Monday, February 1, 2016

Joseph Smith on personal spiritual growth

Joseph Smith had been given the apostolic authority when the Church of Jesus Christ was organized on April 6, 1830 and he was designated the first president of the church at age 24. He was martyred in 1844 at age 38.
"A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beward of; becaust the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God. How much more dignified and noble are the thoughts of God, than the vain imaginations of the human heart! ...
"Let honesty, and sobriety, and candor, and solemnity, and virtue, and pureness, and meekness, and simplicity crown our heads in every place; and in fine, become as little children, without malice, guile or hypocrisy.
"And now, brethren, after your tribulations, if you do these things, and exercise fervent prayer and faith in the sight of God always, He shall give unto you knowledge by His Holy Spirit, yea by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost." [See D&C 121:26]
- Joseph Smith, from a letter to Edward Partridge and the Church, Mar. 20, 1839, Liberty Jail, Liberty, Missouri; see History of the Church, 3:295–96; or Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 137

Joseph Smith had an understanding of the nature of man, and his eternal possibilities, that few can equal. He had been schooled by divine tutors and knew what it meant to "stretch as high as the utmost heaven." But the reminder is that it requires "time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts" to more fully comprehend the things of God. It is well to consider if we are giving the effort that would bring the desired result.

The list of virtues in the second paragraph that qualify us to receive knowledge from the Holy Spirit is impressive and worth pondering: honesty, sobriety, candor, solemnity, virtue, pureness, meekness, and simplicity — and absence of malice, guile, and hypocrisy — along with fervent prayer and faith! It's a clear but challenging formula.

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