(as printed in History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 473-479. See also Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith 369-376)
SERMON BY THE PROPHET-THE CHRISTIAN GODHEAD-PLURALITY OF GODS.
Meeting in the Grove, east of the Temple, June 16, 1844.
Prayer by Bishop Newel K. Whitney.
Choir sang, “Mortals Awake.”
President Joseph Smith read the 3rd chapter of Revelation, and took for his text 1st chapter, 6th verse-“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father: to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
It is altogether correct in the translation. Now, you know that of late some malicious and corrupt men have sprung up and apostatized from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they declare that the Prophet believes in a plurality of Gods, and, lo and behold! we have discovered a very great secret, they cry-“The Prophet says there are many Gods, and this proves that he has fallen.”
It has been my intention for a long time to take up this subject and lay it clearly before the people, and show what my faith is in relation to this interesting matter. I have contemplated the saying of Jesus (Luke 17th chapter, 26th verse)-“And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.” And if it does rain, I’ll preach this doctrine, for the truth shall be preached.
Plurality of Gods
I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preach on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years.
I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods. If this is in accordance with the New Testament, lo and behold! we have three Gods anyhow, and they are plural; and who can contradict it?
Our text says, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father.” The Apostles have discovered that there were Gods above, for John says God was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. My object was to preach the scriptures, and preach the doctrine they contain, there being a God above, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am bold to declare I have taught all the strongest doctrines publicly, and always teach stronger doctrines in public than in private.
John was one of the men, and apostles declare they were made kings and priests unto God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It reads just so in the Revelation, Hence the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine. It is all over the face of the Bible. It stands beyond the power of controversy. A wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein.
Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many. I want to set it forth in a plain and simple manner; but to us there is but one God-that is pertaining to us; and he is in all and through all. But if Joseph Smith says there are Gods many and Lords many, they cry, “Away with him! Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Mankind verily say that the Scriptures are with them. Search the Scriptures, for they testify of things that these apostates would gravely pronounce blasphemy. Paul, if Joseph Smith is a blasphemer, you are. I say there are Gods many and Lords many, but to us only one, and we are to be in subjection to that one, and no man can limit the bounds or the eternal existence of eternal time. Hath he beheld the eternal world, and is he authorized to say that there is only one God? He makes himself a fool if he thinks or says so, and there is an end of his career or progress in knowledge. He cannot obtain all knowledge, for he has sealed up the gate to it.
Some say I do not interpret the Scripture the same as they do. They say it means the heathen’s gods. Paul says there are Gods many and Lords many; and that makes a plurality of Gods, in spite of the whims of all men. Without a revelation, I am not going to give them the knowledge of the God of heaven. You know and I testify that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods. I have it from God, and get over it if you can. I have a witness of the Holy Ghost, and a testimony that Paul had no allusion to the heathen gods in the text. I will show from the Hebrew Bible that I am correct, and the first word shows a plurality of Gods; and I want the apostates and learned men to come here and prove to the contrary, if they can. An unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew. Berosheit baurau Eloheim ait aushamayeen vehau auraits, rendered by King James’ translators, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” I want to analyze the word Berosheit. Rosh, the head; Sheit, a grammatical termination; the Baith was not originally put there when the inspired man wrote it, but it has been since added by an old Jew. Baurau signifies to bring forth; Eloheim is from the word Eloi, God, in the singular number; and by adding the word heim, it renders it Gods. It read first, “In the beginning the head of the Gods brought forth the Gods,” or, as others have translated it, “The head of the Gods called the Gods together.” I want to show a little learning as well as other fools.
. . .
The head God organized the heavens and the earth. I defy all the world to refute me. In the beginning the heads of the Gods organized the heavens and the earth. Now the learned priests and the people rage, and the heathen imagine a vain thing. If we pursue the Hebrew text further, it reads, “The head one of the Gods said, Let us make a man in our own image.” I once asked a learned Jew, “If the Hebrew language compels us to render all words ending in heim in the plural, why not render the first Eloheim plural?” He replied, “That is the rule with few exceptions; but in this case it would ruin the Bible.” He acknowledged I was right. I came here to investigate these things precisely as I believe them. Hear and judge for yourselves; and if you go away satisfied, well and good.
