Joel Hills Johnson,Voice From the Mountains,Being A Testimony of the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,as Revealed by the Lord to Joseph Smith, Jr.
(Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor, 1881), pp. 3-4, 12-16.
A Voice from the Mountains.My Early Life.
I was born on the 23rd of March, 1802, in the town of Grafton, state of Massachusetts, of old Puritan or Mayflower stock.
I was so carefully instructed by a pious mother, that I dared not do anything that would displease the Lord or my parents. As soon as I could read, she gave me a small New Testament which I carried in my pocket. I neglected few opportunities of studying it, and often committed some of it to memory.
My attention was early drawn to the ancient ordinances and blessings of the Church. I believed, as far as my limited comprehension allowed, in baptism for the remission of sins, in laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and in signs following the believer, as mentioned in Mark, xvi. 17, 18. "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
I believed that the order established by Jesus and His apostles in the primitive church was the only true one. I sought among the sects for it, but found it not
Until the Prophet Joseph came;"Repent," to me he said,"And be baptized in Jesus'nameWith hands laid on your head."And when I had his word obeyed,My joy could not be told;I spoke in tongues and prophesied,As did the Saints of old.No wish had I, nor could refuseThe power that on me fell;Light filled my soul, my tongue was,The glorious news to tell.God then to me this truth revealed:That he had Joseph sent;And on his head the Priesthood sealedTo call men to repent.
There appears to have been some special providences over my early life. I will relate one which preserved it:
When about twelve years old, I was walking along the bank of the Ohio River, and saw a company of boys in bathing.
I desired to bathe, but the boys being strangers to me, I preferred to do so alone.
Seeing other boys wading out a considerable distance in shallow water, I did not for a moment doubt but what I could do so in safety.
Before proceeding far, however, I suddenly stepped off a steep bank into water over my head.
Not being able to swim, after struggling awhile, I went to the bottom.
I lay there perfectly helpless, and supposed that my time had come to leave this world.
Suddenly a strange power came over me. Something said, "Turn over on your face, and crawl on the ground." I made the effort, and, without knowing which way I was going, got out of the water.
The same power impressed me to crawl to a little knoll nearby, and get my stomach on it, with my head down. Succeeding in doing so, I became insensible for a time. When I came to my senses again, much water had run out of my mouth, my blood had begun to circulate, and I was in much distress but I recovered. . . .
The Word of Wisdom
I was with Joseph Smith, the Prophet, when the Word of Wisdom was given by revelation from the Lord [D&C 89], February 27, 1833, and, I think, I am the only man now living who was present.
I was then thirty one years of age, and had used tobacco somewhat extravagantly for fifteen years. I always used some strong drink, and tea and coffee.
I knew that God had spoken and condemned the use of these things, and, being determined to live by every word that proceeded from His mouth, I laid them all aside, and have not used them since.
I well remember that, soon after the publication of the Word of Wisdom, the same excuse was made, by some of the people, for drinking tea and coffee that is now made--that hot drinks did not mean tea and coffee.
On a Sabbath day, in the July following the giving of the revelation, when both Joseph and Hyrum Smith were in the stand, the Prophet said to the Saints:
"I understand that some of the people are excusing themselves in using tea and coffee, because the Lord only said `hot drinks' in the revelation of the Word of Wisdom.
"The Lord was showing us what was good for man to eat and drink. Now, what do we drink when we take our meals?
"Tea and coffee. Is it not?
"Yes; tea and coffee.
"Then, they are what the Lord meant when He said `hot drinks.'"
Brother Hyrum Smith spoke to the same effect.
It is said all wholesome herbs are ordained for the use of man. Physicians tell us that tea and coffee are not wholesome. And the Lord says they are not for the body or the belly.
When children see that their parents slight the Word of Wisdom, they are apt to follow their example.
I have recorded this testimony that all who read it may be without excuse. How pleasant it would be at last, if we could say to our Heavenly Father, "I have obeyed all your counsels," and hear these kind words in return: "Well done! thou hast been faithful over a few things, be thou ruler over many."
Character of Joseph Smith, Jr.
I became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr., at the October conference held by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, October 6, 1831.
I was with him, more or less, in public, in private, in council and in all the associations of life.
I had many business transactions with him.
