Ep 126 – The King Follett Discourse


Posted November 12th, 2014

No really.  This is the actual King Follett Discourse.  We actually, truly, beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt travelled back in time to record it.  (Yeah, deified Infants can travel through time.  Duh!  Where do you think we got our cool hover boards?)

  • tellitlikeitis

    Good job on the King follett Discourse. And scarey. As I listened to it out loud I realize how crazy it sounds. The person who wrote this was definitely nuts. I was imagining going somewhere and having someone say this stuff…… I wouldn’t stay. I am not sure what all the appropriate words are for Joseph Smith but he definitely was mentally ill, as well as a con artist and sexual predator. It is so scarey how long I was a TBM. thanks for the eye-opener.

  • Craig S.

    Listening to the whole thing spoken really makes it clear how off the cuff the whole speech was. Big contrast to conference talks today. It also is painfully obvious how full of himself Joseph was, while at the same time being deeply insecure. Seriously, he has to bring things back to himself with practically every point he makes. The whole thing has the vibe of “come on, prove me wrong, I dare you!”

  • The Professor

    It kind of sounded like a desperate plea to anyone that might have ideas about killing him, crossed with a couple of half-baked shower thoughts…

    Personally I know I would’ve done a better job 😛

    — Carmen

  • Allison

    This makes me wonder if it was common to do this sort of sermon at a funeral during this time period. It’s not focused very much on honoring the dead, but it is talking about the afterlife. I’m curious if I should be interpreting the-what seems to me-brashness…rudeness…egoism of this sermon in a different way. Were the funerary traditions so different back then? Or was Smith just a total narcissist?

    (Now that I’ve asked, it seems like a very easy question to answer.)

    • Rob Lauer

      Sermons of this sort WERE common at funerals of that time. And they are STILL common at many Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christian sermons. (My husband is a funeral director in a small Virginia town and you wouldn’t believe the rants on Hell and Damnation that he regularly hears at such sermons. )

      • Allison

        Good to know. So it’s a little of both.

    • Bob

      King Follet died March 9, 1844.
      The funeral was held March 20.
      The “King Follet Sermon” was (allegedly) delivered April 7.

      From the Nauvoo Neighbor, March 20, 1844
      “Brother Follet’s funeral was attended with the highest honors and most marked respect. A procession a mile in length, followed his remains to the ‘narrow house.’”

  • Interesting way of doing this. But I am going to be honest and say it wasn’t my favorite. And for the reason of, I love when you guys read and then comment on the paragraph that you just read. Now I get that this is long and maybe not right for that kind of thing. But I really enjoy when you guys break things down, and talk about them.
    My other reason for not liking this as much, was it reminded me of GC. And my mind kept floating away on other things and I had a hard time listening to what was being said. But, with that said. I do think the idea was cool. And I liked how you had the crowd comments and all that. So props for the delivery. It was just hard for me to pay attention cause it was boring!
    Can’t wait till next episode….so until then I have more old ones to listen too.

  • Levi Phillips

    Poor King Follett… His funeral got hijacked by an insecure egomaniac hell-bent on proving that he’s right and everyone else is wrong.

    I thought this was a fantastic episode. Great idea to audibly publish JS’s actual words with background noises to give the audience a sense of what it could have been like to be there. I hope you guys do this again in the future, it really makes the history come alive.

    The only thing I would add, and maybe you plan on doing this already, would be a follow up episode discussing the sermon you just read.

    Great work!

    • Glenn

      You mean with… possibly… someone like John Hamer? Hmmmm…. now why haven’t I thought of that? (Or maybe I have. And maybe we are recording it tonight….)

      • Levi Phillips

        Great! John Hamer fantastic.

        • Brad

          The foundation of Mormon Theology and the bane of the modern day church, all at the same time.

