A conference, which lasted five days, commenced at Nauvoo. The Prophet spoke to 20,000 Saints on the 7th, and on the 8th declared the whole of North and South America to be the land of Zion. (1)
-- Apr 7, 1844
Joseph Smith delivers the funeral sermon for a member named King Follett, saying that God "was once a man like us." He begins the discussion by interpreting the Hebrew for "In the beginning created God," in a manner only extant in the opening paragraphs of the ZOHAR, the classic text of the Jewish Kabbalah. Joseph Smith undoubtedly has learned this from the Jewish Convert Alexander Neibauer who published a Kabbalist treatise in the LDS periodical a year before, and with whom Joseph Smith's diary notes he is studying in 1844. Later in public-media interviews President Gordon B. Hinckley is evasive and dissembles on whether or not Mormons believe that God was once a man. (2)
[Joseph Smith] Delivers King Follett Discourse, a doctrinal landmark. (3)
Nauvoo, Illinois. Joseph Smith delivered the King Follett Discourse about the nature of God and man, memorializing his friend who had died on March 9, 1844. (4)
[Joseph Smith Diary] Sunday, April 7th 1844 A very pleasant morning. The people began to assemble and by 10 o'clock there was the largest congregation ever seen in Nauvoo and the choir sang an hymn "Ye Slumbering Nation that have Slept a Long Night" when the meeting was called to order by the Marshal, and the choir sung "The Spirit of God &c".
President Rigdon presented the request of 3 or 4 sick and offered a prayer in their behalf /and all the congregation said Amen/ followed by G[eorge]. J. Adams in prayer and singing by the choir.
President Joseph Smith requested that the congregation would keep good order and in the name of the constitution, continental congress, and God Almighty I command the police to keep good order.
President Rigdon arose and continued his subject "The Church of Christ." The kingdom of heaven is a government that enters into every principle of government. God has set up his kingdom to restore the power of salvation to the world. Salvation is a complete victory over every thing. The Gospel is to prepare the way for the kingdom of God. The salvation /of any man/ turns upon the si/m/ple act of the mind.
/After notice of attention of baptism during intermission at the front of Main St. and singing/ [expression of] Faith, 12 o'clock, adjourned till 2 o'clock.
3 1/4 P.M. Joseph commenced speaking on the subject of the Dead relative to the death of Elder King Follet who was crushed in a well by the falling of a tub of rock on him.
If men do not comprehend the character of God they do not comprehend themselves. What kind of a being is God? Eternal life [is] to know God. If man does not know God, [he] has not Eternal life. If I am so fortunate as to comprehend and explain the [blank [concept]] let every one sit in silence and never lift your voice against the servants of God again.
Every man has a right to be a false prophet as well as a true prophet. In the beginning before the world was Is a man like one of yourselves. Should you see him to day, you would see a man in fashion and in form. Adam was formed in his likeness.
Refute the Idea that God was God from all Eternity. Jesus said as the Father had power in himself even so hath the Son power to do what the Father did. Lay down his body, take it up again. You have got to learn how to make yourselves God, Kings, Priests, &c. by going from a small to a great capacity till they are able to dwell in everlasting burning and everlasting power.
How consoling when called to part with a dear friend to know their very being will rise to dwell in everlasting burning, heirs of God and ascend [to] a throne as those who have gone before. I saw the Father work out his kingdom with fear and trembling. God is glorified in /salvation/ Exhaltation of his ancestors &c. Not all to be comprehended in this world. The head, as the head one, the head one of the Gods, brought forth the Gods. D[octo]rs and Lawyers that have persecuted [us should know that the Holy Ghost knows something about the topic]. The head one called the Gods together in grand council to bring forth the world. Example of error as [[follows] . . . ]
Yacobam /Jacob/ the son of Zebedee [is transliterated in the King James Bible] to form James the son of Zebedee, 4 Mat[thew] 21. Greek, Hebrew, German, and Latin [all say Jacob]. In the beginning the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods and concocted a scheme to create the world. Soon as we begin to understand the character of the Gods he begins to unfold the heavens to us. Doctors say, [God] created the Earth out of nothing. [The Hebrew word] Borau [is said to mean that God] creates it [when it] means to [be] organized. God has materials to organize the world. Element[s], [that] nothing can destroy. No beginning, no end.
