Joseph Smith Quotes

Joseph Smith Quotes

Read quotes by the Prophet Joseph as found in the most reputable sources.

It can be challenging to find Joseph Smith quotes drawn from reliable historical sources. Our quotes page gives you access to his teachings about topics like love, trials, and the Holy Ghost. What makes them especially unique is that every quote is taken from dependable scholarly research such as the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

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Table of Contents

Editorial Note: Spelling and punctuation have been modernized.

Advice from Joseph Smith

The way to accomplish great things, is to be indefatigable and never rest till the thing is accomplished.

Discourse, 6 May 1844–A, p. 230, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Church Administration

The reason why men always failed to establish important measures was, because in their organization they never could agree to disagree long enough to select the pure gold from the dross by the process of investigation.

Minutes and Discourse, 4 April 1844, p. 81, The Joseph Smith Papers.

A gentleman … asked Joseph Smith how it was that he was enabled to govern so many people, and to preserve such perfect order. … Mr. Smith replied, “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves”.

John Taylor, “The Organization of the Church,” Millennial Star, Nov. 15, 1851, p. 339.

[Joseph Smith] spoke of the disposition of man, to consider the lower offices in the church dishonorable and to look with jealous eyes upon the standing of others— that it was the nonsense of the human heart, for a person to be aspiring to other stations than appointed of God— that it was better for individuals to magnify their respective callings, and wait patiently till God shall say to them come up higher.

Discourse, 28 April 1842, p. 35, The Joseph Smith Papers.

It is contrary to the economy of God for any member of the Church or anyone to receive instruction for those in authority higher than themselves, therefore you will see the impropriety of giving heed​ to them, but if any ​have a vision​ or a visitation from an heavenly messenger it must be for their own benefit and instruction.

Letter to John S. Carter, 13 April 1833, p. 30, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[Joseph Smith said that] all must act in concert or nothing can be done— that the [Relief] Society should move according to the ancient Priesthood, hence there should be a select Society separate from all the evils of the world, choice, virtuous and holy— Said he was going to make of this Society a kingdom of priests as in Enoch’s day— as in Paul’s day.

Discourse, 31 March 1842, p. 22, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Commandments

God will not command any thing, but what is peculiarly adapted in itself, to ameliorate [improve] the condition of every man under whatever circumstances it may find him, it matters not what kingdom or country he may be in.

Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 March 1839, p. 54, The Joseph Smith Papers.

God has in reserve a time, or period appointed in His own bosom, when He will bring all His subjects, who have obeyed His voice and kept His commandments, into His celestial rest. This rest is of such perfection and glory, that man has need of a preparation before he can, according to the laws of that kingdom, enter it and enjoy its blessings. This being the fact, God has given certain laws to the human family, which, if observed, are sufficient to prepare them to inherit this rest. This, then, we conclude, was the purpose of God in giving His laws to us.

From “The Elders of the Church in Kirtland, to Their Brethren Abroad,” Jan. 22, 1834, published in Evening and Morning Star, Feb. 1834, pp. 135–36.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Death

The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work—hence they are blessed in departing hence. Enveloped in flaming fire, they are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings and motions, and are often pained therewith.

Discourse, 9 October 1843, as Reported by Times and Seasons, p. 331, The Joseph Smith Papers.

I will tell you what I want. If tomorrow I shall be called to lay in yonder tombs, in the morning of the resurrection, let me strike hand​s with my father and cry, “my father!” He will say, “my son, my son!” as soon as the rock rends and before we come out of our graves.

And may we contemplate these things so? Yes, if we learn how to live and how to die. When we lie down, we contemplate how we may rise up in the morning, and ​it is pleasing for friends to lie down together, locked in the arms of love, to sleep, and wake in each other’s embrace and renew their conversation.​

Discourse, 16 April 1843, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 142, The Joseph Smith Papers

What hath Jesus said? All sins and all blasphemies—every transgression except one—there is a provision either in this world or in the world of spirit. Hence God hath made a provision that every spirit can be ferreted out in that world that has not sinned the unpardonable sin, whether in this world or in the world of spirits. Every man who has a friend in the eternal world who hath not committed the unpardonable sin: you can save him.

Discourse, 7 April 1844, as Reported by William Clayton, p. 17, The Joseph Smith Papers.

The greatest responsibility that God has laid upon us to seek after our dead.

Discourse, 7 April 1844, as Reported by Thomas Bullock, p. 19, The Joseph Smith Papers

I see no faults in the church. Let me be resurrected with the saints, whether to heaven or hell or any other good place. [Where this people are, there is] good society. What do we care [about where we are] if the society is good?

Discourse, 23 July 1843, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 13, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Faith

The fundamental principles of our religion is the testimony of the apostles and prophets concerning Jesus Christ, “that he died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended up into heaven;” and all other things are only appendages to these, which pertain to our religion.

