16 November 2021

Miracles - By Matthew Cowley, apparently in 1953



By Matthew Cowley, apparently in 1953

This is a talk that I very frequently shared with those that we were teaching while I served as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during 1973 and 1974. It was good to listen to it again as I worked on the transcription. I hope that you will enjoy pondering on what Elder Cowley said way back then, apparently in 1953, the year before I was born. I found that the audio and text are already available, so I shall simply refer you to that source.

Listen to and read the talk.

Profile of a Prophet - By Hugh B Brown


Profile of a Prophet 

By Hugh B Brown, apparently 1955

This is a talk that I very frequently shared with those that we were teaching while I served as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during 1973 and 1974. It was good to listen to it again as I worked on the transcription. I hope that you will enjoy pondering on what Elder Brown said way back then, apparently in 1955, the year after I was born. After doing the transcription I found that the audio and text are already available, so I shall simply refer you to that source, although I leave my transcription below.

Listen to and read the talk.


Teacher, author, theologian and an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. I'm happy to introduce to your Elder Hugh B Brown. 

Elder Brown:

I should like to dispense with all formality, if I may, and say to faculty members and student body alike, 'my brothers and sisters'. 

I adopt that form of salutation for several reasons among them being the fact that all, or practically all who are here are members of the church which is sponsoring and maintaining this school. And secondly, I say brothers and sisters, because in my more mature years, I am coming to realize I think, a little better than I did, the eternal fact of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of men. I say brothers and sisters too, because I do not intend to undertake a sermon, a lecture, certainly not an oration, but I would like for just a few minutes to bear my testimony to you people. 

I'd like to take the witness stand in defense of the proposition that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the Earth in our day, and that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. 

I say I would like to take the witness stand. I'd like to be able, if I could, for just a minute to give some reasons for the hope I have, and for my allegiance to the church. Perhaps I can bring it to you most quickly by referring to an incident that happened in London, England in 1939. In September, just before the outbreak of the war, I had come to know rather intimately very prominent English gentleman. A member of the House of Commons, a member of the cabinet, formerly one of the justices on the Supreme Court, and the author of many of the books, which we in Canada studied while we were preparing for law. And in my conversations with this man on various vexations of the soul, as he called them, we talked frequently of religion. That before the outbreak of the war, and he called me on the phone and asked if I would come to his office and discuss with him, finally, some phrases of the gospel, because he says 'I've been intrigued by what you're told me. I think there's going to be a war is you have to return to America and we may not meet again. The latter statement proved to the prophetic. 

I went to his office, and he said this, in effect. 'I'm not only intrigued, but troubled by some things you've told me, and I wonder if you would be so good as to prepare for me a brief on Mormonism?' 

I may say to you students that a brief is something that men like President Wilkinson prepare when they're going into a court with the intention of presenting their case and giving their reasons for their position on any given question. 

He said, 'Will you prepare a brief on Mormonism, and come and let me be the judge, and you discuss Mormonism before me as you would discuss a legal problem?' He said 'First, I'd like to say to you that you have said to me a time or two that you believe the Joseph Smith was a prophet. You have said to me that you think that Jesus of Nazareth and God the Father appeared to Joseph Smith.' Now he said to me, 'That's fantastic.' He said 'The thing I'm troubled about is the fact that, as a barrister and solicitor from Canada, a man trained in logic and evidence could give me himself over to such palpably absurd ideas.' Now this man, brothers and sisters, this great judge, one of the, one of most intellectual men I ever met, I think he had the most incisive mind. He's mind, his mind seemed to me to be almost like a field fact. And when he said, 'What you tell me about Joseph Smith is fantastic', I was bold enough to suggest to him that we, perhaps, should prepare to go forward right then with our discussion. 

I said 'I'd like to present my brief right now.' He had intimated that I'd probably take three days, at least, to prepare for it, because he said 'I'm going to get the three hours in which present it. When I told him I was ready at the moment, I suggested to him that we have what in Canadian and English law, and to some extent in this country, is called an 'examination for discovery'.

Examination of discovery' is, briefly, getting together all the opposing sides, the attorneys, and the plaintiff, and the defendant, and seeing if they can find some area of agreement, and this save the time of the court later on. I said 'Perhaps we can have an examination for discovery here to see whether there is some area of agreement and from there, we can start to discuss my fantastic ideas. He agreed to that quite readily, and I said 'Of course, I am proceeding on the assumption that you are a Christian?' 


'I assume you believe the Bible, Old Testament, New Testament, to be the word of God?' 

'I do.' 

'You mean what's written in the book?'


'You say that my statements that God spoke to a man in this age is fantastic, and absurd?' 

'To me it is.' 

'Do you believe that God ever did speak to anyone?' 

'Well, certainly. All through the Bible we have evidence of that?' 

'Did he speak to Adam?'


'Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joseph, and on through the Prophets?' 

'I believe he spoke to every one of them.'

'You believe that that time of contact between God and man, ceased at the meridian of time, or when Jesus appeared?' 

'No,' he said 'it reached its climax, its apex on that occasion.'

'Do you believe that God spoke to Jesus?' 


