The Essential Joseph Smith
Foreword by Marvin S. Hill
“I Am Happy in the Enjoyment of this Oppertunity,” A Sermon Delivered on 12 November 1835
(from Scott H. Faulring, ed., An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith
[Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1987], pp. 56-58)
[p.55]I am happy in the enjoyment of this oppertunity of meeting with this Council [of Twelve Apostles] on this occasion. I am satisfyed that the spirit of the Lord is here. I am satisfied with all the breth[r]en present. I need not say that you have my utmost confidence and that I intend to uphold you to the uttermost. For I am well aware that you have to sustain my character against the vile calumnies and reproaches of this ungodly generation and that you delight in so doing. Darkness prevails at this time as it was at the time Jesus Christ was about to be crucified. The powers of darkness strove to obscure the glorious sun of righteousness that began to dawn upon the world and was soon to burst in great blessings upon the heads of the faithful.
Let me tell you brethren that great blessings awate us at this time and will soon be poured out upon us if we are faithful in all things. For we are even entitled to greater blessings than they were because the[y] had the person of Christ with them to instruct them in the great plan of salvation. His personal presence we have not, therefore we need great faith on account of our peculiar circumstances. I am determined to do all that I can to uphold you. Although I may do many things invertanbly [inadvertently] that are not right in the sight of God.
You want to know many things that are before you that you may know how to prepare your selves for the great things that God is about to bring to pass. But there is on[e] great deficiency or obstruction in the way that deprives us of the greater blessings. And in order to make the foundation of this Church complete and permanent, we must remove this obstruction which is to attend to certain duties that we have not as yet attended to.
I supposed I had established this Church on a permanent foundation when I went to the Missouri. Indeed I did so, for if I had been [p.56]taken away it would have been enough, but I yet live. Therefore God requires more at my hands.
The item to which I wish the more particularly to call your attention to night is the ordinance of washing of feet. This we have not done as yet, but it is necessary now as much as it was in the days of the Saviour. We must have a place prepared that we may attend to this ordinance aside from the world. We have not desired much from the hand of the Lord with that faith and obediance that we ought. Yet we have enjoyed great blessings and we are not so sensible of this as we should be.
When or wher[e] has God suffered one of the witnesses or first Elders of this Church to fall? Never nor nowhere amidst all the calamities and judgments that have befallen the inhabitants of the earth. His almighty arm had sustained us. Men and Devils have raged and spent the[ir] malice in vain.
We must have all things prepared and call our Solem[n] Assembly as the Lord has commanded us that we may be able to accomplish his great work. It must be done in God’s own way. The House of the Lord must be prepared and the Solem[n] Assembly called and organized in it according to the order of the House of God. In it we must attend to the ordinance of washing of feet. It was never intended for any but official members. It is calculated to unite our hearts that we may be one in feeling and sentiment and that our faith may be strong so that Satan cannot over throw us, nor have any power over us.
The Endowment you are so anxious about you cannot comprehend now. Nor could Gabriel explain it to the understanding of your dark minds, but strive to be prepared in your hearts. Be faithful in all things that when we meet in the Solem[n] Assembly that is such as God shall name out of all the official members will meet and we must be clean ev[e]ry whit. Let us be faithful and silent brethren and if God gives you a manifestation keep it to yourselves. Be watchful and prayerful and you shall have a prelude of those joys that God will pour out on that day. Do not watch for iniquity in each other. If you do you will not get an endowment, for God will not bestow it on such. But if we are faithful and live by every word that proce[e]des forth from the mouth of God I will venture to prophesy that we shall get a blessing that will be worth remembering if we should live as long as John the Revelator. Our blessings will be such as we have not realized before, nor in this generation.
[p.57]The order of the House of God has and ever will be the same. Even after Christ comes and after the termination of the thousand years it will be the same and we shall finally roll into the Celestial Kingdom of God and enjoy it forever. You need an Endowment brethren in order that you may be prepared and able to over come all things. Those that reject your testimony will be damned. The sick will be healed, the lame made to walk, the deaf to hear and the blind to see through your instrumentality. But let me tell you that you will not have power after the Endowment to heal those who have not faith, nor to benifit them. For you might as well expect to benefit a devil in hell as such an one who is possessed of his spirit and are willing to keep it. For they are habitations for the devils and only fit for his society.
But when you are endowed and prepared to preach the gospel to all nations, kindred and toungs [tongues] in there own languages you must faithfully warn all and bind up the testimony and seal up the law. The destroying angel will follow close at your heels and execute his tremendeous mission upon the children of disobediance and destroy the workers of iniquity, while the Saints will be gathered out from among them and stand in holy places ready to meet the bride groom when he comes.
I feel disposed to speak a few words more to you my brethren concerning the Endowment. All who are prepared and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Saviour will see him in the Solem[n] Assembly.