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Where the Wicked Go - Continual Opposition to and Prejudice Against the Truth - The Judges and the Delegate of Utah - The Spirit of God and the Spirit of the World - Potency of the Gospel.
An address delivered by President B. Young in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, June 19, 1853.
I do not feel like making a military or a political speech on the present occasion; but I wish to say a few words in reference to some of the items that have occupied the tongue and the lips of so many of this community.
The expression, "Old Zechariah Taylor is dead and in hell, and I am glad of it," which the returning officers, in their Report, alleged was said by me, I do not know that I ever thought of, until I heard Brocchus himself mention it on the stand in the Old Bowery. When he made the statement there, I simply bore testimony to the truth of it. But until then, I do not know that it ever came into my mind whether Taylor was in hell or not, any more than it did that any other wicked man was there. I suppose he is where all the ignorant wicked are gone, and where they will continue to go. The Bible declares that the Lord Almighty turns the wicked into hell, with all the nations that forget God. But I did not suppose that Zechariah Taylor could be classed with those that forget God, for he never knew anything about Him. I am confident that such a thing was never mentioned by me.
When wicked men die--Zechariah Taylor, or any other wicked man, they go to hell. This has been explained to a congregation in this hall by Elder Hyde, and also in the Frontier Guardian. If as good a man as Jesus Christ went to hell, we may well expect that a wicked and ungodly man will go there to atone for his sins. Enough upon that matter: suffice it to say, that all, when they die, go somewhere; and if the people want to know particularly where they are going when they die, let them read the Bible and learn. As for this people, as for the disturbances and Reports of the returned judges, as for the say so of one nation, and all the nations upon the earth, I am entirely unconcerned; but I hope one thing concerning this people and kingdom of God which are established upon the earth, that they will turn neither to the right nor to the left, but maintain continually a steady and unslackened pace to build up the cause of truth. Let small men or large men, officers of state or citizens, kings or beggars, say or do what they please, it is all the same to the Almighty. The king upon his throne, the president in his chair, the judges upon the bench, and the beggar in the street, are all overruled in their actions by the Almighty God of heaven and earth. Who can successfully fight against Him? All persons who are acquainted with this kingdom, who knew Joseph Smith from his boyhood, from the time the Lord revealed to him where the plates containing the matter in the Book of Mormon were deposited, from the time the first revelation was given to him, and as far back as he was known, in anywise whatever, as a person professing to have received a visitation from heaven--all must know that as much priestcraft as was then within the circle of the knowledge of Joseph Smith, Jun., he had to bear on his back, and to lift from time to time. On the other hand, as his name spread abroad, and the principles of the Gospel began to be more extensively taught, in the same proportion he had more to bear. The Lord began to raise him up, and endow him with wisdom and power that astonished both his friends and his foes. Did Joseph rise? He did. Did his influence grow and spread far and wide? It did. Under what circumstances? Why, with all the influence and power that could possibly be arrayed against him, by priests and people, by doctors and lawyers, judges and juries, backed up by the whole mass of the wicked world. All this he had to raise up, and carry with him.
If anything oppose the progress of this great work, if any person, whether great or small, should stand in the way of it, do you suppose it will stop? Do you think the great car will stay in its onward progress, because some infernal scoundrel stands on the track? No; but the wheels will roll over him, and crush him, until, like the pig brother Bernhisel spoke of, he will "die all over."
I admit it is hard for our Elders, for our brethren that are abroad, when anything of a transverse nature occurs in the midst of this people, especially in our present organization. It is hard for our Elders to meet with interruptions in their course, to meet with, and have to combat, the prejudices of the people. But who causes prejudice against this people? Do they cause it themselves? No. It is the wicked. They court it, and nourish and cherish it; they suck it in like the infant child the mother's milk, they love it, they languish for it; it is their food, it is their life. Why do they love it? Because it is falsehood.
Do the righteous of this people cause persecution to come upon themselves? No. Do the principles of the Gospel create prejudice and persecution against them? No. But it is the disposition of the wicked to oppose the principles of truth and righteousness, which cause it.
