Joseph Smith Jr. , Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Rod of the Stem of Jesse

Joseph Smith, Jr. was born in Sharon, Vermont, on December 23, 1805.
He translated the Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ. He published this book in March 1830.
He organized The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830.
Joseph and his brother Hyrum were killed by a mob at Carthage Jail, Illinois on June 27, 1844.
Stem of Jesse (Christ) shall judge in righteousness—The knowledge of God shall cover the earth in the Millennium—The Lord shall raise an ensign and gather Israel —Compare 2 Nephi 21.

[1] And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
[2] And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
[3] And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
[4] But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
[5] And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
[6] The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
[7] And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
[8] And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
[9] They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
[10] And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
[11] And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
[12] And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel , and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
[13] The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah , and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
[14] But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab ; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
[15] And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
[16] And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt .
See also 2 Nephi 21.
Audio File: Isaiah_11.mp3

Answers to certain questions on the writings of Isaiah, given by Joseph Smith the Prophet, March 1838. HC 3: 9–10.
1–6, The Stem of Jesse, the rod coming therefrom, and the root of Jesse are identified; 7–10, The scattered remnants of Zion have a right to the priesthood and are called to return to the Lord.
1 Who is the Stem of Jesse spoken of in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th verses of the 11th chapter of Isaiah?
2 Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ.
3 What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?
4 Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power.
5 What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter?
6 Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.
7 Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?
8 He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.
9 What are we to understand by Zion loosing herself from the bands of her neck; 2d verse?
10 We are to understand that the scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord from whence they have fallen; which if they do, the promise of the Lord is that he will speak to them, or give them revelation. See the 6th, 7th, and 8th verses. The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles.
Audio File: DC113.mp3
LDS Church Educational System
Doctine & Covenant Section 113: Isaiah Interpreted
Historical Background
In January 1838 the Prophet Joseph Smith fled from Kirtland to escape the enemies who were seeking his life. He traveled to Far West , Missouri , where he arrived on 14 March 1838. He wrote:
“On the 14th of March, as we were about entering Far West , many of the brethren came out to meet us, who also with open arms welcomed us to their bosoms. We were immediately received under the hospitable roof of Brother George W. Harris, who treated us with all possible kindness, and we refreshed ourselves with much satisfaction, after our long and tedious journey, the brethren bringing in such things as we had need of for our comfort and convenience.
“After [our] being here two or three days, my brother Samuel arrived with his family.” (History of the Church, 3:8–9.)
The Prophet included in his history some answers from the Lord to questions on the book of Isaiah. It is not known who asked the first questions—it may be that the Prophet asked them on his own behalf. The final questions came from Elias Higbee.
Section 113 was first published in the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Notes and Commentary
D&C 113:1–2. Why Was Christ Referred to As the “Stem of Jesse”?
The Hebrew word which was translated into English in the King James Version of the Bible as stem means “the stock which remains in the earth after the tree is cut down” (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 738). Another writer points out that Isaiah 11:1 is Hebrew poetry:
“Literally translated into common English, the poetic couplet here would be:
“‘There shall come forth a branch from the trunk of Jesse:
“‘Indeed, a shoot from his roots shall bear fruit.’
“Since the line of Jesse is the royal line of kings from David’s time on, is there any question as to who this ‘branch’ is?” (Rasmussen, Introduction to the Old Testament, 2:45.)
The branch and the stem are both Christ (see Jeremiah 23:5–6; 33:15–17). These terms refer to Christ’s being of the lineage of King David, the son of Jesse (see Luke 1:32; Acts 2:30; 13:22–23; Romans 1:3).
D&C 113:3–6. Who Are the “Rod” and the “Root” Spoken of by Isaiah?
One might assume “that the ‘rod’ was Joseph Smith, believing that the Prophet, out of modesty, hesitated to name himself directly. None of us would question that Joseph was destined to become a great ‘servant in the hands of Christ’. Moreover, if we assume that he was the ‘rod’ or ‘servant’, observe how very well such an identification fits in with Moroni’s mission of explaining to the latter-day Prophet his part in Isaiah’s great vision of the future. As the ‘rod’ or ‘servant in the hands of Christ’, Joseph Smith fits naturally into Isaiah’s prophecy, and it is easy to understand why Moroni quoted and explained Isaiah 11 to him. [See JS—H 1:40.]
“Despite this reasoning, we still have the uneasy feeling that better proof of Joseph Smith’s being the ‘rod’ should be available. I believe there is better proof and that it is found in Doctrine and Covenants 113:5–6. . . .
“In order to assess this explanation intelligently, let us turn to Isaiah 11:10: [quoted].
“A closer translation of the original may be given here:
“‘And it shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, that standeth for an ensign [sign, signal] of the peoples, unto him shall the nations seek; and his resting place [refuge, residence] shall be glorious.’