In the very beginning the Bible shows there is a plurality of Gods beyond the power of refutation. It is a great subject I am dwelling on. The word Eloheim ought to be in the plural all the way through-Gods. The heads of the Gods appointed one God for us; and when you take [that] view of the subject, its sets one free to see all the beauty, holiness and perfection of the Gods. All I want is to get the simple, naked truth, and the whole truth.
Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow-three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization. “Father, I pray not for the world, but I pray for them which thou hast given me.” “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.” All are to be crammed into one God, according to sectarianism. It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God-he would be a giant or a monster. I want to read the text to you myself-“I am agreed with the Father and the Father is agreed with me, and we are agreed as one.” The Greek shows that it should be agreed. “Father, I pray for them which Thou hast given me out of the world, and not for those alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be agreed, as Thou, Father, are with me, and I with Thee, that they also may be agreed with us,” and all come to dwell in unity, and in all the glory and everlasting burnings of the Gods; and then we shall see as we are seen, and be as our God and He as His Father. I want to reason a little on this subject. I learned it by translating the papyrus which is now in my house.
I learned a testimony concerning Abraham, and he reasoned concerning the God of heaven. “In order to do that,” said he, “suppose we have two facts: that supposes another fact may exist-two men on the earth, one wiser than the other, would logically show that another who is wiser than the wisest may exist. Intelligences exist one above another, so that there is no end to them.”
If Abraham reasoned thus-If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it.
I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before? He laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before. He did as He was sent, to lay down His life and take it up again; and then was committed unto Him the keys. I know it is good reasoning.
The Church Being Purged
I have reason to think that the Church is being purged. I saw Satan fall from heaven, and the way they ran was a caution. All these are wonders and marvels in our eyes in these last days. So long as men are under the law of God, they have no fears-they do not scare themselves.
I want to stick to my text, to show that when men open their lips against these truths they do not injure me, but injure themselves. To the law and to the testimony, for these principles are poured out all over the Scriptures. When things that are of the greatest importance are passed over by the weak-minded men without even a thought, I want to see truth in all its bearings and hug it to my bosom. I believe all that God ever revealed, and I never hear of a man being damned for believing too much; but they are damned for unbelief.
They found fault with Jesus Christ because He said He was the Son of God, and made Himself equal with God. They say of me, like they did of the Apostles of old, that I must be put down. What did Jesus say? “Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are Gods? If He called them Gods unto whom the word of God came, and the Scriptures cannot be broken, say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said I am the Son of God?” It was through Him that they drank of the spiritual rock. Of course He would take the honor to Himself. Jesus, if they were called Gods unto whom the word of God came, why should it be thought blasphemy that I should say I am the Son of God?
Go and read the vision in the Book of Covenants. There is clearly illustrated glory upon glory-one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and a glory of the stars; and as one star differeth from another star in glory, even so do they of the telestial world differ in glory, and every man who reigns in celestial glory is a God to his dominions. By the apostates admitting the testimony of the Doctrine and Covenants they damn themselves. Paul, what do you say? They impeached Paul and all went and left him. Paul had seven churches, and they drove him off from among them; and yet they cannot do it by me. I rejoice in that. My testimony is good.
Paul says, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.” They who obtain a glorious resurrection from the dead, are exalted far above principalities, powers, thrones, dominions and angels, and are expressly declared to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, all having eternal power.
