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Skip to comments.Joseph Smith: An Apostle of Jesus Christ
Posted on 01/02/2011 5:46:30 PM PST by Paragon Defender
Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Joseph Smith: An Apostle of Jesus Christ, Ensign, Jan 2009, 1622
Adapted from a presentation to the Seventy.
In the Doctrine and Covenants we read that Joseph Smith was called of God, and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ (D&C 20:2). The call of an Apostle is first to witness or testify of Jesus Christ. Old Testament prophets testified of His coming. The New Testament Apostles bore personal witness of Christs being and of the absolute reality of His Resurrection. This apostolic witness was the basis of their teaching. Ye shall be witnesses unto me (Acts 1:8) was Jesuss instruction to the original Twelve. Peter testified on the day of Pentecost to the Jews who had gathered out of every nation (Acts 2:5) that this Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses (Acts 2:32). Similarly, Paul wrote to the Corinthians that Jesus was seen of me also (1 Corinthians 15:8). The sure witness of Christs being and the reality of His Resurrection is the first pillar of apostolic testimony.
The second pillar is centered on the Saviors redemptive and saving power. Peter teaches that to the Lord give all the Prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43).
Without these twin pillars of testimony concerning Christ, there could be no Apostle. Such testimonies are born of experience, divine command, and instruction. For example, Luke writes that Christ showed Himself to the Apostles alive after his passion being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).
How does the Prophet Joseph Smith fit into these apostolic requirements? The answer is Perfectly.
Joseph Smiths apostolic instruction began in 1820. Pondering the questions of religion, he soon found that there was no way to reason or argue ones opinion to an authoritative conclusion concerning the correctness of the various churches or their doctrines. Short of a divine manifestation, young Joseph could add only one more opinion to the already existing war of words and tumult of opinions (Joseph SmithHistory 1:10). But Josephs questions on religion were answered by the personal and physical manifestation of God the Father and His divine and living Son, Jesus Christan experience referred to as the First Vision.
Like that of the original Apostles, Josephs experience with Deity was direct and personal. There was no need for the opinion of others or the deliberations of a council to define what he saw or what it came to mean to him. Josephs vision was at first an intensely personal experiencean answer to a specific question. Over time, however, illuminated by additional experience and instruction, it became the founding revelation of the Restoration.
As apostolic as this manifestation of Christs being, existence, and Resurrection was to Joseph Smith, it was not the only thing Jesus wanted to teach him. The boy Josephs first lesson arose from the manifestation of Christs absolute, omnipotent, and divine power. Joseph learned firsthand at least one meaning of the redeeming and saving power of Christ when he prayed in the grove. As he began to pray, Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction (Joseph SmithHistory 1:15). With every bit of energy Joseph had, he began to call upon God to deliver him from the grasp of this enemy.
At the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction , I saw a pillar of light.
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound (Joseph SmithHistory 1:1617).
Joseph Smiths confrontation with the adversary is reminiscent of an experience Moses had, about which the Prophet would learn some few years later. Unlike the boy Joseph, however, Moses saw Gods greatness first and then was confronted with the power of the adversary before being delivered from his influence. (See Moses 1.)
The difference in the order of events is significant. Moses was already far into maturity and had much knowledge and influence prior to this event. By displaying His magnificent power to Moses before he faced the adversary, the Lord helped Moses put his life into perspective. After experiencing Gods glory, Moses said, Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed (Moses 1:10). This incident enabled Moses to withstand the temptations of the adversary that followed.
Joseph Smith, on the other hand, was an inexperienced young man, who in his lifetime would repeatedly face adversarial power and the overwhelming problems it brings. By facing the adversary first, then being saved from his assault by the appearance of the Father and the Son, Joseph learned this indelible lesson: as great as the power of evil might be, it must always withdraw with the appearance of righteousness.
This lesson was critical in Josephs apostolic education. He needed this knowledge not only because of the personal trials that lay ahead of him but also because of the overwhelming opposition he would face in founding and directing the Church.
The boy Joseph went into the grove seeking wisdom, and wisdom he received. His apostolic instruction had begun. Among the great apostolic lessons of this First Vision were both the physical nature of the Savior and Heavenly Father and the initial and fundamental lessons relating to Their powereach a pillar of apostolic testimony.
