A Church of Order—The Lord’s Promises Sure—People Prepared By Dreams and Visions to Receive the Elders—Gifts Received and Others Yet to Be Received—Blessings to Be Obtained By Faith—Great Promises

Discourse by Apostle Orson Pratt, delivered at a Conference in Paris, Bear Lake, May 11, 1878.

I am pleased to have the opportunity and privilege of speaking to you this morning, and I hope to have your attention while I endeavor to lay before you principles pertaining to salvation and eternal life, and set forth those characteristics that mark the people of God in contradistinction to the people of the world. I hope to be so explicit that you may all understand, and that you may each receive your portion of the Bread of Life in due season.

The Church of Jesus Christ is a Church of order, in which it is necessary that some persons have authority to teach and counsel and preside. The authority of the church in this Stake, is held by President Wm. Budge, who represents the leaders of the church, and is expected to reflect their feelings and spirit upon the people under his presidency. And I must say I feel pleased with the spirit that seems to prevail in this Stake of Zion, which is an evidence that you have been blessed of the Lord, through the ministrations of His servants. And there are still greater blessings offered those who will seek after them with all their heart; some of which can only be received by earnest faith and prayer.

The Prophets, Patriarchs and Saints in olden times received great and glorious blessings, and why should we not be blessed, the same as they were blessed? But some will begin to doubt, and say, such and such blessings were truly given to persons many years ago, but perhaps they are not promised to me. Do we not worship the same God, that they worshipped? Have we not obeyed the same Gospel and received of the same spirit? When you Elders have gone forth on missions, have not the promises of the Lord been fulfilled in your behalf? It depends on ourselves whether we will receive the glorious blessings of the Gospel or not. If we are faithful and diligent in serving the Lord, His promises are sure, and His blessings will certainly be poured out on the humble and obedient.

Those who have been sent on missions to the nations of the earth have had abundant proof that the Lord is ready and willing to pour out His blessings upon them. You were promised that the angels should go before you, and open the hearts of the people to receive you; and when you have gone among a strange people, some of them have recognized you through the dreams and visions given them from the Almighty, and they have said: “I know you are a servant of the Lord, for you were shown to me in the night vision.” These and other blessings are given to us on condition that we are diligent and faithful. If we fail to receive them, the failure is not on the part of the Lord, nor in His servants who preside over us, but the fault lies in ourselves alone.

This failure to realize all the blessings and powers of the Priesthood does not apply to the elders and lesser Priesthood only; but it applies to the higher quorums, and comes home to ourselves, who are Apostles of Jesus Christ. We are presented before the Church, and sustained as prophets, seers and revelators, and we have received oftentimes the gift of prophecy and revelation, and have received many great and glorious gifts. But have we received the fullness of the blessings to which we are entitled? No, we have not. Who, among the Apostles have become seers, and enjoy all the gifts and powers pertaining to that calling? Still it is our privilege to become prophets, seers and revelators, for these blessings were promised us through the Prophet Joseph, in the year 1836. Now I don’t think many of us have attained to these gifts, but it is not the fault of the Almighty, but the fault is in ourselves. And can they be realized by us? Certainly they can, if we are faithful in seeking for them. The Prophet Joseph would not have attained to these glorious gifts if he had not lived for them, and he would not have held out these inducements to us, unless they could have been obtained. These things were renewed at our last fall Conference, and they are brought home to us, and it is our privilege to live for them and enjoy them in their fullness, according to our faith. Brother Charles C. Rich has had visions from the Lord, and revelations through which he has been forewarned of dangers that threatened him; by which means his life has been preserved from time to time. And these are some of the gifts of God, and should be cultivated in our feelings and in our faith, for God is no respecter of persons, but is willing to give to all men liberally, and upbraid not. But all cannot be Apostles. Some have to take the presidency in different ages. Enoch was chosen in his day, and Abraham and Moses in theirs, and Joseph in our day, and unto him was given the power to translate the ancient records, and to bring forth abundance of revelations. And those who are called to perform special missions in opening up dispensations of the Gospel to the children of men, as Joseph and others were called of the Lord, He endows more fully with these gifts; but this does not hinder others from enjoying similar gifts according to His promises, and according to our faithfulness. And I have thought the reason why we have not enjoyed these gifts more fully is, because we have not sought for them as diligently as we ought. I speak for one, I have not sought as diligently as I might have done. More than forty years have passed away since these promises were made. I have been blessed with some revelations and prophecies, and with dreams of things that have come to pass; but as to seeing things as a seer, and beholding heavenly things in open vision, I have not attained to these things. And who is to blame for this? Not the Lord; not brother Joseph—they are not to blame. And so it is with the promises made to you in your confirmations and endowments, and by the patriarchs, in your patriarchal blessings; we do not live up to our privileges as saints of God and elders of Israel; for though we receive many blessings that are promised to us, we do not receive them in their fullness, because we do not seek for them as diligently and faithfully as we should.

The work in which we are engaged has occupied the attention of the Prophets in all ages, and they have prophesied concerning it, and have rejoiced in contemplating the day and age in which we live. The Prophet Isaiah says: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of them that bringeth good tidings, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.”

It is through faith we are made partakers of these glorious blessings, for by faith all the blessings promised are to be obtained; by faith the holy men of old obtained promises pertaining to future generations, and by faith the Gospel has been restored to the earth, with the gifts and powers of the holy Priesthood, with the promise that it shall never be taken from the earth. Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, through his righteousness and faith obtained great promises concerning his seed who should dwell upon this land. And through faith a portion of his seed was brought from Jerusalem and led by the Almighty on the borders of the Red Sea, and brought over the great deep unto a land that is choice above all other lands. By faith the Nephites received the ministrations of the Savior after His resurrection from the dead, through the covenants made with their fathers. By faith the brother of Jared saw the wonders of eternity, and saw the time when the wicked would be destroyed from the face of the earth; and like Enoch, Abraham, Moses and others, saw all things that were to take place upon the earth to the end of time. This latter-day work which occupies our attention, was shown to the prophets thousands of years before we were born. Don’t you suppose they prayed for it, and sought unto the Lord to know when these things should come to pass, and what should be the sign of His coming, and the end of the world? Through faith covenants were made with the Nephite prophets, that the sacred records should be preserved and should come forth in the last days for the blessing and salvation of their posterity, and all others who would receive them. It has been our privilege to receive these sacred things, and have withal the fullness of the Everlasting Gospel, and if we have the faith that was in them, and live as Saints of God, we shall not be careless and indifferent, but our souls will be filled with joy and gladness, because of the many mercies and blessings that are promised to us, in our calling as elders and priests, and as seers and revelators. If we lived fully up to our privileges, and attained to all the blessings and powers that are promised, and were filled with the spirit of the Lord, we should have more influence, and our ministrations would be of more benefit to the people of God.