These Scriptures are a mixture of very strange doctrines to the Christian world, who are blindly led by the blind. I will refer to another Scripture. “Now,” says God, when He visited Moses in the bush, (Moses was a stammering sort of a boy like me) God said, “Thou shalt be a God unto the children of Israel.” God said, “Thou shalt be a God unto Aaron, and he shall be thy spokesman.” I believe those Gods that God reveals as Gods to be sons of God, and all can cry, “Abba, Father!” Sons of God who exalt themselves to be Gods, even from before the foundation of the world, and are the only Gods I have a reverence for.
John said he was a king. “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God, and His Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen.” Oh, Thou God who art King of kings and Lord of lords, the sectarian world, by their actions, declare, “We cannot believe Thee.”
The old Catholic church traditions are worth more than all you have said. Here is a principle of logic that most men have no more sense than to adopt. I will illustrate it by an old apple tree. Here jumps off a branch and says, I am the true tree, and you are corrupt. If the whole tree is corrupt, are not its branches corrupt? If the Catholic religion is a false religion, how can any true religion come out of it? If the Catholic church is bad, how can any good thing come out of it? The character of the old churches have always been slandered by all apostates since the world began.
The Lord Will Not Acknowledge Traitors
I testify again, as the Lord lives, God never will acknowledge any traitors or apostates. Any man who will betray the Catholics will betray you; and if he will betray me, he will betray you. All men are liars who say they are of the true Church without the revelations of Jesus Christ and the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which is after the order of the Son of God.
It is in the order of heavenly things that God should always send a new dispensation into the world when men have apostatized from the truth and lost the priesthood, but when men come out and build upon other men’s foundations, they do it on their own responsibility, without authority from God; and when the floods come and the winds blow, their foundations will be found to be sand, and their whole fabric will crumble to dust.
Did I build on any other man’s foundation? I have got all the truth which the Christian world possessed, and an independent revelation in the bargain, and God will bear me off triumphant. I will drop this subject. I wish I could speak for three or four hours; but it is not expedient on account of the rain; I would still go on, and show you proof upon proofs; all the Bible is equal in support of this doctrine, one part as another. (June 16, 1844.)
Original Texts Versionn (From Ehat and Cook’s Words of Joseph Smith)
16 June 1844 (1) (Sunday Morning). Grove East of Temple. 1
378Thomas Bullock Report
378Prayer by N Whitney choir sang “Mortals Awake” The Prophet read the 3rd Rev. text 6th. v. & made us K & P. unto God & his Far to him be glory & dom. for evermore 2-.
378It is altogr. correct in the translatn. 3-now you know that of late some have sprung up & apostat. & they declare that Pro bel[ieves]. in a plurality of Gods 4-&c. & behold a very great secret they cry it has been my intentn. to take up this subjt. & show what my Faith is in the matter-I have contemplated the saying of Je[sus] as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be at his 2nd. coming & if it rains I’ll preach-the plurarlity of Gods-I have selected this text I wish to declare I have allways-& in all congregats. when I have preached it has been the plurality of Gods it has been preached 15 years-I have always decld. God to be a distinct personage-J.C. a sep. & distinct pers from God the Far. the H.G was a distinct personage 5 & or Sp & these 3 constit. 3 distinct personages & 3 Gods-if this is in accordance with the New Test.-lo & behold we have 3 Gods any how & they are plural any how-our text says
378 – 379the apost[les] have disc[overe]d. that there were Gods above-God was the Far. of our Ld. J.C. 6-my object was to preach the Scrip-& preach the doctrine there being a God above the Far. of our Ld. J.C.-I am bold to declare I have taut. all the strong doctrines publicly-& always stronger that what I preach in private-John was one of the men & the apos. declare they were made K. & P. unto God the Fatr. of our Ld. J.C. 7 it reads just so hence the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any doctrine-it is all over the face of the Bible, it stands beyond the power of controversy-a wayfaring man tho a fool need not fail-Paul says there are gods many & Lords many 8-I want to set it in a plain simple manner-but to us there is but one God pertaining to us, in all thro all, 9-but if J. Smith says there is Gods many & Lds. many they cry away with him crucify him mankind verily say that the Scrip [i]s with them-Search the Script & & they testify of things that apostates wod blaspheme-Paul if Jo Smith is a blasphemer you are-I say there are Gods many & Lds many but to us only one & we are to be in subject to that one & no man can limit the bounds, or the eternal existence of eternal time-hath he beheld the e[terna]l. world. & is he authd. to say that there is only God he makes himself a fool-& there is an end of his career in knowledge he cannot obtn. all knowledge for he has sealed up the gate to 10
