180 years ago today - Apr 7, 1844

.... having stopped in the middle of his sermon yesterday due to lack of lung power, completes his sermon this morning. During intermission 35 people are baptized. Hyrum Smith speaks, encouraging the rapid building of the temple, and says, "It is better not to have so much faith, than to have so much as to believe all the lies." Joseph Smith delivers the King Follett funeral sermon before 20,000 people. It is one of his greatest sermons. He goes back to the beginning, stating that "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!" He says the Saints must understand how God came to be God. He once dwelt on an earth, the same as the Savior, because the Bible says that the Son has done only what he has seen the Father do. (John 5:19.) "You have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another."

He begins the discussion by interpreting the Hebrew for "In the beginning created God," in a manner only extant in the opening paragraphs of the ZOHAR, the classic text of the Jewish Kabbalah. Joseph Smith undoubtedly has learned this from the Jewish Convert Alexander Neibauer who published a Kabbalist treatise in the LDS periodical a year before, and with whom Joseph Smith's diary notes he is studying in 1844. Later in public-media interviews President Gordon B. Hinckley is evasive and dissembles on whether or not Mormons believe that God was once a man.

[Conkling, Christopher J., Joseph Smith Chronology; This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com]

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