Discourse, 3 October 1841, as Reported by Willard Richards
JS, Discourse, , Hancock Co., IL, 3 Oct. 1841; handwriting of ; five pages; Historian’s Office, General Church Minutes, CHL.
Two bifolia, each measuring 7⅞ × 5¾ inches (20 × 15 cm). The discourse is written in very faint graphite, making significant portions of the text illegible.
The discourse is part of a larger collection of general church minutes created or collected by scribes affiliated with the Church Historian’s Office. It is uncertain exactly when this discourse was included in the general church minutes. However, worked on JS’s history as early as 1842. Likely around that time, he added his records of JS’s sermons and writings to a compilation of documents about JS and the church. The featured document has likely remained in institutional custody since its creation.
On the morning of 3 October 1841, at a session of a general in , Illinois, JS gave a discourse on the doctrine of for the dead, whereby church members were baptized vicariously for their deceased relatives. attended this meeting and wrote down fragmentary notes from JS’s sermon in an apparent attempt to capture the church ’s words as he spoke. The text featured here is one of two extant versions of JS’s 3 October 1841 discourse; the other is a printed, more polished version found in the 15 October 1841 issue of the Times and Seasons. The printed version, along with additional historical context and annotation, is found in Minutes and Discourse, 1–5 October 1841.
Saviors shall come up on Mt Zion &.— what is it. &&— To preach only? No. In every dispensation something else to do beside pr◊◊ do all— neglect the for the dead.— Cant that man enter into the fullness of his rest? [illegible] cannot be saviors of man upon any any other principle than by re’ving revelation of all the things To trace our family by geneoloy [genealogy] & Rev— 1st principles of the Gospel no more to the B[aptism] for the Dead. then the dimist [dimmest] Star is to the Glo[r]y of Yonder Son. All the kindred from the days of Adam dow[n] upon that princple, Universalism is nothing. Jesus contemplated &.— Jesus went as minstering angel Spirits— according to what men do fame in the flesh & live &c— Jesus could not have eneterd & if he had not done this work. Paul— not be made perferct.— Jesus ministry spirit & & angel— Spirits of Just men made perfect & command a co of angels— spirits & bodies translated— spirits— minister to spirits— angels to angels— translated bodies cannot enter into rest— till instructed <by them who had the > John you shall instruct or prophecy.— prophets rose at the Resurrection— [p. 1]
This may be a reference to Christian Universalism, which taught that regardless of action, all human souls would ultimately be saved and reconciled with God because of His divine love and mercy. (See Skinner, Series of Sermons, 209; Hatch, Democratization of American Christianity, 41; and Holifield, Theology in America, chap. 10.)
Skinner, Otis A. A Series of Sermons in Defence of the Doctrine of Universal Salvation. Boston: Abel Tompkins, 1842.
Hatch, Nathan O. The Democratization of American Christianity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.
Holifield, E. Brooks. Theology in America: Christian Thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003.