379some say I do not interpret same as you-they say it means the heathen God. 11 Paul says there are Gods many &c it makes a plurality of Gods any how-witht. a revn. I am not going to give the God of Heaven to them any how-you know & I testify that Paul had no allusions to it-I have it from God & get over it if you can-I have a witness of the H.G-& a test. that Paul had no allusion to the heathen G. in the text-Twice I will shew from the Heb. Bible & the 1st. word shews a plurality of Gods-& I want the apostate & learned men to come here-& prove to the contrary an unlearned boy must give you a little Hebrew-Berosheit &c 12 In the begin. rosheit-the head-it shod. read the heads of-to organize the Gods-Eloiheam Eloi. God in sing. heam, 13 reanders Gods I want a little learning as well as other fools
379Popes quot: Drink deep 14
all the confusion is for want of drinking and draught the head God-organized the heavens & the Earth-I defy all the learning in the world to refute me-
379In the begin the heads of the Gods organized the heaven & the Earth-now the learned Priest-the people rage-& the heathen imagine a vain thing-if we pursue the Heb further-it reads
379, 380, 381The Head one of the Gods said let us make man in our image 15 I once asked a learned Jew 16 once-if the Heb. language compels us to render all words ending in heam in the plural-why not render the first plural-he replied it would ruin the Bible-he acknowledged I was right. I came here to investigate these things precisely as I believe it-hear & judge for yourself-& if you go away satisfied- well & good-in the very beginning there is a plurality of Gods-beyond the power of refutation-it is a great subject I am dwelling on-the word Eloiheam ought to be in the plural all the way thro 17- Gods-the heads of the Gods appointed one God for us 18-& when you take a view of the subject it sets one free to see all the beauty holiness & perfection of the God-all I want is to get the simple truth-naked & the whole truth-Men say there is one God-the Far. Son & the H.G. are only 1 God-it is a strange God any how 3 in 1. & 1 in 3. it is a curious thing any how-Far. I pray not for the world but I pray for those that thou givest me &c &c 19 all are to be crammed into 1 God-it wod. make the biggest God in all the world-he is a wonderful big God-he would be a Giant I want to read the text to you myself-I am agreed with the Far. & the Far. is a greed with me & we are agreed as one 20-the Greek shews that is shod. be agreed 21-Far. I pray for them that thou hast given me out of the world &c &c 22 that they may be agreed & all come to dwell in unity & in all the Glory & Everlasting burngs of God & then we shall see as we are seen 23 & be as God-& he as the God of his Far.-I want to reason-I learned it by translating the papyrus now in my house 24-I learned a test. concerning Abraham & he reasoned concerng. the God of Heaven-in order to do that sd. he-suppose we have two facts that supposes that anotr. fact may exist two men on the earth-one wiser than the other-wod. shew that antr. who is wiser than the wisest may exist-intelligences exist one above anotr. that there is no end to it 25-if Abra. reasoned thus-if J.C was the Son of God & John discd. that god the Far. of J.C had a far. you may suppose that he had a Far. also-where was ther ever a Son witht. a Far.-where ever did tree or any thing spring into existence witht. a progenitor-& every thing comes in this way-Paul says that which is Earthyly is in likeness of that which is Heavenly 26- hence if J. had a Far. can we not believe that he had a Far. also-I despise the idea of being scared to death-I want you all to pay particr. attent. J. sd. as the Far. wrought precisely in the same way as his Far. had done bef 27-as the Far. had done bef.-he laid down his life & took it up same as his Far. had done bef-he did as he was sent to 28 lay down his life & take it up again & was then committed unto him the keys &c I know it is good reasoning-I have reason to think that the Church is being purged-I saw Satan fall from heaven29-& the way they ran was a caution. all these are wonders & marvellous in our eyes in these last days-so long as men are under the law of God they have no fears, they do not scarce themselves-I want to stick to my text-to shew that when men open their lips- they do not injure me-but injure themselves-To the law & to the testimony 30-they are poured all over the Scrip
381When things that are great are passed over witht. even a thot I want to see all in all its bearings & hug it to my bosom-I bel. all that God ever revd. & I never hear of a man being d[amne]d for belg. too much but they are d-d for unbel.