I am glad the Lord has spared my life to behold this day, and that I am numbered among His people, a people who have been acknowledged of the Lord as His chosen people. We should all feel thankful for living prophets and apostles, who have been given for the work of the ministry, and for the perfecting of the Saints. I rejoice, moreover, that the First Presidency of the Church has again been organized, for by the more perfect organization we receive greater strength and wisdom, and more abundant blessings from the Lord, and I think this increase in faith and union, and other manifestations of the spirit are felt in this Conference. Every man and woman can feel a renewed influence and power, and it is felt in all the quorums of the Priesthood. And it is our privilege to so live that we may come into possession of all the promised blessings. Among the blessings promised by our Lord Jesus Christ, unto those who humble themselves, and seek unto Him, is that “You shall see my face, and know that I am.” This does not mean the Apostles only, but the promise is to every Latter-day Saint who will comply with the conditions, that such person “shall see my face, and know that I am.” These are some of the promises that have been made to the Latter-day Saints through the Prophet Joseph Smith. The same promise was made to ancient Israel, through Moses, the great lawgiver and Prophet who promised that they should all hear his voice, and see his face, if they would hearken to his counsels, and obey all His commandments. The promise was not to the Priesthood only, but every son and daughter of God had the same promise, because all are destined to come into the presence of God, and behold the glory of His countenance. If we would attain to these blessings, and enjoy the fullness of the promises made unto the people of God, we must cleanse ourselves from all unrighteousness, that we may endure His presence in the world of glory.

For this reason it was ordered that a tabernacle be built in the wilderness; but such was the wicked ness of the people, that while the glory of the Lord was resting on the mountain, and Moses was holding communion with Jehovah in the interests of the people, they had induced Aaron to make a golden calf for them to worship, in place of the true and living God. And the consequence was, they were deprived of the presence of the Lord in their journeyings, for He made a decree that He would not go before the camp, “but mine angel shall go before them, lest I consume them in the land.”

The Lord has been very kind and merciful unto His people in these last days. He has known the hearts of this people, and that we are willing to serve Him. He saw that we were willing to suffer persecution for His sake, and the Gospel’s sake, and for this cause He has poured out His blessings upon us in great abundance, and I hope when these Temples shall be built, and we minister therein, and receive the blessings promised us for ourselves and for our dead, that we shall be more united, and that we shall receive more fully the gifts and endowments that pertain to the sons and daughters of God. And then peradventure He will condescend to bless us with His presence, as He blessed His Saints in the Temple at Kirtland, and the presence and glory of His holy angels. It has been promised to Israel in these latter days, that the Lord Himself will go before them, and lead and guide them, and fight their battles and deliver them from all their enemies. What a glorious promise! And we may be assured that there will be nothing lacking on the part of our Eternal Father, nor in Jesus Christ, His Son, and the holy angels, for all are interested with us in the progress and consummation of this great and glorious latter-day work, for it is the dispensation of the fullness of times.

How great will be our joy when we attain to these blessings, and realize these promises that have been made to us. The Lord will dwell in the midst of His people, and the angels will be with us, with the ministrations of our Father in heaven; these are privileges and blessings indeed, that eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and the glory thereof hath not entered in the heart of man to conceive, but the Lord hath revealed them unto us by His spirit. Then we shall hear His voice, and see His face, and know that He exists, for we shall see His glory and participate with the sanctified in the powers of the world to come, for being heirs of God we shall be joint heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ, and having suffered with Him for righteousness’ sake, we shall also reign with Him in glory.

In conclusion, let me exhort you to turn to the Lord, and serve Him with full purpose of heart, and be willing to consecrate yourselves and all you have unto His service, and so live that you can perfect the bond of union that will secure unto you eternal life, and bring honor and glory to Him that sitteth upon the throne forever and ever. That this may be your happy lot, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Blessing the Result of Obedience to Law—Our Agency in the Flesh—The Advantages of Union—Order in the Kingdom of God—The Eternal Warfare Between Good and Evil

Discourse by Elder Charles C. Rich, delivered at the Quarterly Conference Held in Paris, Bear Lake County, Idaho, Feb. 10, 1878.

Brethren and sisters, I am pleased to have the opportunity of meeting with you in Conference. I have enjoyed myself very much while listening to the reports of the Bishops, and also to those who have addressed us. We have had some excellent instructions during the Conference. I am glad to meet so many of the Saints. I will say, however, that I feel of myself very weak, and I desire the prayers of the Saints, that I may be able to instruct you. I desire to speak to your edification, but that depends upon the Holy Spirit, without which no one can instruct and edify the Saints. I trust the Spirit of the Lord will be with us this afternoon, that I may, peradventure, be a means of blessing and building you up in the principles of the Gospel. I will read, for your instruction, from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and will give you some keys by which you may unlock the treasures of the Gospel. Page 424, new edition: “Mine house is a house of order, and not of confusion,” etc. Page 421: “All blessings are predicated on law,” etc. I have read these passages because to me they are important, and they are important to you also. We learn from the revelations we have just read, that it was ordained before the foundation of the world how the blessings of the Gospel were to be obtained, and why some people could not attain to certain blessings. We are told they could not obtain these blessings because they did not abide by the law. As Latter-day Saints, it is important that we understand the principles of salvation, that we may be enabled to comprehend and obtain all the keys, principles, and blessings pertaining thereto. It was a long time after the Prophet Joseph Smith had received the keys of the kingdom of God, and after Hyrum and others had received many blessings, that the Lord gave Joseph a revelation, to show him and others how they could ask for and receive certain blessings. We read in the revelations of St. John, that the Saints are to receive a white stone, “and in the stone a new name, which no man knoweth save him that receiveth it.” Joseph tells us that this new name is a key word, which can only be obtained through the en dowments. This is one of the keys and blessings that will be bestowed upon the Saints in these last days, for which we should be very thankful.

