The Present Crisis—The Prospects of Zion and the Fall of Babylon

A Discourse by Patriarch John Young, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, October 25, 1857.

I am glad to be here and to bear my testimony of the truth. I shall speak such things as may be presented to my mind by the Holy Ghost. I know that I have the prayers of the Saints and of the faithful servants of the Lord. I realize that their prayers are always in behalf of those that are mouthpieces for the Lord.

I realize for myself that this is a time when it is necessary that every man and every woman should enjoy the Spirit of the Lord. The time has been when men and women in this Church and kingdom could pass along without a great deal of the Spirit of the heavens to rest upon them; but I want to observe to my brethren and sisters, that that time has gone by; and no man or woman that professes to be a Saint of the Most High can stand any longer in this Church and kingdom unless they have faith in the Son of God.

Our Prophets and Apostles have long been teaching to the people that the time was near at hand when everything that could be shaken should be shaken—that that which could not be shaken should remain. You have often heard it proclaimed from the stand that the time was near at hand when the line would be drawn. The time has come that was spoken of by the Prophet Micah, when we should discern betwixt him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

I realize, my brethren and sisters, that this is the day when we need to have communion with the heavens—the day when we want the Holy Comforter to abide with us continually; for I know it is a trying time with the Saints; it is a turning point; and I know that none but the pure in heart can stand.

There never was a time since the Church was organized, that I have any knowledge of, when there was more necessity for the people being united than there is at this time; for we are told that “union is strength;” and this is what we want at this time. We all very well know and understand that we have no friends abroad in the world out of this Church.

When I consider this, I am glad that I can say today and bear testimony that there is now more union among the Saints than ever there was before, since I have been in the Church.

Can I speak good concerning Israel today? I can. I have no misgivings in my feelings; for I tell you, my brethren and sisters, the Lord God Almighty is on our side. He is for us; and who can be against us? I know there are persons who are against us in their feelings. A few such are now before me who have their misgivings: their faith is not concentrated. Sometimes they look on one side of the picture, and sometimes on the other; and sometimes, perhaps, the devils make them believe that we are all going to be blown to the four winds by our enemies.

I can tell you the Devil does not sleep in these times; and I do not believe that he has slept any for a long time; but he works powerfully with the children of disobedience: therefore I exhort you to be obedient.

“Well,” says one, “I thought we were obedient.” It is true there is a very large majority that are; but this does not prove that they are all so; and I know they are not.

I am thankful that things are as well with us as they are. I am thankful that we have got Prophets and Apostles; and I know that the Spirit of the Gods has rested upon them, and it is resting upon them; and as long as the people will be obedient and do as they are told, they have nothing to fear; for nothing can harm them. But I can tell you what the Devil is doing. It is as the Apostle said—“We are not altogether ignorant of the devices of Satan.”

Now, Satan is hard at work, and the Lord is at work, the angels of heaven are at work, the fallen angels of heaven are at work; and I tell you, in the name of the Lord, there is a mighty war. “Well,” says one, “who will conquer and overcome?” The Lord Almighty will overcome; his Saints and his servants will overcome.

I believe that the Scripture would apply very well to this people which Jesus used to his disciples—“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

You perceive that they were small in numbers, for he called them little. I can say to my brethren and sisters, “Fear not, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Zion is free, and I rejoice in it. Talk about revelation; if there has not been some of the greatest revelations given within one year to the Saints of God, then I know nothing about it. Says one, “I wish you would tell of one of them.” Well, I will; for nothing short of the Spirit of the living God, right from the Gods of eternity, could have brought our military into the organization that they are in now. I want to know how the Prophets of God could have done that without revelation? They could not have done it. Was there ever such an organization before? No, never since the days of Moses. Then they had their captains of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens; and no Prophets have gone into the organization since that time; and I contend that this is by revelation; and it was by the revelations of Jesus Christ that these things were made manifest.

I feel thankful that we are where we are at the present time. We have been driven; and sometimes I look at the present prospects of the Church and compare it with the days of its infancy, and I am perfectly astonished at the marvelous strides the work has taken. We have been driven from one place to another and afflicted, until, last of all, we have been driven into the mountains, to fulfil the words of the Prophets; for it could not have been done in any other way. The language of the poet will apply very well here—

“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.”

I thank my heavenly Father today that there is so goodly a number of the Saints in the valleys of the mountains; and I know that God will work all things together for our good. Our enemies gave the kingdom one more jog than they intended to have done. Before this we had always been in a place where they could pick up a rock and throw it, and it would fall on to us; but now they have to pick it up a good many times before it will reach us.

[Voice: “And it will fall on to them.“]

The time has come when this Church and kingdom can no more be amalgamated with any other kingdom. What was the reason that the Lord could not destroy Sodom? It was because Lot was there, and the Lord told him to go out; and when he had gone out, the city and people of Sodom were destroyed. The Lord has destroyed wicked nations at various times; and he has declared that he would destroy the nations of the earth, and that Babylon should fall; but that cannot be the case so long as this Church is amalgamated, in any sense of the word, with it; therefore the Lord has designed to cut the thread, and our independence was declared the 24th of last July; and I was glad of it, and I feel glad of it today. There is a good deal for us to do; and we are required to straighten up and live our religion, so that we may be enabled to sustain ourselves through the mighty struggle that is to come.

I realize that it is time for the Saints to look about themselves; and every man and every woman should be on the watchtower, wide awake, and have almighty faith in the Son of God, and call mightily upon his name. Although brother Brigham said here at Conference that there was not time to pray much, he meant that we should not spend too much of our time in praying; I suppose the war was uppermost in his mind, as it is in everybody else’s; but, in speaking to some brethren about it, I told them that it was all “Mormonism.”

