TRUE HAPPINESS--FRUITS OF NOT FOLLOWING COUNSEL--POPULAR PREJUDICE AGAINST THE MORMONS--THE COMING ARMY--PUNISHMENT OF EVILDOERS.
Remarks by President Brigham Young, made in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, July 5, 1857.
It rejoices my heart to hear the brethren testify of their faith and good feelings, and of their confidence in God and in their religion. It is a matter of rejoicing to me to see those who profess to love and serve the Lord live up to their professions.
Brother Park very correctly observed that if this people will actually do the will of those who are placed to lead them, they will be owned, honoured, and blest of their God who dwells in the heavens. I can say, for one, that I cannot be pleased, I cannot be satisfied, I cannot feel to fellowship this people as I wish to do, unless they live their religion and serve their God every day, every hour, and every minute of their lives. There is no time allotted to us to use outside of the limits of duty. But in doing our duty, in serving our God, in living our religion, in using every possible means to send forth the Gospel of salvation to the inhabitants of the earth, to gather Israel, and establish Zion, and build up the kingdom of heaven upon the earth are incorporated all blessings, all comforts that men can desire.
It is a mistaken idea in the inhabitants of the earth to conclude that it will not do for them to yield obedience to the commandments of heaven, lest it should abridge them in their comforts and in their enjoyments; for there is no real peace, there is no real happiness in anything in heaven or on the earth, except to those who serve the Lord. In His service there is joy, there is happiness; but they are not to be found anywhere else. In it there are peace and comfort; but when the soul is filled with joy, with peace, and with glory, and is perfectly satisfied therewith a person even then has but little idea of that which is in store for all the faithful.
Thrust a man into prison and bind him with chains, and then let him be filled with the comfort and with the glory of eternity, and that prison is a palace to him. Again, let a man be seated upon a throne with power and dominion in this world, ruling his millions and millions, and without that peace which flows from the Lord of Hosts--without that contentment and joy that comes from heaven, his palace is a prison; his life is a burden to him; he lives in fear, in dread, and in sorrow. But when a person is filled with the peace and power of God, all is right with him.
I cannot be satisfied with myself, neither can I be satisfied with this people, unless they live in the enjoyment of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus christ, having the testimony of Jesus within them. When they live in that manner, they are prepared to judge of all matters that come before them; they are then capable of discerning between truth and error, light and darkness. They can then readily discover the things that are not of God, and distinguish them from those that are. This is the only way for you to know that your leaders are leading you in the path that leads to heaven. Without taking this course, a people or nation is liable to be led astray by their leaders, and thereby be prepared to be destroyed; but when the people understand for themselves--when they know and understand the things of God by the Spirit of revelation, they are not only satisfied but safe. If this people will do as they are told--will please those who preside over them, they will do well for themselves. And if they will do this from morning to evening and from evening to morning, all will be right, and their acts will tend to promote the kingdom of God upon the earth.
As brother Wells lately observed here, it is very little difference what comes or goes. If the world are angry at us, that only fits and prepares them for their destruction. If they afflict the Saints of God, it prepares them for their reward; it prepares the righteous for bliss and immortality, and the wicked are the sooner ripened for their doom. It is very little difference whether men come here as soldiers or as civilians, all will promote the interest of the kingdom of God. It will promote the interests of the Saints, inasmuch as they are united; and though the wicked, in their eagerness to destroy the Saints of God, do not see this, yet God will make it all turn for the good of His people.
True, this people might have done better; but, considering all circumstances, they have done as well as could be expected. It might be shown to them, and perhaps this congregation will acknowledge it, that if this people had invariably been careful to observe counsel, they would have promoted the kingdom of heaven a great deal faster than they have. I will bring up a circumstance to illustrate this idea--one relating to us in these Valleys of the Mountains. It was just now observed by brother Feramorz Little that his feelings would be perfectly satisfied if he should never see another train of goods come in here for sale among this people. I would have been satisfied, if that could have been the case from the beginning.
At a time here when a person could go with a sackful of gold and say to a man, "Can I hire you to do some work for me? I have a sack full of gold;" and the man would say, "No; I cannot do it;" and every man would say, "No; I am too busy; I cannot do it;" and the person still saying, "I have hats full of gold;" but it was so plentiful, that men had such quantities of money that they were lugging it about until their backs ached;--suppose that that money had been put into the hands of the Trustee in Trust, and used for the benefit of the kingdom of God, would it not have been much better than to pay it to the merchants to carry out of the Territory? One merchant, in a day-and-a-half, received for sales a large kettle-full of money, and in two days he took a great deal more. Suppose that that money had been put into the hands of the Trustee in Trust and those associated with him, they would have laid goods down at your doors for from thirty to forty per cent cheaper than you got them. But could the people see that? No; their eyes were dim, and they could not see their own interest.
If the people had concentrated their means during the nine years past, they would now have been worth millions where they have only thousands. I know that now as well as I should have known it if the experiment had been tried, and that result proven. But no; the people would pay their money to others to carry out of the country.
I will tell an anecdote relating to the feelings of some in those days. I stepped into a store at the time when money was so plentiful, and the store was crowded. Every man, woman and child, had their pockets full of gold. A woman stepped up and said, "Mr. So and So, have you any soap?" He replied, "I do not think there is any." She then asked, "Have you any sugar, or coffee?" He answered, "I do not know whether there is or not: there was some this morning; but I think it has been sold." It was not long before a woman reached over and touched the one enquiring, and said, "President Young has bought everything of that kind that has been brought in." I reached over and tapped her on the shoulder and said, "What do you tell that infernal lie for? President Young has not bought a pound of tea, a pound of sugar, or a pound of coffee, since these goods came in." The people were then in such a state of mind that they would rather have given all they had to the Gentiles than for me to have had a pound of tea or the handling of their money.
They were not all possessed of that feeling; but there were enough to influence the channel of trade and give it an unwise direction; and if there are not now too many of that class, I shall feel thankful, and we shall be able to hold the wheat and the cattle so that those who are passing through and temporarily sojourning in our midst will have to pay a fair price for those articles. But I presume, if the Gentiles come, some of you will run and sell your wheat and your cattle to them for a much less price than we would give you, and be perfectly satisfied with it. If there is not an influence and practice of that kind, I shall be glad of it; for it will prove to me that the people believe what they say.
I am careful about touching anything that is the object of people's worship--the gold, the goods, and the things of this world, which please the eyes and entice the affections of the people. You who know me know that I have not been under the necessity of asking you to help me much. Instead of the Presidency's living upon the people, it is well known that they have sustained the people. Suppose that I had not launched forth in business, and that brother Kimball and others had not, what would have been the result? This community would have been living in their log huts, whereas they now have good houses and comfortable homes.
I am decidedly in favour of practical religion--of every-day useful life. And if I to-day attend to what devolves upon me to do, and then do that which presents itself to-morrow, and so on, when eternity comes I will be prepared to enter on the things of eternity. But I would not be prepared for that sphere of action, unless I could manage the things that are now within my reach. You must all learn to do this.
If the people take a wise course and let a few have the handling of the wheat and other commodities that are for sale, and let those who wish to buy come to them to purchase, it would be much better for this people. By pursuing that course, our enemies would either be under the necessity of giving us a fair price, or have to purchase their supplies in the States, and haul them across the plains, through the hills, and over the mountains. How do you think they would prosper in that operation? I think they would soon become discouraged and want to leave these regions.
It is an ignorant excitement which causes some people in the States to feel and act as they do. Who is there, of all who are really acquainted with our proceedings and will let good reason and good sense operate, that has one word to say against us? No one. But the priests have hallooed so much about these Latter-day Saints--the "Mormons" as they term us, that they have become excited; and what is the reason of their outcry? It is simply this--we have the words of eternal life, and they have not; we serve the God of heaven and they serve somebody, they know not whom. We have the true religion that the Bible gives an account of, and they seem to be entirely ignorant of it and of the God of heaven. Only let us leave God out of our religion, and all would be right.
A great many have said to you and me, "Just leave out Joe Smith, the Book of Mormon, and modern revelations, and you will become popular." Brother Clements said, last Sunday, that he told a priest that he could materially abridge that leaving out by saying, "Just leave God out of the question, and you will be 'Hail fellows well met.'" We are not going to leave out Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, nor the gathering, nor the building up of Zion.
You hear brethren talk of coming to Zion to enjoy the blessings of this land; but do you not see that it is the short-sightedness of men which causes their disappointment when they arrive here? They read in the Bible, in the Book of Mormon, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants, about Zion, and what it is to be; but brother Park and others could not realize, before they came here, that they were the ones to help to build up Zion. They gather here with the spirit of Zion resting upon them, and expecting to find Zion in its glory, whereas their own doctrine should teach them that they are coming here to make Zion.
We can make Zion, or we can make Babylon, just as we please. We can make just what we please of this place. The people can make Zion: they can make a heaven within themselves. When people gather here, they should come with a determination to make Zion within themselves, with the resolution that "I will carry myself full of the Spirit of Zion wherever I go; and this is the way in which I will control evil spirits; for I mean that my spirit shall have control over evil:" and do you not see that such a course will make Zion?
This American continent will be Zion; for it is so spoken of by the prophets. Jerusalem will be rebuilt and will be the place of gathering, and the tribe of Judah will gather there; but this continent of America is the land of Zion.
The priests are angry because they are afraid that their religion is nothing but a sandy foundationed fabric; and whenever they meditate upon the subject and humble themselves, and the Spirit of the Lord finds its way to their hearts and convicts them, the truth then is made manifest before them, and they begin to learn the falsity of their systems; and when that spirit leaves them, they become angry. "Mormonism" is declared to be true by hosts of witnesses, and this makes the priests angry; for this Gospel bears its own weight and testimony, and they know not how to gainsay it. True, I have aimed to point out their errors; but it is not your or me that they are opposed to, although they throw their darts at us; but it is the spirit of conviction that goes with the report of this work; for wherever it goes it strikes conviction to the heart, and that is what disturbs the priests and the people.
The foolish, and those who are controlled by the hissings of the priests, rage against the work of God, and corrupt politicians urge them on. There is not an honest man in the United States or in the world but what, if he could hear this doctrine taught without knowing that it was a "Mormon" who was teaching it, would drink down these principles. They would swallow every word and say, "That is true; you have more light than I have." But if you say "Mormon," that sends the fat into the fire, and arrays their prejudices against you. Do you know this, you Elders? [Voices, "Yes."]
As I have said before, I have often gone incog., and taught persons the Gospel, and they would drink down its principles as eagerly as a thirsty ox would drink water; but an ignorant prejudice causes all the trouble. The excitement among the priests, and directed by politicians, raises this erroneous prejudice and hue-and-cry.
You know that I have said that, if it was now my calling to go and preach the Gospel, I could make as many converts as I ever did; for I would go in such a manner that the bitterly prejudiced would have to labour hard to find out that I was a "Mormon," until I had induced them to love the truth. Then they would say, "If that is 'Mormonism,' I want it."
Persons who are as ignorant as jackasses pass through this city, and they are so prejudiced that they cannot see and hear well enough to report things straight. But let persons of good understanding come here, and hear the Elders testify, and stop to investigate, and every honest heart among them will receive the Gospel. Do you not know that they would?
The "Mormons" are trying to take care of themselves. Our enemies may come to kill us, but we know that there is a God in the heavens. I care no more about the threats that are made than I do about the floating of a board on the waters. They have kicked us and cuffed us about so much that I have got used to it. I have been driven, and had to leave my home five times on account of my faith in the Gospel of our Saviour; but I have never until now been a conspicuous character; and I say to my enemies and to the enemies of righteousness, you have now got to fire long shots, unless you come much nearer to us than you are.
I will say to all parties, If [sic] you come here and do not observe wholesome laws, we will introduce you to them. In regard to troops coming here, as has been rumoured, should 1,500 or 2,000 come, what will you see? You will see that they will ask us to make their soldiers behave themselves, until they can get out of this place, which they will do as soon as possible. They are not coming here to fight us; though, if they were to, I should pray that the Lord would bring those here that mobbed us in days gone by, and just let us look at them. But no; the priests, and some editors and politicians wish to have innocent soldiers sent here to fight us. Let them bring those priests, editors, and politicians who have howled so long about us, and we will attend to their cases. But I pray that I may never witness such scenes as I have in the midst of this people. If they will let us alone, we will preach the Gospel; and if they do not, we will do it, and we will build up Zion, if all the devils in hell howl. Let us know that we have to build up Zion until the Spirit of peace shall overrule our country.
Do you ever reflect upon the matter? Look at St. Louis. More murders have been committed there in almost any few days than have been committed in this Territory since it was organized. It is customary there to have murders committed almost daily; but we, above all other people, ought never to have such a crime committed in our midst; and we never have had, so far as the Latter-day Saints are concerned.
I will now tell you something. It is a secret; and I wish you to keep it to yourselves. There have been men here who have had their plans arranged for robbing; and I will take the liberty to say that, when we find them, "judgment will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet." Those are my feelings, and I express them plainly, that the good and honest may be able to pass from the Eastern States to California, and back and forth, in <peace.> And when a "Mormon" unlawfully disturbs anybody, I say, let him be overtaken by a "Vigilance Committee." And when mobocrats come here, they will find a "Vigilance Committee." Now, listeners, send that to the States, if you wish. I want the people in the States to know that there are a few poor curses here, and also to know that we do not want a gang of highwaymen here. And I say to all such characters, if you come here and practice your iniquity, we will send you home quick, whenever we can catch and convict you. I wish such characters would let the boys have a chance to lay their hands on them.
If men come here and do not behave themselves, they will not only find the Danites, whom they talk so much about, biting the horses' heels, but the scoundrels will find something biting <their> heels. In my plain remarks, I merely call things by their right names. Brother Kimball is noted in the States for calling things by their right names, and you will excuse me if I do the same.
