My Thoughts on the Prophet Joseph Smith

(Written on May 4th 2016 as apart of one of my “Foundations of the Restoration” Institute class final)

It’s extremely important to remember that Joseph smith is so much of a vital driving force and catalyst for the Restoration of the gospel that I know and love today. I always reference that I’ve been where “They’ve walk”, referring to the countless church history
sites I’ve been blessed to go to over the past few years. At these church history sites I’ve learned so much about the prophet Josejsmithph Smith. Through this class I learned doctrinal truths about  the sacrifices and trials he went through, while leading the Saints west.

God chose an ordinary boy, with no high qualifiers to take the gospel to the world. Without him we wouldn’t be here enjoying the blessing which we receive and love. I am so grateful for the sacrifices of the Saints and brother Joseph. It is mainly to the face the gospel has saved my life. It helped change a college athlete party animal into a respectable man of faith.

pioneerWhen I hear the stories about the pioneers it strengthens my testimony and reminds me that things are not always as bad as they seem, that God is always there, and that if we follow the Prophets and the words of our Heavenly Father everything will work out.

img_1467.jpgI am so grateful for the sacred temple ordinances that I’ve had the blessings to take on myself. I know these blessings have helped me, and have done wonders for those who have not had the opportunity in this lifetime, that I’ve been blessed to serve as proxy for.

I want to close this with my testimony, that I know Joseph smith is a true prophet. That the sacrifice and trials of the Pioneers are a model of strength and pure testimony. I know my heavenly Father has saved me and my Savior lives. And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Gerald R.

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Yes, He spoke to a young boy in the woods

So tonight like every Monday evening I’m scheduled to go out with the Elders in my ward. We are scheduled to teach an individual on “The Restoration”. Well I decided to reread the pamphlet on the Restoration at my desk that I had in my arsenal of literature, just to refresh myself on the lesson we’d be teaching, and I came to the page where the Prophet Joseph Smith gave his account of what happened in the sacred grove:

I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me… 

“When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air; One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said pointing to the other—–

This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!”

Joseph Smith- History 1:16-17

Every time I reread that record I get the chills and feel joy. having stood in the same grove of trees that the young Prophet did, I reccount my own feelings from the day my best friends and I took a trip to the Sacred Grove last March:

“Words can barely do justice for how much peace I feel in the sacred grove…

 My body and mind feel at peace. I feel completely away from the outside world! It’s beautiful. The heavy cloud cover has slightly broken to show a bit of blue and radiant sunlight!

I can feel the spirit as I walk these trails and kneel in prayer off the beaten path. The stressors of the world have no voice here. Only the serenity of God’s creation reside. I know I was heard out here in prayer.

 I know my father in heaven walks this path with me here in this grove and outside! I know Joseph Smith to be a prophet. I know there are prophets and inspired leaders on earth today as in ancient times… I can feel it in my bones everyone one of us is here for an eternal reason and I know Heavenly Father has a plan for me. And I say these things in the name of our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen”

Myself

When I reread my own account of how I felt in the grove some almost 200 years after the events the prophet Joseph Smith lived through I just am filled iwht the spriit. The testimony burns inside as I think of the events that followed. I know in my heart God spoke to to a young boy, who was an incredible tool in the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Through further revelations, ordinances and commandments were given that were from our Heavenly Father to give us joy, protect us, and inevitably lead us back to Eternal Glory. As a man who’s been baptised in His name, ordained to the Priesthood, and has walked the halls of the Lords house (Temples), I know that our Heavenly Father spoke to a boy. I know that our Heavenly Father interacts daily through Prophets here on this earth today, and through the Holy Ghost gives us  revelation.

I cry out my testimony that we are our Heavenly Father’s children! We are a chosen generation where we are here to spread his word through the far corners of the Globe. We live in an age where our messagescan be sent faster than the speed of light across the world. We are his army here on the Earth.

When I think back to my feelings in the Sacred grove last March, I feel so much joy and peace. We can feel that joy every day. If we live wholesome lives. The blue print is there ladies and gentlemen we just have to discipline ourselves to follow. It’s not always easy, but as my dad used to tell me when I was younger “The best things in life never come easy!”

What started out as a structured post on the Restoration, has become a personal witness and testimony of the gospel. Obviously that’s what I was meant to write. I bear my testimony that as we follow the gospel and strive to make today better than yesterday and lend a helping hand, that we will feel Heavenly Father’s love and peace. I know this gospel to be true and I know that I am a tool in His plan. To all my friends who have questions send them this way, I’m an open book! I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ

Amen

My personal “Sacred Grove”

Last March I had the opportunity to travel with 3 of my friends up to Palmyra NY, and visit the Sacred Grove. In Church History it was the place a young wpid-20140802_192807.jpgJoseph Smith went and recieved revelation from God that he was to bring forth the fullness of the gospel to the world. This fullness of gospel brought about another Testament of Jesus Christ, claiming that he had indeed visited inhabitants of the early Americas. It was here that the Latter Day Faith began… I personally remember being in the Sacred Grove with my friends walking the paths and admiring the scenery. I felt so secluded from the loud world, and I felt so much peace. I felt at one with nature, I felt closer to God.wpid-1401491402227.jpg

The moment brought me back to an Elders Quorum lesson shortly after my baptism 3 years ago where we were talking about places we like to go and pray and meditate, and just get away from the world for a little bit. At the time I didn’t really comprehend what they were really talking about. Most of them talked about forests, and to be honest at the time that was what really stood out to me, partially because I spent a lot of time as a young boy camping with my family and hiking, that being in nature away from it all just seemed so natural…

Last Spring around May I was hiking in a forest around wpid-20150104_162111_hdr.jpgmy neighborhood. I was just walking, I had a lot on my mind and just wanted to escape! As I was walking, along the waters of the late, I saw a bench. IT was along the bank of the waters. The bench was off the trail and kind of tucked away by brush and bushes. I went down wpid-img_20150104_160140.jpgthere and sat along the water. I took a deep breath and prayed, and then I read from my scriptures, and then I just sat there for what seemed like hours. I didn’t hear the sounds of the road a mile away, I couldn’t hear the voices of people, I just heard the spirit, my thoughts and the calm soundtrack of nature. I felt close to the Lord in my own “Sacred Grove”wpid-20150104_161216_pano.jpg

wpid-20150104_155618_hdr.jpgI say “Sacred” because it’s sacred to me. Not that I expect world changing prophecy or anything of the sort, but it’s my own personal place I know I can go to get away, and ponder the things that concern me and those I care about. Sometimes I’ll play music through my headphones and just read my scriptures or my patriarchal blessings. There are times I’ll pray and record the feelings of my heart and soul into my journal to wpid-img_20140928_192028.jpgponder on later. Nonetheless I have my own place.

To be fair only 2 people have ever seen it. Well it’s in a public area so I’m sure many have, but I’ve only shown two people where it is; Mario and Colleen. It’s kind of like one of those things you don’t want it to get overrun.

I think every person should have their own “Sacred Grove”. AS a disclaimer this does not mean a grove of trees, this can be anywhere you find refuge from the world. I know the temple is that refuge for myself, but the temple isn’t always open. We all need that place we can get to quickly in a moments notice and just contemplate wpid-20140621_155453.jpgthe wonders of the world.

So I encourage you, go forth wpid-20140621_152319.jpgand seek out your own personal Sacred Grove. Find time to become one with you and the Lord. Feel free to share your thoughts and help encourage others to find one of their own below in the comments!

Have a Great Day!!!

Gerald