Reaching Joseph, Reaching Christ
From the maple trees of the Sacred Grove to busy London streets, from the quiet Susquehanna Valley to bustling Taiwan, this journey to know Joseph Smith has brought us many places. But has it taken us to Christ? In this final episode of the Joseph podcast, we saved the best for last as guests share their stories of how, through heartbreak and rock bottom, they were able to find Christ through the prophet Joseph Smith.
“These were days never to be forgotten, to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven” (Oliver Cowdery to W.W. Phelps, September 7, 1834 [Letter 1], printed in Messenger and Advocate 1 (October 1834): 14; document 70 in Welch, Opening the Heavens, 157).
“I have it from God, and get over it if you can” ("History, 1838–1856, volume F-1 [1 May 1844–8 August 1844]," p. 102, The Joseph Smith Papers).
Heidi Swinton 0:00
Joseph's story began in a grove of trees. There he was, a 14-year-old boy on his knees, asking the Lord a question. And the answer surpassed his expectation. In fact, the answer surpassed every expectation ever. But what wasn't surprising was the direction the answer pointed him to.
"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!" (JSH 1:17).
And then again in Harmony, where Joseph translated the gold plates with Oliver as his scribe. "These were days never to be forgotten," Oliver wrote, "to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven." The voice was Joseph's, receiving the words of the Lord.
And then on to Kirtland. Remember how I wanted to go to Kirtland because of all that happened at the temple in 1836? While they're out on the frontier of America in a temple built beyond the capacity of the people yet somehow completed, and there the Savior appeared to Joseph.
Joseph described his vision this way: "His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shown 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" (D&C 110:3-4). And then in the slum of a prison in Missouri, called Liberty Jail–the name doesn't fit it at all–Joseph calls out, "where art thou?" (D&C 121:1). And the Lord responds, "fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever" (D&C 122:9).
That's the pattern. There is so much we will never know about the prophet, our Prophet of the Restoration, Joseph. But there is something we can know for certain: Joseph knew Jesus Christ.
Multiple Speakers 2:33
The prophet Joseph. Stand by my servant, Joseph. Brother Joseph. Joseph Smith. Joseph. Joseph Smith. Brother Joseph. Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith. The prophet Joseph Smith. Brother Joseph.
Heidi Swinton 2:48
Welcome to Joseph, a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS original, brought to you by LDS Living. And I'm Heidi Swinton, your host.
While we were knee-deep in this podcast, giving it some shape and doing interviews, I woke up one night with a very clear impression. We needed to make sure that our message was clear. Everything about Joseph Smith points to Jesus Christ. The gospel, the gathering, temples, the Book of Mormon, the Priesthood of God, eternal families, exaltation–all of that is about Jesus Christ in our lives.
Joseph wasn't perfect, but he was a willing instrument in the hands of God. And at the end, when the mob shot him at Carthage Jail, they thought the Church and the people would just go away and they'd be rid of them. But what the mob didn't understand was that these people were faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ. It wasn't Joseph's church, and they would carry on. Joseph had prepared them. Remember his words, "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?"
I was part of that cause, the day Moroni was placed on the top of the rebuilt Nauvoo temple in September of 2001. I was writing a documentary and a book about the Nauvoo temple, and I had the opportunity to be a part of that experience, to observe that angel flying through the air and being placed on the top of the temple.
Now, the angel had some help with several cranes, didn't have any wings to speak of, but there we were. Here's the setting: for several days it had been raining and raining and raining. Now, in the Midwest they don't have rain, they have torrents of rain, and the whole sky fills up with thunderclouds and lightning. And that's what had been happening for two days.
The water was thick all around on the construction site, so everything was muddy. We even went to one of the local stores to try and find boots so that we could walk through that mud and get to the temple without, you know, slogging our way. We were unsuccessful.
But the day they were placing Moroni I remember climbing up the stairs to the top of the tower, standing out there on the edge, wondering if we'd be struck by lightning. And all of a sudden, the clouds parted. And those horrible angry clouds dissipated and the sun came out. And Moroni came flying up from the ground, and he was placed on the top of the temple.
