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.

In the nineteenth century, perhaps the biggest concern was over the teaching of child resurrection. Joseph Smith was recorded as teaching on several occasions some peculiarities of child resurrection, the most famous of which was recorded in the KFD. This controversy was settled when Joseph F. Smith sought out affidavits from Church members that witnessed first-hand Joseph’s teaching and reinterpreted the texts to make them more comfortable with the idea of a just God. For a review of this controversy see my review of child salvation in Mormon thought at BCC.

The twentieth century brought different challenges. As the Church hierarchy struggled to divest itself of no-longer-favored pioneer theologies and systematize Mormon thought for the modern age, the KFD again became a source of controversy.

B. H. Roberts, a member of the First Council of the Seventy, was one of the leading pioneers of Mormonism’s new theology. At the turn of the century, he prepared a multi-year curriculum of study for the Seventy’s quorums entiled, Seventies Course on Theology. In many ways Roberts, who worked in the Historian’s Office and was familiar with Joseph’s early teachings, tried to synthesize Joseph Smith’s teachings with the pioneer theological expansions that remained popular. In doing so he frequently appealed to philosophers and scholars of the day. Stan’s 2008 MHA presentation, which he kindly published at the Juvenile Instructor (part 1 and part 2) is a wonderful study into Robert’s theological dialectic.

Perhaps Roberts’s most lasting contribution to Mormon thought is the renaissance of the eternal existence of humanity. Though he created an entirely new cosmology in the process – the tripartite model (see here and the comments in this post) – Robert’s championed the concept of an eternal, uncreated mind. In his Seventy’s theological course he gave these minds the appellation of “intelligencies” (3).

Subsequent to the theological course work, Roberts was involved in the preparation of two serial publications. The first was Roberts’s preparation of the History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1902-1932). The second was a recurring feature in Americana, a periodical published by the National Americana Society, in which he published forty-two-page installments between July 1909 and July 1915 and which were ultimately aggregated into Roberts’s Comprehensive History of the Church as the centennial history of the Latter-day Saints in 1930.

In 1911 Roberts was preparing volume 6 of the History of the Church, which covered the KFD, and his serialized writings in Americana also referenced some of Joseph Smith’s teachings during the same period. In one article for Americana, Roberts relied heavily on the KFD and the Book of Abraham to systematize Joseph’s teachings that the existence of humanity is eternal. However, when the reading committee, consisting of the two councilors in the First Presidency, reviewed it, Roberts’s ideas were deemed not acceptable. Anthon Lund, First Councilor wrote in his journal:

[August 25, 1911] Today we had Bro Roberts read his article on the Philosophy of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Bro. Penrose made a splendid speech on eternalism opposing the view of Bro. B. Roberts who holds that intelligences were self-existent entities before they entered into the organization of the spirit.

[August 29, 1911] Bro. C. W. Penrose and I listened to Bro. Robert’s reading his concluding chapter on the prophet Joseph Smith. We got him to eliminate his theories in regard to intelligences as conscious, self-existing beings or entities before being organized into spirits. This doctrine has raised much discussion and the inference on which he builds his theory is very vague. The Prophet’s speech delivered as a funeral sermon over King Follett, is the basis of Bro. Robert’s doctrine; namely, where he speaks of mans eternity claim. Roberts wants to prove that man then is co-eqal with God. He no doubt felt bad to have us eliminate his pet theory; but if so he didn’t stick on retaining any of the verses of words we asked. (4)

Three months later, Roberts published the version of the KFD, which he had prepared for volume six of the History of the Church in the Liahona/Elders’ Journal: B. H. Roberts, ed., “The King Follett Discourse: The Kind of Being God is; the Immortality of the Intelligence of Man,” Liahona/The Elders’ Journal 9 (December 5, 1911): 369-379 and 380-382 (PDF Transcript). The Liahona was the organ of the Central States Mission and this printing of the KFD was fundamentally based on the HJS. Minor differences in sentence structure are evident in the comparison (PDF) which I produced to contrast the versions. This printing included not a few typographical errors, but the largest differences in Liahona version are the omission of the section on child resurrection and the addition of Roberts’s footnotes, which frequently cite the scholars that Stan discussed in his MHA presentation.

