Joseph Smith – Humility

Christ-like Character Traits

Greatest Seer That Ever Lived

My first impression of the Prophet was that he was a meek, humble, sociable and very affable man, as a citizen, and one of the most intelligent of men, and a great prophet. My subsequent acquaintance with him more than confirmed my most favorable impressions in every particular. He was a great statesman, philosopher and philanthropist, logician, and last, but not least, the greatest prophet, seer and revelator that ever lived, save Jesus Christ only. 1

Inspiring Stories

William Cahoon Home Teaching Experience

I wish to mention one circumstance which I shall never forget. I was called and ordained to act as a ward teacher to visit the families of the Saints. I got along very well until I was obliged to pay a visit to the Prophet. Being young, only 17 years of age, I felt my weakness in the capacity of a teacher. I almost felt like shrinking from my duty.

Finally, I went to the door and knocked and in a minute the Prophet came to the door. I stood there trembling and said to him; “Brother Joseph, I have come to visit you in the capacity of a ward teacher, if it is convenient for you.” He said, “Brother William, come right in. I am glad to see you. Sit down in that chair there and I will go and call my family in.”

They soon came in and took seats. The Prophet said, “Brother William, I submit myself and family into your hands,” and took his seat. “Now, Brother William,” said he, “Ask all the questions you feel like.” By this time my fears and trembling had ceased and I said, “Brother Joseph, are you trying to live your religion?” He answered, “Yes.” I then said, “Do you pray in your family?” He answered, “Yes.” “Do you teach your family the principles of the gospel?” He replied, “Yes, I am trying to do it.” “Do you ask a blessing on your food?” He said he did. “Are you trying to live in peace and harmony with all your family?” He said that he was.

I turned to Sister Emma, his wife, and said, “Sister Emma, are you trying to live your religion? Do you teach your children to obey their parents? Do you try to teach them to pray?” To all these questions she answered, “Yes, I am trying to do so.” I then turned to Joseph and said, “I am now through with my questions as a teacher and now if you have any instructions to give, I shall be happy to receive them.” He said, “God bless you Brother William, and if you are humble and faithful you shall have power to settle all difficulties that may come before you in the capacity of a teacher.” I then left my parting blessing upon him and his family, as a teacher, and departed. 2

Nervous Before Speaking

I recollect often hearing Brother Joseph say that many times his legs trembled like Belshazzar’s when he got up to speak before the world, and before the Saints.3

Brigham Young’s Counsel

About January 16, 1838, being destitute of money to pursue my journey, I said to Brother Brigham Young: “You are one of the Twelve who have charge of the kingdom in all the world; I believe I shall throw myself upon you, and look to you for counsel in this case.” Brother Young thought I was not earnest, but I told him I was. Brother Brigham then said, “If you will take my counsel it will be that you rest yourself, and be assured you shall have money in plenty to pursue your journey.”

There was a brother living in the place who had tried for some time to sell his farm but could not; he asked counsel of Brother Young concerning his property; Brother Young told him that if he would do right, and obey counsel, he should have an opportunity to sell. In about three days Brother Tomlinson came to Brother Brigham and said he had an offer for his place; Brother Brigham told him that this was the manifestation of the hand of the Lord to deliver Brother Joseph Smith from his present necessities. Brother Brigham’s promise was soon verified, and I got three hundred dollars from Brother Tomlinson, which enabled me to pursue my journey.4

  1. Daniel Tyler, The Juvenile Instructor, XXVII (February 1, 1892), pp. 93-95; (February 15, 1892), pp. 127-128; (August 15, 1892), pp. 491-492; XXVIII (May 15, 1893), p. 332; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 48.
  2. William Cahoon, “William Cahoon Autobiography,” in Stella Shurtleff and Brent Farrington Cahoon, eds., Reynolds Cahoon and His Stalwart Sons (Salt Lake City, Utah: Paragon Press, 1960), 80; see also William Cahoon, “Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Juvenile Instructor 29, no. 16 (15 August 1892): 492-93.
  3. Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 2:220 (September 17, 1854).
  4. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., 2d ed., edited by B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-51), 3:2.
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