William Whitaker, © Deseret Morning News, may not be copied

My Servant Joseph(click to view larger)

My Servant Joseph, by Liz Lemon Swindle, Foundation Arts, may not be copied

Right: Emmeline Blanche Wells wrote: “In the Prophet Joseph Smith, I believed I recognized the great spiritual power that brought joy and comfort to the Saints. … The power of God rested upon him to such a degree that on many occasions he seemed transfigured. … The glory of his countenance was beyond description.” 2

Joseph in the Grove(click to view larger)

Joseph in the Grove, by A. D. Shaw, courtesy of Museum of Church History and Art

Far left: A grove of trees often became the setting for the Prophet to speak to the Latter-day Saints. Amasa Potter recalled: “I remember the Prophet arising to preach to a large congregation in the grove west of the Temple in Nauvoo. … Joseph stated that every Latter-day Saint had a [spiritual] gift, and by living a righteous life, and asking for it, the Holy Spirit would reveal it to him or her.” 3

Joseph Smith Rebuking the Guards in Richmond Jail(click to view larger)

Joseph Smith Rebuking the Guards in Richmond Jail, by Sam Lawlor

Left: Parley P. Pratt wrote of the time the Prophet Joseph Smith and others were held as prisoners in the jail in Richmond, Missouri. They had listened for hours to the dreadful blasphemies and filthy language of the guards. “On a sudden [Joseph] arose to his feet, and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as the roaring lion, uttering, as near as I can recollect, the following words:

“‘SILENCE. … In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke you, and command you to be still.’ …

“The quailing guards … begged his pardon, and remained quiet.” 4

Flowers for a Lady(click to view larger)

Flowers for a Lady, by Liz Lemon Swindle, Foundation Arts, may not be copied

Above: Mercy R. Thompson wrote of the Prophet, “When riding with him and his wife Emma in their carriage I have known him to alight and gather prairie flowers for my little girl.” 5

Brothers(click to view larger)

Brothers, by Liz Lemon Swindle, Foundation Arts, may not be copied

Inset above: This painting depicts Hyrum and Joseph Smith pulling sticks. Mosiah L. Hancock wrote, “Brother Joseph offered to pull sticks with anyone—and he pulled them all up one at a time.” 6

Joseph Mustering the Nauvoo Legion(click to view larger)

Joseph Mustering the Nauvoo Legion, by C. C. A. Christensen, courtesy of Brigham Young University Museum of Art

Left: Eunice Billings Snow wrote: “I saw the ‘Nauvoo Legion’ on parade with the Prophet, … with his wife, Emma Hale Smith, on horseback at the head of the troops. … He so fair, and she so dark, in their beautiful riding-habits. He in full military suit, and she with her habit trimmed with gold buttons. … His favorite riding-horse was named Charlie, a big black steed.” 7

Joseph Smith Ordaining Parley P. Pratt as an Apostle(click to view larger)

Joseph Smith Ordaining Parley P. Pratt as an Apostle, by Walter Rane, © 2002 IRI

Right: Parley P. Pratt recalled, “On the 21st day of February, 1835, I took the oath and covenant of apostleship, and was solemnly set apart and ordained to that office; and as a member of that quorum under the hands of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer.” 8

The Prophet Reined His Horse, Just One Last Look at Fair Nauvoo(click to view larger)

The Prophet Reined His Horse, Just One Last Look at Fair Nauvoo, by Harold Hopkinson, may not be copied

Below: Lucy Walker Kimball wrote: “He well knew … that he must sacrifice his life for the principles God had revealed through him. … I have often heard him say he expected to seal his testimony with his blood.” 9

Show References

    Notes

  1.   1.

    Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society course of study, 2007), 499.

  2.   2.

    Teachings: Joseph Smith, 502.

  3.   3.

    Teachings: Joseph Smith, 117.

  4.   4.

    Teachings: Joseph Smith, 351.

  5.   5.

    Mercy R. Thompson, “Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Juvenile Instructor, July 1892, 399.

  6.   6.

    Teachings: Joseph Smith, 431.

  7.   7.

    Eunice Billings Snow, “A Sketch of the Life of Eunice Billings Snow,” Woman’s Exponent, Sept. 1910, 22.

  8.   8.

    Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. (1938), 95.

  9.   9.

    Lucy Walker Kimball, “Lucy Walker Kimball (Autobiography),” Woman’s Exponent, Nov. 1910, 34.