Joseph Smiths early apostolic instruction continued with his translation of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon gave Joseph access to the fulness of the everlasting Gospel (Joseph SmithHistory 1:34), principles that were necessary to understand even prior to the organization of the Church. The Prophet was introduced to numerous plain and most precious (1 Nephi 13:26) prophetic and apostolic testimonies regarding the Savior, all of which served as models for him.
Indeed, the Book of Mormon prophets employ over 100 titles in their teachings of Christ, each of which helped Joseph understand the Saviors divine role.1 By virtue of these teachings, Joseph Smith became intimately acquainted with ancient prophets, giving him insight into the divine purpose of his responsibilities.
The Book of Mormon illuminates the universality of Christs Atonement. The Saviors holy sacrifice is not confined to the borders of the Holy Land of His day or even restricted to the apostolic world of the original Twelve. The Atonement encompasses all of Gods creationspast, present, and future. What an impression Jacobs teaching of the infinite atonement (2 Nephi 9:7) must have made on the mind of young Joseph, especially in contrast to Christian teachings at the time.
The Book of Mormon also introduces the universality of the Resurrection and other doctrines relating to it. Discourses on this doctrine by Lehi, Jacob, King Benjamin, Abinadi, Alma, Amulek, Samuel the Lamanite, and Moroni are all rich sources of instruction.
During the translation of the Book of Mormon, the Prophet received additional valuable personal instruction concerning the redemptive and saving power of Christ. In 1828 Martin Harris persuaded Joseph to lend him the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript. When Martin Harris lost those pages, the Prophet felt an enormous despair.2 His mother, Lucy Mack Smith, recorded that Joseph exclaimed: Oh, my God! All is lost! all is lost! What shall I do? I have sinnedit is I who tempted the wrath of God. How shall I appear before the Lord? Of what rebuke am I not worthy from the angel of the Most High?3
For well over a month the Lord left Joseph in this terrible condition of remorse.4 Then came relief and the apostolic lesson. The Lord told Joseph:
The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated, neither can they come to naught.
For although a man may have many revelations, and have power to do many mighty works, yet if he boasts in his own strength, and sets at naught the counsels of God, and follows after the dictates of his own will and carnal desires, he must fall and incur the vengeance of a just God upon him (D&C 3:1, 4).
These words carefully describe what Joseph Smith had been experiencing. He had learned the exacting nature of the apostolic call and to whom the Apostle, at all cost, owes his loyalty. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words, Joseph was told, yet you should have been faithful (D&C 3:78). Joseph Smith had lost access to the plates for a season and had been taught an invaluable lesson. Subsequently, the plates were returned, and his position as translator restored.
How critical were the lessons provided by the translation of the Book of Mormon as Joseph Smith grew in his apostolic calling! The Book of Mormon is the keystone of our religion5 because it contains so many prophetic testimonies of Christ and stands as a tangible witness of the Restoration.
After finishing the translation of the Book of Mormon in 1829 and organizing the Church in 1830, Joseph Smith had the opportunity to receive continuing apostolic education through the process of translating other scripture. This included three years of translating the Bible and, beginning in 1835, translating the book of Abraham. Joseph Smiths translation of the Bible expanded his understanding of the role of Old Testament prophets and New Testament Apostles. It also resulted in additional revelation, namely the book of Moses.
The book of Moses provided the Prophet with important knowledge about the Saviors ministry, including His role in the Creation. The Lord spake unto Moses, saying: I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things (Moses 2:1). Further, He said, And worlds without number have I created; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten (Moses 1:33).
The book of Moses clarified Christs relationship to the Father in the premortal existence and reinforced the Prophets understanding of the ascendant power of righteousness. One of the most beautiful of all the apostolic lessons that came to Joseph Smith in this revelation was the confirmation of Gods love. It was so different from the harsh, unforgiving, and judgmental personage so many believed God to be; the book of Moses reveals a God of infinite compassion. Enoch saw that the God of heaven wept (Moses 7:28) over those who would not receive Him. Wishing to know how it was possible, Enoch was given an answer that has a familiar biblical feel to it: I [have] given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father. Wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer? (Moses 7:33, 37; see also Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:3739).
