Joseph Smith & other Prophets on Recreation

“You must excuse me, but when I’m with the boys I make all the fun I can.” -Joseph Smith (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)

For an excellent lecture on the personality and character of Joseph Smith by Truman G. Madsen, including his inclination to play sports and laugh with others:

-Joseph Smith told one man who had done much work for the building up of God’s kingdom, that this brother needed to rest a while, to enjoy himself. The man responded, “I cannot”. Joseph said, “then you will die.” The man indeed later died a premature death, and Joseph spoke at his funeral. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)

-When others chastised Joseph for playing sports, thinking that a prophet shouldn’t do such things, Joseph taught them that if you don’t unstring the bow from time to time, it loses its spring. This meant that to be effective he had to relax sometimes.

-Joseph Smith was known to be easily drawn to laughter, and frequently played with children and his brethren, playing sports and joking with them. He said we shouldn’t be too involved in the fantastic, but that a good sense of humor is of God. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)

-Many saw Hyrum Smith as more prophet-like than Joseph, as Hyrum was less jovial and playful, but we know that these traits of Joseph helped him cope with his many trials, and uplift his fellows. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)

-Joseph was hired as a farm hand not only because he was a hard worker, but because he could get the others to work too. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)

-Joseph had a clerk to whom he said ‘you know if you were bigger I could have some fun with you’ he responded ‘well don’t let that stop you Joseph’ then Joseph wrestled him and broke his leg. Joseph carried him home and the clerk said ‘when Jacob wrestled an angel he got a blessing. I want a blessing.’ Joseph gave him a blessing, and he was miraculously healed. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)

-Joseph had a few ministers come over to his home who challenged him in the scriptures. Joseph was able to answer all their questions, and pose questions to them which they could not answer. They decided to leave, and as they did, Joseph went ahead of them, drew a line in the sand, and ‘jumped at the mark’, meaning measured how far he jumped. Joseph said, ‘there you see I bested you in the scriptures, let’s see if you can beat me in this!’ The men left very disappointed. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)

-Joseph was known for excelling at the stick pull, where 2 men pulled no a stick, and the one to pull the other off the ground won. Another version of this was both pulling on a stick, and whose ever hands slipped was the weaker man. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)

-Joseph was being pestered by a man volleying threats; Joseph told the man he was with, I think it was Sydney Rigdon to ‘throw that man’, which his companion did, and the men thenceforth left him alone. (from lectures on the prophets by Truman G Madsen)

-Joseph was about 6’2” and over 200 pounds. He was very strong from all his farm work.

-once all they had was some Johnny cake (corn bread), Joseph prayed ‘dear God we thank thee for this Johnny cake, and please send us something better.’ Just before their meal was ended, someone knocked on the door and presented him a turkey and a ham. Joseph jumped for joy and said, ‘you see Emma, my prayer was answered!’ (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)

-on one occasion Joseph dressed in as ragged of clothes as he could and rode out to the ship of the most recent arrivals. He asked the first man he saw ‘why are you here?’ the man said ‘I have joined the Mormon church’. Joseph said ‘what do you know about Joseph Smith?’ the man said ‘I know that he is a prophet of God’. Joseph said ‘what if I told you I was Joseph Smith?’ the man said ‘then I would know that you are a prophet of God’. Joseph then got off his horse and shook the man’s hand and said ‘I am Joseph Smith, and I have dressed like this to show you that if you’ve come to expect anything more than a man, you may as well get right back on that boat’. (see Truman G Madsen Joseph Smith lectures)

-Brigham Young: reportedly the night bugle sounded and they were about to end a dance, but Brigham said something to the effect of ‘forget the bugle, I want to dance!’ and proceeded to dance till around 3am (see Truman G Madsen’s lectures on the prophets)

-Brigham said “now we are to rest here” while on the trial. Then he said, “now we dance”. Porter Rockwell said “first he tells us we can rest, now he tells us we must dance!” (see Madsen presidents of the church book)

-the prophetic ‘Family Proclamation to the World’ (1995) teaches that wholesome recreation is one of the key elements to successful family life.

-Elder Neal A Maxwell played tennis even into his late years.

-President Thomas S. Monson taught old folks in rest homes about how a football game works, so they can understand what is going on the television and enjoy it. He speaks about current ball games. He says fishing is good and spiritual. He says having animals and going to fairs is joyful. He says road shows and dance festivals are uplifting. He knows about what is going on in the local barber shop. Henry the 8th was his favorite Shakespeare play. Among his favorite theatrical works is the Phantom of the Opera. He enjoyed raising pigeons. (see book To The Rescue by Heidi Swinton)

-President Russel M Nelson skied even into his 90’s.

