The Essential Joseph Smith
Foreword by Marvin S. Hill
“There Were Some People Who Thought It a Terrible Thing that Any Body Should Exercise a Little Power,” A Sermon Delivered on 21 May 1843 (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. 378-80)
[p.180]Joseph [Smith] arrived and after pressing his way through the crowd and getting on the stand said there were some people who thought it a terrible thing that any body should exercise a little power. [He] said he thought it a pity that any body should give occasion to have power exercised.
[Joseph] requested the people to get out of their alleys and if they did not keep them clear he might some time run up and down and might hit some of them and called on Bro[ther] Morey to constable to keep the alleys clear. After singing Joseph read 1st chap[ter] 2d Epistle of Peter… .
When I shall have the opportunity of speaking in a house I know not. I find my lungs failing. It has always been my fortune almost to speak in the open air to large assemblies.
I have not an idea there has been a great many very good men since Adam. There was one good man, Jesus. Many think a prophet must be a great deal better than any body else. Suppose I would condescend. Yes, I will call it condescend to be a great deal better than any of you, I would be raised up to the highest heaven, and who should I have to accompany me. I love that man better who swears a stream as long as my arm and [is attentive to] administering to the poor and dividing his substance, than the long smoothed faced hypocrites.
I don’t want you to think I am very righteous, for I am not very righteous. God judgeth men according to the light he gives them. We have a more sure word of prophecy, where unto you [would] do well to take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.
[p.181]We were eyewitnesses of his majesty and heard the voice of his excellent glory, and what could be more sure? Transfigured on the mount &c. and what could be more sure? Divines have been quarreling for ages about the meaning of this.
[I am like a] Rough stone rol[l]ing down [a] hill.
Three grand secrets [are] lying in this chapter [2 Peter 1] which no man can dig out which unlocks the whole chapter. What is written are only hints of things which existed in the prophet’s mind which are not written concerning eternal glory.
I am going to take up this subject by virtue of the knowledge of God in me which I have received from heaven.
The opinions of men, so far as I am concerned, are to me as the crackling of the thorns under the pot, or the whistling of the wind.
Columbus and the eggs. Ladder and rainbow. Like precious faith with us. Add to your faith, virtue, &c. Another point after having all these qualifications he lays this inju[nc]tion, but rather make your calling and election sure. After adding all this virtue, knowledge, and make your calling sure. What is the secret? The starting point? According as his divine power which [he] hath given unto all things that pertain to life and Godliness.
How did he obtain all things? Through the knowledge of him who hath called him. There could not any[thing] be given pertaining to life and Godliness without knowledge.
Wo, wo, wo to Christendom, the divine spirits, &c. If this be true, Salvation is for a man to be saved from all his enemies. Until a man can triumph over death he is not saved. Knowledge will do this.
Organization of spirits in the Eternal World. Spirits in the Eternal world are like spirits in this world. When those spirits have come into this [world] risin and received glorified bodies, they will have an ascendency over spirits who have no bodies, or kept not their first estate like the devil. Devil’s punishment, should not have a habitation like the other men. Devil’s retaliation [was to] come into this world, bind up men’s bodies and occupy [them] himself. Authorities come along and eject him from a stolen habitation.
Design of the Great God in sending us into this world and organizing us to prepare us for the Eternal World. I shall keep [my spirit] in my own bosom. We have no claim in our eternal comfort in relation to Eternal things unless our actions and contracts and all things tend to this end.
[p.182]After all this make your calling and election sure. If this injuncti[o]n would lay largely on those to whom it was spoken, [then] How much more there [is in this] to them of the 19[th] century.
1[st] Key—Knowledge in the power of Salvation.
2[nd] Key—Make his calling and Election sure.
3[rd] It is one thing to be on the mount and hear the excellent voice &c., &c. and another to hear the voice declare to you, “You have a part and lot in the kingdom.”