“The Great Cause of the Restoration,” For the Strength of Youth, Jan. 2021, 3–5.
When young Joseph Smith went to the woods to pray, he experienced a wondrous vision, known today as the First Vision.
In this vision, the Savior told Joseph that his sins were forgiven. He also answered Joseph’s question and said that none of the churches at the time were “acknowledged of God as his church and kingdom.”
“At the same time,” Joseph recalled, “[I] receive[d] a promise that the fulness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me.”1
Following this glorious vision, Joseph emerged from the Sacred Grove to begin his preparation to become a prophet of God.
Three years later, in 1823, the heavens opened again as part of the continuing Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the last days. An angel named Moroni appeared to him and said “that God had a work for [him] to do … [and that] there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates” that contained “the fulness of the everlasting Gospel” (Joseph Smith—History 1:33–34).
Eventually, Joseph obtained, translated, and published the ancient record, known today as the Book of Mormon.
Joseph’s brother Hyrum was always Joseph’s constant supporter. During their lives, Joseph and Hyrum faced mobs and persecution together. For example, they languished in the most wretched conditions in the Liberty Jail in Missouri for five months during the cold winter of 1838–39.
In the face of persecution, Hyrum exhibited faith in the Lord’s promises, including a guarantee to escape his enemies if he so chose. In June 1844, Hyrum was presented the choice to live or to lay down his life to glorify God and to “seal his testimony with his blood”—side by side together with his beloved brother Joseph (see Doctrine and Covenants 136:39).
A week before they were murdered in cold blood, Joseph told Hyrum to take his family and leave. I still feel great emotion as I remember Hyrum’s reply: “Joseph, I can’t leave you.’’2
So Joseph and Hyrum went to Carthage, where they became martyrs for Christ’s cause and name. “In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!” (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3; emphasis added).
We should always remember the price Joseph and Hyrum Smith paid, along with so many other faithful men, women, and children, to establish the Church so you and I could enjoy the many blessings and all of these revealed truths we have today. Their faithfulness should never be forgotten!
Before his death in 1844, Joseph wrote a spirited letter to the Saints. It was a call to action, which continues in the Church today:
“Brethren [and sisters], shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren [and sisters]; and on, on to the victory! …
“… Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness” (Doctrine and Covenants 128:22, 24; emphasis added).
Consider what offering you will present to the Lord in righteousness in the coming days. Be courageous—share it with someone you trust, and most important, please take the time to do it!
I know that the Savior is pleased when we present Him an offering from our hearts in righteousness, just as He was pleased with the faithful offering of those remarkable brothers, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and all other faithful Saints.