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The Lord is Teaching Us Valuable Lessons in Our Present Experience—He is Teaching Us to Rely Upon Him and to Exercise the Faculties He Has Given Us—Nature of the Government of the United States—the Elements of a Variety of Governments Enter Into It—Physical and Moral Courage—the Judge of the Third District Court not a Christian—a Concubine Was a Wife and It Should not Be a Term of Reproach—the Character of Abraham Vindicated—Sympathy for Our Enemies—When the Saints Learn to Be Strictly Impartial, Judgment and Rule Will Be Given Them—Not All in the United States Are Arrayed Against Us—Weakness of the American Government—Power of Secret Societies—Zion to Be a Place of Refuge and Safety—President Cleveland’s Opportunity to Be Just and Great—We Must Purify Ourselves that Liberty May Come

Discourse by Apostle Moses Thatcher, delivered in the Tabernacle, Logan, Cache County, Semi-Annual Conference, Thursday Afternoon, October 8th, 1885.

There have been a great many very excellent things said at this conference, and in attempting to add thereto, I desire the assistance and aid which come through the faith and prayers of the Saints—that I may be inspired by the Spirit of God to utter such things as may tend to our edification and good. It will doubtless be somewhat difficult to make all hear unless a goodly degree of order is maintained. Of course I am aware that it is not an easy task for mothers to keep their nursing babes quiet in a crowded house like this and upon a warm day; but we hope to have as good order as possible under the circumstances.

I have rejoiced very much in the testimonies which have been borne during the meetings of this Conference, and they find in my heart a responsive chord. I do not feel that we are living in unprofitable times, and notwithstanding the trials, temptations and injustice with which we are surrounded, I view the present as times in which the Lord is teaching to His people very valuable lessons. It has often been asserted, by our outside friends, that the union of this people was maintained by reason of the influence which their leaders hold over their minds. If this statement were true, and the influence exercised is unrighteous, the leaders of the people should be removed. But if the influence which they exercise over the minds of the people is for good, it ought to be maintained. As an Elder in Israel, I hold that the influence which binds together this people to be the spirit of God, and that the Almighty, the creator of the heavens and the earth, is not dependent upon one man or many men, and that the Lord will demonstrate to all the Christian world, that the religion which is called Mormonism is the religion of the heart for the masses of the people who have espoused its cause; and if, in the experiences of the past few months, and that which is yet in the future, the Latter-day Saints learn to rely on God, learn to receive for themselves heavenly communications for the guidance of their feet, though it may cost the exile of our leaders or the imprisonment of those who have worked as their servants, they will have received that which is of much value; and although it cost much, it will be worth more than the cost. We can see now that a few who have relied upon others, who have sought the counsel of their file lenders and have depended upon that counsel when they can no longer reach those leaders, falter and fall by the wayside. I believe that God intends that every man and every woman in His Church and kingdom shall exercise the faculties which He has given them, that in the exercise of their agency He designs to exalt them in eternal glory. So long therefore as the people rely upon their leaders they are not manifesting that degree of faith, they are not in a position to think and reflect for themselves as they should. I have known the time of the Presidency of the Church and of the Apostles taken up in frivolous matters that ought never to have gone beyond the family circle, at least ought not to have gone beyond the confines of the Ward organization. But times have changed. We approach not now so easily the Presi dency of the Church. We receive not their counsels with that facility that we have done in the past. And although we miss their presence much—for this people love their leaders—in their absence the channel of communication between the heavens and the earth is open to this people as it never could have been under former circumstances. Men and women are now learning that their prayers can be heard, and that if they are not able to receive the counsels of their brethren, they can in all places and under all circumstances, receive the counsels of God, their Heavenly Father.

Men, communities of men, governments, nations, powers, and principalities have never yet been able to build walls so strong, or make iron doors so thick as to prevent the prayers of a righteous man ascending unto his God, hence every man and every woman who keep the commandments of the Lord can have a light and a lamp for their feet, and those who have oil in their lamps will not be uncertain as to the course they should pursue. The revelations of the Lord will inspire them and direct them in the ways of truth and right.

When we reflect on the growth of governments, civilization, the rights of men and the liberties which we so much enjoy, to what source do we look as the one from whence they came? The great government of which we form a part—the most liberal, the broadest and the deepest in its foundation, the greatest government which God has ever smiled upon—except when he has administered according to His own will in the affairs of men—to whom is due its birth and expansion. To men who were willing to bow in obedience to the mandates of kingly governments? No! But rather to men who were inspired by God, their heavenly Father, to reach forward to a higher and a grander civilization and liberty. Had the Pilgrim Fathers and others who were unwilling to bow to the mandates of European powers not fled to the land of America, we should have had no government like this. It was founded as a refuge in which the oppressed of every land and clime should find a resting place. Not Republican altogether, not Democratic wholly, not theocratic, not aristocratic, not monarchical, but a combination of them all. For this government, in the strictest sense, is not a republic, as I understand it. The laws of a republican government are enacted by a central power. Were the United States such a government, the laws which govern the citizens of all the States and Territories would be enacted by Congress, instead of by their several Legislatures. In the purest sense, democracy consists of a government in which the people are governed by laws enacted with their mutual consent and by their direct vote. We cannot consistently call the government of the United States theocratic only in so far as the people acknowledge the rule of God. If we pick up a coin, a $20 gold piece, we can see impressed upon its face the words, “In God we trust;” and insofar as this is true, and expresses the sense and feelings of the people, this government is theocratic, but in no sense beyond that. A Territorial government may be said to be in a large sense monarchial, in that the governor of the Territory has conferred upon him by act of Congress absolute veto power, and the legislators who are chosen by the people, may labor for sixty days, unite their profoundest thought in expressing the wishes and wants of the people, and they may frame laws by which the people might be governed according to their choice, but by a single stroke of the pen the Governor of the Territory of Utah can veto every act of the Territorial Legislature. Is not this, then, monarchial, and is it not in a very strong sense a one-man power? It would seem to be at least autocratic. And in the sense that the people of the Territories have no choice in the governor or in the judges who administer the laws, or in the marshals who enforce the process of the courts and in every other way wherein the government takes upon itself the government of the people, without the consent of the people, is it not an aristocratic government—the government of the many by the few? Thus, if my conclusions are correct, the government of the United States is theocratic insofar as the people trust in and obey the laws of God; it is republican in a partial sense; it is democratic in another sense; and it is certainly, so far as the Territories are concerned, monarchial and aristocratical. Thus we have a combination of the elements of a variety of governments entering into this great Union. But, as was clearly shown this morning by Brother F. D. Richards, in the disposition of the people to have Congress enact certain proscriptive laws, we as a people are being deprived of many of the rights and privileges for which our forefathers contended, for which they pledged their sacred honor, and for which many of them devoted their lives. But, knowing the manner in which public opinion is manufactured in this great land of ours, I have personally a degree of charity and of sympathy, not only for Congress, but for the President, his Cabinet, and for the supreme judiciary of our nation. It is no unusual thing to see men manifest physical courage. You can see it in all nature. Tread upon a worm and it will turn and sting you if it can. Men, for the love of the things of this world, will often face physical danger in every form. They will dig down into the bowels of the earth, navigate the raging seas, and penetrate, as it were, to the North Pole—they will face the cannon’s mouth when it belches forth death and desolation in all its horrid forms; they will face death and destruction in all its horrid forms; they will face death and desolation in every shape; but when you call upon them to manifest moral courage, when you call upon them to stand up and maintain the right because it is right, when that right is unpopular, you appeal to something that gives but weak response. I have seen men that would face danger in almost every conceivable form, shrink and cower before one breath of scorn. They could not bear it, and hence you see them make promises and apologies because of the influences that surround them. Now, this is a popular government, and it would take a very courageous President to do justice to the Latter-day Saints. Why? Because the great majority of the nation are prejudiced against us. Not that they are aware of any harm or wickedness having been done by this people, but because of falsehoods that have been circulated against the Latter-day Saints. Therefore, I say that were Mr. Cleveland to administer, or cause to be administered all the laws in Utah impartially, he would be manifesting a degree of hardihood, a degree of moral courage that certainly has not been exhibited by any recent President of the United States. This country has produced few men like Charles Sumner, who stood up in the Senate of the United States and fought slavery. He stood there singly and alone, but he espoused a righteous cause, and by degrees he made adherents until this nation was converted and the Supreme Court of the United States that declared that a black man had no rights which a white man was bound to respect, was overturned at the point of the bayonet and the sword. Such men as Washington, Jefferson and Adams—such men as Cromwell, Knox, Luther, Wycliffe, Huss and Jerome, stand along the shores of time as beacons that have lighted the way to the higher liberty we ought to enjoy in this glorious land today. When I say we, I refer to the nation as a whole, and not to the Latter-day Saints as a community. If we could enjoy our constitutional rights, we would be of all people upon this earth the most happy; because, with all our faults and failings, God smiles upon no people upon the earth as pure as are the Latter-day Saints, and happiness consists in purity—the living of a holy life before the Lord.

I was very forcibly struck, a few days ago, with the remarks made by the Judge of the Third Judicial District. I don’t think him to be a Christian; if he is, he does not understand the Scriptures as I understand them. In referring to remarks which had been made by an individual who had been convicted by the jury, the judge remarked that he did not wish to hear any more hypocritical cant, and in referring to the wives of the Latter-day Saints on one occasion he mentioned them as concubines; and some of our brethren have looked upon that as being a reproach. Well, of course, you can convey contempt in the manner in which a word is uttered. But I do not look upon the word concubine as being a contemptuous term by any means. All concubines, anciently, were considered wives, but all wives were not concubines. A concubine, then, was a maid servant married to a free man; and although her mistress still maintained some jurisdiction over her actions, the fact that she was a wife gave her an honorable position—made her a legal wife in the sight of God.

Again, the judge, in referring to what father Abraham did, said, “Abraham not only lived with his wives, but also with his wife’s handmaids; in other words,” said the judge, “the same as though you were to live with your hired girls. Now, while that might do for Abraham,” said he, “it will not do for this enlightened age.” Now I desire to show by these remarks that the judge of the Third District Court is not a Christian, and that if he has any hopes of eternal life, he does not understand the plan and the promises of the great Jehovah; for Abraham was a friend of God; Abraham talked with God face to face, and although it may be thought that he lived in the dark ages, would to God that the Christian world would walk in such darkness today! If, then, the acts of Abraham would not do for the Chief Justice of the Territory of Utah, neither would the city in which Abraham dwells do for that judge; and when he passes into eternity and behold the names of the twelve apostles written upon the twelve foundations of the Eternal City he may admire their beauty and grandeur, but when his attention is drawn to the twelve pearly gates, he will find engraven thereon the names of the twelve sons of Jacob by his four wives, and their great grandfather Abraham will be within that city. Without its walls shall be sorcerers, adulterers, liars and whoremongers, and those who love to make a lie. Jesus bore testimony to the virtues of Abraham. He proclaimed himself to be a literal descendant from him, tracing back his lineage to the loins of David, another polygamist; and when he, Jesus, spoke of Lazarus, who picked up the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table, and who was so poor and wretched, whose sores the dogs licked to his ease, delight and comfort—when Jesus spoke of this Lazarus, he spoke of him as being in the bosom of Father Abraham. But the rich man, who perhaps had had control of him, and who had kicked and cuffed him, and looked upon him with scorn as he picked up the crumbs—as we pick up the crumbs of liberty grudgingly dropped from the table which our fathers made in the day of oppression and dread—I say, when that rich man looked upon Lazarus in his degradation, he was then but his serf and slave; but when he looked upon him over that wide gulf that separated them, he saw him in the bosom of Abraham, and he pleaded that Lazarus might be sent to dip his finger in one drop of cold water, that the thirst might be slaked in his throat, and that his burning tongue might be relieved. The answer was, “Lazarus had his ill things while upon the earth and thou hadst thy good things. Now, behold Lazarus has the good things and thou hast thine evil things.” “Well, said the rich man, if he comes not to me send him to tell my friends and my neighbors of the condition of affairs here.” The answer was made, “They have Moses and the prophets, and if they heed not these, neither would they listen to one though he rose from the dead.” If the Judge of the Supreme Court of the Territory of Utah is a Christian, how will he feel when he comes into the presence of Father Abraham, whom he has sought to cast reflections upon? Will not the blush of shame be upon his cheek? And if there is an eternal God, and if that eternal God is the creator of the heavens and the earth and all our spirits; and is the friend of Abraham, how can that Judge bear his presence? I would rather be the poorest Latter-day Saint on earth and bear chains and fetters upon my limbs until my flesh dropped from my bones than to be in the attitude of the man who must bear, without the spirit of God, the measure of unjust judgment which he has measured to others. For this reason, my brethren and sisters, I say I have the most profound sympathy for all those whom we sometimes denominate our enemies, and I am not able to forget the fact that whatever their condition in this life may be, they fought not on the side of Satan in the eternal worlds when Satan rebelled against God because the Almighty was unwilling to adopt his coercive plan of human redemption. God was determined that every man, woman and child born into the world should be free. I say, because God would not adopt his coercive measures he rebelled against Christ, and one-third part of heaven followed him, and he fought against Michael and the hosts of heaven, and was cast down to earth with the hosts that followed him. But you can find no living man or woman that ever breathed the breath of life that fought on his side; for the condemnation that came upon them was a loss of opportunity to take a body. Therefore, those people who seem to be our enemies are such only by reason of their blindness, and because their eyes are closed against the things of God, and if the judgments of God are to come upon them according to the predictions of the prophets, we can well afford to have charity and sympathy for them, and we do as a people. I tell you that I can pray for my enemies; I can pray that God may lead them away from darkness, that He may touch the eyes of their understanding that they may see, and in their hearts repent.

It is awful to think for a moment of the terrible condemnation that will surely come upon men who endorse the shedding of innocent blood; but we must, at last come to love our enemies and pray for them who despitefully use us. And when we are prepared to do this from the heart, we are prepared to say to this world, “I am not afraid of anything you can do.” The power of the Spirit lifts the body out of the reach of harm, the spirit of Christ has gained the victory, and we can say when under the influence of that spirit, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” I can pray for the President of the United States, with a desire in my heart that God will direct him aright, that he may have moral courage sufficient to do that which is just; because, unless the rulers of this nation are actuated by the spirit of justice, they cannot be sustained by the Almighty. And although we may find prejudice on the right hand and on the left, we shall never have given unto us the victory until we learn how to govern upon principle. When men are tested, when they are brought before the courts, cases should be tried, not men. Whenever the Latter-day Saints shall have reached that high degree of excellence in the administration of the laws of God as to judge impartially between the Saint and sinner, when they shall be willing to give Satan his rights as quickly as a Saint or a brother, then will judgment and rule be placed within their reach, and I pray that it will never come before that time.

Whether a man is a heathen or a Christian, when the kingdom of God is established, he will have his rights and liberties extended to him. There will be no bias, no prejudice, everything will be done according to the laws of justice and equity. Have we always, as a people, I may ask, manifested a disposition to act upon the basis of principle? You can answer the question for yourselves. Have you been willing, as Latter-day Saints to extend to the Gentile as readily his rights, under your municipal, your county or your Territorial government as you would extend them to a Latter-day Saint? If you have, then have we administered upon the basis of principle; but if we have not, then have we not come to an understanding of that which the Lord has revealed; for when His kingdom bears sway there will be thousands and millions of people who do not subscribe to our religious views, who will be gladly governed by the laws of God’s kingdom; and the Chinese in the empire of China, the Hindoo in Hindoostan, or the Christian in Europe, may read the laws that govern Zion, and, with mathematical accuracy, figure out the liberties they can enjoy under the laws of the kingdom of God. There will be no prejudice or packed juries in the kingdom of God that will bind the innocent and set the guilty free. God will govern His kingdom as He governs throughout His universe, by the laws of justice and equity.

What I say to the Latter-day Saints is, let us be of good cheer. I never have seen a better day than this. The kingdom will come off victorious, and those who have hated us will see the day when much woe and affliction will come upon them.

We hear talk about 55,000,000 of people being opposed to the Latter-day Saints. I offer to you this afternoon my testimony that this is not true. There are not 55,000,000 in this glorious government of ours who are opposed to the Latter-day Saints; it is a great mistake; there are thousands in the United States today, who are anxiously waiting for the solution of the “Mormon” problem, who are praying for the deliverance of this people. It is a great mistake to suppose that every man, woman and child in this nation are opposed to this people; there are scores that, while they have not courage to come out and speak a word for them, have a warm throbbing in their hearts for the victory of this people and their cause, and they are not blind to their surroundings either. As an American citizen I deplore it, but I tell the Latter-Saints this afternoon that this great government is not strong, and the reason is, they have torn up the foundations of the structure that was built by our fathers. They have tipped up the moorings of the great ship. They have allowed mob rule to get power in this land, and like a dark cloud, secret societies are gathering around. And while it may be smiled at, yet I tell you this nation stands as it were upon a mine. When the Knights of Labor and the different brotherhoods can say in calm language that within thirty minutes they can stop the motion of every car wheel between Omaha, Nebraska, and Butte, Montana, I say to you there is power there. More than five years ago, certain secret societies instituted what were called the Pittsburgh riots. The State militia was called out to quell them, and they were not able to do it. The army of the national government was appealed to, and a United States officer told me that when he led his soldiers to Pittsburgh he feared to give the word of command to fire upon those insurgents, “for,” said he, “I did not know whether they would obey or turn round and fire upon their officers.” I have heard merchants of Chicago and New York declare that they had private arms stacked away in their business houses because they could not trust the municipal, the county, the State, or the national means of protection; will you tell me that a nation is strong thus situated? It is not. The iron heel of the monopolist has long been upon the neck of labor, and the great question which is looming up in this nation today is that of labor and capital. Would to God we had statesmen with eyes clear enough to see! Would to God that they would pull out of their eyes the “Mormon” mote and behold the beam that threatens the nation. The occurrence at Rock Springs, and the mutterings we hear from the Atlantic to the Pacific ought to be a warning that the day is not far distant, unless the Democratic and Republican parties open their eyes to the situation, when desolation and war will be in this government. When men who live in San Francisco, Chicago and New York, have said to me, “Mr. Thatcher, why don’t you renounce this objectionable feature of your religion, the nation is opposed to it, the civilization of the age does not want to permit it—why don’t you renounce it and live in peace?” I have said to them, “I thank you for your kind sentiments; I thank you for the kindly feelings that you entertain,” and as an evidence that I feel it, I will say when this nation, having sown to the wind, reaps the whirlwind; when brother takes up sword against brother; when father contends against son, and son against father; when he who will not take up his sword against his neighbor must needs flee to Zion for safety—then I would say to my friends come to Utah; for the judgments of God, commencing at the house of the Lord, will have passed away, and Utah, undisturbed, will be the most delightful place in all the Union. When war and desolation and bloodshed, and the ripping up of society come upon the nation, I have said to such, “Come to Utah and we will divide our morsel of food with you, we will divide our clothing with you, and we will offer you protection.” I will tell you, my brethren and sisters, the day will come, and it is not far distant, when he who will not take up his sword against his neighbor, will have to flee to Zion for safety; and it is presupposed in this prediction that Zion will have power to give them protection. We are not going to do it outside of the government, either; we are going to do it inside the government. There is no power in this land to turn this people against the government of the United States. They will maintain the Constitution of this country inviolate, and although it may have been torn to shreds they will tie it together again, and maintain every principle of it, holding it up to the downtrodden of every nation, kindred, tongue and people, and they will do it, too, under the Stars and Stripes. They will stand with their feet firmly upon the backbone of the American continent and maintain the principles which cost their fathers so much, and those principles cannot be taken away by men who violate their oath of office, and betray their trust.

I tell you that there are boys growing up in these mountains who have the principles of human liberty grounded deep in their hearts, and they will maintain them, not only for themselves, but for others. God speed the day I say—if the nation pursues its downward course and tears up these fundamental principles of government which have made them strong—when the Constitution may be rescued and all men and women shall be free again. I pray that Grover Cleveland may stand up as the chief executive of the greatest nation that there is on God’s footstool today and say to the waves of public opinion and public pressure that the nation must be ruled upon the principles of righteousness and justice. If he would do that, he would make himself a name that would be embalmed forever upon the pages of history. But if he will not do it—if he is not morally strong enough to do it, and if Congress will not come forward and help him do it, we will say, “O, God, we put our dependence in Thee,” and where Thou leadest we will follow, and we will seek to maintain our rights, until the Almighty grants them unto us. May the spirit of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ be in your hearts, for above all things it is the most precious; and when you come before the judges take no heed of what you shall say or the answers you shall give, but trust in God, and if you go before the judges silent as did your Lord and master, if they choose to nail you upon the cross or stretch you upon the wheel or the rack, or if they thrust you into dungeons or prisons, it is nothing more than was done to your Master before you. Let us trust in God. I tell you nothing of importance has ever been attained in this world without a hard struggle against the opinions and prejudices of men.

God grant that we may soon regain and forever maintain our liberty. But may it not come as long as we have an adulterer, a fornicator, or whoremaster who professes to be a Latter-day Saint. As long as such as these partake of the Holy Sacrament with this people, let bondage continue. But let us purge out these things, let us be pure and holy before God, cherishing the principles of justice in our hearts, and the day of liberty will surely come, which may God grant, is my prayer. Amen.




Parable of the Ten Virgins—Rapid Development of the Arts and Sciences—The Lord Hastening His Work in Its Time—Enmity Between the Church of Christ and the World—The Gathering Together of People From Every Nation After They Have Been Baptized Into One Spirit—The Law of Tithing—Blessings Which Follow Obedience Thereto—Binding Upon All, Rich and Poor Alike—Giving to the Poor—Power of the Principles of the Gospel and Effects of Their Observance—Jehovah—Jesus Christ—His Ministry—His Followers—Their Mission—Preaching to the Spirits in Prison—Baptism for the Dead—Saviors Upon Mount Zion—Responsibility Resting Upon the Saints—a Word of Encouragement to the Missionaries

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered in the New Stake Tabernacle, Provo, Sunday Afternoon, Aug. 30th, 1885.

Occasions of this kind have a very precious significance to those who are interested in the great work of the last dispensation. They awaken the better feelings of our natures to commune together as the people of God, to contemplate His providences towards His people, the experiences through which they have passed, and are passing. It is very pleasant to the Elders who are called to speak to the people in going from place to place, to meet those with whom they associated in earlier times and in far distant countries. In this respect my journey was made pleasant this morning upon finding myself in the carriage with brethren whom I labored with almost thirty-five years ago in the British Isles.

Thirty years ago, in about one month, our brother and friend, Professor Maeser, with several others, in the City of Dresden, the capital of Saxony, strolled away one night, and finding ourselves beyond the surveillance of the police, a mile or more, down to the banks of the river Elbe, we there had the pleasure of seeing him enter into the covenant of the everlasting Gospel with us. This and like circumstances cause me to thank the Lord for His grace that has preserved, helped and sustained us, and kept us in the truth until this present time, while many who have been baptized into the Church have fallen out by the way. When we contemplate the parable of the Savior in reference to the ten virgins—five of whom were wise and five foolish—behold, we are seeing in part the fulfillment of that parable. When we consider how many have turned away at one time and another because the way was too straight or the road was too rough for them, we have reason to be very thankful that the love of the truth has continued and increased in our hearts. It is fitting that we should labor with diligence and faithfulness and with our mights to bring to pass the purposes of God, inasmuch as they are rolling upon us rapidly, and seeing that He has promised that He will cut His work short in righteousness.

Since the Father came forth from the heavens with His Son and spoke to the Prophet Joseph—then a boy only about fourteen years old, and told him that all the people of the earth had gone astray from His ordinances and had broken the everlasting covenant—I say since that time what wonderful progress has been made in developing the arts and sciences. Those were the days of the stage coach instead of the railroad. Then postal facilities were very slow. It required mouths for communications to go from this country to Europe and back again. Now it is done in an instant, steam and electricity enable people to transact business in one day or an hour, perhaps, that used to take months to accomplish. The Lord is in this way fulfilling His promise that He would hasten His work in its time. He has increased facilities during our day and generation for the accomplishing of work and bringing about His purposes which it would take many times as long to accomplish under the old regime—the slow-coach order of things.

Thirty-eight years ago, when we came across the plains, it took us all summer to get from the Missouri River to Salt Lake. We had to walk and toil by the road; our teams gave out and died by the way. A company of us in the year 1848 were from the 18th of February till the 19th of October, coming from Liverpool to this Territory. Now the Saints start from the old country and come here by steam in about three weeks, a journey that formerly took nine months to perform. This is one of the ways in which the Lord is shortening His work—cutting it short in righteousness—and furthermore He has said He will hasten it in its time.

Now, there must necessarily be, as there always has been, the same enmity between the Church of Christ and the world that ever has existed. And what is the great reason why there must be such opposition? I can tell you one reason. It is because that we, by the blessing, power and requirement of God, have been enabled to go forth and preach the Gospel, gather the believers together, organize churches, build cities and temples, and establish a church and kingdom unto God, and that the world cannot do. That is one reason why they feel enmity toward us. This is a great testimony to the whole world—the work of gathering the people of every language under the sun, from the frigid, the temperate and the torrid zones. From Iceland on the North, as well as from New Zealand and the Cape of Good Hope on the South, and all countries intermediate, where the Gospel has been preached.

It is a subject that is an enigma for the greatest statesman of the earth; this gathering together of people of different languages, different education and habits, and harmonizing them all. The great secret is that they are first baptized into the same spirit, one baptism, one faith, and one Lord. They come here and being taught correct principles they govern themselves. That is just what we want; and is what every family needs, that those who become rulers in Israel, or heads of families, shall be men of God, filled with the knowledge, the revelations and power of God.

I am thankful that I live with you to see the great and mighty operations of Jehovah’s purposes going on in the earth. I feel thankful that I am permitted to perform any humble part in this marvelous work. The Saints, even those in the humblest station, should feel thankful that they can contribute one way or another by their efforts or their means to help advance any of the interests of the Church or Kingdom of God.

Former speakers have referred to the principle of tithing. This is one of the very important features of the faith of the everlasting Gospel. It always was when there was a people of God on the earth. Go back to our Father Abraham—whom all professed Christians would like to claim heirship with—and we find that he was very tenacious in paying his tithing, his whole tithing. When he went to war against the thirteen kings, with his company of three hundred and eighteen trained servants, followed them all night, overtook them, and became their victors, he brought home the spoils, and when he reached Jerusalem he found there Melchizedek, the ruler of the country, the minister of the Lord, the king of peace; one of the first things he did was to pay his tithing of the booty, and he received a blessing at Melchizedek’s hands. So it was with Isaac and Jacob. We are informed in the Scriptures that Jacob covenanted with the Lord, saying: “Of all thou shalt give me, I will surely give the tenth unto thee,” which he did. And when in after years the Lord brought Israel back from Egypt to Canaan, where He promised they should live and have an everlasting inheritance if they would keep His law, He gave it them with this reserve, that a tenth of the people’s possessions should be paid to Him:

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, the fruit of the tree, the tithe of the herd or of the flock, is the Lord’s, and shall be holy unto the Lord.” (Lev. xxvii, 30-32.)

