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Christ-like Character Traits

Spirit of Revelation

Those who were acquainted with him knew when the spirit of revelation was upon him, for his countenance wore an expression peculiar to himself while under that influence. He preached by the spirit of revelation, and taught in his council by it, and those who were acquainted with him could discover it at once, for at such times there was a peculiar clearness and transparency in his face. 1

Inspiring Stories

Noah’s Ark Built in South Carolina

The place or country where Noah’s ark was built was designated in my hearing by the Prophet Joseph Smith as being in or near South Carolina. 2

Instruction on the Sacrament

In the beginning of August, 1830, I, in company with my wife, went to make a visit to Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., who then resided at Harmony, Pennsylvania. We found him and his wife well, and in good spirits. We had a happy meeting. It truly gave me joy to again behold his face. As neither Emma, the wife of Joseph Smith, nor my wife had been confirmed, we concluded to attend to that holy ordinance at this time, and also to partake of the sacrament before we should leave for home. In order to prepare for this, Brother Joseph set out to procure some wine for the occasion. But he had gone only a short distance when he was met by a heavenly messenger who informed him that it did not matter what the Saints ate and drank when they partook of the sacrament, but that they should not purchase wine or strong drink from their enemies.

In obedience to this revelation, we prepared some wine of our own make and held our meeting, consisting of only five persons namely, Joseph Smith and wife, John Whitmer, and myself and wife. We partook of the sacrament, after which we confirmed the two sisters into the Church, and spent the evening in a glorious manner. The Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon us. We praised the God of Israel and rejoiced exceedingly. 3

No Doubt Lord Was With Him

During this time we had much of the power of God manifested among us, and it was wonderful to witness the wisdom that Joseph displayed on this occasion, for truly God gave unto him great wisdom and power, and it seems to me that none who saw him administer righteousness under such trying circumstances could doubt that the Lord was with him. He acted not with the wisdom of man, but with the wisdom of God. The Holy Ghost came upon us and filled our hearts with unspeakable joy. Before this memorable conference closed, three other revelations besides the one already mentioned were received from God by our prophet, and we were made to rejoice exceedingly in His goodness. 4

Escaping Doubtless Persecution

At Colesville, New York, in 1829, he and Oliver were under arrest on a charge of deceiving the people. When they were at the justice’s house for trial in the evening, all were waiting for Mr. Reid, Joseph’s lawyer. While waiting, the justice asked Joseph some questions, among which was this: “What was the first miracle Jesus performed?” Joseph replied, “He made this world, and what followed we are not told.”

Mr. Reid came in and said he wanted to speak to his clients in private and that the law allowed him that privilege, he believed. The judge pointed to a door to a room in the back part of the house and told them to step in there. As soon as they got into the room, the lawyer said there was a mob outside in front of the house. “If they get hold of you they will perhaps do you bodily injury; and I think the best way for you to get out of this is to get right out there,” pointing to the window and hoisting it.

They got into the woods in going a few rods from the house. It was night and they traveled through brush and water and mud, fell over logs, etc., until Oliver was exhausted. Then Joseph helped him along through the mud and water, almost carrying him. They traveled all night, and just at the break of day Oliver gave out entirely and exclaimed, “Oh, Lord! Brother Joseph, how long have we got to endure this thing?”

They sat down on a log to rest, and Joseph said that at that very time Peter, James and John came to them and ordained them to the apostleship. They had sixteen or seventeen miles to go to get back to Mr. Hale’s, his father-in-law’s, but Oliver did not complain any more of fatigue. 5

Vision of Adam

A short time prior to his arrival at my father’s house, my mother, Elizabeth Comins Tyler, had a remarkable vision. Lest it might be attributed to the evil one, she related it to no person, except my father, Andrew Tyler, until the Prophet arrived, on his way to Canada, I think. She saw a man sitting upon a white cloud, clothed in white from head to foot. He had a peculiar cap, different from any she had ever seen, with a white robe, underclothing, and moccasins. It was revealed to her that this person was Michael, the Archangel.

The Prophet informed her that she had had a true vision. He had seen the same angel several times. It was Michael, the Archangel. 6

Many D&C Sections Revealed

Joseph Smith, with his wife, Emma, and a servant girl, came to Kirtland in a sleigh early in 1831; they drove up in front of my husband’s store. Joseph jumped out and went in; he reached his hand across the counter to my husband and called him by name. My husband spoke, saying: “I could not call you by name as you have me.”

He answered, “I am Joseph the Prophet; you have prayed me here, now what do you want of me?”

