Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Hello and welcome once again to the Latter Day Church of Christ blog site. We hope that you have all had a wonderful week and that God has blessed you with all that you have prayed for.

We have been very busy over the last week or two with emails from what seems to be an endless source. We have been answering questions about a lot of different topics form things as simple as our basic beliefs to things such as, were we stand on the King Follett discourse given by Joseph Smith. I must admit that the Prophet has been flat out over the last week or two what with all these things as well as the continued revelation concerning Zion’s camp and the building of the Temple that we have been getting from the Lord.

As the web administrator I have been asked to answer one of the continuing questions being asked of us by many people, in particular LDS members. With regards to weather or not we support the King Follett Discourse. This is a topic that has drawn a lot of comment. A topic that has caused and could cause much contention. Because many believe that if we hold with the King Follett discourse then a lot of what we preach could be wrong….it is not wrong, with regards to Joseph Smith we only teach what can be proven came from him. Before we go on to answer the question directly I think that an expiation of the King Follett discourse in needed. And for this I give the time over to our Prophet Matthew Philip Gill

The King Follet Discourse was a funeral address delivered by Jospeh Smith on behalf of Elder King Follett, an early convert to Mormonism, who, on March 9, 1844 was crushed to death when a bucket of rocks fell on him as he was walling up a well. On a windy day in April, 1844 at Nauvoo, Illinois less than three months before Joseph Smith's assassination, the discourse was presented to a congregation of the church. Many reports have suggested that the discourse was addressed to more than 20,000 people this number is questionable since the census records of Nauvoo in 1845 show a total population of only 11,057. It is more likely that the number present was as few as around 8,000.

Although there is no verbatim account of the speech and it has been proved that such an account does not exist four scribes were present to record Smith's remarks they were Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, Thomas Bullock and William Clayton. All of whom were close friends and associates of Brigham Young and all of whom supported his claim to be leader of the church after the death of the Prophet. The first time that the sermon was seen in public was in the Times and Seasons in August 15 1844 a good two months after the death of the Prophet Joseph which took place in June 27, 1844. A later version was also constructed from amalgamations of the Richards, Woodruff, Bullock and Clayton texts. This amalgamation was done by Church employee Jonathan Grimshaw roughly ten years after Smith's death and is generally regarded as the "official" version. However this is were some controversy comes in to play because it contains some text not found in any of the primary sources. It should also be noted that the current versions contains only roughly 30% of the actual address. It would seem then that on balance, the Times and Seasons version would be the closest to the original speech.

The Latter Day Church of Christ are in no doubt that Joseph made an address at the funeral service of King Follett and we are under no illusion that there were probably many people who were writing it down as the Prophet spoke, However we are of the opinion and may we just stress that this is our opinion, that Joseph smith never intended this to be recorded and the reasons that he never intended this to be recorded are simple. There was nothing in the King Follett discourse that he thought was earth shattering. And I will explain the reasoning behind this statement.

Every time Joseph received new revelation it was written down and published almost instantly Joseph never gave such an order in this case. It must also be noted that the four mentioned scribes at the funeral were all friends and allies of Brigham Young and it seems very strange that there is not one note that Joseph ever intended this to be published yet just two months after the Prophet was martyred it appears in the Times and Seasons. That is the first problem. The second is this. If the Times and Seasons was so accurate why did Brigham young ask for it to be re-written with what seems to be staggering differences and with only 30% of the core material remaining, I wonder!

The other thing that may be worrying to many LDS members is that your own so called Prophets have also not viewed the original discourse with favorable light. For example it was not published in the annals of Joseph Smith's life ca 1902 ("History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints") because of then Church President Joseph F. Smith’s discomfort with some ideas in the sermon which he felt suffered from inaccuracies. This would seem right to me if the LDS church was doing things that Joseph smith never for one minute would have allowed.

So were do The Latter Day Church of Christ stand on the discourse. We say this, that it was given by Joseph Smith the then Prophet at the funeral of King Follett but we say this, that we do not believe for one minute that Joseph Smith was best served by all the members in the congregation taking notes that day and that things were afoot that Joseph would not have taken very kindly and we also believe that Joseph never intended to have this published as it was given at a funeral of one of the elders of the church and not at a general assembly. Joseph never stated that it was revelation or anything of the kind. I also wish to state that also though the LDS church claim to be doing Joseph smith a great service they are not and I will not give my opinion of this but will leave that up to his sons who said to George Q Cannon in a meeting with Brigham young ,John Taylor, Daniel Wells, George A. Smith, Brigham Young, Jr., George Q. Cannon, J. F. [Joseph Fielding] Smith, John Henry Smith, John Smith, Samuel Smith, Joseph Young, Phineas Young, and a number of others.

The boys say this “President Young would no longer talk to me; so I said, "Come, David, let us go; it is useless to prolong this controversy." We arose to our feet, and David said, “Mr. Young, are we to understand that we are denied the use of the tabernacle?” President Young then turned to his brethren, and said, “What do you say, brethren?” Several of them expressed themselves disapproving the letting us have it. The exact words of none come to me except those of George Q. Cannon. He arose and said, “So far as I am concerned, I can soon express myself. After we whose hairs have grown gray in the service of God and after we have borne the heat and burden of the day in persecution and suffering, on land and sea, and have labored long and hard in heat and cold to build up the work and name for their father; for these boys to come now and ask us for the use of our houses to tear down what we have been so many years in building up, to me it is the height of impudence, and I will not give my consent to it.” He was very much in earnest; his face was as white as death.
David then quietly arose to his full height and his face was also white but his words were calm, but oh, so full of sarcasm: “We will not deny that you have traveled far, suffered much, and labored hard to build up a name for our father, but what sort of a name is it? A name that we his sons are ashamed to meet in good society, and it shall be our life's work to remove from our father's name the stain you have heaped upon it."

I will leave those words as they stand. And say Amen to them.

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