And when we have passed into the sphere where Joseph is, there is still another department, and then another, and another, and so on to an eternal progression in exaltation and eternal lives. That is the exaltation I am looking for. May God bless you. Amen.
THE SAINTS SHOULD PREPARE FOR FUTURE EMERGENCIES--EVIL SPIRITS--THEIR POWER AND ORGANIZATION--THE CHAIN OF THE PRIESTHOOD--ANGELS ARE MINISTERING SPIRITS.
A Discourse by President Heber C. Kimball, in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, June 29, 1856.
On account of the breeze that is playing beneath this shade, brother Brigham thought I had better put on my hat, but I never feel as though I wanted to wear my hat when he is present. I consider that the master should wear his hat, or hang it on the peg that God made for it, which is his head, of course.
I feel tolerably well as to health to-day, but I suffer much from bad colds, and have to be very careful, for I am often confined in my house with colds. I took a very violent cold here last Sabbath, by sitting in the draft, and I have not felt very well since, still I feel ambitious in the cause that I have espoused. The things concerning which brother Grant has this day been speaking are good, and I believe in his doctrines because they are true, especially in regard to our being one. I do know most definitively that unless we are one we are not Christ's; and I also know that if we are not one with brother Brigham, our leader, we are not one with Christ. Yes, I know this, and my feelings are and have been with brother Brigham all the time.
I have learned by experience that there is but one God that pertains to this people, and He is the God that pertains to this earth--the first man. That first man sent his own Son to redeem the world, to redeem his brethren; his life was taken, his blood shed, that our sins might be remitted. That Son called twelve men and ordained them to be Apostles, and when he departed the keys of the kingdom were deposited with three of those twelve, viz.: Peter, James, and John. Peter held the keys pertaining to that Presidency, and he was the head.
How did these keys come to us? Did not Peter, James, and John, ordain Joseph Smith our Prophet? They did. And Joseph Smith called and ordained brother Brigham, brother Heber, brother Parley, and others, enough to make twelve Apostles. Thus you see that there is always a governing principle in the Church upon the earth; there is always a Presidency, three who represent the Deity here on the earth. Just think of your position; you have heard the teachings and instructions of President Young, and his instructions are the word of God to us, and I know that every man and woman in this Church who rejects his testimony, and the testimony of those that he sends, rejects the testimony of God his Father. I know that, just as well as I know that I see your faces to-day.
Where will those go to that reject this Gospel? Why, in reality they will not go anywhere. [A voice from the stand: They will not go anywhere else, for they have no other place to go to.] They will remain where they are, in hell, where my spirit was for a short time, when I was in England. Where was my body during that brief period? It was in Preston, on the corner of Wilford-street, but my spirit could see and observe those evil spirits as plainly as it ever will after I die. Legions of disembodied evil spirits came against me, organized in companies that they might have more power, but they had not power over me to any great extent, because of the power that was in and sustaining me. I had the Priesthood, and the power of it was upon me. I saw the invisible world of the condemned spirits, those who were opposed to me and to this work, and to the lifting up of the standard of Christ in that country. Did I at the same time see or have a vision of the angels of God--of His legions? No, I did not; though they were there and stood in defence of me and my brethren, and I knew it. And all this not that there was any very great virtue in me, but there was virtue in the Priesthood and Apostleship which I held, and God would and did defend; and the evil spirits were dispersed by the power of God.
Some people suppose that when they leave this state of existence they are going into the paradise of God, but if they do not overcome evil and subject themselves to the will of God and to him that is appointed to lead us here in the flesh, they will become subject to those wicked spirits. Angels will not come by legions to defend those whose faith fails them when the destroyer comes, but he will be permitted to waste the wicked. I never said that I ever saw an angel from God, though I have dreamed about them; neither did I see those evil spirits with my natural eyes, nor was I at the time asleep, but I saw them after I was laid prostrate upon the floor.
When I recovered I sat upon the bed thinking and reflecting upon what had past, and all at once my vision was opened, and the walls of the building were no obstruction to my seeing, for I saw nothing but the visions that presented themselves. Why did not the walls obstruct my view? Because my spirit could look through the walls of that house, for I looked with that spirit, element, and power, with which angels look; and as God sees all things, so were invisible things brought before me, as the Lord would bring things before Joseph in the Urim and Thummim. It was upon that principle that the Lord showed things to the Prophet Joseph.
I speak of these things because I do know that if you do not yield obedience to true principles, and bring your wills into subjection thereto, you will be overcome of evil. Jesus says, I have not come to do my will, but the will of my Father who sent me. Upon the same principle I say that I have not come to do my will, but to do the will of him that sent me, even that of brother Brigham.
This is my place and my calling, and this is my wish and the wish of brother Jedediah, of brother Amasa, of brother Parley, and of every other Apostle that God has appointed and called upon this earth, or ever will while we remain here. It is for brother Brigham to do the will of Joseph, and for Joseph to do the will of Peter, for Peter to do the will of Jesus, and for Jesus to do the will of his Father. That is the chain that reaches from heaven to earth, and do you not understand that it is so? If you will keep hold of that chain and keep your hands strongly fastened in the links, you can reach into the vail. But you must hold on firm and fast to the cable--why? Because there is an anchor at the end of the cable, and that cable is fastened to the ship so that it is made sure at both ends. That is the way it is in a ship, and it is so with the kingdom of God.
My feelings are for you to learn to follow our leader, our Prophet, our President. He will be our President in eternity, and Joseph is his President and will counsel him, and you need not trouble yourselves, but do as you are told and you will obtain salvation and go into the celestial glory. You will then dwell in the same glory with Joseph, with father Smith, with the Apostles and Saints; and by taking such a course not one of you will fall, and I know it.
You have got to be organized and disciplined by the Priesthood, and you have got to stick to that organization, for you cannot be saved with a celestial glory unless you are saved by this Priesthood. Brother Brigham says stick to it, and then we will all be saved in the kingdom of our God.
Thousands of this world, with large herds of cattle and much substance, are fleeing to California or Oregon to escape the troubles, but they will be caught in the snare. [President B. Young: They will, and they will fall into the pit.] The road on the Plains is full of emigrants of that class, and there are several thousand Saints on the way here. The hand-carts are rolling, and those with them can sleep at night and be up in the mornings, and the carts will jingle through the day; and as soon as we can get teams, after our wheat is harvested, we shall call on you to go back and meet them with flour and other comforts of life; what do you say? [Yes, from many voices in the congregation.] There are squally times in the east; they have got so that they cannot really stand it, without drubbing each other with canes. The world is in commotion; I have been talking about it here, and about the state of affairs in this Church, and what we have got to do, and I cannot get this subject out of my mind, no, not for one moment.
Brethren and sisters, take care of your grain; do not waste any of your grain, for you will need it all; and do not make an unwise or unsaintly disposition of it. I beg of you to attend to this counsel, for I have told it three or four times; not because I profess to be a Prophet, but because I naturally see the necessity for so doing. The people are out of grain and out of bread, and I have but little myself; and from what I see, I should think that very many had none, for if you were to go to my house and stay one day, you would see enough to craze you, for they come in crowds and are hungry, and I feel to pity them, but I cannot feed all creation.
Suppose all this people had been wise and taken counsel, would they have suffered the present destitution? No, they would not. Much of our grain has been consumed by our enemies, by those who care not for what they have to pay, for Uncle Sam pays their bills. Shall they have our grain this year? Doubtless many of this people will sell their grain to them at a low price, and thus they will be fed, while many worthy persons will see straitened circumstances through lack of food, and I see this naturally. This is a numerous people, and they have no surplus of bread, not a particle, and our crop is very light in many places; there are hundreds and thousands of men that have lost their crops entirely. I understand that brother Grant has lost a great portion of his crop, and thousands of acres have been parched up for the want of water, and there will be but little wheat, not near enough to supply the wants of this people, and bring them safely through to another harvest.
In addition to our present number, according to accounts that I see, there are five thousand Saints ready for the Plains at one place, and five thousand more at another, besides those that are casually falling into the ranks, and they have to eat as well as we, until another harvest.
I speak of these things to warn and forewarn you to take care of your grain and save it, and it will be better for you to do this, even though in so doing you have to go bare-footed. And it will be better for the sisters to let fine shoes, fine dresses, fine bonnets, ribbons, veils, laces, and all other imported finery stay in the stores until they rot, than to let their grain go for such articles. Will you take the course that you have been exhorted to take? If you do not, a few men may not suffer, but the majority will. I do firmly believe that our bread has been blest and multiplied this season, for I know there was not enough in the Territory to sustain the people. However, the present scarcity is one of the best things that ever happened to this people, for it will teach them wisdom. This is one of the poorest countries for occupancy for Gentiles that I have ever seen, though for the same reasons it is as present the very best for the Saints, for we can get along in it better than any other people.
There are those here who will censure brother Brigham and me, notwithstanding all that we have done for them. [President B. Young: We do not care what they say about us, if they will not steal.] There is but little left in this Territory, so far as bread is concerned. Brother Brigham and I have had to put our families on half rations, in order that we might have wherewith to feed the destitute, and they now say that they feel better than they did before; and I judge, from the testimony that they have given, that it is best to keep them on short rations, for they are fat and fair, and enjoy a good portion of the Spirit of God.
Now, as anciently, the more some are blest, the more they complain; the more the Lord pours out His blessings upon some, the more covetous they are, and a great many of such characters will go to the devil. Brother Brigham and I would rather see our families beg for a living, go poor, penniless, and afflicted, and become sanctified, become celestial beings, and enter into glory, than to see them transgress the law of God. The bodies we do not care so much about, though we intend to support them in time and eternity.
I believe that Joseph has got the Church organized in the spirit world, and that he calls and sends the Elders to preach the Gospel to the spirits in prison.
Inasmuch as we do right, we shall have good times and prosper; and the majority of this people are honest and righteous, and they will be saved in the kingdom of God, for they will cleave to brother Brigham for ever, and will be one family. And if I am not very much mistaken, I shall be along with brother Brigham; and if there is anything necessary for me to do, I will do it, though it takes my head off from my shoulders, for I am to be one and will be one with those who will be one with brother Brigham. I will go into the celestial kingdom with him and with Joseph, also with Peter, Paul, Adam, Noah, Job, Daniel, and all the ancient worthies, Prophets and Apostles, that ever lived in this world, and we will dwell there forever. I am on the right track; "Mormonism" is the pride of my heart, and I take no pride in any thing else. If I was driven to break up my home to-morrow, I would not cry for any thing which I have on this earth.
Do you suppose that I would cry at being compelled to leave my house? Do you wish to know what I would do with it? I would say, let the houses and everything else go. Just before I left Nauvoo, I had finished me a good house, and when compelled to start, I told the devil to take it and stick it in his hat, and I would go to the mountains and get rich.
Many think that they are going right into the celestial kingdom of God, in their present ignorance, to at once receive glories and powers; that they are going to be Gods, while many of them are so ignorant, that they can see or know scarcely anything. Such people talk of becoming Gods, when they do not know anything of God, or of His works; such persons have to learn repentance, and obedience to the law of God; they have got to learn to understand angels, and to comprehend and stick to the principles of this Church.
I feel to pray that the Lord may preserve you all from every evil. As for the departure from this state of existence, it is but for a little moment; and though I have not tasted death, yet I have seen in vision the invisible enemies of God, and they were organized and arranged in battle against one or two men, simply because those men were going to proclaim the Gospel to the nations, and the devil did not like it; and the devil will work against every man who goes into a new place to preach the Gospel. As to the length of that vision, after they took their departure, brother Willard Richards said that it was an hour and a half that we were in the vision, though it seemed to me not to have been a moment. One of the devils spoke, and said to brother Hyde, "I have said nothing against you."
I did not contend with them, and I assure you it was enough for me to look upon them; though I expect, after passing through the valley of death, that I shall preach to companies and nations of those spirits that are in prison. Those that were disobedient in the days of Noah? No, but to those that have been disobedient in the days of Joseph and Brigham, and that have been condemned for their sins; and we shall have many of them to contend with.
They will come by and bye in legions, but we shall have power to overcome by the power of God. They will have great power in the last days, and if you do not overcome them, you will fall into the same spirit; and you will be as liable to be deceived in that state of existence as you are in this, if you turn against God or this kingdom.
I bear testimony of this, and I wish you would listen to counsel and lay aside every sin that doth so easily beset you, and turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart.
Brother Brigham has fellow-laborers here, and they are just as good men as any that ever lived upon this earth. Adam and Jesus, and all the Prophets, down to the present, have contemplated this work, and would have rejoiced to live in our day, that they might have participated while in the flesh, in the glories of the last days.
We cannot become perfect, without we are assisted by our heavenly Father. We must be faithful and of one heart, and one mind, and let every man and woman take a course to build up and not pull down. See that you save your grain, that you may save yourselves from the wicked of the world. Try to take care of every thing that is good to eat, for this is the work of the Lord God Almighty, and we shall have times that will test the integrity of this people, that will test who is honest and who is not.
Omitting prayer is calculated to lead the mind away from those duties which are incumbent upon us; then let us attend to our prayers and all our duties, and you will know that brother Brigham and his brethren have told you of these things.
