Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday Mormon Myth's and Truths #9



We love and admire and respect Joseph Smith as the great prophet of the Lord in the latter days, but we do not believe our salvation comes through Joseph Smith, we do not pray to Joseph Smith and we do not perform any ordinances in his name.  This is such a common mis-understanding with non-LDS members, and quite frankly why many people do not agree with our religion, and the simple fact is it is simply not the truth.
We worship God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ, and we firmly believe what the Book of Mormon teaches: "There shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent"
However, because of Joseph Smith's prophetic role in reestablishing Christ's church, we very humbly claim that "he has done more save Jesus Christ himself only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it"
There is a popular LDS Hymn that I love called "Praise to the Man" it gives me chills when I sing this part of the song--especially when Brother Phelps plays it--

"Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah
Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer
Blessed to open the last dispensation,
Kings shall extol him, and nations revere"

So do we honor and respect Joseph Smith  YES         Do we Worship him  NO

I now want to take this opportunity to relay my feelings for the Prophet Joseph Smith, this is coming from my heart.  It is so hard for many people to believe a young boy, the age of  14 he actually saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and that they told him to join none of the churches.  He was born in a family without wealth, education or any family prominence.  He did what no other person had done since Muhammad, he brought a new world religion.
When Joseph Smith was only 17 years old an angel told him "that my name should be had for good and evil among all kindred, tongues" Even if you do not believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, a religious genius, a talented man, or a fraud and charlatan, the fact remains that that prophecy-spoken about an obscure uneducated, poor, farm boy with the homeliest of names, has most decidedly come true in our day--no one can deny this is true.
His mother taught him to read the bible and ask questions, he did and the scripture in James 1:5 kept coming back to his mind "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God"  So he went to the woods behind his home and prayed for wisdom, this is where he saw a pillar of light over his head, he said it was above the brightness of the sun, and fell upon him, when the light finally rested he saw two people, their brightness and glory defy all description, they were standing above him in the air, one of them spoke to him by name and said pointing to the other "this is my beloved Son, Hear Him"
Joseph then asked 2 questions:
1. the answer he received from his 1st question was "Son your sins have been forgiven you"
2. then Joseph asked which of the churches or sects was right, which one he should join.  He then was answered that he should join none of them, that they were all wrong.  We believe as LDS people that this was the beginning of of a new era, that Jesus was preparing Joseph to re-establish HIS church through Joseph Smith.
One of the things I will always remember as a young teen, also trying to figure out what church was true was this statement from Joseph Smith "I had actually seen a light, an in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, it was true,.....I knew it, and I knew God knew it, and I could not deny it"
This always stood out in my mind, and to this day I will never deny what I know to be true, I know it is true and I know that God knows it is true--miracles happen today as they did in olden days, Temples are built today as they were built in ancient days.  
In the end of his life Joseph Smith said "I don't blame any one for not believing my history.  If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself"
Joseph Smith eventually gave his life, at the young age of thirty eight, for the cause he believed in. I wonder how many of us are willing to do that?
A few of my favorite teachings from Joseph Smith are:
"A man filled with the love of god, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race"

"Happiness 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,  faithfulnes, holiness, and keeping all the commandment of God"

"if you wish to go where God is, you must be like God, or possess the principles which God possesses, Is not God good? Then you be good; if He is faithful, then you be faithful"

"I made this my rule; when the Lord commands, just do it"

My testimony to you is this,  I know without one shadow of a doubt that Joseph Smith saw what he saw, and that our Heavenly Father pre-ordained him before he came to earth to be the one to reestablish the gospel on the earth.  When I die, if given an opportunity to choose who I would like to talk or see 1st, besides my family, it will be Joseph Smith.  He was tortured, tarred with hot black tar then feathered, beat and yet he never denied what he saw.  I know through his example of goodness, I too will never be able to deny what I know to be true, I have felt the hands of the Lord lift me through times when I thought I could die, in times when I  wanted to die, I prayed and asked for answers and they came, through the spirit of Christ they came.