Our blessed state is borne out of sacrifice, persecution, and testimony—all foreordained before the foundation of the world. Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines foreordination as "a previous ordination or appointment. To the Prophet Jeremiah the Lord explained, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations" Jeremiah Lehi picture , to his son Joseph, prophesied of another Joseph that would bring salvation to his people: "But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins.
And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation" 2 Nephi , And so it was, December 23, , after 1, years of confusion, and spiritual darkness, Lehi's prophecy begins to unfold with the birth of Joseph Smith, the son of Joseph Smith, Sr. Like so many of the great ones appointed before the foundation of the world, Joseph Smith began the fulfillment of his divine appointment.
Wilford Woodruff testifies picture : "I believe that God Almighty reserved a certain class of men to carry on his work. They have been born into the world in this generation. I believe this was the case with Joseph Smith. I believe he was ordained to this work before he tabernacled in the flesh. He was a literal descendant of Joseph who was sold into Egypt, and the Lord called him and ordained him. He gave unto him the keys of the kingdom. Brigham Young stated picture : "It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he, Joseph Smith, should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God" Discourses of Brigham Young, ch.
Brigham Young further confirmed Lehi's prophesy of Joseph's divine appointment flowing through the lineage of Lehi's son, Joseph: "The Lord had his eyes upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father's father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man. He was foreordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation" Discourses of Brigham Young, ch. Like the prophets of his own bloodline, Joseph's foreordination did not exclude suffering, persecution, or tribulation.
For these were to become his constant companion, shadowing him throughout his remaining life picture. Speaking to the prophet during his darkest moments, the Lord comforted him. My presentation today will focus on the chosen, the foreordained prophet rising out of adversity and affliction, being taught from on high, enduring well, and triumphantly establishing the Lord's Church. Preparation and training were on the early agenda. Life's trials were seen early in Joseph's boyhood years.
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Adversity was his schoolmaster and affliction was his curriculum. At the age of eight, Joseph, with all his brothers and sisters, suffered the terrible carnage of a typhoid epidemic that claimed the lives of many. He witnessed his oldest sister, Sophronia, pass through the shadows of death, be abandoned by the doctors as hopeless, but eventually be restored to full health through the pleadings to the Lord by his faithful parents.
At age 18 he suffered the death of his brother Alvin. Later in his life he experienced the loss of six of his eleven children.
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His own terrible sufferings with osteomyelitis in his leg at the early age of seven is a testimony of his character, maturity, and faith in God. It is hard to imagine any boy, or man for that matter, willing to face such excruciating suffering with the courage and dignity he displayed. Pratt made the familiar declaration: "Dignity and majesty have I seen but once, at it stood in chains, at midnight, in a dungeon, in an obscure village of Missouri" Pratt, Parley P.
Pratt, p. Perhaps the reason that Elder Pratt could only attest to such dignity and majesty once is because he was not present when a seven-year-old boy put his faith in God and his life in the strong but comforting arms of his father. These experiences undoubtedly strengthened him, tested him, and prepared him for what lay ahead--his greatest work and his greatest trials. There were no religious scholars to teach Joseph the true doctrines and principles of the gospel. The most prestigious seminaries, the most renowned scholars had nothing to teach him.
Thankfully, Joseph did not need to rely upon the learning and traditions of man. The administration of angels was not a new privilege to those in the service of the Lord. And, like times of old, the heavens were opened to Joseph and angels descended. The veil was pierced, heaven and earth were brought together and angels ministered. Thus line upon line, precept upon precept, Joseph was taught.
With this vision of the Father and the Son, Joseph already knew more about the personality and attributes of God than any man on earth. Joseph understood of the personal nature of the godhead, their separateness, and that he was literally created in their image and likeness. Joseph, at fourteen, was already a religious scholar, unmatched by any. And with that vision, the restoration was started and the persecutions began.
Three years subsequent to his first vision picture the Angel Moroni appeared to him four times in just twenty-four hours. In addition to the revealed knowledge Joseph had already obtained about the nature of the Godhead and his upcoming mission to restore the gospel, in these four visits alone the Angel taught him: A book deposited in the hill called Cumorah was written upon gold plates and contained the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
Joseph would be the instrument in bringing forth this book for the salvation of mankind. The day would come that the earth would burn as an oven and the wicked would burn as stubble as contained in the book of Malichi. The priesthood would be revealed by the hand of Elijah. There would be a turning of the hearts of the children to the fathers and the fathers to the children.
Obedience and faithfulness was his course of study during the four years visiting the hillside, viewing the plates, and being further instructed by the Angel Moroni. Four more years of testing and proving. Indeed when Joseph received the plates on that memorable day of September 22, , he had been taught, tried, and tested—more revelation, more heavenly messengers, and more persecution.
He had proven to the Lord that he was the man. The intensity and frequency of the persecution did not slow the work. The ministering of angels was proliferating, and the circle of participants was expanding.
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In summary, the Father and Son appeared to Joseph. The Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph in his bedroom in And then he appeared again, and then again. And then he appeared to him the next day at the stone fence in the orchard. I have a posterity of grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
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The hand of God was so abundantly manifested in the life of Wilford Woodruff, that those who read this book, it is sincerely believed, will find it both faith-promoting and instructive. The book is given to the world in the sincerest belief that its pages will greatly add a fresh interest to the history of the Church, and reveal the subject of this sketch in such a manner as to make his wonderful labors more highly appreciated by those not intimately acquainted with him.
Arms and Legs Broken. A Fisherman. Elders Visit Richland, N. His First Call. A Prayerful Ambition to Preach. Wilford's First Attendance at Meeting in the Temple. Troubles at Kirtland.
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Again on the Fox Islands. Rockwood in Prison. Woodruff Miraculously Healed. Wilford's Arrival in England. Rapid Increase of the Church in Great Britain. Wilford Renders Aid to the Persecuted Saints. Prophetic Insight. Building of the Temple. Change in Governors of Missouri and Illinois. Address of the Prophet on Constitutional Rights.
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