381they found fault with J.C. bec. he sd. he was the Son of God & made himself equal with God 31-they say like the apost. of old I must be put down 32-what Je. say-it is written in your law I said Ye are Gods 33-it was thro’ him that they drink of the rock 34-of course he wod. take the honor to himself J. if they were called Gods unto whom the word of God why shld. it be thot incredible that I shod. say I am the Son of God. 35 Oh Apostates did ye never think of this bef. these are the quotations that the apostates take to the Scrip- they swear that they bel the Bible & the Book of Mormon 36 &c & then you will get filth & slander & bogus makers plenty-& one of the Church members prophesied that Jo Smith shld. never preach any more-& yet I am now prachg.-go & read the vision 37-there is glory & glory-Sun, moon & Stars-& so do they differ in glory & every man who reigns is a God-& the text of the Do & Covt damns themselves-Paul what do you say-they impeached Paul & all Went & left him 38-Paul had 7 churches & they drove him off from among them-& yet they cannot do it by me-I rej. in that-my test. is good-Paul-says there is one Glory of the Sun the moon & the Stars-& as the Star differs &c 39-They are exalted far above princ. thrones dom. & angels-& are expressly decld. to be heirs of God & jt. heirs with J.C. 40 all havg. et[erna]l. power-the Scrip are a very strange doct.-I have an[othe]r. Scrip-now says God when visited Moses in the Bush-moses was a stutt[er]ing sort of a boy like me-God said thou shalt be a God unto the children of Israel-God said thou shalt be a God unto Aaron & he shall be thy spokes. 41 I bel. in these Gods that God reveals as Gods-to be Sons of God 42 & all can cry Abba Father 43-Sons of God who exalt themselves to be Gods even from bef. the foundatn. of the world & are all the only Gods I have a reverence for- 44
381 – 382John sd. he was a K[ing]. 45 J.C. who hath by his own blood made us K & P to God. 46 Oh thou God who are K. of K’s & Ld. of Lds. 47-we cannot bel. thee-old Catholic Church is worth more than all 48-here is a princ. of logic-that men have no more sense-I will illustrate an old apple tree-here jumps off a branch & says I am the true tree. & you are corrupt-if the whole tree is corrupt how can any true thing come out of it-the char[acte]r of the old ones have always been sland[ere]d. by all apos[tates] since the world began-I testify again as God never will acknowledge any apost: any man who will betray the Catholics will betray you-& if he will betray one anothr. he will betray you-all men are liars who say that they are of the true-God always sent a new dispensatn. 49 into the world-when men come out & build upon o[the]r men’s foundatn.-did I build on anotr. mans foundtn. but my own-I have got all the truth & an indepent. rev[elatio]n. in the bargain 50- & God will bear me off triumphant-I will drop this subjt. I wish I cod. speak for 3 or 4 hours it is not expedt. on acct. of the rain-I will still go on & shew you proof on proof. all the Bible is as equal one part as another
382George Laub Journal
382The Scripture Say I and my father are one 51 & again that the father son & holy ghost are one I John 5 ch. 7 vers But these three agree in the Same thing 52 & did the Saviour pray to the father. I pray not for the world but those [w]home he gave me out of the world that we might be one, or to Say be of one mind in the unity of the faith. 53
382but Every one being a diffrent or Seperate person & So is god & is god & Jesus Christ & the holy ghost. Seperate persons. but the all agree in one or the Self Same thing But the holy ghost is yet a Spiritual body and waiting to take to himself a body. as the Savior did or as god did or the gods before them took bodies 54 for the Saviour Says the work that my father did do i also & those are the works 55 he took himself a a body & then laid down his life that he might take it up again 56 & the Scripture Say those who will obey the commandments shall be heirs of god & Joint heirs with of Jesus Christ 57 we then also took bodys to lay them down, to take them up again & the Sperit itself bears witness with our Spirits that we are the children of god & if children then heirs and Joint heirs with Jesus Christ if So be that we Suffer with him in the flesh that we may be also glorified to gether. See Romans 8 ch 16 & 17 Vers.
