No Salvation in Ignorance—Revelation of Calamity—This World Not a Bad One; Suited to Its Purpose—Unbelief of Mankind—The Saints Will Live

Discourse by Elder Charles C. Rich, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday, June 30, 1878.

I am thankful to have the opportunity of meeting with the Latter-day Saints, this afternoon in this Taber nacle. I trust that I may be able to impart a few words of instruction to you, inasmuch as I shall be assisted so to do by the Holy Spirit; without this aid, I am aware that I would not be qualified to speak to your edification.

We have met this Sabbath day for the purpose of offering up our Sacrament to the Most High God, to worship him; and while we are thus engaged, let me request you, my brethren and sisters, to call in the wanderings of your minds, and implore His Holy Spirit to rest upon us, that our worship may be acceptable unto the Lord, and truly beneficial unto ourselves; for, as we have learned, all blessings flow from Him, and that we are dependent upon him for every good thing that we receive.

We are a blessed people in having received a knowledge of the plan of salvation; for we are in a position to improve our condition, day by day, by the instruction we receive, inasmuch as we are desirous to be found obedient to all the requirements of God concerning us. We have commenced to walk the strait and narrow way which, we are told, leads to the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it. The fact of our having found the way of life, ought to inspire in our hearts a desire to learn all that is necessary for us to know in order to enable us to continue in the way, serving our God with all our hearts. I presume these are the feelings of my brethren and sisters present today. You, doubtless, want to know what the Lord requires of us, in the hope of overcoming every imperfection and folly, and every evil that we are subject to while in the flesh.

The Lord has told us in our day, through the mouth of his servant Joseph, that a man cannot be saved in ignorance. This one item itself is very important for us to continually bear in mind, for it is calculated to stimulate us to seek after that knowledge and wisdom that come from God, which will enable us, under all circumstances, to decide between right and wrong, and eventually lead us back to His presence. And, having attained to a portion of that knowledge that we are seeking after, we are doubtless willing to live according to and practice it in our lives. For everything that is right and pleasing in the sight of God, is not likely to produce an evil; on the contrary, its natural fruit is good. By doing right, by carrying out the will of God, we injure nobody; but on the other hand, we are then in a condition to bless and benefit others. We have already demonstrated this fact. We all know that the more nearly we live to the Lord, the better we feel, and the greater the degree of happiness that exists in our midst, and we exert an influence for good wherever we go. I have known people whose religious belief has led them to imagine that salvation was not to be obtained short of what we term the spirit world. But we have learned that the principles of righteousness produce happiness in this world as well as in the world to come.

So far as the religious world is concerned it seems to be perfectly understood by all classes and all denominations, that it makes but little difference what mode of worship is chosen or adopted, so that the individuals themselves are suited; the idea as to whether the service they aim to render Him be acceptable and approved of him or not, does not seem to be worthy of their consideration, in fact it is never questioned.

There were many creeds existing when the Savior was upon the earth, having for the foundation of their faith the Old Testament. Since his day many have had, and do have an existence, and the saying of the Savior is just as applicable today as when he spoke it. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Jesus told it precisely as it is, and he knew whereof he spoke. The Christian world, as a whole, will find when they get through with this life, that this, as well as many other sayings and teachings of the Savior, is full of significance, and they will find out, too, that it is true, a truth that cannot be changed or done away. It is not everybody that will find the gate, neither will the creeds of men nor the notions of men enable them to find it. God himself has a voice in the matter; he has provided the way, it is according to his appointment, which is no more or less than the plan devised and foreordained in the heavens and before the foundations of the earth. This Gospel plan cannot be changed or altered; it is the “narrow way” and the only way by which man can serve God acceptably. If, therefore, it be according to the plan that men, in order to become bearers of his message, should first themselves obey certain unchangeable requirements, and then be commissioned of him, before they could be authorized to preach his word and will to their fellow men, and thereby become virtually his servants, such requirements must be complied with, it will never do for individuals who disregard these requirements and who are wholly unauthorized of him, to go forth and act as ministers sent of God to declare the way of life to the children of men. Neither would it answer for persons to accept the doctrines of these men, however popular and acceptable to man they may be, for God, with whom all of us have to do, will not countenance them. The service we render him must be done according to his will, if done in some other way, he will not approve of it. The ordinances pertaining to his holy Temples must be performed only as he has directed, and in the place that he has commanded, unless the Lord reveals otherwise. This is consistent with reason. If we, for instance, employ people to serve us, we want to dictate their labors, and we want them to do just as we wish them, and not as they may desire to do. And how much more so with our heavenly Father. If our services be not acceptable to God, we are not serving him; then whose servants are we? Says the Savior, “he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” And again, “he that is not for me, is against me.” And the Apostle Paul says, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.” Therefore, my brethren, let us duly consider the importance of this, fearing the services we do may not be of “obedience unto righteousness,” and consequently lost unto us, and prove to be in opposition to the will of our heavenly Father. We must conform our will unto his will; the Savior himself did this, and he sought to do no more, nor no less. And if we serve him acceptably it must be as he is pleased to direct, not as we might please unless we please to do as he wishes us to do.

When we understand the true position we occupy as the children of God, and not of this world, we shall find that we occupy a peculiar position.

We have to learn something, and we have to learn through the proper channel what the Lord requires of us; and when we have learned this, we must be ready and willing to comply with it, whatever it may be. And if the world did but know it, this is the mission given unto us to this earth, that we might learn, in this earthly School, things we could not learn elsewhere. And in order that we may learn correctly we must be willing to be taught by those who are competent to teach, and we must accept and study the lessons provided for us.

Nearly half a century ago, when the Lord first commenced to reveal the principles of salvation to us his children, he began to tell us what was coming upon the earth; he predicted the overthrow of the kingdoms of this world, and he commissioned and sent forth his servants to bear testimony of his second coming and reign on the earth. He told us of earthquakes, of famine and pestilence, and of other judgments that must eventually overtake the wicked in their unrighteousness, and that was said at a time when the world was crying peace. But people are as blind concerning the fulfillment of prophecy in these days as they were anciently, when the Savior said of them, “they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.” Such has been the condition of all generations, notwithstanding the revelations, given to them have been plain and positive, and many have been fulfilled and many are being fulfilled. As it was with the overthrow of the Jews, so will it be in these last days. The Lord will fulfil his word, and he will fulfil all that he has said concerning his coming, whether we are prepared or not. He will overturn the kingdoms of this world, and will establish his kingdom, and the world of mankind cannot prevent it. It is for us to prepare ourselves for the dispensation of his providences by doing right, not by thinking so, or guessing so, or may be so, but by knowing what is right. We have the opportunity to learn what right is, and what is required of us, and we have the power to do it; and if we do not do it, surely we shall be found wanting. In comparison, we will be like unto the foolish virgins whose lamps had gone out, and who, when the time came for them to appear ready to go forth to meet the Bridegroom, whom they were waiting for, found they had no oil in their lamps; and while they were seeking to renew their stock, the bridegroom came and they were too late to meet him. There are a great many things pertaining to us, Latter-day Saints, that should occupy our serious attention. It is an easy matter to make mistakes unless we are very careful; and if we do make mistakes we will find ourselves more or less injured, and astray from the right path, and devoid of that portion of the Holy Spirit that we otherwise might enjoy.

So far as this world is concerned, some people look upon it as a horrid world, a world full of pain, sorrow and suffering. I do not regard it as such. I consider it a blessed world, a glorious world, which affords us very many privileges. What other place is there besides this world where we can obtain remission of sins? That ordinance belongs to this life and this world and to no other. And a great many things pertaining to this world we can do here, but which we cannot do after we pass behind the veil. If we attend to the duties of this life in the time and season thereof, not leaving undone anything which we are able to do, all will be well with us hereafter; but if we fail in the performance of our duties here, we certainly shall regret and perhaps mourn our negligence when we shall have passed away; and besides we shall then have to depend upon others to do things in our behalf, which we might have done ourselves. Let us improve our opportunities here, and appreciate them as fully we ought to. They are great and glorious, and if we not make a good use of them, we will certainly be sorry when we pass away, and what makes it more serious is that we do not know when, if ever, we shall cease to be sorry. This probation is short, and when we shall have done everything in our power to do, using our very best exertions to fulfil every obligation and duty, we shall then no more than be prepared. The more we learn and understand pertaining to the things of God, the more sensible we will become of the importance of being careful and determined, on our part, never to yield to the spirit of indifference or be guilty of committing an act that is wrong. We should be astonished if a messenger from the eternal world could be influenced to commit an act of folly or wrong. As saints of God we ought to be so firm, and have that determination in connection with our knowledge, that we could not be moved by any influence or power to do a wrong, however trivial. What is at stake in regard to this matter? Everything so far as our exaltation is concerned. This is something that we should think of and bear in mind in all our associations and situations in life, being careful and cautious that we do not produce an evil that will live longer than we do. Seeing that we are all the time subject to temptation, and consequently to do wrong, we ought to be determined in our own hearts, never to allow any wrong that we may do to live longer than we do; let us see that no evil, however small, finds place in our hearts; but rather cultivate the good fruit in all of our associations in this life, feeling thankful that we have the privilege of laboring for the cause of right and truth, and of developing these principles within us.

