Photo Essay Two: Interior Views of the Nauvoo Temple
Joseph said, “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.” With his visions and heavenly instruction, he came before an unbelieving world with boundless riches in his hands, new vistas of comprehension.
Joseph once said, with a bit of irony, that if he were a false teacher, he could “be hailed as a friend, and no man would seek my life.” He had instead the burden of being a prophet, teaching in a simple, straightforward, noble manner that left no room for contention
To the Saints he asked, “What is the object of our coming into existence, then dying and falling away, to be here no more? It is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter. . . . Reading the experience of others, or the revelation given to them, can never give us a comprehensive view of our condition and true relation to God. . . . Could you gaze into heaven five minutes, you would know more than you would by reading all that ever was written on the subject.
When asked what was unique about Mormonism, he replied that it is the “pure doctrine of Jesus Christ; of which I myself am not ashamed.” When Martin Van Buren, then president of the United States, asked how this gospel differed from other religions of the day, Joseph said: “We differed in mode of baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. We considered that all other considerations were contained in the gift of the Holy Ghost.”