On April 7, 1844, Joseph Smith gave a sermon in Nauvoo, Illinois, at a general conference of the church. In attendance were nearly 20,000 church members.
A few weeks earlier, on March 9, a church member and close friend of Joseph named King Follett was killed in an accident. This well-known event in Nauvoo led Joseph Smith to comment specifically on Follett’s death and to address what Joseph called “[T]he subject of the dead”. For this reason, Joseph’s sermon has often been referred to as the King Follett sermon or discourse.
The King Follett discourse is recorded along with two other sermons given by Joseph Smith in the Journal of Discourses. Each of the three discourses have been compiled together to form the present work, and additional commentary and insights have been added so the modern listener may better understand the principles taught therein and thus feel an increase in their faith.