We are called upon now to build Temples. I can say with great pleasure that, so far as my knowledge extends among the Latter-day Saints, that they, as a whole, are willing to perform this labor. We have, through the goodness and mercy of God, learned that Temples are for an important use, and that without them we cannot, in our present condition, receive certain blessings necessary to our salvation and exaltation in the Kingdom of God. Why so? Because the Lord has ordained that those blessings shall be administered in such places, and which, if not performed as he has directed, are without effect. These are things that we understand, because the Lord has enlightened us through his Holy Spirit. It has been a common saying in the world that the Latter-day Saints were led blindly of the Prophet Joseph; after his death it was said they were the dupes of the Prophet Brigham; and now it may be said that we yield blind obedience to President Taylor. But, as Latter-day Saints, we understand it is every man’s privilege and every woman’s privilege to know for themselves that these men were and still are servants of the living God, and that it is, therefore, God who leads and directs them. And if any belonging to this church are not satisfied on this point, it is because they are not living up to their privileges; and to all such, if there be any, I would say it is time you were obtaining this knowledge; it is time that every man and woman, claiming membership in the church and kingdom of God, were enabled to rise up and bear testimony to the world, if necessary, that they do know that God has set his hand to build up his kingdom, and that it has been established in the earth in our day, and that we have been permitted to receive it. When we can bear this testimony, it will not be, “I guess so,” or “may be so;” but it will be “Verily, thus saith the Lord.”

I can say now, as I have often said before you and before the world, that I know for myself that God has established his kingdom on the earth in these days, and that he requires obedience to the laws of his kingdom and that he not only requires it, but that it is our duty to willingly and gladly submit to his will whatever it may be, for he can require nothing of us only that which will be for our good, and that, too, which we must perform in order to purify ourselves to enter into the Celestial kingdom. “Well,” one may say, “But the world do not believe it.” I know the world did not believe Noah, when he preached unto them for the space of 120 years that if they did not receive his testimony, the Lord would send a flood of water upon them. The world did not believe Jesus the Son of God, when he told them the future of Jerusalem. I know, too, that, so far as history informs us, the world never has received the testimonies of the servants of God, neither do they believe now what is being preached to them by his servants. But for all that the Lord has always fulfilled his word, and by it the righteous have been saved, and the disobedient destroyed. And we know that he will bring to pass all that has been spoken by the mouth of his servants, whether the world believe or not. And, as the people of God, who have been simple-minded enough to receive the message he has sent unto us, we have the consolation of knowing that while wickedness and abomination and all who delight therein, will be swept away from the earth, according to the decree of the Almighty, his saints, with their children, will live to increase and spread abroad and ultimately fill the whole earth. Let us cultivate within us the knowledge of God, by living according to the light we have received; and let us ever appreciate the privileges that this world affords us of learning good and evil, and of being able to distinguish between that which is right and that which is wrong. We have the power, if faithful, to overcome evil and opposition and all the powers of darkness, and of sanctifying ourselves before the Lord through his truth, and of preparing ourselves while on this earth to inherit his glorious presence in the world to come.

That this may be our happy lot, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saints Should Be Whole-Hearted—Seek First the Kingdom—The Latter-day Work a Revelation—Joseph Smith Illiterate—Our Agency Accepts or Rejects—Love of the Truth Proved More By Example Than Precept—An Important Generation

Discourse by Elder Charles C. Rich, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Saturday Afternoon, May 12, 1877.

I am glad to enjoy the opportunity of meeting with the Latter-day Saints in this Tabernacle in Con ference, under circumstances so favorable. I have been much interested in listening to the instructions we have heard this day. They are words of encouragement to the faithful, they strengthen the weak, they enkindle within us all the fire that burns yet not consumes; and we are stimulated to continue in the good fight of faith despite every opposing power.

We embraced the principles of the everlasting Gospel in various lands, and we gathered here for the express purpose of learning further of his ways that we might walk in his paths. It therefore is plain and easy to understand the great obligation that we have placed ourselves under, an obligation that becomes the more serious and important as we count the years of our membership in this Church, and as we have had opportunity. To become efficient laborers in the kingdom, is that we learn the mind and will of God concerning us, and then go forth and do it to the very best of our ability and power. Unless we seek the Lord with our whole heart, willing to sacrifice all for him and his cause, we cannot be wholly accepted of him.

We are told by revelation that all blessings are to be enjoyed upon the principles by which his kingdom can be built up, and upon no other. It would be in vain for us to imagine that we are going to enjoy the blessing of the celestial world by adopting any principles we may choose, or that may be suitable to our own peculiar ideas and feelings. Then the first lesson for us to learn is how we can best become acquainted with the wishes of our Father, how we can best use our time and our talents to subserve the interests of his cause here upon the earth. We have entered the door of the kingdom, and that is about all. The actual work we have only commenced, and who cannot see that it is of the greatest importance that we organize ourselves that we may the better prosecute our labors! We pray that the will of God may be done on earth as in heaven. What does it avail us if we do not seek first the kingdom of God and all its righteousness? And how can we obey this divine injunction unless we seek in the right and proper way to establish its principles in our hearts and lives, giving that kingdom and its government a foundation, a chance to develop itself into the proportions it eventually will do.

The tendency of mankind generally is to gratify a craving for this world’s goods, adopting such ways as will best secure to them their heart’s desire; this really is their aim and object of life. When we reflect that we live in this important age, when God our heavenly Father has again spoken to the children of men, revealing to them his designs and purposes and the only way to be saved, it is time for us to awake to a sense of duty and prepare ourselves in all readiness, for he does not speak in vain; all must be fulfilled even as it is written, whether we individually take part in it or not.

The Lord will have a people trained in the school of experience until they shall be prepared to receive him when he shall come to dwell upon the earth for the space of a thousand years. This we understand; we have been taught it by divine instruction, and it is for us to be willing to be taught and to be used in accomplishing the preparatory work. He has also declared by the voice of his servants whom he has raised up, and by his own voice, that the wicked and those who delight in abominations he will overthrow as individuals and as nations; and in the place thereof he will have a righteous people who will fear and obey him in all things. This has been preached to the world now for nearly half a century, and we are still declaring it. We know not how many will hearken to this warning voice, but we do know that history informs us that Noah preached one hundred and twenty years, warning the people of threatened judgments, preaching to them the way of life, with but very little success. The word of the Lord through Noah was verified and fulfilled even as he had declared it.

The words of the Lord were lamentably fulfilled on the heads of his chosen seed, because they rejected the same Gospel message which was sent unto them. And the Lord has said that in the last days his word should be verified as in former times. True, the message might be lightly esteemed, and they that bear it, as well as those that receive it, may be set at nought, just in the manner that his word and people always have been treated by the world of mankind generally.

This Latter-day work has been commenced by an illiterate, unlearned boy; but like the leaven that was put into the measures of meal, it has worked until already it attracts not only the attention of men of high and low birth, but of nations. And although its advocates have, as a general thing, been persons of humble birth and of limited education, where has appeared the man that has succeeded in gainsaying them, and proving false the principles they teach? That individual is yet to be found; he cannot be found nor never will be, for it is the truth, we bear the new and the everlasting Gospel which is incontrovertible. And still, with all this before the world, how few comparatively hearken to and obey the message! And how many imperfections we find existing among us! We need careful and gradual training, to be taught a little now and again; and many times we find ourselves almost ready to relinquish our hold on eternal life, having need to be converted again to the truth; and yet we call ourselves Latter-day Saints.

The question that ofttimes arrests my attention is, if we receive not the truth as it is presented to us here, will we be willing to hereafter? Some people imagine that when we pass from this stage of our being we shall all be in a condition to receive truth whether we received or rejected it while upon this earth. It is by reason of our agency that we reject truth and accept evil; and we will find when we go hence that we shall still be possessed of the same agency; and if we were not willing to receive the truth in this world, what assurance have we that our agency will not lead us to reject truth hereafter. If Latter-day Saints cannot endure to the end, if they cannot in their hearts receive as well as practice all of the principles of the Gospel as they are made known to them by his servants, it is folly in the extreme for us to allow ourselves to believe that by rejecting certain principles here we will be able to practice them in the world to come.

We will also find that there are certain things that can be preformed in this world, that peradventure cannot be attended to anywhere else. Baptism by immersion is an ordinance essential to salvation; it is the door to the kingdom and none can be saved without it; and it is an ordinance that strictly belongs to this life. There are also certain ordinances essential to our exaltation in our Father’s kingdom that can be performed only in Temples, except in certain peculiar circumstances; and in order that we should derive their benefit we are called upon to erect these sacred edifices. These are ordinances all-important in their nature that belong to this life, they must be attended to here, that we might be prepared to enter upon the duties of the life to come.