I couldn't help but think at that moment, "Shall we not go on in so great a cause?" That's the journey we've been on in this podcast, and isn't it really what our journey is all about? And now we're going to add to it because the journey isn't over. Today we're going to talk about our journey with Joseph Smith and Jesus Christ. We've heard from so many friends in this podcast series talk about Joseph and his testimony of Jesus Christ.
Matt Grow 6:20
If Joseph were to be able to communicate one thing, I think, about his life, I think it'd be his testimony of Jesus Christ.
Karl Anderson 6:29
I am just so grateful for Joseph Smith, not just because of who he was, the sacrifices he made, all of the organizational steps, setting up the church in Kirtland, but it is the teaching of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jenny Reeder 6:51
Joseph had some very sacred, significant experiences where he saw the Savior. But I also think he came to understand the Savior and to live as the Savior. It's understanding the compassion, and the love, and the forgiveness of the Savior and, and doing the same for other people.
Jalynne Geddes 7:16
Christ was our only Savior. Jesus is the only living person who walked the earth, um, who was perfect. And so I think if we have that, as our guiding star, we don't need anybody else to be perfect, and we don't need to build anybody else up as if they're perfect. Because they were just human, like us.
Steve Harper 7:37
What I love about Joseph Smith, is that he reveals Jesus Christ. He gets me back to Jesus Christ. So many people, himself included, that's just all they wanted. They wanted to find a way to Jesus Christ. And he found the way. And then he showed the way for the rest of us. And that's why I love him.
Heidi Swinton 8:06
I'm already getting nostalgic about letting go of my friends, and the podcast, and all of you as we think and feel Joseph Smith with us. Joseph said at one time, "God is my friend. In Him I shall find comfort." I think that's why we call Jesus Christ the Comforter. Every one of us at one time, or many times in our lives, has needed the loving arms of Jesus Christ, including his prophets.
In one of my favorite scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants, it's chapter 84, verse 88, Jesus promised the saints–and I can just hear a voice of tenderness saying this–"I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit [will] be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up." And in that spirit of that wonderful scripture, I want to share the story of my new friend, Mary Wood.
[Tape Recorder Click]
Mary Wood 9:13
I'm Mary Wood. I'm a mother of two, a professional organizer, professional musician, and I grew up in Louisiana.
Heidi Swinton 9:23
Now, I promise that Mary's hometown in Louisiana and her darling accent are the least interesting things about her. She has a story to tell, to teach us about finding the Savior through Joseph.
Let's just start out with a really basic question, Mary. How do you feel about Joseph Smith and tell us why?
Mary Wood 9:46
I feel that he is the Prophet of the Restoration, like he said he was. I, you know, kind of was taught these things as a child and learned line upon line about, um, his contribution to the world and about his First Vision. And I feel that those things have deeply affected my own life and my own testimony, and kind of shaped the trajectory of my life as I've chosen to embrace what he taught, and to let that shape my life.
Heidi Swinton 10:21
When you talk about how he helped shape your life, what in particular could you point to in your life that is a result of your belief in Joseph Smith or your love for Joseph Smith?
Mary Wood 10:34
Um, I would say first and foremost, because he is family, I feel the strongest connection to that family line.
Heidi Swinton 10:44
Now, wait a minute, wait a minute. How come he's family? Give us that connection! We need to know that.
Mary Wood 10:51
So, my mother is Marilyn, her mother is Lucy May, her mother is Lucy Mack Smith Carter, which should ring some bells there–but she's not THE Lucy Mack Smith, she's named after her great-grandmother. And then, so, Lucy Mack's... my great grandmother, her father was Joseph F. Smith, her mother was Alice Ann Kimball. And then obviously, Joseph F's parents were Hyrum and Mary Fielding. And I'm named after Mary Fielding, and that has kind of influenced my life also, to, um, share that name with her. And then I named my daughter Lucy after the Lucy's in our line. So...
Heidi Swinton 11:29
I love that!
Mary Wood 11:30
Heidi Swinton 11:31
Mary, you and I are cousins.
Mary Wood 11:33
Heidi Swinton 11:34
Yeah, this is true. Because I trace my ancestry back through to Joseph Smith Sr's brother, John.
Mary Wood 11:44
Heidi Swinton 11:45
Yes. And his son, George A. Smith, is my four-great-grandfather. So he married Bathsheba Smith, and then they had Bathsheba Smith, and then, you know, da-da-da-da-da. So we're cousins!