“Quite obviously the ‘root of Jesse’ is a man, a descendant of Jesse and Joseph (as the Lord explains), who seems to have a great mission to perform in connection with gathering the remnant of Israel, as explained in Isaiah 11:11–16. [Most likely] the ‘rod’ of verse 1 and the ‘root of Jesse’ of verse 10 refer to the same man, Joseph Smith. If the ‘rod’ in D&C 113:4 is the ‘servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph,’ note that in verse 6 he seems to be more closely defined as a ‘descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.’ (Italics added.) Who better fits the description of the words in italics than Joseph Smith (see D&C 27:12–13; 86:8–11; 110:1–16; 115:18–19). He rightly holds the priesthood and its keys by lineage, and surely no one disputes the fact that the keys of the ‘gathering of my people’ were conferred on him by Moses in the Kirtland Temple , April 3, 1836.” (Sperry, “The Problem of the ‘Rod’ and the ‘Root of Jesse’ in Isaiah 11,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1966, pp. 869, 914–15.)
In certain scriptures Christ is referred to as the “Root of David” (Revelation 5:5; 22:16). According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “This designation signifies that he who was the Son of David was also before David, was pre-eminent above him, and was the root or source from which the great king in Israel gained his kingdom and power” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 657; see also Matthew 22:44–45).
The explanation of Isaiah 11:10 given in Doctrine and Covenants 113 implies that while Christ is the root of David, he is not the root of Jesse mentioned by Isaiah. There are two reasons for this conclusion. First, the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith in verse 2 identifies Christ as the stem of Jesse; he does not identify Christ as the root of Jesse. Second, verse 6 indicates that the root of Jesse is a servant of Christ to whom keys are given “in the last days” to gather Christ’s people.
D&C 113:9–10. The Gathering of Israel
See Notes and Commentary on Doctrine and Covenants 45:64–75; 109:61–67; 110:11.
History of the Church, Vol. 1, Chapters 1-5
Verse 40 is an excerpt of the angel Moroni's visit with Joseph Smith
40 In addition to these, he ( Moroni ) quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come.
Prophecies in the Bible about Joseph Smith
By George A. Horton, Jr., Ensign, Jan 1989
I am sometimes asked if there is any evidence in the Bible that foretells the divine calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I usually reply that the only sure evidence of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s divine calling is a personal witness from the Holy Ghost. Still, there are many references to the Prophet in the Bible that confirm that testimony.
To undertake a meaningful search for such references, we need to keep in mind that the Lord knew many “plain and precious things” would be lost from the Bible (1 Ne. 13:28); therefore, he made provision to restore them. The Prophet Joseph Smith was “raised up” so that the Lord’s words could be “had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe” (Moses 1:41). The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible is a direct fulfillment of that prophecy. (See Bible Dictionary: s.v., Joseph Smith Translation.)
In the King James version of the Bible, for example, only a few individuals (other than Christ) are prophesied of by name. These include Isaac, son of Abraham (see Gen. 17:19); Josiah, a righteous king of Judah (see 1 Kgs. 13:2); Maher-shalal-hash-baz, Isaiah’s son (see Isa. 8:1–3); Cyrus, king of Persia (see Isa. 44:28); and John the Baptist (see Luke 1:13). If we search the Joseph Smith Translation, however, we can add to the list the names of Noah (see JST, Gen. 7:79), Moses (see JST, Gen. 50:29, 34), Aaron (see JST, Gen. 50:35)—and the seer who would arise in the “latter days” and would be called “Joseph … after the name of his father” (JST, Gen. 50:31–33). This seer—obviously Joseph Smith, Jr.—was prophesied of in the original records of Moses. (See 1 Ne. 5:11–14.) Lehi quoted it when he found it on the plates of brass. (See 2 Ne. 3:6–21.)
It should not be surprising to find the Prophet Joseph spoken of in the scriptures. After all, Joseph Smith was called, ordained, and given the keys to begin what Peter called “the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21), and what Paul described as “the dispensation of the fulness of times,” in which God would “gather together in one all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10).
It should not be surprising, either, that Joseph of Egypt, whose posterity was foreordained to take the gospel to all nations, would prophesy of his namesake who would become the great Prophet of the Restoration:
“Thus saith the Lord God of my fathers unto me [Joseph, son of Jacob], A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins. …
“And unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins … to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them in the last days;
“Wherefore the fruit of thy loins shall write, and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written … shall grow together unto the confounding of false doctrines, and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to a knowledge of their fathers in the latter days; and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.
“And out of weakness shall he be made strong, in that day when my work shall go forth among all my people, which shall restore them, who are of the house of Israel , in the last days.
“And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.” (JST, Gen. 50:27, 30–31, 33.)
Those who are familiar with the events of the Restoration can quickly recognize the fulfillment of these prophecies and promises in the person of Joseph Smith, Jr. In fulfilling them, Joseph Smith also helped fulfill the ancient covenant Christ made with Abraham. (See D&C 124:58; D&C 132:30–32; see also Gal. 3:27–29.)
Because many “plain and precious things” were lost from the Bible, it is probable that Ezekiel’s prophecy of the two “sticks” (see Ezek. 37:16–17) is but an echo of the patriarch Joseph’s earlier prophecy (see JST, Gen. 50:31). For more than a century, members of the Church have taught that these two “sticks” represent the Bible (the stick of Judah ) and the Book of Mormon (the stick of Joseph or Ephraim). Recent research has revealed that the word stick refers to a wooden, folding writing tablet (see Ensign, Feb. 1987, pp. 4–13), although the Prophet Joseph interpreted what the sticks represented long before the discoveries of modern research. (See D&C 27:5.)
