Infidelity of the Christian World—Duties and Responsibilities of the Saints—Necessity of a Temple, and Works in Behalf of the Dead

Discourse by Elder Wilford Woodruff, delivered at the Forty-Sixth Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Thursday Morning, April 6, 1876.

“Who am I, saith the Lord, that I command and am not obeyed? Who am I, saith the Lord, that I promise and do not fulfill?” We have again the privilege of assembling ourselves together upon another Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I hope and trust that, what time we may spend in Conference, our hearts may be lifted up unto the Lord, that his Holy Spirit may be given unto us, that we may be dictated and directed in our words, thoughts, acts, and teachings, in such a manner that we may be justified before him.

We have said, time after time, and year after year, that we live in a very peculiar age, generation and dispensation, and this is true. Time rolls on, carrying with it its events, and fulfilling the revelations of God, unto us especially. We live in a day of darkness; unbelief and infidelity are covering the whole face of the earth, until it seems as though the whole Christian world had lost all hold of faith in God and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Bible, the revelation of God to man. And this being the case, if the Lord has any people on the face of the earth, they should be increasing in faith in him. You let a Christian come here, no matter who, whether he be a minister, professor, or believer, or anyone who professes to believe in the Bible, and let him ask an Elder in Israel—“Do you really believe, in your soul, sincerely before the Lord, that Mormonism is true?” When the Elder answers him “yes,” he is about as much astonished as we were yesterday when these magazines exploded. The fact of it is, as I said before, the world do not believe in God or in revelation, and they marvel very greatly to find any man who has really got independence of mind enough to stand up and say—“I believe that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, and I believe in the revelations that were given through him; I believe in the literal fulfillment of prophecy, as written in the Bible.” To hear men say this astonishes the Latter-day Saints to see the amount of darkness and infidelity that are abroad in the earth. Hence, as Latter-day Saints, I think it requires on our part an increase of faithfulness in the practice of our religion, and in the various revelations of God contained in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

We see before our eyes, year after year, the signs of heaven and of earth, and the fulfillment of prophecy, but how much are we as a people increasing in faith in God? Do we increase in that respect in proportion to the increase of infidelity in the world? Perhaps I am not a judge, but it appears to me that we do not comprehend. The work in which we are engaged, and the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, are just as true today as they were twenty, thirty, or forty years ago, when we shouldered our knapsacks and valises, and traveled on foot from city to city, State to State, and from country to country, to preach the word of God without money and without price, trusting in the living God to sustain and uphold us in our mission. I say that this work is just as true now as then, and so is the saying which I quoted—“Who am I, saith the Lord, that I command and am not obeyed? Who am I, saith the Lord, that I promise and do not fulfill?” I believe that the Lord will fulfill what he says; I believe that he will fulfill his promises unto the Latter-day Saints and unto the world, unto Zion and Babylon; and if he does, there is something at the door, something for us, as Latter-day Saints, to do. I believe the Lord has held every man responsible, from the day of our great progenitor, father Adam, into whose hands the Holy Priesthood and the keys of the kingdom of God have been committed; and I believe that every man, every set of men, and every people, will be held responsible, in time and eternity, for the use they have made of the gifts, blessings, and promises which have been given unto them. The amount of it is that if any people undertake to keep a celestial law, it is their privilege to enjoy the spirit and power of that law; it is also the privilege of any man or set of men, who ever received the Gospel, to enjoy the blessings of that Gospel, no matter what age of the world they may have lived in. Every person who has ever repented of his sins, and has been baptized for their remission, after the order of God, and after the similitude of Jesus Christ, who was buried in water in the likeness of his death, and came forth in the likeness of his resurrection, has a right to the Holy Ghost; it is promised, and it belongs to him; it is the right of all persons to enjoy this, and if they receive the Holy Ghost and its gifts, they have inspiration, light, and truth; they have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand, and they should be in a position before the Lord that they can comprehend his work far more perfectly than the world, for they have not obeyed the Gospel of Christ, and they have no right to, or claim upon, the gifts of that Gospel. But all who, in any age of the world, obey the Gospel, have a right to the Comforter, and to inspiration and revelation, they belong to them, and the Lord never had a people on the face of the earth who did not have a right to these gifts, and it was their privilege and duty to enjoy them.

This is the difference between those who keep celestial law, the law of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and those who do not. But, as I have remarked, all in every age of the world who have received a dispensation of the Gospel, are responsible before the Lord for their acts, and for the manner in which they have used their blessings and privileges. The Prophets and Apostles in every age have been held responsible for the manner in which they made use of the Gospel of Christ when committed unto them; and that is the way it is with us today. One thing is evident to everybody who reflects at all upon the things of the kingdom of God—whenever the Lord chooses a people out of the world, they are hated by the world, and are unpopular in the world. This has been the case in every age. It was so in the days of Jesus Christ. He came to his own father’s house—the Jews; he was of the lineage of Abraham, and when he came to his own brethren he was unpopular, he was rejected and opposed. They did not like him nor his course. They were looking for Shiloh to come, but not as a babe born in a stable and cradled in a manger, and traveling on from that to the cross and the grave in poverty and affliction, without military authority, and without power to govern and control, and to deliver and uphold the Jews as a nation. Christ came as the babe of Bethlehem, the lowest almost of the human family, and remained so up to the day of his death. A poorer man never lived, that I know of, in Judea and Jerusalem, than Jesus Christ. Who were his followers? They were not the great, rich, learned, noble, High Priests, or leading men of Judea; many of them were illiterate fishermen, poor men, weak things of the world; they were the class that Jesus chose for his disciples, and into their hands he gave the keys of the kingdom of God; he gave them the Apostleship, the power to bind and to seal both on earth and in heaven. Their deeds and labors reached not only through this world, but they reached into the eternal worlds, and will affect the inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem from that day, I may say, into eternity. Those disciples of Christ received the Holy Priesthood, the Gospel of Christ, and the keys of the kingdom of God, and Jesus held them responsible to the day of their death for the course they pursued. However much they were despised by the world, they were held responsible for bearing a true and faithful testimony to Jew and Gentile, of Jesus Christ being the true Shepherd and the Savior of the world.

And so I will say about the Latter-day Saints and the work they are engaged in. Ezekiel says that in the last days the stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim should be placed with the stick of Judah, before the eyes of the nations in the hands of the Lord, for a special purpose—to gather the house of Israel in the latter days. These two records were also to be made use of in order to preach the fullness of the everlasting Gospel to both Jew and Gentile; and they will stand in judgment against the generation living on the earth when they come forth; and from the day that Moroni gave that record into the hands of Joseph Smith, the Lord held him responsible for the use which he made of it; and when he gave him the Priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist, and the Apostleship under the hands of Peter, James and John, the Lord Almighty held him responsible unto the day that he sealed his testimony with his blood, for the course that he pursued with these things. And he bore his testimony, left it on record, and sealed it with his blood, and laid down his life, and that testimony is in force today upon all the world, and will remain so unto the end of time. And when I say this of Joseph Smith, I say it of every other man. President Young has led this Church for many years, and the Lord has held him responsible, and will hold him so unto the day of his death, for the course pursued by him while conducting the affairs of his Church and kingdom, and also for the use he makes of the holy Priesthood and the keys of the kingdom. So also with his Counselors, the Twelve Apostles, and everyone of us; we shall all be held accountable to the day of our death, and we shall have to give an account before the God of heaven when we go into the spirit world and meet him there; for the use of this Priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, which have been established on the earth for the last time, have been committed into the hands of this people, and God will hold the whole of us responsible for the use we make of the blessings, privileges and powers which we enjoy in connection therewith. The eyes of God and his angels, and of every man who dwells in the celestial world are watching us, and the course we pursue.

We are gathered together here as a people; we have been in these mountains a good while, and for a good many years we have been organized as a Church and kingdom, in this last age, in this dispensation of the fullness of times; and now the question with me is—Are we living up to our privileges? Are we performing the work required at our hands? Can we, as a people, claim the blessings of the Gospel of Christ, the blessings of the celestial law and of the celestial kingdom of God? Can we claim these things at the hands of our heavenly Father unless we keep his commandments? This is a question that we want to take home to ourselves. If we are not keeping the commands of the Lord can we claim his blessings? We cannot; and this is matter for reflection for the Latter-day Saints.

It may be asked—What are the commandments of the Lord? Many of them are contained in these records, the Bible, Book of Mormon and Book of Doctrine and Covenants; and we have the living oracles with us, and have had from the commencement. The Lord will never leave his kingdom without a lawgiver, leader, president, or some power to direct the affairs of his Church on the earth, for the reason that it is the dispensation of the fullness of times, in which God has set up a kingdom which is to be an everlasting kingdom, and to whose dominion there will be no end; that kingdom will not be given into the hands of any other people, but it will be given to the Saints of the Most High, and they will possess it forever and ever.

Now, brethren and sisters, here comes a question in my mind, this morning, which I think we ought to bring home to ourselves, and that is—Are we, as a people, doing our duty in keeping the law and commandments of God, and the covenants which we have made? If we are we are justified, and we have a claim upon the Holy Spirit and upon the blessing and approbation of God. Many things are required at the hands of the Latter-day Saints, and there is not one of us who has a lease of his life. The Elders of this Church are passing away, and almost every Conference we look around and find that somebody has left us; and it will be but a short time before many of us who are here today will have closed our labors in the flesh, and we shall have passed to the other side of the veil, and it is important to us all that we should do what is required of us. What we find to do today we should not put off till tomorrow.

The question may arise in some minds—What is required of the Latter-day Saints? I will tell you some things that are required of us. The Lord requires us to pay our Tithing; and another thing is that we go to and build the Temple in this city; whether we do it or not it is required of us, and if we fail, we, in my view, shall be under condemnation. I consider that the building of Temples is one of the important things required by the Lord of the Latter-day Saints in the dispensation of the fullness of times, that we may go into those Temples and not only redeem the living but redeem our dead. We have been a good many years here in the valleys of the mountains, and we have not yet got a Temple finished to the name of the Lord. We have one pretty well forward in St. George, and I am very glad of it; but we want one here. We have got the foundation laid; it has been standing a good many years, and I think that we should go to and finish it, and do what we can to redeem our dead. This is among the things for which I think we shall be held responsible. Very many of us in this Church and kingdom have been gathered, as the Prophet has said, one of a family and two of a city, and many of our progenitors, now in the spirit world, never saw the face of an Apostle, Prophet, or inspired man, and they are shut up in prison. Joseph Smith, Heber Kimball, George A. Smith, and thousands of the Elders of Israel may preach to those spirits, and they may receive the testimonies which the Elders bear; but the Elders will not baptize believers there; there is no baptism in the spirit world any more than there is any marrying and giving in marriage. All these things have to be done this side of the veil, in the flesh. God is no respecter of persons; he will not give privileges to one generation and withhold them from another; and the whole human family, from father Adam down to our day, have got to have the privilege, somewhere, of hearing the Gospel of Christ; and the generations that have passed and gone without hearing that Gospel in its fullness, power and glory, will never be held responsible by God for not obeying it, neither will he bring them under condemnation for rejecting a law they never saw or understood; and if they live up to the light they had they are justified so far, and they have to be preached to in the spirit world. But nobody will baptize them there, and somebody has got to administer for them by proxy here in the flesh, that they may be judged according to men in the flesh and have part in the first resurrection.

This, in my view, is the work that is required at the hands of the Latter-day Saints, and when we get through I think we will find this to be true. And if there is anything I desire to live for on the earth, or that I have desired, it has been to get a record of the genealogy of my fathers, that I might do something for them before I go hence into the spirit world. Until within a few years past it has seemed as if every avenue has been closed to obtaining such records; but the Lord has moved upon the inhabitants of this nation, and thousands of them are now laboring to trace the genealogical descent of the Puritan fathers, those who landed at Plymouth Rock, and whose descendants built up New England. Their lineages are coming to light, and we are gradually obtaining access to them, and by this means we shall be enabled to do something towards the salvation of our dead.

These are some of the things upon my mind that I wished to speak to you about. And now let me ask—Have we a right to our endowments and to the ordinances and blessings of the Church and kingdom of God, unless we fulfill the law of God. It seems to me many times, that there is a darkness and a lack of faith even among the Latter-day Saints, and that as we grow older we grow colder, and as we advance towards the winding-up scene it seems as though we have almost lost sight of our calling, of the object of our being gathered together, and the purposes which God requires at our hands. There is a good deal for us to do if we build up Zion; and if we do that and sanctify ourselves before the Lord, it has got to be done through obedience to the commandments of the Lord. The Lord has commanded us, and we have got to obey his commandments if we receive the blessings of obedience. Our numbers are not great, and compared with the whole of the inhabitants of the earth I do not expect that the number of the Latter-day Saints will ever be very great; yet the Lord has promised that the little one shall become a thousand, and the small one a strong nation; and out of the house of Israel and those from among the Gentiles who obey the Gospel, God will raise up a nation, and they will have power and strength in the earth. But when we compare the Saints in this or any other age with the surrounding world, their numbers are few. I do not know why it is that so few of the inhabitants of the earth take any interest in their eternal welfare. The whole human family, heathen, pagan, Christian and Jew, know that this is not their home, and that all have got to die, they cannot escape the law of death; even if translated, as some were anciently, they have to undergo a change equivalent to death. Then why is it there is so little interest throughout the world with regard to a future state and to eternal matters? The few who show they have an interest in these things, and who have gathered together to these valleys of the mountains, have need of faith; we stand in need of prayer, we stand in need of the Holy Ghost, and of the inspiration of the Almighty to dictate and direct us, and unless we possess and enjoy these things we become barren and unfruitful before the Lord.

Now, whatever the Lord requires at our hands, he does not require anything of us that we cannot perform. We can obey his command ments according to the position that we occupy and the means that we have in our possession. There is no man or woman so poor but what he or she can obey the Gospel; they can go forth and be baptized for the remission of their sins, and if they keep the commandments of the Lord he will put into their hands power and means to fulfill that which is required of them.

I hope, brethren and sisters, that while we are together at this Conference, we shall have prayerful hearts, and that the Spirit of the Lord may be poured out upon us; that President Young may have strength of body, and that the Spirit of God may rest upon him to such an extent that he may be able to give the Latter-day Saints such instruction as he may desire; and that the Apostles and Elders who may be called upon to speak may be made the instruments in the hands of the Lord in conveying his word to the people, and that we may be united together.

Somebody or other has got to build up Zion; somebody has got to build Temples, and to go into them and attend to the ordinances therein. The Lord has said that he will come and visit the earth, but before he does come the people have got to be pure. The Lord Jesus has declared that he will come and reign on the earth, and if you read the Book of Doctrine and Covenants you will find numerous predictions in regard to his coming, such as—“I come quickly,” “I come at an hour ye think not,” “My coming is at the door,” “I come as a thief in the night,” “I come in an hour when you are not looking for me,” and “Blessed is he who is looking for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” I say that throughout the whole of the Scriptures—the Old and New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, the second coming of the Lord is frequently referred to; and has the Lord promised these things without intending to fulfill them? No, he has not, they will be fulfilled. But before Christ comes, a people have got to be prepared by being sanctified before the Lord. Temples have got to be built; Zion has got to be built up; there must be a place of safety for the people of God while his judgments are abroad in the earth, for the judgments of God will visit the earth, there is no mistake about that, the revelations are full of promises to this effect, and as the Lord has declared it, he will not fail in keeping his word.

Brethren and sisters, let us search the revelations of God; let us look to ourselves, and understand the spirit by which we are governed and controlled in our labors and callings. We are called to a great calling. The greatest calling with which any people can be called is to have placed in their hands the Gospel of Christ, and the power to build up his kingdom upon the earth. The Lord has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the world, and things that are nought to bring to nought things that are. He has done this in every age of the world, and he has done it in our day and generation; and he will hold us responsible for the use we make of the holy Priesthood, the ordinances of his house and the power that is put into our hands to accomplish the work of God, and to build Temples to his name. If we do not do these things I think that we shall be under condemnation before the Lord, and that we shall suffer for it.

I pray God, my heavenly Father, that he will pour out his Spirit upon this people, that we may see and comprehend things as they are, that we may comprehend our duties and may be inspired to labor while the day lasts, for by and by the night will come when no man can work. I pray God that we may be prepared for his coming, and that we may have power and a disposition to perform and accomplish all that is required of us, that when we go to the other side of the veil we may he satisfied with our labors here in the flesh.

This is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Unbelief of the Present Age—The Saints Called to Build up God’s Kingdom—Their Duties and Responsibilities

Discourse by President Daniel H. Wells, delivered at the Forty-Sixth Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Thursday Morning, April 6, 1876.

I am gratified with another opportunity of meeting in the capacity of a General Conference. We have listened to a very stirring discourse here this morning in regard to the great work in which we are all engaged, or at least the Latter-day Saints should be all engaged in it; for they ought to feel interested in the work they have espoused, as it is designed to bring about the accomplishment of the purposes of the Lord upon the earth. In the day and age in which we live, the Lord has given to his children here below the great privilege of being coworkers with him in establishing his kingdom, and the reign of truth, peace and righteousness upon the earth.

Is there any necessity for the Lord to commence such a work? If we are to believe our surroundings, and what we see, hear and learn every day, there is great necessity, for there can be little doubt in the minds of any reflecting person that we live in a very wicked, unbelieving, and perverse generation. I do not think this proposition would be denied by anyone, it is so manifest to everybody that they cannot deny it. Well, the time has come when it seems as if the cup of their iniquity is about filled, and when the Lord thinks it is enough, and he has seen fit to commence his great latter-day work with a proclamation of the everlasting Gospel among the children of men, with a view of reclaiming them from the path of perdition, and of saving all who will yield obedience to his requirements.

The earth is now filled with violence and evil as it was in the days before the flood, and the Lord has said that as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man. How was it in the days before the flood? Why, the wicked had filled the cup of their iniquity, and they were destroyed, only a few—the righteous—being saved. Well, if it is to be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man as it was in the days of Noah, why the wicked will again be destroyed, and the righteous saved. This is a preparatory work, and if the people reject the Gospel that the Lord has revealed from heaven, they may expect to be overtaken, sooner or later, by his judgments. They are already being poured out upon the earth. We see and hear of them occasionally, but the world is filled with unbelief. Unbelief in God is the crying sin of this generation. They do not believe in the things of God, nor in the principles which he has enunciated, and which he is endeavoring to establish through the instrumentality of those among his children who have rendered obedience to his Gospel, and who live in accordance with the principles thereof upon the earth. We have the privilege of promulgating the work of God, and of establishing his kingdom here among the children of men; and we may have the privilege of building Temples to his high and holy name, wherein we may receive the blessings of time and eternity, and administer the ordinances of salvation for the living and the dead.

It does not seem necessary, and it should not be, to enter into any argument to prove these things to the Latter-day Saints; they are already patent to them, and in this regard they know and understand their duty. Well then, what is there for us to do? Why, to take hold with renewed energy and zeal; not to falter but to go ahead, with what interest we can command, with all the ability we have been endowed with, and with the means that the Lord has bestowed upon us, in accomplishing his purposes, and in building Temples to his holy name. It is for our own benefit; it is for the benefit of the kingdom, and for the growth and spread thereof.

How can we do more than we have done? One way by paying our Tithing. Can we go to and assist in building this Temple, the foundations of which have been laid so long? I answer that we can. The next question is—Will we do it? That I do not know; each one will answer this question for himself by his acts. If we respond to this call it will require labor, means, and some attention. For one I will say that I am willing to take hold with my might, and do what I can towards it. I can do something, can you? Yes, each and every one can do something, and if the Latter-day Saints will be united in this thing we shall see the construction of this Temple go on rapidly. We are abundantly able to do it—we have plenty of mechanics and laborers, and abundance of the means necessary to sustain them. The details will be furnished, and the requirement will be made. Will it be responded to, that is the question? I think it will; I have faith to believe that the Latter-day Saints will respond with alacrity in putting the work through. I believe that it is in the hearts of the people, and that they will rejoice in it to a greater or less extent. There may be some lukewarm in this work, as in every other; but I am satisfied that the great majority will lay hold with a great deal of energy, and will persevere in it, and will rejoice in doing so. This is my faith, and I am willing to prove it, so far as I am concerned, by my works.

I do not consider it necessary to dwell upon the importance of these things. A great many of the Latter-day Saints have had many blessings bestowed upon them in the house of God, very great blessings indeed. Shall we slacken our hand because of this? By no means. There still remains a great work to be done; and it is incumbent upon us to do it, as brother Woodruff has said, while we have the opportunity in the flesh. Before we go behind the veil we should lay a foundation to progress upon after we have finished our course here. We, by our works, as well as by our faith, while in this life, should lay a foundation for exaltation in the celestial kingdom of our Father and our God.

I am rejoiced to hear the subject of building Temples agitated again.

A great deal might be said about it as to the details, but it will recommend itself to everyone. What can a Bishop do in his ward? He can do something, and if he will lay the matter before the members of his ward he will find that he can get very liberal contributions in labor, and in provisions and other means necessary to pay the hands who work steadily on the Temple. There is not a ward in the city, not a ward in the county, nor in all these counties, but what can contribute considerable to this end, and that too right away. It is not going to take so much stone to go on with in proportion, as it has taken for the foundation, for the walls will not be so wide; and although the work is expensive, yet it can be done. We have mechanics who are perfectly competent to do it, and the plan will be given as fast as laborers to do the work are ready.