You know there are some who neglect to pray, and there are others who pray too much—or, in other words, they do nothing else. But I think some of our sisters might be a little more diligent in their faith, prayers, and good works, while the brethren are in the mountains to stand in the defense of Zion.

I understand that some of the sisters have a great many things to attend to. I have understood that, since our brethren have gone, the sisters have undertaken to set things in order in the family. But I think they had better let that alone. I know the Devil will try every stratagem; and if he cannot make an inroad in one place, he will in another; if he cannot get into the brethren, he will try to get into their families, and he will work there and set them at variance with each other.

I tell you it is time for us to cease quarrelling with each other. We should be united in our families, in our neighborhoods, and in the kingdom of God. If we are united, we shall stand and overcome: there is no mistake about that at all. And if there should one-half of the people apostatize and go away, the other half are pretty sure to stand. I heard brother Brigham say that, if there are not more than fifty that keep the faith and are united, the kingdom will be sure to stand.

It is a great thing for the brethren and sisters to be united in the cause of truth. I have traveled a great deal among the brethren, especially in the southern settlements, and I never saw half the union, the strength, the faith that is in the people at this time; and as long as you will continue humble and faithful to the Gospel, and keep the power of God in you, then our enemies cannot have any power over us.

In every place where I have been and heard the Saints pray, they have prayed for the Lord to confuse our enemies, to clothe them with darkness, and to cause fear to come upon them; Has the Lord heard our prayers? Yes, he has; for I have noticed dark clouds to be traveling along the eastern mountains, and they move up and down as the troops move; and my prayer is, that they may be clothed with snow. That has been my prayer for some time; and I still continue to pray for darkness to cover them.

Says one, “You are a hardhearted man.” I cannot help that. I love to pray for my enemies; and in doing so I have fulfilled the word of the Lord in that thing. I do not pray so much for our enemies that are out here; but it is for the whole world. You know all mankind—every class and society of mankind have got their artillery pointed against this people.

The Devil and his emissaries are out against us. They want to destroy our Prophet and to glut themselves with the blood of innocence. There is not a spot where the Lord can tarry overnight outside of these valleys of the mountains; the rest of the world is Babylon, in the strictest sense of the word.

Oh, how the Devil does labor to diffuse the spirit of Babylon among the people. To do this he has sent his emissaries across the Plains a thousand miles to bring destruction upon the Saints of God; but the Lord Almighty has defeated them in their plans. The angel of the Lord has stood in the way as much so as in the days of the Prophets; and if our asses have not spoken, our boys have, and the way of our enemies is hedged up so that they cannot get here; and they never will, so long as the people will do as they are told. This is a comfort to my heart. How I have longed to see this day when the kingdom of God should be free—when the Saints should enjoy their rights and privileges as Saints of the Lord. This is what we have been laboring for. It is what Joseph and all the Apostles have labored for day and night, unwaveringly.

When I look back upon the exertions which have been made to spread the truth among the nations, to gather up Israel, I see that it is beyond all that can be imagined. I am not master of language enough to tell the thing as I see it; but suffice it to say that this is the Zion of the Lord—this is the only place where the Lord has a people. He has no place only with the Latter-day Saints, because the Lord will not dwell in unholy temples. He loves the pure in heart, and he dwells with them.

Brethren and sisters, let us be encouraged; for the day is ours, the kingdom is ours, all is ours; for the Lord is on our side, and we have nothing to be afraid of from our enemies. We have more to be afraid of from ourselves than anything else; and as long as men and women will do as they are told and keep it in their hearts to do good continually, they are safe.

There is no need to fear about anything. Some of the brethren and sisters feel fearful; sometimes they are weak: they do not feel to do wrong—they have no wish to violate any law, but they are subject to temptations and weaknesses.

There are some who know what it is to be driven from their homes, and that in the dead of winter, cold and barefooted; and many of those persons are here, and have survived and come up to this place with the Church. There may be trials equally as severe as those already past; but if we do right, all will be well with us. There never was a truer thing said, than that if this people have to leave here, it will be for our good, for our salvation, temporal and spiritual, and they will be better off than ever. But still, if the people will keep humble and do as they are told, they will stay here as long as they have a mind to, and then go back and build the Temple in the Center Stake of Zion.

Perhaps I do not feel right, but this is my feeling all the time—that the Lord Almighty will deliver us, and we shall find everything to work together for our salvation, for our good and welfare, and for the welfare of Zion. I never heard nor read of any people under heaven, when they were obedient to the Prophets of God—to those that led them—I say I never heard of such a people being given into the hands of their enemies.

When the Nephites were given up to their enemies, it was when they became wicked and disobedient, and made derision of the Prophets and Apostles that were sent unto them; but when they were obedient to their Apostles and Prophets and to the servants of God, then their enemies had no power over them. So it is and will be with this people.

I can speak good of Zion, for I know the people are obedient. I have really thought in some places that the people would be willing to sacrifice everything, if called upon to do it, and also to lay down their lives for the cause of God and to carry out the counsel of the servants of the Lord.

Every man and every woman seem determined to put forth their hands to sustain the servants of God in the cause in which we are engaged. It is generally said that actions speak louder than words, and with us it is as brother Grant used to say, “Yankee doodle, do it;” and as long as this people do this, all will prosper with Israel.

The Saints who are filled with the Spirit of the living God like to go and hear the servants of the Lord proclaim the words of life and salvation.

I feel thankful, my brethren, that things are as well as they are with us; and I feel thankful every day and every moment of my life, and I see and realize a great deal more than I can express; but I can truly say that I am not discouraged in the holy warfare. I have always believed, from the first moment that I heard this Gospel, that it is the work of God, and that it will stand when all other kingdoms will go to ruin and sink into oblivion.

