Appendix: Discourses, 22 June and 23 or 24 June 1844, as Recorded in Fullmer, Letterbook
JS, Discourses, [, Hancock Co., IL], [22 and] 23 June 1844. Version inscribed [28 Apr. 1881] in John S. Fullmer, Letterbook, 1836–1881, pp. 83–87; handwriting of ; John S. Fullmer, Journal and Letterbook, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Discourse, 10 Mar. 1844, as Reported by John S. Fullmer.
This document transcript represents a manuscript copy of accounts of two discourses that JS reportedly delivered in late June 1844 to members of the in , Illinois. These accounts are among approximately two dozen similar documents located in the Church History Library. Each of these documents, save four, contains copies of two discourses, one dated 22 June and another dated either 23 or 24 June. These late June speeches do not meet the rigorous criteria of a JS document. The accounts contain apparent anachronisms and cannot be corroborated by other contemporaneous sources. For instance, JS did not direct the Nauvoo Legion to relinquish their state arms on 22 June, as reported in the speech dated 22 June, but rather on 24 June, after he had been ordered to do so by governor . Journals kept by and make no mention of such speeches delivered between 22 and 24 June. Moreover, the extant copies of these speeches were written decades after JS supposedly delivered them. The earliest recorded document, a partial copy of the 24 June speech, was possibly inscribed around 1868, while the most recent document, also a partial copy of the 24 June speech, was evidently written down no later than 1945 or 1946.
While these documents do not qualify as Joseph Smith documents, project editors are publishing online a lightly annotated transcript of one of the accounts of these sermons for three reasons. First, the accounts of these late June sermons appear to have been based on some of JS’s actual statements. Second, the proliferation of these speeches during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries demonstrates that they were viewed as authentic. Third, researchers need to be aware of these problematic reports so the texts do not continue to proliferate in historical narratives and scholarly applications as authentic.
The featured version comes from the letterbook of early church member , who served in a clerical capacity for JS in 1841. The transcript, which includes first- and third-person perspectives of JS’s remarks, contains copies of speeches dated 22 and 23 June 1844. At the end of the speech dated 23 June, Fullmer appended a statement explaining where his copy came from. He stated that took notes of JS’s discourses, which were later transcribed by an individual identified as W. Gallup for early church member , and that he, Fullmer, transcribed these speeches from Dibble’s copy on 28 April 1881. Fullmer, who was a member of the Nauvoo Legion, also wrote that he was present when JS delivered these speeches to legion members.
The content of the speeches in ’s copy appears to be the most complete, and the reported provenance of his copy is the most detailed among the various versions. For these reasons, Fullmer’s copy of the speeches is the version featured here. All of the versions in the Church History Library are listed in a chart found on the Joseph Smith Papers website. Because numerous copies of these speeches were made during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it is likely that other copies exist that have not been located by the Joseph Smith Papers Project.
Two of the four exceptions contain only copies of the speech dated 24 June, a third is undated but resembles the speech accounts dated 23 or 24 June, and a fourth exception contains only a copy of the speech dated 22 June. (“This Is the Last Discourse That the Prophet Joseph Smith Deliverd in Nauvoo,” 24 June 1844, and “An Epitomy of the Speech of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” 24 June 1844, in Collected Accounts of Addresses of Joseph Smith to the Nauvoo Legion, June 1844, CHL; “A Manuscript Furnished by Jno Forsgreen,” ca. 1870, –, Ruia Holden Bushman, Collection, CHL; JS, Discourse, 22 June 1844, in Miscellaneous Papers, 1840–1844, ca. 1870, Hosea Stout, Papers, CHL.)
Collected Accounts of Addresses of Joseph Smith to the Nauvoo Legion, June 1844. CHL.
Historical Introduction to Military Orders, 24 June 1844, in JSP, D15:450–453.
JSP, D15 / Dowdle, Brett D., Matthew C. Godfrey, Adam H. Petty, J. Chase Kirkham, David W. Grua, and Elizabeth A. Kuehn, eds. Documents, Volume 15: 16 May–27 June 1844. Vol. 15 of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Matthew C. Godfrey, R. Eric Smith, Matthew J. Grow, and Ronald K. Esplin. Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2023.
