In every dispensation of the world a witness is called to testify to the people of that day and age that he has seen God and has talked with Him and has received instructions and guidance from Him. Faith comes and is increased by listening to and heeding the testimony of that witness. In our day, in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, that witness is Joseph Smith.
You can also find it on any of these platforms by searching for Meridian Magazine-Come Follow Me.
In every dispensation of the world a witness is called to testify to the people of that day and age that he has seen God and has talked with Him and has received instructions and guidance from Him. That witness is called to testify in his day that God lives, that He is real, that He cares about His children, that He hears and answers our prayers and that He has a work for us to do. Faith comes and is increased by listening to and heeding the testimony of that witness. In our day, in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, that witness is Joseph Smith.
Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me Podcast, we are Scot and Maurine Proctor and we love being with you each week and discussing with you the sacred truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In this year’s lessons we are immersing ourselves in the Doctrine and Covenants, the early history of the Church and naturally in the lives of Joseph Smith and his family and associates. Today we have the immense privilege of exploring and reflecting upon the First Vision and our scriptural text is Joseph Smith History, chapter 1, verses 1-26.
To better understand the First Vision, we need to have some historical and family context for the young boy Joseph and his family.
We had the great blessing of going back into the Prophet Joseph’s mother’s writings and original dictation of her history. Lucy Mack Smith’s record is one of the great treasures of the Church. Imagine any world leader or spiritual giant having a biography written by his or her mother! We have this in the History of Joseph Smith by His Mother: Lucy Mack Smith.
As we did this project many years ago and became intimately acquainted with Lucy’s turn of phrase or her approach to telling her story, we learned that as we got to know Lucy Mack Smith, we got to know, more personally and more intimately, her prophet son Joseph. Like Mother, like son.
All the Mack sisters had a disposition towards lung issues—two of Lucy’s sisters died of consumption, or tuberculosis. Lucy always struggled with her lungs.
In 1802, Joseph Smith, the father of the Prophet and Lucy Mack and their two little sons, Alvin and Hyrum, moved to Randolph, Vermont. They had only lived there six months when Lucy took, in her own words, “a heavy cold, which caused a severe cough. A hectic fever set in which threatened to prove fatal and the physician believed my case to be confirmed consumption. My mother attended me day and night with much anxiety, sparing herself no pains in administering to my comfort, yet I grew so weak that I could not bear the noise of a footfall except in stocking feet, nor a word to be spoken in the room except in whispers.
“One Mr. Murkley, a Methodist exhorter, heard of my afflictions and came to visit me. When he came to the door, he knocked in his usual manner, not knowing that I was so very weak and that the noise would disturb me. This agitated me so much that it was some time before my nerves were settled again. My mother stepped to the door and motioned him to a chair, informing him of my weakness in a whisper.
“He seated himself and for a long time seemed pondering in his mind something he wished to say. I thought to myself, “He will ask me if I am prepared to die.” I dreaded to have him speak to me, for said I to myself, “I am not prepared to die, for I do not know the ways of Christ,” and it seemed to me as though there was a dark and lonely chasm between myself and Christ that I dared not attempt to cross.
Twenty-six-year-old Lucy continues her record:
“I thought as I strained my eyes towards the light (which I knew lay just beyond the gloomy veil before me) that I could discover a faint glimmer.
“Mr. Murkley left, and my husband came to my bed and caught my hand and exclaimed as well as he could amidst sobs and tears, “Oh, Lucy! My wife! You must die. The doctors have given you up, and all say you cannot live.”
“I then looked to the Lord and begged and pled that he would spare my life that I might bring up my children and comfort the heart of my husband. Thus, I lay all night, sometimes gazing gradually away to heaven, and then reverting back again to my babies and my companion at my side, and I covenanted with God that if he would let me live, I would endeavor to get that religion that would enable me to serve him right, whether it was in the Bible or wherever it might be found, even if it was to be obtained from heaven by prayer and faith. At last, a voice spoke to me and said, “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Let your heart be comforted. Ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
“In a few moments my mother came in and looked upon me and cried out, “Lucy, you are better.” My speech came and I answered, “Yes, Mother, the Lord will let me live. If I am faithful to my promise which I have made to him, he will suffer me to remain to comfort the hearts of my mother, my husband, and my children.”
