In Gerald N. Lund’s Ensign article, “A Prophet for the Fulness of Times,” he states that Joseph Smith was “the founder of the Lord’s kingdom in preparation for the Second Coming. He was what no other prophet could have been—an Elias, or forerunner, opening the dispensation that culminates the history of the world prior to the Lord’s triumphal reign on earth.”
Elder Lund focused on three areas of the Prophet Joseph’s contributions:
- A Conduit for Scripture
- Pioneer of Work for the Dead
- Harbinger of the Second Coming
As a “conduit for scripture” Joseph was responsible for producing 900 pages of scripture. Elder Lund notes that “before Joseph Smith, the world had only the 1,590 pages of the Bible; through this one man, the Lord increased our scriptural library by more than half.”
In this 1997 article (so numbers have increased since then) Elder Lund concludes that “if we could count every living member since Joseph Smith organized the Church, the total would probably be in the range of 20 or 25 million.” Yet, “to fully appreciate the number of people who have received saving ordinances during Joseph Smith’s dispensation, …we must consider those who have received ordinances vicariously through the great work for the dead.” Since 1840 (when Joseph received these revelations), “many million temple ordinances have been performed in behalf of the dead. Judging by the magnitude of temple work in this dispensation, Joseph Smith has indeed been Heavenly Father’s greatest mortal instrument for restoring the means to save His children through Jesus Christ (see D&C 135:3).”
“By establishing the Church, Joseph Smith laid the groundwork for the Savior’s return to earth. Restoring the truth of God, translating the Book of Mormon, receiving priesthood keys and ordinances, organizing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sending missionaries to proclaim the gospel worldwide, building temples and starting work for the dead, sealing his testimony with his blood—all these efforts were necessary to prepare Jesus Christ’s people for the state of affairs that will be ushered in at his coming.”
“Joseph Smith said; ‘no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done’ (History of the Church, 4:540).
“Speaking through Isaiah in a passage that was later quoted by the Savior to the Nephites, the Lord said, ‘Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work’ (Isa. 54:16; 3 Ne. 22:16).”
Elder Gerald N. Lund deduced that “Joseph was surely the smith who forged the instrument by which the Lord’s people continue to prepare individually and collectively for the Savior’s return—and that instrument is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Do you agree? Is Joseph the smith?
To read more of the article go to: https://www.lds.org/ensign/1997/01/a-prophet-for-the-fulness-of-times?lang=eng