My Testimony of Joseph Smith
Mary Bannister Russell
As I read the different aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, my heart swells with gratitude to the man who suffered so much to make it known again among mankind. The more I understand and Love the principles of the Gospel, the more I realize the debt I owe to this modern prophet.
I think of Jesus Christ as He dwelt among men, when so few seemed to have even a glimpse of the true status of His greatness. On one occasion, it seemed that His discourse had been almost too much for the people to bear, and they all turned away, except His apostles. He asked them "Will ye also turn away?" and they answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." But out of all the throngs of people these few chosen souls stood pitifully alone. The people were too near to Him to realize His greatness. It will still take many years for them to grasp His identity in truth and reality. The distance of time, lots of it, has made His name known throughout Christendom, but His identity has been veiled in untruth. Only His next appearance will open the people’s eyes to see Him, the Savior of men - but not, perhaps, to accept Him.
So I think it is with that great man, the Prophet Joseph Smith. This generation is too close to him to really appreciate him and understand him. When I was thinking of these things I thought of the words of the mighty apostle Melvin Ballard, which I will quote here:
"I wonder sometimes if the Latter-day Saints are not too close to him really to appreciated and understand him. I wonder sometimes if the Latter-day Saints are not too close to the great and wonderful events that are at our doors, to comprehend them really. For I say to you that as time has passed and as time shall yet pass, it will lift this modern Prophet of God to his place and his station among the great prophets of the world. He is ascending, and so he shall ascend until none of these, save the Lord Jesus Christ, shall excel him in power and glory, and he shall be exalted to his station as the great revelator of the Lord Jesus Christ to this dispensation. Oh, O pray, that we, having eyes, may indeed see, and having ears, that we may hear, and hearts that we may understand."
To which I say Amen. It is the integrity of the Prophet that calls forth my admiration. He was true to the responsibilities given him, he suffered indescribable persecution, seeing his family without a home or comforts in bitter winter weather. Is there anything harder than to see those you love without shelter? But the prophet was true to his trust, and someday, maybe, I may have the great pleasure of thinking him in person. As a result of Joseph Smith’s work, his being true to the commandments given him, the Gospel came into my life. And if my telling it becomes monotonous to you, I counter your boredom by saying that to me it is the story that never grows old. Time just adds to the glory, the beauty that I see through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope I will be as faithful as my Latter-day Prophet Joseph Smith, and endure to the end. That we will all work together to this end I pray, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen. MBR.