Man a Mortal and An Immortal Being—Temporal and Spiritual Death—Redemption Through the Atonement and Gospel of Christ—Sons of Perdition—Man’s Pre-Existent, Disembodied and Resurrected States—Jesus Christ the Great Example—The Righteous to Be Conformed to His Image—His Similarity to the Father—His Mission not Completed at His Death—His Resurrection and the Redemption of Humanity

Discourse by President Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday, June 18, 1882.

We are called mortal beings because in us are the seeds of death, but in reality we are immortal beings because there is also within us the germ of eternal life. Man is a dual being, composed of the spirit which gives life, force, intelligence and capacity to man, and the body which is the tenement of the spirit and is suited to its form, adapted to its necessities, and acts in harmony with and to its utmost capacity yields obedience to the will of the spirit. The two combined constitute the soul. The body is dependent upon the spirit, and the spirit during its natural occupancy of the body is subject to the laws which apply to and govern it in the mortal state. In this natural body are the seeds of weakness and decay, which, when fully ripened or untimely plucked up, in the language of scripture, is called “the temporal death.” The spirit is also subject to what is termed in the scriptures and revelations from God, “spiritual death.” The same as that which befell our first parents, when through disobedience and transgression, they be came subject in the will of Satan, and were thrust out from the presence of the Lord and became spiritually dead, which the Lord says, “is the first death, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say: Depart, ye cursed!” And the Lord further says, “But, behold I say unto you that I, the Lord God, gave unto Adam and unto his seed, that they should not die as to the temporal death, until I, the Lord God, should send forth angels to declare unto them repentance and redemption (from the first death), through faith on the name of mine Only Begotten Son. And thus did I, the Lord God, appoint unto man the days of his probation—that by his natural death he might be raised in immortality unto eternal life, even as many as would believe; And they that believe not unto eternal damnation; for they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, because they repent not.” From the natural death, that is the death of the body, and also from the first death, “which is spiritual” there is redemption through belief on the name of the “only Begotten Son,” in connection with repentance and obedience to the ordinances of the Gospel, declared by holy angels, for if one “believes,” he must also obey; but from the “second death,” even that same death which is the first death, “which is spiritual,” and from which man may be redeemed through faith and obedience, and which will again be pronounced upon the wicked when God shall say, “depart ye cursed,” there is no redemption, so far as light on this matter has been revealed. It is written that “all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men who receive me and repent; but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven unto men.” If men will not repent and come unto Christ, through the ordinances of His Gospel, they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall, but must remain forever subject to the will of Satan and the consequent spiritual darkness or death into which our first parents fell, subjecting all their posterity thereto, and from which none can be redeemed but by belief or faith on the name of the “Only Begotten Son” and obedience to the laws of God. But, thanks be to the Eternal Father, through the merciful provisions of the Gospel all mankind will have the opportunity of escape or deliverance from this spiritual death either in time or in eternity, for not until they are freed from the first can they become subject unto the second death, still if they repent not “they cannot be redeemed from their spiritual fall,” and will continue subject to the will of Satan, the first spiritual death, so long as “they repent not.” I have been speaking of those who repent not, and there by reject Christ and His Gospel, but what of those who do believe, repent of their sins, obey the Gospel, enter into its covenants, receive the keys of the Priesthood and the knowledge of the truth by revelation and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and afterwards turn away wholly from that light and knowledge? They “become a law unto themselves,” and “will to abide in sin,” of such it is written, “Whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom, shall not have forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come.” And again—“Thus saith the Lord concerning all those who know my power, and who have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome and to deny the truth and defy my power—They are they who are the sons of perdition, of whom I say that it had been better for them never to have been born; For they are vessels of wrath, doomed to suffer the wrath of God, with the devil and his angels in eternity; Concerning whom I have said there is no forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come—Having denied the Holy Spirit after having received it, and having denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame.” Now, there is a difference between this class and those who simply repent not and reject the Gospel in the flesh. Of these latter it is written, “they shall be brought forth by the resurrection of the dead, through the triumph and the glory of the Lamb,” and “shall be redeemed in the due time of the Lord, after the sufferings of his wrath.” But of the others it is said, “they shall not be redeemed,” for “they are the only ones on whom the second death shall have any power.” The others never having been redeemed from the first, cannot be doomed to the second death, or in other words, cannot be made to suffer eternally the wrath of God without hope of redemption through repentance, but must continue to suffer the first death until they repent, and are redeemed therefrom through the power of the atonement and the Gospel of salvation, thereby being brought to the possession of all the keys and blessings to which they will be capable of attaining or to which they may be entitled through the mercy, justice and power of the ever-living God, or on the other hand forever remain bound in the chains of spiritual darkness, bondage and banishment from his presence, kingdom and glory. The “temporal death” is one thing, and the “spiritual death” is another thing. The body may be dissolved and become extinct as an organism, although the elements of which it is composed are indestructible or eternal, but I hold it as self-evident that the spiritual organism is an eternal, immortal being, destined to enjoy eternal happiness and a fullness of joy, or suffer the wrath of God, and misery—a just condemnation, eternally. Adam became spiritually dead, yet he lived to endure it until freed therefrom by the power of the atonement, through repentance, etc. Those upon whom the second death shall fall, will live to suffer and endure it, but without hope of redemption. The death of the body or natural death is but a temporary circumstance to which all were subjected through the fall and from which all will be restored or resurrected by the power of God, through the atonement of Christ.

Man existed before he came to this earth, and he will exist after he passes from it; and will continue to live throughout the countless ages of eternity.

There are three classes of beings, or rather man exists in three separate conditions before and after his probation upon this earth—first in the spirit or pre-existent state, second in the disembodied state, the condition which exists after the dissolution of the body and spirit until the resurrection takes place, and third in the resurrected state. For instance, some fourteen hundred years before the coming of Christ into the world to sojourn in the flesh, he showed himself to the brother of Jared and said, “Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.” He further declared, “Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ.” Here “Jesus showed himself unto this man in the spirit, even after the manner and in the likeness of the same body even as he showed himself unto the Nephites”—that is prior to his coming in the flesh. This I consider typical of the first condition of all spirits. Again it is written, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water,” etc. Thus we see that while the body of our Savior slept in the tomb, He went in the spirit, and preached His glorious Gospel to “the spirits in prison,” who were disobedient in the days of Noah, and were destroyed in the flesh by the flood. This was their second condition or state in the spirit awaiting the resurrection of their bodies which were slumbering in death. “Marvel not at this,” saith Jesus, “for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his (the Redeemer’s) voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” In reference to the third condition or state we will refer to the account given of the risen Redeemer before his ascension. John tells us that he appeared unto his disciples three times after his resurrection, on which occasions he ate bread, broiled fish and honeycomb, and opened the eyes of their understanding, that they began to comprehend the Scriptures and the prophecies concerning Christ. But when he appeared unto them “they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see me; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” Here is presented the true type of the resurrected being. And after this manner are all those who have their resurrected bodies, and there are many of these, for we are told in the scriptures, that, “the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” This class of beings dwell in heaven, or in the paradise of the just, having been counted worthy to come forth in the first resurrection, even with Christ, to dwell with him and to be associates with and members of the kingdom of God and his Christ. These comprise the three conditions or estates of man in heaven. Not all, however, of the disembodied spirits enjoy the same privileges, exaltation and glory. The spirits of the wicked, disobedient, and unbelieving are denied the privileges, joy and glory of the spirits of the just and the good. The bodies of the Saints will come forth in the first resurrection, and those of the unbelieving, etc., in the second or last. In other words, the Saints will rise first, and those who are not Saints will not rise until afterwards, according to the wisdom, justice and mercy of God.

Christ is the great example for all mankind, and I believe that mankind were as much foreordained to become like him, as that he was foreordained to be the Redeemer of man. Whom God did foreknow—and whom did he not foreknow? “He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” It is very plain, that mankind are very far from being like Christ, as the world is today, only in form of person. In this we are like him, or in the form of his person, as he is the express image of His Father’s person. We are therefore in the form of God, physically, and may become like him spiritually, and like him in the possession of knowledge, intelligence, wisdom and power.

The grand object of our coming to this earth is that we may become like Christ, for if we are not like him, we cannot become the sons of God, and be joint heirs with Christ.

The man who passes through this probation, and is faithful, being redeemed from sin by the blood of Christ, through the ordinances of the Gospel, and attains to exaltation in the kingdom of God, is not less but greater than the angels, and if you doubt it read your Bible, for there it is written that the Saints shall “judge angels,” and also they shall “judge the world.” And why? Because the resurrected, righteous man has progressed beyond the pre-existent or disembodied spirits, and has risen above them, having both spirit and body as Christ has, having gained the victory over death and the grave, and having power over sin and Satan, in fact having passed from the condition of the angel to that of a God. He possesses keys of power, dominion and glory that the angel does not possess—and cannot possess without gaining them in the same way that he gained them, which will be by passing through the same ordeals and proving equally faithful. It was so ordained when the morning stars sang together, before the foundations of this earth were laid. Man in his pre-existent condition is not perfect, neither is he in the disembodied estate. There is no perfect estate but that of the risen Redeemer, which is God’s estate, and no man can become perfect except he becomes like them. And what are they like? I have shown what Christ is like, and he is like his Father, but I will refer to an undoubted authority to this people, on this point, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” Doc. and Cov., Sec. 130. There is not time to refer to the many scriptural passages which might be cited in proof of these important facts, enough already has been referred to, to place the matter beyond a doubt.

It is believed by many in the Christian world, that our Savior finished his mission when he expired upon the cross, and his last words on the cross, as given by the Apostle John—“it is finished,” are frequently quoted as evidence of the fact; but this is an error. Christ did not complete his mission upon the earth until after his body was raised from the dead. Had his mission been completed when he died, his disciples would have continued fishermen, carpenters, etc., for they returned to their several occupations soon after the crucifixion, not yet knowing the force of their holy calling, nor understanding the mission assigned them by their Master, whose name would soon have been buried with his body in the grave to perish and be forgotten, “For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” But the most glorious part of his mission had to be accomplished after the crucifixion and death of his body. When on the first day of the week some of the disciples went to the tomb with certain preparations for the body of their Lord, they were met there by two men clothed in “shining garments,” who said unto them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And not until then did the disciples remember these words of the Savior, or begin to understand their meaning. Why were they thus forgetful, and seemingly ignorant of all they had been taught by the Savior respecting the objects of his mission to the earth? Because they lacked one important qualification, they had not yet been “endowed with power from on high.” They had not yet obtained the gift of the Holy Ghost. And the presumption is, they never would have received this important and essential endowment had Christ’s mission been completed at the time of his death. It may seem strange to some who may not have reflected on this matter fully, that the disciples of Christ were without the gift of the Holy Ghost until after his resurrection. But so it is written, notwithstanding the Savior on one occasion declared, “Blessed art thou Simon, etc., for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” While Jesus was with them he was their light and their inspiration. They followed him by sight, and felt the majestic power of his presence, and when these were gone they returned to their nets and to their various occupations and to their homes saying, “we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel, but the chief priests and our rulers have delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.” No wonder that Jesus exclaimed unto some of them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken.”

If the Disciples had been endowed with the “gift of the Holy Ghost,” or “with power from on high,” at this time, their course would have been altogether different from this as the sequel abundantly proved. If Peter, who was the chief Apostle, had received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and the power and testimony thereof prior to the terrible night on which he cursed and swore and denied his Lord, the result would have been very different with him, for then he would have sinned against “light and knowledge,” and “against the Holy Ghost,” for which there is no forgiveness. The fact, therefore, that he was forgiven, after bitter tears of repentance, is an evidence that he was without the witness of the Holy Ghost, never having received it. The other disciples or apostles of Christ were precisely in the same condition, and it was not until the evening of the day on which Jesus came out of the grave, that he bestowed upon them this inestimable gift. John gives a careful description of this important event which concludes as follows: “Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them,” etc. This was their glorious commission, and now were they prepared to receive the witness of the Spirit—even the testimony of Jesus Christ. Yet they were told to “tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high,” which they did. Jesus further told them that if he went not away the “Comforter”—that is the Holy Ghost—would not come unto them, but if he went away he would “send him,” and he it was who should testify of Christ, and of the Father, and bring to their remembrance “all things whatsoever” he had commanded or taught them, and it should “lead them into all truth.” Thus we see that the resurrection from the dead, not only of Christ but of all mankind, in the due time of the Lord; the endowment of the Apostles with the Holy Ghost, and their glorious commission from Christ, being sent out by him as he was sent by the Father; the opening of the eyes of the disciples to understand the prophecies of the Scriptures, and many other things did Jesus after he cried out upon the cross, “it is finished.” Further, the mission of Jesus will be unfinished until he redeems the whole human family, except the sons of perdition, and also this earth from the curse that is upon it, and both the earth and its inhabitants can be presented to the Father redeemed, sanctified and glorious.

Things upon the earth, so far as they have not been perverted by wickedness, are typical of things in heaven. Heaven was the prototype of this beautiful creation when it came from the hand of the Creator, and was pronounced “good.”

Much might be said in continuation of this subject, but I see that my time has expired. Amen.

The Laws of God and the Laws of the Land—The Saints An Obedient and Law-Abiding People—Their Persecutions Productive of Prosperity—Their Past and Prospective Experience and Eventual Triumph

Discourse by President Joseph F. Smith, delivered at the General Conference, on Sunday, April 9th, 1882.

Nearly all the brethren who have spoken at this Conference have referred to the circumstances in which we, as a people, are now placed; and it would seem unnecessary for me to make any further reference to this all-prevailing subject with which the people generally are more or less familiar, and in which we necessarily are considerably interested. But while the brethren who have spoken have merely referred to some of the sayings of the Prophet Joseph, and to items in the revelations through him, to the Church, I feel impressed to read in the hearing of the congregation one or two passages from the revelations previously referred to. I will, therefore, call the attention of the congregation to a verse or two in the revelation given in 1831, which will be found on page 219 of the Doctrine and Covenants:

“Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.

“Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet.

“Behold, the laws which ye have received from my hand are the laws of the church, and in this light ye shall hold them forth. Behold, here is wisdom.”

The following I quote from a revelation given December, 1833, page 357:

“According to the laws and the constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;

“That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.

“Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.

“And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.”

Again, in a revelation on page 342:

“And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people shall observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.

Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;

And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil.

I, the Lord God, make you free, therefore ye are free indeed; and the law also maketh you free.

Nevertheless, when the wicked rule the people mourn.

Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; otherwise whatsoever is less than these cometh of evil.

And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.

And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.

Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.

For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.”

This, as I understand it, is the law of God to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in all the world. And the requirements here made of us must be obeyed, and practically carried out in our lives, in order that we may secure the fulfillment of the promises which God has made to the people of Zion. And it is further written, that inasmuch as ye will do the things which I command you, thus saith the Lord then am I bound; otherwise there is no promise. We can therefore only expect that the promises are made and will apply to us when we do the things which we are commanded.

We are told here that no man need break the laws of the land who will keep the laws of God. But this is further defined by the passage which I read afterwards—the law of the land, which all have no need to break, is that law which is the Constitutional law of the land, and that is as God himself has defined it. And whatsoever is more or less than this cometh of evil. Now it seems to me that this makes this matter so clear that it is not possible for any man who professes to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make any mistake, or to be in doubt as to the course he should pursue under the command of God in relation to the observance of the laws of the land. I maintain that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has ever been faithful to the constitutional laws of our country. I maintain also, that I have a right to this opinion, as an American citizen, as one who was not only born on American soil, but who descended from parents who for generations were born in America. I have a right to interpret the law in this manner, and to form my own conclusions and express my opinions thereon, regardless of the opinions of other men.

I ask myself, What law have you broken? What constitutional law have you not observed? I am bound not only by allegiance to the government of the United States, but by the actual command of God Almighty, to observe and obey every constitutional law of the land, and without hesitancy I declare to this congregation that I have never violated, nor transgressed any law, I am not amenable to any penalties of the law, because I have endeavored from my youth up to be a law-abiding citizen, and not only so, but to be a peacemaker, a preacher of righteousness, and not only to preach righteousness by word, but by example. What therefore have I to fear? The Lord Almighty requires this people to observe the laws of the land, to be subject to “the powers that be,” so far as they abide by the fundamental principles of good government, but He will hold them responsible if they will pass unconstitutional measures and frame unjust and proscriptive laws, as did Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, in relation to the three Hebrew children and Daniel. If lawmakers have a mind to violate their oath, break their covenants and their faith with the people, and depart from the provisions of the Constitution where is the law human or divine, which binds me, as an individual, to outwardly and openly proclaim my acceptance of their acts?

I firmly believe that the only way in which we can be sustained in regard to this matter by God our Heavenly Father is by following the illustrious examples we find in holy writ. And while we regret, and look with sorrow upon the acts of men who seek to bring us into bondage and to oppress us, we must obey God, for He has commanded us to do so; and at the same time He has declared that in obeying the laws which He has given us we will not necessarily break the constitutional laws of the land.

I wish to enter here my avowal that the people called Latter-day Saints, as has been often repeated from this stand, are the most law-abiding, the most peaceable, long-suffering and patient people that can today be found within the confines of this republic, and perhaps anywhere else upon the face of the earth; and we intend to continue to be law-abiding so far as the constitutional law of the land is concerned; and we expect to meet the consequences of our obedience to the laws and commandments of Godlike men. These are my sentiments briefly expressed, upon this subject.

Now I desire to read another passage in a revelation given in 1834, which will be found on page 364 of the Doctrine and Covenants, commencing at the first verse:

“Verily I say unto you, my friends, behold, I will give unto you a revelation and commandment, that you may know how to act in the discharge of your duties concerning the salvation and redemption of your brethren, who have been scattered on the land of Zion;

Being driven and smitten by the hands of mine enemies, on whom I will pour out my wrath without measure in mine own time.

For I have suffered them thus far, that they might fill up the measure of their iniquities, that their cup might be full;

And that those who call themselves after my name might be chastened for a little season with a sore and grievous chastisement, be cause they did not hearken altogether unto the precepts and commandments which I gave unto them.

But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them.

Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour.

And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.

But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.

For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men.;

And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.

But verily I say unto you, I have decreed that your brethren which have been scattered shall return to the land of their inheritances, and build up the waste places of Zion.”

It is somewhere written as the word of God, that the enemies of the people of Zion can do nothing against but for Zion. Now let us review for a few moments the history of the Church, and see how far the acts of the enemies of this people have gone towards nullifying those words.

When Joseph first looked upon the face of the Father and the Son in 1820, until the Book of Mormon was translated and published to the world in 1829, his enemies did not cease their efforts to destroy him; they sought his life continually; they blackened his character; they maligned and proscribed him, and his name was cast out as evil among all men. But mark you, at the beginning of this period Joseph was a lad of a little over fourteen years of age; and during the nine years of persecution he was but a boy; he had no vast congregation as we see before us this morning to sustain, encourage, or cheer him in his ministry and labors. He stood alone in the world, friendless and despised, cast out, maligned and persecuted on every hand. But did the work cease? Did his enemies prevent him from performing the mission which he had been sent to accomplish? They tried and they did their utmost. They not only made frequent attempts to imprison him under the law, but they made several attempts to take his life, and thus stop the progress of the work in which he was engaged. They spared neither pains nor means, nor did they shrink from hypocrisy, falsehood and misrepresentation to accomplish their purposes; but they signally failed, and he continued to steadily pursue his course, and performed his work, translated the plates, published the Book of Mormon, and in 1830 organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, according to the law of the land.

