I just received my December 31st issue of Church News. This issue is pretty much dedicated to “Remembering Joseph Smith.” The first article (which is all I’ve read so far) is titled Prophets Testify of Joseph Smith. It consists of short excerpts from the sermons and talks of Latter-day prophets. Each of the 14 prophets since Joseph Smith are represented, and each one had something to say about Joseph.
The first quote in the article is from Journal of Discourses, volume 5, page 332, “Observations by President Brigham Young, made in the Bowery, Wednesday Afternoon, October 7, 1857.” I thought it might be interesting to see Brigham’s comment about Joseph’s mission in its context, so I looked it up.
I found that Brigham made some rather interesting remarks in that sermon. On the two pages surrounding the portion quoted in Church News (pages 331 and 332) Brigham noted the following:
Brigham desired to do the work of the kingdom so it would be “right and acceptable” to Joseph when Joseph comes again
The terms “United States” and “united hell” were synonymous as the government was then conducted
The God the Methodists worshiped was the “Mormon’s Devil”
After passing Joseph Smith, Peter, the Apostles, and Abraham on the way to the Celestial kingdom people will be “very glad to see the white locks of Father Adam.” Brigham then quoted John 17:3, “This is eternal life, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.”
Brigham was an Apostle of Joseph Smith
All the priests contemporary to Joseph’s day were “as blind as Egyptian darkness” and knew nothing correct about heaven, hell, God, angels, or devils
Faithful Mormons, though 60 or 70 years old, look young and handsome; but if they apostatize, “they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil.”