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Select quotations from Gospel Doctrine by Joseph F. Smith

The following quotes come from the book Gospel Doctrine, authored by sixth president Joseph F. Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1919). This was an employee gift by the First Presidency in 1990. To visit the site with all of the books and quotes from these, go here.


“We hold that sexual sin is second only to the shedding of innocent blood in the category of personal crimes; and that the adulterer shall have no part in the exaltation of the blessed” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 310).


“THE CHURCH A DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTION. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the most democratic institution in the world—Improvement Era, Vol. 21, p. 100” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 69).

”MORMONISM” DEFINED. I desire to say that “Mormonism,” as it is called, is still, as always, nothing more and nothing less than the power of God unto salvation, unto every soul that will receive it honestly and will obey it” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine,  p. 72).

“The moment a man says he will not submit to the legally con­stituted authority of the Church, whether it be the teachers, the bishopric, the high council, his quorum, or the First Presidency, and in his heart confirms it and carries it out, that moment he cuts himself off from the privileges and blessings of the Priesthood and Church, and severs himself from the people of God, for he ignores the authority that the Lord has instituted in his Church” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1986, p. 45. See also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 365).

“I thank God for ‘Mormonism,’ so-called; it is the power of God unto salvation” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1986, p. 97).


“ONLY THOSE WHO DENY THE FAITH CONTEND. You find the spirit of contention only among apostates and those who have denied the faith, those who have turned away from the truth and have become enemies of God and his work. There you will find the spirit of contention, the spirit of strife” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 372).


“Many of our young people, and some older ones, too, are not familiar with their own religion nor with the beautiful and striking doctrines of the gospel with which it is so laden. This class devote more time to reading useless or sensational books than they do to the study and contemplation of works that would familiarize them with the principles of the gospel. If they were better informed in this line, and understood the saving doctrines and every-day questions of their religion, more than they do, they would not be trapped by false teachings, false leaders, and advocates of cults that are false” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 325).


“We expect to have our wives and husbands in eternity. We expect our children will acknowledge us as their fathers and mothers in eternity. I expect this; I look for nothing else. Without it, I could not be happy. The thought or belief that I should be denied this privilege hereafter would make me miserable from this moment. I never could be happy again without the hope that I shall enjoy the society of my wives and children in eternity” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 65).

“We hold that no man who is marriageable is fully living his religion who remains unmarried. He is doing a wrong to himself by retarding his progress, by narrowing his experiences, and to society by the undesirable example that he sets to others, as well as he, himself, being a dangerous factor in the community” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 275).

“Some of our young people have married outside the Church; but very few of those who have done it have failed to come to grief. I would like to see Latter-day Saint men marry Latter-day Saint women . . . There is nothing that I can think of, in a religious way, that would grieve me more intensely than to see one of my boys marry an unbelieving girl, or one of my girls marry an unbelieving man” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 279).


“RAFFLING AND GAMBLING. Is it proper to raffle property for the benefit of missionaries? No; raffling is a game of chance, and hence leads to gambling; for that reason, if for no other, it should not be encouraged among the young men of the Church” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 326).

“Cards are the most perfect and common instrumentalities of the gambler that have been devised, and the companionship of cards unlike the companionship of most other games, is that of the gambling den and the saloon. But cards do not stand alone in the enticement to evil. Any game that ultimately leads to questionable society because it is the chief pleasure of such society, should be excluded from the home. There are innocent games enough to satisfy the required pleasures of the home without encouraging card playing.—Juvenile Instructor, Vol. 38, September 1, 1903, p. 529” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 330).


“It is absolutely necessary that we should come to the earth and take upon us tabernacles; because if we did not have tabernacles we could not be like God, nor like Jesus Christ. God has a tabernacle of flesh and bone. He is an organized being just as we are, who are now in the flesh. Jesus Christ was born of his mother, Mary. He had a fleshly tabernacle. He was crucified on the cross; and his body was raised from the dead. He burst the bonds of the grave, and came forth to newness of life, a living soul, a living being, a man with a body, with parts and with spirit-the spirit and the body becoming a living and immortal soul. You and I have to do the same thing. We must go through the same ordeal in order to attain to the glory and exaltation which God designed we should enjoy with him in the eternal worlds. In other words, we must become like him; peradventure to sit upon thrones, to have dominion, power and eternal increase. God designed this in the beginning. We are the children of God. He is an eternal being, without beginning of days or end of years. He always was, he is, he always will be. We are precisely in the same condition and under the same circumstances that God our heavenly Father was when he was passing through this, or a similar ordeal” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pp. 77-78).

“It is said that God is a spirit, and they who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. But he is a spirit possessing the tabernacle of flesh and bones, as tangible as a man’s and therefore to be like God and Jesus all men must have a body” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pp. 453-454).


“WHO CANNOT BE REACHED BY THE GOSPEL? And He that believes, is baptized, and receives the light and testimony of Jesus Christ, and walks well for a season, receiving a fullness of the blessings of the gospel in this world, and afterwards turns wholly unto sin, violating his covenants, he will be among those whom the gospel can never reach in the spirit world; and all such go beyond its saving power, they will taste the second death, and be banished from the presence of God eternally.—Oct. C.R., Deseret Weekly News, Vol. 24, 1875, p. 708” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, pp. 476-477).


