16 June 1844 (1) (Sunday Morning). Grove East of Temple

[1] Prayer by N Whitney choir sang "Mortals Awake" The Prophet read the 3rd Rev. text 6th. v. & made us K & P. unto God & his Far to him be glory & dom. for evermore [2]—.

It is altogr. correct in the translatn. [3]—now you know that of late some have sprung up & apostat. & they declare that Pro bel[ieves]. in a plurality of Gods [4]—&c. & behold a very great secret they cry it has been my intentn. to take up this subjt. & show what my Faith is in the matter—I have contemplated the saying of Je[sus] as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be at his 2nd. coming & if it rains I'll preach—the plurarlity of Gods—I have selected this text I wish to declare I have allways—& in all congregats. when I have preached it has been the plurality of Gods it has been preached 15 years—I have always decld. God to be a distinct personage—J.C. a sep. & distinct pers from God the Far. the H.G was a distinct personage [5] & or Sp & these 3 constit. 3 distinct personages & 3 Gods—if this is in accordance with the New Test.—lo & behold we have 3 Gods any how & they are plural any how—our text says

the apost[les] have disc[overe]d. that there were Gods above—God was the Far. of our Ld. J.C. [6]—my object was to preach the Scrip—& preach the doctrine there being a God above the Far. of our Ld. J.C.—I am bold to declare I have taut. all the strong doctrines publicly—& always stronger that what I preach in private—John was one of the men & the apos. declare they were made K. & P. unto God the Fatr. of our Ld. J.C. [7] it reads just so hence the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any doctrine—it is all over the face of the Bible, it stands beyond the power of controversy—a wayfaring man tho a fool need not fail—Paul says there are gods many & Lords many [8]-I want to set it in a plain simple manner—but to us there is but one God pertaining to us, in all thro all, [9]—but if J. Smith says there is Gods many & Lds. many they cry away with him crucify him mankind verily say that the Scrip [i]s with them—Search the Script & & they testify of things that apostates wod blaspheme—Paul if Jo Smith is a blasphemer you are—I say there are Gods many & Lds many but to us only one & we are to be in subject to that one & no man can limit the bounds, or the eternal existence of eternal time—hath he beheld the e[terna]l. world. & is he authd. to say that there is only God he makes himself a fool—& there is an end of his career in knowledge he cannot obtn. all knowledge for he has sealed up the gate to [10]

some say I do not interpret same as you—they say it means the heathen God. [11] Paul says there are Gods many &c it makes a plurality of Gods any how—witht. a revn. I am not going to give the God of Heaven to them any how—you know & I testify that Paul had no allusions to it—I have it from God & get over it if you can—I have a witness of the H.G—& a test. that Paul had no allusion to the heathen G. in the text—Twice I will shew from the Heb. Bible & the 1st. word shews a plurality of Gods—& I want the apostate & learned men to come here—& prove to the contrary an unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew—Berosheit &c [12] In the begin. rosheit—the head—it shod. read the heads of—to organize the Gods—Eloiheam Eloi. God in sing. heam, [13] reanders Gods I want a little learning as well as other fools

Popes quot: Drink deep [14]

all the confusion is for want of drinking and draught the head God—organized the heavens & the Earth—I defy all the learning in the world to refute me—

In the begin the heads of the Gods organized the heaven & the Earth-now the learned Priest—the people rage—& the heathen imagine a vain thing—if we pursue the Heb further—it reads

