2 Nephi 3
Lehi told his son, Joseph, of the covenants and promises the Lord made with Joseph in Egypt and of Joseph’s prophecies about a great prophet and seer that “the Lord my God [shall] raise up” “in the latter days.” This great seer would also be named Joseph as would his father. Joseph Smith, Jr. is this seer, this prophet, this great hero.
Lehi described some of the things Joseph Smith would do that qualify him as a hero. He would “do none other work, save the work which I [the Lord] shall command him.” He will “write the writing of the fruit of [Lehi’s] loins” and “bring forth [God’s] word unto the seed” of Lehi’s family and the nations of the world. This book Joseph Smith would translate is the Book of Mormon. By sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ found in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, which was “written by the fruit of the loins of Judah,” Joseph Smith would enable many to come “to the knowledge of their fathers…and also to the knowledge of [God’s] covenants…unto the confounding of false doctrines…and establishing peace” (2 Nephi 3:12).
Joseph Smith would bring many “out of darkness unto light…and out of captivity unto freedom” as they “hearken unto the words of the book” which manifested of the Messiah and the covenants and promises of the Lord. Like many heroes, Joseph Smith would have weaknesses, but the Lord promised that “out of weakness he shall be made strong” and he “shall do much good…being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren” (2 Nephi 3:24).
After his martyrdom on June 27, 1844, John Taylor, said of this great hero, the Prophet Joseph Smith:
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. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood… (Doctrine & Covenants 135:3).
Joseph Smith is one of my heroes, too. I am so grateful for his example in following the hero’s pattern. His hero’s journey started with a question. He asked God in a simple prayer of faith, learned what he should not do, and then did what the Lord told him to do as he continued through the years to ask and learn. He did amazing things because of his faith and his willingness to make God’s work his work. (See Joseph Smith History.)
*Share an example from Joseph Smith’s journey as a hero that inspires you.