Rejoice in all things brought forth in these last days, for the time will come when you will say that we indeed live in the last dispensation.
The trials in the last days will be numerous, but to the faithful they will be of but small moment, for they will live above these things, they will increase in power. The work of God is bound to increase, and just in that proportion will the devil's kingdom rise in power and strength, and walk up to battle against us. The adversary is bent on having a war with this people, we shall have him right by the side of us, and you will find that he will keep you very busy, if you strive to come off victorious.
We feel the responsibility that is resting upon us, and we wish to save this people, if they will listen to our counsel, both temporal and spiritual. I have to restrain myself, many times, from speaking of things which pass through my mind. I naturally delight in truth and plainness, this is my character, hence I make use of expressions and figures which are plain and easy to be understood.
I wish to have you receive the truth and obey counsel, and become thoroughly imbued with correct principles, that you may bring forth that which is good, raise up righteous sons and daughters, and bear off this kingdom, for it is beginning to work in uoy [sic].
Take the boys here, the sons of our brethren and sisters, and you may cut them into inch pieces, and they will not forsake this cause, but they will defend it to the last. Some of them may be rough, and perhaps some of them do not pray much, but send them into the vineyard, and then you will see them shew forth the power that is in them.
At present the Prophet Joseph's boys lay apparently in a state of slumber, every thing seems to be perfectly calm with them, but by and bye God will wake them up, and they will roar like the thunders of mount Sinai.
There is much work to be done: God is not asleep, and He will wake up our children and they will bear off this kingdom to the nations of the earth, and will bear testimony to the truth of this work, and of the integrity and true character of Joseph, and Hyrum, and Brigham, of Heber, and Jedediah, and the Twelve, and of thousands of others.
There are trying times ahead of you, do you not begin to feel and see them? If you do not, I say you are asleep. I wish that the spirit which rests upon a few individuals could be upon you, every one of you, it would be one of the most joyful times that brother Brigham and I ever saw with the Saints of God upon this earth.
Let us be one; brethren, let us be of one heart and one mind; sisters, listen to counsel, and then, as I have said a hundred times, you never will want for flour and the comforts of life, from this time henceforth and forever.
Do I believe that God can increase our substance, increase our flour and our wheat, as He did those loaves and fishes with which Jesus fed 5,000 people?
Supposing that there was a tub standing here and the people perishing for want of water, could not I, were I beyond the vail, come and pour in water? Yes, and you could not see me. Unless your eyes are touched by the power of God, you cannot see an angel; it is as much as you can do to see me.
Angels are ministering spirits, and do you suppose that they will see this people want? Do you suppose that my Father will sit upon His throne, and see us starve? No, no more than He suffered His servant Elijah--to starve, He then inspired a bird to carry meat to His servant Elijah, and He can do the same now.
Did He not cause manna to come from heaven? Yes, and there is plenty more on hand.
I am telling the truths of God, and I am one with brother Brigham, and I can bear testimony to him and of him, and our testimony is as good as that of Peter, or of John.
Brother Brigham and I once started to travel with sixteen dollars and fifty cents, and in five hundred miles we paid out eight-two dollars, and had some money left when we got to the end of our journey. Do you not suppose that we believe in angels and holy beings, having visited us on those occasions? Cannot angels furnish Saints with money? Our wants were supplied, and we are witnesses of the fact, and we still live, and shall continue to live, and bear testimony to this generation.
Do you not think that angels can bring flour? Can they not go and take it from those who have plenty, and put it in the empty bins, sacks, and barrels belonging to good men, and that too without your knowing it? It is very common for one to increase, and for another to decrease.
Prepare yourselves for the future scenes through which you may be called to pass.
May the Lord God of Israel bless you all, is my prayer. Amen.
By President J. M. Grant, at the celebration of the 24th of July, 1856, in Big Cottonwood kanyon, Utah.
Our Father and our God, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we bow before thee, and thank thee that we have the privilege of coming to the tops of these mountains to worship thee our God, and to celebrate the liberty of thy people, and their entrance into these peaceful valleys and mountains.
We thank thee for these mountains, for the fountains of waters that flow from them, for the timber that grows upon them, and for all the blessings that thou hast vouchsafed to thy people in this land.
We thank thee that thou hast preserved this land from the eye of the wicked, that they have not desired it, that they have not coveted it, that thou hast kept it for thy people and hast brought them hither, through the instrumentality of thy servant Brigham, whom thou hast inspired by the Holy Ghost.
We thank thee that we here rest secure from our enemies, that we and our families enjoy peace and rest from the persecutions of those who hate thy chosen people.
We thank thee for this goodly inheritance which thou hast vouchsafed to thy people, and for the privilege of raising our banners and ensigns on these mountain tops. May our enemies never have power over us, and may we be blessed by doing right and keeping thy commandments, by living pure, and by being watchful and careful to do no evil, that we may multiply in our families, in our flocks, and in our herds, in our fields and habitations.
We pray thee, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that thou wouldst bless this valley and all the adjacent valleys; and bless the streams of water that flow from the mountains. As we are at the head of Big Cottonwood kanyon, we pray thee that thou wilt bless it, and the water that flows to the mills, and to the land we cultivate. And may the timber and grass, and vegetation of every description, growing in this little valley in the tops of these mountains, be blessed; and we consecrate and dedicate it to thee for the benefit of thy people, for their happiness, that they may rest here and be safe. Bless all the elements that are here; may the rocks and the mountains be blessed, and every thing that has life.
We pray thee, in the name of the Lord Jesus, that thou wouldst bless thy servant Brigham, and those associated with him, who have taken pains to prepare the way, and kindly invite us to these regions. May we feel that we are blest, and that the Lord, through the dispensation of His providence, has granted to us these favors. We ask thy choicest blessings on thy servants Brigham, Heber, and the Twelve, and upon all thy faithful people in every kingdom and nation. Bless our friends, and all who speak comforting words to thy people, and defend them, and may the enemies of truth and righteousness be confounded, and not have power to injure the people of God. Bless thy servant George A. Smith, and thy servant John Taylor, and thy servant John M. Bernhishel [sic], and bless all thy servants in every land and clime. Bless those who write and defend thy people through the press, may our prayers come up before thee in their behalf, for thou knowest we have not sinned against thee in these groves--in this kanyon. We do not visit groves, as did Israel of old, to commit adultery, nor to depart from the Lord our God. But we desire to appear before thee with clean hands and hearts, to call upon thee for thy blessing and do thy will, that our inheritance may be blest and all we have, and that all the efforts we make to build up Zion and rear temples to thy name may be blest, that the people of God may flock to the mountains by tens of thousands; may the wicked be cut off, may they be taken in the snares they have spread for thy people, and fall into the pits they have dug for thy Saints, and may they not prosper on the earth.
We desire that thou wouldst fulfil the covenants made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with Lehi and Nephi, and with all the Prophets that have lived on this land, that Zion may come down from above, and Zion come up from beneath; that every band may be broken, and all Israel be saved. O Lord, we ask thee to bless us in our efforts on the earth; may righteousness and peace spread as the light of the morning, may we rejoice in the natural fortresses of this land, and may we be the pioneers of truth, men who will break the crust of nations, gather Israel, and send the truth to every clime. May we accomplish the great work thou didst commence through thy servant Joseph, that truth may reign on the earth, and righteousness predominate among all people. May we have power over the wicked nations, that Zion may be the seat of government for the universe, the law of God be extended, and the sceptre of righteousness swayed over this wide world; and eventually, with the redeemed, may we be brought to celebrate thy praise, in thy kingdom and presence. These favors, and all we need to prepare us to live here, to dwell with thee and the sanctified hereafter, we humbly crave, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
A VISIT, BY P. P. PRATT, TO THE SOUTHERN SETTLEMENTS--THE POWER OF THE PRIESTHOOD--UNION AMONG THE SAINTS--A MIRACLE.
A Discourse, Delivered by Elder P. P. Pratt, in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, June 29, 1856.
Brethren and Sisters,--It is with no ordinary feelings of joy and thanksgiving that I have the privilege of again standing before you, in a good degree of health.
I have been absent some five weeks, on a mission through the southern settlements. Many of you will remember that I had been very low with sickness previous to my departure, and I thank God this day that I have, in a great measure, recovered my health and strength.
I have had a good visit among the Saints throughout the south, from here to Washington county, distance 300 miles. The hot weather, prevailing south winds, and the dust, rendered our traveling somewhat disagreeable and fatiguing; nevertheless, I have enjoyed myself well.
The Saints among whom we have labored received us with hospitality, the best they were capable of; they could have done no better if angels from heaven had visited them; and I feel to bless them for it.
I will say a word about the crops and the industry of the people south, as I presume you are all anxious on that subject. I know of no particular drawback in any large portion of the settlements in the way of good crops.
They are later in the south than here, the climate being a little colder; but in every settlement a peculiar spirit of industry characterises the Saints; they seem to strain every nerve to put in crops and to take care of them, and with some few exceptions in small places, there is every prospect of good crops, good gardens, and good grain, and I hope, with the blessing of the Lord, that the people in these distant regions will be able to produce sufficient for themselves and those who are coming this season, and I think the most of them will take care of it.
If we do the same, and all the other settlements, we will be enabled to live, and to enable those of our brethren to live who may come to us. I found it true, as our President said this spring, that there was four times the destitution in this city that there was out of it.
When I arrived as far as Nephi, and from that onward south, I heard of but very little scarcity, but very little want, but they all seemed to have enough to eat, and occasionally some to spare.
I mention these few things for your comfort, as we are one body and rejoice in each others welfare.
I would also mention that a good spirit, the spirit of union and peace, seems generally to prevail so far as I could tell; and as to myself, I have enjoyed myself well and felt a good portion of the Spirit during my ministry in the south, and feel to thank my Heavenly Father for all these things.
I have been led to reflect in viewing the unanimity of the people, and the extent to which they can endure and suffer for the sake of their religion. I have been led to reflect upon the power of the Gospel, the ordinances ministered for this people, and the spirit received in connexion therewith.
Some people inquire after miracles, and signs, and wonders; I will mention one sign, and wonder, and miracle, that I have reflected upon of late; it is very public, and before the eyes of this people, and hence I have pleasure in referring to it.
It is this: here are a people congregated in the capacity of civil and religious governments in the valleys of Utah, made up of almost all nations and languages, comparatively speaking, or of many nations, having brought with them a variety of manners and customs, as well as many peculiar opinions and nationalities. And besides these, religiously speaking, they have been gathered out from almost every sect and creed under heaven, or at least from many of them. A miracle, a sign, and a wonder, is this this!
How came this? When found among all nations and languages, and religions, I say how came they to be made one, not that all are perfect in one, but so far as they are? And if any body doubts this being a miracle, a sign or wonder, what we ask of them is, to produce the same, if they can.
If any body needs a miracle, this is one for them. Has any person, or I might say, have all persons power upon natural principles, by their own wisdom and power, to take people of different nations, and languages, and tongues, habits, customs, and religions, and unite them in one common band, civil and religious, and then govern them in a great measure as a unit? I ask, have they the power? I would like to see it tried somewhere, either in Kansas or in some part of the United States, or elsewhere.
If the union which exists in Utah cannot be effected by others, and elsewhere, with similar materials, then all must acknowledge a miraculous power existing and operating in these valleys.
A great many throughout the nations, learned men, philosophers, rulers--those that have studied the science of government, would fain inquire by what means or power this miracle is accomplished over so many conflicting elements.
Well, suppose we touch upon a little key, or give a clue to it, for the benefit of those to whom it was and is a mystery, and also for our own satisfaction.
Then, in the first place, we say that it is by the power and keys of the holy Priesthood, and the ordinances and spirit thereof.
This people, composed of diverse nations, tongues, habits and religions, have all been baptized by one Spirit into one body. So far as they have, in all honesty repented, and been baptized, they have all received a portion of the Holy Spirit of promise by the laying on of the hands of the Priesthood, in the name of Jesus, and they have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Holy Spirit, and one God and Father of all. This is as it was said by the ancient writer in relation to the ancient Saints.
Is there power in the Priesthood as there was anciently? We say the Priesthood has been restored by the ministration of angels to Joseph Smith and others, and confirmed and ordained upon the heads of others by that same authority, by him and the word of the Lord through him.
Is there power in it? If not, how came this people to be concentrated and united, after being gathered out of many jarring elements, from the United States and from Europe?
Although they are very far from being perfect in this union, yet we say that by the power of the ordinances and by the power of the Spirit that accompanies the ordinances, this great miracle has been done in the name of Jesus Christ.
We take, for instance, a Presbyterian Methodist, a Quaker, a Baptist, and an Infidel, as they are called, or whatever name, community, or creed they belong to, and on their profession of reformation and faith in Jesus Christ, we bury them in the water, in the name of Jesus, for the remission of sins; they rise again out of the water in newness of life, that is, with a fixed purpose of leading a new life; and after receiving instruction at the hands of the authorized Priesthood, we lay our hands upon them, accompanied with prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, for the gift of the Holy Ghost; and if they do not receive that Spirit, you may know that they have not obeyed this Gospel from the heart.
Was there any power in the ordinances anciently, in the ordinances of God administered by proper authority? And is there power now? Let us look at it for a few moments.