In the first instructions we received from the Elders, we were told we must repent of our sins and be baptized, in order to receive the Holy Spirit, and that we had no claims upon the Lord for his Spirit, until we had complied with the requirements made of us. I remember very well my feelings upon this subject before I obeyed the Gospel. I studied carefully, anxiously, and prayerfully, that I might know if it were the Church of Jesus Christ. I did not want to run any risk in the matter, and remain in uncertainty. I was willing to do anything that would give me a knowledge of the truth. I was willing to receive it through the ministration of an angel, through direct revelation, or by any other way, but I did not want to be deceived. Every time I reflected carefully upon the subject, I came to this point—the conditions upon which the promises have been made are, repentance, baptism, and imposition of hands. The spirit would then whisper, you have not been baptized, you have not obeyed the Gospel; but when I had complied with the law, then I had a perfect claim to the blessings and the promises, and did receive them, and obtained a perfect knowledge of the truth, and could then bear a testimony of it to all the world. I mention these things to show you the principles we have to act upon in order to obtain the blessings of salvation and eternal life. And I can testify that the Lord has fulfilled his promises, and has poured out his Spirit upon the people, through baptism and the laying on of hands. So we see that the keys given for our introduction into the Church of Jesus Christ, are as effectual in this our day as they were in the days of the former Apostles. Some might say, Why would not some other ordinance do as well? Simply because these were the principles ordained for that purpose before the world was. It is not a new feature in the Gospel, something started a few years ago. From what I have read, we find they are eternal principles; that they existed and were ordained for our salvation before the foundation of the world, and cannot be changed. We must comply with the principles of the eternal law, in order to obtain eternal blessings. I want to impress these principles upon your minds, for there is no “think so” and “guess so” about these things, for the Lord himself has decreed them, and I bear record that they are true. I hope these principles will make a lasting impression upon your minds, that you may devote yourselves more fully to the service of the Lord, and faithfully obey all the commandments which he has given us, and may give us hereafter.

There is another principle to which I will call your attention; that is, the pre-existence of spirits. Before we came into this world we had an existence with the Father in the heavens. We are eternal beings. How do you know that? one might say. We know it by the revelations of Jesus Christ, which bring life and immortality to light. It was revealed to Abraham and many of the ancient Prophets, and it has been revealed unto us in these the last days. We are told that before the inhabitants of the earth had an existence in the flesh, they had an existence in the spirit world; and that it was necessary to come into this world and be clothed with mortality. And why was it necessary? Because we could not attain to an exaltation without coming here. Many people think this is a world of sorrows, and a very horrid world to live in. So it may seem to some people, but I think that it is a glorious world, for it is here we are enabled to obtain our blessings and endowments. We come into this world weak and frail mortals. We have an agency given us, with an opportunity of doing good and evil. We are invited to obey the Gospel, which embraces principles that will endow the willing and obedient with exaltation and eternal life. But our agency is not taken from us. We have placed before us light and darkness, the bitter and the sweet, exaltation and degradation, life and death, and we have reason and intelligence given us, by which to judge and choose for ourselves. By choosing the good and obeying the principles of truth, we are entitled to the spirit of revelation, and by that spirit only can we know God the eternal Father, and his Son Jesus Christ. Is it not important that we should know God? Surely it is; for to know God, and his Son Jesus Christ, is eternal life. So notwithstanding we have our trials and sufferings here, we have joys and happiness likewise, and we learn to discern and appreciate the difference between good and evil. An opportunity is also afforded us in this world to increase in faith and wisdom, and in all that leads to exaltation and eternal life. And we are told that all the intelligence we gain in this world will rise up with us in the resurrection. Now, who is there among the Saints that does not want to learn something concerning the principles of life and salvation? We should, above all people, be diligent in seeking to know the principles of truth, that we may obtain eternal life. We can use the keys and principles that we have received to obtain this knowledge, and what is there pertaining to the Gospel that we cannot learn if we are faithful? If we do not know all that is necessary for our advancement, it is our privilege to go to some person who does know. And when we understand how to use the keys and principles ourselves, we can then teach others, for all who have received the Gospel are expected to practice its principles in their lives, and to devote their energies and lives to the establishment of truth and righteousness upon the earth. Are we doing this? Are we doing our duty as Saints of God? Or are we passing away our time idly and indifferently? If so, we are doing ourselves an injury, and we thus deprive ourselves of the blessings promised to the faithful.

There is another great principle often brought before us, that may be considered a very common principle. It is the principle of Union. We are told by the Savior that we must be united, or we are not his. Does this concern us as Latter-day Saints? I think it does, but some do not seem in any way concerned about it, notwithstanding the word of the Lord, that otherwise we “are none of his.” How can we be united so as to be acceptable to God? We have to be united, not merely in doctrinal matters, but in every other way. So far as doctrine is concerned, we are pretty well united, but not so in our temporal affairs. But we may become united in our temporal affairs, if we are willing to learn some practical lessons that have been taught us, and uniting in their execution; by entering into them with all our heart and our means, we may then be united in temporal matters also. There is but one way to be united, according to the will of God, and that is by being dictated in our affairs by the Spirit of the Lord. When we were baptized we received the spirit of the Gospel, and by that spirit we obtained a knowledge of its truth. And the same spirit we then received, if it continues with us, will lead us into all truth and reveal to us things to come. We have need of revelation at every step after we are baptized, for when we take a step it ought to be a right step, and the only right step we can take will be one that is in accordance with the principles of truth, as dictated by those authorized to teach and instruct the Saints. This is the only principle on which we can be united, and when this principle fully is carried out, then perfect union will exist among the Saints.

