Discourse, 6 April 1837

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Joseph Smith jr. rose and spoke on the subject of the . The , he said was no other then the priesthood of the Son of God. There are certain which belong to the priesthood, and certain results flow from it.
The , or presidency are over the , and revelations of the mind and will of God to the church are to come through the presidency. This is the order of heaven and the power and privilege of this priesthood. It is also the privilege of any officer in this church, to obtain revelations so far as relates to his particular calling or duty in the church. All are bound by the principles of virtue and happiness, but one great privilege of this priesthood is to obtain revelations, as before observed, of the mind and will of God. It is also the privilege of the Melchisedec priesthood, to reprove, rebuke and admonish, as well as to receive revelations.
He here remarked something concerning the will of God, and said, that what God commanded, the one half of the church would condemn.— A , is a member of the same Melchisedec priesthood, with the presidency, but not of the same power or authority in the church. The are also members of the same priesthood, are a sort of travelling , or priesthood, and may preside over a church or churches until a high priest can be had. The seventies are to be taken from the quorum of and are not to be high priests. They are subject to the direction and dictation of the , who have the of the ministry. All are to preach the gospel, by the power and influence of the Holy Ghost, and no man, said he, can preach the gospel without the Holy Ghost.
The was a high priest, and necessarily so, because he is to preside over that particular branch of the church affairs that are denominated the , and because we have no direct lineal descendent of Aaron to whom it would of right belong. He remarked that this was the same, or a branch of the same priesthood; and illustrated his position by the figure of the human body, which has dfferent members, which have different offices to perform: all are necessary in their place, and the body is not complete without all the members. From a view of the requirements of the servants of God to preach the gospel, he remarked that few were qualified even to be , and if a priest understood his duty, his calling and ministry and preached by the Holy Ghost, his enjoyment is as great as if he were one of the presidency; and his services are necessary in the body, as are also those of and . Therefore in viewing the church as whole, we may strictly denominate it one priesthood.
He remarked that he rebuked and admonished his brethren frequently, and that because he loved them; not because he wished to incur their displeasure or mar their happiness.
Such a course of conduct was not calculated to gain the good will of all, but rather the ill will of many, and thereby the situation in which he stood was an important one. So you see, brethren the higher the authority, the greater the difficulty of the station. But these rebukes and admonitions became nccssary from the perverseness of brethren, for their temporal as well as spiritual welfare. They actually constituted a part of the duties of his station and calling.
Others had other duties to perform that were important and far less enviable, and might be just as good, like the feet or hands in their relation to the human body, neither could claim priority, or say to the other I have no need of you. After all that has been said the greatest duty and the most important is, to preach the gospel.
He then alluded to the temporal affairs of the church in this place, stating the causes of the embarrassments of a pecuniary nature that were now pressing upon the heads of the church. He observed they began poor, were needy, destitute, and were truly afflicted by their enemies; yet the Lord commanded them to go forth and preach the [p. 487] gospel, to sacirfice their time, their talents, their good name and jeopardize their lives, and in addition to this, they were to build a , and prepare for the of the saints.
Thus it was easy to see this must involve them. They had no temporal means in the beginning commensurate with such an undertaking, but this work must be done, this place had to be built up. He further remarked that it must yet be built up, that more houses must be built. He observed that large contracts had been entered into for land on all sides where our enemies had signed away their right. We are indebted to them to be sure, but our brethren abroad have only to come with their money, take these eontracts [contracts], relieve their brethren of the pecuniary embarrassments under which they now labor, and procure for themselves a peaceable place of rest among us. He then closed at about 4 P. M. by uttering a prophesy saying this place must be built up, and would be built up, and that every brother that would take hold and help secure and discharge those contracts that had been made, should be rich. [p. 488]


  1. 1

    See Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:3].  

  2. 2

    See Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:9–10, 91–92].  

  3. 3

    See Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:18–19].  

  4. 4

    See Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:8–14].  

  5. 5

    See Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:25–26].  

  6. 6

    See Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:33–35].  

  7. 7

    See Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:16–17].  

  8. 8

    See Instruction on Priesthood, between ca. 1 Mar. and ca. 4 May 1835 [D&C 107:69–76].  

  9. 9

    See 1 Corinthians 12:12, 14, 20.  

  10. 10

    During fall and winter 1835, JS rebuked several church members in Kirtland, correcting their errors in an effort to promote unity and order prior to the dedication of the House of the Lord and the promised endowment of power. (See Revelation, 1 Nov. 1835; Revelation, 8 Nov. 1835; Historical Introduction to Letter from William Smith, 18 Dec. 1835; and JS, Journal, 8 Nov. 1835.)  

  11. 11

    See 1 Corinthians 12:15, 21.  

  12. 12

    JS and other church leaders hoped that building the city of Kirtland and gathering the Saints and their resources there might aid them in repaying debts. In this 6 April meeting, JS, Hyrum Smith, and Sidney Rigdon each urged church members to come to Kirtland and to purchase land that had already been obtained by church leaders. (See Historical Introduction to Constitution of the Kirtland Safety Society Bank, 2 Nov. 1836.)  

  13. 13

    At a previous meeting, Frederick G. Williams expressed similar sentiments about the impoverished beginning of the church and the many undertakings that involved church leaders in amassing large debts. (Minutes, 16 June 1836.)  

  14. 14

    It is not clear to whom JS referred when he mentioned enemies, though he and other church members bought land in Kirtland from individuals who were antagonistic toward him or the church. In selling and transferring the titles of the land, they would have signed away their rights to the land to the church leaders who purchased it. Although no extant deeds document the land purchases, church leaders apparently arranged to buy land from Timothy Martindale and Christopher Crary. Christopher Crary’s brother, Oliver A. Crary, and Martindale were part of the 1834 committee to investigate the validity of the Book of Mormon and try to “avert the evils” of JS’s teachings. The committee provided financial support for Doctor Philastus Hurlbut to travel to the eastern states and collect affidavits concerning JS and the Book of Mormon. (Crary, Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences, 21; Transcript of Proceedings, 5 June 1837, Martindale v. JS, Whitney, Cahoon, and Johnson [Geauga Co. C.P. 1837], Geauga Co., OH, Court of Common Pleas, Record Book U, pp. 106–107, Geauga County Archives and Records Center, Chardon, OH; “To the Public,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 31 Jan. 1834, [3]; for more on the hundreds of acres of land JS purchased in Kirtland between September and November 1836, see Historical Introduction to Mortgage to Peter French, 5 Oct. 1836; and Historical Introduction to Letter from Newel K. Whitney, 20 Apr. 1837.)  

    Crary, Christopher G. Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences. Marshalltown, IA: Marshall Printing Co., 1893.

    Geauga Co., OH, Court of Common Pleas, Record Book U. Geauga County Archives and Records Center, Chardon, OH.

    Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1822–1986.