The First Presidency learned of this printing, and was not pleased. They wrote on December 28 to Joseph A. McRae of the Central States Mission:

Do not print or circulate any more of the King Follett Sermon without hearing from us. (5)

The following week the First Presidency wrote McRae again with an explanation:

On receiving notification that a large number of copies of the Liahona were being printed & circulated containing what is known as the King Follett Sermon, as it has since been corrected and interpolated, with notes added, we sent the following telegraph:

…When the sermon was first published it did not receive the revision or sanction of the Prophet Joseph, who preached it, and it was reported from the impressions obtained by four different persons who heard it, neither of whom was a shorthand writer.

There are some points in the sermon which appear to be in direct conflict with revelations accepted by the Church as divine. Some portions of the original report have been expunged from the version which appears in Liahona; there are some interpolations also which have been made without authorization. Then there are footnotes added introducing ideas not warranted by the text, which state plainly that the original report is evidently incorrect in some particulars. Such a doubtful production we think is not proper to publish as authentic. For these reasons we sent you the dispatch referred to. (6)

Later that month Apostle George Albert Smith wrote to the Central States Mission President:

I have thought that the report of that sermon might not be authentic and I have feared that it contained some things that might be contrary to the truth.. . . Some of the brethren felt as I did and thought that greater publicity should not be given to that particular sermon. (7) [EDITORIAL NOTE: Commenter BHodges transcribed and taken pictures of the entire letter, which he shared with us in comment #29]

It is uncertain with which revelations the First Presidency felt the KFD was in tension. However, there is no question that they sought to prevent the sermon’s circulation. When volume six of the History of the Church was released later that year, it was mysteriously missing the pages (302-317) which included the KFD. T. Edgar Lyon addressing the 1973 Mormon History Association gave a wonderful account of Roberts’s response:

One day–as nearly as I can figure out, it must have been the summer of 1913 when I was somewhere around ten years of age–I was sitting at a table interleafing office forms when a rather stocky man with a dark mustache came in. My father turned and said, “What can I do for you, B. H.?” And the reply was, “Dave, I want you to print a pamphlet for me.” He handed him a manuscript. It was the manuscript of the King Follett discourse. He said, “I completed reading the page proofs of volume six of The History of the Church, Period I. The book went to press. Shortly before it was put on sale, I received a call to tour the mission, and I was gone for three months or so. When I returned I found on my desk a leather bound copy with my name stamped in gold on the sixth volume. I flipped it open and put it up on the shelf. A Sunday or two later I was speaking at stake conference, and I referred to the King Follett discourse. Somebody came up and asked me if that were in print. I said, ‘Of course it is.’ ‘Well where?’ ‘It’s in the sixth volume of the documentary history.’”

Roberts went on to say that during afternoon session of conference–and we used to have two sessions in those days–the man handed President Roberts the book and said, “I have looked through it and I can’t find it.” Roberts replied, “I know it’s in there because I wrote it.” He turned to the place where it should have been, but the sermon wasn’t there. Sixteen pages had been left out of the book.

Well, Brother Roberts said when he got back in Salt Lake City he went to the bookstores and looked at the copies. The King Follett discourse was not in them! When he asked what happened to it, he learned that some of the brethren were not persuaded that the King Follett discourse was authentic. Now I don’t know what the brethren meant in those days, but Brother Roberts did, and he said that he felt very unhappy about it! “David, I want you to print 10,000 copies of this sermon, and please hurry it through the press. I want to take them to the stake and mission conferences and give one to every member of the stake presidencies and high councils and bishoprics, and presidents of the missions and the branches. I’ll give this wider circulation than that book will ever get. (8)

This pamphlet staid in publication and for sale at Deseret Book until the 1960’s. Apparently, Roberts’s persistence won the day. When the now President George Albert Smith asked Robert’s to publish the Comprehensive History of the Church in 1930 it included the material that had been struck from the Americana article. (9) Moreover, when the History of the Church was republished in 1950 the missing pages were included (10 – PDF Transcript). A comparison of the History of the Church version against the Liahona version indicates only subtle changes and many of the notes are retained (comparison of sermon textcomparison of footnote text).

Perhaps the greatest contributor to the shift in institutional perspective regarding the KFD is Roberts’s erstwhile antagonist: Joseph Fielding Smith. Unlike his father, Joseph Fielding felt that the KFD was worth publishing and included an edited version in his very popular (and fairly historiographically flawed) Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (TPJS), first published in 1938.

For fun I have compared the TPJS with the History of the Church (PDF).

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Because of a server glitch, some of the comments on this post were truncated and I was unable to restore them. My apologies to readers.]