My husband brought them directly to our own house. I remarked to my husband that this was the fulfillment of the vision we had seen of a cloud as of glory resting upon our house. During the time they resided with us, many of the revelations were given which are recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. 7

Warned of Danger

My first recollection of seeing the Prophet Joseph Smith was at a place about sixty or seventy miles from Kirtland, where two companies of Zion’s Camp met. My impression on beholding the Prophet and shaking hands with him was that I stood face to face with the greatest man on earth.

Zion’s Camp, in passing through the state of Indiana, had to cross very bad swamps. Consequently we had to attach ropes to the wagons to help them through, and the Prophet was the first man at the rope in his bare feet. This was characteristic of him in all times of difficulty.

We continued our journey until we reached the Wakandaw River, having traveled twenty-five miles without resting or eating. We were compelled to ferry this stream; and we found on the opposite side of it a most desirable place to camp, which was a source of satisfaction to the now weary and hungry men. On teaching this place, the Prophet announced to the Camp that he felt impressed to travel on; and taking the lead, he invited the brethren to follow him.

This caused a split in the camp. Lyman Wight and others at just refused to follow the Prophet, but finally came up. The sequel showed that the Prophet was inspired to move on a distance of some seven miles. It was reported to us afterwards that about eight miles below where we crossed the river a body of men was organized to come upon us that night.

When we reached Salt Creek, Missouri, Allred settlement had prepared a place in which to hold meeting. Joseph and Hyrum Smith and others were on the stand at the meeting when some strangers came in and were very anxious to find out which of them were Joseph and Hyrum, as they had pledged themselves to shoot them on sight. But the Prophet and his brother slipped away unobserved, being impressed that there was danger of their lives being taken. 8

Power of God Made Manifest

In September 1834, I started with my father’s family for Kirtland, Ohio. On our journey we accidentally met with the Prophet Joseph Smith in Springfield, Pennsylvania. I there saw him for the first time and heard him preach.

I was in a meeting in the upper part of the Kirtland Temple, with about a hundred of the high priests, seventies and elders. The Saints felt to shout “Hosannah,” and the Spirit of God rested upon me in mighty power. I beheld the room lighted up with a peculiar light such as I had never seen before—soft and clear—and the looked to me as though it had neither roof nor floor to the building. I beheld Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and Roger Orton, enveloped in the light.
Joseph exclaimed aloud, “I behold the Saviour, the Son of God.”

Hyrum: “I behold the angels of heaven.”

Brother Orton exclaimed, “I behold the chariots of Israel.”

All those who were in the room felt this power of God to that degree that many prophesied, and the power of God was made manifest, the remembrance of which I shall never forget while I live upon the earth. 9

Curse of Zion’s Camp

I was selected by President Joseph Smith, Jr., to accompany him to Missouri as a member of Zion’s Camp, being then in my seventeenth year. My father furnished me with a musket, generally known as a Green’s Arm, a pair of pantaloons made of bed ticking, a pair of cotton shirts, a straw hat, cloth coat and vest, a blanket, a pair of new boots, and an extra shirt and pantaloons which my mother packed up in a knap sack made of apron check.

The first day we traveled twenty-seven miles and slept in the barn of Mr. Ford, in the town of Streetsborough. My new boots blistered my feet severely, and Joseph gave me a pair of his own, a great relief to me.

President Joseph selected me to be of his mess. I slept in his tent, lying directly at his feet, and heard many of his counsels and instructions to the officers of the camp. Zebedee Coltrin was cook. After my day’s walk, it was my duty to bring water, make fires and wait upon the cook.

The camp was organized into tens. Joseph Smith was acknowledged Commander-in-Chief, and Lyman Wight was the Second Officer. Joseph selected two companies of ten men each as his life guard. I was appointed his armor bearer, and the rest of the journey I took care of and kept his arms loaded and in good order. They consisted of a brace of fine silver-mounted, brass-barrelled horse pistols which had been taken from a British officer in the War of 1812, a rifle, also a sword. I generally accompanied him wherever he went, carrying these arms with me. This gave me a better opportunity of hearing the counsels and instructions of the Prophet than I had had previously.

The Prophet Joseph took a full share of the fatigues of the journey, in addition to the care of providing for the camp, and presiding over it. He walked most of the time and had a full share of blistered, bloody, and sore feet, which was the natural result of walking twenty-five to forty miles a day in the hot season of the year.

