(In honor of Joseph Smith’s birthday, 23 Dec. 1805)
The Prophet Joseph Smith is often described as: strong, brave, faithful, inspired, obedient, loyal, playful, and cheerful. But he is also a man of great compassion. Here are just a few examples of his kindness and charity.
Joseph Gives the Coat Off His back
In 1836, the Joseph Smith called John E. Page to serve a mission to upper Canada. John was so poor that he was reluctant to accept the call. He told Brother Joseph that he didn’t even own a coat. So, how could he survive in Canada?
The Prophet took off his own coat, and he gave it to Elder Page. “Here, John, wear this, and the Lord will bless you.”
Inspired by the Prophet’s confidence in him, John left on his mission. During the next two years, Elder Page traveled about 5,000 miles, mostly on foot. And he baptized about 600 converts.
(Sources: Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:92; “John E. Page,” mormonwiki.com; “John Edward Page,” Religious Studies Center BYU, rsc.byu.edu; “John Edward Page,” Biography, The Joseph Smith Papers, www/josephsmithpagers.org, “John E. Page,” Wikipedia.)
Joseph Gives Away his Boots
The Zion’s Camp march from Ohio to Missouri was 900 miles each way. Joseph Smith suffered along with 200 others, with fatigue, blisters, bloody feet, rancid water, rotten food, food poisoning and cholera.
Knowing that his boots would not last the 1800 mile march, he brought an extra pair. It was always his habit to provide for the men before himself, to do so with good humor, and to persuade the members of his company to do the same. When Joseph noticed that seventeen-year-old George A. Smith was barefoot, the Prophet gave George his own boots. (Donna Hill: Joseph Smith, The First Mormon, p. 173)
“Miraculous Day of Healing”
When the saints arrived in the swampland of Nauvoo, Illinois, on the banks of the Mississippi River, hundreds were stricken with malaria, dysentery, and cholera. Most were bedridden, and scores were near death. The Prophet Joseph Smith was also stricken and bedridden.
Wilford Woodruff recorded, that on the July 22, 1939, Joseph Smith called on the power of the Lord. He rose from his bed.
Acting as the Lord’s instrument, Brother Joseph walked through the house and healed everyone that was sick within. The Prophet then blessed and healed the dozens of people who were lying on the grounds of the home. Then he healed apostles Sidney Rigdon and Wilford Woodruff and asked them to join him in healing the saints.
Joseph Smith walked down to the river, and in the name of Jesus Christ, blessed and healed scores of saints lying along the banks. After blessing and healing all those on the east side of the river, he crossed the Mississippi and healed those on the other side.
“I felt the power of God that was overwhelming His prophet.” “Then the Prophet of God spoke with a loud voice, as in the majesty of the Godhead, I command you, in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” The words of the Prophet were not like the words of man, but like the voice of God.” (Wilford Woodruff, Leaves from my Journal, 75-79.)
Joseph Smith Gives Away His Horse
In Nauvoo, a freed African slave named Anthony was required to pay a heavy fine for selling liquor on the sabbath in violation of the law. This left Anthony in despair. Joseph learned that Anthony had saved that money in order to buy his daughter’s freedom.
Anthony was down by the Mississippi brooding. Suddenly, he heard horses approached. Joseph Smith rode up.
Joseph presented Anthony with one of Joseph’s best horses. He told Anthony to sell the horse, and to use the money to free his daughter.
(CES Talks; Kimberly Reid, “Joseph Smith: Prophet and City Leader,” Museum Treasures, Oct. 20, 2016, historylds.org; Account of Mary F. Adams, 1906; Live Sketch of William Holmes Walker, p. 2; Walker, 1943, pp. 8-9)
Joseph’s Last Night and His Final Act of Compassion
On the last night in Carthage jail, Joseph Smith and Dan Jones were lying on the hard wood floor trying to sleep. It was hot and uncomfortable. Joseph offered his bicep for Dan to use as a pillow. Dan accepted.
While the others slept, Brother Joseph whispered to Dan Jones, “Are you afraid to die?“
Jones replied, “Has that time come, think you? Engaged in such a cause, I do not think that death would have many terrors.”
To this Joseph responded, “You will yet see Wales and fulfill the mission appointed you before you die.”
This was the Prophet Joseph’s last prophesy. Dan Jones survived the martyrdom of the Prophet and served two missions in Wales. He is credited with the baptisms of over 5,000 saints.
(Gordon B. Hinkley, “The Thing of Most Worth,” Ensign, September 1993, pp. 2-7; “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wales,” Wikipedia; “Dan Jones (Mormon),” Wikipedia; Personal LDS Mission to South Wales.)