17 January 1843 (Tuesday). Old Homestead

Wilford Woodruff Diary[1]

This was an interesting day a day that was appointed by general proclamation for humiliation fasting & prayer & thanksgiving for the release & delivery we had received [2] Meetings were appointed in each ward throughout the city I met at President Joseph Smith,s & we had an interesting time Br Joseph spoke to some length on the Kingdom of God & the Baptism of John, he said the Kingdom of God was set upon the earth in all ages from the days of Adam to the present time whenever there was a man on earth who had authority to administer the ordinances of the gospel or a priest of God & unto such a man God did reveal his will concerning the Baptism of John. It was the Baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins for the receiving of the Holy Ghost & it was the gospel Baptism, These were questions which had been in debate for many years & in some degree among the Saints, [3] He also spoke upon the subject of honor & dishonor &c.

—17 January 1843


[1] A meeting held at the Prophet's home is mentioned in History of the Church, 5:252, but there is no indication that he spoke to the assembly. Not in Teachings. Although the entry in History of the Church appears to be based on Wilford Woodruff's Journal, the brief text of the Prophet's sermon is here published for the first time.

[2] Woodruff has reference to the Prophet's being discharged by District Court Judge Nathaniel Pope in an extradition case on 5 January 1843 at Springfield, Illinois, wherein the State of Missouri had demanded Joseph Smith on charges of being an accessory to an attempted murder (see 29 August 1842, note 3).

[3] It was the contention of Alexander Campbell, one of the principal figures of the Disciples of Christ movement, which started in the late 1820s, that the "Kingdom of God" was not set up on the earth until the day of Pentecost. Hence Joseph Smith's publication of the Book of Mormon and passages from the Book of Moses in the early 1830s regarding the antiquity of gospel ordinances such as baptism led Campbell to denounce Joseph Smith as an imposter. Some of Campbell's previous followers still held to their former notions on this concept even after they had joined the Church. Apparently disagreement over this idea had continued to persist since the time when the Church was centered in Kirtland (1831-37), where many of the Disciples joined the Church.