Mary Wood 11:59
Heidi Swinton 12:00
I love that!
Mary Wood 12:02
And we didn't even need the Family Search app to figure that out.
Heidi Swinton 12:05
No! In fact, if we were sitting in the room, we could see that connection with that little thing, where you put in people, you know? There you go, okay. Tell us–because you have that family connection–how is he more significant to you? Or does that make a difference?
Mary Wood 12:21
I think it does a difference. I think I kind of had two parallel experiences with Joseph Smith. First, growing up in the Church learning, you know, through Primary, through Seminary, through Institute, learning about who he was, you know, from a gospel perspective. But also hearing family stories and feeling a strong connection, in particular–I've felt a really strong connection to my great grandmother, Lucy Mack Smith Carter, and to Joseph F. Smith.
I feel a real palpable love from him as my great-great-grandfather. I always, when I go to the Salt Lake temple, I always take a minute to stop at his, the painting of him and just look in his eyes, and . . . I don't know, I feel a real connection to him. And so because I feel such a, a connection with them, like, their testimonies of Joseph Smith have influenced me and I feel closer to the story.
Heidi Swinton 13:20
In regards to the things that he taught, is there any doctrine that, for you, says, “This is it"? That really stands out that you've hung on to when times have been hard?
Mary Wood 13:31
Yes, absolutely. The thing that Joseph Smith taught that has been the most influential in my life is the idea of personal revelation, of priesthood blessings, of patriarchal blessings. The Relief Society has been probably the other thing, besides priesthood blessings, that has tremendously shaped my life and brought blessings to me in times of hardship. I mean, I have a story about that, I don't know if you want me to go down that road or not, but-
Heidi Swinton 14:01
Absolutely! Give us an example from your life.
Mary Wood 14:04
When my marriage fell apart, it did so in a drastic and very traumatic way. And I suddenly found myself without a home, and I had to go through legal measures to get, you know, to figure out things with custody and getting my kids, but I, I literally was turned out of my home with nothing.
And I know that Joseph Smith knows, you know, Joseph and Emma know what that feels like. And so I had to start all over. And I was bereft of my home, I was . . . through unfair means, I mean, basically, a protective order was issued against me, that was not justified. But until it was lifted, I was not able to return to my home. I was not able to go to my best friend's house just down the street. I was not able to go back to my ward, family, my ward building. I lost all of these things in one fell swoop.
And it was so difficult, but I was able to find a new home to live in, I was able to find a job. And I went to work. And I came home one day, my, my apartment was completely outfitted by the Relief Society. And they said, "You can't put a restraining order on a Relief Society! This is what we're meant to do. We're meant to serve and minister and love each other." And in every particular, my home was created by these women.
They filled my fridge with food, they filled my pantry with food. They got bedding and toys that were, you know, exactly what my children were interested in at the time. One of the sisters knew that I had just planted daffodil bulbs with my son in the front yard that I wouldn't be able to see bloom, and she went and got potted daffodils to put on my back porch. And that was the Relief Society, and I know that that's what Joseph Smith intended, was for women to have an opportunity to minister to each other and to lift each other, and to help each other through hard times.
Those things that Joseph Smith helped to bring about in the 1800s are absolutely relevant to me today, and will be relevant to my children in the future and generations to come. They're not just for his time. They're for my time, they've affected me personally. And they will continue to affect people as, you know, for generations to come.
Heidi Swinton 16:39
I'm just thinking about the experiences that you've been through. Um, as a single mom, what characteristics in Joseph have you seen in yourself, that have helped you to get through these really difficult times?
Mary Wood 16:58
That's not a question I was expecting, but I think that's a beautiful question. Um, I think... now that I've been through some trials of my own, I absolutely understand and love and appreciate him more than I did when I was a Primary child or a Seminary student. You know, I've walked through some of those paths that are painful, and lonely, and difficult.
And, I mean, I remember moments just feeling like I was clawing against a brass ceiling, wondering whether or not my prayers were going through. Because I needed help, I needed assistance, and I wasn't getting it. And I know that Joseph felt the same thing when he was in Liberty Jail. And the words that comforted him, comforted me.
