Discourse, circa 21 March 1841, as Reported by Martha Jane Knowlton Coray
JS, Discourse, [, Hancock Co., IL, ca. 21 Mar. 1841]. Featured version copied [between fall 1843 and 1855] in Martha Jane Knowlton Coray, Notebook, ca. 1843–1850s, pp. –; handwriting of Martha Jane Knowlton Coray; CHL.
Small book, measuring 5⅝ × 3⅝ × 3/8 inches (14 × 9 × 1 cm). The notebook consists of ninety-two pages in four gatherings of eight, sixteen, ten, and twelve leaves, respectively. The volume is loosely sewn together with thread and lacks a cover. The pages are ruled with now-faded black lines. The beginning of the notebook appears to be missing at least one leaf that likely contained diary entries. The majority of the book’s pages are unnumbered. Coray inscribed most of the entries in the book with black ink, but the volume also includes occasional inscriptions in graphite. Twenty-four pages in the middle of the book are blank. At some point, Coray turned the notebook upside down and used several blank leaves at the back of the notebook for her study of French. These reverse pages are numbered 3 through 20, suggesting that the back of the notebook was also missing at least one leaf.
The timing of ’s appointment as in , Illinois (an event referred to in the notebook), and internal dating suggest that Coray made the entries in the notebook sometime between 1843 and 1855. The first date listed in the notebook is 8 August 1853, and the last recorded date is 1 December 1854. The notebook contains diary entries, financial statements, school notes, a copy of Coray’s patriarchal blessing, and transcripts of three sermons given by JS in , Illinois.
Coray presumably maintained ownership of the volume until her death in 1881. The volume likely remained in the possession of the Coray family until at least July 1902. Historians later discovered the book filed among the Joseph F. Smith Papers in the Church Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, suggesting that the Coray family placed the notebook in Smith’s custody sometime prior to his death in 1918.
Ehat, Andrew F., and Lyndon W. Cook, eds. The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980.
And I prophecy that the day will come when you will say Oh that we had given heed but look now upon our public works the <stone> school house for instance the Simoon [simoom] of the Desert has passed over it the people will not hearken nor hear And bondage Death and destruction are close at our heels The Kingdom will not be broken up but judgements awaits man we shall be scattered and driven gathered again & then dispersed reestablished & driven abroad and so on until the Ancient of days shall sit and the Kingom and power thereof shall be given to the saints and they shall possess the it forever and ever which may God hasten for Christs sake Amen [p. ]
The location of this schoolhouse is unknown. In October 1839, the Nauvoohigh council named Samuel Bent, Davison Hibbard, and David Dort as trustees to build the stone schoolhouse, and Jabez Durfee and Alpheus Cutler as the architects and building committee for the structure. The committee was to build the school as quickly as possible, but the high council had apparently not secured the title to the land on which the school was to be built, forestalling their efforts. It is unknown whether construction of the schoolhouse was ever finished or even begun. (Nauvoo High Council Minutes, fair copy, 28 Oct. 1839; 22 Mar. 1840; Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 17 May 1841.)
Nauvoo High Council Minutes, fair copy / Nauvoo High Council Minutes, Oct. 1839–Dec. 1840. In Oliver Cowdery Diary, Jan.–Mar. 1836. CHL. MS 3429.
Nauvoo High Council Minutes, 1839–1845. Draft. CHL.
The simoom is a desert wind that occurs on the Arabian peninsula; its superheated temperatures can be deadly. In his Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, Thomas Hartwell Horne described it as a “pestilential blast.” He explained that it “rarely lasts more than seven or eight minutes, but so poisonous are its effects, that it instantly suffocates those who are unfortunate enough to inhale it.” (Horne, Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, 2:40.)
Horne, Thomas Hartwell. An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. 2nd ed. 4 vols. London: T. Cadell, 1821.