The Great Principles of Salvation, Etc.

Last Discourse of Apostle Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, September 18, 1881.

It has been almost one year since I have been able to stand up before a congregation to address them, having been severely afflicted during that period of time. I am now blessed with the opportunity and privilege of occupying a few minutes, as long as my health would justify, in speaking a few words to the congregation. I am just able to stand upon my feet, most of the time scarcely able to sit up. I believe that the Saints have exercised their prayers and their faith in my behalf. If they had not done this, I doubt very much whether I would now be able to appear before you. Notwithstanding the afflictions of my body and the long silence that I have kept, so far as public congregations are concerned, yet I have felt the same enduring love for the principles of truth and for the people of God in all my afflictions, that I had in the time of my health. There is nothing so precious to me as the great principles of salvation. They have for the last 51 years of my life—it being 51 years tomorrow since I was baptized—occupied the uppermost place in my mind. Riches, the honors of this world, etc., have been but a very small consideration with me, com pared with the riches of eternal salvation, the blessings of the everlasting Gospel, the new covenant which we have embraced, the great work which the Lord our God is performing by his mighty hand in the age in which you and I live. I trust and verily believe that that which has had so conspicuous a place in my understanding, in my thoughts, in my meditations, in my mind, will continue to hold the same position with me so long as the Lord shall permit me to tarry here in this probation. Fifty-one years ago tomorrow, as I have said, I entered this Church, the Church then being confined to a small district of country in the State of New York. The knowledge of the Gospel, and the doctrines which we have taught, had not spread forth except within a very small limit of country. What a contrast between then and the present! Tomorrow—if I live till tomorrow—I shall be 70 years of age, which is said to be the average old age of man. They are the years appointed to man. So says one of the inspired writers, and if man, peradventure, should reach a few years beyond three score and ten, it is said that it is filled up with afflictions and sorrow and infirmities of old age. I trust, however, that if I am permitted to tarry still longer than this appointed time, or rather this period of time, I trust that my days may not be those of suffering. At any rate, so far as my mind is concerned, my understanding, that is at rest, that is at peace. I know what my hopes are. I know the plan of salvation. I have had the communications of the spirit of the Lord God, to teach me more or less all the days of my life, and this has given me great consolation. Hence, if I live past seventy, I do not expect to have sorrow of mind. I may have afflictions; I may encounter them; I may not to any great extent.

I wish to call your attention for a few moments to a subject closely connected with those days that I have been speaking of—the rise of the Church. It will be next Thursday night, 54 years since the Prophet Joseph Smith, then but a lad, was permitted by the angel of the Lord to take the gold plates of the Book of Mormon from the hill Cumorah, as it was called in ancient times, located in the State of New York. This I consider one of the most marvelous occurrences which has taken place for the past eighteen centuries—to be permitted to observe the face of an holy angel, and then be permitted, in addition to that, to take out of the ground, in fulfillment of ancient prophecy, a record of one-half of our globe, giving a history of the peoples and nations that occupied this great western hemisphere—more marvelous than anything that has transpired during that long period. What makes it still more marvelous is, that it is connected with revelation, with something that comes from heaven, with divine authority. God permitted this record to be taken from its place of ancient deposit. He it was that sent the angel to deliver those records into the hands of this boy. It was God. And what object did the Lord have in performing this marvelous thing? It was to establish on this earth that kingdom predicted by the ancient Prophet Daniel, that should be set up in the last days, which should stand forever, and should finally become a great mountain and fill the whole earth. What could be of more importance? Such an event was predicted to happen, that such a kingdom should arise, that God should be the autho rity of it, that he should lay the foundation of it, that he should set it up. If we go back to the finding of the records of the Book of Mormon; if we go back to that eventful day when God sent his angels to confirm the divinity of that record to three other persons; if we go back to the time of the organization of this Church, we find that God has in all these matters spoken himself. We did not select the day on which this kingdom should be organized. Joseph Smith, the Prophet, did not select the day, but God pointed out the very day, the very month, in which this work should be performed. Hence it is God’s work; it was God and not man that set up this kingdom. Has there been an authority established in this Church from the day of its organization that was established by man’s authority? Not one. Every authority in this Church, however high or however low, or whatever the nature of the callings might be, whatever the duties of the callings, God has introduced that authority. We have no record, no minutes in our Church, where there have been Apostles called and ordained in this kingdom, by man’s authority. It is just what we might expect. Anything else than this would not be ascribed to the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God could not be set up by man. Man has no right to select even the day for the organization of that kingdom. Man has no right to select the least officer of that kingdom; it must all come from heaven. It was said that such a kingdom should be set up. It was set. It was set up according to the mind of God, according to his own mind, not according to the whims and notions of sectarians, or any theologians, or any learned man, but according to the mind of the great Jehovah. We have seen the progress of this kingdom. We have seen what God has accomplished during the last 51 years. We have seen his hand made manifest. We have seen the kingdom organized, not to dwell in the place of its particular organization, and the people be scattered all over the world like sectarianism, but a kingdom that should gather together the sons and daughters of God, according to the predictions of the ancient prophets into one place upon the face of our globe, to prepare them for the mighty events and occurrences that should take place when he should accomplish that work. And how marvelous it is to see the hundreds and hundreds of vessels that have crossed the ocean, the mighty ocean, in perfect safety, bringing the Saints of God to their destined haven, to rejoice in one body, in one place, in one region in the mountains of Israel, the great back bone of the western hemisphere, if we may so term it. This is all to fulfil prophecy.

But I must not enlarge upon this subject. How happy I feel that I am once more, after having been brought so low, so near the gates of death—how happy I feel that I am permitted once more to lift up my voice before you. I do not know that I can make you all hear, but I trust that my voice will be strengthened, I trust that my body will be strengthened, I trust that my mind—if it has been weakened at all by sickness—may also be strengthened, and that I yet may have the humble privilege of lifting up my voice and testifying, before thousands of people in these mountains, if not abroad among the inhabitants of the earth, of God’s power. It is a day in which he has commenced to perform a mighty work, and the foundation is already laid and is quite broad, and he has quite a numerous people through whom he can work and accomplish his mighty purposes; and although feeble in body, I do not know but what the Lord may yet strengthen me to again publish glad tidings of great joy abroad among the nations of the earth, or perform whatever duties may be assigned unto me by the general authorities His Church.

May God bless the people of Zion—all the Latter-day Saints scattered throughout all these mountain regions: may he favor us before many years with a full and complete redemption according to the promises that are made in His word. Amen.

The Divine Authority of the Holy Priesthood, Etc.

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered at the General Conference, Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, Oct. 10th, 1880.

I have been asked by President Taylor to address the congregation this morning on a particular subject, in which we are all interested, namely, the divine authority of the Priesthood, divine callings, ordinances, etc.

We have in this Church several thousand male members who hold authority and power which they say is from heaven. If it be from heaven, as we testify, and have testified ever since the rise of the Church, then the Lord our God has manifested His power, and in His mercy has once more bestowed authority upon the children of men to administer His holy ordinances, and to occupy the positions to which we have severally been called. On the other hand, if the views of the world are correct—they do not consider us to have any authority—we are then on the same ground and platform with the rest of the religious world, there is no authority upon the earth. One or the other is true.

There never was a principle more clearly proven than that the inhabitants of the earth are destitute of all divine authority, among all religious denominations, whether Pagan, Mahometan or so-called Christian; the authority cannot be found throughout all the various denominations that have existed through the long period of time called the dark ages, until the Lord, in His mercy, has organized His Church again on the earth and bestowed that authority, and if He has not done it, as the world say He has not, there are no persons upon this whole earth that have any authority from the heavens; and therefore we are just as well off as the balance of them.

We are not indebted to man for the various authorities in this Church; this is our testimony. Man did not commence this work, man is not the originator of this work, neither is he the origin of the authority by which we administer. The Lord did not see proper to organize the authority of this Church all at once in all the various councils and authorities that, from time to time, have been ordained among this people; it was a gradual work. Authority was bestowed before there was any Church. First (not the authority of the Priesthood) but the authority to bring forth the plates of the Book of Mormon, and to translate them by the Urim and Thummim, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. This was the first authority conferred upon the one whom the Lord chose to commence this great work. The authority of the Priesthood was not conferred upon him at that time, but He revealed unto him concerning the everlasting Gospel contained in the ancient records kept by the Nephites, or Israelites, upon this great Western Continent.

Joseph Smith, when he translated these records by the aid of the Urim and Thummim, had not yet received any Priesthood, so far as his temporal existence was concerned. But now, do not misunderstand me in regard to this position. He did hold the Priesthood before he came here upon the earth. I remarked that Joseph, so far as any ordination here in the flesh was concerned, held no Priesthood at the time that he brought forth the plates of the Book of Mormon and translated them; but he did hold the Priesthood, which was conferred upon him in the councils of eternity, before this world was formed. You will find this recorded in a sermon delivered by the Prophet Joseph, showing that not only he, but also all of the faithful that have received the Priesthood here in this life, were ordained before the foundation of the world. Consequently, they had the ordination; that ordination was after the order of Him who is from all eternity to all eternity, an everlasting Priesthood, without father, without mother, without beginning, without end; having been handed down from all eternity. That Priesthood was conferred upon Joseph Smith before he came here; he was among those that are spoken of in “The Pearl of Great Price,” whom the ancient Prophets saw in heaven. Moses saw them, and Abraham saw them, namely, the spirits that existed before the world was made; and they saw that among that vast number of spirits there were some choice ones, some that were noble in the sight of God, probably because of their integrity and steadfastness in upholding truth; among those noble ones were those whom the Lord chose before the foundation of the world to come forth upon the earth in their second estate, and to hold authority and power in the various dispensations, and to administer the plan of salvation to the human family. Abraham was among that number. The High Priests that lived from the days of Adam down to the flood were among that number, who were then chosen and then ordained, according to the foreknowledge of God. It is recorded in the Book of Alma regarding the Priesthood, that the ordinances of the Priesthood and the calling to the Priesthood were without beginning or end. There may be a beginning to the person who is called, but that Priesthood existed before that person was called, and there was no beginning to the calling, no beginning to the ordinances of the Priesthood, no beginning to the Priesthood itself, being handed down from all eternity, being in existence in all of the worlds that were worthy of having the Priesthood and authority from God. The reason for my making this observation is to clear up one point which may perhaps trouble the minds of some of the Latter-day Saints.

You have read in the revelation given on the 22nd day of September, 1832, that without the Priesthood and the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is not manifested unto men in the flesh. You have also read in that same revelation, that without the ordinances of that Priesthood and the power thereof to administer to the children of men no man could see the face of God the Father and live. When you read this plain saying your minds may have reverted back to the days when there was no Priesthood so far as ordination was concerned, on this earth, I mean the ordination that took place here. You find a little boy, Joseph Smith, calling upon the name of the Lord, in the spring of the year 1820, before he was not yet fifteen years of age; and the result of his calling upon the name of the Lord was that a pillar of fire appeared in the heavens above him, and it continued to descend and grow brighter and brighter, until it reached the top of the trees that were growing around about where he was praying; and so great was the glory of this light that this lad, this youth, this boy, seemed to feel almost fearful lest the trees themselves would be consumed by it. But it continued to descend until it rested upon this lad and immediately his mind was caught away from the surrounding objects, was swallowed up in a heavenly vision, in which he saw two glorious per sonages, one was the Father, the other was the Son.

“No man without the Priesthood, can behold the face of the Father and live.”

Now, this has troubled the minds of some of the Latter-day Saints. “How is it, (say they) that Joseph lived, after having seen the face of the Father, after having heard the words of His mouth, after the Father had said unto him, ‘He is my beloved Son, hear ye him.’”

If you had thought upon this other subject, namely, that Joseph had been already ordained before this world was made—to what Priesthood? To the Priesthood after the Order of an Endless Life, a Priesthood that is everlasting, a Priesthood handed down, that had no beginning, a Priesthood after the holiest Order of God, a Priesthood that was after the Order of His Only Begotten Son. If you had only reflected that that same Priesthood had been conferred upon him in the councils of the holy ones before the world was made, and that he was ordained to come forth in this dispensation of the fulness of times to hold the keys of authority and power of that high and holy Priesthood—that he was ordained to come forth and perform the work that God intended to accomplish in the latter times, then the mystery would have been cleared up to your minds. He was not without the Priesthood in reality; but was a man chosen, a man ordained, a man appointed from before the foundation of this world, to come forth in the fulness of times to introduce the last dispensation among the children of men; to come in order to organize that kingdom, that was predicted by the ancient Prophets, that should stand forever; to come to fulfil the great and glorious work of preparation for the coming of the Son of God to reign in righteousness upon the earth; he could see the face of God the Father and live. But after having received this heavenly vision, after having brought forth the Book of Mormon, and translated it (the Lord having prepared a way by which the book could be printed), and having received the command of the Almighty to organize the Church, and having received the Priesthood reconfirmed upon him by Peter, James, and John, and prior to that having received the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood, on the 15th day of May, 1829—having all these preparations here in the flesh as well as having been preordained to this mission, he was prepared to begin the work that should be everlasting, or in other words, the establishment of the kingdom of God that should never again be taken away from the earth.

The Apostleship being conferred—the Aaronic Priesthood having been previously conferred—all the powers of the Priesthood rested upon this man, and he had the right to the authority to administer, not only in the introductory principles of the Gospel of the Son of God, by which people might be born into the kingdom, but also had the authority and the power from the heavens to administer in all the sacred ordinances of this kingdom, at least so far as the building up of the Church was concerned, and of officiating in the various offices of the Priesthood. After having conferred this authority and power, the Lord was prepared to give little by little, one portion or degree of Priesthood after another, until by and by, in accordance with the revelation given in June, 1829, He called twelve men to be Apostles, some three or four years after the revelation was given, when it was predicted that such should be the case. What did we know about the callings and duties of this council of the Twelve? Nothing, only as God revealed it through His servant Joseph.

After this Apostleship was given, some were faithful therein, others were not; some lost the authority of the Priesthood, others retained it, and the blessings of God were upon those that were faithful in their calling, while the curse of an offended God followed those who abused this sacred trust, and their Priesthood was taken from them and conferred upon others that were worthy of it. The Lord also, about the same time that He called the Twelve Apostles, was prepared to call Seventies to minister under the direction of the Twelve; and many were ordained to this Apostleship, and they were men who had proven themselves faithful before the Lord: and others were perhaps ordained who had not been fully proven, and therefore the opportunity was afforded them, acting upon the agency they had in common with all men, of proving themselves before God. Some of them were faithful, others were unfaithful; those that were unfaithful apostatized eventually and left the Church, while those that were faithful continued in their office and calling until many of them passed down to the tomb; and having magnified the good office and calling that had been conferred upon them, they will claim, in the eternal worlds the blessings appertaining to their several offices.

And what did we know about these Seventies and their particular calling? Were there specified duties assigned to that body of men anciently, whose call by the Savior is recorded in the New Testament? No, we were ignorant. The Prophet himself, the Twelve and all that had been called, knew nothing in relation to the duties of these Seventies until the Lord revealed what they were, and at the same time He pointed out the duties of the Presidency of the Seventies, both the duties of the seven men constituting the Presidency of all the Seventies, and also those of the seven men that were to preside over each Council of the Seventies. The Lord made manifest these things not all at once, but from time to time, as the people progressed and were counted worthy in His sight to receive further knowledge upon these things. You may ask, why it was that the Lord did not give the whole pattern at once, why He did not unfold everything all in a moment? It was because we were as little children then, and indeed I am of the opinion that many of us are little children still—and we could not bear all things at once; therefore He revealed unto us enough from time to time to set our minds reflecting; He revealed sufficient to cause us to be stirred up in our minds to pray unto Him; and when we prayed unto Him about any of the duties of the Priesthood, then He would reveal it. But He would be sought unto by His people before He would reveal a fulness of knowledge upon these important subjects. This seeking unto the Lord to obtain little by little, and precept by precept in the knowledge of the things of God, is just the way a wise parent would instruct his own sons. Our parents would not tell us all about the various branches of education when we were two or three, or four years old; but they taught us as children, giving us line upon line until we could understand more fully those things that pertained to a good education. So the Lord dealt with His people, as a wise, judicious, kindhearted parent, imparting just according to the faith of the Latter-day Saints, and according to His own mind and will, and good pleasure.

By and by, after the Church was organized and there being no Bishops the Lord saw that it was necessary to introduce some kind of a plan in relation to the property of His people in the State of New York. What did the Lord say to us under those circumstances, when we were not fully organized? Said He to the Church in the State of New York, in the General Conference, through the mouth of His servant Joseph, in a revelation given on the 2nd day of January, 1831, He said, Let my Church in this land flee out from the State of New York; let them go westward to the land of Kirtland, and join my people in the State of Ohio; let them do this immediately, lest their enemies come upon them, etc. The Lord understood what was in the hearts of the enemies of His people; He understood what they were doing in their secret councils, in their secret chambers to bring to pass the destruction of the Latter-day Saints that were in the States of New York and Pennsylvania. How shall this work be done? No Bishop to take charge of the properties. The Lord said, Let certain men among you in the State of New York be appointed to take charge of the properties of my people, that which you cannot dispose of or sell in time to flee out; let them have charge of it to sell it in after times for the benefit of the Church. Here, then, was a revelation appointing certain men without ordination, without the Bishopric, to handle properties, to do that which Bishops were afterwards required to perform. Now, here is a lesson for us. Because the Lord does one thing in the year 1831, and points out certain men according to the circumstances in which people are placed, that is no evidence that He will always continue the same order. The Lord deals with the children of men according to circumstances, and afterwards varies from that plan according to His own good will and pleasure. When these men had fulfilled their duties in relation to the properties of the Saints, and the Saints had gathered out from New York and Pennsylvania to the land of Kirtland, then it became necessary for a regular Bishop to be called and ordained, also his Counselors. Did the Lord point out that these Bishops should be taken from the High Priesthood? No.

“And again, I have called my servant Edward Partridge; and I give a commandment, that he should be appointed by the voice of the church, and ordained a bishop unto the church.” And with regard to choosing his Counselors, the Lord said they should be selected from the Elders of his Church. Why did He say the Elders? Because the High Priests at that time had not been ordained; that is, they had not been ordained under that name. Although the Apostleship had been conferred upon Joseph and Oliver, even they were called Elders; the word High Priest was not known among them to be understood and comprehended until a long time after Bishops were called; and that is the reason why the Lord said to Bishop Partridge, “select from the Elders of my Church.” “But,” says one who has read the Doctrine and Covenants, “you will find in the revelation given on the 6th of April, 1830, something about Bishops, High Priests, etc.”

[The speaker was here stopped that an important notice might be given out.]

I was saying that at the time that Bishop Partridge was called and ordained a Bishop, on the 4th of February, 1831, that at that time there were no High Priests, they were not known under that name, but were known under the name of the Apostleship, etc., and hence Elders were specified to be called as Counselors. I was also saying that in the revelation given on the 6th day of April, 1830, there was nothing said about High Priests at the time the revelation was given; neither about Bishops. But you will find two paragraphs in that revelation which mention them, which paragraphs were placed there several years after the revelation was given, which the Lord had a perfect right to do; and if it were necessary we might quote examples from Scripture to show that the Lord adds to any revelation when He sees proper, in order to make it more fully understood. For instance, you recollect that Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah a lengthy revelation regarding the king of Israel and the house of Israel. And that when the revelation was given to the king of Israel and after he “had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed.” Did the Lord give it over again? Yes, “and,” says the Scripture, “there were added besides unto them many like words,” not in the former revelation. If the Lord took that method in the days of Jeremiah, was there anything inconsistent in the Prophet Joseph, in years afterwards, adding the words, “Bishops and High Priests,” in order that the people might more fully understand? My motive in mentioning these things is that the people may understand the ways of the Lord. His ways are not as the ways of man, neither are His thoughts limited by our limited thoughts or conceptions. But He does as He pleases.

By and by the time came when the Lord saw proper to make manifest something in relation to the name and the authority and the power of this High Priesthood; showing us that it was after the order of His Only Begotten Son, that it holds the keys to power, etc., on the earth.

Well, after the first Bishop had been chosen, and two Elders selected by him to operate with him, his duties began to be more fully made manifest. I shall not have time on this occasion to point out the various duties that were assigned to Bishop Edward Partridge, in the land of Zion, in Jackson County, Missouri, and other duties devolving upon him while he yet remained at Kirtland. Perhaps it might be well enough, however, to just briefly touch upon his duties, that were more fully made manifest when he was required to go out from Kirtland about a day’s journey to the southeast, and organize the Colesville branch in the town of Thompson. The Lord told him how to organize the people, and that there was a man in the Church whose name was Leman Copley, who had a large tract of land, and he covenanted before God that if the Colesville Branch would go upon his land, they might have their inheritances, etc., and that they might enter into the Order of God, as should be pointed out by the voice of the Prophet. And when the Prophet Joseph went out to Thompson and undertook to organize the Branch according to this promise and covenant that was made, Bishop Par tridge was there, and he had it pointed out to him how he should deal with that particular organization, that they should all be made equal, and should receive their stewardships, and should consecrate all of their property into the hands of the Bishop; and that was made a sample for all other churches throughout the Lord’s vineyard. You may judge whether we have kept it or not. And his duties were also made manifest in the latter part of the summer of 1831. And many of the first Elders were commanded to go west of Kirtland about one thousand miles; and the promise was that the land which the Lord intended to give to His people should be made known, and it should be told them where the city should be built. In the months of July and August of that year, the Lord pointed out more fully the duties of Bishop Partridge in regard to dividing the land, that is, the land that, had been purchased by the Church, dividing it out among the various families of the Saints. The first families, with the exception of some that had been baptized in that land, were faithful ones among the Colesville branch, one of the earliest organizations of the Church. They were commanded to flee from the town of Thompson, because this rich man had broken his covenant. They went up to Jackson County, and Bishop Partridge was commanded to divide off to them inheritances by the law of consecration.

Here then was a Bishop whose duties were made known and specified, and which were very different in their nature in many respects from our Ward Bishops. Can you not see the difference between these duties assigned to Edward Partridge, and the duties assigned to the several Ward Bishops of our Church? So far as the Ward Bishops’ duties go, they coincide perfectly with the duties that were assigned to this general Bishop. But there were a great many things required of him that are not required of Ward Bishops; quite different in their duties and in their callings.

In December, 1831, the Lord saw proper again to give another Bishop, his name was Newel K. Whitney. Was he merely a Bishop of a Ward, whose jurisdiction was limited to a little spot of ground that might be termed a place for the residence of a Ward Bishop? No; he was another general Bishop. Bishop Partridge having general jurisdiction in Jackson County, and in the regions round about; while the duties of Newel K. Whitney extended to the State of Ohio and the States of Pennsylvania and New York, and throughout all the Eastern countries, wherever the Church of God was organized.

Here were two Bishops, then, one having jurisdiction in the West, a thousand miles from the other; the other having jurisdiction in the East. Their duties were pointed out, but neither of them was a Presiding Bishop. But what were they? As was clearly shown by President Taylor at the Priesthood meeting on last evening, they were general Bishops. By and by, after the Church of God was driven from the State of Missouri, it became necessary to have a Presiding Bishop; and the Lord gave a revelation, saying:

“Let my servant Vinson Knight, and my servant Shadrach Roundy, and my servant Samuel H. Smith, be appointed as Presidents over the bishopric of my church.”

Here, then, is the first intimation that we have of a Presiding Bishop. Neither Bishop Partridge nor Newel K. Whitney at that time was a pre siding Bishop, but each one held distinct jurisdiction, presiding in a distinct locality, neither presiding over the other. But when Vinson Knight, in years afterwards, was called, it was his duty to preside over all of the Bishops that were then appointed. Was there any general Bishop after the death of Bishop Partridge? Yes:

“Let my servant, George Miller, receive the bishopric which was conferred upon Edward Partridge, to receive the consecrations of my people,” etc.

He was ordained to the same calling, and called to the same Bishopric; not to the Presiding Bishopric, but to the same Bishopric conferred upon Edward Partridge, to receive the consecrations of the Lord’s Church, to administer to the poor and needy, etc. Here, then, were two distinct orders of Bishops, so far as their duties, jurisdiction and responsibilities were concerned, but as Bishops they held the same calling as others. By and by, in the process of time, as the Church increased and multiplied upon the earth, it became necessary that there should be local Bishops; hence arose Bishops over this town and over that town, not general Bishops, but Ward Bishops, the same as you have throughout your respective Stakes.

Now the duties of these three distinct callings of those that are termed Bishops are very different, so far as their duties are concerned. The jurisdiction of a Ward Bishop does not go beyond his Ward, unless he be particularly called to do so. He must be selected, must be appointed, and must be sent to some other place in order to have jurisdiction outside of his Ward in the capacity of a Bishop. The office of the Presiding Bishop still continues, but for some reason we have not at the present time, so far as I am aware, any traveling or general Bishop like Bishop Ed. Partridge, and like Bishop Newel K. Whitney, who afterwards did become a Presiding Bishop. A traveling Bishop in his jurisdiction would not be limited to a Ward; it would be his duty if so called and appointed to travel through the various Stakes of Zion to exhort the people to do their duty, to look after the temporal interests of the Church, to humble the rich and the proud and lift up the low and the meek of the earth.

There is another class of Bishops. We find in every Stake of Zion what is termed a Bishop’s Agent. Does he hold the Bishopric? He should have that office conferred upon him. Why? Because it is his duty to administer in temporal things. Does his jurisdiction extend beyond that of a Ward Bishop? It does. Why? By appointment, by selection, by being sent by the Presidency of the High Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek to administer in the special duties of his office in any or in all the Stakes of Zion, as the case may be according to the nature of his appointment, and by the authority of the Presiding Bishop. There are a great many things to be taken into consideration when we strive to understand the Book of Covenants according to the revelations that are therein given. Because God confined His servants to certain duties in the early rise of this Church, that is no proof or evidence that He will always work in the same channel. He will enlarge the borders of this kingdom; He will stretch forth the curtains of Zion; He will lengthen her cords and strengthen her Stakes and will multiply them not only throughout this mountain Territory, but throughout the United States, this land of Joseph: and they will be called the Stakes of the great City of Zion.