“From this time forward I gained strength continually. I said but little upon the subject of religion, although it occupied my mind entirely. I thought I would make all diligence, as soon as I was able, to seek some pious person who knew the ways of God to instruct me in the things of heaven…
“In the anxiety of my soul to abide by the covenant which I had entered into with the Almighty, I went from place to place to seek information or find, if possible, some congenial spirit who might enter into my feelings and sympathize with me.
“At last, I heard that one noted for his piety would preach the ensuing Sabbath in the Presbyterian church. Thither I went in expectation of obtaining that which alone could satisfy my soul–the bread of eternal life. When the minister commenced, I fixed my mind with breathless attention upon the spirit and matter of the discourse, but all was emptiness, vanity, vexation of spirit, and fell upon my heart like the chill, untimely blast upon the starting ear ripening in a summer sun. It did not fill the aching void within nor satisfy the craving hunger of my soul. I was almost in total despair, and with a grieved and troubled spirit I returned home, saying in my heart, there is not on earth the religion which I seek. I must again turn to my Bible, take Jesus and his disciples for an example. I will try to obtain from God that which man cannot give nor take away. I will settle myself down to this. I will hear all that can be said, read all that is written, but particularly the word of God shall be my guide to life and salvation, which I will endeavor to obtain if it is to be had by diligence in prayer.” (Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor, Revised and Enhance History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1996, pp. 47-50)
Scot, you can see from Lucy’s account that she was going to do everything in her power to find that true religion, the way back to God that was like the original gospel Jesus had organized in His ministry.
That’s right. In her day, Lucy would have been called a “seeker”, one who was searching for the original New Testament Church and gospel of Jesus Christ. I love how she said in her covenant with the Lord that “I would endeavor to get that religion that would enable me to serve him right, whether it was in the Bible or wherever it might be found, even if it was to be obtained from heaven by prayer and faith.” Remember, this brush with death for Lucy was in 1802 and pursuit of that true religion would be in her mind and her course for the next 18 years.
Let’s take a look inside the Smith home in the times before the First Vision. We get a great sense from Lucy and from her children that this was a home of faith, a home of prayer, a home of scripture reading and a home of love.
From Joseph’s younger brother, William, we get this wonderful view of their home life:
“My father’s religious habits were strictly pious and moral. … I was called upon to listen to prayers both night and morning. … My…father and mother, poured out their souls to God, the donor of all blessings, to keep and guard their children and keep them from sin and from all evil works. Such was the strict piety of my parents.”
William also said: “We always had family prayers since I can remember. I well remember father used to carry his spectacles in his vest pocket, … and when us boys saw him feel for his specs, we knew that was a signal to get ready for prayer, and if we did not notice it mother would say, ‘William,’ or whoever was the negligent one, ‘get ready for prayer.’ After the prayer we had a song we would sing; I remember part of it yet.”
And the words of that hymn were these (remember, this is being sung nearly every night in the Smith home as the children were growing up):
The day is past and gone,
The evening shades appear;
O may we all remember well
The night of death draws near.
We lay our garments by,
Upon our beds to rest;
So death shall soon disrobe us all
Of what is here possessed.
Lord, keep us safe this night,
Secure from all our fears;
May angels guard us while we sleep,
Till morning light appears.
(Hymn from John LeLand)
This gives us such a view into this faithful Smith family, who by 1820 had 8 living children in their home from ages 22 to 4. Lucy had kept her promise from that night in Randolph when she was 26—and was still seeking with all of her heart that religion that Jesus taught.
To understand how refreshing and redefining the First Vision would be, look at the “plain and precious” parts of Christianity which had fallen away. It wasn’t just that God had a body that had been lost in prevailing church doctrines of the sects.. His character and nature had been transformed—almost mutiliated–from being a God of love, our eternal parent deeply invested in our well-being, to formless being of wrath and vengeance.
