Saturday, June 28, 2014

Remembering Joseph

In the opening chapter of the book of Exodus an interesting statement is made "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph." Just giving some background to this story, the Joseph mentioned was the 11th son of Jacob (also known as Israel). He was sold into Egypt by his brothers due to their jealousy over his preferred status by his father, as well as his divine gift of seership, or his ability to to see into and reveal the future. Later they were able to reconcile, and Joseph was able to save his family's life in Egypt and preserve them from famine.

For those who believe in the record of ancient scripture known to the world as "The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ" (as I do), we know that not all the sayings of Joseph are recorded in the Bible. Thankfully, Lehi was able to leave some of them behind in the Book of Mormon. From this record we learn that Joseph was able to see the day when a descendant of his would do great and mighty works. Here is what he says:

"Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.

And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.

And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.

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."

In plain and simple language Joseph the Seer tells that another like unto himself will come in the latter-days, that he will bring the House of Israel to remember the covenants that God made anciently with their forefathers, that he would be the Moses of his generation, and that his name will be Joseph.

This person spoken of is the Prophet Joseph Smith. This mighty prophet in less than 20 years brought forth 3 volumes of scripture, recorded many revelations, built temples, and restored the fullness of the gospel to the Earth. Jesus Christ himself excepted, no man did greater work and no man deserves more reverence, the Savior himself excepted.

However, as the Pharaoh of Egypt, most members of the church "Know not Joseph". The average church member has not studied his life in detail, know nothing of his original teachings, and ignore his warnings. He is hardly mentioned in the teachings of modern authorities. His name is hardly mentioned in testimony meetings. Worse than this, they mark other men who have not done any where near the caliber of work he did as his equal. Disgusting.

No man is Joseph's equal. True, some men hold the same office, but there are not his equal. Those who believe that would have to say that Caiphas was Moses' equal.

In two sections the Lord makes Joseph's role to us clear : "This generation (you and I) shall have my word through you" (D&C 5:10) and "thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name’s glory" (D&C 21:4-6)
Those scriptures apply to the Prophet Joseph, and to him alone. Those who apply them to anyone else are taking scripture out of context and do not understand the Prophet or his mission.

For those persons who have forgotten Joseph, may I invite you to learn more of the mighty Prophet of the Restoration. All members should treat Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (or Words of Joseph Smith, if you can find it) as next to scripture. All should have a copy and study it regularly along with the scriptures as part of their scripture study. Also, learn all you can about his life. There are many good books available, but I recommend Joseph Smith : The Choice Seer by Joseph Fielding McConkie/Robert Millet and Joseph Smith the Prophet by Truman G. Madsen for beginners.

May I close with a word of testimony. If I am sure of anything, I am sure that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, and the Joseph Smith was and is his prophet. One can not truly say that he truly knows one and deny the other. Not only was Joseph Smith a prophet, but he was the greatest of the prophets. No man has or will do a greater work than he, Jesus of Nazareth himself excepted.


  1. Thanks for your testimony Tarik. I too know that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God, chosen specially to restore the truth in this time.
    I was initially skeptical of your reading of D&C 21, but after perusing the verses I think your explanation is clear and accurate. I would just add that I think some of the same promises are extended to all prophets in D&C 1:37-38, revealed over a year later, and that while we revere Joseph, there cannot be any doubt that the living prophet speaks the word of God.

  2. Tarik, do you realize that you effectively compared Thomas S. Monson to Caiphas? I agree that Joseph was the greatest, and I am quite sure that any of the subsequent prophets would agree, but to say that comparing David O. McKay to Joseph is like comparing Caiphas to Moses - that's a stretch.

    I love your recommendation to study Joseph's words as if they were scripture, and I agree that many in the church (in the world, for that matter) do not give him and his teachings the reverence they deserve.