Moses, being about to depart from his great responsibilities in the midst of Israel, laid his hands upon Joshua by the word of the Lord. After this Joshua was filled with the Spirit of God and of his calling. His works in leading Israel into the promised land, and there defending them and settling them according to the word of the Lord, go to show that he not only received a form under the hands of Moses, but he actually received the power and spirit of that form.
Saul, king of Israel, was anointed by the direction of the word of the Lord under the hands of a Prophet; literally anointed when he was a young man, to be king over Israel. He was a poor, inexperienced young man, and probably knew no more of inspiration than other youths. But soon after his anointing, the Philistines made war against Israel, and would not make peace only on condition that every man of Israel would consent to lose his right eye. Saul, on hearing of these humilitating [sic] proposals, felt the power of his anointing. The Spirit of God came mightily upon him; he raised an army, conquered the haughty foe, and saved his country.
But by and bye this man, Saul, so far transgressed, that the word of the Lord came to him through Samuel, the same that anointed him, and said, the kingdom is rent from thee, and given to thy neighbor, who is better than thou art.
And after that he did not have the Spirit of the Lord to guide him, and shortly after that he got into trouble with the Philistines, whose armies were placed in battle array against him.
I have mentioned these circumstances to show you that there is power in the ordinances of the Almighty, when administered by authority. There are a great many other circumstances, but I name these few to illustrate the question under consideration.
Well, was their power in the ordinances of the kingdom, when administered by Joseph Smith: We say there was power in all that he did.
Well, he ordained men to be Apostles, and Prophets, and Elders, and they went forth to administer in the sacred ordinances of the house of God; and I ask, is there power in their administration?
If not, how came these Americans here, and Britons, and Irishmen, and Scotchmen, and Danes, and French, and more nations than my memory will serve to name, coming together as a unit, scarcely anything occurring to mar their happiness?
You do not hear a man say that he is a Dane, or an Englishman, or of any peculiar nation, but losing his nationality, and all blending into one mass, with a united heart to build up the kingdom of our God, and to become one great nation, Americans to be sure, if you wish to call it so, as it is in that country.
How came this to be, if there is no power in the modern Priesthood and in the modern ordinances? As I said before, if any body disputes this power being with us, will they set us a similar example?
Leave out their nationalities, and the variety of jarring politics, and our political predispositions and prejudices; leave that out of consideration, and I just come to the advantages and disadvantages in our traditions that have come down from our fathers, and are now held sacred by us, so much so, that I heard a person who was brought up in New Hampshire say that he grew up in the world among all the jarring of politics, and to use his own language, "I was brought up to believe that my father was right in both religion and politics." "What was he," said I? "O, he was a Whig in politics, and a Congregationalist in religion;" and, says he, "I was so glad that my father was so lucky in both as to be right." "What is the proof," says I, "that your father was right in both?" "Why, the proof is, he was my father, and therefore he must be right, in both his religion and politics, for my father could not be wrong!"
Well, fortunately or unfortunately, we have all had fathers; and, of course, because they are our fathers, they must be right in politics and religion, no matter which it is. Such has been our strong prejudice with reference to our fathers.
Well, now, how do we stand now: have we got rid of all this? How came we to have one faith, one Lord, and one baptism, and one Holy Spirit, as it is in a great measure this day? Probably there may be few exceptions, persons who have got the opposite spirit, like Saul when the Lord rejected him through rebellion. How came this to be, as I said before, when we turn from our errors and sins as well as we can? How is this? We came forward, when we see our sins, with honest hearts, determined to do right, believing in Jesus Christ; then some Apostle or Elder that had received the Priesthood through the ministration of Joseph Smith, or that grew out of his administration, took us and buried us in the waters of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and we then resolved to lead a new life.
It expresses a covenant, whether they said it in so many words or not--they promised to lead a new life. Then just as soon as they could receive sufficient instruction, the Elders laid their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and they could receive their blessings; and the Elders confirmed upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the power thereof. And, by and bye, many others were ordained to holy and important callings, and were anointed to take part in the work, and partake of the power of the holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God, and it is this power that unites us together in one. The world do not believe this I am aware.
It is really so long since I was among the sectarian world, that I had almost forgotten that I was a sectarian of any kind, and that I was a political partizan of any kind. I have been so long removed from those scenes which characterise the numerous parties of the world, I had almost forgotten whether there was a whig or democratic party, or whether parties existed; I say, I had almost forgotten whether I had ever belonged to any sect or party, and I had almost forgotten my nationality. It is true that I do not speak a different language from what I did in the world, but I had almost forgotten that, but I feel that I am with the Priesthood, and with all good men, I am one with them, to be used nationally, politically, morally, and religiously, to hold fast our faith, to build up a righteous people from every country, to preach and establish righteousness, and union, and peace, to all people in every country, for the benefit of all men that will obey it, without regard to persons.
Well now, this, so far as I can tell it in a few words, is the great secret, or one secret out of the great mystery, or rather one mystery out of another, which exists in the minds of the people, that do not know it. How is it that this people, that are come up of so many parties, and tongues, and people, and creeds, are measurably become one in faith and spirit? And what is further to increase in them this oneness? Being careful to live to our righteous religion, and to do right continually so that we become one in heart and mind. We are required to overcome our faults, and be careful to increase in and learn the truth, and put in practice, and to pray for the Holy Spirit of promise, and to be careful to keep the commandments of God, careful to do nothing to our neighbors, but what I would have them do under the like circumstances and be perfectly willing for them to do to me.
By adopting these means we are sure to progress in that oneness, and in that union nationally, religiously, politically and socially, and in every way to learn to co-operate, and to be more and more in the spirit, one in heart and in mind. Well, then, a great reward lies before us upon conditions of obedience, but there is still a mighty work to be done. I have taken but little praise for what has been done, though much has been done, still much remains to be done, not only to convert the honest in heart, but to build up cities, and make farms. We have much to do with each other in order to bring us into union more perfectly as families and communities, as we will have to form ourselves and be prepared to form a more intimate union with the powers that have gone before us, even the powers of heaven, because there is a work to be done, and we have been called to help to do it. We are called upon not to do it alone, for the Prophets that have gone before us, that have fallen martyrs to it, are to help in the work.
We have never said that we would do it alone; but rather that the powers of the heavens that have gone before us and been perfected in the same Gospel, were engaged in it, and wish to help to do it. Nothing short of this fond union of the Saints who have gone before us with the living Latter-day Saints, will ever bring about and complete that great restoration that we have all been looking for, and believing in, that all the Prophets have prophesied of since the world began; nothing short of these united powers can possibly attain to that which is designed, hence they in the other world will attend to their part of it; they are doing it now. But by and bye they will have to be ministers on the earth, and to the Latter-day Saints, and we have to be prepared to have the vail rent, and to be united more perfectly in our co-operations with them, and they with us; and we should endeavor to do our part of the work, to prepare for that which is to come, progressively, and be ready to enter into the kingdom of righteousness and truth, act so that we can be worthy and ready to be wrought upon by the Spirit of God.
We should prepare for the ministration and society of the pure in heart, for they are preparing to meet the people down here. And I know not but that some among us are looking for the Lord Jesus Christ to appear very shortly with all his Saints and angels publicly. Well, I am looking for it too, but it is not the first thing that I am looking for, but I am looking for it when all things are ready, and when all things are prepared, so that when coming he will not break one jot nor tittle of the prophecies, but they will all be fulfilled in their time and place. If the coming of the Savior is the next thing in order, I consider that it would become all of us, so imperfect, so unprepared, so far from being perfectly united in righteousness, to become sanctified and made ready for his appearance. There will be people on the earth that will be ready when he does come, and how will it be at his coming? There are a great many that stand between us and Jesus Christ, and who stand in more immediate relationship to this work, and also to us. There is our leader, and many others that are leaders, and who hold the keys, and who have gone before us; and they stand between us and Jesus Christ, they hold keys between him and us, and then again there are others of the former day Saints, such as Peter, James and John, and they hold keys which are ahead of our leaders that are dead, our Prophet, for instance? Yes, they hold keys between him and Jesus. Here we all see that we have only got a portion of the Priesthood and the keys, the others are in the possession of the congregations of Saints in the heavens, and before we are prepared to be ministered to by them and enjoy their society, we must alter considerably. Some say, why, the coming of the Lord is nearer than some of you suppose. Well, I would not wonder if it was further off than some of you suppose, from the fact of the things that have to be accomplished.
If we were to say that before the coming of the Lord many great things await us, and that we are to be prepared for all the changes which have to take place, and that they are nearer at hand than we would imagine them to be; and if we should say that that event was much nearer than many of us suppose, and that we have already received many warnings, most certainly we ought to prepare to receive greater covenants, to become more closely acquainted with the Spirit of God, to be more perfect in union, to know how to act more in concert, to overcome our weaknesses and errors of judgment, and ignorance and follies, learn to be happy and to come up to the mark, and be sanctified before the Lord, that peradventure some portion of the keys and powers from the eternal world may be more fully bestowed upon us, that we may be prepared by gradual experience from time to time, that we may progress in the science and plan of salvation, and be prepared for the greater things that await us.
I will not complain of our deficiencies for we have to be satisfied with the things which we have accomplished, but we have full confidence in the union and power that attends this work. It is for us to prepare ourselves and to repent of all our errors, and follow our leaders until we reach celestial glory. The powers of heaven are neither ashamed nor afraid, but they have confidence in us and will dwell in our society. There are a great many keys, and manifestations, and preparations, and associations between us and that great and perfect day, when the Lord will come in the power of heaven.
Let us all do our duty, and be faithful to our covenants. May God bless you all. Amen.
WHY THE SAINTS REJOICE--THE SPIRIT RECEIVED THROUGH LAYING ON OF HANDS--CLEANLINESS.
A Discourse, Delivered by President J. M. Grant, in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, August 3, 1856.
Having the privilege of speaking to you this morning, I particularly need the aid and assistance of the Spirit of the Lord, for I have been labouring under indisposition for several weeks, and do not possess that physical force which is natural to me, therefore I need more of the divine influence of the Holy Spirit.
We have professedly gathered ourselves to this land to serve our God; we feel that we have found the pearl of great price. It matters but little in relation to the land that we dwell upon, or the special comforts of life that we may have found and now enjoy in this land, so we but have within us that eternal treasure that warrants us in believing that we please our God, and that He approbates our course.
I am aware that the christians would think inasmuch as they have circulated the Bible among the nations of the earth, that they have thereby done much towards spreading the Gospel and establishing the kingdom of God on the earth. But you, as reasonable men, would consider that I reasoned very badly, were I to say that the United States by circulating the Constitution among the various governments on the earth, had thereby established so many republics.
In order for the kingdom of God to have an existence upon the earth, we naturally need the radiant light of heaven, we need the divine sanction of the Almighty, and He will set a man to properly organize His people, and execute those things which He designs to have carried out. Some may ask, why the Latter-day Saints rejoice? I answer, we rejoice not alone in that we have a claim superior to the claims of others; not alone in that we have houses and lands, and power and authority, and the comforts of this city, but in the privileges given us by the Almighty, through faith and obedience, for being more happy than other people. We have not the facilities that the people of many other cities and parts of the earth possess; indeed, we are deprived of many of the comforts and luxuries which many enjoy in other climes. But suppose we are, did we come here for them? Were they the grand object of our leaving our native soil? Was this the view we had when we left Europe, the United States, or any other part of the earth, or the islands of the sea? Did we come here to obtain a better farm, to obtain the luxuries of life? If this was the object of our pursuit, we have certainly been mistaken.
It is possible that some may have been tempted, as they were in the days of Jesus, by the loaves and fishes; but those who understood the truth, and comprehended and loved virtue, had no such idea. They understood that the Gospel of the Son of God, proclaimed and taught by the proper officers, had been brought unto them, and that the sceptre of life had been held out to them. And may we not, as Saints of God, rejoice that we have found and received the truth, that we have tasted of its sweetness, and that it has made us happy.
It matters not whether you dwell in Great Salt Lake City, or in the different settlements of this territory, or whether you are associated with those that are following some special branch of mechanism, if you have the principles of eternal life, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the will of the Lord, the power of God within you, for then you will be contented. On the other hand, if you have not the principles that come from Heaven, though you may have rich soil to cultivate, and splendid houses to dwell in, though you may be connected with wealthy and influential families, and possess choice localities in a powerful state, you are not happy, you are not contented, for there is a vacuum where the principles of life should be, and gold and silver will not fill it and satisfy the cravings within.
Some people act as if they looked for this city to be like the various other cities of the earth, and if they do not prosper as well as they think they ought, they turn round upon us as though this world's goods were the primary object of their coming here. I admit that Heaven has seen fit to give us many of the comforts of life, but the primary object of our coming here was not to obtain more desirable temporal blessings, or to obtain more gold or silver. This was not our view, but we came here to do the will of our Father; and we built houses, laid our farms and went to work as we would elsewhere, but these things did not induce us to come here. When we enlisted in the covenant of the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, our object was to attain eternal life; the object of our coming here was to please our God.
