101 Reasons Why I Believe Joseph Smith Was A Prophet
Evidence Five: Joseph Smith Excelled At Answering Spiritual Questions©
“For one such as me, as for my secular siblings, the doubt is my reality, the need to accept the answerless questions of ultimate importance.”*
The cattle never look before nor after,
Nor have they moments of immortal laughter.
Man is the Thing that knows he has a tomb,
Explores the secret out beyond the hearse,
And probes the mystery before the womb:
Man is the searcher of the universe.**
First, is the simple but profound Third Article of Faith: "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel." I have spent the last six years studying the question: "Why ordinances?" I am not exaggerating when I say that in that simple Article of Faith lay the seeds of a doctoral dissertation or two.
Second, the same morning that I read Markham’s poem I also read Alma 42 in the Book of Mormon which Joseph translated when he was 24 years old. I recorded these reactions in my journal:
“I had an experience that reaffirmed my testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. During the reading I became aware that the concepts in the chapter were deep and profound. I found myself asking how Joseph Smith at age 23-25 could have known some of the detail he put in that chapter, how he could have written so deeply and profoundly [at his age].”
- The Fall of Adam.
- An explanation of temporal and spiritual death.
- How the plan of mercy can satisfy justice through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
- The role of repentance in the plan.
- The relationship of law to sin, justice, mercy, punishment and blessing.
- The resurrection brings man back into the presence of God for judgment.
- Agency is given to man; we are not compelled to come back to God.
“The Spirit of the Lord again rested upon me and testified that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is true. Alma 42 is as masterfully woven together as Edwin Markham’s poem, but infinitely more profound. Markham was not unique in asking the deep questions he did. They have been asked by many before him, and many since. He was original only in the language in which he formulated his questions. Alma 42, insofar as I know, is totally original.”