Union of Spirit and Sentiment—Submission to the Living Oracles of the Church—A Confession, &c

Remarks by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 29, 1860.

I will read a passage of Scripture to be found in Isaiah, 52nd chap., 8th verse—“Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.”

I will, this morning, take the words of the ancient Prophet as the foundation for a few remarks, applying them more directly to myself. And if they should be applicable to the congregation before me, I hope that they, together with myself, will be benefited by the same.

It is very evident from this passage of holy Scripture that there is a period of time to come in the last days, in which all the Elders of Israel and all the watchmen of Zion will understand alike, see alike, and have the same views in regard to doctrine and principles, and all division of sentiment will be entirely done away. Then that scripture will be fulfilled recorded in our Lord’s prayer, where he taught his disciples how to pray—“Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven.”

When I reflect that in heaven there is a perfect union of spirit and feeling among the celestial throng—when I reflect that in that happy place there is no disunion one with another—no different views, but that all will have the same mind and feeling in regard to the things of God; and then reflect that the day is to come when the same order of things is to be established here upon the earth; and then look at the present condition of mankind, I am constrained to acknowledge that there must be a great revolution on the earth. Where are there two men abroad in the world that see eye to eye—that have the same view in regard to doctrine and principle—that are of the same mind? They can scarcely be found. I doubt whether they can be found in the world.

How is it among us, the Latter-day Saints? One thing is true in regard to some few of them—shall I say few? No. I will say many of them: they do actually, in the great fundamental principles of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, see eye to eye. I cannot suppose that in our infancy and childhood we can attain to all this great perfection in a moment, and be brought to see and understand alike. But there is one great heavenly standard or principle to which we must all come. What is that heavenly standard or principle? It is the restoration of the holy Priesthood, the living oracles of God, to the earth; and that Priesthood, dictated, governed, and directed by the power of revelation, through the gift of the Holy Ghost—that is the standard to which all the Latter-day Saints and the kingdom of God must come, in order to fulfil the prophecy I have read in your hearing.

It matters not how much information any man may have before he comes into this Church; it matters not how extensively he may be taught in the arts and sciences of the day—how extensively he may be taught in regard to various branches of learning; it matters not how much natural wisdom he may be qualified with; it matters not whether he has occupied a high station in the eyes of the world, or a low one; it matters not what his prior condition may have been, when he repents before God and enters into a covenant with the Father and the Son and with his brethren, and manifests before them, and the whole world that he forsakes the world and the wisdom thereof (that is, that which is called wisdom by the world)—that he is willing to forsake all things which are of the world that are inconsistent with the character of God, his attributes, his word, and his kingdom—that very moment he comes to that point and goes forward in baptism he becomes subject to a different power from what he had before been subject to. He becomes subject to a certain authority that is different; he becomes subject to an authority which has come from heaven—not an authority ordained of man—not an authority which has been originated by human wisdom or by the learning of mankind—not by inspired or uninspired books, for books never yet bestowed authority, whether inspired or uninspired.

The authority of Jesus Christ sent down from heaven, conferred upon man by his holy angels, or by those that may have previously received Divine authority, is the true and only standard here upon the face of our earth; and to this standard all people, nations, and tongues must come, or be eventually taken from the earth; for this is the only standard which will endure, and this is the only authority which is everlasting and eternal, and which will endure in time and throughout all eternity.

This brings to my mind a revelation which was given in a General Conference on the 2nd day of January, 1831, the Church then having been organized about nine months. All the Saints were gathered together from various little Branches that had been established in the house of Father Whitmer, whose sons became conspicuous in this last dispensation as being witnesses of the Book of Mormon—whose house also became conspicuous as the place where the Prophet Joseph Smith received many revelations and communications from heaven. In one small room of a log house, nearly all the Latter-day Saints (east of Ohio) were collected together. They desired the Prophet of the Lord to inquire of God and receive a revelation to guide and instruct the Church that were then present. Brother Joseph seated himself at the table. Brother Sidney Rigdon, who was at that time a member of the Church, having just arrived from the West, where he embraced the Gospel through the administration of some of the Elders, was requested to act as scribe in writing the revelation from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph. I will read a portion of this revelation—“And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself. For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just? Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.”

This I consider is a very important item—Behold, “I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one, ye are not mine.”

This is very pointed, plain, and definite language, that no man can misunderstand.

Upon what principle are we to be one? It is by hearkening in all things to that eternal and everlasting Priesthood which has been conferred upon mortal man upon the earth. When I say that Priesthood, I mean the individual who holds the keys thereof. He is the standard—the living oracle to the Church.

“But,” says one, “suppose that we hearken to the word of God in the Old and New Testament—suppose that we hearken to the word of God in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants—suppose we hearken to the word of God in the Book of Mormon, and at the same time we feel disposed in our hearts to lay aside the living oracles, what then? I would answer, in the first place, that the premises are false. Why? The very moment that we set aside the living oracles we set aside the revelations of God. Why? Because the revelations of God command us plainly that we shall hearken to the living oracles. Hence, if we undertake to follow the written word, and at the same time do not give heed to the living oracles of God, the written word will condemn us: it shows that we do not follow it according to our profession. This is what I wish to bring home to myself as an individual; and if the same thing will suit any other person in the congregation, I hope that he will take it home to himself.

“But,” inquires one, “how is it that you are going to apply this to yourself?” I will tell you. But first let me quote from another revelation contained in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. Perhaps I had better read the passage which I wish now to bring to your understanding—“Behold, there shall be a record kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, Being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith. Which church was organized and established in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April. Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word shall ye receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.”

Here, then, we perceive what is binding upon the Church of the living God, what was binding upon them thirty years ago, and what has been binding upon them ever since, from the day that it was given, until the day the Prophet was martyred, down until the year 1860, and until the present moment of time. All this time there have been a kingdom and Church of the living God on the earth, and a man placed at the head of that Church to govern, direct, counsel, preach, exhort, testify, and speak the truth to the people, and counsel them in the things pertaining to their duties and pertaining to the kingdom of God.

Now, then, let me get back again.

The great subject before me this morning is the words I have been repeating before you, and how they apply to myself. There have been a few things wherein I have done wrong, wherein I have disobeyed these instructions that are here laid down, wherein, no doubt, I have offended the Lord, and wherein I have, no doubt, grieved the feelings of my brethren; and inasmuch as I have done this, no doubt I have also brought at many times darkness upon my own mind. I want to make a confession today. I do not know that brother Brigham, or any of the rest of the Twelve who have come here this morning, except brother Benson, knew of my intentions. I did tell brother Benson I thought of making a confession this morning, but the others were not aware of this. There are a few things which have been a source of sorrow to myself, at different times, for many years.

Perhaps you may be desirous to know what they are. I will tell you. There are some points of doctrine which I have unfortunately thrown out before the people.

At the time I expressed those views, I did most sincerely believe that they were in accordance with the word of God. I did most sincerely suppose that I was justifying the truth. But I have since learned from my brethren that some of the doctrines I had advanced in the “Seer,” at Washington, were incorrect. Naturally being of a stubborn disposition, and having a kind of a self-will about me, and moreover supposing really and sincerely that I did understand what true doctrine was in relation to those points, I did not feel to yield to the judgment of my brethren, but believed they were in error. Now, was this right? No, it was not. Why? Because the Priesthood is the highest and only legitimate authority in the Church in these matters.

How is it about this? Have we not a right to make up our minds in relation to the things recorded in the word of God, and speak about them, whether the living oracles believe our views or not? We have not the right. Why? Because the mind of man is weak: one man may make up his mind in this way, and another man may make up his mind in another way, and a third individual may have his views; and thus every man is left to be his own authority, and is governed by his own judgment, which he takes as his standard.

Do you not perceive that this would, in a short time, cause a complete disunion and division of sentiment throughout the whole Church? That would never fulfil the words of my text—would never bring to pass the sayings of Isaiah, that their watchmen should lift up their voice, &c.

In this thing I have sinned; and for this I am willing to make my confession to the Saints. I ought to have yielded to the views of my brethren. I ought to have said, as Jesus did to his Father on a certain occasion, “Father, thy will be done.”

“You have made this confession,” says one; “and now we want to ask you a question on the subject: What do you believe concerning those points now?”

I will answer in the words of Paul—“I know nothing of myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.” So far as revelation from the heavens is concerned, I have had none in relation to those points of doctrine.

I will tell you what I have had revealed to me: I have had revealed to me that the Book of Mormon is from God; I have had revealed to me that the Book of Doctrine and Covenants is also from God; I have had revealed to me that this is the Church and kingdom of God; I have had revealed to me that this is the last dispensation of the fulness of times. These things are matters of knowledge with me: I know them to be true, and I do know about many things in relation to God and to future events. But, when I reflect upon the subject, I have very little knowledge concerning many things. What do I know, for instance, about much of what is revealed in the last book of the New Testament, called John’s Revelation? What do I know about much written in the book of Daniel? Some few things are quite plain: but what do I understand in relation to some few of the predictions in the 11th chapter of Daniel? I doubt whether there is a person, unless he has been favored with direct revelation from heaven, who knows but little about John’s Revelation. What do I know about many things in relation to the celestial kingdom? Has the celestial kingdom been opened to my mind? No. Have I gazed upon it in vision? No. Have I seen God sitting on his throne, surrounded by his holy angels? No. Have I knowledge of the laws and order and government and rule which regulate that kingdom? No. If the revelations seem to apparently convey this or that idea, still I may be entirely mistaken in regard to the meaning of those revelations.

There is one thing I will assure you of—God will never reveal anything to me, or to any other man, which will come in contact with the views and revelations which he gives to the man who holds the keys. We never need expect such a thing.

“But,” inquires one, “have you not felt anxious that the Church should follow your ideas as laid down in the Seer?” I have not. If I had, I should have preached them; I should have tried to reason with you to convince you of their apparent truth.

I have always been anxious the Church should be governed by him who has the right to govern it, to receive revelations, and to give counsel for its guidance, through whom correct doctrine comes and is unfolded to the children of men.

God placed Joseph Smith at the head of this Church; God has likewise placed Brigham Young at the head of this Church; and he has required you and me, male and female, to sustain those authorities thus placed over us in their position; and that authority is binding on all Quorums and individuals of Quorums. He has never released you nor me from those obligations. We are com manded to give heed to their words in all things, and receive their words as from the mouth of God, in all patience and faith. When we do not this, we get into darkness. God has placed them where they are, and requires you and me to continue in our faith and patience to receive the truth at their hands. I am going to do it. I am going to repent. I arose this morning to unburden my feelings in regard to these matters.

What is repentance? Is it merely to say we will do thus and so, and then go and do directly to the contrary? When I say I am going to repent of these things, I mean that I am going from this time henceforth, through the grace of God assisting me, to try and show by my acts and by my words that I will uphold and support those whom I do know God has placed over me to govern, direct, and guide me in the things of this kingdom.

I do not know that I shall be able to carry out those views; but these are my present determinations. I pray that I may have grace and strength to perform this. I feel exceedingly weak in regard to these matters.

I know what I have got to conquer. I have to conquer my natural disposition and feelings, and bring them to bow to the authority God has instituted. I see no other way. That is the only way for me and the only way for you. I see no possibility for the words of my text to be fulfilled and brought to pass in any other manner. You cannot devise or imagine any other way. The world have tried for six thousand years to become united, and they never have been, and never will be able to do it, if they should continue to remain as nations, kingdoms, and peoples for six millions of years to come. They never can bring about this oneness of sentiment and feeling by each man being his own standard. No: it never was ordained by the Almighty to be brought about in that way.

The only way for us is to have a true standard, which must be from heaven—a standard ordained of God, which we can follow with the utmost confidence—a standard we can have faith in—a standard to which all human wisdom and human judgment must give way. Such a standard only will be eternal, and will prevail when all other standards will fail.

Do my ideas suit anybody else? It matters not whether they do or not: they suit me, and I am going to put the coat on. I am preaching to myself this morning. I did not come here to preach to the world, nor particularly to preach to the Saints; but I wanted to preach to myself, and see if I could not convert myself; and when I can get converted myself, perhaps I may do some good in preaching to the Saints and to the world.

Inasmuch as there may have been any feelings in the hearts of the Latter-day Saints that are now before me, I desire to do all in my power to bring about a complete reconciliation. I wish the whole Territory were here, and all the good people of England, and all the Saints that have ever seen any of my writings or read my views; I would say to them all, Brethren, I make a confession: I have sinned; I have been too stubborn; I have not yielded as I ought; I have done wrong, and I will try to do so no more. And if the whole kingdom of God can be reconciled with me, I shall be very glad. At least, I will do all I can to obtain their reconciliation.

These are my feelings to brother Brigham. I will make reconciliation to the Presidency, and to the Twelve, and to the Church, so far as it is in my power, so far as I have not yielded to my brethren.

I consider these to be true principles. However imperfect I may have been, it has nothing to do with the principles: the principles are from heaven. Amen.

Privileges and Experience of the Saints, Etc.

Exhortation by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, September 18, 1859.

I have been extremely gratified in the remarks that have been made by brother Gates. The instructions which he has given us have been imparted, as I believe, by the gift of the Holy Ghost. I feel truly grateful that we live in an age of the world when we can receive instructions by the power and wisdom of that Spirit which searches all things—that Spirit that understands all things, and discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart. All other preaching is vain. I can say, with him, that it is one of the greatest pleasures of my life to speak, when I can have the Spirit of the Lord to assist me. Without it, I would rather do the hardest kind of bodily labor. Indeed, I do not think that it is the privilege of any of the servants of God to speak in the name of the Lord without that Spirit. But I have oftentimes thought that no per son who was living according to the commandments of God could rise before a congregation of Saints like this before me, and open his mouth in humility and simplicity of heart, but what the Lord would give him something to say. It is through the united faith of the people of God—through that confidence which they have in the Being whom they worship, that he, for their edification and benefit, will grant his Spirit unto his humble and faithful Saints. But we oftentimes deprive ourselves of the blessings and enjoyments which we might receive, through the darkness of our minds, through our selfishness, through our neglect of keeping the commandments of God, through our disobedience, and through the abundance of cares and perplexities with which we have to contend in this mortal existence. All these things have a tendency, more or less, to darken the understanding and drive away from the heart that peaceable Spirit which whispers peace to the minds of the sons and daughters of God. I often reflect upon this subject much, and inquire in my own mind, and try to search out some of the causes of our being so far beneath the privileges which are guaranteed to us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not because the promises of God have failed. It is not because we are not worshipping the same Being whom the Saints worshipped in ancient days. It is not because there are insurmountable obstacles in our way; but the cause lies in our own selves. We are the individuals that shut out this light of heaven—this light of truth that would otherwise shine upon our understandings. Do you ever compare yourselves with those people that we read of in ancient times that were called the people of God? I mean some of the best of them. Not but that there were individuals who lived then, professing to be the children of God, who were just as imperfect in their ways and doings and conduct as some of us are. But, then, there were others who lived in ancient times who were far in advance of us. They attained to greater faith and to greater privileges than those we enjoy.

Where is there a servant of God in all the Church of Latter-day Saints that has enjoyed the same privileges that many of the first of the servants of God did 1,800 years ago on the Eastern continent? There are scarcely any. Have we beheld Jesus face to face? Have we conversed with him as Peter, James, and John, and the others of the Twelve did in that day and age of the world? No, we have not. There may have been some few exceptions. Have we attained even to the blessings of the lesser Priesthood, to say nothing about the higher blessings of the greater Priesthood? What are the blessings promised to the lesser Priesthood? They are not only to hold authority and administer in the name of the Lord in temporal things, and administer in certain outward ordinances; but there are privileges that the lesser Priesthood enjoy far exceeding those temporal administrations. They were to have the privilege of conversing with angels. Did you ever reflect or realize how great a privilege this is?

Is it not a great privilege to go before the Lord and receive the ministration of angels, and instructions from their mouths with regard to what should be spoken to the people? But very few of the lesser Priesthood who sit under the sound of my voice, or who are to be found upon the whole earth, have attained to this privilege. If the lesser Priesthood have not attained to it, let us inquire concerning those that hold still higher authority, concerning the Elders, Seventies, High Priests, the Twelve, the various Bishops, and the various authorities and presiding Elders over different Branches and settlements. Have they even attained to the blessings of the lesser Priesthood? No. With the exception of a very few individuals who may have come up to their privileges, who may have had the visions of eternity opened to them, and may have conversed with angels, and received instructions with regard to their callings and duties, and what they shall say to the people; but, with the exception of these few individuals, the others are away in the background. And when we come to speak of the higher privileges, beyond that of receiving the administration of angels, you can scarcely find a man in all the Latter-day Kingdom that has come up to them. I have not. I speak it to my shame, and I speak it, as brother Gates spoke concerning himself, with shame, that I have not attained to the privileges that pertain to the higher Priesthood. What are these privileges? They are plainly laid down in the word of God. Those holding that Priesthood have the privilege not only of receiving the ministration of angels, but to have the heavens opened to them, and to behold the face of God.

Now, no man, without the Spirit of the Lord resting upon him to quicken him in body and mind, can have this great and exalted privilege to behold the face of God the Father who is in the heavens. But few have attained to this great and exalted privilege. Are there not some reasons—some causes? Have we not been members of this Church, some of us for sixteen, eighteen, or twenty years, and some of us for twenty-five and almost thirty years? It will be twenty-nine years tomorrow since I was baptized into this Church; and I feel ashamed that I have not made greater progress in the things of the kingdom of God, when compared with the promises that have been made to us. Notwithstanding all this, when I reflect upon the advancement which we have made, compared with our former ignorance, I can truly say that the contrast is very great. We have learned many things pertaining to the first principles of our religion, and pertaining to the first principles of our conduct as Saints of the Most High; and we have learned this lesson most thoroughly too. It is not merely a theoretical lesson, but we have learned it practically.

Many of us have learned to be subject to every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. We have learned that it is not only necessary for us to cease from taking the name of the Lord our God in vain, but to never mention his name only by constraint of his Spirit. We have learned to impose a guard upon our tongues, to speak no evil concerning the children of God. We have learned not to backbite our neighbors and friends. Many of us have learned this lesson, but not all of us.

We have learned, also, practically, the necessity of ceasing from all light-mindedness and levity and excessive laughter. But there are many, I am sorry to say, who have not learned the first principle of this lesson. We have learned that we can be cheerful without yielding to much laughter; for this is accounted in the revelations of God as sin in the sight of Heaven.

We have learned a great many important principles pertaining to family government. We have learned many important principles pertaining to giving heed to all the counsels of the Priesthood that may be imparted unto us, from time to time, by the voice of the Spirit of God. We have learned, in a great measure, to discern those who have the Spirit and those who have it not, when they speak to us in Church or in Ward meetings. We have learned that our religion consists in doing the things required at our hands, instead of hearing from Sabbath to Sabbath, and not doing.

We have learned the necessity of giving the most earnest heed to every counsel and word which the Lord our God has given to regulate our conduct. And many of us have learned, also, that when the Lord speaks, not by command, but by the word of wisdom and advice, that we should give heed to the same, in order to enjoy that flow of the Spirit of the living God in our hearts which is necessary to prepare us for further blessings. But, after all we have learned during the last quarter-of-a-century in this Church, we have not yet prepared ourselves sufficiently to receive the great and important blessings I have named pertaining to the two Priesthoods of the living God.

When shall we learn this lesson? When we have learned to govern ourselves more perfectly than we have hitherto done—to guard ourselves on the right hand and on the left from the encroachments of evil—to set a seal upon our mouths and tongues, and only to use them according to the principles of eternal truth—according to the mind and will of God. When we have learned to do unto others as we would have them do unto us in all things, and to regulate ourselves not only by the written commandments of the Most High God, but by the words of wisdom and counsel imparted to us day by day through his servants—when we have learned these important lessons more perfectly, then we may expect the promise of the Lord to be more perfectly fulfilled to us, and not before.

I can recollect, twenty-nine years ago this present autumn, that I went into the chamber of father Whitmer, in whose house the Lord manifested himself in the organization of this Church, consisting of six members. I went into that chamber with the Prophet Joseph Smith, to inquire of the Lord; and he received a revelation for my benefit, which was written from the mouth of the Prophet by John Whitmer, one of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon. I was then only about nineteen years of age, and was desirous to know what my duty was. The Lord commanded in this revelation that I should preach his Gospel. I thought that was a very great and important calling, and I felt altogether incompetent unless the Lord qualified me by his Spirit.

Among other things contained in this revelation, the Lord gave me a command in these words—“Therefore lift up thy voice and prophesy, and it shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.” I thought to myself, that unless the Lord shall pour out his Spirit upon me more fully than anything I ever yet have experienced, I never can perform these duties acceptably in his sight.

To prophesy without the Holy Ghost—to reveal—was something I dare not do. I would rather have had my head severed from my body than to have been guilty of so great a crime. Indeed, there is one of the most awful denunciations pronounced upon that man who undertakes to prophesy in the name of the Lord, without the Holy Ghost to inspire him. Such a man in ancient days was to be cut off from the midst of Israel.

I felt, therefore, the importance of those sayings; and truly, when I looked at the magnitude and importance of the command given to me to prophesy by the power of the Holy Ghost, I felt oftentimes to tremble and shrink, for fear I never should be able to fulfil and accomplish so great a work.

And I recollect another revelation that requires all the servants of God who are sent forth, to lift up their voices and preach and prophesy as it shall be given by the Spirit of God. Have we attained to this gift of prophecy as we ought as the servants of the living God? How few of us have obtained a message beforehand by the Spirit of the living God to deliver to the people, as Jacob, one of the ancient servants of God, did on the American continent. Jacob, the brother of Nephi, came into the temple to preach to the people, and declared to them that the Lord had previously revealed to him what he should say to them. He went and inquired of the Lord, and he revealed his mind and will, and thus Jacob found out what was wanted for the people: he understood their condition and what sins they had committed before the Most High, and he knew how to reprove them, because God had visited him by the Spirit of revelation.

How many of us have gone forth and received our errand from the Lord by the voice of the Spirit of revelation, before we have ventured before the people to teach the things of the kingdom of God? Although I have often prayed and sought earnestly and humbly that I might be assisted to preach to the people, and to say something to benefit them, yet I have not, by my earnestness and diligence and faith, been able to obtain those revelations and visions that belong to the High Priesthood and to the Apostleship, that I might know what to preach to the people to the extent of our privileges for their edification. Yet I do know the Lord has blessed me and my brethren, and given us a portion of his Spirit; and our hearts have been dictated, as I believe, by the spirit of wisdom and counsel; and the things of the kingdom of God have been made known to us in the very moment; and we have been able to speak to them, but not in that power and demonstration that belongs to the Priesthood of the living God.

I recollect reading the prophecy of Enoch, that he, after having gathered together his people from the different parts of the earth, the same as we are doing, commenced preaching righteousness to them. He built up the city called Zion, and the Lord revealed himself to Enoch, and he saw him face to face. God walked and talked with him, and he dwelt in the midst of the city of Zion for the space of three hundred and sixty-five years; and then God took Enoch, city, people and all, to heaven.

I recollect reading of Enoch’s having gathered his people, and that their enemies came up against them to battle. What kind of weapons did Enoch use to destroy his enemies? It says, “And he (Enoch) spake the word of the Lord, and the earth trembled, and the mountains fled, according to his command; and the rivers of water were turned out of their course; and the roar of the lions was heard out of the wilderness; and all nations feared greatly, so powerful was the word of Enoch, and so great was the power of language which God had given him.”

That was the power given to that Priesthood and authority which was conferred upon Enoch in the early ages of the world. It is also your privilege, ye servants of the living God, to obtain by faith the same blessings and the same power, that when you shall be appointed upon foreign missions, you can open your mouths by the power of the same Spirit that rested upon Enoch—that you cannot only teach them what they shall do, but prophesy to the people and tell them what shall be in the future—tell them of the judgments and calamities that shall overtake the wicked. It is your privilege to prophesy to the great and to the low, to the king on his throne, to great men in high places, to the inhabitants of the earth, and to foretell that which shall befall their cities, villages, nations, countries, and kingdoms—to foretell all these things, not by your wisdom, nor by the spirit of false prophecy, but by the power of that Spirit which rested on Enoch in ancient days. With such a qualification, you could go forth and perform the mission appointed to you acceptably in the sight of God.

What is the privilege of the servants of God that are remaining here in the midst of the settlements of Zion? It is our privilege to sanctify ourselves and have even greater power than those who go to the nations. Why? Because here is the great central place of gathering, and here should center all the powers of the everlasting Priesthood. Here, in our midst, should be poured out the blessings of that Priesthood to their fullest extent. Here the ser vants of God should be clothed upon from on high with the glory of God, and be able to foretell all things which would be for the welfare and benefit of the children of Zion. All these blessings belong to the Priesthood here.

You have the keys of the Priesthood; you have the key words of the Priesthood here; you have the signs of the Priesthood here; you have all the ordinances of the Priesthood here which have been revealed; you have learned the rules and laws of the Priesthood; and why not, ye Elders of Israel—ye servants of the Most High God, rise up in the power of the Priesthood and magnify your callings throughout the settlements in this Territory? Why give way to darkness, to debauchery, to low and degraded things, and mix with those who are calculated to fill you with the spirit of evil continually?

Why suffer a cloud of darkness to hover over your minds, even a cloud of thick darkness that is almost impenetrable? Why suffer your faith to die away, that you cannot prevail with the heavens and obtain the blessings of the Priesthood revealed in the last days?

Awake, awake, O ye Elders of Israel, and be clothed with the spirit and power of your callings, and do the work assigned you, and prepare for the great day of the Lord, which is at hand.

I feel, in some measure, the importance of these things. It rests on my mind; it weighs me down by day, and oftentimes I lay awake at nights contemplating the greatness of our privileges and the backwardness of the Saints of God to claim them.

But I do not wish to occupy too much of the time. May God bless you! Amen.

The Ancient Gospel—Adam’s Transgression, and Man’s Redemption From Its Penalty, &c

A Sermon by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, September 11, 1859.

It is my intention this forenoon, if the Lord will assist me by his Spirit, to say a few words upon the principles of the Gospel; or, in other words, the first principles of that great plan of salvation which was devised before the foundation of the world, for the benefit of the inhabitants of this earth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is of great antiquity. It was ordained in the councils of heaven before the world was, and all its principles, ordinances, promises, and blessings were instituted in the beginning, before man was placed upon the earth. These principles have been revealed to the human family in various ages of the world—not only revealed in the meridian of time by Jesus and the Apostles, but to generations and ages before the Apostles lived on the earth.

Before I commence investigating these principles, to know precisely what they are, I will read from some new revelations which were revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the month of December, 1830. They are revelations concerning Adam, Enoch, Noah, and the Gospel of salvation, as it was made manifest to them. That which I am about to read is an extract from the prophecy of Enoch—a book revealed by inspiration to the Prophet Joseph Smith, some twenty-nine years ago—

“And Enoch spake the words of God, and said, But God hath made known unto our fathers that all men must repent. And he called upon our father Adam by his own voice, saying: I am God; I made the world, and men before they were in the flesh. And he also said unto him: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even by water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, which is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you. And our father Adam spake unto the Lord, and said: Why is it that men must repent and be baptized by water? And the Lord said unto Adam: Behold I have forgiven thee thy transgression in the Garden of Eden. Hence came the saying abroad among the people, that the Son of God hath atoned for original guilt, wherein the sins of the parents cannot be answered upon the heads of the children, for they are whole from the foundation of the world.

“And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good. And it is given unto them to know good from evil; wherefore they are agents unto themselves, and I have given unto you another law and commandment. Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.

“Therefore I give unto you a commandment, to teach these things freely unto your children, saying: That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory; For by the water ye keep the commandment; by the Spirit ye are justified, and by the blood ye are sanctified; Therefore it given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment.

“And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time. And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me.

“And it came to pass, when the Lord had spoken with Adam, our father, that Adam cried unto the Lord, and he was caught away by the Spirit of the Lord, and was carried down into the water, and was laid under the water, and was brought forth out of the water. And thus he was baptized, and the Spirit of God descended upon him, and thus he was born of the Spirit, and he became quickened in the inner man. And he heard a voice out of heaven, saying: Thou art baptized with fire, and with the Holy Ghost. This is the record of the Father, and the Son, from henceforth and forever; And thou art after the order of him who was without beginning of days or end of years, from all eternity to all eternity. Behold, thou art one in me, a son of God; and thus may all become my sons. Amen.”

I have read this that the Latter-day Saints who have not had the opportunity of reading these inspired translations of the Prophet may have an opportunity of learning the fact that the Gospel was revealed unto man in the earliest ages of our world. I will read also a short extract from the prophecy of Enoch in relation to a commandment and a mission given unto him—

“And it came to pass that the Lord said unto me: Look; and I looked, and beheld the land of Sharon, and the land of Enoch, and the land of Omner, and the land of Heni, and the land of Shem, and the land of Haner, and the land of Hanannihah, and all the inhabitants thereof; And the Lord said unto me: Go to this people, and say unto them—Repent, lest I come out and smite them with a curse, and they die. And he gave unto me a commandment that I should baptize in the name of the Father, and the Son, which is full of grace and truth, and of the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son.”

Thus we see that not only Adam understood the principles of faith, repentance, baptism, the new birth, and the gift of the Holy Ghost; but Enoch also understood the same plan, and had authority given him to administer in the ordinances of it. We will now pass along to Noah, still reading from the new translation of the Old Testament, not translated by King James’ translators, but by the Prophet of the living God—translated by the gift and power of inspiration from on high—

“And in those days there were giants on the earth, and they sought Noah to take away his life; but the Lord was with Noah, and the power of the Lord was upon him.

“And the Lord ordained Noah after his order, and commanded him that he should go forth and declare his Gospel unto the children of men, even as it was given unto Enoch.

“And it came to pass that Noah called upon men that they should repent; but they hearkened not unto his words; And also, after they had heard him, they came up before him, saying: Behold, we are the sons of God; have we not taken unto ourselves the daughters of men? And are we not eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage? Our wives bear unto us children, and the same are mighty men, which are like unto them of old, men of great renown. And they hearkened not to the words of Noah.

“And God saw that the wickedness of men had become great in the earth; and every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually.

“And it came to pass that Noah continued his preaching unto the people, saying: Hearken, and give heed unto my words; Believe and repent of your sins and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, even as our fathers, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, that ye may have all things made manifest; and if you do not this, the floods will come in upon you; nevertheless they hearkened not. And it repented Noah, and his heart was pained that the Lord had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”

You recollect King James’ translators render it—“And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth;” but the translation given by inspiration says—“It repented Noah, and his heart was pained that the Lord had made man on the earth. And the Lord said, I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Noah that I have created them, and that I have made them, and he hath called upon me, and they have sought his life.”

These extracts which I have read concerning Adam, Enoch, and Noah you will find in a little work called “The Pearl of Great Price,” published by F. D. Richards, in England, a few years ago. We might go on and read further extracts from the Book of Abraham—a book also revealed by inspiration to the Prophet Joseph Smith, showing that the Gospel was revealed to him, and how he received the promise that all the children of men that would obey that same Gospel preached by him should be justified and become his children—called his seed, and heirs according to the promise. But I have read sufficient for the information of the Latter-day Saints upon this subject.

I know it is customary, at the present day, to select some passage of Scripture as a text upon which to make remarks. Sometimes I follow this custom, and sometimes I do not. I will just observe, however, that we have no examples on record that Jesus or his Apostles followed this plan in their preaching. Neither have we anything on record showing that Jesus or his Apostles opened their meetings by singing, and then praying, and then singing again, and then preaching. We frequently conform to the present-day custom in this respect, and we often do not conform to them, as we feel led by the Spirit of truth. Neither was it customary, in the days of the Apostles, to make long prayers; but if they had something very important to communicate to the people, they did not wish the time occupied in any other way only in delivering the message they had for them: hence we generally find their prayers consisting of a very few sentences.

I shall select this morning a text of Scripture corroborative of those I have already read. I shall select it from King James’ translation. You will find it in the Gospel according to John, 3rd chap., 5th verse—“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

There is much comprehended in this passage that is not fully realized and understood by the great mass of the human family. To fully understand it, it is necessary we should understand the true condition of fallen man; then we shall see the necessity of a new birth: otherwise, perhaps, we should see no necessity for it. It is recorded in Scripture history that our first parents, while in the garden of Eden, transgressed a certain law and commandment of the Almighty, by partaking of a certain forbidden fruit; which transgression brought them under condemnation, and subjected them to a certain penalty, which was the death of their bodies of flesh and bones. “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return,” was the penalty pronounced upon Adam. Pre vious to this, Adam was a pure, innocent being: he was not contaminated with sin, and was entirely destitute of the knowledge of good and evil. He was a being intended in his construction to endure for evermore. Death had no dominion over his tabernacle: the principle of blood which flows in the mortal tabernacles of men did not exist in his immortal body; but his veins and arteries contained a fluid of a far purer nature than that of blood: in other words, they were filled with the spirit of life, which was calculated to preserve them in immortality. Though they partook of various kinds of fruit in the garden, yet there was no fruit in that garden, except one called the forbidden fruit, which would have the least tendency to destroy the principles of immortality that reigned within them. They were organized to endure, bodies and spirits united, millions of ages. By the transgression of that simple law given to them, they fell from immortality to mortality: their bodies partook of disease; the seeds of death were sown within them; and in the day that Adam ate thereof (reckoning according to the Lord’s time), he passed away and returned to his mother dust.

The probability is, there were deleterious properties or poisonous qualities in the food he ate, which were calculated to introduce into the system the seeds of mortality, and so change it that various forces of nature should have power over it, that in time it should die and be dissolved to dust.

Was this the only penalty pronounced upon father Adam? No: this was only a part of the penalty. There was dwelling in each of the tabernacles of Adam and Eve a personage of spirit, formed of more refined materials than flesh and bones—materials that were intelligent, immortal, and eternal. Immaterialists of the present day may object to this: but we do not believe in an immaterial substance.

The spirits that dwelt in our first parents were capable of thinking, feeling, understanding, perceiving, acting, possessing a will and a judgment: in other words, they were a part of that great substance of life, or Spirit, which fills the immensity of space, that is in all things, and through all things. The spirit of man had also a penalty pronounced upon it, because it yielded to disobedience, by giving heed to the Tempter; for, by yielding to his teachings, it became subject to him as a servant.

If we become subject to a being, we are under his dominion and power, and he controls us and exercises authority over us, whether good or bad. Adam and Eve had placed themselves in a condition that the Tempter had complete control over their spirits: they became servants to the fallen angels, to do according to their bidding.

Let us now examine how the fall affected their posterity. We do not inherit Adam’s transgression, but the consequences of it. There is a difference between inheriting the original sin and feeling the consequences of it. To illustrate: We do not say, when children inherit the diseases of their parents brought on by drunkenness, debauchery, lasciviousness, and wickedness of every description, that it is the effect of the children’s individual sins. This is not so: they only inherit the consequences of the sins of the parents. So it is with all the posterity of Adam. The consequences of the transgression of Adam and Eve have flowed down upon us; hence we find that all the sons and daughters of Adam have become mortal. The seeds of dissolution are within our tabernacles, because our first parents sinned, and yet we are not guilty of their sins.

Furthermore, Adam and Eve be came subject in the spirit to the being that tempted him. The children that were begotten by him, inheriting unholy, fallen tabernacles, also became subject to the same being, on the supposition that there had been no atonement provided. Hence you perceive the baneful consequences of the fall, considered separate and apart from any atonement which was to be made.

Next let us inquire as to the duration of the penalty. Was the penalty to cease at the end of a certain period? I want you to look at this, independent of any considerations of the atonement. If there had been no atonement provided, the bodies of our first parents, as well as the bodies of all their children, would have crumbled back to their mother earth, to rise no more. Would not that have been an eternal death of the flesh and bones? If there were no atonement, there could be no resurrection. How could man, being fallen and corrupted, atone for his own sins? He could not do it. How could he deliver himself from the power of Satan to whom he had made himself subject? He could not do it. Satan had claim upon him, and there was no power in man, in the least degree, to redeem himself from that bondage.

This is what we call fallen man, and this is what we call spiritual death—not a dissolution or disorganization of the spiritual elements, but the subjection of the spirit to the power of Satan as eternal in its duration as the subjection of the flesh and bones to death.

Now let us take into consideration for a few moments the great plan which God devised before Adam was placed in the garden of Eden in order to redeem man. God, by his foreknowledge, beheld that man would fall from his first estate, by turning aside from his commandments—that he would bring upon himself an eternal death both of body and spirit. Now is the opportunity for mercy to step in. Justice had consigned them to eternal death and misery, and mercy could not step in without destroying the claims of justice, only upon certain conditions. And what may be those conditions? Would God accept the sacrifice of a corrupted, sinful, degraded, fallen being as an atonement for his own sins? No; that would not satisfy the demands of justice. God could not exhibit the attribute of mercy on any principle whatsoever, only for a sinless being to suffer in behalf of sinful man. Inasmuch as the sin was against an infinite being—a transgression of a law issued by an infinite being, the atonement must be an infinite atonement. Hence God sent forth his only begotten Son in the meridian of time, who took upon himself the form of fallen man: that is, he entered into a tabernacle of flesh and bones, although he had not been guilty of the original sin. This he did voluntarily on his part.

For the edification of the Saints, I will refer to a passage in the inspired translation of the book of Abraham, where we read that in the counsels of eternity, before the foundation of the world, the Lord devised the great plan of salvation. When he came to that part of it, in relation to the future redemption of man, which pertains to a sacrifice, he made an inquiry—“Whom shall we send?” He did not feel, as it were, willing to say to anyone of the council, You are the person, and you must go and make this atonement: he did not seem willing to exercise this authority upon an innocent being, but looked around upon the assembly as though he would have someone to volunteer. “And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me.” Here, then, was an offer on the part of the Son of God, the Firstborn—“I will go and redeem the human family upon the conditions that thou hast devised.”

But how could he go and redeem them? He could not redeem them, unless he suffered for them and in their behalf. The penalty of death had passed upon them. His father might have reasoned with him in words something like these—If you, a pure sinless being, my only begotten Son, are willing to go and take upon you the same kind of body that the fallen sons of men have taken upon themselves—a fallen body of flesh and bones, subject to pain, disease, sickness, temptation, and finally death, and offer yourself as a sacrifice (although it is not required of you, for you have committed no sin that I should cause death to come on your body; yet if you do this voluntarily, and keep my commandments in all things, and not sin against me), I will accept the sacrifice which you make in behalf of your younger brethren; and I will have mercy on them, otherwise no mercy can be shown to them: justice must have its full effect, and they must suffer eternal misery, being captive to that being whom they have consented to obey.

