Discourse, 20 March 1842, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff
JS, Discourse, [, Hancock Co., IL, 20 Mar. 1842]. Featured version copied [ca. 20 Mar. 1842] in Wilford Woodruff, Journal, vol. 4, 1 Jan. 1841–31 Dec. 1842, pp. –; handwriting of ; Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Discourse, 7 Nov. 1841, as Reported by Wilford Woodruff.
On Sunday, 20 March 1842, JS preached a discourse in , Illinois, on infant mortality and before what described as a “vast assembly” who met “at an early hour.” JS had intended to speak exclusively on baptism when he learned that Marian Lyon, the two-year-old daughter of and , had died the previous day. Woodruff wrote that the body of Marian Lyon was “presented in the assembly.” This was not the first occasion on which JS had cause to reflect on the death of a child. Infant mortality rates were high throughout the nineteenth century, and JS and his wife had lost six children, including a stillborn child the month before this discourse.
wrote that JS began, as he often did, by reading a chapter from the Bible. On this occasion he read Revelation 14. The chapter recounts John the Revelator’s vision of the Lamb on Mount Sion and the 144,000 who were “redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” Woodruff then recorded what he called “a brief synopsis of some of the items presented.” JS presented infant mortality as a warning to his audience not to delay repentance. He also spoke on baptism and other ordinances as “signs” that were necessary to receive God’s blessings. JS concluded by discussing resurrection, including that of little children.
wrote that JS’s remarks on death and resurrection “were in the highest degree interesting” and that his instruction on baptism “was truly glorious to the believer in Jesus Christ.” In the afternoon, JS baptized sixty to eighty individuals in the before the congregation adjourned to a grove, where JS and bestowed the upon many of those he had baptized.
may have inscribed his “brief synopsis” using notes taken during the discourse. Woodruff’s occasional use of quotation marks indicates his attempt to capture some of JS’s actual words. Woodruff’s journal report was used as the primary text for the sermon when it was printed in the 15 April 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons. Asterisks in Woodruff’s journal mark a passage that was not included in the published account, indicating a textual relationship between the versions. In addition, the Times and Seasons article includes a notation ascribing the report to Woodruff. Significant differences between the featured text and the Times and Seasons version are noted.
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
Easton, Susan Ward, comp. “Inscriptions Found on Tombstones and Monuments in Early Latter-day Saint Burial Grounds: Nauvoo, Illinois (Joseph Smith Homestead, Pioneer Saints Cemetery on Parley Street); Mt. Pisgah, Iowa; West Bank of the Niobrara River, Nebraska; Winter Quarters, Nebraska.” Unpublished paper. [Provo, UT], [ca. 1980]. Copy at FHL.
The sign of Peter was, to repent & be for the remission of Sins, in it with the promise of the & in no other way is the gift of the Holy Ghost obtained, Their is a difference between the Holy Ghost & the gift of the Holy Ghost, Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was Baptized which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the gospel, but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost untill after he was Baptized, & had he not taken this sign or upon him the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God would have left him, untill he obeyed these ordinances & received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands according to the order of God he could not have healed the sick or command[ed] an evil spirit to come out of a man & it obey him for the spirit might say to him as he did to the sons of Scava[,] Peter I know & Christ I know but who are ye
It mat[t]ereth not whither we live long or short after we come to a knowled[g]e of the<se> principles & obey them, I know that all men will be damned if they do not come in the way which God has appointed
As concerning the resurrection I will mer[e]ly say that all men will come from the grave as they lay lie down, whether old or young their will not be added unto the[i]r stature one cubit neither taken from it, All being raised by the power of God having the Spirit of God in their bodies & not Blood children will be enthroned in the presence of God & the Lamb with bodies of the same stature that were on earth, Having been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb they will there enjoy a fulness of that light Glory & intelligence which is received in the of God “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their [p. ]