Did any prayer heal an amputee?
The Prophet Joseph Smith - he taught by example
My brothers and sisters, this year we are celebrating the 200th birthday of our beloved Prophet Joseph Smith, and so I would like to speak about him.
Joseph Smith Jr. was born on December 23, 1805 in Sharon, Vermont, to Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. When the proud parents looked at this tiny baby on the day he was born, they had no idea what an impact their son would have on the world. A chosen spirit had slipped into his earthly abode; he has influenced our lives and taught us important lessons by example. Today I would like to go over some of these lessons with you.
When Joseph was about six or seven years old, he and his siblings developed typhus. The others recovered quickly, but Joseph left a painful inflammation in his leg. Doctors used the best medicine they had - but the inflammation persisted. They said that in order to save Joseph's life, the leg must be amputated. Fortunately, shortly after this diagnosis, the doctors returned to the Smith family and reported a new treatment that could save Joseph's leg. They wanted to operate immediately and had ropes with them to tie little Joseph to the bed so that he would lie still because they had no anesthetic. But little Joseph told them: "You don't need to tie me up."
Doctors suggested that he drink a little brandy or wine so that he would not feel the pain too much. "No," replied little Joseph. “If my father is on the bed holding me, then I'll do whatever has to be done.” Joseph Smith Sr. held his young son while the doctors removed the damaged piece of bone. Little Joseph limped for a while after that, but he was healed.1 From such a young age and countless other times in his life, Joseph Smith taught us courage - by example.
Before Joseph was fifteen, his family moved to Manchester, New York State. He later described the great religious revival that seemed ubiquitous at the time and cast a spell over almost everyone. Joseph also longed to know which church to join. In his life story he writes:
“I often [said] to myself:… Which of all these parties is right, or are they all wrong? If any of them are right, which one is it and how should I know them? So while I was struggling with these extreme difficulties caused by ... [these] religious parties, one day I read verse 5 in chapter 1 of James: But if one of you lacks wisdom, he ask it from God, who likes to give to everyone and makes no reproaches; then it will be given to him.“2
Joseph reports that one thing was clear to him: either he tested the Lord and asked him, or he remained in ignorance forever. One morning he went into a grove that we now call sacred. There he knelt and prayed. He firmly believed that God would give him the enlightenment he was so earnestly seeking. Two figures appeared to him - the father and the son - and his question was answered that he should not join any church, because none of them was the right one. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught us the principle Believe - by example. His simple, faithful prayer that spring morning in 1820 was the beginning of this wonderful work that is continued today around the world.
A few days after his prayer in the sacred grove, Joseph Smith shared his vision with a minister he knew. To his surprise, his report was received "contemptuously" and caused "a lot of the persecution ... and it kept increasing". But Joseph did not let that shake him. He later wrote: “I had actually seen a light, and in the middle of that light I had seen two people and they had actually spoken to me; and even if I was hated and persecuted because I said I had seen a vision, it was true ... Because I had seen a vision, I knew that; and I knew that God knew; and I couldn't deny it. "3 Despite the physical and emotional suffering that his adversaries inflicted upon him later in his life, the Prophet Joseph Smith stood firm. He teaches us sincerity - by example.
After this glorious first vision, the Prophet Joseph Smith received no further rally for three years. Yet he was not surprised, did not question what he had experienced, or doubted the Lord. He waited patiently. He teaches us heavenly virtue patience - by example.
After the angel Moroni appeared to young Joseph Smith and received the plates, Joseph began translating it - a difficult task. One can only guess how much dedication, diligence, and effort he must have invested in translating this 500-page report covering a period of 2,600 years in less than 90 days. I like how Oliver Cowdery described the time he helped Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon: “Those were unforgettable days - sitting and listening to a voice speaking under the inspiration of heaven that awakened in us deepest gratitude to my heart! "4 The Prophet Joseph Smith teaches us Diligence - by example.
We know that the prophet sent missionaries to preach the restored gospel. He himself was on a mission with Sidney Rigdon in upstate New York and in Canada. Not only did he inspire others to volunteer for a mission, but he also teaches us the importance of mission Missionary work is - by example.
I believe one of the most touching - but also one of the saddest - lessons Joseph Smith taught came from shortly before his death. He had seen the Saints leave Nauvoo and move to the Rocky Mountains in a vision. It was very important to him to lead his people away from their tormentors to the promised land that the Lord had shown him. He certainly wanted to be with his people. But there was an arrest warrant against him based on false allegations. Despite numerous appeals to Governor Ford, the charges were not dropped. Leaving his home, wife, children, and people behind, Joseph Smith turned himself in to the authorities, knowing that he would likely never return.
