Discourse, circa 21 March 1841, as Reported by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray
JS, Discourse, [, Hancock Co., IL, ca. 21 Mar. 1841]. Featured version copied [between fall 1843 and 1855] in Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, Notebook, ca. 1843–1850s, pp. –; handwriting of Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; CHL.
Small book, measuring 5⅝ × 3⅝ × 3/8 inches (14 × 9 × 1 cm). The notebook consists of ninety-two pages in four gatherings of eight, sixteen, ten, and twelve leaves, respectively. The volume is loosely sewn together with thread and lacks a cover. The pages are ruled with now-faded black lines. The beginning of the notebook appears to be missing at least one leaf that likely contained diary entries. The majority of the book’s pages are unnumbered. Coray inscribed most of the entries in the book with black ink, but the volume also includes occasional inscriptions in graphite. Twenty-four pages in the middle of the book are blank. At some point, Coray turned the notebook upside down and used several blank leaves at the back of the notebook for her study of French. These reverse pages are numbered 3 through 20, suggesting that the back of the notebook was also missing at least one leaf.
The timing of ’s appointment as in , Illinois (an event referred to in the notebook), and internal dating suggest that Coray made the entries in the notebook sometime between 1843 and 1855. The first date listed in the notebook is 8 August 1853, and the last recorded date is 1 December 1854. The notebook contains diary entries, financial statements, school notes, a copy of Coray’s patriarchal blessing, and transcripts of three sermons given by JS in , Illinois.
Coray presumably maintained ownership of the volume until her death in 1881. The volume likely remained in the possession of the Coray family until at least July 1902. Historians later discovered the book filed among the Joseph F. Smith Papers in the Church Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, suggesting that the Coray family placed the notebook in Smith’s custody sometime prior to his death in 1918.
Ehat, Andrew F., and Lyndon W. Cook, eds. The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980.
which holds the of enterance into the Kingdom. Then the three signs which were given were conclusive The dove which sat upon his shoulder was a sure testimony that he was of God Brethren be not deceived an nor doubtful of this fact a spirit of a good man or an angel from heaven who has not a body will never undertake to shake hands with you for he knows you cannot peceive his touch and never will extend his hand but any spirit or body that is attended by a dove you may know to be a pure spirit thus you may is [in] some measure detect them the spirits who may come unto you [p. ]
A 6 May 1833 revelation, which stated it contained the “fulness of Johns reccord,” declared, “I John bear reccord and lo the heavens were opened and the holy ghost decended upon him in the form of a dove and set upon him.” (Revelation, 6 May 1833 [D&C 93:6, 15].)
Two years later, William Clayton recorded in his journal that “Joseph related some of his history and gave us a key whereby we might know whether any administration was from God. ‘There are two kinds of beings in heaven viz. 1s Angels who are resurrected personages having bodies of flesh and bones, for instances Jesus said “handle me and see for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have[”] 2nd. The spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected but inherit the same glory. Where a messenger comes saying he has a message from God offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an Angel he will do so and you will feel his hand. If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory for that is the only way he can appear. Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of Heaven for a just man to deceive but he will still deliver his message If it be the devil as an angel of light when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand and you will not feel any thing, you may there fore detect him. These are the three grand keys whereby you may know wether any administration is from God.’” (Clayton, Journal, 9 Feb. 1843.)