We will build up Zion and establish the kingdom of God upon the earth, and the wicked cannot help themselves. I have not built up this kingdom, neither did Joseph Smith. What the Lord told brother Joseph to do, that he did. And what the Lord tells you and me to do we will do, by the help of God. May God bless us all. Amen.
DIVINE MISSION OF JOSEPH SMITH--STABILITY OF MORMONISM--THE SAINTS' ENEMIES YET TO COME TO THEM FOR SUCCOUR--HOME MANUFACTURE--DISTRESS OF NATIONS.
Remarks by President Heber C. Kimball, made in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, Afternoon, July 5, 1857.
I can say one thing in regard to preaching before this congregation. It is a great deal harder to speak to the people in the afternoon than it is in the forenoon, because they generally come together after partaking of a hearty dinner; and that, in connection with the word they receive in the forenoon, fills them up, and they are somewhat like a barn that is nearly full of hay; for you know it is a great deal harder to put in the last load of hay than it is the first. I speak of these things because the circumstances that surround us call them forth.
I relation to the things we have heard to-day from brother Brigham, and brother Feramorz, and others, I will say that I appreciate them, and I not only believe them, but I know them to be true. This is the work of God, and all the world cannot stay its progress. They have given me the character in the world of calling things by their right names. It is a good deal with them as it was with the old Dutchman, who said, "It is not the thing itself, but it is the <name> of the damned thing!" That is it exactly. They can talk and hint about every thing, but never call them by their names. I call that hypocrisy; and there never was a nation that lived upon the earth that was fuller of it than this nation.
As to what they call "Mormonism"--properly speaking, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I say it is true; and Joseph Smith the Prophet, who was killed in Illinois, in Carthage Jail, is the author of it; or, in other words, he was the instrument in the hands of God of bringing it forth. Peter, James, and John, three of the ancient Apostles, came and ordained him and set him apart for the work of the ministry of this last dispensation.
I am bearing testimony of those things that are true--things that I know and understand. And I also testify that Hyrum Smith was a Patriarch of God, and just as much so as Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob ever were. Joseph Smith the Prophet ordained his father a Patriarch, and he ordained Hyrum. The same Gospel which was preached by Jesus and by His Apostles has been delivered unto us through Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the living God; and the keys and powers pertaining to that Gospel and priesthood are now resting upon brother Brigham Young; for he is Joseph's legal successor. All the prophets from the days of Adam and from the creation of the world have conferred their priesthood and keys of this dispensation, and brother Brigham holds them in connection with the old Prophets and Apostles, and in connection with our Father and God pertaining to this earth.
I am telling you the truth, and testifying to that which God has made manifest unto me. Well, the world want that we should lay aside that which God has revealed, and not speak of Joseph Smith, or of the revelations which he gave.
When I was abroad preaching, some said to me, we would be popular if we would say nothing about the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, baptism for the remission of sins, or the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost; they said if we would let these things alone we would be popular. Good heavens! We are now more popular than any other religious community upon the earth. We extend, as some would call it, from Dan to Beersheba; we extend to every nation, continent, and country, and almost to every island of the sea. The Gospel has been carried to almost every people. We have offered them the principles of life and salvation, and we shall continue to do so while there is any hope for them.
I expect, like us, the inhabitants of the earth will have their ups and downs, their troubles and afflictions. There has been a great chill among them: they had one when we had one; and now the fever has begun to increase with us it has begun to increase upon them; and by-and-by there will be another chill; and it will keep doubling and redoubling till the whole world is in motion. Will it overthrow this work? No, never.
I want the gentlemen that are here to-day, and who are going East, to tell the people of the United States that they need not trouble themselves; for "Mormonism" will increase and triumph until every king will be cast down from his throne, and the President of the United States, unless he and the people repent; and what they call "Mormonism" will continue to increase henceforth and for ever.
When they killed Joseph Smith, and Hyrum, David Patten, and many others, they supposed that that was the end of "Mormonism"--that it was annihilated. Bless your souls, instead of its being annihilated, it has increased a hundredfold; and we have now more Elders preaching the Gospel--yes, about ten times more than there are people in this vast congregation this afternoon; and I presume there are some seven or eight thousand here to-day.
You may think this rather extravagant, but there are more Elders in England than there are people here to-day; and England is not as big as the State of New York, where I lived. They will spread and increase from this time on, and this work is bound to increase and spread abroad, and all hell cannot pull it down.
Suppose the Gentiles were to try to put it down, and to kill brother Brigham, and me, and brother Daniel, and the Twelve Apostles, still there are some fifty or sixty Quorums of Seventies that are capable of spreading abroad this kingdom. Why, bless you, it is like the mustard seed: you know it is most troublesome to get out of the garden. You get vexed with it and go and kick it about, and by that means you make ten thousand more little mustard trees.
Well, you know they drove us far away into these mountains; and now see the multitude of little mustard trees that are growing up! (Laughter.)
We want you to tell this, gentlemen, when you get down to the States; for we don't have a mail very often, and therefore we drop a word here and there, and we want every-body to carry the tidings. It is not only me, but the Prophet Brigham talks just so. I suppose you will think, "What a monstrous fellow he is!"
I have been afflicted with colds ever since I came from the north; but I, all the time, grow fat. I do not drink ale, whisky, rum, or any kind of spirituous liquor, but I seek to drink largely of the peaceable Spirit of God, that I may be strengthening to my brethren and sisters. For the world and the United States, and their opposition, which they call outside pressure, we care very, very little. We have some big mountains between us and them, and they cannot remove them because they have not faith.
Such a row as there is in the States at the present time I never before heard of. It is "Mormonism!" Down with "Mormonism!!" Mr. President, send up the troops and set those "Mormons" in order.
Gentlemen, [to the strangers] did you ever see any body out of order here? Have you seen any body drunk? You have not, unless it was yourselves. I have not seen any body drunk,--no, not on the fourth of July. I have not seen a drunken man in the streets, much less a woman. One reason is, perhaps, that we have not got any liquor; and God grant that we may not have much.
You do not see many people about our streets idling away their time. To morrow morning you may see a few persons who have come from the country to get a little counsel; but after that you won't see a man in the street, excepting those who are going to or coming from their work; for they are all hard at work, hoeing their corn, watering their wheat, and getting their wood from the canyons.
God Almighty bless this people, I say, and increase their faith and their strength, that they may increase and multiply. And may God increase the "mustard seed," and cause it soon to fill the earth. May the Lord our God bless the bees in the hive of Deseret, and root out the drones; for they only eat out the honey, while the bees go out and gather it in.
Well, gentlemen, we are calculating that we have got the best crops that we have ever had, and the best that are in the world; and the Lord our God has blest the land for our sake. We had a famine least year, but we lived through it; and we are now going to work to lay up our grain, and we are building storehouses to store it away in; and we shall not only store away grain but other things that will keep; and [sic] the day will come that you (strangers) will have to come to us for bread to eat; and we will be your saviours here upon Mount Zion. You don't believe it now; but wait a little while, and you will see that it will come to pass.
Many of the people of the United States exulted over us when we were brought to a morsel of bread, and had to deal out one to another in order to subsist. I put my family on short rations, in order to have some to deal out to others, and so did brother Brigham and many others; and at the same time our enemies and the priests in their pulpits were praising God that we had hard times, with trouble and perplexity. We never were more happy in our lives than we were at that time, and we did not have the belly ache through eating too much; but we were lively and diligent in serving God; and that is the reason we are becoming so corpulent this year. Last year we had not enough, but this year we have plenty, and we are going to lay it up in store--wheat and every thing that will keep. I am telling these gentlemen what we are going to do, so that they can carry the news to the States.
Ladies, we do not want you to tease your husbands for silks, and satins, and fine bonnets, but go to work and manufacture your own clothing; and if you will do that, you will do the best thing that you ever did in your lives. This is as true as that the Lord ever spoke by His prophets. The time has come for us to lay up our stores.
Will the world follow our example? No, they will not; and if we do our duty, who cares whether they do or not. They will come with their bonnets, their fine clothing, and their jewellery, and be glad to work for us to get their bread. You tell that in the States, gentlemen, won't you? Whether you do or not, they will learn of it. They publish nearly everything that we say, and this will be published.
We are a people, here in the valleys of the mountains, who are hated and have been broken up and driven for our religion till we have got used to it. Brother Brigham told you he had been driven five times, and so have I; and I have had everything taken from me that I had; but yet I have got enough to eat and drink, and enough of everything, and so have you; and my prayer is, all the while, God bless you.
Lay up your stores, and take your silks and fine things, and exchange them for grain and such things as you need, and the time will come when we will be obliged to depend upon our own resources; for the time is not far distant when the curtain will be dropped between us and the United States. When that time comes, brethren and sisters, you will wish you had commenced sooner to make your own clothing. I tell you, God requires us to go into home manufacture; and, prolong it as much as you like, you have got to do it.
You will also see the day that you will wish you had laid up your grain, if you do not do it now; for you will see the day, if you do not take care of the blessings God has given to you, that you will become servants, the same as the world will.
We have told you this before. You have been exhorted, year after year, to prepare for hard times: you have been told of this often enough. We have told you that when hard times come again you won't have the privilege that you had last time of having food dealt out to you gratuitously, but you will have to pay for all you get. This will come to pass. I suppose there are many who don't believe it. To such it is like a tune that strikes upon the drum of the ear, passes off, and is forgotten.
I will prove to you that I will put my faith with my works and lay up stores for my family and for my friends that are in the United States, and I will be to them as Joseph was to the people in the land of Egypt. Every man and woman will be a saviour if they will do as I say. You may write this down and send it to the States; for it will be published.
Let repentance take place amongst you where it is necessary, and let confidence, diligence in the performance of duty, and humility be manifest in your lives; keep the commandments of God; be subject to God's authority, and save yourselves all the time; and the Lord our God will have pleasure in making you like Joseph of old. Now, if persons were coming from the old country, from far distant lands, would you not feel comfortable if you had plenty to feed them with when they come?
These things bear heavily upon my mind, and they have done so for some time. There are very few who have got any surplus grain on hand. There is considerable in the Tithing Store, and there are a few individuals who have some on hand; but there is not a great deal in the county, excepting our present crop. It behoves [sic] us to be saving and to prepare for the time to come. The day will come when the people of the United States will come lugging their bundles under their arms, coming to us for bread to eat. Every Prophet has spoken of this from the early ages of the world. Already we begin to see sickness, trouble, death, famine, and pestilence; and more yet awaits the nations of the wicked. Jesus said, When you hear of these things in foreign nations--destruction and desolation, you may then look forth for my coming, and know that it is nigh at hand. In relation to the world, our enemies, their soldiery, and their governors, I do not fear them, and I never did.
If you will do right--keep the commandments of God, I can say with all the propriety that any man, prophet, or apostle ever did, you shall never want for food, or raiment, or houses, or lands; and no power on the earth can injure you. There is no power that shall prevent our prosperity; for we shall increase, while every other power upon the earth that is opposed to this work and our God will go down. I just know it. Amen.
THE SACRAMENT--SLANDERERS AND LYING SPIRITS--MONOGAMY AND POLYGAMY, ETC.
Remarks by Elder George A. Smith, made in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, May 31, 1857.
It appears on the present occasion that we enjoy the privilege of partaking of the sacrament in commemoration of the death and suffering of our Lord and Saviour, to witness to each other that we are willing to keep his commandments, and to observe the requirements of the fulness of the Gospel until he shall come. Under these circumstances we assemble and call together our wandering thoughts and minds. We review our conduct, our feelings to our Heavenly Father, our actions and doings in relation to His laws, and also our faith towards our brethren, and make a kind of settlement with ourselves, a balance of accounts in our minds, repenting of our sins and follies, and we lay the foundation in our own minds to renew our diligence and exertions in future, that wherein we have failed to walk up to the line of our duty we may improve, and that we may partake of those emblems under an express influence, and with a perfect understanding of a covenant that we will remember Him in all things until he come. Marvel not, says the Saviour, if the world hate you; for remember that it hated me before it hated you.
One of the first principles that we are brought to feel, perhaps, on receiving the Gospel, is, that the world hates us. You may ascend or descend into every department of its society, and you find that hatred more or less manifests itself; and this causes a great many people who receive the truth to have misgivings, and they will ask why is it that we are under the necessity of receiving a religion that is hated of all men? The Saviour said to his disciples, "Ye shall be hated of all men, for my name's sake; and blessed are ye when all men shall persecute you, and speak all manner of evil of you falsely for my name's sake." But this is a kind of blessing that we hardly appreciate; but at the present time I am a witness that no people upon the face of the earth have so much reason to be thankful, neither have Latter-day Saints seen any time when they have had greater reason to consider themselves blessed under this promise of our Saviour, than at the present time.
Much is said of the powerful engine of the press, the powerful medium by which truth or falsehood are so quietly circulated. And for the last year, or the last six or eight months, those engines have been universally turned with vengeance upon the devoted heads of this people.
There is nothing that excites more interest in the minds of the reading public, nothing that creates greater anxiety, nothing that is so readily received as statements, or information, as it is termed, concerning the "Mormons;" and nothing that is true can be printed, but to a very limited extent; whereas anything that is false, it matters not how false or exaggerated, it is circulated and represented to the uttermost extreme. It is as an old gentleman told me in Virginia: said he, "There is nothing published that is so extravagant concerning your people but what we believe it readily."
The spirit of lies has taken hold of the people; it has got possession of their hearts. They love lies; they like to read them; they like to print them, and they really relish them; but truth is another thing. "Truth," says the Prophet, "has fallen in the streets; yea, truth faileth; he that departeth from iniquity maketh himself a prey." Such is the case in the present generation. There are lies from responsible sources, lies over fictitious names, lies certified by responsible editors; and lies certified and clothed with judicial authority are current, and are the most important information that is or has been current in the United States for the last season.