I remember once being sick, but I scarcely realized that I was sick, for my mind was bright and active. During the night the Spirit rested upon me, and the principles of the Millennium were opened up to me. It seemed to me that all was happiness and union. Now what will it require to bring about the Millennium? In the first place every man will have to learn his duty, and do it. Each one must study his neighbor’s interest as well as his own. No one will do that which would conflict with his brother’s interest, and no man would willfully infringe upon his neighbor’s rights and privileges. Now if all had learned their duty and were doing it faithfully, it would bring about a reign of peace and righteousness, and knowledge would cover the earth. If these principles were understood and carried out, we should have no reason to find fault with each other. Are we seeking after these things? I trust we are, and I feel rejoiced at the progress we are making as a people, although we come far short of that we should attain unto. We must have our minds fixed on this subject, and be determined to receive these truths, and live for them. This should be our first and last thought every day, and we should not be contented till we realize our desires in righteousness. Some persons think that a few prayers offered to the Lord will be all-sufficient in securing their salvation. It is very good to pray, but something is required besides praying; for example, we must be baptized, for that ordinance has been instituted for the remission of sins. We need endowments and ordinations, and they can only be administered by those holding the Priesthood, for without these gifts we could not obtain a celestial crown. We bestow the Priesthood on many young men, to bring them up and qualify them for future usefulness. We want our washings and anointings, and how can we receive them without someone to administer them to us? And no one could give them without divine authority. The same words might be used, and the same ordinances administered in the same way precisely, but they would be of no avail whatever, without the priestly authority. Our baptisms, confirmations, ordinations and endowments can only be administered by those who are ordained and set apart to administer them. The law must be complied with concerning these things or the ordinances are void and of no effect. Temples have to be built in which some of these ordinances must be performed. Who is to dictate concerning their construction and management? The Lord himself controls these things, and authorizes whom he will.

Some might ask, Why not baptize for the dead, and give endow ments in this meetinghouse? Just simply because the Lord has not so ordered it. The way and manner in which these ordinances have to be performed have been determined in the eternal world, and unless you comply with the requirements and obey the law, you cannot obtain the keys, and without the keys you cannot pass by the angels and the Gods in the eternal worlds. For example, you cannot attain to an exaltation without a wife, or wives; and you ladies cannot be exalted without a husband. “For man is not without the woman nor the woman without the man in the Lord.” So said the Apostle Paul. What, then, will be the situation of those who remain single, and do not attain to an exaltation? We learn from the revelations that they will be angels. Some people think that angels are the most exalted and glorious beings in the eternal world; but this is a mistake. If it will satisfy any of you to receive that glory it will not satisfy me. Now we understand that in order to obtain an exaltation we must have a wife, and we have to comply with the celestial law, so as to have her in the eternal world. In the first place, we must receive her from the man whom God has authorized and appointed to seal for time and eternity, otherwise we have no claim on her in the eternal world. Perhaps some do not care much about the other world. Such persons remind me of a man I knew in California, who became acquainted with and courted a lady whose husband was dead. He was told that the lady was sealed to another man for eternity; he replied he did not care, all he wanted was to marry her for this life, he did not care about the other world. Such a man will not attain to an exaltation. Some persons may be satis fied without a complete exaltation. I do not feel so. I feel my unworthiness and my inability to speak as I would like, and if I did not know it was my duty, I would shrink from this undertaking; but I feel it my duty to declare faithfully the counsels of God, to instruct the Saints in their duties, and tell them how they can obtain salvation. When I have done this I have done my duty. Every man and woman can obtain and enjoy the spirit of revelation, so as to guide them in the path of duty, and if we are all guided by the same spirit, and all our actions are dictated by its influences, we shall then enjoy happiness and peace.

We have cooperative institutions established among us, and if they are conducted properly they will be a blessing to us. How shall we carry on our cooperative institutions so as to be approved of heaven? They must be dictated by the spirit of revelation, for unless they are dictated and controlled by that spirit they are in danger of being overthrown. If we build up institutions on any other foundation they will be overthrown sooner or later. If we establish our institutions according to the principles of revelation, they will he approved by the Almighty, and they will be preserved when he overthrows the kingdoms of this world. Who would not like to see the cooperative institutions growing up among us, built upon a firm foundation? We should look well to the foundation on which we build, for unless we act upon correct principles we cannot expect to prosper. The building that is reared properly will stand the winds and storms and will be firm and solid. Time will tell whether we build by the spirit of revelation or otherwise. You may be assured that if we do not our building will be overthrown.

We are dependent on the Almighty for the breath of life, for the bread we eat, and for every blessing we enjoy. We need not feel in any way troubled when we see a man lifted up in his feelings, and act as though he was some great person. We are all of us, mere worms of the dust, and at best are poor dependent creatures; but some men appear to grow larger and larger in their own imagination, and when we see a man ascending higher and higher in his own conceit, it is not always wise to pull him down suddenly, but give him a lift, and when he gets so high that his head swims, we can then help him gently down. We must learn to be humble, meek and lowly, or we cannot enjoy the spirit of the Lord.

There is another thing I wish to mention, and that is the manner in which we should treat each other. The principle was advanced anciently, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” This principle is as binding upon us, as it was upon the people in former days, and we need as much urging to observe it as they did. How would we do with the Lord if he were here? We have his word for it, that forasmuch as ye do it unto one of the least of these my disciples, ye do it unto me. If we see a brother mistreated, we do not like it, and we feel to take his part. If we do not like to see a brother mistreated, we should be the more careful not to mistreat each other, for it is displeasing to the Lord. What can we say concerning these things? We can say “strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth to the lives, and few there be that find it.” Do we all want to find it? I do. And you do, then let us seek diligently that we may find the right way—the way God has pointed out. He has made it plain before us, and has told us the manner in which he is willing to bestow his blessings upon us. And if we do not obtain them it will not be his fault. What would be the condition of society if these principles were fully carried out? We would find a brother and a friend in every place where God is known. No one would have any disposition to wrong his neighbor. No one would seek to injure his brother or sister. Would it not be good to live in such society? Instead of men striving to take advantage of their fellow men, and seeking to aggrandize and build up themselves at the expense of others, they would seek to build up and enrich others as well as themselves, and instead of hungering and thirsting after the perishable things of this life, they would hunger and thirst after righteousness.

We read in the “Book of Mormon” that Jesus told the Nephites to return home, for they were not prepared to receive his words. They went home and they did prepare their hearts for the reception of the truth. Why do we not receive more truth than we do? We hear a great many teachings and counsels from the servants of God. And why do we not receive more? Peradventure we are not prepared to receive it. Why does not the Almighty bestow on us more light, truth, intelligence and other blessings he is able to bestow? It is because we are not prepared to receive them. We have more offered now than a great many can receive because their hearts are unprepared, they are filled with the spirit of the world, they have lost sight of the principles of salvation, and do not comprehend them. You may have heard these things preached many times before, but if you have not received them and made them your rule of action, it would have been better for you if you had never heard them.

