Account of Meeting and Discourse, 5 January 1841, as Reported by William P. McIntire

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

a short minute of the subjects & the most promonent matter as brought fourth from those subjects at Joseph’s office Jan.— 8th. [5th] 1840 [1841]
subject first.— Discused by ; also this preciple [principle] practized by man; the blessings & results of the same he said the pri[n]ciple would bind the H[e]arts of man togather & give them confidence in each other & as John says thy word is truth; so he says if we keep his word— we shall all be actuated by the same principle & be as one man; & as angels are obedient to the same word we shall have Concorse to them & also to all the Heavenly throng; Joseph said to that to be free <​from​> the Coruption of the Earth that man [p. [1]] the speaker should all ways speak in his natureal tone of voice; & not to keep in one loud strain, but to act without affectation
Next subject was— did the Lord God <​make​> the Earth out of nothing;— By D. Ells— says he God did not make th[e] earth out of nothing— for it is contrary to <​a​> rashanal [rational] mind & reason. that a something could be brought from— a nothing;— also it is contrary to the principle & means by witch God does work; for instance; when God fo[r]med man, he made him of something; the dust of the Earth, & he allways took a somthing to afect a something Else; oft he takes man <​to​> scorge his fellow man, or watter to destroy man— or fire to distroy man or angels for i[n]stance the angel that went forth [p. [2]] to distroyed a hundred thousand one knight [night] Joseph Smith said to D Ells, & to the Congragetion that he for a len[g]th of time, thought on phreknoledgee [phrenology]; & that he had a revalation. the Lord rebukeing him sharply on Creating such a thing; & further said there was no reality in such a science but was the workes of the Devil; he also said the Lord had told him that bro.— Law would do well; he would go & preach the gospel he also said as for his own knowledge the Earth was make made out of sumthng for it was imposible for samthng to be made out of nothing fire,— air, & watter are eternal existant principles which are the Composition of which [p. [3]] the earth— has been Composed; also this, earth has been organized owt of portions of other globes that has be disorganized; in testimony that this earth was not the first of Gods work; he quoted a pasage from the testament where Jesus said all things that he had saw the father do he had done & that he done nothing but what he saw the father do John the 5th. he also siad in testimony of the situation the saints in the presence of God. that they had flesh & bones & that was the agreement in eter[n]ity to come here & take on them tabernicles & the differance between us & satin [Satan] in that respect is [p. [4]] that he fell— & had not opertunity to come in the flesh— & that he allways is striveing to get others as miserable as himself— [p. [5]]


  1. 1

    See John 17:17.  

  2. 2

    Probably “Doctor” Josiah Ells, a former Methodist preacher. (Benjamin Winchester, Payson, IL, 18 June 1839, Letter to the Editor, Times and Seasons, Nov. 1839, 1:11; Notice, Times and Seasons, 1 Dec. 1844, 5:734.)  

    Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

  3. 3

    See Genesis 2:7.  

  4. 4

    This passage probably refers to the event described in 2 Kings 19:35 and Isaiah 37:36, in which an angel went out from Jerusalem during the night and killed 185,000 Assyrians to defend the Israelites.  

  5. 5

    Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary loosely defined phrenology as “the science of the human mind and its various properties.” In practice, phrenology consisted of measuring various exterior dimensions of the head and, based on standardized tables, using those measurements to determine character and personality traits. Phrenology was popular at this time and was considered a legitimate science by some, though others disbelieved it and viewed it as entertainment. JS received personal phrenology readings both before and after this discourse. He spoke against phrenology on at least one other occasion. Willard Richards recorded in a May 1843 entry in JS’s journal that JS objected to a phrenologist who was “performing” in Nauvoo, saying that he “thought we had been imposed upon enough— by such kind of things.” (“Phrenology,” in American Dictionary [1828]; Phrenology Charts, 14 Jan. 1840; A. Crane, “A Phrenological Chart,” Wasp, 2 July 1842, [2]; JS, Journal, 6 May 1843; 13 and 14 Oct. 1843.)  

    An American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. the Origin, Affinities and Primary Signification of English Words, as far as They Have Been Ascertained. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

    The Wasp. Nauvoo, IL. Apr. 1842–Apr. 1843.

  6. 6

    “Law” was probably William Law, who was made a counselor to JS in the church’s First Presidency two weeks later. (Revelation, 19 Jan. 1841 [D&C 124:91]; Cook, “William Law, Nauvoo Dissenter,” 54.)  

    Cook, Lyndon W. “William Law, Nauvoo Dissenter.” BYU Studies 22 (Winter 1982): 47–72.

  7. 7

    See John 5:19, 26.  

  8. 8

    See Book of Mormon, 1837 ed., 70 [2 Nephi 2:27].