Prophecy of John the Revelator—Mission of the Ancient Apostles—Their Reception and Fate—The Great Apostasy—Preservation of the Apostle John—His Revelation—Restoration of the Gospel—The Earth to Be Baptized By Fire As It Was Once Baptized By Water—We Are Sent to the World With a Warning Message—They Can Receive or Reject It—Testimony to the Truth of “Mormonism.”

Discourse by Bishop Orson F. Whitney, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, June 21, 1885.

Having been called upon, my brethren and sisters and friends, to address you this afternoon, I feel as though I would like to read a portion of the word of God. I will therefore read to you a part of the 14th chapter of the Book of Revelation, from the Bible known as King James’ translation.

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him a hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

“And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

“And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

“These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

“And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,

“Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”

It has been charged to the Latter-day Saints that they set but little value upon the Christian Bible; that they criticize its translation and the revisions through which it has passed, and that it is our endeavor to belittle the importance of this holy book. The words which I have read are a portion of that sacred record which we are charged with undervaluing, and I choose them as a basis for my remarks, in order to show how groundless is that charge, with many others, which are made falsely against this people. The words you have heard include a prophecy uttered some 1,800 years ago by an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Twelve whom He chose in the days of His personal ministry upon the earth. He had delivered unto them the keys of the kingdom of heaven, promising them that whatsoever they bound on earth should be bound in heaven; whatsoever they loosed upon earth should be loosed in heaven; whosesoever sins they should remit should be remitted, and whosesoever sins they should retain should be retained. He gave them power to go forth to all nations and preach the Gospel of life and salvation, telling them among the last things He said that, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned;” and that certain signs should follow them that believed. The Apostles went forth baptizing in the name of the Lord, and confirmed His word by signs, following.

On a certain occasion, towards the close of the career of the Son of God in the flesh, His disciples asked Him if He would at that time restore the Kingdom to Israel, and what would be the signs of His second coming and of the end of the world. Among other things He told them that this Gospel of the Kingdom should be preached in all the world as a witness unto all nations and then should the end come. The Apostles set out upon the mission which had been given them, and we read in the Acts of the Apostles, and in their Epistles contained within the lids of this holy book, of the adventures which befell them, and the persecutions which they endured. It had been said of them by their Lord and Master, that they should be hated of all men for His name’s sake; but “blessed are ye,” said He, “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.” And the day would come, He said, when they that put His disciples to death would think they were doing God’s service.

Thus were the minds of the Apostles prepared for the fate which afterwards befell them. They embraced the truth, knowing that it might cost them their lives; for they had been told that if a man loved his life, or loved earthly possessions of any kind more than he did his God, more than he loved the work of that God, he was in no wise fit for His kingdom. They went into it with their eyes open; they knew what would befall them; but being men of integrity, men who loved truth, who based themselves upon principle, and thought more of doing the will of Him who sent them than they did of doing their own, they embraced their glorious mission and were willing even to lay down their lives for the sake of that Kingdom for which they were laboring. Their expectations were fulfilled. The truth was not popular. Although devils were subject to these men; although they performed mighty miracles in the name of Jesus, yet they were despised, persecuted or ignored by the great mass of humanity. A few believed in their words; a few rejoiced exceedingly that the Church of God was established on the earth; that the Savior who had been promised as a lamb slain from before the foundation of the world, had at last come in fulfillment of the prophecies of old. Their minds were prepared to receive Him, and they rejoiced in the work of God. Churches were formed in different lands. The Apostles went forth from Jerusalem, after they had been “endued with power from on high,” and built up churches in many of the surrounding nations, perhaps in all the nations that then existed. But although they were successful in planting the tree of life upon the soil of a fallen world, it seems that the time had not come for it to remain there and bear fruit throughout the ages of eternity. It was destined to be uprooted, and there was to come another time when the truth should be transplanted once more, and should bear the fruits of righteousness forever. The glory of God was not destined in that day to cover the earth, as He has said it would in the latter days, “as the waters cover the mighty deep.” The Apostles labored faithfully; they went forth baptizing in the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost; but the power of sin, the power of the evil one was so great that it did not please the Almighty to establish upon the earth in that day a work which should endure forever. He permitted it for a wise purpose to be thrown down, and of this fact we are well assured by the prophecies of the Apostles which they have left on record. Paul, one of the most faithful laborers in the vineyard of our Lord in that day, said the time would come when the people would not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts should heap unto themselves teachers, and having itching ears, should turn away their ears from the truth, and should be turned unto fables.

If we follow the history of the Apostles, we will see how their words were fulfilled. Nearly every one of the Twelve whom Jesus chose, met with a tragic death in defense of the principles which they proclaimed. Some were dragged to death, some beheaded, one was crucified with his head downward, others were thrown into cauldrons of boiling oil and others to wild beasts; so that at the end of the second century after Christ, the Church of God in its purity no longer existed upon the face of the earth. It had been torn asunder; it had apostatized from the truth; they who were faithful had been put to death, and in their place sprang up a race of compromisers, who were willing to barter away to the world the principles of truth, being too weak and cowardly to stand and die for their convictions as their fellow laborers had done. They were willing to give up this principle, and concede that point, to amalgamate for the purpose of making them popular and palatable the doctrines of the pure Christian faith with the pagan ideas of ancient Rome. So that the temporal body of Christ, the Church, became corrupt, deformed by this departure from first principles. Apostles, Prophets, were done away with; spiritual gifts became extinct and were said to be no longer needed; Bishops were put into the places of Apostles, and a multitude of new offices, unknown to the original church, were created. Finally two Bishops appeared, the Bishop of Rome and the Bishop of Constantinople, contending as to which was the greatest, and striving, in a Church professing to regard unity and brotherly love, to divide the dominions of the Christian world between them. More attention was paid to outward forms, to grand and imposing ceremonies, than to the simple beautiful principles of the Gospel, and, in course of time were fulfilled the words of Isaiah, who said that they would “transgress the law, change the ordinances, and break the everlasting covenant.” The result of this widespread departure, this apostasy from the primitive faith, was the withdrawal of the power of the Priesthood, typified by the “manchild” of the Apocalypse, which was taken into the heavens to preserve it from the mouth of the Dragon which sought its life; there to remain until a more auspicious time should arrive for the establishment of the work of God, and the winding up of the great plan of human redemption.

