Parallel Prophets: Paul and Joseph Smith

Professor of Religion

August 9, 1983

Full Video
As you read Joseph Smith’s teachings and Paul’s letters note the total commitment of each. Both were men consumed with a mission, which continues the question of what is really important in your world and your life.

Where is the clear voice of authority on right and wrong? Divided and drifting churches supply religious philosophers but not prophets. Yet Latter-day Saints testify that Joseph Smith and his successors were called to rescue a world adrift in its own conceits and problems. Such a claim can be tested by the Bible, the record of prior prophets.

Would you assist me in making an important point? I would like to report accurately your awareness of the Bible, but remember that the value of the result depends upon your strict honesty now. I have two simple questions. First, do you know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount? If you do, raise your hand. Second, could you name all four Gospels in the New Testament? If you can, raise your hand. We have here observed that an audience of Latter-day Saints college students can score nearly 100 percent in a simple literacy test about Christ. A Gallup poll this year determined that only 42 percent of Americans could name Jesus as delivering the Sermon on the Mount; only 59 percent of the college graduates in this country knew who gave the sermon. Obviously a lower percentage know the critical teachings of that sermon. The national results on your second question are similar. Whereas about 85 percent of you indicated that you could name the four Gospels, only 46 percent of Americans can do so; again, only 61 percent of college graduates can name the four Gospels.1

There could not be a stronger argument for a college education of the kind that you are getting, blending scriptural and secular knowledge. This world cannot rise higher than nominal Christianity until the message of Christ and his prophets is learned by educated people. Another name for religious education is missionary work. We must share our reasons for Joseph Smith as a modern prophet, restoring the religious insights to bring all to Christ in this world and in eternity.

As a religion teacher who taught many of your parents, I wish to share an approach to Joseph Smith that grows naturally out of an informed view of the Bible. I have spent half of my time studying the sources of the life of Joseph Smith, and the other half studying the words of Christ and the New Testament prophets. I find it hard to believe in the biblical prophets without also accepting Joseph Smith and those called after him. The same reasons that lead a thinking person to accept Peter and Paul as Christ’s servants should also lead that person to accept Joseph Smith as commissioned by Christ. Here I am going to take Paul as an example because we know more about his life than that of any other New Testament prophet. His main strengths as a prophet are also those of Joseph Smith. If you forget some comparisons, please remember the principle—that the leading evidences that Paul is a true prophet also support Joseph Smith as called of God. Remembering that fundamental proposition, you can reconstruct this talk anytime with you own examples. Proof of the mission of any true prophet gives the format for identifying a later true prophet.

Paul and Joseph Smith Different

This approach does not assume that any individual is a carbon copy of another. Paul was not striking in person whereas Joseph Smith impressed most visitors by his height and bearing. Paul was a missionary apostle whereas Joseph Smith presided over apostles and mostly directed missionary work instead of traveling to do it personally. Paul had the best education that his culture could afford whereas Joseph Smith was raised in frontier poverty without training beyond junior high school skills. But in spite of such wide personal differences, there are dramatic common denominators. It matters little that one spoke English and that the other was fluent in Hebrew and Greek, provided they both spoke as inspired by the Holy Ghost. It is the question of their common calling and authority and revelation that we are addressing. This forces us to go behind appearances to inner spiritual realities. In doing this with Paul and Joseph Smith, we may also increase our abilities to be sensitive to the inner spiritual realities of those prophets who lead and will lead us in our own lives.

Paul and Joseph Had Direct Revelation

Both Paul and Joseph Smith were considered blasphemers by their contemporaries. Their sin? They had added to the traditional scriptures. Paul was considered anti-Jewish, and followers of Joseph Smith today are superficially labeled as non-Christian. But every Jewish and Christian prophet had added to the prior revelations by speaking God’s message for a new generation. Paul demonstrated this continuity by standing before the Jewish high council and observing that he was on trial for believing what other Pharisees believed—the reality of the resurrection (see Acts 23:6). And Joseph Smith made the same kind of plea in a letter testifying to his nonmember uncle, who later joined the Church. He contended that the revelations to earlier servants of God were the history of religion, not religion. True religion demanded present communication with God. The great answers of God to biblical leaders were really an invitation to seek those answers anew. Joseph Smith asked his uncle, “And have I not an equal privilege with the ancient saints? And will not the Lord hear my prayers, and listen to my cries as soon as he ever did to theirs, if I come to him in the manner they did?”2 No true servant of God teaches that the day of continuing revelation is past.

