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Why Joseph Smith?


sansfoy

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Why was Joseph Smith the prophet of the Restoration? Surely there were other possibilities. The Reformation had been building for centuries, and Joseph Smith's work was built on a foundation of other men, many of whom were sincere and learned, with followers who would have considered earnestly any claim to be a prophet.

For example, why not my ancestor John Cotton?

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Why was Joseph Smith the prophet of the Restoration? Surely there were other possibilities. The Reformation had been building for centuries, and Joseph Smith's work was built on a foundation of other men, many of whom were sincere and learned, with followers who would have considered earnestly any claim to be a prophet.

For example, why not my ancestor John Cotton?

Because John Cotton was not chosen by God to be a dispensational prophet. His mission, prior to the return of Christ, I believe is extremely significant in the grand scheme of things.

A couple self reflecting quotes from Joseph Smith come to mind:

"Noah came before the flood. I have come before the fire."

"Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council of heaven before this world was. I suppose I was ordained to this very office [of a Prophet] in that Grand Council."

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Well, Joseph would have been foreordained prior to coming to earth so I suspect that a lot of it had to do with him being one of the noble and great ones described by Abraham.

Abraham 3:

22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

23 And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

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I think that sometimes the Lord prefers to use those whom the world scorns as being weak because they are more willing to trust Him and to make it clear that He is in charge of things. Joseph, on his own, could never have accomplished even a small portion of what he achieved, but the Lord, working through him can do anything.

That's not to take away at all from the other fine answers which I fully endorse.

Yours under the oaks of His might,

Nathair the seedling /|\

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Tune into Isaiah 11:10-11, where it speaks of the "root of Jesse."

This root of Jesse comes in the days of the restoration of Judah to the lands of their fathers. Isaiah writes it would come to pass in the day that "the Lord would set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people." This root would stand as an "ensign of the people: to it shall the Gentiles seek." The "Messiah ben Joseph" tradition also points to a prophet who would precede the coming of the great Messiah ben David, the Christ. He would be a "restorer," or one who would bring back. Specifically he would restore temples and temple work. He would restore the Jews to their lands of inheritance.

Again, the timeframe is perfect for Joseph Smith. Since the Jews have gathered and become a nation, the "root of Jesse" and "Messiah ben Joseph" should have already made their appearance.

There's more on this, but I don't have the time to track it down on the Internet. Truman Madsen did quote Father George McRae, of the Harvard Divinity School, in saying that there was a tradition of a prophet who would come and restore all things. It was this prophet that the Jews were asking Jesus about (they first asked if he was Elijah, and he said no. Then they asked if he were "that prophet" who would come and restore all things. Jesus replied, simply, "No."

If you can meet all the criteria, then be my guest. So far, Joseph Smith has been the only one.

.

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"Would to God, brethren, I could tell you who I am! would to God I could tell you what I know! but you would call it blasphemy, and there are men on this stand who would want to take my life."

-Joseph Smith; Life of Heber C. Kimball, p.33

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None of that answers my question. At best they are post hoc explanations. Just-so stories, if you will.

Let me ask this in a different way. Why 1830? Why not 1730 or 1630? I would think that by the time the Puritans set off for the New World in 1630 all the necessary groundwork had been laid, and by 1730 there was access to upstate New York, where Moroni had hidden the gold plates. For that matter, he could have hid them beneath Plymouth Rock if it had been necessary to find them there.

So why wasn't Joseph Smith born in an earlier time period or why didn't the Lord choose one of the fine, earnest, and righteous men of that time. I would assume you all agree that the Lord could have chosen who He wanted, when He wanted.

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I tried to summarize it, but epically failed. Here's a link to a good talk given about why the church was restored in 1820, and not before.

Question though, what do you think would have happened to John Cotton or one of his contemporaries if they'd emerged from a grove of trees and said God had spoken to them. That none of the churches upon the face of the earth had the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Good people the Puritans might have been, but they weren't they most tolerant of different or dissenting opinions. John Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and others could probably testify to that.

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Some Puritans nailed children to a post in the center of the town by an ear if they didn't believe the Bible the "right" way.