When we search the scriptures with an eye of faith, we can find many other references to the Prophet Joseph Smith. One of these is found in Isaiah 29. Though the King James Version of the chapter prophesies of Martin Harris’s visit to Professor Charles Anthon, the details are more explicit in the Joseph Smith Translation, where the Prophet Joseph is referred to as “the man who is not learned”:
“Behold, it shall come to pass, that the Lord God shall say unto him to whom he shall deliver the book, Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee.
“And the learned shall say, Bring hither the book and I will read them; and now because of the glory of the world, and to get gain will they say this, and not for the glory of God. And the man shall say, I cannot bring the book for it is sealed. Then shall the learned say, I cannot read it.
“Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say, I am not learned. Then shall the Lord God say unto him, The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee.” (JST, Isa. 29:20–22.)
Critics might argue that the Joseph Smith Translation contains references to Joseph Smith because he himself translated it. But even if we use only the King James Version, we can find references to the latter-day prophet and his connection with the restoration of the gospel. For example, in Isaiah 11:1 we read, “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” (Isa. 11:1.) Later in the same chapter, Isaiah places this prophecy in context, in an account of events leading up to the Second Coming:
“In that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people. …
“And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel , and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isa. 11:10–12.)
Doctrine and Covenants 113 identifies the “Stem of Jesse” as the Lord Jesus Christ (D&C 113:1–2) and the “rod” as “a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power” (D&C 113:3–4). The “root of Jesse,” verses 5 and 6 tell us, is “a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.” [D&C 113:5–6]
Undoubtedly, the terms rod and root, like the term Elias, can be used to designate different people in different situations. Since they are symbols, the terms can also be applied to the same person. It is possible, therefore, that Joseph Smith is both the “rod” and the “root.” Not only was he a descendant of Ephraim, of the house of Joseph, but he was probably a descendant of Jesse, King David’s father, as well. (See the Prophet’s patriarchal blessing as recorded in Archibald F. Bennett, Saviors on Mount Zion, Salt Lake City: Deseret Sunday School Union Board, 1950, p. 68; see also Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrines of the Kingdom, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973, pp. 533–40.)
How is that possible? Elder Joseph Fielding Smith explained that “it is reasonable … that we one and all have come through a mixed relationship, and that the blood of Ephraim … could be in the veins of many of us, likewise the blood of others of the twelve tribes of Israel, and that none of us had come through the ages with clear exclusive descent from father to son through any one of the tribes.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., 5 vols., Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1960, 3:63–64.)
Joseph Smith fulfills this prophecy of the “root” in two ways. First, the Lord told Joseph that the priesthood rightly belonged to him by lineage. (See D&C 86:8–10; see also Joseph Fielding Smith, comp., The Life of Joseph F. Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1969, p. 34.) Second, Joseph was given the “keys of the kingdom” by a succession of heavenly messengers. (See D&C 13:1; D&C 27:5; D&C 110:11–13, 16; D&C 128:20–21.)
With those keys, the Prophet Joseph Smith began the work of gathering the Lord’s elect, as he was commanded to do in Doctrine and Covenants 29:7. This gathering has been carried on by the Prophet Joseph’s successors, each of whom has held the same keys. [D&C 29:7]
Malachi also prophesied of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s role as the Lord’s “forerunner” in the latter days, when he recorded the Lord’s words:
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal. 3:1.)
Four hundred years later, the Apostle Matthew quoted this prophecy, applying it to John the Baptist, who “prepared the way” for the Savior’s first coming in the meridian of time. (See Matt. 11:10.) John the Baptist himself made it clear that he was such a “forerunner” of Christ at His first coming. (See John 1:23.) However, Malachi’s prophecy applies not only to the Lord’s first advent, but also to His second coming. In Malachi 3:2–3, we read:
“Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:
“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” [Mal. 3:2–3]
None of the circumstances Malachi describes specifically applies only to the Lord’s first coming. In a sense, the everlasting covenant itself is the “messenger,” or “forerunner,” of Christ; in Doctrine and Covenants 45:9, the Lord states that “I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world … to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me.” [D&C 45:9]
John the Baptist and Joseph Smith were both conveyors of that covenant. Joseph prepared the way for the Lord’s second coming by receiving the keys and powers of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods and the “fulness of the gospel,” found in the Book of Mormon. (See D&C 20:9.) Through him the holy temple blessings and the saving ordinances of the gospel were restored. Through him, the kingdom of God was restored to the earth, with all the keys, rights, powers, and authority necessary for the salvation of men—never to be taken from the earth again. (See Dan. 2:44.)