We know that the kingdoms of Babylon must fall, and that this kingdom must rise; for we know it is the kingdom of God; and I have always known it ever since I embraced the work. I have had no doubts in relation to its authenticity and truthfulness; but all the ground I have gained and all the advancement I have made has been at the point of the sword. To be sure I have been slow, but the matter seems to be rooted and grounded in me; and my prayer is that the Lord Almighty will preserve me in the faith, and that he will keep me as in the hollow of his hand.

Everything goes to prove that this is the kingdom of God. I remember that in the rise of this Church I used to argue with the priests; and when they would contend that this was the kingdom of the Devil, I would remark that it must fall; for a kingdom divided against itself must fall to pieces.

This is the kingdom which Daniel spoke of, and I know it; and I know that there are hundreds and thousands in these valleys of the mountains that would lay down their lives before they would deny one word of the principles of the Gospel to please anybody. There are many who would suffer themselves to be massacred sooner than deny the word of the Lord; but under all circumstances they will testify to the truth.

I want my brethren and sisters to do right—to live by faith, that they may be strong and powerful, and have mighty faith in the Son of God, and power over our enemies, and strength to overcome them; and we shall, ere long, become strong and terrible in the sight of our enemies, when the children of Zion shall return to the land that the Lord has designed for the building up of a temple in the last days.

I do not wish to take up a great deal of time; but I do wish to let the people know that I feel everything is right with us as a people. I do not say it is so with every individual; but I know that there are a very large majority who are right, and they show their faith by their works. This pleases me, and it pleases all the servants of God. I rejoice in these things continually; and, brethren, let us be faithful, and we shall be immoveable; for they that trust in the Lord are to be as Mount Zion, that cannot be moved.

When I am abroad, I try to do what I can to strengthen the Saints, to build them up in the most holy faith, and to bless them, that they may prosper and become a sanctified people, that we may all be prepared for the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ; for he has declared that he would come to those that look for his coming without sin unto salvation.

I believe that the time is not far distant when the servants of God will commune more visibly with the heavens than they now do: the time will come when they will commune with the angels; and I believe there is a right place for it to begin.

I have understood, of late, that some of our brethren and sisters have got a little ahead in this respect; but they had better let such things alone, and be humble and faithful, and remember that we cannot get higher than the head; for the fountain is as high as we can go. If there are any who have a disposition to go ahead of their leaders, I think they will find themselves in difficulty. Brother Brigham says, “Tell them to go ahead.” But I can tell you they will go till their heads go against the dunce block, and that will bring them up all standing.

I do not like to see men and women that want to be a little ahead of anybody else—a little ahead of Prophets of God. The Spirit of the Lord is liberally enjoyed by the Saints generally; and if they continue, they will hold converse with the servants of God who are behind the veil. But that time is not yet.

Some of the brethren and sisters tell of their receiving visits from Joseph, Hyrum, brother Grant, and others. Such persons must look out for their ship; for, if they do not watch, just as sure as you are born, they will run under and be overcome. When a man or woman comes and tells me that he or she is visited by the Prophets and Apostles that are gone beyond the veil, and that they have these communications day and night, and all the time—that they have the opportunity of conversing with the spirits of just men made perfect—I will just say that the Devil is in them, and not the Lord. I wonder if the Lord loves them so much better than the Prophets that he would send to them all the heavenly hosts?

I do not know that it is my business to say anything about this; but brother Kimball told me I might say what I pleased. I can tell you the Devil has left the great chair in hell; for his emissaries could not accomplish what he desired they should; therefore he has come to see to it himself. Why, bless you, Lucifer has nothing to do in the world; for one of his imps can keep all Babylon going and keep them in eternal night. But let a man go through the world, having the principles of salvation in him, and I tell you the Devil and his hosts will growl. But here, in the Territory of Utah, it is different: we can stand forth and boldly declare our views and religious opinions.

Still, brethren, you need not think that you have yet got rid of them; for the devils will be after the Saints of God: therefore be careful and keep them out of your tabernacles.

“What shall I do?” says one. Why, keep your mouth shut when you have no need to open it, and the devils won’t get in at your ears. James, the Apostle, said that the tongue was an unruly member, and that it set all the rest on fire; and there is considerable truth in the saying. If you cannot keep your tongue still, put it between your teeth and hold it there until you can control it; and I will promise that, if you will do that, the Devil cannot do much with you; but I can assure you that he will play upon the tongue. And you know when he gets the women going, their tongues are as limber as a bird’s wing.

I am not in the habit of saying much about the women. But they are said to be the weaker vessel; but I tell you some of them carry mighty heavy sail. I advise you, sisters, to take in your extra sail. Talk of being the weaker vessel, and carrying such a superabundance of sail! Sisters, live in peace with each other, and do not allow yourselves to be faultfinding, but peaceable and happy together.

Some may enquire, “Do you not mean your own family?” Yes, I do exactly; for I expect they need it as much as any other.

I saw the Devil’s looking-glass once. In it the faults of others are written in capital letters, but our own are all kept in the dark. When the Devil presents his magnifying-glass, do not allow him to overcome you. I have told you to shut your mouths; and now, when the Devil’s looking-glass is brought before you, I tell you to shut your eyes. You have no occasion to read; for if you do, you will read the faults of every creature but your own, especially of those that you are most intimately associated with.

The Devil does not care how he cheats a man or a woman out of their souls, so that he is able to accomplish that. He desires to torture us all that he can. Let us get the Spirit of the Lord, and retain it; for the work of our common adversary is to overcome the kingdom of our Father, and he works in various ways and tries every stratagem in his power whereby he can afflict the Saints of God.

