27 June 1839 (Thursday) Commerce, Hancock County, Illinois

[1] Commerce, Hancock County, Illinois

Willard Richards [2] Pocket Companion

Other important items of doctrines from
Joseph given in Commerce Ills

On the Doctrines of Faith

Faith comes by hearing the word of God [3] through the testimony of the Servants of God, that Testimony is always attended by the Spirit of prophecy & Revelation.


Is a thing that cannot be trifled with every day. Daily transgression & daily repentance is not that which is pleasing in the sight of God—


Is a holy ordinance preparatory to the reception of the Holy Ghost. It is the channel & Key by which the Holy Ghost will be administered The gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands cannot be received through the medium of any other principle. than the principle of Righteousness, for if the proposals are not complied with it is of no use but withdraws.


Were given for the purpose of preaching among those whose language is not understood as on the day of Pentecost &c, [4] & it is not necessary for tongues to be taught to the church particularly. for any man that has the Holy Ghost, can speak of the things of God in his own tongue, as well as to speak in another, for faith comes not by signs but by hearing the word of God.

The doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead & Eternal Judgment are necessary to preach among the first principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ. [5]

The Doctrine of Election

St Paul exhorts us to make our Calling & Election shure. [6] This is that sealing power spoken of by Paul in other places (See Eph I. 13.14. In whom ye also trusted, that after ye heard the word of truth; the gospel of your salvation, in whom also after that ye believed ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession unto the praise of his glory.) That we may be sealed up unto the day of redemption, this principle ought. (in its proper place [7]) to be taught, for God hath not revealed any thing to Joseph, but what he will make known unto the Twelve [8] & even the least Saint may know all things as fast as he is able to—bear them. for the day must come when no man need say to his neighbor know ye the Lord for all shall know him (who Remain) from the least to the greatest, How is this to be done? It is to be done by this sealing power & the other comforter spoken of which will be manifest by Revelation. [9] There is two Comforters spoken of is the Holy Ghost the same as given on the day of pentecost and that all Saints receive after faith. Repentance & Baptism. This first comforter or Holy Ghost has no other effect than pure inteligence. It is more powerful in expanding the mind enlightening the understanding & storeing the intellect with present knowledge of a man who is of the literal Seed of Abraham than one that is a gentile though it may not have half as much visible effect upon the body for as the Holy Ghost falls upon one of the Literal Seed of Abraham it is calm & serene & his whole soul & body are only exercised by the pure spirit of Inteligence; while the effect of the Holy Ghost upon a Gentile is to purge out the old blood & make him actually of the seed of Abraham. That man that has none of the blood of Abraham (naturally) must have a new creation by the Holy Ghost, [10] in such a case there may be more of a powerful effect upon the body & visible to the eye than upon an Israelite, while the Israelite at first might be far before the Gentile in pure inteligence

The other Comforter spoken of is a subject of great interest & perhaps understood by few of this generation, After a person hath faith in Christ, repents of his sins & is Baptized for the remission of his sins & received the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands) which is the first Comforter then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering & thirsting after Righteousness. & living by every word of God & the Lord will soon say unto him Son thou shalt be exalted. [11] &c When the Lord has thoroughly proved him & finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazard. then the man will find his calling & Election made sure [12] then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter which the Lord hath promised the saints as is recorded in the testimony of St John in the XIV ch from the 12th to the 27 verses Note the 16. 17. 18. 21. 23. verses. (16.vs) & I will pray the father & he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; (17) Even the Spirit of Truth; [13] whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you & shall be in you. [14] (18) I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you (21) He that hath my commandments & keepeth them, he it is that loveth me. & he that loveth me shall be loved of my father. & I will love him & will manifest myself to him (23) If a man Love me he will keep my words. & my Father will love him. & we will come unto him, & make our abode with him.

Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more or less than the Lord Jesus Christ himself & this is the sum & substance of the whole matter, that when any man obtains this last Comforter he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him or appear unto him from time to time. & even he will manifest the Father unto him & they will take up their abode with him, & the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him & the Lord will teach him face to face & he may have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, & this is the state & place the Ancient Saints arrived at when they had such glorious vision Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St Paul in the third heavens, & all the Saints who held communion with the general Assembly & Church of the First Born &c. [15]

The Spirit of Revelation [16] is in connection with these blessings. A person may profit by noticing the first intimation of the Spirit of Revelation for instance when you feel pure lnteligence flowing unto you it may give you sudden strokes of ideas that by noticeting it you may find it. fulfilled the same day or Soon. (I.E.) those things that were presented unto your minds by the Spirit of God will come to pass and thus by learning the Spirit of God. & understanding it you may grow into the principle of Revelation. until you become perfect in Christ Jesus

An Evangelist [17]

Is a patriarch even the oldest man of the Blood of Joseph or of the seed of Abraham, wherever the Church of Christ is established in the earth, there should be a patriarch for the benefit of the posterity of the Saints as it was with Jacob. in giving his patriarchal blessing unto his Sons &c.— [18]

Wilford Woodruff Diary [19]

I spent the day in Commerce in Council with the Presidency & Twelve we had an interesting day Joseph was president of the Council Brother Orson Hide [20] was restored to the Church and the quorum of the Twelve in full fellowship by a full vote of the Council. after making an humble Confession & acknowledgement of his Sins &c Among the vast number of the Keys of the Kingdom of God Joseph presented the following one to the Twelve for there benefit in there experience & travels in the flesh which is as follows. In order to detect the devel when he transforms himself nigh unto an angel of light. When an angel of God appears unto man face to face in personage & reaches out his hand unto the man & he takes hold of the angels hand & feels a substance the Same as one man would in shaking hands with another he may then know that it is an angel of God, & he should place all Confidence in him Such personages or angels are Saints with there resurrected Bodies, but if a personage appears unto man & offers him his hand & the man takes hold of it & he feels nothing or does not sens any substance he may know it is the devel, for when a Saint whose body is not resurrected appears unto man in the flesh he will not offer him his hand for this is against the law given him & in keeping in mind these things we may detec the devil that he decieved us not. [21]

—27 June 1839


[1] See History of the Church, 3:371-81, and Teachings, pp. 148-51. Wilford Woodruff's account of this discourse is here published for the first time. While the following two accounts of the 27 June 1839 discourse do not parallel one another, there is, nevertheless, sufficient reason to believe that the date is accurate for both reports. Whereas Woodruff's account is dated, Willard Richards's Pocket Companion account is not. John Taylor was undoubtedly the recorder of the account found in the Pocket Companion, which would have been copied by Richards in England. John Taylor's notes may well confirm the date of the discourse as 27 June 1839, but his notes have not been found, if in fact they still exist. The best evidence that 27 June 1839 is the accurate date is the fact that Wilford Woodruff, with George A. Smith, assigned it that date when they included the discourse in the "Manuscript History of the Church." Unlike the "Before 8 August 1839 (1)" discourse, which Woodruff and Smith refused to date, they confidently placed the date 27 June 1839 on the Pocket Companion account. Moreover, Woodruff admits that his notes of the discourse were incomplete, that he recorded only some of the "vast number Keys of the Kingdom" given by the Prophet on that occasion. The day before this discourse was given such matters were being discussed by the Brethren, in Joseph Smith's absence, as revealed in Woodruff's journal under date of 26 June 1839. Clearly the discourse made a deep impression on those who heard it, as well as on Willard Richards, who later copied it into his Pocket Companion. This discourse probably encouraged Brigham Young and Willard Richards to write "Election and Reprobation" for the Millennial Star (vol. 1, no. 9).

[2] Willard Richards (1804-54) was converted to the Church in 1836. He was ordained an apostle in England in April 1840 and served as a scribe to the Prophet 1841–44.