The history of textual criticism gives us plenty of hints to answer your "why". It was first rejected as blasphemy that the Bible was fallible. The campaign went on and the evidence built. In the end it was accepted fact that there were changes in the bible. Devotees started coming up with apologies, such as explaining that God wouldn't allow His Word to become corrupted. There were changes, but the basic message was the same and the Bible contained all that was necessary for salvation. The history shows me there was a time and place where Joseph Smith's message would have been accepted. The 1600's definitely weren't it. This idea that the bible has been changed seems lost on your average American born again, so any later and the message would not have been accepted. There was a window provided by scholars.

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I tried to summarize it, but epically failed. Here's a link to a good talk given about why the church was restored in 1820, and not before.

Question though, what do you think would have happened to John Cotton or one of his contemporaries if they'd emerged from a grove of trees and said God had spoken to them. That none of the churches upon the face of the earth had the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Good people the Puritans might have been, but they weren't they most tolerant of different or dissenting opinions. John Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and others could probably testify to that.

I'm going to pick a bone here. I couldn't get through the made up history in that talk to get to a point of any value. That's a bad as this Bruce Wydner/Weidner fellow's delusional writings. Why do Mormons feel it necessary to propagate such undocumented nonsense that is quite easily seen as nothing more than visions of a lunatic? Two Linuses? Says who besides Mr. Hyrum W. Smith? If there's evidence then I'll eat crow. None was produced when this was brought up here in 2006 http://www.mormonapologetics.org/topic/23688-deacon-linus/

This stuff makes Mormons look dishonest, gullible, stupid, and silly. It's worse than the LDS Alex Jones worshipers. The sane world gets this stuff and it really turns people off to missionary efforts.

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I think that there are a couple of questions that automatically flow from your OP.

What if Joseph had just climbed a tree in the grove & not knelt to pray; would the opportunity have repeated, or was there a back up would be prophet?

Had someone else been foreordained & missed their high & holy calling, with Joseph being the back up?

What if Christ had foregone the ordeal of the bitter cup?

We can not know of a certainty whilst in mortality & maybe never in the eternities hereafter. The fact that they happened at all should suffice in proving God's love for His children.

For me the sheer majesty of these events speak for themselves & whilst I may be free to contemplate, no ammount of musing on my part can sully them.

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So why wasn't Joseph Smith born in an earlier time period or why didn't the Lord choose one of the fine, earnest, and righteous men of that time. I would assume you all agree that the Lord could have chosen who He wanted, when He wanted.

I take exception to your implication that Joseph wasn't one of the fine, earnest and righteous men of his time. One reason his family believed him when he told his fantastic story is that he did not lie and they knew if he said something it was true.

No matter who had been chosen he would have received the same persecution and the outcome would have been the same.

As to the time frame, this was a time when people were moving westward, when the pioneer spirit was alive and well. The Constitution had been established and with it religious freedom. All these factors were important to the founding of a new religion, particularly one which would meet with so much opposition. Everything fell into place as it should, and those involved were where they needed to be.

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Why was Joseph Smith the prophet of the Restoration? Surely there were other possibilities. The Reformation had been building for centuries, and Joseph Smith's work was built on a foundation of other men, many of whom were sincere and learned, with followers who would have considered earnestly any claim to be a prophet.

For example, why not my ancestor John Cotton?

I often ask the same kind of question when someone is picked as a bishop of a ward, or a stake president, or pretty much any other position.

Wny him, instead of someone else?

The answer I get is usually along the line of something like: Well,. why not him? He's there, and he's capable of doing the job, and if I had picked anyone else you could still ask the same question asking why it was that other guy, instead of that guy. The point is, the job needs or needed to be done, and in my plan I have it all worked out about who will do what, and when, and where, so just watch and pay attention to what is actually being done.

And btw, the Lord told Joseph on more than one occasion that if he didn't do what he had been told or picked to do, our Lord would have picked someone else to get the job done, so rather than looking at who did the job, I look at what job that person is doing, or has done, and whose work that work actually is.

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I take exception to your implication that Joseph wasn't one of the fine, earnest and righteous men of his time. One reason his family believed him when he told his fantastic story is that he did not lie and they knew if he said something it was true.

:P

Peace,

Ceeboo

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I'm going to pick a bone here. I couldn't get through the made up history in that talk to get to a point of any value. That's a bad as this Bruce Wydner/Weidner fellow's delusional writings. Why do Mormons feel it necessary to propagate such undocumented nonsense that is quite easily seen as nothing more than visions of a lunatic? Two Linuses? Says who besides Mr. Hyrum W. Smith? If there's evidence then I'll eat crow. None was produced when this was brought up here in 2006 http://www.mormonapologetics.org/topic/23688-deacon-linus/

This stuff makes Mormons look dishonest, gullible, stupid, and silly. It's worse than the LDS Alex Jones worshipers. The sane world gets this stuff and it really turns people off to missionary efforts.