One of the Apostles has told us that if we would resist the Devil, being steadfast in the faith, he would leave us; and I know that he won’t have any power over us if we are faithful. I desire to be delivered from his grasp and power; for I know he is a powerful foe. He has spread his veil of darkness over the whole world, and he is acknowledged to be the prince and power of the air: in a greater or less degree he controls the elements, and endeavors to do it to the destruction of the Saints; but the Lord Almighty controls him and listens to the voice of his servants who trust in him, and he holds them as in the hollow of his hand and under the pavilion of his wings.

The reason that the people are now so much united is because they are living better than ever they were before; and the time is near at hand when there will be a highway cast up for the people of God, and their deliverance will be wrought out. The principles of salvation are portrayed from this stand; and if we deviate from that way, Satan will have power over us.

Many of you who are acquainted with the works of John Bunyan will doubtless recollect the place where he talks about the trials of Christian, and his description of the lions and the tigers in the way, so placed and stationed on each side of Christian that, if he should deviate from the narrow path, he is in the power of the lions and tigers; but if he keeps in that path, he is safe.

Now, the Almighty has laws by which he works, and he has pointed out the path, which is so plain that it has been said that a fool may see to walk therein.

Let us be careful and do our duty, for we have got the game to play. Let us be faithful and honorable and keep the Spirit of God. Let us so conduct ourselves and so order our lives before our heavenly Father, that we will feel the approbation of heaven, so that we shall have the testimony of Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord, in us day after day.

When we have this spirit in us we can say, All is well. Then, when I meet a man or a woman and ask them how they are, I can feel well, for I can see the Spirit of truth in them. I have met a number of the Saints of late, and enquired, “How is it with you?” “Oh, all is right; the truth triumphs.” There never was a time, since the kingdom was organized in the last days, when the Saints felt so well as they do now. It is so in every place. The Saints feel this same Spirit on the other side of the planet and upon the remotest island of the seas. They feel better, and why? Because ZION IS FREE! The Saints know this, feel it, and bear testimony of it.

We hear of wars and rumors of wars; and these are some of the signs which Jesus spoke of when he said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matt. xxiv. 14.)

The messengers of salvation have been sent from this place—scores and hundreds of them: they have traveled thousands of miles over deserts and mountains to go to hell, if you please, to bear testimony of the truth. I have a testimony in my heart that the servants of God who have been out for the few years past have been faithful, and they have been to almost every nation upon earth.

What will come next? Why, they will be warned by thunderings, by lightnings, by pestilence, and by fearful sights—men’s hearts failing them for fear of those things that are coming upon the earth. After their testimony, these things will come; and I know that the time is near at hand when Babylon will fall.

Let us be a sanctified people, and keep out everything that is calculated to drive us asunder; for “union is strength;” and the Lord has said that except we are one we are not his. I desire to see this people united in one.

The Lord saw that it was necessary that there should be a reformation; and he inspired his servants to call upon the people and to wake them up out of their sleep; and if this had not been done, how would it have been? How good the Lord was to wake us up by his servants who stand upon the watchtower of Zion! They have called upon the people to wake up, and the people have complied; and I thank my heavenly Father for it. There is now a good feeling throughout the Territory where I have been; there is union among the people; but still there are some things that I could wish were otherwise.

If you will be humble and faithful to the counsel of the servants of God, not a hair of your heads shall fall. I have felt to say to the brethren whom I have blessed, “If you will trust in the Lord, there is no weapon formed against you that shall prosper.” I see now the reason that I was so led; and I feel to assure them that the Lord is able to preserve them by the Priesthood, and I do not think nor feel that the brethren will have any fighting this season, but am rather of the opinion that the Lord intends to fight the battles himself, and to send them down to hell.

I am not a man of blood; but I want to see the cause of Zion flourish. I know the feelings of my brethren who have been driven by the poor, miserable devils from Kirtland to Missouri, and from there to Illinois, then across to Mississippi, and over the Plains to the valleys of the mountains; and yet the poor curses cannot let us alone.

I can tell you that the time is near when He will reign whose right it is to reign; and when the Son of Man comes again, we intend that he shall have a place where to lay his head, and not be as he was when he came before. We are but few, but we are able to do mighty things in the strength of Israel’s God. Our enemies have got the arm of Jehovah to fight against, and he will work for the salvation of Zion; for the cause of the Lord hangs upon his arm; and inasmuch as we do right, he will make this a sifting machine, and the hypocrites will be found out, Satan’s kingdom will be overthrown, the Saints of God will possess the land, and it will not be a great while before the Church will go back and take possession of their inheritances.

I can say, for the benefit of our brethren that are out in the mountains, that there are hosts of angels with them all the time. I have prayed that the Lord would be a strong tower, a hiding place, a buckler, and a shield to his people; and I know he will be.

I see that the Saints are going to be free: they are no more going to be bound with the cursed yoke of the Gentiles. You will never feel it from this time henceforth and forever. We have worn it long enough, as long as he wants us to wear it.

The servants of God want the chaff and bran to be sifted out. There is no danger of the pure wheat being hurt; for it will stand through all the processes. The pure gold will endure the burnings, and troubles, and drivings.

Jesus had enemies when he was upon the earth. He has them now, and always will have until he subdues the kingdom of Satan and reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And that this time may be hastened is my constant prayer.

May the Lord bless us all. Amen.

Blessings of Zion—Prophets of God to Be Relied On—Enemies of the Saints

Remarks by Patriarch John Young, Delivered at the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, July 12, 1857.

I feel very happy, my brethren and sisters, for the opportunity I enjoy this day in this place. I feel that the Lord is merciful unto me and unto us all as a people, and I feel much pleasure in rising before you to bear my testimony to the truths of the everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ, which have been laid before us this day by his servant brother Kimball.