  • Orrin Dayne

    This is fantastic. To hear the comforting/inspiring eternal nature of the soul teachings juxtaposed (that’s for you, Randy) with the defensive and bat-s*** crazy stuff, gives one a clear perspective on the effects of correlation. Probably all of us heard the “cutting a ring” argument as to why a soul can’t have a beginning and an end, but I never saw the video about the infants (lower case) on thrones.
    Also, the crowd reactions were very well done. I love how they react to things like Joseph’s jab at Sidney Rigdon. #OhSnapNoHeDidnt

    • Orrin Dayne

      I just listened to this again. I still love it. Like the Early Mormon Audio podcast episodes, this episode is a treasure.

  • Jason

    I loved this! Great job. Can’t wait for the episode with John Hamer’s commentary. Two words come to mind after listening to this: defensive and delusional. Seriously. I can’t believe my whole life is built around this religion…

  • Pink-lead

    Thanks Glenn. Terrific use of your TBM whisperer voice.

  • Mckay

    “He has got to say that the sun does not shine while he sees it; he has got to deny Jesus Christ when the heavens have been opened unto him, and to deny the plan of salvation with his eyes open to the truth of it; and from that time he begins to be an enemy. This is the case with many apostates of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    “I have the truth, and am at the defiance of the world to contradict me, if they can.”

    “I have now preached a little Latin, a little Hebrew, Greek, and German; and I have fulfilled all. I am not so big a fool as many have taken me to be. The Germans know that I read the German correctly.”

    JS was such an egomaniac.

  • Rob Lauer

    Frankly I think this sermon is one of the great sermons in American history. The principles laid out in it are much more reasonable and pro-human that the theology of Christianity or monotheism.
    I think most people tend to read into this sermon later Utah LDS doctrines created by Orson Pratt and Brigham Young.(For example the doctrine that our spirits are sexually begotten by Heavenly Parents–a doctrine that Joseph Smith never taught. Also the doctrine that LDS Temple ordinances must be performed for the dead–again, a doctrine never taught by Joseph Smith–a doctrine that is very different from Joseph Smith’s teachings concerning Baptism for the Dead.)
    Consider what this discourse is teaching: that the human being exists completely independently of any god; that the human mind is co-equal with God; that existence itself is eternal, without beginning or end, without any act of creation by any God; that the individual is responsible for his or own situation, for his or her own “salvation’; that there is no Hell; that “Hell” is a merely a metaphor for the self-inflicted agony of regret; that knowledge is the key for progression and salvation; that intelligence (not eternal marriage, ordinances, etc) is what exalts the individual; that salvation is universal; that no portion of the human race can be exalted or progress without another; that human love somehow survives death.
    I don’t write this as an LDS. I’m not LDS. I’m a Reform Mormon.
    Your use of Joan Osborne’s “What If God Was One of Us” is perfect as an intro to this sermon.

  • Kathryn Teleste

    Awesome! Audiobooks are my drug of choice, and this episode provided that kind of fix. Joseph Smith may be one of my favorite fanfiction writers of all time. He does some wonderfully creative stuff to fill in the gaps and expound upon canon details, as we would say in the fanfiction world. This sermon is perhaps only second to Moses 3 in highlighting that.

    It also shows that he let his fandom fame go a little too much to his head. He says some whacked out stuff here that really has no basis in the Biblical canon. Which is fine – every fanfiction writer is allowed to go in their own direction, but they shouldn’t claim it’s the only correct interpretation of canon. And the way he attacks people who don’t agree with him and rants about summary executions … Well, it reminds me of those ugly fandom wars that sometimes go down on Tumblr.

    Come to think of it, Joseph Smith: Fanfiction Writer would make a great subject for an episode.

    On another topic: Could anyone actually follow what he was saying about the Hebrew words that open Genesis? I couldn’t tell which words he was saying *are* in there, and which ones *should* be in there.

  • Caligurl2012

    After listening and re-reading this “sermon”, I came to the following conclusions:

    1) Yes, poor King Follett – it was his funeral and not once was he mentioned. It was just a platform for Smith to ramble.

    2) When did he learn German? German, Egyptian, Hebrew and Greek – it kinda blows the TBM’s theory regarding the “uneducated farm boy” who couldn’t possible write the BOM. Of course, Smith speaking several languages was more than likely the truth being stretched (aka lied).

