March 27, 2008

"Then you will prove..."

Heber C. Kimball March 2, 1856 As a digression during one of his discourses, President Kimball made the following remark:

It will not be fifty years, perhaps, before all of us here today will leave this state of existence, and then you will prove whether brother Brigham and the rest of the brethren have told you truth or not (JD 3:230).
Similar statements have been made by other prophets and leaders. Take, for example, Nephi's parting words:
And if they [the words written by Nephi] are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day (2 Nephi 33:11-12).
Jacob's final words were similar:
Finally, I bid you farewell, until I shall meet you before the pleasing bar of God, which bar striketh the wicked with awful dread and fear. Amen (Jacob 6:13).
Moroni closed the Book of Mormon saying
And now I bid unto all, farewell. I soon go to rest in the paradise of God, until my spirit and body shall again reunite, and I am brought forth triumphant through the air, to meet you before the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen (Moroni 10:34).
Joseph Smith concluded his monumental "King Follett Discourse" as follows:
You don't know me; you never knew my heart. No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it. I don't blame any one for not believing my history. If I had not experienced what I have, I would not have believed it myself...When I am called by the trump of the archangel and weighed in the balance, you will all know me then. I add no more. God bless you all. Amen.[1]
Contrast these with the purported statement of J. Golden Kimball, who jested something like "I can't wait to get to the other side to find out if all this stuff we've been preaching is true!"[2] Footnotes [1] The King Follett discourse may be Joseph's most important, at least most interesting, public sermon. The version found in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the History of the Church is actually a recreation of notes taken by various people at the meeting. Only two of the six known reports, the Thomas Bullock and Willard Richards reports, recorded the above quoted statement. A side-by-side comparison of the six reports can be found at the Book of Abraham Project website. See also Van Hale, "The Doctrinal Impact of King Follett Discourse," BYU Studies (1978) and Stan Larson, "The King Follett Discourse: A Newly Amalgamated Text," BYU Studies (1978). [2] Source forthcoming. I'll try to track this one down; I believe I may have heard it in James Arrington's historical fiction stage play about Kimball, or perhaps in my J. Golden quote book. I'll get the source, but I doubt that will add much veracity to the statement. It is, after all, a J. Golden story.

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