My name is Joseph F. Smith, in case you don’t know. Most of you know me. You’ve heard all the good speakers, now you are stuck with me. I am also grateful for your attendance here, grateful for the opportunity to meet in this beautiful cathedral. I think it is just beautiful.
One of the chores that was given to both Bob Moore and myself as we left the first time (when we left Brazil) was that we were to select six more witnesses. Bob said to me, “You are the chief witness, so you select some.” I said, I will select three and you select, well he said, “you just go ahead”. I was to select six witnesses to go. I had a list of names that we had gathered of ones that we thought would be good. The thing that puzzled me was I thought about some of these older brethren in the priesthood, they would be good, but what about some of these young people, too? I did a little talking with the Lord and I picked out three young people and three old people or older people. I am not going to say old, because I’ll get in trouble here. Older people, I’ll put it that way. One of the older people that I chose didn’t want to go, so I had to get an alternate. I want to testify to you this afternoon, that I am really proud of all these boys and these men that went down. We ended up with 2 older people and 4 younger people. And I’m proud of these young ones. They really did good. Some of them went down there with a little bit of skepticism, but once they got in where the plates were, that disappeared pretty fast.
I thought of myself when we first went down there and I first handled the plates. I thought of the joy I had, knowing that my great grandfather had turned those same pages. But that dwindled away a little bit because I got to thinking about the work that Mormon did in putting together some of these books, and consolidating some of this information and the work of Moroni, how he protected these things. I began to think about how great it was to be there and to touch the work of God’s hands. I thought of the woman in the book of Matthew, that had the issue for 18 years, who came up behind Christ and touched the hem of His garment. I thought about that because for many, many years the Lord has been silent, His hand has not been seen, He has not taken a hand in the effort of bringing forth Zion. He’s been quiet, and here I touched the evidence of his work today in my time.
On the second visit down it increased my faith, yes it did. The room that they used when they showed the plates was a very crowded, very small room with a bed in there and some chests. When Mauricio lifted that last plate (of the previously sealed portion) that brother Bob was talking about you ought to have seen these guys – Wow! And I thought, I can’t even get in there to see what’s going on. I had to sit back and wait till they got through and when they got through I finally got to see it. I then I saw why they were so excited.
Brothers and sisters, I can testify to you today. You know for many years you were just Reorganites to me, but you’ve become brothers and sisters. I love you, and I bear this testimony. This work is a work of God and He is going to accomplish His work with or without us. And it is up to us to be a part of it. For so many years, brothers and sisters, for so many years we’ve struggled. Twenty-one years ago I received a message from the Lord. The message was that I was to go to the Restoration saints and to tell them that the Lord had opened a window of opportunity for them to lay aside their differences, find common ground, and build up the Kingdom of God. And for 21 years I have maintained that same message. During that period of time, I’ve had many wonderful meetings with many of you and I’ve come to know a lot of you. But we have struggled through many years of darkness, through many years of contention, confusion, and division …to the point that the ol’ ship of Zion is tattered and torn. We struggle to see through the darkness that surrounds us.
I ended a sermon last Sunday with a little statement. I used to get up real early in the morning as a young boy growing up because I had chores to do before I went to school. I would always notice that in the Eastern sky there would begin to be a little light show, and a little more, and a little more light, and as that light came up out of the Eastern sky, it pushed back the darkness of the night until finally it heralded the arrival of Earth’s sun. We don’t think too much about that but we see it many times. The work in Brazil, is like that light that is rising up out of the East and it is going to push back that darkness that we have struggled for 185 years to overcome. That light is going to keep pushing back and pushing back and pushing back and it’s going to herald the coming of the Son of God! God Bless
Transcription by R.A., Moderate editing for ease of reading by R.C.
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