This . . . winter, 1836, he [Joseph Smith] stated that he was out of firewood and that he had no time to get up any, for the officers of the law were continually on his track. So some of the brethren thought they would turn out and get him some wood.
When noon came, we were all called to dinner at Joseph’s house. The table was loaded down with corn-meal mush and milk, and at the bidding of Joseph we all stepped forward to our places around the table, standing on our feet. Joseph asked Joshua Holman, who was one of the wood haulers, to ask a blessing upon the food. He went at his duty with all his soul. As he had been a Methodist exhorter before joining the Church, he commenced to call upon the great and mighty God who sat upon the top of a topless throne to look down and bless the food, and asked many other blessings to rest upon the Prophet, etc.
As soon as he closed, Joseph said, “Brother Joshua, don’t let me ever hear you ask another such blessing.”
Before we took our seats, he stated his reasons for making this remark and showed us how inconsistent such ideas were. He told us many things about God and who He was. Then we sat down to our mush and milk. After eating, the men went out to hitch up their teams, and Joseph took his hat and stepped out into the yard. We boys followed close at his heels. He turned around and said: “Boys, you think I am a prophet, and want to hear all I have to say. If I should tell you all I know that will come to pass within twelve years, perhaps there would not one of you believe it. You would apostatize from the Church. But I shall let you learn things as they happen, then most likely you will all stand in the Church.”
This saying caused me to watch what transpired in the following twelve years. About the first thing that took place after that was the great apostasy in 1837. Next we were driven out of Kirtland; and Joseph was obliged to flee for his life. Next, Joseph and his brethren and the whole Church were driven out of Missouri. Later, Joseph and Hyrum were murdered. Afterwards, the entire Church was driven from Nauvoo. These things took place inside of twelve years, and ten thousand other things beside.1
Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the grand council of heaven before this world was. I suppose that I was ordained to this very office in that grand council.” 2
It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he, Joseph Smith, should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. The Lord had his eyes upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man. He was foreordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation. 3
2 Nephi 3:1-25
And now I speak unto you, Joseph, my last-born. Thou wast born in the wilderness of mine afflictions; yea, in the days of my greatest sorrow did thy mother bear thee.
And may the Lord consecrate also unto thee this land, which is a most precious land, for thine inheritance and the inheritance of thy seed with thy brethren, for thy security forever, if it so be that ye shall keep the commandments of the Holy One of Israel.
And now, Joseph, my last-born, whom I have brought out of the wilderness of mine afflictions, may the Lord bless thee forever, for thy seed shall not utterly be destroyed.
For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph.
Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.
For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.
Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.
And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.
And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.
And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.
But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins—and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.
Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.
And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.
And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;
And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.
Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.
And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.
And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.
And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; for I know their faith.
And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words.
Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.
And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy.
Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book.
And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.
And now, blessed art thou, Joseph. Behold, thou art little; wherefore hearken unto the words of thy brother, Nephi, and it shall be done unto thee even according to the words which I have spoken. Remember the words of thy dying father. Amen.
JST Matthew 17:10-14
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things, as the prophets have written.
And again I say unto you that Elias has come already, concerning whom it is written, Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and they knew him not, and have done unto him, whatsoever they listed.
Likewise shall also the Son of Man suffer of them.
But I say unto you, Who is Elias? Behold, this is Elias, whom I send to prepare the way before me.
Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist, and also of another who should come and restore all things, as it is written by the prophets.
During the Prophet’s visit, he came to our house. My heart swelled with love as I selected and presented him with some of our choice apples. While looking over our copy of a large English Book of Martyrs, he expressed sympathy for the Christian martyrs and a hope for their salvation. He asked to borrow the book, promising to return it when he should meet us again in Missouri. On returning it he said, “I have, by the aid of the Urim and Thummim [Seer Stone?], seen those martyrs. They were honest, devoted followers of Christ, according to the light they possessed. They will be saved.”
The Prophet also looked over our large Bible and remarked that much of the Apocrypha was true, but it required the Spirit of God to select the truth out of those writings.
Finally, in speaking of the latter-day work, he said, “There are thousands of good people in England and those old countries who are waiting for the fulness of the gospel, and it will not be long before they will flock to Zion, for Ephraim dwells largely in those parts.” 4