When the Book of Mormon was published and the Church organized, did they cease their endeavors? Did the hatred of the world diminish? Did the wicked stop their persecutions? Did they refrain from slandering, misrepresenting, and otherwise attempting to obstruct the progress of this work? No, they did not, but on the contrary, as the work developed, as the Church increased in numbers and began to spread on the right and on the left, the feeling of hatred, animosity, bitterness and persecution increased proportionately, and as the Church became stronger, her enemies become more numerous and gained strength. But notwithstanding, we moved on; built a Temple in Kirtland, Ohio, from whence we colonized Jackson County, Missouri. We were afterwards driven into Clay, Caldwell and Davies’s Counties, Missouri, where we founded new colonies. Like the snowball starting from the summit of the mountain which gathers not only in bulk but in velocity, so did the work of God increase in the midst of the opposition, persecution and hatred of the world. In the midst of all the powers that were exerted to stop it, it moved right on. But did they succeed in expelling our people from Jackson County, and finally from the State of Missouri? Yes, they drove the Saints from their homes, deprived them of their rights as citizens and freemen, murdered many of them in cold blood, while others they confined in dungeons feeding them on the flesh, (as those heartless wretches themselves boasted) of their own brethren; and they dispersed the people, as they supposed, to the four winds of heaven, rejoicing in the belief that they had finally consummated the destruction of the “Mormons.” But like the phoenix rising from the ashes of its supposed destruction, they gathered like swarms of bees in Illinois, founded a city, and built another Temple, which cost a million dollars—the most beautiful structure in the Western States at that time; and they continued to thrive. Here they gained something which they never possessed before, a city charter granted to them by the State government of Illinois. They soon became notable for their union and their tenacity to the principles which they had espoused, for their faith in God and in His servant the Prophet, for their unconquerable, irrevocable will to prosecute what they knew to be the work of God, and to accomplish, so far as in their power lay, His purposes and designs, concerning this great latter-day work.

In all these vicissitudes and during all the persecutions of fourteen years which were as ceaseless against the Prophet Joseph as the forces of nature are endless, did they diminish the numbers of Saints? Did they break the Saints to pieces? Did they destroy them? No; you know they did not and it seems that our enemies themselves are fully aware of this fact. But when they thought they had torn up “Mormonism” by the roots and cast it out to dry up and wither under the parching, blighting influence of hostile public sentiment, behold, they had only transplanted the tree into new and better watered soil. Instead of destroying our confidence in the promises of God to us, it had the tendency to strengthen our faith, to increase our knowledge and experience, thus fitting and preparing us for the future that lay before us.

Finally they succeeded in taking the life of the Prophet and that of his brother; and they shed the blood of our honored President who sits here today upon this stand. They thought then they had accomplished their hellish work, they thought then the head and front, or root and branch of “Mormonism” was destroyed. But was it? No; it only made us stronger in faith and more united in purpose. “The blood of the martyrs became the seed of the Church.”

They next drove us from our homes in Nauvoo. I remember the circumstances, although at the time I was but a lad. I also remember my thoughts on the day the mob besieged the City of Nauvoo. My widowed mother had been compelled a day or two previously to take her children and ferry them, in an open flat boat across the Mississippi River into Iowa, where we camped under the trees and listened to the bombardment of the city. We had left our comfortable home with all the furniture remaining in the house, together with all our earthly possessions, with no hope or thought of ever seeing them again; and I well remember the feelings I had when we made our camp on the Iowa side of the river. They were not feelings of regret, sorrow or disappointment, but of gratitude to God, that we had the shelter of even the trees and the broad bosom of the “father of waters” to protect us from those who sought our lives; I felt to thank God that we still possessed our lives and freedom, and that there was at least some prospect of the homeless widow and her family of little ones, helpless as they were, to hide themselves somewhere in the wilderness from those who sought their destruction, even though it should be among the wild, so-called savage, native tribes of the desert, but who have proved themselves more humane and Christlike than the so-called Christian and more civilized persecutors of the Saints.

After the expulsion of the Saints from Nauvoo, and from the State of Illinois, our enemies thought surely the “Mormons” are now broken up, and that this would be the last of “Mormonism.” But it is strange how hard we are to kill; it would seem that we object to being killed: there is something dreadful in the thought of being destroyed—annihilated. We naturally recoil from such a doom and seek to preserve and perpetuate our existence. The fact is, we think we have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” so long as we do not interfere with the rights of others; we therefore most decidedly object to being demolished; we do not like nor do we intend to be destroyed. Not that we presume to be able to defend ourselves unaided by divine power, against our numerous and unrelenting foes; but knowing in whom we trust, and the nature of the work in which we are engaged, we are not slow to believe, neither are we afraid to openly maintain that we were born to live and to uphold truth, to defend virtue, to establish righteousness, and to stand by the right, and by the help of God we intend to fill the measure of our creation.

Let us follow the wanderings of the Latter-day Saints across the plains to these mountain valleys, and look at our condition today compared with our condition in Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, or New York, or compared with our condition at any period of our existence as a church. What do we see today? We see the promises of God made on certain conditions fulfilled; and that is an evidence to me that the majority of the people have complied with the conditions, although many may not have done as they should have done. We have prevailed thus far, in accordance with the word of God. And what of the future? So far as the ultimatum of this work is concerned, there is no man in Israel who has a spark of the inspiration of the Almighty in his heart who does not know just as well as he knows that God lives or that he himself lives, that it will be triumphant. But I do not suppose it would be wisdom in God to show us all the vicissitudes and changes, the trials and persecutions through which we may have to pass in order to reach this consummation, because if He did we might get fainthearted before we were prepared to enter into that trial. We may have to be driven again. I do not say we shall be driven; I do not believe we shall—but what has been done may be done again. And supposing we were driven again, what would be the result? Is it not fair to presume—have we not good grounds to believe from the experience of the past, that if we should be again driven and despoiled of our homes, we should rise up somewhere else, many fold greater and more numerous than we are now? The enemies of God can do nothing against, but much for, the work of God. Is it not written that the God of heaven has set His hand for the last time to establish His kingdom upon the earth, never more to be thrown down, and no more to be left to another people? Are we not assured by the word of God, ancient and modern, that its destiny is onward and upward, until the purposes of God concerning this great latter-day work are consummated? This seems to be a point difficult for many to comprehend; but when comprehended it is a key to the whole matter. What God has decreed cannot be annulled by the learning, wisdom, wealth, power, numbers or cunning of man! There is no power beneath the celestial kingdom that can stop or impede its progress one iota. Its destiny is onward and upward—man may fail, but the purposes of God will not. All His enemies, combined with the cunning and perfidy of the infernal spirits by which they are moved to hate, hound, and pursue him unto death, failed, signally failed, even in the crime of murdering him, to prevent Joseph Smith from accomplishing his mission; he filled his destiny and sealed his testimony with his blood. And his blood is upon this nation and upon all the nations that have consented to that terrible deed inasmuch as they do not repent of their sins and obey the Gospel of salvation which is being preached unto them.

My childhood and youth were spent in wandering with the people of God, in suffering with them and in rejoicing with them. My whole life has been identified with this people, and in the name and by the help of God it will be to the end. I have no other associations or place of abode. I am in this respect like Peter when the Savior, on seeing the people turn away from Him, asked him, Will ye go also? Said Peter, Lord, if I leave Thee whither can I go, Thou hast the words of eternal life. We have nothing else to do save to keep in the narrow path that leads back to God our Father. That is the channel He has marked out for us to pursue, and it is our duty to press on; we cannot turn aside, we cannot switch off; there is no side track, it is a “through train” and its destiny is already fixed and mapped out. We have got to meet opposition as it presents itself, battling against it with the weapons of truth which God has placed in our hands. And we must make up our minds that this world with all its pleasures is as dross compared with the excellency of the knowledge of God. He intends to try us and prove us, and He has a right to do it, even to the death if need be, and only those who endure to the end, who will not flinch, but will maintain their integrity at the risk and sacrifice of their all, if need be, will gain eternal life, or be worthy of the reward of the faithful.

I am thankful to God that circumstances are as well with us as they are. He has delivered His people thus far and blessed them from the beginning. His word has been fulfilled concerning them, and will be fulfilled from this time henceforth until His purposes shall be accomplished with regard to them, providing they keep his commandments, which, that they may do, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Funeral Discourse

Discourse by President Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the 14th Ward Assembly Rooms, at the Funeral Services of Sister Elizabeth H. Cannon, on Sunday, Jan. 29, 1882.

Being requested I arise to make a few remarks.

Occasions of this kind afford us opportunity, not so much for mourning the loss of our departed friends as to reflect upon our present condition and our future prospects and hopes. For, as has been remarked, “It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.”

Here we have occasion to reflect upon our own lives and the future that awaits us.

For there is one event which inevitably awaits every living soul, and it is only a question of a very little while when every one present, as well as elsewhere, will be placed in a position similar to that in which our beloved sister is placed, whose body now lies here in the cold embrace of death. We are born to die, it is the inevitable end of all flesh, it being a fixed, unalterable decree of the Almighty concerning the human family. We may therefore, as well now as at any other time, reflect upon what the result of our lives may be after we shall pass away from this stage of existence. If we do well, says the Lord, we are accepted unto Him; but if we do ill, sin lies at our door. It is a truth that should arrest the attention of every one, that we shall be required to render an account for the deeds we do in the body. And for my part I feel that we have no cause to shed a tear for the condition of Sister Cannon. For years she has been afflicted, and has been quite feeble at times. Now she has passed beyond suffering and debility; nothing but the lifeless, inanimate part of Sister Cannon remains, the life—the intelligent and the immortal part has gone to God from whence it came. Not but what she might be present if she desires to be here, and her desire be consistent with the will and pleasure of our heavenly Father; for those who live here in the flesh have a claim upon this earth, and upon the bodies they have occupied while they sojourned here. This earth is their home, and will forever so remain—that is, they will possess an inheritance here, inasmuch as they overcome and become the Saints of the Most High God. For it is written, that unto the Saints of the Most High, the earth and the fulness thereof shall be given, and they shall possess it forever and ever. But notwithstanding the immortal part of this our deceased sister has returned to God, from whence it came, she possesses the privilege, or may possess the privilege, as I have said, if she so desire, and if it be in accordance with the will and pleasure of the Almighty, to be present on the occasion to witness the ceremonies in which we are now engaged. We are told by the Prophet Joseph Smith, that, “there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it.” Hence, when messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred, friends, and fellow beings and fellow servants. The ancient Prophets who died were those who came to visit their fellow creatures upon the earth. They came to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; it was such beings—holy beings if you please—that waited upon the Savior and administered to Him on the Mount. The angel that visited John when an exile, and unfolded to his vision future events in the history of man upon the earth, was one who had been here, who had toiled and suffered in common with the people of God; for you remember that John, after his eyes had beheld the glories of the great future, was about to fall down and worship him, but was peremptorily forbidden to do so. “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which kept the sayings of this book: worship God.” Jesus has visited the people of this earth from time to time. He visited and shewed himself in his spiritual body, to the brother of Jared, touching certain stones with His finger, that the brother of Jared had fashioned out of the rock, making them to give light to him and his people in the barges in which they crossed the waters of the great deep to come to this land. He visited others at various times before and after He tabernacled in the flesh. It was He who created this earth, it therefore is His inheritance, and He had a perfect right to come and minister to the inhabitants of this earth. He came in the meridian of time and tabernacled in the flesh, some 33 years among men, introducing and teaching the fullness of the Gospel, and calling upon all men to follow in His footsteps; to do the same thing that He himself did, that they might be worthy to inherit with Him the same glory. After He suffered the death of the body, He appeared, not only to His disciples and others on the eastern continent, but to the inhabitants of this continent, and he ministered unto them as He did to the people in the land of Palestine. In like manner our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love, of warning, of reproof and instruction to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh. And so it is with Sister Cannon. She can return and visit her friends, provided it be in accordance with the wisdom of the Almighty. There are laws to which they who are in the Paradise of God must be subject, as well as laws to which we are subject. It is our duty to make ourselves acquainted with those laws, that we may know how to live in harmony with His will while we dwell in the flesh, that we may be entitled to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed with glory, immortality and eternal lives, and be permitted to sit down at the right hand of God, in the kingdom of heaven. And except we become acquainted with those laws, and live in harmony with them, we need not expect to enjoy these privileges: Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Jedediah M. Grant, David Patten, Joseph Smith, sen., and all those noble men who took an active part in the establishment of this work, and who died true and faithful to their trust, have the right and privilege and possess the keys and power to minister to the people of God in the flesh who live now, as much so and on the same principle that the ancient servants of God had the right to return to the earth and minister to the Saints of God in their day.

These are correct principles. There is no question about that in my mind. It is according to the Scriptures; it is according to the revelation of God to the Prophet Joseph Smith; and it is a subject upon which we may dwell with pleasure and perhaps profit to ourselves providing we have the Spirit of God to direct us.

But the thing for us to do is to live according to the light and intelligence that God has revealed to us in this dispensation, that we may be in harmony with the heavenly powers and with heavenly beings, and especially with our Lord Jesus Christ, who stands at our head, who is our lawgiver, our exemplar, and the way of life and salvation to all the world, through whom we may enter into the celestial kingdom of God, and without whom we can never enter that state of glory worlds without end. He is the way, the light and life of the world; and whosoever will obey the commandments He has given, and do the works which he has done, and commanded us to do, shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have in them the light of life.

The circumstances under which Sister Cannon has been taken away from us, are in some degree melancholy. I regret that circumstances are such that Brother Cannon could not be here upon this occasion. But he is absent not upon his private business, but in the name and interest of the whole people of this Territory; and in the protection of our righteous citizens who are jeopardized by the craftiness of designing and corrupt men. If he were to leave his post, trickery would be resorted to by the worst enemies of the people to deprive us of our political and religious rights; therefore he is firm at his post of duty. Is there anything of a private character that would keep him away from home on an occasion like this? There is not; nothing but the highest sense of duty could do it, and that too in the interest of the people of God, in defending their rights, and in laboring for their interests, as he has done from his youth to the present moment. His whole time, his ability and the wisdom that God has given him, and all that he possesses has been upon the altar of sacrifice since his early boyhood in behalf of this people; and now, under this sad and sorrowful affliction he remains, and that too, in compliance with the desire of her whose remains are about to be laid away, true to his post of honor and duty. Who can describe his feelings? But let us forbear, it would not be profitable to us; but in this, as well as every circumstance of life, we will join with him in acknowledging the hand of God. It, however, grieves me to think that he cannot be here; as it does his children and family who now surround the earthly remains of her whose spirit has gone home—a respected, a beloved, a true and noble woman.

This, however, cannot now be helped and therefore it is all right. There is another view to take of this. What is life or death in com parison with the duty that we owe to God and each other? Should we shrink from duty, should we leave our post in time of danger because of the natural sympathies and affections which bind us to each other? No. It would be unjust, it would be condescending in us to even think of doing so. It is more noble to make the sacrifice of society, kindred and friends, than to leave our post of duty, and thus endanger the rights and liberties of the whole community. If Brother Cannon were here he could only mourn with us, and then again return to his post of duty. And what more could he do than he has done? Every attention has been paid, and every effort has been put forth to do all that could be done for Sister Cannon. But our prayers did not prevail; she was “appointed unto death.” God has taken her. She sleeps, but is not dead. She does not sleep the sleep of death, but of the righteous and the faithful; yes, one who has proved faithful to the latest breath, Sister Cannon is an example for her children and family, an example of patience, of faithful endurance, and of integrity that is unquestionable. This is a great deal to say of one of our fellow creatures, but none too much to be said of her. My sympathy is drawn out to those who remain. May God bless and comfort them; and may they abide in the truth and follow the example of their noble mother and companion in life, remaining faithful to the end of their days, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

The Persecutions of the Ancient Saints—The Organization of the Church in Our Day—Necessity of Obedience to the Laws of the Gospel, Etc.

Discourse by President Joseph F. Smith, delivered at Logan, Feb. 6, 1881

I desire an interest in the faith and prayers of my brethren and sisters who are present, that I may be able to speak under the influence of the good spirit, such things as will be encouraging to the faith of the Saints.

I rejoice always in the truth of the Gospel with which I have become acquainted; and although there may be many things with which I am unacquainted, yet that portion of the plan of salvation which I do understand is sufficient to convince me beyond the possibility of a doubt, that we are engaged in the great latter-day work of God Almighty, which is for the salvation of the human family, the establishment of the kingdom upon the earth preparatory to the coming of the Son of God in power and great glory, to take possession of the kingdom and of the world; to take the reins of government in His own hands, to judge and rule with righteousness, and with equity reprove for the meek of the earth, to the honor and glory of God, to the salvation and deliverance of His people, the downfall of Babylon, the destruction of the wicked and the overthrow of all man-made systems and organizations that are in conflict with the requirements of heaven and the laws of God. There is, to my mind, nothing lacking in proof or evidence of these facts, which have plainly been set forth in the Bible, in the Book of Mormon, and also in the revelations through the Prophet Joseph Smith; which last named are recorded in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. I am perfectly satisfied, as much so as I am that I breathe the breath of life, that these truths pertaining to the last dispensation and the great latter-day work have been revealed to us from God, and that we are in possession of truth, eternal truth that can never be uprooted or destroyed. It is true that we are but a handful of people in comparison to the vast multitude that are in the world, indeed we are few in comparison to the population of our own nation; for while we, as a community, number a few thousands, the nation numbers nearly half as many millions; and our nation is only a small portion of the human family. But yet it is not presumptuous, nor is it unreasonable or inconsistent, notwithstanding the paucity of our numbers, our supposed lack of intelligence pertain ing to scientific matters, and our poverty as compared with the wealth of the world, for us to claim that we have received revelation from God, that the Almighty has spoken to the children of men with His own voice and by the voice of angels and ministering spirits, or personages whom He has sent to reveal His will to man. For it is in this way that God has ever revealed Himself to the nations of the earth. He calls a Prophet now and a Prophet hereafter, and He reveals himself to His servants the Prophets, and He makes known His will unto them, and it becomes their duty to proclaim the law and the will of the Almighty to the inhabitants of the earth, and to call others to the ministry, sending them forth that they may proclaim the Gospel to their neighbors and associates; and so the work of God has to work its way, spread and increase among the children of men, like the leaven, referred to by the Savior, that is placed in the measure of meal that works until the whole lump is leavened. So God has done in all ages of the world when He has undertaken to renew His covenant with the people; He has called certain men (who doubtless had been foreordained to come forth in certain ages to do a certain work) through whom He has made known to the nations and peoples of the earth His mind and will. When Jesus came to the earth He scarcely found faith among mankind; only John the Baptist holding a commission from God to minister in the first ordinances of the Gospel; John having been called and appointed of God and ordained by a holy angel to that ministry and Priesthood. A few that had listened to his testimony and teachings, and had been baptized by his baptism, with him, constituted all who were acknowledged of God upon the earth at the time of the coming of the Savior, And Jesus called unto Him twelve disciples, ordained them, commissioned them and sent them forth to preach the Gospel; but they sojourned with him for three years during his own ministry to receive instruction, to be taught of Him, to learn the ways of the Lord from the Great Head, that they might be qualified to go forth at the expiration of that time being witnesses of God, witnesses of the divine mission of their Lord and Master, and prepared to proclaim the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth. After Jesus was crucified of man, he went in the spirit to the spirits that were in prison, who had been disobedient “when the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah,” that by his coming the Gospel might be taught unto them, their prison doors be opened, and liberty be proclaimed unto them, even the liberty of the Gospel, that they might live, through obedience to its requirements, according to God in the Spirit; and when the ordinances of the Gospel necessary for the redemption of the dead had been performed for and in their behalf upon the earth, that they might be judged according to man in the flesh. When Jesus had done this He again took up the body of flesh and bones which had been hung upon the cross, and pierced unto death and laid away in the tomb; that body which had passed through the portal of death and the ordeal of the grave, he again brought forth from death unto life. Thus he conquered death and gained the victory over the grave and brought about the resurrection from the dead through the power of the Gospel and the holy Priesthood. Shortly after He visited His disciples, when He breathed upon them, saying unto them; “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” He also commissioned them to go forth and preach the Gospel to every creature. Then He departed from them, and they went forth and testified of Jesus Christ, and proclaimed the Gospel to the world, with power and with the demonstration of the Spirit of God. These chosen disciples of Christ suffered ignominious deaths from the first to the last, with the single exception of the Apostle John, who we are informed, was preserved from the power of his enemies, from their attempts to destroy his life, for a wise purpose of God, to fulfil the promise of the Savior unto him; and yet, notwithstanding this promise, it is believed by the Christian world that he died a natural death after wicked men had attempted several times in vain to destroy his life. Notwithstanding, the disciples of Jesus, excepting John the Revelator, suffered ignominious deaths, they sowed the seed of the Gospel among, and conferred the Priesthood upon men, which remained for several generations upon the earth, but the time came when Paganism was engrafted into Christianity, and at last Christianity was converted into Paganism rather than converting the Pagans. And subsequently the Priesthood was taken from among men, this authority was recalled into the heavens, and the world was left without the Priesthood—without the power of God—without the Church and Kingdom of God. There were tens of thousands that hearkened to the teachings of the disciples and yielded obedience to the Gospel; and they suffered persecution such as the people of God in this generation have never begun to suffer. Some of the Latter-day Saints who were associated with this Church in its early history, and suffered the persecutions in Ohio, in Missouri and Illinois, thought that their persecution was very great, even greater than that of any other people. But this is not so, for this people have never begun to endure the persecution that was inflicted upon the former day Saints, those who received the testimony of the Apostles. People in former days believed that they were doing God service to burn those Saints to death, to whip and to spear them to death, to drag them until they were torn to pieces and otherwise to torture and destroy them, and, indeed, in some instances they sewed up the believers in cloths and in sacks, which they covered with pitch or tar and then set on fire to light the streets of imperial Rome! In ancient days it was considered lawful to perpetrate these barbarities upon those who professed to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. They were driven from place to place; they were hunted down as wild beasts, and otherwise suffered persecution such as this people have never begun to suffer, and as I earnestly hope and pray they never will be subjected to.