Here, then, was the principle in which could be made manifest mercy in behalf of the fallen sons and daughters of men. When could this principle of mercy begin to be exercised? Could it be exercised before the blood of the atonement was shed? Yes. There was the free, voluntary offer of the Son of God to do all this work, and suffer and die for his brethren, before man was placed in the garden: hence, in the mind of God, it was just the same as though it had actually been fulfilled. Therefore he is called a lamb slain, as it were, before the foundation of the world: hence he could have mercy on Adam, on Enoch, on Noah, on Abraham, on the Prophets, and on the children of men while the earth should stand, because of the atonement that was to be made in the meridian of time.

But the great question for us to consider, on this occasion, is, in what way the fallen sons and daughters of men can be made partakers of the benefits of this atonement? Are they to be unconditionally redeemed by the blood of Christ? Is it to be done by free grace alone, without any works on the part of the creature? Or are there required on the part of the man certain conditions by which the atoning blood of Christ can have effect upon him? I will answer this question. The atonement of Jesus Christ redeems mankind, so far as the fall is concerned, unconditionally. Now, I want you all to understand this clearly. There is no faith, repentance, baptism, or works of any kind required on the part of man to be redeemed from the fall, or from the sins committed by our first parents. Not one of you are guilty because Adam and Eve sinned. Did you eat the forbidden fruit? Were you there, on that occasion, to put forth your hand, and take of that fruit, and eat of it? The united response of all the world in this and all generations of man would be—“We were not there.” You are not condemned for a sin you did not commit. Can you repent of something you never have done? I defy the whole world to repent of Adam’s sin, for they never committed it. You did not exercise your agency on that occasion: why, then, not be redeemed from it without exercising your agency? Why not be redeemed by free grace alone, without works? Why be required to believe, repent, and be baptized for Adam’s sin? It would be foolishness. The atonement of Jesus Christ will redeem every son and daughter of Adam from his day down to the end of the earth, so far as that sin is concerned. Hence, all little children have been redeemed from the fall, and are perfectly innocent and pure before God. The original sin is not imputed to them. Why? Because of the atonement. The atonement is just as broad as the original sin and the effects of it. If the original sin extends its effects to the latest generations of Adam, so the atonement will extend its effects to all his posterity, and redeem them from these consequences. But you may inquire, If we are to be redeemed from Adam’s sin and its consequences, unconditionally, by the atonement, shall we not be restored into the condition Adam was in before he fell? I answer, You will be. What condition was he in? He was an immortal being, and you will be restored to immortality, whether you be Saints or sinners. The decree has gone forth that every man is to be raised to immortality. Then you will be as Adam was in the garden of Eden before he fell.

Furthermore, Adam, before he fell, was in the presence of God, and could behold the face of his Maker, hear his voice, look upon his glory, behold his angels, and associate with those pure and holy beings. Will you be restored, back to the presence of God? Yes, after the resurrection; for Jesus says, “if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me”—that is, lift them up from their graves, and bring them into his presence, to stand before the bar of his judgment. What for? To be judged. For Adam’s sin? No. We have nothing to do with that sin in the day of judgment; but we shall be brought before the bar of God, and be restored from the fall, with flesh and bones, but not blood, and be capable of enduring forever and ever; and there we shall behold the face of our God and of Jesus Christ, and the face of his angels, and be able to converse with them, and hear them converse, as Adam did before the fall. Is not this a complete restoration? Yes.

Now I want to tell you of something that will come a little closer home than Adam’s sin. Every man or woman upon the face of this globe, that has come to the years of understanding and accountability, has committed sin himself or herself. You have had commandments given to you as well as our first parents had. The holy law has issued from heaven to us, and penalties have been affixed. And when we come up to years of understanding and accountability, we transgress the holy law and commandment given us from heaven, even as Adam transgressed the first law in the garden of Eden.

Now let us consider the consequence of this second transgression. God has given a law to the posterity of Adam, after coming to a knowledge of good and evil by the fall, that they should not do evil. If he has given a strict law that we shall not do evil, you may depend upon it he has affixed a strict penalty to it; for what would a law be good for without a penalty? What is the penalty? It is, that if the posterity of Adam shall do evil, they shall, after the resurrection, be banished again from the presence of God, and from the glory of his power; they shall endure the pains of the second death. The violation of the first law given to Adam brought the first death, and the violation of the second law given to the posterity of Adam will bring the second death, which is the penalty attached to it. How are we going to help ourselves? We have all sinned after we came to the years of accountability. When we were little children, we were perfectly pure, even as the angels of God; and of such, said Jesus, is the kingdom of heaven, being redeemed from the fall by the atonement. But are we redeemed from our own actual sins? We have used our agency in committing these actual sins, and we have no excuse to plead. We could justly excuse ourselves in relation to the sin committed by Adam, but there is no excuse in relation to breaking these second commandments. We have violated them with our eyes open. Can we escape the penalty? Says one, There is the atonement. Yes, that is true; but will that have effect to redeem us from this second death and banishment unconditionally on our part? No. If we are redeemed from this second penalty, it will be by exercising our agency—by complying with certain conditions; and these conditions I intend to lay before you, which are called the Gospel.

I think I have pointed out, as clearly as my feeble language will permit, the condition of the whole human family, so far as it regards their fallen state, and so far as it regards their own individual transgressions. I have tried to be simple in my explanations.

What are the conditions by which we are to be redeemed from our own actual sins and escape this second penalty? After being redeemed from the grave and brought back into the presence of God and angels, what would be more terrifying than to hear the words, “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels?” Unpleasant as this would be, it must be pronounced, if God is a God of truth and holiness: his justice must take effect; and, notwithstanding the atonement, there is no way for him to exercise his mercy in behalf of the children of men, only through their agency. You can save yourselves through the atonement, or let it alone. Jesus has done his part: he has died for us—has got the plan all laid; his blood has been shed, and he has suffered the pains of all the children of men, and in their behalf, if they will only accept the conditions.

What is the first condition required of the human family? It is to believe in Jesus Christ as the true Redeemer, and in his Father as the true God. This condition stands before repentance, baptism, the sacrament, or keeping the Sabbath day holy; for no person can keep the Sabbath day holy until he complies with the Gospel. This faith or belief is the first principle of the Gospel. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” says Jesus Christ; “and he that believeth not shall be damned.” Much has been said about faith. What is it? Many definitions have been given, but there is nothing more easy to be comprehended than faith. It is simply an act of the mind—a belief in those things that are true. It is also a simple act of the mind to believe those things which are not true. You may have a false faith or a true faith. Faith should be founded upon evidence. Where substantial evidence is presented to the mind, it should be received, and should produce faith in our minds. We should be very careful in regard to our faith, that we do not receive false evidence, for this would give us a false faith. I might refer you to many examples of false evidence producing a false faith. For instance, a few centuries ago, almost all the world believed that our earth did not turn upon its axis once in twenty-four hours from west to east; but they believed the sun, moon, and stars went round it once in twenty-four hours, and that the earth stood still. This was a false faith—the result of believing without sufficient evidence: they were guided by the tradition and popular testimony of the age. Copernicus set forth evidence in his day to prove that it was the earth that revolved on its axis, instead of the sun, moon, and stars revolving around the earth. The evidence he produced began to beget in the hearts of the people a true faith, which was founded upon true evidence; and since his day many demonstrations have been given to prove the great fact that it is the earth which moves, instead of the starry firmament. Upon that subject the world now have true faith, founded upon true evidence demonstrated to them.

So it is in regard to Jesus, the great Redeemer, and God his Father: evidence is granted to prove to us that there are such beings. Chosen vessels are called, and have their eyes opened to behold the Father and the Son, and go forth as witnesses to the inhabitants of the earth, and bear testimony of that fact, setting forth the doctrine of the Father and the Son. This evidence begets in the minds of the people a true faith, while a traditionary evidence often begets a false faith. For instance, Paul, previous to his conversion, was a zealous, good man as far as he understood. He went forth, being governed by his faith, to persecute the Church of the living God. He verily believed he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus Christ, the Nazarene. He believed he was doing God service in putting the servants of Jesus Christ to death. He had a false faith, founded upon sufficient evidence. By-and-by he received a testimony for himself that Jesus was really and truly the Christ—that he was persecuting the followers of the true Redeemer. His faith now became corrected, a true faith was given him, and the testimony he received prepared him to bear witness of the fact to tens of thousands of others—not a secondhand testimony, but he could testify, My eyes have seen him; my ears have heard his voice; I have beheld his glory. He went forth as a witness goes forth into our courts of justice to testify that he knew positively, and not to testify what some other men had said, or to what some other person knew. Such witnesses go forth to the world, and their testimony produces faith in the minds of those who carefully weigh the evi dence. Believe that Jesus is, and that he has atoned for the children of men; believe that without his death and sufferings there could have been no forgiveness of sins; believe that his is the only name given under heaven whereby mankind can be saved. It is a principle requisite to the new birth.

My text informs us that unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can in nowise enter into the kingdom of God. Before you can be born of water, you must have faith in such a principle as birth of water. “Faith,” says the apostle, “comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” That is, in ancient days they had no printing presses to circulate the written word, so that faith could come by reading: they produced faith by their verbal testimony in the hearts of their hearers who were honest, and who investigated the subjects laid before them. Will this faith alone save a person in the kingdom of God? No. This is only faith without works, such as devils have; and yet it is necessary in a true believer, to precede the works which he must perform. Devils believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and they believe it on good substantial testimony. Mankind are required to believe the same fact as well as the devils; but such faith will never save an individual without works: there are other conditions to be connected with it before he can be saved.

What is the next step? It is to repent of all our sins: we know what they are. These persons sitting before me, in this congregation, can look back upon the past years of their lives, and can reflect upon the many sins they have committed before God, that perhaps no other person living knows anything about. You can recollect many laws you have broken. Perhaps many of you have forgotten some of your transgressions; but in the next world they will be brought before you. But you can call to mind some of the most prominent evils and transgressions which you have committed. Have you taken the name of God in vain? What saith the law of God? “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” Are there not many people in this city who have used that name in vain? Are there not many persons present this morning who have blasphemed His name? If there are, you are the persons I mean: you are the individuals who have need of repentance. You are the persons that must reform from this sin, or else your faith that Jesus is the Christ will do you no good. Are there any persons under the sound of my voice who have cheated their neighbor, and who have been dishonest in their dealings generally? Look within your own hearts; look back upon your past dealings with your neighbors in former days. Have you defrauded them out of the least particle of their property? If you have, you have broken the law of God—that law that was thundered from Mount Sinai by the voice of the trump of God—that law that was continued under the Christian dispensation—namely, the ten commandments. If you have coveted your neighbor’s property, or stolen, you have broken that portion of the law. It is just as bad to cheat a man out of his property as to go in the nighttime and secretly steal it from him. Both of these are strictly against the law of God, and the penalty of that law will be fulfilled upon every individual that has transgressed it. You cannot get from under it, only by repentance and restitution. What said Zaccheus in ancient times? He was very anxious to see Jesus Christ. He, no doubt, believed in him, and felt to repent, and said, “Lord, if I have wronged any man, I am ready to restore four fold.” Are you ready to do the same, you that have wronged your neighbors—that have dealt dishonestly and cheated them—you that have put forth your hand and taken your neighbor’s goods, or his money? If you have true repentance, you will go and restore fourfold; you will not only say to him, “Neighbor, I am sorry I have wronged you, and I will do so no more” (that would not be acceptable in the sight of God); but you will go and make restitution, which is the way Samuel the Prophet was willing to do before his death. After having lived to a good old age, he called together the mighty hosts of Israel, and said to them, “Behold, here I am: witness against me before the Lord, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it to you.” No man came forward to accuse the Prophet; and if there is no just accuser in time, there will be none in eternity but God and your conscience. If you know that you have wronged a man, your conscience will accuse you in the day of judgment. Repent of that sin, for repentance has got to be connected with your faith, or your faith is good for nothing. Again: Is there any man in this congregation who has committed adultery? That is against the law thundered by the voice of the trump of God in the midst of the lightnings and quakings of Mount Sinai. If you are guilty of that evil, repent of it, and turn to that God against whom you have offended, and confess your sins, and forsake them, and do that thing no more.

Are there any persons in this congregation who have murdered—who have shed innocent blood, and have done this in their ignorance of the law of God, or perhaps in the blindness of their minds, not knowing his law? There is a chance for you to repent. But if there is a person who has been enlightened by the Spirit of truth—a person who has received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and has put forth his hand to shed innocent blood, we do not call upon you to repent, for there is no repentance for you. It is a sin that you will have to meet before the bar of God. It is a sin for which there is no forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come. It depends altogether how much light a murderer has before he commits the deed, as to his chance of forgiveness; but you have to suffer the penalty that is attached, which is death.

I am now preaching the first principles of the Gospel, and some of the most prominent sins of this generation I have named over before this congregation. Look abroad among the nations of the earth, and see the spirit of murder and bloodshed that exists in the hearts of millions towards their fellow men. Look at the feeling of this generation in regard to our youthful Prophet, who was martyred for his testimony and for the revelations he received from heaven. In the year 1844 he was smitten down by the hands of his enemies. Even they are called upon to repent, if they did not know any better—if they did it in their ignorance. But if they did it with their eyes open, we would say to such persons, “There is no repentance for you.” Perhaps, after they have suffered in the eternal worlds, there may be a possibility of some of those murderers who were not enlightened to find redemption at a certain period, and some degree of glory. This applies not only to those who put forth their hands to shed the blood of the servants of God, but to those who have sanctioned the deed: they are guilty also.

Are there any persons in this congregation who feel to sanction the shedding of the blood of innocent men in this generation? If you do, though you were not present to put forth your hand to stab the fatal blow, remember you are guilty. What said Jesus to the people in his day? “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.” How is it that those who lived two thousand years ago had to answer the blood of the martyrs slain five or six thousand years ago? Because they sanctioned the deed by putting to death the living Prophets sent to them. When a man puts forth his hand to shed the blood of a living servant of God who bears testimony of the truth, and has been sent by authority of God, that man is guilty of the blood of all the servants of God who have been slain from the creation; and all who sanction the deed will have to be punished with those murderers that actually perpetrated the same.

There will be a great many murderers in this generation; for there are hundreds and thousands of pious, sanctified hypocrites in the pulpit, and editors of the press, and the people that feel to say, concerning the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith, I am glad of it; thank the Lord that they have killed him, &c., just as they said about Jesus in his day, and about all the Prophets in former times; and the blood of all these ancient martyrs will be required at their hands.

Murder is a prominent evil of this generation. And again, behold other prominent evils that exist in our large cities. Look at the city of New York, for instance, which contains twenty thousand female prostitutes, that get their daily living by prostitution, of course encouraged by hundreds of thousands of male prostitutes, who are just as bad or worse than the female prostitutes. Here is a sample of one city. Then go to Boston, Albany, St. Louis, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and to all the principal cities of the American Union, and you will find the same proportion of prostitutes among those cities who are sunk in the lowest depths of degradation, daily and hourly prostituting themselves, and disobeying one of the most strict and holy commandments of God ever issued from his throne; and this is only a beginning as it were. Read the statistics of the great city of London, which show there is in it something like ninety thousand female prostitutes; and all these must be encouraged and supported by millions of male prostitutes. This is carried on not for one year only or two years, but for a whole generation, and from generation to generation. Then step across into the European governments. Go into France, into Germany, Prussia, and all those old countries of the East, and you will find in many of those nations, as the statistics show, one-half of the children that are born to be illegitimate; and that is only a beginning of the corruptions that exist. There are more that are covered up in the dark, that are not made so publicly manifest, than what are made manifest by the births of illegitimate children. There are probably a hundred sins that are dark and hidden from the gaze of the public to one that comes to light. Then realize that these things have existed for generations that are past upon our earth, and then all reflecting men will think there is a necessity for the people to repent. Perhaps someone may say, I am not guilty of these things. But have you ever done anything to prevent them? Have the wise legislators and representatives of those nations ever devised any laws to put a stop to this wickedness? If they have not, they are included in the guilt. Whether they are actually engaged in these crimes or not, they will be included among the guilty ones, while they suffer these things when it is in their power to stop them. How can you stop them? Let the lawmaking departments of those various governments enact laws that shall put an utter stop to them. What law should they enact to stay this flood of iniquity? Not a law that can be trampled upon with impunity by millions; but let it be the law pointed out in the Scriptures—namely, the law of death. Let the penalty of death be attached to your laws, and let it be put in force upon the adulterer and the whoremonger, both male and female; and if you do not find these floods of prostitution assuaged, then you may depend upon it that I do not understand these things. You would find these prostitutions become as rare as murders, if you have the same penalty attached. Death was the penalty for the sin of adultery in ancient days, and the enlightened of Europe and of all Christendom pretend to found their criminal laws, more or less, on the Bible. All these sins and crimes need to be repented of.

After a man has repented, will his faith and repentance bring the forgiveness of sins through the atonement? Are these all the conditions required? No. You may confess your sins; but if you never make restitution to the persons you have wronged, your confession will be of no service. You may confess your sins to the Lord, and promise him you will never sin any more, and after all your sins will not be forgiven. Why? Because he has ordained a still further condition. And what is that? Be baptized for the remission of sins. Now, says one, is there anything in that ordinance that actually atones for the sins of the people? Baptism does not atone for a single sin. Then how is it that the sins are remitted after it? Because of the atonement of Jesus Christ—because he has opened the way whereby these conditions can be granted to the creature—because the gifts of faith, repentance, and baptism have been granted to you through the atonement; and these are the conditions on which your sins can be pardoned. Is that all? No. If you stop there, you are lost. You have only a forgiveness of past sins; you are not a new creature: you must be born, not only of water (which is baptism for the remission of sins), but you must be born of the Spirit also, or you cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

I will give you some few ideas in relation to baptism for the remission of sins. This is instituted of the Lord our God as the birth of the water. There are a great many things we cannot give reasons for, because we do not know them ourselves. We have no knowledge why such and such ordinances are instituted and revealed; but when we come to baptism, we can tell why that was revealed: we can understand the reason, because God has revealed it. If he had not, we should be in the dark relating to it.

In the passage from the new translation which I read at the commencement of my remarks, we find the first teachings of the Gospel to Adam—“That inasmuch as they (thy children) were born into the world by the fall which bringeth death, by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so become of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again of water, and the Spirit, and cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten.” This is in order that you may become a new creature, otherwise you cannot inherit the kingdom of God. One thing is instituted because of the other. How came we with these mortal bodies, corrupted and degraded? Because of the fall. We are born into the world, through the fall, with the particular kind of bodies we inherit. When we came into this world, we were born out of the watery elements into the element of air. We also partook of the blood, when we were in embryo, that flowed through the veins and arteries of our mothers, and from thence circulated through our embryo tabernacles: our infant tabernacles were also quickened by the human spirit; and thus, by the water and by the blood, and by the human spirit, we were born naturally a living soul into a world of death. If we would be restored from this fallen state, and become a new creature, it must be by baptism—the new birth—the birth of the water, the atoning blood of Jesus, and the birth of the Spirit—all three corresponding to the water, blood, and spirit of man that enters into the tabernacle; one thing corresponding to another—one principle to another; and hence the ordinance of baptism was instituted, that man might be brought forth from the liquid element of water, which is called a birth, the same as the child is brought forth from the same element in the womb into the air; and as the child is quickened by the human spirit taking possession of the embryo tabernacle, so must the individual that comes from the watery element be quickened by the Holy Spirit, and be prepared to enter into the kingdom of God—one thing being in the likeness of the other. And as, through trans gression, the blood has brought death into the world, so by the blood of Jesus Christ we must be sanctified, that eternal life may come into the world—one thing answering to the other. Hence we can see the propriety of the new birth that is spoken of in the fifth verse of the third chapter of John.

How definite are the remarks of our Redeemer to Nicodemus on this subject—“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” No man can get there without both of these births—the birth of the water, or baptism for the remission of sins; and baptism by the Holy Ghost, or the new birth of the Spirit. Both of these must be received, or we fail to enter into that kingdom which is called the kingdom of God. How many in this congregation have not complied with these conditions? Are there any individuals here who believe that Jesus Christ is the only name given under heaven whereby you may be saved, that believe in his atoning blood? If there are, to you I say, Repent of all your sins (if you have not repented of them already), and then be baptized in water for the remission of them, and come forth again out of the water born unto newness of life, that you may be filled with the Holy Ghost, or be immersed with the Spirit of truth, that you henceforth may live in newness of life, and then you can enter into the kingdom of God. And you may set it down as one of those immutable principles that cannot be moved, that you never can get there without obeying these conditions. You may flatter yourselves as much as you please to the contrary; you cannot get there on any other terms, unless you can prove Jesus Christ an impostor.

But, says one, did not the thief on the cross get there? No. He turned to Jesus in his expiring moments, and said unto him, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him—“Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” And where is that? Is it in the kingdom of God? Let us inquire into this matter. We find that paradise, according to the definitions given by the most eminent writers, is a place of departed spirits. Where did Jesus go? Peter said he went to preach to the spirits in prison, while his body was in the tomb. The Church of England, in one of their articles, say that Jesus Christ suffered death and descended into hell, and after three days he rose again and ascended to his Father. What did he go there for? Peter says to preach the Gospel to them that were dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh. Did the thief go with him? Yes: “This day shalt thou be with me in paradise;” and there I will preach to you among the rest. But to enter the mansion where God dwells, and where the holy angels dwell, you must be born of water and of the Spirit, or you cannot enter that kingdom. Adam could not go there; Enoch could not; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and the Prophets, none of them could get into that kingdom without being born of water and the Spirit. This astonished Nicodemus; and Jesus said—“Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”—as much as to say, the new birth had been unfolded to the people since the beginning of man, and handed down from generation to generation, and yet you are “a master in Israel,” and do not know these things! It was the only way of salvation before Jesus came, and it was the only way after he came. And these ordinances must be administered by properly authorized persons. But as time will not admit us to make remarks on this point, we conclude by bearing testimony that the great God has restored this same plan or system of things, by which you can be born of water and the Spirit by legal administrators—by those who have received power and authority from heaven, from under the hands of holy angels. This is the testimony we have to bear to all nations. It is the testimony we have borne far beyond these United States. We have crossed the great ocean into foreign countries, and borne this testimony in many lands. I see sitting before me hundreds in this assembly that have crossed the ocean and come to these Rocky Mountains to settle with the Saints of God, to live or to die with them if necessary. You heard the servants of God bear testimony in your native countries, that holy angels had been sent from heaven, clothed with authority and power, who laid their hands upon chosen vessels, and restored the authority and Apostleship again to the earth, in order that people might be baptized; for they could not be born of water unless the administrator had authority to administer. If a man undertake to administer the ordinance of baptism, and he is only called by his fellow men, it would not be worth anything. It would not be legal in the great judgment day. A person cannot be born again legitimately without a legal administrator. If you are born of the Spirit, there must needs be a man authorized to administer that Spirit. Paul says, “Who hath also made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Why? Because he was authorized to lay his hands on baptized believers, and confirm upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost, that they might be born of the Spirit and become new creatures.

In the last days the same Apostle-ship has been restored, and you are the witnesses of the servants of God that occupy these seats. We may say thousands of the people in this territory are witnesses that this authority is restored. How do you know? Did you see the angel? No. Did you have a heavenly vision? How do you know that these are the servants of God—that angels have come from heaven and restored the Apostleship? You answer, We believed their testimony on good substantial evidence, but we did not know it to be true; we acted on our faith, repented of our sins, were baptized, and the administrator laid his hands on our heads, and confirmed the Holy Ghost upon us. Did you receive it? Yes, and we received a perfect knowledge that they were the servants of God. This is what Luke means when he says, “And we are witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.”

Now, strangers, if you want to obtain a knowledge that this work is of God, obey the word of God, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; and when you receive that gift, you will know: you will be beyond belief, so far as that one thing is concerned. You will know that this is the truth which we have told you: you will know that an angel of God has been sent from heaven; that the Book of Mormon is a Divine revelation—the history of ancient America, containing the Gospel preached in ancient times in this land; that God has raised up his kingdom on earth for the last time; that this is the winding-up dispensation; and that the great day of the Lord is at hand. This you will know through the administration of the ordinances of the Gospel.

Are you willing to try it? Are you willing to believe our testimony? We say to infidels—you who do not know whether there is a God or not, test our words and prove them whether they are true or not. If you do as we tell you, you shall know there is a God—that this is his work—that these testimonies given by the servants of God are testimonies given for your benefit, to prepare you for the great day of his coming. Infidels and all other men may know whether this work is true or not. You can prove whether we are false teachers or not. We set these things before you: comply with them, and the blessing is yours, as sure as the Lord lives and reigns on his eternal throne. But if you do not comply with them, you cannot know until it is too late. May God bless those that are inquiring after the truth, and all that obey it, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elijah’s Latter-day Mission

A Sermon by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, August 28, 1859.

I will call the attention of the assembly to the last chapter of Malachi, 5th and 6th verses. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

I do not feel, this morning, to make apologies particularly, but present myself before you because I am requested so to do, feeling that I am fulfilling the duties of my office and calling to comply with the requests of those set to preside. There is one subject which I will briefly touch upon as a kind of preface to my remarks, and that is in relation to one’s preparing himself, as a servant of God, to preach the principles of eternal truth. We should not study beforehand the precise subject upon which we will preach, or the precise language that we shall use in treating upon any subject; but this does not preclude the idea of a man’s informing himself upon all subjects. This, I have often thought, is not understood as it ought to be by the officers of this Church.

There are many, perhaps, who feel a disposition to neglect all improvement of mind, thinking that if they are placed in a position where they are called upon to preach, God will give them, not only the subject, but the language also, and everything pertaining to the duties of their callings as public speakers. Although we are taught that we are to take no thought beforehand what we shall say, yet we are nowhere taught in the revelations of God to let our minds run down—our understandings and our judgment to be spent in idleness, without treasuring up the things of the kingdom of God, and storing up useful knowledge. Indeed, we are commanded in the revelations of the Most High directly to the contrary from the idea which has prevailed among some.

We are commanded over and over again to treasure up wisdom in our hearts continually—to treasure up the words of eternal life continually, and make ourselves acquainted not only with ancient revelation, but with modern; to make ourselves acquainted not only with things pertaining to time, but with things pertaining to eternity; to make ourselves acquainted not only in regard to things of earth, but also in regard to things that are in heaven; to inform ourselves upon theories, principles, laws, doctrines—upon things that are at home, and upon things that are abroad. And the same Almighty Being who has commanded us to do these things has commanded us to take no thought beforehand what we should say; for every well-instructed scribe, we read in the New Testament, bringeth out of his heart things both new and old. It is not the ill-instructed scribe—it is not the person who does not study—it is not the person who suffers his time to run to idleness, but it is that man that instructs himself in all things within his reach, so far as his circumstances and abilities will allow. Such a one will bring forth before his hearers things that will edify in relation to old times, and also in relation to the present and future—things both new and old. Moreover, we read that the Holy Ghost shall give you in the very hour what ye shall say.

What need, then, inquires one, is there for a person to inform his mind, if the Holy Ghost will give him, in the very hour, what he shall say? It is not every man that has sufficient faith to obtain that amount of the Holy Spirit that will bring the subjects, the ideas, the language, and the system of the subject all before his mind at once. There are but a very few persons which ever lived upon this earth that have had sufficient faith to obtain all this fulness of these gifts; and it is one great reason why the Lord has commanded his servants to instruct themselves, because of the weakness of their faith. Then, if they have fulfilled this commandment, they will have more confidence in God; but if they have neglected this commandment, what confidence have they that the Holy Ghost will be given to them?

Will the Lord bestow his Holy Spirit upon an unwise and unfaithful servant—upon one who disobeys his commandments, who sits himself down in idleness, and will not attempt to inform his mind upon all subjects within his reach?

If any person supposes this, he is greatly mistaken; but if he tries to fulfil the commandments of God, making himself extensively acquainted with the attributes of that Being whom he worships—if he tries to become acquainted with all useful subjects, he will then have faith. He can then go before the Lord and ask him for his Spirit to indite, in the very hour, that particular subject which he has previously informed himself upon, and to bring it forth before the people in a proper light and in a proper manner. But without this his efforts will be in vain.

It is most likely that an individual who has disobeyed this commandment, instead of preaching by the Holy Ghost, will preach by his own wisdom; and he will tell you about ten thousand things which the Holy Ghost never puts in his heart: he will preach about so many things, that it will be impossible for the enlightened among his congregation to see anything in his ideas that will be calculated to edify or instruct.

I have made these preparatory remarks particularly for the benefit of my brethren of the ministry; for I know the difficulties they encounter when they go abroad. I have been abroad with several companies of missionaries from this place, and I have seen them lament and mourn, and have heard them tell their feelings one to another, saying—“O that I had occupied my time that I have spent as it were in folly, in treasuring up the principles of eternal life—that I had studied the scriptures—that I had made myself acquainted more extensively with the doctrines of the Church—that I had made myself acquainted with those principles revealed from heaven for our guidance! I should then have been prepared to stand before the inhabitants of the earth and edify them with regard to our principles.” I have heard these lamentations for months after they were in their fields of labor; and I have really been astonished at the idleness of those who are growing up, who expect to be servants of God and to occupy a conspicuous place in the kingdom of God. I know many of us can plead some sort of an excuse. The hard labors we have to endure in irrigating the soil, in penetrating the mountain canyons for wood and timber—all these things have a tendency to fatigue the body and the mind, so that we have not the same opportunity for information that we would have, if we were more at leisure. After all, cannot every man look back upon many hours that have been spent in foolishness—perhaps in going to dancing school, or in going to parties wherein there is no particular profit? Not only hours, but days are spent that might have been used for better purposes; consequently, you have not a sufficient excuse to justify you in spending your time in idleness.

Having made these remarks, we will now call your attention to the words of our text. How far I may, on the present occasion, treat upon the subject that is laid down in the text, I do not know. I will endeavor to treat upon it as far as my mind shall be opened by the Holy Spirit; and if any other subject is presented to me, I shall follow it, and deviate from the subject couched in the text. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

What “great and dreadful day of the Lord” is meant in the words of our text? Was it the great day of the coming of our Savior in the flesh to make an atonement for the children of men? Is there nothing contained in the last chapter of Malachi that will give us a clue to that day—that will give us an understanding of what is meant by the great and dreadful day of the Lord? Go back to the beginning of that chapter, and you will read thus—“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. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts.”

Were these things predicted in re lation to the first coming of the Messiah? No. All the proud and all that did wickedly in that day were not consumed as stubble, and the righteous did not go forth and grow up like calves of the stall, and tread down the wicked as ashes under the soles of their feet, at the first coming of our Lord. Then surely this coming of our Lord had relation to the great and terrible day, the day of burning, the day in which wickedness should be entirely swept from the earth, and no remnants of the wicked left, when every branch of them and every root of them should become as stubble, and be consumed from the face of the earth. That is the terrible day that was spoken of by the Prophet, before which a certain messenger was to be sent. “Behold, I will send to you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Who was Elijah the Prophet? He was a man that lived upon the earth some 2,500 years ago. He was a man of God that had power to call down fire from heaven and consume his enemies.

You recollect, on a certain occasion, that the king of Israel sent up fifty men to take Elijah the Prophet, that he might be slain. Elijah went up and sat on the top of a hill, and when those fifty men approached him, they said, “Come down, thou man of God,” &c. Elijah said, “If I be a man of God, let fire come from heaven and consume thee and thy fifty.” Fire descended, and they were consumed. Another fifty were sent, and they repeated the same mockery, and the Prophet of God repeated the same, “If I be a man of God, let fire descend from heaven and consume thee also and thy fifty;” and it was done. That same man of God was in his day filled with faith—with confidence in God, and was armed with the power of God; and on a certain occasion he came forth before the Israelites, and said to them, “How long do you halt between two opinions? If God be God, serve him; if Baal be God, serve him.”

How shall Israel test the matter? How shall the people know whether God is really the God of Israel or Baal? Why, says Elijah, I will tell you how to test it. You gather together all the prophets of Baal into one assembly, and let them offer an offering unto their god Baal; and I, as a Prophet of the other God, will offer an offering: and if Baal answers by fire, then he shall be the true God; but if the God that I, Elijah, worship answers by fire, then he shall be the true God. They concluded to put the thing to a test; so they assembled the Prophets of Baal (some four hundred and fifty in number), into one grand assembly, and they killed a bullock, and laid it upon the altar, and commenced crying to Baal, “O Baal, hear us!” They were very earnest and very zealous in their cries and petitions to Baal: but no voice—no answer; no fires descended from Baal to consume the sacrifice. By-and-by the Prophet Elijah began to mock them. Said he, “Cry aloud, for he is a god: either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked:” cry louder! And they did so, and cut themselves with knives and lancets, to excite the compassion of their god. But, with all their cries, continued all day long, they could obtain no voice, no revelation, no answer, no messenger, no fire.

By-and-by, Elijah the Prophet killed a sacrifice and built an altar of stones, and laid his sacrifice upon the altar, and told them to turn out water in great abundance into the troughs around about the altar; after which, Elijah merely offered up a simple petition to the God of heaven, the true God; and behold, fire fell from heaven and devoured the sacrifice, and not only that, but it consumed the water itself, and all things pertaining to the sacrifice were consumed by the fire that descended from heaven. Many of the people were convinced that Baal was not the true God, and that the prophets of Baal were false prophets. What was the result? This true Prophet said to them, Take those prophets of Baal and slay every one of them: so they went to work and killed all the prophets of Baal. By-and-by, this same Prophet went forth into a certain place, followed by Elisha, knowing that the time was come for him to be taken from the midst of Israel; and behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horsemen, and it came down from heaven, and Elijah was placed in the chariot, and wafted to heaven, body and spirit, flesh and bones.

Then Elijah is not dead. If we could have a view of the heavenly host at the present day, we should see Elijah there. But he is to be sent from heaven on a mission to our earth. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and dreadful day of the Lord shall come.” We need never look for the coming of the Son of God—for the day when he shall suddenly come to his temple and sit like a refiner of silver, and as with fuller’s soap to purify and purge the sons of Levi, &c., until Elijah the Prophet is sent. But the great question is, Has he been sent? If he has, it must have been of a very recent date, for the great and dreadful day of the Lord has not yet come; for there are still wicked men upon the earth. What is the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith? We believe him to be the Prophet of the Lord in this great and last dispensation. We Latter-day Saints believe this fact. What did he testify in the Kirtland Temple, after it was built and consecrated and dedicated unto the Lord of hosts? He testified that he, in connection with others, had the ministration of Elijah the Prophet, who appeared to them in great glory. You can read this in the History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet: we can read all the instructions that were given in relation to his particular mission.

We cannot suppose that that great Prophet is coming down upon the earth to wander about among the nations, and to continue in this wicked world. If he is sent at all, he will be sent with power and authority, like other angels sent from heaven, to bestow the same authority that is upon himself on some individuals on the earth, that they may go forth holding the same authority that Elijah himself held, having the same keys, receiving the same instructions, in regard to the Latter-day dispensation—a mission, in other words, sent from heaven by Elijah as a ministering angel to seek out the chosen vessels, and ordain them, and send them to administer to the inhabitants of the earth. This is the way the Lord commits dispensations: instead of sending angels to wander on the earth, he sends them to ordain others, to restore the authority, and set the work agoing. This Church had already been organized, and certain authority and officers had been restored; but no Elijah had yet come. John the Baptist had come, in fulfillment of the 3rd chapter of Malachi and the 40th chapter of Isaiah: he came to restore the Priesthood of Levi, in order that those holding it might be purified as gold and silver, to offer an offering in righteousness when the Lord should suddenly come to his temple.

Peter, James, and John had also been sent as Apostles to restore the Apostleship to the earth; for no man held that power and authority: and in order that it might be restored, it was needful that an Apostle, holding the office, and authority, and the keys, should lay his hands upon an individual to restore these keys, and authority, and power to act in the Apostleship. Peter, James, and John, therefore, restored to the earth the same authority and power that they themselves had. But no Elijah had yet come. Years had passed along, and the Temple in Kirtland was at length built and consecrated unto the Most High God.

The time had now arrived for other ordinances to be made manifest, for other things to be revealed, for greater light to shine forth, for other keys, powers, and authorities to be bestowed upon chosen vessels of the Lord. The full time had arrived for the prophecy of Malachi to be fulfilled, when the hearts of the fathers should be turned to their children, and when the hearts of the children should be turned to their fathers, lest the Lord should come and smite the whole earth with a curse.

In order to restore a mission of that kind and magnitude, Elijah had to be sent. We have the testimony of the servants of God in this Church that this was accomplished in the Kirtland Temple, in the State of Ohio, many years ago.

But now let us inquire into the nature of this peculiar calling or mission of Elijah. All that is said in Malachi on the subject is that he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, and there leaves it. What did he mean? Did he mean only to bind the hearts of the fathers to the children living with them in greater affection, or the hearts of the children in greater affection to the fathers? Was that all the fulness of the great mission that was to be entrusted to this great translated man, called Elijah? I think not. And when we come to contemplate that which God has revealed in these latter times, we find that the mission of Elijah was something of far greater importance than merely to accomplish this that I have named.

In what sense of the word are the children to be turned unto their fathers, or the fathers to their children? I will tell you what we know and understand upon this subject. The strangers who have attended our meetings have oftentimes heard from this stand that the dispensation in which we live was intended to benefit not only the generation living, but also past generations that have lain in their graves for ages. You have heard this often hinted at; but perhaps no one, since you have attended our meeting, has taken up the subject to any great length, but merely a few words thrown out and there it was left. A sufficient, however was said to give you an understanding that we believe God will have something to do with the generations of the dead; that the children that are living here on the earth would be required to feel after their fathers that are in the graves; in other words, that the hearts and minds of the children should be turned, by the mission of Elijah, to the fathers, to search after them, to redeem and save them, though they have lain in their graves for generations.

