Chapter 1 Introductory

The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

1 We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

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"Joseph, This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him."
God the Eternal Father is the Celestial Father of the Spirits of men. Jesus Christ, Jehovah, is His (Elohim's) Firstborn in the Spirit and His Only Begotten in the flesh to the end of the redemption of mankind. The Holy Ghost ministers and bears witness of the Father and the Son and is the means source of all the Holy Gifts of God to man.
It is of particular interest that the very first article of faith is born out of the very first vision of the gospel restoration via the boy prophet concerning the very nature of God, that is the Godhead. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost; by which power of the Holy Spirit the mortal lad was enabled to preceive and behold the vision of God, Father and Son. While the apostasy of the early Christian Church lost its truths gradually, the marquee event which benchmarks that gradual apostasy as having come to a full culmination of completion was when the proclaimed worshipers of God no longer knew or understood the true nature of God, that is Him who they so proclaimed to worship. And this is marked by the invention of the Trinity of three Gods in one being, Father, Son and Holy Ghost cosubstanial in entity.

2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression.

3 We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

4 We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

5 We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands, by those who are in authority to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.

6 We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, viz., apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.

7 We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.

8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

10 We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion will be built upon this [the American] continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

12 We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul -- We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things. ÄÄ Joseph Smith.

Theology -- The word "Theology" is of Greek origin; it comes to us from Theos, meaning God, and logos -- a treatise, or discourse, signifying by derivation, therefore collated knowledge of Deity, or the science that teaches us of God, implying also the relation existing between Him and His creatures. The term is of ancient usage, and may be traced to pagan sources. Plato and Aristotle speak of theology as the doctrine of Deity and divine things.

It has been held by some that theological knowledge is not properly a subject for analytical and otherwise scientific treatment on the part of man; that inasmuch as a true conception of Deity, with which theology has primarily to deal, must necessarily be based upon divine revelation, we can but receive such knowledge as it is graciously given; and that to attempt critical investigation thereof by the fallible powers of human judgment would be to apply as a standard of measurement to the doings of God the utterly inadequate wisdom of man. Many truths are beyond the scope of unaided human reason, and theological facts have been declared to belong to that class. This is true only so far as the same classification is applicable to truths other than theological in the restricted application of the term; for all truth, being eternal, is superior to reason in the sense of being manifest to reason but not a creation of reason. Nevertheless, truths are to be estimated and compared by the exercise of reason.

Importance of Theological Study -- In the short span of mortal existence it is impossible for man to explore with thoroughness any considerable part of the vast realm of knowledge. It becomes, therefore, the part of wisdom to direct our efforts to the investigation of the field that promises results of greatest worth. All truth is of value, above price indeed in its place; yet, with respect to their possible application some truths are of incomparably greater worth than others. A knowledge of the principles of trade is essential to the success of the merchant; an acquaintance with the laws of navigation is demanded of the mariner; familiarity with the relation of soil and crops is indispensable to the farmer; an understanding of the principles of mathematics is necessary to the engineer and the astronomer; so too is a personal knowledge of God essential to the salvation of every human soul that has attained to powers of judgment and discretion. The value of theological knowledge, therefore, ought not to be underrated; it is doubtful if its importance can be overestimated.

Comprehensiveness of Theology -- The ultimate boundaries of the science, if boundaries there be, are beyond the capacity of man to survey. Theology deals with Deity, the fountain of knowledge, the source of wisdom; with the proofs of the existence of a Supreme Being, and of other supernatural personalities; with the conditions under which, and the means by which, divine revelation is imparted; with the eternal principles governing the creation of worlds; with the laws of nature in all their varied manifestations. Primarily, theology is the science that deals with God and religion; it presents the facts of observed and revealed truth in orderly array, and indicates the means of their application in the duties of life. Theology then has to do with other facts than those that are specifically called spiritual; its domain is that of truth.

