The Principles of the Gospel Promote Unity, Faith and Love—The Human Family Are Free Agents—The Evidence of Our Having Descended From the Gods—The World is Fulfilling Its Destiny—The Church and Kingdom of God Arising in Influence and Power—The Restoration of the Holy Priesthood—Plural Marriage—More Happiness in Doing Right Than Wrong—All Real Enjoyment Comes From God—The Latter-Day Saints Trust in God—“Mormonism” the Only Religion Worth Living For—The Christianity of the Period a Tremendous Imposition Upon the Children of Men—“Mormonism” Will Extend Further and Further—Conclusion

Discourse by Counselor D. H. Wells, delivered in the Salt Lake Assembly Hall, Sunday Afternoon, October 28th, 1883.

The principles of the Holy Gospel are calculated in their nature to unite the hearts of the people one with another, and to promote faith, union and love towards our fellows.

We are an independent set of beings. The human family possessed of intelligence, are agents unto themselves to receive or reject that which is good or that which is evil. Indeed it was one of the objects, I suppose, of our coming upon this earth, to learn to know the good from the evil, the right from the wrong, the light from the darkness, the bitter from the sweet, the joy from the sorrow, that we might the better appreciate the blessings of joy and peace, of light, of intelligence, of truth, and of every virtue. Now, as it is written, man having partaken of the forbidden fruit became as one of the Gods, knowing the good from the evil. Therefore he must be cut off; he must not be permitted to live forever in his sins; a flaming sword must be placed to guard the tree of life. Hence mortality, the wages of sin.

Herein lies the great evidence of our lineage, of our having descended from the Gods, reasoning, intelligent beings possessing the capabilities of the Gods—that is, the power to rise to their capabilities, being of that nature and of that kind of which are the Gods. And I might say that a person who is not capable of being a peculiar agent of the devil need never aspire to become a son of God, for, according to the Scriptures, we are “heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” If it would have been as well for us to have remained in our pre-existent state; if we could have learned and gained all of this experience, learned to know the good from the evil, the light from the darkness, do you suppose that our Father in heaven would have sent us forth into the world, subjected us to all these tests and trials and temptations of sin, of sorrow, of misery, sickness, pain and death? I don’t.

To me this is a grand old world, and fulfills its destiny and purpose, the destiny and purpose of God our Heavenly Father, in bringing it forth and preparing it for the habitation of man, and bringing forth his children upon it. This world is not here by mere accident, it is not here because it merely happened so; but it was made with a destiny and purpose which it is answering most superbly in my estimation. It gives the people an opportunity of obtaining tabernacles for their spirits to dwell in. This in and of itself is a great thing and a blessing, although some may act in such a manner that it would have been better for them, perhaps, never to have been born. Still it is a blessing to undergo tests, to pass through ordeals, to subject ourselves to the principles of truth and righteousness, rejecting the evil and receiving the good. Why, on natural principles a course of that kind is just as sure to exalt us in the scale of human existence and in the scale of future and eternal existence, as it is that we have an existence at all; whereas a course the reverse to purity, the ordinary course of sin and iniquity and transgression against the laws of God, is sure to debase, degrade, and to lead down to misery, sorrow and death. It is as natural as anything else—as natural as that we exist. These things bring their own rewards and their own punishments naturally. Can a person avoid punishment? Yes. How? By receiving and obeying the principles of the Gospel and getting forgiveness of his sins, follies, weaknesses, imperfections, and wrongdoings, we can repent and turn away from the evil and do that which is good from henceforth, and the Lord will forgive us. We know better than anybody else if we are forgiven. We will know whether we have turned away from our evils or not. If we have this testimony we may know that the Lord has forgiven us. It is so written in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that if a person wants to know whether the Lord has forgiven him, let him examine himself, and see that he has repented with a repentance that needs not to be repeated over and over and over again. The evidence is the turning away from sin; that whereas we did that which was wrong, forsake it and do that which is right, and that we may know that the Lord has forgiven us. In passing through the ordeals we are subject to in life, we must keep ourselves pure and unspotted from the contaminations of the wicked and ungodly, and walk in the path of life, the path the Lord marks out for us to walk in. Our being here gives Him an opportunity of proving us, whether we will walk in His ways and do His works, or whether we will go our own way. After He has gotten unto Himself a people who will do His work, a people whom He has proved to be faithful and true and full of integrity, why, with such a people He can fulfill His words spoken through His servants centuries ago, that the kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ. Until He does obtain a people of this kind, He cannot consistently bestow this Kingdom.

Now, this work in which we are engaged, is calculated to produce just this class of people—the Saints of the Most High God. And I rejoice day by day, in having lived long enough to see this Kingdom arise in influence, in power—not to its greatness, still to a considerable extent to its greatness—and to see it put on, to a certain extent, its beautiful garments. I rejoice in my heart that I have been permitted to witness this Kingdom, since I became acquainted with it, become considerable of a power in the earth. And I believe also, nay, more, I feel sure that it will continue so to progress. Many fall away from time to time. It has been so in the history of the past, and probably it will be so in the future. But will that impede the progress of this work? No. It has never seen the day nor the hour from the time of its first incipiency upon the earth, but what it has been greater than it was the day or the hour previous. It never will. It is bound to increase and grow, no matter what difficulties it may have to encounter; it is bound to progress and to spread abroad, and to become great in the earth, and no power can hinder it. What! Not if the Saints do wrong? The Saints are not going to do wrong. It is not the Saints that do wrong; it is those that apostatize from the Church and become anything else but Saints, and if those people do not remain Saints and keep themselves faithful who are here today, others will come up who will do it. For the Lord will get unto Himself a people who will be faithful, and who will keep His commandments and do His work on the earth even as it is done in heaven. Whether we do this individually, or not, makes no difference to the work of God. All the difference it makes is to us as individuals. Now, we may have part and lot in this matter if we will. The Lord is willing to work with us, if we will only walk obediently before Him. He will accept of our services, and be glad to get them. He has not any too many people of this kind on the earth; but He has some; He has enough to carry on His work, and He will get more as He needs them, from time to time, because it is the day and age and dispensation in which those spirits that will obey the Gospel and keep His commandments, will come forth upon the earth, and bear off this kingdom victoriously. It is an important era for those that live in this day and age of the world. There are great responsibilities resting upon the children of men in this day. Great light has been made manifest, far greater than in any other age of the world—that is, it has been made manifest to a greater extent. I do not know but what there was greater light in the days of Jesus and the Apostles; but it is and will be made more manifest to the children of men in this day than it was in that day, because it is a greater work. It is the work of the fullness of times, incorporating all other dispensations, and it is to prepare the way for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to rule upon the earth in power and great glory. This is a preparatory work for those great events that have been set out to transpire. Great events, such as never have transpired on the earth, are to take place in this dispensation of the fullness of times. Hence it is an important era, and great responsibilities rest upon the children of men.

God from heaven has spoken to the children of men in the day and age in which we live. He has sent forth His angels who have commu nicated and restored unto man the authority of the Holy Priesthood from heaven, and through which channel a communication has been opened up between the heavens and the earth, through which we may learn the mind and will of our Heavenly Father concerning us, His children. All people may learn to know his mind and will concerning them, through this channel of the Priesthood that has been opened up again in this the dispensation of the fullness of times between the heavens and the earth. That is a great event to say nothing of anything else. Now, God having revealed His mind and will concerning the children of men, having sent forth His angels and a testimony concerning Himself, and the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation to all those who obey it, it becomes binding upon the children of men. Great light has come into the world. As the Savior said, “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” This light reproves the world of sin and unrighteousness, and tells of judgments to come. It is in force upon the whole human family. It were better for those who lived before this great light came into the world and passed away without a knowledge of the Gospel, than for those who, having been in the world when these events have transpired, and having had an opportunity of receiving the Gospel, reject it; a great deal better. There is not so much responsibility resting upon them. They can be officiated for by their friends in the Temples of the Most High God, which will be built and which are built for the express purpose of going into them and performing the ordi nances for the living and for the dead. These things have been restored in this the dispensation of the fullness of times. A knowledge of God has been restored. We know how to repent of our sins. We know how to get them remitted. We have the privilege of knowing concerning the power of God as it is made manifest upon the earth in the hearts of the children of men, which others have not had the privilege of knowing for a great many hundreds of years. We have the privilege of having part and lot in this matter. As I observed before, we can be workers and co-workers for our Father in heaven, if we will only let Him work with us. He is the Master Workman; He is the Great Architect, He is the One who is directing our labors; and if we will seek to obey His laws, if we will walk in the path He marks out for us to walk in, if we will work according to His plan in the building up of His Kingdom on the earth, so as to bring timber to timber, and block to block, and everything in its proper position and proper place, according to the plan that He devises, we may be instrumental in His hands of accomplishing this great work, giving God the glory whose Kingdom it is. There is glory enough for us to be the honored instruments in His hands of accomplishing His purposes and establishing His cause here upon the earth, even the cause of truth and righteousness, and bearing it off victoriously against every obstacle or foe that lies in our pathway. There is honor enough, I say, in being humble instruments in His hands, and in having a lot and part in this matter. I have always felt, ever since I became acquainted with these principles, to make it my life’s business, allowing no other business to intervene—to work for God and His Kingdom. I esteem it a privilege and an honor to do so. “Well,” says one, “Don’t it bring you into difficulties? Have you not a great many things to encounter that you otherwise would not have to encounter? Is it not a hard road to travel?” I do not know that it is. I believe the Latter-day Saints enjoy themselves better on an average in the things of this world than any other people with whom I am acquainted. If nobody but Latter-day Saints had difficulties to encounter in this life, then people might talk.

I don’t often say anything in regard to plural marriage; but there has been a great deal said about the misery of women in that order. Well, if in monogamy women do not have any trouble, if it were all serene in that order of marriage—no cause of difference of feeling or of jealousy—then there might be some cause for this hue and cry. People imagine, you know, that in a man’s family where there are several wives, they must be very jealous of one another—that they must tear each other’s hair and all that kind of thing. Well, as I have said, if there was never any jealousy, or any feelings of unhappiness in monogamic families, then they might say something. I have had a little experience both ways, and though not a woman, yet I am bold to bear my testimony that there is more happiness in the number of families living in plural marriage, than there is in an equal number of families in the other condition. And I speak from my own experience in regard to these matters. I think I lived as happily in monogamy as anybody, and I think, too, that I live as happily in plural marriage as anybody else.

I would like to have people realize that there is more happiness in doing right and in keeping the commandments of God than is afforded by the allurements offered in the world or by the world that are of an opposite character. It is very true a great many things that are counted sins are not sins. I do not believe that it is worth our while to make sin of that which is no sin. There are a great many things counted sins in the Christian world that are not sins at all. Why, there was a great big devil in a very small fiddle, in the estimation of many people where I was born and brought up. I was taught to believe that a man would surely go to hell that would attend a ball or theater. It was thought sinful to do that. Well, I do not know but it is a sin to those who make it so—to those who indulge in sin. And so with a great many other things that are counted sins, that are not sins in and of themselves, only as they are made so by the hallucinations and foolish notions of men. Pastime is right and proper. There is no sin in it, only as we make it so. But we should have our pastimes without sin. We should have enjoyment, and there is nothing that is worth having that is precluded by the articles of our faith as Latter-day Saints. I do not know of a single enjoyment; I do not know of a single thing that is a blessing in reality, or that will afford any real or true enjoyment to the human mind, but what comes within the purview of the Gospel. I believe that all enjoyments and blessings come from God. The adversary, it is true, sometimes perverts these things, and people think that they can have a little enjoyment in some of their excesses. It may bring a little enjoyment for the time being, but it soon passes away, and leaves a feeling that it has not been real and true enjoyment after all. Therefore, everything that is worth having, and that affords real enjoyment, comes within the purview of my holy religion. Latter-day Saints can pass their time pleasantly in enjoyment of every kind, so long as they will do without sin, never forgetting God. Never do anything—it is a pretty good rule to go by—but what you can ask the blessing of God upon it to begin with. Then it will bring peace, comfort and joy. So that I concluded on the whole that there is just as much happiness and pleasure in leading a religious life—the life of a Latter-day Saint—as there is in any other position in life that a person may find himself in, I do not care whether it is religious or irreligious.

Notwithstanding all the contumely, and all the outpourings of wrath, and all the difficulties with which the Latter-day Saints have to contend, we can lift up our hearts and rejoice, trusting in God that all is right, feeling pretty comfortable as we pass along in the present, and very comfortable with regard to the rewards that lie at the end of the race.

Let me assure you there is no other religion that is worth living for, other than the one we have espoused. All the ordinances that they profess in the sectarian world to perform are without the authority of God, and mankind, the world over, are just as well off without them as they are with them. I design to be sweeping in this—to include everything of that nature. Not but what the teaching of morality, of belief in God, of belief in Jesus Christ, and all of these things are good so far as they go; I do not mean that; but I mean the ordinan ces that they perform; mankind is just as well off and better off without them than with them. Now, it may require a little explanation as to how mankind are better off without these ordinances. Man is naturally a religious being. He has something to satisfy. His heart craves for something of a religious nature. He feels there is some being to worship, or some reverence due somewhere. Now, any system that proposes to satisfy this craving, which is not of God, and which is not right, only deludes the individual into a false theory and a false belief, and at the same time partially satisfies this craving for light, truth, and knowledge, and for a reverence for some divine being. In this way, I say, the human family are often deluded. It makes them so satisfied, that they cease to seek for the true light, and they are thus led astray. Therefore it does injury. Man is better without it than with it. If the principles of the holy Gospel, if the Spirit of the Lord had a clean sheet to write upon and to make its impressions, it could make its impressions quicker than it could do if the slate had to be washed so as to wipe out the marks already imprinted thereon. Therefore it would be better for mankind not to receive of this great superstructure that has been reared in the midst of the earth, under the name of religious forms, ceremonies and ordinances. The world would be better off today, without it, than they are with it.

The whole system of Christianity is a failure so far as stemming the tide of wickedness and corruption is concerned, or turning men from their evil ways to living lives of righteousness before God our Heavenly Father. I would rather preach the Gospel to a people who have not got any religion than I would to a people who have got a great deal of religion. You take the Catholic world. What impression can the truths of the Gospel make upon them as a people? Scarcely any impression at all. Why? Because they are satisfied with what they have got, which we know is an error, and which is not calculated to stem the tide of wickedness and corruption which floods the world. It never will convert the world to God or His Kingdom, or convey knowledge of God unto the children of men, and it is life eternal to know Him, the living and true God. The Christianity of the period will never make the people acquainted with God in the world. It will never bring them to eternal life as spoken of in the Scriptures. It is an utter impossibility. In the first place they do not know anything about God, and in the second place, they apparently don’t want to know anything about Him. They have reared a superstructure in the earth which is false. It is and has been a tremendous imposition to the children of men. Some have come out of it, to a certain extent, seeing its incongruity, and yet they have floundered in the dark, not knowing what was right; not having that knowledge of God which is necessary to obtain eternal life, they have been tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, without being able to find the truth. Many who have thus been foundering are honest people; but the so-called system of Christianity is not only an error and a snare, but is a monstrous iniquity fastened upon the children of men throughout the earth. No wonder that people become infidel. The inconsistent and incongruous nature of the system is enough to make any being who reasons infidel. It was time the truth should be revealed; it was time for the Lord to restore the everlasting Gospel, for men were blind. Darkness covered the earth, even gross darkness the minds of the people in regard to religious subjects. Perhaps a darker time was never known since the earth began its revolutions around the sun. From what I have read and from what experience I have had in life, and the intelligence I possess, I make bold to give my testimony that the darkest period the world ever saw was when this work first commenced, when it was made known from heaven to Joseph Smith. It was no darker here, perhaps, than in any other part of the world; but it was just as dark in Christian countries as in any Pagan country, so far as true religion and the light of heaven were concerned.

Well, now, this light has broken forth, and it is extending its rays further and further, and will continue to do so. I have seen it between 35 and 40 years myself, constantly extending, and I rejoice in it. I rejoice in this work. It is just as sweet to me today as it ever was. From the time I first heard the principles of the Holy Gospel drop from the lips of Joseph Smith, the inspired Prophet of God, the great Prophet of the last days—I say it is just as sweet to me today as it was then. I can see a great growth. I am a better man—I will speak of myself—through the influence of “Mormonism,” than I was before I received it. You, too, are better men and better women today, as a general thing, than you were before you received it. Take this people as a whole, I am happy in believing that the great majority are for God and His Kingdom, and are desirous to walk in the ways of truth and of righteousness according to the light that they have and about as well as they are able to. Some don’t, perhaps none of us do as well as we know how. I have said before, and I guess it is pretty true, that I don’t do as well as I know how. Perhaps I can’t. There may be circumstances surrounding me of that nature that I am not able to do as well as I know how. I may say I do as well as I can under the circumstances. Perhaps that is the case with all. Perhaps we might do a little better than what we do, notwithstanding the circumstances. Still I am happy in believing that the great majority of the people are for God and His Kingdom; and those who do not walk up to their privileges in regard to these matters and observe the principles of the Holy Gospel, they only injure themselves, they cannot injure the work of God. It is proof against the aspersions of the wicked, the ungodly and the apostate. Me disgrace my Maker! No. What can I do to disgrace my Maker and my Creator? Nothing. I can disgrace myself, but not Him, nor His cause, nor His Kingdom. The higher a man gets the further he may have to fall; but the tree from which he falls would not be apt to be hurt by his falling off it.

I pray God to bless us all; to help us to do right; to help us to make our calling and election sure; to bring us to the full enjoyment of our righteous desires; that we may succeed in obtaining an exaltation in His presence, an inheritance in His Kingdom, an habitation that has been prepared for the righteous, from before the foundations of the world; this is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Mormonism” As True Now As Ever—Many Called But Few Chosen—God’s People to Be Tried and Tested—Rapid Growth of His Kingdom—The Blindness of the World—Animosity of Satan—Blessings Cannot Be Withheld From the Faithful—Exhortation Against Covetousness and Other Evils—Ordeals Ordained From the Beginning—The Reward of the Faithful

Discourse by Elder Daniel H. Wells, delivered in the Assembly Hall, Salt Lake City, Friday Morning (General Conference), October 6, 1882.

It is with a degree of pleasure that I stand before you today to bear my testimony in regard to the truths that we have heard, the truths of the everlasting Gospel; for I know that “Mormonism” is just as true today as it ever was, and that God has not forsaken His people. We live, it is true, in an eventful age when the words of the Prophets are being fulfilled; when the God of Israel is going to establish and build up His kingdom on the earth, establish His government and his laws. I know that this work will be accomplished through the instrumentality of His children; that those who live in this day and age will have the privilege of being the honored instruments in the hands of God of bringing to pass His purposes, of establishing his kingdom never more to be thrown down, if we will let the Lord work with us, if we will only work with Him, if we will be obedient to His laws and work under His direction. We have been reserved from coming forth in the spirit world until that day when the everlasting Gospel should be established, that we might have the privilege of bearing a hand in this great work, this glorious work of the last days. It is not a haphazard matter with the Lord; everything is in perfect order in regard to this matter. He knew when he revealed His Gospel to his servant Joseph, that Joseph would receive it; and he knew there were those spirits upon the earth that would also receive it when it should be presented to them. It was rejected in the days of the Savior; they crucified Him; they drove the Priesthood from the earth. The hearts of the children of men are of the same nature today, to a greater or less extent; but there are those that come forth in this day that receive the Gospel when it is presented to them. Whether the people of those ages, when the Gospel was not upon the earth would have received it I am not prepared to say. Suffice it to say when it was not revealed, they had not the opportunity of rejecting it; and that, in the economy of God, those who would have received it when the opportunity was not afforded them in the flesh, will receive it when it shall be presented to them in the spirit.

We have been called, and all people are called to this work. It is said that many are called and few are chosen. But all have been called, and it is their blessed privilege to bear a hand to help bear off this kingdom, if they chose to do so; and if they will be faithful to the call that is made upon them, the time will come when they will be chosen instruments to bear off His kingdom and in maintaining the principles of truth and righteousness as revealed to us through the influence and spirit of the living God. Because it is the privilege of all to hear testimony. Now, a man’s judgment will ofttimes be convinced by the weight of testimony, whether he be willing to admit it or not; whether he is willing to acknowledge the Lord publicly, making a public profession of his belief, or not. There are many, I do believe, whose judgment has been convinced by the weight of testimony, who have not been willing to admit the truth of and make a public profession of faith in the Holy Gospel. When a person embraces the everlasting Gospel which, by the way, seems to be very unpopular now, as in other ages; whether it will continue to be so I do not know—it requires a good deal of moral courage to sacrifice his associations in life, his property, social standing and good name, and everything that pertains to this life that is considered worth having. Still there are those spirits in the flesh that have the courage to do it; those that have the honesty of heart to receive this testimony and to stand up and bear it in the face of every opposing ob stacle and every opposing foe. It is a life’s labor for the Latter-day Saint to live his religion, to perform his duty, to fill up the measure of his creation with honor to his God and credit to himself. Our religion is not a matter of enthusiasm to work the mind up to a high pitch for an hour, a day, a week, in some protracted meeting or under some peculiar influence, but day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year, as long as life shall last, the Latter-day Saint does not see an hour nor a moment that he can afford to lay off the armor of righteousness, or lay aside his holy religion. It is he that endures to the end that is promised salvation. The word “endure” is there; and we may naturally expect to have to endure some things. God will have a tried people; and all will be put to the test in one way or another. Some things will try some people at one time, and will not try them at another time. Some things will try some people, and they will have no such effect on others. God leads his people through a great variety of changes, that all may be tried; and you may depend upon it that all who come to this point in their travels in the journey of life, will be tested to the heart’s core. I have heard some people say, O, I wish I had been in Zion’s Camp, and through the persecutions of Missouri; and I wish I had been with the Saints in the days of Illinois, etc.; I can promise every Latter-day Saint that is faithful, that he will have sufficient to try him before he gets through, and the nearer that he lives to his God, the more sore, perhaps, the test that will be made of him; he may rest assured that he will be tried, and tried severely, if he remain faithful. There is and there will be an opportunity for all people to prove their integrity to their God, and their integrity to their brethren, and to the principles of the Gospel that we have espoused. If a person is going to fly the track the moment that difficulty arises, which it is necessary to overcome, what becomes of his integrity, and where is it? It proves to God and to angels and to all good men that he has not integrity, does it not? It is to stand firm and steadfast through every trial, to overcome every obstacle, that brings the prize, allowing nothing to intervene between us and the Lord, or between the Gospel that we have espoused, or between us and the Holy Priesthood who, under God, guides the affairs of His church and kingdom upon the earth; it is to stand up in defense of the truth, and bear off the principles of the Gospel in this wicked and untoward generation. It requires some test, and the Lord will have that kind of people that He can rely on. He could not bestow His kingdom in its power and fullness, in its might and glory upon a people whom He did not know had sufficient integrity to hold sacred that which had been entrusted to them for Him and His cause.

I have often been asked the question, “When will the kingdom be given into the hands of the Saints of the most high God;” and I have always answered it in this way: just so soon as the Lord finds that He has a people upon the earth who will uphold and sustain that kingdom, who shall be found capable of maintaining its interests and of extending its influence upon the earth. When he finds that he has such a people, a people who will stand firm and faithful to him, a people that will not turn it over into the lap of the devil, then, and not until then, will he give “the kingdom” into the hands of the Saints of the most high, in its power and influence when it shall fill the whole earth. The promise is, that the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and His Christ; and it shall be given to the Saints of the most high, and it shall stand forever. That is when we may expect it, and we could not reasonably expect it any sooner. Therefore, it depends, in a great measure, upon the people themselves, as to how soon the kingdom spoken of by Daniel shall be given into the hands of the Saints of God. When we shall prove ourselves faithful in every emergency that may arise, and capable to contend and grapple with every difficulty that threatens our peace and welfare, and to overcome every obstacle that may tend to impede the progress of the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth, then our heavenly Father will have confidence in us, and then he will be able to trust us. And it is the Lord’s will that it should be so. And if we, as a people, do not hold ourselves on the altar ready to be used, with our means and all that God has bestowed upon us, according to the Master’s bidding, for the upbuilding of his kingdom upon the earth, he will pass on and get somebody else; because he will get a people that will do it. I do not mean to say, that he will pass on and leave this people; no, there will come up from the midst of this people that people which has been talked so much about—for the kingdom will not be taken from us and given to another people; it is too late in the day, as it has already commenced to grow, and it is growing and will continue to grow. This kingdom of God has been of rapid growth, although we may think sometimes that it is slow, that the purposes of the Almighty are being slowly developed, but the time will come that this people will look back, say forty years hence, and exclaim how wonderfully, how rapidly has the kingdom progressed, and how powerful has it become in the earth! We can look back today from the time that we were located in Missouri, and if any man had predicted the progress that we have made since, he would have been considered somewhat enthusiastic, to say the least of it; and he could not possibly have foretold by his own natural foresight the progress and the prosperity that have attended the labors of the people, and the strength and power that we have attained unto in so short a time. Therefore, we may take courage and press onward, and continue to sustain the holy principles that have been revealed in our day for our reformation and salvation. For these principles tend to reformation, and they will produce the greatest reformation that God has undertaken to bring to pass among the children of men. When we consider the nature of this work and its results among men, it would be quite proper to call it a reformation. It is reformation and it is restitution; it brings us back to first principles; it brings us back to the purity of the most holy faith; it is also reformation from the status of the evildoer and from the evils that are prevalent in the earth.

The world have forsaken God; they have not the least true conception of the attributes of the Deity; they know no more about the true and living God than those lampposts do. They go blundering along worshipping an imaginary God, a something that they know nothing at all about. Their teachers are blind as to His true character, and the people are blinded by their teachers, and they seem to be satisfied with their condition. They talk about their colleges, their theological seminaries and their institutions of learning; they are simply machines, the body without the spirit; it is not possible for them to furnish a line of Scripture, they never have since the Apostles fell asleep, and they never will down to the end of time. It is not in them; it cannot come out of them. Why they openly denounce all belief in revelation from God—the very lifegiving element of all scripture, as nothing but that can produce scripture. The Bible itself was made up by revelations to the servants of God from time to time. Men spoke as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and it was written for the benefit of posterity, and became the word of the Lord to us. Ever since the Apostles fell asleep, there has been no further light; the heavens have been closed, and no communication has been made to the “gentlemen of the cloth,” nor to anybody else of this generation until the Lord revealed himself and spoke to Joseph Smith. And why did he speak to him? One reason was because he prayed to the Lord in faith, believing that He would hear him. The religions of his time he saw were many, they differed, and each claimed to be the right way of the Lord. He did not know which to join, and yet he wanted to espouse some one among the many that then existed. And he was in this state of mind when reading the writings of the Apostle James, who says: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” He approached the Lord with an honest heart, and the Lord heard his prayer. He Himself, together with His Son, appeared to him, and among other things that he was told on that occasion was to not join any of the sectarian churches, that none of them were right, that they were the systems of men and not the system of God. And Joseph had the temerity to tell it; and of course that was enough to bring upon him the enmity of professing Christianity, and especially of the “gentlemen of the cloth” whose craft was at once in danger; and their animosity to this people has continued from that day to this increasing with our growth; and we expect that it will still continue to manifest itself against us until the kingdom of God shall triumph in the earth, and God, the righteous Judge, and His people be recognized, and their rights acknowledged. We well understand the reason why this people are a reproach to the world: they are so high above them in morals and in the principles of truth, and the world know that we are their superiors in every respect as far as the fundamental principles of life and intelligence are concerned. The devil knows it, and he puts it into the hearts of the wicked and those who are deceived by his cunning, to hate us for that reason. Their animosity is not enkindled against us because of our iniquity, for they cannot put their finger upon a single line of iniquity chargeable to the Latter-day Saints, as a people. Not but what there is many a one who does wrong for which he needs to repent and do his first works over again, or be severed from the Church; but as for the Church its enemies cannot lay their finger upon the first iniquitous thing brought against it that can be brought against it as true. The fact is we are a reproach to them, and they feel it; their anger is enkindled against us on that account, and hence they seek to destroy the holy Priesthood from off the face of the earth. Who is it that invents the lies that are circulated about this people? They are begotten by and become the weapons of the clergy of the present day, and it certainly is, as it was said it should be, men will believe a lie but reject truth; and this class of persons particularly is engaged in trying to destroy the work of our God, as manifested through His people, and through the authority of the holy Priesthood that is now among men. Satan is anxious to trample it under foot, as he has done before; but that is something which cannot be done, it is too late in the day. It has taken root downward, and it is bearing fruit upward. It is too strong to be trampled out. Though they may bring fifty millions to bear on us, what does it signify? If they bring the whole world, what difference? I have no fears with regard to the success of the work of God in these the last days, for its success is already established as far as we have gone, and there can be no doubt, in my mind, neither can there be in yours, that as the work of God is developed success will attend our labors, even until the Savior shall come in power and glory to rule from the rivers to the ends of the earth. I know this, and so do you, and so does all Israel. The Lord knows it, and the devil knows it; and that’s what’s the matter with the clergy. This great and marvelous work of the latter days will be prolonged or hastened according to the faith and good works of the people engaged in it. If we pray, therefore, the Lord to hasten His work; to hasten the time when Zion shall be built up and redeemed; when the great and glorious Temple shall be erected to the name of the Most High God, and when His glory shall rest upon it in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, let our righteousness conform with our holy desires; let us so live as to call down the blessings of heaven upon us. For if we are faithful in all things, and are united, blessings cannot be withheld from us; the Lord is bound, according to the covenant, to hear the prayers of His faithful children. We have an example in the Book of Mormon of a man exercising such exceeding faith that his vision could not be withheld from penetrating behind the veil, when he saw the person of the Lord, and was there redeemed from the fall. The Lord is perfectly willing to bestow blessings upon His people, and to establish His work upon the earth, just as willing as His people can be to have him, and whenever the time comes that he finds that he has a people upon whom he can bestow these blessings, they will come. We need have no fears with regard to that; and, in fact, they do come now as fast as we can receive them and hold them in righteousness, and I think sometimes, they come too fast for a great many. When I have seen men who have risen to power and influence through wealth in this Church, it seemed as though the Lord could not make men rich but what they would grow fat and kick the traces, and go to the devil. Look at the history of such men from the beginning, and see how they have acted. They have perhaps run fair for a while, especially whilst they were in a somewhat destitute condition as regards this world’s goods; but as soon as they have become rich, where are they? All along the line of our history, as a church, we have seen them strewn by the way side, they have gone out of the church; instance after instance I could recite within my own knowledge, and you would know of a great many more than I do. This is not necessarily so. The remedy to all such cases is the same today as that which applied to the young man that came to Jesus, namely, “sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and come and follow me; and thou shalt find treasures in heaven.” That is the test. If a man is prospered of the Lord, that is no reason why he should let his riches get between him and his God; if he does, he will make shipwreck of his faith. The Lord does not care how wealthy a man becomes, so long as he holds his wealth for the building up of His kingdom, and for the carrying out of His purposes upon the earth. But when he becomes covetous, and allows his means to get between him and his God, his riches become a canker to his soul; he forsakes his God, and soon forgets the reason why they were given to him. Instead of using his means for the purpose intended by the Lord in bestowing them upon him, he aggrandizes to himself, and the spirit of greed and covetousness takes hold of him, and he is then ready to swap off his religion for filthy lucre. He becomes covetous, and covetousness is idolatry; he serves his selfish purposes instead of serving the Lord. It is a great pity for a man in this Church to get rich, if he cannot hold everything upon the altar, to be used, if necessary, for God and his kingdom. This is the duty of every true Latter-day Saint. The Lord will strip men of everything if need be to prove His servants. Indeed, men have to strip themselves for this work in order to show that all things else are but dross compared with the excellency of Christ and the principles of the holy Gospel that he has revealed to us, saying in his heart, “For one I am determined to know nothing else, except Jesus and Him crucified; I am determined to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” And then other things come in right enough. In fact we are told that if we do seek first the kingdom of heaven, all other things shall be added. This was the promise of the Savior unto His servants; and in one sense it comes with greater assurance to the Latter-day Saints than to those of former days, because this is a different dispensation, it is the dispensation of the fullness of times. When this promise was made it was nevertheless well known to him who made it, that the kingdom would be destroyed out of the earth. But now it is not to be trodden out. They will not be permitted to crucify the Savior of the world when He comes again, because then He will come in power and great glory and not as He did before; and the kingdoms of this world will be given into the hands of the Saints of the Most High God, and they will then become the wealthiest of all people, in fact, the only really wealthy people there will be; but then it will be because they hold the kingdom for God, because they and all they have are upon the altar ready to be used to bring about the purposes of the Lord and not because they seek to gratify their own selfish desires, and to bring about their own purposes, and to build themselves up in this world. And there is more true speculation that promises a rich reward in that than in anything else than I can think of after all. We cannot afford to swap off our eternal welfare for the things of this world—“things that perish with the handling,” as someone has said. This would be poor speculation, indeed.

One of the purposes for which we were placed upon this earth was that we might pass the ordeals and prove to God our faithfulness to the principles of life and salvation. To pass the ordeals? Yes. All through life, from the cradle to the grave, we have trials and difficulties to encounter. We suffer affliction that is permitted to come upon us, which is incident to this life—the loss of parents, the loss of children, the loss of husband and the loss of wife; besides the pain and affliction of the body, and the many ills that flesh is heir to; and all this to test our faith and integrity to our God. Some have endured manfully all that the devil and wicked men have been able to bring upon them, even to the test of their lives. And if we will not be willing to give our lives to the Lord for the advancement of His cause and kingdom in the earth, we would not be worthy of Him, neither would He acknowledge us as His. It is true, He may not put us to that test, but he will test us sufficiently to know whether we would be equal to the occasion or not. It is, I say, to pass these ordeals that we came here; to prove our integrity and worthiness to come back into his presence to inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, powers and dominions that are prepared for the righteous. This is not a thing of a moment; it was in the program before we came here. We are called today, the time of choosing will come by and by, when Christ shall make up his jewels. If we are faithful over a few things, He will make us ruler over many. You see it is upon the principle of faithfulness, and upon the principle of endurance. I have no fears in regard to the Latter-day Saints, as a people, passing these ordeals and remaining faithful to the trust reposed in them; although many will drop out by the wayside and be lost, for a time at least, in the gulf that will receive them. You take those that do not live their religion, those who swear a little, and who do a great many naughty things, who never think of uttering a prayer; and let the enemy come against us in formidable array, and even that class would be found ready with their guns to protect the lives and liberties of their friends, this people; they would not flinch either. Yes, these wild boys would be ready to walk up to the cannon’s mouth in defense of the Latter-day Saints. I have seen it in times past, and I have no doubt they, if called upon and it were necessary, would do it again. But does that excuse them for not living their religion? No. They should quit their evil practices that they might be useful in building up the kingdom of God upon the earth, and receive a greater reward, and be saved in the world to come, and receive glory and exaltation which they might otherwise not have. Because a man may clip his own glory and exaltation by taking an unwise course; in fact, he would be sure to do it. Blessed is that man who grows up without sin from the purity of his youth, who lives and dies a fit temple for the abode of the Holy Spirit. A man may in an hour, in an unguarded moment say and do things that would affect him throughout the never-ending ages of eternity. We should, therefore, be the more careful of our course and conduct in life, and hold fast to that which is given unto us, and progress and go on from perfection to perfection, and try to become as godly in our lives as it is possible for us to be in this probation. Be pure then in your sphere as God is pure in His. And purity does not consist in going around with a long-drawn face mourning over the sins of the world, which is something that you cannot particularly help; but with purity of mien, with a joyful countenance going forth performing your duties, and keeping yourself pure and unspotted from the world, from their wicked and abominable practices. God will have a pure people, for the Zion of God must be pure in heart. There is plenty of material to carry on this great and glorious work, and God will find it through the instrumentality of His servants, and if we wish to have part in it, we should be pure ourselves, working the works of righteousness, proving day by day our faithfulness and our integrity to Him. And that we may stand firm and faithful to the end, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Opposition to God Among Mankind—Religious Intolerance a Consequence—Infidelity the Result of Departure From Revealed Order—The United Order

Discourse by Counselor Daniel H. Wells, delivered in the Provo Meetinghouse, Saturday Morning, June 1, 1878.

There is an opposition to the Lord having on the earth a people, called by his name and doing his will. It has been so from the beginning. The Lord never had a people who were received with open arms by the world, admired, cherished and respected; on the contrary they have been persecuted or totally destroyed from off the earth. The wicked have invariably prevailed over the good; it might almost be said that the first bad man killed the first good man. The Latter-day Saints have had the same experience to pass through, and when a time of comparative peace has come around, as it has sometimes, they are apt to ask, “What is the matter? Have we lost our faith, that the Adversary should thus let us alone?“ There will come a time, however, in the history of the Saints, when they will be tried with peace, prosperity, popularity and riches.

The world look with terror toward that period when the Lord’s purposes in regard to building Temples predominates, when universal peace is established, and the scepter of righteousness is wielded. The world would not like any religious power to predominate on the earth, and rightly, too, considering the tyranny and despotism that have marked the history of religious rule. We find, in days past, that various religious influences have swayed the scepter in a most unrighteous manner, made captive the human will, and men have been forced to yield submission to the most oppressive measures. The religious wars have been more terrible in their effects, caused more bloodshed and sorrow, than all the others put together. A gradual but sure relief from religious rule and dictation has been brought about, until the nations of the earth are made free. No wonder, then, that the people look with ill favor upon any one religious element gaining ascendancy over the other. As the old staying goes, “A burnt child dreads the fire.”

In this country there is no religious power predominating, but now that the kingdom of God is established this opposition is brought about and is felt even to a greater extent than before. The world is jealous of its growing power and, hence, its bitter and unrelenting opposition. So opposed have men been to the increase and spread of religion as a political power that in many places no person holding a religious office has been permitted to hold a position of trust or profit under the government. It was for this same reason that the name of God is not mentioned in the Constitution of the United States. The Puritan Fathers suffered from religious oppression, and rather than be made to bow the head or the knee when mentioning the name of Jesus Christ, or being compelled to place the cross on their churches, as was and is still customary with the Roman Catholic church, they sought elsewhere that toleration they could not obtain in their native land; but singular to say, after the lapse of time, when the colonies were founded, they were unwilling to accord unto others of different faiths to their own, that religious freedom for which they themselves had forsaken fatherland, and expelled from the colonies all who differed with them in a religious point of view.

Besides this intolerance there is another reason why religion has become so distasteful to many people, and why the nations have eschewed religion from their councils. Because these teachers and professors of religion are without the knowledge of God, and their ideas and doctrines have been so far different to the written word, that reasonable people say, “Humbug!” and fly to the other extreme and become infidels. After witnessing the strife and variety of forms, and being unable to gain assurance from such sources respecting the realities of the future, they say, “We don’t know anything about it; we’ll live good moral lives and all will be well.”

The greatest difficulty the elders have to contend with in the world is this wide-spreading infidelity, brought about by the assumptions of so called religious teachers. Now, the Lord has restored his Holy Priesthood, his mind and will—the glorious Gospel which is “the power of God unto salvation,” and fearful of losing what power they hold over the minds of men, these self-elected teachers and priests have combined to oppose it. Now, in order to understand the principles of the true and everlasting Gospel, we must look at them by the spirit of God, for “the things of God knoweth no man except by the spirit of God.” A man cannot understand the things of man with the spirit of a horse or an ox; then how can a man understand the things of God except by the spirit of God—a higher grade of intelligence. By that Spirit, the Bible, with all its apparent inconsistencies, is made plain to the human mind. People have misconstrued, have turned the truth into lies and perverted the Gospel of Christ. When a Latter-day Saint has conformed to the ordinances of the Gospel and received the Holy Ghost, the Bible has seemed a new book to him, although, in his childhood he may have perused its pages over and over again. The light and intelligence of the Spirit has beamed upon his understanding, so as to enable him to form a just and correct conception of its sacred truths.

Through the great variety of forms, systems and creeds, infidelity has been brought about. The true plan, as revealed to the Latter-day Saints, is sufficiently ample to save all men, but the plans and creeds of men are not ample to any great extent, even if they were true. Take the Catholics, for instance; they consign to perdition all but themselves, contrary to the meaning of the term Catholic, which is universal; but they have become sectarian. The plan designed in our pre-existent state has been ignored, but in this dispensation it has been restored and we can see wherein it is ample to provide for the salvation of the children of men. It is to be preached to all nations, and those who will accept it may be redeemed and exalted. Then why should people be afraid of the government of God? It is bound to come and rule. When it is established in its greatness, glory and power it will be the most efficient and complete government on the face of the earth. People are afraid of the government of God, even some Mormons (I will not say Latter-day Saints), lest some man or men get undue authority. Some persons in the Church think that an Apostle or a Bishop has no right to interfere in temporal things; that their business alone is to look after the spiritual affairs, and their temporal affairs they can attend to themselves. It is very possible some of these men understand financial matters better than the servants of the Lord; but it should not be forgotten that the spirit of God and the Holy Priesthood will qualify men for all positions of life. People can, through these agencies, acquire superior intelligence to administer in the things of this world, and it must be done before the eternal riches are conferred upon this people, because the light of heaven is superior to that of the world. The kingdoms of this earth are to become the kingdoms of our God and his Christ. I look for this government to come through the Holy Priesthood, and to exercise power in temporal, political and all other things—a government that will extend to all men their rights and privileges.

Confusion reigns over the face of the whole earth. Look at the combinations and warfare being waged one against another; capital against labor, and labor against capital, there are thousands of broad acres lying uncultivated, and yet men are going without bread to eat. We hear of organizations parading the streets, with banners on which are inscribed the words, “Give us Bread, Labor or Blood!” There should be no strikes for higher wages—no strife between capital and labor. The labor of men should command a subsistence, and if everything is regulated, as it would be under the government of God, there would be no hard times, no complaints, no strikes, no warfare.

There is plenty of unoccupied land in this country and any man can get a piece of it. “But,” says one, “I have no team, nor seed to plant, and no money with which to buy either. What can I do?” You can take up a piece of land, get your citizenship papers; and the moment you do so, you have the right to file upon it, and have two or three years in which to pay for the land. No other person can go to the Land Office and take that land away from you. In order to get a start, you can work for your neighbor and for your labor get the privilege of using his team, plough and seed, and afterwards attend to it yourself. You have then bread enough for yourself and family for one year. A man, by this course, forms the nucleus of his prosperity, wealth and comparative independence. Subsequently he gathers around him the comforts of life; he gets a cow, a pig or two, and a few chickens. This position in life is much more self-reliant and independent than employment by the day, week or the month in cities or overcrowded business centers. There, when a day’s labor stops, the supply stops: but when you have your own source of supply, and your labor temporarily fails, you still have plenty of grain, and other produce of the farm by which you can get along.

President Young gave more houses to the poor than all the societies in the world, and laid the foundation of a great nation—a kingdom—even the kingdom of God. All these stakes of Zion are strengthening with the saints of God. Is it the outsiders who come here to Utah that build up the country? No; the material prosperity of Zion is alone attributable to the labors of the Saints, guided and directed by the Almighty. It is they who are to be found in the nooks and corners—in all directions—wherever there is a spring or a bit of land—building up, making the earth bring forth its products, and strengthening and enlarging the borders of Zion. It does my heart good to see the settlements extending, even to the remote corners of the Territory. Besides, this class of the Latter-day Saints, who are branching out and developing remote sections of the country, are generally the most faithful, hardworking and industrious of the community. Some of the people think that the Lord is not showing the signs of his coming; they get disheartened; they expect to see some great apostle come from heaven with the mysteries of the Kingdom. Now the church and kingdom of God is to be built up by our practical efforts. Industry should be employed in Zion, and the labor of the people ought to be put to the best possible practical use. This has everything to do with the kingdom of God, and this is where we require revelations of God—to teach us how to build up his temporal work. We do not raise feed enough for our teams; we do not cultivate as much as we ought, and do not know how to cultivate that that we have. All these things should be known, as they tend to the building up of the kingdom of God. We require intelligence to guide the cultivating hand. I contend it is building up God’s kingdom to make a yard of cloth, to build schoolhouses, to cultivate the earth, and to practically apply every conceivable plan of life necessary for our common subsistence; and in order to accomplish these things we must have intelligence that comes from heaven—that is, if we desire to exceed our fellows. Until we know how to properly accomplish and apply all these things, the Lord will never hand over to us the riches of the earth. As it is we have not sufficient of the Spirit of the Lord to entitle us to this great blessing. As soon as he finds out he has got a people who will hold what he gives, he will bestow it, and when he knows that they will apply it to his glory. Why could not we establish the United Order among the people? Because we did not know how to do so, and I have not seen a man who knew how, and for the reason that we were not prepared to receive it. When the Lord finds he has a people who will not give them over to the devil and waste them, then he will bestow the eternal riches, but this will not be done, and cannot be done consistently, until he has a people who will use them for the glory of his kingdom.

I think the Saints are on the road of improvement. Their labors are being directed to the welfare of Zion; but there is yet a great deal of unemployed labor that can be made available to that end. We should open up new industries, when others fail to employ all the material at command. When one branch is overdone, open up another and thereby find the means of employment for those in need of it. It has been thought that labor-saving machinery and railroads have injured us. It is not so; men should go at something else, and so keep on, constantly turning our attention to something that will pay better and accomplish more.

The time will come when the thread will be cut, but I think we could live if the thread were cut tomorrow. We can produce everything, except perhaps what are called the luxuries; still we would suffer much inconvenience. There are a great many things we would have to do without, and if the thread were cut we would have to do a great many things that we now neglect to do. We should not be forever dependent on Babylon. Call them little things if you please, but they are as essential to the building up of the kingdom as they are to any other kingdom on the earth. Wickedness is permitted only to try men and women—to prove their integrity. If we could have learned and accomplished all things just as well in the spirit world as here on the earth, do you think the Lord would have sent us to this world of sorrow and wickedness? Jesus had to pass through these ordeals, in order to get an exaltation. Then let us apply our labors to the circumstances and requirements which surround us, and serve God—if we believe there is a God—and use all our abilities for the accomplishment of his purposes, that we may pass on to glory, and exaltation in his kingdom, which may God grant. Amen.

Increase of the Stakes of Zion—The Saints Co-Workers With God—The Government and Kingdom of God—Our Inheritances—The Poor Receive the Word—The Gospel Incorporates Everything

Discourse by President Daniel H. Wells, delivered at a Special Conference Held at Brigham City, on Saturday Afternoon, Aug. 18, 1877.

I discover it is here, as it is in other places through the Territory which we have visited, that there is an increase, a strengthening of the Stakes of Zion. The prophecy which refers to the strengthening of the stakes and the lengthening of the cords of Zion is continually being fulfilled in the efforts made in this direction by the Latter-day Saints. In the world’s history some of the greatest events that have taken place, in their inception attracted but little of the notice or attention of the children of men. The coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was known to but few people who then dwelt upon the face of the earth; and yet it was the greatest event in the history of the world. The coming forth of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attracted but little of the attention of the masses. Of course it was considered of the greatest importance by the few, but in the course of time we shall see in this land of Zion the assembling of millions. Methinks I sometimes hear the sound of their footsteps approaching; and when they come they will be for Zion, for God and His kingdom, and they will sustain and uphold the holy and righteous principles of eternal truth which have been revealed, and the institutions of Heaven which our Father has established in this day and age of the world. And God’s purposes will be accomplished with triumph, for victory will crown the efforts of the Lord and his people.

In our day we are permitted to witness the occurring of some of the greatest events that have ever transpired since the days of Adam upon the earth. The ushering in of this great and glorious work of the last days, the coming forth of the Gospel to the nations of the earth, and the assembling of the people, the gathering together to sustain these principles, and carry out the work of the Lord, to bring to pass His great and glorious purposes and establish His kingdom in the earth, as he shall lead forth, guide, and direct from time to time. It is the great and glorious kingdom of our God that shall stand forever. In these things we are co-workers with the Lord our Father in Heaven, so far as we will let Him work with us, for He stands at the helm, He guides the ship, directing the affairs of the whole earth, as well as those of His covenant people. It has come forth in the age of the world in which He designed it; He has made no mistake in regard to this matter. I suppose the Lord knew and understood the time of bringing to pass, and commencing to bring to pass His purposes in the earth in regard to His kingdom, as well as, and no doubt a little better than, anybody else, and He also knew there were those living upon the earth who would receive it when He should reveal it unto them. All these events have their times and seasons. I expect He knew also that in the days of Jesus the word would be accepted by but few—yea, that it would be trampled out by the wicked who would gain the ascendancy; and that the Priesthood and authority thereof would be received back again to the heavens, there to remain until the times of restitution should set in, which times it is our happy privilege to live in. This is the commencement of the restitution; the Gospel has come again, but never more to be taken from the earth. It is now to be sustained and upheld, to grow, to increase and multiply and become mighty and powerful, and the way prepared for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, who will rule from the rivers to the ends of the earth.

We do not fully realize, my brethren and sisters, that this work in which we are engaged is the kingdom, the government of God if you please, handed down to the children of men, with all its officers. A people, a kingdom surrounded with all the elements necessary for the advancement and prosperity of the people of the kingdom; the government being established here in the earth, men, women, and children under the gov ernment of Heaven are sustaining and upholding and carrying it forward, with the power and might with which the God of Heaven endows them; seeking to establish the principles of truth and virtue upon His earth, here in the period of time in which it was to come forth—the set time to favor Israel. A stripling came forth with the message from Heaven, leading out, guiding, and directing the affairs of the kingdom as they were made manifest to him by the Lord from time to time, until it has grown to become a great people. It has gone forth and continued to grow until we find it as it is this day here in these valleys of the mountains—with a people dwelling in a hundred towns, cities, and settlements. Poor people? Yes, in the majority of cases; I might say in all cases. Poor people, laboring people, who have come here, a good many of them, without anything excepting their hands to obtain a subsistence; all poor alike, very little difference, to find an inheritance. I do not suppose that a parallel can be found since the God of Heaven gave Israel their inheritance in the land of Palestine. We see many people who have received inheritances; poor people that had nothing of this world’s goods have received inheritances and been blessed in a temporal point of view. I presume and believe that President Brigham Young has done more to obtain inheritances for the people, the poor among men, in the last thirty years than all the emigrating and philanthropic societies in the world, putting them all together, existing at the present time. I do not think it has been equaled since the days of Israel, when Palestine was divided out and given to the sons of Jacob. If it has I have no knowledge of it, and I read a good deal.

It is said “in that day”—looking forward to the day in which we live—that the “poor among men should rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.” Is this being literally fulfilled? Yes, it is. We have demonstrated this fact, we have fulfilled it and are fulfilling it all the time. It is one of the signs of the latter times, when the Gospel is preached to the poor. What is the Gospel to the poor? It is the power of God unto salvation. Cannot we see the power of God demonstrated to the salvation of the poor among men, that lifts them out of the poverty in which they have been brought up, and places them in a land where they can get inheritances both for themselves and their posterity? Then most assuredly this Gospel is the power of God to the salvation of all such at least. It has proven itself the power of God to this whole community, not even President Young himself excepted. We came here stripped of everything, as the poor among men; we can now lift up our hearts and rejoice in God who has wrought out His salvation, temporal as well as spiritual. We were brought here to these valleys of the mountains, a land held in reserve by Him, where He can plant the feet of His Saints and strengthen Israel. Has he done it? Witness ye this day! Here in this little nook and corner, a place passed by, by the traveler who journeys over the great highway, almost unnoticed. Yet in this little place the children were strung along the sidewalk greeting our coming, from the railroad depot to the bridge, a distance of half a mile. One would not suppose there were so many in the whole country round. Here we behold the results of the emigration from the heavens, as well as that from the various nations of the earth, a grand assembling of the Saints of the Most High. What for? Without a purpose or design? No, not by any means. The God of Heaven, our Father, never planted a single individual upon the earth without a purpose and design. Well would it be for us to find out that purpose and design concerning us, and then truly live to it and fulfil it, that our existence upon this earth might be accomplished, that our existence here might not be a failure, that we might return to our Father and receive that welcome plaudit, “Well done, good and faithful servants.”

He has given us the opportunity of filling the full measure of our creation with credit to ourselves and honor to His name. And this can be done simply by living our religion, the religion of Heaven. He is inviting everybody who will to come and partake of the waters of life freely, without money and without price. And yet it will cost you all you have; but then there is one thing also to be thought of: you did not have much when you commenced. Those who have riches are the last to receive the Gospel. They do not see anything to rejoice over in the revealed will of God to man upon the earth. If they do, they are so full of the cares and love of the world that the good seed is choked by the weeds that grow up around them, so that they cannot attend to it, and place for the word is not found in their hearts.

It is the poor who receive the words of truth, who are the most ready to do the will of God. When John sent one of his disciples to the Savior to ask Him if He was the Son of God, etc., He said tell John—“The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” That is the sign he gave to John. It seems that even he was in some little doubt concerning the divinity of Jesus’ mission. The Gospel is preached to the poor; it is also preached to the rich so far as they will receive it, but they will not hear it. “O, (say they) go your way, we do not want anything to do with it or with you.” This is what they say to the Elder who bears the message of life and salvation to the children of men. It is among the poor they find the readiest access. And such are the ones that the Lord can use to bring to pass his purposes; they are the ones who need redemption, and who feel that they need it, and who obtain it. Feeling their dependence upon Him, they appreciate the great good, the blessing that God is pouring out upon them from time to time; they realize that it is he who is doing this work for them. But they could not arrogate to themselves this honor, inasmuch as they know that they are merely instruments in our Father’s hands of establishing his kingdom. The rich if they attempted to perform this work would go forth in their own power; they would say, “I have done it; it is I who have accomplished this great work.” They would not acknowledge God in all things, nor give the honor to whom it really belongs, for who does not know that they themselves only exist by God’s power and beneficence? But how is it that while the great majority feel and realize these things, there are many who very soon arrogate to themselves greatness and power, and think that they have accomplished great things, and that the Lord can scarcely get along without them; I wonder sometimes how he did happen to get along before they were born. I have seen a great many of this character. You know those who get fat quickly are very apt to kick.

What is there to hinder the bles sings of heaven flowing to this people to the full extent of their hearts desire? I do not know of any reason, unless we are not prepared and worthy to receive it, and make a wise and proper use of it when it does come. How many do you believe there are in Israel today who, if the wealth of the world were turned towards them, would not consign it to the hands of the devil about as fast as the Lord handed it to them? Do you know that I believe there are a good many; our experience teaches us there are a good many, because they part with it just as fast as it comes to them. I will say that no Latter-day Saint has any right to dispose of the blessings that God bestows upon him; he has no right to bestow his patronage upon the outside world, and especially upon those who are in the midst of Israel, whose interests are separate and apart from ours. It only fosters an agency in our midst calculated to undermine the faith of the Latter-day Saints; it nourishes a viper in our midst; a power that is calculated to lead astray the young and unthinking. I said a Latter-day Saint had no right to dispose of the blessings that God bestows upon him; they are not given to us for any such purpose. What are they given us for? To strengthen the Zion of God upon the earth, not to destroy it; to send forth the Gospel to all nations, to build Temples to God’s holy name, wherein those who are faithful may receive the blessings of time and eternity for themselves and their dead; they are given to us to sustain and uphold righteous principles, and the institutions of heaven; to gather the poor from afar, who are seeking to be delivered from a state of bondage, to come up and participate in the blessings you and I enjoy in these mountains. And so when the Lord finds out that he has a people who will be thus zealous of good works, who will make a good use of the wealth of the world, so fast and so soon will the kingdom be delivered to the Saints in greatness and power.

It cannot be given any sooner, and should not be if it could. Then if we want to see advancement and progress, let us be diligent and faithful over the few things committed to our trust, using them for God and for his kingdom, and not distribute them to the wicked, nor sift our ways to strangers, nor to those who know not God, and who give no heed to the principles of truth he has established in the earth. It is suicidal in the highest degree for the Latter-day Saints to take such a course, and it is treasonable against the Government to which we have sworn allegiance. There is a warfare, but who institutes it? The Devil; he is against the authority of the holy Priesthood, seeking to trample it from off the face of the earth. What do the Latter-day Saints do? Nothing, only stand in their own defense, contending inch by inch for the right. The Adversary is found all the day long seeking to overthrow us, his agents are continually making their insidious approaches to undermine the faith of the Saints, and destroy the authority of the holy Priesthood, their aim and object being to drive it from the earth as they did anciently. Then for the Saints to give aid to those who would destroy them, by giving them our patronage, even the means that God has placed in our possession! Yes, we do it all the day long, we are doing it continually. The people here in Brigham City not so much perhaps as in other places. You have a better order of things I presume; yet it is done more or less everywhere. Supposing for instance, nations at war with each other should find any of their citizens giving comfort and aid to the enemy, giving munitions for war, rendering service or information, or betraying any trust whatever, such person would be strung up for treason. This is the law among the nations; and why should it be counted anything less than treason for those who have sworn allegiance to the government of Heaven to be found giving their patronage to the enemy. I tell you in the name of the Lord, you cannot do it with impunity; such acts will be counted against you, no matter who you are, and you will have to meet it! It behooves the Latter-day Saints, above all people upon the face of the earth, to stand shoulder to shoulder, presenting an unbroken phalanx for the enemy to meet, a phalanx that they cannot penetrate or destroy. It is our duty to God and to one another to fortify our walls of defense. How? By living our religion, by sustaining through our faith, integrity, and good works the government which the God of heaven has so kindly bestowed upon us. There is necessity enough for this government to be established in the earth. There was no rallying point in all the earth for the Saints, until the Lord revealed the truth. But now there is a rallying point, and the people are gathering to it. What for? To pull it down? No! but to uphold it, to keep it and to hold it, unfurling its banner to the mountain breezes, and in the strength of Israel’s God to stand by and defend it! To stand by and sustain each other in all good works, not to seek to pull each other down; but to put down sin and iniquity, and trample it out of our midst, sustaining purity and upholding and main taining righteousness, and God and his kingdom forever. Let the wicked howl; heed them not! What matters though we are unpopular; Jesus and his disciples were unpopular in their day; but our Savior passed the ordeals. Have we any ordeals to pass? Not many. We have more or less difficulties to encounter it is true, which is all right, in fact it is the only way we can be tested. If we “fly the track” the moment a difficulty presents itself, what good are we? Where is our integrity? It is given unto us to overcome every difficulty and continue on our way rejoicing, having our hearts fixed like a flint on the prize before us; yes, no matter what devil stands in our way to prevent our onward march, or to beckon us this way or that way, let us not be moved either by fear or temptation, but exclaim like one of old, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Let us all, young and old, make our resolves, and then live to our resolutions, notwithstanding the inducements and allurements the evil one may bring to bear to prevent us walking in the strait and narrow way.

The Gospel incorporates everything calculated to do any good whatever, and it is the power of God unto salvation both here and hereafter; and you will not find any real pleasure or salvation outside of it. Now remember that! Both the old and the young can find suitable and satisfactory enjoyments within the purview and elements of the Gospel. Real enjoyment is such as can be participated in without offending the Lord. There is no enjoyment in taking a course calculated to injure and offend Deity. There is no real enjoyment in the intoxicating cup, it brings misery instead of joy. And so are all these things that are used to their abuse. The Gospel teaches us better things, a better way; and still it furnishes us everything necessary for our pastime and for our encouragement to go forward in the path that leads to honor and renown in time and eternity.

There is a great work to be done! The Lord has designed to accomplish a mighty work through the instrumentality of his children who do and will exist upon the earth. It is through this means he does accomplish his purposes; he always has and I expect he always will. The redemption of our dead friends, of our progenitors who never knew the Gospel; the resurrection of the dead to come forth clothed in immortality and eternal lives, will all be brought about through the Gospel. What, all the human family? Yes, pretty nearly all. It is a great undertaking; the Lord is susceptible to great undertakings. He undertook to people this earth with spirits that were begotten in heaven and who dwelt in his presence. Consider that undertaking for a moment, and perhaps it will be found to be as vast as our comprehension is of the redemption of the dead and the accomplishment of the resurrection of the dead. He is capable of great enterprises of this kind. And just as sure as he brought forth man upon this earth, organizing it for them to dwell upon, so sure will he bring them forth again in the resurrection. I do not know that one is greater than the other; however he is capable of accomplishing all. I have heard people talk about the utter impossibility of bringing about the resurrection of the dead. We read there is nothing impossible with God. I am quite sure of it in this respect. We see how natural, how easy it is to bring forth the great work of peopling the earth; and I see no reason why the other should not be just as easy for him to do as this seems to us. He has all time and eternity at his command; the heavens are full of days, and the work will continue onward when you and I rest and sleep in the dust. There is something to be done, we have the opportunity and blessed privilege of laboring in the cause; and it is well for us if we do it while the day lasts, for “behold the night cometh wherein no man can work.” Therefore we should be diligent in the performance of our duties, divesting ourselves of the errors and traditions we have imbibed, and which are in opposition to truth and righteousness according to the revelations of Jesus made known to us in this our day and generation. We should control ourselves; our passions are given to us for a good and wise purpose, not to be our masters, not to be given way to, allowing ourselves to quarrel, to speak harsh and unkind words and to mistreat our wives and children as some do. Our passions are implanted within us to give strength and energy of character, to serve a good and wise purpose; and it is expected that we hold them in proper subjection, instead of allowing them to master us. No man is able to control or is fit to govern, even a family, unless he can govern and control himself.

Let us give heed to the requirements of heaven, and perform them regardless of the consequences, trusting in God who will sustain even to the death. If we have to meet obstacles, what of it? “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” let this be the word in the heart and mind of every man and woman before the Lord. Because we know he is the wise giver of all good things, the wise controller of all events who does all things well. Let us put our trust in him, and go forward in the righteousness of the God of our salvation, in the performance of the work allotted to us his Saints upon the earth. If we do this and endure faithful to the end, great will be our reward; and great is our reward as we pass along. It brings peace of mind in the assurance that we are doing the Lord’s will, and taking that course which is pleasing unto him.

That the Lord may add his blessing unto us while we sojourn in the earth, and at last save us in his kingdom is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Dedicatory Prayer

By President Daniel H. Wells, delivered at the Temple of the Lord at St. George, on the Sixth Day of April, 1877, at 10 o’clock a.m.

Almighty and Everlasting God, our heavenly Father, thou who art the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of Moses, of David, of Solomon; the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; the God of Joseph and of Brigham, even the God of Israel; thou who art the Father of our spirits; it is to thee we approach this morning to worship and to offer up our dedicatory prayer in thanksgiving and praise for this offering, even a Temple which thou hast enabled thy people to rear unto thy most holy name.

We realize, our Father, that we are dependent upon thee, and that although we are shut out from thy presence, inheriting many weaknesses, and made subject to many temptations and sins, we are thy children, and as such we come before thee in the depths of humility, with broken hearts and contrite spirits, praying that thine indulgence, thy tender mercy and compassion may be extended toward us, and that thou wilt forgive everything that thine all-seeing and searching eye hath beheld amiss in us.

We thank thee, O Lord, that thy people, whom thou hast led to this distant land and whom thou hast preserved by thine own right arm, have been permitted to establish themselves in the homes which thou hast given them, and that, through thy continued blessings, they have been enabled to gather together the materials of which this building is composed, to put together and erect the same, even a Temple, which we dedicate and now consecrate to thee, that it may be holy unto thee, the Lord our God, for sacred and holy purposes, and that “the blessing, even life forevermore,” may be commanded here, from heaven, even from thy presence, and may flow through the ordinance which appertain unto thy holy place, unto us thy children. We pray that the blessings pertaining to our eternal salvation and to the establishing of thy kingdom upon this thine earth may be poured out upon thy holy Priesthood and thy people, who shall worship and officiate in this thy holy House.

We dedicate and consecrate the foundation of this building upon which it stands. Cause, O Lord, that it may not give way nor yield in consequence of any destructive elements that may be in the soil, or may the nature of those elements be changed so as to become strengthening instead of weakening, that the same may always remain firm and sound.

We dedicate and consecrate the lower and upper walls of the building and the buttresses which support the same, and all the material—the stone, the lime and the sand, which compose the mortar, and all that pertains thereunto, together with the flagging, the timbers, the joists, the floors, and the foundations upon which they rest, that the same may be protected and preserved, that none of the elements, either through storms, fire or earthquakes, may have power to destroy, disturb or injure this thy holy House. We also dedicate and consecrate unto thee all the openings, entrances, doors and windows, and their fastenings, of the basement story. We also present to thee the Baptismal Font, in which is performed the ordinance of baptism for the living and the dead; with the steps, the railing around, and the oxen upon which it rests, the foundations, together with the connections and apparatus for furnishing, conveying, holding and heating the water, with all that pertains to it, dedicating and consecrating all unto thee, the Lord, our Father and God, that they may be holy unto thy name. We pray that thy blessing may attend those of thy servants who administer and who may officiate in the ordinances that may be performed therein, in behalf of thy people, and in behalf of those, our progenitors, our relatives and friends, who have gone before us to the spirit world, so far as we may be enabled and permitted to officiate for them.

We dedicate to thee also the rooms of this building in the first, second and third stories, with the pillars and supports thereof, including the side rooms, with the partition walls, for the purposes for which they may be used by the Priesthood, for prayer, for worship, for councils or meetings, or for administering the holy ordinances of thy House, that they may be holy unto thee, the Lord our God. We also dedicate the roof and the tower, with its dome, its covering and walls, and the walls and the battlements around and above the roof, with the timbers and frames and supports upon which the roof and tower rest, and are made permanent, and the fastenings and all that appertains thereunto, and the materials of which they are composed. We dedicate also the entrances, the steps and the circular stairs, with the railings and banisters thereunto attached. Grant, O Lord, that the roof which covers all may shield and protect this building from the storms which may come upon it. We dedicate the pipes which convey the water from the roof, with their fastenings and the materials of which they are composed. We also dedicate the chimneys, flues, conduits, and sewers, and openings for ventilation; also all the doors, windows, and glass, the hinges and nails and screws, the door locks and handles, the window weights and cords and fastenings of every kind; and all the paint, putty, plaster, whitewash and all the ornamental work within and without, everything used in the construction and completion of the entire building, from the foundation unto the top thereof, that all may be holy unto the Lord our God.

Holy Father, we dedicate unto thee the furniture and utensils used in the holy washings, anointings and ceremonies of this thy holy House; also the curtains and frames for partitions; together with the altars and their cushions, and the tables and the chairs, stools and desks, that all may be sanctified for the use and purposes intended. We dedicate also the tower on the outside, containing the fountain, also the aqueduct and pipes conveying the water thereunto. We dedicate the block of land upon which this Temple is situated, and the fence which encloses it, with its openings and gates, the hinges, hangings and fastenings, and the materials of which they are composed; also the roads and walks leading thereto and through the same.

We dedicate and consecrate the pulpits, with the cushions thereon and the ornamental fringe around, together with the steps, railing and banisters, and the seats, with the cushions on them; and the floors and the foundations upon which they stand. May nothing unholy or impure ever enter here, but may the same be holy unto the Lord our God. Especially do we pray that thy power may rest upon thy servants who may occupy these pulpits when they shall minister by virtue of their holy calling, either in preaching, in counseling, or in transacting business pertaining to the welfare of thy Church and kingdom here upon the earth.

We implore thy blessings upon the various congregations of thy people who may assemble in this House from time to time, both in their incomings and outgoings, and may thy blessing and thy spirit dwell herein and rest upon them, for their comfort and edification, and abide richly in their hearts, that they may learn further of thy ways and walk in thy paths.

We desire also to commend these thy servants and people to thy kind care and keeping, that they may be preserved unto thee from the powers of the wicked and ungodly, and from the powers of all evil and opposing influences, from whose grasp thou hast heretofore delivered us in bringing us here to these valleys and the fastnesses of these mountains. We acknowledge thee and the great deliverance thou hast wrought out for us, and we pray thee, O God, in the name of Jesus, to accept of these thy servants and people, and preserve and keep us in thy most holy keeping. Let the ministering angels from thy presence attend us, and let thy grace and power be upon us, that we may walk in the paths of purity and holiness, and be enabled to bring forth thy purposes and establish thy kingdom in all its fullness, administering in all the ordinances pertaining to thy House, and also send forth salvation to all the children of men, scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth, for their redemption from sin and bondage, even from gross darkness.

We now ask, our Father, that we thy servants and people may be acceptable unto thee, praying thee to grant that thy Holy Spirit may pervade each heart before thee, that our worship may be such as thou delightest to behold, and that the revelations of thy mind and will may continue to be made manifest through thy servant Brigham and all of thy servants upon whom thou hast conferred the authority of the holy Priesthood.

We feel not to multiply words before thee, for language is inadequate to express the fullness of the feelings and emotions of our souls in being thus privileged to meet before thee in this sacred, this holy place.

Accept, O God, of this tribute of our hearts, and let thy peace and blessing dwell and abide here in this holy Temple, which we now with uplifted hearts and hands present and consecrate and dedicate entirely as a sacred offering unto thee, for thy divine acceptance. May it stand as a monument of purity and holiness as long as the earth shall remain, commemorative of thy great goodness towards us thy people, and thy name shall have the honor, the praise and glory, for we ask all in Jesus’ name. And unto thee and our blessed Lord and Savior and to the Holy Spirit be all power, might and dominion, worlds without end. Amen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Saints Have the Priesthood—The Kingdom of Heaven to Be Set Up in the Last Days—The Saints Must Be Self-Sustaining

Discourse by President Daniel H. Wells, delivered at the Forty-Fifth Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, on Tuesday Morning, April 6, 1875.

Today we have met together, as is our custom on the 6th day of April, according to appointment, in commemoration of the day on which the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized. We are professed Latter-day Saints, and have been called forth in this age of the world to be co-workers with our Father in heaven in bringing to pass his purposes and establishing his kingdom upon the earth, to be the recipients of the authority of the holy priesthood, to stand in holy places and to administer in the ordinances of the house of God, that once again upon this earth his authority and kingdom may be established, and holy and righteous principles and the institutions of high heaven have a place. We are the honored instruments, or may be so, of being co-workers with God, and he will through us his servants, his children, bring to pass his purposes if we will let him. This is a great, glorious and holy calling, and it is a happy thing for us to be born in a day and generation when these things are coming forth, for we can thus have part and lot in this matter. It is no joke or fantasy, no matter of mere enthusiasm, to rise in one’s mind for a few days, weeks or months and then dissipate away into thin air; but it is our high duty and privilege, as long as we live, to bear off these principles that have been revealed, and to sustain and uphold the institutions of heaven, and that authority through and by which the mind and will of God our Father are made known unto us upon the earth.

This work commenced small. Great and glorious instructions were given to a few in the commencement, and through the blessing of the Almighty they have been sent forth to the nations of the earth and, in obedience thereunto, a great people, in comparison with what the church was originally, have gathered to these mountains, and the work of the Lord has continued to grow and increase, taking root downward and bearing fruit upward. It is true that many have undertaken to run the gospel race and have faltered and fainted by the wayside, still the work has progressed and has been onward and upward until the present time; and during the forty-five years of its ex istence upon the earth this church and kingdom has never seen a day or an hour that it has not been growing and becoming greater in the earth, in numbers as well as in intelligence, for the stream of light from heaven has not been withdrawn or cut short, but has continued to flow to the minds of the children of men, bearing testimony to the hearts of the honest, and elevating them in the scale of human existence. I take pleasure in bearing this testimony, knowing that it is true, and also knowing that the great desire among God’s people here in Zion is to sustain and bear off the principles of truth and righteousness in the earth.

We are here for this express purpose, and to avoid the evils and judgments which are abroad in the earth. Are the judgments of God abroad in the earth? They are, and the word of the Lord to his Saints is—“Come out of her, O my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, that ye receive not of her plagues.” This was spoken centuries ago, but it is specially applicable to us, and to the work of God in the last days. But if we do not divest ourselves of the sins of the world, have we any assurance that we shall escape the plagues and judgments of the Almighty? By no means. We gather up to these mountains that we may not be partakers of her sins. This is the appointed place where God can work with his people on the earth; and in order that he may be able to do so effectually it is necessary that we divest ourselves of every evil, stand before God blameless, and become united as the heart of one man in sustaining the cause of Zion. The responsibility of building up this kingdom rests in a manner upon us, who have taken upon us the name of the Most High. We have gathered together that we may build Temples to his holy name, wherein we may receive the blessings of time and eternity, both for the living and the dead. It becomes us, then, to enquire how we may best set ourselves about this great work; we must find out the design of our Father concerning us, and to do this we must have communication with him, and we must live so that we can have the Holy Spirit to direct our minds, and to qualify us the better for the performance of the duties which devolve upon us. The channel has been opened between the heavens and the earth by which we may learn the mind and will of our Father concerning us. But when we have learned that, it is our business to go to and unflinchingly carry out and accomplish that which he requires of us according to our best skill and ability.

Is it necessary that we should obey the principles of the gospel, which we are told is the power of God unto salvation? I think that no one will deny that. We must repent, we must be baptized for the remission of sins, receive the administration of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and then go on with the light of the Spirit, having received the testimony of the truth of the work, and maintain that work against every opposing obstacle. What is a man good for who flies the track the very moment an obstacle presents itself in his way? Such a man will not obtain salvation and exaltation in the presence of God; he who does that must be unflinching in the path of duty.

Is God ever going to establish his kingdom and bring to pass his purposes on the earth? All believers in Christianity say so, and they all pretend to believe it; but when will it be? As soon as the Lord Jesus finds a people who are willing to take upon them his name, and will follow him through evil as well as through good report, and who, if need be, will even go to death in the maintaining of the principles of truth upon the earth. Just as soon as he finds a people who will be united and will not sift their ways to strangers, but will hold that which he bestows upon them for him and for his kingdom, will he establish that kingdom upon the earth. What right has a Latter-day Saint, who has taken upon himself the name of God and has enlisted under King Emanuel’s banner, to strew the blessings he receives from God to the wicked. Are they given to him for that purpose? No, they are given him to use for the building up of the kingdom of God upon the earth. It is said, and we profess to believe it, that the kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and that that kingdom and its fulness shall be given to the Saints of the Most High. It is not to be given to the wicked, or to a people who will hand it over to the wicked as fast as the Lord hands it over to them. We may as well learn this lesson today as at any other time. The blessings of the Lord are not bestowed upon the Latter-day Saints to be placed by them in the hands of the wicked. When could the Lord establish his purposes with a people who will act in that way? Never in the world. The time will come and is now hastening when the people of God will not be a dependent people, that is, dependent upon the outside world; of course they will always be dependent upon the Lord, but the day will come when they, under the blessing of heaven, will be an entirely self-sustaining people, and the Lord is ready and willing, as he ever has been and ever will be, to sustain the efforts of his people in this direction. They must put forth their hands to be self-sustaining, and then the blessings of the Almighty will attend them even more abundantly.

The Lord has, from time to time, through his servants, given forth a line of conduct or principle for us to be guided by, so that we may become more united than we have been hitherto; and while it may be said that we are slowly approaching that point, we are far from having advanced in the principles of unity to the fullest extent, and hence we cannot realize the blessings that will accrue when that unity which the Lord desires to see among his people is fully established. But we have commenced, and we can work in that direction, and it is our bounden duty to do so; and the farther we progress the more will his blessings be multiplied towards us; and if we continue in the path marked out for us by the Almighty through his servants, we shall ultimately attain to a fulness. This is the way I understand it.

We have come up here to be taught in his ways that we may walk in his paths. Men should not mark out paths for themselves to walk in, they are not capable of doing so. You may say that this infringes upon man’s agency and independence; but it makes no difference what may be said or thought of this, it is true, and we need only look abroad in the world to see the difficulties which beset the people on every hand to find ample confirmation of this statement. Are the people satisfied with the paths they have marked out for themselves? No, nowhere on the face of the earth. There is one whose guidance we need, he is wiser than we are, for he has passed through all the ordeals and trials of a lower estate, and has gained an experience far beyond the experience of men, and he is now willing to lead and guide his children here on the earth if they will only allow him to do so. But men generally think they know best themselves, they are not willing to be guided by the God of heaven, they give the preference to the paths marked out by themselves. Are their own counsels the best? No, they are not, and the Latter-day Saints ought to know it by this time. A great many of them do know it; some do not, but I trust that they will, and that they will continue to learn and progress in these things, until they know beyond all question that God’s way is the best, and that it is not only superior to man’s way, but that there is no other by which men and women can build up a community which will be wise, virtuous and happy, and by which the resources of the earth may be developed and the elements used so as to best promote the general good. God’s way is as much better than man’s way, as the heavens are higher than the earth.

There is no true principle, no true philosophy, no good thing that comes from any source except that which I have been speaking of. No matter through whom, or by whom it comes to the children of men, it has emanated from that source—from God our Father. Then why can we not implicitly trust him, and put our faith and confidence in him? We may rest assured that he will withhold no good thing that will prove beneficial to us. He never did and he never will reveal a thing to the children of men but what, if it can be carried out according to his design, will prove an advantage and a blessing to them. Men may undertake to change that which God has revealed, and try to make it mean something else; but it is folly to do so. In taking this course they go into by and forbidden paths, and, being then without the light of truth, they are compelled to grope their way.

Now, what is necessary in building up the kingdom of God on the earth? We are not talking about building up his kingdom in some far-off realm, away

“Beyond the bounds of time and space Where human mind can never trace The Saints’ secure abode,” as our sectarian brethren sing about. I do not understand this to be the work of the Saints of God upon the earth at all. I understand that the kingdoms of this world are to become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ, just so soon as the God of heaven finds a people who will be obedient to his law. Well, what is necessary then? Why, in the first place there must be a people to govern, and a king to rule over them. It takes that much anyhow to constitute a kingdom. The people must have a place to dwell. They must have land, streams of water, valleys, mountains, ranges, grass, timber, rock, canyons and everything we find here on the earth, the elements with which it is covered and surrounded, and which are found in its depths in order to obtain a sustenance. All these things are necessary in any kingdom. The people want houses to live in, orchards for fruit, also vegetables; they want land susceptible of irrigation and cultivation, cattle, horses, carriages, wagons, vehicles to transport things in and to do business. All these things are necessary in building up the kingdom of God. There must also be schools, Temples and cities built to the name of the Most High, according as he shall direct. It is necessary to build Temples that we may attend to the ordinances for those who have gone before, for millions of them have lived according to the best light they had, and they were moral and exemplary all the days of their lives, and did all the good they could. Without Temples they could not have the privilege and opportunity of being officiated for in the ordinances of the Gospel of salvation devised by our Father in heaven before the world was organized. This plan of salvation was devised before this earth was organized and made habitable for the children of men to dwell on, away in the eternities back, “when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy,” if you know when that was. We have to obey that plan of salvation here in our earthly probation in order that we may have the privilege of going back into the presence of God. We need not go to tinkering that plan of salvation, for we cannot make it any better if we do. The world have been doing so ever since men came to dwell upon the earth. But I do not see that they have done anything to improve it. God’s plan of saving his sons and daughters stands just the same today as it was in the beginning, and it will continue so through a never-ending eternity. I am not aware that God ever asked us here to help to devise a plan for our own salvation, I never heard of any such thing. He had the right to do it himself and he did it, and it is for mankind to receive it if they choose to do so; and if they do choose so to do it is nobody’s business, they have that power if they have a mind to; and other people have a right to believe in and embrace man-made systems and to hold on to them if they choose to do so, and it is none of our business any more than it is theirs if we choose to obey the plan the Lord has revealed. We are on an equal footing in regard to this matter, and all we ask is hands off and show us fair play, the same as we are willing to extend unto you, that is all. We have a right to ask and demand that, and to maintain it, and we expect to do it.

But we who have embraced the principles of truth, should we not begin to divest ourselves of some of our notions and ideas, and go to and build up the kingdom of God more perfectly? In our hearts and feelings we desire to do it, but our traditions, to which we cling with such tenacity, sometimes prevent us from coming quite up to the mark, and we do not advance in this direction perhaps quite as fast as we should do. The line is marked out; the Lord through his servants is continually showing us the way, but I sometimes think that we are slow coming to it. We should become more self-sustaining. We have been drifting in the wrong direction for the past few years. It is necessary for us to turn a short corner and drift in a direction that will make us self-sustaining. If we do this we shall become more independent and more closely united, and in a short time we shall find that it will be the path of prosperity. It is a matter of good political economy for any community to become self-sustaining; and not only to raise and manufacture what they need for their own use, but also some for exportation. Then the balance of trade will be in their favor. But I do not care whether it is the people of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, the United States, England, or any other community or nation, political economy says that they must export more than they import, or the balance of trade will be continually against them, and any country or community in that position will be drained of the circulating medium, and will be more or less impoverished thereby. If a community wishes to become wealthy, it must manage to produce not only all it needs for the wants of its own members, but also to partially supply some of the wants of its neighbors. This is sound philosophy and political economy in any community, and particularly so with the Latter-day Saints. We have the elements around us, from which with our own industry and economy all our wants can be supplied in abundance, if our labor is applied in the right direction, which can only be done by laboring unitedly and according to the counsel that may be given us by the Lord through his servants. By taking this course we can produce almost everything necessary for our own consumption and a great deal to export.

We have commenced in this order, and some of our settlements have progressed more than others; and I am glad to believe that we are drifting in the right direction. I hope to see this work continue, and can promise the blessing of the Almighty upon those who will persevere therein. They will succeed if they are wise and do as they are told, and they will be blessed of the Lord and will come off victorious.

These things are worthy of our attention, they constitute part of the building up of the kingdom of God on the earth. It is a material kingdom, and not something ethereal that we cannot comprehend nor have any part or lot in. It involves our everyday life, labor and duty, just as we pass along; it is not beyond our reach, but is right within the purview of our ability to accomplish to a certain extent. We cannot jump at a single leap to its fulness; but the small wedges break the big rock. Drill the holes here and there, then put in the wedges and tap them lightly, and after awhile these taps will break the big rock in two. That is the way the Lord has worked with this people. We commenced small, went in at the small end of the horn, and we are bound to come out at the big end, we cannot come back through the same channel. Here we are, a spectacle before the heavens and before the world, a handful of Latter-day Saints. What shall we do? Pursue that suicidal policy in regard to sustaining ourselves that is calculated to impoverish us and to make us depend upon our enemies, those who would only be too glad to see us overthrown, wasted away and destroyed? No, no! Latter-day Saints, we will not take any such a course as that, not if we know it. Well, let us be careful and learn what is the proper course to take and take it, that we may grow, increase in wealth, in numbers, and in every good and perfect thing that the God of heaven is willing to bestow upon us. Let us beautify the earth, bring forth from the elements those things which are necessary for our subsistence; work, be industrious, live prudently, economically, and walk in the path that the God of heaven marks out for us. Then we shall be successful; then the blessings of the Almighty will flow unto us abun dantly, and we shall have great cause to rejoice continually in the name of the Holy One of Israel. We have done this to a certain extent as we have passed along, and according to our faithfulness we have received the blessings, and beyond our expectations, for we could not have expected as much as we have received. We may go on still more gloriously if we will be more faithful.

May the God of heaven bless us and help us to see the path marked out for us to walk in, and thus help us to be faithful and diligent, and put away our own devices and traditions that we have inherited from the fathers, inasmuch as they are wrong, and we have been led to see that wrong, and our judgments convinced concerning the work of the Almighty. Let us put away these things that are of no profit, and seek to that which is good, which comes from above, and which is for our own best interests here, and for our eternal welfare in the world to come. That we may do this unitedly, as the heart and voice of one man, is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Saving Ordinances of the Gospel

Discourse by President Daniel H. Wells, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, at the Semi-Annual Conference, Oct. 6, 1873.

It is with great pleasure I rise to bear testimony to the great truths that have been announced here this morning. The President has given some reasons for the testimony that he has borne, and the testimony that the servants of God bear to the truths of the everlasting Gospel. I, too, can say that I know this to be the Gospel of the Son of God, which is the power of God unto salvation. The great plan of salvation, devised by our heavenly Father before the world was organized, when it is said the stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy, has again been revealed in accordance with the prophecies of the servant of God. The Lord made his own selection, he chose from among the children of men whom he would, and Joseph Smith was the favored individual who received the visit of the angel bearing to this generation the Gospel of salvation to be preached unto those who dwelt on earth. It was taken away in fulfillment of prophecy. If it had not been taken away what necessity would there have been to restore it? If it had not been taken away the Apostle could not have seen in the future the angel flying through the midst of heaven, bringing it back to earth to preach to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people. We bear testimony that it has been restored. It is not a new Gospel—it is that which existed from the beginning, and which was devised before the world was made for the salvation of those who should come to dwell upon the face of the earth.

It is true that the terms of the Gospel are inexorable. Every son and daughter of Adam will have to bend the knee to this plan of salvation, either here or somewhere else. The ordinances of the Gospel pertain to this existence, and they have to be attended to in the flesh or by those in this state of existence. Except a man is born of water he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. There is no getting around this, it is the declaration of the Savior, the Son of the living God, and I count that this is pretty high authority. Every man and every woman, including those who have died and passed behind the veil without hearing the Gospel, before they can enter heaven, will have to render obedience to the Gospel ordinances, and as they cannot be administered to in the spirit, those in the flesh will have to administer for those in the spirit. You cannot grapple a spirit to baptize it, neither can you perform the sealing ordinance in the spirit, hence the Savior said there was neither marrying nor giving in marriage in the resurrection. It is an ordinance pertaining to this state of existence, and by those dwelling in the flesh upon the earth have all these ordinances to be performed. If they are not by ourselves during this life they must be done by someone acting for and in our behalf still existing in the flesh, and in the authority of the holy Priesthood, which has come down from heaven.

The acts and ordinations of that Priesthood are just as legitimate here as in any other state of existence. It is the same authority as exists in the heavens. Through the authority of the everlasting Priesthood, channels have been opened up between the heavens and the earth, by which we may seal upon earth, and it is sealed in heaven. This is the same authority that has always existed in the Church and kingdom of God when it has been upon the earth. Why? Because it is the same authority that exists in the heavens; it is the authority by which the Gods are governed, and by which the worlds are organized and held in existence. It has been conferred from time to time upon the servants of God in the flesh, to enable them to perform the ordinances which pertain to this state of existence, and reach back again within the veil.

Having been called of God we stand ready to administer the ordinances of the Gospel and of the house of God to the children of men; we stand ready to bear off this Gospel to the nations of the earth, this great plan of salvation devised by our Father. There has never been any other, and there never will be. Men have tinkered at it; but their efforts do not change God’s plan, it is like its author—the same yesterday, today and forever. God is the fountain of truth, righteousness and grace. All true science and every good thing emanate from him. It is from this heavenly source we draw our information and our inspiration, and, as a matter of course, it comprehends everything good and worth having. Within the kingdom of God is everything enjoyable that is lasting. If we do not build upon this basis, then are we lost, because it is the only foundation that will stand. Everything else will be swept away in the due time of the Lord. The people are suffered to go their own way, to walk after the imaginations of their own hearts, to do this and do that, because they are agents unto themselves, to do as they please. We can accept these principles or reject them; it makes no difference in regard to their truth. They are true, whether we receive or reject them, and they are calculated to save all the children of men. The plan is ample and will save all who will let it; and if we are not saved by this, we shall be condemned.

Now may God help us and all the nations of the earth to see the light, that we may all come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved in his kingdom, is my prayer for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Purpose of God in Creating Man—Man’s Agency—Duties of Those Who Have Entered Into Covenant With God—Reward of Faithfulness—Work to Be Accomplished Before the Second Coming of Jesus—Avoid Evil Associations

Discourse by President Daniel H. Wells, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Saturday Afternoon, August 9, 1873.

I feel to bear my testimony, my brethren and sisters, to the doctrines and principles of the holy Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which, we read in the Scrip tures, is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe and obey the same. It has been stated here that we are a peculiar people, and that we have a mission to perform on the earth. This is true. Our Father in heaven has a work to perform on the earth, and we have been called to be co-workers with him in bringing to pass his purposes among the children of men. This is a blessed privilege for us. If his purposes could have been advanced and established upon the earth without his having revealed himself, we would not have been called, and the angel would not have come and restored the everlasting Gospel in our day. We may go further back, and say, that if it would have been as well for us to remain with our Father in the spirit world, and not to come forth into this world, to pass through the ordeals which await us, we should not have been sent. But we have been sent for a purpose, and that purpose is, that we may accomplish the full measure of our creation, which we could not do without an earthly probation. This was necessary to our advancement, as intelligent beings, and for the progress of the kingdom and glory of God. We had a pre-existence in the spirit world, and we kept our first estate there, or we should not have been privileged to come and take bodies and, by living according to the principles of the holy Gospel, prepare ourselves for salvation and exaltation, and to return again into the presence of our Father and partake of his glory. In this connection come in the principles of redemption and of the resurrection, through the power of which our bodies and spirits, after they have passed the ordeal of death, will be reunited and clothed with immortality and endowed with eternal life. I say, if it would have been as well for us to remain in the spirit world, we should not have been sent forth to be tested with the misery, woe, sorrow, corruptions, evils and death so prevalent on earth; but it was in kindness to us, his children, that our Father sent us to this earth, that we may show whether we will be faithful in all respects to the principles of truth and righteousness, and to the commandments of God when in the midst of evil. All the requirements of our Father conduce to the blessing and benefit of those who observe them while they live here, as well as ensuring to them the blessings at the end of the race.

The Lord our God never did, and he never will, reveal a principle, give a commandment, or make a requirement of his children on the earth, but what if it is carried out will prove a blessing to every one, for it will enable us to work out our salvation and exaltation by establishing the principles of truth, virtue and honor upon the earth, and these principles, in the very nature of things, must purify and elevate those who live and govern their actions by them. These are the only principles which will endure and stand forever; while that which is of an opposite character will pass away. Herein is the warfare in which we are engaged, and which we shall continue to wage, as long as we live on the earth. For the evil one is ready, if we will listen to him, to lead us astray and to cause us to make shipwreck of our most holy faith; he will cause light to appear as darkness, and darkness as light, and he will lead us down to destruction if we are not continually on our guard against his wiles and suggestions. But if we observe the principles of the Gospel and the commandments of the Lord our God, they will bring us peace in the life that now is as well as in that which is to come. Some people seem to think that the pursuits so prevalent in the world are all that are worth living for, and that they will find joy and happiness therein. But such pleasures are neither solid nor lasting, and there is nothing that can be considered real, genuine joy and pleasure within the reach of the human family, but what is to be found within the purview of the everlasting Gospel. The Gospel makes men and women free—free from sin—the greatest of all tyrants; and there is no greater slave on the earth than the man who is under the control of his own passions, and who is subject to the dictation of the spirit of evil which is so prevalent in the world. The acts of all such persons bring their own punishment, and it is swift and certain; while those who are controlled by the principles of the Gospel have a joy and peace, under whatever circumstances in life they may be placed, which the world knows nothing of, and which it can neither give nor take away, for they have an inward consciousness that their course secures to them the confidence of the Lord our God.

We are placed here on the earth that we may be tested. We are very independent beings, we have our agency, and can choose the road to life or the road to death, just as we please. If we would secure eternal life we shall have to take a course to command the confidence of our Father in heaven, and to accomplish this, we must not be weary in well doing, for it is said that only they who endure will receive the reward. Endure what? Why, the trials, temptations and difficulties that we may have to encounter in the path which the Gospel marks out. Our path, as followers of the Savior, is beset with evil on every side, and with influences which, if yielded to, will bring us under the power of the oppressor. They may seem alluring, to a greater or less extent, and so they are, for the power of evil has great influence in the earth. The wealth of the earth has long been controlled by the evil one, and he has bestowed it upon whomsoever he has seen fit. Perhaps this has been ordered so in the economy of our Father for the benefit of his children. We must learn to trust in God. As was said here this morning, we must live by faith. What is a man good for who, just as soon as an obstacle presents itself before him, flies the track and says, “I will have no more to do with this or with that. It is true it purports to come from our Father in heaven, but I cannot see the benefit that will accrue to me in observing it, and I will seize that which offers present benefit, regardless of the consequences.” That man proves to all that he is not worthy to receive eternal riches. A Latter-day Saint should live so that he can bear the scrutinizing eye of the Almighty, in secret as well as in public. This should be his course all the days of his life; then when the day comes in which the wicked will call upon the rocks to hide them from the face of the Lord, he will rejoice in meeting his Father, and will join in rendering praise and thanksgiving to his name, for the privilege of again beholding him. This will be the lot of the righteous—those who have served God in their actions as well as with their lips; but sad indeed will be the fate of those who have been hypocritical, who have professed with their lips, but have not possessed in their hearts. They will dread to meet the face of the Lord, they have a certain fearful looking for of the fiery indignation of the Father.

Now, it is true, that while in the flesh we are subjected to many trials and temptations; but we are not like those without hope. The Apostle says we are subjected in hope. In hope of what? Latter-day Saints who faithfully live their religion have the hope of a glorious resurrection and eternal life. It is part of the experience of Latter-day Saints to be subjected to trial, in some things perhaps more than the wicked, that they may gain the ascendancy over their own passions and all the evils which beset them. Our passions are given us for a good and wise purpose. They underlie our existence. They give us nerve and energy, and power to execute and carry out; but they are not given to be our masters. Those heaven-given gifts—reason and intellect, should reign and bring passion into complete subjection, and they will do so if inspired and directed by the Spirit of God.

We have been gathered from the nations of the earth that we may be taught the ways of the Lord. It was remarked here this morning that there was need of a reformation in the world. If it were not so the Lord would not have undertaken it, and things would have been permitted to go along as usual. But the Lord saw the necessity for a change. All had departed from the path of life. The authority of the Holy Priesthood had been taken back into the heavens for a wise purpose, and also for the advantage of the children of men upon the earth. Better for them to be without it, than to possess and not to obey its high behests; but when the set time was come for the Lord to establish his kingdom, he again sent forth the Gospel to the children of men, knowing that it would find many honest-hearted people who would be willing to receive instruction from heaven, and stand in the day of his power. The Gospel is to go forth to all nations and tongues on the earth, that all may have an opportunity of being co-workers with God in establishing his kingdom on the earth, which is destined to stand forever and to absorb all other kingdoms. This is inevitable and will come to pass in the Lord’s own due time. The Elders of Israel are going to the nations and gathering therefrom the honest in heart, and through them the Lord is revealing his purposes to the children of men, and the institutions of high heaven.

This is the mission of the Latter-day Saints, and every one of them who is faithful to his calling is a co-worker with the Lord in the establishment of his purposes, and he will find his reward here and hereafter. Is it not glorious to know that we are engaged with our Father and God, and with holy beings who have gone behind the veil, in carrying on this great reformation which the Lord has commenced on the earth? I say it will never be confounded, never, no never. The principles of the holy Gospel will last forever, and they will exalt all whose lives and actions are controlled thereby, and who will live by every word which proceeds from the mouth of God. Such persons will never be prevailed against in time and in eternity. There is nothing surer than this, because this Gospel will go on from conquering to conquer, until all nations, kindreds, tongues and people will come under the scepter of Immanuel, and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. Evil will work out its own overthrow. The wicked will prey upon each other to their own destruction, and in the Lord’s own due time the earth will be rid of evildoers, whereas those who are based upon the Rock of Ages will endure forever. This is just as natural as any prin ciple of philosophy that exists, and it is bound to come to pass. Our Father has passed through these ordeals, and has trodden the paths we are treading. He kept his second estate, and has attained to his exaltation. We have the privilege of following in his footsteps. It has been revealed in our day who we are, and the relationship we hold to God. We have learned that God is our Father, and that we are his children, bona fide his children. Not in a spiritual sense alone, but when we say, “Our Father who art in heaven,” we mean just what we say.

We have not only learned who we are, but the purpose of our creation and our future destiny. I have not given myself a great deal of uneasiness about the future. I have felt that, if I could act my part, properly as I pass along through life, whether I attained to anything hereafter or not I should be content. The peace and happiness which I have day by day in my inmost soul is its own reward; and I have long been satisfied that there is nothing worth having outside the purview of the holy Gospel, and the peace, satisfaction and joy which it brings me I would not exchange for all that this world can bestow. As for the future, I am satisfied that it will be altogether satisfactory and will bring all that I can ask for and more than I can now comprehend, if my course day by day now is what it should be. I have no fears that my exaltation will not be as full and complete as I shall be capacitated to enjoy. And whether it is or not I have an inward peace through taking this course that, of itself, is a continual feast, which sustains and buoys me up under every difficulty and obstacle which presents itself before me.

I think this should be attraction enough to entice every son and daughter of Adam. I think that the children of our Father cannot afford to throw away these blessings. I think that we cannot afford to take the name of God in vain. We cannot afford to drown our reason in ardent spirits. We cannot afford to sin against God and to violate his commandments. These practices cost too much. No man or woman can afford to walk in the paths that lead to death. They are beset with misery, envy, jealousy, and with everything that produces discomfort, and at the end thereof death, and misery both before and after death. Said Jesus—Fear not him who has power only to destroy this body, but fear Him who can cast both soul and body into hell. Let us take the course, then, that will save us here and hereafter. Let the body go, if necessary, if it intervenes between us and the faith of the holy Gospel and our duty to God. If we are brought into a position in which the life of the body imperils our faith in the Gospel, let the body go cheerfully and willingly. We should pour out our blood as freely as the water that runs, rather than violate our fidelity to the principles of eternal life, or our most holy covenants before the Lord, or rather than deny the word after having tasted the powers of the world to come. To know God and Jesus whom he has sent is eternal life, and rather than deny them and turn again to the things of the world, like a sow that is washed to her wallowing in the mire, let this poor body go. It will go sooner or later anyhow, and we should esteem it a privilege to lay down our lives in defense of the principles of the everlasting Gospel. We should not rashly run into danger, but we should take a wise course and, at any cost, determine to rise above the evils that are in the world and be faithful to the truth, holding on to the iron rod, without swerving to the right hand or to the left; and if there is no other alternative, rather than swerve, let the body go. It will be a happy exchange, and we will receive it again crowned with glory, immortality and eternal life.

Now Latter-day Saints, are you willing to do this? Oh yes, hundreds and thousands would, if necessary, walk up to the cannon’s mouth, in defense of the truth and Priesthood, who will not live their religion. Such persons will suffer loss if they are not careful. We cannot afford to neglect our duties. We want to attain to celestial glory. We do not feel as though we could be satisfied with anything short of that. No Latter-day Saint, who has ever reflected upon these things, feels that he can be satisfied short of celestial glory. We could not be satisfied with a telestial nor even with a terrestrial glory. We want to attain to the highest of all. We have set out for that, it is the goal for which we are bound, and we feel that nothing short of that will satisfy us. How many will come short of it I do not know, but I know that in order to attain to it we must be careful to observe all the duties which are incumbent upon us. We have no promise of that glory unless we do. The revelations of the Lord, through his servant Joseph, tell us that whosoever cannot abide a celestial law will not inherit the glory of the celestial kingdom. There are many called Latter-day Saints who are anxious to obtain their endowments, washings, sealings and anointings, and baptisms for themselves and their dead, and who would think they were deprived of very great blessings if they could not have these privileges; and yet they act as though if they could only snatch these blessings from the hands of the servants of the Lord they would be all right, and they could do in other respects just as they please. They could neglect to pay their Tithing and the observance of the commands of the Lord generally, and walk after their own vain imaginations all the days of their lives. What a fatal mistake is here! By your own works ye shall be judged, whether they be good or evil. A man may attain to all these ordinances, he may keep his path hidden in iniquity for a season, but the time will come when every evil doer will stand before the Lord in his own naked deformity, he will be stripped of his hypocrisy and subterfuge of lies. The gigantic superstructure of Satan, that has so long wielded influence in the earth, will be swept away, and in that day all who stand will do so by their own virtue and integrity. No man can afford to do an evil act. If it is unseen by his fellows, he himself knows it, and the Lord knows it, and that is two too many—two witnesses to establish his guilt, and he cannot dodge it, it will be known, as it were, on the housetops. Therefore, brethren and sisters, let us be diligent in all things, even in what are considered the small things, though there are no small things connected with our duties and callings as Saints. We cannot afford to live without paying our Tithing, because it is a law of heaven, one of the requirements the Lord has made at our hands for our own benefit. Covetousness is idolatry. We cannot afford to have anything intervening between us and the Lord our God. We must serve the Lord with a perfect heart and a willing mind. If we are so covetous that we cannot pay our Tithing, there is an obstacle in the way, and we have become lukewarm and indifferent in the cause of God. It is no matter how poor we may be, if we have ever done anything in the line of our duty in the kingdom of God, it has brought with it peace and salvation. We are never sorry for it afterwards, unless we turn away from the truth. If we neglect any duty, Tithing or any other, we feel under condemnation. No matter how poor we may be we should pay our Tithing, if we have to receive it back again at the hands of the Bishops, it is a blessing and a benefit to us. As Joseph F. Smith remarked at Tooele, that poor widow who pays her Tithing, will receive from one to five hundredfold. She is sure to do it, and so with every individual.

But it is not the poor, as a general thing, who neglect their Tithing. It is oftener the wealthy than the poor. The man who has a hundred dollars can give his ten. If he has only ten, he can give one easier than another man can give ten. If he has ten thousand, it is harder for him to give a thousand, and the more he has the more difficult it is for him to pay his Tithing. It has always been so, I apprehend; anyhow, it is so at the present time. We cannot afford this. If we expect to attain to celestial glory, we must abide the law of the celestial kingdom. There is no obstacle in our path that we cannot overcome. If we are determined the Lord will help us. He does and has done so all the time, and he will continue to do so.

How many times have we been benefited by pursuing the course which the God of heaven has marked out for us to walk in? How often has he delivered his Saints in times past? How many times has he rebuked, under the administration of his servants, the sickness of a child or the member of a family? Should we not then have an increased confidence to come again, and to put our dependence in him, knowing and realizing that he is faithful in performing that which he has promised? Having paid our Tithing once, and received the blessing, should we not approach the altar again with renewed confidence and zeal, relying and trusting in God for the future, without fearing any disaster coming upon us? I think this is good philosophy, it brings its own reward in the very nature of things. Then why not feel encouraged in going to meeting and in attending to the duties required at our hands, partake of the sacrament, put away evil feelings one against another, and come to the table of the Lord with pure hearts and clean hands, to commemorate the sufferings and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? One great reason why the Sacrament was instituted was, that we might not forget him, nor our Father in heaven, who sent him. Said Jesus, “Do this until I come.” He will come again, most assuredly, in power and great glory. Who will be prepared to receive him? Where are the people who will be able to stand at his second coming, when he will take the reins of power into his own hands?

Is it reasonable to suppose that Jesus will send his messengers to warn the world, that all people may have an opportunity to obey the Gospel and to be prepared for his coming? I think it is reasonable to suppose that he will commence a preparatory work on the earth before he makes his descent. This is the work, brethren and sisters, in which we are engaged—preparing for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that when he comes he may have a people zealous of good works, ready to do his bidding, instead of crucifying him as they did before. Then let us go to with our might, devoting ourselves, and whatever the Lord gives unto us, to him and his kingdom. Let us not sift our ways to strangers, but let us be diligent and faithful in sustaining every righteous principle. This is our duty and privilege. Let us divest ourselves of the evils so prevalent in the world, otherwise we are not gathered out from the world. The Apostle said—“Come out of her, O my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, that ye receive not of her plagues.” If we, after being gathered to Zion, still practice the vices and follies of the world, we might as well have stayed there, for these sins bring with them their punishment. The judgments of the Almighty follow sin as naturally as cause and effect in anything else, and the wicked nations of the world will feel retribution for the sins they commit, just as certain as they have an existence on the earth. There is no escape, except by forsaking their sins and obeying the commands of the Lord. We cannot escape the plagues threatened to the sinner, even here in Zion, unless we refrain from sin and walk in the paths that the Lord marks out for us to walk in.

The Lord foreknew that many of the spirits which were reserved to come forth in our day and generation would receive his Gospel, and stand faithful. All have the privilege of doing so. The Lord has extended the invitation to all his children here on the earth. Says he—“Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways, for why will ye die?” “Take upon you my yoke, for it is easy, and my burden, for it is light.” “Come, drink of the waters of life freely, without money and without price.” This is the invitation which is given to all nations, by the servants of the Lord, who do not go forth proclaiming it for hire, but because they have received the testimony of Jesus, and can foretell that the evils which are so prevalent among men are bound to bring destruction upon them. The earth is defiled by the sins of its inhabitants, and destruction will certainly overtake them unless they forsake their evil ways, for the Lord will not suffer this thing to continue forever. This is not in the economy of heaven—none would be saved if it were permitted to be so. Satan would gain the ascendancy, and would dethrone the Almighty, if it could be suffered to go on. There must be a turning point—that has arrived, and the way of escape is made plain to the children of men. The God of heaven has revealed it in our day. We are the recipients of his mercy and of the principles of truth, and by complying strictly with the principles of the everlasting Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, we shall be preserved in the day of God’s power; but we must observe the law of high heaven. If a man will persistently walk in the path of danger, or into the fire, he will be burned and he knows it. Then why not take a different path? When the Lord points out the path of safety, his Saints must walk therein, or they will suffer the consequences. Some of us are captives to our own passions. We think we know best, and we oftentimes imagine that the Lord is far away, and that we are left to govern ourselves, and we yield to this and to that for the sake of a little transient pleasure, and we think that all will be well hereafter. We do not care particularly about the future, if we can only take care of ourselves today. We perhaps give way to some alluring spirit, in some quiet nook or corner, thinking we will be shielded if we do give way to some evil once in a while. There is a way to be shielded, but it is not by persisting in evil doing. We must turn from every evil way, then we have the assurance that God will forgive us. Men and women may do evil, but if they repent they can be forgiven and receive the administration of the ordinances of the house of God, for the authority has been restored to administer all the ordinances of salvation. Men may have their sins remitted by having the ordinance of baptism administered. Is there any other way by which that blessing can be obtained? Not that we know of; if there is, the Lord has not revealed it, and that is sufficient. All we have to do to secure the remission of sins, is to repent and to comply with the ordinance of baptism.

We have been called from Babylon by the command of high heaven, and our duty now is to stand shoulder to shoulder for God and his kingdom, and for every holy and righteous principle, no matter what opposition we may meet with. What could a man do, isolated, in the midst of a wicked nation? He could live for God if he had a mind to; but what influence could he wield under such circumstances for the kingdom of God? None that would be acknowledged. He might bear his testimony, and tell those around him of their evils, and that would condemn those who heard him, if they did not heed his sayings. But when there is a concentration of such faith and power by the uniting together of people in communities, as we see here in the valleys of the mountains, a more formidable barrier is presented to the progress and advance of evil, and such unity and concentration will bring down to the earth an increase of power from the Lord in favor of virtue and truth.

What does the so-called Christianity of the day do to check the torrent of corruption that is now sweeping over the face of the whole earth? Comparatively nothing. I say this in all charity, because there are a great many who are doing their utmost to check the progress of evil; but it still grows, and so-called Christianity is powerless to check it. It is greater today than it was yesterday, greater yesterday than last week, and greater last week than a month ago, and it is incalculably greater now than it was a hundred years ago.

It is time the Lord set his hand to gather his people, that he may secure a foothold on the earth, where righteousness may predominate, and where the majority of the people will be for him and his kingdom. The Lord has set his hand and commenced his work to bring about his great purposes.

Let me bear my testimony to my brethren and sisters and all good friends. The Lord has spoken from the heavens, and has commenced this work in which we are now engaged in the tops of the mountains. The Prophet, in looking forward, saw that the work of God would be in the tops of the mountains in the latter days. We testify that this is what he saw, here in the vales of Utah, Idaho, Arizona and all the surrounding Territories. The kingdom of God is with us today, not in its fullness, but it is growing. It is here to test the children of men, to see what they will do with it. Brother Heber used to say this was the threshing floor. We go out to the nations of the earth and preach the Gospel, a good many receive it and gather to Zion. But their trials begin when they get here, for this is the threshing floor. Here a people will be prepared for the coming of Jesus, that when he does come he may find a place whereon to lay his head, and some, at least, who sustain heavenly principles. If we are not the people, some others will be gathered for that purpose. We bear testimony that we are that people. True, we are in a very imperfect state, but we hope we are progressing, that we are a little better than we have been. Many Latter-day Saints can look back on their past lives and conscientiously bear testimony before heaven that they are better men and women today than they were one, two, or ten years ago. This is a guarantee that the work is onward and upward. It must have its commencement in the souls and hearts of men and women, or its fruits will not appear. But this work is bringing forth its fruits, they can be seen by all. None are so blind but what they can see them if they will divest themselves of prejudice. The work now commenced here will extend, and just as fast as the people prepare themselves to receive it, they may participate therein, for it will increase and spread until in its greatness, power and glory, it absorbs all kindreds, nations and tongues, and all will bow to King Immanuel’s sway, and he will rule King of nations as he does King of Saints. Prophets have foretold this, and we believe it, and we bear testimony that we are that people, and that the Lord did reveal himself to Joseph Smith, and called him to commence this work. In calling him the Lord made no mistake. He knew that Joseph would rather swap his life away, than quail under persecution or deny the faith. Joseph did this, he proved that sooner than swerve from his integrity to God he would die. Who can gainsay this? No man, in time or eternity. Joseph’s martyrdom is a monument that will endure forever, that he preferred death to forsaking the principles of the holy Gospel and the institutions of heaven. They killed him for that, and nothing else. His death is a testimony against this wicked and adulterous generation, that they will have to meet. We as a community, are his witnesses, and a monument that all people may look upon and, if they have a mind to, they can comprehend that God has commenced his latter-day work.

These are the last days, and God will surely bring his purposes to pass. His work is established, and all are invited to help to build it up. We have received the principles of eternal life and we offer them to all. We are none of your hirelings. Freely we have received, freely we give, and ask nothing for it. We bear the glad tidings of salvation across the plains, rivers and oceans, and proclaim them on all suitable occasions at home and in distant climes. No day or hour passes without this testimony being borne by the servants of the Lord, and this has been so now for more than forty years, and during that time the work of the Lord has been continually increasing and gaining strength, taking root downward and bearing fruit upward. It is greater today than it was yesterday, and will be greater tomorrow than today, and it will continue so, no matter what may be brought to bear against it. We may be driven again as we have been in the past, but that would only increase our significance, our power, numbers and influence. It is vain to undertake to stop this work. Latter-day Saints may apostatize, their leading men may go overboard, but it will make no difference—the Lord is at the helm, and his work is upward and onward continually. Some may stop by the way side, but the cars will roll over and crush them. It is our interest to keep aboard the ship Zion, and to continue our efforts to bring ourselves into subjection to the law of the Lord, that we may be the honored instruments in his hands of aiding to build up his kingdom on the earth. We can only do this by being faithful to the counsels of the servants of the Lord who are inspired to teach and lead us. He has placed them in his Church and kingdom to guide and direct us. We have not chosen these men—He has chosen them. They may be our selection too, it is very true, but the Lord has chosen them, and he is responsible. But we need not pin our faith to any man’s sleeve. No, we can go to the Bible, to the revelations of Jesus given in our day; and listen to the whisperings of the Spirit in our own hearts for the testimony of this being the work of God. The Lord will reveal to any faithful individual all that is necessary to convince him that this work is true. None need depend for that testimony upon others; all can have it for themselves, and that will be like a well of water within them, springing up to everlasting life, revealing to them the things of God, and all that is needful to make them wise unto salvation. They need not depend upon my testimony, or upon that of President Young or President Smith, nor upon anybody but God. He will direct the course of all who try to serve him with full purpose of heart. He will show them whether we are placed here properly, or whether any mistake was made concerning the calling of Joseph Smith. The testimony of the Lord will tell whether we teach things of ourselves or of the Lord; that testimony will tell its possessors whether the servants of God who stand here tell the truth about this work or not. They need be dependent upon none but themselves and the Lord for this knowledge, for the Lord is willing to give liberally to all, and he upbraids not. All the world may learn to know the Lord our Father, who is in heaven, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent, if they will but take the course the Lord has marked out.

Latter-day Saints, as I said before, we cannot afford to do wickedly. That young man, or that old man, who goes into the canyon, cannot afford to take the name of the Lord in vain, neither in the streets nor saloons of the city, and for that matter Latter-day Saints cannot afford to go to saloons at all, because the associations are evil. We would to God we could entirely abolish every such place for there vice is seen in its most alluring colors. Drinking saloons and gaming tables should be banished from the face of the earth, because they engender vice. They lead the young, middle-aged and old into the practice of those things that are evil. The Latter-day Saints cannot afford to patronize them. They had better keep away from them. They had better not take the name of the Lord in vain, they cannot afford to offend the Lord. They had better keep his commandments and not do anything that is offensive in his sight. The Lord will not make a man an offender for a word, by any manner of means. He looks with compassion on all his children, and overlooks a great many of their weaknesses and follies if he finds that they have a desire to serve him. But still, the Latter-day Saint who has had the whisperings of the Spirit, and yet becomes so negligent as to indulge in these things, proves to the Lord that he has not learned his lesson well—that he has not learned to honor the Lord as he should do, and in consequence thereof he is not so much the recipient of his grace as he might be, and if he persists in evil the time will come when the issues will be barred so that the Spirit will not flow to him, and he will be darkened in the counsel of his mind, and there will be ten chances to one that he makes shipwreck of his most holy faith.

No man can afford to set an example of this kind before his children, and no young man can afford to lose the good influence that he otherwise might retain from his youth to manhood and old age, it is too expensive. Blessed is the boy or girl who has the privilege, as all have in Zion, of growing up without sin unto salvation. They can do it if they have a mind to, if they will be governed by the principles of the everlasting Gospel, and will make them their textbook and guide by day and by night, and always be afraid of sin and fear to walk in the paths of degradation. All have this privilege in the valleys of the mountains. We are here that we may be saved from the sins of the world, and the children of Zion may come up without sin unto salvation. Oh, that they would consider and feel a greater responsibility, and never lose the purity of their childhood! If they could do this what an influence they could exercise before the heavens! What power might they not bring down for the salvation of Israel in the day of trial, tribulation and difficulty! The faith of an army of young men of this kind would be enough to withstand every foe, and I expect the time will come when it will do so.

May God help us to continue faithful, and to be more diligent and heedful to the teachings that we receive. We are taught in his ways that we may walk in his paths. Then why not be diligent and faithful in walking therein? They are the paths of peace and joy, and lead to eternal life hereafter. That we may all attain to that, I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.