"Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again"

Joseph Smith's Place among the Prophets

Scott C. Esplin

Scott C. Esplin, “‘Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again’: Joseph Smith’s Place among the Prophets,” in Joseph Smith and the Doctrinal Restoration (Provo: Brigham Young University, Religious Studies Center, 2005), 172–86.

Scott C. Esplin was a doctoral candidate in educational leadership and a part-time instructor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University when this was published.

Interpretations of Joseph Smith’s role in the latter-day doctrinal restoration vary greatly with time and perspective. As early in this dispensation as 1833, opponents such as the Reverend Diedrich Willers of the German Reformed Church announced: “The greatest imposter of our times in the field of religion is no doubt a certain Joseph Smith. . . . This new sect should not cause the Christian Church great astonishment. The past centuries have also had religious off-shoots. But what has become of them all? . . . They have all been absorbed in the Sea of the Past and marked with the stamp of oblivion. This will also be the lot of the Mormonites.” [1] After the Martyrdom, Illinois governor Thomas Ford likewise wrote, “Thus fell Joe Smith, the most successful imposter in modern times; a man who, though ignorant and coarse, had some great natural parts which fitted him for temporary success, but which were so obscured and counteracted by the inherent corruption and vices of his nature that he never could succeed in establishing a system of policy which looked to permanent success in the future.” [2]

Though negative at times, some non-LDS remembrances sense more in Joseph’s mission. Josiah Quincy, recalling his association with the Prophet, concluded, “Of the multitudinous family of Smith, from Adam down (Adam of the ‘Wealth of Nations,’ I mean), none had so won human hearts and shaped human lives as this Joseph. His influence, whether for good or for evil, is potent today, and the end is not yet. . . . If the reader does not know just what to make of Joseph Smith, I cannot help him out of the difficulty. I myself stand helpless before the puzzle.” [3]

The Prophet himself offered a different perspective on his mission. In his 1838 account of early Church history, Joseph characterized himself as “an obscure boy . . . of no consequence in the world, . . . doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor” (Joseph Smith—History 1:22–23). Six months later, when visited by a woman who inquired “whether [he] professed to be the Lord and Savior,” he reported, “I replied, that I professed to be nothing but a man, and a minister of salvation, sent by Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel.” [4]

Joseph’s self-deprecating style masks his true role in the Restoration. The sweep of prophetic world history reveals the description “an obscure boy . . . of no consequence” as a gross understatement. Contrast it with Moroni’s depiction of the same seventeen-year-old boy. On the eve of their first visit, the ancient Nephite record keeper prophesied that “God had a work for [Joseph] to do; and that [his] name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people” (Joseph Smith—History 1:33). Fifteen years later, while Joseph was in an obscure Missouri jail, the Lord Himself summarized Joseph’s mission: “The ends of the earth shall inquire after [his] name, and fools shall have [him] in derision, and hell shall rage against [him]; while the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under [his] hand” (D&C 122:1–2). How do the “pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous” of all ages view Joseph Smith’s mission? What doctrinal “counsel, and authority, and blessings” do they hope to receive at his hand?

“Art Thou That Prophet?”: Joseph Smith as Known by the Ancients

Ancient prophets, emphasizing Joseph Smith’s role in religious history, focus on the blessing of a doctrinal restoration. Even apostate Judaism in New Testament times had some expectation of a prophet with this mission. Answering the Jews who questioned John the Baptist, the prophet “confessed, and denied not that he was Elias; but confessed, saying; I am not the Christ. And they asked him, saying; How then art thou Elias? And he said, I am not that Elias who was to restore all things. And they asked him, saying, Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:21–22). Further questioning him, the Jews asked, “Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not the Christ, nor Elias who was to restore all things, neither that prophet?” (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:26; emphasis added).

A second New Testament reference to this prophet of restoration comes from the Mount of Transfiguration, where the discussion of Elias, John the Baptist, and a prophet to restore all things continued. Matthew recorded the Savior’s declaration, “But I say unto you, Who is Elias? Behold, this is Elias, whom I send to prepare the way before me. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist, and also of another who should come and restore all things, as it is written by the prophets” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 17:13–14; emphasis added).