The industrial pursuits that benefit mankind, the arts that please and refine, the sciences that enlarge and exalt the mind -- these are but fragments of the great though yet uncompleted volume of truth that has come to earth from a source of eternal and infinite supply. A complete survey of theology, therefore, would embrace all known truths. God has constituted Himself as the great teacher; by personal manifestations or through the ministrations of His appointed servants, He instructs His mortal children. To Adam He introduced the art of agriculture, FN and demonstrated that of tailoring, FN to Noah and Nephi He gave instructions in ship-building, FN Lehi and Nephi were taught of Him in the arts of navigation; FN and for their guidance on the water, as in their journeyings on land, He prepared for them the Liahona, FN a compass operated by an influence more effective for its purposes than that of terrestrial magnetism; furthermore, Moses received divine instructions in architecture. FN

Theology and Religion, although related, are not identical. One may be deeply versed in theological lore, and yet be lacking in religious and even in moral character. If theology be theory then religion is practise; if theology be precept religion is example. Each should be the complement of the other; theological knowledge should strengthen religious faith and practise. As accepted by the Latter-day Saints, theology comprises the plan of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its entirety. Theology as a science has to do with classified or collated knowledge respecting the relationship between God and man, primarily as it appeals to the intellect; while religion includes the application of that knowledge, or genuine belief, to the individual course of life.

The Articles of Faith -- Beliefs and prescribed practises of most religious sects are usually set forth in formulated creeds. The Latter-day Saints announce no such creed as a complete code of faith; for they accept the principle of continuous revelation as an essential feature of their belief. Joseph Smith, the first divinely commissioned prophet and the first president of the Church of Jesus Christ in the latter-day, or current, dispensation, set forth as an epitome of the tenets of the Church the thirteen avowals known as the "Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." These include fundamental and characteristic doctrines of the Gospel as taught by this Church; but they are not to be regarded as a complete exposition of belief, for, as stated in Article 9, "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." From the time of their first promulgation, the Articles of Faith have been accepted by the people as an authoritative exposition; and on October 6, 1890, the Latter-day Saints, in general conference assembled, readopted the Articles as a guide in faith and conduct. FN As these Articles of Faith present important doctrines of the Church in systematic order, they suggest themselves as a convenient outline for a study of the theology of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Standard Works of the Church constitute the written authority of the Church in doctrine. Nevertheless, the Church holds itself in readiness to receive additional light and knowledge "pertaining to the Kingdom of God" through divine revelation. We believe that God is as willing today as He ever has been to reveal His mind and will to man, and that He does so through His appointed servants -- prophets, seers, and revelators -- -invested through ordination with the authority of the Holy Priesthood. We rely therefore on the teachings of the living oracles of God as of equal validity with the doctrines of the written word. The works adopted by the vote of the Church as authoritative guides in faith and doctrine are four: the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. FN Many books have been and are being published by officers and members of the Church, and such may be sanctioned by the people and the ecclesiastical authorities; but the four publications named are the regularly adopted "Standard Works of the Church." Of the doctrines treated in the authorized standards, the Articles of Faith may be regarded as a fair though but partial summary.


Joseph Smith, whose name is appended to the Articles of Faith, is the prophet and revelator through whom was restored to earth the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in these the last days, the dispensation of the fulness of times, declared and predicted by prophets in earlier dispensations. The question of this man's divine commission is a challenging one to the world today. If his claims to a divine appointment be false, forming as they do the foundation of the Church in this the last dispensation, the superstructure cannot be stable; if, however, his avowed ordination under the hands of heavenly personages be a fact, one need search no farther for the cause of the phenomenal vitality and continuous development of the restored Church.

The circumstances of the divine dealings with Joseph Smith, the marvelous enlargement of the work instituted by this latter-day prophet, the fulfilment through his instrumentality of many of the momentous predictions of old, and his own prophetic utterances with their literal realizations, will yet be widely acknowledged as proof conclusive of the validity of his ministry. FN The exalted claims maintained for him and his life's work, the fame that has made his name known for good or evil among most of the civilized nations of the earth, the stability of the religious and social systems that owe their origin as nineteenth-century establishments to the ministrations of this man, give to him an individual importance demanding serious and impartial consideration.

His Parentage and Youth -- Joseph Smith, the third son and fourth child in a family of ten, was born December 23, 1805, at Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont. FN He was the son of Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith, a worthy couple, who though in poverty lived happily amid their home scenes of industry and frugality. When the boy Joseph was ten years old, the family left Vermont and settled in the State of New York, first at Palmyra and later at Manchester. At the place last named, the future prophet spent most of his boyhood days. In common with his brothers and sisters he had but little schooling; and for the simple rudiments of an education, which by earnest application he was able to gain, he was mostly indebted to his parents, who followed the rule of devoting a portion of their limited leisure to the teaching of the younger members of the household.

