A — God Himself was Once as We are Now
a. (a.) Beloved Saints, I will call the attention of this congregation while I address you on the [subject which was contemplated in the fore-part of the conference*]. [As the wind blows very hard it will be hardly possible for me to make you all hear unless there is profound attention.*] [It is a subject of the greatest importance and the most solemn of any that could occupy our attention, and that is the*] subject of the dead. [I have been requested to speak on the subject on*] The decease of our beloved brother, Elder King Follett, who was crushed [to death*] in a well by the falling of a tub of rock [on him*], has more immediately led me to that subject. I have been requested to speak by his friends and relatives, but inasmuch as there are a great many [others here*] in this congregation who live in this city as well as elsewhere, who have lost friends, [their case will be had in mind this afternoon and*] I feel disposed to speak on the subject in general, and offer you my ideas, so far as I have ability, and so far as I shall be inspired by the Holy Spirit [to treat and*] to dwell on this subject.
(b.) I want your prayers and faith that I may have the instruction of Almighty God and the gift of the Holy Ghost,
(c/d.) so that I may set forth things that are true and which can be easily comprehended by you, and that the testimony may carry conviction to your hearts and minds of the truth of what I shall say.
(e.) [I*] Pray that the Lord may strengthen my lungs, stay the winds,
(f.) and let the prayers of the Saints to heaven appear, that they may enter into the ears of the Lord of Sabbaoth,
(e.) for the [fervent*] effectual prayers of the righteous [man*] avail[eth*] much. There is strength here,
(f.) and I verily believe that your prayers will be heard. I will speak in order to hold out.
b. (a.) Before I enter fully into the investigation of the subject which is lying before me, I wish to pave the way and bring up the subject from the beginning, that you may understand it. I will make a few preliminaries, in order that you may understand the subject when I come to it. I do not intend [to calculate*] to please your ears with superfluity of words or oratory, or with much learning; but I intend [calculate*] to edify you with the simple truths from heaven.
In the first place, I wish to go back to the beginning — to the morn of creation. There is the starting point for us to look to, in order to understand and be fully acquainted with the mind, purposes and decrees [and ordinations*] of the Great Elohim, who [that*] sits in yonder heavens as he did at the creation of this world. [For us to take up beginning at the creation,*] It is necessary for us to have an understanding of God himself in the beginning.
(b.) If we start right, it is [very*] easy [for us*] to go right all the time; but if we start wrong, we may go wrong, and it is a hard matter to get right.
(c/d.) There are but a very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God. [If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend their own character.*] The great majority of mankind do not comprehend anything, either that which is past, or that which is to come, as it respects their relationship to God. They do not know, [Ellipsis] neither do they understand the nature of that relationship;
(e.) and consequently they [the world*] know[s and comprehends*] but little above the brute beast, or more than to eat, drink and sleep [and arise*]. This is all man knows about God or his existence,
(f.) unless it is given by the inspiration of the Almighty.
(e.) If a man learns nothing more than to eat, drink and sleep, and does not comprehend any of the designs of God [Jehovah*], [what better is he than*] the beast [for it*] comprehends the same things. It eats, drinks, sleeps, and knows nothing more about God [or His existence*]; yet it knows as much as we,
(f.) unless we are able to comprehend by the inspiration of Almighty God.
(c/d.) If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.
(b.) [And how are we to do it by any other way?*]
(a.) I want to go back [then,] to the beginning, [that you may understand*] and so [get you to*] lift you minds into a more lofty sphere and a more exalted understanding than what the human mind generally aspires to [understands*].
b. I want to ask this congregation, every man, woman and child, to answer the question in their own heart, what kind of a being God is? Ask yourselves; turn your thought into your hearts, and say if any of you have seen, heard, or communed with him. This is a question the may occupy your attention for a long time.
