Joseph Smith, Jr.

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I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.

Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805 - 1844) was the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Mormonism, and the Latter Day Saint movement.

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Book of Mormon

  • I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.
    • B.H. Roberts, History of the Church 4:461
  • Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none.
    • B.H. Roberts, History of the Church 2:52
  • And again, another parable put [Jesus] forth unto them, having an allusion to the Kingdom that should be set up, just previous to or at the time of the harvest, which reads as follows—'The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but, when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.' Now we can discover plainly that this figure is given to represent the Church as it shall come forth in the last days. Behold, the Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto it. Now, what is like unto it? Let us take the Book of Mormon, which a man took and hid in his field, securing it by his faith, to spring up in the last days, or in due time; let us behold it coming forth out of the ground, which is indeed accounted the least of all seeds, but behold it branching forth, yea, even towering, with lofty branches, and God-like majesty, until it, like the mustard seed, becomes the greatest of all herbs. And it is truth, and it has sprouted and come forth out of the earth, and righteousness begins to look down from heaven, and God is sending down His powers, gifts and angels, to lodge in the branches thereof. The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a mustard seed. Behold, then is not this the Kingdom of Heaven that is raising its head in the last days in the majesty of its God, even the Church of the Latter-day Saints, like an impenetrable, immovable rock in the midst of the mighty deep, exposed to the storms and tempests of Satan, but has, thus far, remained steadfast, and is still braving the mountain waves of opposition, which are driven by the tempestuous winds of sinking crafts, which have [dashed] and are still dashing with tremendous foam across its triumphant brow; urged onward with redoubled fury by the enemy of righteousness, with his pitchfork of lies...
    • Alma P. Burton, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 259

Polygamy, or Plural Marriage

  • Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines—
    Behold, and lo, I am the Lord thy God, and will answer thee as touching this matter.
    Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
    For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory. …
    if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood …
    Then shall they be gods, because they have no end …
    to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.
    God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises. …
    Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it. …
    Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.
    David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. …
    David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me …
    And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, receive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph
    Let no one, therefore, set on my servant Joseph; for I will justify him …
    as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.
    And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

Revelation

  • Sidney is not as used to it as I am
    • Juvenile Instructor, May 1892, pp. 303-4
    • Smith's comments about Sidney Rigdon's feebleness after the closing of a vision which they both beheld and Smith dictated into Section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants.
  • I thank God that I have got this old book; but I thank him more for the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have got the oldest book in the world; but I have got the oldest book in my heart, even the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have all the four Testaments.
    • Alma P. Burton, Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 343-344
    • Refering to the Bible (this old book) during a public sermon to thousands of residents in Nauvoo at the funeral for King Follett about two months before Smith's murder by a mob.
  • Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is in vain for anyone to minister without it. No man is a minister of Jesus Christ without being a Prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus; and this is the spirit of prophecy. Whenever salvation has been administered, it has been by testimony. Men of the present time testify of heaven and hell, and have never seen either; and I will say that no man knows these things without this.
    • Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 160
  • We may come to Jesus and ask Him; He will know all about it; if He comes to a little child, he will adapt himself to the language and capacity of a little child.
    • Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 162
  • A fanciful and flowery and heated imagination beware of; because the things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out. Thy mind, O man! if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens, and search into and contemplate the darkest abyss, and the broad expanse of eternity—thou must commune with God.
    • Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 137
  • All things whatsoever God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit and proper to reveal to us, while we are dwelling in mortality, in regard to our mortal bodies, are revealed to us in the abstract, and independent of affinity of this mortal tabernacle, but are revealed to our spirits precisely as though we had no bodies at all.
    • Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 355
  • A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation; for instance, when you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas, so that by noticing it, you may find it fulfilled the same day or soon; [that is,] those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God, will come to pass; and thus by learning the Spirit of God and understanding it, you may grow into the principle of revelation, until you become perfect in Christ Jesus.
    • B.H. Roberts, History of the Church 3:381
  • I could explain a hundred fold more than I ever have of the glories of the kingdoms manifested to me in the vision, were I permitted, and were the people prepared to receive them.
    • Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 304
    • The vision described is recorded in part in Doctrine & Covenants, Section 76
  • It is my meditation all the day, and more than my meat and drink, to know how I shall make the Saints of God comprehend the visions that roll like an overflowing surge before my mind.
    • B.H. Roberts, History of the Church 5:362
  • Men are in the habit, when the truth is exhibited by the servants of God, of saying, All is mystery; they have spoken in parables, and, therefore, are not to be understood. It is true they have eyes to see, and see not, but none are so blind as those who will not see.
    • Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 96
  • [I]t is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church, or any one, to receive instruction for those in authority, higher than themselves . . . if any person have a vision or a visitation from a heavenly messenger, it must be for his own benefit and instruction; for the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom.
    • B.H. Roberts, History of the Church 1:338
  • That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another. God said, 'Thou shalt not kill'; at another time He said, 'Thou shalt utterly destroy.' This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.'
    • Dean C. Jessee (editor), The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p. 507-509
  • The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.
    • History of the Church, 4:425
  • God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what he will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them...
    • Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 150-151