If they did not do this they would be robbing the Lord. The fact was, all they possessed was the Lord’s, and when they appropriated all to their own use, paying nothing into the Lord’s storehouse, they did that for which He afterwards, by the Prophet Malachi, charged them with robbing Him, even their whole nation.” (Malachi iii, 9.)

The Lord has said unto us, very emphatically, if we do not sanctify this land and make it holy unto Him by keeping this and all other of His commandments that it shall not be a land of Zion unto us. Let us hearken to it, take it to heart, think of it, study it prayerfully, and learn what it means.

Says one, “Here is a poor widow that does not owe any tithing; there is a poor brother who is lame and cannot work who does not owe any tithing.” Don’t they? Let us see. The paying of tithing, like every other ordinance, has its peculiar blessings, and what are they? In the receipt which the Prophet Joseph Smith gave to me in Nauvoo, signed by himself and the tithing clerk, he stated that having paid my tithing in full to date, I was entitled to the benefits of the baptismal font, which had just been dedicated in the basement of that Temple. Do not this poor widow and that lame, unfortunate brother need the benefits of the baptismal font for their deceased kindred just as much as the rich, the sound and the fortunate? I think they do. How then can they obtain a right and title to their blessings? The Lord has instituted a means by which they may receive their blessings by the payment of their tithing. The first Thursday of every month is a Fast day, for the Saints to gather together in prayer and fasting, and to bring their offerings for the poor, that the afflicted and unfortunate may not lack for food or clothing, and the comforts of life. Now, if a poor man received one hundred pounds of flour or any other gift, it is his privilege to pay one-tenth of it as tithing, and have it credited to him on the book as a tithing payer, and in this way he pays just as much as the man who pays one hundred dollars. The same with the poor sister who receives her aid from the Relief Society. She can pay her tithing in the same way—have her name recorded on the books, and thus acquire the right to be baptized for her dead kindred. These rights and privileges are not confined to the rich. They are for people of all conditions in life, provided they comply with the requirements of the Lord. The Savior said that the widow, with her two mites, paid in more than the rich out of their abundance. Some have been inclined to practice this principle on a kind of sliding scale. If they donate an amount to the building of a Tabernacle or a Temple, they must take that out of their tithing. This is not the correct way.

God has given us commandments concerning the law of tithing. He has also given us instructions in regard to our offerings for the poor, as follows:

“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my Gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.”—(Doc. & Cov., Section 104, par 18.)

He directs all these things. If we learn His way and walk in it, we shall be abundantly blessed, and those who are too poor to walk in the right way of the Lord, will become so poor that they will perish from the land by and by.

What has brought you here from distant lands? It is the potency of those principles you have embraced. What has inspired you to labor and make this part of the wilderness so beautiful? I recollect, when I first came to Provo on the 4th July, 1849, we had a sort of celebration; some of the authorities of the Church were here, and arrangements were then made and directions given for the location of this city. Since then, see what has been accomplished! See this meetinghouse, court house, bank building, your woolen factory—the greatest one of the Territory, and one that would be a credit to any part of the continent—what has done all this? It is the potency of those principles God has revealed to you. It is this that induced you to leave your native lands and come to this country, strangers in a strange land, as Abraham was when he left his home and went down to Canaan. These principles are known by you, my brethren and sisters. They, however, are principles the world do not know anything about, especially this principle of tithing. They have their own way of making contributions, etc., but they do not understand tithing as a law of God. We, who do comprehend these things, must follow out heaven’s requirements, that the favor and strength of the heavens may be with us.

While we have been in this land what else have we been doing? We have been sending away missionaries by scores and hundreds, year by year, to inform and if possible to convince the people of the truth of the Gospel. They will not, however, receive it. It seems as though mankind now, as in the days of Jesus, have ears to hear, but they will not hear; eyes to see, but they will not see; hearts to understand, but they will not understand. When we tell them that certain principles and views we hold are our religious convictions, or our conscientious understanding of the word of the Lord, we are told at once that there is no religion about it, as if others had a better right to know what our religious convictions should be than ourselves.

We have a great and marvelous work laid upon us, and its more marvelous features are still to be developed and made manifest. We yet see but a small part of it. The Lord has shown us all we can bear; all we can, in our present state of development, comprehend and apply.

The Savior said, when He was upon the earth, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Now, if we can find out sufficiently about our Savior, His views and doings, we shall be able to understand generally the principles of the glorious Gospel, which has been revealed and something of its outcome. We learn that our Savior was born of a woman, and He was named Jesus the Christ. His name when He was a spiritual being, during the first half of the existence of the earth, before He was made flesh and blood, was Jehovah. He was in the beginning of the creation, and He had to do and has had to do continually with the creation and govern ment of this heaven and this earth.

But up to the time that He came and dwelt in the flesh and was born of Mary, His Mother, He dwelt in the spirit life. He was the spirit Being that directed, governed, and gave the law on Mount Sinai, where Moses was permitted to see Him in part. He is the Being that appeared unto the brother of Jared, when he brought the stones that were to be put into the barges, and asked the Lord to touch them with His finger that they might receive and emit light. When the Lord drew near and touched the stones with His finger, the brother of Jared’s eyes were opened, and he saw the finger of the Lord. He was afraid and fell down before the Lord. The Lord asked him, “Why hast thou fallen? Arise!” And he said that he was afraid, for he beheld the finger of the Lord, and he did not know that the Lord had flesh and blood. Jehovah then showed him His whole person, saying, “This is the body of my spirit”—He that should come in the meridian of time and take upon Himself a body of flesh and blood. When that time arrived, and he attained the age of thirty years, He began to officiate in the ministry, after He had been baptized by John the Baptist.

Without stopping to detail as much as I would like, I want to call attention to two or three leading features of His work. The Savior commenced to labor in the ministry, and found men here and there of the right spirit, whom He commanded to follow Him. To one of these he said, “Before Philip called thee, I saw thee.” So He continued to find and select choice spirits whom He knew before the foundation of the world. He ordained twelve of them to be His ministers, and then He sent them abroad. But did He send them all over the world? No. He first told them to go only unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and they went. They worked with great success, healing the sick, casting out devils, etc. They neither lacked food nor raiment; freely they received, freely they gave. Thus they reported their mission. The Savior not only sent the Twelve Apostles, but other seventy also, missionary men, sending them forth to teach Israel that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. During His mission and long before He was crucified He taught them that He would be crucified, and on the third day he arose from the dead, but they did not seem to understand it.

After His resurrection He said to them, hitherto you have asked nothing of the Father in my name, but now, said He, whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name it shall be granted unto you. Now is all power given into my hands both in heaven and on earth. After His resurrection He called His Apostles together and commissioned them, saying, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” That was another feature of the work wherein He sends the Gospel—now that Israel had proved themselves unworthy of it—to all the world. We see, then, that the great work of the brethren was to carry the Gospel to the whole human family first. But the Savior told them that if He went away, they should do greater works than He had done, because He went to the Father. What did He do? After He was crucified He went and preached to the spirits in prison, even to that great multitude that were destroyed through disobedience before the flood and by the flood. He unlocked the prison doors to those that were bound. While upon the earth the Savior and His brethren of the Twelve labored to impart the Gospel to those that were living. The Savior set the Priesthood in order and offered the Gospel to the people, but they would not receive it. Still this was the great work that had to be performed. The Gospel had to be preached to mortals first, and next to those in the spirit world.

What are our condition and labor now? In this last dispensation the Prophet Joseph Smith, in the year 1820, first received revelations from the heavens, and it was only until 1844 that he was permitted to live. By 1830, the Book of Mormon was brought forth from the mountain Cumorah, was translated and printed, and fourteen years from that time the Prophet Joseph was taken from us.

When he went away he went with the keys of this last dispensation to the prison house of the dead, who had died in times that were past; and he, his brother Hyrum, the brethren of the Twelve Apostles—for there are now nearly a quorum of the Twelve Apostles with them—constitute a great and mighty church in the spirit world, laboring and preaching the Gospel to the spirits of our fathers who are in prison. They are called upon to do the work Brother Smith has been speaking about this afternoon. The prophet Elijah came and delivered his message on the 6th March, 1836, in the Temple in Kirtland, and he has been at work, ever since then, turning the hearts of the children to the fathers and the hearts of the fathers to the children.

Referring to this work the Apostle Paul makes this declaration: “For to this end Christ both died and rose, and revived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”

So it is with the Prophet Joseph Smith. He has gone before with the keys of this dispensation, after having lived and conferred them upon the authorities of the Church, even all that was necessary until he shall come again to build up this kingdom preparatory to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He with others are helping to carry out the great work of the redemption of the dead. And this part of the work we are called upon to perform in the temples. To be baptized for them, to be confirmed for them, and to perform all those holy ordinances for your righteous dead, for your worthy ancestry, which you have done or shall do for yourselves, makes you to become saviors upon Mount Zion. The responsibility resting upon the Saints in regard to these matters is very great. I heard the Prophet Joseph say, in a sermon he preached before he was killed, that no greater responsibility rested upon the Saints than the work of attending to ordinances for their dead. This then, ought to be taken into serious consideration. Brethren who cannot go abroad and preach the Gospel, may labor in the temples, and thus bring to pass the purposes of God.

When we contemplate this great work, shall we wince at persecution? Though we are persecuted, though our enemies are hunting and harassing and breaking up our families, shall we be frightened and be any less wise and discreet, or adopt unworthy measures to keep out of prison? Certainly not. Let us be true to the truth. Let us be true to what God has committed to us, in every iota.

In conclusion I would say a word of encouragement to the brethren who are engaged in the ministry. In the early times of the Church in foreign lands the work of the Lord spread rapidly when the Elders labored with unity of purpose and faith, and a great many were added to the Church. Many were brought to this land. Now we have come to a time when but few come into the Church. Some of the doctrines that have been revealed are a stumbling block to the people. It was so in the days of Jesus and His Apostles. He taught the doctrine of the cross and of the resurrection, which was a great stumbling block to them—a rock of offense, as is the doctrine of eternal and plural marriage. Through the opposition that the Elders have to meet, owing to that doctrine, they sometimes feel that their labors are very trifling when they baptize but few. I want to say to the brethren, that you do a great deal of good, be not discouraged, nor of a doubtful heart. You do a vast deal of good you cannot see. Your testimonies to the world are a savor of life unto life or of death unto death—life unto life to those who receive and render obedience to the Gospel; death unto death to those who reject it. The world is filled with lies concerning God’s people and the truths they teach. The influences of the press and pulpit seem concentrated for the publication of lies in reference to the Latter-day Saints. The world seems inclined to believe lies and be damned rather than receive the truth. A painful thought. Still, there is this good you may do: you should be assiduous in your labors to correct the errors and lies that are circulating among the people; you may soften the people’s susceptibilities and prejudices; and perhaps you may be the means of preventing a great many men and women, who might otherwise be guilty of the shedding of innocent blood, from entering into anything of that kind, or consenting to it in their hearts, and though they may not be willing and ready to receive the Gospel in this life, yet, by not imbruing their hands in blood, maybe they will have the privilege and be willing to receive the Gospel in the spirit world. You know not, therefore, the good that you may do in this respect.

I pray God to bless every interest of this Stake of Zion, temporal and spiritual, present and future, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.




Devotion to God—How It is Made Manifest—Divers Opinions—Liberty to Worship God—Jesus Christ the Savior of the World—His Apostles Were Unlearned Men—They Were Rejected By the Masses—Writings of the Prophets—Persecution for Righteousness’ Sake—Selfishness—Love of Darkness Rather Than Light—Compromise of Principle—Infamy of Sacrificing Truth to Gain Place—God Must Be Obeyed Rather Than Man

Discourse by George G. Bywater, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, Aug. 2, 1885.

Brethren and sisters and friends: We have met this afternoon to commemorate the death and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ in His crucifixion on Calvary’s cross as an atonement for the sins of the world. We have met here to worship God. The spectacle of a worshiping congregation is not new either in Utah or throughout Christendom at large. A country or a people who are devoid of the sensibilities of the obligations which they owe to the Supreme Ruler of the universe, to the creator of the world and all things that in it are, would be considered pagan, would be considered an uncivilized people. In speaking of civilization Emerson once said that a nation without a well-defined language, without clothing, without a system of marriage we call heathen, we call barbarous, and he might have added with propriety and like truthfulness, that a people who assemble not to pay their devotion to the Great God, the architect of the universe, and the common Fa ther of the human race, are an uncivilized people. While we admit this to be true there are other facts associated with and belonging to this subject of the worship of the Deity, that present themselves very forcibly to our view, and I may enumerate a few of them.

As I have already said, the assembling together of a people in a congregational capacity to pay their adorations to God their Heavenly Father is not a strange or an exceptional spectacle, but is common throughout the world. Nevertheless there is great diversity of opinion regarding divine worship; there are varied methods of paying those adorations to the Supreme Being. The worship that they offer to Deity is presented in ritualistic forms and described methods, in systematic modes; in the form of homilies, in the exercise of prayer, of singing of psalms, of the administration of sacraments, that differ very widely the one from the other. But who on account of this diversity of opinion, who on account of this presented variety of modes of bowing before, or of lifting up unto the Supreme Being our hands in adoration and praise, or in the discharge of our devotional obligations would say, that, but one, two, three, or any restricted number should be guaranteed the liberty, the freedom, the religious toleration, the political and moral right of bowing the knee before God, and of lifting up their voices in praise and prayer to Him who made the sun, the moon and the stars, and who created all things that live and move and have a being? Show me a people, cite to me a nation or a family of nations that have come to the conclusion, that have made a predetermined decree that none shall worship the God of Daniel, or none shall worship the Dianah of the Ephesians, or none shall worship the golden image made by Nebuchadnezzar—you show me a people, a community, or a nation, or family of nations, that are fettered and bound by this proscriptive spirit and the dogmatic institutions and traditions of their times, and I will show you a people that are fettered with chains forged in the fires of bigotry and superstition and that will prove to them a barrier to national and universal progress.

The subject that we have had presented before us by my respected brother who preceded me is a very interesting one, interesting from more sides than one, interesting from every side, interesting from center to circumference, in part and in entirety. It is the subject of the liberty to worship God according to the dictates of a people’s own conscience, unrestricted and unrestrained by arbitrary or compulsory measures. He has referred to historical instances related in sacred history to circumstances under which and by the development of which the spirit of persecution, the spirit of intolerance, the spirit of tyranny and oppression has manifested itself. It is a well known and universally recognized fact throughout all Christendom today, that, Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world; that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, the redeemer of the human race, is the captain of our salvation, and that there is no other name given under heaven whereby man can be saved but the name of Jesus. This will be readily and clamorously conceded, persistently avowed, and zealously declared, by every church that lays any claim to the name of Christian throughout the whole world; that he was the founder and finisher of that faith which can alone save the family of man; that through His life, death and resurrection, in connection with the principles of immortality and eternal life which He brought forth to the knowledge of the world, in His own person, fulfilling very many of the prophecies relative to the dispensation of the fullness of times—that through Him, and through Him alone, should salvation come unto Israel, and a fallen world be redeemed. The Apostles he was pleased to select from among the unlettered, the uncultivated and the undistinguished among His fellow men, were called to be ministers of his word, to be ambassadors of the message of salvation, to be His heralds of peace—peace on earth and good will to all men. It is true He selected them from among the humble fishermen that were following their occupation of fishing on the sea of Galilee. It is true He did not select them from the learned doctors of the law. It is also true that they were men that had not attained to any high repute, or had been elevated to any dignified or scholastic position in the land, either ecclesiastical or political. They were graded as the offscourings and dregs of the human race. They were, so to speak, the dregs of human society. Yet today, in this age of boasted Christian enlightenment, in this age of boasted Christian freedom—pardon me for the remark—they claim that these men were the servants of the Lord, men that bore in their possession the principles of life and salvation unto all the world, and these men were in their day bold to make affirmations such as fell very unwelcomely, very unacceptably upon the ears of the elite, of the educated, of the refined, of the professional classes of Jewish and of Roman society, and also upon those who were cultivated in Greek literature, and constituted the most refined element of human society. Yet they were bold to declare, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” What do our Christian friends say? What do our pulpit declaimers announce to their congregations when they select such positive declarations, such strong doctrinal enunciations as the one I have quoted and many more like unto them—what do they say? Oh, they tell their Christian friends that they lament the darkness, the moral blindness, the intellectual and doctrinal opaqueness of that age; that had they lived in the days when Jesus sojourned among men, when He went about speaking words of kindness, uttering sentences of love and mercy, expressing His good will to the whole human family, and seeking to promulgate the principles of peace in a distracted age; say they, “Oh that we had lived in the days of Jesus; oh that we had had the privilege of bowing down at His feet like Mary and Martha; oh that we had had the opportunity of surrounding Him when the precious words of life fell from His hallowed lips—the lips of Him who spake as never man spake; oh that we had had this privilege.” And the tears of penitence for the sins of the dead who had gone centuries before them trickle down their face and stain the pages of the sacred scriptures from which they select their texts when they refer to the blindness and hardness of heart of the people who treated with ignominy and contempt the world’s greatest reformer, the world’s universal redeemer, the Son of God Himself. What do they say of them? “Oh,” say they, “how strange it is, how remarkable it is that those people with the writings of the blessed Prophets—with the writings of Hosea, of Jeremiah, of Amos, of Joel, of Habakkuk, of Zechariah, of Malachi, and of all the prophets in their possession, wherein are found so many prophecies relating to the coming of the Messiah, relating to the ushering in of a new dispensation, relating to the inauguration of a reign of peace such as the world had never seen, such as God had not promised unto the children of men, until the period of the world’s history when Shiloh should come—how remarkable with all this that they did not receive the Son of God. “If we had lived in these days,” say they, “we believe that we would have been able to see the hand of God; we would have marked His divine footprints among the people; we would have recognized by our ears the voice of the Good Shepherd; we would have listened with hearts subdued with humility, with minds illuminated by inspiration, to the marvelous and inimitable truths uttered by the Savior of the world. Oh, how wicked it was for those people to be so hardhearted; how wicked it was not only for the common people but for the rulers of the Jews, for the members of the Senate, for the doctors of the law, for the lights of the generation, the leading men of the period in which they lived that they should be guilty of such inhuman, such unnatural, such unjust conduct as to persecute men against whom no charge in truth and in verity could be found except it was that they were pleased to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to announce unto the world of mankind that a dispensation of divine providence had been ushered in, wherein a change should take place over the minds of the people; wherein a new order of things should be developed, and wherein the Mosaic law with all its sacerdotal rites and ceremonies were to be consummated and brought to a termination in the fulfillment of the prophecies, and in the introduction of a higher and a purer law.” These are their feelings; the ministers preach to the people after this fashion, and read to them such passages as these:

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

This language, my beloved friends, is of a very forcible character. Probably a few reflections upon the sentiments incorporated in these declarations of uninspired men may not be altogether uninstructive or unprofitable unto us at this time.

We learn from these declarations that Jesus Christ and his followers had their names cast out as evil. If these historians record veritable facts—and we have no right to question the historical verity of these statements, because they are established and verified by secular history: if then, they are true it becomes every thinking student of history, every earnest and avowed student of natural theology or sectarian lore, to understand what it was that constituted the essence of the disagreement, what constituted the gist, the kernel, if you please, the special reason why the existing spirit, faith and teachings of the Jewish people, and of the Roman people, in the commencement of the Christian era, were so opposed to the doctrines of Jesus Christ and His apostles. I have already referred to the general recognition by the Christian world of the doctrines of Christ and His apostles as being the foundation of the hope of all enlightened nations for salvation before God; for salvation in eternity, for the redemption of the human race. What, then, was it that was the cause of the opposition which was so pronounced, so persistent and so prolonged against Jesus Christ and His followers. This opposition was not confined to a narrow region. It was an opposition that was not limited within any special circle; for we read of one inquirer who appears to be a man of very general information addressing himself, in the term of an inquiry in his own behalf, and in behalf of those whom he represented, to the Apostles, saying:

“We desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”

It was not a matter of conjecture with him. It was a matter of conjecture with him as to what the Apostle Paul thought: for Paul was a man of letters, a man of a very extended range of experience and observation; so much so that one of the learned rabbis of his time told him that much learning had made him mad. But he was inquiring respecting his (Paul’s) information concerning the Church of Christ, a body of religious worshipers with whom he was identified, and in the midst of whom he was an authorized Apostle.

“We desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest; for as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”

“We know!” “What do you know, sir?” “We know that it is spoken against.” “Where is it spoken against, sir?” “It is everywhere spoken against.” Hence we see the universality, the general character of the opposition that was raised against the doctrines of the humble and despised Nazarene. Why was it, my friends, that they were opposed to Him? Why was it that His cause was so much misrepresented; that he was charged with keeping company with publicans and sinners, and considered worthy of death? Simply because he introduced an organized system of principles, of ordinances and divine institutions that were antagonistic, not in their essential nature to the welfare of mankind, but antagonistic to the existing dogmas, theologies and schools of philosophy that were then in existence. They were, moreover, systems of theology, and schools of philosophy and organized methods of procedure—in matters theological as well as matters doctrinal and political—that were becoming exhausted. They had reached the period of their decrepitude. They had attained unto the period of old age. They had manifested within them the elements of social, moral and organic decay. Their deteriorating effects were becoming painfully apparent. They were becoming ill-adapted to the newly developing condition of things; inapplicable to the unfolding environments of those times; and God, who sits enthroned in the realms of purity and of truth, had given these systems for the sake of His people. Whatever there was of a regenerating progressive nature in these systems, God sustained. He sustained them until the day star had dawned for a brighter and more glorious epoch in the world’s history, when the shepherds were visited by messengers of light from the realms of the Eternal Gods, crying, “Peace, peace on earth and good will toward all men.”

But my brother who preceded me spoke of selfishness. He touched a chord that seems to me to be unbroken and of a very extended length. I think it reaches over all the ages. I think it has come down from the border times of prehistoric history. I think it is found right through human nature, crude and cultivated, civilized and uncivilized.

The doctrine which the Savior taught touched this feeling of selfishness. It touched the personal vanity of many. The supporters of the systems that I have alluded to—I have no time to name them; there may be many of you who are historically well informed and know all about them; you know there were a number of philosophical schools in existence in Athens and elsewhere at that time; you are acquainted, no doubt, with the dogmas of the period. Suffice it to say that the most violent and determined opposi tion that Jesus of Nazareth met with in His day and generation was from the very class of men that the Christian world today have supposed and thought He ought to have derived the greatest possible support. Our Christian preachers and ministers tell their congregations that the learned doctors of the law who had little else to do but study the technicalities of the laws, to familiarize themselves with the genius of their construction, with the wisdom that promulgated them, with the necessities underlying the need for their legislation; these ministers tell us that they of all other men ought to have discovered the signs of the times, ought to have been able to read them, and in reading them to have discovered that the set time had come for God to bring forth His Son Jesus Christ, and to usher in a reign of peace. But it was from this class of people that Jesus met with the most violent and persistent persecution.

And how is it today, my friends? How is it today with the Latter-day Saints? I want to propound a few questions to my friends, as well as to those who have no desire to be considered our friends. I have one word to say to them. I would say, as my brother before me has said, would to God that they could be inspired by the same divine intelligence, by the same supreme wisdom and enlightened by the same heavenly understanding that chased away the darkness of ages, cleared up the obscurity in which the human mind was enveloped in the days of Jesus; would to God they were sincere and devout and honest, consistent believers in the Bible, the word of God. Then we would not have so much trouble in reasoning with our friends. We have no trouble today in obtaining an intelligent reply from our Christian friends when we ask them, Why did Jesus and His Apostles receive persecution at the hands of the Jews and of the Romans in their day, both as religious and political communities? Why did they do it? The answer would be freely given. Because they loved darkness rather than light; because they would not purify their lives by the regenerating principles of Christianity; because they would not deny themselves of those forbidden fruits and of those unrestrained passions which ran riot, and which the adherents of the Christian religion pronounce against; because Jesus upbraided them for sin and iniquity. It was because he told them the truth against themselves that they were opposed to Him. What were the principles He taught? “Oh,” says our Christian friend, “they are to be found in the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and in the epistles of the Apostles. You will find there the teachings that Jesus and His Apostles taught, and there, too, are found the reasons for all the opposition and persecution which they endured even unto death, even to the ignominious death of crucifixion.

Well, suppose we were to ask the question now, what is the reason that the Latter-day Saints are everywhere spoken against? What is the answer? Well, we would be answered variously, but all in harmony with one certain note of disapproval. The answer would be: “You are unlike us. You choose to profess a religion and a polity different to us. The constitution of your social structure is at variance with our ideas of morality. We are enthusiastically, frantically, and mercilessly incensed against your social system. We cannot endure it. You must believe as we do. You must think as we do, and if you don’t choose to think and believe as we do, you must act as we do, or you cannot be in fellowship with us.” Now, my friends, this is the spirit of the age in which we live, and I am respectfully at the whole world’s defiance to present to me or any other intelligent Latter-day Saint a solid, logical or truthful argument of a contradictory nature. There never has been and there never will be an opponent whose acumen is equal to the task of formulating reasons rational and sufficiently cogent to overthrow the doctrines of the religion of the Latter-day Saints.

Now, then, if the people in the days of Jesus and His Apostles were as consistent—or, pardon me, rather inconsistent—as the people of our day are, they would persist in maintaining that these doctrines should not be taught in Judea, nor in the regions round about, nor in Pamphilia, nor in Rome, nor in Galatia, nor anywhere. You must renounce these doctrines they said. But they did not renounce, and they put them to death. Ah! That is the secret. Do you, then, Christians—the professed promulgators of Bible Christianity—do you choose to repeat the deeds of your forefathers? Do you choose to imitate the examples of the persecutors of the humble and despised Nazarene by persecuting, imprisoning and putting to death men and women who profess precisely the same theology, who worship the same God, who bow at the same sacred altar as Jesus and His Apostles did, who advocate the same doctrines, who administer in the same ordinances, and who in every doctrinal particular are following their divine Master and fellow laborers, the Apostles of old? “Ah!” says one, “it is not that exactly. If you would only promise that you would remove from your religion every objectionable feature that it now presents to the Christian world we would hail you as brethren, as fellow Christians.” What did the Jewish people do? What did the Roman people do? They told Jesus of Nazareth in effect that if he would strike out of the constitution of the new faith every principle and doctrine that was uncongenial, if not with the prophecies which they professed to believe in, at all events, with their construction of them; if they would only put these away, then they could live with them. What would our divines today think of Jesus and His Apostles if they had permitted to be handed down to history that in consequence of the opposition which the revelations of God had evoked in the human mind, and had caused the public pulse to beat high, to arise to feverish temperature, until they came to this conclusion: if we let these men alone they will take away our name and nation; we cannot stand it; crucify him! crucify him! release unto us the thieves—Barabbas, anybody except Jesus of Nazareth; crucify him! crucify him!—His blood be upon us and upon our children forever; this was the cry of the populace; and had He made this affirmation, that in consequence of the determined opposition, of the broad and deep-seated enmity that was engendered in the hearts of the people against the revealed will of God, it was best to cease to proclaim His glorious principles, it was best to stop the administration of His ordinances, it was best to surrender their allegiance to Almighty God, and bow in crouching servility to their fellow men, in deference to them and rebellion to the God of heaven. What would our Christian ministers think of such a body of men as that of Jesus and His Apostles assuming a position of that kind before them? How well they have declaimed in favor of the martyrs of Christianity. With what burning eloquence they have extolled the heroism, the stoutheartedness of the men and women who were willing to go as lambs to the slaughter, like their divine Master, rather than prove recreant to the sacred obligations they had assumed. What would they say of such a Christianity? They would say, Fie! upon such miserable stuff; fie! upon such men and women who should attempt to lay hold of such glorious and benignant principles as those of Christianity. They would say, the touch of such men and women upon such principles was a contaminating touch; it would have been an upas breath that they would have breathed when vindicating Christianity; while they themselves were so inadequate to the responsibilities—being devoid of the inspiration pertaining to the truth—and so indisposed to live a life of purity which those principles required at their hands.

