Quotes from Joseph Smith: Founding of Mormonism Through His Martyrdom

He Prophesied of His Death and Sealed His Testimony With His Blood

These quotes from Joseph Smith, first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They begin with his journey which consisted of his initial prayer. It concludes with the last statements before his death.

If Any of You Lack Wisdom

Joseph Smith early portrait green
Early portrait of Joseph Smith Jr., born 23 December 1805 near Sharon, Vermont. Photo courtesy of © 2011 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

At the age of 14, Joseph Smith wondered which church was true that he may join it.  In the Joseph Smith History 1:11-12 he states:

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did...

The First Vision

Joseph Smith First Vision
Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in the spring of 1820. This event is known as the First Vision Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ in the spring of 1820. This event is known as the First Vision. Photo courtesy of © 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Joseph, determined to pray for an answer. He retired to a grove of trees and knelt and prayed. In the Joseph Smith History 1:16-19 he recounts what happened:

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me...
When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other— This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! ...
I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong.

 

Most Correct Book on Earth

Joseph Smith actor translating Book of Mormon
Actor portraying the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Church's 2005 movie, "Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration.". Photo courtesy of © 2014 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Concerning The Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith said:

I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.

 

He Lives!

Joseph Smith large portrait
Joseph Smith, the first president of the Church, organized the new religion on 6 April 1830 in Fayette Township, New York Joseph Smith, the first president of the Church, organized the new religion on 6 April 1830 in Fayette Township, New York. He is the first prophet of this dispensation. Photo courtesy of .© 2007 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon see Christ and testify in D&C 76:20,22–24 that He lives:

And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fulness;....

And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! 

For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father —

That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

God Condescends to Speak to Man

Joseph Smith revelation
n June 1830, Joseph Smith dictated this revelation, opening with the statement, “The words of God which he spake unto Moses.” The revelation was included in Old Testament Revision 1, in which Smith recorded revisions of the book of Genesis. Handwriting of Oliver Cowdery. Old Testament Revision 1, p. 1, Community of Christ Library-Archives, Independence, Missouri. Photo courtesy of © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 2007, 66, Joseph is recorded saying:

We take the sacred writings into our hands, and admit that they were given by direct inspiration for the good of man. We believe that God condescended to speak from the heavens and declare His will concerning the human family, to give them just and holy laws, to regulate their conduct, and guide them in a direct way, that in due time He might take them to Himself, and make them joint heirs with His Son.

God Was Once a Man Like Us

Joseph Smith Papers series
The Documents portion of the series will comprise about half of the expected 21 volumes in print edition of The Joseph Smith Papers series. Photo courtesy of © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

In Teachings: Joseph Smith, 2007, 40, Joseph Smith taught that God was once like us:

God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make Himself visible,—I say, if you were to see Him today, you would see Him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another.

All Men Are Created Equal

Joseph Smith Paper
The cover of the 640-page book, Documents, Volume 1: July 1828–June 1831, which features Joseph Smith’s earliest surviving papers, including more than sixty of his revelations. Photo courtesy of © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

In Teachings: Joseph Smith, 2007, 344-345, he taught that all people are equal:

We deem it a just principle, and it is one the force of which we believe ought to be duly considered by every individual, that all men are created equal, and that all have the privilege of thinking for themselves upon all matters relative to conscience. Consequently, then, we are not disposed, had we the power, to deprive any one of exercising that free independence of mind which heaven has so graciously bestowed upon the human family as one of its choicest gifts.

His Eyes Were As a Flame of Fire

Kirtland Temple
The Kirtland, Ohio temple, the first temple built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is now owned by the Community of Christ. Photo courtesy of © 2011 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery saw Christ in the Kirtland Temple and described it thus:

The veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.
We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.
His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.

 

Fundamental Principles of Our Religion

Joseph Smith signature
The signature of Joseph Smith on a document from 1829 included in the Joseph Smith Papers' latest publication. Photo courtesy of © 2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

In Teachings: Joseph Smith, 2007, 45-50, Joseph Smith recounted the basics of our religion:

The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it. But in connection with these, we believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts according to the will of God, the restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth.

A Lamb to the Slaughter

Joseph Smith Hyrum Carthage
A statue of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum outside Carthage Jail. Photo courtesy of © 2011 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

In the Doctrine and Covenants we find Joseph Smith's final prophetic words:

I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I shall die innocent, and it shall be said of me—He was murdered in cold blood.

Updated by Krista Cook.