Let me here take the liberty to say to this congregation that the City of Zion when it is built in Jackson County, will not be called a Stake. We can find no mention in all the revelations that God has given, that the City of Zion is to be the Center Stake of Zion; the Lord never called it a Stake in any revelation that has been given. It is to be the headquarters, it is to be the place where the Son of Man will come and dwell, where He will have a Temple, in which Temple there will be a throne prepared where Jesus will dwell in the midst of His people; it will be the great central city, and the outward branches will be called Stakes wherever they shall be organized as such.

We cannot suppose, as I was saying, that when the Lord shall thus enlarge the borders of Zion and multiply her Stakes, that He will be obliged to confine Himself to those circumstances and that condition of things that existed when we were a little handful of people. We are swelling out, we are becoming numerous upon the face of the land; and the day will come when Isaiah’s prophecy, as contained in the 60th chapter, will be literally fulfilled, that is, a little one shall not only become a thousand, but the small one a strong nation. Are we then to be governed in all respects by those limited things that we were governed by in our childhood? Will there be no change of circumstances? Yes, as there is in the growth of grain, we have first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear, but these will all be in accordance with the development made by the progress of the kingdom as is explained in the blade, the ear and the full corn in the ear, and let me here prophesy on the strength of the revelations that were given through the Prophet Joseph, and through all the ancient Prophets, that the time will come when the Lord our God will so manifest His power that every soul upon the face of this great Western Continent that will not believe the Book of Mormon, that will not repent of his sins, that will not turn away from his iniquities, and that will not hearken to the voice of His Son, that it will be with such a one as Moses said, he shall be cut off from among the people. Do you believe it? It will be the case. And when that day comes that the Lord shall cut off such people, when the day comes that he will fulfil the revelations of Isaiah, as well as many other revelations that have been given, Zion will have to go forth in her strength and power, and the inhabitants of the nations that are afar off will say, “Surely, Zion is the city of our God, for the Lord is there, and His glory is there, and the power and the might of His terror is there,”—terror to the wicked, terror to those who commit sin: and many people will say “Come, let us be subject to her laws.” That will be after the Lord has broken up the nations, after He has destroyed and wasted them away, so far as the wicked portions are concerned. Those who are left will gladly acknowledge Zion, will acknowledge God and His people, and will acknowledge the laws that will be literally sent forth from Zion to the nations of the earth. Must we then be limited in all respects as we were limited in the early rise of the Church? No. New circumstances require new power, new knowledge, new additions, new strength and new Quorums; not to do away with the old, but additional in their na ture. Men will hold authority and power to carry forth the laws of Zion to the remnants of this nation, and to foreign nations—ministers, or plenipotentiaries, if you please, to use a political term, will go forth to the nations of the earth with the laws of God. Now, this is a prophecy of my own, but it is a prophecy according to that which is written, according to that which God gave to His ancient and His modern Prophets.

I find that I shall not be able to continue my remarks as they present themselves to my mind, for there are numerous branches pertaining to this subject of the Priesthood, besides that of the Bishopric, and blessings pertaining to the two Priesthoods, upon which it would be very pleasing to my mind to dwell, that is, if I had the time and the strength of body to do so.

I would say, however, that in regard to the organization of the First Presidency, it was done soon after the rise of the Church. The Lord exhibited to us, by revelation, the order of things as it existed in former days, away back in the dispensation before the flood—the dispensation of the antediluvian Patriarchs and their order of government; and also the dispensation of the Patriarchs after the flood and their order of government, and which I dwelt upon some two or three days since. I say that in relation to these matters much might be said, and much might be said in regard to our privileges, the privileges of those holding these two Priesthoods. And much might be said of the First Presidency, which quorum presides over all the Church of God; and much might be said in relation to the duties of the Twelve, not only as a traveling High Council, but in regard to the setting in order of the various offices in Zion. We might talk a great deal about that. We, as the Twelve, have been fulfilling both of these duties, traveling abroad and sending abroad, and also setting in order the councils of the Priesthood in the midst of Zion, as the revelation required of us. In so doing, we have acted for a short time as a Presiding Council in the midst of the Church of God. We did so upon the death of the Prophet Joseph. The Spirit of God wrought upon his servants, that during our administration for some three or four years after the death of Brother Joseph, the First Presidency was not organized. Did the Council of the Twelve forget it? No. Did they ignore it? No; they all the time had their minds fixed upon the revelation which God had given showing that the Council of the First Presidency was the supreme Council and authority in the Church, and that the Twelve could not act in that supreme authority and power only as the First Presidency was made vacant. This Quorum was reorganized some three or four years after the death of the Prophet, and it continued organized until the year 1877, and upon the death of President Young, who was the President in the First Presidency, it then fell again upon the Twelve as formerly, and they have continued some three years and upwards occupying that position. Have they done right? Yes; they have done as they were required to do during the time being. And now, after having performed their duties, they still keep in mind the necessity of this First Quorum of all Quorums of the Church again being filled up, so that the revelations of God may be honored and we fulfil their requirements. Hence, the Council of the Apostles has taken into conside ration this subject, and the question in our minds was, Have we sufficiently, as the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, magnified our office and calling, in setting in order the Church of the living God, in organizing the various Councils, or is there something lacking? Every time we thought upon the subject we saw that one Council, the most important of all, was still vacant. Could we ignore it? No. We therefore considered the propriety of organizing it at the present Conference; and Brother John Taylor, by the voice of his brethren, the Twelve, being the person holding the legal right to that office, as the President of the Twelve Apostles, was selected to occupy the position of the President of the whole Church. And he, according to the right and authority given to him, suggested his own Counselors. They were sanctioned by the Twelve Apostles; hence, the First Presidency again, so far as the Council of the Twelve is concerned, has been reorganized. We have fulfilled our duties, then, in relation to that revelation which says, it is given unto the Twelve Apostles to set in order all those offices that are named in that revelation, we, I say, have done it. And we have laid the subject before the Priesthood of all the various Quorums, as they were assembled in general council on last evening, and they with us have had the privilege of sanctioning this action, that that quorum be filled up and be complete. It now remains with the body of the people to give their sanction, males and females, as well as the Priesthood. And in order that this may be done according to the pattern which God has given through His servant Joseph, the Priesthood will be organized this afternoon in their respective Quorums, and this subject will be brought before them to be voted upon by each Quorum separately; and then the whole congregation will be called upon to sanction the same.

I would state that this change made a vacancy of three in the Quorum of the Apostles, and persons have been selected to fill this vacancy thus made; or, rather, two persons have been selected from among the High Priesthood to partially fill that vacancy in the Council of the Apostles. The third one has not yet been chosen to completely fill the vacancy in the Apostles’ Quorum; we, however, may be prepared to act on that today, and we may not.

Having said so much, in a very scattered manner, in regard to the Priesthood, and the dealings of God with us from time to time, I would state to my brethren and sisters, to the Latter-day Saints, I rejoice that the time has again come when our Quorums in the Church of God will be completed as given in the Doctrine and Covenants. I feel to rejoice in seeing this order carried out. There never has been a time, from the commencement of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when the organization has been so complete as during the last two or three years. I trust that His great purposes will be carried out and fulfilled, until Zion shall become, as it is written in the Book of Mormon, in the parable of the vineyard, shall become one body and its branches shall be equal. Amen.

A Double Birthday—The Authority of the Priesthood, Etc.

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt and Elder Wilford Woodruff, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, Sept. 19th, 1880.

It is with peculiar feelings that I arise to address this congregation who are assembled this afternoon. An event in regard to myself has this day happened that generally only happens once in the course of a man’s life. Fifty years ago today I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hence, it might be said that it is in reality a year of jubilee, so far as I am concerned—I mean that the past year, which is the fiftieth year of my membership in the Church, closing with today, has been, indeed and in truth, a year of jubilee.

There is another thing, connected with these fifty years in the Church, that is also pleasing to your humble servant. Sixty-nine years ago today I was born into this world, making this day a double birthday to myself. How very thankful I ought to be for this great privilege which has been bestowed upon me. The hearing of the fulness of the everlasting Gospel, yielding obedience to the same, and entering into the Church and kingdom of God, in my early youth, certainly is a blessing that is worthy of all thanks and praise to my Father who is in heaven, who granted this privilege to me in my youth. There were many scores of millions—yes, hundreds of millions of the inhabitants of our globe that did not enjoy this privilege.

It seems that the Lord our God, some fifty years ago and a little upwards, saw proper to organize his kingdom, to establish it on the earth by the ministration of holy angels, and by the revelations of his Spirit, and by sending down authority from the heavens to minister here on the earth, and by bringing forth that great and precious record, the Book of Mormon, and causing the same to be printed for the benefit of all mankind. How great a privilege conferred on me, to come to the understanding of the contents of that book when I was but nineteen years of age! How great a privilege to live in a day and age of the world when God has again revealed himself to the children of men! There have been many periods of time since the creation in which the heavens, in an especial manner, have been favorable to the children of men, by sending communications and revelations from on high. But a long time had intervened, during which no such privilege had been granted to mortal man. So far as the nations of the Eastern Hemisphere were concerned, upwards of seventeen centuries had passed away, during which they were left in darkness, having no legally authorized minister, no one that could legally baptize, or administer the Lord’s Supper, or build the Church of God, or administer in any of the ordinances of his Gospel; that was a long time for the nations to be left in darkness. So far as our Western Hemisphere is concerned, they were not left quite so long a period without information from the heavens. Some fourteen hundred years and upwards had passed away, on this Western continent, during which the people were left in darkness; hence, the whole earth for fourteen centuries, at least, had no Gospel preached by divine authority, no Church of the living God in any quarter thereof—so far as we are acquainted. It is true, that during these fourteen centuries the nations had a book that contained the history of the Gospel as it was preached in ancient times—a book called the Bible. But a book containing the history of the Gospel is one thing, and the power and authority to administer the ordinances of the Gospel is another thing; they are entirely distinct. A book, itself, authorizes no man, under the whole heavens, to build up the Church of Christ; it authorizes no man to preach the Gospel. No man ever receives divine authority by means of an ancient book that was given to prophets and inspired men centuries before he was born. We never knew of the Lord’s calling men by ancient books. If the Lord calls anyone in this day, it is by a new revelation, not a revelation given 1,800 years ago. How inconsistent it would be to suppose that a man is now called to sit in the presidential chair of the United States, because we have the history that Washington once sat in that chair. Would that authorize any person, among the scores of millions of the population of these States, to go and take possession of that chair, and undertake to administer in the office of a president over this great people? The thing would be so ridiculously absurd, that the people would rise up universally and condemn any such imposition. So in regard to the things of God. God is a God of order. And if mankind have an order in relation to authority to administer in governmental affairs, how much more the Lord? Has he not as much wisdom as his creatures? Is the Lord so much beneath his own creation that he would prefer illegality to legality? That he would let anyone assume the authority and power without calling him to an account in the great judgment day? “But,” inquires one, “how do you know, Mr. Pratt, but what the Lord has called some one during the many centuries that you say the people have lived in darkness? How do you know but what he has authorized servants and ministers, to proclaim his Gospel among the children of men?” Now this is a very important point. I do not blame those who have not considered this subject, in putting such a question. It is perfectly reasonable that they should inquire how a person may know what grounds we have for supposing that there has been no one commissioned with divine autho rity, during the fourteen centuries that have rolled over the heads of the people, until the Lord sent his angel, upwards of fifty years ago, and restored the authority. There are various reasons that can be advanced to prove that the earth has been destitute of any such authority. One reason is, that among the three or four hundred millions of Christendom, or those who profess to be the followers of Christ, we find one universal belief among them, and they have acted upon that belief, namely: that God gives no new revelation to the inhabitants of the earth during their day. That is enough for me; it is all the evidence that I would want, although there is an abundance of other evidence; but that is sufficient for me to know that God never sent them. “But,” inquires one, “may not a person be sent of the Lord, be divinely commissioned, and yet no revelation be given in his day?” I answer, impossible, impossible! “But,” you may still further inquire, “may not others who received divine revelation in ancient times, have communicated that authority to their contemporaries who outlived them? And may not those contemporaries, thus receiving divine authority, have conferred it upon others still younger, and they upon others? And thus, may not the authority have been handed down by a regular succession of ordination, from the days of the apostles to our own period of time?” I will say that would be possible, just the same as the Church of God, in the first century of the Christian era, delivered the authority to preach and administer ordinances from one to another, among the various nations of the earth; it was continued along during the whole of that century—just as easily it could have continued, the second century, and the third, and each succeeding century down to our own time.

Here, then, arises another question—may not the authority have thus been transferred? I answer—where has there been an unbroken succession of that same authority that was administered in the first century? I will tell you where the succession was broken. In the very period that new revelation ceased to be given to the human family, no further succession could be continued. It would be impossible for any person to be ordained with divine authority, for instance, to the apostleship, unless there was some person that had authority, and had really obtained divine intelligence, by new revelation, from the heavens, that such authority should he conferred upon some other person. When did divine revelation cease? Where shall we go for testimony upon this subject? So far as the inhabitants of the eastern portions of our globe were concerned, divine authority ceased about the close of the first century of the Christian era. Why did it cease? Because we have no account of any new revelation having been given after the close of that century; and when new revelation ceased: divine callings ceased; divine authority ceased; persons ceased to confer that authority in succession; because, for this obvious reason, they, without new revelation, did not know whom to call; they did not know who should be authorized to receive the apostleship, or any other calling. Every person, during the first century of the Christian era, who was ordained with authority and power to administer in the ordinances of the Gospel, was ordained by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Timothy was a young man, compared with many of the apostles. He only received the calling, be stowed upon him through the laying on of the hands of the servants of God, or of those who were authorized, by new revelation, to administer and to confer authority upon him. Thus it is written in this good book (the Bible) that Paul, who was authorized as an apostle, called Timothy by virtue of the spirit of revelation and prophecy. “Neglect not,” said Paul, “the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying of the hands of the presbytery.” And when we speak of missions, in those early periods of Christianity no person assumed to go on a mission among the inhabitants of the earth, unless he was sent, unless he was set apart. Even as great a man as the Apostle Paul had no authority to go forth as a missionary, only by the laying on of the hands of the persons who administered to him. Hence, it is written in the Acts of the Apostles, that the Holy Ghost said unto certain prophets that were in the Church at Antioch, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Here is a new revelation. Saul could not be separated and set apart to any work of the ministry, only as the Lord called him; and that calling was made known to the prophets that were in the Church at Antioch. If peradventure, a man had been called by the spirit of revelation and prophecy, and set apart by the laying of the hands of a prophet or apostle, to be an especial minister to the nations of the earth, there would arise still another great question to be solved, in regard to whether that man, thus set apart, could fulfil the object of his mission without new revelation? I say that it would be utterly impossible. No man can fill a mission acceptably before the heavens, unless God should give to him revela tion, from time to time, to direct him in all his missionary labors. We have abundant testimony in the New Testament concerning this matter. Even when some of the very greatest revelators that we have any record of undertook to do things of their own accord, they were led directly different from their own judgments, in regard to their missionary labors. Paul had, at a certain time, a great desire to visit a certain place; such desire arose from his own natural judgment; but the Holy Ghost forbade him. Here it required a new revelation to know whether his own inclinations should be followed or not. Again, we find that the revelations of the Most High were very necessary in the case of the travels of these missionaries, among the inhabitants of the earth, Philip had done a great work in the city of Samaria. He had succeeded in convincing large numbers, concerning Jesus, and had baptized them, and organized a great church in the city of Samaria. One would have thought that after having performed labors of such magnitude, he would be required to stay among that people, and administer to them; but no; the Lord gave a new revelation to the man Philip. He said, “Arise and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.” In other words, “leave your present field of labor; you can do more good somewhere else.” Now, a man left to his own judgment, without new revelation, would not want to go somewhere else; his own inclinations would be to stay where so many had received his testimony. But no; the Spirit of God thought differently. “Arise Philip, go unto the south country.” He was not told what he should do in the South country, but he started off according to the new revelation. And after journeying a short distance, he saw a chariot before him, probably driving along at a slow pace, and it required another revelation. The old one that he got awhile before, requiring him to go to the south, he had already begun to fulfil. But while he yet journeyed, he did not know his further duty; and if God had not given him new revelations, he would have gone forth blindly in his missionary labor. But another revelation came, “Go near, and join thyself to his chariot.” He therefore obeyed, and when he arrived at the chariot, he found a man reading not the new Testament, but the law and the prophets. Philip, being wrought upon by the Holy Ghost, said unto this man, “Understandest thou what thou readest?” “How can I,” said the man in the chariot, “except some man should guide me?” And Philip began to explain unto him the things that he happened to be reading from the prophecies of Isaiah, concerning Jesus, and Philip was invited into the chariot. They rode along until they came to where there was water of sufficient depth to attend to baptism, for it seems that Philip had converted, or, in other words, had proved by his arguments that Jesus was the very Christ, and the man desired baptism and the chariot stood still, and Philip went down into the water and baptized him. Now Philip had no authority to confirm by the laying on of hands, as is evident, in the case of those who were baptized in the great city of Samaria. There was great rejoicing there because Philip had baptized them, but none had received the Holy Ghost, till another authority, higher than that of Philip, came and laid hands upon them for the reception of the Holy Ghost; having baptized these peo ple, he could go no further; he could not administer the blessing of the Holy Ghost; and hence, having fulfilled the object of the two revelations on this subject, the Lord had another place for him. He did not go there of his own accord, but it required a very powerful manifestation to get him away from that water; the scriptures testify that “the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” Have you ever heard anything of the kind in these days, where men, in fulfilling their missions, have been caught away to some other place? “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with the wings of eagles;” says the Prophet Isaiah. Philip must have been borne, as it were upon eagle’s wings. Now if a person—a man light enough, I mean—could get on an eagle’s wings and be carried through the air, it would be a very good representation of some of those that wait upon the Lord.

I mention these various circumstances—and might mention scores of others—to show, that without the Spirit of the living God, to impart revelations, no man could administer to his fellow man, no man would have the authority to administer. This brings me back to the statement I have already made. You recollect the question is, can it be proved, or is there any evidence that there has been any man called to the ministry among all the nations during the long period to which I have referred? We take their own testimony. They say that there has been no revelation since the first century of the Christian era. Who says so? The whole Catholic church to begin with, and the Greek Church, another branch of the Christian church so called, and then the Protestants that protested against those two branches, and came out from among them, have continued the same false traditions, that no new revelation is needed—that the last revelation which was intended for the human family was given towards the close of the first century of the Christian era; They do not seem to know how such an expression, if admitted, cuts them off from all authority and power which are divine; they do not seem to know that they cannot possibly be ordained by proper authority, unless God speaks again; they do not seem to know that the writings of men who are dead and gone, centuries ago, do not authorize them to preach the Gospel, nor give them any divine authority to administer its ordinances. Hence you see the impossibility of there being a regular succession from generation to generation, because of the want of new revelation. A great many other testimonies might be brought to prove this fact, but this one is sufficient. “Well then,” says one, if your arguments be true, if your belief be correct, there has been no Christian church on the earth for many generations.” We can come to no other conclusion; there is no half-way business about it. We come to testify that there has been no church on the earth that God has recognized as his church for the last fourteen centuries, at least; and among the European nations and the nations of Asia and Africa there has been none since the close of the second century of the Christian era. What a woeful condition it is for the inhabitants of the earth to be in. We would be in the same condition that they are, if God had not condescended again to give new revelation; and this brings me to the subject of the Book of Mormon.

Fifty-three years will have passed away, next Wednesday morning, the 22nd day of September, since the gold plates of the Book of Mormon were delivered into the hands of a boy, by the name of Joseph Smith, a farmer’s boy, an illiterate boy, uneducated in the higher branches of learning, uneducated in regard to what is contained in the Old and New Testament, uneducated in the dogmas and creeds of men, uneducated in all branches of science, except it be some of the first principles, the rudiments of education, as taught in the common schools of the State of New York. I say, fifty three years have almost expired since this great, this marvelous, this wonderful event happened; since an angel of God delivered sacred records into the hands of an illiterate, common youth, not yet twenty-two years of age. Such was the beginning, as it were, of a great revelation. I will not say the precise time of the beginning; for God prior to this time had given revelation to this youth on many occasions. The first one that he gave to him was in the spring of 1820, before Joseph Smith was of the age of fifteen. Then a wonderful revelation was given to him, the first one he ever received. In a great and glorious open vision, in answer to his prayers, there was the manifestation of two of the great personages in the heavens—not angels, not messengers, but two persons that hold the keys of authority over all the creations of the universe. Who were they? God the Eternal Father and his Son Jesus Christ, through whom God the Father made the worlds! These glorious personages descended from heaven; two personages whose countenances outshone the sun at noonday; two personages clothed with a pillar of light round about them, descended, stood before this lad, and revealed themselves to him. He saw their countenances; he saw the glory of their personages; he heard the glorious words that proceeded from the Father, as he pointed to his Son and said, to Joseph, “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” This was a new revelation; something different from what had been made manifest for a great many centuries, according to the declarations of the articles and creeds of men. How often I have read the declaration of King James’ translator of the Bible, wherein King James is represented as the head of the church, and wherein the Bible, as translated by those that were chosen and appointed for that purpose, was intended for the light and benefit of the children of men; and for fear that mankind would cavil on the subject these uninspired men, the translators, in connection with those who were in their council, concluded to tell the people that this was the whole canon of scripture; in other words, we have translated sixty-six books, and they are compiled, or about to be compiled and printed for the benefit of mankind; and these sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament are the only books that Christians should receive, the only revelation that they should have to guide them in all their future lives. The people were just simple enough to believe what they said—just simple enough to take it for granted, because learned men, that were not inspired of God, had made this unqualified, unproved declaration. Now, “we, the Church of England, must get up, besides these 66 books, some ‘Articles of Faith’—some thirty-nine Articles we will invent. We have got no pro phets among us to write these Articles—no inspired revelator sent from God; and therefore, we will originate out of our own hearts something that will prevent the people from receiving any new revelation. We will cunningly tell them that these 66 books, called the Bible, contain all the revelation that God ever gave to man.” What further have you to say in your thirty-nine articles? “We say that every person that does not limit and confine his faith to the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament, or if he undertakes to receive any other revelation, he is to be expelled from our church. That is what is said—not directly, but indirectly. In other words, every person who pretends to be a prophet, he is not to be a person considered worthy of belonging to our church.” Has any other church but the Church of England adopted these false, soul-destroying delusions? Yes, a great many others. They have invented articles—not exactly thirty-nine, but articles of faith, creeds they are called in some instances, and disciplines in others, and so on. What are the objects of these? They are not revelation; God had nothing to do with giving them, men wrote them out of their own uninspired hearts, but they were all very careful to take up the ideas inculcated in the days of King James, namely, that the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament were to be their rule of faith, and be their guide and nothing else was to be received as inspired. Oh, how blind! If they did but know it these very declarations in these articles and creeds would cut them off from all authority. But they were just simple enough to receive such a false doctrine; just simple enough to accept their want of authority before God; and thus by their own acknowledgement, by their own printed works they prove to the whole world that God did not establish their churches, that God did not establish among them the ancient order of things; for the ancient Church of the living God was never destitute of the spirit of revelation.

If the Lord had left us in this condition, we would have been wandering in darkness to this day. The people who are here assembled this afternoon, would be no better off than the Protestant denominations, no better off than the Greek and Roman Catholic Churches that have existed from generation to generation, during many long centuries of apostasy. But God having looked upon the darkness that covered the earth, and the minds of the people, having looked upon the people that were honest in heart, and seeing the dilemma in which they were placed—without inspiration, without any knowledge that comes from heaven in their day, without anyone who has the right and the authority from heaven to baptize—concluded to fulfil that which was predicted by the ancient apostles, namely, to send an angel again to the inhabitants of the earth. It was a long time for the earth to be left without angels. Perhaps some of you may inquire, “Why did the Lord leave the people so long? Why did so many generations pass away, and no Church of Christ on the earth, no prophets, no revelators, etc.?” It was because of the apostasy of the people; and then after the apostasy commenced, near the close of the first century, they killed off the apostles, prophets and revelators—killed off the Saints who embraced the true Gospel, and the world became so exceedingly wicked and corrupt that the Lord did not see proper to send them any other message. But perhaps you may inquire, must all those people who have lived so many generations ago, go down to an endless perdition in the eternal worlds, because no one had authority on the earth to administer Gospel ordinances to them? No; the Lord is more just than this. Every man and every woman that has not had the privilege of hearing the Gospel in this life, preached by one holding divine authority, will have the opportunity of hearing it in the world to come; so that there is no partiality, so far as the preaching of the Gospel is concerned. But, says one, there is a little partiality, it seems to me; for some have the privilege of hearing the Gospel in this life, instead of waiting till the next. But the Lord in looking upon the various generations upon the earth, judges after this wise: that when a people become so darkened, through their own apostasy, through their own wickedness, through their shedding the blood of righteous men, the Lord sees proper, because of this, to make them wait. If the true authority had been revealed, during the time of the administration of these corrupt men, the Gospel would have been banished again from the earth. For instance, if God had sent the angel in the second century of the Christian era, to renew his church on the earth, what would have been the consequence? There would have been no place upon all the face of the globe, where the people would have suffered such a church to exist. If he had sent the angel in the third century, or in the fourth, or in any of the centuries intervening, before religious liberty was established, the consequence would have been the shedding of the blood of apostles, prophets and saints again, and in order that they might not bring upon themselves this great condemnation the Lord saw that it was far better to postpone the sending of the angel, until he should prepare, among the political governments of the earth, a nation where the church could exist, and have a little degree of safety. And even our nation, the best nation on the earth, having the wisest laws, laws that are calculated, if put into execution, to protect all religious denominations, laws founded upon justice and principles of equity—even in our nation, it has been just as much as the Lord could do, without destroying the agency of man to get his Church once more established on the earth. See what persecution has attended it! See what hatred! See the Saints fleeing before infuriated mobs; men, women and children, murdered; prophets, patriarchs, apostles and revelators martyred. The Saints could scarcely find a resting place for the soles of their feet, after all the preparation that was made by the establishment of a great and free government. No wonder, then, that the Lord did not begin it two or three centuries ago; no wonder that he did not begin it in the days when Catholicism and the Greek church had universal sway over the eastern continent. The Church of the living God, if it had been established then, would have been immediately rooted out from the earth; and great would have been the condemnation resting upon the nations if such had been the case. But now it lives. Circumstances have changed, and though the saints have been driven from their homes, and from their farms, though they have been persecuted, and the lives of many of the Saints destroyed, and their prophets put to death, yet, notwithstanding all this the Lord has preserved his Church, until the present time; Fifty years have rolled away, and upwards since the Lord commenced this great work.