[3] Romans 10:17.* Regarding the "Spirit of Prophecy and Revelation" that accompanies the "testimony of the Servants of God," see Ephesians 1:17; 2 Peter 1:5-9; Revelation 19:10; Alma 5:46-47; 6:8; 8:24; 9:21; 10:12; 13:26; 17:3; 23:6; 43:2; 45:10; Helaman 4:12; 3 Nephi 3:19; D&C 8:2-3; 11:25; 107:30-31; 113:10.

[4] Acts 2:1-13.

[5] Hebrews 6:1-2. In this statement Joseph Smith emphasized that the doctrines of resurrection and eternal judgment should be taught as part of the fundamental articles of faith by the missionaries. He repeatedly referred to and amplified this theme in discourses during the Nauvoo period. See also D&C 19:4, 8-9, 21-22 (1-24).

[6] It is possible that Joseph Smith said, "St Peter exhorts us to make our Calling and Election sure": the phraseology is Peter's not Paul's (2 Peter 1:10). On the other hand, Joseph does say in the next sentence that when Paul speaks of the sealing power (2 Corinthians 1:20-22; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30), he is speaking of the doctrine of making our calling and election sure. More significant, however, is the fact that this is the first record we have of discourse by the Prophet Joseph on this doctrine using Peter's words "calling and election sure." To be sure the general concept was taught as early as 1834 because Oliver Cowdery says that the Saints "make their calling and election sure" when they "obtain the promise from the Lord of glory ('hear his voice… [and receive] a promise from his mouth') that their salvation was sealed that their election was sure" (see The Evening and The Morning Star 2 [June 1834]: 167). Furthermore, in 1835 Joseph Smith wrote to his uncle Silas to convince him that revelation was still necessary, reasoning that the modern Saints had to hear an audible voice from the Lord by revelation to know that their salvation was secure, just as their ancient counterparts had received such assurances by revelation. However, in this letter Joseph Smith made no allusion to Peter's "calling and election" wording (Oliver R. Smith, ed., Six Decades in the Early West: The Journal of Jesse Nathaniel Smith; Diaries of a Mormon Pioneer, 1834-1906. 3d ed. [Provo, Utah: Jesse N. Smith Family Association, 1970], pp. 3-4). These instructions by the Prophet Joseph on making one's calling and election sure reminded Heber C. Kimball (who undoubtedly was present at this meeting) of an experience just two months previous. He recorded in his journal, "[On 6 April 1839] the following words came to my mind, and the Spirit said unto me, 'write,' which I did by taking a piece of paper and writing on my knee as follows: … 'Verily I say unto my servant Heber, thou art my son, in whom I am well pleased; for thou art careful to hearken to my words, and not transgress my law, nor rebel against my servant Joseph Smith, for thou hast a respect to the words of mine anointed, even from the least to the greatest of them; therefore thy name is written in heaven, no more to be blotted out for ever, because of these things" (Heber C. Kimball, Journal, Library-Archives, the Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah [hereafter referred to as Church Archives]).

[7] As Joseph Smith here defines it, making one's calling and election sure is the crowning achievement of a life of righteous devotion. However, the Prophet apparently senses that if this concept is too commonly taught it could easily generate within the Church a misguided devotion to a principle that could divert the Saints' energy from the equally important principle of selfless devotion to others. Seeking blessings for oneself only is contrary to the principle that "He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it" (Matthew 10:39).

[8] The nature of the presiding authority of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles developed over several years. In 1835, when they were first organized, they were recognized as special missionaries with jurisdiction limited to the areas where there were no organized stakes. In 1841, after their return from Great Britain, the Twelve were appointed a position next to the First Presidency in settling the Saints in the stakes of Zion. Given the roles of Brighan Young and Heber C. Kimball (senior members in the Twelve) in organizing and moving the Saints from Missouri to Quincy, Illinois, when the Prophet was in Liberty Jail, this statement (in 1839) seems to foreshadow the later development.