But it was under such circumstances the Gospel was proclaimed among the people. In this way were the believers in Christ treated, being esteemed as worthless, refuse, unfit to live, and worthy only of the most cruel and ignominious deaths. The same feelings existed, and do today exist, in the hearts of some people toward the Latter-day Saints. But the Lord Almighty has prepared the way for the coming forth of the kingdom of God in this dispensation by establishing the republican government of the United States; a government affording the widest liberty and the greatest free dom to man that has ever been known to exist among men, outside of those governed by the direct communication of heaven. It was part of the design of the Almighty when He influenced our fathers to leave the old world and come to this continent; He had a hand in the establishment of this government; He inspired the framers of the Constitution and the fathers of this nation to contend for their liberties; and He did this upon natural principles, that the way might be prepared, and that it might be possible for Him to establish His kingdom upon the earth, no more to be thrown down. And when the way was prepared and the time fully come for the restoration of the Gospel, God revealed Himself to Joseph Smith, giving to him certain promises concerning the coming forth of the Gospel and the establishment of His kingdom in the last days. And subsequently God sent messengers to him and ordained him to the Priesthood, or conferred on him the rights, powers, keys and authority of the holy Priesthood, to act as His representative in establishing the Gospel of the kingdom once more among men, and for the last time, also to restore the Priesthood to earth, that man might again officiate in the name and authority of God, for the salvation of the living and the dead. He had to call one man to this office, who afterwards, as Jesus did, called and set apart twelve others, together with Seventies, High Priests, Elders, Bishops, Priests, Teachers and Deacons, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ, that all may come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ Jesus; that we might come to a oneness in the knowledge of the truth, that the world might be leavened with the leaven of truth, that all mankind might have the privilege of bearing the Gospel and of being gathered into the fold and family of Christ.

In the space of about fifty years, I suppose, we have gathered from first to last into the fold of this Church, some three or four hundred thousand people. It may seem to some that this would indicate that we had made very slow progress in half a century; having succeeded in gathering into this Church only between three and four hundred thousand people; and that today we do not number more than 150,000 to 200,000 members all told, in good standing; that is, taking all that can be called Saints in America, in Europe, in Australia, and upon the islands of the sea; wherever this Gospel is preached, or people acknowledge membership in this Church, all told, perhaps, we do not number more than 200,000 members in good standing. It may seem that we are making haste slowly; that we are not progressing very rapidly. It might seem to some of us that we ought to have accomplished a great deal more in the fifty years past since the organization of this Church. I confess that I believe with all my heart, that as a people we might have made far greater progress in the accomplishment of the purposes and will of God than we have, if we had only done as we should. In my humble opinion, and I express it as my firm conviction and belief, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints might have numbered today many times more than it does, if those who have embraced the Gospel had remained true and all had been as faithful as they should have been. The progress of the work of God does and will depend greatly upon the righteousness of the people, the faithfulness of the Priesthood in keeping His commandments, honoring His laws, and laboring for the accomplishment of the purposes of God upon the earth, instead of self-aggrandizement. I will venture, as my opinion, that the Latter-day Saints through their follies, their neglect of proper example, their carelessness respecting their duties, not to mention greater sins, and the evil resulting therefrom, have prevented the conversion of as many people as have been converted unto God. There are today perhaps nearly as many that have apostatized as are now in good standing in the Church; many of whom were honest but have been deceived and led away from the truth, many others, I admit, have turned away because of their own sins. Others again have left the Church because they were unable to distinguish between the actions of their foolish brethren and the principles of eternal truth, and in that way have allowed themselves to go into darkness and turn away from the Kingdom. In almost every place you go, where the Gospel is being preached, you may find scores and scores of people that once belonged to the Church, how are they today? Are they members of this Church? No; they are apostates, in darkness, knowing not the truth, for the light they had is gone out and darkness has taken the place thereof, and they are now under the power of darkness or Satan and cannot help themselves.

And again, there are many people who have come among us, who, if they had found that perfection in the conduct and character of Latter-day Saints which they expected to find among those professing to be Saints, if they had found more of the fruits of righteousness in the midst of this people and less of their follies and weaknesses, they would no doubt have been constrained to yield obedience to the Gospel; whereas they only became hardened in seeing the weakness and imperfection of many so-called Latter-day Saints, concluding that they, judging them by their acts, are not much better than other professing Christians. And in this way many that might have been brought to a knowledge of the truth, have been discouraged, disappointed and deceived, because they failed to discover or feel as they might and should have done, if all the fruits of the Gospel had abounded as they should, that power of the Priesthood and efficacy of the Gospel which should be exhibited in the midst of the people of God.

Now, am I finding fault with the Latter-day Saints? If I should find fault with you of course I would be finding fault with myself. I acknowledge that I have not lived up to the standard as I should have done. I have not possessed that power, that inspiration, that knowledge of truth, that close communion with God and with the Holy Ghost, that I might or ought to have done. Therefore if there is blame attached to the Church I am willing to acknowledge and share my proportion of that blame. Nevertheless, what I say in regard to this matter I believe to be the truth. I will give you, if you wish, and I think I had better do so, one or two simple and undeniable proofs of my assertion. Excuse me if I refer to things which may be considered quite common; I am not here to teach you new doctrine, I am endeavoring to teach you truths, which we have been taught for the last fifty years.

I will refer you to the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, to that simple principle called the Word of Wisdom. How many of this congregation have kept this law? And how many do keep it today? It would perhaps not astonish you very much were I to say that there were members of the Church of forty years standing and upwards, who take their tea, coffee, tobacco, etc., just as though God had not some forty-eight years ago, revealed the Word of Wisdom. I can point out men and women that have been in this Church some twenty-five or thirty years, that are no nearer keeping the commandments of God, in this respect, than they were twenty-five or thirty years ago, and some of them not so near. If I were pressed on this point I could call the names of some individuals in proof of what I say. We have not lived up to the privileges nor kept the laws of God as given unto us. What is the result? Is it not that when we preach these principles we preach them in word only and not in the demonstration of the power of God? Certainly not in the demonstration and power of example, but with the words of our lips which proceed not from the heart. And that is not all. In the Book of Mormon it is recorded that Christ commanded the people to call upon God in His name, morning and evening with their families. Similar instruction is given in the Doctrine and Covenants, and the same principle is inculcated in the Bible. God has said that He will be sought after by His people; and Jesus said that we must knock in order that the door might be opened unto us; and that we should seek in order to find, and ask in order to receive. And, yet, how many heads of families in the Church fail to meet with their families to call upon God in family prayer? How many Saints neglect this duty? It is a duty, it is the word of the Lord to the Saints, that they should meet with their families morning and evening, and call upon God in His name. This principle is part of the Gospel, it was taught by the Savior on the eastern, and also on the western, continent: and, simple as it may appear, it is absolutely necessary that the Latter-day Saints should come together in the family capacity, and kneeling around the family altar, call upon God for His blessings morning and evening. And they need not confine themselves to morning and evening prayer, for it is their privilege to enter into their closets and call upon Him in secret, that He might reward them openly.

Again, it is written that God is angry with those who will not acknowledge His hand in all things. How many of the Latter-day Saints whom God has blessed with the riches of this world, with houses, lands, flocks, herds, gold and silver, have forgotten to acknowledge His hand in the bestowal of the wealth they possess, and have been blinded by the gifts conferred upon them, and in that blindness have forgotten the Giver? Having an abundance, the rich are too apt to feel that they do not have to kneel down and ask God to give them houses and daily bread, for they have palaces and wealth. They say, we have these things; we have no need to ask for them, nor to thank God for them, for they are ours; we have gained them by our own industry and ability. Thus God is left out of the question. But God has said, “I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me;” therefore He will be inquired of by His people, and He requires that they shall acknowledge Him in all things; yet we often forget to acknowledge Him in His greatest mercies. When the blow of an enemy that has been aimed at our destruction is warded off by the wise counsel perhaps of the holy Priesthood, we say, “We outwitted them; we did it, we circumscribed the cunning and craft of our enemy: we did this, and we did that, and we did the other thing;” it is great I with some of us, and God is not acknowledged by such at all. There is too much of this spirit amongst us, I am sorry to say.

God requires one-tenth of our increase to be put into his storehouse; and this is given as a standing law to all of the Stakes of Zion. And has said that unless all observe this law to keep it holy and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto Him, etc., that this land shall not be a land of Zion unto us. And yet, how many of us have neglected to observe this law? We profess to believe it, but how many have neglected to obey it in full? If the Savior were to come today, who will judge us not after the sight of the eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of the ears, but with righteousness, and with equity and by the knowledge of eternal truth, and the balance of eternal justice, how many would he find who really have paid one-tenth of their increase in compliance with this law? There are some people that do it, but when you take out these that do keep this law according to the strict letter and spirit of it, you will find that in comparison to the whole they are few. The people pay a portion of their tithing. President Young frequently charged the people with not paying one tenth of their tithings. I presume that was an extreme view. I believe the people are doing better than that, now at least; but at the same time I believe that a very large proportion of us pay only a portion of the tenth of that which God puts into our hands.

Now, why do I refer to these things? I leave it to you—to conscientious men and women—it would not become me to say that Brother Jones or Brother Smith, or any other individual is the person that is delinquent in his duty; but it behooves me to speak on the principle in general terms, and I think I am very near the truth in relation to this matter. I will leave that for you, however, to say in your hearts, whether you pay an honest tithing before God, or whether you pay a portion of your tithing. God knows; we cannot deceive Him. Why do we not comply fully with this law? Simply because we lack wisdom, faith, understanding, and confidence in the promises of God. If we felt the fire of the Holy Spirit in our hearts; if we were conscientious in all our acts before God, this people would be raised to a higher plane; faith would be increased, good works would abound, and others, seeing our good works, would be led to glorify our Father in heaven. I will read a few instructions that were given to the ancient Saints. They are not new, therefore, they are very old instructions, They are applicable, however, to us, although spoken to the former-day Saints, for the key by which the blessings are obtained is given to us”Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” The meek shall inherit the earth. Shall the proud and the haughty and those that are lifted up in the vanity of their hearts? No; God has said that they shall be burned as stubble; that the day that is coming shall burn them up; that neither root nor branch of them shall be left, but they shall become as ashes beneath the feet of the righteous. But “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Then as meekness is one of the requisite qualities of a Latter-day Saint, a Christian, a member of the Church of God upon the earth, except we are meek and lowly, we shall not receive the promised blessing. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Shall they that are not merciful obtain mercy? No. Why? Because it is said elsewhere that the measure which we meet out shall be measured back to us again. And when it is measured back unto us it will be shaken down and pressed together, heaped up and running over. If we act, for instance, in regard to the law of tithing as I have mentioned, we shall be judged accordingly, and receive according to our works. If we forgive them that trespass against us, it shall be measured back unto us in mercy, etc. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Shall the corrupt see Him? No. Shall they be counted worthy to stand in His presence, and be called “blessed?” Certainly not. “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world.” Who? The peacemakers, the pure in heart, the meek, those that hunger and thirst after righteousness, the good, the honorable, the Godlike. “Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost his savor wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” “A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

That I understand to be the duty of a Latter-day Saint, “Let your light shine” that men shall see your good works. And if God has given a commandment, prove to the world that you believe it, by keeping it so that men, seeing your good works, may glorify your Father in heaven. If God has said that tobacco and strong drinks are not good for us, let us hearken to this warning and not defile our tabernacles by indulging in things that are injurious to our systems; and thus respect the word of God ourselves, and show a good example to others. When we can show to the world that we are saved from the sins of the world, they will see our good works and be constrained to glorify our Father in heaven. But when strangers come among us and witness drunkenness, hear profanity, see that some of us are dishonest and cheat each other, that so far some of us are no better than the people of Babylon; “the Pharisees and Sadducees” of the present age, at the same time professing to be the children of God; they justly say, “These people are hypocrites, they profess one thing and do another; they profess to be the children of God, but they are the children of the devil.” In other words, if we bring not forth the fruits of the Gospel, it will be set down as a natural and philosophic conclusion that we either do not have the Gospel, or if we do, we do not live it. For “a bitter fountain cannot send forth sweet water,” nor vice versa. And if, therefore, we are redeemed from sin through the atoning blood of the Savior—redeemed from the world—we will have power to establish the Kingdom of God upon the earth. There will be no swearing, no whoredom, there will be no crimes of infanticide or feticide. No such sins will be known among us, our children will be born in honorable wedlock under the ordinances of the holy Priesthood, and not illegitimate, to be denied the privileges of the congregations of Israel, until perhaps the tenth generation according to ancient law. But today, I am sorry to say it, some of these evils exist; we see them cropping out here and there once in a while. Yet, while this is the case, I say—and I say it without fear of successful contradiction—that the Latter-day Saints are the best people that I know of upon the face of the earth; a greater proportion of them are honest, honorable and virtuous, according to the light they possess and the ability they have, than the same proportion of the rest of mankind. But let us be more faithful and spread the kingdom and gather the people of God, and possess the land which He has given unto us, even the Zion of God—this land of Joseph.

May God help us to do so, is my prayer in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Law of Celestial Marriage—The Resurrection and Judgment—Extent of the Mission of the Savior

Discourse by Elder Joseph F. Smith, delivered at the Funeral Services Over the Remains of Elder William Clayton, Held in the 17th Ward Meetinghouse, Salt Lake City, Dec. 7th, 1879.

By request of President John Taylor, I arise to make a few remarks. I deeply and sincerely sympathize with the family, the wives and children of the deceased, Bro. William Clayton, who remain to mourn the loss of the society of their husband and father for a little season. And yet, when we consider all the circumstances, we may conclude that we have not very great cause to mourn. For when a man has lived to a good old age, worn out as it were through toil, passes away, we can realize at least that he has accomplished his mission, that he has performed his work on this earth, and is ready to return to the father from whence he came; behind the veil.

Brother Clayton had reached a ripe age, after laboring unceasingly among his brethren from his first connection with the Church.

He has had a long and varied experience among this people. He was a friend and companion of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and it was to his pen to a very great extent that we are indebted for the history of the Church—that is, the history of the Prophet Joseph more particularly, during his acquaintance with him and the time he acted for him as his private secretary, in the days of Nauvoo. We have the journals which he kept during that time, in the Historian’s Office, from which—in connection with those of Elders Willard Richards and Wilford Woodruff and the Times and Seasons, a publication of the Church at that time—we have obtained the history of the Church during that period. It was his pen that wrote for the first time the revelation in relation to the eternity of the marriage covenant and of a plurality of wives. Although that revelation had been given to the Prophet Joseph many years before, it was not written until the 12th of July, 1843, at which time Elder William Clayton, acting as a scribe for the Prophet, wrote it from his dictation.

I am happy to say that he has left on record a statement in the shape of an affidavit, prepared by himself, in relation to this important subject, for it is a subject that is of the most vital importance, not only to the Latter-day Saints, but to the whole world; for without the knowledge contained in that revelation, we never could consummate the object of our mission to this earth, we never could fulfill the purposes of God in this estate.

I have this paper in my possession, and have had for a number of months past. In fact, it was written at my request, and then given into my care, and I have preserved it with a view, when thought proper, to have it published. And as it is a sermon of itself, it would perhaps be more interesting than anything I could say on the present occasion, and therefore, with President Taylor’s permission, I will read it to the congregation.

[The affidavit was then read by Elder Smith.]

He then continued:

As I before said, I felt to read this document because of the instruction it would afford, and for the further object of showing that although “he is dead, he yet speaketh.” For this testimony of Brother Clayton will stand forever, though his body molders into dust. And I am, and so was the deceased when living, at the defiance of the world to dispute those statements. They are made from personal knowledge derived from personal associations with the Prophet Joseph Smith himself, not with a view to gain notoriety, but rather to leave behind him his testimony with regard to this important principle. He has done so. And as he has here stated, as having come from the mouth of the Prophet, this doctrine of eternal union of husband and wife, and of plural marriage, is one of the most important doctrines ever revealed to man in any age of the world. Without it man would come to a full stop, without it we never could be exalted to associate with and become gods, neither could we attain to the power of eternal increase, or the blessings pronounced upon Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the fathers of the faithful.

There are but a few witnesses now living in relation to the coming forth of this revelation; there never were many that were intimately acquainted with the prophet and his teaching upon this subject. I look around me and see a number of persons in this assembly whose hair has grown grey in the service of God, and who had an intimate acquaintance with our martyred prophet; but few, if any of them, were so closely identified with him in this matter as Brother Clayton.

There are, however, enough witnesses to these principles to establish them upon the earth in such a manner that they never can be forgotten or stamped out. For they will live; they are destined to live, and also to grow and spread abroad upon the face of the earth, to be received and accepted and adopted by all the virtuous, by all the pure in heart, by all who love the truth, and seek to serve Him and keep His commandments; they are bound to prevail, because they are true principles.

Now we are called upon to pay our last respects to Brother Clayton. His spirit has taken its flight; it has gone to the Father from whence it came, as is taught in the Book of Mormon. When the spirit leaves the body, it returns, says the prophet, immediately to God, to be assigned to its place, either to associate with the good and the noble ones who have lived in the Paradise of God, or to be confined in the “prison” house to await the resurrection of the body from the grave. Therefore we know that Brother Clayton has gone to God, gone to receive the partial judgment of the Almighty, which pertains to the period intervening between the death of the body and the resurrection of the body, or the separation of the spirit from the body, and their uniting together again. This judgment is passed upon the spirit alone. But there will come a time which will be after the resurrection, when the body and spirit shall be reunited, when the final judgment will be passed on every man. This is in accordance with the vision of the Apostle John the Revelator.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

That is the final judgment, which we will all receive after we have performed this our earthly mission.

