Thursday, November 27, 2014

Why I Believe: Evidence Twenty-one: Joseph Smith’s Daily Spirituality

101 Reasons Why I Believe Joseph Smith Was A Prophet

Evidence Twenty-one: 
Joseph Smith’s Daily Spirituality© 

During this morning’s reading in Joseph Smith’s history of the Church, I once again heard and felt the promptings of the Spirit bear witness of Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling. I am reading in late December 1835, and on just a couple of pages two simple items stood out.

First, his devotion to his calling.  On Monday 21 December his history reads: “Spent this day at home, endeavoring to treasure up knowledge for the benefit of my calling.” The next day he wrote: “Continued my studies. O may God give me learning, even language; and endue me with qualifications to magnify His name while I live.”  What was he studying? Subsequent entries tell us that he was trying to learn Greek and Hebrew. On the 23rd he recorded, “In the forenoon, at home studying the Greek language. The day after Christmas he said, “Commenced again studying the Hebrew language, in company with Brothers Parrish and Williams.”

The simplicity and directness of these unadorned statements carries their own power.  Here we find a prophet of God dedicated to treasuring up knowledge “for the benefit” of his calling, accompanying his labors with a prayer that God would endow him “with qualifications to magnify” the name of God.  Whatever else one may say about Joseph Smith, one thing is not said often enough–he recognized the importance of knowledge and labored regularly through his brief life to acquire such information as would assist him in fulfilling his calling.  We never hear anti-Mormons talk about this positive quality in his personality.  Nor do they acknowledge the second one that permeates this period of his history.

How often do you write prayers in your journal or history?  I venture to guess that for most of us it is a rarity.  Just notice these half-dozen examples in late December 1835 from Joseph’s history. On Sunday the 20th he was visited by brothers Palmer and Taylor. He showed them the Egyptian records he possessed and at day’s end he wrote, “O! may God have mercy upon these men, and keep them in the way of everlasting life, in the name of Jesus. Amen.” Monday he spent studying as noted above and thanked the Lord in his history “for His blessings to my soul, His great mercy over my family in sparing our lives. O continue,” he prayed, “Thy care over me and mine, for Christ’ sake.” Tuesday, as we have already read, he prayed “O may God give me learning, even language; and endue me with qualifications to magnify His name while I live.” Later that day he noted that his scribe was “unwell” and this prayer followed: “O may God heal him. And for his kindness to me, O my soul, be thou grateful to him, and bless him. And he shall be blessed of God forever, for I believe him to be a faithful friend to me, therefore my soul delighteth in him. Amen.”  Again on Monday the 28th he attended a council meeting of the Seventy, after which he recorded this plea: “ heart was made glad while listening to the relation of those that had been laboring in the vineyard of the Lord, with such marvelous success. And I pray God to bless them with an increase of faith and power, and keep them all, with the endurance of faith in the name of Jesus Christ to the end.”(1)

As fond as Joseph’s enemies are of finding every wart, every supposed iniquity, every slight, every manifestation of pride or temper, these simple but powerful daily expressions of dedication and spirituality are never discussed by them. One wonder’s why, with the frequency with which they are sprinkled through his writings, they are so conveniently overlooked. To me they bear witness, not only of the nature of his private religiousness, but of his calling as well.

Thank God for Joseph Smith.

Lets think together again, soon.


1. All of these entries may be found in HC 2:344-46.

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