Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith attended the Relief Society meeting and taught about avoiding strife and building unity. (1)
-- Jun 9, 1842 (Thursday)
[Joseph Smith Sermon] Location: Grove, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois, USA
Source: Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes (Words of Joseph Smith, 122-24)
Prest. Smith opened the meeting by pray'r and proceeded to address the congregation on the design of the Institutionâ"said it is no matter how fast the Society increases if all are virtuousâ"that we must be as particular with regard to the character of members as when the Society first startedâ"that sometimes persons wished to put themselves into a Society of this kind, when they do not intend to pursue the ways of purity and righteousness, as if the society could be a shelter to them in their iniquity.
Prest. S. said that henceforth no person shall be admitted but by presenting regular petitions signed by two or three members in good standing in the Societyâ"Who ever comes in must be of good report.
Said he was going to preach mercy Supposing that Jesus Christ and angels should object to us on frivolous things, what would become of us? We must be merciful and overlook small things.
Respecting the reception of Sis. Overton, Prest. Smith [said] it grieves me that there is no fuller fellowshipâ"if one member suffer all feel it by union of feeling we obtain pow'r with God. Christ said he came to call sinners to repentance and save them. Christ was condemn'd by the righteous Jews because he took sinners into his societyâ"He took them upon the principle that they repented of their sins. It is the object of this Society to reform persons, not to take those that are corrupt, but if they repent we are bound to take them and by kindness sanctify and cleanse from all unrighteousness, by our influence in watching over them. Nothing will have such influence over people, as the fear of being disfellowshipp'd by so goodly Society as this. Then take Sis. O. as Jesus received sinners into his bosom.
Sis. O. In the name of the Lord I now make you free, and from this hour any thing should be found against you
Nothing is so much calculated to lead people to forsake sin as to take them by the hand and watch over them with tenderness. When persons manifest the least kindness and love to me, O what pow'r it has over my mind, while the opposite course has a tendency to harrow up all the harsh feelings and depress the human mind.
It is one evidence that men are unacquainted with the principle of godliness, to behold the contraction of feeling and lack of charity. The pow'r and glory of godliness is spread out on a broad principle to throw out the mantle of charity. God does not look on sin with allowance, but when men have sin'd there must be allowance made for them.
All the religious world is boasting of its righteousnessâ"it is the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind and retard our progress by filling us with self righteousnessâ"The nearer we get to our heavenly Father the more are we disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls to take them upon our shoulders and cast their sins behind our back. I am going to talk to all this Societyâ"if you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another.
Prest. S. then referr'd them to the conduct of the Savior when he was taken and crucified &C.
He then made a promise in the name of the Lord saying, that soul that has righteousness enough to ask God in the secret place for life every day of their lives shall live till three score years and tenâ"We must walk uprightly all day longâ"How glorious are the principles of righteousness! We are full of selfishnessâ"the devil flatters us that we are very righteous, while we are feeding on the faults of othersâ"We can only live by worshipping our Godâ"all must do it for themselvesâ"none can do it for another. How mild the Savior dealt with Peter saying "when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" at another time he said to him "lovest thou me?" "Feed my sheep"â"If the sisters love the Lord let them feed the sheep and not destroy them. How oft have wise men & women sought to dictate Br. Joseph by saying "O if I were Br. Joseph I would do this and that" but if they were in Br. Joseph's shoes, they would find that men could not be compell'd into the kingdom of God,
but must be dealt
with in long suff'ring and at the last we shall save them. The way to keep all the saints together and keep the work rolling is to wait with all longsuff'ring till God shall bring such character to justice. There should be no license for sin, but mercy should go hand in hand with reproof.
Sisters of the Society, shall there be strife among you? I will not have itâ"You must repent and get the love of God. Away with self-righteousness. the best measure or principle to bring the poor to repentance is to administer to their wantsâ"the Society is not only to relieve the poor but to save souls.
Prest. S. then said that he would give a lot of land to the Society by deeding it to the Treasurer, that the Society may build houses for the poor. He also said he would give a house frame not finishedâ"said that Br. Cahoon will move it on to the aforesaid lot, and the Society could pay him by giving Orders on the storeâ"that it was a good plan to set those to work who are owing widows and thus make an offset. &C. &C (2)
1 - BYU Studies Journal, volume 46, no. 4: A Chronology of the Life of Joseph Smith
2 - The Woodland Institute, http://www.woodlandinstitute.com
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