383McIntire Minute Book
383Sunday the 16th of June 1844 Gen. Joseph Smiths Last public Discorce on Doctrine he comenced By Reading Rev. 1st Ch 6 verse-“And hath made us Kings & priests unto God & his father[“] &c He then preceded to show the plurality of Gods By Refering to the 1st Gen. as in the origanel Hebrew-that it Read that in the Begining the Head Gods organized the Earth & the heavens 58 &-and that God was a distinct in of himself & the Son also was a distinct Personage But in the image of the Father-he quoted the 17th of St John 20, 21, 22, 23 that the apostles & the Desciples may all agree in one-or be agreed in the one principal as thou father & me are agred-Jesus said that all things that He saw the father do he did-and also the 82 psalm 1st verse God standith in the Congragations of the Mighty; he Judgeth among the Gods-
383Alexander Neibaur Diary
383Preached from 1 Revelation on the Plurality of God.
383Joseph Smith Diary, by Willard Richards
383Preached at the stand 10 o’clock A.M.
383William Clayton Diary
383Preached at the stand.
408-16 June 1844 (1)
4081. See History of the Church, 6:473-79, and Teachings, pp. 369-76. The original source for the account of this discourse in History of the Church and Teachings is the Thomas Bullock report. The William P. McIntire account is here published for the first time. The Alexander Neibaur brief note on this sermon was not included in the first edition of Words.
4082. Revelation 1:6.
4083. JST Revelation 1:6.
4084. In the first and only issue of the Nauvoo Expositor, William Law and others claimed in Resolution 2 (p. 2, col. 3) that Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith and others taught “false and damnable doctrines…such as plurality of Gods above the God of this universe…the plurality of wives, for time and eternity, [and] the doctrine of unconditional sealing up to eternal life, against all sins except that of shedding innocent blood.”
4085. See, for example, the paragraph of the discourse dated 27 June 1839 ending with note 15 .
4086. See Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; 11:31; Colossians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 John 2:22; 2 John 3; Revelation 1:6; 2:27; 3:5, 21.
4087. Revelation 1:6.
4088. 1 Corinthians 8:5 (4-6).
4089. 1 Corinthians 8:6.
40910. See 5 October 1840, note 24 “>19; and, 27 August 1843, note 5. 5
40911. This is the standard orthodox interpretation.
40912. See notes 69 and 70 of the 7 April 1844 discourse.
40913. The transliteration should be ‘elôhîym (pronounced el-o-heem’). The singular for god is simply ‘êl (pronounced ale). According to the Hebrew dictionary, the plural form means “gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural, thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God.”
40914. A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring,
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us up again.
-Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
40915. Genesis 1:26-27. At this point of the text, the Utah editor of this discourse made the error of requoting the faulty transliteration of Genesis 1:1, placing it here as a transliteration of Genesis 1:26. Thomas Bullock did not even attempt to record the Prophet’s reading of the Hebrew; however, the transliteration should have been vayi’mer ‘elôhîym n’eseh ‘âdâm betsalemênûw keidemûwthêûw.