But one of these original Apostles was left. The Latter-day Saints are taught that Jesus, on a certain occasion, speaking to the Twelve, wished to bestow upon them each a gift, to grant the desire of their hearts, and He asked them what they would He should do for them. They all but one requested to be taken home to Him in heaven when they should have filled the allotted age of man. But one turned away sorrowful, feeling that the wish he cherished in his heart was too great to be granted. Peter asked the Savior, “What shall this man do?” and received the reply, “If I will that he tarry till I come what is that to thee?” “Then went this saying abroad among the brethren that that disciple should not die.” It is vaguely given, I admit, in the Bible from which I have quoted, but modern revelation has made it plainer, and shown us that the Apostle John obtained a promise from the Savior that he should remain upon the earth to witness the downfall and the rise of nations, that he should live to perform a mighty mission in the midst of the children of men; that he should prophesy before kings and rulers, and should tarry upon the earth until the Son of God came in His glory. This Apostle was the only one who escaped the tragic fate of his fellows. He was the only one of the original Twelve who was not put to death. An attempt was made upon his life by throwing him into a cauldron of boiling oil, but he escaped miraculously, and his enemies, not having the power to put him to death, banished him to the desert island of Patmos. It was during his exile upon this lonely spot, that God condescended to reveal to him what should come to pass in the last days, and the book which is called the Apocalypse is a record which the Apostle left of the great things that were shown him, and which he should remain upon the earth to see. An angel appeared unto him; John mistook him, it seems, for the Lord, and fell down at his feet to worship him, his person was so glorious. But the angel reproved him and said, “See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant and of thy brethren the prophets.” Here was one of the prophets who had been slain for the testimony of Jesus, who was so glorious when he appeared that John, who perhaps had labored with him, did not recognize him. He had been sent unto him to show him what should come to pass thereafter.

But not only was John shown what should occur after the time in which he was living, but he was shown what had already taken place; not as the imperfect records of profane history have given it to us, but he saw it typified in its fullness. The events of the seven thousand years of the world’s temporal existence passed before him, like the scenes of a mighty panorama. If you will read the book which he left, you will there find portrayed symbolically each of the seven thousand years. He saw the events which had followed the creation down until one period had passed; he then saw the events of the second thousand years or until two periods had passed, and then the third and the fourth periods at the end of which Jesus came as the Savior of mankind, to perform a personal work in the flesh. John saw, further, the events of the fifth thousand years. He saw the great apostasy that was to take place in the Christian church, when they put to death every inspired man; when they did away with the gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost; when they said they were no longer necessary; when they engrafted upon the olive tree of the Christian faith the wild branches of paganism. He saw all this taking place down to the sixth thousand years, and after the world had wandered in darkness for centuries, he says:

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation and kindred, and tongue, and people,

“Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”

Showing conclusively, as well as language can show, that this was to be an event of the last days—the hour of God’s judgment, which Christianity itself, in its perverted state, will admit is at the end of the world. John saw the angel restoring the Gospel shortly before the hour of God’s judgment, saying with a loud voice to all nations, kindreds, tongues and peoples—not only to the heathen nations, but to those who professed to have the true Christian faith—“Fear God, and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come.” This to us is another proof of the apostasy of the Christian world; for if they had the truth, as they claim, by apostolic succession, from St. Peter down to the present day—what need of restoring the Gospel in its fullness to preach to them? It would be superfluous, unnecessary, a work of supererogation, to preach to those who were living in the full blaze of Gospel light, and call upon them to repent of their sins.

I never like to wound people’s feelings in regard to religious matters. I never like to have my own feelings wounded. I try to have charity for the sincere sentiments of all men; but it is needful that the truth be spoken in plainness. It is no act of friendship to flatter, to deceive and to gloss over error, when by exposing it the souls of some honest people may be saved. The Latter-day Saints erect a nobler structure before they tear down that which is old. They do not wish to ridicule the opinions of their fellow creatures, it should never be done except where good will be the result. All men have the right to believe as they please. They have a right to worship where, how and what they please. God has made us free. We are in bondage to no man, to no power. His children, from the rising to the setting of the sun have been made free. Therefore I do not feel to ridicule the religion of my Christian friends; but I desire to lay before them and before this congregation the religion of the Latter-day Saints. We claim that the Christian world is in a state of apostasy, and though thousands and millions of them are perfectly sincere—just as sincere in their belief as we are in ours—still, it devolves upon me as a servant of God to preach what I know to be the truth, and you can take your choice whether you accept or reject it. The responsibility ends with me here; it is assumed by those who listen, who can act as they feel led; they will be accountable whether they give heed to the warning message, or whether they ignore and reject it.

At any rate John saw the time when an angel would come and restore the everlasting Gospel—not another Gospel, not various kinds of gospels, not the precepts and fables of men, but the good, old, “sound doctrine” of ancient times. The Gospel of Christ in its fullness was to be preached to all the nations of the earth. What for? To fulfill the prediction of the son of God, who said that “this Gospel of the kingdom”—that Gospel which had Apostles to preach it and Prophets; which had gifts and miracles and signs following; a gospel of faith, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and other principles to be revealed one after another as fast as the people were able to receive them—that this old original Gospel of the kingdom should come back to the earth to be preached as a witness unto all nations, and then should the end come.

