Lesson 7: Joseph Smith – Josephite Seer & Voice of the Lord (For Our Day)

Set the Course

In 2 Nephi 3, we find prophecies given by Joseph of Egypt and Lehi regarding their posterity in the last days. This revelation emphasizes Joseph Smith’s prophetic mission to bring forth the word of God in our day. In the words of Elder Bruce R. McConkie:

When Joseph Smith spoke by the power of the Holy Ghost, it was as though the Lord Jesus Himself was saying the words. The Prophet’s voice was the voice of the Lord; he was not perfect; only Christ was free from sin and evil. But the Prophet was as near perfection as mortals can get without being translated. He was a man of such spiritual stature that he reflected the image of the Lord Jesus to the people. His voice was the voice of the Lord.

Currently among Latter-day Saints, there is a great contention about how we should view Joseph Smith. An increasing number are voicing their feelings that the Prophet should be taken off of the pedestal to which he has been placed by early Church members and leaders, although they were those who knew him best. The Joseph Smith Foundation has put together a list of statements by latter-day prophets who testified of the Prophet’s greatness.

Read this inspiring compilation of testimonies here!

Defending the Prophet Joseph Smith

The character and mission of the Prophet Joseph is under heavy attack in our day. However, real facts and history support the Restoration! Equip yourself and your children to answer hard faith crisis questions in our day through the following resources!

Joseph Smith Delivers the Word of God

On the day the Church was organized, the Lord gave a revelation to stand as the charter of the Church, commanding the members and leaders—both present and future—to “give heed unto all his [Joseph Smith’s] words and commandments which he shall give unto you,” promising that if the counsel was followed, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.” (Doctrine and Covenants 21:6)

Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained that while we have successive presidents of the Church and other apostles, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s words stand preeminent, and that we should regard every other leader as a mere echo of Joseph Smith.

Every dispensation head is a revealer of Christ for his day . . . and every other prophet or apostle who comes is a reflection and an echo and an exponent of the dispensation head. All such come to echo to the world and to expound and unfold what God has revealed through the man who was appointed to give his eternal word to the world for that era. Such is the dispensation concept.

In an interview with David Ransom on November 9, 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley explained,

. . . we have a great body of revelation, the vast majority of which came from the prophet Joseph Smith. We don’t need much revelation. We need to pay more attention to the revelation we’ve already received. Now, if a problem should arise on which we don’t have an answer, we pray about it, we may fast about it, and it comes . . . we don’t need a lot of continuing revelation. We have a great, basic reservoir of revelation.

During a Christmas devotional on December 7, 2003, he again reiterated,

I look to [Joseph Smith]. I love him. I seek to follow him. I read his words, and they become the standards to be observed in guiding this great Church as it moves forward in fulfilling its eternal destiny.

The institution that Joseph Smith restored, using the keys and authority given to him by God, was both true and living. While no leader or member of the Church is perfect or inerrant, to the degree that the teachings and revelations of Joseph Smith are followed, we have the divine promise that we will continue to experience success in our efforts.

Teachings of Joseph Smith Compilation

We live in a day where many are frightened for the future. Our liberty is being lost, our families are falling apart, addiction is increasing, and the economy is precariously hanging by a thread, while wars and rumors of wars, plagues, and natural disasters flash across the news headlines daily. Are the gates of hell prevailing? And yet the Lord provided a simple forgotten key, a solid ANSWER that would allow the Latter-day Saints to weather the storms that lay ahead:

Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his [Joseph Smith’s] words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his [Joseph Smith’s] word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith. For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory.

In response to the Lord’s promise in Section 21 of the Doctrine and Covenants, a number of families have recently been studying the teachings of Joseph Smith—working as families to organize his teachings by topic—and the results have been life changing!

One young mother of four shared her experience as a volunteer:

There is no earthly way to express or explain how being immersed in this project has blessed our home the last few months. Not just blessed but has completely changed us from the inside out. My children's and mine and my husband's hearts are changing right before our eyes. If you have wayward or apathetic children or are looking to strengthen a marriage—get into these teachings. This is truly a turning of the hearts to our fathers. I honestly believe if you're not having your children or yourselves immersed in the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the early saints of the Restoration—whether it's this project or not—you are robbing you and your children, and you are robbing your home of the most beautiful change and conversion I've witnessed. I just have to share this testimony.

The Joseph Smith Foundation has also begun publishing this comprehensive collection of all Joseph Smith’s teachings (The Complete Teachings of Joseph Smith), organized conveniently by topic!

Joseph Smith & Isaiah

As part of the Simplifying Isaiah series produced for Lesson 5 (1 Nephi 20-22), a large section is dedicated to the prophecies of Joseph Smith in Isaiah 48-49. Watch below!