  1. E.g., George A. Smith and Wilford Woodruff, Deseret News (January 20, 1858), pg. 363 as quoted in No Author, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2007), 562-563 declares:

    The History of Joseph Smith is now before the world, and we are satisfied that a history more correct in its details than this, was never published. To have it strictly correct, the greatest possible pains have been taken by the historians and clerks engaged in the work. They were eye and ear witnesses of nearly all the transactions recorded in this history, most of which were reported as they transpired, and, where they were not personally present, they have had access to those who were. Moreover, since the death of the Prophet Joseph, the History has been carefully revised under the strict inspection of President Brigham Young, and approved of by him.

    We, therefore, hereby bear our testimony to all the world, unto whom these words shall come, that the History of Joseph Smith is true, and is one of the most authentic histories ever written.

  2. For a list see, Donald Cannon, “The King Follett Discourse: Joseph Smith’s Greatest Sermon in Historical Perspective,” BYU Studies 18, no. 2 (1977-1978), 190.
  3. It is uncertain why Robert’s used this term, however as Justin pointed out, the Times and Seasons printing of the Book of Abraham (3 [March 15, 1842], 720, vs. 21 [Abraham 3:22]) includes a usage of the word that appears to be a typographical mistake. The word does appear in the philosophical writings contemporaneous to Joseph Smith as a synonym for “intelligence.”
  4. John P. Hatch, ed., Danish Apostle: The Diaries of Anthon H. Lund, 1890-1921 (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with the Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2006), 464-465. The First Presidency also held the publication of John Widtsoe’s Rational Theology in order to strike language about tripartite cosmology and the evolution of God, as being speculation. Ibid., 558-9, December 7 and 11, 1914.
  5. Joseph F. Smith, Letter [possibly the telegraph referred to in note 6] to Joseph A. McRae, December 28, 1911, in typescript of the First Presidency Letterpress, Scott Kenney Research Collection, Marriott Library Special Collections, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Kenney frequently abbreviated words in his typescript to facilitate transcription. I have expanded the abbreviations and normalized capitalization.
  6. Office of the First Presidency, Letter to Joseph A. McRae, January 6, 1912, in typescript of the First Presidency Letterpress, Scott Kenney Research Collection. Abbreviations and capitalization normalized.
  7. George Albert Smith to Samuel O. Bennion, January 30, 1912, George Albert Smith Family Papers, Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah as quoted in Donald Cannon, “The King Follett Discourse: Joseph Smith’s Greatest Sermon in Historical Perspective.”
  8. T. Edgar Lyon, “Church Historians I Have Known,” Dialogue 11 (Winter 1978): 14-15.
  9. B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Century I, in Six Volumes, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930), 2:392.
  10. Joseph Smith, et al., History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1950), 6:302-317.


  1. Excellent work, J. This really is fascinating.

    Comment by Mark IV — 6/5/2008 @ 5:49 pm

  2. wonderful, J. One of the most valuable things I’ve read around here lately.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — 6/5/2008 @ 5:59 pm

  3. Thanks friends. Though to be frank, there isn’t much going on around here lately (grin).

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/5/2008 @ 6:22 pm

  4. So the main initial problem was the resurrection of children bit but am I understanding you it is Robert’s equation of coeternal entailing an eternal Cartesian mind as the real problem? That’s odd given that the KFD doesn’t spell that out.

    Comment by Clark — 6/5/2008 @ 6:41 pm

  5. Really, truly fascinating stuff. Thanks so much.


    Comment by Thomas Parkin — 6/5/2008 @ 6:49 pm

  6. Clark, I think people had problem with Robert’s cartesian mind, to be sure. But more specifically, I think they fretted over the KFD’s assertion that our existence is uncreated. Note that Brigham (and JFS, and JFS II) were adamant that spirits were created from spirit element and that there is no real existence prior to that creation.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/5/2008 @ 6:56 pm

  7. …I would add that JFS II and McConkie, who took the same tack, got around the issue by renaming “spirit element” to “intelligence.”

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/5/2008 @ 6:58 pm

  8. I am loving these comparison PDFs. But since TPJS came later I think it must needs be the most accurate, J.

    Comment by Steve Evans — 6/5/2008 @ 7:04 pm

  9. I think that was my point. Young thought we were made out of some spirit element, Roberts some Cartesian mind, and Pratt something in between. But it doesn’t seem to me that the KFD really addresses the issue at all.