'Was He the son of God?' 

'He was.' 

'Do you believe, sir, that', and I'm going to have to shorten this considerably, because I said it took me three hours to tell it to him and I must tell it to you in less than 30 minutes, 'Do you believe, sir, that after Jesus was resurrected, and after he ascended into heaven, and I assume you think you He did ascend to heaven?'

'I do.' 

'Do you believe that a certain lawyer, sometimes referred to as a tentmaker, by the name of Paul of Tarsus, on his way to Damascus contacted that very individual, namely Jesus of Nazareth, who had been crucified, and had ascended into heaven, do you believe that Saul saw a light and heard a voice?'

'I do.'

'Whose voice was it?'

'It was the voice of Jesus Christ, for He so introduced himself.'

He said 'I think I'll have to admit that, except that it stopped shortly after the first century of the Christian era.'

'Then, milord', and that's the way we speak to justices in the British Empire, 'Milord, I am submitting to you, in all seriousness, that it is, has been standard procedure, throughout all recorded time, for God to talk to men.'

'Why did it stop?' 

'I can't say.' 

'You think that God hasn't spoken since then?'

'I'm sure He hasn't.' 

'There must be a reason, can you give me a reason?' 

'I do not know.'

'May I suggest a reason, or several? Perhaps God does not speak to men anymore because he can't. He's lost the power.'

He said 'Of course, that would be blasphemous.' 

'Well, then, if you don't accept that, perhaps he doesn't speak to men anymore because he doesn't love us anymore. He's gone off and left us to find our own way in the dark.' 

But he said 'God loves all men, of all ages, and is no respecter of persons.' 

'Well, then, if he could speak, if he loves us, then the only other possible answer, as I see it, is that we don't need Him. We made such rapid strides, we're so well educated, we have such great science, we don't need God anymore.' 

And then he said, and his eyes were moist when he said it 'Mr Brown, there never was an age in the history of the world, there never was a people, or a time when the voice of God was needed as it is needed now.' And then he said to me 'Can you tell me why he doesn't?'

My answer was, 'Milord, He does. He has spoken, He is now speaking, and all we need is the faith to hear Him.' 

And then we proceeded, to, rather quickly, and I must not refer to very much of what we proceeded to do, but we proceeded to prepare what I have been pleased to call a 'Profile of a Prophet'. Now, I wonder if you students would like to fill in various things that I'm now going to mention, and add to them as you will, and then see whether Joseph Smith measures up. Stand him up against that profile, and see where he comes in. 

We agreed, between us, in pursuit of our examination for discovery of ground on which we both stand. 

First, we agreed that any man who claimed to be a prophet of God, also claimed to have been spoken to by God. 

We agreed that any man so claiming would be a dignified man: no table jumping; no whispering from the dead; no clairvoyance, but a dignified, clear statement of truth. 

We agreed that any man claiming to be a prophet of God, would declare his message without any fear, courageously, and without making any weak concessions to public opinion. 

We agreed that, if he were speaking for God, he could not make concessions, and we agreed that ordinarily what he taught was not in harmony with the generally accepted teachings of the day. 

We agreed that such a man would speak in the name of the Lord and say 'Thus saith the Lord' as Moses, Jeremiah and others. 

We agreed that such a man would predict future events, and predict them in the name of God, and that they would come the pass, as Isaiah and Ezekiel. 

We agreed that he would have, not only an important message for his time, but ordinarily a message for all future time, such as Noah and Malachi and others.

We agreed that his courage in deporting his people would be such that would enable him, not only to endure persecution, but to give him his life, if need be, for the cause he had espoused, such as Daniel, Hosea, Joel, David and others. 

We agreed that such a man would denounce wickedness fearlessly, that he would generally be rejected by the people of his time, but that as time went on, he'd grow in stature, and that they who put him to death would find, if they could live on, that their descendants would build monuments to his honor. 

We agreed that he would do many superhuman things, things that no man could do without God's help. 

We agreed that as he grows in stature, the consequence of his work would be among the most convincing evidences of his calling. 'By their fruits, ye shall know them. 

We agreed that his teachings would be in strict conformity with scripture. 

We agreed that his words and his writing what become scripture. 

Now I've gone quickly and left out a lot that you can fill in, but I asked you, in all seriousness, to stand the prophet Joseph Smith up against that profile of prophets, and see whether he measures up, and as a student of the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith for more than fifty years, I say to young men and women, there is no claim that any prophet has made in connection with his prophetic calling that Joseph Smith cannot qualify under. Think it through. 

I said to this friend of mine, 'I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet and God, because he talks like a prophet, he taught like a Prophet, he lived and died like a prophet. I believe he was a prophet of God because He gave to this world some of the greatest of all revelation. I believe that he was a prophet of God because he predicted many things in the future which have come to pass since the prediction, things which only God could bring to pass.' 

I said to him, and I say to you, 'I believe that Joseph Smith was `a prophet of God because John, on the island Patmos, beloved disciple of Jesus, declared that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.' And I submit to you, as I submitted to him, that if any man who ever lived had a testimony of Jesus, and gave his life for that testimony, and was effective in spreading the testimony and bringing convincing evidences of the truth of the statement that Jesus is the Christ, of all the men that have lived, I challenge any man that to show one who was given us more real evidences of the divine calling of Jesus Christ than did the prophet Joseph Smith. 

