Thursday, November 3, 2011

Joseph Smith, Jr.'s 1833 Letter to his Uncle Silas Smith, concerning the truthfulness of the LDS Church

For those who are new to my blog, and for my regular or even irregular readers (if there be any), I am a believer and strong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints-in other words, I'm a Mormon.  I sincerely and wholeheartedly believe in doctrines and principles taught by what we believe to be Christ's true, restored Gospel here on earth, and I know of a surety from the personal and spiritual revelations I have had concerning this church and it's doctrine and principles, given to me by God himself through his Holy Spirit.  I have recently been reading "The History of the Joseph Smith, By His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith," and in there i Ran across this 1833 letter from Joseph Smith, Jr., to his Uncle Silas Smith concerning the recently organized LDS church.

I love the Prophet's logic and reason exhibited in this 1833 letter, and it can not only be used to justify the truthfulness and reasonability of continuing, modern-day revelation from God to His human children here on Earth through a prophet as in the days of old, but of the truthfulness and logicality of Book of Mormon, another record and testament of Jesus Christ, given to and for the ancient inhabitants of the American continent.  For is it unreasonable to think that the same God who lead the Hebrews out of Egypt and into the promised land could lead other of his righteous children, Jew or not, to other parts of the world for their safety, prosperity and reward for their righteousness and give of his revelations and gospel to them, as well? Is it unreaosnable to think that the same God that established his church and put it under the earthly control of his 12 Apostles before he ascended to dwell with God the Father in the heavens, which church was meant for all mankind, both Jew and Gentile and which spread all over Palestine and the Roman Empire, even into Rome itself, would establish and have Apostles and church authorities over his church on another continent in an era when there was no means of communicating with or even knowing of each other's existence?  Is it unreasonable to think that Christ's church would exist on this entirely seperate continent, for both Jew and Gentile, and that Christ would bring forth a record of his chruch and of and for those very people on that same continent?  If God would bring forth the record of His church of so many different areas within the Roman Empire, (for that is what the New Testament is, a record of Christ's church in the different areas of the Roman Empire, e.g. Phillipians, Gallatians, Romans, Corinthians, Thessalonians, Ehpesians,Collosians,  etc.) what is so difficult in beleiving that Christ's church, meant for both Jew and Gentile, would exist elsewhere outside of the Roman Empire at the same time, and that Christ would also speak to them in their own time time, and bring forth a record of the church and its teachings in their own area?  To me, mere logic and reason, as exhibited by Joseph Smith, Jr. in this 1833 letter asserts and proves the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ and his ministry in and reveleations to the ancient inhabitants of the Americas.

Here's the 1833 letter:

"Kirtland Mills, Ohio, September 26, 1833.

RESPECTED UNCLE SILAS:—It is with feelings of deep interest for the welfare of mankind, which fill my mind on the reflection that all were formed by the hand of Him who will call the same to give an impartial account of all their works on that great day to which you and myself, in common with them, are bound, that I take up my pen and seat myself in an attitude to address a few, though imperfect, lines to you for your perusal.

I have no doubt but that you will agree with me, that men will be held accountable for the things they have done, and not for the things they have not done. Or that all the light and intelligence communicated to them from their beneficent Creator, whether it is much or little, by the same they, in justice, will be judged. And that they are required to yield obedience, and improve upon that, and that only, which is given, for man is not to live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

Seeing that the Lord has never given the world to understand, by anything heretofore revealed, that he had ceased forever to speak to his creatures, when sought unto in a proper manner, why should it be thought a thing incredible that he should be pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation? Perhaps you may be surprised at this assertion, that I should say for the salvation of his creatures in these last days, since we have already in our possession a vast volume of his word, which he has previously given. But you will admit that the word spoken to Noah was not sufficient for Abraham, or it was not required of Abraham to leave the land of his nativity, and seek an inheritance in a strange country upon the word spoken to Noah, but for himself he obtained promises at the hand of the Lord, and walked in that perfection, that he was called the friend of God. Isaac, the promised seed, was not required to rest his hope alone upon the promises made to his father Abraham, but was privileged with the assurance of his approbation, in the sight of Heaven, by the direct voice of the Lord to him. If one man can live upon the revelations given to another, might I not with propriety ask, why the necessity, then, of the Lord's speaking to Isaac as he did, as is recorded in the twenty-sixth chapter of Genesis? For the Lord there repeats, or rather, promises again to perform the oath which he had previously sworn to Abraham; and why this repetition to Isaac? Why was not the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham? Was not Isaac Abraham's son? and could he not place implicit confidence in the veracity of his father as being a man of God? Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man, and different from men in these last days, consequently, the Lord favored him with blessings, peculiar and different, as he was different from men of this age. I admit that he was a peculiar man, and not only peculiarly blessed, but greatly blessed. But all the peculiarity that I can discover in the man, or all the difference between him and men in this age, is, that he was more holy and more perfect before God, and came to him with a purer heart, and more faith than men in this day.

