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Funeral Sermon delivered at the Nauvoo temple site on August 13, 1843. (An afternoon address on political matters1 in the city is not included here.)
Sources: Joseph Smith diary (Willard Richards), Howard and Martha Coray notebook (Martha Coray handwriting), Franklin D. Richards "Scriptural Items," William Clayton diary, Levi Richards diary and the Willard Richards diary
Smith Diary Coray Notebook"Scriptural Items" Clayton DiaryLevi RichardsWillard Richards
No Time to Prepare Sermons

Sunday Aug 13th 1843

¶ Joseph Pre. in relation the death of Judge Higby

¶ 2d. Peter 3d. C. 10.11. v.--Text [Joseph] said he was not like other. men his mind was continually occupied with the business of the day, and he had to depend entirely upon the living God for every thing he said on such occasions.

Important to Know What Happened in Grand Council

¶ The great thing for us to know is to comprehend what God did institute before the foundation of the world.--Who knows it?

¶ It is the constitutional disposition of mankind to set up stakes & set bounds to the works and ways of the Almighty.

¶ we are called this mourn this morning the death of a good man a great man & a mighty man--It is a solemn idea that man has no hope of seeing a friend after he has lost him.

Sermon 3thd.
on the death of Judge Higbee.
Went to meeting heard J. preach on 2 Peter 3. 10 & 11 - being a funeral sermon on the death of E. Higbee 13 AM attended meeting at Temple stand heard Pres. Smith preach Judge Higbee's funeral discource. Meeting Joseph preached Judge Higbys funeral sermon.
Not Seeing Friends in Resurrection More Painful than Annihilation

but I will give you a more painful thought--the thought is simple and I never design to communicate no ideas but what are simple for to this end I am sent.--suppose we have an idea of a resurrection, &c &c. and yet know nothing at all of the gospel and could not comprehend one principle of the order of heaven. but found yourselfes disappointed, yes, at last find your disappointed in every hope or anticipation when decisions goes forth from the lips of the Almighty at last. would not this be a greater disappointment. a more painful thought than annihilation2

There is a thought more dreadful than that of total annihilation That thought is the an assurance thought that we shall never again meet with those we loved here on earth Suppose I had died believing that when having some Idea of a resurrection and glory beyond the grave which God and angels had secured and yet had not any knowledge intelligence of any Law or any order by which it is to [be] obtained.

Well you lose a friend you come up in the resurection hoping to [meet] him again but find yourself separated from them to all eternity and become aware of the fact that through ignorance of the principles of the resurection and reunion you will never behold that dear friend nor ever enjoy his society this thought I say of being disappointed in meeting my friend in the resurection is to me more dreadful than of ceasing to suffer by a cessation of being

¶ had I inspiration, Revelation & lungs to communicate what my soul has contemplated in times past there is not a soul in this congregation but would go to their homes & shut their mouths in everlasting silence on religion, till they had learned something.

¶ Why be so certain that you comprehend the things of God.-- when all things with you are so uncertain. you are welcome to all the knowledge &

¶ I do not grudge the world of all the religion the have got.-- they are welcome to all the knowledge they possess.

¶ the sound saluted my ears. we are come unto Mt. Zion. &c. what could profit us to come unto the spirits of Just Men but to learn, and come to the knowledge spirits of the Just.

¶ Where has Judge Higby gone? who is there that would not give all his goods to feed the poor & pour out his gold & silver, to the four winds. to come where Judge Higbee has gone.--

¶ that which hath been hid from before the foundation of the world, is revealed to babes and sucklings in the last days.--

Ordinances - Revealed by Angels, etc.

Were I could I tell the fact as it is all that heard me would go home and never say one word more about God or Christ or religion until they had received that assurance from Heaven which would set their souls at rest by placing all beyond a doubt.

¶ What consolation have we what power what reason to expect one thing more than another in eternity

¶ Hebrews 12 ch 22 & 22 v

You You have come to an innumerable company of angels to the general assembly and church of the first born And for have were they brought thus far--I answer you that they came to these personages to learn of the things of God and to hear revealed through them the order and glory of the kingdoms of God.

¶ I would ask again Is there a word on record that was revealed by those angels and spirits if there is where is it to be found found

¶ Again I enquire what is the order and organization of the Spirits of the just made perfect Let me tell you brethren That which is to be revealed which was kept his from the foundation of the world will be revealed to sucklings and babes

World to be Burned - Another Version of Malachi

¶ The world is reserved unto burning in the last days--he shall send Elijah the prophet. and he shall reveal the covenants of the fathers in relation to the children.-- and the children and the covenants of the children in relation to the fathers.--

¶ 4 destroying angels holding power over the 4 quarters of the earth. until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.