If you would so judge of the former-day Saints, how would you judge of the Latter-day Saints? What would you think of us if we were to tell you that we would cease to believe in the religion of Jesus Christ? It is true you do not know what it means, and hence we pity you. It is true that we know we are of God: we know that these principles and revelations are divine; we know that they have emanated from Him who cannot lie; we know these things, and if you knew them would you ask us to deny our faith, to prove recreant to our trust, to become unworthy the confidence of our families and of honest men around us on every hand. A gentle man in this city was known to say—and he said it in language more forcible than eloquent, and you will excuse me for not repeating it, because it might be considered sacrilege in a sacred desk to do so—he was known to say: “If I knew what you say to be true, I would go to prison—I would not deny it for anybody.” Well, what would you think of a man who would deny that which he knew to be true, or say no when the truth required him to say yes? Could you trust him as a Free Mason or an Odd Fellow, or in any other capacity where true heartedness and genuine human worth is to be appreciated and sought? Certainly not.

Well, now, my friends, we have made some very plain remarks this afternoon. Permit me in conclusion to say that I am very sorry that we are forced into this uninviting situation; but being forced into it, pushed into it, if you please, driven into it, legislated into it, what can we do? What would you advise us to do? Your advice would be this possibly: “We believe that you people only say that you know this work in which you are engaged is of God. We do not believe you do know. We think you are like the rest of the Christian world, and that your knowledge is no more divine, or that you have any closer communion with God than the rest of the sects of the Christian world, and they don’t profess to know, only to believe. Therefore you are very presumptuous to say you know these things. You ought to know better. You had therefore better place yourselves in accord with us, come a little nearer to us, and just say you don’t believe certain principles in your religion, and we will tolerate the other portion.”

My friends, if we were placed in this position of our own doing, we would gladly come to terms, we would gladly settle this question before the setting of another day’s sun. But when we know that God has spoken from heaven; when we know as well as we know that we live that the revelations which we have received—against which the world are now fighting—are of God, born of heaven, of heavenly descent, we can but say in conclusion that we will do all we can, we will keep every law that it is possible for us to keep, we will honor our government to the best of our ability; but if we are asked to choose this day whom we will serve, God or Belial, what do you take us for? Hypocrites, knaves, fools, asinine actors in the drama of life, or what? No, my friends, I will say as one of old said: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” We know the principles are right; we know they are eternal, no matter what may be the consequences. Suppose some of us are put to death, what of that? By putting us to death they simply place us be yond their power—they can do nothing more. As Jesus said, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Now, if we are philosophers, if we are men of wisdom, if we are students of the principles of intelligence and of truth, why certainly we will make a wise selection, we will elect to serve Him who created us, and we trust that God our heavenly Father when He has so far matured His purposes, which are essential to the consummation of the end for which He has permitted this crusade to be waged against us, will be pleased to soften the hearts of those around us as He did in former dispensations, and as He has done with our own nation in our own day—that He will mold and temper the dispositions of men, and that He will make the wrath of man to praise Him, and the residue He will restrain. May God grant this is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.




Refusal of So-Called Christians to Receive the Gospel of Christ—The Latter-day Saints Desire Investigation of Their Principles—The Truth Cannot Be Destroyed—We Have Every Requisite for Self-Government—We Must Maintain Our Fidelity to the Truth—Rarity of Crime Among the “Mormons”—Purity of “Mormon” Homes—Character of the Latter-day Saints

Remarks by Junius F. Wells, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, July 12th, 1885.

It is with pleasure that I arise to speak to you for a few moments, and to bear my testimony to the truth of the work in which we are engaged. I desire while I am before you that I may have the support of your faith and prayers, that what I may say may be dictated by the spirit of truth.

I rejoice in assembling with the Latter-day Saints, in looking upon their faces, in mingling with them in the exercises of devotion which we are accustomed to pay our Father and God. I rejoice in the society of Latter-day Saints, because in their society I recognize a spirit of purity, of holiness and virtue, that in contrast with the state of things that predominates in the world is as the heavens to the earth. I love to be with our people in times when the wicked assail them, for I feel among them a sense of safety, a feeling of security, of contentment, of happiness that I do not believe can be realized to so great an extent among other people.

We have among us our differences and evils. We have causes to mourn; occasions that make us feel sad; but I know of nothing that produces this feeling to so great a degree among the Saints as the growing consciousness among them that what is called the Christian world has concluded not to receive Christianity as it was revealed in the ministry of Jesus Christ. We know that God has revealed in the day in which we live the principles of truth as they were in the beginning, as they ever have been, as they ever must be in time and all eternity. We know that that which He has revealed in our day and generation is identical with the truths that fell from the lips of our Savior in the meridian of time, and challenge the world to a comparison of the doctrines to convince themselves. This challenge has been sent abroad to almost every nation, and kindred and tongue and people, of the whole earth. It is open today. We ask the investigation of mankind. We ask our fellow men, brethren and sisters, sons and daughters of the same God, to listen to the truths of heaven, eternal truths that God has revealed. But mankind prefers, apparently, even in this enlightened age, the truth that men by their own wisdom are enabled to discover to the truths which God by His infinite wisdom reveals. This is true to so great an extent that the foremost thinkers even among what is called the religious world, have concluded to lay aside the old truths of Christianity—the old doctrines of Christianity—as unfitted to the age in which we live. I had the pleasure, I think eight weeks ago today, to listen to the first of a series of sermons by perhaps the foremost clergyman of this age, certainly of the country, in which, in his inimitable manner, he said he had concluded, after the profoundest thought and research, that people should wipe out many of the old ideas of religion that have prevailed in Christendom for 1,800 years, so as to maintain harmony with the modern discoveries of science—with the Darwinian theory and philosophy. He has also sacrificed the book upon which their faiths and beliefs are founded, and as the surest possible evidence that faith in that sacred record, the Holy Bible, is a thing of the past, Rev. Henry Ward Beecher declares that if it is true then “Mormonism” is true! We are exactly of the same opinion as Rev. Beecher in that respect. But it does not prove altogether the falsity of that which has been accepted in the world as Christianity. The Bible contains the doctrines that the Latter-day Saints preach, that the Latter-day Saints have the courage in the face of all the world to practice. They are doctrines of truth, of holiness, of progress and advancement, designed to save men, to build them up, to develop the best thoughts in them, and prepare them for greater light and greater knowledge and understanding than dawned upon mankind in ages past; to prepare a people by their intelligence, by their fully developed characters, for that glorious day when the Son of God shall come among them and dwell with them. It is true that it is impossible for the Christian world to harmonize many of the doctrines that are growing in favor with them today with the holy Scriptures, and for that reason the Latter-day Saints mourn that their brethren and sisters of the world, though professing Christianity, should be averse to receiving the principles of Christianity as they were revealed by the Savior Himself. Today with all the Christianity that prevails in the world, where do you find men who are willing to receive the very first, the fundamental principles of the doctrine of Christ? Where are those who will receive the ministry of such as conveyed Christian principles in the meridian of time to the understanding of men? What! The administration of angels in our day and age of the world? A greater absurdity could not be proposed. What! Faith as the first principle of salvation? No, reason is the first principle of salvation in the day and age in which we live. But it is not so written in the doctrine of Christ. “Believe and thou shalt be saved” is the doctrine of the Savior. It is belief, it is faith, that underlies that knowledge which secures mankind an entrance into the Kingdom of God. We teach and have been taught that we must have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: that we must believe in the words of truth that have been revealed from Him; that we must put our trust in God who has delivered His people in times that are past and gone; that we must rely upon His direction and walk in the path that He shall lead us in, fearing only Him, fearing not man who can destroy the body but fearing God who can destroy both body and soul. In our endeavor to keep the commandments of God, to practice them, to heed the teachings of angels sent from the throne of grace, to put away our sins, to live pure lives, holy and righteous in the sight of God and our fellow men, to enter into sacred places and administer the ordinances of everlasting life for ourselves and for our dead—in endeavoring to do these things we have incurred the displeasure of an unbelieving world, of those who have substituted something else as the first principles of life and salvation for those which were given 1,800 years ago by the Savior of the world. The world has assumed to sit in judgment upon us for this belief. The world has assumed to say that we have done wrong in accepting these truths and living according to the law which God has revealed for our guidance and our government. Now, for one I do not believe that the judgment, in this respect, of the world will materially affect us in practicing and carrying out the purposes of Jehovah. Certainly it cannot change the truth. If Mormonism is truth the adverse criticism and judgment of mankind cannot materially affect its practice. They certainly cannot stand against that power which ever accompanies the promulgation of truth. Because of this Latter-day Saints have no fears of the future. We are dauntless in our advocacy of these principles because we know that they are true and must therefore prevail.

There is very little endeavor, I may here remark, on the part of those who seek to abuse, and misrepresent us and to bring down upon us evils—there is among them very little disposition to examine the principles that we profess and teach; there is very little disposition among them or desire to ascertain if these things are not true, or to find anything in the way of argument against that which we teach and practice before the world. They have sent up the strong religious men of the nation to show us the error of our ways. We have gladly met them. We have met them in this building in discussion for the purpose of having them bring forth their reasons to show that we are in error and that the judgment of the world is right. What has been the result? The faith of the Latter-day Saints has been increased; they have been confirmed and strengthened in their belief; and we have heard very little boasting of the success of those who were sent to show us the error of our ways. I imagine that if there had been success we would never have heard the last of it.

This judgment of the world against us, assuming that we are wrong, assuming that there is something up here in Utah that is not right, that is not consistent with Christianity, or the enlightenment of the age, has caused, perhaps, some distress, caused us to witness scenes that have a tendency to try the faith of the Latter-day Saints, to prove their integrity. For one, viewing the matter in that light, I thank God for it. I thank God that we are permitted to live in a day and age of the world when He has not forgotten His people, and has demonstrated to them and to mankind as well, that they are in possession of the truth. If we were of the world the world would love its own; but we have come out of the world, therefore the world hate us. They have in various ways manifested their evil disposition towards us, since the commencement of the Church and Kingdom of God upon the earth in this generation. Since the day that Joseph Smith received the revelations of God through the administration of angels from heaven, there has been a hue and cry raised against our people—an endeavor to blot out the work that the Saints have been engaged in. But let me tell you, my faith and belief and testimony is that the world has lost its opportunity to destroy that which is called “Mormonism;” that God’s eternal truth, as received and practiced by the Latter-day Saints in these mountains, is rooted and grounded so deeply and firmly that it will never, while time and eternity lasts, be uprooted or destroyed. I cannot conceive, my brethren and sisters, of the destruction of a truth. If mankind will assume that there is an error here that needs to be rooted out—if their assumption were correct—I would not deny their power to succeed in the effort. They have said—that which they say most is—that our homes are not pure, that our homes are not constructed upon the right plan. They forget that the homes that God most honored in ages that are gone by, were constructed upon the plan that the Latter-day Saints advocate and hold out to the world as the plan of God. They forget that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, delighted in tracing His earthly lineage through the homes of polygamists. They have undertaken to destroy such homes. I feel in my heart sorry for the man who conceives that he has the power to succeed in such an unholy work. But they say fifty millions have declared against us. I do not take any stock in this assumption on the part of a few that fifty millions have condemned us—have said that we are wrong, and that we must go. There are those who have been throwing dust in the eyes of the fifty millions who say so. But let me tell you how it can very readily be discovered whether we are wrong or not. We have petitioned, we have plead with the powers of this government to send among us a commission of honorable men to investigate the situation here, and to let all the world know what the great error and crime is that we are accused of.

The kind of commission we want is this: We want the government—if it is possible in all this land of enlightenment, among all these people that are offended at the immorality of the “Mormons”—to select a commission of men who are perfectly true to their marital relations, who are virtuous, and we challenge the commission of men to prove us an immoral people. Let them go into our homes and what will we show them there? We will show them respect of husbands for wives, wives for husbands, parents for children, children for parents and for each other. We will show them faith; we will show them virtue, and we challenge them to deny the truth of our showing to the American people. Then if we are not immoral, why this hue and cry raised against us? Can you answer who have passed laws to send men, whose lives are above reproach, into prison, and to scatter their families? Can you who have passed such wicked laws answer if we prove that we are a moral people?

They may say that we are independent. Well, I thank God for one that I trace my lineage back through a race of independent men, who had the courage over 200 years ago to stand up in the face of inimical laws against their religion and say, “My conscience is my own. If need be I will leave my native land that I may serve my God.” And they did so, and helped to form a government upon this land that God in His infinite mercy and wisdom had held in reserve for many ages for a people that would accord to his sons and daughters the right to worship and honor Him according to the light that was in them. We do not see, unless “there is something rotten in Denmark,” why the American people should fear the independence of the “Mormons.” I do not see why there should be any dread at giving us our equal rights—the privilege to elect our officers and administer the laws according to the wisdom that is in us. God knows, our fellow men know, these hypocrites and liars who are misrepresenting us to the world know we are capable of self-government, and of instituting and preserving the securest and safest government, and the most economical of any people in this land. I say that without boasting. But we would not have that reputation if we elected our vilifiers to the offices, and I do not think we will do it. I cannot see, my heart cannot conceive, my understanding is not broad enough to fathom the reason why we should not, because of our religion, be accorded equal rights with our fellowcitizens of this country. We have the stability of commerce and society; we have the wealth; we have the population; we have every requisite qualification for self-government, and in the light of freedom I have yet to hear a reason assigned for withholding from us our rights. The nearest thing to a reason I have heard is that we are an unpopular people with the rest of the citizens of this country, and then the next reason is—and that which I really believe is deeply felt—the jealousy of the east with respect to the west—the feeling that the great commercial interests of the east should have greater representation in the halls of Congress than the sparsely-settled regions of the west.

But I look forward, my brethren and sisters, to the time when the truth will dawn upon this nation with respect to this people. I look forward to the day when they will discover that there has been “a great bugaboo” raised over this question of “Mormonism,” which they will be ashamed to think they have paid much attention to, or taken much notice of. I may say in a word that I look forward to the time when the powers that be in Washington, having raked and scraped the country as with a fine tooth comb, will perhaps find half-a-dozen men of the character I have referred to, who will look into this question out here in the mountains. And when that time shall come perhaps we shall be vindicated in the eyes of our fellow men; perhaps there will be a blush of shame mantle the cheeks of some; and perhaps they will discover some slight improprieties nearer home that it will be well to regulate before mending all creation up here to set as right.

There is one thing and only one thing for us to do that I can see, and that is to maintain our fidelity, to be true to that which we know is true. We ought not to be threatened or put in jeopardy for that. We ought to be protected in that. All the strength, all the power, all the influence of the land, of the government, of Christian sentiment, of enlightenment, of civilization—all these ought to sustain us in maintaining our fidelity to that which our conscience teaches us is truth. If we quail, if we vary one iota from that which we know to be true, we should be undeserving of support; but if we maintain our integrity in the opposition we may meet, God will not forsake us, and the better sentiment, the genuine and true civilization that is to be found in the world—for the world is full of truth, notwithstanding there are errors and wickedness alongside of it—will aid us in maintaining our integrity. I have yet failed to meet the man of honor, the man of sense, the man of discernment, the man of good judgment who would condemn me for maintaining the position that in my heart I feel to take respecting this question, even in these times. I have but recently returned from visiting among men in various classes of society in the east, and I have talked over this question of “Mormonism” in various forms. I have put the question in this manner to a great many, and the reply I have received, I must confess, has been one of encouragement, and one that has been gratifying to me.

There have been gross errors committed in regard to Utah. For some cause the nation has received the idea that the “Mormons” are a wicked people. Their record disproves it. There has been a law passed which makes a crime of a principle of the Latter-day Saints’ religion, but there is no people in this land who have so free a record in the criminal courts. What was the percentage, as shown by the crime records in this territory, before the operation of this law against the “Mormons?” I believe, as nearly as I remember, while five-sixths of the population of this territory are “Mormons,” and one-sixth non-“Mormons,” eighty-five percent of the criminals were from the ranks of the one-sixth, and fifteen percent of the criminals were from the ranks of the five-sixths, who are “Mormons.” Now it is intended, it appears to me, to change that by making a feature of the “Mormon” religion a crime, and sending just as many as possible into the ranks of the criminals, so-called, for practicing that principle. I maintain that it is a mistake to say that the Latter-day Saints are criminals, and have asked men everywhere to carefully, candidly, and honestly examine the situation for themselves. I would undertake to show that in our homes there is not the element of crime or sin or wrong, but that they will compare favorably with the homes of any. But to call that which I owe my being to, a crime—to take that position, when I know it is God’s eternal truth, I would be a coward and a poltroon, I would be undeserving the respect of any man if I should thus reflect upon the holy institution to which I owe my being. I know there is virtue in it; I know there is purity in it; that it is right in the sight of my God and my conscience, and when I deny that, put a stone round my neck and cast me into the sea. I would have no courage to live and meet face to face any honorable man; I would slink and cower as a miserable lying hypocrite. So I consider those who deny “Mormonism.” The homes of the “Mormon” people are homes constructed upon the principles of purity and virtue. Those men who are abusing us and sending lies broadcast through the land concerning us know that I speak the truth. Of course the facilities are not so good today for them to enter our homes as they were before they showed the cloven hoof, before they proved themselves ravening wolves in sheeps’ clothing, going about seeking whom they may devour. Their aim, purpose and ambition is to bring reproach upon this people; to see if they cannot in their insidious efforts introduce sin in the midst of our pure homes and society. Think you they would hesitate to lead the women of “Mormondom” astray? No, not they. Think you they would hesitate to destroy the virtue of the sons of “Mormondom?” No, not they. They have the effrontery, they have the shamelessness to advocate lechery, to advocate prostitution as a remedy for “Mormonism,” as a corrective of “Mormon” society, as a means of liberation from “Mormon” influence. Oh, freedom at such a price! Give me the thralldom that the world thinks the “Mormons” are subjected to, and let such freedom be embraced by those poor slaves to passion and to sin. God has given us the truth, and the truth has made us free. And we are indeed free if we have that freedom which comes through obedience to the will of God. If we are pure men; if we are virtuous women, though chains should bind us, or prison walls hold us, yet we are free in the sight of God, and are better prepared to judge our persecutors than they us. I know that is the prevailing condition among the Saints; I know that we are a pure people in the main. We have those among us who sin; we all have our imperfections and weaknesses; but God knows we are pure in our intentions and desires. He knows that this people, gathered from the four quarters of the earth, have been brought out from Babylon through faith in Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, entering into holy and sacred covenants not to repeat them; a people gathered here for the purpose of honoring and serving God, and not for committing sin of any form, shape, or description. That is our character. The world, so far as they will judge us candidly, gives us the reputation for sobriety, temperance, industry, frugality, virtue; but still we are called the most immoral people that the sun ever shone upon. What absurdity!

Brethren and sisters, I look to see the day when the refuge of lies shall be swept away, and we as a people, clothed upon with the power and favor of Almighty God, shall go forth in the world promulgating the principles of peace, preaching true holiness as it comes from the Eternal Father; and the honest, the pure, the upright among men shall lift up their hearts and rejoice, and shall say, Welcome, welcome, thrice welcome are those who come to us in the name of the Lord. May He bless and preserve us that we may be among that valiant throng is my prayer and desire in the name of Jesus, Amen.




Prophecy of John the Revelator—Mission of the Ancient Apostles—Their Reception and Fate—The Great Apostasy—Preservation of the Apostle John—His Revelation—Restoration of the Gospel—The Earth to Be Baptized By Fire As It Was Once Baptized By Water—We Are Sent to the World With a Warning Message—They Can Receive or Reject It—Testimony to the Truth of “Mormonism.”

Discourse by Bishop Orson F. Whitney, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, June 21, 1885.

Having been called upon, my brethren and sisters and friends, to address you this afternoon, I feel as though I would like to read a portion of the word of God. I will therefore read to you a part of the 14th chapter of the Book of Revelation, from the Bible known as King James’ translation.

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

“And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

“And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

“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 worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

“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.”

It has been charged to the Latter-day Saints that they set but little value upon the Christian Bible; that they criticize its translation and the revisions through which it has passed, and that it is our endeavor to belittle the importance of this holy book. The words which I have read are a portion of that sacred record which we are charged with undervaluing, and I choose them as a basis for my remarks, in order to show how groundless is that charge, with many others, which are made falsely against this people. The words you have heard include a prophecy uttered some 1,800 years ago by an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Twelve whom He chose in the days of His personal ministry upon the earth. He had delivered unto them the keys of the kingdom of heaven, promising them that whatsoever they bound on earth should be bound in heaven; whatsoever they loosed upon earth should be loosed in heaven; whosesoever sins they should remit should be remitted, and whosesoever sins they should retain should be retained. He gave them power to go forth to all nations and preach the Gospel of life and salvation, telling them among the last things He said that, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned;” and that certain signs should follow them that believed. The Apostles went forth baptizing in the name of the Lord, and confirmed His word by signs, following.

On a certain occasion, towards the close of the career of the Son of God in the flesh, His disciples asked Him if He would at that time restore the Kingdom to Israel, and what would be the signs of His second coming and of the end of the world. Among other things He told them that this Gospel of the Kingdom should be preached in all the world as a witness unto all nations and then should the end come. The Apostles set out upon the mission which had been given them, and we read in the Acts of the Apostles, and in their Epistles contained within the lids of this holy book, of the adventures which befell them, and the persecutions which they endured. It had been said of them by their Lord and Master, that they should be hated of all men for His name’s sake; but “blessed are ye,” said He, “when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” And the day would come, He said, when they that put His disciples to death would think they were doing God’s service.

Thus were the minds of the Apostles prepared for the fate which afterwards befell them. They embraced the truth, knowing that it might cost them their lives; for they had been told that if a man loved his life, or loved earthly possessions of any kind more than he did his God, more than he loved the work of that God, he was in no wise fit for His kingdom. They went into it with their eyes open; they knew what would befall them; but being men of integrity, men who loved truth, who based themselves upon principle, and thought more of doing the will of Him who sent them than they did of doing their own, they embraced their glorious mission and were willing even to lay down their lives for the sake of that Kingdom for which they were laboring. Their expectations were fulfilled. The truth was not popular. Although devils were subject to these men; although they performed mighty miracles in the name of Jesus, yet they were despised, persecuted or ignored by the great mass of humanity. A few believed in their words; a few rejoiced exceedingly that the Church of God was established on the earth; that the Savior who had been promised as a lamb slain from before the foundation of the world, had at last come in fulfillment of the prophecies of old. Their minds were prepared to receive Him, and they rejoiced in the work of God. Churches were formed in different lands. The Apostles went forth from Jerusalem, after they had been “endued with power from on high,” and built up churches in many of the surrounding nations, perhaps in all the nations that then existed. But although they were successful in planting the tree of life upon the soil of a fallen world, it seems that the time had not come for it to remain there and bear fruit throughout the ages of eternity. It was destined to be uprooted, and there was to come another time when the truth should be transplanted once more, and should bear the fruits of righteousness forever. The glory of God was not destined in that day to cover the earth, as He has said it would in the latter days, “as the waters cover the mighty deep.” The Apostles labored faithfully; they went forth baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost; but the power of sin, the power of the evil one was so great that it did not please the Almighty to establish upon the earth in that day a work which should endure forever. He permitted it for a wise purpose to be thrown down, and of this fact we are well assured by the prophecies of the Apostles which they have left on record. Paul, one of the most faithful laborers in the vineyard of our Lord in that day, said the time would come when the people would not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts should heap unto themselves teachers, and having itching ears, should turn away their ears from the truth, and should be turned unto fables.

If we follow the history of the Apostles, we will see how their words were fulfilled. Nearly every one of the Twelve whom Jesus chose, met with a tragic death in defense of the principles which they proclaimed. Some were dragged to death, some beheaded, one was crucified with his head downward, others were thrown into cauldrons of boiling oil and others to wild beasts; so that at the end of the second century after Christ, the Church of God in its purity no longer existed upon the face of the earth. It had been torn asunder; it had apostatized from the truth; they who were faithful had been put to death, and in their place sprang up a race of compromisers, who were willing to barter away to the world the principles of truth, being too weak and cowardly to stand and die for their convictions as their fellow laborers had done. They were willing to give up this principle, and concede that point, to amalgamate for the purpose of making them popular and palatable the doctrines of the pure Christian faith with the pagan ideas of ancient Rome. So that the temporal body of Christ, the Church, became corrupt, deformed by this departure from first principles. Apostles, Prophets, were done away with; spiritual gifts became extinct and were said to be no longer needed; Bishops were put into the places of Apostles, and a multitude of new offices, unknown to the original church, were created. Finally two Bishops appeared, the Bishop of Rome and the Bishop of Constantinople, contending as to which was the greatest, and striving, in a Church professing to regard unity and brotherly love, to divide the dominions of the Christian world between them. More attention was paid to outward forms, to grand and imposing ceremonies, than to the simple beautiful principles of the Gospel, and, in course of time were fulfilled the words of Isaiah, who said that they would “transgress the law, change the ordinances, and break the everlasting covenant.” The result of this widespread departure, this apostasy from the primitive faith, was the withdrawal of the power of the Priesthood, typified by the “manchild” of the Apocalypse, which was taken into the heavens to preserve it from the mouth of the Dragon which sought its life; there to remain until a more auspicious time should arrive for the establishment of the work of God, and the winding up of the great plan of human redemption.

But one of these original Apostles was left. The Latter-day Saints are taught that Jesus, on a certain occasion, speaking to the Twelve, wished to bestow upon them each a gift, to grant the desire of their hearts, and He asked them what they would He should do for them. They all but one requested to be taken home to Him in heaven when they should have filled the allotted age of man. But one turned away sorrowful, feeling that the wish he cherished in his heart was too great to be granted. Peter asked the Savior, “What shall this man do?” and received the reply, “If I will that he tarry till I come what is that to thee?” “Then went this saying abroad among the brethren that that disciple should not die.” It is vaguely given, I admit, in the Bible from which I have quoted, but modern revelation has made it plainer, and shown us that the Apostle John obtained a promise from the Savior that he should remain upon the earth to witness the downfall and the rise of nations, that he should live to perform a mighty mission in the midst of the children of men; that he should prophesy before kings and rulers, and should tarry upon the earth until the Son of God came in His glory. This Apostle was the only one who escaped the tragic fate of his fellows. He was the only one of the original Twelve who was not put to death. An attempt was made upon his life by throwing him into a cauldron of boiling oil, but he escaped miraculously, and his enemies, not having the power to put him to death, banished him to the desert island of Patmos. It was during his exile upon this lonely spot, that God condescended to reveal to him what should come to pass in the last days, and the book which is called the Apocalypse is a record which the Apostle left of the great things that were shown him, and which he should remain upon the earth to see. An angel appeared unto him; John mistook him, it seems, for the Lord, and fell down at his feet to worship him, his person was so glorious. But the angel reproved him and said, “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant and of thy brethren the prophets.” Here was one of the prophets who had been slain for the testimony of Jesus, who was so glorious when he appeared that John, who perhaps had labored with him, did not recognize him. He had been sent unto him to show him what should come to pass thereafter.

