I got an interesting email from an active member of the LDS Church who has concluded that Joseph Smith is going to return from the dead to complete his commission.
He was curious to know if anyone else had arrived upon the same conclusion so he began searching the internet.
He came upon a youtube that Mrs Watcher did on the topic. She read a paper that I had written over two decades ago.
Here is what this fellow said to me in the email.
I’ve been looking around the LDS community on YouTube as well as documentaries and other than my work, I only found two sources: one was The Joseph Smith Foundation’s documentary The Prophet Joseph: More Than We May Know and the other was a book by Richard Skousen “His Return” (and this was not referencing Joseph’s return, it just had a chapter in the book about Joseph’s return). I just found this yesterday searching the internet. Mr. Watcher called his paper “The Return of Joseph Smith” and I called mine “Joseph Smith to Return”. Our aim in the paper was similar but the way we went about it (proving it as well as teaching it) was different. I find it fascinating that we both arrived at the same conclusion on Joseph Smith’s barn dream. Here is a link to my video which has a link to my document in Word. (totally free to download): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmn8PLgtStQ Does Mr.Watcher have pdf or word version of this?
Sadly, this guy is still an active member of the church and very confused about a number of very important issues, including polygamy, which he considers to be part of celestial law.
Nevertheless, it is remarkable that he arrived at the same conclusion from largely, a different set of primary data. I say primary data because in some of the more recent articles I have written on the topic, I have limited my evidence to modern scripture, prophecy, patriarchal blessings, etc.
The modern evidence which I use in my recent articles is generally different from the evidence he uses in his thesis. Nevertheless, virtually all of the data that this fellow uses has also been covered in my blogs in past years.
Here is his youtube on the thesis
The link to his transcript did not work when I embedded it into this post
so I am simply pasting the transcript below.
I must say, that some of what he says is almost identical to stuff I have covered in past years.. I find that curious but not necessary significant. Time will tell whether he genuinely arrived at this information on his own or not.
He seems very passionate and informed about the source material.
For now, I am willing to take him at his word.
Here is the transcript
Joseph Smith to Return
Here is my relatively comprehensive piecing together of doctrine and prophecies regarding Joseph Smith’s death and future resurrection. Due to its nature it might seem a little scattered because it isn’t so easy to make it a chronological thing and so I will be using a multitude of sources from different places to bring light and understanding to the subject. After making the paper, I looked around online to see if there were any other solid resources who had attempted to do a similar thing and I found 2 resources (if you have found any others please send them my way and I can add them to the paper). The first was that of the work by Richard N. Skousen in his book, His Return- Prophecy, Destiny and Hope. And the second was a documentary style movie done by the Joseph Smith Foundation entitled The Prophet Joseph: More Than We Know. The movie is on the streaming service Living Scriptures- it is a great introductory video that is also pleasant on the eyes (lol) but my only complaint about it is that they don’t do a very good job at sourcing references. So I will be very careful in my paper/video to provide references as much as possible.
I believe that the best place to start off with understanding this is to start off with what the Lord said himself. I believe this is important to do because it gives validity to everything but also importantly Jesus lays out the best chronological picture much clearer than you will find in other locations. So where are these prophecies of Joseph Smith from the lips of Jesus found? They are found in 3 Nephi. But how do we know that these verses are in fact referring to Joseph Smith? In the Old Testament Student manual it states:
(17-20) Isaiah 52:13–15. Who Is the Servant?
The Savior Himself made it clear that Isaiah 52:13 also had reference to a servant involved in the “great and marvelous work” of the Father in the latter days (3 Nephi 21:9). The Book of Mormon verse undoubtedly refers to Joseph Smith and the Restoration. Men “marred” him, persecuting him throughout his life until they succeeded in killing him.
The Book of Mormon Student manual clarifies:
3 Nephi 21:9–11. “My Servant”
A careful reading of 3 Nephi 21:9–11 suggests that the Lord was referring to the Prophet Joseph Smith when he said, “The life of my servant shall be in my hand” (v. 10; see also Isaiah 52:13–15, 3 Nephi 20:43–44).
So let us read a passage, but let us replace “my servant” with Joseph Smith so we can get a clear understanding of what is happening here.
3 Nephi 21:10
10 But behold, the life of [Joseph Smith] shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt [Joseph Smith], although [Joseph Smith] shall be marred because of them…
We already had explained above what “marred” had reference to, but for even more concrete evidence let us go down to the footnote for “marred.” The Church takes you to D&C 135:1:
1 To seal the testimony of this book and the Book of Mormon, we announce the martyrdom of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and Hyrum Smith the Patriarch. They were shot in Carthage jail, on the 27th of June, 1844, about five o’clock p.m., by an armed mob—painted black—of from 150 to 200 persons. Hyrum was shot first and fell calmly, exclaiming: I am a dead man! Joseph leaped from the window, and was shot dead in the attempt, exclaiming: O Lord my God! They were both shot after they were dead, in a brutal manner, and both received four balls.
One can now come away with the understanding that marred means martyred. So the Lord here is saying that the life of Joseph Smith will be in His hands even after they kill him. So what does the rest of the verse say?
3 Nephi 21:10 (second half)
…Yet I will heal [Joseph Smith], for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.
So what does the Lord mean when he says that Joseph will die, he will be martyred, but the Lord will heal him?