We have been taught that we have a great work to perform in working out our salvation, in promoting that of our families, and securing the salvation of our dead friends. We cannot leave any of these things undone and feel justified before God, and before our dead friends when we meet them in the other world, and if we do not feel justified we shall not feel very happy.

An opportunity is now offered by brother Cummings, by which some of us may obtain our genealogies, and we should improve it as much as possible. I feel happy in being able to send to the States where many of my ancestors have lived and died, so as to get the names of many of my dead friends, that I may do a work for them that they had no opportunity of doing for themselves. We have the privilege of being baptized for our dead, and performing other ordinances for them, and thus become saviors on Mount Zion. There is a great labor to be performed by every faithful Saint. There is no time to waste in foolishness. There is too much time wasted in frivolity and nonsense. It is important that we make good use of the time allotted us in this probation, for we understand that we shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body. We have placed before us good and evil—that which tends to exalt and dignify, and that which tends to corrupt and degrade. And we are expected to overcome evil, and not allow the evil to overcome us. For example, we find too often persons who can be overcome with whiskey, and by that means they destroy their usefulness in the Church of Jesus Christ; they have been tried in this matter, and have made a failure. I would say to such, do not receive nor partake of that which leads to destruction. Hundreds and thousands have been overcome by this evil, and are now suffering the consequences of their folly. We should be prepared to resist every evil, if we do not we shall bring trouble upon ourselves. It will not be because we do not understand the laws of God, but because we do not observe them. I trust my brethren will remember these things, and that they will make a lasting impression on your minds. I want you to remember that you are eternal beings, that God is eternal, and that the principles he has revealed to us are eternal—that you have an opportunity of receiving them, and that you must give an account of all your actions, and will be rewarded according to the principles of righteousness.

We have learned that there is a warfare between good and evil, and we are free to choose the one or the other. We have learned what is required of us, and what our privileges are as Saints of God; and if we do not receive and obey the principles of truth, and secure the blessings of salvation for ourselves, and for our dead, we shall know it when we get into the eternal world; we shall know that we have failed to comply with the condition on which they are promised. Don’t you think we shall be sorry when we discover what we have lost? I think we shall. And how long shall we be sorry? Can we think of any time in future ages when we will not be sorry if we lose this opportunity of obtaining salvation? When we have sorrowed for thousands of years, we shall still be sorry if we neglect this great salvation; we shall forever sorrow if we do not improve our opportunities and lay hold of eternal life. I want you to think of these things, for now is the time to avoid the trouble that might come upon us, and to secure our future happiness and exaltation, by carrying out the principles revealed for our salvation.

The Lord has greatly blessed us, and we have great reason to thank him for our homes in these mountains. We have been led by him in all our travels, and he has blessed us in all our labors. We have reason to thank him more abundantly for the fullness of the Gospel, and for the promise of eternal life. We are told by him that it is his business to provide for his Saints. Now the better Saints we are, the better the Lord will provide for us. He has told us through his Prophet, that his Saints shall be the richest of all people. But here comes the question, are we his Saints? It should be remembered that we must be one, or we are none of his; and to become one, we must allow the Lord to dictate all our actions and lead us in his way. If we have our own way we shall do as the world does. The Lord wants to build up a people like the people of Enoch, who had no poor among them. If it was necessary that such a condition of society should exist then, is it less so now? The nations of the earth, and the large cities of the United States, are crowded with the poor and indigent, thousands and millions among them suffer for want of bread; how thankful we ought to be for our condition in these mountains, where we enjoy peace and plenty, and if not very rich we are not very poor. It is written that against none is the Lord displeased, but against those who do not acknowledge his hand in all things. And those who feel themselves poor, should acknowledge in it the hand of the Almighty and be comforted, for poverty is a most excellent thing; ’tis the poor in this world’s goods, but the rich in faith, who are the heirs of the kingdom. Poverty has been one of the greatest blessings that could be conferred upon us. If we had been rich we might have gone to the devil long ago. But being poor we had to hold on to the kingdom of God, or nothing. Many men, when they get wealthy, apostatize, because they love their money more than the Almighty. When we love the Almighty more than we love money, or anything else, then perhaps he will entrust us with riches, but may the Lord keep us from becoming rich, if riches would tempt us to forsake the truth, and hinder us from serving him and keeping his commandments. Poverty is a great blessing, if in our poverty we learn to serve God. And riches are also a great blessing if we make a good use of them. When the time comes that the Saints can be entrusted with riches, the Lord will give them all they need, for they all belong to the Almighty. I am blessed with a Rich name, but I have been through poverty myself, and I know how it feels. I trust I have gained some good by my experience. Have I anything to complain of? Certainly not. I have no fault to find with the providences of God, who doeth all things well.

Soon after my return from a mission to England, I was called to Bear Lake Valley to superintend the settlement of the Saints in this country. I felt that it was right that I should come here, not because I could live better here than any other place, but because this was my place and field of labor. And there is one good thing we should all learn, that is, always to be contented where the Lord has placed us. But I want to be in a better country says one. Well, I think you will get into a better country by and by, but I would recommend you not to be in too great a hurry. I don’t want to dictate the people too much, but I am willing to counsel you for your good, if you are willing to take my counsel, all right, you will be blessed in your obedience. I would like to pour out blessings upon the Saints. There are many things that occur to my mind that I cannot say to you, but that which the spirit dictates that I will communicate. I have nothing in my heart but the best of feelings towards the Saints.

