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Sermon delivered at the Nauvoo temple grounds on Sunday June 11, 1843
Sources: Joseph Smith diary (Willard Richards), Wilford Woodruff journal, Levi Richards diary, Franklin D. Richards "Scriptural Items," Eliza R. Snow diary (see also James Burgess diary June-July 1843 and the July 9, 1843 sermon)
Smith DiaryWoodruff Journal Richards' Scriptural ItemsLevi Richards Diary Snow Diary
10 A. M. at the Temple Stand. Hymn by the Quire. Read 23 Matthew. P. P. Pratt Prayed. Singing.--

¶ Matt. 23. 37. Subject presented me since I come in this house.-- I a rough stone 1, the sound of the hammer & chisel was never heard on me. nor never will be. I desire the learning & wisdom of heaven alone. Have not the least idea but if Christ should come and preach such rough things as he preached to the Jews, but this Generation would reject reject him for being so rough. I never can find much to say in expounding a text.

¶ never is half so much fuss to unlock a door if you have a key or when you have not. or have to cut it out with a jack knife.--

A large assembly of Saints met at the Temple & were addressed by President Joseph Smith attended Meeting at the Temple weather vary fine moderately warm. heard J. Smith preach Last sunday I had the privilege of attending meeting and in the forenoon listening to a very interesting discourse by Pres. J. Smith
Doctrine of Gathering - Its Purpose

¶ O. Jerusalem. &c. whence are in the curse of Allmighty God that was to be poured out upon the heads of the Jews? That they would not be gathered. because they would not let Christ gather them. lt was the design in the Councils of heaven before the world was that the principle & law of that priesthood was predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world. Jesus did every thing possible to gather the people & they would not be gathered and he poured out curses upon them 2

He took for the foundation of his discourse the words of Jesus to the Jews how oft would I have gatherd you togetherd as a hen gathereth her chickens under wings But ye would not &c. He then asked what was the object of Gathering the Jews together or the people of God in any age of the world, the main object was to build unto the Lord an house whereby he could reveal unto his people the ordinances of his house and glories of his kingdom & teach the peopl the ways of salvation for their are certain ordinances & principles that when they are taught and practized, must be done in a place or house built for that purpose this was purposed in the mind of God before the world was & it was for this purpose that God designed to gather together the Jews oft but they would not it is for the same purpose that God gathers togethe the people in the last days to build unto the Lord an house to prepare them for the ordinances & endowment washings & anointings &c. one of the ordinances of the house of the Lord is Baptism for the dead, Joseph said The reason why the Jews were scattered and their House left unto them Desolate was because they refused to be gathered that the fulness of the Priesthood might be revealed among them which never can be done but by the gathering of the People also The Order & Ordinances of the Kingdom were instituted by the Priesthood in the council of Heaven before the World was from Math [Matthew] "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem &c, how oft would I have gathered you, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings & Ye would not, behold your house is left unto you desolate &c He took for his subject the words of the Savior to wit. "O Jerusalm thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that are sent unto you! How oft would I have gatherred you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings and you would not!" He beautifully and in a most powerful manner, illustrated the necessity of the gathering and the building of the Temple that those ordinances may be administered which are necessary preparations for the world to come: he exhorted the people in impressive terms to be diligent--to be up and doing lest the tabernacle pass over to another people and we lose the blessing
Ordinances Set in Grand Council - All Must Obey

Ordinances were instituted in heaven before the foundation of the world of in the priesthood, for the salvation of man. not be altered. not to be changed. all must be saved upon the same principle.

¶ that is only your opinion Sir--say Sectarians.--when a man will go to hell it is more than my meat & drink to help them to do as they want to.

¶ where there is no change of priesthood there is no change of ordinances says Paul. If god has not changed the ordinances & priesthood, howl ye sectarians, if he has where has he revealed it. have ye turned revelators? then why deny it?

¶ Men have thought many things insolvable, in the last days, that he should raise the dead. Things have been hid from before the foundation of the [world] to be revealed to babes in the last days.

¶ there are a great many wise men & women to in our midst to wise to be taught. & they must die in their ignorance and in the resurrection they will find their mistake.

¶ Many seal up the door of heaven by saying so far god may reveal & I will believe.-- heirs of God. &c. upon the same laws ordinance &c of Jesus Christ. & he who will not live it all will come short. of that glory if not of the whole.