In their religious inclinations the family favored the Presbyterian church; indeed the mother and some of the children joined that sect; but Joseph, while at one time favorably impressed by the Methodists, kept himself free from all sectarian membership, being greatly perplexed over the strife and dissensions manifest among the churches of the time. He had a right to expect that in the Church of Christ there would be unity and harmony; yet he saw among the wrangling sects only confusion. When Joseph was in his fifteenth year the region of his home was visited by a storm of fierce religious excitement, which, beginning with the Methodists, soon became general among all the sects; there were revivals and protracted meetings, and discreditable exhibitions of sectarian rivalry were many and varied. These conditions added much to the distress of the young man earnestly seeking the truth.

His Search and the Result -- Here is Joseph's own account of his course of action.:

In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties is right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to "ask of God," concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction -- not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being -- just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other -- "This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!"

My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right -- and which I should join.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: "they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." FN

Such knowledge as was communicated in this unprecedented revelation could not be held secret within the breast of the youth. He hesitated not to impart the glorious truth, first to the members of his family, who received his testimony with reverence, and then to the sectarian ministers who had labored so diligently to convert him to their respective creeds. To his surprise, these professed teachers of Christ treated his statements with the utmost contempt, declaring that the days of revelation from God had long since passed; and that the manifestation, if indeed he had received any such at all, was from Satan. Nevertheless, the ministers exerted themselves, with a unity of purpose strangely at variance with their former hostility toward one another, to ridicule the young man, and to denounce his simple though solemn affirmations. The neighborhood was aroused; bitter and vindictive persecution was waged against him and his family; and he was fired upon by a would-be assassin. Through it all he was preserved from bodily injury; and in spite of increasing opposition he remained faithfully steadfast to his testimony of the heavenly visitation. FN In this condition of trial he continued without further direct manifestation by heavenly beings for three years, expecting but not receiving the additional light and added instructions for which he yearned. He was keenly sensitive of his own frailty and conscious of human weaknesses. He pleaded before the Lord, acknowledging his imperfections and supplicating help.

Angelic Visitations -- On the night of September 21, 1823, while praying for forgiveness of sins and for guidance as to his future course, he was blessed with another heavenly manifestation. There appeared in his room a brilliant light, in the midst of which stood a personage clothed in white, and with a countenance of radiant purity. The heavenly visitant announced himself as Moroni, a messenger sent from the presence of God; and he proceeded to instruct the youth as to some of the divine purposes in which his instrumentality would be of great import. The angel said that God had a work for Joseph to do, and that his name "should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people." He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants; also, that there were two stones in silver bows -- and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim -- deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted `seers' in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book."

The visiting angel, Moroni, then repeated several prophecies which are recorded in the ancient scriptures; some of the quotations were given with variations from the readings in the Bible. Of the words of Malachi the following were given, presenting small but significant variations from the Biblical version: "For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch." Further: "Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." He also quoted the next verse differently: "And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming." FN Among other scriptures, Moroni cited the prophecies of Isaiah relating to the restoration of scattered Israel, and the promised reign of righteousness on earth, FN saying that the predictions were about to be fulfilled; also the words of Peter to the Jews, concerning the prophet who Moses said would be raised up, explaining that the prophet referred to was Jesus Christ, and that the day was near at hand when all who rejected the words of the Savior would be cut off from among the people. FN

Having delivered his message the angel departed, the light in the room seeming to condense about his person and disappearing with him. But during the night he returned twice, and at each visit repeated what he had said at the first, with admonitions to which were added warnings as to the temptations that would assail the youth in the fulfilment of his mission. On the following day Moroni appeared to Joseph again, reciting anew the instructions and cautions of the preceding night, and telling him to acquaint his father with all he had heard and seen. This the boy did, and the father promptly testified that the communications were from God.

Joseph then went to the hill described to him in the vision. He recognized the spot indicated by the angel, and with some labor laid bare a stone box containing the plates and other things spoken of by Moroni. The messenger again stood beside him, and forbade the removal of the contents at that time, saying that four years were to elapse before the plates would be committed to his care, and that it would be his duty to visit the spot at yearly intervals. On the occasion of each of these visits the angel instructed the young man more fully regarding the great work awaiting him.

It is not our present purpose to review in detail the life and ministry of Joseph Smith; FN what has been said herein respecting the opening scenes of his divinely appointed mission is justified by the great importance associated with the ushering in of the latter-day or new dispensation of divine providence through his instrumentality. The bringing forth of the plates from their resting-place of centuries, their translation by divine power, and the publication of the record as the Book of Mormon, will receive later attention. It is sufficient to say here that the ancient record has been translated; that the Book of Mormon has been given to the world; and that the volume is accepted as scripture by the Latter-day Saints.