40916. Joseph Smith is possibly referring to Joshua Seixas who, for a few weeks, taught Hebrew to the Prophet and others in Kirtland, Ohio (1836). The word ‘elôhîym is the first plural in the Bible.
40917. In the Old Testament the word ‘elôhîym is found translated either God or gods 2674 times. Only 8 percent of the time is it translated gods. The word ‘êl is found translated God 179 times and only once translated gods. Thus the singular form is found only 6 percent of the time. Other Hebrew words are translated God, most particularly the word yehôvîh appearing 266 times (but yehôvâh only appears 3 times).
40918. While this appears arbitrary it is consistent with previous revelation to Joseph Smith regarding the true nature of worship. See D&C 93:1-39.
40919. John 17:9-11.
40920. 1 John 5:7-8.
40921. Cf. 1 John 5:7-8.
40922. John 17:9-11.
40923. John 17:9-11; Isaiah 33:14 (13-17); D&C 76:94. The American Translation of the New Testament uses the word union in place of the word one used in the King James Version.
41024. Since the summer of 1835 Joseph Smith possessed relics and mummies excavated in Egypt including some treasured papyri texts. In 1842, he published his translation of these records entitled The Book of Abraham.
41025. Abraham 3:18.
41026. 1 Corinthians 15:46-48.
41027. John 5:19. See 7 April 1844, note 41. 41
41028. John 9:4.
41029. Luke 10:18 (17-20).
41030. Isaiah 8:20.
41031. John 10:33; 5:18.
41032. See for example, Matthew 9:3; Luke 15:2; 19:14; John 7:15, 9:16; 11:47; 19:12.
41033. John 10:34.
41034. 1 Corinthians 10:4 (1-4).
41035. John 10:34-36.
41036. For example, Joseph Fielding says that William Law used Jacob 2 of the Book of Mormon to combat the Prophet’s practice of plural marriage, and in the Nauvoo Expositor Resolution 6 (p. 2, col. 4), the followers of William Law quoted the Doctrine and Covenants to contradict Joseph Smith’s financial practices. Ironically, both books of scripture were revealed through Joseph Smith.
41037. D&C 76. Note specifically verse 58.
41038. Joseph Smith is apparently referring to the seven churches Paul wrote to, namely, Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse and Thessalonica.
41039. 1 Corinthians 15:40-42.
41040. Romans 8:17.
41041. Exodus 3:16.
41042. Job 38:7; John 1:12; Romans 8:14, 19; 1 John 3:1-2; 3 Nephi 9:17; Moroni 7:26, 48; D&C 11:30; 39:4; 45:8; 76:24, 58 (50-60); Moses 6:68 (57-68); 7:1; 8:13-22 (cf. Genesis 6:1-8).
41043. Romans 8:15 (14-17).
41044. Abraham 3:22-4:1.
41145. Revelation 1:6.
41147. Revelation 17:14; 19:16.
41148. In light of the Prophet’s teachings in this discourse and elsewhere, this observation is clear. For example, Reverend William J. Logan’s comments on Extreme Unction in his A Catechism for Adults (Chicago: Adult Catechetical Teaching Aids Publications, n.d.), pp. 92-94, are illuminating.
41149. See, for example, the “Before 8 August 1839 (1)” and 5 October 1840 discourses.
41150. The Prophet would no doubt agree that all the world’s knowledge he had available to him was an indirect catalyst for his revelations. In the chemical formula for revelation, so to speak, the catalysts aided the reaction, but did not figure in the final results.
41151. John 10:30.
41152. 1 John 5:8.
41153. John 17:9-11.
41154. Cf. the text of the 27 August 1843 discourse at note 26. &
41155. John 9:4.
41156. John 10:18 (14-18).
41157. Romans 8:17.
41158. Genesis 1:1. See 7 April 1844, notes 69 and 70.