I am thankful to my heavenly Father not only this day, and at this time in particular, but at all times. I am thankful that I live in the day that I do, and that I am associated with the greatest and best men that ever lived upon the earth, and that I have the opportunity of sitting under the sound of their voices, even the oracles of the Almighty, before whom the visions of eternity are passing continually, and who are competent to administer unto the people the words of eternal life.

I thank the Lord for the blessings that we as a community enjoy, and for the good admonitions, for the truth of heaven, for the principles of salvation that are from time to time made known unto us by the Prophets of the Lord. I am thankful to my God that He has gathered us from the nations of the earth where we were scattered into these chambers of the mountains, where the Prophets of the Most High can speak, as they are dictated by His Holy Spirit, the things that are necessary for them to know and understand.

I can well remember the day when the Prophets of the Lord stood up to address the people, that they did not feel that liberty which they feel and enjoy here. This was at a time when they were surrounded by enemies upon the right hand and upon the left, and when those enemies were laying plans to catch and to destroy them; and when I reflect upon this, I thank God that He has brought us to a place where we can administer the words of eternal life without fear or dismay; for we are here secluded and far away from our enemies.

I am thankful for the great and glorious principles that I have heard from brother Kimball this morning; and I can bear my testimony before angels and before my heavenly Father that every word he spoke has been by the inspiration and power of the Holy Ghost. I would like to have you tell of a time, if you can, when brother Brigham and brother Heber did not speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. I know you cannot do it; and yet there are men who are continually whining because the First Presidency are so severe upon the workers of iniquity; but I don’t feel to take off the curses, but, by the authority and power that I have and the priesthood that has been sealed upon me, I seal those curses brother Kimball has pronounced, upon the heads of the guilty.

[The congregation responded, Amen.]

I just know there are men here right amongst us who thirst for the blood of the Prophets of God; and there are those professing to be Saints who are fostering them in their hellish designs; but I pray my heavenly Father to purge out these cursed characters from among us. The time has come when the ungodly and the hypocrites are to be searched out. This is undoubtedly the time the Prophet spoke of when he said, “The sinner in Zion shall be afraid, and fearfulness shall surprise the hypocrite.” The people are better prepared for this now than ever they were; for there never was a time when light was reflected upon this people as at the present; no, there never was such a time as there is now; and I know it, if no other man does.

I have heard brother Brigham say that it should be better and more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for this people who hear the truth and do not obey it. Day after day, and Sabbath after Sabbath, the servants of God are administering the words of eternal life; and if the people do not walk in the light, it would be better for them to have a millstone tied to their necks, and they drowned in the depths of the sea, than for them to remain here and live in sin, and add to their guilt and crimes every day of their life.

Brethren, we are blest; yes, we are greatly blest: our fields are clothed with grain; they are greatly burdened with the crops that are upon them. Everything that I behold, as I travel abroad, exhibits abundantly the blessings of our heavenly Father. He is pouring out liberally of His blessings upon us; and, if we are faithful, they will be multiplied more and more upon our heads.

I am thankful to find such a good spirit among the Saints in the various parts of the Territory where I have visited. Last week I visited Utah and Cedar Valleys, and the brethren were willing to drop their scythes and come to meeting, notwithstanding it was a very busy time with them. I held meetings at both settlements in Cedar Valley, and I can say there is a good spirit prevailing there; and I feel that there never was more of the power of the Lord, nor a greater witness of His Spirit resting upon the people than at the present time. It seems as if they were willing to give their very life’s blood to sustain the Prophets of God that are amongst us. It is a matter of consolation to us all to learn that the people are becoming so united.

Now, my brethren, let us be faithful and work righteousness in this the day of our visitation; for we shall not always enjoy the blessings that we now do. Though our land is blest, and though we have peace and plenty, I do not know that this will always be the case with us; we may yet have to pass through severe trials. I know that there will always be peace to those who have the peace of our heavenly Father in their own souls. When a man has the approbation of those who are at the head of the kingdom, he also has the approbation of our heavenly Father; for He sanctions their doings upon the earth.

It is not my desire or intention to take up much time this morning; but I was desirous to bear my testimony to the truth set forth by President Kimball, a man filled with the Holy Ghost.

I wonder if someone won’t go away and say that brother Kimball and the authorities were misinformed. I can tell you they are not; for those men who stand at the head of affairs have the light of heaven with them all the time; they have the power of the Spirit and the visions of the heavens with them always, and they can read men and women from head to foot.

After this, I don’t want anybody to go away from the meeting and say, “I guess they were mistaken.” Don’t let us hear any more of it, brethren; never let such a thing be spoken, that a Prophet of God is mistaken. I ask this congregation, and I adjure you in the name of the Lord to speak, if ever you heard brother Brigham, brother Kimball, brother Jedediah, or brother Wells say anything that was not strictly true. I answer, you never did.

[President H. C. Kimball: If it were so, a man might be a Prophet one minute and a devil another.]

I know there is an undercurrent working all the time; but I tell you, my brethren, we have to stand up to the work in which we are engaged, and live humbly before our heavenly Father, and keep His Spirit with us always. This is what we have got to do, and, as brother Kimball says, save ourselves and those that are with us, and know that we are born of God and that we are heirs of salvation. It is our privilege, as well as that of the Prophets of God, to have this Spirit and this light in us; for we are the children of the light, and not of the darkness; therefore the day of the Lord Jesus will not overtake us as a thief in the night.

I feel comfortable and happy in being associated with the Saints of the living God; and I never felt more grateful for my position among this people than I do at the present time; for I realize that the hand of the Lord is with us all the day long.

