At a lyceum meeting in , Illinois, likely held on 30 March 1841, JS delivered a discourse about stewardship and the feasibility of equally redistributing property among members, after which he addressed the identity of the “other Comforter” in the Gospel of John. In 1831, JS dictated a revelation instructing church members to live the law of . Under this law, members were supposed to donate surplus money, goods, and land to the church; in return, they would receive an “inheritance,” or parcel of land deeded to them, to support themselves and their families. This inheritance was also known as a and was granted according to members’ circumstances, needs, and wants. After the consecrated properties were redistributed, any surplus would be given to the poor. Ostensibly, the consecration and redistribution of properties according to individual circumstances would increase equality and eliminate social classes among church members. A revelation dictated by JS in 1832 explained that “it is the will of the Lord that the church should be made equal in all things.”
While church members made some early attempts to consecrate property in this manner, the practice was never fully implemented among everyone in the church. Once the Saints moved to the area, the question of consecration emerged again. In , Iowa Territory, located just across the from Nauvoo, the local voted in December 1839 to implement the law of consecration to care for the poor in Lee County. JS was in at the time of this vote, but in March 1840, after he had returned, he explained that God did not require church members to live the law of consecration at that time. In the discourse featured here, JS again spoke about the redistribution of property and economic equality and repeated that the Saints were not to live the law of consecration “at present.”
During this March 1841 meeting, JS also addressed the identity of the being described by Jesus as “another Comforter” in John 14:16. In response to ’s remarks on this topic, JS offered his own translation of John 14:16 and identified the other Comforter as Jesus himself.
took notes of this lyceum meeting in his notebook. McIntire did not provide a date for the meeting. However, the entry for this meeting appears after entries for two consecutive “Sabbath” meetings, presumably held on 21 and 28 March. Because lyceum meetings appear to have been held every Tuesday in early 1841, it is likely that this meeting of the lyceum took place the following Tuesday, 30 March. The entry following this discourse in McIntire’s journal is dated 6 April 1841.
Revelation, between ca. 8 and ca. 24 Mar. 1832. An 1831 letter from Thomas B. Marsh reveals that from the church’s beginning, its goal of creating a community of equals, or Zion, included the elimination of class distinctions. In the letter, he used the concept of Zion, where all would live in equality, to urge his sister and her husband to leave their home and join the religious movement in Ohio. He wrote that if they came, they would find “a blessed people who are all one not rich & poor bond & free but all are one in Christ partakers of the Hevenly gift.” (Thomas B. Marsh and Elizabeth Godkin Marsh to Lewis Abbott and Ann Marsh Abbott, [ca. 11 Apr. 1831], Abbott Family Collection, CHL.)
Abbott Family Collection, 1831–2000. CHL. MS 23457.
spoke on the other Co[m]forter in the 14 & 16 of John & that to all man kind for he shall prove the world of sin & Righteou[s] & of Judgment &c Joseph said he would corect in the translation it ought to Read thus & he shall Remind the world of sin & of Righteous & of Judgmen[t] & this Comforter Reminds of the these things through the servents of the Lord— But the other Comforter spoken of By John is Jesus himself that is to come & take up his aboad with them [p. ]
John 16:8 has “reprove” instead of “remind.” The idea that the “Comforter,” or Holy Ghost, could “bring all things to your remembrance,” as recorded in John 14:26, may have influenced this change from “reprove” to “remind” in this discourse.
See John 14:12–27; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:3–4]. In summer 1839, JS spoke extensively about “the other Comforter.” Wilford Woodruff recorded JS’s teaching: “After a person hath faith in Christ, repents of his Sins & is baptized for the remission of his Sins & recieves the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands,) which is the first Comforter then let him continue to humble himself before God hungering & thirsting after righteousness & living by every word of God, & the Lord will soon say unto him Son thou shalt be exalted, &c. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him & find that the man is determind to serve him at all hazard then the man will find his calling & Election made sure then it will be his privilege to recieve the other Comforter which . . . is no more or less than the Lord Jesus Christ himself & this is the sum & substance of the whole matter that when any man obtains this last Comforter he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him or appear unto him from time to time Even he will manifest the Father unto him & they will take up there abode with him & the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him & the Lord will teach him face to face & he may have a perfect knowledg of the mysteries of the kingdom of God.” (Discourse, between ca. 26 June and ca. 2 July 1839.)