The same might be said on the subject of Jacob's history. Why was it that the Lord spake to him concerning the same promise, after he had made it once to Abraham, and renewed it to Isaac? Why could not Jacob rest contented upon the word spoken to his fathers? When the time of the promise drew nigh for the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, why was it necessary that the Lord should begin to speak to them? The promise or word to Abraham, was, that his seed should serve in bondage, and be afflicted, four hundred years, and after that they should come out with great substance. Why did they not rely upon this promise, and when they had remained in Egypt, in bondage, four hundred years, come out, without waiting for further revelations, but act entirely upon the promise given to Abraham, that they should come out?

Paul said to his Hebrew brethren, that God being more abundantly willing to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, he confirmed it by an oath. He also exhorts them, who, through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Notwithstanding, we (said Paul) have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us, which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast and which entereth into that within the vail, yet he was careful to press upon them the necessity of continuing on until they, as well as those who then inherited the promises, might have the assurance of their salvation confirmed to them by an oath from the mouth of him who could not lie; for that seemed to be the example anciently, and Paul holds it out to his Hebrew brethren as an object attainable in his day. And why not? I admit that by reading the Scriptures of truth, the saints, in the days of Paul, could learn, beyond the power of contradiction, that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had the promise of eternal life confirmed to them by an oath of the Lord, but that promise or oath was no assurance to them of their salvation; but they could, by waling in the footsteps, continuing in the faith of their fathers, obtain, for themselves, an oath for confirmation that they were meet to be partakers of the inheritance with the saints in light.

If the saints, in the days of the apostles, were privileged to take the saints for example, and lay hold of the same promises, and attain to the same exalted privileges of knowing that their names were written in the Lamb's Book of Life, and that they were sealed there as a perpetual memorial before the face of the Most High, will not the same faithfulness, the same purity of heart, and the faith, bring the same assurance of eternal life, and that in the same manner to the children of men now, in this age of the world? I have no doubt, but that the holy prophets, and apostles, and saints in ancient days were saved in the kingdom of God; neither do I doubt but that they held converse and communion with him while they were in the flesh, as Paul said to his Corinthian brethren, that the Lord Jesus showed himself to above five hundred saints at one time after his resurrection. Job said that he knew that his Redeemer lived, and that he should see him in the flesh in the latter days. I may believe that Enoch walked with God, and by faith was translated. I may believe that Noah was a perfect man in his generation, and also walked with God. I may believe that Abraham communed with God, and conversed with angels. I may believe that Isaac obtained a renewal of the covenant made to Abraham by the direct voice of the Lord. I may believe that Jacob conversed with holy angels, and heard the word of his Maker, that he wrestled with the angel until he prevailed, and obtained a blessing. I may believe that Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire with fiery horses. I may believe that the saints saw the Lord, and conversed with him face to face after his resurrection. I may believe that the Hebrew church came to Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. I may believe that they looked into eternity, and saw the Judge of all, and Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant. But will all this purchase an assurance for me, and waft me to the regions of eternal day, with my garments spotless, pure and white? Or, must I not rather obtain for myself, by my own faith and diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord, an assurance of salvation for myself? 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 theirs, if I come to him in the manner they did? Or, is he a respecter of persons?

I must now close this subject for the want of time; and, I may say, with propriety, at the beginning. We would be pleased to see you in Kirtland; and more pleased to have you embrace the New Covenant.

I remain, yours affectionately,


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