That these are the last days very few people will deny. The earth has almost fulfilled its mortal probation, its working time. It is closing the six thousand years of its temporal history. It has worked nearly six days; for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” When God said to Adam, “in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” He did not mean a short day of twenty-four hours, a day made by one little revolution of the little earth upon which we dwell, but it was a day of a thousand years, corresponding to one revolution of the great and mighty planet upon which God our Father dwells. “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Adam lived to the age of 930 years, so that he died within the day that God had reference to. The earth has labored nearly six days—six days of one thousand years each. It is yet to have its sabbath, its millennium of peace, when the Savior of the world will come to take the reins of government, to reign upon the earth King of kings as He now reigns king of Saints; the seventh period, whose dawn is almost upon us, is the sabbath, the day of rest which God has ordained for the planet upon which we live, and He will celebrate that sabbath by coming in person to reign upon the earth over all nations. It is for this that the Latter-day Saints are preparing; having fulfilled, as the instruments of God, the prediction of John the Revelator; an angel in this day having restored the Gospel, which is now being preached as a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.

It is a merciful characteristic of our Heavenly Father that He brings to pass upon the human family no event affecting their eternal welfare, but He first sends Prophets to prepare the way, to give the people a warning that such and such things are coming to pass, that they may be prepared for them and not be caught napping by the suddenness of their coming, even as a thief in the night. We read that as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man. What was done in the days of Noah? A prophet—Noah himself—was raised up and sent forth to preach a warning message to the children of men. What was his warning? That the world was about to be deluged. Its sins had cried unto heaven, and God had remembered its iniquities. He was about to baptize the earth in water, to wash away its sins, that they should no longer smoke to heaven, an offering of wrath to an offended God. Noah preached this warning, and, as usual, was met with ridicule and scorn. Never did a prophet come forth that was not ridiculed and persecuted, and the message that he proclaimed considered foolishness by the wisdom of the world. But how did it result? Did the superior (?) wisdom of the world in that day save them from the truth of the words of Noah? Or did God stand by that prophet? Did He make good His words? Did He drown the world? Did He sweep the wicked from its surface? History will tell you what took place. It sees that Noah and the few souls that clung to him were right, and the world at large were in the wrong. Noah had really received a revelation from God. He was pointed at, despised and derided, doubtless called visionary and fanatic, an old fool, or anything else; but he had received a revelation and God made good the words which he proclaimed.

The earth underwent a baptism by being immersed in water, for the remission of its sins, the washing away of its iniquities. “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man.” Is the world to be deluged in water again? No; because God gave a promise to Noah and set his bow in the clouds as a sign that the world should never again be drowned in water; but in the day of the coming of the Son of Man it will receive the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. John the Baptist said: “There cometh one mightier than I, after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” Not only man, but the earth itself, which is a living creature, must undergo this ordinance—this dual baptism, and Jesus, when He comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, to take vengeance upon those who know not God, who have not sought to know Him, who have persecuted His people, and set aside the Gospel as a thing of naught, will deluge the earth with fire and the Holy Ghost. Then will the Scriptures be fulfilled which say that the glory of God shall radiate from the rivers to the ends of the earth.

Nor is this all. The earth and its elements will melt, as Peter the Apostle said, “with fervent heat, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts.” These things are coming to pass. God only has to turn upon this world the glory of His presence to consume it from before His face and cause it to vanish like chaff in a flame. We are not prepared for the glory of His coming. But this work which has been established in our day, is one that will prepare us for His glorious advent. All who believe and are baptized into this Church have been promised the gift of the Holy Ghost. What is the Holy Ghost? It is the Spirit of God. God dwells in the pure element of fire; it is the atmosphere which the holy angels, the spirits of the just, the Gods in eternity breathe and live within, but which would consume us if we came too suddenly upon it, or it upon us. We must needs approach it gradually. We read that in the days of Moses, when God wished to commune with him, He called him up into a high mountain, and filled him with the Holy Ghost. Moses, therefore, could endure His presence; but when he came down from the Mount his face shone like an angel’s, and he had to put a veil upon it lest the children of Israel should be consumed before him. This shows what we may expect when God comes in the clouds of heaven, if we do not rid ourselves of iniquity and prepare our souls to meet Him. But ere that day comes there shall be wars and rumors of wars, thunders and lightnings, famines and pestilences; the sea shall heave itself beyond its bounds, and all things shall be in commotion; the sun shall be darkened, the moon shall be turned to blood, and the stars shall fall from heaven like figs from off a fig tree. The judgments of God shall stalk through the earth, decimating the human race, before the great day of the Lord shall come.

Are we to suppose that in a day like this, when such mighty and terrible things are coming upon the earth, God would leave the world in darkness; that he would shut the heavens, as our Christian friends say He has done; and send forth no more prophets to prepare us for these great events which are at our doors? I for one would have a very poor opinion of a God who would leave His children in that cruel manner. But the God we worship is just and merciful. He never brings upon the earth any judgment but He sends first a warning message to prepare the people for its coming.

This is our warning today—that the Gospel of the kingdom is being preached unto all nations as a witness, and then the hour of God’s judgment, or the predicted end of the world shall come. It is a message of mercy, not one of anger, not one of cruelty. It is not cruel to tell men the truth. If we see a man on the brink of a precipice and tell him that if he takes another step forward he will be dashed to pieces, is that cruelty, or is it charity of the truest kind? It may humiliate him to be told of his danger; it may cast reflection upon his eyesight; he may not see the precipice; men do not always see things which are immediately near them; they who are at a distance sometimes observe the danger first and give warning. It is not uncharitable, it is not intolerant to tell men the truth; we must sometimes be cruel in order to be kind; and hurt men’s feelings if necessary in order to save their souls. I do not mean the saving of their souls by the killing of their bodies. Heretics used to be punished on that theory. The object of “Mormonism” is to save the body and the spirit, which together constitute the soul.

