The Essential Joseph Smith
Foreword by Marvin S. Hill
“Ever Keep in Exercise the Principles of Mercy,” A Sermon Delivered on 2 July 1839
(from Scott G. Kenney, ed., Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 9 vols.
[Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1983-85], 1:342-44)
[p.122]Joseph [Smith] arose & presented some precious things of the kingdom unto us in the power of the Holy Ghost, yea precious principles that ought to be engraven upon our hearts & practiced in our lives, some of which are as follows:
Ever keep in exercise the principles of mercy & be ready to forgive our brother on the first intimations of repentance & asking forgiveness & should we even forgive our brother or our enemy before they ask it our heavenly father would be equally as merciful unto us & also we ought to be willing to repent of & confess all of our own sins & keep nothing back, & let the Twelve [Apostles] be humble & not be exalted & beware of pride & not seek to excell one above another but act for each others good & honerably make mention of each others name in our prayrs before the Lord & before our fellow men, & not backbite & devour our brother.
Why will not man learn wisdom by precept & example at this late age of the world & not be oblieged to learn every thing we know by sad experiance? Must the new ones that are chosen to fill the places of those that are fallen of the quorum of the Twelve, begin to exhalt themselves untill they get so high that they will tumble over & have a great fall & go wallowing through the mud, mire, & darkness Judas like to the buffating of Satan as several of the Twelve have done, or will they learn wisdom & be wise? (O God give them wisdom & keep them humble I pray.)
When the Twelve or any other witness of Jesus Christ stands befor the Congregations of the earth & they preach in the power & demonstration of the Holy Ghost & the people are asstonished & confounded at the doctrin & say that that man has preached a powerful discours a great sermon then let that man or those men take care that they do not asscribe the glory unto themselves but be careful that [p.123]they are humble & asscribe the praise & glory to God & the Lamb for it is by the power of the Holy Priesthood & the Holy Ghost that they have power thus to speak. What art thou O man but dust & from whom dost thou receive thy power & blessings but from God?
Then O ye Twelve notice this key & be wise for Christ sake & your own souls sake. Ye are not sent out to be taught but to teach. Let every man be Sober be vigilent & let all his words be seasoned with grace & keep in mind that it is a day of warning & not of many words.
Act honest before God & man. Beware of gentile sophestry such as bowing & scraping unto men in wholm you have no Confidence. Be honest open & frank in all your intercourse with mankind.
O ye Twelve and all Saints, profit by this important Key that in all your trials, troubles, & temptations, afflictions bonds imprisionment & death see to it that you do not betray heaven, that you do not betray Jesus Christ, that you do not betray your Brethren, & that you do not betray the revelations of God whether in the bible, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine & Covenants or any of the word of God. Yea in all your kicking, & floundering see to it that you do not this thing lest innocent blood be found in your skirts & you go down to hell.
We may ever know by this sign that there is danger of our being led to a fall & aposticy, when we give way to the devil so as to neglect the first known duty. But whatever you do do not betray your Friend.