What does it all amount to? Men will have what they like; for the spirit that is in men loves lies; they will read them and believe them. At the same time, there is no man or woman upon the face of the earth but what is more or less responsible for what they read and receive; for there is an innate spirit in the man who desires to know the truth that will generally dictate to him which is truth and which is falsehood.
A terrible people these "Mormons!" a dreadful set of fellows! an awful state of society! Oh, tremendous bad people! I was conversing with a gentleman from Vermont on the subject of "Mormonism," and he expressed himself tremendously shocked at the immorality of the "Mormons," and was particularly anxious to regulate their morals. He was strongly in favour of having them corrected by the power of the Federal Government. He said it must be done, for he considered them a disgrace to the nation. I told him that we regarded the Vermont people as a very immoral community. Said I, "We consider their laws of a very immoral character; and we believe that the people would be better, but that their laws and institutions are of a character that tends to prevent it--that their laws are calculated to encourage licentiousness, and to cause them to live in open violation of the first commandment, to multiply and replenish the earth." "Why how so? Vermont is the most moral State in the Union." I replied, "It may be so, sir; but your laws provide that no man shall have but one wife; and there is a great proportion of females over that of males, and there is a great proportion of males that are too wicked and corrupt to marry and raise up families; and the consequence is that a great proportion of your females are compelled to live single, and hence many of them become prostitutes. We deprecate such a corrupt order of things; but as it is in your State, it is your business and not ours; therefore we shall not interfere with it." I never saw a man more astonished, to think that I should question the moral tendency of the institutions of Vermont. "But, in our country," I said, "we are determined that every man shall acknowledge and sanction his own blood. We shall not interfere with Vermont, Massachusetts, or Maryland about their immorality; it is their own business, and they must attend to it themselves; but we do not wish to submit to such immoral regulations in Utah."
I was talking with a member of Congress, who was very pious, (he was a minister, by the bye,) and he intimated that the doctrine of plurality of wives was so at variance--so grossly at variance with all the civilized world, that it was intolerable to all Christians. I told him that I was surprised at that; "for," said I, "all our Christian friends expect to sit down in the kingdom of God with father Abraham; and he practised Polygamy." "Father Abraham," said he, "was guilty of a great many eccentric tricks." I replied, "Eccentric as he might be, it is in his bosom that all Christians expect to rest."
Strange as it may appear, yet it is true that these things are not understood or appreciated; but the corrupt, the licentious of the world are the people who are respected, while the sayings of the honest and truthful are not allowed to spread. Such is the corruption of the world. They lay down, in the first place, the position that "Mormonism" is not true. If you ask why it is not true, they begin to bring their reasons, and they are a good deal like this--The Mormons are deceived; and the reason why they are deceived is, because they are deceived, sir." The people actually take such logic as this for argument; they take it for granted and for certain, and they lay it down as a matter of fact, that "Mormonism" is false, and so it follows. Oh, they say it will all come to an end and fall to pieces in a few days; and they have been saying this for the last twenty years; they have kept crying "Mormonism" will go down; it is bound to fall in pieces. Still the bubble rolls ahead and does not burst up; it does not fly to pieces as they have predicted.
I consider that it is necessary that every man should mind his own business and suffer his neighbours to do likewise. I do not know how careful they may be in relation to us. So far as our being admitted into the Union is concerned, we are on just as good and fair a footing as Oregon, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Washington. To be sure, they have prejudices against us because we are "Mormons;" but they also hate each other, and they calculate to use each other up, and then to use up the "Mormons."
I came up the Missouri River with some Free State men, who said, "If ever a fuss breaks out again, we are ready for it; we have got the "Volcanic Rifles," and we calculate to wipe the border ruffians out of existence; and they showed that they had the tools which do up the business. Whenever I conversed with any of the pro-slavery men on this subject, they generally told me that if the other party should begin again, they were prepared to wipe them out all at once, and leave them much in the same position that Dr. Kane's ship "Advance" was, when it came between two immense masses of ice, and they found themselves liable to be crushed up in what the Arctic men call a "nip." After they use each other up, we will stand a little better chance. They need not be alarmed if they see some of the "Mormons" in the Congress of the nations. No, they need not be surprised if they yet see some of our Elders in the halls of Congress--men who understand national affairs equal to any in the nation standing forth to save that Constitution which we are now accused of opposing.
I thank the Lord that I am once more in your midst, and for the privilege of striking hands with my brethren and sisters. But when I think that the enemies of all righteousness are raging, I feel to thank the Lord for the fulfilment of the words of His servants. I realize and know that the keys of exaltation rest in the midst of Israel; and when the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed, then "he that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh at their calamity: the Lord shall have them in derision." Amen.
STORING UP GRAIN--LESSONS OF THE PAST--TEMPTATION--THE COMING DISTRESS, ETC.
Remarks by Elder Orson Hyde, made in the Bowery, Sunday Afternoon, June 14, 1857.
Brethren and sisters,--I arise to call your attention to a subject that has been presented to you, time after time, from this stand. I may, perhaps, refresh your minds, and present some things to you that you may not have fully comprehended or understood.
We have been told to store up our grain and to take care of it. The history of the past forms ample ground for advice of this kind. We have not only seen, but felt the folly of placing too low an estimate upon the productions of the earth. When they were plentiful, they have been thought of little value. We have found ourselves comparatively destitute at times, in consequence, and, in the time of this scarcity, have suffered in our feelings--have been pinched with hunger; and it does seem that the subject of laying up our grain has been presented under circumstances that cannot fail to impress every heart with its importance.
I will tell you how things look to me. They look as though the Lord had said--I have tried my people; I have withheld the bounties of the earth, and in this day of want I have given them advice to store up their grain; and if ever they could be brought into circumstances to make them appreciate these words, it is now.
It is now a pretty scarce time for clothing: it is hard to get many of the comforts of life in the shape of wearing apparel. We have no money: many of us have no surplus of the products of the earth to exchange; and if we had, our market is comparatively bare of many of the articles we need.
Some consider that great trials await us; but I will call your attention to one. It is a very great trial to be short of clothing, boots, shoes, &c., (to say nothing of the silks, ribbons, laces, and other gewgaws,) to answer our desires, and perhaps not our real wants and comforts. But the Lord may pour out an abundant harvest of grain; and, while we are destitute of those things, our granaries may be groaning with the weight of the grain that is in them. But by-and-by the market is richly supplied with goods, such as we need. It is supplied with every material or fabric, and perhaps silver and gold, and a liberal price is offered for our grain; and with this grain we can buy those articles of clothing that we need. Now here comes the trial. (But keep in mind "home manufacture.") We know these circumstances pinch. We want the clothing, and we have an abundance around us, and means in our hands to obtain those articles in exchange for our produce and wheat. This will try us, whether we will abide the counsel that has been given, or whether we will not. I presume to say that just such circumstances will appear before this people: I have not the least hesitancy upon my mind in saying that such will be the case. Here you have grain to any amount; and here is your silver, your gold, your goods, your groceries, and your wares of every kind, and every thing that you can desire to make yourselves comfortable. Now, all this is in the midst of this counsel to store up your grain, and to hold on to it. It is the counterpart, or tempter to beguile. How many will there be who will go and exchange one for the other? Say one and another, I must have a little of this, a little of that, and a little of the other; and thus, little by little, goes the grain that we were commencing to store up, until it has leaked away and our granaries are empty.
It is strange that we should do this, when we really desire bread, and have so keenly felt its need! We had none at one time--that is, comparatively none. Starvation, ghastly and appalling, threw its hideous forms and frightful shadows in our face; and what was the counsel of God then? Was it not to remain faithful over the little that we had, and to divide out the limited supplies that we had, and to relieve the necessities of the poor and needy? And did not the people, in a goodly degree, comply with this counsel? Yes they did. Well, has not our heavenly Father, by multiplying our grain in our store-houses, like the widow's meal and oil, thwarted off impending calamities? He certainly has.
Now there is a prospect of a bountiful harvest. We cannot tell what may be; but if we are true and faithful, like the needle to the pole, we shall have an abundance to supply not only our present wants, but some to lay by for the future. This is the result of abiding in the counsel of God, and the Lord says, I will give them liberally; for they have said that they will not let it go to waste; for they design now to keep it for the children of the kingdom and for the time of great want, when strangers shall come to them also for bread. And now, therefore, I will pour out a bountiful harvest, to prove their integrity.
I have told them to prove me, and now I will prove them. You bring along your tithes and offerings into my storehouse, and see if I will not pour out a blessing--see if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing that you will not have room to receive. I will prove you now, and see if you will be as faithful to me as I have been to you.
If this grain be stored up and properly taken care of, we may go destitute of many comforts that we desire; but, after the Lord has proven us, in this respect, to see if we will resist the temptations of the adversary--to see if we will resist the shining gold and the fine apparel, and to see if we will abide the law, and lock up and preserve our grain, is it not as easy for Him to provide us with those things that we really need for clothing as it was to increase our limited stores, or to give us now a plentiful harvest? Is it not said, "Surely, thou shalt clothe thyself with them all, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves." And is it not said that the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and riches to Zion? What shall hinder them from bringing the treasures by which we can all be clothed? What will induce them to come here at all with their riches, their gold, and their silver, and fine apparel? Let the Almighty shut down the gate of prosperity, as He will do, and a general dearth ensue, and they know that in Zion it is fruitful, and that the good things of the earth are produced there--let them know that there is bread, and you will see them coming here to pour out their treasures for a bit of bread; but if you shall not have it stored up for them, you will not do your duty. The Lord can do this. He can bring these things about; and, brethren, the test is right before us. It is not an imaginary thing, but it is actually coming to test us, to see whether we will, under these circumstances, abide the counsel that has been given to us.
There is hardly ever a commandment given to any person or persons before whom a temptation is not placed to decoy them, if possible, from an obedience to that commandment. Our parents in the garden of Eden had had but little experience in this world; and it seemed that they must have a trial corresponding with the experience and knowledge they had of things as they were. The instruction of Father Adam was, "of all the trees in the garden thou mayest eat, excepting one; and in the day thou eatest of that, thou shalt surely die." The Lord said, Adam and Eve, you may enjoy yourselves; but there is one tree I command you that ye shall not eat of; for in the day that ye do, ye shall surely die."
It seems that they were well provided for. There was an abundance of other kinds of fruits; but there was a kind of itching desire for that which they were forbidden to eat of; and they were led on by temptation until they did partake of that fruit, and thus the devil got power over them.
Well, if counsel has been given unto us to store up our grain, I should not wonder if there were temptations placed before us, to induce us to non-compliance. High prices in silver and gold may be offered as an inducement. Men may come and say, I will give you a high price for your wheat: here are goods of every kind we will give for your grain." There, you perceive, is the temptation and the counsel before us. We should like the comforts of life, and would no doubt like to purchase them; but the counsel of the servants of the Lord would lead us to do differently.
Such scenes as these, brethren and sisters, we may see, and they may not be far ahead of us. They may be very near; for things change very suddenly sometimes. It is for us to abide in the counsel of God, and never turn aside nor cast a longing look upon the riches and comforts of this life, when we have to violate a holy precept to gain them. Remember it, brethren and sisters; for I want to impress it upon your minds. Keep your grain for yourselves and for strangers who, in times of famine abroad, seek at your hands bread from heaven and earth. When the servants of God set good counsel before you, and these temptations follow, they will not command, perhaps, when the temptation is present; and these things will be trying to you: they will be so, to see if you will stand by your integrity, or fall by your instability.
I want to tell a little anecdote which came to my ears. I do not know that I shall be right; but, if I am wrong, there are those present who can correct me. It is said that there is a man in this city, a natural miner, who has a peculiar gift to discover metals of value, though hidden in the earth at any depth. He can point out the very place where they are. He happened in a gentleman's house in this town one day, and they were discussing his powers to discern any metal in the earth. The lady, doubting his ability, took a piece of lead, and slily [sic] stepped out and buried it, being careful to leave no visible marks by which any other than herself could find it. She returned and told him that in the garden was a piece of lead buried, and wished him to find it if he could. He made the attempt; and, after a little rambling, pointed to the very spot where it was; but the lady, thinking to bluff him off and discourage him, made perfect ridicule of him, and asked what had led him to think it was there. She pretended to regard him as insane, and the poor man came to the conclusion that he might be mistaken, as the lady appeared so sanguine in her ridicule. He gave it up as a mistake, doubting his own gift. Since the time that he was bluffed off from the faith in the natural gift that God had given him--(Pres. H. C. Kimball: And that by a woman!)--yes, and since that, it has been taken away altogether. Before this, he was never mistaken in such matters; but since, has no more powers of discovering than any other.
Now, we have the gift of God, and that is the gift of wise counsel--of good counsel given unto us for the purpose of self-preservation. Will we, by any reason, by any craft, by any device, by any machinations, by any swerving from our purpose, lose that gift? Remember that if we are upon the enemies' ground, the gift that is given to us may be destroyed or taken from us for ever; and probably the time may be that you and I may not have the counsel of the servants of God from day to day. If it is necessary, however, we may have it; and if it is not, remember it, ye Latter-day Saints, and everybody that fears God and serves Him with full purpose of heart! Remember the counsel that is given, "STORE UP ALL YOUR GRAIN," and take care of it! Prize it above gold and silver, above rich clothing and fine apparel, and above everything else except the bread of life! And I tell you it is almost as necessary to have bread to sustain the body as it is to have food for the spirit; for the one is as necessary as the other to enable us to carry on the work of God upon the earth.
Brethren and sisters, may God bless you, and bless your fields, and flocks, and all that you possess. Take care of your fields, your flocks, and your herds; take care of and preserve every thing that God has given us to take care of upon the earth. May God bless you, and bless us all, and give us the gift of eternal life; and may the angel of life preserve us; and may we feel to lay shoulder to shoulder, and prove to God and our brethren that we are ready and determined to roll forth this great work--
"While life, or thought, or being lasts,
Or immortality endures." --Amen.
