- A relatively simple but significant event took place in Nauvoo, Illinois, on the fourth of August this year. After many months of careful planning, the descendants of Joseph Smith, Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith dedicated the refurbished Smith Family Cemetery and opened it to the public.
- As I attended the dedicatory services, my thoughts were centered on the remarkable contribution the family of Joseph Smith, Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith made toward the restoration of the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I was thinking especially of the Prophet, his brother Hyrum, and their parents.
Elder Ballard first speaks of his father, then his mother, and finally his brother, Hyrum.
- Joseph Smith, Sr., was in tune with the Spirit of the Lord. He knew that his young son spoke the truth. He not only believed the boy’s words but encouraged him in the work he had been called to do.
- Joseph, Sr., endured ridicule and persecution because of his prophet son’s experiences and claims. Yet, he was unwavering in his loving support and defended his son.
- At the time of his death, Joseph Smith, Sr., was described as “a man faithful to his God and to the Church in every situation and under all circumstances through which he was called to pass.”
- Just a few months following his passing from this life, the Lord revealed that Joseph Smith, Sr., was in His presence, and “blessed and holy is he, for he is mine.” (D&C 124:19) Indeed, Joseph Smith, Sr., played a vital role in establishing the kingdom of God upon the earth.
Elder Ballard shares his thought about his mother, Lucy Mack Smith.
- Perhaps less visible than the Prophet’s father, but equally important in shaping and influencing his life, was his mother, Lucy Mack Smith. Although this strong woman gave occasional leadership, her primary role appeared to be support to the family. She gave birth to eleven children and endured faithfully as all but four preceded her in death. During her life, she watched six of her immediate family and one grandson die as a result of ruthless mob violence and persecution.
- Lucy prepared herself early in her marriage to raise a prophet. On one occasion she became seriously ill, and the doctors said she would die. Lucy records that she “made a solemn covenant with God that if He would let me live I would endeavor to serve him according to the best of my abilities.” After a voice assured her that she would live, she told her mother, “the Lord will let me live, if I am faithful to the promise which I made to him, to be a comfort to my mother, my husband, and my children.”
- Her determination to testify to the restoration of the gospel may have led her to dictate her well-known History of Joseph Smith. This was a major undertaking in her day. The book’s importance to the Church today is immeasurable! It contains many details of the Prophet Joseph’s life that might never have been known otherwise. It stands as a monument to the devotion of Lucy Mack Smith and her family.
- In the exercise of agency, and in the divine providence of God, Lucy’s sons, Joseph and Hyrum, ultimately sealed their testimonies with their blood. As the grieving mother looked upon their lifeless remains, she cried, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken this family!” As a kind blessing to a faithful mother, the Lord softened her grief and granted to her the peace that only God can bestow. A voice spoke to her soul: “I have taken them to myself, that they might have rest.”
Concerning the prophets brother, Hyrum, Elder Ballard speaks of his loyalty, support, and love for the prophet and his divine mission.
- Of Hyrum, Joseph said, “I could pray in my heart that all my brethren were like unto my beloved brother Hyrum, who possesses the mildness of a lamb, and the integrity of a Job, and in short, the meekness and humility of Christ; and I love him with that love that is stronger than death, for I never had occasion to rebuke him, nor he me.”
- Throughout Hyrum’s life, he guarded his younger brother as tenderly as if the Prophet had been his own son. Joseph surely knew the value of true and faithful associates because he had trusted many who later proved to be false.
Elder Ballard shares an impression he had as he participated in the meeting honoring these great people for their support of the prophet.
- While standing in Nauvoo at the foot of the headstone of these noble men, I had the impression that they would have me counsel all members of the Church to remain anchored to the basic and simple principles of the gospel. Study the scriptures, look to the leaders of the Church for guidance in these troubled times. Brothers and sisters, be careful of the schisms, divisions, and contentions that are among us today. Keep the commandments so the Holy Ghost will be with you in your search for truth and knowledge.
He concludes with his testimony of the prophet and his love and respect for his supportive family.
- I bear humble witness that Joseph Smith is one of the great, noble ones to come to the earth. He and his brother Hyrum deserve our honor, respect, and gratitude as do other members of their family who assisted with the restoration of the fulness of the gospel.
I can't imagine what the prophet Joseph Smith had to go through in his life. How grateful I am that he had support from his family to continue to move forward in faith with his divine mission. I know the greatest support I have in my life is my family and I am forever indebted to them for their unwavering love and support in my life. Today, I am going to share a little of that gratitude with them and I would encourage you to do the same. Also, I am going to express that love to my Savior for supporting the guiding the Prophet Joseph Smith to bring us the truth that I hold so dear to my heart.