D&C 63:47-49, 52-54
47 He that is faithful and endureth shall overcome the world.
48 He that sendeth up treasures unto the land of Zion shall receive an inheritance in this world, and his works shall follow him, and also a reward in the world to come.
49 Yea, and blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth, when the Lord shall come, and old things shall pass away, and all things become new, they shall rise from the dead and shall not die after, and shall receive an inheritance before the Lord, in the holy city.
52 Wherefore, for this cause preached the apostles unto the world the resurrection of the dead.
53 These things are the things that ye must look for; and, speaking after the manner of the Lord, they are now nigh at hand, and in a time to come, even in the day of the coming of the Son of Man.
54 And until that hour there will be foolish virgins among the wise; and at that hour cometh an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked; and in that day will I send mine angels to pluck out the wicked and cast them into unquenchable fire.
So when the Lord is referring to healing a dead man he is referring to the resurrection. But not only that, we gain another bit of crucial information regarding this event (Joseph Smith’s resurrection) in regard to last day timelines and prophecies. And that is found in verse 52 and 53. The Lord says here that this is the reason why the apostles preached the resurrection of the dead, for the resurrection of the dead (or more specifically the resurrection of a specific person) is “the thing that ye must look for” in the last days and this is obviously not talking about Jesus because he has been resurrected for almost 2000 years. The Lord then in the year 1831 says that these things are close at hand, speaking “after the manner of the Lord”, which means it might be awhile for those in 1831 to see it. An important detail that will unlock a lot more scriptures for an understanding at this time is to understand some synonyms to healing or resurrection.
1 Nephi 13:37
“And if [you] endure unto the end [you] shall be lifted up at the last day and saved.”
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he shall lift you up.”
In D&C 5:32-35 the Lord speaking to Joseph Smith said, “And now, because I foresee the lying in wait to destroy thee, yea, I foresee that if my servant Martin Harris humbleth not himself and receive a witness from my hand, that he will fall into transgression; And there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee from off the face of the earth; and for this cause, that thy days may be prolonged, I have given unto thee these commandments. Yea, for this cause I have said: Stop, and stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee. And if thou art faithful in keeping my commandments, thou shalt be lifted up…”
Not only do we learn here that “to lift up” or “be lifted up” is synonymous with being resurrected or the resurrection, we have the Lord specifically promising Joseph that despite men laying in wait to destroy him (marring) that he will be lifted up. Now that we have this understanding of lifting up, we now have a key to understand what the Lord was referring to when he says “I will lift up my standard/ensign.” It is a reference to THE event that we, as Saints, are “to look for,” the resurrection of Joseph Smith, him being raised up to stand as an ensign. But will members be aware of Joseph Smith’s return?
3 Nephi 20:43
43 Behold, [Joseph Smith] shall deal prudently…
Synonyms for prudently include quietly or discreetly, or as Isaiah put it:
1 Behold [Joseph Smith], whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon [Joseph Smith]: [Joseph Smith] shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
2 [Joseph Smith] shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed shall [Joseph Smith] not break, and the smoking flax shall [Joseph Smith] not quench: [Joseph Smith] shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
4 [Joseph Smith] shall not fail nor be discouraged, till [Joseph Smith has] set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for [celestial] law.
So Joseph Smith might be working quietly behind the scenes for awhile before he makes his appearance to the general membership of the church. But we do know what the effects are of his return. Before I get into those effects of his return, I want to take a moment to tie together why Joseph Smith will not be discouraged after he returns versus before.
1 And again: Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people; yea, all ye that are broken off, that are scattered abroad, who are of my people, O house of Israel. Listen, O isles, unto me, and hearken ye people from far; the Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.
Who is this servant speaking here whom the Lord knew and sanctified before he was born? Even going as far as to name him? “I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me” (Isaiah 45:5). The footnote takes you to Joseph Smith History 1:17,33,49 which are all cases where Joseph Smith was called by name. We also learn in the Book of Mormon that Joseph that was sold into Egypt prophesied saying, “A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father” (2 Nephi 3:6,15). So this servant is Joseph Smith. But in case you are still not convinced, Joseph Smith himself says that this is him,
Isaiah 49:2 reads,
2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;
Joseph Smith identified himself as this prophet when he said, “‘I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women—all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty, who will give me dominion over all and every one of them, when their refuge of lies shall fail, and their hiding place shall be destroyed, while these smooth-polished stones with which I come in contact become marred.’ (TPJS, p. 304.)
So Joseph clearly identifies himself as this servant. What do we learn next about this servant?
4 Then I said, I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for naught and in vain; surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.
5 And now, saith the Lord—that formed me from the womb that I should be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him—though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.
Taking the manual and replacing every reference to Old Israel (history lesson) with Joseph Smith specifically will make it read as follows:
(17-6) Isaiah 49:4–12. Did the Lord Forget [Joseph Smith], His Chosen [Prophet]?
The Restoration was a long time in coming. During the years of [restoration, Joseph Smith] undoubtedly felt lonely and forsaken by the Lord. Isaiah 49:4–12 shows that loneliness. Verse 4 describes the attitude of [Joseph Smith] somewhat discouraged, yet not completely so: “I have spent my strength … in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord” (Isaiah 49:4).
