There was a Russian historian who had spent time in America, researching and studying the history of great Americans and American institutions. At the end of his journey, he was approached by newspapermen. One of them asked: “In your study of great Americans during this past year which of them do you consider to be the greatest?” He replied, “You have only had one truly great American, one man who gave to the world ideas that could change the whole destiny of the human race—Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet.”
A couple weeks ago, our Gospel Doctrine teacher asked us to ponder the ancient prophet, Moroni, and his role in the life of Joseph Smith. Usually I think about Moroni protecting, abridging, and writing on the records, (that Joseph Smith was guided to translate, which we now call the Book of Mormon), his many visits to the boy prophet, and his tutoring of Joseph.
But the thought came to my mind: That Moroni was a great support to Joseph because he knew many of the feelings that Joseph would experience throughout his short life and ministry. Moroni had felt the loneliness that Joseph would feel. That there were few that shared a similar great mission and consequences of accepting that great mission.
In part of our lesson this past Sunday, we discussed the first Chapter of Moroni. We concluded that some of the virtues Moroni possessed are:
- the ability to submit to the will of the Lord
- the strength and desire to not deny the Christ
- understanding the the Lord’s mission
- a love for his enemies
- the ability to endure to the end
Again, I was reminded of Joseph’s similar and sacred mission (I believe he possessed the same virtues). I often think of the large responsibilities he, alone, carried. The comfort I feel in knowing that Moroni’s great mission was fulfilled in his time and then later in the the lifetime of Joseph Smith. That his virtues, wisdom, and experience strengthened our great modern-day prophet.
Today, we celebrate the birth our beloved prophet, Joseph Smith, born December 23rd in Sharon, Vermont. The gratitude I feel for his mission, integrity, steadfastness, ability to endure, and abundance of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am also grateful to his parents, family, friends, and of course, Moroni, for teaching, guiding, and supporting him in his sacred calling.