There is one matter that has received a great part of my attention particularly of late, that is the conforming of my will to the will of God, not only pertaining to things spiritual but also to things temporal associated with my everyday life. And it appears to me that we as a people have now reached that stage of the latter-day work when this same question is brought right home to the minds of all who claim membership in the Church and kingdom of God. There is one thing he will require of us, that is to prove by example as well as precept that we love him beyond any and everything else; he will require that we establish beyond a doubt that our affections and hearts are his, and that to do his bidding and further the interests of his cause is our greatest and fondest desire.

There seems to be throughout the world a great love for wealth. It is true that riches ofttimes secure ease, comfort and enjoyment. But then these are indulgences that belong only to this life; as no man brought anything into the world, so none will take anything away. What then may we expect to enjoy in the hereafter? Such blessings only as are secured unto us through the sealing ordinances of the holy Priesthood which reach behind the veil. While reflecting on this, would it not be well for us, as Latter-day Saints, to also imagine, if we can, our feelings if through unworthiness on our part we should find ourselves in the next world disappointed. I think that when we consider these things, that compared with our eternal happiness everything else is small and of little moment.

There is much required at our hands, we have not only to labor for ourselves, but for our dead friends, whom we shall meet sooner or later. If when we renew our acquaintance with them we can tell them that we officiated in the Temple ordinances for them, it will afford us joy as well as them; but if when we shall meet them we are not the bearers of such welcome intelligence, feelings of remorse will overtake us in not having done our duty, when opportunity was afforded us to do so. These are some of my reflections relative to some of our present and immediate duties.

I am pleased to say that wherever I go I perceive a willingness on the part of the people to build Temples, and also to become united in establishing ourselves upon such a basis as will make us independent of the surrounding world, producing and manufacturing everything we need for use and wear, and thus become self-sustaining; so that when Babylon shall fall we may sustain no loss.

There has never been a generation of time so important as the one in which we live. Our prospects too are peculiarly and unusually encouraging, for the Gospel we preach will never be taken away from the earth, and as long as we prove faithful we will maintain our rights which God has given us. There is a prospect too of our posterity living when peace for the space of a thousand years shall be on this earth, when the Savior and holy beings will visit with men in the flesh, and then his glory will surround the habitation of the Saints. I know of no previous dispensation that had such encouraging and glorious prospects.

Then let me say to the Latter-day Saints, let us practice the principles of our holy religion, be willing to be directed and used for the good of our Father’s cause, in whatever capacity we may be placed, and be servants and Saints of God in very deed. And that this may be our happy lot is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Gathering—Knowledge of Salvation Enjoyed By the Latter-Day Saints—Build Up the Kingdom of God

Remarks by Elder Charles C. Rich, delivered at the Forty-Fifth Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Tuesday Morning, April 6, 1875.

I have been gratified this morning in listening to the instructions that we have received in relation to the principles of life and salutation. It is no doubt the desire of every individual to obtain eternal life in the kingdom of God. But to do this it is necessary that we hear and obey the commandments which he has given on this subject, as well as on the manner of building up this kingdom upon the earth. In every dispensation of God to man he has had purposes for his people to fulfill, and a labor for them to perform, and those purposes and that labor have not always been the same in every respect; but as far as the principles of eternal life are concerned, they have been and will be the same from all eternity to all eternity. When Noah was upon the earth he was required to build an ark; Enoch to build a city; the Prophets, in their several dispensations, had a labor to perform, varying somewhat according to the nature of the circumstances by which they and the people to whom they were sent were surrounded. The Apostles, chosen by the Savior, had to proclaim the everlasting Gospel to all the world, and the same may be said of the servants of God in our day. But in every dispensation those who have been willing to receive the everlasting Gospel have been required to sanctify themselves by living according to its precepts, that they might prepare themselves for the coming of the Lord.

As we have been told, the dispensation in which we are living is one of great importance—it is the dispensation of the fulness of times, in which all things which are in Christ will be gathered together, both those which are in heaven and those which are on the earth. The labor which is required of the Saints cannot be performed short of their being gathered together, for it is absolutely necessary that they should, in all things, observe the commands of God in building up his kingdom here on the earth, which they could not do while in a scattered condition. The building up of the kingdom of God upon the earth, is a labor which will require all our time and attention, and our best efforts, and we have no time to idle away or to spend in foolishness, but our eyes should be continually single to the glory of God, and our efforts should be as the efforts of one man for the accomplishment of his purposes.

We meet together in Conference for the express purpose of taking these matters into consideration, and of being instructed in our duties and in the requirements made upon us by our heavenly Father in spreading forth his Gospel among the nations, that the honest in heart therein may hear and embrace them and be gathered out with the Saints, and thus have a better opportunity of accomplishing their mission upon the earth. I esteem such opportunities as the present as glorious, and as a means of great blessing to us all. How is it possible for us to build up God’s kingdom on the earth unless he directs our labors, and bestows upon us the influence and guidance of his Holy Spirit? It is not possible; and as the labor which he requires of us is of the greatest interest and importance to us, and indeed to all of the inhabitants of the earth, it behooves us to seek diligently unto him that we may become the honored instruments in his hands of building up his kingdom. This is no mere fancy or chimera on the part of the Latter-day Saints. We know that among the sects of the Christian world there is nothing certain about the life to come, or about their acceptance with God. The most they attain to in this respect is a mere hope—they hope they are accepted, and they trust their sins are forgiven; but with the faithful Latter-day Saints the case is very different—they know and can bear testimony by the gift and power of God that they are right in his sight; they know they have received the everlasting Gospel; they know that they are laboring in accordance with his mind and will, and they know that they are building up his kingdom here on the earth. This knowledge is a source of joy unspeakable to the Saints, and possessing it they can leave native lands, homes and possessions, parents, friends and everything they value and hold dear, if necessary, in order to perform and accomplish the labor which the Lord requires at their hands.

The principles which have been laid before us this morning in regard to our becoming a self-sustaining people, are plain and easy to be comprehended. They are self-evident to every reflecting mind, and are worthy of our earnest attention, for while we are dependent upon others for this, that and the other which is indispensable to our well-being and comfort, we can plainly see that our course is not only not the most advantageous to ourselves, but also that it is not the most pleasing to our heavenly Father, for in the revelations given by him in the early rise of this Church, his Saints were requested to pursue such a course in their home affairs as would make them self-sustaining. We have seen times in our experience here in this Territory, when it has been extremely difficult for us to obtain from abroad many things which we needed, and there is little doubt that we shall see such times again in the future; hence the very great necessity to adopt a policy in regard to temporal matters that will free us from the inconveniences that would arise in such a contingency, and that can only be done by producing as far as possible, according to our circumstances and the possibilities of our climate and Territory, everything that we need to sustain ourselves in comfort and convenience.

In the Gospel we find a remedy for every evil. A faithful observance of its principles will eventually free and deliver us from the consequence of every evil practice; and the principles of the Gospel we believe in are easy to adopt, and they are as applicable to a community as to an individual. We are told that in union there is strength; then, if as a community we will go to and, as the heart of one man, carry out the counsels of the servants of God, it will be easy for us to avoid any difficulties which we otherwise might have to encounter. A glance at matters abroad in the world will show the difficulties which the people everywhere have to contend with, and if we could trace them to their source, we should no doubt find that they arise through the absence of the principle of union; and one of the principal reasons of the great difference between us and them is, that we observe this principle much more generally and perfectly than they do, and hence we free ourselves from many of the difficulties and troubles under which they labor. This union will become stronger among us, in temporal as well as spiritual affairs, in proportion as we observe and keep the commandments and counsels of our heavenly Father. He has said that his Saints should become the richest of all people. But how will this be brought about? If we follow our former notions, and the notions of the world in general, what more can we do than they have done? We might say, simply, that we could bring about the very same result here as they have there; but that would not spread comfort and happiness, so far as temporal things are concerned, among the whole of his people, and hence if his promise unto us on this subject is ever fulfilled, it will only be by our following his counsel in all things.

