Wednesday, December 26, 2018

President Joseph Smith on living lives of 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.
“When I contemplate the rapidity with which the great and glorious day of the coming of the Son of Man advances, when He shall come to receive His Saints unto Himself, where they shall dwell in His presence, and be crowned with glory and immortality; when I consider that soon the heavens are to be shaken, and the earth tremble and reel to and fro; and that the heavens are to be unfolded as a scroll when it is rolled up; and that every mountain and island are to flee away, I cry out in my heart, What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness! [See 2 Peter 3:11.]”
- Joseph Smith, from a letter from Joseph Smith to Moses Nickerson, Nov. 19, 1833, Kirtland, Ohio; see History of the Church 1:442

In order to act as the agent of God in the modern restoration of truth, Joseph Smith was given many visions, tutored from on high, and helped to understand the work and purposes of God on a scale that perhaps few in the world's history have been granted. It is perhaps out of that understanding that this statement comes. While we assume that not even Joseph knew the specific details of when the Savior would come again (see Matthew 24:36), he certainly knew enough about the scope and seriousness of the events of the last days to recognize the need for our urgent preparation:

Perhaps the need for us to be actively prepared, to focus on "all holy conversation and godliness," is less a matter of timing than it is of urgency to participate actively and boldly in the events of our mortal experience. In the midst of a world filled with confusion and calamity, we must become islands of holiness. His disciples should be beacons of lights to the world. Our faith will give us the courage to persevere in spite of whatever comes to us.

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

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