My first object is to find out the character of the only wise and true God, and what kind of a being He is; and if I am so fortunate as to be the man to comprehend God, and explain or convey the principles to your hearts, so that the Spirit seals them upon you, then let every man and woman henceforth sit in silence, put their hands on their mouths, and never lift their hands or voices, or say anything against the man of God or the servants of God again.
Joseph Smith said the above and he uses it as a platform for the rest of his speech exploring his comprehension of God. Take note that Smith said, “the only wise and true God”. We will see more about that later on in his message.
I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes with the affairs of man.
Smith says he will prove his “comprehension” by the Bible. Whether on not he does that depends on what he will teach further on.
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make himself visible—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another.
Some people have paraphrased this idea as, “as God once was, man is, and as God now is, man may become.” But, although it is rooted in Mormon doctrine, the Bible does not teach this. In John 4:24 it says (KJV):
God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
It then says, in Colossians 1:17:
And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.