How thankful we should be that we live in an age of the world when God is again willing to speak to his people, and to tell them what he requires of them! I say, what a blessing this is to the Saints, and to the whole world if they would receive it! But it is written that as it was in the days of Noah, so should it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man. This was verily so—the people were not willing to hearken to him, they would not believe his testimony, neither would they receive his counsel. It is measurably so in our own times. The world at large manifest the same unwillingness to receive the counsel of heaven as they have done in any preceding age. But a few have been ready and willing to receive the testimony of the servants of God, and they have been gathered out from the nations for the express purpose of preparing themselves for the coming of the Lord, and to engage in the labor of building up his kingdom upon the earth, and also to do a work for the salvation of those who have gone before. Then it is for us as Latter-day Saints, to hearken to the voice of God, and to give diligent heed to all things which he has proclaimed to, and which he requires of, us in these days. If we take this course, his blessings, which have been bestowed upon us liberally in the past, will be dispensed more abundantly. In these things we have a right to rejoice, and as Saints of the Most High God we do rejoice in the knowledge of the fact that his hand has been over us from the day that the Church was organized with six members unto the present time. His hand has been visibly manifest in our behalf, and his blessings have been showered upon us, and we have been led by his power and dictated by his servants all the day long. If this had not been so, we should not have occupied the enviable position which we occupy today, our enemies would have overcome us long ago. But the outstretched arm of the God we serve has been over us, and his mercies and blessings have been freely bestowed upon us, and we have been sustained, and we shall be from this time forward. We have need to exercise faith; we have need to put our trust in him, and we have need to labor as he directs us. I presume that the feeling of all who have received a knowledge of the truth of the Gospel, is to do everything that the Lord requires of them, and that they will devote all their energies of body and mind to the building up of his kingdom here upon the earth.

That we may pursue this course and adopt this policy, and perform the labors that may be continually required of us, and ultimately be saved and exalted in the celestial kingdom of God, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Guard Against Temptation—Those Who Trust in God Will Not Be Disappointed—Joseph Saith a Prophet of God—If There Were No Cause Creating Evil, There Would Be No Evil Works

Discourse by Elder Charles C. Rich, delivered at the Adjourned Semi-Annual Conference of the Church or Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday, October 11, 1874.

I have rejoiced in listening to the instructions that we have received this morning, as well as during the whole of this Conference. It seems to me that they ought to make an everlasting impression upon the minds of the Saints, and that we, one and all, should be determined, under the influence thereof, to live more faithfully, and to keep the commandments of God as near as possible in all things; and I have no doubt that this is the feeling, at the present time, of most of those who have attended this Conference. It is for us to guard against temptation that may be presented before us, and, when we leave this place, that we suffer not ourselves to do or to say anything that is wrong, but be willing, with an eye single to the glory of God, to carry out the counsels of his servants, and to perform all the labors required at our hands in aiding to advance his cause and to build up his kingdom upon the earth, that we may prepare ourselves for that which is to come both on the earth and in the eternal worlds. I know very well that there is no being upon the earth who is thus engaged, but what feels well; all such rejoice in their labors, and the Spirit and power of God will rest upon the Saints when they take this course and adopt this policy.

We have been permitted to live in one of the most auspicious times or dispensations that has ever been ushered in upon the earth—the dispensation of the gathering together of all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth. We may feel our weakness and inability, but it is not our strength or wisdom that is to bring about the triumph of the purposes of God upon the earth, we are simply co-workers with our heavenly Father, and his power will bear off his Saints in the future as it has done in the past and up to the present time. It is upon his arm that we have to lean, and in him we must put our trust. When has there been a time when the Saints have trusted in God and been disappointed? Never; inasmuch as we have done our part, the Almighty has never failed to do his and fulfill his promises. We have the power to carry on this work and to perfect ourselves, and also to perform a labor for our benefit and for the benefit of our friends who lived before us, who did not have such an opportunity as we have. This should be impressed upon our minds, and we should not suffer ourselves to neglect any duty that is incumbent upon us, whether for our benefit or for the benefit of those who have lived before us. When we pass behind the veil and meet with our friends, if we can tell them that, while we were in the flesh, we attended to and performed certain ordinances and ceremonies in their behalf which they, while here, had not the privilege of attending to and performing for themselves, and which they had not power to accomplish in the spirit world, it certainly will be a matter of rejoicing to us and also to them; but if, on meeting them there, we have to admit that we neglected to do that for their benefit which it had been in our power to attend to, we shall not feel pleasant, and our friends will most assuredly be disappointed.

In speaking of the Temples now in course of erection in which to perform the ordinances for the dead, our hearts ought to be inspired with determinations to do all we can to push them forward to completion, that, in our day, while we yet live in the flesh, we may have the privilege of doing a work therein for our dead friends as well as for ourselves. All these things are before us, and our eyes should be single to the glory of God, and our hearts set upon building up his kingdom upon the earth, and not upon objects that do not tend in this direction. I have felt, for many years, that I was not safe in any place or upon any errand, and had no business to be engaged in any labor, no matter what it might be, unless that business, errand or labor was directed by the Priesthood; and I feel today that all the labors and operations of the Latter-day Saints, temporal and spiritual, ought to be organized and directed by the Priesthood which God has established to lead his people. If our labors are thus directed they will tell in the right direction—for the upbuilding of the kingdom of God, and not for the promotion of evil upon the earth. This is a thing against which we should be continually on our guard. Human nature is weak, and many people when brought in contact with evil influences are liable to be led away, they are in danger, and the best, the safest policy is to keep away from dangerous ground and beyond the range of evil, and we should not associate with those whose influence is evil.

Our lives are made up of small items, of labors performed a little at a time. If our acts are good, if our words are such that the righteous can approve of them, we need not fear when they are summed up and judgment rendered, for our lives having been spent in the performance of good deeds, it will be all right with us, and if we have this consciousness we can rejoice wherever we are. I can bear testimony that I have never been disappointed when I have been engaged in the work of the Lord, and in carrying out the counsels of his servants unto me. I can bear testimony that this is the work of God, and that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, that Brigham Young is a Prophet of God, and that the Gospel which they have preached to the Latter-day Saints is the Gospel of the Son of God; and inasmuch as we live according to its precepts we shall be delivered from evil. Salvation is revealed in the Gospel, and that salvation commenced to be received by us when we obeyed it. We can be freed from our sins when we learn and obey the truth, for in the Gospel there is deliverance from sin if we will but apply its principles to our lives. When we find a difficulty in the midst of the people, it is simply because some one or more have done that which they ought not to have done, and had they applied the principles of the Gospel applicable to that particular case, the difficulty might have been avoided. When we practice the principles of this Gospel to perfection, we shall be delivered from evil, whether in this world or in the world to come. For instance, if no murders are committed, none of the evils will be experienced which grow out of that crime; if the people generally would cease lying, the evils now resulting because of the great prevalence of falsehood in the world would be unknown. And so we might enumerate all of the evils that are committed by the human family and say that, if the principles of the Gospel of Christ were universally observed, the evils of every kind now so abundant in all parts of the world would be known no more. Then it is for us, to whom this Gospel has been revealed, to learn what is right, and to be faithful in practicing it, and the more faithful we are in applying ourselves to this important duty, the more speedily will evil disappear from amongst us, and the salvation promised by the Gospel be by us enjoyed, and that is precisely what we want—a present as well as an eternal salvation by an application of the principles of the Gospel to our daily lives.

If this course were pursued by mankind generally, it would soon bring about a millennium, or that still more happy time spoken of by the Prophets, when the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep, and when men all the world over are friends and brothers. This is the direction in which the practice of the principles of the Gospel leads us, and a continued and close attention thereto will enable us to overcome every imperfection. At the same time our heavenly Father is disposed to try those who profess to have taken upon them the name of Christ, and, in fact, he is trying us continually in order to prove whether we will serve him in all things. If an evil is presented before us, we must either receive or reject it. If we reject it we have overcome; if we accept it, we are overcome of evil. And we may say that we have continually a trial before us, and it is for us to be on our guard that we enter not into temptation, and that we are not overcome, no matter in what guise or how temptingly evil may present itself to us. We need to be valiant before the Lord, valiant in testimony, valiant in keeping his commandments, valiant in rejecting every evil principle and practice that may be presented before us; and if this is our course, and we continue therein, the time will come when we will be counted worthy of an inheritance and exaltation among the sanctified in the presence of our Father.

I feel to rejoice in the principles of the Gospel that the Lord has revealed to us, and that, many years ago I had the privilege of hearing and obeying them. I can say that, from that time until the present, I have never had the first moment’s sorrow because of anything that I have been called to pass through in connection with the Gospel, and I hope I never shall. My experience in this cause and kingdom has been a source of continual rejoicing, and I believe it will be so to the end. I trust brethren and sisters that this is also your experience, and that you and I may continue faithful to the end, that we may be counted worthy of the privilege of mingling with that great company of the sanctified and just whom we have heard spoken of this morning, and that with them we may receive a crown of glory and immortality. This is my prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

Labor To Build Up The Kingdom

Remarks by Elder Charles C. Rich, delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, April 8th, 1867.

I am glad to enjoy the opportunity of meeting with the brethren and sisters at this Conference. I am also glad that we have heard the instructions which have been imparted to us. The principle of the Saints being united is one that we have labored to establish from the commencement up to the present time. Every Saint who has any knowledge of the gospel as it has been revealed to us in these last days, knows that this principle has been impressed on their minds from the time they first heard the gospel. Still, with all our labors and exertions in the past, we have not yet reached this point, and we must continue our labors for the accomplishment of this object.