Identifying Joseph Smith as the great prophet of the Restoration makes other biblical prophecies relating to his divine calling become clearer. One of these is found in Isaiah 40:3–5, where we read of “the voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
“Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:
“And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” [Isa. 40:3–5]
Here, “the voice of him that crieth” does not refer to John the Baptist in the meridian of time; the context of the chapter deals with happenings that will occur just prior to the Second Coming and the Millennium. Therefore, it is likely that Joseph Smith is “the voice of him that crieth.” Once this is recognized, it becomes easier to understand similar biblical passages, such as Jeremiah 30:21:
“Their nobles shall be of themselves, and their governor shall proceed from the midst of them; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: for who is this that engaged his heart to approach unto me? saith the Lord.” [Jer. 30:21]
Who is this “governor” that will “draw near” the Lord and “approach unto” him? Jeremiah 30:17 tells us that he will come as Israel is returning from her long captivity: “I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion , whom no man seeketh after.” [Jer. 30:17]
It is likely that health refers here to spiritual vigor. Healing probably refers to the healing powers of repentance and baptism. The verse also suggests a return to the covenant promises of Abraham. The “outcasts” are the scattered tribes of Israel (see Isa. 11:12), who have languished for centuries in spiritual bondage but who are now beginning to heed the call of Israel’s missionaries to return to the covenant.
Like many other biblical prophecies, this could have multiple fulfillments. As “governors,” both Ezra and Joseph Smith initiated that return to the promised covenant of old. (See D&C 84:33–34; D&C 110:12; D&C 132:31–32.)
Another biblical prophecy may refer to the Prophet Joseph Smith—John 1:19–25, where we read of the priests’ and Levites’ asking John the Baptist, “Who art thou?
“And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
“And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.
“Then said they unto him, Who art thou? … What sayest thou of thyself?
“He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. …
“And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?”
In the Joseph Smith Translation (John 1:22), John the Baptist’s response is somewhat different:
“They asked him, saying; How then art thou Elias? And he said, I am not that Elias who was to restore all things. And they asked him, saying, Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.” (Italics added.)
The popular interpretation of this verse among Bible scholars is that the “prophet” referred to is Christ—the same “prophet” Moses prophesied of in Deuteronomy 18:15. (See The Bethany Parallel Commentary on the New Testament, Minneapolis, Minn.: Bethany House Publishers, 1983, p. 502.) However, in his answer, John makes it clear that neither he nor Christ is “that prophet.” We can understand these verses better if we keep in mind that Elias is a title that could refer to any number of “restorers” and that Christ, John the Baptist, and Joseph Smith all qualify. (See the Bible Dictionary, s.v., Elias.)
On 12 May 1844, just a few weeks before the death of Joseph Smith, the Prophet taught that he “was chosen [to be] … the last and greatest prophet to lay the foundation of God’s work of the seventh dispensation.” Then he pointed out that the Jews in the meridian of time, apparently aware of prophecies of a forerunner preparing the way of the Lord, “asked John the Baptist if he was Elias or Jesus or that great prophet that was to come.” (The Words of Joseph Smith, comp. and ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, Provo: Brigham Young University Religious Studies Center, 1980, p. 370.) This statement, taken from the journal of George Laub, implies that Joseph taught that he himself was “that prophet” referred to in John 1:21 and 25.
It is reasonable, then, for us to conclude that Joseph Smith is most likely the prophet referred to in these verses. It was he who would “restore all things.” (John 1:22.)
Joseph Smith’s discussion of “that prophet” was part of a larger discussion of Matthew 24. In referring to verse 14—“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”—he explained that the witness would be preached through a man. [Matt. 24:14]
Samuel W. Richards, a close associate of Joseph in Nauvoo, wrote that on 12 May 1844 the Prophet Joseph taught from an old German Bible text that the “kingdom” must be “preached to a man who should be a witness to all people.” (See The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 371.) That same day, George Laub, another close associate, also recorded the Prophet as saying that the Lord would “send … another witness and he shall preach this gospel to all nations.” (Ibid., pp. 369–70.) Both Laub’s and Richards’s accounts seem to indicate that Joseph taught he was this witness “chosen for the last dispensation or Seventh Dispensation” (The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 370.) In another account of the same sermon, the Prophet said, “Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose that I was ordained to this very office.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, p. 365.)
Yet another biblical passage may refer to the Prophet Joseph Smith. In Revelation 14:6–7, the Apostle John wrote:
“I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
“Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” [Rev. 14:6–7]
There is little doubt that John’s vision of “another angel fly[ing] in the midst of heaven” points to the latter days. But evidence suggests that this prophecy may refer not only to Moroni, the angel who revealed to Joseph Smith the sacred Nephite records, but also to other messengers—such as John the Baptist (see D&C 13:1); Peter, James, and John (see D&C 128:20); Moses, Elias, and Elijah (see D&C 110:11–16); Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and “divers angels” (see D&C 128:21) who restored keys and priesthood authority. Each of these messengers helped restore the everlasting gospel to earth.
The Prophet Joseph Smith’s 12 May 1844 sermon links this prophecy with the preceding two and makes it clear that Joseph himself was “a special messenger, ordained, and prepared for that purpose in the last days.” (The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 367.)
More prophecies like these could be cited. (See Isa. 49:1–6; Isa. 52:13–15; Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982, pp. 407–10, 438–40.) Nevertheless, the validity of the divine calling of Joseph Smith rests not on ancient scriptural records, but on the appearance of God the Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to the young Prophet in the spring of 1820.
