Blessing from Joseph Smith Sr., 9 December 1834

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Joseph Smith, junior was born in Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, December 23, 1805.
Joseph, my son, I lay my hands upon thy head in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to . The Lord thy God has called thee by name out of the heavens: thou hast heard his voice from on high from time to time, even in thy youth. The hand of the angel of his presence has been extended toward thee by which thou hast been lifted up and sustained; yea, the Lord has delivered thee from the hands of thine enemies and thou hast been made to rejoice in his salvation: thou hast sought to know his ways, and from thy childhood thou hast meditated much upon the great things of his law. Thou hast suffered much in thy youth, and the poverty and afflictions of thy ’s family have been a grief to thy soul. Thou hast desired to see them delivered from bondage, for thou hast lov’d them with a perfect love. Thou hast stood by thy , and like Shem, would have covered his nakedness, rather than see him exposed to shame: when the daughters of the laughed, thy heart has been moved with a just anger to avenge thy kindred. Thou hast been an obedient son: the commands of thy and the reproofs of thy , thou hast respected and obeyed— for all these things the Lord my God will bless thee. Thou hast been called, even in thy youth to the great work of the Lord: to do a work in this generation which no other man would do as thyself, in all things according to the will of the Lo[r]d. A marvelous work and a wonder has the Lord wrought by thy hand, even that which shall prepare the way for the remnants of his people to come in among the Gentiles, with their fulness, as the tribes of Israel are restored. I bless thee with the blessings of thy fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and even the blessings of thy father Joseph, the son of Jacob. Behold, he looked after his posterity in the last days, when they should be scattered and driven by the Gentiles, and wept before the Lord: he sought diligently to know from whence the son should come who should bring forth the word of the Lord, by which they might be enlightened, and brought back to the true fold, and his eyes beheld thee, my son: his heart rejoiced and his soul was satisfied, and he said, As my blessings are to extend to the utmost bounds of the everlastings hills; as my father’s blessing prevailed above the blessings of his progen[i]tors, and as my branches are to run over the wall, and my seed are to inherit the choice land whereon the of God shall stand in the last days, from among my seed, scattered with the Gentiles, shall a choice arise whose bowels shall be as a fountain of truth, whose loins shall be girded with the girdle of righteousness, whose hands shall be lifted with acceptance before the God of Jacob to turn away his anger from his annointed, whose heart shall meditate great wisdom, whose intelligence shall circumscribe and <​and​> comprehend the deep things of God, and whose mouth shall utter the law of the just: [p. 3] His feet shall stand upon the neck of his enemies, and he shall walk upon the ashes of those who seek his destruction: with wine and oil it shall he be sustained, and he shall feed upon the heritage of Jacob his father: the just shall desire his society, and the upright in heart shall be his companions: No weapon formed against him shall prosper, and though the wicked mar him for a little season, he shall be like one rising up in the heat of wine— he shall roar in his strength, and the Lord shall put to flight his persecutors: his he shall be blessed like the fruitful olive, and his memory shall be as sweet as the choice cluster of the first ripe grapes. Like <​a​> shief [sheaf] fully ripe, gathered into the garner, so shall he stand before the Lord, having produced a hundred fold. Thus spake my father Joseph. Therefore, my son, I know for a surety that these things will be fulfilled, and I confirm upon thee all these blessings. Thou shalt live <​to​> do the work which the Lord shall command thee: thou shalt hold the of this ministry, even the of this , both in time and in eternity. Thy heart shall be enlarged, and thou shalt be able to fill up the measure of thy days according to the will of the Lord. Thou shalt speak the word of the Lord and the earth shall tremble; the mountains shall move and the rivers shall turn out of their course. Thou shalt escape the edge of the sword, and put to flight the armies of the wicked. At thy word the lame shall walk, the deaf shall hear and the blind shall see. Thou shalt be gathered to and in the goodly land thou shalt enjoy thine ; thy children and thy children’s children to the latest generation; for thy name and the names of thy posterity shall be recorded in the book of the Lord, even in the book of blessings an <​and​> genealogies, for their joy and benefit forever. And now, my son, what more shall I say? Thou art as a fruitful olive and a choice vine: thou shalt be laden with precious fruit. Thousands and tens of thousands shall come to a knowledge of the truth through thy ministry, and thou shalt rejoice with them in the : Thou shalt stand upon the earth when it shall reel to and fro as a drunken man, and be removed out of its place: thou shalt stand when the mighty judgments go forth to the destruction of the wicked: thou shalt stand on mount Zion when the tribes of Jacob come shouting from the north, and with thy brethren, the sons of Ephraim, crown them in the name of Jesus Christ: Thou shalt see thy Redeemer Come in the clouds of heaven, and with the just receive the hallowed throng with shouts of hallalujahs, praise the Lord. Amen
, wife of Joseph Smith jr. was born in , Susqehannah County, Pennsylvania, July 10, 1804.
, my daughter-in-law, thou art blessed of the Lord, for thy faithfulness and truth: thou shalt be blessed with thy husband, and rejoice in the glory which shall come upon him: Thy soul has been afflicted because of the wickedness of men in seeking the destruction of thy companion, and thy whole soul has been drawn out in prayer for his deliverance: rejoice, for the Lord thy God has heard thy suplication. Thou hast grieved for the hardness of the hearts of thy ’s house, and thou hast longed for their salvation. The Lord will have respect to thy cries, and by his judgments he will cause some of them to see their folly and repent of their sins; but it will be by affliction that they will be saved. Thou shall see many days; yea, the Lord will spare thee till thou art satisfied, for thou shalt see thy Redeemer. Thy heart shall rejoice in the great work of the Lord, and no one shall take thy rejoicing from thee. Thou shalt ever remember the great condescension of thy God in permitting thee to accompany my son when the angel delivered the record of the Nephites to his care. Thou hast seen much sorrow because the Lord has taken from thee three of thy children: in this thou are not to be blamed, for he knows thy pure desires to raise up a family, that the name of my son might be blessed. And now, behold, I say unto thee, that thus says the Lord, if thou wilt believe, thou shalt yet be blessed in this thing <​and​> thou shalt bring forth other children, to the joy and satisfaction [p. 4] of thy soul, and to the rejoicing of thy friends. Thou shalt be blessed with understanding, and have power to instruct thy sex. Teach thy family righteousness, and thy little ones the way of life, and the holy angels shall watch over thee: and thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God; even so. Amen.
,} Clerk and Recorder.
, December 9, 1834. [p. 5]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    This was likely not part of the blessing but something added by Cowdery when he recorded it. Similar information precedes all the other blessings given that day.  