The Head one of the Gods said let us make man in our image [15] I once asked a learned Jew [16] once—if the Heb. language compels us to render all words ending in heam in the plural—why not render the first plural—he replied it would ruin the Bible—he acknowledged I was right. I came here to investigate these things precisely as I believe it—hear & judge for yourself—& if you go away satisfied— well & good—in the very beginning there is a plurality of Gods—beyond the power of refutation—it is a great subject I am dwelling on—the word Eloiheam ought to be in the plural all the way thro [17]— Gods—the heads of the Gods appointed one God for us [18]—& when you take a view of the subject it sets one free to see all the beauty holiness & perfection of the God—all I want is to get the simple truth—naked & the whole truth—Men say there is one God—the Far. Son & the H.G. are only 1 God—it is a strange God any how 3 in 1. & 1 in 3. it is a curious thing any how—Far. I pray not for the world but I pray for those that thou givest me &c &c [19] all are to be crammed into 1 God—it wod. make the biggest God in all the world—he is a wonderful big God—he would be a Giant I want to read the text to you myself—I am agreed with the Far. & the Far. is a greed with me & we are agreed as one [20]—the Greek shews that is shod. be agreed [21]—Far. I pray for them that thou hast given me out of the world &c &c [22] that they may be agreed & all come to dwell in unity & in all the Glory & Everlasting burngs of God & then we shall see as we are seen [23] & be as God—& he as the God of his Far.—I want to reason—I learned it by translating the papyrus now in my house [24]—I learned a test. concerning Abraham & he reasoned concerng. the God of Heaven—in order to do that sd. he—suppose we have two facts that supposes that anotr. fact may exist two men on the earth—one wiser than the other—wod. shew that antr. who is wiser than the wisest may exist—intelligences exist one above anotr. that there is no end to it [25]—if Abra. reasoned thus—if J.C was the Son of God & John discd. that god the Far. of J.C had a far. you may suppose that he had a Far. also—where was ther ever a Son witht. a Far.—where ever did tree or any thing spring into existence witht. a progenitor—& every thing comes in this way—Paul says that which is Earthyly is in likeness of that which is Heavenly [26]— hence if J. had a Far. can we not believe that he had a Far. also—I despise the idea of being scared to death—I want you all to pay particr. attent. J. sd. as the Far. wrought precisely in the same way as his Far. had done bef [27]—as the Far. had done bef.—he laid down his life & took it up same as his Far. had done bef—he did as he was sent to [28] lay down his life & take it up again & was then committed unto him the keys &c I know it is good reasoning—I have reason to think that the Church is being purged—I saw Satan fall from heaven [29]—& the way they ran was a caution. all these are wonders & marvellous in our eyes in these last days—so long as men are under the law of God they have no fears, they do not scarce themselves—I want to stick to my text—to shew that when men open their lips— they do not injure me—but injure themselves—To the law & to the testimony [30]—they are poured all over the Scrip

When things that are great are passed over witht. even a thot I want to see all in all its bearings & hug it to my bosom—I bel. all that God ever revd. & I never hear of a man being d[amne]d for belg. too much but they are d—d for unbel.

they found fault with J.C. bec. he sd. he was the Son of God & made himself equal with God [31]—they say like the apost. of old I must be put down [32]—what Je. say—it is written in your law I said Ye are Gods [33]—it was thro' him that they drink of the rock [34]—of course he wod. take the honor to himself J. if they were called Gods unto whom the word of God why shld. it be thot incredible that I shod. say I am the Son of God.[35] Oh Apostates did ye never think of this bef. these are the quotations that the apostates take to the Scrip— they swear that they bel the Bible & the Book of Mormon [36] &c & then you will get filth & slander & bogus makers plenty—& one of the Church members prophesied that Jo Smith shld. never preach any more—& yet I am now prachg.—go & read the vision [37]—there is glory & glory—Sun, moon & Stars—& so do they differ in glory & every man who reigns is a God—& the text of the Do & Covt damns themselves—Paul what do you say—they impeached Paul & all Went & left him [38]—Paul had 7 churches & they drove him off from among them—& yet they cannot do it by me—I rej. in that—my test. is good—Paul—says there is one Glory of the Sun the moon & the Stars—& as the Star differs &c [39]—They are exalted far above princ. thrones dom. & angels—& are expressly decld. to be heirs of God & jt. heirs with J.C. [40] all havg. et[erna]l. power—the Scrip are a very strange doct.—I have an[othe]r. Scrip—now says God when visited Moses in the Bush—moses was a stutt[er]ing sort of a boy like me—God said thou shalt be a God unto the children of Israel—God said thou shalt be a God unto Aaron & he shall be thy spokes. [41] I bel. in these Gods that God reveals as Gods—to be Sons of God [42] & all can cry Abba Father [43]—Sons of God who exalt themselves to be Gods even from bef. the foundatn. of the world & are all the only Gods I have a reverence for— [44]