Jonathan Edwards, in a sermon he gave often in the 18th century, said of sinners, “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you and is dreadfully provoked. His wrath towards you burns like a fire; he looks at you as nothing else, but to be cast into the fire.” It is not surprising the Lord in Joseph’s vision said all of the sects were “wrong” and that their creeds were an “abomination in his sight.”
Now while Edwards is expressing very harsh Calvinism, similar ideas about the nature of God permeated religion and changed the landscape for centuries. God was a force of terror, unyielding judgment, and disdain for his creatures—not sons and daughters. With that loss, people only saw themselves in a mirror dimly.
According to Fiona and Terryl Givens in their recent book, “All Things New”, two essential pieces of the story were lost that changed everything else, 1) premortality and its purposes and 2) the parental nature of God and the reasons why such passionate, unfailing love is turned to each soul’s development. Lost was the idea that mortality was an experience meant to educate His children.
Fatal developments followed. If you don’t know the beginning of the story, you don’t understand the end of the story either, nor the God at the story’s center. By the fourth century, the Athanasian Creed, read:
“We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father; another of the Son: snother of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one.. The Father incomprehensible: the Son incomprehensible; and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible,”
This was the doctrine of the Trinity and it became heresy not to believe this. Once disembodied, God lost all emotional connection to humanity. He could not feel with them or be touched by their misery. He is turned to stone.
Augustine, who lived from 354-430 AD became a powerful voice in the Christian tradition. He believed that human nature is “so trapped in sin that both body and spirit are twisted up claustrophobically without any escape.’
As a consequence of this new focus on universal sinfulness, Augustine diverted the entire stream of Christian thought, which went from a belief in a gradual process of explanation in which one cooperates with God, to the opposite belief in which God decrees who is saved and who is damned independent of our choices.
Thus it went century after century. Martin Luther said, “the only free will humankind possessed…was the freedom to sin.”
So the Christian inheritance when Joseph went into that grove carried some heavy errors that diminished both God and humanity.
Now, around 1818 and 1819, there was in the area of Palmyra, as Joseph records, “an unusual excitement on the subject of religion.” (JS History 1: 5) Joseph specifically mentions the Methodists, Presbyterians and the Baptists—all contending for converts and all in an uproar about who was right and who was wrong.
Young Joseph was 12 years old when all this commotion was happening around Palmyra. He was a serious boy, not given to a lot of reading books but much more disposed to deep thought and pondering.
He said, “my mind become seriously impressed with regard to the all-important concerns for the welfare of my immortal soul.” (1832 Account)
And listen to these next words because he sounds so much like his mother: “My mind became exceedingly distressed, for I became convicted of my sins, and by searching the scriptures I found that mankind did not come unto the Lord but that they had apostatized from the true and living faith, and there was no society or denomination that was built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament.” (1832 Account)
Joseph had at least three things on his young mind:
The welfare of his eternal soul.
How to obtain forgiveness for his sins, and
Which of the churches he should join.
“During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect…” (JS-History 1:8)
At least one of the preachers or ministers at that time took a special interest in Joseph and we think it was probably Reverend George Lane. He was a Methodist circuit preacher—that meant that he had a number of congregations in the region that he would come around to and preach to them. Joseph was striving to find which Church to join, and likely, because of this interest from Reverend Lane, Joseph became somewhat partial to the Methodists.
Joseph’s brother William recalled this:
“Rev. Mr. Lane of the Methodists preached a sermon on ‘What church shall I join?’ And the burden of his discourse was to ask God, using as a text, ‘If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally.’ And of course, when Joseph went home and was looking over the text, he was impressed to do just what the preacher had said, and going out in the woods with child-like, simple trusting faith believing that God meant just what He said, kneeled down and prayed.” (Deseret Evening News, January 20, 1894, 11.)
I love what Joseph says about that particular scripture, James 1:5:
“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.” (JS-History 1:12)
Isn’t that a great view into scripture study and paying attention to the promptings of the Spirit?
