21 May 1843 (Sunday Morning). Temple Stand

[1] 10 1/2—Joseph arrived and after pressing his way through the crowd and getting on the stand said there were some people who thought it a terrible thing that any body should exercise a little power. & said he thought it a pity that any body should give occasion to have power exercised. and requested the people to get out of their alleys, and if they did not keep them clear he might some time run up and down & might hit some of them. & called on Bro Morey [2] to constable to keep the alleys after singing Joseph read 1st chap 2d Epistle of Peter, Wm Law prayed. singing again.

when I shall have the opportunity of speaking in a house I know not. I find my lungs failing—it has always been my fortune almost to speak in the open air to large assemblies.

I have not an idea there has been a great many very good men since Adam There was one good man Jesus.—Many think a prophet must be a great deal better than any body else.—suppose I would condescend. yes I will call it condescend, to be a great deal better than any of you. I would be raised up to the highest heaven, and who should I have to accompany me. I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm, and administering to the poor & dividing his substance, than the long smoothed faced hypocrites

I dont want you to think I am very righteous, for I am not very righteous. God judgeth men according to the light he gives them. [3]

we have a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto you do well to take heed. as unto a light that shineth in a dark place [4]

we were eyewitnesses of his majesty and heard the voice of his excellent glory [5]—& what could be more sure? transfigured on the mount [6] &c what could be more sure? divines have been quarreling for ages about the meaning of this.

rough stone rolling down hill. [7]

3 grand secrets lying in this chapter which no man can dig out. which unlocks the whole chapter. What is written are only hints of things which existed in the prophets mind. which are not written concerning eternal glory.

I am going to take up this subject by virtue of the knowledge of God in me. which I have received from heaven.

the opinions of men, so far as I am possessed concerned, are to me as the crackling of the thorns under the pot, or the whistling of the wind.

Columbus and the eggs. [8]—Ladder and rainbow. [9] like precious faith with us—add to your faith virtue &c. another point after having all these qualifications he lays this injunction. but rather make your calling & election sure—after adding all this virtue knowledge &. make your caling & sure. [10]—what is the secret. the starting point.—according as his divine power which hath given unto all things that pertain to life & godliness.

how did he obtain all things? through the knowledge of him who hath called him.—there could not any be given pertaining to life knowledge & godliness without knowledge [11] wo wo wo to christendom.—the divine spirits; &c if this be true.

salvation is for a man to be saved from all his enemies.—until a man can triumph over death. he is not saved. knowledge will do this.

organization of Spirits in the eternal world.—spirits in the eternal world are like spirits in this world. when those spirits have come into this [and] risin & received glorified bodies. they will have an ascendency over spirits who have no bodies. or kept not their first estate like the devil. Devils punishment, should not have a habitation like other men. Devils retaliation come into this world bind up mens bodies. & occupy himself. authorities come alone and eject him from a stolen habitation

design of the great God in sending us into this world and organizing us to prepare us for the Eternal world.—I shall keep in my own bosom. we have no claim in our eternal comfort in relation to Eternal things unless our actions & contracts & all things tend to this end. [12]

after all this make your calling and election sure. if this injunction would lay largely on those to whom it was spoken. how much more then to them of the 19. century.—

1 Key Knowledge is the power of Salvation

2 Key Make his calling and Election Sure

3. it is one thing to be on the mount & hear the excellent voice &c &c. and another to hear the voice declare to you you have a part & lot in the kingdom.—

Howard and Martha Coray Notebook

A Sermon by the Prophet Joseph Smith. On Election.

Every man goes to his own place 2 Peter 1. Ch—Judas by transgression fell that he might go to his own place. [13] there is one glory of the sun another of the moon & another of the stars as one Star differetheth &c. so also is the reserection of the dead. [14] Brethren I am not a very Pieus man. I do not wish to be a great deal better than any body else. If a Prophet was so much better that any body else was he would inherit a glory far beyond what any one else would inherit and behold he would be alone, for who would be his company in heaven. for If I should condesend to be so righteous as the brethren would wish me to be, lo I should be taken from your midst and be translated as was Elijah. [15] Righteousness is not that which men esteem holiness. That which the world call righteousness I have not any regard for. To be righteous is to be just and merciful. If a man fails in kindness justice and mercy he will be damed for many will say in that day Lord, have we not prophecie in thy name and in thy name done many wonderful works but he will say unto them ye workers of iniquity [16] &c we were eye witnesses of his Majesty [17] we have also a more sure word of Prophecy. [18] Now brethren who can explain this no man be [but] he that has obtained these things in the same way that Peter did. Yet it is so plain & so simple & easy to be understood that when I have shown you the interpretation thereof you will think you have always Known it yourselves—These are but hints at those things that were revealed to Peter, and verily brethren there are things in the bosom of the Father, that have been hid from the foundation of the world, [19] that are not Known neither can be except by direct Revelation The Apostle says, unto them who have obtained like precious faith with us the apostles through the righteousness of God & our Savior Jesus Christ, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory & virtue add faith virtue &c. &c. to godliness brotherly kindness—Charity—ye shall neither be barren or unfruitful in the Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. He that lacketh these things is blind [20]—wherefore the rather brethren after all this give diligence to make your calling & Election Sure Knowledge is necessary to life and Godliness. [21] wo unto you priests & divines, who preach that knowledge is not necessary unto life & Salvation. Take away Apostles &c. take away knowledge and you will find yourselves worthy of the damnation of hell. Knowledge is Revelation hear all ye brethren, this grand Key; Knowledge is the power of God unto Salvation.

What is salvation. Salvation is for a man to be Saved from all his enemies even our last enemy which is death and for David Saith, "and the Lord Said unto my Lord 'Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.[']" [22]

The design of God before the foundation of the world was that we should take tabernacles that through faithfulness we should overcome & thereby obtain a resrection from the dead, in this wise obtain glory honor power and dominion for this thing is needful, inasmuch as the Spirits in the Eternal world, glory in bringing other Spirits in Subjection unto them, Striving continually for the mastery, He who rules in the heavens when he has a certain work to do calls the Spirits before him to organize them. they present themselves and offer their Services—

When Lucifer was hurled from Heaven the decree was that he Should not obtain a tabernacle not those that were with him, but go abroad upon the earth exposed to the anger of the elements naked & bare, but oftimes he lays hold upon men binds up their Spirits enters their habitations laughs at the decree of God and rejoices in that he hath a house to dwell in, by & by he is expelled by Authority and goes abroad mourning naked upon the earth like a man without a house exposed to the tempest & the storm—

There are some things in my own bosom that must remain there. [23] If Paul could say I Knew a man who ascended to the third heaven & saw things unlawful for man to utter, I more. There are only certain things that can be done by the Spirits and that which is done by us that is not done with a view to eternity is not binding in eternity. [24] Oh Peter if they who were of like precious faith with thee were injoined to make their Calling & Election sure, how much more all we There are two Keys, one key knowledge. the other make you Calling & election sure, for if you do these things you shall never fall for so an entrance shall be administered unto you abundently into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. [25] We made known unto you the power & coming of our Lord & S. J. Christ were Eye witnesses of his Majesty when he received from God the Father honor & glory when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. this voice which came from heaven we heard when we were with him in the holy Mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy whereunto give heed until the day Star arise in your hearts [26] this is It is one thing to receive knowledge by the voice of God, (this is my beloved Son &c.) & another to Know that you yourself will be saved, to have a positive promise of your own Salvation is making your Calling and Election sure. viz the voice of Jesus saying my beloved thou shalt have eternal life. [27] Brethren never cease strugling until you get this evidence. & Take heed both before and after obtaining the more sure word of Prophecy. [28]

Franklin D. Richards "Scriptural Items"

Joseph said may 21st Sabbath Salvation is for a man to be saved from all his enemies The 1st chap of 2d Peter is hints of things which are nowhere written. There are things which pertain to the Glory of God & heirship of God with Christ which are not where written in the Bible spirits of the eternal world are diverse from each other as here in their dispositions Aspiring Ambitious &c As man is liable to enemies there as well as here it is necessary for him to be placed beyond their power in order to be saved. This is done by our taking bodies (keeping our first estate) [29] and having the Power of the Resurrection pass upon us whereby we are enabled to gain the ascendancy over the disembodied spirits

The mortification of satan consists in his not being permitted to take a body. He sometimes gets possession of a body but when the proven authorities turn him out of Doors he finds it was not his but a stolen one

Our covenants [30] here are of no force one with another except made in view view of eternity.