This is the message we bring, the olive branch that we extend to the world, and for so doing we are despised and persecuted and trampled upon. But we know that we need expect no different fate from that which our predecessors have experienced. They laid down their lives in preaching this same Gospel. We must be willing to lay down ours, if need be, to establish these truths upon the earth.

God does not punish except to save, He never chastens except to purify. In sweeping the antediluvian races from the earth, it was an act of mercy to them, that they might not add sin to sin and heap up iniquity until they could not have been pardoned. He swept them off when their cup was full, and imprisoned their spirits while their bodies moldered in the grave. Jesus, however, while His body was lying in the tomb, went and preached to the spirits in prison; those who rejected the message that was offered to them by Noah, and were swept away by the flood. So it will be in this day, if this message is rejected; God will bring judgments upon the world until He has humbled the people to a state where they will be glad to receive it. He says to His Elders: Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature; and after your testimony, comes the testimony of earthquakes and tempests, of thunders and lightnings, of the sea heaving itself beyond its bounds, of wars and rumors of wars, of famine and pestilence. Says He, the time shall come when he that will not take up his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety, for there shall be gathered to it of every nation under heaven, and they shall be the only people who are not at war one with another.

It is that the world may escape these terrible judgments and plagues that will desolate the wicked, that we put our lives and liberties in jeopardy in preaching that which is unpopular, and which brings upon us the wrath and hatred of the world. We desire, as much as men can desire, the salvation of our fellow men. Our mission is to save, not to condemn. This is the Gospel of salvation, not a Gospel of damnation. Damnation follows as a necessary alternative of the rejection of the truth. Men who reject the truth damn themselves. The man who will shut the door in his own face keeps himself out from the Kingdom: it is nobody’s fault but his own. The waters of life are free; come and partake of them, without money and without price! If you will not partake of them, how can you blame anyone but yourself if you die of thirst in the desert? If you put out the light by persecuting the Saints of God, how can you blame anybody but yourself if you are left in darkness? Could the ancients blame God for taking His Church from the earth, when they took every pains to exterminate it? They destroyed the body of the Church, and the spirit departed, just as naturally as when the body of a man is killed; his spirit has no longer any business upon the earth. It returns to God who gave it, to come again at a more auspicious time, with the Son of God in clouds of glory, provided it be one of the 144,000 faithful ones who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.

If condemnation follows the rejection of the Gospel, God cannot help it, His servants cannot help it. If we invite men to come out into the sunlight and they prefer to stay in the shade, who is to blame but themselves? They prefer darkness to light. They have their choice. Light has burst forth in the midst of darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not. Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil. If, however, we extend the message of mercy and of peace, our responsibility ends. Men will be judged by the light they possess. The heathen nations will be redeemed and will obtain a higher exaltation than those who receive the truth and turn away from it, or refuse to accept it when it is offered to them. God is merciful to ignorance and lack of opportunity; but responsibility rests like a mountain upon those who hear the truth and then reject it.

My testimony to this congregation is that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the living God; that Brigham Young was a Prophet of God; that John Taylor is their legally ordained successor; that there are Prophets and Apostles in this Church today; that we preach the same Gospel that was preached in the days of Paul, for if we preached any other we should be accursed. My testimony is that “Mormonism” stigmatized and hated as it is, is the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the only plan of life and salvation, the only one that will exalt man in the presence of God; and the world reject it to their condemnation. I pray God to bless this congregation, and grant that the words I have spoken may sink into some honest hearts, like good seed upon fertile soil, to spring forth and bear fruit for their salvation to the honor and glory of God. Amen.

God the Source of All Intelligence—Mankind His Offspring and the Instruments of His Will—He Overrules the Results of Men’s Actions—Pre-Existence of Man and Plurality of Worlds—The Gospel One and Unchangeable—Charges of Exclusiveness, Etc., Against the Saints—The Christian World Deny Revelation and Repudiate Bible Doctrine—Their Apostasy Predicted and Fulfilled—The Gospel Restored and the Last Dispensation—The Earth’s Week of History and Millennial Sabbath—What “Mormon” Treason Consists of—The Mission of the American Republic—A Fable and Its Application—A Prophecy—The Peaceable Mission of the Saints

Discourse by Bishop Orson F. Whitney, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, April 19, 1885.

I have been called upon, my brethren and sisters and friends, to address you for a portion of the time which belongs to this meeting, and I assure you that in responding to that call I have no desire in my heart but to be led to say those things which will be pleasing and acceptable to God our Father, and beneficial to ourselves.

I have always been taught to regard our Father in heaven as the source of all intelligence, and that wherever intelligence is manifested throughout the earth, among His creatures, it has its primal origin in Him who is the fountain of life and light; and that if men are qualified to perform any great or good work, it must necessarily be by reason of the power from God which rests upon them. The Latter-day Saints take this view of the relationship of God with mankind; that He is not simply the Father, or creator of a part of the human race, or a portion of earth’s creatures, but He is the creator of all things—the maker of the earth, the maker of heaven, and that the children of men are the sons and daughters of one common parentage; that He feels for them all the day long; that He has their welfare constantly in view, and He makes no movement, so far as His children upon this earth are concerned, but He does it for their salvation and their good here and hereafter.

