Discourse, between circa 26 June and circa 4 August 1839–A, as Reported by Willard Richards
JS, Discourse, [, Lee Co., Iowa Territory, or , Hancock Co., IL], [between ca. 26 June and ca. 4 Aug. 1839]. Featured version copied [between 13 Jan. 1840 and 20 Apr. 1841] in Willard Richards, “W. Richards Pocket Companion Written in England,” pp. 63–73; handwriting of ; Willard Richards, Journals and Papers, CHL.
, “W Richards Pocket companion written in England,” notebook, [between 13 Jan. 1840 and 20 Apr. 1841]; handwriting of ; 102 pages; Willard Richards, Journals and Papers, CHL. Includes use marks, drawings, and archival markings.
Blank book measuring 6¼ × 4 × ⅜ inches (16 × 10 × 1 cm). The book contains seventy-six leaves in six gatherings. The first leaf of the first gathering is glued to the front board, and the last leaf of the last gathering is glued to the back board. ’s entries in the book are in brown ink. The volume contains stains and mold damage throughout. The volume’s limp case binding is supported by two strips of vellum tape along a hollow-back spine. After the book was bound, brown leather—possibly sheepskin—was pasted along the boards and spine of the book. Richards inscribed “Pocket Companion” in ink on the cover of the volume. He similarly wrote “W Richards Pocket companion written in England” on the recto of the second leaf. The majority of the volume’s content is a copy of apostle ’s “Book of Revelations,” which contains several JS revelations and discourses as well as a sermon by . Richards copied the content at some point after 13 January 1841, when Woodruff arrived in for a proselytizing mission with Richards and others. Richards next wrote nearly thirty pages of scriptural notes under the heading “The Subject of the Dispensation of the fullness of Times” and then copied additional instructions from JS, which he likely received from another missionary, possibly . Afterward, Richards copied selections from JS’s Bible revisions for Genesis and Matthew, followed by a passage from a revelation not included in Woodruff’s “Book of Revelations.” Richards apparently completed making entries in the volume by 20 April 1841, when he boarded a ship to leave England. After Richards became church historian and recorder later in the 1840s, this volume and his other personal papers were included among the archival holdings of the church. An early inventory of church records includes a reference to “Drs. private books & Papers,” which likely included the “Pocket Companion.” The volume contains archival and use marks throughout, suggesting that at some point material was copied from the “Pocket Companion,” likely by staff in the Church Historian’s Office in the mid-1850s. The use of the volume in the Church Historian’s Office suggests that the volume has been in continuous institutional custody.
“Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” , Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.
Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL. CR 100 130.
In the “Pocket Companion” notebook that kept during his 1837–1841 mission in , he included a discourse JS gave on the and other doctrinal matters. Although Richards did not identify the discourse as JS’s, the majority of the entries in the pocket notebook are JS revelations or discourses that Richards copied without attributing them to JS. When this discourse was added to JS’s multivolume manuscript history by in 1845, the discourse was ascribed to JS.
did not date this discourse when he copied it into his notebook, but JS probably gave the discourse in summer 1839, likely between late June and early August, as members of the and the Quorums of the prepared to leave for their mission to Europe. During late June and early July, JS addressed the apostles and seventies on several “ of the Kingdom of God,” including the discernment of spirits, the spirit of prophecy and revelation, humility and cooperation, and the doctrines of election and salvation. The discourse featured here explores similar themes and was probably given around the same time. In JS’s history, placed this discourse after a JS sermon dated 2 July and added a heading to this discourse, explaining that JS gave it around the time of the 2 July sermon. However, the discourse could have been given as late as 4 August, the last time the apostles and seventies met with JS before the first of the men left for their mission to Europe. Although the apostles and seventies had intended to leave in early July, they were delayed when most of them and their families contracted malaria. Because so many were ill, few meetings were held in July. Sunday meetings resumed on 28 July, with JS and some of the apostles speaking the next week, on 4 August. On 8 August, two of the apostles departed for Europe.
’s copy of this discourse states that the priesthood authority Peter, James, and John gave to JS was the same that had been given to the ancient patriarchs beginning with Adam and that this authority was eternal. The discourse also expounds on the prophecies in Daniel chapter 7, the role of Adam, the gatherings that had and would yet take place in , and other signs prophesied to occur before the second coming of Jesus Christ.
was not present when JS gave the discourse; he was proselytizing in and apparently copied the discourse from one of the apostles or seventies who arrived in Britain starting in December 1839 and who brought an account of the discourse with them. He copied this discourse into his “Pocket Companion” between January 1840 and April 1841, at around the same time he copied two other discourses: one on the parable of the sower in Matthew, chapter 13, and the other on John, chapter 14, and the steps necessary to gain salvation and eternal life. As with the discourse featured here, the other two discourses were likely given between late June and early August, and Richards probably copied the discourses from the same source. Although the source Richards copied from is unknown, he may have copied from notes that apostle made. Two parenthetical remarks included in Richards’s copy of the featured discourse end with the initials “J. T.”—presumably indicating the notes were interpolations made in the text by Taylor, who arrived in England in January 1840.
The featured discourse includes a discussion of how to discern between good and evil spirits. A discourse JS gave on 27 June was also on the topic of discerning spirits, and it is unclear whether JS revisited this subject in multiple discourses or whether the featured document is a different account of the 27 June discourse. (See Discourse, 27 June 1839.)
See Richards, Journal, 16 Jan. and 9 Apr. 1840; “From England,” Times and Seasons, May 1840, 1:110–111; and “From England,” Times and Seasons, June 1840, 1:119–121. ApostlesJohn Taylor and Wilford Woodruff arrived in England in January 1840; several other apostles arrived in April. Richards could have copied the discourse notes of one of these apostles anytime between their 1840 arrivals and his 1841 return to the United States.
hand we must not delay, but are not required to sacrifice. We ought to have the building up of as our greatest object.— when wars come we shall have to flee to Zion. The cry is to make haste. The last revelation says ye shall not have time to have gone over the Earth until these things come. It will come as did the Cholera. war. & fires burning Earthquake one pestilence after another &c until until the Ancient of Days come then judgment will be given to the Saints.
Whatsoever you may hear about me or , take no notice of. for if it be a place of refuge the Devil will use his greatest efforts to trap the . You must make yourselves acquainted with those men, who, like Daniel, pray three times a day to the house of the Lord.— Look to the &c <& rece[i]ve instruction>.— Every man who is afraid. covetous &c will be taken in a snare— The time is soon coming when no man will have any peace but in Zion & her . [p. 70]
A cholera epidemic that began in India in 1817 reached the East Coast of the United States in 1832. Cholera killed tens of thousands in the United States in the 1830s as it spread across the country. In 1834 Oliver Cowdery described the epidemic as a pestilence signaling Christ’s second coming. (“Answer,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Sept. 1834, 189; see also Jortner, “Cholera, Christ, and Jackson,” 237–238.)
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
Jortner, Adam. “Cholera, Christ, and Jackson: The Epidemic of 1832 and the Origins of Christian Politics in Antebellum America.” Journal of the Early Republic 27, no. 2 (Summer 2007): 233–264.
JS was likely referring to rumors spread by dissenters in Kirtland, Ohio. For example, Warren Parrish and others published articles and wrote letters defaming JS and the church. (See Warren Parrish, Kirtland, OH, 5 Feb. 1838, Letter to the Editor, Painesville [OH] Republican, 15 Feb. 1838, ; and Stephen Burnett, Orange Township, OH, to Lyman Johnson, 15 Apr. 1838, in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 64–66.)