TEMPLE AND ENDOWMENTS--RAISING GRAIN AND BUILDING STOREHOUSES--DEDICATION.
A Discourse by President Heber C. Kimball, delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, April 6, 1857.
I do not know that I can speak so that all of you can hear distinctly. You will have to be very still, or it will be impossible for me to speak to your edification. You have heard what brother Wells has said in reference to the Temple, the canal, &c. The Temple is designed for many purposes, and there are many things that God will reveal and many blessings that he will confer upon this people in that building, if they will use due diligence in forwarding its completion.
Some may think that the erection of the Temple more particularly devolves upon brother Brigham, brother Heber, brother Daniel, the Twelve, and a few of the Seventies, High Priests, and Bishops; and when it is finished they may imagine that they will receive their blessings therein; but that work is designed to be general. There must needs be a universal exertion, not only by the leading official members of this Church, but by every member, male and female; for the Temple is not for us alone; it is also for our sons, and daughters, and succeeding generations. They will receive blessings in it, and therefore it concerns them as well as us.
If I obtain all the blessings of the Priesthood, all the endowments, all the blessings that God has to confer upon us in this probation, and keep those things sacred while I live, I am then as pure and holy as it is possible for a man to be while in the flesh. Then, if my wives are one with me, my children and their posterity will partake of those blessings which have been placed upon me. Every blessing conferred upon me tends to benefit my posterity. Those blessings are for every righteous man; and the blessings that are conferred upon faithful men and women in their holy anointings and sealings will rest upon their posterity after them for ever and for ever, through their faithfulness; and there is no end to it.
It is a strong additional inducement for you to live your religion, in view of the benefits that will be continued to your posterity. If you can only bear this in mind, I think it will serve to keep you steadfast in the line of your duties. Will our posterity partake of the blessings we will receive in the Temple which we are building? They will, for ever and for ever. Our blessings are to continue always. If we live so as to attain to the principles and fulness of perfection and to secure the promises of eternal lives, then those blessings will rest upon us and our children.
How long will it take this people to build the Temple on this Block, supposing that every man and woman, and every child that has arrived at the years of accountability, will unitedly strive for its completion? Not very many years. Were I labouring on that Temple, I would constantly endeavour to work upon it with an eye single to pushing it forward, and to the blessings I expected to receive therein. But supposing that you do not all live, will you not be benefited by it? Yes, you will.
We are now attending to matters that will answer every purpose, until that Temple is completed. Those who go through their endowments now and are sealed up unto eternal lives, those blessings will stick to them, if they will stick to the blessings and promises that are made over unto them, and step forward with one heart and one mind to do the will of God as made known to them from time to time from this stand.
Is it requisite that every member of my family should feel the same interest that I do in my welfare and posterity? Yes, every woman and child, from the oldest to the youngest. They should be just like a tree that has many branches to it. The extremity of the longest limb is dependent upon the tree from which it grows. We should become one tree, and be like the "tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits," all connected with one stalk. I presume that those fruits came from grafts, else the tree probably would not have borne so many kinds.
We must be grafted into the true vine, and continue to partake of its fatness, and then we shall go back to our Father and God, who is connected with one who is still farther back; and this Father is connected with one still further back, and so on; and just so far as we respect our superiors and try to save our children, so shall we receive blessings from this time forth and for ever, and shall become as numerous as the sands upon the sea shore. What is there to hinder us from obtaining these blessings? Nothing, except it be our own want of faithfulness; for, by diligence, integrity, and perseverance, we can accomplish all we desire, and help to move forward the great work of God.
I have heard a whispering that some who work on the Temple at dressing rock, and in the machine and blacksmiths' shops, have nothing but bread to eat. It seems as though this could not be so; for I have seen the public hands packing home carrots, parsnips, potatoes, &c.; and it is not so very bad while there is plenty of them; and every man gets a pound of flour a day; and I think there should not be any grunting. It will not be a month before we shall have lettuce, radishes, &c.; and there now is plenty of greens; and onions are plentiful in the Tithing Office; and we shall be very glad to have you come and get them at your leisure.
I have just touched upon these things in connection with brother Wells' remarks concerning the Public Works; for I am one with him, and he is one with me, and we are one with brother Brigham. We have not set our feet to the race for any other purpose than to follow him and run through; for he is our leader and will be our leader, temporally and spiritually, from this time forth. When Joseph comes again, will brother Brigham be removed? No, never. Brother Joseph is ahead; brother Brigham is after him; I am after brother Brigham; and you are after me, are you not? And we will not flinch; and and [sic] God will bless and prosper every man that will help himself; and He will bless, prosper, and sustain this people; and they will never fall, as a people, though we expect that many will apostatize, pitch over the dam, and go to wreck.
If we sin, and do not repent, God will chastise us until we do repent of and forsake all sin; but He never will scourge us so long as we do right. I have said a hundred times that we never shall want for bread, meat, and the comforts of life, worlds without end, if we will only do right. That is my prophecy, and always was; and it is true. I agree with Daniel, with Joseph, with Brigham, with Jesus, and the Apostles, and all the holy Prophets; and I have spoken as I have to arouse your feelings, to waken you up, and comfort your hearts, and cheer your minds; for I have no other feeling than to do you good.
When the Big Cottonwood Canal is finished, aside from its being of material benefit in our operations for building the Temple, it will be of great worth for irrigating lots in this city, especially in the east part of it; and you will soon be able to raise enough more than heretofore to pay you for your labour upon that work--yes, tenfold more. You may think that extravagant, but I say it is not. Reckon it up yourselves, and see how much more you could raise if you had plenty of water. You could raise as much corn fodder as would keep your cows through the winter, and I believe more than you have cows to eat it, besides the large extra amount of vegetables you could raise.
I will now make a few remarks in relation to building storehouses,--not particularly in regard to building tithing storehouses here; for there are enough at present to hold all the grain we have; though I believe that by another year this people will fill our tithing houses until they overflow; for a great many of them are going to continue to do right and live their religion; and if they do that, you will see the wheat, the corn, the oats, the barley, and all our stock and possessions increase. If we increase, it will increase; our wealth will grow and increase with us, and there will be no end to it. But in order to lay up grain, you must prepare storehouses. Every man who has a farm needs a storehouse--one made of rock and lime, that will guard your grain against the mice, rats, and all other four-legged vermin; also against the two-legged ones. I have more fears of the two-legged ones than I have of the four-legged ones.
Plan to build a good storehouse, every man who has a farm, and never cease until you have accomplished it. And do not forget to pay your tithing before you put the grain into the storehouse. Lay up enough for seven years, at a calculation for from five to ten in each family; and then calculate that there will be in your families from five to ten persons to where you now have one, because you are on the increase.
It now takes about one thousand bushels of wheat to bread my family one year, and I want to lay up six thousand for each year of the seven for which I calculate to store it up. Reflect upon the probable increase of my family within seven years; they alone will be almost numerous enough to people a small city. Where a family now requires only a hundred bushels a year, let the head of that family lay up a hundred bushels the first year, two hundred the next, and increase the amount every year in proportion to their probable requirements.
When we have stored away our grain we are safe, independent of the world, in case of famine, are we not? Yes, we are; for, in that case we will have the means for subsistence in our own hands. When the famines begin upon the earth, we shall be very apt to feel them first.
If judgments must need begin at the house of God, and if the righteous scarcely are saved, how will it be with the wicked? Am I looking for famines? Yes, the most terrible and severe that have ever come upon the nations of the earth. These things are right before us, and some of this people are not thinking anything about them; they do not enter their hearts. Still there is not an Elder here who has read the revelation which says, Go forth and warn the inhabitants of this land of the sickness, the death, and disasters that are coming upon this nation, but what must be satisfied of the truth of what I am saying. You have done according to the instruction given in that revelation; and now reflect upon the things that I am declaring in your hearing, and lift up your voices unitedly as a people to the God of Heaven that He will be merciful unto us and favour Zion.
Be wise, listen to counsel, and obey the voice of the head, and you will prosper and never want for bread; but, as the Lord liveth, you will feel it, if you do not continue in the line of duty. [President Brigham Young: That is true.] Yes, it is as true as it is that God ever spake to this generation. I consider that carefully storing our surplus grain against a time of need is of the greatest importance to this people, in connection with building the Temple. You may build that Temple, and at the same time neglect those things that I am speaking of, and you will perish temporally.
Now, go to, and raise grain; for I feel satisfied that the Lord will give us two, three, or four years of good times, and will hold the enemies of the upright by the bit, if we will do right. I will have that "if" in every time; for, in such case, I tell you that God will hold our enemies, and they cannot have any power until He has a mind to permit them; and then He will only permit them for a time, in order to manifest His Almighty power and to qualify and prepare them for a time to come. I mean just what I say.
I have talked here year after year, and told you that I was going to work to build a good storehouse; and I now have a good one, though it is not yet quite finished. I have five or six hundred bushels of wheat in it, and I am going to make a tight floor of rock by grouting it with lime and sand, and plaster the walls on both sides, so that it will be proof against mice and all other kinds of vermin.
As I have said, I know that we will see those things of which I have spoken--such famines as this world never beheld. Yes, we have got to see those scenes; but if we will keep our vows and covenants, the Lord will hold them off until we can prepare ourselves; and if you will wake up and do as you are told, you will escape.
I will advise every man in every settlement to build a storehouse; and if one cannot do so alone, let two or three build one between them. Store up and preserve your grain, and then you will be safe. But if the famine should come upon us in our present condition, what could we do? If we do not do as we are told in this thing, the displeasure of the Lord will be upon us, and He will not continue to bless us as He is now doing.
I know that He is able to suffer famines to come upon us, and then to rain manna down from heaven to sustain us. I also know that He could increase our grain in the granaries and our flour in the bins, and make one small loaf of bread suffice for many persons, by exerting His creative power. I do not know how He does that, but I know that He can do it just as easily as He could bring me into existence upon this earth.
There are a great many things that we can save and take care of, as well as we can wheat, barley, and oats. We can dry pumpkins, squashes, currants, apples, peaches, &c., and save them; we can also save beans, peas, and like articles, and keep them for seven years. And if you will take the right care of your wheat, you can save it just as long as you may wish to; but, in the usual mode of storing it, you have got to stir it, move it, remove it, and turn it over, or it will spoil. It is just so with this people; they have had to be moved and removed from place to place, to prevent them from getting into dotage.
I would not be afraid to promise a man who is sixty years of age, if he will take the counsel of brother Brigham and his brethren, that he will renew his age. I have noticed that a man who has but one wife, and is inclined to that doctrine, soon begins to wither and dry up, while a man who goes into plurality looks fresh, young, and sprightly. Why is this? Because God loves that man, and because he honours His work and word. Some of you may not believe this; but I not only believe it--I also know it. For a man of God to be confined to one woman is small business; for it is as much as we can do now to keep up under the burdens we have to carry; and I do not know what we should do if we had only one wife apiece.
Let us go to work and cultivate the earth, and go into the fields, and bless the land, and dedicate and consecrate it to God; and then dedicate the seed, the implements, and the horses, and oxen. Do you suppose that that will have any effect? I know that it will. Nearly twenty years ago, I was in a place in England in which I felt very curious; but I did not know at the time what it meant. I went through a town called Chadburn, beyond Clithero. Before I went there, some persons told me that there was no use in my going, and asked me what I wanted to go to Chadburn for, saying it was the worst place in the country; for the sectarian priests had preached there faithfully thirty years without making any impression. Notwithstanding that, I went, and preached once, and baptized twenty-five persons, where the priests had not been able to do a thing.
I went through the streets of that town feeling as I never before felt in my life. My hair would rise on my head as I walked through the streets, and I did not then know what was the matter with me. I pulled off my hat, and felt that I wanted to pull off my shoes, and I did not know what to think of it.
When I returned, I mentioned the circumstance to brother Joseph, who said, "Did you not understand it? That is a place where some of the old Prophets travelled and dedicated that land, and their blessing fell upon you." Then try it, and see if it will not leave a blessing for us to dedicate our lands. If you think that it will not, never bring another bottle of oil and ask us to dedicate and consecrate it for the benefit of the sick. I know that we can bless the land, and that through our blessing it will be filled with the Spirit and power of God, and that, too, in great profusion, especially if we are filled with that Spirit ourselves. Some may call me enthusiastic; but I am no more so than the old Prophets were when they had the Spirit of God upon them.
Let us bless the land we cultivate and the fountains of water, and they will be blessed, and then men may drink of those waters, and they will fill them with the Spirit and power of God. Let us bless and dedicate the fountains of life that are in us, in our wives and children, and in everything else around us. Can the Spirit of God enter a stone, or one of those posts? Yes; and it can fill every pore as well as it can every pore in my body. Can it enter into my pores? Yes, even into my hair; and it can also enter my bones and quicken every limb, joint, and fibre.
Let us not dispose of any grain, only what is actually necessary. When it is actually necessary to part with any grain, let us put it into the right hands. If I have any to part with, I will put it into the hands of those that will make good use of it. We have got to become one in our financial matters in the Church and Kingdom of God. How can you become one tree, with limbs and branches all pertaining to the selfsame tree, when there is disunion among you?
Then go to work and build up this kingdom, establish righteousness, and prepare yourselves for the famines that are coming upon the earth; for I tell you that they are coming.
Do you suppose that God would give revelations and tell us to warn the inhabitants of the earth of things which were coming speedily upon them, if He did not intend that those things should come? He said that they should feel them, and I know that they are bound to feel them; for they will not repent. Let us go to work and prepare for the thousands upon thousands who will come unto us.
