Sunday, February 22, 2015

Jos Smith Letter Sept 1833

Below I have copied and pasted a transcription from the Joseph Smith Papers publication of the LDS Church Historian Press. The letter is written in September, 1833, while Joseph was working on a series of lectures which would eventually become scripture. They would not be published until 1835 as Lectures on Faith. But the thinking of Joseph in September 1833 shown in this letter to his uncle show how the analysis of the later published Lectures on Faith came from the mind of Joseph Smith. This version is taken from the website, but a printed version appears in JS Papers, Documents Vol. 3, pp. 303-308.

Kirtland Mills Ohio sept 26 1833
Respected Uncle Silas
It is with feelings of deep interest for the well fare of mankind which fills my mind on the reflection that all were formed by the hand of him who will call the same to give  an impartial account of all their works on that great day to  which you and myself in common with them are bound, that I  take up my pen and seat myself in an attitude to address a few  though imperfect lines to you for your perusal.
I have no doubt but that you will agree with me that men will be held accountable for the things which they have and  not for the things they have not or that all the light and intell igence communicated to them from their benifficen [beneficent] creator wh ether it is much or little by the same they in justice will be  judged, and that they are required to yield obedience and  improve upon that and that only which is given for man is  not to live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds [p. 228]

out of the mouth of God
Seeing that the Lord has never given the world to unders tand by anything heretofore revealed that he had ceased forever  to speak to his creatures when saught unto in a proper manner  why should it be thought a thing incredible that he should be  pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation Perhaps  you may be surprized at this assertion that I should say for the  salvation of his creatures in these last days since we have already in  our possesion a vast volume of his word which he has previously given But you will admit that the word spoken to Noah was not suff icent for Abraham or it was not required of Abraham to leave  the land of his nativity and seek an Inheritance in a strange land  Country upon the word spoken to Noah but for himself he obtain ed promises at the hand of the Lord and walked in that perf ection that he was called the friend of God Isaac the promi sed seed was not required to rest his hope upon the promises  made to his father Abraham but was priviledged with the assu rance of his approbation in the sight of Heaven by the direct  voice of the Lord to him If one man can live upon the revelat ions given to another might not I with propriety ask why the n ecessity then of the Lord speaking to Isaac as he did as is record ed in the 26 chapter of Genesis for the Lord there repeats or rath er promises again to perform the oath which he had previously  sworn unto Abraham and why this repet[it]ion to Isaac Why was not  the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham.  Was not Isaac Abraham's son And could he not place implicit confidence in the word of his father as being a man of God.
Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man and  different from men in these last days consequently the Lord  favored him with blessings peculiar and different as he was  different from men in this age I admit that he was a peculiar  man and was not only peculiarly blessed but greatly bless ed. But all the peculiarity that I can discover in the [p. 229]

man or all the difference between him and men in this age is  that he was more holy and more perfect before God and came to  him with a purer heart and more faith than men in this day.
The same might be said on the subject of Jacobs history  Why was it that the Lord spake to him concerning the same prom ise after he had made it once to Abraham and renewed it to  Isaac why could not Jacob rest contented upon the word  spoken to his fathers When the time of the promise drew nigh  for the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of  Egypt why was it necessary that the Lord should begin  to speak to them The promise or word to Abraham was that  his seed should serve in bondage and be afflicted four hun dred years and after that they should come out with great  substance Why did they not rely upon this promise and  when they had remained in Egypt in bondage four hundred [years] come out without waiting for further revelation but act entirely  upon the promise given to Abraham that they should come  out.
Paul said to his Hebrew brethren that God b[e]ing more abu ndantly willing to show unto the heirs of his promises the immu tability of his council [“]confirmed it by an oath.” He also  exhorts them who throug[h] faith and patience inherit the pro mises.
[“]Notwithstanding we (said Paul) have fled for refuge to  lay hold of the hope set before us which hope we have as an an chor of the soul both sure and steadfast and which entereth  into that within the vail.” Yet he was careful to press upon them  the necessity of continuing on untill they as well as those who  inherited the promises might have the assurance of their salvat ion confirmed to them by an oath from the mouth of him who  cannot could not lie for that seemed to be the example an ciently and Paul holds it out to his brethren as an object atta inable in his day and why not[?] I admit that by reading [p. 230]

the scriptures of truth saints in the days of Paul could learn beyond  the power of contradiction that Abraham Isaac and Jacob had  the promise of eternal life confirmed to them by an oath of the  Lord but that promise or oath was no assurance to them of their salvation but they could by walking in the footsteps <and> continuing  in the faith of their fathers obtain for themselves an oath for  confirmation that they were meet to be partake[r]s of the inheri tance with the saints in light.
If the saints in the days of the Apostles were priviledged to  take the saints for example and lay hold of the same promises  and attain to the same exhalted priviledges of knowing that  their names were writen in the Lambs book of life and that  they were sealed there as a perpetual memorial before the face  of the most high will not the same faithfulness the same pur ity of heart and the same faith bring the same assurance of eternal  life and that in the same manner to the children of men now  in this age of the world[?]
I have no doubt but that the holy prophets and apostles  and saints in ancient days were saved in the Kingdom of  God. Neither do I doubt but that they held converse and com munion with them while in the flesh as Paul said to the cori nthian brethren that the Lord Jesus showed himself to above 500  saints at one time after his resuretion [resurrection]. Job said that he  knew that his Redeemer lived and that he should see him in  the flesh in the latter days. I may believe that Enoch wa lked with God <and by faith was translated. And I may [believe]  that Noah was a perfect man in his generation  & also walked with God.> I may believe that Abraham communed with God and conversed with angels. I may believe that Isaac  obtained a renewal of the covenant made to Abraham by the  direct voice of the Lord. I may believe that Jacob conversed  with holy angels and heard the word of his Maker. that he  wrestled with the angel until he prevailed and obtained a  blessing I may believe that Elijah was taken to Heaven in a chariot of fire with fiery horses I may believe that the [p. 231]

saints saw the Lord and conversed with him face to face aft er his resurection I may believe that the Hebrew Church came  to Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God the Heaven ly Jerusalem and to an inumerable company of angels. I  may believe that they looked into Eternity and saw the  Judge of all, and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant;  but will all this purchase an assurance for me, or waft me  to the regions of Eternal day with my garments spotless, pure,  and white? Or, must I not rather obtain for myself, by  my own faith and dilligence, in keeping the commandments of the Lord, an assurance of salvation for myself And have I not an equal priviledge with the ancient saints? and  will not the Lord hear my prayers, and listen to my cries,  as soon [as] he ever did to their’s if I come to him in the manner  they did or is he a respecter of persons?
I must now close this subject for the want of time; and I  may say with propriety at the begining; we would be pleased to see  you in Kirtland and more pleased to have you embrace the New  Covenant. I remain.
Yours affectionately
Joseph Smith Jr [p. 232]