Another Testament of Jesus Christ
Containing the Fullness of the Everlasting Gospel
Another great program from Donna Cuillard, thank you Donna for sharing with us!!
Stake Family Fireside
1. When reading at the fireside, please do not read reference notations.
2. This is a Reader*s Theater*. Parts do not need to be memorized.
3. In order to maintain continuity and in the interest of time, please become familiar with where your parts are and be sure to keep things moving smoothly. Thank you.
The Book of Mormon
Another Testament of Jesus Christ
Containing the Fullness of the Everlasting Gospel
Stake Choir Director: Stake Choir Accompanist:
Opening Hymn: High On A Mountain Top Hymn #5
Brother Conducting: This weekend marks the 180th anniversary of the Prophet Joseph Smith receiving the plates from the Angel Moroni. Please join with us in remembering those who received, translated and protected these sacred records.
Lucy Mack Smith: –
My name is Lucy Mack Smith. My son Joseph was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, on the twenty-third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont . . . In his tenth year, owing to continued crop failures, my family left the State of Vermont, and moved to Palmyra, in the State of New York. In about four years after our arrival in Palmyra, we moved again into Manchester in the same county of Ontario—Our family consisting of eleven souls, namely, my husband, Joseph; myself; our 9 children.
Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. Indeed, the whole district of the country seemed affected by it.
During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness.
While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties, I was one day reading the Epistle of aJames, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine.
So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty.
After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong.
Song: Joseph Smith’s First Prayer – Stake Choir
Acc: Stake Choir Accompanist
Joseph Smith: I soon found that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me ….
I continued to pursue my common vocations in life until, on the evening of the twenty-first of September, 1823, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God. I soon discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.
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,
He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it.
At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate. On the twenty-second day of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven, having gone as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me and told me that if I would use all my endeavors to preserve them, until he, the messenger, should call for them, they should be protected.
No sooner was it known that I had them, than the most strenuous exertions were used to get them from me. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before and multitudes were on the alert continually to get them from me. (see JSH:1)
Hymn: Lead, Kindly Light – Male soloist
Lucy Mack Smith:
The persecution soon became so intolerable that Joseph & Emma were under the necessity of leaving Manchester and traveling to Pennsylvania.
On the 5th day of April, 1829, Oliver Cowdery came to visit Joseph, until which time they had never met.
Two days after the arrival of Mr. Cowdery, Joseph continued to translate the Book of Mormon, and Oliver began to write for him.
Oliver & I continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us to the Aaronic Priesthood.
He commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me. Accordingly we went and were baptized.
Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation. (see JSH:1 68-73)
Hymn: Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Choir
Acc: Stake Choir accompanist
Oliver Cowdery “These were days never to be forgotten—to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom! Day after day I continued, uninterrupted, to write from his mouth, as he translated with the Urim and Thummim, or, as the Nephites would have said, ‘Interpreters,’ the history, or record, called ‘The Book of Mormon.’
In addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord provided for eleven others to see the gold plates for themselves and to be special witnesses of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Herewith are those testimonies. (hold up Book of Mormon)
Oliver Cowdery: THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES
Oliver Cowdery: Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true.
David Whitmer: And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes.
Martin Harris: Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
Oliver Cowdery David Whitmer Martin Harris
The following eight brethren read the testimony, including the title, in unison. Following which, each of them step to the microphone and give their name.
Then all eleven brethren sing the hymn listed below.
THE TESTIMONY OF EIGHT WITNESSES
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
Peter Whitmer, Jun
Joseph Smith, Sen
Samuel H. Smith (age 22 at the time)
Eleven Brethren Sing:
An Angel From On High, Hymn #328 verses 1,3,4; Accompanist: – SSII
[Printing of the Book of Mormon] 23 yr old from YA Ward
Egbert B. Grandin – My name is Egbert B. Grandin. I was born in rural New Jersey in 1806. In my eighteenth year, I apprenticed in a printing office in Palmyra, New York. In the spring of 1828, I began my own printing business and the following year, when I was but 23 years of age, Joseph Smith Jr. and friends came to ask me about printing a manuscript.