Through the translation of the book of Moses, the Prophet also became more acquainted with the redeeming and saving power of the Savior. As the Lord said, this earth was created by the word of my power (Moses 1:32) for the purpose of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39). Many long years before the Savior taught Thomas and the Twelve that I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6), He revealed to Moses that this is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time (Moses 6:62).
The First Vision in the grove, the translation of the Book of Mormon, the revision of the Bible, the revelation of the book of Moses, and the translation of the book of Abraham laid the basic foundation of the Church, largely through the rapidly expanding knowledge and testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith relating to Jesus Christ.
Revelations given to him and compiled in the Doctrine and Covenants contain a wealth of knowledge concerning the Savior. One could research the numerous topics and cross-references of the Topical Guide and Guide to the Scriptures referring to Jesus Christ and still not understand the breadth of information on the Savior that the Prophet Joseph Smith brought to the world. I am grateful to know that Jesus was in the beginning with the Father (D&C 93:21). I am grateful to know that He suffered these things for [me], that [I] might not suffer if [I] would repent (D&C 19:16).
I am grateful for yet one other thing about the Saviors ministry that stirs my soul deeply. From studying the promises of Malachi, Moronis initial visit with Joseph, the Saviors words to the Nephites, and the visit of Elijah in the Kirtland Temple, I learn that God loves His children and has provided a way for each to return to Him. I know of no doctrine more just, no teaching that gives more hope than that of redemption of the dead. I am so grateful for the revelations that teach me that the Saviors Atonement reaches to those who have lived, loved, served, and hoped for a better day yet never heard of Jesus or had the opportunity to embrace His gospel. This knowledge alone would be sufficient to convert me to the gospel if I knew nothing else at all. Here, at least for me, is the ultimate testimony of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.
What, then, can be said of the incomparable saving power of Christ? That which Joseph Smith learned in the Sacred Grove about the power of righteousness overcoming evil foreshadows the final scene. So reveals the Lord:
I, having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father, concerning mehaving done this that I might subdue all things unto myself
Retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world, and the last great day of judgment (D&C 19:23).
Our own testimonies of the Savior are framed by the testimony and teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Is it any wonder then that the Prophet taught that 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.6
Joseph Smiths apostolic testimony of the divine reality and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, as well as his knowledge of the redemptive and saving power of the Savior, can best be seen by the Prophets own beautiful, powerful, and succinct witness:
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 (D&C 76:2224).
How grateful I am for the apostolic call of Joseph Smith.
4. The 116 pages were lost in June 1828. In July Joseph Smith received what is now section 3 of the Doctrine and Covenants. In September the plates were returned to the Prophet. See the historical introductions to D&C 3; 10.
Well, you're forgetting the mission He sent them on...to rid the land of the pagan worshipers, whose stench had reached Him. They were past the point of no return. And there are pagan worshipers today masquerading as Christians and using it for a cover.
I could also write a book. Maybe I will.
My heritage goes back five generations of Mormonism. Many stay because of guilt. Many because of lack of intelligence and emotionalism.
Most because they don’t have the guts to admit it is a cult of no substance.
The internet will cause the cult to fail! Guaranteed.
Do you speak as crudely as you write ???
BTW you can drink alone...
It is posted in Breaking News..not the Religion Forum.
You can only see my post that talks about wet but are unable to mention to those who say kick A@@
He came for the shunned as well, those who were kicked to the curb by the religious hypocrites....
Just wanted to post in this thread as it seems to be of somewhat historical importance on FR. The Christ of the Bible is not the christ of the LDS. Anyone who claims otherwise is a liar, a charlatan, and not willing to publicly admit to the seriously damning (both literally and figuratively) doctrine of the LDS movement. Either that or they are ignorant. Funny thing about us bible believers. We don’t hide embarrassing doctrine until we get converts so involved they have difficulty backing out.
My reply was an addition to the qualification in post 11.
Would it really kill you to stand up for what you think you believe ???
Is there some reason you cant explain just why you believe differently than a Christian does...
and then tell us why you and Joey Smith think we are wrong ???
Like what was it exactly that Joey Smith meant when he said to his mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true. (Joseph Smith Pearl of great Price (JS History 1:20)
Why is this in News/Activism? I only look at the news/activism forum so as to avoid threads like this one, ALL of which eventually (immediately) turn into bash-fests.