The Latter-day Saints are said to be exclusive, and are called selfish and presumptuous because they maintain that a certain mission has been given unto them; that they have received revelations from God; that the Maker of the world has deigned to speak in these last days, and raise up men and women whom He knew beforehand would do His will. This unfavorable view arises from the fact that our motives are misunderstood; that our mission, which we continually proclaim to the world is not believed in, and we are looked upon as an assembly of upstarts, enthusiasts and fanatics, who, in our blindness and our narrowness think that God has only regarded us; that we are His favorites, and that He cares nothing at all for the rest of mankind. This is a wrong idea of our position, and it is because our position is thus misconceived—one cause at least—that we are persecuted and abused, derided, oppressed and trampled upon as we are. However, I do not believe that we could escape the common fate of those whom God has chosen for a peculiar work in all ages of the world. For, while we acknowledge that God is the Father of the human race, and interested in the salvation of all, we do maintain that our mission as a part of the human family is peculiar, separate and distinct from the missions which have been given to others. God is the author of many plans and purposes, but all his plans, all his purposes and designs converge to one point, have one focus, whether He uses the Christian world, the heathen world, or even this little handful of Latter-day Saints; no matter whom He uses to accomplish His ends, these purposes blend and have but one grand object. They are like rivers or streams of different kinds and sizes flowing towards one ocean into which they all must empty. And though men deem themselves independent—and it is true that in one sense they are—while they fail, many of them, to take God into consideration, and seem to think they can do about as they please, and accomplish what ends they desire, all their independence, all their freedom, simply amounts to this; that they have the privilege to do right or do wrong, but the results of their actions God will overrule to suit himself. “Man proposes but God disposes,” and the history of this world, or any other world which has passed through a similar probation and been redeemed and glorified by the power of God and obedience to the principles of righteousness, is one vast exemplification of that great truth. While man is left free to propose, to adopt what plans he chooses, to exercise his agency, and to carry, so far as he is permitted, the thoughts and desires of his heart to their conclusion, God has never declared that He would not overrule the results of men’s acts to accomplish His own purposes.

We are placed in this world measurably in the dark. We no longer see our Father face to face. While it is true that we once did; that we once stood in His presence, seeing as we are seen, knowing, according to our intelligence, as we are known; the curtain has dropped, we have changed our abode, we have taken upon ourselves flesh; the veil of forgetfulness intervenes between this life and that, and we are left, as Paul expresses it, to “see through a glass darkly,” to “know in part and to prophesy in part;” to see only to a limited extent, the end from the beginning. We do not comprehend things in their fullness. But we have the promise, if we will receive and live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, wisely using the intelligence, the opportunities, the advantages, and the possessions which He continually bestows upon us—the time will come, in the eternal course of events, when our minds will be cleared from every cloud, the past will recur to memory, the future will be an open vision, and we will behold things as they are, and the past, present and future will be one eternal day, as it is in the eyes of God our Father, who knows neither past, present or future; whose course is one eternal round; who creates, who saves, redeems and glorifies the workmanship of His hands, in which He Himself is glorified.

The earth upon which we dwell is only one among the many creations of God. The stars that glitter in the heavens at night and give light unto the earth are His creations, redeemed worlds, perhaps, or worlds that are passing through the course of their redemption, being saved, purified, glorified and exalted by obedience to the principles of truth which we are now struggling to obey. Thus is the work of our Father made perpetual, and as fast as one world and its inhabitants are disposed of, He will roll another into existence, He will create another earth, He will people it with His offspring, the offspring of the Gods in eternity, and they will pass through probations such as we are now passing through, that they may prove their integrity by their works; that they may give an assurance to the Almighty that they are worthy to be exalted through obedience to those principles, that unchangeable plan of salvation which has been revealed to us.

It is one of the grandest attributes of Deity that He saves and exalts the human family upon just and eternal principles; that He gives to no man, or no woman that which they have not been willing to work for, which they have not deserved, which they have not expanded themselves to receive by putting in practice the principles He reveals, against all opposition, facing the wrath and scorn of the world—the world which cannot give a just cause, a reasonable pretext for the opposition it has ever manifested to the truths of heaven. It is a characteristic of our Father, a principle of His divine economy to exact from every soul a fitting proof of its worthiness to attain the exaltation to which it aspires. There are no heights that may not be surmounted, but they must be reached in the way that God has ordained. Man may think to accomplish his salvation by carrying out the selfish desires of his own heart; but when he fails to take God into consideration, his Creator, and the framer of the laws whereby we mount unto exaltation and eternal life, he knocks the ladder from under him whereby he might climb to that glorious state.

The exclusiveness which the Latter-day Saints exhibit is this: they maintain that the Lord has but one way to save the human race; that the term “everlasting gospel” is not a misnomer, but means exactly what it says, and that it is eternal as its maker or framer is eternal. It can no more change than He can change. A man must obey the same principles now that were obeyed two thousand years ago, or six thousand years ago, or millions of ages ago, in order to attain the presence of His Father and God. There is but one way, one plan of life and salvation, and there need be but one; for God, being an economist, does not create that which is superfluous; and there can be, in the very nature of things, only one true plan of eternal life, for if there were two they must necessarily differ, since no two things can be exactly alike, and if one of these two things is perfect that which differs from it, must be imperfect. Of a necessity God is the author of perfection; His works are not deficient in any respect; and what He ordains for the salvation of man is the only way for man to be saved. Thus it is that the Latter-day Saints preach the everlasting Gospel, the unchangeable way of eternal life, and to corroborate it, they point to the Scriptures which are now being fulfilled. Among other things, to the vision of the Prophet John upon the isle of Patmos, who saw “another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of his judgment is come.” This is the exclusiveness of the Latter-day Saints; it is as far as it extends. There is but one way to eternal life, and while there are many systems extant called plans of salvation, yet they differ from each other as the stars of heaven differ in magnitude, or as the sands of the seashore, or as the countenances of the children of men; nay, more than this, for most of them are lacking in features which are necessary in order to form a perfect whole. If the Latter-day Saints are in possession of the everlasting Gospel, all sects, creeds and parties that preach a Gospel which differs from it, must be wrong; or vice versa, if the Saints preach any other Gospel than that which was preached in the days of the apostles, which was delivered to them by the Sons of God, then the Latter-day Saints must be wrong also.