¶ ordinance of the baptism. God decreed before the foundation of the world that this baptism should be performed in a house prepared for the purpose.--

God decreed before the foundation of the world that that ordinance should be administered in a house prepared for that purpose. If a man gets the fulness of God he has to get [it] in the same way that Jesus Christ obtain it & that was by keeping all the ordinances of the house of the Lord. Men will say I will never forsake you but will stand by you at all times but the moment you teach them some of the mysteries of God that are retained in the heavens and are to be revealed to the children of men when they are prepared, They will be the first to stone you & put you to death. It was the same principle that Crusified the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gather Strength for Salvation of the Dead

¶ Spirits of prison.--the Holy Ghost reveals it. Spirits in the world of prison Spirits.--which Jesus went to preach to. God ordained that he who would save his dead should do it by getting together as with the Jews--It always has been when a man was sent of God with the Priesthood & he began to preach the fulness of the gospel, the [man] was thrust out by his friends.--and they are ready to buther him if he teach things which they had imagined to be wrong. Jesus was crucified upon this principle--

¶ I will turn linguist. Ma[n]y things in the bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelation of the holy Ghost to me.--

¶ Ponder. "this day thou shat be with me in paradise." Paradise. Modern word. dont answer to the original word used by Jesus.--find the origin of Paradise--find a needle in a hay mow.-- here is a chance for a battle ye learned man.--Said Jesus. for there is not time to investigat this matter. for this day you will be with me in the world of Spits. & then I will teach you all about it. & Peter says he went & preached to the world of Spirits.

Spirits in Prison - Translation Error - Peter

I will say something about the Spirits in prision, theire has been much said about the sayings of Jesus on the Cross to the thief saying this day thou shalt be with me in paradise. The commentators make or translators make it out to say Paradise but what is Paradise it is a modern word it does not answer at all to the original that Jesus made use of, their is nothing in the original in any language that signifies Paradise, But it was this day I will be with thee in the world of spirits & will teach thee or answer thy inquiries. The thief on the Cross was to be with Jesus Christ in the World of Spirits he did not say Paradise or heaven.

The words Prison Paradise & Hell are different translations of the Greek Hades which answers to the Hebrew Shaole the true translation of which is "The world of spirits where the righteous & the wicked dwell together.
so that they would receive it could have it answered by proxy by those who live on the earth &c.

¶ gathered you for baptism for the dead washing anointings, &c.---said Jesus to Jews. At one time God obtained a house where Peter was[hed] and ano[inte]d &c on the day of pentecost.3

Baptism for the Dead - Pentecost

The doctrin of Baptism for the dead is clearly shown in the new testament & if the doctrin is not good then throw away the new testament but if it is the word of God then let the doctrin be acknowledged & it was one reason why Jesus said how oft would I have gatherd you (the Jews) together that they might attend to the ordinance of the baptism for the dead as well as the other ordinances the Priesthood Revelations &c. This was the case on the day of Pentecost these Blessings were poured out upon the disciples, on that occasion.

Nature of Hell

criticise a little further Hell, modern term. burning lake of fire and Brimstone. I would make you think I was climbing a ladder when I was climbing a rainbow.--who ever revealed it. God never did. Hades. I will hunt after Hades as pat did for woodchuck. Sheol--who are you? God reveals. means a world of spirits.--I dont think so says one. go to my house I will take my lexicon--&c--a world of departed spirits. disembodied spirits all go.--good bad & indiferent.-- misery in a world of spirits is to know they come short of the glory others enjoy--they are their own accusers one universal heaven.-- & hell. & suppose honorable & virtuous & whoremonger--all hudled together.--judged according to deeds done in the body.--shame, shame---thus we can mint & anise & cumin and long prayers. but touch not the law, as Peter tells us--

¶ Paul says caught up to 3d heaven, & what tell that Lie for Paul.--Sun Moon & Stars-- many mansions--all one say Sectarians.--They build hay wood & stubble, build on the old revelations without the spirit of revelation or Priesthood. if I had time I would dig into Hell. Hades. Sheol. & tell what exists.--

¶ Heaven of Heavens could not contain him. he took the liberty to go into other heavens.--I thought--

Hell - Faulty Translation

Their has been also much said about the word Hell & the sectarian world have preached much about it but what is hell, it is annother modern term it is taken from hades the greek, or shaole, the (hebrew) & the true signification is a world of spirits,

¶ Hades shaole paradise, spirits in prision is all one it is a world of spirits, the righteous & the wicked all go to the same world of spirits but says one I believe in one hell & one heaven all are equally miserable or equally happy, but St Paul informs us of three glories & three heavens he knew a man caught up to the third heavens, & Jesus said their were many mansions in my Fathers Kingdom Any man may believe Jesus Christ is good & be happy in it & yet not obey his commands & at last be cut down by his righteous commandmends A man of God should be endowed with all wisdom knowledge & understanding in order to teach & lead people, The blind may lead the blind & both fall into the deatch together;

John 17 - Godhead

Father--Son & H. Ghost all stuck into one person.--I pray for them, father that we may be one--All stuffed into one God--a big God:

¶ Peter--Stephen saw the Son of Man. Saw the son of man standing on the right hand of God.--3 personages--in heaven who hold the keys.--one to preside over all.

Godhead - Facsimile No. 3 Book of Abraham

Their is much said concerning God the Godhead &c the scripture says their is Gods many & Lords many,4 the teachers of the day say that the father is God the Son is God & the Holy Ghost is God & that they are all in one body & one God Jesus says or prays that those that the father had given him out of the world might be made one in us as we are one, but if they were to be stuffed into one person that would make a great God, If I were to testify that the world was wrong on this point it would be true Peter says that Jesus Christ sat on the right hand of God any person that has seen the heavens opened knows that their is three personages in the heavens holding the Keys of Power.

Gods - Angels - Temple

¶ If any man attempt to refute. what I am about to say after I have made it plain let him be accursed. as the father hath power in himself so hath the sun power in himself to lay down his life--

¶ the son doeth what he hath seen the father do. &c--take his body & stuff it into the father.

¶ Gods have an ascendancy over the angels. Angels remain angels.--some are resurrected to become god. by such revelations as god gives in the most holy place.--in his temple. let them who are owing tithing pay it up. & bring stone.--

¶ What did Judge Higby--if those who are owing would bring stone we could get the walls to the roof this fall as easy as to let it down."

¶ closed about 12--

As the father hath power in himself so the Son hath power in himself, then the father has some day laid down his body & taken it again so he has a body of his own--so has his son a body of his own so each one will be in their own body. Many of the sects cry out O I have the testimony of Jesus, I have the spirit of God But away with Jo Smith he says he is a Prophet But their is to be no Prophets nor revelations in the last days; But stop sir the Revelator says that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of Prophecy So by your own mouth you are condemned.

¶ But to the text why gather the people together in this place For the same purpose that Jesus wanted to gather the Jews, to receive the ordinances the blessings & the glories that God has in store for his Saints. And I would now ask this assembly and all the Saints if they will now build this house & receive the ordinances & Blessings which God has in store for you, or will you not build unto the Lord this house & let him pass by & bestow these blessings upon another I pause for a reply 6

¶ Pres. J. Smith bore testimony to the same saying that when he was a youth he began to think about these things but could not find out which of all the sects were right he went into the grove5 & enquired of the Lord which of all the sects were right he received for answer that none of them were right, that they were all wrong, & that the Everlasting Covenant was broken==he said he understood the fulness of the Gospel from beginning to end--& could Teach it & also the order of the priesthood in all its ramifications ==Earth & hell had opposed him & tryed to destroy him, but they had not done it==& they never would.


1. The "rough stone" characterization also appears in the 21 May sermon. It was used by Richard Bushman for his biography Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, A. A. Knopf, 2005.

2. Though the text is from Matthew 23, in fact the themes of this discourse are all Book of Abraham related: Council in Heaven, the nature of the Godhead as the presidency of Heaven, temple ordinances.

3. This explicitly names the modern temple ordinances as a restoration of what was done by the ancient apostles.

4. See 16Jun44.

5. While the other available records of this sermon do not mention it, Levi Richards records that Joseph Smith mentioned his First Vision experience as a part of his discussion. Perhaps the others were so familiar with the story that they thought it redundant to write it again.

6. See D&C 124:32. The continual encouragement to build the temple reflects Joseph Smith's anxiety to communicate the temple ordinances to the Saints. In fact he had gathered a small group of trusted friends and passed on to them some of the ordinances he speaks of here. This process would be completed during the fall of 1843. The group would expand somewhat in size, to form a nucleus of those prepared to pass on the temple ordinances to others after Joseph Smith's death. See Andrew F. Ehat, "Joseph Smith's introduction of temple ordinances and the 1844 Mormon succession question," Masters Thesis, BYU 1982.

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