When Joseph Smith was 17 years old, he was told by the angel Moroni that his name should be had for good and evil among among all nations. This was a bold statement for an unknown, uneducated farmboy in a small rural town. This video explores how dramatically that statement has turned out to be reality.
This video in the Evidences series is going to talk about Joseph Smith. There was a prophecy made in his early youth about his name being had for good and evil among all nations, which is hard to comprehend when he’s 17 years old as an uneducated farm boy in rural New York to be told this. This is what the Angel Moroni spoke to Joseph. He said, “He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.”
Then fast forward to 1839 in Liberty Jail, falsely imprisoned there, he had a revelation and this is what he was told. “The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fool shall have the in derision, and hell shall rage against thee.” Again, to look forward now and talk about Joseph’s name being known among all nations and being had for good and evil. To share some interesting things that I pulled together. One would be back about the time of Joseph in 1845, Josiah Quincy Jr. who was a relative of former presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, son of a president of Harvard University and will go on to become the mayor of Boston. He pinned a book called Figures of the Past: From the Leaves of Old Journals. In the final chapter, Quincy states this. “It is by no means improbable that some future textbook will contain a question, something like this. ‘What historical American of the 19th century has exerted the most powerful influence upon the destinies of his country men?’ And it is by no means impossible that the answer to that interrogatory may be thus written Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet.”
It’s pretty cool. Now to bring it to right now, in 2015 a Smithsonian did a collector’s edition of their magazine, of the 100 most significant Americans of all time. They had it in 10 different categories including religious figures, and Joseph Smith was number one in the religious category. Now, another fascinating thing having to do with Google, Google Ads has a project it’s called Ngram Viewer. What this does, it’s kind of a fun tool you can play around with. They analyzed 5 million books that Google has scanned from public libraries and it goes clear back to 1500. It represents about 4%, so it’s a small sample, but it is a good sample that you can test names, phrases, things, and specifically relative to each other. It’s an interesting thing. It’s kind of fun to put Joseph Smith’s name in there and compare it to some different ones.
So, I’m going to pop up on the screen here some different things. Joseph Smith will always appear in blue. For example, here is Mother Theresa. You can see a good example there with Joseph and Mother Theresa. The next one on here is the Dalai Lama. You can see where Joseph Smith correlates nicely with the Dalai Lama there over time. The next one is Fidel Castro, again, additional names being shown. Victor Hugo as the next one on here. The next one, C.S. Lewis, famous author. Then Thomas Edison. Here’s just a sample of different ones. Again, another evidence of Joseph Smith’s name being much more recognized.
There was a neat story that was in the Deseret News a few years ago that was talking about a elder John Groberg in the mid 1950s. He became a future General Authority. He wrote a book, The Other Side of Heaven. You may be familiar with the movie, but he writes as a young missionary there serving on a remote island of Tafahi in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga. To his surprise, he quickly discovered that those he was teaching had never heard of the Great Depression, the Korean War, then famous sports figures or the periods internationally celebrated movie stars. They recognized neither the names of prominent world leaders such as Dwight Eisenhower, Nikita Khrushchev, and Charles de Gaulle. Nor, for that matter the names of the countries that those men led: the United States of America, the Soviet Union, and France. Although not a single resident of the island was then a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, which today is about 50% of the island. Although at that point there was not a single member, they did know the name of Joseph Smith.
When Elder Groberg mentioned Joseph Smith, he later recalled their faces lit up immediately. Everyone looked at him. The father of the family with whom he was visiting said, don’t talk to us about that false prophet, not in our home. We know all about him. Our minister has told us. Elder Groberg says, he “could scarcely believe what he was hearing.” He “immediately thought of Moroni’s prediction to the young prophet recorded in Joseph Smith History 133” that I just read. His name should be had for good and evil among all nations. “To me”, Elder Groberg recalls, “this was a direct fulfillment of prophecy.”
Now, if you want to talk also about Joseph’s name had for evil in a sense is the famous play, The Book of Mormon, the Broadway musical. The show has been awarded nine Tony Awards, one of which was for the best musical and a Grammy award for best musical theater album. In fact, the Broadway cast recording became the highest charting Broadway cast album in over four decades, reaching number three on the billboard charts. Some have been very critical. In fact, Tim Allen said he almost walked out of that show and thought it was a very disparaging towards a religion. In fact he made the comment that he didn’t think any other religion would be treated this way, or if they were, there would be an uproar about it. He was surprised with the reaction from the Latter-Day Saints in just turning the other cheek essentially.
I wanted to share an interesting thing. It’s been estimated that the show’s creators spent seven years writing and producing the Book of Mormon musical. Let’s take a look on the screen here of what the Church did in Africa during those seven years. I thought these were some fun ways to see the fulfillment of this prophecy. Now I want to close just showing you a quick clip from the Face to Face with Elder Cook. They had a video showing quotes from the Standard of Truth that Joseph Smith spoke, and this is in languages throughout the world. So please enjoy.
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.
Deseret News/Church News article “Joseph Smith ‘most influential’ 19th Century American”: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/7…
Deseret News/Church News article “Joseph Smith’s name had for good and evil among all nations”: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/8…
lds.org article “Joseph Smith atop Smithsonian Magazine’s Top Religious Figures List”: https://www.lds.org/church/news/josep…
MormonNewsroom.org article “Why I Won’t Be Seeing the Book of Mormon Musical”: https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/articl…
Google Books Ngram Viewer – Google Books Ngram Viewer is an online search engine that charts the frequencies of any set of comma-delimited search strings using a yearly count of n-grams found in sources printed between 1500 and 2008: https://books.google.com/ngrams/
Latter-day Saints’ Q&A is a video series not produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but by me, an ordinary member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an independent voice, with a passion for studying Church history and defending the faith. In this series, I provide evidences for the restoration, and address tough questions posed by critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offering faithful answers based on accurate research and historical references which will be posted at the end of each video.