Authentic Joseph Smith (No. 16)
Part of the Joseph Smith, Jr. Series
All blue quotes by Joseph Smith (unless otherwise noted).
Times and Seasons – Conference Minutes – August 1844
Powerful Understanding of God and His Son
Joseph Smith started his talk by saying, “There are a very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God.”
Why does understanding the character of God matter?
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
Perhaps one of my favorite names for Heavenly Father is ‘Man of Holiness’ and for Christ, ‘Son of Man’ (meaning son of the Man of Holiness). For me, those are revealing names.
First, God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of yourselves, that is the great secret. If the vail was rent today, and the great God, who holds this world in its orbit and upholds all things by his power; if you were to see him today, you would see him in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion and image of God; Adam received instruction, walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another.
One of the reasons I love Joseph Smith as a prophet? He gifted me with a broader, more profound understanding of who Heavenly Father actually is and Christ. Therefore I understand more about myself. His teachings are powerful and life-changing.
In Joseph Smith No. 12, we discovered the demystifying truth about our spirits. That they were never created or made. We self-exist with no beginning precisely the same as God did. We did not have a spiritual birth from organized elements in the pre-existence. That idea comes from pseudo-doctrine, popular musicals, and poems. But never actual scripture or doctrine. The earth is organized from elements – you are not.**
Save the World of Spirits
…God never did have power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself: intelligence exists upon a self-existent principle, it is a spirit from age to age, and there is no creation about it. All the spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement. The first principles of man are self-existent with God; that God himself finds himself in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was greater, and because he saw proper to institute laws, whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself, that they might have one glory upon another, in all that knowledge, power, and glory, &c., in order to save the world of spirits.
Elohim set out to save our world of spirits. Jesus followed through with saving us here on Earth.
That we are self-existing without a creation or a spirit birth is a truth that makes more sense than any other explanation I have heard about the pre-existence. i.e., mistaken cultural teachings that we were born spiritually in like manner as we are born physically on earth. We have popular musicals, poems, books, stories, and cultural teachings about the pre-existence that are wrong.
Understanding Heavenly Father is a rock-solid foundation for self-esteem and self-awareness. I wonder why the prophet’s descriptions don’t exist in Sunday School manuals. Perhaps it is too far from the prevailing traditional notions or too deep for most to contemplate. However, the Joseph Smith papers and the Wilford Woodruff diaries are now published, and we can study them ourselves for the first time.
Even though it’s not in our Sunday School manuals, these quotes are pure truth, light, and knowledge. Joseph said knowing the doctrine of who God is and who we really are ‘tastes as sweet as honey.’
The Savior Copied the Man of Holiness (the Father)
What did Jesus do? [paraphrasing Christ] why I do the things I saw my Father do when the world came rolling into existence? I saw my Fatherwork out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom I shall present it to my Father, so that he obtains kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt his glory, so that Jesus treads in his tracks to inherit what God did before; it is plain beyond disputation, and you thus learn some of the first principles of the gospel, about which so much hath been said. When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom and go on until you learn the last principle; it will be a great while before you have learned the last. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it is a great thing to learn salvation beyond the grave.
You have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves; to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done; by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you are able to sit in glory as doth those who sit enthroned in everlasting power; and I want you to know that God in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming his name, is not trifling with you or me; it is the first principles of consolation [comfort].
trifling: assign you of little value or regard you as of little consequence
Jesus followed in Elohim’s path, and we follow in Jesus’s path.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:20-21)
This is a lot! Contemplate it and see what it does for your outlook on life and yourself. These teachings have heightened the reach and feel of my prayers, strengthened my hope and confidence, and helped me look forward with an eye of faith.
As sweet as honey.
** The word create came from the word baurau; it does not mean so; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos; chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he had. The pure principles of element, are principles that can never be destroyed. They may be organized and re-organized; but not destroyed. (Joseph Smith ~ When comparing the KJV Bible to other language translations such as German, Hebrew, and Greek – April 1844)
Note, your spirit cannot be created, nor “re-organized.” It is eternal. The thought that you were organized from elements and intelligence is a mistaken understanding.
Read these verses carefully again:
18 Howbeit that he made the greater star; as, also, if there be two spirits, and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal.
19 And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all. (Abraham 3:18-19)
Note: The noble and great ones were organized into councils, administrations, captains of dispensations, and so forth. But they were noble and great by their choice to walk Elohim’s path. We become noble and great by choosing to walk the way Christ points us.
The Joseph Smith Series comes from, in part, a book called “The Words of Joseph Smith.”
(P.S. I receive no compensation for any recommendations – I like sharing.)