  2. 2

    See JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 3.  

  3. 3

    Concerning his interest in religion at an early age, JS wrote in 1832, “At about the age of twelve years my mind became seriously imprest with regard to the all importent concerns for the wellfare of my immortal Soul which led me to searching the scriptures believeing as I was taught, that they contained the word of God.” (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 1–2.)  

  4. 4

    Joseph Smith Sr. lost his farm in New York in 1825 and struggled to support his family thereafter. Prior to bestowing blessings on his children on 9 December 1834, he stated, “My frame is feeble because of the many trials and fateagues which I have endured in this life.” He further stated that he had often not been faithful to the Lord, and “I have not always set that example before my family that I ought: I have not been diligent in teaching them the commandments of the Lord. . . . Notwithstanding all this my folly, which has been a cause of grief to my family, the Lord has often visited me in visions and in dreams, and has brought me, with my family, through many offlictions, and I this day thank his holy name.” In his 1832 history, JS said, “I fell into transgressions and sinned in many things which brought a wound upon my soul and there were many things which transpired that cannot be writen and my Fathers family have suffered many persicutions and afflictions.” (Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism, 66–68; Patriarchal Blessings, 1:1; JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 4.)  

    Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984.

    Patriarchal Blessings, 1833–. CHL. CR 500 2.

  5. 5

    See Genesis 9:20–23.  

  6. 6

    See Isaiah 29:11–14; Revelation, Feb. 1829 [D&C 4:1]; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 111 [2 Nephi 27:26]; JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 5; and “The Book of Mormon,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [1]–[3].  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  7. 7

    See Isaiah 49:6; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 54 [1 Nephi 21:6].  

  8. 8

    See Revelation, ca. Aug. 1835 [D&C 27:9–10].  

  9. 9

    See Genesis 49:22, 26.  

  10. 10

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 66–67 [2 Nephi 3:6–7, 15, 18]. “Seer” was one of JS’s ecclesiastical titles, suggesting that he is the one referred to here. (Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830 [D&C 21:1]; Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:92].)  

  11. 11

    See Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832 [D&C 85:7].  

  12. 12

    See Isaiah 11:5; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 98 [2 Nephi 21:5].  

  13. 13

    See Mark 4:8, 20.  

  14. 14

    This refers to Joseph the patriarch, son of Jacob, and suggests the same blessings for JS.  

  15. 15

    See Revelation, 8 Mar. 1833 [D&C 90:2–3]; and Historical Introduction to Account of Meetings, Revelation, and Blessing, 5–6 Dec. 1834.  

  16. 16

    See Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:4]; and Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57].  

  17. 17

    See James 5:7.  

  18. 18

    See Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:69–70]; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:20–25].  

  19. 19

    See Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49:23–24].  

  20. 20

    See Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831 [D&C 133:26–32].  

  21. 21

    See Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:96–98]; and 1 Thessalonians 4:14–17.  

