Joseph Smith – "President of the Resurrection"

By Bill McKeever 

Since Jesus made it clear to Martha in John 11:25 that He was the “resurrection and the life,” there has been no question among Christians as to who is responsible for the resurrection of mankind. Apparently Brigham Young, Mormonism’s second president, would care to differ.

In 1854 Young proclaimed,

“How are you going to get your resurrection? You will get it by the President of the resurrection pertaining to this generation, and that is Joseph Smith Jun. Hear it all ye ends of the earth; if ever you enter into the kingdom of God it is because Joseph Smith let you go there. This will apply to Jews and Gentiles, to the bond, and the free; to friends and foes; no man or woman in this generation will get a resurrection and be crowned, without Joseph Smith saying so. The man who was martyred in Carthage Jail, State of Illinois, holds the keys of life and death to this generation. He is the President of the resurrection in this dispensation, …” (An unpublished Discourse given October 8, 1854. Also found on page 99 of Eugene E. Campbell’s book entitled The Essential Brigham Young).

Brigham Young also credited Joseph Smith with the responsibility of where mankind will reside following the resurrection. In his article titled “Joseph Smith Among the Prophets” printed in the June 1994 issue of the Ensign magazine, BYU professor Robert L. Millet quoted Brigham Young who, in 1859, stated, “From the day that the priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding up things of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are—I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent.” It would be difficult for the Mormon to insist that this was just one isolated “opinion” of Mormonism’s second prophet since this quote can also be found in the LDS Church manual entitled Search These Commandments (1984, pg. 133) as well as in the Journal of Discourses (7:289).


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