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I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right--- and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the personage who addressed me said that all the creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of Godliness, but they deny the power thereof.
Keeping these things in mind, and many others which might be referred to of a similar nature in the boy's early life, let the doubter who considers the child an imposter, call up a noble lad of fourteen years before him. Let the reader do it. Look at him carefully, and ask yourselves, what motives underlie his acts and words; and decide when you look at him whether in his young life there is apt to be premeditated schemes of deception, pertaining to such mature and really wonderful things as those about which the boy Joseph was making declarations and statements, with the earnest simplicity of youth! No; here is yet uncontaminated childhood, that will tell its story straight; childhood that will out with the full, unvarnished truth. Joseph declared in the simplicity of his noble boyhood that he had seen this vision, and that he knew it to be true. It is a wonder, considering the circumstances, that he should not be believed, and received with rejoicing as a favored prophet of God.
On the contrary, he was persecuted and made sport of by ministers of religion who above all should have hailed him as favored of God. No wonder that in later life he thought how very strange it was that an obscure boy, a little over fourteen years of age, one doomed, too, to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labors, should create in the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, a spirit of most bitter persecution and reviling just because he had testified that he had seen a vision. Thanksgiving and repentance would have been more appropriate on their part.
And this bitter opposition and persecution from the religious organizations continued in the interval up to the twenty-third of September, 1823, during which seemingly uneventful time in his life the boy continued to labor with his father in the field, and to prepare himself for important events to come. Then it was that the hiding place of the sacred records of Cumorah, containing the fulness of the gospel was revealed to him by ministering angels, with many other precious truths, which finally led to the publication of the Book of Mormon and the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with power and authority from God, because of what was conferred upon Joseph, to officiate in the name of the Lord.
Joseph Smith's testimony, concerning these things, in later life, was as simple, straightforward, plain and true as it had been in childhood; his fidelity, courage, and love, implanted in and characteristic of his life in boyhood, neither faltered nor changed. One marked illustration of this was his love for children.
He never saw a child but he desired to take it up and bless it, and many he did so bless, taking them in his arms and upon his knee. I have myself sat upon his knee. He was so fond of children that he would go far out of his way to speak to a little one, which is to me a striking characteristic of true manhood.
His was true love for the human race. His life was definitely characteristic of the great principle expressed in his prayer in Liberty jail. (Doctrine and Covenants, section 121: 39). He reproved at times with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, but afterward showed forth an increase of love toward him whom he reproved, lest the latter should esteem him an enemy. He was full of charity toward all men, and virtue indeed garnished his thoughts.
He exercised dominion and authority by persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, and love unfeigned, until kindness and pure knowledge enlarged his manly soul without hypocrisy and without guile. He waxed strong in the presence of God, and the doctrine of the Priesthood distilled upon his soul as the dews from heaven.
Can such a tree bring forth evil fruit? No; verily, no.
When, at last, having demonstrated these qualities all his days, he freely gave his life for his testimony and his people, he had succeeded in outlining the work of the Lord, and in revealing to mankind the foundation principles of all progress and salvation. I know, and have known, from my childhood, that he was a prophet of God, and I believe in his divine mission with all my heart; and in the authenticity and inspiration of the revelations which he re
BORN FEBRUARY 9, 1800, IN TUNBRIDGE, ORANGE COUNTY, VERMONT;
MARTYRED AT CARTHAGE, ILLINOIS, JUNE 27, 1844,
ceived, and the Book of Mormon which he was instrumental in bringing forth. Many people, a century from this centennial anniversary, will bear testimony to similar knowledge and light, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the undying work of God.
Salt Lake City, Utah.
A CHILD'S REMEMBRANCE OF THE LAST TIME SHE SAW
BY MRS. SARAH RICH MILLER, DAUGHTER OF APOSTLE
CHARLES C. RICH.
The Prophet, and my father, General C. C. Rich, were associated together in many ways, both military and civil, and the Prophet came frequently to our home to see my father on business, and would notice us children. We called him Uncle Joseph.
A few days before his death, he, in company with his brother Hyrum and several men on horseback, were passing, and my little brother and myself were out playing. We saw them, and I called out, “Uncle Joseph!” He heard me, and, reigning up his horse, he motioned for us to come to him. We ran out, and he put his hand down and drew me up on his foot in the stirrup, and kissed
I boosted my little brother Joseph up, and he kissed him, and told us to go into the house and be good children.
I never saw him again; a few days after this, my mother told me he was dead, also Brother Hyrum, and that grandfather and my mother were going out to meet the bodies. I watched, and saw the procession, and a wagon covered with green boughs or bushes, and a lot of people in carriages, and on horseback, like a funeral procession. This made such an impression on me that I never forgot it, and it always causes a sad feeling when I speak or think of it. My father was in Michigan, at the time, electioneering for General Smith, and distributing his views on Government.
Salt Lake City, Ctah.