History, 1838–1856, volume D-1 [1 August 1842–1 July 1843]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1522
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<April 7> To a remark of Elder ’s, that a man’s body changes every seven years. President Joseph <Smith> replied, there is no fundamental principle belonging to a human system that ever goes into another, in this world, or in the world to come; I care not what the theories of men are. We have the testimony that God will raise us up, and he has the power to do it, if any one supposes that any part of our bodies, that is, the fundamental parts thereof, ever goes into another body, he is mistaken.
Singing by the Choir. Prayer by Elder .
The ice which had made a bridge across the since last November moved away in immense masses.
8 April 1843 • Saturday
<8.> Conference again convened. <I addressed the Saints; the following synopsis was reported by and . >
<“President Joseph Smith called upon the choir to sing a hymn, and remarked that ‘tenor charms the ear,— bass the heart.’ After singing he spoke as follows: I have three requests to make of the congregation; the first is, that all who have faith will exercise it, and pray the Lord to calm the wind; for as it blows now, I cannot speak long without seriously injuring my health. The next is, that I may have your prayers that the Lord will strengthen my lungs, so that I may be able to make you all hear: and thirdly, that you will pray for the Holy Ghost to rest upon me, so as to enable me to declare those things that are true. ¶ The subject I intend to speak upon this morning is one that I have [HC 5:339] seldom touched upon since I commenced my ministry in the Church. It is a subject of great speculation as well amongst the elders of this Church as amongst the divines of the day; it is in relation to the Beast spoken of by John the Revelator. I have seldom spoken from the Revelations; but as my subject is a constant source of speculation amongst the elders, causing a division of sentiment and opinion in relation to it, I now do it in order that division and difference of opinion may be done away with, and not that correct knowledge on the subject is so much needed at the present time. It is not very essential for the elders to have knowledge in relation to the meaning of beasts, and heads, and horns, and other figures made use of in the Revelations; still it may be necessary to prevent contention and division, and to do away with suspense. If we get puffed up by thinking that we have much knowledge, we are apt to get a contentious spirit, and correct knowledge is necessary to cast out that spirit. The evil of being puffed up with correct (though useless) knowledge, is not so great as the evil of contention. Knowledge does away with darkness, suspense and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is. There is no pain so awful as that of suspense: this is the punishment of the wicked; their doubt, anxiety, and suspense, cause weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. ¶ In knowledge there is power. God has more power than all other beings, because he has greater knowledge; and hence he knows how to subject all other beings to him: He has power over all. ¶ I will endeavor to instruct you in relation to the meaning of the beasts and figures spoken of. I should not have called up the subject, had it not been for this circumstance: Elder Pelatiah Brown, one of the wisest old heads we have among us, and whom I now see before me, has been preaching concerning the beast which was full of eyes before and behind; and for this he was hauled up for trial before the High Council. I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine; it looks too much like <the> Methodists, and not like <the> Latter Day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please; it feels so good not to be tramelled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine. The High Council undertook to censure and correct Elder Brown because of his teaching in relation to the beasts; whether they actually corrected him or not I am a little doubtful, but don’t care. Father Brown came to me to know what he should do about it. The [HC 5:340] subject particularly referred to, was the four beasts and four and twenty elders mentioned in Rev. ch 5. v 8: ‘And when he had taken the book, the four beasts, and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of Saints.’ Father Brown has been to work and confounded all Christendom by making out that the four beasts represented the different kingdoms of God on the earth. The wise men of the day could not do anything with him; and why should we find fault? Anything to whip sectarianism, put down priestcraft, and bring the human family to a knowledge of the truth: a club is better than no weapon for a poor man to fight with. Father Brown did whip sectarianism, and so far so good; but I could not help laughing at the idea of God making use of the figure of a beast to represent His kingdom on the earth consisting of men, when he could as well have used a far more noble and consistent figure. What? The Lord make use of the figure of a creature of the brute creation to represent that which is much more <noble,> glorious and important— the glories and majesty of His kingdom? By taking a lesser figure to represent a greater, you missed it that time, old gentleman; but the sectarians did not know enough to detect you. ¶ When God made use of the figure of a beast in visions to the prophets, he did it to represent those kingdoms which had degenerated and become corrupt— savage and beast like in their dispositions, even the degenerate kingdoms of the wicked world; but he never made use of the figure of a beast nor any of the brute kind to represent His kingdom. Daniel says <(Ch. 7 v 16) when he saw the vision of the four beasts, ‘I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this ‘The angel interpreted the vision> (ch 7 v. 16) when he saw the vision of the four beasts, ‘I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this’ The angel interpreted the vision to Daniel; but we find by the interpretation, that the figures of beasts had no allusion to the kingdom of God. You there see that the beasts are spoken of to rep<resent the Kingdom of the world, the inhabitants whereof were beastly and abominable characters, they were murderers, corrupt, carnivorous and brutal in their dis>resent the kingdoms of the world, the inhabitants whereof were beastly and abominable characters; they were murderers, corrupt, carnivorous, and brutal in their dispositions. The lion, the bear, the leopard, and the ten horned beast represented the kingdoms of the world, says Daniel; for refer to the prophets to qualify my observations which I make, so that the young elders who know so much may not rise up like a flock of hornets and sting me. I want to keep out of such a wasp nest. ¶ There is a grand difference and distinction between the <visions and> figures spoken of by the ancient prophets, and these spoken of in the Revelations of John. The things which John saw had no allusion to the [HC 5:341] scenes of the days of Adam, Enoch, Abraham, or Jesus, only so far as is plainly represented to John, and clearly set forth by him. John saw that only which was lying in futurity, and which was shortly to come to pass. See Rev. ch. 1 v. 1-3; which is a key to the whole subject:> [p. 1522]
April 7 To a remark of Elder ’s, that a man’s body changes every seven years. President Joseph Smith replied, there is no fundamental principle belonging to a human system that ever goes into another, in this world, or in the world to come; I care not what the theories of men are. We have the testimony that God will raise us up, and he has the power to do it, if any one supposes that any part of our bodies, that is, the fundamental parts thereof, ever goes into another body, he is mistaken.
