One of my favorite books about Joseph Smith is by Ivan J. Barrett, an LDS Church (casually called Mormon Church) historian. It was in this book that I learned

Joseph Smith MormonThere are so many stories from Joseph’s life, but this one has quickly become one of my favorite.

Joseph was 15, perhaps a year after the life-altering First Vision, and Porter was 8. They were walking along the road when they heard the agonized cries of a woman. Joseph and Porter broke into a run and tore around the back of a cabin where the cries had come from. There they found a man viciously and mercilessly beating his wife with a leather strap (picture a leather belt.) The woman turned to the boys and begged for help as pain shot like fire through her body.

Before the brutal husband knew what had happened, Joseph rushed the man, bigger than he, and snatched the strap from his fist. With his other fist he laid a hard blow on the jaw of the abuser which sent the man sprawling.

Rubbing his jaw and shaking his head he looked to see who had hit him. Seeing a 15-year-old boy standing there with the leather strap in his hand, he roared and launched himself at Joseph. The fight was on and there were times when Joseph thought he would lose. But every time he felt himself weakening he would remember the cowering, sobbing woman on the ground and would renew his attack. (Joseph had a mother and sisters he adored and certainly, he must have considered how he’d feel if they were in this position.) He fought until the man said he’d had enough.

Of this time in his life, Joseph later recalled:

Twenty-three years after this, in his remarks to the workmen on the Nauvoo Temple, Joseph alluded to this boyhood experience. “The finishing of the Nauvoo House is like a man finishing a fight; if he gives up he is killed; if he holds out a little longer, he may live. I’ll tell you a story: A man who whips his wife is a coward. When I was a boy, [I] once fought with a man who had whipped his wife. It was a hard contest; but I still remembered that he had whipped his wife; and this encouraged me, and I whipped him till he said he had enough. (History of The Church, 7 Vols. Salt Lake city: Deseret Book Co., 1978, 5:285.)

What do we learn from this story of Joseph?

? He was brave. He wasn’t afraid to take on a task, as daunting as it might be, if the cause was just. No one can say that Joseph ever denied seeing God the Father and God the Son. No one can say that he ever deterred from the course set for him by Jesus Christ. No one can say that he ever recanted one word of his life, the gospel of Jesus Christ and where we go from here. Oh yes, he was brave.

? He had stamina. Only this would have enabled him to withstand multiple tar and featherings, attacks, and more that were meted out to him in the 24 years since the First Vision and before his martyrdom at Carthage Jail in Carthage, Illinois on June 27, 1844.

? He had perseverance. He never gave up. This is what enabled him to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fulness and to fight to keep it on the earth until the day he was so viciously removed from it.

? He had honor. He saw a woman in need and gave that aid without thought of the cost to himself.

Yes, I can see why Joseph was foreordained from before the foundations of the world to be the prophet of the restoration.

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