We did not merely have the Bible circulated among us; Joseph Smith did not merely tell us that he was a missionary sent to proclaim that which was proclaimed and believed in the Garden of Eden, or the testimony that was given to Noah before the flood; or that he was sent simply to bring the books of Moses with the writings of the ancient Apostles and Prophets, or alone to inform us of the works of Jesus Christ when upon the earth. This was not alone the work of the Prophet, but it was that he had received a commission from the Almighty, that he had been ordained by Peter, James and John, who were sent unto him as messengers or ministers from the heavens with proper authority, and had given him the legal authority of God--for what? To build up the kingdom of God upon the earth, to organize it and set it in order, and to ordain proper officers to execute the law. This Apostle of Jesus Christ told the people that if they would obey the Gospel, if they would repent of their sins, if they would be baptized for the remission of their sins, they should receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, which he was authorized to administer.
Many complied with the teachings of the Prophet, and what was the result? Much the same as we read of in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. The Prophet translated the Book of Mormon, and therein found the subject of salvation set forth as it is in the Bible, only more plainly and fully. The Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph taught repentance the same as the Bible, therefore they agreed; and the Prophet never limited that instruction, neither did he limit any of the teachings of the ancients.
If Joseph had merely sold the people the Bible and Book of Mormon, would they have received the gift of the Holy Ghost? It was, and I presume still is, a favorite theme with Mr. Alexander Campbell, of the United States, that "the word is the Spirit and the Spirit is the word," in short that there is no Spirit to be received separate from the word of God. His logic amounts virtually to this--"Simply preach the Bible, the word of God and salvation as printed in the Bible; and all who purchase the Bible thereby purchase eternal life."
Who that is rational and possessed of a disposition to scan the subject can believe such a doctrine? Doubtless Moses heard the thunder of the Almighty on Mount Sinai, and saw the lightnings, but would you say that I was reasoning correctly, if I were to say that I heard that thunder and saw those lightnings simply through reading the history thereof in the Bible? Again, would I be reasoning correctly to say, because I have read the account of what transpired on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out upon the people and Peter spoke as he was moved upon by the Holy Ghost, that I, therefore, have seen the day of Pentecost? That because I have read the history of some of the operations of the Holy Ghost, therefore I have the Holy Ghost? Or that I heard them speak in tongues, because I have read the history of persons speaking in tongues? Certainly not.
I am aware that hundreds and thousands of different denominations disagree with Mr. Campbell, and also declare that they receive the Spirit of the Lord, what they call the new birth, a change of the heart, put off the old man and put on the new man, and at the same time the operations of their minds, their course of life and all their doings and saying, prove that they are equally as far behind as Mr. Campbell, and that they have only the history of the light itself.
Should you light a room with gas, and should an artist take a sketch of the light, and some author write a history of the affair, and at a subsequent date some other man write a history, and should the two accounts be placed together, describing the beauty thereof and benefit thereof, would the history of the light and the benefit that had been derived therefrom, and the abundance of that light that was said to have exited, light up a hall? If it would, do not buy any more candles, but read the history in your candlesticks; read the history of oil and wick, and stick that in your lamp, and see how much light you will get.
You may read the Book of Mormon and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and the word of God in its various written and printed forms, and after you have read them all, have you, by so doing, gained any right to say that you have the light of Moses, Isaiah, Daniel, and other ancient and modern men of God? Have you any reason to say that you possess the same light, the same joy, the same spirit, as they did, in consequence of your possessing the same written word of God that they possessed? Yes, if Mr. Campbell's doctrine be correct. No doubt the followers of Mr. Campbell consider the doctrine true, and his logic and reasoning correct.
Some, in the so called Christian world, contend that the spirit is the word, and that word, they argue, will save the people.
Now suppose that some missionary or Bible society should send a few missionaries to the Latter-day Saints in these valleys, upon hearing that we were short of bread and other kinds of food, and suppose that those missionaries should tell us about the various kinds of food necessary to sustain life; and then suppose that this benevolent institution should publish 15 or 20,000 tracts to teach us what an advantage it is to live in New York, London, Paris, or New Orleans, and what they live upon in the various regions of the habitable portions of the earth, what good would all that do us? I answer, not any.
After you have read in this book (holding up the Bible) concerning the commission which Jesus gave to certain of his disciples, can you get up and say that you are Peter, James, John, or any of the ancient Apostles, or Prophets? or by so doing, that you had the Holy Ghost, the same as they had?
Could you reason that when you had read the account of the Psalmist, where he says, "The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs," that you had seen the glory of God in this way, because the Psalmist records that he saw it?
Could you, when you have read that Paul knew a man who was caught up to the third heavens, testify that you knew the man who was caught up, simply from having read that account?
When you read of the gifts that were bestowed upon and circulated among the people of God, you certainly would not wish others to suppose that mere reading about them puts you in possession of the same blessings.
But many in the world would suppose that when they preach and circulate the Bible, they actually put in the possession of the people that power and life and those gifts, that the ancient Apostles and Prophets and Saints of God enjoyed.
Brethren and sisters, we understand the difference between enjoying and reading of enjoyment, between the history of a feast and the feast itself; also between the history of the law of God and the law itself.
When the Prophet Joseph came among the people he did not tell them that he would sell them the word of God, but after he had established the truth in their minds and they were baptized, he then laid his hands upon them that they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, for he had promised this, and they received the Holy Comforter and the same light, the same Spirit, the same power of God, and the same principles of eternal life; that very gift which is the greatest gift of God, and it gave them the same joy, and the same great blessings, and this Spirit taught them the will of God.
Herein is the difference between this Church and the people of the world. They rejoice in thinking that their forefathers had such rich blessings, and that they were so happy and rejoiced so much that they saw God, His Son Jesus Christ, and Peter, James, and John; and that their forefathers received the Holy Ghost.
We rejoice that we have seen and that our Prophets have received the like blessing, and not that we read of their enjoyment. We rejoice that our God lives, that Jesus Christ His Son lives, and that the gifts and blessings are bestowed upon us.
It is generally admitted that it is natural for parents to love their young children as well as the older ones, and if there be any difference, they will love the youngest ones a little the most, for they sometimes have to be more severe with the older ones.
But the world reverse this doctrine with regard to the Almighty, for they make God love Adam, Abraham, and the ancients, but when it comes down to the present time their wonderful, peace-making religion makes them rejoice that their older brethren and sisters had rich dinners and suppers, and that they had feasted on the good things of heaven, but that our father is so unmerciful in our day that we have to eat husks.
According to the doctrine of our religious friends, we have to rejoice that the ancients enjoyed the rich blessings of our Father, and that He will not give us anything but the history thereof. (President B. Young: And the chaff.)
Such a course is not as consistent as that of the devil, for he treats his first children in a certain way, and then he treats all the others in much the same way; he treats everybody about alike.
Have we not a right to receive those blessings that were enjoyed by our elder brethren? If the devil tempts and tries everybody, and if the young children have to be tried, why not the young be blest like the old children?
I am aware that the Latter-day Saints require a great deal of preaching, and some of that, too, on subjects very easy of comprehension; I will tell you what I said to one of our home missionaries a few days ago, and I said the same to one of the brethren from Grantsville, when speaking to him about the petty wrangling there.
They wanted a new local President and a new local Bishop, they wanted this, that, and the other, and wished to know what we had to say. I remarked, if you wish to know what I have to say, I will tell you.
Said I, if an angel of God should come to that village, he would say to its inhabitants, "repent and wash your bodies, repent and clean up your door yards, repent and cleanse your out-houses," all of which I seriously think that they have very much need to do.
After they have actually cleansed themselves and commenced doing right, and have cleansed their locality, I presume that then an angel, or a man of God, might tell them what further to do.
I actually suppose that in the instructions which an angel of God would give, the very first lesson would be to teach cleanliness to the filthy, and then instruct them to keep themselves cleanly all the time. This is what our President is frequently teaching you; and yet you may go into some parts of this city, and you would actually think that Provo river affords no more water than would suffice for cleansing them.
I like a place constantly kept clean, and that must be so to satisfy me. I not only want the history of a people's being clean, and of their having cleansed up their door yards, outbuildings, and grounds, but I want them to do it.
We have preached cleanliness at Fillmore, last winter; and when I went there lately I was pleased to see that they had made some little improvement.
But there is still by far too much carelessness in this matter, and some people seem to love to live amidst filth, and to snuff its nauseous and unhealthy odors, when it would be far better to apply it to enriching your soil.
You have been taught true doctrines, and the Lord God has given you the Holy Ghost which has purified your hearts, and now purify all that pertains to you.
The time will come when you will be tried in this respect; and the days of power will come, when the power of God will be more abundantly poured out upon those who are prepared for it. And you who have the truth and do not live up to it, who do not live up to that light and intelligence which is given you, who do not purify your bodies, your clothing, your buildings, your door yards, gardens, and fields, may look for the wrath of God to burn against you.
It is your duty to be clean and neat, and it is the duty of all the settlements throughout the Territory.
You have the history of the light, and you have received the virtue and power which are in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it is for you to obey your leaders and the intelligence which is in you, which may the Lord grant, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
THE HOLY GHOST NECESSARY IN PREACHING--FAITH--HEALING THE SICK--THE SAINTS' INTERESTS ARE ONE--ALL OF OUR EFFORTS SHOULD TEND TO THE UPBUILDING OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
A Discourse by President B. Young, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, August 17, 1856.
We have had the privilege of hearing the testimony of brother Whiting, who has just returned from his mission, upon which he started two years ago from San Pete.
Brothers Merril and Clinton, and several others, have lately arrived from their missions, and I will here give an invitation to those brethren to come to the stand, Sabbath after Sabbath, and bear testimony and speak to the people. I wish to say to the Elders who arrive, come, we would be happy to see you with us; come, we will find seats for you; and if you are not all eloquent preachers, come and bear your testimony. Brother Whiting says that he is a man of but few words. I am satisfied that there is greater wisdom with many who say but little, than there is with those who talk so much; as for the multitude of words, they are but of little consequence, the ideas are of far the greatest importance.
The kingdom of our God, that is set upon the earth, does not require men of many words and flaming oratorical talents, to establish truth and righteousness. It is not the many words that accomplish the designs of our Father in heaven, with Him it is the acts of the people more than their words; this I was convinced of, before I embraced the Gospel. Had it not been that I clearly saw and understood that the Lord Almighty would take the weak things of this world to confound the mighty, the wise, and the talented, there was nothing that could have induced me, or persuaded me to have ever become a public speaker. I did think, and I now think, that I am personally as well acquainted with my own weaknesses as any other mortal is with them, for this is my fortune, my good fortune and blessing, and I am ready to acknowledge that it is more than many have got. I am of the opinion that I know and understand myself, about as well as any person can know and understand me; yet I may think that I know my weaknesses and incapabilities to the fullest, while others may see weaknesses that I do not. Still I am so constituted that when I discover my weaknesses I bear them off as well as I can; and I say to all people, if you discover that I falter, when I do the best I can, what are you going to do about it?
When I first commenced preaching, I made up my mind to declare the things that I understood, fearless of friends and threats, and regardless of caresses. They were nothing to me, for if it was my duty to rise before a congregation of strangers and say that the Lord lives, that He has revealed Himself in this our day, that He has given to us a Prophet, and brought forth the new and everlasting covenant for the restoration of Israel, and if that was all I could say, I must be just as satisfied as though I could get up and talk for hours. If I could only say that I was a monument of the Lord's work upon the earth, that was sufficient; and had it not been for this feeling, nothing could have induced me to have become a public speaker.
With regard to preaching, let a man present himself before the Saints, or go into the world before the nobles and great men of the earth, and let him stand up full of the Holy Ghost, full of the power of God, and though he may use words and sentences in an awkward style, he will convince and convert more, of the truth, than can the most polished orator destitute of the Holy Ghost; for that Spirit will prepare the minds of the people to receive the truth, and the spirit of the speaker will influence the hearers so that they will feel it.
These reflections are my true sentiments, and it is knowledge with me with regard to speakers and people who have honest hearts, who desire the knowledge of the Lord, who are seeking to know the will of God, and willing to become subject to it. The Spirit of truth will do more to bring persons to light and knowledge, than flowery words. This is my experience, and I presume it is the experience of many of you, and that you can call that to mind when you first received the Spirit of this Gospel.
When you see a person at a distance, you can, at times, see the spirit of that person before you have the opportunity of speaking to him; you can discern his spirit by the appearance of his countenance. This has been my experience from my younger days, and more especially since I have become acquainted with sacred things. My later experience has been very vivid with regard to the spirits of people, and it matters not to me whether they say much or little, so they but let me hear their voices and see them, let me hear and see the manifestation of their spirit, that I may know whether they are constantly with us in their feelings. I wish to know the spirits of those that are around and with us.
Brethren, you who have returned and are this season returning from missions, we shall be happy to have you take your seats with us on this stand, and when opportunity offers we shall be glad to hear your voices and testimonies.
When I rise before you, brethren and sisters, I often speak of the faults of the people and try to correct them; I strive to put the Saints in a right course and plead with them to live their religion, to become better and to purify themselves before the Lord; to sanctify themselves, to be prepared for the days that are fast approaching. I do this oftener than I speak of the good qualities of this people, and I have reasons for this which, perhaps you would like to hear.