Immortality and materiality of spirits

  • There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes. We cannot see it, but when our bodies are purified, we shall see that it is all matter.
    • Doctrine and Covenants 131:7-8 (May 17, 1843)
  • [W]e shall find a very material difference between the body and the spirit; the body is supposed to be organized matter, and the spirit, by many, is thought to be immaterial, without substance. With this latter statement we should beg leave to differ, and state the spirit is a substance; that it is material, but that it is more pure, elastic and refined matter than the body; that it existed before the body, can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it.
    • Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 207 (April 1, 1842)
  • You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing; and they will answer, 'Doesn't the Bible say He created the world?' And they infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the word baurau which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence, we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos—chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time he had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning, and can have no end. . . . [T]he mind of man—the immortal spirit. Where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine; I know better. Hear it, all ye ends of the world; for God has told me so . . . We say that God himself is a self-existent being. Who told you so? It is correct enough; but how did it get into your heads? Who told you that man did not exist in like manner upon the same principles? Man does exist upon the same principles. God made a tabernacle and put a spirit into it, and it became a living soul. . . . How does it read in the Hebrew? It does not say in the Hebrew that God created the spirit of man. It says 'God made man out of the earth and put into him Adam's spirit, and so became a living body.' The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is [co-eternal] with God himself. I know that my testimony is true . . . Is it logical to say that the intelligence of spirits is immortal, and yet that it had a beginning? The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven. . . . I take my ring from my finger and liken it unto the mind of man—the immortal part, because it has no beginning. Suppose you cut it in two; then it has a beginning and an end; but join it again, and it continues one eternal round. So with the spirit of man. As the Lord liveth, if it had a beginning, it will have an end. All the fools and learned and wise men from the beginning of creation, who say that the spirit of man had a beginning, prove that it must have an end; and if that doctrine is true, then the doctrine of annihilation would be true. But if I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house-tops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself.
    • History of the Church 6:308-309

Resurrection

  • [A]ll will be raised by the power of God, having spirit in their bodies, and not blood.
    • Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 199
  • All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it.
    • Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 296
  • An angel of God never has wings.
    • Joseph Fielding Smith (editor), Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 162
  • Would you think it strange if I relate what I have seen in vision in relation to this interesting theme[, the resurrection]? Those who have died in Jesus Christ may expect to enter into all that fruition of joy when they come forth, which they possessed or anticipated here. So plain was the vision, that I actually saw men, before they had ascended from the tomb, as though they were getting up slowly. They took each other by the hand and said to each other, "My father, my son, my mother, my daughter, my brother, my sister." And when the voice calls for the dead to arise, suppose I am laid by the side of my father, what would be the first joy of my heart? To meet my father, my mother, my brother, my sister; and when they are by my side, I embrace them and they me. . . . More painful to me are the thoughts of annihilation than death. If I have no expectation of seeing my father, mother, brothers, sisters and friends again, my heart would burst in a moment, and I should go down to my grave. The expectation of seeing my friends in the morning of the resurrection cheers my soul and makes me bear up against the evils of life. It is like their taking a long journey, and on their return we meet them with increased joy.
    • History of the Church 5:361-362

