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4 Lessons from Joseph Smith’s Bringing forth the Book of Mormon

By Mckenna Clarke

Church Magazines

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    At only 24 years old, Joseph Smith faced challenges as he worked to accomplish the commandments of God. But he overcame with God’s help, and we can too.

    young adult woman holding an old Book of Mormon

    As young adults, we may be asked to do things that seem impossible without God’s help. Likewise, Joseph Smith, at only 24 years old, faced challenges and felt inadequate as he sought to accomplish an important commandment—publishing the translation of the Book of Mormon. But with God’s help, he completed everything that was asked of him, and his example demonstrates several ways that we can make the impossible possible when God is on our side.

    1. We don’t have to be great for God to perform miracles through us. When Joseph was preparing to publish the Book of Mormon, he was a young adult without much money or formal education—let alone a knowledge of how to translate and publish such an important record. Still, he went forward with faith and the gift and power of God to complete the work that was asked of him. If we trust Heavenly Father, He can enable us to do His work.

    2. When God gives us a task, He will provide a way to succeed. To Joseph, printing 5,000 copies of a 590-page book must have seemed impossible. But, when it was time to publish the manuscript, the Lord inspired Martin Harris to mortgage his successful farm, providing $3,000 (the equivalent of about $76,000 today) to help Joseph fulfill his mission. As Nephi taught, “[the Lord] shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7). Heavenly Father placed the necessary resources in Joseph’s reach to finish the project. And He will do the same for us.

    3. God gives second chances. Joseph Smith made mistakes that lead to the loss of 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript. Because of losing the 116 pages, Joseph also lost the ability to translate for a time. But because he chose to repent, he was eventually forgiven and given a second chance to fulfill his mission. The Lord said, “But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which though has done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work” (D&C 3:10). Our lives will be full of mistakes in this life, but as we repent and have our hearts in the right place, the Lord will always give us another chance.

    4. Looking forward to the promised joy can help us get through the challenges. Despite all the challenges Joseph had to face, he received many blessings and experienced true joy throughout his work to bring forth the Book of Mormon. After the Book of Mormon was published, the Church was organized and Joseph’s parents were baptized. On that day, Joseph went to the woods alone and began to weep with happiness. If we continue through our trials with our heads held high, putting our total trust in God, we will also be able to find joy and peace.