The selfishness which this people exhibit is of the same character that might be evinced in the case of a man who was lost and had the right way pointed out to him by another. If a traveler had lost his way and should meet one who professed to know the direction he desired to pursue; or, if the traveler should ask which was the way to such and such a place, and the guide should tell him, and he in his self-will and obstinacy should persist in taking a contrary course, how in the name of consistency could he blame his guide if he did not reach his destination; or how could he charge him with being selfish or presumptuous, when he himself confessed his ignorance and appealed to this man who testified in all earnestness that he knew which was the right way? Yet this is similar to the position of the world in relation to the Latter-day Saints, who solemnly testify that the God of heaven has revealed to them the only way to life and salvation, a claim which no other sect, church or party advance at the present time. They deny revelation; they say the heavens are closed; that God no longer speaks to the human family; that He has left them with a Bible, the record of a people who are dead; which speaks of commandments given to an ancient people, who like ourselves were the children of God. This is the claim of the Christian world—that this book is the canon of scripture, and that it is full, and we need no more revelation, no more light than is contained within the lids of this book. They take that position, and yet say we are exclusive, we are presumptuous, narrow-minded and contracted, because we testify that God does speak, and has revealed a newer revelation than this Bible which I hold.

It is true that our testifying of this does not make it true, in and of itself. Nevertheless, men are responsible if they do not carefully weigh and consider the testimonies of those who claim to have more light than they have. I would hold myself ready, as a seeker after truth, if not certain that I already possessed it, and I hold myself ready now, while believing that my feet are planted upon the rock of truth, and that this is the only Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ; to pay due respect to the honest opinions of my fellow creatures, proving all things and holding fast that which is good. If the Christian world shall bring forth something better, if they have it, or ever will have it, than Mormonism, I hope I will not be so bigoted as to turn a deaf ear to their honest testimonies, claiming that I have light already, and that I want no more light. I would at least examine their professions, whatever they were, and try them by “the law and the testimony;” for if men “speak not according to that, it is because there is no light in them.”

The Bible is a blessing; we do not depreciate its value, for it enables us to meet the Christian world upon their own ground, using this Bible as the touchstone of truth, in relation to their doctrines and those that we advance, which are taught and confirmed by this very Book in which Christians profess to believe. There is no doctrine preached or believed by the Latter-day Saints, but they can find confirmatory proof of its authenticity within the lids of the Holy Bible; and when their views are not received, and they are laughed to scorn and derided by the Christian world, it is simply an acknowledgment on the part of those who mistreat them that they do not believe their own Bible, that they have no faith in the record which they claim is all-sufficient—the be-all and the end-all of revelation. They profess great reverence for this good Book, yet they do not believe or practice what it inculcates. It is a prevalent idea in the world, with those who are in possession of the Scriptures, that it is only necessary to believe on the name of the Son of God, and that constitutes salvation, taking I suppose as a basis for it, the Scriptural passage which declares that “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Now, we take this position. We hold that belief in God and the Savior of mankind is absolutely essential to salvation. But we do not stop there. We claim that if men believe in Jesus Christ they will keep His commandments; they will live His laws; they will not repudiate any of the doctrines He preached; they will not say baptism is unessential; that Apostles and Prophets are no longer needed; they will not wrest the Scriptures; they will not say the blessings of the Holy Ghost are done away with; they will not say it is not in the province of inspired men bearing the Holy Priesthood to cast out devils, to speak in new tongues, to lay hands upon the sick and administer those spiritual blessings as they are empowered by the Priesthood bestowed upon them for that purpose. The Christian world would not repudiate these things if they believed their own Bible; for I nowhere read within the lids of this sacred volume that the time would ever come, except through transgression and apostasy, when these things would be done away with, and it would be said they were no longer needed.

It is true that the Apostles of old predicted there would come a time when men would wander from the truth, when they would heap to themselves teachers, and have itching ears, desiring to hear simply the things which suited their selfish natures; that the day would come when they would not endure sound doctrine, but would hire teachers to preach for the commandments of God the precepts of men; when the world would be turned upside down and be emptied of its inhabitants, because they had transgressed the law, changed the ordinances and broken the everlasting covenant. This was to be the condition of the world when these gifts and blessings would be said to be no longer needed. They could no longer lay claim to them because they would persecute, oppress and put to death those who preached sound doctrine; and having destroyed the temporal Church from the face of the earth, its spiritual counterpart would necessarily depart, just as naturally as the spirit of man will depart when the body ceases to live. The body is but a lump of clay without the enlivening agency of the spirit within it. When the body returns to dust, the spirit is free to soar away. When the body of Christ was dead, the spirit returned to God, passed into the spirit world. So it is with the Church, which is called the body of Christ. Kill the temporal Church, and the spirit Church will take its departure; it will be received into the heavens.

This is our belief; that the Christian Church, established in the days of Christ and His Apostles, apostatized and turned from the truth, it became paganized, mixed up with the religion and traditions of pagan Rome, and that that is the cause of this wide diversity of beliefs and conjectures, these many forms of godliness, denying the power thereof; which are said to be the Church of Christ, yet bear little or no semblance to the Church which He established; all claiming to be one, yet divided innumerably; to have the same Gospel, yet not able to stand the test of comparison with the Gospel preached in former days; claiming the same power, yet repudiating and denying that power and trampling upon those who still maintain that it ought to exist. This is the consistency of the position of the opponents of “Mormonism,” which claims to be the old Gospel brought back again, the old Church resurrected, no new religion, no new plan, but simply the everlasting Gospel revealed anew.

