Friday, July 18, 2014

Joseph F. Smith 1913: Part 2: A Testimony of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham

In an earlier post I discussed President Joseph F. Smith's letter to Isaac Russell. That same month President Smith published the following in the Church's Improvement Era Magazine:

The Latter- day Saints maintain that while there was some difference between the methods of translation used by the prophet in the translation of the Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon ; that while he applied his own mind as far as he could, in all his work, (and his mind expanded in intelligence as he grew in age and experience,) yet in all his work he was divinely inspired— in his translations, his revelations, and his wonderful personal direction in the establishment of the work of God known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, "the marvelous work and a wonder" predicted by the ancient prophets that should be founded upon the earth in the latter days.

 Men may not believe it. but nevertheless we testify to these truths. They did not believe that Jesus was the Christ— he was repudiated by his own generation, unto whom he was a sign calling to repentance. He said:

“The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon: and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here."— Luke 11:31.

As they did not believe in the divinity of the Christ, so also men repudiate the divine inspiration of the Prophet Joseph, who is a true witness of Jesus. But it is the testimony of the Latter- day Saints that Joseph Smith is an inspired prophet sent of God with the true message of salvation to the sons of men ; that the work he did was inspired ; that the Church which he was instrumental in founding is the Church of God, and that the doctrines which he taught are the restored, plain, and simple principles of the gospel taught by the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of all mankind. We invite all men, in all the earth, to investigate, to repent of their sins, and to be baptized by those who have received divine authority, thus submitting their lives to the saving ordinances of the gospel, and the unfailing promise is that they shall receive the Holy Ghost to be their surpassing daily light and joy, and their eternal guide and comfort.

Not only do we testify that Joseph Smith was inspired when he gave to the world the Pearl of Great Price, but we declare that it was by the inspiration and power of God that he translated the Book of Mormon, organized the Church of Christ, and gave mankind the precious revelations contained in the Doctrine and Covenants; and it is our firm belief that scientific investigation and discovery will confirm our testimony, rather than weaken or repudiate it. 

[Joseph F. Smith, “Joseph Smith, Jr., as a Translator," Improvement Era 16/4 (February 1913): 378-80].

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