I typically enjoy the end of the talk, where he points out the fact that the Restoration couldn't have happened at any other time. So if you'd made it through the talk to that, you'd probably understand why I enjoyed it.

Other than that, the rest of your post was a somewhat annoying rant. So not everything he said was correct, big whoop, no reason to call him a lunatic other than the fact you don't seem to like him. So lets keep the judgments to ourselves eh?

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None of that answers my question. At best they are post hoc explanations. Just-so stories, if you will.

Let me ask this in a different way. Why 1830? Why not 1730 or 1630? I would think that by the time the Puritans set off for the New World in 1630 all the necessary groundwork had been laid, and by 1730 there was access to upstate New York, where Moroni had hidden the gold plates. For that matter, he could have hid them beneath Plymouth Rock if it had been necessary to find them there.

So why wasn't Joseph Smith born in an earlier time period or why didn't the Lord choose one of the fine, earnest, and righteous men of that time. I would assume you all agree that the Lord could have chosen who He wanted, when He wanted.

sanfoy, what you are asking, is for us to completely disregard what the Lord and his prophets and the scriptures have said regarding the timing of the restoration. The restoration couldn't happen until the Gentiles had fully integrated into this promised land of the Lord, and broken free of the England, scattered the remnant of Israel here, and become prepared to receive the will of the Lord.

I had the opportunity to cover the P. Hinckley visit in Sharon Vermont for the 200 year celebration of the birth of Joseph Smith. On the J.S. Sr. Farm, where Joseph was born, on one part of the property, is a small, old stone bridge built during the Revolutionary war. What a fitting reminder of how the restoration occurred less than 50 years of that momentous event.

All part of the Lord's plan. It couldn't have happened earlier.

I think President Benson summed it up pretty well:

"This restoration was preceded by a long period of preparation. The Pilgrims and other Europeans were inspired to find this American haven of refuge and thus people this land with honest and God-fearing citizens. Washington and his fellows were inspired to revolt from England and bring political liberty to this land, along with the more valuable treasure of religious liberty so that the soil might be prepared for the seed of the truth when it should again be sown."

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I'm going to pick a bone here. I couldn't get through the made up history in that talk to get to a point of any value. ...delusional writings. Why do Mormons feel it necessary to propagate such undocumented nonsense that is quite easily seen as nothing more than visions of a lunatic? Two Linuses? Says who besides Mr. Hyrum W. Smith? If there's evidence then I'll eat crow. None was produced when this was brought up here in 2006 http://www.mormonapologetics.org/topic/23688-deacon-linus/ This stuff makes Mormons look dishonest, gullible, stupid, and silly.

Perhaps Hyrum Smith when he says Paul ordained Deacon Linus, he was the one mentioned here;

2 Tim 4:19-22

19 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

21 Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.

22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.

Scholars are pretty much in agreement that this Linus in 2 Timothy does not fit Pope Linus (Bishop of Rome) because if he was I would assume more weight would have been given to him (he isn't even mentioned first) There is some confusion also about Pope Linus was he Martyred or not? Was he buried next to Peter or not? This confusion could implicate there are two Linuses. and through time the stories of the two merged. However it does correspond with Brother Smiths remarks. We know from this scripture that Paul while in Rome knew someone named Linus. It implies that Linus was a disciple, a follower of Christ and could match the Deacon spoke of by Hyrum Smith in his talk.

This quoted from the Catholic Encyclopedia;

We cannot be positive whether this identification of the pope as being the Linus mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21 goes back to an ancient and reliable source, or originated later on account of the similarity of the name. The statement that Linus suffered martyrdom, cannot be proved and is improbable.
so there is some confusion. But this supports Brother Smith when he declares Deacon Linus was Martyred. I can see where there is some collaboration of a second Linus and he lived and was killed about the time Brother Smith mentions.

CE also talking about Pope Linus, states

"that Linus was not martyred and that Linus was likely not buried next to Peter"
So then, who was this Linus? I guess although the evidence is limited you stated that this is undocumented non sense but as little as it is, it is some evidence. Hope that crow taste good.
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None of that answers my question. At best they are post hoc explanations. Just-so stories, if you will.

