Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Remembering Joseph - on June 27, 167 Years after his martyrdom

"The world must deal with the question of Joseph Smith. Was he a prophet? Did he see the Father and the Son? Was he commissioned of God? Is his testimony true? .... The questions Joseph Smith raises, and which continue to press our spirits, are no less numbered and no less important that they were when Joseph was alive. ...." from the Introduction in "Remembering Joseph: Personal Recollections of Those Who Knew the Prophet Joseph Smith" collected by Mark L. McConkie.

On June 27 - we should pause in our busy days to reflect on the horrific events that occurred on that day 167 years ago. That day - a prophet of God and his brother were murdered, and consequently sealed their testimonies with their blood. "...Henceforward their names will be classed among the martyrs of religion; and the reader in every nation will be reminded that the book of Mormon and this book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, cost the best blood of the nineteenth century to bring them forth for the salvation of a ruined world; .... They lived for glory; they died for glory; and glory is their eternal reward. From age to age shall their names go down to posterity as gems for the sanctified." D&C 135: 6 (John Taylor)

Not a new book, Remembering Joseph was published in 2003, and like many other good books like it, is currently out of print. Those who aquire a copy will be fortunate, and will want to hang onto it, as the real treasure it is.

"The questions Joseph Smith raises, and which continue to press our spirits, are no less numbered and no less important than they were when Joseph was alive." Introduction of Remembering Joseph. The testimonies assembled therein contain answers ..... answers provided chiefly by Joseph's family, friends and associates. "Who better to assess Joseph Smith and his ministry and mission than those who knew him well? .... Those who sat at his table, dined in his hall, slept on his floor, worked in his fields at his side, walked thousands of miles in his company, rode horses, carriages and trains as a companion; these are they who schooled with im, endured poverty and persecution with him, bult temples an cities at his side, raised children with his, and with him - saw children born and loved ones die. They knew hi swife and children. These are the testimonies of those who heard him teach and preach, who talked with ihm of things great and small, and who watched as he mingled and ministered. .... " from the book.

"His countenance was ever mild, affable, beaming with intelligence and benevolence; mingled with a look of interest and an unconscious smile, or cheerfulness, and entirely free from all restraint, or affectiation of gravity; and there was somthing connected with the serene and steady penetrating glance of his ee, as if he would penetrate the deepest abyss of the human heart, gaze into etenrity, penetrate the heavens, and comprehend all world."

So recorded Parly P. Pratt of his impressions of hte Prophet Joseph Smith. So, too, did countless other individuals whose lives were touched by Joseph's life and death - record their thought, feelings, and experiences with the Prophet.

Author Mark L. McConkie has compiled hundreds of personal accounts of encounters with Joseph Smith in this unique biography. Remembering Joseph draws on more than 800 sources, amny of them previously unpublished original diaries and journal, to paint a picutre of the Prophet's character, his temperament, his physical appearance, his spiritual stature, adn many of his experiences. Organized by topic for easy reference, the book is a treasure trove of quotations that reveal Joseph at work and at aplay, as a father and a son, as a boy and as a prophet of God.
Many of the individuals in the book are familiar - family and friends of Joseph - and many of hte events described are familiar as well, but many more are from unknown people whose simple accounts of Joseph blessing a child, stopping by a house for dinner, or teaching the precious truths of the gospel bear powerful wintnessof the nature and character of the Prophet.

The book also includes a searchable companion CD-ROM with thousands more stories, quotes and memories of the first prophet of the Restoration.

Who is Mark L. McConkie?

Mark is also the editor or author of Doctrines of the Restoration: Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie; The Father of the Prophet; Joseph Smith and the First Vision; and Wit and Wisdom from the Early Brethren. He received his master's degree in public administration from BYU and a doctorated in the same field from hte University of Georgia. He served as the resident dean of the Graduate School of Public Affairs at he University of Colorado. ... He has lectured internationally and has published many articles in professional and scholarly journals. Full and active member of the Church and currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

again from the book ... "Critics will claim that the very closeness of these people to Joseph disqualifies them from bearing an objective witness. But where is the objectivity of Peter, James or John with regard to Jesus? They were the more qualified to testify of Him precisely because they knew Him as well as they did. ... It is the resounding testimony of the hundreds cited [in Remembering Joseph] that Joseph was divinely appointed, and they speak from the strength of being expert witnesses. the Holy Ghost, they repeatedly certify, gave them testimony of Joseph Smith, testimony that is strengthened and emboldened by their personal interactions with the Prophet..
The sheer weight of these testimonies demands a hearing. ..... Even the doubter should be impelled to at least hope that the frequent and compelling testimony of these people is true, for it brings with it - so much promise."  - Mark McConkie

"I feel like shouting HALLELUJAH all the time, when I think that I ever knew Joseph Smith the Prophet." - Brigham Young