Filed under: Doctrine & Covenants, History, Joseph Smith: Mormon Prophet, Making Decisions, The Prophet
Ezra Booth, a former minister, became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members are often called Mormons, in 1831, when the church was still new. He had seen Joseph Smith heal the arm of a church member, and this was his reason for joining. However, Mormons know miracles don’t really convert people. The miracle must be followed up with appropriate steps to gain a true testimony, including study and prayer. However, Booth did not do this and so he had only the single miracle to bolster his thin faith.
In the early days of the church, adult men, even those married, could be sent out on missions and often did so when they were quite new to the church. This is not the case today, where missionaries must be well-versed in their religion and have strong testimonies. Ezra Booth left on his mission only a few months after joining. This mission demonstrated his lack of true testimony as he faced his first necessity to sacrifice for his faith. He was angry over having to walk to his destination instead of being given transportation, even though the young church had no money for such things and neither did he. He began to feel upset that he didn’t see a continual stream of miracles, not understanding that miracles are miracles precisely because they are rare. Missionary work wasn’t the glamorous task he expected it to be.
Filed under: Discussion of General Relief Society Meetings, History, Joseph Smith: Mormon Prophet, Mormon Women's History, Women, Women's Issues
During the General Relief Society Meeting held for Mormon women recently, it was announced that next year, the Relief Society would be making available a history of Mormon women. The General Relief Society President (over all the adult Mormon women worldwide), Julie Beck, explained:
“We study our history because it unites faithful women. The history of Relief Society is a Spirit-filled story of strong, faithful, purposeful women. As a part of the Lord’s restored Church, Relief Society can now be found in nearly 170 nations. Everywhere in the world adult women in the Lord’s Church can be given serious and important responsibilities.” (Daughters in My Kingdom”: The History and Work of Relief Society, Julie B. Beck, Relief Society General President)
She suggested that studying the history of the Relief Society will help us to better understand what God wants us to do and to be. When the Relief Society was first organized in the early days of the Church, there were many benevolent societies. Joseph Smith agreed that serving others was an appropriate sphere for women but he felt they could become more than just that, more than just a social club. They could have an important role to play in the growth of the Lord’s Kingdom, and so he made them more than just a club or society. He organized them to work under the direction of the priesthood, but also in the pattern of the priesthood. He, like other leaders since then, allowed the women to run their own organization and to choose which projects they felt were best suited to their needs. Of course, from time to time they are asked to take on certain projects, but Gordon B. Hinkley joked that the way the Mormons handle their women is to get out of their way and look at all the good they can do. Read more
This reminds me of an incident in the life of Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormons.
This year members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known as the Mormons) are studying the life and teachings of the Church’s founding prophet Joseph Smith. One lesson is on the Wentworth Letter, an important document for Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith explained its origin:
I am fascinated by Joseph Smith, the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormons. Of course for me, he was the paramount spiritual leader, second only to Jesus Christ. And he accomplished much, all before forty years of age. Yet, throughout his life, Joseph Smith was constantly persecuted. This, I think, serves as a gauge of his greatness.
I love reading the diaries and journals of Joseph Smith, the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormons. I especially love the early ones which are written in Joseph Smith’s own hand. You get exposed to Joseph Smith’s mind, unfiltered. There are no scribes, no copyists, no amanuenses—just Joseph Smith and his quill.
This past Saturday, Thomas S. Monson was installed as sixteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormons. This process involved two points of doctrine: the principle of common consent and the practice of solemn assemblies. Both of these began with the founding prophet Joseph Smith.
The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard frequently lamented that he wrote “without authority” (The Essential Kierkegaard, 454). He meant several things by this. One shade had to do with his philosophic writings: he was merely a reader of books, and not any authority figure. But the complaint also implied that he was a layman (ibid, 344). That is, God had not called him to a divinely-inspired position, such as Paul or Isaiah. He was not clergy; he was merely a thinker, and that is as far as it went.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormon Church, claim that The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ was translated from gold plates. To substantiate this claim, they usually cite Joseph Smith’s own testimony of the gold plates, and the testimony of the Three and the Eight Witnesses.
In studying the history of Joseph Smith and the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, referred to as the Mormons, we emphasize Joseph Smith’s own testimony of the Book of Mormon, that book of additional scripture that is another testament of Jesus Christ. We also talk about the testimony of the Three Witnesses, three men who were allowed to see an angel and the physical gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated.