On this day, 202 years ago, a baby was born into the world. Joseph Smith came into the world to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety, but on that day, he was simply Joseph and Lucy Smith’s baby boy. One who loved to laugh, jump, run and play, but also was diligent in his work and study of the Bible.
He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father . . . he didn’t live to see his own children grow to to adulthood, let alone have children, and so he never became a grandfather in mortality. But he was all of these and more, devoted in each capacity. He was also a prophet of God. Chosen from before the foundations of the world were ever formed to come into this world in 1805 and restore what His Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ needed him to restore.
He lived his life, day to day, loving his family and serving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Every aspect of his life was influenced by his devotion to Them.
Because of his willingness to complete all he was sent forth to do we have:
- 136 Temples of God spanning the globe along with the restoration of the living ordinances for the eternal salvation of mankind
- Over 13,000,000 Mormons, again, spanning the globe. No, there aren’t just six of us anymore.
- The Book of Mormon, a second witness of Jesus Christ and His divine role in the world. With more than 133 million copies printed, it has been translated into 105 languages and named one of the most influential books of North America.
- The Pearl of Great Price, which contain the translated records of Old Testament prophets Moses and Abraham.
- We learned we could pray directly to Heavenly Father and actually receive answers. Not only receive them, but we learned He wanted to answer us. (James 1:5)
- We learned Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two distinct personages with resurrected and perfected bodies of flesh and bone (JSH 1:17) who are one in mind, heart and purpose.
- The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored in its entirety through the devotion of Joseph Smith, Jr. to his eternal calling as prophet of the restoration.
- The restoration of the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthoods and the keys of the kingdom of God.
- An understanding of the plan of salvation — who we are, where we came from, why we are here and where are we going?
- Proper method of baptism as described in the New Testament when Jesus Christ was baptized.
- The new and everlasting covenant of eternal marriage which allows those who remain worthy and are married in the temple to be married for time and all eternity.
The list could go on and on, but instead I will just wish this man who sacrificed so much, even his very life, to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ . . . Happy Birthday, Joseph. Thank you for all your sacrifices, they were not in vain.