An Inspired Message Regarding Joseph Smith III

“Joseph Smith III died December 10, 1914, having completed his eighty-second year. Perhaps no more moving tribute was paid to his memory than that which the Spirit itself paid on the Sunday preceding his death [December 6, 1914]. During a Sunday afternoon prayer and sacrament service in Independence, many petitions for the stricken prophet were raised by the Saints. During this service, an inspired message was delivered to the people regarding their prophet. It constitutes an overview of his life and ministry.

‘The anxiety of my people concerning the condition of my servant Joseph is known unto me, saith the Lord. I have heard the prayers that have come up from many homes; and I perceive that many hearts have been made very tender and devout. Let not your hearts be troubled in this matter. It I not given to you to know my will as to the time of his departure. Whether he depart or tarry, what is that to thee? But my will shall be done in this, as hitherto, for I have directed his life even from the day when the light of this world first dawned upon his eye – yea, and I am with him now though that light has failed.

‘Never at any time have I deserted him, neither in darkness nor in light, neither in storm nor in calm. Because I have loved him I have withheld neither joy nor sorrow that might be for the perfecting of his character. Because his patience was unfailing and his charity broad and deep, I have loved him and have not given him my Spirit by measure. Because he has loved righteousness and hated iniquity I have anointed him with the oil of gladness and his name is numbered with that illustrious company of whom Jesus Christ is head and front. In due time his now blind and sightless eyes shall behold all the glories of eternity.

“It remains for the church to profit by his life – to be loving as he was loving, to be charitable as he was charitable, and to go on in faith. They are admonished also to look beyond him to the Man of Galilee whose great sacrifice has been celebrated here today and whose example they should imitate in all things.’ “    – Elbert A. Smith writing in the Saints’ Herald, December 16, 1914, pp. 1185-86.

Donald D. Landon, The Reorganization Preserves the Restoration, Herald House 1960, pp. 24-25.