- Opposition against the things of God sends seekers of truth to their knees for answers.
He outlines some simple truths that we as member of the church know about Joseph Smith:
- Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration. His spiritual work began with the appearance of the Father and the Son, followed by numerous heavenly visitations. He was the instrument in God’s hands in bringing forth sacred scripture, lost doctrine, and the restoration of the priesthood. The importance of Joseph’s work requires more than intellectual consideration; it requires that we, like Joseph, “ask of God.” Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God. Many of those who dismiss the work of the Restoration simply do not believe that heavenly beings speak to men on earth.
The opposition people have towards the Prophet of the restoration is usually brought about by people that are against the church:
- “Studying the Church … through the eyes of its defectors,” Elder Neal A. Maxwell once said, is “like interviewing Judas to understand Jesus. Defectors always tell us more about themselves than about that from which they have departed.”
He reminds us that truth is not found in the things of the world:
- We might remind the sincere inquirer that Internet information does not have a “truth” filter. Some information, no matter how convincing, is simply not true.
- We might remind the inquirer that some information about Joseph, while true, may be presented completely out of context to his own day and situation.
Elder Andersen reminds us that we need spiritual answers to our questions:
- Each believer needs a spiritual confirmation of the divine mission and character of the Prophet Joseph Smith. This is true for every generation. Spiritual questions deserve spiritual answers from God.
We are reminded that we can't bring others to a testimony of Joseph Smith if we don't have a testimony ourselves:
- You won’t be of much help to others if your own faith is not securely in place.
Elder Andersen tells us what a testimony of the Prophet looks like:
- A testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith can come differently to each of us. It may come as you kneel in prayer, asking God to confirm that he was a true prophet. It may come as you read the Prophet’s account of the First Vision. A testimony may distill upon your soul as you read the Book of Mormon again and again. It may come as you bear your own testimony of the Prophet or as you stand in the temple and realize that through Joseph Smith the holy sealing power was restored to the earth. With faith and real intent, your testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith will strengthen. The constant water balloon volleys from the sidelines may occasionally get you wet, but they need never, never extinguish your burning fire of faith.
We are given specific counsel on how we can increase our personal testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith:
- I give a specific challenge: Gain a personal witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Let your voice help fulfill Moroni’s prophetic words to speak good of the Prophet. Here are two ideas: First, find scriptures in the Book of Mormon that you feel and know are absolutely true. Then share them with family and friends in family home evening, seminary, and your Young Men and Young Women classes, acknowledging that Joseph was an instrument in God’s hands. Next, read the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the Pearl of Great Price or in this pamphlet, now in 158 languages. You can find it online at LDS.org or with the missionaries. This is Joseph’s own testimony of what actually occurred. Read it often. Consider recording the testimony of Joseph Smith in your own voice, listening to it regularly, and sharing it with friends. Listening to the Prophet’s testimony in your own voice will help bring the witness you seek.
Elder Andersen concludes with this about the Prophet Joseph Smith:
- He chose a holy man, a righteous man, to lead the Restoration of the fulness of His gospel. He chose Joseph Smith. I testify that Joseph Smith was an honest and virtuous man, a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, did appear to him. He did translate the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God.
A testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith is essential to our beliefs. Listening to the Spirit is the only way that we can gain that testimony. Listening to others, reading things online, listening to those that are against the church, will not lead us to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. Praying, seeking, and personal studying will lead us to the point where the Spirit will touch our hearts and confirm for us personally that Joseph Smith was truly a prophet of God and restored the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. Only through the Spirit can we gain this knowledge for ourselves.