The Savior did not finish his work when he expired on the cross, when he cried out, “It is finished.” He, in using those words, had no reference to his great mission to the earth, but merely to the agonies which he suffered. The Christian world I know say he alluded to the great work of redemption. This, however, is a great mistake, and is indicative of the extent of their knowledge of the plan of life and salvation. I say he referred merely to the agonies of death, and the sufferings He felt for the wickedness of men who would go so far as to crucify their Redeemer. It was this feeling, and this alone, that prompted him to cry out in the agony of His soul, “It is finished,” and then He expired.

But his work was not completed; it was in fact only begun. If he had stopped here instead of his being the Savior of the world, he, as well as all mankind, would have perished irredeemably, never to have come forth out of the grave; for it was designed from the beginning that he should be the firstfruits of them that slept; it was part of the great plan that he should burst the bands of death and gain the victory over the grave. If therefore his mission had ceased when he gave up the ghost, the world would have slumbered in the dust in interminable death, never to have risen to live again. It was but a small part of the mission of the Savior that was performed when he suffered death; it was indeed the lesser part; the greater had yet to be done. It was in his resurrection from the tomb, in his coming forth from death unto life, in uniting again the spirit and the body that we might become a living soul; and when this was done, then he was prepared to return to the Father. And all this was in strict accordance with the great plan of salvation. For even Christ himself, though without sin, was required to observe the outward ordinance of baptism, in order to fulfill all righteousness. So after his resurrection from the dead he could return to the Father, there to receive the welcome plaudit, “Well done, you have done your work, you have accomplished your mission; you have wrought out salvation for all the children of Adam; you have redeemed all men from the grave; and through their obedience to the ordinances of the Gospel which you have established, they can also be redeemed from the spiritual death, again to be brought back into our presence, to partake of glory, exaltation and eternal life with us.” And so it will be when we come forth out of the grave, when the trump shall sound, and these our bodies shall rise and our spirits shall enter into them again, and they shall become a living soul no more to be dissolved or separated, but to become inseparable, immortal, eternal.

Then we shall stand before the bar of God to be judged. So says the Bible, so says the Book of Mormon, and so say the revelations which have come direct to us through the Prophet Joseph Smith. And then those that have not been subject and obedient to the celestial law will not be quickened by the celestial glory. And those that have not been subject and obedient to the terrestrial law will not be quickened by the terrestrial glory. And those that have not been subject and obedient to the telestial law, will not be quickened by a telestial glory; but they will have a kingdom without glory. While the sons of perdition, men who had once been in possession of the light and truth, but who turned away from it and deny the Lord, putting him to an open shame, as did the Jews when they crucified him and said, “Let his blood be upon us and upon our children;” men who consent, against light and knowledge, to the shedding of innocent blood, it will be said unto them, “Depart ye cursed, I never knew you; depart into the second death, even banishment from the presence of God forever and ever, where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched, from whence there is no redemption, neither in time nor in eternity.” Herein is the difference between the second and the first death, herein man became spiritually dead; for from the first death he may be redeemed by the blood of Christ through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel, but from the second there is no redemption at all.

We read in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that the devil tempted Adam and he partook of the forbidden fruit, and transgressed the commandment, wherein he became subject to the will of the devil because he yielded unto temptation, and because of this transgression he became spiritually dead, which is the first death “even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say: Depart ye cursed!”—Book of Doc. and Cov., p. 147.

But who will receive such punishment? Only those that deserve it, those that commit the unpardonable sin.

Then there is the banishment of the transgressor (not the sons of perdition), into the prison house, a place of punishment, with no exaltation, no increase, no dominion, no power, whose inhabitants after their redemption may become servants of them that have obeyed the laws of God and kept the faith. That will be the punishment of such as reject the truth, but sin not unto death.

But as touching the terrestrial kingdom, as the stars differ from each other in luster, so those who enter into the telestial kingdom differ in glory.

“Well, now, how is it with Brother Clayton? He was not without faults in the flesh?” But what were they? Were they such as partook of a deadly character? Did he ever deny the Lord? Did he ever deny the Prophet Joseph, or did he deny the truth or prove unfaithful to his covenants or to his brethren? No, never. I can in all truthfulness before God and man bear that testimony of our departed brother, for I have known him from my youth. Yet, he was not without his failings? But then, they were of that nature that injured nobody perhaps except himself and his own family. But notwithstanding his unflinching integrity, and his long life of fidelity and usefulness, let me say to you, that for his faults, however trivial, or important, he must answer. But he will be able to pay his debt and to answer for his failings, and he will come forth and all that has been pronounced upon his head by Joseph Smith and by the Apostles, will be confirmed upon him through all eternity; and there is no power on the earth or in hell that can deprive him of them. For as it is said—and, indeed, I need not refer you to the revelation on celestial marriage; but will quote from the words of Christ, as given in the New Testament. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men, * * * neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Our departed friend and brother whose remains are now before us, has not sinned unto death. I would not have it understood for a moment, that I or any of the Elders attend funerals to smother over the weaknesses of the departed dead, trying to make it appear that they were without faults, and therefore will not have to answer for any. We know that every man will be judged according to the deeds done in the body; and whether our sin be against our own peace and happiness alone or whether it affects that of others, as the Lord lives we will have to make satisfaction or atonement; God requires it, and it is according to his providences, and we cannot escape it. We must comply with the provisions of the law, which Brother Clayton in my belief, is abundantly able to do. And when this shall have been done, he will come forth to receive his crown, his glory, dominion and kingdom, and the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob which have been pronounced upon his head.

Then let me say to the family of our deceased brother, Follow in the footsteps of your husband and father, excepting wherein he may have manifested the weaknesses of the flesh; imitate his staunch integrity to the cause of Zion, and his fidelity to his brethren; be true as he was true, be firm as he was firm, never flinching, never swerving from the truth as God has revealed it to us; and I will promise you, in the name of the Lord, that you will rise, to meet your husband and father, in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed with glory, immortality and eternal lives. Which may God grant in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Duties of the Saints in Temporalities—Implicit Obedience Requisite—Church Interests Carefully Guarded—Gathering the Poor—Home Industries

Discourse by Elder Joseph F. Smith, delivered at the General Conference, held in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, April 8, 1879.

There is a little time remaining, and as I have been requested I desire to make such remarks as may occur to my mind. I have been pleased and edified during the Conference which is now drawing to a close. It has been very gratifying to see the large number of people that has gathered together during the two days that have passed. It is evident that the Latter-day Saints are interested in the welfare of Zion, and are prompted to attend to the duties which devolve upon them, to take that part which belongs to them; in adopting and sustaining the measures proposed for effectually carrying out the purposes of the Almighty in relation to the great Latter-day work in which we are engaged, and in seconding and sustaining those who are appointed to take the oversight of all the affairs of the Church, by the voice of the people and by the voice of the Lord. In doing this we are but doing our duty, still it is ever pleasant to see the people willing to do their duty, and especially so, to see so many cheerfully respond to their duty as have done so during this Conference. It is certainly encouraging to those who stand at our head to see the people rally around them, manifesting such faith, good feeling and love for the work of God and for those whom the Lord has inspired with his good Spirit to lead us. It is an evidence, at least, that in a great measure, our desires and our hearts are united.

There are a great many things which are necessary for us to consider and so far as possible thoroughly understand. Not much has been said during this Conference in relation to our temporal affairs, except so far as the reports which have been read have shown the financial and statistical condition of the Latter-day Saints. We belong to a temporal as well as a spiritual kingdom, and it is very necessary that we should take a lively interest in whatever tends to build up the kingdom of God, temporal as well as spiritual, and spiritual as well as temporal.

I have never yet found anyone who can draw the dividing line between our spiritual and temporal interests, neither do I expect to. I believe that it is quite as necessary that we should attend to the temporal, as it is to attend to the spiritual duties which devolve upon us, and vice versa. It will not do to devote all our time to the spiritual part, nor all to the temporal alone. We must not run to extremes, but we should carry on the work of the Lord committed to us, in all its parts, or bearings. We should have sufficient of the good Spirit to make the temporal labors light and easy to bear. I find that when we have to carry on the temporal labors without the Spirit, or the life, light, vigor and power of faith, we are apt to feel that it is burdensome and hard, or difficult to bear; but when we enjoy the companionship of the Holy Spirit, we can and do joyfully perform all the temporal duties and labors which may be righteously required of us. The Lord will not require of his people anything which they are unable to perform. He will not impose burdens upon his people that they cannot bear; but if we have not the love of the truth and the light of the good Spirit to guide us, the most simple duties and the easiest tasks may seem burdens, too grievous to be borne. I have known Elders, who, all their lives, have been “minute men;” they have never stopped a moment to question the calls that have been made upon them, neither have they stopped to consider their own temporal interests, they have gone and come at the request of their brethren in the service of the people and the Lord. They have had their cares and personal responsibilities, which have not always been of the lightest character, and which have taxed their energies to the utmost, or at least equal to many of those brethren who have enjoyed their leisure at home, spending largely their time and ability in the interests of themselves and families. They have had perhaps as many in family to look after, to feed, clothe, and otherwise care for; yet these things have not been considered, or allowed to stand in the way, when duty called them to go forth in the interest of the Church. They were on hand, like the ready watchman, scarcely stopping to think of themselves or theirs. This they have done with all their hearts, and their labors have never been regarded as burdensome; but on the contrary, they afforded them joy, pleasure and constant satisfaction. They have not grown weary, they do not think that they have done enough, as some have thought who have performed a short mission—that it is now time they were beginning to do something for themselves; they are still ready and willing to go or come, or do whatever may be required of them, regarding, at all times, their duties in the priesthood of greater moment than any personal considerations. The Lord has blessed them in their labors; he has made their burdens comparatively easy to bear; they have not felt the load, but they have gone on rejoicing, never failing to accomplish the work assigned them, to the best of their ability, trusting in the Lord, at the same time doing all in their power, for the maintenance of themselves and families.

This is but a sample of what all the people ought to be. We should all be willing to labor for the welfare and salvation of the people—to sacrifice our own desires and feelings for the good of the whole, being perfectly willing to do the bidding of the Almighty, with no will of our own but to serve the purposes of the Lord. Is this not consistent with the pattern set us by the Savior? Jesus said, “Father, not my will, but thy will be done.” This was the doctrine he inculcated among his followers, and commanded them to obey; that their will should be swallowed up in the will and pleasure of the Almighty, that they should feel in their hearts that they are willing to serve God even to the sacrifice of everything, though it should be life itself, “counting all things but dross in comparison to the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ.” When we possess the spirit of the Gospel and faith in God, as we should, we will have no burdens that will be difficult to bear; on the contrary, we will find our “yokes easy and our burdens light,” and it will be a pleasure to do our duty, whatever that may be. If we should be called to preach the Gospel, we will find it a pleasure to preach the Gospel, we will find it a pleasure to respond, for we will feel that we are enlisted in the service of God, for the salvation of souls, including our own. What is there to compare with this labor? Can we compare houses and lands, gold or silver, or the wealth of the earth, to the salvation of the souls of men? What will a man not give for his own life? And what will it profit a man though he gain the whole world, if he at last lose his own soul? These are questions propounded by the Savior who, is “the author and finisher of our faith.” That which is of the earth is earthy; it belongs here, we cannot carry it away when we leave this state of existence, we cannot possess it beyond the veil, unless we live so while here that eventually we shall be numbered with the Saints of the Most High God—for it is said that unto them shall the earth be given, but not until they are prepared to “possess it for ever and ever.” And then they must receive it from Him who has the right to give. If we do right, therefore, in this probation, when “the earth and the fulness thereof shall be given to the saints of the most High,” we will be numbered among those who will inherit it. But that time has not yet come. The earth and its fulness are not ours—if they were we might remain here in peaceful possession; but they are God’s, and we are his, what we have being committed to us, as stewards, for a little season; therefore, our worldly riches and possessions are but dross compared with our eternal salvation. We are laboring for the salvation of souls, and we should feel that this is the greatest duty devolving upon us. Therefore, we should feel willing to sacrifice everything, if need be, for the love of God, the salvation of men, and the triumph of the kingdom of God upon the earth, in which we expect to receive out reward, our exaltation and our crown of life. These are not mere suppositions, the chimera of men’s brains, or the cunning of man’s devices; but things which have been revealed to us from God, he having spoken and declared these truths unto man in our day.”

I can testify to you, my brethren and sisters, that so far as the Spirit of God manifests to me, all is well in Zion today. The work of God is progressing. The interests of the kingdom are carefully and jealously guarded by those upon whom rests this responsibility. Zion’s welfare is the constant theme, meditation and prayer. They desire that no interest of Zion shall be allowed to fail, or flag, for the want of proper care and timely attention. The finances of the Church are guarded carefully by the Trustee-in-Trust for the Church. This I can testify to, having been more or less intimately associated with him for the last six months. I know he has carefully looked after the financial interest of the Church, as well as the temporal and spiritual welfare of the people, that the Church might be protected in its rights as well as individuals and that individuals might also be protected in their rights as well as the Church, that justice might be dealt out to all.

There have been some circumstances developed and brought to the notice of the Trustee-in-Trust and the Auditing Committee, which have been of a very trying character, both to their feelings and to the feelings of the other members of the council of Apostles, and no doubt also very trying to the feelings of some of the brethren who have sup posed they had claims upon the Trustee-in-Trust, which investigation has proved they did not have. And in other instances, where it has been shown that the Trustee-in-Trust has claims upon individuals who supposed they were not indebted to the Church. But in all of these matters evenhanded justice has been sought to be dealt out to the individual and to the Church; but while the Church can afford to be liberal in its alms to the worthy and needy poor, and to pay all just demands, or claims upon it, it cannot afford to sanction or allow claims that are not just. And further, it is but just and fair that individuals should be as prompt, so far as it is in their power, to meet their obligations to the Church as it is expected that the Church will be in meeting its obligations to individuals.

We do not expect that the rights of the Church will be disregarded in any particular. We do not expect that any person will indulge, or even admit the feeling that the Church is an institution only to be preyed upon; but we expect that the people do and will understand that we cannot afford to deal in any other manner than upon the principles of the strictest justice, righteousness and equity between man and man, and between the Church and individual members of the Church, or the individual members and the Church.

We have had a very excellent discourse from the President of the P. E. Fund Company, in regard to the duties of those who are indebted to the company. He has shown the vast amount that is now owing to that company by individuals who have been assisted to immigrate to this goodly land by its means; and the ingratitude, want of charity and dishonor which attaches to individuals who have been so generously assisted out of poverty and oppression, and placed in circumstances to become free and independent, and then neglect or fail to do their duty in these matters.

In some instances individuals who have been assisted to Zion by the P. E. Fund, have gathered around them of this world’s goods until they have become rich, and still their indebtedness to the “Fund” remains unsettled.

It is more than probable that these same individuals would always have remained in poverty had they not been gathered to Zion by the P. E. Fund: thus, we see, they are doubly indebted to the “fund,” first for their deliverance from Babylon, from poverty and bondage; and secondly for the wealth and liberty which they now possess.

And again they are manifoldly more guilty of ingratitude to God and man, because they have withheld from the fund its just dues—which they were able to pay, and deprived others more worthy than themselves from receiving assistance in the manner they had been assisted.

Every man that owes the fund a dollar should realize that it is a just debt, that there are others in the same condition that they were in when picked up by the P. E. Fund company and brought to this blessed land, that they are praying and pleading for deliverance also, and that perhaps they are quite as worthy—if not more so—than many who have been helped and now owe the “fund” to an amount which, if all was paid up, would be more than sufficient to immigrate to this country all the Saints now in Europe.

Men but do their duty when they pay their just debts and to do so in this case they discharge a triple duty—to the Fund, themselves and to the ungathered, worthy poor. What honorable person can refuse or neglect to do such a duty?

We are sending large numbers of Elders from time to time, to preach the Gospel abroad. It is the duty of the Latter-day Saints to assist those Elders on their missions when they need assistance, or when they are unable to fit themselves out. Their families too should be cared for by the Church, during the absence of the husband and father, so far as they are needy or unable to provide for themselves. Every man is in duty bound to do all he reasonably can to roll on the work of God, to maintain himself and family and assist to build up Zion.

Some times a good man is needed to fill a certain mission, he is well adapted to the position he is called to fill, or the duty he is required to perform; but he is poor, he may perhaps have a large family to maintain, which would require his whole time if devoted wholly to that end, yet his ability, faith, integrity and other qualifications peculiarly fit him for the duty required, and he is the most available man to be found. Now what is to be done? Are we to excuse him because his family is large and require his services, or because of his poverty. Certainly not.

If the interest of Zion requires his services, in that direction lies his legitimate path of duty. Then it becomes the duty of the Saints to provide for his family and see that they do not lack the necessaries of life; and it would not hurt us to see that they enjoyed some of the comforts.

If there is no excuse for the poor, certainly there can be none for the wealthy, nevertheless the rich are often so engrossed in their business so bound up in worldly affairs, that they are but poorly qualified for missionary service; the greater the reason why they should freely impart of their abundance in aid of those who are better fitted for the ministry when such are called into the missionary field. It is true the tithings of the people are for these and other purposes, and no doubt when all the rich and poor with one accord honestly obey the law of tithing there will be plenty in the store house of the Lord, to build temples and houses of worship, to feed and clothe the hungry and naked to provide for the aged, infirm and poor, to gather the Saints, to send the Elders to the nations of the earth and maintain their families while they are gone, and also to purchase the land of Zion and redeem the Center Stake and obtain possession of our inheritances, or do any other thing which may be needed, although in the beginning God gave a more perfect law than that of tithing by which to accomplish all these things, but the Saints were not able to abide the higher law—and it was temporarily suspended, therefore until we know how, and will do better than we now do, our tithings and our offerings are necessary to carry on the work of God.

These duties should not be considered a hardship by the Saints. The law of tithing is a commandment with promise of reward for obedience. No man ever observed this law but he was blessed in so doing, for God is both able and willing to fulfill all his promises when the conditions are complied with on our part. Those duties which God requires may seem a burden to the disobedient and unfaithful, but to the willing and obedient they are sources of blessing, pleasure and delight and are no burden at all. Our burdens become lighter in propor tion to our increasing faithfulness. Our enjoyment of the gifts and blessings of the Holy Spirit will increase as we become more diligent and so will our knowledge extend and our title to exaltation and eternal life become more and more sure.

The sending of Elders from year to year, and thousands of dollars annually to gather the poor is not all we have to do. We have home industries to look after. We must provide employment for our people, that when they are gathered home they may not be idle for want of remunerative labor. We should establish branches of industry from which we could at least provide for our own necessities and as soon as possible be able to export our home productions, and thus give employment to every faithful Latter-day Saint who is gathered to Zion, that individuals may not only become self sustaining but contribute their proportion to the general good.

Our manufactories should be fostered, patronized and protected, and their staple wares sought after and preferred by the people, even though they were more costly at first. It needs no argument to prove to the sagacious and far seeing that this policy will pay the best in the end.

While we continue to be purchasers and importers only, we will remain dependent to, and at the mercy of manufacturers and exporters from abroad; but when we can produce what we need by our own industry and skill, from the elements which so abundantly surround us, we cease to import, to be dependent upon Babylon, or the world, we approach independence, and begin to assume the position in the earth which God has designed we should, to lead and not be led, to teach and not be taught, to be the “head and not the tail.”