    So the issue was less what was in the KFD than some political maneuvering to avoid Roberts talking about the issue. That is the issue wasn’t the KFD at all but Roberts.

    Comment by Clark — 6/5/2008 @ 7:28 pm

  10. I’m not so certain, Clark (though I would like to see the full GAS letter, which is publicly available, but I haven’t been through his collection yet). The KFD addresses the eternal nature of being: “God never had power to create the spirit of man,” which is attested to across the accounts and reproduced in teh History of the Church. Roberts’s take on it was unique, but the idea that existence is independent of God appears to have been troubling.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/5/2008 @ 7:41 pm

  11. …also just to add, that the letters and Lyon’s recollection are quite consistent; “There are some points in the sermon which appear to be in direct conflict with revelations accepted by the Church as divine.” Both the GAS letter and the Lyon recollection emphasize the question of authenticity. I don’t see this a being a strictly political movement.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/5/2008 @ 7:56 pm

  12. Fun stuff, J.

    On the resurrection of children, Lyndon W. Cook wrote a book specifically on that topic, which was supposed to come out from Signature. I know this because I ordered a copy. But the book was never published; apparently Cook got cold feet with the sensational topic and pulled it. This was a long time ago.

    I asked Tom Kimball more recently about this episode, and he didn’t know about it, and wasn’t able to shed any light on it.

    Does anyone else remember Cook being on the verge of publishing such a book? Or am I just losing my mind?

    Comment by Kevin Barney — 6/5/2008 @ 8:08 pm

  13. I think we chatted about this once, Kevin. I hadn’t heard of it, but it could easily have been well before my time and in Tom’s case, before he came aboard. The biggest thing to me though, is that Cook was a Seventh East Press and then Grandin Press guy.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/5/2008 @ 8:25 pm

  14. 2: “around here” means the entire Bloggernacle, not just SS.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — 6/5/2008 @ 8:57 pm

  15. It seems to me that Widtsoe and Talmage came down on the side of Roberts on this one, right? I mean Widtsoe kind of meanders between the idea that we have always existed and their being a first moment in a “Rational Theology” and Talmage, if I recall correctly, references our eternal nature in AoF. I wonder if many were confusing Robert’s Theology with O. Pratt’s at this point, and dismissing him because Young had dismissed Pratt?

    Comment by Matt W. — 6/5/2008 @ 10:20 pm

  16. #14 – just poking some fun at myself. I do appreciate it though!

    Matt, I’m not sure I see the same trend in Widtsoe and Talmage that you do. I’d have reread those volumes to be sure…do you specific citations?

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/5/2008 @ 10:34 pm

  17. Again, J., thanks. This is very useful.

    Comment by Christopher — 6/5/2008 @ 10:49 pm

  18. I presented some Widtsoe Quotes here a while back.

    From RT:

    Eternal Intelligence. Personal man also is eternal. He was “in the beginning with God.” The doctrine that man is an eternal being leads to untold possibilities. Eternal man lived a personal life before the earth-life began, and he continues a personal existence hereafter. Every other personal intelligence in the universe, visible or invisible, is eternal, was “in the beginning with God.”

    It may take some time to pull up the Talmage Quotes, of which I am much less certain.

    Comment by Matt W. — 6/5/2008 @ 11:14 pm

  19. The KFD addresses the eternal nature of being:

    Comment by Clark — 6/5/2008 @ 11:47 pm

  20. Matt, that is vague enough to cover a lot of possibilities, but it dawns on me that Widtsoe is a much later figure, being called to the apostleship in 1921, well after the manifestations of much of this controversy. When was Rational Theology first published? Articles of Faith would be more interesting as it was, I believe, first published in 1899 – though Talmage himself confessed that some thought ill enough of some of his thoughts therein to bring him up on heresy charges.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/5/2008 @ 11:52 pm

  21. Clark, I appreciate your distinctions, and it is true that we have to guess what problems they might have had with the KFD (though I think Lund’s journal is a helpful window). Still, the sermons teaching that God has no power to create the spirit of man does undermine Roberts, but it is how he dealt with it that differentiates him from others.

    He spun it to mean mind – that God could not create the mind. It appears that the Church leaders in teh first decades wanted to simply ignore it, and folks like JFS II and McKonkie spun it to mean that God could not create spirit element – much as Brigham did, but with new vocabulary.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/6/2008 @ 12:01 am

  22. I’m intrigued about Widstoe and Talmage in this as well. I must confess I just don’t know as much about their theology of human anthropology. I know they are usually categorized with Roberts but not their unique views.