Later Developments: the Martyrdom -- In due time The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established, the Holy Priesthood having been restored through the ordination of Joseph Smith by those who had held the keys of that authority in former dispensations. The organization of the Church as a body corporate was effected on the sixth day of April, A.D., 1830, at Fayette in the State of New York, and the names of but six persons are of record as those of active participants. True, by that time a few times six had identified themselves with the new and unprecedented movement; but as the laws of the State specified six as the required minimum in the incorporation of a religious society only that number formally took part in the legal procedure. And they, save one, were relatively unknown and may be called obscure. The name of Joseph Smith the Prophet had already been heard beyond his home district. He was a subject of rapidly spreading notoriety if not of enviable fame. The Book of Mormon, purporting to be a record of the aboriginal peoples of the western continent, particularly an account of the dealings of God with those peoples, in short the scriptures of what came afterward to be called the New World, had already been translated by him and published. It is in reference to the title-page of that book that the appellation "Mormon," first given in derision, as a nickname in fact, has become a popular designation of the Church and its individual members. From the small initial membership stated, the Church grew to include thousands during the lifetime of Joseph Smith; and the growth has continued with phenomenal rapidity and permanence until the present time. One by one the powers and authorities possessed by the Church of old were restored through the man who was ordained to be the first elder of the latter-day dispensation. With the development of the Church, persecution increased; and the effect of evil opposition reached a climax in the cruel martyrdom of the Prophet, and his brother Hyrum, then Patriarch to the Church, June 27, 1844. The incidents leading up to and culminating in the foul murder of these men at Carthage, Illinois, are matters of common history. Prophet and patriarch gave the sacred seal of their life's blood to the testimony of the truth, which they had valiantly maintained in the face of intolerant persecution for nearly a quarter of a century. FN

Authenticity of Joseph Smith's Mission -- The evidence of divine authority in the work established by Joseph Smith, and of the justification of the claims made by and for the man, may be summarized as follows:

1. Ancient prophecy has been fulfilled in the restoration of the Gospel and the reestablishment of the Church upon the earth through his instrumentality.

2. He received by direct ordination and appointment, at the hands of those who held the power in former dispensations, authority to minister in the various ordinances of the Holy Priesthood.

3. His possession of the power of true prophecy, and of other spiritual gifts, is shown by the results of his ministry.

4. The doctrines he proclaimed are true and scriptural. Each of these classes of evidence will receive attention and find ample demonstration in the course of the present study; and no detailed consideration will be attempted at this stage of our investigation; though a few illustrations, briefly stated, will be cited. FN

1. Fulfilment of Prophecy, wrought through the lifework of Joseph Smith, is abundantly attested. John the Revelator, from his prophetic vision of the latter-day dispensation, understood and predicted that the Gospel would be again sent from the heavens, and be restored to the earth through the direct ministration of an angel in the latter days: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." FN A partial fulfilment of this prediction appears in the coming of the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith, as already described, whereby the restoration of the Gospel was announced, and the speedy realization of other ancient prophecies was promised; and a record, described in part as containing "the fulness of the everlasting Gospel" as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants of the western continent was committed to his care for translation and publication amongst all nations, kindred, and tongues. A further fulfilment was realized in the personal visitations of resurrected beings, who had ministered as bearers of the Holy Priesthood during their time of mortality, this Priesthood comprising divine authority and appointment to preach the Gospel and administer the ordinances thereof. The remainder of John's fateful utterance, regarding the authorized call for repentance and the execution of God's judgment preparatory to the scenes of the last days, is now in process of rapid and literal fulfilment.

Malachi predicted the coming of Elijah especially commissioned with power to inaugurate the work of cooperation between the fathers and the children, and announced this mission as a necessary preliminary to "the great and dreadful day of the Lord." FN The angel Moroni confirmed the truth and significance of this prediction in an emphatic reiteration as already set forth. Joseph Smith and his associate in the ministry, Oliver Cowdery, solemnly testify that they were visited by Elijah the prophet, in the Temple at Kirtland, Ohio, on the third day of April, 1836; on which occasion the ancient prophet declared to the prophet of the latter days that the day spoken of by Malachi had come: "Therefore," continued he, "the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors." FN The particular nature of the union of the fathers and the children, upon which Malachi, Moroni, and Elijah laid great stress, has been explained as comprising vicarious ordinances, including baptism for the dead who have passed from earth without a knowledge of the Gospel or opportunity of complying with its laws and ordinances. In the teaching and practise of this doctrine, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stands alone amongst all the churches professing Christianity.