Following the First Vision, Joseph received keys, power, and authority from a succession of heaven-sent messengers, and those keys and that power and authority have been passed on to his successors. Under that direction, millions of members of the Church, in many nations, receive the blessings of the fulness of the gospel through the divine power of the holy priesthood.
The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith, “This generation shall have my word through you” (D&C 5:10), and “Thou shalt continue in calling upon God in my name, and writing the things which shall be given thee by the Comforter, and expounding all scriptures unto the church” (D&C 24:5). Through the Lord’s chosen seer we have received the Book of Mormon, some missing parts of the Bible, the book of Abraham, and hundreds of latter-day revelations, in addition to the power and authority to make binding covenants that lead to eternal life. Surely we should sing out:
Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!
Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer.
Blessed to open the last dispensation,
Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.
(Hymns, 1985, no. 27.)
Of that man, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “If a person thinks the name of Joseph Smith ought to be found in the Bible spelled out in so many letters, he will search in vain.” (Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:6.) That is true; the Prophet Joseph’s name is not found—at least not in the King James Version. Nevertheless, if we search the scriptures with an eye of faith, we will discover that the Lord truly did foretell the coming of his great latter-day prophet, Joseph Smith.
George A. Horton, Jr., is associate director of the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.
Training from the Old Testament:
Moroni ’s Lessons for a Prophet
By W. Jeffrey Marsh
W. Jeffrey Marsh, “Training from the Old Testament: Moroni ’s Lessons for a Prophet,” Ensign, Aug 1998
Latter-day Saints have a divine commission to further the restoration of the house of Israel .
One hundred seventy-five years ago the Lord sent the angel Moroni to the boy prophet Joseph Smith to further prepare his heart and mind for the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. Within a 24-hour period on 21–22 September 1823, Moroni appeared five times to Joseph (see JS—H 1:29–53). It was the fall equinox; a new season was about to begin on the earth and in Joseph’s life. Moroni ’s instruction on the Hill Cumorah was for Joseph to return the following year to receive “intelligence … respecting what the Lord was going to do, and how and in what manner his kingdom was to be conducted in the last days” (JS—H 1:54). Their meetings continued for the next four years. Moroni ’s guidance and teachings during Joseph’s teenage years were profound. As a result, Joseph never doubted his experiences or flinched in his resolve the rest of his life despite obstacles and intense opposition.
Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith had never raised a prophet. They did not know the future, nor could they have known the trials and persecution that were coming to their family and to the Church their son would help restore. So the Lord sent Moroni to tutor and help prepare the 17-year-old Joseph for his mission. 1 What parents would not be thrilled to learn that an angel was working with their teenage son to prepare him for a mission?
Joseph Smith said that Moroni “called me by name, and said … that God had a work for me to do. … After telling me these things, he commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament” (JS—H 1:33, 36). We might ask, why would Moroni begin Joseph’s training with prophecies from the Old Testament? What is in the Old Testament that could prepare a young person to bear the responsibility encompassed in the Restoration?
Old Testament Relevancy
In many respects, the Old Testament is a blueprint of the events of the latter days. Moroni liberally quoted from it and taught Joseph what the ancient prophets had foreseen about the Restoration. “The building up of Zion is a cause that has interested the people of God in every age,” the Prophet Joseph later declared. “It is a theme upon which prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written and prophesied of this our day; … we are the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day glory; it is left for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward the Latter-day glory, the ‘dispensation of the fulness of times, when God will gather together all things that are in heaven, and all things that are upon the earth.’ ” 2
In his official history, Joseph did not list all of the chapters and verses of the various scriptures quoted by Moroni, but he did list five: part of Malachi 3; Malachi 4; Isaiah 11; Acts 3:22–23; and Joel 2:28–32 (see JS—H 1:36–41 [Mal. 3; Mal. 4; Isa. 11]). He added that Moroni also “quoted many other passages of scripture, and offered many explanations” (JS—H 1:41; emphasis added).
Why would these particular Old Testament passages be important for Joseph Smith to understand?
Malachi 3–4 [Mal. 3–4]
Joseph indicated that Moroni began his instructions by quoting “part of the third chapter of Malachi; and … also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy”(JS—H 1:36).
Malachi 3 begins, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me” (Mal. 3:1). This prophecy has dual application. The Lord said it first had reference to John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the Savior’s first appearance (see Matt. 11:10) and who also was the first angelic messenger to bestow priesthood keys and authority in our dispensation, preparing the way for the Savior’s Second Coming (see D&C 13).
The second part of Malachi’s prophecy has reference to, among other things, another forerunner, a latter-day messenger who was called to prepare the way so that “the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple” (Mal. 3:1). The Prophet Joseph Smith is the latter-day forerunner who prepared the way for the building of temples and the restoration of temple ordinances. The first building the Prophet Joseph Smith dedicated cornerstones for was the temple in Independence , Missouri , on 3 August 1831. He later dedicated the Kirtland Temple on 27 March 1836. The messengers Malachi foresaw have been sent, and the Lord’s work is under way. The ordinances performed today in temples throughout the world are preparing families, both on this side of the veil and in the spirit world, for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Malachi prophesied that at the time of the Lord’s appearance, the sons of Levi would be purified “that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness” (Mal. 3:2–3). The Prophet Joseph explained that purified priesthood bearers will officiate in the temples in righteousness in two ways: (1) by performing temple ordinances in behalf of the dead (see D&C 128:24), and (2) when the Levites offer an acceptable blood sacrifice as part of the “restitution of all things” in this dispensation. 3
Malachi foresaw the great apostasy of the Church in the meridian of time and the Lord’s latter-day call for Israel to come back: “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:7; see also D&C 1:15–17).