James Burgess Notebook

First Chapter second Epistle of Peter. The first four verses are the preface to the whole subject. There are three grand Keys to unlock the whole subject. First what is the knowledge of God, Second what is it to make our calling and election sure. Third and last is how to make our calling and election sure. Ans, it is to obtain a promise from God for myself that I shall have Eternal life. that is the more sure word of prophycy. [31] Peter was writeing to those of like precious faith with them the Apostles First to be sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise that is the testimony of Jesus Second how is he to get that Holy Spirit; Ans except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God; second except a man be born of water and the spirit he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. [32] Ques. What is it for a man to obtain salvation Ans, It is to triumph over every foe or ascend far above all enemies for the last enimey to conquor is death and untill that is done you have not obtained salvation J. Smith Prophet. Nauvoo.

Wilford Woodruff Diary

A large Congregation of Saint assembled at the temple & was addressed by President Joseph Smith upon the same subject that he spoke upon at Lima on the 14th [33] in which was interesting in the hiest degree.

Levi Richards Diary

A.M. attended Meeting at the Temple P. Joseph Smith preached from 1 Chap. 2d Peter "we have a more sure word of prophesy &C" spoke about two hours.

—21 May 1843


[1] See History of the Church, 5:400-403, and Teachings, pp. 303-6. The reports in History of the Church and Teachings are from the Joseph Smith Diary, by Willard Richards. The accounts of this discourse by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, Franklin D. Richards, James Burgess, Wilford Woodruff, and Levi Richards are here published for the first time.

[2] George Morey (1803-?) was appointed high constable in Nauvoo in March 1841.

[3] Acts 17:30; Romans 2:12; D&C 45:54; 76:72; 88:99.

[4] 2 Peter 1:19.

[5] 2 Peter 1:16-18.

[6] Matthew 17:1-9.

[7] The Church Historians, taking the words "rough stone roling down hill" as a clue that the Prophet was making a self-characterization, expanded this to read,

I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priest-craft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women—all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty, who will give me dominion over all and every one of them, when their refuge of lies shall fail, and their hiding place shall be destroyed, while these smooth-polished stones with which I come in contact become marred.

The fact that Willard Richards recorded only this briefest of allusions suggests that Joseph Smith on this and other occasions made such an autobiographical comment. This is borne out in the Wilford Woodruff Diary. On 9 September 1843, the Quorum of the Twelve was in Boston conducting a conference while on their summer mission in the East collecting contributions for the Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo House. During the afternoon session of the conference, Elder Heber C. Kimball explained President Brigham Young's bluntness in a speech during the morning when he said,

We are not Polished stones like Elder Babbit Elder Adams, Elder Blakesley & Elder Magin &c. But we are rough Stones out of the mountain, & when we roll through the forest & nock the bark of[f] from the tees it does not hurt us even if we should get a Cornor nocked of[f] occasionally. For the more they roll about & knock the cornors of[f] the better we are. But if we were pollished & smooth when we get the cornors knocked of[f] it would deface us.

This is the Case with Joseph Smith. He never professed to be a dressed smooth polished stone but was rough out of the mountain & has been rolling among the rocks & trees & has not hurt him at all. But he will be as smooth & polished in the end as any other stone, while many that were so vary poliched & smooth in the beginning get badly defaced and spoiled while theiy are rolling about (Wilford Woodruff, Diary, 9 September 1843; I am grateful to Jeffrey R. Hardyman for first pointing out this reference to me.).

