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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Present Conditions—The Hatred of the World Toward the Saints—Why the Leaders of the Church Are Attacked—The Purpose of Persecution—The Saints Need not Be Afflicted or Worried About the Present State of Affairs—The Sifting Process—The Epistle of the First Presidency—Work of God Always Met With Opposition—The Gospel Revealed in this Day Was the Gospel that Was Revealed to Adam—More Revelation to Be Given—Saints Must not Borrow Trouble—When a Nation Perverts Justice, Then Commences Its Downfall—The Constitution of the United States—Saints Must Commit No Overt Act—Exhortation to Faithfulness—Conclusion

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered at the Annual Conference, held in the Tabernacle, Logan, Cache County, Saturday and Sunday, April 4th and 5th, 1885.

It is very pleasing and it is also an occasion of heartfelt gratitude to be permitted to meet, so many of us, this morning and under such favorable circumstances as those which surround us; even the elements conspire to make our coming together convenient and agreeable. Circumstances are such as prevent our brethren of the First Presidency and several of the Twelve Apostles from being with us, and perhaps others from among the people, who would be glad to be with us at this General Conference, but who deem it advisable, or are so situated that they cannot consistently attend. Let us that have come together seek unto the Lord for His Spirit and His guidance, that we may receive that measure of grace and blessing at His hand which we need under the present conditions which attend upon us.

If any evidence were wanting to indicate to the doubtful, the unbelieving, or the half-hearted, as to whether we are of the world or the world of us, we are obtaining daily evidence of the fact that we are not of the world. The Savior told the brethren that sojourned with Him: “If ye were of the world, the world would love you: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” The same reason essentially exists today that existed then. But the Lord has made very gracious and precious promises to His people—that where only two or three are agreed as touching matters pertaining to the interest of His Kingdom and the honor of His name, their prayers shall be heard. There never was a day since the Church has been organized in these last days that the Saints had better reasons, or more of them, to be strong and confident in God their living Head, than they have this morning. We need to know and realize that our trust is in Him and not in man, for woe! to him that putteth his trust in man and maketh flesh his arm. God has undertaken to perform a work in the earth which is going to astonish the world, and which will give to His name honor, and glory, power and dominion. Now, all these things that occur—I need not go into any enumeration of them, because in all of your different settlements circumstances and conditions are more or less varied—it has been the studied plan of our adversaries to spread snares for our feet throughout the land; and it need not be wondered at, of course, that they who stand highest in authority should be the objects more particularly of their wicked designs.

Take a look at this thing rationally and in a commonsense view for a moment. The forest trees that are shaken with the wind sometimes almost seem as if they would be uprooted by it, and blown over. By this operation the soil is wonderfully loosened about the roots. By this storm the strength of a tree is tested, and the trunk and the branches of it, as to whether they bear proper relation to each other and derive that support that sustains every part in its natural position. It is also very natural that in that grove, as the wind passes over it, the tallest trees are really the most tried part of it, for the wind and storm will dash and blow upon them, while the smaller ones that are protected by each other, scarcely feel it, perhaps. Then you need not wonder if some of the tallest trees do not happen to be here today. We will, however, remember our brethren who are absent, and pray for them; we will ask the Lord to bless and protect them, to strengthen and fill them with the wisdom of the Holy Ghost continually, that the joy and comfort of the truth and of the holy Gospel shall be theirs, and that they shall be preserved from the hands of their enemies.

We who are gathered together, instead of entertaining ill feeling of cultivating malicious designs towards our enemies, will ask the Lord to strengthen us and to qualify us not only for what is upon us now, but for what is before us; for we do not know what there may be for us in the purposes of Jehovah. All this may be necessary and profitable to give us an experience that we should pass through trials, that may tend to our improvement and qualification, enable us in our different positions to better magnify our callings, and to bear off His Kingdom in the last days as He requires.

There are times and seasons when the hoary frosts of winter not only prevent the trees from showing forth their foliage, from developing any bloom, but cause them to cast their fruit to the earth, scarcely giving indications of life. It may not be wondered at then, if through the storms and blasts of adversity which come upon the Church from time to time that its members are not spreading forth and reaching out their branches, or that the foliage shows no such immediate prospects of fruit, as we might, under more favorable sunshine and with more beautiful weather, expect. While this adverse season is on and the leaves perhaps have blown to the ground, and all presents the appearance of barrenness and death itself, the sap is at work down in the roots. Do you understand this? Gardeners and nurserymen especially will understand that at the close of the adverse season, when the winds and storms have loosened the soil, the roots have extended themselves deeper into the earth, when the sun shines and the gentle rain falls and the pleasant spring appears, those roots, now greatly enlarged, will cause the trees to put forth larger leaves, with more abundant bud and bloom, and with larger and more luscious fruit than before. So it is and will be with the great tree of Life which God has planted in the earth, and which is bringing forth and will yield more abundantly the fruits of Everlasting Life.

Well, then, we have nothing that we need be afflicted or worried about, except our own unrighteousness. I know how the Saints feel about many things which are menacing and intimidating them at the present time; but brethren and sisters, now is the best of all times to go often into your closets, for secret prayer, and there find that grace and help of God which is able to buoy you up in every time of need. Men that are the heads of families need now to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be Prophets, Seers and Revelators to their families, to their kindred and to those that are around them. You need to have your roots strike deep into the soil of Heaven and stronger into the soil of eternity, that you may derive that nourishment and that strength that shall bring to you greater, more abundant and more glorious blessings than ever you have yet realized.

Among other benefits that will be produced by the strange conditions that attend us is this: that while there are those among us who have not known whether they were following for the loaves and fishes, or whether they were following for the truth’s sake—many who are ready to dabble in spirituous liquors and in those intoxicating drinks which inflame the passions, which madden the soul, daze their intellects, destroy the faculties of man, drowning their souls in the perdition of the ungodly; many who have never sought to dig deep and lay their foundation upon the rock of revelation which is the only foundation of eternal truth. It is absolutely important that we and they should know which side of the fence they dwell on; that they make up their minds either to serve God or the devil; and this is a time that calls all people professing to be Saints to make up their minds determinedly whom it is best to serve, and if the Lord is their God, to get some oil in their vessels that they be not always in darkness.

Again, there are conditions which pertain to all animated nature, and which are incident to the great body of the Church as well, and they are these: Notwithstanding it may be the choicest food we may eat, notwithstanding the most healthful or precious drinks we may use—there are operations going on in the system whereby those elements that are not found of use are cast off as waste by the various avenues provided by nature for the expulsion of that which is not useful to the system. Just so this principle of life exists with God’s people. They who will not in their due time and place become articles of nutriment and health to the Church and the Saints will become refuse and will be cast off. These are principles in nature and in life which all are conversant with; we know and understand them. In this dispensation of Providence, wherein it seems as though all the powers of darkness were arrayed against us, we need to understand that it is to God and to God alone that we must look. We need to understand the laws of all things well. The Lord has borne us off in troubles and in tribulations while in Ohio, in Missouri, and in Illinois, and the God that has been with us through these troubles will not forsake us at the present time. The great thing for us to do is to feel after Him, and repent of our sins, our waywardness, and of our weaknesses and sinfulness, and put away everything that is unrighteous and that which is displeasing in the sight of God and of angels and good men. If we do this His favor and His power will rest upon us, and He will allow nothing to come upon us but what He will sanctify to our greatest good and to His own eternal honor and glory, and we shall see by and by His infinite wisdom in all His providences towards us.

I appreciate with you the many precious sentiments that have been uttered in our hearing since we have come together at this conference, and also appreciate with you the consideration which our absent brethren of the First Presidency have felt concerning us, and the work in which we are engaged.

There is something about our labor that is strangely peculiar, but not more so, perhaps, in our day than has existed in former ages of the world when the Gospel has been revealed to man. It has always seemed to be the case that whatever period of time we take up to read concerning the work of God and its effects among the inhabitants of the earth—we always find that the people of God and the people of the world have been in direct antagonism; and when we get back to the most remote items of history—or items of information which history is permitted to furnish us—we find that even in the spiritual state of man’s existence, before the family of Adam came to dwell in the flesh, that there was antagonism there between truth and error, between those that embraced truth and those that embraced error, and following down through the ages that same antagonism has existed and been made manifest in one form or in another, so that the people of the earth have never been in a position to see and understand the principles of the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of salvation, in the same light, and to understand it together and correctly. The principles of the Gospel which have been revealed of God have been admitted by the greatest moral philosophers who have lived—aside from religious professors—to be the most noble principles, the most calculated to exalt mankind, in the belief, in the exercise, and in the obedience of them, of any doctrines or principles of ethics that have ever been given to the human family; great moralists, great scientists have been willing to give this credit to the principles and doctrines of our Savior. Philosophers of this world have done this; and all they of the Saints who have rendered obedience to these principles know, truly, how a faith in them exalts those that embrace them, until it has come to be a truism among the people of God, “that righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

Therefore, let it be known to all the world that it is one of the first principles of the Gospel of Christ that men should repent of their sins, that they should be washed in the waters of regeneration for the remission of their sins, that then, in pursuance thereof, they may receive the Holy Ghost from heaven, which is promised unto obedient believers.

This is not only the doctrine of the Gospel of this dispensation, and the doctrine of the Gospel in the dispensation when Jesus and the Apostles of His day were upon the earth, but this is the very principle and doctrine that was revealed to Father Adam, after he was cast out of the Garden of Eden, when the angel of the Lord came to him and asked him why he offered sacrifices. He replied that he knew not, only that the Lord had told him to do so. Then the angel of the Lord proceeded to explain the matter to him—told him that the object of his offering sacrifices was to keep before his mind the great sacrifice that must be offered up in the meridian of time. This was the only symbol and type given to men to cause them to look forward through an ordinance they practiced to the Savior, who was to come as a sacrifice for sin and to become the Savior of the world. Thus early did God place this principle before the mind of the great father of the human family when in that terrible dilemma, he having consented to partake of the fruit and go out of the garden with mother Eve. It was then that our first parents began to be taught this principle. Adam was taught that he must be born of the water and of the spirit, and in demonstration of this he was caught up by the Spirit and placed in the water and brought forth out of the water, as the revelation of God to Joseph declares. Then he was baptized by the Holy Ghost and with fire. And the Lord told him to teach those things to his children that they might look forward with him to the time when the Only Begotten should come in the flesh and should be made an offering for the sins of the world. Adam was further told that if he taught these things to his children he and they should have in this life the words of eternal life, and in the life to come eternal life itself. Mark the careful distinction; that if they would keep the commandments they should in this life have the words of eternal life given to them, and in the life to come they should have eternal life itself, and, added the Lord to this great promise, “thus may all become my sons.”

Thus the plan of salvation was in brief laid out in plainness to our Father Adam, that he and all his children might be thought meet to enter into the favor of God, receive the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be born of water and of the Spirit, and thus come to a knowledge of the principles of eternal life.

We see from this that the first step to be taken in those days, when the works of Cain had gone forth, and when the people had become exceedingly wicked—so bad that the Scriptures say the thoughts of their hearts were only evil and that continually—the very first thing to consider was how to deprive sinfulness of its power and make righteousness to take hold of the children of men so that they might find favor with the Gods, and with all the righteous both in heaven and on the earth.

This was the principle, this was the doctrine, and this was the way by which the Patriarch Enoch—that great and ancient worthy of whom we know so little—went forth and by the power of God reasoned with those wicked people and preached the Gospel to them, and baptized all who would receive it and gathered them together into a place which he called Zion. It was a very great and mighty work he had to perform; for the people had become terribly wicked, filled with the spirit of murder and every manner of abomination that the human heart can conceive of.

This, then, is the foundation that all men have to lay in their hearts and lives before they begin to receive the principles of eternal life as they are revealed. You my brethren and sisters that are from Scandinavia, from the northern countries, from the Cape of Good Hope, New Zealand, Australia, and from the islands of the sea, including the frozen regions of Iceland—every one of you were taught and embraced those first principles in the primitive part of your faith and belief in the Gospel. It was the beginning; it was the step which every son and daughter of Adam has had to take, from the days of Adam until now, in order to cleanse themselves before God, so as to receive the blessings of eternal life. It was by carrying out these principles and preaching that Adam was saved. It was by an obedience to the same principles that Enoch succeeded in gathering out the honest in heart unto the city of Zion. He was 365 years in building up that Zion and in gathering into it a people on the same principles that have been revealed to us in these latter days. We are preaching the same Gospel that was given to those ancient worthies. You can trace the Priesthood by referring to the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—the holy, high Priesthood that has come down from Adam to Noah, and down through Enoch, Methuselah and the different men of God who lived in ancient times—you can trace it clear back to Adam who was ordained under the hands of God, who told him that that Priesthood should abide in his generations and that it should be on the earth at the end of time. What is the Priesthood that you grey-headed fathers are bearing before us today in the midst of Israel? It is the holy, high Priesthood of Melchizedek, which is after the order of the Son of God, and which is after the power of an endless life. Then, brethren and sisters, understand it. It is not a new Gospel revealed now for the first time—these first principles are not new, because they have been revealed from the beginning. They are the same principles that Christ commenced to preach when He was upon the earth. They were the first principles that John the Baptist taught when he came to prepare the way for the coming of the Son of Man; they were the very first principles that Joseph and Oliver taught in this dispensation when they began to preach the Gospel. They were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood. This is the beginning of the work of righteousness.

There are revelations and doctrines given unto us in our day, however, which were not given in former ages, because the people were not prepared and were not in a suitable condition to receive such. Do not let us think that we have got all the revelation there is. In the last great revelation which the Lord gave to Joseph, He told him that He had not revealed all to him, but that there were many laws pertaining to His Priesthood which He would reveal hereafter. Do you remember it? But if the world is going to get scared and terrified and ready to lay waste and destroy the Latter-day Saints before we have got so far advanced in the civilization of heaven as to understand the marriage laws and some of the marital relations of the sexes—if they go crazy over this what will happen to them when something more comes along?

Now, I hope that none of the Saints will grow weak in the knees; do not let them hang down their heads, nor allow their hearts to be troubled; do not let the sisters lie awake at nights brooding over this and that that is going to happen, and getting a great deal of borrowed trouble. There is no promise of grace to sustain them in such trouble; but the Lord has promised that His grace shall be sufficient for our day, sufficient for the troubles we have to bear; but we have no promise of grace to sustain us in borrowed trouble. Do not be alarmed though the heathen rage and the people imagine vain things. While they are in confusion and strife of every kind, you will multiply upon the earth and establish lasting peace upon the face thereof. The Latter-day Saints who are the object of all observation from the four quarters of the earth, are the only people that have pure and settled peace in their hearts and in their midst. Do you realize this? Our missionaries go to the Southern States, and the North Western States; they go to Europe, to Asia, Africa, and every point of the compass, and when they return they tell us that in no place do they find as true, settled and substantial peace, as there is right here in Utah, where one would think, from all that is going on and all that is threatened, that the waves of the sea were going to roll over us. Our peace is that which the Gospel brings. The fruit of the Spirit which the wicked can neither give nor take away. There is no use being worried over these things. It is part of our heritage. They who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; we have every reason to expect it. It is our duty to seek wisdom of the Lord in all matters; seek for the Holy Spirit, and attend to our own business.

In regard to the principles of the Gospel which the Lord has revealed to us beyond what He has to other people, we should remember that we shall be called to account for the use we make of them; remember that we use them, live them, and administer them in all righteousness in our lives and conduct, and while there are no two families whose conditions and circumstances are just alike, still the same general principles will have their general effect in all households. We must cultivate righteousness. We are learning the principles of the Gospel one after another; how to observe and obey them. We want to know how to hold them in righteousness, because we cannot hold these precious eternal treasures in unrighteousness; if we think we can we shall be deceived and will some day find out that they are not to be held in unrighteousness, for they only take effect with the pure in heart, they that are willing to keep the commandments of God, and walk in the way of His counsels.

Sin is a reproach to any people. It is better for us right here in this life that we keep the commandments of God, even if we did not look for any future reward of glory. Don’t you know it is? Why? Because we feel happy and strong within ourselves when we lie down at night and rise up in the morning; when we go out and when we come in; we feel the sustaining influence and approval of an honest heart, of a pure conscience, and of all just people—a conscience void of offense towards God and His people. This is the greatest treasure that a person can possess in this life. And do you know that go where you will—among those ignorant tribes that surround us, or to the highest civilized, and most cultivated portions of the European or American na tions—the man that is obedient to the holy principles of the everlasting Gospel—if they do not know he is called a Mormon—is respected above all men who disregard the principles of righteousness and truth. If some of our brethren who work in the mining camps behave themselves and live their religion, the very men around them respect and honor them. Why? Because they are reliable; because the principles they have embraced and put into practice render them substantial and trustworthy. You go into the classes of the university or of the colleges where young men have gone in quest of an education, and you will find that the man who is pure and virtuous in his feelings, in his thoughts and in his ways, who does not delight in folly, in sin and the secret works of darkness, but is at home attending to his lessons and his duty—it is he that makes his way to the head of the class, and gets the highest honor among his fellows. It is he that they look up to because of his upright conduct and all that is excellent in man. That is the kind of men that go forth and make their way and mark among their neighbors and their countrymen. True virtue and righteousness exalt individuals, and it therefore must exalt a nation composed of such individuals. When a nation disregards the principles of justice, equity, righteousness and truth—so far as to fail or refuse the administration of its laws equitably to any portion or class of its citizens, then the people have reason to fear the dreadful consequences that must follow, unless a reformation is effected; then the noble, the honorable, the virtuous and the pure should be willing to make sacrifice for that which is ennobling, exalting, upright and praiseworthy.

Go back in the history of the world and you will see that the greatest nations that ever existed, as soon as they commenced to pervert justice, crush truth and right, persecute God’s people and exalt iniquity, then commenced their downfall, and their way was down, down, down, to demolition and destruction, until more substantial and better elements were found in their ruins with which to raise up and create something new. It was that excellence and purity which God saw in the Puritan fathers that came over to this country for the love of the truth, and to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences—it was that excellence that preserved them and established them here, and as long as they maintained the principles of liberty, allowed others to enjoy the same rights that they themselves enjoyed, just so long did they prosper. They were powerful in that they had influence and faith to receive inspiration from God, to draw up and establish the greatest Constitution that has ever been known on the earth—the grandest combination of loyal principles and fundamental truths that has been established by man, since the days of Noah, and that is the Constitution with which politicians have become so reckless, in construing its provisions, and have gone outside of its limitations to rule and regulate the people of this great nation as they please. That glorious Constitution was made to regulate rulers as well as the ruled. It was so constructed that those who should be appointed to rule over the people should not be their masters, but their servants. How comes it now, that the whole polity has been perverted to another way; the rulers have come to be masters of the people, and are undertaking now to lord it over God’s heritage. We ought to understand these things. It is our duty to do so.

I desire now to refer to a particular expression in the epistle which has just been read, wherein the brethren of the First Presidency have exhorted the Saints not to allow themselves to commit any overt act. No matter how much you are worried, no matter how much you are aggravated by the acts of the ungodly, do not do a thing that you could afterwards be sorry for. Do nothing that could let blood stick to one of you. Bear with every impious insult. Put up with it as Christ did when he was hanging upon the cross and his life’s blood oozing out from his heart, and his spirit ready to depart, and say “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That is the way we want to look as far as we can upon those who are oppressing and injuring us, breaking up our homes, and scattering our women and children to the four winds. It is something that could not be allowed in the old monarchial countries, which are looked upon as being measurably beneath the United States in the matter of a constitutional government, and yet we see men among us who are ready to demolish the very sanctity of home, lay waste and destroy that which lies at the very foundation of all law, natural and governmental. It is painful; it is sorrowful. Let us pity while they are so blind, so ignorant, so ill-natured, and so willing to depart from good government, even to enact laws to prevent their fellowcitizens from worshipping God according to the dictates of their own conscience. But, for my own part, I feel like the First Presidency in this matter. Let us commit no overt act, which in any event we could be sorry for.

We never saw a time when we had reason to feel more thankful and lifted up in our hearts before the living God than the present. Why? Because the Savior said: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” But says He, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.”

I wish to exhort the Saints to frequent their closets more than they do; to neglect not their prayers night and morning, and in the season thereof fail not to bow the knee and call your sons and daughters around you. If you do this, by and by your sons and daughters will rise up and call you blessed; if you do not they will get cold and depart from truth and the faith of the living God, and that will bring the greatest sorrow you can conceive of. This is a time when we are called upon to bring our practical religion into use, to put on the whole armor of God, and to trust in Him. The Savior said He could call to His help more than twelve legions of angels; more than the Roman hosts; but He knowing the great purposes of Jehovah could go like a lamb to the slaughter. He understood those purposes, could curb His powers, control His feelings, and could make a manly fight for righteousness and truth, and carry out the decrees of heaven. Can we do so? Can you and I do so? If we cannot, can we be counted worthy to be called His brethren, and Saviors upon Mount Zion? We have got to be considerably more like him than we are before we attain unto all those excellencies that are promised.

Inasmuch as the work of God spreads, and its influence and potency are felt among the nations of the earth, so long will this opposition and this antagonism exist, and we must expect it; it cannot be avoided. It is an eternal consequence of our faith. If we reckoned upon anything else, we reckoned wrongly. Every true Saint, when he embraced this Gospel, felt to lay down his good name, his earthly substance, and life itself—all was laid upon the altar. We need not think, however, that although the Lord permits certain things to come upon us, that He will not soften the hearts of the wicked and ungodly. He has told us with a firm decree, that from a time when the Saints commenced to be more faithful they should begin to prevail against their enemies, and they have proved this in the deliverances that have been wrought out in their behalf from time to time. Have we any reason to doubt or lack confidence in the promises of God for the future? Not a particle. Every step of the way affords a greater, a more powerful confirmation and assurance that He is true to His promises, and will carry them out in our behalf.

Do you know, says one, how far these things will go? Just so far as the Lord will allow them. When it comes to the right time He will put a stop to them. He knows how to do it, just at His good pleasure.

We should go to work and put transgression from our midst, cultivate righteousness and put away all sin, and by keeping His commandments and living by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of His servants the work of sanctification will go on in our hearts, our homes, and our habitations will be holy in His sight. He will not allow the acts of the wicked to come against us any longer than will be for His own glory and our greatest good. Let us feel that we are in the hands of the Lord, that He is our Father and friend. Let us draw near to Him; find Him out, and walk with Him here in the flesh, then we shall know that it will be well with us hereafter.

I pray that the good Spirit of God may dwell in our hearts; may write His law on the tablets of our hearts; may impress the principles of truth upon our minds, so that we may live them and make them profitable to us in the future. That God may grant these blessings unto us, I humbly ask in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Our Labors Are Interesting and Peculiar—Character of the Latter-Day Saints—The Blessing and Privilege of Priesthood—The Primary Associations—Our Warfare is One of Faith—We Must Importune for Our Rights—Necessity for Good Lawyers—The Gift of Wisdom—Persecution Will Tend to Unite Us—We Should Be Pure

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered in the Tabernacle, Ogden, Sunday Afternoon, January 18th, 1885.

It is always a pleasure to meet with the Saints, and I always find substantial pleasure in bearing that portion of the labor of the ministry which devolves upon me. Of course there are times when human nature is physically incapacitated from labors. Nevertheless I rejoice exceedingly in the contemplation of the work that we are engaged in. Certainly the review of our immense subject, our great calling, our vast labor, and the wonderful results that follow them—when they are reviewed as they were this morning, and called up before our minds, must awaken deeply interesting and I should hope broadly expanded views and reflections in the minds of the Saints.

We are, as a people, and also our labors as well as the results of them, a great outstanding witness to the world of the divine character of the work we are performing—the high order of our calling to perform that work, as well as pointing significantly to the grand and glorious results which must inevitably follow the labor and toil that are now upon the Latter-day Saints. Any person whose bosom is warmed and whose intellect is lit up by the Holy Spirit must rejoice greatly in the contemplation of the great last dispensation which is now fairly before the world, fairly upon the Saints, like the harness that is upon those that are appointed to labor, to pull, to lift, and to toil.

Where is there any people upon the face of the earth, except the Latter-day Saints, who have from their religious convictions—or from any system of ethics or morals that they possess, gone forth upon the face of the earth, and, from honest, conscientious convictions, and, from their most heartfelt appeals, taken hold of the honest in heart, or of the vicious in heart; anywhere upon the face of the earth, and gathered together a people comprising twenty to thirty different languages and nations, and brought them together to any place, located them, and established a system of government that has been for their improvement, for their benefit, for the increase of their influence, their peace, or their happiness in any sense, either spiritual or temporal?

You can look abroad upon the earth in vain to find any other example that has any kind of relationship, or bears any kind of analogy or appearance like unto the work that is being performed by the Latter-day Saints in the days in which we live.

Who is it that is doing this work? What is the character of this people? Are they those that have been through the schools and been educated to appear in the most plausible and convincing manner in all classes of society? Are they those that have been brought up in affluence and comfort; that can present everything that is pleasing and engaging to the eyes, the ears and the minds of those they address? Not at all. Not many learned or noble. It is often the inexperienced boys that are picked up from the plow, from the workshop, to the humblest of laboring men, toiling, struggling, and many a time when they have not been able, from persecution and oppressive circumstances in which they have been placed, to make a comfortable livelihood, yet they have left the bosoms of their families and gone forth in faith carrying the principles of eternal truth and administering them, with an honest heart and clean hands and by the authority of the Holy Priesthood from heaven to the children of men. And what have they done? What has this simple, humble plan accomplished? Without money in their pockets, without letters of recommendation even to the people, without means oft times to make them comfortable, abnegating themselves, deficient in the comforts and necessities of life, they have gone forth with their hearts full of love and blessing to the human family to find other bosoms kindred to their own, though strangers in appearance, ready to receive the glad testimony of these servants of God. It is not the learned and the noble, nor the wealthy of the earth that have brought their hundreds, their thousands and their tens of thousands to this country.

It has been the potency of those principles that have been taught by the simple and many times silent testimony of the Holy Ghost, by the still small voice, that has carried conviction to the honest, the humble, laboring poor, and has brought them home here to Zion—they that want to know more of God, they that come from the crowded cities and other portions of the earth—find here a piece of a new world; they take hold and make to themselves homes, all in the name of Israel’s God, and by the calling of the voice of the Good Shepherd. Oh, how beneficent and how munificent has the Lord our God been unto us! Behold! as I look abroad this afternoon in this house, I contemplate the great mass of this congregation that are partakers of the Holy Priesthood. It is not a few that are partakers of the holy calling, the authority to administer in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the echo of that saying that is written in the Scriptures where the Lord has said that He would take of Israel and make of them a nation of kings and priests unto Himself. Behold ye, my brethren and sisters, here they are.

Here is Israel gathering together, being taught of the Lord, to learn of His ways and walk in His paths, that they may receive the blessing and be clothed upon with power, as the Prophet said: “Awake, awake; put, on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem.” What are these beautiful garments? These beautiful garments are the clothing upon with the authority and power of the Holy Priesthood. It is that which makes people beautiful; it is that which makes people useful; it is that which causes the Saints to sing: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.” It is that excellence of the knowledge of God that makes men and women beautiful, and makes their acts delightful when they are performed in righteousness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I rejoice when I look around and contemplate this precious privilege—that there is scarcely an individual that has come to years of judgment and understanding but is a partaker of some measure of the Priesthood, if no more than the office of a Deacon that can administer blessing by attending to the door, wait upon the tables, and also by attending to other temporal duties from time to time as they may occur.

Here let me say, that every officer in the Church, from the Deacon up to the Apostle, should realize that it is his duty to endeavor to administer blessings by the virtue of the calling of God which is upon him; he ought to feel thus, and every sister that is the wife of such an husband should feel, if she has received with him her blessings in the house of the Lord, that it is her privilege and duty to administer blessings, comfort and happiness to her husband, to her children, to her family and household. Every one in all the Church should be filled with a spirit of blessing. The authority of the Priesthood should cause a gushing forth from the fountain of the heart, a bubbling forth of streams of blessing, of consolation, of comfort and of rejoicing, each should try to help and benefit the other in every possible way.

Contemplate the immense army, I may say of Seventies and Elders we have among us; and what a work are they doing in the nations, and what a work are they doing and ought they to do at home in preaching the Gospel to each other, in encouraging and strengthening those whose hands sometimes hang down, and whose knees tremble; speaking comforting words to the Saints, saying, “Dear brother, thy God reigneth, trust in him.” Notwithstanding all that we see on the right hand and on the left, and all that we hear, the Lord God has not forgotten His people, nor has He forgotten to educate and instruct them, in all that He knows is for their greatest good, so that by and by He may come and find a nation of kings and priests who shall reign with Him on the earth a thousand years. We ought never to forget that we are in a school of experience. Every brother and every sister should feel that they exert an influence that will tend for good or for evil.

We ought to feel concerned for our little ones. How precious they are! Sometimes I hear the brethren testify how much good is being done by the Relief Society and the Associations. I want to hear them talk about the Primaries, and tell us how the little children are getting along. It seems hard to get it into the heads of some of the parents as well as some of the Bishops to realize the importance of teaching and instructing these youngsters, some seem to consider it the sole duty of the Primary Associations, while others think it the duty of the parents only to see after them. Now, I think we miss it in trying to thus shirk the responsibility. I think we should all try to understand more perfectly the worth of souls. Oh, if the sisters and brethren that have the charge of these little Primary Associations could only realize that every little child is a gem that they are called upon to polish, to cut, to refine, to shapen, to burnish, to fit and prepare to stand in the diadem of its father’s crown. This is the way in which we ought to look at these small but precious jewels. We should assist the little ones to grow up to be mighty men of Zion, that shall come up to teach Senators wisdom, rebuke strong nations, though they may be far off and become a wholesome terror to the ungodly.

As Apostles, as Bishops, as High Priests, as Elders, as well as fathers and mothers, we need to get more of the spirit of this great work in all its different branches, and keep it with us; always have a blessing to dispense; everywhere a word of comfort and consolation to bestow. We should seek for the Spirit of God and get that measure of it that will bear us up, that they will make us feel the cares of life are trivial; that will sustain us under every circumstance. We can bear wonderful trials; we can live though and outgrow them and look back on them and wonder how we passed through them, realizing that we never could have done so but for the help of God that sustained us in it. Then give Him the glory.

Every officer, then, in the Church should be full of blessing to his fellow man. Only think how many patriarchs there are. They should feel to bless all around. No doubt they do, sealing upon those to whom they administer the blessing of eternal life in perpetuity.

The school that we are being educated in is a strange one. You cannot pick up the Bible and find anything that is like it. In ancient days, when there was a warfare, it was a warfare of carnal weapons, many times. Not so, in our days; and as if the Lord were determined to put carnal weapons far away from us, He even permitted the Gubernatorial order preventing us carrying firearms with which to celebrate the 4th of July, and then, on the top of that, He has given us the abundant testimony of peace all around, even with the hostile natives. Is not this an overwhelming testimony that the Lord wants us to work with the other class of weapons—the sword of His Holy Spirit, the power of eternal truth—the ammunition that wants to be kept alive, active and burning in our hearts.

When we come to contemplate this matter, our warfare is entirely in another direction, it has to be carried on and accomplished by the power of faith. We have to contend for our liberties and the rights of the people before the courts, wherein we strive to maintain the Constitutional rights to which we are entitled, both civilly and politically. We have not gone to the authorities that are over us in the nation and supplicated them saying: “Will you please give us some extraordinary liberties or privileges—we contend for the rights of every American citizen, which are our rights.” We have not cut ourselves off from the rights of citizenship. Our fathers fought to help obtain and bled to help establish the blessings and privileges, the liberties and powers of this glorious government to all its loyal citizens; and when this Church was established, it went on for more than thirty-two years—no law of the Church conflicted with the laws of the land, until it became necessary in the opinion of some politicians that the Saints should be made offenders in the eyes of the nation and of the world. Then it was that Congress passed a law—the law of 1862—prohibiting plurality of wives, polygamy, or bigamy, as they choose to call it. Now, then, we have not risen up against the laws of the land; it is the laws of the land and the men of the land that have risen up against the people of God, and have brought their offensive warfare in this matter, and we are thereby placed on the defensive. The nation have been pleased to say that we shall not worship God according to the dictates of our consciences, as required by some of the laws and ordinances of His Church; and have made laws to prevent us from so doing, if possible. Hence it is that, while we go before the courts we do not go as suppliants for something extraordinary, or for something that other people have not got. We ask to be preserved our rights, the rights that belong to every American citizen. It is for this that we go through the courts, appealing from the District Court to the Supreme Court of the Territory, and then to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Now, is not this a great and an important lesson of experience and instruction, and yet there is occasion, for all this is required in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. The Lord has said through the Prophet Joseph to us, that we must importune at the feet of the judges—do you remember it?—and at the feet of Governors—do you recollect that—and at the feet of the President, and then, says He, if your importuning does not prevail, and you do not obtain all things which you have a right to, He will come out of His hiding place and take the matter into His own hands. So you see we have some importuning to do before, or at the feet of Judges, Governors, and Presidents, in order to maintain the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution of our country.

Right here I want to say a word or two especially in regard to the way we have to do our importuning. I refer to a discourse by President Young, in which he said he wished he had five hundred young lawyers full of the spirit of the Gospel who would rise up and help to maintain and defend our rights before the courts of our country. The discourse was published in the Deseret News and republished in the Journal of Discourses. It is public matter for anybody to read that wishes to. But a few days ago, however, a Bishop remarked that it looked very singular for one of the Apostles to raise up a lawyer, and thought there must be a screw loose somewhere. It happens, however, once in a while that some Bishop wants my son or someone else’s son to help defend them before the courts. (Laughter.) I wonder if there is any screw loose there. Excuse me, brethren, for this reference; but I wish we could have a goodly number of substantial young men growing up in our midst who would become skilled and mighty in the law, and who could go into any of the courts and set forth the true principles of justice and equity in all cases. We need more of such men. We do not want men to become lawyers, turn infidels, and live for nothing but the little money they can make. We want to raise up a corps of young men armed with the Spirit of the Gospel, clothed with the Holy Priesthood, who can tell the judges in high places what the law is, and what equity is, and can plead for the cause of Zion, and help maintain the rights of God’s people. Hence you see we have got to carry on these matters. Our rights are infringed, and we have got to defend ourselves as best we can. We are told that we must plead with the dignitaries of the earth; plead with them until their position on our question is known; they have got to declare themselves.

There are different branches of the government, which are considered coordinate. For instance—there is the legislative branch, namely, Congress. Then there is the President, who represents the executive branch. Then there is the army and navy, which is the arm of power to carry out and maintain physical defenses. And then there is the Supreme Court, the legal tribunal that stands at the very head, if you please, and pronounces upon the constitutionality of the acts which Congress passes. Hence we see our case has not only to be brought before and had cognizance of in the Congress of the United States to ascertain if they will make laws to oppress us, but these laws can be taken to higher courts, to see whether they will maintain the rights of God’s people in the land. And does it seem a terrible thing that one or two should get cast into prison? As President Cannon contemplated this morning, half a dozen would cover all such cases within the last twenty-two years, and the persons connected with the most notable cases have come in and furnished the evidence for their own crimination, under the promise that punishment would not be inflicted. But like the Governor of Illinois, who pledged his honor and the honor of the state to protect our Prophet and Patriarch, all such promises were broken. Nevertheless, in this manner we have got to test the purity or impurity, the integrity or otherwise, of the different branches of the government under which we live.

God is going to make His people a great people. He has designed them to be the means not only of revealing among themselves, what they are, and what they are here for, but of making them a standing testimony of the truth before the whole world. The great knowledge of which we have become possessed cannot be hid under a bushel, cannot be hid up in a dark place. Here we are in the heights of the continent, calling Israel home, ready to impart the light that is within us, to all of Adam’s children who will receive it. Let us seek to be wise. The Lord has told us of certain classes of defense which are better even than the employment of weapons of war. And what is it? It is the gift of wisdom. “Wisdom is better than strength or weapons of war,” said the ancient man, who tested the matter and found it out. Now, let us understand that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” and a good understanding have all they who keep His commandments.

My brethren and sisters: let us not be discouraged in the least. Remember that no great revolution was ever achieved without some fighting. Some battles have had to be fought, some victories had to be achieved. It is while the war is going on that some get wounded, and other contingencies arise, and some things necessarily happen that are unpleasant. But after the war is over, and the new government is instituted, the grand improvement is then felt, as it has been felt in this nation ever since the thirteen colonies fought and maintained their independence from the mother country. It is true we have been oppressed a little. But our enemies do not make very much at it. We live and thrive notwithstanding, do we not? How singularly the Lord works with men. The people of the Southern States through the war and since, have been limited or deprived of some of their rights. And some few men—Senator Brown for one—are not afraid to rise up from their seat and defend the right whether in behalf of Mormon or non-Mormon, and expose the doings of self-righteous men in New England, exposing the fruits of their monogamous marriage relations as compared with our marriage institution. The Lord has raised up men sometimes to maintain the rights of His people. He will allow us to be pinched from time to time as it may be necessary to unite us together, to make a wife love her husband a little better, to make a husband love his wives and children a little better, and to strengthen the bond of union in every heart. For my part I rejoice in this work, and seek continually to gather knowledge. I rejoice that I have lived to see the work of God established on the earth. Let me tell you, my brethren and sisters, the greatest affliction some of us have: it is some great fearful apprehension that something is going to happen. We naturally borrow trouble. We should not do that. Just consider that the work is the Lord’s. Be certain you do your duty every day. And when you lay down at night do so with a clear conscience, and enjoy slumber and be refreshed, and rise up in the morning, in the likeness of the resurrection, prepared to renew the contest of life. Thus we should go on step by step, adding faith to faith, keeping the commandments of God, and purifying ourselves all we can. The Lord will bless us in proportion to the degree that we endeavor to purify ourselves, and keep His commandments. That is the great secret of our full acceptance with God. We must purify ourselves as He is pure.

I do not consider it proper for me to occupy more of your time this afternoon. I feel to say I rejoice in this work. And I say unto every brother and sister that keeps the commandments of God, be joyful and rejoice in Him. He has called us to the work in which we are engaged, and He is educating us, as I said before, in order that by and by He may have a nation of kings and priests, judges and rulers to help Him bear government and rule over this earth in righteousness, when the curse shall be taken from it, and when truth shall prevail from one end of the earth to the other. May it be our happy lot to be there and rejoice with father Abraham and all his family, is my humble prayer, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Our Efforts to Inform the World of Our Doctrines—We Must Expect Persecution—Man Has No Right to Make Laws Contrary to the Law of God—Plural Marriage is No Crime—Bigamy a Crime—There Are More for Us Than Against Us—The Work of God not Upheld By Numbers—The Blood of the Prophets is Upon the American Nation—God Will Test Us

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered at the General Conference, at Logan, held in October, 1885.

Providence seems to smile upon our gathering together for a conference at this time. Indeed, as a people, if we take into consideration all of the blessings of our common salvation, we are today highly favored of the Lord, in every general respect. I think our hearts ought to be moved by a sense of gratitude for all of His many blessings to us, both temporal and spiritual. Our brethren here have gone to and improved the condition of their tabernacle, so that we are very comfortably situated. The singers, I think, feel that they have got into the right place; a good table is also provided for the reporters. I take this opportunity to invite reporters of any and all newspapers that may be present, who wish to do so, to come forward, take a seat at this table and report the proceedings of our conference. The only favors we ask at their hands is that they will please report us correctly.

We have been striving half a century to inform the world of the principles of our faith, and we have not tired at it yet; we are still sending missionaries to the four quarters of the earth. We have sent them without stint of numbers to the people of this great nation, the United States; have endeavored to inform them ever since the year 1830, and especially since the endowment at Kirtland in 1836, when the Apostles, High Priests and Elders went forth into all parts of this nation, as far as permitted, and as fast as they had opportunity, to inform the people of the principles of our faith. But it seems almost impossible to get to their ears, and much less likely to reach their hearts. It appears to have been easier for us in an early day to receive that measure which the Lord had revealed for our benefit than it is now when He is giving us so much that the new wine cannot be received into the old vessels, and if it could we do not know what the results would be. In these our times, some of the feeble and fainthearted, will no doubt think that because of the efforts at persecution against us we have reason to be very sad, to pull long faces and be cast down because we are oppressed. Brethren, not so. Do not think of it a minute. So long as we are dealt with in a milder manner than our Master was, we have reason to be thankful and ought to go on our way rejoicing. So long as we are not dealt with more harshly than our brethren have been in former periods of time and in this dispensation in which we live, we have reason to be thankful.

We lament the absence of our brethren of the First Presidency, and several of the Council of the Twelve Apostles. We would be glad and thankful if we could have them all with us, but we are pleased that so many of us can be with you as are here. We hope that the conference will result in the strengthening the good resolutions of every Latter-day Saint—in invigorating the energies of all who are in anywise afflicted, or oppressed with temptations and trials of any kind. The Lord told the brethren in his day—those whom He appointed, laid His hands upon and ordained to the Apostleship—that this would be their heritage; that they would be vilified and hailed to prison, and that men would think they were doing God service in taking their lives from the earth. And, said He, is the servant greater than His master? No. He told them that when they experienced these things, they were to lift up their heads and rejoice; for great was their reward in heaven. Therefore, we have the assurance that if we are true and faithful, we shall suffer trials and temptations as they did in former days, and as Joseph and Hyrum, and the brethren of the Apostles, with a host of Elders, have done in these latter days for the principles of the Gospel.

These things, however, should not move us, or they should only, if they move us at all, strengthen us to stand true to the holy faith of the Gospel, to the principles, ordinances and institutions which the Lord has revealed unto us. We may expect to meet opposition on every hand, but our opposition may come in a different form from what our brethren have formerly had to endure; we should, however, be armed with the spirit of divine truth, so that we may comprehend our duty under every circumstance and every condition in life. I know some of the brethren feel that it is a very serious thing to be cast into prison. Why, there is many a thing worse than that. It is a thousand times better to go to prison than to deny the principles of the Gospel, and to be forsaken of the Holy Spirit. What did Brother Brigham say before he left us? When Congress passed the law of 1862, I heard him make this remark—rather startling at the time—that a man who would not be willing to pay his fine and take a term of imprisonment for a real good, virtuous woman was not worthy of a wife at all. Well, let us learn to look at these things in a proper manner, and be thankful that our conditions are no worse. Let us look to God continually; He will guide and control all things for the good of His people.

There is a portion of the writings of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians, that seems so appropriate to our condition, that I propose to read in the hearing of the congregation a part of the 6th chapter, commencing at the 10th verse:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousnes;

“And your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace;

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

I have read these words because of their remarkable adaptation to our present condition and circumstances.

I feel, in attempting to address the Saints, a very great degree of helplessness, and of dependence upon the enlightenment and aid of the Holy Spirit in order that I may speak to you a short time unto edification; for without the spirit of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit of divine truth which is sent forth to testify of God and of the truth to the hearts of the honest in the earth, our labors will be of very trifling account. But if we have the aid and help of that Spirit, then we may be edified and rejoice together as the children of God—both he that speaketh and he that heareth.

It would seem that after the very elaborate and comprehensive epistle that has been communicated to us by our brethren of the First Presidency, in which they seem to cover many of the circumstances which now attend upon God’s people, and in which they also give to us such words of exhortation and instruction as, if followed by us, must not only make us understand better our condition, but know better how to occupy our positions with credit to ourselves and to the acceptance of God our heavenly Father—I say it would seem, after reading that epistle, and having it impressed upon our minds, as I am sure it must be upon all who listened in spirit and in truth, as if it were scarcely necessary that anything more should be said to put us right in regard to our duties and give us understanding concerning them, or strength in the performance of them. But we each of us have a testimony of the truth of the Gospel and of the work of God to bear to our brethren and sisters, and I feel a desire myself, in common with my brethren, to communicate such things as may be given to me, so that we may be encouraged in the work in which we are engaged; that we may feel our good resolutions strengthened within us, that we may be led to realize in whose name we trust, in whose strength we stand, and that we may be able also to realize, as the Apostle Paul did, when he wrote, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

Our condition is a very peculiar one in regard to this nation, and yet it is no more strange or peculiar than has been the condition of God’s people in other ages which are re corded in history for our comfort, encouragement and consolation. Therefore, I feel this morning like speaking a little about the nature of that which is called crime, which is charged upon us.

We are told by men in high places that it is the highest duty of good citizens to render obedience to the laws of the land in which we live. Now I can scarcely believe that any professor of religion—any honest religious professor of any Christian denomination in these United States—can honestly and solidly endorse that sentiment, much less anyone who is clothed with the ermine and is honored with a seat upon the judicial bench; yet it is from judges that we hear this. A great apostle of the law, the greatest, the ablest and most popular delineator of the law from the days of Justinian of ancient Rome down until his day, was the renowned Mr. Blackstone himself. When portions of various nations had settled together in the island of Great Britain—some from the northern states of Scandinavia, others from Brittany, and the different parts of the German or Saxon nations and had collected the laws of those countries for the purpose of having them assimilated, so that those people who came from their various countries should have one established usage of law for the regulation of all their civil and criminal procedures in the adjudication of their difficulties with each other, the learned Chancellor Blackstone undertook this great task, and from the alembic of his intelligent and powerful mind brought forth and enunciated his views of the law. These views have been held to be the basis of all legal administration; the fundamental principles of jurisprudence among all Christian nations ever since he published them.

This celebrated gentleman who is considered to this present day as one of the greatest, if not the very greatest legal light of the age, laid it down plainly and emphatically, that man had no right to make any laws contrary to or in conflict with the law of God. I wish every lawyer throughout the nation would read it and understand it; for when they depart from that rule they become apostate from the faith of true legal jurisprudence as laid down by this distinguished apostle of the law; and furthermore, he held that the laws which should regulate or constitute the jurisprudence of every nation were derived from and based upon the laws revealed by God, through the Prophet Moses. This gentleman stated and laid down as a fact that the Ten Commandments, the ancient law of God, were held by him to be the basis, and fundamental principle of all law, justice and administration that should be had among the human family. He claims that as the basis of his work. Then no man who is a true lawyer, after the order of the celebrated Blackstone, can say in truth that it is the highest duty of a good citizen that he should observe in all things the laws of the land, unless it be first established that those laws are consistent with the laws of God.

Now, then, wherein are we transgressors? I wish to call your attention to this a few minutes, because I desire my brethren and sisters to understand whenever they are called in question before the tribunals of this nation—I want our boys and girls that are growing up around us to understand what is the nature of that which is called crime, which is alleged against their fathers, and in which their mothers are participants. It was never alleged against us as men of Israel, as “Mormons,” if you please, that we were violators or had been, violators of the law of the land until July, 1862. It was never proven and cannot now be shown that we, as a people were violators of any law of the land whatever. In 1862, a law was enacted against bigamy, or polygamy. The term bigamy had always been used before, but now it was coupled with polygamy in order that it might be made to reach, and be understood by everybody as intended for, the Latter-day Saints.

Now, then, to come at the matter in question, what is the crime, if any there is, in this doctrine of heavenly marriage as we hold it, the doctrine of the eternal covenant of marriage, incident to which is plurality of wives? When we married our wives at the first—we were New Englanders, Britons, Scandinavians, &c.—we were married until death should us part. That was the period for which we made contract, whether we went into the church and had the ordinance solemnized by an ecclesiastic, or whether it was done before a justice of the peace, judge, or any civil magistrate. When the law of God came, before the doctrine of the eternity and plurality of marriage was taught to us, the Lord gave us a revelation, in a very early day, in regard to members of other churches being rebaptized. Some of them doubted the need of being rebaptized. They said we were baptized into the Baptist church; we were sprinkled in the Methodist church, in the Presbyterian, in the Congregational: why be baptized again? The Lord in answer to this question told His people that all old covenants He had caused to be done away; but “behold!” He said, “I give unto you a new and everlasting cove nant.” Therefore, all had to go forth, who had been baptized by men having no authority to administer, and be baptized by one who had authority, in the name of Jesus, for the forgiveness of sins, and for admission into the Church of Christ. By and by, when we had walked before the Lord for a number of years, He revealed to us the laws of marriage. Well-regulated parents do not teach their children when they are dandling them on their laps the nature of the covenant, or the ordinance, or the duties of marriage. They wait until they grow up. It is proper that they should wait until their children have attained to years of judgment, understanding, and perhaps to the age of puberty. So the Lord, in dealing with his children did not reveal this eternal covenant of marriage until his people had lived a while in keeping the first laws and ordinances of the Church, and learned to walk in the light of the Holy Spirit, and to purify themselves from the various besetments with which they were attended when they went into the waters of baptism, and become better prepared for more exalted principles and truths. One of the last great principles that the Prophet Joseph was commanded of God to teach us, was the law regulating the eternity of marriage; that whereas, we had taken our wives only until death should us part, we should now understand that we were, while in the flesh, laying the foundation for eternal dominions, crowns and exaltations; that our wives and our children were given to us of God for the purpose of laying the foundation of a kingdom; that we shall have, if we are faithful and obedient, the covenant of eternal life ourselves and the power to seal the same upon our generations, that they may become, as Abraham’s, like the sands of the seashore for number.

The Latter-day Saints claim to be the children of Abraham, and if they are the children of Abraham, they will do the works of Abraham. It was difficult for men and women from all parts of the world, who had lived in the monogamic order all their lives to accept this doctrine of the eternity and plurality of marriage. It was “a new and everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned, saith the Lord.” This was the obligation that was laid upon the Prophet Joseph, and through him, upon the true believers of the Church, even all who were worthy to accept of these obligations. It was herein that the Elders and their wives extended their faith, enlarged their obedience, and accepted the terms of the new and everlasting covenant extending not through time only, but eternity also.

Now, I ask, who is injured by a man taking a second wife, when the wife he now has is agreeable and it is mutually understood between her and him and the newly affianced; it being entered into with a mutual understanding and a mutual agreement according to the law of God—I ask, who is injured?

Wherein consists the crime of bigamy? It is this. When a man takes one wife he covenants to adhere to her until death do them part. He violates that covenant when he takes another woman, unknown to his wife; he thus practices fraud upon her. This is where the crime comes in. Fraud is perpetrated upon his own family. I want the old and the young to understand it; I want to come down to the root of the matter, and find out and show up what the crime is, if any, that is charged upon us. This crime of taking another wife when a man has one is called bigamy; and there are laws and penalties against it. With the Latter-day Saints there is no fraud practiced, the second wife being accepted with the mutual consent of the first, and in accordance with the revelations of God. There is in that no crime at all, unless some law of God is violated, or somebody is injured in the matter. If this transaction that I have just named violates the law of God, or if it injures or infringes upon the rights of a brother or a sister, then there may be some ground for pronouncing it a crime, but belief in, and practice of, the eternity and plurality of the marriage covenant do not violate the law of God, because He has commanded His people to accept and obey it. Neither is it an infringement upon the rights of others, neither men nor women, but gives all women an opportunity to become honorable wives and mothers, and thus to shut out what is politely called the social evil, with all its horrid concomitants of seduction, feticide, infanticide and all the train of sexual monogamic evils which haunt and infest Christendom.

If, then, we violate no law of God nor right of our fellows, wherein, I ask again, consists the crime of our religious faith? It is in this: that Congress forbids it; just as Darius forbade Daniel praying to God, and because he persisted, cast him into the den of lions; the same as Herod caused all the male children to be slain, hoping to kill Christ our Savior in his infancy; the same also as Nebuchadnezzar cast the Hebrew children into the flames because they worshiped the living God rather than his idol. Wherein consists the crime of Daniel praying to the God of Israel? Simply be cause King Darius forbade him doing it.

What constituted the crime of the Hebrew children in worshiping the God of Heaven? Solely because Nebuchadnezzar commanded them to worship the golden image, which they would not do. What is the intrinsic nature of our crime in believing and practicing the eternal covenant of plural marriage as revealed by the Almighty, and as we are commanded to do? Simply and solely this: Congress passed a law making it a penal offense to do so. This is all the criminality there is about it; and the question remains for each one to answer, Shall we obey God or man?

What is liberty—the liberty that you and I and all men are entitled to enjoy? It is that we do not violate the law of God, or that we do not infringe upon the rights and liberties of our fellow creatures. That is true liberty. Upon that hang also the law and the prophets.

In the establishment of this principle of the Gospel, the marriage covenant, it is intended only for God’s people, and not for the people of the world. They do not want it. They would like to have that liberty which is not liberty but license—by which they can continue and perpetuate seduction and adultery among them—keep up their houses of prostitution and their places of assignation. It is a part of the business of both high and low to keep going this degradation and destruction of the female portion of the race, and it is because the people of God have taken a course that every righteous woman may have an honorable husband, become an honorable wife and have a position in the family and household, that our brethren are hailed to prison; be cause they are faithful to their families; because they have taken wives in order that they may rear up children, have a generation to bear their names and their priesthood, and to become a people devoted to the living God.

I want to say in this connection, as I wish all to understand it, that when we adopted this principle by the revelations of God, there was no law in the land against it. Understand it, brethren and sisters. But it is now as in ancient times, when the captives of Judea were carried into Babylon. Their captors found excellent qualities in them, as some say now they like our industry, our enterprise and our virtue “outside the marriage relation,” but we want you to put away this commandment of the Lord and “become like us,” “be as we are,” then we will like you, and we will be hail fellows well met.

The representatives of the country at Washington have discovered something or other in these mountains that is displeasing to them; that we are increasing; that we delight in our children, and do not take measures to prevent their coming forth, as is very frequently done in the world; that we are willing to take wives and support them rather than to indulge in whoredom and the like; and they said, “This won’t do.” Hence they went to work and passed a law against us, that would prevent us carrying out the principles of our religion. I want these young boys and girls, as well as the older ones, to know that God has never given us a law that was in conflict with any law of the land; but that Congress has enacted laws to make us criminals. There is no crime in that which we practice, inasmuch as no man is injured, no woman injured, and no person’s rights are invaded; on the contrary, our people are called upon to exercise a great amount of self-denial and self-abnegation, that all may be blessed, and that the charity of the Gospel may be extended to all the human family, as God has designed and ordained. Thus, we are not violators of the law of the land, but the lawmakers of the nation make us transgressors. God commands us to keep His law. The people through their representatives say we shall not. That is all there is in it. They undertake to say that we shall not observe the law of plural marriage, and in consequence of this they are hailing us to prison. Our outgoings and incomings are watched by marshals, so as to find something upon which to bring us before a commissioner or before a grand jury; not for any crime we have done, but because we have obeyed God, which Congress has said we must not do—making a law against us—whereas we are violating no law.

I do not love to talk against my fellow men; I simply present these things to you to show up the real state of the case. It is unpleasant for me to say that the men of the Congress of 1862, and that of 1882, were not men of the most immaculate virtue. It is understood throughout the land that nowhere on this continent is the practice of whoredom and of the seduction of women carried on to a greater extent than in the city of Washington, and by those men who go there to make laws against this people. What attitude does it place the people of this nation in, and the Congress of the country, in relation to us and this law we are undertaking to keep? Why, as soon as the Lord has established His Gospel and covenant, the spirits of the other world are seeking to come and dwell among us; they desire a parentage among the Saints of the living God, where they can be welcomed with filial love and not repulsed by feticide, where they can be brought up in the fear of God, with a hope of returning pure to the Father’s presence, without being lost by blood guiltiness or other crimes while in mortality.

How do you think the spirits contemplate the necessity of a birth in the nations of the earth where so much harlotry and whoredom exist? I tell you this very presumption of the country in which we live, that we shall not have these children to dwell in our midst and bear the name of Christ in the earth, is a presumption against the very heavens, and against those spirits of the just who are waiting to be made perfect through their sufferings in the flesh.

Ah! says one, you folks in the mountains, numbering only one hundred and fifty thousand to two hundred thousand, need not talk in that kind of way; for here is a great nation of fifty-five millions of people who say you shall not do this thing, or, if you do, you cannot have a home with us. Well, we will admit that about two hundred people of the United States say to everyone of the Latter-day Saints that we must put away this doctrine, or we cannot dwell in this land. Well, that is a terrible majority against us: but let us look at this a little. I do not think that we need be very badly scared. You recollect at one time a young man was with Elisha the Prophet, when a large host compassed the city, both with horses and chariots, and a battle was imminent. It was turbulent times with Israel then, worse than it is with us now. The defending army was a very small one, and the heart of the young man began to falter. He could not see how the few of Israel were going to prevail against their numerous enemies. Whereupon Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he,” the young man, “may see.” And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. Fear not, said the Prophet, “for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”

Now, it is so with us exactly. All the fathers who have gone before, the Prophet Joseph, and Hyrum, the Apostles and Patriarchs, the Elders, High Priests, and hosts of others, say nothing of the fathers of our generation hundreds of years back, are all around us, waiting and watching and anxious to see us go forward and triumph; so that we have many more for us than against us, the fifty-five millions to the contrary notwithstanding. Therefore, we have no occasion to let our hands hang down from fear, or our knees to tremble; not a bit of it. On the contrary, I tell you, my brethren and sisters, that one of the greatest evils existing in our midst today is that there are too many of us. You may think that is a hard saying; but there are decidedly too many of us. There are people among us who are committing all manner of sin and transgression—people who drink with the drunken and spend their substance with harlots and in riotous living. All such should be severed from the Church, unless they repent speedily. The numbers should be reduced, like unto the army of Gideon. The Lord told Gideon that he had too big an army, and it was reduced, (in the manner related in the seventh chapter of the Book of Judges) from two and thirty thous and to three hundred, which was all the Lord wanted. The others were told to go home, and Gideon, by following the instructions of the Lord, put all the hosts of the Midianites and Amalekites, who were said to be “like grasshoppers for multitude,” to flight.

That is just what is the matter with us. There are too many with us who are not living as Latter-day Saints ought to live. Again, there are many who walk in other men’s light. If they whose duty it is will only put away from us those who will not serve God, we shall find ourselves strengthened in the work in which we are engaged. If we will but do what is right, we need not fear what our enemies can do. The Lord only wants the honest, the obedient, the faithful, and He will “turn the world upside down, waste the inhabitants thereof,” and glorify Himself by His people.

I have referred to the instance of Gideon on purpose to remind you that the work of the Lord is not upheld by strength of numbers, but it is by the Spirit of God—the spirit of obedience, which is better than sacrifice or the fat of rams, and that the wisdom of God is better than strength or weapons of war.

Men of intelligence—politicians from European countries as well as our own—have visited this country, and I have heard them tell President Young that we had a very strong government in this Territory. We all know that: but it is good to have wise men visit Utah from abroad and see the excellence and strength of its government.

I would say to the people of the land—inasmuch as they are making this bugaboo about polygamy—not to be deceived. The Governor has told men upon the streets that he did not care anything about poly gamy; (we knew very well that he did not by his conduct;) but it was the power of the Church that must be broken. Must it? This is the work of the Lord, and there need not anybody mistake it. The order of God’s church and kingdom is the strongest government ever known on this earth, and if the people of this great nation entertain any fears of the consequence or effects of such a government, why, I ask, don’t you of the nation, you of Congress, you of the Cabinet, if you please, embrace this order of government and establish it over the nation! You can do it. You can repent of your sins, every one of you, and be baptized for a remission of them. You can adopt and extend this strong government which God has established in these mountains, and if you will do it, God will establish you and the government and this nation never to depart from before His face; and you shall be made the means of helping to bring everlasting righteousness—the millennium—upon this land, and of causing the Spirit of God to rest down upon all flesh. Is it not worth your while to engage in a thing of this kind?

But, ah! The terrible fact exists that the blood of the prophets is upon this nation, although the nation has not shed their blood, yet a sovereign state permitted it, and the nation have not washed their hands from it. This accounts for the terrible hardness of heart that is to be found in this country.

Were it not for a lying press and a corrupt people in our midst, who incite ignorant people to send petitions against the “Mormons” to Congress by the bushel, the nation could not be wrought up to such frenzy, nor to make such laws as the Edmunds law against us. But they do these things because their hearts are hard, and because the blood of innocence rests upon them this nation have yet to rise up and rid themselves of this blood, and place the responsibility where it belongs, or they will have to suffer as accomplices after the fact for these terrible things done in their midst—this people driven from city to city, despoiled of their goods; driven into the wilderness to this country, to find a home in which they could dwell in peace. Blessed be God for enabling us to find it out! We have had a home of peace and rejoicing, and we have been blessed in all things. Have we need today to be terrified? Do our hearts need to palpitate for fear? We have had a United States army camp in our midst already, and we have no occasion to fear now; God will work out the deliverance of His people.

The Lord never more thoroughly frustrated the design of an army than in the instance of that which came out here, and never was there a time when He caused the gain of the Gentiles to be scattered among His people more effectually than He did with the goods the army brought to this country.

Shall we fear today? Let us look back to Israel and see their deliverance—as related in the Bible and Book of Mormon—see what He did in former times. The secret of success is obedience to the commandments of God, and to the covenants we have made with Him.

It does not become me to say what I will do when I am brought to the judgment seat to be tried and sentenced. A man don’t know what he will do. Let us recollect the instance of Peter, who walked with Jesus by day and by night. In the light of these things it does not do to boast what we will do; but I hope by the blessing of God to remain firm and immovable when these things look me in the face. I ask God to give me grace sufficient that I may keep His commandments, honor every law He has given, or shall give, and stand firm to the truth under every circumstance in life.

I pray that the blessing of God may be upon you. Be true and faithful to God. Let the brethren attend to those things which the First Presidency have pointed out in their epistle in regard to transgressors, and they that fear not God neither regard His precepts and laws. Keep the commandments of God, and let us teach our families to do so also, that we may grow strong in His righteousness; then we shall find it is no matter how many there are against us, we shall know that there are more for us than against us. He will bring us all right up to the test, and will find out what is in every man and what every man is able to endure. Our sisters think that they had all the hurt of this matter, that the men had it nice and fine; but I tell you the men will get their full share, and you sisters will get even with them, if you will only abide true and faithful.

May the Lord grant His blessing upon each as we have need; I ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.


Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, October 5th, 1884.

I will read a few verses contained in the 68th section of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, a book of revelation and commandment, which the Lord has given unto us in this last dispensation, for our guidance:

“And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.

“For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.

“And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of hands.

“And they shall also teach their children to pray and to walk uprightly before the Lord.

“And the inhabitants of Zion shall also observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

“And the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their labors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness; for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord.

“Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness.”

I will also read from the 29th section of the same book:

“But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;

“Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to be accountable before me;

“For it is given unto them even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hand of their fathers.”

Referring to our little children, who are becoming, numerically, a mighty host among us, I wish to make a few remarks this morning, the subject seeming to impress itself on my mind somewhat. A consideration of the associations of our young men and young women, reminds us that before they become young men and young women, in the common acception of the term, they are younger men and younger women; and while infant children are in a dependent and somewhat helpless condition. As the tall oaks from little acorns grow, and as mighty rivers are made up from small streamlets and springs that come from hidden sources in the mountains, so is the increase of God’s people by reason of their little children that are growing—increasing in number and multiplying continually in the land. In early days our increase used to be made up, in a great measure, by emigrants from foreign nations. The past few years our emigration has attained to some three or four thousand, annually, from the various countries in which missions are established, while it has increased many times that number from the great and glorious presence of God our Father, who sends the spirits to this world to dwell. Hence it becomes the great source of our supply, of our increase, and I am sure you will join with me, many of you, this morning in realizing that we have not, in many instances, given a sufficient and proper consideration for our little children that have been committed unto us, when we realize the importance, the eternal consequences that are made to flow from the beginning of their tuition and education here in this mortal life.

Many of this people, who have lived faithful to their professions, know more today of God and His purposes, than they did fifty years ago. We learn by experience as well as by precept, from the Lord, and as in the light of our experience we have obtained observation and got knowledge, we should not only profit by it ourselves, but as Elders in Israel we should endeavor to benefit and improve each other by our experiences, so that we may increase in understanding before the Lord in all our relations to Him and to each other.

Now, concerning little children, there is too much of an inclination with many—particularly in the world, but this feeling is growing much less among the Saints—to treat their children with indifference, to put them off, and to think that a very little of anything will do them very well. Children are apt to be waited on even at the table after the feasted and friends are all served.

I will not stop to dilate upon this particular feature of my subject, but will turn to a more pleasing one. Our Savior while here in the flesh, perceiving the people thought that children were of less importance than grown persons, was much displeased and said: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Who, I ask, among my hearers this morning has been attending the Sunday School and listened to their recitations that has not felt their hearts warmed within them at hearing the early germinations of intelligence made manifest and apparent while they have been reciting the Scriptures, the revelations and maxims from the cards that are now in use in the Sabbath Schools? Who has listened to their songs, so sweet and melodious, without feeling that the very blessing of the Lord was there, that it was delightful and lovely to be in their midst? Who has gone into the little associations of the Primaries, now held so regularly, among us, and heard them answer their questions, from perhaps the youngest that were able to speak distinctly and articulate so as to be heard—heard them answer the questions put by their teachers concerning the kind of knowledge they are expected to obtain and are obtaining—who among us have attended these associations and listened to those little ones, without feeling the fragrance of heaven shed abroad upon their souls and being sensible that there is to be found in them a beauty of innocence, of sweetness and purity that we cannot expect in the hearts of a concourse of grown people? Jesus said of them: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” He might also have said, “their angels, their spirits had always dwelt in the presence of God, or before the face of my Father which is in heaven.” Learn this, mothers, when you sorrowfully lay away your little ones—learn this: their spirits do always dwell before the face of their Father who is in heaven, and let your hearts be comforted, no sin has contaminated their souls, no spot of contamination has tarnished their young and tender consciences. There is purity, the purity of the pure here on earth. What has the Lord said, “That little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten; Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me; For it is given unto them even as I will, according to mine own pleasure, that great things may be required at the hand of their fathers.”

When He was here upon this continent, our risen Redeemer taught the Nephites, and blessed their children in multitudes.

So powerfully was the Holy Ghost poured out upon them that they spake with tongues. Infants that had no learning at all, declared forth His praise in such glorious, exalted terms, that the brethren present could not write them. Such was the blessing and favor of heaven, through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, shed abroad upon the innocent portion of humanity that was permitted to stand in His presence.

Then, seeing that the heavens are so pleased with them, ought not we to understand and entertain a higher estimate of their value, of their heavenly worth, and of their eternal importance, especially when we consider that from these small children that mothers are nursing upon their laps will by and by have grown up Prophets, Seers and Revelators, Judges in Israel, men of God standing forth upon the earth declaring His counsels, building up His Kingdom in all righteousness, and in the power of God. Remember then, that as the twig is bent the tree will be inclined.

Let me call your attention to a particular feature in the matter of children and their early condition. In the revelation which I have read to you, the Lord says: “Power is not given unto Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me.” Did you notice this when I read it? Let me ask how many of those present have taken this great truth into serious consideration, to consciously sense this great heavenly indemnity of a few years’ growth to each of our infant children in which Satan has no power to tempt their innocent souls; that whatsoever the examples placed before them, whatsoever their early inclinations by reason of erroneous teachings, yet until they are made accountable Satan has no power to tempt them, and they are still innocent before the Lord, until they come to the years of accountability when they should be instructed and prepared to be baptized into the Church, and become members of it.

People of other religious denominations tell us that if we will give them the education of our children for a certain number of years, they will wrest them from us, turn them loose upon the world, cause them to depart from the faith of their fathers and despise their parentage, seeing this is the design of our enemies, and they are conscious of being able and are endeavoring to do this with our children, ought we not to sense more deeply the value of that same consideration—yes, but in a thousandfold greater degree—we ought to see to it that the faith of our children is preserved sound, healthy, and kept growing in their bosoms. How important, then, that we teach and educate our children during the first eight years of their lives, so that when they attain to that age they may be admitted into the Church by baptism, and receive the laying on of the hands of the Elders for the reception of the Holy Ghost, then they will have the aid of that heavenly monitor that will assist the formation of their growing judgments.

Let us consider this matter more carefully than we have done. Let us see that while there is a suspension of the wrath—if we may so say—of Satan, that he has not power to tempt our children who have been born under the covenant—let us see that we attend to them, and let us give an assiduity to the business of teaching and preparing their young and tender minds, that we have never given before.

What is the great object and purpose of this life while we are here upon the earth? What one thing, if possible, is more important than another? It is this: that as our children come to us innocent—for the revelation tells us that all men are innocent when they are born into the world, and have these early years of indemnity from the power of the tempter to tempt them to sin—let us go to and make a better use than we have done of the opportunities we enjoy. Let us instill faith into the tender hearts of our children, faith towards God, obedience to their parents, obedience to the authorities of the Church, that when they come to years of accountability, they may take hold for themselves, with a hearty, strong and loving relish for the principles of the Gospel of divine truth. Let us endeavor to realize the importance of this matter. And what is that other thing we want to preserve to them? It is this: as they come to this life innocent, if men and women can be taken through this life innocent, and sin not before the Lord, and receive of His Spirit and walk in the light of it, so that while passing through this state of probation they shall have maintained a condition of innocence through the blessing of the everlasting Gospel, they will have accomplished a wonderful thing—the great object and purpose of their mortal lives. This is the great thing to be sought for—to preserve that innocence with which our children are born, and in which they are permitted to live a few years, at any rate, free from the power of Satan. It seems to me that if we contemplate this matter in the light of revelation, we ought to see its importance. The Lord has given to us the privilege of being united in the holy marriage covenant for time and eternity. We look forward to inheriting the blessings of the kingdom of God with our children, and that to their increase there shall be no end. This was the Gospel that was preached to Father Abraham—that he and his children and his generation should become as the stars in the heavens for multitude, and like the sands on the seashore that cannot be counted. We look for blessing, dominion, exaltation and glory in the eternal worlds, through similar means.

Now, then, my brethren and sisters, I wish to ask a question at this stage of my discourse. Realizing something of the value which the heavens set upon the children; remembering that the Prophet Joseph Smith himself taught and left on record in his history that little children who depart this life before they come to the years of accountability go back to the presence of God; that many children were of so excellent a spirit that God, in His grace and mercy, took them away from the adverse conditions of this life, that they might not be required to suffer as many others had to; this being their position before the heavens, what are we to think of parents, who, having these principles before them, turn their children over to our avowed enemies to be educated, knowing that their policy is to break down “Mormonism,” especially the authority of the Priesthood to counsel, direct and govern the people. I say, what are we to think of such parents? How can those people do such things and be justified in the sight of God? It seems to me they must be consummately ignorant or consummately wicked to do such a thing. I should think it right that such be refused certain privileges of the Gospel, until they had a better idea in regard to these things. I do not see how they can themselves feel that they have a right to open up to further intelligence, or to have further blessings bestowed upon them. If people are so insensible to and so ungrateful for blessings already conferred, how can they expect more? Oh, that such people would turn round and understand the foolishness and sinfulness of their course, for if they do not repent, their action will bring sorrow and affliction, until their gray hairs will come with sorrow to their graves.

It appears in contemplating this subject—more especially since the great work of the Sunday schools has been going on in our midst, since the vast labor of the mutual improvement associations has been inaugurated among our young men and young women—that there is a stupendous work before us, that our children, while they are on our laps, and while prattling in and about our homes, developing the first germinations of intelligence—that then is the time to instill the first ideas of faith towards God and His work, into their young and tender minds. The wicked world are endeavoring to wean away our children by their arts, their publications, and by the blandishments of falsely so-called “superior civilization.” They would like to draw away the young and rising generation of Israel. They have learned that we, their parents, have the principles of the Gospel established in us, and that we are not easily moved, unless we fall into transgression. They find that their purpose of building up their churches by conversions from amongst our people is futile and hopeless. They find that the Gospel of eternal truth is established in the hearts of this people; that we have received something which satisfies the human mind, a something which they have not got to offer. They find that they cannot furnish the human mind with the satisfying influence and effects which are afforded by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Great and abundant are the blessings that are promised unto those who seek unto the Lord in the days of their youth. They who seek Him early shall find Him, and from such He will not turn away. It was anciently a divine injunction with promise to the youth of Israel, that they were to reverence and obey their fathers and their mothers, that their days might be long in the land which the Lord their God gave to them; and this promise—renewed to our children with the same conditions now—should be esteemed and regarded with equal or greater deference to that anciently bestowed. * * * *

Praying always that the understanding of the Lord may be given unto us that we may know and do His Holy will, in the name of Christ our Lord, Amen.

Blessings Follow Certain Ordinances

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, October 5th, 1884.

[Being the portion omitted in last volume.]

The whole tenor of God’s dealings and instructions to His people have been enriched and adorned with affectionate remembrance, instruction and illustration of the youth of His people. They are the redeemed of Christ from before the foundation of the world. Jesus said their angels or spirits do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. He has promised that they shall come forth in the first resurrection, that they “shall grow up until they become old,” and when he would demonstrate who should be greatest in the kingdom of heaven—He took a little child and placed him in their midst, saying, “Except ye repent and become as this little child, ye can in no wise enter therein; but whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven; and whosoever shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”

In relation to all these matters, there is a great deal of importance attached to them, not only in the matter of our children—which seems to be of primary importance to us—but in the preaching of the Gospel. We that have ministered in the Gospel have learned of the truth of that Gospel, and are able to compre hend by the Spirit in some degree the revelations and commandments which have been given for the guidance of the Church. It is by virtue of repentance and baptism for the remission of sins that men’s sins are remitted. It is by attending to certain ordinances that the blessings of eternity are sealed upon us, and by which in the plain language of the Scriptures, our calling and election are made sure. But we must obey those ordinances in faith or their efficacy will not avail. Our Elders go abroad and preach to the world, and their hearts are filled with charity and loving kindness towards their fellow creatures. They administer to the sick among the Saints, and they are often called upon to administer to those who do not belong to the Church, to whom they administer according to their faith, and thus the power of faith through the ordinance of God is made manifest among the children of men.

But there is one ordinance that the Elders may have perhaps neglected and I do not know but I have myself—and that is, that if we enter a house and the people thereof receive us, there our peace should abide. This was the instruction of the Savior in His day; and if we enter a house and the people receive us not, then we should go away and return not again to that house, and wash our feet with pure water, as a testimony against them in the day of judgment, and thus bear witness unto the Lord that we have offered them salvation, that we have sought to preach to them the principles of everlasting life, that we have offered to them the Gospel of peace and desired to administer unto them a blessing. The same is applicable to a town, village or city that rejects you. In this way you do your duty and leave them in the hands of the Lord. You are not called upon to contend with anybody in public congregations, or to do anything that would stir up wrath and indignation. The Savior simply told his disciples to wash their feet as a testimony against such people. But the generous, charitable feeling of our Elders prompts them not to do a thing against anybody; they would rather pour out a blessing upon the whole people. Consequently, it is a very rare thing that this ordinance is attended to by the Elders of this last dispensation—speaking from my own experience, and conversation had with the brethren. But when it comes to this, that we are persecuted and our lives taken, it would seem as if this was a duty depending upon those Elders who are thrust out, and warned away from their fields of labor. These things have happened of late, and it seems a duty devolving upon the Elders to do that which the law requires and leave the responsibility of its reception or rejection with the people and their God. We have no quarrel with anybody. We simply preach the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. If they receive it, well and good; if they will not, then it is a matter between them and their God; but the Lord requires this duty at the hands of his servants.

Again, we go abroad and gather in many people to this place, and they desire to find work. One of the brethren has referred to this matter and likened it unto a man going into a field and working diligently to plow the field, sow the grain, harrow it in, harvest it, and then leave it to waste. It is too much so in bringing home our brethren and our sisters to this country and not furnishing them labor. It is a very pleasing thought that occasionally companies of 400 or 500 people, or even 1,000, are delivered here from abroad. Why is it pleasing? Because it shows the work of God is progressing; it shows that God is gathering home His Saints, and soon after their arrival, the newcomers are taken home by their friends and relatives, and provided for, made comfortable until another spring, or until they look around and find or make a home. And it is a blessed thought that, notwithstanding hundreds and thousands of people are brought here yearly and cared for, so great a proportion of them live in their own homes, raise their own cows, pigs, chickens, etc.

Frequently when we go to the Seventies and ask some of them if they are willing to go on a mission to preach the Gospel, one replies: “I am no preacher at all; I could not preach a sermon if I were to try:” and wind up by saying: “If I can’t go out myself and preach, I am willing to help support the families of missionaries while they are gone.” Many have said this, and many more of them have thought it.

The Seventies are a numerous concourse of men who are called in connection with the Twelve to see that the Gospel is carried to the nations of the earth. Many of them are aged—some having been in the Church almost from the days of its first organization in Ohio, and many since the days of Nauvoo—too aged to be called to go upon missions—yet they could help their brethren coming in to find employment, and as do the Twelve after having labored in the vineyard to help gather the harvest, labor together in the threshing floor to help garner the wheat, clean it, and assist to make it fit for the Master’s use. The younger men, after having secured homes for their families, feel free to go on missions, knowing that their interests at home are not being neglected.

If the aged Seventies and all men of experience would interest themselves in the different parts of the Territory, and find or make work for the newcomers, they might do a vast deal of good. They might help their brethren who come in from the old country so obtain a living. When we first came here every man had to be a farmer, had to cultivate the land in order to obtain a living. Today many of the brethren who come from the old country have no idea of farming, and have never, perhaps raised a chicken, a pig or a cow. The brethren should take hold, therefore, and assist each other in these things. Let us help to build each other up more earnestly and more extensively than we have done. Let us not cultivate feelings of covetousness to the crowding out of those ennobling and generous sentiments which should fill the bosom of every Latter-day Saint.

My brethren, you are Elders in Israel, and the blessing and power of the Priesthood are upon you. Therefore we should do all the good we can, that those of our brethren who are constantly coming in here may obtain work, that they may not be led away, through idleness, into sin, and their hearts be turned away from the Gospel which they have embraced.

Temples the Gates of Heaven—Feelings and Reflections—Around in the Temple—The Work Before the Saints—Sayings of the Savior As to Marriage in the Resurrection Explained—Glorious Hopes Inspired By the Gospel—Enoch and His City—The Three Nephites and John

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered in the Tabernacle, Logan, Cache County, Saturday Afternoon (Quarterly Conference), May 17, 1884.

I scarcely know how to find words to express the feelings which occupy my bosom at this time. This is one of those extraordinary occasions on which the Priesthood of the Church of the last dispensation are gathered together; a great thanksgiving day for God’s people. It is an assemblage of the authorities of the Church from the Stakes of Zion. They have come together to rejoice, to give God thanks, to praise and to magnify His name because another great and peculiar blessing is bestowed upon His people—that of erecting, completing and furnishing another house unto the Lord, and of dedicating it unto Him.

The Temples, the houses of our God, when acceptably dedicated, become to us the gates of heaven. They are esteemed most holy unto the Lord of all places upon the earth; therein the faithful approach nearest unto God, and obtain the greatest fellowship and inspiration of His Holy Spirit. There the righteous perform ordinances that reach into the heavens and take effect upon their dead whom they love, whom they have loved, and who have gone before—to whom they owe a debt of gratitude, for their parentage—the authors of their being and education in the flesh; who have gone unto that other state of spiritual existence. It is fitting on such occasions that the Presidents and Bishops, with their Counselors, should come from the four quarters of the earth, if the knowledge of the Gospel and the organization of the Stakes of Zion had extended so far.

The dedication of the Temple this morning awakens anew in our souls a heavenly, family feeling. It arouses in us an interest that reaches not only over the extent of the work here upon the earth, but into the regions of eternal life in the spirit world. It inspires a feeling that we are part of them and that they are part of us, knowing that we cannot be made perfect without them, nor they without us. And it becomes like the opening up of the gate of heaven unto us, that we may view by the eye of faith, and by the light of the Holy Spirit, that portion of the family of God with whom we have before associated, and with whom we expect to be hereafter associated in greater and more glorious labors in His eternal kingdom here upon the earth; when sickness, sorrow, sin and death shall be cleansed from the face of it, and when life, salvation, peace and faith shall, as the fruits of the Spirit, be poured out upon all flesh.

While in the Temple with the chief authorities of the Church and Kingdom of God—which has now extended its operations and its labors to every continent, almost every mainland, and many islands of the sea—the reflection came forcibly to my mind that there are represented in our midst this day people from either Indies, from the Antipodes, and from the various nations of the earth; not less than twenty-five or thirty nationalities, languages, tongues and peoples are represented among us. The impression was irresistible that the fellowship of the heavens was near us, that our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ was near, and that His Spirit was largely in the midst of the congregation; that the spirit of our ancient fathers, Adam, Noah and Abraham, the father of the faithful, who the Revelations inform us has entered into his exaltation and sits upon his throne, were all earnestly interested in our offering and dedication of this Temple to the Most High God. The impression was constantly with me that we were in the presence of the Prophet Joseph, his brother Hyrum, and others who had gone before, such as Brother David W. Patten, as well as Brigham, Heber, Willard, and others of the Apostles and worthies—that their spirits must have been present with us hallowing our reflections, imparting their peaceful influence and truthful inspiration to our souls. Our spirits were awakened to a profound sense of thankfulness that we had been enabled to take another so important a step of advancement in the triumphant progress of the great Latter-day work.

We are sensible that the heavenly powers are moved on these occasions, and we know that the Saints on earth are. Indeed there is no theme that engages the human mind, and that reaches into the innermost recesses thereof as does Temple building, and the ideas associated with that work and the purposes for which they are used. It is this that animates the bosoms of the righteous and brings forth sentiments and emotions from the fountains of their souls, inspiring them with fresh resolutions to faith and good works. I thank the living God and praise His holy name that I have lived to see His work progress thus far upon the earth. I am thankful for the privilege of meeting with so many of my brethren in the Priesthood.

It is a pleasing thought, a glorious truth, that while we are here together in our persons, we are also united in spirit, we are firmly united, so far as we know, in our belief in the principles of the Gospel, and in all the labors assigned to us severally to perform. I do not recollect to have ever read in the Bible history of God’s people on the earth, when His servants and His people wrought together, with greater unanimity of faith or with a more generous use of their means than now in all the labors and duties that devolve upon them. The favorable conditions attending us as a people, the peace and plenty there is in the land—the sweet fellowship of the Spirit, the glorious promises and prospects for the future, all draw from the fountain of our souls our best emotions, our strongest faith, our brightest hopes, our most glorious anticipations.

I have reflected upon the days of ancient Israel, and wondered at their decadence, when they had arrived at the height of glory and eminence. Solomon, their king, stood vastly above all the kings of the surrounding nations; he sat safely on his throne, for God sustained him there, until he departed from His counsels and commandments. Oh, what a terrible thing to happen to God’s people, or to any of His servants! What was it that turned the scale and started the decay of that nation? It was simply because their ruler put forth his hand and took to himself wives of other nations, that God had commanded him not to. This was the beginning of the great mischief that came upon Israel, and one mischief led to another; they persuaded him to attend the sacrifices and worship of their idolatrous gods, as the Lord told him they would do, until the family of Israel had come to follow the example of their king—marrying strange women and worshipping strange gods, which brought them down to that terrible degradation that their temple, which was built in wisdom, strength and beauty most glorious, and which was acknowledged at its dedication by the presence and glory of God, had become polluted and degraded to a den of thieves. The Lord told them that their doom was sealed, and that in regard to the Temple, there should not be left one stone upon another to tell where it stood. O, what terrible consequences have followed through the ages until today! Even until now, that nation is afflicted and distressed. While it is well with us here, and we are enjoying all these blessings, it is but right, I think, that we should ask our Father in heaven that the day of their affliction and sorrow may soon come to an end, and that they may come, as we have come, with obedient hearts to help build up Zion and Jerusalem.

Our work is at present but small. It is but the beginning, the germination of the wonderfully strange work that is to affect the whole habitable globe, and not only those that are on the earth now, but all that have dwelt here or that shall come to dwell upon it, until the earth shall be made anew, and all things thereon pronounced new again from God. Although Israel had attained to great eminence and glory in the earth, yet they were brought into subjection to other nations because of their transgressions, and though Christ came to be their deliverer, they received Him not—and their Temple was not restored to those glorious and exalted purposes and uses for which it was intended; then what have been the consequences? The Savior told them what would come to pass. “Behold,” said he, “I send unto you prophets, and wise men and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, etc.” What a terrible consequence! If they could have but hearkened to His word, walked in the way of the Lord, continued in its holy course, and believed in the Savior when He came, then they might have been engaged in this work of redeeming their dead back to the beginning of the world, and there would have been a mighty work done by that generation for their dead, as well as for themselves; but it remains for those recent men and women now upon the earth and that shall come upon the earth to perform this labor.

My brethren and sisters, there is before us that which draws upon our faith and upon our prospective ambition and knowledge of Gospel labor clear back to the days of the ancients. The Lord has given us intimations in regard to all these things, and He will continue to reveal all things necessary to be made known by which His great purposes shall be brought about. Great and glorious is His work! The work of the resurrection is not far off. I am fully persuaded of this, and have reflected sometimes concerning it, with an earnest desire. Never in all my ministry have I talked much about the resurrection; but the Lord has manifested some things concerning it, and I would like to allude to them.

It is a popular sentiment among professing Christians generally, and it is believed also by many of the Saints—because of a certain saying the Savior made use of to the Sadducees on a particular occasion—that, in neither of the resurrections is there to be any marrying or giving in marriage. This is a mistaken idea. We are nowhere informed that the Savior ever said any such thing or entertained any such doctrine. He taught the doctrine of the resurrection, saying that He was the resurrection and the life, and that the day will come when all they that are in their graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth. It was because He taught this doctrine that the Sadducees sought to entangle and confuse Him concerning this principle by bringing up the case of the woman who married a man and he died without any children, then because he died childless she married his brother, which was according to the law of Moses, he also died without children, and so on, each of the brothers marrying her, until the seven brothers had her to wife, and last of all the woman died also.

These Sadducees did not believe in any resurrection, and they thought to be very crafty with the Savior, so they put the question squarely to Him: “Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.” They evidently thought they had caught the Savior then; but He replied to them saying: “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” Now, who was He talking to? He was speaking to those Sadducees who denied there being any resurrection; who lived contemporaneously with the seven men and this woman who had lived and died among them. He was talking to a race of people to whom John the Baptist had come, and many had received his testimony; but these had not. He was talking to a people who claimed to be of the House of Israel, to whom He (Jesus) had come in fulfillment of the testimony of John the Baptist.

There had been sent among this people, whom he was now talking to, prophets who had foretold His coming and the coming of John the Baptist. He had sent His Twelve Apostles among all their cities, all of whom had testified to the coming of the Just One unto all that people, but they had rejected those testimonies, had killed the Prophets, stoned those who had been sent unto them, and were now ready to slay Him.

It was to this class of people, who were living under these circumstances, that He makes the answer say ing, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” Luke the Evangelist, stating this case in his 20th chapter, says: “The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” If we refer to the glorious vision which was shown to Joseph and Sidney on the 16th of February, 1832, as recorded in the 76th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, last edition, we shall find the promised condition of these people, that the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one, for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in the telestial world; for these are they who are of Paul, Apollos and Cephas, some of Christ—Moses, Elias and others—but received not the Gospel, the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets nor the everlasting covenant, but are liars, sorcerers, adulterers and whoremongers, who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, when Christ the Lamb shall have finished His work, having subdued all unto Him. These receive not of His fullness, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of angels appointed to administer for them. Had they hearkened to the Prophets, the Apostles, the words of the Savior, and received the everlasting covenant, they would have been made heirs of God and joint heirs with our Lord Jesus Christ, and would have been made heirs of the celestial world, with power to increase eter nally, being Gods, even the sons of God, but now that they would not receive the Gospel, the Prophets, nor the everlasting covenant which they might have received, they can only become as the angels in heaven, who in that world neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are equal to the angels in heaven.

These are not they who inherit the celestial world, nor those who attain to the terrestrial, but they who suffer the judgment of God in the flesh. These are they who come forth in the last resurrection; they who attain to the resurrection in that world, and are neither married nor are given in marriage, just as the revelations of God prescribe and show forth.

There is nothing in all this which says or intimates that those who come forth in either of the other resurrections shall not have the blessing in their resurrection and in their world, whether Celestial or Terrestrial, of being married and given in marriage. Let me ask what is to become of that portion of the human family that have gone down into their graves in past ages without having arrived at the age of puberty, or without having lived to years of accountability? What is to become of them? Are they not to be given the blessings of the New and Everlasting Covenant, to increase, multiply and attain to endless lives, and eternal increase in the covenant of Abraham? Undoubtedly, in the resurrection when they shall have regained their tabernacles, if they render the required obedience to the holy law of God. And who are the others that come forth in the second resurrection? Stop. Let me distinguish. The first resurrection was in the days of Jesus. Those who were resurrected with Him appeared many of them, we are told, in the streets of the holy city. That was the first resurrection. The second resurrection is the resurrection of the just, when Jesus shall come again in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, when they who sleep in Jesus will come with Him. Then will He bring the City of Enoch that has gone away in Terrestrial glory ever since it went to the heavens. Then will those children who have died in Christ—for they are redeemed in Christ from before the foundation of the world—come forth. Then, in the next resurrection, we are told, will come forth the honorable men of the earth who have lived according to the light they had. In this next resurrection will come forth the multitudes of the nations that have never had the Gospel—the heathen nations. They are candidates for the next resurrection, and when they come forth upon the earth, those of them who prove themselves worthy will they not have the opportunity to attain to all the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant? If they are not to be married and given in marriage the Lord has not been pleased to tell us so. I anticipate that in that glorious day the work of performing all the ordinances and endowments for those who have not attained unto these privileges and blessings in the flesh, either by themselves or by proxy, will have that privilege, and the work will be carried on. That blessed epoch seems to dawn upon our view—that glorious period when the righteous will come forth, and while the wicked will sleep on another thousand years.

Let me remind you of another interesting feature in this allegory, and that is this: The Savior tells us that the terrestrial glory, or kingdom, is likened unto the glory of the moon, which is not of the brightness of the sun, neither of the smallness nor dimness of the stars. But those others who have no part in marrying or giving of marriage in the last resurrection, they become as stars, and even differ from each other in glory; but those in the terrestrial kingdom are those who will come forth at the time when Enoch comes back, when the Savior comes again to dwell upon the earth; when Father Abraham will be there with the Urim and Thummim to look after every son and daughter of his race; to make known all things that are needed to be known, and with them enter into their promised inheritance. Thus the people of God will go forward. They will go forward, like unto the new moon, increasing in knowledge and brightness and glory, until they come to a fullness of celestial glory. During the Millennium multitudes of people who have not heard the Gospel will hear and receive it and go forward into this glory, while those who will not go forward to a fullness will go back to that lesser glory which is likened unto the stars of heaven, for as the Prophet Isaiah says; “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.

I did not think when I arose that I should be led to speak in this strain; but the fact is, upon these occasions the glories of the other worlds open up before us, and we cannot help thinking of them, and dwelling upon them unless we quench the Spirit.

But says one, I thought that all marriages were to be performed in mortality? In reply to that suggestion I would ask, How was it that Father Adam and Mother Eve were married while they were immortal? And if they could be married as immortal beings, why cannot their children just as well be? It will doubtless occupy the whole of that sabbath of rest the whole thousand years, and perhaps a period after, to do the work necessary for all the vast myriads of Adam’s children, so that they may be placed in a position to be judged according to men in the flesh, or according to the deeds done in the body.

Brethren and sisters, I rejoice exceedingly with you in this glorious Gospel. If there is anything on the earth that can satisfy the human soul in its desires for excellence, virtue, exaltation and greatness, it certainly is this Gospel of the kingdom. If there is anything in the world that can satisfy the hungry soul for knowledge, it is the revelations of the Lord Jesus Christ, which open up continually line upon line, and precept upon precept; here a little and there a little; indeed there is nothing else can satisfy the longing of the human soul. This will lead to the same blessing and glory which the Prophet Joseph told us Enoch had attained unto. He taught us that he and his city had attained in his day to a terrestrial glory, that they were enjoying that glory still. They attained unto the power of translation, that they might take their bodies and their city with them. The resurrection was not until Christ came and became the firstfruits of them that slept.

This view of the subject brings me to think and to speak a word in reference to the three Nephites. They wanted to tarry until Jesus came, and that they might He took them into the heavens and endowed them with the power of translation, probably in one of Enoch’s temples, and brought them back to the earth. Thus they received power to live until the coming of the Son of Man. I believe He took them to Enoch’s city and gave them their endowments there. I expect that in the city of Enoch there are temples; and when Enoch and his people come back, they will come back with their city, their temples, blessings and powers. The north country will yield up its multitude, with the Apostle John, who is looking after them. They also will come to Zion and receive their crowns at the hands of their brethren of Ephraim. There will also be nations here on the earth that have not received the Gospel, but who will receive it, and thus the work of God will go on in all its phases, for the living and for the dead.

It is a good thing to take a glimpse once in a while into, and contemplate the glories of the future. A few years ago, when the wolf stood at our doors, when we had hardly enough of the necessaries of life to keep body and spirit together, we used to sing the song—“There’s a good time coming.” Behold! that time has come. This is one of those good times that we are celebrating today. Let us rejoice in the Lord our God. I think that every honest soul that is pure before the Lord can lift up his heart, and praise His holy name, that he has lived to see this day. The Lord help us that we may give to Him our best efforts in forwarding His work here on earth. I rejoice with all my soul and ask the blessing of the Lord to rest upon the Presidency of the Church, upon the Apostles, upon the Seventies, High Priests and all the quorums; also, that the Bishops may be filled with the spirit of justice, equity and truth. I also feel to bless you, my brethren and sisters, that the favor of God may be multiplied upon your persons, your families, your homes, your flocks and your herds, your possessions and your hopes. That we may prove faithful and attain to heaven’s proffered blessings is my desire, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Occasion for Gratitude—The Rising Generation—Latter-Day Saints Should Sanctify Themselves—Growth of the Kingdom of God—Prosperity of Logan and Cache County—The Introduction of Saloons: A Remedy to Prevent Their Extension—A Time of Peace—Who Are Preached of Righteousness—The Temple: How It May Speedily be Finished—Spreading the Gospel—Gathering of the Jews to Jerusalem—Exhortation to Faithfulness—The Reward of the Righteous

Remarks by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered at the Quarterly Conference, Logan, Sunday Morning, November 4th, 1883.

The present favorable opportunity affords us a proper occasion for gratitude, and to think of and listen to those principles which pertain to our salvation, to our improvement, and our advancement in the knowledge of the truth as it has been revealed to us in this last dispensation.

The earnest and cordial exhortation which we have just listened to is one that appears to me very appropriate and highly important for all faithful Saints to consider. All matters which affect the interest and well-being of the rising generation are to us of the deepest importance. As we hope for the rising glory and the triumph of the Kingdom of God in the earth, so should we labor to educate our children correctly in the fear of God, and in the principles of the everlasting Gospel. For it is righteousness that exalteth a nation, while sin is a reproach to any people. The Lord our God will make His deliverance manifest, and the exercise of His power, less or more to His people in proportion as His people incline less or more to draw near to Him, and to learn His holy will.

If the Saints would make it their first and leading purpose in all the labors and duties of their lives to draw near to God, to sanctify themselves, sanctify their inheritance, their families, their habitations, their houses and lands, their flocks and herds; if every man in Israel who is the head of a family, and the possessor of property, made it his business to sanctify himself, and all that he has influence over unto the service of God and the building up of His Kingdom, making that the leading matter of his life, we should find ourselves progressing much more rapidly in the way of righteousness and power of truth before the Lord.

We are making advancement by the directions of the Priesthood in building Temples; we are making advancement continually as God gives us increase by the multiplication of our numbers in the land, all legislation concerning us to the contrary notwithstanding. The Lord is not only multiplying and increasing us numerically in the earth, but He has put us in possession of principles of life, power and increase, which the world know nothing of, and which they despise, which they waste and destroy to the ruin of their souls. He is giving to us these blessings right along with the revolving seasons, with the revolutions of the earth. Every day, every night, every week, every month and every year witnesses increased advancement in some direction; and if we can but make the improvement that we ought to do in our own generation; if our fathers and our mothers can make the improvement which they ought to do, and which they have in their power to do in their generation, this people can become not only a great and mighty people in number, but a vastly greater and more mighty people than the same numbers in any other part of the earth, and the favor of God—which we see and know already is turned toward us—will increase upon us, and His blessings multiply upon us with a greater fruition than ever before.

We are approaching the completion of a Temple. When I think of Logan and Cache County, I realize that you are blessed almost beyond your brethren and sisters in other Stakes of the Territory. You have a tabernacle here, second to none as a place of worship for the Saints of this Stake. You are supplied with other public buildings that place you in a good, comfortable position, such as a splendid courthouse, and a good, substantial college building, and you are in a position, as a people, by means of that college, to enjoy all the general benefits of a liberal and classical education and of knowledge that may be imparted unto you, not only in the laws and ordinances of the Church and the Kingdom of God particularly, especially and pre-eminently, but also in the arts as well as the sciences. You certainly occupy a very excellent position. But this is no reason why you should slacken your efforts. On the contrary, this prosperity should induce you to increase your diligence in all good things. For you know very well—you see and have the experience right among you—you have the contending elements striving to bring in drunkenness and iniquity in your midst. This of course we have to put up with when we take it as from the world and the ungodly, on the common ground of our warfare to contend against those powers in high places; but when it comes from those who profess to be brethren, when they undertake to insist and push and crowd these things to the destruction of the souls of their brethren, this seems sometimes to us more than we should be required to bear, unless it be required of us from God. When brethren will undertake to thus sow affliction, destruction and death among their brethren, I do not know how long we shall have to put up with it, and be silent. Our enemies we can bear. Like as one said of old: “It was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hateth me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.” Well, it seems a good deal the same way, when we see men who are Elders in Israel, partakers of the holy, High Priesthood, striving to urge the sale of liquors, and to promote drunkenness in our midst. It seems intolerable. How long shall we continue to bestow the fellowship and patronage of the brotherhood in promotion of these evils? I would exhort the brethren to be reminded, however, that there is one remedy, one way that we can ward off this mischief from being extended and promulgated among us; it is to let it alone and stay from those places. Although there may be grog shops, and billiard saloons in your midst, contrary to your wishes and contrary to your feelings, and which you would prefer might never exist among you—they have the liberty, they have not the right—still we have the reserved right to let them alone; we need not patronize them, nor partake of their poisonous draughts, nor gamble in any of their saloons. We are not obliged to get down into their low-lived habits. Although we may have to put up with these things in the sight of our eyes and the hearing of our ears, and have the peace of our streets perhaps disturbed by the cries of the drunken, and by the noise of the lewd, yet we are not obliged to partake of them. And this is one of the reasons why the exhortation of Elder Teasdale is so appropriate and timely; you want your children educated in that way, that when they are grown up they will abhor these places, and touch not, taste not, nor handle the unclean thing. And we ourselves want to work against the appetites which are inbred in many of us. I am not asleep to, nor unaware of the fact that many of us coming from the world have brought with us a deep craving for spirituous liquors, and for other things which are not good for us, but which we may have dabbled in to gratify a wicked appetite. Parents afflicted with these propensities ought to take warning not to breed them into the natures of their children, and if possibly they have done so, to use diligence to preserve them from being thrown in the way of temptation until they come to years of understanding, judgment and firmness of purpose, which will enable them to practice self-denial, and live as men of God. These are matters that need to be looked after. They are features in the society of the Saints which ought to be considered, and no less but more because you are here, as it were, under the very shadow of the Temple; and are the people who have so abundantly contributed to the construction of this house; they want now to preserve themselves in purity before God, that they may be counted worthy to enter within its walls, and there receive all the blessings which are to be bestowed upon the just. We need this. It is a sentiment that should pervade all the authorities of the Church from the First Presidency down to the President of your Stake, the High Councilors and the Bishops of your Wards, and all the lesser priesthood—all should be inbred with this feeling.

We have had a time of peace, a time of great prosperity, a time when the Lord has so far preserved to us our local government and our rights here in the land. He having thus manifested His kindness to us, in this way, we ought to draw nearer to Him, and seek to establish the righteousness of God on the earth. I would, therefore, this morning, remind every Elder, Priest, Teacher, and Seventy, that they are called to be preachers of righteousness. Brethren, every one of you are called to be preachers of righteousness as much as I am, as much as President Taylor, or any other man in Israel. Everyone who has partaken of the Priesthood has covenanted to be a preacher of righteousness, preachers by practice as well as by precept—in your own families among your children, among your neighbors, among your friends, and all around—and if everyone is thus magnifying his calling, behold! Here is the people of God, and the fear of God is upon that people, and the blessings of God cannot be stayed from them, and they will know the right way, and walk in it.

The Temple has proceeded very nicely. It is very gratifying to me, as a member of the Temple Committee, to observe how the work has advanced, and to hear Superintendent Card say that in about three or four months, with the ability to use certain necessary means, the building will be completed. What a joyful time we have arrived at! Yet here is a little matter of means that needs to be attended to, to complete the Temple and to pay some liabilities that have been incurred, necessarily, in its erection. The Superintendent has endeavored to progress with this work and keep out of debt; but one thing and another has come along so much faster than means have come into his hands, that he has got a little behind. That, however, is a very small matter. If the Presidents of Quorums would arise and say to the Elders, “Let us wake up and pay a dollar a head for the finishing off of the Temple,” in three months not only will the Temple be finished, but every dollar of debt will be paid; and the Temple could be ready to be dedicated next quarterly conference, if the First Presidency were so minded. It is but a trifling matter, yet it is a matter of sufficient importance to delay the dedication of the Temple until it is entirely paid for, so that we can offer an acceptable offering unto the Lord. We trust and pray that God may be pleased to make manifest a gracious acceptance of this offering, and that the blessings of heaven may rest down upon His people.

I rejoice greatly in the glorious latter-day work that has been commenced, and that is being extended on every hand. The Gospel is being spread among the nations of the earth, among the islands of the sea, and among the Lamanites, the remnants of the house of Ephraim, here upon this land. Ephraim and Mannasseh, a multitude of nations in the midst of the earth, are reaching out after the house of the Lord, and are seeking counsel at the lips of the servants of God. The glad tidings have not only gone to the Sandwich Islands, but also to New Zealand. The aborigines of that country have taken hold, and we learn that something over one hundred of that fraction of their race have engaged in the work of the Lord. And not only so, but the inhabitants of the eastern countries are being wrought upon by the hand of God, and Judah is being turned toward Jerusalem. The reports are that many thousands of Jews have been gathered to the land of Judea, and regions round about, within the last twelve months. Well, the Lord is at work in all these matters, and we ought to realize that we are but an item, as it were, in the great work that is being carried on.

There is a great deal that I sometimes feel I would like to say, but at this time I do not feel to occupy your time any longer.

I pray that an earnest spirit of improvement and purification among parents, among children, among households, among members of Wards and Stakes, may take possession of the presiding authorities of the laboring Priesthood, and that they may put away iniquity, and all manner of unrighteousness, and become more and more acceptable in the sight of the Lord. Then we shall be more and more ready to do anything that the Lord would have us do in the interests of His Kingdom. We must remember that the strength of the Lord’s people does not consist in their numbers; for times have been, and may be again, when they that are with us may be too many. It will be found—if you search carefully among us as a people—that you are carrying a great many people and their sins, and if you don’t shake them off they will lead you down, you will be partakers of their sins, and you will have to answer for them. It is necessary that the Bishops—more especially those who have not had experience—learn cor rect principles of government—how to build up their Wards in righteousness and in the power of God. And this feeling and influence should be carried into every habitation of the Saints; because where there is righteousness and faith there is the favor and blessing of God; and when the sick are among you and you have this faith, you can call down the blessings of God upon them, and if you don’t, and remain careless, then you will find that you have not the power to take hold of and receive those blessings. We want so to live day by day, that whatever affliction may overtake us, we may be prepared for the worst as well as for the best.

May the Lord help us to draw near unto Him, nearer than we have ever done before; that we may be able to go into His presence and realize the association of angels, and that we may realize all those blessings which He has in His hands ready to bestow upon us as fast as we will put ourselves in a position to receive them; this is my prayer and desire and labor in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

Retrospective Review of the Providences of God in Relation to the Saints—The Wrath and Schemes of Men Turned to the Advantage of God’s People—The Order of God’s Church Perfect—The Wicked Disturbed By Judgments, While The Righteous Enjoy Peace—The Administration of the Law of God in Relation to Offenses—Should Be Resigned to The Will of God in All Things

Discourse by Apostle F. D. Richards, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Saturday Morning, October 6, (Semi-Annual Conference) 1883.

The Lord be thanked and praised for granting us another so favorable opportunity of meeting together to contemplate the interests of His Kingdom, and our soul’s salvation at this Conference. “Day unto day uttereth speech,” said the ancient man of God, “and night unto night showeth knowledge.” We can say that week after week, and month after month, since our last Conference, we have had renewed occasion for thanksgiving and praise to Him for the many blessings which He has vouchsafed unto His people.

If we take a retrospective view of His providences to us as a people, especially during the period of our sojourn in these mountains, we shall find that circumstances have occurred at very short intervals, which have kept the people continually awakened to a sense of their liberties, and to a watch care for them, measuring and weighing and noticing the efforts that have been made from time to time to take away our privileges and liberties, and such blessings as were thought could be taken from us which we had entered into the enjoyment of since our location in these mountain fastnesses. Step by step every such instance has been attended, if not with all that gift and abundance of favor and mercy, which we might have desired, and which might not have been best for us, yet with sufficient blessing to manifest the kind care of our heavenly Father continually and unceasingly over us.

When we came here and first made our laws, realizing that we were far away from the mass of the people of the States, both east and west of us, we found it was with great difficulty that we could avail ourselves of the few blessings which government seemed to tender to us. We could not even obtain the presence of federal officials in our midst, regularly, as was designed by government, and as was needed by the people. Consequently our isolation required our Legislature to confer unusual powers upon our local courts; but it was not long before the effort was made, and final suc cess was had in taking from our local courts the civil and criminal jurisdiction. Time will not allow me to enter into minute details. Therefore, suffice it to say, that mission judges have come here fully determined to convert us from the error of our ways, as it appeared to them, to the “purity, refinement, and civilization” of the world! After laboring and toiling some years in our midst, finding their decisions frequently overthrown by the decisions of the Superior Court at Washington, our Prophet, who had been illegally imprisoned, released from his confinement, and one thing after another, upset their plans and devices; so that the great changes which had been hoped to be brought about among us, to make us like the people of the world, signally failed, and the end of that effort was, that the poor, miserable man who undertook the job, was carried home in his coffin.

I must notice one or two other important facts, which have stood out very prominently before us, and they were, that this people who were not of the world, and had no fellowship or love with the world, must be restricted in their civil rights and military duties, for fear that they should do some mischief on a holiday, therefore they were forbidden by Gubernatorial Proclamation, to order out a company of infantry or cavalry, to help to celebrate the Fourth of July, as they and their fathers were wont to do from time immemorial.

One after another, these and similar efforts have been made to take our liberties and privileges away from us, that we might be brought into some sort of contemptible subjection, it would appear. But without stopping to animadvert upon the folly and nonsense of such a proce dure, let me inquire what was the result? What followed the proclamation that we should not do military duty as a people, or protect ourselves even from the surrounding savages? Immediately when this occurred, it seemed as if the very heavens were moved in our behalf, all the tribes around us became divested, seemingly, of what hostility they had possessed, and ever since that occurred, we have had the most substantial peace and quiet all around us, among the natives. How kind of Providence, it was, to so completely remove the enmity of the natives, when this circumstance transpired. We are relieved from the unpleasant tax of military duty, and even our adversaries are made to be at peace with us. What a logic of fact, for a contentious world to read.

During the past year, the great efforts that have been made, have seemed to prove abortive; special efforts and measures have appeared to miscarry; and we have had a law right from the Capitol, that seemed as if it must tell on the “Mormons.” A class of our people have been temporally divested of the right of suffrage; men and women, who may have violated some law, and many who have never violated any law of Congress, have been deprived of their political rights. But with all this we still seem to live and thrive and prosper faster than we have ever done before. The very step itself, will prove a great blessing to this people by separating a portion of those who have not the highest respect and veneration for all the Laws of God, and enable those who have, to be the wiser counselors and more efficient aids in advancing the interests of the kingdom in the hands of those who may be more acceptable in the eyes of government to wield administra tion here locally.

But it is a singular fact, a singular circumstance, that a man should come here from the heart of the nation—clothed, as was supposed, with every qualification to be a Governor of Utah—should act as he has acted. He had been through the army in the late rebellion. He was a man capable, as was supposed, of understanding what was right and proper, as between the nation and any other part of the country that might seem to feel in any wise oppressed or limited, and who would administer constitutional rights and executive powers with ability and with skill. He came here clothed with the supreme beauty of the State from whence he came. This man by his excessive propensity for figures, as we all know, made some very strange calculations; and then when one thing didn’t work, another seemed to, until our representative in Congress was removed. But by and by we are blessed with another one in Congress to represent us there. And in a short time we found that, with the special effort that was being made in Washington in our behalf, such a shadow of doubt was cast over a certain portion of the law, entitled the Hoar amendment, when it was thought advisable by the Governor to execute some three hundred commissions, more or less, to men whom he appointed to fill supposed vacancies in this Territory, which if carried out would have turned over the local authority of the Territory into the hands of the avowed enemies of this people, but the supposed vacancies did not exist and the offices continued in the hands of the incumbents. After all the election was held during the past season when these offices were filled by the people’s candidates. We have occasion again to rejoice that notwithstanding another desperate effort has been made to take away the rule from the hands of the people and put it into the hands of their enemies, and make us an outside Territory, subject to their oppressions, subject to all manner of taxation that they might please to impose upon us—we find that the voice and vote of the people are still triumphant, that their candidates have gone into office and are commissioned; the selections having been made from among those whose rights and privileges have been maintained unto them.

It is a singular feature in this matter, that the Governor has taken it into his head to leave the Territory just at the time when it was supposed he would be required to execute these commissions. But without going into particulars, persons of ordinary discernment observe that the course he has taken is such that he cannot himself cheek it to remain and issue the commissions to the properly elected persons to rule in this Territory, indeed it looks as though the dishonorable, undignified course he has taken is just what has driven him from the Territory, to leave his duty, and let the secretary be acting governor. When men come here full of determination to show their bravery, their ability, smartness and competency beyond their predecessors, to capture Utah, and turn her over to the hands of the ungodly; it appears that everyone who has made such an attempt has met with very signal defeat. When a man defeats himself as perfectly as this last one has, I think the Latter-day Saints have occasion to thank God and take courage; we have reason to rejoice and praise the Lord in all these matters, for whatever our enemies do He makes it return that, like a boomerang that is thrown out, it comes back and strikes the person that hurled it.

Well, then, my brethren and sisters, seeing that this is the way that these matters all move, the way they all operate, should it not inspire in us the most profound gratitude toward God for these manifestations of his mercy, goodness and blessing unto us. He has made our fields to abound with plenty. He has favored us with blessings innumerable and incomprehensible. We have a peace, a joy and a satisfaction at heart which those men who make these desperate laws cannot contemplate. We rejoice in the blessings that heaven is bestowing upon us. Is it not, then, our bounden duty to testify to God, the angels, and those that attend upon the covenant people of God, that we are determined to love Him more and serve Him better? I was pleased to hear the remark made by one of my brethren yesterday, that he felt on returning here, after an absence of five or six years, that there was an improvement in the spirit and feelings of the people. This is very manifest to those who observe and notice it. But we think there should be a very much greater improvement. Many of us have been very careless of some of the commandments: words of wisdom which the Lord has seen fit to give to us. We have not used that care, that caution, and that sound discretion in our daily lives before Him, that it is becoming we should do. I propose, brethren and sisters, in view of this matter, that we take these things to heart, and see if we can and ought to draw nearer to God, while He is willing to draw nearer to us, and thus more fully sense His blessings, His mercies, and his loving kindness unto us.

This institution—which Presi dent Taylor so beautifully reviewed yesterday morning in the Assembly Hall, noticing the varied authorities of the Church and their multifarious duties—sets forth to every discerning mind that the order of God’s government presupposes and contemplates the strongest possible form of government that has ever been known on the earth. Men have come here in years past, and in speaking of President Young, they have said that he had a strong government here in Utah; and later on, in speaking of President Taylor, that he had a strong government in Utah, and also that men coming here from abroad to govern the people, simply governed the outsiders, and that the President of the Church governed the Latter-day Saints. This is the way the ungodly speak about it. Latter-day Saints know that the order of God’s Church is the perfect order. They know that it is the one intended to give a people strength in the earth, and that strength is in their righteousness, in their virtue, in their purity, and in their union and fellowship with the Spirit, with each other, and with the heavens.

These principles are very dear and very glorious, and we ought to rejoice above all men in the earth. We may look to the east, to the west, to the north and to the south, and we see all governments, all peoples, all nations, all kindreds and tongues, stirred up with an activity, a spirit of strife and ambition to superiority, and we see that there is continual commotion among them in their political affairs, and in their civil relations. There are a great many disturbances continually going on, and many of the nations are really on the verge of bankruptcy, through the vast debts created to maintain their numerous armies even in the time of peace; while here among this people, though our liberties are menaced and threatened, and our peace would be sometimes disturbed, if we would allow it, yet, by the blessing of God, we enjoy peace in our hearts, such peace as the wicked cannot give to us, nor take from us. The voice of Him that spake to the waves of Gennesaret, and commanded them to be still, speaks to us, and while dark clouds and the thunderings and lightnings roll over the political horizon, yet in the hearts, in the homes, and in the habitations of the just there is peace, such as the wicked know not of, and it bespeaks the truth of the revelation which says, that not long hence, the people of Zion shall be the only people that will not be at war among themselves, and that the day will be when they who will not take up the sword against their neighbor, will have to flee to Zion, of which this is the embryo.

Look abroad and see what the Lord is doing in the way of judgments. There has scarcely been a year for many years past, when they have seemed to be so terrible as they have been during this present year, so far. Think of one portion of the world where islands of the sea have been sunk, and 100,000 people reported destroyed by earthquake and volcanic eruptions. And another where it is said some 15,000 or 20,000 were likewise destroyed. Think of it! And yet the Lord has preserved us in these mountains—in this region of country that might scientifically be called one of the most volcanic portions of the whole earth. The very face of the earth tells us its character by its extinct volcanoes, its silent craters, and numerous hot springs. Look at the strata of the earth’s crust in these canyons, and see its nature. Also the Lord has manifested His judgments by cyclones, etc. The words of the Prophet Joseph, have been and are being verified, those words he uttered before he went to Carthage. Said he: “I call for the four winds of heaven, the thunderings, lightnings, earthquakes, whirlwinds, the hailstorms, pestilence, and the raging seas to come forth out of their hiding places and bear testimony of the truth of those things which I have taught to the inhabitants of the earth as is promised in the revelations that have been given.” These were some of his last words among the people. And what have we seen? Scarcely a week last summer without a cyclone or hurricane happening somewhere in the States, destroying towns and villages, or parts thereof.

We live in times that if we only considered the matter and looked upon it as we should do, that should cause us to draw near unto the Lord, and to live up to every word that proceedeth from His mouth.

I wish to bear testimony that this Gospel and this order of government which I have been alluding to, is that which brings down the blessings of heaven upon this people. Besides peace and good order, it brings the gifts and blessings of the Gospel, the gift of healing to those who are afflicted and wounded and who are walking upon the borders of the grave; such are restored and healed by its divine power exercised in the prayers and faith of the Saints.

The fact of the matter is, those things which are held out as menaces to us, are the things that preserve us from the hands of the wicked, and keep us from forgetting God in the time of prosperity. It is one of the greatest blessings to us, that we are kept continually on the alert, diligently seeking after Him, putting our trust in Him, and then to find how successfully and perfectly He leads us to triumph over our enemies, and makes the mischief they would bring upon us, recoil upon their own heads. Saints find it good to trust in Him.

The great work that is now upon us—to build temples and to labor in them, calls upon us to perform our duties faithfully; calls upon Presidents of Stakes and Bishops of Wards, that they look well among their peoples, and see if they are not taking upon themselves the responsibilities of other people’s sins. Presidents, High Councilors and Bishops, should seek diligently the Spirit of the Lord to know how to deal with and decide between the righteous and the wicked; to know how to pull up the tares without pulling up a great number of the roots of the wheat. When a man has given himself up to be a drunkard, to dishonor the cause of God, and to be picked up in the streets and to become a reproach, until people say, “that is one of your Mormons,” it is time the Bishops or Elders, or whosoever’s duty it is, were looking after him to see that this evil is put away, and to see that his wife, who may be the deepest mourner over this whole matter, and his children, clothed in sorrow over his conduct, to see that they are cherished and sustained and preserved, lest while pulling up the tares you pull up the wheat also. It requires the skill and wisdom of the Holy Spirit in all of these things to know how to deal in the right way, to save those that can be saved, while those who will not work righteousness, may be known as transgressors, and that we may no longer carry them upon our faith and become partakers of their sins.

In the late organization of 1877, a score of Stakes were organized, a great many more Wards were instituted, many men were called and ordained to be Bishops in the Church who had never given their attention to consider carefully the duties of the bishopric. In view of the responsibilities of this calling, it may not be thought strange that some brethren holding this high and holy office are so afraid that they would do wrong, that they even durst not do right! Now, this is true whether you believe it or not. A great many men hold these important offices who are so timid and so fearful lest they should do wrong, that they are slow and backward in doing the thing which is right. Now, what is it that makes a man useful and strong in his calling and labor? Is it not his constant labor, and the diligent, actual performance of his duties? What is it that makes the blacksmith’s right arm stronger than any other man’s? It is because he is all the time using it, and in this way his arm acquires that practice which gives it the greatest attainable strength. If the brethren standing in these responsible places, whether they be Presidents of Stakes or Bishops of Wards, see anything wrong in their Wards, it is their duty to get after it. And it is notably the duty of a teacher to be conversant with the people, and to see that there is no iniquity in the Church. Instead of hardness of feeling or division of sentiment, or mischief of any kind being allowed to exist in your Stake, until it produces party strife, and people take sides with one and sides with another, it is far better to get after the mischief at once, find out where it is, root it out, and set matters right before the peace of families, of neighborhoods, and perhaps the Ward is disturbed. I wish the brethren in authority would heed this matter and wake up to their duties, and not act merely as figureheads, but more like men of God clothed with authority and power. When men standing in such responsible positions are so backward in their duties, they don’t know the power of God, nor the spirit of their callings, but the moment they step forward and take hold with a prayerful heart, coming from their closets clothed with the Spirit of God, they find they have the power to make peace and restore union, fellowship and love in the midst of the people, and the people would love and bless them in return. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.

We need a great deal of missionary service at home. We need a deal of labor in all the spheres of life—in the families, in the wards, and in the Stakes of Zion, which are organized and are being built up in the Church in these latter times. The work is constantly spreading. Stakes are being organized in different parts of the country, and the work of God is prospering. Our enemies “can do nothing against the truth, but rather for the truth;” for God will sanctify their evil designs, and their wicked and ungodly purposes, to bring to pass His ends, and to magnify His name and to honor him in the earth.

Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, let us keep His commandments, and teach our children so to do. Let us teach them the principles of purity and righteousness, so that they may go to the house of the Lord, pure as they were born, free from sin, and wholly there to enter into covenants with God that shall abide and stand and endure while time shall last and eternity endure; that they may live, grow and increase, as Abraham grew and increased, become as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore for multitude. For the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have come down upon us. And they that are the children of Abraham will do the works of Abraham. Let us not forget it; that they that would inherit the blessings of Abraham must do the works of Abraham, to entitle them to these blessings.

Let us draw near to the Lord with our households and strengthen ourselves in the truth. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”

We ought to be more careful concerning the observance of the Sabbath. We talk of the great things of the laws of God, such as adultery, and those greater crimes, and murder, which are less frequently committed, but which are most terrible in their effects upon those who do, and are terrible also in their effects upon those who are surrounded and are connected therewith; but let us attend also to the Sabbath, to keep it holy, and go to our meeting and be more dutiful in that respect, and not go to the canyons, or hunt stock, and attend to a multitude of things, which otherwise might be avoided. Let us avoid, if we are going a journey, starting on a Sunday, “just to save one day more for business.” Let us undertake no manner of business on that day. Let us reverence the Sabbath as God has commanded us in the revelations of the last days. It is one of the ten commandments: “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work,” etc. The Lord has been particular. He is going to be particular again. We have been in circumstances where we were rudely dealt with. We have had to travel over the plains, but even there we reverenced the Sabbath. We stopped our teams, and let the cattle rest, and attended to our duties. Now we have come into a country where we have hardly had to buy land save at a nominal Government figure. Here we found a new world, a place in which we could make a living; and cannot we afford to take time to serve the Lord; to rest our bodies and refresh our spirits, by a study of His holy word increasing our faith also?

Another thing, we ought not to run after doctors as much as we do. “But,” says one, “if we have a bone broken we must have somebody to set it.” Yes, that is true, but we need not take all the nostrums they can think of. We ought first to go to the Lord and exercise our faith as far as we can make use of it in that direction, and we will make fewer blunders than we do in placing implicit confidence in the medical and surgical professions. When we do this we are certainly sure of one thing—we secure the help of God and the help of angels; and if we are appointed unto death, we want to go. We ought to want to go. Our prayers and supplications should be always conditional—that is, if not appointed unto death that he or she should be raised up. And if the heavens want a man to labor there in any sphere, there is where he should be. If a man is wanted to be on a mission in Europe, in Germany, or in the States, and he stays at home, he is not where he ought to be. He ought to be where God would have him, there the Holy Spirit will labor with him and help him. But for us to importune the Lord to heal those whom He has appointed unto death is just like asking—as we do once in a while— a man to go on a mission, and we get a long petition saying that he is such a blessed dear good man, or he has been such a good schoolmaster, “Do, pray, President let him stop.” Now, when the Presidency want a man to go on a mission, he ought to go. It is best for that man that he should go. It is best for all concerned that he should go to the place he is sent, and labor with all his heart. Just so with us. Here we are on a mission in the world. The matter of death is a very small matter. It is a matter of life or death to be sure; but if the Lord does not want us here, and we are taken away, His will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.

I do not wish to occupy more time for fear of infringing upon the rights of others.

I pray the Lord to still bless Israel, to bless us with humility, and with faithfulness in the keeping of His commandments; then we shall see more and grander things accomplished on His part, just in proportion to the faithfulness with which we perform the duties devolving upon us. May the Lord help us to do this; and to walk in the way of life, in the name of Jesus. Amen.