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Yes, you mortar the first course of blocks, because your slab is unlikely to be flat enough to support the blocks flat, without rocking. In addition, you can make small changes for level at this point.
It is recommended that you motar the first course of bricks but I did not. My slab was not perfectly level but the bricks set on the slab ok so I just filled them with the concrete. I then made sure my hearth was level..It would have been easier if I had leveled the blocks but my results came out well.