Inquirers would really like to know if there is such a principle as mankind living on the earth having anything to do with the salvation of those that are dead. The Saints believe that the Gospel was ordained from before the foundation of the world: in other words, the Lamb that, in the mind of God, was slain from before the foundation of the world, has instituted a certain plan of salvation by which the whole human family, from Adam down to the latest man and woman that shall have place upon the earth, are to be judged. Thousands of millions have gone down to their graves who never heard one single lisp of the Gospel. They know nothing about it. They know nothing about Jesus Christ, nothing about his atonement, nothing about the fall, and nothing about the true God; but they died in the greatest of ignorance. Will it be consistent with the great attributes of Jehovah to judge them by a law they had no knowledge of? It would be inconsistent, if they were always to remain without that knowledge. But if they are to be judged by that law—that great plan of salvation ordained before the foundation of the earth, they must be made acquainted with it, either in time or in eternity.

There have been dispensations pertaining to time, and these dispensations have generally been of short endurance. The wickedness of the world has been such as to drive those holding authority and power to administer in the various dispensations from the earth; and the systems of men have been instituted in the stead thereof, and our earth has been left from time to time overwhelmed with the darkness, confusion, jars, and discords of men-made systems of religion; and the people have been shut out, for many generations, from the true light of heaven.

What has been the condition of the people for some seventeen centuries past on the great Eastern hemisphere? We have often told you that the ancient Church was destroyed from the face of the earth—that the authority of the Priesthood of heaven was taken from the earth—that no such thing as a Christian Church, with all its authority and power, as it stood upon the earth in ancient days, has existed for generations and ages that are past. This we have proved to the people from time to time, and we have showed them that this state of things has taken place in fulfillment of prophecy: hence, the people who died during these dark ages, have gone down in ignorance of the law by which they are to be judged—in ignorance of the authority and power of the Gospel—in ignorance of the Christian religion. They, having only a history of it, had no one authorized to administer it. They could barely read what it was in ancient days, and that was all.

Were not those ancient fathers of ours as good, in many respects, as we? And if they had the same opportunities we enjoy, would not many of them have embraced the Gospel as well as we? If they are not permitted to hear the Gospel in the eternal worlds, could they not come up before the Judge of all the earth, and say, You are a partial Being; you are judging us by a law we never heard of—condemning us for something we never had the opportunity of receiving?

They would have the right to plead this excuse before the great bar of judgment. But, that they may be left without excuse before the bar of God in the last dispensation of the fullness of times, God will send a holy messenger from heaven, called Elijah, the Prophet, to give power to chosen vessels on the earth to officiate in the ordinances of that Gospel in their behalf. Thus the hearts of the children will be turned towards their fathers; otherwise the children must also perish with their fathers, and all flesh would be smitten with a curse. Why? Because we have the power given unto us from heaven to feel after our fathers, and yet we will not do it; consequently, we would be cursed, and we could not escape from it.

Though the Gospel may be revealed to us, we cannot partake of it, and enjoy its principles, and neglect the fathers. That is a duty enjoined upon the children in the last dispensation; that is the duty enjoined upon us, and by no less a personage than the one I have named. That Prophet who had such great power while he remained on the earth—that had power to call down fire upon his enemies—that had power to call fire from heaven and consume the sacrifices—that Prophet who was wafted to heaven in a chariot of fire—that same august personage has been sent from the eternal worlds with this important message to the children, that we might extend a helping hand to our fathers that are dead, that they might be benefited, as well as we, by the great plan of human redemption.

Now, the great and grand question to be understood by us is, Wherein do the children benefit the fathers? In what respect, how, and in what manner are their hearts turned to them? And also, on the other hand, in what way can the fathers benefit the children? For not only the hearts of the children have to be turned to the fathers, but the hearts of the fathers are to be turned to the children. Both of these objects are to be accomplished in the great mission given to Elijah.

Let us first inquire, In what way are the children that are upon the earth to be benefited by their fathers that are dead? I have already told you. Had it not been for the fathers that are dead, where would have been the Priesthood?

Could we have got it from the Church of Rome? No; for it never was restored to them. Is there any possible way by which the people calling themselves Latter-day Saints could have been benefited by the authority and Priesthood of heaven, unless it were through our fathers who were sent from heaven, holding the authority and conferring it upon the children, that they might officiate in behalf of those who died without the knowledge of the Gospel? There is no other way; and this is the way we obtained it; and we have certainly been benefited by it, and the hearts of our fathers holding the Priesthood have really and truly been turned unto us. While they lived upon the earth, they looked down through the dark vista of ages, and beheld their children in the last dispensation, and the work they were to accomplish. They beheld the time when all things in heaven and on the earth, that are in Christ, should be gathered together in one; and they called it “the dispensation of the fulness of times:” in other words, a dispensation that includes all other dispensations. Do you understand that? For instance, the former dispensations that have been upon this earth have been dispensations only in part: they were calculated in their nature to accomplish certain objects upon the face of the earth, but they never embraced the fathers and the children down to the end of time.

In the last dispensation of the fulness of times all other dispensations will be consolidated. It will be the winding-up dispensation of this earth, introduced before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. It will be a dispensation that will take hold of the fathers back to the earliest ages of the world. It will be a dispensation in which the keys that were committed to the Apostles in the ancient days will be delivered to chosen ones—a dispensation in which all the keys and powers held by all the ancient Prophets will be delivered—a dispensation that will reach back unto the days of Moses, and that will take hold of patriarchal keys, and the righteous institutions of those that lived in the days of the flood, and back to the days of our father Adam; and there will be keys and powers restored once revealed to him. All these dispensations could not be perfected without the grand dispensation of the fulness of times that will encompass all the inhabitants of the earth, of all ages and generations, in one vast general assembly. All things in heaven, recollect, and all things on the earth that are in Christ are to be gathered in one.

Did any other dispensations accomplish this? Contemplate the works of all past dispensations, and you will find all were not gathered in one. It is true they were gathered from time to time in the heavens, to wait there for the time when all the righteous of this globe should be gathered into one vast assembly—the fathers with the children, and the children with the fathers: the one could not be perfected without the other.

Herein, then, both the fathers and the children are interested, and the children are benefited through the assistance of the keys handed down from heaven by the fathers; and on the other hand, that portion of the fathers who died in ignorance are benefited by the assistance of the keys committed into the hands of the children who will officiate in their behalf.

But now let us come to particulars in regard to this subject. How do the children officiate in behalf of the fathers? We can officiate while in the flesh so far as ordinances are concerned. We cannot believe for our fathers, we cannot repent for them, we cannot receive the Holy Ghost for our fathers, and we cannot attain to any other point pertaining to the mind or the spirit of man.

Wherein, inquires one, can we benefit our fathers, if we cannot repent for them, nor believe for them, nor receive the Holy Ghost for them? In what manner can we benefit them? I will tell you what we can do. We can be baptized for the dead. Can it be possible that there is such a principle? Turn to the 15th chapter of Paul’s 1st Epistle to the Corin thians, where you can read the words of the great Apostle upon the subject of baptism for the dead. “Else,” said he, “what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?”

He understood the matter; it was all plain before him; and he was writing to a people who understood it: they had received previous instructions, although these words are contained in what is called Paul’s first Epistle to the Corinthians; and in this first Epistle we read that he had written another epistle to that same people; but that is lost. If we had that first epistle which Paul refers to in what is now termed “the first Epistle,” we should probably find this doctrine fully revealed, for he wrote to them as though they understood all about it. He could with propriety have addressed them in a style something like this—You Corinthians have received the ordinance of baptism for the dead; you have gone forth and been baptized for and in behalf of the dead; you have been buried in water in the likeness of Christ’s death, and raised from it in the likeness of his resurrection, in behalf of the dead: and now, inasmuch as you understand it, what will you do, if the dead rise not at all? As much as to say that baptism will give you a full and clear title to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection; and also your dead can rise in the morning of the first resurrection, inasmuch as you have been baptized for them: but if the dead are not raised from their graves, neither you nor they can be benefited by baptism.

This is the argument of Paul. This looks consistent. Those spirits of our fathers whose bodies are in their graves can repent, for they have not lost their agency; they can believe in Jesus Christ, for that is an act of the mind: they can reform from every evil, because they are agents; for it is the spirit that can do good or evil. That same being, called the spirit, can repent in the eternal worlds as well as here; it can believe in Jesus Christ and in his atonement in the eternal worlds as well as here: and if the Gospel is preached to them there, they can receive it there, so far as the acts of the mind are concerned; but they could not receive baptism there, for that is an ordinance pertaining to the body: it is an outward ordinance—an ordinance instituted particularly for those that are in the flesh.

Baptism is for the remission of the sins of those who are in the body; and it is the same for the generations of the dead, if their sins are to be forgiven through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. The conditions of forgiveness are the same in the spirit world as here—namely, baptism for the remission of sins. But, inasmuch as they have not the opportunity of being baptized in that spirit world, some person else must officiate for them in their behalf. What power and authority do the servants of God justly receive who administer here on the earth? Do they administer as persons that have no authority? Do they officiate as having received authority from man? Do they assume authority? Is this the kind of authority with which the true servants of God administer in ordinances? No. The authority committed into the hands of the servants of God, in all dispensations of the Gospel, is the power to bind on the earth, and it is bound in heaven—to seal on the earth and it is sealed in heaven—to loose on the earth, and it is loosed in the heavens; and whosesoever sins they remit here on the earth, they are to be remitted in the heavens; and whosesoever sins they retain here upon the earth, they are retained against those individuals in the heavens. This is the authority of the servants of God in all dispensations of the Gospel from the earliest ages of the world until the present time. Any authority which does not embrace this power in the ministration of ordinances is altogether useless and in vain. Baptism received at the hands of any unauthorized person is good for nothing.

When the children of men here in the flesh receive the Gospel for themselves, they are baptized for the remission of sins, and receive the fulness of the Gospel and the hope of eternal life in the kingdom of God for themselves: when they also have a dispensation committed to them for the benefit of their fathers who are dead, unless they exercise their agency in trying to benefit the fathers, they will, as Malachi predicts, be smitten with a curse: they will not be profited themselves by the Gospel which they have received. Why? Because they do not reach forward and try to reclaim others whose bodies are sleeping in the grave.

The Latter-day Saints have had this subject revealed to them; and the great God that sent his angel to Joseph Smith, to give him power and authority to translate the history of ancient America, with the Gospel and prophecies contained in it, has spoken to the same man, revealing to him the keys of Elijah, and power to seal on earth that which shall be sealed in the heavens: therefore, when by that authority the servants and handmaids of the Lord go forth and are baptized for those that are dead, it is recorded and sealed on the earth. The administrator who officiates for and in behalf of the dead does it by authority. He says—Having authority given me in the name of Jesus Christ, I baptize you for and in behalf of your father, of your mother, of your grandfather, or of any of your ancestors, as the case may be, that are dead; and I do this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This is recorded in the sacred records kept on the earth; and the recording angel who takes cognizance of the ordinances on the earth makes a record of the same in heaven. I do not know but Elijah himself may be the recording angel for eternity.

The sacred books kept in the archives of eternity are to be opened in the great judgment day, and compared with the records kept on the earth; and then, if it is found that things have been done by the authority and commandment of the Most High, in relation to the dead, and the same things are found to be recorded both on earth and in heaven, such sacred books will be opened and read before the assembled universe in the day of judgment, and will be sanctioned by Him who sits on the throne and deals out justice and mercy to all of his creation. Our fathers who are in the spirit world must have a message sent to them. What benefit would it be for you and me to go forth and be baptized for our fathers, or for our grandfathers, or for any of our ancestors who are dead, if no message is to be sent to them in the spirit world? A message must be sent to them.

There are authorities in heaven as well as upon the earth, and the authorities in heaven are far greater in number than the few who are upon the earth. This is only a little branch of the great tree of the Priesthood—merely a small branch receiving authority from heaven, so that the inhabitants of the earth may be benefited as well as the inhabitants of the eternal world; but the great trunk of the tree of the Priesthood is in heaven. There you will find thousand and millions holding the power of the Priesthood; there you will find numerous hosts of messengers to be sent forth to benefit the numerous nations of the dead. They go forth having authority; they enter into the prison houses of the dead; they open their mouths by authority and commandment of the Most High God; they preach to them Jesus Christ as the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world: they show to the inhabitants of the dead, in their prison houses, that his atonement was intended to reach them as well as people dwelling upon the earth. And in proof of this, let me refer you to what the Apostle Peter says in relation to Jesus our great High Priest and Apostle, who was sent forth by the commandment of the Father to our world. Peter says that after he was crucified and put to death in the flesh, he went to preach to the spirits in prison which perished in the floods, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing.

We learn from this that Jesus has set the example—that he came forth while in the flesh to minister unto those in the flesh; and while his body slept in the tomb, and his spirit was separate from the same, he still felt himself authorized as an Apostle and High Priest to go to those prison houses and open the prison doors and set the captives free. He found those old antediluvian spirits that existed on the earth some two thousand years before that time; he preached to them; and, as Peter says, in the next chapter, he preached the Gospel to them—“For for this cause was the gospel preached to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, and live according to God in the spirit.” They could not be judged by the same law, unless it was preached to them. The same Gospel must be sounded in their ears that was sounded in the ears of the living. If they reject it in their prison houses, they will be punished by the same law you and I will be punished by, if we reject it in the flesh.

One of the powers of the Priesthood is that whatsoever you shall loose on the earth shall be loosed in the heavens. Now, if a spirit does sincerely receive a messenger in that prison—if he believes his testimony and hearkens to all things that are said—if he believes that Jesus Christ has tasted death for every man—for those who die in ignorance, as well as for those who hear the Gospel in the flesh, he will be informed that in yonder world, or in the world he came from, there is authority given for men and women to be baptized for such.

Those messengers sent to preach in prison will most likely interrogate the prisoners in language something like this—Will you receive our testimony? Do you believe that Jesus Christ has tasted death for every man? Do you believe that through your repentance and faith, and through the ordinance of baptism in your behalf, by those that are living in yonder world, you may have a remission of your sins? If they believe it, and actually do repent, the ordinance of baptism administered here in their behalf will benefit them there. But, says one, this being baptized for another looks rather inconsistent to me. Why does it? Suppose a man is placed in a situation that he could not be baptized for himself, must his sins be retained unto him? Must he remain in prison throughout all ages of eternity, because he has lost his body, and has not the privilege of being baptized? Does that look inconsistent with the justice of God? Then why not another person administer in his behalf? How could you have atoned for yourselves? If it had not been for the agency of another being that acted for you and in your behalf, you must have perished eternally. You had forfeited every right and title to the blessings of the kingdom of God: all mankind were shut out from the presence of God, and became dead as to things pertaining to righteousness: the sentence of the first death was placed upon father Adam and his children, which was irrevocable, if there had been no atonement.

We would have had to lay down these bodies, never to rise from the tomb, if there had been no atonement: our spirits would have been forever subject to that being that tempted our first parents, and we could not have helped ourselves. Hence, the Son of God came forth and made an atonement, not for himself, but for and in behalf and in the name of his younger brethren, that they, through his blood, and through certain conditions of the Gospel, might receive forgiveness of their sins. One of these conditions is baptism: but spirits are placed in a condition where they cannot receive this ordinance. And now, why not somebody have authority to go and administer for them and in their behalf? Not only Jesus has acted in behalf of the children of men, but it pertains to the same Priesthood and Apostleship, wherever it is placed, to act for and in behalf of the children of men: hence, Paul says, We beseech you, not in our own name, but in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. They came forth to officiate, for the children of men, that could not help themselves without authorized ministers.

Just so, the dead could not help themselves without messengers being sent to them in their prison houses, and without persons in the flesh being authorized to receive Gospel ordinances for them and in their behalf. How are we to know the individuals for whom we should be baptized? We know nothing about our ancestors very far back. We can, perhaps, go back to our grandfathers, and some of you may possibly trace your genealogies back seven or eight generations, and get the names of your ancestors. But when you get these, there is a still longer chain, with many links to it, before you get back where the chain has been mended up by ancient administrators. How can we be baptized for persons whose very names are lost? Do you suppose that the Prophet Elijah would be sent from heaven with this great and important mission to turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, and then leave them in entire ignorance with regard to their genealogies?

If Elijah the Prophet is to be sent before the great and dreadful day of the Lord to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers, you may be assured that we shall learn something about the genealogy of those fathers.

We shall learn by the spirit of revelation whom to be baptized for, and whom to officiate for in the holy ordinances of the Gospel. Herein is the necessity of revelation. Take away revelation from this great dispensation of the fulness of times, and I would not give you much for the mission of Elijah, or for the dispensation itself. Take away that great principle that always characterized all other dispensations, and you throw us into uncertainty on tens of thousands of important subjects.

But when a communication is opened between man and his Maker, and angels are sent down to restore their keys and their powers, light shines at once upon our pathway. It may be asked, Where are these ordinances to be attended to? Can we run over the world and pick up Saints here and there and baptize them for their dead? No. The house of God is a house of order, the kingdom of God is a kingdom of order, and everything must be conducted with order, and with power and authority, so that when it is sealed on earth it is sealed in the heavens, that the records on earth and in heaven may agree—that the Priesthood on earth and in heaven may agree—that they may be one.

These things cannot be attended to in all places on the earth. There are certain appointed places for the ministration of these holy ordinances. Temples must be built, by the commandment of the Almighty, unto his holy name, that shall be sanctified and made holy from the foundation stone unto the top thereof, consecrated to the living God for the administration of holy ordinances, not only for the benefit of the living, but for the benefit of the fathers who are dead. But in what apartments in the Temple shall the baptism for the dead be administered? It will be in the proper place—in the lowest story or department of the house of God. Why? Because it must be in a place underneath where the living assemble, in representation of the dead that are laid down in the grave. There a baptismal font must be erected by the commandment of the Most High, and after the pattern he shall give by revelation unto his servants; and in such a font this sacred and holy ordinance must be administered by the servants of God.

We will mention another thing in regard to the authority that receives these communications. Every man will not be his own revelator in these matters, for there would be ten thousand revelators, and perhaps no more than five hundred of them would be true.

In the manifestation of spiritual gifts which God has given to his servants in all ages of the world, he has had those appointed with authority and power to discern which were from God, and which were not. In the days of Moses there were many Prophets. The spirit of prophecy rested upon seventy Elders of Israel on a certain occasion; and when Joshua saw some of them in their tents prophesying, he ran to Moses, with great zeal, and said, “My lord Moses forbid them.” He felt zealous for Moses, for fear he would lose his honor as a Prophet among so many. Moses exclaimed, “I would to God all the Lord’s people were prophets.” If they had been, it would have required a great many having the gift to discern the spirits of the Prophets to know which were true. So it will be in relation to the revelations of genealogies of the Saints of the living God. If they are to feel after their fathers that are dead, and redeem them by the holy ordinance of baptism, they will not go to work in the dark, nor by the prophecies and revelations of every person who may offer himself as a revelator or prophet. There will be an order in the house of God; there will be a Moses there, or, in other words, a man holding the keys and authority of these things.

Moses was the great Prophet in Israel, though there were other prophets. Says the Lord, I will reveal myself to those other prophets in dark sayings; I will instruct them in figures and dreams; but not so with my servant Moses: I will talk to him face to face, and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold. So, in the dispensation of the latter days, a Moses will stand in the congregation filled with the Holy Ghost, and the spirit of revelation will be upon him, to receive instruction from the heavens in regard to the fathers and the dispensation over which he presides.

Now, let me refer you to a little Scripture on this subject. I have already referred you to what Peter and Paul said. Isaiah, in the 24th chapter, prophesies of the great day of burning—of the great day when the earth shall reel to and fro as a drunken man—of the great day when all nations of the wicked will perish; after which, he further adds, “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.”

You see, from these passages, that in the last days many of those kings and high ones who will not place themselves in a position to receive the Gospel, and who die ignorant of its principles, will be gathered together as prisoners in the pit, and be shut up for many days, with a fearful looking for the judgment of the great day. They will not know what is coming—what will befall them, like all prisoners guilty of crime. But after many days they shall be visited by the servants of God, as Jesus visited the antediluvians with a message: the door of their prison will be thrown open, after they have been sufficiently long confined; and if they repent, they can be redeemed; but if they will not repent, they will be taken from thence and cast into outer darkness.

You know that men are taken up for crime and shut up in the calaboose, or jail, or some such place to stay there for a length of time until they are brought to judgment; and then they are sentenced to hard labor, perhaps, in the Penitentiary. These will be in torment until they obey the message sent to them; and if they do not receive the message of pardon, they will be punished until they have paid the uttermost farthing; that is, they will be punished with eternal punishment.

We might quote you many other passages in relation to this subject; but it is unnecessary for us to multiply passages on a subject that ought to be familiar to all the Latter-day Saints: and as it is a subject that does not particularly benefit strangers, I do not know that it is necessary for them to have all the evidence; for they have not authority to be baptized for their dead, because they have not been baptized for themselves.

They may like to know what the peculiar doctrines of the Latter-day Saints are, and that is all the good it will do them. But, as Latter-day Saints, we have principles to lay before the inhabitants of the earth that embrace, not only the people living on it, but all the generations of the dead. It is the most charitable doctrine that was ever preached to the nations of the earth. The Universalists think they are very charitable. Why? Because they send all to heaven, whether they are good or evil, saints or sinners. Murderers, drunkards, and all classes of society are to dwell together in heaven. And what a heaven it would be! Methodists contending against Baptists, and Baptists against Methodists, Presbyterians against Quakers, Roman Catholics against Protestants, and Nothingarians against Sectarians, and Sectarians against Nothingarians; and then add to the whole catalogue of contending sects drunkards, blasphemers, whoremongers, murderers, and every species of wicked beings, all jumbled up together. Oh, what a happy place! Brother Kimball says—“And all of them with a revolver and bowie knife at their sides.”

I think I should pray for an outside corner without the walls. I should want to get at a great distance from such a heterogeneous mass. They call this charity; but it is different from the charity which dwells in the bosom of God. I do not think he has charity enough to associate with a company of this descrip tion. But the Latter-day Saints have their Church founded on true principles, law, and order—principles revealed from heaven, that all on the earth, and in the eternal worlds may be saved on pure principles, and pure principles only. If they ever inherit the kingdom of God, they must go there with hearts as pure as the angels of God; if they dwell in his presence, they must be pure as he is pure, perfect as he is perfect, that the holy order of heaven may be graced with all the perfection, holiness, and godliness of character that we read of in the Scriptures of eternal truth. Such a heaven will be a heaven indeed. It is the goodness and virtue of beings that inherit a place which make it desirable.

You select a place that is surrounded with many disadvantages, like these deserts and mountain wilds, and place a pure people there—a people perfectly organized and influenced by the Holy Ghost in all things, doing unto others as they would have others do to them in everything, meting out justice on the principles of righteousness and truth; and let everyone be perfectly honest in his deal, and let his hands be continually stayed from stealing other people’s property, and let there be no quarrelling or evil speaking; and if such a people do have to toil and labor in the midst of these mountains and canyons, yet they are happy; they carry heaven in their own bosoms, or the principles that make happiness abide within them. When these Godlike principles become more fully developed—when the Saints become more rooted and grounded in them, and enter into the eternal worlds and find everybody there, like themselves, pure in heart, it will make a perfect heaven. You place the wicked there, with all their abominations, and it will transform heaven into a hell.

It matters not how beautiful a place it may be—although it is as lovely as the garden of Eden—though everything in the eternal world harmonizes and the elements all conspire to produce happiness, yet place a people there with wicked hearts, and it is hell. You take a man full of corruption and introduce him into the society of the pure and just, and it would be a perfect hell to him.

I have often heard blasphemers and drunkards and abominable characters say, I really hope I shall at last get to heaven. If they get there, they will be in the most miserable place they could be in. Were they to behold the face of God, or the angels, it would kindle in them a flame of unquenchable fire; it would be the very worst place a wicked man could get into: he would much rather go and dwell in hell with the Devil and his host. On the other hand, you take a man that is pure in heart—a holy being, and place him in the society of the devils, and he is not in his element; the society is disagreeable. If he were obliged to stay there and behold the corrupt and evil doings of the wicked and abominable, it would in some degree make a hell for him to look upon their conduct, and still such a being would have one principle about him that would enable him to control, in a measure, his feelings; that is, he would have control over those characters; and herein is the power of the Priesthood. If the servants of God are sent to the spirit prison to minister unto them, if they are sent to those who are in a state of wickedness and degradation to minister to them, they have one source of comfort—they are not confined there as prisoners; they go there voluntarily; they do not associate with their wickedness, but hate it; they are willing to stay there, peradventure they may bring some of them to repentance; and the Devil has no power over them: they have learned to control him in this life, to rebuke him, and to say unto him, Get behind us, Satan! When a Saint arrives in that eternal world, if he be sent on a mission into the dominions of Satan, to reclaim some under his power, he can say to Satan and to all his armies, Depart hence! He has the power of the Priesthood to command him and all powers under him, and they are obliged to obey. Not so with a wicked man: he gets, into a perfect hell, wherever you place him, so long as he harbors wickedness in his breast.

But we have spoken concerning our fathers that are to be redeemed. We have spoken concerning the work of the children to redeem them. Let me here say that before this last dispensation ends there will be a perfect unbroken chain from the first of the fathers to the time of the close of the dispensation; and all will be saved who can be saved: all who are placed within the power of redemption will be redeemed—not redeemed to the same degree of salvation, but some will inherit one kingdom, and some another; some receiving the highest or celestial glory, being crowned with crowns of glory in the presence of God forever, shining forth like the sun in its meridian strength; while others, though celestial, will be subject to them, inheriting a less degree of celestial glory. Others will inherit a terrestrial glory, or the glory of the moon. Others will inherit a glory still less than this, which may be termed a telestial glory, like that of the stars—a glory small indeed! They are all redeemed, according to their repentance, faithfulness, and works of righteousness, into these various degrees of glory. On the other hand, opposite to these various degrees of glory, are various degrees of punishment; some inheriting a prison, where they may be visited with rays of hope; others inheriting outer darkness, where there is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth; others cast into a bottomless or lowermost pit to dwell with the Devil and his angels throughout eternity, having committed the unpardonable sin, for whom there is no forgiveness in this world nor the world to come; and thus the justice of God will be magnified as well as his mercy; for God is perfectly just, being just according to our notions of justice; for among the original qualities of our minds we have correct notions of justice implanted in our bosoms originally by God himself: also what we know of mercy originated from God. He implanted the principles of justice and mercy in our hearts, and he implanted the same principles that dwell in his own bosom.

What is justice with us, when we are truly enlightened, is justice with God; and what is mercy with us, when we are truly enlightened, is mercy with God: and these great attributes will be magnified in the dealing out of punishments and rewards.

Every man which ever has lived, or ever will live, will be dealt with according to his works and the law of the Gospel. There is another thing I wish to lay before this congregation, and that is in regard to those generations to whom the Gospel has not been committed in time. While I have been traveling abroad, many have said to me, How is it? You teach us that there has been no Church of God for many generations on the earth. You teach us that our fathers and mothers in generations gone past have died without the knowledge of the Gospel; you teach us that God is a just being, and will punish men by the law of the Gospel; and how is it that he suffered all these generations to remain without the Gospel while in the flesh? I want to answer this question, and tell you why there was no Church on the earth six hundred or a thousand years ago—why generation after generation have fallen into their graves, without hearing the voice of God, or any communication from him. I will give you the reason why, and then leave you to judge in relation to the matter. It is well known that the nations killed off the old Apostles and Prophets, and banished the Church of Christ from the earth. Those who remained were corrupt, evil, and devilish, desiring to work wickedness, having no desires for righteousness, having apostatized from the truth. Because of the great wickedness which reigned, the Lord Almighty saw that it was impossible for him to reveal a dispensation and protect it on the earth; he saw that it was impossible to be done in those dark ages. For if he had revealed himself to any man, and that man should go forth and say, Thus saith the Lord God, he might, before the sun went down, look for his head to be taken off his shoulders, or to be stretched upon the wheels of the Inquisition, to be tortured with all manner of cruelties as a heretic. And if he should undertake to work secretly with mankind, after it was found out publicly, he would have been hunted from one end of the earth to the other, until he was destroyed and all his followers. This would have brought innocent blood again upon the people. The Lord saw that they would bring greater wickedness on themselves, if he revealed a dispensation, than to withhold it; for they would have been sure to take the lives of his servants, and bring innocent blood upon their heads, even as their fathers did. This would effectually prevent them from entering into that prison where they, in due time, could hear the Gospel.

To prevent the effusion of innocent blood and give them a chance, the Lord withheld from them his Church. The Lord might have reasoned thus—I will not raise up my Church in their midst, for they will put the people of that Church to death. If I restore the authority to the earth, they will root it out; they will shed innocent blood: therefore, I will send these generations into their graves in ignorance; and when governments are established so liberal that there will be some prospect of establishing my kingdom on the earth, then I will send Elijah the Prophet, and he shall give authority to the children to search after their fathers who died in ignorance of the Gospel.

We are willing to go the earth over to save the living; we are willing to build temples and administer in ordinances to save the dead; we are willing to enter the eternal worlds and preach to every creature who has not placed himself beyond the reach of mercy. We are willing to labor both in this world and in the next to save men.

I will now close my remarks by saying, Let all rejoice that the great day of the dispensation of the fulness of times has come. Let the living rejoice; let the dead rejoice; let the heavens and the earth rejoice; let all creation shout hosannah! Glory to God in the highest! For he hath brought salvation, and glory, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life to the fallen sons of men. Amen.


A Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, on Sunday morning, August 14, 1859.

I have this moment been requested to address the people upon the subject of a theocratical form of government, or upon that particular form of government called the kingdom of God. I will read a few passages from the book of Daniel the Prophet relating to governments in general—

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountains without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” (See Daniel ii. 44, 45.)

“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” (See 34th and 35th verses.)

“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” (See Daniel vii. 27.)

The form of government given to man immediately after the creation was theocratical; that is, the Creator became the great Lawgiver. He appointed the officers of that government, established his own authority, and arranged all things after his own order, which is eternal. He himself instituted the same form of government here in this creation that he established in other kingdoms, worlds, or creations, so far as the capacities and circumstances of the inhabitants would permit. Hence such a government might in reality be termed a theocracy, because God was the author of the laws, forms, and institution of the same. After a period of time, men departed from God, apostatized from the form of government instituted from heaven; and, still thinking that it was needful and necessary to have some kind of government, in order to control the people and keep them within due bounds of subjection, they concluded to form and establish governments of their own, according to the best judgment and wisdom they had. Hence the various nations, both before and after the flood, instituted governments according to human wisdom, some making choice of one form, and some of another; some giving the whole authority into the hands of a ruler, called a king, an emperor, or monarch; others reserving a portion of the power in the hands of various individuals, termed nobles or princes; others leaving the form of government more or less in the hands of the people at large, something resembling a republic. But all these various forms instituted by man were entirely different in one particular from that instituted of God.

The Lord claims it as a right, in consequence of his wisdom and superior power, and in consequence of his having created men, to govern them; and if so, he claims the right of originating their laws and of dictating the form of government by which they shall be ruled. This is his right; and every man, when he seriously reflects on this subject, will be willing to acknowledge that God surely has more wisdom, power, and knowledge, in relation to the kind of government which would be best adapted to the human family, than those finite beings whom he has created; and if he has this superior wisdom, power, authority, and knowledge, we ought to give to him that right.

But mankind would not permit him to exercise the right which so justly belongs to him. They usurped the authority and denied the right of the Almighty to govern them, and thus originated all the forms of human governments which have existed upon this globe for the last six thousand years. It is true the Lord had a hand in the establishment of some of the laws connected with the government of Israel; but even that people, in consequence of the hardness of their hearts, rebelled against the righteous, just, and holy laws that God ordained for their good, and desired laws of a different nature, and a form of government more resembling the corrupt nations around them. They were a hardhearted people, and delighted to walk in the traditions of the Egyptians, and to follow after the imaginations of their own hearts; and when the pure law of Jehovah came forth and was presented to that people, it was more than they were willing to endure; it was too pure for them: they wanted something more suited to their carnal natures. For instance, when a man married a wife, they wished to have the privilege of divorcing her for every trifling cause that might happen to take place. The Lord, seeing the hardness of their hearts, permitted Moses to give them, according to their wishes, an inferior law. But this additional law of carnal commandments formed no part of a pure theocratical code such as the Lord intended to establish among that people. Many other items of law were given to the children of Israel, according to the hardness of their hearts, that were permitted by the Lord through Moses. We cannot, therefore, suppose that all the Mosaic code was acceptable and pleasing to God. Some of it was given in wrath, that the wicked among them might stumble and fall, and not be permitted to enter into the fulness of his rest. But God originated the most of the Mosaic code, while Moses merely permitted the additional laws applicable to a rebellious, hardhearted people.

The Israelites continued to be governed, more or less, by some of those divine laws, until the coming of the Messiah; but they often transgressed them through the traditions of their Elders; they often departed from the living God, and lost the spirit of revelation and communion with him. The powers, privileges, and blessings of the kingdom which were intended to continue among that people were in a measure taken from them at different periods of their history. By-and-by our Savior came to abolish that portion of the law of Moses which was given in consequence of transgression, and to retain that portion which he intended should continue; for instance, the ten commandments given by the Lord amidst the thunderings and lightnings of Mount Sinai: these were never intended to be done away by the law of Christ; but when he came, they were retained as a part of the superior law of the Gospel. The kingdom of God was built up in the days of Christ, under this superior law; but the most of the Jewish nation concluded to reject the Gospel as their fathers did in the wilderness: they cast it from them, and were not willing to be governed by it; therefore the kingdom of God, instead of being a concentrated government among Israel, existed in detached portions here and there. The law of God, in the days of Christ did not have place among them in a national capacity: it did not govern them as a people. They were not subject to it: they fought against it. Hence the kingdom, so far as it existed, after awhile was taken from them and transferred over into the hands of the Gentiles.

The Gentiles did not receive this transferred kingdom nationally, but individually—few individuals only embracing the same. As nations, they rejected it as well as the Jews. The kingdom of God in those days, though governed ecclesiastically by Divine laws, was not sufficiently concentrated to exercise any national jurisdiction among any of the nations of the great Eastern hemisphere. The isolated individuals and branches receiving the kingdom were scattered here and there through all the coun tries of the East, subject to the various forms and municipal laws of man-made governments. This order of things continued down for a short period after the martyrdom of the Apostles, when mankind again departed entirely from the ecclesiastical laws of the kingdom. There came a falling away, so that the kingdom, which existed in a scattered and broken condition through the Gentile nations, began to lose all the power and blessings pertaining to it: the gift of healing was no longer made manifest; the gift of prophecy no longer existed; and so complete and dreadful was the apostasy, that one might travel through the whole of the Eastern continent and not find a Prophet, or Apostle, or Revelator, or anyone who had heard the voice of God or received any communication or revelation from him. Then visions ceased, angels no longer appeared, miracles were done away, and every office and power and authority and gift characterizing the kingdom of God, or in the least resembling a theocracy, ceased from all the Gentile nations. They, like the Jews before them, lost the fruits of the kingdom of God; and the few Saints who remained and had in any degree faith in the cause they had espoused, became so darkened in their minds, through the wickedness and apostasy which prevailed, that they were counted worthy only to be trodden under the feet of the Gentile nations. Hence the powers of the earth made war with all those branches that professed to be the kingdom of God, and they overcame and destroyed them from the earth, and the kingdom of God no longer existed, so far as we have knowledge, on the great Eastern hemisphere, for something like seventeen centuries.

Nearly seventeen long centuries rolled over the heads of the Gentile nations in Asia, Europe, and Africa; and such a thing as the kingdom of God was entirely unknown among them. It did not exist either in a concentrated or scattered form. Instead of a theocratical government, or one of Divine origin, you could behold nothing but empires, absolute and limited monarchies, kingdoms, principalities, dukedoms, republics, and heterogeneous masses of conflicting revolutionary elements, thrown together, as if by some fortuitous circumstances, fomenting, igniting, and belching forth the hot lava of destruction, swallowing up millions of unhappy beings, and overwhelming all countries with desolation, misery, and death.

Next, let us turn to the ancient history of this great Western hemisphere. We are informed by the sacred and Divine record, called the Book of Mormon, that the kingdom of God flourished to a greater extent here than in the Eastern world. On this Western hemisphere the kingdom of God was established by the personal appearance of our Lord and Savior after his resurrection. Twelve disciples were appointed on this land to administer the Gospel, laws, and institutions of that kingdom. They went forth preaching, prophesying, working miracles, receiving revelations, and administering with authority Divine laws, Divine ordinances—calling, appointing, and ordering in every department of the kingdom—inspired officers holding Divine authority to judge, to execute the laws, to govern in all things according to the mind of the King of heaven, whom they saw, and whose voice they heard, and whom they obeyed in all the affairs of government. This was a theocracy indeed—a national theocracy established in its pure form. And the ancient Israelites of America became universally a favored and happy people. Their greatest settlements were in Central America and the northern portions of South America. However, about three hundred years after Christ, their settlements extended from Cape Horn in the South to the frozen regions in the North—from the Atlantic on the East to the great Pacific on the West. Large cities were built on various parts of the land, arts and sciences flourished, and millions of happy beings rejoiced in the blessings of universal peace and liberty. This happy condition of things continued for some three centuries, when they began to apostatize and contend one with another, building up a variety of sects and parties on this Western hemisphere, as well as in the Old World.

At length one portion of the nation was permitted to overpower the other. Those who survived the overwhelming judgments of war and famine were left only to sink into the lowest depths of degradation and misery. Their descendants are called by us American Indians. Thus we see that the kingdom of God did not exist to our knowledge, either on the Eastern or Western hemispheres of our globe for many generations. It became entirely extinct from the earth about four centuries after the Christian era, and there was nothing left on the face of the wide earth but the wisdom of man, the governments of man, the religion of man, the power of man, and the rule of man. God, angels, prophets, revelators, and every vestige of Divine authority and government were excluded from every nation under heaven and wholly rooted out of the earth. This was the benighted, woeful, lamentable condition in which the year 1830 found the children of men, both on this continent and on the great Eastern hemisphere.

Governments! Yes, they have multiplied governments upon governments. There are scores of them to be found in Europe, and scores to be found in Asia and in Africa, of all sorts and forms, from the proud monarchy that crushes the liberty and hopes of millions down to the petty chieftain who degradedly wanders with his little band of fifty, all pretending to be governed by some sort of principles.