But not only was John shown what should occur after the time in which he was living, but he was shown what had already taken place; not as the imperfect records of profane history have given it to us, but he saw it typified in its fullness. The events of the seven thousand years of the world’s temporal existence passed before him, like the scenes of a mighty panorama. If you will read the book which he left, you will there find portrayed symbolically each of the seven thousand years. He saw the events which had followed the creation down until one period had passed; he then saw the events of the second thousand years or until two periods had passed, and then the third and the fourth periods at the end of which Jesus came as the Savior of mankind, to perform a personal work in the flesh. John saw, further, the events of the fifth thousand years. He saw the great apostasy that was to take place in the Christian church, when they put to death every inspired man; when they did away with the gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost; when they said they were no longer necessary; when they engrafted upon the olive tree of the Christian faith the wild branches of paganism. He saw all this taking place down to the sixth thousand years, and after the world had wandered in darkness for centuries, 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 worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

Showing conclusively, as well as language can show, that this was to be an event of the last days—the hour of God’s judgment, which Christianity itself, in its perverted state, will admit is at the end of the world. John saw the angel restoring the Gospel shortly before the hour of God’s judgment, saying with a loud voice to all nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples—not only to the heathen nations, but to those who professed to have the true Christian faith—“Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come.” This to us is another proof of the apostasy of the Christian world; for if they had the truth, as they claim, by apostolic succession, from St. Peter down to the present day—what need of restoring the Gospel in its fullness to preach to them? It would be superfluous, unnecessary, a work of supererogation, to preach to those who were living in the full blaze of Gospel light, and call upon them to repent of their sins.

I never like to wound people’s feelings in regard to religious matters. I never like to have my own feelings wounded. I try to have charity for the sincere sentiments of all men; but it is needful that the truth be spoken in plainness. It is no act of friendship to flatter, to deceive and to gloss over error, when by exposing it the souls of some honest people may be saved. The Latter-day Saints erect a nobler structure before they tear down that which is old. They do not wish to ridicule the opinions of their fellow creatures, it should never be done except where good will be the result. All men have the right to believe as they please. They have a right to worship where, how and what they please. God has made us free. We are in bondage to no man, to no power. His children, from the rising to the setting of the sun have been made free. Therefore I do not feel to ridicule the religion of my Christian friends; but I desire to lay before them and before this congregation the religion of the Latter-day Saints. We claim that the Christian world is in a state of apostasy, and though thousands and millions of them are perfectly sincere—just as sincere in their belief as we are in ours—still, it devolves upon me as a servant of God to preach what I know to be the truth, and you can take your choice whether you accept or reject it. The responsibility ends with me here; it is assumed by those who listen, who can act as they feel led; they will be accountable whether they give heed to the warning message, or whether they ignore and reject it.

At any rate John saw the time when an angel would come and restore the everlasting Gospel—not another Gospel, not various kinds of gospels, not the precepts and fables of men, but the good, old, “sound doctrine” of ancient times. The Gospel of Christ in its fullness was to be preached to all the nations of the earth. What for? To fulfill the prediction of the son of God, who said that “this Gospel of the kingdom”—that Gospel which had Apostles to preach it and Prophets; which had gifts and miracles and signs following; a gospel of faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and other principles to be revealed one after another as fast as the people were able to receive them—that this old original Gospel of the kingdom should come back to the earth to be preached as a witness unto all nations, and then should the end come.

That these are the last days very few people will deny. The earth has almost fulfilled its mortal probation, its working time. It is closing the six thousand years of its temporal history. It has worked nearly six days; for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” When God said to Adam, “in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” He did not mean a short day of twenty-four hours, a day made by one little revolution of the little earth upon which we dwell, but it was a day of a thousand years, corresponding to one revolution of the great and mighty planet upon which God our Father dwells. “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam lived to the age of 930 years, so that he died within the day that God had reference to. The earth has labored nearly six days—six days of one thousand years each. It is yet to have its sabbath, its millennium of peace, when the Savior of the world will come to take the reins of government, to reign upon the earth King of kings as He now reigns king of Saints; the seventh period, whose dawn is almost upon us, is the sabbath, the day of rest which God has ordained for the planet upon which we live, and He will celebrate that sabbath by coming in person to reign upon the earth over all nations. It is for this that the Latter-day Saints are preparing; having fulfilled, as the instruments of God, the prediction of John the Revelator; an angel in this day having restored the Gospel, which is now being preached as a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.

It is a merciful characteristic of our Heavenly Father that He brings to pass upon the human family no event affecting their eternal welfare, but He first sends Prophets to prepare the way, to give the people a warning that such and such things are coming to pass, that they may be prepared for them and not be caught napping by the suddenness of their coming, even as a thief in the night. We read that as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man. What was done in the days of Noah? A prophet—Noah himself—was raised up and sent forth to preach a warning message to the children of men. What was his warning? That the world was about to be deluged. Its sins had cried unto heaven, and God had remembered its iniquities. He was about to baptize the earth in water, to wash away its sins, that they should no longer smoke to heaven, an offering of wrath to an offended God. Noah preached this warning, and, as usual, was met with ridicule and scorn. Never did a prophet come forth that was not ridiculed and persecuted, and the message that he proclaimed considered foolishness by the wisdom of the world. But how did it result? Did the superior (?) wisdom of the world in that day save them from the truth of the words of Noah? Or did God stand by that prophet? Did He make good His words? Did He drown the world? Did He sweep the wicked from its surface? History will tell you what took place. It sees that Noah and the few souls that clung to him were right, and the world at large were in the wrong. Noah had really received a revelation from God. He was pointed at, despised and derided, doubtless called visionary and fanatic, an old fool, or anything else; but he had received a revelation and God made good the words which he proclaimed.

The earth underwent a baptism by being immersed in water, for the remission of its sins, the washing away of its iniquities. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man.” Is the world to be deluged in water again? No; because God gave a promise to Noah and set his bow in the clouds as a sign that the world should never again be drowned in water; but in the day of the coming of the Son of Man it will receive the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. John the Baptist said: “There cometh one mightier than I, after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Not only man, but the earth itself, which is a living creature, must undergo this ordinance—this dual baptism, and Jesus, when He comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, to take vengeance upon those who know not God, who have not sought to know Him, who have persecuted His people, and set aside the Gospel as a thing of naught, will deluge the earth with fire and the Holy Ghost. Then will the Scriptures be fulfilled which say that the glory of God shall radiate from the rivers to the ends of the earth.

Nor is this all. The earth and its elements will melt, as Peter the Apostle said, “with fervent heat, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts.” These things are coming to pass. God only has to turn upon this world the glory of His presence to consume it from before His face and cause it to vanish like chaff in a flame. We are not prepared for the glory of His coming. But this work which has been established in our day, is one that will prepare us for His glorious advent. All who believe and are baptized into this Church have been promised the gift of the Holy Ghost. What is the Holy Ghost? It is the Spirit of God. God dwells in the pure element of fire; it is the atmosphere which the holy angels, the spirits of the just, the Gods in eternity breathe and live within, but which would consume us if we came too suddenly upon it, or it upon us. We must needs approach it gradually. We read that in the days of Moses, when God wished to commune with him, He called him up into a high mountain, and filled him with the Holy Ghost. Moses, therefore, could endure His presence; but when he came down from the Mount his face shone like an angel’s, and he had to put a veil upon it lest the children of Israel should be consumed before him. This shows what we may expect when God comes in the clouds of heaven, if we do not rid ourselves of iniquity and prepare our souls to meet Him. But ere that day comes there shall be wars and rumors of wars, thunders and lightnings, famines and pestilences; the sea shall heave itself beyond its bounds, and all things shall be in commotion; the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall be turned to blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven like figs from off a fig tree. The judgments of God shall stalk through the earth, decimating the human race, before the great day of the Lord shall come.

Are we to suppose that in a day like this, when such mighty and terrible things are coming upon the earth, God would leave the world in darkness; that he would shut the heavens, as our Christian friends say He has done; and send forth no more prophets to prepare us for these great events which are at our doors? I for one would have a very poor opinion of a God who would leave His children in that cruel manner. But the God we worship is just and merciful. He never brings upon the earth any judgment but He sends first a warning message to prepare the people for its coming.

This is our warning today—that the Gospel of the kingdom is being preached unto all nations as a witness, and then the hour of God’s judgment, or the predicted end of the world shall come. It is a message of mercy, not one of anger, not one of cruelty. It is not cruel to tell men the truth. If we see a man on the brink of a precipice and tell him that if he takes another step forward he will be dashed to pieces, is that cruelty, or is it charity of the truest kind? It may humiliate him to be told of his danger; it may cast reflection upon his eyesight; he may not see the precipice; men do not always see things which are immediately near them; they who are at a distance sometimes observe the danger first and give warning. It is not uncharitable, it is not intolerant to tell men the truth; we must sometimes be cruel in order to be kind; and hurt men’s feelings if necessary in order to save their souls. I do not mean the saving of their souls by the killing of their bodies. Heretics used to be punished on that theory. The object of “Mormonism” is to save the body and the spirit, which together constitute the soul.

This is the message we bring, the olive branch that we extend to the world, and for so doing we are despised and persecuted and trampled upon. But we know that we need expect no different fate from that which our predecessors have experienced. They laid down their lives in preaching this same Gospel. We must be willing to lay down ours, if need be, to establish these truths upon the earth.

God does not punish except to save, He never chastens except to purify. In sweeping the antediluvian races from the earth, it was an act of mercy to them, that they might not add sin to sin and heap up iniquity until they could not have been pardoned. He swept them off when their cup was full, and imprisoned their spirits while their bodies moldered in the grave. Jesus, however, while His body was lying in the tomb, went and preached to the spirits in prison; those who rejected the message that was offered to them by Noah, and were swept away by the flood. So it will be in this day, if this message is rejected; God will bring judgments upon the world until He has humbled the people to a state where they will be glad to receive it. He says to His Elders: Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature; and after your testimony, comes the testimony of earthquakes and tempests, of thunders and lightnings, of the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds, of wars and rumors of wars, of famine and pestilence. Says He, the time shall come when he that will not take up his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety, for there shall be gathered to it of every nation under heaven, and they shall be the only people who are not at war one with another.

It is that the world may escape these terrible judgments and plagues that will desolate the wicked, that we put our lives and liberties in jeopardy in preaching that which is unpopular, and which brings upon us the wrath and hatred of the world. We desire, as much as men can desire, the salvation of our fellow men. Our mission is to save, not to condemn. This is the Gospel of salvation, not a Gospel of damnation. Damnation follows as a necessary alternative of the rejection of the truth. Men who reject the truth damn themselves. The man who will shut the door in his own face keeps himself out from the Kingdom: it is nobody’s fault but his own. The waters of life are free; come and partake of them, without money and without price! If you will not partake of them, how can you blame anyone but yourself if you die of thirst in the desert? If you put out the light by persecuting the Saints of God, how can you blame anybody but yourself if you are left in darkness? Could the ancients blame God for taking His Church from the earth, when they took every pains to exterminate it? They destroyed the body of the Church, and the spirit departed, just as naturally as when the body of a man is killed; his spirit has no longer any business upon the earth. It returns to God who gave it, to come again at a more auspicious time, with the Son of God in clouds of glory, provided it be one of the 144,000 faithful ones who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.

If condemnation follows the rejection of the Gospel, God cannot help it, His servants cannot help it. If we invite men to come out into the sunlight and they prefer to stay in the shade, who is to blame but themselves? They prefer darkness to light. They have their choice. Light has burst forth in the midst of darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not. Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. If, however, we extend the message of mercy and of peace, our responsibility ends. Men will be judged by the light they possess. The heathen nations will be redeemed and will obtain a higher exaltation than those who receive the truth and turn away from it, or refuse to accept it when it is offered to them. God is merciful to ignorance and lack of opportunity; but responsibility rests like a mountain upon those who hear the truth and then reject it.

My testimony to this congregation is that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the living God; that Brigham Young was a Prophet of God; that John Taylor is their legally ordained successor; that there are Prophets and Apostles in this Church today; that we preach the same Gospel that was preached in the days of Paul, for if we preached any other we should be accursed. My testimony is that “Mormonism” stigmatized and hated as it is, is the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only plan of life and salvation, the only one that will exalt man in the presence of God; and the world reject it to their condemnation. I pray God to bless this congregation, and grant that the words I have spoken may sink into some honest hearts, like good seed upon fertile soil, to spring forth and bear fruit for their salvation to the honor and glory of God. Amen.




Ignorance of the World Regarding the Latter-day Saints—Our Doctrines Are Christian and Are Substantiated By the Scriptures—Necessity of Present Revelation—First Principles of the Gospel—Faith, Repentance, Baptism for the Remission of Sins and Laying on of Hands for the Gift of the Holy Ghost—Organization of the Church of Christ—“Mormonism” is a Restoration of Ancient Christianity—Joseph Smith a True Prophet—Plural Marriage Practiced By Men of God in Miss-Called Dark Ages—Conclusion

Discourse by Elder Henry W. Naisbitt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, June 7, 1885.

My brethren and sisters and friends: I arise to speak with a little embarrassment, but I look to the Saints, asking for their faith so that I may overcome.

There is nothing that interests the Latter-day Saints so much as the enunciation of the principles which they profess and literally accept; but it would seem as if there was in the outside world, less comprehension and understanding in regard to the principles that the Saints believe in, than there is in regard to any other subject which has acquired the same prominence.

The Church of Jesus Christ for a great many years has kept a large number of missionaries in the field; they have traversed the whole of Christendom, in a greater or less degree, visited also the heathen nations and lands that are afar off; but yet a traveler would find that but little impression has been made among the masses of mankind. Even among those which are most ad vanced, and whose citizens are presumed to be intelligent, and to comprehend the questions which agitate the public mind, there is an amount of ignorance which is, to say the least, discreditable. It has been my lot individually, to come in contact with many who have visited this Territory and city, and to hear their expressions of surprise in regard to the religious faith of the Latter-day Saints. To tell a stranger that the people of Utah believe in the Bible, appears to be something altogether unlooked for. The assertion of their faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ, appears to be received with more or less incredulity, and there are others who believe that the marriage customs of the Latter-day Saints are the beginning and the end, and all there was and is or will be, to give them distinction and peculiarity among the people of this nation. And yet if you were to sweep your eye over this congregation—which is pro bably an average one of the people of this Territory, you would instantly say, that there does not appear to be much difference in the appearance of the people here and the average congregations of worshippers elsewhere. The facts are that the people here—the older ones at all events—have been called and gathered from among mankind, and from Christendom, as a rule. There are in this Church many native-born citizens, who have come from every State of the American Union, and are fully acquainted with all its religious sects and creeds. There are those who have come from the different nations of Europe, and they have been familiar with the institutions which exist there; they have attended the services and been identified with the same organizations that you find today. They know all about the churches and the ministers and the Sabbath schools and the literature of the religious world. They have analyzed and compared and contrasted these until they understand not only the differences that exist between the several churches, individually, as they are known in Christendom, but they understand also the vast differences between those churches and that record called the Bible. They have been familiar with that, including the New Testament, from their childhood. They were taught it of their mothers and their fathers. They read it in the Sabbath school. They listened to the exposition of its truths and doctrines in the churches to which they belonged, and it was personal mental analysis and comparison that gave conviction to their souls and induced them to receive that order which the world has designated “Mormonism.” As a rule the people of Utah are “Mormons,” from conviction and from choice. They have left the institutions of their fathers because of the defects which were discovered therein, because of the inconsistencies which prevailed there, and in thousands of instances have reached conclusions because of the teachings that many of them received in the religious organizations of the world. The Latter-day Saints, to the surprise of many, call themselves Christians. Notwithstanding the opposition that they have encountered; notwithstanding the prejudice with which they have had to contend; notwithstanding the ignorance that is everywhere manifest in regard to them and to their institutions, they claim to be Christians—or followers of Christ; and in assuming this title, they accept it with all that it implies. They defend with as much devotion and persistence the character and institutions and teachings that were given of their Lord and Savior as recorded in the Books that have been handed down from the fathers as do the disciples of any system, either secular or religious, who follow out the dictates, theories and ideas of those whom they have accepted as their leaders. The followers of John Wesley are no more tenacious of the teachings of their illustrious predecessor, the founder of their church, than are the Latter-day Saints in regard to the teachings of the Savior, and of His servant the Prophet Joseph Smith. Those who revere the name of Washington and of the fathers of this republic, and because of that reverence, cherish the fundamental truths of the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence, are no more tenacious of the truths uttered by those whom they accept as leaders, than are the Latter-day Saints in regard to the teachings and ordinances as established by Christ. They have accepted Him as their authority; they have accepted Him as their example; they have accepted Him as their leader; and while their claims to Christianity, or the epithet of Christians, may be ignored, disputed, or repudiated by others, still they are abundantly able to prove that their position is correct. To those who would dispute this let it be said that they can find (if they so desire it) testimony in abundance in the publications which have been issued by this Church; they can find testimony in abundance if they will visit our Sunday schools; they can find testimony in abundance if they will inquire of those who are “Mormons” or Latter-day Saints by faith and profession. It is not usual, however, for inquirers to address themselves to this class. It is well known that of the thousands who travel this Territory, and who visit the people in the capacity of tourists every summer, that there are but few, very few, who ever seek an interview with those who are believers in and receivers of, that which they designate “Mormonism.” They as a rule are more willing to receive all the flying rumors and reports, and to listen to all who buttonhole them, and believe anyone they come in contact with, in regard to the character of this community, in regard to their faith and practice, their social theories, and the results of these, than they are to inquire of Latter-day Saints; and yet there is not a man or woman within the confines of this Territory or elsewhere, who is a believer in the Gospel, but who is more than willing to impart what information they possess and to give a reason for the hope that is within them, though they might do it conscious of their own weakness and with a measure of fear—not fear as to the truth of that which they might repeat—not fear because they have any doubt as to the character of the truths they have received, but with that trembling which inevitably grows in the feelings of those who are ostracized by society and who are vilified and repudiated by the world.

It may be asked, what then as “Mormons” are your views in a religious sense? What are your peculiarities? Where do you get the doctrines that you teach?

I am of the opinion that the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints can be easily proved and established from the sacred Scriptures, and I can further say that the missionaries who have gone from Utah—the Elders who have labored in the midst of the nations of the earth—have always been able to substantiate their testimony by the word of God. They have never asked the world to receive a doctrine that they could not read in their own Bible, in their own study and in their own homes. They have never asked mankind to accept any dogma, doctrine or principle which they believed would be calculated to work them injury, but they have believed that the nature of man everywhere was of such a uniform character, and the purposes of his creation were of such divine intent, that those truths which in their essential nature would bless one man, were equally calculated to bless all mankind.

I presume that it is everywhere comprehended that man is a religious being; that he has within him aspirations, feelings and thoughts in regard to the Supreme, which unitedly declare that he needs some assistance from outside sources if he is to possess knowledge and understanding of the nature of his existence. Knowledge in regard to the purpose of that existence, in re gard to its past, and in regard to the present and future of that existence. All the facts of a man’s organization bear testimony to the necessity (and where there is necessity there is advantage) of religious training, culture and education. The soarings of his spirit, the dissatisfaction with earthly things, with its failures, and lack of recompense, the consequent reaching out into the future for an assurance of compensation, are all so many evidences that there is somewhere the material to satisfy these aspirations; the same as the feeling of hunger and thirst is abundant testimony that somewhere there are elements to minister to the gratification of that hunger and thirst. And when this conclusion is reached it is very easy to advance another step in religious science, and to understand that if there is that material, that intelligence calculated to minister to his religious aspirations, its faith and hope, it must come from a source outside of himself—in other words it must proceed from that Being who is the originator, the Creator, the Lord of man, that in Him alone there must be that fountain of inspiration, revelation and intelligence which is essential in developing in man the purposes of his creation. This argument appears to me to be philosophical, to be sound, to be suited to every man’s condition, and there is implied in that conclusion the inevitable necessity and advantages of inspiration and revelation. The Christian world have accepted this idea, and they will tell you that the fountain of inspiration was open to man some 1,800 years ago. The religious world hold to the theory that there was a period in the history and experience of mankind when this spirit of inspiration existed among men, but that it was some two or three or four thousand years ago. The Christian—I might emphasize that and say the CHRISTIAN world—have professed to have faith in the Savior of mankind as occupying an intermediate position between the Creator and his children, They will take up the Scriptures and point us to illustrations which establish his character in that respect. They will tell us in quoting the same that “He was a teacher sent from God;” that “He sought not His own will but the will of the Father who sent Him; that He declared that He spoke not of Himself, but of His Father who sent Him; that He did nothing of Himself, but as my Father hath taught me. I speak these things, for I do always those things that please Him!” They will tell us that even his enemies said, “He spoke like one having authority, and not as one of the Scribes.” In all the churches of Christendom they will repeat the marvelous parables that He gave to His disciples; they will read to us the sermon on the mount; they will tell us of His miracles; they will endeavor ostensibly to carry out the institutions which He established, all of which substantiates the idea that they have at least some faith in the mission which He claimed upon the earth. But if you ask whether that spirit of inspiration and revelation which He promised His disciples was to be continuous, or whether it has been continuous, or whether it is now necessary, the whole religious world, both priests and people have reached the conclusion that it belongs to an era of the past; yet if ever the religious world needed teachers it is now. If ever mankind needed revelation it is today. If ever there was a necessity for inspiration, we feel and know that it is in the midst of the nineteenth cen tury. If ever there was a time when confusion, contention and strife, when inconsistency and skepticism prevailed it is surely now, among the most advanced nations of civilization and of Christendom; there men are to be found laying the axe at the foundation of religious faith, endeavoring to popularize their own doctrines, and to bring into disrepute and into contempt the teachings of the Book that for ages has been held sacred. This is being done with that force of rhetoric, with that glow of imagination, and with that wealth of illustration which belongs to men of the type of Ingersoll, and congregations everywhere, hang with breathless suspense upon the words they utter, and thousands are grateful in their iniquity that the myth of religion, the fear of God, the certainty of punishment, the future life, have been swept away by so ruthless and so untiring a hand. Ministers are paralyzed and stand aghast in presence of the enemy, and before a sin-sick world, and now if there is one medicine needed more than another in this age, it is that medicine which will minister to faith, to peace, to order, to confidence, which will bring assurance, and will give men that trust and satisfaction with and in the doctrines that they teach and practice, such as was possessed by the Apostles and Teachers and Saints of olden time. Where in the Churches of the world can you find men ready to say as Paul said to his converts, “The Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and the Holy Ghost, and much assurance?” 1 Thes. 1:5. Where are those who have the same authority to say, “though we or an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accused.” “I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man, for I neither receive it of man, neither was I taught it but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Gal. 1 and 12. This assurance is not to be found. It is not known. The spirit of authority, the confidence which grows from the possession of truth is not in connection with the churches, or enjoyed among the intelligent of Christendom. To be sure the world go to a great expense in order that they may secure religious instruction. Colleges are erected. Men of certain temperament spend years and years in order that they may be fitted for the ministerial profession. The people delight to pour out of their wealth for the spiritual food that they receive of their teachers; but with it all, that uniformity, that beauty, that simplicity, that consistency, that force, that assurance which pertained to the primitive days of Christianity is not to be found in the religious world of today.

Now, I might ask what was the order of things in the primitive church as established by the Savior? There are certain first principles which pertain to all branches of science—chemical science, agricultural science, astronomical science, or any other branch—there is implied in connection with all these a possession and use of primary or fundamental principles upon which the superstructure is built, and it is the same in regard to the science of religion. There are certain fundamental and foundation principles upon which the superstructure is built, and it is the same in regard to the science of religion. There are certain fundamental and foundation principles upon which the edifice is to be built, and upon which it must forever stand, and these principles did not originate in any school in connection with any college, or really in connection with any organization or body of men. They are divine. They were revealed. They came through chosen messengers who tabernacled in the flesh, who taught and then transmitted them to their fellows, who in turn taught others, and thus made them powerful by final dissemination among nations. This idea, I think, is invulnerable. What, then, are the primary or foundation principles of religion? Faith in God, growing out of the necessities of man’s nature, growing out of the nature of his spirit, the origin of his being, the history and memory of the past, the outlook into the future—these all foreshadowing the necessity and advantages and blessings of faith in God. Hence every man who is a religionist has sought unto a Being of some kind; whatever his conception of that Being may be, he looks upon it as fundamental that there is a God, and there are none but those that David speaks of, namely, the fool, who has said in his heart that “there is no God.” Having established this faith in God, we want to know what position we occupy towards Him. He is our benefactor. He is our friend. We are His children. The Scriptures tell us that we are created in His image and likeness. They tell us that the Savior was “the express image of His Father’s person.” We, then, are like our Father. We are His posterity. We are His sons and daughters dwelling and tabernacling in the flesh. What is the position that a man’s children occupy toward him as their parent? Every parent expects obedience. Every parent expects respect to his wishes. Every parent expects that when he makes a law that that law will be carried out in his household; that there shall be order, rule and authority there. This is the idea which prevails between God and man upon the earth, and that again implies the principle to which I have already alluded, the spirit of inspiration and revelation; for in our present condition the Almighty cannot communicate directly, probably, but He has selected certain mediums of communication. Who are they? His servants who—like His servants of Biblical note—teach in His name. He promised, and gave unto mankind a witness of Himself, even when there was no law, by His Holy Spirit, and He has sent that true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, while to every baptized believer is given “the manifestation of the Spirit, to profit withal.” 1 Cor. 12:7. And this Spirit will bear testimony to the truths, or laws, that are revealed by His Son, and taught by His appointed servants.

Well, now, how shall we ascertain these truths? Why, through this channel. Jesus Christ was the lawgiver. He established that system of things calculated to bring man back into the presence of His Father, and He commanded men everywhere that they should seek after Him, that they should pray unto Him, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven,” and He communicated that will unto those who listened to His teaching. What was that will? He continuously advocated and enforced the spirit of repentance. Why? Because men—all men, had wandered from the path of rectitude. They lived in violation of those laws which are divine; they failed to carry out that which would lead them on toward perfection. Hence as a natural and philosophical conclusion men are called upon to repent. What! Does this generation need to repent? There are many who think they need no repentance; that they occupy positions in society too elevated; that they belong to the upper crust, the great “upper ten,” who are leaders in science, in art, and in literature, and who are among the cultured of our nation and in other nations of mankind. They think they have no occasion to repent; they “thank God that they are not as other men, not even as this publican,” or as this “Mormon.” But, brethren and sisters and friends, there is no royal road to salvation in the economy of God. There are no principles in the science of religion that can be repudiated, or neglected, or disobeyed by man, without his subjection to the penalty, repentance of all evil and a return to that which is right is one of the primary elements and evidences of true manhood and womanhood, and it is also an essential part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When man has thus accepted and manifested his faith in God by his repentance, having believed on and in the word of His servants, and acquired active faith in them, he has made an advance. When I say His servants, I mean the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in a primary sense, and those whom He has delegated and appointed in a secondary sense; for we read that the Apostles were commanded to teach that which He had taught them; they were sent out to “teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you;” they were not to teach their own ideas, their own theories, their own conclusions, but that they should teach the principles taught by Him, when they were asked the question, What is necessary for us “to do to be saved.”

