“Lesson 24 Teacher Material: The Prophet Joseph Smith—A Choice Seer,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)
“Lesson 24 Teacher Material,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material
Display the following painting of young Joseph Smith.
Invite students to share words and phrases from section 1 of the preparation material that describe how Joseph felt about his own abilities at the time he was called to help restore the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Invite students to think about times they have felt overwhelmed by or inadequate to do what the Lord or His servants have asked them to do.
Explain that the Lord’s call to Joseph Smith teaches a powerful principle that can help us when we feel weak or inadequate in doing the work of the Lord. In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi recounted a prophecy of Joseph of Egypt. Read 2 Nephi 3:6–11, 15 as a class, looking for words or phrases used by the Lord to describe a future prophet who would also be named Joseph.
What are some words or phrases that the Lord used to describe Joseph Smith and the work He would help him accomplish?
What role does the Savior promise to play in the work Joseph would be called to perform?
How do you think the Lord’s wisdom is shown by calling the “weak things of the earth” to perform His work? (Doctrine and Covenants 124:1).
What lessons can we learn from the Lord calling Joseph Smith in his weakness?
Display the following principle taught by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and invite a student to read it aloud:
One of the great messages which flows from the Lord’s use of Joseph Smith as ‘a choice seer’ in the latter days is that there is indeed hope for each of us! The Lord can call us in our weaknesses and yet magnify us for His purposes. (Neal A. Maxwell, “A Choice Seer,” Ensign, Aug. 1986, 14; italics added)
How could this principle help people who struggle with human failings they observe in themselves, their Church leaders, and other members?
When have you felt the Lord magnify your abilities to do His work, despite your weaknesses? When have you seen the Lord do this for others?
What did Joseph Smith do to receive the Lord’s strengthening power? (You might invite students to review Elder Marcus B. Nash’s statement found in section 1 of the preparation material.)
Give students a moment to prayerfully consider and perhaps record what they can do to invite into their lives the Lord’s power to magnify them for His purposes.
Explain that despite all the good the Prophet Joseph Smith did, he had many detractors and critics. But this was not a surprise to Joseph. When Moroni first appeared to a 17-year-old Joseph, he gave Joseph insight into his future. Invite students to read Joseph Smith—History 1:33, looking for how people would feel about Joseph.
What can we learn from this passage? (Help students identify the following truth: Joseph Smith’s name will be spoken of for both good and evil among all people.)
In what ways are we seeing this prophecy be fulfilled today?
Explain that the Lord comforted Joseph during one of the darkest times of his life when he was imprisoned in Liberty, Missouri. Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 122:1–3, looking for how the Lord reassured Joseph.
What can we learn from this passage about how the faithful will respond to Joseph Smith and his prophetic mission? (While some may ridicule Joseph Smith, the pure in heart will not turn against him but will seek the blessings made available through his ministry.)
Ask students to review the statements in section 2 of the preparation material from those who knew the Prophet Joseph Smith and to share what stood out to them.
What feelings and testimony do you have about the Prophet Joseph Smith?
Display the following statement by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and invite a student to read it aloud:
The negative commentary about the Prophet Joseph Smith will increase as we move toward the Second Coming of the Savior. The half-truths and subtle deceptions will not diminish. There will be family members and friends who will need your help. (Neil L. Andersen, “Joseph Smith,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 30)
Discuss as a class or in small groups how students might help a family member or friend who is concerned about negative comments they have heard or read about the Prophet Joseph Smith. As part of the discussion, the group may want to review Elder Andersen’s statement in section 3 of the preparation material. The following questions might also be helpful to include in the discussion:
Why do you think that it is important to encourage someone to study reliable sources along with inviting the person to ponder and pray when seeking answers to questions about Joseph Smith and his prophetic mission?
What would you encourage someone to do to gain a spiritual witness of or to strengthen his or her witness of Joseph Smith’s divine mission?
Conclude by testifying of the importance of receiving a spiritual witness from God that Joseph Smith was His prophet, called in his weaknesses and magnified by the Lord to be the choice seer of the Restoration.
Ask students if they ever worry and pray about decisions that affect their future. Invite them to study the class preparation material for next time. In it they will learn about the uncertainty experienced by the Saints after Joseph Smith’s death and their remarkable faith in following a new leader into the wilderness. Invite students to come to class ready to discuss what they learned from the Saints during this challenging time.