The following story about Joseph Smith comes from Parley P. Pratt’s autobiography, a fast-moving introduction to Church history that is a must in your gospel education. Parley P. Pratt was in Philadelphia in January 1840, when Joseph Smith spoke at a meeting during the Christmas recess of Congress, before which he had testified on behalf of Latter-day Saint reparations after the Missouri persecutions. Joseph’s counselor, the eloquent Sidney Rigdon, spoke at length on biblical evidences for the Restoration. But Joseph virtually sprang to the pulpit afterward to tell his personal experiences of how God called him, “bearing testimony of the visions he had seen, the ministering angels which he had enjoyed.”3 When Paul was challenged on the resurrection, he did not argue with the Corinthians about the philosophical possibility. On the contrary, he answered their objections only after insisting that he and others knew for themselves, for they had seen. If there is no resurrection, “we are found false witnesses of God” (1 Corinthians 15:15). The essential job of a prophet is to testify personally. And in the case of the great prophets Paul and Joseph Smith, they did so on the basis of their eyewitness contact with Christ.

Their First Visions

Thus there was a “first vision” for both Paul and Joseph Smith. Their backgrounds differed, but the vision near Damascus and the vision in the New York forest were orientations for these two prophets for a lifetime of service. Both open revelations told them to change their course and to wait for the Lord’s further instruction. And both were conversations with the resurrected Christ. Criticisms of Joseph Smith demand consistency in studying the prophets. Many Christians accepting Paul comfortably think that their sniping at Joseph Smith’s first vision has proved it wrong. But what appears is a double standard for these critics. Most arguments against Joseph Smith’s first vision detract from Paul’s Damascus experience with equal force. For instance, Joseph’s credibility is attacked because he did not describe his first vision until a dozen years after it happened. But the first known mention of the Damascus appearance is in 1 Corinthians 9:1, written about two dozen years after it happened. Critics love to dwell on supposed inconsistencies in Joseph Smith’s spontaneous accounts of his first vision. But people normally give shorter and longer accounts of a vivid experience that is retold more than once. Joseph Smith was cautious about public explanations of his sacred experiences until the Church grew strong and could properly publicize what God had given him. Thus his most detailed first-vision account came after several others—at the time that he began his formal history that he saw as one of the key responsibilities of his life (see JS-H 1:1–2, 17–20). In Paul’s case there is the parallel. His most detailed account of Christ’s call is the last recorded mention of several. Thus before Agrippa, Paul related how the glorified Savior first prophesied his work among the gentiles; this was told only then because Paul was speaking before a gentile audience (see Acts 26:16–18). Paul and Joseph Smith had reasons for delaying full details of their visions until the proper time and place.

The first visions of Paul and Joseph Smith underline the directness of their divine contact. Many writers now use prophet of religious leaders who are eloquent but do not merit that designation. But the overused awesome correctly pictures Joseph Smith and Paul standing in the presence of the resurrected Lord and receiving specific direction. Yet such powerful visions did not happen every day. Divine beings do not appear to anyone because of easy whim or casual desire. Such great revelations come when God has a purpose for them. In Paul’s case, he saw the Lord on four other known occasions after his first vision—stretching through the next twenty-five years of his career in the Church.4 Joseph Smith is very similar in the number of other times he saw the Lord throughout seventeen years after his first vision.5 Neither Paul nor Joseph Smith fell into the impostor’s trap of overclaiming such sacred experiences. And there is a corollary here that is a mark of true prophets. Visions supplement agency—they do not supplant it. For years Paul struggled in a lesser light and even opposed the truth before his first vision. We know that Joseph Smith also had a history of years of inquiry. Great answers come after intense quests. Every vision of Joseph Smith or Paul represents an important answer at a critical time.

