Relief Society Lesson 7: Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Witnesses for Christ

Joseph and Hyrum 2I still remember on my mission, one particular day when one particular investigator told my companion and me that he admired many things about our church, and had many LDS friends whose families and lives he respected, but that there was one thing he could not get over: we worshipped Joseph Smith. We tried to explain the distinction, that we worship God and Jesus Christ, but are grateful for Joseph Smith because he helped us know Them more. We also brought in ancient prophets who helped us do the same.

And then my companion said a prayer. She began it, “Dear Heavenly Father,” and closed it, “In the name of Joseph Smith. Amen.” I was mortified, and thought this guy would never believe the story we just told, or that 99.99999999999% of Mormon prayers end, “In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.” My companion told me later that she was nervous. I told her that it was fine. And it was, mostly, but the issue that the man raised is an important one, because it is a real concern for many people.

I thought of it again when I first read the 7th chapter in the Joseph Fielding Smith manual: “Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Witnesses for Christ.” And I thought of some questions. Let us keep them in mind as we consider this lesson.

  • Why do we sometimes focus so much on Joseph Smith?
  • What can we learn from his life, that can help us in our own?
  • What can we learn from Hyrum’s life? (He is included in this lesson too.)
  • What can we learn from their relationship.
  • What can we learn from their willingness to be martyrs for Christ’s sake?
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Young Women Lesson: Why is the First Vision Important?

Joseph Smith's First Vision

Joseph Smith’s First Vision

Kirsten is the president of the Exponent II board and is serving as the Young Women president in her ward.

(Much of what I prepared will work just as well with the lesson on Joseph Smith’s role in the Restoration.  I find the two topics are so closely linked that they really should be one lesson.)

Start by asking the YW what kinds of things they do during a typical day.  These can be listed on the board (school, family time, seminary, chores, jobs, homework, etc.)  What kinds of things worry them or what do they spend a lot of time thinking about? (schoolwork, boys, where to go for college, should they serve missions, etc.)

I’d then ask what they think a typical teenager in the early 1800s would do/worry about.

The video for this lesson is “The Restoration”.  It is around 20 minutes long, but does a good job of showing what Joseph’s life might have been like and what things he thought a lot about.

After the video, ask what things they have in common with Joseph’s youth.  (chores, family prayer/scripture study, church attendance, wanting to do the right things, worrying about the mistakes you make, etc.) Point out that even though the circumstances and time period are different from today, the essentials are very much the same.

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Relief Society Lesson #23 The Prophet Joseph Smith

Every manual in the Teachings of the Presidents of the Church manuals has at least one lesson on Joseph Smith. Before going into the lesson, I’ll link to a few other RS lessons we’ve done here at the Exponent on Joseph Smith.

The Prophet Joseph Smith from the Spencer W. Kimball manual
The Prophet Joseph Smith, God’s Instrument in Restoring the Truth from the George Albert Smith manual
Relief Society Lesson 47: “Praise To The Man”: Latter-Day Prophets Bear Witness Of The Prophet Joseph Smith from the Joseph Smith manual

I would like to start with a quick personal story and some feelings I had while first skimming the lesson to get a sense of it.

Last year when I was meeting with my stake president to renew my temple recommend and going through the appropriate “yes” and “no” responses, there was one question where I stopped and said, “Well, I try…” The stake president looked at me and said, “I don’t want any answers other than ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” So I rephrased my answer into “yes” and was given a recommend. What was the question? “Are you honest in your dealings…?” The honesty question feels a bit like a trick question- who really is 100% honest in everything? Saying you are is obviously a lie! It’s a catch-22. I  am not honest with my fellow people at all times, though like I originally stated, I do try.

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Guest Post: A Way For It To Happen

by Judy Curtis

Reading through the suggestions to empower LDS women on a document entitled All Are Alike Unto God caused me to consider how women could be transitioned into functioning in a priesthood capacity in the Church without upsetting the system more than a lot of people could handle. Here are my ideas.

First, restore the Relief Society to quorum status as it was when Joseph organized the group. When the women in Nauvoo told Joseph they wanted to form a benevolent society similar to others of the day, he said he had something better for them.

“The Society should move according to the ancient priesthood… [I will] make of this society a kingdom of priests as in Enoch’s day–as in Paul’s day… [I am] glad to have the opportunity of organizing the women, as a part of the priesthood belongs to them.” 

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