Nephi spoke of the [Latter-Day Saints] in their cast-off condition as being “a hiss and a byword and … hated among all nations” (1 Nephi 19:14). Isaiah 49:7 describes that condition: men despise and abhor the Lord’s covenant people. But [the church] still has hope: “Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I [Joseph Smith] be glorious in the eyes of the Lord” (v. 5). [Joseph Smith] will yet be raised and restored and stand as “a light to the Gentiles” and as a beacon of “salvation unto the end of the earth” (v. 6). “In an acceptable time” God will hear [the righteous remnant in the church,] their cry and “give thee [“my servant,” in 1 Nephi 21:8] for a covenant of the people” (Isaiah 49:8). That began with the call of Joseph Smith, [but will not see its completeness until after Joseph Smith returns].”
At which point in time Joseph Smith will no longer be discouraged.
Now that we have identified that this is Joseph and why he experienced discouragement and why he won’t feel discouraged when he returns, let’s tackle what are the very first things Joseph does and the effects it will have on the church. In Isaiah 42, which we have already included, it states that we are waiting for this servant to come to restore celestial law (the law). This is the very first thing that Joseph is commanded to do. Celestial law contains in it, among other things, the law of consecration and the law of plural marriage. This implementation of celestial law will as Isaiah says, “tear the carcasses in half” ie. tear the stakes of Zion apart. People will have “even that which they have” taken from them as they say “we have enough” (2 Nephi 28). Isaiah described this as the rejection of the whole staff of bread, the whole stay of water (2 Nephi 13). A side note here is that President Nelson has explicitly and repeatedly tried to prepare us for this event; “The time is coming when those who do not obey the Lord will be separated from those who do (see Doctrine and Covenants 86:1–7)… Sadly, some who you thought were your friends will betray you. And some things will simply seem unfair…Do whatever it takes to strengthen your faith in Jesus Christ by increasing your understanding of the doctrine taught in His restored Church and by relentlessly seeking truth. Anchored in pure doctrine, you will be able to step forward with faith and dogged persistence and cheerfully do all that lies in your power to fulfill the purposes of the Lord” (April 2020 Ensign address).
Some of the last two prophecies/dreams that Joseph Smith had are as follows:
- Steamboat Dream
In early February 1844, four months prior to his death, Joseph Smith had a dream, which he related to Wilford Woodruff, Willard Richards, and W. W. Phelps. He stated, “I was standing on a peninsula, in the midst of a vast body of water where there appeared to be a large harbor or pier built out for boats to come to. I was surrounded by my friends, and while looking at this harbor I saw a steamboat approaching the harbor. There were bridges on the pier for persons to cross, and there came up a wind and drove the steamboat under one of the bridges and upset it. I ran up to the boat, expecting the persons would all drown; and wishing to do something to assist them, I put my hand against the side of the boat, and with one surge I shoved it under the bridge and righted it up, and then told them to take care of themselves. But it was not long before I saw them starting out into the channel or main body of the water again. The storms were raging and the waters rough. I said to my friends that if they did not understand the signs of the times and the spirit of prophecy, they would be apt to be lost. It was but a few moments after when we saw the waves break over the boat, and she soon foundered and went down with all on board. The storm and waters were still very rough; yet I told my friends around me that I believed I could stem those waves and that storm, and swim in the waters better than the steamboat did; at any rate I was determined to try it. But my friends laughed at me, and told me I could not stand at all, but would be drowned. The waters looked clear and beautiful, though exceedingly rough; and I said I believed I could swim, and I would try it anyhow. They said I would drown. I said I would have a frolic in the water first, if I did; and I drove off in the raging waves. I had swam but a short distance when a towering wave overwhelmed me for a time; but I soon found myself on the top of it, and soon I met the second wave in the same way; and for a while I struggled hard to live in the midst of the storm and waves, and soon found I gained upon every wave, and skimmed the torrent better; and I soon had power to swim with my head out of water: so the waves did not break over me at all, and I found that I had swam a great distance; and in looking about, I saw my brother Samuel by my side. I asked him how he liked it. He said, “First rate,” and I thought so too. I was soon enabled to swim with my head and shoulders out of water, and I could swim as fast as any steamboat. In a little time it became calm, and I could rush through the water, and only go in to my loins, and soon I only went in to my knees, and finally could tread on the top of the water, and went almost with the speed of an arrow. I said to Samuel, See how swift I can go! I thought it was great sport and pleasure to travel with such speed, and I awoke” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:194–95).