Nature of God

  • I want to ask this congregation, every man, woman and child, to answer the question in their own heart, what kind of a being God is? . . . Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen him, heard him, or communed with him? . . . God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make Himself visible,—I say, if you were to see Him today, you would see Him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another. . . . It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God Himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.
    • B.H. Roberts, History of the Church, 6:303-304
  • [T]he doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine. . . . I will show from the Hebrew Bible that I am correct, and the first word shows a plurality of Gods; and I want the apostates and learned men to come here and prove to the contrary, if they can. An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits, rendered by King James' translators, 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.' I want to analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh, the head; Sheit, a grammatical termination; the Baith was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth; Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God, in the singular number; and by adding the word heim, it renders it Gods. It read first, 'In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods,' or, as others have translated it, 'The head of the Gods called the Gods together.' I want to show a little learning as well as other fools. . . . The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the world to refute me. In the beginning the heads of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth. Now the learned priests and the people rage, and the heathen imagine a vain thing. If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads, 'The head one of the Gods said, Let us make a man in our own image.' I once asked a learned Jew, 'If the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural?' He replied, 'That is the rule with few exceptions; but in this case it would ruin the Bible.' He acknowledged I was right. . . . In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through—'Gods'. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take [that] view of the subject, its sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods. All I want is to get the simple, naked truth, and the whole truth.
    • History of the Church 6:474-476
  • Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow—three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization. 'Father, I pray not for the world, but I pray for them which thou hast given me.' 'Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.' All are to be crammed into one God, according to sectarianism. It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God—he would be a giant or a monster. I want to read the text to you myself—'I am agreed with the Father and the Father is agreed with me, and we are agreed as one.' The Greek shows that it should be agreed. 'Father, I pray for them which Thou hast given me out of the world, and not for those alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be agreed, as Thou, Father, are with me, and I with Thee, that they also may be agreed with us,' and all come to dwell in unity, and in all the glory and everlasting burnings of the Gods; and then we shall see as we are seen, and be as our God and He as His Father. I want to reason a little on this subject. I learned it by translating the papyrus which is now in my house.
    • History of the Church 6:476
  • If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it. I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before? He laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before. He did as He was sent, to lay down His life and take it up again; and then was committed unto Him the keys.
    • History of the Church 6:476


Mormonism and truth

  • One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.
    • Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 199
  • We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons.
    • Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 316
  • Mormonism, is the pure doctrine of Jesus Christ; of which I myself am not ashamed.
    • The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p. 547-548
  • Truth is Mormonism. God is the author of it.
    • Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 199
  • [I]t is not always wise to relate all the truth. Even Jesus, the Son of God, had to refrain from doing so, and had to restrain His feelings many times for the safety of Himself and His followers, and had to conceal the righteous purposes of His heart in relation to many things pertaining to His Father's kingdom.
    • Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 392

Destiny of Mormonism

  • Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and in Germany, Palestine, New Holland, the East Indies, and other places, the standard of truth has been erected: no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing, persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done.
    • History of the Church 4:540; The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p.218-219
  • I see no faults in the Church, and therefore let me be resurrected with the Saints, whether I ascend to heaven or descend to hell, or go to any other place. And if we go to hell, we will turn the devils out of doors and make a heaven of it.
    • History of the Church 5:517; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 316
  • When still a boy [Jesus] had all the intelligence necessary to enable Him to rule and govern the kingdom of the Jews, and could reason with the wisest and most profound doctors of law and divinity, and make their theories and practice to appear like folly compared with the wisdom He possessed; but He was a boy only, and lacked physical strength even to defend His own person; and was subject to cold, to hunger and to death. So it is with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; we have the revelation of Jesus, and the knowledge within us is sufficient to organize a righteous government upon the earth, and to give universal peace to all mankind, if they would receive it, but we lack the physical strength, as did our Savior when a child, to defend our principles, and we have of necessity to be afflicted, persecuted and smitten, and to bear it patiently until Jacob is of age, then he will take care of himself.
    • Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 302; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 392
  • I want to say to you before the Lord, that you know no more concerning the destinies of this Church and Kingdom than a babe upon its mother's lap. You don't comprehend it...It is only a little handful of Priesthood you see here tonight, but this Church will fill North and South America—it will fill the world...It will fill the Rocky Mountains.
    • Conference Report, April 1898, p. 57