Embark on the Journey

Monthly “I Am a Latter-day Nephite” Theme!

I will covenant to maintain our rights and our religion.

Remember: While you absolutely may do every activity suggested if you would like, it is certainly not needed, nor are you limited by the ideas given here. Choose one or more that will work with your learning style, available time, or the group that you are working with. Even if you are an adult, don’t hesitate to choose an activity originally aimed at children—those can be the most fun! Feel free to run with any other ideas that come to your mind! Allow the Lord to guide you in choosing the best activities for you. The ultimate goal is to engage with the material and become a “doer of the word.”
  • If this is your first week here, welcome! Please review our “Welcome & How to Join the Quest” for some helpful information on how to use this resource. You may also want to check out the Embark on the Journey section of Lesson 1 for some activities that will be helpful in getting you started on this quest. In particular, you’ll want a journal, and perhaps the “I Am a Latter-day Nephite” resolution and a fun Book of Mormon reading chart. If desired, just start where you are in the year—don’t feel like you have to backtrack and do every lesson, but grab these helpful tools and you’ll be good to go from here!
  • What have been your thoughts and views on Joseph Smith in the past, both as a man and a prophet? Have you heard any of the narratives that have circulated in recent years that suggest he was not of the most upstanding character? How do those ideas make you feel? Do you know anyone who has struggled with their faith as a result of exposure to these ideas? As you seek the Spirit, who will testify of truth, record in your journal or discuss these questions with your family.
  • Read Doctrine and Covenants 135, which is the announcement of Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s martyrdom and contains a summary of Joseph’s life and legacy. Take a moment to reflect on what you hope others will say about you when you have passed on and the legacy that you hope to leave behind. If you’d like, you can even write your own obituary and set goals on what you can start or stop doing now to become the person that you hope to be remembered as.
  • Watch “My Servant Joseph” by Latter Day Kids. Discuss with your kids how Joseph was a child just like them, but grew up to do great things. Invite them to set a goal that will help prepare them for the work that God has prepared for them, even if they don’t know what it is right now.
  • Joseph Smith was 14 when he received the First Vision. Joseph of Egypt was 17 when he was sold into Egypt by his brothers. Mary was likely a teenager when she conceived and bore the Son of God, and Mormon was 15 when he saw Jesus Christ and was made the leader of the Nephite army. Likewise, Esther, the two thousand stripling warriors, David, Daniel, Nephi, and others were teenagers when they were called of God to do amazing things! In Joseph Smith – History 1:41, Joseph records that the angel Moroni quoted Joel 2:28-32 and said that it was soon to be fulfilled. Discuss with your youth what their potential is. Invite them to consider that they can begin participating in the “great and marvelous” work right now, just as many faithful teens have done in the past. You can do this in conjunction with the family home evening/fireside activity in the “All Hands on Deck” section of this lesson.
  • Choose a topic that you would like to study more about and look for quotes from Joseph Smith and other early church leaders on that topic. Some websites to help include Complete Teachings of Joseph Smith, Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and Scripture Citation Index.
  • If you have chosen to download or purchase a designed cardstock version of the “I’m a Latter-day Nephite” resolution, you may want to post it where you will see it every day—on the fridge or your mirror, for example. Ponder on this month’s statement “I will covenant to maintain our rights and our religion.”

Read “Gospel Topic: Citizenship.” Discuss with your family or record in your journal what it means to maintain your rights. How do you contribute to ensuring that those rights remain available to you and others? Do you participate in civic duties? Why or why not?

Unless otherwise stated, reference to any products, services, hypertext link to third parties or other information by trade name, trademark, supplier or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement or sponsorship by us. They are for convenience only.

All Hands on Deck

  • Pray each morning this week for the Lord to give you an opportunity to share your thoughts with someone on the Book of Mormon and/or what you’ve learned this week.
  • Join the For Our Day community on social media for uplifting shareable content, ideas on how to implement For Our Day in your home and classes, and to connect with others on the journey. You can find us here: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • The Complete Teachings of Joseph Smith compilation will be a blessing and shine light in a darkening world. This is a work in progress, and the Joseph Smith Foundation needs help with it! Consider gathering your friends and family and giving some of your time and talents to this work!
  • Share your testimony of Joseph Smith with someone you know or on social media. Be sure to add #ForOurDay so we can find you!
  • Hold a family home evening or fireside in your home for youth in your ward or even just your children and their friends. Watch the “Hope of Israel Broadcast” by President and Sister Nelson and discuss your potential and ability to do great things now. Refer to the youth activities in the “Embark on the Journey” section of this lesson for more discussion ideas.

Find the Treasure

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