Some people think I am a poor financier! Perhaps I am. There are some persons who are such good financiers that they take all the wool and part of the hide with it. Now I would not like to financier in that way. And if I don’t fleece anyone, and take an advantage of those with whom I deal, I shall have nothing to regret, and shall enjoy a clear conscience; but if I do these things it will have a bad effect in this world and worse in the next. Perhaps those who financier so closely to the injury of their neighbors will not feel so well about it in the next world. If they have deceived and taken advantage of us in our necessities, they will not feel so well about it, if they should meet us in the other world. I could tell a story. I think I will do so. I could mention names. You understand that when a man dies and leaves this world, he don’t take his family with him, but they are left to the care and protection of others. A certain good man died and left a large family. A near relative took charge of the family and removed them to a certain town, built a grist mill, from which the family was supplied with the necessary bread. He built the first mill in that town, and it was a blessing to the people as well as to the family of our deceased brother. By and by a few persons concluded to build another mill, and in order to get the grinding they resolved to build another mill. The consequence was the first mill failed to supply food for the widows and fatherless children. These brethren expect to go into the eternal world. Will the head of this family be there? He certainly will. And how will these brethren feel when they meet him? I don’t think they will feel very happy.

The effect produced by their financiering was that of taking the bread from the fatherless children. Will they feel as well as though they had not done it? I think not. I was always sorry when I thought of these circumstances and their effects. These things will have to be met somewhere. The God we profess to serve lives and takes notice of our actions, and if we do wrong we shall have to meet it sooner or later. Then let us do to others as we would have others do unto us. But do not suffer transgressors to deprive you of any blessing, but rather suffer wrong than do wrong. Deal righteously with each other, and so establish confidence by your good works. Do not take any right or privilege from any man or woman. Not from a Gentile? No! Take no right from any man. I would not like to infringe upon any man’s rights. If we do the Lord will hold us accountable in the day of judgment. He causes the sun to rise upon the evil and the good, and sendeth rain upon the just and on the unjust. And as the Lord dealeth will all the children of men, so should we deal with each other. I have detained you longer than I expected. My prayer is that the Lord will bless you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Expectations Deferred—On Revelation—Marriage, How Performed—Should Be Encouraged Among the Youth—Love Controllable—Meant to Be Under the Dominion of Righteousness—And to Be for Time and Eternity

Discourse by Elder Charles C. Rich, delivered at a Conference Held in Paris, Idaho, Nov. 11, 1877.

Brethren and sisters—I have a few remarks to make to the Saints this afternoon, and I trust I shall have your prayers and attention. I feel my weakness and that I am unable to benefit the Saints without the Spirit of the Lord. And the same applies to all who stand before the Saints, to minister in word and doctrine. We are taught by the revelations given us through the Prophet Joseph, that we should not undertake to teach without the spirit, and I feel that I need its influence and power, that I may speak such things that will be pleasing to the Lord. If I have any pride it is in being an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ, and having the privilege of presenting the principles of life and salvation to the people, and in preaching the fulness of the Gospel that has been restored to us in the last days. Many seek after the honors of the world, none of which are worthy to be compared with the honor of serving God, in proclaiming His Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. I have had the honor of being in this Church for many years. It has been organized upwards of forty-seven years. When I first re ceived the Gospel I did not expect forty-seven years to pass away before the prophecies would be fulfilled concerning the second coming of the Savior, and the end of the world. I expected the Savior would come and reign upon the earth, before this time, as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In the revelations given to the Prophet Joseph, Jesus said it would be but a short time before he would come and take the Kingdom. We are not accustomed to hear the Lord speak, and when he spoke of a short time, we understood it according to our use of the language. Forty-seven years may appear a long time with us, but a thousand years is not a long time with the Lord. A few moments with Him is a long time with us. It takes a long time according to our reckoning to do the work the Lord has decreed concerning the children of men in this last dispensation. It is no small matter to preach to all nations and kingdoms of the earth; this has to be done; all people must be warned of the judgments of the Lord that are coming upon the earth. The sound of the everlasting Gospel must go forth to all nations. It is a great work for us to perform individually and collectively, to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations, and to prepare for his coming. Some may think it a small work to prepare for his coming. I do not think so. I find myself far from being prepared. Are we worthy to be received and dwell where our Savior dwells? No one can dwell with him but those who overcome and endure to the end. It should give us more energy and more determination to overcome our sins when we find everything depends on our perseverance to the end. We should be energetic in doing the will of God. We find we have many things to learn, and we learn daily by our experience something we did not know before, and thus we feel our dependence upon the Lord for wisdom to lead and guide us into all truth. It is important we put our trust in God. We may have imagined that we were safe from danger and would stand, but difficulties crowd upon us which we had never considered, and we are tempted and tried to prove whether we are willing to stand the trials or not. It is with us like the parable of the sower; some seed fell on stony ground, some fell among thorns and so perished. So it is in the hearts of many who join the Church of Jesus Christ. Some seed has fallen on good ground, and has brought forth fruit. The Lord has said He seeks those who worship Him in spirit and in truth. He is no respecter of persons. He has no favorites—only on the principle of righteousness. We are all His children, one as well as another. His sun shines on the just and the unjust, and He causes the earth to bring forth fruit for the benefit of all. He is impartial in His character, and those who love Him and keep His com mandments are accepted of Him. If you will not accept His kindness, if you will not receive His blessings, He is not to blame. They are offered free to all without money and without price. When Jesus came into the world and died for the sin of the world, he blotted out original sin. He did not die for us only, but for every creature. These are some of the characteristics of our Lord and Savior. We do not receive His counsels as we should. We are called upon to be perfect like unto Him, and to walk in His footsteps. To be perfect and godlike, we must do as He did while upon the earth, for He said, “I came not to do my will but the will of my Father who sent me.”