  22. 22

    An 1830 revelation directed Emma to be a “comfort unto my Servent Joseph thy husband in his afflictions with consoleing words in the spirit of meekness.” JS had experienced much affliction from antagonists, sometimes with direct repercussions for Emma. For example, on the night of 24–25 March 1832 in Hiram, Ohio, a group of men dragged JS from his bed, attempted to force aqua fortis, a highly corrosive solution of nitric acid and water, into his mouth, and then tarred and feathered him. After dragging JS from the house, the door was left open, exposing JS’s and Emma’s infant son Joseph Murdock, already sick with the measles, to the cold night air. This apparently exacerbated his illness, and he soon died from complications, further grieving JS and Emma. In August 1833 and again in the early months of 1834, JS wrote that church members in Kirtland, Ohio, suffered “great persicution on account of” Doctor Philastus Hurlbut, who lied in an attempt to “b[r]ake down mormanism” and who “saught the distruction” of the church, JS, and his family. (Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25:5]; JS History, vol. A-1, 205–209; Letter to Church Leaders in Jackson Co., MO, 18 Aug. 1833; JS, Journal, 28 Jan. 1834; see also “Mormon Trial,” Chardon [OH] Spectator and Geauga Gazette, 12 Apr. 1834, [4].)  

    JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca. 1882. CHL. CR 100 102, boxes 1–7. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

    Chardon Spectator and Geauga Gazette. Chardon, OH. 1833–1835.

  23. 23

    Isaac Hale, Emma’s father, was opposed to the marriage of JS and Emma in 1827. Although Hale did take in JS and Emma and sold them part of his property and the home where JS worked on his translation of the Book of Mormon, Hale never believed in the book or JS’s ministry. (JS History, vol. A-1, 8; Deed from Isaac and Elizabeth Hale, 25 Aug. 1830; Isaac Hale, Affidavit, 20 Mar. 1834, in Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 262–266.)  

    JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca. 1882. CHL. CR 100 102, boxes 1–7. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

    Howe, Eber D. Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time. With Sketches of the Characters of Its Propagators, and a Full Detail of the Manner in Which the Famous Golden Bible Was Brought before the World. To Which Are Added, Inquiries into the Probability That the Historical Part of the Said Bible Was Written by One Solomon Spalding, More Than Twenty Years Ago, and by Him Intended to Have Been Published as a Romance. Painesville, OH: By the author, 1834.

  24. 24

    See Willard Chase, Affidavit, 11 Dec. 1833, in Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 245–246; and “Mormonism—No. II,” Tiffany’s Monthly, Aug. 1859, 164–165. Not only did Emma accompany JS to the hill where he obtained the gold plates, she also served as a scribe for JS during his translation of the record. (Edmund C. Briggs, “A Visit to Nauvoo in 1856,” 454; Journal of History, Oct. 1916, 454; Joseph Smith III, “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald, 1 Oct. 1879, 289–290; Knight, Reminiscences, 1.)  

    Howe, Eber D. Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time. With Sketches of the Characters of Its Propagators, and a Full Detail of the Manner in Which the Famous Golden Bible Was Brought before the World. To Which Are Added, Inquiries into the Probability That the Historical Part of the Said Bible Was Written by One Solomon Spalding, More Than Twenty Years Ago, and by Him Intended to Have Been Published as a Romance. Painesville, OH: By the author, 1834.

    “Mormonism,” Tiffany’s Monthly 5 (May 1859): 46–51; (July 1859): 119–121; (Aug. 1859): 163–170. Tiffany's Monthly. New York City. 1856–1859.

    Briggs, Edmund C. “A Visit to Nauvoo in 1856.” Journal of History 9, no. 4 (Oct. 1916): 446–462.

    Saints’ Herald. Independence, MO. 1860–.

    Knight, Joseph, Sr. Reminiscences, no date. CHL. MS 3470.

  25. 25

    On 15 June 1828, Emma gave birth to a son who died within an hour; on 30 April 1831, she gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl who lived only three hours. In early May 1831, JS and Emma adopted Joseph and Julia Murdock, whose mother died in childbirth. Joseph Murdock died on 29 March 1832. Joseph Smith III was born in Kirtland on 6 November 1832. At this time, then, only two of JS and Emma’s six children were still living. (JS History, 1834–1836, 9; JS History, vol. A-1, 209.)  

  26. 26

    A July 1830 revelation called Emma an “Elect Lady” and explained to her that she would “be ordained under his [JS’s] hand to expound Scriptures & exhort the Church.” Emma was eventually named president of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, an ecclesiastical organization of Latter-day Saint women formed in March 1842. During the organizational meeting of the Relief Society, JS stated that Emma had been ordained “at the time, the Revelation was given, to expound the scriptures to all.” JS also commented on the meaning of “Elect Lady,” explaining that “Elect meant to be Elected to a certain work &c, & that the revelation was then fulfilled by Sister Emma’s Election to the Presidency of the Society.” (Revelation, July 1830–C [D&C 25:3, 7]; Relief Society Minute Book, 17 Mar. 1842; JS, Journal, 17 Mar. 1842, underlining in original.)  

    Relief Society Minute Book / “A Book of Records Containing the Proceedings of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo,” Mar. 1842–Mar. 1844. CHL. Also available at josephsmithpapers.org.