Malachi’s prophecy continues, “Will a man rob God? … Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings” (Mal. 3:8). Tithes and offerings were to be implemented in the Lord’s Church in the last days “that there may be meat in mine house” (Mal. 3:10; see also D&C 119). Tithing funds are used to build temples where the essential, eternal ordinances are offered to all. As the Savior described it to the Prophet Joseph Smith, temple blessings are “a supper of the house of the Lord, well prepared, unto which all nations shall be invited” (see D&C 58:8–12).
The prophet Malachi also foresaw people living in the latter days who wondered if their obedience was all in vain, questioning whether it was really worth it to continue to keep the commandments—especially when so many disobedient, proud, and wicked people appeared to be doing so well and even seemed to be “happy,” “set up,” and “delivered” (see Mal. 3:13–15). The Lord’s response is to be patient. A “book of remembrance” is being kept of those who “feared the Lord, and [who] thought upon his name” (Mal. 3:16). The Lord will hold them close to his heart and carry them on his shoulders just as the high priest carried beautiful jewels on his shoulders and on the breastplate with the names of the tribes of Israel inscribed on them (see Ex. 28:9, 12, 15–21, 29). As the ancient high priest carried jewels with him into the Holy of Holies, so will the heavenly high priest, the Savior, carry righteous members of the house of Israel through the veil and back into the presence of God. As Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testified: “He wants us to come home again to His presence. That is His greatest priority” (Church News, 28 Feb. 1998, 10).
The Lord also warned Malachi that the proud and the wicked would be destroyed by fire at the Second Coming (see Mal. 4:1, D&C 29:9–11; D&C 63:34; D&C 133:40–41, 49). They will be left without “root” or “branch” (see Mal. 4:1; D&C 133:62–64, 71–72).
But to those who fear the Lord, Malachi assured, the “Sun of righteousness [shall] arise with healing in his wings” and they shall “grow up as calves in the stall” (Mal. 4:2)—a reference to how the Atonement and the millennial resurrection will both heal and preserve the righteous.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said Moroni quoted the last two verses of Malachi 4 with a little variation from the way it reads in the Bible:
“Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
“And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming” (see JS—H 1:38–39; emphasis added; see also D&C 2:1–3).
In response to Malachi’s prophecy, Christians and Jewish people have looked forward to Elijah’s appearance. Many Jewish families still set a place at the seder table every Passover, longing for his return. And true to Malachi’s prophecy, Elijah did appear at Passover. On 3 April 1836, a Passover day, Elijah appeared with the Savior in the Kirtland Temple and by the laying on of hands gave Joseph Smith the sealing keys of the priesthood. As a result, families may now seek out their ancestors and have the ordinances performed in temples that seal or bind them together. Hearts of the children are being turned to their fathers, and promises made to our ancestors in the premortal life that their descendants would provide these essential ordinances are fulfilled as we extend the blessings of the temple to them. Temple work, the Prophet Joseph Smith declared, “fulfills the mission of Elijah.” 4
With so much emphasis on the restoration of eternal blessings, it is easy to understand why Moroni would choose to begin tutoring Joseph Smith with Malachi’s prophecies.
Isaiah 11 [Isa. 11]
Moroni also quoted Isaiah chapter 11 and said “it was about to be fulfilled” (JS—H 1:40). Isaiah had seen that Jesus Christ—a “stem,” or descendant, of Jesse—would come to the earth and judge in righteousness (see Isa. 11:1–4; D&C 113:1–2). His ministry and teachings would increase until “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).
Isaiah also saw that a great prophet would be raised up in the latter days (see Isa. 11:10; D&C 113:3–6). This prophet would raise an “ensign” (a standard or banner) for all nations to see and to which many people would seek (Isa. 11:10, 12). Isaiah said that when the ensign was raised, the Lord would “set his hand again, the second time to recover” his people (Isa. 11:11). He would assemble the “outcasts of Israel , and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth” (Isa. 11:12).
Joseph Smith is this great prophet of the Restoration, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the ensign raised up to all the world. In a revelation given in 1838, the Lord identified the Prophet Joseph as the one foreseen by Isaiah, “unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days” (D&C 113:6). 5
As prophesied, the Church—the ensign—has been raised in the tops of the mountains and is coming out of obscurity. It waves for all to see (see Isa. 2:2–3; D&C 1:30; D&C 109:72–73). It is the stone “cut out without hands” Daniel saw in vision that “became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (see Dan. 2:34–35; D&C 65:2). Daniel said this kingdom “shall never be destroyed,” “shall not be left to other people,” and “shall stand for ever” (Dan. 2:44).
The spirit of these Old Testament prophecies was captured in Joel H. Johnson’s lyrics to “High on the Mountain Top”:
High on the mountain top
A banner is unfurled.