Our Carrying Company is only in its infancy, but it will prepare the way; and the day will come when people will gather here by hundreds and by thousands,--yea, fifty thousand in a year; and very many will come trudging along with their bundles under their arms. I have heard brother Joseph, brother Brigham, and several other men say that it will be so; and I know it will, because they have said it. Many of you will venture to say that you believe it; but I know that it is true, and it will surely come to pass.
Brethren and sisters, these are some of my feelings; and I hope and pray that those whom we have warned will go home and warn their neighbours, and tell them to be up and doing; and then we shall not have to tell you these things again. It is no time for grunting; it is no time for having the blues; it is no time for sugar-tits, for dancing, and amusing ourselves. Amusements are stopped for the present; but when brother Brigham says dance, then dance; but when he says stop, then stop; and when he says prophesy, then prophesy, but be sure to prophesy right.
I have said nothing but what the Spirit has dictated; and all the principles that I have touched upon are contained in the Bible. If you don't believe it, take that book and look for yourselves; and then take the Book of Mormon, and see what the Lord said to the Nephites. He said, "The nation or people that will not serve me on this land I will cut off from the face of the earth;" and I know that He will do it. And brother Brigham, the Twelve Apostles, and Patriarchs John Young and Isaac Morley will all declare that it is true. May God bless you. Amen.
BLESSINGS OF ZION--PROPHETS OF GOD TO BE RELIED ON--ENEMIES OF THE SAINTS.
Remarks by Patriarch John Young, made at the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, July 12, 1857.
I feel very happy, my brethren and sisters, for the opportunity I enjoy this day in this place. I feel that the Lord is merciful unto me and unto us all as a people, and I feel much pleasure in rising before you to bear my testimony to the truths of the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, which have been laid before us this day by his servant brother Kimball.
I am thankful to my heavenly Father not only this day, and at this time in particular, but at all times. I am thankful that I live in the day that I do, and that I am associated with the greatest and best men that ever lived upon the earth, and that I have the opportunity of sitting under the sound of their voices, even the oracles of the Almighty, before whom the visions of eternity are passing continually, and who are competent to administer unto the people the words of eternal life.
I thank the Lord for the blessings that we as a community enjoy, and for the good admonitions, for the truth of heaven, for the principles of salvation that are from time to time made known unto us by the Prophets of the Lord. I am thankful to my God that He has gathered us from the nations of the earth where we were scattered into these chambers of the mountains, where the Prophets of the Most High can speak, as they are dictated by His Holy Spirit, the things that are necessary for them to know and understand.
I can well remember the day when the Prophets of the Lord stood up to address the people, that they did not feel that liberty which they feel and enjoy here. This was at a time when they were surrounded by enemies upon the right hand and upon the left, and when those enemies were laying plans to catch and to destroy them; and when I reflect upon this, I thank God that He has brought us to a place where we can administer the words of eternal life without fear or dismay; for we are here secluded and far away from our enemies.
I am thankful for the great and glorious principles that I have heard from brother Kimball this morning; and I can bear my testimony before angels and before my heavenly Father that every word he spoke has been by the inspiration and power of the Holy Ghost. I would like to have you tell of a time, if you can, when brother Brigham and brother Heber did not speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. I know you cannot do it; and yet there are men who are continually whining because the First Presidency are so severe upon the workers of iniquity; but I don't feel to take off the curses, but, by the authority and power that I have and the priesthood that has been sealed upon me, I seal those curses brother Kimball has pronounced, upon the heads of the guilty.
[The congregation responded, Amen.]
I just know there are men here right amongst us who thirst for the blood of the Prophets of God; and there are those professing to be Saints who are fostering them in their hellish designs; but I pray my heavenly Father to purge out these cursed characters from among us. The time has come when the ungodly and the hypocrites are to be searched out. This is undoubtedly the time the Prophet spoke of when he said, "The sinner in Zion shall be afraid, and fearfulness shall surprise the hypocrite." The people are better prepared for this now than ever they were; for there never was a time when light was reflected upon this people as at the present; no, there never was such a time as there is now; and I know it, if no other man does.
I have heard brother Brigham say that it should be better and more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for this people who hear the truth and do not obey it. Day after day, and Sabbath after Sabbath, the servants of God are administering the words of eternal life; and if the people do not walk in the light, it would be better for them to have a millstone tied to their necks, and they drowned in the depths of the sea, than for them to remain here and live in sin, and add to their guilt and crimes every day of their life.
Brethren, we are blest; yes, we are greatly blest: our fields are clothed with grain; they are greatly burdened with the crops that are upon them. Everything that I behold, as I travel abroad, exhibits abundantly the blessings of our heavenly Father. He is pouring out liberally of His blessings upon us; and, if we are faithful, they will be multiplied more and more upon our heads.
I am thankful to find such a good spirit among the Saints in the various parts of the Territory where I have visited. Last week I visited Utah and Cedar Valleys, and the brethren were willing to drop their scythes and come to meeting, notwithstanding it was a very busy time with them. I held meetings at both settlements in cedar Valley, and I can say there is a good spirit prevailing there; and I feel that there never was more of the power of the Lord, nor a greater witness of His Spirit resting upon the people than at the present time. It seems as if they were willing to give their very life's blood to sustain the Prophets of God that are amongst us. It is a matter of consolation to us all to learn that the people are becoming so united.
Now, my brethren, let us be faithful and work righteousness in this the day of our visitation; for we shall not always enjoy the blessings that we now do. Though our land is blest, and though we have peace and plenty, I do not know that this will always be the case with us; we may yet have to pass through severe trials. I know that there will always be peace to those who have the peace of our heavenly Father in their own souls. When a man has the approbation of those who are at the head of the kingdom, he also has the approbation of our heavenly Father; for He sanctions their doings upon the earth.
It is not my desire or intention to take up much time this morning; but I was desirous to bear my testimony to the truth set forth by President Kimball, a man filled with the Holy Ghost.
I wonder if some one won't go away and say that brother Kimball and the authorities were misinformed. I can tell you they are not; for those men who stand at the head of affairs have the light of heaven with them all the time; they have the power of the Spirit and the visions of the heavens with them always, and they can read men and women from head to foot.
After this, I don't want anybody to go away from the meeting and say, "I guess they were mistaken." Don't let us hear any more of it, brethren; never let such a thing be spoken, that a Prophet of God is mistaken. I ask this congregation, and I adjure you in the name of the Lord to speak, if ever you heard brother Brigham, brother Kimball, brother Jedediah, or brother Wells say anything that was not strictly true. I answer, you never did.
[President H. C. Kimball: If it were so, a man might be a Prophet one minute and a devil another.]
I know there is an under-current working all the time; but I tell you, my brethren, we have to stand up to the work in which we are engaged, and live humbly before our heavenly Father, and keep His Spirit with us always. This is what we have got to do, and, as brother Kimball says, save ourselves and those that are with us, and know that we are born of God and that we are heirs of salvation. It is our privilege, as well as that of the Prophets of God, to have this Spirit and this light in us; for we are the children of the light, and not of the darkness; therefore the day of the Lord Jesus will not overtake us as a thief in the night.
I feel comfortable and happy in being associated with the Saints of the living God; and I never felt more grateful for my position among this people than I do at the present time; for I realize that the hand of the Lord is with us all the day long.
When I heard brother Kimball talking about brother Thomas Marsh, it caused me to think of bygone days; for I was well acquainted with him; and when I heard what I did, I felt to thank my God that He had preserved me and my brethren from the power of the Devil; and I know that it is the Lord's doing, and not our strength that has saved us. I feel humble, and I wish to feel so all the time. I cannot express to you my feelings in full; but this much I can say, that I have never had such an experience in my lie as I have had for the year past. It seems as though the vail of darkness was rolled back; and it is so to a great extent, and we begin to know and realize that the day of our redemption draws near.
Talk about fear! We have nothing to fear from our enemies. If we have anything to fear at all, it is those of our own household--those corrupt villains in our midst, who profess to be Saints. Our enemies are entirely powerless. They used to think that Missouri could whip out the "Mormons," and then they thought that a few counties in Illinois could do it; but of late they have come to the conclusion that it will take all the United States to whip us out; and it is true too, and then they can't.
I knew last fall that the reformation would commence in the States about the time that it did here, and I told brother Brigham so; and I now pray that it may continue, and that they may be clothed with darkness, and that all their schemes and plans may be frustrated, and that they may be caught in their own snares, and fall into their own pits. There has never been such a fuss in the United States as there is at the present time; and I may also add, that there never has been a time when we have commenced to build a Temple but the Devil has called upon his servants to prevent us from doing the work, if possible. It was so in Kirtland; it was so in Far West and in Illinois; and I expect it will be so here; but it will all tend to roll on the work of God.
I feel to bless you--all you that are honest in heart; and I say the time has come when fearfulness will surprise the hypocrite; and I pray that we may be able more perfectly to discern betwixt him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. This is what the Prophet said should be with the people in the last days; and he said there should be a book of remembrance kept, that those who are faithful might be his in the day when he shall come to make up his jewels. My prayer is that we may be among those jewels, which I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
THE LATTER-DAY KINGDOM--MEN NOT TO BE GOVERNED BY THEIR WIVES-LOVE TO GOD MANIFESTED BY LOVE TO HIS SERVANTS.
Remarks by President Heber C. Kimball, made at the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, July 12, 1857.
I feel very much to appreciate the remarks of brothers Thomas S. Smith and Edmund Ellsworth. Brother Edmund's remarks were very good, and will be salvation to every man and woman that will receive and treasure them up in their hearts.
Here in Great Salt Lake City is the seat of government for the Church and Kingdom of God, pertaining to every person that has ever come into a probation on this earth, whether they are now in tabernacles upon this earth, or whether they are in the spirit world, or in hell. This is the place of deposit of all those keys pertaining to the salvation of the human family; and there never will one soul of those spirits now in prison come out of that place, except the keys of the kingdom of God that are now held in Great Salt Lake City open the door and let them out. They may peep and mutter, and may have revelations until doomsday, and may declare to all eternity that Joseph Smith is a false prophet, and that brother Brigham is a false prophet, and that this Church is false, and they will still remain in hell until we let them out.
Brother Brigham Young holds those keys; and brother Heber C. Kimball, and Daniel H. Wells, and others, hold those keys in connection with brother Brigham; and not one soul of you has any keys or power of salvation only what is in us; and that is one thing for you to learn. Those keys and powers were on Joseph Smith when he was in the flesh; and before he departed, he laid his hands on brother Brigham, and brother Heber, and others, and conferred the keys of salvation upon them; and we are here, in the last dispensation of the kingdom of God that pertains to every man and woman on earth, in hell, and in the spirit world; and the redemption of not one individual soul will be obtained upon any other principle.
You may call that pretty snug doctrine and pretty rough; but I would not give a dime for anything that is not rough. What do you think of the stone to be cut out of the mountain without hands? If there are to be no hands, how do you suppose it will ever be polished? Can you polish a stone without hands and chisel? It is to be taken out of the mountain without hands, and it will smash every nation and kingdom except God's. It will never be polished until it has done that rough work. It will knock the bark from the trees, and will break everything before it.
Let the spirit world peep, and rap, and rap, and rap again. We know you not. Depart, ye workers of iniquity, and get out of the way, and stop your peeping and rapping.
This is the kingdom of God. You talk about building up the kingdom of God; but how can you build up the kingdom of God, except you build up the king and his officers? We are to become kings and priests unto our God, in accordance with the revelations given to the Apostle John. Our lives are a preparatory work to fit us to receive that authority and power; and when we have got that, we will raise up a kingdom. You cannot raise up a kingdom any greater than yourselves. And is you have not attended to these things, you cannot raise up a kingdom that will bring about the purposes of the Almighty.
How can I take a course to save the children of men any further than I am saved myself? If I have saved myself to-day, I can save you to-day; and if I continue on and save myself to-morrow, I can save you to-morrow, and so on from day to day, until finally we are saved in the celestial kingdom of God.
Are the keys here? Yes, the very keys that our Father placed upon His Son Jesus; and He placed that authority upon Peter and his associates; and they have been restored again to this earth through the ministration of the Prophet Joseph.
It is written that the first shall be last, and the last first. This is the last kingdom, and the Lord will make it first; for it has got to raise up, and establish, and confer power upon every one of those kingdoms that have been. That is what we have got to do. Why do you not realize this? You could, if you lived your religion and called upon god by day and by night.
What good do your prayers do, when your works do not correspond? Men may talk about praying, and exhort the people to pray; and if you do not live in a manner to fulfil your prayers, what do they avail you? Faith is dead without works, just as much as my body is dead without my spirit. When my spirit leaves my body, my body is dead; but put them together, and they make a soul--a spirit in a tabernacle. What is the use of our professing to be Saints, unless we live our religion? By our faithfulness and by our good works we shall obtain knowledge.
How can you find out whether brother Brigham is called of God, except you have a revelation from God? And then some are not fully satisfied, but will doubt the revelation that God has given them.
You think you would not. I have known many who have. Oliver Cowdery received revelations and wrote them; so did David Whitmer, and so did Thomas B. Marsh. About the time he was preparing to leave this Church, he received a revelation in the Printing Office. He retired to himself, and prayed, and was humble, and God gave him a revelation, and he wrote it. There were from three to five pages of it. There were from three to five pages of it; and when he came out, he read it to brother Brigham and me. In it God told him what to do, and that was to sustain brother Joseph and to believe that what brother Joseph had said was true. But no; he took a course to sustain his wife and oppose the Prophet of God, and she led him away.
What!--sustain a woman, a wife, in preference to sustaining the Prophet Joseph, brother Brigham, and his brethren! Your religion is vain when you take that course. Well, my wife may say, "If you will sustain Brigham in preference to me, I will leave you." I should reply, "Leave, and be damned!" and that very quickly. That is a part of my religion--"Leave quickly, you poor snoop."
