Discourse, 22 January 1843, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff
JS, Discourse, [, Hancock Co., IL, 22 Jan. 1843]. Featured version copied [ca. 22 Jan. 1843] in Wilford Woodruff, Journal, vol. 5, 1 Jan. 1843–31 Dec. 1844, pp. –; handwriting of ; Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Discourse, 17 Jan. 1843, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff.
On 22 January 1843, JS delivered a discourse at the site in , Illinois, during the Sunday morning worship service. He spoke on the kingdom of God and John the Baptist, subjects he had addressed in remarks to a smaller audience in his home on 17 January. In his journal entry for 22 January, noted that JS made at least some of his remarks in response to a pair of related questions raised at a recent lyceum meeting regarding whether the baptisms that John performed were for the remission of sins and whether God’s kingdom was established prior to the day of Pentecost. inscribed content from both the 17 January and the 22 January discourses in his journal, but he recorded this 22 January discourse in fuller detail. In both discourses, JS maintained that the kingdom of God on earth was organized prior to the day of Pentecost, or the day when the Holy Ghost was bestowed on the New Testament saints. In addition, he declared that because the kingdom of God had been a cohesive entity since the days of Adam, the baptism of John constituted a necessary Christian rite for the remission of sins, distinct from but related to the subsequent bestowal of the Holy Ghost.
While JS referred to the kingdom of God in revelations and discourses as early as 1829, this discourse marks an attempt to define the kingdom of God. In giving this sermon, JS may have had in mind a 1 January discourse of in which he referred to John the Baptist as he discussed God revealing his will to his servants. During his 22 January sermon, JS elaborated that John was a minister in the kingdom of God and that it was necessary to receive revelation to establish the kingdom.
reported the discourse in his journal around 22 January 1843. The account’s level of detail suggests that Woodruff worked from a nonextant daybook or rough notes as he inscribed the sermon in his journal. Around that same date, and recorded less-detailed accounts of the sermon. In their accounts, both Woodruff and Clayton made conscious efforts to preserve JS’s own voice, using “I” rather than “he.” Richards also tried to capture JS’s voice, introducing his account as “Joseph’s words 1843,” but he preserved only three statements from the discourse. Due to illness, did not leave an account of the sermon in JS’s journal, noting merely that JS “preached at the on the setting up of the Kingdom.” His rough draft notes for JS’s history demonstrate that he had access to the account in Clayton’s journal. Accordingly, the 22 January 1843 entry in a draft of JS’s history reflects Clayton’s description of the sermon. The accounts of the sermon written by Woodruff, Clayton, and Franklin D. Richards are each featured here.
Discourse, 17 Jan. 1843. JS’s journal notes that on 28 October 1842, “the brethren finished laying the temporary floor, and seats in the Temple.” The following May, a correspondent reported to the New York Herald that the temple was “going on rapidly” and that services were held “on the first floor every Sabbath,” during which JS frequently addressed the Saints. (JS, Journal, 28 Oct. 1842; “Late and Interesting from the Mormon Empire on the Upper Mississippi,” New York Herald [New York City], 30 May 1843, ; see also Clayton, History of the Nauvoo Temple, 40–41.)
New York Herald. New York City. 1835–1924.
Clayton, William. History of the Nauvoo Temple, ca. 1845. CHL. MS 3365.
Extant records do not indicate exactly when this lyceum meeting was held, but JS may have given his 17 January 1843 discourse in connection with it. During 1841 the lyceum met on Tuesdays. JS’s 17 January discourse was given on a Tuesday and addressed the same topics that JS chose to speak on in the 22 January meeting. (Discourse, 17 Jan. 1843; Historical Introduction to Discourse, ca. 2 Feb. 1841.)
Whare there is a prophet a priest, or a righteous man unto whom God gives his oracles there is the kingdom of God, & whare the oracles of God are not there the kingdom of God is not, In these remarks I have no allusion to the kingdoms of the earth, we will keep the Laws of the Land, we do not speak against them we never have, & we can hardly make mention of the State of of our persecutions there &c but what the cry goes forth that we are guilty of larceny Bur[g]lary, arson treason & murder &c &c which is fals, we speak of the kingdom of God on the earth not the kingdoms of mem [men], The plea of many in this day is that we have no right to receive revelations, But if we do not get revelations we do not have the oracles of God & if they have not the oracles of God they are not the people of God But say you what will become of the world or the various professors of religion who do not believe in revelation & the oracles of God as continued to his Church in all ages of the world when he has a people on earth, I tell you in the name of Jesus Christ they will be damned & whan you get into the eternal world you will find it to be so thay cannot escape the damnation of hell
As touching the gospel & Baptism that John preached I would say that John came preaching the gospel for the remission of Sins he had his authority from God & the oricles of God were with him & the kingdom of [p. ]
Some Christians maintained that revelations and other spiritual manifestations had ceased with the deaths of the New Testament apostles. For example, one nineteenth-century Methodist minister in England taught that “no provision was made for the perpetuity of miracles.” Several published statements, pamphlets, and books criticized claims by JS and other church members that they received revelation from God. Following the pattern of earlier critics, John C. Bennett had recently reiterated such arguments in his History of the Saints. (Stamp, Signs of an Apostle, 16; Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 37; “Regulating the Mormonites,” Missouri Republican [St. Louis], 9 Aug. 1833, ; Bennett, History of the Saints, 57–61, 86–87, 89.)
Stamp, John S. The Signs of an Apostle, and the Evidence for the Cessation of Miraculous Powers in the Church, Considered; Being the Substance of a Sermon Preached in the Wesleyan Chapel, New Inn Hall Lane, Oxford, on Sunday Evening, February 12th, 1832. Oxford: J. Munday, 1832.
Howe, Eber D. Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time. With Sketches of the Characters of Its Propagators, and a Full Detail of the Manner in Which the Famous Golden Bible Was Brought before the World. To Which Are Added, Inquiries into the Probability That the Historical Part of the Said Bible Was Written by One Solomon Spalding, More Than Twenty Years Ago, and by Him Intended to Have Been Published as a Romance. Painesville, OH: By the author, 1834.
Daily Missouri Republican. St. Louis. 1822–1869.
Bennett, John C. The History of the Saints; or, an Exposé of Joe Smith and Mormonism. Boston: Leland and Whiting, 1842.