The ancient scriptures teem with prophecies concerning the restoration of Israel in the last days, and the gathering of the people from among the nations and from the lands into which they have been led or driven as a penalty for their waywardness. FN In the predictions of olden times such prominence and importance are attached to this work of gathering that, from the days of Israel's exodus, the last days have been characterized in sacred writ as distinctively a gathering dispensation. The return of the tribes after their long and wide dispersion is made a preliminary work to the establishment of the predicted reign of righteousness with Christ upon the earth as Lord and King; and its accomplishment is given as a sure precursor of the Millennium. Jerusalem is to be reestablished as the City of the Great King on the eastern hemisphere; and Zion, or the New Jerusalem, is to be built on the western continent; the Lost Tribes are to be brought from their place of exile in the north; and the curse is to be removed from Israel.

From the early days of Joseph Smith's ministry he taught the doctrine of the gathering as imposing a present duty upon the Church; and this phase of Latter-day Saint labor is one of its most characteristic features. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery affirm that the commission for prosecuting this work was committed to the Church through them by Moses, who held authority as Israel's leader in the dispensation known specifically as the Mosaic. Their testimony is thus stated, in the description given of manifestations in the Kirtland Temple, April 3, 1836: "Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north." FN As to the earnestness with which this labor has been begun, and the fair progress already made therein, consider the hundreds of thousands belonging to the families of Israel already assembled in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains, about the Temples of the Lord now established; and hear the psalm of the hosts of Israel among the nations, chanted to the accompaniment of effective deeds: "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." FN

The bringing forth of the Book of Mormon is held by the Latter-day Saints to be a direct fulfilment of prophecy. FN In predicting the humiliation of Israel, to whom had been committed the power of the Priesthood in early days, Isaiah gave voice to the word of the Lord in this wise: "And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust." FN The Book of Mormon is verily the voice of a people brought low, speaking from the dust, for from the earth the book was literally taken. The record is the history of a small division of the house of Israel, a part of the family of Joseph indeed, who were led by a miraculous power to the western continent six centuries prior to the Christian era.

Of the record of Joseph and its coming forth as a parallel testimony to that of Judah, or the Bible in part, the Lord thus spake through the prophet Ezekiel: "Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:. And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand." FN The succeeding verses declare that the gathering and restoration of Israel would immediately follow the united testimony of the records of Judah and Joseph. The two records are before the world, a unit in their testimony of the everlasting Gospel; and the work of gathering is in effective progress.

It is further evident from the scriptures that the dispensation of the Gospel in the latter days is to be one of restoration and restitution, truly a "dispensation of the fulness of times." Paul declares it to be the good pleasure of the Lord, "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him." FN This prediction finds a parallel in an utterance of the prophet Nephi: "Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed." FN And in accord with this is the teaching of Peter: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." FN

Now comes Joseph Smith with the declaration that unto him has been given the authority to open up this, the dispensation of fulness, restitution, and restoration; and that through him the Church has been endowed with all the keys and powers of the Priesthood as held and exercised in earlier periods. Unto the Church "is the power of this priesthood given, for the last days and for the last time, in the which is the dispensation of the fulness of times. Which power you hold, in connection with all those who have received a dispensation at any time from the beginning of the creation." FN The actual possession of these combined and unified powers is sufficiently demonstrated by the comprehensive work of the Church in its present-day ministry.

2. Joseph Smith's Authority was conferred upon him by direct ministrations of heavenly beings, each of whom had once exercised the same power upon the earth. We have already seen how the angel Moroni, formerly a mortal prophet among the Nephites, transmitted to Joseph the appointment to bring forth the record which he, Moroni, had buried in the earth over fourteen hundred years before. We learn further, that on the 15th of May, 1829, the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery under the hands of John the Baptist, FN who came in his immortalized state with that particular order of Priesthood, which comprises the keys of the ministrations of angels, the doctrine of repentance and of baptism for the remission of sins. This was the same John who, as the voice of one crying in the wilderness, had preached the same doctrine and administered the same ordinance in Judea, as the immediate forerunner of the Messiah. In delivering his message John the Baptist stated that he was acting under the direction of Peter, James, and John, apostles of the Lord, in whose hands reposed the keys of the higher or Melchizedek Priesthood, which in time would also be given. This promise was fulfilled a month or so later, when the apostles named visited in person Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, ordaining them to the apostleship, FN which comprises all the offices of the higher order of Priesthood and which carries authority to minister in all the established ordinances of the Gospel.