It is almost an insult to a great many people now, to tell them that they need salvation, but yet in the innermost recesses of every man’s heart and every woman’s soul, in the depths that no plummet hath sounded, not even the one made by themselves—there rests the feeling that they need be sorry for many of the things that they have done in life, and if not for those that they have done, at least for the thousand and one things that they have left undone, for there are sins of omission as fatal as those of commission.

Faith in God and repentance, then, and faith in His servants, rests upon a philosophical as well as upon a scriptural basis. It is rational and reasonable, it is easy to be comprehended, these things are true, in and of themselves!

What shall we do after we have thus repented? What say the Scriptures? What said the Apostles? Why, when asked the question, “What shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” “Why,” say the religious world, “we don’t believe in that?” I know it. I cannot help that. If you choose to repudiate the authority that you at other times profess to accept, I do not know that it is much of my business. If Americans choose to apostatize from the political principles of the fathers of the Republic, I do not know that I can help that. If any man belonging to any religious or social organization chooses to neglect or repudiate the principle of that organization, I do not know that I can help it. I do not know that any community can help it, we can only state the facts as they are, premising, however, that apostasy admissible from the institutions of men in no way justifies the same action in regard to that which is divine. Jesus as an example went and was baptized of John in Jordan, and there is abundant proof in the New Testament, if I had time to quote it, to show that all the early Christians were baptized. Have you any record that all the early christians were baptized? No. But we have a record that many were baptized, and the fact that one or more were baptized is evidence presumptive that the whole were, for we read of only “one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.” “Well,” says one, “I do not attach any importance to baptism.” Probably not. I was amused just before I came to meeting in reading an account in the newspaper of a circumstance that occurred lately in the experience of General Grant. We have all sympathized with General Grant in his affliction. We have honored him for the position that he occupied in the nation, and many of us have hoped that he would live long to do good among the people. But at one period of his sickness the doctors asserted that the disease was likely to prove fatal at any moment, and Mrs. Grant was called into the room where he was. Dr. Newman, and two or three of the General’s medical advisers were present, and Dr. Newman in the excess of his religion, or of his soul, and probably with some faith in the ceremony, got a little water and baptized the General—that is, sprinkled the water upon him—in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. General Grant was at the time unconscious and not expected to rally. But one of the doctors went out to an attendant and asked if he had a little brandy? Yes. After procuring the brandy he injected a little into the General’s veins, which speedily restored him to conscious ness. Dr. Newman on this recovery immediately said, “Oh! our faith and prayers have saved the General again. “No,” says the doctor.” This incident I only mention to show that there are theories in the Christian churches and among its most noted ministers in regard to the ordinance of baptism, and probably the great majority of Americans at some period of their lives have been baptized—as it is called, some having been sprinkled in childhood, some in more mature years, others by immersion, having been raised among the persuasion called Baptists, whether or no, there is some little importance attached to this ordinance of baptism, and this ordinance of baptism, the Latter-day Saints accept in common with their fellow Christians, or with other so-called Christians. They believe in being baptized as a necessary consequence of their faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ!

Now, how were the early Christians baptized? I do not think that there is a shadow of evidence in the New Testament that they were any of them baptized by sprinkling, or in any other way save by that of immersion. We read of some that were baptized in a certain place “because there was much water there.” We read of others who were converted in the night time, and who went straightway and were baptized. We read that the Savior told Nicodemus that, “except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” We read that Paul in writing to the Romans said that they were buried with Christ in baptism, and that their being raised from the water was an illustration of the rising of the Savior from the tomb, and we are further told by Peter that as the ark saved Noah, so also doth “baptism now save us.” Baptism, indeed, was a divine ordinance. It was one of the steps in the science of religion having its own special position of power and blessing in the economy of God—one of the ordinances established for securing a certain measure or portion of salvation.

And after the disciples had thus been baptized they received the Holy Ghost by the “laying on of hands.” Numerous illustrations of this fact might be pointed out; but as we are not speaking to heathens, as we are not speaking to skeptics, but to those who profess to believe the Bible, they can at their leisure refer to these illustrations, where the early converts had hands laid upon them for the gift of the Holy Ghost. And they can also look at the practice of the churches in our day, where in some denominations there is practiced the ordinances of confirmation and where the minister says unto those of his flock, “receive ye the gift of the Holy Ghost.” This was also one of the principles of the Gospel. This gift of the Holy Ghost was the source of life, the source of intelligence, the source of knowledge and understanding: it was the power of inspiration and revelation resting upon the baptized—the men and women who had accepted the Savior as their leader and guide.

I might multiply these illustrations of the science of religion. I might go on to show that there were other important elements in the teachings of those who were converted in early times to Christianity. The world today is full of organizations. It knows the weakness of individual effort. It is when men and women are aggregated that they wield large influence over mankind, and the early Christians were no strangers to the advantages of organization. They formed themselves into little groups called churches. In some places in the New Testament they are called the “church,” in other places “the Church of God,” in others “the Church of Christ.” In these organizations there were officers. There were men appointed to fill certain positions in these organizations. This implied rule, authority; their power and authority to teach are everywhere exemplified in the Acts and Epistles of the New Testament. So much so that one of the apostles tells us that God had set in His Church Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, Evangelists, etc., for the perfecting of the Saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. These were the officers, the most active members of the church—those who had charge of its interests—those who had charge of the spiritual and temporal education of these early converts in the Church. There was a Christian church, then, in the early history of Christianity. Men were organized into groups—into churches and belonged to the true church of which Christ was the head! So there are organizations called churches in our day, and in the age in which we live. But there is one great difference between our age and that one. And what is that? Why, there is diversity in our time. The Church of Jesus Christ, the Church of the former-day Saints, was an unit. There was no rebellion within its ranks, no division in its councils, no clashing theories taught by its apostles. There was no rival or other organization ostensibly Christian that could stand up and presume to dispute or deny that authority which the Church of God maintained. Yet in our time we have every variety of Church organization—the Mother Church; the Episcopal Church; Methodism in all its forms and phases; Presbyterians, Baptists, and a host of others. These are diverse from each other in doctrine and sentiment and organization and theory and practice, and consequently unlike the primitive church as established by Christ and His Apostles. Now, can they with these differences, with these divergences, and with this variety of teaching—can they accomplish that designed by the founder of the original church? I hardly think so. Common sense says this is impossible. If the first church was divine in its order, divine in its ordinances, divine in its officers, divine in its institutions, if it was to accomplish a divine purpose, nothing short of that divine order could accomplish that purpose in this or any other age of the world. That is why Sectarianism has failed to bring the people to a unity of the faith. That is why it has not accomplished so much good as it might have done upon the earth. It is like a rope of sand. Every minister fighting, and every congregation quarrelling for the ascendancy of their own special and peculiar sect and faith. You go into any little village of a few scattered hundreds and you will find four or five churches there, each one endeavoring to perpetuate its own special idea, partly irrespective of the salvation of the masses. In fact they have become money making institutions. Ministers have become professionals.” They preach for money and divine for hire.” They are more content to ask the congregation what they shall preach than to stand valiantly for the truth as preached by Jesus Christ and His Apostles, and as recorded in the book which from first to last they profess to reverence and sustain.

This is the criticism of the Latter day Saints upon the religious world, and because of this criticism, because of this understanding, thousands and tens of thousands have been led to embrace that which is known to the world as “Mormonism.”

What is “Mormonism?” It is a restoration, a re-revealment of the same principles that were practiced by the early Christians. They had not a doctrine, they had not an ordinance, they had not an officer, but what is taught and found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Now, the world have no idea we have got away with them that far. Has it come about by our own wisdom? No, sir. Where did you get it? Right in the State of New York, through a chosen man—a boy, rather—by the name of Joseph Smith. Who was Joseph Smith? A man like you and I. Who were the old prophets? Who was Elijah? He was a man with all the failings of his fellow men; subject to like passions with his brethren. Who were the Savior’s Apostles? Men like ourselves! Who was Joseph Smith? A young man with many weaknesses and follies, it may be, of his own, and some akin to the failings of those by whom he was surrounded. How did he acquire this knowledge and information? It was communicated from on high. The spirit of inspiration and revelation rested upon him. He held communion with God and with His Son Jesus Christ. He received the ministration of Angels, and the power and authority of the Holy Priesthood from those who once exercised that authority in the flesh and he was ordained and dedicated to introduce this order again among mankind. Do you believe that? We Latter-day Saints believe it. Nay, more, we know it for ourselves. We have had testimony for year upon year in our experience that God was with him in manhood; that He enabled him to establish His Church, and that He gave him power to ordain others to go forth to the nations of the earth and gather the obedient and the good from the masses of mankind. The good I said. “Well,” says one, “do you mean that you Latter-day Saints are any better than we are.” I do not know that I do in this sense of the word. I mean that there was found scattered among the nations a people prepared of God for the reception of the truth. Individuals were looking for the salvation of Israel. They had been suffering under the inconsistencies, traditions and superstitions of the churches to which they belonged, and they were waiting for the coming of the man sent of God. And when he came or sent his representatives, there were thousands everywhere that heard the word gladly. Where? In enlightened America, in the land of Bibles, in the land of churches, in the land of culture, in the land of religious liberty, where every one is supposed to have the right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and with none to molest him or make him afraid. They accepted the teachings of this lad. Was he an educated person? No, not in the sense that the world would call education. He had not been raised in any college of our great country; he had not studied the classics; he was not born in Boston, or anywhere in its immediate vicinity; but he was taught of the heavens, he was inspired of God, and he went forth in the strength of that education, and Utah Territory spreading from the north to the south, from the east to the west is the product of his labors and the labors of the Elders that have followed in his wake. “And,” says one, “you believe this, that he was a prophet of God.” Yes, we do. We will apply the same test that was applied in former days, the days of the Savior. Jesus said: If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself, and as was said of the Savior “we know that thou art a teacher sent from God, for no man can do the things that thou doest except God be with him,” so we can say of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Though he was called in poverty and raised in ignorance, yet the Lord made him mighty, and no man unless he had been thus sent of God, could have accomplished the work that he has performed. You can find in this Territory people of every nationality almost. You can find them from every state of this Union. You can find people that have been identified with every religious organization. You can find people that are well up in the doctrines of the religious world, and who comprehend the truths that are taught to them from time to time. These have been gathered from the nations by the power of truth, by the influence that the Elders carried, and they have colonized and spread abroad until the population is numerous in all the valleys of this mountain country. Strangers come here very curious to know what kind of people these “Mormons” are. They come filled with prejudice and with hatred, with contention and strife. Many envy our prosperity, and some say, “If we let this people alone they will take away our place and nation.” Well, as I have said, this has been done by the power of truth, by the preaching of the simple principles that you can find in the Bible, and that can never, no never, be overthrown. The Elders of Israel have never been met successfully by the combined learning of the ministers in Christendom. The Elders have gone for them like giants, while conscious of personal weakness; like little David, they have taken the sling and the stone gathered from the brook, until the heads of many Goliaths of our day have reeled and fallen beneath the blow.

This is what “Mormonism” is. It is nothing more, nothing less, than the restoration of the old Gospel under the sanction and approbation of the heavens. The Elders of Israel hold the authority of the Holy Priesthood to induct men into the Kingdom of God; to baptize in water for the remission of sins, and to lay hands upon them for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and as in olden times, the signs have followed the believer.

With this knowledge don’t you think we can stand a good deal of this persecution to which we are subject? Do you think that bonds or imprisonment or death affects so sublime and decided a faith? “But,” say some, “you are not persecuted for these things: you are persecuted for other things. Here is that offensive practice that you call polygamy, this is the great trouble between you and the fifty-five million of the nation.” Well, who of that fifty-five million have we robbed in that? Have we taken any man’s wife who may have passed through this Territory against his consent? What law have we violated in regard to this thing? Any law in this book (holding up the Bible) against it? Can you find it, you ministers, you religious professors, you widespread organizations? Have we done violence to the laws of God, or have we not honored the practice of the patriarchs? Have we not accepted that which was approved of God in the ages that are past, and which gave men prestige as the favored of our race. Men whom we are told were the friends of God. “Ah, well,” says one, “that was in the dark ages.” Just so. But it was when God made Himself manifest among His children; when angels communed with those that dwelt upon the earth; when the spirit of revelation was felt among mankind; when the institutions of God’s house and the ordinances thereof prevailed among the chosen people of God! And you call that a day of darkness! Boston was not known then, it is true. The great cities of this day had no existence in their present form. Civilization with all its concomitants were not then in existence, or like Sodom and Gomorrah under the hail of brimstone and almighty wrath, its cities might only have been found today, as great, dead, saline seas. The dark ages! The age of Abraham! The age of Jacob and the founding of the tribes of Israel. The ages of Samuel! The age of the Judges of Israel! The ages when God made Himself manifest among that great people in delivering them from the hand of the iron rule of Pharaoh, and gave unto them a goodly land. The ages that gave David and Solomon and the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem. Dark ages, that brought on to this stage of action the Savior of mankind! Dark ages, when the church which He established, flourished in the midst of persecution, when its leaders suffered martyrdom. Dark indeed, if they had not had the light of the Gospel; if they had not had this sunshine of inspiration; if they had not known of the power of God; if they had not had a testimony within themselves that they had received that which would enhance their welfare not only in this life, but the life to come. Would to God we had again a renewal—nay, a glimpse of the dark ages of the past, and that the same benignant light was now spreading throughout this our land with its Christian churches, schools and colleges, that its corruptions and evils might hide their head and be banished from the midst of sorrowing mankind.

This, then, as I have intimated to you, is “Mormonism.” It is the power of God unto salvation to all those who shall obey. And the promise is not unto us only, but unto our children, and our children’s children, down to the latest generation. And if men and women anywhere, want that salvation which comes of God, which comes of the Gospel, which comes of the acceptance of Jesus as the Savior of mankind, they will have to find it in “Mormonism” as the world call it, or in other words in the restoration of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; and if they want men to induct them into that Kingdom, to baptize them in water for the remission of sins, to lay hands on them for the gift of the Holy Ghost, they will have to find them in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the poor, despised, derided, and as men believe everywhere, ignorant people in the valleys of the mountains, called “Mormons;” whose faith and institutions are now sought to be overthrown by their enemies, by legislation of Congress, by proclamations of Governors and the action of the Courts, they will find salvation with that people just as assuredly as in primitive Christian times the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and other sectarians, found salvation at the hands of the fishermen of Galilee.

I presume I have taken up all the time that is necessary; but I pray that the power of God may rest upon this congregation; that strangers may lay aside their prejudices and preconceived notions in regard to the Latter-day Saints; that they may be willing to believe that some good may come out of Nazareth, even from here; that every man and woman professing to be a Saint of God, may be able to give “a reason for the hope that is in them,” in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.




The Creation, Male and Female—Calling of Enoch and Noah—God Selected Abraham and His Seed to Be a Chosen People—He Commanded His People to Multiply But Forbade Adultery and Whoredom in Every Form—Plural Marriage Enjoined Upon Abraham and His Seed to Make Them a Great People—The Principle of Life and Eternal Increase is a Spiritual Power—Modern Christendom Opposed to Large Families—Latter-Day Saints Encourage Them—The Edmunds Law Passed With the Pretence of Repressing Immorality Among the Mormons—That Mask of Hypocrisy Now Thrown Off—The Religious Sentiment of the Latter-Day Saints the Real Object of Persecution—Concluding Exhortations

Discourse by Apostle Erastus Snow, delivered in the Tabernacle, Provo, Sunday Morning, May 31st, (Quarterly Conference) 1885.

The speaker commenced by reading from the 1st chapter of Genesis—from the 25th verse to the end of the chapter.

Proceeding, he said: In the writings of Moses we have an account of the creation of this earth and the inhabitants thereof, both man and beast and every living thing, as also vegetation. In the first verse we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

In attempting to communicate intelligence upon any theme, if we attempt to do it by using words and phrases, we are obliged to use such language as the hearers or readers are able to comprehend, and if the language be imperfect the ideas conveyed may be somewhat imperfect or defective, and if the understanding of the persons to whom this language is addressed is limited, and their use and understanding of lan guage is limited, the information sought to be communicated to them will be correspondingly limited and defective. It is only by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost that we are able to see clearly the things of God; but the language employed by the writer of the Book of Genesis and by the translators of that work is perhaps sufficiently clear for our purpose at this time, though the inspired translation rendered by the Prophet Joseph Smith is somewhat clearer and more impressive than the present King James’ translation. In the inspired translation by the Prophet Joseph Smith, it is written that in the beginning the Gods created the heavens and the earth; that the earth was empty and desolate, and God said unto His Only Begotten, let us do so and so; let us divide the light from the darkness; let us separate the waters and cause the dry land to appear; let there be lights in the firmament in the midst of the heavens to give light to the earth; let us create animals to walk upon the earth, and creeping things, and fowls to fly in the air and fish to swim in the waters, &c.; and let us make man in our own image and after our likeness—that is the Father addressing the Son, taking counsel together. This rendering of this first chapter of Genesis is sustained by the writings of the Apostle Paul, when he says: “For of Him”—speaking of the Only Begotten—“and through Him, and for Him, are all things.” Again, it is written in the New Testament concerning the Savior, that He is “the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person.” So that when the Father said unto His Son in the beginning, let us make man in our image and after our likeness, it conveys to us the idea that man was organized in the same form and general appearance of both the Father and the Son. This especially in relation to the man himself; for you will remark the wording of the text which we have read—“in the image of God created He him”—referring to Adam—“male and female created He them.” You will perceive a difference in the language in regard to the creation of females.

Now, it is not said in so many words in the Scriptures, that we have a Mother in heaven as well as a Father. It is left for us to infer this from what we see and know of all living things in the earth including man. The male and female principle is united and both necessary to the accomplishment of the object of their being, and if this be not the case with our Father in heaven after whose image we are created, then it is an anomaly in nature. But to our minds the idea of a Father suggests that of a Mother: As one of our poets says:

“In the heavens are parents single? No; the thought makes reason stare! Truth is reason; truth eternal Tells me, I’ve a Mother there.”

Hence when it is said that God created our first parents in His likeness—“in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them”—it is intimated in language sufficiently plain to my understanding that the male and female principle was present with the Gods as it is with man. It needs only a common understanding of the organism of man and of all living creatures, and the functions of this organism to show the primary object of the Creator, and that is the multiplication of the species, the fulfillment of the commandment given, to multiply and replenish the earth, given to both man and beast. We need only to study the anatomy and construction of the human system, and to understand its powers and capabilities, to comprehend the object and purpose of the Creator, even though the commandment had not been written to multiply and replenish the earth. The ancients who feared God, and kept His commandments, showed that they understood this principle and were willing to obey it. It is written of the first fourteen generations, that each succeeding generation of them lived so many years and begat sons and daughters, and some of them lived well nigh on to a thousand years. They multiplied and increased in the land until wickedness overran the land and it pleased God to check the growth of wickedness by the flood, which swept the wicked off the earth. But before thus destroying the inhabitants of the earth, He caused the righteous to be gathered out from among the wicked by the preaching of the Gospel. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, was a powerful instrument in the hands of God, of rebuking the wickedness of the times. He taught righteousness, gathered the people together, and established a Zion. He labored we are told some 365 years, in the which he communed with God, and taught the people and sanctified his people, so that they were translated to heaven. Many others who remained upon the earth, who had accepted the Gospel, but were not sanctified and prepared to be caught up with Enoch and his people, sought diligently to follow; they purified themselves so that angels ministered unto them, and they were caught up unto Zion before the flood; even all who remained and kept the faith, except Noah and his sons and their families, who were especially called and chosen and detailed to build the ark and enter therein with a selection of the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the air, to preserve seed through the flood. Thus did the Lord gather a harvest of souls unto Himself, of those who believed and obeyed the Gospel and worked righteousness, while the wicked perished in the flood. Then again, the commandment of God to multiply and replenish the earth, was renewed to Noah and his posterity, and soon the desolate places became inhabited. But in the course of a few generations, blindness and darkness and ignorance again began to prevail; wickedness began to raise its head among the children of Noah, and it became necessary that the Lord should select from among the children of Noah the better and nobler seed with whom He would establish His covenant, and upon whom He would confer the keys of the Priesthood, and from among them should be raised up Prophets and Seers and Revelators to teach the people of the nations of the earth, as the oracles of God. These chosen people were Abraham and his seed. Of Abraham it is written that God called him from his father’s house when he dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees, and commanded him to go out from his father’s house because his father was given to the ways of the heathen and to the idolatry of the surrounding peoples. He called him to go to another land where he should be separate from the traditions and teachings of his father, and where he would make of him a great nation, and raise up from his seed a holy people. God appeared unto him in Canaan, whither He led him, and swore by Himself—because He could swear by no greater—that in blessing He would bless him, and in multiplying He would multiply him; that his seed should be as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is upon the seashore for multitude. He renewed this promise to his son Isaac, and his grandson Jacob, who was also named Israel, and from them sprang the house of Israel, and also the children of Arabia, the sons of Ishmael, and the chief tribes of central Asia. It was the seed of Abraham that dwelt in Egypt who were brought into bondage to the Egyptians, and subsequently delivered by the hand of Moses, after wandering forty years in the wilderness, in the land of Canaan. It was from among this people that God raised up prophets from generation to generation to whom He revealed His mind and will. It was this people that was commanded to build first the tabernacle journeying in the wilderness—a sort of moveable temple and subsequently a temple in the land of promise when they should become settled and located there. It was among this people the Savior was born, and labored and taught the Gospel, and was crucified, and rose again from the dead. It was from among this people that He (the Savior) selected and ordained His Apostles to preach the Gospel to all the world. The whole tenor of the Scriptures shows us that those who believed God and were counted His people multiplied and replenished the earth and became numerous as the stars in the heavens and as the sands upon the seashore for multitude, while many of the other unbelieving nations and peoples comparatively dwindled away; and when the history of the generations of Adam shall be revealed and comprehended by the human race, it will be found that in the providence of God He has greatly restricted the more corrupt, while He has enlarged and multiplied the seed of Abraham, who did abide in the covenant; and although many of them have come short in many things and have wandered in darkness and unbelief, yet as a people they have maintained a degree of sexual purity unknown in the Gentile world, and for this reason has God multiplied them in the land. They have great and special promises that in the latter days God would remember them.

Now, while God commanded His people to multiply and replenish the earth, He gave strict laws against promiscuous sexual intercourse. He forbade adultery, fornication, whoredom in every form, and the same doctrine was taught by Paul, the Apostle, namely, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled; but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” This law prevailed in all ages among the people of God, encouraging honorable wedlock, and restraining illicit sexual intercourse, and there are many physical as well as theological reasons for this law. It is especially binding upon mankind, because they are organized after the image of God, and are His offspring. I refer now to the spirit; for we understand that man in the nobler sense and the true sense, is that immortal eternal being which has come forth from God, and that the earthly tabernacle is but an outer clothing of that immortal being; that the earthly tabernacle is in the image and likeness of the heavenly or eternal being; in other words the body is in the likeness and form of the soul or the spirit, and that it is made conformable to any for the spirit to dwell in, and to fill every portion and particle thereof, and to direct its energies and powers to develop its capabilities and to guide its actions. Hence that immortal man is held responsible for the deeds of the body, and it is written he shall be judged according to the deeds done in the body; because the body does not control the spirit, but the spirit controls the body. Still the Apostle Paul says that there is a law of the flesh—that wars against the spirit; and, says Paul, “to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” He further says that this law of the flesh—that is, in our members and the lusts thereof—that wars against the law of the spirit brings our bodies into bondage, even the bondage of sin; but it is made the duty of the spirit to subdue the flesh and the lusts and the desires thereof, and to bring it into subjection to the law of the spirit. This is the warfare and the struggle of our lives. This begins with the development of our physical power and the lusts and desires of the flesh. The spirit of man is capable of receiving from the Spirit of our Father the Holy Spirit, which is in connection with the Father and the Son, and is a minister of God unto men; which lighteth up our minds and giveth us understanding; for “the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord,” says one of old. This teaches us just as far as we will give heed to it, how to walk in obedience to the law of God, and how to resist and overcome evil with good, and as far as the written word of God is given to us, its object and influence upon us is to restrain the flesh and bring it into subjection to the spirit. The lusts and desires of the flesh are not of themselves unmitigated evils. On the contrary they are implanted in us as a stimulus to noble deeds, rather than low and beastly deeds. These affections and loves that are planted in us are the nobler qualities that emanate from God. They stimulate us to the performance of our duties; to multiplying and replenishing the earth to assume the responsibilities of families, and rear them up for God. They encourage and stimulate the woman to bear her burden and perform the duties of life because of the hope of a glorious future, while it stimulates the husband and father in like manner. Every instinct in us is for a wise purpose in God when properly regulated and restrained, and guided by the Holy Spirit and kept within its proper legitimate bounds. But all these instincts and desires of the flesh are susceptible of perversion, and when perverted result in sin. Whenever the Gospel has been preached on earth, and Prophets and holy men have been sent among the people, the burden of their lives has been to encourage them to the proper exercise of their powers and functions and to regulate them and restrain them within proper limits, such as are prescribed in the written law, and in the law of our being. Excesses of all kinds tend to death and to sickness and misery, physically and spiritually; while temperance and moderation and the proper use of all our functions tends to the glory of God and the welfare of His children. The chief study of man is to comprehend these principles, and to apply them in their lives.

I said there was a time after the flood that the seed of Noah began to corrupt their ways, and God chose out from among them the seed of Abraham, with whom He established His covenant that He might preserve unto himself the Priesthood and its ordinances, and a people who would receive His law, and among whom He would raise up Prophets, and through whom He would send His Son in the meridian of time to become the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Thus Abraham was blessed of the Lord to multiply and increase in the earth greatly. When the Lord determined to bless and multiply Abraham and His seed, He commanded that they should take of the daughters of Eve for wives and multiply and increase in the land. I do not say that plural marriage was not practiced prior to this time, but I say from and after Abraham it was enjoined upon Israel, the seed of Abraham, for a wise and glorious purpose in Him, namely, that of increasing them and giving them the ascendancy among the nations of the earth, as I once heard the Prophet Joseph remark. In speaking of these things, and inquiring wherefore God had enjoined plural marriage upon Abraham and his seed, his answer was, because He had purposed to multiply and increase them in the land and make of them a great people and give them the ascendancy over other peoples of the earth, and that because, as he said of Abraham, He knew that He would serve Him and command his seed after Him.