Now, then, a few words on the future. Years are to come, as Brother Angus Cannon said to me while sitting upon the seat this morning. He came to me, and I mentioned to him that this last year was my fiftieth in the Church—in other words—that I had been in the Church fifty years. A peculiar kind of answer was made by Brother Cannon. Said he, “Brother Pratt, I hope you may have millions of days or anniversaries of your birthday.” I thanked him very much. Well, now, let me begin to speak upon this subject. God has promised eternal life to his children. “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Now, I can see a consistency in the good wishes of Brother Cannon, upon this subject. I hope for eternal life, I have had this hope for the last fifty years. If I obey the commandments of heaven, if I receive his sayings, and abide in his word, I hope never to die, as it is promised in the New Testament. But, says one, did not Jesus die? And he kept all of his Father’s sayings. Did not the apostles die? And they kept the Father’s words. And were not all the ancient Saints subject to death? And they kept the sayings of the Lord. Yes, they suffered what is termed the death of the body. There is, however, quite a difference between the death of the outward tabernacle, and the death of the spirit. In other words, the spirit that God has placed within the tabernacle will live forever, and those who have the opportunity of dwelling in the next world, in light, in glory and in a fullness of happiness, get what is termed eternal life; there is no end to it. Consequently it cannot be expressed fully in the language of brother Cannon that millions of such anniversaries might be enjoyed. But there is something still greater in the expression of eternal life, than that of a few millions of years. It is something that has no end. It may have a beginning. A person may begin to exist in this fleshly tabernacle as I commenced my existence here on this earth sixty-nine years ago today. That was the beginning of my existence here in this world; but there is such a thing as a person having a beginning to his existence in the flesh, and yet have no end. Those persons that were translated in the twinkling of an eye in ancient days did not have a separation of body and spirit. They were changed; they were, by the power of Almighty God, wrought upon instantaneously; they were changed from mortality to immortality; but still retain their flesh and bones. Now, I would ask, is there any end to their immortal tabernacles when thus changed? There is a beginning but no end. Their spirits are combined with their bodies forever. I have this hope. You Latter-day Saints have the same hope, so far as eternal life is concerned. You expect it, you pray for it, you desire to have a life that is endless; figures are unable to express the endless duration of ages that are to come. Eternal life is said to be the greatest gift of God unto the human family. There are many gifts of God, but this is the greatest of all. In the first place, God has given his Son to die for the human family. What a great gift! If it had not been for this gift of our Heavenly Father to the inhabitants of our fallen world, the consequence would have been that we should have had eternal death. What are we to understand by the term eternal death, supposing that there had been no atonement made? What is the meaning of the term? Could you multiply figures enough if you were to take the figures that are now in use and extend them in a line—extend them in a series so that the figures themselves would be as numerous as the particles of the globe—would that express eternal life? Or would it express the duration of eternal death, provided there had been no atonement? No; it cannot be expressed. Hence the atonement of our Savior, which is the gift of God to the fallen inhabitants of this creation, lies at the foundation of all the other gifts given unto the children of men. It is because of this gift that we are permitted to repent of our sins. How could there have been an individual upon all the face of the globe who could have repented, provided there had been no atonement? Hence you see that repentance is the gift of God, purchased by the atonement. Again, could baptism have been a holy ordinance if it had no saving power in it? Could it have been for the remission of sins, had it not been for the blood of the atonement? No. Baptism, then, is a gift to the children of men as well as repentance. Would the laying on of hands have had any effect upon any person of the human family, in bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost had there been no atonement? No. Then that is also a gift—the gift of God to man, that his servants should lay their hands upon baptized believers, and that they should be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Could we have been permitted to partake of the Lord’s Supper with any effect whatever? No. Then it is also a gift of God unto man. And thus we may go through all the ordinances, that God ordained from before the foundation of the world unto the present time, and all of them can be called the gifts of God unto man on conditions, and some of them without conditions. The atonement came without any condition on the part of man. It was without repentance, without faith on the part of man. The atonement was something given through the pure love of God to fallen man, without any acts of good works on the part of man. There are some of the blessings, then, that God has ordained for the fallen inhabitants of our globe which come independent of our works, and this is one of which I have been speaking. Would there have been any light or intelligence, or goodness or happiness, to be partaken of by fallen man, if it had not been for the atonement? None at all; there could have been no righteousness. But then, all the other gifts that we receive are through works, and by faith and works combined, and it is because of the distinction between these two separate gifts that many of the inhabitants of the earth have erred. Some of them profess to believe that they can obtain all the gifts of God without works, because of some of the sayings of the ancient apostles; while others consider that work must be combined with faith. Now both of these ideas are true when taken in their true light. Eternal life is among all those gifts that are promised of God; such as the gift of repentance, baptism, laying on of hands, etc. All these are not to be compared with the greatness of the gift called eternal life. I hope that all the Latter-day Saints under the sound of my voice may attain to this, the greatest of all the gifts of God.

Now, I wish, before taking my seat to bear my testimony before the people here assembled. I do know by the power of God, by the shedding forth of the Holy Ghost upon my heart, by the revelations of the spirit, by the many manifestations of the goodness of God to me, I do know that God has sent his angel from heaven. I do know that he has raised up the great latter-day kingdom predicted by Daniel. I do know that he has called apostles and prophets; that he has sent forth his servants divinely commissioned, with power from on high, to declare to the nations of the earth the great and last message of mercy unto the inhabitants thereof, to prepare all those that are willing to be prepared, for the great day when the heavens shall be opened, and all the heavenly hosts shall descend with power and with great glory, to reign here on the earth. I do know that God by his power has gathered together his people from the various nations of the earth, and established them here in these mountains for a little season, for an especial purpose. And what is that purpose? To prepare you while dwelling here in these mountains, territories and regions, that you may receive the blessings ordained for you in a future time, which time is not far distant. I do know that this people will return and will possess the land that God has promised to them, even in Missouri, and in Kansas, and in the regions round about. I do know that God will build up in Jackson County, Missouri, a great, and wonderful, and beautiful city, that shall be called “the Perfection of Beauty,” the New Jerusalem. I do know that God will light up the habitations of that city by his power, by his glory, by a cloud in the day time, and by a pillar of fire in the night. I do know that when the people shall gather together in their religious assemblies, as you are here gathered this afternoon, that God will light up your assemblies, by his divine power even in the night time, making your habitations, where you meet, glorious in the extreme. I do know that God will fulfil all that which he has spoken, by the mouths of his holy prophets, since the world began, pertaining to this last dispensation of the fulness of times, which will come to pass in their times, and in their seasons, and that this dispensation will be far more glorious, than all the other dispensations combined together, before everything shall be completed, for the bursting heavens to reveal the Son of God, and all those that are with him. These things, and scores of other things that I might name, I know will be fulfilled in their times and in their seasons, and that all who are faithful will be made partakers of these blessings. Amen.

Remarks By Elder Wilford Woodruff.

It is not my purpose at all to detain this congregation, but before dismissing I feel that I would like to say a few words. We are not in the habit of flattering any man, but I want to say a few words concerning Brother Pratt. If there is any man dead or alive who has dwelt longer in this church and kingdom than he has I do not know him. If there is any man that has traveled more miles in preaching the Gospel of Christ, in bearing testimony of the kingdom of God on the earth, I do not know who he is. When Brother Pratt embraced this Gospel he was a boy—in one sense of the word illiterate and unlearned, the same as Joseph Smith and the most of us. Whatever knowledge Brother Pratt has obtained, either of the learning of the world or of the kingdom of God, he has obtained it by diligence and labor since he embraced this Gospel. I have been associated with Brother Pratt myself for 47 years. I have traveled with him by sea and by land, in foreign countries and at home, and I never saw a man in my life that I know of that has spent as few moments idly as he has. I have never seen a storm at sea so heavy—even when shipping seas over the bow, side and stern but what he would read his book. Whenever the breakers became too heavy he would simply shut up the book until they were over. If there is a man on this continent who is more at home in the starry heavens, in the astronomical world than Brother Pratt I do not know who he is. If there is a man more deeply versed in mathematics than Brother Pratt, I do not know who he is. There may be many men equal to him in these things, but if there are, I do not know them. How has he obtained his knowledge? He has obtained it since he embraced this work. He has improved his time. Brother Pratt is the only living man today that was in the first quorum of the Twelve in its first organization, and I am pleased to listen to his testimony of the Gospel of Christ; for I want to say to Brother Pratt and to all other men we all have to acknowledge this; Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, the Apostles, and, all men in this Church and kingdom, if there is anything to us, if there is anything about us, if we have any knowledge, or any power, or any influence, we have to give God the honor of it. It is not of ourselves. Joseph Smith always acknowledged this, as have all men in this Church and Kingdom. We have been called from the plow, from the plane, from the hammer—ignorant, illiterate boys, and thrust into the vineyard; and all the power we have, or ever had, in building up the Kingdom, we have to acknowledge it as coming from the hand of God. Brother Pratt was one of the earliest men who shouldered his knapsack and traveled through the American continent to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to this nation. Frequently he would suffer from ague all day and go along and preach his sermon at night. These are experiences that he and others have passed through in the early rise of this Church, and I feel to thank God that we can still hear his voice and the voice of others who have been long in this Church and Kingdom. I hope the Lord will preserve his life until he is satisfied with it. He has lifted up his voice long and loud, according to the commandment of God to him, in bearing record of this Gospel and kingdom to the nations of the earth. I was struck, in contemplating our own experience, with some of the remarks he has made today with regard to the Apostle Philip—how our own experience has agreed with that of the ancient apostle. How many times have we been called by revelation to go to the right and left, here, there and the other place, contrary to our expectation?

I will here relate what took place in my own experience. I was in Staffordshire in the year 1840. I was in the town of Stanley and held a meeting in the City Hall. I had a week’s appointments out in that town. Before I rose to speak to the people, the Spirit of the Lord said to me, “this is the last meeting you will hold with this people for many days.” I told the congregation when I arose what the Spirit of the Lord had manifested to me. They were as much surprised as I was. I did not know what the Lord wanted, but I saw the purpose of God afterwards. The Spirit of the Lord said to me, “Go south.” I traveled eighty miles; went into the south of England. As soon as I arrived, I met John Benbow. It was clearly made manifest to me why I had been called thither. I had left a good field, where I was baptizing every night in the week. When I got to this place, I found a people—some 600 of them—who had broken off from the Wesleyan Methodists and formed themselves into a sect called the United Brethren. I found that they were praying for light and truth and that they had gone about as far as they could go. I saw that the Lord had sent me to them. I went to work amongst them and ultimately baptized their superintendent, forty preachers and some 600 members; I baptized every member of that denomination, but one. Altogether some 1,800 were baptized in that field of labor. I suppose some of those then baptized may be in this congregation today. I name these things to show how we have to be governed and controlled by the revelations of God day by day. Without this we can do nothing. Many of our brethren who were with us at that time and who came to this valley, have passed behind the veil. Eight of the quorum of the Twelve who were in the flesh and most of them with the pioneers, today are in the spirit world. We are passing away.

I know as Brother Pratt has said, that this is the kingdom of God. Israel is being gathered together. The revelations of God are being fulfilled, and nothing will be left unfulfilled. Therefore, as Saints of the living God, let us be faithful to our testimony. We have the kingdom of God. We are called of God by inspiration and commandment to warn this generation, to preach the Gospel, to gather the people, to build up Zion, to build temples, to redeem the living and the dead, and to carry on the great work which is laid upon our shoulders; and may God enable us to accomplish these things for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

The Preaching of the Gospel in the Latter Days—Signs Promised to Follow Believers As Anciently—The Gospel in Force Upon All the World—Sincerity No Excuse for Willful Disobedience—A Positive Personal Testimony Attainable Through Obedience—Unauthorized Administrations Unrecognized of God—New Revelation Essential and Desirable—True and False Charity

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered at the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, September 6, 1880.

In the year 1832 the Lord gave a revelation concerning the calling and sending forth of his servants, the missionaries, among the nations. I will read you a few paragraphs or verses in relation to their calling, commencing at the 64th verse of the revelation that was given on the 22nd day of September, 1832. “Therefore, as I said unto mine apostles I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your words, and is baptized by water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost. And these signs shall follow them that believe—In my name they shall do many wonderful works; In my name they shall cast out devils; In my name they shall heal the sick; In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; And the tongue of the dumb shall speak; And if any man shall administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them; And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.” That is a very curious commission to be given in the nineteenth century of the Christian era to those that are called in our day; very curious. If Joseph Smith, through whom this revelation was given, was not called of God, the promises here made would not be fulfilled. On the other hand, if God is the author of this revelation, then all the world may prove for themselves the divinity of His word. An impostor would take very good care to so word his language in the promises that there would be a double meaning to them, and if they were not fulfilled in one sense they might perhaps be fulfilled according to a second interpretation, and thus he would escape the obloquy of being an impostor. But the Lord does not deal with the human family in this double kind of dealing. All his promises are yea and amen, plain, pointed, definite, no two meanings about them. Here we are told that inasmuch as the servants of God, the missionaries, should go forth “that every soul”—meaning every person among all people, languages, nations and tongues—“who believeth in your words”—believeth on the testimony of these mission aries that go forth—“and is baptized by water for the remission of sins shall receive the Holy Ghost.” Now can you make out two meanings to that? Or is there only one meaning? “They shall receive the Holy Ghost.” And then in order that every soul in all the world might know whether they were true believers or not there were certain signs promised to them. “And these signs shall follow them that believe.” Believe what? Believe in your words, the words of you missionaries. What shall they do? “In my name they shall do many wonderful works; In my name they shall cast out devils; In my name they shall heal the sick; In my name they shall open the eyes of the blind, and unstop the ears of the deaf; And the tongue of the dumb shall speak; And if any man administer poison unto them it shall not hurt them; And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them.” Is there anything indefinite in that? Does it say that these signs possibly may follow those that believe? Does it say perhaps you will receive the Holy Ghost, perhaps you may have power to heal the sick, perhaps you may have power to open the eyes of the blind, etc. No, that is not the language. Here is a definite promise made to them. To the missionaries alone? To whom was this promise made? To every soul in all the world that would believe and receive the testimony of these missionaries. Here we see something very similar to the commission that was given—and referred to by Brother Reid in his remarks—in the last chapter of Mark. The ancient-day servants of God were sent forth to all the world, to every creature, and the language of our Savior to them was that all, in every part of the earth that should believe their testimony should be saved. Then in order that there might be no mistake in regard to believers and unbelievers, he told them that certain signs should follow them that believe. Do you discover any difference between the former-day commission, 1,800 years ago, and the latter-day commission? I do not discover the least difference between the two. Did the Lord verify and fulfill his promises to the former-day missionaries? He did. In the same last chapter of Mark we are told that the servants of God, the Apostles, went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. How did he confirm it? By fulfilling the promises in the last chapter of Mark, that they in all the world might know whether they were Gospel believers or not. Well, what was to become of all other sects that did not believe? They shall be damned, says the Savior. He did not say, “If you are sincere in your belief you will get into heaven whether you receive the message I sent you or not.” He did not say, “If you come across any sincere people don’t baptize them, don’t try to get them to believe your message, for they will get into heaven anyway.” They had only one proclamation to deliver to all people whether that people were sincere or insincere; whether that people worshipped idols or worshipped something else, whether they were infidels or whatever might be their profession, the commission was—tell them that if they do not believe your message they shall be damned. No halfway business about it, it was not half a commission. Does the latter-day commission testify of the same things? Let me read a little further. “Verily, verily I say unto you, they who believe not on your words, and are not baptized in water in my name, for the remission of their sins, that they may receive the Holy Ghost, shall be damned, and shall not come into my Father’s kingdom where my Father and I am.” Just the same as the ancient commission. It did not excuse the ancient commission; it did not excuse one person in all the world however sincere, whatever the profession might be, every man, every woman among all nations, kindreds and tongues, all were to be damned if they did not receive the message that these servants of God took to them. Just so it is in the latter days. If it was anything else, we would not believe it, we could not look upon it as divine. God only had one message for the people to receive, and all that received it were to be blessed, and all that would not receive it were to be damned. That is our charity, that is the charity of the ancient Apostles and servants of God, that is true charity. If we should come and tell you that you Protestants, and you Methodists, and you Baptists, and you Campbellites, and you Church of England members, and you Roman Catholics, that if you are only sincere you would all get to heaven we should have no charity for you; but when we come and tell you that if you do not repent of your sins—you Catholics, Protestants, and all other denominations—and receive the message that God has commissioned his servants to declare in your hearing that every one will be damned. This is true charity, just as it was in the ancient days. But is this in force upon all people, says one? Yes; we will read the next verse. “And this revelation unto you, and commandment, is in force from this very hour upon all the world, and the gospel is unto all who have not received it.” It is a witness unto all nations that they may receive the truth and be prepared for the great day of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord, in relation to sending this mission forth among the inhabitants of the earth, did not desire that the people should have any dubiety upon their minds. He did not want them to hope merely that they were right and to be all the time trembling and quivering for fear they were not right; but in order that they might be sure, as the ancient believers were, he tells every soul that will receive this work that these signs shall follow them.

Now, then, here in this house, probably are many hundreds of believers that have manifested their faith by receiving the message of the Gospel, and they have further manifested their faith by gathering out from the various nations and coming here to Utah Territory. They are believers. Is there any chance for them to doubt? How can you doubt if you yourself heal the sick, cast out devils, open the eyes of the blind, or cause the lame to leap? If you yourselves have received the Holy Ghost, and these signs are following you, is not this a testimony that you are Gospel believers? And if these signs do not follow you, on the other hand, you know that you are not Gospel believers. No dubiety, no uncertainty, no hanging our heads down and doubting whether we are believers or not. Here is an undoubted testimony to every Latter-day Saint that if they are true Gospel believers these signs shall follow them, and if these signs do not follow them they are not true Gospel believers. Does this apply not only to Latter-day Saints but to all people? Yes. If the Methodists want to know whether they are true Gospel believers let them ask themselves the question if the signs follow them that are promised to believers; if they do not, they know they are not Gospel believers. So with the Presbyterians, so with the Baptists, so with every Christian denomination under the whole heavens. They can all prove themselves by the word of God; they can all know whether they are true believers according to the true Christian religion, or whether they have false hopes—merely something that is leading them along in a crooked path. When people have the signs they have a good foundation for their hopes; their hopes are built upon something that is like a rock; they stand firm and steadfast. But when they have not the signs and the promises are not fulfilled to them, where are their hopes? They are gone, they are the hopes of those that are flattering themselves they are Christians when they are not. And they are afraid to compare themselves with the New Testament and the Gospel contained therein; they are afraid to come to the light of the Gospel; they are afraid to read the promises of Jesus, or if they happen to read them exclaim, “We must do away with these. It won’t do for us to acknowledge that the promises of God made to believers can be enjoyed in our day.” Let us read the first promise in the last chapter of Mark. Not only were these signs promised, but Jesus said: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Do you Christians believe that you will be saved? Do the various denominations among the four hundred millions of Christians in America, in Europe, and in other parts of the earth—do these four hundred millions of Christians expect to be saved? Oh, yes. What makes you think so? You don’t have the signs which follow the believers, and how can you hope for salvation? Why should you hope for it? Why expect to be saved in the kingdom of God? The promises are made to believers, they were not made to those that have not the signs. One promise was just as sacred as the other, and if you have not the signs of believers you have not the promise of salvation. Very curious Gospel, says one. Well, there is no mistaking that gospel, we can all of us know on what ground we are placed. If we cannot obtain the promises made to the people anciently, namely the signs, how shall we obtain the greater promise of eternal life and salvation in the world to come? Surely if the people cannot have faith to get the little promises, how can they expect to get the greater promise? All their faith is foolishness, their faith is all founded upon sand, and they go blindfold to the other side of the veil to wake up and find they never had received the Gospel. But, says one, we have received the Gospel. Our ministers have preached it long and loud generations before “Mormonism” came upon the earth; we and our fathers have heard it. It is one thing to hear the Gospel as recorded in the New Testament, and another thing to enjoy the blessings of it. It is one thing to read about people receiving the Holy Ghost, and it is another thing for you to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. It is one thing to be baptized by a man holding authority from God who has the right to baptize, and another thing to be baptized by one holding no authority from God, and no right to baptize. Do you suppose that the signs would follow those that had the ordinance of baptism administered by a man that had no authority? No. For instance there is the Methodist baptizer, the Presbyterian baptizer, and the baptizers of the various religious denominations—most of them baptize, some of them for the remission of sins, and some because they suppose their converts have already received a remission of sins. Perhaps they may perform the ordinance by immersion—the true mode of baptism; but can an unauthorized man baptize his neighbor and that be called baptism in the sight of heaven? No. A man that is not called of God, a man that has no revelation, and says there has been none since the close of the first century of the Christian era, all his administrations are as invalid as it would be for a heathen priest to baptize you, or for any person upon the face of the whole earth to come and baptize you. Such baptisms are not good; they are illegal; they are unlawful; they are not accepted of God unless the administrator is a true servant of God, and if he be a true servant of God, the signs will follow him, and if the signs do not follow him he has no authority to baptize. No wonder then that four hundred millions of people have been without the signs. There has been nobody authorized to baptize them to begin with. A true believer is a man that receives the ordinances, and not only believes in them but manifests his faith by his works. He obeys the ordinances and the blessings follow. The blessings do not follow the four hundred millions because they have not obeyed, and they cannot obey without there is a man authorized to administer the ordinances.

Well, says one, what do you Latter-day Saints say about the authority to administer these ordinances? We say, and have said from the beginning of this Church, that the Lord God Almighty, who sits upon His throne in yonder heavens, has spoken again to the inhabitants of the earth. He has called by name his servants. He has sent forth angels in glory from his holy presence, and they have administered the authority of the apostleship, and bestowed it upon the heads of men to administer again among the children of men in all the ordinances of the Gospel. This is our testimony. Has it ever been that since the rise of the Church? It has. We never have varied from that testimony. What further do we say? We say that among all people, nations, kindreds and tongues, Christians, heathens, Mahommedans, and the savages upon the islands of the sea—that among all these nations there is no authority, not one person among all their denominations that has the least particle of right to baptize you, or to administer the sacrament, or to lay on hands that you may be baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, according to the ancient pattern and order of things; not one of them; they are all powerless, they are all without authority, without revelation, without any knowledge that comes from God direct to themselves in this age. No man among them has been called of God, as was Aaron. Everybody knows that Aaron was called by new revelation. He did not have to go back to revelations given 1,800 years before he was born to tell him how God commissioned somebody before the flood; he did not have to do that; but says he, “I have been ordained”—how?—By a revelation from God. “Moses set apart Aaron. He is thy brother. I call him by name. Set him apart to the Priesthood, ordain him, let him be clothed upon with priestly garments, let him administer and his administration I will accept.” This was the substance of the revelation, and calling and commission that was given to Aaron, the servant of God. Is it true what Paul said, that no man can take the honor of the Priesthood to himself unless he was called of God as was Aaron? If that be true there must be more revelation in order that there may be a calling. You that say the canon of scripture is full, that no more scripture has been given since John the Revelator left the earth, what becomes of your callings? You have none—that is, that are divine. No wonder, then, that while the world were wandering in darkness without God, without any true knowledge from the heavens direct to themselves, without the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, without the organization of any true church, without prophets, without revelators, without inspired men—no wonder that God has again commissioned an angel from the heavens to begin the work on the earth. Brother Reid spoke during his discourse about Joseph the Prophet—how he was called, that the Lord appeared to him, that Jesus appeared to him, and that angels appeared to him and conferred upon him authority and power. There is no wonder that the Lord should send his angels and thus appear in order to begin the work on the earth where so much darkness reigns. It is called a day of Gospel light by these four hundred millions of people. A day of Gospel light! Well, all the Gospel light they have is the history of a Gospel preached 1,800 years ago. They have no power to administer in it. They have the history of something, without any power to partake of it; that is, you cannot be baptized, you cannot receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, you cannot receive the Lord’s Supper for want of administrators; but can read about it, you can read how the authority was once on the earth. That is some satisfaction, is it not? How much satisfaction I do not know. It is something like the case of a man who, after traveling a long journey, arrived at a place where he knew there was a splendidly spread table. But the door was locked and the key was lost—nobody could introduce him to that table to eat that he might appease his hunger. How very satisfactory it must be to that man to know the history of such a good spread table, and yet no power to get to the table. Just so it is with these four hundred millions of Christians. It is so much satisfaction to read how the believers in ancient days were baptized by one holding authority to baptize, and how they could distinguish themselves from unbelievers; but, alas, say they, “We cannot partake of it; no blessings of the Gospel for us; no one to let us receive the same Gospel. We would like to feast like unto the ancient Saints, but is it not enough—our priests say it is—to know how others enjoyed these blessings?” Now that is precisely the situation of this generation.