Now, as you may know, a large printing job on the frontier of western New York would consist of, say….. 500 copies of a 3-page brochure, but Joseph wanted 5,000 copies of what would become a 592 page book! After some consideration, I agreed to do the job for a fee of $3,000, which monies were provided by Mr. Martin Harris, a local farmer who mortgaged his 150-acre farm to obtain the money. To give you an idea of the size of this job, this is a 16-page signature (hold up signature page) by printing in 16-page signatures, we would pull the press over 175,000 times. Owing to local persecution, great care was taken by Mr. Smith to protect the manuscript whilst in our hands, as follows:
First: Oliver Cowdery would transcribe the entire manuscript, hence there were two manuscript copies; the original (which Joseph kept) and the copy for the printer’s use.
Second: The copy made by Cowdery should be the only copy to be taken to the printer. And this was supplied to us in small quantities called “takes” usually only enough for a single day’s work of the printer.
Third: In going to and from the office, whomever carried the manuscript – usually it was Oliver Cowdery – should always have a guard to attend him.
Fourth: A guard should be kept constantly upon the watch, both night and day, about the house of printing.
About this same time, the people of Palmyra and vicinity held a mass meeting and passed a resolution pledging themselves not to purchase the Book of Mormon when published and to use their influence to prevent others from purchasing it.
The work proceeded, and at last issued forth from the press, notwithstanding all the difficulties it had encountered. And although there was much apprehension on the part of the general citizenry, there was much rejoicing on the part of the Latter-day Saints when the books first went on sale in my store on March 26, 1830. (HC 1:75-76)
Hymn: Now Let Us Rejoice Hymn #3 – Congregation & Choir (verses 1,2,3)
Samuel Harrison Smith:
My name is Samuel Harrison Smith. I was one of the first members of the restored Church and I was also one of the first missionaries in this dispensation. From the time the Book of Mormon was printed, we carried it forth among the children of men. While I was on my third mission in New York, this was in the Fall of 1830, I stopped at the house of Rev. John P. Green, a Methodist preacher.
He was about to start out on a preaching trip & he asked me to return in 2 weeks. Upon my return, Mr. Greene’s wife, Rhoda, informed me that her husband was not home and that he had no disposition to read the book. I talked with her a short time and, binding my knapsack upon my shoulders, rose to depart; but, as I bade her farewell, it was impressed upon my mind by the Spirit to leave the book with her. I made her a present of it and she burst into tears. (hand Book of Mormon to Sister. Sister remains standing holding book.). I explained that the most profitable manner of reading the book was to ask God, when she read it, for a testimony of the truth of what she was reading. I then departed.
When Mr. Greene returned home, (couple remain standing) Rhoda requested him to read it, informing him with regard to his obtaining a testimony of the book. The result of which was that both were in a short time baptized. Mrs. Rhoda Greene’s name before her marriage was Rhoda Young. Soon after their conversion, the Greenes gave the book to Rhoda’s brother, Phineas Young (brother hands book to second couple) who, along with his wife, read it, was baptized and commenced preaching it forthwith.
Phineas next handed the book to another brother (brother hands book to third brother), Brigham Young; who, with his wife, was also baptized. Brigham then takes the book to their sister (brother hands book to sister), Mrs. Fanny Murray, who is the mother of Heber C. Kimball’s wife, Vilate. They all receive the work without hesitancy and rejoice in the truth thereof. Thus was the Book of Mormon the means of convincing an entire extended family and bringing them into the Church. (HC 1:244-245. See also footnote #4 on page 246)
Song: Book of Mormon Stories – Primary Children
Acc: Primary Pianist
Parley P. Pratt:
My name is Parley P. Pratt. In 1830, when I was 23 years of age, I was first introduced to the Book of Mormon. “I read all day; eating was a burden. I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep. I knew and comprehended that the book was true…My joy was now full.” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 20)
The Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God. “The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after his resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.” (Book of Mormon, Introduction)
In support of my testimony, “I have lain months in gloomy dungeons, and been loaded with chains.” I was with the Prophet Joseph in Richmond jail when he rebuked the guards, “Dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it stood in chains, at midnight, in a dungeon in an obscure village of Missouri.” (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 179-180)
I wrote many poems & hymns. I would like to sing for you one of the hymns I wrote.
Come, O Thou King of Kings #59– Parley P. Pratt
Newel K. & Elizabeth Whitney:
My name is Newel K. Whitney and this is my wife, Elizabeth Ann. After our marriage, we desired to join ourselves with the teachings of the Savior and so when Elder Parley P. Pratt preached the truthfulness of the Everlasting Gospel contained in this Book (hold up Book of Mormon), we gratefully accepted it and were baptized in November of 1830. Only a few months previous to our baptism, the Church had been formally organized on April 6, 1830 in Fayette, New York.