But in connection with these, we believe in the gift of the Holy Ghost, the power of faith, the enjoyment of the spiritual gifts according to the will of God, the restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth.

Elders’ Journal, July 1838, p. 44, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Those who have died in Jesus christ, may expect to enter in to all that fruition of Joy when they come forth. …

I am glad I have the privilege of communicating to you some things, which if grasped closely, will be a help to you when the clouds are gathering and the storms ​are ready to burst upon you like peals of thunder. Lay hold of these things and let not your knees tremble, ​nor your hearts faint.​ What can earthquakes, wars and tornadoes do? Nothing.

All your losses will be made up to you in the resurrection, provided you continue faithful. By the vision of the Almighty I have seen it.

Discourse, 16 April 1843, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 143, The Joseph Smith Papers

We believe that through the atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We believe that these ordinances are 1st, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; 2d, Repentance; 3d, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; 4th, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

“Church History,” 1 March 1842, p. 709, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Joseph Smith Quotes About God

If men do not comprehend the character of God they do not comprehend themselves.

Discourse, 7 April 1844, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 67, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Having a knowledge of God we know how to approach Him and ask, and He will answer.

Discourse, 7 April 1844, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff, p. 136, The Joseph Smith Papers.

God did not make the earth out of nothing—for it is contrary to ​a rational mind and reason that a something could be brought from a nothing. Also, it is contrary to the principle and means by which God does work. For instance, when God formed man, He made him of something—the dust of the earth—and He always took a something to affect a something else.

Account of Meeting and Discourse, 5 January 1841, as Reported by William P. McIntire, p. 2, The Joseph Smith Papers.

That which is without body or parts is nothing. There is no other God in heaven but that God who has flesh and bones.

Discourse, 5 January 1841, as Reported by Unidentified Scribe, p. 1, The Joseph Smith Papers.

While one portion of the human race are judging and condemning the other without mercy, the great parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care, and paternal regard; he views them as his offspring; and without any of these contracted feelings that influence the children of men, causes “his sun to rise on the evil and the good; and sends his rain on the just and unjust.”

Editorial Published by Joseph Smith in the Times and Seasons, Vol.3, No. 12, pp. 759-761

Joseph Smith Quotes About the Holy Ghost

[You] might as well baptise a bag of sand as a man if not done in view of the getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but 1/2 a baptism and is good for nothing without the other.

Discourse, 9 July 1843, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 304, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Love

Love is one of the leading characteristics of Deity, and ought to be manifested by those who aspire to be the Sons of God. A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the world, anxious to bless the whole of the human family.

Letter to Quorum of the Twelve, 15 December 1840, p. 2, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Friendship is the grand fundamental principle of Mormonism.

Discourse, 23 July 1843, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 13, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Don’t be limited in your views with regard to your neighbors’ virtues, but be limited towards your own virtues; and not think yourselves more righteous than others; you must enlarge your souls toward others if you would do like Jesus, and carry your fellow creatures to Abram’s bosom.

Discourse, 28 April 1842, p. 39, The Joseph Smith Papers.

The servants of the Lord are required to guard against those things that are calculated to do the most evil— the little foxes spoil the vines—little evils do the most injury to the church. If you have evil feelings and speak of them to one another, it has a tendency to do mischief.

Minutes and Discourse, 31 August 1842, p. 81, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Righteousness is not that which men esteem holiness. That which the world calls righteousness, I have not any regard for. To be righteous is to be just and merciful. If a man fails in kindness, justice and mercy he will be damned. For many will say in that day: “Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name done many wonderful works?” but He will say unto them “ye workers of iniquity,” etc.

Discourse, 21 May 1843, as Reported by Howard Coray, p. 37, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Prayer

May you all realize the necessity of getting together often to pray and supplicate at the throne of grace, that the spirit of the Lord may always rest upon you. Remember that without asking we can receive nothing, therefore ask in faith, and ye shall receive such blessings as God sees fit to bestow upon you. Pray not with covetous hearts that ye may consume it upon your lusts, but pray earnestly for the best gifts.

Letter to Newel Knight and the Church in Colesville, 28 August 1830, p. 128, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Prophets

I was this morning introduced to a man from the east, after hearing my name he replied remarked that I was nothing but a man: indicating by this expression that he had supposed that a person, ​to who​m the Lord should see fit to reveal his will, must be something more than a man.

Journal, 1835–1836, p. 20, The Joseph Smith Papers.

I have not an idea there has been a great many very good men since Adam. There is was one good man—Jesus.

Many think a prophet must be a great deal better than any body else. Suppose I would condescend—yes, I will ​call it condescend—to be a great deal better than any of you. I would be raised up to the highest heaven and who should I have to accompany me?

