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President Joseph F. Smith served for 52 years as a General Authority of the Church—as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, as a Counselor to four Church Presidents, and for 17 years as the President of the Church. He taught the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with eloquence, tenderness, and conviction, calling for the people to “live in harmony with the designs of our Heavenly Father.” His ministry was marked by his powerful witness of Jesus Christ: “I have received the witness of the Spirit in my own heart, and I testify before God, angels and men… that I know that my Redeemer lives.”
Today his messages and sermons continue to give divine direction on our path of eternal progress. Our work in this world, said President Smith, “is to do good, to put down iniquity under our feet, to exalt righteousness, purity, and holiness in the hearts of the people, and to establish in the minds of our children, above all other things, a love for God and his word.” He declared that “to be a Latter-day Saint requires the sacrifice of worldly aims and pleasures; it requires fidelity, strength of character, love of truth, integrity to principle, and zealous desire to see the triumphant, forward march of truth.”
The First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have established the series Teachings of Presidents of the Church to help Church members deepen their understanding of gospel doctrines and draw closer to Jesus Christ through the teachings of the prophets in this dispensation. This book features the teachings of President Joseph F. Smith, who said: “To be Latter-day Saints, men or women must be thinkers, and workers; they must be men and women who weigh matters in their minds, men and women who consider carefully their course of life and the principles that they have espoused. … When people understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, you will see them walking straightforward, according to the word of the Lord, and the law of God, strictly in accordance with that which is consistent, just, righteous, and in every sense acceptable to the Lord.”
Each chapter in this book includes four sections: (1) a statement that briefly summarizes the focus of the chapter; (2) “From the Life of Joseph F. Smith,” which illustrates the chapter’s teachings by an example from President Smith’s life or his wisdom; (3) “Teachings of Joseph F. Smith,” which presents important doctrines from his many messages and sermons; and (4) “Suggestions for Study,” which encourages personal review and inquiry, further discussion, and application to our lives today through questions.