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Discourse, 7 April 1844, as Reported by Times and Seasons

Discourse, 7 April 1844, as Reported by Times and Seasons

in a well, I have been requested to speak by  his friends and relatives, and inasmuch as there  are a great many in this congregation who live  in this city, as well as elsewhere, and who have  lost friends, I feel disposed to speak on the sub ject in general, and offer you my ideas so far  as I have ability, and so far as I shall be inspi red by the Holy Spirit to dwell on this subject.  I want your prayers and faith, the instruction  of Almighty God and the gift of the Holy  Ghost, that I may set forth things that are true,  that can easily be comprehended, and shall carry  the testimony to your hearts; pray that the  Lord may strengthen my lungs, stay the winds  and let the prayers of the saints to heaven ap pear, that it may enter into the ear of the Lord  of Sabaoth; for the effectual prayers of righte ous men availeth much, and I verily believe  that your prayers shall be heard before I enter  into the investigation fully of the subject that  is laying before me. Before entering fully into the  investigation, I wish to pave the way: I  will make a few preliminaries, in order that  you may understand the subject when I come  to it. I do not calculate to please your ears  with superfluity of words or oratory, or with  much learning; but I calculate to edify you  with the simple truths from heaven. In the  first place, I wish to go back to the beginning  of creation; there is the starting point, in order  to be fully acquainted with the mind, purposes,  decrees, &c. of the great Eloheim, that sits in  yonder heavens, it is necessary for us to have  an understanding of God himself in the begin ning. If we start right, it is easy to go right  all the time; but if we start wrong, it is a hard  matter to get right. There are a very few be ings in the world who understand rightly the  character of God. They do not comprehend  any thing, that which is past, or that which is to  come; and consequently, but little above the  brute beast. If a man learns nothing more  than to eat, drink, sleep, and does not com prehend any of the designs of God, the beast  comprehends the same thing; it eats, drinks,  sleeps, knows nothing more; yet knows as  much as we, unless WE are able to comprehend  by the inspiration of Almighty God. I want to  go back to the beginning, and so lift your minds  into a more lofty sphere, a more exalted un derstanding; that what the human mind gen erally understands. I want to ask this congre gation, every man, woman and child, to answer  the question in their own heart, what kind of  a being is God? ask yourselves. I again re peat the question, what kind of a being is God?  Does any man or woman know? have any of  you seen him, heard him, communed with  him? Here is the question that will peradven ture from this time henceforth, occupy your  attention. The apostle says this is eternal life,  to know God and Jesus Christ, who he has  sent. If any man enquire what kind of a be ing is God, if he will search diligently his own  heart, if the declaration of the apostle be true,  he will realize that he has not eternal life, there  can be eternal life on no other principle. My  first object is, to find out the character of the  only wise and true God, and if I should be the  man to comprehend God, and explain or con vey the principles to your hearts so that the  spirit seals it upon you, let every man and wo man henceforth put their hand on their mouth  and never say any thing against the man of  God again; but if I fail, it becomes my duty to  renounce all my pretensions to revelations, in spirations, &c., and if all are pretensions to  God, they will all be as bad off as I am at any  rate. There is not a man but would breathe  out an anathema, if they knew I was a false  prophet; and some would feel authorized to  take away my life. If any man is authorized  to take away my life, who says I am a false  teacher; then upon the same principle am I au thorized to take away the life of every false  teacher, and where would be the end of blood,  and who would not be the sufferer. But no  man is authorized to take away life in conse quence of their religion; which all laws and  governments ought to tolerate, right or  wrong. If I show verily, that I have the truth  of God, and show that ninety-nine out of a  hundred are false teachers while they pretend  to hold the keys of God, and to kill them be cause they are false teachers, it would deluge  the whole world with blood. I want you all to  know God, to be familiar with him, and if I  can bring you to him, all persecutions against  me will cease; you will know that I am his ser vant, for I speak as one having authority.—  What sort of a being was God in the beginning?  Open your ears and hear all ye ends of the  earth; for I am going to prove it to you by the  Bible, and am going to tell you the designs of  God to the human race, and why he interferes  with the affairs of man.
First, God himself, who sits enthroned in  yonder heavens, is a man like unto one of  yourselves, that is the great secret. If the vail  was rent to-day, and the great God, who holds  this world in its orbit, and upholds all things  by his power; if you were to see him to-day,  you would see him in all the person, image  and very form as a man; for Adam was crea ted in the very fashion and image of God; Ad am received instruction, walked, talked and [p. 613]
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JS, Discourse, Nauvoo, IL, 7 Apr. 1844; in Times and Seasons (Nauvoo, IL), 15 Aug. 1844, vol. 5, no. 15, pp. 612–617.

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