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Brother Joseph's Revenge

This painting illustrates the love Joseph had for children and the respectful love they returned. The prophet was not too busy to interact with even the smallest members of his following. I most want you to see how comfortable the children are with the prophet. They had no fear of him because they instinctively knew his love and concern for them.

This side of Joseph is the one most easily forgotten. It is easy to remember Angel Moroni’s visit, the First Vision, and the translation of the Book of Mormon. What we forget is those events did not occupy every minute of Joseph’s life. He knew the value of "loosening the bow." He took time to enjoy life. Joseph exemplifies the scripture, "Men are that they might have joy."

The children could have started this water fight, but I can almost guarantee who really did.
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Emma's Hymns

Sometimes when callings come to us in the Church we are tempted to wonder how we can find the time. We are either raising young families, busy with careers, or caught up in the myriad of good things that take our time.

When the Lord gave Emma the assignment to compile a hymnbook for the church she was busy raising her family and had difficult duties as the wife of the Prophet. How did Emma manage to accomplish all that was asked of her? The answer lies in humble prayer and the desire to accomplish righteousness.

When we look at the good her work has done in bringing music and the Spirit to millions we see that there is no sacrifice in building the Kingdom that is too great when it is given with all of our heart to the Lord.
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Forgive Me Joseph

Our spouses can bring us more joy and strength than any other relationship on earth. I think this was the case with Joseph and Emma. They were driven from town to town, rarely had a home of their own, and suffered mercilessly at the hands of mobs and devils, many times left with little else but each other.

After the death of Joseph, the Saints began to prepare for the trek west. Over the coming years as the saints came through Nauvoo, I could imagine Emma going to the bank of the river and watching them cross.

I can see her watching the endless wagon trains and handcarts bound for the city and faith that Joseph founded. Knowing she was not going west, I can imagine her whispering as she watched them disappear, "Forgive Me, Joseph."
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Heroes, Like Brother Joseph

This project required us to photograph many situations with Joseph and children. Several accounts in early church history demonstrate that Joseph loved children and took many opportunities to foster his relationship with them. He was known to have wrestled, participated in snowball fights, pulled sticks, played ball and fished with the youth. Many children and especially the LDS boys, recorded looking to Joseph as a hero, a role model. I cannot imagine a better role model for children than the prophet Joseph Smith.

It strikes me that you cannot truly follow someone you truly do not know. When I think of my own relationship with my Savior, it becomes clear to me that when He said “Come follow me,” He was inviting me to know Him. I am convinced that He loves each of us in such a personal way that he is overjoyed when we come to know Him and sorrows when we make him a stranger. Joseph is an example of someone who knew the Savior and followed Him.

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Joseph Smith

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