The froward and disobedient need chastisement, the humble and faithful are sealed by the Spirit of the Gospel that we have received. I have not time nor opportunity to caress the people, nor flatter them to do right; nor often to speak well of them, portraying their good qualities.
The consolations of the Holy Spirit of our Gospel comfort the hearts of men and women, old and young, in every condition of this mortal life. The humble, the meek, and faithful are all the time consoled and comforted by the Spirit of the Gospel that we preach; consequently, their comfort, happiness, joy, and peace must be received from the fountain head. As Jesus says, "In the world ye shall have tribulation, but in me ye have peace," so we say to ourselves, so we say to the Saints; in the Lord ye have joy and comfort, and the light of truth which shines upon your path.
The Holy Ghost reveals unto you things past, present, and to come; it makes your minds quick and vivid to understand the handy work of the Lord. Your joy is made full in beholding the footsteps of our Father going forth among the inhabitants of the earth; this is invisible to the world, but it is made visible to the Saints, and they behold the Lord in His providences, bringing forth the work of the last days.
The hearts of the meek and humble are full of joy and comfort continually; do such need comfort from me? Yes, if any mourn, perhaps a few encouraging words from me would give them consolation and do them good. I am always ready to impart what I have to this people, that which will cheer and comfort their hearts, and if the Lord will lead me by His Spirit into that train of reflections and teaching, I am more willing and ready to speak comforting words to this people, than I am to chastise them.
But I hope and trust in the Lord my God that I shall never be left to praise this people, to speak well of them, for the purpose of cheering and comforting them by the art of flattery; to lead them on by smooth speeches day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, and let them roll sin as a sweet morsel under their tongues, and be guilty of transgressing the law of God. I hope I shall never be left to flatter this people, or any people on the earth, in their iniquity, but far rather chasten them for their wickedness and praise them for their goodness.
The Lord praises you and comforts you, if you live as you are directed; if you live with your life hid with Christ in God, you do receive, from the fountain head, life, joy, peace, truth, and every good and wholesome principle that the Lord bestows upon this people, and your hearts exult in it, and your joy is made full.
This people are the best people upon the face of the earth, that we have any knowledge of. Take the congregation now before me, and what portion of them has been in the Church twenty-six years? What portion has been in the Church fifteen years? But a small part.
How many of those before me were personally acquainted with Joseph, our Prophet? I can see now and then one; you can pick up one here and another there; but the most of the people now inhabiting this Territory never beheld the face of our Prophet; even quite a portion of this congregation never beheld his face. All this I consider.
But few of this congregation have been assembled together more than a very few years, to receive and be benefitted with the teachings from the fountain head, directly from the living oracles.
How long have they been gathered? Some one year, some two years, and some five or six years; and I can only pick out a few in this congregation, who were acquainted with the Prophet.
I could pick out a few of this assembly who have been here seven and eight years.
You who understand the process of preparing mortar, know that it ought to lay a certain time before it is in the best condition for use. Now, suppose that our workmen should work over a portion and prepare it for use, and when it is rightly tempered, suppose some one should throw into the mixture a large quantity of unslacked lime, this would at once destroy its cementing quality, and you would have to work it all over and over again.
This is precisely like what we have to do with this people; when a new batch is mixed with the lime and sand which were prepared ten days ago, before it is fit for use it has to be worked all over with the ingredients and proportions that were used to make the first.
Some think this rather hard, but they have to be worked over, because they are in the batch. Again, they are in the mill, and like the potter's clay which brother Kimball uses for a figure, they have got to be ground over and worked on the table, until they are made perfectly pliable and in readiness to be put on the wheel, to be turned into vessels of honor.
Now, suppose, when it is in this good state, that somebody should throw in a batch of unworked clay, it would spoil the lot, and the potter would have to work it all over; the clay that we prepared has to be worked over with the unprepared.
This principle makes many feel sore, and some are starting for the States, and some for California, because they will not be worked over so much, and we cannot set a guard over the mill to keep the new clay from being thrown in.
You may say that that is my business; no, it is my business to throw in the new clay, and work it over and over, and to use the wire to draw from the lump any material that would obstruct the potter from preparing a vessel unto honor.
I do not wish you to think that I chastise good men and good women; chastisements do not belong to them, but we have some unruly people here, those who know the law of God, but will not abide it. They have to be talked to; and we have to keep talking to them, and talking to them, until by and by they will forsake their evils, and turn round and become good people, or take up their line of march and leave us.
I have reflected much upon the true character of mankind, pertaiuing [sic] to the Gospel of salvation, and more particularly in reference to the character of that portion of mankind that is here in the capacity in which we now are. How hard it is for people to see and understand things as they are. I allude, in my remarks, to this people who do reflect, and who profess to believe in a Supreme Being, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, who have professed, by their acts, that God has spoken in the last days, that unto us He has revealed His will; that He has given unto us the oracles of divine truth, the Gospel of life and salvation, with the privilege of making sure unto ourselves eternal life; this is the people I am now preaching to, and unto whom I wish to address my few remarks.
How slow many of us are to believe the things of God, O how slow. How many men and women can I find here who place implicit confidence in their God? Perhaps you might wish an explanation with regard to the term I here make use of. I will acknowledge my inability to explain to the fullest extent, what I regard as implicit confidence in our God; the reason of this is the ten thousand opinions that people have.
If I were to urge that we ought to have implicit confidence in the power and willingness of our God to sustain us by doing everything for us, that would cut the thread of my own faith, it would run counter to many of my ideas in regard to the dealings of the Almighty with the human family. On the other hand, how much confidence shall I have in God? One says, "I have no confidence in Him, any further than what I can see, hear, and understand. I have no confidence that wheat will grow here, unless I put it into the ground; or that I will have good to eat, unless I take the proper steps for raising it, or purchase it from those that have it." Both of these points are true in part, but the minds of the people are more or less beclouded.
To explain how much confidence we should have in God, were I using a term to suit myself, I should say <implicit> confidence. I have faith in my God, and that faith corresponds with the works I produce. I have no confidence in faith without works. Shall I explain this? I do not think I can fully present the idea to your understanding, but I will a portion of it; and to do so, I will refer to a circumstance that transpired in Nauvoo. A President of the Elders' Quorum, old father Baker, was called upon to visit a very sick woman, a sister in the Church; they sent for him to lay hands upon her. It was a very sickly time, and there were scarcely a person to attend upon the sick, for nearly all were afflicted. Father Baker was one of those tenacious, ignorant, self-willed, over-righteous Elders, and when he went into the house he enquired what the woman wanted. She told him that she wished him to lay hands upon her. Father Baker saw a tea-pot on the coals, and supposed that there was tea in it, and immediately turned upon his heels, saying, "God don't want me to lay hands on those who do not keep the Word of Wisdom," and he went out. He did not know whether the pot contained catnip, penny-royal, or some other mild herb, and he did not wait for any one to tell him. That class of people are ignorant and over-righteous, and they are not in the true line by any means.
You may go to some people here, and ask what ails them, and they answer, "I don't know, be we feel a dreadful distress in the stomach and in the back; we feel all out of order, and we wish you to lay hands upon us." "Have you used any remedies?" "No. We wish the Elders to lay hands upon us, and we have faith that we shall be healed." That is very inconsistent according to my faith. If we are sick, and ask the Lord to heal us, and to do all for us that is necessary to be done, according to my understanding of the Gospel of salvation, I might as well ask the Lord to cause my wheat and corn to grow, without my plowing the ground and casting in the seed. It appears consistent to me to apply every remedy that comes within the range of my knowledge, and to ask my Father in heaven, in the name of Jesus Christ, to sanctify that application to the healing of my body; to another this may appear inconsistent.
If a person afflicted with a cancer should come to me and ask me to heal him, I would rather go the grave-yard [sic] and try to raise a dead person, comparatively speaking. But supposing we were traveling in the mountains, and all we had or could get, in the shape of nourishment, was a little venison, and one or two were taken sick, without anything in the world in the shape of healing medicine within our reach, what should we do? According to my faith, ask the Lord Almighty to send an angel to heal the sick. This is our privilege, when so situated that we cannot get anything to help ourselves. Then the Lord and his servants can do all. But it is my duty to do, when I have it in my power. Many people are unwilling to do one thing for themselves, in case of sickness, but ask God to do it all.
A portion of our community have so much confidence in God, even men and women in this city, that if you put in their possession five bushels of wheat, they will dispose of it and trust in God for their food for a year to come. To me this is inconsistent; I know nothing about the consistency of such a confidence in God. But to me it is consistent for the poor man, or woman, that has been gleaning wheat, and has saved five or ten bushels, to lay it up for a time of need; though I understand that some of them are trying to sell it. Poor men and women who have had to beg for the last six months, and who have had nothing but what they obtained through charity, but who have now obtained a few bushels of wheat, are ready to sell it for something of no intrinsic worth, trusting in God to provide for them. This is inconsistent to me.
How shall I present consistent faith and religion, so that you may comprehend the subject? I will do my best, and leave the event with God. I believe, according to my understanding of the principles of eternal truth, that I should have implicit faith in our God; and when we are where we have not help for ourselves in the case of diseases, that we have the right to ask the Father, in the name of Jesus, to administer by His power and heal the sick, and I am sure it will be done to those who have implicit confidence in Him.
Again, in regard to food, implicit faith and confidence in God is for you and I to do everything we can to sustain and preserve ourselves; and the community that works together, heart and hand, to accomplish this, their efforts will be like the efforts of one man. The past year was a hard one for us with regard to provisions, but I never had one faltering feeling in reference to this community's suffering, provided all had understood their religion and lived it. Some few understand their religion and live it; others make a profession, without understanding their religion, and do not live it; consequently there has been a lack of union of effort to sustain ourselves, which has made it very hard for the few.
Suppose that we had done our best and had not raised on bushel of grain this year, I have confidence enough in my God to believe that we could stay here, and not starve to death. If all our cattle had died through the severity of the past winter, if the insects had cut off all our crops, if we still proved faithful to our God and to our religion, I have confidence to believe that the Lord would send manna and flocks of quails to us. But He will not do this, if we murmur and are neglectful and disunited.
Not having breadstuff nor manna, if we are cut off from those resources, from our provisions, the Lord can fill these mountains and valleys with antelope, mountain sheep, elk, deer, and other animals; He can cause the buffalo to take a stampede on the east side of the Rocky mountains, and fill these mountains and valleys with beef; I have just that confidence in my God. I have confidence enough to believe that if we had not raised our own provisions this year, and had proved true and faithful to our God and to our religion, that the Lord would have given us a little bread, even though he should have to put it in the minds of other people in the States to go to California and Oregon, and to load their wagons with sugar, flour, and everything needed, more than they could consume, and cause them to leave their superabundance here, as some did a great quantity of clothing, dried fruit, tools, and various other useful articles, in 1849, the first season that large emigrating companies passed through this valley to California. I could then buy a vest for twenty-five cents, that would now sell here for two or three dollars; and coats could be bought for a dollar each, such as are now selling for fifteen dollars.
This is my confidence in my God. I am no more concerned about this people's suffering unto death, than I am concerned about the sun's falling out of its orbit and ceasing to shine on this earth again. I know that we should have that confidence in God; this has been my experience, I have been led into this confidence by the miraculous providences of God. My implicit confidence in God causes me to husband every iota of property He gives me; I will take the best care of my farm, I will prepare my ground as well as I can, and put in the best seed I have got, and trust in God for the result, for it is the Lord that gives the increase.
I will illustrate by relating a circumstance which occured [sic] this summer. A certain brother sowed a field with wheat, and he has been afraid, and afraid, all the summer, about the water, saying, "When shall we get the water? We shall quit farming, for I am tired of it." I said to him, it is God that gives the increase, and it is for us to do the best we can; and if there is no water for the grain, He is close by, and is careful to give the increase, when it is necessary. This brother has sowed five or six acres; and the straw was so short, that a portion of the crop had to be pulled, and when thrashed, he had over one hundred and seventy bushels of wheat.
The Lord wishes to show this people that He is close by, that He walks in our midst daily, and we know but little about him; yet He intends to train us until we find out. This year, I think, gives us a positive manifestation of the hand of our God in giving the increase. I do not know that any person can cavil upon that question any more, and say that it is all in accordance with natural philosophy, as the world term it.
Natural philosophy, as you and I understand it, would not have produced one bushel of grain, where we now have ten. I would like the philosopher to make it appear how the trees have grown so luxuriantly this year, with so little water. Have you ever before seen the weeds flourish so finely on these dry hills? Look at your grain; though much of it is so low that you have to pull it, can you tell what it is that has caused the kernels to be so numerous and plump? Let the natural philosopher tell the reason, if he can; he cannot do it.
After all that has been said and done, after He has led this people so long, do you not perceive that there is a lack of confidence in our God? Can you perceive it in yourselves? You may ask, "Brother Brigham, do you perceive it in yourself?" I do, I can see that I yet lack confidence, to some extent, in Him whom I trust. Why? Because I have not the power, in consequence of that which the fall has brought upon me. I have just told you that I have no lack of confidence in the Lord's sustaining this people; I never had one shadow of doubt on that point.
But through the power of fallen nature, something rises up within me, at times, that measurably draws a dividing line between my interest and the interest of my Father in heaven--something that makes my interest and the interest of my Father in heaven not precisely one.