When I heard brother Kimball talking about brother Thomas Marsh, it caused me to think of bygone days; for I was well acquainted with him; and when I heard what I did, I felt to thank my God that He had preserved me and my brethren from the power of the Devil; and I know that it is the Lord’s doing, and not our strength that has saved us. I feel humble, and I wish to feel so all the time. I cannot express to you my feelings in full; but this much I can say, that I have never had such an experience in my life as I have had for the year past. It seems as though the veil of darkness was rolled back; and it is so to a great extent, and we begin to know and realize that the day of our redemption draws near.

Talk about fear! We have nothing to fear from our enemies. If we have anything to fear at all, it is those of our own household—those corrupt villains in our midst, who profess to be Saints. Our enemies are entirely powerless. They used to think that Missouri could whip out the “Mormons,” and then they thought that a few counties in Illinois could do it; but of late they have come to the conclusion that it will take all the United States to whip us out; and it is true too, and then they can’t.

I knew last fall that the reformation would commence in the States about the time that it did here, and I told brother Brigham so; and I now pray that it may continue, and that they may be clothed with darkness, and that all their schemes and plans may be frustrated, and that they may be caught in their own snares, and fall into their own pits. There has never been such a fuss in the United States as there is at the present time; and I may also add, that there never has been a time when we have commenced to build a Temple but the Devil has called upon his servants to prevent us from doing the work, if possible. It was so in Kirtland; it was so in Far West and in Illinois; and I expect it will be so here; but it will all tend to roll on the work of God.

I feel to bless you—all you that are honest in heart; and I say the time has come when fearfulness will surprise the hypocrite; and I pray that we may be able more perfectly to discern betwixt him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not. This is what the Prophet said should be with the people in the last days; and he said there should be a book of remembrance kept, that those who are faithful might be his in the day when he shall come to make up his jewels. My prayer is that we may be among those jewels, which I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Testimony to the Truth—The True Yoke of Christ—Modern Prophets—The World versus the Church, Etc.

Remarks by President John Young, Delivered in the Bowery, Great Salt Lake City, Wednesday Morning, April 8, 1857.

I rise before the congregation to make a few remarks, by request of my brethren and by the call of the Spirit of my heavenly Father which I feel within me.

I do not expect to say much, nor to detain you long; but I want to say a few words, for I feel that my spirit is full of testimony this morning; and I tell you what it is, or rather some of it. I know that Jesus lives and dwells at the right hand of his Father, and that he intercedes for the Saints. I also know that Joseph Smith lives; and I can testify that I have felt a measure of the spirit of Joseph influencing the minds of the brethren during this Conference, and that, too, to a greater extent than I ever did in my life.

I feel a testimony within me that I have in a great measure been asleep; but through the mercy of God I have woke up, and I feel that the Lord has been merciful unto me and unto this people; and he verily has met us and called to us when we were afar off; and I am thankful for this: I rejoice in his mercy, his long-suffering, and his goodness.

I can tell you, my brethren and sisters, fathers and mothers in Israel, and all you that feel that you have got an uncomfortable yoke upon you—it is simply because it is not the yoke of Christ; for Jesus said, when he was here, that his yoke was easy and his burden light. I know by experience that when I have the yoke of Christ upon me, it is light; and what else do I know? I know that there are persons who complain that the Gospel yoke chafes them; and I want you to understand that such persons have not got on the right kind of yoke. [President B. Young: “That is verily true, sir.”] Now, you that have on such a yoke had better pull out the bow-keys, throw off the yoke, and then put one on that won’t chafe you; for I tell you, as the Lord God Almighty lives, it is now or never with the Latter-day Saints.

The Lord has been merciful unto us, and has called to us by the mouth of his servants and his Prophets that are here, and has given us an opportunity to renew our covenants and again receive the blessings which it is our right and privilege to enjoy.

Supposing the Lord should take away these Prophets and Apostles from amongst us, I want to know how many of this people there are who would ever find their way to heaven? There is not a man or woman that would ever do it. They would slumber, and sleep, and be lost in the darkness and confusion that envelope the world.

We have revelation upon revelation, precept upon precept, and shall I say, here a little and there a little? No. But I will say that we have handed out to us here a good deal and there a good deal.

Here is the fountain of life; and I feel that it is the duty of all to improve upon that which they receive; for this is the day of salvation, and “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?” I believe there will be no way of escape for those who are slothful and indifferent.

The other day, when brother Kimball was prophesying relative to the wheat, and also about the granaries, and endeavoring to show you the necessity of preparing for a time of scarcity, the good Spirit whispered to me and said, “What brother Kimball has stated is just as true as Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream;” and I verily believe it, and you may depend upon it, brethren and sisters, that all those things will come to pass as they have been predicted.

Do you know that we have the Prophets of God among us? There are people here, who profess to be Saints, who know but very little in relation to the Gospel which they have embraced; but I tell you that we are not only blest with a Prophet, but we have Prophets in our midst. I know that brother Brigham is a Prophet of God, and that he wears the mantle of Joseph; and I can tell you also that brother Kimball is a Prophet, and these men are filled with the Spirit of the Lord.

Do you not think that I am glad? Yes, I am, and my soul rejoices in the Holy One of Israel, and I feel more happy and a great deal better than I ever have done in all the days of my life; and I am sensible I know more of the principles of the kingdom of God; and I trust I shall learn enough to steer clear of the wickedness of men, and in the own due time of the Lord make my escape from this ungodly world.

I realized, while brother Wells was speaking, that the whole world was and is Babylon; and I realize that everything outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one vast Babylon, full of confusion, wickedness, corruption, and abominations of the deepest dye. Brother Wells also showed you that the great men in the United States are not agreed in any one question that comes before them. He also showed that this had been the condition of the world for ages.

I have found, however, that they were perfectly agreed in one thing, and that was to destroy the Babe of Bethlehem—the Church of Christ; and they are just so yet: they are determined to oppose the truth and take the lives of the Prophets of God, and their cup of iniquity is almost full. The dragon has poured out his mighty flood after this Church, and has tried his best to sweep the Saints of God from the earth. But we still live, and we intend to live eternally, despite the Devil and all his emissaries.

