Discourse, between circa 26 June and circa 2 July 1839, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff
JS, Discourse, , Hancock Co., IL, [between ca. 26 June and ca. 2 July 1839]. Featured version copied [between 2 July and 8 Aug. 1839], in Wilford Woodruff, “Book of Revelations,” pp. –; handwriting of , CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Discourse, 27 June 1839, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff–A.
In summer 1839, likely in late June or early July, JS gave a discourse at , Illinois, regarding various principles of the gospel, including faith, , and the doctrine of election. This discourse was one of several JS addressed to members of the and the Quorums of the as they were preparing to proselytize in Europe.
JS began by addressing the principles of faith, repentance, baptism, and the . Next, he discussed the gift of speaking in tongues, the resurrection, and eternal judgment. JS then explicated Peter’s instruction on making one’s “calling and election sure.” JS connected this doctrine with Paul’s discussion of the power of the “holy Spirit of promise” and Jesus’s teaching about “another Comforter,” explaining that the “first Comforter” is the Holy Ghost, received after baptism, whereas the “other Comforter” is Jesus Christ, received after one’s calling and election is made sure. A revelation JS dictated in 1832 identified the other Comforter as the “holy spirit of promise” and connected this Comforter with the promise of salvation and eternal life. However, the revelation did not indicate the other Comforter was Jesus Christ; JS clarified the doctrine in this 1839 discourse. As a final topic, JS discussed the office of , which he equated with the New Testament role of evangelist.
Apostle took notes during the discourse and copied them into his “Book of Revelations,” a notebook he began keeping in 1839 to record JS revelations and discourses. Woodruff brought his notebook on his mission to , where fellow missionary copied the discourse notes into his “Pocket Companion.” In 1845 copied the discourse into the addenda of JS’s multivolume manuscript history.
JS may have given the discourse as early as 26 June, during meetings the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles held from 25 to 27 June. JS was absent from the first day of meetings but returned the following day. ’s journal describes the 26 June meeting as including “interesting remarks” on Ephesians chapter 1 and John chapter 14, particularly on “the other Comforter”—topics addressed in the discourse featured here. It is also possible that the council discussed these topics without JS on 26 June and that he was asked to expand on the subject on 27 June or in meetings with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during the next few days. JS presided at the meeting held on 27 June and gave at least one discourse that day. That was the date assigned the discourse when he copied it into the manuscript history. However, in Woodruff’s notebook this discourse is preceded by accounts of JS discourses from 27 June and 2 July. According to JS’s journal, 2 July is the last date that JS met with the apostles before their scheduled departure for Europe in early July. Nevertheless, since the apostles did not begin departing until August, it is possible that JS delivered the discourse later in July or early in August, before Woodruff left for his mission on 8 August.
Many Christian theologians in the late 1700s and early 1800s agreed that the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, represented the Comforter mentioned in John 14:16, 26. (See, for example, “Christianity,” and “Holy Ghost,” in Buck, Theological Dictionary, 69, 170; Gill, Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity, 1:238; Henry, Exposition of the Old and New Testament, 4:864–865; and Hawker, Sermons on the Divinity, 139.)
Buck, Charles. A Theological Dictionary, Containing Definitions of All Religious Terms; a Comprehensive View of Every Article in the System of Divinity. . . . New American ed., edited by George Bush. Philadelphia: James Kay Jr., 1830.
Gill, John. A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity; or, A System of Evangelical Truths, Deduced from the Sacred Scriptures. 3 vols. London: W. Winterbotham, 1796.
Henry, Matthew. An Exposition of the Old and New Testament . . . with Practical Remarks and Observations. Edited by George Burder and Joseph Hughes. Vol. 5. Philadelphia: Ed. Barrington and Geo. D. Haswell, .Henry, Matthew. An Exposition of the Old and New Testament. Vol. 1 of An Exposition of All the Books of the Old and New Testament. London: J. Clark, 1725.
Hawker, Robert. Sermons on the Divinity and Operations of the Holy Ghost. Holborn, England: S. Hazard, 1794.
Woodruff’s 26 June journal entry states that JS was not present when the council began; he may have arrived later during the meeting. It appears that 26 or 27 June was the first time JS met with the apostles and seventies to give them instruction in preparation for their mission. (Woodruff, Journal, 26 June 1839; JS, Journal, 26 June 1839.)
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
Israelite while the Israelite at first might be far before the in pure intelligence. The other Comforter spoken off is a subject of great interest & perhaps understood by few of this generation. After a person hath faith in Christ, repents of his Sins & is baptized for the remission of his Sins & recieves the Holy Ghost (by the ,) which is the first Comforter then let him continue to humble himself before God hungering & thirsting after righteousness & living by every word of God, & the Lord will soon say unto him Son thou shalt be exalted, &c. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him & find that the man is determind to serve him at all hazard then the man will find [p. ]
Several early JS revelations emphasized the election of the literal descendants of Abraham and emphasized the need to gather the house of Israel. However, those who were not literally descendants of Abraham were not excluded from election. The Book of Mormon teaches that Gentiles who embrace the gospel are numbered with the house of Israel. A revelation JS dictated in September 1832 indicates that faithful men ordained to the priesthood “become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham and the church and kingdom and the elect of God.” It was not until this 1839 discourse that JS mentioned the physical changes associated with Gentiles becoming the seed of Abraham. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 513–514 [3 Nephi 30:2]; Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:34].)