¶ Malachi 4th ch Behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble and they that cometh shall burn them up But although in the beginning God created the Earth standing in the water and out of the water still in the End it shall be burned and few men left--but before that God shall send unto them Elijah the prophet and he shall reveal unto them the covenants of the fathers wi with relation to the children and the covenants of the children in relation to the Fathers that they may have the privilege of entering into the same in order to effect their mutual salvation Joseph. Translation of Mal 4th-5 . 6 I will send Elijah the Prophet and he shall reveal the covenants of the Fathers to the children and of the Children to the Fathers that they may enter into Covenant with each other lest I come & smite the whole Earth with a curse-- When speaking of the passage "I will send Elijah the prophet &c" he said it should read and he shall turn the hearts of the children to the covenant Made with their fathers
Sealing - Calling and Election - Temple

what is that seal. shall I tell you? No.--

¶ Doctrine Election.--sealing of the servants of God on the top of their heads. tis not the cross as the catholics would have it. doctrine of Election to Abraham was in the relation to the Lord. a man wishes to be embraced in the covenant of Abraham. A man Judge Higby-- in world of spirits. is sealed unto the throne, & doctrine of Election

And I saw another angel ascending from the east having the Seal of the living God and he cried &c. sayin Hurt not the Earth nor sea nor trees till we have sealed the servants of our Go in their foreheads.--

¶ Now I would ask who know the seal of the living God Behold the ignorance of the World.

¶ What is the seal spoken of in Rev 7-3 find it out if you can I will not reveal it now but will drop an idea that I have never revealed concerning Election connected with the sealing of the servants of God in the fore or top of the head Also where it says and they shall seal the servants of God in their foreheads &c it means to seal the blessing on their heads meaning the everlasting covenant thereby making their calling & election sure.
Sealing Father to Children

sealing the father & children together.

¶ to the mourner. do as the husband and the father would instruct you & you shall be reunited.--

¶ I have been acquainted with Judge Higby a long time & I Never knew a more tenderhearted man.

¶ The president was much exhausted.

Sealing Parents to Children Provides a Measure of Security

¶ A measure of this sealing is to confirm upon their head in common with Elijah the doctrine of election or the covenant with Abraham--which which when a Father & mother of a family have entered into their children who have not transgressed3 are secured by the seal wherewith the Parents have been sealed. And this is the Oath of God unto our Father Abraham and this doctrine shall stand forever.

¶ Mourners: I exhort you to do as your Father and husband would direct--be sealed by the by the servants of God. Eternal life is to know the only true God and his son Jesus without which there is no salvation.

¶ Judge Higbee would say that covenants either there or here must be made in view of eternity and the Covenant sealed on the fore heads of the Parents secured the children from falling that they shall all sit upon thrones as one with the God-head joint Heirs of God with Jesus Christ

¶ This principle is revealed also through the covenant of Abraham and his children This is also the blessing and consolation of the Mourners--

When a seal is put upon the father and mother it secures their posterity so that they cannot be lost but will be saved by virtue of the covenant of their father.


1. The remarks are found in WJS, 242-243 and an amplified version in HC 5:531. Among other matters discussed in this address was the Prophet's encounter with Walter Bagby, the Hancock County tax assessor. Bagby had threatened Joseph Smith with a rock, whereupon Joseph choked him until he dropped the stone and left. Joseph also mentioned that he had evidence of betrayal by Sidney Rigdon and called for him to be removed from the Presidency which was done. Over the next two months Joseph remained suspicious of Rigdon, but the October General Conference voted to retain Sidney. Rigdon had become ambivalent toward Joseph's innovations in Nauvoo and had fallen out of his inner circle of trusted friends. See remarks at the end of the sermon on 21Jan44.

2. Compare 16Apr43 and 9Oct43.

3. The Joseph Smith diary and the Clayton record were used by the Church historians to reconstruct the account in HC 5:531. In this amalgamated text, the thought is conveyed that the sealing ordinance places faithful parents in the position to guarantee exaltation to their children in spite of the lack of faithfulness on the part of the children.

The Coray account places the remarks in a different light, seemingly making the statement regarding parents being able to secure the salvation of their children by the sealing ordinance, conditional. This seems to stand against the Clayton summary which appears to give unconditional assurance. A contextual interpretation probably unifies the two: Smith often preached about certain sins breaking sealings. In Smith's mind, some of Higbee's children may have been beyond the pale even then. He thought a number of Mormon dissenters had murder in their hearts. Discussions surrounding the sermon generally miss the theological position of Smith. He did accept the notion of salvation assurance via sealing and this placed him, as he said himself, somewhere between Old School Calvinism and Methodist Arminianism.

The idea expressed by Clayton appears in a number of later sermons. For example, Heber C. Kimball, April 7, 1857. "You have heard what Bro. Wells has said in reference to the Temple & the cammall [sic]. The Temple is designed for many purposes and there are many things that god will reveal & many blessings that he will confer upon this people in that Building if the will use due diligence in forwarding its completion. If I obtain all the blessings of the Priesthood all the endowments all the blessings that god has to confer upon us in this probation & keep those things Sacred while I live in the flesh I then shall be as pure & holy as it is possible for many to be then if my wives are one with me, my children & their posterity will partake of the Same." George Laub 1857 journal, MS 20209, LDS Church History Library.

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