I know that we should feel and understand, as far as possible, as far as fallen nature will let us, as far as we can get faith and knowledge to understand ourselves, that the interest of that God whom we serve is our interest, and that we have no other, neither in time nor in eternity.
If I have an interest in any object, but should not live to enjoy that object, you can perceive that it is cut off from me, and that my interest and my hopes are gone, so far as worldly things are concerned. If any one has an interest in an object that is changeable, in anything of an earthly nature, and is separated from it, it can be of but little use to him, and should cease to be an object of great care or desire. Any object or interest that we have, aside from our Father in heaven, will be taken from us, and though we may seem to enjoy it here, in eternity we shall be deprived of it.
Consequently, I say that we have no true interest, only conjointly with our Father in heaven. We are His children, His sons and daughters, and this should not be a mystery to this people, even though there are many who have been gathered with us but a short time. He is the God and Father of our spirits; He devised the plan that produced our tabernacles, the houses for our spirits to dwell in.
My interests are with His, yours are there, and if you, seemingly, have any interest anywhere else, it will be severed from you, and you will never enjoy it. Still there is a feeling which has come by the fall, by transgression, in the heart of every person, that his interest is individually to himself; and that if he serves God, or does anything for Him, it is for some being for whom he has no particular concern. This is a mistaken idea; for every thing you do, every act you perform, every duty incumbent upon you, is solely for your interest in God, and no where else, neither can it be.
When you promote His interest, you promote your own; and when you promote your own interest, you promote His. When you gain a title of glory, or any good thing, you gain this to your Father in heaven as well as to yourself. And every object you are in pursuit of, should be that which will pertain to eternity, and let time take care of itself, only be sure to do the duties pertaining to it.
If we can see and realise that our interests are hid in God, and that we can have no interest anywhere else, perhaps we can learn obedience faster than we now do. Many think, "Well, I am an independent character; I do not like to be counseled, governed, or controlled; I wish to do as I please." That feeling, in a degree, is in every person.
There is an impulse in man that separates his interest from the interest of his God, and the interest of our Father in heaven from ours.
This must be learned so that you can discern it in yourselves, so that you can apply all your efforts, every act of your lives, to the interest that pertains to your eternal exaltation.
If in this world we had every object that we could desire, of an earthly nature, do you not understand that death would separate us from it? You can understand that naturally. A man possessing thrones, kingdoms, and power, leaves them when he is laid in the grave.
Now suppose that you let the common mode of reflection and practice reach into eternal things, upon the same principle you would have a selfish interest in eternity; you would there be to yourself, by yourself, and for yourself, regardless of every other creature. But the truth is, you are not going to have a separate kingdom; I am not going to have a separate kingdom; it is not our prerogative to have it on this earth.
If you have a kingdom and a dominion here, it must be concentrated in the head; if we are ever prepared for an eternal exaltation, we must be concentrated in the head of the eternal Godhead. Why? Because everything else is opposed to that kingdom, and the heir of that kingdom will keep up the warfare with that opposing power until death is destroyed, and him that hath the power of it; not annihilated, but sent back to native element. He will never cease to contend with the opposite power, with that power that contends against the heir of this earth; consequently, if we fancy that we have an independent interest here and in the world to come, we shall fail in getting any of it.
Your interest must be concentrated in the head on the earth, and all of our interest must centre in the Godhead in eternity, and there is no durable interest in any other channel.
I desire the people to consider whether they have any faltering in their feelings, any misgivings, or lack of confidence in their God. If they have, they should seek, with all the spirit and power they are in possession of, until they can understand the principle of eternity and eternal exaltation, and then apply the actions of their lives to these principles, that they may be prepared to enjoy that which their hearts now anticipate and desire. If we will learn these things correctly and advance, and advance, and continue to advance, though the new clay may be continually thrown into the mill, we will bring it to the same pliability as the old, much sooner than if it was ground alone; for the old clay soon mixes with the new and makes the whole lump passive. If we apply our hearts to these things, we shall soon learn to have our interests one here on the earth.
The principles of eternity and eternal exaltation are of no use to us, unless they are brought down to our capacities so that we practise them in our lives. We must learn the principles of government, must learn ourselves, the eternal government of our God, the interest that the Father has here on the earth and the interest that we have; then we will place our interest with the interest of our Father and God, and will have no self-interest, no interest only in His kingdom that is set up on the earth; then we will begin and apply these principles in our lives.
How shall we apply them? We must learn that we have not one farthing's worth of anything in heaven, earth, or hell, not even our own being.
We have been brought forth on this earth, organized for the purpose of giving us an opportunity of proving ourselves worthy to possess something by and bye.
We make farms, build fine houses, get possessions around us, and these we call ours, when not a dime's worth of them is either yours or mine. This is what we must learn.
I have much property in my possession, and we use the terms, "my farm, my house, my cattle, my horses, my carriage," &c., but the fact is we do not truly own anything; we never did and never will, until many long ages after this. We seemingly have property; we have gold and silver in our possession, and houses and lands, and goods, &c. These things we are accustomed to call ours, but that is for the want of understanding.
Every man and woman has got to feel that not one farthing of anything in their possession is rightfully theirs, in the strict sense of ownership. When we learn this lesson, where will be my interest and my effort? I do not own anything--it is my Father's. How came I by my possessions? His providence has thrown them into my care; He has appointed me a steward over them, and I am His servant, His steward, His hired man, one with whom He has placed certain property in charge for the time being, that is, pertaining to the things of this world.
Says one, "It was preached thirty years ago, that nothing belongs to us, and, if I have a thousand dollars, to at once give it all to the poor." That is your enthusiasm and ignorance. Were you to make an equal distribution of property to-day, one year would not pass before there would be as great an inequality as now.
How could you ever get a people equal with regard to their possessions? They never can be, no more than they can be in the appearance of their faces.
Are we equal? Yes. Wherein? We are equal in the interest of eternal things, in our God, not aside from Him.
We behold Church property, and not one farthing of it is yours or mine. Of the possessions that are called mine, my individual property, not a dollar's worth is mine; and of all that you seem to possess, not a dollar's worth is yours.
Did you ever organize a tree, gold, silver, or any other kind of metal, or any other natural production? No, you have not yet attained to that power, and it will be ages before you do. Who owns all the elements with which we are commanded and permitted to operate? The Lord, and we are stewards over them. It is not for me to take the Lord's property placed under my charge and wantonly distribute it; I must do with it as He tells me. In my stewardship I am not to be guided by the mere whims of human folly, by those who are more ignorant than I am, not by the lesser power, but by the superior and wiser.
Those who are in favor of an equality in property say that that is the doctrine taught in the New Testament. True, the Savior said to the young man, "Go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me," in order to try him and prove whether he had faith or not.
In the days of the Apostles, the brethren sold their possessions and laid them at the Apostles' feet. And where did many of those brethren go to? To naught, to confusion and destruction. Could those Apostles keep the Church together, on those principles? No. Could they build up the kingdom on those principles? No, they never could. Many of those persons were good men, but they were filled with enthusiasm, insomuch that if they owned a little possession they would place it at the feet of the Apostles.
Will such a course sustain the kingdom? No. Did it, in the days of the Apostles? No. Such a policy would be the ruin of this people, and scatter them to the four winds. We are to be guided by superior knowledge, by a higher influence and power.
The superior is not to be directed by the inferior, consequently you need not ask me to throw that which the Lord has put into my hands to the four winds. If, by industrious habits and honorable dealings, you obtain thousands or millions, little or much, it is your duty to use all that is put in your possession, as judiciously as you have knowledge, to build up the kingdom of God on the earth. Let this people equalize their means, and it would be one of the greatest injuries that could be done to them. During the past season, those who lived their religion acted upon the principles thereof by extending the hand of charity and benevolence to the poor, freely distributing their flour and other provisions, yet I am fearful that that mode was an injury instead of a real good, although it was designed for good.
Many poor people who receive flour of the brethren, if they have a bushel of wheat will sell it in the stores for that which will do them no good. My object is to accomplish the greatest good to this people. If I can by my wisdom and the wisdom of my brethren, by the wisdom that the Lord gives unto us, get this people into a situation in which they can actually sustain themselves and help their neighbors, it will be one of the greatest temporal blessings that can be conferred upon them. If you wish to place persons in a backsliding condition, make them idle and dilatory in temporal things, even though they may be good Saints in other respects. If the whole of this people can be put in a situation to take care of themselves, individually, and collectively, it will save a great many from apostatizing, and be productive of much good. I have got to wait for the Lord to dictate from day to day, and from time to time, as to what particular course to pursue for the accomplishment of so desirable a result.
Suppose that we should say that we intend to sell flour at ten dollars per hundred, would that make the people take care of themselves and their grain? It is not so very material what flour costs, nor whether the brethren sell it for three or ten cents a pound, as it is whether each will strive to secure and economise his own provisions. If you establish the selling price of flour at one dollar a hundred, or even at thirty cents, there are some who will sell all they have before night, and then beg their living of their neighbors. What course shall we pursue to produce the greatest good? We have the Gospel and the ordinances of salvation, and if we can get the people to do that which will produce the greatest good, then we shall further promote the interests of the kingdom of God on the earth.
I do not like to have the Saints, those who profess to be Saints, get such extravagant confidence in our God that they will not do one thing to provide for the body, but omit securing provision enough to sustain themselves, and say, "O, I shall have as long as there is any means, or wheat, or flour; I know that brother Brigham will not see me suffer. Mr. store-keeper, take the little I have and give me some ribbons for it, or a nice dress, for I want the best I can get, and I know that brother Brigham will not let me suffer." Will this course produce good to the people, or are they ignorant that they do not know what course to pursue?
The grand difficulty with this community is simply this, their interest is not one. When you will have your interests concentrated in one, then you will work jointly, and we shall not have to scold and find fault, as much as we are not required to. Somebody ought to be reproved here to-day, for some of our farmers are bringing in wheat and selling it to the stores for a dollar and a half a bushel. Would they sell it that low to the poor? No, they would not, if the poor had money to pay for it. If this is the best way, the most conducive of the greatest good to this community, all right, but I cannot see any good resulting from it.
I can see no good accruing to this community in maintaining a divided interest; our interest must be one throughout, in order to produce the good we desire. Many are distrustful in the providences of God; they profess faith enough to have the Lord extract a cancer from their flesh, or drive a fever from them, though they would not do a single thing for themselves; yet if they have a few bushels of grain, or five dollars, and you touch that, you touch the apple of their eye. You will run counter to the feelings of "here is my individual family, my individual substance, my individual habitation, and my individual property that I have gathered together; it is all my own, it is not yours."
I know that there is great liberality among this people, and on the other hand there is much liberality like this, though I do not know that I can fully explain it to you, but I will try. A few years ago we wished to drive off the cattle not needed here, so as to leave the feed for our milch cows, and there was not a man who was not heart and hand for the policy. When the time came to gather up the cattle, every man said to his neighbor, "This is one of the best possible plans for our stock, now you drive off you cattle," so each man said to his neighbor, and thought to himself "mine will have a better chance." And in the matter of fencing, each one says to his neighbor, "You put up a good fence round your garden and herd your cattle," at the same time intending to let his own run at large. These few instances explain the feelings and conduct of some, and in what manner they are liberal.
I again say that I do not wish any to take chastisement but those who need it, though most of the people are generally so righteous and liberal that they give over every part of it to their neighbors; they consider that none of it belongs to them. Some are so liberal that they will pick up my cattle on the range and butcher them, saying, "There is nothing here belonging to brother Brigham, nor to anybody else, it is the Lord's, and I will have a little beef."
I wish the people to understand that they have no interest apart from the Lord our God. The moment you have a divided interest, that moment you sever yourselves from eternal principles.
It is reported that many are going away; I say, gentlemen and ladies, you who wish to go to California, or to the States, go and welcome; I had rather you would go than stay. I wish every one to go who prefers doing so, and if they will go like gentlemen, they go with my best feelings; but if they go like rascals and knaves, they cannot have them. I have never requested but two things of those who leave, namely, to pay their debts and not steal; that is all that I have required of them. Go about your business, for I would rather you would go than stay.
The moment a person decides to leave this people, he is cut off from every object that is durable for time and eternity, and I have told you the reason why. Everything that is opposed to God and His Son Jesus Christ, to the celestial kingdom and to celestial laws, those celestial laws and beings will hold warfare with, until every particle of the opposite is turned back to its native element, though it should take millions and millions of ages to accomplish it. Christ will never cease the warfare, until he destroys death and him that hath the power of it. Every possession and object of affection will be taken from those who forsake the truth, and their identity and existence will eventually cease. "That is strange doctrine." No matter, they have not an object which they can place their hands or affections upon, but what will vanish and pass away. That is the course and will be the tendency of every man and woman, when they decided to leave this kingdom.
They are welcome to go, and to stay where they go; I heartily wish that a great many would go, such as I can point out. Like old Lorenzo Dow, when he was trying to detect the person who had stolen an axe; he said that he could throw the stone which he had carried into the pulpit and hit the man that stole the axe; he handled the stone as though he would throw it, and the guilty person dodged, when he said, that is the man. So I could throw and hit a great many that I wish to go.