“Even Christ himself was not perfect at first; he received not a fulness at first, but he received grace for grace, and he continued to receive more and more until he received a fulness” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1986, p. 68. See also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 153).

“Jesus, the Only Begotten of the Father, in whom there is no blemish, is its author; he is the standard to all the world, and will be forever. He had power to lay down his life and take it up again, and if we keep inviolate the covenants of the gospel, remaining faithful and true to the end, we too, in his name and through his redeeming blood, will have power in due time to resurrect these our bodies after they shall have been committed to the earth” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1986, p. 93).

“Jesus had not finished his work when his body was slain, neither did he finish it after his resurrection from the dead; although he had accomplished the purpose for which he then came to the earth, he had not fulfilled all his work. And when will he? Not until he has redeemed and saved every son and daughter of our father Adam that have been or ever will be born upon this earth to the end of time, except the sons of perdition. That is his mission” (Joseph F. Smith; Gospel Doctrine,  p. 442. See also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 87).

Joseph Smith

“JOSEPH SMITH’S NAME WILL NEVER PERISH. God lives, and Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world. Joseph Smith is a prophet of God—living, not dead; for his name will never perish” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 479).


“I do not believe any man should kill animals or birds unless he needs them for food, and then he should not kill innocent little birds that are not intended for food for man. I think it is wicked for men to thirst in their souls to kill almost everything which possesses animal life. It is wrong, and I have been surprised at prominent men whom I have seen whose very souls seemed to be athirst for the shedding of animal blood” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 266).

Latter-day Saints

“LATTER-DAY SAINTS ARE LAW-ABIDING. I wish to enter here my avowal that the people called Latter-day Saints, as has been often repeated from this stand, are the most law-abiding, , the most peaceable long-suffering and patient people that can today be found within the confines of this republic, and perhaps anywhere else upon the face of the earth; and we intend to continue to be law-abiding, so far as the constitutional law of the land is concerned; and we expect to meet the consequences of our obedience to the laws and commandments of God like men. These are my sentiments briefly expressed, upon this subject—Deseret Weekly News, 1882, Vol. 31, p. 226” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 94).


“The Prophet Joseph Smith, and my father, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, and other choice spirits who were reserved to come forth in the fulness of times to take part in laying the foundations of the great Latter-day work, including the building of the temples and the performance of ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead, were also in the spirit world. I observed that they were also among the noble and great ones who were chosen in the beginning to be rulers in the Church of God. Even before they were born, they, with many others, received their first lessons in the world of spirits, and were prepared to come forth in the due time of the Lord to labor in his vineyard for the salvation for the souls of men” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 475).


“No ordinance of the gospel can be performed acceptably to God or with efficacy to man except by its authority and power, and certainly there is no ordinance or rite instituted by the Almighty in the great plan of redemption which is not essential to the salvation or exaltation of his children. Therefore, where the Melchizedek or Holy Priesthood does not exist, there can be no true Church of Christ in its fulness. When this Priesthood is not found among mankind they are destitute of the power of God, and therefore of the true science of theology, or the Church and religion of Jesus Christ who is the great High Priest and Apostle of our salvation” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 189).


“True repentance only is acceptable to God, nothing short of it will answer the purpose. Then what is true repentance? True repentance is not only sorrow for sins, and humble penitence and contrition before God, but it involves the necessity of turning away from them, a discontinuance of all evil practices and deeds, a thorough reformation of life, a vital change from evil to good, from vice to virtue, from darkness to light” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 100. Also cited by Robert L. Millet, The Power of the Word: Saving Doctrines from the Book of Mormon, p. 158).


“Whenever you see a man rise up claiming to have received direct revelation from the Lord to the Church, independent of the or­der and channel of the Priesthood, you may set him down as an impostor” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1986, p. 42. See also Ensign (Conference Edition), “Beware of False Prophets,” November 1999, p. 62).


“SPIRIT MEMORIES. (Letter written to Elder O.F. Whitney who was a missionary in England.) I heartily endorse your sentiments regarding congeniality of spirits. Our knowledge of persons and things before we came here, combined with the divinity awakened within our souls through obedience to the gospel, powerfully affects, in my opinion, all our likes and dislikes, and guides our preferences in the course of this life, provided we give careful heed to the administrations of the Spirit” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 13).


“OUR HOPE FOUNDED ON TRUTH. Our hope of salvation must be founded upon the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, for we cannot build upon error and ascend into the courts of eternal truth and enjoy the glory and exaltation of the kingdom of our God. That cannot be done” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, p. 1).

“We believe in all truth, no matter to what subject it may refer. No sect or religious denomination in the world possesses a single principle of truth that we do not accept or that we will reject. We are willing to receive all truth, from whatever source it may come; for truth will stand, truth will endure. No man’s faith, no man’s religion, no religious organization in all the world can ever rise above the truth. The truth must be at the foundation of religion, or it is in vain and it will fail of its purpose” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 1986, p. 1).






















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