Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

The teachings of Joseph Smith, Jr. [1805-1844] are usually considered to be fundamental to understanding the doctrines of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Joseph Smith lived most of his life without the benefit of clerks who could use an effective stenographic system. Pitman first published his "Shorthand" method in 1837, and Joseph Smith died in 1844. Stenographic techniques came into use in recording LDS sermons after Joseph Smith's death.

Consequently, with few exceptions, the material found in collections of Joseph Smith's sermons are paraphrases or glosses of his own words. In some cases multiple accounts were made and are still extant. For these sermons it is possible give an approximate reconstruction of the original. It is possible to get a better idea than ever before about Joseph Smith's teachings with the publication of collections of various accounts of his public and private addresses together with his personal and dictated writings. As a step in this direction we offer the new collection The Parallel Joseph. See the link below.

One of the classic collections of Joseph Smith's teachings is "Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith and the staff of the old "Church Historian's Office" in 1938.

"Teachings", as the Joseph Fielding Smith compilation is commonly known, like many other classical collections of Joseph Smith materials, contains materials that were not actually authored by him. This is not to say such materials are not valuable or that they are incorrect.

We have included among our collected files a copy of Teachings. The relatively small amount, about 25 pages virtually all in the first 70 pages of the book, that do not originate with Joseph Smith are still included as part of the text. They can be more or less identified under the following headings in the book:

"Search the Revelations of God"

"Every Man an Agent for Himself"

"Counsel and Admonition"

"The Evils of Hasty Ordinations"

"Avoiding Disputes"

"Spiritual Darkness"

"The World's Deplorable Condition"

"The Law of Free Agency"

"Obedience to Governments Necessary"

"As Man Approaches God He Is Enlightened"

"Laws of Man Not on Parallel with Laws of Heaven"

"Thus Saith the King"

"God Speaks from Heaven"

"The Faithful to Receive Celestial Rest"

"All Governments Have Laws"

"What is the Purpose of Existence?"

"Man Departed from the Lord's Government"

"The Law of Sacrifice"

"The Lord Spake to Abel"

"Gospel Ordinances from the Beginning"

"Not All Revelation is in the Bible"

"Blessings for the Faithful -- The Resurrection"

"The Marriage Supper"

"They Who Endure to the End"

"A Crown for the Righteous"

"The Ancient Saints Obtained Promises"

"Apostates Excluded from Fellowship"

"Gift of Salvation"

Some extractions from the Nauvoo, Ill. Church bi-weekly Times and Seasons are probably compositions of John Taylor or W. W. Phelps, but contain topics that relate to Joseph's then current teachings. Joseph was editor of the paper for part of 1842, but it seems that except for the March issues, he essentially turned over editorial duties to Taylor and Wilford Woodruff. Editorials beyond this point may have been partly composed by Joseph, but ghostwriting was certainly a feature. George A. Smith's diary for the period suggests that Joseph thought of Phelps as somewhat suspect in his compositions, but Joseph still employed him for a number things.

For Joseph Smith's public addresses and group instructions many of the primary sources can be found in The Parallel Joseph. This makes possible a more detailed study of Joseph Smith's sermons and instructions.

Go to Teachings

Return to BOAP web files page.

For historical items related to "Teachings" see the Annotated History of Joseph Smith