In reflecting how many would come and go in the kingdom of God, Joseph would often say, “Brethren I have not apostatized yet, and don’t feel like doing so.” He called on the Lord, night and day, so that he could remain steadfast in his calling as the prophet of the restoration and accomplish the purposes for which he’d been born.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as the Mormons, believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet. That is, they see him filling the same role as Moses or Isaiah. He was called of God to teach and lead people, and to be a witness of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice.
Recently TCM (Turner Classic Movies) rebroadcast Ben-Hur. It was part of a retrospective on the career of Charlton Heston, who died April 5, 2008. As I watched this Oscar-winning epic, I was reminded that the film, in addition to being “A Tale of The Christ,” is about the relationship between the Roman Messala and the Jew Ben-Hur. Both are fictitious characters.
In addition to being a prophet, Joseph Smith, the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known as the Mormons), was also a small businessman. He oversaw the general store in Nauvoo, Illinois. This was more of a side occupation than a career choice, since Joseph Smith was told in a revelation, “And in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling” (D&C 24:9).