[9] Joseph Smith asked rhetorically how the Lord's restatement (D&C 84:98) of Jeremiah's great prophecy on the last days (Jer. 31:31-34) was to be fulfilled. He answered that it will be fulfilled when the Saints' callings and elections are made sure and when they receive the Second Comforter.

[10] 2 Corinthians 5:17.

[11] John 6:27, 66-71 (cf. JST John 6:27); 14:12-15; 17:2-3; Acts 13:48; Romans 6:23; 2 Corinthians 1:20-22; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Titus 1:1-3; Hebrews 11:2, 4-6, 13, 26-27, 33, 39-40; 2 Peter 1:10-11, 19; 1 John 1:1-3; 2:25 (20-27); 3:15; 5:11-13 (1-20); Revelation 7:1-3; 14:1-5; 2 Nephi 31:20; Enos 5-8, 27; Mosiah 5:15; 26:20; Helaman 10:4-10; 3 Nephi 28:3, 10 (1-15); Mormon 2:19; Ether 12:37 (19-40); Moroni 10:34; D&C 53:1; 59:23; 68:12; 76:50-53, 58, 70 (50-70); 77:8-9, 11; 131:5-6; 132:7, 19-24, 26-27; 46-50, 59-60; Moses 1:4, 25-26; 5:4-11; 6:34 (26-36), 52-68; 7:27, 62-64; Abraham 2:6-11 (cf. Genesis 22); JST Genesis 9:21-23; JST Genesis 14:26-35 (cf. Alma 13); and, JST 1 John 3:9. See also the Apocrypha, 2 Esdras 2:33-48.

[12] 2 Peter 1:10.

[13] D&C 93:26 also identifies Jesus Christ with the title normally assigned to the Holy Ghost, namely, the Spirit of Truth.

[14] Verse 20 of this chapter of John indicates that when a man receives the blessings of the Second Comforter, as Joseph Smith defines them in this discourse, then, "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you." See the same idea in D&C 88:49-50, 66-69.

[15] Isaiah 6; Ezekiel 1, 40-47; the book of Revelation; 1 Corinthians 12:1-4; and Hebrews 12:22-24. Regarding the last passage on the "Church of the Firstborn," see also D&C 76:50-54, 67, 94, 102, and 118 (114-119); 78:20-21; 88:3-5; 93:21-22; and 129.

The theme of the "other Comforter" as the personal appearance of the Savior to those faithful saints after they have made their calling and election sure was a prevalent theme not only in Joseph Smith's discourses throughout the remainder of his life, but also in the scriptures he previously recorded. See 2 Nephi 1:15; 2:3; 10:2-3; 25:13; Mosiah 27:30; 3 Nephi 19:14-36; Mormon 1:15; Ether 3:6-16; 9:22; 12:39; D&C 67:10; 76:5-10, 22-25, 114-19; 84:18-27; 88:3-5, 67-69, 75; 93:1; 97:16; 101:23, 38; 103:20; 107:18-20, 49, 53-57; 109:5, 12; and 110:1-10. See also D&C 130:3.

[16] D&C 8:2-3.* See scriptural references listed in note 3 3, this discourse. In regard to the assertion that the Spirit of Revelation is in connection with the blessings of Calling and Election and the Second Comforter, Joseph Smith later stated that making one's calling and election sure was "by revelation and the spirit of prophecy" (D&C 131:5).

[17] Ephesians 4:11; D&C 107:39-57.

[18] Genesis 48 and 49.

[19] Wilford Woodruff (1807-98). Baptized in December 1833, Woodruff was ordained an apostle in 1839 and in 1889 became the fourth president of the Church.

[20] Orson Hyde (1805-78) was converted to the Church in 1831 and was ordained an apostle in 1835. In 1841, as a special assignment from the Prophet, he dedicated the land of Israel for the return of the Jews.