While the historians were justified in inserting a statement reflective of what is contained in the Wilford Woodruff Diary cited above, it is obvious that it would have been difficult for them to remember his exact words more than a decade after the discourse was delivered. The next two notes also deal with considerable expansions of these cryptic reports of his discourse. However, in these next two cases what was involved was the fleshing out of what were well known anecdotes and not original concepts by the Prophet.

[8] The anecdote of "Columbus and the eggs" referred to in the text, was fleshed out by the Church historians as follows:

I break the ground; I lead the way like Columbus when he was invited to a banquet where he was assigned the most honorable place at the table, and served with the ceremonials which were observed towards sovereigns. A shallow courtier present, who was meanly jealous of him, abruptly asked him whether he thought that in case he had not discovered the Indies, there were not other men in Spain who would have been capable of the enterprise? Columbus made no reply, but took an egg and invited the company to make it stand on end. They all attempted it, but in vain; whereupon he struck it upon the table so as to break one end, and left it standing on the broken part, illustrating that when he had once shown the way to the new world nothing was easier than to follow it.

See the previous note.

[9] The expansions of the original texts (referred to in the previous two notes) deal with the theme of reluctance—the reluctance of others to accept Joseph Smith's teachings. Had the Church historians provided an expansion of "Ladder and rainbow" in the same general theme as given in the previous two notes, it probably would not have been a bad guess. For in his 11 June 1843 discourse, Joseph Smith apparently referred to this anecdote again&. This second allusion is incomplete also, though its context is within the same general theme. Specifically, the text from the Joseph Smith Diary, kept by Willard Richards is, "I would make you think I was climbing a ladder when I was climbing a rainbow."

[10] Comparison made between 2 Peter 1:1, 5-7 and 2 Peter 1:10.

[11] 2 Peter 1:2, 3.

[12] Another allusion to the concept of the eternality of the marriage covenant. See note 30, this discourse, and 16 July 1843 (2), notes 7 and 10.

[13] Acts 1:25.

[14] 1 Corinthians 15:41-42.

[15] 1 Kings 2:1-11 (cf. Hebrews 11:5); D&C 110:13.

[16] Matthew 7:23.

[17] 2 Peter 1:16.

[18] 2 Peter 1:19.

[19] D&C 124:41.

[20] 2 Peter 1:1-9.

[21] 2 Peter 1:10-11.

[22] Psalm 110:1.

[23] 2 Corinthians 12:1-4; D&C 76:5-10, 114-18.

[24] See note 30, this discourse.

[25] 2 Peter 1:10-11.

[26] 2 Peter 1:16-19.

[27] Comparison between 2 Peter 1:17 and 2 Peter 1:19. This definition of making one's calling and election sure, the definition given in the 27 June 1839 discourse, and the material at note 31 & of this discourse are the clearest and most precise explanations of this important spiritual experience.

[28] Confirmation of D&C 132:26-27.

[29] Abraham 3:26-28.

[30] Notes 12 and 24 and this note represent three distinct contemporary texts of the same discourse that document the most significant doctrinal axiom of the revelation on eternal and plural marriage. Though the revelation was not reduced to writing until seven and a half weeks after this sermon, the core idea of this revelation obviously occupied the Prophet's mind. The fulness of what that revelation implied he had to keep "in his bosom," but he did publicly teach the fundamental concept upon which the revelation rests:

For all who will have a blessing at my hands shall abide the law which was appointed for that blessing, and the conditions thereof, as were instituted from before the foundation of the world.

And as pertaining to the new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fulness of my glory; and he that receiveth a fulness thereof must and shall abide the law, or he shall be damned, saith the Lord God.

And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power (and I have appointed unto my servant Joseph to hold this power in the last days, and there is never but one on the earth at a time on whom this power and the keys of this priesthood are conferred), are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead (D&C 132:5-7).

See 27 August 1843, note 43.

[31] 2 Peter 1:19. Another specific definition of what it means to make one's calling and election sure. See note 27, this discourse.

[32] John 3:3, 5.

[33] Wilford Woodruff is referring to the discourse given just the week before, 14 May 1843, at Yelrome, near Lima, Illinois.