When we are united in all things, the Lord will be able to use us in very deed for the building up of His Kingdom; until then, He can use us only as we are willing to be used. We say we are the people of God, and that we are laboring to build up His Kingdom, but when we come to think of it, we only do that which we can persuade ourselves to do.

We should be willing to do everything that the Lord requires us to do, and even if we are, there is still great need for us to improve and progress. This has been incumbent upon us from the time we embraced the gospel, but more especially at this Conference, and when we make up our minds individually and collectively to do all things that the Lord requires of us, it will be a comparatively easy matter for us to do so. We do not expect to learn everything at this Conference, but we can make ourselves willing to learn righteous principles, and we can, if we choose, adopt them as fast as we learn them.

We are placed under circumstances where we can apply our labors for the accomplishment of the designs of the Almighty here on the earth, and we ought to esteem this as a very great privilege.

There are a great many notions and opinions with regard to the work of God and the building up of His Kingdom on the earth. We have received the everlasting gospel from the heavens. It found us in the various nations of the earth, and it has gathered us to this place for the purpose of establishing the principles of righteousness and of building up the Kingdom of God on the earth. As we have heard this afternoon, and on many other occasions, the gospel we have obeyed embraces all truth on earth and in heaven. We have not to emigrate to some other world to find truth. We find it where we are; it is taught to us faster than we are willing to receive and practice it; and I can bear testimony that it has ever been so. We have never had to wait to know what was the right course for us to pursue. “Labor for the building of the Kingdom of God,” has been the counsel given to us continually, and when we have been called upon to perform any labor, no matter in what direction, it has been with that object in view.

I have been reflecting a little in relation to the state of society which would soon be in existence if the counsel given from this stand this Conference were to be observed. We would soon find a great deal more peace, love, and oneness among the Saints than have existed in times past; and, if we ever expect to be one, we, as a people, must adopt in our lives those principles that have been and are continually taught us by the servants of the Lord. If we ever expect to have heaven, we must adopt those principles that will make heaven for us. We have had the gospel revealed to us from the heavens, for the purpose of bringing about that state of things here that exists in heaven. And it will most assuredly result in this if we will faithfully observe its principles. A faithful adherence to the principles of the gospel will cure all the evils we now endure. Where difficulties exist with individuals or communities, we would find, if they were traced to their source, that they exist simply because the principles of the gospel have not been adopted and applied.

It is this labor that lies before us to learn the principles of the gospel of salvation, and to apply them in our lives. This will remove the evils we have to encounter, and will bring about union and happiness; and, no matter where our lot may be cast, will make for us a heaven upon earth. This is a joyous labor, and one in which all should unite with an unwavering determination. By so doing we will sustain those who preside over us, and our efforts will most effectually tend to build up the Kingdom of God on the earth.

How can this Kingdom be built up unless God dictates? And how can we labor to serve Him unless He dictates us? And how will He do this? He will do it, as He ever has done, by and through His servants whom He has placed at our head. In this way we can be united in building up God’s Kingdom and in moving forward His work on the earth. This is a very great privilege, the possession of which confers upon us great honor and blessings. When the whole people are united in, and live continually according to, the principles of the gospel in all things, evils and difficulties will vanish from their midst like snow before the rays of the sun, and soon the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the deep.

We have yet much to learn, but I often think that we can do more for the spread of truth and the work we are engaged in than we imagine. We can read of individuals among the ancients who performed wonders on the principle of faith. They subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, and performed many wonderful works. Can we not do something on the principle of faith? Can we not have power with God as well as the ancients, if we labor continually to carry out His designs? I am satisfied that if we all go home and carry out the principles which have been taught to us during this Conference we shall soon see happy results flowing therefrom. There is a responsibility resting upon us all to do so, and we should discharge that responsibility honorably before God and each other. By following the counsel given us during this Conference, our union, peace, and best interests will be greatly advanced and forwarded.

Severe indisposition prevented me from being present at last fall Conference, but I am thankful that I am present now. I always rejoice to be at Conference, or at any meeting with the Saints. I love to see and talk to them, and I love to hear others talk, and I love to use my influence to move forward and build up the cause of Zion, and to establish righteousness on the earth. We all ought to cultivate this kind of feeling and principle. We never need be afraid if we are doing right, but fear only to do wrong. Individuals are apt to think sometimes that if they do a wrong no person in the world knows it but themselves, but it is known also to God, and if a wrong is known to God and to the one who commits it, his influence with God is destroyed, and it lowers him in his own estimation. Suppose, for instance, that a person wants a favor of President Young, but he has done some wrong that is known to the President, he cannot ask that favor with any confidence, but his head is cast down, and he feels condemned because of the wrong he has done. How much more is this the case when seeking blessings from the Lord. We should think of this in our course through life. We should also remember that the Lord has said, that “inasmuch as ye do it to one of the least of these my servants, ye do it unto me.”

When we apply this principle to our conduct, strictly and properly, we shall feel that we do not want to injure anybody or do anything wrong, and injuries and wrongs will fast disappear and will be soon blotted out of existence. This is what we are laboring for, and this course of conduct will move forward the cause of Zion, and enable us to do all things the Lord requires of us.

That we may labor to accomplish this work faithfully is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Building the Temple—General Duties of the Saints

Remarks by Elder Charles C. Rich, made in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, April 7, 1863.

I can say truly that I have been very much interested in the remarks made by the brethren who have addressed us during this Conference, thus far, for the speakers have all treated upon subjects that are calculated to interest us as a people. All people that I have been acquainted with interest themselves in something, and so it is with us, we interest ourselves in such subjects as are most congenial to our feelings and dispositions, and the subjects that have been brought up before us for our consideration are subjects that we cannot pass by with indifference and do ourselves justice. If we look at these improvements that are before us in a point of light that would be selfish, as the world generally do, and think that we will benefit others more than we do ourselves, and that we must have an eye single to the almighty dollar and work for own glory, we shall make ourselves the most miserable beings upon this earth, and we shall have nobody to blame but our own dear selves. But if we do that which is pointed out for us to do, having an eye single to the welfare and advancement of the kingdom of God upon the earth, we shall all the time be doing that which is and will hereafter be for our best good in this life and in that which is to come.

If we desire to obtain the bless ings of the Almighty in a Temple prepared for that purpose; if we esteem these blessings to be of any importance, and if we do not feel to do without them, what should be our policy and course in such a matter? Why, I should say, let us build the Temple, in which we may receive our blessings from the Almighty. We have no interest with other people; we have a separate community, and our interests are our own; then let us build the Temple.

What shall I say in regard to the Tabernacle? We can see at once that we can enjoy the comforts of a new Tabernacle; we need the blessings of such a house at the present time. If we put it off, when will it be built? When that house is built we can then enjoy the benefits and blessings which it will afford. The same principle may be applied to everything we take in hand and with which we have to do, whether it be to build a Temple, a Tabernacle, to send teams to the frontiers to gather the poor, or to do any other work that is required of us. Nothing that is required will be performed until we go to work and do something ourselves. We have no other people to lean upon, and, therefore, it remains for us to go to work and perform well our part.

In one respect we are highly favored; that is, we can have pointed out to us the work that should be performed and that will be acceptable in the sight of our heavenly Father. All the works that he requires us to perform are for our benefit and salvation. Then, seeing that this is the case, cannot we perform cheerfully that which is laid upon us? I think we should take courage and do all we do with a cheerful heart. The Work in which we are engaged is to prepare us and to exalt us to enjoy the blessings that are promised to the righteous in this world and in that which is to come.

This is the view that I take of these matters, and I believe that it is the view generally entertained by all good brethren and sisters. Then let us go on cheerfully and harmoniously, remembering that we are free to do good, but that when one party moves in one way and another in a different one, that produces division.

We are a people that profess to be the people of God; and, if we are, we cannot be divided, for his people are always one, and if we are one, of course we will act upon the principle of oneness, and in all things do as we are directed, working for that which will be for our best good both for the present time and for the future. I know very well that there are a great many people who speculate in regard to the future and calculate what is to take place; but, so far as we are concerned, it should satisfy us to understand the duties of the present. We cannot reasonably, without assuming new responsibilities, know the truth any faster than we are ready to believe and willing to perform it. If we knew and understood the labors required of us today, that is sufficient for us to know; then, if we are ready and willing on our part to perform, that is all that is requisite and all that will be required. Then, I will say to one and all, let us be awake to our own interests and welfare, and ever be ready to perform the work that is necessary to be done for the building up of the kingdom of God, and we shall never be sorry for having taken the industrious part, but if we have any fault to find, it will be for not having done more in the work of righteousness. In order that we may have no regret of this kind, let us be awake to the labors and duties of today. I know very well that there are some people that never get it into their minds, they do not seem to comprehend that they can perform as much as they really can. When we look at the history of men in ages that are past and gone, we can see that there were men called at many times to perform important works that had but little ability; but we also see that if they put that little ability into exercise and labored as faithfully as they could, they were enabled to bring about much righteousness. We want the same feeling and influence with us, then we can perform the works that are required of us, and do what we do cheerfully and with a good heart and in that manner which will be acceptable in the sight of High Heaven, and in this way we shall prosper in all our laudable undertakings, and we shall receive the blessing of our heavenly Father and the approbation of all good men.