The comfort that Joseph received in his most extreme trial in Liberty Jail, and feeling alone and isolated and abused was that Jesus Christ had suffered those things too. And that if he could descend below all of those things, and succor us through these things, then that is what to hold on to, is, is that . . . Knowing that the Savior understands those pains, and loves you through it, and is rooting for you, and will help you in whatever way He can to get to the other side.
And also, I think, humility, of knowing that even as terrible as things were for Joseph, and as terrible as I felt things were for me when my life fell apart, they weren't the depth that the Savior experienced.
Heidi Swinton 18:54
Sometimes that depth is illustrated by the circumstances. And the Savior doesn't usually, or the Lord doesn't usually, reach down and change the circumstances. What does He bring to you, that helped you through circumstances that were almost untenable?
Mary Wood 19:16
I don't know, just knowing that I could still hold on, that He would bring blessings. In the moment, the blessings didn't come immediately, but then they started to unfold. And I think another thing that He did for me was to let me have experiences with a few of these people that I've mentioned in this family line, who had each experienced something related to what I was experiencing and gave me a message of hope that they had gone through a similar thing and they made it through, and that I could hold on, and that they were succoring me and helping me through these.
And that gave me hope to keep moving. And now when I look back on those experiences, I hold them as some of the most sacred in my life. And I've always felt this connection. This shared, you know, love of Jesus Christ and of Heavenly Father, and this shared love of the gospel. And somehow they were like, channeling that through me, like, "Hold on, Mary. It's true. Hold on. We're rooting for you. We know that it's difficult when things get so painful, but we made it through, you can make it through, and your kids can make it through. And you just have to hold on."
Heidi Swinton 20:44
I love that concept of "hold on." In the scriptures, right after the Lord says to Joseph, you know, "All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good," which I think you're talking about (D&C 122:7). And then He says, "Hold on... The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?" (D&C 122:8-9). It does help us to grasp how we're connected to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mary Wood 21:11
Heidi Swinton 21:11
So, how has Joseph Smith helped you draw closer to your Savior?
Mary Wood 21:18
This might be an answer that you're not expecting. But I, um, as long as I can remember, I've had this really, really strong connection with Heavenly Father. It's this cord, like tying me to Him. I've just always known. I don't know if it's a gift, I don't know if He knew that I would need that, you know, to be able to make it through things or whatever, but for whatever reason, I've always known who I am to Heavenly Father.
And I haven't had that same organic and that same ease of relationship with my Savior, with Jesus Christ. I've had to work harder to know Him. And I feel like Joseph Smith has given me so much information about the Savior, so many revelations that pertain to Him. You know, being able to partake of the sacrament and reflect on his life, or, I mean, I feel like everything that Joseph Smith taught channels us back to the Savior.
And because it was so important to him, to teach us all of these things to point us back to Christ, that has helped me realize how important it is to make that effort to get to know my Savior. And I feel like I've come a long way. And I know him better now because of that. And I will always appreciate Joseph Smith for that invitation.
[Tape Recorder Click]
Heidi Swinton 22:51
You know, every time I hear Mary's story, and I've probably listened to it 20 times now, I can't help but crying. I just picture that experience, and I feel it because I have seen that kind of difficulty in so many people's lives. It's a real example of the way our faith in the restored gospel leads us closer to Jesus Christ.
The Lord said to Joseph in his dark moments in Liberty Jail, "hold on." You know, usually we focus on, "all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good," and that's true. But the essence of His message was "hold on."
Think of the scripture in the Book of Mormon. "Press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men." (2 Ne 31:20). Joseph did that. Mary did that. And I bet many of you who are with us today have had the experience of pressing forward too.
I truly believe that as we focus on the fruits of Joseph's efforts of what he did–even in the midst of our most difficult trials and our deepest doubts–we will find answers, we will find joy, but most of all we'll find peace in Jesus Christ. Now, I want to take you back to episode one, where I sat down with KaRyn, our producer, and now my very good friend. Together, we've heard so many remarkable stories from people all around the world. So I wanted to follow up with her because we didn't get to hear the conclusion of her story.
[Tape Recorder Click]
Heidi Swinton 24:34
So KaRyn, here we are coming back to you, full circle.
KaRyn Lay 24:38
[laughing] Can you believe that we are almost done with this? This is so crazy.