Ye nations, now look up;
It waves to all the world.
In Deseret’s sweet, peaceful land,
On Zion ’s mount behold it stand!
For God remembers still
His promise made of old
That he on Zion’s hill
Truth’s standard would unfold!
Her light should there attract the gaze
Of all the world in latter days.
His house shall there be reared,
His glory to display,
And people shall be heard
In distant lands to say:
We’ll now go up and serve the Lord,
Obey his truth and learn his word.
For there we shall be taught
The law that will go forth,
With truth and wisdom fraught,
To govern all the earth.
Forever there his ways we’ll tread,
And save ourselves with all our dead.
(Hymns, no. 5)
Acts 3:22–23
Moroni also recounted Acts 3:22–23, in which Peter quoted Deuteronomy 18:15, 19 [Deut. 18:15, 19]. Preceding the words in Acts is a prophecy that in the last days a time of “refreshing” would come from the presence of the Lord (see Acts 3:19). The Father would “send Jesus Christ, … whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:20–21). The First Vision of the Father and the Son to Joseph Smith in the spring of 1820 began the fulfillment of this prophecy (see JS—H 1:15–17). As President Gordon B. Hinckley has testified, “You and I are experiencing the profound and wonderful blessings of the dispensation of the fulness of times. In this day and time there have been restored to the earth all of the principles, powers, blessings, and keys of all previous dispensations.” 6
Moroni taught Joseph about the next two verses, which state that a prophet like Moses would be raised up, that this prophet was to be heard in all things he revealed, and that those who “will not hear that prophet” would be destroyed at the Second Coming (Acts 3:22–23). Joseph Smith was told that “that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when ‘they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,’ but soon would come” (JS—H 1:40). Joseph later learned that this “cutting off” or separation of the wicked and the righteous would occur at the Second Coming. 7
Joel 2:28–32
Moroni also taught a prophecy from Joel that preceding the Second Coming the Lord would pour out his spirit “upon all” and many “wonders” would be shown in the heavens and on the earth (see Joel 2:28–31). Daniel foresaw similar wonders in the latter days and said that “knowledge shall be increased” (see Dan. 10:14; Dan. 12:4).
“I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
“And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit” (Joel 2:28–29). After quoting this passage, Moroni told Joseph “that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be” (see JS—H 1:41; emphasis added).
“To illustrate how meaningful that prophecy was and how it relates to our day,” Elder Joe J. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy has said, “we need to get some perspective of history.” 8 He pointed out that the quickest Adam and Eve could communicate or travel over long distances was by horse. Almost 6,000 years later, the fastest Joseph Smith could communicate or travel was by horse. No progress in travel in almost 6,000 years of history! But beginning with the Restoration, the Lord began to pour out his Spirit and unveil modern inventions that have enabled us to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, “I do not believe for one moment that these discoveries have come by chance, or that they have come because of superior intelligence possessed by men today over those who lived in ages that are past. They have come and are coming because the time is ripe, because the Lord has willed it, and because he has poured out his Spirit on all flesh.” 9 President Howard W. Hunter testified, “The role of technology in [the sacred work of providing ordinances for the deceased] has been accelerated by the Lord himself, who has had a guiding hand in its development and will continue to do so.” 10 It is a marvelous time in the history of the world to be alive.
Cars, planes, telephones, computers, and so forth enable us to do so much more than ever before. But they can also distract us from doing what, eternally, really matters most. Susa Young Gates once asked her father, President Brigham Young, how it would ever be possible to accomplish the great amount of temple work that needed to be done. “He told her there would be many inventions of labor-saving devices, so that our daily duties could be performed in a short time, leaving us more and more time for temple work. The inventions have come, and are still coming, but many simply divert the time gained to other channels, and not for the purpose intended by the Lord.” 11
Joel saw that before the Second Coming there would be blood, fire, wars, and “pillars of smoke.” 12 He also saw the path leading to safety: “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance” (Joel 2:32). Real safety, as observed by Joel, comes to those who are spiritually prepared and who gather with the Saints, wherever they are found (see also D&C 45:56–57).
Other Old Testament Passages
In an 1835 letter to members of the Church, Oliver Cowdery noted that Moroni also taught Joseph Smith passages from Jeremiah 16, 30–31; Isaiah 1–2; Psalms 91:6; 100; 107; 144; and 146:10; and other biblical passages. 13 These particular scriptures point to similar themes: praising the Lord for the latter-day Restoration, temple building, the worldwide missionary effort, and God’s promise to gather Israel .
Jeremiah was living in Jerusalem at the time of its destruction by the Babylonian army (see 1 Ne. 7:14; Hel. 8:20). Moroni quoted Jeremiah’s prophecy that in the latter days “a new covenant” would be established by the Lord “with the house of Israel , and with the house of Judah ” (Jer. 31:31).
“I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
“And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, … saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord” (Jer. 31:33–34; see also Jer. 32:38–39; Jer. 24:7).
The Lord told Jeremiah that he would call for many “fishers” and “hunters” to gather the righteous together (Jer. 16:16). “Fishers” use nets to gather great numbers at one time. “Hunters” gather their prey one at a time. Some of our modern missionaries are serving in “hunter” nations and some are called to serve in “fisher” nations.