Salvation, Sin, Damnation and Hell

  • Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive; and at the same time more terrible to the workers of iniquity, more awful in the executions of His punishments, and more ready to detect in every false way, than we are apt to suppose Him to be...
    • The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, p. 509
  • If you do not accuse each other, God will not accuse you. If you have no accuser you will enter heaven. . . . What many people call sin is not sin; I do many things to break down superstition, and I will break it down.
    • History of the Church 4:445-446
  • What is the damnation of hell? To go with that society who have not obeyed His [the Lord's] commands.
    • History of the Church 4:554-555

Great Apostasy and Restorationism

  • The old Catholic church traditions are worth more than all you have said. Here is a principle of logic that most men have no more sense than to adopt. I will illustrate it by an old apple tree. Here jumps off a branch and says, I am the true tree, and you are corrupt. If the whole tree is corrupt, are not its branches corrupt? If the Catholic religion is a false religion, how can any true religion come out of it? If the Catholic church is bad, how can any good thing come out of it?
    • History of the Church, 6:478; Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 223; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 375

Self-reflection

  • I am not learned, but I have as good feelings as any man.
    • History of the Church 5:362; Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 159; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 296
  • Although I do wrong, I do not the wrongs that I am charged with doing; the wrong that I do is through the frailty of human nature, like other men. No man lives without fault.
    • History of the Church 5:140; Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 29; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 258
  • Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose I was ordained to this very office [of a Prophet] in that Grand Council.
    • Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 365
  • You don't know me; you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don't blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I could not have believed it myself. . . . When I am called by the trump of the archangel and weighed in the balance, you will all know me then.
    • King Follett discourse; History of the Church 6:317
    • Given in a public sermon to thousands of residents in Nauvoo at the funeral for King Follett about two months before Smith's murder by a mob.
  • In your hands or the hands of any other person, so much power would no doubt be dangerous. I am the only man in the world whom it would be safe to trust with it. Remember, I am a prophet!
    • B.H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol. 2, Footnotes
    • Reply to Josiah Quincy's comment to Smith that, "General, it seems to me that you have too much power to be safely trusted to one man," in reference to Smith being President of the Church, mayor of Nauvoo and lieutenant-general of the Nauvoo Legion. Roberts notes that this was spoken by Smith "in a rich, comical aside, as if in recognition of the ridiculous sound they might have in the ears of a Gentile."

Persecution

  • Go tell your general for me that if he does not immediately withdraw his men, I will send them to hell!
    • The Life of John Taylor, p. 63-64; The Gospel Kingdom, p. 354-355
    • Smith's reply to a truce-flag-bearing representative of a militia mob of 3500 men who told the camp of a couple hundred Mormons, "We are going to wipe you out."
  • Kill me if you will, I am not afraid to die; and I have endured so much oppression that I am weary of life. But I am a strong man, and I could cast both of you down, if I would. If you have any legal process to serve, present it, for I am at all times subject to law and shall not offer resistance.
    • Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, p.445
    • Smith's reply baring his breast to two lawmen who without legal process pulled pistols on him. One of the men, Joseph Reynolds (sheriff of Jackson County), threatened to shoot him if he moved.
  • No, I am not afraid; the Lord said he would protect me, and I have full confidence in His word.
    • They Knew the Prophet, p. 161
    • Smith's reply to William Taylor's question, "Don't you get frightened when all those hounding wolves are after you?"

Death and last words

  • Some have supposed that Brother Joseph could not die; but this is a mistake: it is true there have been times when I have had the promise of my life to accomplish such and such things, but, having now accomplished those things, I have not at present any lease of my life, I am as liable to die as other men.
    • History of the Church 4:587
  • If my life is of no value to my friends it is of none to myself.
    • History of the Church 6:549
    • Smith's reply when friends accused him of cowardice for intending to leave Illinois for the Rocky Mountains to avoid what Mormons perceived as injust legal prosecution.
  • If you go back I will go with you, but we shall be butchered.
    • History of the Church 6:549-550
    • Joseph's reply to his brother Hyrum who encouraged Joseph that they should both return to Illinois to face legal prosecution.
  • I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward all men. I SHALL DIE INNOCENT, AND IT SHALL YET BE SAID OF ME — HE WAS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD.
    • Smith's comments upon deciding to go to Carthage for incarceration and to face legal prosecution. As quoted in [http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/135/4a Doctrine and Covenants 135:4; also quoted as "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer's morning. I have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward all men. If they take my life, I shall die an innocent man, and my blood shall cry from the ground for vengeance, and it shall be said of me, 'He was murdered in cold blood.'"
  • There is one principle which is eternal; it is the duty of all men to protect their lives and the lives of the household, whenever necessity requires, and no power has a right to forbid it, should the last extreme arrive...
    • History of the Church 6:605
  • Oh Lord, my God!
    • History of the Church 6:620
    • Cried out by Smith as he fell from a second story window of the Carthage jail while being shot by a mob both inside his room and outside of the jail.

