The Essential Joseph Smith
Foreword by Marvin S. Hill
“I Shall Now Endeavor to Set Forth,” Two Sermons Delivered on 12 February and 21 April 1834
(from “Kirtland [Ohio] Council Minute Book,” original in archives, Historical Department,
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah)
[p.45]This evening the high Priests and Elders of the Church in Kirtland [met] at the house of bro. Joseph Smith Jun. in Council for Church business. The council was organized, and opened by bro. Joseph Smith Jun in prayer. Bro. Joseph then rose and said: I shall now endeavor to set forth before this council, the dignity of the office which has been conferred upon me by the ministring of the Angel of God, by his own will and by the voice of this Church. I have never set before any council in all the order in which a Council ought to be conducted, which, perhaps, has deprived the Council of some, or many blessings.
He said, that no man was capable of judging a matter in council without his own heart was pure, and that we frequently are so filled with prejudice, or have a beam in our own eye, that we are not capable of passing right decissions, &c. But to return to the subject of the order. In ancient days Councils were conducted with such strict propriety, that no one was allowed to whisper, be weary, leave the room, or get uneasy in the least, until the voice of the Lord, by revelation, or by the voice of the council by the Spirit was obtained: which has not been observed in the church to the present. It was understood in ancient days, that if one man could stay in Council another could, and if the president could spend his time, the members could also. But in our councils, generally, one would be uneasy, another asleep, one praying another not; one’s mind on the business of the council and another thinking on something else &c. Our acts are recorded, and at a future day they will be laid before us, and if we should fail to judge right and injure our fellow beings, they may there perhaps condemn us; then they are of great consequence, and to me [p.46]the consequence appears to be of force beyond any thing which I am able to express &c. Ask yourselves, brethren, how much you have exercised yourselves in prayer since you heard of this council; and if you are now prepared to sit in judgment upon the soul of your brother. Br Joseph then went on to give us a relation of his situation at the time he obtained the record, the persecution he met with &c. He also told us of his transgression at the time he was translating the Book of Mormon. He also prophecied that he should stand and shine like the sun in the firmament when his enemies and the gainsayers of his testimony should be put down and cut off and their names blotted out from among men.
* * *
This day a conference of the Elders of the Church of Christ assembled at the dwelling house of bro. [Benjamin] Carpenters at 10 O’clock A.M… . Bro. Joseph Smith Jun. read the 2nd Chapter of the prophecy of Joel & took the lead in prayer, after which, he commenced addressing the congregation, as follows. It is very difficult for us to communicate to the Churches all that God has revealed to us, in consequence of tradition; for we are differently situated from any other people that ever existed upon this Earth. [C]onsequently those former revelations cannot be suited to our condition, because they were given to other people who were before us; but in the last days, God was to call a remnant, in which was to be deliverance, as well as in Jerusalem, and Zion. Now, if God should give no more revelations, where will we find Zion and this remnant. He said that the time was near when desolation was to cover the earth and then God would have a place of deliverance in his remnant, and in Zion, &c. He then gave a relation of obtaining and translating the Book of Mormon, the revelation of the priesthood of Aaron, the organization of the Church in the year 1830, the revelation of the high priesthood, and the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out upon the Church, &c. Take away the book of Mormon, and the revelations, and where is our religion? We have none; for without a Zion and a place of deliverance, we must fall, because the time is near when the sun will be darkened, the moon turn to blood, the stars fall from heaven and the earth reel to and fro; then if this is the case, if we are not sanctified and gathered to the places where God has appointed, [despite] our former professions and our great love for the bible, we must fall, we cannot stand, we cannot [p.47]be saved; for God will gather out his saints from the gentiles and then comes desolation or destruction and none can escape except the pure in heart who are gathered, &c.