This is one thing that we can do, and it is required of us, and the responsibility of accomplishing this task rests upon our shoulders. Of course we have other duties to perform. Every person who lives in this Territory, here in Zion, who professes to be a Latter-day Saint, has responsibilities of various kinds resting upon him. All ought to assist in developing the resources of the soil, to draw from the elements for the support of themselves and families; to build up and make improvements, and not to tear down and destroy. We should all be united in developing, beautifying and improving this country, in which the Lord has planted our feet, that we may become a self-sustaining people, bringing forth from the elements with which the Lord has surrounded us, those things necessary for our sustenance and comfort. We should economize our time, and use it and all we have to our own best advantage, and to the glory and honor of our Father. There is plenty of labor here for all if they will do it, and if they will put themselves to work in those channels that are necessary. There are some kinds of business that are overdone. A good many of our young people, and others to, instead of turning their attention to the cultivation of the earth, or to the manufacture of things that are actually needed for the welfare and comfort of the community, seek to become clerks and to pursue some kind of a calling that is not productive. Such a course increases the consumers, but not the produc ers, and we have no surplus here of those things necessary to support and sustain people. If men were to go into various branches of manufacture, they would help to create a market for home products, and that would stimulate production, the production of fruits of the soil as well as other things. That would be good economy. We, at present, have no surplus of the products of the soil in these valleys of the mountains; there is no overplus even of wheat or other grain, or of butter and cheese, and other kinds of food. Even of meat we have not any but what can command a market, and at a price sufficiently high to justify the raising of it, and the taking care of, and increasing and multiplying the flocks and herds, and then using them wisely. What for? To sustain the wicked and ungodly? No; but to build up the kingdom of God, and to hold and use for God and his kingdom continually. Not just for a short time, and then pass off in some other direction; but continually, day by day, week after week, and year after year, as long as we live, contribute of what we have for the building up of the kingdom, and the building of Temples to the name of the Lord. And when that is done, there will be something else in the same direction, for it is the work of the Lord, the great work of the last days. Let us act as if we believed it, unitedly, with all our hearts, and with all the means that we possess, and not sift our ways to strangers. I tell you, brethren and sisters, this rests upon us, and the work may advance with a great deal more rapidity than what it has done, if we will be united in obeying the counsels that we receive from time to time. We must not only listen, but act upon the counsels we receive.

The Lord, a great while ago, said through his Prophet, that he would give the kingdom in its fullness to his Saints, and that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. We believe this, and we believe that we are his Saints; poor as we are, we are the best there is. We have the opportunity to grow and increase in grace and in favor with the Lord, and in faith and in good works, and becoming better than we now are, and of becoming more useful; and as we do so, why, the kingdom will grow faster, and things will prosper more with us. We shall have greater power with the Lord and in the world, and the purposes of heaven will roll on and come to pass faster than they have done. Though in this respect we have no reason to complain, for they have come along about as quick as we have been able to stand it. But the work will continue to increase in greater ratio than it has hitherto done; it is bound to, and cannot help it, any way in the world. Whether we ourselves, individually, stand firm and steadfast, makes no difference, the work of God will go forward anyhow. But we have the blessed privilege of assisting, and of being coworkers with the Lord, if we are disposed to be so. Then let us look to it, that we do not fail, for upon this depends our own salvation and exaltation in the celestial kingdom. We have now an opportunity for laying a foundation for hereafter hearing the welcome plaudit—“Well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things, now will I make you ruler over many things.” Shall we neglect the opportunities that we enjoy to that extent, that we shall come short hereafter? I hope and trust not.

The work we are engaged in is worthy of all our attention, for it is the work and kingdom of God, that was spoken of by the Prophets long ago; that great kingdom spoken of by the Prophet Daniel, that is to break in pieces and subdue all other kingdoms, and stand forever, is actually being built up in our day, right in the face and eyes of the whole world. Who understands it? Does the outside world? No, and it seems sometimes as if scarcely half the Saints do to the extent they should. I am satisfied that neither I nor anybody else comprehends this work to the fullest extent. A great many can see the kingdom, some do not; some of those who profess to be Saints, judging by the course they take, do not see the kingdom. But it is here all the same, whether you see it or not, and it is actually transpiring; and the course and history of the Latter-day Saints are a testimony to the world from the Lord of the building up of his kingdom, the bringing to pass of his purposes, and the fulfillment of prophecies uttered thousands of years ago. But they cannot see it.

One of the signs of the times to be given when the kingdom of God should be built up, was the heaving of the sea beyond its bounds. Has anybody heard of any such thing in these days? Everybody that reads the newspapers knows that events of this kind have been common during the past few years; but this generation pay no more regard to them than they would to the shaking of a straw in the wind, so far as being a sign of the coming of the Son of Man, or of the accomplishment of the work of the Lord in the last days. Talk to people generally, in the world, about such things, and they say—“Oh, they are accounted for upon some natural principle.” It is so with all of the signs that the Lord has given, or that he will give, that have been prophesied about—they can all be accounted for upon some natural principle. They are nevertheless coming to pass in the time that the Lord, through his Prophets, has said they would come. Many things prophesied of in ages past and gone are actually transpiring today, yet the people generally do not comprehend them. But the majority of the Latter-day Saints do, and they know that the time of the second coming of the Savior is approaching.

Can we realize that there is a great work to be accomplished, and that the responsibility rests upon our shoulders? I hope and trust we may; I believe we shall, and that we shall put forth renewed energy to perform what is required of us from time to time, and be earnest in accomplishing, as far as it devolves upon us, the purposes of the Almighty, in seeking the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and in developing the country in which God has planted our feet, and which he held in reserve for so many hundreds of years for his Saints, that they might have a place to come to and inherit. We know that he has given it into our hands, and he is pouring his blessings upon us from time to time, and that to use for him and his kingdom, and not, as fast as he hands them to us, to hand them out to build up the devil’s kingdom.

That we may be united in using our abilities, our means, our substance, and all that we have, in rolling forth God’s purposes, building up his kingdom, and establishing the principles of righteousness in the hearts of the people, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

How God’s Purposes Are Fulfilled—Similarity of Ancient and Modern Church Government—Interview With Baron Rothschild—Object of Building Temples—The Perfect Organization of the Church of Christ—Works Indispensable to Salvation

Discourse by Elder John Taylor, delivered at the Forty-Sixth Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Thursday Afternoon, April 6, 1876.

When we meet together on occasions like the present, it is absolutely necessary that we place ourselves under the guidance and direction of the Almighty; that is, a thing indeed, which is proper at all times, for in the Lord we live and move—from him we derive our being—and to him we are indebted for every blessing that we enjoy of a temporal and spiritual nature, for everything that pertains either to this world or that which is to come. We are met together on this occasion to attend to the duties and responsibilities that devolve upon us associated with the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth; and it is very important that we have his spirit to direct us in our speaking as well as in our hearing, and in the various purposes, plans and calculations that may be started for the building up of the kingdom of God upon the earth, for we really are, or ought to be, co-laborers with the Almighty for the accomplishment of his purposes on the earth. And although we are very weak, and incompetent to do anything in and of ourselves, yet with the assistance and guidance of the Almighty we shall be enabled, by diligence and faithfulness in dis charging the various responsibilities that devolve upon us, to fill up the measure of our day upon the earth with honor before God, before the holy angels and before all good men, and to lend at least a helping hand in building up the kingdom of God, upon the earth, that we so frequently talk about, and to introduce those principles which emanate from the Most High. In this regard, however, we can do nothing of ourselves, neither could any man who ever lived upon the earth do anything in and of himself. There is a great supreme, overruling power that shapes, manages, controls and dictates the affairs of the human family. He raises up one and puts down another; he regulates and controls the affairs of the nations at his will, and in regard to the purposes that he has designed, pertaining to the earth whereon we live, of which he has given us some slight idea, he will have to be, after all, the principal cooperator, the leading hand, the power that guides, directs and controls. He has called upon us to be his assistants in the work that he has commenced in these last days, and has called a variety of laborers into his vineyard, whom he has promised to sustain, to guide and to direct, and hence, although it may be an unspeakable privilege for us to be co-laborers with the Almighty, yet it is only through the spirit, power and intelligence that he communicates, that we shall be able to do anything acceptable in the sight of God, and, as I said before, no man living without this assistance is capable of doing anything acceptable in the sight of God. When we look at the works of God in the various ages that have passed, and in the various dispensations that have been ushered into the world, we see this manifestly pointed out. In fact, when we reflect upon the work that we are engaged in, to whom are we indebted? To any of us? I think not. To Joseph Smith? I think not. He was made use of as an instrument in the hands of the Almighty to convey certain principles that God revealed to him; that was all, and when he came, it was not his own words that he spoke, it was the revelation of God’s will to him, and it is that which we are in possession of through him, as an instrument. It is so with President Young and his council, and it is so with the Twelve, it is so with all the Bishops, High Councils, High Priests, and all the various authorities of the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth. It is not that there is anything inherent in us, for we know nothing only as God revealed it, we know nothing only as it was communicated. We did not understand the first principles of the doctrine of Christ even; and I have never met with anybody on the face of the earth where I have traveled who did know anything about these things. We are indebted to the Lord, therefore, for any knowledge that we have of the true doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and for all the ramifications thereof. We are indebted to him for a knowledge of the Priesthood, whether that Priesthood be after the order of Melchizedek, which is after the order of the Son of God; or whether it be the lesser or Aaronic Priesthood. We, none of us knew anything about it, and nobody ever did, until God communicated it. And the same thing holds good all the way through. Go back to the history of the world, as reported in the Bible and Book of Mormon, and you will find that every great movement ever made among men that had God to support it, originated not with men, but that God himself was the author of it. Even Jesus himself, when he came, said—“I came not to do my will, but the will of him who sent me;” and—“The words that I speak, I speak not of myself, but the Father that dwells in me. He doeth the works.” Therefore, looking at things in this point of view, we, above all people who dwell on the face of the earth, ought to acknowledge the hand of God in all things; and in fact we have a revelation directly on that point, which says—“that with none is the Lord angry but with those who do not acknowledge his hand in all things.”

We are here for a certain purpose; the world was organized for a certain purpose; the world has been destroyed for a certain purpose, and judgments have overtaken it for a certain purpose; the Gospel has been introduced for a certain purpose, in the different ages of time, and among the different peoples to whom it has been revealed and communicated, and we, today, are in subjection to the general rule. The Lord has led us along as he once led Israel, and as he led the Nephites from the land of Jerusalem, and the ten tribes, and other peoples, who went to different places. He has led us along, and the first thing he did with us, or to the world whereon we live, or with whom we are associated, was to send his Gospel, having revealed it first to Joseph Smith, and he, being authorized by the Almighty, and having received his appointment through the holy Priesthood that exists in the heavens, and with that appointment, authority to confer it upon others, did confer it upon others, and they in turn upon others, and hence the Gospel was sent to us in the various nations where we resided. And when these men went forth to proclaim this Gospel, they went, as Jesus said, not to do their “will, but the will of the Father who sent them,” and to cooperate with the holy Priesthood here upon the earth in introducing correct principles. Hence they went among the nations, and thousands, and tens of thousands, and millions listened to their testimonies; but as it was in former days, so it has been in latter days. Says Jesus—“Strait is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it; while wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat.” This has been the case in all ages and among all peoples, wherever and whenever the Gospel has been preached to them.

Now then, the Lord has been desirous, in this age, as he has in other ages, to gather to himself a people who would do his will, keep his commandments, listen to his counsel and carry out his behests. To whom could he send? To the wise and learned, to the philosopher and statesman, to the prince and potentate? Verily no. The Lord, in this age as on former occasions, sends by whom he will send; he selects his own messengers, and sends them among the people. And when the Elders of Israel went forth, he said to them in a certain revelation—“Go forth, and mine angels shall go before you, and my Spirit shall accompany you.” And they went forth, and God was true to his word, and many of you, at that time in distant nations, listened to the words of life, and when you heard them, you knew and understood them, just as Jesus said—“My sheep hear my voice and know me, and they follow me, but a stranger will they not follow, because they know not the voice of a stranger.” You heard the voice of truth accompanied by the Spirit of God, and that caused a chord to vibrate within your own bosoms, and you yielded obedience and came out here, as we find you today.

Now, then, we are gathered together to help, what to do? To look after our own individual interest? No. To accumulate wealth? No. To possess and wallow in the good things of this life? No; but to do the will of God, and devote ourselves, our talents and abilities, our intelligence and influence, in every possible way to carry out the designs of Jehovah, and help to establish peace and righteousness upon the earth. This, as I understand it, is what we are here for, and not to attend to our own individual affairs and let God and his kingdom do as they please. We are all interested in the great latter-day work of God, and we all ought to be coworkers therein. It is proper sometimes that we should reflect a little upon some of these things, and find out what is our true status and position before the Lord, and before one another, before the angels, and before the world that we are mixed up with, and have more or less to do with. We want sometimes to pause and reflect a little upon some of these things. Why was God so careful to preserve the plates upon which this record was found, and from which it was translated? Why was he so desirous that the old Prophets, who lived upon this continent generations ago, should sacredly guard and keep these sacred records? He told us what it was for, and the Prophets told us what it was for, and Jesus, when he was here, told us what it was for—that these things might come forth in the last days for the benefit of his people, and for the benefit of all who should believe in, and obey the word of God among the Gentiles. What for? That we might have a corroborating testimony from a people upon this continent, who had their Prophets, which should agree with the testimony which we had from the continent of Asia; and that, through the instrumentality of that truth which shall be developed, a nucleus might be formed through which God could communicate his will, and accomplish those purposes that he has designed to accomplish from before the foundation of the world. From the commencement of the organization of this world, God designed the accomplishment of the very thing that we are engaged in here today. We live in what the Scriptures call the dispensation of the fullness of times, in which the Lord has said that he would gather together all things in one, whether they be things on the earth or things in the heavens; in this dispensation he designed to call together his sheep that were on the face of the earth, just as much as he did in the days of Jesus. How was it then? Said Jesus—“Father, I pray for those whom thou hast given me; thine they were and thou gavest them me. I pray for them that they may be one, as I, Father, am in thee and thou in me, that the world may know that thou hast sent me.” He has done the same thing in this day. He has gathered together his sheep, he has organized his holy Priesthood in its fullness, perhaps as perfectly as it ever was organized on the face of the earth. I do not know, fully, the position of things in Enoch’s day; there may have been many things transpired on this continent that we have not had revealed unto us, for we have not all their records, only part of them were translated; some of the things contained on the plates were unlawful to be written at that time. But there were times when men had communion with God; there were times when God revealed himself unto his servants the Prophets; there were times when men came with a—“Thus saith the Lord” to the people; there were times when the people would say—“All that the Lord has bid us to observe, that will we observe and do;” there were times when the people said—“The Lord is our king, the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver, and he shall rule over us.” God is seeking to have a people like that in the present day, and that, through the Priesthood upon the earth, we shall be associated with the Priesthood in the heavens, and they with their God.

There are no people now, and there never was a people, who could accomplish anything without this, and, as I said before, without the guidance and direction of the Almighty. There are a good many things associated with these matters, and some of them are very plain and simple; in fact, it is said by a certain individual that they are so plain that a “wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein;” and it was said in former days—“God hath not chosen the wise and great of the earth, but the weak and foolish things of this world to bring to nought the things that are.” Then, he has restored the holy Priesthood, and that, as I understand it, is the rule and government of God, whether on the earth or in the heavens, the principle by which all things are governed in the heavens, and by which, when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ, all things will be governed here on the earth.

These, then, as I understand them, are things of very great importance to the Latter-day Saints, for it is to them that I am speaking this afternoon. We have an organization in our Church as they had in former times. We are told that in the days of Jesus on the Asiatic continent, “God placed in his Church, first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, afterwards Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists,” etc.; and we are, moreover, told that these were placed in the Church “for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the fullness of the measure of the stature of Christ, that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, but that we may grow up into him who is our living head in all things,” that we may indeed be like him, one with him as he is one with the Father.

This is the kind of principles that they had then, and this the kind of organization. What have we? Something very similar. We have Apostles and a First Presidency. What are the members of the First Presidency? Apostles. We have an organization of the Twelve, as they had then. We have also Seventies, in all of which we have even more than they had, though I do not know what they had on this continent, that is not made manifest; we shall know these things by and by, as the purposes of God roll forth, and their revelations are made known to us pertaining to those matters. We have our Bishops, we have our High Councils, we have our Seventies, we have our Elders, Priests, Teachers, and Deacons, all of which, or the pattern for which, have been given by the Almighty, by the revelation of his will to Joseph Smith; and if we have any knowledge that differs from the rest of mankind in relation to these matters, it is through the revelations of God, and we say to God be the glory and not to us. They went forth in former times and preached the Gospel without purse and scrip. We have done the same. I can see around me scores and hundreds of men who have been abroad to the nations of the earth to preach the Gospel without purse and scrip, trusting in the living God, holding the same Priesthood and authority; in possession of the same truths, lit up, encouraged, and sustained by the same Spirit, the same light, and the same intelligence that they had.

These are some of the distinctive features of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Then we have gathered ourselves together. Well, the Prophets saw it years and years ago, and prophesied about it, but it was left for us to do. The Prophet says—“I will take one of a city and two of a family and I will bring them to Zion.” What will you do with them? “I will give them pastors after my own heart, who shall feed them with knowledge and understanding.” I will introduce the Priesthood of the Son of God among them; I will give them the light, revelation and power of God to be with them, and I will stand by them and sustain them. He has revealed to us, as he did to others the nature of the relationship that subsists between men and their wives; he has shown us that there are eternal associations and connections, and has shown us how to accomplish these objects, and to secure to ourselves, our wives and our children, inasmuch as they observe the revelations of God and carry out his purposes. These are some of the principles that he has made known unto us, and he has given us commandments relative to these things, and in relation to building Temples to his name and administering therein, so as to be acceptable to him. He has pointed out to us certain principles pertaining to the everlasting covenants with us, with our fathers and with our children, and has shown us how to perform the various duties devolving upon us, according to the counsel of his will, which he has revealed through the holy Priesthood that he has here upon the earth. These are things with which we are most of us familiar, and therefore I do not propose to quote Scripture about them particularly, but just lay them briefly before your minds, that you may reflect upon them.

Before we came into this Church and kingdom, we had certain confused ideas about a future state; but what did we know about it? Very little, very little indeed. We hoped we should get to heaven when we died; we hoped that, if we were good, honest, upright and virtuous, God would accept us, which was all very good so far as it went. But what knowledge had we of the future? None at all. What knowledge has the world today about these things? None at all. What knowledge have they of us and of our communications with God? None at all. The world never saw the kingdom of God, they never can see it, it is out of their reach. Jesus said in his day—“Except a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God,” much less inherit it. They cannot help that; we could not help it when we were in their condition; generations past could not help it. What could they do about it? Nothing. What could any of the great reformers, as they are called, do about these things? Simply nothing. Did any of them ever introduce the Gospel as Jesus taught it? Not one among them; with all their virtue, zeal and philanthropy, with all their desires to do good, they could not accomplish these things. Were they all wicked men? By no means. There were many good men among them, and so there are today; but these good men cannot see the kingdom of God, unless by the Spirit of God, and we are told definitely that “no man knows the things of God but by the Spirit of God.” And how do they get it? We have been taught, by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, by repenting of our sins, by being baptized, by those possessing the authority, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of our sins, and by having hands laid upon us by the same authority for the reception of the Holy Ghost. Then it is that the Spirit takes of the things of God and shows them unto us; then it is that we are brought into communion with our heavenly Father; then it is that we have a hope that enters within the veil, whither Christ our forerunner is gone; then it is that we have an unction from the Holy One, as they had in former times, that will teach us the principles of light, and life, and intelligence, pertaining to our present and future existence; then it is that the darkness with which the world is beclouded is removed, and the light of heaven is permitted to permeate our minds, and impart light and intelligence thereunto; then it is that we are the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, says the sacred writer; “but when he who is our life shall appear, then shall we appear like unto him in glory;” it is through this principle, and this life, light and intelligence, and that through obedience to the commands of God.

In looking still forward we find that there are other things ahead of us. One thing is the building of Temples, and that is a very important item, and ought to rest with force upon the minds of all good Saints. I remember, some time ago, having a conversation with Baron Rothschild, a Jew. I was showing him the Temple here, and said he—“Elder Taylor, what do you mean by this Temple? What is the object of it? Why are you building it?” Said I, “Your fathers had among them Prophets, who revealed to them the mind and will of God; we have among us Prophets who reveal to us the mind and will of God, as they did. One of your Prophets said—’The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his Temple, but who may abide the day of his coming? For he shall sit as a refiner’s fire and a purifier of silver.’” “Now,” said I, “Sir, will you point me out a place on the face of the earth where God has a Temple?” Said he, “I do not know of any.” “You remember the words of your Prophet that I have quoted?” Said he—“Yes, I know the Prophet said that, but I do not know of any Temple anywhere. Do you consider that this is that Temple?” “No, sir, it is not.” “Well, what is this Temple for?” Said I, “The Lord has told us to build this Temple so that we may administer therein baptisms for our dead (which I explained to him), and also to perform some of the sacred matrimonial alliances and covenants that we believe in, that are rejected by the world generally, but which are among the purest, most exalting and ennobling principles that God ever revealed to man.” “Well, then, this is not our Temple?” “No, but,” said I, “You will build a Temple, for the Lord has shown us, among other things, that you Jews have quite a role to perform in the latter days, and that all the things spoken by your old prophets will be fulfilled, that you will be gathered to old Jerusalem, and that you will build a Temple there; and when you build that Temple, and the time has arrived, ‘the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his Temple.’ Do you believe in the Messiah?” “Yes.” “Do you remember reading in your old prophets something like this—’They shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn, and be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. And one shall say, What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy side? And he will say—These with which I was wounded in the house of my friends?’” “Ah! Is that in our Bible?” “Yes, sir, that is in your Bible.” I spake to him then about the Nephites having left Jerusalem and told him that the Book of Mormon represents them as descendants of their people, and that Jesus came among them, and that they, because of their iniquity and departure from the word and law of God, were stricken with blackness. Said he—“What, as Cain was?” “Yes, sir, as Cain was.” Said I—“These people, the Lamanites, according to this record,” a French copy of which I gave him, he being a Frenchman; “this people are beginning to feel after these things, and they are coming by hundreds and by thousands and demanding baptism at our hands, just as you find recorded in that book that they would do, and that is given there as a sign that God’s work had commenced among all nations.” Said he—“What evidence have you of this?” This conversation took place in the Townsend House, and when the Baron asked me for evidence, said I—“Sir, if you will excuse me a few minutes I will give you some evidence;” and I went to Savage’s book stand, in the Townsend House, and obtained a photographic copy of David Cannon baptizing Indians, standing in the midst of a great crowd of them. Said I—“Here is the evidence.” “Well, what shall we do?” Said I—“You can do nothing unless God directs. You as a people are tied hand and foot, and have been for generations, and you can’t move a peg unless God strikes off your fetters. When he says the word the things spoken of by the Prophets will be fulfilled; then the measuring line will go forth again in Jerusalem, then your Messiah will come, and all those things spoken of by the Prophets will be fulfilled.”