In this chapter that Moroni discussed with Joseph, Jeremiah said that the miracles attending the latter-day gathering would be so great and so astonishing that we would exclaim, “The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel … from all the lands whither he had driven them” (see Jer. 16:14–15; see also Jer. 23:7–8). The miracles attending missionary work in our day are truly astounding. In 1980 President Ezra Taft Benson said: “With all my soul I testify that this work will go forward till every land and people have had opportunity to accept our message. Barriers will come down for us to accomplish this mission, and some of us will see this done. Our Heavenly Father will cause conditions in the world to change so that His gospel can penetrate every border.” 14
Jeremiah also prophesied of the Latter-day Saints’ westward trek to their new home in the tops of the mountains (see Jer. 31:6–12). Similarly, Isaiah saw the house of the Lord established in the top of the mountains (see Isa. 2:2–3; cf. Micah 4:1–2). From its headquarters in Salt Lake City , Utah , the Church is now sending ambassadors across the globe to the far corners of the earth, inviting all to learn about the restored gospel (see Isa. 2:3–5; Isa. 18:1–3).
After discussing these and other prophecies in the 1835 letter, Oliver Cowdery wrote, “I have now given you a rehearsal of what was communicated to our brother. … You will understand … that while those glorious things were being rehearsed, the vision was also opened, so that our brother was permitted to see and understand much more full and perfect than I am able to communicate in writing.”
This Is Our Day
The Prophet Joseph Smith said that each time Moroni appeared to him that September night in 1823, he “related the very same things which he had done at his first visit, without the least variation” and then added further instructions (see JS—H 1:45–46). The repetition emphasizes the importance of these prophecies. As Latter-day Saints, we view the Old Testament as uniquely relevant to us, seeing a direct correlation between what many Old Testament prophets foretold and what the Church is now accomplishing. We therefore ought to feel a strong connection with the prophecies of the Old Testament.
As millions upon millions in these last days have discovered for themselves, the Restoration is real. It was foreknown. It came through Joseph Smith. It is the Lord’s work and continues to gather momentum to fulfill his purposes. We live in the favored day when many Old Testament prophecies are being fulfilled relating to the work of the Lord prior to his coming again to the world. This is our day in the history of the kingdom of God on the earth. Ancient prophets foresaw it, the early Saints in this dispensation laid the foundation, and it is now up to us to move the work forward.
As the Prophet Joseph declared, “Truly this is a day long to be remembered by the Saints of the last days,—a day in which the God of heaven has begun to restore the ancient order of His kingdom unto His servants and His people,—a day in which all things are concurring to bring about the completion of the fullness of the Gospel, a fullness of the dispensation of dispensations, even the fullness of times; a day in which God has begun to make manifest and set in order in His Church those things which have been, and those things which the ancient prophets and wise men desired to see but died without beholding them.” 15
1. In a CES symposium presentation, Dan Bachman suggested these additional resources about Joseph Smith’s spiritual education with Moroni :
a. Hyrum L. Andrus, “Education and Early Experiences,” chapter 3 in Joseph Smith, the Man and the Seer (1960).
b. Kent P. Jackson, “The Appearance of Moroni to Joseph Smith,” in Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, eds., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2, Pearl of Great Price (1985), 339–66.
c. Kent P. Jackson, “ Moroni ’s Message to Joseph Smith,” Ensign, Aug. 1990, 12–16.
d. H. Donl Peterson, “ Moroni —Joseph Smith’s Teacher,” in Regional Studies in LDS Church History: New York (1992), 49–70.
e. H. Donl Peterson, “ Moroni —Joseph Smith’s Tutor,” Ensign, Jan. 1992, 22–29.
f. Bruce A. Van Orden, “Joseph Smith’s Developmental Years, 1823–1829,” in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2, 367–87.
g. John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith, Seeker After Truth, Prophet of God (1951), 27–71.
2. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith (1976), 231.
3. See D&C 84:31; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 172–73; Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. (1954–56), 3:93–94.
4. See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 330.
5. For a more detailed discussion of these passages see “The Problems of the ‘Rod’ and the ‘Root of Jesse’ in Isaiah 11,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1966, 869, 914–15.
6. “A Chosen Generation,” Ensign, May 1992, 70.
7. See D&C 85:1–4, 9; D&C 133:62–63; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 102.
8. “Of Laughter, Light, and Love,” CES Young Adult Fireside in the Tabernacle on Temple Square, 19 Sept. 1993.
9. In Conference Report, Oct. 1926, 117.
10. “We Have a Work to Do,” Ensign, Mar. 1995, 65.
11. Archibald F. Bennett, “Put On Thy Strength, O Zion !” Improvement Era, Oct. 1952, 720.
12. See Joel 2:30–31. The Hebrew word for pillar means cloud or column (see Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible; s.v. “tîmârâh”).
13. See Messenger and Advocate, letter no. 6, Apr. 1835, 108–12.
14. The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (1988), 174.
15. History of the Church, 4:492.
W. Jeffrey Marsh is an associate professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University .

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