Yes, I love this insight into the workings of young Joseph’s heart. And I love the whole approach for us to pay attention to what I call trigger scriptures. James 1:5 was a trigger scripture for Joseph to prompt him to go to the woods to pray.
Let’s look at two more trigger scriptures.
You remember Joseph F. Smith in 1918?
1 On the third of October, in the year nineteen hundred and eighteen, I sat in my room pondering over the scriptures;
2 And reflecting upon the great atoning sacrifice that was made by the Son of God, for the redemption of the world;
6 I opened the Bible and read the third and fourth chapters of the first epistle of Peter, and as I read I was greatly impressed, more than I had ever been before…
11 As I pondered over these things which are written, the eyes of my understanding were opened, and the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me, and I saw the hosts of the dead, both small and great. (D&C 138:1-2, 6, 11)
Those verses in 1 Peter were trigger scriptures for Joseph F. Smith. They prompted him to further pondering and reflection which then opened the window and then the door for revelation.
The same thing happened for the Prophet Joseph as he was translating the Bible:
15 For while we were doing the work of translation, which the Lord had appointed unto us, we came to the twenty-ninth verse of the fifth chaper of John…
18 Now this caused us to marvel, for it was given unto us of the Spirit.
19 And while we meditated upon these things, the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings and they were opened, and the glory of the Lord shone round about. (D&C 76: 15, 18-19)
Here is that same pattern—a trigger scripture that led to the reception of Section 76—the great vision of the three degrees of glory.
The pattern is clear and we need to pay attention to this in our personal scripture studies. As you read and study and ponder the scriptures each day, pay close attention to your heart and your spirit, your feelings inside of you. You’ll come across verses that will bring the Spirit of the Lord into your heart as never before. You’ll read something that will cause you to see things differently or open your minds to new vistas of understanding. These are trigger scriptures.
For those of you who listened to my own personal story on this podcast three times ago, of how I obtained a testimony of the Book of Mormon, you’ll know that Doctrine and Covenants, Section 17, verse 6 was a trigger scripture for me, and, in fact, it changed my whole life.
Joseph used to look up in the heavens at night and ponder. “I looked upon the sun…and…the moon…and the stars shining in their courses,” (1832 Account) and he thought, “if there is so much order in the heavens, why is there not order among man? Why so much confusion in religion?”
Young Joseph was now determined to make the attempt to obtain knowledge from God. Remember, he is concerned about the welfare of his soul, and how to obtain forgiveness for his sins and to know which Church to join.
It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of 1820 that Joseph made this attempt. You have to know that our imagination of this Sacred Grove in the early spring is of that unique spring green and a full canopy of trees completely decked out with foliage, but in reality, the trees were barely budding or not budding at all, there would have been no leaves yet—the deciduous leaves in western New York come out all at once in mid to late May.
Now, Maurine, as you know well, I grew up on a wooded farm in Missouri, 220 acres of woods and meadows and streams and fields. In the early spring, long before the forest buds would emerge as leaves, we had beautiful blossoms, the dogwood, the redbuds, the wild cherry. We could look out from our house on the hill and see these beautiful blossoms like fireworks exploding all over our wooded acres.
And so it would have been for Joseph in the woods on his family’s farm. No leaves. No or very few buds, but the hophornbeam, the cherry, the elm, the beech and the shagbark hickory blossoms could have been plentiful! The cherry blossoms which are bright white and sometimes tinged in pink would have been at the top of the canopy—perhaps 100 feet above the forest floor.
The shagbark hickory has a unique blossom with a crimson red outside and spring green inside. The elms have white with beautiful red accents. The hophornbeams (or they are called ironwoods) have clusters of blossoms in the form of hops, looking something like an upside-down ice cream cone. So, even though there were no leaves in the early spring, Joseph would have come into a beautiful forest, under a canopy of vibrant blossoms, each signifying a new beginning—the hope of a newness of life. It was a glorious scene, but soon to be made glorious beyond description by the Visitors from on high.