He said the following words when he set out for Carthage: “I go to slaughter like a lamb, but I am as calm as a summer morning; my conscience is free from guilt towards God and towards all people. "5
He was held in Carthage prison with his brother Hyrum and others. On June 27, 1844, Joseph, Hyrum, John Taylor, and Willard Richards were together in the same room when the angry mob stormed the prison, ran up the stairs, and shot through the door behind which the prisoners were. Hyrum was killed and John Taylor wounded. Joseph Smith's last great act here on earth was utterly selfless. He walked across the room, presumably “thinking that he could save the lives of his brothers in the room by getting away ... and jumped to the window when two bullets hit him from the door, one in his right Breast penetrated ”.6 He gave his life, Willard Richards and John Taylor were spared. "There is no greater love than when someone gives his life for his friends."7 The Prophet Joseph Smith teaches us love - by example.
Looking back, over 160 years later, we can say that while tragic events of June 27, 1844, it is comforting to remember that Joseph Smith's martyrdom was not the last chapter in this story. While those who sought his life believed the Church would collapse without him, his powerful testimony of the truth, the teachings he translated, and the Savior's message as he preached live in the today Hearts of over twelve million members around the world who speak of him as the prophet of God.
The testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith continues to change the lives of many people today. A few years ago I was President of the Canadian Mission. In Ontario, two of our missionaries went door-to-door on a cold, snowy afternoon. They haven't had the slightest success. One was already experienced, the other new.
The two rang the doorbell of Mr. Elmer Pollard, and out of sympathy for the almost frozen missionaries he let them in. They delivered their message and then asked him if he would pray with them. He agreed on the condition that he could say the prayer.
His prayer stunned the missionaries. He said, "Heavenly Father, bless these two unfortunate, misguided missionaries that they may return home and not waste their time telling the people of Canada something so out of the air that they understand so little about."
When they got off their knees, Mr. Pollard asked them never to come back to his house. As they left, he said mockingly, "You can't tell me anyway that you really believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God!" And with that he slammed the door.
The missionaries had walked only a little when the junior staff member hesitantly said, "Elder, we didn't answer Mr. Pollard."
The senior employee replied: “He sent us away. Lets move on."
But the younger missionary persisted, and so they returned once more to Mr. Pollard's door. Mr. Pollard opened the door and said angrily: "I must have told you not to come back!"
The young missionary gathered all his courage and said, “Mr. Pollard, when we left here you said we did not believe ourselves that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I want to testify to you, Mr. Pollard, that I do Whitethat Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, that he translated the sacred record known as the Book of Mormon by inspiration, that he really saw God the Father and Jesus the Son. ”Then the missionaries left .
I was there myself when this Mr. Pollard described in a testimony meeting what he had experienced on that memorable day. He said, “I couldn't sleep that evening. I tossed and turned. Over and over again I heard these words in my mind: 'Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know ... I know ... I know. ‘I could hardly wait for the next morning. I called the missionaries; the phone number was on the little card with the Articles of Faith they'd left me. They came again, and this time my wife, children, and I listened to them as sincere seekers of truth. As a result, we all accepted the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will be eternally grateful for this testimony of the truth brought to us by these two courageous, humble missionaries. "
In section 135 of the Doctrine and Covenants, we read what John Taylor wrote about the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Joseph Smith, the Lord's prophet and seer, did more to save the people of this world than anyone else, who ever lived on it - except Jesus alone. "8
I really like what President Brigham Young said: “I want to keep shouting Hallelujah as I remember my presence in Joseph Smith, the prophet, whom the Lord raised and ordained, and whom he gave the keys and authority. to establish the kingdom of God on earth, knew at all. "9
To this pertinent tribute to our beloved Joseph Smith, I add my own testimony: I know that he was a prophet of God and was chosen to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter days. I hope we learn from his life as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth. May we apply in our lives the principles of God, which he brought us so wonderfully close - through his example - so that we too can live the gospel of Jesus Christ even more. May our lives show that we know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is His Son, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that today we are led by another prophet of God - President Gordon B. Hinckley.
At this conference, it is now 42 years since I was called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. At my first meeting with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the temple, we sang a song that remains one of my favorite songs, written in honor of Joseph Smith. Finally, I would like to read a stanza from it:
Praise the man who once spoke to Jehovah,
who was a prophet appointed by Christ,
who, filled with the Spirit, prophesied
near judgment to every people and country.10
I testify that this is the pure truth. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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