I mentioned these matters to Baron Rothschild merely to exhibit some ideas pertaining to the work in which we are engaged; and in speaking of the Temple—“Well, this is not the Temple?” “No, not that you are going to build, this is ours, and we expect to build hundreds of them yet, and to administer in them in carrying out the work of God.” I speak of this, that you may reflect a little, you Latter-day Saints. Has God organized a First Presidency? Yes. Has he endowed them with the Spirit and power of God? Yes. Has he organized the Twelve? Yes. Have they the spirit of their office? Yes, in part. He has organized Seventies; have they the spirit of their office? In part. He has organized a High Priests’ quorum; have they the spirit of their office? In part, and many of these things are only in part. He has organized an Elders’ quorum, and a great many Elders have been ordained; have they the spirit of their office? In part. Are they magnifying it? Only in part. Why we have got really and truly a nation of Kings and Priests, ordained, set apart and authorized to carry out the purposes of God here upon the earth, to operate with the Priesthood behind the veil in the accomplishment of these things. What are we doing? A little, but many of us, I am afraid, not very much. A great many are doing the best they know how, and are desirous, with their whole soul and spirit, with their intellect and their substance and everything they have, to dedicate themselves and all they have for God and for his cause and kingdom, and for building up Temples, and for accomplishing everything that God requires at their hands. Then there are some that feel like the boy said about his father. A Gentile came along and spoke to a little boy down street here, and said—“Boy, are you a Mormon?” “I don’t know,” said the boy. “Is your father a Mormon?” “Oh, yes,” said the boy, “but he does not potter much about it.” There are a good many who feel a good deal like that—they don’t potter much about it. When their minds are lit up by the Spirit of God they feel like dedicating themselves and all they have to God, yet, by and by they begin to weaken and falter, and quiver, and go away.

Sometime ago a great many of us renewed our covenants and were baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins, and we then covenanted before God, holy angels, and one another, that we would consecrate ourselves and all that we had to God, that we would follow his counsel and the counsel of his holy Priesthood in all things, temporal and spiritual. Now let us talk a little plain on some of these things. Is not that so? Did you not do these things? You did. Well, what does it mean, or what does baptism mean, or what do any of these things mean—the ordinances, the Priesthood, the gathering, Temples, endowments and the light, intelligence and privileges that we have received from the hands of God? What do they mean? Are they a sacred reality that have emanated from God? Are they things in which our present, future and eternal happiness is concerned, or are they a mere phantasm? It seems they are very little more to many, although, perhaps, they appreciate them according to the best of their understanding, light and intelligence; still they say they are desirous of keeping God’s commandments. Let me repeat here a passage of Scripture. “It is not every one that saith Lord, Lord, that shall enter into my kingdom, but it is he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” I think that is the Scripture, if I am not very much mistaken; I think you will find it written there, and I think that Scripture is just as true today as it was eighteen hundred years ago, just as binding, and we shall find the results of it just as true, and when the secrets of all hearts are revealed, when the judgment is set and the books are opened, these things will be known and understood. How will it be then with Latter-day Saints? Why those who are doing right and are full of integrity, and have kept their covenants, observed the law of God and walked in obedience to his commands will hear Jesus say—“Thou hast been faithful over a few things and I will make thee ruler over many things.” And then there are some others mentioned. Who are they, and what are they? “Why, many will come to me and say, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? Have we not cast out devils in thy name, and in thy name done many wonderful works? When he will say to them—Depart from me, for I never knew you.”

How will that fit on some of us do you think? That belongs a little closer to some of us than we imagine; for I do not think that Gentiles do much at prophesying in the name of God; I do not think they cast out many devils in the name of God, or do any wonderful works in his name. Jesus was speaking to a people that had done these things, the same, perhaps, as some of you have, and yet you have become careless and indifferent, and in many instances have made shipwreck of a good conscience and failed to keep the covenants you have made.

These are things for us to reflect upon, and it is well for us all to reflect upon the position that we occupy. How is it with us? Are we all engaged in the same work? Not precisely. Paul gave a very beautiful description of the church of God in his day. Said he—“The body is not one member, but many; and the eye cannot say to the ear, I have no need of thee, nor the head to the feet, I have no need of thee.” They were all engaged in the same work. It was not a work that rested simply upon the Apostles, or Prophets, or Evangelists, or some of the leading, prominent men of the Church; it was the work of God, in which they were all engaged. The body is not one member, but many, and if one of the members suffer they all suffer with it; if one member rejoice all are honored with it. The body is not all head; it would be a curious kind of a body without arms, stomach, legs, feet, &c.; it would be no body at all, it could not exist or act. You cut off any member of the body, say an arm, and the body is maimed; pluck out an eye and the body is maimed. Pluck out both eyes and you could not see. You may have ever so perfect a body and take away the legs and the feet, and what then? You can do nothing, you can’t walk, you have got to be lifted by somebody else and carried about, a helpless, inanimate being, without motion, power and activity. So it is with the body, and if one member suffer all the members suffer with it. The head may be very perfect, but if the arm is withered or any part of the body injured the powers of the body are impaired, and it cannot fully answer the ends of its organization. Hence it is that in the organization of the Church of Christ every member should act in its own place—the Presidency in theirs, the Twelve in theirs, the Bishops in theirs, the Seventies in theirs, the High Priests in theirs, and the Elders, Priests, Teachers and Deacons who are living their religion in theirs. A Teacher who keeps the commandments of God and fulfills his duties is more honorable than the Apostle who does not. You hurt any part of the body, for instance, cut your finger, and the entire body feels it immediately. Touch the head and every part of the body senses it. And so it is with every particle of the body—it is a perfect system; and so is the Church of God, and each of the organs, members in particular, thus the organized body walks in the path that God marks out, and seeks to accomplish all things that he designs for us to do. Hence there is a mutual sympathy, affection and regard, and a brotherhood and fellowship among the Saints of God who are living their religion, all through the organization of the Priesthood, from the head to the foot.

And then we are united with the Priesthood in the eternal worlds, and the Priesthood that we have is of the same nature as that which they have. They administer in time and for all eternity; we are administering now in time, and soon shall be in eternity, all of us. The Twelve who are around me, and the First Presidency, and others will be, by and by, beyond the veil in another state of existence. And what then? Why then we go to give an account of our stewardship, and it will be well for all of us if we can say with Paul—“I have fought the good fight of faith, I have finished my course, and henceforth there is laid up for me a crown, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give to me at that day, and not to me only, but to all who love the appearing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

May God help us to be faithful, live our religion and keep his commandments, that we may, by and by, obtain an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled and, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Restoration of the Gospel Probable and Scriptural—Sent First to the Gentiles, Then to Israel—this is a Gathering Dispensation or the Fullness of Times—Destiny of All Nations

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Fifteenth Ward Meetinghouse, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, March 26, 1876.

I will read a few passages of Scripture in the forepart of the 40th chapter of Isaiah. [The speaker read the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, 10th and 11th verses.]

The particular portion of these words which I have read, to which I wish to call the attention of the congregation this afternoon, is that relating to the preparation for the coming of the Lord, I mean the second coming, when the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came into the world some eighteen centuries ago in a very humble, meek and lowly manner. He came to teach the people the principles of the Gospel, and to open the way whereby salvation might be brought about in behalf of the human family, by offering an atonement before the Lord, his heavenly Father, for the sins of the world. When he came in that humble manner, he considered it important to send a messenger before his face to make preparations for that event, so that the people might not be altogether unprepared, and taken unawares concerning the work he was then to do on our earth. Hence a great Prophet was raised, generally known by the name of John the Baptist, who went forth before the Savior, calling upon the people to repent, testifying that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, baptizing them for the remission of sins, informing them that there was one standing among them that was greater than he. Although he was a great prophet, yet he did not consider himself even worthy to unloose his shoe latches, and although he was commissioned to baptize the humble, penitent believer for the remission of his sins, yet that personage that stood among them should baptize them with fire and with the Holy Ghost. That same Jesus, after the way had been prepared, went forth preaching in the land of Palestine, and the regions around, testifying of the things pertaining to the Gospel, choosing men, sending them forth before him, without purse or scrip, to declare the glad tidings of the Gospel to the people.

After awhile, after having been persecuted and driven hither and thither, and mobbed and scorned and cast out in many places, he was at length taken by the religious people of that day, those who were considered most pious—the high priests, Pharisees, Sadducees and many others, and was brought before them in judgment, and was condemned to die upon a cross, and after having carried the judgment into execution and put him to death, Jesus rose again on the third day, and appeared, not openly to the world, but to a few chosen witnesses; and just before being taken up into heaven he said unto eleven of these men—“Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” And while he was giving them their commission and instructions and blessing them he was taken up into heaven, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And two angels stood by them on that occasion, and they said—“This same Jesus whom ye have seen taken up into heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” That is, he was received into a cloud, taken up in a cloud, and when he comes the second time he will come in a cloud, personally, with his resurrected body, the same as he ascended in the cloud. This was the testimony of these two angels who stood by on that occasion. It is of this second advent, and the preparations therefore, that I desire to speak this afternoon.

Jesus will come in a cloud, or as is expressed here in the 40th chapter of Isaiah—“The glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together. It is also expressed in the revelations of St. John, that when he comes in a cloud every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him. It seems then that the second advent of the Son of God is to be something altogether of a different nature from anything that has hitherto transpired on the face of the earth, accompanied with great power and glory, something that will not be done in a small portion of the earth like Palestine, and seen only by a few; but it will be an event that will be seen by all—all flesh shall see the glory of the Lord; when he reveals himself the second time, every eye, not only those living at that time in the flesh, in mortality on the earth, but also the very dead themselves, they also who pierced him, those who lived eighteen hundred years ago, who were engaged in the cruel act of piercing his hands and his feet and his side, will also see him at that time. Now an event of so great a character as the one of which I am speaking must necessarily have a preparation. If the Lord would prepare the way for the first coming, when he came apparently as a man, like other men; if he considered it important on that occasion to send one of the greatest Prophets that ever lived among men, why not also send Prophets or inspired men before the face of his second coming, to warn the inhabitants of the earth and prepare them for so great an event? I know what the traditions of the religious world are in regard to this matter—they consider that the day of Prophets has gone by, and that no more Prophets, Apostles, Revelators, or inspired men are to appear among the children of men. But it is very evident from a vast amount of Scripture that might be quoted, that there will be many Prophets in the latter days; indeed the time will come when the spirit will be poured out upon all living—all that have not been destroyed from the earth, all flesh; and the effects of that spirit, when it is poured out, will be to make Prophets of the people. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your old men shall dream dreams by the power of that spirit, and your young men shall see visions, all by the operations of the spirit that will be poured out upon all flesh. This is a prediction that must be fulfilled.

Prior to the time, however, when the spirit is poured out upon all flesh there will be an angel sent from heaven, and that angel will bring the everlasting Gospel to be preached. When I speak of the everlasting Gospel I mean the same one that was preached eighteen hundred years ago; and authority will be given to some of the children of men to preach that everlasting Gospel among the nations; and when that shall take place I have no doubt but what there will be many Prophets raised up, because the true Christian Church has always been characterized by Prophets. There never was a genuine Christian Church unless it had Prophets and Prophetesses; indeed, in ancient times Prophets were so numerous in one branch of the Christian Church, that Paul had to set them in order, and send them an epistle and tell them not to all get up and prophesy at once, but that if a thing was revealed to anyone he was not to get up and declare it while another one was speaking, but he was to wait until the first got through speaking, and then he should prophesy; for, said Paul, the spirit of the Prophets is subject to the Prophets. That is, when the spirit came upon Prophets in ancient times, it did not exercise a supernatural power upon them to force them from their seats to stand up and declare their prophecies the moment they were revealed, but that the spirit that was given to them was subject to them, so that they could stay upon their seats until the first Prophets got through prophesying. That was the order of the Christian Church when God ever had one upon the earth—Prophets were very numerous in that church.

But by and by the time came when the Christian Church apostatized and turned away, and began to follow after their own wisdom, and the Prophets and Apostles ceased, so far as the affairs of the Christian Church on the earth were concerned. Revelations, and visions, and the various gifts of the spirit were also taken away, according to their unbelief and apostasy; but in the latter days God intends to again raise up a Christian Church upon the earth. Do not be startled, you who think that God will no more have a Church on the earth, for he has promised that he would again have one, and that he would set up his kingdom, and when he does you may look out for a great many Prophets and inspired men; and if you ever see a Church arise, calling itself a Christian Church, and it has not inspired Apostles like those in ancient times, you may know that it is a spurious church, and that it makes pretensions to something that it does not enjoy. If you ever find a church called a Christian Church that has no men to foretell future events, you may know, at once, that it is not a Christian Church. If you find a Christian Church that has not the ancient gifts, for instance the gift of healing, opening the eyes of the blind, unstopping the ears of the deaf, causing the tongue of the dumb to speak and the lame to walk; if you ever find a people calling themselves a Christian Church and they have not these gifts among them, you may know with a perfect knowledge that they do not agree with the pattern given in the New Testament. The Christian Church is always characterized with inspired men, whose revelations are just as sacred as any contained in the Bible; and, if written and published, just as binding upon the human family. The Christian Church will always lay hands upon the sick in the name of Jesus, in order that the sick may be healed. The Christian Church will always have those among its members who have heavenly visions, the ministration of angels, and the various gifts that are promised according to the Gospel.

But as there has been no Christian Church on the earth for a great many centuries past, until the present century, the people have lost sight of the pattern that God has given according to which the Christian Church should be established, and they have denominated a great variety of people Christian Churches, because they profess to be. They say, “We have built chapels unto the name of the Lord; we call our Churches Christian Churches, they are called the Church of Christ, St. John’s Church, St. Paul’s Church, St. Peter’s Church, and after others of the ancient Apostles;” and one who had never studied the pattern which God has given of the Christian Church would almost really believe that they are Christian Churches.

But there has been a long apostasy, during which the nations have been cursed with apostate churches in great abundance, and they are represented in the revelations of St. John as a woman sitting upon a scarlet colored beast, having a golden cup in her hand, full of filthiness and abominations, full of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; that in her forehead there was a name written—“Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots.” This kind of a church has existed in great abundance, for as John the Revelator says, she was to have her dominion upon many waters, and she was to make all nations drunken with the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Now, we do not dispute but what such churches have existed and exist at the present time, and that the nations of the earth have been cursed with their filthiness and abominations, and with the pride and wickedness they have practiced before the Lord of hosts. I have no doubt but what some few honest-hearted persons have been taken in by them, because they were so numerous and so popular on the earth. But they lack all the characteristics of the ancient Christian Church, having numerous forms of godliness, but denying the power thereof. That is, they deny revelators and Prophets, deny the power to foretell future events; deny that any person, in these days, has the power to have visions or revelations from heaven, as the members of the Christian Church anciently did.

Inasmuch as there has been such a long apostasy, and the earth left without any church of God upon it, we might naturally suppose that, before the second advent of the Son of God, there would be as a preparation for his second coming a Christian Church again organized, and I will now refer you to some prophecies upon this subject in the Bible. We will first turn to the 14th chapter of the Revelation of St. John, where we find a prophecy about the second coming of the Son of God. The 14th verse says—“And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle,” &c. We have not time to read all the events connected with this personage that was sitting upon the cloud, and coming in great glory; but we will go back a few verses and see if there is any preparation to be made before he comes in this cloud. In the 6th verse he says—“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

Here then, we perceive the nature of the preparatory work for the coming of the Son of Man sitting upon a cloud. The Gospel is to be preached to all nations, and that Gospel, when it is restored to the earth, must be restored by an angel from heaven. Now the Gospel that was introduced in the dispensation before John received this revelation, was not restored by an angel from heaven; Jesus himself came and preached the Gospel, as well as John the Baptist, and his Apostles preached it, and they were commanded in that day to preach it among all people, nations and tongues; and they fulfilled their mission, according to Paul’s testimony, for he, in speaking of the extent to which the Gospel had gone before his martyrdom, says that the Gospel was preached to every creature under heaven, “whereof I, Paul, am made a minister.” It seems then, that it was sent forth very fully in that day and age of the world. And then came the great apostasy; and after this apostasy should continue for many long centuries, then an angel should come. Just before the personage should appear in the white cloud, the angel should come and bring the Gospel, and the Gospel should be preached to them that dwell on the earth, to every people, kindred, tongue and nation. What does this indirectly prove? It proves that there was no nation, no people, no kindred, no tongue, upon the face of the whole earth that had the everlasting Gospel when the angel should come; because, if there had been any people, however obscure they might be, however distant they might be from what are termed civilized nations, if there had been any people on the earth who had the Gospel, they would have a Christian Church, with Apostles and Prophets and all the gifts of the spirit therein. But inasmuch as every nation, kindred, tongue and people on the whole earth was completely destitute of the Gospel, and of the Church as organized in ancient days, it was necessary to restore it anew from heaven, and it is predicted that that should be done by an angel.

Has any such event transpired? This is a very important question. To whom shall we go and make the inquiry in regard to the coming of the angel? Someone may perhaps say that we had better make the inquiry of some Christian people, they would be most likely to give an answer. Very well, let us go, then, to the oldest Christian Church, so called—the Roman Catholics, and ask them. Let us go to their cardinals and archbishops, or even to the head man of all that church, who sits in what is called the chair of St. Peter, and ask him, or any other of their great men—“Sir, do you believe that an angel has come from heaven with the everlasting Gospel to preach to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people since the day that John delivered that prophecy? What will be the answer? It will be—“No, we do not believe in any such thing, we claim that we are preachers of the everlasting Gospel; and we hold the regular succession of the authority that was committed in the first century of the Christian era, and that the Gospel had been preached from that day until this, and that the Christian Church has existed among all nations, and there has been no necessity for an angel coming from heaven with it.” “Very well, you do not believe that any angel has come with the everlasting Gospel?” “Oh, no, that is contrary to our faith and belief.”

Go to the next oldest Christian Church, one that broke off from the Roman Catholics, called the Greek Church. Go through all the great nation of Russia, and ask them the same question, and they will answer, like the old mother, that no angel has been sent: “We did not receive the Gospel that we preach by an angel from heaven.” Very well, we will leave you, then, and we will come down to the modern Christian Churches, that came out from the Catholic Church two or three centuries ago, and ask them the question; go to Luther and Calvin, and all the various reformers that seceded from the Church of Rome in the 16th century, and ask each one in his turn, and each will have the same answer. “Martin Luther, did you receive the Gospel which you preach from an angel sent from heaven?” “Oh, no,” says he, “we got our ordination from the church that we dissented from; we once belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, but we found out that they were very wicked and abominable, and that they were the ones John spoke of, that should have ‘Mystery, Babylon’ written in the forehead, that have been drinking of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and we have come out from that church.” “Well, Mr. Luther, did you get any ordination in that church?” “Yes, we got an ordination.” “And that is your authority, is it? No angel was sent to you from heaven to restore the authority and the Gospel?” “No, we got our authority from the mother church.“ “Well, do you think the mother church is very wicked?” “Yes, the most wicked and corrupt people on the face of the earth.” “Then you got your authority from the most corrupt people on the face of the earth, did you? What is it good for? And, by the by, if they have authority to confer upon you the Priesthood, and that gives you a right to baptize and to administer the ordinances, have they not also authority to excommunicate you? Were you excommunicated from their communion?” “Oh, yes, they exercised their authority in cutting me off from their church and casting me out.” “Very well, then, they took away all the authority they pretended to give you, did they not?” “Yes, they took it away, but still we claim it through them, and that is the only way we get the chain of authority back to the Apostles.”

Some of the Protestants, however, do not argue in this way; they say that they get their authority from the Bible, independent of any church. Well, let me say to some who claim their authority in this way, “What part of the Bible called you by name, William? You have been ordained, have you, to preach the Gospel and baptize? Who ordained you? Who gave this authority to you? Who commissioned you?” Says William—“Well, I really did not get the authority from the Roman Catholics, or from any church later than the Roman Catholics, but I got it from the Bible.” “What part of the Bible?” “Why, that saying of Jesus to his eleven Apostles. Just before he was taken up in a cloud, Jesus said to them—’Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.’” “Well, how do you know, William, that that meant you? If it meant you, did it not mean your neighbor also, and every male person who has lived on the earth since the days of the Apostles? How do you know that it meant you? Did God ever give you a new revelation?” “Oh, don’t mention it, we do not believe in any new revelation, or in inspired men in our day.” “Very well, then, you do not think that God has sent any angel to restore the Gospel, and authority to preach it to the children of men?” “Oh, no, none but a poor deluded sect called Mormons away up in the mountains of America believe any such thing; they profess that God has sent an angel from heaven to restore the Gospel and the authority of the Priesthood, but we do not believe that God sends angels in our day.”

This is about the way you would get answered by all the various churches that have lived during many hundreds of years past, in regard to their authority; they have no more authority than a heathen priest. Why? Because they have denied all the fundamental powers and principles of the ancient Christian Church.