[21] The morning after the visitations from the angel Moroni (21-22 September 1823), Joseph Smith went to the side of the hill Cumorah to unearth the plates he had seen in his vision. As he later told Oliver Cowdery, on the road to Cumorah he became fixed and determined to obtain the plates for wealth and prestige and not for the glory of God. Only after attempting unsuccessfully three times to remove the plates from the stone box in which they were enclosed did he become aware that Moroni was present. The angel indicated that he was permitted by God to be led by this evil spirit so that from that time forth he would always know the difference between a true spirit and an evil spirit. This was only a beginning of his instructions in the gift of discerning spirits (D&C 46:15-16, 23, 27). Subsequent revelations through Joseph Smith gave greater detail concerning keys to detecting the adversary. D&C 50:30-35 gave instructions that if after prayer a spirit would not manifest itself, the individuals involved would have power to rebuke the spirit. Joseph Smith had experience himself with this type of manifestation. On the banks of the Susquehanna River, Michael appeared to intervene and detect the devil when he appeared as an angel of light (D&C 128:20), indicating another dimension to this question of detection. Because the adversary apparently can take light and truth away from the disobedient (D&C 93:39), he can attempt to pass as an angel of glory (2 Corinthians 11:14; D&C 129:8; Moses 1:2, 9, 11-25). As indicated in this discourse, Joseph Smith therefore revealed additional keys of detection. Far from saying that when the instructions of this discourse were followed, the adversary's only recourse was to attempt to return the handshake, in a December 1840 discourse Joseph says, "The Devil … will either shrink back … or offer his hand." He will not remain absolutely still if he is tested. On 28 April 1842, the Prophet revealed to the Relief Society, and on 1 May 1842 to the Nauvoo populace, that there was another dimension for determining whether manifestations and revelations were approved by God. There were "keys of the kingdom," he said to a Sunday audience of the saints in the Grove, "certain signs and words by which false spirits and personages may be detected from true, which cannot be revealed to the Elders till the Temple is completed …. There are signs … the Elders must know … to be endowed with the power, to finish their work and prevent imposition" (1 May 1842 discourse). Three days later Joseph Smith revealed these sacred keys to nine men—in accordance with his plans as announced to the Relief Society just six days before (28 April 1842). To these men he taught the keys of prayer and detection whereby all false documents, revelations, or manifestations could be tested (Times and Seasons 5 [15 September 1844]:649-50 and Letter of Orson Hyde, George A. Smith, and Ezra T. Benson to Brigham Young, dated 5 April 1849, Brigham Young Collection, Church Archives). They were so sacred that when Heber C. Kimball wrote to fellow apostle Parley P. Pratt just a few weeks later, he said that Joseph had taught them some precious things on the priesthood that would cause his soul to rejoice if he knew them, but that Joseph had given instructions that these keys not be written about. Heber concluded his description of the newly revealed endowment by saying that Parley would have to come to Nauvoo to receive the instruction for himself (Letter of Heber C. Kimball to Parley P. Pratt, 17 June 1842, Church Archives). Parley arrived in Nauvoo on 7 February 1843, and although the Prophet made him wait ten months before giving him his endowment (2 December 1843), after only two days he partially satisfied Parley's curiosity by giving him the instructions contained in D&C 129—the same instructions as given in this discourse, 27 June 1839 (see also Joseph Smith Diary, 9 February 1843, Church Archives). George A. Smith, who received his endowment with Parley P. Pratt in December 1843, and who also was a witness to all the dimensions of Joseph's teachings on this subject, later said, "There was no point upon which the Prophet Joseph dwelt more than the discerning of Spirits" ("Minutes of Meetings held in Provo City," 28 November 1869, Church Archives). This may be true because the Prophet insisted that true religion was one of individual participation in revelation from God but that in their zeal many could be deceived.