I say again, you that wish to go, go in peace, and we like to have you go; and those that wish to come here we like to have them come and be Saints, and if they would, they would stay; but if not, I like to have them leave, no matter whether they belong to the Church or not.
My soul feels hallelujah, it exults in God, that He has planted this people in a place that is not desired by the wicked; for if the wicked come here they do not wish to stay, no matter how well they are treated, and I thank the Lord for it; and I want hard times, so that every person that does not wish to stay, for the sake of his religion, will leave. This is a good place to make Saints, and it is a good place for Saints to live; it is the place the Lord has appointed, and we shall stay here until He tells us to go somewhere else.
All I ask of the Saints is to live their religion, serve their God, and recollect that their interest should be in Him and no where else; that the inferior must be controlled by the superior, and our efforts and affections all be concentrated in one, namely, in building up the kingdom of God to the destruction of wickedness; and may God help us to do it, I ask in the name of Jesus Christ: Amen.
TESTIMONY TO THE DIVINITY OF JOSEPH SMITH'S MISSION--ELDERS SHOULD GO TO THEIR MISSIONS WITHOUT PURSE OR SCRIP--THE LORD DEALS WITH THE SAINTS--JESUS THEIR PRESIDENT--SATAN ANGRY.
A Discourse by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, August 31, 1856.
I appear before you to bear my testimony to the truth of "Mormonism," that Joseph Smith, jun., was a Prophet called of God, and that he did translate the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. This same testimony all can bear, who have received and continue to retain the Spirit of the Gospel.
We are happy to hear from our brethren who have returned from the fields of their labor, it rejoices our hearts, and we like to see their faces. I know how they feel when they return home, for I have felt many times, in returning to the Saints, as though the privilege of beholding their faces was a feast to overflowing, my soul has been full. I rejoice all the time, and I can understand why brother Clinton has rejoiced so exceedingly; it is because the lightning and thunder are in him, and because he gave vent to his feelings. Brother Robins' calling has been different, of such a nature that the lightning and thunder in him have lain dormant, to a certain degree, and he has not enjoyed himself so well as he would, had he been sent solely to preach and build up churches.
Let me reduce this to your understandings. Right here, in our midst, many who gather from foreign lands, who have undergone all the toil, labor, and hardship that it is possible for their nature to sustain on their journey, after they arrive in these valleys begin to sink in their spirits, neglect their duties, and in a little time do not know whether "Mormonism" is true or not. Take the same persons and keep them among the wicked, and they will preserve their armor bright, but it has become dull and rusty here; this is the cause of so many leaving these valleys. The seas are so calm and the vessel is wafted over them so smoothly, and in a manner so congenial to the feelings of the people, that they forget that they are in Zion's ship. This is the main reason of so many leaving for the States, California, and other places. Send those persons among their enemies, among those who will oppose "Mormonism," among those who will oppose truth, and let them be continually persecuted, and they will know very quickly whether they are "Mormons" or not, for they must go to the one side or the other. But the condition of society here, and the feelings of the people, are so different from those of the wicked, that many glide smoothly along, forget their religion and their God, and finally think that this is not the place for them and go away.
I will now state that I am thus far perfectly satisfied with the labors of the brethren who have returned from their missions this season, and have come on the stand to-day, and at other times; I am highly gratified with the doings and labors of those Elders.
With regard to brother John Taylor, I will say that he has one of the strongest intellects of any man that can be found; he is a powerful man, he is a mighty man, and we may say that he is a powerful editor, but I will use a term to suit myself, and say that he is one of the strongest editors that ever wrote. Concerning his financial abilities, I have nothing to say; those who are acquainted with the matter, know how "The Mormon" has been sustained. We sent brother Taylor, and other brethren with him, to start that paper without purse or scrip, and if they had not accomplished that object, we should have known that they did not trust in their God, and did not do their duty.
Let me call your reflections to the days of Joseph; here are some of the Twelve, here are the Seventies and Hgh [sic] Priests, and members of the High Council, and several who have been long in the Church, did any of you ever receive any support from the Church, while on your missions in the days of Joseph? Were you all to answer, you would say that you do not know the time.
I came into this Church in the spring of 1832. Previous to my being baptized, I took a mission to Canada at my own expense; and from the time that I was baptized until the day of our sorrow and affliction, at the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum, no summer passed over my head but what I was traveling and preaching, and the only thing I ever received from the Church, during over twelve years, and the only means that were ever given me by the Prophet, that I now recollect, was in 1842, when brother Joseph sent me the half of a small pig that the brethren had brought to him, I did not ask him for it; it weighed 93 pounds. And that fall, previous to my receiving that half of a pig, brother H. C. Kimball and myself were engaged all the time in pricing property that came in on tithing, and we were also engaged in gathering tithing, and I had an old saddle valued at two dollars presented to me, and brother Heber was credited two dollars in the Church books for one day's services, by brother Willard Richards who was then keeping those books. Brother Heber said, "Blot that out, for I don't want it." I think it was crossed out, and so was the saddle, for I did not want it, even had it been given to me. These were the only articles I ever received in the days of Joseph, so far as I recollect.
I have traveled and preached, and at the same time sustained my family by my labor and economy. If I borrowed one hundred dollars, or fifty, or if I had five dollars, it almost universally went into the hands of brother Joseph, to pay lawyers' fees and to liberate him from the power of his enemies, so far as it would go. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars that I have managed to get, to borrow and trade for, I have handed over to Joseph when I came home. That is the way I got help, and it was good for me; it learned me a great deal, though I had learned, before I heard of "Mormonism," to take care of number one.
For me to travel and preach without purse or scrip, was never hard; I never saw the day, I never was in the place, nor went into a house, when I was alone, or when I would take the lead and do the talking, but what I could get all I wanted. Though I have been with those who would take the lead and be mouth, and been turned out of doors a great many times, and could not get a night's lodging. But when I was mouth I never was turned out of doors; I could make the acquaintance of the family, and sit and sing to them and chat with them, and they would feel friendly towards me; and when they learned that I was a "Mormon" Elder, it was after I had gained their good feelings.
When the brethren were talking about starting a press in New York, and how it has been upheld, I did wish to relate an incident in my experience. In company with several of the Twelve I was sent to England in 1839. We started from home without purse or scrip, and most of the Twelve were sick; and those who were not sick when they started were sick on the way to Ohio; brother Taylor was left to die by the road-side, by old father Coltrin, though he did not die. I was not able to walk to the river, not so far as across this block, no, not more than half as far; I had to be helped to the river, in order to get into a boat to cross it. This was about our situation. I had not even an overcoat; I took a small quilt from the trundle bed, and that served for my overcoat, while I was traveling to the State of New York, when I had a coarse sattinet overcoat given to me. Thus we went to England, to a strange land to sojourn among strangers.
When we reached England we designed to start a paper, but we had not the first penny to do it with. I had enough to buy a hat and pay my passage to Preston, for from the time I left home, I had worn an old cap which my wife made out of a pair of old pantaloons; but the most of us were entirely destitute of means to buy even any necessary article.
We went to Preston and held our Conference, and decided that we would publish a paper; brother Parley P. Pratt craved the privilege of editing it, and we granted him the privilege. We also decided to print three thousand hymn books, though we had not the first cent to begin with, and were strangers in a strange land. We appointed brother Woodruff to Herefordshire, and I accompanied him on his journey to that place. I wrote to brother Pratt for information about his plans, and he sent me his prospectus, which stated that when he had a sufficient number of subscribers and money enough in hand to justify his publishing the paper, he would proceed with it. How long we might have waited for that I know not, but I wrote to him to publish two thousand papers, and I would foot the bill. I borrowed two hundred and fifty pounds of sister Jane Benbow, one hundred of Brother Thomas Kington, and returned to Manchester, where we printed three thousand Hymn Books, and five thousand Books of Mormon, and issued two thousand <Millennial Stars> monthly, and in the course of the summer printed and gave away rising of sixty thousand tracts. I also paid from five to ten dollars per week for my board, and hired a house for brother Willard Richards and his wife who came to Manchester, and sustained them; and gave sixty pounds to brother P. P. Pratt to bring his wife from New York. I also commenced the emigration in that year.
I was there one year and sixteen days, with my brethren the Twelve and during that time I bought all my clothing, except one pair of pantaloons, which the sisters gave me in Liverpool soon after I arrived there, and which I really needed. I told the brethren, in one of my discourses, that there was no need of their begging, for if they needed anything the sisters could understand that. The sisters took the hint, and the pantaloons were forthcoming.
I paid three hundred and eighty dollars to get the work started in London, and when I arrived home, in Nauvoo, I owed no person one farthing. Brother Kington received his pay from the books that were printed, and sister Benbow, who started to America the same year, left names enough of her friends to receive the two hundred and fifty pounds, which amount was paid them, notwithstanding I held her agreement that she had given it to the Church.
We left two thousand five hundred dollars worth of books in the Office, paid our passages home, and paid about six hundred dollars to emigrate the poor who were starving to death, besides giving away the sixty thousand tracts; and that too though I had not a sixpence when we first landed in Preston, and I do not know that one of the Twelve had.
I could not help thinking that if I could accomplish that much in England, in that poor, hard country, it could not be much of a job for a man to establish paper in New York. I thought that to be one of the smallest things that could be; I could make money at it. We sent brother George Q. Cannon, one of brother Taylor's nephews, to California, over a year ago last spring, to print the Book of Mormon in the Hawaiian language. He has printed a large and handsome edition of that book; has published a weekly paper and paid for it; has paid for the press and the type, and paid his board and clothing bills, though he had not a farthing to start with, that is, he went without purse and scrip, so far as I know, as did also brothers Bull and Wilkie who went with him.
It is one of the smallest labors that I could think of to establish a paper and sustain it in St. Louis, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, or any of the eastern cities. I wish to say this much, for the information of those who think it is a great task to establish and sustain a paper; though I am not aware that any of the brethren think so.
I will relate another incident, which ccourred [sic] during our journey to England. Brother George A. Smith accompanied me to New York City, and we had not money enough to pay the last five miles' fare.
We started from New Haven in a steam boat, and when we left the boat, I hired passage in the stage to New York; the captain of the steam boat happened to be in the same stage.
When we left the coach, I said to the captain, will you have the kindness to pay this gentleman's passage and mine. I had had no conversation with him during the day, only in interchanging the common and usual compliments, but when we left him he greeted us cordially, and said that he had paid our stage-fare with the greatest pleasure, and shook our hands as heartily as a brother, saying, "May God bless and prosper you in your labors."
In five minutes we were in the house with Parley P. Pratt, who had moved to that city the fall before. As soon as those of the Twelve who were appointed on that mission to England came in, we concluded that we would not go among the Branches, but seek out and preach to those who had not had an opportunity of hearing the Gospel.
Accordingly we separated and went into many parts of the State of New York, Long Island and New Jersey, and some went into the city of Philadelphia.
After we had got through with the regular meetings, we proposed to the brethren, if any of them wished to have meetings in their private houses and would tell us when and where that we would meet with them.
It was not more than a week or ten days before we had been in fifty different places in New York city and the surrounding country, and those who came to hear us invited their neighbors, and thus we preached and baptized, and soon gathered means enough to defray the expenses of our passage to England, principally from those who were the fruits of our own labor.
Though the people in the States are daily becoming more hardened against the truth, yet if I was in New York this day, and it was my business to be there, I would not be there long before I would have many Elders preaching through different parts of that city; I would have them preaching in the English, Danish, French, German, and other languages. And soon would have Elders dispersed all over the State, and would raise up new friends enough to sustain me, that is if the Lord would help me, and if He did not I would leave.
That is the way we have traveled and preached, but now we do a great deal for our missionaries, for they gather money on tithing, and ask me to credit such and such a man so much on tithing; this course tends to shut up every avenue for business here.
We do not receive cash on tithing from abroad, because our missionaries are so liberal, and feel so rich, that they gather every dollar that can be scraped up, and then come here and have it credited to such and such individuals on tithing, without handing over the money.
This course hedges up the work at head quarters. Did I have that privilege? No, never; and men should not have it now. If a paper should be published, brethren ought to have wisdom enough to sustain themselves and the paper, and they can do it.
I do not wish to find fault with our missionaries, but many of them now live on cream and short cake, butter, honey, light biscuit, and sweet meats, while we had to take the butter milk and potatoes. That kind of fare was good enough for us, but now it is short cake and cream, light biscuit, with butter and honey, and sweet meats of every kind, and even then some of them think that they are abused.
I see some here who did not have as good fare as buttermilk and potatoes; I see some of the brethren who have been to Australia, the East Indies, &c. When I returned from England, I said it is the last time I will travel as I have done, unless the Lord specially requires me to do so; for if we could ride even as comfortably as brother Woodruff once rode on one of the Mississippi steam boats we considered ourselves well off. All the bed he had was the chines of barrels, with his feet hanging on a brace, and he thought himself well off to get the privilege of riding in any shape, to escape constant walking.
How do they go now? They take the first cabins, cars, and carriages. I wish to see them cross the Plains on foot, and then have wisdom enough to preach their way to the city of New York, and there, in the same manner, to get money enough to cross the ocean. But no, they must start from here with a full purse, and take broad cloth from here, or money to buy it in the States, and hire first cabin passages in the best ocean steamers; and after all this many think it is hard times.