Singing by the Choir. Prayer by Elder .
The ice which had made a bridge across the since last November moved away in immense masses.
8 April 1843 • Saturday
8. Conference again convened. I addressed the Saints; the following synopsis was reported by and .
“President Joseph Smith called upon the choir to sing a hymn, and remarked that ‘tenor charms the ear,— bass the heart.’ After singing he spoke as follows: I have three requests to make of the congregation; the first is, that all who have faith will exercise it, and pray the Lord to calm the wind; for as it blows now, I cannot speak long without seriously injuring my health. The next is, that I may have your prayers that the Lord will strengthen my lungs, so that I may be able to make you all hear: and thirdly, that you will pray for the Holy Ghost to rest upon me, so as to enable me to declare those things that are true. ¶ The subject I intend to speak upon this morning is one that I have [HC 5:339] seldom touched upon since I commenced my ministry in the Church. It is a subject of great speculation as well amongst the elders of this Church as amongst the divines of the day; it is in relation to the Beast spoken of by John the Revelator. I have seldom spoken from the Revelations; but as my subject is a constant source of speculation amongst the elders, causing a division of sentiment and opinion in relation to it, I now do it in order that division and difference of opinion may be done away with, and not that correct knowledge on the subject is so much needed at the present time. It is not very essential for the elders to have knowledge in relation to the meaning of beasts, and heads, and horns, and other figures made use of in the Revelations; still it may be necessary to prevent contention and division, and to do away with suspense. If we get puffed up by thinking that we have much knowledge, we are apt to get a contentious spirit, and correct knowledge is necessary to cast out that spirit. The evil of being puffed up with correct (though useless) knowledge, is not so great as the evil of contention. Knowledge does away with darkness, suspense and doubt; for these cannot exist where knowledge is. There is no pain so awful as that of suspense: this is the punishment of the wicked; their doubt, anxiety, and suspense, cause weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. ¶ In knowledge there is power. God has more power than all other beings, because he has greater knowledge; and hence he knows how to subject all other beings to him: He has power over all. ¶ I will endeavor to instruct you in relation to the meaning of the beasts and figures spoken of. I should not have called up the subject, had it not been for this circumstance: Elder Pelatiah Brown, one of the wisest old heads we have among us, and whom I now see before me, has been preaching concerning the beast which was full of eyes before and behind; and for this he was hauled up for trial before the High Council. I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine; it looks too much like the Methodists, and not like the Latter Day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please; it feels so good not to be tramelled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man, because he errs in doctrine. The High Council undertook to censure and correct Elder Brown because of his teaching in relation to the beasts; whether they actually corrected him or not I am a little doubtful, but don’t care. Father Brown came to me to know what he should do about it. The [HC 5:340] subject particularly referred to, was the four beasts and four and twenty elders mentioned in Rev. ch 5. v 8: ‘And when he had taken the book, the four beasts, and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of Saints.’ Father Brown has been to work and confounded all Christendom by making out that the four beasts represented the different kingdoms of God on the earth. The wise men of the day could not do anything with him; and why should we find fault? Anything to whip sectarianism, put down priestcraft, and bring the human family to a knowledge of the truth: a club is better than no weapon for a poor man to fight with. Father Brown did whip sectarianism, and so far so good; but I could not help laughing at the idea of God making use of the figure of a beast to represent His kingdom on the earth consisting of men, when he could as well have used a far more noble and consistent figure. What? The Lord make use of the figure of a creature of the brute creation to represent that which is much more noble, glorious and important— the glories and majesty of His kingdom? By taking a lesser figure to represent a greater, you missed it that time, old gentleman; but the sectarians did not know enough to detect you. ¶ When God made use of the figure of a beast in visions to the prophets, he did it to represent those kingdoms which had degenerated and become corrupt— savage and beast like in their dispositions, even the degenerate kingdoms of the wicked world; but he never made use of the figure of a beast nor any of the brute kind to represent His kingdom. Daniel says (ch 7 v. 16) when he saw the vision of the four beasts, ‘I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this’ The angel interpreted the vision to Daniel; but we find by the interpretation, that the figures of beasts had no allusion to the kingdom of God. You there see that the beasts are spoken of to represent the kingdoms of the world, the inhabitants whereof were beastly and abominable characters; they were murderers, corrupt, carnivorous, and brutal in their dispositions. The lion, the bear, the leopard, and the ten horned beast represented the kingdoms of the world, says Daniel; for refer to the prophets to qualify my observations which I make, so that the young elders who know so much may not rise up like a flock of hornets and sting me. I want to keep out of such a wasp nest. ¶ There is a grand difference and distinction between the visions and figures spoken of by the ancient prophets, and these spoken of in the Revelations of John. The things which John saw had no allusion to the [HC 5:341] scenes of the days of Adam, Enoch, Abraham, or Jesus, only so far as is plainly represented to John, and clearly set forth by him. John saw that only which was lying in futurity, and which was shortly to come to pass. See Rev. ch. 1 v. 1-3; which is a key to the whole subject: [p. 1522]
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