Different interpretations of these passages exist. Some interpret the Messiah Himself as this restorer of all things. [5] Others describe him as a Messiah, son of Joseph, destined to precede the Christ. [6] Still others portray the Elias of restoration as a composite individual, “having in mind all the prophets who came to restore the fulness of the gospel.” [7] Elder Bruce R. McConkie observed, “John’s questioners were familiar with some ancient Messianic prophecy, unknown to us, which foretold the coming of Elias to perform a mighty work of restoration.” [8] George Laub, recording a sermon by Joseph Smith, reports the Prophet’s use of the verse, saying, “Brother Joseph Smith was chosen for the last dispensation or seventh dispensation. [At] the time the grand council [sat] in heaven to organize this world, Joseph was chosen for the last and greatest prophet, to lay the foundation of God’s work of the seventh dispensation. Therefore the Jews asked John the Baptist if he was Elias or Jesus or that great prophet that was to come.” [9] From this statement, authors Robert L. Millet and Joseph Fielding McConkie conclude, “Joseph Smith was the final great Elias before the Messiah; he was an Elias of restoration.” [10]

As Matthew characteristically noted in his account, these traditions of a prophet to “restore all things” were “written by the prophets.” They begin as early as Genesis. Nearly four thousand years before Joseph Smith’s birth, his namesake, Joseph in Egypt, prophesied that in the latter days, the Lord’s people would be “scattered again,” that “a branch shall be broken off, and shall be carried into a far country” where the people would be in “hidden darkness . . . [and] captivity” (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:2 ). To remedy these conditions, Joseph the patriarch declared, “A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. . . . He shall bring them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers” (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:26, 28). Joseph in Egypt also prophesied that the latter-day seer would be great in God’s eyes, would bring forth His word, would have power to convince others of its truthfulness, and would ultimately restore the house of Israel (Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 50:29–30, 32). Furthermore, this seer, sharing the same name as ancient Joseph, would likewise share his mission: to bring salvation to the suffering family of Israel.

Isaiah also possessed an Old Testament understanding of the mission of Joseph Smith. After describing the millennial day, he stated, “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious” (Isaiah 11:10). In March of 1838, the Lord answered the Prophet’s query concerning the identity of this “root of Jesse,” stating that “it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days” (D&C 113:6). Just two short years before this response, in the Kirtland Temple, Joseph had received, under the hands of Moses, the “keys of the gathering of Israel” (D&C 110:11). Nine years before, he received “the keys of the kingdom” under the hands of Peter, James, and John (D&C 27:12–13). While the exact identification of “the root of Jesse” is unknown, Elder Bruce R. McConkie observed: “Are we amiss in saying that the prophet here mentioned is Joseph Smith, to whom the priesthood came, who received the keys of the kingdom, and who raised the ensign for the gathering of the Lord’s people in our dispensation? And is he not also the ‘servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power’? (D&C 113:4–6.) Those whose ears are attuned to the whisperings of the Infinite will know the meaning of these things.” [11]

Old and New Testament prophets, with their eyes focused on the scattering of their beloved Israel, naturally saw and emphasized Joseph Smith’s role as gatherer and restorer of all things. Book of Mormon prophets, covering the same time period, likewise taught of the mission of Joseph Smith, emphasizing his role in relation to them. Father Lehi used an account of Joseph in Egypt’s prophecy when teaching his own son Joseph of his namesake’s future mission. He tied Joseph Smith to the ancients, stating, “He shall be great like unto Moses” (2 Nephi 3:9). To this latter-day seer, the Lord would “give power to bring forth my word . . . and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them” (3:11).

Citing Joseph in Egypt, he continued the link, “And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation” (3:1; emphasis added).

Joseph Smith’s mission in preserving and restoring scripture is emphasized by other Book of Mormon prophets. To his son Helaman, Alma taught, “The Lord said: I will prepare unto my servant Gazelem, a stone, which shall shine forth in darkness unto light, that I may discover unto my people who serve me, that I may discover unto them the works of their brethren” (Alma 37:23). The servant Gazelem mentioned by Alma is unidentified, but Gazelam was one of the names used in early printings of the Doctrine and Covenants as a code name for Joseph Smith. [12] Of it, Elder McConkie wrote, “With reference to the name Gazelam, it is interesting to note that Alma in directing Helaman to preserve both the Urim and Thummim and the plates containing the Book of Ether, says that such record will be brought to light by the Lord’s servant Gazelem, who will use ‘a stone’ in his translation work. . . . It may be that Gazelem is a variant spelling of Gazelam and that Alma’s reference is to the Prophet Joseph Smith who did in fact bring forth part at least of the Ether record.” [13] Later, in the book of Ether itself, Moroni seems to speak directly to Joseph Smith, instructing him again on his role in restoring the truths of scripture (see Ether:1–4).