That was the trouble with Emma Smith. Joseph stood for the truth and maintained it; she struck against it: and where is she? She is where she is, and she will not escape until Joseph Smith opens the door and lets her out. She declared that she would leave him, if he would not sustain her instead of sustaining brother Brigham, and Heber, and the rest of the Twelve Apostles of God. That is as true as that the sun shines. She had her choice, but Joseph would not follow her.
Thomas B. Marsh was once the President over the Quorum of the Twelve--over brother Brigham, me, and others; and God saw fit to give him a revelation to forewarn him of the course he would take; and still he took that course. We told him that if he would listen to that revelation he had received, he would he [sic] saved; but he listened to his wife, and away he went. His wife is now dead and damned. She led him some eighteen years; and as soon as she died he came to Winter Quarters--now Florence, and has written to us, pleading for mercy. We have extended it to him, and he will probably be here this season or the next. He says that he has sinned before God and his brethren, and is pleading for mercy; for he feels as though our Father and God would have a little bread for him after all the rest have eaten all they need.
I speak of these things to show men their standing. Women were never placed to lead. Did you ever see a ship rigged for sailing to England, or to any other port in the world, without a helm, and rudder, and a man who knew the points of the compass and how to receive instructions for guiding that ship. And then you will sometimes see a number of boats lashed with cables to a large ship, and they are all led by that ship, and that is guided by the power and intelligence on board of it. Women are made to be led, and counselled, and directed. If they are not led, and do not make their cables fast to the power and authority they are connected with, they will be damned. Instead of cutting those little fibres that pertain to those cables which connect them with the ship, they ought to be adding other strands to to [sic] the cables, that they may stand when the sea becomes boisterous.
And it is for the Twelve to be connected, and make the cable which binds them to the First Presidency stronger and stronger; and for the First Presidency to make theirs stronger in relation to God and those who are connected with Him. All the time keep adding to that big cable. And it is for the Seventies to fasten their cable to the Twelve, and to keep increasing its strength; and so on down to Priests, Teachers, and Deacons. Then let every man's wife strengthen the cable that connects her with her husband; for, if she does not do so, she will go to hell, and you cannot help it.
Women are to be led. If I should undertake to drive a woman, I should have to drive her before me; and then she becomes my leader the moment I do that. I should lead her; and she should be led by me, if I am a good man; and if I am not a good man, I have no just right in this Church to a wife or wives, or to the power to propagate my species. What, then, should be done with me? Make a eunuch of me, and stop my propagation.
I am telling you solemn truths; and I do not know of anything that bears on my mind more to this people than for us to live our religion and be subject to those to whom we should be subject. As brother Brigham said, last Sunday, it is for every man to make peace with his neighbour and with the man who leads him, and for a man's wives to take a course to please their husband, and for us all to make peace at home and abroad, when we go out and when we come in. That is the course for you to take,--that is your duty; and when you take a contrary course you are wrong.
Some of the sisters say that their husbands are contrary and stubborn, and that they will do this and that, and they cannot control them. Ladies, there is not one of you that has common good sense but what would leave the man that would suffer you to lead him: you would rightly consider that he was not following his calling, if he would bow to your mandates. No man in this Church has a right to a wife, except he is a good man--a man of truth. And when a man violates his calling and priesthood, he forfeits his wife and every thing that pertains to that calling and priesthood, or to that limb, when the limb is severed from the tree. Many have been severed from this Church and left their wives and children; for they clung to Gospel faith and priesthood. Now, except those men make restitution, can they hold one of the wives they have taken? No, not one of them. Can they retain, and keep, and preserve their children--their posterity? No, they cannot. Why? Because those limbs have been cut off and have never been restored, and the fruit was taken by the Husbandman of the vineyard and laid up in store. Then they cannot get it, can they? No, they never can, unless they prove themselves worthy and make restitution to satisfy the demands of justice, and that fourfold. They may then receive it back, but not without that restitution. That is justice and righteousness, and I am telling you of it in the name of the Lord; and I know it to be true.
There are thousands of men and women among the nations of the earth that it will be more tolerable for, in the day of judgment, than it will for you, if you violate your calling and do not honour your priesthood. You know that it was declared that it would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for the children of God who had received the priesthood, and heard the voice of a prophet, and disobeyed it. Sodom was so wicked that they could not hear the word, because they would not admit a man of God to come into their midst. And they would have killed Lot, if the angels had not got him out with the few that believed on his words.
If you cannot believe brother Brigham, and brother Heber, and brother Daniel, and the Twelve, whom have you to go to hearken to? Who is there to lead you? Lay aside the men who lead you, and where is your salvation? Have you not great reason to love these men? They are your servants, and they serve your faithfully. They watch over you by night and by day, and over the Saints throughout the whole world.
If you cannot love the leading members pertaining to this Church, how under the heavens can you love a man you never saw? You cannot, and never did. Tell about loving God! You do not love Him a particle when you do not love your benefactors and the man that feeds you and clothes you. You do not have a drawing of tea, a pound of coffee, or anything else, but what he serves you with it. You say you love him; but some of you lie like hell, and you deceive yourselves. Now, do not tell me that you love my God, and at the same time not love brother Brigham and me, whom you have seen.
Uncle John, (referring to Patriarch John Young,) did you ever see anything bad in me? I never got drunk but a few times in my life, and then I was right straightforward. I never got so drunk, but once, but what I could whip any man I ever saw, except brother Brigham. I know that I am a poor, weak, frail man, and dependent upon my God as much as you are. Do I expect salvation upon any other principle than that upon which you expect to obtain it? No, not in the least. I cannot get salvation and disobey the man that leads me. But whether he feeds me or not, or gets me a hat or a pair of boots or not, what has that to do with my integrity? I am to be true to him--as true as the sun is to this earth, even though I should be barefooted and bareheaded, as I used to be when I was a boy; for I never thought of having anything to wear in the summer seasons but a tow frock and a pair of tow breeches, and go bareheaded; though my hair was not burnt off by the sun; it came out by the roots, through studying and labouring in the great Latter-day Work. That is the course for me, and brother Daniel, and the Twelve, and all the faithful to take.
Tell about loving God and His people! If you do not love the man that leads you, you do not love that Being who confers all the blessings and privileges we enjoy. Tell about loving God, and not love the men that lead you! Get out with your nonsense. Will that apply to the Elders? Yes, and to the Seventies, the High Priests, Bishops, Teachers, and all men. Any further? Yes, it applies to you ladies, in your family capacity. You have not any priesthood, only in connection with your husbands. You suppose that you receive the priesthood when you receive your endowments; but the priesthood is on your husbands. Can you honour God and the Priesthood, and abuse your husbands like the Devil? How can you honour the Priesthood, except you honour the man you are connected with? I am talking about good men: I will not in this connection say anything about bad men. How can you honour the Priesthood, except you honour the one you are connected with?
The Father is the root, Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. The First Presidency is a quorum pertaining to this branch of the house of Israel, and the Twelve are connected with us; they make part of a branch. And then the Seventies, another large branch on the same vine, and the High Priests, and Bishops, and so on, all belong to the vine. Now, from whence did you come, sisters? From whence spring you and your children? You spring from these main limbs and from that Priesthood. If you did not spring out of the Priesthood, where did you come from? Not many of you have legally sprung out of the Priesthood anywhere in the world in the latter-days; but if you have a legal man, who has a legal Priesthood, you can raise heirs to the kingdom of God, and they become connected with it, without any of your washings, anointings, and sealings. Go and read the Scriptures, and they will teach you a great many things, and it will strengthen your faith in what you hear from brother Brigham, brother Heber, and many others.
Do not tell me that you love God and Jesus Christ, and that angels are around your habitation, conversing with you by night and day, and treat the Priesthood as though it was a thing of naught. Angels who would thus visit you are swamp angels--they are filthy. Would God honour one of them? No; nor would one of His servants--no quicker than they would honour the Devil in hell.
I am talking of things pertaining to your salvation,--not to that of my family alone, but to that of all the families of the house of Israel. You have got to take a course to strengthen the cable. Many cables are chains composed of links; and is there not room to put on more links, to extend the chain, so as to reach to the bottom of the deepest waters? Yes. You must become a link on that chain and strengthen it, or you will be lost.
If you prefer the figure of a cable made of flax, sea-grass, or hemp, go to work and increase the strength of it, and tie yourselves to the Priesthood and to the man that you are connected with, or let there be a final conclusion to dissolve the partnership, and go somewhere else. I do not want half-hearted characters to labour with me. Poor miserable creatures, they are not fit for anything. Some of them have been in the house of Israel from fifteen to twenty years, and are following the Devil. Are there any such characters in this congregation? Yes, several, both men and women. There are men and women ready to oppose brother Brigham in what he said last Sunday. He told the truth of God in every word he spoke. Do you suppose that he is so unwise to say a thing which he does not know to be true? He understands what he speaks, and he looks before he jumps, and God Almighty will lead him straight, and he will never stumble--no, never, from this time forth; nor will you, brother Hyde, if you will follow him; neither will any other man.
There are poor, miserable curses in our midst; and there is not a thing spoken of but what there are men and women who will go and tell them every thing that is said, (thank God for that!) and tell more than what is true. There are men and women in this congregation of that stamp. I wish I had some stones; I want to pelt your cursed heads, for you lie like hell. Are you valiant to stand by the work of God, and by your brethren? If you are not, you had better put out, you poor curses.
There is a poor curse who has written the bigger part of those lies which have been printed in the states; and I curse him, in the name of Israel's God, and by the Priesthood and authority of Jesus Christ; and the disease that is in him shall sap and dry up the fountain of life and eat him up. Some of you may think that he has not the disease I allude to; but he is full of pox from the crown of his head to the point of its beginning. That is the curse of that man; it shall be so, and all Israel shall say, Amen. [The vast congregation of Saints said, "Amen."] He is laying plans to destroy us, and is striving with his might to stir up the Government of the United States and the President to send troops here to bring us into collision and destroy this pure people--man, woman, and child. May God Almighty curse such men, [Voices all through the congretion [sic]: "Amen!"] and women, and every damned thing there is upon the earth that opposes this people. I tell you I feel to curse them to-day. [Voice: "And they shall be cursed."] Yes, they will be; and the Devil shall have full possession of every man and woman that raises the tongue to sympathise with those poor curses. I ask no odds of them, no more than I do of the dirt I walk on; for if is was not there I could not walk upon it. Now, go home and sympathise, all of you who wish to.
I tell you that the most of this people are a God-blessed people, as Amasa says; and you shall ever be blessed, with your wives and children after you, for ever. And I bless you in the name of Israel's God, and you shall be blessed.
Are there any poor, miserable devils in our midst? I cannot step into the street but what some poor, miserable curse is ready to pounce on me if he dare. Tell about your religion! Shame on you! Go home and put on sack-cloth and ashes, and repent of your meannesses. Are such kind of characters here? Yes, in this congregation. Could I pelt them with stones? Yes, if I had the stones here, I could throw them straighter than any rifle that ever was fired.
Let us live our religion by day and by night, when we are at home and when we are abroad, and let us go to and gather up our grain and save it. Save your grain, brethren; save everything that can be saved; for we shall have need of it. The day is now on hand for this people to lay up in store, and to leave off a few ribbons, and jewellery, and fine satins. And where you have from seven to fifteen dresses too good to wear every day, dispose of some of them, and do not trouble your husbands so much. Are you serving God and keeping His commandments, and at the same time seeking to destroy your husbands?
In the house of Israel there is now clothing enough to last us ten years and make us comfortable, if it could be put into the storehouse of God and properly distributed, to clothe men, and their wives, and children, who may be worthy and needy. That is the Apostle's doctrine, you know. Am I in earnest, brethren? I am telling you the truth; I am telling you God's truth, and what the Spirit says to me. Stop, stop this extravagance, and in the name of Israel's God go to work, accumulate, and build up the kingdom.
Tell about building up the kingdom of God, while you take a course to make slaves of your husbands through your love of finery!! Your husbands must be observed and listened to. If you want to offend your God, offend His servants. And how can you love God whom you have not seen, and hate your brethren whom you have seen? Do not talk to me such nonsense any more.
I am in earnest; I am anxious for your salvation--for you to put the best foot forward and lay out your present means for the best purpose, and in a way that they will temporally save this people universally. Save your wheat, corn, barley, buckwheat, oats, and everything that can be saved. You can dry potatoes for keeping as well as you can pumpkins. What is there that you cannot dry? I could even take a great many men and hang them up on a pole, and they will dry in a week, because there is little or no juice in them; and the less juice there is in them the less time it takes them to dry up, upon natural principles. If a cow gives only a gill of milk, do you not know that you can dry her quicker than when she gives a pailful?
Sisters, how can you fulfil your callings and appointments, according to the blessings of the Patriarch and Prophet, except you lay up stores and become saviours, like unto Joseph? Have not some of you received the blessings and promise that you should be instrumental in teaching the Lamanites habits of cleanliness, and how to cook make clothing, &c.? You have those blessings upon you; and most of you have not taken the first step to fulfil them.
God Almighty bless the righteous, [Voices, "Amen,"] the meek, and humble of the earth, and those who will do right. Your strength shall increase, if you will step forward and do as you are told. It shall increase twentyfold, while that of those who do not do so shall decrease twenty-fold, because that branch or limb that does not bring forth fruit will lose its strength, and it will go into those who do. It will be so.
Is brother Brigham a Prophet? Yes, he is a Prophet and an Apostle, and then he is more than that. He is a man foreordained from before the world was to come along and follow Joseph; and so are you, every man. Do you know brother Joseph? You could think that the Spirit of Jesus could dome in the meridian of time,--that is, when the time was half out,--the first child that was born to his Father on this earth, and take a body. That all seems rational, through your traditions. But, perhaps, many of you have never thought that Joseph was with Jesus in the spirit world ere the organization of this earth, and came forth in this last dispensation.
