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by Joseph Fielding McConkie
What are the best evidences that Joseph Smith was a prophet?
The greatest evidences that Joseph Smith was a prophet are found in the doctrines he restored. He was first and foremost a witness of Christ. Joseph Smith was the great revelator of Christ and the doctrines of salvation for our dispensation. As such he taught more truth about the Son of God than any other gospel teacher or writer of whom we have record. The First Vision is by itself sufficient evidence of his prophetic calling. For nearly two thousand years mankind's knowledge of God was confined to hearsay, tradition, and speculation. When Joseph Smith walked out of the Sacred Grove, he had talked to God face to face. Though but fourteen years of age he was the most competent witness of Deity upon the earth. He knew that the heavens were not sealed, that God was not speechless. He knew that God was a personal being in the likeness of man, as was his Beloved Son. He knew also that no church on the face of the earth possessed either the doctrines of salvation or the authority to speak on behalf of the heavens.
Through revelations given to Joseph Smith, we learn a host of truths lost to the rest of the Bible-believing world. We learn that we are all the offspring of God and thus possess the capacity to become as he is. We learn that the resurrection is the inseparable union of body and spirit and that as corporeal beings it is intended that we come forth from the grave with gender to continue our roles as fathers and mothers and husbands and wives. We learn that for those sealed by the power of the priesthood the family unit is eternal. Associated with this doctrine that binds the family from generation to generation, we learn that the principles of the gospel are taught in the world of spirits and, in an illustration of the goodness of God, we learn of the gradation of glories that are associated with the resurrection and the judgment by works.
The Book of Mormon is a powerful evidence of the prophetic office of Joseph Smith. It is intended to be taken to people of every kindred, tongue, and nation. No honest truth-seeker can study its doctrines and fail to conclude that Joseph Smith is indeed a prophet of God. The same is true of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Joseph Smith Translation. In countless ways they evidence that the truths being restored reach well beyond the wisdom of the mortal mind.
Answers To Tough Gospel Questions
Copyright by Deseret Books
(See The Prophet Joseph Smith home page; Response to Criticism home page; Accusatory Questions home page)
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