Discourse, circa 16 March 1841
JS, Discourse, [, Hancock Co., IL, ca. 16 Mar. 1841]. Featured version in William P. McIntire, Notebook, p. ; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Account of Meeting and Discourse, 5 Jan. 1841, as Reported by William P. McIntire.
JS gave a discourse on the Millennium at a lyceum meeting in , Illinois, that was likely held on 16 March 1841. JS was the fourth and final speaker in the meeting, and his discourse may have been prompted by the previous lecturer, , who spoke on philanthropy. Common beliefs about the importance of philanthropy and reform during this time grew out of the period’s predominant Christian belief in a postmillennial world, which held that the world would evolve into ultimate perfection as Christianity spread across the earth. Human action—exemplified in reform movements and philanthropic efforts—would lead to that perfection, which would then usher in the second coming of Jesus Christ. One of the most distinctive aspects of theology from its inception was its departure from this postmillennial Christian doctrine. Early revelations dictated by JS were much more premillennial in character—they declared an imminent, cataclysmic return of Christ that would purge the earth of sin and then usher in the Millennium.The discourse featured here provided some clarification about the events and circumstances surrounding the second coming of Christ and the ensuing Millennium that expanded upon earlier JS revelations. Though JS’s teachings about the Second Coming were premillennial in nature, this discourse differed from teachings found in the period’s most well-known premillennial movement, led by William Miller. While Miller averred that “the wicked will be destroyed from the earth by fire, and the world cleansed from the curse of sin by the same means,” in the text featured here, JS declared that not all the wicked would be destroyed at Christ’s second coming. JS also clarified one of his earlier revelations that declared Christ would “dwell in righteousness with men on Earth a thousand Years.” Here, JS explained that though Christ would reign over humankind, he would not be continually present on the earth throughout the Millennium.wrote the account featured here in his notebook, presumably during the meeting or shortly thereafter. McIntire did not provide a date for the meeting. Because lyceum meetings appear to have been held every Tuesday in early 1841 and because this text is found in the eleventh entry of McIntire’s notebook, JS likely delivered this message at the lyceum meeting of 16 March, the eleventh Tuesday of 1841.
McIntire, William Patterson. Notebook, 1840–1845. CHL. MS 1014.
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