Saturday, December 23, 2017

President Joseph Smith on God's call to obedience and holiness

Joseph Smith (December 23, 1805-June 27, 1844) was 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.
"The commandments of our Lord, we hope are constantly revolving in your hearts, teaching you, not only His will in proclaiming His Gospel, but His meekness and perfect walk before all, even in those times of severe persecutions and abuse which were heaped upon Him by a wicked and adulterous generation. Remember, brethren, that He has called you unto holiness; and need we say, to be like Him in purity? How wise, how holy; how chaste, and how perfect, then, you ought to conduct yourselves in His sight; and remember, too, that His eyes are continually upon you.”
- Joseph Smith, “The Elders of the Church in Kirtland, to Their Brethren Abroad,” Jan. 22, 1834; published in Evening and Morning Star, Mar. 1834, p. 142; see also History of the Church, 2:13

It's a beautiful concept to have the commandments of the Lord "constantly revolving in your hearts" to be teaching and guiding us—not only guidance for how to act, but perhaps more importantly, how to be as we strive to follow "His meekness and perfect walk before all." Jesus maintained serenity and purity of heart, even in the midst of challenges, persecutions, criticisms, and abuse. As we struggle with our present circumstances, having Gospel precepts firmly and actively in our minds and hearts will bless us more than we know.

So we are "called" by God "to be like Him" in purity and holiness. He longs for us to be wise, holy, chaste, and yes, perfect in our behavior and attitudes. On another occasion, as Joseph contemplated the urgency of the times in the last days, he was led to reflect with the ancient apostle Peter, "what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness" (2 Peter 3:11). That is a beautiful reminder and invitation from the Prophet of the Restoration!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2017)

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