In a discourse at a lyceum meeting in , Illinois, most likely held on 16 February 1841, JS spoke about the nature of the Godhead and the virtue of self-examination. In the first meeting of the lyceum on 5 January 1841, JS spoke about the essence of God, highlighting the corporeal nature of God and rejecting the general Christian tenet resulting from the verse in the Gospel of John that states, “God is a Spirit.” JS instead declared, “That which is without body or parts is nothing. There is no other God in heaven but that God who has flesh and bones.” In this 16 February discourse, JS further explained the separate embodiment of God the Father and Jesus Christ; he also discussed the value of personal introspection and the relationship between motivation and action.
JS appears to have been the fourth and final featured speaker at this meeting of the lyceum. wrote an account of this JS discourse in his personal notebook. Although McIntire did not provide a date for the meeting, lyceum meetings appear to have been held every Tuesday, and because the text of this discourse is found in the seventh meeting entry of McIntire’s notebook, JS most likely delivered the discourse at the lyceum meeting of 16 February, the seventh Tuesday of 1841.
the God-head it was Not as many imagined— three Heads & but one body; he said the three were separate bodys, God the first & Jesus the Mediator the 2d & the Holy Ghost & these three agree in one & this is the man[n]er we should aproach God in order to get his blessings & he also said Every man ware is stimulated by a certain motive, to act motive preceeds action & if we want to know ourselves this is the key to Examine the motive what it is, & the fact will be manifest [p. ]
The term “mediator” as a title for Jesus Christ is found in a few places in the New Testament and twice in the Book of Mormon. In the New Testament the phrase “Jesus the Mediator” is exclusive to the book of Hebrews, where it is fully rendered “Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.” In his account of an 1832 vision of the afterlife, JS used the phrase when describing those who would inherit a celestial glory: they were “just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant.” He again used this terminology to describe Christ in a letter to his uncle Silas Smith in 1833 and in published instructions on the priesthood in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. In an 1839 sermon, JS described Christ as “Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant.” (Galatians 3:19–20; 1 Timothy 2:5; Book of Mormon, 1840 ed., 65 [2 Nephi 2:27–28]; Hebrews 12:24; Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:69]; Letter to Silas Smith, 26 Sept. 1833; Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:19]; Discourse, between ca. 26 June and ca. 4 Aug. 1839–A.)
Compare JS’s statement two years later when he criticized sectarian priests for believing that “Fathe[r]— Son & H. Gho[s]t. all stuck into one person . . . all stuffed into one God—— a big God.” (JS, Journal, 11 June 1843.)