Every Latter-day Saint should be proud to wear homemade clothes, from head to foot, and when we begin to study our best interests, and the interest of Zion we will do so though it costs us more now than to wear the stuffed, starched, glossed and glittering shoddy of the world, or even the best the world affords. Money spent in home manufactures, is money saved to the community, it is money laid up for future use and benefit at home, while money sent abroad builds up New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Lowell, and the world generally all of whom are opposed to the people and the work of God and will only return evil to us for the patronage we bestow upon them.

We should be prepared, not only to manufacture our own wearing apparel, but also to make all our mechanical and agricultural implements, our household furniture, our building materials, our wagons, carriages and equipment, with all that is necessary for the righteous and legitimate use of man, that when Babylon shall fall we may be prepared for it, and not be found among those who shall wail and lament because “no man buyeth her merchandise any more.”

I see some of the sisters wearing fine hats trimmed with silk ribbon, also silk shawls, dresses, neckties, etc., which are of their own production and make. This is as it should be—“the beauty of the work of their own hands.”

Perhaps no country in the world abounds more profusely than ours, with the real elements of wealth, and none better adapted to the raising of silk, which enters so largely into, and is so eagerly sought for female apparel, and there are thousands of men, women and children in Utah, who could as well as not devote a portion of their time to its culture, say a month or six weeks in the proper season of the year, both to their pleasure and profit, if they would, and the result would be the production in vast quantities of the much coveted article of silk, and an increase of profitable labor.

Sister Zina Young, Father Graves and a few others are interesting themselves in this industry and are trying to awaken an interest therein in the minds of the industrial classes, that silk may eventually become a staple product of Utah. So far, I fear, they have found it rather uphill work. The people seem to be eager for immediate profit, for present gain, which in too many cases is exceedingly detrimental to the individual as well as to the public good. It is difficult to get people to look forward, or labor for the future; we are all so terribly wrapped up and engrossed in the present and in self. But the culture of silk is gradually being extended, I am told, and by and by it will, unquestionably, become one of our flourishing industries. A little child is capable of attending to a large part of the labor involved in the production of raw silk, and children a little farther advanced can prepare it for the loom.

May the Lord bless the people. May the Spirit of the Lord abide in the hearts of the Latter-day Saints, and lead them continually, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Plural Marriage—For the Righteous Only—Obedience Imperative—Blessings Resulting

Discourse by Elder Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, July 7, 1878.

I naturally shrink from the task of addressing a congregation in this house, feeling as I do my inability to make myself heard.

I have been interested this morn ing in listening to the remarks of Brother Cannon. We cannot but be delighted with the testimony that has been given in our hearing, and that we are continually receiv ing from many sources, which go to prove that the world can do nothing against, but for us. Even their attempts to slander and misrepresent us, and their unrighteous attacks on the principles of our religion have ever tended to excite inquiry and investigation into the facts, which cannot but result beneficially to us as a people. I say, the efforts of our enemies against us have ever had a tendency to cause people who desire to arrive at the truth, to inquire into the real condition of things. The more people interest themselves in this direction, the more truth they will learn, and we court such investigation, for there is certainly nothing connected with us, as a religious community, in consonance with the gospel we preach, that we should be ashamed of, or that should not be known by all men. It makes no difference with the truth how much we are wrongfully accused; nor will it permanently injure us. If we sustain injury or suffer loss by the misrepresentations and evils maliciously promulgated about us by our enemies, it can only be such injury and less as will be temporary, for when the facts do come out, and people learn the truth, so much the more good will be accomplished in our favor, and so much greater injury to those who are the authors of the falsehoods concerning us. We want nothing hidden or covered up neither can we respect any principle or individual that will not bear the day light and the most careful investigation. Since 1830 the Elders of this church have been faithfully endeavoring to promulgate the gospel which we have received to every nation and people, without distinction as to race or color that would receive them; in other words they have diligently sought to “expose ‘Mormonism’” to the world.

We are not ashamed of our domestic relations, so far, at least, as they exist in accordance with the principles of the Gospel, nor does any right-minded man or woman feel in his or her heart to shrink in any manner from the most rigid exposition of correct views in relation thereto. It is true that in common with mankind generally, we do not like our faults made public, we shrink from that, and it is natural that we should. It is very proper that we should feel a reluctance to have our weaknesses and imperfections exposed to the world, or even to our neighbors. This feeling is a very proper incentive to us to continue in the work of self-improvement, until we shall overcome the weaknesses we have inherited, living nearer to the principles of life and salvation which we have received. But the errors of man affect not in the least the principles of the Gospel of the Son of God. You show me a man who has embraced the Gospel in its entirety, in faith and practice, and I can then point to a man who has overcome the tallies and weaknesses of the flesh; or show me a man who is trying to live according to these principles, and I will show you a man who is trying to overcome his weaknesses. Hence there can be no blame attached to the doctrines of our faith, because of the infirmities and shortcomings of mankind; but we should rather attribute such weaknesses to their proper source—the defectiveness of man, or to his failure, at least, to comply with those principles which are calculated to correct every evil, and to establish man in righteousness. It is perhaps a difficult thing for us, under the circumstances in which we are placed, the traditions of the fathers clinging to us, the practices of the world before us, and the temptations to evil so continually surrounding us, at all times to live the religion of Jesus Christ as perfectly as we should or otherwise might. It is no doubt difficult for us to overcome our follies, to forsake the traditions of the fathers, to eschew the practice of sin, to be patient in suffering, to endure privations and trials of our feelings, while we possess so little, as we do, of the Spirit of the Lord, and the knowledge of the truth. But we need not be discouraged because of this, nor because we see faults in each other, for no man is perfect; all men have, more or less, the shortcomings incident to humanity. We need not falter or be discouraged because of this, for perhaps it would not be possible for one who was perfect in all good to remain in the midst of this corrupt, and perverse generation. Still it would seem good if we had a few among us who were really perfect, whose example we could see, whose precept we could learn, and whose footsteps we might follow. We might then be the better able to perfect ourselves. Still we will do well to emulate the good that are in our midst, and to observe those great truths we have already received in part, which in their fulness are able to save us unto the uttermost. We shall not be cast off, my brethren and sisters, for those sins which we ignorantly commit, which are the results of misunderstanding in all honesty before the Lord. The difficulty does not lie here; the danger lies in our failing to live up to that which we do know to be right and proper. For this we will be held responsible before the Lord, for this we will be judged and condemned unless we repent and forsake our follies, and our unwillingness to obey the light and the knowledge which we have received. There are some plain, simple truths which we do know, but which we do not observe. Herein lies our great sin. The condemnation of the world, when the Savior commenced his mission among men, was that light had come into the world, but they loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. This principle applies with equal force to us in this dispensation. If we had remained without the Gospel, we would not be under condemnation. But now that light has come into the world; now that truth and the authority of God have been restored, we cannot longer remain without sin, unless we obey this Gospel so revealed, and practice our profession.

There is a great deal said about our plural marriage by the outside world, and sometimes it is referred to by the Latter-day Saints at home. I fancy sometimes that not only is the world without knowledge in relation to this principle, but many of those who profess to be Latter-day Saints are far from possessing a correct understanding of it.

In the first place, it is a principle that savors of life unto life, or of death unto death; therefore it is well for those who have embraced the Gospel to obtain a knowledge in relation to this matter. It is a principle that pertains to eternal life, in other words, to endless lives, or eternal increase. It is a law of the Gospel pertaining to the celestial kingdom, applicable to all gospel dispensations, when commanded and not otherwise, and neither acceptable to God or binding on man unless given by commandment, not only so given in this dispensation, but particularly adapted to the conditions and necessities thereof, and to the circumstances, responsibilities, and personal, as well as vicarious duties of the people of God in this age of the world. God has revealed it as a principle particu larly suited to the nature of the work we are called to perform, that it might be hastened to its consummation. It is a righteous principle not an unrighteous one. It is a pure and holy principle; and, therefore, persons, either male or female, who have not the desire in their hearts to become pure and righteous, have no business to practice it, for it cannot be practiced acceptably before God on any other principle than that of purity and righteousness, therefore no wicked unjust or impure person can enter into the law of celestial or plural marriage without incurring the displeasure of the Almighty and his own condemnation before the Lord, unless he speedily repent of all his impure motives and designs. A man that is not honest in his heart, who does not desire to be just and impartial, even as God is just and impartial, has no business in plural marriage; and before he enters into the practice of that principle he needs to repent, to learn wisdom, to get the Spirit of God, to get understanding in relation to the purpose God has in view in regard to this principle; that he may go into the practice of it understandingly, that his heart and mind may be set upon practicing it in righteousness. It is a difficult matter, I am aware, to distinguish between the actions of a man and the principles in which he professes to believe. A corrupt ungodly hypocrite can do more injury in the midst of a people, in a given length of time, correspondingly, than a host of upright men can do good. Send an Elder to preach the Gospel among the nations, and let him degrade himself, dishonor his priesthood and calling, and he will bring more reproach upon the cause misrepresented by him, than twenty good men could remove. Because people generally look at the man. To judge him by his acts would be right eous judgment: but to condemn the Gospel or the Saints, because of his acts, would be unjust; yet the cause he misrepresents suffers wrong because of his connection with it. A man’s acts may justly be considered as resulting from his principles. We judge a tree by its fruits. The fruits of the Gospel are good; he that has actually embraced the Gospel will do good, only so far as he may err, or depart therefrom. Hence, it is difficult to separate a man’s actions from his principles.

There is no difficulty, however, in this matter to those who always bear in mind, that evil and corrupt practices are not the results of obedience to the Gospel, but of disobedience, and of the perversion of the truth. If we would keep this in our minds we would not cast blame upon the principles themselves when we see or hear of men, who should represent them, do wrong; but we would rather say, the man has departed from his principles and gone into error. It is he that is defective, through not practicing what he professes; the principles are good and holy, and he himself would become so too, if he would but practice them.

It is precisely so in relation to our domestic relations. We see trouble in families occasionally, not any more so in plural than in single families. There is no reason why there should be any difference between the husband and wife, or husband and wives, in the midst of this people, if all are disposed to obey the principles and doctrines of the Gospel. It is only by the practice of these principles that we can avoid the disturbances that occur in families, or among mankind. We must learn and obey correct principle, or we will ever be in turmoil and confusion, and in antagonism one towards another. Where differences exist in families they are traceable directly to some cause. I want to impress upon the minds of my hearers that the cause of such evils it not traceable to the practice of any principle which God has revealed touching these matters, but to the nonobservance of them; and this is true in relation to every principle of the Gospel. Sometimes it is the fault of the man, sometimes of the woman, and oftener of both, but never the fault of the principle. The principle is correct, great, ennobling and calculated to bring joy, satisfaction and peace, if we would but observe and practice it as we should. But in order to do this we must get wisdom and understanding. These, by many, are acquired only through long experience. We begin as children, we have to learn precept by precept, line after line, here a little and there a little, which is good, provided we profit by that which we learn. Men must be just, so also must women, in relation to these matters. All must be just one towards another; also forbearing and patient, cultivating largely that Christian attribute called Charity, in order to get along peaceably with our neighbors, our brethren and sisters, as well as with our wives, husbands and children. We are all imperfect, we have to learn by littles as we pass along, profiting oft times by that which we suffer, yet often repeating the same errors. When we find ourselves overcome in a fault, that should be set down as an example for future time, if possible, never allowing ourselves to be caught in the same predicament again. Thus profiting by the experience we gain.

Some people have supposed that the doctrine of plural marriage was a sort of superfluity, or nonessential to the salvation or exaltation of mankind. In other words, some of the Saints have said, and believe, that a man with one wife, sealed to him by the authority of the Priesthood for time and eternity, will receive an exaltation as great and glorious, if he is faithful, as he possibly could with more than one. I want here to enter my solemn protest against this idea, for I know it is false. There is no blessing promised except upon conditions, and no blessing can be obtained by mankind except by faithful compliance with the conditions, or law, upon which the same is promised. The marriage of one woman to a man for time and eternity by the sealing power, according to the law of God, is a fulfillment of the celestial law of marriage in part—and is good so far as it goes—and so far as a man abides these conditions of the law, he will receive his reward therefore, and this reward, or blessing, he could not obtain on any other grounds or conditions. But this is only the beginning of the law, not the whole of it. Therefore, whoever has imagined that he could obtain the fullness of the blessings pertaining to this celestial law, by complying with only a portion of its conditions, has deceived himself. He cannot do it. When that principle was revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith, he very naturally shrank, in his feelings, from the responsibilities thereby imposed upon him; foreseeing, as he did in part, the apparently insurmountable difficulties in the way of establishing it, in the face of popular opinion, the traditions and customs of many generations, the frowns, ridicule, slander, opposition and persecution of the world. Yes, this man of God, who dared to meet the opposition of the whole world with bold and fearless front, who dared to dispute the religious authority and accumulated learning and wisdom of the age—who dared everything for the truth, and shrank not even from the sacrifice of his own life in testimony of his divine mission, shrank, in his feelings, from the weight of the responsibility of inaugurating and establishing this new innovation upon the established customs of the world. But he did not falter, although it was not until an angel of God, with a drawn sword, stood before him and commanded that he should enter into the practice of that principle, or he should be utterly destroyed, or rejected, that he moved forward to reveal and establish that doctrine.

To put this matter more correctly before you, I here declare that the principle of plural marriage was not first revealed on the 12th day of July, 1843. It was written for the first time on that date, but it had been revealed to the Prophet many years before that, perhaps as early as 1832. About this time, or subsequently, Joseph, the Prophet, entrusted this fact to Oliver Cowdery; he abused the confidence imposed in him, and brought reproach upon himself, and thereby upon the church by “running before he was sent,” and “taking liberties without license,” so to speak, hence the publication, by O. Cowdery, about this time, of an article on marriage, which was carefully worded, and afterwards found its way into the Doctrine and Covenants without authority. This article explains itself to those who understand the facts, and is an indisputable evidence of the early existence of the knowledge of the principle of patriarchal marriage by the Prophet Joseph, and also by Oliver Cowdery.

When the revelation was written, in 1843, it was for a special purpose, by the request of the Patriarch Hyrum Smith, and was not then designed to go forth to the church or to the world. It is most probable that had it been then written with a view to its going out as a doctrine of the church, it would have been presented in a somewhat different form. There are personalities contained in a part of it which are not relevant to the principle itself, but rather to the circumstances which necessitated its being written at that time. Joseph Smith, on the day it was written, expressly declared that there was a great deal more connected with the doctrine which would be revealed in due time, but this was sufficient for the occasion, and was made to suffice for the time. And, indeed, I think it much more than many are prepared to live up to even now. When the time came to introduce this doctrine to those who were worthy in the church, God commanded the Prophet and he obeyed. He taught it as he was commanded to such as were prepared to receive and obey it, and they were commanded to enter into it, or they were threatened that the keys would be turned against them, and they would be cut off by the Almighty. It need scarcely be said that the Prophet found no one any more willing to lead out in this matter in righteousness than he was himself. Many could see it—nearly all to whom he revealed it believed it, and received the witness of the Holy Spirit that it was of God; but none excelled, or even matched the courage of the Prophet himself.

If, then, this principle was of such great importance that the Prophet himself was threatened with destruction, and the best men in the Church with being excluded from the favor of the Almighty, if they did not enter into and establish the practice of it upon the earth, it is useless to tell me that there is no blessing attached to obedience to the law, or that a man with only one wife can obtain as great a reward, glory or kingdom as he can with more than one, being equally faithful.

Patriarchal marriage involves conditions, responsibilities and obligations which do not exist in monogamy, and there are blessings attached to the faithful observance of that law, if viewed only upon natural principles, which must so far exceed those of monogamy as the conditions responsibilities and power of increase are greater. This is my view and testimony in relation to this matter. I believe it is a doctrine that should be taught and understood.

The benefits derived from the righteous observance of this order of marriage do not accrue solely to the husband, but are shared equally by the wives; not only is this true upon the grounds of obedience to a divine law, but upon physiological and scientific principles. In the latter view, the wives are even more benefited, if possible, than the husband physically. But, indeed, the benefits naturally accruing to both sexes, and particularly to their offspring, in time, say nothing of eternity, are immensely greater in the righteous practice of patriarchal marriage than in monogamy, even admitting the eternity of the monogamic marriage covenant.

Man may receive great reward, exaltation and glory by entering into the bond of the new and everlasting covenant, if he continue faithful according to his knowledge, but he cannot receive the fullness of the blessings unless he fulfills the law, any more than he can claim the gift of the Holy Ghost after he is baptized without the laying on of hands by the proper authority, or the remission of sins without baptism, though he may repent in sackcloth and ashes.

“But,” says one, “how will it be with good men who believe the doc trine, but are prevented, or cannot enter into the practice of it?” I reply that every man and woman will receive all that they are worthy of, and something thrown in perhaps, on the score of the boundless charity of God. But who can justly expect to obtain more than they merit? All the judgments of God are not given unto man. What we do not learn relative to the salvation of our souls which are our bodies and spirits, in this probation we will have to learn in the eternity which lies before us, for we cannot be saved without knowledge. “But what if we never get knowledge?” Then we never will be saved.

Suppose we live and die without knowledge? Then, if we ever obtain salvation we will have to get it in the next world, as the Antediluvians did, who rejected the Gospel as preached unto them by Noah and were destroyed by the flood, sent to the prison house to be punished for their disobedience and other wickedness, and in the meridian of time received knowledge by the proclamation of the Gospel, as preached unto them by the Savior while his body slept in the tomb, without which they would forever have remained ignorant of God, his government and laws, in a lost condition. All men must obtain salvation upon their own merits, for by our works shall we be judged, and by them justified or condemned.

It is a glorious privilege to be permitted to go into a Temple of God to be united as man and wife in the bonds of holy wedlock for time and all eternity by the Authority of the Holy Priesthood, which is the power of God, for they who are thus joined together “no man can put asunder,” for God hath joined them. It is an additional privilege for that same man and wife to reenter the Temple of God to receive another wife in like manner if they are worthy. But if he remain faithful with only the one wife, observing the conditions of so much of the law as pertains to the eternity of the marriage covenant, he will receive his reward, but the benefits, blessings and power appertaining to the second or more faithful and fuller observance of the law, he never will receive, for he cannot. As before stated no man can obtain the benefits of one law by the observance of another, however faithful he may be in that which he does, nor can he secure to himself the fullness of any blessing without he fulfills the law upon which it is predicated, but he will receive the benefit of the law he obeys. This is just and righteous. If this is not correct doctrine then I am in error, and if I am in error I want to be corrected.

I understand the law of celestial marriage to mean that every man in this Church, who has the ability to obey and practice it in righteousness and will not, shall be damned, I say I understand it to mean this and nothing less, and I testify in the name of Jesus that it does mean that. But what will become of him that cannot abide it? Says the Lord, “whoso having knowledge have I not commanded to repent, and he that hath not understanding, it remaineth with me to do according as it is written.” In other words he that is without understanding is not under the law and it remains for God to deal with him according to his own wisdom. If a man acknowledges that he is incapable, or disqualified by a lack of knowledge, wisdom or understanding to obey this law, when it remains with God to deal with him according to those principles of justice which are written, or are yet to be revealed it is not likely however, that he will take his seat with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, or share in their promised blessings.

This law is in force upon the inhabitants of Zion, and he that is qualified to obey it cannot neglect or disregard it with impunity. But it must be observed in righteousness. The commandment is “be ye righteous as your Father in heaven is righteous; be ye holy as he is holy.

