Dallin H. Oaks

First Counselor

Apostle, 1984–present

Testimony of Joseph Smith

“During my college studies at BYU, I was introduced to the History of the Church, an edited compilation of the writings of Joseph Smith and others. After I graduated from law school, I carefully read all seven volumes. I also pursued personal research in original records in Illinois, where the prophet Joseph lived the last five years of his life.

“The man I came to know in this way was not the man I had imagined. When I was a boy, growing up in the Church, I imagined the Prophet Joseph to be old and dignified and distant. But the Joseph Smith I met in my reading and personal research was a man of the frontier—young, emotional, dynamic, and so loved and approachable by his people that they often called him ‘Brother Joseph.’ My studies strengthened my testimony of his prophetic calling. What a remarkable man! At the same time, I could see that he was mortal and therefore subject to sin and error, pain and affliction” (“Joseph, the Man and the Prophet,” Ensign, May 1996, 71).