"Joseph Smith was a great religious genius and perhaps the only one this country has ever produced. Not even Jonathan Edwards, not even my hero Ralph Waldo Emerson has had such an original and prophetic a discourse as (Joseph Smith's) King Follett Sermon. An amazing person; I always feel that if we had gotten to know each other we would have gotten along splendidly— Joseph Smith hovers in me. There cannot be too many Mormons who are as imbued with him as I am in my own odd way."
I defy the Pope, and all his laws; and if God spares my life, ere many years, I will cause the boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost!
Would you think it strange if I relate what I have seen in vision in relation to this interesting theme? … So plain was the vision, that I actually saw men, before they had ascended from the tomb, as though they were getting up slowly. They took each other by the hand and said to each other, ‘My father, my son, my mother, my daughter, my brother, my sister.’ And when the voice calls for the dead to arise, suppose I am laid by the side of my father, what would be the first joy of my heart? To meet my father, my mother, my brother, my sister; and when they are by my side, I embrace them and they me
"I had always believed confidently that God would raise up some one who would be able to effect a reconciliation among those who desired to do his will at the expense of all things else—But what was my joy and astonishment to hear my own son though a boy of fourteen years of age declare that he had been visited by an angel from Heaven."
“When I first heard him preach, he brought heaven and earth together; and all the priests of the day could not tell me anything correct about heaven, hell, God, angels, or devils; they were as blind as Egyptian darkness. When I saw Joseph Smith, he took heaven, figuratively speaking, and brought it down to earth; and he took the earth, brought it up, and opened up, in plainness and simplicity, the things of God; and that is the beauty of his mission.”
It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he, Joseph Smith, should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fulness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. The Lord had his eye upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father’s father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man. He was foreordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation” (in Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1954, p. 108; emphasis added).
All the religious world is boasting of righteousness: It is the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind, and hinder our progress, by filling us with self-righteousness. The nearer we get to our Heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. … If you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another.
The sacrifice required of Abraham in the offering up of Isaac, shows that if a man would attain to the keys of the kingdom of an endless life; he must sacrifice all things. When God offers a blessing or knowledge to a man, and he refuses to receive it, he will be damned. The Israelites prayed that God would speak to Moses and not to them; in consequence of which he cursed them with a carnal law.
My dear Emma, I think of you and the children continually. … I want to see little Frederick, Joseph, Julia, and Alexander, Johanna [an orphan who was living with the Smiths], and old Major [the family dog]. And as to yourself, if you want to know how much I want to see you, examine your feelings, how much you want to see me, and judge for yourself. I would gladly walk from here to you barefoot and bareheaded and half-naked to see you and think it great pleasure, and never count it toil. … I bear with fortitude all my oppression; so do those that are with me. Not one of us has flinched yet.
This day I have been walking through the most splendid part of the city of New York. The buildings are truly great and wonderful, to the astonishing of every beholder. … After beholding all that I had any desire to behold, I returned to my room to meditate and calm my mind; and behold, the thoughts of home, of Emma and Julia, rush upon my mind like a flood and I could wish for a moment to be with them. My breast is filled with all the feelings and tenderness of a parent and a husband, and could I be with you I would tell you many things. …
“I feel as if I wanted to say something to you to comfort you in your peculiar trial and present affliction [Emma was pregnant at the time]. I hope God will give you strength that you may not faint. I pray God to soften the hearts of those around you to be kind to you and take the burden off your shoulders as much as possible and not afflict you. I feel for you, for I know your state and that others do not, but you must comfort yourself knowing that God is your friend in heaven and that you have one true and living friend on earth, your husband.