This intercourse continued about thirteen years, and it gave me, probably, as good an opportunity to understand his character, as was had by any man now living. I was often present when the word of the Lord came from His mouth, and was written down by his scribe.
I knew, and now know, that it was the word of the Lord to all men, whether they receive it or not.
He was a man of sterling worth.
He was naturally affectionate and kind.
His reputation was good among all who were acquainted with him; but among those who knew him not, his name was cast out as evil.
Like many of the ancient Saints, his life was sought from the time he announced to the world that the Lord had spoken to him.
"Thus saith the Lord," has never been received by any people, except saints, with pleasure.
The Jews, in the days of our Savior, believed that they held the oracles of the living God, and were the only people that He acknowledged. They made long prayers in the temple, in their houses and at the corners of the streets. They paid tithes of all they had, even to mint and rue, and kept holy the Sabbath day; yet they rejected their Savior and King, and cried, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!"
When, to bring in the dispensation of the fullness of times for the gathering of Israel, God sent His Prophet, Joseph Smith, to preach to this nation repentance, the cry was quickly raised in the land, "Away with him, kill him! kill him!"
His enemies had him before the courts some forty times. Some of these trials I attended. His enemies sought far and near to find false witnesses against him, as did the enemies of our Savior, but they could not find the least evil in him.
When he and his brother Hyrum were on the way to Carthage, as it proved for the final sacrifice, he said to those with him, "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offense towards God, and towards all men. I SHALL DIE INNOCENT, AND IT SHALL YET BE SAID OF ME--HE WAS MURDERED IN COLD BLOOD."
They had lived above the law and a mob was brought into requisition to take their lives.
"Crown him then!" the Saints are crying.He a glorious work has done;And the heavenly hosts replying(With the Savior he is one):"Crown him gladly;Crown him, Father, through Thy Son."Lo! the day of coronation!What celestial joy it brings!Now he takes a higher station,While the heavenly world thus sings,"Crowned by Jesus!Lord of lords and King of kings."
During the persecutions of the Saints, the Lord, through His Prophet Joseph, commanded them to seek redress for their wrongs, first "At the feet of the judge, and if he heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the governor, and if he heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the president, and if he heed them not, then will the Lord arise and come out of His hiding place and in His fury vex the nation."
These pleadings were attended to, but they brought no redress for the Saints.
In a letter to John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, dated January 2nd, 1844, the Prophet Joseph makes these forcible predictions. Let them "Raise the hue and cry of imposter, false Prophet, G---D---old Joe Smith; yet, remember, if the Latter-day Saints are not restored to all their rights, and paid for all their losses, according to the known rules of justice and judgment, and reciprocation and common honesty among men, that God will come out of his hiding place and vex this nation with a sore vexation--yea, the consuming wrath of an offended God shall smoke through the nation, with as much distress and woe, as independence has blazed through with pleasure and delight."
I could refer to several predictions from the mouth of the Prophet on the same subject, which were literally fulfilled in the war of the great rebellion, but these are a testimony to the nation that Joseph Smith, Jun., was a Prophet of God.
If the Saints are deprived of their rights, as American citizens by special legislation of Congress as recommended by Presidents Hayes and Garfield, soon the wrath of God will fall upon this nation with four-fold greater vengeance, than in the war of the great rebellion.
It will then not only be the North against the South, but party against party, neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother, father against sons and sons against fathers, and blood shall flow, until the land is desolate and but few men left.
These words are true and faithful, because dictated by the Holy Ghost. They will stand unshaken at the day of accounts, whether received by the great men of the nation and the multitude or not.
Lines Dedicated to the Prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Thou servant of the living God,Like thee I've sought among the sects,To find a few that have not trodThe path His holy law rejects.With thee, His Seer, I've found at last,The keeper of my Father's house.My lot, and all, with thee I cast,To solemnize my youthful vows.For thou art chosen of the Lord,To gather up the pure and wise;With Priesthood power as thy reward,His Church again to organize.Alone no longer can I roam;My heart is with the pure and brave;With thee and thine I'll find my home,Myself and all my kin to save.Thy holy cause I will defend,While all thy sorrows, joys, and care,Shall be my own, till life shall end,With Thee eternal life to share.