Journal, December 1842–June 1844; Book 2, 10 March 1843–14 July 1843, p. 211, The Joseph Smith Papers.

I told them I was but a man, and they must not expect me to be perfect; if they expected perfection from me, I should expect it from them, but if they would bear with my infirmities, and the infirmities of the brethren, I would likewise bear with their infirmities.

History, 1838–1856, volume D-1 [1 August 1842–1 July 1843], p. 1414, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Repentance and Forgiveness

If you wish to go where God is, you must be like God or possess the principles which God possesses, for if we are not drawing towards God in principle we are going from him and drawing towards the devil. Yes, I am standing in the midst of all kinds of people. Search your hearts and see if you are like God. I have searched mine and feel to repent of all my sins….

Is not God good? Yea, then you be good. If He is faithful, then you be faithful. Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge and seek for every good thing.

Discourse, 10 April 1842, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff, p. 146, The Joseph Smith Papers.

One of the most pleasing scenes that can occur on earth, when a sin has been committed by one person against another, is, to forgive that sin; and then according to the sublime and perfect pattern of the Savior, pray to our Father in heaven to forgive [the sinner] also.

From “A Friendly Hint to Missouri,” an article written under the direction of Joseph Smith, Mar. 8, 1844, Nauvoo, Illinois, published in Times and Seasons, Mar. 15, 1844, p. 473.

Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand and watch over them with tenderness.

Minutes and Discourse, 9 June 1842, p. 62, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Scriptures

Joseph said the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth and the keystone of our religion and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book.

Remarks, 28 November 1841, p. 112, The Joseph Smith Papers.

He that can mark the power of Omnipotence, inscribed upon the heavens, can also see God’s own handwriting in the sacred volume: and he who reads it oftenest will like it best, and he who is acquainted with it, will know the hand whenever he can see it; and when once discovered, it will not only receive an acknowledgement, but an obedience to all its heavenly precepts.

“The Elders of the Church in Kirtland, to Their Brethren Abroad,” Jan. 22, 1834, published in Evening and Morning Star, Feb. 1834, p. 136; Mar. 1834, p. 142.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Temptation

Pres. Joseph Smith … observed that satan was generally blamed for the evils which we did, but if he was the cause of all our wickedness, men could not be condemned. The devil cannot compel mankind to evil, all was voluntary.

Discourse, 16 May 1841, as Published in Times and Seasons, p. 429, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Satan cannot seduce us by his enticements unless we in our hearts consent and yield. Our organization [is] such that we can resist the Devil. If we were not organized so, we would not be free agents.

Discourse, circa 16 March 1841, p. 16, The Joseph Smith Papers.

The Devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man; and when cast out by the Savior, he asked to go into the herd of swine, showing that he would prefer a swine’s body to having none. All beings who have bodies have power over these who have not. The Devil has no power over us, only as we permit him.

Discourse, 5 January 1841, as Reported by Unidentified Scribe, p. 1, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Trials and Sacrifice

If a man will not sacrifice, the principle of a God is not in him. When a man is tried in every point, then nothing is left but the will of God, and he will then be clothed with the power of God, and it brings him peace and eternal happiness.

Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846; Volume 1, 10 March 1844–1 March 1845, p. 129, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Stand fast, ye Saints of God, hold on a little while longer, and the storm of life will be past, and you will be rewarded by that God whose servants you are, and who will duly appreciate all your toils and afflictions for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s. Your names will be handed down to posterity as Saints of God.

From a report from Joseph Smith and his counselors in the First Presidency, Apr. 7, 1841, Nauvoo, Illinois, published in Times and Seasons, Apr. 15, 1841, p. 385.

Joseph Smith Quotes About Truth

“Where in do you differ from others in your religious views?”

In reality and essence we do not differ so far in our religious views but that we could all drink into one principle of love. One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism ​is to receive truth let it come from where it may.

We believe in the great Elohim who sits enthroned in yonder heavens— so do the Presbyterians. … Do you believe in Jesus Christ, etc.? So do I. Christians should cultivate the friendship of each other.

Discourse, 9 July 1843, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 301, The Joseph Smith Papers.

The standard of truth has been erected: no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing, persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the great Jehovah shall say the work is done.

“Church History,” 1 March 1842, p. 709, The Joseph Smith Papers.

[If the] Presbyterian [has] any truth, embrace that. [Same for the] Baptist, Methodist, etc. Get all the good in the world [and you will] come out a pure Mormon.

Discourse, 23 July 1843, as Reported by Willard Richards, p. 14, The Joseph Smith Papers.

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By Chad Nielsen

Biotech professional. Armchair historian. Latter-day Saint.

One reply on “Joseph Smith Quotes”

This gave me a sense for what it would be like to hear the prophet Joseph speak! Thank you for giving us a glimpse of his heart and mind.

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