I want to say a few words on another important subject. We are a people who profess to believe in revelations. I have thought many times that this principle was very little understood. If I can have the spirit to sustain me I will instruct the Saints this afternoon in this principle. What is the spirit of which we are speaking? It is neither more nor less than the Holy Spirit. I don’t know of two kinds of Holy Spirit. It is the spirit of promise, the same that imparts revelation from heaven. I have many times heard persons deliver revelations, in which I had no faith whatever. It is difficult to be deceived, if we know the proper channel through which they are to be received. We, as the Church of Jesus Christ, cannot live without revelation. If we had no revelations in this Church, we would not be the Church of Jesus Christ. It is important when we need revelations, that we understand what channel they should come through. We read in the early history of this Church that Oliver Cowdery, who was the second Apostle in this Church, was instructed on this subject, and it is written for our learning. The Lord told Oliver that Joseph was the man to receive revelations for the Church; he might receive revelations for himself, but those to the Church must come through Joseph Smith, or the leader. If we need revelations for our guidance, what channel should they come through? You have just voted to sustain the Twelve Apostles as Prophets, Seers, and Revelators. Brother John Taylor is the President of that Quorum, therefore when revelations are needed for the government of this Church, they will come through President John Taylor, as long as he lives, because he holds the keys of the Apostleship. He does not hold any keys or powers that he did not hold when President Brigham Young was alive, or any other keys than are held by his brethren of the Twelve; but the Lord will speak to us through the head of his Church, through him who holds the Presidency. We should all understand these principles that we may not be deceived, and if revelations are given from any other source professing to guide the Church, we may know they are not from God. All of us have the privilege of receiving revelations. For the Church? By no means; we cannot receive all that are necessary for the performance of our duties. We have here a Stake of Zion, and a presidency of this Stake. Can anybody receive revelations for the government of this Stake? Certainly not. If any person other than the Presidency should profess to receive revelations for its government, would you consider them genuine revelations? If so, you would be mistaken. We are entitled to the Holy Spirit to help us in the dis charge of our duties and to teach us all that is necessary for our guidance. The Bishop is entitled to the spirit of revelation to teach him his duties, and when guided by that spirit he will never come in collision with those who preside over him.

Some years ago, when I was presiding in California, evening meetings were established. I think it was about the time of the reformation. On one occasion I had been away for a short time, and on my return I found a large crowd on the water’s edge, some of whom were being baptized. I think brother Hopkins was there, and I asked him, subsequently, what induced the people to turn out so suddenly; he replied that some sister had received a revelation the night before, commanding them to be baptized. I told him that if any revelation had been given on that subject, I should have known it. We should seek to be governed by these principles, and learn to discern the spirits, and discriminate between that which is from God and that which is from beneath. If we seek unto the Lord he will give us wisdom to lead us into all truth. It is a serious thing to say the Lord has spoken through us if he has not. To say thus saith the Lord, when the Lord has not spoken, would subject us to his wrath and displeasure. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. If we receive revelations we should be sure they are not leading us outside of our duties, but tend to our instruction and improvement, and lead us to perform those duties devolving upon us.

There is another matter important to the Saints, of which I would like to speak this afternoon; it is the subject pertaining to marriage. It was the first great commandment given to our parents in the Garden of Eden. The Lord said: “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” This principle, like the principle of revelation, should be properly understood and rightly and legally administered. Some persons rush into marriage hastily and inconsiderately, with no other consideration than that they call love, which frequently brings misery and unhappiness. We have to tell them what is wrong in relation to this principle. It would be unwise and unpleasant for an Elder in Israel to perform a marriage ceremony that could not be acknowledged in heaven. Since the endowment house has been closed in Salt Lake City, those wishing to be married according to the laws of heaven have had to travel down to St. George, where they can be sealed together for time and all eternity; for a Temple is the proper place in which to perform these sacred ordinances. We learn from our past history and experience that there have been deviations from this rule from time to time, according to the circumstances of the people, and the attention of the Twelve has been called to the subject, and it has been taken under advisement. We learn that although a Temple stood in Kirtland, still the Prophet Joseph gave endowments and performed marriages in Nauvoo before the Nauvoo Temple was built. The same was done in Salt Lake City for many years, and those endowments and marriages were legally administered; and the way may be opened by which these ordinances can be performed among us without having to travel to St. George for that purpose. This no doubt will be gratifying to the Saints, particularly to the young. There are ordinances that can only be administered in a Temple, hence the importance of completing the Tem ple so that these ordinances may be administered for the living and for the dead. In relation to this deviation from this rule pertaining to sealings and endowments, we understand that the Priesthood is greater than the Temple, and that which is sealed on earth by those holding the keys, is sealed in heaven. Many cannot go to St. George to receive their marriages and endowments, and should the way be opened by which they may be performed without going there, it will be appreciated, for all who understand the Gospel and the sacred ordinances pertaining thereto, would prefer to be married in the proper manner. I don’t know how far these privileges may extend, whether they will extend to plural marriages or not; it will be as the Lord wills; should it be the case that we obtain these privileges, it will be no cause for slackening our labors on the Temple. Our dead friends are waiting for their baptisms and other ordinances, which can only be administered in a Temple. I cannot say any more on this subject until arrangements are more fully perfected.

There is no blessing that our heavenly Father is not ready to bestow upon us on condition that we observe the laws and ordinances established for the salvation of his Saints. We are brought together from time to time that we may be instructed and learn our duties. There are many things to talk about, we have to select a few and pass by the rest. The principle of marriage is one of great importance; our young men and maidens are called upon to become united and to learn to live together and accomplish all the Lord has commanded.

One of the Bishops remarked yesterday that the people liked cooperation very much when they obtained big dividends, which principle is very good if it is right. As Latter-day Saints we have to deal with the Lord; he knows our hearts and comprehends our thoughts, and we cannot cover up the secrets of hearts from him. What we do that is right will be approved; that which we do that is wrong will be disapproved. If we are willing and obedient we shall find very little trouble in cooperation. We have embraced it in a small way, and we are expected to handle it honestly; and if we do not handle it honestly, it would be better if we never embraced it at all. We should seek to the Lord for knowledge and wisdom that we may deal with each other righteously, that we may establish confidence in each other that cannot be shaken. The Lord wishes to introduce and perfect among his Saints the principles of union. He intends to lift his people up, and to make them wealthy. When his will is done among the Saints there will be no poor among them. When this time comes all will form one kingdom and serve one God. We are all entitled to his blessings and all should be devoted to his service.

It is not his will that one should be lifted up and another put down, one be made rich and another poor. We have to keep this principle in view in our cooperative labors and be one, or we are not the Lord’s. It is the purpose of the Lord to build up the poor, and these principles are revealed for its accomplishment. If twenty or thirty persons engage in business and we make them more wealthy, and others poor, what difference is there between us and the gentile world? If we do as is done in the world, wherein are we better than they? If we carry out the principle of cooperation with unselfishness of spirit and singleness of heart, it will build us up, and the poor also. We do not want to take one man’s means and give to another; that is not the principle intended; but by uniting our means we can establish a store, a tannery or other business that will be profitable. If we do not so cooperate, others may come in who have no interest in our prosperity, who will trade and traffic, and when they become wealthy would leave us and spend their means elsewhere. This has been our experience in years past with those who have come among us with their merchandise. We can prevent this in the future by our cooperative institutions. It is right and proper that we should combine for self-defense against this world, and so protect our general interests.