But during the entire trip he never uttered a murmur or complained, while most of the men in the camp complained to him of sore toes, blistered feet, long drives, scanty supply of provisions, poor quality of bread, bad corn dodger, frowsy butter, strong honey, strong bacon and cheese. Joseph had to bear with us and tutor us like children. There were many in the camp, however, who never murmured, and who were always ready and willing to do as our leader desired.

During our noon meal, near the place where the town of Pittsfield stands, Joseph stood on a wagon while he made a speech to the camp. He said: “The Lord is displeased with us. Our murmuring and fault finding and want of humility has kindled the anger of the Lord against us. A severe scourge will come upon the camp, and many will die like sheep with rot, and we cannot help it. It must come. But by repentance and humility and the prayer of faith, the chastisement may be alleviated, but cannot be entirely turned away, for as the Lord lives, this camp must suffer a severe scourge for their wickedness and rebellion. I say it in the name of the Lord.”

This prophecy struck me to the heart. I thought we should probably get into battle with the mob and some of us get killed. Little thought I that within four weeks a dozen of my brethren would be laid in the ground without coffins, by the fell hand of the plague. But it was so, and I learned ever after to heed the counsels of the Prophet, and not murmur at the dispensations of Providence.

When several men died, Joseph said to me, “If your work had been finished, you would have had to tumble into the ground without a coffin.”

I told him it did seem as if it would have been better for me to have died than my Cousin Jesse, as he had a good education, and many other qualifications to benefit the Church which I did not possess.

The Prophet replied, “You do not know the mind of the Lord in these things.” 10

Zion’s Camp Cursed

Our brethren in Jackson County, Missouri, also suffered great persecution. In 1833, about twelve hundred were driven, plundered and robbed. Their houses were burned, and some of the brethren were killed. The next spring, Joseph gathered together as many of the brethren as he could, with what means they could spare, to go to Zion, to render assistance. We gathered clothing and other necessaries to carry to our brethren….Brother Joseph called the camp together and told us that in consequence of the disobedience of some who had not been willing to listen to his words, but had been rebellious, God had decreed that sickness should come upon us. “I am sorry,” he said, “but I cannot help it.”

When he spoke these things it pierced me like a dart, having a testimony that so it would be.

About twelve o’clock at night the destroyer came upon us and we began to hear the cries of those who were seized. Even those on guard fell, and we had to exert ourselves considerably to attend to the sick, for they were stricken down on every hand.

Brother Joseph, seeing the sufferings of his brethren, stepped forward to rebuke the destroyer, but was immediately seized with the disease, and I assisted him a short distance from the place, when it was with difficulty he could walk. 11

Opening of Heaven

A few evenings after his visit to our house, Mother and I went over to the Smith house. There were other visitors. The whole Smith family, excepting Joseph, was there. As we stood talking to them, Brother Joseph and Martin Harris came in, with two or three others. When the greetings were over, Brother Joseph looked around very solemnly. It was the first time some of them had ever seen him. He then said, “There are enough here to hold a little meeting.”

A board was put across two chairs to make seats. Martin Harris sat on a little box at Joseph’s feet. They sang and prayed; then Joseph got up to speak. He began very solemnly and very earnestly. All at once his countenance changed and he stood mute. He turned so white he seemed perfectly transparent. Those who looked at him that night said he looked like he had a searchlight within him, in every part of his body. I never saw anything like it on earth. I could not take my eyes away from him. He got so white that anyone who saw him would have thought he was transparent. I remember I thought we could almost see the bones through the flesh of his face. I shall remember it and see it in my mind’s eye as long as I remain upon the earth.

He stood some moments looking over the congregation, as if to pierce each heart, then said, “Do you know who has been in your midst this night?”

One of the Smiths said, “An angel of the Lord.”

Joseph did not answer. Martin Harris was sitting at the Prophet’s feet on a box. He slid to his knees, clasped his arms around the Prophet’s knees and said, “I know, it was our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Joseph put his hand on Martin’s head and answered, “Martin, God revealed that to you. Brothers and Sisters, the Savior has been in your midst this night. I want you all to remember it. There is a veil over your eyes, for you could not endure to look upon Him. You must be fed with milk and not strong meat. I want you to remember this as if it were the last thing that escaped my lips. He has given you all to me, and commanded me to seal you up to everlasting life, that where He is there you may be also. And if you are tempted of Satan say, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan, for my salvation is secure.'”