John sd. he was a K[ing]. [45] J.C. who hath by his own blood made us K & P to God. [46] Oh thou God who are K. of K's & Ld. of Lds. [47]—we cannot bel. thee—old Catholic Church is worth more than all [48]—here is a princ. of logic—that men have no more sense—I will illustrate an old apple tree—here jumps off a branch & says I am the true tree. & you are corrupt—if the whole tree is corrupt how can any true thing come out of it—the char[acte]r of the old ones have always been sland[ere]d. by all apos[tates] since the world began—I testify again as God never will acknowledge any apost: any man who will betray the Catholics will betray you—& if he will betray one anothr. he will betray you—all men are liars who say that they are of the true—God always sent a new dispensatn. [49] into the world—when men come out & build upon o[the]r men's foundatn.—did I build on anotr. mans foundtn. but my own—I have got all the truth & an indepent. rev[elatio]n. in the bargain [50]— & God will bear me off triumphant—I will drop this subjt. I wish I cod. speak for 3 or 4 hours it is not expedt. on acct. of the rain—I will still go on & shew you proof on proof. all the Bible is as equal one part as another

George Laub Journal

The Scripture Say I and my father are one [51] & again that the father son & holy ghost are one I John 5 ch. 7 vers But these three agree in the Same thing [52] & did the Saviour pray to the father. I pray not for the world but those [w]home he gave me out of the world that we might be one, or to Say be of one mind in the unity of the faith. [53]

but Every one being a diffrent or Seperate person & So is god & is god & Jesus Christ & the holy ghost. Seperate persons. but the all agree in one or the Self Same thing But the holy ghost is yet a Spiritual body and waiting to take to himself a body. as the Savior did or as god did or the gods before them took bodies [54] for the Saviour Says the work that my father did do i also & those are the works [55] he took himself a a body & then laid down his life that he might take it up again [56] & the Scripture Say those who will obey the commandments shall be heirs of god & Joint heirs with of Jesus Christ [57] we then also took bodys to lay them down, to take them up again & the Sperit itself bears witness with our Spirits that we are the children of god & if children then heirs and Joint heirs with Jesus Christ if So be that we Suffer with him in the flesh that we may be also glorified to gether. See Romans 8 ch 16 & 17 Vers.

McIntire Minute Book

Sunday the 16th of June 1844 Gen. Joseph Smiths Last public Discorce on Doctrine he comenced By Reading Rev. 1st Ch 6 verse—"And hath made us Kings & priests unto God & his father["] &c He then preceded to show the plurality of Gods By Refering to the 1st Gen. as in the origanel Hebrew—that it Read that in the Begining the Head Gods organized the Earth & the heavens [58] &—and that God was a distinct in of himself & the Son also was a distinct Personage But in the image of the Father—he quoted the 17th of St John 20, 21, 22, 23 that the apostles & the Desciples may all agree in one—or be agreed in the one principal as thou father & me are agred—Jesus said that all things that He saw the father do he did—and also the 82 psalm 1st verse God standith in the Congragations of the Mighty; he Judgeth among the Gods—

Alexander Neibaur Diary

Preached from 1 Revelation on the Plurality of God.

Joseph Smith Diary, by Willard Richards

Preached at the stand 10 o'clock A.M.

William Clayton Diary

Preached at the stand.

—16 June 1844 (1)


[1] See History of the Church, 6:473-79, and Teachings, pp. 369-76. The original source for the account of this discourse in History of the Church and Teachings is the Thomas Bullock report. The William P. McIntire account is here published for the first time. The Alexander Neibaur brief note on this sermon was not included in the first edition of Words.

[2] Revelation 1:6.

[3] JST Revelation 1:6*.

[4] In the first and only issue of the Nauvoo Expositor, William Law and others claimed in Resolution 2 (p. 2, col. 3) that Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith and others taught "false and damnable doctrines…such as plurality of Gods above the God of this universe…the plurality of wives, for time and eternity, [and] the doctrine of unconditional sealing up to eternal life, against all sins except that of shedding innocent blood."

[5] See, for example, the paragraph of the discourse dated 27 June 1839 ending with note 15.

[6] See Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 11:31; Colossians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 2:22; 2 John 3; Revelation 1:6; 2:27; 3:5, 21.

[7] Revelation 1:6.

[8] 1 Corinthians 8:5 (4-6).

[9] 1 Corinthians 8:6.

[10] See 5 October 1840, note 24; 3 October 1841, note 19; and, 27 August 1843, note 5.

[11] This is the standard orthodox interpretation.

[12] See notes 69 and 70 of the 7 April 1844 discourse.

[13] The transliteration should be 'elôhîym (pronounced el-o-heem'). The singular for god is simply 'êl (pronounced ale). According to the Hebrew dictionary, the plural form means "gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural, thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God."