This is true charity. If I were to come and tell you that you are all in the right path inasmuch as you are honest and sincere, and walk in your various doctrines and principles, it would be false charity, it would be flattering you to walk in paths that were wrong, it would be flattering you that you had hopes of salvation when you had none. But we do not do this. This flattery we leave to other portions of the world, we leave that to the Christian denominations that are without any of the powers and gifts of the ancient Gospel. Let them flatter, let them occupy this position, let them have this false charity; but as for us we have the plain naked truth—plain as words can make it—to tell unto all people, namely, if you will believe and receive the Gospel you shall be blessed, not with commonplace blessings, but with the supernatural gifts of the Gospel, and on the other hand that every soul of you that do not receive it shall be damned. Amen.

Man to Be Judged By Law—A Law Given to All Things—The Law of Gravitation—How It Varies By Distance—Law of Projection—Law of Elliptic Forms, Having the Same Length of Year—Law of Orbital Velocity—Its Variations Depending on Distance—Wise Adaptation—Intelligent Selections of Law—Laws of Nature Counteracted

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, August 8th, 1880.

What we have heard from this stand, this afternoon, as well as on former occasions, we must meet again in the great judgment day. We have quite a number of scribes at the table, who are writing down anything that is said. These are not, however, the only scribes. There are others behind the veil, who take down the discourses of the servants of God; they are recorded there; and the books will be opened at some future time. All the warnings that have been given to the Latter-day Saints, and to the world, will again come up, in the own due time of the Lord, in judgment; and it will be required of us to render an account, whether we have been obedient to those warnings, or whether we have been disobedient. The Lord is a consistent Being in all his doings. He will not condemn the children of men, for not receiving something that they were ignorant of; but, if they are condemned at all, it will be for rejecting something that they have understood, or something that they might have understood, had they improved the opportunity. They will be judged according to law, according to testimony, and according to that which is written in the sacred books. The records of heaven will be opened. The records, kept by divine authority on the earth, will also be opened. The evidences and testimonies will be set forth; and every man and every woman, who is condemned, in the great judgment day, will be condemned according to law, according to testimony, according to evidence, according to the light that has been given, according to the deeds done in the body.

The Lord is a Being who has given laws unto all things; and he adapted these laws, according to the condition and circumstances of all things. All agents, free agents, who have light and knowledge to know how to act, how to discern good from evil, will be judged according to one law. They are not compelled to obey the law which they hear, but they can act according to their agency, either in obeying or disobeying, receiving the blessings of obedience or the fruits of disobedience. The Lord has giv en a great many laws, besides those which he has given to free agents, or to intelligent beings; but they differ in their nature, according to the condition and circumstances of the materials to which these laws are given. See a revelation upon the subject of these laws, which was given on the 27th day of December, 1832 (Doc. &. Cov. pp. 305 to 310). This revelation was called, in those days, the “olive leaf.” In this revelation, the Lord informs us that “he hath given a law unto all things by which they move in their times and their seasons.” These laws which are given to the materials of nature are generally obeyed. There does not seem to be any agency on the part of these materials, so far as we naturally comprehend it; at least, if there is an agency, it seems to be very obedient instead of disobedient. Hence, when he issues forth a law to govern the materials of creation the law seems to be obeyed; at least we do not know of any disobedience. It would almost seem as though these materials act under compulsion and are really obliged to act as they do. Yet there are some sayings in this same revelation, which seem to indicate that there is a degree of intelligence even in these materials. We read that “the earth abideth a law of a celestial kingdom, for it filleth the measure of its creation, and transgresseth not the law.” This would seem to indicate that there is something connected with the earth itself, wherein it has an agency; and that because of the exercise of its agency, and keeping the law, it should be crowned with celestial glory. The materials out of which our earth is formed, are also governed by law. Not only the earth as an organized world, but the very materials themselves, are governed by laws. These laws were given of God; and when we search into the laws, not of nature merely, but the laws of God, and the more we comprehend the laws by which materials are governed, the more we understand the laws of God and his operations in the universe.

The earth seems to take one continued course. It has an orbit. It does not deviate from this orbit, unless acted upon by some other force, which may cause some fluctuations or deviations from its apparently destined path. Some, in reflecting upon this might say, that the earth is obliged to follow this course. I do not know about this, I am not so sure. I think if we could see a little further, we would understand that, connected with the materials of the earth is a living principle, a principle too, that acts according to certain laws, intelligently, not blindly; and that our earth, in performing its course, following the track marked out, does so according to law, as much as we do when we go forth and are buried in the waters of baptism. We go according to law, and obtain a blessing, so does the earth, when following the course marked out for it. “God hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons.” We know that all of these great movements, which we observe taking place in the universe around us, are conducted according to certain laws, which mankind have, in a few instances, been able to search out themselves through the intelligence that God has given them. For instance, we see a force in exercise, when we lift up a stone from the ground, and hold it in our hands; the moment we let go this stone, it falls to the earth. What causes it to fall? Philosophers tell you that “it falls according to a law of nature.” But who is this nature that gave this law? Why do material bodies fall? Why do they not remain stationary, suspended in the air, or in a vacuum? Why do they have a tendency to approach the center of the earth? It is because there is a force which draws them towards such center. What is this force? Scientists have called it gravitation; but the name does not explain the force. We are certain that a central force exists; and that such force is something that acts according to a certain law. Now, if you were to take a material body, as for instance, a stone, 4,000 miles above the surface of the earth and let go of it; it would only fall one-fourth part of the distance, in a second, that it will fall here, near the surface of the earth. Why will it not fall with the same velocity up yonder as here? Because the law which God has given in relation to these materials, varies in its intensity of force, according to some law of the distance from the central force. A body will fall, near the earth’s surface, about 16 feet and one inch, in one second of time. You take it up 4,000 miles, and it will fall only about four feet in one second of time. This has been demonstrated by the action of the earth upon the moon which is nearly 60 times further from the earth’s center than we are. The moon only falls toward the earth about the eighteenth part of one inch in a second, which is about 3,600 times slower than a stone or other bodies would fall at the earth’s surface. Thus, it will be perceived, that this gravitating force diminishes in its intensity according to a fixed law, depending on the distance from the center of the earth. This law was discovered by Newton. It is known beyond all controversy that if we go twice the distance which we are from our earth’s center, bodies will weigh two times two less than they weigh here. If we recede thrice our present distance, bodies will weigh three times three, or nine times less than if weighed here. At ten times the distance, the weight would be ten times ten less than here. At sixty times our distance from the earth’s center (which is the distance of our satellite) bodies would weigh toward the earth, sixty times sixty less than they weigh here; but sixty times sixty are thirty-six hundred; that is, a pound would weigh thirty-six hundred times less if carried to the moon’s orbit, than here.

In the language of mathematicians, “the intensity of the gravitating force varies inversely as the square of the distance between gravitating centers.” This law is undoubtedly universal in its operations, extending to all the visible universe.

This law, combined with orbital movements, is necessary to the stability of worlds revolving in space. Without it, systems on systems would soon rush to ruin. If any other law of intensity than the one which now exists were assumed, irretrievable ruin would soon follow. Out of the infinity of laws of variable intensities depending on distances, the only one has been selected which alone can impart stability to all systems in space. Who made this all-wise selection? Did blind matter select its own laws? Or did an all-wise and an all-powerful Being impart these laws—selecting out of an infinity of force intensities, the only law of variable intensity, which would render stable the grand machinery of the universe?

This curious law some will tell us is merely a law of materials, that God had nothing to do with it. But I dispute it. I say that God is the Author of this law; and were it not for this infinitely wise provision, there would not be such a thing as one particle of matter being drawn to another; and a stone, when loosened from the hand, would still remain where it is set free.

Again we see our world here—the earth on which we are permitted to live and have our being—sweeping round the great center of the solar system, once in 365 days and a fraction of a day: it has continued in this path, not only through a few centuries, but for thousands of years; or, in other words, it has followed this course according to some undeviating law. Whatever this law may be God has ordained it, for he has ordained the “law which is given to all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons.”

This earth does not revolve around the sun, once a year, in a circular orbit, but in an oblong, elliptical orbit. Now, it is just as easy to cause a body to revolve around the sun, in an ellipse, as in a circle. For instance, if our Earth, when at its mean distance from the Sun, should be projected, with its present mean velocity, in a line at right angles to the lines joining the Earth and Sun—it would describe a perfect circle around that luminary. But let the projections deviate from a right angle, a little less than one degree, and it will take the very form of orbit it now has, provided it is projected with the same mean velocity that it now has. Again let this same earth be projected, at its mean distance from the Sun, in a line making an angle of 70 degrees, 31 minutes and 44 seconds of an arc, instead of 90 degrees, as in the instance just named, and the form of the orbit would be greatly changed: the distance from the Sun, when nearest, would be only sixty-one millions of miles; and in six months after, the distance would be doubled, that is, one hundred and twenty-two millions of miles. Under these circumstances, the Sun, when nearest, would appear four times larger than at its aphelion distance.

You see, then, how easy the Lord, by deviating the angle of projection, could cause a great difference, in the eccentricity of an elliptic orbit, without altering the mean distance or without shortening or lengthening the year. The year would remain the same, without any deviation in its length, if the earth revolved in an ellipse of the kind that I have just named. Again, if you wanted the earth to go so near the Sun that it would almost graze its edge, and still retain the length of our year unchanged, it would not take our advanced university students long to determine the angle of projection the earth should have, so as to just graze the edge of the Sun, at the perihelion distance, and come back again in an ellipse, which would be almost equivalent to a straight line, provided it was projected at the mean distance that we now have, with its present mean velocity; and the year would be exactly the same as now. I mention these things to show you how the Lord, by a little deviation, can design a great variety of orbits, in which worlds may revolve, according to law; for all these things are done according to law; and if actually projected, as we would propel a cannon ball, then all the Lord has to do is to decree the form of the elliptical orbit, having one year for its description, and the projecting angle will be, at once, known.

This is a law, and the Lord is the Author of it. It is not a law of nature. It is not a law of blind materials which have no knowledge or life connected with them, or in them or round about them.

I have been speaking of bodies projected at different angles, and at the mean distance of our earth from the sun. But let us next go still further off into space. We can go away to the orbit of Jupiter, about four times our distance from the sun. Is there any law for projection or a law of velocity that would cause bodies to revolve in orbits, at four times our distance from the sun? Yes. What is the law! It must not have the same velocity that we have. It must, at four times that distance, have only one one-half of the mean orbital velocity of our earth; and, if you gave it more than one-half of such velocity, it would decrease the mean distance of the orbit below four; if you gave it less, it would increase that mean distance above four; but if you gave it exactly one-half of the velocity our earth has, then it would preserve its orbit in a circle, or in any kind of an ellipse at that mean distance. Is there any law to govern this velocity depending upon the distance from the sun? Yes. What is the law? According to mathematical expressions, “the velocity varies inversely as the square root of the distance.” Well, says one, that is no information to us. We don’t know what you mean by inversely and don’t know what you mean by the square root; for all of us have not sufficiently studied arithmetic so as to understand the roots and powers of numbers. In reply, I will say, it is something very simple to all advanced students of arithmetic. Let me say a few more words, in regard to this law; for this is also a law of God. For instance, we will say, that the earth travels a certain distance in one second, which we will call unit distance or 18 miles in a second, in its orbit—we will call this distance one. We go four times further off than our earth is from the sun, and take the square root of four. But inquires one, how do you get the square root of four? A number that will multiply into itself, say two into two, makes four; two then is the square root of four, that is, it is the direct square root, not the inverse. But now you put this figure 2 underneath a line, and place the figure 1 above it (thus 1/2) and such a fraction is the inverse square root of four. Hence, one-half the velocity that our earth has, must be given to bodies which are four times further from the sun than we are. When nine times further off from the sun than we are the orbital velocity will be only one-third of ours; because one third is the inverse square root of nine. In like manner, when sixteen times further off, the orbital velocity is one-fourth ours. When twenty-five times more distant, the orbital velocity will be one-fifth, and so on to any distance.

Here, then, is a regular law of velocity; and you may extend this to any distance, in the solar system, that you please.

Now, who ordained this velocity? Did the unconscious materials of nature come together, and undertake to consider this matter? Here are laws that are conducted with great intelligence—intelligence too, that was not understood for several thousand years preceding the period of Newton. We have no account that the most civilized nations of the earth had any idea of the law of velocity depending on the inverse square root of the distance. Yet this law existed whether understood by man or not; it made no difference whether the nations were ignorant in regard to this matter or not, the law existed, and operated for ages unperceived by mortals.

The Latter-day Saints say, that the Lord of Hosts who has given us laws, adapted to our condition as free agents, has also given laws to these material worlds, by which they act and by which they are preserved for a great, and wise and good purpose, to sustain unnumbered myriads of animated beings, who are by numerous other laws adapted to these worlds, and enjoy life therein. We now have been speaking of the infinitely wise law of the velocity of planets. But this law would not preserve our universe in its present beautiful order, if the law of gravitation was not exactly what it is. We say that the law of gravitation acts inversely as the square of the distance. Now, why doesn’t it vary as the cube of the distance? Why doesn’t it vary inversely as the fourth power of the distance, or some other law of distance? Because all these other laws would throw the system into destruction at once; it could not be sustained. There is only one law among an infinite number that might be chosen, that would preserve the system in its present beautiful order, and that is the law of the inverse square of the distance. Who gave this law to materials that they should have this attractive force? The Book of Covenants tells us that “God hath given a law unto all things, by which they move in their times and their seasons;” but if he had given a different law than this I have named, in regard to gravitation, the whole system, in a very short period, would be reduced to a chaotic mass, lifeless and inanimate, existing for no purpose, accomplishing no design or end. All this infinite wreck of worlds would be the necessary result of selecting an unwise law, varying from the one which now obtains among gravitating materials.

The law of velocity must be exactly adapted to the law of the inverse square of the attractive power. Who was it that made this adaptation? Did the materials endow themselves with both of these laws? Did they perceive that no other laws would render the universe stable or lasting? Or, otherwise, is there an all-wise and all-powerful Governor who brings all things under the dominion of laws, wise in their action, powerful in their nature, and preserving the grand machinery of the universe, in the most perfect harmony in the working of all its parts?

There must, then, have been some great supreme intelligence who organized these worlds and gave them laws of attractive force and adjusted velocities and thus produced the harmonious orbits which we have, and which will preserve themselves, unless interfered with by some extraneous force, for thousands of years to come.

We might go on and speak of a great many other principles connected with these laws, but let us now come to the laws given to intelligent beings. God has given laws to what might be termed intelligent nature; but let me say, that what is termed intelligent nature is sometimes called in this same revelation from which I have been reading, a spirit, or rather, a power that “is in all things, through all things, round about all things, and the law by which all things are governed.” It is, then, an intelligent power that encircles itself through, or over, or round about every particle or every atom, and these atoms act in accordance with the law that is ordained, and do not deviate from it unless commanded by the same authority that gave the law. The same Being, who gave the law to materials by which they act, can counteract the law. He did so in the instance when Elisha caused iron to swim. We read, that as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water. The man, was much concerned, because it was a borrowed axe. “And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he showed him the place. And he cut down a stick and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.” Now what was it that caused the axe to rise in the water? The same Being who gave the law of gravitation, which caused the axe to sink, counteracted that law, and caused the axe to swim. The same Being who gave the law of universal gravitation, can counteract this law. He did it, in many instances, in ancient times. He divided the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to pass. The water stood up like walls, in a great heap, not for a few seconds, or minutes, but stood there sufficiently long to allow the Israelites to get to the other side of the sea. Now, what was it that counteracted this law of nature? What was it that caused this watery element, which has a tendency to spread out and sink to its own level, to stand up in a heap, almost like a solid body? The same Being who gave the law, which governs the yielding liquid properties of water, can counteract the law, so as to make the water stand in heaps. God is the great Author of all law, and is just as able to counteract a law, as he is to continue a law. Let him withdraw the command that materials shall attract all other materials; let him say to matter, “I no longer require you to act according to that law,” and you would not find the earth going in an orbit around the sun. There would be no bond of union to keep things in their proper place; everything would be left to itself. Let God withdraw his law, or let him command adversely, and he will be obeyed; because he has the power thus to direct; and the intelligence which surrounds these materials, the spirit that is in and through all these things, would understand the command and act accordingly. In the same way the Lord heals the sick. He has made the tabernacles of the children of men, and he has organized them according to a law, so that every part of the human system is adapted to every other part. The blood flows through the arteries, and through the veins, and every part performs its proper functions. When any part or portion of this wonderfully constructed being, or, in other words, this almost perfect machine, becomes deranged or out of order, the same Being who first constructed man, with all the different organs, muscles, sinews and skin, can easily mend or regulate the same, and cause every part to work in perfect harmony with every other part, so as to impart health, and life, and vigor to the whole machinery. You would certainly think that a person was not much of a mechanic if, after he had constructed a beautiful clock, and it had run for several years, and got out of order—if when you applied to him for repairs he replied that he could not, you would be apt to say, “You made it in the first place: you certainly ought to know what is the matter, and you can repair and restore it to working order.” Just so with the Lord. When our human machinery is out of order, he understands all about it; and he is the best physician that can be employed; and he also can be employed without money and without price. He imparts to this machinery his Holy Spirit which circulates through the whole body, and promotes health and strength in the individual. But how apt we are to apply to inferior physicians. As soon as something ails this mortal tabernacle, the cry is, “Oh, mother, or husband, will you send for the doctor. My son is very sick, and we need the doctor.” Now this is sometimes the way with those who call themselves Latter-day Saints, but they ought to be ashamed that they do not honor the name which they have taken upon themselves. The Lord has ordained that when you are sick, you should apply the simple ordinance of the laying on of hands, or the anointing with oil by his servants in the name of Jesus Christ. In this ordinance there is more power than in all the medical ability in the world; for there are many diseases which baffle the skill of the wisest physicians, while by the laying on of the hands of the servants of God—not in their own name, but in the name of Jesus Christ—according to the directions given in the Scriptures, we have the promise that they shall be healed; that is, if they are not appointed unto death.

Here, then, is another law of God; and we might go on and touch upon instances of the healing power—the healing of the lame man, the blind man, the deaf man, or of fevers removed from the body, and the restoration of broken bones. Now, we have many testimonies, especially among our brethren in Wales, where they have, in the coal mines in which they worked, been crushed, as it were, until many bones in their body were broken, so much so, that it was supposed they could only live a very few hours, at the longest; yet by the laying on of the hands of the servants of God, we have the testimony of many witnesses that those bones were brought together, making a noise like the crushing of a basket and were placed in their proper form; and the individuals were restored to health and soundness. Could any herbs, or mineral, or physicians have accomplished this? No. Who did accomplish this? The Lord Jesus Christ, through his servants, by the laying on of hands, according to his commandment. Did he do it according to law? Yes; for all his works are carried on, according to certain laws which he has ordained; and if we had the same wisdom that he has, we could see the workings of the Holy Spirit upon the bones that are broken; we could see the circulation of that spirit in bringing those bones together; we could see the action of that spirit in relieving the optic nerve, so as to impart sight to the eye. If we could see the workings of that spirit, and then understand by what power it works, these things would not be a miracle to us. God has no limit to these laws that are called the laws of nature. He has an infinite number of laws; and he can work according to any of them, which are suitably adapted to the circumstances, so as to bring about his righteous purposes and wise designs according to his own good will and pleasure. Amen.

Introductory Remarks—Heaven and Earth to Pass Away—Not Annihilated—Heaven and Earth not Created From Nothing—Materials Eternal—Materials Under the Dominion of Laws—Central and Orbital Forces—Compound and Elementary Substances—Earth in the Beginning—No Mortality, Then Known, on this Creation—The Fall—The Earth’s Baptism in Water—Its Baptism in Fire—Its Baptism By the Spirit—Its Justification—Its Sanctification—Its Purification—Its Thousand Years’ Rest, Etc.

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Morning, August 1st, 1880.

I will call the attention of the congregation to a few passages of Scripture, which will be found in the 20th and 21st chapters of the Revelation given to St. John. In the 20th chapter we find these words:

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

“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 delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

“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.”

In the 21st chapter, commencing with the 1st verse, we read these words:

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

“And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

“He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”

It is a great and important undertaking to rise up before a congregation of the children of men, and endeavor to declare the words of eternal life to them. No man living can do this acceptably in the sight of God, unless God is with him, by the power of his spirit and by the inspiration thereof. I often feel my own weakness and imperfection as a man, when endeavoring to do a work of this nature. I oftentimes feel to ask myself the question—what am I, and how can I perform the work which the Lord requires at my hand, unless he assists me? Sometimes I almost feel to shrink; but then I know, from past experience, that God has assisted me, and I have every reason to believe that he will continue so to do, inasmuch as I am humble and exercise faith in him, and strive to do his will.

These words written in the 20th and 21st chapters of the Revelation given to St. John on the Isle of Patmos, occurred to my mind, a few moments before I rose to my feet; for it is the practice of most of the elders of this church to take no thought before hand what they shall say, and it is very seldom that the officers of the church endeavor to plan out in their own minds any particular form of discourse, but, sometimes the spirit of the Lord may suggest certain passages of scripture, and then that same spirit may dictate and direct, in regard to the form of words that shall be used in delineating the ideas contained in those texts.

We are told in the words which I have read, that there is a period of time yet in the future, wherein this earth upon which we stand, where we have our being, and from which we derive our sustenance, will pass away; and the heavens that are over our heads will also pass away; at the time this great event shall happen, we are informed that a great white throne shall appear; that a certain personage will sit thereon, and that so great will be his glory, and so great the power attending him, that the earth itself will flee away from before his presence, and the heavens, the literal heavens that are over our heads—probably meaning the heavens that pertain to this creation—will pass away; the atmosphere and those things included in the atmosphere; and the earth itself, the solid portions thereof, and the liquid portions, will all pass away, before the face of him that sits upon this throne. This is believed not only by the Latter-day Saints, but by all Christian denominations, with very few exceptions. They believe that the heaven and the earth will, at some future period have a great change wrought upon them. They expect that they will pass away but I believe that most of them consider that the earth will become annihilated; that the very materials of which it is composed will be reduced to nothing. I think that used to be, when I was a boy, a tenet of the sectarian world; it used to be their idea, that the earth was, in the beginning, made out of nothing by the word of God, and that it would be reduced to nothing when it passed away.

But I have not time to dwell upon the idea of the Christian world, and their views, concerning this matter; I shall touch upon those things according to the ideas and the faith of the people called Latter-day Saints. We do not believe that the earth was made out of nothing, like the modern Christian idea; we have no such belief; for we do not find any such declaration contained anywhere in the scripture. We do not take it for granted, because they have incorporated these things in their modern theology, in their doctrines, in their disciplines, in their church articles, in their creeds—we do not receive it on this testimony; but we search to see what the scriptures of truth have said upon this subject; and when we have searched them, we find there is no indications whatever, that the earth was made out of nothing, or that it sprang into existence, where there was nothing on which to work.

We read in the first chapter of Genesis that God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form and void, but there is nothing in this passage that informs us that he made the earth out of nothing. Our view is that the elements out of which this and all other worlds were made existed from all eternity; they never had any beginning. There are a few individuals on the earth that make no profession of religion—some call them materialists—who believe this same principle; and in doing so, they have got one truth incorporated among their ideas, though they do not believe in God. The materials of this creation, according to our view, and that which God has revealed to us, in this last dispensation, have existed from all eternity. These materials have been, from all eternity, subject to the command of the great Jehovah; they are under his jurisdiction; he has power to control them; he gave them laws; they act according to these laws; and they have been governed by laws, so far as we have any knowledge, and so far as our creation is concerned, for indefinite ages past; and we have every reason to believe that they have been under the dominion of law, so long as there has been a Supreme Being. And you might ask how long is that? We answer, that he is co-eternal in his existence, with the materials of creation—one existed as long as the other; and neither of them had any beginning. There may have been an endless cycle of organizations and disorganizations among the materials of nature, governed for a certain period of time, for a wise purpose, according to wise and just and holy laws, adapted to their condition, and to bring about the great purposes of the great Jehovah. We find that everything, at present, so far as we have any knowledge and understanding to discern the workings of nature, seems to be under the dominion of law. The earth rolls in its destined orbit according to laws. The force by which it is supposed to have been projected is according to a certain law. The great central force by which it is governed, or to use a modern word “attracted,” is according to a certain law. The projectile force, so called, is adapted to the central force; and it has rolled in its destined path, ever since its present organization, or for some 6,000 years, and how much longer it has rolled in that path or orbit, we do not know. It had a beginning in its present organization, as Moses clearly gives us an idea. But in organizing this world the Lord did not call it into existence from nothing, but called the eternal elements that were spread abroad in space and commanded them to come together, according to certain laws; and the earth was formed and placed in its proper position, in the midst of many other creations which roll around the great central orb—the sun. It was no small work; it required the power of an Almighty Creator to organize a world like this, to adapt it, in its organization, to the principle of life, which, more or less, pervades all of its materials, causing them to fulfil various laws, ordained in relation to their action, obeying what are called chemical laws, in forming the numerous compounds of which our earth is composed. The solid portions, the liquid portions, and the aerial positions, were all formed chemically by the power of the Almighty—I mean the compounds which constitute those portions—and when we come to reduce these compounds to their elements, we find upwards of sixty elementary principles, from which, being joined together according to chemical laws, all the numerous compounds are formed. Now, these laws in all their operations are laws given by the Divine Being. He it is that causes them to operate. Light, heat, electricity, and every substance combined with the materials of our globe, are all under the dominion of numerous laws; and the results that are brought about, or the good that is bestowed upon the inhabitants of the earth, upon the animal creation, giving them life, happiness, and peace—have all been brought about by the wise ordination of these laws, exhibited through all the elements of this creation. I say it required an Almighty power to so wisely organize these elements; and when they were organized it required great wisdom and judgment to produce the orbital motion of the earth. The ascertained velocity that the earth has in its orbit, as it flies in its destined course around the sun, is between eighteen and nineteen miles per second. It not only requires great power to organize the elements into a world, but it requires infinite wisdom to organize the elements into flesh as at present in the animal creation, including man, to give life to the beings which dwell in these tabernacles.