Miscellaneous

  • Was not Joseph Smith a miner? Yes, but it was never a very profitable job for him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it.
    • Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 120; History of the Church 3:29; Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 271


  • There has been a great difficulty in getting anything into the heads of this generation. It has been like splitting hemlock knots with a corn-dodger for a wedge and a pumpkin for a beetle.
    • Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 146
  • Your name shall be known for good and evil throughout the world.
    • Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 471; Journal of Discourses 10:297
    • A prophecy made to Brigham Young similar to the prophecy made about Smith by the angel Moroni.
  • I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.
    • Quoted by John Taylor, in Journal of Discourses, 10:57-58
    • When asked his approach to governing his people at Nauvoo, Illinois.
  • We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments, till he has overcome the evils of his life and lost every desire for sin; and like the ancients, arrives at that point of faith where he is wrapped in the power and glory of his Maker and is caught up to dwell with Him. But we consider that this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment: he must have been instructed in the government and laws of that kingdom by proper degrees, until his mind is capable in some measure of comprehending the propriety, justice, equality, and consistency of the same.
    • Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 51
  • The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us, is to seek after our dead...They without us cannot be made perfect.
    • Times and Seasons 5:616; Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 147; History of the Church 6:313
  • But meddle not with any man for his religion: all governments ought to permit every man to enjoy his religion unmolested. No man is authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion, which all laws and governments ought to tolerate and protect, right or wrong. Every man has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet, as well as a true prophet. If I show, verily, that I have the truth of God, and show that ninety-nine out of every hundred professing religious ministers are false teachers, having no authority, while they pretend to hold the keys of God's kingdom on earth, and was to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood.
    • History of the Church 6:304

Unsourced

  • If I revealed all that has been made known to me, scarcely a man on this stand would stay with me." and "Brethren, if I were to tell you all I know of the kingdom of God, I do know that you would rise up and kill me.
  • No one can ever enter the celestial kingdom unless he is strictly honest.
  • Never be discouraged. If I were sunk in the lowest pits of Nova Scotia, with the Rocky Mountains piled on me, I would hang on, exercise faith, and keep up good courage, and I would come out on top.
  • Noah came before the flood. I have come before the fire.
    • In answer to the question, "Who are you?"
  • If I had not actually got into this work and been called of God, I would back out. But I cannot back out: I have no doubt of the truth.
  • Because the children are praying for me.
    • Smith's reply when asked, "How do you dare think you are safe in the midst of your enemies?"
  • If you will stay with the majority of the Twelve Apostles, and the records of the Church, you will never be led astray.
  • Now gentlemen, you haven't bested me at the scriptures. See if you can best me at [jumping the mark]
    • A challenge of sport to departing ministers who came to debate the scriptures with Smith at his home.
  • Now, now, he's not all that bad, is he?
    • Speaking to some little children about the rough-looking Porter Rockwell whom they thought had come to trouble Smith.
  • I disobeyed God's command and gave the pages of manuscript to Martin Harris and I had my privilege revoked.
    • After losing the Book of Lehi manuscript.

Quotes about Smith

  • He stood chained and without a weapon and rebuked them. Calm, unruffled and dignified as an angel as he looked upon the quailing guards. Dignity and majesty have I seen but once as it stood in chains at midnight in a dungeon in an obscure village in Missouri. (Parley P. Pratt)
    • Said by Parley P. Pratt, on the occasion that he and Joseph Smith were imprisoned in Missouri and Joseph rebuked the guards.

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