The December 2005 issue of the LDS church magazine, Ensign, includes an article on Joseph Smith by President Gordon B. Hinckley, "Joseph Smith Jr.—Prophet of God, Mighty Servant." This first presidency message is well worth reading. It gives us insight into the way members of the LDS church understand and admire their first prophet and founder. Here is Hinckley's conclusion:
(Originally posted at the A-Team Blog: http://ateam.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2005/12/20/1464597.html )
When I was a boy 12 years of age, my father took me to a meeting of the priesthood of the stake in which we lived. I sat on the back row while he, as president of the stake, sat on the stand. At the opening of that meeting, the first of its kind I had ever attended, 300 or 400 men stood. They were from varied backgrounds and many vocations, but each had in his heart the same conviction, out of which together they sang these great words:
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.
("Praise to the Man," Hymns, no. 27)
Something happened within me as I heard those men of faith sing. There came into my boyish heart a knowledge, placed there by the Holy Spirit, that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of the Almighty. In the many years that have since passed, years in which I have read much of his words and works, that knowledge has grown stronger and ever more certain. Mine has been the privilege of bearing witness on continents north and south, east and west, that he was and is a prophet of God, a mighty servant and testifier of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.
(Hymns, no. 27)
That testimony I reaffirm now, in the name of Him of whom Joseph Smith was a witness and of whom I also am a witness, even the Lord Jesus Christ.
posted at 2:54 PM