What does Daniel say, speaking of these days—the days in which you and I live? He says, “The kingdom shall never be taken away nor given to another people.” What have the Prophets of God been teaching us for years? They have told us, time after time, that if they had fifty Saints of the right stripe, they would rather have them than to have hundreds and thousands of those who are fearful, half-hearted, and eternally grumbling.

We live in the dispensation of the fulness of times; and all other dispensations, as the Prophet of God has said, were only preludes to this great and last dispensation; for in this day there will be the greatest work performed, the greatest miracles wrought, and more of the power of God displayed, and also more of the power of Satan, than have ever been witnessed since the world began.

I teach the people that Joseph Smith was greater than any other Prophet that ever lived, except Jesus Christ. [President B. Young: “That is true. How can it be otherwise?”] It can’t; and I tell you that he is just as active today as ever he was, and he can do more for this people and for the cause of Zion than he could when here.

In the days of Israel of old, and in all former dispensations, there have been many Prophets; but Joseph Smith stands at the head of this, which is a dispensation of all dispensations: it will comprehend and complete the unfinished work of all former days.

I thank my heavenly Father that I live to behold this day. While sitting here, I have thought of the first Conference that was ever held in this valley. It was nine years ago last October. I reached the valley during the sitting of Conference, and some of the brethren said, “The Conference is sitting; won’t you go?” So I walked down to where they were holding Conference, and I found them by the side of a haystack. There was Father John Smith and a little handful of men that might have been covered with a small tent, and they were holding the Semi-Annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When I contrast the present Conference with the one of which I have spoken, I feel to thank God, and my soul magnifies his name for his goodness in gathering his people who were then scattered by their enemies. Some were upon the Plains, a great many at Winter Quarters, some hundreds had perished by the sufferings there endured, and few had found their way to this peaceful valley, where I can now behold 12,000 persons assembled at a Conference meeting. This does my soul good, and I feel that we have all great cause to be thankful for the great and marvelous blessings conferred upon us.

Brethren and sisters, let us rejoice in our deliverance from the hands of our enemies; let us rejoice in our happy condition and in our prosperous circumstances. Let us rejoice, for the kingdom is established and never will be given to any other people.

There is one thing more which I want you to understand, and that is, that God is not dependent upon any one man or woman for the carrying on and accomplishment of his work. If you have not a mind to work for the Lord, let it alone; for he can do just as well without you as with you.

I know there are men under the sound of my voice who are bound by the chains of the Devil, and they are and will be controlled by them, and you cannot liberate them; and what is the matter? They are not of the right blood, and there is nothing right for them: they are controlled by a contrary spirit; they are opposed to everything and to everybody but themselves. I have reflected much upon this subject, and I have been led to conclude that if we could just let into their veins one drop of “Mormonism,” it could not be got away from them—I mean when the Gospel is first presented to men and women.

If the right spirit and the good seed be sown on good ground, it will bring forth good fruit. Persons who have the truth implanted in their hearts, if they are honest, will grow in the knowledge of God until they obtain a fulness.

We read in the Scriptures of a certain class of men who never come to the knowledge of the truth, and still they are said to be ever learning. I will tell you the reason why they never come to the knowledge of the truth: it is because they never loved the truth, and consequently they went the wrong way to work. There have been such men in every age, and there are just such now, and I expect there ever will be until the last and final separation.

All kinds and characters seem to be needed now, and the great net catches all kinds that come to hand, and the fishermen have got to separate them; and this is not the work of a moment, but still it is an important part of the work of the Lord.

Brethren, let us work while the day lasts; for I can tell you, as the Lord Almighty lives, that we have to act differently from what we have done: we must live nearer to the Lord, and not suffer ourselves to go to sleep any more. Have you not heard brother Brigham say as much as two years ago that if things did not go on in a different way from what they had been going, he would take his pack on his back and go into the wilderness and live his religion? Did not I rejoice last fall when he arose in this stand and said that the time had come when the people must reform and keep the law of God? It brought to my mind the dream which I had respecting the lions, the dogs, and the tigers. It was revealed to me in that dream that those men who lead this people are the Lions of the Lord; and I know they will overcome the dogs.

There has been a great work done in this Territory: the people have reformed, and there are a great number of men in this congregation who have been engaged in the work of reformation the past winter; and I know that the Spirit of God is with them. I also know that a very large majority of the people want to live their religion.

I want to tell you something right here that I have told the people in the districts where I have visited. I have told them to look at the bait before they swallowed the hook. I tell you, our religion is full of common sense; and I know that common sense has got to have an important place in the mind of every man and woman; and when the Spirit of God operates upon the minds of the Saints, it teaches them that which is consistent.

If you and I keep humble, and keep a childlike spirit, and never have anything about us but that kind of an influence, then, if a spirit approaches that is not of the Lord, we shall know it. Let us control our tongues, for James says the tongue is an unruly member and sets all on fire; and I can tell you how you may escape. When an unruly spirit approaches you, just hold your tongue, and then the fire which is connected with that spirit won’t hurt you. I tell you, those wicked persons that come to annoy and disturb the peace of the Saints of God will have the fire of hell in them. [Voice: “And swallow the hook without the bait.”]

When I go into the company of a man, I know what kind of a spirit he has about him; and you can know it also, if you will carry with you the right spirit. The Lord has not given me anything that he is not willing for you to have; therefore, strive to have in you that Spirit which will enable you to discern the evil from the good.

Let us live our religion and become sanctified before the Lord, and remember that we are playing a game now which is not only for the time present; but we are now acting a part that will establish our character for a very long hereafter: therefore, let us so order our lives that we may not look back with regret, when we have passed through this probation, that we have not lived better and done better.