This world, however, is not now as it was in the beginning, that is when I speak of the beginning, I have reference to the beginning of the earth, in its present organization; I do not have reference to the beginning of duration, for it had no beginning; I do not have reference to the beginning of an endless past, but I have reference to the beginning relative to our little globe. In the beginning of our creation, the earth was very fair, quite different from what it is now. There were no children of mortality upon it, no animals that were mortal upon it, no birds, nothing wherein we observe life in this creation existed in its mortal state; but everything that had life was immortal; every bird, fish, fowl, insect, creeping thing, cattle, and man—all were immortal. The earth had no curse resting upon it; the earth itself was immortal, and would have continued in all its glory, as it issued from the hand of the Creator to the present time, without any curse, had it not been for the transgression of our first parents. That was the introduction of mortality, of pain and sorrow, misery and wretchedness, not only upon man, but upon all creation that then existed; everything was brought under the dominion of the curse. The curse came upon man—that being who could stand in the presence of God and converse with him face to face—the seeds of mortality were sown in his immortal body—a change came and his whole system was affected thereby. The seeds of death were placed within the tabernacle of man, within the tabernacle of the lion, of the ox, and every beast of the field, and every fish of the sea, and every fowl of the air. A very great change then came over this creation. First, it was spiritual in all its blessings and fullness of life and glory. Then it was reduced to a temporal condition, wherein misery and wretchedness existed.

Another great change happened nearly two thousand years after the earth was made. It was baptized by water. A great flow of water came, the great deep was broken up, the windows of heaven were opened from on high, and the waters prevailed upon the face of the earth, sweeping away all wickedness and transgression—a similitude of baptism for the remission of sins. God requires the children of men to be baptized. What for? For the remission of sins. So he required our globe to be baptized by a flow of waters, and all of its sins were washed away, not one sin remaining. You were baptized, Latter-day Saints, for the remission of your sins, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, repenting of your sin with all your heart, going down and being buried beneath the liquid grave, you came forth as new creatures. So says the New Testament; you buried the old man with all of his wicked deeds, and came forth out of the liquid element born anew. So the earth in a measure was renewed, not fully; no more than we are renewed fully by baptism; we are not made immortal, when we come out of the waters of baptism; we still retain the effects of the fall, so far as mortality is concerned. So does the earth; the earth retains the effects of sin and transgression that came upon its face. But notwithstanding it retains these effects so far as mortality is concerned, yet it was cleansed in a measure from this transgression. But alas! This earth has again become corrupted. We are required, after being baptized for the remission of our sins, to sin no more; to live holy and perfect lives, so far as we possi bly can, and to keep the commandments of God in all things, and to walk in newness of life, and this to the end of our days. The earth has not been permitted to rest during the period of four thousand years and upwards since its baptism. Wickedness again has accumulated upon its face. The inhabitants of the earth have corrupted and defiled the earth by their transgression. By and by another great change will come. As the earth was cleansed from its transgression by baptism in water, so it must again be cleansed, before it is made immortal. It must be cleansed by an element that is stronger and more purifying than that of water, namely, the element of fire. Fire must prevail over all the face of this earth. What for? For the purpose of cleansing the earth from its transgressions, the same as the Latter-day Saints expect to be cleansed and purified more fully than by baptism in water—by the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. This is the promise to all that will repent of their sins and be baptized for the remission of the same, that they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is another baptism, more effectual, more cleansing, more purifying in its nature, sanctifying the inner man and the outward man, and making him a new creature. So this earth in due time must be baptized with fire first, and then the Holy Ghost. Fire will cleanse all the proud and they that do wickedly from its face—all persons that are corrupt, all sinful persons, all disobedient persons, all who do not keep the commandments of God; it will cleanse the earth by burning them as stubble, fulfilling the words of the prophet Malachi, in the last chapter, which reads thus: “For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, 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, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”

It seems, then, that this earth has to undergo a process very similar to that of the redeemed man. It has to obey all the great sacred ordinances of the Gospel, so far as its first principles are concerned; the earth has to undergo a cleansing process, first by water, a similitude of water baptism, and then by the Holy Ghost, a similitude of baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost which you receive by the laying on of the hands of those who have authority. Does this make man immortal? No; man still retains his mortality, even after he is baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost—his body is subject still to death. It may be burned at the stake; it may pass away as the earth will pass away; not annihilated, not one particle of our earthly tabernacles shall be struck out of existence; but the elements may be separated asunder, they may mingle perhaps with other elements—all this may take place, even after we have been sanctified and purified by the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost. So with our earth, when it is renewed by the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, when he shall descend, as Paul says, in flaming fire. What effect will that have? It will have the effect that is spoken of by Malachi, all the proud, including every wicked man, every wicked woman, will be swept away like stubble before the devouring flame. It will be thus when Jesus descends in the clouds of glory. The elements will be cleansed, the same as you receive a cleansing by the Holy Ghost. You are made new creatures. So the earth will be made new, and great knowledge will be imparted to the inhabitants thereof, as predicted in the 11th chapter of the prophecy of Isaiah. The knowledge of God will then cover the earth as the waters cover the mighty deep. There will be no place of ignorance, no place of darkness, no place for those that will not serve God. Why? Because Jesus, the Great Creator, and also the Great Redeemer, will be himself on the earth, and his holy angels will be on the earth, and all the resurrected Saints that have died in former dispensations will all come forth, and they will be on the earth. What a happy earth this creation will be, when this purifying process shall come, and the earth be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the great deep! What a change! Travel then, from one end of the earth to another, you can find no wicked man, no drunken man, no man to blaspheme the name of the Great Creator, no one to lay hold on his neighbor’s goods, and steal them, no one to commit whoredoms—for all who commit whoredoms will be thrust down to hell, saith the Lord God Almighty, and all persons who commit sin will be speedily visited by the judgments of the Almighty! But, inquires one, can they sin? Yes; their agency will still be left. We read in the 65th chapter of Isaiah that then, “There will be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred old shall be accursed.” Children will grow up without sin unto salvation, as a general thing, and in order to show how swift the judgments will come upon the people, after Jesus comes and stands upon the Mount of Olives, and all the Saints with him, we have only to refer to the last chapter of Zechariah, where it is stated, “that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, even unto them shall be no rain.” From this it appears that people who refuse to come up to the land of Jerusalem, to worship God and to keep the feast of tabernacles, are to be immediately visited with famine. They shall have no rain, and that will stir them up, during the Millennium, to repent of their sins; but if the Egyptians do not come up from year to year to Jerusalem, they shall be visited with a great plague. What kind of a plague? The plague will be so severe in its operations, says the prophet Zechariah, that “Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.” Thus you see that swift judgment will come upon those that are rebellious, after Jesus descends. This shows that mortality still continues, that people are subject to plagues, subject to pain, and subject to be afflicted with famine, for the want of rain. But by and by, when Jesus has been here in person a thousand years, and all the ancient Saints that have been resurrected, and the modern Saints also, after they have lived upon the earth for the space of a thousand years, it seems that Satan is to be loosed out of his prison, and permitted to go forth and tempt. Whom shall he tempt? Those whom Jesus has brought from heaven? No, they are beyond temptation. Whom will he tempt? Those that are yet mor tal—the innumerable inhabitants of the earth who have multiplied and spread forth, and become almost as numerous as the sands upon the seashore. He will tempt them. He will go out into the four quarters of the earth, and gather together all that he can overcome, and bring them up against the camp of the Saints and the beloved city. He thinks that he will fight and overcome the camp of the Saints. They will be camped beside the beloved city; for all the Saints will then be gathered, just the same as you are now gathered from the four quarters of the earth, to escape the various judgments that are coming, and finally the judgment of fire. So will the Saints be gathered together to the new Jerusalem, and round about old Jerusalem, and Satan will gather up his hosts, that have apostatized from the truth, and he will marshal them round about the city, and fire will descend from God out of heaven, and devour that portion of the army of Satan that is still mortal. The elements of their bodies will be separated; they will be consumed, the same as the wicked will have been consumed over a thousand years before that, and this will be another great change. But the earth is not yet immortal, not yet in its glorified state, as it was before man fell. Then, after Satan’s army is devoured, and after Satan is cast into hell, and all over whom he has power—then all the inhabitants of the earth will be judged; this great white throne that I have been reading about, will appear; the great and final judgment will come; and when this white throne appears, the earth itself and the literal, temporal heavens that are overhead will flee away, and there will be found no place for them. What does this mean? Does it mean that the elements themselves will be annihila ted? Or is there no place for the earth in its organized form; for the elements will pass away, be scattered in space over millions and millions of miles, just the same as our bodies after we have been sanctified and purified, may be burned as martyrs at the stake and the elements of our bodies passed into the atmosphere and into the surrounding country. So will the earth pass away in like manner. But by and by the same voice, the same power that calls forth our bodies from the sleeping tomb, that unites bone to its bone, sinews and skin and muscles, and the various compartments of the system, that breathes the breath of life into them, that makes them immortal, even so will the Lord God, in due time, speak by his power and call the scattered elements of this creation from their dispersion, bring them together again, and organize them into a new heaven and a new earth. Will there be one particle of the earth lost? No, every particle that now is combined with the heaven and the earth will still exist. Will it be modeled after the present model? No. It may have the same shape and form that it now has, the same as our bodies when they are brought forth out of the grave will have a form something after the present form. Every hair of the head will be restored, every part will be restored to its proper form, not after the form of mortality, to sicken again, to have pain and to die; but though the body is restored to the same image, so far as the outlines are concerned, yet it is immortal, no more subject to pain, or sorrow, but is restored to perfect happiness and to bodies that will endure while eternity endures. So it will be with the earth. A great many of our scientific men consider that the earth has never had a beginning as an organ ized body, but they look back many millions and millions of years, when they suppose that such and such an event brought about such and such a cause; and they say, (the infidel portion of them) that the earth will never have an end. Well, now, they are right so far as the materials are concerned, but they are entirely out of the way so far as the great revolutions I have named are concerned, and so far as the annihilation of the earth is concerned. The earth never will have an end, so far as the materials are concerned. The earth after it is made anew, resurrected from its old materials, will continue forever, and will be the abiding place of all the righteous, throughout all the future ages of eternity. Hence, we read that John, after the earth fled away, saw a new heaven and a new earth; but the new one was much altered. There was no more sea. There must be a great alteration when the sea, the elements that compose the water, the oxygen and hydrogen, and the various elements that enter into the constitution of sea water, shall be otherwise combined. Will there be a new set of geologists in those days, who will figure as they do in our days, and say such and such events exist, and they must have existed from all eternity, or they must have been brought about by such and such changes; that is, will the geologists be as limited in their views as the present ones are? But the geologists that shall live ten thousand years hence, or even two thousand years hence, when this great change shall have come over the earth, will be able to philosophize clearly; for they will be full of knowledge, understanding and comprehension, and they will be able to understand something about the process of world-making, creating worlds, the changes that come upon worlds, and the final change when worlds are made anew and immortal, and their philosophy, their ideas, and their system of geology will be correct and can be depended upon. Why? Because they were there; they saw the changes, they were present when the changes were made, and they have not forgotten all these things, and they will know them, and understand them, after the final change comes. There will, however, be a change which some of the mortal inhabitants of this earth will forget. Isaiah says, in the 65th chapter: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.” Now, that has reference to the creation that will be renewed, at the beginning of the millennium. People will not remember. Our children that will be born during the millennium will not remember all the wickedness and corruption that existed in the days of their fathers. It will not come into their minds, unless God puts it there; but when they become immortal, after the thousand years have ended, then I think they will comprehend the process by which this world was made. But, inquires one, how will they know it? They will know it because they were all present when it was made. You understand it, Latter-day Saints; you and I were there when this world was made. We have forgotten it, but we will remember it when we wake up in eternity, with all the fulness of knowledge that will be given after everything is made anew. Well, inquires one, what will be the occupation of this people, after descending upon the new earth? After Jesus has been on the earth a thousand years, God himself is to be on the new earth. What is he to do? He is to “wipe away all tears; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” We will be there if we are righteous enough, if we keep the commandments of God. If we will endure to the end, we will have an inheritance in this world when it is resurrected and made anew. Moreover, it says there will be no more death. What! A world without death? A world thickly populated as this creation will be? What a joyful creation! The tree of life will be on the earth in the midst of that city that will descend on the earth, and whoever eats of the fruit of that tree will live forever, just the same as the tree of life was placed upon the earth before Adam transgressed. Anyone eating of the fruit of that tree could not die, for the decree of the Lord had gone forth, and his word must be fulfilled.

There are some few things to which I wish now especially to call your attention, in relation to this new earth of which I am speaking. I said that the saints would receive an inheritance upon it. I would ask you, my brethren, upon what principle they receive an inheritance upon the new earth? It is by securing it through a promise here in this life. If you can secure 40, or 80, or 160, or 640 acres of land by promise here in this life—I do not mean the promise of mortal men, I would not give much for their promise concerning any blessing after death comes; but if you can get a promise from him who has a right to promise (for the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof), that you shall inherit the earth for an everlasting possession, then it will be given to you. But, says one, supposing I do not get any promise? I do not know, then, that you will have a claim on a solitary foot of it. Abraham got the promise, not after he was dead, but here in this life. The Lord, because of his faith, made him a promise, and told him to go out from his own country to a land he had never seen; and after getting there, the Lord said unto him, “Now, Abraham, walk through this land in the length and breadth of it; to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.” For how long? For an everlasting possession. Abraham did not care about having a deed for time only, did not care about getting a few acres just merely for a little while, and then have it taken from him, and he have no claim upon it afterwards. Did Abraham inherit it on this earth? Did his seed, Isaac, or his grandson, Jacob, to whom the promises were confirmed and renewed—did they get any of it while they lived? No. The prophet Stephen, who was murdered for the Christian religion, has recorded in the New Testament, speaking of this promise made to Abraham, that the Lord “gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on.” What! Stephen, are you not mistaken? You lived several thousand years after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were in their graves—do you mean to say that the Lord did not even give them as much as a foot? What did he do for them, Stephen? He made them a promise that they should have it, and their seed after them; for an everlasting inheritance. Oh, then, they are still to have it, are they, for an everlasting inheritance, by virtue of the promise made in this mortal state who are Abraham’s seed? All that do the works of Abraham—all that are baptized into Christ. They are Abraham’s seed according to the promise. What promise? The promise that he and his seed should have the land of Palestine, east and northeast of the Mediterranean Sea, for an everlasting possession. Now all who have received the same covenants, obeyed the same Gospel, obeyed the new and everlasting covenant, have the promise in connection with Abraham’s seed.

Has the earth been parceled out to anybody else except Abraham and his seed? Yes. The Lord brought a nation to this great western hemisphere, called Jaredites, from the Tower of Babel. When He brought them here they were a righteous people, and he made promises to them; and among the promises given was the promise that this great western hemisphere should be given to them, and to those that were worthy besides them, for an everlasting possession. We Gentiles have come here; we have got upon the land of these Jaredites, and we think we are very rich if we have got 640 acres, or perhaps ten times that amount of land. Says one man, “I have got my deed from the Land office; I am the owner.” But, hold on; there is the original owner; that you know nothing of, that came here from the tower of Babel, that had all this western hemisphere promised to him and the righteous of his seed for an everlasting possession. What will become of your 640 acres then? What will become of your farms when these resurrected men shall come forth and show their deeds. Perhaps you may think they did not keep any records in those days. But let me tell you they had records of deeds; and all these things are spoken of and testified of in the great books that are kept in the eternal world, and it will be found that they are the inheritors before us, that is before the Gentiles that came over here four hundred years ago and upwards. But what about the Nephites that came here about six hundred years before Christ. When they got here, the first thing the Lord did was to confirm his promise unto them. He told them it was their inheritance for an everlasting possession. Hold on, says one, that would take away the right of the Jaredites. Oh, no. The Lord, in making this promise, did not do it according to the deed-makers of this day; he did not follow after the pattern of men. The records that he makes on the books in eternity are records made upon principles in accordance with celestial law, not in accordance with Gentile laws, nor our notions of things. The notion, or idea, that the Lord had was that this continent, North and South America, should be inhabited by the righteous who will be resurrected from the dead, and who lived here on this continent.

Latter-day Saints, do you not feel a little concerned? Has any promise been made to you, or are you left out while the Nephites and Jaredites gobble up all the land, and leave you to go around the streets begging? Hear what the Lord, our God, had to say, through the Prophet Joseph, concerning you, on the 2nd day of January, 1831. I was present when the Lord gave this revelation, in the midst of a conference, to his servant Joseph. I will repeat the words: “And I will hold forth and deign to give unto you” (speaking to the Latter-day Saints assembled in conference, and to all that should become Saints) “greater riches, even a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh; And I will give it unto you for the land of your inheritance. And this shall be my covenant with you, ye shall have it for the land of your inheritance, and for the inheritance of your children forever, while the earth shall stand, and ye shall possess it again in eternity, no more to pass away.” The same promise you see; very different from the promise of men; you will possess it again in eternity, no more to pass away. He did not reveal to us the central portion of our land of promise on that conference day, but told us it should be revealed at a future time. Hence, in that same year he appointed his servant Joseph and some twenty or thirty of the elders to go from Kirtland, Ohio, westward through the State of Ohio, State of Indiana, State of Illinois, State of Missouri, to the western boundaries thereof. There he pointed out by revelation—which you will find recorded in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—the central portion of our inheritance, where the great temple should be built, upon which a cloud of glory should rest, and told us that that was the land of promise, in time and in eternity, the same as the promise made to the ancient Saints of God. We are not in possession of it at the present time. It cannot, however, be said concerning us, as it was said by Stephen concerning Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He said he gave those old ancient men not so much as to set their foot on. But it happens we paid for some of that land, and we got our deeds at the Land Office, and we claim this at the hands of our God, and ask him, if we do not get it right now, this year, or ten years’ hence, we will ask our Father to give us that land after the resurrection, at any rate. But will we inhabit any of it in time? Oh, yes. We will build a great city in Missouri. We will also build a great temple unto the Lord our God, in that city, and the temple block and place where it is to stand is already known. It was laid out in the year 1831, and the corner stone laid, and we will build a temple there, and build it after the pattern that the Lord gave to his servant Joseph, the Prophet, and also according to the pattern that he shall hereafter show, if the pattern is not already given in full. I will tell you another thing that will happen in our promised land, after that temple is built: there will a cloud of glory rest upon that temple by day, the same as the cloud rested upon the tabernacle of Moses, that was carried in the wilderness. Not only that, but also a flaming fire will rest upon the temple by night, covering the whole temple; and if you go inside of the temple, the glory of God will be seen there as it was anciently; for the Lord will not only be a glory and a defense on the outside of that wonderful building, but he will also be a glory and a power in the inside thereof, and it shall come to pass that every man and every woman who is pure in heart, who shall go inside of that temple, will see the Lord. Now, how great a blessing it will be to see the Lord of Hosts as we see one another in the flesh. That will take place, but not till after the temple is built. Moreover, you will not only be favored with this great privilege, but Isaiah tells us that “the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night.” When you hold your meeting in the day time, you shall be sheltered by a cloud, and when you hold your meetings in the night time, instead of lighting up your lamps with common oil, or with gas, or anything of this kind, you will have no need of any artificial light, for the Lord God will be the light thereof, and his glory will be there, and you will see it and you will hear his voice. Have you not read in this book called the Bible, about the Lord suddenly coming to his temple? Read the 3rd chapter of Malachi: “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple. * * * And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteous ness.” That same fire will rest upon the abodes of those that come into that temple, and they will be filled with fire and the Holy Ghost. They will be purged of all iniquity, and every ordinance that will be administered in that temple will be administered by holy hands, and you will understand and know the meaning thereof. The Lord will reveal these things in their day; he will reveal everything that is needful, so that the knowledge of God may rest upon you, and that there may be no darkness with you. Amen.

Visions of Moses—Rebellion in Heaven—Satan Cast Down—Our First Parents Fell—Before the Fall They Were Immortal—After the Fall, Mortal—The Command to Multiply Was Given to Two Immortal Beings—This Command More Fully to Be Carried Into Effect, After the Resurrection, Etc.

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, July 18th, 1880.

I will call the attention of the congregation to a portion of the word of God, that was given unto Moses before he delivered the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. It may be well for me to mention, before reading, that Moses received many communications, by visions and by revelation, before he was sent from the land of Midian to visit his brethren who were in bondage in Egypt. He beheld, in these visions, many great and important events, some of which took place in the spirit world. Among other things which he saw was the pre-existence of the children of men, and also the rebellion that took place among the great family of spirits before the world was made; and in this vision the Lord thus speaks to him:

“And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore, give me thine honor. But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power, by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down; And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice. And now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which I, the Lord God, had made. And Satan put it into the heart of the serpent, (for he had drawn away many after him,) and he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world. And he said unto the woman: Yea, hath God said—Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden? (And he spake by the mouth of the serpent.) And the woman said unto the serpent: We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; But of the fruit of the tree which thou beholdest in the midst of the garden, God hath said—Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye shall not surely die; For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

These few words which I have read from the “Pearl of Great Price,” were suggested to my mind immediately before rising to my feet. The short history that is here given, by new revelation to Joseph the Prophet, contains a vast amount of information for so few words. It shows the origin of evil, pertaining to the inhabitants of this creation. I do not suppose that this was the first origin of evil. We do not consider that this creation on which we dwell was the first one that was made. We do not consider that the rebellion which took place in heaven prior to this creation was the first rebellion that had ever existed. We do not consider that those beings who rebelled were the first ones that ever had their agency; but we believe that God has always been at work, from all eternity; and that the creations which he has made are innumerable unto men. No man is capable of conceiving of the number. And those creations were made to be inhabited by rational, intelligent beings, having their agency. But this seems to be the origin of evil so far as the inhabitants intended for this earth, and who were then living in heaven, were concerned. They had their agency; and when I speak of the inhabitants that dwell in heaven, pertaining to this creation, I mean the spirits of men and women. I have no reference to the mortal tabernacles which we have received here, but I have reference to those beings who dwell within these tabernacles, who are intelligent, who have their agency, who had a pre-existence, who lived before the world was made. The inhabitants of heaven, who were selected to come on this creation, were agents, just as much as we are. They had a law given to them, just as much as we have. They had penalties affixed to that law, just the same as we have. They could keep that law given to them in heaven, just as well as we could keep a law given to us. They could rebel against that law, because of their agency, the same as we rebel against the laws of heaven.