-President Monson was a regular swimmer.

-“Just as honest toil gives rest its sweetness, wholesome recreation is the friend and steadying companion of work… Music, literature, art, dance, drama, athletics—all can provide entertainment to enrich one’s life and further consecrate it…” ” (Elder Christofferson in “Today’s Family: Chose Wholesome Recreation” at

-Make your entertainment high quality culture: “Too often we use many hours for fun and pleasure, clothed in the euphemism ‘I’m recharging my batteries.’ Those hours could be spent reading and studying to gain knowledge, skills, and culture.” (President Henry B Eyring in “Today’s Family: Chose Wholesome Recreation” at


-Don’t make entertainment your top priority: “In a materialistic age, when recreation and convenience are the suggested priorities of our society, we might all well ask ourselves, ‘How well are we providing for the spiritual well-being and strengthening of our families? …Are we clothing family members with ‘garments of salvation’ as anxiously as we provide clothing for their wardrobe? Is our diet of entertainment and recreation balanced with the food offered by Him who said, ‘Come unto me and ye shall partake of the fruit of the tree of life; yea, ye shall eat and drink of the bread and the waters of life freely’ (Alma 5:34).” (Elder Ballard in “Today’s Family: Chose Wholesome Recreation” at


-“Parents should act to preserve time for family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening, and the other precious togetherness and individual one-on-one time that binds a family together and fixes children’s values on things of eternal worth…Parents should teach gospel priorities through what they do with their children.” (Elder Oaks in “Today’s Family: Chose Wholesome Recreation” at


-One of the reasons the Church is commanded to obey a strict health law “The Word of Wisdom” is to enable their spirits to be at peak of intellect, so they can discern better between good and evil.

-You can set a good example by not some of the words that are not polite in the books you must read. Thomas S. Monson encourages the Saints to please not swear (Gen. Conf.).

-We have to be aware of things, reading even Osama Bin Ladin and Scarlet Letter and other things that are very controversial.

-Stay away from “anti-Mormon” books, rather learn what LDS believe by asking LDS.

-Some men are called to review anti-Mormon books, but they are set apart for that, and given a special blessing to be able to discern between truth and error as they do that mission for the church, seeing as it’s easy to get deceived in cunning and crafty words, and even blatant lies.

-One example is the Apocrypha, the LDS Bible Dictionary speaks how these documents are not entirely true, but if the reader reads them with the Holy Ghost, he can find much to benefit from them.

-Things like Les Mesrables teach how little people had morals and how conditions were, and that there are take aways from such, for the message is that such is bad;

-When we read something the Holy Ghost can teach us of weather it’s something we need to put down.

-The Apostles of The Church are not ignorant of what happens in the world but are very aware. They travel all over the world, and are very involved, not out of date (Elder Ballard Gen. Conf. Oct. 2014).

-To a certain degree, what we entertain is up to the interpretation and judgment of the individual.

-We can look for the best versions of things, learn from the best books.

-Greeks in plays did the graphic parts off stage, that respect is gone now.

-Prophet of the LDS Church President Hinckley said no “R” rated movies a long time ago. Since then, now what then would have been x rated is R, and much of what was R then is PG-13 now. There is a lot of politics in film ratings, and there is a lot of compromise and finding ways for something to barely make the cut off for a certain rating.

-The Phantom of the Opera is one of Thomas S Monson’s favorite plays (see “To The Rescue”).

-Victor Hugo’s book Les Mesrables is often quoted in General Conference.

– “Whatever you read, listen to, or look at has an effect on you. Therefore, choose only entertainment and media that uplift you. Good entertainment will help you to have good thoughts and make righteous choices. It will allow you to enjoy yourself without losing the Spirit of the Lord. While much entertainment is good, some of it can lead you away from righteous living. Offensive material is often found in web sites, concerts, movies, music, videocassettes, DVDs, books, magazines, pictures, and other media. Satan uses such entertainment to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal and exciting. It can mislead you into thinking that everyone is doing things that are wrong. Do not attend, view, or participate in entertainment that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way. Do not participate in entertainment that in any way presents immorality or violent behavior as acceptable.” (from “For the Strength of Youth” at note: many of the adult leaders of the Church carry this manual with them seeing as these standards apply to all ages.

– Excerpt from LDS Guide to the scriptures on cleanliness:

-He that hath clean hands and a pure heart shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord: Ps. 24:3–5;
-Do not call any man common or unclean: Acts 10:11–28;
-Can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands?: Alma 5:19;
-The Lord will chasten Zion until she is clean: D&C 90:36;
-Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord: D&C 133:4–5, 14; ( Isa. 52:11; )

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