From the time this Church and kingdom was established upon the earth to the present day, we have never been at a loss to know what to do; but we have, at all times and under all circumstances, had the path of duty made plain unto us and our individual line of duty marked out unto us; and whenever we have taken the counsel given, we have been prospered and made happy, while those that have taken a contrary course have met with disappointment and been thereby rendered very unhappy. We are all probationers, passing through a state of trial; but still there is a labor that we can perform in this probationary existence that will aid in the rolling forth and building up of the kingdom of God, and we can thereby obtain the blessings that pertain to that kingdom.

We are all looking forward to a time when we shall receive in that Temple that is to be built, but which we do not expect to see finished for a short time to come, all the blessings of endowments and Priesthood that have been promised unto the faithful. We are called upon to engage in this all-important work; and while we are laboring at this, let us consider well the endowments that we have so much need of between this and the time the Temple of our God is finished and made ready for the additional outpouring of the Spirit of the Most High. If we do not gain experience and obtain the necessary endowments as we pass along, we shall find ourselves very poorly prepared for the great and glorious endowments that are to be received in that Temple. If we do not prepare ourselves, those endowments, if we are permitted to receive them at all, will be no better for us than the endowments given to some men in Nauvoo—that is, they will prove a curse instead of a blessing.

For one, I feel to rejoice in the blessings of peace that we enjoy and in the union and fellowship of the Holy Spirit which prevails in the midst of this people, and I know that these good fruits which are amongst us grow out of those glorious principles we have embraced. We are united in the truth, and it is by the truth that we are kept together and that this oneness is made to abide with us continually; and it is this truth and the Spirit thereof that leads us in the right direction. By this Spirit we are led in the way of peace, of salvation and of happiness, while principles that are adopted by the world do not bring with them salvation.

I have noticed in my experience with this people that the principles of our faith, revealed through the Prophet Joseph, produce joy and peace such as the world cannot give, for our principles bring with them present salvation, and all the principles of the Gospel that have been and that are to be revealed do and will continue to bring a present salvation.

This is the way to be saved, and if we continue to act upon this principle all the time we shall obtain salvation in this world and in that which is to come. It makes very little difference to the faithful Saint whether he be called to labor in this world or in the world of spirits, so that he embrace and live by those principles that will bring a present deliverance from bondage and sin and produce within our own bosoms peace and happiness.

We are blessed with the power to know the right way, for we have around us and in our midst those men that can point out to us the course to be pursued in order to secure life and light, and to obtain the blessings promised by the practice of the truth. We wish to be freed from the error and from the evils of the world, in order that we may be happy in this life and prepare ourselves for glory and exaltation in the life which is to come.

There is one thing that is positive and certain, and that is, that it will require some labor and exertion on our part in order to secure the great blessings that pertain to the kingdom of our God. We must, therefore, reflect and apply our minds and our energies to the acquirement of knowledge, or we shall not receive the promised treasures. I repeat, we must apply our minds to the principles of life if we ever expect to obtain their benefits and blessings.

I have often thought that there were a great many people who thought too much of other matters; their minds seem to be upon gold and silver and worldly riches, instead of devoting their time to the obtaining of that eternal store of knowledge which is necessary for every man and woman to enjoy who are preparing for the society of the sanctified. The principles of life that we are being taught are better than the gold that can be found in the mines, for they will teach us the way of salvation, and by observing them we shall be made to partake of the benefits and blessings that flow from them.

If our minds are led to look at matters in this light, our thoughts and feelings will be to obtain the richest treasure there is within our reach, and when we obtain that treasure it will be the means of doing away with the evil that is in the world. If there was no evil amongst mankind there would be no corruption to encounter; therefore, let us practice the principles of truth and thereby do away with the influence and power of evil. Let us learn and thoroughly digest the principles of truth, and then we shall be blessed with all those choice and desirable blessings which flow from obedience to the pure and holy principles we practice.

Now, that each one of us who profess to be Saints may be ready to do these things in faith and full assurance of having a part in the first resurrection, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus: Amen.

Present Opportunities of Obtaining a Knowledge of the Principles of Truth—Importance of Improving Them

Remarks by Elder Charles C. Rich, made in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, October 6, 1862.

I feel great pleasure in meeting with the brethren and sisters, having just returned from a mission. I do not speak of this because of a feeling that I am now relieved from a mission, for I feel that I have been on a mission all the time, and I expect to remain a Missionary from this time henceforth and forever. This is the height of my ambition, that I may have the pleasure of laboring to build up the kingdom of God on the earth.

The instructions we have had today have been joyful to my heart, for they are those principles that are calculated to save, to exalt and to prepare us to dwell with the Gods in the eternal worlds. I have often said that of all the people upon the face of the earth the Saints of the Most High God have the greatest reason to be thankful. This is my feeling and has been ever since I embraced the Gospel; and the longer I live, the more I see and experience, the more I feel and know that we are the favored people of the Lord. If we can appreciate this as it is, it will lead us continually to take that course that will be right and proper in the sight of Heaven.

While I have been absent from this Territory I have been laboring wherever my lot has been cast to convince the inhabitants of the earth of the truth of the principles of our holy religion, and to point out to them the path of life, and how far I have been successful I shall leave for a higher power to judge.

I find that we are all like children, so far as knowledge is concerned: that is, we know nothing, excepting what we have learned from others or by observation, and inasmuch as we do not now know anything but that which we have learned, the prospect is that what we may know in the future we shall have to learn. We are in a school, one which our Father has prepared for us, and in which he designs to instruct us, to give us counsel and point out the course that we should take day by day, in order that we may be saved. If we adopt the principles that have been revealed they will bring to us happiness and an abiding joy, and that, too, at the time and in the place where we are in need.

One reason why I consider that we are so much more highly favored than other people is simply this, that in generations that are past and gone there was no man capable of rising up and pointing out the way of life and salvation—there was no man to dispense the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them that were willing to embrace the truth. But it is not so now, for the kingdom of God has been established upon the earth, a knowledge of the ordinances of the kingdom has also been committed to man upon the earth, and the keys of that kingdom have been given, and the principles which pertain to that kingdom can now be taught to us. We have now the power to embrace the principles of life, because they are presented to us by those having the authority to teach. The principles of our religion have emanated from our Father and God, with whom there is no variableness, nor the least shadow of turning; and these principles have been revealed for the express purpose that we might embrace and practice them and thereby bring about our own salvation and secure that happiness which is promised to the faithful sons and daughters of God.

When we are in the world and hear the sectarians teaching their peculiar dogmas about heaven, hell, and many other topics, their discourses sound empty, foolish, and incomprehensible. Their subjects are generally very distant; in fact altogether beyond this world. When we hear individuals talking about having a father and a mother we do not then understand them to be talking about anything that is very remote, but it is something that is right here with us, and so it is with the kingdom of God. When the servants of the Lord commence to teach the human family principles pertaining to that kingdom, it is brought right home to us, so that we can understand it in this present life. This is the way the Gospel came to us when it was first sounded in our ears; it was brought home to us, no matter what kind of place we were in, and it set before us salvation, not after this life particularly, but it offered salvation to us at the time we heard it. The kingdom of God being established on the earth, the salvation of that kingdom was announced in our ears, and we had the offer of its benefits. If we saw proper to embrace the doctrines presented, we had the privilege of doing so; and inasmuch as we adopted and do now adopt the principles of that kingdom it brings to us a present salvation; and if we do not have a present salvation it is for want of adopting the principles that have been revealed. This is a matter that we should inquire about, and see and know for ourselves whether we have adopted those principles which the Almighty has made known for our salvation. If we have adopted them in our lives, then we are in the path of life and truth, which gives us salvation all the time; but if we have not, then we do not partake of that present salvation which is offered.

When the Savior was upon the earth he told his disciples to pray that his kingdom might come and that his will might be done upon the earth as it is done in the heavens. We might with the same propriety ask in our prayers, that the will of God might be done upon the earth in our day as angels do it in heaven. Is there anything upon this earth that will prevent the establishment of the same principles and the imparting of the same blessings that are enjoyed in the eternal worlds? If there is, the prayer of the Savior which he taught his disciples could not be fulfilled, and we know that our Father in heaven would not set us to do that which could not be accomplished. We can adopt the principles of that kingdom and practice them in our lives, and this will make us precisely what we are praying for.

