JS, Discourse, , Hancock Co., IL, 22 Aug. 1841. Version published in “The Mormons—A Visit to Nauvoo—Joe Smith’s Preaching—A Personal Confab—Anecdotes, &c.,” New-York Tribune, 29 Sept. 1841, .
My purpose was to have given you a few extracts, or rather specimens, of Jo’s sermon; but my brief space will scarcely admit of it in this epistle. It would be a perfect curiosity, I’ll assure you. He disclaimed all ambition or vain glory; but I think it evident he possesses a sufficiency. In attempting to exhibit to the ‘brethren’ how much more ready the world is to believe error than truth, ‘Jo’ often made himself the ‘hero’ of the text, with not a little self-complacency either, notwithstanding his professed humility. ‘Brethren,’ says he, ‘when Moses lived, that we read about, there was not half so many rascally lying editors as there is now-a-days. Old Moses was commanded of God to slay a man, but no such requirement is made of ‘Old Jo Smith, O no, not as long as the lying editors continue their abuse, the world is ready to swallow it.”—
He then entertained his hearers by relating an anecdote, a case in point. At the time he was traveling in the stage from to , Ohio, how a young upstart of a lawyer told a ‘long yarn’ about the death of ‘Jo Smith’—dead, buried—having got shot; and how the ‘brethren’ held a pow wow over the dead body; but it availed not; Joe would die because he was not strong in the faith. This was his own version. In concluding this story, which was quite ingenious, he says ‘Well brethren,’ what do you think? Do you suppose the passengers in that stage believed me, or do you suppose they believed the lying language? Well, I’ll tell you they believed—they thought and said I was a gross impostor! and for three days continuous traveling, I could not make them believe that I was the veritable Jo Smith;—thus it is ‘brethren,’ says he, mankind are prone to receive error rather than truth, and so they believe the thousands of falsehoods circulated about our religion, without coming to see and examine for themselves. Well, lie away, ye editors, I see ye are determined to make a big man of me anyhow, but I will leave the Prophet’s sermon. [p. ]