Youth (12-18 years of age) who attend the Lehi Kimber Academy celebrated by singing, reading quotes, and hearing stories about the prophet Joseph from those who knew him. They also attended the temple together to do baptisms. This year marks his 2011 birthday and 186th year since the restoration of the Church.
Kimber Academy is an education that focuses on restoring what Joseph Smith revealed in the restoration. He restored “holiness” to the world around us. With the restoration came a counterfeit and traditions that we have accepted. The youth of Kimber are choosing to help restore God’s way and not the world’s way. They are learning how to restore a culture that unashamedly proclaims we are God’s people and we will follow His ways in music, dance, dress, real beauty, entertainment, the family, dating, leisure, education and so forth.
A few shared their feelings on today’s celebration and their love for Joseph:
Natalie Age 15- “As I was in the temple waiting, I could feel the presence of angels. My testimony of Joseph and his work on earth and what is to come increased.”
Harmony age 15- “I am so grateful I was able to go to the temple today! I am so grateful for Joseph Smith’s courage to restore the true gospel. I know that he was a true I am so grateful I was able to go to the temple today! I am so grateful for Joseph Smith’s courage to restore the true gospel. I know that he was a true. ”
Michelle Jensen; Teacher- “As I drove these wonderful seniors to the temple, I was so impressed by their willingness to serve the Lord and their brothers and sisters who have passed beyond the veil. How rare it is today to see such valiant youth give their time and live a life that they are worthy to enter the house of the Lord.
At a time when most youth are talking about what they will be getting for Christmas, I was so honored to be in the presence of this group who were choosing to honor our beloved prophet Joseph Smith by serving Christ.
I had my 3 year old daughter with me, and was hoping that she would take a nap while the youth were in the temple. As soon as she saw us driving into the temple parking lot, she said “I want to go inside the temple!”. We walked around the grounds, and then into the family waiting room. She was so tired but did not want to leave. It was so beautiful!
Later that night, my 6 year old son, who is in the junior class, wrote me a sweet note. It said “Mom I am sorry that you are sick” (I have a cold), and he drew a picture of me at the temple and an angel above watching over me.
I am so grateful for this day we had as a school! I love these seniors with all of my heart. They are a continual example to me and restore my hope for the future. I am also so grateful for Kimber Academy and the blessings that our family receive by attending this beautiful school.”
Praise to the Man
“Praise To the Man” is not only the first line to a beautiful LDS hymn about Joseph Smith, but it is a feeling that many people feel as they think about the work that has been done by the prophet.
In D&C 135:3 we read: Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!
Joseph F. Smith speaks on Joseph
Joseph Smith, Jr. was born on December 23, 1805. His nephew, Joseph F. Smith, said of this fact – “in my judgment the next birthday celebration to that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ should be that of Joseph Smith.” The following is parts of a talk Joseph F. Smith gave at a Memorial honoring the Prophet Joseph Smith’s Birthday held on December 23, 1894. That year marked the 50 year anniversary of his martyrdom.
“I should like to see introduced among the Latter-day Saints…the practice of celebrating or commemorating the birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It is now over fifty years since he was martyred; and during those fifty years, we have never had to my knowledge more than a small private gathering occasionally, in honor of the birthday of the man who was chosen of God and designated by His voice to be the mouthpiece of God Almighty to the inhabitants of the earth in the dispensation of the fullness of times. The only exception I recall was when, on the 23rd of December, 1892, a general fast was proclaimed and observed among the Latter-day Saints, preparatory to the final completion and dedication of the Salt Lake Temple in April following.
We celebrate what is supposed to be the birthday of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but we get a long way off from His birthday; so that now, instead of celebrating the real birthday of our Lord, which was on the 6th of April, we celebrate the 25th of December in each year. And it is a proper thing that we should hallow His birthday, above all others. And in my judgment—and of course I may be a little biased in regard to this matter—in my judgment the next birthday celebration to that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ should be that of Joseph Smith, to this entire people of the Latter-day Saints.
I felt … that it would be an appropriate thing for this evening to be set aside for the purpose of commemorating, in some simple and unceremonious way, the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Joseph, and that, inasmuch as the people who knew him personally are becoming exceedingly few that it would be a proper thing to invite as many of them as could conveniently come…That the children and the young men and the young women who are here, and those who have embraced the Gospel in foreign lands since the martyrdom of the Prophet may have the privilege of looking upon the faces of as many as possible of those that were intimately acquainted with the Prophet in his lifetime.
…The one thing that I wish to call your attention to first and foremost of all other things is this, that whatever else the Prophet Joseph Smith may have done or may have been, we must not forget the fact that he was the man out of the millions of human beings that inhabited this earth at the time—the only man, that was called of God, by the voice of God Himself, to open up the dispensation of the Gospel to the world for the last time; and this is the great thing to bear in mind, that he was called of God to introduce the Gospel to the world, to restore the holy priesthood to the children of men, to organize the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the world, and to restore all the ordinances of the Gospel, for the salvation not only of the living, but also of the dead, and he was called to this mission by God Himself.
… The last time I saw him was when he crossed the river, he and my father, from Iowa back to Nauvoo, after they had started for the Rocky Mountains…Being constantly persecuted by his enemies, he laid his plans to slip out of their grasp and way, and come out to these mountains to explore them with a view to seeking out a place where the people of God could be gathered and worship God in peace and according to the dictates of their own consciences. He was upbraided by some of being a false shepherd. When that word came to him he was wounded in his feelings, and so hurt that he turned round and said: “If this is all my friends care for my life, why should I care for it?” And he returned home and went, as he said, “like a lamb to the slaughter.” I saw him and my father as they were rowed in a skiff across the Mississippi river, and watched them till they landed at the bank of the river near the old Times and Seasons printing office, watched them as they walked up the bank of the river on to Water street, and walked along and come into our house. Joseph sat down while my father washed. And while Uncle Joseph was sitting there, he took me on his knee and trotted me and played with me.
Many little incidents I remember in the life of the Prophet Joseph. But what is dearest to my memory and to my thinking, is that by the testimony of the Holy Spirit of God to me, I know that this book, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which I hold in my hand, is the word of God through Joseph Smith to the world, and especially to the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world, and that by the gift and power of God he translated this book (the Book of Mormon) from its original language, and from the engravings upon the golden plates into the language which we now read within the lids of this book; and it contains the fullness of the everlasting Gospel. This is the great thing that I rejoice at, and this is the great and glorious thought that comes to my mind and that pervades my soul when I think of commemorating the anniversary of the birth of that great and glorious man, Joseph Smith; for he was the only man that I have any record of, or that I have ever read of in any history, that God Himself, in connection with His son Jesus Christ, deigned to visit in person and commune with in this world while he was a youth. He was only a youth, comparatively in fact, when he was martyred, being only 38 years of age.
And while he could play with children and amuse himself at simple, innocent games among men, he also communed with the Father and the Son and spoke with angels, and they visited him, and conferred blessings and gifts and keys of power upon him that were never before bestowed upon any human being other than the Son of God himself. And that work, the foundation of which he laid, is today spreading abroad among the nations of the earth, and it will continue to spread until it covers the earth as the waters cover the sea; and that is my testimony. Amen.”