- The Dilapidated Barn
Joseph Smith’s last dream occurred on June 26, 1844 while he was in the Carthage Jail, the last night of the Prophet’s life. He was killed the next day, June 27. The Prophet Joseph stated, “I was back in Kirtland, Ohio, and thought I would take a walk out by myself, and view my old farm, which I found grown up with weeds and brambles, and altogether bearing evidence of neglect and want of culture. I went into the barn, which I found without floor or doors, with the weather – boarding off, and was altogether in keeping with the farm. While I viewed the desolation around me, and was contemplating how it might be recovered from the curse upon it, there came rushing into the barn a company of furious men, who commenced to pick a quarrel with me. The leader of the party ordered me to leave the barn and farm, stating it was none of mine, and that I must give up all hope of ever possessing it. I told him the farm was given me by the Church, and although I had not had any use of it for some time back, still I had not sold it, and according to righteous principles it belonged to me or the Church. He then grew furious and began to rail upon me, and threaten me, and said it never did belong to me nor to the Church. I then told him that I did not think it worth contending about, that I had no desire to live upon it in its present state, and if he thought he had a better right I would not quarrel with him about it but leave; but my assurance that I would not trouble him at present did not seem to satisfy him, as he seemed determined to quarrel with me, and threatened me with destruction of my body. While he was thus engaged, pouring out his bitter words upon me, a rabble rushed in and nearly filled the barn, drew out their knives, and began to quarrel among themselves for the premises, and for a moment forgot me, at which time I took the opportunity to walk out of the barn about up to my ankles in mud. When I was a little distance from the barn, I heard them screeching and screaming in a very distressed manner, as it appeared they had engaged in a general fight with their knives. While they were thus engaged, the dream or vision ended” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:609–10).
Going back to the chronology of Jesus in 3 Nephi:
3 Nephi 20:41-42
41 And then shall a cry go forth: Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch not that which is unclean; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.
42 For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward.
3 Nephi 21:11
11 Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause [Joseph Smith] to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto [Joseph Smith] power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.
3 Nephi 20:45
45 So shall [Joseph Smith] sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at [Joseph Smith], for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
3 Nephi 21:9
9 For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.
So Joseph Smith is resurrected, institutes celestial law, and he works the marvelous work and a wonder. But what is the marvelous work and a wonder? President Joseph Fielding Smith in Doctrines of Salvation answered that question, “when the lost tribes come…it will be a most wonderful sight and marvelous thing when they do come to Zion.” It is important to note that when that quote was given the church was already global and he used the word “when”, meaning it was yet a future event. Missionary global work is NOT the marvelous work and a wonder. It is imperative to understand these events for the Savior said, “for it shall deceive almost the very elect.”
Before jumping ahead let’s jump back and explain something else that is supposed to happen when Joseph Smith comes back. And that is the second half of the quote from Joseph above, the first half of the quote Joseph explains how the Lord is turning him into that polished arrow and he then changes focus and explains what will be the effect, the aftermath, once the Lord does shoot him off. He explains this by saying “[the Lord] will give me dominion over all and every one of them, when their refuge of lies shall fail, and their hiding place shall be destroyed, while these smooth-polished stones with which I come in contact [as the arrow] become marred.” So Joseph Smith in the quote was not only identifying himself as this servant, as this polished arrow, he was also identifying himself once again as Gazelam. Gazelam was used as a substitute name for Joseph Smith (to protect him) that appeared many times in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 78:9, 82:11, 104:26, 43,45,46). In 1981 all of the uses of Gazelam were replaced with Joseph Smith Jr. All except for the one used in Alma 37. The reason for this is that “the Gazelam” being discussed in Alma 37, which I will read, what he was to do Joseph Smith never did in his lifetime. So the church leaders did not want to explain or teach widespread of Joseph’s return. The reason for this is that the Church has been fighting the image that we worship Joseph Smith, not Jesus Christ, and if we start teaching openly “the resurrection of Joseph Smith” ignorant people (who wouldn’t take the time to listen) would jump to conclusions, label and besmirch. But the leaders of the church also wouldn’t want members to believe this was a false prophecy because it was never done, so they left it Gazelam in Alma 37 to leave it open. But not only do we know that Joseph is coming back, Joseph in the quote listed above, identified himself as Gazelam in the context of Alma 37 only after the shot. We know that “the shot” is after his resurrection so we know that he was never supposed to accomplish Alma 37 in his life.
21 And now, I will speak unto you concerning those twenty-four plates, that ye keep them, that the mysteries and the works of darkness, and their secret works, or the secret works of those people who have been destroyed, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, all their murders, and robbings, and their plunderings, and all their wickedness and abominations, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, and that ye preserve these interpreters.
22 For behold, the Lord saw that his people began to work in darkness, yea, work secret murders and abominations; therefore the Lord said, if they did not repent they should be destroyed from off the face of the earth.
23 And 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, yea, their secret works, their works of darkness, and their wickedness and abominations.
24 And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying:
25 I will bring forth out of darkness unto light all their secret works and their abominations; and except they repent I will destroy them from off the face of the earth; and I will bring to light all their secrets and abominations, unto every nation that shall hereafter possess the land.
26 And now, my son, we see that they did not repent; therefore they have been destroyed, and thus far the word of God has been fulfilled; yea, their secret abominations have been brought out of darkness and made known unto us.
The Jaredites had a prophet Ether who revealed the dark acts of that society and it was eventually destroyed. The Nephites had a prophet Mormon who revealed the dark acts of their society and why it collapsed. Joseph Smith is Gazelam- he is the prophet who will come forth to a dying America and will reveal its secret, dark acts. But this pattern when a group of people become so wicked that the Lord is going to wipe them out, he always sends a prophet before it happens (Noah, Abraham, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Jesus Christ with Old Jerusalem etc). You might not think that Joseph is to be this prophet, but you cannot deny (and it will become even more clear as this goes on) that Joseph thought himself to be that prophet.