Christ, speaking to the Nephites during his visit, further prophesied of Joseph Smith and his mission of restoration and clarification. Describing a marred servant in His hands doing “a great and a marvelous work” in the latter days, the Savior stated, “It shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father will cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles; . . . they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant” (3 Nephi 21:9, 11; emphasis added; see also D&C 13 :1; 10:43).

In addition to his role in preserving the Nephite record, other Book of Mormon references describe Joseph’s role in illuminating the doctrinal darkness of ages past. Lehi taught, “Out of the fruit of [Joseph of Egypt’s] loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah” (2 Nephi 3: ). Like the Messiah, this branch would be instrumental “in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light—yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom” (2 Nephi 3: ).

“The Best Blood”: The Understanding of Joseph’s Mission in His Own Day

While ancient prophets labored to describe a man they had never met, Joseph Smith’s contemporaries may have struggled to appreciate the mission of a man they knew so well. Good friend Benjamin F. Johnson recalled, “While with him in such fraternal, social, and sometimes convivial moods, we could not then so fully realize the greatness and majesty of his calling, which, since his martyrdom, has continued to magnify in our lives, as the glories of this last dispensation more fully unfold to our comprehension.” [14] In spite of this challenge, some sensed the depth of his mission. Elder John Taylor called Joseph and his brother, Hyrum, “the best blood of the nineteenth century” (D&C 13:6). Linking Joseph’s mission to that of the Savior, he continued, “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it” (D&C 13 :3).

Latter-day revelation highlights many of the contributions of Joseph Smith. Early in the dispensation, the Doctrine and Covenants emphasized his role in producing scripture, stating, “This generation shall have my word through you” (D&C:10). Elder Gerald N. Lund analyzed the fulfillment of this prophecy. Using the term producer rather than author of scripture to better reflect the combined efforts of writing, translating, transcribing, and abridging, he credits Mormon with producing 338 pages of scripture, Moses with 308, and Jeremiah with 170. [15] By comparison, Joseph Smith, in his contributions of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, is responsible for nearly 900. In fact, “before Joseph Smith, the world had only the1, 90 pages of the Bible; through this one man, the Lord increased our scriptural library by more than half.” [16]

Not only did the Prophet Joseph add breadth to the scriptural canon but he also added depth. His contributions are responsible for our understanding of the purpose of life, God’s eternal plan for the destiny of His children, the nature of God, the importance of family, and countless other previously unknown truths. Contemporaries emphasize this doctrinal clarity from his teaching. President Brigham Young declared: “What is the nature and beauty of Joseph’s mission? You know that I am one of his Apostles. When I first heard him preach, he brought heaven and earth together; and all the priests of the day could not tell me anything correct about heaven, hell, God, angels, or devils: they were as blind as Egyptian darkness. When I saw Joseph Smith, he took heaven, figuratively speaking, and brought it down to earth; and he took the earth, brought it up, and opened up, in plainness and simplicity, the things of God; and that is the beauty of his mission.” [17] Defending him in the trying days of the Kirtland apostasy, Elder John Taylor emphasized Joseph’s role in restoring doctrinal knowledge, “From whence do we get our intelligence, and knowledge of the laws, ordinances and doctrines of the kingdom of God? Who understood even the first principles of the doctrines of Christ? Who in the Christian world taught them? If we, with our learning and intelligence, could not find out the first principles, which was the case with myself and millions of others, how can we find out the mysteries of the kingdom? It was Joseph Smith, under the Almighty, who developed the first principles, and to him we must look for further instructions.” [18]

Some outside the general councils of the Church also recognized in Joseph a source of doctrinal clarity. Daniel Tyler called Joseph “a great reconciler of discrepancies in passages of scripture which were or seemed to be in conflict with each other.” [19] Wandle Mace recalled, “I have felt ashamed myself sometimes, having studied the scriptures so much, that I had not seen that which was so plain when he touched them. He as it were turned the key, and the door of knowledge sprang wide open, disclosing precious principles, both new and old. . . . He would unravel the scriptures and explain doctrine as no other man could. What had been mystery he made so plain it was no longer mystery.” [20] James Palmer summarized, “He could hand out to all mankind God’s divine law and make it so plain to the understanding of the people, that on reflection one would think he had always known it, whereas you had only just been taught it.” [21]

