JS, Discourse, [, Hancock Co., IL], 30 Jan. . Featured version copied [ca. 30 Jan. 1842] in Wilford Woodruff, “Book of Revelations,” pp. –; handwriting of ; CHL.
The discourse is contained in a blank book measuring 6 × 4 × ⅜ inches (15 × 10 × 1 cm). The text block originally consisted of fifty-six leaves, with two leaves of endpaper at the front and at the back of the volume. The book has a tight-back, quarter binding with cow leather. At some point the first leaf of the text block and the two leaves of endpaper at the beginning of the volume were excised from the volume. Ink is visible on the stub of the first leaf of the text block, indicating that at least the recto of that leaf contained text. The wear on the stubs suggests that the pages were cut from the volume while it was still in use. inscribed “Book of Revelations | W Woodruff” on the front cover of the volume.
The volume was initially owned by Asahel Woodruff, who began using it as a diary or genealogical record sometime around December 1837. He died in October 1838, and his brother took possession of his “private letters, Journals, writing papers [and] Account Books” on 13 December 1838. Presumably this volume was among Asahel’s papers. Wilford Woodruff began copying into the volume in summer 1839. The volume was perhaps transferred with Woodruff’s other papers and journals to the Church Historian’s Office (now CHL) by 1858, but in 1860 Woodruff used the volume to record bids to provide grain for the soldiers stationed at Camp Floyd that year. The volume appears in a church inventory produced in 1878. At some point after 1878, the record was given to his wife Sarah Brown Woodruff and was then passed down through the family until it was donated to church historian and recorder Joseph Fielding Smith sometime in the mid-twentieth century. Smith apparently retained the volume among his papers, and it likely became part of the First Presidency’s papers when Smith became church president in 1970, as happened with other historical records in his possession. In 2010 the First Presidency transferred custody of Woodruff’s “Book of Revelations” to the CHL.
Brook P. Hales to Glenn N. Rowe, 28 June 2010, in Case File for Woodruff, “Book of Revelations,” CHL.
Woodruff, Wilford. “Book of Revelations,” ca. 1837–1860. CHL.
On the evening of 30 January 1842, JS delivered a discourse at his home in , Illinois, concerning deification and other doctrines. In a brief note in JS’s journal, scribe described the discourse as concerning “Spirits their operations & designs.” This description was likely based on JS’s statement, as noted by in the document featured here, that “Spirits that have bodies have power over those that have not.” A year earlier JS preached on similar themes, including the embodiment of God and Christ and the concept that humans have power over the devil because the devil lacks a body.
Deification, as a Latter-day Saint doctrine, appeared in the vision of the afterlife that JS and experienced on 16 February 1832. Their account of the vision referred to postmortal human inhabitants of the —the highest of three kingdoms of heavenly glory—as “Gods even the sons of God.” defended the concept in a pamphlet printed in 1838. In 1841 —a , Illinois, newspaper editor who was hostile to the —responded, claiming “the reasoning of the Apostle Parley P. Pratt” and “the doctrine of the Church” to be that Latter-day Saints would “have power to create worlds” in the next life “and that those worlds will transgress the law given, consequently they will become saviors to those worlds, and redeem them; never, until all this is accomplished, will their glory be complete; and then there will be ‘Lords many and Gods many.’” This statement contains similarities with the featured document, suggesting that Sharp was drawing on existing beliefs among the Latter-day Saints. In the sermon featured here, JS further elucidated his previous teachings regarding deification and related subjects. Some ideas related to deification expressed here do not appear again in any later discourses.
copied this sermon into his booklet titled “Book of Revelations,” though his journal indicates Woodruff was away from Nauvoo on 30 January. Woodruff likely used someone else’s notes of the sermon when he recorded it. Except the brief note in JS’s journal, this is the only extant account of this sermon.
Pratt, Parley P. Mormonism Unveiled: Zion’s Watchman Unmasked, and its Editor, Mr. L. R. Sunderland, Exposed: Truth Vindicated: The Devil Mad, and Priestcraft in Danger! New York: O. Pratt & E. Fordham, 1838.
Harris, Mormonism Portrayed, 23; see also Watkins, “Parley P. Pratt and the Dialectical Development of Early Mormon Conceptions of Theosis,” 209. Although William Harris was credited for Mormonism Portrayed,Sharp was the primary author. (“Monsieur Violet and the Mormons,” Warsaw [IL] Signal, 11 Sept. 1844, .)
Harris, William. Mormonism Portrayed; Its Errors and Absurdities Exposed, and the Spirit and Designs of Its Authors Made Manifest. . . . Warsaw, IL: Sharp and Gamble, 1841.
Watkins, Jordan. “‘All of One Species’: Parley P. Pratt and the Dialectical Development of Early Mormon Conceptions of Theosis.” In Parley P. Pratt and the Making of Mormonism, edited by Gregory K. Armstrong, Matthew J. Grow, and Dennis J. Siler, 201–218. Norman, OK: Arthur H. Clark, 2011.
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
Jan 30[th]  Joseph the Seer taught the following principles that the God & father of our Lord Jesus Christ was once the same as the Son or Holy Ghost bothaving [both having] redeemed a world became the eternal God of that world he had a son Jesus Christ who redeemed this earth the same as his father had a world which made them equal & the Holy Ghost would do the same in his turn & so would all the Saints [p. ]