I cannot say much in favor of stores although it is necessary that we have such institutions. The grand object before us is to make what we need, and dispense with outside importations, as much as possible. We must not be content to buy and sell what we get abroad, we want to establish a factory, and make our own clothing. We don’t want our wool to go abroad to be manufactured for us; but we must make the necessary preparations to make it up ourselves. We find occasionally among us one who wants to strike out in business on the gentile principle, and a few are always ready to feed and encourage an institution of that kind; but we must learn better and do better, and show by our faith and works that we will not sustain such institutions, but that we will serve the Lord, and sustain our brethren, and discard everything that is set up in opposition to the institutions of Zion. When the Saints are governed by these principles, then you will find a people who are willing to devote their energies and means to establish and advance our home institutions.

I will say a few words on the subject of counsel. We are a people who profess to be governed by counsel. It never hurts anyone to obey the counsels of the servants of God, but we should never ask counsel unless we intend to receive it; you should never ask counsel when your mind is made up concerning the thing you ask. The most important counsels are given us from the pulpit or stand, and it would be well with us if we obey them. King Saul inquired of the Lord through his Prophet concerning Israel. They had already determined to go to battle. The Prophet Samuel told them to go; they did so and got whipped. We should understand that there is safety in counsel, but we should seek for it in the proper manner, and from the proper source. We should go for counsel where we have the right to go. When you need counsel you should go to your Bishop or President, and he will give you good counsel if he has any to give. If the Bishop does not understand the matter and cannot give counsel understandingly, let him tell the applicant that he don’t know how to counsel in this matter; for we shall be held accountable for our acts and counsels and for everything we do or say. If any persons want to know anything you do not know, tell them to go to someone who does know, so that they may not take a leap in the dark. If I were counseled to leave Bear Lake Valley I would leave. It is right for me to be governed by counsel, and if it is right for me it is right for you also, for this principle will apply to us all. Some have left Bear Lake Valley without asking counsel; I do not condemn them; let them do as they please; if they want counsel of me I will give it if I have any to give, if they do not, I wish them well; but I am mistaken if they do not find more or less difficulty where they go, but that is their affair; they are gone, and may they prosper.

I have a few words to the sisters, Ladies’ meeting was announced for Thursday next; the general report given at this Conference concerning the Ladies’ Relief Societies, is, that they are a great help to the Bishops. One of the Bishops stated that they rendered assistance in substantial means in helping to build a meetinghouse. I am glad to learn of their efforts in laying up grain. It is gratifying to see this disposition manifested among the sisters. If all the sisters advocate the laying up of grain it would not be graceful for them to say to their husbands, let us have a few bushels to trade out at the store. When in Salt Lake some time ago, a lady came round and wanted to sell some notions; she said she had just sold a sister twenty-five yards of lace, only one dollar per yard. When I see such things among the Saints I think it a little extravagant; it needs a great amount of means to support a wife who indulges in many such purchases. Some people have extraordinary notions concerning marriage; they think they must have everything to start with; they don’t want to marry unless they can have a carriage, horses, and servants, and many things besides; these are extravagant notions. I have heard it taught by the Presidency that young people should marry, and to commence they should have a straw bed; they should have at least a bed tick, and fill it with straw, and commence any way. I remember hearing that my great grandfather and his wife, when they started in married life had but one or two blankets to start with. They took up some land, both went to work with a will, and they were successful, and before they died they had become wealthy. They owned two large farms, good rock houses and property worth sixty thousand dollars, all accumulated by their labor, industry and economy. Many persons marry those possessing fortunes and soon become poor; they are almost sure to run through their property; they did not earn it, and they don’t know how to use it. Concerning marriage, it must be an important matter for God to teach and command obedience to it. What constitutes its importance? In the first place a man cannot have an exaltation without a wife. It was some years before I learned the fact that I could not do much good without a wife and without posterity. I therefore concluded to marry. And you ladies cannot wear a celestial crown without a husband; if you happen to get a husband who is not entitled to a crown, what are you going to do? If I were a lady I should be careful whom I married: I should want to be pretty sure that the man tried to live his religion as revealed to us. Young folks generally marry because they love, sometimes because they are pretty. It is said that beauty is “only skin deep,” and I believe it is so, it will shortly fade away. We should be reasonable on this subject, as well as on others; but when a person is love struck, there is no reason in them. We should never be struck very bad. We should love so that we could throw him off at any time if he does not do right. Where is the man who understands the principles of the Gospel who does not want to lay a foundation for a kingdom? Some young people, and some older ones, appear to have but little judgment of marriage. When we marry it should be for time and eternity. I have thought many times that if a man or woman could get the Lord to tell them who to marry they would do well, if not, I would do the best I could. Father Abraham married Sarah and Hagar many years ago, and great nations have sprung out of this marriage. If we do as well as he did we shall be blessed as he was blessed. I want to impress this upon the minds of the young and old, that we should labor to accomplish all the good we can in this world. We have encountered many things and have learned many things. We have learned that there is an immense amount of selfishness in this world, and that it is a very bad thing, and we should get rid of it as soon as possible. We should be as willing that others should enjoy the blessings of the Lord as ourselves. We should be as willing to bless other people as we are to be blessed ourselves. I want you, my brethren and sisters, to think of these things and treasure them up in your hearts. Whatever the Spirit will allow me to say to you I will say to the best of my ability. When Jesus came to the Nephites he found them unprepared to receive his words, and he said to them, “I will come again tomorrow; you are not prepared to receive my words.” He came to them several times; and they became prepared, finally, to hear and learn, that which they were not prepared to learn before. If we are not prepared to receive the word of the Lord today, we may possibly be prepared tomorrow.

I am glad to meet you, my brethren, to behold the manifestation of good feeling and witness your willingness to build up Zion, and establish righteousness on the earth. And may you continue faithful, that you may be happy and prosperous and realize all the promises. It is promised that the Saints shall be the richest of all people, and to realize this promise, we must be guided by those placed to lead us. This is the principle of safety and success. Any other course will produce sorrow. That God will bless the Saints in this Stake of Zion and all his people, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.