The earliest recorded document came from an account book with the date 12 December 1868 inscribed on the front flyleaf. The dates “1945”and“1946” were inscribed on the verso of the final leaf of the most recent transcript, which suggests the transcript was created no later than the mid-twentieth century. (“A Manuscript Furnished by Jno Forsgreen,” ca. 1870, Ruia Holden Bushman, Collection, CHL; Edwin Holden Family Record Book, ca. 1868–1882, Ruia Holden Bushman, Collection, CHL; “An Epitomy of the Speech of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” 24 June 1844, in Collected Accounts of Addresses of Joseph Smith to the Nauvoo Legion, June 1844, CHL.)
Bushman, Ruia Holden. Collection, 1842–1948. CHL.
Collected Accounts of Addresses of Joseph Smith to the Nauvoo Legion, June 1844. CHL.
Clayton’s purported notes are not extant. W. Gallup could be William Gallop, who was born in Springville, Utah, on 14 December 1852. It is possible that Dibble asked Gallup for a copy of these speeches so he could use them in his famed lectures. For three decades, Dibble traveled throughout Utah, displaying three painted murals and speaking on church history. The paintings depicted JS’s final speech to the Nauvoo Legion in Nauvoo, the 27 June 1844 murders of JS and Hyrum Smith in Carthage, Illinois, and the Mormon Battalion. (“Gallop, William,” in Jenson, Latter-Day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:497; Leonard, “Picturing the Nauvoo Legion,” 110–111; Carmack, “Philo Dibble’s Museum and Panorama,” 26–33.)
Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia: A Compilation of Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 4 vols. Salt Lake City: Andrew Jenson History Co., 1901–1936.
At the first court-martial of the Nauvoo Legion, held on 4 February 1841, Fullmer was appointed “Pay-Master” of the militia. In his letterbook, Fullmer wrote “Springville, Utah, Jan. 20th. 1878” at the beginning of his copy of JS’s speeches. If Fullmer’s transcript is an accurate copy of the Dibble transcript, which has not been located, then this dateline could possibly refer to the date and location that Gallup allegedly transcribed Clayton’s notes for Dibble. (Minutes, 4 Feb. 1841; JS, Discourses, 22 and 23 June 1844, in Fullmer, Letterbook, 83, 87.)
Fullmer, John S. Letterbook, 1836–1881. John S. Fullmer Journal and Letterbook, 1836–1881. CHL.
And when your enemies call for quarters, be sure that grant them the same. And then you will gain power over the world. He then raised his hand from the head of , and also raised his voice, saying you will forever be named the . And as I have had the honor of being your General and leader, I feel to say a few words to your comfort, and I wish to ascertain your interest of faith in your future mission of life that your engaged in, even the same cause with the power of the upon you, and your calling is to minister life and salvation unto all Nations upon the Earth.
Although things appear at the present crisis, by the works of our enemies that they hold an overruling power over us, but I will liken these things to a wheel of fortune, if we at this time under the wheel, it is sure to be rolling on, and as sure will the Saints some time be on the top of this great wheel, if they hold on for their return fortune in view.—
If it was not for the tender bonds of love that binds me to you my friends and brethren; death would be to me as sweet as honey. Our enemies are after me, to trust my life amongst them by their voucher and honor of State, and by the and authorities of the State of . I therefore will say to you and as Saints and of Israel, be not troubled, nor give yourselves uneasiness, so as to make any rash move, or to take any hasty steps, in doing any wrong, whereby you will be cut short in your calling in preaching [p. 85]
JS was perhaps alluding to the rota fortunae, or wheel of fortune, a concept rooted in ancient philosophy that entered Anglo-American culture through Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare’s plays, and other sources. Such texts reference the idea that an individual’s prospects can rise and fall according to the dictates of fate and providence. JS invoked the imagery of the wheel of fortune years earlier in a letter to the Latter-day Saints. (Robinson, “Wheel of Fortune,” 207–216; Chapman, “Wheel of Fortune in Shakespeare’s Historical Plays,” 1–7; Letter to the Church in Caldwell County, 16 Dec. 1838; see also Discourse, 26 May 1844.)
Robinson, David M. “The Wheel of Fortune.” Classical Philology 41, no. 4 (Oct. 1946): 207–216.
Chapman, Raymond. “The Wheel of Fortune in Shakespeare’s Historical Plays.” Review of English Studies 1, no. 1 (Jan. 1950): 1–7.