Why did the Son of God make this requirement of his disciples, seeing that it is so universally believed by the world, that man cannot be righteous at all? Did Jesus require anything inconsistent or impossible? No, he did nothing of that kind. All that he commanded us to do, we can accomplish by the help of the Holy Spirit; but we cannot do it ourselves. Therefore if we will seek for the Holy Spirit, the gift of wisdom and understanding from God, we may practice these principles of righteousness, and they will make us righteous even as God is righteous, in the sphere in which we are called to act. We will fulfil the law, and receive the blessing, exaltation and reward which will follow; if we do not, we will fail of the reward.

This is very simple reasoning, I admit. Critics would say, these are axioms that need not to be told. If we do wickedly we will be punished; if we do righteously, we then receive blessings at the hands of God.

May God bless you, and keep us all in the path of righteousness, and enable us to live the religion we have received from Him, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

An Age of Visitation and Revelation—Revelation the Law of Government—The Nature of Death—Jesus Our Forerunner and Exemplar—The Three Witnesses—Personal Knowledge Above All—Ordinances for the Dead

Funeral Services Preached by Elder Joseph F. Smith, delivered Funeral Services Over the Remains of Emma, Daughter of Elder Daniel H. and Emmeline Wells, on Thursday Morning, April 11, 1878.

While sitting listening to the singing, it occurred to me that, in making a few remarks on this occasion, I would read part of a revelation given to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the 27th of December, 1832, believing that we may derive some comfort and encouragement, as well as enlightenment by doing so.

He then read section lxxxviii, Doctrine and Covenants, new edition, from the 3rd to the 32nd verse inclusive.

These are the words of God unto us, words that were not spoken in some remote period of the world, and handed down to us by the traditions of our fathers, but they are the words of the Almighty spoken directly to our brethren chosen by God to be his mouthpiece and revelators to the people of this time. They are, therefore, words of truth, and of eternal life, words upon which we may rely with the utmost confidence, without doubt or misgiving, or fear of yielding to the caprice of vain philosophy, for they are not the words of man, but of God.

It is well for us to realize, if we possibly can—and we can if we enjoy a sufficient portion of the Spirit of God—that we are living in an age in which the Father in heaven has deigned to visit his children, making himself known by declaring his law and his word, by his own mouth and by his own presence. If we could always realize this, it appears to me that we would place greater reliance upon the words of eternal life which have come unto us; we would thereby be induced to live so near to the Lord, and be so faithful in the discharge of our duties, as the covenant people of God, that our hearts would burn with grateful joy, we would be inclined to that which is pleasing and acceptable unto the Lord, all the day long, and we would eschew even the appearance of evil. In all the varied scenes of life, we would never forget him, disobey his will, nor neglect a duty; but we would abide in the covenant of the Gospel, in the love of God and of our fellow creatures, doing the works of righteousness, not omitting to improve an opportunity to do good. It is necessary for us to understand these things and bear them in mind, in order to abide the law which has been given unto us, a portion of which I have read to you; and which is necessary for us to obey, in order to be found keeping the celestial law, and in order to be quickened by that glory, that our souls, which are our bodies and spirits, may be redeemed and restored to life and immortality, to possess crowns of glory and exaltation, which are to be had only in the celestial kingdom; in other words, that we may be quickened by the celestial glory and receive a fullness thereof, according to this revelation.

God has given laws to govern all his works, and especially has he given laws to govern his people, who are his sons and daughters. We have come to sojourn in the flesh, to obtain tabernacles for our immortal spirits; or in other words, we have come for the purpose of accomplishing a work like that which was accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ. The object of our earthly existence is that we may have a fullness of joy, and that we may become the sons and daughters of God, in the fullest sense of the word, being heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, to be kings and priests unto God, to inherit glory, dominion, exaltation, thrones, and every power and attribute developed and possessed by our heavenly Father. This is the object of our being on this earth. In order to attain unto this exalted position, it is necessary that we go through this mortal experience, or probation, by which we may prove ourselves worthy, through the aid of our older brother, Jesus. The spirit without the body is not perfect, it is not capacitated, without the body, to possess a fullness of the glory of God, and, therefore, it cannot, without the body, fulfil its destiny. We are foreordained to become conformed to the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ; and in order that we may become like unto him, we must follow in his footsteps, even until we sanctify ourselves by the law of truth and righteousness. This is the law of the celestial kingdom; and when we die, its power will bring us forth in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. Unless we do keep the law that God has given unto us in the flesh, which we have the privilege of receiving and understanding, we cannot be quickened by its glory, neither can we receive the fullness thereof and the exaltation of the celestial kingdom.

“There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated; and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.”

We must, therefore, learn the laws of heaven, which are the laws of the Gospel, live and obey them with all our hearts, and in faith abide in them, perfecting ourselves thereby, in order to receive the fulness of the glory of that kingdom.

I make these remarks, not to the departed, but to the living—to you as well as myself, who still tarry in the flesh, to battle with the weaknesses and infirmities of human nature, who have yet to learn by experience, that we may be instructed in the things necessary to know, in order that our course here may secure unto us the greatest reward in the presence of our Father and God.

We have not met here to brood over our sorrows in this our temporary loss—in thus being deprived, perhaps only for a little while, of the society and companionship of a daughter, a sister, a friend; for tears are partially dried and sorrow is greatly ameliorated in the fact that our loss is her gain. She has been released from a world of sorrow, anguish and pain, and rests from her earthly labors. Blessed is her condition, for she has performed her mission to earth, she has made her name honorable amidst the honest and true of God’s people, she has fought the good fight, and has now taken her departure, gone to her old home from whence she came. What has she lost? Simply the society of her earthly friends, but not to the extent that we miss her; for I believe the greater can always comprehend the lesser, but the lesser can only comprehend the greater as it may be revealed by glimpses from time to time by the Holy Spirit. While we are in mortality we are clogged, and we see as through a glass darkly, we see only in part, and it is difficult for us to comprehend the smallest things with which we are associated. But when we put on immortality, our condition will be very different, we ascend into an enlarged sphere; although we shall not become perfect immediately after our departure from the body, for the spirit without the body is not perfect, and the body without the spirit is dead. The disembodied spirit during the interval of the death of the body and its resurrection from the grave is not perfect, hence it is not prepared to enter into the exaltation of the celestial kingdom; but it has the privilege of soaring in the midst of immortal beings, and of enjoying, to a certain extent, the presence of God, not the fulness of His glory, not the fulness of the reward which we are seeking and which we are destined to receive if found faithful to the law of the celestial kingdom, but only in part. The righteous spirit that departs from this earth is assigned its place in the Paradise of God; it has its privileges and honors which are in point of excellency, far above and beyond human comprehension; and in this sphere of action, enjoying this partial reward for its righteous conduct on the earth, it continues its labors, and in this respect is very different from the state of the body from which it is released. For while the body sleeps and decays, the spirit receives a new birth; to it the portals of life are opened; it is born again into the presence of God. The spirit of our beloved sister in taking its departure from this world is born again into the spirit world, returning there from the mission it had been performing in this state of probation, having been absent a few years from Father, Mother, kindred, friends, neighbors, and from all that was dear; it has returned nearer to the home circle, to old associations and scenes, much in the same way as a man who comes home from a foreign mission, to join again his family and friends and enjoy the pleasures and comforts of home. This is the condition of her whose remains now lie before us, or of everyone who has been faithful to virtue and purity, while traveling here below; but more especially of those who while here had the privilege of obeying the Gospel, and who lived true and faithful to its covenants. They instead of continuing here among the things of time, surrounded as we are with the weaknesses of a fallen world, and subject to earthly cares and sorrows, are freed from them to enter a state of joy, glory and exaltation; not a fulness of either, but to await the morning of the resurrection of the just, to come forth from the grave to redeem the body, and be reunited with it, and thus become a living soul, an immortal being never more to die. Having accomplished its work, having gone through its earthly probation, and having fulfilled its mission here below, it is then prepared for the knowledge and glory and exaltation of the celestial kingdom. This Jesus did; and he is our forerunner, he is our exemplar. The path which he marked out we have got to walk in, if we ever expect to dwell, and be crowned with him in his kingdom. We must obey and put our trust in him, knowing that he is the Savior of the world.

It is not a difficult thing for me to believe this; I read the Bible in which I find narrations of many of his doings, sayings, precepts, and examples. And I do not believe that any upright, honest man or woman, possessing common intelligence, can read the Gospels of the New Testament and the testimonies therein given of the Savior, without intuitively feeling that he was what he professed to be. For every upright, honest person is possessed, more or less, of the Holy Spirit, and this holy messenger in the hearts of men bears record of the word of God; and when all such read these inspired writings, with honesty of heart and meekness of spirit, divested of prejudices and the false conceptions arising from traditions and erroneous training, the Spirit of the Lord bears witness in unmistakable language that burns with conviction, therefore, I believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Savior, the only begotten of the Father; and this too through reading the Bible. But do we depend upon the Bible for this conviction and knowledge? No, thank the Lord we do not. What else have we to impart this know ledge and confirm this testimony? We have the “Book of Mormon,” the “stick of Ephraim,” which has come to us by the gift and power of God, which also testifies of him, and which reveals an account of his mission to and dealings with the inhabitants of this continent, after his resurrection from the dead, when he came to this land to visit his “other sheep,” to unite them in the one fold, that they might also be his sheep and he their great shepherd. Besides the conviction that the Book itself carries with it, we have the collateral testimony of him who translated it, who sealed his testimony with his blood; also that of other witnesses, who testify to the whole world that they saw the plates and the engravings thereon, from which the Book was translated, these plates were shown them by an angel of God, who declared that the Book had been translated correctly by the gift and power of God; and in obedience to divine command these witnesses bear record of what they saw and heard.

Here, then, are two witnesses—the “Bible” and the “Book of Mormon,” both bearing record of the same truth, that Jesus was the Christ, that he died and lives again, having burst the bands of death and triumphed over the grave. This latter additional evidence the Latter-day Saints have of this fact, over and above that possessed by the Christian world who do not believe in the “Book of Mormon.”

But is this all? No. We have here another book, the “Doctrine and Covenants,” which contains revelations from God through the Prophet Joseph Smith, who lived cotemporary with ourselves. They are Christ’s words, declaring that he was the same that came to the Jews, that was lifted up on the cross, was laid in the tomb, burst the bands of death and came forth out of the grave. That he was the same who came to the Nephites upon this continent; who, when about to take his departure from them, declared that he was going to visit the ten tribes whom the Father had led away, having the same purpose in view that he had in visiting the Nephites. Here, then is another testimony of this divine truth; hence we have three witnesses. In the mouth of two or three witnesses, we are told, all things shall be established; and by the testimony of two or three witnesses shall we stand, or be condemned.

But would this satisfy me? It might, if I could obtain no further light or knowledge. But when greater light comes, and I have the privilege to make myself possessor of it, I could not remain satisfied with the lesser. We could never be satisfied nor happy hereafter, unless we receive a fulness of the light and blessings prepared for the righteous. This, in part, will constitute the misery, sorrow and anguish of the condemned—those who reject the truth when it is offered to them, for their eyes will be opened to behold, in part, the greater light, exaltation and joy which they might have attained unto, but which is irretrievably lost to them, because of their disobedience and wrong doings. Then I say we cannot be satisfied with anything short of a complete salvation in the kingdom of God, our joy cannot be full unless we obtain a fullness of knowledge. Hence I am not satisfied with the Bible, the “Book of Mormon,” nor the “Doctrine and Covenants.” All these three are not sufficient for me, for the reason that greater privileges have been revealed to man, and they are within the reach of all that live upon the earth. Therefore, I could not rest satisfied with myself until I had fully availed myself of my privileges.

It is given to us to know these things for ourselves. God has said he will show these things unto us; and for this purpose the Holy Ghost has been imparted to all who are entitled to it through submission, which bears record of the Father and the Son, and also takes of the things of God and shows them unto man. Convictions that we may previously have had respecting the truth the Holy Ghost confirms, giving us a positive assurance of their correctness, and through it we obtain a personal knowledge, not as one that has been told, but as one that has seen, felt, heard, and that knows for himself.

Then, in standing before you, my brethren and sisters, as a humble instrument in the hands of God, I testify, not by virtue of the knowledge I may have derived from books, but by the revelations of God to me, that Jesus is the Christ. I know that my Redeemer lives; I know that although the worms may destroy this body, that I shall in my flesh see God, and I shall behold him for myself and not for another. This light has come to me, and is in my heart and mind, and of it I testify, and through and by it I testify, and I know whereof I speak. God has called me, in connection with my brethren, to this mission, and this is our testimony to the whole world. I therefore say, there is no death here, instead of death it is life to the departed. That which we call death is merely the slumber and rest of this mortal clay, and that only for a little season, while the spirit, the life, has gone to enjoy again the presence and society of those from whence it came, and to whom it is joy again to return. And this will be the condition of the righteous until the morning of the resurrection, when the spirit will have power to call forth the lifeless frame to be united again, and they both become a living soul, an immortal being, filled with the light and power of God. I am a witness of these things. Am I alone? No; there are tens of thousands today that can bear this testimony. They, too, know it for themselves; God has shown it to them, they have received the Holy Ghost, which has born witness of these things in their hearts, and they likewise are not dependent upon books, nor upon the words of another, for they have received a knowledge from God themselves, and know as he knows, and see as he sees in relation to these plain and precious things.

What reason have we to mourn? None, except that we are deprived for a few days of the society of one whom we love. And if we prove faithful while in the flesh we will soon follow, and be glad that we had the privilege of passing through mortality, and that we lived in a day in which the fullness of the Everlasting Gospel was preached, through which we will be exalted, for there is no exaltation but through obedience to law. Every blessing, privilege, glory, or exaltation is obtained only through obedience to the law upon which the same is promised. If we will abide the law, we shall receive the reward; but we can receive it on no other ground. Then let us rejoice in the truth, in the restoration of the Priesthood—that power delegated to man, by virtue of which the Lord sanctions in the heavens what man does upon the earth. The Lord has taught us the ordinances of the Gos pel by which we may perfect our exaltation in his kingdom. We are not living as the heathen, without law; that which is necessary for our exaltation has been revealed. Our duty, therefore, is to obey the laws, then we shall receive our reward, no matter whether we are cut down in childhood, in manhood or old age; it is all the same, so long as we are living up to the light we possess, we shall not be shorn of any blessing, nor deprived of any privilege; for there is a time after this mortal life, and there is a way provided by which we may fulfil the measure of our creation and destiny, and accomplish the whole great work that we have been sent to do, although it may reach far into the future before we fully accomplish it. Jesus had not finished his work when his body was slain, neither did he finish it after his resurrection from the dead, although he had accomplished the purpose for which he then came to the earth, he had not fulfilled all his work. And when will he? Not until he has redeemed and saved every son and daughter of our father Adam that has or ever will be born upon this earth to the end of time, except the sons of perdition. That is his mission. We will not finish our work until we have saved ourselves, and then not until we shall have saved all depending upon us; for we are to become saviors upon Mount Zion, as well as Christ. We are called to this mission. The dead are not perfect without us, neither are we without them. We have a mission to perform for and in their behalf; we have a certain work to do in order to liberate those who, because of their ignorance and the unfavorable circumstances in which they were placed while here, are unprepared for eternal life; we have to open the door for them, by performing ordinances which they cannot perform for themselves, and which are essential to their release from the “prison house,” to come forth and live according to God in the spirit, and be judged according to man in the flesh.

The Prophet Joseph Smith has said that this is one of the most important duties that devolves upon the Latter-day Saints. And why? Because this is the dispensation of the fullness of times, which will usher in the millennial reign, and in which all things spoken by the mouth of holy Prophets, since the world began, must be fulfilled, and all things united, both which are in heaven and in the earth. We have got that work to do, or at least all we can of it, leaving the balance to our children, in whose hearts we should instil the importance of this work, rearing them in the love of the truth and in the knowledge of these principles, so that when we pass away, having done all we can do, they will then take up the labor and continue it until it is consummated.

May the Lord bless this bereaved family and comfort them in their deprivation. Those who die in the Lord shall not taste of death. When Adam partook of the forbidden fruit he was cast out from the presence of God into outer darkness; that is, he was shut out from the presence of his glory and the privilege of his society, which was spiritual death. This was the first death; this indeed was death; for he was shut out from the presence of God, and ever since Adam’s posterity have been suffering the penalty of this spiritual death, which is banishment from his presence and the society of holy beings. This first death will also be the second death. Now we look upon the mortal remains of our departed sister; her immortal part has gone. Where? Into outer darkness?—banished from the pre sence of God? No, but born again into his presence, restored, or born from death to life, to immortality and to joy in his presence. This is not death, then; and this is true in relation to all Saints who die in the Lord and the covenant of the Gospel. They return from the midst of death to life, where death has no power. There is no death except to those who die in sin, without the sure and steadfast hope of the resurrection of the just. There is no death where we continue in the knowledge of the truth and in hope of a glorious resurrection. Life and immortality are brought to light through the Gospel, hence there is no death here; here is peaceful slumber, a quiet rest for a little season, and then she will come forth again to enjoy this tabernacle. If there is anything lacking in regard to ordinances pertaining to the House of the Lord, which may have been omitted or not reached, those requirements can be attended to for her. Here are her father and mother, her brothers and sisters; they know the course to pursue, they know the ordinances necessary to be performed in order to secure every benefit and blessing that it was possible for her to have received in the flesh. These ordinances have been revealed unto us for this very purpose, that we might be born into the light from the midst of this darkness—from death into life.

We live then, we do not die, we do not anticipate death; but we anticipate life, immortality, glory, exaltation, and to be quickened by the glory of the celestial kingdom, and receive of the same, even a fullness. This is our destiny: this is the exalted position to which we may attain, and there is no power that can deprive or rob us of it, if we prove faithful and true to the covenant of the Gospel.

That the Lord may bless, comfort and solace the family of his servant, who are called to lament this momentary loss, that in the midst of their affliction, while their sorrow finds no relief in tears, they may bow obedient to Heaven’s will, and in gratitude and thanksgiving, praise Him “from whom all blessings flow.” And that the Lord may help us to be faithful, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Arrival in Salt Lake City—The First Principles—The Question of Authority—The Ordinances—Education of Our Youth—Plural Marriage, Etc.—“Mormonism” Immortal

Discourse by Elder Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the New Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, Sept. 30, 1877.

I fear I shall not be able to make myself heard by this vast congregation. I have not been accustomed lately to address so many people; but on the contrary, a very few in a place at a time. It is difficult for me to speak so that all may hear me distinctly, in this immense house. Besides, I have not been in very good health of late, having had an attack of sickness since my return home, which has drawn heavily upon my strength.

I am thankful that I have been privileged to meet with you today, under so favorable circumstances as those which surround us; although in common with the Latter-day Saints, I cannot but regret the cause of my presence among you. I left my home and friends here, but a few months ago, for Europe, expecting to fill a mission there of two years and perhaps much longer. But soon after hearing of the death of our departed President, Brigham Young, Brother Orson Pratt and I received a cablegram from our Brethren, the Twelve, inviting us to return home. As soon, therefore, as circumstances permitted, we were on our way hith er, making the journey from England to this city in about fifteen days. We had rather a rough passage across the Atlantic, having experienced equinoctial gales and heavy seas for the first few days, which made it very disagreeable; the remainder of the voyage, however, was comparatively pleasant, and the trip from New York here very much so indeed.

For the past few months I have been engaged preaching the Gospel in England, as opportunities presented for me to do so. I did not travel very extensively, as my limited time and other circumstances did not warrant it.

I was pleased, in July last, to meet in Liverpool Brother Orson Pratt, who came to England to publish the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants in phonetics, or phonotype. He was diligently engaged prosecuting this work at the time the sad news of the death of the President reached us. Arrangements had been so far completed that the type was mostly obtained and delivered at our office, and preparations were nearly made for the commencement of this work. But as Brother Pratt is here, I will leave his mission and labors for him to narrate himself.