Says one—“Well, if they have no authority, then all our baptisms are illegal.” Certainly they are; to be baptized by a man who has no authority, no matter how sincere I may be, would avail me nothing, I might as well go and baptize myself. “Well,” says one, “you Mormons believe, do you, that God has actually sent an angel, and has again committed to men the everlasting Gospel, and authority to preach it and administer its ordinances?” “Yes, and we not only believe it, but many of us know with a most perfect knowledge that he has done so, having received our knowledge from God himself.” “Then the Lord, you think, has fulfilled that passage in the 14th chapter of Revelation, and that he has actually sent an angel to restore the Gospel to earth?” “Yes.” “How long since?” Some forty-six years have passed away since the angel came and committed a record of the Gospel, not merely given in a verbal manner, but caused to be translated a record that contained the everlasting Gospel in all its fullness. The ancient Israelites, who once inhabited this country, were acquainted with the Gospel. Jesus did not confine his labors altogether to Palestine; but after his crucifixion and resurrection, he came to America, and appeared among its people, and taught them the everlasting Gospel, the same as he had before taught the people of Palestine, and he commanded them to write this Gospel upon plates of metal; they did so, and they established a Christian Church according to the pattern that God gave to them, and their writings have been brought forth. How? By the administration of an angel from heaven, an angel sent to reveal this record containing the fulness of the everlasting Gospel.

Inquires one—“Did this angel give any authority to Joseph Smith, and to others to whom he revealed himself, to baptize?” Not at all. He revealed the record, and Joseph was commanded to translate it by the aid of the Urim and Thummim that was with it, and he was told that it would be sent to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people. But he did not give Joseph Smith authority to preach that Gospel, neither did he give him authority to baptize, or to lay on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the probability is that the person who held the keys to reveal the everlasting Gospel did not have the authority himself—it is not all angels that have this authority. Peter, James, and John had the authority, and after the book was translated they were sent. What for? Not to reveal the Gospel, for that was revealed by another angel prior to that time; but they were sent to lay their hands upon individuals, and ordain them to the Apostleship. No one can say that Peter, James, and John did not hold the Apostleship, and that people could not be ordained under their hands. They ordained them to the Apostleship, and they commanded, in the name of the Lord, that they should preach the Gospel, and ordain others to the same power and authority which was conferred and restored from heaven. They were commanded to preach the Gospel to all of the nations and kindreds of the earth. That was the way that the Lord restored the everlasting Gospel.

What have we been doing since the authority was restored? Forty-six years have now passed away, and what has been done during that time towards fulfilling the prediction uttered by John the revelator? Much has been done. In the midst of the most severe persecution, the servants of God have gone forth and preached the Gospel to a great many nations. They were commanded to go to and labor with the Gentile nations first, without purse and scrip. “Go and preach the Gospel as mine ancient Apostles did, without purse and scrip; and go to the Gentiles first. Warn them thoroughly, and teach them concerning my Gospel.” They have done so, and for forty-six years they have continued their missions in the Gentile nations.

The Lord also told them that when the fullness of the Gentiles had come, when their times were fulfilled, then his servants should be sent to all the scattered remnants of the house of Israel, who should be grafted in again; but first, the fullness of the Gentiles must come in. You know that Scripture which says—“The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” Now the Gospel, when it was preached in ancient times, was preached first to the Jews, the house of Israel, to those of Israelitish origin, and when they counted themselves unworthy of eternal life, and rejected that Gospel, “Lo” says Paul, “we turn unto the Gentiles.” The Gentiles, then, heard it last; they were last to embrace the Gospel of the kingdom, and the Jews first, that is, as many of them as would believe and repent. But in the last days, when the angel brings the Gospel, it is reversed, and it is preached first to the Gentiles, to bring in their fullness, and to fulfil their times, and then it will be sent to the house of Israel.

In the 21st chapter of Luke, our Savior, in speaking of the evils that should befall the Jewish nation, says, “And they (the Jews) shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” This has been fulfilled literally upon the Jewish nation, and they have been scattered, according to this prediction, among all nations. Many of them were destroyed by the edge of the sword. Jerusalem was taken some seventy years after the birth of Christ, and has been in possession of the Gentiles from that day to this. Jesus told them that such should be the fact, that Jerusalem should be in the possession of the Gentiles, and should be trodden down by them until a certain period—until their times should be fulfilled.

The great object of the angel in restoring the Gospel was, in the first place, to fulfil the times of the Gentiles. Inquires one—“What do you mean by that?” I mean that God will send this Gospel, restored by an angel, to every nation, kindred, people and tongue in the Gentile world before he will permit his servants to go to the scattered remnants of Israel; and they will labor with, preach to and declare the work of God to the Gentile nations, and seek to bring them to a knowledge of the ancient Gospel, and to organize a Church among them, so far as they will hearken to and receive their testimony. Then, when the Gentile nations shall reject this Gospel, and count themselves unworthy of eternal life, as the Jews did before them, the Lord will say—“It is enough, come away from them, my servants, I will give you a new commission, you shall go to the scattered remnants of the house of Israel. I will gather them in from the four quarters of the earth, and bring them again into their own lands. They shall build Jerusalem on its own heap; they shall rear a Temple on the appointed place in Palestine, and they shall be grafted in again.” Now that, in short, is the nature of this great latter-day preparatory work for the coming of the Son of Man.

Now let me quote another passage that corresponds with one I have already quoted. Paul, in the 11th chapter of his epistle to the Romans, speaks of the proclamation of the Gospel to the Jews first, and because of their unbelief, Paul says they were broken off as branches of the tame olive tree; “and,” says the Apostle, addressing his epistle to a Gentile church, “you have been grafted in the stead of them;” in other words, the kingdom has been transferred from Israel to you Gentiles, and it is committed into your hands, and you are beginning to bring forth the fruits of that kingdom, the gifts of the kingdom are made manifest among you, just as they were among Israel in the days of their righteous ness. “But,” said Paul—“They were broken off by unbelief, and you Gentiles stand by faith. Be not highminded, but fear, for if God spared not the natural branches, if he did not even spare the tame olive tree—the natural branches—take heed lest he also spare not thee, for you are only wild branches grafted in contrary to nature. Take heed lest he also spare not thee, for behold, therefore, the goodness and the severity of God; on the house of Israel, that fell through unbelief, severity; but towards thee, or in other words, towards you, the Gentiles, the goodness of God is extended if you continue in his goodness.” It was on that condition—if you Gentiles continue in his goodness; otherwise, says Paul, you also shall be cut off, just the same as Israel were. You also shall be cut off, and they also shall be grafted in again, for God is able to graft them in again. For if God spared not the natural branches take heed lest he also spare not thee, etc. Then he tells them a mystery. He wanted those Gentiles to understand a certain mystery, and that was that blindness in part had happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved. As it is written—There shall come out of Zion a deliverer who shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. “And this shall be my covenant unto them, saith the Lord, when I shall take away their sins.”

It seems then that Paul understood, by the spirit of prophecy, that if the Gentiles apostatized, if they did not continue in the place where they were grafted, if they did not continue in the goodness of God, if they became highminded, they also were to be cut off, just as they have been for many long generations that are past; cut off from all the ancient blessings of the everlasting Gospel through the apostasy of their ancient fathers.

But the Lord intends to make a change, and that change is to send forth this Gospel from heaven to be preached to the nations of the Gentiles, to give them one more chance, if they will have it, to bring in their fullness; and when that time has come, and the servants of the Lord find that the balance of them harden their hearts and reject the Gospel of life and salvation, then the Lord will graft in all Israel, and they will be saved, being restored again to the tame olive tree, and bringing forth the fruits thereof. Thus will be fulfilled the ancient covenant that God made with them pertaining to the latter days. Have you read that covenant that Paul quotes from? One of the ancient prophets, Jeremiah, delivered the prophecy, as recorded in his 31st chapter—“Behold the day shall come that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers, when I took them by the hand and brought them forth out of the land of Egypt. And this is the covenant I will make with them saith the Lord—I will write my law in their hearts, print it in their thoughts, and they shall all know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.”

Now did all Israel and all Judah know the Lord, from the least of them to the greatest of them? Had they no more need to say, every man to his Jewish neighbor, know ye the Lord? Was that the case anciently, when the Lord offered them the covenant of the everlasting Gospel? No; instead of all Israel and all Judah knowing the Lord, from the least to the greatest, they were the very ones that were cut off and lost the privileges of that covenant. But in the latter days when the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in by the proclamation of the Gospel committed by the angel, then is the time that the Lord will renew this covenant, and the same Gospel that he offered to them eighteen hundred years ago, and which they rejected, will be offered to them again, and all Israel will be saved. As it is written—“There shall come out of Zion a deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”

It seems, then, that the Lord, when he shall fulfill this prophecy, will have a Zion on the earth. Enquires one—“What do you mean by Zion? I mean the Church of God, that is what I call Zion. God will have a Church on the earth—a Zion, and out of that Church a deliverer will come for and in behalf of all Israel, not only the Jews—the two tribes and a half that were scattered after Christ, but the ten tribes that were taken away out of Palestine some seven hundred years before Christ. All Israel—the whole twelve tribes—will come to the knowledge of the truth when God sends this deliverer out of Zion, proclaiming the Gospel of the latter days for their salvation.

Connected with this everlasting Gospel is another very marvelous event preparatory to the second advent. What is that? Every Christian upon the face of the whole earth will be gathered from all nations, and all will be assembled in one. Says one—“There are none of our Protestant denominations gathering; the Roman Catholics do not gather; the Greek Church do not gather, and I do not know any Church, except you Mormons, that gather out.” Now, let us see what is said about this gathering. I have told you that the Gospel should be committed by an angel; I have told you that it should be the hour of God’s judgment—a peculiar time of judgment, in which the nations are to be visited with sore and terrible judgments. Now let us read further—“Another angel followed, crying, Babylon is fallen, because she made all nations drunk with the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Who is Babylon? I have already explained that Babylon is a great power that should be in the earth under the name of a church, a woman—that generally represents a church—full of blasphemy. She had the inscription of her name upon her forehead—“Mystery, Babylon, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” What is to become of her? Where does she sit? Upon many waters, says John; and to interpret this to the understanding of the people, the waters are many people, nations, kindred and tongues where the woman hath her seat. These churches are scattered over the wide face of the earth, and this is called Babylon. Another angel is to follow the one that brings the Gospel, after it has been sufficiently preached, and proclaim the downfall of this great and corrupt power in the earth. Well, will all the Christians that are there perish, or will they be gathered out? Hear what John says—“I heard a great voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, oh my people, that you partake not of her sins, that you receive not of her plagues, for her sins have reached to the heavens, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Then there is only one way to escape, is there? We can’t stay in Babylon and be spared from these judgments, can we? Not at all. Why not? Because her sins have reached to the very heavens. Look at her abominations, her whore doms, her murders, her priestcraft, her false doctrines, her forms of godliness without any power; look at them, all the nations are following after, and consider it popular to follow and embrace these doctrines. “Come out of her, oh, my people.” What people? God had no people in Babylon until the Church was organized, he could not have; he sent his servants to organize his Church, that there might be a people called his people. But when that Church is organized among these nations, kindred, tongues and people, its members are not permitted to remain where they are. This is not an invention of a learned company of divines, saying it will be a good thing for us to gather in one; it is not something invented by human wisdom; but the Revelator John says—“I heard a voice from heaven.” What, a new revelation, John? Yes, a voice from heaven. God was again to speak, before the downfall of Babylon; and this should be the voice—“Come out of her, O my people.”

Who has been fulfilling this among all those calling themselves Christians? Have the Roman Catholics? Have the Greek church? Have the Protestants, in any of their denominations, been gathering out from all the nations of the earth? No, but you find one people doing it. Who are they? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized on the earth by divine authority. They have gone forth proclaiming these things among the inhabitants of the earth. Instead of saying to the people—“Tarry where you are,” we say to them—“Arise, make preparations, and gather out from this corruption.” This has been the proclamation to the people of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, and every other country the people of which have received the Gospel, and they have been commanded not to tarry, but to obey the word of the Lord, and gather as soon as possible.

But where shall they gather to? Is there anything indicated in prophecy about where they should gather? Yes. Daniel saw a Church organized in the latter days, in a mountain or high place of the earth. Read the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in the second chapter of Daniel’s prophecies. The king could not recollect his dream when he awoke, and he sent out to all the wise men, musicians and astrologers, and requested them to tell him what his dream was, and then give him an interpretation. But they could not do it. Finally a man of God, a humble man, by the name of Daniel, besought the Lord, and the Lord revealed to him the dream and the interpretation thereof. Nebuchadnezzar, it seems, had seen a very great image before him; the head of that image was gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and thighs were of brass, the legs of iron, and the feet part of iron and part of potter’s clay. He saw it in all its terrible majesty composed of these different metals, together with potter’s clay. Then, after Daniel had described to him what he had seen in his dream, said he—“Thou sawest until that a stone was cut out of the mountain;” not out of some low country of the earth near the sea level, “but thou sawest until that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and it rolled forth, and smote the image upon the feet, that were part of potter’s clay and part of iron, and the feet were broken to pieces. Then were the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloor, and the wind carried them away and no place was found for them.” What became of the stone? The stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

Well, what was the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? He told the king that the head of the image represented the kingdom then organized; that after him would come another kingdom, that of the Medes and Persians, represented by the breast and arms of silver; then a third kingdom should follow, the Macedonians; then a fourth kingdom, which should be great and terrible, compared to the iron kingdom, which everyone admits was the great power of Rome, which flourished and had power and dominion over the whole earth. Out of that kingdom grew other kingdoms represented by the feet and toes of the image; these kingdoms had not all the greatness and strength of the former kingdoms represented by the image, but they were partly strong and partly weak.

Now what is the location of this great image from the days of Nebuchadnezzar until now? You go into Asia and you will find there the descendants of the old Babylonian empire still in existence. Come a little further westward, and you find still the descendants of the Medes and Persians who once flourished and exercised dominion over the earth. A little further west you find the descendants of the third, or Macedonian, empire still in existence. Come further still, into Europe, and you find the feet and toes of the image in the latter-day kingdoms of the earth, which have branched across the great deep and have planted themselves in America. Are they partly strong and partly broken? Yes. Some of them have some strength apparently, and they have among themselves all the characteristics of miry clay with the iron, for they are divided one against another, and they have to keep up their standing armies because they are afraid of one another. But where is the stone from the mountains? Where is that kingdom that is called the stone? In the interpretation the Prophet says—“Thou sawest until the kingdom of God was set up, and it smote the image upon the feet,” and so on. It does not commence its attack away in Asia, where the head of gold or its descendants live, neither in any intermediate part, but it commences at the very extremity of this great image, as it spreads out to the west, and commences upon the feet and the toes; it is there where the stone is cut out of the mountain without hands, it is there where the God of heaven should set up a kingdom, as Daniel says, that should never be destroyed, neither shall it be given into the hands of another people, but it shall stand forever. Not like the former-day kingdom that was set up, before the Roman empire had attained to its zenith of power. The former-day kingdom of Christ was set up in the days of the Apostles; that was overcome and destroyed out of the earth. The beast made war upon them and prevailed against them, and they were banished from the earth, and the woman upon the scarlet-colored beast seems to have had dominion among all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, more or less. But in the latter days the kingdom of God was to be built up on the earth, that should never be destroyed; it was not to be like the former-day one, but it should stand forever, while all these other kingdoms should not only be destroyed, but, like the chaff of the summer threshingfloor, should be carried completely away, and no place should be found for them.

That is the destiny of all the nations. A great many wise men, and statesmen, have meditated deeply upon the past, present and future of the nations, and have no doubt inquired in their own minds with a great deal of seriousness—“What will be the end of these political powers? What will be the end, for instance, of this great republican government of ours? What will be the end of the governments organized in Europe?” These questions, no doubt, have occurred to thousands and tens of thousands of reflecting men. The Bible answers the question. No kingdom, no form of government of human invention will be permitted to stand. When God has fulfilled the saying written by the Prophet Daniel, there will be one universal kingdom, and only one, and that will be the kingdom of God, and Jesus himself will be the great king.

Inquires one—“What do you mean by this breaking to pieces? Do you think Daniel meant that they should go forth with physical force and subdue all the nations?” No, I do not think any such thing; but when the Lord God sends his holy angel from heaven with the everlasting Gospel and then ordains his servants to the Apostleship, and sends them forth among the nations of the earth, and they proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom among the people, if the people will not hear, the Lord himself will break them in pieces. It will be the message that he sends that will ripen them for destruction.

And the location of his kingdom was to be in the mountains, so says Daniel. Now you can understand that saying in Isaiah, which I read at the commencement of my remarks. When describing the glory of the Lord to be revealed and all flesh seeing it together, preparatory to that work, Isaiah says there was a certain people that should get up into the mountains. “Oh Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain.” That did not mean a city called Zion, for it is not to be supposed that a city would travel up into a high mountain; but it meant a people, a people who were bringing good tidings. What good tidings? What can be more glorious tidings to the inhabitants of the earth than the everlasting Gospel sent by an angel, to say unto the people that if they will repent of their sins and be baptized in water for the remission of their sins, they shall receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands of the servants of God? What can be more glorious in its nature than a proclamation of this kind to the nations of the earth? Hence when the people come out of great Babylon and gather themselves together, they will gather into the mountains to fulfill this prophecy.

Any other prophecies about their going to the mountains? Yes. Read the 18th chapter of Isaiah. Isaiah, when standing in Palestine delivering his prophecy, looked off to the southwest and saw the rivers of Ethiopia, or Africa; and after having seen these rivers in vision he also sees a land shadowing with wings away beyond the rivers of Ethiopia. What kind of a land was that, away beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, from where Isaiah stood in Palestine? Why it is a land that had the appearance of wings. You have been struck doubtless, with the great resemblance that North and South America have to the two great wings of a bird. While Isaiah was thus gazing upon a land away beyond the rivers of Ethiopia, it looked so much like the wings of a bird that he says—“A land shadowing with wings, away, beyond the rivers of Ethiopia.” Well, Isaiah, what have you to say about that land? Why, says he, there is a proclamation to be had there. How extensive, Isaiah? To all people. Hear the words of Isaiah. Says he, “All ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, see ye when he lifts up an ensign on the mountains.” Not on the low places of that land shadowing with wings, next to the seashore, but in the mountains. What is the nature of this ensign? It is characteristic of a standard, often spoken of by the Prophets, and called by the name of standard. Isaiah speaks of it as an ensign in a number of places. What would naturally be a standard? The kingdom of God is a standard to which the people rally and gather together. Does it affect all people, Isaiah? Yes. “All ye inhabitants of the world.” What could be more extensive than that? “And dwellers on the earth, see ye when he lifts up an ensign on the mountains, and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.” What else is to take place, Isaiah? He says that a severe judgment is to take place on that land shadowing with wings. What kind of a judgment, one that is to be very severe, Isaiah? Yes, for he says—“Afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruninghooks, and take away and cut down the branches. They shall be left together unto the fowls of the mountain and to the beasts of the earth; and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them.” When will this be, Isaiah? After this proclamation, after all the nations of the world have heard it, after the people have heard the sound of the warning message; then the first among all the nations where the extremities of the image have sent forth one of its governments, there will be the commencement of a most terrible judgment, so much so that the people on that land will not have time to bury their dead, and the fowls shall summer upon them. Why is all this? Because they will not hearken when that sound goes to all people; they will not repent of their sins; they will not receive the message that God has sent by his angel, he therefore visits them first, because they are the first to hear those glad tidings. No wonder, then, that Zion, that brings good tidings, was commanded by the ancient Prophet to get up into the high mountain.

Let us go a little further, and see what immediately follows this. Isaiah says—“For behold the Lord God shall come with a strong hand.” What! The coming of the Lord going to take place after Zion has gone up into the mountains? Yes, that is one of the great events that will transpire, when the people of the nations are careless and indifferent, when they are eating and drinking, buying and selling, and their minds wholly swallowed up with the various occupations of life. “Behold, the Lord comes with a strong hand, his arm will rule for him and he will reward his people; then the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh will see it together.”

But one of the great preparatory works in that dispensation of the gathering of Zion to the mountains, will be the construction of a great highway, which is to be cast up in the desert. Let me ask you who have been across these mountains, from Omaha for many hundred miles westward, what kind of a country is it? Is it a country of orchards, vineyards, and alluvial soil, that is calculated to flatter the agriculturist? Says one—“No, I never saw such a barren plain for hundreds and hundreds of miles. In the day time, when we had an opportunity of looking at it, it had all one appearance, and was a vast sage plain and desert.” Now Isaiah said that when his people should get up into the mountains a highway should be cast up in the desert. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” What! Is it made for the Lord? Yes. What is the Lord going to do with it? He is going to gather his people from all the nations on this highway through the desert. Do you want to know anything more about this highway? Read another chapter in Isaiah; he gives more particulars than what I have mentioned.

What I have read in the 40th chapter of Isaiah about the highway in the desert, is only one thing connected with it. In another chapter he says—“Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.” Here is the same thing spoken of again, only it speaks of tunnels, or, in other words, gates—“Go through, go through the gates.” I have no idea but what Isaiah, in gazing down upon future generations, saw the time when a long train of carriages would be whirled across a continent, without any apparent animal force or power. He perhaps did not understand the modern terms for tunnel through a rock, and hence he calls them gates. “Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way of the people; cast up, cast up a highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.” Then comes in this universal proclamation—“Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed from the ends of the world.” Now, from the ends of the world, we should naturally suppose that, Isaiah, standing in Palestine, and delivering this, would see a work that was to transpire on a very distant land. He could find no better language to describe it, than the expression “to the ends of the world.” Not a work to transpire in Palestine, in his own neighborhood, but, “Behold the Lord should proclaim from the ends of the world, to all people, Behold, your salvation cometh.” That is, the Lord was coming with a strong hand, and this proclamation coming from the Lord was to be sounded to all the inhabitants of the earth, a standard was to be raised, and a way prepared by this highway being cast up.

There are a great many in this congregation who took part in casting up this highway. We built the most difficult portions of this railroad, through these mountains, some four hundred miles in extent. Did you work with a good cheerful heart when you were engaged in gathering out the stones, and when you were making these gates that Isaiah speaks of, through which he saw a long train of carriages dart into the mountain, losing sight of them for a time, then seeing them come out again with great speed, from the mountain? How could he describe it any better than by saying—“Go through, go through the gates?”