In addition to his doctrinal clarity, others recognized in Joseph the return of doctrinal authority. Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner observed, “We all felt that he was a man of God, for he spoke with power, and as one having authority in very deed.” [22] Upon watching Joseph address a conference, Rhoda Richards declared, “It appeared to me as if the whole sectarian world must fall before him as if it was the God of heaven spake.” [23] Latter-day scriptures emphasize Joseph’s role in restoring this authority. The preface to the Doctrine and Covenants states, “I the Lord . . . called upon my servant Joseph Smith . . . that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world” (D&C 1:17, 20). President Joseph Fielding Smith linked this to priesthood, defining it as “the authority of God delegated to man, by which he is given power to officiate in all the ordinances of the Gospel [and] speak in the name of the Lord.” [24] Joseph Smith, as the instrument through whom the priesthood was restored, fulfilled this mission, causing men to again authoritatively “speak in the name of the Lord.” Other latter-day scriptures emphasize Joseph’s holding these keys forever (see D&C 28:7; 90:2–3; 112:1 ). Brigham Young declared, “The keys of the Priesthood were committed to Joseph, to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth, and were not to be taken from him in time or in eternity.” [25]

“Mingling with Gods”: Joseph Smith’s Mission as Understood by His Successors

Highlighting the continued role Joseph Smith plays in the Lord’s latter-day work, congregations around the world sing, “Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren.” [26] After his death, Joseph’s successors continued to emphasize the eternal nature of his mission. Brigham Young taught:

Joseph Smith holds the keys of this last dispensation, and is now engaged behind the veil in the great work of the last days. . . . No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the Priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are—I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent. He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation—the keys to rule in the spirit-world; and he rules there triumphantly. [27]

President George Q. Cannon further declared: “If we get our salvation we shall have to pass by him; if we enter into our glory it will be through the authority that he has received. We cannot get around him.” [28]

Joseph himself prophesied of his laboring for the kingdom beyond the grave. On his last visit to Ramus, Illinois, the Prophet hinted at his pending death. Benjamin Johnson, questioning him, exclaimed, “Oh! Joseph, what could we, as a people do without you? and what would become of the great Latter-day work if you should leave us?” [29] Joseph responded, “Benjamin, I should not be far away from you, and if on the other side of the veil I should still be working with you, and with a power greatly increased, to roll on this kingdom.” [30]

Several of Joseph’s successors have testified from personal experience of his continued work beyond the veil. President Brigham Young reported being visited by the Prophet on several occasions, receiving counsel on how to guide the Saints. [31] President Wilford Woodruff stated, “Joseph Smith visited me a great deal after his death, and taught me many important principles.” [32] The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead reports President Joseph F. Smith’s seeing the Prophet in the spirit world, where he, along with the faithful elders, “continue their labors” (see D&C 138: 2– 7). President Heber J. Grant described a heavenly dream in which Joseph, counseling with the Savior, “mentioned . . . and requested” that young Heber be chosen as an Apostle. [33]

These statements of Joseph’s continued influence after his death on the work of the Restoration match the principle outlined by Presidents George Q. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith at the death of President John Taylor: “Though we have lost his presence here, his influence will still be felt. Such men may pass from this life to another, but the love which beats in their hearts for righteousness and for truth cannot die. They go to an enlarged sphere of usefulness. Their influence is extended and more widely felt, and Zion will feel the benefit of his labors.” [34]

The Prophet’s continued interest in the work of this dispensation is characteristic of another role emphasized by his successors. Joseph Smith, as a dispensation head, stands unique among men called in our day. “There is an order and a hierarchy even among those called as chosen oracles and mouthpieces of the Almighty.” [35] Elder McConkie emphasized: “You start out with the Lord Jesus, and then you have Adam and Noah. Thereafter come the dispensation heads. Then you step down, appreciably, and come to prophets and apostles, to the elders of Israel. . . . Every prophet is a witness of Christ; every dispensation head is a revealer of Christ for his day; and every other prophet or apostle who comes is a reflection and an echo and an exponent of the dispensation head. All such come to echo to the world and to expound and unfold what God has revealed through the man who was appointed for that era to give his eternal word to the world. Such is the dispensation concept.” [36]

