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Funeral sermon delivered at Nauvoo, Ill. west side of the temple on Sunday March 20, 1842
Source: Wilford Woodruff Journal

A large assembly of Saints gather together at an early hour to hear a discourse deliverd upon the Subject of Baptism by Joseph the Seer; but as a young child was dead & his corpes [corpse] presented in the assembly it called for many remarks from The speaker upon death & the resurrection which were in the highest degree interesting & his remarks upon Baptism was truly glorious to the believer in Jesus Christ. The following is a brief synopsis of some of the items presented in the discours

Life Uncertain - Death of Children

¶ The Speaker read the 14ch Revelations. And sayes "we have again the warning voice sounded in our midst which shows the uncertainty of human life. And in my leisure moments I have meditated upon the subject, & asked the question Why is it that infants innocent children are taken away from us esspecially those that seem to be most intelligent beings" Answer "This world is a very wicked world & it is a proverb that the world grows weaker & wiser; but if it is the case the world grows more wicked & corrupt. In the early ages of the world A ritheous man & a man of God & intelligence had a better chance to do good to be received & believed than at the present day. but in these days such a man is much opposed & persecuted by most of the inhabitants of the earth & he has much sorrow to pass through, hence the Lord takes many away even in infancy that they may escape the envy of man. The sorrows & evils of this present world & they were too pure & too lovly to live on Earth, Therefore if rightly considered we have, instead of morning we have reason to rejoice, as they are deliverd from evil & we shall soon have them again, What chance is their for infidelity when we are parting with our friends almost daily none at all The infidel will grasp at evry straw for help untill death stares him in the face & then his infidelity takes its flight for the realities of the eternal world are resting upon him in mighty power & when evry earthly support & prop fail him. He then sensibly feels the eternal truths of the immortality of the soul

Infant Baptism Incorrect

Also the doctrin of baptizing Children or sprinkling them or they must welter in Hell is a doctrin not true not supported in Holy writ & is not consistant with the Character of God The moment that Children leave this world they are taken to the bosom of Abraham 1 The ownly difference between the old & young dying is one lives longer in heaven & Eternal light & glory than the other & was freed a little sooner from this miserable wicked world Notwithstanding all this glory we for a moment loose sight of it & mourn the loss but we do not mourn as those without hope. (We should take warning & not wait for the deathbed to repent) As we se[e] the infant taken away by death, so may the youth & middle aged as, well as the infant suddenly be called into eternity,

Serve God in Youth - Death-Bed Repentance not Pleasing to God

Let this then proove as a warning to all not to procrastinate repentance or wait till a death bed, for it is the will of God that man should repent & serve him in health & in the strength & power of his mind in order to secure his blessings & not wait until he is called to die.

¶ "My intention (says the speaker) was to have treated upon the subject of Baptism, But having a case of death before us I thought it proper to refer to that subject.

Baptism a Sign for Believer to Enter Kingdom

I will now however say a few words upon that subject Baptism as intended God has made certain decreas which are fixed & unalterable for instance God set the sun, the moon, the stars in the heavens, & give them their laws conditions, & bounds which they cannot pass except by his command, they all move in perfect harmony in there sphere & order & are as wonders, lights & signs unto us. The sea also has its bounds which it cannot pass God has set many signs in the earth as well as in heaven for instance the oaks of the forrest the fruit of the tree, the herb of the field all bear a sign that seed hath been planted there, for it is a decree of the Lord that evry tree fruit or herb baring seed should bring forth after its kind & cannot come forth after any other law or principle. upon the same principle do I contend that Baptism is a sign ordained of God for the believer in Christ to take upon himself in order to enter into the Kingdom of God, "for except you are born of the water & the spirit you cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Saith the Savior as It is a sign of command which God hath set for man to enter into this kingdom of God those who seek to enter in any other way will seek in vain

for God will not receive them neither will the angels acknowledge their works as accepted, for they have not taken upon themselves those ordinances & signs which God ordained for man to receive in order to receive a celestial glory, & God has decreed that all that who will not obey his voice shall not escape the damnation of hell, what is the damnation of hell, to go with that society who have not obeyed his commands Baptism is a sign to God, to angels to heaven that we do the will of God & there is no other way beneath the heavens whareby God hath ordained for man to come to God & any other course is in vain. God hath decreed & ordained that man should repent of all his sins & Be Baptized for the remission of his sins then he can come to God in the name of Jesus Christ in faith then we have the promise of the Holy Ghost

Ordinance Forms are Signs Which Must Be Observed

¶ What is the sign of the healing of the sick? the laying on of hands, is the sign or way marked out by James & the custom of the ancient saints as ordered by the Lord & we should not obtain the blessing by pursuing any other course except the way which God has markd out. What if we should attempt to get the Holy Ghost through any other means except the sign or way which God hath appointed should we obtain it certainly not all other means would fail The Lord says do so & so & I will bless so & so their is certain key words & signs belonging to the priesthood which must be observed in order to obtain the blessings The sign of Peter was to repent & be baptized for the remission of sins, with the promise of the gift of the Holy Ghost & in no other way is the gift of the Holy Ghost obtained.

Distinction Between Holy Ghost and Gift of Holy Ghost

Their is a difference between the Holy Ghost & the gift of the Holy Ghost.2 Cornelius received the Holy Ghost before he was Baptized which was the convincing power of God unto him of the truth of the gospel but he could not receive the gift of the Holy Ghost untill after he was Baptized, & had he not taken this sign ordinances upon him the Holy Ghost which convinced him of the truth of God would have left him untill he obeyed those ordinances & received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands according to the order of God he could not have healed the sick or command an evil spirit to come out of a man & it obey him, for the spirit might say to him as he did to the sons of Scava Peter I know & Christ I know but who are ye

It mattereth not whether we live long or short after we come to a knowledge of these principles & obey them, I know that all men will be damned if they do not come in the way which God has appointed.

Resurrection - We Come Forth as we Lay Down - No Blood - Children with a Child's Body

¶ As concerning the resurrection I will merely say that all men will come from the grave as they lie down, whether old or young their will not be added unto their stature one cubit neither taken from it. 3 All being raised by the power of God having the spirit of God in their bodies & not blood Children will be enthroned in the presence of God & the Lamb with bodies of the same stature that were on earth, Having been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb they will there enjoy a fullness of that light Glory & intelligence which is received in the celestial kingdom of God "blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their labors & their works do follow them

¶ The speaker before closing called upon the vast assembly before him to humble themselves in faith before God & in mighty prayer & fasting to call upon his Holy name untill the elements were purified over our heads & the earth sanctified under our feet that the inhabitants of this city may escape the power of the disease pestilence & destroyer that rideth upon the face of the earth & that the holy spirit of God may rest upon this vast multitude

¶ At the close of the meetg President Smith informed the congregation that he should attend to the ordinance of Baptism in the his to river near his house at 2 oclock.


1. Possibly a reference to a vision now canonized as LDS D&C 137.

2. See JS's editorial in the 15Jun42

3. See note 3 at 7Apr44

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