    3) He was in full force trying to convince the crowd he was not a false prophet.

    4) Smith sounded crazy.

    5) Crushed in a well? Ouch!

    • flora4

      In answer to your question #2 – Joe and company learned Hebrew in the winter of 1835-1836. The ‘joseph smith papers’ series went into detail concerning what he did to learn Hebrew. But it doesn’t seem like Joe did much with the hebrew lessons, other than coming up with one of his secret code names. BTW, joe’s code name based on hebrew is ‘Baruch Ale’.

      • Caligurl2012


        Did he “learn” Hebrew like he “translated” the golden plates? HA!

        • flora4

          LOL, The jewish instructor was apparently proud about how well JS and group learned hebrew. After seeing how JS applied his lessons, however we learn that JS did not learn his hebrew very well at all. But what do you expect with only learning a language for a few months and then never using it again.

          LOL, love your point.

  • Maddie

    This was honestly very spooky to listen to. But it really made you feel like you were back in time. Also shows how much JSmith loved himself. Good job!

  • mindog

    I remember reading this as a missionary when I acquired a contraband copy of the “teaching of Joseph Smith” from a departing missionary, not the manual, but the collection of writings and sayings and it included this discourse. It was like cracking open some text from the ancients and I read, believed and treasured every word that this conman spliced together, because I knew right from the beginning that I was gleaning unique and special truths from the Source. Oh well…

  • KM

    Warren Jeff’s much? This was brilliant.

  • jeanbodie

    Glen – I think you missed your true calling as an actor or as a prophet, seer and revelator. I have read the KFD before but never ‘heard’ it in my head. It was just a bunch of hokey worlds before, but you almost had me believing it – you are good!!!!

  • Quafleembeechuck Skonsmroo

    With the exception of the infants on thrones who never grow a single cubit in stature, this is all just part of basic bread and butter Mormonism, especially Brighamite Mormonism. I almost fell asleep thinking I was just listening to another conference talk. (BTW, if you guys think that the General Conferences on Earth are boring, you should hear how it sounds coming straight from Elohim on Kolob–“El the Windbag,” we like to call him. He’ll put you in a coma faster than you can say “Chloroform in Print”!)

    • Quafleembeechuck Skonsmroo

      Oh yeah and also the defensive remarks were pretty batshit crazy too. “If you kill me, you must kill every other false prophet and true prophet also.” I was like “WTF!” But other than those 2 things, all that stuff could be from an old General Conference talk from the 70s or 80s.

  • dmmacfarlane

    Impenetrable gobbledygook, for the most part. What’s the explanation for Joseph Smith essentially bringing up the first law of thermodynamics when he talks of god “organizing” material to form the earth instead of “creating” the earth? That was the only part of the entire address that made any sense and I’m curious. Thanks.

  • Ivan Komotious

    The Book of Mormon contradicts the King Follett sermon

    Mosiah 3:5 For behold, the time cometh, and is not far
    distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is
    from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the
    children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth
    amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the
    dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf
    to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.

    2 Nephi 26:12 And as I spake concerning the convincing of
    the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be
    convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God;

    3 Nephi 11:17 Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High
    God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.

    3 Nephi 19:

    18 And behold, they
    began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their

    Mosiah 5:15
    Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in
    good works, that Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you
    may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal
    life, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created
    all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all. Amen.

    2 Nephi 10:3

    3 Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient
    that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be
    his name—should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part
    of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and
    there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.

    2 Nephi 25:29

    And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to
    believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel;
    wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might,
    mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise
    be cast out.

    Jesus is God above all, our Lord and God, God from Eternity,
    the Most High God, Lord God omnipotent and the eternal God according to the Book of

  • Robert Mills

    Great work, very well done. What struck me the most was how very eloquent JS was. I am talking about his way with words, not the crazy stuff he was espousing. He was extremely well spoken and this sermon does not sound that different than the Book of Mormon. So, the idea that JS could have written the BOM all by himself does not seem very far fetched after listening to him waxing eloquent here.