We are aware that in modern Christendom there are some people who forbid to marry. In one of the Epistles of Paul [1 Timothy iv. 3] he states that in the latter times there would be those who would forbid to marry. We know there are some professing Christians who regard the union of the sexes as an evil, as a sin, as the result of our fallen natures, and as a form of the gratification of fleshly lusts which is offensive before God. Hence we have the Shakers who, acting upon this doctrine, abstain from marriage. If all were to embrace their faith, and carried it out in their lives, the human race would soon be extinct, and the great purpose of Jehovah in their creation would seem to have failed. But fortunately those who embrace this faith, and exemplify it in their lives, are few. Yet there are many who are willing to gratify the lusts of the flesh but strive to avoid its consequences and responsibilities. But those who have received in good faith the commandment of God to multiply and replenish the earth and assume the proper responsibilities of the household, and regulate their lives and household by the law of the Lord, have always been blessed and favored of God, and the great difference between the Latter-day Saints at the present time and modern Christendom, is this more extensive comprehension of this first law of God to man. We understand there is a purpose in all these things; that the Supreme Being is working with an object in view and for the accomplishment of an end, and that object and end is worthy of the God who has created us; that in infinite space He may cause to be organized innumerable worlds and glorious orbs to be filled with intelligent beings capable of enlargement, of an expansion of glory and of happiness; for in their enlargement and increase He is glorified, while they in turn are glorified in and through Him in the performance of their labors and duties and the multiplying and increasing of their species, inasmuch as they do it unto the Lord and keep His law, so that they can be sanctified before Him and be endowed with the power of endless lives.

I know it is supposed by some that the power of increase is inherent in us and in all living things, and in all plants, but I do not view it in that light. I view the temporal organism as the instrument and not the creator itself; it is only the instrument by which it is worked out and accomplished; that the principle of life and eternal increase pertains not to the flesh nor to the grosser elements of this earth, but it is the spiritual power that has emanated from a nobler sphere that has come out from God, or that had its existence previously in a first estate. Our Savior Himself is an example of this. We are told He was born of the Virgin Mary, in the meridian of time. Yet we learn He was with the Father from the beginning and was with Him in the morning of creation. While he was here upon the earth 1,800 years ago, He said to the Jews, “You speak of Abraham as your father. Verily I say unto you before Abraham was, I am.” And again in John’s revelations it is written that He was as a lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is called a lamb of God typically speaking, because the offering of a lamb in sacrifice upon the altar was a type of the crucifixion of the Savior, and the commandment of God given to the children of men in the beginning to build an altar and offer sacrifice with a lamb upon it, was typical of the Savior of the world. Hence came the term that He was the Lamb of God which the Father sent unto the world to be an offering for sin. So also it is written in the Scriptures—speaking of God—that He is the Father of our spirits, and, says Paul, it is necessary to be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live.

In modern Christendom—in these United States especially, and in staid New England more than perhaps any other portion of this American continent—is this commandment of God to multiply and replenish the earth nullified. The Latter-day Saints are looked upon with envy, with jealousy and reproach because they do not take the same view as they do, and their numerous families stand out in bold contrast with the New England families, where you will find as you go through the land one, two, or at most three children in a family, and many families with none. In some instances this apparent sterility may have resulted from various abuses, but in most causes the result of devices of wicked men and women to counteract and prevent the fulfilling of the great commandment of God to multiply and replenish the earth, and in many instances, feticide, infanticide and child murder are the result of this very general desire to avoid the responsibility of families. It has become a crying evil in the land. Some writers deeply deplore this crying evil, and represent it in its true light; while many other writers and speakers are either silent upon the subject or give their voice and influence in its favor. A few years ago I remembered to have read a discourse of Brooklyn’s great orator, Henry Ward Beecher, in which he took the ground that any considerable increase of the human species would be a positive evil, something to be deplored; and he elaborately attempted to portray the evils that would result from it, and the whole tendency of the discourse was to discourage the multiplication of the human species. Others have followed in the same train of reasoning. They seem to have forgotten the commandment given to our first parents, and never to have comprehended the purposes of Jehovah. Those who adopt these views have seemed to imagine that there would be greater happiness in the gratification of fleshly lusts, and in pandering to pride and worldly pleasures, and the increase of wealth, than to obey the commandment of God. They have resolved to avoid raising large families. The last tour I took through New England (which is my native country), about twelve years ago, I was more deeply impressed with this state of things than I had ever been before. When I was a boy, in Vermont, I knew not the ways of the world, and comprehended not what was going on, in our large cities and more populous parts of the country. I was born of honest parentage, who reverenced the principles of life and salvation, and I understood not what was going on around me, nor do I think those evils existed there to the same extent that they now do. But as I remarked, when I made my last tour through New England, I was more forcibly impressed with this state of society than ever before. I spoke of it to my aged aunt in Rhode Island. I said to her: “Aunt, when you were young, and when my mother was young, rearing large families, it was a source of joy and pleasure to rear offspring. Now as I go through the land, I see the efforts of the people are in an opposite direction. “Oh, yes,” said she, “it is unpopular now, for people to have large families; it is considered vulgar, men and women now seek to avoid these responsibilities.” This is a well known fact. The tendency of the age is to animalism, to the gratification of fleshly lusts and worldly pleasures.

Well, the Latter-day Saints have experienced in their own lives something nobler, and have learned to recognize the wisdom of Jehovah in that order of things which He enjoined upon our first parents. This is the marked difference between the unbelieving world and the Latter-day Saints. I say the unbelieving world, because I regard this doctrine which I have referred to as a doctrine of devils and not the doctrine of Christ; that the tendency of it leads, as I before remarked, to feticide, infanticide, child murder, and to the gratification of fleshly lusts and worldly pleasure without fulfilling the great object and purposes of our Father, and the effect in the end would be the wasting away of the human species if it were generally adopted. It is high time that a voice from heaven should rebuke it. It is high time that the Lord, who wishes to raise up seed unto Himself, should command His people and renew upon them the obligations placed upon our first parents. It is to the Latter-day Saints that this mission has been committed, and the result is the multitude of school children that we find all over this Territory. Over fifty thousand Sabbath school children in the Territory of Utah—nearly one-third of the entire population, as shown in our statistics at our various Conferences—are children under eight years of age. This is a startling fact to that class of the Christian world who are pursuing the opposite course. One of the Sabbath school superintendents of the City of New York, recently expressed himself very pointedly and plainly upon this subject in relation to the wealthy portion of the church-going people of New York. In several thousand families attending the popular churches of New York, there could be mustered only about eighty Sabbath school children, and he attributed it to this prevailing desire for pleasure, wealth, and the shirking of the cares and responsibilities of the household, until the rearing of families was left almost entirely to the poor, to what is termed the vulgar people.

I need not harrow up the feelings of the people with lengthy details such as are found in police reports and statistics from various sources, showing the alarming increase of these crying evils. Suffice it to say that the chief warfare against the Latter-day Saints at the present time is an endeavor to compel us to conform to their new state of things, or to their ideas of social sins and social duties. In other words it is laconically expressed by President Cleveland in the late interview he had with our delegates that were sent to him with the memorial and protest adopted by the Latter-day Saints in mass meeting a few weeks ago. President Cleveland listened with courtesy to what our delegation had to say with regard to the feeling and desires of the people, and expressed himself in this wise: that he would endeavor as far as lay in his power to give us honest men to administer the law, and he concluded with a smile upon his countenance, with this expression: “I wish you people out there could be like the rest of us.” This is a homely phrase, it might not attract any special attention under ordinary circumstances; but when we consider the facts as they exist, and the tendency of the age, and of the Christian world at the present time, and the state of things in the east when compared with us, the remark is very significant. It comes home to us, and we ask ourselves, can we, after the light that we have received, after the experience that we have had, and with the hopes that are placed before us in the Gospel of a glorious future—can we relapse back into that state of things and be like unto them? I would not say aught personal in relation to Mr. Cleveland, believing him to be an honorable man of the world, yet his enemies in the campaign accused him of some irregularities of life that are common in the world, and it is reported that he knows something of sexual relationship, though he has not assumed the responsibility of a family and household; and in this respect, though perhaps among the most honorable, he represents a large and respectable portion of unmarried men. We do not understand that in thus expressing himself to our delegates that he desired us to exactly imitate himself, but that he wished we could confine ourselves at least to one wife. If however, the parallel were carried out more fully, we would not only confine ourselves to one wife as far as owning them in that capacity is concerned, but we would try like others have, to limit our children also and imitate the other vices of the age.

Well, now, the expounders of the federal laws in our midst—the Prosecuting Attorneys, Judges, Marshals, and other federal representatives that have been sent among us to enforce the special laws that have been passed by Congress against the Latter-day Saints, seem to make the line of distinction more marked than has ever before been done. During the great furor which swept over the land four years ago, which resulted in the passage of the Edmunds law, the Christian ministers urged their congregations to send memorials to Congress for the passage of that law on the ground of repressing immorality, licentiousness and crime among the Mormons, and it was this hypocritical mask which they took on at that time that hoodwinked and deceived the great body of the people and lashed the country into a furor and crowded Congressmen to vote for the unconstitutional measure, that wicked and malicious law known as the Edmunds law. I may be accused of treason for speaking in this way, in calling this a wicked and malicious law. I may be counted guilty of treason because I dare to think; but yet, treason has never been defined by the Constitution of our country nor the Courts, to consist in a freedom of speech, much less in the freedom of thought, but has been defined as levying of war against the Government, or aiding and abetting its enemies in time of war.

The great furor in the Christian world, or at least throughout the Christian denominations of America four years ago, urging upon Congress the passage of the Edmunds law, was on the ground of the immorality and licentiousness of the Mormons, and a desire to repress it. But now the federal representatives in their efforts to enforce it in our country, have found themselves under the necessity of throwing the mask off themselves and off the country—off the priests and religious people. I believe some of you in Provo had something to do in bringing this about and rendering it necessary for them to lay off the mask. I believe Commissioner Smoot was called upon to investigate a case of an outsider seducing his wife’s sister, and a child was the result; and he felt called upon under the law to hold him to answer before the grand jury for unlawful cohabitation. The assistant prosecuting attorney unwillingly allowed the thing to go on until the man was committed for this offense; intimating at the same time that he thought this was pushing the Edmunds law a little too far and beyond what was the spirit and intent of the law. If this case should be carried to its legitimate end, and the man should be sent to prison and fined for unlawful cohabitation, then the door would be thrown wide open for many others to follow for the same offense. Hence such a construction was considered an element of danger to themselves, to the representatives of the federal government and their aiders and abettors in this country; that such a construction of the Edmunds law as had been the popular construction and the understanding of the masses, and as was the professed understanding of the Christian world—for they urged its passage to repress immorality and sexual crime—that if this construction was allowed to prevail in Utah and the surrounding Territories, and the District of Columbia, and other places where the United States exercise jurisdiction, it would operate very hard on a great many who would not be so well prepared to bear it as the Latter-day Saints. Hence it seemed very de sirable that their feet should be slipped out of the trap and ours left in. Accordingly their wits were brought to bear in this direction, and on the occasion of the trial of President Angus M. Cannon on the charge of unlawful cohabitation a plan was concocted and carried out, with all the leading attorneys of the land and the Chief Justice upon the bench, to discuss this question and decide upon it. In this connection the representative of the government boldly came to the front and threw off the mask and proclaimed at the outset of this trial that he knew he could not prove sexual intercourse between the parties at bar, and that he should not attempt it. Furthermore he stated that he did not consider sexual intercourse any element of crime; that the Edmunds law, so called, was a blow aimed at the status of the Mormon system of marriage alone, and that the third section of that law relating to unlawful cohabitation had no reference to sexual sins; that it was not designed to repress adultery, fornication, lust, or any term of sexual sin; that that was left to local legislation; that the legislation of Congress in the third section of the Edmunds law, as well as all other legislation upon that subject was aimed directly at the status of the marriage alone. In this regard, therefore, he took precisely the ground that Governor Murray did when he first issued his oath for notaries public, and which was afterwards adopted by the board of Utah Commissioners and incorporated in their test oath for registration, referring to cohabitation with more than one woman in the marriage relation. Mr. Dickson took this view, that Murray was right; that the Utah Commissioners were right; that this was the sense of the country; that this was the design of Congress; that the Edmunds law was a blow aimed at the Mormon system of marriage, or to use Judge Zane’s term, the habit and repute of marriage, or the “holding out,” to use another favorite phrase, of two or more women as wives of one husband—that the whole and only object of the third section of the Edmunds law relating to unlawful cohabitation, as well as all other anti-polygamy acts of Congress was against the institution of marriage. Finding, however, it difficult to prove marriages because of the disinclination of people to testify, and because of the difficulty of reaching any record evidence of these marriages, it was thought necessary to take high grounds and assume this: that the Mormons are known to be a virtuous people, are known to condemn in strong terms and by every influence in their power every form of sexual sin, and that they do not indulge in intercourse with the sexes to any extent only in the marriage relation. This was the well known and established character of the Mormon people, and was the result of their teachings and practice for a generation past. Hence wherever children were found in Mormon families, they are the result of marriage. If a woman is found pregnant, she must be looked upon as a wife, and the officers are justified in seizing her and bringing her before a commissioner, or a jury or judge, and compelling her to give the name of the father of her child, and that is deemed sufficient proof that he is guilty of polygamy, or if two or more women live in close proximity to a man, and he is seen visiting them, and especially if the children call him father, it is sufficient proof on which the jury may indict for polygamy or unlawful cohabitation, as the case may be. Consequently they have taken this high ground that it is no longer necessary to prove even the first or second marriage, nor is it any longer necessary to prove sexual intercourse in order to establish unlawful cohabitation, but the common habit and repute of marriage and the appearance of marriage is all sufficient. Thus the ordinary rules of evidence are set aside, and the mask of hypocrisy which governed the Christian world when they were urging the passage of this Edmunds law through Congress is thrown aside. A bold and important testimony is given to the world through our persecutors to the morality of the Mormon people being so far in excess of the rest of the world of mankind, and to our integrity to the marriage relation. We wish indeed that all that is said in this respect were strictly true, that there were no irregularities among us. We cannot quite say that, but we do rejoice and thank God for the general good testimony which has been given of us in truth in this behalf. Not long since President Smoot and myself and some others were congratulating ourselves, and President Taylor was congratulating himself, and many others of our aged fathers, in having placed themselves in a condition to escape the operation of the third section of the Edmunds law by confining themselves to one woman. I said to some of my brethren in a Priesthood meeting in St. George, one time when they were very badly agitated and not knowing whom the lightning—or the Edmunds act would strike next—I said to them, you old grey-headed men whose wives have grown old with you and are past bearing children, if you choose now to agree among yourselves that you will live within the third section of the Edmunds law and allow the husband and father to confine himself to one wife, while he cares for the balance and cares for and protects his children, I see not but what you may do this with honor to yourselves and without sacrificing any principles of the law of God, or going back upon your covenants, providing this be agreeable among yourselves. I was somewhat with others, congratulating myself in being able to do this without sacrificing any special principle or going back on our families, but it would seem that these noble, aged sires in Israel were not to be let out quite so easily as this, for I am a little inclined to feel it was a little dishonorable, and yet perhaps not altogether before God. The idea was that they might possibly escape, while their sons and others who might have taken wives and raised families, and entered into those sacred relations which are to them dearer than life itself, would have to abide the consequences. But it seems that under Judge Zane’s ruling it is not these who are raising families that are always liable; for you may raise a family by your sister-in-law, if you don’t call her your wife, as you understand from the case I have referred to. No sooner had Judge Zane sustained Prosecuting Attorney Dickson’s view of the case, than this Mr. Aimes was brought before him on habeas corpus and discharged, and he (the Judge) fully announced the doctrine that a man could have as many children by sister-in-laws as he pleased; that no matter how much a man might seduce his neighbor’s wife, or neighbor’s daughter, if he is not in the marriage relation with them, it is no offense against the Edmunds law. But with a Mormon, whether he is raising a family or not, if he is even so unfortunate as to have no chil dren, or if his wives are past bearing children, and he has entirely separated himself so far as bed is concerned, and there is evidence of entire restraint on his part, still, unless he goes back on himself and on his wives and children, he comes under the law. In other words, if he continues to “hold them out” as wives he is guilty of cohabitation. Hence, Brother Smoot and myself, and others, have been congratulating ourselves a little too soon. You will find that the old men and the young men are all coupled together, their feet still in the trap, while the adulterer, fornicator, whoremonger, harlot and libertine, the trap is open just enough to let their feet out. Now they can vote, they can hold office, they can raise children providing they do not do it in the marriage relation, and they hold out this inducement to you and me: “Become like one of us.” “I wish you out there could be like the rest of us.” “I wish you would only disown your wives, then do what you will you are secure—that is, you must only own one wife, for this is the popular idea, the sentiment of the age. This is the voice of fifty millions of people. You must listen to it. Congress has said it. If you hesitate (some go so far as to say), you will be held to answer for treason. Treason against what? Treason against the law. Well, then, of course every thief is guilty of treason. Every man that steals an axe handle shall be tried for treason because he disobeys the law, by the same parity of reasoning. Again, if you try to avoid the law and we can catch you, why you are doing a terribly wicked thing. Yes; if spotters are hunting down some luckless fellow or his wife, and they slip out at the back door, or hide in a haystack, why, you must be held for treason, or some other crime. Now, I have always understood that catching goes before hanging; that it is the duty of the officers to make arrests when indictments are found; and it is equally understood that there is a guarantee in the Constitution of the United States that no man shall be held to answer for any crime except on presentment of an indictment by a grand jury. Furthermore, when indictments are found, the parties against whom they are found are known only to the jury and public prosecutor; the general public are not supposed to know anything about them, and the general maxim of law is that everybody is innocent until they are proven guilty. Consequently, we are not supposed to know that when anybody is going out to the haystack that they are fleeing from an officer, or that every tramp that comes along is a deputy marshal, or if he is that he has a warrant in his pocket for that man, and if he has it is his business to catch him and not ours. Does not the law forbid you to aid in the escape of a criminal? Yes, if he has been found a criminal by a competent jury and under sentence of the law. Then it is public notice to you that he is a criminal, but not otherwise. I merely make mention of this because of the foolish threats that are sometimes made to terrify ignorant people. Because it is well known the world over, so far as anything is known of us, and of the legislation of Congress against us as a religious people, that there is an issue between Congress and the Latter-day Saints, and that issue is of a religious character and relating to the social relations of the Latter-day Saints. The views which we hold are founded upon the revelations of God, both ancient and modern. We have given evidence to the world of our sincerity in this, and yet the world do not seem to accept it. I believe that Mr. Dickson was honest enough to express his conviction of our sincerity in this, and that the Mormon people, as a people, were moral people, and that their teachings and actions showed that they did not indulge in these sexual sins outside of the marriage relation to any great extent; while the great mass of mankind who know us not are not willing to give us this credit. They have raised the hue and cry all over the land for so many years, that we were guilty of gross immorality, that it seems as if the Lord intended in the way now being done to give the world ocular demonstration and a strong testimony of the integrity of this people, of the sincerity of their actions, of the depth and strength of their faith, and their devotion to their religious convictions, and their integrity in carrying them out. It is a source of gratification and thanksgiving that but few, comparatively speaking, among us have felt to go back on themselves and to throw off allegiance to God and to their families and friends, and to violate their consciences; but few have been found to do this in order to escape fine and imprisonment. How far it will become necessary that this testimony should go forth to the world, and how many should suffer so that their testimony should go abroad to mankind to convince the world and to vindicate God and His people, I am not yet able to say, for I am persuaded it will be as the Lord will; that whatsoever is necessary we must submit to with the best grace possible. I do not mean to say that every one who may be thought to come under the third section of the Edmunds law shall go and complain on himself, or if complained of by some spotter that he shall go straightway and confess guilt, or if arraigned for trial on an indictment, that he shall plead guilty without a trial; I do not say this. Every man must be left to choose for himself what course he will pursue in relation to those matters; for pleading guilty or not guilty when arraigned before the Court is a mere technical form and a liberty which every prisoner enjoys, that of pleading guilty or not guilty. The plea of guilty, of course, saves the expense of a trial, while a plea of not guilty, means that the prosecutor must prove the charge made in the indictment. I do not say, therefore, that in submitting as best we can to the operation of the law that we shall not avail ourselves of constitutional privileges and the rights accorded to us. We have the right to be tried by a jury of our peers if we can get one, but we cannot get one under this act. The act was purposely framed to cut off that right. The right of a man to be tried by a jury of his peers—this term originated in Great Britain and was guaranteed in the Magna Charta—means simply a jury of his equals. If a man belonged to the nobility of the land, he was entitled to be tried by a jury of his equals. If he was a plebeian, a common laborer in the humble walks of life, he was entitled to a jury of his equals, his associates, neighbors, those that knew him best and were able to sympathize with him and comprehend his position and circumstances and the motives governing his acts, so that a righteous judgment might be rendered concerning him. This guarantee was incorporated in the American Constitution. The right of a man to be tried by a jury of his peers implied all that was necessary to pro tect the citizens against malicious prosecutions; but in our special case, under the operation of special laws enacted against the Latter-day Saints, we are compelled to go to trial before a jury of our avowed enemies; indeed, none are qualified to sit upon juries in our case unless they are pronounced against us; because, as I said before, it is not a sexual crime that is on trial; it is a religious sentiment of the Mormon people; it is this status of their social relations founded upon their religious convictions that is on trial. Hence it is the pronounced opposition to our convictions that is a qualification for a juryman in our case.

Well, we were told by the Prophet Joseph Smith, that the United States Government and people would come to this: that they would undermine one principle of the Constitution after another, until its whole fabric would be torn away, and that it would become the duty of the Latter-day Saints and those in sympathy with them to rescue it from destruction, and to maintain and sustain the principles of human freedom for which our fathers fought and bled. We look for these things to come in quick succession. When I first heard of the—what shall I call it? The somersault of Judge Zane and Prosecuting Attorney Dickson, the question was asked, Now that the mask is thrown off, how will this take throughout the country? Will the hireling priests throughout the land sustain this action? Will they consent to have this hypocritical mask thrown off then, and will the Supreme Court of the United States and the people of the United States sustain the ruling? I unhesitatingly answer, yes, they will, and if ever it reaches the Supreme Court of the United States, they will sustain it; the hypocritical hireling priests will sustain it; the people will sustain it and say, “Crucify them, crucify them, they have no friends.”

It becomes us, then, to be better Saints, does it not? Yes. It becomes us to be more united than we have ever been before. It becomes us to put away our foolishness; to cease all sin; to observe the words of wisdom; to walk in all humility before God; to be faithful and earnest in our prayers, and to imitate good old Daniel. Never mind the lion’s den nor the murderer’s Pen, but so live that we can be counted worthy before God, and whatsoever He has designed should come upon us that we may have grace given unto us according to our day, and that the world may record of us in future generations that we were an honest and a noble race, true to our God and to our convictions, and worthy of the high calling of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We should not blame one another for not going to the Penitentiary. We should not find fault with President Taylor, or President Cannon, or President Woodruff, because they do not rush into the Penitentiary, or go into court and plead guilty, and at once go to prison. Nor need we until the Lord requires it, rise up and say, “build a new Penitentiary and let us all go in together.” We are not required to do this, but may claim our rights under the law. We may leave the Government officials to do their duty, and if they will honestly and rightly act according to the rules of evidence within their prescribed jurisdiction, it will take them some time to get us all into the Penitentiary, because under the law we can insist upon a trial and upon a jury. Judge Howard was reported to have said that it took very little law and less evidence to convict a Mormon in Arizona. Nevertheless there are certain forms that they have to go through, all of which takes a certain length of time, and a certain amount of labor on the part of the Prosecuting Attorney, and if he gets but $40 for each indictment, give him the privilege of drawing up the indictment and proving the charge therein. Amen.




God the Source of All Intelligence—Mankind His Offspring and the Instruments of His Will—He Overrules the Results of Men’s Actions—Pre-Existence of Man and Plurality of Worlds—The Gospel One and Unchangeable—Charges of Exclusiveness, Etc., Against the Saints—The Christian World Deny Revelation and Repudiate Bible Doctrine—Their Apostasy Predicted and Fulfilled—The Gospel Restored and the Last Dispensation—The Earth’s Week of History and Millennial Sabbath—What “Mormon” Treason Consists of—The Mission of the American Republic—A Fable and Its Application—A Prophecy—The Peaceable Mission of the Saints

Discourse by Bishop Orson F. Whitney, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, April 19, 1885.

I have been called upon, my brethren and sisters and friends, to address you for a portion of the time which belongs to this meeting, and I assure you that in responding to that call I have no desire in my heart but to be led to say those things which will be pleasing and acceptable to God our Father, and beneficial to ourselves.

I have always been taught to regard our Father in heaven as the source of all intelligence, and that wherever intelligence is manifested throughout the earth, among His creatures, it has its primal origin in Him who is the fountain of life and light; and that if men are qualified to perform any great or good work, it must necessarily be by reason of the power from God which rests upon them. The Latter-day Saints take this view of the relationship of God with mankind; that He is not simply the Father, or creator of a part of the human race, or a portion of earth’s creatures, but He is the creator of all things—the maker of the earth, the maker of heaven, and that the children of men are the sons and daughters of one common parentage; that He feels for them all the day long; that He has their welfare constantly in view, and He makes no movement, so far as His children upon this earth are concerned, but He does it for their salvation and their good here and hereafter.

The Latter-day Saints are said to be exclusive, and are called selfish and presumptuous because they maintain that a certain mission has been given unto them; that they have received revelations from God; that the Maker of the world has deigned to speak in these last days, and raise up men and women whom He knew beforehand would do His will. This unfavorable view arises from the fact that our motives are misunderstood; that our mission, which we continually proclaim to the world is not believed in, and we are looked upon as an assembly of upstarts, enthusiasts and fanatics, who, in our blindness and our narrowness think that God has only regarded us; that we are His favorites, and that He cares nothing at all for the rest of mankind. This is a wrong idea of our position, and it is because our position is thus misconceived—one cause at least—that we are persecuted and abused, derided, oppressed and trampled upon as we are. However, I do not believe that we could escape the common fate of those whom God has chosen for a peculiar work in all ages of the world. For, while we acknowledge that God is the Father of the human race, and interested in the salvation of all, we do maintain that our mission as a part of the human family is peculiar, separate and distinct from the missions which have been given to others. God is the author of many plans and purposes, but all his plans, all his purposes and designs converge to one point, have one focus, whether He uses the Christian world, the heathen world, or even this little handful of Latter-day Saints; no matter whom He uses to accomplish His ends, these purposes blend and have but one grand object. They are like rivers or streams of different kinds and sizes flowing towards one ocean into which they all must empty. And though men deem themselves independent—and it is true that in one sense they are—while they fail, many of them, to take God into consideration, and seem to think they can do about as they please, and accomplish what ends they desire, all their independence, all their freedom, simply amounts to this; that they have the privilege to do right or do wrong, but the results of their actions God will overrule to suit himself. “Man proposes but God disposes,” and the history of this world, or any other world which has passed through a similar probation and been redeemed and glorified by the power of God and obedience to the principles of righteousness, is one vast exemplification of that great truth. While man is left free to propose, to adopt what plans he chooses, to exercise his agency, and to carry, so far as he is permitted, the thoughts and desires of his heart to their conclusion, God has never declared that He would not overrule the results of men’s acts to accomplish His own purposes.