We have an account given here of a personage called Satan, who stood up in heaven, being an angel of light, an holy angel, prior to that time—who stood up before the Father and the Son, and made a proposition concerning the new creation that was to be made. “Behold,” said he to the Father, “send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.” This was the language, according to this revelation which I have just read, made use of by this angel who stood in the presence of God. But the Only Begotten of the Father, the Firstborn of this great and numerous family in heaven, said unto his Father: “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.” Then we have an account that the Lord, because Satan thus transgressed, and because he sought to destroy the agency of man, and to redeem all mankind, that not a soul should be lost, was displeased with the proposition. And why should he not be? An agency was given to all intelligent beings; and without a proper agency, intelligent beings could not receive glory and honor, and a reward and a fullness of happiness in the celestial kingdom. There must be an agency wherever intelligence exists, and without agency no intelligent beings could exist; and because Satan sought to destroy this, and to frustrate the great and eternal plan of Jehovah, the Lord was displeased with him. He did not repent of his rebellion, nor of the wicked proposition; but he sought to turn away the family of heaven—the family of spirits that were in the presence of God—he sought to turn them away and convert them to his plan. But he did not succeed. He did succeed in leading away about one-third part of that great family of spirits, because of their agency. They hearkened to his proposition; they thought it would be a very great and important thing to destroy the agency of man in the future creation that was about to be made, and to redeem them all in their sins, and consequently they joined with this rebellious character; hence came the fallen angels. What became of them? They were thrust down from the presence of God and the Lamb after this creation was made, and they were permitted to dwell in this creation. Finally, one of those spirits who kept their first estate was placed in a body upon this creation, and likewise a woman; and Satan came before the woman in the Garden of Eden, and tempted her. What was his object in tempting this woman? He did not succeed in overcoming her in the first estate—I mean he did not succeed in turning her away from God’s commands; but inasmuch as they were now placed under different circumstances—placed in bodies of flesh and bones—placed in the Garden of Eden, he thought that he would assault them with a new temptation, to see if he could possibly overcome them. He succeeded in overcoming Eve, the woman that was given to this first man, and prevailed upon her to transgress the law of heaven, to partake of the forbidden fruit, and she succeeded in leading her husband to transgress the same law. Now, here arises a question. Did Adam partake of this forbidden fruit, being deceived as Eve was deceived? Or did he partake of it knowingly and understandingly? I will give you my views upon this subject. Adam very well knew that his wife Eve, after she had partaken of the forbidden fruit, having transgressed the law of God, must die. He knew this; he knew that she would have to be cast out of the garden of Eden, from the presence of her husband; she could no longer be permitted to dwell with him. Hence, inasmuch as there was a great separation threatened between husband and wife—the wife having transgressed—he concluded that he would not be separated from the woman, and hence he was not deceived, but the woman was deceived; he partook of the forbidden fruit to prevent a separation between the two, and fell, even as the woman fell, and both were cast out together. If one only had transgressed and been cast out, the great command that had been given prior to that time—to multiply and replenish the earth—could not have been fulfilled, because of the separation. In order, therefore, that the command first given might be fulfilled, Adam, though not deceived, partook of the forbidden fruit, was cast out with Eve, and hence began, as far as possible, to fulfil the command, and to multiply his species upon this earth. There is one very important item, right here, to be understood, and should be thoroughly understood by every person desirous of knowing the truth, and that is, that when Adam and Eve were in the garden of Eden, before this transgression took place, they were not subject to death; they were not subject to any kind of pain, or disease, or sickness, or any of the afflictions of mortality. Now, perhaps those who are not in the habit of reflecting upon this matter, may suppose that when Adam was placed on the earth, and Eve, his wife, they were mortal, like unto us; but that was not so. God did not make a mortal being. It would be contrary to this great goodness to make a man mortal, subject to pain, subject to sickness, subject to death. When he made this creation, and when he made these two intelligent beings and placed them upon this creation, he made them after his own likeness and his own image. He did not make them mortal, but he made them immortal, like unto himself. If he had made them mortal, and subject to pain, there would have been some cause, among intelligent beings, to say that the Lord subjected man, without a cause, to afflictions, sorrows, death and mortality. But he could not do this; it was contrary to the nature of his attributes, contrary to the nature of that infinite goodness which dwells in the bosom of the Father and the Son, to make a being subject to any kind of pain. At the time of the creation, all things that proceeded forth from his hands were considered very good. How came, then, Adam to be mortal? How came Adam to be filled with pain and affliction and with great sorrow? It was in consequence of transgression. Hence, the Apostle Paul, in speaking upon this subject, said, that by transgression sin entered into the world, and death by sin. Death, then, instead of being something that the Lord created, instead of being something that he sent into the world, and by sin; the Lord suffered it to come upon Adam in consequence of transgression. Two immortal beings, then, were placed in the garden of Eden, male and female. Was there any commandment given to those two immortal beings before the fall? There was one commandment, namely: “Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” What! Did the Lord command two immortal beings to multiply their species? He did. In meditating upon this great command given to these two immortal beings, it opens to us a field of reflection, of knowledge, concerning the great designs of the Almighty. It imparts to us a knowledge that the Lord our God intended that immortal beings should multiply their species. Can you find any place in the book of Genesis where our first parents were commanded to multiply after the fall? I do not remember any such scripture. I have read the scriptures very diligently; I do not remember any such command. Yet they did so, and the consequences were that children of mortality were born—mortal beings came upon the earth. Why? Because after the fall, Adam and Eve became mortal, and their species, of course, were after the order of the world, mortal in their nature. As the parents were subject to death, subject to pain, and sorrow, and distress, and all kinds of evil, so were all their posterity. It was contrary to the law of God for mortal beings to bring forth children of immortality; it was contrary to the order of heaven for mortal beings to multiply their species in the form of immortal beings. But may we not suppose that it was really necessary, notwithstanding there was no command given, that the children of mortality should multiply their species? Notwithstanding the Lord said nothing to Adam and Eve upon this subject after the fall, so far as it was written, yet we may suppose it was according to his purpose and design that they should multiply children of mortality, even though he gave them no command after their fall to this effect. They have continued to do so, and their children after them, in all of their generations, until the present time, and will continue to do so in future generations, until the earth has filled the measure of its creation, according to the number of souls that existed before the world was organized, in the family of the two-thirds who kept their first estate.

But will the time come in the endless duration of the future, when our first parents will fulfill that command which was given to them while they were yet children of immortality? In other words will the time ever come when Adam and Eve will become immortal and carry out the command that was given to them in the days of their first immortality? I answer, yes; without this, the command of God never could be, in all respects, fulfilled. Though there should be hundreds of thousands of millions, or more, of the descendants of those mortal beings come here upon the earth, the command is not fully complied with; though he may have begotten sons and daughters, Cain, Abel, Seth and many others for some nine hundred years and upwards, yet all the sons and daughters he begat while he was mortal here upon the earth did not, in all respects, fulfill the command given to him while an immortal being. That has to be fulfilled after Adam and Eve are resurrected from the grave. Have they yet been resurrected? I think so. There were a great many that were resurrected at the time of the resurrection of Christ. Christ was the firstfruits of the resurrection, and then there were a great many Saints who came forth out of their graves and were resurrected, and permitted to enter into the celestial glory and dwell at his right hand. Among the number, I have no doubt but what our first parents, Adam and Eve, were permitted to come forth and enter into celestial glory; and I have no doubt but what they have been fulfilling the commandment given to them before they fell. Nearly two thousand years have passed since the first resurrection of the Saints. I cannot believe that Adam and Eve, during these nineteen centuries, have been in idleness. I cannot believe that they alone constitute their whole family; but I believe that during this time they have been fulfilling literally the commandment that was given to them in the morn of creation and as immortal beings have brought forth immortal sons and daughters since their resurrection. Thus the commandment of the Most High was not made void, but is in process of fulfillment.

But let us enquire still further concerning this matter; for this seems to open up another field before our minds. The children of immortality are obliged to multiply, in order to fulfill this commandment. Hence, there is more contained in the Gospel in all its fulness and glory than what this world ever dreamt of. The Christian world, so called, have not looked forth unto the great future; they have not recognized the great law which God ordained for immortal beings to bring forth their species; for if our first parents must do this, in order to obey the commandment that was given before the fall, so must their children, or else ever be transgressors, one or the other. Their children, I say, never can fulfill the object of the commandment, that was given to immortal beings, unless they, as immortal beings, so multiply their species; and for this reason, we find incorporated in the Gospel that Paul preached this great saying, “Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” What! Can I, can you, can the inhabitants of the earth really not be in the Lord, and yet not be united together in the holy covenant of marriage, the male with the female? So Paul says. It is a very curious kind of saying, however, in the case of this generation, who have lost the knowledge of God though the apostasy of their fathers. They have all the time supposed that they could enter into a fulness of the glory of the celestial world without being united in the bonds of eternal union. But it is not so; it was not so in the beginning. The very first marriage that was ever known in this creation, was not a marriage between the children of mortality, but was a marriage consummated by divine authority, by divine power. It was a marriage between two immortal beings. No other marriage could be so important, so essentially necessary, to the inhabitants of this creation, as the first one celebrated in the beginning. What do you think, Christians of the nineteenth century, who belong to the various denominations?—What are your views in regard to marriage? Your looks inform us. Your articles of faith inform us. The disciplines that you have, for the government of your churches, inform us that when marriage is performed among you, it is between two mortal beings, and they are only married till death shall separate and part them. Oh! how different from the first marriage on record between two immortal personages, whose days, inasmuch as they keep the commandments of God, were never to end, but their lives were to be endless or eternal. The Latter-day Saints have a different form of marriage from these sectarians. We have a marriage in our church, between the male and female, which reaches forward to the endless ages of eternity; we do not consider a marriage of very great importance, unless is takes hold of eternity. We do not believe in these marriages which are to remain in force barely while this mortal thread of existence continues; we do not believe in a marriage that must be broken up, dissolved and divorced by that tyrant called death. Death has nothing to do with dissolving marriages—I mean those marriages that are performed according to the mind and will of God. Death may come in and separate the two for a short season, but it does not dissolve the marriage ties. If Eve dies before her husband, Adam, she is not divorced from him, neither is he divorced from her, but she considers, while dwelling in a celestial paradise, that she has legally and lawfully a husband in the flesh on the earth. Adam, if he still continues to live on the earth, while Eve has taken her flight to the eternal world, considers that he has a wife in heaven, though separated for a short time from her. She still is his wife, and will be his, until he himself shall fall into the grave, and even that does not dissolve the marriage tie. The great redemption wrought out through the only begotten Son—the great redemption that reclaims Adam and Eve from their graves, restores them also from this short period of separation that has taken place by reason of death; it restores them again to each other’s society, as husband and wife; and they will remain in that relationship while eternity shall endure.

But here arises another question—one of the greatest importance to the children of men of all generations, and that is, are there any marriages that God will recognize which he is not the author of? In other words, supposing that two persons in the Roman Catholic church, in the Greek church, in any Protestant church, or two persons that do not belong to any religious denomination, are married by a minister, by a justice of the peace, by any person professing to have authority among men, to celebrate the marriage ceremony—have they any claim upon each other when death separates them? According to their own covenants they do not. The minister only married them till death should them part. When death comes along and separates these two persons their marriage covenant has expired; it has run out, it is at an end. But inquires one, will not the Lord permit them to live together as husband and wife, after the resurrection? Why should he? If he had joined them together, according to the marriage ceremony that was administered to the first pair of immortality, then they could claim each other, after the resurrection; but inasmuch as the ceremony was performed by an uninspired man, not sent of God, and having no power to seal on earth that it should be sealed in heaven, of course their marriage covenant expires, that is the eternal end of their association. Now, the Latter-day Saints are not willing to go according to the tradition of the sectarian denominations of the earth; but we desire this great, this important ceremony to be performed so that it may be enduring, so that it never shall have an end, but last while eternal ages shall last.

How came we to obtain any knowledge upon this subject? Not of our own wisdom, not by searching the scriptures of truth. If God had not revealed himself, had not given instructions upon this important point, we should be in ignorance, the same as all the rest of the world; and our marriages, like them, would only be for time.

Another important question arises right here, in relation to those mar riages administered without authority; it is this. Many of you Latter-day Saints when you embraced this Gospel in Great Britain, in Scandinavia, in various parts of the United States, and among the various nations—were men having families, wives and children; you were married by the laws of the respective nations among whom you dwelt; you were married till death should separate you; you were not married for eternity. When you came up here to this land you began to inquire more fully into the nature of the marriage covenant. You found that there should be an eternal covenant, an eternal union. The question then arises, will your former marriage be sufficient? Not at all. You would have no wife in the morning of the resurrection, no children that would be yours legally and lawfully. Why? Because your marriage was not legal, only legal so far as the laws of the land were concerned, only legal according to the traditions of men. What should you do, then, in order that you may be legally married, in order that your marriage may stand the test in the judgment day, in order that you may have claim upon your families after the resurrection? You should have the ceremony performed again. Every couple that was married abroad, among the nations, must be re-married, not by man’s authority, but by divine authority. Your covenants should be eternal, and sealed by divine authority, and then you will have a claim upon each other. But what about your children, that were begotten while you were yet among the nations? Can you claim them in the morning of the resurrection? No: you cannot, unless they are sealed to you by proper authority—your sons and your daughters must be sealed to you, by one having authority from God; otherwise you have no claim upon them. Why? Because they were begotten under a marriage with which the Lord had nothing to do, only to suffer it; he suffered it for a wise purpose, that the human species might not be destroyed, or come to an end upon the earth; but as for commanding them he had nothing to do with that; consequently, not only your husbands and wives have to be re-married, by divine authority, but all of your children, that were born to you, under the old marriage, must be sealed to you in order that you may claim them in the morning of the resurrection.

But this opens up another field. I am talking to some who have a second wife. You lost your first wife, did you not, and you re-married according to the laws of the nations? What about these two wives? One living and the other dead; perhaps the dead one was just as good as the living; perhaps the person that died, before you gathered here to these mountains, was morally as good as any Latter-day Saint, lived up to all the light and knowledge which she was in possession of, yet she was not married to you by divine authority—what of her? Must she stand aside in the resurrection? And the second wife, because she happens to live and to receive the Gospel, and to gather up from among the nations, into the mountains, where the authority to administer these ordinances is revealed—must she supplant the first one that happened to fall into her grave before she heard these things? Must the first one remain without her family, without her children, according to the order that exists in the eternal world, while the second one enjoys all these things because she happened to live a little longer? What do you think about it? Are there no provisions made for the first wife that has fallen asleep just as much as there is for the second? For God is without respect of persons, so far as people are honest and obedient; and though people may fail to receive the fulness of the blessings pertaining to the Gospel, because it might not be sent to them and they fall asleep, yet God was not so shortsighted, in laying of the plan of salvation, that he made no provisions for them. He did make provisions for them; and in what way? That the living shall act for the dead; this is the provision. Hence, we read concerning one of the sacred and holy ordinances, called baptism, that the saints in the Corinthian church, in ancient times, were baptized for those that were dead. What was the object of this? The object was that eternal blessings might be bestowed upon those who were dead; because of the actions of the living in their behalf, providing that the dead would receive what was done for them by the living. “The same great Being that ordained the principle of baptism for and in behalf of the dead, also ordained eternal union through other sacred ordinances referring to the man and the woman; not only for the living but also for the dead, that they might be benefited not only by the actions of the living in baptism, but also by the acts of the living in relation to the marriage covenant; one is just as consistent as the other. If there is any great principle that has a bearing upon the eternal welfare of the human family, any great ordinance necessary to be attended to that will give them a right and title to eternal blessings, it matters not whether it be baptism, or the laying on of hands, or any other ordinance which God has instituted, it will be recognized in the eternal heavens. Well did the Apostle say, “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man in Lord.” He understood the principle.

But shall we carry this one step further? I have spoken of these two women, one dying without hearing the Gospel, the other having all the privileges of the Gospel, pertaining to every blessing relating to eternity. Now if the living can act for the dead, by proxy, in other words, if the Lord our God gives a commandment, to his living Saints, to administer in all of these ordinances for and in behalf of the dead, then the dead will have claim upon these sealing powers and ordinances, the same as though they were living. But, says one, I see one difficulty here. What is it? Why, if these two women come forth in the resurrection, and these ordinances are recognized in heaven, the man would have two wives at once in the eternal world, and that would shock our consciences very much! Well, the Lord is not particularly anxious that your consciences should not be shocked. He is not going to swerve from the principles of eternal truth in order that your consciences or traditions may not be in the least degree disturbed. He is not going to vary from this law, he ordained from before the foundation of the world, in order to suit, yours or anybody else’s conscience. But, says one, that would be preaching up plurality, for those that are brought forth in the eternal world. Two women would go into the same family, and be wives for all eternity; and as you have said that the Lord commanded this multiplication to take place, when they were immortal beings, then, of course, both of these wives would raise up posterity in all ages of eternity, being immortal personages, and thus fulfil the great and first commandment. Now, says one, these are the consequences that grow out of the doctrines you are teaching. I admit they are; perhaps you may be willing to admit the truth of this, so far as eternity is concerned, and those that have left here without hearing the Gospel. But let me ask a question here—Is it any more right for two women to claim the same husband, after they come forth from the grave, than it is for two women, here in time living on this earth, to claim a man as their husband? If one is right, the other is right also; and if the latter is not right, then the first doctrine that I have named is not right.

But I have not got through with this subject. There are other points to be considered. I have only spoken of two women. Now, says one, here is a woman who survives her husband and marries a second husband. The second husband receives the Gospel and comes into the Church; the first husband died without ever hearing it. What are you going to do with him? Do you suppose that God, in laying down the great plan of salvation would forget to make any laws, provisions, or conditions, in regard to these matters? Not at all. He has ordained that every man who is worthy shall have a family of his own; but he never did ordain, neither before the foundation of the world nor during any of the dispensations that have existed on the earth, that a woman should have two husbands living at the same time. He did ordain that a man should have two or more wives, and did acknowledge it, sanction it, did bless those that entered into his order of marriage in ancient times; but we have no account of his ever approbating the contrary. Well, inquires one, what will become of this good man that happened to be in this condition? There are provisions ordained from before the foundation of the world, which take into consideration all these cases; namely, that all the human family who have died without the law or between the dispensations, when there was no divine authority on the earth, shall have a proper chance, by the living acting for the dead; and as there are innumerable females who have died and who never had wives, provisions are made for them all providing that they embrace, in the spirit world the great plan of salvation in all its fulness,

We might say much more upon this subject. We might set forth before this congregation a case something like this: Here is a young man. He goes forth into the community, and seeks out a wife. He goes before those holding divine authority—power to bind on earth, and it shall be bound in heaven—and he is married to her for time and all eternity. By and by she dies. Perhaps she may have had one or two children, perhaps she may not have had any children, as the case may be. She dies, leaves her husband still in his youth. Must this youth, this good man, the man that has kept the commandments of God and been obedient to the Gospel of the Son of God—must he remain all the days of his life, perhaps 50 or 60 years longer, without having the privilege of taking another wife, his first wife having died? Oh, says one, the law does not forbid, when a man’s wife dies, his taking another. Suppose he takes another, what then? If he could have only one wife after the resurrection from the dead, what would his second wife do? Would she not be apt to say, “No, sir, you have a wife, she is in her grave, she was married to you for time and all eternity, now I desire a husband for all eternity myself. Is there any provision made for me if I go in as the second wife?” Why, yes. The provision is that both may be sealed to him for time and all eternity and not violate the law of God.

All these principles that I have treated upon, pertaining to eternal marriage, the very moment that they are admitted to be true, it brings in plurality of marriage, and if plurality of marriage is not true or in other words, if a man has no divine right to marry two wives or more in this world, then marriage for eternity is not true, and your faith is all vain, and all the sealing ordinances and powers, pertaining to marriages for eternity are vain, worthless, good for nothing; for as sure as one is true the other also must be true. Amen.

The Gathering of the Saints—Their Sufferings—Ancient Predictions Fulfilled—Crickets and Their Miraculous Destruction—Crops Saved—Desert Made Fruitful—God’s Kingdom in the Mountains—Its Future Destiny—The Coming of the Lord

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, June 20th, 1880.

I will call the attention of the congregation to a few verses, contained in the 50th Psalm, and the first six verses: “The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfec tion of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints to gether unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself.” It is very evident that the Psalmist, when writing these words, must have been inspired of the living God; for the events, here foretold, are clearly set forth in many other parts of the sacred scriptures. Two very important events are announced here; one is, the gathering of the Saints—those who have made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice—and another is the coming of the Lord, not his first coming, but his second advent, when a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him; when he shall, in other words, come in his majesty, in his power, in great glory, or, as the apostle Paul expresses it in one of his epistles to the Thessalonians, “he shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” There seems to be connected with this advent of the Lord from the heavens, great power; his arm is to be made manifest before all people. Preparatory to this great event, there will be a universal gathering of the Saints from the four quarters of the earth. It is one of the signs preceding the second advent. It is clearly foretold by many of the prophets. David alludes to it, not only in this Psalm, but in many parts of his Psalms. The Spirit of God seems to have moved upon him to portray more or less the great work of the gathering of the Saints in the last days. Many suppose that he will come and find the Saints scattered all over the world, not gathered into any special country, but it is evident that those who have taken this view of the subject don’t understand the Scripture writings. Nothing is plainer in all the sacred Scriptures than the gathering of the people of God. The apostle Paul, in the first chapter of his epistle to the Ephesians, prophesies “that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth.” It seems to be a new dispensation, a dispensation that is characterized by the words “fulness of times.” When these times shall be fulfilled: when the day shall come for this great preparatory work to take place, the Lord will signify it by speaking from the heavens; or, as it is here stated, in the fourth verse of this Psalm which I have just read, “he shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me: those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” From this we draw the conclusion, that when the dispensation shall be fully ushered in: when the time for the great preparatory work shall take place, the heavens will no longer be sealed up, but the Lord will again speak, will call to the heavens, call upon his angels, call upon the ancient prophets who have died and gone the way of the whole earth, and are dwelling in the heavens, to do the work assigned to them, in the great and last dispensation of the fulness of times, in bringing about the gathering and restitution of his people upon the face of the earth. David, in the 107th Psalm, has very clearly portrayed this wonderful and great event. Perhaps it may be well for us to read the exact words. He commences the Psalm thus: “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy.” Now notice the gathering—“And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.” It seems to be a gathering from the four points of the compass, out of all lands. You might inquire if the prophets have said anything special in relation to the country where these Saints, or people of God are to be gathered. Let us read the next verse. After gathering them out of the different countries and lands, from the east, west, north and south, the Psalmist says, “They wandered in a wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way,” etc. Now this cannot refer to any former dispensation of gathering. When the children of Israel in ancient days were collected together as a body, they were not taken from the east, west, north and south, but they were taken from one little country—the land of Goshen in Egypt. From there this handful of people, about twenty-five hundred thousand were taken, and in the course of time were permitted to inhabit the land of Canaan. But this gathering that is here spoken of informs us that they are to be gathered out of all lands. Who? The redeemed of the Lord—people who have heard the message of redemption, obeyed the ordinances of redemption, received the Gospel of redemption, and were the people of God, the people of Christ; they were the ones that were to wander in the wilderness, after they were thus gathered, and that wilderness would be a solitary way. Now, in gathering from Egypt to the land of Canaan, they wandered, it is true, in a small wilderness, on the east side of the Red Sea, but instead of bringing them forth where there was no city or habitation, he brought them forth to large and populous cities. The first city that they came to, after crossing from the east side of Jordan to the land on the west side, was the great city of Jericho, which the Lord delivered into their hands; and then there were numerous other cities that are mentioned in the Book of Joshua, which were delivered into the hands of the people. The children of Israel gathered out of one land; but this latter-day gathering was to be a people called “the redeemed of the Lord;” they were to go into a wilderness country. They were called, in many parts of the Scripture writings, “the people of Zion,” and “the Zion of the latter days.” The Lord calls them by this special name in the 51st chapter of Isaiah, and these are the words that are used: “For the Lord shall comfort Zion; he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.”

When I was a boy. I was inclined to attend very frequently the meetings that were held by the different denominations in the State of New York, my native State. I often heard this prophecy of Isaiah sung, by those who were singing anthems of praise to the Lord, “The Lord shall comfort Zion,” etc., but little did I know, in my boyhood or youth, what was meant by these predictions of Isaiah. It seems that the people of Zion are to be gathered out from all lands, from every nation under heaven, from the four points of the compass, and are to be brought into a solitary place, a wilderness, and when they arrive in that solitary place or wilderness, they will, at first, be greatly afflicted, sorely distressed, so much so that they will be under the necessity of crying unto the Lord, and he will deliver them from their distress. “They found no city to dwell in,” says David. Now, this was the case with the Latter-day Saints, whom the Lord commanded to gather together. When we started forth over the great desert plain, where there were no settlements, no cities, no towns, traveling hundreds of miles without any track to guide us, it was a “solitary way,” and rendered more terrible by the wild beasts that roamed over the plains. We could hear the sound of the wolf in his howlings; we could hear the sounds of the buffalos in their bellowings, but the sound of the human voice, from any village, or town, or settlement was unknown for hundreds of miles.

We commenced this journey in the year 1846, leaving the great Mississippi River in the cold month of February. After a portion of us had crossed the river in boats, the river was frozen over, and the rest of the company crossed in wagons on the ice. We had no grass to sustain our teams. Our teams depended upon the cottonwoods, and barks of trees, and a little corn that we could occasionally get by sending down to the settlements, and purchasing it for that purpose. We wandered in the wilderness “in a solitary way,” and when we had traveled some fourteen hundred miles, we found no city to dwell in, just precisely as the Psalmist said would be the case. We entered this valley in the month of July, 1847, having been detained during the winter, by sending over 500 of our people—young and middle-aged men—to help the United States in their war against Mexico. That detained us during the winter, so that we could not journey any further than Council Bluffs, or the regions a little above Omaha, where we built up a temporary residence. The next spring we started off, traveling over the plains “in a solitary way,” and entered this valley just about where Fort Douglass is now established on the bench; we called it Emigration Canyon. We came down here upon this plot of ground in the month of July, and commenced planting a few potatoes. It was very late to put in any corn, but we wished to try the soil to see whether there was any virtue in it. We found it, however, like an ash heap. It seemed as though there had been no rain upon the land for years. We could dig down a great depth in many places, where this city now stands, without finding scarcely any moisture, but we succeeded by taking the water from the creek—City Creek we call it—in flooding a small portion of ground, and put in our potatoes, and planted corn, a few beans, garden seeds, etc., to see if there was any virtue in the soil. What were the results of our first crop? We found that there was fruitfulness in the soil; but of course it was too late for anything to be matured. The same fall, or autumn of 1847, several thousand of the Latter-day Saints followed up our track. They came upon the land in the fall of the year, bringing with them a little breadstuffs to sustain them during the winter, and also our farm utensils, and everything in the shape of wearing apparel that could be brought. We had not much to bring, for we had already been driven four or five times in the United States, from our houses and from our lands; much of our bedding was burnt; our stores torn down, and the goods carried into the streets and destroyed. Hence, we had not much to bring with us: but we came trusting in our God, and we found that the Lord really fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, and made the wilderness to blossom as the rose, made the desert to bloom like the Garden of Eden—literally fulfilling that which our Gentile religious denominations had been singing in my ears, when I was a youth. Very pleasant song to those who did not understand it, but much more pleasant to those who do understand and are fulfilling it. We made great calculations in laying off this city. We did not lay it off merely one square mile, as if we were doubtful as to whether there would be any inhabitants to occupy it, nor two miles square, but we laid it off, covering an area of about five square miles. We expected that there would be a great emigration. Upon what did we found our expectation? Was it upon our own natural judgment? No; we founded our expectation upon that which God had spoken in the modern revelations which he had given to us as a people. He told us, by revelation, before our prophet was martyred, that we would have to leave the United States: go beyond the Rocky Mountains, and seek our home in the wilderness, and that we would have a great people gather with us. We believed his words; we laid out this city accordingly; and now all that remains for us or strangers to do, in regard to the fulfillment of these expectations, is to ride from one end of this city to the other, and see if there is much spare ground: see if the lots are not pretty generally occupied, and the city pretty well filled with inhabitants. “And he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein.” At first, before the joy and gladness came, this other prophecy was fulfilled: “Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them,” then they cried unto the Lord in their afflictions, and the Lord heard them, and delivered them out of their distress. It is not necessary for me to enumerate all our privations, such as the shortness of provisions, and how many had to live on the roots that sprang out of the ground; how many had to boil up the hides of their cattle that had transported them across the plains; it is not necessary to enter into all these particulars. I do not know that it is necessary for us even to speak of a great trial of our faith, that we had after we had been here many months. We planted our crops in the spring, and they came up, and were looking nicely, and we were cheered with the hopes of having a very abundant harvest. But alas! it very soon appeared as if our crops were going to be swallowed up by a vast horde of crickets, that came down from these mountains—crickets very different to what I used to be acquainted with in the State of New York. They were crickets nearly as large as a man’s thumb. They came in immense droves, so that men and women with brush could make no head way against them; but we cried unto the Lord in our afflictions, and the Lord heard us, and sent thousands and tens of thousands of a small white bird. I have not seen any of them lately. Many called them gulls, although they were different from the seagulls that live on the Atlantic coast. And what did they do for us? They went to work, and by thousands and tens of thousands, began to devour them up, and still we thought that even they could not prevail against so large and mighty an army. But we noticed, that when they had apparently filled themselves with these crickets, they would go and vomit them up, and again go to work and fill themselves, and so they continued to do, until the land was cleared of crickets, and our crops were saved. There are those who will say that this was one of the natural courses of events, that there was no miracle in it. Let that be as it may, we esteemed it as a blessing from the hand of God; miracle or no miracle, we believe that God had a hand in it, and it does not matter particularly whether strangers believe or not.