Let me ask this in a different way. Why 1830? Why not 1730 or 1630? I would think that by the time the Puritans set off for the New World in 1630 all the necessary groundwork had been laid, and by 1730 there was access to upstate New York, where Moroni had hidden the gold plates. For that matter, he could have hid them beneath Plymouth Rock if it had been necessary to find them there.

So why wasn't Joseph Smith born in an earlier time period or why didn't the Lord choose one of the fine, earnest, and righteous men of that time. I would assume you all agree that the Lord could have chosen who He wanted, when He wanted.

Actually your question has a very simple answer, Joseph was born in 1805, that is less than 20 years (1789) after the U.S. Constitution became a reality and the government bagan functioning. It then took until 1830 to establish the Church. I believe it could not have been established even a single generation before it was. The Puritans while sincere and a moral people were too steeped in their own traditions to have accepted the earthshaking news that God and Jesus (who according to most of the creeds of the day were unknowable and invisible to man) had appeared to an unlearned 14 year old youth, they would have been outraged and probably accused Joseph of being a witch (wait there are Anti-Mormons today who make this very claim! And even has been suggested on this board) and would have most likely burned him at the stake. Were there other honest and sincere people before Joseph who could have been a dispensation head? Yes, perhaps, but Joseph fulfilled prophecy and also was prepared for that mission in the pre-mortal council in heaven, just as all of us were prepared for our specific missions. Calling a dispensation head is not a haphazard thing but it is of utmost importance, it must be done in the wisdom of God and not by the will of men.

See the following:

(2 Nephi 3:7-15) "Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers. And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work. And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel. And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt. But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins
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Question though, what do you think would have happened to John Cotton or one of his contemporaries if they'd emerged from a grove of trees and said God had spoken to them. That none of the churches upon the face of the earth had the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Good people the Puritans might have been, but they weren't they most tolerant of different or dissenting opinions. John Williams, Anne Hutchinson, and others could probably testify to that.

It would have gone badly. So what? It went badly for Joseph Smith, too. Hutchinson and Williams (uhm, that's Roger, BTW. John is someone else. :P ) went to Rhode Island. It's not like they were killed.

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I take exception to your implication that Joseph wasn't one of the fine, earnest and righteous men of his time. One reason his family believed him when he told his fantastic story is that he did not lie and they knew if he said something it was true.

No, Joseph wasn't one of the fine, earnest and righteous men of the time. John Cotton was born in 1585 and died in 1652. I did say 1630 and 1730, didn't I? :P

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Actually your question has a very simple answer, Joseph was born in 1805, that is less than 20 years (1789) after the U.S. Constitution became a reality and the government bagan functioning. It then took until 1830 to establish the Church. I believe it could not have been established even a single generation before it was.

I disagree. There were all manner or religious groups and movements in the colonies, especially from Pennsylvania northward. Would Mormons of around 1700 have stood out remarkably among the Anabaptists, Quakers, Lutherans, German Reformed, Baptists, Moravians, Mennonites, Presbyterians, etc.? By stand out, I mean would they have attracted any more hatred and persecution than they did in the mid-19th Century? I don't think so.

In fact, if Mormonism had started in either Rhode Island or Pennsylvania it might have had a longer period to establish itself, given those colonies' rather notorious reputations.

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It would have gone badly. So what? It went badly for Joseph Smith, too. Hutchinson and Williams (uhm, that's Roger, BTW. John is someone else. :P ) went to Rhode Island. It's not like they were killed.

Gah, I had Roger written down! Then I went to edit something and erased it and came back with a famous composer instead...I'll be in the corner if you need me.

No, it didn't go well for Joseph either, change never goes over easy. Look at the death and destruction that occurred in Martin Luther's lifetime alone, not even considering that which would follow him. The point is that those who went before him prepared the way for the Restoration, much like John the Baptist did for Christ. They introduced ideas, both political and religious, into the arena so that when the Restoration happened, there were people ready to hear the message, laws that would permit the church to exist.

Whether or not those laws would protect them was up to those in charge of those enforcing them. And they failed miserably, as history tells.

There's a lot of factors that come into it, but the biggest one is that is was the Lord's decision, and in His time.

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This thread is a waste. The fact is that JS was chosen. THere is not need to discuss all of these "possiblities".

I only deal with what is, not what could have been.

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