The prevalence of a spirit of contention amongst a people is a certain sign of deadness with respect to the things of religion. When men's spirits are hot with contention, they are cold to religion. - Jonathan Edwards “The Book of Mormon does not supplant the Bible. It expands, extends, clarifies, and amplifies our knowledge of the Savior. Surely, this second witness should be cause for great rejoicing by all Christians.” - Joseph B. Wirthlin

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The principle of love


Joseph Smith gave this discourse on July 9 1843.

There are two versions. Willard Richards wrote notes that were later expanded. His original notes are here:

The expanded version is below. 

Separately, a version was printed in the Deseret News on 21 Jan 1857.

<​9​> Sunday 9th. Meeting at the grove in the morning; I addressed the Saints, of which the following is a brief synopsis as reported by Dr. Willard Richards.

“Joseph remarked that all was well between him and the heavens— that he had no enmity against any one, and as the prayer of Jesus, or his pattern so prayed Joseph “Father forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me,” for I freely forgive all men.”

If we would secure and cultivate the love of others, we must love others even our enemies, as well as friends. Sectarian [p. 1665] priests cry out concerning me and ask “why is it this babler gains so many followers, and retains them”? I answer, it is because I possess the principle of love, all I can offer the world is a good heart and a good hand.

The Saints can testify whether I am willing to lay down my life for my brethren.

If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a Mormon, I am bold to declare before heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter day Saints would trample upon the rights of the other denomination <​Roman Catholics​> or of any other denomination who may be unpopular and too weak to defend themselves.

It is a love of liberty which inspires my Soul, civil and religious liberty to the whole of the human race, love of liberty was diffused into my Soul by my grandfathers, while they dandled me on their knees; and shall I want friends? No. [HC 5:498]

The enquiry is frequently made of me, “Wherein do you differ from others in your religions views?” In reality and essence we do not differ so far in our religious views but that we could all drink into one principle of love.

One of the grand fundamental principles of Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may. We believe in the great Eloheim, who sits enthroned in yonder heavens, so do the Presbyterians.

If a skilful Mechanic, in taking a welding heat uses borax alum &c. and succeeds in welding together iron or steel more perfectly than any other mechanic, is he not deserving of praise? and if by the principles of truth I succeed in uniting all denominations in the bonds of love, shall I not have attained a good object?

If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No; I will left them up, and in their own way too if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning; for truth will cut its own way.

Do you believe in <​Jesus Christ and​> the Gospel of Salvation which [blank] he [blank]49 revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contention with each other and cultivate the principles of union and friendship in their midst; and they will do it before the Millennuim can be ushered in, and Christ takes possession of his kingdom.

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