Our current Sunday night family book group book is Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. As June 27th approached, several meaningful quotes came to mind and I decided to honor one of my greatest heroes by sharing some of the most generally hopeful and inspiring (to me) quotes in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Other sections of the book are meaningful in other ways, but as I thought of how Joseph bolstered the faith and spirits of the Saints, these sayings seem significant.
Stand fast, ye Saints of God, hold on a little while longer, and the storm of life will be past, and you will be rewarded by that God whose servants you are, and who will duly appreciate all your toils and afflictions for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s. (p 185)
Do not be discouraged on account of the greatness of the work; only be humble and faithful… He who scattered Israel has promised to gather them; therefore inasmuch as you are to be instrumental in this great work, He will endow you with power, wisdom, might and intelligence, and every qualification necessary; while your minds will expand wider and wider, until you can circumscribe the earth and the heavens, reach forth into eternity, and contemplate the might acts of Jehovah in all their variety and glory. (p 163)
Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God. (p 137)
If you live up to these principles, how great and glorious will be your reward in the celestial kingdom! If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates. Females, if they are pure and innocent, can come in the presence of God; for what is more pleasing to God than innocence; you must be innocent, or you cannot come up before God; if we would come before God, we must keep ourselves pure, as He is pure. … let the weight of your innocence, kindness and affection be felt, which is more mighty than a millstone hung about the neck; not war, not jangle, not contradiction, or dispute, but meekness, love, purity—these are the things that should magnify you in the eyes of all good men. Achan [see Joshua 7] must be brought to light, iniquity must be purged out from the midst of the Saints; then the veil will be rent, and the blessings of heaven will flow down—they will roll down like the Mississippi river. If this Society listens to the counsel of the Almighty, through the heads of the Church, they shall have power to command queens in their midst. … You will receive instructions through the order of the Priesthood which God has established, through the medium of those appointed to lead, guide and direct the affairs of the Church in this last dispensation; and I now turn the key in your behalf in the name of the Lord, and this Society shall rejoice, and knowledge and intelligence shall flow down from this time henceforth; this is the beginning of better days to the poor and needy, who shall be made to rejoice
and pour forth blessings on your heads. (p 226-229)
Let the Saints remember that great things depend on their individual exertion, and that they are called to be co-workers with us and the Holy Spirit in accomplishing the great work of the last days; and in consideration of the extent, the blessings and glories of the same, let every selfish feeling be not only buried but annihilated; and let love to God and man predominate, and reign triumphant in every mind, that their hearts may become like unto Enoch’s of old, and comprehend all things, present, past and future, and come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. (p 178-179.)
A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race. This has been your feeling, and caused you to forego the pleasures of home that you might be a blessing to others, who are candidates for immortality, but strangers to truth; and for so doing, I pray that heaven’s choicest blessings may rest upon you. (p 174-175).
Search the Scriptures—search the revelations which we publish, and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ,19 to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to His glory, nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit. You will then know for yourselves and not for another. You will not then be dependent on man for the knowledge of God; nor will there be any room for speculation. No; for when men receive their instruction from Him that made them, they know how He will save them. Then again we say: Search the Scriptures, search the Prophets and learn what portion of them belongs to you and the people of the nineteenth century. You, no doubt, will agree with us, and say, that you have no right to claim the promises of the inhabitants before the flood; that you cannot found your hopes of salvation upon the obedience of the children of Israel when journeying in the wilderness, nor can you expect that the blessings which the Apostles pronounced upon the churches of Christ eighteen hundred years ago, were intended for you. Again, if others’ blessings are not your blessings, others’ curses are not your curses; you stand then in these last days, as all have stood before you, agents unto yourselves, to be judged according to your works. (p11-12)
Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. (p 255-256)
For me, these blessing promise true freedom, the freedom promised by what America stands for. As I mindfully use agency to free myself from all that binds me down or holds me back, my power to act increases. Through the enabling power of Jesus Christ’s grace, I become an agent to act and not to be acted upon. That freedom enables my mind to stretch as high as the heavens and contemplate eternity, gives me strength to hold on a little longer, to understand and live up to principles and privileges, and to be a co-worker in God’s vineyard full of love, understanding, and knowledge. All that belongs to Godhood is our inheritance—spiritual gifts, light, power, righteousness, eternal lives. That’s hard for me to comprehend, but it really is our opportunity and destiny. May we trust in the Lord’s promises and claim them!