I want to see the Elders live on buttermilk and potatoes, and when they return be more faithful. But they go as missionaries of the kingdom of God, and when they have been gone a year or two, many of them come back merchants, and how they swell, "how popular 'Mormonism' is, we can get trusted in St. Louis for ten thousand dollars as well as not, and in New York brother Brigham's word is so good that we can get all the goods we want; 'Mormonism' is becoming quite popular." Yes, and so are hell and the works of the devil.
When "Mormonism" finds favor with the wicked in this land, it will have gone into the shade; but until the power of the Priesthood is gone, "Mormonism" will never become popular with the wicked. "Mormonism" is not one farthing better than it was in the days of Joseph.
The hand of the Almighty is over mankind, and "Mormonism" is hid from them; they do not know anything about it. The Lord deals with this people, and draws them into close quarters, and makes them run the gauntlet, and tries their faith and feelings. He draws them into diverse circumstances to prove whether they believe in Jesus Christ, or not; and if need be He will let the enemy persecute us and destroy many of us; He will let them take our substance and drive us from our homes. Was "Mormonism" popular with those who have formerly persecuted, killed and driven us? Yes, as much so as it is at this day.
The hand of the Almighty is over the wicked, and He handles them according to His good pleasure, as He does the Saints. His hand is over us, and His hand is over them. But there is a thick mist cast before their eyes, so they do not discern the truth of "Mormonism." Do you wonder that they are mad, when they see the progress of truth? I do not.
The different political parties are in opposition. One party says, "We are republicans, and we are opposed in principle to all who are not of our party." Can the various parties be reconciled? No. Each party wishes to elect a President of the United States. We design to elect Jesus Christ for our President, and the wicked wish to elect Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, and swear that they will have him; and we declare that we will serve Jesus Christ, and he shall be our President.
Do you think that the democrats and republicans have made friends? No, they are just as much opposed to each other now as ever they were, and the devil is just as much opposed to Jesus now as he was when the revolt took place in heaven. And as the devil increases his numbers by getting the people to be wicked, so Jesus Christ increases his numbers and strength by getting the people to be humble and righteous. The human family are going to the polls by and by, and they wish to know which party is going to carry the day.
When you see mild weather, when all is smooth and our religion is becoming popular, the Lord is casting mist before the eyes of the wicked, and they do not see nor understand what will take place at the polls when the day of voting comes. Those who vote for Jesus will be on the right hand, and those who vote for Lucifer on the left; one part will be right and the other wrong. We calculate that we are right, and we are going to vote for the sovereign we believe in; and when he comes behold he will go into the chair of state and take the reins of government. Do you suppose the wicked will feel bad about it? That is what they are afraid of all the time.
They may kill the bodies we have, they may strive to injure us, but when the day of the great election comes, as the Lord Almighty lives, we shall gain our President, and we anticipate holding office under him. Do you blame the wicked for being mad? No. They desire to rule, to hold the reins of government on this earth; they have held them a great while. I do not blame them for being suspicious of us; men in high standing are suspicious of us, hence the frequent cry, "Treason, treason, we are going to have trouble with the people in Utah." What is the matter? Wherein can they point out one particle of injury that we have done to them?
True we have more wives than one, and what of that? They have their scores of thousands of prostitutes, we have none. But polygamy they are unconstitutionally striving to prevent: when they will accomplish their object is not for me to say. They have already presented a resolution in Congress that no man, in any of the Territories of the United States, shall be allowed to have more than one wife, under a penalty not exceeding five years imprisonment, and five hundred dollars fine. How will they get rid of this awful evil in Utah? They will have to expend about three hundred millions of dollars for building a prison, for we must all go into prison. And after they have expended that amount for a prison, and roofed if over from the summit of the Rocky Mountains to the summit of the Sierra Nevada, we will dig out and go preaching through the world. (Voice on the stand: what will become of the women, will they go to prison with us?) Brother Heber seems concerned about the women's going with us; they will be with us, for we shall be here together. This is a little amusing.
Brother Robbins, in his remarks, said that the Constitution of the United States forbids making an <ex post facto> law. The presenting of the resolution alluded to shows their feelings, they wish the Constitution out of existence, and there is no question but that they will get rid of it as quickly as they can, and that would be by <ex post facto> law, which the Constitution of the United States strictly forbids.
Brother Robbins also spoke of what they term the "nigger drivers and nigger worshippers," and observed how keen their feelings are upon their favourite topic slavery. The State of New York used to be a slave State, but there slavery has for some time been abolished. Under their law for abolishing slavery the then male slaves had to serve until they were 28 years old, and if my memory serves me correctly, the females until they were 25, before they could be free. This was to avoid the loss of, what they called, property in the hands of individuals. After that law was passed the people began to dispose of their blacks, and to let them buy themselves off. They then passed a law that black children should be free, the same as white children, and so it remains to this day.
But at the time that slavery was tolerated in the northern and eastern States, if you touched that question it would fire a man quicker than any thing else in the world; there was something very peculiar about it, and it is so now. Go into a slave State and speak to a man on the subject, even though he never owned a slave, and you fire up his feelings in defence of that institution; there is no other subject that will touch him as quickly. They are very tenacious and sensitive on those points, and the North are becoming as sensitive as the South. The North are slow and considerate; they have their peculiar customs; and are influenced by the force of education, climate, &c., in a manner which causes them to think twice before they act; and often they will think and speak many times before they act. The spirit of the South is to think, speak, and act all at the same moment. This is the difference between the two people.
Matters are coming to such a point, the feelings of both parties are aroused to that degree, that they would as soon fight as not. But I do not wish to speak any longer in that strain, though, if you want to know what I think about the question, I think both parties are decidedly wrong.
It is not the prerogative of the President of the United States to meddle with this matter, and Congress is not allowed, according to the Constitution, to legislate upon it. If Utah was admitted into the Union as a sovereign State, and we chose to introduce slavery here, it is not their business to meddle with it; and even if we treated our slaves in an oppressive manner, it is still none of their business and they ought not to meddle with it.
If we introduce the practice of polygamy it is not their prerogative to meddle with it; if we should all turn to be Roman Catholics to-day, if we all turned to the old Mother Church, it would not be their prerogative, it would not be their business, to meddle with us on that account. If we are Mormons or Methodists, or worship the sun or a white dog, or if we worship a dumb idol, or all turn Shaking Quakers and have no wife, it is not their prerogative to meddle with these affairs, for in so doing they would violate the Constitution.
There is not a Territory in the Union that is looked upon with so suspicious an eye as is Utah, and yet it is the only part of the nation that cares anything about the Constitution. What have they done in the States? Why, in some places they have celebrated the fourth of July by hoisting the National flag bottom side up, making a burlesque of the celebration, but "Utah is hell and the devil." This reminds me of a circumstance that transpired in England. A boy was brushing his shoes on Sunday morning, and a priest observing him said, "What, do you brush your shoes on Sunday?" "Yes, sir; do you brush your coat?" "Yes." "Well, I suppose it is life and salvation for you to brush your coat, but hell and damnation for me to brush my shoes." That is the difference.
"Mormonism" is true, and all hell cannot overthrow it. All the devil's servants on the earth may do all they can, and, as brother Clinton has just said, after twenty six years faithful operation and exertion by our enemies, including the times when Joseph had scarcely a man to stand by him, and when the persecution was as severe on him as it ever was in the world, what have they accomplished? They have succeeded in making us an organized Territory, and they are determined to make us an independent State or Government, and as the Lord lives it will be so. (The congregation shouted amen.) I say, as the Lord lives, we are bound to become a sovereign State in the Union, or an independent nation by ourselves, and let them drive us from this place if they can; they cannot do it. I do not throw this out as a banter; you Gentiles, and hickory and basswood "Mormons," can write it down if you please, but write it as I speak it.
I wish you to understand that God rules and reigns, that he led us to this land and gave us a Territorial government. Was this the design of the wicked? No. Their design was to banish us from the earth, but they have driven us into notoriety and power; we are now raised to a position where we can converse with kings and emperors.
In the days of Joseph it was considered a great privilege to be permitted to speak to a member of Congress, but twenty-six years will not pass away before the Elders of this Church will be as much thought of as the kings on their thrones. The Lord Almighty will roll on the wheels of His work, and none can stop them; and they cannot drive us from these mountains, because the Lord will not suffer them to do so. I desire them to let us alone; "hands off and money down," we crave no jobs and make none. Let them attend to their own business, and we will build up Zion while they go to hell. Jesus Christ will be the President, and we are his officers, and they will have to leave the ground: for they will find that Jesus has the right of soil. This they are afraid of, do you blame them? No, I do not, and you should not: let them feel bad and worry.
I have frequently told you, and I tell you again, that the very report of the Church and kingdom of God on earth is a terror to all nations, wheresoever the sound thereof goeth. The sound of "Mormonism" is a terror to towns, counties, states, the pretended republican governments, and to all the world. Why? Because, as the Lord Almighty lives and the Prophets have ever written the truth, this work is destined to revolutionize the world and bring all under subjection to the law of God, who is our lawgiver.
I am still governor of this Territory, to the constant chagrin of my enemies; but I do not in the least neglect the duties of my Priesthood, nor my office as governor; and while I honor my Priesthood I will do honor to my office as governor. This is hard to be understood by the wicked, but it is true. The feelings of many are much irritated because I am here, and Congress has requested the President to inquire why I still hold the office of governor in the Territory of Utah. I can answer that question; I hold the office by appointment, and am to hold it until my successor is appointed and qualified, which has not yet been done. I shall bow to Jesus, my Governor, and under him, to brother Joseph. Though he has gone behind the vail, and I cannot see him, he is my head, under Jesus Christ and the ancient Apostles, and I shall go ahead and build up the kingdom. But if I was now sitting in the chair of state at the White House in Washington, everything in my office would be subject to my religion. Why? Because it teaches me to deal justice and mercy to all. I am satisfied to love righteousness and be full of the Holy Ghost, while all hell yawns to destroy me, though it cannot do it.
If I were to forsake this kingdom, the car of righteousness would roll over and crush me into insignificance; and so it will every other man that gets out of the right path. What then are we going to do? We had better stick to the ship than jump overboard, because if we stay aboard we stand a good chance to be saved, but if we jump over we shall be drowned.
Who can help all these things? I did not devise the great scheme of the Lord's opening the way to send this people to these mountains. Joseph contemplated the move for years before it took place, but he could not get here, for there was a watch placed upon him continually to see that he had no communication with the Indians. This was in consequence of that which is written in the Book of Mormon; one of the first evils alleged against him was that he was going to connive with the Indians; but did he ever do anything of the kind? No, he always strove to promote the best interest of all, both red and white. Was it by any act of ours that this people were driven into their midst? We are now their neighbors, we are on their land, for it belongs to them as much as any soil ever belonged to any man on earth; we are drinking their water, using their fuel and timber, and raising our food from their ground.
I do not wish men to understand I had anything to do with our being moved here, that was the providence of the Almighty; it was the power of God that wrought out salvation for this people, I never could have devised such a plan. What shall we do? Be still and know that the Lord is God: and let all people be silent and know that the Lord Almighty reigns, and does His pleasure on the earth. What had we better do? Be submissive and passive, serve our God and walk humbly before Him.
The same Spirit pervades the Latter-day Saints in all the world, and what the Lord designs doing here is made manifest to the brethren in different parts, and the world feels the power of it and begins to persecute. When we commence that temple you will hear the devils howl.
We are now doing but little besides taking care of ourselves, but the kingdom has got to be taken and the Lord Jesus come to reign here. When you wonder why it is that we are building many large buildings here and the temple not going on, be silent and patient.
Here let me ask the old Saints a question. Have you ever seen a temple finished, since this Church commenced? You have not. The Lord says, "Be patient and gather together the strength of my house;" then do not fret yourselves, and if you feel a little worried, be sure that you are right, and do as you are counseled.
Why do we urge this upon the people? They are only counseled to love God and do His will. You cannot point out where a man has been counseled one hair's breadth from this course, and in this we have a right to be urgent, and strenuous, and sharp in our remarks. Serve your God and love your religion.
I could tell you a great many lessons that I have learned in "Mormonism," but it is very seldom that I refer to past scenes, they occupy but a small portion of my time and attention. Do you wish to know the reason of this? It is because there is an eternity ahead of me, and my eyes are ever open and gazing upon it, and I have but little time to reflect upon the many circumstances I have been placed in thus far during life. They are behind me, and I am thankful that I have not time to reflect on past transactions, only once in a while, when it seems almost necessary to refer to them.
May the Lord God of heaven and earth bless you, and may He preserve us and all good men and women upon the earth, and give us power to blow the Gospel trump to earth's remotest bounds, and gather up the honest in heart, build up Zion, redeem Israel, rebuild Jerusalem, and fill the earth with the glory and knowledge of our God, and we will shout hallelujah! Amen.
A CALL FOR AN EXPRESSION OF THE CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE--REPENTANCE AMONG THE SAINTS NECESSARY--RENEWING OF COVENANTS.
Instructions by President Brigham Young, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, September 21, 1856.
Volume 4, page 43