Joseph went to a place he had previously designed to go to. He wanted to be away from where he could be seen. Stafford Road ran right through their farm. There would have been standing water in the low parts of the grove, so he certainly is not going to kneel in that area. He’s likely to go to a higher point of ground, far enough back from the road and fields of the farm that he will be quite alone. He says he went to a place where he had left his axe in a stump the previous day of work.
He says the most curious thing in one account, that “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.” Clearly, the pattern in the Smith home was for the father or the mother to pray.
As he opened his mouth, he heard a stick crack from behind him, then as the sound of footsteps coming toward him. He sprang to his feet to see who was there. Thick darkness surrounded Joseph and he was filled with fear and inappropriate images, and his tongue grew thick and clave to the roof of his mouth so that he could not speak. He felt like he was doomed to utter destruction. Joseph was under attack from Satan himself.
“…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.” (JS-History 1: 16)
There is no question that Satan knew who Joseph was. He looked like a young, 14-year-old inconsequential farm boy from a poor family, but here was the great and mighty prophet Joseph, the fore-ordained head of the dispensation of the fulness of times—and Satan was determined to destroy him before Joseph saw the Lord and was given his mission in mortality.
I do love the word that pierced the veil and opened this great dispensation. It was simply, “Joseph!” In so many grand spiritual visions and visitations, the supplicant is called by name and hearing your name seems to dispel all fear. “Joseph, This is my Beloved Son! Hear Him!”
Now, there are four primary accounts of the First Vision and five secondary accounts of people who recorded what they heard Joseph say. We’ll be quoting a bit from all of them.
The Father introduced Jesus Christ and then gave instructions not only for Joseph, but for all in this dispensation to “Hear Him!” We are all to hearken to the voice of Jesus Christ and truly Hear Him!
I love the first words that Jesus said to Joseph, “Joseph, my son, thy sins are forgiven thee. Go thy way, walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments. Behold, I am the Lord of glory. I was crucified for the world, that all those who believe on my name may have eternal life.”
Now, the Lord had seen to the forgiveness of Joseph’s sins and He had assured Joseph of the welfare of his eternal soul.
Jesus said of the current religious setting, “Behold, the world lieth in sin at this time, and none doeth good, no, not one. They have turned aside from the gospel and keep not my commandments. They draw near to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me.” (1832 Account)
Jesus also “said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “…they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
20 He again forbade me to join with any of them. (JS-History 1:19,20)
So, Joseph now had the answers to his three questions.
Now, I have a question: Do we have a full record of the First Vision? Are we getting a clear picture of all that took place that spring day in 1820? Is there more?
Maurine, I think the 16 words that have nearly driven me mad from the 1838 account are these:
“…and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.” (JS-History 1: 20)
There is the main part of the vision. There is the depth and the breadth and the width of this grand theophany!
Now, many have cried out in criticism of Joseph that we have four primary source accounts—those accounts that were either written by or dictated by Joseph himself—of the First Vision, each of which is a little different from the other, and five secondary source accounts—those accounts given by contemporaries of the Prophet Joseph, who heard him talk about it and wrote it down.
I say, “Oh! I wish we had five or ten more accounts of the First Vision! I’m hungry to learn everything I can about this most important event since the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I hope with all my heart that someday other accounts will come forth from people’s attics, from antique letters from a paper tucked into an old family Bible. I would be thrilled to learn more.
As we said at the beginning of the podcast, Scot, Joseph was to become the witness of Jesus Christ for the whole world in this last dispensation. He saw Him, he saw Heavenly Father, and Joseph boldly testified of this for all the world to hear. And I, too, know that there is so much more Joseph didn’t share about the First Vision. Yet, we do see a pattern from the great heads of dispensations that they are shown in vision the history of the world from the beginning to the ending thereof. They are shown worlds without end. They are shown every inhabitant of the earth who has lived, is living or will ever live upon the earth. They are shown the great plan of salvation, including the Grand Council in heaven. They are show the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And they are shown much, much more! Do you think Joseph was shown less than the other heads of dispensations? We don’t know, of course, but the pattern is clear. And can you see why it is so important, then, that we have our witness and testimony of the Prophet Joseph?