Happiness is what we are striving for in this life, and this is what we want in the life which is to come. That happiness is obtainable upon the principles of truth and right that have been and that will be revealed from heaven. As I before remarked, we are in a school, and it is our business to be industrious in that school. It is our business to work diligently to learn that which is taught in the school of Christ, to make ourselves acquainted with the principles of salvation as far as revealed unto us. I can say truly and bear testimony that the people have never had to wait for the knowledge of God; the time never has been when it has not been poured out faster than the people were ready to receive. Principles of light and truth have all the time been taught faster than the people were ready to adopt and practice them. It has always been the good pleasure of the Lord, and it is still his wish to enlighten our minds and enlarge our understandings in reference to the things of his kingdom, that we may have just conceptions of his ways, and understand correctly the principles that pertain to the development of all that wisdom and knowledge necessary for our present and future advancement in the principles of eternal life. We should endeavor to appreciate and continually feel thankful for the blessings bestowed upon us, and strive to improve upon all the gifts of God that are bestowed.

There are a great many people, and I have met with some of them, who are very anxious to know all about heaven, the other worlds, and all about the people that dwell in eternity; but I will tell you how I feel, it is that I want to discharge the duties that devolve upon me, and strive to comprehend the object and design of everything that is required of me. We should all seek for a knowledge of those duties that pertain to us at the present time, and we should practice principles that will bring present salvation, and we should labor to learn that which will be both for our present and future good.

What we have been told today is good and strictly true, and we ought to understand that we are as much in the midst of eternity as we ever shall be, and our chances and opportunities for gaining knowledge and salvation here are as good as they will ever be. We have all the opportunities of learning the principles of heaven just as good as we shall ever have. Then if we do not improve upon these opportunities we are certainly to blame, and we are injuring ourselves more than anybody else, and the time will come when, if we are deprived of any blessing, we shall blame ourselves only. We will have it to say that the blessings and salvation pertaining to the kingdom of God were presented and we despised them. Then we will find that the scripture is true which says, “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant.” In view of this, then, it is for us to be awake to that which we have presented to us, to those principles which God has revealed from the heavens, for he has revealed them for the express purpose of having us practice them upon this earth. Those principles were not revealed with the intention that we should wait till we got to heaven, but everything is for us to practice in this life. Now, if we do not adopt the truth in this life, what is there to make us believe that we will adopt it in the life to come? I look upon our opportunities as being as good to know things in this life as they will be to know them in the life to come, for light and truth are before us, and they will only be before us there. We have no time to spare; all our opportunities should be laid hold of. If we have not adopted the principles of salvation in this life, there is no assurance that we shall adopt them in the life to come. What is there to make you and I think that we shall have power to apply them to ourselves hereafter? We ought to think of this, in order that we may be ready day by day for the performance of any duty required of us; we ought to know the principles so perfectly that we can apply them to the performance of every duty and feel and know that we are right—understand them for ourselves that we may be capable of applying them both in this life and in that which is to come. If we could do this, it would be a very good sign that we could apply these doctrines in the future life; but if we are to be told every day what we have to do, the probability is that we should be in the same situation in eternity.

We have the privilege of working out our salvation before God, and we have the opportunity of testing the practical workings of these principles, and in doing this our minds would expand to see the necessity of our words and our actions being right. Supposing the actions of every man and woman were right and in strict accordance with the doctrines of our religion, where would be the evil? If everybody always said and did right, the evils that we now find in the world would no more afflict the human family.

The evils that we do find grow out of two causes, and mostly out of one, and that one is ignorance. But there are some who are fast to do wrong; others do it ignorantly. There must be means adopted for teaching such persons the way of life, that where they do not know how to do right they may be taught; and then, when they are taught the right and embrace it with full purpose of heart, they can act upon the principles that are right and proper for them in this great school, in which we are being taught by the servants of God those duties that are required of us day by day, even those principles that will produce happiness, contentment and salvation. These things are being pointed out to us from week to week and from time to time, just as they have been this forenoon. How rich these instructions! They will be worth nothing unless we practice them in our lives. We read of a time when the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep; and we live in a time when that knowledge is being taught by the Prophets of God, and when it is the privilege of all mankind to be exalted upon principles of obedience to the laws of heaven.

Why are we not divided and distracted as the world are? And especially the country round about us? The reason is, we are and have been taught correct principles. How easy it would be to put the world of mankind right, if they would be set right and if they would hearken to the voice of God. In this age, as in all others, the inhabitants of the earth have been told what would come upon them, but they heed not the warnings of the servants of God. When we view the kingdom of God in the heavens we view it as an eternal kingdom. This is its condition, because truth and nothing but the truth exists with the inhabitants; they are governed by it in all their actions. Let the same principles be with us, and we shall find that the effect produced will be a oneness of purpose; our labors will be to promote happiness upon the earth and our lives will be peaceful ones. It is a good sign for us to adopt those principles that we can test and prove to be good or bad. I am perfectly willing to trust all in this kingdom, and to look to the world to come for an exaltation with the sanctified, and I know that all will be right if I continue faithful.

I can bear testimony that the Saints of the Most High God have not been waiting for labor; there has always been sufficient laid out to occupy their attention, and if they have attended to their duties they have no time to complain of anybody else. There is nothing very difficult for us to do, but there is enough to keep us busy all the time. And there are a great many safeguards which our Father has placed in his Church for the purpose of taking care of the sheep and pointing out to us those individual duties which are daily required at our hands. We find Presidents, Bishops and counselors in every direction, ever ready to impart to us a word of comfort and consolation; and if we are not taught we are to blame ourselves and nobody else. God has always spoken through his anointed servants, through those holding his Priesthood and authority, and he will be obeyed; and it is our duty and the duty of all men to give heed to those instructions and to receive knowledge from God by his servants as well as by his Spirit, for unless we do enjoy that Spirit and be guided by its influences we shall lack the perfection we are destined to arrive at.

We have a great labor to perform, and we have a great enemy to meet and overcome, and therefore it will be well for us to take a safe course and do a few things right, for should we attempt to do many things and fail we shall be sorry for it. I feel to rejoice in the plan of salvation, and I rejoice to have the privilege of laboring to establish these principles upon the earth. The more we do the better we feel. While we see mankind going to ruin because of their wickedness, I rejoice in the prospect of seeing the kingdom of God rising in splendor and greatness, and I do feel that we have abundant reason to be thankful, for we have been led by the hand of the Almighty from the first organization of this Church.

It is our business as Saints to put away from us everything that is wrong, that tends to corrupt the people of God. We are called upon to honor our callings and to labor to perform what the Bishops and Authorities of the Church require of us. Evil will produce evil, and good will produce good, and a bitter fountain will produce bitter water, and so it is throughout all the ramifications of the kingdom to which we belong. I trust that we shall all so live as to secure happiness and obtain peace with ourselves, so that we may live in peace at home. I do not want to see any of us neglect our own welfare, but I wish to see every Saint live as a man of God, as one who is striving to secure eternal life in the kingdom of our heavenly Father.

If I understand the principles of life and salvation, and with this understanding should lay down this body, I should then continue the good work which I have commenced here. All that wisdom and knowledge which we have obtained we will carry with us to the spirit world, and this, you can readily perceive, would make just about such a heaven on the other side of the veil as we have made on this side. I do not think we would make it much different. Of course we will have to learn beyond the veil as much so as we have need of learning while here. Then, let us endeavor to feed upon those principles of life and salvation day by day, and labor to put them in practice while in this life, then we shall have joy, happiness, peace, and a present salvation right where we are. We have the power to prove these principles all the time, and we can bear testimony to their truth, for we experience their benefits and blessings in our everyday life.

Let us be faithful and love the truth more than we love anything else, for there is a fulness of it offered to us; and we ought to know that there are no other principles or system that has a fulness of truth to offer to us. Now, there is not any of us that would be satisfied with anything short of a fulness of all that knowledge and wisdom which are hid up in the eternal worlds. But we need not think of attaining that position upon any other principles than those offered to us by our heavenly Father, for if we do, we deceive ourselves and are preparing for ourselves disappointment, and at the great day of reckoning we shall find ourselves disappointed, simply because we have not adapted the principles that alone will secure what we want in time and in eternity.

I do not feel to occupy more than my share of the time, but I feel exceedingly well, and, as some of the brethren have remarked, I always intend to feel well, for I intend to do the best I can all the time. When I first embraced the Gospel, I had a testimony of its truth and I have had evidence increasing with me all the day long. I have often remarked to individuals that I would pursue the course that I was pursuing if there was no other life than this; I would do this because it brings the most good, the most happiness, more than anything else I know anything about. Let us be humble and faithful in keeping the commandments of God and in performing the labors that are allotted to us; and sanctify ourselves before God that we may constantly have within us the light of the Holy Spirit; be guided by his Priesthood, that when we come to lay down these bodies we may be prepared for that which is to be enjoyed on the other side of the veil, having been faithful and diligent on this side, which I pray may be the case, in the name of Jesus: Amen.