When the officers returned from this territory to the States, did we send them away? We did not. But I will tell you what I did, and what I will do again--I did chastise the mean ruffian, the poor miserable creature, who came here by the name of Brocchus, when he arose before this people to preach to them, and tell them of meanness which he supposed they were guilty of, and traduce their character. But they bore the insult like Saints of God. It is true, as it is said in the Report of these officers, if I had crooked my little finger, he would have been used up, but I did not bend it. If I had, the sisters alone felt indignant enough to have chopped him in pieces. I did not, however, do it, but suffered him to fill up the measure of his shame and iniquity until his cup is running over. He was not hurt in the least.
With regard to the four different Reports of those judges, which were in existence at the same time, brother Bernhisel seems to wonder how they came. I know how they came. Some friends of those judges, thinking they could better the matter for them, were the authors of those extra Reports. But those friends found that the Reports did not answer their expectations, and those officers themselves would not acknowledge who wrote them. In this instance, they over-shot their mark, and foiled, in a signal manner, their own purposes.
There is one circumstance the doctor did not relate, which is worthy of notice. Secretary Harris stated that he did sign Doctor Bernhisel's certificate, but that he was intimidated by Governor Young, and dare not but do it. How could this be, when no person knew about this signing, but the doctor and Harris? Thus every man that operates against the truth, will forestall himself, and be confounded by his own arguments and operations in every movement and act that he shall perform; it will all work to his own injury and disgrace. Every man that comes to impose upon this people, no matter by whom they are sent, or who they are that are sent, lay the axe at the root of the tree to kill themselves. I will do as I said I would, last Conference. Apostates, or men who never made any profession of religion, had better be careful how they come here, lest I should bend my little finger.
If the congregation wish to know if we are well situated for territorial officers at the present time, I will say, for their information, I believe we are. I will speak for this people, and say, we cannot be situated better in that respect than we are at the present time, so far as we know. One of our judges, Judge Shaver, has been here through the winter, and, as far as he is known, he is a straightforward, judicious, upright man, and a good adjudicator in the law. This I believe, and so do others who are acquainted with his acts. He cannot be beaten among Jews or Gentiles. He and Judge Reid, who has lately arrived, I believe will do the best they can, and all is right. They have not come here with the impression that we are going to send them as our delegates to Washington, as others did, so they are not disappointed. As far as I know, we are just as well situated in this respect as we need ask to be.
I have no fears whatever of Franklin Pierce excusing me from office, and saying that another man shall be the Governor of this territory. At the beginning of our settlements here, when we sent Almon W. Babbit to Washington with our Constitution for a State Government, and to ask leave to adopt it, he requested that I should not sign my name to it as Governor; "for" said he, "if you do, it will thwart all your plans." I said, "My name will go as it is in that document, and stay there from this time henceforth and for ever. Now," I continued, "if you do not believe it, you may go to Washington, and give those papers to Doctor Bernhisel, and operate against him, and against our getting a State Government, and you cannot hinder it, I will be Governor still, after you have done every thing you possibly can to prevent it."
We have got a Territorial Government, and I am and will be Governor, and no power can hinder it, until the Lord Almighty says, "Brigham, you need not be Governor any longer;" and then I am willing to yield to another Governor. I have told you the truth about that. I entertain no concern about it, or about the changing of any of our other officers; we are well enough off in this respect at present.
It came into my mind when brother Bernhisel was speaking, and the same thing strikes me now, that is, inasmuch as he has done first-rate, as our delegate in Washington, to move that we send him again next season, though it is the Sabbath Day. I understand these things, and say as other people say, "We are Mormons." We do things that are necessary to be done, when the time comes for us to do them. If we wish to make political speeches, and it is necessary, for the best interest of the cause and kingdom of God, to make them on the Sabbath, we do it. Now, suffer not your prejudices to hurt you, do not suffer this to try you, nor be tempted in consequence of it, nor think we are wandering out of the way, for it is all embraced in our religion, from first to last.
Brother Kimball has seconded the motion, that Doctor Bernhisel be sent back to Washington, as our delegate. All who are in favour of it, raise your right hands. [More than two thousand hands were at once seen above the heads of the congregation.]
This has turned into a caucus meeting. It is all right. I would call for an opposite vote if I thought any person would vote. I will try it, however. [Not a single hand was raised in opposition.]