Then, some time after the Church had been duly organized, commission for certain special functions was given, the appointing messenger in each case being the one whose right it was so to officiate by virtue of the authority he had held in the days of his mortality. Thus, as has been seen, Moses conferred the authority to prosecute the work of gathering; and Elijah, who, not having tasted death, held a peculiar relation to both the living and the dead, delivered the appointment of vicarious ministry for the departed. To these divine commissions is added that given by Elias, who appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and "committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham," saying as was said of the patriarch named and his descendants in olden times, that in them and in their seed should all succeeding generations be blessed. FN

It is evident, then, that the claims made by the Church with respect to its authority are complete and consistent as to the source of the powers professed and the channels through which such have been delivered again to earth. Scripture and revelation, both ancient and modern, support as an unalterable law the principle that no one can delegate to another an authority which the giver does not possess.

3. Joseph Smith was a true Prophet -- In the days of ancient Israel an effective method of testing the claims of a professed prophet was prescribed. "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him." FN Conversely, if the words of the prophet are verified by fulfilment there is at least proof presumptive of his divine calling. Of the many predictions uttered by Joseph Smith and already fulfilled or awaiting the set time of their realization, a few citations will suffice.

One of the earliest prophecies delivered through him, which, while not his independent utterance but that of the angel Moroni was nevertheless given to the world by Joseph Smith, had specific reference to the Book of Mormon, of which the angel said: "The knowledge that this record contains will go to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, under the whole heaven.' FN This declaration was made four years before the work of translation was begun, and fourteen years before the elders of the Church began their missionary labor in foreign lands. Since that time the Book of Mormon has been published in many languages and the work of its world-wide distribution is still in progress.

In August, 1842, while the Church was suffering persecution in Illinois, and when the western part of what is now the United States of America was but little known and so only as the territory of an alien nation, Joseph Smith prophesied "that the saints would continue to suffer much affliction, and would be driven to the Rocky Mountains," and that while many then professing allegiance to the Church would apostatize, and others, faithful to their testimony, would meet the martyr's fate, some would live to "assist in making settlements and build cities and see the saints become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains." FN The literal fulfilment of this prediction, uttered in 1842, and it may be added, foreshadowed by an earlier prophecy in 1831, FN the one five, the other sixteen years before the migration of the Church to the west, is attested by the common history of the settlement and development of this once forbidding region. Even skeptics and pronounced opponents of the Church proclaim the miracle of the establishment of a great commonwealth in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains.

A remarkable prediction regarding national affairs was uttered by Joseph Smith, December 25, 1832; it was soon thereafter promulgated among the members of the Church and was preached by the elders, but did not appear in print until 1851. FN The revelation reads in part as follows: "Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain * * * And it shall come to pass, after many days, slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war.

Every student of United States history is acquainted with the facts establishing a complete fulfilment of this astounding prophecy. In 1861, more than twenty-eight years after the foregoing prediction was recorded, and ten years after its publication in England, the Civil War broke out, beginning in South Carolina. The ghastly records of that fratricidal strife sadly support the prediction concerning "the death and misery of many souls," though this constituted but a partial fulfilment. It is known that slaves deserted the South and were marshaled in the armies of the North, and that the Confederate States solicited aid of Great Britain. While no open alliance between the Southern States and the English government was effected, British influence gave indirect assistance and substantial encouragement to the South, and this in such a way as to produce serious international complications. Vessels were built and equipped at British ports in the interests of the Confederacy; and the results of this violation of the laws of neutrality cost Great Britain fifteen and a half millions of dollars, which sum was awarded the United States at the Geneva arbitration in settlement of the Alabama claims. The Confederacy appointed commissioners to Great Britain and France; these appointees were forcibly taken by United States officers from the British steamer on which they had embarked. This act, which the United States government had to admit as overt, threatened for a time to precipitate a war between this nation and Great Britain.

