In worship meetings held in , Missouri, on Sunday, 6 May 1838, JS delivered two discourses, the first of which is featured here. Both discourses were summarized by in the 6 May entry he made in JS’s journal. In reporting on the first discourse, Robinson apparently attempted to capture some of JS’s words. According to the summary of this discourse, JS advised the Saints against forming hasty judgments. This instruction was apparently motivated in part by a speech that an office-seeking politician had delivered to church members the previous day. Robinson provided less detail about the content of the second discourse, stating only that JS “dwelt some upon the Subject of Wisdom, & upon the . &c.” Robinson noted that JS delivered the second discourse in “the after part of the day,” suggesting that JS gave the first discourse in the morning. Robinson likely attended JS’s morning discourse and reported on it from personal observation—his general method for making entries in the journal. He made daily entries in the journal from late April through mid-May, suggesting that he inscribed this report of JS’s discourses on or within a few days after 6 May 1838.
This day, President Smith. delivered a discourse. to the people. Showing, or setting forth the evils that existed, and would exist, by reason of hasty Judgement or dessisions upon any subject, given by any people. or in judgeing before they hear both sides of the question, He also cautioned them against men men, who should come here whining and grouling about their money, because they had helpt the saints and bore some of the burden with others. and thus thinking that others, (who are still poorer and who have still bore greater burden than themselves) aught to make up their loss &c. And thus he cautioned them to beware of them for here and there they through [throw?] out foul insinuations, to level as it were a dart to <the> best interests of the , & if possible to destroy the Characters of its He also instructed the Church, in the mistories of the Kingdom of God; giving them a history of the Plannets &c. and of Abrahams writings upon the Plannettary System &c. [p. 38]
On 5 May, the First Presidency attended a political speech by John Wilson, a Whig candidate for the United States House of Representatives.a JS’s Scriptory Book referred to Wilson as a “Federalist.” The Federalist Party, which died out in the 1820s, had similarities to the new Whig Party, leading Democrats to accuse the Whigs of being aristocratic Federalists. Whigs were portrayed in this manner in the Northern Times—the Democratic newspaper published by the Latter-day Saints in Kirtland.b On 7 May, JS spent time with county judge Josiah Morin, the Democratic candidate for the Missouri Senate.c On 10 May, JS attended a political speech by Sidney Rigdon in which Rigdon discussed the policies of both parties. According to Robinson’s account of the discourse, Rigdon was “endeavering to give an impartial hearing on both Sides of the question, In consequence of One Gen Willsons [John Wilson’s] speech, delivered upon Politics in the same place, a short time previous to this: Who touched upon one side of the matter only.” Robinson added that “the Politics of this Church (with but few exceptions onley,) are that of Democracy; which is Allso the feelings of the speaker who spoke this day, and all of the first presidency.”d
(aJS, Journal, 5 May 1838; Shoemaker, Missouri and Missourians, 1:412; Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, 6:484. bHolt, Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party, 2–3; “The Election,” Northern Times, 2 Oct. 1835, ; see also “Extract of a Letter to the Editor of the Telegraph,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 17 Apr. 1835, . cJS, Journal, 7 May 1838. dJS, Journal, 10 May 1838.)
Shoemaker, Floyd Calvin. Missouri and Missourians: Land of Contrasts and People of Achievements. 5 vols. Chicago: Lewis, 1943.
Conard, Howard L., ed. Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri, a Compendium of History and Biography for Ready Reference. 6 vols. New York: Southern History, 1901.
Holt, Michael F. The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
This warning may have been particularly motivated by the continued presence of Oliver Cowdery and other dissenters who had moved from Kirtland to Far West, had been excommunicated, and remained among the Latter-day Saints. Cowdery evidently encouraged lawsuits against debtors in order to solicit business for his clerical or legal practice. Cowdery was excommunicated on 12 April in part for “stiring up the enemy to persecute the brethren by urging on vexatious Lawsuits and thus distressing the inocent.” Cowdery was also cut off for “seeking to destroy the character of President Joseph Smith jr, by falsly insinuating that he was guilty of adultry.” (Minutes, 12 Apr. 1838.)