Song: From This Small Beginning – Family
Acc: Stake Choir Accompanist
Elizabeth Ann: These days in Kirtland were historic times for the restored Church. Joseph & Emma lived with us for a while and the first storehouse was organized in my husband’s store. Many revelations were received by the Prophet, and the Brethren preached often from the Book of Mormon, bearing testimony to the truthfulness of it. Here there were multiple visions of the Savior and many ancient Prophets. We would later be driven to Missouri and thence to Nauvoo. “It was there in Nauvoo that Newel & I received our Temple blessings in January of 1844 and shortly thereafter, my youngest daughter was born. She was the first child born heir to the Holy Priesthood under the New and Everlasting Covenant in this dispensation.” (taken from Women’s Exponent Nov 15, 1878)
Newel: Sixty-five revelations, or almost half of the Doctrine & Covenants were given in the Kirtland area. Truly the heavens were opened here in Kirtland.
The greatest part of our efforts in Kirtland were directed to the building of the Lord’s House. We had labored in our persecutions and sacrificed in our poverty and at long last, the time for the dedication had arrived. The morning of March 27, 1836, dawned brisk and clear. Snow was on the ground and the wind blew slightly. Joseph & Hyrum arrived at the Kirtland Temple at 8am and greeted at the door. More than 500 people had already assembled by the time we arrived. Nearly 1,000 people filled the Temple. Angels attended with us and many great spiritual manifestations took place. As Joseph wrote, “the sound shall go forth from this place into all the world, and the occurrences of this day shall be handed down upon the pages of sacred history, to all generations; so shall this day be numbered and celebrated as a year of jubilee, and a time of rejoicing to the Saints of the Most High God.” (HC 2:432-33). Following the dedicatory prayer we arose and joyfully sang a hymn written by Bro. Phelps.
Hymn: The Spirit of God – Choir & Congregation – all verses
Acc: Stake Choir Accompanist
“The Book of Mormon is true, just what it purports to be, and for this testimony I expect to give an account in the day of judgment.” (Encyclopedia of Joseph Smith’s Teachings, 86-87)
“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.” (History of the Church 4:540)
How Firm A Foundation ; Choir & Congregation verses 1,3,4,7
Acc: Stake Choir Accompanist
Stephen Markham: –
My name is Stephen Markham. In the year 1837, my wife Hannah & I first received and read the Book of Mormon. Soon after, we were baptized. In addition to the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon which was printed in Palmyra, the Brethren also printed an 1837 edition in Kirtland and an 1840 edition in Nauvoo. As the work progressed, so unfortunately, did the persecution.
We followed the Prophet to Missouri, but peace did not come. Time after time Joseph was arrested and I traveled with him, testified for him, and remained ever at his side. We worked out a system of “safe houses: where he could come and eat any time of the day or night when he was in hiding. Chosen Saints would leave food cooking in the coals and fresh buttermilk (Joseph’s favorite) on the table.
June 24, 1844: Joseph, Hyrum and sixteen others hugged their families goodbye and slowly rode to Carthage. He knew he was seeing his beloved Nauvoo for the last time. As he passed the Temple and looked out over the city, he called it “the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens.” He further remarked, “I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer’s morning.”
When Joseph was taken to jail in Carthage, I walked along his side the entire distance from Nauvoo; keeping hecklers away with my large hickory cane I called “the rascal beater.” Though Joseph & Hyrum were the only two formally charged, others chose to stay with that night in the Carthage jail. It was my privilege to be one of those. I begged Joseph to exchange clothes with me and escape because I had a jail pass and could come and go freely, but he refused.
June 26, 1844-Evening: Joseph bore a powerful testimony to the guards of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the Gospel. Joseph whispered to Dan Jones, “Are you afraid to die?” Dan said, “Has that time come, think you? Engaged in such a cause I do not think that death would have many terrors.”
June 27, 1844. Dan Jones was sent from the jail by Joseph on an errand & I was sent to get medicine for Willard Richard’s upset stomach. In the jail, the Book of Mormon was read by the Prophet Joseph Smith and his Brethren. As I was returning to the jail with the medicine, the conspiring guards challenged me, attacked me, and finally forced me away at bayonet point to keep me from returning to the Prophet. No matter which way I rode, they blocked my way. I continued to attempt to reach Joseph, but I was blocked at every turn. Prodded onto my horse by bayonet, I was poked so many times in my legs that my boots filled with blood. The scars of these bayonet thrusts I bore ever since.