While the iron hand of despotism thus held the nations within its withering grasp, enslaving both soul and body, the great God, near the close of the fifteenth century, moved upon the mind of a Columbus, and inspired him to fearlessly launch forth upon the great expanse of unknown waters on the west of Europe; and guided by the invisible agency of the Holy Spirit, he revealed to the downtrodden, despairing nations, a new world.

Upwards of another century passed away, during which the shackles of despotism began to be loosened. Dissenters from the Romish Church multiplied, protesting against many of her abominations. Nations espoused their cause. Wars raged—Protestants against Catholics, and Catholics against Protestants, each nation establishing its man-made religion by man-made laws. Dissenters from these new religions formed other sects, the weaker being persecuted by the stronger, and all being persecuted, more or less, by the governments from whose established religion they had dissented. Among this heterogeneous compound of clashing creeds and clashing swords, no voice of God was heard—no inspiration of the Almighty to calm the troubled elements—no Prophet or Revelator to point out the kingdom of God and bid the nations welcome.

Human wisdom in religious or governmental affairs is the great source of disunion and all its attendant train of evil. So great became the disunion among the European nations, that many of the more honest, humble souls, to escape persecution and death, came from the old countries, and first landed in the New England States in 1620. They are called the Pilgrim Fathers. They established morality and many good institutions, although their laws in many respects were very oppressive. They instituted strict laws against what they called witchcraft, and the old blue laws of Connecticut were established. But among all these pilgrims there could not be found a theocratical form of government. We only find laws instituted according to the best wisdom and judgment of our ancestors; and by-and-by they became sufficiently strong in this country to rise up against the oppressions of the mother country: they concluded to protest against the tyranny and oppression heaped upon them by the King of England: hence arose the revolutionary struggles. A new government sprang into being, formed in accordance with more liberal principles.

Let us inquire how far this government was established in accordance with the mind and will of God. We believe, when our ancestors threw off the yoke of tyranny and oppression placed on them by the Government of England, that they were not only inspired in doing this, but the Lord had something in view to accomplish: he had his plans and purposes all laid out before him, and our fathers were the instruments to carry out and fulfil those purposes. Our ancestors had gained their independence, and had framed the articles of the Constitution, and the Government was established, giving unto the people a voice and privilege of electing their own officers. In the Constitution, certain rights were guaranteed to the people, such as liberty of the press, the liberty of speech, and the liberty of emigrating from one part of the Union to another, settling in whatever State or Territory they saw fit. The people preserved in their own hands the power to protect their own rights; hence, when the voice of the people is in favor of the guaranteed rights, the whole people enjoy a degree of liberty. If the voice of the people is declared for that which is wrong, then the minority, however right, has to suffer with the rest. But this, perhaps, was as good a government as could be established under the circumstances.

Our brave and hardy ancestors were just emerging from the tyranny and oppression of ages: the star of liberty had but just risen above their horizon: their minds were still beclouded with the dense fogs, traditions, customs, laws, and forms of governments in the Old World; and in their experience, they were unprepared for a theocracy, and could not even comprehend, as their children do, the extent of that liberty into which they had so suddenly emerged. Before they could enlarge their liberties, and seek for a government of a purer and more heavenly form, it required a few years to wear off those traditions.

Half-a-century passed away, during which the lessons of liberty became deeply implanted in the hearts of the rising generation: they began to comprehend and develop more fully those grand doctrines embraced in the Constitution. Proud of their institutions and of the dignity and honor of their great Republic, they began to suppose their form of Government perfect, and that nothing could be added to increase its grandeur and magnificence. But with all its glory and greatness and perfection, it was only a steppingstone to a form of government infinitely greater and more perfect—a government founded upon Divine laws, with all its institutions, ordinances, and officers appointed by the God of heaven. But our revolutionary fathers, having just broken the bonds and shaken off the yoke, had not that experience necessary to preserve inviolate the liberties they had gained. Although they wrote the Constitution, and obtained power over a nation more powerful than themselves, yet this did not wholly divest them of their traditions; hence they were not prepared to have a Prophet rise up and say—“Thus saith the Lord God.”

After the nation had struggled along, increasing in knowledge and power and experience, and had maintained their independence and liberty for upwards of half-a-century, and had made rapid strides in teaching, developing, and enjoying the principles of physical, moral, and religious liberty, the Almighty determined to assert his right and establish an everlasting kingdom upon the unalterable principles of eternal truth—a kingdom which could never be destroyed nor ever be shaken, though the heavens should pass away and the worlds disappear with a universal crash.

The Lord now saw that there was one nation upon the earth where he could venture to begin the great work—where a theocracy could exist in an ecclesiastical form, being legally and lawfully entitled to all the rights and protection guaranteed in the great American Constitution, in common with all religious parties. The kingdom of God could not be set up without calling officers, and inspiring men, and revealing laws, while this Republic elects its own officers and makes its own laws.

The American Congress do not pretend to inspiration. The Speaker, who occupies the highest and most honorable station in the Lower House, is not a Prophet: he does not deliver the word of the Lord as law; neither does the honorable President of the Senate say, Thus saith the Lord God: but all the deliberations and enactments of that illustrious body are the results of human wisdom. They would not suffer a Prophet of God to come into their midst and dictate the laws that should be adopted by the nation. They would show him the door. They would call upon the officers that are appointed to keep order in that honorable assembly to put out such a character. They would very likely say, “We will not for a moment listen to him, though he may profess to be inspired, and to have received heavenly visions, and to have seen God, and talked with him face to face, as Moses, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did; yet we will let him know that he must not come among us and undertake to dictate us as to the kind of laws we shall pass. This is not a theocratic form of government, and therefore we will not listen to him.”

In ancient times, we find even kingly powers bowed to Prophets and Revelators. Nebuchadnezzar, in all his glory, could give heed to the Prophet Daniel—could listen to the interpretation of his own dream. He believed in Prophets. But the people of these latter times have strayed so far from a theocratical form of government that they do not even believe in such things as dreams and visions inspired of God; hence it would be a difficult matter for such a man as Daniel to approach the august assembly annually convened at the capitol.

I have often contrasted, in my reflections, the faith of the present nations of Christendom with the faith of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. These nations, as wicked as they were, did believe in the spirit of prophecy and revelation; they did receive a Prophet. Hence we find the Egyptians exalting a Joseph from a dungeon, because he had a dream, and because he gave the true interpretation thereof. Said Pharaoh, “There is no man among us that is so able to dictate, guide, and direct the affairs of this nation as this man. He has had a dream. The Lord has revealed to him something about our future condition—what is to take place in Egypt and in the surrounding nations. The Lord has revealed to him that there are to be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. What man is so well fitted to stand next to me in authority, to dictate and guide the affairs of this people in regard to the approaching famine? Let him be exalted and honored.”

Would they thus honor a Prophet in this day? No. They would say, “He is a false, visionary character, and is not fit for a Justice of the Peace, or for any other office of the least responsibility.” The inhabitants of great Babylon—one of the most popular nations on the earth, having gone forth, conquering and to conquer, until the Jewish nations and all nations were brought in subjection to them, still had confidence in Prophets; and their great king Nebuchadnezzar, surrounded with all the magnificence of power, and sitting on his throne, dreamed a dream, and he had confidence there was something in it. He did not despise the Spirit of revelation as the American Congress would, or as the kings, emperors, and nobles of the earth at this day would do; but he considered it indicative of something in the future; and a proclamation was sent forth among all the wise men of Babylon, commanding them to reveal his dream and the interpretation thereof, or they should be put to death. About the time they were to carry out the sentence of the king, and put to death the astrologers and wise men of great Babylon, Daniel exclaimed, “Why is the decree so hasty from the king?” and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation. Through the prayer of faith, the secret was revealed to Daniel, and he came before the king and said, “Thou, O king, sawest, and beheld a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them; and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream.”

I will now relate the substance of the interpretation. This great image which you saw represents the successive kingdoms of the world, down to the setting up of the kingdom of God. The head of gold represents the great kingdom over which you reign; the breast and arms of silver represent another kingdom inferior to thee, that shall succeed thy kingdom, which all commentators agree was the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. The belly and thighs of brass represent another kingdom which shall succeed the Medes and Persians, which all agree in saying was the Macedonian empire. The legs of iron represent the next in succession which shall have universal dominion. All agree that the fourth represents the Roman empire. The feet of iron and clay represent the ten kingdoms which shall spring out from the broken fragments of the Roman empire. Governments in their weak and divided state were to have place on the earth until the kingdom of God should be set up in the last days.

The kingdom of God was entirely distinct from this great image. It formed no part of it, but it was represented as a stone cut out of the mountain without hands. That stone smote the image on the feet—not on the head, nor upon any other portion of the body: it was first to commence its operations upon the feet and toes of the great image; and then the feet, toes, legs, breast, arms, and head were to be broken to pieces, and become like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind was to carry away the whole image, and there was to be no place to be found for it, while the little stone was to increase to such a magnitude that it should fill the whole earth; and the dominion, even the greatness of the dominion under the whole heavens was to be given to the Saints of the Most High. This is the true interpretation of this remarkable prophetic dream.

It is not my intention this morning to say much concerning the particular relations which the kingdom of God will have towards the religious views of men and nations. This department of this great subject was so ably investigated by our President, Sabbath before last, that I should esteem it a folly for me to attempt to throw any new light upon it. Indeed, it would be very difficult to find language to express the ideas more clearly and plainly than they were expressed by him.

My object has been this morning to take another branch of this subject, and show you the times and the seasons of establishing a theocracy upon the earth, and perhaps say something about its final triumph.

From what has been said, we can perceive that some parts of Daniel’s prophecy have already been fulfilled. The predictions were of such a character that no man by his own wisdom, in the days of Daniel, could have possibly foreseen those far-off events. What man, by his own human wisdom, could for a moment have supposed that the kingdom of the Medes and Persians would overthrow the great empire of Babylon, in the way that it was foretold by Daniel? Again, what man, uninspired, could have foreseen that the Greek empire, under the government and rule of Alexander, would go forth and overthrow the Medes and Persians, and bear rule over all the earth; and finally, that he should die, and the kingdom be divided among four of his generals?—which is all clearly foretold in the 7th and 8th chapters of Daniel. What man, by his own sagacity, without the inspiration of the Almighty, could have understood that a great iron kingdom should arise, and be diverse from all the other kingdoms, and should break in pieces and devour the whole earth, and stamp them down with oppression and tyranny?—which it is well known was done by the great Roman empire. All these things were fulfilled literally.

Again, what human foresight could have predicted that this great kingdom should be overcome and broken up, and that the fragments should compose the modern kingdoms of Europe, together with those governments that have emigrated from Europe to this western continent? All these prophecies have been literally fulfilled. Why, then, not look for the kingdom of God to arise literally from the mountains as a little stone, to break in pieces the great image? If one portion of the prophecy has been literally fulfilled, why not look for the literal fulfillment of the balance? I expect the literal fulfillment of that prophecy relating to the Saints of the last days arising like a small stone unconnected with this image, and disunited from all forms of government, both civil and ecclesiastical. I look for such a kingdom to arise, with a separate form of government, and to continue, and prevail, and progress, until the dominion and the greatness of the dominion under the whole heavens shall be given to the Saints of the Most High. I look for that to be fulfilled literally, just as much as I know the other to have been fulfilled literally. I know that it is often argued, by those who profess to be wise men, that the kingdom represented by this little stone cut out of the mountain took its rise 1,800 years ago. Let us examine this, for it is of the greatest importance that we should understand the times and the seasons.

Daniel said that the kingdom which was to be established in the last days never should be destroyed, nor left to other people, but should exist forever, and increase until the whole earth should be filled by the Saints of the Most High. How did it happen with the kingdom of Christ that was set up in ancient times? I have already related it; but I will again briefly state that the kingdom of God, set up 1,800 years ago, did not fulfil the terms of the prophecy. It was not set up at the proper time. The whole image which Nebuchadnezzar saw was not then standing complete from the head of gold to the feet of iron and clay, which should have been the case before the stone is cut out of the mountain without hands. Did it stand complete 1,800 years ago? No. Where were the iron legs in all their power and grandeur? Where were the feet and toes, that were part of iron and part of potter’s clay? Or, in other words, the ten kingdoms which were to succeed the great empire of Rome? In the days of the ancient kingdom of Christ they were not in existence. The image was not complete: it lacked the lower portions; it lacked the legs and feet of iron and clay. It is true, the Roman empire then existed, but not as the great western and eastern portions. It is known, that it was long after Christ before Rome was divided into two kingdoms representing the two iron legs. The capital of one was at Constantinople, and the capital of the other at Rome, in Italy. But where were these legs, feet, and toes, a few centuries before, when the kingdom of Christ was on the earth? They did not exist.

In those days there was no stone from the mountains, and there were no feet and no toes to be broken in pieces. Instead of the ancient Church fulfilling the prediction in breaking the image, events proved a state of things directly the reverse. Some of the governments forming the image made war with the Saints and overcame them, and the ancient kingdom of Christ was destroyed from the earth.

Hear what the prophets predict in relation to the ancient Church. Daniel says, “And I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.” (See Daniel vii. 21.) Again, he says, “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” (See Daniel viii. 24.)

He further says—“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries.” (See Daniel xi. 32, 34.)

John, the Revelator, in describing this same power under the figure of a beast, says—“And all the world wondered after the beast.” “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (See John’s Revelation, chapter xiii.) Therefore, instead of the ancient Church overcoming the image, it was itself to be overcome by the image. History shows the sad fulfillment of these predictions. Therefore the former-day kingdom was not the stone of the mountain. The ancient kingdom being overcome, fled to heaven, and the Priesthood was caught up to God and to his throne; and there the Saints are reserved in heaven until the coming of the Son of God to reign on the earth, according to the predictions of the Prophets. Then he will bring that kingdom which is in heaven with him. He has to set up a kingdom on earth preparatory to that which will come from heaven. This preparatory kingdom must be established on the earth, where man-made governments exist. It will be a kingdom increasing in greatness and power and glory on the earth for many years preparatory to the coming of the King with the heavenly kingdom, at which time both the heavenly and earthly will be united in one, under their great Head and Lawgiver.

Having demonstrated the fact that an everlasting kingdom is to be set up in the last days, let us next inquire whether the period has arrived for such a grand event to be fulfilled. Is there anything that should be fulfilled before we ought to look for such a kingdom? Can anyone show one prediction that needs to be accomplished before the kingdom of God is set up on the earth, never again to be destroyed?

The remnants of the old Babylonish empire, under the form of other governments, will be found mostly in Asia. The breasts and arms of silver will also be found in Asia. The belly and thighs of brass will be found part in Asia and part in Europe. The broken iron kingdom still exists in Italy, Europe. The feet and toes exist throughout Europe and among the governments of America of European origin. Thus the location of the image is known, its head being in Asia, and the other extremity in America. No part is lacking. It lies stretched out over lands and seas, occupying nearly the whole of the two great hemispheres of our globe. The old, wrinkled, worn-out monster seems ready to break in pieces. All that seems to be necessary is for some power, distinct and independent, to set the old thing crumbling, and its final dissolution will soon follow. Such a power will be the kingdom of God cut from the mountain. The location of the stone of the mountain could not be in Asia, Africa, or Europe, nor upon any distant island of the sea; but it must be in America, near the extremities of the feet and toes. This mountain kingdom could not be found in the low countries of America, but in some high, elevated region.

There is no country which would better answer the terms of the predicted location than that elevated region bordering upon the great Rocky Mountain chain. A kingdom in that high region might well be called a mountain kingdom, and be thus designated by the inspired Daniel. Its proximity to the western extremity of the image would almost preclude the idea of any other mountainous location.

But to establish such a kingdom, some one must receive Divine authority. And what is the testimony of the Latter-day Saints in regard to the calling of anyone in this Church? We want now to test ourselves. Are we the kingdom of God that was to be established in the last days? Or are we not? Have we the characteristics of that kingdom? Have we been called in that way and manner that the servants of God in ancient days were called?

To answer this question, let us go back to Joseph Smith—the one that organized this Church by the commandment of the Almighty. When, where, and how were you, Joseph Smith, first called? How old were you? And what were your qualifications? I was between fourteen and fifteen years of age. Had you been to college? No. Had you studied in any seminary of learning? No. Did you know how to read? Yes. How to write? Yes. Did you understand much about arithmetic? No. About grammar? No. Did you understand all the branches of education which are generally taught in our common schools? No. But yet you say the Lord called you when you were but fourteen or fifteen years of age? How did he call you? I will give you a brief history as it came from his own mouth. I have often heard him relate it.

He was wrought upon by the Spirit of God, and felt the necessity of repenting of his sins and serving God. He retired from his father’s house a little way, and bowed himself down in the wilderness, and called upon the name of the Lord. He was inexperienced, and in great anxiety and trouble of mind in regard to what church he should join. He had been solicited by many churches to join with them, and he was in great anxiety to know which was right. He pleaded with the Lord to give him wisdom on the subject; and while he was thus praying, he beheld a vision, and saw a light approaching him from the heavens; and as it came down and rested on the tops of the trees, it became more glorious; and as it surrounded him, his mind was immediately caught away from beholding surrounding objects. In this cloud of light he saw two glorious personages; and one, pointing to the other, said, “Behold My Beloved Son. Hear ye Him!” Then he was instructed and informed in regard to many things pertaining to his own welfare, and commanded not to unite himself to any of those churches. He was also informed that at some future time the fulness of the Gospel should be made manifest to him, and he should be an instrument in the hands of God of laying the foundation of the kingdom of God.

Some few years after this, having proved himself faithful before the Lord, he was commanded by an holy angel to go to a hill about three miles from his father’s house, and to take from the ancient place of their deposit certain plates, on which was recorded the ancient history of this great Western continent from the earliest ages until the records were hid up by an ancient Prophet some four centuries after Christ.

In the year 1827 he was permitted to take those plates from their long deposit, and with them the Urim and Thummim—a sacred instrument such as was used by ancient Prophets among Israel to inquire of the Lord. He was commanded of the Lord, notwithstanding his youth and inexperience, to translate the engravings upon those plates into the English language. He did so, and others wrote from his mouth. Here, then, was the way that the Lord commenced a preparatory work for the raising up of the kingdom of God. What use would it have been to have raised up the kingdom of God without giving new revelation on doctrine? If a church were raised up without the Spirit of revelation, it could not stand forever: it would be broken up and scattered, the same as the other systems of the day, into numerous fragments, one contending that he was right, and another that he was right; and thus it would be anything else but the kingdom of God: it would be a perfect bedlam. But, to prepare the way, the Lord gave a lengthy revelation, contained in the Book of Mormon, including prophecies and the fulness of the Gospel, as taught by the mouth of the Savior himself on this vast continent 1,800 years ago.

With such a revelation, the kingdom of God could be set up, having an unerring guide in doctrinal subjects—a something to show the true points of the Gospel of Jesus and the first principles of the laws of the kingdom, and thus remove all cause for any division of sentiment and opinion.

This inspired book was revealed to Joseph Smith in fulfillment of those prophecies which I have often repeated before you, and which clearly predict that such a work should come to establish the kingdom of God on the earth. The book was printed in the early part of the year 1830, after which the Lord gave express commands to this young man to assemble together a few who believed in the work, and lay the foundation of the Church. Accordingly, on the 6th of April, 1830, the Latter-day Kingdom of God commenced in its organization, consisting of only six members, in the town of Fayette, Seneca County, State of New York. Was this in reality the kingdom of God? Yes; it was its beginning, or merely a nucleus around which proper materials were to gather and be organized. In the beginning of January, 1831, the Lord gave a revelation for the few members of his kingdom to gather together from the State of New York and Pennsylvania to the State of Ohio. They gathered to the place called Kirtland, Geauga County. They stayed there a few years, during which the Gospel of the kingdom was extensively preached in the United States and the Canadas. The Saints continued gathering to Kirtland and to Jackson County, Missouri.

The enemy was on the alert, and knew the difference between the es tablishment of the kingdom of God and those systems established by man. If the Church was permitted to prosper, he feared that his time was short. With the hopes of destroying the kingdom, the Devil waged war against the Saints in Jackson County, and 1,200 men, women, and children were scattered abroad in the cold months of November and December, 1833, wandering houseless and homeless, without food or fire, over the wild prairies and desolate wilderness of that country, pursued on every side by ruthless mobs. After this they settled on the north side of the Missouri River, in Clay County, where they resided some two years; they were again forced to leave, and sought refuge from their persecutors still further north, in the unsettled portions of the State. In the meantime, the Saints in Kirtland were forced to leave their homes, fleeing from their enemies into Missouri. In 1839, they were driven out of Missouri into Illinois. In 1844, the great Prophet of this last dispensation was murdered while under the pledged protection of the Governor of Illinois. In the winter of 1846, some fifteen or twenty thousand were forcibly expelled from their homes in Illinois. In the summer following, the sick, and the poor, and the aged, whose circumstances had not permitted them to accompany their brethren, were cannonaded out of Nauvoo.

In the midst of these most inhuman and dreadful persecutions, the United States called for five hundred of these suffering, wandering exiles to leave their families upon the Plains in the midst of wild savages, without shelter or food, to fight the battles of the nation against Mexico. In 1847, after incredible hardships and suffering, the Saints arrived in these mountains.

The object of our persecutors in driving us here was to destroy the kingdom. They threatened us with utter extermination if we stopped short of these mountains. They supposed that, when once here, our destruction would be inevitable. “On those arid and sterile deserts they cannot subsist; famine will speedily waste them away: we shall be rid of them.” These were their expectations. But the Lord had another object in view in suffering us to be driven into these elevated regions: he intended to fulfil the prediction of Daniel, that the stone might be located in its appropriate place, and be more fully organized and prepared against the day when it should be taken from the mountain to fulfil the purposes of Jehovah, and itself to become a great mountain and fill the whole earth.

While down yonder in those low countries, the stone was not in the right place: it was not fully organized. They drove us into these mountains; and when we arrived, we found now and then a small valley, and here and there a bush growing, covered with crickets so thickly that you could scarcely see the limbs. It looked dreary to many to see nothing but parched grass, barren land, and crickets in abundance, eating up everything in the form of vegetation. We began to build houses; but I need not give you the history of the particulars during the twelve years of our sojourn here. Look abroad in this Territory: behold the flourishing settlements, forming almost a continuous chain for some 400 miles north and south. Look at this city for a sample. Do not our comfortable buildings, our public works, our extensive improvements testify before heaven and earth, God, angels, and men, that the Latter-day Saints have been an industrious people, if nothing else? Look at the amount of labor required of men here to make a living that is not required in a more fertile region. A man has to spend two or three tedious days to get one small load of wood from our almost inaccessible mountain canyons. He has to irrigate the land, and spend as much labor in that one thing as the Illinois farmer would in raising his whole crop. Independent of all this, look at the scores of cities which have sprung up as if by magic; the tens of thousands of houses that have been erected, many of which are large and commodious, and may be pronounced splendid for a new country.

All this immense labor has been within the short space of twelve years. By whom has it been done? By a downtrodden, persecuted people—a people who had already been driven five times from homes and farms, suffering the loss of millions. We might query here, Have the Latter-day Saints had much time to do evil, even if they had been very much disposed to do so? You generally find that an industrious people are a moral people—that a people whose hands are engaged, whose physical powers are exerted from sunrise till sundown, whose weary limbs are obliged to be active in irrigating the soil by night as well as by day, and who are obliged to ascend the mountain heights in quest of wood and timber, exposed by night to the chilling blasts and drifting snows of those elevated and dreary regions, have not much time to devise mischief. On the other hand, you go among the nations where they are eating and drinking and feasting on the best, and what do you find there? All manner of evil, drunkenness, lasciviousness, blasphemies, and every species of degradation and immorality. Such a class of lazy, indolent loungers can imagine up more mischief in twenty-four hours than what the whole people of the Saints would live to do in twenty-four years.

But the Devil is as mad as ever. His wrath has not ceased. He feels as indignant, and a little more so, as when we were in the States. We really thought, say our enemies, that they would have perished in those deserts: we supposed that there could not be an ear of corn raised in the neighborhood of the Rocky Mountains, and that if we could only get them there, we were sure they would come to naught. But behold, they prosper! What shall we do? We cannot organize mobs now before breakfast, and go up against them as we did in Missouri and Illinois. Mobs are out of the question now. We must get something more plausible to operate upon them, to make the people think that we do it legally. We must persecute them anyhow. And off went the officials that were here to spread all manner of lies, that they themselves and everybody else knew were lies; and the people have since proved them to be such.

But, without appointing a committee of investigation, and without any further information, the Chief Executive puts an army on the march, while nothing but devastation, death, and utter extermination were denounced by the whole nation, as well as the army, upon the heads of the devoted citizens of Utah. The mail was withheld, and months passed away before the peaceful, industrious citizens of this Territory knew that an army were approaching, or that anything had occurred to disturb our peaceful relations with the General Government. Under these startling circumstances, it was concluded to preserve our heads upon our shoulders, if possible, until we could get some official intelligence as to the intentions of the Government and the army. In the providence of God, the army did not reach our settlements, as they intended, until the following summer. No battles were fought, no blood was shed, and we still lived. Commissioners arrived from Washington, when we were for the first time informed that the whole nation, with ourselves and the army, had been laboring under an entire mistake—that the President had no intentions against the people of Utah, but was merely wishing to establish some military posts.

If the nation had been informed of this one year before, what terrible commotion and excitement would have been avoided? But the President, no doubt, enjoyed the joke at the nation’s expense. The kingdom of God is destined to stand forever and fill the whole earth. How are our enemies going to help themselves? They have tried to do something, but we are here in our habitation yet; but if not, the kingdom of God would roll on. We are occupying our farms yet; but if not, the kingdom of God would roll on. Generally speaking, we are alive yet; but if half of us were dead, the kingdom of God would roll on. And as yet our houses are not burned, our crops destroyed, nor our cattle killed off; but if they were, the kingdom of God would roll on.

Neither the United States’ army nor all the armies of the earth can destroy the kingdom. All that we claim is, as I have stated heretofore, in relation to ourselves, the right guaranteed to us by the American Constitution. We do not ask for any other rights: we ask for no more privileges under that Constitution than what are enjoyed by the people of every other Territory of the American Union. And even these rights we do not ask for: they are ours without asking for them. We do not beg for them: we will not bemoan ourselves so much as to crouch to the Congress of the United States to ask for rights that we are already in possession of, and that every American citizen should enjoy here upon this boasted land of freedom.

What! Ask for that which we already possess, which is guaranteed to us by the great Constitution of our country, and which was purchased for us by the blood of our noble ancestors! No; we will do no such thing! We will take the privileges already ours, and enjoy them, until force shall deprive us of them; and this is the feeling which every American citizen should have. Every person in the States, as well as in the Territories, who has the least particle of the blood of freedom running in his veins, should maintain the dignity of the Constitution of our country and the national laws, and should esteem them as the great shield and bulwark of our defense against tyranny and oppression, and should maintain them inviolate, and claim them, if it be necessary, to the shedding of the last drop of blood that runs in his veins. We should claim them to the last, and say, Those rights are ours, and we will maintain them or die! These are my feelings.

The kingdom of God is here. Is it a theocracy? Yes, so far as ecclesiastical law is concerned. Is there anything in the Constitution of this Government that prevents us from establishing any kind of laws that we please to govern us ecclesiastically, so long as we do not infringe upon the laws of the United States, or go against any of the rights guaranteed in the American Constitution? No. What is guaranteed to us in that noble instrument handed to us by our fathers? It gives every class of people, whether few or many, the privilege of organizing themselves, and establishing whatever laws they please to govern them in a Church capacity; and no one has a right to molest them. Do we hold ourselves subject to the civil laws? Yes. God, notwithstanding he has given us Church laws, has not freed us from the authority of the civil law. We are subject to the Constitution as much as Kansas is, and to the laws of the United States as much as any Territory of the nation. Have we in any respect transgressed? If we do not transgress the law, then let us be free, like any other American citizens, and let us worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. Search the Book of Doctrine and Covenants of this Church—go through all the sections of that book, and you will find that the voice of the Lord is unto the people, Do this, do that, and the other thing. That is the word of the Lord: it is the law given to govern his Church; and the Lord says in that book, You are bound to keep the laws of the land; and he that keepeth my laws hath no need to break the laws of the land.

The Lord has not come out and said to the Latter-day Saints, Do you go against all human or civil laws; but the reverse: he has given these heavenly laws while in our infancy to govern us in a Church capacity; and in so doing, we do not infringe upon the laws of man. Again: Here is the Book of Mormon, which contains a theocratical law to govern the Saints of God. You can find nothing in this book that comes in contact with the American Constitution or the laws of the United States.

Where, then, are we transgressing by establishing a theocratical form of Government in the midst of this republic? We are not transgressing any more than the Methodists or the Baptists, or any other religious sect. All have equal rights. I would as soon take up the weapons of war to defend the rights of the Presbyterians as any other sect and party on this American Continent: they all have equal rights with the Latter-day Saints, and therefore they should be protected with them. I do not know all things which are in the future; but Daniel’s prophecy has pointed out that the little stone will smite the image on the feet, and break in pieces the feet, iron, clay, brass, silver, and gold, and that the whole great fabric should come tumbling down together with a mighty crash. That is not fulfilled. But one thing we do know—if they will let us alone, we will let them alone, and do them good; but if they illegally and unlawfully trample on our toes, I do not know but we shall try to fulfil that which is in the prophecies. If they undertake to oppress us and bring us down into bondage, and deprive us of our just rights guaranteed by the Constitution, I do not know but the great Jehovah has it in his mind to do unto them as they would do unto us, if they had the power; and I do not know but we, as American citizens, will be compelled to rise up and defend our just rights and fulfil that which is spoken by the ancient Prophets, while merely acting in self-defense.

We calculate to maintain the Government of the United States and the principles of the Constitution. They were given indirectly by the voice of inspiration to our ancestors: they were given to maintain inviolate the principles of civil and religious liberty to all people under heaven. Can the idolater come here and build a temple to worship idols in? Yes. Go into California and you will find one erected by the Chinese: they are worshipping dumb idols there. The people undertook to punish them by law; but judgment was given that inasmuch as they did not infringe upon the rights of others, they had a right to worship idols. Is it the privilege of the idolater to worship here? Is it the privilege of the Mahometan to come here with his many wives? It ought to be; but so far as the local State laws are concerned, they have deviated from the Constitution. These State laws make the Mahometan divorce all his wives but one, or else they will confine him in prison for years. These State laws will break up his family and make him disown and turn out his children upon the wide world, fatherless and unprotected. They say to the Mahometan, You can live here in Missouri, or in any other State, if you will only do this.

What wonderful liberty! Shame on the State which will thus pass laws in open violation of the Constitution. I would see them all in heaven or somewhere else, before I would thank them for offering me liberty on conditions of breaking up my family.

Where can you put your finger on a law passed by the American Congress which deprives a man of the rights guaranteed to him relative to the government of his family, no matter whether he takes one wife or many? Undertake to deprive the people of this one domestic institution, and you can, upon the same principle, deprive them of all others.

Imprison the polygamist for having more than one wife, and you have the same right to imprison a man for having more than one child, or to punish the slaveholder for having more than one slave. The same Constitution that protects the latter also protects the former. It is just as much the right of the people to have twelve wives as to have twelve children. What would you think of a State law that would undertake to deprive you of the privilege of having only one child? This would be no more barefacedly unjust than the State laws against polygamy.

The Mahometan can come to Utah with his wives; anybody can come here, without having his family broken up, his wives torn from his bosom, and his children cast out to the world. We say to all the world, Come to Utah; and so long as we have the power to elect wise legislators, we will protect you in your domestic rights, according to the national Constitution.

From what has been said, we begin to understand something about the kingdom of God. It is to originate in the mountains and roll down out of them, like a stone; and as it rolls it will gather force and greatness, until it shall become in due time like a great mountain, and fill the whole earth. And when the great King shall come, sitting upon the throne of his glory in the midst of the armies of heaven, every eye will see him—every ear hear his voice. Then shall all the proud and they that do wickedly be consumed as stubble; then all who will not give heed to the Prophets, and Apostles, and Jesus will be cut off from among the people, as was predicted by Moses; then shall all people, nations, and tongues who are spared upon the face of the whole earth serve and obey the great King—then there will be no sects and parties—no idolaters or unredeemed heathens; then will be fulfilled the prediction of Zechariah—“And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” (Zech., xiv. 9) Then shall the knowledge of God cover the earth as the waters cover the bosom of the great sea.

But between the time of the setting up of the kingdom and its final triumph, there will be successive stages of its increasing greatness and glory. Many of the Saints will see their King long before he comes in the clouds of heaven. Before that great day the Saints will have great dominion and rule on the earth. Zion will send forth her laws and her institutions, and her peace officers to protect every sect of Christendom and all flesh in their religious rights, as was so clearly and eloquently laid before you by our beloved President two Sabbaths ago. While time shall last, the free agency of man should be protected; but when the archangel shall stand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and swear, in the name of Him who liveth forever and ever, that time shall be no longer, then woe be unto the wicked and those who have rejected the servants of God, for they shall be consumed by the brightness of his coming and punished for the abuse of that moral agency given them, and in the exercise of which they had been so carefully protected by the laws of Zion.

You see the difference between the period of time in which the kingdom is growing and spreading forth and enlarging its dominions, and that more glorious period when the kingdom of heaven shall come to meet the earthly kingdom—when all the powers of heaven shall be made manifest and have place on our transfigured and sanctified earth. May the Lord our God, our great King and Lawgiver, bless the people! May he open the eyes of the honest, that the words of truth may penetrate them! May the power of the Holy Ghost, like a gentle stream, flow over them! May the Spirit of truth rest down mightily upon the Saints of the latter days! May they be armed with power and with the righteousness of God in great glory! May they rise up in mighty faith, like the people in the days of Enoch, that the heavens may clothe them with the glory of God! And may they go forth, conquering and to conquer, until the false tradition and evils and sins and abominations of the children of men shall be swept from the earth, and until the King of kings and the Lord of lords shall reign triumphantly with omnipotent power! Amen.


A Sermon by Elder Orson Pratt, Sen., Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, July 24, 1859.

I came to this Tabernacle this morning without any expectation of being called upon to address the congregation; but as I have been requested to preach, I cheerfully yield to the solicitations of my brethren, praying that the Holy Ghost may impart to me something for your edification. The office of the Spirit, when given in ancient times, was to make manifest truth—to quicken the memory of the man of God, that he might communicate clearly things which he had once learned, but partially forgotten.

For instance, the Apostles heard, during three years and a half, many sermons and a vast amount of conversation and private teaching. The office of the Spirit of truth was to bring to their remembrance the things that Jesus had formerly taught them. So it is the office of the same Spirit in these days to bring to our remembrance the words of the ancient Prophets and Apostles, and the words of Jesus, inasmuch as we have faith and confidence in God.

Our traditions inform us that if a man has two wives, it is a great sin and transgression against the laws of heaven and the laws of man. The congregation that now sit before me, both male and female, imbibed these traditions before they embraced the doctrines of the Latter-day Saints. We were taught strictly, by our parents, by works on theology, by our neighbors, by our ministers from the pulpit, by the press, and by the laws of Christendom, that plurality of wives is a great crime. Many of us, perhaps, never thought of questioning the correctness of the tradition, to know whether it was in reality a crime or not. That which is generally condemned by our nation, by our parents and kindred, by our public teachers, and by the laws of Christendom generally as a crime, is considered criminal by us. If asked why polygamy is considered a crime, our only answer is, Because false tradition says so—popular opinion says it is a crime. Now, if it be a crime—if it can be proved to be a crime by the law of God, then the inhabitants of this Territory, so far as this one institution is concerned, are in an awful condition; for it is well known that this practice is general throughout this Territory, with but a few exceptions. A great many families, not only in Salt Lake City, but throughout the settlements, have practically embraced this doctrine, believing it to be a Divine institution, approbated of God and the Bible.

We shall inquire a little into this principle for the information of the strangers who are present. Let us inquire whether, indeed, plurality of wives ever was sanctioned by the God of heaven—whether he himself is the Author of it, or whether he barely permitted it as a crime, the same as he permits many known crimes to exist. The Lord permits a man to get drunk; he permits him to lie, steal, murder, to take his name in vain, and suffers with him a long time, and at last he will bring him to judgment: he has to render up his accounts for all these things.

If the Lord permits what is termed polygamy to exist as a crime among the Latter-day Saints, he will bring us into judgment and condemn us for that thing. It is necessary that we, as Latter-day Saints, should certainly understand this matter, and understand it, too, beforehand, and not wait until we are brought to an account. If a man were in the midst of a nation where he was not thoroughly acquainted with their laws, he would be thankful to obtain such information as would guard him from committing crime ignorantly: he would not wish to remain in ignorance until the strong arm of the law laid hold of him and brought him before the bar of justice, where he would be forced to enter into a public investigation of his deeds, and be punished for them. Neither do we, as Latter-day Saints, wish to wait in ignorance until we are brought before the great tribunal, not of man, but of God.

Let us, therefore, carefully investigate the important question—Is polygamy a crime? Is it condemned in the Bible, either by the Old or New Testament? Has God ever condemned it by his own voice? Have his angels ever been sent forth to inform the nations who have practiced this thing that they were in transgression? Has he ever spoken against it by any inspired writer? Has any Patriarch, Prophet, Apostle, angel, or even the Son of God himself, ever condemned polygamy? We may give a general answer, without investigating this subject, and say to the world, We have no information of that kind on record, except what we find in the Book of Mormon. There it was positively forbidden to be practiced by the ancient Nephites.

The Book of Mormon, therefore, is the only record (professing to be Divine) which condemns plurality of wives as being a practice exceedingly abominable before God. But even that sacred book makes an exception in substance as follows—“Except I the Lord command my people.” The same Book of Mormon and the same article that commanded the Nephites that they should not marry more than one wife, made an exception. Let this be understood—“Unless I the Lord shall command them.” We can draw the conclusion from this, that there were some things not right in the sight of God, unless he should command them. We can draw the same conclusion from the Bible, that there were many things which the Lord would not suffer his children to do, unless he particularly commanded them to do them.