If you all live your religion and are faithful to the end of your days, that proves that you were chosen as were Jesus and John, who were prophesied of many hundred years before they came, as were many others. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was raised up to bear the Saviour. Elizabeth was ordained and set apart to come along near the meridian of time, and so we were ordained to come along near the end of time.
You will find out that I am telling you the truth, and that is why I want you to live your religion and serve your God, keep His commandments, and listen to your brethren.
I bless you, and I wish I could make the blessings of God cleave to you like a plaster, that they would never leave you until you become righteous men and women. I bless the earth that we occupy, and the hills and mountains; and I bless every good thing there is; and I curse the ungodly and everything that is attached to them and that will stick to them. Amen.
MORMONISM AND ITS RESULTS--INTERNAL LIGHT AND DEVELOPMENT--DECREASE OF EVIL--THE FOUNTAIN OF LIGHT.
A Discourse by Elder Amasa Lyman, delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, July 12, 1857.
It is a matter of gratification to me, my brethren and sisters, to be here with you, because the religion that we have embraced is true.
Views are sometimes expressed by those who address the assembly as to whether what they might say will be edifying and pleasing to the people who may hear. I have no reason for believing that what I may say will be unpleasing to those who hear. Why? Because, if it pleases myself, it will edify those who hear, from the simple fact that what I would delight to talk about the most is that that has edified me the most, and continually edifies me, when I am edified, whether from what I learn from my own study or from what I hear from those around me who speak.
I feel myself as though that I was a Saint. If the Saints are called "Mormons," then I am a "Mormon;" and I do not feel that I live any life or have any existence but that of a Saint. Not that I suppose that I know everything or act perfectly; but these are the feelings that I cultivate; and the reason that I rejoice continually is, that "Mormonism" is true--that the doctrine I have embraced and the religion that cheers me is not a phantom.
My religion has become convenient to me, from the fact that I have found it adapted to every day use. The happiness that it imparts--I do not care what part of man's existence or being you may talk about, or apply it to--the happiness it imparts it can impart every day. The bliss that can happify one hour of a man's being as a Saint, from a knowledge of the truth, and from the influence that truth will exert over him, will, upon the same principle, happify every hour of his life. That light of truth that will enable him at one time to testify of the truth of the work of God, of the manifestation of His hand and His power in the establishment of His kingdom, and the revelation of the Gospel to man in the last days, will shine upon his path unceasingly, if he is constantly and unceasingly faithful.
This leads me to be happy continually; for it does away with a great many of the probabilities of a man's doing wrong, or being decoyed from the path of rectitude and virtue, and after having preached salvation to others, himself becoming a castaway, because the light that would save them once will save them all the time. They have only to be diligent, faithful, true, and obedient to the requisitions of the truth, to secure its presence with them continually.
This has led me to entertain vastly different notions and ideas of salvation from those I once entertained, whether of my own or that of the Saints universally. It has resolved itself in my mind into very simple truth, and yet a very extended and important one. I find that all the notions I used to entertain, years ago, about salvation and its greatness are comprised in knowing the right and then doing it,--not in matters that are foreign from ourselves and from what we have to do, but in the every day occurrences that fill up the history of our lives here.
There is no way that I know of or have ever heard of, believed, or entertained any conception of, that will enable you any better to love God than to love man who is made in the image and likeness of God. Do you want to honour Him? Then honour man that is made in the likeness of God. "But," says one, "some men are not good:" then honour those that are good, who are his ministers, in whom he is represented on the earth. We cannot go away to his far off dwelling place to pay our respects and obeisance to him there--to present our offerings before Him, or to tell how much we love Him. What can we do? We can find here, in close proximity with ourselves, the individual in whom we can learn His will, receive the declaration of His truth,the order of His institutions and requirements. They are in our midst. This led one in ancient times to say, "This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and He has commanded us that we should love one another."
This makes our religion wholly a practical matter. Let people who can live by theorizing, theorize away until doomsday; and, if we will be saved, we want practical virtue--practical truth exemplified in our actions, in our words, and thoughts; we want to live together as a holy people--as a people who fear and honour God. How? By getting down on our knees and saying our prayers, by singing graciously and putting on a long face, by going to meeting on the Sabbath, or by wearing an amiable smile, that when contemplating it you would not think we ever frowned in the world? Is this the way we are to honour God and live right? No; it is something else besides this. To pray is good, to smile is good, to be pleasant is good; but to be holy and acceptable in the sight of God is to be good all the time, in all places, under all circumstances, and with all people.
We want to learn to get along comfortably with the little duties of life that we meet with every day--that make up the labor of every day. We want to learn to do those things right. You want to learn to be as holy at home by your firesides as you are when you go to church. You want to feel well, to enjoy the Spirit of God in every condition and relation of life.
To love the truth supremely, above everything else is salvation. Do not sacrifice it, therefore, or throw it away, for the sake of indulging in a little petty quarrel at home or abroad.
How shall we honour God? We cannot administer to His wants directly, if He has any; but His children are here, and we can feed the hungry and clothe the naked. We can do that here. Whether there are any up yonder to be found in those destitute circumstances, or not, I do not know. I have not been there to see. I can see them here without going there; and one thing which makes me think that "Mormonism" is true, and that this view of it is true, is, because it is what I have experienced.
Now, if it is not the truth, then I am frank to say I do not know anything about it; but this is what I have learned. If I should find myself in a time or place that the Spirit of truth is not in me, and where I could not feel its sacred impulse to give shape and form to my actions, and regulate them according to the revealed will of heaven made known to me, I should be fearful and should have torment; for fear hath torment; I should be afraid I was going to apostatize--that some dark cloud was hanging around me, fatal to my happiness. But I have confidence in the truth, because it is that which abides with me all the time. In the darkest spot I ever have been called to labour or travel in, or have had an existence in, since I embraced the truth, I have always had it present, and enjoyed its light.
If I knew there was any part or portion of myself that was not under the influence of "Mormonism," or the Spirit of truth, I would want to get out that piece and parcel, and have it repent and be baptized for the remission of that sin, that the whole body might finally become perfectly holy and completely imbued with the influence of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, and the love of truth, which would preserve me today, to-morrow, and in all time from falling away.
Is it necessary we should all feel so? I suppose it is just as necessary for you as for me. I do not suppose because I, thorough the favour or mercy of God and the kind dispensations of His will and providence, have been called to minister as one of the Twelve Apostles to bear off the Gospel to the nations of the earth, that it is any less needful for me, so far as my own soul is concerned, to enjoy the Spirit of God always than it is that you should. I shall be nothing more than saved when I have got all the way through, or as far along as it may be my lot to progress.
"But," says one, "Won't it be good for us if we do as we are told?" Yes. What will be the result? You will not always be under the necessity of being so miserably poor that you have to go out in the night to your neighbours to borrow a candle. Do people live this way? Yes. I have lived on borrowed light. How long? Until I got a candle of my own. Until the principles of truth became established in me, I lived on the strength of the instructions and light of heaven that dwelt in others, reflected by them on my path,--I followed along by the light of a borrowed candle. How long? Until the Saviour's words were fulfilled, and the promise verified in myself, and the light of inspiration was planted in my own soul; then the blessings of light and truth came rolling upon me like a river.
Would to God that all the Saints enjoyed this light. What would be the result? There would be more practical purity, more righteous actions, and less evil in the community,--more of the Spirit of God, as a natural consequence, because every Saint would be possessed of a living fountain of light and truth--that inspiration which inspires the Apostle, enlightens the mind of the Prophet, tears away the vail from the future, and enables man to look upon and contemplate the excellencies of our Father's kingdom.
It was in view of this that on a certain time, when report was made to one of the ministers of truth that some of the congregation of Israel were prophesying, the reply was, "Would to God that all the people were prophets." Why? Then they would all have the light of truth in them, and the knowledge of truth that would save them.
If this was the case, what would be among the results? Sinners in Zion would be afraid, and fearfulness would surprise the hypocrite. Why? Because they would feel uneasy, for this simple reason--they would know they are not honest, and they would be afraid lest they should be overtaken in their guilt.
This, my brethren and sisters, is the "Mormonism" I feel; it is the "Mormonism" I preach--that I have when I pray--that I have about me every day. It is the "Mormonism" I have when I wake up at night, and that I keep with me all night, if I do not go to sleep. Is it good to me? It is. Is it salvation to me? It is. Why? Because it frees me from evil and enables me to live without committing the amount of sin that I would commit if it were not for its presence.
The best reason that I can give you for its being good is that it has been good to me; it has done me good. I might tell you that the Gospel is true, because the ministers of truth say so, have testified so, lived for it, and died for it, in ages gone by; but I do not know so well how they have felt; I do not understand so perfectly; I cannot comprehend with the same clearness how it was that they felt, as I can understand how I have felt myself.
When people tall me they have felt as I have, or, in describing their feelings, I find they have experienced what I have, though I know what I have experienced better than I know what anybody else has experienced: yet, if they have the truth, I also have the truth; and if they are saved by it, then I may hope to be saved by it. This is what I would like to see the Saints enjoy--a knowledge of the truth, and that knowledge to have such an influence over them that they would cease to do any wrong whatever.
When there is no wrong done, how much sin would there be committed in the length and breadth of the land of Zion among the Saints? If there was no individual to do a wrong, I am under the impression it would take a good or a bad mathematician to calculate the amount of sin that would be committed.
Says one, "We expect to see that day." You do? When there will be no sin? When? "Why, it is that better day that is coming by and by." What is going to bring it about? Upon what principle do you ever expect to see the time when there will be no sinners in the land? Will it be when the grace of God is manifested in some strange or different way from what it has been to you? "We suppose so, as a matter of course, because we see sins committed now every day." Do you know of any good that has been done? "Yes, a good deal." What does it consist of? "Good has been done in the condition of the people as the result of reformation. They have spoken more truth and less falsehood than they did; there is less hypocrisy, less tattling and evil speaking; the people do not think of quite so many evil things to do, and consequently, they do not do much evil: that is the way this change has been brought about."
And did you ever think for a moment that this was the principle, and the only one upon which sin would be driven away and its power effectually broken upon the face of all the earth? Says one, "The Devil has got to be bound." And do you know what kind of a chain he will be bound with? What will deprive him of power? When there is no person upon the face of the earth that will listen to his insinuations or yield to the impulses of his influence to perpetrate evil, how much power will the Devil have on earth?
I want you to look at this; I want you to remember that whenever there is a diminution of evil in the community, it is because the people do less wrong than they did; they are more faithful, more truthful, more righteous, more holy, and are making greater progression and advancement towards the consummation of the work of God. It is by the development in them of the principles of righteousness and the establishment of those principles in them to the exclusion of every other principle and feeling. When this is effected, our salvation and redemption are secure. When we do right exclusively, and no wrong, we have nothing to fear. When this becomes the case with the people, will the kingdom of God be built up? Yes, in the hearts of the Saints.
Says one, "Won't it be built up externally too? Yes; but it is a simple matter to build up the kingdom so far as houses, palaces, and thrones are concerned, only get the principles of the kingdom of God built up and established within yourselves. Then you will simply have arrived at the point that you will live your religion; that is, the light that is in you will be the spirit of your religion operating upon you, and in you, and through you, and over you, and round about you, that your whole being and everything pertaining to your existence will be under its sacred and hallowed influences. Do not settle down and think you are living your religion because you have done a few good things, because you are a little more faithful than you were last year, and because the Lord is blessing us this year with plenty. Remember, and keep it constantly in view, that there is much improvement to make, much to gain, and much to learn.
You want to have your religion established within you--a living fountain from which the principles of eternal life and truth will flow out and pervade your active being, regulating your actions and conduct in such a way that everything connected with your life shall be in perfect harmony with the truth; then you will live your religion, then you wont need to be waked up in the night, and somebody come along with borrowed light to place it in your habitation; you would have one there all the time, so far as the light of truth and of your religion is concerned: it would be in you all the time, always trimmed, always burning.
If an evil spirit comes to us to tempt us to do evil--if we resist that spirit, what will be the result? The Devil will go away. When he comes again, and only meets with the same treatment, with the same success, and finds that he cannot get us to say an evil thing or do an evil deed, how long will he tempt us? He would soon come to the rational conclusion not to go there again; he would find it a speculation that would be of no profit to him, while his defeat is our victory.
Whenever evil things, evil thoughts have possession of our bosoms, and we have not spoken a word--not given the thought shape, form, and signification to those around us, who knows of it? Nobody. Who is injured? Nobody. There is no harm done, no stealing, no murder committed, no slander perpetrated, no falsehood told. What has been done? The spirit that would instigate evil has been subdued within us, and we have died a death unto sin, and have individually become alive unto righteousness. One of the best things I ever heard in my life was a simple thing that President Young taught here some time past, which was, that it is not always right to speak the things we think. It is just as necessary that you should be able to think and not speak as to think and speak; the one is just as necessary as the other to your salvation. "But," says one, "is it not just as bad to think it as to speak it?" Why, thinking never killed anybody. Suppose a man had a thought in his mind that he would kill me, if he did not do it, you know, as far as I am concerned, I would live. But suppose, acting on the old adage, that it is no worse to do it than to think it, and he had laid wait for me by the road side and taken away my life, what would have been the consequence? Then the sin of murder would have been on his soul.
It is the same with every wrong thought and evil suggestion that may occur to your minds. What will be done if you act on this principle? The Father at home, if he thinks a wrong thing, won't say it. The wife and mother will do the same; and what will be the result? Harmony in the domestic circle will never be destroyed by evil speaking. What then? If harmony be there, the Spirit of God will be there. Why? Because it delights to dwell in a quiet place; it does not love contention; it is no friend to strife; it is not fond of bickering or saying hard things. The Spirit of God will come and take his abode with us, if we prepare our minds for its reception, and make it welcome, and study to cultivate a feeling that is congenial with its own nature.
