Home Manufactures—Union in Business Matters

Remarks by President George A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, May 6, 1870.

In February, 1831, just after the organization of the Church, we received a revelation through Joseph Smith, commanding the members of the Church to let the beauty of their garments be the workmanship of their own hands. It reads as follows: “And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands; and let all things be done in cleanliness before me. Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.” This revelation was given almost forty years ago, but slowly, very slowly, have we advanced in fulfilling it; and it really seems that some of the first commandments given to the Church are amongst the last obeyed. I realize the reason of this, when reflecting upon the great work to be done in molding the children of God, gathered from the various nations and denominations, with all their prejudices, traditions, and varied habits of living. They come here filled with ideas averse to those of God and differing from each other; and under these circumstances it is difficult for them to arrive at a oneness in their associations—to use an expression common amongst us at the present—it is difficult for them to cooperate to build up Zion in the last days. Enoch, the seventh from Adam, was three hundred and sixty-five years preparing the people, before the saying went forth: “Zion has fled.” “Enoch was 25 years old when he was ordained under the hand of Adam, and he was 65 and Adam blessed him, and he saw the Lord, and he walked with him, and was before his face continually; and he walked with God 365 years, making him 430 years old when he was translated.” Doc. and Cov., sec. 3, par. 24. Three hundred and sixty-five years teaching and instructing the people, and setting examples before them, and forming a city that should be a model city of Zion. It was in an age when men lived longer, and when, peradventure, they had not become so full of tradition as at the present day; yet when we consider the time that it took Enoch to accomplish this work, we have every reason to rejoice at the progress of Zion at the present time. Most of the efforts we have made to advance the cause of Zion we have been able to carry through successfully. For instance, when in the temple of the Lord at Nauvoo, we entered into a covenant that we would, to the extent of our influence and property, do all in our power to help our poor brethren and sisters in emancipating themselves from tyranny and oppression, that they might come to the mountains, where they could enjoy religious liberty. Just as soon as food was raised in this Valley this work continued, and every effort and energy was used to fulfil this covenant. It required unity of effort, but it has been a success. Roads had to be constructed, bridges built, ways sought out, mountains, as it were, torn down, deserts turned into fruitful fields, and savages more wild than the mountain gorges they inhabit conciliated and controlled, and all this to effect a purpose. But it has been done by unity of effort, and hundreds and thousands of Latter-day Saints rejoice in the fact.

We extended our work of gathering the Saints across the mighty deep, and aided the poor brethren in Europe, continuing our donations in money, and, in addition to this, we went with our hundred, two hundred, three hundred or five hundred teams annually across the great desert plains, to bring home to Zion those who desired to be gathered. This was done by cooperation, by unity and a determined purpose.

It appears that we have gathered many to Zion who do not fully appreciate the great work of these days—namely, to place the people of God in a condition that they can sustain themselves, against the time that Babylon the Great shall fall. Some will say that it is ridiculous to suppose that Babylon, the “Mother of Harlots,” is going to fall. Ridiculous as it may seem, the time will come when no man will buy her merchandise, and when the Latter-day Saints will be under the necessity of providing for themselves, or going without. “This may be a wild idea,” but it is no more wild or wonderful than what has already transpired, and that before our eyes. When we are counseled to “provide for your wants within yourselves,” we are only told to prepare for that day. When we are told, “Unite your interests and establish every variety of business that may be necessary to supply your wants,” we are only told to lay a plan to enjoy liberty, peace and plenty.

Many years ago efforts were made on the part of the Presidency to extend the settlements into the warm valleys south of the rim of the Basin. The country was very forbidding and sterile. Many were invited and called upon to go and settle there. Numbers went, but many of them returned disheartened; but the mass of those who went, confident that the blessings of God would be upon their labors, pushed forth their exertions and built up towns, cities and villages; they established cotton fields and erected factories, and supplied many wants which could not be supplied within the rim of the Basin.

It has been my lot to visit these regions recently, and I have felt to rejoice to see the kind spirit, genial dispositions and warm hearts that were manifested in all those settlements, where men and women had taken hold with all their hearts to obey the commandments of God, and to lay a foundation for Zion to become self-sustaining. I feel that those who have turned away from that country and swerved from the mission assigned them there have lost a great and glorious blessing, which it will be exceedingly difficult for them ever to regain. I am exceedingly gratified at the progress which has been made in that country, and I realize that our brethren, from year to year, are becoming more and more united.

Some tell us that we want capital, and that we should send abroad and get men to come here with money to build factories. This is not what we need. If the cotton lord and the millionaire come here and hire you to build factories and pay you their money for their work, when the factory is erected they own it, and they set their price upon your labor and your wool or cotton—they have dominion over you. But if, by your own efforts and exertions, you cooperate together and build a factory it is your own. You are the lords of the land, and if fortunes are made the means is yours and it is used to oppress no one. The profits are divided among those whose labor produced it, and will be used to build up the country. Hence it is not capital, that is, it is not so much money that is needed. It is unity of effort on the part of the bone, sinew, skill and ingenuity which we have in our midst, and which, in whatever enterprise has been attempted hitherto, under the direction of the servants of the Lord, with whole-souled unity on the part of the people, has proved successful. Let us be diligent in these things. Why send abroad for our cloth when we have the necessary means and skill to manufacture it for ourselves? Why not let these mountains produce the fine wool? And why not let the low valleys produce the silk, flax, and all other articles that are necessary which it is possible to produce within the range of our climate, and thus secure to ourselves independence? I am very well aware that this has looked, and to many still looks, a wild undertaking; but that which has been accomplished gives abundant evidence of what may be. If we continue to import our hats, bonnets, boots, shoes and clothing, and send away all the gold, silver and currency that we can command to pay for them, we shall ever remain dependent upon the labor of others for many of the actual necessaries of life. If, on the other hand, we devise means to produce them from the elements by our own labor we keep our money at home, and it can be used for other and more noble purposes, and we become independent.

Some may say, “We are willing that you should preach faith and repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, but we do not want you to have anything to say about business matters.” No idea could be more delusive; this oversight in temporal matters being indispensably necessary; for the Latter-day Saints have been gathered from the old settled nations of the earth and are unacquainted with the manner of life in new and sparsely settled countries. An intelligent citizen of Provo, on his arrival in this country, came to my garden to work; he undertook to set out some vegetables—onions, carrots, and parsnips, and he set every one of them wrongside up. My wife went out, and, seeing what he was doing, she said, “You are foolish.” “Why so?” said he, “I thought I was pretty smart.” “Why you have planted these things all wrong end up.” “Have I, I did not know any better. I never saw such things planted before.” That man became a wealthy farmer. But he had to learn; he had never seen a carrot planted to produce seed in his life, and did not realize which end up to put it in the ground. We have tens of thousands of men, women and children who have had to learn how to get a living in this country, who perhaps had spent their days in painting a tea cup, turning a bowl, weaving a ribbon or spinning a thread, and knew nothing else. Here they have had to work at several kinds of work at once, and had to learn how, and it required all the power, energy and influence of the Elders of Israel to instruct them and tell them how to live. I have been astonished at the patience, perseverance, determination and incessant labor of President Young in giving these instructions—telling men how to build mills and houses, so that they would not fall over their own heads; telling them how to yoke cattle, harness horses, how to make fences, and, in fact, how to do almost every kind of business.

There are very few in our midst now who know how to make good bread. I advise the ladies’ relief societies to teach all the sisters to make first-class bread. Many of them do not know how; and let every sister in Israel be thankful for instruction in relation to cooking or any other useful information that can be imparted unto her. Do not let pride and independence make you feel that you know how to do everything. There are a great many things that the smartest among us do not know how to do; then we should be anxious and willing to be taught, and go to work and learn.

Much of the sickness which is amongst our children is the result of improperly prepared food. We raise choice wheat; our millers make good flour, yet in many instances bread is so prepared that it is heavy and unpalatable, causing disease of the stomach and bowels, with which many of our little ones are afflicted, and find rest in premature graves. Give the children good light bread that they may be healthy.

Brethren and sisters, may the blessings of Israel’s God be upon you and may you continue to improve in everything useful and good. Seek after the Lord with all your hearts. Cooperate in building factories, importing merchandise and machinery, taking care of your cattle, and in every kind of business. Remember that, “United we stand, divided we fall.”

May God bless you forever. Amen.

Organization of the Church—Different Glories—God’s Work

Remarks by President George A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, May 5, 1870.

It is a great pleasure to meet with the brethren again in Conference, and it is certainly very gratifying to see the people so comfortably seated, with a prospect of enjoying the benefits and blessings of the Conference; even should the elements not be favorable we have a shelter and a shade. It has been the fortune of the Latter-day Saints never to stay in any place long enough to build a house sufficiently large to hold the people; but, with the blessing of the Lord and the united efforts of the brethren, we have room sufficient to hold a very large audience, though no doubt occasions will still occur when we shall cry out, “More room,” and probably before our Conference closes. I think, however, that we need not ask any of our brethren who reside in this city, as we have had to do, to stay at home to make room for those who may be in from a distance; all may come and be accommodated. The acoustic properties of the Tabernacle are evidently improved by the erection of the gallery, and if all who attend Conference will leave their coughing at home, sit still while here and omit shuffling their feet, they may have an opportunity of hearing pretty much everything that may be said. It will certainly require, even when all these conditions are complied with, considerable effort to fill so large a house with one voice, and that effort must be met by a corresponding effort on the part of the audience to preserve perfect stillness.

It was forty years ago on the 6th of last month since the organization of the Church took place, in the chamber of Father Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca county, New York, with six members. The history of that forty years would require volumes to record. The institution, as it then commenced, was in its infancy; yet the Lord revealed to His servant, that He had laid the foundation of a great work; the truth of that saying has been realized by the progress of events. The changes that have transpired in connection with this people have been very remarkable. The work commenced by preaching faith in the Lord Jesus, repentance and the ordinance of baptism for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, which was an innovation upon the creeds and practices of every other religious sect; I am not aware that any one denomination believed in and practiced all the principles that were introduced at the organization of this Church. The first three of these principles were faith in the Lord Jesus, repentance, and baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. The next principle was the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, precisely as it was pointed out by the Savior and practiced by his disciples in Judea.

There were denominations who believed in baptism by immersion, but not for the remission of sins, they believed that remission of sins was necessary previous to baptism; but they were ignorant of the possibility of the reception of the Holy Ghost, and, consequently, of the doctrine of the laying on of hands. The Church of England, it is true, would confirm by the laying on of the hand of the bishops, but not for confirming the gift of the Holy Ghost on the heads of the believers; and while all the professed believers in the doctrine of Christ had some portions or fragments of his Gospel as revealed and established by him and his Apostles, it was the Church of Latter-day Saints which introduced and established, complete, the principles of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance towards God, baptism for the remission of sins, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. These principles were all important, and the moment the Bible was brought forth everybody could find that they coincided exactly with the principles set forth by the Savior, and it required to be spiritualized and changed to make it appear otherwise. But the Christian world had gone astray from these things, and when they were restored they rejected them. There were, however, honest persons in all of the denominations, and God has respect to every man who is honest of heart and purpose, though he may be deceived, and in error as to principle and doctrine; yet so far as that error is the result of their being deceived by the cunning craftiness of men, or of circumstances over which such have no control, the Lord in His abundant mercy looks with allowance thereon, and in His great economy He has provided different glories and ordained that all persons shall be judged according to the knowledge they possess and the use they make of that knowledge, and according to the deeds done in the body, whether good or evil.

“And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fullness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from that of the sun in the firmament. Behold, these are they who died without law; And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh; Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it. These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fullness. These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fullness of the Father. Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun. These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God.”

In opening this Conference it would be well for us individually to ask ourselves, Have we received the first principles of the Gospel of Christ, and have we continued in those principles which were first taught unto us; or is it necessary for us again to lay the foundation of repentance from dead works? It is very singular that when the principles of the Gospel, as I have stated them, were presented to the different sects, they were disposed to reject them and to persecute those who preached them in their fullness. Such, however, was the fact, and it is owing to this that the Latter-day Saints are now in the Great Basin of the Rocky Mountains, in the heart of the American continent, in the enjoyment of political and religious liberty and freedom, for which they have sacrificed more perhaps than any other people on the face of the earth. And we have the greatest reason of all people to be thankful to God for these blessings.

Then let us ask ourselves, Are we prepared for the great blessings which God has bestowed upon us? Are we living up to our callings and magnifying the same? Do we observe the duties which are imposed upon us by our holy religion? Or are we foolish enough, while recognizing its truth, and professing to be Latter-day Saints, to treat it with carelessness and neglect, and failing to live up to our high and holy calling?

From the earliest days of the preaching of the Gospel by Joseph Smith men were tried and tempted and led astray by false spirits and doctrines of devils. We find at the commencement of Joseph’s mission that many who entered into covenant turned away, and some became very bitter enemies. It was necessary from the very beginning that there should be a sifting, for the Lord declared unto His people that He would sift them as with a sieve. This sifting had to continue, and hence every time the Latter-day Saints were driven, scattered, or otherwise persecuted, it caused those who could not abide in the faith to pass quietly away, or to make their wickedness manifest unto the church and unto the world. But while this was going on, the strength of Zion was increasing. It is said, and I presume correctly, that Oliver Cowdery remarked at one time to Joseph Smith, “If I should apostatize and leave the Church, the Church would be broken up.” The answer of the Prophet was, “What and who are you? This is the work of God, and if you turn against it and withdraw from it, it will still roll on and you will not be missed.” It was not long until Oliver turned away, but the work continued. God raised up men from obscurity to step forth and shoulder the burdens, and it was hardly known when and where he went. In about ten years he came back again, came before a local Conference at Mosquito Creek, Pottawatomie Co., Iowa, Oct., 1848, and acknowledged his faults. He bore testimony of the mission of the Prophet, Joseph Smith, and of the truth of the Book of Mormon; he exhorted the Saints to follow the authority of the Holy Priesthood, which he assured them was with the Twelve Apostles. He said, “When the Saints follow the main channel of the stream, they find themselves in deep water and always right, pursuing their journey with safety; but when they turned aside into sloughs and bayous, they are left to flounder in the mud and are lost, for the Angel of God said unto Joseph in my hearing that this Priesthood shall remain on the earth until the end.”

Oliver declared he took pleasure in bearing this testimony to the largest congregation of Saints he had ever seen together. He was rebaptized and made arrangements to come to the mountains, but died soon after, while on a visit to the Whitmers, in Missouri.

This circumstance shows how little God depends upon man to carry on His work. He does it by His own power, His own majesty, by His own mighty hand and for the accomplishment of His own glorious purposes.

It was thought and felt throughout the world, about the year 1844, that if Joseph Smith, the Prophet, could be destroyed, that would be the end of the Latter-day Saints. Men conspired together to shed his blood; they sought occasion against him; they made him an offender for a word; they swore falsely against him, and some who had been his friends turned traitors and conspired with the wicked and shed his blood. It was generally believed by the enemies of the Saints that that was the end of the work of the Lord. The pulpit resounded with thanks to God that the great arch-impostor, Joseph Smith, was slain. The priests rejoiced over it; and though there was a feeling, tolerably widespread, that it was barbarous to kill him, under the plighted faith of Illinois, yet the general feeling was that it was a good thing that he was dead. But God had a work to perform, and it did not depend upon the life of one or two individuals. It was His work, His kingdom, His Church, His plan of salvation, and He, by His own wisdom and His own mighty hand bore it off.

These were the facts, and these continue to be the facts; and all that the Latter-day Saints have to do is to live within the confines of God’s holy law and up to their privileges. Are we doing so? Are we walking in accordance with these principles? Let us ask ourselves these questions, and if any of us are remiss, let us immediately commence to reform, humble ourselves before God, and be ready to sacrifice ourselves and all we have, if necessary, for the building up and redemption of Zion and for our salvation.

We have come together as a Conference to compare notes with each other, to rejoice together and to receive instruction; and let every man and woman that has come or that may yet come, lift their hearts to God in solemn prayer that His blessing may rest upon His servants, that they may be inspired with a double portion of His holy Spirit, that the Priesthood, in all its life, power and glory, may speak forth the words of truth, light and intelligence that shall pour comfort into the hearts of the Saints, and guide and strengthen them, and illuminate their path, that we, one and all, may continue in the great and glorious work which we have commenced.

May the Lord God of Hosts bless you, and peace be and abide in your hearts, that you may appreciate these things, and exercise faith, union, knowledge, power, and wisdom in your walk and conduct henceforth, and that these meetings may be a blessing to all who attend them, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Bearing False Witness

Remarks by President George A. Smith, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday, April 24, 1870.

The 16th verse of the 20th chapter of Exodus, one of the ten commandments, reads as follows: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” We, as a people, are situated in the Great Basin, among the mountains, and occupy the little valleys which form the backbone of the American continent. We have been here about 23 years, and we have had the privilege of contending with the fury of the elements, with a sterile country and with desolation itself, and by the magic wand of industry and the blessing of our heavenly Father upon our labors, and upon the waters and the land, we have been able to make for ourselves comfortable homes and to enjoy religious liberty—a blessing which had been denied to us in other localities where we had resided. No other community can be found on the face of the earth that has had more good order, peace and harmony. In all the settlements, protection, safety, and every necessary blessing have been extended to the traveler, to the stranger and the resident alike. I believe that for the forty or fifty thousand square miles we have occupied in spots, the desert of course intervening between the settlements, there have better police regulations and more safety to all parties than have existed in the streets of New York or Washington. And the protection which has existed and which does still exist has been the work of the Latter-day Saints. Of this we have every reason to be proud.

I have recently traveled more than 1,000 miles among the settlements, and have visited perhaps 30,000 people. During that journey I have not seen an idler, loafer, or heard an oath or blasphemous word; I have not seen a drinking saloon, dram shop, gambling hell, or brothel; but all has been perfect order and peace, the people worshipping God as they understand the Gospel and rejoicing in the same.

It was my lot, during the past season, to be present much of the time in this city, which was visited by great numbers of men, from nearly all parts of the earth. Many of them were clergymen of the various denominations—Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Methodists, Baptists, and others. Some of these men occupied our pulpits in this and the New Tabernacle. We were glad to hear them. We had many good reasons for wishing them to preach to us. Many of the younger members of our community have not been conversant with the religions of the age. The elder members of our body have been, for most of us were raised in some one or other of the religious denominations, and have felt and realized the effects of their principles, and are fully acquainted with their doctrines. Thousands of our Elders have traveled abroad in the earth preaching and have been observant of their workings and progress. But the young and rising generation among us have not had this opportunity. It is therefore very desirable to us, whenever ministers of standing in their own denominations visit us, to have them set forth their doctrines and sentiments before us, that the young persons among us may understand all other religions as well as ours, and be able to compare the doctrines that are taught or held in Christendom with those which we have been introducing under the revelations given to Joseph Smith. It was on this and other grounds that the general spiritual liberty, so marked among us in the days of Joseph Smith, had been constantly continued. We all remember, who lived in the days of Joseph, that every clergyman of any prominence who visited Nauvoo was invited to preach to our congregations. This has ever been our course. It was so at Kirtland. They preached in our Temple and in other localities, and it has been continued up to the present time. During the long years that we were in a manner isolated from the rest of the world, ministers passing across the continent by stage or in emigrant companies have spoken in our tabernacles.

It is true that when our Elders have been abroad preaching they have not met with similar courtesy. There was not long since, in the Vermont Journal, a little article in relation to Rev. John Todd, D.D., at Pittsfield, Mass., who, the Journal says, did not reciprocate the courtesies shown him at Salt Lake last summer. He preached in this building, and afterwards requested the privilege of preaching in the New Tabernacle. He did so, and was treated with due courtesy. He delivered us an address, showing us his faith and religion, which was what we desired him to do. We requested him to conduct the meeting as he chose, as we wished to see his manner of worship, or rather that our young people might see it. He went away and published a book in which he misrepresented us in many things and asserted that there was no liberty nor freedom here, that he felt bound, and he hoped that this plague spot of Sodom would be removed, and prayed that God might speed the day.

This course, pursued by Dr. Todd, put me in mind of the commandment—our text, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

A freer people do not exist on the earth, nor any who have greater opportunities for free thought and understanding. Elders are going forth to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, preaching the Gospel and gathering up the poor and needy; and their going and returning keep us posted thoroughly in relation to the progress and improvements made by and going on in the religious, scientific and mechanical world. These are the facts, and every man has the privilege of exercising his own will and freedom; and the privilege of preaching in our congregations is extended through all our settlements to ministers and men of standing in other religious bodies. I saw recently invitations published to the learned of all denominations, to occupy the halls of Brigham City; and the same is true of other settlements. All that we desire of our fellow men, when they visit us, is to tell the truth about us, and not to tell for truth the forecastle yarns they have heard spun at some street corner by some who, while manufacturing lies, were trying to imitate Dean Swift’s tales of Gulliver. Many men who have called here have done this.

I remember one particular instance which occurred last season. There were five gentlemen of the Baptist Church who came here, with whom I had a conversation. They said their people had never, under any circumstances, persecuted the Latter-day Saints. I told them that I did not know that they had as a church. But I told them that the Rev. I. McCoy, a Baptist minister, with his gun on his shoulder, at the head of forty men, drove women and children out of their houses and robbed them in Jackson County, Missouri, in 1833; that Levi Williams, a Baptist preacher, led the party of men who murdered Joseph Smith; and that the Rev. Thomas Brockman, of the Reformed Baptists, at the head of 1,800 men, drove forth to perish 500 or 600 Saints, men, women, and children, poor and helpless, who were left in Nauvoo, Ills., having previously cannonaded the town for three days. I did not know that, as a church, they had persecuted us, but certain individuals of their persuasion had taken part in the matter. They seemed considerably hurt to hear it. They wished to preach to us, and they had the opportunity to do so in the New Tabernacle. It was not long before an article appeared in the Baptist paper, describing the meeting. I presume most of the audience recollect the discourse of Dr. Backus. The description these gentlemen gave of the meeting was something like this. The Twelve Apostles were on the stand, and they looked around to see which was Judas; finally they came to the conclusion that they were all Judases, except Elder Taylor. The paper said it was desired and hoped that in a short time the Government would adopt efficient measures to put a stop to Mormonism.

Now I do really think that it is degrading to the religion, science and civilization of the age, where there are five hundred thousand ministers, editors and public teachers in the country, to ask the Government to interfere in any manner whatever to correct any moral or religious error. I think it is acknowledging a weakness in the civilization and religion of the age to do so.

I wish to say to our friends who have visited us, in conclusion, we are glad to see you; you are welcome among us; we like to hear you speak, but when you go away tell the truth about us, and remember the commandment of God, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

Celestial Marriage—Bishops and Deacons Should Be Married—Divorce

Remarks by President George A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 8, 1869.

It is a difficult undertaking to address this immense audience. If a man commences speaking loud, in a short time his voice gives out; whereas, if he commence rather low, he may raise his voice by degrees, and be able to sustain himself in speaking some length of time. But with children crying, a few persons whispering, and some shuffling their feet, it is indeed a difficult task to make an audience of ten thousand persons hear. I have listened with pleasure to the instructions of our brethren from the commencement of our Conference to the present time. I have rejoiced in their testimonies. I have felt that the elders are improving in wisdom, in knowledge, in power, and in understanding; and I rejoice in the privilege, which we have at the present day, of sending out to our own country a few hundred of the elders who have had experience—who have lived in Israel long enough to know, to feel, and to realize the importance of the work in which they are engaged—to understand its principles and comprehend the way of life. They can bear testimony to a generation that has nearly grown from childhood since the death of the Prophet, Joseph Smith.

The Lord said in relation to those who have driven the Saints that He would visit “judgment, wrath, and indignation, wailing and anguish, and gnashing of teeth upon their heads unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not and hate me, saith the Lord your God.”

I am a native of Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, New York—a town somewhat famous for its literary institutions, its learning and the religion and morality of its inhabitants. I left there in my youth, with my father’s family, because we had received the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as revealed through Joseph Smith; and followed with the Saints through their drivings and trials unto the present day.

I have never seen the occasion, nor let the opportunity slip, from the time when I first came to a knowledge of the truth of the work of the Lord in the last days, that I understood it was in my power to do good for the advancement of this work but what I have used my utmost endeavors to accomplish that good. I have never failed to bear a faithful testimony to the work of God, or to carry out to all intents and purposes, the wishes and designs of the Prophet, Joseph Smith. I was his kinsman; was familiar with him, though several years his junior; knew his views, his sentiments, his ways, his designs, and many of the thoughts of his heart, and I do know that the servants of God, the Twelve Apostles, upon whom he laid the authority to bear off the Kingdom of God, and fulfil the work which he had commenced, have done according to his designs, in every particular, up to the present time and are continuing to do so. And I know, furthermore, that he rejoiced in the fact that the law of redemption and Celestial Marriage was revealed unto the Church in such a manner that it would be out of the power of earth and hell to destroy it; and that he rejoiced in the fact that the servants of God were ready prepared, having the keys to bear off the work he had commenced. Previous to my leaving Potsdam, there was but one man that I ever heard of in that town who did not believe the Bible. He proclaimed himself an atheist, and he drowned himself.

The Latter-day Saints believe the Bible. An agent of the American Bible Society called on me the other day and wanted to know if we would aid the Society in circulating the Bible in our Territory? I replied yes, by all means, for it was the book from which we were enabled to set forth our doctrines, and especially the doctrine of plural marriage.

There is an opinion in the breasts of many persons, who suppose that they believe the Bible, that Christ, when he came, did away with plural marriage, and that he inaugurated what is termed monogamy; and there are certain arguments and quotations used to maintain this view of the subject, one of which is found in Paul’s first epistle to Timothy (3 chap. 2 v.), where Paul says: “A bishop should be blameless, the husband of one wife.” The friends of monogamy render it in this way: “A bishop should be blameless, the husband of but one wife.” That would imply that anyone but a bishop might have more. But they will say, “We mean a bishop should be blameless, the husband of one wife only.” Well, that would also admit of the construction that other people might have more than one. I understand it to mean that a bishop must be a married man.

A short time ago, the Minister from the King of Greece to the United States called on President Young. I inquired of him in relation to the religion of his country, and asked him if the clergy were allowed to marry. It is generally understood that the Roman Catholic clergy are not allowed to marry. How is it with the Greek clergy? “Well,” said he, “all the clergy marry, except the bishop.” I replied, “You render the saying of Paul differently from what we do. We interpret it to mean—a bishop should be blameless, the husband of one wife at least;” and “we construe it,” said he, “directly the opposite.”

Now this passage does not prove that a man should have but one wife. It only proves that a bishop should be a married man. The same remark is made of deacons, that they also should have wives. Another passage is brought up where the Savior speaks of divorce. He tells us that it is very wrong to divorce, and that Moses permitted it because of the hardness of their (the children of Israel’s) hearts. A man should leave his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife, and they twain should be one flesh. That is the principal argument raised that a man should have but one wife.

In the New Testament in various places, certain eminent men are referred to as patterns of faith, purity, righteousness and piety. For instance, if you read the epistle of Paul to the Hebrews, the 11th chapter, you find therein selected those persons “who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turning to flight the armies of the aliens;” and it is said by faith Jacob blessed the two sons of Joseph, and that he conferred upon them a blessing to the uttermost bounds of the everlasting hills. Who was Joseph? Why, Joseph was the son of Rachel. And who was Rachel? Rachel was the second wife of Jacob, a polygamist. Jacob had four wives, and after he had taken the second (Rachel), she, being barren, gave a third wife unto her husband that she might bear children unto him for her; and instead of being displeased with her for giving her husband another wife, God heard her prayer, blessed her, worked a miracle in her favor by opening her womb, and she bore a son, and called his name Joseph, rejoicing in God, whom she testified would give her another son. The question now arises, were not Rachel and Jacob one flesh? Yes. Leah and Jacob were also one flesh. Jacob is selected by the Apostle Paul as a pattern of faith for Christians to follow; he blessed his twelve sons, whom he had by four wives. The law of God, as it existed in those days, and as laid down in this book (the Bible) makes a child born of adultery or of fornication a bastard; and the same is prohibited from entering into the congregation of the Lord unto the tenth generation.

Now, instead of God’s blessing Rachel and Jacob and their offspring, as we are told He did, we might have expected something entirely different, had it not been that God was pleased with and approbated and sustained a plurality of wives.

While we are considering this subject, we will inquire, did the Savior in any place that we can read of, in the course of his mission on the earth, denounce a plurality of wives? He lived in a nation of Jews; the law of Moses was in force, plurality of wives was the custom, and thousands upon thousands of people, from the highest to the lowest in the land, were polygamists. The Savior denounced adultery; he denounced fornication; he denounced lust; also divorce; but is there a single sentence asserting that plurality of wives is wrong? If so, where is it? Who can find it? Why did he not say it was wrong? “Think not,” said he, “that I am come to destroy the law or the Prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Not one jot or one tittle shall pass from the law and the Prophets; but all shall be fulfilled.” Of what does the Savior speak when he refers to “the law?” Why, of the Ten Commandments, and other rules of life commanded by God and adopted by the ancients, and which Brother Pratt referred to yesterday, showing you from the sacred book that God legislated and made laws for the protection of a plurality of wives (Exod. 21:10), and that He commanded men to take a plurality under some circumstances. Brother Pratt further showed that the Lord made arrangements to protect to all intents and purposes the interests of the first wife; and to shield and protect the children of a wife from disinheritance who might be unfortunate enough not to have the affections of her husband (Deut. 21:15). These things were plainly written in the law—that law of which the Savior says, “Not one jot or one tittle shall pass away.” Continuing our inquiry, we pass on to the epistles of John the Evangelist, which we find in the Book of Revelation, written to the seven churches of Asia. In them we find the Evangelist denounces adultery, fornication, and all manner of iniquities and abominations of which these churches were guilty. Anything against a plurality of wives? No, not a syllable. Yet those churches were in a country in which plurality was the custom. Hundreds of Saints had more wives than one; and if it had been wrong, what would have been the result? Why, John would have denounced the practice, the same as the children of Israel were denounced for marrying heathen wives, had it not been that the law of plurality was the commandment of God.

Again, on this point, we can refer to the Prophets of the Old Testament—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others. When God called those men He warned them that if they did not deliver the message to the people which He gave them concerning their sins and iniquities that His vengeance should rest upon their heads. These are His words to Ezekiel, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel, therefore hear the word at my mouth and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, thou shalt surely die, and thou givest him not warning nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way to save his life, the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity but his blood will I require at thine hand; yet if thou warn the wicked and he turn not from his wickedness nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Ezek. 3:17,18, 19.) How do we find these Prophets of the Lord fulfilling the commandments of the Almighty? We find them pouring out denunciations upon the heads of the people—against adultery, fornication, and every species of wickedness. All this, too, in a country in which, from the King down to the lowest orders of the people, a plurality of wives was practiced. Do they say anything against plurality of wives? Not one word. It was only in cases where men and women took improper licence with each other, in violation of the holy law of marriage, that they were guilty of sin.

If plurality of wives had been a violation of the seventh commandment those prophets would have denounced it, otherwise their silence on the matter would have been dangerous to themselves, inasmuch as the blood of the people would have been required at their hands. The opposers of Celestial Marriage sometimes quote a passage in the seventh chapter of Romans, second and third verses, to show that a plurality of wives is wrong; but when we come to read the passage it shows that a plurality of husbands is wrong. You can read that passage for yourselves. In the forcible parable used by the Savior in relation to the rich man and Lazarus, we find recorded that the poor man Lazarus was carried to Abraham’s bosom—Abraham the father of the faithful. The rich man calls unto Father Abraham to send Lazarus, who is afar off. Who was Abraham? He was a man who had a plurality of wives. And yet all good Christians, even pious church deacons, expect when they die to go to Abraham’s bosom. I am sorry to say, however, that thousands of them will be disappointed, from the fact that they cannot and will not go where anyone has a plurality of wives; and I am convinced that Abraham will not turn out his own wives to receive such unbelievers in God’s law. One peculiarity of this parable is the answer of Abraham to the application of the rich man, to send Lazarus to his five brothers “lest they come into this place of torment,” which was—“they have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them; and if they hear not Moses and the prophets neither would they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.” Moses’ law provided for a plurality of wives, and the prophets observed that law, and Isaiah predicts its observance even down to the latter days. Isaiah, in his 4th chap. and 1st and 2nd verses, says, “Seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, we will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach. In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beau tiful and glorious and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent.”

A reference to the Scriptures shows that the reproach of women was to be barren, Gen. 30 chap. and 23 v.; Luke 1st chap. and 25 v.

We will now refer to John the Baptist. He came as a forerunner of Christ. He was a lineal descendant of the house of Levi. His father was a priest. John the Baptist was a child born by miracle, God having revealed to his father that Elizabeth who had been many years barren should bear a son. John feared not the world, but went forth preaching in the wilderness of Judea, declaiming against wickedness and corruption in the boldest terms. He preached against extortion; against the cruelty exercised by soldiers and tax gatherers. He even was so bold as to rebuke the king on his throne, to his face, for adultery. Did he say anything against a plurality of wives? No; it cannot be found. Yet thousands were believers in and practiced this order of marriage, under the law of Moses that God had revealed.

In bringing this subject before you, we cannot help saying that God knew what was best for His people. Hence He commanded them as He would have them act. The law regulating marriage previous to Moses, recognized a plurality of wives. Abraham and Jacob and others had a plurality. These are the men who are referred to in Scripture as patterns of piety and purity. David had many wives. The Scripture says that David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord and turned not aside from anything that he commanded him all the days of his life, save in the matter of Uriah the Hittite, 1 Kings. 15th chap. 5 v. “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God, according to His promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus.” Acts 13th chap. 22nd and 23rd verses. Did David sin in taking so many wives? No. In what, then, did his sin consist? It was because he took the wife of Uriah, the Hittite—that is, violated the law of God in taking her. The Lord had given him the wives of Saul and would have given him many more; but he had no right to take one who belonged to another. When he did so the curse of adultery fell upon his head, and his wives were taken from him and given to another. We will now inquire in relation to the Savior himself. From whom did he descend? From the house of David a polygamist; and if you will trace the names of the families through which he descended you will find that numbers of them had a plurality of wives. How appropriate it would have been for Jesus, descending as he did from a race of polygamists, to have denounced this institution of plural marriage and shown its sinfulness, had it been a sin! Can we suppose, for one moment, if Patriarchal marriage were wrong, that He would, under the circumstances, have been silent concerning it or failed to denounce it in the most positive manner? Then if plural marriage be adultery and the offspring spurious, Christ Jesus is not the Christ; and we must look for another.

All good Christians are flattering themselves with the hope that they will finally enter the gates of the New Jerusalem. I presume this is the hope of all denominations—Catho lics, Protestants, Greeks and all who believe in the Bible. Suppose they go there, what will they find? They will find at the twelve gates twelve angels, and “names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.” The names of the twelve sons of Jacob, the polygamist. Can a monogamist enter there? “And the walls of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb;” and at the gates the names of the twelve tribes of Israel—from the twelve sons of the four wives of Jacob. Those who denounce Patriarchal Marriage will have to stay without and never walk the golden streets. And any man or woman that lifts his or her voice to proclaim against a plurality of wives, under the Government of God, will have to seek an inheritance outside of that city. For “there shall in no wise enter into it, anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie, for without are sorcerers, whoremongers, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Is not the man that denounces Celestial Marriage a liar? Does he not work abomination? “I Jesus have sent mine Angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of (the polygamist) David, the bright and the morning star.”

May God enable us to keep His law, for “blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gate into the city.” Amen.

Historical Discourse

By President George A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, June 20, 1869.

When Joseph Smith was about 15 years old there was, in the western part of the State of New York, a considerable excitement upon the subject of religion. The various denominations in that part of the country were stirred up with a spirit of revival. They held protracted meetings and many were converted. At the end of this excitement a scramble ensued as to which of the denominations should have the proselytes.

Of the family of Joseph Smith, his mother, his brothers Hyrum and Samuel, and sister Sophronia, became members of the Presbyterian Church. Joseph reflected much upon the subject of religion, and was astonished at the ill-feeling that seemed to have grown out of the division of the spoils, if we may so use the term, at the close of the reformation. He spent much time in prayer and reflection and in seeking the Lord. He was led to pray upon the subject in consequence of the declaration of the Apostle James: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” [James, 1st chap., 5th verse.] He sought the Lord by day and by night, and was enlightened by the vision of an holy angel. When this personage appeared to him, one of his first inquiries was, “Which of the denominations of Christians in the vicinity was right?” He was told they had all gone astray, they had wandered into darkness, and that God was about to restore the Gospel in its simplicity and purity to the earth; he was, consequently, directed not to join any one of them, but to be humble and seek the Lord with all his heart, and that from time to time he should be taught and instructed in relation to the right way to serve the Lord.

These visions continued from time to time, and in 1830 he published to the world the translation of the book now known as the “Book of Mormon,” and on the 6th of April of that year, having received the authority by special revelation, organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which was composed of six members—namely, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, Peter Whitmer, Jun., Samuel H. Smith and David Whitmer.

The family of Joseph Smith were in moderate circumstances. They were very industrious, and had held a respectable position in society; but on this occasion the tongue of slander was pointed at them, and very soon after the organization of the Church, vexatious lawsuits were commenced, and Joseph was arrested and taken before a magistrate and dismissed. He was again arrested and taken to an adjoining county and treated contemptuously, spit upon and insulted in various other ways. His case was investigated and he was again dismissed. This time the mob resolved to treat him to a coat of tar and feathers, from which, however, he was shielded by the officers in whose custody he had been held. It was looked upon, by many in those days, as a species of fun to treat Joseph Smith or the Elders of the Church, wherever they went, in a contemptuous manner. The pulpit and the press almost invariably joined in the outcry against the new Church, and the predictions were that in a few days it would be annihilated.

After a few months a Conference was organized and missionaries started towards the West, Joseph having been commanded, by revelation from the Lord, to establish a gathering place near the western boundary of Missouri. He accordingly sent missionaries in that direction, among whom were Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt. On their way across the State of Ohio they visited a society known as the Campbellites, led by Sidney Rigdon. They preached to them and baptized Rigdon and about a hundred members of his church, many of whom, and their children, are citizens of this Territory today. After this they continued their journey westward to Independence, in the vicinity of Jackson County. Soon after this the Saints who were scattered in various parts of Western New York removed, part to Missouri and part to Kirtland, in Geauga, now Lake, County, Ohio, where they founded a city and built a Temple. In Jackson County, Missouri, they purchased land, built mills, established a printing office, the first one that was established in the western part of the State of Missouri, and opened an extensive mercantile house. They introduced the culture of wheat and many other kinds of grain, for the inhabitants of that locality were principally new settlers, and they cultivated chiefly Indian corn. The Saints also commenced the culture of fruit, and although they came there with little means, the heads of families were generally able to buy from forty acres to a section of land, and in a few months, by their untiring industry, they began to prosper and flourish in a manner almost astonishing.

In about two years, however, they met with opposition; a mob assembled and tore down their printing office, broke open their mercantile house, scattered their goods to the four winds. They also seized their Bishop and presiding Elders, and inflicted upon them personal abuse, such as whipping, and daubing them with tar and feathers, while others were mutilated and killed, which finally resulted, in the month of November, 1833, in the expulsion from the county of Jackson of about fifteen hundred people; about three hundred of their houses were burned to ashes.

During the period of the residence of the Saints in this county there had never been a lawsuit of any description instituted against any of them; if there had been any violation of law amongst them, there were ample means to have had the law enforced, because the officers, both civil and military, were not of their faith. But the real facts of the case were, the Saints were regarded as fanatics; and one of the main points in a declaration published against them was, that they “blasphemously professed to heal the sick with holy oil.” In accordance with the instructions of St. James, contained in his epistle, 5th chap. and 14th verse, it has ever been a practice in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from its organization, when any are sick among them, to send for the Elders of the Church to anoint such with oil and pray for them, believing the Apostle James, “that the prayer of faith will save the sick.” This item of faith is still practiced in all the branches of the Church, and thousands and tens of thousands bear testimony at the present time of the miraculous healings that have been effected by the power of God through these administrations. Yet at that period it was made a crime, and was one of the principal charges on which the Latter-day Saints were expelled from Jackson County.

From this county the Saints were driven to Clay County, and most of them remained there about three years, during which time they performed a great amount of labor for the people of Clay County, for the inhabitants were mostly new settlers who possessed nothing seemingly in the way of property save Indian corn, hogs and cattle. They hired the Saints to labor, who made brick, built fine houses, and enlarged their farms, erected mills, and, in fact, acquired considerable property by industry in laboring for the people in Clay County. The mob of Jackson County endeavored to stir up the people of Clay against the Saints, which culminated in a request on the part of the people of Clay that the Latter-day Saints would leave. They accordingly hunted out a new county without inhabitants and almost without timber, called Caldwell County, and moved into it, purchasing land and occupying it, of which they were the sole inhabitants. They also spread out into the adjoining new counties, onto the unoccupied land, and purchased and improved it.

From the best of my recollection the Latter-day Saints paid the United States Government some $318,000 for land in the State of Missouri, but yet, in the winter and early spring of 1839, they were expelled from that State, with the entire loss of their lands and improvements and most of their personal property, under an exterminating order from Lilburn W. Boggs, Governor of that State, requiring them to leave under pain of extermination. But they were told that any of them who would renounce their religion would be permitted to stay. The result was that about fifteen thousand persons were expelled from Missouri and their property, to most of which they still hold the titles; and when the day arrives that the Constitution of the United States becomes absolutely the supreme law of the land, so that all men can be protected in their civil and religious rights, they and their children will go back and enjoy their cherished homes in the State of Missouri.

After leaving Missouri they located themselves in the State of Illinois. There was a town known as Commerce—noted for being unhealthy. The location was very beautiful, but the place was surrounded with swamp lands to a considerable extent. Attempts had been made to settle it, but there were a great many graves in the burying ground, and but very few living people in the vicinity. The Saints went there and purchased property. They drained the swamps and cleaned them out, and converted the whole vicinity into gardens, and continued to improve and enlarge the place until February, 1846. The commencement of the settlement in Commerce, Hancock County, Illinois, was in the summer of 1839.

June 27, 1844, Joseph and Hyrum Smith, the Prophet and Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were murdered in Carthage jail, in Hancock County, Illinois, while under the pledge of the Governor, Thos. Ford, who had plighted the faith of the State, at the time of their arrest, that they should be protected from mob violence, and have a fair trial in the lawfully constituted courts of the State. They were confined in jail on a trumped up charge of treason upon the affidavit of a drunken vagabond. They were murdered by about 150 persons with blackened faces, some of them persons of high position in society. I will here say that in all these transactions—I refer to the outrages committed by the mobs on the Latter-day Saints—there never was a single instance of the guilty parties being brought to justice under the laws of the State where the occurrence transpired.

The city of Nauvoo and vicinity had probably about 20,000 inhabitants. They were remarkable for their industry, and the city was conspicuous for peace, quietness and good order, and for the rapid manner in which improvements had been made. They continued to build up the city though they were constantly harassed by mob violence, and warned from time to time that they should be driven away. They finished the Temple, which was one of the most beautiful structures in the Western States, and dedicated it unto the Lord. They were progressing with other large buildings, establishing factories and making many improvements, when the efforts of mobocracy culminated in their expulsion from their beautiful city and Temple.

That they might not act hastily nor unadvisedly, a committee of Latter-day Saints prepared a petition and sent it to the Governor of every State in the Union, except the Governor of Missouri, and also to the President of the United States, asking them for an asylum, and to afford them that protection which was extended to other religious bodies. All the States, except one, treated their application with silence. Governor Drew, of Arkansas, wrote them a respectful letter, in which he advised them to seek a home in Oregon.

Previous to the death of Joseph Smith, he had selected twenty-five men—most of whom now reside here—to explore the Rocky Mountains, with the view of finding a place where they could make a location that would be out of the range and beyond the influence of mobs, where they could enjoy the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution of our common country. The premature death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, however, prevented their departure; the result was that, during the year 1845, it devolved upon the Twelve to carry out this design. But in the course of that year the mob broke upon them with more than their usual fury. They commenced by burning the farmhouses in the vicinity of Lima; they burned 175 houses without the least resistance on the part of the inhabitants. The sheriff of Hancock County issued orders for the “citizens who were not Mormons” to turn out and stop the burning; but none obeyed his order. He then issued a proclamation calling upon all, irrespective of sect or party, to turn out and stop the burning. The burning was accordingly stopped, but there was a general outcry against the “Mormons,” and immediately nine counties assembled in convention and passed a decree that the “Mormons” should leave the State. Governor Ford said it was impossible to protect the people of Nauvoo. The Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, Gen. John J. Hardin and several other gentlemen repaired thither and made a kind of a treaty with them, in which it was agreed that mob violence and vexatious lawsuits were to cease on condition that the people of Nauvoo would leave the State, and that they would assist the Saints in the disposal of their property. It was also agreed that if a majority would leave, the remainder should be permitted to remain until they, by the sale of their property, were able to get away. The Saints then organized themselves into companies of a hundred families each, and established wagon shops for every fifty. They took the green timber out of the woods and boiled it in brine and made it into wagons. Their supply of iron was very limited, but with what little means they could control they purchased iron, and exhausted the supply of all the towns on the upper Mississippi, and made up the deficiency with raw hide and hickory withes.

On the 6th of February, 1846, the Saints commenced crossing the river. They crossed first on flat boats; but in a few days the river closed up and something like a thousand wagons crossed over on the ice, moving out west into the sparsely settled district on the eastern borders of Iowa; the settlements extending back from fifty to seventy miles. From that point it was a wilderness without roads, bridges, or improvements of any kind. They moved off, however, into this wilderness country in winter, and continued through the spring amid the most terrific storms and suffering from cold and exposure. In their progress to Council Bluffs they bridged thirty or forty streams, among which were the Locust and Medicine rivers, the three forks of the Grand River, the Little Platte, the One Hundred-and-Two, the Nodaway, Big Tarkeo, and the Nishnabatona. Bridging these streams, constructing roads, and breaking and enclosing three large farms required immense labor, which was done for the benefit and sustenance of those who would follow. In consequence of this and the inclemency of the weather they did not arrive at Council Bluffs on the Missouri River until late in June. The wagons and tents were numbered by thousands. The camps were spread out on the prairie for three hundred miles, moving in companies of tens, fifties, and hundreds.

While the advance companies were crossing the Missouri, they, on the 1st of July, were called upon by Captain James Allen, of the United States army, who was the bearer of an order for the enrolment of five hundred volunteers. They could ill be spared in their condition, but the number was made up in a few days and they proceeded on their journey to Fort Leavenworth and thence by way of Santa Fe to California, where they, among a number of our countrymen, were instrumental in adding this large domain to the United States.

The families of the volunteers who formed the battalion, being thus left without protectors, entailed much additional responsibility and labor upon those left behind, and rendered it impossible for the companies to proceed to the Rocky Mountains that season. They encamped at Winter Quarters, the place now called Florence, in the Omaha country, where they built 700 log cabins and 150 caves or dugouts, in which a great number of the people resided through the winter. Some two thousand wagons were scattered about in the Pottawattamie country, on the east side of the Missouri—a country then uninhabited except by Indians—which, by a treaty of purchase, came into the possession of the United States the ensuing spring.

The winter of 1846-7 was one of great suffering among the people. They had been deprived of vegetable food; their diet, to a great extent, had consisted of corn meal and pork, which they had purchased from the Missourians, in exchange for clothing, beds, jewelry, or any other property that would sell. Yet they had sold comparatively none of their real estate and valuable property; in fact, most of the land remains unsold to this day. Under these circumstances the people suffered a great deal from scurvy; the exposure they had undergone also brought on fever and ague, hence their stay in Winter Quarters and the region round about is a memorable period in their history, from the sufferings, difficulties, and privations with which they had to contend. However, they made the necessary preparations for their departure, and in the spring of 1847—early in April, 143 pioneers, led by Brigham Young, started to explore and make a road to the Great Salt Lake Basin.

There was not a spear of grass that their animals could obtain for the first two hundred miles of the journey, and they had to feed them on the cottonwoods that grew on the banks of the Platte River and other small streams. In this manner the pioneers worked their way, making the road as they went along. They traveled on the north side of the Platte, where no road had been before until they reached Laramie; they then crossed the North Fork and took the old trappers’ trail and traveled on it over three hundred miles building ferry boats on the North Platte and Green rivers, and then constructed a road over the mountains to this place.

During this journey they looked out a route where they were satisfied a railroad could be built, and were just as zealous in their feelings that a railroad would follow their track as we are today.

They arrived here on the 24th of July, 1847. They had some potatoes which they had brought from Missouri; they planted them not far from where the City Hall now stands. In a few days after their arrival the Mississippi Company, which had wintered on the Arkansas River, a few of the sick and some families left by the Mormon Battalion, being unable to proceed with them to the Pacific—numbering altogether about 150—arrived here. They then began to feel that they were quite a populous settlement, as they counted in the neighborhood of some four hundred persons. They laid out this Temple Block, and dedicated it to the Lord. It really was one of the most barren spots they ever saw. However, they asked the Lord to bless the land and make it fruitful. They built a dam and made irrigation ditches. Some of their number lacked faith under those trying circumstances, and subsequently turned away and went to other parts of the world.

That fall—the fall of 1847—there came in here 680 wagons loaded with families. They built the fort commenced by the pioneers on the land, a portion of which is now occupied by A. O. Smoot in the 6th Ward of this city, the whole only covering about thirty acres. They dwelt in this contracted space that no temptation should be presented to the Indians to commit depredations.

During the winter they prepared a systematic plan for the irrigation of the land, for they knew nothing about it previously. They were compelled to ration out their food in small allowances, for they had no way to get more until it grew, and it required a great deal of faith on the part of the people to remain here and run the risk of procuring supplies from the earth. In the winter one or two hundred of the brethren from the West arrived almost without provisions, having been discharged from the Mormon Battalion without rations or transportation to the place of their enlistment. They explored a new route from California. Some of them passed on to their families in Winter Quarters, suffering much for the want of provisions by the way. Many of them remained here, using as food everything that possibly could be used. The Saints divided with the battalion their scanty allowance of food. During the next spring many hundred acres of land were planted. There was, however, a pest here that they had never seen anywhere else. After the nursery of twenty thousand fruit trees had come up and the fields were green and there was a good prospect of grain being raised, there came down from the mountains myriads of large black crickets, and they were awfully hungry. The nurseryman went home to dinner, and when he returned he found only three trees left; the crickets had devoured them. The brethren contended with them until they were utterly tired out, then calling on the Lord for help were ready to give up the contest, when just at that time there came over from the Salt Lake large flocks of gulls, which destroyed the crickets. They would eat them until they were perfectly gorged, and would then disgorge, vomiting them up, and again go to and eat, and so they continued until the crickets had entirely disappeared, and thus by the blessing of God the colony was saved. I believe the crickets have never been a pest in this vicinity to any serious extent since. This we regard as a special providence of the Almighty.

The early settlers did not know how to irrigate the crops properly and the result was that their wheat, the first year, was most of it very short, so short that it had to be pulled up by the roots; but singularly enough there was considerable grain in the ear, and they raised enough to encourage them to persevere in their experiments, for their labors were only experiments at that early day and also enabled them to diffuse information on the subject, which proved of general benefit. This location is so high in the mountains, the latitude about 41 degrees and the altitude so great that nearly every one thought it was impossible to raise fruit, but some continued to plant. In the second year of their arrival here their settlement was increased by nearly a thousand wagons from the East and a few from the West. The third year the immigration continued. In 1849 a handsome sum of money was contributed as a foundation for the Perpetual Emigration Fund, and Bishop Edward Hunter went East to aid those to emigrate who could not do so by their own means. While the Saints were surrounded by their enemies on every hand in Illinois, they entered into a solemn covenant within the walls of the Temple at Nauvoo that they would exert themselves to the extent of their influence and property to aid every Latter-day Saint that desired to gather to the mountains. This covenant they did not forget, and the very moment they began to gather a little surplus they commenced to use it to aid their brethren and sisters left behind. At first they purchased, in the East, cattle and wagons necessary to bring the emigrants here; but in a few years they raised cattle here, and sent their teams to the Missouri River year after year, sometimes two hundred and sometimes three hundred, and they have sent as many as five hundred teams, for several successive seasons—a team being four yoke of oxen (or their equivalent in horses and mules), a wagon, a teamster, also the necessary officers and night guard for each company of fifty wagons. In this way they continued to bring their brethren not only from every part of the United States, but also from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. This system of emigration is continued up to the present time, and has resulted in bringing many of the Saints together, and has materially increased the population of Utah.

In the early settlement of the Territory, the Latter-day Saints had other obstacles to contend with besides those already referred to. In 1849, and for several years after, a considerable number of men passed through here on their way to the gold mines in California. Numbers of them would have perished had it not been for the provisions and supplies unexpectedly obtained here. They knew not how to outfit themselves for such a journey, and were unwilling to abide the restraints of organization necessary for their own preservation on the Plains. Hence they wore out their teams and quarreled with each other, and arrived here in every conceivable stage of destitution. Upon their arrival here they were treated as friends, employed, and furnished with the necessary outfit as far it could be obtained. I may say that tens of thousands received the assistance necessary to enable them to proceed to California to realize, if possible, their visions of gold. While the Latter-day Saints were pursuing this course, they too were tempted with a spirit of going to the gold mines. The counsel given to the brethren by President Young was to stay at home, make their farms, cultivate the earth, build houses, and plant gardens and orchards. But many preferred to go to the mines, and they went; but I believe that in every instance those who went returned, not having made as much as if they had followed the counsel given. There was this difference: the men who went to California could dig a hole and take a little gold out of it; but after a time the supply of gold would be exhausted, and then, after paying their expenses, the most of them had nothing left but a hole in the ground; but the men who went to work here on their five or ten acre lots, or even on their city lots of an acre and a quarter, in the course of a year or two had a snug little home. The result was that those who remained at home and diligently attended to agricultural pursuits were the most successful.

But among the strangers traveling through the Territory to the mines were many men of desperate character, and they would cause trouble by killing Indians near the settlements. One difficulty occurred here in the north—a band of men from Missouri shot some squaws who were riding on horseback, and took their horses; in revenge for this the Indians made an attack on our northern settlements. Similar occurrences took place in the south. The result was we were troubled with expensive Indian wars, caused by the acts, not of our own people, but of those over whom we had no control, and in some instances through the acts of men who would rather entail trouble upon us than not. In consequence of outrages inflicted on the Indians, we were under the necessity of keeping ourselves armed and having in our midst a vigilant militia. In the year 1853 the inhabitants found it necessary to encircle this city with a wall of earth, at a cost of $34,000, which they did for the purpose of preventing the Indians stealing their horses, and to enable the small police force to protect the city from their depredations. From that period the Indians have made very little inroad on the property inside this city. There is, among the Indians in these mountains, an innate principle to steal anything and everything that lies unguarded in their way. When the number of horses, sheep, and cattle, that the people throughout the Territory have raised, is considered, the number stolen by the Indians is surprisingly small. Yet some of the outside counties have suffered severely and are suffering today from thieving bands from neighboring Territories. In their intercourse with the Indians they have acted on the principle that it is cheaper to feed them than to fight them. In all cases they have treated them with the strictest justice as far as possible, and have maintained their relations with them in a manner truly astonishing.

We look around today and behold our city clothed with verdure and beautified with trees and flowers, with streams of water running in almost every direction, and the question is frequently asked, “How did you ever find this place?” I answer, we were led to it by the inspiration of God. After the death of Joseph Smith, when it seemed as if every trouble and calamity had come upon the Saints, Brigham Young, who was President of the Twelve, then the presiding Quorum of the Church, sought the Lord to know what they should do, and where they should lead the people for safety, and while they were fasting and praying daily on this subject, President Young had a vision of Joseph Smith, who showed him the mountain that we now call Ensign Peak, immediately north of Salt Lake City, and there was an ensign fell upon that peak, and Joseph said, “Build under the point where the colors fall and you will prosper and have peace.” The Pioneers had no pilot or guide, none among them had ever been in the country or knew anything about it. However, they traveled under the direction of President Young until they reached this valley. When they entered it President young pointed to that peak, and said he, “I want to go there.” He went up to the point and said, “This is Ensign Peak. Now, brethren, organize your exploring parties, so as to be safe from Indians; go and explore where you will, and you will come back every time and say this is the best place.” They accordingly started out exploring companies and visited what we now call Cache, Malad, Tooele, and Utah valleys, and other parts of the country in various directions, but all came back and declared this was the best spot.

I have traveled somewhat extensively in the Territory, and I bear my testimony this day, that this is the spot, and I feel confident that the God of Heaven by His inspiration led our Prophet right here. And it is the blessing of God upon the untiring energy and industry of the people that has made this once barren and sterile spot what it is today.

We have struggled with all our power and might to maintain that morality and uprightness which pertain to the kingdom of God, and to place all men and all women in that high position which God designs them to occupy, and to prevent them being led astray by the immoral tendencies which are abroad in the world; but while doing so we have had to contend with obstacles of every kind. The Latter-day Saints have built commodious schoolhouses in every ward of the various cities and through all the settlements of the Territory. They have done all they could to promote education, but they have received no assistance from any source on earth. Almost every newly settled country has received certain donations in land and money to aid them in support of their schools, but in this Territory we have never received a cent. The money that has been expended for the furtherance of education in this Territory has been by the voluntary will of the parents. Oregon received donations in land to encourage its settlement, and persons who made the earlier settlements were permitted to occupy 640 acres of land, others who settled later 320, and subsequently 160, and liberal donations of land were made available to promote the cause of education. Utah has had no such encouragement. But it is my opinion today that had Congress been as liberal with us as with Oregon, and had given 640 or 320 acres of land to each, it might have hindered our progress under the circumstances. Most of our farmers cultivate from five to thirty acres of land, very few of them cultivating forty; and it requires tolerably good Saints not to quarrel about the water while irrigating in a dry time even on small tracts of land close together; but how would it have been if our agriculturists had each possessed 640 acres, or even half or quarter of that, if they were compelled by law to live upon and cultivate the same or forfeit it? Most of the water would have been wasted by evaporation and soakage because of the lengthy ditches which extensive cultivation would have rendered necessary. I verily believe that if “Gentiles” lived here they would fight and kill each other with their hoes in a dry time over the water ditches.

The brethren will pardon me for devoting my time on the present occasion to this brief sketch of the history of the Church and of the Territory with which they are so well acquainted. In consequence of there being so many friends and strangers present, I felt inspired to give a little detail of the circumstances that led us here, and of some of the incidents since our arrival in this Territory.

I feel to bless God for the many privileges that we enjoy, and among others that we are now permitted to buy our lands and obtain a title to them. I feel thankful to the rulers of our nation for showing a disposition to extend to us the privileges which are enjoyed in this respect by our fellow citizens in the other territories.

As early as 1852 our Legislative Assembly memorialized Congress for a national railway, which was subsequently endorsed by immense mass meetings in this and other counties. We have done all in our power to hurry it on. Many looked on it at the time, and since, as if it were work for a hundred years; but the work is completed, and men can come from the States in a few hours. When I came here with my family, in 1849, I was one hundred and five days driving oxen from the Missouri River across the Plains to this place. Now a man can come with his family in a few days. This is a great progress, thank the Lord for it.

We are still at work with all our power developing in the new Territory everything that is useful for the sustenance of its inhabitants, for the establishment of manufactures, the promotion of agriculture, and everything that will tend to build up, strengthen, and benefit mankind. I fully believe that there is no one hundred thousand people in the United States who have done more actual service for their country than we have; for what benefits a nation is to take its worthless desert domain and endow it with beauty and wealth, by the strong hands of a loyal people.

May God help us to fill out our days with honor is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Contributions for Emigrating the Saints—Word of Wisdom

Remarks by President George A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, April 6, 1869.

I am glad, my brethren and sisters, of meeting with you again in General Conference. Our Conferences form a peculiar feature in our history, and the people in all parts of the Territory look forward to these occasions with far more than ordinary interest, and make calculations to participate therein.

The past six months have been a period of remarkable interest. There has been a marked advancement in the progress of the work of the Lord and a great increase and improvement in the knowledge, sentiments, and feelings of the Saints since our last Conference, perhaps more so than in the same space of time at any period in the history of the Church since its organization. The Saints are becoming more united in their business relations, and in all their associations for the purpose of accomplishing the work that is before them, and if the old adage, “Union is strength,” be true, we are certainly growing stronger.

The teachings during this Conference will, as a matter of course, have a tendency to increase this union, to enlarge the understandings and judgments of the Saints, and to banish certain antiquated ideas which, more or less, have been woven into our being, and have formed part of our existence, enable us to free ourselves from the shackles of tradition and ignorance and to move forward more effectually in the discharge of those duties devolving upon us in connection with the great and glorious work which God has entrusted to our charge. It will also be necessary for us to take into consideration the different points pertaining to the progress of that work.

It was a saying of Joseph Smith, that he taught the people correct principles and they governed themselves. A feeling has been engendered and sent abroad that the Latter-day Saints are subject to bondage; but instead of this being so, they are controlled wholly on the principle to which I have just referred, as having been enunciated by Joseph—they are taught correct principles and then govern themselves. When the elders of Israel have succeeded in informing the minds of the Saints in relation to any topic pertaining to the work of God in the last days, they have accomplished a great work, and that work is followed by a feeling of willingness and obedience to carry out that principle on the part of the great mass of the Saints.

Last year we made an effort to bring home the Saints from the Old World, and a pretty strong emigration was the result. It will be remembered that when the matter was first agitated, it seemed as if there was but a small amount of means to be obtained. Many of the brethren in the wards felt that they could do but little, but they went to work and brought home some five thousand Saints. This same work is still before us, and appeals to our sympathy, and we still have occasion to call the attention of each other to the importance of the work of bringing home to Zion our brethren and sisters in foreign lands who are deprived of the privileges that we enjoy because of their inability to gather. An appeal is to be made from this Conference to the Saints generally throughout the Territory, to contribute again of their substance to bring home the Saints from foreign lands.

The facilities for gathering the Saints are far greater than they have been heretofore. We wish to say to any of those who are already gathered, who may be indebted to those who are left behind, that they should remember and discharge their obligations. We also advise the Saints to write to their friends abroad and inform them how things are progressing here. I am aware that when the people land here there are many inconveniences with which they have to contend, and they have to struggle for a time before they can again make a start in the world; but they should not, on that account, forget the brethren and sisters they have left behind, and especially those who may have advanced means to aid them in emigrating. One of our first great duties should be to square our accounts and to stand honorably with our fellow beings.

Although a great advance has been made within the last two years in the observance of the “’Word of Wisdom,” there is yet room to talk on that subject. We find that the tobacco trade is still very considerable in this Territory, and we cannot yet lose sight of the fact that we are compelled to pay a tribute to the Emperor of China for tea, and to the Emperor of Brazil for coffee; and there are still men in Israel who do not seem to realize the importance of observing the “Word of Wisdom.” It is, therefore, necessary to preach, teach, and exhort, and to enforce upon the Saints the importance of its observance, for it is preparatory to great blessings which God has in store for the faithful. The elders will instruct us in relation to these matters as the Spirit of the Lord may dictate.

It has been my privilege this last month to visit most of the branches in the southern part of the Territory. At a large portion of those branches I have attended meetings, and have seen many of the brethren and sisters, and I feel to testify that in all my travels in Zion, I have not found a better spirit, a more united determination, or a warmer feeling with regard to the work of the Lord, and to build up His kingdom, than I found on this visit. I felt thankful to learn that our brethren in the cotton country were filled with the spirit and were zealous for the accomplishment of their work, and that they were progressing very satisfactorily in the accomplishment of their mission, or at any rate that portion of them who have taken hold of it with the zeal which becomes men who are honored with the privilege of laboring in any department for the building up of Zion. The testimony of the work of the Lord in the hearts of the Saints is a living and abiding testimony. While the work is progressing we must be alive to the fact, and we must not get behind, we must be faithful, live humble before the Lord, observe His counsels and laws, not even forgetting the principles contained in the “Word of Wisdom.” If we take this course the blessings of life and peace will continue to abide with us, which may God grant in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Historical Address

By President George A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, October 8th and 9th, 1868.

The circumstances by which we are surrounded are such as to cause feeling of no ordinary character. In all the Conferences held hitherto, in this city and in Nauvoo, we have enjoyed the society of our late lamented President, Heber C. Kimball; and his being called away from a useful field in which he had long labored, should remind us that each of us, at any moment, may be called to close our career here for time, and to await our reward in the resurrection. We can but rejoice that our brother, in his long life and labors in the Church, was a pattern of humility, faith and diligence, and was instrumental in the hands of God in bringing many thousands to a knowledge of the truth. The blow which has fallen upon us in being deprived of his company, counsel and instruction, should remind us of the necessity of diligence in the discharge of all our duties, that, like him, we may be prepared to inherit celestial glory, and to associate with Joseph and Hyrum Smith and David Patten, and the martyrs who have gone before.

The incidents that have been brought to our notice by our brethren who have spoken during the Conference, give rise to a series of reflections in relation to our early history as a people, which, I presume, it would be well for us all to review. There are some in this Territory who have been in the Church thirty-six, thirty-seven or thirty-eight years, but a great many of the people have been in only a few years. A very large portion of our population have been reared here, and consequently a brief sketch of the early incidents of our history may not be unprofitable to any.

When Joseph Smith took the plates of Mormon from the hill Cumorah, he was immediately surrounded by enemies, and though he was a young man of unexceptional character, he was compelled to go from place to place, while translating the work, to avoid persecution. The press and the pulpit denounced him as an impostor and his followers as dupes. As soon as he preached the doctrine of baptism for the remission of sins, and organized a Church with six members, he was arrested and brought before a magistrate, honorably discharged by him, and immediately arrested again and hurried into an adjoining county, where he was insulted, spit upon, and kept without food during the day, and then given crusts of bread and water. The next day he was taken before magistrates who, after a rigid examination, found no fault in him. A mob resolved to “tar and feather” him, but through the instrumentality of the constable, who previously treated him roughly, but who now became his friend, he made his escape in safety. All these proceedings were instigated by clergymen and professors of religion in high standing. A similar spirit of persecution was manifested in a greater or less degree in every place where the Gospel was proclaimed, not only against Joseph Smith, but also against other Elders who preached the word.

This system of persecution continued, especially in the shape of vexatious law suits, numbering some fifty in all, up to the day of his death, and in all of which a most vicious and vindictive spirit was manifested outside of judicial questions. In every case he was honorably acquitted, and upon the charge of treason upon which he was detained in Carthage jail, when murdered, he had not even been lawfully examined before a magistrate. In all these trials except one he had been before persons religiously opposed to him—his enemies were his judges—and all this while every act of his life was prompted by a firm desire to do good to his fellow men—to preach the Gospel of peace, to magnify the high and holy calling he had received from the Lord, and thereby lead back to the ancient faith of Jesus Christ his fellow beings who had fallen into darkness.

Vexatious law suits not accomplishing the work to the satisfaction of the persecutors of the Saints, mob violence was resorted to, as being more effective. On the 25th day of March, 1832, in Hyrum, Portage Co., Ohio, Joseph Smith was dragged from his bed and carried to the woods, daubed with tar and feathers, and otherwise ill-treated. The following is his account of the outrage:

“On the 25th of March, the twins before mentioned, which had been sick for some time with the measles, caused us to be broke of our rest in taking care of them, especially my wife. In the evening I told her she had better retire to rest with one of the children, and I would watch with the sickest child. In the night she told me I had better lie down on the trundle bed, and I did so, and was soon after awoke by her screaming ‘murder!’ when I found myself going out of the door, in the hands of about a dozen men, some of whose hands were in my hair, and some had hold of my shirt, drawers, and limbs. The foot of the trundle bed was towards the door, leaving only room enough for the door to swing. My wife heard a gentle tapping on the windows, which she then took no particular notice of (but which was unquestionably designed for ascertaining whether we were all asleep), and soon after the mob burst open the door and surrounded the bed in an instant, and, as I said, the first I knew, I was going out of the door in the hands of an infuriated mob. I made a desperate struggle, as I was forced out, to extricate myself, but only cleared one leg, with which I made a pass at one man, and he fell on the door steps. I was immediately confined again; and they swore by God they would kill me if I did not be still, which quieted me. As they passed around the house with me, the fellow that I kicked came to me and thrust his hand into my face, all covered with blood (for I hit him on the nose), and with an exulting horse laugh, muttered, ‘Ge, gee, God damn ye, I’ll fix ye.’

“They then seized me by the throat, and held on till I lost my breath. After I came to, as they passed along with me, about thirty rods from the house, I saw Elder Rigdon stretched out on the ground, whither they had dragged him by the heels. I supposed he was dead. I began to plead with them, saying, ‘You will have mercy and spare my life, I hope,’ to which they replied, ‘God damn ye, call on your God for help, we’ll show ye no mercy;’ and the people began to show themselves in every direction; one coming from the orchard had a plank, and I expected they would kill me, and carry me off on the plank. They then turned to the right and went on about thirty rods further, about sixty rods from the house and thirty from where I saw Elder Rigdon, into the meadow, where they stopped, and one said, ‘Simonds, Simonds’ (meaning, I suppose, Simonds Rider), ‘pull up his drawers, pull up his drawers, he will take cold.’ Another replied, ‘Ain’t ye going to kill ‘im, ain’t ye going to kill ‘im?’ when a group of mobbers collected a little way off and said, ‘Simonds, Simonds, come here;’ and Simonds charged those who had hold of me to keep me from touching the ground (as they had all the time done), lest I should get a spring upon them. They went and held a council, and, as I could occasionally overhear a word, I supposed it was to know whether it was best to kill me. They returned after a while when I learned they had concluded not to kill me, but pound and scratch me well, tear off my shirt and drawers, and leave me naked. One cried, ‘Simonds, Simonds, where’s the tar bucket?’ ‘I don’t know,’ answered one, ‘where ’tis, Eli’s left it.’ They ran back and fetched the bucket of tar, when one exclaimed, ‘God damn it, let us tar up his mouth;’ and they tried to force the tar-paddle into my mouth; I twisted my head around, so that they could not, and they cried out, ‘God damn ye, hold up your head and let us give ye some tar.’ They then tried to force a vial into my mouth, and broke it in my teeth. All my clothes were torn off me except my shirt collar, and one man fell on me and scratched my body with his nails like a mad cat, and then muttered out, ‘God damn ye, that’s the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks.’

“They then left me, and I attempted to rise, but fell again. I pulled the tar away from my lips, so that I could breathe more freely, and raised myself up, when I saw two lights. I made my way towards one of them, and found it was Father Johnson’s. When I had come to the door, I was naked, and the tar made me look as though I had been covered with blood; and when my wife saw me she thought I was mashed all to pieces, and fainted. During the affray abroad, the sisters of the neighborhood had collected at my room. I called for a blanket, they threw me one, and shut the door. I wrapped it around me and went in.” History of Joseph Smith, Mill. Star, vol. 14, page 148.

I will add that the exposure of the child above referred to, to the night air, caused its death. This murdered child was doubtless the first martyr of the last dispensation.

In a revelation given Sept., 1831, the Lord said, “It is my will that the Saints retain a strong hold in the land of Kirtland for the space of five years.”

The Saints owned several farms in Kirtland. Mr. Lyman, a Presbyterian, also owned a grist mill there, and many of us got our grinding done at his mill, although our brethren owned mills two or three miles distant. We had commenced building the Kirtland Temple. A portion of the city site had been surveyed, and many of the Saints who had recently come in were building houses on the lots. Mr. Lyman associated himself with a combination to starve us out. The authorities proceeded to warn all the Latter-day Saints out of the township, and formed a compact not to employ us or sell us grain, which was scarce at the time. Mr. Lyman had 3,000 bushels of wheat, but refused to let us have it at any reasonable price, and it was believed we were so destitute of money that we would have to scatter abroad. The warning out of town was designed to prevent our becoming a township charge, the law of Ohio being that if a person, who had been warned out of town, applied for assistance, he was to be carried to the next town and so on till he was taken out of the State or to the town from which he formerly came.

We were obliged to send fifty miles for grain, which cost us one dollar and six cents per bushel delivered in Kirtland. Mr. Lyman’s grain remained unsold and his effort to starve us taught us better than to longer patronize his mill, although it cost us the trouble of going two or three miles to mills belonging to our brethren. We built a magnificent temple and a large city. We paid our quota of taxes and we were as noted and remarkable for our industry, temperance, thrift and morality there, as our people are at the present day. We also patronized a Mr. Lyon, who was a gentlemanly outside merchant, but the moment he got an opportunity he united with our enemies to oppress us.

We sent our children to school to Mr. Bates, a Presbyterian minister, who soon after went into court and bore false witness against the Elders, and further testified on oath that every “Mormon” was intellectually insane. This lesson did admonish us not to longer entrust the education of our youth to canting hypocrites.

For several years we had used the paper of Geauga Bank at Painesville, as money. A loan of a few hundred dollars was asked for by Joseph Smith, with ample security, but was refused, and Elder Reynolds Cahoon was told they would not accommodate the “Mormon Prophet,” although they acknowledged the endorsers were above question, simply because it would encourage “Mormonism.” So much of their specie was drawn by Joseph Smith during the three succeeding days, as greatly improved their tempers, and they said to Elder Cahoon, “Tell Mr. Smith he must stop this, and any favor he wants we are ready to accord him.”

Subsequently application was made to the Legislature of the State for a bank charter, the notes to be redeemed with specie and their redemption secured by real estate. The charter was denied us on the grounds that we were “Mormons,” and soon a combination of apostates and outsiders caused us to leave Kirtland, the most of our property unsold; and our beautiful Temple yet remains a lasting monument of our perseverance and industry. The loss sustained through this persecution was probably not less than one million dollars.


On the 20th day of July, 1831, at Independence, Jackson County, Joseph Smith set apart and dedicated a lot as the site of the Temple of the center stake of Zion, ground having been purchased for this purpose, and it still is known as the “Temple lot.” The Saints entered lands in different parts of the county, built houses, opened farms, constructed mills, established a printing office (owned by W. W. Phelps and Co., and the first in Western Missouri), and opened a mercantile establishment, the largest, in the county, owned by Messrs. Gilbert and Whitney.

In July, 1833, a mob was organized by signing a circular, which set forth that the civil law did not afford them a sufficient guarantee against the “Mormons,” whom they accused of “blasphemously pretending to heal the sick by the administration of holy oil,” and consequently they must be either “fanatics” or “knaves.” Under the influence of Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian ministers, they tore down the printing office of the Evening and Morning Star, which cost some $6,000. They stripped and tarred and feathered Bishop Partridge and Elder Charles Allen, and seized several other Elders and cast them into prison, compelled Gilbert and Whitney to close their store, and soon after broke it open and scattered their goods to the four winds. They tore down twenty houses over the heads of the inmates, and whipped and terribly lacerated with hickory withes many of the Elders, killed Andrew Barber, and severely wounded many others; robbed the houses of their property, and finally expelled fifteen hundred people from the county. They also destroyed some two hundred and sixteen dwellings, and much of the land, being valuable timber land, became public plunder. The Saints were robbed of most of their horses, cattle, implements of husbandry, etc. The total loss in these transactions is estimated at half a million dollars.

“Horrible to relate, several women thus driven from their homes gave birth to children in the woods and on the prairies, destitute of beds or clothing, having escaped in fright. It is stated on the authority of Solomon Hancock, an eyewitness, that he, with the assistance of two or three others, protected one hundred and twenty women and children for the space of ten days, who were obliged to keep themselves hid from their pursuers, while they were hourly expecting to be massacred, and who finally escaped into Clay county, by finding a circuitous route to the ferry.”

They could be traced by the blood from their feet, on the burnt prairie. This occurred in the month of November, and is a specimen of the kindness that law-abiding Latter-day Saints received at the hands of those who had power over them. The Saints were so law-abiding that not a single process had been issued against any member of the Church in Jackson County up to the organization of the mob, although all the offices, civil and military, were in the hands of their enemies.

Prominent in these cruelties as actors and apologists were the Revds. Isaac McCoy and D. Pixley, the former a Baptist and the latter a Presbyterian missionary to the Indians.


The arrival of the Saints in Clay county was a blessing to the inhabitants, who had just opened small prairie farms and planted them with Indian corn, much of which was unharvested. They had cattle on the bottoms and hogs in the woods. The majority of the people received the Saints with gladness and gave them employment, and paid them in corn, pork and beef. The wages were low, but sufficient to supply the more pressing wants of the people. From time to time Joseph Smith forwarded money from Kirtland to Bishop Partridge to supply the most needy. The mob in Jackson County sent committees to stir up the feelings of the people of Clay against the Saints. For some time their oft-repeated efforts to do so were unsuccessful. Parties of the mob would come over from Jackson and seize our brethren and inflict violence upon them. The industry of our people soon enabled them to make some purchases of land, and then their numbers were increased by arrivals from the east. The mob of Jackson County continued their endeavors to stir up dissatisfaction among the people of Clay county against the Saints. At length the citizens of Clay county held a public meeting and requested the “Mormons” to seek another home, when the Saints located in the new county of Caldwell, which contained only seven families, who were bee hunters. As the county was mostly prairie, their business was not very profitable, and they gladly embraced the opportunity of selling their claims.

Caldwell county, being nearly destitute of timber, was regarded by the people of upper Missouri as worthless. Every Saint that could raise fifty dollars entered forty acres of land, and there were few but what could do that much, while many entered large tracts. The Saints migrated from the east and settled Caldwell in great numbers.

In three years they had built mills, shops, school, meeting and dwelling houses, and opened and fenced hundreds of farms. Our industry and temperance rendered our settlements the most prosperous of any in Missouri, while they embraced all of Caldwell, most of Davis, and large portions of Clinton, Ray, Carrol and Livingston counties, when the storm of mobocracy was again aroused and aided by the Governor of the State, Lilburn W. Boggs, who issued the order expelling all the Latter-day Saints from the State under penalty of extermination. This caused the loss of hundreds of lives through violence and suffering. Houses were plundered, women were violated, men were whipped, and a great variety of cruelties inflicted, and a loss of property amounting to millions was sustained, while anyone that would renounce his religion was permitted to remain.

Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Alexander McRae, Lyman Wight and others were for several months thrust into prison, and in one instance, while there, were fed on human flesh and tantalized with the inquiry, “How they liked Mormon beef”—it being the flesh of some of their murdered brethren.

The Lord softened the hearts of the people of Quincy, Illinois, and while the hundreds of Saints were fleeing over the snow-clad prairies of Missouri, not knowing where to go, the people of Quincy were holding public meetings, raising subscriptions and adopting measures to give the fugitives employment and succor, for which our hearts overflow with gratitude.

As soon as the Saints were all expelled from Missouri, Joseph Smith went to Washington and laid the grievances of the people before the President and Congress of the United States. Mr. Van Buren said, “Your cause is just, but we can do nothing for you.” Mr. Clay, when appealed to, said we “had better go to Oregon.” Mr. Calhoun informed Mr. Smith it would involve the question of State rights, and was a dangerous question, and it would not do to agitate it. Mr. Cass, as chairman of the Senate committee, to which the petition was referred, reported that Congress had no business with it.

Elder John P. Green went east, and published an appeal in behalf of the Saints, holding public meetings in Cincinnati and New York, and received some small contributions for the assistance of the most needy.

As soon as Joseph Smith escaped from Missouri to Illinois, he purchased lands at a place known as Commerce, in Hancock county, and commenced the survey of a city which he called Nauvoo, the word being derived from the Hebrew, meaning beauty and rest. Although the situation was handsome, it was famed for being unhealthy. There were but few inhabitants in the vicinity, but many graves in the burying ground, and much of the subsequent sickness was the result of exposure and the want of suitable means of nursing the sick. The swamps in the vicinity of Nauvoo were soon drained, and the lands around put under cultivation. Numerous dwellings and several mills were erected, and thrift and prosperity, the invariable results of industry and sobriety, were manifest.

Demands were made from Mis souri for the persons of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. Joseph was arrested and tried at Monmouth, before Judge Stephen A. Douglas, and honorably discharged. His principal attorney in this case was the Hon. O. H. Browning, now U.S. Secretary of the Interior. This suit cost him upwards of three thousand dollars. He was soon again arrested on a demand from Missouri, and discharged by Judge Pope, of the U.S. District Court. This time it cost him twelve thousand dollars. Not long after this second acquittal he was again arrested in Lee County, Illinois, and an attempt made, in the face of the State authorities, to kidnap him into Missouri. Nauvoo sent out three hundred men and rescued him. He was afterwards discharged by the municipal court of that place, and Thomas Ford, Governor of Illinois, sanctioned his discharge.

In 1844 Joseph and Hyrum were arrested on a charge of treason, under pledge of the executive that they should have a fair trial, but they were murdered by one hundred and fifty men with blackened faces; merchants and men that we had sustained in business, and apostates, took a leading part in bringing this about.


Joseph Smith, the Prophet, was subjected, during his short ministerial career of fifteen years, to about fifty vexatious law suits. The principal expense was incurred in liquidating lawyers bills, and the brethren’s time and expenditure in attending courts to defend the Prophet from mob violence.

Magistrates court expenses were generally one hundred dollars. The Prophet paid Generals Doniphan and Atchison for legal services at Richmond, Mo., in 1838-9, sixteen thousand dollars; but this amount was fruitlessly expended, as the benefits of the law were not accorded to him, because of the predominance and overruling power of a mob.

At the Prophet’s trial at Monmouth, Ill., in 1841, before Judge Douglas, the lawyers’ fees and expenses amounted to three thousand dollars.

His next trial was before Judge Pope, U.S. District Court, in 1842-3, the expenses of which may be reasonably estimated at twelve thousand dollars.

Cyrus Walker charged ten thousand dollars for defending Joseph in his political arrest, or the attempt at kidnapping him at Dixon, Ill., in 1843. There were four other lawyers employed for the defense besides Walker. The expenses of the defense in this trial were enormous, involving the amounts incurred by the horse companies who went in pursuit to aid Joseph, and the trip of the steamer Maid of Iowa, from Nauvoo to Ottawa, and may be fairly estimated at one hundred thousand dollars.

When the mantle of Joseph Smith fell upon Brigham Young, the enemies of God and His kingdom sought to inaugurate a similar career for President Young; but he took his revolver from his pocket at the public stand in Nauvoo, and declared that upon the first attempt of an officer to read a writ to him in a State that had violated its plighted faith in the murder of the Prophet and Patriarch while under arrest, he should serve the contents of this writ (holding his loaded revolver in his hand) first; to this the vast congregation assembled said, Amen. He was never arrested.


In 1845, the storm of mobocracy raging around us, we sent an appeal to the President of the United States, and to the Governor of every State in the Union, except Missouri, of which the following, addressed to Governor Drew, of Arkansas, is a copy to the Governor, he being the only one from whom an answer was received— “To His Excellency Thomas S. Drew, Governor of Arkansas. “Nauvoo, Ill., May 1, 1845.

“Honorable Sir—Suffer us, sir, in behalf of a disfranchised and long afflicted people, to prefer a few suggestions for your serious consideration, in hope of a friendly and unequivocal response, at as early a period as may suit your convenience, and the extreme urgency of the case seems to demand.

“It is not our present design to detail the multiplied and aggravated wrongs that we have received in the midst of a nation that gave us birth. Some of us have long been loyal citizens of the State over which you have the honor to preside, while others’ claim citizenship in each of the States of this great confederacy. We say we are a disfranchised people. We are privately told by the highest authorities of this State, that it is neither prudent nor safe for us to vote at the polls; still we have continued to maintain our right to vote, until the blood of our best men has been shed, both in Missouri and the State of Illinois, with impunity.

“You are doubtless somewhat familiar with the history of our extermination from the State of Missouri, wherein scores of our brethren were massacred, hundreds died through want and sickness, occasioned by their unparalleled sufferings, some millions of our property were confiscated or destroyed, and some fifteen thousand souls fled for their lives to the then hospitable and peaceful shores of Illinois; and that the State of Illinois granted to us a liberal charter, for the term of perpetual succession, and under its provisions private rights have become invested, and the largest city in the State has grown up, numbering about twenty thousand inhabitants.

“But, sir, the startling attitude recently assumed by the State of Illinois forbids us to think that her designs are any less vindictive than those of Missouri. She has already used the military of the State, with the Executive at their head, to coerce and surrender up our best men to unparalleled murder, and that, too, under the most sacred pledges of protection and safety. As a salve for such unearthly perfidy and guilt, she told us, through her highest Executive officer, that the laws should be magnified, and the murderers brought to justice; but the blood of her innocent victims had not been wholly wiped from the floor of the awful arena, where the citizens of a sovereign State pounced upon two defenseless servants of God, our Prophet and our Patriarch, before the Senate of that State rescued one of the indicted actors in that mournful tragedy from the sheriff of Hancock county, and gave him an honorable seat in her halls of legislation. And all others who were indicted by the grand jury of Hancock county for the murders of Generals Joseph and Hyrum Smith, are suffered to roam at large, watching for further prey.

“To crown the climax of those bloody deeds, the State has repealed all those chartered rights by which we might have defended ourselves against aggressors. If we defend ourselves hereafter against violence, whether it comes under the shadow of law or otherwise (for we have reason to expect it both ways), we shall then be charged with treason, and suffer the penalty; and if we continue passive and nonresistant, we must certainly expect to perish, for our enemies have sworn it.

“And here, sir, permit us to state that General Joseph Smith, during this short life, was arraigned at the bar of his country about fifty times, charged with criminal offenses, but was acquitted every time by his country, or rather his religious opponents almost invariably being his judges. And we further testify, that as a people we are law-abiding, peaceable, and without crimes; and we challenge the world to prove the contrary. And while other less cities in Illinois have had special courts instituted to try their criminals, we have been stript of every source of arraigning marauders and murderers who are prowling around to destroy us, except the common magistracy.

“With these facts before you, sir, will you write to us without delay, as a father and friend, and advise us what to do? We are, many of us, citizens of your State, and all members of the same great confederacy. Our fathers, nay, some of us, have fought and bled for our country, and we love her dearly.

“In the name of Israel’s God, and by virtue of multiplied ties of country and kindred, we ask your friendly interposition in our favor. Will it be too much to ask you to convene a special session of your State Legislature, and furnish us an asylum where we can enjoy our rights of conscience and religion unmolested? Or will you in a special message to that body, when convened, recommend a remonstrance against such unhallowed acts of oppression and expatriation, as this people have continued to receive from the States of Missouri and Illinois? Or will you favor us by your personal influence, and by your official rank? Or will you express your views concerning what is called the Great Western Measure, of colonizing the Latter-day Saints in Oregon, the northwestern Territory, or some location, remote from the States, where the hand of oppression shall not crush every noble principle, and extinguish every patriotic feeling?

“And now, honored sir, having reached out our imploring hands to you with deep solemnity, we would importune with you as a father, a friend, a patriot and statesman; by the constitution of American liberty; by the blood of our fathers, who have fought for the independence of this Republic; by the blood of the martyrs which has been shed in our midst; by the wailings of the widows and orphans; by our murdered fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and children; by the dread of immediate destruction from secret combinations now forming for our overthrow; and by every endearing tie that binds men to men, and renders life bearable, and that, too, for aught we know, for the last time, that you will lend your immediate aid to quell the violence of mobocracy, and exert your influence to establish us as a people in our civil and religious rights, where we now are, or in some part of the United States, or at some place remote therefrom, where we may colonize in peace and safety as soon as circumstances will permit.

“We sincerely hope that your future prompt measures towards us will be dictated by the best feelings that dwell in the bosom of humanity; and the blessings of a grateful people, and of many ready to perish, shall come upon you.

“We are, sir, with great respect, “Your obedient servants, “Brigham Young, Chairman. “W. Richards, | “Orson Spencer, | “Orson Pratt, | Committee. “W. W. Phelps, | “A. W. Babbit, | “Jno. M. Bernhisel,|

“In behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at Nauvoo, Ill.

“P.S.—As many of our communications postmarked at Nauvoo, have failed of their destination, and the mails around us have been intercepted by our enemies, we shall send this to some distant office by the hand of a special messenger.”

The following reply was received from Governor Drew—

“Executive Office, Little Rock, Ark., May 27, 1845. “Hon. Brigham Young, President of the Committee of Twelve of Christ’s Church of Latter-day Saints at Nauvoo, Ill.

“Sir—Your letter of the 1st inst. has been received, and claims my earnest attention. I must acknowledge my inability to serve your people by calling an extra Session of the General Assembly of this State for the object contemplated. And although I do not know that prejudice against your tenets in Arkansas would weigh aught against the action of that body, in refusing to furnish within our borders an asylum from the oppression of which you so sorely complain; yet I am sure the representatives of the people would long hesitate to extend to any class of citizens exclusive privileges, however innocent their motives, aims, objects or actions might appear, when the prospects of collision, from causes of which in your case I know nothing, appear so evident from the two very recent manifestations presented in the States of Missouri and Illinois. I have no doubt Illinois, prompted by the kindest of sympathies for your people in the late struggle and overthrow they encountered in Missouri, extended a liberal helping hand, but to repent her supposed folly. Could Arkansas, after witnessing the same scene reenacted in Illinois, calculate on anything short of a like catastrophe?

“I am not sufficiently informed of the course taken against you by the authorities of the State of Illinois, in the difficulties detailed in your communication, to justify a recommendation from me to the Legislature to remonstrate against the acts of Illinois—the detailed statement of facts afforded me by your communication being of an ex parte character. But were I regularly informed of all the facts from both parties, and felt able to form a correct opinion as to the justice of the course pursued by the State of Illinois, yet I am of opinion that this State would not have, nor would I have as its chief Executive officer, the right to interfere in the least with the internal concerns or police of the State of Illinois, or of any other neighboring State, where its operations do not distract or in any way affect the good order of the citizens of the State of Arkansas. There are instances, but they are rare, where the interposition of one State to arrest the progress of violence in another, would be at all admissible. Such, for instance, as where the public authorities of the State affected are palpably incompetent to quell an insurrection within her limits, and the violence is likely to extend its ravages and bad influence to such neighboring State, or where a proper call has been made for succor.

“Nor can I afford to exercise my official rank as chief Executive of this State, in behalf of a faction in a neighboring State; and I humbly conceive that my personal influence would add nothing to your cause, unless it should prove to be a just one, in which event public opinion will afford you support of a character more lasting in the eye of an enlightened public, than wiser and greater men than your humble servant—than official rank, or force backed by power. It is true that while prejudice may have the ascendancy over the minds of the neighboring community, your people may be exposed more or less to loss of life and destruction of property; I therefore heartily agree with you in the proposed plan of emigration to the Oregon Territory—or to California—the north of Texas, or to Nebraska; thereby placing your community beyond the reach of contention, until, at least, you shall have had time and opportunity to test the practicability of your system, and to develop its contemplated superior advantages in ameliorating the condition of the human race, and adding to the blessings of civil and religious liberty. That such a community, constituted as yours, with the mass of prejudice which surrounds and obstructs its progress at this time, cannot prosper in that or any of the neighboring States, appears very evident from the signal failures upon two occasions under auspices at least as favorable as you could reasonably expect from any of the States.

“My personal sympathies are strong for the oppressed, though my official station can know nothing but what is sanctioned by the strictest justice, and that circumscribed to the limited jurisdiction of my own State; and while I deplore, as a man and a philanthropist, your distressed situation, I would refer you to the emphatic and patriarchal proposition of Abraham to Lot; and whilst I allude to the eloquent paraphrase of one of Virginia’s most gifted sons, wherein he circumscribed the bounds of our domain within to the great valley of the Mississippi, I would only add that the way is now open to the Pacific without let or hindrance. Should the Latter-day Saints migrate to Oregon, they will carry with them the good will of philanthropists, and the blessing of every friend of humanity. If they are wrong, their wrongs will be abated with many degrees of allowance, and if right, migration will afford an opportunity to make it manifest in due season to the whole civilized world.

“With my hearty desires for your peace and prosperity, I subscribe myself respectfully yours, “Thomas S. Drew.”

This correspondence shows us the necessity of our being united in sustaining the Latter-day Saints, that we may not build up, by our own acts, a power to renew persecution again in our midst.


In September, 1845, the mob commenced burning the houses of the Saints in the southern part of the county of Hancock, and continued until stopped by the sheriff, who summoned a posse comitatus, while few but Latter-day Saints would serve under him. The Governor sent troops and disbanded the posse. The murderers of Joseph and Hyrum had a sham trial and were acquitted. A convention of nine counties notified us that we must leave the State. The Governor informed us through General John J. Harding and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, that we could not be protected in Illinois. We commenced our emigration west on the 6th of February, 1846. During that month some twelve hundred wagons crossed the Mississippi, many of them on the ice. Everybody that was able to leave continued to do so until late in the summer, and the outfits with which they left were insufficient, while the winter and spring weather was inclement, which caused a great deal of suffering.

While the strength of Israel had gone westward, the Illinois mob commenced their hostilities with redoubled fury. They whipped, plundered and murdered men, abused women and children, and drove all the scattering ones into Nauvoo, then laid siege to the place and bombarded it for three days, killing several persons and wounding others, and peremptorily expelled the remainder across the river into Iowa, after robbing them of the remainder of the property they possessed, and leaving them on the shore to perish.

Their encampment was probably one of the most miserable and distressed that ever existed. All who were able, by any possible means, had got away; those left were the poor and the helpless. Great numbers were sick, and they were without tents or conveniences of any kind to make them comfortable. Encamped on the foggy bottoms of the Mississippi River, they were scorched with fevers, without medicine or proper food.

In this helpless condition a merciful Providence smiled on them by sending quails, so tame that many caught them with their hands; yet many perished within sight of hundreds of houses belonging to them and their friends, which were under the dominion of the Rev. Thomas S. Brockman and his mob legions, who viciously trampled the constitution and laws of Illinois, and the laws of humanity, under their feet.

The victims continued to suffer until the camps in the west sent them relief. For a more full description of these scenes, I read from the historical address of Col. (now General) Thomas L. Kane, who was an eye witness.

“A few years ago,” said Colonel Kane, “ascending the Upper Mississippi, in the autumn, when its waters were low, I was compelled to travel by land past the region of the Rapids. My road lay through the Half-breed Tract, a fine section of Iowa, which the unsettled state of its land-titles had appropriated as a sanctuary for coiners, horse thieves, and other outlaws. I had left my steamer at Keokuk, at the foot of the Lower Fall, to hire a carriage, and to contend for some fragments of a dirty meal with the swarming flies, the only scavengers of the locality.

“From this place to where the deep water of the river returns, my eye wearied to see everywhere sordid, vagabond, and idle settlers, and a country marred, without being improved, by their careless hands. I was descending the last hillside upon my journey, when a landscape in delightful contrast broke upon my view. Half encircled by a bend of the river, a beautiful city lay glittering in the fresh morning sun; its bright new dwellings, set in cool green gardens, ranging up around a stately dome-shaped hill, which was crowned by a noble edifice, whose high tapering spire was radiant with white and gold. The city appeared to cover several miles, and beyond it, in the background, there rolled off a fair country, chequered by the careful lines of fruitful husbandry. The unmistakable marks of industry, enterprise, and educated wealth everywhere, made the scene one of singular and most striking beauty. It was a natural impulse to visit this inviting region. I procured a skiff, and rowing across the river, landed at the chief wharf of the city. No one met me there. I looked, and saw no one. I could hear no one move, though the quiet everywhere was such that I heard the flies buzz, and the water ripples break against the shallow of the beach. I walked through the solitary street. The town lay as in a dream, under some deadening spell of loneliness, from which I almost feared to wake it, for plainly it had not slept long. There was no grass growing up in the paved ways; rains had not entirely washed away the prints of dusty footsteps.

“Yet I went about unchecked. I went into empty workshops, rope-walks and smithies. The spinner’s wheel was idle; the carpenter had gone from his workbench and shavings, his unfinished sash and casing. Fresh bark was in the tanner’s vat, and the fresh chopped lightwood stood piled against the baker’s oven. The blacksmith’s shop was cold; but his coal heap and lading pool, and crooked water horn were all there, as if he had just gone off for a holiday. No work-people anywhere looked to know my errand.

“If I went into the gardens, clinking the wicket-latch loudly after me, to pull the marigolds, heartsease, and lady-slippers, and draw a drink with the water-sodden well-bucket and its noisy chain; or, knocking off with my stick the tall, heavy-headed dahlias and sunflowers, hunted over the beds for cucumbers and love-apples—no one called out to me from any opened window, or dog sprang forward to bark an alarm.

“I could have supposed the people hidden in the houses, but the doors were unfastened; and when at last I timidly entered them, I found dead ashes white upon the hearths, and had to tread a tip-toe, as if walking down the aisle of a country church, to avoid rousing irreverent echoes from the naked floors. On the outskirts of the town was the city graveyard; but there was no record of plague there, nor did it in anywise differ much from other Protestant American cemeteries. Some of the mounds were not long sodded; some of the stones were newly set, their dates recent, and their black inscriptions glossy in the mason’s hardly dried lettering ink. Beyond the graveyard, out in the fields, I saw, in one spot hard by where the fruited boughs of a young orchard had been roughly torn down, the still smoldering remains of a barbecue fire, that had been constructed of rails from the fencing around it. It was the latest sign of life there. Fields upon fields of heavy-headed yellow grain lay rotting ungathered upon the ground. No one was there to take in their rich harvest.

“As far as the eye could reach they stretched away—they sleeping, too, in the hazy air of autumn. Only two portions of the city seemed to suggest the import of this mysterious solitude. On the southern suburb, the houses looking out upon the country showed, by their splintered woodwork and walls battered to the foundation, that they had lately been the mark of a destructive cannonade. And in and around the splendid Temple, which had been the chief object of my admiration, armed men were barracked, surrounded by their stacks of musketry and pieces of heavy ordnance. These challenged me to render an account of myself, and why I had had the temerity to cross the water without written permit from a leader of their band.

“Though these men were generally more or less under the influence of ardent spirits, after I had explained myself as a passing stranger, they seemed anxious to gain my good opinion. They told the story of the Dead City; that it had been a notable manufacturing and commercial mart, sheltering over twenty thousand persons; that they had waged war with its inhabitants for several years, and had been finally successful only a few days before my visit, in an action fought in front of the ruined suburb; after which they had driven them forth at the point of the sword. The defense, they said, had been obstinate, but gave way on the third day’s bombardment. They boasted greatly of their prowess, especially in this battle, as they called it; but I discovered they were not of one mind as to certain of the exploits that had distinguished it, one of which, as I remember, was, that they had slain a father and his son, a boy of fifteen, not long residents of the fated city, whom they admitted to have borne a character without reproach.

“They also conducted me inside the massive sculptured walls of the curious Temple, in which they said the banished inhabitants were accustomed to celebrate the mystic rites of an unhallowed worship. They particularly pointed out to me certain features of the building which, having been the peculiar objects of a former superstitious regard, they had, as a matter of duty, sedulously defiled and defaced. The reputed sites of certain shrines they had thus particularly noticed; and various sheltered chambers, in one of which was a deep well, constructed, they believed, with a dreadful design. Beside these, they led me to see a large and deep chiseled marble vase or basin, supported upon twelve oxen, also of marble, and of the size of life, of which they told some romantic stories. They said the deluded persons, most of whom were emigrants from a great distance, believed their Deity countenanced their reception here of a baptism of regeneration, as proxies for whomsoever they held in warm affection in the countries from which they had come. That here parents ‘went into the water’ for their lost children, children for their parents, widows for their spouses, and young persons for their lovers; that thus the Great Vase came to be for them associated with all dear and distant memories, and was therefore the object, of all others in the building, to which they attached the greatest degree of idolatrous affection. On this account, the victors had so diligently desecrated it, as to render the apartment in which it was contained too noisome to abide in.

“They permitted me also to ascend into the steeple, to see where it had been lightning-struck the Sabbath before; and to look out, east and south, on wasted farms like those I had seen near the city, extending till they were lost in the distance. Here, in the face of the pure day, close to the scar of the divine wrath left by the thunderbolt, were fragments of food, cruises of liquor, and broken drinking vessels, with a bass drum and a steamboat signal bell, of which I afterwards learned the use with pain.

“It was after nightfall when I was ready to cross the river on my return. The wind had freshened since the sunset, and the water beating roughly into my little boat, I edged higher up the stream than the point I had left in the morning, and landed where a faint glimmering light invited me to steer.

“Here, among the dock and rushes, sheltered only by the darkness, without roof between them and the sky, I came upon a crowd of several hundred human beings, whom my movements roused from uneasy slumber on the ground.

“Passing these on my way to the light, I found it came from a tallow candle in a paper funnel shade, such as is used by street vendors of apples and peanuts, and which, flaming and guttering away in the bleak air off the water, shone flickeringly on the emaciated features of a man in the last stage of a bilious remittent fever. They had done their best for him. Over his head was something like a tent, made of a sheet or two, and he rested on a partially ripped open old straw mattress, with a hair sofa cushion under his head for a pillow. His gaping jaw and glazing eye told how short a time he would monopolize these luxuries; though a seemingly bewildered and excited person, who might have been his wife, seemed to find hope in occasionally forcing him to swallow, awkwardly, sips of the tepid river water, from a burned and battered bitter-smelling tin coffee pot. Those who knew better had furnished the apothecary he needed; a toothless old bald-head, whose manner had the repulsive dullness of a man familiar with death scenes. He, so long as I remained, mumbled in his patient’s ear a monotonous and melancholy prayer, between the pauses of which I heard the hiccup and sobbing of two little girls, who were sitting upon a piece of drift wood outside.

“Dreadful, indeed, was the suffering of these forsaken beings; bowed and cramped with cold and sunburn, alternating as each weary day and night dragged on, they were, almost all of them, the crippled victims of disease. They were there because they had no homes, nor hospital, nor poorhouse, nor friends to offer them any. They could not satisfy the feeble cravings of their sick; they had not bread to quiet the fractious hunger cries of their children. Mothers and babes, daughters and grandparents, all of them alike, were bivouacked in tatters, wanting even covering to comfort those whom the sick shiver of fever was searching to the marrow.

“These were Mormons, in Lee county, Iowa, in the fourth week of the month of September, in the year of our Lord 1846. The city—it was Nauvoo, Ill. The Mormons were the owners of that city, and the smiling country around. And those who had stopped their ploughs, who had silenced their hammers, their axes, their shuttles, and their workshop wheels; those who had put out their fires, who had eaten their food, spoiled their orchards, and trampled under foot their thousands of acres of unharvested bread; these were the keepers of their dwellings, the carousers in their Temple, whose drunken riot insulted the ears of the dying.

“I think it was as I turned from the wretched night watch of which I have spoken, that I first listened to the sounds of revel of a party of the guard within the city. Above the distant hum of the voices of many, occasionally rose distinct the loud oath-tainted exclamation, and the falsely intonated scrap of vulgar song; but lest this requiem should go unheeded, every now and then, when their boisterous orgies strove to attain a sort of ecstatic climax, a cruel spirit of insulting frolic carried some of them up into the high belfry of the Temple steeple, and there, with the wicked childishness of inebriates, they whooped, and shrieked, and beat the drum that I had seen, and rang in charivaric unison their loud-tongued steamboat bell.

“They were, all told, not more than six hundred and forty persons who were thus lying on the river flats. But the Mormons in Nauvoo and its dependencies had been numbered the year before at over twenty thousand. Where were they? They had last been seen carrying in mournful train their sick and wounded, halt and blind, to disappear behind the western horizon, pursuing the phantom of another home. Hardly anything else was known of them; and people asked with curiosity, ‘What had been their fate—what their fortunes?’”


The rear of the camp of the Saints that were driven out of Nauvoo, as we left them last evening lying on the banks of the Mississippi—a very uncomfortable and distressing situation—were frequently annoyed by the firing of cannon from the opposite side of the river, many of the shot landing in the river, but occasionally some would pass over into the camp. One of them, picked up in the camp, was sent as a present to the Governor of Iowa.

The Rev. Thomas S. Brockman, leader of the mob who expelled the Saints from Nauvoo, said when he entered the city, that he considered he had gained a tremendous triumph; but there is no language sufficient to describe the ignominy and disgrace that must attach, in all time to come, to him and his associates, in the accomplishment of so brutal a work on an innocent and unoffending people on account of their religious opinions.

The settlements of Iowa on the west side of the Mississippi River were scattering, extending back about seventy miles. We passed through these settlements on our journey westward, that is, President Young and the party that left Nauvoo in the winter. We diverged a little from the regular route in order to be in the vicinity of the settlements of Missouri. Our brethren scattered wherever there was an opportunity to take jobs from the people, making rails, building log houses, and doing a variety of work, by which they obtained grain for their animals and breadstuff for themselves. We were enabled to do this while moving slowly. In fact, the spring rains soon rendered the ground so muddy that it was impossible to travel but a very short distance at a time. Soon after, when the grass grew, this divergence from the road southerly was discontinued, by pursuing a direction further north, until we reached a point on the east fork of Grand River, where the President’s company commenced a settlement called Garden Grove, then another called Pisgah was commenced on the west fork of the same river. These streams and a number of others had to be bridged at a heavy expense, which was done by the advanced parties. Our travel west of the settlements, before we reached the Missouri River, was about 300 miles. The country was in the possession of Pottawattamie Indians. They, however, had sold their lands to the United States, and were to give possession the following year. We were delayed building ferry boats and crossing the Missouri River. A large portion of our people crossed at a point now known as Omaha city; some crossed a little below, at Bellevue, or what we sometimes termed Whiskey Point, there being some missionaries and Indian traders there, who occupied their time in selling whiskey to and swindling the Indians.

We were met there by Captain James Allen, of United States dragoons, with an order from the War Department to enroll five hundred volunteers for the war in Mexico. The volunteers were enrolled in a very few days. A portion of our wagons had crossed the Missouri at this time, and the residue of our people, from whom the volunteers were drawn, were scattered on the way two hundred miles towards Nauvoo. The men, however, volunteered, leaving their families and teams on the prairies without protectors, and very materially weakened the camp, because they were the flower of the people. They marched direct for Leavenworth, and there received the arms of infantry, and then marched for California by way of Santa Fe. Their commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Allen, died at Leavenworth, and they were subsequently placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel P. Saint George Cooke. They made a march of 2050 miles, to San Diego. History may be searched in vain for a parallel to this march of infantry. During a portion of this route they were on three-quarter rations, a portion on half rations, and a large portion of it on quarter rations of bread, their only meat being such draught animals as were unable to proceed further. They were, at one time, temporarily relieved from this pressure through an encounter with a herd of wild bulls. These men were discharged on the coast of California; but the Government, finding it necessary to maintain some show of force in the southern part of California, requested a company of them to reenlist, which they did, and served for a term of six months.

The departure of all these men from our party, left a great burden on the shoulders of those who remained. President Young gathered them together to a place now called Florence, which we denominated Winter Quarters. While there we built seven hundred log houses, one water-power and several horse mills for grinding grain, and some hundred and fifty dugouts, being a kind of cave dug in the earth, or houses half underground.

We gathered up the families of the battalion the best we could, but a great many were sick. Our exposures through the season, being deprived of vegetable food, and the overwork through so much bridge and road making, brought on sickness; and all who were in Winter Quarters remember it as being a place where a great many persons were afflicted, and many died.

Our brethren who were on the other side of the river established camps in various localities. There were probably two thousand wagons scattered about on the east side of the river in different parts of the Pottawattamie country, each grove or camping ground taking the name of its leader. Many of those names are still retained, the various camping grounds being known as Cutler’s, Perkins’, Miller’s, &c.

Elders Orson Hyde, P. P. Pratt and John Taylor, left the camp and went on a mission to England. Brother Benson, accompanied by other brethren, went to the east to solicit donations from our eastern friends. I am not aware of the exact amount that was donated, but it was only a trifle. There were a few old clothes also contributed, which I believe were scarcely worth the freight. Christian sympathy was not very strong for the Latter-day Saints. But we feel very thankful to those who did contribute, and shall ever remember with kindness their generosity towards the Saints.

We were here visited by Col. Thos. L. Kane, of Philadelphia, an extract from whose historical address was read yesterday. He visited our camp and saw our condition, and was the only man, I believe, who by words and deeds manifested that he felt to sympathize with the outraged and plundered people called Latter-day Saints. It may be that he was not the only man, but he was the only man who made himself conspicuous by his sympathy towards us. It is true that we have had men come here, as merchants and officers, who have expressed to us that they did have great sympathy with us at that time. It does us a great deal of good now to hear them say so, we did not know anything about it then.

In the spring of 1847, President Young, with one hundred and forty-three pioneers, started in search of a place of settlement. We started early, before there was a particle of grass in the Platte valley. We carried our food with us, and fed our animals on the cottonwood bark, until the grass grew, and managed to get along, making the road for six hundred and fifty miles, and followed the trappers’ trail about four hundred miles more until we arrived in this valley. The whole company arrived here on the 24th of July, 1847. There were a few bushes along the streams of City Creek, and other creeks south. The land was barren; it was covered with large black crickets, which seemed to be devouring everything that had outlived the drouth and desolation. Here we commenced our work by making an irrigation ditch, and planting potatoes, which we had brought from the States; and late as it was in the season, with all the disadvantages with which we had to contend, we raised enough to preserve the seed, though very few were as large as chestnuts. For the next three years we were reduced to considerable straits for food. Fast-meetings were held, and contributions constantly made for those who had no provisions. Every head of a family issued rations to those dependent upon him, for fear his supply of provisions should fall short. Rawhides, wolves, rabbits, thistle roots, segos, and everything that could be thought of that would preserve life, were resorted to; there were a few deaths by eating poisonous roots. A great deal of the grain planted here the first year grew only a few inches high; it was so short it could not be cut. The people had to pull it. A great many got discouraged and wanted to leave the country; some did leave. The discovery of gold mines in California by the brethren of the battalion, caused many of the discontented to go to that paradise of gold.

During all these trials President Young was firm and decided; he put on a smile when among the people, and said this was the place God had pointed out for the gathering place of the Saints, and it would be blessed and become one of the most productive places in the world. In this way he encouraged the people, and he was sustained by men who felt that God had inspired him to lead us here.

President Young went back to Winter Quarters the first season, and in 1848 returned with his family. John Smith, my honored father, who was subsequently Patriarch of the whole Church, and who had been President of the Stake in Nauvoo, presided during the absence of President Young. I think that, for a man of his age and health, it was, in many respects, a very unpleasant position to be placed in, for all the murmuring, complaining, faultfinding, distress, hunger, annoyances, fears and doubts of the whole people were poured into his ear. But God inspired him, although a feeble man, to keep up their spirits, and to sustain the work that was entrusted to him until the arrival of the President next season.

In three years—1850, the idea of a man issuing rations to his family to keep them from starving had passed away; but the grasshopper war of 1856 inflicted upon us so great a scarcity, that issuing rations had to be resorted to again. Through all these circumstances no one was permitted to suffer, though all had to be pinched. I shall not attempt to give a detailed account of all the circumstances connected with our position in those trying times. But when our brethren arrive here by railroad and see a country smiling with plenty, I think they can hardly appreciate how it looked when we came.

When I first sat down on this ground, in 1847, I was dressed in buckskin, having torn most of my clothes to pieces. I had rawhide soles on my feet, and had a piece of hard bread and a piece of dried antelope meat to eat. I lay down, took my pistol in my hand, and held on to my horse by a lariat while eating my meat and biscuit, for fear the Indians might take a notion to my hair, of which I was always very choice. I took that meal near where our City Hall now stands. There has been quite an improvement since then.

The first year of our settlement here the crops were greatly injured by crickets, and many of the people gave up all hope, and it seemed as if actual starvation was inevitable for the whole colony. God sent gulls from the Lake, and they came and devoured the crickets. It seemed as if they were heavenly messengers sent to stay the famine. They would eat until they were filled, and would then disgorge; and so they continued eating and vomiting until the fields were cleared, and the colony saved: Praise the Lord! During the time of scarcity, when there was a short allowance of bread, the people were remarkably healthy, more so than they were afterwards when food became more plentiful.

In 1847 it was the counsel for every person leaving the Missouri River to be provided with three hundred and sixty-five pounds of breadstuff; many, however, came with less. The next season they were to bring three hundred pounds, the season after two hundred and fifty pounds; but in 1850 the people came with just enough to serve them during their journey across the Plains. In 1849, President Young founded the P. E. Fund. We had covenanted while in Conference in the Temple at Nauvoo, that we would never quit our exertions to the extent of our influence and property, until every man, woman and child of the Latter day Saints who wanted to come to the mountains had been gathered. In 1849, notwithstanding all our poverty, a large sum in gold was contributed by the brethren for emigration purposes, and Bishop Edward Hunter went back and commenced the work. We also recommenced the work of missions, which for a short time had been partially suspended. Missionaries were sent to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and the islands of the Pacific.

The first commercial house established here by strangers was Livingston and Kinkead’s. Mr. Livingston had about eight thousand dollars, which was all the money the firm had to invest. Kinkead was taken in as a partner, and they obtained credit in the east for twenty thousand dollars’ worth of goods, freighted them here and opened their store. They reported to their creditors that on the first day of opening they received ten thousand dollars in gold. They remained here until they made themselves fortunes, and carried gold from this Territory, perhaps to the amount of millions, and established themselves elsewhere. They were an honorable business house, but I have often reflected upon the bad policy that we, as servants of God, adopted at that time in sustaining strangers. If the ten thousand dollars which were paid into that house the first day, had been handled by some of our experienced merchants in a cooperative institution, it would have been just as easy to have furnished our own merchandise as to have bought their’s. Bishop N. K. Whitney, who was then living, or Bishop Woolley, and numbers of others were well acquainted with mercantile business; but they had been robbed of all they had, and had no capital. It only wanted unity and willingness on the part of the people to sustain their brethren in their business relations, to have laid the foundation to supply all that was ever supplied by Livingston and Kinkead.

I would like everyone to inquire for himself—What would have been the result if, instead of sustaining Livingston and Kinkead and other merchants, our people had sustained Latter-day Saints? The result would have been, that large sums of money would have remained here and been used for building up the country; and when a dark cloud had lowered over us, our brethren with this means in their possession would have been on hand to aid the Saints in defending and preserving their lives and liberties; while, as it was, the influence of the men we had enriched was turned against us, they believing they could make more money out of the Government, and get rich quicker through war, than they could by continuing their honest, legitimate business with the people here. This firm is but one; several other firms might be mentioned who pursued a similar course.

As soon as it was known in Christendom that the Latter-day Saints were not dead, but that they were alive and flourishing, and were gathering their people to the mountains at the rate of from two to five thousand a year, and that they had succeeded in reclaiming the desert, and in making grain and grass grow where nothing would grow before, it seemed as though all hell was aroused again. Federal officers were sent here, and they thought it policy to join in the general hue and cry, or at least some of them; there were a few honorable exceptions. But the majority of them raised a hue and cry against us, and it was thought so much of, that one of the rotten planks in the platform of the great rising party which con tested the elevation of James Buchanan to the Presidency, was the destruction of polygamy. This brought to our country immense armies, more men being concerned in the matter than in some of the principal battles of the revolution, or even in the war of 1812. Some six thousand regulars were marched in this direction, while teamsters and hangers on increased this number to about seventeen thousand. There were also several thousand freight wagons, and everything on the face of the earth, seemingly, that could be done to hurl into this country destruction and vengeance, was done. But God overruled it. When they got here they found that they really had been deceived. They went and established themselves at Camp Floyd, and spent their time in destroying arms and ammunition, and breaking up the property of the United States, until forty million dollars, the reported cost of the expedition, had been wasted. The armies then scattered to the four winds of the heaven. This expenditure of the Government money laid the foundation of these outside mercantile establishments which have been nursed by us to so great an extent from that time to this.

It has been believed that great benefit, financially, accrued to the Saints through this expedition; but I think that as a whole it has been a hindrance to our real progress. Very little of the money came into the hands of the Saints, but some merchandise at high prices, which might have been a temporary convenience. But it caused our people to relax their energies in producing from the elements what they needed, such as flax, cotton and wool; and also turned their attention from the manufacture of iron. The burning of wagons, the bursting of shell, and the destruction of arms, furnished much of the latter at comparatively nominal prices; hence a present benefit worked a permanent injury. The speculators who made vast fortunes at the expense of the nation soon squandered them, and part of this army, and even its commander, and many of the officers, were soon found arrayed against the flag of our country, and taking an active part in the terrible war between the North and South, the results of which are being so severely felt at the present time.

Scandalous sheets have been issued here for years, and, as far as possible, sent to all parts of the world, filled with lies, defamation and abuse, and everything that would tend to rouse the indignation of the Christian world against us, and to get up an excuse for our annihilation. These sheets have been sustained by men in the mercantile business whom we have sustained by our trade, and consequently have been supported indirectly by our money. I have been horrified at such a use of our means, and have felt that it was our duty, as Saints, to stop supporting these slanders, lest, peradventure, should they continue until they produced the designed effect, our blood should be upon our own heads.

What did we cross the Plains for? To get where we could enjoy peace and religious liberty. Why did we drag handcarts across the Plains? That we might have the privilege of dwelling and associating with Saints, and not build up a hostile influence in our midst, and place wealth in the hands of our enemies, who use it to spread abroad defamation and falsehood, and to light a flame that will again have the direct result, unless overruled by the almighty power of God, of bringing upon the Latter-day Saints here the same sorrow, distress and desolation that have followed them elsewhere. For my part I do not fellowship Latter-day Saints who thus use their money. I advise the Saints to form cooperative societies and associations all over the Territory, and to import everything they need that they cannot manufacture, and not to pay their money to men who use it to buy bayonets to slay them with, and to stir up the indignation of our fellow men against us. Our outside friends should feel contented with the privilege of paying us the money for the products of our labor, and we should exact it at their hands, as a due reward for our exertions in producing the necessaries of life in this desert.

Some may say, “We are afraid the brethren are making money too fast,” or, “We do not like to trade with them, they charge us too high.” Suppose they do, you need not buy of them; but do not go and buy of men who would use that money to cut your throats, or to publish lies about you, and endeavor to induce all men to come here and dispossess you of your homes. Do not be so mad as that. “Well,” says one, “I really want some little article that I cannot buy elsewhere.” Man’s wants are very numerous, but his necessities are really very few, and we should abridge our wants, and go to work and manufacture everything we can within ourselves; and what we cannot manufacture we can import, and save ourselves the 40, 120, 400, or 1,000 percent that we are now paying for our merchandise, and so stop building up those who are laying a foundation, openly and above board, for our destruction. And furthermore, cease to fellowship every man that will not build up Zion. Amen.

Necessity of An Inspired Leader in the Church—Christianity and Paganism—Authority

Discourse by President George A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, June 21, 1868.

The visit of the Savior of the world, his crucifixion and resurrection from the dead, the proclamation of the gospel through the nations by his disciples and apostles brought the subject to the attention of a great portion of the world. The Savior, himself, is represented as going to his own—to his own nation, to His own people, and they received Him not. He came to them with the words of life, light and salvation, but they could not appreciate them. They conspired against Him and put Him to death. He says in relation to this that it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to him through whom they come, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he cast into the depths of the sea. The offenses did come. His servants went forth and preached, and, according to the histories that have come down to us, they were all martyred with but one exception, that is John, who is represented to have been cast into a cauldron of oil. We find, however, in the New Testament, that the writings of John are the last that are handed down to us by King James’ translators as inspired writings. His three epistles, written almost a hundred years after the birth of the Savior, are the last books that King James’ translators would give to us as inspired writings. Perhaps you have reflected upon this matter. King James’ translators were learned men selected by the King to translate the Scriptures. They translated the writings of the various apostles and prophets, and then took a vote among themselves to decide which were inspired and which were not. You will remember that not one among this body of learned divines even professed to have the inspiration of God upon him. They were learned in the languages, sciences and the opinions of men, and their vote was the only test by which they decided which of these books were given by revelation and which were not. And it was perhaps only a single vote that saved the books of James, and perhaps only a single vote that cast out the books of the Apocrypha.

Now, this is calculated to make men reflect upon the position of a church without an inspired leader, without a man at its head who can ask the Lord for guidance and obtain an answer. The Church of England made no pretensions to inspiration. It had protested against the Church of Rome as being the “beast,” the “false prophet,” the “mother of harlots and abominations of the earth,” and everything that was corrupt, and had inaugurated a reformation, and established the Protestant Church of England, with the King for its head; but it had no inspiration. And this body of learned men passed their votes on these sacred books without any pretense whatever to inspiration from the Almighty. Yet “no man knoweth the things of God but by the Spirit of God.”

Soon after the death of the apostles, divisions occurred in the Christian churches on a variety of topics. They had commenced to engraft into the religion of Jesus idolatrous ideas, after the similitude of an idolatrous worship. These ideas gradually crept in for some three or four hundred years, the Christian religion being held in a subordinate position by the State; and several times the whole power of the Roman Empire was exerted to exterminate it from the earth. This course of things finally terminated in a political change, during which the first Christian Emperor arose and stopped the persecution of the Christians. This was Constantine the Great. He was, by no means, the most pious of Christian Sovereigns, but he was the first Christian Emperor, and by means of the cross for his banner he had been able to wade through the blood of his competitors and set himself on the throne of the Roman world. In the year 306 he established the Christian religion as the religion of the State, and suppressed the time-honored rites of Pagan temples and heathen modes of worship.

This change produced a tremendous influence, not only upon the Pagan, but also upon the Christian portion of the Empire. Up to that period the Christians had been oppressed and trampled down, and had even been under the necessity or burying their dead in secret. Many portions of the city of Rome are honeycombed with subterraneous catacombs excavated in the rock where thousands of Christians were secretly entombed during the time that to bury after the Christian manner was a violation of the laws of the Roman Empire; and when to adhere to this mode of burial or to acknowledge themselves Christians was liable to cost them their lives, the confiscation of their property, or liberty.

This change, however, was not wrought at once. Unfortunately for the progress of Christianity and the peace of mankind, the Emperor Julien, the Apostate, in 361 attempted to reestablish the Pagan religion in the empire. This brought on a bloody struggle, which resulted in an amalgamation of Christianity and Paganism. Idol worship had always existed in Rome. The gods of the Greeks and Romans, and the gods and goddesses that were manufactured for the occasion had temples built to them, and their worship not only directed but enforced by the laws of the Empire. But when Christianity became the religion of the State, these rites were banished and a vast amount of Pagan property was confiscated.

The rites and ordinances of the Christian religion were few and simple, when compared with the ostentatious display observed in the worship of Pagan idols. It might not be amiss in enquire what the religious ceremonies of the early Christians really were. They believed in the divine mission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and endeavored to follow his precepts. The Savior said, “Let him who will be my disciple take up his cross and follow me.” When the Savior commenced His mission He went to the waters of the Jordan and was baptized by immersion, thereby setting an example to all to follow Him. His dis ciples preached faith, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, and the ordinance of laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost, and the administration of what is termed the sacrament. In these were comprised the principal portion of the outward ordinances and ceremonies that were observed by the early Christians. They met on the Sabbath day to worship, receive instruction and to call upon the name of the Lord and to partake of the emblems of the death and sufferings of our Lord and Savior, and to witness unto him thereby that they were determined to keep His commandments unto the end.

Their places of worship were generally private houses, or such retired places as they could obtain so as to be free from the interruption of their enemies. And in connection with the ordinances to which I have referred, their religion consisted in the observance of a strict moral code. When a man entered the church by the door, that is by faith, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins and the laying on of hands, he was required to live in strict obedience to the principles laid down in the teachings of our Savior, to sustain and uphold the truth and to lead a pure and upright life, and “to do unto others as he would that others should do unto him.” These, in short, were the prominent religious observances that existed at the time of the Apostles of our Lord and Savior, who had established branches of the church in nearly all parts of the known world. But these simple principles were soon trespassed upon by philosophers. Paul, in warning the members of the church of this, says: “beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.”

The religion of the Pagan world was made up in a great measure of ostentatious display. Offerings and sacrifices of various kinds were made in temples of great magnificence, some of which were kept constantly open for this purpose. A great number of persons devoted their lives to the service of these gods. They worshipped the images of almost every creature that could be imagined, and the planets, which were generally represented by colossal statues of exquisite workmanship. The influence of these deities over the people was universal. Nations dare not go to war without consulting these oracles. Some of their temples were dedicated especially to war. There was one in Rome which was kept constantly open in time of war and shut in time of peace. And there was one period in which war was so prolonged, that this temple, dedicated to the god of war, was kept continually open for a hundred years. And everything that a zealous love of the marvelous and the wonderful could do to sustain the tottering empire of Paganism was done, and to enforce the observance of pagan rights. And to ensure respect to their ancient mythology, thousands of the disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus were put to death.

This is but a glance at the difference of the two systems. But at the time of Constantine the religion of Jesus had varied very materially from what it was two hundred years before.

Some writers dispute in relation to Constantine’s conversion. Some say that he was baptized by immersion in the old church of St. John Lateran, at Rome, which was originally a heathen temple, dedicated to the goddess Faustina, one of the Roman Empresses, who, by some historians is asserted to have been one of the most lewd women that ever lived in Rome; but who was regarded as a paragon of purity by her Imperial husband, who caused her to be proclaimed a goddess; and the virgins of Rome, especially those of patrician blood, were required to go into the presence of her statue to offer their vows previous to marriage. Saint John Lateran also contained, it is said, the font in which Constantine was baptized. But some assert, and I think Eusebius is among the number, that Constantine was a little careless in regard to the matter of baptism, and deferred it, as many persons do the making of their wills—until after their death.

This, however, matters not so much as the effect produced by this grand political change, which not only had a tendency to suppress Paganism, but it also degenerated Christianity. Thousands and thousands of Pagans—men dedicated to the Pagan service, now found it to their interest to seek employment under the new religion; and in order to make it permanent and to give it the appearance of consequence it was deemed necessary to incorporate into it some of the Pagan rites and ostentatious display. Degeneracy, almost universal degeneracy was the result. In a few centuries the religious power had grown almost equal to the former civil power of Rome.

A division occurred between the patriarchs of Constantinople and those of Rome, as to the right of supremacy. The patriarchs of Constantinople would not acknowledge those of Rome as superior in authority. The result was the establishment of the Greek Church—an organization which exists at the present day, at the head of which is the Emperor of Russia. The rest of Europe, with the exception of the Eastern Empire of the Romans, what was called the Greek empire, adopted the western faith—the Latin Church. This Latin faith became almost the law of the land throughout western Europe, and was also planted in America, especially in South and Central America and Mexico, and in Canada. It was planted in America by means of the sword. There were in Europe a great many conscientious men who could see most terrible corruption in this Latin Church, and they were not satisfied. In 1160 Peter of Waldam, a town of France, obtained the translation of the four gospels into French, and with his followers he commenced vigorously preaching against the corruptions of the Roman church, denying the supremacy of the Pontiff. One of the Reformers painted on one side of a large room Christ riding to Jerusalem on an ass; and on the other side the Pope making a triumphal entry into Rome to receive his consecration, and this called attention to the marked contrast.

A great many Christians wanted to visit the Holy Sepulchre, which was in the hands of the Mahommedans. One, Peter the Hermit, made this pilgrimage, and was treated roughly by the Mussulmen. He returned home, and commenced to preach the redemption of the Holy Sepulchre. He aroused nearly all the western nations of Europe into a furor to redeem the Holy Sepulchre. In 1095, 30,000 men started the first crusade led by this fanatic Peter. On their way they inflicted great cruelty on the Jews wherever they passed them. The expedition failed, however, and most of these who composed it perished. But the spirit to redeem the Holy Sepulchre was thoroughly awakened among the western nations of Europe, and a number of princes, warriors and men of wealth and great renown espoused the holy cause. They led magnificent armies; and hundreds of thousands bled and died on the plains of Palestine around Jerusalem. In 1099 Godfrey de Bouillion, succeeded in taking the city of Jerusalem, and the Mosque of Omar was dedicated as a Christian Church. The Crusaders kept possession for about ninety years, when it was wrested from their hands by Saladin, Caliph of Egypt, who is said to have washed the Mosque of Omar with rose water and re-dedicated it to the worship of Mahomet.

This made the nations a great deal acquainted with each other. The knights of England, France, Spain, Germany and Italy were side by side in those campaigns, which were repeated about 150 years—costing the lives of two millions of men. They fought in the common cause, and it had a tendency to make them acquainted with each other, and probably perpetuated, to some extent, that universality of sentiment which existed for so many years in regard to the Catholic faith. However, divisions arose, and the northern nations of Europe became Protestant under Calvin and Luther. Scotland became Protestant under the lead of certain very devout divines. England became Protestant under Henry VIII, who first wrote a work in defense of the Catholic faith, which caused the Pope to confer upon him the title of “defender of the faith.” He put many to death for not strictly observing the Catholic religion. He then renounced the Catholic faith through a personal quarrel between him and the Pope, and assumed to be the head of the church, and put men to death for not believing in his spiritual supremacy, so that he killed men on both sides of the question. This continued during his lifetime, and during the short reign of his son, Edward. Then she who is called “Bloody Mary” came to the throne. She endeavored to reestablish the Catholic faith, and men were put to death because they would not desert Protestantism. We all remember when we were children seeing a picture of John Rogers, a minister of the Gospel, who was the first martyr in Mary’s reign. He was burnt at the stake in Smithfield.

When I visited London, I went to the same place to preach, but the police would not let me. They said that the Lord Mayor, by the advice of the Bishop of London, had, the evening before, issued orders to prohibit street preaching. Preaching within the limits of the city had always been allowed before, but we were not allowed to do so. I believed that this prohibition was in consequence of the publication of our intention to visit London for the purpose of establishing the gospel. I do not know that it was so, but it was the first time that any Protestant had been deprived of the right to preach in Smithfield Market and in the streets on Sunday.

As soon as Queen Mary died England became Protestant again. Mooney in his history of Ireland asserts that “When Elizabeth undertook to establish the Protestant religion in Ireland, the Irish people could not understand what it was; they said the religion of England had been changed four times in thirty years.”

Now we are told by the Protestant world that they have authority which has descended to them from the Savior and His apostles. But when the division took place between the Protestants and the Church of Rome the Pope excommunicated them. He issued what were called “bulls of excommunication,” and consigned these Protestants to the lowest hell, and deprived them of every particle of authority, if they ever had any. Now, if the Catholic Church had any authority, those who dissented from them were thus deprived of every vestige of it; and if the Catholics had no authority, then those who went out from them had none. The result was that in either case the Protestants had none; and the Protestants all tell us that the Catholics had none, that they had degenerated and apostatized, and had become corrupt and wicked and had lost their power, and it was necessary to make a general reform. A stream cannot rise higher than its fountain, and the result is there was no authority among any of them. Not one of these Reformers even professed to have inspiration from the Lord, and that is the condition of the religious world today.

Are the Latter-day Saints any better off? Let us refer to the origin of this work. God called His servant Joseph Smith and conferred upon him the authority and power of the priesthood, that the work of God might be reestablished on the earth. This was necessary, because the Lord, in answer to his prayers, told him that all the sects were wrong, and that it was consequently necessary that the Lord should reveal Himself anew to the children of men. The Lord accordingly conferred the priesthood and apostleship upon Joseph, by which he could preach faith, repentance and baptism for remission of sins, and lay his hands on those who believed and obeyed, that they might receive the Holy Ghost; and also ordain men to go forth and preach the gospel to others. Joseph Smith was an obscure individual, a young man who had limited opportunities for education. But he was sent of God to preach the simple principles of the gospel of Jesus, as they were taught by His disciples. And the principal argument with which he was met was ridicule, tar and feathers, tearing down houses, driving women and children from their homes, and robbing them of their inheritances, and murdering the Elders, and depriving the Latter-day Saints of every right, human and divine. These were the arguments used against the testimony and mission of Joseph Smith and his fellow laborers. They were effective to a certain extent in destroying the mortal lives of apostles and prophets, and in bringing sorrow, grief and mourning to the bosoms of many. And when Joseph Smith fell by the hands of wicked men, the authority he held rested on the head of Brig ham Young. And by the inspiration of God he was enabled to lead Israel from the midst of their trials into the heart of this great mountain desert where God has blessed, prospered and preserved them. And from the day that God first communicated His will to man until the present, the power, wisdom and inspiration of the eternal God have never been more manifest than through President Young in the discharge of these great duties. The mantle of Joseph fell upon him, and thousands of persons were witnesses that this spirit came upon him, and that he was inspired of the Almighty to lead, guide, and bear off the kingdom.

Importance of Observing the Sabbath Day—Emigration of the Poor—Fish Culture—Producing Silk

Discourse by Elder George A. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, April 6th, 1868.

We have been in the habit of looking contemptuously on the sectarian world, so far as their habits appear to us to be indications of hypocrisy. Among them men take great pains to seem to be religious. They will put on a long face, a sad countenance, and on the Sabbath day they will endeavor to seem to be very holy. But as soon as the Sabbath has gone by, a great many men will not scruple to commit the most outrageous acts of dishonesty and corruption, thinking, perhaps, by being so very good on the Sabbath day, that the wickedness and corruption of the remaining six days will be sanctified and justified.

Well, we have looked contemptuously upon a spirit of this kind, and in so doing some of us may have failed to appreciate, as we ought, the importance of observing the Sabbath day. We may have felt that it was a tradition that we and our fathers had inherited from the sectarian world. There are many instances of our brethren failing to observe the Sabbath day. Some going to the canyon on a Saturday for wood or lumber, knowing that they could not return with their loads until Sunday; or going out to hunt cattle when they knew they could not accomplish what they desired without breaking the Sabbath. I feel a desire to call the attention of the Conference to the consideration of this subject, because it not only involves a commandment given in the law of Moses, and endorsed by the New Testament, but it has been also enjoined upon us by revelation, through Joseph Smith in the present generation; and if we neglect it we have no right to expect the blessings of God to that extent that its observance would ensure. We find on the 149th page of the Doctrine and Covenants something on this subject, to which I wish to call the attention of the brethren and sisters. It reads as follows:

“Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Thou shalt not steal; neither commit adultery, nor kill, nor do anything like unto it. Thou shalt thank the Lord thy God in all things. Thou shalt offer a sacrifice unto the Lord thy God in righteousness, even that of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day; For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High; Nevertheless thy vows shall be offered up in righteousness on all days, and at all times; But remember that on this, the Lord’s day, thou shalt offer thine oblations and thy sacraments unto the Most High, confessing thy sins unto thy brethren, and before the Lord.

“And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full. Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or, in other words, rejoicing and prayer.”

I read this simply to call your attention to the law as it has been given to us through Joseph Smith, our Prophet, and to impress upon the minds of the Elders the necessity of observing it.

We find it also enjoined upon us in a portion of section 4, of a revelation on page 160, of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, which reads as follows:

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

I have felt that it was necessary to call the attention of the Saints—the brethren especially, to this subject, because I believe it affects us in various ways. We should come together on the Sabbath day and partake of the Sacrament, and we should do no work, but what is necessary to prepare food for ourselves, or to feed our animals. We should observe the Sabbath as a day of rest, and if we do it faithfully we shall live longer; for my impression is, saying nothing about the commandment of the Lord, that nature requires one-seventh of our time for rest, and that when a man has worked fifty-two Sundays in a year, he is at least fifty-two days older than he needs to be, and has not done as much work during the year as if he had worked only six days a week and had rested the seventh. I hope our brethren will hereafter make their calculations to observe the Sabbath and thus act in accordance with the law of God. The evidence is plain on the face of the Book of Mormon, that when men commence to live in accordance with the laws of the gospel, as the people of Nephi did for about two hundred years after the Savior visited the land Bountiful, they shall begin to be stronger and to live longer. Amos, the son of Nephi, kept the records on the plates of Nephi eighty-four years, and his son Amos kept them one hundred and eleven years: Book of Mormon, pages 494-6, sections 8 and 11. Previous to this period the Book of Mormon shows that the Nephites were a short-lived race. The observance of the Sabbath, as well as the observance of every other commandment of God, has a tendency to prolong human life. There is nothing to prevent us commencing, by observing the Word of Wisdom, to lengthen our days, in accordance with the words of the prophecies of Isaiah, which says, “for as the days of a tree are the days of my people.”

There are several subjects I wish to refer to in addressing my brethren in Conference. One of them is the emigration of the poor from Europe, which was agitated last Fall Conference. Some of the brethren have contributed liberally, and sufficient means has been collected to aid a considerable number; but nothing like what was desired. Yet with what has been raised here, with that which may be possessed by some who are partly able to help themselves, we expect to bring five thousand adults to the railway terminus. We also expect to raise the wagons, mules and oxen necessary to fit up teams, and the necessary provisions and teamsters, guards and arms, to go from here to the terminus of the railroad, and bring home the brethren and sisters and their children who may gather to that point. We also want to make plans and calculations, and every man and woman throughout the Territory should feel that it is a part of their duty to contribute his or her share to accomplish this; and then to lay a foundation for setting all these people to work at something that will enable them to live and acquire a competence as well as return the means expended in bringing them here. Those indebted to the Perpetual Emigration Fund should feel the importance of paying their indebtedness; and those who are not indebted should feel alive and awake to the accomplishment of this object. It is a great and glorious work which we have undertaken, and it will never do for us to be discouraged and leave it half done.

There is another subject under consideration, which weighs very heavily upon the minds of the Saints. The Word of Wisdom recommends us to use the flesh of animals sparingly. The law of Moses prohibited to Israel the use of swine’s flesh; but in the Gentile world at the present day it is considered superior, as food, to almost every other kind of flesh. And even among us, with the education and training that we have received, there is a great deal of it used. It seems to be a pretty general idea among the people that swine’s flesh can be more easily raised than any other; but there is no doubt that, with proper care and attention, other kinds of meat might be produced with equal facility. For some reason God, by special law, prohibited its use to the children of Israel; and it certainly seems desirable that we should also discontinue its use, as within the past few years in some countries where a great amount of pork has been consumed the people have been afflicted with a kind of pestilence—a disease which is considered incurable. It is therefore wise and prudent for us to adopt plans to procure supplies from other sources. In some countries the culture of fish has recently been introduced. It was commenced, in the first place, by sportsmen for the purpose of increasing the amusement of anglers; but the French government, under the reign of the present Emperor, have commenced to stock the rivers of France with fish for the purpose of increasing the supply of healthful food to the people. This is being done successfully in New England, where rivers were formerly well stocked with salmon and other varieties of fish, though for many years they have become extinct. Laws have been passed in New Hampshire, Maine and other Eastern States, requiring the owners of mills to construct fishways over their dams, so that fish can pass freely up and down the streams, the dams having heretofore effectually prevented this.

Persons have also been employed to restock the rivers, and in this way many choice varieties of fish have been again successfully introduced. The real fact is, they are as easily raised as hogs, if the proper attention is paid to them. Our beautiful lakes—such as Utah Lake and Bear Lake—our rivers, and even our springs can, with a very little trouble and expense, be made to yield an immense quantity of this healthful food. I wish to call the attention of the Bishops and Elders, at home and abroad, to the propriety of studying this question; and if they lack information on the subject just let them drop a note to the Hon. W. H. Hooper, our Delegate at Washington, and ask him to furnish information on the culture of fish. He has it in his reach through the Bureau of Agriculture, and can send it under his own frank, and that will put you in possession of the information you require. You can feed fish as well as hogs, and they will eat a great many things you are little aware of, and with a little trouble you can procure that which will furnish an agreeable and healthy change in our diet.

I also wish to advise our brethren—the Bishops especially, to consider the propriety of taking proper measures for the production of poultry. Their flesh is agreeable and much more healthful as food than using great quantities of pork, as we are compelled to do in many instances.

I will also call the attention of the congregation to the subject of raising silk. We are anxious to dress in broadcloth, and to wear fine clothing; but there is a difficulty in the way of our sending abroad for them, for we have scarcely anything that we can send to purchase the necessary material; hence the necessity of taking measures to raise it here. The revelation given to the Church years ago to let the beauty of our garments be the workmanship of our own hands, although it has not remained a dead letter, has never been fully complied with; and it is time that we, as a people, should be thinking of some new industry by which the kinds of clothing we desire may be produced, and also have a production or staple of some kind that we can send abroad that will bring us wealth in return, instead of sending away all our money, and bringing nothing back.

It has been proven by a few years’ experience that the mulberry tree grows in this country; the climate agrees with it, and it grows rapidly and thrives well. It has also been proven that the silkworm is healthy in this climate, and experiments have proven the fact that silk of a fine quality can be produced here in abundance. Now, silk has commanded gold in all ages. It once would pay for transportation overland on the backs of animals from the frontiers of China to the west of Europe; and silk garments have been considered so delightful that they were worth their weight in gold. And in consequence of the high esteem in which it has ever been and is yet held, the trade in silk is still very remunerative. We would like to see our wives and daughters clad in the most delightful silk, but we cannot get it; and yet it can be cultivated and produced by their own nimble fingers, in this climate, just as easily as flax or wool, and at very little more expense. Several years ago in the States there was quite an excitement on this subject; but it proved a failure. The reason was that in many of the States where the experiment was tried the climate was too severe for the culture of the proper varieties of the mulberry; they would kill with the winter frosts, and then the summers were too damp or rainy for the healthy production of the worm. Our climate is peculiarly fitted in these respects. Our dry summers and mild winters are both suitable, and there is not a doubt but as fine silk may be produced here as anywhere in the world. President Young has taken pains to introduce the mulberry. He sent to Europe and obtained the proper kind of seed. It can be grown from the seed and multiplied to any extent from the cuttings. Our brethren in every ward should take this matter in hand and plant out these cuttings, and send for the silkworms, and set in operation a new branch of industry, which will employ us some six weeks or two months in the summer time in feeding and taking care of the worms; the residue of the labor—winding and manufacturing the raw material into silk can be conducted through the year. Millions of dollars worth of silk might thus be annually pro duced in this Territory, from labor that now counts very little.

The feeble, the aged, the lame, and almost any person, no matter how weakly, might be employed at this business; and silk always fetches such a price that it would pay us for sending it abroad, in addition to the amount we might use.

It is just as easy for us to clothe ourselves with silk, the workmanship of our own hands, as to go ragged. Then, I feel it, conscientiously, to be a duty we owe to ourselves as a people, and the obedience we owe to the revelations of the Lord that we should add this industry to the branches we have already commenced.

We should also take care of our sheep, and continue to erect woolen manufactories, and never relax our efforts in the cultivation of flax, hemp and cotton, for all these articles in their time and season are indispensable; and with the whole of them put together—the silk, wool, flax, hemp and cotton, we need ask no odds of mankind for clothes to wear, however beautiful we may choose to make them.

Proneness of Mankind to go Astray

Remarks by Elder George A. Smith, delivered in the Old Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, December 29th, 1867.

In the dealings of God with the children of men, in almost every age of which we have any account, we find that a certain weakness of the human heart has ever manifested itself—that is, its proneness to stray from the Lord. On almost every occasion when the children of Israel began to get prosperous and wealthy, they forgot their duty and strayed from the Lord. After Joshua had led them across the Jordan, subdued their enemies, and placed them in possession of Canaan, he called the people together en masse, and exacted of them a covenant that they would serve the Lord, who had brought them out of Egypt and had wrought so many miracles in their favor; and it is recorded of that generation that they served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the Elders who outlived Joshua. This is about as long a time as Israel ever did abide by the law of the Lord. In reading the Book of Mormon this same trait of character is very noticeable in the history of the Nephites and Jaredites. When the Elders were stirred up to preach and prophesy to the people, or when, through the scourging of the Almighty, they were brought to repentance and to the knowledge of their fathers, it would be but an incredibly short time—a few years of peace and industry with their attendant blessings—before they would again go astray from God, follow new doctrines and forms of worship designed by men, and wickedness would soon again overspread the land. This was repeated time and again by the Nephites from the time they separated from the Lamanites until their final destruction. It is remarkable, however, in the history given in the Book of Mormon, that after the mission of the Savior to this continent, and the reception of the gospel by the whole of the Lamanites and Nephites, that for several generations they remained faithful to its precepts and principles, and walked before the Lord with such a degree of humility and thanksgiving that they were prospered and blessed in all things. This is the longest period of peace, and the most like a millennium that we have any account of in any of our records where time is given to us. It is true that Enoch and his followers were more faithful than this, for it is said that he walked with God three hundred and sixty-five years; but, as we have no detailed account of the transactions in his cities, or of the regulations in Zion under his direction, we are not prepared to use the short account we have of him and his people by way of comparison.

All these lessons taught in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and by our own experience are to warn us of the danger of going astray, and to show us how prone we are to lust after the leeks and onions of Egypt, or to sacrifice principle to gain some temporary advantage or to answer some mercenary purpose; and they should be so firmly fixed upon our minds, and so applied in our lives, that nothing could induce us to do so, for however great the seeming advantage resulting from such a course, it would in the end prove a serious disadvantage, for in following it we sacrifice our integrity, violate our faith, weaken our confidence in God and our power with him, and lay ourselves liable to fall into snares from which it is impossible for us to extricate ourselves.

As I have already said, when I first read the Book of Mormon, this trait of character astonished me, and I have been equally astonished at seeing it manifested by this people during the thirty-seven years I have been conversant with their history. In relation to the Word of Wisdom, see what a variety of opinions and feelings have arisen amongst us. It is now about thirty-six years since that was given by the Lord to His people, not by commandment or constraint, but a principle with promise, and yet today many of us find it difficult to leave off our tea or to do without our tobacco. Had we, as a people, pursued an even, straightforward course in obedience to the counsels of the Almighty, many of us who today are in bondage to these and other pernicious practices would never have indulged in them.

I moved into Kirtland with five families. The question immediately arose—“Where shall we settle?” Why, right here in Kirtland; the Lord designs to make this a stronghold for a few years, and here we are to settle, which was the counsel of the Prophet.

The very first thing that occurred after this advice was that two out of the five came to the conclusion that they had better go to the neighboring town, because they thought they could gain some temporary advantage. To Chagrin they went, in opposition to the advice of the Prophet, and in a few weeks they were in darkness, and not long after they were numbered with the enemies of Zion, and were soon using all their power for the destruction of the Saints. He that gathereth not with us scattereth abroad. Joseph, the Prophet, told us to go to work and build up the cities of Zion, and not to build up strange cities. Kirtland, of course, contained but few Saints, and they were poor, and many of the brethren who were mechanics would go to Cleveland, Painesville, and other places, while the residue were willing to take the advice of the Prophet and stay in Kirtland and get what work they could among the brethren, and make improvements, and at the end of the year it invariably turned out that those who had obeyed counsel had made the most means, and what was more, they had the best spirit, and, as a general thing, they are still in the midst of the Saints; while those who went abroad, contrary to the counsels and instructions of the servants of the Lord, became darkened in their minds, and eventually apostatized. The fact is, in relation to this, that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness, and to use all our efforts to sustain His Kingdom and each other, and to sustain and uphold those who uphold the Kingdom of God, and when we neglect to do this, and suffer temporary interests to drag us to the right or to the left, we lay a foundation for darkness and destruction. However many objections we may feel to abiding the counsels and instructions which are given to the Saints, we will find, under all circumstances, that they are invariably for the best, and that, when they have not been observed, the result was unfavorable. It seems to me that most of us can look back the last four or five years and see the course that has been pursued by some in their eagerness and determination to disobey counsel. By these lessons and examples in the school of experience we ought to make ourselves acquainted with the principles of progress, and profit by them. If we will do so God will strengthen our hands and enlighten our minds, and enable us to pull unitedly together; and, when we are united as a solid mass, all the powers of earth cannot prevail against us.

Our weakness consists in division among ourselves, in not living up to our calling, in not abiding by the counsels which the Lord inspires His servants to impart unto us, and not abiding by the covenants which we make when we lift up our hands to Heaven and vote to sustain our President, or Prophet, as a seer and revelator unto us. This failure on our part weakens both his hands and ours. Brother Woolley said this morning—“We are progressing,” and there is no doubt we are, but it is slowly.

May the Lord bless us, unite our hearts, and quicken our progress, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.