But what kind of a people were these to be who should be gathered from the ends of the world by this proclamation? Read the next verse—“They shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord.” Says one—“Well, you are called anything else but that; instead of being called a holy people, you are represented, by the priests and everybody else, as a very unrighteous people.” Very well, the Lord will, in his own due time, enable you to distinguish between the righteous and the wicked. “Behold, they shall call them the holy people, the redeemed of the Lord; and behold, they shall be called, sought out, a city not forsaken.” How different from old Jerusalem! Was that sought out? No; Jerusalem was built up a long time before Israel came out of Egypt, and was there ready for them to take possession of when they entered the Holy Land. Was Jerusalem ever forsaken? Yes, forsaken for many generations. But not so with Zion, that should get up into the mountains; they should seek out a location, so much so that the city should be called “Sought out;” and instead of being forsaken, as many people suppose the “Mormons” will be, the Lord God will protect them. According to the words of Daniel, the kingdom shall not be destroyed, neither shall it be given to another people, and it shall stand forever. All these characteristics are being fulfilled.

Would you suppose that the House of Jacob, the ten tribes of Israel, can be gathered from the four quarters of the earth, and brought back to their own land, without the lifting of this ensign? No. Read the 11th chapter of Isaiah. There he says—“I will lift up an ensign for the nations, I will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and I will gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.” Until the Lord God sends forth this proclamation to all the inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, in vain may we look for the redemption of the outcasts of Israel and the dispersed of Judah. Israel, the ten tribes, called the outcasts, will never return, the scattered Jews will never be restored, until such an ensign is raised. Isaiah, in the fifth chapter, speaks of that ensign—“I will lift up for the nations an ensign from afar.” Why not lift it up in Jerusalem, Isaiah? Why not lift it up in Palestine? Why not commence the work in Asia? Says Isaiah—“I will lift up an ensign to the nations from afar.” How far? Away off to the ends of the earth, from where Isaiah then was.

After this ensign is raised, he speaks of how swiftly the people shall come—“They shall come with speed swiftly.” Is that the way you came, Latter-day Saints? When you crossed the ocean, how did you come? In steamships; and when you crossed through the United States to Omaha, how did you come? In steam cars. And when you crossed these desert sage plains, how did you come? With speed swiftly through most of the desert, just as Isaiah said you would in his fifth chapter.

Many people thought that when the railroad came, “Mormonism” would be done away. But such a supposition shows their ignorance. Why, bless you, this people in the year 1847, when the pioneers crossed these plains without any track to guide them, were looking for this great highway then. Yes, I recollect, almost every day when I could get an observation of the sun (for we had two sextants, and artificial horizons, and mountain barometers, and one circle of reflection), taking the latitudes and longitudes of all the prominent places, crossing this great desert; and not satisfied with getting the latitude and longitude we had our mountain barometers and attached and detached thermometers and took the altitude above sea level of all the prominent places on the route of this great highway which was to be cast up for us in the midst of the desert. Thus this people were the first to talk about this great highway, and we never lost sight of it. We petitioned Congress for its construction twenty-five years ago; our Legislature, knowing the minds of the people, sent our memorial to the National Legislature, and requested them to cast up the highway across this country. Our memorials were, for awhile, treated with silence; but by and by, when the proper time comes, the Lord will stir up Congress and the great men and capitalists of the nation to go forth and construct this highway. Did we not rejoice and thank the Lord our God for fulfilling that which we had been expecting, and praying for so diligently? We certainly did.

We might continue our remarks, as there are many things connected with this great preparatory work which, did time permit, we would be glad to lay before the people. I will quote a passage or two more in relation to the gathering. Paul saw this gathering, and he calls it a new dispensation that should come after his day. He says that in the dispensation of the fullness of times he would gather together in one all things in Christ, whether they be things in heaven or things on the earth. The dispensation of the fullness of times, then, was to be characterized by the gathering of all persons that were in Christ. All the righteous dead that are in heaven, whose bodies are asleep in the grave, together with all the Christians on the earth, will be gathered in one in that dispensation. Fulfilling another prophecy in the 43rd chapter of Isaiah, where the Lord says—“I will say to the north give up, and to the south keep not back; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth, even every one that is called by my name.” Will it leave a Christian behind? Not one. Go and search New York, Philadelphia, and all the eastern States, and the middle and southern States, and then all Europe, for a Christian after this prophecy is fulfilled, and you can’t find one. Why? Because they are all gathered in one. How? By new revelation. The Lord says, “I will say to the north give up.” The Lord’s going to speak, the Lord is going to utter something—“I will say to the south keep not back. I will say, Come ye, my sons and daughters, from the ends of the earth, even every one that is called by my name.” What an awful condition the world will be in when there is not a Christian among them. Amen.

The Purposes of God—Duties and Responsibilities of the Saints

Discourse by Elder John Taylor, delivered at the Forty-Sixth Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, October 10, 1875.

It is extremely difficult to speak to a congregation so large as this, and I therefore request that as good order as possible may be maintained, because it is almost impossible for the human voice to encompass so large a congregation as the one assembled here today.

We all of us have an object in assembling together as we have done on this conference occasion. I speak now to Latter-day Saints, as it is to them I purpose to address my remarks this afternoon. We do not always understand the influences by which we are operated upon; but nevertheless there are certain principles at work in this generation which move upon the minds of the human family, and which lead them to reflect and study more or less, according to the circumstances surrounding them and the positions they occupy. We, the Latter-day Saints, stand in a different relationship to the Almighty from any other people that exist on the face of the earth. The principles that we have received emanated not from man, nor from the wisdom, intelligence or philosophy of man; we believe that they proceeded from God. That is our universal belief; it is the faith of every good Latter-day Saint. None of us, previous to the Lord manifesting his will, knew anything about the laws of God. We did not know anything about God; we were not acquainted with anybody who could give us information in relation to him, and we are indebted to revelation from him for all the intelligence that we have that is true in regard to ourselves, the world in which we live, the people who have lived before us, and those who will live after us; also in regard to God the Father, and Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant. We had certain vague, indistinct ideas about these things before, but we had nothing real, tangible or reliable. Nor is it out of any consideration, particularly, to ourselves personally, that these things are made manifest. God has certain purposes to accomplish, pertaining to the world in which we live, in which the interests and happiness of the human family are concerned, to those who live in the world today, to those who have lived in other ages and dispensations, back to the time of Adam, and also forward, to the latest generation of time, to the last man who shall be born upon earth. The ancient Patriarchs and Prophets, men of God who basked in the light of revelation, and comprehended the mind of Jehovah, and who held the everlasting Priesthood and enjoyed the Gospel as we enjoy it; all these together with God our heavenly Father and all the angelic hosts, are interested in the work that the Father has commenced in these last days; and hence a revelation was made unto Joseph Smith. Holy angels of God appeared to him and communicated to him the mind and will of Jehovah, as a chosen messenger to introduce the dispensation of the fullness of times, wherein all heaven and all that have ever dwelt on the earth are concerned and interested. He did not reveal himself, particularly, because of Joseph Smith, individually, nor because of any other individual man, nor for the peculiar interest, emolument or aggrandizement of any set of men; but for the purpose of introducing certain principles that it was necessary that the world of mankind should be made acquainted with; in fact, it was for the purpose of introducing what we call the Church and kingdom of God on the earth, in which all who have ever lived or who ever will live upon this globe are interested.

The Gospel that we talk of, although it may be a personal thing, yet at the same time is as high as the heavens, wide as the universe and deep as hell. It permeates through all time, and extends to all people, both living and dead. We talk sometimes about the Church of God, and why? We talk about the kingdom of God, and why? Because, before there could be a kingdom of God, there must be a Church of God, and hence the first principles of the Gospel were needed to be preached to all nations, as they were formerly when the Lord Jesus Christ and others made their appearance on the earth. And why so? Because of the impossibility of introducing the law of God among a people who would not be subject to and be guided by the spirit of revelation. Hence the world have generally made great mistakes upon these points. They have started various projects to try to unite and cement the people together without God; but they could not do it. Fourierism, Communism—another branch of the same thing—and many other principles of the same kind have been introduced to try and cement the human family together. And then we have had peace societies, based upon the same principles; but all these things have failed, and they will fail, because, however philanthropic, humanitarian, benevolent, or cosmopolitan our ideas, it is impossible to produce a true and correct union without the Spirit of the living God, and that Spirit can only be imparted through the ordinances of the Gospel; and hence Jesus told his disciples to go and preach the Gospel to every creature, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and said he—“Lo, I am with you always, even to the end.” It was by this cementing, uniting spirit, that true sympathetic, fraternal relations could be introduced and enjoyed.

When John was on the Isle of Patmos he had a remarkable vision pertaining to many things, and said he—“I saw a mighty angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth, to every nation and kindred and people and tongue, crying with a loud voice—’Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’”

Joseph Smith had this communication made to him, together with the light of the Gospel, and had conferred upon him the keys of the holy Priesthood, with power to administer therein and to ordain others to the same ministry. And he, himself, was baptized as Jesus was baptized, and he baptized others, and they others, and they then laid their hands upon them for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and they received it. And then, by the inspiration of the Almighty, they were directed to gather together, which they have done. And how many of you who are hearing me today hardly knew the reason why you gathered together? But you had a feeling, a burning desire in your hearts to mingle with the Saints of God. The Scriptures say—“I will take them one of a city and two of a family and bring them to Zion; and I will give them pastors after my own heart, that shall feed them with knowledge and with understanding.”

In accordance with these principles the Elders of Israel went forth, as you have heard here during this Conference, not in their own name, nor in their own strength, nor by their own wisdom; but in the name and strength and power of Jehovah, and as his chosen messengers to administer life and salvation to a fallen world. And God went with them, and his holy angels accompanied them; and the Spirit and power of God were with them; and the words that they spake they spake not of themselves but as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost. And God worked with them and the truth came to your hearts and you received it and rejoiced therein. God had a people scattered abroad among the nations of the earth, and his Priesthood were instrumental in his hands in gathering that people together; and in these days as in days of old, Jesus said—“My sheep hear my voice, and know it and follow me, and a stranger will they not follow, because they know not the voice of a stranger.”

Here then, God was desirous of introducing his kingdom upon the earth, and he had in the first place, to organize his Church, to organize the people that he had scattered among the nations and to bring them together, that there might be one fold and one shepherd, and one Lord, one faith and one baptism, and one God, who should be in all and through all, and by which all should be governed. To facilitate this object he organized his holy Priesthood as it existed in the heavens, and he gave a pattern of these things, just as much as he did in the days of Moses, only more so. God said to Moses—“See that thou make all things according to the pattern that I showed thee in the mount.” God said to Joseph—“See that thou organize this Church according to the pattern that I have showed thee.” And he placed in his Church Presidents, Apostles, Patriarchs, Seventies, High Priests, Bishops, Priests, Teachers, Deacons, Bishops’ Councils and High Councils, and other organizations which God had developed and given to his Priesthood; and hence, when the angel came which is mentioned by John on Patmos, he restored the Gospel as it existed with Adam, and with Enoch, and with Seth, and with Methuselah, and with Noah and Melchizedek, and with Abraham, with the Prophets, and with the Apostles and Jesus, whether on the Continent of Asia, on this continent, or anywhere else; and this people who possess this Priesthood and the authority from God to administer therein, when they get behind the veil they will enter again into the office of their calling and will be united with their several Priesthoods there, for the Priesthood on this and on the other side of the veil are parts of the same eternal system; and hence with a people like this in possession of the Priesthood, and enjoying the revelations of heaven, God could communicate and, through them, could reveal his will to the human family, but not to a people who would not listen to his laws and obey his precepts.

This Priesthood was held by John the revelator, by Peter, by Moroni, one of the Prophets of God on this continent. Nephi, another of the servants of God on this continent, had the Gospel with its keys and powers revealed unto him. We know that these things were so, and we do not profess to argue them, for we all know it. We read that Moses and Elias appeared to Jesus and his disciples on the mount, and Jesus was transfigured before them. Who were Moses and Elias? They were Prophets of the living God who held the Gospel and the Priesthood in former days, and they were sent to administer to Jesus and to Peter, James and John on the mount.

We also learn that when John was upon the Isle of Patmos, the visions of heaven were unfolded to his view, and a great and mighty angel stood before him and showed to him many great and important things pertaining to the future; and John fell down to worship him. But said he—“Hold! Do not worship me.” “Why? Who are you?” “I am one of thy fellowservants the Prophets, who kept the testimony of Jesus and the word of God. Do not worship me, I am one of those who held the Priesthood in time and now I am administering in eternity, and have come forth as a messenger of the Lord to thee.”

It was precisely in this way that Joseph Smith was administered unto, and by the same kind of messengers, who held the same kind of authority; and they came to introduce and usher in the dispensation of the fullness of times, that all things that are in Christ might be gathered together in one, whether they be things in the earth or things in the heavens. This was done that God’s people might be gathered in one, that God’s word might be gathered in one, that’s God’s Priesthood might be gathered in one, and that all in Christ on earth might be united by indissoluble ties with the Priesthood that exists in heaven, that they all might operate together for the accomplishment of the purposes of God on the earth. Hence it is said that “we without them cannot be made perfect, and that they without us cannot be made perfect;” a perfect union between heaven and earth was needed. Under such circumstances what did we do? What could we do? What intelligence were we in possession of, in and of ourselves? Who among us knew the first principles of the doctrine of Christ? Not a man living understood them correctly, and we are indebted to God for our intelligence in relation to these things. Who knew anything about the organization of the Church of God? Nobody. Was there any such thing in existence on the face of the earth? You might have searched for it, but it would have been in vain, it could not have been found. There were the systems, creeds and notions of men, but nobody to say, “Thus saith the Lord.” No prophecy, no inspiration, no manifestations of the power of God. Who knew anything about the necessity of Presidents or Apostles? Nobody. Who knew what an Apostle was? Nobody. Who knew what a High Priest or a Seventy was? Nobody. Who knew what an Elder was in the true acceptation of the term? Nobody; neither was there anybody who knew anything about the office of a Bishop, Priest, Teacher or Deacon, or about the functions of a High Council or a Bishop’s Council, or any of the ordinances of the Church of God. Who knew anything about the relation of man to man or of man to woman? Nobody. Who knew anything about the relationship that exists between man and God? Nobody. Who knew anything about the eternities that are to come? Nobody. It was God who revealed these things. Joseph Smith did not know them, neither did Brigham Young, the Apostles, nor anybody else until God revealed them, and we are indebted to him for all the light, knowledge and intelligence that we possess in regard to the heavens and the earth, in regard to the God who made us and the mode of worshiping him acceptably.

Now then, we are here; we have these various organizations. The Twelve, for instance, have various duties and responsibilities devolving upon them under the direction of the First Presidency. Then there are the Seventies, who are to be special messengers to the nations of the earth, to go forth in the name of Israel’s God, clothed upon with his power to administer life and salvation, and to teach the people the principles of truth under the direction of the Twelve, whose duty it is also to administer these principles, and see that this Gospel is sent to all peoples; and hence the necessity that is felt by them and by the First Presidency in relation to carrying these things out.

And let me say a little farther on a subject that I before referred to, that is, that God could not build up a kingdom on the earth unless he had a Church, and a people who had submitted to his law and were willing to submit to it; and with an organization of such a people, gathered from among the nations of the earth under the direction of a man inspired of God, the mouthpiece of Jehovah to his people; I say that, with such an organization, there is a chance for the Lord God to be revealed, there is an opportunity for the laws of life to be made manifest, there is a chance for God to introduce the principles of heaven upon the earth and for the will of God to be done upon earth as it is done in heaven. God could never establish his kingdom upon the earth unless he had a people who would submit themselves to his laws and government; but with such a people he could communicate, to such a people the heavens could be opened; to such a people the angels of God could administer; and among them the will of God could be done upon earth as it is done in heaven, and among no others, and that is why we are here. Says the Prophet—“I will take them one of a city and two of a family and bring them to Zion.” What will you do with them? “I will give them pastors after my own heart, that shall feed them with knowledge and understanding;” that they may be acquainted with each other and with their various duties and responsibilities; that they may be instructed in the laws of the holy priesthood, and be prepared, eventually, to join their quorums in the celestial kingdom of God, and that the people may be instructed in the laws of life. Hence our marriage ceremonies, relationships and covenants are among the principles of the Gospel, and they are eternal; they existed with God in eternity, and will exist throughout all the eter nities that are to come. God has shown us, in regard to our marital relations, that our wives are to be sealed to us for time and eternity. By what authority? By the authority of that holy Priesthood that administers on the earth and in heaven, and of which Jesus said that whatever they should bind on earth should be bound in heaven, and whatsoever they should loose on earth should be loosed in heaven; and these relationships that exist among us here are calculated to be consummated there, and men and women who understand their true position expect to enjoy each other’s society and association there, as much as they do in their own homes here, just the same. And though they may sleep in the dust, yet, by the power of the resurrection, which you have heard of at this Conference, when the trump shall sound and the dead in Christ shall rise, they will burst the barriers of the tomb and come forth, each and all claiming their proper mates—those with whom they were associated on the earth—through eternity. This is the way we regard our marriage covenants, no matter what other people say about it, this is our business, and we shall do it and keep on doing forever and ever while God lets us live, because it is the word of God to us, and in spite of all the powers of earth and hell we shall never give way in regard to our marriage principles, for they are eternal; and so with regard to every other principle of the Gospel. This is why we have come together to help to build up the kingdom and government of God upon the earth. An earthly government if you please, and a heavenly government if you please. But no man nor set of men are capable of introducing principles of this kind unless God is with them and stands by them; and the first Elders of this Church never could have done what they did without the power of God being with them and accompanying them, and God’s mercy being extended to them. And they could not today.

Men have strange ideas about the Mormons. Why? Because unless they are born of water they cannot see the kingdom of God; that is what Jesus said, and that is why people fail to understand us. But we, who have been baptized and enlightened by the Spirit of God, can see his kingdom. We know it, we comprehend it in part, but only in part. What is the result of all this Priesthood—the First Presidency, the Twelve, the Seventies, the High Priests, Elders, Bishops, Priests, Teachers and Deacons? All of them profess to be under the direction of the Almighty, and if they are not, they are living hypocrites before God and holy angels; for these are the covenants they have entered into, and these are the ordinations they have received.

We see something strange in connection with us as a people—the world follows us, and too many of us follow after the world. Can the world give you the light that you have received, and the Gospel and the hopes of heaven you have received, and the Priesthood you have received? And will you barter these things for a mess of pottage, and wallow in the filth, corruption, iniquity, and evils which abound in the world? What have we come here for? To worship God and to keep his commandments. And how is it with many of us? We forget, in many instances, our high calling’s glorious hope, and we give way to follies, foibles, weakness, and iniquity, and we are governed more or less by covetousness, drunkenness, Sabbath breaking, and evils of various kinds. I sometimes see Elders of Israel bringing in loads of wood and loads of hay on the Sabbath day. Why, it is a burning shame in the eyes of God, holy angels, and all other intelligent beings. If such men had lived under the law of ancient Israel, they would have been put to death. Do you know that? Go and read it in your Bibles. What do you think about a lying Elder, a swearing High Priest, a Sabbath-breaking Seventy, and a covetous Saint? The souls of such men ought to be inspired with the light of revelation, and they ought to be living witnesses, epistles known and read of all men! Do you think you can live your religion, have the Spirit of God and obtain eternal life, and follow after these things? I tell you nay. It was said of olden time—“Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world; for if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” That is as true today as it was eighteen hundred years ago. It is proper that we, as Elders of Israel, and as heads of families, should reflect upon these things, for in many instances we are setting examples before our children that will tend to plunge them to perdition. Is this what we are gathered here for? I tell you nay, we are gathered here to serve God and keep his commandments, and to build up his Zion upon the earth.

After praying for years that God would inspire his servant Brigham with the Spirit of revelation, that he might be able to lead forth Israel in the path in which they should go, he tells us to be one, as Jesus told his disciples; he tells us to enter into a united order, that God has revealed it, that we are to be one in spiritual things, and one in temporal things, to be united together in all principles, as the Saints of God have been wherever they have existed. But our Elders can’t see it, and many of our Bishop’s can’t see it, and many High Priests and Seventies can’t see it. Why? Because the Bridegroom has tarried, and we have all slumbered and slept, and in many instances we have sinned against God, and our lamps have gone out, that is the matter, and we have lost the light, and intelligence, and revelation, and quickening influence of the living God. If we were living our religion and keeping the commandments of God, we should feel and act differently; we should then know of the doctrine. Jesus said—“If any man does my will he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.”

What is the matter, you High Priests, you Seventies, you Bishops and others? You are not doing the will of God, and you do not know of the doctrine, that is the matter; and yet we are living in the blaze of Gospel day, surrounded by Prophets, Apostles, Patriarchs, and men of God. Is it not time that we humbled ourselves? Is it not time that we repented of our sins? Is it not time that we forsook our iniquities? Is it not time that we went back to the first principles, and began to consider our ways, and to walk in the light of truth? That is the way that I understand it, and hence the necessity of the Elders of Israel, the President of the Church, of the Twelve, and of all men who are inspired by the light of truth and the light of revelation, to stir up the members of the Church generally to good works. They see Israel wandering away after strange gods, forsaking the fountain of living water, and “hewing out to themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water;” and hence the necessity of Apostles and Prophets for the per fecting of the Saints and the work of the ministry, and the edifying of the body of Christ. How is it among many of our quorums? Perfectly dead, dumb, and lifeless, without the light, and life, and power of the living God among them; and Elders of Israel, clothed upon with the Holy Priesthood, expect when they get through, to associate with the Gods in the eternal worlds. How is it? It is time for us to reflect and to think upon our situation, and to consider our ways and be wise. What do you want to do? Do you want to get up some excitement? No, we want to bring you back to the first principles of the Gospel of Christ. Do you want us to be baptized? Not particularly, unless, as stated by President Young, you repent of your sins and your iniquities and your lying, and your deceiving and your Sabbath breaking, and your covetousness and your hypocrisy, and repent of your speaking against the anointed of God; not unless you are willing to be governed by the Holy Priesthood in all things pertaining to this world and the next, pertaining to time and eternity. If you can’t do this, don’t be baptized; it will be better for you not to be.