A careful study of the Revelation and Prophecy on War, given, as stated, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, December 25, 1832, makes plain that the conflict between North and South in America was to be, as now we know it to have been, but the beginning of a new era of strife and bloodshed. The Lord's words were definite in predicting wars "beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina"; and declared further: "And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place." The great World War, 1914-1918, embroiled, directly or indirectly, every nation of the earth; and recovery from the effects of that stupendous conflict is beyond the horizon of human vision. Nations have been dismembered or destroyed; thrones have fallen; kingly crowns have lost all value beyond the market price of their gold and jewels; and, withal, new units of government have been created, and nations have sprung into existence, literally born in a day. The very elements are in anger, and what we call natural phenomena are surpassing in destructive fury all records made by man; and verily the end is not reached. The word of the Lord through His prophet, Joseph Smith, has never been revoked: "And thus, with the sword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall mourn; and with famine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and chastening hand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all nations." FN

The revelation cited, as given through Joseph Smith, contained other predictions, some of which are yet awaiting fulfilment. The evidence presented is sufficient to prove that Joseph Smith is prominent among men by reason of his instrumentality in fulfilling prophecies uttered by the Lord's representatives in former times, and that his own place as a prophet is abundantly vindicated. But the endowment of prophecy so richly bestowed upon this Elias of the last days, and so freely yet unerringly exercised by him, is but one of the many spiritual gifts by which he, in common with a host of others who have received the Priesthood through him, was distinguished. The scriptures declare that certain signs shall attend the Church of Christ, among them the gifts of tongues, healing, immunity from threatening death and the power to control evil spirits. FN The exercise of these powers, resulting in what are ordinarily termed miracles, is by no means an infallible proof of divine authority; for some true prophets have wrought no such wonders, so far as records show, and men have been known to work miracles at the instigation of evil spirits. FN Nevertheless, the possession of the power implied by the working of miracles is an essential characteristic of the Church; and when such acts are wrought in the accomplishment of holy purposes they serve as confirmatory evidence of divine authority. Therefore we may expect to find, as find we do in the ministry of Joseph Smith and in that of the Church in general, the attested record of miracles, comprising manifestations of all the promised gifts of the Spirit. FN

4. The Doctrines Taught by Joseph Smith, and by the Church today, are true and scriptural. To sustain this statement we must examine the principal teachings of the Church in separate order.




 Comprising Notes to the Foregoing Chapters


 APPENDIX 1—Notes Relating to Chapter 1

             1. The Articles of Faith date from March 1, 1841. The Articles were published in the History of Joseph Smith, Millennial Star, vol. 19, p. 120; also Times and Seasons, vol. 3, p. 709. As stated elsewhere, the Articles have been formally adopted by the Church as an authorized summary of its principal doctrines.

            2. The Standard Works of the Church—The Bible and the Book of Mormon—the first two of the standard works of the Church—are treated in chapters 13, 14 and 15 herein. The Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of modern revelations as given to the Church in the present dispensation. The Pearl of Great Price comprises the visions and writings of Moses as revealed to Joseph Smith, the Book of Abraham—a translation by Joseph Smith from certain ancient papyri—and some of the writings of Joseph Smith. These books have been adopted by the members of the Church, in conference officially assembled, as their Standard Works.

            3. Tribute to Joseph Smith—While few people outside the Church have had much to say in commendation of this modern prophet, it is interesting to note that there are some honorable exceptions to the rule. Josiah Quincy, a prominent American, made the acquaintance of Joseph Smith a short time before the latter's martyrdom; and after the tragic event he wrote: It is by no means improbable that some future text-book, for the use of generations yet unborn, will contain a question something like this: What historical American of the nineteenth century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen? And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written: Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet. And the reply, absurd as it doubtless seems to most men now living, may be an obvious commonplace to their descendants. History deals in surprises and paradoxes quite as startling as this. The man who established a religion in this age of free debate, who was and is today accepted by hundreds of thousands as a direct emissary from the Most High—such a rare human being is not to be disposed of by pelting his memory with unsavory epithets. * * * The most vital questions Americans are asking each other today have to do with this man and what he has left us. * * * Burning questions they are, which must give a prominent place in the history of the country to that sturdy self-asserter whom I visited at Nauvoo. Joseph Smith, claiming to be an inspired teacher, faced adversity such as few men have been called to meet, enjoyed a brief season of prosperity such as few men have ever attained, and, finally, forty-three days after I saw him, went cheerfully to a martyr's death. When he surrendered his person to Governor Ford, in order to prevent the shedding of blood, the prophet had a presentiment of what was before him. 'I am going like a lamb to the slaughter,' he is reported to have said; 'but I am as calm as a summer's morning. I have a conscience void of offense, and shall die innocent.'" Figures of the Past by Josiah Quincy, p. 376.

