29 January 1843 (Sunday). In Temple


Sunday Jany 29 meeting on floor of the Temple Joseph Read the parable of the prodigal Son [2] after prayer by John Taylor, then singing by the Quoir

I feel thankful to Almighty God for the privilege of standing before you this morning it is necessary that the hearers should have good & honest hearts as well as the speaker I aim to address you on the important subject of the Prodigal Son

2 Items I wish to notice Last sabbath.—2 questions saying of Jesus coming John—a greater prophet than John 2d. least in the kingdom of God greater than he. [3]

some so blind they wont see. I dont expect I can work Miracles enough to open

greatest prophet. What constituted him.—no prophet, if do no miracles John did no miracles.—

How is it John was considered one of the Greatest of Prophets? 3 things

1st he was trusted with a divine mission of preparing the way before the face of the Lord. [4]—Trust before or since? no man!—

2d. He was trusted & it was required at his hands to baptize the son of Man. [5] Who ever did that? who had so great a privilege & glory?—son of God into the waters of baptism & beholding the Holy Ghost—in in the sign [6] the form of a dove—with the sign of the dove. instituted before the creation Devil could not come in sign of a dove.—Holy Ghost is a personage in the form of a personage [7]—does not confine itself to form of a dove—but in sign of a dove.= No man holds this book more sacred than I do. [8]

3d. John at that time was the only legal administrator holding the keys of Power there was on Earth. the Keys the Kingdom the power the Glory from the Jews Son of Zachariah by the holy anointing decree of heaven these 3 constituted him the greatest born of woman.

He that is least in the Kingdom is greater than he? [9] who did the Jesus have reference to? Jesus was looked upon as having the least claim in all gods kingdom.—

He that is considered the least among you, is greater than John! that is myself.—

another question, Law & prophets were until John—since which time the kingdom of heaven is preached & all men press into it. [10]

additional proof—to what—I offered you on the last sabbath. that that was the beginning of the Kingdom [11]

Prodigal Son.—when you have heard go & read your bible if the thing are not wring true.—

great deal of speculation. Subject I never dwelt upon—understood by many to be one of the intricate subjects—Elders in this church preach.—no rule of interpretation.—what is the rule of interpretation? Just no interpretation at all. understood precisely as it read.—I have [a] Key by which I understand the scripture—I enquire what was the question which drew out the answer.—

National. Abraham. &c as some suppose 1st place dig up the root—what drew out the saying out of Jesus? Pharisees & scribes murmurred! this man receives sinners & eatheth with them this is the key word. [12]—to answer the murmuring & questioning of [that] Saducees & Pharisees had is it this man as great as he pretends to be. & eat with publicans & sinners.—Jesus not put to it so but he could have found something of the kind discerned it for nations.— Men in an individual capacity. all straining on this point is a bubble.—Boy Boys say ought to be hanged can tell it to you.

big folks Presbyterians. Methodists. Baptists &c—despise the ignorance & abomination of this world.—

this man receiveth sinners—he spoke this parable. what man of you having an hundred sheep & 100 saducees & Pharisees [13] If you pharisees & saducees. are in the sheepfold. I have no mission for you sent to look up sheep that are lost will back him up—& make joy in heaven.—hunting after a few individuals laying it on his Shoulder—one publican you despise.—one piece of Silver [14]—the piece which was lost—Joy in found of the angels over one sinner that repenteth so righteous they will be damned any how you cannot save them [15] rain off from a gooses back—Great I. little you—

certain man had two sons &c. [16]— am a poor publican a sinner—humbled themselves. spending their bread & living &c Ill return to my fathers house. to Jesus you pharisees so righteous you cannot be touched.—I will arise &c claim not be a pharisee or saducee. I claim not to be a son do not let me starve—nothing about Ephraim Abraham—is not mentioned. all that is meant is brought to bear upon the pharisee. saducee. the publicans & sinners, Eldest son, pharisees & saducees murmuring & complaining—because Jesus sat with publicans & sinners—father came out & entreated when John came baptized all. when Jesus come they were angry & would not go in. dealing of God with individuals men always Righteous always have access to throne of God eats in his fathers home If we interpret this to national, view where is the eldest son?

likened the kingdom to an old womans milk pan—how could Jesus take the kingdom from those who bore no fruit & give it to another.— is an apple tree no longer a tree because it has no apples? parable of Prodigal son spoken to illustrate this distinction—from the moment John's voice was first heard he was the Prunner on the earth entitled to salvation. on the earth.

Servants of God of the last days myself & those I have ordained, have the priesthood & a mission—to the publicans & sinners—& if the Presbyterians & [two lines left blank].

are in the kingdom. if they are not righteous—what is the result. they are sinners & if they reject our voice they shall be damnded.

If a man was going to hell I would not let any man disturb him.—while we will be the last to oppress we will be the last to be driven from our post—peace be still bury the hatchet & the sword.—the sound of war is dreadfull in my ear. any man who will not fight for his wife & children is a coward & a bastard.

