This is the question following me throughout my life. Leading back to why I'm different, why I don't drink alcohol, why to all the curious life choices. The Smithsonian Magazine recently ran a collector’s edition highlighting “the 100 most significant Americans of all time," Joseph Smith was listed as #1 in the category of religious figures.
Not a God, not a cult worship figure, not a (insert idea here), but a prophet, Joseph Smith has made an impact upon American history itself, religious world history, and my history. I like to re-read old journals (when I have the time), usually late at night when I have been up with Samuel and can't seem to get back to sleep. I go through high school years, college years, and view the thoughts and passions that have become decisions and memories. It is sometimes sad to come across some of the years, I read the pages anyway though, I like to feel it all over again sometimes just to empathize with the narrator, me. Through the winding stories of love and heartbreak, the stories of friends, stories of leaving, returning, moving, and staying, I find a connected chain of hope, I find pages between pages of scriptures written, mostly from the Book of Mormon.
Stories that build together to create faith, a unity of hope, pressing forward. Pages with writting such as these: "But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering; Having faith on the Lord; having a hope that ye shall receive eternal life; that ye may be lifted up at the last day and enter into his rest" Book of Mormon, Alma 13: 28-29.
And then days when the story is " Take no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself" -Holy Bible, Matthew 6:34
Days when someone else's prayer has become my own; they become songs, pages ruffled in the night become strength for the new day ahead. These links of hope connect to my understand and chain of faith, built scripture upon scripture, prayer upon prayer. Leading me to Jesus Christ, to his salvation, to his love that is never-ending.
A prophet is a man that speaks to God face to face and relays information to God's children on His behalf. In the article published by the Smithsonian Magazine it begins from Joseph Smith's own journal, “There was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion” (see Joseph Smith—History 1:5) It goes on to explain, “That was in the part of New York State that became known as ‘the burned-over district’ for its fervor during the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century.”
A time when religion was upheaved and thrown about like a tumultuous rugby match, Joseph went to a grove of trees for contemplation and answers from God. Praying vocally, for the first time in his young life, he was visited by God the Father and his son Jesus Christ. Previous to this encounter he didn't have a notion of who God was, what he looked like, if he was separate from Jesus Christ etc.. The bible was unclear in translation and many could take the nature and form of God and create them in the image of their imagination. But this one incident (if nothing else) is why Joseph Smith matters to me, because without his first-hand account, I would not know who God was and who my Savior Jesus Christ was in relationship to God the Father. I would have been searching for "an unknown God", not a Father.
My relationship with God and Jesus Christ are the foundation of my life. It is woven through my journals, it is carved on fleshy tablets of my heart, and it is who I am. A daughter of God, a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is the decision maker and the reason of the hope that is within me. The teachings from scripture are what sustain me through this winding road of tomorrow, the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon are testaments of Jesus Christ, containing promises, covenants, miracles, and tarrying of Jesus Christ. Without both in my life there would be a hole, a gaping black pit of missing pieces, mixed ways of understanding, and a reliance of one person's word over another. But with two witnesses that back each other up it is hard to go amiss. This is why Joseph Smith matters to me, why it is personal, because he translated the Book of Mormon.
An American record of Christ written 600 years before his coming to 400 years after, explains pure and precious doctrine, outlines the plan of salvation, and gives hope and faith to a world who desperately needs it. Yes, the Book of Mormon has been there when I needed answers and it has been a sure foundation where upon if men/women build they cannot fall. Through Joseph Smith I have been able to see who Christ is physically and know who Christ is through scripture, I would say that; Yes, he is the most influential person for my life as well and because of that Joseph Smith matters.
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