God Himself called Joseph Smith as the prophet1 of the latter days to restore His true gospel to the earth. “I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments.”2 Over centuries, the true Church of Jesus Christ had fallen into apostasy.3 Christ’s teachings had been corrupted and the ordinances of salvation changed. This apostasy ended with the calling of Joseph Smith, an obscure farm boy 14 years of age, as a prophet.
Why did God call a mere boy as His prophet? “I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit.”4 President Gordon B. Hinckley has said, “The instrument in this work of God was a boy whose mind was not cluttered by the philosophies of men. That mind was fresh and without schooling in the traditions of the day.”5
Having proven faithful over the 10 years since his First Vision, Joseph Smith was sustained by vote of the Church as a prophet, seer, revelator,6 translator, and Apostle of Jesus Christ on April 6, 1830.
Joseph Smith Quotes
“I stood alone, an unlearned youth, to combat the worldly wisdom and multiplied ignorance of eighteen centuries, with a new revelation, which . . . would open the eyes of more than eight hundred millions of people, and make ‘plain the old paths’” (History of the Church, 6:74).
“I have no enemies but for the truth’s sake. I have no desire but to do all men good. I feel to pray for all men. We don't ask any people to throw away any good they have got; we only ask them to come and get more. What if all the world should embrace this Gospel? They would see eye to eye, and the blessings of God would be poured out upon the people, which is the desire of my whole soul” (History of the Church, 5:259).
“When you joined this Church[,] . . . you [speaking to Isaac Behunnin] left the neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve it will be by the instigation of the evil one” (quoted by Daniel Tyler, in “Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Juvenile Instructor, Aug. 15, 1892, 492).
Hyrum Smith, Church Patriarch, 1841–1844
“President Hyrum Smith spoke at great length and with great power . . . [and] proceeded to show the folly of any person’s attempting to overthrow or destroy Joseph, and read from the Book of Mormon in various places concerning the Prophet who, it was prophesied, should be raised up in the last days, setting forth the work he was destined to accomplish, and that he had only just commenced; but insamuch as we could plainly see that the former part of the prophecy had been literally fulfilled, we might be assured that the latter part would also be fulfilled, and that Joseph would live to accomplish the great things concerning him” (History of the Church, 5:123).
George Q. Cannon, Apostle, 1860–1901
Joseph, a youth, obscure, illiterate in some respects, . . . through industry and perseverance, became learned, and if he had lived, he would undoubtedly have become one of the most learned of men through the gifts God gave him (Deseret News, Jan. 21, 1885, 2).
John Taylor, Third President of the Church, 1880–1887
“Joseph Smith was . . . uneducated when he was a boy. . . . The Lord took him into His school, and He taught him things that I have seen puzzle many of the wisest scientists, profoundest thinkers, and the most learned men” (Deseret News, July 30, 1884, 435).
Do the scriptures speak of a Restoration?
Through His prophets, the Lord spoke of “a marvellous work and a wonder” (Isaiah 29:14), referring to a time when He would set up a kingdom which would fill the whole earth (see Daniel 2:44). Peter prophesied of a “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21), and Paul saw “the dispensation of the fulness of times,” when the Lord would “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth” (Ephesians 1:10). John the Revelator also saw in vision the latter days prior to the Second Coming of Christ, when divine messengers would “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” (Revelation 14:6).
Do the scriptures speak of a Great Apostasy from the truth of God?
Isaiah prophesied that “darkness shall cover the earth” (Isaiah 60:2). Amos spoke of “a famine . . . of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). The Savior warned of “false Christs, and false prophets” (Matthew 24:24), while Paul taught that before the Second Coming of Christ “there [would] come a falling away first” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Online Resources at ChurchofJesusChrist.org
- “Joseph Smith Was a Boy of Courage and Resolve”—in “Joseph Smith: First President of the Church,” Presidents of the Church Student Manual (Church Educational System Manual, 2004), 3–4
- “A Period of Preparation, 1823–29”—Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual (Church Educational System Manual, 2003), 37–51
- “The Courage of Young Joseph Smith”—in “The First Vision,” Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1996), 1–2