    It’s been on my “to do” list to read up on them more, but they occupy a kind of middle ground that just isn’t as interesting. It’s more a harmonizing that while sociologically interesting ultimately isn’t as theologically interesting to me as the more 19th century figures. I find them more interesting in how they used the science and philosophy of the era.

    I think you’re right about Roberts, of course. I suspect he arrived at this via William James although he quotes several other philosophers adopting a Caretesian mind in various of his writings. He seems to be thinking along the lines of James though and I think this really colors how he reads the KFD. (Juvenile Instructor has of course had some great posts about James and Roberts’ marginalia.)

    McConkie and JFS are interesting. (Can we even really tell where one ends and the other begins?) I think they largely follow Roberts but with more of a Pratt twist. Is the vocabulary that different? I’d have to look. I always saw them closer to Roberts than Young. I just don’t see the quasi-idealism that I keep seeing in Young. I unfortunately don’t have access to my CD right now with all my McConkie. In Mormon Doctrine he has two entries for intelligence. One with more of a Young twist and the other as spirit element which seems more Pratt than Roberts. The idea of “spirit element” is definitely a Pratt term.

    Of course it’s debatable how to take Pratt’s intelligent atoms as they relate to a spirit or to us now. Some take us as some head monad ala Leibniz. Others see it more as emergence out of all the atoms combined. (This is what Blake Ostler favors) I admit I read him more as a Stoic where multiple atoms become unified and share dispositions so they are identical.

    I don’t think McConkie ever gets that sophisticated. But I will confess I don’t ever recall McConkie taking the Cartesian turn rather than the Pratt or Leibniz turn.

    Comment by Clark — 6/6/2008 @ 1:25 am

  23. BTW – I know the KFD is in volume 6 of the Journal of Discourses. When was that put together?

    Comment by Clark — 6/6/2008 @ 1:27 am

  24. Leaving aside for a moment the nuances of their interpretations of the KFD, some day it would be fascinating (if the sources were available) to tell the story of how JFS II and BH Roberts, who were antagonists on so many other issues, came together to save the KFD.

    Comment by JWL — 6/6/2008 @ 9:23 am

  25. Clark, vol 6. of the JD was published in 1859. Before I forget, JFS II also simply ignored the question of God the Father’s history (see here). I think that McConkie was pretty consistent. From his MoDoc:

    True, as Joseph Smith taught, man

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/6/2008 @ 10:46 am

  26. Truly fascinating, J; thanks for this.

    Comment by Ben — 6/6/2008 @ 11:07 am

  27. rational theology was published in 1918, if memory serves. So it is some time after 1911. But still, I think Widtsoe’s support of what he calls eternalism does add to and support the theology Roberts got from Smith.

    Comment by matt w. — 6/6/2008 @ 11:09 am

  28. Thanks for your hard work, J.

    Comment by BHodges — 6/12/2008 @ 3:37 pm

  29. I got the letter from Special Collections. Not much more info there. Here it is:


    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 30 1912
    Pres. S.O. Bennion,
    302 So. Pleasant St.,
    Independence, Mo.

    My dear Brother:

    Sometime ago I received an invitation, mailed from the Liahona office, to contribute to a fund for the purpose of mailing copies of King Follet’s[sic] funeral sermon. At the time I was somewhat surprised, because I have thought that the report of that sermon might not be authentic and I have feared that it contained some things that might be contrary to the truth when I knew just what it was, so I did not reply to the letter. Not being very well, I did not feel like taking the matter up, and have learned since that some of the other brethren felt as I did and thought that greater publicity should not be given to that particular sermon. I did not send the contribution as requested for that purpose, but intend to send a small amount in the near future to help pay for copies of the Liahona to be sent to the mission field. I cannot do very much under the circumstances but always feel better when I do a little.

    I trust that this will find yourself and family well and happy. Sister Smith and I are on the improve, and I believe that when the good weather comes, so that we have plenty of sun-shine, we will both be very much better.

    Good reports come from your field of labor, which indi-

    [page break] S.O.B. (2([sic]

    cates that you are on the alert and doing all you can to further the interests of the Lord’s work.

