Thursday, February 21, 2019

President Joseph Fielding Smith on worshiping God

Joseph Fielding Smith (1876-1972) was the son of Joseph F. Smith, 6th president of the Church, and grandson of Hyrum Smith, brother of the Prophet Joseph. He was called as an apostle in 1910, and served as the 10th president of the Church from 1970 until his death in 1972 at age 95.
"Our responsibility in the Church is to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, and this we are seeking to do with all our heart, might, and mind. Jesus said: 'Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.' (Matt. 4:10.)
"We believe that worship is far more than prayer and preaching and gospel performance. The supreme act of worship is to keep the commandments, to follow in the footsteps of the Son of God, to do ever those things that please him. It is one thing to give lip service to the Lord; it is quite another to respect and honor his will by following the example he has set for us.
"Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the great Exemplar. Our mission is to pattern our lives after him and do the things he wants us to do."
- Joseph Fielding Smith, "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth," General Conference October 1971
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

What does it mean to worship something or someone? Does it mean to hold it in high regard, to speak of it quietly and reverently, to sing about it and respect it and pray to it? Yes, all of that, but much more, as President Smith points out. Real worship leads to real obedience:

As we come to recognize God as our Father and as our guide and source of help, we will worship through obedience and through discipleship. Our daily actions will demonstrate our feelings of devotion and respect. That is the key to honoring God. As we strive to follow the teachings and example of the Savior, we discover that "Our mission is to pattern our lives after him and do the things he wants us to do."

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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