I can say, in all consciousness that during the time I have been absent from home, I have felt as strong a desire in my heart as I ever did, for the advancement of the kingdom of God, and the spread of the Gospel among those who sit in darkness. And I feel that I have done the best I could under the circumstances to carry out my desires.

As missionaries we have labored unceasingly through England, Scotland and Wales during the past summer, availing ourselves of every opportunity of holding meetings in the streets, on the squares, and in whatever places we could procure for the purpose; the Elders going around from house to house to notify the people and invite them to attend. The brethren have labored diligently and unceasingly the past summer, endeavoring in this way to spread the Gospel. In many places very encouraging success has crowned their labors; in many instances congregations, numbering from one to three thousand persons, have assembled in the public parks, and upon the commons, to listen to the Elders preaching. It is true, that so far we have seen but little immediate fruits of this labor; but we feel that the seed is being sown, that it will fall in more or less good soil, and in due season it will bring forth fruit meet for repentance.

The European mission today if I am to speak my feelings plainly upon the matter, is in a very low condition—that is, speaking of Great Britain. Whereas, on the Continent and throughout Scandinavia, the work is flourishing. In some places in Germany, which have been impenetrable heretofore, the Gospel is now preached. There have been recently a number of baptisms in and adjacent to Berlin; and we feel encouraged in our labors in that country, knowing that efforts have been made so long and so persistently to open up the Gospel to that nation, without accomplishing anything.

The object of sending Elders forth to the nations of the earth is to preach the Gospel, that the world may know the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and through obedience thereto be gathered to the people of God, and be saved in His kingdom. We are thankful that we are engaged in the great latter-day work, that God our heavenly Father is at the head, and has decreed to carry it forth to a successful consummation. Therefore, so long as we put our trust in Him, doing the best we can to accomplish His purposes, we may rest content that all will be well.

I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from my childhood; and ever since I began to investigate for myself, I have been satisfied with my religion; I have been perfectly confident that I was engaged in a righteous cause, having had every assurance that it is the work of God and not of man; and that it is the business of the Almighty to sustain it, choosing and using the instruments best suited to accomplish His purposes that were at His command. I believe He has ever done so, and will continue to do so until He completes His undertaking. As Latter-day Saints we have every reason to rejoice in the Gospel, and in the testimony we have received concerning its truth. I repeat, we have reason to rejoice and to be exceeding glad, for we possess the testimony of Jesus, the spirit of prophecy, which the world know nothing about, nor can they without obedience to the Gospel.

Jesus thoroughly understood this matter, and fully explained it when he said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” On first reflection, it would seem that anything so clear, reasonable and tangible could be easily made plain to the understanding of all men. Hence the feeling that has prompted many of the Latter-day Saints to believe, after their minds have been enlightened by the Spirit of God—everything being made so plain and clear to them—that they had only to tell their friends and kindred what they had learned and they would gladly receive it. But how disappointed, after they had presented to them the truths of heaven in simplicity and plainness, to hear them say “We cannot see it!” or “We do not believe it!” Or perhaps bitterly oppose it, which is by far the most common practice of the world. They cannot understand it. Why? Because, as Jesus has said, no man can see the kingdom except he is born again. You may preach the Gospel to the people, but unless they humble themselves as little children before the Lord, acknowledging their dependence upon him for light and wisdom, they cannot see or sense it, although you may preach to them in as great plainness as it is possible for the truth to be conveyed from one person to another. And should any believe your testimony it would only be belief. They would not see as you see—nor comprehend it as you do—until they yield obedience to the requirements of the Gospel, and through the remission of their sins receive the Holy Ghost. Then they, too, can see as you do, for they have the same spirit; then will they love the truth as you do, and may wonder why they could not comprehend it before, or why it is that there can be anybody with common intelligence that cannot understand truth so plain and forcible.

I have been preaching for a few months past to the world, and perhaps it would not be amiss to dwell for a few moments upon some of the principles of the Gospel, as though I were talking to strangers, notwithstanding I feel I am in the presence of the Latter-day Saints.

About the first question an honest inquirer would ask would be: What is your religious belief? Or, What are the principles of the Gospel as you understand them? I do not propose to tell you all about the Gospel in one discourse, but I may tell you a few of my thoughts upon some of its principles, which are essential not only for the Latter-day Saints to know, but for all the children of men, in order to be saved in the kingdom of God.

First, then, it is necessary to have faith in God, “faith being the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness.”

Faith in God is to believe that he is, and “that he is the only supreme governor and independent being, in whom all fullness and perfection and every good gift and principle dwells independently,” and in whom the faith of all other rational beings must center for life and salvation; and further, that he is the great Creator of all things, that he is omnipotent, omniscient, and by his works and the power of his Spirit omnipresent.

Not only is it necessary to have faith in God, but also in Jesus Christ, his Son, the Savior of mankind and the Mediator of the New Covenant; and in the Holy Ghost, who bears record of the Father and the Son, “the same in all ages and forever.”

Having this faith, it becomes necessary to repent. Repent of what? Of every sin of which we may have been guilty. How shall we repent of these sins? Does repentance consist of sorrow for wrongdoing? Yes; but is this all? By no means. True repentance only is acceptable to God, nothing short of it will answer the purpose. Then what is true repentance? True repentance is not only sorrow for sins, and humble penitence and contrition before God, but it involves the necessity of turning away from them, a discontinuance of all evil practices and deeds, a thorough reformation of life, a vital change from evil to good, from vice to virtue, from darkness to light. Not only so, but to make restitution, so far as it possible, for all the wrongs we have done, to pay our debts, and restore to God and man their rights—that which is due to them from us. This is true repentance, and the exercise of the will and all the powers of body and mind is demanded, to complete this glorious work of repentance; then God will accept it.

Having thus repented, the next thing requisite is baptism, which is an essential principle of the Gospel—no man can enter into the gospel covenant without it. It is the door of the Church of Christ, we cannot get in there in any other way, for Christ hath said it. “Sprinkling,” or “pouring,” is not baptism. Baptism means immersion in water, and is to be administered by one having authority, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Baptism without divine authority is not valid. It is a symbol of the burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and must be done in the likeness thereof, by one commissioned of God, in the manner prescribed, otherwise it is illegal and will not be accepted by him, nor will it effect a remission of sins, the object for which it is designed, but whosoever hath faith, truly repents and is “buried with Christ in baptism,” by one having divine authority, shall receive a remission of sins, and is entitled to the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. Only those who are commissioned of Jesus Christ, have authority or power to bestow this gift. The office of the Holy Ghost is to bear record of Christ, or to testify of him, and confirm the believer in the truth, by bringing to his recollection things that have passed, and showing or revealing to the mind things present and to come. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you.” “He will guide you into all truth.” Thus, without the aid of the Holy Ghost no man can know the will of God, or that Jesus is the Christ—the Redeemer of the world—or that the course he pursues, the works he performs, or his faith, are acceptable to God, and such as will secure to him the gift of eternal life, the greatest of all gifts.

“But,” says an objector, “have we not the Bible, and are not the Holy Scriptures able to make us wise unto salvation?” Yes, provided we obey them. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The “good works” are the great desideratum. The Bible itself is but the dead letter, it is the spirit that giveth life. The way to obtain the Spirit is that which is here marked out so plainly in the Scriptures. There is no other. Obedience, therefore, to these principles is absolutely necessary, in order to obtain the salvation and exaltation brought to light through the Gospel.

As to the question of authority, nearly everything depends upon it. No ordinance can be performed to the acceptance of God without divine authority. No matter how fervently men may believe, or pray, unless they are endowed with divine authority they can only act in their own name, and not legally nor acceptably in the name of Jesus Christ, in whose name all these things must be done. Some suppose this authority may be derived from the Bible, but nothing could be more absurd. The Bible is but a book containing the writings of inspired men, “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness;” as such we hold it is sacred; but the spirit, power and authority by which it is written cannot be found within its lids, nor derived from it. “For prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” If by reading and believing the Bible this authority could be obtained, all who read and believed would have it—one equally with another. I have read the Bible, and I have as good reason for believing it as any other man, and do believe it with all my heart; but this does not give me authority to teach men in the name of the Lord, nor to officiate in the sacred ordinances of the Gospel. Were the Scriptures the only source of knowledge, we would be without knowledge for ourselves, and would have to rest our hopes of salvation upon a simple belief in the testimonies and sayings of others. This will not do for me; I must know for myself, and if I act as a teacher of these things, I must be clothed with the same light, knowledge and authority those were who acted in a similar calling anciently. Else how could I declare the truth and bear testimony as they did? What right would I have to say “thus saith the Lord,“ and call upon man to repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord? Or, that “This Jesus hath God raised up (from the dead) whereof we all (the Apostles) are witnesses.” And, therefore, let all men “know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus,” who was crucified, “both Lord and Christ.” No man, without the Holy Ghost as enjoyed by the ancient Apostles, can know these things, therefore cannot declare them by authority, nor teach and prepare mankind for the salvation of God. God Almighty is the only source from whence this knowledge, power and authority can be obtained, and that through the operations of the Holy Ghost. The Scriptures may serve as a guide to lead us to God, and hence to the possession of all things necessary to life and salvation, but they can do no more.

Having profiled by this example, and done the works commanded by both Christ and his Apostles, ancient and modern, I am happy of the privilege to declare to the inhabitants of the earth that I have received this testimony and witness for myself. I do know that these things are true. Jesus my Redeemer lives, and God hath made him both Lord and Christ. To know and to worship the true God, in the name of Jesus—in spirit and in truth—is the duty of man. To aid and qualify him for this service is the duty and office of the Holy Ghost. Man may fail through faltering and unfaithfulness, but the Spirit of God will never fail, nor abandon the faithful disciple. I can say as one who has tried the experiment—for it may be called an experiment to the beginner—that all who will take the course and accept the doctrine thus marked out will, through faithfulness, become acquainted with the truth, and shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or of man, and will rejoice in it as all good, faithful Latter-day Saints do.

Here is an ordinance which we are now administering, the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper; it is a principle of the Gospel, one as necessary to be observed by all believers, as any other ordinance of the Gospel. What is the object of it? It is that we may keep in mind continually the Son of God who has redeemed us, from eternal death, and brought us to life again through the power of the Gospel. Before the coming of Christ to the earth, this was borne in mind by the inhabitants of the earth to whom the Gospel was preached, by another ordinance, which involved the sacrifice of animal life, an ordinance which was a type of the great sacrifice that should take place in the meridian of time. Hence, Adam, after he was cast out of the Garden, was commanded to offer sacrifices to God; by this act he, and all who participated in the offering of sacrifices, were reminded of the Savior who should come to redeem them from death which, were it not for the atonement wrought out by him, would forever exclude them from dwelling in the presence of God again. But in his coming and death, this commandment was fulfilled; and he instituted the Supper and commanded his followers to partake of this in all time to come, in order that they may remember him, bearing in mind that he had redeemed them, also that they had covenanted to keep his commandments and to walk with him in the regeneration. Hence it is necessary to partake of the sacrament, as a witness to him that we do remember him, are willing to keep the commandments he has given us, that we may have his spirit to be with us always—even to the end, and also that we may continue in the for giveness of our sins.

In various dispensations there are various differences in regard to certain requirements of the Gospel. For instance, in the day of Noah, when he preached the Gospel to the antediluvian world, he was given a special commandment, to build an ark, that in case the people would reject him and the message sent unto them, that himself and all who believed on him might be saved from the destruction that awaited them. In this dispensation there is a principle or commandment peculiar to it. What is that? It is the gathering the people unto one place. The gathering of this people is as necessary to be observed by believers, as faith, repentance, baptism, or any other ordinance. It is an essential part of the Gospel of this dispensation, as much so, as the necessity of building an ark by Noah, for his deliverance, was a part of the Gospel of his dispensation. Then the world was destroyed by a flood, now it is to be destroyed by war, pestilence, famine, earthquakes, storms, and tempests, the sea rolling beyond its bounds, malarious vapors, vermin, disease, and by fire and the lightnings of God’s wrath poured out for destruction upon Babylon. The cry of the angel unto the righteous of this dispensation is, “Come out of her O my people, that ye partake not of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” We believe also in the principle of direct revelation from God to man. This is a part of the Gospel, but it is not peculiar to this dispensation. It is common in all ages and dispensations of the Gospel. The Gospel cannot be administered, nor the Church of God continue to exist without it. Christ is the head of his Church and not man, and the connection can only be maintained upon the principle of direct and continuous revelation. It is not a hereditary principle, it cannot be handed down from father to son, or from generation to generation, but is a living vital principle to be enjoyed on certain conditions only, namely—through absolute faith in God and obedience to his laws and commandments. The moment this principle is cut off, that moment the Church is adrift, being severed from its everliving head. In this condition it cannot continue, but must cease to be the Church of God, and like the ship at sea, without captain, compass or rudder, is afloat at the mercy of the storms and the waves, of ever contending human passions, and worldly interests, pride and folly, finally to be wrecked upon the strand of priestcraft and superstition. The religious world is in this condition today, ripening for the great destruction which awaits them, but there is an ark prepared for such as are worthy of eternal life, in the gathering of the Saints to the chambers of the Almighty, where they shall be preserved until the indignation of God is passed.

Marriage, is also a principle or ordinance of the Gospel, most vital to the happiness of mankind, however unimportant it may seem, or lightly regarded by many. There is no superfluous or unnecessary principle in the plan of life, but there is no principle of greater importance or more essential to the happiness of man—not only here, but especially hereafter, than that of marriage. Yet all are necessary. What good would it be to one to be baptized and receive not the Holy Ghost? And suppose he went a little further and received the Holy Ghost, thereby obtaining the testimony of Jesus, and then stopped at that, what good would it do him? None whatever, but would add to his condemnation, for it would be as burying his talent in the earth. To secure the fulness of the blessings, we must receive the fulness of the Gospel. Yet men will be judged and rewarded according to their works. “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Those who receive a part of the Gospel with light and knowledge to comprehend other principles, and yet do not obey them will come under this law, hence condemnation will be added unto such, and that which they did receive may be taken from them and added to them who are more worthy.

Obedience is a requirement of heaven, and is therefore a principle of the Gospel. Are all required to be obedient? Yes, all. What, against their will? O, no, not by any means. There is no power given to man, nor means lawful to be used to compel men to obey the will of God, against their wish, except persuasion and good advice, but there is a penalty attached to disobedience, which all must suffer who will not obey the obvious truths or laws of heaven. I believe in the sentiment of the poet:

“Know this, that every soul is free, To choose his life and what he’ll be; For this eternal truth is given, That God will force no man to heaven. He’ll call, persuade, direct aright, Bless him with wisdom, love and light. In nameless ways to be good and kind, But never force the human mind.”

Is it a difficult task to obey the Gospel? No. It is an easy matter to those who possess the spirit of it. Most of this congregation can testify that the Gospel “yoke is easy and the burden is light.” Those who have embraced it will be judged according to their works therein, whether they be good or evil. To such as are untrue to their covenants, it may be said by and by, “depart from me!” In vain will they plead their former good works, and faith. Why? Because the race is not to the swift nor the battle always to the strong, but to him that endures faithful to the end. We must save ourselves from this untoward generation. It is a continual labor, but the strength of the righteous will be sufficient for their day. Jesus said, “in my Father’s house there are many mansions.” There is a glory, or mansion, of which the sun is typical, another of which the moon is typical, and still another like unto the stars, and in this latter the condition of its occupants will differ as the stars differ in appearance. Every man will receive according to his works and knowledge. “These are they who are of Paul and Apollos, some of one and some of another, some of Christ, some of John, of Moses, Elias, Isaiah and Enoch, but receive not the Gospel nor the testimony of Jesus.” Thus impartial justice will be meted out unto all, and none will be lost but the sons of perdition.

Let us treat with candor the religious sentiments of all men, no matter if they differ from ours, or appear to us absurd and foolish. Those who hold them may be as sincere as we are in their convictions. It is well to prove all things, so far as we can, and be sure to hold fast to that which is good, no matter where we find it. Ridicule is not likely to convince a man of his error, or if it does, it may destroy his respect and love for its author, and if he has truth, his victim will most likely spurn it.

I desire to say that my faith in this work is as firm or firmer than ever. My heart is in it, and I know truly it is the kingdom of God. These things of which I have been so imperfectly speaking, I know to be the truth—Bible truth, Gospel truth, and are essential to the salvation of mankind. I am not deceived in this but know whereof I speak. My religion teaches me to do good, to be at peace with my neighbors, at least not to infringe upon their rights nor trespass upon their property, and even to endure wrongs from them rather than do them wrong, or even demand from the trespasser what I might deem full justice. It teaches me to trust in the justice of the Almighty, and to rest my cause in his hands. It enjoins honesty, sobriety and industry. It forbids profanity, lying, adultery, deceitfulness, and vile cunning.

It gives true enlightenment to the mind and exalts the low and debased who will hearken and obey it. The observance of the Gospel will make good men of bad ones, and better men of good ones. It will make good citizens, good fathers, husbands, wives and children, good neighbors, a good people, an enlightened, pure and high-minded community, a blessed state and a prosperous nation. Obedience to the Gospel will save the world from sin, abolish war, strife and litigation, and usher in the millennial reign. It will restore the earth to its rightful owner, and prepare it for the inheritance of the just. These are all principles of that same Gospel of Christ, and the effects which will flow from their acceptance and adoption by mankind. Jesus taught them, and on one occasion the people took up stones and were about to stone him for it. When he said, “Many good works have I showed you from my Father, for which of those works do ye stone me?” He had done many good works, taught them many good things, and for this they were about to stone him. The Latter-day Saints could with propriety address themselves in like manner to the world, but more especially to our own nation. We have done many good things, have tried to do no harm, have suffered the spoilation of our goods without retaliation, have been driven from place to place. Our Prophets and leaders have been slain, and you still persecute us, and are not satisfied. For which of the good works we have done do ye these things? I know they will say, “for your good works we do not hate or persecute you, but for your blasphemy, and because you say you are the people of God.” This was about what the Jews said to Jesus, but it did not change the fact that he had told them the truth, or that he had done the many good works among them which he did, nor that it was for these they hated and crucified him. What did the Savior or his disciples do to injure mankind? Nothing. But much to benefit them; yet they were hated, persecuted, hunted and destroyed. What have the Latter-day Saints done to injure anybody? Absolutely nothing, but a great deal to benefit humanity. I am at the defiance of the world to prove to the contrary. We have gathered our people by thousands out of poverty and distress from many nations to these valleys where they are now enjoying good homes, the sweets of liberty and plenty. Aside from religion, that is an inestimable blessing to them. But we have also taught them good principles and doctrines, and they are happy, honest, industrious and prosperous.

We have labored diligently to advance in the scale of intelligence. Our schools compare favorably with any in our broad land; our children are as intelligent, and we are the pioneers of true and enlightened civilization in the Western States and Territories. Through our industry and enterprise, cities, towns and villages have sprung up in the wilderness, and the deserts and waste places have been made fruitful and to blossom as the rose. Can there be any wrong in all this? “But,” says one, “it is not for this you are persecuted, it is for your religion.” What, then, in the name of reason, is there in our religion that we should be persecuted for it? Is it because we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? The Christian world also profess belief in him, and we believe in him as much as they do and a little more. Is it because we believe it is necessary to repent of sin? Certainly we have a right to do this. Is it because we baptize for the remission of sin? Christ commanded it, and laid it down as the law. Then what can it be that so distinguishes us from the people of the world, and that moves their hatred toward us? Is it revelation from God to man? Perhaps so.