I will now say, not only to our delegate to Congress, but to the Elders who leave the body of the Church, that he thought that all the cats and kittens were let out of the bag when brother Pratt went back last fall, and published the Revelation concerning the plurality of wives: it was thought there was no other cat to let out. But allow me to tell you, Elders of Israel, and delegates to Congress, you may expect an eternity of cats, that have not yet escaped from the bag. Bless your souls, there is no end to them, for if there is not one thing, there will always be another.
Do you suppose that this people will ever see the day that they will rest in perfect security, in hopes of becoming like another people, nation, state, kingdom, or society? They never will. Christ and Satan never can be friends. Light and darkness will always remain opposites. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan will always remain two kingdoms; and so long as they are, you will find from time to time that the citizens of Satan's kingdom will be telling you of cats that are ready to leap out of the bag, of something that is wonderful and alarming in its nature, as much so as the circumstance which brother Bernhisel touched at, which created a great excitement in Washington--that we had revolted from the parent Government, and hoisted the flag of our independence. I know how that report originated. The letter containing this startling intelligence, and purporting to have been received at California from this place, was written in Washington. After the originators had failed in their object, they supposed that nothing more would be said about it, but the whole of the United States believed the report to be true, and thought that all the citizens in Utah were rebels.
Do you understand the reason why such feelings exist against this people? Go to the United States, into Europe, or wherever you can come across men who have been in the midst of this people, and one will tell you that we are a poor, ignorant, deluded people; the next will tell you that we are the most industrious and intelligent people on the earth, and are destined to rise to eminence as a nation, and spread, and continue to spread, until we revolutionize the whole earth. If you pass on to the third man, and inquire what he thinks of the "Mormons," he will say they are fools, duped and led astray by Joe Smith, who was a knave, a false Prophet, and a money digger. Why is all this? It is because there is a spirit in man. And when the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached on the earth, and the kingdom of God is established, there is also a spirit in these things, and an Almighty spirit too. When these two spirits come in contact one with the other, the spirit of the Gospel reflects light upon the spirit which God has placed in man, and wakes him up to a consciousness of his true state, which makes him afraid he will be condemned, for he perceives at once that "Mormonism" is true. "Our craft is in danger," is the first thought that strikes the wicked and dishonest of mankind, when the light of truth shines upon them. Say they, "If these people called Latter-day Saints are correct in their views, the whole world must be wrong, and what will become of our time-honoured institutions, and of our influence, which we have swayed successfully over the minds of the people for ages. This Mormonism must be put down." So priestcraft presents a bold and extended front against the truth, and with this we have to contend, this is our deadliest foe.
Why should there be any more excitement when a public officer is chastised in Utah for publicly insulting a loyal people, than there would be if a similar occurrence transpired in Oregon, Minnesota, or any other territory? It is because we are Latter-day Saints. And let me tell you the Devil has put the whole world on the watch against us. It is impossible for us to make the least move without exciting, if not all the world, at least a considerable portion of it. They are excited at what we do, and, strange to relate, they are no less excited at what we do not do.
You will find that there will be cats and kittens leaping out of the bag continually. "What can come next, I wonder!" I do not know; but this I know, the Lord Almighty will not suffer the Saints, neither the world, to slumber upon their oars. The time is past for them to fold their hands, and say, "Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands." This people will never see that day, for the Lord will keep them on the alert all the time; they will continually have something to contend with to keep them from dropping to sleep, and it is no matter to me as to what means He may use to do it.
Inasmuch as we send brother Bernhisel back to Washington, I say to him, Fear not their faces, nor their power, for we are perfectly prepared to take all the nations of the earth on our back; they are there already, and we will round up our shoulders, and bear up the ponderous weight, carry the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth, gather Israel, redeem Zion, and continue our operations until we bind Satan, and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ; and no power can hinder it.
I care not what may come, I will do the work the Lord has appointed unto me. You do the same, and fear not, for the Lord manages the helm of the ship of Zion; and on any other ship I do not wish to be. As I once said to Sydney Rigdon, our boat is an old snag boat, and has never been out of snag harbor, but it will root up the snags, run them down, split them up, and scatter them to the four winds. Our ship is the old ship of Zion. Nothing that runs foul of it can resist the shock and fire.