Speaking of this, there is no better time to address that concern for when Joseph comes back the claim on Joseph’s keys and right to receive revelation for the church will be the primary contention and dispute among members of the church. What Joseph Smith is bringing back (celestial law) and what he is doing (whipping up the gentiles into a frenzy against the Latter-Day Saints) is what breaks apart the church, and the argument they will have against him is that they will not believe he has the right or the keys to speak for the church. And they will do as the Jews did with Jesus in olden times, accuse him of working for Beelzebub.
So let’s figure out who has the keys and who has the calling, or as the Lord said, “a man like Moses.”
11 But verily I say unto you, I have decreed that your brethren which have been scattered shall return to the lands of their inheritances, and shall build up the waste places of Zion.
12 For after much tribulation, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, cometh the blessing.
13 Behold, this is the blessing which I have promised after your tribulations, and the tribulations of your brethren—your redemption, and the redemption of your brethren, even their restoration to the land of Zion, to be established, no more to be thrown down.
14 Nevertheless, if they pollute their inheritances they shall be thrown down; for I will not spare them if they pollute their inheritances.
15 Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power;
16 Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel.
Verse 11 is a reference to the calling of the ten tribes home (we will get to that after this), but the bulk of this is referencing much tribulation and a desire among the Saints to once again inherit Zion, with the Lord explaining once again that the redemption of Zion will come by no other means but by power (1 Nephi 22:10-11). And that he will at this time “raise up” (we should now be familiar with what this means) one who shall lead like Moses did.
The Doctrine and Covenants manual answers the question,
D&C 103:16. Who Is the Man Who Will Lead the Saints As Moses Led Israel?
Elder John A. Widtsoe wrote: “Yet, the meaning as set forth in the scriptures, is very simple. In modern revelation the President of the Church is frequently compared to Moses. Soon after the organization of the Church, the Lord said, ‘no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses’ (D. & C. 28:2) (D&C 107:91)” (Evidences and Reconciliations,1:197.)
So let us now break down a key quote from Joseph Smith, once again identifying himself:
“The Savior said when these tribulations should take place [Matthew 24, D&C 103:12-13, Rev. 7:14-15, etc], it should be committed to a man who should be a witness over the whole world: the keys of knowledge, power and revelations should be revealed to a witness who should hold the testimony to the world. It has always been my province [responsibility]… Just at the time when some men think that I have no right to the keys of the Priesthood- just at that time I have the greatest right.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.364)
We have already discussed that when Joseph Smith is resurrected that a large portion of the church will not accept him or the teachings he brings with him. Joseph Smith says here at that moment, he is the man who holds the keys.
Continuing the quote, “All the testimony is that the Lord in the last days would commit the keys of the Priesthood to a witness over all people. Has the Gospel of the kingdom commenced in the last days? And will God take it from the man until He takes it him Himself?” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.364-65)
Some might suggest that the Lord took the keys from Joseph when Joseph died and therefore Joseph no longer holds the keys of this dispensation but rather the acting president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds the keys when Joseph comes back. However this is false.
11 After this vision closed, the heavens were again opened unto us; and Moses appeared before us, and committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north.
16 Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.
3 Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come;
15 Exalt not yourselves; rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to you, shall not be taken from him till I come.
Praise to the Man, Hymn 27
Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah!
Jesus anointed that Prophet and Seer.
Blessed to open the last dispensation,
Kings shall extol him, and nations revere.
Praise to his mem’ry, he died as a martyr;
Honored and blest be his ever great name!
Long shall his blood, which was shed by assassins,
Plead unto heav’n while the earth lauds his fame.
Great is his glory and endless his priesthood.
Ever and ever the keys he will hold.
Faithful and true, he will enter his kingdom,
Crowned in the midst of the prophets of old.
Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven;
Earth must atone for the blood of that man.
Wake up the world for the conflict of justice.
Millions shall know “Brother Joseph” again.
When will Joseph Smith be crowned among the prophets of old? When will the keys be taken from Joseph Smith, as Joseph explained, by Jesus Christ himself? The same event, Adam-ondi-ahman.
Continuing the quote: “I have read it precisely as the words flowed from the lips of Jesus Christ. John the Revelator saw an angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.365)
Joseph Smith has now identified himself as John’s “angel flying through the midst of heaven.”
Continuing with the quote, “The scripture is ready to be fulfilled…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.365)
Joseph Smith has identified himself as this angel and then says this prophecy is ready to be fulfilled, meaning a future event. At this point in time, 1844, the Book of Mormon was already published (Moroni), and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Days Saints is already restored and missionary work had already commenced. Firstly, Joseph Smith did not believe that this angel was Moroni or any of the angels that appeared at Kirtland Temple because they appeared in the past and this event was to happen in the future. So when would this happen? Joseph explains as he continues,
“…when great wars, famines, pestilence, great distress, judgments, etc. are ready to be poured out on the inhabitants of the earth.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.365)
One learns by carefully studying Isaiah, that the Lord doesn’t go on the offense until AFTER the events at Adam-ondi-ahman. So Joseph identifies the time period that this is to happen as the time period of the modern day Assyrian or the days of tribulation. The sickness sweeps the land, then the Assyrian (scourge) covers the earth. The Lord then raises up his ensign, who is Joseph Smith, who hisses forth and calls the ten tribes home. New Jerusalem is built as the Assyrian gets closer and closer to the New Jerusalem. The final meeting at Adam-ondi-ahman takes place (“the anointing”) at which time all the keys are handed back to the Savior, and the Lord then goes on the offense pouring out the things listed above upon the inhabitants of the earth.