Our Involvement

Each of us here is involved in the deepest realities given to these great prophets. For one thing, their visions tell us of our personal destinies. Nothing is more religiously exciting than the brilliant scene of three degrees of glory in Joseph Smith’s vision recorded in Doctrine and Covenants, section 76. One proof of his inspiration is that the Christian world knows nothing of such degrees of glory—only the superficial heaven or the dismal hell. Yet Paul spoke of himself in humility as “a man in Christ” who was caught up to the “third heaven” to see glorious things (see 2 Corinthians 12:2–4). Joseph Smith and Paul agree here against the Christian world because they received true revelation that religious leaders do not have. In the modern Prophet’s words, “When any person receives a vision of heaven, he sees things that he never thought of before.”6 Our origin and destiny are among the most powerful appeals of the restored gospel, and both are vivid in Paul.

There is another dimension where we may identify personally with the prophets. Though they were given great doctrinal guidelines to share, they did not know all answers to everything. Several statements of Joseph Smith regarding judgments and the Second Coming mirror this 1839 comment, “I know not how soon these things will take place.”7 Paul could shatter the arrogance of the Corinthians by comparing human knowledge to the understanding of a child: “for we know in part, and we prophesy in part” (1 Corinthians 13:9). The revealed part is critical for our perspective on earth, but the unrevealed part is essential to our agency and growth in learning through discernment and consistency with revelation.

And just at this point is one of the greatest personal messages from these prophets—the invitation for all to become prophets. The sharp distinction between the clergy and the common man never existed when prophets were on the earth. From the point of view of authority and doctrinal revelation, the New Testament apostles clearly had a special position of leadership. But from the point of view of sharing God’s inspiration, they invited all to be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and participate in the gifts of the Spirit. While correcting excesses, Paul encouraged the early Saints to “desire spiritual gifts” and seek to “prophesy” (1 Corinthians 14:1). Joseph Smith’s similar invitation comes in many forms but permeates his speeches. It proves that true prophets do not seek to maintain professional status in an exclusive group, but to lead all to the same power that God has shared with them. On a half-dozen occasions Joseph Smith affirmed that he claimed to be a prophet but added, in the words of Revelation 19:10, that everyone else who could gain a testimony of Jesus would also be a prophet, “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”8 That is, if all pay the price to gain the Holy Ghost, all can be prophets. The parallel between Joseph Smith and Paul is vivid here, for Paul penned the most impressive perspective of the Holy Ghost: “the things of God” can only be revealed “unto us by his Spirit”—that which searches “the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9–11). In turn Joseph Smith gave the most practical advice on how to identify these subtle but powerful spiritual promptings. “A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the spirit of revelation,” Joseph Smith counseled. Proceeding, he asked you to pay attention “when you feel pure intelligence flowing unto you—it may give you sudden strokes of ideas.”9

Is anyone here not concerned with a relationship with God? Paul and Joseph Smith are trustworthy guides. Their spiritual qualities stand out as impressively similar. Paul’s mature letters refer to constant prayers for the Saints, and his hope that they will pray for him. The great miracle of being freed from prison by an earthquake came in the midst of the prayers of Paul and his companion (see Acts 16:25). Joseph Smith’s pattern is better documented, not only in his early prayers before his early visitations. Joseph Smith’s many letters, personal diaries, and Nauvoo speeches are interspersed with open prayers for the blessings of God upon his work and upon the Latter-day Saints in that work. These are not staged references, but the spontaneous appeals of a sincere man. We are trusting in God’s answers to men who deeply trusted him.

Their Authority

And their authority in representing God is overwhelming—they knew that they knew. Paul answered when challenged, “Am I not an apostle? . . . Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” (1 Corinthians 9:1). Public and private remarks of Paul and Joseph Smith are filled with the personal knowledge of their authority to speak for Jesus Christ. That needs no demonstration in the case of the ancient apostle, who constantly preached Christ to a world that had scarcely heard of him. Since Joseph Smith was sent centuries later to a society that professed belief in Christ, he did not argue that point as much as explain the meaning of Christ’s will. Yet his closeness to the Lord is symbolized by his private letters to his wife, which were dashed off with no thought of publication. In 1832 he told her of delay in returning home, mentioned his heartfelt prayers to God for forgiveness and blessings, and spoke of God as his friend and comfort, continuing: “I have given my life into his hands. I am prepared to go at his call. I desire to be with Christ. I count not my life dear to me, only to do his will.”10 Joseph Smith was a powerful witness of Christ not only in the first vision, but in the visions of the three degrees of glory and in the Savior’s appearance to accept the Kirtland Temple. But strangely, the followers of this prophet who knew Christ personally are slandered as not Christians by their detractors. Joseph Smith and Paul furnish the most powerful testimonies of Christ outside the records of his ministry.