Around 5 o’clock, a mob of over one hundred armed men with blackened faces converged on the jail and began their work of death. (see HC 6:554-555). (Ref: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Jenson, Andrew, 1951 Vol. 3; pg 676 & Vol. 4; pg 712) (HC 6:617).
Song: The Last Farewell – brother soloist acc. on guitar (Joseph comes down off the stand and stops and hugs wife & children then walks out.)
Lucy Mack Smith: My sons, my beautiful sons, were gone, but the power of the Priesthood was still on the earth. The Book of Mormon, for which they had lived and died, had gone forth across the earth. From these precious pages (hold up Book) the fullness of the everlasting Gospel was revealed and from these pages, all are invited to Come Unto Christ and be perfected in Him.
In years to come copies of this Book would travel across the oceans converting the faithful in the British Isles, Scandinavia and across Europe. Copies would be carried on trains and ships; packed into covered wagons; and gently wrapped and tucked into handcarts as the faithful walked across the snowy plains of Wyoming and up and over Rocky Ridge. Generation after generation would prayerfully receive a testimony of the truths contained in these pages and would come to know the Savior Jesus Christ and His Gospel, restored through my son, the Prophet Joseph Smith.
If You Could Hie to Kolob, (Hymn #284) Youth Group Simi V – Acc.: Violin
Narrator: (Background music by stake choir accompanist.)
Narrator: As Joseph Smith wrote: “I told the brethren that 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 by any other book.” (Book of Mormon Introduction & HC 4:461)
(èè Readers: PLEASE STAND WHEN “YOUR NAME” IS CALLED & REMAIN STANDING THROUGH THE CLOSING HYMN.)
Samuel Harrison Smith: dies 4 weeks after Joseph & Hyrum from injuries he sustains on the night of the martyrdom while trying to outrun the mob. He is 36 yeas old and leaves a pregnant wife and 6 small children, the oldest child is 9. (The Joseph Smith Sr & Lucky Mack Smith Foundation, online site)
Newel K. Whitney: After the exodus from Nauvoo; serves as presiding Bishop and Trustee-in-Trust for the Church in Winter Quarters; leads a company of Saints across the plains to Salt Lake valley in 1848; serves as Bishop in Salt Lake and dies at age 55 in September of 1850. (Newel K. Whitney bio)
Elizabeth Ann Whitney: or “Mother Whitney” as she is affectionately known, is among the first women to serve as a Temple worker in the Nauvoo Temple. Upon the death of her husband, she is left a widow with 9 children. In 1880, when she is 80 years old, she is called to be a counselor to Eliza R. Snow in the first general presidency of the Relief Society in Utah. She dies 2 years later at age 82. (In Their Own Words, Women and The Story of Nauvoo”, pg 196-198)
Parley P. Pratt: Crosses the Atlantic six times serving missions for the Church. A gifted writer, he is instrumental in authoring & publishing documents on behalf of the Saints during the Missouri persecutions. While on a mission to the Southern States, he is murdered in May of 1857. As he lay dying he testifies, “I die a firm believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, I am dying a martyr to the faith.” He is 50 years old. (Ensign April 2007)
Stephen Markham: Captains one of the hundreds during the exodus from Nauvoo. While crossing the Missouri River a yoke chain hook severs two fingers on his left hand. He has to travel 200 miles to Winter Quarters before much can be done for him; is part of the advance party into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847; serves as a Bishop in Spanish Fork and dies in 1878, firm in the faith at age 75. (Ref: LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Jenson, Andrew, 1951 Vol. 3; pg 676 & Vol. 4; pg 712)
John P. & Rhoda Greene: Suffering severely from the expulsion from Missouri, Rhoda becomes bedridden after their arrival in Nauvoo where she dies the 18th of Jan 1841. They have been married 28 years and raised 7 children. John serves a total of 11 missions for the Church; Member of Kirtland High Council; serves as Nauvoo City Marshal in 1843. Authors many documents delivered to congress during the Missouri persecutions. Accompanies Joseph & Hyrum to Carthage & is sent back to Nauvoo by the Prophet the day before the martyrdom. Sick & distraught from his experiences at Carthage, he dies in Nauvoo on September 10, 1844 only 10 weeks after the martyrdom.
Male Narrator: “We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who gain this Divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the second coming of the Messiah.” (Book of Mormon, Introduction)
Closing Hymn: Praise To The Man – (Hymn #27) – Choir & Congregation