In my case it was a record of 21 baptisms because I am a great salesman. Nothing more nothing less. I knew that if I could get them on their knees to pray they would cry and confuse that emotionalism with the Holy Ghost. I know, too much about me.
You must realize that at the age of 19-21 we knew all the tricks. Hope they didn't use that on you dear sister.
There were only Twelve Apostles who were witnesses to Christ’s earthly ministry and who were able to write the Word of God as witnesses.
Joseph Smith was deceived by a demon disguised as an angel of light, who deluded him into thinking it was okay to besmirch and rewrite the Eternal Word of God.
Smith broke with Scripture so many times, it is scary. But the first clue was that he was a Mason, and bowed the knee to another, Satan.
No. It was first posted in the Religion Forum. Read post 27.
Yes, that's a bit paraphrased (if you need the exact passages, I'll provide them), but it points to an interesting FACT. To be born again one must believe that God came int he flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ. Mormonism teaches that the Mormonism jesus was not god with us until his resurrection, thus his exaltation to godhood was gained, not a fundamental aspect of His person. Mormonism teaches that their jesus was sired by the union of 'a'god who had been appointed to be god over earth by a council of gods, once this promoted god had attained the attributes of godhood.
No matter how much spin members try to put on the issues, Mormonism is not Christianity, and certainly not restored christianity as they assert, restored through the peepstone sexual predator of married women, Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith was no Apostle of Jesus Christ, as any good study of the lievs of the Apostles following the resurrection will expose.
Basically, Christians believe God took up flesha nd dwelt among us. This belief is shared by all Christians, whether they claim to be Catholics or some sect of the Protestant movement. It is not shared by Muslims. It is not shared by Zoroastrians. It is not shared by Buddhists. It is not shared by Hindus. It is not shared by Mormonism. It is however THE central tenent of faith in Jesus Christ as Savior since a mere man cannot accomplish what Jesus IS doing daily in the lives of those who trust/faithe in Him as their Savior.
I'm about to post to some Mormonism thread an expose on the Mormon/LDS 'melchisedek priesthood', because this aspect of Mormonism is a clear blasphemy to the person and Position of Jesus The Christ, our Great High Priest forever. Mormons believe any Tom, Dick, or Harry Reid can earn the office of mechisedec high priest. That kind of blasphemy should be opposed openly by true Christians, if they are no longer milk fed.
By the way, I would suggest in the future making threads like this for LDS Caucus, unless you like reading page after page of mud slinging from the usual suspects.
Adam and Eve lived in Kansas City, Missouri and Native Americans are a lost tribe of Israel? I find these Mormon claims difficult to believe. Mormons have come to my doorstep before and preached to me about their faith — the stack of half a dozen Books of Mormon in my den is proof of that. They’ve always been very polite, and while I disagree with the premises of their religious beliefs, I don’t think you’ll find a nicer group of people anywhere in the world. I think that’s part of their appeal to people — when you have a polite and well-dressed person speaking to you about their religious beliefs, you’re more inclined to put some stock in them.
What is this doing in Breaking News?
I got scared for a moment. Whew.
So was mine.
I think I am addressing a woman...
I only worry about how my fellow women FReepers are acting...
Boys will be boys...
Im old fashioned and conservative that way...
In Christianity God tells the older women to teach the younger...
so I am looking out for you and teaching...
You choose to entry my sphere so you are subject to my scrutiny and concern...
If you want your comments to be taken as serious by me and the other women here...
plus the men...
It might well behoove you to clean up your keyboard...
Keep in mind, you have conservative atheists here that would take a bullet for you.
Don’t judge so quickly.
The Americana veil of Mormonism is... “nice”, but remember, you are an infidel.
American Indians are the real Jews, according to Mormons. This is why they infuriated Europeans recently by going to Auschwitz and trying to baptize the dead Jews there... or something.
My understanding is that there are numerous religions that are not granted caucus threads here on FR and only a few that are. Therefore if there were no longer Mormon Caucus threads it would not be the case that Mormonism was treated in a way that only applies to it. Rather Mormonism would no longer be granted the special consideration allowed to only a few others.
