Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Elder Neil L. Andersen on having a testimony of Joseph Smith

Elder Neil L. Andersen (born August 9, 1951) served as a Seventy beginning in 1993, and was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles in 2009.
"On his first visit to the Prophet Joseph Smith at age 17, an angel called Joseph by name and told him that he, Moroni, was a messenger sent from the presence of God and that God had a work for him to do. Imagine what Joseph must have thought when the angel then told him that his name would 'be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues.' (JS-H 1:33.) Perhaps the shock in Joseph’s eyes caused Moroni to repeat again that both good and evil would be spoken of him among all people. (See JS-H 1:29–46.)
"The good spoken of Joseph Smith came slowly; the evil speaking began immediately. Joseph wrote, 'How very strange it was that an obscure boy … should be thought … of sufficient importance to attract … the most bitter persecution.' (JS-H 1:23.)
"While love for Joseph grew, so also did hostility. At the age of 38, he was murdered by a mob of 150 men with painted faces. (See D&C 135:1.) While the Prophet’s life abruptly ended, the good and evil spoken of Joseph was just beginning....
"Why does the Lord allow the evil speaking to chase after the good? One reason is that opposition against the things of God sends seekers of truth to their knees for answers.
"Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration. His spiritual work began with the appearance of the Father and the Son, followed by numerous heavenly visitations. He was the instrument in God’s hands in bringing forth sacred scripture, lost doctrine, and the restoration of the priesthood. The importance of Joseph’s work requires more than intellectual consideration; it requires that we, like Joseph, 'ask of God.' (James 1:5.) Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God."
- Neil L. Andersen, "Joseph Smith," General Conference October 2014
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

When Joseph's life abruptly ended at the age of 38 (174 years ago today), opinions of his life and contribution were already divided and pronounced. The prophecy that Joseph Smith's name would be known "for good and evil among all nations" is perhaps more true and fulfilled in our day than ever before, as the proliferation of accessible information via the Internet now provides increased access to arguments on both sides. In this conference talk, Elder Andersen considers that divide, and encourages all to seek for true understanding of the Prophet's mission through spiritual confirmation:

The testimony of the prophets is that God is eager to lead us to truth and to confirm our path to happiness. If we add spiritual searching to our intellectual considerations, as Elder Andersen testifies, we will surely receive that witness.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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