We are placed in this world measurably in the dark. We no longer see our Father face to face. While it is true that we once did; that we once stood in His presence, seeing as we are seen, knowing, according to our intelligence, as we are known; the curtain has dropped, we have changed our abode, we have taken upon ourselves flesh; the veil of forgetfulness intervenes between this life and that, and we are left, as Paul expresses it, to “see through a glass darkly,” to “know in part and to prophesy in part;” to see only to a limited extent, the end from the beginning. We do not comprehend things in their fullness. But we have the promise, if we will receive and live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, wisely using the intelligence, the opportunities, the advantages, and the possessions which He continually bestows upon us—the time will come, in the eternal course of events, when our minds will be cleared from every cloud, the past will recur to memory, the future will be an open vision, and we will behold things as they are, and the past, present and future will be one eternal day, as it is in the eyes of God our Father, who knows neither past, present or future; whose course is one eternal round; who creates, who saves, redeems and glorifies the workmanship of His hands, in which He Himself is glorified.

The earth upon which we dwell is only one among the many creations of God. The stars that glitter in the heavens at night and give light unto the earth are His creations, redeemed worlds, perhaps, or worlds that are passing through the course of their redemption, being saved, purified, glorified and exalted by obedience to the principles of truth which we are now struggling to obey. Thus is the work of our Father made perpetual, and as fast as one world and its inhabitants are disposed of, He will roll another into existence, He will create another earth, He will people it with His offspring, the offspring of the Gods in eternity, and they will pass through probations such as we are now passing through, that they may prove their integrity by their works; that they may give an assurance to the Almighty that they are worthy to be exalted through obedience to those principles, that unchangeable plan of salvation which has been revealed to us.

It is one of the grandest attributes of Deity that He saves and exalts the human family upon just and eternal principles; that He gives to no man, or no woman that which they have not been willing to work for, which they have not deserved, which they have not expanded themselves to receive by putting in practice the principles He reveals, against all opposition, facing the wrath and scorn of the world—the world which cannot give a just cause, a reasonable pretext for the opposition it has ever manifested to the truths of heaven. It is a characteristic of our Father, a principle of His divine economy to exact from every soul a fitting proof of its worthiness to attain the exaltation to which it aspires. There are no heights that may not be surmounted, but they must be reached in the way that God has ordained. Man may think to accomplish his salvation by carrying out the selfish desires of his own heart; but when he fails to take God into consideration, his Creator, and the framer of the laws whereby we mount unto exaltation and eternal life, he knocks the ladder from under him whereby he might climb to that glorious state.

The exclusiveness which the Latter-day Saints exhibit is this: they maintain that the Lord has but one way to save the human race; that the term “everlasting gospel” is not a misnomer, but means exactly what it says, and that it is eternal as its maker or framer is eternal. It can no more change than He can change. A man must obey the same principles now that were obeyed two thousand years ago, or six thousand years ago, or millions of ages ago, in order to attain the presence of His Father and God. There is but one way, one plan of life and salvation, and there need be but one; for God, being an economist, does not create that which is superfluous; and there can be, in the very nature of things, only one true plan of eternal life, for if there were two they must necessarily differ, since no two things can be exactly alike, and if one of these two things is perfect that which differs from it, must be imperfect. Of a necessity God is the author of perfection; His works are not deficient in any respect; and what He ordains for the salvation of man is the only way for man to be saved. Thus it is that the Latter-day Saints preach the everlasting Gospel, the unchangeable way of eternal life, and to corroborate it, they point to the Scriptures which are now being fulfilled. Among other things, to the vision of the Prophet John upon the isle of Patmos, who 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.” This is the exclusiveness of the Latter-day Saints; it is as far as it extends. There is but one way to eternal life, and while there are many systems extant called plans of salvation, yet they differ from each other as the stars of heaven differ in magnitude, or as the sands of the seashore, or as the countenances of the children of men; nay, more than this, for most of them are lacking in features which are necessary in order to form a perfect whole. If the Latter-day Saints are in possession of the everlasting Gospel, all sects, creeds and parties that preach a Gospel which differs from it, must be wrong; or vice versa, if the Saints preach any other Gospel than that which was preached in the days of the apostles, which was delivered to them by the Sons of God, then the Latter-day Saints must be wrong also.

The selfishness which this people exhibit is of the same character that might be evinced in the case of a man who was lost and had the right way pointed out to him by another. If a traveler had lost his way and should meet one who professed to know the direction he desired to pursue; or, if the traveler should ask which was the way to such and such a place, and the guide should tell him, and he in his self-will and obstinacy should persist in taking a contrary course, how in the name of consistency could he blame his guide if he did not reach his destination; or how could he charge him with being selfish or presumptuous, when he himself confessed his ignorance and appealed to this man who testified in all earnestness that he knew which was the right way? Yet this is similar to the position of the world in relation to the Latter-day Saints, who solemnly testify that the God of heaven has revealed to them the only way to life and salvation, a claim which no other sect, church or party advance at the present time. They deny revelation; they say the heavens are closed; that God no longer speaks to the human family; that He has left them with a Bible, the record of a people who are dead; which speaks of commandments given to an ancient people, who like ourselves were the children of God. This is the claim of the Christian world—that this book is the canon of scripture, and that it is full, and we need no more revelation, no more light than is contained within the lids of this book. They take that position, and yet say we are exclusive, we are presumptuous, narrow-minded and contracted, because we testify that God does speak, and has revealed a newer revelation than this Bible which I hold.

It is true that our testifying of this does not make it true, in and of itself. Nevertheless, men are responsible if they do not carefully weigh and consider the testimonies of those who claim to have more light than they have. I would hold myself ready, as a seeker after truth, if not certain that I already possessed it, and I hold myself ready now, while believing that my feet are planted upon the rock of truth, and that this is the only Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; to pay due respect to the honest opinions of my fellow creatures, proving all things and holding fast that which is good. If the Christian world shall bring forth something better, if they have it, or ever will have it, than Mormonism, I hope I will not be so bigoted as to turn a deaf ear to their honest testimonies, claiming that I have light already, and that I want no more light. I would at least examine their professions, whatever they were, and try them by “the law and the testimony;” for if men “speak not according to that, it is because there is no light in them.”

The Bible is a blessing; we do not depreciate its value, for it enables us to meet the Christian world upon their own ground, using this Bible as the touchstone of truth, in relation to their doctrines and those that we advance, which are taught and confirmed by this very Book in which Christians profess to believe. There is no doctrine preached or believed by the Latter-day Saints, but they can find confirmatory proof of its authenticity within the lids of the Holy Bible; and when their views are not received, and they are laughed to scorn and derided by the Christian world, it is simply an acknowledgment on the part of those who mistreat them that they do not believe their own Bible, that they have no faith in the record which they claim is all-sufficient—the be-all and the end-all of revelation. They profess great reverence for this good Book, yet they do not believe or practice what it inculcates. It is a prevalent idea in the world, with those who are in possession of the Scriptures, that it is only necessary to believe on the name of the Son of God, and that constitutes salvation, taking I suppose as a basis for it, the Scriptural passage which declares that “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Now, we take this position. We hold that belief in God and the Savior of mankind is absolutely essential to salvation. But we do not stop there. We claim that if men believe in Jesus Christ they will keep His commandments; they will live His laws; they will not repudiate any of the doctrines He preached; they will not say baptism is unessential; that Apostles and Prophets are no longer needed; they will not wrest the Scriptures; they will not say the blessings of the Holy Ghost are done away with; they will not say it is not in the province of inspired men bearing the Holy Priesthood to cast out devils, to speak in new tongues, to lay hands upon the sick and administer those spiritual blessings as they are empowered by the Priesthood bestowed upon them for that purpose. The Christian world would not repudiate these things if they believed their own Bible; for I nowhere read within the lids of this sacred volume that the time would ever come, except through transgression and apostasy, when these things would be done away with, and it would be said they were no longer needed.

It is true that the Apostles of old predicted there would come a time when men would wander from the truth, when they would heap to themselves teachers, and have itching ears, desiring to hear simply the things which suited their selfish natures; that the day would come when they would not endure sound doctrine, but would hire teachers to preach for the commandments of God the precepts of men; when the world would be turned upside down and be emptied of its inhabitants, because they had transgressed the law, changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant. This was to be the condition of the world when these gifts and blessings would be said to be no longer needed. They could no longer lay claim to them because they would persecute, oppress and put to death those who preached sound doctrine; and having destroyed the temporal Church from the face of the earth, its spiritual counterpart would necessarily depart, just as naturally as the spirit of man will depart when the body ceases to live. The body is but a lump of clay without the enlivening agency of the spirit within it. When the body returns to dust, the spirit is free to soar away. When the body of Christ was dead, the spirit returned to God, passed into the spirit world. So it is with the Church, which is called the body of Christ. Kill the temporal Church, and the spirit Church will take its departure; it will be received into the heavens.

This is our belief; that the Christian Church, established in the days of Christ and His Apostles, apostatized and turned from the truth, it became paganized, mixed up with the religion and traditions of pagan Rome, and that that is the cause of this wide diversity of beliefs and conjectures, these many forms of godliness, denying the power thereof; which are said to be the Church of Christ, yet bear little or no semblance to the Church which He established; all claiming to be one, yet divided innumerably; to have the same Gospel, yet not able to stand the test of comparison with the Gospel preached in former days; claiming the same power, yet repudiating and denying that power and trampling upon those who still maintain that it ought to exist. This is the consistency of the position of the opponents of “Mormonism,” which claims to be the old Gospel brought back again, the old Church resurrected, no new religion, no new plan, but simply the everlasting Gospel revealed anew.

I might occupy your time citing evidences almost innumerable to show how the Christian world have departed from the teachings of this sacred Book. I might appeal to it, also, to confirm the teachings of the Latter-day Saints. It is an old story, many times told, and perhaps I had better not dilate upon it this afternoon. Suffice it that we claim that God has spoken from heaven; that He has reopened the long-closed portals of eternity, and has raised up a people to usher in the dispensation of Gospel grace as He has headed every dispensation which has preceded it; raising up inspired men to do His bidding; to preach to the world the principles of everlasting life; to establish upon the earth a system which will foreshadow and usher in the millennial reign of universal peace and righteousness. We believe that we are living in the last days; that these are the days when God said He would perform a marvelous work and a wonder; that He would set His hand the second time to recover the remnant of his people; that He would gather them from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west, and would bring them to Zion, and give them pastors after His own heart, to teach them the law of the Lord, and that the law should go forth from Zion to the inhabitants of the earth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

We believe that we are living in the evening of history, that we are closing the Saturday of the great week, each day of which is a thousand years, the period preordained in which this earth should accomplish the purpose appointed by its creator. We believe that when God spake to Adam and told Him he should die in the day that He partook of the forbidden fruit, that He kept His word, and that Adam did die within the day; but it was not a day of twenty-four hours, one revolution of our little earth; the day of which He spake was based upon a revolution of the planet upon which God dwells, which we are taught revolves once in a thousand years. This world was appointed a probation through which to pass, six working days, before it should have a rest, or sabbath. We believe we are living in the Saturday night of this world’s history, that we are closing the six thousand years of its mortal probation, and that the dawn of the seventh day, or the seventh thousand years, now nearly upon us, will be the millennium, the reign of peace, when Christ the Ruler and Lord of this world, who labored and suffered and died to redeem its inhabitants from death, will be here in His glory to reign upon the earth King over His people and over the human race.

These simple truths, most of which are plainly spoken of in this holy word of God, the Bible, are distorted by the enemies of the Saints to indicate that they are treasonable to the government under which they live. They say we are traitors because we speak of the Kingdom of God; that a kingdom cannot exist within a republic; that it is imperium in imperio; that there is no room in this broad land for the Kingdom of our God. They might as well say there is no room in Christianity for the love of God. Why, this great government was established for the very purpose of introducing this work. Inspired men like Washington and Jefferson were raised up to frame a Constitution liberal in its provisions, extending the utmost freedom to all men, Christian or heathen, who desired to make this glorious land their home; that they might have the unrestricted right to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences. We believe that God raised up George Washington, that He raised up Thomas Jefferson, that He raised up Benjamin Franklin and those other patriots who carved out with their swords and with their pens the character and stability of this great government which they hoped would stand forever, an asylum for the oppressed of all nations, where no man’s religion would be questioned, no man would be limited in his honest service to his Maker, so long as he did not infringe upon the rights of his fellow men. We believe those men were inspired to do their work, as we do that Joseph Smith was inspired to begin this work; just as Galileo, Columbus, and other mighty men of old, whom I have no time to mention, were inspired to gradually pave the way leading to this dispensation; sentinels, standing at different periods down the centuries, playing their parts as they were inspired of God; gradually freeing the human mind from error, gradually dispelling the darkness as they were empowered by their Creator so to do, that in culmination of the grand scheme of schemes, this great nation, the Republic of the United States, might be established upon this land as an asylum for the oppressed; a resting place, it might be said, for the Ark of the covenant, where the temple of our God might be built; where the plan of salvation might be introduced and practiced in freedom, and not a dog would wag his tongue in opposition to the purposes of the Almighty. We believe that this was His object in creating the Republic of the United States; the only land where his work could be commenced or the feet of his people find rest. No other land had such liberal institutions, had adopted so broad a platform upon which all men might stand. We give glory to those patriots for the noble work they did; but we give the first glory to God, our Father and their Father, who inspired them. We take them by the hand as brothers. We believe they did nobly their work, even as we would fain do ours, faithfully and well, that we might not be recreant in the eyes of God, for failing to perform the mission to which He has appointed us.

This is the “treason” of the Latter-day Saints. They preach the coming of the King of Kings, whom all Christians ought to worship; whom all Christians ought to welcome; and instead of passing laws to prohibit, and prevent, if possible, the growth of this work, which has as its object the blessing of all mankind, they should join hands with the Latter-day Saints in consummating it; for as sure as there is a God in heaven it is His work, and He will accomplish it. Haling men before magistrates; immuring them in dungeons; driving them from city to city, or shedding their blood, will no more stamp out this work than it will blot out the glory of the sun. They who take up the sword to fight against Zion will perish by the sword before she perishes; they who leave God out of the question in dealing with the “Mormon problem” will find before they get through that it is suicide to run against Jehovah’s buckler.

We, to all appearances are helpless. We make no boast of our own strength. We are only a handful in the midst of millions. But God has given us a mission to perform. We can no more shrink from that mission than the fathers of the revolution could shrink from theirs. That indeed would be treason, treason to God, treason to humanity, and we should justify the charges which are now so utterly false. We might be complimented, “patted upon the back,” if we would play the part of traitors and recreants, but we cannot afford to buy the compliments of the world, the good opinion of mankind, at such a terrible sacrifice. Men who died to found this nation, have their names held in everlasting remembrance, while the name of the traitor, who would have betrayed his country, and deserted it in the hour of peril, is loaded with opprobrium. He lived while many of the patriots died; but who are living today in the true sense of the term? The name of the patriot will live forever, because he had the courage to die for his convictions; but the name of the traitor will go down to oblivion, because to save himself he deserted in the hour of danger the cause of his country, thinking it was of no use to stand up against the great power which had lifted its mighty arm to crush out the colonies. We think of these things, but we do not propose to fight. We are a people who have peace as our object—the ushering in of a reign of peace. We are a people who build temples. We must not imbrue our hands in blood. But it is not through fear of man that the Latter-day Saints take this position. They have shown their bravery; they have proved their courage by coming out of the world and forsaking it, patiently enduring its scorn and opposition; it is a braver part sometimes to live than to die.

There are sacrifices which would try the souls of some men more than to face death in a thousand forms. But the Latter-day Saints have taken a stand; they cannot recede from it with honor. They are prepared to meet the consequences, and leave the result in the hands of God. We do not look to man for our preservation. If there is no God in “Mormonism” then it will fail, then will our minds be undeceived; but if there is a God in it, woe! to those who fight against Him, who fight against their Creator, and suppose that they can trample upon the rights of their fellow men and not endanger their own rights and liberties as well.

The old fable which Aesop tells of the woodman who went into the forest to get a handle for his axe, describes accurately the position in which we find ourselves. The woodman went and consulted the trees of the forest, asking them to give him a handle for his axe. The other trees, the stronger ones, arrogating to themselves authority and ignoring the rights of others, thought that they could dispose of them as they pleased. They conferred together and decided to grant the request, and they gave to the woodman the ash. The ash fell; but the woodman had no sooner fitted the handle to his axe, than he began upon the other trees. He did not stop with the ash, but he bowed down the oaks and the cedars, and the great and mighty monarchs of the forest who had surrendered in their pride, the rights of the humble ash. An old oak was heard to complain to a neighboring cedar, “if we had not given away the rights of the ash we might have stood forever; but we have surrendered to the destroyer the rights of one, and now we are suffering from the same evil ourselves.”

This nation may think that it is strong enough—powerful enough—to treat the people of Utah as they please. They are; we do not pretend to compare with them so far as that is concerned. But if there is any truth in eternal justice; if there is such a thing as retributions, woe! be unto this forest of States if they surrender into the hands of tyranny the rights of the Utah ash! It cannot be done with safety. If they trample upon the rights of their fellow men, there must come a time in the eternal revolutions of the wheels of justice when their own necks will be beneath the tyrant’s heel. They will suffer themselves from the laws they have passed against the maligned, misunderstood, downtrodden people of Utah. I hope to God, as an American patriot, that this never need come. I hope the eyes of this nation will be opened, that they may see the danger in which they stand from afar; but if I were a prophet I would prophesy in the name of God that if they give away our rights, if they trample upon our liberties, and surrender us as a sacrifice to popular clamor, the day will come when their own necks will feel the galling yoke; the laws they pass now to deprive us of our rights as American citizens, will deprive them of their rights, and they will drink the cup heaped up, pressed down, and running over. I hope this never need be; but I dare predict it on that condition, in all humility, with no spirit of treason, or of ill will to my country; but with a feeling of sorrow that some of our fellowcitizens have it in their hearts to treat us in this cruel manner.

We are a people of peace. We only desire to be let alone to accomplish our mission in peace. God would not permit us to build temples, any more than He permitted David, if we imbrued our hands in blood. David was forbidden to build the temple of God at Jerusalem, because he had been a man of blood. It was reserved for his son Solomon, a man of peace, to build the temple. So it is with us. We will not need to fight, we do not propose to take up arms, we do not desire and will not be compelled to shed the blood of our fellow men. We may have our own blood shed in instances, though the work of God will not be trampled out; but we will let them monopolize that part; they may shed our blood, but we must not shed theirs. We must build temples to the honor of our God, and administer in them for the salvation of the living and the dead; and thus go onward, spreading peace, pouring oil upon the troubled waters; and while there will be wars and rumors of wars, while nation will clash against nation and go down in the whirlpool of fury, the Latter-day Saints must preach peace on earth and good will to men, and be exemplars in all righteousness; seeking to let their light so shine that the glory of God will radiate from them to others.

This is the treason which we preach. We desire to benefit our country; benefit our fellowcitizens; benefit our fellow men. We believe this world is the Lord’s, and that He is coming to reign upon it as it is His right to reign. I care not how soon it is accomplished. The reign of Christ will rob no man of his rights; no righteous government need fear it; neither the United States, nor the nations of Europe, if their consciences are clear, need dread the coming of the King of Kings. They must acknowledge if they are Christian nations, that they owe their allegiance to Him whose right it is to reign. They should be proud to lay their crowns and scepters at His feet, and acknowledge Him to be Lord of Lords, and crown Him King of Kings.

This is a glance at the mission of the Latter-day Saints. These are some of the views we cherish and which we cannot recede from; we would be unworthy of our lineage as the sons and daughters of Abraham, the sons and daughters of Liberty, if we should forsake the things for which our forefathers lived and died, and suffered all manner of persecution. We leave the issue with God. Let the world persecute us, if they desire to assume that responsibility; we will seek to return good for evil. When they come with the sword we will meet them with the olive branch. We will say peace on earth when they have war on earth. We will do our duty as God shall give us strength, and leave the result with Him who overrules the acts of all men and all nations for the ultimate redemption of the human family, of which we are some of the humble representatives.

May God speed the day. May He bless those who are persecuted, who are driven and imprisoned for righteousness’ sake. May He bless the honest, the good, the pure and the patriotic among the American peo ple; the honest and the upright among all nations, who desire to enjoy their own rights and liberties, and are willing that others should enjoy theirs. May God bless all fair-minded people, and may He have mercy upon those who seek to trample upon the rights of their fellow creatures, and oppose the great and glorious purposes which have been foreordained. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.




Love of Home—Visit to Friends—Sent to Preside Over the European Mission—Former Ill-Health in England—Extensive System of Tract Distribution Inaugurated—Tribute to the Worth and Efficiency of the Missionaries—Report of the Condition of the Work in Various European Countries—Hatred Manifested Towards Us After the Murder of Our Brethren in Tennessee—America the Haven of Freedom—Truth Has Ever Met With Persecution—Professed Ministers of the Gospel our Greatest Enemies—No One Injured By Our Principles—Plural Marriage—The Social Evil—Conclusion

Discourse by Apostle John Henry Smith, delivered at the Annual Conference, held in the Tabernacle, Logan, Cache County, Monday Morning, April 6th, 1885.

It affords me pleasure to meet again with the Saints in Zion, and to have the privilege of mingling with the people of God in a general conference. It is sometime since I had this privilege, and I can assure you that I appreciate it very much. I do not think it is possible for me to express in proper language my feelings in regard to my mountain home. I never learned but one verse of poetry in my life, and that one I have repeated many times, and I do not know but what it would be well for me to repeat it this morning. The verse to which I allude says:

“There is a magical tie in the land of my home, That the heart cannot break, though the footsteps may roam, Be that land where it may, at the line or the pole, It still holds the magnet that draws back my soul.”

Such is the case this morning in arising to address you for a short time. What the Lord may have for me to say to you I cannot imagine. For a few months past I have not addressed any congregations; I have been visiting; I have been reasoning with my friends upon the principles of the Gospel, and seeking to enlighten them in regard to my position. Having accepted the Gospel, and dedicated my life to the preaching of the same, I was desirous that my kindred should hear it. I have not been idle, but have been laboring with zeal to impress upon them the nature of the latter-day work. I did not go there expecting to make converts but to relieve my friends of prejudice. I have found, so to speak, that my utterances have fallen on stony ground outside of my kindred and that while I was re ceived with kindness, and trust that good may in time come from my labors in certain directions, yet I cannot say, as many have said, that I have accomplished much good, and that I have removed a world of prejudice. I trust, however, that I may have done some good during the past few weeks among my kindred in the Eastern States.

As you are aware, in 1882 I was sent by my brethren to preside for a season over the European mission. I proceeded to my field of labor with some dubiety in regard to my own self. My former experience upon the island of Great Britain had been such that I was really fearful in regard to my health. For five years after my first mission to the British Isles, I had never passed a night in sound and perfect sleep. I suffered from a cold contracted on that mission. On my departure in 1882, however, my brethren promised me I should go in peace; that I should enjoy good health; that the blessings of the Lord should be around me; and that I should be enabled to accomplish the object for which I was sent forth. And while I went with some foreboding with regard to myself, still it appears I had to return to Great Britain, to lose that which had seized upon me on a former mission.

I found upon my arrival in that land a corps of very excellent Elders. The mission was in a very good condition, with an earnest and determined lot of missionaries who were willing to do anything that might be required at their hands for the furtherance of the purposes of the Lord. I found, however, upon investigation and mingling with my brethren, that the road seemed to be hedged up in a manner so that they could not accomplish that which their hearts desired. After visiting various conferences, and giving the brethren such instructions and counsel as the spirit suggested as to the best method to reach the people, getting their views and the result of their experience in the field, some of them having been there for a year or two—it was decided, on the suggestion of several, that an effort be made to distribute more of the written word than had heretofore been done. Communications were addressed to the Presidency of the Church, and by their consent a system of tract distribution was inaugurated and has been followed systematically from that day to this. What the result may be in the future we cannot say. Nevertheless, we have done the best we could in our ministrations among the people, and have striven with the power that the Lord has given us to warn our fellow men of the reestablishment of the Kingdom of God. The Elders that have been sent to labor under my watchcare and counsel, have been men of worth. It is a matter of pride to me that those who have been sent to labor under my direction have been good and humble men. Many of them have been young men, reared in these mountains—that were taken from the farm, from the stock range, from the store, and from the work bench. They had received comparatively little training in the ministry; but a few weeks time has developed them, and they have gone forward in faith; the Lord has blessed them in their administrations. I have had much joy and satisfaction in laboring with them, and in all my ministrations and counsels to them I believe they have listened to them and sought to the best of their ability to carry out these counsels, and labor for the advancement of the work of the Lord.

Since I returned home there has nothing afforded me greater pleasure than during this conference to take into my arms and press to my breast the men that have been laboring in the same cause as myself; for I respect and honor them as I would my own brother. These sentiments are from the heart in regard to them, and I trust that their experience with me and our acquaintance, and the friendship that springs up amid adversity and trials, may be as lasting as life itself.

I am pleased to report that in Great Britain we continue to do some baptizing. During my administration in that land a little new ground, or rather ground that had been worked years ago and been abandoned, has been opened up in various places. We have gained a foothold in Finland, and a few have been baptized in that land. Brother Fjelsted sent some native Elders into that section of country. Some men that were inspired with zeal, and who were humble, and who were ready to meet any trial and difficulty that might come in their way, succeeded in opening a little door. Seed has been sown. Away north on the borders of Prussia and Russia, an opening has been made through a native who had been ordained by Brother J. A. Smith, of Cache Valley, and there is a prospect of the Gospel being introduced in that country. We have also made a little effort to introduce the Gospel in Austria. Brother Beisinger has been there and labored some time. Brother Hammer was there also, but was run off by the authorities. Brother Beisinger and Brother Jennings are now, I suppose, in Austria, probably in Bohemia. I felt while in Switzerland, in December, that it would be impossible for me to return home without another effort being made to open up the Gospel to Austria, although the brethren had already suffered considerable in that land. The authorities there do not treat our Elders as they should; but I trust that by wisdom and prudence, the Gospel may be preached, and that the inhabitants thereof—a fine race of people—may sense their position and embrace the truth. We have also made an effort to establish ourselves in Turkey, and I trust that a work will be opened up there. A few baptisms have already been made.

The brethren throughout the British Isles have been making efforts to introduce the Gospel in every corner and place where opportunity presented itself. I would say, however, that the England of a few years ago is not the England of today. While the same spirit of liberty—the love of the rights of man—may exist among the English people, still that spirit of hospitality that characterized them years and years ago, seems to be on the wane. Many people are out of employment, the numbers that are wandering around begging their bread, closes, in a measure the hearts of the people, and they feel that they cannot carry the loads that they have been carrying. Still, among the Latter-day Saints, the same hospitality is to be found. Their hearts are as warm today as they ever were.