Their Teachings of Sacrifice for the Gospel

That raises the central issue of Christ’s religion. Can one become a Christian through words alone? Isn’t it odd that the saved-by-grace tracts seldom quote Christ and his central Sermon on the Mount? If Paul taught salvation by grace alone or faith alone, that would be a major cleavage from Joseph Smith, but it is not. Let’s start with the foundation of the Savior whom both served. Jesus closed the Sermon on the Mount with the warning that hearing (or reading) these sayings without doing them would produce a moral catastrophe similar to the house that collapsed because it was not built on a sound foundation. In half a dozen letters Paul listed the moral sins that will keep one from God’s kingdom if not repented of, saying to the Galatians, “I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). What could be better proof of apostasy than the change of the Christian religion from a religion of action to a religion of belief alone? Newspaper stories of business fraud or repulsive immoralities are reminders that no Latter-day Saint goes into God’s kingdom because of his name—only because of his repentance and high performance after accepting Christ’s atonement.

Joseph Smith taught a restored gospel filled with mercy and the love of the Savior. But he consistently added the principle of responsibility after learning of mercy. There is no such thing as easy salvation. Someone once said of education: “Never say that learning is fun. It is difficult, painful, hard work. But it is worth it.” You who have just about finished a successful semester knew the satisfaction of progress based on discipline. And Joseph Smith consistently taught salvation based on successfully controlling one’s body for good. Thus salvation is not easy and pleasurable. But paying the price is worth the magnificent reward. Like Paul, Joseph Smith taught that unrepentant evil would not be ignored on the day of judgment. At a funeral he appealed to all to put their lives in order now: “Let it prove as a warning to all men to deal justly before God with all men—then we shall be clean in the day of judgment.”11 Paul taught accountability throughout his letters, and throughout his Nauvoo preaching Joseph Smith insisted that eternal judgment was among the first principles of the gospel.12 Indeed, how to meet that judgment successfully is the gospel.

One night’s binge on TV or $20 spent on movie tickets would be enough to prove that the motivating principle of this world is pleasure. But the motivating principle of Paul and Joseph Smith was putting aside easy pleasure to bring about God’s kingdom. When the Corinthians doubted the resurrection, Paul simply asked why he risked his life “every hour” and faced death “daily” (1 Corinthians 15:30). Would one of Paul’s intelligence live a life of discomfort for something not true? To his Corinthian detractors, he simply asked who had given more for the gospel. Paul’s record is magnificent in a simple modern translation:

From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters . . . in hunger and thirst . . . in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my anxiety for all the churches. [2 Corinthians 11:24–28, New King James Bible.]

I seriously ask you, would you trade a record like that for sports cars, a constant tan, and other material pleasures that money can buy for a few temporary decades on this earth?

Joseph Smith also proved his sincerity by sacrifice. Writing to the Church during a legal persecution that kept him in hiding in and out of Nauvoo for months, he also looked back: “The envy and wrath of man have been my common lot all the days of my life . . . and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation” (D&C 127:2). Why did either Paul or Joseph Smith do this? Because they positively knew the truth of the gospel, the resurrection, and the judgment, and that the riches of eternity made everything else secondary. The modern Prophet explained that his lifelong persecutions for telling his visions made him feel “much like Paul . . . [H]e was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise” (JS-H 1:24).

Many men and women sacrifice for their families and their principles. How many claim the visions of heaven and sacrifice as a witness of that? Most recent founders of successful religions live comfortably by the donations of their followers. But God’s plan for his prophets tries them in fire, not only for their own postgraduate education, but for the clear validity of their testimony. Relatively few religious leaders have dared to claim visions on the level of Paul and Joseph Smith. And in the test of integrity, the quality of Joseph Smith’s sacrifice clearly reaches the level of the ancient apostle. Joseph Smith’s biographers will never run out of exciting copy because his life writes itself in the drama of giving for the gospel. This American prophet was too busy sacrificing to summarize all his trials, but any historian can easily take Paul’s format and adapt it to Joseph Smith, who might have written:

A number of times Christians leveled guns at me with the threat of death. Once I was beaten, tarred, and feathered, and left unconscious. Twice I was endangered by stagecoach runaways when on the Lord’s business. I have taken back roads and waded through swamps to escape my enemies. I have endured years of inconvenient travel on land for the kingdom, as well as risked many steamboat journeys on waterways. I faced years of unjust legal harassment, making my own home unsafe, and was imprisoned for a long winter in a filthy jail on unverified charges. Through all I maintained the responsibility of leading the Church, worrying, praying, and planning for the welfare of my family and my fellow Saints.13

Their Love for the Saints

Neither Paul nor Joseph Smith were strange aberrations, but vital personalities who loved and were loved. Indeed the genuineness of their selfless love is an important facet of their sacrifice for the gospel. I know of no two prophets who taught the meaning of love better than Paul and Joseph Smith. They must have been close to the Savior, who made love the foundation principle of the gospel. Indeed, the various fields of social studies recognize genuine love as the core of a healthy personality.

It is hardly necessary to comment on Paul’s sketch of celestial love in 1 Corinthians 13, or his fatherly concern for cooperating and rebellious converts alike. Joseph Smith’s life exhibits the same mature concern for others. For example, he could have escaped from custody at the beginning of the winter of Liberty Jail, but he would not for fear of reprisals on the Latter-day Saints. After their safety was assured by the dissipation of mobs and beginning migration, he tried three jailbreaks, all of them creative, but only the last successful. And at the end Joseph returned from the far bank of the Mississippi, observing that if his life was of no value to his people, it was of no value to himself. The historical documents surrounding this decision prove that he consciously placed himself in the danger of assassination in jail to keep angry troops from coming to Nauvoo to look for him and endanger his people. Time and again Joseph placed his safety second and the welfare of his family and Latter-day Saints first.

So there is substance in his Nauvoo teachings on love. His comments before the Relief Society are often homely in expression but godly in content: “The nearer we get to our Heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls, to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our back.”14 Earlier he had written to the Twelve on leaving home to preach the gospel: “A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race.”15 I have pondered on the relationship of love and truth, an issue not very far from Keats’s association of truth and beauty. The link for me is selflessness. One with true concern for you is not trying to exploit you for his benefit—thus he is most likely to give you truth and not his devious form of exploitation.

Joseph Smith gave one of his most telling insights into self just weeks before his martyrdom. Biographer Brodie thought that Joseph’s “no man knows my history” hinted at deception, a 180-degree error. But this 1844 statement is really Joseph Smith’s valedictory of love, linking his visions with his unlimited giving of self: “I have no enmity against any man . . . for I love all men, especially these my brethren and sisters. . . . You never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot do it. I shall never undertake [it]. If I had not experienced what I have, I should not have known it myself. I never did harm any man since I have been born in the world. My voice is always for peace.”16 Joseph simply says that he knew marvelous things; therefore he shared. Can you believe a generous teacher or loving parent who says this? Such language pierces my soul. Knowing that Joseph Smith and Paul sincerely loved, I cannot believe that either deceived.

Their Martyrdom

There is little time for the many prophecies of Joseph Smith and Paul. They both pass the test of pre-inspiration, a topic for another talk and much more. There is room for a brief comment on the prophecies of each concerning martyrdom. Both Paul and Joseph Smith had predicted safety in earlier persecutions, but they accurately predicted their own deaths. This is a simple translation of that thought in Paul’s final letter, 2 Timothy: “For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come” (2 Timothy 4:6, literal translation). From 1842 Joseph Smith had said that his work was virtually through and he could die at any time; in 1844 he negotiated on final arrest, bluntly telling Governor Ford in several letters that the legal process was a pretext “till some bloodthirsty villain could find his opportunity to shoot us.”17 Joseph gave himself into the hands of his enemies with full knowledge of his impending death. I am convinced on the basis of Nauvoo sources. Contemporary journals record his forebodings on the way to Carthage, and Willard Richards wrote the Prophet’s words there the day before martyrdom: “I have had a good deal of anxiety about my safety, which I never did before—I could not help [it].”18 And his non-Mormon lawyer recalled that Joseph said on the morning of the martyrdom “that he should not live to see another day, so fully was he impressed with the belief that he would be murdered, all of which proved true.”19