The hue and cry in the world about this people is--"What an awful set of people these Mormons are! Why, they are a dreadful people!" What makes them so? "They are Mormons." And that is all the people can say about the matter.
Do you know what it is that scares the world? As I have already said, it is the Spirit of the Lord that is placed in man, and the reflection of light from it upon his spirit wakes up the sensibilities in him, and creates conviction. That Spirit, with the Gospel of Christ, interrupts the whole world in their common career, in every capacity of life. That Spirit does not chime in and harmonize with any earthly kingdom or government, either in their political or religious institutions; but it seems to put a check upon every thing, to throw into disorder the best laid plans of the wise and far-seeing among men; in short, it turns the whole current of earthly calculations back upon the world, and deluges it in the dark waters of confusion.
As this kingdom of God knows, spreads, increases, and prospers in its course, it will cleanse, thoroughly purge, and purify the world from wickedness. He who supposes his house to be built upon a rock, and well calculated to withstand any test that may be applied to it, finds, when it is tried by the Gospel of the kingdom, that its foundation proves to be sand, and the whole fabric appears nothing in which a man may securely trust for salvation. One of the weakest of our Elders, I mean one of our boys, who is conversant with the Bible, is well qualified to instruct the learned priest, confound in Bible doctrine the greatest theologians upon the earth, and throw into confusion, and interrupt, and fill with contradictions and inconsistencies, their choicest theories.
Imagine to yourselves a learned doctor of divinity, securely surrounded with the bulwarks of his religious lore, pampered with the applause of thousands who hang on his skirts for religious instructions; he is satisfied that he knows and understands the Bible from the beginning to the end of it, and is capable of withstanding all creation upon Bible doctrine, and is as well skilled in theological researches as a man can be--imagine this great man sailing triumphantly over the sea of time, and the little unassuming bark, the boy, darts along, and strikes this proud hulk, this great, tremendous vessel, and pierces it through below the water mark; it begins to sink, and turns to make battle, but the little craft hits it on the keel and capsizes it, sinking it in shame and bitter disappointment. Such will be the fate of all who will oppose the truth.
The report of the Gospel of Jesus Christ terrifies the people, it goes forth with such gigantic strides. When this Church first commenced, I used to say to the people, "If you do not like my preaching, when I do the best I can, I cannot help it, but if you will let us alone, and suffer us peaceably to enjoy our religion, we shall enjoy ourselves better together, as friends, neighbors, and citizens. If you will come to my house, I will give you your dinner and your supper, I will treat you hospitably, as one friend ought to treat another; and when I come into your neighborhood, do the same to me, for, in pursuing this course, we shall feel much better than if we suffered a difference of opinion to make us enemies. I will tell you what we will do--we will preach the Gospel, and revolutionize the whole earth, that is, if you will let us alone, but if you persecute us, we will do it quicker." This places the wicked in the same circumstances as the drunken man, who would fall down if he tried to stand, and fall if he tried to walk. So, if they will let us alone, we will evangelize the whole earth; and if they do not, we will do it the quicker.
How often, to all human appearance, has this kingdom been blotted out from the earth, but the Lord has put His hand over the people, and it has passed through, and come out two, three, and four times larger than before. Our enemies have kicked us and cuffed us, and driven us from pillar to post, and we have multiplied and increased the more, until we have become what we are this day, in possession of a territory with an appropriate government. Let them still continue to persecute us, and who cares? If they will let us alone, we will preach the Gospel to all nations, and gather Israel. If they continue to abuse us, we will overrun them entirely, until all shall be brought in subjection to the will of heaven.
Do not be afraid, whether you are at Washington or anywhere else, for we will progress. I say to brother Bernhisel and everybody else, Put your shoulders to the wheel, and do not go from this place with your hearts in your mouths, you that go to the nations, and be so faint that you have need to carry a bottle of camphor with you, but go like men of great hearts, and say, in the midst of your enemies--I stand here in the name of Him who sent me, and who has called me to defend the truth, which I am determined to do, whether I live or die.
God bless you all, brethren, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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