Continuing the quote once again: “John saw the angel having the holy Priesthood, who should preach the everlasting Gospel to all nations. God had an angel- a special messenger- ordained and prepared for that purpose in the last days.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.365)
Once again, Joseph Smith is identifying himself as this angel.
Finishing the quote, the prophet says,“Woe, woe be to that man or set of men who lift up their hands against God and His witness in these last days: for they shall deceive almost the very chosen ones!” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.365)
Joseph Smith is paraphrasing 3 Nephi 21:11 which we have already gone over, “Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause [Joseph Smith] to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto [Joseph Smith] power that [Joseph Smith] shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.” Who are the covenant people? The very elect, the very chosen ones.
So up to this point in time, we have Joseph identifying himself as the angel flying through the midst of heaven, Gazelam, “my Servant”, the ensign, the polished shaft arrow in the Lord’s quiver; whether or not you agree with this, once again, you can’t deny that Joseph thought that this was himself. There are only two other things that we need to positively identify as Joseph Smith to unlock your understanding of this when reading the scriptures. And that is, who is the rod and root of Jesse? Who could make the claim to have the “birthright blood”, the blood that would make him an heir to both the throne of David and that of Ephraim?
8 Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers—
9 For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—
10 Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.
3 What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?
4 Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a 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.
5 What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter?
6 Behold, thus saith the Lord, 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.
7 Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?
8 He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the power of priesthood to bring again Zion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.
The D&C manual answers:
D&C 113:3–6. Who Are the “Rod” and the “Root” Spoken of by Isaiah?
One might assume “that the ‘rod’ was Joseph Smith, believing that the Prophet, out of modesty, hesitated to name himself directly. None of us would question that Joseph was destined to become a great ‘servant in the hands of Christ’. Moreover, if we assume that he was the ‘rod’ or ‘servant’, observe how very well such an identification fits in with Moroni’s mission of explaining to the latter-day Prophet his part in Isaiah’s great vision of the future. As the ‘rod’ or ‘servant in the hands of Christ’, Joseph Smith fits naturally into Isaiah’s prophecy, and it is easy to understand why Moroni quoted and explained Isaiah 11 to him. [See JS—H 1:40.] “Despite this reasoning, we still have the uneasy feeling that better proof of Joseph Smith’s being the ‘rod’ should be available. I believe there is better proof and that it is found in Doctrine and Covenants 113:5–6….“In order to assess this explanation intelligently, let us turn to Isaiah 11:10: [quoted].“A closer translation of the original may be given here: “‘And it shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, that standeth for an ensign [sign, signal] of the peoples, unto him shall the nations seek; and his resting place [refuge, residence] shall be glorious.’ “Quite obviously the ‘root of Jesse’ is a man, a descendant of Jesse and Joseph (as the Lord explains), who seems to have a great mission to perform in connection with gathering the remnant of Israel, as explained in Isaiah 11:11–16. [Most likely] the ‘rod’ of verse 1 and the ‘root of Jesse’ of verse 10 refer to the same man, Joseph Smith. If the ‘rod’ in D&C 113:4 is 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,’ note that in verse 6 he seems to be more closely defined as 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.’ (Italics added.) Who better fits the description of the words in italics than Joseph Smith (see D&C 27:12–13; 86:8–11; 110:1–16; 115:18–19). He rightly holds the priesthood and its keys by lineage, and surely no one disputes the fact that the keys of the ‘gathering of my people’ were conferred on him by Moses in the Kirtland Temple, April 3, 1836.” (Sperry, “The Problem of the ‘Rod’ and the ‘Root of Jesse’ in Isaiah11,” Improvement Era, Oct. 1966, pp. 869, 914–15.) In certain scriptures Christ is referred to as the “Root of David” (Revelation 5:5; 22:16). According to Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “This designation signifies that he who was the Son of David was also before David, was pre-eminent above him, and was the root or source from which the great king in Israel gained his kingdom and power” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 657;see also Matthew 22:44–45).The explanation of Isaiah 11:10 given in Doctrine and Covenants 113 implies that while Christ is the root of David, he is not the root of Jesse mentioned by Isaiah. There are two reasons for this conclusion. First, the Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith in verse 2 identifies Christ as the stem of Jesse; he does not identify Christ as the root of Jesse. Second, verse 6 indicates that the root of Jesse is a servant of Christ to whom keys are given “in the last days” to gather Christ’s people.
Isaiah Chapter 11 footnote for “a rod” takes you to Joseph Smith History 1:40 which states that Moroni “quoted the 11th chapter of Isaiah, saying it was about to be fulfilled.”
The D&C Manual Clarifies
D&C 86:9. What Does It Mean to Be a “Lawful Heir According to the Flesh”?