We have made recently—through the labors of Brothers Wilson and Marshall, two Irish brethren—an opening in the north of Ireland, and we trust that with care much good will result in that neighborhood. Some very fine people have embraced the Gospel there, people in good circumstances, and who, inspired with zeal, desire to spread the principles of the Gospel. And thus little by little we accomplish the object of our mission, and the world is being warned. When I left England there were three valley Elders in Ireland, and I hope others may be added to their number before long, so that the work may spread at least in the protestant portion of that country. I am inclined to believe that there are hundreds and thousands of people in Ireland who will receive the Gospel. My prejudices in regard to the Irish people have been wiped away in mingling among them. I find them among the purest of the stocks upon the earth. Virtue is held at a high premium among them. The statistics of Great Britain show this fact; that illegitimate births in Ireland constitute 3 percent. In England six, in Scotland nine. I say this speaks volumes for Ireland, and I trust that the Gospel may spread in that land and that thousands may receive its truths.

I have visited nearly all parts of the mission—at least where there are any Saints, and some portions where there are none. I went to Italy in the hope that I might see some chance of making an opening in that country. I came very near having two of the Elders starved by staying there. I was determined, however, to try and introduce the Gospel. There are some sections of the country that are Protestant, and I trust there may be a time come when the Gospel will spread among that people. But I regard Italy as in such a condition that there are but few chances at the present time for any opening to be made. The Italians are bound up in the religious faith that they have been reared in, or they are infidel almost entirely. I noticed in my attendance at the churches, that they are usually well filled with priests and beggars, and that few, comparatively speaking, of the well-to-do classes, or the middle classes, or the better informed classes, were paying any attention whatever to religious observance.

I have also during my administration in the British mission, sought to have the Gospel preached among the French people. Brother Bunot and Brother West made an effort on the Island of Jersey. Brother Bunot was sent to France, and he stayed there just as long as he could possibly live, using his own means, and striving by every means in his power to open some door to his countrymen. Brother Bunot is a man who was educated for the Catholic ministry, a man of intelligence and learning, and a humble man who did everything in his power to warn his countrymen. He was not successful in accomplishing the desires of his heart. On the borders of Switzerland and France a number of the Elders have labored, and while we have not reaped as we could have wished to have done, still there has been satisfaction in the labors we have performed; for we realize that it is not only a day of gleaning and gathering the people, but it is also a day of warning.

I will say here, that about the time our brethren in the southern States were murdered in cold blood, a wave of hatred seemed to have been engendered in the minds of the people in every direction. The press of Europe teemed with the most horrid stories that can be imagined. Everything that had ever been thought of everything that had ever been manufactured for partisan purposes in our own land was scattered broadcast throughout Europe, and the masses of the people were warned in every direction in regard to us. And not only were they warned through the newspapers, but lecturers began to take the field in every direction, and incite the people not to avoid our meetings, but on the contrary to follow us up and to mob us, giving us no chance to explain to them the principles of the Gospel, or represent ourselves as we should. This feeling has been growing in power from that time until the time I left that land. But as heretofore a cool wave will by and by come along and as a result of the heated condition of the people over the Mormon problem, and the efforts that have been made to impede the Lord’s work, people will begin to inquire, thoughtful people will look into the truth, and the work will continue to grow in the future as it has done in the past. It is true that people do not come by hundreds and thousands to hear the good word of life and salvation; but the eyes of the world are directed to this our mountain home. They recognize the force of the utterance of Henry Ward Beecher, when he said: “Gentlemen, say what you will, but yonder in the Rocky Mountains is the phenomenon of the nineteenth century.” It is a living fact that people in every land and clime are turning their eyes towards this region of country, and wondering what will be the upshot of the problem that is being worked out by the Latter-day Saints in their western home. Men of intelligence are traveling; they are mingling among our people; they see their industry; they recognize the perseverance they have manifested; they see the obstacles they have overcome; they recognize in them a growing race that knows no failure, that meets no rebuff, that cannot understand nor sense what defeat means; and they see in the Latter-day Saints the growth and development of a power that will accomplish its object in the earth, and that object Deity has designed it should accomplish—the gathering in of the honest in heart, the establishment of righteousness, the combating of wickedness, the driving back of the forces of evil as they cluster around the hearts of men and that are leading men step by step to inevitable shame and destruction.

It affords me pleasure, my brethren and sisters, to again put my feet on the soil of America. I recognize in it the home of a free man. There may be those who desire to pervert this freedom, who may seek to engender strife and drive us from the soil upon which we live; there may be those who seek to trample upon the rights and liberties of man; but I believe from the bottom of my heart that Deity has stamped it upon this soil, that He has written it throughout the universe, that in this land His work should prosper. That it should go forward and increase until its great destiny shall be accomplished; that this is the spot chosen, that here it will be nourished, here it will grow, here it will go forward, and the nations of the earth will look upon it and recognize it as the great force that will conquer the earth and bring subject to it the powers that exist thereon; and all this will be brought about by the law of righteousness, the law of truth, the law of God given to mankind for their guidance and control, and they will accept it and live in accordance with its principles. You and I may tread a thorny path; it may be strewn with rugged places; we may break the flesh upon our hands, and be bruised in our forward movement; but the work will advance and progress. Deity is our friend, our guide, our protector. All we need do as a people is to keep our eye upon the mark of divine truth; move forward without fear, and ask no favors so far as mankind is concerned; only seek to do right by our fellow creatures. Hate no one. I dare not hate any man upon the face of the earth. No matter how vile, how wicked, how corrupt he may be, if I find him in want of a friend I would extend to him the hand of friendship; I would give him bread if he was hungry; water if he was thirsty; clothing if he was naked; for I would recognize in him the fact that he was a creation of my Father, and I would not dare to hate him, no matter how vile he might be. I might hate the principles he had espoused; the wicked acts of which he was guilty; but I would recognize in him something that I should seek to benefit, bless and save, and I would use all the powers God had bestowed upon me in that direction.

“Brother Smith,” some may say, “don’t you feel uneasy over the condition of things that now exists in our Territory?” I have sometimes wished that things were not as they are. As I have wandered in the earth and stood up in the streets and parks and halls preaching the Gospel, I have said to myself, I wish that my Father had not set me to this work; I wish that these things were not required at my hands. I have sometimes felt timid in being brought in contact with the world, and the efforts that were being made against me and my brethren. I have wished it could be otherwise, and yet when I stop and reflect, when I look over the history of the past, when I read the facts as history brings them to us, I see no other way, I see no other road to travel. Every fiber of my being is convinced of the truth of this Gospel. It is stamped upon every feature, upon every part of my being. I regard it as dearer than life and everything else upon the face of the earth. Why need I be fearful, why need I tremble, why need I be wrought up at the prospect that is before us? No great system has ever been established upon the face of the earth without much labor and perseverance. Look at the inventions that have been brought out and the efforts that have been directed against them, even in those things that were to be utilized for our own clothing, for our own movements from place to place, or for the comfort and convenience of our homes. The men that have invented these things have met with continual persecution. They have struggled against nature itself; and why need we, who have had given to us the great plan of life and salvation, that which will bring us back into the presence of God, that which stamps upon our souls the prospect of eternal union with our wives and our children, and of mingling with our friends and relatives that have gone before—why need we fear the hand of our enemies. Who cannot stand a few weeks of imprisonment, a few months of torture, a few years of difficulty, that they may offer an offering in righteousness to that God that called them forth? Not one of us. Therefore, so far as I am concerned, my brethren and sisters as an individual, I am perfectly happy, just as happy as I can possibly be under the circumstances in which we are placed. I have no worry nor concern. One of my uncles, whose home I left but a few weeks ago warned me that certain things were inevitable; that it was impossible for us to hope to fight longer these things our pronounced enemies were seeking to bring upon us. All I said to him was, “Wait and see.” That is what I propose to do—wait and see, just wait and see. I have been waiting from my childhood, and expect to continue to wait. It is possible that a few men like myself maybe hustled within the prison walls; it is possible that a few “Mormons” may be outraged and banished from their native land; it is possible that men may follow us to the death; but while men die, systems continue to live and grow, and the powers of earth and hell can never check their advancement and development. Such is the case in regard to the work we have embraced. It is a living work. It is one of the active forces in nature. It is backed by the powers of heaven, and ye are its emissaries sent here at this time to aid in its advancement. The Gospel must be preached; the nations of the earth must be warned, and this nation, or any other nation, will fall beneath the judgment of an enraged God if they reject the message of glad tidings, which our Father has offered them for their exaltation in His kingdom. The work of God must conquer every foe, it must overcome every opposing force, and it will accomplish that destiny as sure as there is a God in heaven. Write it upon the page of history; stamp it upon your souls; for deity has designed that it should be the case.

I find in mingling among the people in the east, that the moving force today against the Latter-day Saints is not the politicians of the country. The politicians, so far as they are concerned would care little about us, but there are behind them the people. There are first the ministers of the Gospel. I do not desire to speak harshly of the ministers that live among us, or make charges against them, for I have been away for some time; but this fact is patent to every one—that the fervor against the “Mormons” is worked up right from our own homes, and largely by Christian ministers. Letters are written to the ministers of the country; the ministers work upon their flocks. Go among many of the peoples of the east—among the old Puritan stock, of which my fathers are descendants—and you will find that the tales of the horrors of Mormonism are of the most startling character. This I discovered while visiting among my relatives in New England.

They were all more or less prejudiced against Mormonism; but I trust that the little light I was able to throw upon the question may result in good. The New Englanders as a rule, have but small families, and the evil practices that are resorted to by many to prevent their having children at all, will be the means of carrying them down to the pit.

Now, brethren and sisters, whom have we wronged? Whom have we wronged by peopling this desert land? Nobody. If there was anybody wronged it was the red man, and he has not been wronged but blessed; for we have tried to feed instead of fight him. The first principle of the Gospel is faith. Whom have we hurt if we have faith? Then there is the principle of repentance. Whom have we injured if we have repented? Is anybody hurt? Is the government hurt? Does repentance beget hostility to the government? If we make a covenant with God in the waters of baptism that we will be pure, is anybody wronged? No! Have we plotted for the overthrow and destruction of the government in which we live because the hands of the servants of God have been laid upon our heads and they have bestowed upon us the Holy Ghost, the witness of the Spirit that shall guide us into all truth? No. Have you or I made a contract with our God to wage antagonism to the institutions of the country in which we live, or sign allegiance to any other government upon the earth? I have not. I have sworn allegiance to the government in which I live. My labors as a man are in the interests of humanity—the freedom of man; that his conscience may not be chained up; that his body may not be bowed down with the yoke of tyranny; but that before God he may stand erect, fearless and strong, determined to benefit and bless the human family. Need we be fearful in regard to these things? I think not. There is one that will recompense at the last day; and the man who denies the other his liberties, who binds him in chains, who ties him to the rack, is the man who should tremble when the reckoning of Deity is made with His sons and daughters. We might go through all the principles of the faith we have espoused and then ask who is wronged? We have made grass grow where it did not grow before. If we have built homes, if we pay taxes for the sustenance and government of the cities and towns that are to be found upon this once sterile spot, and which was once the great American desert, who is wronged? No one. Who has raised a standard against the government in which we live? Not one of us. But you believe in the Priesthood. You accept of a system of government that is most perfect on the face of the earth. Who is wronged if we do? You have not changed it. It has not changed you. It has not wronged you; and that which we have accepted we have accepted of our own free will and choice, recognizing the fact that Deity has required it at our hands. Who is injured if my wife makes a sacrifice with me and takes into our home one of her sisters and makes her my wife. If she makes the sacrifice; if I shoulder the additional responsibility, and open the door that will save one of Eve’s fair daughters, who is wronged? Do I plot for the overthrow of the government, the breaking in pieces of the powers that be, because I desire that my sister or my daughter, my aunt or my cousin may be preserved from the evils thrown around them by the systems that man has created? No. God has laid upon every woman the decree placed upon mother Eve—multiply and replenish the earth. In sections of the land in which we live, thousands of women today must become the play things of some vile wretch, if they answer the design of their being. My whole being is convinced of the fact—that it is a decree of God Himself that these women should have a chance to marry, and that He Himself has opened the door. He Himself has established the principle. I want my daughters married as I desired to marry myself; I want them honored wives, whether plural ones or otherwise, no matter who may seek to brand their offspring as infamous. I know—for God has given me the witness, He has stamped it upon this heart that they who come through that lineage are as much honored of God and approved of Him, as any that have ever walked His footstool from the day that this earth was peopled until the day in which we live. This principle was given for a purpose, and that purpose is the salvation of the female sex as well as the male sex. Go to Great Britain, and you will find a million more women than men moving upon the streets of the great cities. Go up the Strand in London; Go up Lime Street, in Liverpool; and the streets in Manchester; go into any of the leading streets of the great cities of the world, and gaze upon as fine specimens of womanhood as our Father ever put breath into. What are their prospects in life? What is written across their brow? Infamy, shame—going to their graves the victims of loathsome disease. It is not one, it is not two or three; but it is millions of them that are going this inevitable road. Who is responsible? Who placed upon them the interdict, preventing them, from fulfilling the object of their creation? Not God; for He made His law so liberal and established principle so correct that there was no necessity for such a thing. It is man that has introduced it; it is man that has overturned the condition of society; it is man that has turned his daughter into the street. I say again and again that the “Mormon” people can wait the result of this thing without fear; they can afford to suffer pains and penalties if that will but open the door by which the fair daughters of Eve can be redeemed from the position in which they are placed and be made honored and respected women of society.

The speaker concluded by reiterating his allegiance to the American government, and exhorting the Saints to be faithful in keeping the commandments of God in all things.




Prosperous Condition of the Latter-Day Saints in the Valleys of the Mountains—The Kingdom of God is One of Peace, While Those of the World Are Kingdoms of War and Oppression—Exhortations to Faithfulness—We Must Trust in God and He Will Preserve Us—The Saints Are Not Using Carnal Weapons to Defend Themselves Against the Indians, Nor Against Their Enemies—If Necessary, We Should be Willing to Give Our Lives for the Cause of Truth—The Blessings of God Invoked Upon the Saints

Remarks by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered at the General Conference, held in Logan, on the 6th April, 1885.

The Latter-day Saints have very great reason to rejoice and to be exceedingly glad before our Father who is in heaven and before the people here on the earth. If we take a look at our condition, and consider the same carefully—whether it be in temporal matters or in spiritual concerns—we are better and more comfortably situated today than any other people of the same number anywhere on God’s footstool. If we take into consideration our present condition as to the comforts of life, we are better situated today with grain in our granaries and food in our houses, than any other people of the same number upon the face of the earth, or that can be found located together upon the same extent of territory anywhere. If we take into consideration our condition as to homes, there is a greater proportion of this people today who have comfortable homes of their own than can be found anywhere else; more of them have no need to strive for the privilege of earning a living, as a great many of our people had to do before they were gathered when they often found it difficult to obtain employment, and even if successful were obliged to work by the piece or by the day, receiving their pay regularly at the end of the week, and in this way measuring the conditions of their living by the amount of means which they were permitted to earn. In this manner life or existence and its comforts were measured out to them. There was comparatively no room for the exercise of enterprise, of skill, of native wit, and those qualities which God has placed in their nature, and which He designed they should practice and thus become wise and skilled by their own ingenuity.

We sometimes feel that we are oppressed, that we are pinched and persecuted by the people who are intruding upon our rights, and trampling upon our liberties, but as yet we know but little, comparatively speaking about oppression. The people of the countries of Asia and of Europe, with all of the liberty that they enjoy, are under the most severe daily oppression, continued dependence and subordination to those that are over them. In those countries there is a feeling of fear—fear of their rulers, terror in their minds caused by the dread of threatening war which is liable at any time to come upon them with all its horrors. In every national dispute that arises they see and feel at once the liability that their sons, fathers, neighbors and kinsmen may be drafted and sent off to the war, perhaps never to return. And their hearts are filled with fear and anxiety over this and other similar things.

We see in newspapers that in Egypt, China, Central America, and almost everywhere else the air is thick with the mists and clouds of war. Where is the mother or sister, father or son among us that is today away from one of their kindred on account of war? The worst you have to dread is a short imprisonment and a few hundred dollars fine; that is the worst thing you can find to mourn and worry over. Why, bless your dear souls, there is not another community of the same number anywhere on the whole earth in which there is to be found such settled peace as right here among this very people that are before me, and the people that fill this territory all around us. And yet you think the times are terribly hard with your granaries full of wheat that you cannot sell, with large quantities of potatoes and vegetables that you cannot dispose of, with flocks and herds about you; because you cannot sell your products and get as good prices as you would like, some of you think you are in a terribly distressed condition (Laughter).

I wish the Saints would put away these foolish ideas. I want to have you realize that you are in a condition of peace and plenty, with liberty, too, for God has made you free. God has made His people free from the bondage of sin and death; we are at liberty, and there is no power on the earth that has the ability to fasten the shackles of sin and Satan upon us. It all depends upon our own conduct, as to whether we are and shall continue free.

In almost all of the countries from which you came and in the nations that surrounded you in your former homes, people are taxed with a taxation that is oppressive. On the green Isle of Ireland, where the poor and afflicted are numerous there are people who have to pay a rent of five pounds an acre for land, and they must raise sufficient off it to support their families, and raise the money to pay the rent. But here we can buy or take up land, and have it, too, for the taking, but some of us consider it an awful job to fence it (Laughter). No, we don’t know anything about oppression, as compared with the Jews, the Poles and the Irish. In older portions of the United States, we never could have enjoyed the blessings we enjoy here; we never could have located and built up our towns and cities; as it was the mobs plundered us of our homes and drove us out here to this part of the earth. It was like a new world; it looked so entirely new, that it seemed as if the work of creation was scarcely finished. By the blessing of God we brought life with us and life came from heaven; life that animated the soil under our feet; that tempered and controlled the elements over our heads; so that in these high valleys and canyons, where it was thought no grain or fruit could be raised, with snow and frost every month in the year—now we raise good crops and varieties of fruits. A few years ago it was a problem whether an apple or a peach could be raised here in Cache valley; but it is not long since her enterprising fruit growers took the premium in the Territorial Fair for the best collection of apples to be found in the Territory.

Who has done this for us? It is the Lord our God. He brought us to this land as He brought the children of Israel to the land of Judea, which He gave to them and to their children after them, to be their inheritance forever.

I want to have us consider these things; and instead of being anxious and worried, troubled and filled with fear, learn to rely upon the arm of the Lord and trust Him for His goodness; cultivate the peace of heaven and let the love of God dwell in our hearts. Though our enemies may harass, trouble, and disturb us; the trouble that they will bring upon us will be but as a drop in the bucket compared with what will come upon them by and by. They cannot stop the work of God. His decree has established it. We have the promise that it never shall be overthrown or given to another people. Understand it. This form of government which the Lord has given to us, is the strongest form of government that was ever revealed to man. The governments of the world have power to oppress, annoy, make war upon and destroy men from the face of the earth. But this Kingdom that God has given to His people is to be a kingdom of peace, a kingdom of righteousness, and its righteousness is going to exalt His people, to make them become the greatest people on the face of the earth, filled with power, wisdom and intelligence that all the surrounding nations will look up to.

The people that are around us in our midst, and who wish to dictate to us; those who sit in the council chambers to make laws against us and our holy faith, and thereby make us offenders—are themselves filled with fear and anxiety at what is taking place in this and other nations. This spirit of fear will increase upon them. Look at the dread they experienced at the work of the dynamiters in the old country, and that is but a beginning of what is to come. These secret societies will work great mischief and death, with frequent assassinations, and by and by these things will come so thick and fast that people will not know what way to escape. The Lord is gathering His people together that He may deal with them by themselves. The great trouble is, that we have too many among us who are careless and indifferent; that are wicked and sinful; that ought to be dealt with and cut off the Church. There are plenty who are ready to sell their brethren into the hands of their enemies, but the day will come, when they will realize the awful consequence of their acts. We have not much to fear unless we offend the God whom we agreed to serve.

Brethren and sisters, let not your hearts be troubled. Obey the commandments of God, keep your covenants inviolate and learn to live by every word that proceeds from Him and the constituted authorities of His Church—and if you find trials in your pathway you will find help to endure them. Parents, cultivate affection toward each other, toward your children and toward all included in your households; do right by your wives, your husband, your children and your God. You will find that all the rest will come right in its own due time. The Lord will bring it about in so strange and simple a manner that it will be astonishing to us when we find out how He has done it. We cannot go to the Bible, Book of Mormon or the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, to be informed how this, that and the other thing will be solved and arranged. We can read how He did anciently according to the circumstances that surrounded His people then; but we cannot find out His methods and plans of today only as He manifests them to us by the spirit of revelation. His ways are past finding out. He tells us that Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. We must remember this. If we would have power with God and with the angels, it must be because of our diligent attention to God, to the work He has called us to do, and we must see that we establish it in the earth. Every man should warn his neighbor; should teach his children and his family, and establish righteousness in his household. Presidents and Bishops should deal with transgressors in the Church, that they may repent, or be cut off. It is that righteousness may be established in the earth that the Lord has commenced His work again, that it may be established not in a little place, but in all the land, and it shall spread until His righteous word and work shall fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the mighty deep.

Do not let anything divert you from the path of duty; let nothing cause you to commit an overt act. Honor and respect the laws of the land as far as possible, consistent with the laws and commandments of God. Observe and obey every constitutional law. When our enemies place us in violation of a law of the land, it is painful to us, and it is our trial, but the respon sibility of it rests with them. Let us make up our minds to bear this crusade of legal persecution with fortitude as Saints have had to do in all ages of Gospel reform, because they believed in the revelations of Jesus Christ. We have not revolted against any law of the land; we have not contended against any constitutional principle, law or doctrine that could benefit, improve or exalt the human family, nor anything that could promote the pursuit of happiness—we seek after all these things. But, our Congressmen, Governors and Judges, in the supreme wisdom with which they imagine they are endowed, impose penalties upon God’s people for keeping His commandments. Thus we see that when the wicked rule, the people mourn.

We ought to gain by all this experience valuable knowledge. We want to profit by it. Let every man question himself: “Can I stand this or that without getting angry!” Or can we be righteously angry and sin not? If not we should go into our closets and ask God for that measure of His spirit that is necessary to sustain us in a proper frame of mind. This is the kind of experience, the very kind of discipline that is necessary for us, to make us find out whether we will draw near to Him and have fellowship, and communion with Him. These things are all for our experience, for our profit. The Lord has made known to us that the days we live in are dark with threatenings of war. The hour of his judgment is nigh at hand. We have seen one terrible war in our land—and it is well that we should take heed to His counsels. Wars and rumors of wars are spreading abroad upon the face of the earth, and it will come to pass before a great while that people will be so far from having peace that they must either take up the sword to contend against their neighbor, or flee to Zion and gather with God’s people. You will see this come to pass. Mark my words. All kinds and conditions of people will desire to come here and make homes with us. You will see the day when it will be as hard to keep the wicked away from us as it ever has been to get people to join us. Mark that, too. I tell you that a people with full granaries, a people of peace and prosperity, is a people that will be sought after by the peoples of the nations of the earth, and things cannot always go on in the way they are going with us, without bringing down upon our oppressors the retribution of an offended God. We ought to rely upon His promises. These experiences are well calculated to do us good, and teach us to trust in the Lord.

Nor should we forget that when a governor of unsavory memory forbade the use of the militia alike for defense against Indian depredations, as well as for Fourth of July celebrations; that since that date, no single predatory excursion of the red man has been experienced by any one of our settlements. On the contrary it would seem that all use of firearms for any kind of military defense had become entirely obsolete—gone into utter desuetude—so entirely at peace have the Lamanites become, that instead of either noise of war, or even the apprehension thereof, there is given us of God to enjoy the most settled peace from the red man on all our borders round; and now having assisted to build our temples, they are enjoying with us the heavenly blessing bestowed therein. Instead of roaming wild and lawlessly over the plains, numbers have renounced their tribal relations, sworn allegiance to government, have preempted or homesteaded lands of the public domain, are raising crops, cultivating their flocks and herds, are building and occupying comfortable dwellings, as good neighbors among their white brethren, as is evidenced at Washakie in Oneida Stake, and at Indianola in the San Pete Stake. Their schools are turning out scholars in the elementary branches of good common school education.

Not only has the need of firearms been done away as between us and the natives, but we have very great reason to be thankful that in the present unholy crusade against the Church the onslaught has not been with fire and the sword as in former times, but with mind and moral suasion in the application of the law by a perversion of many of its well-settled methods of interpretation, construction and application. These conclusions have been the implements and the tactics of the present warfare.

It is devoutly to be hoped that no one with a zeal which is not according to knowledge shall commit an overt act that shall precipitate a conflict with carnal weapons and give the enemy an occasion or opportunity to shed the blood of the Saints or to increase their unhallowed oppressions upon us.

Since, then, the weapons of our warfare are not powder, lead and fine steel; let us put on the whole armor of God; banish unrighteousness from our midst, and we or our children shall see the governments of this world become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ in His own due time, for which all Saints should ever labor and pray.

We have had a great deal of good instruction during this conference. I have been much edified myself in hearing my brethren talk, and I am sure you all have. The teachings which have been given are of a character to promote good feelings between brethren and sisters, fathers and mothers, parents and children, and it is pleasant to hear of each other’s welfare.

When we go to our respective homes let us go with the determination to stand steadfast in the faith. I am sure that after such a conference as this every honest soul who has met with us, if he wanted a portion of the bread of life, has received that portion, has received something which he can take home for his own use—some words of encouragement, some strengthening exhortation, some good words that will help to put away weakness and enable the feeble to say I am strong in the Lord.

I pray God to bless you, to comfort your hearts; to increase your faith towards Him; to strengthen you that you may not be overcome of sin, and that you may seek in all things to overcome evil with good. Remember and pray for the brethren—our leaders. We do not know what awaits us; we care but little. The main thing devolving upon us is to do our duty acceptably day by day. We will trust in God and go forward. What if it were necessary that some of our lives should be taken? There is no need for fear or worriment about it. It has always been so when God had a people on the earth. Some of the best lives have been taken—taken as witnesses in yonder heavens to testify to facts as they exist here. Do you understand this? It is in accordance with the great principles of eternal justice which rule and regulate in heaven with a great deal more precision and certainty than here on the earth. The Lord has told us how He does business in some of these matters before the councils of the Church, namely by the voice of two or three witnesses every word is to be established, and so it has to be up yonder. Perhaps it is necessary once in a while to have some go in that kind of a way. Well don’t get scared about that. We have all to die some day. It will be all right whether it shall be tomorrow or next week, if we keep the commandments of God in all matters. Choose the wise and the perfect way, and if we are right we will be willing to say, “O Lord, thy will be done.” If when we embraced the Gospel we placed our all upon the altar, it is of very little consequence about all these things. For if we seek to save our lives we may lose them, but if we lose them in the service of God, we shall find life eternal.

I pray that God may bless us all; you who are parents, should bless your children—that they may render more loving obedience to you, that you may be more affectionate to them, remembering the union in which you have been united and in which you have been sealed; that you may be strengthened of the Holy Ghost, and be enabled to go into the holy temples and set yourselves in order before the Lord; that you may obtain those eternal gifts that shall bring an eternal weight of glory to your household, families, friends and kindred; that you may have the full assurance of the promises of God, and have joy to animate, stimulate and sustain you through every trying circumstance in life, and bring you safely back into the presence of our heavenly Father. Amen.