Well, are all in this condition? No, no, there are more than “seven thousand who have not yet bowed the knee to Baal;” there are more than seven thousand who are seeking to do right, to live their religion, and to keep the commandments of God. I say, then, repent of your iniquities, do your first works, live your religion, keep the commandments of God; let every man do right and depart from evil. If any man has sinned against his brother, let him make it right honestly, and squarely, and truly, and not hypocritically; and let us do everything with honesty of heart, and seek to God, and humble ourselves before him, and live our religion, and God will pour blessings upon us that we shall not find room to contain. His Zion will rise and shine, and the glory of God will rest upon her, the principles of truth will spread on the right hand and on the left, and the mercy of God will be extended unto his people.

May God help us to fear him and keep his commandments, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

What the Lord Requires of His Saints

Discourse by Elder Joseph F. Smith, delivered at the Forty-Sixth Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, on Sunday Morning, Oct. 10, 1875.

I have been very much interested and instructed during our Conference, and in rising at this time—a few moments only remaining before the close of our forenoon meeting—I feel that I can only bear my testimony to, and express my conviction of, the truths that we have had delivered unto us during our meetings from the first day of our Conference. We have had instructions here upon spiritual and upon temporal matters sufficient, if they were carried out, to make this people the best, purest, noblest, and greatest people that inhabit the world. The instructions that have been given unto us in regard to temporal matters, and in regard to bringing us to a union of faith and works, are calculated in their nature, if adopted and carried out in the practices of the Latter-day Saints, to make them the most independent people that live upon the face of the earth, depending indeed only upon the Lord our God, the giver of every good and perfect gift. I can see, as clearly as it is possible for me to see the light of the sun, that if the instructions that were given here yesterday, and the day before, in relation to uniting ourselves together in temporal affairs, were carried out by the people, we would soon no longer be beholden to the world, and it would be said of us, that we were dependent upon no power upon the earth but the power of God. It is very different, however, with us at present, for now we are very dependent, notwithstanding the vast amount of blessings that the Lord has poured out upon us—blessings of the soil, of the labors of our hands, of the elements that surround us. He has given us an abundance of everything our hearts can desire in righteousness, insomuch, as it was remarked yesterday, that we have become almost recreant to these blessings; we squander and waste them, run over them, trample them under our feet as it were, and regard them as of very little importance, or worthless. The Lord truly has blessed his people; he has poured out his Spirit upon us, opened our way, delivered us from our enemies, blessed and enriched the soil, tempered the elements, and made them favorable to us, turned away cursings, and given us blessings on every hand, and has prospered us in the earth. But we have been careless, and in a measure blind to the presence and value of the blessings that have been poured out upon us so abundantly, and have failed to recognize, as we should at all times, the hand of God therein. We have also come far short of appreciating our brethren the Prophets, who have borne the burden in the heat of the day; who have stood boldly and fearlessly, filled with wisdom and intelligence from above, to give us counsel, and to guide and direct us in the channels of prosperity, peace, and happiness.

Will we come to a knowledge of the truth? Will we learn to appreciate the blessings that we enjoy, and to realize from whence they come? Will we begin to follow more faithfully the counsels that are given to us by the servants of the Lord, and come together in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, that we may become perfect men in Christ Jesus, even to the fullness of the measure of his stature?

There is a circumstance recorded in the Scriptures, that has been brought forcibly to my mind while listening to the remarks of the Elders who have spoken to us during Conference. A young man came to Jesus and asked what good thing he should do that he might have eternal life. Jesus said unto him—“Keep the commandments.” The young man asked which of them. Then Jesus enumerated to him some of the commandments that he was to keep—he should not murder, nor commit adultery, nor steal, nor bear false witness, but he should honor his father and mother, and love his neighbor as himself, &c. Said the young man—“All these I have kept from my youth up, what lack I yet?” Jesus said—“If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me.” And we are told that he turned away sorrowful, because he had great possessions. He would not hearken to, or obey the law of God in this matter. Not that Jesus required of the young man to go and sell all that he possessed and give it away; that is not the principle involved. The great principle involved is that which the Elders of Israel are endeavoring to enforce upon the minds of the Latter-day Saints today. When the young man turned away in sorrow, Jesus said to his disciples—“How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”

Is this because the rich man is rich? No. May not the rich man, who has the light of God in his heart, who possesses the principle and spirit of truth, and who understands the principle of God’s government and law in the world, enter into the kingdom of heaven as easily, and be as acceptable there as the poor man may? Precisely. God is not a respecter of persons. The rich man may enter into the kingdom of heaven as freely as the poor, if he will bring his heart and affections into subjection to the law of God and to the principle of truth; if he will place his affections upon God, his heart upon the truth, and his soul upon the accomplishment of God’s purposes, and not fix his affections and his hopes upon the things of the world. Here is the difficulty, and this was the difficulty with the young man. He had great possessions, and he preferred to rely upon his wealth rather than forsake all and follow Christ. If he had possessed the spirit of truth in his heart to have known the will of God, and to have loved the Lord with all his heart and his neighbor as himself, he would have said to the Lord—“Yea, Lord, I will do as you require, I will go and sell all that I have and give it to the poor.” If he had had it in his heart to do this, that alone might have been sufficient, and the demand would probably have stopped there, for undoubtedly the Lord did not deem it essential for him to go and give his riches away, or to sell his possessions and give the proceeds away, in order that he might be perfect, for that, in a measure, would have been improvident. Yet, if it had required all this to test him and to prove him, to see whether he loved the Lord with all his heart, mind, and strength, and his neighbor as himself, then he ought to have been willing to do it, and if he had been he would have lacked nothing, and would have received the gift of eternal life, which is the greatest gift of God, and which can be received on no other principle than the one mentioned by Jesus to the young man. If you will read the sixth lecture on faith in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants you will learn that no man can obtain the gift of eternal life unless be is willing to sacrifice all earthly things in order to obtain it. We cannot do this so long as our affections are fixed upon the world.

It is true that we are in a measure of the earth, earthly; we belong to the world. Our affections and our souls are here; our treasures are here, and where the treasure is there the heart is. But if we will lay up our treasures in heaven; if we will wean our affections from the things of this world, and say to the Lord our God—“Father, not my will but thine be done,” then may the will of God be done on earth as it is done in heaven, and the kingdom of God in its power and glory will be established upon the earth. Sin and Satan will be bound and banished from the earth, and not until we attain to this condition of mind and faith will this be done.

Then let the Saints unite; let them hearken to the voices of the servants of God that are sounded in their ears; let them hearken to their counsels and give heed to the truth; let them seek their own salvation, for, so far as I am concerned, I am so selfish that I am seeking after my salvation, and I know that I can find it only in obedience to the laws of God, in keeping the commandments, in performing works of righteousness, following in the footsteps of our file leader, Jesus, the exemplar and the head of all. He is the way of life, he is the light of the world, he is the door by which we must enter in order that we may have a place with him in the celestial kingdom of God.

May God grant that we may see and comprehend the whole truth, and be submissive to the requirements of the Gospel and obedient to the Priesthood of God upon the earth in all things, that we may obtain eternal life, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

On the Dedication of the New Tabernacle

remarks by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered at the Forty-Sixth Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Saturday Morning, Oct. 9, 1875.

It is with peculiar feelings that I arise on this occasion to speak a few words to this vast assembly. While listening to the sacred words of the prayer that has been offered up this forenoon in the dedication of this large building as a place of worship, and the dedication of the ministry who administer therein, my heart has been full of joy and satisfaction, and, while listening to these glorious words, my mind was led to reflect upon dedications of houses and tabernacles of the Most High in former ages of the world, and also upon the peculiar manifestations oftentimes connected with those dedications.

The Lord our God accepts the dedication, by his servants the Priesthood, of those things which he has ordained and established; and though he may not always manifest that acceptance in a visible manner, so that all the people may see, yet there is a peculiar manifestation that we can feel if we cannot see, which whispers to us that God is manifest in his works, ordinances and institutions, and in his own buildings that are built with an eye single to his glory, and in his name. It is an easy matter for the Great Jehovah to manifest himself, if he pleases so to do, upon a mountain or hill, or in the secret closet; or while we slumber upon our pillows by night, the visions of eternity may be opened to our minds, and we may receive great consolation, joy and peace, through the manifestations given us by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. But then, the Lord has oftentimes laid out a great work for his people to perform, and when that work is performed by the sons of men with all their hearts and might, and with all the strength, ability and power that God has given them, it is then that he shows forth his approbation from the heavens, and fills them with a peculiar feeling of joy and gladness that it is impossible for language to describe. How often have we felt these peculiar feelings and sensations pervading our minds, when we have assembled on occasions something similar to the present one!

I look back to the first Temple that was built in this generation by command of the Most High, some forty years ago, in the State of Ohio, in Kirtland, according to the pattern which God showed by vision. When that was completed, and the servants of God were called in from the east and west, and north, and south, and entered that sacred edifice, God was there, his angels were there, the Holy Ghost was in the midst of the people, the visions of the Almighty were opened to the minds of the servants of the living God; the veil was taken off from the minds of many; they saw the heavens opened; they beheld the angels of God; they heard the voice of the Lord; and they were filled from the crown of their heads to the soles of their feet with the power and inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and uttered forth prophecies in the midst of that congregation, which have been fulfilling from that day to the present time.

It was in that Temple that the visions of the Almighty were opened to our great Prophet, Seer and Revelator, Joseph Smith, wherein the future was portrayed before him, wherein keys were committed to him in relation to this great Latter-day dispensation, and the power of God was made manifest through the holy Priesthood sent down from heaven. In that Temple, set apart by the servants of God, and dedicated by a prayer that was written by inspiration, the people were blessed as they never had been blessed for generations and generations that were passed and gone. Why? Because that work was of God. God had raised up a mighty Prophet; God had brought to light great and glorious revelations; God had sent down the holy Priesthood from the heavens; the Lord our God had established his kingdom on the earth; he, therefore, gave unto his servants power, wisdom and strength that they might administer among the people and do them good.

Since that time buildings have been reared to the name of the Most High, and the Priesthood have been called together, and the councils of the Priesthood have been blessed, endowments have been made manifest, and ordinances of endowments, keys of endowments, signs and tokens of endowments, and principles that were calculated to give joy and to impart happiness, for the Lord had commanded, that in the midst of Zion, life for evermore should be poured out upon the fallen sons and daughters of his people.

Now another occasion is afforded us of dedicating a large and commodious Tabernacle, which has been built to the name of the Most High. God is here; God is with his servants, with the quorums of the everlasting Priesthood, and his Spirit is here; and the prayer that has been offered up is accepted by the heavens, and we rejoice and give praise to God who has redeemed us, who sits upon his throne, whose bowels of mercy yearn towards all of his sons and daughters; whose bosom is filled with compassion towards all his people. We praise his name, and though we have not the opportunity of giving expression to the joy and thanksgiving of our hearts, still we feel to say—“Hallelujah to the Lord God Almighty, who sits upon his throne, who reigns forever and ever, for he will bless his Zion, he will extend forth her borders, he will pour out his Spirit upon his ministry, and he will fulfill and accomplish his work unto the uttermost.” Amen.

The Resurrection—Laying the Cornerstone of the Temple in Jackson County—Mission of the Twelve Apostles—Baptism of Nearly Six Hundred of the “United Brethren”—The Saints Hold the Keys of Salvation for All Israel—Judgments Await the Wicked—Folly of the Fashions

Discourse by Elder Wilford Woodruff, delivered at the Forty-Sixth Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Friday Morning, October 8, 1875.

“Oh Death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the gift of God is eternal life, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is most glorious. It is comforting, at least to my spirit, to think, that, in the morning of the resurrection, my spirit will have the privilege of dwelling in the very same body that it occupied here. As Elders of Israel we have traveled a great many thousand miles in weariness and fatigue, laboring to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the children of men. I would be very glad to have the same body in the resurrection with which I waded swamps, swam rivers and traveled and labored to build up the kingdom of God here on the earth. I like this, I rejoice in the privilege we enjoy at this Conference, of meeting with so many Latter-day Saints. I feel that we have had a good deal of the Spirit of the Lord with us, and I hope that it may continue until we get through with the Conference.

President Young referred, yesterday, in his remarks, to the experience of some of us in past days. I have reflected a good deal upon these things as well as on the future. I have long been associated with the kingdom of God, and I wish to refer for a moment to what was said yesterday on that subject. The mission then mentioned was one of much interest to the Twelve, if not to the Church. The whole of that mission to England, from the beginning to the end, placed the apostles in such a position that they had to walk by faith from first to last. The Lord gave a revelation, with date, day, month and year, when they were to go up to lay the cornerstone in Caldwell County, Far West, Missouri. When that revelation was given all was peace and quietude, comparatively, in that land. But when the time came for the Twelve Apostles to fulfill that revelation, the Saints had all been driven out by the exterminating order of Governor Boggs, and it was as much as a man’s life was worth, especially one of the Twelve, to be found in that State; and when the day came on which we were commanded by the Lord in that revelation to go up and lay the cornerstone of that Temple, and there take the parting hand with the Saints, to cross the waters to preach the gospel in England, the inhabitants of Missouri had sworn that if all the revelations of “old Joe Smith” were fulfilled, that should not be, because it had a day and date to it.

President Young asked the Twelve who were with him—“What shall we do with regard to the fulfillment of this revelation?” He wanted to know their feelings. Father Smith, the Patriarch, said the Lord would take the will for the deed; others said the Lord could not expect the Twelve Apostles to go up and sacrifice their lives to fulfill that revelation; but the Spirit of the Lord rested upon the twelve, and they said—“The Lord God has spoken, and we will fulfill that revelation and commandment;” and that was the feeling of President Young and of those who were with him. We went through that State, and we laid that cornerstone. George A. Smith and myself were ordained to the Apostleship on that cornerstone upon that day. We returned in safety, and not a dog to move his tongue, and no man shed our blood.

As soon as we got home we prepared ourselves to go on our mission to England, and, as President Young has said, the devil undertook to kill us. I have myself been in Tennessee and Kentucky for two or three years, where, in the Fall, there was not well persons enough to take care of the sick during the ague months, and yet I never had the ague in my life until called to go upon that mission to England. There was not one solitary soul in the Quorum of the Twelve but what the devil undertook to destroy; and, as was said yesterday, when Brother Taylor and myself, the two first of the Quorum ready for the trip, were on hand to start, I was shaking with the ague, and I had it every other day, and on my well day, when I did not have it, my wife had it. I got up and laid my hands upon her and blessed her, and blessed my child, having only one at the time, and I started across the river, and that man who sits behind me today, the President of the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth, paddled me across the Missouri River in a canoe, and that is the way I landed in Nauvoo. I lay down on a side of sole leather by the old post office, and I did not know where to go, and I was not able to stand on my feet, and I lay down there. By and by the Prophet came along and said he—“Brother Woodruff, you are going on your mission?” “Yes,” I said,” but I feel more like a subject for the dissecting room than for a mission.” He reproved me for what I said and told me to get up and go. Brother Taylor, the only member of the Quorum of the Twelve who was well, and I traveled together, and on the way he fell to the ground as though he had been knocked on the head with an axe. Old Father Coulton was carrying us, and Brother Taylor fell twice in that way, taken with the bilious fever, and no man in that Quorum could boast that he went on that mission without feeling the hand of the destroyer, for it was laid upon us all. I had the shaking ague, and lay on my back in a wagon, and was rolled over stumps and stones, until it seemed as if my life would be shaken out of me. I left Brother Taylor behind, by his advice, for said he, “We are both sick, and if you stay you can’t do anything here;” so old Father Coulton carried me along in his wagon until I got to Buffalo, N. Y. From there I traveled alone to Farmington, Connecticut, my native place, and I stayed there fifteen days at my father’s house, coughing and shaking every day. My father never expected that I should leave my bed, and my stepmother did not expect that I should ever get better. A message came from an uncle of mine, who had just died, and his last words were—“I want you to send for Friend Wilford, I want him to come and preach my funeral sermon.” My father said—“You can’t go and preach that sermon, for you can’t sit up in your bed.” Said I—“Never mind, get up your horse and wagon;” and he did so and I got into it, and rode over that morning in a chilly wind, and the hour that my ague was coming on I got before a big blazing fire and preached the funeral sermon of my friend, and the ague left me from that day, and I went back and went on my way rejoicing.

In process of time Brother Taylor came along and he and I crossed the ocean together, and arrived in England, and here I want to make a little statement of my experience in those days concerning circumstances that took place with me. When Brother Brigham left home he told you that all his family had was one barrel of rotten flour. Two hundred cents would have bought every pound of provision I left with my family when I left home. But we left our wives, for we had the commandment of God upon us, and we were either going to obey it, or die trying. That was the spirit of the Elders of Israel; and I blessed my wife and child and left them in the hands of God, and to the tender mercies of our noble Bishops, and those who were acquainted with them know how it was in those days. However, I went on my way, and I want to speak of one little circumstance. I had with me an old cloak which I got in Tennessee when traveling with Brother Smoot over forty years ago. It had once been a dandy cloak, and had on keg buttons, and when new had a good deal of trimming and fancy work about it; but it was then pretty well threadbare and worn out. I wore it in Kirtland and I carried it to England with me; and when I was called by revelation to go to John Benbow’s and preach the gospel I wore that cloak. I went there and found over six hundred people, called United Brethren, and among them were eighty-three preachers, and they, as a people, were prepared for the word of the Lord, and I wanted to catch them in the gospel net. Before embracing the doctrine of the United Brethren, Sister Benbow had been what is called a “lady” in England, and she had worn her silks and satins; but after obeying the doctrine of this religious body she cut up and burned and destroyed her silks and satins and wore the plainest calicoes she could get, because she thought that was religion. When I went there to preach she looked at me with this old cloak with the keg buttons on, and the Spirit of the Lord bore testimony to me that reli gion, so far as she was concerned, had a good deal of tradition about it, and that her faith could be tried by the coat a man wore; and as Paul said, if eating meat offended his brethren, he would never eat any more, so I felt a good deal, and one morning I went out and cut off the buttons from my old cloak, and never had a button on it afterwards. By doing this and some other things, which some perhaps would call foolish, I, through the blessing of God and with the assistance of Brother Young, George A. Smith and Willard Richards, caught the whole flock and baptized every soul except one solitary person into the church and kingdom of God. Many of them are here in this room today, and some of them have passed away. I mention this just to show our position. We traveled without purse and scrip, and we preached without money and without price. Why? Because the God of heaven had called upon us to go forth and warn the world.

Now I want to say again, I have looked around within the last few years and I have thought: Where, Oh where, are the sons of the Prophets, Apostles, and fathers in Zion, preparing in these last days to rise up and bear off this kingdom when we are on the other side of the veil? Sometimes, in thinking on this subject, I have felt that they were very few and far between who had the spirit of their fathers and were prepared to bear off this kingdom. But I thank God that I find it is now something like it was in the days of Elijah. When the Prophet said, referring to the followers of Baal—“They have killed thy Prophets, and pulled down thine altars, and I alone am left,” the Lord said—“Oh no, I have seven thousand men in Israel who have not yet bowed the knee to Baal.” Well, I begin to feel, since I have heard the testimonies of our young brethren at this Conference, that some of the sons of the servants of God are becoming filled with the fire and spirit of the Prophets. We want a good many of them to rise up and bear off this kingdom.

Now I want to say a word or two on another subject. I have heard some of our brethren remark—“If the Twelve Apostles have the word of the Lord, we would like to receive it.” I want to say a few words with regard to the word of the Lord. I think that many of this people are mistaken with regard to the word of the Lord. They sometimes wonder why President Young does not give them the word of the Lord. I have been acquainted with President Young more than forty years. It is over forty years since I traveled a thousand miles with him, Joseph Smith, Orson Hyde, Orson Pratt, Charles C. Rich, and many others perhaps in this congregation, and I never saw a day from that day until the present, but what President Brigham Young, even before the Twelve Apostles were organized, always had the word of the Lord for the people; and instead of thinking there is no word of the Lord, my faith is that there is not an Elder in Israel who has any business to preach, unless he has the word of the Lord to the people. The Twelve Apostles should have the word of the Lord to the people; the High Priesthood should have the word of the Lord to the people; these four thousand Seventies, the messengers of Israel to the nations of the earth, should have the word of the Lord to the people; and every Elder of Israel, when he speaks, should have the word of the Lord, and the whole Church and kingdom of God, men and women, should have, each for himself and herself, the testimony of Jesus Christ, which is the spirit of prophecy. This should be in the possession of every man and woman in the Church, for their own government and guidance, and this has always been the teaching to us of President Brigham Young. And this is backed up by the revelations which the Lord has given in these last days, as you will find if you read the twenty-second section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. That revelation was given over forty years ago, to Elders Orson Hyde, Luke Johnson, Lyman Johnson and William E. McLellin; and on that occasion the Lord said—“Go forth and preach the Gospel to the people. And when you go forth you are called to teach the people and not to be taught. And you must teach as you are moved upon by the Holy Ghost, by the power of God, by the Spirit of the Lord; and when you speak as you are moved upon by the Spirit of the Lord, your words are scripture, they are the word of the Lord, they are the mind of the Lord, they are the will of the Lord and the power of God unto salvation unto every one that hears.”

Yes, we have plenty of testimony with regard to these things, and I will say to my brethren that whatever the word of the Lord may be to them I know what the word of the Lord is to me. The word of the Lord to me is, that it is time for Zion to rise and let her light shine; and the testimony of the Spirit of God to me is that this whole kingdom, this great kingdom of Priests, this forty thousand men in these mountains of Israel, who have borne the Priesthood, have thoroughly fulfilled one part of the parable of the ten virgins. What is that? Why, that while the Bridegroom has tarried we have all slumbered and slept; as a Church and kingdom we have slumbered and slept, and the word of the Lord to me is that we have slept long enough; and we have the privilege now of rising and trimming our lamps and putting oil in our vessels. This is the word of the Lord to me.