This phrase means that one’s right to the priesthood is held by virtue of being of the house of Israel. Elder Theodore M. Burton explained: “One thing we often fail to realize is that our priesthood comes to us through the lineage of our fathers and mothers. The Lord explained it in these words: ‘Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers. . . .’ (D&C 86:8.) “‘Oh,’ I can hear some of you say, ‘there must be something wrong with that statement, for I am the only member of my family who has joined the Church. How could I have received the priesthood from my parents?’ “In this scripture the Lord was not talking about your priesthood line of authority. He was talking about your inherited right to receive and use priesthood power. This readiness to listen and believe is an inherited gift which enabled you to recognize and accept the truth. Jesus explained this thought as he said: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.’ (John 10:27.) “That spirit of acceptance is a manifestation of your inherited right to priesthood blessings. Such willingness to believe does not represent predestination, but it does represent foreordination. The Lord continues the revelation: ‘For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God.’ (D&C 86:9.) “This means we receive a right to priesthood blessings from our blood ancestry. I hope you can understand that priesthood with its accompanying blessings is dependent to a great degree on family relationship.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, p.103; or Ensign, May 1975, p. 71.)
Some mistakenly assume or claim that one or both of these “the rod and root of Jesse” refer to John the Revelator. John the Revelator was the cousin of Jesus Christ- he was a pure-blooded Jew. Both of his parents were “as pure blooded of the tribe of Judah” as you can get. Right off the bat that eliminates John the Revelator by right of lineage. But more than that, this prophet is to receive his keys “in the last days”- John received his keys over 2000 years ago in a completely different dispensation. People make this mistake in assuming that John the Revelator is to be this prophet because in the Doctrine and Covenants John is identified as an Elias to restore Israel. The problem with this is that Moses, Elijah and every other angel that appeared in the Kirtland Temple were all Eliases for the gathering of Israel. Secondly, Joseph Smith in the quote we just had above, made it clear that all those angels that appeared pre-1844 were not this prophet. John the Revelator is an Elias and his work is with the lost 10 tribes. He is not the root. Joseph on the other hand, there is a multitude of quotes from early prophets of the church clearly identifying one of Joseph’s parents being from the tribe of Ephraim and the other from the tribe of Judah (Jesse). There is a quote referencing Joseph being “a pure blooded Ephraimite” but this is taken out of context and explained in the Journal of Discourses, 2:268:
“Although President Young identified Joseph Smith as a “pure Ephraimite” so far as the Prophet’s family or blood lines were concerned, Brigham Young and others have recognized that (1) Joseph Smith was from a Gentile nation and (2) some of Joseph Smith’s progenitors may have come from bloodlines other than that of Ephraim.”
So bottom line, the only modern-day prophet who can fit the bill for the rod and the root of Jesse (the right by lineage) is Joseph Smith.
Going way back to the chronology that Jesus laid out in 3 Nephi, after Joseph Smith is resurrected, after he is shot forth as the arrow, after he is raised up as the ensign, he will restore celestial law, he will reveal the secret acts of men (Alma 37), and then he will call the 10 tribes home. In this paper/video I won’t go into detail on the ten tribes or of their return, I will just simply say it is in the 10th Article of Faith and Jesus lays out chronologically what happens as they return and what happens after they return from 3 Nephi 21:12-25. Joseph Smith shall return, that is my testimony, but am I the only one with such a testimony? Am I the only one with such knowledge and teaching such? No. Not only did Jesus Christ know and openly teach it, not only did Joseph Smith know this doctrine and openly teach it, but so did the early leaders and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They longed for and “watered their pillow by night” wishing that they would see the day of their beloved prophet’s return. I would just ask before I go into these quotes, how many members of the church today, long for Joseph’s return? How many members of the church today even care if he comes back? Such members don’t grasp the magnitude of the man that was the Prophet Joseph Smith. Such people would woefully, ignorantly, shamefully, put modern prophets that followed Joseph Smith in the church on the same pedestal as Joseph Smith himself. There is a reason why every prophet from Brigham Young to today has said something along the lines of, “what am I going to say to Joseph Smith?” All great men in their own rights, but all know that besides the Savior of the world (who was obviously the greatest and the Savior) there is no one who has come close to the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Parley P. Pratt, when he learned of Joseph Smith’s death: “I walked onward, weighed down as it were unto death. When I could endure it no longer, I cried out aloud, saying, ‘Oh, Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray Thee, show me what these things mean, and what I shall say to Thy people?’ “Suddenly the Spirit of God came upon me, and filled my heart with joy and gladness indescribable; and while the spirit of revelation glowed in my bosom with as visible a warmth and gladness as if it were fire, the Spirit said unto me, ‘Lift up your head and rejoice. For behold, it is well with my servants Joseph and Hyrum. My servant Joseph still holds the keys of my kingdom in this dispensation, and he shall stand in due time on the earth, in the flesh, and fulfill that to which he is appointed.’” (Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, 1970), p. 333; emphasis added.)
Joseph Smith, to the Nauvoo Legion in his last address: “Those who are your friends are my friends, and I promise you when I come again, I will lead you forth, so that where I am you shall be with me.” (Autobiography of Wandle Mace, typescript, BYU Special Collections, pp. 131-132; emphasis added.)
Joseph Smith, to the Nauvoo Legion the final time: “‘Boys—he always called us ‘his boys’—don’t be sad, don’t be cast down, I will come back again.’ After a little hesitation he added, ‘as soon as I can.’ That expression, ‘as soon as I can,’ sank deep into my heart and confirmed my fears. I never expected to see him again alive. The sad expression upon his face as he looked upon us, ‘his boys,’ for the last time I shall never forget. I felt in my inmost soul that he was going to be butchered, and we should see him no more alive.” (Autobiography of Wandle Mace, typescript, BYU Special Collections, pp. 145-146; emphasis added.)