I believe the prophet Joseph Smith was a prophet because he did do many superhuman things. One of them was translating the Book of Mormon. Some people will not agree on that, but I submit to you, and I shall refer, I think to [?]. I submit to you that the Prophet Joseph Smith in translating the Book of Mormon did a superhuman task. 

I invite you to go out and write a Book of Mormon. I ask you to write one chapter of a Book of Mormon. I ask you to write, if you can, any kind of a story of the ancient inhabitants of America, and I ask you to write it without any source material, and I ask you to include in your statements with respect to the ancient inhabitants of America, some of the things that the Prophet Joseph included in the Book of Mormon. I ask you to write, for instance, 54 chapters dealing with war, 21 historical chapters, 55 on visions and prophecies, and remember, when you begin to write on visions and prophecies, you must have your record agree meticulously with the scriptures. You will write 71 chapters on doctrine and exhortation, and here, too you must check every statement with the scriptures, or you will be proven to be a fraud. You must write 21 chapters on the ministry of Christ and everything you claim He said and did, and every testimony you write in your book about Him must agree absolutely with the New Testament. I ask you, would like to undertake such a task? I would suggest to you, too, what you're up against in connection with this book, you're going to go write other chapters, you're going to have to introduce here figures of speech, similes, metaphors, narration, exposition, description, oratory, epic, lyric, logic and parable. Undertake that, will you? 

I ask those of you who are under 20 to undertake it. I ask you to remember that the man that translated the Book of Mormon, was a young man, and he hadn't had the opportunity of schooling that you have had, and yet he dictated that book in just a little over two months, and made few, if any, corrections. 

And for over 100 years, some of the best students and scholars in the world have been trying to prove that the Book of Mormon was not the word of God and they've taken the Bible to try to prove it, and not one of them has been able to prove that anything he wrote, was not in strict harmony with the Scriptures, with the Bible, with the Word of God. The Book of Mormon not only declared in entirety, that its purpose is to bring the knowledge right to the people, but the whole of the subject matter has that as its central theme. And there is no chapter in all literature, sacred or profane, which I say to you as a lawyer, has greater evidential value than the chapters in third Nephi where multitudes of people said 'We saw him. We felt of His hands and His side. We know He is the Christ'. 

I said to my friend 'Milord, I cannot understand you saying to me that my claims are fantastic. Nor can I understand why Christians who claim to believe in Christ, would persecute and put to death a man whose whole purpose was to prove the truths of the things they themselves were declaring, namely that Jesus was the Christ. I can understand them persecuting Joseph Smith and the rest of us if he had said 'I am Christ', or if he had said 'There is no Christ', or if he had said someone else is Christ. Then Christians believing in Christ might be justified, to some extent, at least, in persecuting, or disputing with him at least, but what he said was 'He whom ye ignorantly serve declare I unto you', paraphrasing what Paul said in Athens 'He whom you ignorantly worship declare I unto you'. Joseph came to Christians and said to them 'You've been in claiming to believe in Jesus Christ. I say to you that I saw Him, and I talked with Him. He is the Son of God.' 

When Joseph came out of that wood, at least four fundamentals truths came out with him. And he announced them tot he world. First, that the Father and the Son are separate and distinct individuals. Secondly, that the canon of scripture is not complete. Third, that man was created in the image of God. Fourth, that revelation, or the channel between the Earth and the heavens is open, and it continues. 

I'd like to say to you students there's nothing as far as I am concerned in all our claims finer and more challenging to students in any field of activity than the one which says. 'We not only believe what God has revealed has does reveal but we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.' That is a challenge to research! It is a challenge to check on what we believe. It is a challenge to bring your beliefs, your thoughts, your education, your lives up to date. 

May I just say to you, and perhaps come of you are wondering, what was the reaction of this judge when we finished. He sat and listened intently, he asked some very pointed and searching questions, and at the end of the period, he said 'Mr Brown, I wonder if your people appreciate the importance of your message. Do you?' He said 'If what you have told me is true, it is the greatest message that has come to this Earth since the angels announced the birth of Christ. This was a judge speaking, a great statesman, an intelligent man. He threw out the challenge 'Do you appreciate the import of what you say?' He said 'I wish it was true. I hope it may be true. God knows it ought to be true. I would to God', he said, and He wept as he said it, 'that some man could appear on the earth, and authoritatively say 'Thus saith the Lord.'

As I intimated, we did not meet again. But I bring you just in the briefest form, two or three reasons why I believe that Joseph Smith, was a prophet of God. But, undergirding and overarching all the rest, I say to you from the very center of my heart. 'I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. And all of these evidences and many other that could be cited, may have the effect of giving me, in a sense an intellectual conviction, but by the whisperings of the Holy Spirit, one may come to know, and by those whisperings, I say, I do know, and I thank God for that knowledge and pray for His blessing upon all of you in the name of Jesus. Christ. Amen.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai