A Textual History of the KFD, Part II

By: J. Stapley - June 05, 2008

This post is a direct continuation of Part I and follows without introduction.

The “History of Joseph Smith History” (HJS) version of the KFD or the “Manuscript History of the Church” from which it was prepared, is the textual foundation for all subsequent popular accounts of the sermon. As noted, the HJS was prepared by the Church Historians and as the recent LDS Priesthood/RS lesson manual points out, the leaders of the Church felt very confident in the production. (1) It was reprinted in four other nineteenth-century publications (2); however, aspects of the sermon’s teaching led to several controversies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. (more…)

A Textual History of the KFD, Part I: Sources to the “History of Joseph Smith”

By: J. Stapley - June 03, 2008

Part II of the series is available here. EDITORIAL NOTE: This post contains links to various transcripts of the “King Follett Discourse” which I have prepared. I prepared them quickly, so it is best to check against the originals for any meaningful analysis.

Joseph Smith delivered the “King Follett Discourse” (KFD) on April 7, 1844. It was his last General Conference. Joseph had lost several close associates to apostasy and Navuoo was tense. Joseph defied his critics, and with the KFD, Joseph showed his hand, pledging as proof that he was not “a fallen prophet,” details of his ultimate theology. The critics had a field-day with the content and Joseph made his rebuttal on June 16, in what is commonly called the “Sermon in the Grove.” The KFD is perhaps the most famous of all Joseph’s sermons, but the text of the most common printings has followed and interesting and, at times, strained route. This post is the first of a two part series reviewing the history of this text. (more…)