We found no city here to dwell in. What did we do? Went to work and began to build a great city. This also was foretold in this same Psalm, “He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.” We found that when we came and began to irrigate the land, and the rains began to descend from the heavens, the earth began to take on a fresh appearance, and the dry ground became like water springs. “And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation.” Now when the Israelites went into Canaan they found cities already prepared, but we had to prepare our own city, “And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.” Now, the Latter-day Saints who have been here, since the arrival of the first companies in the year 1847, can rea lize how much the Lord has multiplied this people. We are as it were overrun with children. If strangers will take the opportunity of going to some of our oldest towns, and through our various settlements, they will find vast numbers of children, perhaps more children in our country than in any other country in the United States of the same population. This is very clearly spoken of here, “He blessed them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease.” Again he says, in the 41st verse, “Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock.” Those that are acquainted with some of our poor men, and when they go and look at one man’s family; for this is in the singular number—“he maketh him families like a flock”—when we see one man’s family like a flock, we may know the Lord has fulfilled this prophecy in regard to the gathering of the Saints in the latter days. “The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.” The latter part of the sentence is not yet fulfilled, but the fore part is fulfilled; the righteous hath seen these “families like a flock,” and the people greatly multiplied upon the face of the land. “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.” That is, they are the children of the light. They can see that the Lord our God is fulfilling that which he had purposed to fulfil, when the day for the gathering of his Saints should commence. They can see that that which has occurred corresponds with that which was predicted. Again, they can see how the righteous prosper and flourish; how their cattle increase, and how the Lord has made this wilderness, this desert, this waste country, like the garden of Eden.

Paul, I have no doubt, saw this dispensation of the “fulness of times,” or he never would have predicted the great gathering that should then take place, namely “all things in Christ”—notice that expression; not those who are out of Christ, not those who have not been baptized into Christ; but “all things in Christ; both which are in heaven and which are on the earth; even in him.”

This forcibly puts me in mind of the parable of our Savior concerning this great latter-day gathering. In the 24th chapter of Matthew he speaks of his second coming “in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory,” and how the Gospel should be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, before he should come in his glory. In the next chapter, in order that his disciples might fully understand his sayings, he goes on to explain that at that particular period the kingdom of heaven should be likened unto ten virgins; not the former kingdom that was to be built up, when he came on the earth in the flesh; that was not likened unto ten virgins; but at the time he should commence the great work of gathering, that wheresoever the main body of the kingdom is gathered together, from the four quarters of the earth, preparatory to his second coming, then, at that time, should the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth—(signifying that they did not remain in their native lands) to meet the Bridegroom. It was a literal gathering out; and after they had gathered out, taking their lamps with them, they began to be sleepy, and it is written, “they all slumbered and slept.” It was a time to sleep, a time of drowsiness; it is called midnight; but when all was silent, and when probably the world outside was not looking for anything very great, was careless and indifferent, a voice was heard in the depth of this silence, saying, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” Then all those virgins awoke, both the wise and the foolish. The wise ones trimmed their lamps, and had some oil left; but the lamps of the foolish had gone out, because there was no oil in them. It seems that they had been so careless, that all the Spirit of God—which may be compared to the oil that gives brightness to the lamps—had gone out of them, and their lamps would not burn. “Well,” said they, “what shall we do? We have been expecting the Bridegroom as well as you that are wise; we believed the Gospel, but really we have been too careless; the spirit has been withdrawn from us; there is no oil in our lamps; cannot you give us some? Won’t you sell us a little?” “Oh, no,” say the wise ones, “we almost fear we have not got enough for ourselves; if you want any, you had better go and buy of those who want to sell.” Hence, five that had gathered were foolish, and five were wise. The wise entered in with the Bridegroom, and the door was shut before the foolish ones could get in. But they afterwards arrived and begged to be admitted; and the question was asked. “Who are ye?” “We have been here among your people for a long time. Have we not cast out devils at a certain time? Have we not been on missions? Have we not healed the sick and done many wonderful works in your name?” What is the reply? “I know you not.” Why? Because they have apostatized; they have lost the oil out of their lamps; they failed to be prepared for the coming of the Savior. Therefore they were bound, as it were, hand and foot, and delivered over to the wicked world, to suffer the same punishment as those that would not receive the truth, and perhaps even greater.

There is another parable concerning this gathering dispensation. You recollect the Savior, in speaking of the end of the wicked world, in a parable, calls it a time of harvest. Before the time of harvest, there seemed to be a gathering together, and by and by, after this gathering, the tares were plucked out from among the wheat, and cast out in bundles, ready to be burned; but those that were not tares, those that were really wheat, were the ones that were prepared to enter in and partake of the blessing of the Lord. This was spoken, not concerning the former dispensation, but that dispensation immediately preceding the end of the world.

In another very plain parable, concerning the gathering in the last days, the kingdom of heaven is compared—that is the kingdom which should exist in the last days—to a net that should be cast into the sea, and gather of all kinds, both good and bad. They are brought up to the shore, not left in their native ocean or native waters, but brought up to the shore. The bad are cast away, and the good were cast into the vessels. Now, this had reference also to the end of the world. This had reference to the great and last dispensation, when the servants of God will go forth, being commissioned of the Lord of Hosts to gather out his Saints, those that have made a covenant with him by sacrifice, and in the gathering out of these Saints from all the lands of the earth, and from the four quarters thereof, they will gather up a great many that are not good, that will not stand the test; but the bad will be cast out, those who have not on the wedding garment, they will be cast away, and bound hand and foot, as it were, until the end shall come, that is, the final judgment, which will be more than a thousand years after the time of the coming of the Savior.

This same great gathering is characterized also by Daniel, as a stone cut out of the mountain without hands. This stone is represented as a kingdom, and its location is represented as a mountain, showing that there is to be a kingdom of God set up in the last days by the gathering together of his people in an elevated region of country, called a mountain. By and by that stone will roll forth, until the kingdoms of this world are broken in pieces, and as the Prophet Daniel said, the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but shall stand forever; all those other earthly kingdoms, that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream, will vanish away, like a night vision, or, in other words, become “like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, and no place was found for them.” There are many politicians that are trying to foretell the future. They speak of what this government, and that government, and the other government will be, several hundred years hence, or perhaps in ages hence, as though they could see and understand, naturally, the condition of the various governments and kingdoms of the earth, for a long time to come; but Daniel, who was filled with the Spirit of the living God, saw that all these earthly governments—with the setting up of which God had nothing to do particularly, that is, their founders were neither prophets nor revelators so as to found them upon the principles of the everlasting Gospel—were to vanish away, like the chaff of the summer threshingfloor. And you know how that vanishes, especially when the wind blows strongly. So shall it be with all the governments, kingdoms, powers, republics, and empires upon the face of this globe, except one government, namely, that government which the God of heaven shall establish in the latter days upon the mountains. This is the work of God. It is God that causes these kingdoms to vanish away. It is our God that will cleanse the earth from wickedness. “A fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him.” He it is that will speak and the wicked shall melt away. He it is that will cause violent whirlwinds to go forth and destroy this, that, or the other city, according to his own will. He it is that will send forth pestilence and plague, and will perform all that has been spoken by the mouth of his prophets, concerning the destruction that is to take place in the latter days.

To prove still more clearly the nature of this great latter-day work of gathering, read the writings of John the Revelator. He saw the introduction of the Gospel in the latter days. He saw “another angel” should bring it. He saw that it should be published to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. He saw that following that angel there would come great and terrible judgments. He saw that after that angel should come with the Gospel, there would come a voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remem bered her iniquities.” This voice from heaven, this new revelation, that was promised by the mouth of John the Revelator, and the sound to all is: “Come out from among these nations. Come out from the four quarters of the earth. Come out from Great Babylon, ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great,’ that you may escape the desolation and plagues that will soon overtake her.” Read concerning the coming of that angel with the Gospel. Read the declaration that that should be the hour of God’s judgment. When the Gospel is preached, it is the last message to the human family, the last warning voice that they will hear before the coming of the Lord. If they receive it, they will flee out from the nations; if they receive it not, then know assuredly that the hour of God’s judgment is come, and God himself will judge the people, as written in this 50th Psalm.

But we will not detain you longer. May the Lord bless you. May he pour out his Spirit upon all the faithful of the Latter-day Saints, and if there are any unfaithful ones, numbered with the people of God, may the Spirit of the Lord strive with you, until you shall repent of your unfaithfulness, and become pure, upright, virtuous, and holy before the Lord, that you may be entitled to his Holy Spirit. And if there be any strangers present, this afternoon, who desire to know the truth, we would ask them to search the sacred Scriptures, call upon the name of the Most High God, and he will show you whether these Scriptures are true or not; he will reveal to you whether he has sent his angel from heaven or not; he will give you a testimony that is greater than the testimony of men, provided you will go humbly before him, and call upon him, with all your hearts. Amen.

The Power of God to Communicate Intelligence—Difference in Capacity Between the Mortal and the Immortal—The Future of Man, Etc.

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered in the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, June 13th, 1880.

I shall endeavor to occupy a few moments of time, and perhaps I may continue my remarks until it is time to close the meeting. I wish I enjoyed better health; I should then feel more like speaking. But as it is, I feel willing to exert myself as far as possible, and also to bring my mind to bear upon the great subject of salvation, and the principles that pertain to eternal life and happiness in the world to come. It is difficult, sometimes, for a person who does not feel well in body, to concentrate his mind upon those subjects which will be edifying and instructive to the people.

It gives me great joy and pleasure, at all times, when I have the opportunity to express myself in regard to the great and important work, which our Father in heaven has seen proper to commence in our day. We have been made partakers, in a measure, of the spirit of the living God, pertaining to this last dispensation. This spirit, when received, and when we give it our attention, and bring our minds to bear upon the object of its operations, is calculated to instruct and impart much information and knowledge to both male and female who are in the possession of it. The Spirit of God is a spirit of revelation. It always was a spirit that revealed something to the human family, when mankind were in possession of it. There have been, however, many ages since the commencement of the world, when the children of men have so far wandered from the Almighty, so far departed from his ordinances and precepts, that the spirit of revelation has not had place within them. The world may be considered in a woeful state of darkness and unbelief, whenever this great and glorious gift is withdrawn from the children of men; for without this gift, without this spirit, without revelation from the Most High, it is utterly impossible for the human family to be saved in the celestial kingdom of our Father and God. Perhaps some may think that this is a very broad statement. They will refer back to the last sixteen or seventeen centuries, and will say, that our fathers have not enjoyed the spirit of revelation, during that time, and if your statement, Mr. Pratt, be true, our fathers are not saved in the celestial kingdom of God. I do not say that our fathers will all be sent to an endless hell. I have made no such assertion. I do not say that they will receive no happiness, no glory, no reward in the world to come; I have made no such assertion; but understand my assertion, that if the world have not been in the possession of divine revelation directly to themselves, during this long period of time, then there have none of them been saved in the celestial kingdom of our Father and God. Now I hope that you have understood me. There is quite a difference between being saved in some kingdom, where there is some glory, some happiness, and being saved in the kingdom where our Father resides. There is only one way to obtain this kingdom—the kingdom that is represented, in its glory, by one of the most brilliant luminaries that shines in yonder heavens, namely, the sun. We are told by our Savior that those who obey his commandments shall shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of our Father. The Apostle Paul informs us that there are in the eternal worlds many different kinds of glory. In the 15th chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, he says that, “there is one glory of the sun; and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.” They do not all rise to the same glory, nor to the same happiness, nor to the same fulness, nor to the same kingdom; but they arise from their graves, and come forth—those who are counted worthy of any kind of glory—to receive that which they are worthy of, all that they have lived for, and nothing more.

Our Father who dwells in yonder heavens, and his Son Jesus Christ, inhabit the highest degree of glory in eternity. They are possessed of all the fullness of glory. They have a fullness of happiness, a fullness of power, a fullness of intelligence, light and truth, and they bear rule over all other kingdoms of inferior glory, of inferior happiness, and of inferior power. Their glory is like that of the sun, or at least, the sun being the most conspicuous body with which we are immediately acquainted, in regard to its glory, it is referred to as being typical of the highest degree of glory in the heavens. The Gospel is intended to exalt the children of men to that same degree of glory, where our Father and where his Son reside. Hence it is said by our Savior, just as he was taking leave of his apostles in ancient times, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” There is a mansion where he dwells. Where this mansion is located in the midst of the vast surrounding space, has not been revealed to us. It may have been revealed in former ages of the world; but to us, as Latter-day Saints, we have no revelation concerning its location. But there is a location, where these two glorious personages dwell. It has a location, just as much as our earth has a location in the solar system. But when I speak of our Father and our God being located in a glorious mansion, or celestial world, I do not wish to be understood that he is confined to that location. Do not misapprehend the subject. He is not confined to that particular locality, in the midst of universal space. He has power which we are not in possession of. He has power to waft himself from that particular locality to other dominions, other worlds, other creations; and to do this with an immense velocity. Of course, to accomplish this must occupy time. There are some, however, so foolish in their ideas that they suppose that it does not require time for the Almighty to go from world to world, or for any celestial messenger to do so. But this is a grand mistake. Time is included in all motion. Time is included between the event of a heavenly being leaving the celestial abode, where he dwells, and going to some other abode at a distance. How great this time may be is not revealed; but I have an idea that it is much swifter than any velocity with which we are familiar; I mean the velocity with which our Father and God can convey himself from the celestial abode where he dwells to some other kingdom. I believe it be much swifter than that of the common light which shines from the heavenly bodies of our system, or from the distant bodies of the stellar system. Now, light travels with immense velocity—185,000 miles in one beat of the pulse, or in about one second of time. We might suppose that that is about as swift as any being would want to be wafted.

But suppose that our Father, in the heavenly world where he dwells, should feel disposed to visit one of the vast dominions of his great creation as far distant as the nearest fixed star. If he could go no faster than light is transmitted through space, it would take him three and a half years to perform the journey. And to go to one that was situated some ten or fifteen times further off, it would take, of course, ten or fifteen times longer. And to go to some which are as far off from him as the distant creations that are just visible through our most powerful telescopes, it would take him six hundred thousand years to perform the journey, provided his velocity was only equal to that of light. I draw the conclusion, therefore, that God is not confined to the velocity of light, or to any other velocity with which we are acquainted—that he can go with immense velocity, perhaps thousands and hundreds of thousands of times swifter than that of light, if he feels disposed so to do. It is out of the question for us to suppose that God does not travel in going from creation to creation. That he could be momentarily and instantaneously in two creations at the same time is something that I never could comprehend, although it is believed in by some of the religious professors of the present day. They believe that God, in his person, can be in infinite space all at the same moment. That is not our doctrine. It is not my doctrine, at least. He may be, by his power, by his intelligence, by his spirit, in infinite space, working throughout all the vast dominions of space, according to laws he has ordained and instituted.

Having said so much, in regard to the locality of our Heavenly Father, and of the celestial beings who dwell in the same abode, or in the same mansions where he resides, let me now say a few words more in regard to his presence being everywhere. I cannot, for a moment suppose, and I do not believe that any intelligent being who exercises his intelligence, independently of the traditions of the children of men, can suppose, that a person can be everywhere present at the same instant. “But,” inquires one, “when a good man dies, passes out of this body of flesh and bones, it is said that he is in the presence of God. Does this mean that he has actually gone from his tabernacle, perhaps millions and millions and unnumbered millions of miles, to the abode or mansion where Jesus is, because he is in the presence of God?” No; I do not look at it in this way, I look at it in this light: if this world in which we dwell had the veil withdrawn from off its face, and the veil taken away from our faces, I consider that we would see the Lord, however far distant he might be; hence we would be in his presence; and on the other hand, those who dwell in his abode, however distant, can see us; for there is no veil over his face, no veil over the celestial abode of our Father and God, and there being no veil over him, nor over the beings that dwell in his abode, they can behold the most distant creations, which they have made. Now, this is my view. I do not say this is the view of the Latter-day Saints, but my own individual views, in regard to these matters. If then we pass out of these bodies of ours, and the veil is taken away, we are in his presence, just as much as we would be if we were wafted to the mansion where he dwells: I have no doubt, but what we will be wafted (if we are worthy) to that mansion, in due time; but I say, that we are in the presence of God, while our spirits are yet here upon the earth; because the veil is removed and our eyes can pierce eternity, and eternal things.

Now, we have some examples of this, Latter-day Saints: and I sometimes wonder, when we have such plain examples as are to be had in this book which I hold in my hand, (The Pearl of Great Price) I sometimes wonder that people should be so limited in their ideas and in their views, concerning the future state of man (I mean the glorified man), as to suppose that he will be confined in his vision to some particular locality, and that he will be something similar to what we are here in this mortal life. Now, even mortal men, before they obtained immortality, have enjoyed this spirit of seeing things that were naturally supposed to be utterly impossible. Who that is acquainted with this book (the Pearl of Great Price) has not read with great and deep interest, the words of that great man, Moses, before he was sent down to Egypt to redeem the Israelites? Who is there among the readers of the Latter-day Saints who cannot comprehend, in some measure, how the vision of that man was enlarged, while he was yet here in a state of mortality? He went up into the Mount to pray to the Lord. The veil was removed. The glory of God rested upon Moses, and great and important things were made manifest to him. All things were not revealed; for he was incapable of receiving all things while yet a mortal being. But the Lord saw proper to reveal some things; and Moses sought to know some other things, but the Lord would not grant it and told him that no man could behold all his works, except he beheld all his glory; and no man could behold all his glory and afterwards remain in the flesh upon the earth; that is, in the state of mortality. But, said he, “Moses, my son, I will show unto thee some of the works of mine hands. I will reveal unto you concerning the heaven that is over your head, and this earth upon which you dwell.” And as the Lord talked with Moses, the Spirit of God being upon him, his eyes were opened, the veil was taken away, and he saw the whole earth, not merely the surface of it, but the interior of it; every particle of it was before the eyes of Moses. This, then, shows that there is within each of these mortal tabernacles a spirit, and this spirit, when lit up by the Holy Spirit from on high, has certain faculties and powers, far beyond that which we are able to develop naturally here upon the earth. We cannot, by our own natural powers, discern one foot underneath the surface of the earth. We cannot discern through anything that is opaque in its nature—anything that will not admit the natural light to be transmitted through is substance. But still, we have the faculties within us; we have the power; there is merely an obstacle, or obstruction, in the way; and when this obstruction is removed it shows the godlike powers that are planted within the tabernacles of men, by which they can behold and pierce those portions of creation that are not discernable by the natural man. This Moses obtained during the few moments that he was thus enwrapt in vision. He obtained more information in those few moments than could be imparted in all the universities and colleges that ever existed, since the creation of the world to the present day. We may study the ponderous volumes that are published by the learned, and it takes a long time to grasp the information that some very learned men have received. But oh, how different is the method of receiving revelation, when it comes from the Most High! In a moment, as it were, those faculties of ours that have been lying dormant ever since we were born into this world—those faculties which are enshrouded with the darkness of a fallen creation—those faculties, when once illuminated, when once touched by the finger of the Almighty, can pierce the creations of the Almighty, so far as he permits us to behold.

These things encourage me. I am in hopes, when I get to the other side of the veil, that it will not be so difficult for me to understand the different laws of science, and the different laws and branches of education that are taught in this little creation of ours. I am in hopes that when my spirit shall launch forth out of this mortal tabernacle, and go into the eternal world, that I shall not, at that time, require Lord Ross’s great six feet telescope; I am in hopes that I shall not need any of the telescopes, or other instruments invented in the nineteenth century; but I am in hopes there will be a telescope prepared for me, by which I can see the vast creations of the Almighty, and comprehend, in a short period of time, more than could be unfolded to the children of mortality in a thousand years.

I mention this in order to bring before the Latter-day Saints a principle which, I think, we should all, more or less, reflect upon. How encouraging it is to think we are not always going to be bound down to this slow process of gaining knowledge, and information, and wisdom, pertaining to the works of the Almighty! How glorious it is also, to reflect upon the celestial host, who dwell in the fulness of celestial glory, where there is no veil, and where they have their bodies; for some of them have been raised from the grave to immortality, and are clothed upon with all the fulness of the attributes of the Father. I say, how glorious it is to reflect upon the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of knowledge that will then be unfolded to the children of men! These things, as I said before, inspire my heart with joy. I do not confine my hopes to the volumes of works on science, with which I may come in contact here in this world; I do not confine my hopes to the slow process of advancing in knowledge and intelligence that the children of this world have; but I look forward to that higher school—that great university which will scope in boundless and eternal space, that will scope in the most distant creations that we can imagine in the vast field of eternity, in which we will be able to comprehend those laws by which the various creations are governed; not understand them as we now comprehend some few laws, but understand them in all their perfection and fulness, being like unto our Father and God, made like unto him, fashioned like unto his glorious body, and become indeed “sons of God.” Shall I go still further and say Gods? Are we not the children of our Father? Will not the children ascend to the same height, to the same glory, to the same celestial world, and to the same fullness of the attributes of their Father? Are not our children, take them as a body, qualified to come up to all the perfections and attributes of their fathers, who came on the earth before them? It seems to be a general law that children will grow up and possess all of the perfections of their parents, provided that they take the necessary steps, and are favored with long life, and have the natural intelligence that is common to man. If, then, this seems to be a natural law in regard, not only to man, but also to all animated creation—that the children come up and possess the perfections of their fathers before them—may we not reason, by analogy, that our Father who begat us—our Father who dwells in yonder celestial world, intends to make us one with him, that we shall receive the same fulness with him, that we shall partake of light, and truth, and knowledge, and advance from grace to grace, as the revelations in the Book of Covenants state, until we shall receive a fulness of all truth? Then will not this make us, in one sense of the word, sons of God? Will it not make us Gods also, according to the word of God? “But,” inquires one, “how can two persons possess the same attributes without quarreling with each other?” That is not the order of heaven. That is not the pure law that God has ordained, that there should be quarrels with those that have the same degree of intelligence; but the law is that they shall become one, as “I and my Father are one, so that these my brethren may also become one in us as we are one.” That is the law; and if they are one there will be as much unity between his children who are exalted to that high condition in the celestial glory, as there is a unity and oneness between the Father and his only begotten Son. Have they any quarrel? Have they any difficulties? Have they any difference of views? Does one intend to carry on one government, and another a different kind of government? No; whatever is the will of the Father, is the will of the Son; whatever the Father is prepared to do, throughout all his vast dominions, the Son is in accord with him; and whatever the Father desires to perform and accomplish, his children who are made like him and one with them, will take hold and perform the same work, with all that unity and oneness which exist between the Father and the Son. In the celestial glory they are made equal in oneness, in power, in knowledge, and in all perfections; and the Lord their God is with them, and they are one with him, to carry on all his purposes, and will be one with him throughout all the future ages of eternity.

