Anyone who has been a part of my readership for any duration of time will probably know of my love for and testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I'm currently reading in the Doctrine and Covenants, as well as the Book of Mormon, and I want to point out a few passages I think are important to remember.
In 2 Nephi 3, we read a prophecy of considerable length about the coming of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He is described as one that will be a "choice seer," and "like unto Moses" as one that would deliver his Father's people. In verses 14-15 we read:
And thus prophesied Joseph [of Egypt], saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;
And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.
Verse 15 refers to the Book of Mormon--which I would venture to say is the most important contribution to Christendom of the past several centuries. The beautiful, awe-inspiring witnesses that it bears of Jesus Christ, the explanations and clarifications it gives of His life and teachings, the prophecies it bears, the prophecies it fulfills--it truly is a magnificent gift.
We read in this chapter that the hand chosen to restore the Book of Mormon to the earth was, in fact, Joseph Smith, and everything about his life and mission was planned and foreseen. He truly was and is the Lord's servant and we must, therefore, be very careful about the way we treat him. As much as the Book of Mormon is a gift from God, so was the hand chosen to restore it.
And when I refer to Joseph Smith and his testimony as a gift to the children of men, I don't mean like some ugly sweater given to you by your grandmother that you can take back and exchange for something else because it doesn't "fit right" or you "just don't like the color." What I mean is that the fact that Book of Mormon was restored is evidence enough of an undertaking too large, almost, for words. The personal worthiness that must have been required on his part was surely difficult and painful to acquire and maintain--instilling in him a kind of weariness and loneliness that few can understand. The anxiety of what such a responsibility would mean for his family, his friends, his wife, his children, was surely more than most people would have been able to bear--which is why they are not called to pass through it.
When I look at my desk at my emerald green, leather bound scriptures--next to me right now--and I see that Book of Mormon is here with me, I honestly could weep. I could weep with an inexpressible joy because of what it means for me to have this book--what it cost so many people to bring it to me, but especially the Prophet Joseph Smith. This book is a jewel worth more than its weight in any precious stones, any metal, any currency from any country ever conceived. It was paid for in heaven's tears and the blood from an infinite and eternal sacrifice. How? Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ allowed Him to bear the suffering of the Prophet Joseph Smith.
Which is why these two verses from the Doctrine and Covenants in section 43 are more than just instructions to those who were alive to hear them:
Purge ye out the iniquity which is among you; sanctify yourselves before me;
And if ye desire the glories of the kingdom, appoint ye my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and uphold him before me by the prayer of faith.
What does it mean to sustain a Church leader? Does it mean to support him in all that he does, come hell or high water, in life and in death? Does it mean only supporting him in that which is politically correct or convenient? Does it mean tucking him away from sight and memory because of aspects of his life that we cannot understand or appreciate? Does it mean mocking him openly? Does it mean judging him privately and harshly until every flaw becomes irrationally exaggerated until there appears to be no redeeming qualities left?
I guess what I mean to ask is, what does it mean to you
I'm sure when I ask it like that, it's a no-brainer. Which is good, because it really is that simple.
If we would be faithful members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, if we desire the glories of the kingdom, that means being obedient in every commandment that we are given. And, sustaining our leaders is actually a commandment!
Shocking, I know.
The secret to understanding anything about this Gospel is to listen. Listen for the instruction of the Holy Ghost whose purpose it is to reveal the truth unto the minds and hearts of man. Listen for the truth, and then when it comes, listen TO it. If you want to gain--and KEEP--a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith, this is what you have to do.