One of our favorite moments in teaching institute class was getting to the First Vision and then seeing what some of the things are that we learn from this experience of the Prophet Joseph. As students raised their hands, it was surprising that there answers went on and on and filled the blackboard. Let’s review some of those things now. Oh, before we do, I am going to run a beautiful photo essay about the Sacred Grove and the First Vision this week on Meridian Magazine. You can come and see it starting on Monday, at: latterdaysaintmag.com I’ll show you some angles and scenes you will have never seen before.
Okay, so we learn that God our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ hear us when we pray and they answer our prayers!
We learn that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are separate and distinct beings with glorified and perfect bodies of flesh and bones.
We learn that they are not only glorious beyond description but they exactly resemble each other in features and likeness.
We know of the reality of Satan. We know that he is an actual being and that he can exercise great negative and destructive power and that he will stop at nothing to destroy the work of God.
We learn that God’s power is greater than that of Satan. We see that when that pillar of light came, Joseph was immediately freed from that destructive force and was filled with joy.
We learn that we are to Hear Him! That we are to listen to the words of Jesus Christ and heed them in every particular.
We know that none of the churches then on the earth was true and that their creeds were false.
We know that Joseph Smith was the chosen instrument to bring back the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ back to the earth in these latter days.
We know that many angels attended Joseph in the vision. (1835 Account)
We know that the promise of James is true, that we can ask of God our questions and he will give liberally in response.
We know that we can be forgiven of our sins. That is very comforting.
We know that God still speaks in our day—that His voice did not end at the end of the Bible.
We learn that simple faith is productive, that it really works.
And with that we learn that at the darkest moment, when it seems like all is lost or we are lost, there is that pillar of light that comes and saves us.
Of course, there are numerous other lessons but I can’t help but conclude with my testimony of Joseph Smith and the First Vision and a pattern that President Nelson teaches us.
I have been going to the Sacred Grove since 1969—more than 50 years. I have carefully studied all the accounts, I have prayed and studied and pondered and fasted about the First Vision. I have read everything I can about Joseph Smith since I was a teenager. I have my own witness that Joseph saw God the Eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ and that he, Joseph, was called to be the mighty head of the dispensation of the fulness of times. This I absolutely know to be true. I will continue to teach and testify of the Prophet Joseph all my days. Joseph said: “I am going to inquire after God, for I want you all to know Him, and to be familiar with Him. … You will then know that I am His servant; for I speak as one having authority.” (History of the Church 6:305.)
Who was the God that Joseph found in that Sacred Grove? One who would refresh and renew and revitalize the failing hearts of so many. It was the God of love. In fact Joseph said, “My soul was filled with love, and for many days I could rejoice with great joy.” (1832 account)
I love your love for the Prophet Joseph—in fact, I have to tell you listeners that when Scot asked me to marry him, he took me to Temple Square and he was leaning against the statue of Joseph Smith and I was leaning against Hyrum Smith. This was truth in advertising.
President Russell M. Nelson taught:
“Brothers and sisters, how can we become the men and women—the Christlike servants—the Lord needs us to be? How can we find answers to questions that perplex us? If Joseph Smith’s transcendent experience in the Sacred Grove teaches us anything, it is that the heavens are open and that God speaks to His children.
“The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God, the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father. He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation.
President Nelson continues, “In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.
Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation.”
“Does God really want to speak to you? Yes!” (Nelson, Russell M., Revelation for the Church, Revelation for our Lives, General Conference, April 2018)
That’s all for today. Oh! How we have loved being with you. Thanks for listening and please share the podcast with your family and friends. Invite them to go to: latterdaysaintmag.com/podcast that’s latterdaysaintmag.com/podcast. You can also find the transcripts there. Next week the podcast will cover Doctrine and Covenants, Section 2 and Joseph Smith History 1, verses 27-65 and lesson is entitled: “The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn to Their Fathers”
As always, thanks to Paul Cardall for the beautiful music that accompanies this podcast and thanks to our producer, Michaela Proctor Hutchins. Have a wonderful week and see you next time.