Then he knelt and prayed, and such a prayer I never heard before or since. I felt he was talking to the Lord, and the power rested upon us all. The prayer was so long that some of the people got up and rested, then knelt again.12

Shown Glory of God

At another time after fasting and prayer, Joseph told us that we should see the glory of God, and I saw a personage passing through the room as plainly as I see you now. Joseph asked us if we knew who it was, and answered himself: “That is Jesus our elder Brother, the Son of God.” 13

Heavens Opened

Once after returning from a mission to Kirtland, I met Brother Joseph, who asked me if I did not wish to go with him to a conference at New Portage, Ohio. The party consisted of Presidents Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery and me. Next morning at New Portage, I noticed that Joseph seemed to have a far off look in his eyes, or was looking at a distance.

Presently he stepped between Brother Cowdery and me, and taking us by the arm said, “Let’s take a walk.”

We went to a place where there was some beautiful grass, and grapevines and swamp birch interlaced. President Joseph Smith them said, “Let us pray.”

We all three prayed in turn—Joseph, Oliver and me. Brother Joseph then said, “Now brethren, we will see some visions.”

Joseph lay down on the ground on his back and stretched out his arms, and we laid on them. The heavens gradually opened, and we saw a golden throne, on a circular foundation, and on the throne sat a man and a woman, having white hair and clothed in white garments. Their heads were white as snow, and their faces shone with immortal youth. They were the two most beautiful and perfect specimens of mankind I ever saw. Joseph said, “They are our first parents, Adam and Eve.”

Adam was a large broad shouldered man, and Eve, as a woman, was as large in proportion. 14

Wandle Mace

Almost as soon as the father and mother of the Prophet set their feet upon the hospitable shore of Illinois, I became acquainted with them. I frequently visited them and listened with intense interest as they related the history of the rise of the Church.

With tears they could not withhold, they narrated the story of the persecution of their boy Joseph when the angel first visited him and informed him of the great things the Lord was about to bring to pass. Since that time it had been one continual scene of persecution.

In these conversations, Mother Smith related much of their family history. She said their family must have presented a peculiar appearance to a stranger, as they were seated around the room, father, mother, brothers, and sisters, all listening with the greatest interest to Joseph, as he taught them the pure principles of the gospel as revealed to him by angels, and the glorious visions beheld, as he saw the Father and the Son descend to to earth

She said: “During the day our sons would endeavor to get through their work as early as possible, and say, Mother, have supper early, so we can have a long evening to listen to Joseph,’ Sometimes Joseph would describe the appearance of the Nephites, their mode of dress and warfare, their implements of husbandry, etc., and many things he had seen in vision. Truly ours was a happy family, although persecuted by preachers, who declared there was no more vision, the canon of scripture was full, and no more revelation was needed.”

But Joseph had seen a vision and must declare it.

Oh, how many hours I have spent with these good old folks. They were as honest and true as it was possible for mortals to be; and they exemplify the words of the apostle who said, “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.”15

Consequences for persecuting the Saints in Missouri

Joseph Smith the Prophet once undertook to plead law. I have the name of the man who was under arrest, in my journal somewhere, it it would be a job to find it, and the name matters but little—the story of the Prophet acting as a prosecuting attorney is impressed upon my mind never to be blotted out or dimmed by time, it will be fresh while reason lasts, not so much for the law he quoted, but for the great prophecy he uttered and the divine appearance of the man while he spoke the word of the Lord.

Soon after we left Nauvoo and settled in Commerce three of our brethren were kidnapped by Missourians, taken to Missouri and starved and whipped until they were hardly able to run at all, but they managed to get away and return home.

One of the men who did that wicked, cruel deed was found years after in disguise parading the streets of Nauvoo, and was recognized by old Father James Allred as the very man who took him forcibly from Illinois back into Missouri and there treated him worse than a white man should treat his dog.

The Prophet was mayor, but the kidnapper was brought before an alderman for trial and Joseph acted as prosecuting attorney. When he had just fairly started to set forth the crime that the defendant was arraigned for, he suddenly left the law and declared the word of God with regard to the state of Missouri and its inhabitants. He told what the Saints had suffered at the hands of Missouri and the injustice and cruelty of their suffering, and he went on to tell what Missouri should be called to endure in order to pay the penalty of wrongs inflicted and for the blood of the Saints they had shed.

A portion of the words of the prophecy I will quote verbatim: “She shall drink out of the same cup, the same bitter dregs we have drunk, poured out, out, out! and that by the hand of an enemy—a race meaner than themselves.”

All the time he was delivering the word of the Lord his face shone as if there was a light within him and his flesh was translucent.