I pray God to have mercy upon us and keep us humble, that we may perform well our part, and eventually be prepared for the rest that is promised to the people of God.

I cannot express how thankful I feel when I think that I am living in the midst of a people where there are Prophets and Apostles. Brother Woodruff said that he was glad that he had the privilege of living in such a day and amongst such a people; and I know there are a great many who feel just as he does, but they cannot all speak here and tell of it. I know that I rejoice in the privileges of the Gospel, and I wish to encourage my brethren and sisters to be faithful, to be diligent and prayerful, and always be ready to observe and carry out the counsel of our superiors. Let us be united, for in our union consists our strength.

I do not feel to detain the congregation, but this is my testimony and my exhortation to the Saints; and I know that these men who lead us are true, faithful, and valiant; and if we follow their instructions, we shall be landed safely in the haven of rest.

I can tell you there is a vast difference between a drover and a shepherd: the shepherd leads the flock. This was the way the ancient shepherds of Israel did, and it is the way they do now in many of the eastern countries; and this is the way for shepherds to do with the flock of Christ.

If you undertake to drive people into heaven, you will have a job on hand. I would just as soon undertake to drive an antelope into Emigration Canyon. If we cannot lead them there, we cannot get them there at all; and if we should happen to drive a few through the gate, we should have to stand there with clubs in order to keep them there; for I can assure you that heaven is no place for anyone who has to be driven in order to get him there.

It is said that the husbandman is the first to partake of the fruit of the garden and the field, and he then administers it to others; and I want to know if you think you can administer that which you have not got? Now, I can assure you, there is a great deal in these things for you and I to understand; and if we will apply our minds, we shall learn many important lessons. I want to know if you ever heard anything from the Prophets of God about driving people into heaven? Did they ever teach you a doctrine of this kind? No: but it is, “Come, come,” all the day long.

In the days of Jesus there was a spirit of this kind, and the people could not get any of the “holy water” without paying for it; for there were so many picayunish fools around trying to carry out their own will, and they would neither go into heaven themselves nor allow any one else the privilege; but Jesus came along with the key and opened a door and told the people to come. Yes, he cried, “Come, all ye that thirst, and drink of the waters of life freely.”

I thank God that we can partake of those waters of life now, without money and without price. The Lord has chosen us according to his promise; for he has said that he would choose the poor to be heirs of his kingdom. When I think of his goodness, I feel to say, Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, all ye his Saints! Amen.

Church Built on a Rock—Efforts of Satan—The Priesthood

An Oration by Elder John Young, Delivered on the Northwest Corner Stone of the Temple at Great Salt Lake City, after the Presidency of the High Priests’ Quorum, and the Presidency and the High Council of the Stake had laid the Stone, April 6, 1853.

Brethren and Sisters—I have not a written oration to read before you, but shall content myself with simply expressing the feelings that pervade my breast on this interesting occasion. What I say, will come at once from the fountain of my heart.

I have one thing to say particularly—that this is the best day I ever saw in all my life. I realize that I am greatly blessed, in connection with my brethren and sisters of this Church, that I am permitted to live to see the present day, and to stand upon this rock, which is the Northwest Corner Stone of a Temple that is to be built upon this ground, which Stone we have laid in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I firmly believe that, as we stand upon this rock, so is the Church of Latter-day Saints founded upon the rock of eternal ages. My continual prayer and desire are, that we may live to see a Temple built to the name of the Most High God. I feel myself honored of God and my brethren, in having the opportunity of standing here today, in speaking, and realizing what I have, since I came on the Temple ground.

I hope we shall see the Capstone brought on with shouts of joy. I believe we shall, if we remain faithful in the cause of truth.

I very well know that, at the commencement of the Temples that have heretofore been built to the name of the Lord, by this people, the devil has always moved his artillery with greater power and activity at that time. This is the foundation of the fourth Temple that the Latter-day Saints have laid; and I pray that we shall all feel nerved up with power to accomplish the great and glorious work which we are called to perform.

For my own part, I am sensible that I have not long to stay upon the earth, but I have a great desire to live in connection with my brethren, to see this Temple completed. I believe we shall.

My chief interest in living on the earth is to see the work of the Lord prosper, and to assist all in my power to roll it forth; and why I say this is the best day I ever saw upon the earth, is because the prospects for the advancement of the kingdom of God are greater now than ever I saw them before in my days. I have always, in all my life, been desirous to see the cause of the Lord prosper on the earth, but more especially so since I found a true Church founded by the Prophet of God.

We have Prophets among us—a Seer and Revelator, and also Apostles of Jesus Christ. Do I not know that I am standing this day in the presence of the greatest men that are to be found upon the footstool of God? My voice is now sounding in the ears of the greatest men that are this side of eternity, and I know it. If I should stand before all the kings, potentates, and princes of the earth, in one general assembly, the comparison would not begin to bear with the present occasion. They are men chosen by the people alone, and destitute of the power of an eternal Priesthood. These are the mighty chieftains of Israel, called and appointed by the Lord of Hosts, clothed with salvation and eternal lives, and sent for a blessing to the faithful.

I am thankful and happy. I have not language sufficient at my command to express, in full, my feelings. If I did not make a written oration, it has fallen to my lot to make a few verbal remarks. I am proud to stand here with my brethren, and pray that the power of the Spirit of God may rest upon His people, that they may prosper exceedingly, and bud and blossom like a fruitful bough upon the mountains. I have felt, while these Stones were being laid, that the angels of God were round about us. And may a convoy of them continually attend this holy spot, until all the things we desire to do for the glory of our Heavenly Father, and the extension of His cause on earth, are accomplished, which is my prayer. Amen.