The soul, [according to] doctors of Divinity, [is part of what] God created in the beginning[. I think this] lessens the character of man. Don't believe it. Who told you God was self existent? Correct enough, in Hebrew [God created man and] put into him his spirit which was created before. Mind of man coequal with God himself. Friends separated for a small moment from their spirits coequal with God and hold converse when they are one with another [as we do on earth].
If man had a beginning he must have an end. Might proclaim [annihilation]. God revealed [that he did not have] power to create the spirit of man at all.
Inteligence exist[s] upon a self existent principle, no creation about it. All minds and spirit[s] God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement. All things God has seen fit proper[ly] to reveal while dwelling in mortality are revealed. Precisely the same as though we were destitute of bodies[, these things are revealed to our spirits].
What will save our spirits will save our bodies. Our [actions in our earthly] tabernacles [will determine the future] for our spirits. All spirits who have not obeyed the Gospel must be damned[, all those] who have not obeyed the decrees of [the] Son of Man.
We are looked upon by God as though we were in Eternity. The greatest responsibility resting upon us is to look after our dead. They without us cannot be made perfect without us. Meet Paul 1/2 way. Hence the saying of Elijah. God made provisions before the world was for every creature [to be saved;] in all sin[s] shall [man] be forgiven in this word or world to come, except one.
Salvation for all men who have not committed a certain sin[. God] can save any man who has not committed the unpardonable sin. Cannot commit the unpardonable sin after the dissolution of the body. Knowledge save[s] a man. [If one consents to obey the gospel, one is saved, otherwise one must be punished for sin.]
No way for a man to come to understanding but [to] give his consent to the commandment[s]. Damned by mortification. A lake as of fire of brimstone as exquisite [as] the dissappointment of the mind of man.
Why? Must commit the unpardonable sin in this world, [because a man] will suffer in the Eternal world until he will be exalted. [Jesus is the savior of all men who will obey him.]
Work of the Devil [is coercion]. The plans of the Devil laid to save the world [by force]. Devil said he could save them all. Lot fell on Jesus. All sin &c. forgiven except the sin against the Holy Ghost. [A man has] Got to deny the plan of salvation &c. with his eyes open. Like many of the apostates of Christ of the Church of Jesus Christ of [the] last Days.
Let all be careful, lest you be deceived. Best man brings forth best works.
To the Mourners your friend has gone to wait the perfection of the reunion. The resurrection of your friend in felicity while [those of some] worlds must wait myriads of years before they can receive the like blessings. Leave the subject bless those who have lost friends, [they are] only gone for a few moments.
Shall mothers have their children? Yes. They shall have it without price. Redemption is paid[. The children who die will never grow but will be resurrected] possessing all the intelligence of a God. The child [will be] as it was before it died out of your arms. Thrones upon thrones. Dominion upon dominion just as you.
Baptism of water, fire, and Holy Ghost are inseparably connected. [I have] Found in the German Bible to prove what I have taught for 14 years about baptism. I baptize you with water, but when Jesus comes having the keys, he shall baptize you with the baptism of fire and Holy Ghost.
Leaving the principles of [the] doctrine of baptism &c. one God, one baptism, and one baptism i.e. all three.
Called upon all men Priests and all [men] to repent and obey the gospel. If they do not they will be damned. Those who commit the unpardonable sin are doomed to Gnolom without end. God dwells in everlasting burnings. Love all men but hate your [sinful] deeds.
You don't know me. You never will. I don't blame you for not believing my history had I not experienced it [I] could not believe it myself.
5 1/2 [P.M.] closed. Sang.
[Evening of] 7 April [page left blank] (5)
1 - Jenson, Andrew, Church Chronology
2 - On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com
3 - Highlights in the Prophet's Life, Ensign, June 1994
4 - Joseph Smith Resource Center: Daily Events in the Life of Joseph Smith, http://josephsmith.net/josephsmith/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=e581001cfb340010VgnVCM1000001f5e340aRCRDlocale=0
5 - Faulring, Scott (ed.), An American Prophet's Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith: Joseph Smith Diary, 1844, http://amzn.to/jsdiaries
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