For instance, God gave to Moses express commandments in relation to killing. “Thou shalt not kill.” And this is not one of those commandments which was done away by the introduction of the Gospel; but it is a command that was to continue as long as man should continue on the earth. It was named by the Apostles as one that was binding on the Christian as well as on the Jew. “Thou shalt not kill.” Everyone who reads this sacred command of God would presume at once that any individual found killing and destroying his fellow creature would be in disobedience to the command of God, and would be committing a great crime.

The same God that gave that commandment unto the children of Israel, saying, “Thou shalt not kill,” afterwards gave a commandment to them, that when they went to war against a foreign city, or a city not included in the land of Canaan, “when thou shalt go to war against it, and when the Lord thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women and little ones, shalt thou take unto thyself.” (Deut. xx. 13, 14.)

Again, when Israel took the Midianites captive, they were commanded to “kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.” (See Numbers xxxi. 17, 18.)

The question is, Was it a sin before the Most High God for the children of Israel to obey the law concerning their captives, notwithstanding the former law, “Thou shalt not kill?” Most certainly not. Thus we see that it was a law given by the same God and to the same people that they should kill their captives, that they should kill the married women, their husbands, and their male children—that they should save alive none but those who had never been married and who had never known man. “Save them alive for yourselves,” says the law of God.

Here, then, we perceive that there are things which God forbids, and which it would be abominable for his people to do, unless he should revoke that commandment in certain cases. Because certain individuals among the Nephites, in ancient days, were expressly forbidden to take two wives, that did not prohibit the Lord from giving them a commandment, and making an exception, when he should see proper to raise up seed unto himself.

The substance of the idea in that book is that—When I the Lord shall command you to raise up seed unto myself, then it shall be right; but otherwise thou shalt hearken unto these things—namely, the law against polygamy. But when we go to the Jewish record, we find nothing that forbids the children of Israel from taking as many wives as they thought proper. God gave laws regulating the descent of property in polygamic families.

Turn to the 21st chap. of Deuteronomy, and the 15th verse, and you have there recorded that, “If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

In this law the Lord does not disapprobate the principle. Here would have been a grand occasion for him to do it, if it had been contrary to his will. Instead of saying, If you find a man that has two wives, he shall be excluded from the congregation of Israel, or shall divorce one and retain the other, or shall be put to death, because he presumed to marry two wives, he considers both women his lawful wives, and gives a law that the son of the hated wife, if the firstborn, shall actually inherit the double portion of his property. This becomes a standing law in Israel. Does not this clearly prove that the Lord did not condemn polygamy, but that he considered it legal? That he did not consider one of these wives to be a harlot or a bad woman? Does it not prove that he counted the hated one as much a wife as the beloved one, and her children just as legitimate in the eyes of the law?

Again, let us go back to the days of the Patriarchs before the law of Moses was introduced among the people, and we find the same principle still existed and approbated by the God of heaven. I have heard many of our opponents argue that the law of Moses approbated a plurality of wives; but it was not to be under other dispensations—as much as to say, it was merely given because of the hardness of their hearts. But such a saying is not to be found in the Bible. I can find a declaration of our Lord and Savior that the divorcing of a wife was permitted in the days of Moses because of the hardness of the hearts of the people; but I cannot find any passage in the sayings of the Savior, or the Apostles and Prophets, or in the law, that the taking of another wife was because of the hardness of their hearts. There is quite a difference between taking wives and putting them away.

This law of plurality, as I am going to prove, did not only exist under the law of Moses, but existed before that law, under the Patriarchal dispensation. And what kind of a dispensation was that? It has been proved before the people in this Territory, time after time, that the dispensation in which the Patriarchs lived was the dispensation of the Gospel—that the Gospel was preached to Abraham as well as unto the people in the days of the Apostles; so says Paul; and the same Gospel too that was preached in the days of the Apostles was preached to Abraham. “The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham,” &c. The same Gospel that the heathen would be justified by was the same Gospel that Jesus and his Apostles preached, and which was before preached to Abraham. If we can find out that, under the Gospel preached to Abraham, polygamy was allowed, the Gospel preached by Jesus, being the same, of course, would not condemn it. Jacob, we understand, went from his father’s house to sojourn at a distance from the land that was promised to him; and while he sojourned there, he married Leah, one of the daughters of Laban, after having served faithfully seven years. It was a custom to buy wives in those days: they were more expensive than now-a-days. It is true he got cheated: he expected to have married Rachel; but as, I presume, the old Eastern custom of wearing veils deceived Jacob, he could not exactly understand whether it was Leah or Rachel until after he was married. Then he served seven years more to get Rachel. Here was a plurality of wives.

Did the Lord appear to Jacob after this? Yes. Did he chasten him? No. Did he send his angels to him after this? Yes: hosts of them came to him. He was a man of such powerful faith, and his heart so pure before God, that he could take hold of one of them and wrestle all night with him, the same as people wrestle in the streets here, only they did not swear; and, I presume, they had not been drinking whiskey; and they wrestled with all their might. I do not suppose the angel, at first, exercised any peculiar faith, but merely a physical strength. He was unable to throw Jacob; and Jacob, like a prince, prevailed with God; but he began to mistrust that he was something more than a man that was wrestling with him, and began to inquire after his name; and by-and-by the angel, determined not to be worsted, put forth one of his fingers, and touched one of Jacob’s sinews, and down he came. Did this angel inform Jacob that he was a wretched polygamist—an offscouring of the earth, not worthy to dwell in the society of men? No. He was recommended as a great prince, and one that had power to prevail with an angel all night, until the angel put forth his miraculous power on him.

This same Jacob conversed with God, heard his voice, and saw him; and in all those visions and glorious manifestations made to him, we find no reproof for polygamy. Certainly, if the Lord did not intend to approbate a crime, he would have reproved his for polygamy, if polygamy were a crime. If he did not intend Jacob to go headlong to destruction, he would have told him he had taken two wives, and it was not right; but, instead of this, he blessed these wives of Jacob exceedingly, and poured out his Spirit upon them. Leah bore him four sons, and then she became for awhile barren. Finding she had left off bearing children, she gave Zilpah—a woman that was dwelling with them, to Jacob to wife, although he already had two; and Zilpah raised up children to Jacob. Leah had borne several children, and had left off bearing. She had been more backward about giving her handmaid Zilpah to Jacob to wife than Rachel had been in giving Bilhah. Seeing the Lord was about to curse her with barrenness, because she did not do according to the example of her younger sister, she gave Zilpah to Jacob. Then the Lord hearkened to her prayer, and Leah said—“God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband.” (See Genesis xxx. 18.)

Whoever heard of the Lord’s hearing one’s prayer, because a person was doing an evil? If polygamy were a crime, God would have condemned her, because she gave up her handmaiden to her husband. We cannot suppose that any woman not acquainted with the law and commandment of the Most High, and believing it to be sinful for her husband to have two wives, would express herself in such a manner—The Lord heard my prayer and gave me the fifth son, because I gave my handmaid to my husband to wife. This shows to us that Jacob’s wife, Leah, did really consider it something pleasing in the sight of God. It was something that God and all his angels that appeared to Jacob approbated, and, instead of cursing him, blessed him more and more. By these four wives the whole twelve sons of Jacob were born, and they became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. And when the day comes that the Holy City, the Old Jerusalem shall descend from God out of heaven, crowned with glory, there will be found upon the wall which is erected around it the names of the twelve Patriarchs of Israel, beautifully engraved upon the walls. I suppose the people of this day would call the most of these sons of Jacob bastards; but they are to be honored of God, not for a few years, but an honor that is to exist forever and ever, while their names will be found emblazoned upon the walls of the Holy City, to remain throughout eternity.

Now, recollect, this is under the Gospel dispensation, and not under the law of Moses, which was given several hundred years afterwards. The Lord made great and precious promises to the seed of Jacob, through these wives, saying they should inherit the land of Palestine, and they should be blessed above all people. We find this blessing fulfilled upon their heads, according to the righteousness of their descendants, until they were scattered because of iniquity.

Moses, one of the greatest Prophets that ever arose, with the exception of Jesus, not only approbated polygamy but actually practiced it himself. We find, on a certain occasion, that the brother of Moses (Aaron) and the prophetess Miriam began to upbraid him, in consequence of a certain Ethiopian wife he had taken. (See Numbers xii. 1.) He had already one wife, the daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian. Did the Lord join in with them? Did he say, You are right to make light of Moses’ second wife? It is polygamy! It is a great crime! It is sinful! Was this the way the Lord talked? No. But he was angry that they should make light of a thing which he himself esteemed as very sacred; and, as a consequence, he smote Miriam with leprosy, and she became as white as snow; and although she was a prophetess, she had to be put out of the camp, and stay out seven days, because of speaking against one of Moses’ wives. Did this look like the Lord’s considering it an illegal marriage? It proves that the Lord did consider the marriage legal.

I have only demonstrated to you that the Lord approbated polygamy, and gave laws regulating the descent of property to the polygamic children. But I will now repeat to you an express command of God to certain persons to marry more than one wife; and they could not get rid of it without breaking the law of God. The Lord said, “Cursed be every man that continueth not in all things written in this book of the law.” However righteous and moral a man might have been in many other respects, yet, if he did not continue in all things written in that book of the law, he was to be cursed. “Cursed be that man, and all the people shall say, Amen.” Now, among the things written in that book of the law, we find these words—“If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel.” (See Deuteronomy xxv. 5, 6.) Must his brother do this, if he has a family of his own? Yes. It does not matter whether he has a family or not, that command is given to him: it is the law of God, and the reason is given in order that the name of the dead might not perish and be cut off from Israel. The living brother had to preserve the inheritance in his deceased brother’s family. Now, if the widow of the deceased brother married a stranger—a person that did not belong to that particular tribe, the inheritance would go to a stranger, and would be shifting from tribe to tribe, or even might become the inheritance of one that did not belong to the tribes of Israel. In order to prevent this, the firstborn male of the living brother was to be considered the son of the dead brother, and was to receive the inheritance and perpetuate the same in the family; and this was to continue from generation to generation. Now, suppose that there were seven brothers, as there often were families of that size in Israel; suppose they married them wives, and six of them should die without leaving male issue to bear up their name, but the seventh brother was still living; do you not see that this law and commandment would be binding on that seventh, still living, to take the six widows? This he would be compelled to do; and yet this generation say polygamy is a crime, while here is the sanction of Divine authority. Here a man is brought under obligation to take these six widows, and raise up seed to his dead brothers. How long was this to continue? Is there any evidence in the Bible that it was to cease when Christianity should be introduced by our Savior and his Apostles? What was the condition of the Jewish nation at the time Jesus went forth preaching repentance and baptism and admitting members into his Church? I will tell you, there were thousands and thousands that were polygamists, and were obliged by the command of God to be so. They could not get rid of it, if they obeyed the law of Moses; and if they did not obey, they were to be cursed.

These polygamists, then, that took their deceased brothers’ wives, according to the notions of Christendom in the nineteenth century, would be prohibited from baptism. The Son of God and the Apostles that went forth 1,800 years ago, were so holy that they must not permit any of these polygamists to enter the Christian Church, though they were only obeying the command given by the God of heaven through Moses; yet they must not be baptized—they must be rejected. This would be the argument of Christianity in the nineteenth century. But can we suppose that Jesus would be so inconsistent that he would actually command a thing a few thousand years before (for Jesus was the one that gave the law to Moses), and then come two or three thousand years afterwards, and not permit the people to enter his Church because they had obeyed that former command? Such is the foolish argument of Christendom in these days. Say they, Polygamy is not to be sanctioned under the Christian dispensation. I would like to know where their evidence is. What part of the New Testament, or where, in the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, do we find such evidence recorded, that a man should not have more than one wife? It cannot be found. But says one, “I have read the New Testament, and I do not recollect that the term wives is used by the eight writers of that book; but they always used the term “wife,” in the singular number. And from this it is presumed that they did not have more than one. Let us examine the strength of this presumption.

I find eighteen or twenty writers of the Old Testament who use “wife,” and not wives. Will you, therefore, draw the conclusion that plurality was not practiced among them under the Old Testament? If the presumption is of any weight in relation to the eight writers of the New Testament, it certainly is of greater weight in relation to twenty writers of the Old Testament. But it is known that in the latter case the presumption is false; therefore it is of no strength or force whatever in the former case.

Now let us examine some other objections urged against polygamy. The objector has often referred to the saying of Jesus, when commanding the people that they should not put away their wives, saving it should be for the cause of fornication. Jesus says Moses suffered a divorce to be given because of the hardness of the hearts of the people; and further says it was not so from the beginning; that God made man, male and female, and they were joined together by Divine authority, and they twain became “one flesh.” Now, says the objector, it does not say that three or that four shall become one flesh, &c.; and consequently, this is an argument against plurality. Let us examine this, and see if there is any force in it. It was not so in the beginning, before the days of Moses. What was not so? This putting away of wives—this divorcing of wives for every little nonsensical purpose. Jesus was showing that it was contrary to his mind and will; that Moses only suffered it because of the hardness of their hearts; but that in the beginning it was not so; as much as to say, “If you give divorces, you practice something given through the wickedness of the people. If you put away your wives for any other cause than that of fornication, you cause your wives to commit adultery; and if any man marry her that is put away, he committeth adultery.”

Then, again, he says, “If a woman put away her husband, she committeth adultery.” A man has no right to put away his wife, nor a woman her husband. “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder; for in the beginning it was not so, but they twain became one flesh.”

Is this an argument against having more than one wife? For instance, Jacob and Leah were one flesh, Leah being his first wife. Jacob and Rachel were one flesh. Jacob and Bilhah were one flesh. Jacob and Zilpah were one flesh; and if he had had a thousand more, it would have been the same: each wife would have been a legitimate wife, and one flesh with Jacob; and their children would have been legitimate. This was no argument against plurality. If so, Jacob would have been found a transgressor.

In the second chapter of Genesis, it is stated that the Lord took a rib from Adam, and, by adding other materials, formed a woman, and brought her to the man, and gave her to him as an helpmeet—as a wife. “And Adam said, This I know now is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave unto his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.”

This is the saying which Jesus quoted. Now, Jacob, in taking four wives, became one flesh with each one of them; but how and in what respect? Perhaps it may be said that they became one in mind, one in understanding, one in intellect, one in judgment, &c. Their minds are to be one. But it does not say one in mind, one spiritually, but one flesh.

How are we to understand this? Paul (Eph. v. 28—31) says, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”

Paul makes this quotation from the second chapter of Genesis, to prove that the woman was one flesh with the man, because she was taken out of man’s body, and made out of his flesh and bones. She was one flesh in this respect—not in identity: they were two distinct persons, as much so as the Father and the Son are two distinct personages.

And again, the wife becomes one flesh with her husband in another respect: when she presents herself to the man, and gives herself to him with an everlasting covenant, one that is not to be broken, she becomes his flesh, his property, his wife, as much so as the flesh and bone of his own body.

The Father and the Son are represented to be one. “I and my Father are one,” said Jesus. Would any person pretend to say, because Jesus and his Father were one, that he could not receive a third person into the communion?—a fourth, or a fifth? If we examine the arguments of modern Christendom, nobody but Jesus could be admitted into the union; or, in other words, they twain—that is, the Father and the Son—were to be one, and no others. But Jesus says, “Father, I pray not for these alone which thou hast given me out of the world; but I pray for all them that shall believe on me through their words (the Twelve), that they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I in thee; that they may be made perfect in one.”

The disciples of Jesus were not to lose their identity, because Jesus was one with the Father. The identity of Jesus was not destroyed, but he remained a distinct person, and so did all the disciples, and yet they became one; and so is every man and his wives. Because they twain—that is, Jesus and his Father—were one, it did not hinder the disciples from attaining to the same oneness. And so likewise with regard to the man and his first wife: because they twain are one flesh, it does not prevent him from being one flesh with each of his other wives which he may legally take.

Again, there is a principle which I will now relate more particularly for the benefit of strangers. There is such a principle as marriage for eternity, which may imply one wife or many. The marriage covenant is indissoluble; it is everlasting; it is not limited to time; but it is a covenant to exist while eternity exists: it pertains to immortality as well as mortality. I will prove this. The first example we have on record of a marriage was that of our first parents, Adam and Eve. Were they married as people marry now-a-days? Were they married as the world of Christendom marry at the present day? No: they married as immortal beings. They knew nothing about death; they never had seen any such thing as death. When Eve was brought to Adam, she was brought to him an immortal being. When Adam received her as his wife, he was an immortal being: his flesh and bones were not subject to sickness and decay; he was not subject to pain and suffering: there was no death working in his system—no plague that could prostrate him in the dust. They were intended to endure forever and ever. So far as their bodies were concerned, they brought death on themselves.

Paul says that sin entered into the world by transgression, and death by sin. Notice that expression. Death entered into the world by sin. If there had been no sin, there would have been no death. If Adam and Eve never had sinned, they would have been alive on the earth at this time, just as fresh and pure as in the morning of creation: they would have remained to all eternity without a wrinkle of old age overtaking them.

These were the personages first married. Question—Were they married for a certain period of time, as persons are married by the world of Christendom at this day?

When you go up before a magistrate to have marriage solemnized, you hear him saying—I pronounce you husband and wife, or man and wife, as the case may be, until death.

Adam knew nothing about that monster: it was not in his creed. Such an idea never entered into his mind as they have at the present day—I bind you together as husband and wife until death, which shall separate you. If I were married by the laws of Christendom, I should consider the woman I had taken was my wife until death. I should consider this marriage covenant the same as if I had a piece of property promised to me for a certain period of time—say for the space of twenty years; after which, I have no claim upon it. When death comes, I have no claim upon the woman married to me by those who pretend to administer the sacred ordinance. But not so with our first parents. When Eve was presented to Adam as an helpmeet to him—as a wife, it was not intended that that relation should cease after a few score of years, or when death should come; but it was as everlasting as Adam and Eve themselves. When they went down to their graves, they could go down with a sure and certain knowledge that they still were husband and wife, and that this sacred relationship would continue after the resurrection.

This is the great and first example for marriage. The Latter-day Saints have adopted this example, not by our own wisdom—for I do not know that we should ever have thought of it; but by new revelation. The same God that originated marriage for all eternity, in relation to the first pair, has again spoken from the heavens and told us something about this sacred ceremony. He has informed us that if we are married and expect to have claim on our wives, and wives on their husbands, in the eternal worlds, that this ordinance of marriage must be, not till death, but forever and ever, reaching forward through all our future state of existence.

Having established this principle of marriage for eternity, let us examine the results flowing from it. Let me suppose that here is my neighbor; he has a wife, and she is married to him for all eternity. By-and-by, he dies and leaves his widow. I am a young unmarried man, and pay my attentions to her; and she, being still young, accepts my attentions and wishes to be married to me; yet she has been married to a man for all eternity. Can she be married to me for all eternity? No. I accept of her as a wife for time only, yielding her up with all her posterity in the morning of the first resurrection to her legal and lawful husband.

But now what shall become of me? I have got to give up this wife to her legal and lawful husband in the morning of the first resurrection; and I must not, according to the laws of Christendom, marry another so long as she lives; and she might live as long as I. Am I to be deprived of a wife for eternity, because I married this widow for time? Or would plurality come in and supply me also with a wife?

This is one of the results necessarily arising, when marriage for eternity is admitted. There is just as much reason for it as for any other principle God has ever revealed to the human family.

Again, for instance, here is a man that has married a wife for time and all eternity; and here is a woman that has not had a privilege of being married, like thousands and tens of thousands that are abroad in the States and in all the world among the nations of Christendom: they have to live contrary to their own will, and die old maids, without a husband for time or eternity either. If one of this class, who had not had an opportunity of marriage with a righteous man, and who was unwilling to trust herself with those whom she considered unworthy of marriage for time or eternity either, should come to the Territory of Utah, and, still having no offer of marriage from a single young man here, she sees a good man that has a family; he proposes marriage to her; she voluntarily offers to become one of his wives; he accepts the offer; the ceremony is celebrated. What harm is done? Who is injured? What law is broken? None. I ask, Would it be right, with a view that marriage is to exist, not only in time, but in eternity, that this woman, who is a good, moral, virtuous woman, should remain without a husband through all eternity, because she did not have an opportunity of being married? If marriage be of any benefit in the eternal world, would it not be far more consistent with the law of God that she should have the privilege, by her own free, voluntary consent, to marry a good man, though he might have a family, and claim him for her husband, not only through time, but eternity?

Jesus informs us that in the resurrection mankind are neither married nor given in marriage: all these things have to be attended to here. In the resurrection, a man is not to be baptized. Here is the place to attend to these things. If we are to become the promised seed, and heirs according to the promise, we must be baptized into Christ and put him on, and do it before the resurrection; for if I put it off beyond this life, in the resurrection there will be no such thing as putting on Christ by being baptized. Just so, in the resurrection there will be no such thing as attending to the ceremony of marriage, so far as we are informed. But Jesus further says, concerning those persons who have not attended to those matters here, that in the resurrection they are as the angels of God: and some of the angels are a little lower than men. In what respect? They have not the power to increase their kingdom by the multiplication of their species, and this because they have not lawful and legal wives. They are probably among that class who have put off marriage for eternity, and die without attending to it; and after the resurrection, they find themselves wifeless, without any family or kingdoms of their own offspring. In this single and undesirable condition they are to remain, because they cannot hunt up a wife after the resurrection. Such, instead of receiving crowns, will merely become ministers or messengers for the crown, being sent forth by those who have attained to a higher glory, who have the power of receiving kingdoms, and increasing the same, through their own offspring that are begotten after the resurrection by the wives given to them while here in this world. These angels have forfeited this privilege; consequently, they are lower than the man who keeps a celestial law; and if these angels lived on the earth, they would be called old bachelors.

Do you not see the difference between the glory of those who claim their privileges and those who do not? I am not speaking to the class who pay no attention to the law of God or to the nature of marriage; but I am speaking of those ancient Patriarchs, and Prophets, and holy men that understood the law of God, and practiced it, and prepared themselves here to receive an exceeding weight of glory hereafter. Do you not understand that such men arise above angels?—that they have kingdoms, while angels have none?—that they are crowned kings and princes over their own descendants, which will become as numerous as the sands on the seashore, while the angels have neither wives, sons, nor daughters to be crowned over? Shall a young, moral, virtuous woman, because she does not find a young man that is suitable to her nature, or worthy of her—shall she be deprived of this exaltation in the eternal world, because of the Gentile laws of modern Christendom? No. The Latter-day Saints believe otherwise. We believe that woman is just as good as man, if she does as well. If a good man is entitled to a kingdom of glory—to a reward and crown, and has the privilege of swaying a scepter in the eternal world, a good woman is entitled to the same, and should be placed by his side, and have the privilege of enjoying all the glory, honor, and blessings that are bestowed upon her lord and husband. If she cannot get any lord or husband through whom she can trust herself for exaltation to that glory, who can blame her for going into a family where she thinks she will be secure?

These are some of the reasons in favor of polygamy. Many people think it strange that there should be a whole territory of polygamists organized in the midst of Christendom. It is so contrary, say they, to our institutions, and to the traditions of our society and nation, and to the practice of our forefathers that have lived for many generations past. But did you never reflect that it is possible for some of the institutions, traditions, and practices of our forefathers to be incorrect? Look at the vast number of traditions that have had their place upon the earth, and that, too, among the most enlightened generations, which are now entirely discarded. Look at the laws which existed but a few years ago in enlightened England, where a man, if he went into a shop, being hungry, and took the amount of five shillings’ worth, he must be hung up by the neck.

If a man was almost ready to perish with starvation, as thousands and millions often are in Great Britain, and should go into a neighboring park and take a sheep to preserve his life and the life of his family, he must be hung up by the neck. The people thought these were wholesome laws, when they existed. They were just as sincere in supposing these laws to be good as the people of the United States are in supposing there should be a severe law against polygamy.

Now, let me say, plainly and boldly, without the fear of contradiction, that the citizens of Utah are transgressing no law of man by taking a plurality of wives. But it is asserted by some that we are transgressing the traditions and institutions that are established among civilized nations. We admit this freely; and the people of the United States are transgressing that law that was in force in old England about sheep stealing; for they suffer many of their sheep stealers to go unhung; and if a man steals five shillings worth of provisions, they do not hang him up.

Why have the American nation abolished, not only many of the traditions, customs, and institutions of other civilized nations which have been handed down for so many ages, but have even abolished and discarded many of their criminal laws? Why have they made these innovations upon civilized society? Is it not as possible that the sovereign States of this enlightened nation may be misguided in regard to their strict laws which they have passed against polygamy as it was for our forefathers to be misguided in their strict laws against witchcraft in Massachusetts, where every man and woman must be put to death for a witch, if somebody became prejudiced against them? This was a law among our forefathers in enlightened America but a short period back. They thought they were right, and were as sincere in it as the States are in these strict and rigid laws against polygamy. But, thank the Lord, Utah is not in bondage to such bigoted State laws.

The form of the American Government makes each State and Territory independent of the laws of all the others. Have the laws of Missouri any bearing upon the people of Kansas, any further than what the people of Kansas voluntarily, by their Legislature, reenact? No. The laws of one State or Territory have no more to do with the laws of any other State or Territory than they have with the laws of China. Utah is just as much under the laws of China as under the laws of Missouri, or the laws of any other State of the American Union. There is a difference between these local State laws and the laws of the United States passed by Congress in Washington. The laws of the United States are applicable all over the nation. Has the American Congress seen proper, since its first organization, to pass a law against polygamy? No. So far as the national law is concerned, it has no more bearing upon the subject of polygamy than it has upon the subject of monogamy, or something that never existed. Let us go still higher, above the laws of Congress, to that great instrument—the American Constitution, which we, as a people, have always held as one of the most perfect and glorious instruments that was ever framed by any nation, through their own wisdom, since the world began. It guarantees to us the liberty of the press, freedom of speech, liberty to seek for one’s happiness, and to emigrate from State to State, and to enjoy all the privileges and rights that any man could in conscience ask for. Is there anything in that glorious Constitution that forbids polygamy? There is not. Have the citizens of the Territory of Utah transgressed that instrument so far as this thing is concerned? No. Have they transgressed the laws of any Territory or State of the Union so far as they have any bearing upon this Territory? No. Again, has the Territory of Utah ever passed a law against polygamy? If they have, then as many as have received this doctrine are transgressors of the law. You may search our laws from beginning to end, but you will find nothing in them against polygamy.

The wise legislators of Utah have been actuated by more liberal principles than those who have deprived American citizens of the dearest and most sacred rights granted in the Constitution. What is the result, then? It is, that any people whatsoever who feel disposed to marry more than one wife in this Territory have the privilege to do so. What! The Methodists? Yes. Have the Baptists a right to come into Utah and marry two wives? Yes, so far as the civil law is concerned. Have those who make no profession of religion whatever a right to marry a score or a hundred wives in this Territory? Yes: so far as civil law is concerned, all have equal privileges. Have the Chinese a right to come to this Territory and bring more wives than one, or the Mahometans? Yes. Every nation under heaven have a right to come and enjoy perfect liberty so far as this thing is concerned; and I have already shown that there is no law in the Bible to bear against them.

You cannot condemn us temporally, or spiritually, or by the civil law; neither can you condemn us by the Bible. There is no law that condemns us, unless the law in the Book of Mormon does so; and I have already shown that the Book of Mormon does not, provided the Lord has commanded it. But if we have not been commanded in regard to this matter, then there is one thing that will condemn us, and that is the Book of Mormon. This is a little more strict than any other Divine revelation, in regard to polygamy. Thirteen years after the publication of the Book of Mormon, the same Prophet that translated the Book of Mormon received a revelation upon marriage, which commanded certain individuals in this Church to take unto themselves a plurality of wives for time and all eternity, declaring that it is a righteous principle, and was practiced by inspired men in times of old.

In obedience to this commandment, many have gone forth and taken upon themselves a plurality of wives; consequently, they are not condemned in this thing, so far as the Book of Mormon is concerned; and we consider this book to be a part and portion of our religious creed; and the Constitution of America gives people a right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. But our opponents say no person has a right to commit crime under that saying. I admit it. But prove that polygamy is a crime. You can prove that murder, stealing, and cheating your neighbor are crimes. You can prove a great many things to be criminal, from the Bible and from reason. If you search the great commentaries on law, they will inform you that all criminal law is founded on Divine revelation. When Divine revelation points out a crime, they generally adopt it as such, and attach penalties. The Bible is the foundation of most of the criminal laws of Christendom. Point out in the Bible where polygamy is a crime, and then you may say we have no right to embrace it as a part of our religious creed, and pretend it as a part of our constitutional rights. If we embrace murder, stealing, robbing, cheating our neighbor, as a part of our religious rights, then the Constitution will condemn us. Not so with polygamy. If we should embrace adultery in our religious creed, then we may be condemned as criminals by the laws of God and man; but when it comes to polygamy, which is not condemned by the Bible any more than monogamy, and embrace that as a part and portion of our creed, the Constitution gives us an undeniable right of worshipping God in this respect as in all others. Congress have no more constitutional right to pass a law against polygamy than they have to pass a law against monogamy, or against a man living in celibacy.

A portion of the Shaker’s creed is that they are living in the resurrection, and that they should not marry; and you will find whole communities of them living without husbands and wives. The Government of the United States has no right to say you shall not live in celibacy, but you shall comply with American institutions; neither have they a right to say that sprinkling infants or worshipping a Chinese idol is criminal. A great variety of peculiarities are embraced by different sects and societies in our nation; and they have a right to hold their creeds, however much they may differ from their neighbors, so long as those creeds are not criminal. We ask no rights that are not guaranteed unto us by the American Constitution. We do not claim, beg, or petition for any other. These rights are guaranteed to us as American citizens. We are entitled to the right of voting as we please, and in doing as we please in religious matters, so long as we do not infringe upon the criminal laws of the nation, neither of this Territory. This is all we claim; and this is what every true-hearted American citizen should be willing to fight for, if our rulers rise up and deprive us of the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution.

Do you suppose, because we are few in numbers, that we must tamely submit to see our constitutional rights wrested from us by unprincipled rulers? If you suppose this, you have formed an erroneous opinion of the patriotism of American citizens. There are certain rights belonging to every religious sect that inhabits these United States; and every sect has a right to claim them, if they should have to do it at the point of the sword. I have no hesitancy in saying before the whole world that the rights guaranteed by the great Constitution of this country and its national laws are the rights I will claim while I have a being, even if it is necessary to claim them by force; and if the Chief Executive, or the American Congress send their armies to Utah to trample upon these rights, and take from American citizens that which is more dear to them than life, I shall esteem it no treason to resist them. The majority may undertake to trample upon the minority, because they have the power to do so; but this will not hinder the minority from patriotically defending their rights. Liberty or death should be the motto of every true American. These are my views, and I presume that these are the views of all the people in this great Republic who have tasted and realize the sweets of liberty.

When we speak against the acts of a President of the United States, is that treason? No. Do all the newspapers published in the American nation speak well of the Presidents? Is there no man in the American nation that tries his best to influence the public against the public acts of President Buchanan? You find them by hundreds. They are denouncing the President continually in the most bitter manner. They do not denounce the particular form of Government, or the Constitution, or laws; but they do denounce the acts of public men when they please; and this right is guaranteed to them, and they are responsible for it. If they do it unjustly, in a slanderous manner, they are accountable to the laws, and may be heavily fined. We claim the same privilege. There are many acts of this Government we dislike, and so do many of the political parties in the nation. Many people throughout the American nation are dissatisfied, not only with the acts of Congress, but with the Chief Magistrate of the nation; and they are not afraid of committing treason by bringing these acts before the public, and commenting upon them. We claim this right in connection with other American citizens.

I have already detained the congregation sufficiently long upon various subjects as they occurred to my mind. I recommend the strangers present to appeal to our works and read them. We have nothing we are ashamed of. All our writings are free and open to the public, and have been for years: hundreds and thousands of copies of pamphlets on polygamy, and books on various subjects have been sent abroad, not only throughout the American nation, but throughout the civilized nations of Europe, published in many languages, which contain our views in relation to the Book of Mormon, to the Gospel of salvation, and to our rights as a people. They all are before the public. There are none of our publications which we wish to hide up in a corner. You can learn and investigate for yourselves. And let those prejudices that have been instilled into your minds, as well as into mine, be set aside for a short time, to inform yourselves concerning these matters. Do not be so much bound down by the creeds of men and public opinion as not to be free enough to investigate for yourselves; and when you find a true principle, embrace it. However you may be condemned by mankind, lay hold of it; it will do you good, and no harm.

May God bless you. Amen.

Personal Reminiscences and Testimony Concerning the Prophet Joseph and the Church, Etc.

A Sermon by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, July 10, 1859.

It is truly joyful to my feelings to assemble, Sabbath after Sabbath, with the Latter-day Saints, to hear the testimonies of the servants of the living God, and to hear the words of eternal life preached by the power of the Holy Ghost.

It is now nearly twenty-nine years that I have enjoyed this privilege in this Church; and I esteem it as one of the greatest privileges to be still alive and in your midst, and I acknowledge the hand of God in preserving me for so many years in this kingdom. I believe most firmly that if it had not been for the mercy, power, and goodness of God, I should not be numbered among the living at the present time. When I cast my reflections back upon the past history of my life, and contemplate the numerous scenes through which I have passed, in connection with hundreds of others that have traveled to and fro among the nations, I feel that it has been the hand of the Lord that has delivered me from the hands of enemies and lawless mobs which have often beset my path.

It has been the hand of the Lord that has delivered this people through all the dreadful persecutions that we have endured, and it will be the hand of the Lord that will deliver us in all future time. I oftentimes reflect back upon the early period of my experience in this Church, having been baptized into the same only about five months after its first organization, when there were but a very few individuals numbered with the Saints. I presume that all who belonged to the Church at that time might occupy a small room about the size of fifteen feet by twenty. I then became intimately acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith, and continued intimately acquainted with him until the day of his death. I had the great privilege, when I was in from my missions, of boarding the most of the time at his house, so that I not only knew him as a public teacher, but as a private citizen, as a husband and father. I witnessed his earnest and humble devotions both morning and evening in his family. I heard the words of eternal life flowing from his mouth, nourishing, soothing, and comforting his family, neighbors, and friends. I saw his countenance lighted up as the inspiration of the Holy Ghost rested upon him, dictating the great and most precious revelations now printed for our guide. I saw him translating, by inspiration, the Old and New Testaments, and the inspired book of Abraham from Egyptian papyrus.

And what now is my testimony concerning that man, founded upon my own personal observations? It is the same today as it was when I first received the testimony that he was a Prophet. I knew that he was a man of God. It was not a matter of opinion with me, for I received a testimony from the heavens concerning that matter; and without such a testimony it is difficult for us always to judge; for no man can know the things of God but by the Spirit of God. I do not care how much education a man may have—how learned he may be—how much he has studied theology under the eyes of teachers that are uninspired; I do know there is no man living that can know the things of God for himself only by revelation. I could form some kind of an opinion about Joseph Smith as a natural man, without receiving any communication or revelation for myself. I could believe him to be a man of God from his conversation, from his acts, from his dealings; I could believe him to be a Prophet by seeing many things take place that he prophesied of: but all this would not give me that certain knowledge which is necessary for an individual to have, in order to bear testimony to the nations.

If I bear testimony to others that I know this Church and this kingdom to be the Church and kingdom of God, and that Joseph Smith was really raised up as a Prophet, and as a Seer, and as a Revelator, I must bear that testimony from some certain information and knowledge I have derived independent of what can be learned naturally by the natural man. The testimony I have borne for twenty-nine years past upon this point is that the Lord revealed to me the truth of this work; and because the Lord revealed this fact to me, I have the utmost confidence in bearing testimony to it in all the world. It is true I was then but a youth; I was ignorant and am still ignorant in many points and in many respects: but I was then very ignorant so far as the religion of heaven is concerned, until the Lord made manifest his truth, and taught, informed, and instructed my mind.

For about one year before I heard of this Church, I had begun seriously in my own mind to inquire after the Lord. I had sought him diligently—perhaps more so than many others that professed to seek him. I was so earnest and intent upon the subject of seeking the Lord, when I was about eighteen years of age, and from that until I was nineteen, when I heard this Gospel and received it, that I did not give myself the necessary time to rest. Engaged in farming and laboring too by the month, I took the privilege, while others had retired to rest, to go out into the fields and wilderness, and there plead with the Lord, hour after hour, that he would show me what to do—that he would teach me the way of life, and inform and instruct my understanding. It is true I had attended, as many others have done, various meetings of religious societies. I had attended the Methodists, I had been to the Baptists, and had visited the Presbyterian meetings. I had heard their doctrines and had been earnestly urged by many to unite myself with them as a member of their churches; but something whispered to not do so. I remained, therefore, apart from all of them, praying continually in my heart that the Lord would show me the right way.

I continued this for about one year; after which, two Elders of this Church came into the neighborhood. I heard their doctrine, and believed it to be the ancient Gospel; and as soon as the sound penetrated my ears, I knew that if the Bible was true, their doctrine was true. They taught not only the ordinances, but the gifts and blessings promised the believers, and the authority necessary in the Church in order to administer the ordinances. All these things I received with gladness. Instead of feeling, as many do, a hatred against the principles, hoping they were not true, fearing and trembling lest they were, I rejoiced with great joy, believing that the ancient principles of the Gospel were restored to the earth—that the authority to preach it was also restored. I rejoiced that my ears were saluted with these good tidings while I was yet a youth, and, in the day, too, of the early rising of the kingdom of God. I went forward and was baptized. I was the only individual baptized in that country for many years afterward. I immediately arranged my business and started off on a journey of two hundred and thirty miles to see the Prophet. I found him in the house of old father Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca County, State of New York—the house where this Church was first organized, consisting of only six members. I also found David Whitmer, then one of the three witnesses who saw the angel and the plates.

I soon became acquainted with all the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, with the exception of Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer, who had started westward, and whose acquaintance I formed a few months afterward. I heard their teachings, saw their course of conduct, saw their earnestness, their humility, and diligence in prayer, and their faithfulness in warning one another and in warning their neighbors.