The word of the Lord to me again, is, that it is time for this whole people, these forty thousand Elders of Israel who dwell in these valleys of the mountains, and I believe that it is the word of the Lord to them, that we listen to the voice of the Lord through the lawgiver, and unite ourselves in temporal things, and that we labor to build up the kingdom of God, and cease to labor to build up ourselves alone, against the interests of the kingdom of God. This is the word of the Lord to me, and I think it is to you.

It is the word of the Lord through the mouth of his servant Brigham, and has been a long time the word of the Lord to me, that as Twelve Apostles, as Seventy Apostles, as High Priests, and as Elders of Israel, it is time that we should rise up and bear the burden that rests upon the shoulders of Brigham Young, who is far advanced in life, and has had the weight and burden of this Church and kingdom upon his shoulders. It is our duty to rise up and bear off this burden, and lift it from our President, and also to cry aloud unto the people to unite themselves together. It is our duty to cease shaking in our shoes for fear the Lord Almighty should give some of his words to govern and control us in our temporal affairs. Who, to use a comparison, expects to have a forty-acre lot alone in the kingdom of God, or in heaven, when we get there? None need expect it, for in that kingdom, in heaven or upon earth, we shall find unity, and the Lord requires at our hands that we unite together, according to the principles of his celestial law.

This is what I consider to be the word of the Lord to us. It is our duty to unite ourselves together, and to sustain the institutions which have been established in these mountains by the revelations of God unto us.

There is another word of the Lord unto me, and which has been like fire shut up in my bones for the last three months; that is, to call upon all the inhabitants of these mountains, as far as I have an opportunity, to go to and lay up their grain, that they may have bread. For the last three months I have not felt as if I could answer my own feelings, unless, at every meeting I have attended, I called upon the farmers to lay up their grain. “Oh, yes,” say some, “Heber C. Kimball cried, ‘Famine, famine’ for years, and it has not come yet.” Well, bless your soul, there is more room for it to come. “Who am I, saith the Lord, that I promise and do not fulfill?” The day will come when if this people do not lay up their bread they will be sorry for it. The Lord has felt after us in days past and gone by the visitations of crickets and grasshoppers time after time, and had it not been for his mercy we should have had famine upon our heads long before this. It is the duty of the farmers in these mountains not to sell their bread, or to throw it away for a song, but to lay it up, or you will find that the day is not a great way off when you will need it. That is the voice of the Lord to me, and it is the way I have felt for a good while, and I believe it is the same to my brethren.

We are living in a very important time, and the Lord has raised up this people to accomplish his purposes; and as some of these reve lations convey the idea, they were chosen from before the foundation of the world. The Lord says—“I have called you by my everlasting Priesthood, and your lives have been hid with Christ in God,” and you have not known it. You have been called here and God has put into your hands his cause and kingdom, and the salvation of both Jew and Gentile. This people hold in their hands the salvation of the twelve tribes of Israel. It was not to the oldest son, but to Ephraim, the son of Joseph, that these promises were made. Joseph was the youngest but one of the Twelve Patriarchs, and through his son Ephraim God has raised you up and has put this power into your hands, and you hold the keys for the salvation of Israel. And the ten tribes of Israel in the north country will come in remembrance before God in due time, and they will smite the rocks and the mountains of ice will flow down before them, and the everlasting hills will tremble at their presence. A highway will be cast up through the midst of the great deep for them to come to Zion, and they will bow down in the midst thereof, and receive the Priesthood at the hands of the inhabitants of Zion.

Then what manner of men ought we to be, we, who have been ordained and called, and had such responsibilities placed upon us by the God of heaven? Our lives have been hid with Christ in God, and we are heirs of the eternal Priesthood, through the lineage of our fathers. Thus saith the Lord through the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who sealed his testimony with his blood, and his testimony from that hour has been in force upon all the world. Know ye, Latter-day Saints, that the Lord will not disappoint you or this generation with regard to the fulfillment of his promises. No matter whether they have been uttered by his own voice out of the heavens, by the ministration of angels, or by the voice of his servants in the flesh, it is the same; and though the earth pass away not one jot or tittle of his word will fall unfulfilled. There is no prophecy of Scripture of any private interpretation, but holy men of old spoke as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and their words will be fulfilled to the very letter, and it certainly is time that we prepare ourselves for that which is to come. Great things await this generation—both Zion and Babylon. All these revelations concerning the fall of Babylon will have their fulfillment. Forty-five years ago, in speaking to the Church, the Lord said—“You are clean, but not all and I am not well pleased with any who are not clean, because all flesh is corrupted before my face, and darkness prevails among all the nations of the earth.” This causes silence to reign, and all eternity is pained. The angels of God are waiting to fulfill the great commandment given forty-five years ago, to go forth and reap down the earth because of the wickedness of men. How do you think eternity feels today? Why there is more wickedness, a thousand times over, in the United States now, than when that revelation was given. The whole earth is ripe in iniquity; and these inspired men, these Elders of Israel, have been commanded of the Almighty to go forth and warn the world, that their garments may be clear of the blood of all men.

I tell you that God will not disappoint Zion or Babylon, the heavens or the earth, in regard to the judgments which he has promised in these last days, but every one of them will have its fulfillment upon the heads of the children of men; and when they are fully ripened in iniquity the nations of the earth will be swept away as with the besom of destruction.

What did the Lord say to that meek and humble man, the brother of Jared, thousands of years ago, with regard to the land of America—a chosen land promised by old Father Jacob to his sons? He said that no nation should ever occupy it, unless the people thereof kept his commandments; and if they failed to do that they should be cut off when they were ripened in iniquity. The Lord has already swept away two mighty nations from this continent, because they have not fulfilled his word, spoken through that humble man. The Lord chooses the weak things of the world, things which are naught to bring to naught things which are, and he will as surely perform his work in this age of the world as he has done in any other. We need not fear man, nor the wrath of man, but fear God, who holds in his hands the destinies of all men.

Before I close my remarks, I want to say a few words to our sisters and daughters in Zion, for I feel that there are some words of the Lord to them. This is a time that the daughters of Zion should hearken to the words of the Prophet of God, who has been set to lead us. I feel that it is time, forty years after they were organized, that the Female Relief Societies should labor with all their might to carry out the object of their organization by the Prophet Joseph Smith. You may ask, “What was the object of that organization?” I will say that in organizing these societies there were several objects in view, some of which I will refer to before I get through. President Young has been calling upon you, as one branch of the land of Zion, to take hold and help to build it up. He desires that the sisters here in the land of Zion should govern and control the fashions of Zion. Instead of heaping to yourselves and imitating the fashions that have adorned Babylon, you should have independence enough to form your own; and those which are not comely and comfortable should be laid aside. I, myself, do not think it has been pleasing in the sight of God, to see the manner in which the mothers and daughters in Zion, for years past, have been ready to adorn themselves with every fashion that Babylon has contrived and invented. I need not mention all these things, but I will mention two or three. For instance, how is it with regard to the head dress of the ladies? The Lord has given to women generally a fine head of hair, which, we are told in the Scriptures, is the glory of the woman; and she should let the hair given unto her adorn her head without adding any foreign substance, as is now done, in order to imitate and follow after the fashions of the world. Again, just as quick as the daughters of Babylon extend their crinolines until they cannot move in a space less than six or eight feet wide, in a coach, assembly room, or anywhere else, why the daughters of Zion must follow the same uncomely fashion. But a fashion the reverse of this is now adopted, and at the present time the daughters of Babylon wear their elastics so tight that they have not room left for locomotion when walking in the streets; and, of course the daughters of Zion must practice the same. And now, see one of them, dressed in the height of fashion, crossing the street, and a runaway team comes thundering along. What a position she is in! Why the only way she can save her life is to lie down and roll across the street like a saw log.

All these fashions are uncomely and should be laid aside. The daughters of Zion should do better than to trail silks and satins in the mud when walking in the street. The Female Relief Societies should lay hold of and regulate these things, and introduce fashions that are comely and comfortable; it is their duty to do it. Again, you can do a good deal in regard to maintaining the independence of Zion, by going to and carrying out the counsel of President Young in raising your own silk for dresses, bonnets and trimmings, so that your adorning may be the workmanship of your own hands.

I felt as though I wanted to say so much with regard to our sisters in Zion. President Young says, and I know it is the truth, that this is the best people on the face of the earth. But however good we may be we should aim continually to improve and become better. We have obeyed a different law and Gospel to what other people have obeyed, and we have a different kingdom in view, and our aim should be correspondingly higher before the Lord our God, and we should govern and control ourselves accordingly, and I pray God my heavenly Father that his Spirit may rest upon us and enable us to do so.

Another word of the Lord to me is that, it is the duty of these young men here in the land of Zion to take the daughters of Zion to wife, and prepare tabernacles for the spirits of men, which are the children of our Father in heaven. They are waiting for tabernacles, they are ordained to come here, and they ought to be born in the land of Zion instead of Babylon. This is the duty of the young men in Zion; and when the daughters of Zion are asked by the young men to join with them in marriage, instead of asking—“Has this man a fine brick house, a span of fine horses and a fine carriage?” they should ask—“Is he a man of God? Has he the Spirit of God with him? Is he a Latter-day Saint? Does he pray? Has he got the Spirit upon him to qualify him to build up the kingdom?” If he has that, never mind the carriage and brick house, take hold and unite yourselves together according to the law of God. I rejoice to see the population increasing in the land of Zion. Why is it that ninety-nine women out of every hundred over the whole land of Zion, who are of proper age and married, are bringing forth posterity until our children swarm in our streets almost like bees? Because the God of heaven is raising up a royal Priesthood, and a generation to bear off this kingdom in the day when his judgments will come upon the earth.

Let us do our duty; let us cease setting our hearts upon the fashions and things of this world, and laboring to enrich ourselves at the sacrifice of the kingdom of God. We have a cooperative mercantile institution; and it is the duty of these Latter-day Saints to sustain and uphold it; and so with everything else that is in the kingdom, for these are the stepping stones to us to a fullness of the celestial kingdom of God.

I thank God that I live in this day and age of the world, when my ears have heard the sound of the fullness of the Gospel of Christ. I thank God that I have seen the face of Prophets, Apostles, and inspired men. I rejoice in this, and I pray God my heavenly Father that I, and my brethren and sisters, may have power to unite and take hold and build up this kingdom. When we do this it will not be in the power of earth or hell to take away our rights and privileges; for I tell you that if this people were united according to the law of God, wherein we should become fully justified before the Lord, sinners in Zion would tremble and fearfulness would surprise the hypocrite; the power of God would rest upon Zion, the angels of God would visit the earth, the judgments of God would be poured upon the wicked, the Zion of God would be redeemed, the Temples of God would be reared, the prison doors would be opened and the prisoners in the spirit world would go free, because we would feel the spirit and power of our mission and calling and should fulfill it.

I pray that God will bless this people, and that he will bless President Young, who has already outlived four of his counselors. The Lord says—“I will take whom I will take, and I will preserve whom I will preserve.” All these counselors were younger men than President Young, yet he has outlived them. God has ordained President Young to live, and he has lived so long, and has had the prayers of hundreds and thousands of Saints, which have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth for his preservation; and the Lord has heard and answered these prayers.

Let us, as Elders of Israel, rise up and bear off this kingdom. Let us forsake our evils and wickedness, and repent of our sins, and renew our covenants and keep the commandments of God; that we may lighten the burdens of our President, that his spirit may be cheered, and that the power of God may attend him in his labors for the advancement of Zion upon the earth.

This is my prayer in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Self Preservation—United Order—Individual Stewardships—Home Manufactures

Discourse by Elder George Q. Cannon, delivered at the Forty-Sixth Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Saturday Morning, October 8, 1875.

Our Conference, thus far, has been exceedingly interesting to me, and I have no doubt it has been to every one present. We have heard a great many ideas and counsels, and have received instruction which, if treasured up by us and carried into practical effect in our lives, will have a very beneficial result in the midst of this people. There has never been any lack of instruction among the Latter-day Saints. I think it was President Wells who said the other day that he sometimes thought we had too much preaching and teaching. I have no doubt myself that the ease with which we obtain instruction, the abundance of it, and the readiness with which it is imparted have made very important counsels that would, if carried out, have a very beneficial effect upon the entire people, seem cheap and unimportant. There are some duties, however, that have been dwelt upon with considerable plainness in order that they may be kept permanently before the minds of the people. The leading points among these are those which relate to our self-preservation, because if we do not adopt and carry out in our lives principles that will preserve us, the gathering together of the people in these valleys and all the labors that have been expended in our behalf will not amount to much. God has blessed us with a good land; he has multiplied upon us many favors, that, when we came here, some of us, at least, did not expect to enjoy. He has given the land a fertility that we never dreamed of. I say that we never dreamed of, but I will speak for myself, and say that I never thought that this land could have been made so fruitful as it has been. Others, probably, who had had more experience, might have entertained different feelings. I have heard President Young say a great many times that he saw all that has been done, when we first came here he saw what the result would be. But the land was barren, and the fertility that it now possesses, could scarcely then have been expected. God has given unto us this and many other favors, and as a people we should wisely appropriate them for the extension of the principles of truth and righteousness.

I was very much pleased yesterday with the remarks which were made in relation to the principles of the United Order. This is a subject which I have thought of considerably, and it is one which I think ought to appeal very strongly to us. The efforts which are being made to unite us and bring us together, to blend our interests and to amalgamate us and make us one are of the utmost importance to us, and I suppose that a great many of the Latter-day Saints who have come to this Conference have had the desire in their hearts that something might be said in relation to the course that they should adopt in order to become more united. I think I made a statement, about a year ago, that many of the people were far more willing than many of their leaders to enter upon a system having that end in view. I still entertain that same opinion. I believe that the bulk of the Latter-day Saints are anxious to understand what they shall do, and are willing to carry out, when directed, any plan that shall he suggested to them. Several plans have been suggested, but there have been feelings of one kind and another and difficulties interposed to prevent the general carrying out of any plan. However, the President has felt of late, and has thus spoken to those who have been immediately around him and to several others, that it would be well for us to carry out the plan that was spoken of yesterday, and that has been referred to a good many times of late, namely, individual stewardships. There is something about this which appeals strongly to most men’s minds. They can see how this can be effected; they can see that under such a system what are called individual rights might be better preserved, and property not be absorbed in a way to cause loss or waste, and yet the great principle be carried out that is aimed at, namely, the uniting of the hearts of the people in one.

We have had meetings here in this city, at which these principles have been laid before a number of the Latter-day Saints, all of whom have seemed to receive the ideas with satisfaction, and have felt that they suited them exactly, and they were willing to do that which was required of them. And I believe that this feeling will be extended throughout all the Territory and throughout all these mountains; for wherever we have gone this summer, laboring among and talking to the people in relation to their economy, and the management of their temporal affairs, we have found a great willingness manifested on the part of the people to do whatever they were counseled to do, and to carry out the principles to the extent of their ability, and I believe that this will be the result.

We, as a people, must change our policy if we become the people which we aim at, and which we believe God designs that we shall be. There is nothing clearer than this to every thinking mind. We can see very plainly that we must be a self-sustaining people, that we must manufacture in our own midst, to the greatest possible extent, that which we consume, that is necessary for our comfort and convenience. Unless we take this course, it is an impossibility that we can become the people that we design to be, and that God in his revelations has predicted we shall be. No people who are dependent upon others can become a great people. A people who are constantly producing for others to manufacture, never can become a great people. If we produce wool, and hides, and grain, and other things from the earth, and send them away to be manufactured, we shall con stantly pay tribute to other people, and the object of the United Order is to stop this. We have skill here, for there is probably no community on this continent, of our numbers, which has as many skilled artisans as are to be found here. Men who are familiar with every branch of industry almost that can be named are in these mountains. But we have not capital; yet by combining our means we can obtain all the capital that is necessary; and then, if there can be a public sentiment developed here which will induce the people to sustain these manufactures, the whole question is solved, and we are placed upon a pinnacle of greatness that we never can attain to unless we pursue this policy.

You take a pound of wool, and it costs what? You can buy it here in our market for twenty-five or twenty-six cents. You send that pound of wool to the Eastern States, and let the looms of the East manufacture it, the workmen of the East bestow their labor upon it, and that pound of wool comes back to us manufactured into cloth, and contrast the price of that wool before it is manufactured, with its cost when it is manufactured, and you can form some idea of how much we have to pay the skilled men of other communities. A case was given to us yesterday. A hide was sold to a purchaser who sent it from this Territory. It came back to Cache County, where the brand, still legible on the leather, was recognized as one of their own brands. Now the difference between the price obtained for the hide in its raw state, and the cost of it when manufactured into leather, was the amount that we paid to some manufacturer in the East for changing that raw hide into leather suitable to be worn.

What, then, ought to be our policy? It ought to be to bestow all the skill and labor possible upon everything we produce. Not one pound of wheat ought to go out of this Territory until it has received all the labor possible to be bestowed upon it, or, in other words, until it is made into the finest of flour. This is the true policy for us. To send our wheat away for other men to grind and take a toll off, and then send it back to us manufactured into flour, why it is suicidal! To send our hides away for somebody else to manufacture them into leather, and boots and shoes, when we have tanners, bark, and all the material and skill necessary to do the same lying idly here! Why, it is folly in the highest sense, or in the lowest sense, whichever you please to call it, for us to pursue a course of this kind. And so with everything that we have here. We are probably sending away a million pounds of wool this season. We have not machinery enough to manufacture all our wool, but we can manufacture a great deal, but our machinery will not manufacture all we need to supply our present wants, and a million pounds of wool go east to be manufactured, and we have to pay manufacturers for the cloth made from that wool, and we are thus paying tribute to other communities. And so it is with everything that we use that is manufactured abroad. When you buy a jar of pickles, a gallon of molasses, or canned corn, tomatoes, or fruit, or anything of this kind, you are paying your money to sustain communities afar off, while your own people are suffering for want of labor.

We ought not to have an idle man, woman or child in these valleys. Says one—“But we cannot afford to pay the prices that are asked for home-manufactured goods.” Let me ask, Can we afford to sit idle? Can we afford to do nothing, and to pay money to, and employ others? I say that we cannot; but we are doing it all the time. We are bringing wagons and carriages into this country, when we have abundance of skill here to manufacture them. And the same is true of many other things which we might manufacture and supply our own wants.

Now what is the object of the United Order? It is to enable us to appropriate the means which God has given us to manufacture those things that are necessary for our own sustenance. Let us take the illustration that is afforded us by Brigham City, brother Lorenzo Snow’s place of residence. In that little town, numbering probably three thousand people, they have over thirty branches of manufacture. They have a circulating medium of their own—a little nation, as it were—and the workmen are paid in that medium, and with it they buy what they want of the various articles which they manufacture; and by the combination that has been effected, they are gradually growing to a degree of independence that is unknown almost everywhere else. But the great difficulty there, is, that the masses of the people do not see their own interests, but many of them are as blind there as they are elsewhere, and a few wise men have to take the lead and the responsibility, and to labor and contrive to maintain these branches of manufacture. But what will be the result if this be continued? All the surrounding country, unless the people do the same, will be paying tribute to Brigham City and its manufacturers, and every youth in Brigham City will be learning some branch of skilled handicraft, and the rawhides and everything in its raw state will be brought to Brigham City, and Brigham City will pay in manufactured articles which its arti zans have made, and upon which they have a profit; and if that were to go on, Brigham City would, in a little while, own all the surrounding country.

I mention this as an illustration of what can be done, and what we ought to do. We ought not to produce more wheat than we need for our own use, that is, we should not depend upon exporting wheat, we cannot get enough for it, it does not pay us. But we should turn our attention to other articles and to manufactures. There is Bear Lake country, abounding in timber, the men of which live nearly half the year housed up. If they would organize wisely, and combine their capital, skill and labor, they could manufacture everything out of wood that we need in this country, and they have the best of timber there to do it with. But instead of that their time is spent during the winter in feeding their cattle and doing such chores as are needed around their places; and during the remaining five months they are worked exceedingly hard. This is impolitic and unwise, and if persisted in would be called bad management.

These are the lessons that have been taught us all the day long. It is not a new thing, but is something as old as our residence in these mountains. I have heard such instructions as these from my boyhood, when we first came here. But we have been slow to hear and carry out these practical lessons of wisdom that have been delivered to us by the servants of God, and have been, to some extent, reluctant, fearful and suspicious that, if we did these things, somebody would be a little more benefited than we. Now it is time for a reformation. I do not wonder at the Lord calling upon his servants to ask the people to go and be baptized, and rebaptized into a different spirit, a spirit to obey the counsel that is given. All of you have proved by your experience the wisdom of this counsel. We know that we have a man leading us who has more wisdom in managing the affairs of a community than any man on the American Continent or anywhere else that we know anything of. He has proved this; it is no boast, it is a fact that is recognized by thousands outside of this Territory. Those who are unprejudiced in other parts of the nation see the results of the policy that has been urged upon the people of this Territory; and if that policy were carried out we would soon become an independent people, we would soon be full of wealth and means, and instead of seeing men walking around with their hands in their pockets, because of not having work, there would not be an idle man in the Territory. For any portion of our people to be idle is wrong, and there is something radically wrong about a system that admits of or has a tendency to keep a portion of the community in idleness. There is no necessity for such a state of things, and we are to blame if it exists here. If every man and woman worked, and every child worked as soon as it is capable, after having received the necessary schooling, you would soon see the difference there would be in this country in our means and appliances. It is skill, and that skill well applied, that contributes to the greatness of a nation. Look at France, today. France was burdened by an enormous debt, laid upon her by Germany, and which Germany hoped would cripple her for years. But France, with her wonderful industrial resources, has a stream of wealth flowing into her today from all the nations because of her taste and skill. By these means she has paid her debt, and Germany is alarmed at the rapidity with which it has been paid. To what is it due? It is due to French skill, to their workmen of taste and ability, and when people elsewhere want fabrics of the greatest elegance they send to France for them. A lady in fashionable society in Washington, or in leading eastern cities generally, does not consider herself dressed in the leading style, unless her dresses, as well as the materials of which they are made, are manufactured in France. The highest fashion demands that her dress shall be made in Paris. And look at Geneva, it is another of the workshops of the world. You travel through Switzerland, and you will find that in her secluded valleys the people, in their little cabins, manufacture the finest kind of watches and clocks, and other articles that are valuable and rare, which are sold to all the nations round, and the skill of her people has made Switzerland a comparatively rich country.