    I would like to be remembered to Uncle Zack and to his wife when you see them. By the way, I received information from some source that Uncle Zack sent, by one of the elders returning home, some kind of a paper weight which he desired me to receive as a present from him. He may think it strange, if that is the case, that I have not written to him and thanked him for the same; but the fact is, I have never received the paper weight in question, and it is just possible that my informant was mistaken. If you can, in a diplomatic way ascertain the facts and let me know. I most certainly should like to thank Uncle Zack if he did remember me; and I would not like to embarrass him by writing him a letter of thanks for something he did not send me. So you see my predicament and I am going to leave the matter in your hands.

    Praying the Lord to abundantly bless you in your great calling and give you health and strength and power to perform your labor in the future as you have done in the past, I remain,

    Your affectionate brother,


    Here are images of the letter as found at UU: page 1; page 2.

    Comment by BHodges — 6/13/2008 @ 10:23 am

  30. Dude. Huzzah! Thank you very much for not only transcribing and imaging the letter, but thank you very much for sharing it!

    It has a little extra info, but it doesn’t crack it wide open, does it?

    Comment by J. Stapley — 6/13/2008 @ 10:42 am

  31. No prob.

    Comment by BHodges — 6/13/2008 @ 10:52 am

  32. So what is the Church’s current belief on our origin? Have we always been spirits?

    Comment by StillConfused — 7/8/2008 @ 3:47 pm

  33. SC, I don’t think has a clear cut statement on the topic except to say that we are spirit children of Heavenly Parents. I take an adoptive view and typically follow Joseph Smith’s explication. I would check out this post’s comments to see how things are kind of ambiguous with different General Authorities taking different positions. Most however, appear to have tended to believe in a literal or viviparous spirit birth.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 7/8/2008 @ 3:53 pm

  34. J.Stapley my Amiens friend. Great work.

    Comment by J.Hamilton — 7/12/2008 @ 3:24 pm

  35. Hamilton!!

    Comment by J. Stapley — 7/12/2008 @ 4:02 pm

  36. J: I really like the textual comparisons you have done–that is a really helpful way of comparing texts.
    I think the assumption that Grimshaw used the T&S text for his new amalgamation in 1856, though it seems like common sense, is erroneous. (Because it seems so obvious, past researchers such as Van Hale and others, have simply assumed that Grimshaw used T&S.) But there is textual evidence that he actually used John Taylor’s 1845 text titled “Joseph Smith’s Last Sermon,” published in a booklet called A Voice of Truth. Taylor’s text introduces the salutary phrase “Beloved Brethren,” which Grimshaw reproduced, and gives an abbreviated first paragraph which I believe lines up quite closely to your comparison.

    Comment by stan — 9/4/2008 @ 3:21 pm

  37. Thanks for the heads-up. Searle went with the T&S as source as well. That is the pamphlet with all the Phelps ghostwritten stuff in it. BYU has it in their digital collection, so if I were really dedicated I’d go back and do a textual comparison…maybe not in the immediate future (grin).

    The text comparison was fairly painless, much of it being automated by the new version of MS Word. It is definitely the way to go, though (as compared to column comparison).

    Comment by J. Stapley — 9/4/2008 @ 4:08 pm

  38. It hit me that your argument is not that little children need baptism, it is that they need to live long enough to qualify for baptism … which makes an interesting introduction to the KFD.

    Clark, Ultimately the issue is whether intelligence before spirit organization was a full mind or not. But even if it wasn

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — 10/13/2008 @ 6:09 pm

  39. J. Stapley,

    That first paragraph from MoDoc that you quote in #25 is positively Orwellian. i.e. quote the best evidence contrary to your position, and then pretend that it means the exact opposite of what any plain reading would indicate. In this case implying that the term “self-existent” means exactly the opposite of its dictionary definition.

    Comment by Mark D. — 10/14/2008 @ 4:39 am

  40. It matters that The Pearl of Great Price specifically states that spirits have no beginning – only because the truth is a great defense against those who accuse God of having made them the way they are, by which accusation they justify themselves for sin.

    If the word of the Lord in Abraham were not true, those self-justifiers would be right. Because the word of the Lord in Abraham is true, the self-justifiers are not. It’s that simple.

    Regardless of whatever errors various leaders have held on the matter, I’m glad the Church printed the truth in the current Priesthood/Relef Society Manual.

    Comment by Nathan Sorenson — 1/17/2009 @ 12:01 am

  41. I’ve been hoping for new posts here, but it is good to revisit some of the old ones.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — 4/14/2009 @ 9:58 pm

  42. Me too, Stephen.

    Comment by J. Stapley — 4/15/2009 @ 10:33 am

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