I called upon the Lord with more faith than before, for I had then received the first principles of the Gospel. The gift of the Holy Ghost was given to me; and when it was shed forth upon me, it gave me a testimony concerning the truth of this work that no man can ever take from me. It is impossible for me, so long as I have my reasoning faculties and powers of mind, to doubt the testimony I then received as among the first evidences that were given, and that, too, by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost. And while I am speaking upon the subject, let me say that the gift and power of the Holy Ghost given to an individual is the greatest evidence that he can receive concerning God, godliness, and the kingdom of heaven set up upon the earth. There is no evidence equal to it. A natural man may see all the signs that Jesus has promised should follow the believer; he may see them in exercise by the faithful Saints of God. He may see them speak in different tongues and languages, and then he may have his doubts in regard to it, if he has not received the testimony of the Holy Ghost himself. He may hear the sounds of these tongues; but how is he to judge or know whether they do speak in another tongue or not? It is true he hears sounds put together which resemble languages he has heard foreigners speak; but it is not a testimony that imparts a knowledge to his mind: he wants something greater than this. Again, he hears others, who are ignorant and unlearned, by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost interpret these tongues, and unfold the things spoken by the power of the Spirit of God in another language: but how does he know that they give the true interpretation? His own understanding will not testify that they have. He must, therefore, have a testimony independent of this—a higher, a greater testimony—even that of the Holy Spirit. Again, he might see individuals, professing to be followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, go forth and lay their hands upon the sick, and pray to the Father, in the name of Jesus, that they may be healed. He may see them raised up and apparently restored to health and soundness; but then, how does he know that these persons were really as sick and as much afflicted as they pretended to be? Seeing these things as a natural man, how is he to know that the administration by the laying on of hands has imparted power or virtue to heal them? Or is it the work of imagination? Here would be left room for doubt. This testimony alone is not sufficient to rest upon. He should have the gift and power of the Holy Ghost resting upon himself to convince him that they were the servants of God, and that the gifts they exercise were from heaven. He might hear them prophesy many things that are to take place years in the future; but he would not wish to wait for their fulfillment to know whether they were of God; or, while he was waiting, he might be laid in the dust. He therefore needs something to convince him, beyond all doubt, that the individuals prophesying were filled with the Holy Ghost, and that their predictions were true and could be depended upon; and then, whether they come to pass or not in his day, he knows they will be fulfilled in their times and in their seasons; and so with all other gifts. He might see a miracle of any kind; he might see the laws of nature apparently overcome by a person calling himself a servant of God. How does he know he is the servant of God, or that he performs that miracle by the power of God? Have not devils and fallen angels power? Did they not have mighty power in ancient days? Yes. Could they not smite the earth with plagues, and turn water into blood anciently, as Moses the servant of God did? Yes. Could not the wicked magicians of Egypt perform great signs by casting down their staves, and causing them to appear like serpents, performing great, and marvelous things similar to those the Prophet Moses performed?

How is the natural man to judge? There is God on the one hand, and the Devil on the other; and if one is to judge naturally of these things, he would not be sure that the person performing a miracle before him was really inspired of God. The gift and power of the Holy Ghost, as I have already observed, is the greatest evidence any man or woman can have concerning the kingdom of God. It is given expressly to impart to mankind a knowledge of the things of God. It is given to purify the heart of man, that he may by its power not only be able to understand its operations upon himself, but be able to understand its operations upon others also; and, indeed, if I could by any possible means independent of the Holy Ghost ascertain that a miracle was wrought of God, what particular benefit would it be to me?

Scores of miracles were wrought in ancient times; but how did they benefit the children of Israel? When they saw the waters of the Red Sea divided and the Egyptians overthrown in its depths—when they were brought up before mount Sinai and heard the voice of the trumpet out of the midst of the cloud and from the flaming mountain, proclaiming the ten commandments in their ears, and saw Moses go up in the midst of the fire—when they beheld all this display of the power of God, what effect did it have on the great majority who saw? Did it affect their conduct? No. Miracles had become a little common with them, and said they, What has become of this Moses? Perhaps they thought he had perished in the mountain. They might have imagined a volcano on the mountain, belching out its fires, accompanied by thunder and lightning; and that some person had artfully concealed himself, having a great trumpet, and through it pretending to give laws to Israel. They might have said, We will not be cheated by this pretended miracle; but while this thunder and storm is lasting on the mount, and while it is in this terrible convulsion, we will have a god that we can see; we will cast our gold into the fire, and make one that will just suit us. And so they did, and fell down and worshipped it, and said, “These be thy gods, O Israel, &c.” Here, then, we perceive what effect miracles have upon a people, without the power and gift of the Holy Ghost to bear testimony that these miracles are of God. The Holy Ghost bears testimony to the man who receives it, and not to somebody else; and if he is pure enough to receive this gift, he has power enough in his heart to regulate his actions according to the law of God, instead of building golden calves.

I have deviated from my experience, and perhaps it will not be necessary to say any more on that subject; for it is about the same in many respects as the experience of all the rest of the Saints of God. It is true, I have traveled perhaps more by far than any other man in the Church who is now living; but what of this? I expect to travel a great deal more, if I am called upon; for my mission is to travel: that is the command I received in connection with the Twelve and the Seventies. We have been called upon to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, as they were in ancient days; and inasmuch as we cannot go personally and preach to every creature, we have the responsibility upon us to see that it is preached to every creature, to every nation, tongue, and people. And inasmuch as we do not fulfil this responsibility placed upon us, we shall have to suffer. In connection with others, I have gone forth and endeavored to fulfil in some little measure the great mission the Lord our God has given us to the nations of the earth. I have borne testimony all the day long, first to my own nation, the people of the United States, in the New England, Middle, Western, and Southern States, and in the Territories, and also in the Canadas, Upper and Lower. For many years my voice has been heard throughout the land, warning the people to repent. And I most assuredly know that all the testimonies I have borne are recorded in the heavens, and it is a comfort to me to think they are not lost and forgot; and all the people that have heard them will have to meet them in the great and coming day.

I have not only borne testimony to my own nation on this continent, baptizing believers, building up churches, traveling on foot thousands and tens of thousands of miles without purse or scrip, being mobbed and driven to and fro, and hunted by the enemy; but I have also had the privilege of crossing the Atlantic Ocean ten times for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, to bear his name among the nations afar off; and I have endeavored in those distant lands, as well as on this continent, to bear my testimony faithfully among the people. And my testimony is this, that God has in his infinite mercy and goodness sent his angel from heaven to restore the same Gospel that was preached eighteen hundred years ago—that he has borne testimony, by his angels, by the power of the Holy Ghost, and by his own voice, of the fact that he has restored his Priesthood and his kingdom upon the face of the earth, and that the kingdom now established will continue to roll on until all the nations and kingdoms of the earth shall see and hear of the power and glory of the Almighty magnified and made manifest in it. This has been my testimony, and I rejoice in it. I am not fatigued—don’t feel like retiring to private life; but I feel to continue in this holy calling and ministry as long as the Lord my God shall permit me to have a being here upon the earth, be it long or short.

How long I shall stay here I know not: that is among the hidden things of futurity, so far as I am personally concerned. I look forward with joyful anticipation to the glory that shall follow in the rolling forth of this kingdom, and in the fulfillment of the purposes of the Most High God in relation to this last dispensation he has introduced upon the earth. There are a great many things that are taking place and have taken place that I have rejoiced in, because I have known them, from diligent research, to be the fulfillment of modern prophecy.

I have not been backward about searching both ancient and modern prophecy that I might learn something about the events of the last dispensation, and understand the signs of the times in which we live. I have seen prophecy after prophecy fulfilled, not only among the people of the Latter-day Saints, but among the nations of the earth, that were uttered years and years before they came to pass; and there are prophecies contained in the Book of Mormon which remain to be fulfilled, and I am looking with joyful anticipation to the day of their fulfillment. The prophecies are of great interest to the Saints and to the world. As an instance, I will give you the substance of a prophecy contained in the Book of Mormon. About six hundred years before Christ, a Prophet was raised up in Jerusalem, by the name of Lehi, and another one by the name of Nephi; and the Lord commanded them to leave Jerusalem and go to a land he would give to them, and he brought them forth by his miraculous power upon this American continent. Before they arrived here, however, Nephi had a vision, and saw all the great events from his day down to the winding-up scene of all things. Among other things, he saw the Jews would be carried away shortly after the departure of himself and his father’s family into Babylon, and he saw they would be afflicted for a length of time, and then be restored to Jerusalem. After their return, he saw the Messiah would make his appearance, and they would crucify him, and then they would be dispersed among all nations.

He saw that the Gospel would be preached among all nations and kingdoms, first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles. He saw that after the Gospel should be preached by the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb to the Jews and to the Gentiles, there would arise a great and abominable church, the most corrupt of all churches upon the face of all the earth, and that that great and abominable church should have power given unto them over the Saints of the Lamb to destroy them, &c., and that they should corrupt the Jewish Scriptures which should issue from the mouth of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, and take away from them many parts that were plain, and precious, and easy to the understanding of all men; and by reason of this great stumblingblock, the Scriptures being in such a state, there should be many among the nations of the Gentiles in the latter times that should exceedingly stumble and build up numerous churches after the forms of different doctrines, and they should deny miracles and the power of God, saying, “They are done away.”

After seeing all these things on the Eastern continent, he saw the promised land to which he and his father’s family were about to be led; and he beheld his descendants in their various generations, and he saw wars, &c., among them; he saw that Jesus, after his resurrection, made his appearance bodily among them: this took place on the promised land, which we call America. He saw the Israelites on this land become righteous, and he saw three generations pass away in righteousness; then the more part of them fell into wickedness and were destroyed, and the records kept among them contained the fulness of the Gospel and many prophecies and visions that were great and precious. He saw that a remnant of the nation should dwindle more and more in unbelief, and have wars and contentions among themselves, and become a degraded people, and be scattered upon all the face of this continent.

Then he saw in the latter days the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles who should discover this land, and send forth their emigrants and form a great nation of Gentiles upon this continent; and he saw that they should have power to free themselves from every nation under heaven. Then he saw that by the power of God the records of his people should come forth; and he saw that a Church of the Saints should arise, and that it should spread itself upon all the face of the earth, among all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles; and he saw also that the great and abominable church that was among all the nations of the Gentiles, having dominion among all peoples and tongues, should gather together in multitudes among the nations of the earth and fight against the Lamb of God and against the Saints of the Most High and his covenant people, and he says—“I beheld the power of the Lamb, that it descended upon the Saints of the Most High that were scattered among all the nations of the Gentiles, and they were armed with righteousness and the power of God in great glory. And then he said, I saw the mother of abominations begin to have wars and rumors of war among all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles; and the Lord spake unto him, saying, Behold, the work of God is upon the mother of harlots, &c.”

This vision continued down to the end of time. But what I wish to call your attention to at this time is one event which has been in a measure literally fulfilled. It is an event that no man, unless he were a Prophet inspired by the Most High God, could have had a heart big enough to prophesy of with the least expectation of its fulfillment; and that is, the Church of the Lamb of God that was to be raised up after the coming forth of these records of the ancient Israelites should be among all nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles.

This was uttered and printed before the Church of Latter-day Saints was in existence. How could a young man, inexperienced as Joseph Smith was, have had all this foreknowledge of future events, unless he was inspired of God? How did he know that any Church believing in the Book of Mormon would arise? He was then in the act of translating these records; the Church had not yet an existence; and he was young, inexperienced, and ignorant as regards the education and wisdom of this world. How did he know that, after his manuscript was published, a church called the Church of the Lamb would arise and be built upon the fulness of the Gospel contained in the book? How did he know that, if it did arise, it would have one year’s existence? What wisdom, education, or power could have given him this foreknowledge independent of the power of God? How could he know, if a church should arise, that it would have any influence beyond his own neighborhood? How did he know it would extend through the State of New York, where it was first raised? How could he know that it would extend over the United States, and much more, that it would go to all nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles? And how did he know that the dominions of this Church among all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles should be small, because of the wickedness of the great “mother of abominations?” How did he know that the “mother of harlots” among these Gentiles would gather together in great multitudes among all the nations and kingdoms of the earth to fight against the Saints of the Lamb of God? Common sense tells us that this would be taking a stretch far beyond what any false prophet dare take, with any hope of fulfillment.

To prophesy that a church would arise and have place in all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles, and then to prophesy that the “mother of harlots” would gather together vast multitudes among all these nations and fight against the Saints, is taking a step far beyond what an impostor would undertake, if he were disposed to successfully impose upon mankind. How far has this been fulfilled? Only in part; so far, however, as to give us no possibility of doubting that the balance will be fulfilled, every jot and tittle. It is true, the Saints of the Lamb of God are not among all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles yet; but there are very many of the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles where this little Church that was organized in 1830 actually has a dominion and place.

If we go anywhere throughout the nation of the Gentiles called the United States, we shall find in almost every State and Territory the Church of the Saints of the Lamb of God, that the world call “Mormons,” “fanatics,” “impostors,” &c. If we go into Canada, we find them there. If we go across the great ocean to the island of Great Britain, we find them there numbering seven or eight hundred churches organized, and some four thousand Elders and Priests ordained to preach the Gospel contained in the Book of Mormon, as well as in the Bible.

The Saints in that country are scattered throughout England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Tens of thousands of them have shipped for America, and tens of thousands still remain. Then cross the sea into that inhospitable country called Norway, and there we find many churches of the Saints. Then return a little south into Denmark, where thousands more will be found. Then go to the northeast of Denmark into Sweden, and we still find Latter-day Saints. Then go into Germany, and we find them scattered, more or less, throughout that confederation. I do not know that there is any Branch of the Saints in Prussia; neither do I know that they extend through all the German States; but we find them in several. Next, go into Switzerland and Italy, and we find them there. Then go to France, and we find a few there. Then go upon some of the islands of the sea, and a few thousands are found rejoicing in this Church. In Asia and Africa a few will be found. They are not among all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles, but they are scattered here and there among them; and their dominions are really small, because of the wickedness of the great and abominable church.

There may be many nations of Asia where the feet of Latter-day Saints have not trod. I do not know that any of the Elders of this Church have gone to Japan. If we go into the South Sea Islands, the Friendly Islands, the Society Islands, and the Sandwich Islands, we find Latter-day Saints on almost all of them.

Go into the various governments and kingdoms of South America, and we find the Latter-day Saints scarce. I don’t know but there may be now and then an Elder that has found his way there; but suffice it to say that the dominions of the Saints in South America are very small. But we must look for the day when this prophecy shall be fulfilled, that the dominions of the Latter-day Saints shall be upon all the face of the earth among all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles: and has there not been enough already fulfilled to show that the man that uttered that before the rise of this Church was indeed truly a Prophet of the Most High God?

Again: Although the great “mother of abominations” has not gathered together in multitudes upon the face of the earth among all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles to fight against the Lamb of God and his Saints, yet there has been enough fulfilled to show that the balance will be accomplished. Has this great and abominable power, under the name of “the mother of harlots,” popularly called Christendom, fought against the Saints in this country? Let the history of this Church answer that question; let the scenes we have passed through in the land of Missouri testify; let the tribulation this people had to endure in the State of Illinois bear witness. We will not refer to persecutions in Utah, for here we have had but little, compared with scenes we have passed through in former years. Suffice it to say multitudes have been gathered together—under the influence of what? Under the influence of that great and abominable church or system called “the mother of harlots.”

When we come to search to the bottom of this matter, we find that has been the great influence which has produced all the persecutions that have come upon the Latter-day Saints since the organization of this Church. How many preachers were gathered together in the western part of Missouri at the time we were driven from the State to give their advice in a pretended court-martial to have some fifteen or twenty of the leaders of this people taken out and shot on the public square the next morning? There were not less than seventeen priests who advised the measure.

When we come to hunt for the great influence that has existed on the multitudes that gathered to persecute the Saints of the Lamb of God, we find it proceeding from the pulpit. Through the falsehoods of priests and the publishing of false principles, they have endeavored to set on the frenzied multitude to put to death the Latter-day Saints and deprive them of citizenship.

It is not necessary to speak of the scenes of cruelty and bloodshed caused to the Saints by this influence. I can read you in this book (Book of Doctrine and Covenants), before we went to Missouri, that it should be the land of our enemies—that they should seek to destroy our lives; and it has been fulfilled to the very letter. We were told in revelations printed in this book, and before the prophecy came to pass, that we should be persecuted from city to city, and but few of those who went up to Jackson County, Missouri, should stand to receive their inheritance. It has been fulfilled to the very letter.

Here, then, was the beginning, as it were, of the fulfillment of that saying in the Book of Mormon. That abominable church, among one of the nations of the Gentiles at least, was gathered together under a religious influence to persecute the Saints contrary to the Constitution of our country. They could not do it legally; they could not be upheld in it by true and legal authority: but they could do it illegally, under the sanction of priestcraft, under the advice of those who proclaim from the pulpit.

Let us now go into Canada, and there a religious influence existed, mobs arose, multitudes were gathered together, and the Saints were stoned, hunted, and driven to and fro, and had to flee from place to place. This persecution was raised up by the “mother of harlots,” the “mother of abominations”—because of what? Because we told them the Lord had revealed the same kind of religion in our day that he had eighteen hundred years ago. Go to England, and the same has happened there. Multitudes and multitudes started up against us. The Elders have had forty or fifty police to guard them from their meetings to their homes, to keep them from being destroyed by the tens of thousands of people that blockaded the streets for miles in length.

I know these things to be facts from actual experience. I have passed through them. I have had tens of thousands rush upon me with all the fury of tigers, and they were only restrained by the power of God: but as yet the Lord has spared me, and so he has the most of the Elders that have traveled abroad. Go to Denmark, and we find the same opposing power; and whenever this Church has been organized, or a Branch established, the “mother of abominations” has marshaled her host. So far the prophecy has been fulfilled in part, but not in full. I will tell you what will come to pass before it is all fulfilled. There must be the interposition of the Almighty to make a change among the nations of the earth before this Church can be established among all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles. This change will probably be brought about by war overturning all the governments and kingdoms of the Gentiles.

A few years ago, many of the Saints, for want of a correct understanding of prophecy, thought that the war between Russia and France, England and Turkey, was the great war of extermination foretold by the Prophets. There are prophecies of this kind that the great “mother of abominations” will go to war, and not a nation under heaven will escape, as they will use each other up by millions. They imagined that perhaps the time had come for the nations of Christendom to be nearly exterminated by their great and terrible wars. But I lifted up my voice in England, and put it in writing also, that the war then commencing would not thus terminate. It was for another purpose: it was for a chastisement, and in some measure to ameliorate the condition of mankind, that the Gospel might more fully go forth among them.

How is it with regard to the war now taking place between Austria and the allied powers of France and Sardinia? How extensive the present European war will be we do not know; but this we do know from prophecy—it will not result in the downfall of the “mother of harlots.” There will be a time of peace—a time that will be more favorable to the promulgation of the Gospel, that you and I and whosoever of the servants of God he pleases may be sent to these European nations to fulfil the prophecy which I have referred to in the Book of Mormon, and establish the kingdom of God among all the nations of modern Europe. Where tyranny and oppression and all the horrors of despotism now reign, will be heard the Gospel of peace. Saints must be established in all those countries. Even in Russia, that place where they would almost put you to death if you brought a printed work of a religious nature into the empire—in that country, where they will not suffer you to propagate the Bible unmolested, whose religion is established by law, has the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be preached. Yes, the Church of the Saints is to be established there; and after it is established, there they are to gather together in multitudes, like other nations, to fight against it; and so they will in Austria, Spain, Portugal, and in all the modern nations of Europe, as well as those nations that inhabit Asia and Africa. This war that is now taking place will not result in that dreadful extinction that is foretold in the Book of Mormon, and which will rage among all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles, or, in other words, among the nations of Christendom. The one is a war preparatory to the proclamation of the Gospel; the other is a war of terrible destruction, which will not better the condition of those who escape. The wars that are now taking place will have a tendency, in some measure, to open the way for the Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ to go and establish the Church and kingdom of God among those nations.

A great many have prayed unwisely, and no wonder they cannot get faith to fulfil their prayers. How have they prayed? “O Lord, gather out all thy Saints from those European countries, and bring them to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads, that there may be none left abroad upon the earth.”

If the Lord should do this, it would prove the whole system false. When the time comes that the Saints of the Lamb of God are scattered upon all the face of the earth, among all nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles, and the multitudes gather against them to battles, we shall not find such unwise prayers answered. The Saints, instead of being all gathered out, will still be among the nations, for the power of the Lamb of God to descend upon the Saints of the Most High that are among all the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles, and not only upon these, but also upon his covenant people, the descendants of Jacob; and they are to be armed with righteousness and the power of God in great glory. But gather them all out, and where have you got your Saints? It would completely falsify this saying.

The day will come when the nations of Europe will have warred among themselves sufficiently long, and those despotic governments are torn down, and when the hand of oppression and tyranny has been eased up, and when the principles of religious liberty have become more fully and more widely spread, that the Elders of this Church will traverse all these nations; and then we shall have use for these Seventies that have been organizing so long. They have apparently been resting upon their oars, waiting to be called out into the vineyard of the Lord. Then will be the time for missions and callings to be given to you.

There are some sixty Quorums of Seventies: these have been organizing for years, being instructed by their Presidents—being taught in the things of the kingdom of God. What is your mission? The Book of Doctrine and Covenants tells me it is among the nations of the earth; that the Twelve are to open the doors; and wherever they cannot go, they were to send; and when they send, they shall call upon the Seventies in preference to any others, because it is more particularly their mission to go and preach to all people under heaven. You have not yet had an opportunity to magnify your calling; your mission has not yet begun, only in preparation; your great mission is still in the future among the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles. Some may have thought that the times of the Gentiles was almost fulfilled. If the Lord has fulfilled the times of the Gentiles, your calling is good for nothing—it only exists in name. But let me tell you, you have been called to this high and holy calling, and you will have your hands full yet; and the Lord God of Israel, by his power, will bear you off among the nations; and He it is that will gird up your loins, and give you power among these nations; and He it is that will enable you to go forth from nation to nation, and from kingdom to kingdom, and no power will be able to stay your progress. That has all got to be fulfilled as sure as you have that calling upon your heads. And you have got to do a great deal of preaching before the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled; you have got to go and build up the Church of the Lamb of God among those nations, and set ministers over them, and go and build up more; and the High Priests that preside over them have got to purify their own hearts, and the Branches over which they preside to be prepared for the power of God that shall rest upon them in great glory, that when the multitudes gather to fight against them they may be armed with the power that comes from heaven, that will cause their thrones and their kingdoms to shake to their very center.

By-and-by, after you have fulfilled your missions to the nations of the Gentiles, and there will not any more of them repent—that is, when you have fully accomplished all that is required of you in relation to them, you will have another mission, and so will the Twelve, and that is to the house of Israel that may be among those nations; I mean the literal descendants of Jacob—the Jews, and the descendants of the other tribes that may be scattered among those nations. There are some from the ten tribes among them; but the body of the ten tribes are in the north country. You will find a few among all these Gentile nations: you will have to direct your attention to them after you have fulfilled your mission among the Gentiles, and their times are fulfilled. You will have something to do among the Jews, and then will be a time of great power, such as you and I have not dreamed of. Indeed, we could not, with our narrow comprehensions of mind, perceive the power that will then follow. The Lord has told it in a revelation in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants. He has told us, before the rise of this Church, that in bringing forth this Gospel, it is a light that could not be hid in darkness: therefore, he says, I must bring the fulness of my Gospel from among the Gentiles to the house of Israel; or, this light of the fulness of my Gospel will, as it were, be covered up and hid in darkness in many respects, and will not shine with that brilliancy, power, and greatness: it will not appear in that magnitude that it will when I bring it from the midst of the Gentiles to my people, O house of Israel. Again, the Lord says, in another revelation in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, that when we have preached the Gospel faithfully to the Gentile nations, then cometh the day of my power; and we already know what the Psalmist says in regard to that day—“My people shall be willing in the day of my power.” The house of Israel have been unwilling in many generations past to receive the Gospel; but in the day of his power, you Seventies, that will go forth among the nations of Gentiles to hunt out the literal descendants of Jacob, will be armed with that glory, power, and majesty, and clothed upon from on high to that degree that no power on earth can stay you; and then, in that day, the seed of Jacob will be willing to receive the testimony of the Gospel. Then many of the Jews will believe, although many of that nation will gather to Jerusalem in unbelief. But the Book of Mormon has told us that the main part of them will believe while yet scattered. They will receive your testimony and gather to Jerusalem; and because of your testimony, the Gentile believers will gather to Zion; and because of your testimony, all the elect of God, of whatever nation, tongue, and people, will be gathered out year after year; and by-and-by, the great and last gathering will be done through instrumentality of angels. There will be two, as it were, grinding at a mill; the faithful one will be taken, and the other will be left: there will be two, as it were, sleeping in one bed; one will be picked up by the angels, and the other will be left; and the remnant of the children of God scattered abroad on all the face of the earth will receive their last gathering by the angels. But between this and that day there will be shipload after shipload gathering continually of the elect of God, of the Israel of God, and of the covenant people of the Lord to Zion and Jerusalem.

By-and-by, when the Lord has made bare his arm in signs, in great wonders, and in mighty deeds, through the instrumentality of his servants the Seventies, and through the instrumentality of the churches that shall be built up, and the nations and kingdoms of the earth have been faithfully and fully warned, and the Lord has fulfilled and accomplished all things that have been written in the Book of Mormon, and in other revelations pertaining to the preaching of the Gospel to the nations of the Gentiles and to the nations of Israel, by-and-by the Spirit of God will entirely withdraw from those Gentile nations, and leave them to themselves. Then they will find something else to do besides warring against the Saints in their midst—besides raising their sword and fighting against the Lamb of God; for then war will commence in earnest, and such a war as probably never entered into the hearts of men in our age to conceive of. No nation of the Gentiles upon the face of the whole earth but what will be engaged in deadly war, except the Latter-day Kingdom. They will be fighting one against another. And when that day comes, the Jews will flee to Jerusalem, and those nations will almost use one another up, and those of them who are left will be burned; for that will be the last sweeping judgment that is to go over the earth to cleanse it from wickedness. That is the day spoken of in this book—And I saw there were wars and rumors of wars among the Gentiles, and the angel said to me, Behold the wrath of God is upon the mother of harlots; and when that day comes, then shall the work of the Father commence in preparing the way to gather in all his covenant people, and then great Babylon will come down.

We have been telling you about modern prophecy delivered by Joseph Smith. Is it false, or is it true? The Latter-day Saints know it to be true, we have seen enough of its fulfillment to know that the balance will come to pass; but the world perceive it not: they know it not; they do not understand the future; they have not that spirit spoken of this forenoon by brother Taylor, that was not only to take of the things of the Father and show to the disciples, but show them things to come. They do not understand the spirit of prophecy. They do not perceive that which is written by the ancient Prophets, much less will they understand that plainly written by the latter-day Prophets; consequently, all these things will overtake them unawares. Even the coming of Christ, so great an event as that is, will be to them as a thief in the night. After the kingdom of God has spread upon the face of the earth, and every jot and tittle of the prophecies have been fulfilled in relation to the spreading of the Gospel among the nations—after signs have been shown in the heavens above, and on the earth beneath, blood, fire, and vapor of smoke—after the sun is turned into darkness, and the moon shall have the appearance of blood, and the stars have apparently been hurled out of their places, and all things have been in commotion, so great will be the darkness resting upon Christendom, and so great the bonds of priestcraft with which they will be bound, that they will not understand, and they will be given up to the hardness of their hearts. Then will be fulfilled that saying, That the day shall come when the Lord shall have power over his Saints, and the Devil shall have power over his own dominion. He will give them up to the power of the Devil, and he will have power over them, and he will carry them about as chaff before a whirlwind. He will gather up millions upon millions of people into the valleys around about Jerusalem in order to destroy the Jews after they have gathered. How will the Devil do this? He will perform miracles to do it. The Bible says the kings of the earth and the great ones will be deceived by these false miracles. It says there shall be three unclean spirits that shall go forth working miracles, and they are spirits of devils. Where do they go? To the kings of the earth; and what will they do? Gather them up to battle unto the great day of God Almighty. Where? Into the valley of Armageddon. And where is that? On the east side of Jerusalem.

When he gets them gathered together, they do not understand any of these things; but they are given up to that power that deceived them, by miracles that had been performed, to get them to go into that valley to be destroyed. Joel, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and nearly all of the ancient Prophets have predicted that the nations shall be gathered up against Jerusalem, in the valley of Jehoshaphat and the valley of Megiddo—that there the Lord shall fight for his people, and smite the horse and his rider, and send plagues on these armies, and their flesh shall be consumed from their bones, and their eyes from their sockets. They will actually fulfil these prophecies, with all their pretension to Bible and prophetic learning.

But the Latter-day Saints are not in darkness; they are the children of light, although many of us will actually be asleep. We shall have to wake up and trim up our lamps, or we shall not be prepared to enter in; for we shall all slumber and sleep in that day, and some will have gone to sleep from which they will not awake until they awake up in darkness without any oil in their lamps. But, as a general thing, the Saints will understand the signs of the times, if they do lie down and get to sleep. Others have their eyes closed upon the prophecies of the ancient Prophets; and not only that, but they are void of the spirit of prophecy themselves. When a man has this, though he may appeal to ancient Prophets to get understanding on some subjects he does not clearly understand, yet, as he has the spirit of prophecy in himself, he will not be in darkness; he will have a knowledge of the signs of the times; he will have a knowledge of the house of Israel, and of Zion, of the ten tribes, and of many things and purposes and events that are to take place on the earth; and he will see coming events, and can say such an event will take place, and after that another, and then another; and after that the trumpet shall sound, and after that certain things will take place, and then another trump shall sound, &c., &c.; and he will have his eye fixed on the signs of the times, and that day will not overtake him unawares; but upon the nations it will come as a thief upon the mighty men and upon the chief captains, who will gather up their hosts upon the mountains, hills, and valleys of Palestine, to fight against the Jews; and they will be as blind as the dumb ass; and right in the midst of their blindness the Lord will rend the heavens and stand his feet upon the Mount of Olives, and all the Saints will come with him, and the wicked will be destroyed from off the face of the earth.

I meant to be short this afternoon; but really, when I get to studying on these things, I forget myself, and oftentimes weary the patience of the people.

God bless you! Amen.

Evidences of the Bible and Book of Mormon Compared

A Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, January 2, 1859.

I will commence my discourse by reading the testimony of three witnesses of the Book of Mormon.

[The speaker here read the testimony referred to.]

I will also read the testimony of eight witnesses.

[The speaker then read it.]

Brethren and Friends—I appear before you today for the first time for many months, feeling grateful to our Father in heaven for his condescension and mercy unto us as a people, that we are once more, through his kind providence, permitted to assemble ourselves together in this Tabernacle for the purpose of public worship.

Whether I say much or little, it is my sincere desire to be dictated by the Spirit of the living God. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was established upon the earth in the year 1830. Had it not been for the Book of Mormon, which I now hold in my hands, such a Church would not have had an existence. The probability is, there would have been no settlements formed in this Territory, no cities to adorn these dreary wastes, no tabernacles erected for Divine worship, and no congregations assembled to hear the words of life. The vast solitudes of these deserts would have been interrupted only by the howling of wild beasts, or the still more dismal yells of the ferocious savage. But this wonderful book has wrought a vast change; and these sterile regions now “rejoice and blossom as the rose.” This book pro fesses to be sent forth as a Divine revelation from God.

If it be an imposition, as many of our opposers say, then this Church is an imposition also, and our faith and hope are vain. On the other hand, if the Book of Mormon be a Divine revelation, as the witnesses have testified—if God has indeed brought forth the ancient history of the American continent, and the writings of the ancient Prophets and Apostles that once inhabited this land—if he has done this, and reestablished his kingdom and Church upon the earth, then our opposers, that condemn the book, will be found under condemnation. If this book be of God, it must have sufficient evidence accompanying it to convince the minds of all reasonable persons that it is a Divine revelation. If it has been translated by the gift and power of God, through the means of the Urim and Thummim, and angels have been sent from heaven to bear testimony of its truth, then all the inhabitants of the world are concerned and have an interest in it.

It is not the few individuals only who are within the walls of this Tabernacle that are interested in its truths; it is not the few individuals only who inhabit this Territory and the few Saints abroad in the world who are interested in it; but all the nations of the earth, without one exception—their emperors, kings, and nobles—their presidents, governors, and rulers—their popes, archbishops, and bishops—their learned and unlearned of every religious society, whether Jews, Mahomedans, Pagans, or Christians, are all equally interested in it, if it be what it professes to be.

If the Lord will assist and strengthen me by his Holy Spirit, which I believe he will do, through your prayers, I will endeavor to bring forth some few of the evidences which establish the Divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

I shall compare this evidence with the evidence for the Divine authenticity of the Bible. If the two books are supported by an equal amount of evidence, then all are required to have the same faith in the one as the other. But if the divinity of the Book of Mormon does not rest upon as sure a foundation as the Bible, then the people will have some little reason for rejecting it.

In the first place, I shall examine what evidences the present generation have to believe the various books incorporated in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be of Divine origin. It must be recollected that the book called the Bible was translated from manuscripts 247 years ago by King James’ translators. The manuscripts from which the Bible was taken are not now in existence. Up to the year 1749, they were deposited at a Spanish University, called Alcala, anciently named Complutem. The librarian sold them to one Toryo, who dealt in fireworks as materials for making skyrockets. (For authority, see Marsh’s Michaelis, vol. 2, part 1, page 441.)

The oldest manuscripts of any of the books of the Old Testament at the present day date from the twelfth century of the Christian era. You will find proof of this in the Encyclopedia Britannica, the 8th edition, vol. 4, page 695, which series is now being published in Edinburgh, Scotland. That celebrated work says, “The sacred books of the Old Testa ment have come down to our times in MSS., the oldest of which date from the twelfth century. Nothing is known of the history of the text previous to that period after the return of the Jews from their captivity.”

It is believed by the learned that the Old Testament Scriptures were all destroyed by the Assyrians nearly six hundred years before Christ. The Apocrypha informs us that Esdras was inspired to re-write them. In this manner it is conjectured that the Jews again came in possession of their sacred writings. These books again perished in the great persecution of Antiochus. (For further information upon this subject, see Brett’s Dissertation in Bishop Watson’s Collect, vol. 3, page 5.)

The history of the inspired writings anterior to the Babylonish captivity is very brief. The number of copies were very few. In the days of Josiah, all of the Jews seem to have been destitute of a copy of the law. During the reign of that king, in repairing the house of the Lord, a copy of the book of the law was found; and when presented to the king, he sent five messengers to Huldah, the prophetess, saying, “Go, enquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found.” The messengers returned and reported to the king that the book found was indeed a Divine revelation, and the king caused all the inhabitants of Jerusalem to be assembled to hear the words of the book. (See 2 Chron. 34.)

For a long period previous to finding the book, the Jews had been ignorant of the Scriptures, and had fallen into the grossest idolatry. A new revelation through the prophetess Huldah seems to have been sufficient to convince the king and all Israel of the divinity of the book. They must have been inclined, in that age of the world, to believe the history of the servants of God more than in this age; for now the people generally require a vast amount of evidence. The testimony of a dozen witnesses is scarcely regarded.

I have already observed, through the persecutions raised against the house of Israel, their books were destroyed; yes, even the tables of stone, for some reason, were taken from them, and all Israel were left without even a copy of the law, until accidentally they happened to find one that had been hid in the house of the Lord, as I have already named; and they were so ignorant with regard to this copy that they were obliged to send for Huldah, one of the prophetesses in Israel, to inquire of the Lord to know if it really was his word. They found a book, but they did not know whether it was true or false; and they thought it important that it should be determined by the immediate word of God.

Why not this generation go and do likewise? Why not inquire of the Lord whether the Book of Mormon is a Divine revelation? The copy found anciently contained the words of the Lord. And the people were so rejoiced that the whole nation of Jews gathered together to hear it read, and rejoiced over it, and gave heed to its precepts. They were not like the present generation; they did not fight it, and testify all manner of evil against it, and publish lies against it; but they believed it on the testimony of the prophetess.

It is very probable that the Jews copied these sacred writings upon various materials. Bishop Watson informs us that “the Hebrews went so far as to write their sacred books in gold, as we may learn from Josephus, compared with Pliny.” He further says, “Those books which were inscribed on tablets of wood, lead, brass, or ivory, were connected together by rings at the back, through which a rod was passed to carry them by.” “The first books,” continues Bishop Watson, “were in the form of blocks and tables, of which we find frequent mention in Scripture, under the appellation of sepher—that is, square tables. That form which obtains among us (he quotes from Pliny), is the square, composed of separate leaves, which was also known, though little used among the ancients.”

These copies of the Scriptures were destroyed, so that the Jews were again left destitute of the sacred writings. How they again obtained a copy, this generation are not informed.

Esdras informs us in the Apocrypha that he was inspired of God to write a great number of the books of the Old Testament Scriptures, so that the Jewish people might again be in possession of them. But how are this generation to know whether Esdras was a true Prophet or not? How are they to know that he was actually inspired of God to perform so great a work? It seems that the learned have no confidence in him, or they would not have placed his books among the Apocryphal writings as being doubtful.

But soon after the days of Esdras the sacred books again perished. How did the Jews again obtain copies? None of the learned can answer this question. For seventeen long centuries, the history of the sacred text is unknown. We are informed by learned writers that about three centuries before Christ the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek, called the Septuagint; but have we any copies of the Septuagint? No. You may search all the archives of the nations, and you cannot find one of these ancient copies. Fifteen hundred years after this supposed translation, you find some Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. Let us inquire into the situation of the manuscripts from which our present Hebrew and Greek Bibles were formed. We are informed by St. Chrysostom, an ancient Christian writer who lived soon after the days of Christ, that “many of the prophetical monuments have perished; for the Jews being careless, and not only careless, but also impious, have carelessly lost some of these monuments; others they have partly burned, partly torn in pieces.”

We are also informed by St. Justin, another early Christian writer, that the Jews actually did destroy a great number of the prophetical books, in order that the world might not perceive the agreement between the ancient Prophets in the Old Testament and Christianity. Here, then, we have the testimony of early Christian writers that many of the prophetical books of the Old Testament were destroyed.

We are also informed by the Catholics, “That many, and very many of the canonical books of Scripture have quite perished, and not so much as appeared in the days of the very ancient fathers; so that nothing but the names of those books have come unto us.” (See Mumford’s Question of Questions, sec. 1. 7.)