I might occupy your time citing evidences almost innumerable to show how the Christian world have departed from the teachings of this sacred Book. I might appeal to it, also, to confirm the teachings of the Latter-day Saints. It is an old story, many times told, and perhaps I had better not dilate upon it this afternoon. Suffice it that we claim that God has spoken from heaven; that He has reopened the long-closed portals of eternity, and has raised up a people to usher in the dispensation of Gospel grace as He has headed every dispensation which has preceded it; raising up inspired men to do His bidding; to preach to the world the principles of everlasting life; to establish upon the earth a system which will foreshadow and usher in the millennial reign of universal peace and righteousness. We believe that we are living in the last days; that these are the days when God said He would perform a marvelous work and a wonder; that He would set His hand the second time to recover the remnant of his people; that He would gather them from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west, and would bring them to Zion, and give them pastors after His own heart, to teach them the law of the Lord, and that the law should go forth from Zion to the inhabitants of the earth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

We believe that we are living in the evening of history, that we are closing the Saturday of the great week, each day of which is a thousand years, the period preordained in which this earth should accomplish the purpose appointed by its creator. We believe that when God spake to Adam and told Him he should die in the day that He partook of the forbidden fruit, that He kept His word, and that Adam did die within the day; but it was not a day of twenty-four hours, one revolution of our little earth; the day of which He spake was based upon a revolution of the planet upon which God dwells, which we are taught revolves once in a thousand years. This world was appointed a probation through which to pass, six working days, before it should have a rest, or sabbath. We believe we are living in the Saturday night of this world’s history, that we are closing the six thousand years of its mortal probation, and that the dawn of the seventh day, or the seventh thousand years, now nearly upon us, will be the millennium, the reign of peace, when Christ the Ruler and Lord of this world, who labored and suffered and died to redeem its inhabitants from death, will be here in His glory to reign upon the earth King over His people and over the human race.

These simple truths, most of which are plainly spoken of in this holy word of God, the Bible, are distorted by the enemies of the Saints to indicate that they are treasonable to the government under which they live. They say we are traitors because we speak of the Kingdom of God; that a kingdom cannot exist within a republic; that it is imperium in imperio; that there is no room in this broad land for the Kingdom of our God. They might as well say there is no room in Christianity for the love of God. Why, this great government was established for the very purpose of introducing this work. Inspired men like Washington and Jefferson were raised up to frame a Constitution liberal in its provisions, extending the utmost freedom to all men, Christian or heathen, who desired to make this glorious land their home; that they might have the unrestricted right to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences. We believe that God raised up George Washington, that He raised up Thomas Jefferson, that He raised up Benjamin Franklin and those other patriots who carved out with their swords and with their pens the character and stability of this great government which they hoped would stand forever, an asylum for the oppressed of all nations, where no man’s religion would be questioned, no man would be limited in his honest service to his Maker, so long as he did not infringe upon the rights of his fellow men. We believe those men were inspired to do their work, as we do that Joseph Smith was inspired to begin this work; just as Galileo, Columbus, and other mighty men of old, whom I have no time to mention, were inspired to gradually pave the way leading to this dispensation; sentinels, standing at different periods down the centuries, playing their parts as they were inspired of God; gradually freeing the human mind from error, gradually dispelling the darkness as they were empowered by their Creator so to do, that in culmination of the grand scheme of schemes, this great nation, the Republic of the United States, might be established upon this land as an asylum for the oppressed; a resting place, it might be said, for the Ark of the covenant, where the temple of our God might be built; where the plan of salvation might be introduced and practiced in freedom, and not a dog would wag his tongue in opposition to the purposes of the Almighty. We believe that this was His object in creating the Republic of the United States; the only land where his work could be commenced or the feet of his people find rest. No other land had such liberal institutions, had adopted so broad a platform upon which all men might stand. We give glory to those patriots for the noble work they did; but we give the first glory to God, our Father and their Father, who inspired them. We take them by the hand as brothers. We believe they did nobly their work, even as we would fain do ours, faithfully and well, that we might not be recreant in the eyes of God, for failing to perform the mission to which He has appointed us.

This is the “treason” of the Latter-day Saints. They preach the coming of the King of Kings, whom all Christians ought to worship; whom all Christians ought to welcome; and instead of passing laws to prohibit, and prevent, if possible, the growth of this work, which has as its object the blessing of all mankind, they should join hands with the Latter-day Saints in consummating it; for as sure as there is a God in heaven it is His work, and He will accomplish it. Haling men before magistrates; immuring them in dungeons; driving them from city to city, or shedding their blood, will no more stamp out this work than it will blot out the glory of the sun. They who take up the sword to fight against Zion will perish by the sword before she perishes; they who leave God out of the question in dealing with the “Mormon problem” will find before they get through that it is suicide to run against Jehovah’s buckler.

We, to all appearances are helpless. We make no boast of our own strength. We are only a handful in the midst of millions. But God has given us a mission to perform. We can no more shrink from that mission than the fathers of the revolution could shrink from theirs. That indeed would be treason, treason to God, treason to humanity, and we should justify the charges which are now so utterly false. We might be complimented, “patted upon the back,” if we would play the part of traitors and recreants, but we cannot afford to buy the compliments of the world, the good opinion of mankind, at such a terrible sacrifice. Men who died to found this nation, have their names held in everlasting remembrance, while the name of the traitor, who would have betrayed his country, and deserted it in the hour of peril, is loaded with opprobrium. He lived while many of the patriots died; but who are living today in the true sense of the term? The name of the patriot will live forever, because he had the courage to die for his convictions; but the name of the traitor will go down to oblivion, because to save himself he deserted in the hour of danger the cause of his country, thinking it was of no use to stand up against the great power which had lifted its mighty arm to crush out the colonies. We think of these things, but we do not propose to fight. We are a people who have peace as our object—the ushering in of a reign of peace. We are a people who build temples. We must not imbrue our hands in blood. But it is not through fear of man that the Latter-day Saints take this position. They have shown their bravery; they have proved their courage by coming out of the world and forsaking it, patiently enduring its scorn and opposition; it is a braver part sometimes to live than to die.