Sufficiency of the Gospel—Obedience to Truth—Union—Good Spirit Among the Saints—The Lord Will Deliver His People

Remarks by Elder Charles C. Rich, Delivered at the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, Wednesday Afternoon, October 7, 1857.

Brethren and sisters, I can truly say, as others have said, that I have been edified during the Conference and greatly benefited by the spirit that has been made manifest and the testimony that has been borne by the brethren. It has cheered my heart, and I have not had a better time for years.

We have great reason to rejoice, notwithstanding some people might think that we have reason to mourn. But I do not think so, neither do I think that you feel so. I think there is but one feeling, and that is peace and joy. Notwithstanding all the appearances that are around us, we have abundant reason to rejoice; for we have something to rejoice about and in, if we comprehend our position, which I have no doubt the great majority do.

We have had the privilege of embracing the Gospel of salvation; and inasmuch as we have embraced it with honest hearts, it has been salvation to us: and what is there besides this that we should rejoice in, or that should make us rejoice? For my part, I feel, as has been expressed by some of the brethren who have spoken from this stand, that this Gospel contains all that I desire; consequently, I have no feelings nor desires to go outside of it, simply because it bestows upon you and me everything that will do us good and that will save us. All that is outside of it will damn us in time and in eternity; consequently, we have no need of that which is outside of this kingdom.

If we understand the principles of truth as we should, we shall have no desires to go after anything but what is right, simply because it would do us an injury; therefore, it will be well for us to examine ourselves, and know whether the principles that are in our bosoms are of God. If they are, they will bless us in time and exalt us in all eternity. If they are not, they will be an evil to us in time, and as long as we have them in our bosoms; consequently, it would be well for us to know something about ourselves, and what we have in our bosoms, and the principles that we practice from day to day continually.

We profess to be Saints—to have received the Gospel of salvation; and if we have embraced it with pure motives, it is salvation to us—and that, too, at the present time. When we look at the world we find them talking about being saved; but all the salvation they are looking for is a long way from this, which I think will be the case. But we receive the Gospel for the purpose of being saved. It proposes salvation to us on the onset, at the commencement, and from that day to all eternity.

If we do not embrace the principles of life and live by them, we do not partake of the principles of salvation at the time we receive them; but if we live by them, they continue to save us from that time onward.

For instance, when we heard the sound of the Gospel, it proposed to us that we should have the same Spirit that was poured out upon the ancient Saints—upon Christ’s disciples. This was the doctrine that his servants declared to us. When we received their testimony, we went forward and were baptized for the remission of sins; and what followed? I will tell you what followed: we were enabled to bear testimony that we had received the truth, and we obtained thereby a knowledge that our Father in heaven lived—that his son Jesus Christ had been crucified for the sins of the world.

But did we not discover that we were saved—saved from ignorance that had beclouded our minds? We had received something that we did not before know. We could then rejoice in the truth when the whole world were in darkness on this subject; and what further? Why, there was one truth after another made manifest to us—one truth after another revealed. Well, if we have embraced those truths that have been made manifest, we have received the blessings that are given from time to time—yes, from the time that we embraced them up to the present; and they have saved us.

The Gospel requires to be honest to our God, to ourselves, to our brethren. We should not steal, we should not commit adultery, and there are a great many things that we should not do and that the principles of eternal truth would forbid. If we had not among us any who commit any of these sins, those evils would not be in our midst. If the principles that dwell in the bosom of our God are in us, we will do nothing under any circumstances that we know to be wrong.

When some men’s evil deeds are discovered, they will say that they did not do the evil with which they are charged. They will deny it. This is a mark of the greatest degradation and infamy.

Evils are of two classes; and what are they? First, people do wrong because they do not know how to do right: second, they do wrong because they are disposed to do wrong: and do you not see that in either case they are wrongs? We are not half as well saved as we should be; consequently, to be saved, we want to learn to know what right is. If we are dishonest and want to do wrong, we are wicked. Nevertheless, it is wrong both ways; and we are not saved by pursuing such a course.

You know it is said that in the last days the knowledge of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the great deep. We can bear testimony that the Spirit of God is poured out upon his Saints. We see it day by day and from time to time, and we are increasing in the knowledge of the truth.

Inasmuch as we are trying to be saved, we are all the time increasing in the principles of truth; we are continually treasuring them up, and we can use them for our benefit.

We may easily discover that a person cannot use that which he has not got. He must first learn a principle before he can act upon it. Well, if we do not know the truth, the best way is to get somebody that does know to lead us; and perhaps, by diligence, we may arrive at the knowledge thereof. This has been a course of safety pointed out to the Saints from the beginning, and it is the same now.

When we have learned one truth, we are prepared to learn another; for every truth seems to unfold some other truth. When a matter is presented to a person who has a knowledge of a great many truths, let him compare it with the many truths that he knows, and they will agree; for all truth will agree. If it is not truth, it will come in contact; therefore, the more truths we are in possession of, the more keys we have to test other truths by; and the longer we live in this way, the more we know of our Father and the principles that pertain to his kingdom, and the less disposition we will have to do wrong: we will be more inclined to do right, and to carry out the principles of his government. We will do this because it is the safest and best course to pursue: hence, if we have a disposition to be blest and saved, we shall be disposed to take this course.

I feel rejoiced in one principle that I see manifest among the Saints in these days, and that is, the principle of union. Of course we have, as a community, always been more united than any other people; but we still come short of that fulness of union which should exist among us. But I consider that we have done first-rate.

It is an easy matter to do right, if we only pursue the right course: at least I have always found it so. I never had any difficulty to be agreed with those I was associated with. The way that I am united with my brethren is simply this: I calculate to adopt the same policy that the Lord manifests through his servants that have a right to dictate me. I do not calculate to have anything in my heart that is not right; then you see there will be no difficulty, if I pursue this course, to be united with my brethren that preside over me.

I have been a member of the Church over twenty-five years, and I have been preaching all the time: at least, I have been a preacher, whether I have been preaching all the time or not. I have never seen the time but I have always found those who were leading me to be right; and I have never seen the time but I could bear testimony that they were right; for I knew it by the Spirit of God that was in me. I knew it was the privilege of every Saint to have this knowledge.

When we are agreed and live our religion, we are prepared to receive the blessings that are poured out upon us. We cannot claim the blessings that are in store for us, except we pursue a course that will put away all our sins and iniquities far from us.

I do not say that I am perfect, but I can say this—that I never intended to do a wrong thing. I have done the best I could. To be sure I have been away from this place most of the time among the wicked: at least I term them wicked. They say they seek after God and everything that pertains to godliness. But if ever I was glad to get home among the Saints it was this summer.

I have thought that the spirit that is among this people and the quiet feeling that seems to prevail when difficulties are approaching was most heavenly; and I have sometimes felt and queried as to whether I did not feel too well. But when the brethren have been pouring out their feelings from this stand, I have felt to rejoice. I feel that we have got further along than I thought we had before I came back here.

I have been looking for the time of deliverance, but I did not expect it so soon. But I know it cannot come too soon to meet with a hearty welcome. I have been through some of the difficulties, as some others have said, and can tell you, in all that I have passed through from the beginning, I have felt paid as I have gone along. I have always felt that the course to do right was the best, and that there would be the most joy and happiness in doing right.

So far as our enemies are con cerned, I feel about them precisely as our brethren have expressed themselves. I do not fear them; but I feel that the Lord will take care of his Saints and of his kingdom. All we have to do is to do as we are directed, and all will be well.

A great number of the Elders have been on missions, and we have been bearing testimony to the world of mankind that this is the kingdom of God—that God has set his hand to recover the house of Israel. We have been bearing testimony of this, and we still continue to bear it, and the Spirit of God flows into our hearts when we testify to this. Have we any fears that the Lord is not able to deliver his Saints? We ought not to have any.

I will tell you how I feel. It is best for us to do right; and there will be more salvation flowing to us through doing right than pursuing any other course. This is the course of salvation. Whatever our heavenly Father dictates, that is the thing for us to do, whether it is to fight or let it alone. I have been in difficulties where there actually was fighting, where the Saints had to defend themselves against their enemies; but the time had not come for us to take the stand that we have now taken. But the Lord directed matters then, and he is directing matters now. We have seen difficulties from the beginning, from the time that the Lord established his kingdom upon the earth until the present time.

Every person that has a portion of the Spirit of God can see the manifestations of the power of God, from the time that the kingdom was established until the present. We have no need to fear for the kingdom; but it is for us to do our duty, and then all will be well with us.

I do not wish to occupy time that should be occupied by my brethren. I say that I feel well: I never felt better, and never had less fears of our enemies than I have at the present time.

That we may live so as to be sanctified through the truth—that we may secure salvation in this world, and in that which is to come, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.