What would Joseph Smith have done?
December 1972

“What would Joseph Smith have done?” Ensign, Dec. 1972, 81

“What would Joseph Smith have done?”

While serving a mission in the Pacific Northwest, I read a passage of scripture that has had a greater influence on my life than any other single verse. I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants of the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and this verse struck me with force:

“Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. …” (D&C 135:3.)

It occurred to me that this statement was one of the most fantastic accolades ever received by any man. To my mind that verse was, to quote Elder Hugh B. Brown, “a challenge to research, a challenge to check up on what you believe in.” So I decided to follow that advice.

From that experience seemed to come an unquenchable thirst for knowledge of the life of Joseph Smith. I wanted to learn of his parents, his brothers and sisters, his childhood, his friends, his interests, his personality, his life and death. My spare time became filled with books on the Prophet Joseph Smith.

What has been the result of that drive? It seems as though hardly a day goes by that I’m not placed in a situation where I don’t stop and ask myself “What would Joseph Smith have done?”