Mohemetans, Presbyterians, &c if ye will not embrace our religion embrace our hospitalities.

Franklin D. Richards "Scriptural Items"

the next sabbath he (Joseph) asked and answered 1st How was John the greatest prophet ever born of a woman 2d How was Christ is the least in the Kingdom greater than he

Ans to 1st His greatness consisted in 3 things 1st His appointment to prepare the way before the Lord Jesus Christ 2nd His privilege to Baptise him or induct him into his Kingdom 3d His being the only legal administrator in the affairs of the Kingdom that was then on the Earth consequently the Jews had to obey his instruction or be damned by their own Law & Christ fulfiled all righteousness in becoming obedient to the the Law which himself had given to Moses [17] on the mount and thereby magnified it and made it honorable instead of destroying it

Ans to 2nd Query Christ was least in the Kingdom in their estimation or least entitled to their credulty as a Prophet but as in Truth greater than John

{The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a Dove but the sign of a Dove was given to John to signify the Truth of the Deed as the Dove was an emblem or Token of Truth} [18]

Times and Seasons 4 (15 May 1843): 200

The Mormons have not yet completed their great Temple, and have no commodious place of worship, but the apostIes and elders preach in private houses on the Sabbath, and at other times, though I seldom attend these latter meetings; but when the weather will admit, they meet in the grove, or on the rough floor of the basement of the Temple, and then the prophet frequently preaches. On one of these occasions I heard him preach concerning the prodigal son. [19]

After naming his text, the prophet remarked, that some one had asked him the meaning of the expression of Jesus, "among those born of the woman there has not arisen a greater than John," [20] and said he had promised to answer it in public, and he would do it then. "It could not have been on account of the miracles John performed, for he did no miracles; but it was,

First, Because he was trusted with a divine mission, of preparing the way before the face of the Lord. [21] Who was trusted with such a mission, before or since? No man.

Second, He was trusted, and it was required at his hand, to baptise the Son of Man. who ever did that? Who ever had so great a privilege or glory? [22] Who ever led the Son of God into the waters of baptism, beholding the Holy Ghost descend upon him in the sign of the Dove? [23] No man.

Third, John, at that time, was the only legal administrator, holding the keys of power there was on earth. The keys, the kingdom, the power, the glory, had departed from the Jews; and John, the son of Zachariah, by the holy anointing, and decree of heaven, held the keys of power at that time." [24]

William Clayton Diary

Pres. Joseph Preached in the Temple on the Prodigal Son and showed that it did not refer to any nation, but was mearly an answer to the remark "he recieveth the sinners and eateth with them," [25] the Temple was crowded with people.

Willard Richards Diary

Meeting. Prodigal Son.

—29 January 1843


[1] See History of the Church, 5:260-62, and Teachings, pp. 275-78. The original source for this discourse as published in the History of the Church, and Teachings appears to be an amalgamation of the Joseph Smith Diary, by Willard Richards, and the report inTimes and Seasons (15 May 1843). It is possible that Willard Richards was in fact the author of the Times and Seasons account. The reports kept by Franklin D. Richards (except for the words enclosed in braces), William Clayton, and Willard Richards (personal diary) are here published for the first time.

[2] Luke 15:11-32.

[3] Luke 7:28.

[4] Malachi 3:1; Luke 7:27.

[5] Matthew 3:13-17.

[6] Six months before this discourse Joseph Smith published his book of Abraham. Facsimile 2, figure 7, of the book of Abraham speaks of the Holy Ghost being attended by the "sign of the dove." Though this wording used in the book of Abraham is consistent with the Prophet's discussion of the subject in this discourse, it is unlike the wording used in Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22; John 1:32; 1 Nephi 11:27; 2 Nephi 31:8; and D&C 93:15.

[7] Regarding the idea that the Holy Ghost is a personage, see 16 February 1841, note 2.

[8] That is, the Holy Bible.

[9] Luke 7:28.

[10] Luke 16:16.

[11] Although he spoke on this subject the previous week, the Prophet did not use the passage cited in note 10 to confirm this idea.

[12] Luke 15:1-2.

[13] Luke 15:3-7.

[14] Luke 15:8-10.

[15] Luke 15:7, 10.

[16] Luke 15:11-32.

[17] John 8:58 (33-59); 3 Nephi 15:5.

[18] See note 6, this discourse. The words placed within braces were integrated into the published account of this discourse in the History of the Church.

[19] Luke 15:11-32.

[20] Luke 7:28.

[21] Malachi 3:1; Luke 7:27.

[22] Matthew 3:13-17.

[23] See note 6, this discourse.

[24] Exodus 40:15 (1-16); Hebrews 5:4; Luke 1:13-15; Matthew 3:1-12.

[25] Luke 15:2, 11-32.