Do You Worship Joseph Smith?
I can't tell you how many times I've been asked that question.
Short Answer: No, we do not.
Because of my sarcastic nature, my usual response is something along the lines of:
I don't know, do you worship Moses, Abraham or Isaiah?
I respond that way because to us, as Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith was the same as Moses, Abraham, Isaiah and every other Biblical prophet. He was a man, chosen by God to lead His Church. He received inspiration and revelation. But he was a man. He made mistakes, he was mortal, and he is certainly NOT someone to worship.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explained it well when he said:
"We do not worship Joseph Smith. We do not baptize in his name. We do not pray to Joseph Smith. We do not administer the Sacrament in his name. To even SAY that carries the deep offense of such a suggestion. Our faith is in Christ. And salvation is in Him only. There IS no other name given under Heaven whereby a man can be saved." (New Mission Presidents Seminar, 2004. Provo Missionary Training Center)
We revere Joseph Smith as a prophet, but only a prophet.
The Real Question
It seems to mean that when people ask me if I worship Joseph Smith, the real question they are asking me is: Do you worship Jesus Christ?
For Mormons, as with all Christians, there is only one one man that came to earth, lived a perfect life and atoned for the sins of all mankind, and that is Jesus Christ.
Here is what Peter said about how we are saved:
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)King Benjamin, a ruler and prophet in ancient America said this of Christ over 100 years before His birth:
"And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent." (Mosiah 3:17)The Prophet Joseph Smith himself said:
"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it." (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Chpt. 3)Thomas S. Monson, Prophet and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today has said:
"With all my heart and the fervency of my soul, I lift up my voice in testimony as a special witness and declare that God does live. Jesus is His Son, the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is our Redeemer; He is our Mediator with the Father. He it was who died on the cross to atone for our sins. He became the firstfruits of the Resurrection. Because He died, all shall live again. “Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives!’” May the whole world know it and live by that knowledge" (General Conference, April 2007)I hope this post, as well as the quotes from the scriptures and modern day prophets will serve to explain that not only do we not worship Joseph Smith, but we very clearly worship Jesus Christ. I know that my salvation is in and through Jesus Christ as no one else! I am eternally grateful for His atoning sacrifice that allows me the opportunity to be forgiven of my sins and return to live with my Father in Heaven after this life with my family!
Question: Which church leaders, ministers, saints, prophets, etc do you revere for their dedication to the cause of the Gospel?
Thanks for taking the time to understand my faith and how it influences me daily. Please share these posts with others.
Also, please visit the Ask a Mormon page on this blog and submit any questions you have about Mormons. I'd love to answer them!