- Joseph Smith emerged from the Sacred Grove to begin his preparation to become a prophet of God; he also began to learn what ancient prophets experienced — rejection, opposition and persecution.
- Hyrum Smith, Joseph’s elder brother by six years, was a constant supporter throughout the Prophet’s life, and the two became martyrs for Christ’s cause and name.
- Latter-day Saints should follow Joseph Smith’s 1844 call to action: “Go forward and not backward. … Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
Joseph Smith emerged from the Sacred Grove to begin his preparation to become a prophet of God, with the First Vision followed by the visits of heavenly messengers, the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon and the organization of the Church.
With Joseph joined by his elder brother Hyrum, the two experienced rejection, opposition and persecution, ultimately ending with their deaths at Carthage Jail, becoming martyrs for Christ’s cause and name.
“As we celebrate this joyous occasion, the 200th anniversary of the First Vision, we should always remember the price Joseph and Hyrum Smith paid, along with so many other faithful men, women and children, to establish the Church so you and I could have and enjoy the many blessings and all these revealed truths we have today.”
Before his death in 1844, Joseph wrote a spirited letter to the Saints, a call to action which continues in the Church today: “Shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren [and sisters]; and on, on to the victory! … Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”
As Latter-day Saints listen to the Spirit during the weekend’s 200th anniversary celebration, “consider what offering you will present to the Lord in righteousness in the coming days. Be courageous — share it with someone you trust and most importantly, please take time to do it!
“I know that the Savior is pleased when we present Him an offering from our hearts in righteousness, just as He was pleased with the faithful offering of those remarkable brothers, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and all other faithful saints.”
In the news:
- In a March 24 interview with the Church News, President Ballard said that the world will win the war on coronavirus.
- President Ballard returned to Toronto, Ontario, where he served as mission president, to participate in leadership and member meetings, preside over the Brampton Ontario Stake Conference, visit the mission home where he and his family lived, and connect with old friends, March 6-8.
- President Ballard saluted the Christlike actions of Millennials and Gen Zs in a BYU devotional on March 3.
- Speaking during BYU-Idaho’s fall commencement on Dec. 18, 2019, President Ballard highlighted small and simple miracles that prepared America for the Restoration of the gospel.
- President Ballard traveled to New York City Nov. 16-17, 2019, to visit the UN, the oldest Jewish synagogue in the United States and major media outlets as well as diplomats, religious leaders and human rights officials.
- During a three-day visit to New England Oct. 18-20, 2019, President Ballard visited the birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith, testified of the Prophet, and asked Latter-day Saints to pray for the United States.
- President Ballard rededicated the Raleigh North Carolina Temple on Oct. 13, 2019.
About the speaker:
- President M. Russell Ballard has been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1985 and was set apart as acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Jan. 14, 2018.
- President Ballard’s great-great-grandfather is Hyrum Smith, a brother of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
- President Ballard and his wife, Sister Barbara Ballard, are the parents of five daughters and two sons. Sister Ballard died on Oct. 1, 2018.
- President Ballard served as mission president in Toronto, Ontario, from 1974-1977.
Recently on social:
- During the worldwide fast for relief from COVID-19 on March 29, President Ballard shared a tweet about his participation in the fast.
- President Ballard testified of the Prophet Joseph Smith at his birthplace in a Facebook video on Oct. 19, 2019.
- Following the rededication of the Raleigh North Carolina Temple, President Ballard shared some thoughts and photos from the event in an Oct. 15, 2019, Instagram post.
- President Ballard shared some thoughts about his wife soon after she died, in an Oct. 6, 2019, Instagram post.