I don’t disagree with the essence of what you say. In the post to which you responded I was commenting on the oddity of people being surprised that Mormons consider old Joe an Apostle of Jesus Christ.
Well, of course they do!
In fact, I suspect they believe he outranks the original Twelve. But I could be wrong on that.
While you are looking at all of the spin from those who oppose just to be fair you might want to take a look see from the source.
Which version of the LDS gives a feeling of peace vs which one would scare the willies out of you!
Core of Welfare living
The Family: A Proclamation to the World
BTW I don’t drink
Oh yea...he's already lost me pretty much as a viewer...sad to say..had he not brought his religion to the for front and mingled it in his message then I might make more a point to watch..but not since he's been "preaching" so much. No doubt they're putting pressure on Him to be more vocal of his faith...but they won't push too hard as they like his tithes.
Honestly after-death involuntary baptisms don’t bother me. I mean I’m dead. If they think that doing that is going to save me then go right ahead. If they’re wrong then it’s no skin off my back. If they’re right... I’m in the game.
Resty UB could sell snow to Eskimos...
and make them think they need bikinis too..
but thats not the point...
Most times when there been a change it is noted in the body of the thread but now the blame is directed toward the one who originally posted this in the RF under Caucus thread!
I think Jeff Head said it pretty well.
Then those really might not take and they would fall awayif they were not taught the right way.
To receive a witness from the Holy Ghost not some cuties pie!
They do get credit for doing so, and are encouraged to go to sites and "practice" their tactics... but I'm not so sure of the number of Mormons who are not posting...so much of the Mormon faith is "hidden" it would be natural to keep it to themselves. But those who do post on a constant do indeed have an agenda. IMO
In the LDS doctrine of pre-mortal existence, God the Father had a Father who had a Father and so on.
That doctrine denies the Name of God: I AM, Creator, Alpha, Omega, He IS (YHwH), God Almighty (El Shaddai) and so on because under that doctrine, He is merely a God, not the God.
Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: - Isaiah 46:9-10
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Matt 10:32-33
And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God. - Deuteronomy 12:3-4
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. I Corinthians 12:3
they would fall awayif they were not taught the right way.
Good lets teach them all the right way...
Jesus said to Resty and the mormons, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man or woman comes to the Father except by me.” (The LORD Jesus Christ, John 14:6)
You must realize that at the age of 19-21 we knew all the tricks. Hope they didn’t use that on you dear sister.
No they never had a chance too I was converted before I every heard of the Church.
All I had was the Book of Mormon given to me by a friend who was unable to explain it!
So it was a one on one with just me and the Lord and what joy it was!:)
It was by the sweet power of the Holy Ghost and a over whelming Joy I shall never forget!
Even now I feel that sweet comfort and peace.
I still think if it's a choice between getting rid of LDS Caucus threads and allowing and promoting anti Mormon threads, then do away with all Caucus threads completely.
Us old sales dogs love the image of imagination. Dinner this week at the Oyster Bar in SLC?
Alaskan King Crab Legs or Filet de Mignon?
I will buy!
Well-said. Joseph Smith concocted numerous fairy tales, not one of which has validation in archeology, history, DNA evidence, etc. There is not a single Greek, Aramaic or Hebrew document that supports the BoM except for the texts ripped off from a mid-1800’s KJV Bible (or thereabouts).
Look, if you don’t like the way I choose to manage this site, you can always post elsewhere.
What was the original title, like I really care anyway?
Great sales tactic...offering me a choice ...
and no friend or descendant or family member can mitigate your salvation, or the remission of your sins, for you.
It's only going to be you with the Lord Jesus alone,
no wife or husband or anyone there to plead our case with us, on Judgment Day.
This baptizing for the dead idea of the Mormons, of course, obliterates the JudeoChristian concept of “Free will”.
The Mormons take a particularly immature stand with dead people getting baptized as Mormons. They believe that the God who created the Universe could be tricked into taking the word of a long lost descendant that their ancestor deserves salvation. Since they believe that they can become Gods, too, their view of the Jewish God is quite diminutive.
They baptize for the dead under their new Mormon rules (added capriciously to the Bible.)
Oh and if it was 110 years ago, you and I would be on the sighted end of their long rifles. Killing infidels was no problem for the founders of the Mormon faith. Look up the Mormon Wars sometime.