            4. Joseph Smith's Descent"Joseph Smith was of humble birth. His parents and their progenitors were toilers; but their characters were godly and their names unstained. Near the middle of the seventeenth century, Robert Smith, a sturdy yeoman of England, emigrated to the New World, the land of promise. With his wife, Mary, he settled in Essex, Massachusetts. The numerous descendants of these worthy people intermarried with many of the staunchest and most industrious families of New England. Samuel, the son of Robert and Mary, born January 26th, 1666, wedded Rebecca Curtis, January 25th, 1707. Their son, the second Samuel, was born January 26th, 1714; he married Priscilla Gould, and was the father of Asael, born March 1st, 1744. Asael Smith took to wife Mary Duty, and their son Joseph was born July 12th, 1771. On the 24th of January, 1796, Joseph married Lucy Mack, at Tunbridge, in the State of Vermont. She was born July 8th, 1776, and was the daughter of Solomon and Lydia Mack and was the granddaughter of Ebenezer Mack."—The Life of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, by George Q. Cannon, chapter 1. Joseph the Prophet was the third son and fourth child of Joseph and Lucy (Mack) Smith; he was born at Sharon, Vermont, December 23d, 1805.

            5. Joseph Smith's Early Persecution—The Prophet wrote as follows concerning the persecution of his boyhood days, which dated from the time of his first mention of his vision of the Father and the Son: "It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself. However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light, and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise. So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart, Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision, and who am I that I can withstand God?" P. of G.P., pp. 50, 51; Hist. of the Ch. vol. 1, p. 7.

            6. Joseph Smith; and the Restored Church—See The Life of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, by George Q. Cannon. See also Divine Authority, or the question, Was Joseph Smith Sent of God? a pamphlet by Apostle Orson Pratt; Joseph Smith's Prophetic Calling; Millennial Star, vol. 42, pp. 164, 187, 195, 227. A New Witness for God, vol. 1, by B. H. Roberts. Essentials of Church History, by Joseph Fielding Smith; A Brief History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by Edward H. Anderson.

            7. The Seal of Martyrdom—"The highest evidence of sincerity that a man can give his fellow-men—the highest proof that he has spoken the truth in any given case—is that he perseveres in it unto death, and seals his testimony with his blood. * * * So important did such a testimony become in the estimation of Paul that he said: 'Where a testimony is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.' (Heb. 9:16-17.) In the light of this principle, and when the importance of the great testimony which he bore to the world is taken into account, it is not to be wondered at that Joseph Smith was called upon to affix the broad seal of martyrdom to his life's work. Something of incompleteness in his work would likely have been complained of had this been lacking; but now, not so; his character of prophet was rounded out to complete fulness by his falling a martyr under the murderous fire of a mob at Carthage, in the State of Illinois."—B. H. Roberts, in A New Witness for God, pp. 477-478.

            8. Joseph Smith a True Prophet—The man of whom we speak, Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Gospel of Christ in the latter days, the man through whom was opened the latest dispensation in the work of the Lord—a dispensation called new, though characterized by the restoration of the authority and powers of all preceding epochs—this man is one whom men cannot forget or ignore, try as they may. His place in history is secure; his work is recognized as that of a mission delegated to him alone. * * * A prophet or revelator truly sent of God will bear power and authority to instruct and administer in the ordinances of the Gospel of Christ. No envoy from the courts of Heaven, no ambassador from the throne of the Great King, will be sent out unprovided with the credentials by which his appointment is authenticated; nor will such a messenger present himself and assert his claims among men unequipped with the insignia of his office. In the effective discharge of his duties, the true prophet will not only testify in words as to his authoritative appointment and ordination, but will manifest his actual possession of spiritual gifts and specific powers pertaining to the prophetic office, by duly exercising the same as conditions require. * * * We affirm that by the foregoing, and by all other tests involving the characteristics essential to and distinctive of the exalted calling and office of the prophet, Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the Living God—From an article by the present author in Improvement Era, vol. 9, p. 155, which see.

            9. Restoration of the Gospel—Plainly the vision-prophecy of John (Rev. 14:6, 7), relating to the restoration of the Gospel to earth, could not refer to the Gospel record preserved in the Holy Bible, for that record has remained in the possession of mankind. As stated in the text a partial fulfilment is found in the visitation of Moroni and the restoration of the Book of Mormon, which is to us of modern times as new scripture, and one containing a fuller record of "the everlasting Gospel." However, a record of the Gospel is not the Gospel itself. Authority to administer in the saving ordinances of the Gospel is essential to the effective preaching and administration thereof; this was restored through John the Baptist, who brought the Aaronic Priesthood, and through Peter, James, and John, who brought again to earth the Melchizedek Priesthood. For commentary on Rev. 14:6, 7, see The Great Apostasy, p. 168, by the present author.