Some forty years ago, the great cry against Joseph Smith was “He believes in revelation!” and this was considered a crime. But very soon after, others who were not “Mormons” commenced to have “revelations,” and seemingly the stream has so enlarged that today the world is full of “revelation.” So our belief in revelation is not now considered so much of a crime as formerly, and therefore it can be no longer the object of persecution, for we would have as good a right to persecute them, as they would to persecute us on that score. We do not believe in these “revelations” of the world, no more than they do in ours. We believe them to be bogus, but we are quite wil ling that others should enjoy their opinions. We believe that while they have rejected the true light, they are found willing and ready to be thus deceived, by false and delusive spirits, just as the Prophets have foretold would be the case. (See 1 Tim., 4th chap., 1st verse, and 2 Tim. iii, 1). The revelations given through Joseph Smith are full of light, knowledge and wisdom, because they emanated from God. What has Spiritualism done for the world? Can it boast of bringing life and immortality to light? I have yet to learn that a single principle has been developed from this source that will save mankind, or exalt them to the presence and glory of God. Yet they have a right to their convictions, and we grant it cordially. We have the same right.

But says one, “You have dodged the main question; it is polygamy that causes all the trouble!”

This is the mind of our enemies generally, yet nothing can be more fallacious; those who assert this only expose their ignorance. The fact is that since the announcement and practice of that principle by this people, their persecutions have been comparatively trivial and harmless to what they were, before it was even known to themselves.

But the plural marriage of the “Mormons” now seems to form one of the strongest pretexts for the bitterness of our enemies, and the thoughtless readily fall into the ranks of the maligners of this principle. Did they ever stop to reflect as to what harm this principle and practice has done? Let me ask the ladies in this vast audience, Have any of you, or do you know of any woman who has been compelled to practice polygamy among this people? Or who has been compelled even to marry at all? I think not. Has plural marriage deprived any woman of a home, of husband or children? Has it promoted immorality or vice? No, it has not. Has it sown the seeds of corruption and death among the people? On the contrary it has promoted healthy, robust and vigorous increase, and the laws of life and health. Can the Elders of this Church be accused of going to the Gentiles for their wives and daughters? No, for we think we have better ones at home, we have not the least occasion to go abroad. So far as relates to this matter we are independent of the world. We are willing to let them and theirs alone, and mind our own business, while we respectfully request them also to attend to their own affairs.

The real facts are, the Latter-day Saints have embraced the unpopular doctrine of Jesus Christ, have received the keys of the Holy Priesthood—heaven’s delegated authority to man, and are not ashamed of the gospel, knowing it to be the power of God unto salvation. Hence the Devil is enraged, and although they will not believe it, this professedly pious, hypocritical world are moved with hatred towards the work and the people of God, instigated by the spirit of him whose servants they are. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

They predict our downfall, but they will not live to see their predictions fulfilled. The wicked may rage and imagine they can successfully measure arms with the Almighty, but he will hold them in derision and laugh when their fear cometh, while the kingdom of God will continue to progress until his purposes are consummated as has been decreed.

It is vain for the world to hope that “Mormonism” will die with President Brigham Young. When the Prophet Joseph Smith was assassinated the press and pulpit universally joined in predicting the end of “Mormonism.” But instead of their being any truth in their predictions, “The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church;” for the church grew as fast as it had ever done before, and it took deeper and firmer root. Men were no longer dependent upon the Prophet, the man of God to guide them; they began to stand upon their own foundation, to seek more earnestly after God themselves, and to know for themselves, and not to be dependent upon the voice of man. Hence they grew in faith and in power, the truth sinking deeper into the hearts of the people who remained true to the Lord, and they a comparative handful, have succeeded in building up the church as it exists today in these valleys. Are we now going to be scattered to the four winds because one or two distinguished men should pass away? No, the seed has fallen into good ground, and it will germinate and mature; the priesthood itself is still with us, the authority is here, and in obedience to the command of God, we will continue to go forth and organize and establish the kingdom, never more to be thrown down or given to another people, until all is consummated and finished. This is the work of God, and not of man. Man is incompetent to direct and manage it. He will not suffer man to arrogate to himself the honor of doing it. The honor belongs to him and he will take it to himself.

This is my faith in the Gospel. It fills my soul with joy and gratitude to God my heavenly Father, and I desire to increase in the truth, to become better, more faithful and diligent in overcoming every weakness, that I may be worthy to stand in the position I occupy in the Church of the living God. This is the way we should all feel; and we should, above all other considerations, be determined to cleave to the gospel, building our faith upon the rock, not upon the arm of flesh. Let us humble ourselves before God, seek unto him continually with prayerful hearts, be diligent in the observance of our covenants, and he will bear us off triumphant over every opposing foe and every power that undertakes to measure arms with him and his cause. This is my testimony, and this is my exhortation to the Latter-day Saints. I pray God to bless his people, and to bless his servant brother Taylor, who stands at the head of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who now preside over the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in all the earth. May the Lord bless him, prolong his life and give him power and wisdom to stand in his place and calling and to magnify the priesthood conferred upon him; may his brethren stand with him in one solid phalanx, united as one man, even as God the Father and Jesus and the heavenly hosts are one, and I tell you the whole people will be united and rejoice in the truth. That God may bless the faithful everywhere and enable them to keep sacred the covenants they have made with him, is my earnest prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Belief and Knowledge—Personal Knowledge Indispensable—Possession of the Holy Ghost Necessary to the Knowledge of the Truth—How to Obtain the Holy Ghost—His Office—The Enmity of the World Towards the Priesthood An Evidence of Its Divine Authority—Always Was and Always Will Be So—Conditions Upon Which Blessings Are to Be Obtained, or Lost

Discourse by Elder Joseph F. Smith, delivered in the Tabernacle, at St. George, Sunday, April 2, 1877.

During the time I may occupy, I desire to express my feelings with regard to my faith in the Gospel, and the great latter-day work in which we are all more or less engaged, that you as well as my brethren may know how I stand before God and man.

I was born in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but not under the sealing covenant; that principle was revealed to this Church subsequent to my birth. I have been reared in the midst of the people called Latter-day Saints, receiving most of my limited education in their society, and that during my childhood under the guidance of my mother. Since the age of 15 years, I have been engaged more or less in the ministry, and have received instruction through having the counsels and teachings of the servants of God, as you all have; but some, perhaps, have not enjoyed this privilege to so great an extent as others who have been less abroad. In my childhood I learned to believe the Gospel, and in the divine mission and calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith, in the visitation of the angel Moroni, in the establishment of the kingdom of God on the earth, and also in the gathering together of the people of the Lord, and many important things connected with this great latter-day work.

On my first mission I began to learn something for myself; I had hitherto believed the testimonies of the servants of God whom I had heard converse and preach, as well as the instructions I received from a most kind and affectionate mother, as also what I could comprehend through reading the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Bible. But in the ministry, where I labored earnestly, I began to comprehend more fully, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, what I had read and been taught, and so they became in my mind established facts, of which I was as absolutely certain as I was of my own existence; and from the beginning of my experience as an Elder in the Church until the present, if there has been a moment in my life when I have doubted the divinity and truthfulness of these things, it has escaped my notice, and it is today as much a matter of fact with me, as it is that I live.

I long ago learned to prize the principles of the Gospel, as of far greater importance than all earthly things; they are of more value than this present life, for without the Gospel it is valueless, the grand ob ject and purpose of life being attainable only through being obedient unto the Gospel.

A saying of the Savior is here forced upon my mind, “For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Again, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,” but only upon this plan can he be saved.

By the principles of the Gospel, as revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith, we are privileged to secure unto ourselves the gift of eternal life, which is the greatest gift of God. Without these principles we are as the dumb animal, so far as relates to the knowledge of God, for our fathers were unable to teach us, they knew no more of the ways of God, or the plans of salvation, than the children, notwithstanding their boasted enlightenment and their possession of the holy Scriptures. They were not acquainted with the principles of life, they knew not the law of the Lord, and neither did we until we received and obeyed the Gospel, thereby obtaining heavenly light through the channel of the Priesthood. Before this we were as they were, clinging to dead forms, puzzled to divine the meaning of many things which under the light of inspiration have become plain and easy to be understood. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

It behooves the Latter-day Saints, and all men, to make themselves acquainted with “the only true God, and Jesus whom he hath sent.” But can we through our own wisdom find out God? Can we by our unaided ingenuity and learning fathom his purposes and comprehend his will? We have, I think, witnessed examples enough of such efforts on the part of the intelligent world, to convince us that it is impossible. The ways and wisdom of God are not as the ways and wisdom of man. How then can we know “the only true and living God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent?” for to obtain this knowledge would be to obtain the secret or key to eternal life. It must be through the Holy Ghost, whose office is to reveal the things of the Father to man, and to bear witness in our hearts of Christ, and him crucified and risen from the dead. There is no other way or means of attaining to this knowledge. How shall we obtain the Holy Ghost? The method or manner is clearly marked out. We are told to have faith in God, to believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of all who diligently seek him; to repent of our sins, subdue our passions, follies, and improprieties; to be virtuous, honest, and upright in all our dealings one with another, and enter into covenant with God that we will from thenceforth abide in the principles of truth, and observe the commandments which he has given us, then to be baptized for the remission of our sins, by one having authority; and when this ordinance of the Gospel is complied with, we may receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands of those clothed with the authority of the Priesthood. Thus the Spirit and power of God—the Comforter, may be in us as a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. He will bear record of the Father, testify of Jesus, and “take of the things of the Father and reveal them unto us,” confirming our faith, establishing us in the truth, that we shall be no longer tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine; but shall “know of the doctrine” whether it be of God or of man. This is the course—it is simple, reasonable, and consistent. Who is there with common abilities that can fail to see, or comprehend it? Indeed, in the language of the Scriptures, it is so plain, that “the wayfaring man, though a fool, need not err therein.”

Having entered into this covenant, being cleansed from sin, and endowed with the gift of the Holy Ghost, why should we not abide in the truth, continuing steadfast before God and firm in the great work he has established on the earth? We should never cease to serve Him, nor thwart his mercy and goodness towards us; but ever live so that the Holy Spirit may be within us as a living spring, calculated to lead us to perfection in righteousness, virtue, and integrity before God, until we accomplish our earthly mission, performing every duty that may be required at our hands.

In this way I have learned the Gospel which I was first taught to believe, which belief is now superseded by knowledge. For now I know that God lives, and that Jesus Christ was sent into the world to atone for the original sin, and also for the actual transgressions of mankind, inasmuch as they themselves will repent of their sins and humble themselves before Him in their pursuit of the gift and blessing of eternal life. We should not be satisfied with the testimony alone of our brethren. It is well and good, it is indeed encouraging and cheering to the heart to hear the testimonies of the servants of God—to believe that God has raised up men in this dispensation and made them witnesses of Him and his Son Jesus, and who have been shown the mysteries of heavenly things, and commanded to bear record of what they saw and heard; yes, it is a joy to the soul to have men among us who are in spired by the Holy Spirit and full of the light of truth and of the power of God, bearing their testimony unto us that this is the work of God, that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ—the Savior of the world, and that he has spoken to the inhabitants of the earth in the day in which we live, but is this sufficient to satisfy me? No. It will not suffice me to believe that you know the true and living God, etc. I must receive this knowledge for myself as you have received it. Is not the way open to me to comprehend the purposes and the will of God concerning my salvation, as to you? Certainly it is. It is for all, yea, every son and daughter of Adam to learn the will of God, to receive the testimony of the Spirit for him and herself, and not to depend alone upon the testimonies of these good men that God has raised up to fill the positions they occupy. And if we should pin our faith to them, although we might realize consolation and even joy and satisfaction in hearing their testimonies, yet, unless we receive the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the time will undoubtedly come when the winds will blow and the storms beat upon the house we thus may build and it will fall. What a deplorable condition we would then find ourselves in!

Is it not necessary for all to be capable of judging as to whether the testimonies of these men are of God or man? How can we know that what they testify of, is true? How can we know that they bear witness of the Almighty, or that they possess the holy Priesthood authorizing them to minister in the ordinances of the Gospel? I answer, only by and through the inspiration of that Holy Spirit which is given to all who diligently seek and obtain it according to the promise.

Then if we would know the Lord Jesus Christ, and his servants, who are in our midst, and that their testimonies are true, we must enjoy the light of the Spirit of the living God individually. The possession of this heavenly knowledge is absolutely necessary to keep us in the paths of life and truth, for without it we cannot distinguish the voice of the true shepherd, which is spiritually discerned; and although we may be in fellowship with the Church, fully believing the counsels of our brethren to be dictated by wisdom, yet without something more than mere belief or supposition we cannot stand; and furthermore under such circumstances we cannot consistently claim that we have part or lot in the kingdom of God. For as it is written, “An actual knowledge to any person, that the course of life which he pursues is according to the will of God, is essentially necessary to enable him to have that confidence in God without which no person can obtain eternal life.” For unless a person does know that he is walking according to the will of God, it would be an insult to the dignity of the Creator were he to say that he would be a partaker of his glory when he should be done with the things of this life. But when he has this knowledge, and most assuredly knows that he is doing the will of God, his confidence can be equally strong that he will be a partaker of the glory of God. Then let us search after truth—for the light of the Spirit which leadeth into all truth, that we may comprehend the Gospel, be able to sustain the hands of the servants of God in their efforts to build up Zion, and work out our own salvation. Though all the world should be saved but ourselves, we being excluded from the kingdom, what will it profit us? To see our fellow crea tures enter into salvation and be exalted into the presence of God, and the door closed against us, would indeed be poor consolation or comfort. But if we would enter in, we must do the will of the Father, keep his commandments, possess the gift of the Holy Ghost, enjoy the testimony of Jesus, and become witnesses of the truth for ourselves; we then may build upon a foundation more lasting than the solid rock. That when trials come and temptations surge against us, as they will do, we may stand and endure to the end. For not every one that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom, but he that doeth the will of the Father, etc.; or, as the wise man once said, “the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill.” Nevertheless, “he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” I cannot believe for a moment that any of us will attain to the gift of eternal life, unless we shall qualify ourselves through the truth, in the manner God has prescribed, and in that way become worthy of it. We must obtain this light by revelation, we cannot do it by our own wisdom. God will give us knowledge and understanding, he will lead us in the path of truth if we put our whole trust in him and not in man. He then can and will preserve us, and all the powers of the earth combined cannot destroy us, for we are in His hands. Here are our fathers and leaders that have passed through the school of experience; they have seen what the enemies of this kingdom have tried to do, and know full well what they would do if they had it in their power. It has ever been the desire of the wicked to destroy the people of God. They have never slackened their efforts, nor failed to use all the means in their power, nor hesitated to resort to the most cruel, foul and fiendish acts to accomplish their nefarious purpose. This same cruel enmity, although for the time being, to some extent subdued or held in check by the Almighty, still smolders and rankles in their hearts, awaiting a favorable opportunity to burst forth as fiercely as at any time during the life of the Prophet Joseph. This is one of the strongest evidences we can have of the divine mission of President Brigham Young. Because of the inspiration of the Almighty and power of God which has rested upon him and accompanied his administrations, he has been the very center of the target at which all the deadly weapons of the enemy has been aimed ever since the death of the Prophet Joseph. I say this is one of the strongest evidences we can have of this fact, aside from the testimony of the Holy Spirit, which bringeth knowledge. It is unmistakable. The hatred of the wicked always has and always will follow the Priesthood and the Saints. The devil will not lose sight of the power of God vested in man—the Holy Priesthood. He fears it, he hates it, and will never cease to stir up the hearts of the debased and corrupt in anger and malice towards those who hold this power, and to persecute the Saints, until he is bound. He delights in apostasy and in apostates, and uses them for his purpose, but what does he or his emissaries care for their organizations? Do they hate them? Is the world moved with anger or malice against them? No. They become a part of the world, fraternize with the people of the world and lose their distinction or identity, as the people of God notwithstanding their claims and pretentions to being believers in the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Gospel which he was instrumental in restoring to the earth.

What a host of apostasies there have been since the organization of this Church! There have been Rigdonites, Strangites, Benemites, Wightites, Gladdenites, Cutlerites, Morrisites, Josephites, and the duce knows what ites? But what does the world care about these? Nothing. Why? Because they have forfeited the Priesthood, they have not the power, nor the principles of salvation only in part; they have deserted the cause, have struck hands alike with the infidel and the bigot, and formed an alliance with the maligners and persecutors of the Saints, and therefore they are harmless in the eyes of the world and of their master whom they have blindly listed to serve. While these men who hold the keys of the Priesthood of the Son of God, who have led forth the Saints out of bondage and oppression, such as could not be endured in the States, who have gathered the people from afar, and planted them in happy homes and peaceful dwellings, who have reared cities, towns and villages well organized, well governed and prosperous, and in short wrought miracles in the deserts, and who still counsel and direct the Saints in the paths of life, are held up to the ridicule and contempt of the world. Their peace, good names, honor, possessions and lives are eagerly and persistently sought after, but with less effect, by the bloodthirsty hearts and crimson hands of relentless persecutors as during the lifetime of Joseph Smith the martyr, when the Saints were driven from Ohio, expelled from Missouri, or banished from their homes in Illinois. Such has always been and such is today the spirit of the world towards us. This alone is sufficient evidence to demonstrate the loyalty of this people to the kingdom of God, and their possession of the Gospel which is the power of God unto salvation. Do you want any stronger proof of this, when you contemplate the sayings of the Scriptures, “If ye were of the world the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” (John xv, 19.) “And ye shall be hated of all men for my names sake.” (Matt. x, 22. “If they have persecuted me they will also persecute you.” (John xv, 20.) “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” John xvi, 33.) “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.” (Matt. v, 11.) “Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Tim., 3, 12.) Therefore, “Marvel not my brethren if the world hate you.” (I John iii, 13.) “Yea the time cometh that whoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John xvi, 2.) This was the nature of the legacy the Savior left his disciples and followers. Is it strange that we should inherit the same? Certainly not, if we are the disciples and followers of Christ, for the same warfare continues between him and Belial, and will until Satan is bound and righteousness triumphs upon the earth.

It is a consolation therefore to know, that, notwithstanding our many shortcomings, frailties, and imperfections, the Evil one, with the world at his back, considers us of sufficient importance to oppose and persecute us with such bitter hatred as he does. Yes, I say it is encouraging to know, that, as a people we are sufficiently faithful and worthy before the Lord, notwithstanding our opportunities for improvement, to arouse the indignation and hatred of the wicked, and to entitle us to the chastisement of God, through his servants, for our improprieties, for “whomsoever the Lord loveth he chasteneth.” But we should not provoke the displeasure or incur the chastisement of the Almighty—presuming upon his forbearance and mercy by neglecting to perform those duties and responsibilities so justly required of us—but we should be most diligent, putting forth every energy in our power to correct our ways, and thus increase our faith that we may become more worthy of the blessings and protection of God, than hitherto. He is more willing to bestow blessings upon us than we are to use them properly when we obtain them, thus by our unworthiness we may prevent ourselves often from receiving the very blessings we desire, and that he is not only abundantly able, but willing and ready to shower upon us if we were worthy, for he cannot consistently bestow “pearls upon swine.” No blessing or good will be withheld from those who are prepared and worthy to receive and make a wise use of it. The kingdom of God is to be enjoyed by the Saints—those who are righteous, not those who are wicked. If we prove unworthy, Zion will have to be redeemed by our children, who may be more worthy, while we may be kept, like the ancient children of Israel, wandering in the wilderness, enduring hardships, persecution and trials, until we shall have suffered the penalty of neglected, not to say broken and unfulfilled covenants.

May the Lord bless us all that we may prove ourselves faithful and efficient servants unto him, is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.