Sunday, May 27, 2018

Joseph's Greatest Sermon: The King Follet Discourse

In my last post I mentioned Joseph Smith's "King Follet Discourse." I believe it to be the greatest collection of truly revealed doctrinal insights from any speech in history. The occasion for the talk was the April 1844 conference of the Church of Jesus Christ. Do not confuse the 1844 version of the Mormon church with the 2018 version, but that is another story. The inspiration for the talk was the tragic death of church member King Follet, who was crushed by a tub of rocks while building a well in the Nauvoo area.

In his talk, Joseph comforts the mourners of Brother Follet (and others who had lost family members) with assurances that they will see their loved ones in the next sphere of existence. He discusses the plurality of GODs and the eternal nature of man's spirit or intelligence. He shows that the Bible is poorly translated, especially the English version. For example, the German, Latin, and most other versions of the Bible list JESUS's top three apostles as Peter, Jacob, and John. The English version has Peter, James, and John. 

I do not think anyone's eternal salvation or damnation is going to rest on knowing an ancient apostle's real name. However, in the midst of his discussion of the unreliability of the Bible, Joseph makes the following 2 statements:

1. "How can we escape the damnation of hell, unless GOD be with us and reveal it to us?"

2. "Men bind us with chains."

Those 2 sentences are consecutive in the text and seem to be out of place in the midst of a discussion of Hebrew mistranslations. Having thought about it for awhile, they now seem to be the 2 most important sentences ever uttered by someone other than JESUS.

The entire speech is worth hours of study, but these 2 statements jumped out at me today. The talk is truly a masterpiece of modern revelation.

Have a great Memorial Day. I will especially miss my noble Father, John L. Peterson. He went by John L. to distinguish himself from me, his only son, John Scott. He served in the US Navy during the Second World War in the Pacific theater, and received the Purple Heart. He was a junior high school wood shop teacher. He was faithfully married to my Mother, Janet, for almost 70 years. He lived to be 93 years old and passed away just 3 years ago. I cannot blame any of my flaws and failings on my parents. I was blessed with the 2 best parents since Mary and Joseph.