The Essential Joseph Smith
Foreword by Marvin S. Hill
“I Was Once Praying Very Ernestly,” Remarks Delivered on 2 April 1843
(from George D. Smith, ed., An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton
[Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1991], pp. 95-98)
[p.172]Joseph [Smith] preached on Revelations Chap[ter] 5. He called on me [William Clayton] to open the meeting. He also preached on the same subject in the evening.
During the day President Joseph made the following remarks on doctrine. “I was once praying very ernestly to know the time of the coming of the son of man when I heard a voice repeat the following. `Joseph my son, if thou livest until thou art 84 years old thou shalt see the face of the son of man, therefore let this suffice and trouble me no more on this matter.’ I was left thus without being able to decide w[h]ether this coming referred to the beginning of the Millenium, or to some previous appearing or w[h]ether I should die and thus see his face. I believe the coming of the son of man will not be any sooner than that time.”
In correcting two points in Elder [Orson] Hydes discourse he observed as follows. “The meaning of that passage where it reads `When he shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is’ is this. When the savior appears we shall see that he is a man like unto ourselves, and that same sociality which exists amongst us here will exist among us there only it will be coupled with eternal glory which we do not enjoy now. Also the appearing of the father and the son in John c[hapter] 14 v[erse] 23 is a personal appearing and the idea that they will dwell in a mans heart is a sectarian doctrine and is false.”
In answer to a question which I proposed to him as follows, “Is not the reckoning of gods time, angels time, prophets time and mans time according to the planet on which they reside[?”] he answered yes. “But there is no angel ministers to this earth[;] only what either does belong or has belonged to this earth and the angels do not reside [p.173]on a planet like our earth but they dwell with God and the planet where he dwells is like crystal, and like a sea of glass before the throne. This is the great Urim and Thummim[;] whereon all things are manifest both things past, present and future and are continually before the Lord. The Urim and Thummim is a small representation of this globe. The earth when it is purified will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom on all kingdoms of a lower order will be manifest to those who dwell on it. And this earth will be with Christ. Then the white stone mentioned in Rev[elation] c[hapter] 2 v[erse] 17 is the Urim and Thummim whereby all things pertaining to an higher order of kingdoms even all kingdoms will be made known[;] and a white stone is given to each of those who come into this celestial kingdom whereon is a new name written which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.
“Whatever principle of intelligence we obtain in this life will rise with us in the resurrection: and if a person gains more knowledge in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come. There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundation of this world upon which all blessings are predicated; and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.
“The Holy Ghost is a personage, and a person cannot have the personage of the H[oly] G[host] in his heart. A man receive the gifts of the H[oly] G[host] and the H[oly] G[host] may descend upon a man but not to tarry with him.”
He also related the following dream. “I dreamed that a silverheaded old man came to see me and said he was invaded by a gang of robbers, who were plundering his neighbors and threatening destruction to all his subjects. He had heard that I always sought to defend the oppressed, and he had come to hear with his own ears what answer I would give him. I answered, if you will make out the papers and shew that you are not the aggressor I will call out the [Nauvoo] Legion and defend you while I have a man to stand by me. The old man then turned to go away. When he got a little distance he turned suddenly round and said I must call out the Legion and go and he would have the papers ready when I arrived, and says he I have any amount of men which you can have under your command… .[“]
Once when President Joseph was praying ernestly to know con-[p.174]cerning the wars which are to preceed the coming of the son of man, he heard a voice proclaim that the first outbreak of general bloodshed would commence at South Carolina (see Revelation [D&C 87]).
The sealing of the 144,OOO was the number of priests who should be anointed to administer in the daily sacrifice &c. During President Joseph’s remarks he said there was a nice distinction between the vision which John saw as spoken of in Revelations and the vision which Daniel saw, the former relating only to things as they actually existed in heaven, the latter being a figure representing things on the earth. God never made use of the figure of a beast to represent the kingdom of heaven, when they were made use of it was to represent an apostate church.