The principle of a dispensation head is evident in temple recommend interviews, where testimonies of the current prophet and of Joseph Smith as the dispensation head are required. It is also apparent in general conference, where speakers frequently bear testimony of the current prophet and the dispensation head. Few trace their testimonies back through every intervening prophet. President Gordon B. Hinckley’s testimony is characteristic of the principle. Highlighting Joseph Smith’s place in the plan, he wrote, “I worship the God of heaven, who is my Eternal Father. I worship the Lord Jesus Christ, who is my Savior and my Redeemer. I do not worship the Prophet Joseph Smith, but I reverence and love this great seer through whom the miracle of this gospel has been restored. I am now growing old, and I know that in the natural course of events, before many years, I will step across the threshold to stand before my Maker and my Lord and give an accounting of my life. And I hope that I shall have the opportunity of embracing the Prophet Joseph Smith and of thanking him and of speaking of my love for him.” [37]

A Restoration of Counsel, Authority, and Blessings

Based on prophetic commentary by the “pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous” of all ages, Joseph’s mission centers on “counsel, and authority, and blessings” (D&C 122:2). Old and New Testament prophets looked to Joseph Smith for the blessing of a restored posterity. Book of Mormon prophets looked to him for the blessing of a restored record. His contemporaries and successors turn to him for doctrinal counsel and priesthood authority. Eliza R. Snow summarized the feelings of many in a poetic tribute shortly following Joseph’s death:

We mourn the Prophet, from whose lips have flow’d

The words of life, thy spirit has betow’d—

A depth of thought, no human art could reach

From time to time, roll’d in sublimest speech,

From the celestial fountain, through his mind,

To purify and elevate mankind:

The rich intelligence by him brought forth,

Is like the sun-beam, spreading o’er the earth. . . .

The noble martyrs now have gone to move

The cause of Zion in the courts above. [38]

With help from his prophetic peers and insights from others who knew him, we begin to see the mission of the “obscure” New York farm boy. Someday, we may fully understand one of Joseph’s final comments about himself. At the conclusion of his April 1844 King Follett discourse, he told those assembled in Nauvoo, “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 anyone for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would 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.” [39] Someday, millions really shall know him again. [40]


[1] Diedrich Willers, “Church Book of the Reformed Church of Christ in Fayette Township, Seneca County in State of New York, 1833,” cited in Larry C. Porter, Milton V. Backman Jr., and Susan Easton Black, eds., Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: New York (Provo, UT: Department of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University, 1992), 161.

[2] Thomas Ford, A History of Illinois, From Its Commencement as a State in 1818 to 1847 (Chicago: S. C. Griggs, 1854), 354–55, cited in Mark L. McConkie, Remembering Joseph: Personal Recollections of Those Who Knew the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003), 29–30.

[3] Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past from the Leaves of Old Journals (Boston: 1883), 399–400; cited in McConkie, Remembering Joseph, CD-ROM.

[4] Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1980), 3:201.

[5] Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volume 1: The Gospels (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965), 1:129; see also Robert J. Matthews, A Burning Light: The Life and Ministry of John the Baptist (Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1972), 68–73.

[6] Commentaries on noncanonical references to the Messiah, son of Joseph, include: “‘Messiah the son of Joseph’: a forerunner of the Messiah the son of David who will fight against Israel’s enemies at the end-time and fall in battle. In earlier texts he is a rather nebulous figure, but he is treated fully in the late apocalypses: See b. Sukk 52a/b; TarJon to Ex 40:11 (‘Messiah son of Ephraim . . . at whose hand Israel will triumph over Gog and his allies at the end of days’)” (3 Enoch 45:5, in James H. Charlesworth, ed., Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983), 1:298, note t; also, “The Jews looked for a ‘faithful prophet’ (I Macc. xiv:41) who was to terminate the prophetic period and usher in the Messianic reign. But after Peter, as recorded in Acts iii:22, applied the prophecy of Deut. to Christ, the Christian Church adopted this interpretation” (W. Robertson Nicoll, The Expositor’s Greek Testament [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1960], 1:693). The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament observes, “The Messiah [ben] Joseph. . . is first attested in literature in the 2nd cent. A.D. . . . In contrast to the Messiah [ben] David, who is anointed for kingly rule, the Messiah [ben] Joseph is anointed for military action. . . . After his manifestation he will lead his armies from Upper Galilee to Jerusalem where he will rebuild the temple and defeat the peoples surrounding Israel. After forty years of peace he will be killed in battle against his enemies. . . . The people will lift up a lament for him. . . . The Messiah [ben] David, whose coming is contemporary with or just after that of the Messiah [ben] Joseph, will finally conquer the enemies of Israel. . . . It is perhaps a proof that Messianic ideas were much more complicated in the time of Jesus than we can show from the written sources at our disposal” (Gerhard Friedrich, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974], 9:526–27).