We are also informed, by those manuscripts that are dated from the 12th century of the Christian era, that the few books that were preserved during the long reign of persecution and error had become very much altered and mutilated—so much so, that when the learned gathered a large number of manuscripts together, they found no two that agreed. A great variety of readings in these manuscripts discouraged many of our translators, some three centuries ago, from translating the Old Testament, lest the world should turn to atheism. If they had translated them all, they would have had several hundred Bibles, all clashing and differing from each other.

It must be recollected that the Catholic canon of Scripture was not formed until the year 397. Prior to that period, the people were left, some of them to believe in this manuscript, and some in that—some to reject this one, and some that; and many of the Christian fathers in the second and third centuries of the Christian era were entirely unable to determine what manuscripts were spurious, and what ones to receive as divine. Mumford speaks thus upon this subject—

“If you fly to the tradition of the Church only of the first four hundred years, remember that the Council of Carthage, just after the end of those years, alleged the ancient tradition of their fathers, which they judged sufficient for defining our canon. They, who were so near those first four hundred years, knew far better the more universal tradition of that age than we can, twelve hundred years after it. True it is (nothing being defined till then), private doctors were free to follow what they judged to be truest; and as you find them varying from our canon, some in some books, some in others, so you will find them varying from one another, and varying also from you” (meaning the Protestant Canon). “For, in those first four hundred years, Melitus and Nazianzen excluded the Book of Esther, which you add. Origen doubts of the Epistle to the Hebrews, of the second of St. Peter, of the first and second of St. John. St. Cyprian and Nazianzen leave the Apocalypse or Revelation out of their canon. Eusebius doubts of it.”

Mumford further says—“All those holy fathers agreed ever in this, that such books were evidently God’s word which had evidently a sufficient tradition for them. Now, in the days of those fathers who thus varied from one another, it was not by any infallible means made known to all that those books about which their variance was were recommended for God’s infallible word by a tradition clearly sufficient to ground belief; for the Church had not as yet examined and defined whether tradition did clearly enough show such and such books to be God’s infallible word. But in the days of St. Austin, the third Council of Carthage, anno 397, examined how sufficient or insufficient the tradition of the Church was which recommended those books for Scripture about which there was so much doubt and contrariety of opinions. They found all the books contained in our canon, of which you account so many apocryphal, to have been recommended by tradition sufficient to found faith upon. For on this ground (Can. 47), they proceeded in defining all the books in our canon to be canonical. Because, say they, we have received from our fathers that those books were to be read in the Church. Pope Innocent the First, who lived Anno Domini 402, being requested by Exuperius, Bishop of Toulouse, to declare unto him which books were canonical, he answers (Ep. 3), that having examined what sufficient tradition did demonstrate, he sets down what books are received in the canon of the Holy Scriptures, in the end of his Epistle, chap. 7. To wit, just those which we now have in our canon; and though he rejects many other books, yet he rejects not one of these.” (See Mumford’s Question of Questions, sec. 3, pars. 4, 12.)

The Pope of Rome gathered together these contending persons in the form of a council, and they sat in judgment upon various manuscripts professing to be divine. That quarrelling and contending Council decided that a certain number of books should be admitted as divine, and should form the true canon of Scripture, and that no other books should be added. We are informed that this Council rejected a vast number of books. Some of these rejected books were considered by part of the Council of Divine origin.

The manuscripts of the New Testament which these ancient apostates in the third Council of Carthage pronounced canonical have never reached our day. The oldest manuscripts of the New Testament which this age are in possession of are supposed to date from the sixth century of the Christian era. We have none of the original manuscripts written by any of the Apostles or inspired writers. We have five manuscripts in existence that were supposed to have been written as early as the sixth or seventh century after Christ. Three of these you will find deposited in the Royal Library of Paris.

1st. The Vatican Manuscript, noted 1,209. This was probably written by the monks of Mount Athos; first heard of as being in the possession of Pope Urban the eighth. Some of the leaves are wanting; the ink in some places faded. The letters have been retraced by a skillful and faithful hand. (See Unitarian Editors of the Improved Version of the New Testament, and Marsh.)

2nd. The Clermont or Regises Manuscript, 2,245. This dates from the seventh century. It was found in the monastery of Clung, called Clermont, from Clermont in Beauvais, where it was preserved. Thirty-six leaves of it were stolen by one John Aymon, and sold in England, but since recovered. It is Greek and Latin, and contains the Epistles; but that to the Hebrews by a later hand. Like other Greek-Latin Codices, the Greek has been accommodated to the Latin. (For authority, refer to Wetstein, Unitarian Editors, Professor Schweyhausen, quoted by Bishop Marsh, vol. 2, page 245.)

3rd. The Ephrem Manuscript. This also is said to have been written in the seventh century. It was first discovered by Dr. Allix, in the beginning of the eighteenth century. It is in great disorder; many leaves lost, many wholly illegible; and the whole is effaced to make room for the works of Ephrem, the Syrian, under which the sacred text may be perhaps deciphered by transparency. (See Unitarian Editors of the Improved New Testament.)

The Vatican, Clermont, and Ephrem Manuscripts will be found in the Library at Paris.

4th. The Alexandrian Manuscript. This was probably made in the sixth century; Cassimer Oudin says the tenth. It was deposited in the British Museum in 1753. Cyril, Patriarch of Constantinople, presented it to Charles the First in 1628, by his ambassador, Sir Thomas Roe. It was written by the monks for the use of a monastery of the order of Acoemets, i.e., vigilant, never sleeping. Its original text is no longer visible; written with uncial letters; no intervals before the words. It has been altered from the Latin version, and was written by a person who was not master of the Greek language. (For authority, see Cassimer Oudin, Wetstein, &c., &c.; as quoted by Bishop Marsh in his Michaelis’ Introduction, vol. 2, page 185, and following.)

5th. The Cambridge Manuscript, or Codex Bezae. Concerning this, Bishop Marsh says—“Perhaps, of all the manuscripts now extant, this is the most ancient.” Theodore Beza used it for his edition of the New Testament. It was found at Lyons, in the monastery of St. Irenaeus, A.D., 1562. Beza himself owns of it that it should rather be kept for the avoiding of offense of certain persons, than to be published. It was deposited in the University Library at Cambridge, England. Uncial letters; no intervals between the words. It is very ungrammatical. It varies from the common Greek text in a greater degree than any other. (See Unitarian Editors, Bishop Marsh, vol. 2, page 229.)

Besides these, there are above twenty manuscripts of later date in large letters, of different portions of the New Testament; and some hundreds in smaller characters. It appears, from the superscriptions of very many manuscripts of which we are in possession, that they were written on Mount Athos, where the monks employed themselves in writing copies of the Greek Testament. Some manuscripts, ascribed to the highest antiquity, have been discovered to be the composition of impostors as late as the seventeenth century, for the purpose of foisting in favorite doctrines and imposing upon Christian credulity. The Montford and Berlin MSS., for instance. (See Marsh, vol. 2, page 295.)

All the most ancient manuscripts of the New Testament known to the world differ from each other in almost every verse. And the same is also true in relation to those of the Old Testament. One of the ancient Christian writers, Jerome, in his commentaries upon the Prophets, complains of the corruption of his manuscript Greek copies. Bellarmine testifies that the Greek copies of the Old Testament are so corrupted that they seem to make a new translation, quite different from the translations of other copies. All, therefore, is uncertainty, not only in relation to the Hebrew manuscripts, but also the Greek. If, soon after the beginning of the Christian era, the Old Testament manuscripts were by the Jews partly destroyed, lost, burned, and torn in pieces, so that the learned of that early age could not obtain anything but the names of the lost books, it is not to be supposed that we, who live some seventeen hundred years later, are in possession of copies more pure and genuine than Jerome, Bellarmine, and other ancient writers.

In relation to the manuscripts of the New Testament, Mr. Cressy writes in these words—“In my hearing, Bishop Usher professed that, whereas he had of many years before a desire to publish the New Testament in Greek, with various lections and annotations; and for that purpose had used great diligence and spent much money to furnish himself with manuscripts, yet, in conclusion, he was forced to desist utterly, lest, if he should ingenuously have noted all the several differences of reading which himself had collected, the incredible multitude of them almost in every verse should rather have made men atheistical than satisfy them in the true reading of any particular passage.” (See Exomol. Ca. 8, Nu. 3.)

The learned admit that in the manuscripts of the New Testament alone there are no less than one hundred and thirty thousand different readings. (See Encyclopedia Britannica, eighth edition.) It is true that many of those differences are of no particular consequence, as they do not materially alter the sense. But there are many thousands of differences wherein the sense is entirely altered. How are translators to know which of the manuscripts, if any, contain the true sense? They have no original copies with which to compare them—no standard of correction. No one can tell whether even one verse of either the Old or New Testament conveys the ideas of the original author.

Just think! 130,000 different readings in the New Testament alone! How our translators could separate the spurious from the genuine is more than I can tell. How they could distinguish between the original communicated to the ancient Prophets and Apostles, and 130,000 different readings that were introduced in the dark ages by copyists, is not easy to determine.

But, admitting that we had an ancient copy of the Bible, or the Old and New Testament—supposing the translators by some means were put in possession of such a copy, and that the individuals whose names are attached to many of those books professed to be inspired, yet how is this generation to determine whether those authors, if they were indeed the authors, were inspired men? How do we know they were inspired to write those books? The Latter-day Saints believe that the Bible in its original was the word of God, and was written by Divine inspiration. But we do not believe it because history informs us of this, or tradition tells us so; but we believe it because the Book of Mormon, confirmed by the ministry of angels, informs us of the fact.

But how is this generation to know that those ancient authors were inspired of God? Do they bear testimony of their own inspiration? Bishop Chillingworth, Hooker, and many other learned commentators have told us that the Bible cannot bear testimony of its own inspiration. If the Bible cannot prove its own inspiration, how are people in the present and past ages to know that these books are inspired? It is true, we are informed that some individuals wrote by commandment; and some, we are told, wrote according to their own opinions. How are we to detect, that part which they were inspired to write from that part which was written according to their own opinions? We cannot, without new revelation. Without some testimony of a higher nature than tradition, we never can learn these matters.

Having made these few remarks in regard to the Old and New Testaments in their present condition and bearing, and having learned that they are very imperfect in their present state, and that they have been translated from manuscripts that cannot be depended upon—that there are no original copies in this day with which the world are acquainted—having established these facts, now let us turn to the Book of Mormon, and see if it rests upon evidences of the nature of these I have already presented to this congregation.

The Book of Mormon professes to be translated not from manuscripts containing 130,000 different readings, nor by the learning of men who can render a translation as they please; neither does it profess to be translated from altered, mutilated manuscripts manufactured by monks or impostors upon Mount Athos to impose upon Christian credulity; but it was translated from the original plates themselves—the very plates on which the inspired writers themselves wrote: and they were also translated, not by the learning of men, but by the power of God and the inspiration of the Almighty.

We are told, in the beginning of the Book of Mormon, that three men—Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, saw the plates, or the original from which this book was translated by Joseph Smith, Jun.; he having obtained the plates in the western part of New York through the ministration of an holy angel, as he testifies, from where they were deposited by an ancient Prophet that inhabited America some 1,400 years ago. He testifies that he was sent by an angel of God to bring these gold plates to light—that he obtained with them the Urim and Thummim, and translated the book. But, before the Lord would permit the book to go to the nations, he was determined that they should have more than one witness. Joseph Smith’s testimony was not to go forth alone. Therefore, in 1829, about one year before the rise of this Church, or before this book was offered to the world, three other names were called upon by an angel from heaven.

“Perhaps,” you may say, “they were deceived.” Let us examine whether there was any possibility of their being deceived. They had learned, by reading the manuscript from which this book was printed, that the Lord, when he should bring this book to light in the latter days, would bear testimony of it in a miraculous and wonderful manner to three witnesses, besides the translator. These three men, after having learned this fact, met together, and went and saw Mr. Smith, and inquired of him whether it would be their privilege to behold these plates and know from heaven that this book was true. Joseph Smith inquired of the Lord concerning the matter; and the Lord gave them a promise that, if they would sufficiently humble themselves, they should have this privilege.

They, in no connection with Mr. Smith, who made the fourth individual, went out into the open field, near a grove of timber, a little distance from the house of Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca County, New York. They bowed down before the Lord in broad daylight—not in the night; so there could be no deception: they humbled themselves before him, called upon his holy name with all their hearts; and while they were thus engaged in calling upon the name of the Lord, they saw in the heavens above a glorious light, and a personage descending. This personage came down and stood before them: he laid his hands upon the head of David Whitmer as one of the three witnesses, and said, “Blessed be the Lord and they that keep his commandments;” and then he took the plates and turned them over, leaf after leaf, excepting a certain portion of the leaves that were sealed up, which Mr. Smith was not permitted to translate; but that portion he had translated was turned over, leaf after leaf, and presented before their eyes, and they saw the engravings upon the plates.

This angel, clothed in brightness and glory, stood before them with the plates in his hands, showing them the engravings upon them. They also heard the voice of the Lord out of the heavens, commanding them to bear record of the things they saw and heard to all nations, kindred, tongues, and people. The testimony which they have borne I have read in your hearing.

Now, was there any possibility of these three men, together with Mr. Smith, who was in their company, being deceived? If they were deceived, then there is the same reason to suppose the Apostles were deceived, who profess to have seen Jesus ascend into heaven from the Mount of Olives. There would be the same reason to suppose that Peter, James, and John were deceived when they saw Moses and Elias on the Mount of Transfiguration; if these men were deceived, then there is no truth nor certainty in anything that ever was beheld; for no persons could bear testimony in stronger language than these three witnesses have done in the Book of Mormon.

Joseph Smith, Jun., could not be deceived himself; for it was by an angel that he was commanded to go to the place where the records were deposited; it was by an angel he was told to take them from the place of their long deposit, together with the Urim and Thummim; and it was by the Urim and Thummim, connected with prayer, that he was enabled to translate the plates into the English language: consequently, he could not be deceived.

We have proved that the other three witnesses could not be deceived; consequently four men bear testimony that they not only saw the plates, but also that they saw an angel of God: they also heard his voice, and saw the plates in his hands and the engravings upon the plates, and heard the voice of God out of heaven commanding them to bear their testimony to all people upon the face of the earth to whom the translation should be sent.

Can you find, among all the nations and kingdoms upon the earth, one individual that can bear testimony that he has ever seen the original of any one of the books of the Old and New Testament? No. We defy the world to produce a true copy of the original of any book of the Bible, and prove it to be such. They may search their libraries from beginning to end, and examine all the archives of the nations, and they cannot find an original copy, or even a copy written centuries after the original writer was known to exist.

The learned have conjectured that some of those five manuscripts I have mentioned were written in the sixth century; but this is disputed. Cassimir Oudin says that the Alexandrian Manuscript, instead of being written in the sixth century, was made in the tenth. With regard to the times of their being written, no dependence can be placed.

But here four men actually beheld the original plates, saw an holy angel, and heard the voice of God. Are they the only witnesses? No: there are eight other men, whose names and testimony I have read before this congregation—persons with whom I am individually acquainted as well as with the translator and the three witnesses I have already named. I have been at the house where this Church was organized. I have seen the place where the angel descended and showed them the plates.

Eight other witnesses testify that Joseph Smith showed them the plates, and that they saw the engravings upon them, and that they had the appearance of ancient work and curious workmanship. They describe these plates as being about the thickness of common tin, about eight inches in length, and from six to seven in breadth. Upon each side of the leaves of these plates there were fine engravings, which were stained with a black, hard stain, so as to make the letters more legible and easier to be read. Through the back of the plates were three rings, which held them together, and through which a rod might easily be passed, serving as a greater convenience for carrying them; the construction and form of the plates being similar to the gold, brass, and lead plates of the ancient Jews in Palestine.

Thus we see that twelve individuals saw the plates before the contents were placed before the world, and before they were called upon to believe in them. Is not this a sufficient testimony and evidence? If the world would not believe twelve men who have seen the originals, handled them with their hands, beheld the engravings upon them—four of whom had seen the angel of God and heard his voice—if they would not believe this, would they believe the evidence and testimony of ten thousand individuals? Jesus declares—“In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”

When we appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and go into his presence, we are informed we shall be judged by his word. “My word shall judge you at the last day,” says Jesus. “The words that I speak unto you shall judge you.” If, then, the words which he spake, and which he inspired his Apostles and Prophets to declare to the people, are to be the laws by which mankind are to be judged at the last day, it is necessary that they should have some little evidence and testimony concerning his words.

We are presenting this evidence and testimony before you; and if the Lord gave four witnesses, and by them condemned the antediluvian world—namely, Noah and his three sons—if their preaching, their testimony, and works of righteousness condemned the antediluvians, and they were overthrown by the flood, why may we not suppose that four witnesses alone, if God did not see proper to send any more, would condemn any other generation?

We find that Lot was the only witness who was sent to warn the inhabitants of Sodom, and to call upon his kinsmen to flee from the midst of those cities, in order to escape the terrible judgments announced against them. He testified that an angel of God came to him and told him that the Lord was about to destroy those cities: he said that this angel lodged with him overnight, and that the Lord had sent him as a witness; and his testimony condemned his kinsmen and the inhabitants of Sodom, and they were overthrown and perished in their wickedness.

Who was sent to the inhabitants of Nineveh to warn them? Only one witness—namely, Jonah. He was sent to a strange nation—to a people that were unacquainted with him: they could not tell by any natural appearance whether he was a righteous man or an impostor. He had a curious story to tell them, that he came part of the way to their country in a ship, and part of the way in the belly of a whale. But how could they know that he came in the belly of a whale, or that he was not an impostor? Yet the Lord told them, through Jonah, that if they did not repent, they would all be destroyed in forty days. They concluded to repent, and the Lord spared them, which made Jonah angry.

When the Lord sent a preparatory message to prepare the way for his Son, he sent one witness, instead of raising up four. John the Baptist went forth into the wilderness, clothed himself in a curious style, living on locusts and wild honey, and began to preach repentance to the inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem, and to the Jews throughout the land. How were they to know he was a messenger sent to prepare the way before the Most High? Yet they certainly would be condemned for not receiving his testimony; for Jesus himself said—“The scribes and Pharisees rejected the counsel of God against themselves in rejecting John.”

How did John convince the vast multitudes that he was sent to testify of the first advent of the Son of God? We are informed by one of the Evangelists that “John did no miracle,” as great a Prophet as he was; yet the people were condemned, because they rejected the counsel of God against their own souls, by rejecting his testimony. How much greater, then, will be the condemnation of individuals who reject four witnesses, instead of one!

If the present generation have the testimony of four witnesses sounded in their ears—if the Book of Mormon, containing their testimony, is published and sent forth in the different languages of the earth, and the people have the privilege of hearing and reading that testimony, will it not produce far greater condemnation upon them than what came upon the Jewish nation in ancient days, by rejecting the testimony of one witness only?

We see, then, that we have the advantage of this generation so far as evidence concerning the Book of Mormon is concerned. There are men now living that have seen the original of the Book of Mormon—that have heard the voice of God. Where is there a man who has heard the voice of God testifying concerning the truth of King James’ translation? Where is there a man on the face of the earth that ever had it confirmed to him by the administration of an angel? But here comes evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon such as any court of justice is obliged to receive.

But are we to receive the testimony of all individuals that may come and pretend to have heard the voice of God and to have seen angels? May not impostors come forth and say they have seen angels? I reply that there is this distinction to be made: A man that is sent of God, who has a true message, will always be able to present something connected with the nature of the message and the circumstances surrounding it, which will prove it to be true. If there should be a thousand individuals bearing witness that they had heard the voice of God and seen angels, we shall always be able to detect the impostor from the servant of God by examining the doctrine. There are evidences distinguishing a true message from a false one, that the whole world may be enabled to discern between the two.

For instance, there is no individual upon the face of the earth who can directly prove that Joseph Smith did not see the angel of God and obtain the plates: no individual upon the face of this earth can prove that the three witnesses did not see the angel and the plates: consequently, their evidence cannot be directly negatived, unless they deny their own testimony, which they have not done. The only possible way to condemn these men as impostors is to examine the nature of their testimony, to see whether it is reasonable and scriptural.

Is there anything unscriptural in hearing the voice of God, or in an angel’s descending from heaven, bearing testimony to a book in which all nations are interested? It is a book sent to prepare the way of the Lord for his second coming. Was it unreasonable for the Lord to send angels to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? Was it unreasonable for them to take dinner with Abraham, and for him to wash their feet? For Lot to lodge them in his house? For Joshua, Gideon, Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Peter, Paul, or the wise men and shepherds of Israel, or for Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Zacharias, or for various other holy men and women to see angels sent from heaven? It was neither unreasonable nor unscriptural.

Paul says, “Are they (the angels) not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation?” If, then, they have this office assigned to them, to minister to the heirs of salvation, it is not an unscriptural doctrine that they should minister to those four men. It is just as reasonable that God should send an angel to four men in the last days, and introduce his kingdom and preparatory work for the second advent of the Son of God, as it was for an angel to be sent to Zacharias in order that a messenger might be raised up to prepare the way for his first coming. The one is a little more reasonable than the other; for the latter-day coming is to far transcend in glory and power his first coming, when he appeared among the Jews. At his second coming the earth will tremble and roll to and fro like a drunken man; the mountains shall fall, the valleys be raised, the crooked places made straight, and the rough places smooth, when the Lord is revealed in his glory and power.

If all these things are to be fulfilled, Israel gathered, the fulness of the Gentiles brought in, and Zion built up—if the great Latter-day Work mentioned by the ancient Prophets has to be fulfilled, then it would not be unreasonable that an angel should be sent from heaven to begin a work of this magnitude.

But, perhaps, you may admit that it is perfectly scriptural and reasonable that an angel should be sent; but, then, you may ask if there may not be something connected with the Book of Mormon which would render it inconsistent, and not entitled to credit, and which would prove that its pretenses were an imposition.

In reply, I ask, What is there about the Book of Mormon that is inconsistent? What does it profess to be? It professes to contain the history of part of the tribe of Joseph, who came out of the land of Jerusalem 600 years before Christ, and colonized the American continent. These Indian tribes are their descendants. When they first came here, they were a righteous people, and had with them the Scriptures, containing the law of Moses. When they came here, they made plates of gold, and on them they recorded their history, wars, contentions, &c. These plates were handed down among the ancient inhabitants of America for a thousand years after they came here. Their prophecies were recorded from generation to generation. Jesus Christ appeared to them on this land after his resurrection, just the same as he did to the people in Palestine, and showed them the wounds in his hands and in his feet. He descended before them in South America, and put an end to the law of Moses, which they practiced on this continent; and he introduced the Gospel in its stead, taught them faith and repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins, as in Jerusalem. He taught the people to come with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and humble themselves, and be baptized by immersion for the remission of their sins, and had his servants lay hands on them for the gift of the Holy Ghost, as Paul and Peter did.

The teachings of Jesus were re corded on these gold plates, and they were handed down until some 400 years after Christ. Many sacred revelations are recorded on them, and prophecies that reach to our day, and down to the end of all things.

If you search this record from beginning to end, you will find the historical part perfectly consistent. You cannot prove that Joseph Smith is an impostor from any inconsistencies in the historical part of the work.

If you search the discoveries of all the antiquarians that have written since the discovery of America concerning the ancient inhabitants of this land you cannot put your finger upon one particle of evidence from their researches that will come in contact with the Book of Mormon.

If you examine its prophecies, you will find many that the Jewish records speak nothing of—prophecies that relate to the Indians, and that relate to the rise of this Church, to the Millennium, and to many things that the other Prophets have not touched upon; and also many of the events predicted in the Jewish Bible were delivered to the Prophets in this land. Compare the prophecies of the Jewish records with those in the Book of Mormon, and you will find no clashing or jarring; consequently, you cannot condemn the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and these witnesses to be impostors from the prophetic declarations of that book.

Try its doctrine, and you will find that the Gospel taught in ancient America 1,800 years ago is like that taught in ancient Judea and the regions round about. Did the ancient Apostles in Palestine teach faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism for the remission of sins? So did the ancient Apostles and Prophets in America. Did the Apostles in Judea practice the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost? So did the ancient Israelites of America. Did Jesus and his disciples organize the Church in Asia with revelators and inspired men in it—with prophets and prophetesses, with dreams, visions, and revelations? So did the ancient Israelites in America do the same thing. They, the ancient Apostles, organized the Church with miracles and gifts, with power to heal the sick, to cast out devils, to work miracles, and with power over the elements. The Book of Mormon tells us that the Israelites on ancient America organized one after the same pattern. Consequently, if we examine the whole structure of the Church in Palestine and the structure of the Church in ancient America, we find no jar; so, no man upon the face of the earth can condemn Joseph Smith and these three witnesses from any inconsistency in their doctrine.

Compare the miracles that are recorded in the Book of Mormon with those recorded in the Bible, and you will find no unreasonable miracles in the one, more than in the other. There is no fish story in it—nothing about a man’s being carried in a whale’s belly three days and three nights; though, if such a story was in it, we should believe it, the same as we do the Jewish history of Jonah. There is nothing said in this book about three men being put into a furnace of fire, heated seven times hotter than ever before, and yet the three men receiving no harm. We believe the Bible when it records this great miracle; but there is nothing which to the atheist is so apparently inconsistent as that.

The miracles recorded in the Book of Mormon were of such a nature as to be worthy of the exertion of Divine power. If the sick were healed, it was because Jesus had promised his servants they should lay their hands on them, and they should be healed. If they prophesied, it was concerning future events, because the Lord wanted them to understand that which was to come.

Is there anything in this book that contradicts any scientific truth? You may ransack all the libraries in the world, and gather together all the books of science, and compare with this book, and you will find no clashing; consequently, where is your ground for condemnation? You cannot condemn it from its historical, prophetic, and doctrinal writings, or because of any unreasonable miracles said to have been wrought among the ancient Israelites on these lands, or because it contradicts any scientific truth, or because it is unscriptural or unreasonable that people should see angels in these days.

We defy this whole generation to bring up any testimony to condemn the truth of this book. It will face this generation from this time until the second coming of Christ, and then through the Millennium. And when this generation come up from their graves at the great and last day, the books will be opened, and by the word of God declared on this continent and on the Eastern continent the inhabitants of the earth will be judged.

You may bring all the lies and newspaper stories you can hatch up, and all the misrepresentations you can conceive, and use them against the Divine truths of the Book of Mormon, to save your crumbling apostate systems from utter ruin; you may pile up your falsehoods like mountains; you may fill your railroad carriages to the brim with them, or you may send them by the electric current the world round, and it will not stop the onward progress of the truths of “Mormonism” revealed from heaven: it cannot stay the arm of the Almighty from building up his kingdom in the last days, or hush the voice of his servants from warning the nations to repent and to turn away from their lyings and whoredoms, and from all their wickedness and abominations which they continually practice before the Lord.

The word of God is something that cannot be destroyed; but it will appear in the day of judgment, and you and I will be judged by it.

I believe the Book of Mormon; I believe it because I consider that I have not only the testimony of these twelve witnesses, but a vast amount of other evidence and testimony such as you have not in relation to the things that are contained in the Jewish record.

For instance, what evidence and testimony have the present generation and the generations that have lived during the last seventeen centuries that Jesus Christ, the great Redeemer of the world, arose from the dead? You have the testimony of four individuals, and no more, provided that their testimony has not been corrupted, altered, and mutilated in the oldest manuscripts now known. Who are they? Matthew, John, Paul, and Peter. The other four writers of the New Testament have not said a word about seeing Jesus after his resurrection. The New Testament was written by eight men—Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude. Four of these men have given their testimony that they saw Jesus after his resurrection; the other four have told us nothing about it.

But it may be asked, “Does not the Apostle Paul testify that Jesus was seen by upwards of five hundred brethren at once?”

But none of those five hundred brethren have spoken of this, or handed down their testimony.

Perhaps it will be argued that the four witnesses that saw Jesus—namely, Matthew, John, Paul, and Peter, performed great miracles, and thus established their testimony; and consequently, we are bound to believe them.

But how do you know that they performed miracles?

“They have told us so.”

How do you know they tell us the truth? Were you there to behold the miracles they wrought? Only six of the eight writers of the New Testament say anything about miracles. Suppose they all testify that there were wonderful miracles wrought, have we not as good reason to believe eight men that testify to miracles in these days?

If all the men on this stand have kept journals (and some of them have for a quarter-of-a-century), and if they have recorded what their eyes have seen and their ears have heard; and if the several hundred Elders in this large assembly have done likewise, and recorded all the miraculous things their eyes have seen and their ears heard; and if the generations to come should gather up our journals and manuscripts, and entitle them, The Acts of the Apostles and Elders of the Nineteenth Century, they would find tens of thousands of miracles recorded in these journals where the sick have been healed, the eyes of the blind opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped—where the lame have been made to leap as an hart, and where people have been raised up from the last stages of cholera, in the name of Jesus Christ, and where those who were born blind have had their eyes opened.

Would they not have as much reason to believe the journals and writings of the Latter-day Saints in relation to the miracles wrought as you have to believe the testimony of the six writers of the New Testament on the same subject? Who are the New Testament writers? They are interested witnesses, everyone of them.

“But the world saw their miracles.”

How do you know?

“These six writers say so.”

Have you the testimony of any of the world that they actually saw even one miracle wrought by the Apostles of Jesus Christ? No, you have not.

Perhaps you may say that when the lame man at the beautiful gate of the Temple was healed, it was done publicly before the multitude.

How do you know this? Luke says so in the Acts of the Apostles, and you believe it on his testimony alone. How do you know that Jesus Christ was transfigured on the mount? That Moses and Elias appeared to Peter and James and John on that occasion? Have Peter, James, and John given their testimony? Not a word; but Matthew, Mark, and Luke—three men who were not present, who did not see the transfiguration, and who did not see Moses and Elias, say so; but their testimony is secondhanded.

We believe that Peter, James, and John actually did see holy angels—did behold Moses and Elias, and see Jesus transfigured, upon secondhanded testimonies given on the subject.

Now, we have the testimony of individuals themselves concerning the Book of Mormon—not the testimony alone of Elders Richards and Woodruff, or of any of these Elders—but the testimonies of persons who beheld the angel and heard his voice.

Therefore, the testimony establishing the truth of the Book of Mormon is far superior to that establishing the Bible in its present form.

I do not know but I am wearying you; but I have endeavored in my simple way to lay before you the evidence and testimony you have for believing the Jewish record, compared with the evidence and testimony you have for believing the ancient records of America, called the Book of Mormon; and any persons who will carefully examine this subject will be obliged in their own hearts to say there is a hundredfold more evidence to prove the Divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon than what we have to prove the Palestine records.

But this is not all. We do not rest our evidence alone on the testimony of these twelve witnesses; our hopes are built upon a foundation surer than all these external testimonies. The Latter-day Saints are not that enthusiastic people who open their mouths and swallow down doctrines because they are popular, because their fathers believed them; but we believe a doctrine because we have evidence to substantiate it; and then, in addition to this, we seek for more truth and knowledge.

The Book of Mormon informs us how we may not only have faith in that book because of the evidence and testimony accompanying it; but how we may obtain a knowledge concerning its truth. The Book of Mormon informs us, as well as the Holy Scriptures, that if we will repent and be baptized, we shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We have tried the experiment. We have repented of our sins, we have turned from our transgressions, and humbled ourselves, like little children, before the Lord; we were buried in the water, and brought out of the water; then hands were laid upon us, and we received the gift of the Holy Ghost, and this gave us a knowledge of the truth.

What are the effects of the Holy Ghost? Jesus says, in the last chapter of Mark, “These signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils; speak with new tongues; take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

The promise of the signs was not to the Apostles alone, but he said unto them, “Do you go and preach the word in all the world; and he that believes your testimony and is baptized shall receive salvation, and those that will not believe shall be damned; and these signs shall follow them that do believe.” We have believed, repented, been baptized, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost; and we found the promise verified. If it were not so, we should then know it to be an imposition. If we found that Jesus did not fulfil his promise after we fully obeyed his word, we should then know the same to be false.

Let me say to this congregation that there would not have been a Church of Latter-day Saints five years upon the earth, had he not fulfilled his promise after we had obeyed his word, because he made this promise not only in the Book of Mormon and the New Testament, but by direct revelation through the Prophet, that if the people would do thus and so, they should be blessed with such and such gifts. Now, suppose the people, after having tried it, did not receive those gifts, the whole Church would have apostatized, and turned and declared it all false—Book of Mormon, Bible, and everything else. Why? Because these books made a promise on certain conditions, which was not fulfilled.

But when the people believed and were baptized for the remission of sins, and filled with the Holy Ghost, and the visions of the future were opened to them, and the spirit of prophecy rested upon them, and they beheld the sick recovering, the blind receiving their sight, and the deaf hearing, “Surely,” said they, “this must be of God; for the Lord never would have confirmed an imposition to us by granting the gifts of the Gospel.”

But may not the Devil perform miracles? Satan was to come with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they had pleasure in un righteousness. “Now, how do you know but these are some of the strong delusions?”

But prove to us that we have had pleasure in anything contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ—that this people have not obeyed the Scriptures of eternal truth. Those signs that were to come, and these living wonders, &c., were to be practiced by individuals that had pleasure in unrighteousness and who rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ—they were to go forth like the magicians in the days of Moses to withstand the power of Moses. We see them on one hand turning the water to blood, and Moses doing the same; in short, Moses performed numerous miracles (by the power of God), and the magicians did the same. How are we to distinguish between the two? Moses believed and obeyed the words of the Most High God, and the magicians were fighting against him, and yet they did miracles—not in the name of God, but by their enchantments; and so it is with all wicked miracle workers from their day down to the second coming of Christ: they perform their lying wonders by the power of Satan—by the means of somnambulism, spirit-rapping, spirit-writing, or whatever it may be. But when people repent, and are baptized, and perform miracles in the name of the Lord, such miracles are designed to profit and benefit mankind—such as laying hands on the sick that they may be healed, speaking and interpreting tongues; hence you may know them to be of God: therefore it is easily to be distinguished which of the two powers should be received, and which should be rejected.

May God bless all those who love the truth, whether Jew or Gentile, bond or free—whether it be those who have received the Gospel and Book of Mormon, or those who are inquiring to know concerning its truth. If they desire to know the truth, may the God of heaven, who has sent forth his angel and confirmed the truth unto many, pour out his Holy Spirit upon them, and enlighten their minds, inasmuch as they go before God with an honest heart, that they may know, as the Latter-day Saints know, that this work is a message from the Almighty, to be proclaimed to every nation, kindred, and people upon the face of the whole earth. And when they know from God that this work is true, they will not be tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, but they will be built upon a foundation upon which they can rest secure. Though the whirlwinds of persecution may beat upon them—though they may be hated, derided, and suffer the loss of all things, time after time—though they may be driven to and fro, and scattered from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and their Patriarchs, Prophets, and Apostles be put to death, yet, with all this distress and poverty brought upon them by being robbed and plundered of their lawful possessions, and with all the injury they may sustain from year to year, they will have something in the midst of it all that will give them joy, peace, and happiness; and that something is A KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH—not merely a faith that the foundation on which they are built is of God, but a knowledge that they are established upon a rock that cannot be moved, which is as firm as the throne of Jehovah, and as secure as the eternal attributes of the Almighty.

May God bless us and prepare us for his heavenly kingdom, and save us therein, is my prayer, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Testimony of God’s Servants Faithfully Borne to the Nations—Gentile Opposition—Judgments of God—Redemption of Zion

A Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, Sunday Afternoon, January 24, 1858.

Once more I have the opportunity of beholding the faces of the Latter-day Saints here in the valleys of the mountains.

I begin to be almost weary in trying to carry salvation to the wicked nations of the Gentiles; and because of the many years that I have spent on missions, I find myself almost a stranger in the midst of the Saints at home. There are now but very few that I can recognize. There are many that have known me for upwards of a quarter-of-a-century that I have forgotten.

I have felt, since I started for home this last time, that I should, perhaps, be permitted to tarry with you longer than I have had the privilege of doing at any former period of my life.

If anyone should ask me where my home has been for the last quarter-of-a-century, I should answer—Among the nations; for that has been my principal abiding place ever since the year 1830.

When I received a letter from the President, releasing me from the Office at Liverpool, and also releasing all the missionaries in that country, without specifying in the letter what time I should return, I immediately felt a great desire to return this winter; and by this means I believe I have saved to myself some six or seven months time that I can dwell here in the midst of the Saints; and at this peculiar period I feel that it will be a great blessing to me to be with you—that if you have to share toils and tribulations in having your enemies upon your borders, I may share them with you; and that if you have peculiar blessings bestowed upon your heads, that I also may be made a partaker of them.

Should my brethren say to me, “Brother Orson, we wish you to take a mission, now, to China, or to the East Indies, or to any other part of this globe, and tarry there twenty-seven years before you return to your home,” I would go. Yes, I would gladly go, and feel that it was my duty, and that I was pleasing God in obeying the counsel of his servants.

The Lord sent forth this message some twenty-eight years ago; and, during this period, the servants of the Lord have been sent out especially to the Gentile nations, that their times might be fulfilled, and to give them an opportunity of receiving the truth. Those servants have gone forth, though in their weakness; and, with very few exceptions, they have been very faithful in their duties. They have fulfilled that parable that is recorded in the Book of Mormon, where the laborers are said to have gone forth and labored with their might, and the Lord of the vineyard labored with them; and it predicts that they should be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.

We must, therefore, draw this one conclusion—that the testimony that has been borne to the Gentile nations is sufficient, so far as our weak judgment can comprehend, to condemn them all, if they never hear another sound from the voices of the servants of God while they exist in the flesh. Why is it enough? Has every individual among the nations of the Gentiles been preached to? I will tell you what has been done.

Thousands and tens of thousands of large congregations have been preached to in the United States and in Great Britain. Thousands and thousands of the servants of God have lifted up their voices, day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, and warned the nations; and the Lord told us, more than twenty years ago, that he had sent forth his servants to warn the people, and it became those who had been warned to warn their neighbors. The Lord, more than twenty years ago, said to his servants, “Your garments are clean from the blood of this generation.”

Where is there a Gentile nation upon this earth, if they were to be destroyed this very day, that could come up before the Lord of Hosts and plead any excuse before him for not knowing concerning the latter-day message which has been sent forth? According to my feelings upon this subject, I believe that they have been fully warned, beginning with the nation of the United States that inhabit this promised land. They have also been thoroughly warned in Great Britain. The nations of Europe have been offered the message; but they would not receive it. It seems to me, according to my judgment, and according to the vast amount of testimony that has been sounded in their ears, that they are delivered over, not as individuals, but as nations, to the hardness of their own hearts, to fight against the work of God.

