A couple of weeks ago I happened across an interesting post on the Church’s website. Lo and behold it was an entire page showcasing how members should feel it a privilege to follow, ah-hem, “stand by”, ol’ Joe…sigh…
The next day their painting of Joseph was taken down, but after a search I found an article originally posted with the picture I saw the day before. It’s called “Stand by My Servant Joseph Smith”. The article was from the February 2013 Ensign, written by BYU President, Cecil Samuelson.
So all that to ask the questions you know I have!
WHY??? Why is it considered a privilege to stand by Joseph Smith?
In Mr. Samuelson’s speech he said;
“What does it mean to us to stand by Joseph? We do not have a doctrine of infallibility. Joseph himself was quick to admit his own shortcomings, but he was a good and stable boy and man. In describing his situation and personal errors, he said: “No one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. Joseph Smith—History 1:28.”
That statement should be alarming to anyone calling themselves Christian. If the doctrine you embrace is not infallible you’re not following God. God’s doctrine is immutable just as He is! And what does Joseph have to do with the Church’s doctrine? Is the doctrine of the Church God’s doctrine or Joseph’s?
Secondly, Joseph Smith was not a stable boy or man. He had a definite liking for the occult and there’s nothing stable in that dark world. It’s well known and documented Smith carried a talisman in his pocket, in fact they found it on him the day he died.
Here’s an article we wrote on the talisman and the importance of spiritual discernment in the believer’s life.
One of the things Mr. Samuelson mentioned is quite silly. He asked what the probability would be of someone knowing your name for good or evil. It was in reference to what the angel told Smith in one of the versions of his first vision.
Well I would say the probability is 100% for most of us. If non believers don’t have any issues with your lifestyle or your devotion to Jesus there’s a problem. As Christians we know we’ll never be perfect, however, there should be enough of a marked difference in your life that sets you apart from everyone else and not everyone is going to be thrilled with you.
Now back to the evaluation of why you should stand by Joseph Smith…
Why would you trust a man who tells you they’re not guilty of a malignant sin and it’s not in their nature to do so? Who is free of the curse? As Jesus said; “those without sin cast the first stone”. Did you notice in that scenario every single person walked away? I would imagine if we were part of that crowd we’d be hiking it as well.
Mr. Samuelson went on to ask that you take note of how well you know Smith and where you are in his list of descriptions.
Recognition To paraphrase, he said that many people are beginning to put two and two together well enough to connect Smith to the LDS Church…
That’s true and we’re praying they realize just how unbiblical his teachings are!
Appreciation He said enough people realize the contributions Smith has made to the world in founding the Church and people appreciate the way his church has changed lives of many people worldwide.
Okay…well, I for one have a healthy appreciation for what he’s done. I also have a healthy appreciation for the frigid waters of Puget Sound in the winter; therefore, I don’t go in the water at this time of year. Make no mistake, there are millions of ex-Mormons who fully appreciate the heartache it’s caused the Lord and their own families when they’re caught in the web of lies Smith has produced.
Admiration Here Mr. Samuelson said while people may not ascribe to Smith’s teachings they admire him for what he’s done.
Not even remotely. I have zero respect or admiration for anyone who marries other men’s wives or marries children to satisfy their lust, nor do I have admiration for those who lie about God’s word.
Testimony Now this is where it gets weird. Samuelson said there’s a “subset” of those who recognize Smith, appreciate the extent of work he did and admire him for these things. These people also have a testimony of the truthfulness to his work and the “heavenly beings” he came into contact with. He said these people may not have internalized what this should mean to them.
I can assure you and him, people wouldn’t join or stay in the Church if they had truly internalized what the ramifications are when following or standing by Joseph Smith!
Loyalty Unfortunately Mr. Samuelson used Oliver Cowdery as an example of what it means to be loyal. Oliver was excommunicated from the Church – how loyal is that?
A Conviction of the Prophet
Here is part is what Mr. Samuelson had to say about loyalty to Smith and your duty as a follower:
“…conviction comes to us by study, by faith, and by always acting appropriately—and it is hard work…The Holy Ghost is eager to confer this sustaining knowledge upon us because the testimony of Joseph’s work and mission is key and central to our testimony of the knowledge that is most important of all: that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, the literal living Son of our living Heavenly Father.
How grateful we are to Joseph for his worthiness to witness what he did for us. How grateful we should be that we are allowed to stand by Joseph with our own actions and testimonies of the Father and the Son.”
My heart is sickened by this man’s words. Smith’s work is key and central?
And why should anyone be grateful for a man who was arrested for breaking the laws of the land?
Why should anyone be grateful for following someone who is a known liar? Would you be grateful to follow someone you know has repeatedly lied to you and the government?
Where in the Bible does it condone such loyalty and conviction? This is reminiscent of the warning Jesus gave to us; don’t build your house on shifting sand! Matthew 7:24-27. His warning was a “therefore” so let’s take a look at what it’s there for shall we?
The end of Matthew seven marks the conclusion of Jesus’ beautiful Sermon on the Mount. After His lengthy discourse including the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer He felt it important to warn people about false prophets. He told them that many will come to Him and say Lord, Lord didn’t I do this or that in Your name and He’s going to tell them, “Depart from Me, I never knew you”. – Matt 7:21-23. In vs 24-27 He gives them a simple visual, making it a huge impact.
The foundation of your home is the most important part of your home. If it’s built upon a sandy or unstable surface the rest of the house is put in jeopardy. And so goes your faith. If what you’re ascribing to and working for each and every day of your life isn’t reliable, unshakable and immutable the fluff stuff doesn’t matter.
Mr. Samuelson’s words aren’t biblical. He said conviction comes by study and always acting appropriately and it’s always hard work. Jesus told us to take His yoke upon us which is light. Freedom comes when we follow the Lord. Peace comes as a result of the Holy Spirit living in us as He reassures us during the day or comforts us at night.
Our testimonies must and should include Jesus Christ who has come in the flesh, meaning Jesus is God incarnate. A testimony containing the devotion for a Jesus who is the literal son of God is a mark of the antichrist as John told us in his first epistle.
1 John 4:2-3; “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
Joseph Smith wasn’t worthy of the laud and adoration the Church wants to bestow upon him. He didn’t testify of Jesus who is God, nor did he testify to the truthfulness of the Bible. He condemned and maligned both, classifying himself as a false prophet.
Oh, please, please pray for my people won’t you? If your heart hurts for the lost just imagine how much more the Lord’s heart must hurt.
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor 1:18