[7] Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954), 1:174. See also Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1979), 221.

[8] Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volume 1: The Gospels (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965), 1:130.

[9] George Laub, in Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, comps., The Words of Joseph Smith (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, 1980), 370; spelling and punctuation modernized. It should be noted that “Laub did not transcribe his original notes of this discourse in his journal until a year after the death of Joseph Smith; thus, this reference to John 1:21 may be Laub’s interpolation” (see Ehat and Cook, Words of Joseph Smith, 405 n. 50).

[10] Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Joseph Smith: The Choice Seer (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), xviii; see also Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1963), 4:194.

[11] Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1982), 339–40; see also Kent P. Jackson, “Revelations Concerning Isaiah,” in Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, Studies in Scripture: Volume One, The Doctrine and Covenants (Sandy, UT: Randall Book, 1984), 331–32.

[12] See section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 78 and 82. In editions prior to 1981, Joseph Smith was identified as Gazelam in Doctrine and Covenants 78:9; 82:11; 104:26, 43, 45, 46

[13] McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 307–8.

[14] Benjamin F. Johnson, “Benjamin F. Johnson to George S. Gibbs, 1903,” cited in E. Dale LeBaron, “Benjamin F. Johnson: Colonizer, Public Servant, and Church Leader” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1966), 328.

[15] Gerald N. Lund, “A Prophet for the Fulness of Times,” Ensign, January 1997, 52.

[16] Lund, “A Prophet,” 52.

[17] Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854–86), 5:332.

[18] John Taylor, in B. H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1963), 40–41.

[19] Daniel Tyler, “Recollections of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Juvenile Instructor, May 15, 1893, 332.

[20] Wandle Mace, “Autobiography of Wandle Mace,” typescript copy, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, 46–49, 100–101; cited in McConkie, Remembering Joseph, CD-ROM.

[21] James Palmer, “Reminiscences,” Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, 69–70; spelling and grammar have been modernized; cited in McConkie, Remembering Joseph, CD-ROM.

[22] Mary Lightner, “Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, July 1926, 194–95, cited in McConkie, Remembering Joseph, CD-ROM.

[23] Rhoda Richards, Diaries, 1784–1879, April 7, 1844, Church Archives, in Richard Neitzel Holzapfel and Jeni Broberg Holzapfel, Women of Nauvoo (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992), 89.

[24] Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1931), 70.

[25] Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 1:133; emphasis in original.

[26] William W. Phelps, “Praise to the Man,” Hymns (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), no. 27.

[27] Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 7:289; spelling modernized.

[28] George Q. Cannon, in Journal of Discourses, 23:361.

[29] “Benjamin F. Johnson to George S. Gibbs, 1903,” cited in LeBaron, “Benjamin F. Johnson,” 332–33.

[30] Joseph Smith, in “Benjamin F. Johnson to George S. Gibbs, 1903,” 333.

[31] Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1846–1847, comp. Elden J. Watson (Salt Lake City: n.p., 1971), 528–30; see also Ronald W. Walker, “Brigham Young: Student of the Prophet,” Ensign, February 1998, 51.

[32] Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, ed. G. Homer Durham (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1946), 288.

[33] Heber J. Grant, in Conference Report, April 1941, 5.

[34] Roberts, Life of John Taylor, 415–16.

[35] Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Joseph Smith: The Choice Seer (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996), xxi.

[36] Bruce R. McConkie, “This Generation Shall Have My Word through You,” in Hearken, O Ye People: Discourses on the Doctrine and Covenants (Sandy, UT: Randall Book, 1984), 4–5.

[37] Gordon B. Hinckley, “As One Who Loves the Prophet,” in The Prophet and His Work: Essays from General Authorities on Joseph Smith and the Restoration (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996), 13.

[38] Eliza R. Snow, Times and Seasons, July 1, 1844, 575.

[39] Smith, History of the Church, 6:317.

[40] William W. Phelps, “Praise to the Man,” Hymns, no. 27.