The Lord says, in the preface of the Book of Covenants, “Search these commandments; for every jot and every tittle shall be fulfilled, and not one word shall fail.” The inhabitants of the earth were commanded to search those commandments; and you will find in that preface that the Lord told the inhabitants of the earth that his servants, the weak things of the earth that he was then sending forth, had power to seal both on earth and in heaven the unbelieving—yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure.

Now, the Lord moves upon the hearts of our First Presidency to say to the Elders of Israel abroad, “It is enough: come home. Your testimony is sufficient. The wicked reject it; they fight against it: therefore you may now return to these mountains and valleys. Return from the nations of Europe, return from the nations of Africa, return from Great Britain, from the United States, and from the Canadas, and come home to these mountains.”

In sending forth a message of this kind to the Elders, what does it show? Why, it closes for the present the testimony of the servants of God, and shows that the warning is sufficient, and that both earth and heaven bear witness that the Gentiles are left without excuse.

Apparently, all the devils that brother Kimball and the other brethren saw in vision on their first mission to England seem now to have entered into the tabernacles of the people; and you can see them gnash their teeth at the Saints, just as they were seen by brother Kimball; for the Devil influences them and makes them instruments to fight against the people of God.

Read the vision of Nephi, where the Lord showed him the sending forth of this message to the nations—“And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the whore of all the earth, and she sat upon many waters; and she had dominion over all the earth, among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people. And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and the abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw. And it came to pass that I beheld that the great mother of abominations did gather together in multitudes upon all the face of the earth, among all the nations of the Gentiles, to fight against the Lamb of God. And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.” [Book of Mormon, 1st Book of Nephi, chap. iii., 47-50.

What is it that is going to increase righteousness and the power of God upon the Saints that are scattered abroad upon the face of the earth? It is the increase of righteousness here at headquarters; and as branches of the great vine of the same Church, they will feel the influence of the same Spirit, even before the intelligence can reach them by letter. When you reform and turn away from your sins—when you practice righteousness here, the Saints of God abroad feel stirred up to do the same things, and the Spirit of the Lord rests upon them the same as it does upon the people here, only not to the same extent, because you live at head quarters, at the fountainhead, and you have a greater experience; therefore, your experience, righteousness, and faithfulness, entitle you to more choice gifts than those that have not the same experience.

The power of God will rest upon the Saints of these valleys first, and then upon the Saints in all the world, just in proportion to their righteousness. The Lord is going to increase power here among the people. Have we any dangerous circumstances to pass through that render it necessary that more power should be made manifest? Have we got to bear testimony to kings and to the rulers of the earth at the present time? No, we are not called to do this; but those who are in the nations abroad may have this to do.

What, then, is needful to be done? We have got a different work to do than what we have had for the last quarter-of-a-century.

You recollect that the Lord has said he would try and prove us in one scale, and then he would try us in another, and see if we would be faithful in carrying out the principles of salvation.

When we were thus tried, we went forth and whipped out the religious world spiritually. Their priests, their lawyers, their doctors, their great men, their discussionists, and their wise men have all been whipped and backed out—so much so that they have confessed that they could not stand before the powerful reasoning of the servants of God and the power which accompanied the great latter-day message. But now we have to be tried in another point. We have whipped them out so far as their doctrines are concerned, and they have now come up to try physical force upon us.

I do not know that the Lord would have sent us down there to drive them, if they had not first come against us. But they have come up with sword in hand, with the best engines and imple ments of war, with their best disciplined armies, their scientific officers, with men that profess to have skill in all the arts of warfare and ability to whip out the few Saints here in the mountains.

Do you think that that God who has enabled his Saints to fight moral and spiritual battles, to array argument against argument and principle against principle in all the contests which they have been called to have, and who has brought them off victorious—do you think he will not defend them at this time also? If he has supported us in all these things, do you suppose that he is going to allow us to be overcome by those who have persecuted his servants, and to let our necks be trampled down under their feet? If I have any understanding of ancient and modern prophecy and of the spirit that is in me, the Lord intends to perform his part of the work for the deliverance of his Saints.

I must say to the Latter-day Saints throughout this Territory, that the same God who has strengthened them to overcome their enemies spiritually will be their defense, and his power and strength and his arm will be stretched out for their deliverance. When you go to meet your enemies, they shall be prostrated before you, and you shall overcome them. And as you have overcome their priests by the strong force of argument, so shall you literally and physically put your enemies to flight, and one shall chase a thousand, and two shall put ten thousand to flight; and this you will do by the power and strength of that God who fought for Israel in ancient days.

Have we any ancient prophecy upon this subject? Yes, we have; and let us bring it up; for we now live about the time that the mother of abominations was to gather together and fight against the Saints.

In the last chapter of the 1st Book of Nephi, paragraph 3, the Prophet says—“And all that fight against Zion shall be destroyed, and that great whore, who hath perverted the right ways of the Lord, yea, that great and abominable church, shall tumble to the dust and great shall be the fall of it. For behold, saith the prophet, the time cometh speedily that Satan shall have no more power over the hearts of the children of men; for the day soon cometh that all the proud and they who do wickedly shall be as stubble; and the day cometh that they must be burned. For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; for he will not suffer that the wicked shall destroy the righteous. Wherefore, he will preserve the righteous by his power, even if it so be that the fulness of his wrath must come, and the righteous be preserved, even unto the destruction of their enemies by fire. Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire.”

Nephi looked upon these things and saw the condition that the people would be in, and therefore he said, “You need not fear.” Do you hear it, Latter-day Saints? You need not fear, for the Lord will preserve his people, even if it must needs be that he sends fire down from heaven to destroy the wicked and those that preach false doctrines to the children of men, even the whore of all the earth; for they must tremble and fall and crumble to dust.

I feel as strong, and I do not know but stronger, in regard to the work that is now before the Saints, than I ever have done in bearing testimony to the truth of the Gospel. I have always felt that God would give me wisdom, argument, and testimony to confound gainsayers and opposers of the truth; and thus God has enabled me to do. I have the same feeling today—not that we have the strength to do it ourselves; but I know that God will strengthen us for the work we have to do.

Though the Lord may suffer our enemies to come and invade our borders, and though we have been driven and trampled upon, and though we have laid down our necks for them to tread upon, he has now got us here, where he will show forth his power.

He has let us rest in these peaceful valleys in safety and in quietness for some ten years, and now he seems to say to the wicked, “Inasmuch as you will not give heed to the testimony of my servants, and you are determined to invade their borders, go up and try it, and I will show you that I will gird on my strength and arm my servants, and they shall defend my cause.”

It will be just as the Lord said in December, 1830—“I will call the weak of the earth, and I will gird up their loins; and they shall fight manfully for me; and their enemies shall be under their feet.” He also says, “I will not only shake the earth, but the starry heavens also; and the inhabitants of the earth shall know that you are my people, because of the power and the strength that shall be manifest in defending yourselves against your enemies.” This is what the Lord intends to do.

It needed the United States as a nation or as a government to unjustly come up against us, in order to bring about these things. How many scores and hundreds sit in this congregation that have never been in one solitary mob? Have you been tried with persecution and mobbing and death? Have you been tried at the mouth of the cannon or at the point of the bayonet? No—many of you have not; hence a trial is needful. Can you expect the power of God without a trial of your faith? It is expedient that you have a trial of your faith. It would be one of the easiest things in the world for the Almighty to send fire and brimstone upon the earth and destroy our enemies, or to swallow them up by an earthquake as he did in days of Israel.

In those days the Lord enabled Israel to overcome the Hittites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, &c. How easy it would have been for the Lord to have destroyed them by earthquake, or by fire, or by something of this kind! But he did not do it—and why? Because he wanted to do several things at the same time: he wanted to destroy the wicked, and to see if his servants would flinch in the hour of danger. The Lord is going to defend this people, but not without their agency. He is not going to let us sit upon our easy chairs and not expose ourselves. If we were to do this, we should not be worthy of the kingdom of God. He offers us the kingdom, and says it is ours, upon certain conditions.

What else does he say? “My Church shall be free and independent of all creatures beneath the celestial world.” Have we been free from the United States? No, we have not; but we are to be made free from every government upon the face of the earth; and wherever there is any dominion that is beneath that of the celestial world, we are to be free from it.

Now, suppose the Lord had offered us all these things, and we should sit down and not move a finger for the blessings he had given, should we be worthy of them? No, not at all. We should be in this condition, if we were suffered to take possession of these blessings without any trials.

If we are dilatory, we shall have to suffer as in days gone by, and our enemies will come in here and bring in their whoredoms and abominations that they have been accustomed to from their youth up. This will be the case, if we do not save ourselves by our diligence and obedience. But if we show to God that we are willing to stand up in behalf of his kingdom and of the truth, even unto death, then, notwithstanding our enemies may be two hundred to our one, we shall feel strong in the Lord, and he will fight our battles. Then we shall accomplish that which has been promised by the Prophets; and not only the United States will have to suffer, but as the Prophet Isaiah says—“The multitude of all the nations that fight against Zion shall become like the dream of a night vision, as when a man who is hungry dreameth that he is satisfied with food, and he awaketh and behold he is faint.” So will be all nations who fight against this people: they will pass away before the power of the servants of God. His servants will be clothed with wisdom and with the power of the Most High to prevail against all their enemies.

We would let the poor curses alone, if they would stay at home and mind their own business. The American continent never was designed for such a corrupt Government as the United States’ to flourish or prosper long upon it. After they should become ripened in iniquity, it was not intended they should continue. The Lord has designed another thing, and for this reason we are here in these mountains: the little stone has been rolling uphill.

If our enemies keep coming up here, after the Lord has shown his power and enabled his servants to cope with them, if they still continue to fight against Zion, the Saints of God will roll down upon their borders and take them upon their own lands. But before that day comes, we have to show our wisdom by skirmishes and in various conditions in which we shall be placed; and we have got to show the nations that God intends to do something here in the mountains.

When he has done this, we shall then roll down to the borders of Missouri and take possession of our inheritances, from which we have been illegally and unconstitutionally driven.

Brother Kimball says we could not roll down until we rolled up. But we have been rolling uphill for the past ten years, in fulfillment of the prediction of Isaiah, which says—“O Zion, that bringest glad tidings, get thee up into the high mountain;” and having rolled up for ten years, we shall soon begin to roll down. But I do not think it will take ten years to roll downhill; for we shall be propelled by the power of God, and the work will be hastened.

The power of God will be with us, and the Lord God will redeem Zion, as he redeemed Israel in Egypt; and not only his angels, but his presence will go before us, and the nations of the earth shall fear because of the power of God which shall accompany us.

Then will be the time that the Gentiles can be preached to by the Elders with some sense; or rather, they will be preached to by Israel that is scattered amongst them. Then, brethren, you can go and preach to them, and say the power of God is with you, and say to the people, Look yonder, and behold the children of Zion delivered by the power of God; and then you will be respected. Then you can go to the palaces of the great and preach to the king upon his throne, to the great men, to the nobles, and rich men of the earth; and many will fear, and receive your testimony, and flow to Zion, bringing their riches with them. But now you could not go into their fine palaces, nor find access to their rich and splendid mansions. You could not get them to hear you for one moment. No: they would degrade you, if possible, to the lowest hell.

There is not a people upon the face of the earth that were ever degraded like the Latter-day Saints. They look upon you worse than they do upon any set of pirates that travel the open seas—that is, if they believe their own words; for they circulate these things in their lectures and in their periodicals; and there is no use to try to preach to them, but let the Lord work with them and with this people.

Let the Lord purify his kingdom, and let the most bitter branches be pruned off—not by some means entirely independent of the Saints; but let the people go to work and trim off such bitter branches as Missouri and Illinois, because of their wickedness and mobocracy; and then the nations will begin to see that there is power there. Yes, trim them up, in order that the natural branches that bear fruit may bear more fruit—that Zion, in other words, may increase her tents and stretch forth her curtains, even the curtains of her habitations, and make not only the desolate cities of Zion, but the desolate cities of the Gentiles to resound with songs of praise to Him that sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever. This is what the Prophet says about it—“And their desolate cities shall be built up and be inhabited by the Saints of the Most High.” God will bring about this work; and as to our being overcome in these valleys of the mountains, it will not be, if this people do as they are told—if they are willing to do right in all things.

If this people will hearken to the law of God, and in everything be humble and meek, and keep his commandments by day and by night, from one year’s end to another, we shall be, as it is said in the parable of the vineyard, as one body—as the roots and tops of the great tree which the Lord God has planted and made equal, so that the top will not jostle over because there is not sufficient strength in the roots.

I want to see this people of one heart and of one mind; and when the word comes forth, I want to have them as well-disciplined as the Gentiles, and ten thousand times better.

This is the people who have the right to be of one heart and of one mind for the defense of Zion, for the defense of their wives and children, for the defense of their vineyards, and their flocks and herds, but more especially for the defense of the kingdom of the Most High God.

Let this be the main object of this people. You know that it is the kingdom of God or nothing! Therefore may righteousness be our object from this time forth and forever. Amen.

The Faith and Visions of the Ancient Saints—The Same Great Blessings to Be Enjoyed By the Latter-Day Saints

A Discourse by Elder Orson Pratt, Delivered in the Tabernacle, Great Salt Lake City, April 13, 1856.

[Elder Pratt read the 7th, 8th, and 9th paragraphs of the Book of Ether.]

I have read, from the Book of Ether, a portion of what is written concerning that great and wonderful vision, shown to a man in all respects just like unto ourselves, so far as his nature was concerned, all men being subjected to certain evil influences, through the transgression of our first parents. At the same time, if it had not been for their transgressing the commandments of the Lord, in the garden of Eden, this congregation would not have been here.

Because Adam and Eve transgressed we are here with mortal tabernacles; and these mortal tabernacles are subject to vanity, through the power which the adversary has on account of our organization in the flesh; he has power over the spirit, and to bring us into captivity and bondage, and subject us to the yoke of bondage, of sin, of the fallen and corrupt nature; but by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was prepared before the foundation of the world, we have hope of being redeemed from that which is a yoke upon us in the economy of this probation, for mortality was instituted by the Lord to give us an opportunity of proving ourselves.

Our first parents thorough transgressing the law of God, brought death into the world, but through the death of Jesus Christ, life and immortality were introduced. The one brings into bondage; the other gives us hope of escape, of redemption, that we may come forth with the same kind of body that Adam had before the fall, a body of immortal flesh and bones.

Adam and Eve were immortal, the same as resurrected beings, but previous to their transgression they had no knowledge of good and evil.

After the redemption we will not only have the same kind of bodies that they possessed in the garden of Eden before the fall, but we will have a knowledge of good and evil through our experience. For this purpose we are made partakers, through our agency, of the knowledge of evil in this life, that we all may know how to appreciate good when we are put in possession of it.

Hence in our immortal tabernacles, when brought forth from the grave, we shall have a knowledge of our past experience, a most perfect knowledge. There will be no imperfection of memory, but we shall remember, as the Prophet tells us in the Book of Mormon, all things that have taken place during our mortal lives; everything that we have thought and done.

We shall remember that we have been made free from sin through the ordinances of the Gospel; we shall remember the new birth that we received while in this mortal state, the being cleansed from sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, and made new creatures; all those things will be plain and clear before the mind of the immortal man.

There is a great lesson of instruction given in the short history which I have read before you; it shows the privileges pertaining to our religion in some respects, and it shows how much there is to be received, and how much we have not received in mortality.

We also learn from the history we have read, the principle upon which these blessings are to be received, viz., by faith in Jesus Christ. The brother of Jared did not receive these blessings without faith; he exercised faith in the Lord, in the revelations previously received, or which the Prophets had spoken in former days; he exercised faith in the promises given to the fathers.

All the circumstances through which they were called to pass, had a tendency to create a great amount of faith in those ancient men of God. It is true that the brother of Jared had been a Prophet for many years; faith had been centered in his heart, and he could lay hold of the promises of God. He was a Revelator at the time the tower of Babel was built; he was a man capable of receiving instructions from heaven; and hence his brother said, at the time the language was confounded, “Enquire of the Lord if He will take us out of the land, and if it please the Lord to let us go by ourselves, let us be faithful, that we and our posterity and nation may be blest.”

From these few sayings of Jared we find that he had the utmost confidence in the revelations of his brother, for he knew him to be a Prophet and a Revelator. While wandering many years in the wilderness, the Lord continued to reveal Himself unto them in the wilderness; He had shown forth to them His glory, had come down and talked in a cloud and shown them many things which were to come to pass, and instructed them to build barges and cross large bodies of water, before they came to the ocean.

Being taught for many years in the things of the kingdom of God, their minds were somewhat prepared for the journey before them. They were instructed to build eight barges with which to cross the great ocean; and after being fully informed upon those matters, and having finished the barges, the company saw that there was no light in them, and it would have been very difficult to carry fuel such a long distance, in order to have produced light.

Now reflect upon the faith of this man of God; rather than be tossed upon the bosom of the great deep for many days excluded from the light of sun, moon, and stars, and rather than be under the necessity of taking wood to make fires, without any outlet for smoke, and before he knew how the Lord was going to provide light, he carved out sixteen stones, which, though white and clear like unto glass, gave no light.

He carried those stones into a great mountain, and called upon Him who at the beginning said, “Let there be light and there was light,” to touch those stones that they might have them for lights upon the bosom of the deep. This would be sufficient if there was not another word written, to convince any person that he was a man of great faith, and that when in difficulty he called upon the Lord, and the Lord hearkened to his voice, and put forth His hand. And because of this man’s faith he beheld the finger of the Lord when He touched the stones, and those stones were filled with the principle of imparting light.

This was a miracle to those that beheld it, and why so? Because it was contrary to the general laws with which they were acquainted, though in fact it was no more of a miracle for the Lord to show His finger than to do anything else, or than the falling of a stone to the ground. The same Supreme power that causes the fall of a stone, can cause a stone to give light, and in this instance did perform that operation, and they beheld it, and had constant day until they had crossed the sea. One may enquire, “Brother Pratt, why do you refer to those old historical events, why don’t you refer to that which belongs to our everyday duties?” Because there are those around me here who are better qualified to teach you in relation to your everyday duties; they are able to instruct you from Sabbath to Sabbath, and are constantly pouring forth instructions for your edification and benefit.

These ideas came into my mind, and are calculated, if properly understood, to be used as examples for our good; they are written for our edification and that of our children. The heed that we give to the everyday duties which are pointed out to us, will determine in a great measure our reward. It may be asked, “Do you think that it is really our privilege, as the children of God in this dispensation, to attain to the same blessings which were received by those ancient people of God?” Yes, and far greater; for you will find in this same history, in a part which I have not read, that a portion of the same things should be given to the Latter-day Saints through their faith. The Lord says, “Then will I show the great and marvelous things of my kingdom unto them, as I did to him.”

But it all depends, recollect, upon the great principle of faith, and you are to obtain these things upon condition of practicing those everyday duties which you are hearing proclaimed from day to day. With such wisdom, and by continuing steadfast therein, your faith will increase in those great and heavenly principles, until you can lay hold by faith upon all the great and marvelous things that were communicated to him.

What were communicated to him besides what I have read? It may not be amiss to read a few more words, for I fear that we are too careless in relation to those things which pertain to our welfare, which, with the various duties and cares of life, make us careless in listening to the Living Oracles. It is my belief that if this people more carefully read the oracles of the ancients, they would be directed more diligently to attend to the Living Oracles.

We are commanded to search the Scriptures for instructions, but I fear that we neglect this counsel too much, and become careless. In consequence of such neglect, the Lord reproved this Church some years ago, and said that the whole Church was under condemnation, because they had neglected the Book of Mormon; and He told them that unless they would repent, they should be held under condemnation, and should be scourged, and judgments should be poured out upon them. If you would read these things in the Spirit, and call upon God to give you His Spirit to fix the sayings of the Prophets upon your minds, you would do good and derive benefit therefrom. If the Saints will give most earnest and diligent heed unto the instructions given in those books which have been pre served, and especially to the instructions which are given by our President, they will prosper and be blest in all things.

I will again read, “And because of the knowledge of this man he could not be kept from beholding within the veil.” Says one, “That is a curious saying; I thought the Lord could do whatever He pleased.” This was because the Lord had given His word that He would do according to the faith of the Saints—righteous sons and daughters of Adam—hence He could not restrain the brother of Jared from looking within the veil.

When there is sufficient faith in the hearts of the children of men, it is impossible to withhold blessings from them, if that faith is exercised, for if the Lord should do so, He would forfeit His own word, and we read that it is impossible for God to lie.

I will now read as follows: “And it came to pass that the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt not suffer these things which ye have seen and heard to go forth unto the world, until the time cometh that I shall glorify my name in the flesh; wherefore, ye shall treasure up the things which ye have seen and heard, and show it to no man. And behold, when ye shall come unto me, ye shall write them and shall seal them up, that no one can interpret them; for ye shall write them in a language that they cannot be read. And behold, these two stones will I give unto thee, and ye shall seal them up also, with the things which ye shall write. For behold, the language which ye shall write, I have confounded; wherefore I will cause in my own due time that these stones shall magnify to the eyes of men these things which ye shall write.”

Now notice the words of Moroni, upwards of 400 years after Christ: “And when the Lord had said these words, the Lord showed unto the brother of Jared all the inhabitants of the earth which had been, and also all that would be; and withheld them not from his sight, even unto the ends of the earth. For he had said unto him in times before, that if he would believe in him that he could show unto him all things—it should be shown unto him; therefore the Lord could not withhold anything from him, for he knew that the Lord could show him all things. And the Lord said unto him: Write these things and seal them up; and I will show them in mine own due time unto the children of men.”

You recollect that when the Book of Mormon was translated from the plates, about two-thirds were sealed up, and Joseph was commanded not to break the seal; that part of the record was hid up. The plates which were sealed contained an account of those great things shown unto the brother of Jared; and we are told that all those things are preserved to come forth in the due time of the Lord. The 11th paragraph informs us respecting the interpreters. I will read it—

“And it came to pass that the Lord commanded him that he should seal up the two stones which he had received, and show them not, until the Lord should show them unto the children of men. And the Lord commanded the brother of Jared to go down out of the mount from the presence of the Lord, and write the things which he had seen; and they were forbidden to come unto the children of men, until after that he should be lifted up upon the cross; and for this cause did king Mosiah keep them, that they should not come unto the world until after Christ should show himself unto his people. And after Christ truly had showed himself unto his people he commanded that they should be made manifest.”

These interpreters, the two stones that were given to the brother of Jared, were the two stones that were found with the plates. Again, the Lord says in the next paragraph a portion of which I will read—

“Come unto me, O ye Gentiles, and I will show unto you the greater things, the knowledge which is hid up because of unbelief. Come unto me, O ye house of Israel, and it shall be made manifest unto you how great things the Father hath laid up for you, from the foundation of the world; and it hath not come unto you, because of unbelief. Behold, when ye shall rend that veil of unbelief which doth cause you to remain in your awful state of wickedness, and hardness of heart, and blindness of mind, then shall the great and marvelous things which have been hid up from the foundation of the world from you—yea, when ye shall call upon the Father in my name, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, then shall ye know that the Father hath remembered the covenant which he made unto your fathers, O house of Israel. And then shall my revelations which I have caused to be written by my servant John be unfolded in the eyes of all the people. Remember, when ye see these things, ye shall know that the time is at hand that they shall be made manifest in very deed. Therefore, when ye shall receive this record, ye may know that the work of the Father has commenced upon all the face of the land. Therefore, repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and believe in my gospel, and be baptized in my name; for he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned; and signs shall follow them that believe in my name. And blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day, for he shall be lifted up to dwell in the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world. And behold it is I that hath spoken it. Amen.”

I have felt disposed to read these paragraphs, for I highly esteem the Book of Mormon, as I presume do all the Latter-day Saints. But many lay it upon the shelf and let it remain there for a year or two, consequently they become careless concerning the dealings of the Lord with the Former-day Saints.

You are not to suppose that you are going to be jumped into the midst of revelations, and by one great and grand step are to burst the veil, and to rend it from your eyes, do you think that you are to step into the celestial kingdom and see it all at once? No, these blessings are by far too precious to be attained in such a way; they are to be attained by diligence and faith from day to day, and from night to night. Hence you are to become habituated to do good in your thoughts and conduct, in all that you do, until you become perfectly initiated into the great principles of righteousness, and continue to live uprightly until it becomes a kind of second nature to be honest, to be prudent, to govern all your passions, and bring all of the influences of the flesh, of the fallen nature, into the most perfect subjection to the law of God.

I know that it is necessary for you to keep the commandments of the Lord, and not only to keep those found in the written revelations, but to strictly observe all the words of wisdom, counsel, and advice that He has given through His Spirit and His servants. And when you have given diligent heed to counsel, it becomes a second nature to pay the strictest attention to the covenants made and the counsel given by the Living Oracles of God.

These principles are not to be learned by one or two days’, or one or two months’ humility and obedience, for that would be like a child’s going to school a week and being kept six weeks at home, where there is no one to instruct him. It is obvious that a person keeps retrograding, if he does not progress; you are called upon to increase and progress in knowledge and truth until they influence all your actions and doings, until your conduct is rightly influenced, not only in relation to your neighbors, but in relation to all that belongs to your neighbors. When you have learned righteous principles be careful that they never escape your minds, and that your conduct never severs you from them. This is the time and this is the day that your faith should lay hold of this great and good Spirit, and that you should strive for the rich blessings of heaven, concerning which I have read in your hearing this morning.

Latter-day Saints, are not these things worthy of living for? Suppose that you could have the privilege, by living only one week in strict obedience to all the laws of the kingdom, to have these blessings; I verily believe that there are not many Latter-day Saints, but who, if they knew that they could enjoy all the blessings of the ancients and have the visions of the heavens laid open to their minds, so that they could have before them the past, the present, and the future, so that they could understand the things of God, would live very faithful, and be of one heart and of one mind.

Would not everyone who heard such promises try to obtain the prize, to enjoy the blessings promised? The counsels and instructions of those whom God has appointed would be fresh before them every moment; when they arose in the morning it would be the first thing they would think of, and it would be the last thing at night. They would be able to do twice as much labor as when their minds are not upon the things of God. Their minds would be so entirely swallowed up that they would feel like Alma and others, while among the priests of king Noah, when they had burdens upon their backs; their burdens were made light so that they were able to bear them cheerfully, and so it would be with the Latter-day Saints. Let them have that Spirit one week, and they would find their bodies stronger and more active, and they would almost forget whether they had been to their breakfast, dinner, or supper, their minds would be so completely swallowed up with heavenly things, and everything would prosper.

You are to claim blessings by your conduct, you are so instructed; some are apt to be so neglectful and remiss in their duties that they are not able to claim them. They forget what is in store for them, and do not pray for the Spirit to impress those blessings upon their minds, but suffer their minds to be drawn out too much upon temporal business instead of the things of God, and become weary in mind and body, so that they feel like neglecting the more prominent duties, such as family prayer and many others.

This is because they do not enjoy sufficient of the Spirit of the Lord, for it is able to strengthen everyone of you. Look at the promises made to the missionaries, “He that shall go forth to preach the Gospel without purse or scrip shall not be weary, nor darkened in spirit nor in body.”

What is it that strengthens them so that they do not become weary in body and in mind? The Elders abroad are called upon to labor diligently, and many times to sit up almost all night to teach the pure principles of eternal life, and when they lie down they rest perfectly calm as though they were not weary, and arise invigorated with faith, intelligence, and power; their minds and bodies are strengthened by the power of God.

So it would be with you, if you were sent on a mission, as well as with those who now go to preach the Gospel of salvation for the gathering of the honest in heart.

The Elders go forth in faith and with prayer for the gathering of Israel; to bring them to Zion, to plant vineyards, to build houses, to help build up the cities of Zion, and beautify the earth.

You are all on a mission to make yourselves of one heart and of one mind before the Lord, and if you are faithful you can claim the promises that He will pour out His Spirit upon you, and that Spirit will be poured out upon those who are faithful from morning until evening, and they will be quickened and invigorated to perform whatever is necessary.

If you come to this house with your minds upon the things of this world, and hear the servants of God speak upon the great things of the kingdom, their words will go in at one ear and out at the other, your minds will be darkened, the devil will step in and tempt you, and you are liable to be prostrated in body and mind by his power, because you have given way.

While we are here there is a chance for every Latter-day Saint, and I feel to say, set yourselves in order, ye heads of families, and then set your families in order; regulate your lives one towards another in your families, in your neighborhoods, and in all your communications and dealings one with another.

In this way the enemy will not have power over you, and all your works of light and righteousness will be regulated by the principles which you have received, and by the order which should govern the Saints of God; showing that you are sick of your old traditions, confusion, and discord, and that you are contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints; believing that the same blessings which they enjoyed may be poured out upon your heads.

Perhaps, before I again return to behold the Saints in these valleys, a great temple may be reared upon this Block, upon the foundation already laid. Before that time, perhaps, the services of the Lord may be administered therein, with baptism for the dead, as the Lord has promised, and other sacred and holy ordinances pertaining to the last dispensation; ordinances that have been kept sacred from the foundation of the world, things kept to be revealed in this last dispensation.

If the time is so near at hand when a temple shall be completed for these sacred and holy purposes, there is none too much time for you to prepare yourselves in the holy course of righteousness.

You cannot expect to live as many have lived, and then be able by one tremendous great effort to at once call down the powers of heaven into your midst. All, who will enjoy the privileges which it is the prerogative of the Latter-day Saints to enjoy, must live for them.

Why not Saints have these blessings? Is it because God is partial, and willing to bestow greater blessings upon some than upon others? No, it is because you do not sufficiently prepare yourselves before Him, for you have to become sanctified; hence it is said in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, speaking of the Temple which shall be built in Jackson County, “That those that enter therein shalt behold the face of God.”

The promise was not made to the impure, to those who had not sanctified themselves before the Lord, but to the pure in heart. It naturally follows that similar blessings are prepared to be poured out by the Most High upon the Temple that shall be built upon this Block, and upon the people who shall go therein. How many of this congregation would be prepared to receive such blessings?

The Lord might say to the angels, such and such ones have been faithful to all the calls that have been made upon them; they have not turned to one side; they have not given way to their passions; they have not neglected the counsels of my servants; they have exercised faith in me and have lived to it and by it; and now do you messengers go forth and show yourselves unto them in that Temple, that their eyes may be opened, that they may become as the brother of Jared—to see and taste the joys of the other world. But let the eyes of those who have not been diligent be dark, let them not have sufficient faith to behold your or my glory, let the veil that is over the nations remain between them and my glory. I will venture to say that there are at present comparatively few that would be prepared to receive the great blessings which are in store. I feel anxious upon this point, my brethren and sisters, not only for your sakes but for my own.

When you shall rend the veil that is between you and the heavens, it will be by your works of faith and obedience. Do you realize that you are the individuals to rend that veil? Jesus has done his part, and he is willing that the veil should be rent; he has made intercession before the Father; he has offered his own life, and what more can he do? When you shall have faith to rend that veil which is over your minds, you will find that the heavens are ready and waiting to bestow the blessings promised, just as soon as you are prepared to receive them.

Here let us reflect a little upon the principle by which the brother of Jared was capable of seeing things that are behind the veil, and by which Moses saw every particle of this earth, inside as well as outside. How did they see these things? The revelation says, “By the Spirit of God.” If Moses had the Spirit so that he could discern all things in the earth, while he was quite a finite being like the rest of us, why should not we have that same gift imparted unto us?

The brother of Jared was so filled with the Spirit that he was enabled to behold the person of Jesus Christ, and all the inhabitants of the earth that had lived previous to his day, as well as those who should live afterwards. They rent the veil between them and the heavens by their faith and obedience to the commandments of the Lord; they saw the history of past events from the beginning of the world, and all the inhabitants that ever had been.

There is such a thing as a natural man’s looking into the past, but their power is very much restricted. Lord Ross constructed a very powerful telescope, having an object glass six feet in diameter, and by it a man can see a vast distance into space, and behold what existed ages ago. With this mighty instrument it has been determined that other worlds exist hundreds of thousands of millions of miles distant from us, and that the light from them which reaches the eye through the telescope must have been traveling several hundred thousand years before it reached the eye, hundreds of thousands of years before Adam was placed in the garden of Eden.

Hundreds of thousands of years ago the distant bodies of the universe were lighted up by the glory of God, and the light thereof has at last entered the tremendous telescope of Lord Ross, and thus individuals have been enabled to see—what? Not those bodies as they exist at the present time, but to see them as they existed tens and scores of thousands of years before this world was made.

Here, then, is looking at the past, and that naturally, independent of the mind’s being waked up by the power of God, as were the minds of the brother of Jared and Moses.

Again, this glorious and heavenly principle, with which a righteous man is endowed, reaches forward into the future for thousands of years to come, as far as the Great God will permit the sceneries of ages to be opened to mortals. It is not the fault of our organization that we do not enjoy this principle, but because we do not entirely get rid of those erroneous traditions which we have received from our fathers.

The faith of the Gospel is what is required to lead us on until we burst the veil asunder; for this faith will enable us to burst off the shackles by which we are bound, and prepare us to enjoy the holy Priesthood, with all the blessings guaranteed to the Saints of God, and to gaze into the hidden things of eternity.

Reflect upon past experience and upon the workings of the Spirit of God, and you will discover that you have often been forewarned of events long before they took place; and if you cast your minds into the book of the Spirit of God, and behold the acts and doings of the Lord in ages to come, you will find that the same principle that exists in the bosoms of the Gods is with you, though in a very undeveloped condition. Let your minds be set upon the will of God and upon His kingdom, and what will be withheld from your sight?

There are many principles contained in the words which I have just read. Jesus, for instance, stood before the brother of Jared, not in his body of flesh and bones, not as an infant, not as a small spirit one foot or two feet high, but a full-grown spirit; and when the brother of Jared beheld the finger of Christ he beheld a full-sized finger as of a man, for says Jesus, “When I shall take a body of flesh and bones and redeem my people I will appear as thou now seest me, but this is the body of my spirit; I show myself in the spirit, you behold it, you see that it is of the size of a man.”

“All men in the beginning have I created after the body of my spirit,” as much as to say that “you, the brother of Jared, did not receive your existence a few years ago here in the flesh, that was not your origin, but all men, all those that I will show you that have existed or will exist upon this earth, in the beginning have I created after the image of the body of my spirit.” They were all spiritually organized before they came here.

This is the only place in the Book of Mormon where pre-existence is clearly spoken of, and this was revealed before the organization of this Church, and is a doctrine which was not in the possession of the Christian world, hence it shows that it was dictated by a Spirit capable of revealing a doctrine unknown to the Christian world—the pre-existence of man.

There is much doctrine in the Book of Mormon and Book of Doctrine and Covenants that would be instructive to the Saints, if they would not let them stay upon their shelves. Knowledge of truth would not harm you, though it may be better for some to let their books remain shut, rather than to transgress against greater light, for then greater would be their damnation and punishment. In proportion as we advance in the knowledge of the things revealed from the heavens, and in the powers and keys that are conferred upon us, the greater will be the condemnation, if we fall therefrom. This shows the propriety of every man and woman’s habituating themselves, as I have already said, to righteousness.

If you were, within one week from this time, to be let into all the visions that the brother of Jared had, what a weight of responsibility you would have upon you; how weak you would be, and how unprepared for the responsibility; and after the vision had closed up in your minds, and you left to yourselves, you would be tempted in proportion to the light that had been presented before you. Then would come the trial, such as you never have had. This is the principle upon which the devil is allowed to try us. We have a circumstance in relation to Moses’ being tempted; when the vision withdrew, and the heavens closed, the devil presented himself and said, “Moses, son of man, worship me.” Moses replied, “Who are you?” “I am the son of God,” was the answer. Then said Moses, “You call me son of man and say that you are the son of God, but where is your glory?” Could Moses have withstood that terrible manifestation, if he had not practiced for many years the principles of righteousness? A mere vision would not have strengthened him, and even to show him the glory of God in part would not have enabled him to combat with the powers of darkness that then came to him. It was by his knowledge of God, by his perseverance, his diligence and obedience in former years, that he was enabled to rebuke the devil, in the name of Jesus Christ, and drive him from him.

So it will be with you, whether you have the necessary preparation or not, for the Lord will say to the powers of darkness, you are now at liberty to tempt my servants in proportion to the light that I have given. Go and see if they will be steadfast to that light; use every plan so far as I permit you, and if they will yield they are not worthy of me nor of my kingdom, and I will deliver them up and they shall be buffeted. You, Satan, shall buffet and torment them, until they shall learn obedience by the things that they suffer.

Hence the propriety of preparing for these things, that when they come you will know how to conquer Satan, and not want for experience to overcome, but be like Michael, the archangel, who, with all the knowledge and glory that he had gained through thousands of years of experience, durst not bring a railing accusation, because he knew better. And when Moses withstood Satan face to face, he knew who he was and what he had come for. He had obtained his knowledge by past trials, by a long series of preparation; hence he triumphed.

So it must be with Latter-day Saints, and if we prepare ourselves we shall conquer. We must come in contact with every foe, and those who give way will be overcome.

If we are to conquer the enemy of truth his power must be made manifest, and the power which will be given of the Lord through faithfulness must be in our possession. Do you wish to prevail—to conquer the powers of darkness when they present themselves? If you do, prepare yourselves against the day when these powers shall be made manifest with more energy than is now exhibited. Then you can say, the evil powers that have been made manifest, the agents that came and tempted me, came with all their force, I met them face to face and conquered by the word of my testimony, by patience, by the keys which have been bestowed upon me, and which I held sacred before God, and I have triumphed over the adversary and over all his associates.

Brethren, pray for me, that I may accomplish the mission that has been given to me acceptably in the sight of the Lord, acceptably to these my brethren that are presiding over me, acceptably to the nations, to the Saints here in Great Salt Lake Valley, that I may be one of the Saints that shall be perfected in righteousness, in long-suffering, in patience, in humility, and return in joy and peace to rejoice again in your midst. I ask the Lord to bless us, one and all, with his Holy Spirit, and to guide us in the way of life. Amen.