I again repeat the question What kind of a being is God? Does any man or woman know? [Turn your thoughts in your hearts, and say,*] Have any of you seen him, heard him, or communed with him? Here is the question that will, peradventure, from this time henceforth occupy your attention [while you live*]. The Scriptures [Apostle says*] inform us that “This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [- that is eternal life*]
If any man does not know God, and inquires what kind of a being he is, if he will [cast his mind to know and*] search diligently his own heart if the declaration of Jesus and the Apostles be true, he will realize that [unless he knows God *] he has not eternal life; for there can be eternal life on no other principle. My first object is to [go back and*] find out the character of the only wise and true God, and what kind of a being He is;
d. and if I am [should be the man*] so fortunate as to be the man to comprehend God, and explain or convey the principles to your hearts [what kind of being God is*], so that the Spirit seals them upon you,
c. then let every man and woman henceforth sit in silence, put their hands on their mouths, and never lift their hands or voices, or say anything against the man of God or the servants of God again.
d. But if I fail to do it, [I have no right to revelation and inspiration and*] it becomes my duty to renounce all further pretensions to revelations and inspirations, or to be a prophet;
c. [And if I should do so, should I not be as bad as all the rest of the false teachers of the world? They will all be as badly off as I am. They will all say I ought to be damned. There is not a man or a woman who would not breathe out an anathema on my head if they knew I was a false prophet.*] and I should be like the rest of the world a false teacher, be hailed as a friend, and no man would seek my life.
e. But if all religious teachers were honest enough to renounce their pretensions to godliness when their ignorance of the knowledge of God is made manifest, they will all be as badly off as I am, at any rate; and you might as well take the lives of other false teachers as that of mine, if I am false.
e. If any man is authorized to take away my life because he thinks and says I am a false teacher, then, upon the same principle, we should be justified in taking away the life of every false teacher, and where would be the end of blood?
f. And who would not be the sufferer?
e. But meddle not with any man for his religion: and all governments ought to permit every man to enjoy his religion unmolested. No man is authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion, which all laws and governments ought to tolerate and protect [and permit every man to enjoy his religion*], right or wrong.
e. [There is no law in the heart of God that would allow anyone to interfere with the rights of man.*] Every man has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet, as well as a true prophet.
e. If I show, verily, that I have the truth of God, [and show the world is wrong by showing what God is,*] and show that ninety-nine out of every hundred professing religious ministers are false teachers, having no authority, while they pretend to hold the keys of God’s kingdom on earth, and was to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood. [of false teachers**]
c. I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is.
d. I am going to enquire after God; for I want you all to know Him [God], and to be familiar with Him; and if I am bringing you to a knowledge of him, [I can bring you to Him.*] [And if so*] all persecutions against me ought to cease.
d. You will then know that I am his servant; for I speak as one having authority. [and not as a scribe*]
b. I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning?
a. (a.) [I will tell you, so*] Open your ears [and eyes*] and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, [the relation the human family sustains with God,*] and why He interferes with the affairs of man.
(b.) [First*] God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret.
(c/d.) If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit [sphere*], and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible, I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form like yourselves in all the person, image, [fashion*] and very form as a man; [like yourselves*]
(e.) for Adam was created [formed*] in the very fashion, [and created in the very*] image and likeness of God,
(f.) and [Adam*] received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks [walks **] and communes [communicates*] with another [man**].
a. A subject of the greatest importance
b. If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves
b. I want to go back to the beginning . . . what kind of a being God is?
b. Turn your thoughts in your hearts
d. the man to comprehend God
c. never lift their hands or voices, or say anything against the . . . servants of God again.
d. to be a prophet;
c. like the rest of the world
e. you might as well take the lives of other false teachers as that of mine
e. If any man is authorized to take away my life . . . where would be the end of blood?
f. And who would not be the sufferer?
e. No man is authorized to take away life in consequence of difference of religion,
e. it would deluge the whole world with blood
c. I will prove that the world is wrong
d. I want you all to know Him, and to be familiar with Him;
b. I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of being God is.
a. God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!