Discourse, 10 April 1842, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff
JS, Discourse, [, Hancock Co., IL, 10 Apr. 1842]. Featured version copied [ca. 10 Apr. 1842] in Wilford Woodruff, Journal, vol. 4, 1 Jan. 1841–31 Dec. 1842, pp. –; handwriting of ; Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Discourse, 7 Nov. 1841, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff.
On the morning of Sunday, 10 April 1842, JS delivered a discourse on wickedness and righteousness. wrote in his journal that it was “a plesant morning” and that “a large Congregation of Saints met at the ” in , Illinois. After “addressed the assembly for about 1. hour,” JS encouraged the Saints to draw near to God; condemned immorality, dishonesty, and theft; and—according to JS’s journal—“pronounced a curse upon all Adulterers & fornicators & unvirtuous persons. & those who had made use of his name to carry on their iniquitous designs.” JS was particularly concerned with rumors that leaders justified immoral behavior. JS also preached on the necessity of gaining knowledge for salvation.
attempted to capture the content of JS’s discourse in his journal, presumably based on notes he made during the discourse and his memory. Woodruff presented some of the content in JS’s words, enclosing them in quotation marks or even writing them in first person. Yet Woodruff acknowledged that this report was incomplete, noting at the end that “many other remarks of interest were made by the speaker.” Woodruff ended his account of the gathering by reflecting, “I truly felt in my own heart that it was a profitable meeting.” Woodruff presumably wrote this entry in the evening on 10 April or shortly thereafter. No other accounts of the discourse, except the note in JS’s journal, have been located.
The following month, on 24 May, JS swore out an affidavit against Chauncey L. Higbee for slander and defamation of character by “using their [JS and Emma Smith’s] names, the more readily to accomplish his purpose in seducing certain females.” Higbee was tried the same day before the high council in Nauvoo in what was the first of several similar cases. (JS, Affidavit, 24 May 1842, in Price and Price, Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy, 146; Nauvoo Stake High Council Minutes, 24 May 1842, 2.)
Nauvoo Stake High Council Minutes, ca. 1839–ca. 1843. Fair copy. In Oliver Cowdery, Diary, Jan.–Mar. 1836. CHL.
Then Joseph the arose in the power of God reproved & rebuked wickedness in before the people in the name of the Lord God He wished to say a few words to suit the condition of the general mass And I shall speak with authority of the in the name of the Lord God, which shall prove a savior of life unto life or of death unto death,
Notwithstanding this congregation profess to be Saints yet I stand in the midst of all characters and classes of men If you wish to go whare God is you must be like God or possess the principles which God possesses for if we are not drawing towards God in principle we are going from him & drawing towards the devil, yes I am standing in the midst of all kinds of people search your hearts & see if you are like God, I have searched mine & feel to repent of all my sins, We have theives among us Adulterers, liars, hypocritts, if God should speak from Heaven he would Command us you not to steal, not to commit Adultery, nor to covet, nor deceive but be faithful over a few things As far as we degenerate from God we desend to the devil & looses knowledge ‘& without Knowledge we cannot be saved & while our hearts are filled with evil & we are studying evil their is no room in our hearts for good or studying good, is not God good, Yea then you be good, if he is faithful then you be faithful Add to your faith virtue to virtue knowledge. & seek for evry good thing’ the must be cleansed & I proclaim against all iniquity. A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge for if he does not get knowledge he will be brought into Captivity by some evil power in the other world as evil spirits will have more knowled[g]e & consequently more power than many men who are [p. ]
In the 1 December 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons, an article titled “Thieves” warned against those who justified stealing by claiming “that such things are sanctioned by the authorities of the church.” (“Thieves,” Times and Seasons, 1 Dec. 1841, 3:615.)
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.