Heidi Swinton 24:43
I know. And I, yeah, it's just become so much a part of me, I think about it all the time. I read about Joseph all the time. I talk about him all the time. What I want to know is, you've listened to all of this and you've thought about it and you've talked about it, and we've gone back and forth about it. Has anything changed for you? Where are you now?
KaRyn Lay 25:04
Well, I'm a little bit emotional. Um, you know, it doesn't take much for me to be emotional, but [laughing], but I'm feeling emotional today. I relistened to Jalynne and Harry's segment, and I was just struck by their faith and their willingness to see him as a warrior in training. That was a new idea to me, and I love that it came from, from a different culture, right?
That I could see Joseph through the eyes of the Cree, of the Cree Nation, or of people who are of the Cree Nation, is such a beautiful idea. Um, and that that could give me a new perspective was really exciting.
I think that I have, I have come to peace with Joseph. There's still a lot I don't understand about how he moved in the world and about polygamy, frankly. But I think that the things that I have learned in my life–you know, we talked at the beginning about Heavenly Father saying, “I'm going to just hold on. I'm going to explain this to you later.”
I don't feel like I got an explanation. I may never understand how Joseph Smith moved in this world, and how polygamy fits into the larger picture of what God wants for me personally. But I almost, I almost feel like the space that was carved in my heart over the years, and even in doing this project, was a sense that I can sit a little bit longer in that unknown because I have a deep and abiding relationship with my Savior.
Heidi Swinton 25:09
I think you're right on, I think it's really all about Jesus Christ. And it's about His love, and it's about His faith in us and our faith and trust in Him. But He's not going to give up on us. Um, So, I guess where I see Joseph is just in leading us to that understanding by everything that came through him as part of the Restoration. How does it feel for KaRyn to sit here today...
KaRyn Lay 27:07
Heidi Swinton 27:07
...and say, "here's what I think about Joseph"?
KaRyn Lay 27:11
Like, I, I think after that experience in the bathroom, I didn't need to sit around and wonder if Joseph was a prophet or not. Does that make sense? I, I didn't need that, I still don't need that. Because God told me that He would explain it to me at some point, and so then I just, from that point on, I feel like I sort of leaped into this space where I just believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.
And um, what's painful for me is that somehow I got that gift, I got that gift of... that I got that gift of peace. But there are so many of my friends, so many of the people I love, who don't have that. I don't feel sorry for them. I think that they're on their own journey and in their own space, but it's led them far from a gospel that has blessed my life in ways that I can't enumerate. So there's pain there for me in that.
And sometimes I want to understand Joseph better, so that I can explain him to them, you know? Like, I don't need to understand everything about him, I can trust that his complexity and his humanity are part of his beauty. I can, I can embrace with empathy the things about him that other people might struggle to believe at this point, because that was the gift of "don't worry, I'll take care of it." That was the gift from God.
But my heart is just, uh, filled with a longing to help other people understand that, so that they can have joy in the parts of the restored gospel that I have experienced. And that is, that's the part that's still, that's still a little awkward and a little, um, tricky.
Heidi Swinton 29:12
Well, and it's painful.
KaRyn Lay 29:13
Heidi Swinton 29:14
Because all of us have people that we love that we're close to, that we want them to feel some resolution the way we have come to resolution.
KaRyn Lay 29:26
Heidi Swinton 29:27
But you know, I think it has to come from the Spirit and I think it has to come from the Lord.
KaRyn Lay 29:33
I actually think that one of the beautiful things about Joseph is that he would have lots of space to hold for the people who don't believe in him, who don't believe that he was a prophet. And so our longing for other people to accept him as a prophet, like I almost wish Joseph could hang out with us, because I think he'd be like, "Dude, I get it. Like, I know what God sent me to do, but I don't know how to tell you how to believe in me." Like it's that whole "get over it" thing, Heidi, that you love so much, right?
Heidi Swinton 30:02
KaRyn Lay 30:02
Like, I imagine that he would be a real straight-talker about his own, like, "I don't know how to make you believe in me." And, and that is the point! That is the point. Joseph's not going to make you believe in him. I'm not going to make you believe in him.
Heidi Swinton 30:17
KaRyn Lay 30:18
The only way that you are going to–that any of us are going to gain a testimony of Joseph Smith, and of his divine role in the Restoration of this gospel, is through the Spirit and through our Father in Heaven. And if it hasn't come now, that doesn't mean it won't come.
And we have to be patient on the other side of that. We have to be patient with Joseph, we have to be patient with our loved ones, we have to be patient with ourselves. We have to hold space for the timing. We have to hold space for the "someday." And in the meantime, we look at the fruits that are affecting and bringing joy and peace into our lives. And when I do that, it's easy to feel connected to him, even if all of my questions aren't all the way answered.
Heidi Swinton 31:05
And I think, I think you're right on. I think so often, just to be able to share, not the confidence, but the assurance, that you know at some point, there's a breakthrough. In one way or another. It might not be here, it might be much later in the eternal plan.
KaRyn Lay 31:29
And can I say one more thing? I was just thinking about how, um... every single one of us knows a person in our own life that wasn't perfect, right? That had foibles. And, and maybe we were deeply affected by the pain they caused us or brought into our lives. And I often like to think about, um, I had a therapist once who says, "imagine them in their white light form." Imagine them in the life after this, when they fully understand everything they didn't understand in this life. And what would they say to you? What would they come down and say to you right now? In their, in their all knowing, all, all open, all heart space form, what would they come and say to you?
And I kind of long for that day with me and Joseph Smith. Where he'll understand everything, and I'll understand everything, we'll have all the information, we'll see things as they really are. And, and I, I don't know if that makes any sense, but there's a part of me that, that holds on to that vision of Joseph knowing and understanding everything, and being able to explain it to me. But I almost don't need it, because I'm also all-knowing and I'll understand, it just gets weird [laughing].
But that's, but that's the whole point, right? Is that, that when we look through the eyes of empathy at another person's story, there's so much we can't possibly understand or know about the other person. And I feel like I'm just waiting for that day when . . . when I can fully know Joseph.
And I, I truly believe with all of my heart that if I get to have that moment with Joseph, then so will everyone else. And he's, he's not going to be upset with us for wondering. He's not going to be upset with us for wondering if he was a prophet, or for struggling with his complexity. I think he'll just embrace us, and then walk us over to the Savior, to be honest. I think it'll just be as simple as that.
And maybe there will be some wooping and some laughter or something. But I, but I truly believe that if we get to have that moment, then the people we love will also have that, whether they believed in Joseph here in this life, or whether it comes in the next. That will be part of the package deal for that moment when we understand and see everything as it really is. So, that's, that's kind of exciting for me.
Heidi Swinton 34:02
You know, and along that line, I can just picture Joseph with a sweeping motion turning to all of us, and saying, "These are my people."
KaRyn Lay 34:10
[laughs] Oh, how cool! Yeah, “This was my dispensation!”
Heidi Swinton 34:15
Yeah, “This is my dispensation, these are my people! And they're prepared to be here to see their Savior.”
KaRyn Lay 34:22
Oh, so cool. That's a cool thought, Heidi, I love that!
Heidi Swinton 34:25
Yeah, I can, I can see him just saying, stepping back and saying, "They're here."
KaRyn Lay 34:33
Here they are.
Heidi Swinton 34:33
Because they believe in you, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. And then you know, I think the Hallelujah chorus written by Handel's going to come in--
KaRyn Lay 34:42
Heidi Swinton 34:42
–and they're all gonna sing, "Wonderful! Counselor! Almighty God, the Everlasting Father! The Prince of Peace!" You know? I think–
KaRyn Lay 34:46
Heidi Swinton 34:49
I think there's going to be this groundswell. And I think he's going to stand back and say, "Yeah, this is my dispensation. They're here for you, Jesus."
KaRyn Lay 35:01
I love that picture.
[Tape Recorder Click]
Heidi Swinton 35:06
I love talking with KaRyn. And I love how she brought up that it can be hard to watch the people you love struggle with Joseph. I know many of us can relate to that. We just have to give it time. So, how about for all of you out there in listening land? For you, have you found there's a new space carved in your heart for Joseph? What caught your attention, or gave you a new perspective, or inspired you? Or most of all, what has surprised you?