What are the most important things in the world today? Do not look for them in the media, for the three best historians of the first century barely mention Christianity as a disreputable superstition, and no one mentions Paul. The preservation of his history and personal letters we owe to the believers, who considered all he did and said far more important than the Jewish wars of the century or the aberrations of the emperors. Today’s newspapers are filled with human drama, athletic scores, political power plays, shocking accidents, and actions of strange and often evil people. But the real news of the day they seldom carry—the outreach of the silent minority for righteousness, the moral choices of the faithful. Revelations to Paul and Joseph Smith make clear that this is the question on judgment day after all else has passed away. The devout Gandhi was shocked when told by his Christian friends “that all good works were useless.” Thus he rejected such Christianity as irreligious, saying: “I do not seek redemption from the consequences of my sin. I seek to be redeemed from sin itself, or rather from the very thought of sin.”20 Through Joseph Smith the gospel was restored as originally taught by Paul, with its sweet assurance of forgiveness on condition that each believer obey the Ten Commandments and through Christ rise to perfection beyond that. Both Paul and Joseph Smith agree that perfection will come not in meditative isolation but in dynamic service, in priesthood-led programs, including the family.

Their Commitment—and Ours

As you read Joseph Smith’s teachings and Paul’s letters note the total commitment of each. Both were men consumed with a mission, which continues the question of what is really important in your world and your life. Of his work Paul said, “Necessity is laid upon me, for woe to me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16, literal translation). One who had stood in the presence of Christ knew the urgency of each day and the real work for eternity going on around him. With the same conviction of urgency, Joseph Smith commented: “If I had not actually got into this work, and been called of God, I would back out. But I cannot back out—I have no doubt of the truth.”21 Does the spirit of revelation in you respond to the spirit of revelation in them? Do you expect to dwell with Christ, Paul, and Joseph Smith without paying the price that they paid—energetic service, discomfort, and ridicule for the cause of the Lord? The lives of these men who gave their all testify eloquently to the truth of their message. But their examples pose an inescapable question for everyone who knows what you know about them. How much will you give for the cause of the Lord? The answer can only be yours, and I pray that you will find an inspired one—which I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.


1. Princeton Religion Research Center, Emerging Trends, April 1983.

2. Joseph Smith to Silas Smith, 26 September 1833, Kirtland, Ohio, cit. Lucy Smith, Biographical Sketches (Liverpool, 1853), p. 208.

3. Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Pratt (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979), p. 298.

4. See Acts 22:17–21; 1 Corinthians 12:1–4, inference; Acts 18:9–10; Acts 23:11.

5. For the most accessible visions, see D&C 76:22–24; D&C 137:2–3; D&C 110:1–10.

6. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980), p. 14. Quotations from this work reproducing journal entries may be quoted with addition of punctuation.

7. Ibid., p. 12.

8. For examples, see ibid., pp. 10, 164, 230. Other Joseph Smith sources furnish parallels.

9. Ehat and Cook, p. 5; also Teachings, p. 151.

10. Joseph Smith to Emma Smith, June 6, 1832, Greenville, Indiana, orig. at the Chicago Historical Society.

11. Ehat and Cook, p. 113.

12. For examples, see Ehat and Cook, pp. 4, 37, 62, 72, 367. Other Joseph Smith sources furnish parallels. Cf. Hebrews 6:1–3.

13. As indicated in the text, this first-person statement is my creation, based on what Joseph Smith could have said accurately about his trials for the gospel.

14. Ehat and Cook, p. 123.

15. Joseph Smith to the Twelve, October 1840, Nauvoo, Ill., cit. HC 4:237.

16. Ehat and Cook, p. 355.

17. Joseph Smith to Thomas Ford, 22 June 1844, cit. HC 6:540.

18. Willard Richards, Joseph Smith Journal, 26 June 1844, LDS Historical Department ms.

19. Col. J. W. Woods, “The Mormon Prophet,” Daily Democrat, Ottumwa, Iowa, 10 May 1885.

20. Mohandas K. Gandhi, An Autobiography (Boston: Beacon Press, 1940, 1957), p. 124.

21. Ehat and Cook, p. 179.

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Richard Lloyd Anderson

Richard Lloyd Anderson was a professor of religion at Brigham Young University when this devotional address was given on 9 August 1983.