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Lesson 40 - The Ancestry and Birth of Joseph Smith
TitleLesson 40 - The Ancestry and Birth of Joseph Smith
Publication TypeManual Lesson
Year of Publication1898
Corporate AuthorsDeseret Sunday School Union
Manual TitleDeseret Sunday School Union Leaflets
Lesson40
PublisherGeorge Q. Cannon & Sons Company
Place PublishedSalt Lake City
KeywordsEarly Church History; Joseph Smith; Prophet; Restoration; Scripture Study
Abstract

For several generations, previous to the birth of the Prophet, his forefathers had been honest, industrious farmers in New England. The first of his ancestors to come to America, from England, was Robert Smith, who emigrated to this country about the middle of the seventeenth century. He settled in New England, and there his descendants lived for five generations. Joseph Smith, who was the fourth in descent from Robert, married Lucy Mack, Jan. 24, 1796. Her ancestors had also been husbandmen, and therefore ail of the sturdy qualities attaching to that class were inherited by the Prophet.

During the early part of their married life Joseph and Lucy (who had settled in the town of Tunbridge, Vermont,) were prosperous in a worldly sense, but through the treachery of a friend they were deprived of all their property. Soon afterward they removed to Sharon, in the same State, where they lived under very unfavorable circumstances until after the birth of their son Joseph, which occurred at Sharon, Windsor Co., Vermont, December 23, 1805.

The poverty, ill health and other chastenings of the parents of Joseph were effectual in teaching the family to be humble and dependent upon their Heavenly Father. Had it been otherwise—had Joseph and his parents been successful 'in obtaining wealth, the young man’s spirit might have been less perfectly moulded to suit the purposes of his Heavenly Father. Pride might have taken the place of humility, and self-conceit, of faith and trust.

It is a significant fact that Joseph’s grandfather, Asael Smith, possessed sufficient of the spirit of prophecy to declare that one of his descendants should exert a great influence on the religious belief of his associates. Said he, “ It has been borne in upon my soul that one of my descendants will promulgate a work to revolutionize the world of religious faith.”

How literally has this been fulfilled! How completely is the faith established by our Heavenly Father through the Prophet Joseph revolutionizing the religious belief of this day!

And Asael Smith lived to witness the commencement of the fulfillment of his prediction, for a short time before his death he was permitted to behold a copy of the Book of Mormon; and as he was about to depart from this earth, he warned his descendants to take heed of this work and to accept the ministry of Joseph, for that which he was about to bring forth was of God.

The birth of Joseph Smith marks an important era in the world’s history. Thousands can testify at the present time that he was one of the greatest prophets the world has ever known. To him were entrusted the keys of the dispensation of the fullness of times. His work will yet be known and his praises sung in all nations under heaven. And yet the man destined to such high honor was born of humble parents, in poverty, in an obscure town among the backwoods of Vermont.

Truly the ways of God are past the comprehension of feeble, mortal man.

Scripture Reference

2 Nephi 3:14-15

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