I thought perhaps the time was expired; but I will say a few more words in regard to this great glory, this high destiny prepared for the sons of God. I told you that our process of gaining information would be very rapid—would be immense in its growth, and that we should have the faculties within us developed to the highest degree. But now let us for a few moments, look into this high state of perfection. When our faculties are thus developed, and when we have all the wisdom that I have been speaking of, that dwells in the bosom of celestial beings, in the eternal worlds, what will we do with this wisdom? Will we fold up our arms, and remain throughout all the future ages of eternity, in perfect indifference and laziness, without anything to accomplish or perform? No; we will have works assigned to us to perform in the eternal worlds, that will be proportionate to all the fulness of that glory and knowledge which we are endowed with. Did the sons of God in ancient times, come forth and assist in the formation of this little creation of ours? Did they all shout for joy when the materials were brought together, and when the foundations of the earth were laid? Did they all feel happy and sing a song of rejoicing, and with great joy; did they look upon the works which they were performing? Yes. Jesus was there—the Firstborn of this great family of our Father in heaven. He had the superintendence of this creation. He had the power, because the power dwelt within him, to build this earth of ours, the same as you give to your superintendent power to build your temples, about which Brother Rich has been speaking. It is said that the worlds were made through our Lord Jesus Christ. But do you suppose that he alone made them? No; he had the sons and daughters of God with him. And there were prophets in those days, before our earth was made. They shouted for joy when they saw the nucleus of this creation formed. Why? Because they could look into the future, and by the spirit of prophecy, behold the designs and purposes of the great Jehovah in regard to the creation which they were then in the act of forming. Did they not understand that they would have the privilege of coming forth and peopling this earth? Yes. Did they not understand that they were to pass through a probation on this earth, the same as we are now passing through, in order to prepare them for a still higher exaltation and glory, with immortal bodies of flesh and bones? Yes; they understood these things, hence their joy, when they saw the creation being formed for them. I mention this, in order to show to the Latter-day Saints that the great work that will be entrusted to those who are prepared, will be proportionate to the wisdom, intelligence and understanding that will be imparted to those who enter into the fulness of the glory of the celestial kingdom. They will not remain in idleness to all eternity. They will have a work to perform. They will form worlds under the direction, no doubt, of those that may be ap pointed to superintend works of such vast magnitude. Furthermore, when they have formed these worlds, they will set them in motion in the midst of universal space, in some location, where they can continue their mission, and where all necessary things shall be fulfilled and accomplished during the days of the probation of these various creations. There will be laws given to govern these new creations, the same as there are laws given to govern the creations with which we are surrounded. The inhabitants upon these creations will be visited from time to time by those that have taken part in the great work of their formation. The inhabitants thereof will be dealt with according to law. They will be intelligent beings. They will have their agency, and they will pass through their probation the same as the people are now passing through their probations here in this world. Everything will be accomplished according to laws that shall be ordained when these creations are made. Will they visit these creations? Yes; for they will have the same power of locomotion, the same power to pass through space (almost in the twinkling of an eye) that our Father has—that his Son Jesus Christ has—that all celestial beings who are exalted in his presence have, and possessing the power, they will visit from creation to creation; they will impart knowledge and understanding to their children in these creations. They will visit them with the light of their countenances, and the children of these creations will be made glad in their hour, in their times, and in their seasons, by the light and countenances of the celestial beings who, from time to time, organized them. These are the high destinies that await the Latter-day Saints, if they are faithful. These are the high destinies into which many of the Former-day Saints have already entered. These are the great, and choice, and exalted blessings in store for all who will keep the commandments of our Father and God. Amen.

Pre-Existence, in Spiritual Form, of Man, the Lower Animals and the Earth—The Temporal Probationary State—The Millennium—The Final Change

Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, delivered at Mount Pleasant, November 12th, 1879.

Through the kind providence of our heavenly Father we are permitted, on this pleasant day, to assemble here in this comfortable house, for the purpose of worshiping God, and hearing instruction as the Lord may see proper, in his kindness and wisdom, to pour out his spirit, and make manifest the truth to us. It is a pleasing thing for the human mind, to contemplate that it has some object to worship; that there is a being, far exalted above us, who dwells in the heavens, who is worthy of all adoration and praise; and that we are his children, in possession of a portion of his attributes.

The world which we inhabit is a fallen creation, a fallen world, shut out from the presence of our Father, the being whom we worship, so that we cannot behold his face, nor the glory of his presence. It is for a wise purpose, that we are placed here, in this fallen condition. It seems to be so, as far as we have been made acquainted with the purposes of the great Jehovah. It seems to be the ordeal, through which all intelligent beings must pass, in order to gain that fullness of exaltation, in the presence of God, which is promised in his word.

We were not always in the condition we are now in. We are only placed here for a few years, and are adapted to our present condition. A long time before you and I came here upon this stage of action, we had an intelligent existence; we dwelt in a better world than this, and a world that had been redeemed, a world that had been sanctified and glorified; in other words, a world that had been made celestial, just as we are in hopes that our present world will, at some future period, be exalted to the celestial glory, and become the habitation of celestial beings. That world we occupied, before we came here, was celestial; our Father had his dwelling place there, or, at least, one of his dwelling places; and we were surrounded by our Father’s glory, we were familiar with his countenance, familiar with the beautiful mansions that were there—familiar with all the glory that existed there, so far as we were capable of comprehending. There was no veil drawn between us and our Father, no veil drawn between us and the associates of our Father, who were also celestial beings, many of them having been redeemed from a world more ancient than ours. We had a long experience, I suppose, in that world; at least, we know from that which our Father has revealed to us, that we were born there; that this intelligent being that has power to discern, power to reflect, power to reason—that this intelligent being was born in that previous estate.

These were some of the first revelations given in this last dispensation. The Lord did not wait several years, before he revealed unto us, in some measure, concerning our condition before we came here. Hence, it was away back in the year 1830, that this doctrine of the pre-existence of man was revealed, in greater fullness, than it was given in the Book of Mormon. There are two or three places in the Book of Mormon that reveal the pre-existence of man; but not in such great plainness, as was given soon after the publication of that Book, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, before the Saints began to gather, informing us that we were in reality the children of our Father and God; that we had a pre-existence in which we had learned many very important principles, connected with spiritual existence, before taking bodies of flesh and bones, which was also necessary to afford us a still greater experience. Now, in this plan that God has devised for the advancement of these intelligent beings—by passing them through various stages of existence, under different circumstances, and in different conditions—he gives them experience that they never could have gained, had they remained in the presence of the Father, in that world which was celestial; in other words, we were his offspring in that world, our spiritual bodies not having flesh and bones, but being in the image of the Father and Son—his own sons and daughters. He had a great desire that we should be educated and taught. He could teach us a great many things in that world as we teach our children; he could impart to us a great many things—for there were as many truths in existence in that day as are in existence now; but truths were taught to us, as we were capable of understanding them. The Lord felt anxious that we might come up and eventually be made like him, as it is written in the New Testament, “who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” I have no doubt before we came into this world, we had a great anxiety, that we might be brought up in the same way he was instructed and taught, and led along, passing through different conditions of existence, that we finally might be counted worthy to be exalted at his right hand, and receive the fullness of his celestial glory the same that he is in possession of and that we might have all his attributes, dwelling within us, as separate individuals and personages, that he might exalt us like unto himself. Now, there is a great deal to be comprehended, when we are told that we are children who will become like our Father; that we were like him in our first stage and condition of existence. We were there, as it were, children without a fullness of knowledge; many experiences had not yet been given to us; but we were like him in our general outline—the outline of our persons; our general form was like him, “after his image” etc. It is thus written in the Book of Mormon, in that great vision to the brother of Jared, in which the Lord condescended to take the veil off his eyes. The brother of Jared had gone up into the mountain, and had moulten out of a rock sixteen small stones, which he carried up into the top of the mount. He went there with an object in view; the object was to get the Lord to touch the stones that they might shine forth in darkness in the eight vessels, (which had been built to convey him and his brother across the great waters) one to be placed at each end of each of the vessels. It would naturally increase the faith of the brother of Jared, to believe it possible that he might see the finger of the Lord. He was going to pray that God would touch the stones, the same as we pray for the Lord to put forth his finger and touch the particles of oil, when we dedicate it, for sacred purposes. If we pray in faith, we must suppose that the finger touches the oil. And Jared prayed in faith. He did not know but what it might be his privilege to see his finger. He did see it; it appeared to him like the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood. But his faith was too great for his nervous system; for when he saw the finger of the Lord, he fell to the earth through fear. And the Lord looked unto him and asked him why he had fallen. He answered and said, “I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.” He did not know but what his imperfections were so great, that the Lord would smite him; but he was commanded to arise. The Lord then asked him, “Sawest thou more than this?” And he answered: “Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.” Here was a prayer that extended a little further. The Lord wanted to see what amount of faith he had, and he put another question to him, “Believest thou the words which I shall speak?” And he answered, “Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.” And when the brother of Jared had manifested his faith, the Lord condescended to show his whole personage to him, and said, “Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image. Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit, and man have I created after the body of my spirit.”

Here the pre-existence of man was taught in the Book of Mormon. All men in the beginning were created after the image of this body which he was then shewing. All the human family that then existed, and that would exist in future time upon the earth, were created in the beginning, after the image of that body; that is, that body which he showed was not a body of flesh and bones, but a pure spiritual body, organized out of pure spiritual substance, filled with light and truth. He informed this great man of God, that he was prepared, from before the foundation of the world, to redeem his people. “Behold,” says he, “I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have light, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name.”

Here, then, was a great deal of information given to us, concerning the formation of the human spirit, the formation of men—the formation of their persons, and their individualities, before the foundation of this world.

It was after this was given, and the Book of Mormon was published, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arose. But the Lord, thinking that we had not sufficient understanding of this pre-existence, began to tell us (in the month of June 1830, only a few months after the organization of the Church) more about these things. He told us about the spiritual creation, something we did not comprehend before. We used to read the first and second chapters of Genesis which give an account of the works of the Almighty, but did not distinguish between the spiritual work and the temporal work of Christ. Although there are some things in King James’ translation that give us a little distinction between the two creations, yet we did not comprehend it. The light shone, in some measure, in darkness, but so dark were our minds, through tradition, that we did not comprehend the light—or the few feeble glimmerings of light, contained in these first and second chapters, of the uninspired translation. But our heavenly Father inspired his servant Joseph Smith, to translate several chapters more in the Book of Genesis, in December 1830, which gave a more full account, down to the days of the flood. He told us a great many important principles, principles that he did not give, so far as the historical matter was concerned, in the Book of Mormon. They were an addition in some respects, and therefore, they were new to us, who lived in the early rise of the Church, and calculated to give us great joy.

In these two creations that took place in the beginning, represented as the beginning of this creation—not absolutely the beginning of all the creations of God; for his works are without beginning and without end, they never cease, nor does his word cease; he speaks to us, so far as this creation is concerned, according to our natural ideas and understanding. He says, “all things I have created by the word of my power, which is the power of my Spirit—I created them firstly spiritual and secondly temporal, which is the beginning of my work; and again firstly temporal, and secondly spiritual, which is the last of my work, speaking unto you that you may naturally understand; but unto myself my works have no end neither beginning.”

We learn, therefore, when speaking of this spiritual creation, that not only all the children of men, of all generations, and of all ages, were created spiritually in heaven, but that fish and fowls, and beasts, and all animated things, having life, were first made spiritual in heaven, on the fifth and sixth days, before bodies of flesh were prepared for them on the earth; and that there was no flesh upon the earth until the morning of the seventh day. On that morning God made the first fleshly tabernacle and took man’s spirit and put within it, and man became a living soul—the first flesh upon the earth—the first man also. Though it was the seventh day, no flesh but this one tabernacle was yet formed. No fish, fowl and beast was as yet permitted to have a body of flesh. The second chapter of Genesis, (new translation) informs us that the spirits of fowls were created in heaven, the spirits of fish and cattle, and all things that dwell upon the earth, had their pre-existence. They were created in heaven, the spiritual part of them; not their flesh and bones. We are also told in this inspired translation, that these living trees which we behold—for God has given life unto all things—had their spiritual existence in heaven before their temporal existence; every herb and every tree, before it was planted out on the earth, that is, the spiritual part of it, the life of it, that which, in other words, animates that which gives power to the vegetable to bring forth fruit after its likeness—the spiritual part existed in heaven. It was a spiritual creation first. We are also told that the earth was organized in a spiritual form, that is, that portion that gives life to the earth. We read about the earth’s dying, and that it shall be quickened again. What is it that will make the earth die? It will be the withdrawing of the spiritual portion from it, that which gives it life—that which animates it, and causes it to bring forth fruit; that which quickens the earth is the Spirit of God. That spiritual creation existed before the temporal was formed. This was the beginning of the first part of his work, pertaining to this creation. On the seventh day he began the temporal portion. There was not yet a man to till the ground, “and the gods formed man from the dust of the ground, and took his spirit—that is the man’s spirit—and put it into him and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” This we read in the 2nd chapter of Genesis, and you will find it recorded on the 6th and 35th pages of the new edition of the Pearl of Great Price.

Abraham also obtained a knowledge of the spiritual creation, as well as the temporal. In giving a history of the creation, he speaks of the formation of man out of the ground, how he took man’s spirit that was created in heaven and put it within the body of man, and man became a living soul—the first flesh upon the earth, as recorded in the second of Genesis. Now, we have been in the habit of thinking that the various kinds of animals that have lived, according to geologists, were the first flesh on the earth, and we go away back millions of ages to see that these lower formations of life existed before man. But the Lord gives us different information from this. He shows us that among all the animated creatures of flesh, man was the first that was ever placed upon the earth in this temporal condition, contradicting the theories of geologists—that is, so far as placing man on the earth in this present probation is concerned. What may have taken place millions of ages before the world was organized temporally for man to inhabit is not revealed; but, so far as this present change is concerned, that took place about six thousand years ago, man was the first being that came upon the earth and inhabited a body of flesh and bones. Afterwards, on the seventh day, out of the ground the Lord God created the beasts of the field. Go back to the first chapter of Genesis, and you will find that the beasts, etc., were formed on the sixth day or period, and that on the seventh there was no flesh on the earth, and having created man as the first flesh upon the earth, God then created, out of the ground, the beasts of the field.

Here is the second part of the beginning of his work: firstly, spiritual—the beasts created in heaven; then, secondly, temporal—their bodies formed out of the ground, their spirits being put within these bodies, and the beasts became living souls. As it was with the birds of the air, so with the fish of the sea, and so with all animated creatures pertaining to this world. This is the history of the generations of the heavens and the earth, on the day that the Lord God created them; and the Lord has seen proper to reveal this great information in the first of Genesis, and in the Book of Abraham.

Now, let us consider the condition of the temporal work, for it is needful for us to understand these things, that we may advance in the know ledge of God, in the knowledge of truth, in this great school of experience. Let us try to understand, then, the nature of the temporal work; for it was formed in the manner specified in this revelation. Was there any death in this creation after the temporal was formed, before the fall? No. Were any birds of the air subject to death? No. Were any of the fishes of the sea? No. Were there any animals placed on the earth in their temporal condition their bodies being formed and adapted to the spirit that came from heaven—were any subject to death? No. Were they ferocious? No. To every animal that God had granted life he had given every green herb of the field for meat, whether it was the lion, the leopard, the wolf, or whatever animal may have existed upon the face of the earth. There was no such thing as one animal destroying another—fighting and quarrelling were unknown among the beasts of the field. A little child, if there had been any, could have played, so far as any danger was concerned, with these animals, and they feasted upon the green herbs which were given to the beasts for their sustenance. By and by, a garden was made eastward in Eden, in which the Lord planted a great many beautiful trees. This was purely a temporal work, and that Garden would have existed until today if death had not come into the world through the fall of our first parents.

How different was the second or temporal work, that existed in the beginning of the great work of creation, from the present order of things! Now we see, and according to history we learn, that all creation are at enmity one with another in their natural state. Hence we find the lions with teeth, probably con structed since the fall, and adapted to devour their prey. I do not believe they had such teeth in the beginning. They had teeth with which they ate “straw like the ox.” But everything was changed in a great measure, in this beautiful temporal creation; and the beasts began to fight, and quarrel, and devour each other; and man began to be ferocious, like the beasts, desirous to kill his fellow man. We see him at this early stage in our race, seeking the blood of his fellows, and entering into secret combinations to kill, and destroy, and rob one another of their position and property, and to be at enmity one against another. The Lord in the midst of this fallen condition of his temporal work, has permitted it to continue for about, 6,000 years. But mankind have been devising a multitude of measures, by which they reform one another; but after they get pretty well reformed they rise up again and devour one another by wholesale. While they are engaged in reforming each other, they are making weapons of destruction to destroy one another. Enmity prevails, and has prevailed, for the last 6,000 years, with the exception of now and then a dispensation, being introduced, wherein this fallen nature of ours becomes, in a great measure, changed through obedience to the plan of salvation which God has revealed; and then we begin to love our fellow men, are filled with love and kindness like, in some measure, our heavenly Father, going forth and proclaiming to them the Gospel of peace, and trying to do them good, and redeem them, and reclaim them; and we succeed, now and then, in bringing some to a higher state; they are born of God, and become new creatures in Christ, being filled with that superior power, that exists in that celestial world, where we formerly resided. It comes down from the Father, and from the Son, and enters into the hearts of the sons and daughters of God, and they are made new creatures; they begin to love that which is good, and hate that which is evil, and begin to perfect themselves in their various dispensations, according to the light and knowledge sent down from heaven for their perfection.

Notwithstanding so many dispensations, and the world has continued so long under the power of Satan, now is the time when the Lord our God has begun to send forth a proclamation of redemption, to lift us up out of this low fallen condition in which we have been placed, and our fathers before us, for so long a time; and it so happens that we are living very near the period when the earth will be restored from its fallen condition to that same temporal condition in which it existed before the fall, when there was no enmity existing between mankind. I say, the day is now almost at hand when the Lord is going to begin the last of his work, which will be to make this earth again temporal—or in other words, to remove, in some measure, the curse—to restore it back to the temporal condition in which it was when he first organized it and before sin contaminated it.

In order to accomplish this work, he is working, according to his own will and pleasure, among the nations, raising up a kingdom, a nucleus, by taking them “one of a city and two of a family,” gathering them out from every nation to the land of Zion and planting the truth in their hearts; they become more and more instructed and learn more and more of the ways of the Lord, preparatory to the organization of this world again in its temporal beauty and perfection as it was when it first issued forth in its temporal form from the hands of the Almighty.

There is one thing connected with the temporal form of the earth which I did not mention; I will refer to it now. While this earth existed in its more perfect temporal form, Adam and Eve were placed upon it, and they were immortal, just like all the beasts and just like the fishes of the sea; death had not yet come upon any of them; all things were immortal so far as this creation was concerned. The first pairs, the beginning of his temporal work, were not subject to death. And another thing, they were not to be shut out from the presence of the Almighty. They could behold his countenance, they could hear his voice. Those who then existed—could converse with him freely. There was no veil between them and the Lord. Now, when the more perfect temporal condition shall be restored again, in the last of his work, and the Lord shall begin to remodel this earth, to transfigure it, and get it prepared for the righteous, the veil will be taken away, in a measure; we shall behold the face of the Lord again; we shall be able to associate with immortal beings again; and we shall be able to enjoy a great many blessings that were introduced in the beginning, which were lost through the fall. The Lord Jesus Christ will be here, a part of the time, to instruct us, and those ancient patriarchs, Adam included, will come down out of their ancient celestial world, where they were first made spiritual. They are coming upon this creation; and they will have their homesteads here; and they will frequently, no doubt, take great joy in gathering together their faithful children, from the day of their own probation to the one hundredth generation. It will be some pleasure for one of our ancestors that was born a hundred generations ago to say, “Come, my children, you that are here in the flesh that have not as yet become immortal, you that dwell upon the face of this earth, partially redeemed—come, I have some glorious tidings to communicate to you. I have something that you are not in possession of, knowledge you have not gained, because we have been up in yonder celestial world; we have been dwelling in the presence of our Father and God. We were restored there in the dispensation in which we died and in which we were translated, and we have learned a great many things that the children of mortality do not know anything about. Come, gather yourselves together, that you may behold your former fathers, your fathers’ fathers and so on, until you extend back for a hundred generations. Hear the instructions that they shall impart to you. They will tell you about the celestial kingdom, and the higher glory thereof, and the blessings that are to be enjoyed by those that attain to the fulness of that kingdom.” Will not this be encouraging to those that are yet mortal, during the millennium? I think it will. Then will the knowledge of the fathers, the knowledge of the earth, and of the things of God, and the knowledge of that which is celestial, and great, and glorious, and far beyond the comprehension of imperfect beings as we now are in our fallen state—then that knowledge will be opened up to the minds of the children of men, during their respective generations here upon the earth, during the great sabbath of creation. What is all this for? It is to prepare their children, during the millennium that they may have this earth made celestial, like unto the more ancient one, that they, with this creation, may be crowned with the presence of God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ. We gain this knowledge and information by degrees. Our children are educated and taught, until the heavens become familiar with them; the Lord becomes familiar with them; his countenance becomes familiar to all the righteous of the earth. Before we can fully understand the nature of a still greater change than that which has been wrought upon the temporal creation, during the millennium, we begin to expect it, and look for it, and by and by, when evil fruit again appears in the Lord’s vineyard, and the earth is corrupted by the sons of perdition, and some of his people begin to reject the heavenly light, and deny their God—when this period of time shall come the earth will be spared only for a little season, and the end will come, and the great white throne will appear, and God will sit upon the throne, and utter forth his voice and our temporal heaven will flee away; and this earth although it will be so greatly blessed, although it is so far redeemed, although it is inhabited by the righteous for a thousand years, yet, because it will become contaminated, and because it has been so corrupted in the past, in consequence of the fall of man, it will have to die and undergo a greater change, than all these changes of which I have spoken.

But what says the revelation, called the “Olive Leaf,” given Dec. 27th, 1832, on this subject? We are told in this that the earth shall die, and pass away, but it shall be quickened again, for God shall quicken the earth upon which we live. It will become a new earth; but will be prepared more perfectly than it was under the three other conditions in which it was placed; first its spiritual creation, secondly its temporal, in which its spiritual and temporal were combined. The next condition is that of restoring it from the fall back to a temporal condition, and then a still greater change, like unto the death of our bodies, when our bodies crumble back to mother earth and pass themselves among the elements. So it will be with this earth. It will crumble, or in other words, the elements will be separated asunder, and the world will pass away from his presence. What next? Another great change to be wrought. The same elements, constituting the earth, and the atmosphere will be brought together again, in such a manner and way, that the new earth will look like unto a sea of glass, and those who are worthy of the celestial glory will inhabit it forever. What will be the condition of the people who dwell upon that glorious celestial world? They will have the presence of God the Father with them. They will be permitted to dwell where he is. He will light up that world; they will have no need of the rays of the sun, as we now have, neither of the moon, nor stars, so far as light is concerned, for the Lord God will be their light and their glory from that time henceforth and forever. In this new creation the tree of life will flourish and grow. All beings that partake of the fruit of the tree of life will be constituted, so that they will live forever and ever.

These are the different conditions of this creation given in a general outline. We are now living near the close of 6,000 years during which time evil and wickedness have prevailed. The devil has had great power and dominion over the generations of the earth; and the earth itself has groaned under the load of sin and corruption which has been upon its face. Enoch when enveloped in the vision of the Almighty, beheld and heard the earth groan under this load of wickedness, crying out to the Lord, saying—“When will my creator sanctify me, that righteousness may abide upon my face. When shall I rest from all the wickedness that has gone out of me.” He was informed that there was a day of rest coming for old mother earth—for he was grieved in his heart for the earth itself, as well as the inhabitants thereof; for he saw how the earth was afflicted, until she groaned to be relieved. But the time will come, when it will be sanctified. We are living near that period of time. It is for this purpose you have come to these mountains. It is for this purpose you have received the spirit of truth, the Holy Ghost, the comforter, to sanctify you, and prepare you to take part in this great work of the latter days, which God has decreed from the beginning should come to pass in its time and season.

You have come from the nations abroad, to be instructed in the ways of the Lord, to be taught in the ordinances that pertain to the great and last dispensation of the fullness of times—ordinances that did not pertain to any former dispensation—ordinances that were not made known to any former people, but ordinances and principles that pertain to the exaltation and glory of the world which we inhabit.

This being then the present condition of our earth, the present condition of the Latter-day Saints, and the work that is before them, to prepare them for the coming of the Lord, and for the redemption of the earth, what manner of persons ought you and I to be, to prepare for so great a change which is to come, over the face of this creation? How ought we to act and conduct ourselves? How careful we ought to be in our doings, in all our conversations, in all our ways, to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts, to have an eye single to his glory, to keep his commandments in all things, to obey him with full purpose of heart, that we may be visited with more and more of that heavenly divine spirit, the Comforter, the Holy Ghost which we had confirmed upon us, by authority, through the laying on of hands. That Comforter should be nourished and cherished in our hearts. We should not grieve it. We should listen to its whisperings, and we should seek after more light, and knowledge, and truth. We must not expect the Holy Spirit to impart the future knowledge that will be necessary for the advancement of Latter-day Saints without any exertion of the mind on our part. In all things the Lord requires man as an agent to exert his faculties in order to obtain any blessing, of whatever nature it may be, whether it be the spirit of vision or the spirit of translating, or any other gift. We cannot let our minds remain dormant, taking no thought, expecting to be filled with the spirit of translation, or the spirit of inspiration, or revelation, or vision; but there must be an exertion of the mind, there must be an exercise of the agency of man and woman, in order that we may reach out after these great and glorious gifts, promised to us. And by and by, we will, after a school of ex perience has been given to us, find ourselves advanced to that degree, that the Lord will condescend to visit us by his angels—visit us by heavenly communications—visit us by visions—visit us more fully by the spirit of revelation that the words of Isaiah may be fulfilled to the very letter. When speaking of the latter-day Zion, he says, “thy children shall all be taught of the Lord”—not, being under the necessity of being taught by man, but all shall know the Lord from the least of them unto the greatest of them. This is the promise. All the children will be taught from on high, like the Nephite children in ancient days. We know how it was with them. The power of the Holy Ghost descended upon them, filling them, and encircling them round about, by a pillar of fire, and their tongues were loosed, even the tongues of babes and sucklings uttered forth great and marvelous things far greater than that which Jesus had taught to them. The Lord operated upon them, to utter forth his knowledge, so that their fathers marveled exceedingly. So great was the power and intelligence of Almighty God, manifested through these little babes, that no man was permitted to write the words they spoke, no man was permitted to utter them, no man was permitted to hand down these things to future generations; they were things too great, too glorious, too holy, too far advanced for the children of this world. Hence they were hidden up from the world.

May God assist us, and pour out his Holy Spirit upon us is my prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.