There are sacrifices which would try the souls of some men more than to face death in a thousand forms. But the Latter-day Saints have taken a stand; they cannot recede from it with honor. They are prepared to meet the consequences, and leave the result in the hands of God. We do not look to man for our preservation. If there is no God in “Mormonism” then it will fail, then will our minds be undeceived; but if there is a God in it, woe! to those who fight against Him, who fight against their Creator, and suppose that they can trample upon the rights of their fellow men and not endanger their own rights and liberties as well.

The old fable which Aesop tells of the woodman who went into the forest to get a handle for his axe, describes accurately the position in which we find ourselves. The woodman went and consulted the trees of the forest, asking them to give him a handle for his axe. The other trees, the stronger ones, arrogating to themselves authority and ignoring the rights of others, thought that they could dispose of them as they pleased. They conferred together and decided to grant the request, and they gave to the woodman the ash. The ash fell; but the woodman had no sooner fitted the handle to his axe, than he began upon the other trees. He did not stop with the ash, but he bowed down the oaks and the cedars, and the great and mighty monarchs of the forest who had surrendered in their pride, the rights of the humble ash. An old oak was heard to complain to a neighboring cedar, “if we had not given away the rights of the ash we might have stood forever; but we have surrendered to the destroyer the rights of one, and now we are suffering from the same evil ourselves.”

This nation may think that it is strong enough—powerful enough—to treat the people of Utah as they please. They are; we do not pretend to compare with them so far as that is concerned. But if there is any truth in eternal justice; if there is such a thing as retributions, woe! be unto this forest of States if they surrender into the hands of tyranny the rights of the Utah ash! It cannot be done with safety. If they trample upon the rights of their fellow men, there must come a time in the eternal revolutions of the wheels of justice when their own necks will be beneath the tyrant’s heel. They will suffer themselves from the laws they have passed against the maligned, misunderstood, downtrodden people of Utah. I hope to God, as an American patriot, that this never need come. I hope the eyes of this nation will be opened, that they may see the danger in which they stand from afar; but if I were a prophet I would prophesy in the name of God that if they give away our rights, if they trample upon our liberties, and surrender us as a sacrifice to popular clamor, the day will come when their own necks will feel the galling yoke; the laws they pass now to deprive us of our rights as American citizens, will deprive them of their rights, and they will drink the cup heaped up, pressed down, and running over. I hope this never need be; but I dare predict it on that condition, in all humility, with no spirit of treason, or of ill will to my country; but with a feeling of sorrow that some of our fellowcitizens have it in their hearts to treat us in this cruel manner.

We are a people of peace. We only desire to be let alone to accomplish our mission in peace. God would not permit us to build temples, any more than He permitted David, if we imbrued our hands in blood. David was forbidden to build the temple of God at Jerusalem, because he had been a man of blood. It was reserved for his son Solomon, a man of peace, to build the temple. So it is with us. We will not need to fight, we do not propose to take up arms, we do not desire and will not be compelled to shed the blood of our fellow men. We may have our own blood shed in instances, though the work of God will not be trampled out; but we will let them monopolize that part; they may shed our blood, but we must not shed theirs. We must build temples to the honor of our God, and administer in them for the salvation of the living and the dead; and thus go onward, spreading peace, pouring oil upon the troubled waters; and while there will be wars and rumors of wars, while nation will clash against nation and go down in the whirlpool of fury, the Latter-day Saints must preach peace on earth and good will to men, and be exemplars in all righteousness; seeking to let their light so shine that the glory of God will radiate from them to others.

This is the treason which we preach. We desire to benefit our country; benefit our fellowcitizens; benefit our fellow men. We believe this world is the Lord’s, and that He is coming to reign upon it as it is His right to reign. I care not how soon it is accomplished. The reign of Christ will rob no man of his rights; no righteous government need fear it; neither the United States, nor the nations of Europe, if their consciences are clear, need dread the coming of the King of Kings. They must acknowledge if they are Christian nations, that they owe their allegiance to Him whose right it is to reign. They should be proud to lay their crowns and scepters at His feet, and acknowledge Him to be Lord of Lords, and crown Him King of Kings.

This is a glance at the mission of the Latter-day Saints. These are some of the views we cherish and which we cannot recede from; we would be unworthy of our lineage as the sons and daughters of Abraham, the sons and daughters of Liberty, if we should forsake the things for which our forefathers lived and died, and suffered all manner of persecution. We leave the issue with God. Let the world persecute us, if they desire to assume that responsibility; we will seek to return good for evil. When they come with the sword we will meet them with the olive branch. We will say peace on earth when they have war on earth. We will do our duty as God shall give us strength, and leave the result with Him who overrules the acts of all men and all nations for the ultimate redemption of the human family, of which we are some of the humble representatives.

May God speed the day. May He bless those who are persecuted, who are driven and imprisoned for righteousness’ sake. May He bless the honest, the good, the pure and the patriotic among the American peo ple; the honest and the upright among all nations, who desire to enjoy their own rights and liberties, and are willing that others should enjoy theirs. May God bless all fair-minded people, and may He have mercy upon those who seek to trample upon the rights of their fellow creatures, and oppose the great and glorious purposes which have been foreordained. This is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.