For me, it was the phrase that Joseph cracked open the heavens. We heard it in episode one, but it has stayed with me the whole time. What a way to describe revelation. And then I love the description, that the Lord counseled us to have patience and faith with Joseph Smith.
Then there was hearing the story about that revelatory moment, in a car park in England, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Didn't happen in the sacred Grove, happened in a car park. You don't need a sacred setting to feel the Spirit of the Lord. I love the thought that it doesn't matter what country Joseph came from. It only mattered that he was called of God. And then there's that quote that Karl shared with us. For those who are concerned about doctrine, as Joseph would receive one revelation after another, Joseph Smith said, "I got it from God. Get over it, if you can." Isn't that a great response?
Over and over again, I have heard how my friends–and I think they're yours by now too–have trusted the Lord. Because Joseph trusted the Lord, we're here right now. And we're talking about glory, and principalities, and immortality, and power, and peace. We've heard lots about peace. And you know, that's reaffirming to me. Because I find myself always seeking peace and turning to the Lord for it. After all, Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.
Now you know a little more about why I love Joseph Smith. And it's all because he loved the Lord, Jesus Christ. That comes through so clearly in Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants, where Joseph notes, "For while we were doing the work of translation, which the Lord had appointed unto us," the heavens opened a glorious vision...
Mercedes Ng 37:46
By the power of the Spirit our eyes were opened and our understandings were enlightened, so as to see and understand the things of God--
Mary Wood 37:58
Even those things which were from the beginning before the world was, which were ordained of the Father, through his Only Begotten Son,
Dallyn Vail Bayles 38:05
who was in the bosom of the Father, even from the beginning; Of whom we bear record; and the record which we bear
Mark Lusvardi 38:14
is the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the Son, whom we saw [and] with whom we conversed in the heavenly vision...
Karl Anderson 38:25
And we beheld the glory of the Son, on the right hand of the Father, and received of his fullness;
Kelsey Johanson 38:34
And saw the holy angels, and them who are sanctified before his throne, worshiping God, and the Lamb, who worship him forever and ever.
Jalynne Geddes 38:43
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!
Ben Gaughran 38:53
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--
KaRyn Lay 39:04
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.
Heidi Swinton 39:32
Now I'm going to speak to you heart to heart. You're my friends. We've been together for hours, six or seven hours. And we've traveled, we've gone from Pennsylvania to Hong Kong, to Missouri, to the top of the Nauvoo temple, all looking for a greater understanding of this prophet of God. And now it's time to go back to where we started. It's that fence in Fayette, New York.
I received a revelation next to that fence. A revelation that said to me, "Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God. And someday, you will need to know that." So many times in my life, I've thought, "Oh, this is someday." In a writing project about Joseph, this is "someday." An opportunity to speak about Joseph, this is "someday." But I have to say that "someday" is right now. "Someday" is with all of you, and all of our friends that we've gathered around in this circle to talk about Joseph Smith, and his love for Jesus Christ. You're part of that circle.
My hope as we conclude this time–though I wish we could keep going–is that you have feelings for Joseph Smith that you didn't have before. That you're reaching out to him in a way that you haven't before, in order to reach out to the Savior, to the Lord Jesus Christ. I want you to hold on to the things that you've heard. There's that "hold on." And I want you to know that Jesus Christ lives. That time and again, Joseph saw him, and he bore witness of him. And he wanted nothing more than for us to experience that spiritual strength that comes from knowing Jesus Christ is there.
The Lord says, in the Doctrine and Covenants in Section 68, "Be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come" (D&C 68:6). I learned that, standing by a fence. I learned that when the Lord counseled, "Stand by my servant, Joseph." And I've learned that as I've stood and felt the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at my side. All of that, because of the revelations and the witness of Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration.
Well, we did it. We're at the end of this remarkable experience for me, and I hope a remarkable experience for you. A special thank you to Mary Wood and KaRyn Lay, as well as to all of our friends that have joined with us throughout this whole series about Joseph.
You can learn more about our guests at ldsliving.com/joseph. Joseph is a Bookshelf PLUS original. Written and hosted by me, Heidi Swinton, produced by KaRyn Lay, Erika Free, and Katie Lambert, and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Mix at Six Studios did our sound design and mixing for this episode, and all our episodes. And let me just say goodbye, with this reminder: Stand by Joseph.