“Joseph Smith, Junior, will again be on this earth dictating plans . . . and he will never cease his operations, under the directions of the Son of God, until the last ones of the children of men are saved that can be, from Adam till now.” (Brigham Young, October 9, 1859, Journal of Discourses 7:289; emphasis added)
“There is an almighty work to perform in the spirit world. Joseph has not yet got through there. When he finishes his mission in the spirit world, he will be resurrected, but he is not yet done there. . . . When his spirit again quickens his body, he will ascend to heaven, present his resurrected body to the Father and the Son, receive his commission as a resurrected being, and visit his brethren on this earth, as did Jesus after His resurrection.” (Brigham Young, March 15, 1857, Journal of Discourses 4:285-286.)
“I will refer you to a discourse I delivered here last season upon the subject of the resurrection and the Millennium. . . . Joseph, Hyrum, Father Smith and many others will be there to dictate and preside. Joseph will stand at the head of this dispensation and hold the keys of it, for they are not taken from him; they never were in time; they never will be in eternity. I shall be there if I live or if I die.” (Brigham Young, April 8, 1853, Journal of Discourses 6:308.)
“I said to Brother Joseph, the spring before he was killed, ‘You are laying out work for twenty years.’ He replied, ‘You have as yet scarcely begun to work; but I will set you enough to last you during your lives, for I am going to rest.’ All I can do or ask now is to do the work, so that it will be right and acceptable to him when he comes here again.” (Brigham Young, October 7, 1857, Journal of Discourses 5:331; emphasis added.)
Heber C. Kimball:
“Do you suppose that if Brother Brigham were to die tomorrow, and if Joseph is resurrected, which he will be so soon as his mission is filled in the spirit world, that Joseph will permit Brother Brigham’s body to remain any longer in the grave than may be requisite? No, for he then will have need of the assistance of his faithful resurrected brethren, as he now has of faithful spirits.” (Heber C. Kimball, March 15, 1857, Journal of Discourses 4:294-295; emphasis added)
“I am pretty sure of one thing: we shall go to Jackson County, Missouri; that is, those who do right and honor their callings, doing what they have been told to do. You will be blessed, and you will see the day when Presidents [Brigham] Young, [Heber C.] Kimball, and [Daniel H.] Wells, and the Twelve Apostles will be in Jackson County, Missouri, laying out your inheritances. In the flesh? Of course. We should look well without being in the flesh! We shall be there in the flesh, and all our enemies cannot prevent it.
“Brother Wells, you may write that. You will be there, and Willard [Richards] will be there, and also Jedediah [M. Grant], and Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and David [W. Patten], and Parley [P. Pratt]; and the day will be when I will see those men in the general assembly of the Church of the First Born, in the great council of God in Jerusalem, too. Will we want you to be along? I heard Joseph say twice that Brother Brigham and I should be in that council in Jerusalem, when there should be a uniting of the two divisions of God’s government.” (Heber C. Kimball, April 7, 1861, Journal of Discourses 9:27)
Heber C. Kimball told the Saints in Nauvoo that “Joseph will be the first man who will rise from the dead, and then all men according to their proper order.” (History of the Church 7:340)
“If we ask who will stand at the head of the resurrection in this last dispensation, the answer is: Joseph Smith, Junior, the Prophet of God. He is the man who will be resurrected and receive the keys of the resurrection, and he will seal this authority upon others, and they will hunt up their friends and resurrect them when they shall have been officiated for, and bring them up.
“And we will have revelations to know our forefathers clear back to Father Adam and Mother Eve, and we will enter into the temples of God and officiate for them. Then man will be sealed to man until the chain is made perfect back to Adam, so that there will be a perfect chain of priesthood from Adam to the winding-up scene.” (Brigham Young, August 24, 1872, Journal of Discourses 15:138-139)
“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. . . .
“He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation—the keys to rule in the spirit world; and he rules there triumphantly, for he gained full power and a glorious victory over the power of Satan while he was yet in the flesh, and was a martyr to his religion and to the name of Christ, which gives him a most perfect victory in the spirit world. He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven.” (Brigham Young, October 9, 1859, Journal of Discourses 7:289)
“Will the Saints arise from the dead? Yes. Who will know it? But a few. When the resurrection commences, I say but few will know it; and allow me to inform you, when you have seen Joseph, and Hyrum, and Father Smith, and many others, risen from the dead, and you elders go abroad preaching, you will not tell the world of their resurrection, for they will not believe it.
“You may testify that Father Smith has arisen, that Joseph and Hyrum again possess their bodies; that they again live in the flesh, and they will laugh you to scorn, and persecute you to the death, if they have the power, for your testimony’s sake.
“Will the Saints rise from the dead before the world is converted? Yes. You may despair of ever seeing all creation converted to the Lord Jesus, or to the faith of the holy gospel. Will you see the resurrection? Yes, you will be in it, and enjoy it; you will be in the first resurrection. Will the world believe it, and know of it? They will not.” (Brigham Young, October 3, 1852, Millennial Star 16:594 and Deseret News, May 11, 1854)