We have skill here, and we have materials here that we should utilize, instead of letting them go to waste. I have heard parties say, and it is true, that there is more waste in Utah Territory than in any country they had ever seen in their lives. I have heard men of experience say this, and I believe it. We have got so much that we waste that which God has given unto us, instead of using it for the purpose for which it was designed.

Now, my brethren and sisters, you who have come to this Conference, do try and put into operation the teachings that you hear. It is no use talking unless we go to work. To say after Conference—“Oh, what a good Conference we have had,” “What excellent teachings we had!” and then forget all about them, and do nothing practical connected with them, would be folly in the extreme. When you get a principle try and carry it out, try and make it practical in your lives. Endeavor, in your communities to organize branches of labor. Let the Bishops and the men who have wisdom provide means of employment for every man and every woman in their settlements and wards, and let their brains be exercised, as President Young’s has been, for the good of the whole. We should use the power which God has given us in these directions in endeavoring to lift ourselves up from our abject condition, and not think—“I must have five dollars or four dollars for a day’s work;” but go to work if you cannot get as much as that. We should all be employed in doing something every day. We should train our boys and girls to work; the best education that we can give them is to give them skill and teach them habits of industry, not forgetting, of course, the principles of our religion, without which they cannot be truly great. You know the old saying—“An idle man’s brain is the devil’s workshop;” and it is so. If you want a good people, a people who can be easily managed, a temperate people and a sensible people, have an industrious people. But have an idle people and they become intemperate, and I believe that many of our young men, because they have no opportunities to develop their energies, take to drinking, chewing tobacco, and rowdyism, whereas, if labor were provided for them, and their energies were rightly directed, they would be useful members of society and be ornaments to their father’s houses and to their friends. Youth is full of energy, and wise rulers will utilize, husband and direct it for the good of the whole, and not let it be expended on foolish objects or in a wasteful manner. This is one of the difficulties with us. We have plenty of energy? Our young men are full of it, and our land is full of young men. Their energies should be rightly directed, and they be trained to be useful men in society; and the girls should be trained to be useful women in society.

That God may bless us in our Conference, and help us to treasure up the counsels that we hear, and to carry them out practically, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Blessing of Life for Evermore—The Lord Commanded the United States Government to Purchase Freedom for Their Slaves—Reformation Necessary that the Saints May Progress Faster—Salvation Comes By Faithfulness and Endurance in Christ

Discourse by President Daniel H. Wells, delivered at the Forty-Sixth Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Thursday Morning, Oct. 7, 1875.

It affords me pleasure to meet once more with the Saints in General Conference assembled, where we may pledge ourselves again, and bear our testimony, and raise our warning voices to the world in regard to the great work that the Lord is accomplishing in the earth through the instrumentality of his children who have enlisted under King Emanuel’s banner, and are willing to unite with him in accomplishing his purposes on the earth. His kingdom is being established here in the valleys of the mountains. Settlements are being formed, towns and villages are springing up, and people, who have made a covenant with God, are reclaiming the earth from the thralldom of sin and iniquity in which it has so long been held in bondage; and instead of being in a little city or town in Illinois, where we were not permitted to dwell, we are here in the valleys of the mountains, possessing from one hundred and fifty to two hundred towns, villages and settlements. The Lord has thus strengthened the stakes, enlarged the bor ders, and lengthened the cords of Zion, and he has reclaimed from the dominion of the wicked the amount of the earth’s surface that is now occupied by his Saints, at least, so long as they hold it for him and his kingdom, and themselves for his work. The world belongs to the Lord, and he has the right to govern and control it, and he is going to do so. We are preparing the way for his kingdom and coming, for he certainly designs to come here just as soon as the people are prepared to receive him, and perhaps sooner than some will be willing to receive him. I have sometimes thought, that if he were now at the gate, we should feel we would rather he would wait awhile until we could fix up matters before he was introduced. The way is preparing, however, and I feel to rejoice this morning that I can bear my testimony to the increase of the numbers of the Saints of God, and to the increase of faith and good works among them.

The dominion of the Lord is extending upon the earth, a little here and a little there, sometimes, perhaps, going a little too far, and dodging back a little for a time, and then springing forward again, and so going on, on every side. The Lord has made no mistake, he understands what he is doing a great deal better than some of us do, and I apprehend that a great many people are bringing about the Lord’s purposes unwittingly. Perhaps they would not do as well in this respect as they are now doing if they understood, to the fullest extent, the result of the course they are taking. But really the Lord is at work with a great many people, some of whom see the kingdom, and some do not; and he has even said that he will cause the wrath of the wicked and ungodly to praise him, and the remainder of their wrath he will restrain. This is true, and has been illustrated in the history of this people. When they were driven from Nauvoo, the disposition of their enemies was to destroy every vestige of the authority of the holy Priesthood from the face of the earth; and that disposition still exists in the hearts of a great many people, and if they had the power they would carry it out. Well, the Lord, in the early days of the Church, suffered enough of this disposition to be gratified to cause the exodus of his people from Missouri and Illinois, and they were finally kicked right into the middle of the floor, into these valleys of the mountains; and when the purposes of the Lord were so far subserved by the wrath of the wicked, he restrained them, and his people have been blessed and prospered, and the earth has been made to bring forth its strength for their sustenance, and we see prosperity on every hand in the dwelling places of the Saints. A country has been put into their possession, where the Lord can strengthen their feet, and he is doing so, whether we understand it or not. Many will doubtless make shipwreck of their faith, and will be led away by the allurements of sin into by and forbidden paths; yet the kingdom will not be taken from this people and given to another, but a people will come forth from among us who will be zealous of good works, willing to do the bidding of the Lord, who will be taught in his ways, and who will walk in his paths. We, if we are willing, may be humble instruments in the hands of God, in bringing to pass his great and glorious kingdom.

We have a Temple pretty near ready to go into in St. George. It is progressing very favorably, and is a magnificent structure, and in a short time we shall be able to enter it, and receive blessings for time and eternity, for ourselves and our dead. Let me say to the Latter-day Saints, that the blessings of the Lord, even life for evermore, are commanded here in these valleys of the mountains. I will read a few words from the Psalmist—“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard: even Aaron’s beard, that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” Anciently, this blessing was commanded in the mountains of Zion on the eastern hemisphere, but in our day the Lord has revealed himself, and has spoken from the heavens to his servant on the western continent. Where the authority of the holy Priesthood is, dwells the blessing of the Lord, and there has he commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

We are united in our faith, in our works, and in our feelings and interests; and in every capacity that is possible the Latter-day Saints should stand shoulder to shoulder, presenting before the Lord and before the world an unbroken phalanx to resist the powers and insinuations of the enemy and the approaches of evil in every direction. The people here are increasing and multiplying, they are disposed, as a general thing, to do as the Lord wants them to do; but wickedness will creep in. We must purify our hearts. The Lord says—“Son, give me thy heart.” We must give our hearts to the Lord our God, then he can accept of us. Many are called but few are chosen. We are all called to be co-helpers with the Lord in establishing his purposes in the earth, in sustaining holy and righteous principles, and the institutions of high heaven which the Lord has revealed, and the organizations which he has introduced in the midst of the earth. We are called upon to sustain them, and to bear them off triumphantly, to lay a foundation for the rule of truth, peace, and righteousness in the earth, and to prepare the way for the ushering in of that great and glorious kingdom of peace that will stand forever and ever. This is the work of the Latter-day Saints, and the Lord will perform it through the instrumentality of those who are willing and obedient in the day of his power. We can have lot and part herein if we have a mind to; so may all the children of earth; all they have to do is to render obedience to the voice of the Lord, and the whole world ought to be glad of the opportunity to do that. The Lord invites us to come, he is anxious and desirous that we should come to him and learn of him. He says—“Take upon you my yoke, for it is easy, and my burden, for it is light; come, partake of the waters of life freely.” “Turn from your evils, for why will ye die, O house of Israel.” The Lord is talking to the people, and sending forth his warning voice to the nations of the wicked and ungodly, and as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man; the righteous were saved and the wicked were destroyed then, so they will be in these latter days, for the hour of God’s judgment is come, and the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ, and they will be given to his Saints.

Who would not be a Saint? Why a great many people reject the word of the Lord and have no respect for it whatever, and too many of those who profess to be Latter-day Saints are in the same condition. It is not a great while since the word of the Lord came through Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Lord, to this nation, to free their slaves, and for the Government to pay for them out of the treasury of the United States. Would the people receive the word of the Lord through his servant? No, they would not. What was the result? Why a fratricidal civil war in which thousands of millions of dollars were spent, devastation was spread over the land and rivers of blood were shed, and all this might have been avoided and the slaves liberated by peaceful means at not more than one-tenth of the expense, if they would have hearkened to the word of the Lord. Everybody can see now that that would have been the best course to take, but nobody could see it and nobody would receive it when it was given. Do not let us be afraid of the word of the Lord. He never did and he never will reveal a principle to the children of men, but what, if it be carried out, will prove to their greatest interest and advantage. I merely mention this to illustrate a subject which is quite familiar to the Saints, but which the world do not know so much about.

Now, we are here in obedience to a great command, a command given by the Almighty to his Saints to gather out from Babylon, lest they be partakers of her sins and receive of her plagues. But if we are going to partake of her sins in Zion, and to nourish and cherish the wicked and ungodly, what better shall we be for gathering? Shall we escape her plagues by so doing? No, there is no promise to that effect, but if we practice the sins and iniquities of Babylon here in Zion, we may expect to receive of her plagues and to be destroyed. We have duties to perform here, which devolve upon us as Saints of the Most High. The Book of Doctrine and Covenants informs us that things will be revealed, in this the dispensation of the fullness of times, that have been kept hidden from before the foundation of the world. Should we be surprised, then, when a new principle is manifested among us from the Lord through the channel of the holy Priesthood? Do we realize that this is the channel through which the mind and will of God our Father is made known unto us? Here is the Bible, of what is it composed? Of a compilation of things made known to the children of men in former ages through the instrumentality of the holy Priesthood. The word of the Lord to the people has always come through that channel, and it always will. It is the same authority that exists in the heavens, by which the Gods themselves are governed, and by which they control all things; and it is among the privileges of every man and every woman to approach the Lord through this channel, and learn his mind and will concerning them. And through this same channel a Bishop may learn the mind of the Lord about his ward, the president of a quorum about his quorum, and the President of the whole Church the mind and will of the Lord concerning the people; and so through all the quorums and organizations of the Church, from first to last, all may approach the Lord through the channel of the holy Priesthood, and learn his mind and will concerning them. It is the privilege of the father and mother of a family to obtain the mind and will of the Lord, to enable them to guide their children in the ways of eternal life. This is no child’s play, or fable. The Lord has spoken from the heavens, and we bear testimony thereof to all the nations of the earth. Listen, then, to his voice! It comes to all, it comes to the Latter-day Saints through the channel of the Priesthood located here in the valleys of the mountains. Hear it, all ye nations of the earth! Come up here, and learn the mind and will of the Lord. Take warning, that you may escape his wrath when his judgments shall be poured out, because they will be just as sure as they were in the days of Noah. This is the work of the Lord, and we bear testimony of these things continually in your ears. You, of course, do as you please about receiving or believing our testimony; that makes no difference in regard to the truth of the matter. It is God’s truth, and it is extending and will continue to do so until it prevails and triumphs over every obstacle.

The Latter-day Saints have a work to do, not only in proclaiming the Gospel and warning the people, but to build up Zion right here upon the earth. Not afar off in some far distant sphere, but here, where the Lord has planted their feet, in the valleys of the mountains. And we must be united and must operate together, as far as in our power lies, to bring to pass the purposes of the Almighty, because righteousness, and peace and harmony must dwell in the kingdom. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Is a reformation needed amongst the Saints? Yes, it is needed with us all. We must reform and continue to reform. We have inherited lies from, and are full of the traditions of, the fathers. We have all imbibed errors in our infant years, and the enemy is on the alert, ready to enter in and to lead into by and forbidden paths the footsteps of the young, that he may cause them to make shipwreck of their faith and go away from the truth, the eternal truth of heaven. The world is waging a warfare against this little handful of people in the valleys of the mountains. Why? Because we have got the truth, the true faith of the holy Gospel; we have the authority of the holy Priesthood that has come down from heaven. They are anxious to destroy this authority and the servants of the Lord who bear it, and they are anxious to uproot and destroy us as a people. Then, in order to defend ourselves, let us go to with our mights, unite as the heart of one man, and stand shoulder to shoulder in building up the kingdom of God upon the earth. If we have lost our faith in the work, why, of course, we can’t be expected to do anything more towards building it up; but if we are assured in our own minds that this is the truth, that “Mormonism” so-called, is the everlasting Gospel, that it has been revealed by direct revelation from the Lord in these last days, and that we are really his people, let us go to and reform our lives. There is need of it, we have been slack, negligent and dilatory, and peradventure we have done a great many things we ought not to have done; perhaps we have been guilty of sins of omission as well as sins of commission, and we need to repent, and to go down into the waters of baptism inasmuch as we have the privilege, and have our sins washed away, and have hands laid upon us for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and rise in newness of life, with a firm determination that henceforth we will divest ourselves of those evils, that we will keep the Lord’s day holy, attend to our meetings, partake of the Sacrament, and that we will be more diligent in regard to the words of the Lord that have been given to us, and that are given to us continually, for the stream flows unceasingly through the channel of the Priesthood to the people. Let us listen to the voice and the whisperings of the Spirit, and if there be an obstacle in the way let us remove it. If we have hard feelings one towards another, envyings, strifes, or anything that is calculated to mar our peace and happiness, let us go and make that right, and then come and partake of the emblems of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through whose sufferings and death an atonement has been worked out for our salvation. Every Latter-day Saint needs the inspiring, refreshing influence of the Spirit of God to flow to him continually. Reflect a moment, and remember that when the plants in our gardens and fields are withering under the scorching sun, how carefully we go along the water sects, clear out every obstacle and turn in the water, so that it may reach and revive every plant, that they may all live and grow. So should the Latter-day Saints remove every obstacle that lies in their way to the reception and flow of the Spirit of the Lord to them. If you have aught against your neighbor or friend, go and make that right; if you have done any wicked thing, broken any of the commandments of the Lord, repent and be baptized for the remission of these sins, and turn away from them. No man can get a greater evidence of the Lord’s having forgiven him his sins, than the knowledge that he has actually turned away from them, and that he is living in obedience to the principles of the holy Gospel. Every man and every woman knows this for himself or herself, and if they have, then may they know that the Lord has forgiven them their sins, and not without. A person may commit iniquity and think he can hide it up; but let me say to such a person that you know it, and that is one too many, and the Lord knows it, and that is two too many, and out of the mouth of two or three witnesses every word will be established, and you will give this evidence against yourself sooner or later. And all who have committed sin or transgression of any kind must repent of it and be baptized for the remission thereof; and unless they repent sincerely, with a repentance that needs not to be repented of, they had better not go near the waters of baptism, for it will be a solemn mockery before high heaven. I say that if you intend to keep straight along in your own indifferent way all the time, stay away, never offer yourselves for baptism, for that would be a mockery and would only add to your condemnation, instead of being a benefit to you.

I might enumerate what evils we are guilty of, but I do not wish to confess the sins of the people, I have enough of my own. But let us examine ourselves individually, and repent of that wherein we have done amiss in the sight of the Lord. How indifferent we have been about his word from time to time when it has been given to us! The servants of the Lord have proclaimed his will unto us year after year, and I sometimes think that we are preached to too much; but yet when a principle is revealed from the Lord, the people are very reluctant to take hold of it, which shows that we need to be instructed in regard to our duties as Saints of God, that we may be so in very deed. Latter-day Saints must progress, they cannot stand still; and if they do not progress in the faith of the holy Gospel, and in the things of God, they are progressing in the other direction, and they will finally come to a point when the counsel of their minds will be darkened, and they will be unable to see the kingdom.

This cause is great and glorious, and it is worthy of our utmost endeavors and attention, and all that we have and are, or can be. It is worthy of all the means we can control, and of all the talents and ability that pertain to us in this life, for in it lie our best interests, for by embracing and living according to the faith of the holy Gospel, we shall be exalted in the scale of human existence, and it is impossible to be otherwise. If we embrace principles of vice and go in the ways of wickedness and wicked men, we are on the way to death and destruction.

There are some amongst us, perhaps, who, in their feelings, have given way to a spirit of faultfinding with those who are over them, it may be with their Bishop, or with the President. If they persist in this course, it will not be long before they give expression to their feelings to some friend who is of like mind, and who sympathizes with them, and it will not be a great while, if such persons do not turn a short corner and repent, before they make shipwreck of their faith, and they will go to the devil at last. How many of us have seen those who have stood firm in the faith a great while, and through whom the Lord has made manifest his goodness and deliverances from time to time, in the laying on of hands and healing the sick, and yet they have let the devil cheat them out of their salvation at last, by causing them to commit some kind of iniquity, peradventure adultery, and you know that the Book of Doctrine and Covenants says that whosoever will do that will deny the faith anyhow, unless they repent. If any have been guilty of any of these evils, it is important, if they want salvation, that they repent, and do them no more forever.

We read in this book, the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, how people may attain to the different degrees of glory, telestial, terrestrial, and celestial, and we are told that it is by observing the laws which pertain to these several kingdoms. There is no other way that I know of. If we ever expect a celestial glory, we must observe the laws of the kingdom where that glory exists; and so with any other degree of glory. Well, then, as Latter-day Saints, we see that we have enough to do. We have to be united that we may resist the encroachments of the enemy, that we may be prospered and blessed in the earth, and work to better advantage than we have been doing heretofore, and cooperate with each other and with the Lord in building up his kingdom upon the earth. If we can see that kingdom, let us go to and man the ship Zion.

I feel to bear my testimony to this great work of the last days, and also in behalf of the people, that the predominating influence among them is, in my opinion, for God. I am gratified exceedingly to be able to make this statement, and to bear this testimony. Still we have need to repent, that we may progress faster, that we may accomplish a great work during the day, for the night cometh when no man can work. It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to do all that in our power lies, and not neglect our opportunity, for when once passed it has passed forever. It is for us then to work for the Lord and his cause and kingdom with all our might, mind, and strength, and to sustain the principles and institutions of high heaven that he has organized among his people, and so be prepared to receive that which may come; for we may expect, if we have the living oracles among us, which we have, and I bear testimony to it, that other new principles will keep coming along as fast as the people are prepared to receive them, and a great deal faster than a great many are prepared. I bear my testimony that there is a constant stream of revelation concerning us here, and that the mind and will of God is being poured out upon us continually. It has not been slackened one particle, but it is right here with us today. The Bible is a compilation of the revelations of God which have been given in various ages, and it is good. But the living oracles are for us. We are not called upon to build and enter into an ark, like Noah was; the ark of safety that we have to build is different from what it was in his day. But as Noah had to be guided in laying the foundation and rearing the superstructure of his ark by revelation from the God of heaven, so have we in these latter days; and by the revelations of heaven, through the channel of the holy Priesthood, we have to be continually taught in the ways of the Lord, that we may walk in his paths. It is not for every man to go after his own foolish notion, and the phantom of his own brain; the kingdom can never be built up if everyone walks in the path he marks out for himself. It is God’s kingdom, and it is ours also, inasmuch as we will make our ways correspond with his, and take a course to be reckoned among his jewels when he makes up those upon whom he will confer eternal riches.

This earthly probation is a day of trial. We have to pass through tests and ordeals, and have to prove ourselves worthy to be numbered among that great company who will stand as saviors upon Mount Zion, with the very impress of Deity upon them—the name of God written upon their foreheads. “These are they,” says the Apostle, “who come up through much tribulation.” The Lord will have a tried people, those who have proven their integrity before high heaven, and none others will be counted worthy to receive and inherit the eternal riches. He that endures faithful to the end, the same will be saved; but the word endure is there, we have to endure all things. He that is faithful over a few things, will be made ruler over many; but the word faithful is there. We can’t go indifferently along all the days of our lives, and fly the track the very moment an obstacle is presented before us, or a difficulty looms up in the way; we must overcome that difficulty, and rise above that obstacle, and not swerve to the right hand or to the left. So shall we prove our integrity before heaven, and, by enduring to the end, we shall be saved in God’s kingdom; and having been faithful over a few things, we shall receive others, and be made rulers over many things. You thus see that salvation today is gained upon the same principle as that upon which it was gained in the days of the Savior and his Apostles.

I feel to thank the Lord for his blessings, and that I can see his handiwork in the midst of the people. I can see the increase of his power and his dominion in the earth, for rest assured it is increasing on every side, and in the hearts of the people, and we wish it to increase more rapidly there for their own sakes, for your sake, for my sake, and it is for our advantage individually. The Lord and one good man, we are told, are a great majority, so it does not matter so much to him how many there are on his side; the principal thing is for those who profess to be his followers and servants to be faithful and true in keeping the covenants they have made with him, and not be everlastingly breaking the same, and thereby forfeiting the rights and blessings they might otherwise enjoy. We can’t be blessed, we cannot stand, we cannot be made rulers over many things, we cannot receive inheritances, kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions, exaltations in the celestial kingdoms, unless we are faithful in all things, if need be unto death; and if we fail in this we shall most assuredly be clipped of our glory.

Let us, then, my brethren and sisters, live so that we may at least have a reasonable hope of attaining to these great blessings which are the gift of God. That we may do so and preserve ourselves in integrity before high heaven, and be united together as the heart and voice of one man, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.