[14] A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring,
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us up again.

—Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

[15] Genesis 1:26-27*. At this point of the text, the Utah editor of this discourse made the error of requoting the faulty transliteration of Genesis 1:1, placing it here as a transliteration of Genesis 1:26. Thomas Bullock did not even attempt to record the Prophet's reading of the Hebrew; however, the transliteration should have been vayi'mer 'elôhîym n'eseh 'âdâm betsalemênûw keidemûwthêûw.

[16] Joseph Smith is possibly referring to Joshua Seixas who, for a few weeks, taught Hebrew to the Prophet and others in Kirtland, Ohio (1836). The word 'elôhîym is the first plural in the Bible.

[17] In the Old Testament the word 'elôhîym is found translated either God or gods 2674 times. Only 8 percent of the time is it translated gods. The word 'êl is found translated God 179 times and only once translated gods. Thus the singular form is found only 6 percent of the time. Other Hebrew words are translated God, most particularly the word yehôvîh appearing 266 times (but yehôvâh only appears 3 times).

[18] While this appears arbitrary it is consistent with previous revelation to Joseph Smith regarding the true nature of worship. See D&C 93:1-39.

[19] John 17:9-11.

[20] 1 John 5:7-8.

[21] Cf. 1 John 5:7-8.

[22] John 17:9-11.

[23] John 17:9-11; Isaiah 33:14 (13-17); D&C 76:94. The American Translation of the New Testament uses the word union in place of the word one used in the King James Version.

[24] Since the summer of 1835 Joseph Smith possessed relics and mummies excavated in Egypt including some treasured papyri texts. In 1842, he published his translation of these records entitled The Book of Abraham.

[25] Abraham 3:18.

[26] 1 Corinthians 15:46-48.

[27] John 5:19. See 7 April 1844, note 41.

[28] John 9:4.

[29] Luke 10:18 (17-20).

[30] Isaiah 8:20.

[31] John 10:33; 5:18.

[32] See for example, Matthew 9:3; Luke 15:2; 19:14; John 7:15, 9:16; 11:47; 19:12.

[33] John 10:34.

[34] 1 Corinthians 10:4 (1-4).

[35] John 10:34-36.

[36] For example, Joseph Fielding says that William Law used Jacob 2 of the Book of Mormon to combat the Prophet's practice of plural marriage, and in the Nauvoo Expositor Resolution 6 (p. 2, col. 4), the followers of William Law quoted the Doctrine and Covenants to contradict Joseph Smith's financial practices. Ironically, both books of scripture were revealed through Joseph Smith.

[37] D&C 76. Note specifically verse 58.

[38] Joseph Smith is apparently referring to the seven churches Paul wrote to, namely, Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse and Thessalonica.

[39] 1 Corinthians 15:40-42.

[40] Romans 8:17.

[41] Exodus 3:16.

[42] Job 38:7; John 1:12; Romans 8:14, 19; 1 John 3:1-2; 3 Nephi 9:17; Moroni 7:26, 48; D&C 11:30; 39:4; 45:8; 76:24, 58 (50-60); Moses 6:68 (57-68); 7:1; 8:13-22 (cf. Genesis 6:1-8).

[43] Romans 8:15 (14-17).

[44] Abraham 3:22-4:1.

[45] Revelation 1:6.

[46] Ibid.

[47] Revelation 17:14; 19:16.

[48] In light of the Prophet's teachings in this discourse and elsewhere, this observation is clear. For example, Reverend William J. Logan's comments on Extreme Unction in his A Catechism for Adults (Chicago: Adult Catechetical Teaching Aids Publications, n.d.), pp. 92-94, are illuminating.

[49] See, for example, the "Before 8 August 1839 (1)" and 5 October 1840 discourses.

[50] The Prophet would no doubt agree that all the world's knowledge he had available to him was an indirect catalyst for his revelations. In the chemical formula for revelation, so to speak, the catalysts aided the reaction, but did not figure in the final results.

[51] John 10:30.

[52] 1 John 5:8.

[53] John 17:9-11.

[54] Cf. the text of the 27 August 1843 discourse at note 26.

[55] John 9:4.

[56] John 10:18 (14-18).

[57] Romans 8:17.

[58] Genesis 1:1*. See 7 April 1844, notes 69 and 70.