Today’s inspiration is drawn from “Shall We Not Go On in So Great a Cause?” by President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during April 2020.
As we navigate the currents of life, it’s essential to draw inspiration from those who have gone before us and paved the way through their unwavering faith and sacrifice. In the pages of history, we find the remarkable story of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, two brothers whose dedication to their beliefs left an indelible mark on the world. Their story, chronicled by President M. Russell Ballard during the April 2020 conference, serves as a timeless reminder of the power of faith, sacrifice, and righteous living.
The story begins in Vermont, in the heart of New England, where Joseph Smith Jr. was born to Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith 215 years ago. From the outset, Joseph Sr. and Lucy were devout followers of Jesus Christ, diligent students of scripture, and fervent believers in prayer. Their faith in God was so profound that they named their newborn son Joseph Smith Jr., believing that he was foreordained in eternity for a significant purpose.
Joseph Jr. shared a special bond with his older brother Hyrum, who lovingly cared for and nurtured his baby sibling. Their close relationship would prove instrumental in the challenging times ahead.
As the Smith family moved westward to New York State, they encountered a religious landscape ablaze with fervor—the Second Great Awakening. Amidst the confusion and strife among various denominations, Joseph Jr. embarked on a personal quest for truth. He attended religious meetings but found no clarity amidst the discord.
One day, while pondering the scriptures, Joseph came across James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” These words struck a chord in his heart, igniting a desire to seek answers directly from God through prayer.
In the spring of 1820, in a tranquil grove near his home, Joseph Smith knelt in prayer, as recorded in sacred history. It was there that he experienced the First Vision—a divine encounter with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. The magnitude of this vision and its message forever altered the course of history.
In the presence of the Divine, Joseph received an answer to his earnest question about which religious denomination was true. He was told that none were recognized by God as His true church. This remarkable event marked the beginning of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness—a message that would bring hope and light to the world. How the Atonement of Jesus Christ became a source of strength for Joseph Smith.
Joseph Smith’s life, along with that of his faithful brother Hyrum, was marked not only by divine revelation but also by intense opposition and persecution. Their determination to share their newfound truths with the world was met with resistance, rejection, and violence.
As Joseph shared the details of his vision and the revelations he received, he encountered disbelief and mockery from some religious leaders. They denied the possibility of modern-day revelation and accused Joseph of being deceived by the devil.
In 1823, three years after the First Vision, Joseph Smith was visited by the angel Moroni, who revealed the existence of ancient gold plates containing the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This sacred record would later become known as the Book of Mormon.
With unwavering faith, Joseph embarked on the monumental task of translating the ancient plates. His brother Hyrum, a steadfast supporter throughout Joseph’s life, was one of the six founding members of the Church when it was officially organized in 1830.
The Smith brothers faced trials that tested their faith and resilience. In 1838, they found themselves imprisoned in Liberty Jail in Missouri, enduring harsh conditions during a bitter winter. Yet, their faith remained unshaken, and they clung to the promises of the Lord.
Joseph, in a letter to his wife Emma, expressed his confidence that their suffering had a divine purpose. He wrote of their eventual release from the grim captivity and the hope that their sacrifice would bring forth blessings for the world.
In June 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were presented with a choice—to live or to lay down their lives for their faith. Together, they chose to seal their testimonies with their blood, becoming martyrs for the cause of Christ. Their tragic deaths in Carthage, Illinois, marked a turning point in Church history.
Their legacy lives on in the hearts of countless believers who have been touched by their faith, dedication, and willingness to endure persecution for the sake of truth.
As we reflect on the sacrifices of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and the Restoration of the gospel, let their example inspire us to make the world a better place. Their journey was marked by faith, vision, and the courage to stand for what they believed in. The timelessness of the message and how it applies to today’s world.
In the Book of Revelation, we find a profound description of those who have overcome the trials of mortality and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. They stand before the throne of God, serving Him and receiving His blessings. This scripture reminds us that through faith and sacrifice, we too can overcome the challenges we face.
In this time of reflection, let us consider the offering we can present to the Lord in righteousness. Like Joseph and Hyrum, let us be courageous in sharing our commitments with those we trust. Let us also take the time to make those commitments, knowing that the Savior is pleased when we offer our hearts in righteousness.
The faith and sacrifice of Joseph and Hyrum Smith continue to inspire us today. Their story is a testament to the enduring power of faith, the pursuit of truth, and the willingness to stand for what is right, even in the face of adversity.
May we, like them, choose to go on in so great a cause, seeking to make the world a better place through our own acts of faith, sacrifice, and righteousness. Link to the original: Shall We Not Go On in So Great a Cause
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