The time thus occupied was considerable, for he pronounced two other very remarkable prophecies.

When he had done prophesying he stopped speaking entirely, while he wiped a flood of perspiration from his face and gave vent to his pent-up breath with a long blow, kind of a half-whistle, and after a minute or two he remarked, “Well, where that meaner race is coming from God only knows. It is not the ‘niggers,’ for they don’t know enough, and are gentlemen by the side of their masters. It is not the Indians, for they are the chosen people of God and a noble race of men, but as sure as God ever spoke by me that shall come to pass.”

I have lived to see that prophecy literally fulfilled in the Rebellion, when every family in that part of the state that the Saints used to occupy was killed or compelled to leave their homes by the Bushwackers or Guerillas under Quantrell—a generation of vipers raised mostly after that prophecy was uttered. (Springville, Utah. Oct. 16, 1890) 16

  1. Brigham Young, Millennial Star, XXI (July 11, 1863), p. 439; Journal of Discourses, III, p. 51; IV, p. 54; V, p. 332; VIII, p. 206; IX, pp. 89, 332; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 34.
  2. The Young Woman’s Journal, II, (December, 1890), pp. 124-125; (February, 1891), pp. 225-226; (April, 1891), pp. 314-315; (May, 1891), p. 366; (July, 1891), pp. 466-468; IV (March, 1893), pp. 274-275; (April, 1893) pp. 320-321; (June, 1893), pp. 424-425. II, (December, 1890), pp. 124-125; (February, 1891), pp. 225-226; (April, 1891), pp. 314-315; (May, 1891), p. 366; (July, 1891), pp. 466-468; IV (March, 1893), pp. 274-275; (April, 1893) pp. 320-321; (June, 1893), pp. 424-425; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 65.
  3. “Newel Knight’s Journal,” in Scraps of Biography (Faith Promoting Series, Volume 10) (Salt Lake City, 1883), pp. 47-65; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], pp. 13-14
  4. “Newel Knight’s Journal,” in Scraps of Biography (Faith Promoting Series, Volume 10) (Salt Lake City, 1883), pp. 47-65; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], p. 14
  5. Letter of Addison Everett to Oliver B. Huntington, February 17, 1881, Young Woman’s Journal, II (November, 1890), pp. 76-77; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], pp. 14-15
  6. 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.
  7. Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Woman’s Exponent, VII (September 1, 1878), p. 51; (October 1, 1878), p. 71; (November 1, 1878), p. 83; (November 15, 1878), p. 91; (December 15, 1878), p. 105; (February 15, 1879), p. 191; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 38.
  8. John M. Chidester, The Juvenile Instructor, XXVII, (March 1, 1892), p. 151; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 53.
  9. Harrison Burgess, Harrison Burgess file, Church Historian’s Library, Salt Lake City, Utah; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 45.
  10. George A. Smith, Zora Smith Jarvis, “George A. Smith Family,” pp. 46, 49, 50, 51, 52, 64, 71, 86, 87; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 46.
  11. Heber C. Kimball, Woman’s Exponent, IX (August 1, 1880), p. 39; (September 15, 1880), p. 59; (November 1, 1880), p. 82; (November 15, 1880), p. 90; X (May 15, 1881), p. 186; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 35.
  12. Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, Diary of Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner; Young Woman’s Journal, XVI (December, 1905), pp. 556-557; The Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, XVII (July, 1926), pp. 193-195; Remarks of Mary E. Lightner, April 14, 1905, at Brigham Young University; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 22.
  13. Zebedee Coltrin, Address of Zebedee Coltrin at a meeting of high priests, Spanish Fork, Utah, February 5, 1878, High Priests’ record of Spanish Fork Branch, from April 29, 1866 to December 1, 1898, Church Historian’s Library, Salt Lake City, Utah; Minutes of the Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, October 10-11, 1883, Church Historian’s Library, Salt Lake City, Utah; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 27.
  14. Zebedee Coltrin, Address of Zebedee Coltrin at a meeting of high priests, Spanish Fork, Utah, February 5, 1878, High Priests’ record of Spanish Fork Branch, from April 29, 1866 to December 1, 1898, Church Historian’s Library, Salt Lake City, Utah; Minutes of the Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, October 10-11, 1883, Church Historian’s Library, Salt Lake City, Utah; Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 27.
  15. Journal of Wandle Mace, Brigham Young University Library
  16. Oliver B. Huntington, The Young Woman’s Journal, II, (December, 1890), pp. 124-125;

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