It is with the Holy Spirit as it is with us. When we seek to gratify ourselves in the associations around us, for whom do we seek in such a time? We seek individuals whose tastes and feelings are congenial to our own, whose "Mormonism" is like ours, whose regard for truth is like our own. Then what do we enjoy? A free, frank, unrestrained feeling and sentiment: we pour out the feelings of our souls; there is a principle of reciprocity existing between the parties.
So it is with the Holy Spirit of truth. Where it finds a mind so regulated that there is an affinity and congeniality between that mind and itself, there is the place where it will dwell; and when that mind becomes so trained in the truth as to be completely and perfectly subject to its influence, it will remain there constantly and unceasingly; it will not pay a casual visit, but take up its constant abode with that individual, and then its light is there, revelation is there, inspiration is there; it is there to increase in intensity, extent, and in power; it is there to continually pour out upon that soul the unceasing, unbroken tide of life. Then the fountain of life becomes established in the soul; that fountain is flowing continually and unceasingly. Even as the blood passes through the heart to the extremities of our physical system at every pulsation, so also the Spirit of truth pervades our being.
Do I believe "Mormonism" to be true? Do I know it to be true? Yes, I do? Why? Because it has saved me. It has saved me in the first place from ignorance, and then it has saved me from its consequences--that is, to the extent to which it has imparted to me knowledge; and it has imparted to me knowledge according to my faith and devotion to the truth, and the extent to which I have laboured to subject myself to the influence of its sacred principles.
People suppose, perhaps, that myself and those similarly situated in this work have a great deal to do for others; but my work is for myself. It is for myself that I preach, that I go abroad, that I come home again; it is for myself that I do all I do.
You may say I am selfish. Why? Because I promised my Father, when I went into the waters of baptism, that I would obey His commandments as they were made known to me. I made Him that brief promise, and it has cost me all that "Mormonism" has cost me. It has cost me all the toil and labour that has been crowded into my history during the past twenty-five years of my life, to keep that little covenant.
My father promised me, if I would keep His commandments, I should be saved. Then whom am I working for? For brother Amasa. My interest, my life, money, if I have any, my honour, my salvation, my all is in the kingdom of God. I have not any thing anywhere else; and, as I said, before, if I knew there was a shred of my whole being that was not baptized into the spirit of "Mormonism," and into this universal love and devotion to it, I would want to hunt it out before I slept, and have it baptized with the same feeling.
I imagine to myself I have the spirit of a Saint--the spirit of "Mormonism." Why? Because I have laboured to be obedient, faithful, and true, to maintain my integrity; and the result is manifested in the spirit I have felt and still feel. If this is not "Mormonism," I am in a good place to be told wherein it falls short; and when I learn what "Mormonism" is, if I have not learned it, I shall begin to learn it: I have made up my mind for that.
I feel the Spirit of God just as pure a source of comfort to me when I am away as when I am here. "Do you feel as well when you are away?" No; for I lack the comfort and the genial influence that hovers here like a deathless flame over the congregations of the Saints.
This is my testimony of "Mormonism," as I have felt it, realized it, experienced it, and lived in it,--not as I lived in it last year, but to-day. To-day is the best day I ever saw; to-day is the most blessed of any day I ever passed since I lived on the earth, because to-day shows me the greatest increase of those things that constitute the greatness, glory, happiness, and blessedness of the Saints; and to-morrow will be the same, in respect to these matters, and more abundantly.
That this may be the case with us is my humble prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
LIVE-GIVING INFLUENCE OF MORMONISM--THE BINDING OF SATAN--THE BASIS OF HIS CLAIMS--CLEANLINESS--PREPARATION.
Remarks by President D. H. Wells, made at the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, March 22, 1857.
Brethren and sisters,--I feel it a privilege to have a part in the work of the latter days, and I feel thankful that I have been brought upon the stage of existence in this period of time. It is a privilege which you all enjoy as well as myself, and one which we should appreciate more than we do. When we reflect upon the misery and degradation that prevail in the world, we ought to highly prize the privilege we enjoy.
I heard one remark in the forenoon that he looked younger than he did twenty years ago. This brought to my mind what I had heretofore observed among what we term the world's people. Men and women plod along in the "even tenour of their way" for fifteen, twenty, or more years, and become perfectly rusty--as rusty as iron that has been long exposed to the action of the elements. But let the Spirit of truth come upon persons and their minds expand, and you at once see a difference in their countenances. Who among us has not noticed this? I know that the Spirit of the Lord gives life, and that men grow younger when they come into this kingdom and live their religion. This is true, although unbelievers may make sport of it. I know that the feelings of the righteous are enlivened, their flesh and blood are quickened, and they become a glorious people; they receive and enjoy the Spirit of the Lord.
Look at the nations of the earth, and see them plodding along without improvement in the knowledge of the things of God--without being touched in their spirits with the life giving power, and they rust out; they do not enjoy themselves near so much as do the "Mormons," who enjoy themselves a great deal better than any people within my knowledge; for it is a peculiarity of "Mormonism" that its followers enjoy themselves. Upon the Plains you can see them dancing and kicking up their heels. There is not much formal sanctity about them; and in this particular they are also right; for the Lord loves a cheerful heart and a buoyant spirit; and those who receive the Spirit of the Lord are full of life and animation. They are not apt to have the "blues;" or if at times they do, they do not go into their graves with that complaint. They are ready to do anything that will subserve the interests of the kingdom of God and their religion, even though it may be contrary to their natural feelings. This is one principle that makes us so different from the world; the "Mormons" know that all is right, if they carry out the instructions given them.
It is a fact, whether you believe it or not, that this people were getting into their old sectarian traditions: they were getting so that they had not time to do scarcely anything to the cause of God, and they had begun to be very dull and sleepy. It has been with them as the Lord said in the parable, when the men slept the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat.
Now we are livened up again, we feel the lively emotions of the Spirit of God, and we are ready to do anything that may be counselled by whoever has the right to counsel. We are ready to walk in the path of strict obedience. Let us keep right from this time forth, and not go to sleep again, nor let the enemy sow tares as he did before.
We have no need of being roused from a state of lethargy, if we will let the Spirit lead us; and the Lord will prosper us; for the man and the woman that keeps His Spirit is right: with it the people can bring as much again to pass as they can otherwise. They are stronger in their minds and in their judgments, and are more capable of gathering around them the comforts of life for their subsistence. Instead of "Mormonism" disqualifying us, it qualifies us for all things that ought to be done. Let us be careful not to allow the enemy to come and sow tares, but keep alive to the duties enjoined upon us.
I have a few words to say to the Bishops. Much has been said to them, and I attribute a large share of the improved condition of the people to their faithful instructions. They have done much; but still there is one thing more to which I wish to direct their attention. There are many people who do not know how to set themselves advantageously to work. We call the Bishops the Fathers of the Wards; and, by the exercise of a little care and judgment, they can do much towards putting many of the people in a better way for obtaining a living, and thereby strengthen their feeble knees. A man lately came to me from the north who had land and team, but no seed, and wanted to be put in the way to get a living. I gave him a note to his Bishop. What should be the duty of that Bishop? He should say, I will find you seed this spring, and you can pay it back after harvest. In this manner such individuals may easily be placed in the way for obtaining their own support.
This Gospel brings the silk weavers, potters, and many other tradesmen from the old country; and many could form a vessel who have only learned a single branch of a trade. It often happens, in the manufacture of earthenware, that one turns the clay, another bakes it, and another burns it; but neither can operate in the department of another. Until there are openings here for such mechanics, they labour under many disadvantages. There are hundreds of such persons in your Wards; and what does it become you to do in such cases? To take pains and plan to make their services of some use and profit. The Bishops and their counsellors and assistants should have a wise oversight of such persons, and devise ways and means for them to raise vegetables and grain. They should plan some kind of employment that will make them and their families useful. Put them in a position that will enable them to procure a subsistence and do good for themselves and the great cause in which we are engaged. It is a duty that we owe society to use our influence to build each other up, that we may be united and become strong and able, and by assisting the poor and strengthening the feeble, become a people in whom the Lord will have delight, and assist in bringing to pass His purposes.
Do we realize what these purposes are? Saints who have received the Gospel and live their religion know, by the vibrations of the heart and the operations of the Spirit, what they are. The Lord's people will become exceedingly numerous; they are rising fast; and the responsibilities of this kingdom will rest upon the sons of Zion, and He will hasten His work in its time. The day will come in which the earth will tremble and the nations quake with fear because of the wickedness of her inhabitants.
We read that Satan shall be bound a thousand years. How is this to be accomplished? By our becoming so impregnated with the principles of the Gospel--with the Holy Ghost--that the enemy will have no place in us or in our families, and shedding forth that influence in our neighbourhoods. The adversary is first to be driven from ourselves, then from our families, then from our neighbours, next from our Territory, and eventually from the nations, until he shall find no place upon the face of the whole earth: then will he not be bound? Yes, so far as this earth is concerned; and that is the way in which it is to be done, in my humble opinion. He will be chained to all intents and purposes when he can have no influence--no power--no tabernacles into which he can enter: he will then have no place of entertainment. When he finds that he is cornered that close, will he not consider himself bound? I think he will, whether he thinks so or not.
This is a work at which we can all labour; for it is by our united efforts that Zion will be produced in our own bosoms, in this city, in our Territory, or anywhere else. If we will do this, and be united as the heart of one man, we shall banish Satan from our presence, and eventually from this earth; and this we have to do. If we resist him, he will flee from us; and you know that the Lord is quick to answer, if we rightly call upon Him for assistance. We shall be made exceedingly numerous and strong, and shall be able to build up a temple to the name of our God.
We are a good people; the Lord loves us, and it will be His delight to bless us more and more. And the more we are capable of receiving, the more He will give; for the heavens are ready to drop with blessings: but we also have a work to perform. We can preach and do much, but we must do still more than we have done.
If we can banish Satan from our presence, we shall do a good work; for he it is who steps in and causes bickerings and strife. But if we will be wide awake, and not let the enemy come in, there will be no bickerings or strife, and we will be able to move the heavens and the earth if necessary; we will be able to drive Satan from our midst, with all the kindred spirits that are seeking our destruction.
Shall we take this course? Or shall we be like the sectarian world, and suffer ourselves to wither and dry up, and have no strength? Before us are light and joy, and an entrance into the celestial kingdom of our God; on the other hand are degradation, poverty, and misery, such as we know nothing about. Let us be alive to our business; for it is our business and interest to look to the upbuilding of the kingdom of God, not only in spiritual, but in temporal matters.
We are constituted to need food and the necessary facilities and appliances for operating successfully, such as the cattle, horses, and the various conveniences for carrying on business. They are all the Lord's, and He will bless us with those things that are for our good and comfort. If we are faithful we shall increase in the things of God. The devil can claim no right to the blessings of the Lord; for those things belong to the Saints: therefore let us do all we can for the building up of the kingdom of God, and He will furnish us all we need; for all belongs to Him. No part of the human family belongs to the Devil, unless they sell themselves to him. But the Lord cannot consistently bless us, unless He knows that we will serve Him and make a good use of what He bestows.
Let us be faithful, alive to our duties, and perform our mission upon the earth we inhabit, no matter what it is that we have been sent to do. Let us seek not the Lord Almighty, and ask for His Spirit to be with us; and if we are faithful He will give it, for He regardeth those who are faithful. We read that He giveth liberally to those who ask of Him, and upbraideth not. Let us not be lazy, but let us ever be alive to the interests of the kingdom of God, and expend our time and strength for the interest and benefit of that kingdom; for the Devil has had the use and benefit of this world nearly long enough.
I feel as though we were all going to do better in future. I feel that this is the intention of this people; for I see them feel alive to each other's interests. I saw this manifested last fall; and every call that is made upon them they feel anxious to comply with to the utmost. And they feel richer with half the means than they did before, and they will have means doubled and trebled upon them. I am not guessing at this, for I know that it is, if we will only use those means and blessings in the service of our God. If we will entirely cease serving the Devil, we will be still more obviously better and richer than any people upon the face of the earth.
Treasure up the words of wisdom that we hear from time to time, and be cleanly in our persons and in our habitations; for the Holy Ghost will not dwell in unholy temples. It is an insult to the Holy Spirit for us to be filthy, and it may be grieved away if we do not observe cleanliness. Be careful to treasure these things up in your minds. Keep the commandments of God; do not take His name in vain; do not be seen loafing about at the corners of the streets, and spending your time in idleness. When you go to plough and plant, ask God to bless the ground and the seed, and let us have His blessing on all that we do, and have our faith centred upon the things that we are called upon to perform, and we shall be blessed and prospered, and will see the work of the Almighty roll forth with might and power, even until we shall redeem Zion and build a temple upon the consecrated spot, where it is said that the glory of God shall rest upon it as a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night.
Are we now prepared for the coming of the Son of Man and for the resurrection? Do we ever think of this? Brethren and sisters, let us be faithful, keep our covenants, and press onward until that time shall come. Important events and duties transpire quite as fast as we are prepared for them; therefore let us round up our shoulders--gird up our loins; and if we can bear greater burdens, there is more coming, and we shall have all that we can do.
If we will not do this, the Lord can raise up a people that will. The hearts of all men are in His hands; and if we do not appreciate the blessings given, He will give them to somebody else. Ancient Israel transgressed, and would not keep the covenants and obey the Lord; consequently, they could not enter into the promised land. But was it much trouble to raise up a people that would? No.
May the Lord bless us, and enable us to keep our covenants and be faithful continually, is my prayer, through Christ our Redeemer. Amen.
ISRAEL TO BE EXALTED BY RIGHTEOUSNESS--THE ELDERS SHOULD AT ALL TIMES REBUKE INIQUITY.
Remarks by Elder F. D. Richards, made in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday morning, March 22, 1857.